Tuesday, September 29, 2015

"Fear no man".

So this week has been very productive here in Uppsala! 

Uppsala crew making our
appearance in Stockholm
I have begun to realize why Sweden is the second most Athiest country in the world.  Lots of discussions this last week about that and I feel so bad because I know that they are missing God’s love in their life. The hard thing about missionary work is that if someone is not ready, you gotta move on and wait longer….no matter how much they want to talk or discuss.  Time is not to be wasted out here and that take a judgment call between companions.  So there has been a lot of that but there has aslo been a lot of blessings this last week :) 

Something fun that happened this week was when I was on a bus with the two other Elders in our appartment and my companion, and I saw a man that was Asian (I just love contacting Asian people).  I  sat down next to him and started talking to him in Swedish.  I could quickly tell that he could not understand Swedish so I tried English.. same thing ~ Couldn't speak any English.  Then I thought... "Google Translate!"  I pulled out the iphone of ours and put in the translation from English to Chinese. I then began the conversation through the the microphone of the phone and he heard and saw the translation of what I said and he was super excited!  haha We were talking back and forth and people near me on the bus were cracking up.  They thought it was so funny!  I began to talk to him about what we do out here and taught him a little lesson!  He then gave us his number.  Super cool.  I love contacting Asian people because my Step Dad, Joe is from Hong Hong and he taught me a few words in Cantonese before I left.  So these people thought it was pretty hilarious that a white boy was trying to speak Chinese.  I now always think about a quote. “I fear no man.”  That is how I’m trying to be out here on my mission.  Being afraid to talk to people is the biggest problem one can have.  I’m trying to get over that and I see the blessings come from that.

It's getting darker and colder every day!
I think the most spiritual experience I had this week was this last Wednesday.  We were really wanting to go hard that day and get lessons with people.  We said a very specific prayer to Heavenly Father asking him if we can find the prepared people that day that were willing to here us.  Right after that, we went contacting on a street.  I kid you not, literally every single contact we had turned into a lesson and we only had time for 5 contacts because they all went on for a while and we then had to head over to a planned lesson that we had. That day we had a total of 8 lessons. That’s A LOT for one day.  Especially in Sweden.  The Lords hand was definatly in that and we had the biggest prayer of thanks after!  

Love you all and have a good week :)    "I fear no man!"

Äldste Blackburn

Doesnt this amusement park look so welcoming?

Yes. It does when there are two strapping young missionaries
out side of it willing to share the Gospel.

RAINBOW! post service with Äldste Bailey.

Lunch at Tita Lanies lägenhet! (aunt Lanies apartment) 

Look at all of these beautiful missionaries in Uppsala!

In Stockholm for Zone training!

Monday, September 21, 2015

Traveling north, a huge city, a new companion, and a HUGE apartment.

The last wave... On to a new city.
The "goodbye" at the bus station from Borås.


I'm in love with Uppsala!!  :)   It is so beautiful here and massive.  I haven’t gotten any pictures of the city yet but it is so big!  I feel like I’m in New York or something.  Super busy streets and lots of people.  Total change of scene!  Before I left Borås I said goodbye to everyone and got pictures with them.  It was cool to see everyone one last time.  Also sang with two other guys on Sunday ~ A Swedish version of  “I Need Thee Every Hour.”  It was an accapella barbershop arrangement.  Super fun!I

Liking my new home :)
I left Wednesday at 11:00am to take a bus to Göteborg, then got on a train to Stockholm Central Station.  From there I took a train to Uppsala.  I would say the hardest part was hauling around my luggage!  I had my bass (gutiar), two suit cases and my backpack and had to come up with a system to get them on and off trains because my bass is so big and tall that I cant wear it on the train (haha) so I kind of had to maneuver my self around.  

Äldste Johnson, my new companion, picked me up and he’s super cool.  He´s from Sandy Utah and is an incredibly smart scientist and competitive ultimate Frisbee player.  Super hard working and is an awesome District leader as well.  We have two other Elders in our apartment ~ Äldste Walker and Äldste Bailey.  They are both awesome.  Every night is a party. :)   I actually served with Äldste Walker in my last district in Göteborg.  Everyone in the apartment is really obedient to the rules and are hard workers.

District meeting in Gävle and we found
this wonderful creature.
OUR APPARTMENT IS HUGE!  I´ll just say a few cool things about it.  We have a dish washer!  Usually missionaries here don’t have such a luxury…  We have a real piano!  Our neighbors must love us. :)  AND the best right here….  a Sauna…..  that’s right!  We have an apartment sauna and it is amazing!! 

Literally the biggest majority of people that live near us are students and we get so many lesson appointments!  There are a lot of atheists but it’s cool because many of them are into science, which is Äldste Johnsons specialty.  The ward (congregation) here is pretty tiny compared to Borås.  There are about 40 members that attend church but the church here is spreading fast.  There were two baptisms here these last few months.  The members are SO SOLID.  I love it, and they are super welcoming.  They found out I am a musician so they recruited me to play the piano for Priesthood on Sundays.  Elder Bailey and I are both going to switch off every Sunday and just learn a song every week.  I did it yesterday and it was super fun.  We have a total of 8 missionaries in our ward! 4 elders, 2 sisters, and a senior couple.  We are hoping the work will go fast here.   We are ready to go hard this transfer and see miracles happen! 

Another thing that is helping me is that three days a week we only speak Swedish... all day.  We did it Sunday and it was awesome.  I’m feeling a lot better and can understand people for the most part now which is pretty cool. 

Love you all!!  We should have some cool things that will happen next week! 

Äldste Blackburn

Beautiful city, with the Dom Kyrka in the distance. 

Äldste Johnson and Äldste blackburn are
out searching for the spiritually hungry.
Thinking about all the people were going
 to baptize this transfer.

Dom Kyrka!! Biggest church in Scandinavia
Tennis with a member family and Sister Lund

Scenery from our run...  

Morning run with Elder Bailey!

Saying goodbye to a family in Borås.

Will miss these missionaries in Borås.
I have come to the conclusion that
Uppsala has good music stores.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Transfers! Will miss Borås, but excited to go North. :)


We find random things around Borås.
Last hike with Daniel (our preparing missionary)
before I take off.
Big news!  Transfers are in and I had no idea what to expect. Typically the trainer gets transferred and the trainee would stay in the current city, but in this case, Äldste Stoeltzing is staying and I am getting transferred to a place called Uppsala.  It’s right above Stockholm and is one of the biggest cities in Sweden. It’s is a college town and is one of the oldest towns in Scandinavia!  My new companion is Äldste Johnson and I will meet him when I go up there this Wednesday!  I talked to him on the phone and he sounds awesome and we are going to have a 4 man apartment!  There are two sets of elders in Uppsala so we will all be living in this awesome apartment together :)  There are also two sisters, which are both STLs (sister training leaders) and we have a senior couple as well.  It is an old "zone leader" area and my new companion is a district leader so I’ll get to travel a lot again :)  Super excited but sad at the same time.  These last few days Äldste Stoeltzing and I are spending with different families from the ward (congregation) here in Borås and saying goodbye to all of them.  I really love this city, Äldste Stoeltzing and the sisters here, but I’m really excited to see what experiences Uppsala will bring me.

Laser tag with our investigator
and Elders Quorum was awesome!
We have had some awesome experiences this last week!  I went on splits with Äldste Payne again (greeny in Jönköping) and we had alot of fun.  We ended up having an awesome lesson with a man about the Doctrine of Christ.  The lesson went great.  We asked him good questions and really got him thinking about his testimony of Christ.  I then felt prompted to ask him about baptism and if he would like to follow Christ’s example and be baptized... He then responded with "jajamen." (sure!)  We were both so happy that he would be willing to accept that invitation and to work towards thedate we set.  It also made me realize that it is not your knowledge or how well you can speak the language that matters (because mine is still really broken up) but it’s the spirit and utilizing that spirit to teach... and I can promise that people feel that. 

Another cool thing that happened, I dont know if I mentioned this last week but we found an awesome guy named Igor.  Everything he believes is almost in accordance with the "Plan of Salvation" and he is so cool!  Really open to everything.  This last week we met him again in the same place, but he brought another friend who has similar beliefs.  We had an amazing lesson with them and the only problem is that Igor moved to some place near Stockholm earlier this weekend.  But guess what I found out?!  I’m transferring up there!!  haha  That would be awesome if he is near us but if not we will refer him to another set of missionaries there.  The cool thing about Igor is that he went to prison and totally changed his life around and he is really growing from his challenges.  He is looking at those as a chance to change and grow. 
My District, with my somehow relative, Elder Perkins!
Something that I came across this last week that really can apply to anything is this:  “Don’t look at it as an obligation, see it as an opportunity.” 

Love you all and have a good week!  Next time I write, I will be in Uppsala!  <3

Äldste Blackburn

Saying goodbye to this awesome district.

We found some American pepperoni
deep dish pizza in Jönköping! Miracle!
The final goodbye to Daniel!... Until next time!

Splits in Jönköping is beautiful! 
Thug life (actually just talking and
having a spiritual talk on a football field)

Awesome street lamp to take a selfie by.

Here in Sweden they have robots mow lawns.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Pigs blood, scary hair cuts, and the Blues Brothers

Blood Pudding (coagulated pig blood) for real!
A Swedish classic dish
Well I have started to do something new to help me remember all the cool\weird things that happen in the week. It can be hard, but now I write it down on a white board so that helps a lot.  I’ll start off by saying that Blood Pudding (coagulated pig blood) was the nastiest thing I have eaten... haha!  We had it at a members house and he gave us A LOT.  Never the less…. good experience right? :)

Hair cut in the basement of a Serbian man

Our investigator Mattias!  We have been meeting with him since I came to Borås and he started out against religion.  We worked with him for a while and he had commited to a baptismal date.  Lately he has been struggling and was wanting to wait for another year.  It got me thinking… What is my purpose?  It is to bring others to Christ… so I was thinking, How could we do that better?... We felt his testimony of Christ was not to strong and that we should focus on that.  So we had a lesson about Christ, and we got another date!   It is about 3 months away but he said we can always move it up.  Christ is really the key to everything.  EVERYTHING!

Hair cut turned out nice! (Was a little scary)

Elder Stoeltzing and I needed hair cuts and we recently found a Serbian immigrant that is interested in the church and the Book of Mormon.  He told us he cuts hair so we scheduled with him.  The day comes and we go over to his apartment and he takes us down into the basement, opens up a closet door.. and there was his office!  haha  He then cut our hair and was talking about the Book of Mormon at the same time. (He used to cut hair in Serbia so he’s pretty good).  It was then my turn and he was cutting my hair with the clippers and the tip fell off!  There was a decently large junk of hair taken off of the back of my head all the way down to the skin!  I was very impressed because he actually fixed it really well by fading into it and such!   So that was fun. 

Thomas teaching me how real blues is played
right before we teach him the gospel
This week we have gotten invited to a lot of things.  Like rock concerts, college partys, (HA HA) even to hike Mount Everest!!!  About Everest.. We were talking to this man from Nepal for a while and he really liked us.  He said after my mission I need to come to his house in Nepal and we will hike Mount Everest! haha  AWESOME.  He has my email so hopefully I will hear from him. haha.

We were walking down the street yesterday, when we waved to a construction worker taking a smoke break.  We continued walking when he yelled at us to come over.  We both came back and he was talking to us in an aggressive manner about religion and how he doesnt believe in God but only Science.  We were just talking to him and being nice and the subject came up about paying for missions.  I said that I actually had done some construction to help pay to come to Sweden!  He was surprised.  He then began to show us around his job site and what they were doing when we saw a poster of a guitar and I asked him if he liked music….  and he said "MUSIC IS MY LIFE"  And then we took it from there and said how Elder Stoeltzing and I are  both musicians too!  So he took us around the corner of the work site into his garage and there was the coolest music studio!! :D He had this crazy homemade gospel blues organ set up with harmonicas built in and he had a bass, guitars, brass instruments, drums…. EVERYTHING!  He was a professional musician!

Crazy homemade organ
We then said that maybe we could teach him (about Gods plan for us), but he wanted to hear us play as well.  So we played and showed him our stuff for a bit…  He was so impressed and said “Ok... Now you can teach me."  haha  We then taught him about God and a little about why we are here (on earth).   After that we all jammed and we got some awesome recordings.  He invited his girlfriend over to hear us and he also wants us to meet his ex-wife who is also a professional musician!  He referred them both to us so we will hopefully be teaching all of them here soon!  He gave us his card and said “If you guys need ANYTHING.. a place to sleep, food, shelter, or anything, you can call at anytime and I will answer!!  You are welcome anytime.”   He defiantly wants us to come back and teach him and play with him some more.  Talents can help you connect with people more than you or I can believe!  I’m just now starting to see that. 

Love you all!  Have a good week!
Äldste Blackburn

Sweden´s finest football team:)
(One of our 
favorite families kids... They love it when we come over)

This is all spray paint!  Borås is so artsy-fartsy

The blues brothers

Splits with the Zone leaders