WOW!!! WHERE DO I EVEN BEGIN?!?!
General Conference: AMAZING. Every single question or concern I wrote down before the first session began was answered either directly by a speaker OR by the Spirit while someone was talking. Either way, I learned so very much. Do any of us realize how incredible it is to HEAR A LIVING PROPHET SPEAK?!?! God is SO GOOD to us!! I hope that any of you who missed any sliver of conference will take the opportunity to go back and watch what you missed online at www.lds.org and also to study the Ensign when you get it next month! If you aren't currently receiving the Ensign, lucky for you it's online, too!! Seriously, what a miraculous blessing in our lives to hear the words of God from living prophets and apostles, just as in times of old! There is a talk by Elder Holland from a few years ago, where he testifies that God's words have not ceased. I want to add my testimony to his... A few things that I feel like I should point out specifically and invite my dear family and anyone else who reads this to try:
Elder L. Tom Perry, living Apostle of Jesus Christ: Keep the Sabbath Day holy. I invite you all to evaluate how you are doing in this... I want you to try to be exactly obedient in keeping the Sabbath Day holy for ONE MONTH. That means FOUR CONSECUTIVE SUNDAYS... don't do the things that you do during the rest of the week. Find activities to do with your family that will invite the Spirit into your home. Starting this next Sunday, and for the three Sundays following. I invite you, as does an Apostle of the Lord, to TRY THE WORD OF GOD. See if you aren't blessed for your obedience. I dare you! ;) Because I can promise you that you will be so very blessed!! Elder Perry also encouraged us to study the New Testament where we can read about the life of Jesus Christ during His mortal ministry. I have started this with my companions. Every morning before our personal study, we have a mini-devotional where we will discuss one story from the NT and how it applies to us and our investigators. We have been SO blessed from this. Just do it!! It's AWESOME!!! :)
Elder Walter F. Gonzalez: Followers of Jesus Christ are 1) those that Love the Lord, and 2) MAKE AND KEEP sacred covenants with Him. Namely, Baptism, receiving the Gift of the Holy Ghost, and other sacred covenants that we make within the Temple. And we do make all these covenants with him by someone holding the proper priesthood authority of God, which was restored to the earth in 1829 to the Prophet Joseph Smith. If we make covenants with God in ANY other way, they ARE NOT valid. They don't count, on earth OR in heaven. THIS is the way that God has established. This talk was incredible to me. I want every one of you to go back and read this talk carefully. So many gems of wisdom for each of us! I want all of my friends that I get to teach in California to be able to read this talk and truly FEEL for themselves the power of making and keeping your covenants with the Lord!! AHHH!!! SO AWESOME!!!!
Of course, our living prophet, Thomas S. Monson: I love HIM!!! I KNOW without a doubt in my mind that he is called of God to be the prophet on the earth at this time. For me. For you. For ALL OF US!!! How cool is that?!?! Do I sound stoked about this knowledge? CUZ I TOTALLY AM!!! Seriously, this is even GREATER THAN an ICE CREAM SUNDAE!!! And for a Blackburn, well that's REALLY GREAT!!!!! :) I loved his talk on Temples. Read it. Love it. Live it. Especially all of you in Indiana who are about to get you own temple. The more you share the good news of the gospel with your friends and family and anyone you meet, the more miracles God will bring about in getting us that temple in a timely manner. I promise you that. I feel that so very strongly from the Spirit, so as a servant of Jesus Christ, I PROMISE you this. OPEN YOUR MOUTHS!!! :)
Ok, well there isn't much time left, and there is still SO much that I learned about in General Conference. If you aren't a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, don't worry... these messages are for you just as much as they are for me! The prophet and apostles speak TO THE WORLD!!! :) Pretty darn cool, huh?!
Erika, to clarify for you... my companions and I are teaching people her at the MTC... they are roles played by Elders or teachers in our district and zone, but they are real people that each of them knows... So I have a REAL relationship with Mike, and David, and Brendon, and Angel, and Susannah... even though I also have a real relationship with Elder Beatty, Elder Christensen, Hno. Hill, Hno. Gillis, and Hna. Salisbury... does that clarify? They are really our progressing investigators though. And I think of them as REAL people... so I talk about them like they are real people. Because they are real to me! ;)
Ok, I love you all!!! Have a great week! Thanks so very much for all your letters and dearelders!!! I LOOOOVVVEEE them!!!! You are all in my prayers!!!
Hermana Dana Blackburn
P.S. I did sealings for a couple of our family names today in the temple. WOW. I can't even begin to describe how special that was. They were SO happy! A couple of them had waited for 400+ years to be sealed to them families for eternity. So full of the Spirit!!! So full of love, joy, and gratitude for such a merciful God to provide a way for ALL of His children to be happy and return to live with Him! The GOSPEL IS TRUE!!!! I LOOOOOOOOOOOOVVVVVVVVVVVVEEEEEEEEEE Being a missionary!!!!! Loves loves loves!!!