So first of all, thanks for the letters I got this week--I'm glad that a couple of you are finally using the DearElder for me! :) I love hearing from you all! Although a warning... DearElder doesn't print out the Spanish accents correctly... just a heads up for those who write me in Spanish. And even though I had to look up about one in 10 words that Sister Chipman wrote me, I understood the jist of it all on my own! I think THAT is PROGRESS!!! :)
So this week... LOTS of excellent meetings. Saturday we had Mission Conference, where we had some incredible talks. Our mission president spoke about the Atonement of Jesus Christ, and it was wonderful to remember so vividly my experiences and lessons learned in Jerusalem. Speaking of Jerusalem, someone told me it got bombed... is that true? Just curious... I still have so many friends there... :( ANYWHO, God is good, and I'm too busy to worry about it. But will someone please send me a debriefing on that? Bob is probably a good candidate... haha ;)
We also had a wonderful fireside on Sunday with Stephen B. Allen again, the managing director of the Missionary Dept. His wife spoke about being a "finisher," based on a talk President Monson gave a couple years ago. He then spoke all about our expectations as missionaries. He discussed how we need to make our expectations the Lord's expectations, because we are on HIS mission, and we are doing HIS work. How do we do that you ask? Well 2 Ne. 31 explains to us what Heavenly Father's expectations for each of us individually, and us as missionaries are: the Doctrine of Christ. When I know the Doctrine of Christ so well that it becomes who I am and what I expect, then my Will will be aligned with the Will of the Father and I will be successful in whatever I do. I think it's safe to say that the same goes for each of you. It's also really helpful that the Doctrine of Christ IS my purpose as a missionary. So you should all study Preach My Gospel and read 2 Nephi 31. :)
Our devotional on Tuesday night fit really well into this. It was Elder and Sister James M. Dunn, Emeritus Seventy. There were some really wonderful things shared by each of them, but the three things that are coming to my mind most right now are these: 1. Do God's Work in God's Way. Don't think that you have a better way to do it. You don't. He's God. (I may have put this into my own words... haha). So how do I learn His way of doing missionary work? Study the Bible and the Book of Mormon and find out! So that's exactly what I'm going to do! 2. Don't take people for granted. Share your message with them without judgment, and let them exercise their agency to choose whether or not they'll accept it. This is an important lesson that I learned several years while working for Simon... that if I knew someone well enough, I couldn't help but love them. And if I love them, I want to share the gospel with them. Well, God DOES know them. Perfectly. And HE wants me to share the gospel with them. So who am I to question if that's right? Yeah, I'm nobody... that's who! So BE BOLD BLACKBURN!!! (I have to remind myself of this occassionally... but I'm getting better! haha) 3. Be a 24/7 Missionary. There are no lunch breaks as a servant of the Lord. I should always be doing what a missionary should be doing, when I should be doing it. If I am obedient, the Lord will work miracles in my life as a missionary. The same goes for each of us. If you are obedient, you will see the Lord work miracles in your life. So how can we be obedient? 1. Have faith in Jesus Christ. 2. Repent of and abandon our sins. 3. Be baptized into the LORD'S true church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, by someone having the proper priesthood authority of Jesus Christ--which authority God restored to the earth through Joseph Smith. 4. Receive the Gift of the Holy Ghost. 5. Endure to the End Happily by continuing to be obedient to the commandments of God which He reveals through His prophets, serve well, love much, and follow the promptings of the Holy Ghost as you remain worthy of that constant companionship of the Holy Ghost. 5 Easy Steps to be able to live with God, Jesus Christ, and our families in eternity. Sign me up PLEASE!!!!!!!!!!!
Ok, so for any of you that are thinking I'm way too preachy... that might be true. However, I have been set apart to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ to all who will listen. I take my calling very seriously, because I am on the Lord's time here!! And I couldn't be happier! I love this gospel with my whole heart. I've been studying this week about various aspects of the Atonement... particularly the Redeeming and the Enabling powers of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. How they differ, how they apply to me in my life, and also how I can apply them to my friends I get to teach about the gospel--currently David, Mike, Angel, Brendon, and Susannah... I have LOVED studying redemption and grace this week. I've learned a ton!
My Spanish is definitely coming along. We started playing a game called "El Nativo." One missionary in my district--we don't know who-- is supposed to be the native Spanish speaker this week, meaning they speak only Spanish. However, the rest of us are trying to speak as much/more Spanish than the unknown native so that by the end of the week our district will vote that we were the native. Does that make sense? Basically I'm just only speaking Spanish now... so my vocabulary is limited, but it's coming along. And I'm practicing asking better and more questions... Inspired Questions as Hermano Gillis calls them. So good. Not too much to share aside from that. My time is almost up. I love you all!!
p.s. Eryn, SO glad you survived the surgery!! Thanks for all the pictures!!
Tanner-what the heck?! WRITE ME!!
Erika... I only got half of your dearelder, which was really tragic b/c it ended not so well... :( Write me!
Mom, HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I'll try to send some pictures home next week. I have to get a shot today. :( Ok... loves loves loves!!!