February 2011-August 2012

06 June 2011

June 6: Revelation. Love it.

Wow, I really have SO much I want to say right now!! First, my new companion, Hermana Garcia, is INCREDIBLE!!! Everyone keeps asking me if I'm sad to not be with Hermana Kiewra anymore. Well, I love her SO MUCH, but she's done everything here that God needed her to, and now it's time she gets to move forward in her life. So I'm really happy for her and her future! And I LOVE Hermana Garcia... so NO. I'm NOT SAD. Life is good. God is great. She is from El Salvador, a convert of 3 years, and the only member in her family. She graduated with a degree in journalism and worked for a year at a newspaper and for a year at a TV station... so she knows really how to communicate and relate to people, and especially how to follow up with people. In just a few days we've seen more miracles together than I did all of last transfer combined probably. Seriously. I'm not even exaggerating. I give the credit to Heavenly Father blessing us for working hard and being exactly obedient and just putting all we have in trusting Him. So where to begin...

1. When we dropped off Hna. Kiewra, President Martin talked to Hna. Garcia and I and told us that he wanted us to have 75 baptisms in this ward over the next 7 months. SAY WHAAAAAT? That's more than our ward has had in five years combined. Is it possible? Well I firmly believe that President Martin is an inspired man. And all week long Hna. Garcia and I have just had this overwhelming feeling of anticipation and excitement for all the miracles we are going to see together. We can literally FEEL the incredible amount of miracles and blessings Heavenly Father has in store for the people in this area and in this ward and so we just have to chip away at the rocks holding back the flood gates... So that's what we're going to do! I can't even tell you how excited I am to be here in this place right now, working with these wonderful children of Heavenly Father. I love them SO much! And we're ready to hit the ground running!!

2. Tuesday morning... the first personal study of the transfer... The windows of heaven opened and I received buckets full of revelation on what we need to do to work these miracles in Canyon Country. Read Ether 2-3 and apply it to missionary work. It's AWESOME. But just to summarize, here's a bit of our game plan:
  • (2:14-15) In order to be allowed to enter the promised land, the Brother of Jared had to 1) repent, 2) sin no more, 3) remember to keep the Spirit with him, and 4) pray. We want to "enter the promised land" and reach our goals... so that's what we're going to do!
  • (2:16) "Go to work and build..." Pretty self-explanatory. haha
  • (2:17) "Tight like unto a dish"=UNITY. In everything. The ward. Our companionship. With our investigators. EVERYTHING. :)
  • (2:22-23) We have to present possible solutions to the Lord whenever we ask Him to help us with our problems.
  • (2:24-25) The Lord is PREPARING us. For something BIG. :)
  • (3:1) We have to WORK before we can expect the Lord to answer our prayers and help us perform miracles!
  • (3:5,9) The brother of Jared asked in complete faith because 1) he believed that the Lord COULD do it, 2) He believed that the Lord WOULD do it, and 3) He had already put in some serious effort not knowing the outcome of his labors. This is how we're going to be able to work miracles here. We need to have THIS kind of Faith.
  • (3:26) All we have to do is BELIEVE. That's all. And God will show us all things.
Those are just some of the highlights... but seriously, I have like 3 pages of notes from those chapters all on the things that Hna. Garcia and I can do here in our area to help God work His miracles. So that's what we've been doing and it's been incredible!

Our biggest miracles this week have been with the Espinoza family... remember Melissa, the 11 year old girl we're teaching? Well, her mom is a member but hasn't been to the church in... YEARS. And guess what? We're now teaching her father!!!! Remember all the family issues I mentioned? Well this week, the parents actually HUGGED. I don't care if it was fake. They did it. And they were both smiling WHILE hugging. God is SO GOOD. And what's more??? We brought a couple with us to our lesson on Saturday night--Hna. and Hno. Jaimes. We taught the first lesson to Melissa's dad and it went really well thanks to them. AND GUESS WHAT?! THEY ALL CAME TO CHURCH YESTERDAY!!!!! Maria (the mom), Vacilio (the dad), AND Melissa. I can't understate what an incredible miracle this is. And tonight the Jaimes family invited them and us over for Family Home Evening and dinner... Yeah... keep praying for the Espinozas because God is really changing their family. :)

We've had a lot of other incredible experiences like that this week and yet we know that this is ONLY THE BEGINNING. :)

Well, I'm almost out of time... but before I go I have to at least mention the 4 year anniversary of dad's death this Wednesday. I'm really not sure how I'll actually feel on Wednesday, but right now, my heart and my mind are filled with peace and gratitude because I KNOW where he is and that he's also anxiously engaged in this marvelous work of bringing souls unto Christ, just on the other side of the veil. I know that our family is receiving so many blessings from having Dad, Skylar, and I all on missions right now... and soon to be Tanner! 4 missionaries in one family!! WOW. I kind of feel like a blessing hog, but I'm not going to complain because we can definitely use them! haha I'm so grateful that I can look back on those extremely trying years as being such a sacred experience. And what made it so sacred? Being united as a family and really feeling and relying on the redeeming AND enabling power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ every single day. It is hard to live without dad here with us, but it would have been an even more tragic experience in our family to have not been able to grow as we have--individually and as a family. I wouldn't change that for anything. And I know our family can be together forever if we all just stay close to Christ and stay close together. And I'm so grateful to really KNOW that!

I love you all so very much and I'm so grateful for the chance to share this peace and happiness with those who will listen. Truly, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints contains the FULNESS of Christ's gospel, all of His truth, on the earth today. He leads and guides us through his living prophet, Thomas S. Monson, and through the scriptures, the Bible and the Book of Mormon, and all of the other revelations which have been received in our time. Keep the faith.

"Be not overcome with evil, but overcome evil with good." -Romans 12:21

Hermana Blackburn

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