Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Birthdays & Conference

Thank you so much for the birthday wishes! It is hard to believe that
I will be 19 soon! When I come back I'll be 20. Which seems really old
to me because I'll be in a whole new decade for my life. But because a
mission is two years long, a perfect tithe of my life will be to the
Lord! I had no idea what the package was when I got it. I pulled out
the polyester blanket and Elder Noall was like, "your family sent you
a space blanket??" Then I pulled out all the winter clothing and all
was well. So thank you for the great package :) and I guess I will
eagerly be waiting for the next one :)

Before I get to General Conference, we had a super fruitful week! We
had 19 lessons this week, which was one higher than last week, which I
thought couldn't get any higher. We have 8 people with a baptismal
date we're working with. I have full faith that they all can make it,
they just need special care. We continued to see miracles this week.
One guy who we have briefly talked with before was actually home and
let us in. We were on exchanges so Elder Gary and I taught him. We had
a super spiritual Plan of Salvation lesson with him. And this guy is
really smart (he majored in organic and inorganic chemistry) so we
really brought the Holy Ghost to him so he can feel that this is true.
I know he felt the spirit, there is no denying that. He then accepted
a baptismal date so we are gonna continue working with him. Another
miracle was a young couple we have been teaching sparingly (they both
work a TON) finally were home at the same time. We shared the
Restoration with the wife (we already taught it to the husband) and
she was SUPER interested. Like she told us she was a reader, so we
told her we could mark a few chapters for her to read and she turned
to us and said, "Can't I just read all of it?" they are super
prepared and both have a baptismal date now but the BIGGEST miracle
was with another investigator. He's the younger brother to another
investigator we have. He was driving home from work Friday when he
felt he needed to visit his sister (our investigator). But to his
surprise, when he got home, no one was home. Then a few minutes later,
we showed up. He was really surprised! This was the second time we had
met with him, and he was really interested then so he absolutely knew
this was from God so we sat on the porch and taught him the
Restoration. And he asked some of the most sincere questions of any
investigator we have, "so say a preacher baptized someone. Do they
need the priesthood or because they have real intent it's okay?" So we
answered all his questions and he really got it. He super accepted a
Book of Mormon and is gonna read. He also accepted a baptismal date
and he works close to our church so we can teach him there! It
was a super week. We ended up with 8 new investigators. Like, this
doesn't happen. All the members are super surprised when we tell them
what's been happening in the 'bluff.

General Conference was AMAZING!!! I totally forgot my notebook so I'm
gonna have to share my thoughts on conference from memory. My favorite
talk had to be by the General Authority with the last name of Martino.
When he frankly declared that when he had read the Book of Mormon and
prayed to know if it was true, he didn't get an answer. I thought of
all the non-members, recent converts, and even members, around the
world would really connect to this. He went on to discuss real intent,
and the sincerity that we need in order to receive a witness that this
is true. After his talk I realized that I need to utilize his message
and show it to all the investigators we have.

Did you notice how many converts where asked to speak? I did! And I
especially noticed the sister with the Deep South accent! Her story
was amazing, growing up singing Methodist hymns and continually
wanting to grow closer to God. At the conclusion of General
Conference, I continually noticed the theme of realizing our divine
potential. This is something everyone wants to know, and because we
have the answer people flock to the Lord's church. I also thought the
prophecy reinstated by Russell M Neilson was amazing. How in the last
days virtuous women would flock to the church. That was cool!

And then there were 3 new Apostles called!  I loved all the testimonies
given. Elder Noall reminded me that Elder Stevenson gave the memorable
talk about the college students that were attending school in Japan.
They attended a party on a rooftop and eventually some participants
started distributing illegal drugs. Remember this talk? It showed the
importance of standing up for your beliefs because two young men left
the party, and as they were walking down, the Japanese military was
storming up the steps. The party was busted and the friends of the two
young men who stayed were put in jail, and their chances for a great
future were shattered. So I loved all the 3 testimonies given, and now
we have another heart surgeon in the quorum! Always good to have a
back up!

So Sunday morning session was great. Right before, Elder Noall and I
had a super inspired comp study on Christ and light. I showed him an
amazing article entitled "put on the armor of light" (also read Romans
13:12 - one of my new fav scriptures!) from the March 2015 ensign. I
recommend you guys to read it! Anyways, this was inspired because
President Monson gave his talk on a similar topic discussing light. It
was a really great talk. He wasn't looking too good near the end, he
was leaning on the pulpit a lot. D Todd Christofferson gave a great
talk. We run into a problem he helped address. A lot of people we find
tell us they don't need church, then they quote Matt. 18:20 and say we
just need to talk about Christ, we don't need church. So next time
that happens I'm going to introduce them to my good friend D Todd and
show them why they need church.

I hope all is well and that the ponderizing is going good :)
Elder Blackburn

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