Tuesday, August 30, 2016

A busy awesome week!


SO... Not a lot of time right now.. but I’ll make this short and sweet.

Elder Halterman and I eating my favorite food a member made for us <3
This last week was a good week of getting us settled into this transfer.  We taught a lot of good lessons, and people. We even had zone training taught by my old companion Elder Bailey and Elder Weaver.  It was a really good training about developing teaching skills.  Everyone learned some good stuff.  We also had interviews with our mission president and those are always nice.  President and Sister Beckstrand really care and love all the missionaries in Sweden.  They also love the people that live here.  

We went on splits with the Assistants this week, and that was really fun.  I was with Elder Halterman and he is the nicest guy.  A really good missionary and friend.  What was funny is when you go on splits.. You have to switch the phones and the bus cards or car keys and what not. So... that didnt happen haha!  So the assistants drove over to our place and then we switched companions.  Elder Halterman and I went back in the apartment to eat a bit of food, and then realized we didn’t have my companions bus and train card..  so there would be no way to get where we needed to go! So we thought we would call the other guys driving back to their area... and then Elder Halterman (the assistent on splits with me) heard a ringing and realized he still had his phone!  (we had both phones and no bus/train pass) hahaha  So that was fun.  
I totally ran in Hamed on the train!!! (new baptized member on Gotland.. but just moved to Stockholm)

We had to call the office elders and have them come over and give us an extra transportation card and then we gave them the assistants phone so that the other guys could have a phone for the day they were together.  Then the next day was the zone training.  That was a fun adventure for sure. 

Other than that the week went along very smoothly and we saw some miracles.  We are still preparing Senait for baptism and she is doing great!   The last time we taught her we asked what’s the main thing she understands about the Book of Mormon and why we have it.  One of the things she said “It’s just a lot easier to understand than the Bible" haha

The message in both books are the same (testifying of Jesus Christ) and they both are the word of God.  If one truly truly believes in the Bible.. Then they will believe in the Book of Mormon.  If they truly truly believe in the Book of Mormon, then they will believe in the Bible.   Open it, read it and and test it!  Or even if you have, it’s always nice to do it again.  I know its true and will know my whole life, but dont trust me.. find out for yourself.  I promise you will find it to be true if you really want to know. 

Love you all!! 
Äldste Blackburn 

You can see personal study can be hard for my companion.

You like my new ride?
The swedish history museum last p day

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

"Kärlek" means Love.

"Kärlek" means Love.
I think this is Pintrist worthy.
Hallå där! 

Transfers this week went well.  Elder Dean and I worked hard the last few days together and then we went to T Central to say bye to each other.  He’s a good guy and I’ll miss him!  I also got a new companion, Elder Hatch and he is a cool guy!  Really funny and a good artist. He’s from Colorado, but has lived in many places because his dad is in the military.  We get along really well so that is good. :)  We had a great first week together, and helped him learn the area (places and people) by just diving right in!  He has been out for about 11 months, so he is a more experienced missionary.  We both can really learn from each other and we are excited to see the good stuff that will be coming this transfer! 
Goodbye Elder Dean! You'll be missed!
This week was full of traveling to different investigators homes and people we teach.  Our area is a bit tougher than others in the sense that everything is so spread out and it takes time to get places.  The great part about that is that it leaves some time to talk to people on trains and buses!  Something funny that happened two days ago, is that we left the church from a lesson to go home for dinner.  Home is about a 45 minute train and bus ride from the church so Elder Hatch had the phone that day and found the travel plans on google maps.  We walked to the station and got on the train.. and we were on the train which seemed to be a while... It stopped at the end station and it wasn't where we were supposed to get off.  We actually took the wrong train and went the complete opposite way of home and made it about an hour and 40 minute ride home!  hahaha Fun times.. But the good thing is, we will never do that again! 
At the YSA center one last time with some new members and Elder Dean!
My new comp!

The District on our way to lunch in the rain, minus the Assistents because they are driving there car.
Other than that it was the usual things.  We had our first district meeting of the transfer and it went really well.  I got to know the new members of the district, and they are all very pumped for these next 6 weeks!  We have some good goals together as a district as well.  One of those is being focusing on setting spiritual goals.I love that idea because that is where the power, authority, and love people feel when they talk with us.  I personally have been continuing with "consecrating" my self to be a better missionary (a Zone conference challenge) and to feel the spirit more.  I talked about it before, but it’s thinking and praying about those things that you do (or maybe are not doing) that might hinder the spirit in your life.  Then make the changes necessary… wether its to stop doing or thinking about something, or doing more of something...  I can say I have felt the spirit even stronger this week to guide me as I have born testimony to people on the street, as well as sitting down for lessons with people...  And I know its because it’s something that I want AND I’m actually doing something to receive it… 
This Aston Martin is always parked out side our place!

Love you all and have a good week!
Äldste Blackburn
Nickolas! One of the coolest members that exists.

From the soccer game last week.

Monday, August 15, 2016

An AMAZING week!

Hallå Hallå!
Elder Dean is going to kill it in Lund.

Transfers!!!  I’m staying in Jakobsberg, and my companion Elder Dean is transferring down to the bottom of Sweden to the city of Lund!  Way pumped for him!  Some other big news I’m pumped for.. Remember Elder Scott?  The Australian companion I had on Gotland for a while?  He’s transferring off the island and coming to Stockholm so we will see each other quite a bit again!!  haha.  We will have some fun. I’m getting a new companion and his name is Elder Hatch.  Don’t know much about him but he sounds cool!  Either way we will go hard together. 

Elder Liddle!! hes going home in a few days! Best of luck to that guy!
Elder Bailey!!! Good old times
This last P-day was one to remember... We had the opportunity (and permission) to go to a professional soccer game and it was Stockholm's team vs. Göteborgs team.  It was so epic and was so fun!  We went with pretty much our whole zone. The Assistants, the POs, the Zone Leaders.. and most everyone.  I never thought I could get so into a soccer game haha, but Swedish football fans sure know how to get pumped and crazy!  There will probably be more pics to come but for now I just have these.. haha.  So that was really fun and a good start to the week. 

Elder Dean and I went really hard last few weeks and so we were blessed with a lot of people to teach and almost everyday was packed with lessons.  We also got a baptismal date with a girl from Africa.  She has a very strong faith and is really liking what we teach and the spirit she feels from it. 

We also had something cool happen to us... Sweden has beggars on the streets but most are not Swedish... They are Romanian and they don't speak Swedish or English.  So we saw one of these Romanians talking with a friend on the street holding a bag of bottles he found.  We tried talking to him but only his friend could speak a little Swedish so we could communicate a bit with both of them.  We told him who we were, what we do and how we have a book for him in Romanian for free that will help us come closer to God.  He became really excited and we set up a day and time to meet.  They day came and about 30 minutes before the appointment, he calls and checks to see if we are still good to meet in broken Swedish.  We said yes and went to go meet him.  We were having some thoughts and doubts about it because we have had experiences before where in the end they just ask for money from the church or us or whatever... But we still had hope and were excited to meet!  

He didn’t show up at the time and place we chose and we tried calling him a few times and his phone didn’t work. 
So we saw another Romanian kid about our age sitting on the lawn with a bag of cans and we thought.. “Well, we have this Romanian Book of Mormon... Lets give it to him!"  We walked up to him and showed him the book, and he said the name of the guy we were supposed to meet and made it clear in broken Swedish/hand signals that he is the son of the guy we had the appointment with! 
Ward grill party!
So we took out our phone (google translate) and started teaching him about the Book of Mormon and let him read the Introduction in Romanian.  As he was reading... One by one came a total of 7 other Romanians including the Dad we were supposed to meet with.  So here we were... Elder Dean and I teaching 8 Romanians who are all family... on a grass hill teaching through google translate.  They are very christian and want to find a church.  They loved the Book of Mormon and the Dad really loved it.  They might live in Sweden perminatley, (they usually come here to beg for a few months then go back to Romania) but now they have contact with the church and they could join the church in Romania or here if they stay.  We closed with a prayer and there we were again in the middle of a park kneeling and in prayer with this Romanian family.  That was a cool experience.

Church was also crazy!  Both talks in sacrament were not in Swedish (one in English, and one in Mongolian) so I had to prepare translations and stand up at the pulpit and translate into Swedish for the ward (congrigation).  That was also a cool experience!  Then I sang in Sacrament meeting, Närmare Gud till Dig.  ("Nearer my God to Thee.”)  It was a good sunday!

Our investigator Musi was also baptized this last weekend!  I was blessed with the opportunity to baptize him and Elder Dean to Confirm him the next day.  The change in a person after they are baptized and receive the Gift of the Holy Ghost is unreal.  The Gospel is true!

Ha det så bra!
Äldste Blackburn
On our way to watch Stockholm's soccer team destroy Göteborgs team.
We can finally see the sun set now!

The Tele2 soccer arena!

YAAAAAAA Stockholm!!!!!

One of the guys we teach gave us a bunch of ABBA cds haha

Monday, August 8, 2016

A racing bike, Temple trip, and the power of obedience!


Elder Bailey at Zone training! 
So this week was another good but busy week full of travel and teaching.  There are so many funny or cool things that happen through the week, I just forget them!  

One thing that made my day was yesterday….  There is a realy cool family in the ward here and the Dad is awesome.  His name is Viktor.  I thought he was just a normal dude that worked and provided for his family... BUT turns out there was more!  When we got to there home... We took off our shoes (as is the custom in Sweden), then I looked right in front of me and hanging on the wall was the most beautiful black full Carbon Specialized S-Works racing bike with the most epic set up a person could have! 

Dinner wih with the Fors family.  Found out the dad loves cycling. When I saw his bike, needless to say I turned into a little girl and was so excited. He even let me test it :)
 As I went up the stairs, I saw all of his medals and such.  I was so excited haha!  The dinner pretty much consisted of the two of us talking about bikes and cycling.  He is a legit racer and shared a lot of cool stories and that makes a good dinner!  He travels around Europe with his bikes and family for different events and races.  So we became quick friends hahaha.  So that was fun! 

We also had our ward temple trip and we went with some new members. That was very cool and a good spiritual experience.  We are also preparing our Persian friend for baptism next Saturday!  We have been meeting with him quite a bit to teach him everything he needs to prepare for baptism.  He is a great example to me for having a desire to know things (and being willing to act on that knowledge).
Ward Temple day and went with some new members!
Carlos is on the bottom and is an awesome member.
We just had a specialized zone training taught by President and Sister Beckstrand, and the Assistents.  It had to do a lot with becoming a "concecrated missionary", and the importance of obedience.  There is the Letter of the Law (following the rules, but not knowing why the rules are there), and the Spirit of the Law (knowing why the rules are there but not following them).  It was stressed on how they can go together and how we can be close to the spirit and know what we need to do.  Coming to know for ourselves why we have the rules and then having the desire to follow them and striving to do our very best. 
For those of you who don't know, we as missionaries have a little book of rules that we follow given directly to us written by the leadership of the church and the first presidency.  We have these to keep us phyicaly, spiritually, and emotionally safe.  A lot of it comes down to sacrifice.  For example movies, we show the Lord that we are willing to sacrifice worldly entertainment for two years because we are focusing on what’s most important….  And we as missionaries only have the opportunity for 2 years or 18 months to follow these rules.  I want to do my best to follow them for sure!

Love you all and have a good week ✌ :)
Äldste Blackburn
We Elders had to prove our grilled cheese
making skills to the sisters. You can
say that they were impressed... 

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

"Who wants to get in this selfie!?"

Dang... this week tho.  Twas a good one but a sad one.  I just found out that Elder Mason from my home town went home for medical reasons, but he's is coming back out, so that’s good. :)  We are destined to be companions one day. Also Sister Holley (other sister in Jakobsberg) has been having some medical issues for these last few transfers and was determined it would be best for her to fly home and get better.  It was sad to see her leave... but we had a fun Sunday and P day with them.  She is awesome and is doing better. She is a rock and will do great things!  Sister Davis then needed a new companion for the time between transfers so we got a new sister in the mission here!  Her name is Sister Matwaychuk and she is from Canada.  Sister Davis and her get along well and is really cool. :) So those were some big changes!  

 Got some P day action with (no longer Elder) but
Kaleb Farnworth! Love that guy!" 
Mall of Scandinavia on P day! Look who is in the backround!! The good old Elder Scott all the way from Gotland!
Some AWESOME things that happened this week is that Kaleb Farnworth came to Sweden to travel around and buy some wedding clothes and some other fun stuff but most importantly, was to visit Elder Blackburn. So we actually spent some P day with him and he took us out to lunch and it was so good to see that guy!  He used to be a missionary in this mission when I was new.  He really helped me at the beginning of my mission and is a real funny guy, and since then we have been way tight friends.  So that was fun. 

We also just had the annual "Viking Volleyball tournament" yesterday so that’s why I’m writing this now.  It was fun! We had several different teams and it was with all the missionaries in the mission but we only played with those that lived in the Stockholm area. The  Gotland Elders came out as well so i got to see Elder Scott!  Also got to see a bunch of other friends.  It was a good time for sure and our mission President and his wife provided tons of food for us.  I also got pretty sun burned haha. (a quick way to get tan again). 

Do you remember Caroline? CAROLINE FROM UPPSALA!  Just went to the temple with her for her first time... and it was also the first time I saw her since I was in Uppsala.  Elder Bailey was able to come as well and it was like the good old times.  We really missed Elder Bentson though... Another time!  It was fun to see her again and talk to her for a bit.  She is having some troubles in her life right now, so any prayers would be awesome. :)  

My companion and I also have been preparing one of our investigators for baptism in two weeks. What is sad is that I can't give too much information about some people we teach or send pictures because it can be very dangerous but things are going well with that :)  He has a very strong testimony of the Book of Mormon, and we have been working with him on his faith in Jesus Christ, because that’s really what all this is about.  How this is His gospel restored to the world today through a prophet…. What is cool is that he is the perfect example of developing a personal testimony. He put the promise to the test in the BOM which says if you read it with a sincere heart and real intent, and ask God if it is true, then He will tell us it is true through the Holy Ghost.  It won’t be something that will just be a little thought, but something you can feel.  And when you feel it.. You will know. When you find out it's true.. it continues to grow in you (if you nurture it) and you will see blessings come forth in your life and it will continue to assure you that is true.  This is true…. All of it is. 

Love you all! 
Temple with Caroline, ELder Bailey, the Uppsala Elders, and one of the coolest member of them all, Evan!
Äldste Blackburn

Viking Volleyball tournament!!!

Checking out my new car on p day #tesla

My bro Elder Baquedano from France

Packing up after the long tournament

Elder Schultz and my companion Elder Dean.

Elder Loertchuer! (spelling? something like that:))