Monday, July 25, 2016

Becoming something more...

Look who came back to Sweden after
his mission! Kaleb Farnworth!!
Hej hej! 

This week was full of splits (working with other missionaries other than your assigned companion) and fun times!  Not a lot of time today  to write, but I will get to the good stuff that happened.

The first cool thing!  I went on splits with Elder Bailey in Gubbängen.  We went way hard that day and taught some good lessons, talked to a bunch of people and even worked with a person who wants to be baptized!  It was fun to be with him a for a bit and reminisce about old times we had together in Uppsala.  We were so distracted by different things we never even got a picture together! (lame.)  But we should be going to the temple together this Saturday with Caoline. (the awesome girl we taught together in Uppsala) Unfortunately, Elder Bentson (my companion that replaced Elder Bailey) can’t come because he is too far away from Stockholm, but it was us three that taught her!  It makes me really happy that I could have been a part of her baptism, and then go to the temple with her. :) 

Also went on splits with the Assistants (a set of missionaries that are assistants to the President) which was fun.  Did some fun service with them and taught some cool people.  It was also cool to see how the office works.  Our morning work out was awesome too.  Since they have cars, we took advantage of that and used them for our exercise.  We actually drove to a big parking lot, then put the car in neutral and while one person steers, the other person pushes it across the parking lot.  Good work out!  Highly recommended. 
The blessings are real! 
Lunch after church with the Sisters!
District meeting also went well.  A big topic was about getting the most out of church (feeling the spirit, renewal, learning, etc.) and helping the people do the same.  Also a thought I had was about becoming something greater.  During personal studies this last week I have been contemplating on some different things and this phrase came to my mind. "We are destined to become.”  Meaning, God created us so that we can become something great and we need to push ourselves.  It’s something to keep in mind as we start to feel comfortable with what we are doing.  Looking at ourselves we can ask,  'Am I pushing my self?’  'Am I trying to become something greater'? 

Sorry I have gotta cut this short, but love you all and have a good week!
Äldste Blackburn

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Good stuff happened this week!


Some good stuff has happened this week!  I’m feeling more settled in to the new area and getting to know people here. 

That's a ship!! 
To start things off, we had an awesome P day!  (Preparation day ~ where we email home, do laundry, shop, and can go to museums and explore the area we are assigned to, etc.) Something cool is that we live about 20 minutes away from the center city of Stockholm by train.  There is a really cool museum called the Vasa Museum.  It holds a huge old Swedish war ship dating back to 1628. It actually sunk on its first departure not too far away from the harbor.  BUT at its time, was to be the greatest war ship of not only Sweden or Scandinavia, but the world!  
The Boys!!!

So the story in short, is that it had design flaws.  It was too top heavy and not wide enough, so it literally tipped over and it was kind of a joke because it was really the Kings fault.  They actually took it out of the water only about 50 years ago and it was a very long process to get it off the bottom of the Baltic sea and into the museum….  But it was awesome to see!  We went with a group who are good friends from the mission and had a great time with them at the museum, like Elder Bailey and such.  

Teng and Na´s Baptism! 
As the week went on, we talked to people, had many lessons with people and even had three baptisms in our District!  That was awesome.  My companion and I had the opportunity to baptize and confirm two people that were baptized in Jakobsberg that were taught by Sisters Davis and Holley.  There names are Teng and Na.  It is a husband and wife from China and will live in Sweden for a year, then move back China where there is a branch near where they live.  They don't really speak English or Swedish, but they love to say..  "Mormons.... good!”  or  "Book of Mormon... good!  Yes!  True!”  Haha  They had a translator while being taught and of course had one during the interview for baptism as well.  They are so strong and have received such a strong testimony of the Gospel and this church.  A great example to me of seeing someone wanting to come closer to God and being willing to test it and see if there is more….  

That’s what it’s all about.  Ask, and you will receive.  Knock and it will be opened to you. That’s a promise! 

Love you all and have a good week!! 
BBQ at the office with the District!
Äldste Blackburn
Don't be fooled by the aporon. The real grill master
here is Elder Adcox. He can make a
mean burger I'll tell you that much.

Having fun in the Vasa museum

These are just little scale models. 

Awesome care package by the one and only
Pam Fowers. Pretty much my second Mom. 

Stockholm is full of rich people and and excotic cars. 

Monday, July 11, 2016

Jakobsberg! Big changes, but always good!

Hej Hej!
The last drive early in the morning... Heading to the boat for the mainland

Gotta keep this one short.. But some cool and big stuff hapened this week.  I am no longer on Gotland Island, but I’m back on the mainland of Sweden in the Stockholm area!  Specifically a city called Jakobsberg.  

Our new friend
The new comp! Elder Dean!
My new companion is Äldste Dean.  It was easy saying goodbye to Äldste Scott because I dont like that guy.. No, just kidding.  I just wanted to say that because I know he will probably read this haha, But I was sad.  He was an awesome companion and we did some great work together and had a lot of fun too.  I know he will continue to do good work on Gotland while he is there.  Äldste Dean is a cool guy!  He is a really good violinist and a swimmer from Washington state.  We have been getting to know each other and working hard together this first week!  
The new District!

We also had a great first district meeting together.  Set some good goals with all the companioships and we are excited for this transfer. :) The companionships in this District are all amazing hard working missionaries as well so thats' a plus!  One new thing as a district leader is I get the opportunity to give interviews to those prepairing for baptism.  We actually had three of those happen this last week!!   AND we are having 3 baptisms this weekend within our district.  What else.... SO much has happened but don’t have much time left on this computer I’m using at the library so I gotta end soon.  Something else cool that happened this week is that Äldste Dean and I commited a guy to baptism on our second day together.  We will be working working with him and some other people they were teaching before I got here this week.  We are also teaching some mew people that we found the last few days.  BUT anywho.. It’s time to go but I love you all and will write more next week.

Älskar er! 
Äldste Blackburn
Emma! One of the coolest members out on Gotland!
Hejdå Gotland! Vi ses igen! <3

Emma's puppy Zombie. The craziest but coolest dog

These are some cool people we got to meet. They love to give us food and ice cream. Brett and Teres!

Hejdå Kajsa!!

Goodbye to Kajsas huge bunny.

Familjen Stålek!

Monday, July 4, 2016

Transfers! Time to go back to the Mainland!

Sååååå transfers! 

So, i will just start off with the news.. It’s now time to take the boat back to civilization to the mainland of Sweden.  I am being transferred (moved) to a city in Stockholm called, Jakobsberg.  It is back in the Stockholm zone and is going to be fun and WAY different than Gotland.  I’m really excited, and leave this Wednesday.  I also have the opportunity to be the District leader which should be really fun! The new district where I will be actually includes the mission office, so I’ll be able to go on splits and work with the Assistants and the office elders which are all awesome guys.  I’m super pumped!  My new companion is a guy named Äldste Dean. "The lean mean fighting machine!” ~ That's going to be his new nickname and I haven’t even met him yet :) and he is a really good violinist, so it should be fun.  As my replacement, Äldste Scott will be getting Äldste Svensson, a native Swede, born and raised in Sweden and is actually the only Swedish Elder serving here right now.  I just want to say good luck to Äldste Scott ~ He will only be speaking Swedish for about 6 weeks! haha 
The ultimate push up challenge
We also had the Zone leaders come here to Gotland last Monday.  We picked them up from the Boat station and had an awesome P day. (Äldste Johanson and Burke).  It was fun because Äldste Burke was companions with the guy I trained, Äldste Bentson.  We had some fun stories about him.  We tried to give them the ultimate Gotland experience for about 3 hours before we had to work again at 6:00pm, so we went and explored.Found some good rocks and cliffs and played like children for a while.  We had some good fun! 

The circus!
The week went on and we worked pretty dang hard. We had some awesome lessons, new investigators, and some people that are really looking positive.  We actually had the opportunity to go to a traveling Circus here in Visby with a member as well.  It was CRAZY!  Was so cool and there were some insane acts.  For those of you familiar with circuses, there is the “Circus Master” or "Circus Director”…  (the guy in charge).  During the 20 minute intermission we went out of the tent to walk around and the Director was standing there and we just started talking to him.  He is a cool guy, about in his mid 20s and was really interested in what we did.  We talked to him for the whole intermission and he was so impressed with missionaries from our church.  He wanted to stay in contact so he gave us his number and we invited him to church the next day.  They have shows all weekend with practices and such, but he was saying he wants to attend and will try next week.  SO that was fun.  We were thinking how crazy it would be if we had the whole circus on Gotland come to our little meeting house on Sunday for church haha!

This is Kajsa (a girl we teach) and she is an awesome Painter. She painted this beauty on my guitar!
Moses and Judith! I will miss those two as well!
Äldste Johanson!
We are also working with a guy who is awesome and has a really strong faith.  We taught him a few times this last week, and after the first time we taught him he called us the next day at 7:00AM.  He told us that he did what we asked him to do and prayed about what we taught him, asking God if it was true.  He went on to tell us of an amazing spiritual experience he had and that the feeling was so strong he began to cry and he wanted to meet again soon.We met him the next day and taught him more and talked about what happens when you get an answer and what we need to do to take action.  We taught him about baptism and how important it really is, and he committed to be baptized on August 27th.  We have had a several others this week that are really looking positive as well.  It’s such a blessing to see the change this Gospel makes in peoples lives.  The other girl I was talking about last week who is working towards baptism is still going strong as well.We met with her yesterday and the lesson went really well.  It’s just hard to say goodbye to everyone, but it’s part of the mission! 

I will always remember my time here on Gotland and it will always have a special place in my heart as weird as that may sound.  But it’s true. :)  Äldste Scott is going to kill it for the rest of his mission!  I’m grateful that I had the opportunity to serve with and see miracles happen with him.  Next time you hear from me I will be back in Stockholm!

Hej så länge! 
Äldste Blackburn

Christofer and Felicia! :) two people we teach. They are awesome as well.
Stopped to get some ice creme after
picking the Zone leaders up for splits! 

Evaaaaa!! :) She is prepairing to go to the temple this next month! On our way out to to take her home.

Playing our investigators recorders. (at least pretending like we are)

Saying goodbye to the Herreys! They have been so awesome to us missionaries and feed us every week.
I will always remember these two.

Äldste Burke impressed me with his golfing skills by hitting a ball off the cliff way out into the ocean.

Äldste Burke!!

Having some play time together

Selfie of a selfie