Monday, March 28, 2016

Helping those in need

This week I hit my 8th month mark... That's a third of my mission!
Where does the time go?! The next big one is the year mark crazy

Well this week I realized how much damage water can do. On Saturday we
organized a group together to go help the flood victims of Newton
County. We had a good group from the stake and we were able to help a
lot of people. As our branch group, each of us worked for about 9 and
a half hours! And it was hard work. Some of the houses had as much as
thirteen inches of water in their house at one point. And all that
water equals lots of mold. We had respirators and everything, but mold
is awful stuff! It gets everywhere. While we worked, we mostly took
out drywall and wet insulation, carpet, paneling, studs, etc. I
learned a lot about houses while doing the service. It takes a lot to
build a house. The nastiest thing we moved was an ice chest that lost
power in the flooding. So it had rotting food in it for over a week!
It smelled like death. But with our service I know many hearts were
touched. We were wearing our Mormon helping hands shirts and vests and
a lot of people asked us if we came all the way from Utah to help. So
we helped clean up a lot of confusion while we were there too! We are
most likely gonna do it again this Saturday. There are a lot of people
in need!

We had some great missionary experiences this week! Our teaching pool
isn't the biggest, but we have some super solid people and I can
easily see them getting baptized. The first one we have is a less
active member who is in his 20's. I may have talked about him before,
he works the graveyard shift and usually tired when he gets
home and misses Church. But we met with him and discussed
some goals. He's still super faithful, he wants to get married in the
temple, have his sons Go on missions, etc. however, we brought to his
attention that his younger sister is 8. That means she needs to get
baptized. And then when we told him that he has the opportunity to
baptize her he just lit up! He said that would be something he really
would like to do and work towards. So he has been reading his
scriptures and saying his prayers. He's working towards trying to get
Sundays off and stuff so he can be able to baptize her. We would be so
happy to see this happen!

And the other great news is about the guy we met last week. He's the
one who was on his porch and we got talking to him about his LDS
friend who went to the temple. We left him the Plan of Salvation
pamphlet to read from, and when we saw him again he had read the whole
thing! And boy did he have questions for us!! He asked us so many
things, "where did this plan come from?" "How can we know it's true?"
And then he asked us some more serious questions about things like who
created God. So we explained briefly eternal progression and asked him
to pray about it. Getting into doctrine like that with investigators
is scary sometimes because you don't know if it'll scare them away,
but with the spirit being there, you can be bold and it'll stick with
them. So we answered all these questions for him, and then he sat back
in his chair and said "well I'm gonna have to think about all this."
After a little bit, we told him the best thing he can do to know that
it's true is to read and pray about the Book of Mormon. Then he went
into the other room and got his copy. Apparently his wife was
investigating the church before she passed away. He committed to start
reading it before we come back again! The spirit was strong, we're
definitely coming back!! I love experiences like these because it
testifies to me that we have the fullness of the Gospel of Jesus
Christ. With the Book of Mormon and modern day revelation, all
confusion, questions, and doubts can be laid to rest and replaced with
peace and Joy.

The church is true!

Elder Blackburn

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