Monday, August 25, 2014

August 18, 2014 (Elder Blackham's Last Letter Home)

This last week was great and teaching went a lot better. I am really learning in this last week that things don't always happen the way we want; but that does not mean that they are not happening the way they are supposed to. As much as our investigators are God's investigators we too are God's investigators and in every aspect of life He is trying to teach us and help us grow and learn and become what we want to be.  As we submit to His will we will become as He wants and that is much greater than what I can ever ask or want. I will just love and give my all to my investigators for this last week  especially to the Lord. Then when I go home I will not have any more investigators and my whole heart will then go to God and my family:) 


Elder Blackham

Thursday, August 14, 2014

August 4, 2014

This last week I was in Manila in order to get finger prints and also for MLC. I was there from Mon. thru Friday without a companion; but I went on exchanges with other missionaries. I love going on exchanges, it helps me learn so much and also gives me a chance to help the other missionaries. I also was able to go through the temple twice while I was there:) It was amazing!! On exchanges we had so much success we found 20 new investigators in 2 days. That was fun:) We found 2 families to teach and just it has been awesome. I am so grateful for the chances I had to work. On Tuesday I got to teach a few workshops for the incoming trainees and trainers and I just jump at every chance to teach and to strengthen the work here:) It has just become so apparent that nothing else matters than this work. We must not be casual with this, this is the truth and the way and light:) Even through Jesus Christ:) Elder Hart and I are so excited to teach this week. Our goal is to have 10 people prepared for baptism before I go home:)I know the Lord will help us do this and even more than that :)

Elder Blackham

July 28, 2014

This last week was amazing:) Things are clicking really well in Mindoro:) We have too many people to teach and so little time.So we are so happy with that, its a good problem to have. They all are so great. I love to teach them and feel the spirit. There is nothing better than feeling the spirit as you teach them. 

This week there was a ton of experiences but I will only be able to share a few. Our new investigators are really interested and reading and asking all the right questions. There is one new family we found and while we were teaching them the Dad came home and got in a fight with the Land Lord and His wife. It was scary! But when it was over we promised them blessings and prayed with them and then we went to find the father and did the same with Him and it helped a lot to pray with them and to be there for them at that moment of hardships.  We were inspired to teach about how the gospel blesses families and I know it will bless them so much. We are teaching them now and I am so excited to see the way their lives change from the gospel. It is impossible to get trunky when you just love the people where you are serving, you just cant stop thinking about them and its really hard for me to be in Manila for another week and not get to see them.

There are a lot of people progressing in our area and I am so happy to be able to be teaching them. It is so interesting how the people that we teach have been so prepared by the Lord and I am so grateful the Lord allowed us to cross paths and go from complete strangers to life changing friends and servants:) It is so wonderful. That is the spirit of Missionary work. 

As far as my flight plans I get to Arizona August 27th at 3:45 pm. So yea I finally got them. 

Elder Blackham

July 21, 2014

My  companion right now is Elder Hart, we just had transfers and this last week and then we were stranded in our apartments for 2 days when the storm hit. (Note from Mom:  they had a typhoon hit in Bret's mission area of Quezon City but because he is on the island off the main island it was not as severe where he is currently living).  The storm wasn't even that bad! I was frustrated to be stuck inside. I disobeyed a little bit to go OYM people when we were told to stay inside but I couldn't help it, you only have so long to be in a specific area serving the Lord. But I eventually went inside and waited out the storm. I kept calling and asking if we could go out and work and the office got mad and said, "Just stay inside and enjoy your extra p-day!" But that is more like torture though haha. Oh well so it was super hard to not see the people we were teaching very much but I was happy on the up side to have some quality bonding time with my comp and kabahays. We will be able to do a lot more this week;) 

SO that is good. Our investigators actually texted us questions about the Book of Mormon so that's great it means that they are reading:) If only they knew how much this would bless them. I wish I could just plug in my brain to theirs and they could just absorb it all and get it, get what I see them becoming, get God's love for them and just get it:) But we learn precept by precept. That cursed p word... Patience haha. I love you mom.

Love Elder Blackham 

July 14, 2014

This last week was great:) I was so happy to be able to be here and not in Manila for this week. It was a hard week though trying to go through the week after having been gone for such a long time. But I am so happy because it helped us recognize those who will really progress and who would not.

This week we recognized some great investigators that are progressing and one is this family that just loves to be taught and every time we teach the spirit is so strong and they just ask all the right questions. After two lessons he was already sharing everything we taught with others. I realize that the spirit really knows who is ready and as we follow promptings we will be led to do what is best all the time. I mean if that's what the Lord wants then that's what can happen if we have faith to do so. I have been finding so much more things that I am grateful for in my prayers:) It makes me feel so happy:) 

One thing I learned in my study was about the plan of Salvation and Faith in Jesus Christ:) I was reading about our life on earth in preach my gospel and I wondered or questions popped up in my head like.. " Why did we choose to come here and others didn't?  What made it so we were okay with how hard it was going to be?" "What made it so others didn't come"?   Then the answer came to my mind clearly that it was faith in Jesus Christ:) We had faith in Jesus Christ that we could come here even though we made mistakes, we trusted Him and it made us excited to come to earth even understanding the hardships we would have to endure and the reason others didn't is because they did not have faith in Him and were scared because their faith was in themselves and they knew they could not do it on their own. This helped me understand how powerful faith in Christ is and how necessary it is:) Also it helped me realize that without a broken heart and a contrite spirit our faith is in vain. Because if we have pride it means part of our faith is in ourselves and not completely in Christ. When we fear to do things like open our mouth to share the gospel after receiving a prompting it is because our faith is not completely in Christ but partially in ourselves, but when we have complete faith in Christ we fear nothing, only disobedience do we fear. But we know that through Him we can be made whole and repent:) So that was something I learned this week that was so cool;)
Elder Blackham

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

July 7, 2014

This week I have been in Manila for the entire week, haha. I just got back to Mindoro today which was like the hardest thing ever! To be out of your area for 7 days when your teaching pool has reached 40 souls was really hard.  Well the Lord has his hand in all things and as we do cheerfully all in our power we can stand still with the utmost assurance that His hand will be revealed in our lives:) (D&C 123:17). 

I was able to go on exchanges. We were there for Mission Leader Conference but because the airport is under construction there are only three flights that go to Mindoro the whole week. Mon. Sun. and Fri. MLC was on Thursday, so we got there Monday.  We were supposed to leave on Friday, but as we were in the plane and about to take off, they decided to cancel the flight. So we were not able to leave until Monday.  We did have cool experiences on exchanges with missionaries. Finding and teaching the gospel; It just blows my mind how many people are willing to accept the gospel:) As we were on the plane to go to Mindoro before they announced it was canceled I was trying to talk to a couple about the gospel and as I was doing this a person on my right tapped me on the shoulder and just asked for a Book of Mormon and asked me to explain about it:) I just got so happy and he was from Arizona which its really weird to see people that are not from the Philippines that want to talk to you. 

We also were able to do finding with missionaries in Quezon City. They said they were having a hard time finding people to teach especially in the middle class people of their area and they pointed to a place on the map and then I said, "Let's go finding there today!" So we went and every one we spoke to accepted the message. Even people you never would have thought would. It was simply amazing. I believe it was because of Jesus Christ:)

 Well mom, I am excited to work here this next week. We just got done with playing volleyball on the beach for a zone activity, it was awesome:) 

Love, Elder Blackham 

June 30, 2014

I just flew back to Mindoro from Quezon City where we had Mission Leadership Council and it's been a blast. This past week was a week of miracles here in Mindoro. Elder Robison and I have been having so much fun and the Lord has been blessing us with success. I really enjoy going out and doing the Lord's work and the greatest evidence is the Holy Ghost in my life:) 

Just a cool experience, we were teaching a family about the Plan of Salvation and the wife and husband just decided to talk about how they have been fighting and arguing when we aren't there.  So, we just taught about how the gospel blesses families and at the end we knelt down and prayed together and re-committed them to do this every morning and night. When the prayer was over they were both crying and filled with love:) The spirit was so strong and I got to be a part of their learning that the gospel really does bless families. 

Also we were teaching the same lesson to another family and then the father asked what Heavenly Father's name is, I told him Elohim.  Then Elder Robison my companion explained that God doesn't want to be called that; He wants to be called Father. Then he referred to the life of the father we were teaching, and asked "when your kids talk to you, would you want them to call you Von, or Daddy?" It would be so obviously weird to call them by their first name, it would be kind of disrespectful. I realized too or the spirit was teaching me that it is so important to call Him Father because it means that we have a relationship with Him. If we just called him by His first name it would not mean we are tied to Him through and unbreakable bond of love.  Not calling him Father instead actually separate us from Him. It was just a cool ah ha  moment for me as we were teaching where the spirit taught me more deeply the truthfulness of the way we pray:) 

In personal study I have been having such wonderful experiences about the Restoration of the Gospel. I have been thirsting for a greater testimony of the restoration and as I have been studying it things have been becoming so clear to me through the Holy Ghost that this is the only true church with all the truth and necessary ordinances for salvation. Reading from the Bible strengthens my testimony of the Book of Mormon so much and also just running into so many different religions, none of them have proof that its true, they all have their own version of the Bible and argue. But for us it's very simple, there is only one Book of Mormon and one version only that states the truth found also in the Bible but without the Book of Mormon you still don't know.  It's still almost guessing. I know that the restoration is true and that Joseph Smith is a true prophet and that Thomas S. Monson is his true successor and holds the Keys and authority necessary for prophets. I am so grateful for what I have. Nothing is more precious than testimony and that's what I am realizing too. 

Love, Elder Blackham