February 2011-August 2012

31 October 2011

October 31, 2011 Increased Obedience=​Increased Miracles

It has been a great week here in Sylmar, and Hermana Erickson and I have been working diligently to increase our obedience. As a result, we've seen several miracles. Lesson learned? The Lord CARES about our efforts to better ourselves, no matter how small they may be. Let me give an example.

Remember that Exact Obedience test that I made a couple weeks ago? And How I realized that studying the Missionary Health Guide was a rule, and I didn't even have a copy of it? haha Well, this week I received my copy from the Mission Office. There was a slight mixup and I received it in Spanish... Good thing I know Spanish now! But also, it has pictures to show we what the exercises are when I don't understand the Spanish. PHEW. haha Anyway, So I started doing the exercises and stretches in there every morning at 6:30. One day I got up, and my companion was already up and making her bed. This is rare. I'm almost ALWAYS the first one out of bed. haha Anyway, after I get up from saying my prayers, I go out into the living room and she is doing sit-ups! I almost fell over I was so surprised! I thought something had happened and she was angry and just trying to get out her emotions. I couldn't think of what else it could be... So I asked her if she was ok and she replied that she had just decided she wanted to be obedient that day. I was pleasantly surprised, and grateful for the faith that she was demonstrating with her desire to be more obedient. So the result of our efforts?

We went all day long with people canceling appointments and not being home. We were a bit discouraged. We show up for our last appointment of the night with a new couple we'd taught once before. We had invited a member to come with us, but he was 30 min late (though at least he came!). We show up, and they had invited a friend, who started drilling us with questions. As missionaries, we LOVE questions. But we don't like people asking questions in a "Prove it to me" kind of attitude. So we braced ourselves. A few minutes later, two more women showed up. From the Word of Wisdom to Polygamy, they were asking it all. And thanks to the help of Hermano Garcia, we answered their questions as best as we could. And conveniently, all the answers go back to the Restoration. So we started teaching them the first lesson, about the Restoration. When we got to the part about Joseph Smith, we watched the movie. Afterwards, Hermano Garcia talked to them about the Book of Mormon, read with them 3 Nephi 11:3-15, and bore his testimony of its truthfulness. Then we taught them about how to know for themselves if these things are true. The Spirit was palpable in that little room with the 8 of us. He was testifying to each one of them. I wish I could say that I experience this in every single lesson I teach. That is a worthy goal I'm working towards. But in all honesty, that is not the case. Since I was set apart as a missionary, I've studied and pondered the idea of how to teach with the power and authority of my calling as a representative of Jesus Christ. I've learned many things, but I still felt like there was something I was missing. This last week, however, I got it. It clicked in my head and my heart. I understand what it takes. And this lesson was the culminating event of this lesson. I taught with power and authority, not because of anything I did or said, but because the Spirit was there. I taught true doctrine as simply and sincerely as I could, and He testified to their hearts it was true.

So what's the lesson? That from the simple act of faith in striving to be more obedient, God worked a marvelous miracle for the Hermanas in Sylmar. A powerful lesson. 3 new investigators. A member present in that lesson. See! God really DOES reward us for even our smallest efforts. When He says "by small and simple things great things are brought to pass," He really MEANS IT!! :)

On another note, Antonio came to church again this week--wearing the white shirt and tie we got him from Elders who went home. I was pretty bold with him this week and told him that if he still wanted to get baptized on Nov. 27th that he would have to stop drinking for at least 2 weeks if not more. I told him that he had two weeks to practice not drinking before he really couldn't drink anymore. Ever. He has a goal, and he is working hard for it. I'm grateful for my life experience that helps me have the love and patience to help this man get over a debilitating addiction.  He was sober yesterday when he came to church. That's a step in the right direction! One day at a time.

And I took my Obedience Test again this morning: I've increased by 15%. I'm not at a 100% yet, but I at least am in the A range, so I feel pretty good about that! :) More miracles, here we come!

Hermana Erickson and I were asked to give a training to our zone this Friday at our combined District meeting, and I think that's what we're going to talk about: The QUEST for obedience, not a destination of being obedient. I'll let you know how it goes. :)

So will you all accept an invitation to DO something this week? Will you talk to the missionaries in your ward and set up a time for you to accompany them to a teaching appointment? We need your help to do the work of the Lord. And you will be so greatly blessed for your sacrifice and efforts, that I can promise you! For those of you who will commit to this, despite your VERY busy lives, I know that you won't ever regret it. None of our efforts are lost. Ever.

So I hope you all have an awesome Halloween! We were asked to not go out tonight here in our area... haha. But be safe and be good. I love you all!

Hermana Blackburn

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