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.