Tuesday, February 26, 2013

February 25, 2013

I am not doing bad at all; super great actually better than I have ever been:)  I don't think I lost weight but I don't have a scale, just still all muscle haha jokes:)

Some stories are that we got chased by dogs down a long alley and it was hilarious and awesome! My comp sprained his wrist.  We found a new area in our area and got pictures inside of a brand new Ferrari thing car. Those are the random things.  I could right a ton more but on average every week is a very exciting adventure. 

Just to inform you more on my area; half of my area is squatters area and the other half is sky scrapers and subdivisions. We usually walk or take jeepnees to get every where. My area is like 8 or 9 square miles so its pretty large and there are just tons and tons of people everywhere. You can't whisper without someone hearing your conversation haha. I have seen penthouses and taught in them and also dirt floors with no bed, no chairs and in a dark alley or just everywhere haha.  I dont think I lost weight but I dont have a scale, just still all muscle haha jokes:)

I can't wait to get the music you sent because right now I am just singing all the time everywhere:)  Transfers are this week and I am going to stay another transfer in my first area, which was surprising and not surprising at the same time because I wanted either one and I knew I would love it either way!!:) I am getting a new comp, I have learned more than I could ever dream from my last comp, probably because before my last comp. I prayed to get a comp I would learn the most I possibly could as soon as I could so I could be a better instrument. I am so excited every new week to grow and to serve the Lord more and with more vigor and love:) Tagalog is going really well many people I talk to ask me how long it took for me to become fluent haha but they are wrong I am far from fluent but I know that God gives me just enough to do His work in His way:) 

This week the biggest thing I learned about was accountability. I learned even more about agency and opposition in all things. It is frustrating sometimes when you are out talking to everyone and almost everyone you meet says there are no bad. Everything is good, there is one God and that's all I need to know. Every religion is good it doesn't matter. These are actually very appealing things to the natural man. Things that everyone wishes to believe naturally but in the end they could not be more wrong. That is exactly what satan wants us to think, that there is no consequence for sin and that wide is the gate. But to say that would be to say that God is not a just God if everyone gets into heaven there is no Hell and that means there is also no heaven and there would be no point to our creation. For every single sin we ever commit we become further from God and only the atonement of Jesus Christ can bring us back. If there was no punishment for sin and everything was okay and it didn't matter and they were all right then there would be no need for the atonement, no need for Christ. 

I hope people see that there must needs be opposition in all thing or else there is no choice there is no purpose. I realize more as a missionary how I must be bold, I must say there is a darkness and I must tell them how to find the light. I must teach so clearly that they can make the right choice and find peace and joy in this life and eternal life in the next. I invite them to use the atonement find out how to do so and receive all the blessings that God wishes to give us in this life and the next. That is not to say other churches aren't good and don't help people in their life and path but there really is one with the whole truth, to  receive all that God wants to give us:) and that is the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Not everyone in the church will make it back to God's presence but it does give all of us the opportunity to come to know all the truths of God so that we can make the right choice, and accept all that God wishes to give us:) In the name of Jesus Christ Amen:) 

ELder Blackham

February 28, 2013

The stomach is doing fine, I don't have diarrhea. I am just takin pills so idk, I will probably get better, I cant see why not:)
This week I have been given the opportunity to hear from Elder Packer and Elder Nielson of the 1st quorum of the 70.  Elder Packer is president packers son and Elder Nielson he is the area authority over here:) It was amazing and incredible, the spirit taught me many things as they spoke in which I am so very grateful:) They were very personal things, and I felt that they were there just for me haha, even though I know they werent, the spirit was talking to me personally.  I love the Holy Ghost so much, He is so amazing:) I wrote a song to Him this week and not gonna lie its a pretty awesome song, if I had brought it with me I would have wrote it down in this e-mail, but next e-mail na lang. Sayang, haha. They spoke of culture and how there is a culture in many countries and about there being a culture to the spirit. As we live our lives there are things that push the spirit away or bring him closer, and as we pay attention to those things we will learn the culture of the spirit and the maner and way we must act and speak and treat one another in order to have the spirit as our sacred friend and constant companion. He is very sensitive but very powerfull. As we feel Him our fears our gone, we are given strength beyond our own, we are cleansed and purified and made more fit for the Kingdom of God, our ability to feel the spirit is our ability to be in Gods presence:) IN the song I wrote I called it "The Sacred Friend" I poured my heart out about my relationship and desire to have this sacred friend with me:) I feel so grateful when I do feel His presence that I am worthy and clean enough to have him hang out with me, I want Him to be so comfortable with me that he will never want to leave:) 

This week we found a family to teach:) and I am so...... excited!!!! Families are the best!!
Another thing that was said in the talks I heard was about how, "You get what your lookin for". In the days of the early restored church Brigham Young told missionaries in England to baptize stain glass window makers so that they could do windows for the temple, and they did haha. Here they are asking us to get priesthood holders that own cars so they can drive people to Church, and establish His kingdom. They need us to find leaders. It sounds crazy but I think its so cool, that we can search for specific people and find them and be led to them by the Lord:) If I search for families I will find them :) After reading the Other Elder Blackham's finding experience I realize we are in very different areas in the Philippines and that we are very different people, he writes a lot more stories, I most write summaries and what I generally learn from them haha. If you would like me to include more stories I can:) Its so funny he is in Farm areas and I am next to sky scrapers and its bumper to bumper traffic with graffiti every where and stuff here haha. It has its own kinda beauty though and I am so grateful I am where there are more population because that means more people I can talk to and teach!!!:) Any ways life is the pinaka best here:)!!! Whats cool also about the spirit is he makes everything you do an absolute blast!! You don't fear anything and you are always a better you with the spirit. :) I love you!!!
Love, Elder Blackham  

Sunday, February 17, 2013

February 11, 2013

Thanks for your concern for me, I can feel it halfway across the world:) I am feeling better and it could be stomach ulcers or a worm but we shall see:) Things are getting a lot better so I don't really know hha:) 

Everything is going really awesome now:) I am really workin hard now on losing myself in the work. I read the talk the fourth missionary again and its like the pinaka the best talk ever:) It talks bout how you can do everything right, but if your heart is not in the right place and you are not totally lost in the work it profiteth you nothing. Just like in Corinthians 13 about charity; man can have all ability and everything but if he does not have charity it profiteth him nothing. It says that you can do all the things that lead to happiness but if you do it with an unwilling heart and you don't want to do those things then they cannot make you happy. The Lord cannot change what you don't give him, if we don't give him our heart then He cannot change it to make it happy. It is not enough to do what the Lord wants we have to want what the Lord wants. Another scripture that backs this up is in the Doctrine and Covenants about the man who gives a gift but if we give it grudgingly it proffiteth nothing, and would be as if he received it not. 

The 2 ways to serve in the church are the bite the bullet attitude or the willing heart, they can even do the same good but the only difference is ones actions are conformed to kindness and goodness but their actual heart is not changed and does not benefit themselves from the work they gave. Even though they do what the Lord wants, in their heart they still want what they want. The other one who gives his heart measures not the cost, does all the work the other does but also gives his heart and therefore he becomes more like Christ and the more like Christ we are the more happy we are. In the end the one who gives his heart is actually easier because it is more fun and there will be no fight inside themself no discontentment no battle just peace of mind and heart and the spirit will be fully enjoyed. I notice a lot in the culture of the church people don't like giving prayers or are bummed when they have to do something, but by doing so they are choosing not to enjoy the Lord's will and will not benefit from what they do. So that's just something that's kinda awesome bit of knowledge and its not impossible it is a simple choice of agency, made in the heart and mind. It is not impossible and its not only for some but for all:) 
So I have come to find out this week that this is the Bible belt of Asia. Almost all people here are Christian, and there are tons and tons of churches saying wo here and lo here, Which is a good thing because they are willing to listen but I find it hard for many of the people we teach to recognize the spirit of the Lord. Many of their questions are about the holy grail, or facts in History instead of simple witnesses to their heart that something is true. Its like all about the secular part of religion here but religion in and of itself is spiritual and knowledge must be obtained through the spirit:) Many people will say but what about this fact and this detail about Noah ark, but all we want to do is give them salvation, not the answer about the Holy Grail. Although when we teach, they will say their feelings and the peace they feel and joy from the message and no matter how many times we tell them that's the spirit, it somehow doesn't make a connection. Its really hard to get them to realize that they can actually receive revelation from God in their personal life. That God speaks to us personally:) we do not just speak to Him. But if takes 100x till they recognize it, thats what it takes:) I will focus my personal study this week and will if its Gods will get some revelation on the matter. The work here is not door to door, its person to person in the streets and in ally ways and everything. You will hardly be able to teach if you knock on door so you just talk to everyone, most people are outside their houses. Its called OYMing or opening your mouth. Its really fun, you can fill like a whole 2 days of new teaching appointments in one day but the people that will let you in when you go back to them in another story. I am really trying to get better at it, I find it kind of Ironic that we walk around with a pearl of infinite price beyond dreams and imagination and yet we have a difficult time presenting it in such a way that people will accept it haha. It doesn't even cost money haha. We just want to help, but that's okay I know the more I do it the better I will get, I just wish the Lord had something better to work with besides myself but I know that the Lords power is infinite and no matter our talents and abilities if we use the Lords power we need not worry about our own lack of ability:) 
p.s. I find it interesting what you said about the Holy Ghost being a friend, often in my prayers I ask that I can be a friend to the Holy Ghost so that He will want to be with me:)
Love, Elder Blackham

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

February 4, 2013

I got the Christmas cards from the ward and I am really grateful for them. I felt the spirit of the West Point Ward and their love and I am very grateful for the letters:) I am also very grateful for those who are writing me on Dear Elder. I am getting them and they are awesome, special shout out to Danalyn, Madelyn, and Brother(Bishop) McLaws:) haha.
So this week has been pretty awesome!! I am really feeling like I am scratching the surface of the power of Faith and its connection to grace and strength from the Lord and yeilding my heart to Him:) Really when we recognize the power of God, life becomes so much more amazing!:) It sounds so simple but we must constantly confirm and strengthen our understanding of these concepts, sufficient to draw on the powers of Heaven to ultimately put off the natural man and become like Christ through His atonement. Much of this comes from our understanding of God and the Savior and the Holy Ghost. As our understanding of them increases our ability to exercise our faith in them increases also.  But when our lives are not in harmony with what we know is right we cannot have faith enough in ourselves to exercise faith in them. The more obedient and faithful we are the more faith we will be able to have in them. When we know we are clean and doing God's will then we are essentially free from worry and care. Not necessarily self confidence but confidence in God that because we are clean His power can have a great lasting effect on us and work through us to bring out much greatness. These are simple truths that have just been sinking deeper into my heart as I feel the Holy Ghost more and more in my life and testifying to what I am doing is true.
 So basically I have also been learning about agency this week also and its connection to Jesus Christs atonement and that because of the atonement we need not ever have a real excuse for our sins, to sin and say "I am only human, I cannot do this, or this is only natural to be this way", or whatever our excuse for being the natural man is to deny that the atonement gives us the power to choose what is right. Through the atonement we always have the choice to do that which Christ would do and choose eternal life. The plan of salvation is here that we may change and progress and grow:) This is all made possible because the atonement allowed us to have the choice to choose what is right. To choose the path of eternal life. Do understand that the atonement gives us the choice to put off the natural man, repent and change will allow us to access that power and do so. There really is no limit to the power of the atonement, it truly is infinite:)!! Though our sins be as scarlet they really can be white as snow. No matter how many times I was told this it wasn't until I had faith in it through the atonement that it actually made a change in me or actually happened. The Savior would often question a person's faith before he healed them. Over and over again that happened, to illustrate the choice that we need to make to believe. 
Also about grace I love grace:) As people we are nothing without the Savior but with Him we are everything;) The Saviors light is infinite and our light is so weak. But the amazing thing about that is that our light can be the Savior's light and His grace can consume our dim or dark areas of our life. Even when we feel we do not have the faith, the Saviors faith can be ours, every single weakness can become a strength as we exercise our faith in His atonement and His infinite power. We accept His grace by doing His will, and giving him our whole heart. Really we need not fear anything because of the infinite power of the atonement, so what I do not have the strength and power to teach this gospel on my own, but with the savior there is not a heart that cannot be touched, there is not anything we cannot do as long as I throw away all of myself and allow Him to work His power through me. Which is a lot harder than it sounds but depending on your faith its easier too. It really is a life long process but I am so glad I have the chance now to begin to give Him my all:) 
Any ways I love yous alls and my English will be getting worse the better I get at tagalog haha. :) 
Love, Elder Blackham

Saturday, February 2, 2013

January 28, 2013

So basically I have been sick this whole last week and its been a total bummer but I learned a lot and have read and studied a lot. The day I was able to go out was the most beautiful day ever!!!!! I am just so amazed about how important this work is. I read about Abinadi and the apostles and I was reading Jesus the Christ and just everything was screaming out that nothing else really matters but the Gospel.  There is nothing more valuable and more precious or more beautiful. When people say I am too busy to listen, if it wasn't rude, I would say back, "This is eternal life, this is a forever family, no matter what you are doing now no matter what you're thinking; the message we have to share is more valuable than it all, this message is for you and we are the ministers to bring unto you salvation, is that not worth your time?" But that's rude and unless the spirit prompts me to I am not going to be over bearing, and that would be overbearing especially in this culture. But I just wish people would understand, and just open up and hear and let the spirit touch their lives. I wish I could speak with the tongue of angels, I can when the Lord permits through my faith but it is a very foreign thing to me naturally to do so. Basically what I learned this week is even more the importance of this work and a new-found deeper and more powerful conviction and desire to teach and share the gospel:) I feel the spirit enter my heart as I go out without doubt or fear and just go:) Its so amazing!! I love the answers to prayer, I love that I can communicate with God:) Its something so amazing that the King and Creator of all takes time to talk to me personally and every one of us really:) The gospel is for everyone and yet it is so personally powerful to each individual person. It is the power the answer to every problem every heart ache every sin, and is life eternal, and I get to give it to people:) WOW now that's awesome:)

Oh and yea there are tons of mangoes here and they are the best tasting things in the world, I miss milk more than anything but Its all good:)
Elder Blackham

January 21, 2013

I got letters this week from Dear Elder, anyone who sends dear elder, just to let them know it does get to me and I am grateful:) 

So this week I have been pretty sick, we were on splits and I was taken to this families house and I was pretty sick.  They layed me down on this wooden bench and gave me a pillow, then they anointed my head with their oil and also my feet and treated me like a king, I was so blessed by them, and learned a great lesson from this family about charity. They then cooked and fed me and I was just amazed at their love. They gave me the best of all they could, I know its not a lot as far as the world goes but it was all they had and wow, I am just so grateful for them it touched my heart to the center:) 

We had a vietnamese person show up to church he doesn't speak Tagolog and his English is less than a two year old child, but he just smiles super huge to everything. It will be interesting to teach him, I am requesting a Vietnamese dictionary and Book of Mormon so that we can teach him:) 

Also another investigator showed up to church, his name is Omar and he is awesome, I see him being a great Father some day, he is listening because of how much he heard the gospel blesses families even though he is 21 and doesn't have a family of his own yet. We taught him the restoration and he was really receptive, the spirit was so strong while we were there. I have been reading about Abinadi in the Book of Mormon and I am so amazed at how he layed out such beautiful and simple doctrine about the plan of salvation and the atonement, no other book has this amazing doctrine about Jesus Christ:)

I am understanding the language a lot more, there was a rap Tagolog song on the radio on a Jeepnee and it was going super fast and I understood it all, and I am able to engage anyone in conversation now and its super fun, Gods children truly are amazing, and its such a blessing that every day of my life can be about them:) I am learning so much about satan and the things he does to try to prevent me from being the best I can, if he can just get me to not open my mouth about this truth then he has succeeded, I love to just prove him wrong and rise up and whenever I have a thought that I can't or something, I just simply do it anyways to prove him wrong and be the best I can, it makes it kinda fun :) I love this work:) Shall we not go on in such a great cause?
Love, Elder Blackham