Wednesday, October 23, 2013

October 21, 2013

The earthquake in the Philippines wasn't close to me at all so I am totally fine:) Two of our investigators with baptismal dates are from that island so their home is totally broken now. but they are still happy and fine and loving the gospel and all that they are learning:) They will be baptized in two weeks and are totally ready right now. 

During sacrament yesterday we confirmed Bro. Lopez a member of the church and gave him the Holy Ghost, it was amazing!! When my companion started the blessing the spirit descended upon us like a thick vapor of light and joy until it filled our entire souls and was one of the greatest witnesses I have felt piercing my soul that this is the true church with the priesthood power on the earth right now. I asked Him how He felt because I was curious if I was the only one and he smiled bigger than I have ever seen with his eyes and soul and said AMAZING!!!:) It was such a blessing to be a part of his conversion.

During my study this week I learned a lot about the effect on us when we remember. Many times in the book of Ether it talks about how the entire kingdom prospered and they grew in favor by remembering what the Lord had done for them. When just a verse earlier it said they were about to be destroyed from off the face of the land.  As we have a mindset of remembering the Lord throughout our day, our actions have such a dramatic change. The same thing happens in marriages when they remember the original love they had for each other they change, and marriages are saved. When we remember all the things our parents do for us, we do not disobey. When we remember the atonement we are blessed with the Holy Ghost and our very natures change as we align ourselves with His will and get rid of the things that separate ourselves from Him. Every time I look at a tree I hope I think about the tree of life, or see things in a much more beautiful way as I remember the Lord and it changes our view of ourselves and of the world. I feel that that is one reason that the sacrament is such an essential part of repentance, because we must remember and recommit and then little by little our natures change:)
Love, Elder Blackham

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

October 14, 2013

The storms keep coming but they are smaller than they were before.

At this moment I am jamming to BYU Mens Chorus "I love the Lord" right now, because in internet cafe's in the Philippines it's always a competition for who can play whatever they are doing on the computer louder and right now I am winning and its church hymns; haha!! 

We had a baptism this week for a new brother. He is so cool and really has changed his life through the atonement of Jesus Christ. I scrubbed the baptismal font for 2 hours to get it ready for the next day because it had rust stains in it. But the baptism was great, and the spirit was there.  This new convert is born again and so so so happy he keeps saying. It is so interesting what he said when he was bearing his testimony; that his greatest regret in life is that he didn't do this sooner. It really shows how urgent and important this work is. The sooner we get it to people; the less regrets they will have because they can repent and feel the Lord in their life sooner. I feel so blessed to be able to teach him.

The next couple baptisms are coming up on the 3rd of November and they are doing so amazing too:)   They are two sisters that read their scriptures together on a daily basis and at first they were shy and quiet and now they are loud and talk about how the gospel has blessed them in their lives. Wow there just isn't anything better than this.

General conference was absolutely amazing!! I had a spiritual feast every single talk!! My spiritual stomach exploded and then I grew 3 more stomachs kinda like a cow and then I filled all those full, haha. I kept a column on the right side of my note book for spiritual promptings of things I must do/study during the talks and I made sure in my notes I didn't write down what they said like a history of things but what the spirit spoke to me because of what they said. It was amazing!!!!!!!!!! I also looked back over my notes and tried to find patterns in the talks to find what the Lord is trying to say through all the speakers. I came up with 5 main things that were repeated most and what I prayed and came to find 5 things that he wanted me to improve on and understand for the next 6 months of my life. Then I wrote bullet points under each of the five that state the actions I will take and how I will achieve the things the Lord wants me to do. It was so cool to see so clearly the patterns, search and ponder with full purpose in heart to do something more because of what I learned:) 

I love studying the scriptures.  That is the thing I want my children to do the most, gain a love for studying the gospel and feasting on the words of Christ. They will always be lead to Christ and peace in their life no matter what:) 

Elder Blackham

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

October 7, 2013

We have general conference this weekend because of the time difference:) I am so excited for general conference though. Absolutely stoked not only for general conference but also because we will be having a baptism on that Saturday:) So I am pretty pumped about this. Teaching has just been so awesome:) The spirit has been so strong in all of our lessons and I just feel so happy:) I know that I am doing all that I can for their salvation:) 

As far as teaching and lessons go there is nothing better than letting the spirit teach and getting out of the way. We started teaching an investigator who is a lady in her 40s who seemed that she didn't want to hear what we had to share at first.  But then I gave her the list of questions that people often ask and she chose the one about what Jesus Christ expects of us. I shared with her Matthew. 5:48, which is the one that commands us to be perfect; then she was like how do I do that? Then we shared 1 Nephi 3:7 how God provides a way for every commandment. Then we testified of the Atonement and that as we share the gospel she will be able to feel the acceptance she is looking for through the gospel, and then she started crying and said she had been looking for that for her whole life and then we bore testimony and are excited to go back:) 

Teaching repentance is awesome too! We taught about repentance to these two sisters who will be baptized soon also, and they are progressing so well and rejoiced and felt so much peace from the message as we asked inspired questions about what they feel the blessings of repentance are and the effect it has and will have in their life. Also with another two investigators we taught them how to avoid sin and to constantly build upon the rock of Christ:) Wow, good week:) 

This week in my personal study I was reading in the 3rd chapter of Ether and verse 18 stood out to me because it talked about all that the Lord had showed unto Him and ministered unto Him and such great things "all this that this man might know that He was God." We can say the same about almost everything that happens to us. So that we might know that HE is God. If it takes reading the scriptures everyday and keeping all the commandments, trials and pains, repentance and forgiveness than I feel that it is worth it. If suffering allows me to know the Savior better, then I consider it a blessing:) I think it brings God so much joy when we remember our relationship with Him. I do not know exactly how well I knew Heavenly Father before this life but that must be so frustrating to Him, to not be known or recognized by His own children. I know that if I could not be recognized by my children that would break my heart. It must bring Him so much joy when we turn to Him and remember Him and strive to know Him again:) All this that we might know that He is God:) 

Love, Elder Blackham

Monday, October 7, 2013

September 30, 2013

So this week was pretty awesome and sad.  Sad because I will miss Elder Fisher but happy because my new comp Elder Afu is awesome too. 

The flood just keeps rising and the lake keeps rising. I am taking boats and walking on bamboo bridges to get to people when before I walked on dry ground. SO, that's fun and we are so out of time. We never have enough time to visit everyone so it is going to take some serious fasting and praying and help to know how to use the most precious and sacred time here to its fullest capacity. I talk like a New Zealander now because of my companion's accent. I accidentally get it sometimes. The best burger place in the Philippines is this place called H.I.D. Burger, just some random information.

This week in our teaching we started reading the Book of Mormon with lots of the less active families and it went so well. We just started with the introduction and and just kept going and the spirit filled the room so strong that we just kept on reading when the plan was only to read a little bit we actually read a chapter. The spirit that comes with it is so strong. I asked one man who had not been to church in ten years about how he feels about the Book of Mormon; he said that he totally forgot what was inside but that he will never forget that every time he opened it and started reading it he felt such a great peace and the power of God:) They went to church and they were so happy to start doing those things as a family again:) 

If we are ever feeling alone or down or anything it usually is a big indication that we are just really hungry. hungry for spiritual nourishment from the Lord, and its about time to have a feast. Everyone loves feasts, I mean the word itself is pretty cool:) 

I am so happy to be here in the Philippines Quezon City Mission:)

Love, Elder Blackham