Sunday, December 23, 2012

December 17, 2012

This week has been so amazing!! Once again super hard, but suer totally mazing!! My tagalog is getting a ton better, to where I dont have to translate in my head so much when I speak but I still cant understand what people say haha. So I will just keep workin at it and it will get better and better:)

II want to say thank you to everyone who has sent letters and such.  I have gotten letters this week and I really appreciate them I will write back but it will take 3 weeks or 4 to actually get to your house the letters I got were from October and November so if anyone sent letters at that time they made me happier:) Haha Oh and Mom thank you so much for the packge I started opening the gifts and I love the music, if you want to send more church music please do because my mp3 plyer is bawal here, that means forbidden. 

Oh my gosh I love music!!! I love to sing Christmas songs everywhere. I am really feelin the Christmas spirit and I make oatmeal every morning here and its so good and so cheap!! :) I feel like a pioneer every time I eat it:) 

I established a rule with my comp that we don,t end planning session at the end of the day until we resolve all conflicts or any feelings of anger or anything that bothered one of us to each other and fix whatever it was. This has blessed our companionship so much. Also just being as the apostles when Christ said one would betray Him. They all said Lord is it I? I read a talk called the 4th missionary this week and that was amazing!! It talked about the 2 ways to serve in the church the hard way or the easy way. They both do the almost the same benefit to the people they serve but one of them actually becomes a better person while the other is sad and doesnt change. The key is to give the Lord your heart. Some people serve but their mind and heart are somewhere else they can serve whole mission and do a lot of good and never actually benefit themselves from it because they didn't give the Lord their heart and therefore the Lord couldnot change them. 

I will send you the talk:) To summarize it its like the 13th chapter of 1st Corinthians. You can do all things but if you have not charity it proffiteth you nothing. Because of our agency the lord cant change our heart unless we give it to him:) Its like being obedient but not letting yourself receive the blessings thereof:) 
This week we taught a girl that was cast out from other churches for sinning. We taught that the atonement can heal and that the weight and sins that are hard to carry can be swept away through living the gospel of Jesus Christ and using His atonement. It was so beautiful. She started crying and smiling, then as we taught her to pray the spirit came so strong that there was no doubt she felt it. It was one of the most sincere payers I have heard in my life, asking for healing and help:) Oh how beautiful it was. It reminded me of the story in the New testament where a woman washed the Saviors feet with her tears and annointed oil of great price, and came to him with  broken heart and a contrite spirit and then the savior said to her, "your sins are forgiven thee" I think that he says this over and over again in the scriptures so that we 2000 years later can truly believe that He can forgive us of our sins. His atonement truly is infinite in every way:) Every time He says this there was always someone who said that He didn't have that power, but that's satan telling us that we cant be forgiven. Oh the miracle and the amazing gift of forgiveness:) It touched my heart so much and I feel so blessed I cant explain how grateful I am that I was able to teach that. She has excepted baptism too.
This work is so amazing!!!!!!!!!! I saw a family get sealed too that was also incredible:) Any ways thanks for everything and all that you do and those that send letters or dear elders I get them and thank you:) You are all a strength to me and I feel blessed to have known you:)
Elder Blackham

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

December 10, 2012

I AM SAFE haha:) The tropical storm didn't even cause rain here in dusty and polluted Pasig City.  But it still is so beautiful:) It gets even more beautiful every day and more fun and the spirit of this word and the Lord sinks deeper and deeper in my heart to where no matter what happens I can't help but to feel like flying and yelling to all that this is the true gospel:) That God loves us more than we can comprehend, that through the gospel we use the atonement to become clean and return to God. That through the prophet Joseph Smith we know that now and have all power and authority to carry out and administer the Gospel and that The Book of Mormon is evidence that all that I just said is true and you will get closer to your Savior Jesus Christ through reading and pondering these words than any other book!!:)

 This week was another hard week but also a totally amazing and wonderful week that I am so grateful for:) I consider it such  blessing to go through hardships in this life, it must mean the Lord loves me a lot and is just giving me opportunities to be better. We have about 9 new investigators right now so that's pretty awesome:) I love to be out teaching people, to even say to someone that God loves them is pretty darn amazing:)!!! 

My companion was sick for 4 days this last week and I was sick for one. Its pretty stinkin hard to stay home but I use the best of my time to study and prepare for the days when we don't. We went out yesterday and it felt so good, everything looked even more beautiful than it did before:) As I thought about it and we were teaching repentance to someone I realized a connection to sickness and repentance. When we experience a sickness for even a day or a few days the day we feel better is amazing and we see more clearly and can't help but  be grateful and smile.  It's the same with repentance; every single time we truly repent we become more like Christ and more changed and freed from the natural man and every day looks so much more amazing and our joy and capacity to love increases. 

Some people do not recognize the importance of sincere and deep repentance every day. As we sincerely strive to be like Christ repentance should be a natural result. Understanding always leads to repentance and repentance is change:) Repenting every day is seeing a more clean and beautiful world the next day, because your perception and Character is changing to be more like Christ. That really is the central purpose of this life, to become like our Savior and return to God's presence. You can't do one without the other and you can't do either without repentance. I am so happy I can change, I need only look at the example of my Savior and then I am lead to rejoice in the gift of repentance he gave me to become like Him:) He even paid for it all, the pain I cause to others which I could never pay for, when we sin it effects so much that I am so amazed at the Saviors ability to pay for the little sins, but he paid for it all, he descended below it all, there is no point too low that He can not reach down and lift us up. Repenting every day is just choosing to be lifted higher every day:) 

I wish I could share all that I am learning, I love the sacrament:) I am getting witnesses from the spirit every time I read The Book of Mormon that it's true as long as I sincerely read:) I cannot deny those witnesses and I love telling others I know it's true. Saying that covers saying that the gospel is restored and Joseph Smith is a prophet and this is the true church!:) 

Right now I am addicted to this drink called buko shakes.  It's like the closest thing to milk here in the Philippines:) 

We finally got the ensign conference talks and I love them!!!! Wow modern revelation is just always so amazing!! Choosing to live the Gospel is really honestly choosing happiness, I know that, its simply the fact of life haha:) 

I totally miss Christmas music. I try to be like Buddy the Elf and sing a Christmas song at every lesson we teach and just as we are walking. MY companion always I'm too happy, or that I'm working him too hard like its a disease, haha,  If it's a disease may I never recover haha:)
Love Elder Blackham,

Sunday, December 9, 2012

December 3, 2012

I am so grateful for the quote from Winnie the Pooh:) I put the quotes you and Nonnie send me and put them above my studying desk:)

 This week was probably the hardest week so far of my whole mission and life haha. I saw weaknesses I didn't know I had and was brought to my knees for help and comfort and strength. I got discouraged, really discouraged on Saturday.  That's probably the hardest day and one that's in the journal books, haha. It's just a really hard situation for me to be in and I wish I was stronger but I am not. But that's okay I don't need to be, I just need to be humble and submissive. I swear every thing good inside me has been stretched to its limit, haha, but that just means the beginning of a lot of growth. 

Then after working so hard this week and not wasting any time; our numbers were not very good and the zone goal was raised. However on Sunday when I took the sacrament and basically was saying to myself " whatever it takes I will do it:) There is a reason I am here."   I just felt like I was not making a difference, but honestly it's nothing I really do.  I am not the one making a difference, the Lord is. 

Other than all the trials that come with my companion, he really is hilarious  I really just don't know how to react to many of the things that he does, haha.  When I took the sacrament all my pains and worries from the last week went away, I felt so clean and so good and everything after that has just been filled with strength and with the spirit. Taking the sacrament worthily means more when you give the Lord your all during the week. I understand a lot more what it means to "offer up your sacraments".   For me it means you do all you absolutely can during the week and all you can in life and repent and just really give living the gospel your all.  Then when you take the sacrament you kinda offer up all you have done and ask forgiveness and say, "Thy will be done Lord :)"
 Its so strengthening and amazing:) !!  I feel so free!!  

So funny things that have happened is my companion and I when we tract a street we make up stories for each house about why they are ready to hear the gospel and always make a point to say this is the one:) It's really been a roller coaster of ups and downs. We taught one person who was saying there are no prophets and there is no true church and that Joseph Smith isn't a prophet but we bore testimony that he is. Then when I got home I was reading the Book of Mormon and I felt so close to Christ that I knew without a doubt and the spirit touched my heart that Joseph Smith was a prophet and the Book of Mormon is the word of God. The man who said it wasn't said that you just need faith and the Bible but I have faith and I have read the Bible and I feel closest when I read the Book of Mormon that says so simply the doctrines of Jesus Christ. Its all about Christ every bit of it:)
So Christmas is coming up and its still hot outside.

We have 3 new investigators we found this week going door to door. It's hard in the Philippines because people will let you in even if they are not wanting or ready to hear because its culture to be polite to let people in. You really really need discernment if you are really going to find those who are prepared and want to listen. I know this next week will be amazing and we will have even more success because of all that we have learned this week. This Filipino guy scared us half to death when we knocked on his gate he popped his head over the wall and really loudly said what!! It was really dark and all we saw was a little face without very many teeth yelling at us.  Haha, I sing at houses Christmas songs to get into them but that doesn't work haha. Anyway life is the best and I am the happiest ever:) !!!! Love you:)

Sunday, December 2, 2012

November 26, 2012

SO my new companion is amazing and an answer to my prayers:) He is dedicated to the work and we will accomplish so much together!!! 
So about the two little girls they did not go to sacrament two weeks in a row so we need to move the date and everything, we are really praying and trying to get the parents to listen. Here in the Philippines being baptized isn't as big of a deal. I don't think that people understand the covenant of baptism. People are really open about religion and everyone will say they believe in Christ even if they truly don't  Its a cultural thing to believe it. That is why the restoration is so important and the first thing we teach. The people here will be baptized if you ask because they really want to please everyone. So discernment is essential to know if people are really interested or not, or if they understand things. 

So that is hard but I am focusing so hard on what I feel when people speak to me, and not so much what they day. We are working our tails off out there, but it is so amazing. I love to bear my testimony to so many people in one day. Its hard to be leading the area now but I feel the Lord strengthen me. Opening an area is so much fun!!! Talking with everyone and declaring the gospel to all!!

 Right now i am in a ward, a very active and great ward:) They all can speak English but I am trying to learn Tagalog. When you speak English it goes through their head and then their heart.  But when you speak Tagalog it goes straight to the heart. My goal is to really learn how to break barriers with people and truly communicate with them, to truly understand them and what they say in their heart instead of just saying what they think we want to hear. I so badly, I just..... I cant express to you how bad I want the words to sink in their heart. 

This work is so hard, but I can't help but to rejoice. There is a saying that you can't grow in a comfort zone.  Well I am the least comfortable I have ever been in my whole life! But i am the happiest!:) I love president Eyring's talk about the pavilion that separates us from God. Its so important that we stop and seek out all the pavilions in our life that are separating us from God. Every single one, small or great. I recognized a lot this week and I am so grateful for it because now I can't ever not smile. It's hard to recognize pavilions that we put up because of our pride but oh how amazing it is to repent of even little things and become more like Christ and come closer to Heavenly Father.  I don't feel alone one bit:)
 Elder Blackham:) 
P.S. Missionary work is hard haha. 

Sunday, November 25, 2012

November 19, 2012

The people here are so giving:) They don't eat until after you have eaten when they give you food and they just eat the left overs. I am so impressed with their willingness to give. I am so grateful to be here in the Philippines, I am so happy!!! I am too blessed really. I am so grateful that the Lord does not hide from us:) I feel the Spirit testifying that I am doing whats right as I walk and speak with others about the Gospel. Transfers are tomorrow so I will have a new companion tomorrow. I am so blessed to be doing the most important work in the World and I am learning to rely on the Lord more. I learned a ton more about grace this week and relying on Him:) The language is coming better and I am more able to connect and love people. If anyone calls me a name I make it a point to go and speak with them:) I learned that most people are intimidated by me, and that was something I didn't understand before. Its very important to be sincere and share your heart, look them in the eyes and be there:) I love the Lord and I cant wait to start this next transfer and work even harder and do even more!! I refuse to give anything less than my best, which really is so insignificant but the Lord is perfect when He is my strength my strength is infinite:)
Happy Thanksgiving:) 

Elder Blackham
P.S. Oh by the way my mission is being extended two weeks because of the change of ages.

P.P.S. I am grateful for the desire the Lord gives me to serve Him and to learn. I am so grateful for the discernment He gives me:) For flowers:) Clouds:) smiling. The Holy Ghost:) My feet:) My companion:) My savior:) The priceless gift of salvation:) The plan of salvation:) Repentance and gratitude:) I am grateful for Nonnie:)   I am grateful for Mom and that I am in the covenant:) That I wake up everyday and I am a servant of the Lord:) This is the best:) I am grateful for rain, for the sun for the Filipino people, for food, for water, for cold showers in a hot and humid place, for filters so we can drink water, for clothes, for prayer:) for the Love of the Lord:) For my name tag:) For music... May the list go on:) Poppie who is a righteous example:) Guidance from the Lord:) opportunities to serve. For the Mysons and all my family and friends and for being able to e-mail you:)

Monday, November 12, 2012

November 12, 2012

This week was awesome and hard as always:) Everyday is an even more beautiful gift than the day before:) There is a homeless lady that I always smile at and she smiles back so big at me, I love to smile at her. 

The other day a guy was falling asleep on my companion in the jeepnee. That was funny because my companion was lookin at him with the weirdest face, haha. 

This week I learned a lot more about having faith in the Lord that He will fulfill His promises unto His people. I read Alma 26 and I am also reading the Isaiah chapters in the Book of Mormon and the Lord always keeps His promises. Also Enos said that his guilt was swept away for he knew that the Lord could not lie. When we truly trust and have faith in the Lord's timing and promises then our optimism becomes wise and our fears and doubts are swept away. I have been called to serve here and nowhere else and the more I trust in that the more I worry not about my inability to speak the Language and feel the spirit burn in my heart and proclaim the gospel with the spirit. 

I also learned a ton about the spirit this week and how we must know things by the spirit for true conversion. As I looked back on my own life and really thought about my feelings, I recognized that the spirit has been every feeling of joy, every feeling of comfort and love. When I feel your love mom, I feel one reason it pierces me so deep is because the spirit testifies to me that your love is sincere and true. The spirit testifies of all truth and sincerity and I felt you really love me and always have:) 

I want so badly for this feeling to pierce the hearts of those that hear my words because then they will know that they are true. You can not deny the Holy Ghost, it is so simple and pure and true, I wonder and am amazed at how wonderful it is to have this gift, to know that the Church is true. People can say they know the church is true by experience but really they can only truly know by the spirit. The spirit is was causes faith to grow and hearts to change, it is what purifies us and makes us more fit for the Kingdom and feel closer to the Savior as we do what's right every day, and as we pray. I want the families I teach to recognize it and receive revelation then they will have more faith in Christ and that will lead to repentance which leads to a change of heart and of baptism or going to church and partaking the sacrament if they have already been baptized and then they will strive for that spirit and closeness to God to be more cleansed for the rest of their life until they enter in to live with God again:) Wow so that's one reason why the spirit is so amazing:) With out it we would be lost forever never knowing the truth and the light or where to find it.  I truly believe that the field is white already to harvest, because the Lord cannot lie and I will thrust in my sickle with all my might:) !

We have two investigators with a baptismal date; so that's awesome:) They are two little girls and they are absolute geniuses, their simple understanding overpowers almost all adults I have ever talked to, haha. My heart breaks though at the families that do not keep commitments, I can't stand to not make a difference. I can't stand wasting time, truly I am so weak and so inadequate, oh if I could speak with the tongue of angels but I do sin in my wish because I ought to be content with what the Lord has alotted me. There is such a great work to be done here. I know the Lord hears my cries, every day is a roller coaster of emotion. If only I could follow more closely in my Savior's footsteps I would be a better servant. But when I say this I do show that I must have more faith that he can make me more than I am.

I work out every morning especially because everyone says that is the hardest rule to keep in the white handbook and if I can keep that one then I can keep em all. I like that my companion is leaving, not because he's a bad companion, but because all the members are throwing big feasts for him and I get to take part in all of them! Haha:) I am learning a lot from him this week probably because I prayed to know what I need to learn from him:) 

Well mom this was my week, tell Brother Mclaws thank you so much for the letters he sends me every week. I still get dear elders. I love you and I am praying for you all the time, and the Lord keeps His promises, I promise:) 

Elder Blackham

Sunday, November 11, 2012

November 6, 2012

November 6, 2012 

Well yeah, it rains here so randomly, one second its sunshine the next its raining. The pollution here is pretty bad, when I blow my nose it comes out black like as if I was around a campfire all day, haha. Yeah, we are in a rich area and poor, its the best of both worlds. Some have like 5 cars and some can't even cloth their children. We aren't supposed to proselyte to the poor class because we are setting them up to break covenants cause they won't be able to make it to church and lots of stuff like that but they are the only ones willing to listen. I love spreading the gospel, it is my absolute favorite thing. The more people I talk to about it the better my day is:) There are 2 scriptures that I love.  Mosiah 4:11-12 or Mosiah 5:13:) My rash has gone away, and I am doing great:) I used toilet paper for the first time in a couple weeks today. (Most people don't have toilet paper.  They just use water).  It was weird, haha.
Love Elder Blackham

Monday, October 29, 2012

October 29, 2012

The mission gets better every day. They are really hard but are so sweet!!! I am learning so much about others and love and light and wow I just... am so blessed.

 I am almost done reading Our Search for Happiness which is a wonderful book:) I love the plan of salvation so much and I just wish I could do more. I feel like I should be doing more and my heart is weighed down because of the decisions of others and the wickedness of the world. I feel like I should be better, I know that according to faith we are blessed but I feel like more should happen in that case because I believe we can do so much. These people could just.... be so happy if they would just follow the commandments, read their scriptures, pray and such. Why is it so hard? 

The blessings are so much greater than the effort, they are 100,000,000 fold the effort needed, actually, infinitely because these are the decisions that affect eternity. I see their kids just waiting and needing to be reared in an eternal loving family. I picture what they could be and I feel joy and hope but then comes the pain. I am teaching about 4 families and 5 people on their own. Most of these are in-actives. The others are referrals and hopefully we get 4 new referrals this week.

 As far as the language goes I have a long way to go but at least I can pray, teach, and testify. I really feel that understanding them at all is a gift from God. I write down what I feel they are saying even though I can't understand them and it is always right!! The Lord has blessed me so much. Most people can speak a little bit of English but not enough to mean anything.

Thanks for all the letters!

Monday, October 22, 2012

October 22, 2012

This last week was so much fun!!! I feel the Lord with me, continually telling me that it's going to be okay. I need to be more patient with myself. I am having the best time of my life ever:)

My companion says this is the hardest area he has ever been in and that he has never done this much tracting in his whole mission.  But I don't know any better and I don't think we are doing enough.

Haha, baby powder is my best friend and everything isn't so bad with that. The food isn't having a bad affect on me at all yet. I think its great.

I have an awesome companion though he is not a very get to know you kinda guy or explains anything to me. But I learn so much because he doesn't, I just have to figure it out, haha. Once you know that you are where you are supposed to be without question then miracles and great faith and works happen rather than thinking about other things. It's really hard to do that, but knowing that you are where you are supposed to be makes everything okay. You trust the Lord and know that everything will work out and then lose yourself in His work:)

Thank you for your e-mails:) A physical letter would be awesome but I don't know the address.

(THIS NEXT PART IS RESPONSE TO THE FOLLOWING QUOTE FROM ELDER NEAL A. MAXWELL:  "Life in the Church soon teaches us that the Lord does not ask us about our ability, but only about our availability. And then, if we demonstrate our dependability, the Lord will increase our capability.) 
Thanks for the quote that is really profound, I feel so inadequate but it will all work out. It's hard to love the people. I cry over them all the time. We went on a temple tour the other day and my heart was broken for all those that have not entered. The restoration is sinking deeper into my heart and I love testifying of it to people everywhere:) I love testifying as a missionary its one of my favorite things:)!! I feel it burning in my heart. The other night I yelled out how much I love the Philippines and my companion was prolly embarrassed but it was awesome:) 

I love you thanks for your love.

October 22, 2012 (pictures)

Elder Blackham switched places with a good friend whose parents came to pick him up. These following pictures are pictures that they took of Elder Blackham.

Monday, October 15, 2012

October 15, 2012

I am in Pasig City and I actually am opening up an area for my first area so I have a ton of work ahead of me.  But I wouldn't have it any other way:)

I have never been so out of place in my life, I am literally the only white person in Pasig City. I am stared at by everyone and I think I am the first white person anyone has seen in person. Whoever said they treat white people like celebrities was wrong. I am told I should go home and everyone points and whispers when I get on a jeepnee (which are totally awesome by the way haha) so its pretty crazy.

 I smell about 200 different weird smells a day and it all looks like the movie I Am Legend because vines and green grow everywhere except there is 20,000,000 people haha.

I have never seen such poverty in my life or dreams and imagination. The fact that anyone goes to church is a testimony of its truthfulness. Haha, I was pretty shocked my first two days but day three and four are awesome. The Language is hard but coming well. I can give all the lessons in Tagalog but I can't understand anyone. I can speak way more than I can understand, haha. I wish I understood people more, I want to help them so much. I picture people walking into the waters of baptism or getting sealed in the temple and it makes it so awesome.

I know I complained a lot at first but I was just venting. I actually love it so much I can't stop smiling and greeting everyone. The people that are kind are really kind:) When I teach I am floating I feel so good. I open my mouth a lot on the jeepnee and everywhere. I am so happy and people smile back when I smile at them:)

My companion is going home next transfer so I will lead the newly opened area in six weeks. I am for sure rolling up my sleeves:) He is quiet and kind. He is awesome.

I will not talk about the slums because that would freak you out, haha, or the traffic or a lot of stuff, I sometimes say to myself, "What would my mom think?"  and  then I laugh. I can't take pictures because I will get robbed so just look it up on google, haha. Yea I got your package I love it and love the pictures.

I broke out in a rash on my back and arms and legs, probably from the humidity and pollution. I am in the very heart of a city.  Think of  New York City with more concrete and jungle growing out of concrete. It's pretty cool actually. I feel pretty awesome just walking around like I should be in a music video with church hymns:)

I saw the Stovers and it was so awesome!!! My apartment is nice but small, but that's okay. I love it, it's perfect. I know I am supposed to be here.

 Elder Blackham

Sunday, September 16, 2012

September 11, 2012 (Handwritten Letter)

The following is a series of questions to Bret and answers from him.  We hope you find them enlightening.

QUESTION:  Have you gotten any of the packages we sent?
Yes, I got the letters and the packages.  I got cinnamon rolls from the Maughan Cousins and they were amazing!!!! Yes, I shared.

QUESTION:  What about the third elder in your trio?I get along with my companions really well. The third one is from Kodiak, Alaska.  He is awesome.  His mom got Elder Tasene (the New Zealand Rugby player companion) and I Alaska shirts and stuff.  We get along so well and have so much fun together. 

QUESTION:  What is the choir like?The choir is so amazing and fun, I love it!  There are alot of pretty sister missionaries.  Don't worry, I don't get distracted.  I know why I am here.

QUESTION:  Please tell me some funny things that have happened to you since being in the MTC.
Where do I begin?  Every day is an adventure !!!  My companions and I even have the same bowel schedules.  We go in the stalls next to each other and we leave at the same time to be cool.  IDK, I will be sure to write something else I think of next week.

QUESTION:  What kind of exercise do you get to do there and how is it going?I work out on the gymnastic rings and run and exercise regularly.  I am skinnier, but more muscular.  IT IS SWEET!

QUESTION:  Is there anything you need before you leave for the Philippines?
I can't think of anything.  I just need your love.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

September 11, 2012

 I can definately feel the strength of the Lord with me. I am not getting sick of the MTC at all but I am super excited to head out and hit the field:) I am getting a ton of Callous on my knees from praying so much, I need His help so much. I love relying on the Lord completely, because I feel so close to Him and I will always be happy if I do. I am getting so blessed to learn so much and to serve so many people:) I am learning so much more how the Lord feels about others but I understand so much more to me is just 1/1000000 of a portion of the Lords understanding but that little portion is enough for me:) I am so gratefull for all of you and my English is getting worse as my tagalog improves so please dont mind my grammer or spelling. I am so grateful for having the opportunity to learn how to forget myself, for only then will all of myself be available to the Lord but I have faith and confidence in saying that I am giving Him my all right now. I am so grateful for repentance and being able to recognize my standing before God then turn towards Him and keep coming closer through the atonement and trying harder every day. It makes the sacrament so amazing too:) Elder Oaks said the way to become the best missionary you can be is by worthily and properly partaking of the sacrament every sunday;) I am recognizing the worth of the soul more, and every soul was worth the atonement. When I look at it that way I see people differently, and when we recognize the savior doesnt just pay for our sins and pains but the pain we cause others he pays for too. It makes me really not want to say anything to hurt anyone but continually lift them up. I love it here and I am so happy!!
Elder Blackham

September 4, 2012

I love you so much. Yea this week has been incredible. I am so grateful for all that the Lord hath given me. I need His help so much and I love to spill my heart out to Him so much. I hear His voice constantly and softly throughout my day and especially when I teach. The gift of tongues is so very real and I feel it so much. I have faith in it therefore I may obtain it according to Gods will. The principle of faith in Jesus Christ is central. According to the measure of our faith in Jesus Christ, that He is our Savior and Redeemer and that He has Atoned for all, and our faith in His attributes is the same measure to the power and strength that we can receive from that very same power of the atonement.  Hence how it says so many times in the scriptures... "According to your faith." I know that the Lord loves us with an unconditional love and feels the quiet longings and pains of our heart and has felt them and more that he may give us the strength and comfort to overcome and even be happy amidst our trials if we remember Him and have faith in Him.
My new favorite scripture is Mosiah 4:6-12:) I love them so much!! I can always be happy and clean and full of the love of God, for God cannot lie and the scriptures hold His words:) AHH!!!! I love this work and this gospel which is true and everlasting and there is nothing that matters more:) and I get to serve Him:) Oh how blessed I am!!:)  I feel His love and know I am doing His work. I pray you are doing wonderful, I pray for it always and I know God hears my prayers, so dont worry:) He will protect you all:)
Elder Blackham

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

August 28, 2012

I am so grateful to be here. I am trying so hard to totally forget about myself. I love praying a lot, because I get to ask for help, A LOT of help. I feel His strength and His guidance and I also feel when I cant feel it so then I pray again. Heavenly Father loves us so much and so many blessings are so conditional on our asking of them. If we truly believed He loved us I feel we would pray a lot more knowing that we would receive help. This week has been had many many trials, but the Lord does not cease but to carry me when I am too week to stand. The District is doing so great, I am constantly crying for them on my knees and praying for them by name one by one.  I also learned a ton this week about listening deeply to the things the District says, and loving them. I learned that people and their problems are like ice burgs and that you only see 10% of people and that the rest is under water and it takes discernment and listening with love and seeing with spiritual eyes to know someones true emotions and truly help them. I have asked and begged for that this week. I even asked to feel what they feel to understand them better so that I could love them more even if it was painful. Any way I love you guys so much. I pray for you all the time, I cry unto the Lord for your behalf and I love to hear from you:) Thank you so much for being my family I truly am too blessed and life isn't fair in that I am given too much.

love, Elder Blackham

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

August 21, 2012

I see Josh, Kenden, and Rizek and I talk to Nate a lot. I could write like 3 novels now on what I am learning.  I am teaching an investigator and its so amazing to study for others because all of your spiritual needs get met. I can't stop smiling everywhere I go! I love it so much to be serving the Lord and the revelation flows like Niagra Falls. I am learning a lot about individually helping those in the District as Christ did. I look back on my life and I am so overcome with gratitude that I can't help but to fall on my knees and thank the Lord for preserving me and preparing me to serve Him. I realize, though, that I am not different from others and that He does the same for others everyday, but they just don't realize it. I love the temple so much!! I learn so much in the temple every time.
Yeah mom, I am eating good.  I eat more than my companion from New Zealand and yeah I eat a lot.
The language actually makes more sense than English but it's so hard to make the switch.
Elder Bednar invited us to start a new Book of Mormon on one question that we have, so I went and bought a new one and started it on a few questions haha. 1. What are the attributes and Characteristics of Christ. 2. How can I more fully apply the atonement in my life and put off the natural man. I am learning so much. I was being super hard on myself in the beginning. My goal for my mission was to unyeildingly give all of my heart, might, mind and strength. Then I realized I can't even give Him my all without His help, even in giving myself to Him I need His help, and that myself without Him is not giving Him very much at all. But, yeah, so I can go on and on. I also learned that setting goals allows the Lord to help us in our strivings to be better than we are, and it helps us hold ourselves accountable and use the atonement, and repentance regularly.

 I am in the choir and its totally amazing, I love it so much!
(This paragraph is a response to a question about if it annoys his companion when Bret starts talking with the New Zealand accent. ) When I mimic my companion's accent he doesn't even notice.  Sometimes he will say that I should be a New Zealander.
I love you guys and I pray for you always, thanks so much for helping so much in my life and for loving me.
Elder Blackham

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

August 14, 2012 (First Letter Home)

I do miss you guys, don't be silly. I love the MTC a lot!!!!!!!!!

 I am learning so much. I am learning so much about listening and about Christ. I am also learning so much from my district they are good Elders and I am so proud of them. My companion is a professional rugby player from New Zealand and I actually started picking up his accent and I can't help but talk like that. Tagalog is going pretty well. I can bear my testimony and say prayers and my companion and I have been doing teaching an investigator in Tagalog. The gift of tongues is real and I felt the spirit 100% guide my speech the last lesson, it was amazing!!!

The food here is good, I eat a lot, but it does not affect your bowels well at all. I am giving the Lord my whole heart and inspiration comes here so immediately. The Provo temple is amazing and I just love being here so much!!  I love you guys so much!!!! There are not words that describe how amazing it is and how much I am blessed. The best talk I have ever heard is called the "Character of Christ" by Elder Bednar. Everything I have been learning here has been testified immediately in my heart and feels and sounds so familiar as if the Lord has been telling me these things all along. I am sorry that I was mean entering into the mtc, I just could not wait to go inside.

I have learned a lot about how different people are, and how to attend to their individual needs. I have learned a lot about how important repentance is. I love it when I continue to realize that I have an immeasurable amount of things to learn, because I get to learn them with the Lord, and He is with me and I feel Him so close to me. The Lord has been preparing me for this the whole time and I need to completely forget about myself. Its not about me, at all. I must turn outward and through the atonement put on His Character and His love. Wow I have so much to work on, but I love it so much!

I pray for you guys and I love you so much. I am so busy and I love it. My companion is amazing and, wow, I don't know what else to say. I see Elder Vance a lot and he likes to talk. There are so many pretty sister missionaries here and they are glowing but I stay far away from them, ha ha.
Elder Blackham