Thursday, May 8, 2014

May 5, 2014

Elder Hall and I get a long really well. He is a great companion:) 

We traveled a lot this week and we went to the mountains of Antipolo to the province of Binangonan, to the city of Taguig. We had such a blast and were able to share with many of God's children. There was a lesson we taught in Binangonan that was so wonderful. All the lessons are so wonderful and everything, but there is just something so awesome about teaching repentance. We taught a lesson about repentance and the spirit was so strong and so powerful. I learned so much about repentance as we were teaching.  You can tell the spirit is there is when you and the person or people you are teaching are both learning from the spirit. The spirit really broke down repentance in such a clear way for us to explain. As we were teaching about the restitution part of repentance, we went into how i'ts much deeper than giving something back that you have stolen. If you damage a relationship you must try to build it back, if you lose someone's trust you must go to them and strive to gain it back. It is the replacing of the bad with good that happens with repentance. You can't break a friendship and trust; then say sorry and still hate them.  If you hate them the process is not complete. Sometimes it takes time to forgive and repent,  but that's why we need the Atonement. If you have damaged your own heart or self you must seek to make it whole again. I know that part is kinda deep but repentance is like as if we are all glass bottles filled with little white and black rocks. When you repent you get rid of a black rock; but you must replace it with a white rock or else you will be just as bad as you were before. To summarize the spirit just kinda opened my eyes to a part of repentance that creates the inner change necessary to become more like the Savior. 

In Taguig we found and taught a new investigator on our way to another appointment. We taught Him how to pray, and that God is our loving Heavenly Father. Sometimes missionaries will teach that God is our loving Heavenly Father, but that doesn't really mean anything until someone prays to Him. You can teach someone the gospel for years and they won't gain anything or begin to progress, or even come any closer to God until they start keeping commitments to come closer to God. As a missionary we must not focus so much on what we are going to say, or teach because we already know the principles in pamphlets, preach my gospel and scripture.  But, we should focus more on how we are gong to help whoever we are teaching to take their own steps towards the Savior. No one can know God without speaking with Him. No one can know truth without asking. Then when we teach that the gospel blesses families, instead of telling them how it blesses them, we should commit them to have family prayers and scripture study so that they can experience it. There is a big difference there, and we must never be afraid to commit others to living the gospel and then asking and finding every way to help them do it. I know this is the true and restored gospel in these latter days and that God knows it too because He is the one who told me. This is true and we should help people experience it. The gospel is like a "you should have been there story" where we can never truly explain how good it is without actually experiencing it. 

Elder Blackham

Friday, May 2, 2014

April 28, 2014

This was a great week. I learned a lot about gratitude and I was so grateful that we got to work and go with others. Every transfer week we are in the office a lot more than normal.  So, when we finally headed out to go on exchanges for the week it was just like being in heaven. I really think the Philippines is kinda like heaven! Well, at least it is when your sharing the gospel. I know dogs have hair in heaven, and everyone can afford clothes and that its probably a lot different, but I am just saying that it feels a whole lot like heaven. I just love to smile at everyone. I couldn't stop smiling, I just love to be out talking with God's children. I kept telling the elder I was with, "Elder I am just so happy!" He probably got a little bit annoyed, but maybe not. 

There is this one sister that they are teaching that has been taught for two years because she hasn't been able to quit smoking. So the Elders are doing something really cool to help her. They go to her every day and commit her to stop smoking for 24 hours; then the next  day they commit her for the next 24 hours. It is so cool because she is really quitting and it's the best she has ever done:) You could tell she wanted to so badly and she has gotten so close often.  But, this time she is doing way better.

I also had a really cool learning experience and it really relates well to the Plan of Salvation. A lot of the Elders in our mission have gotten new apartments and have moved.  Unfortunately, we left to go without a map or anything. We just had a kinda general idea of where we wanted to go and asked people and taxi drivers for directions. Well.... this didnt work! We had gotten lost every day trying to get to the apartments. It had taken hours to find places and it was so frustrating haha, I felt so lost, it's like a maze. I thought to myself, we have a general idea of where we want to go and where we are going, we even know the name of the place, but we are still so lost. Even asking directions, they would lead to wrong turns and places. I then realized that this is the situation of most people in life. They know there is like a good place after we die or a bad or some general idea, but I realized that if you don't know exactly where you are going, or if you don't have the right directions then you will get lost. The Restored Church of Jesus Christ has all those things including the details; the how and the right directions and a Holy Ghost that will guide you until you reach your destination safely. This also relates to when we finally called the Elders at the office who have google maps on their computer and could see the big picture and as we went they would tell us to turn left or right because they could see it all from the google maps. This relates to how important the spirit is. We need it to guide us back to our heavenly home and fill in all that is not clear to us. The gospel is so beautiful and so simple. I love it:) 
Love Elder Blackham