Monday, October 17, 2016

Reindeer herders and the power of persistence...


This week was one to remember! We started off the week by driving to a place called “Lappland”.  It’s where some of the "native Swedish" tribe are from. They are called Sami and there main job is to herd Reindeer and they travel around the north doing this. They are similar to the Native American Indians, or the Alaskan Eskimos.  We drove a few hours to get there on P day because we would be teaching a bible class that night for a group of investigators. 

On the way we came across one of the largest river rapids in Northern Europe. So we took a pit stop on this P day and got some awesome pictures. We went with the other Elders here in Umeå so it was a good time and the Bible class went well!  We taught them about our church and how the Book of Mormon is the Word of God together with the Bible and they loved it! They all accepted a Book of Mormon and agreed to read and pray about it. 

The area is so pretty as we drove up there, as well as the area where the meeting was.  That was the first time I have seen legit mountains on my mission and it was gorgeous!  These huge trees surrounding big bodies of water, pretty much like Umeå where we live but more intense out in this place because we were out in the middle of no where! 

As the week continued Elder Jensen and I had some more good things happen, but before that we went on splits with the Örnköldsvik Elders (Elders Jämsä and Hawkins) Elder Jämsä was my old companion on Gotland and it was fun to work with him again!  They are about an hour and a half drive a away south of us, and the drive is equally as beautiful. That night Elder Jämsä and I were teaching one of their investigators and she wants to be baptized next month! wohoo!  Then after the days work, Elder Jämsä and I were driving home for some dinner, and got a text from my companion who was still up in my city (Umeå) saying the Northern lights where way strong!  We looked out our window and there was nothing yet but a haze of light in the sky because the lights hadn’t made their way down to our city yet.  So we found a really dark place in a field and brought our guitars. We took time out of our dinner to look at the Northern lights and jam some sweet hymns with our guitars under the northern lights.

As the week continued.. One really cool thing that happened was that there is a man that we have been trying to teach who has had it really hard in his life.  He was a member a while ago and a bunch of stuff happened with his family and he then got heavy into drugs and alcohol. Elder Jensen and I swung by to see him about 3 weeks ago and we met with him for a bit and it was a very spiritual lesson.  He is almost always drunk but has stopped the drugs.  Our last visit a few weeks ago ended with us saying we would come back and go to church with him.  He stopped answering our calls for a few weeks but Elder Jensen and I both had a very strong impression that we needed to help him and how now is the time he needs to come back. 

So we went by his home last week and knocked on his door. No answer ... And then 3 more times spaced out, no answer.  We were about to walk away when I felt we should say a quick prayer.  I asked Heavenly father to bless this man with the strength he needs to overcome his trials and that he would open the door for us, asking in the strongest faith we had.  We told God that this was in His hands. 

Puppies of some investigators!!
When we finished the prayer, we knocked again and we heard a raspy voice from the other side of the door.  He asked who it was and we said, "The missionaries!" and he said "What?" and we said, "your friends!"  So he opened the door and we said we would come back the next day because he said he was busy.  We came back the next day and he had a friend there.  We began to talk to him about how through Christ anyone can be changed.  We then asked the friend if he would like to sit down and talk with us as well and he did.  We taught him about the Book of Mormon and he wants to learn more! So we are going back tonight to teach them both. 
Winter is coming....

The thing is.. Both of these men think that they are of no worth because of the things they have done in their lives or because of what they have been through... But they don’t fully understand the love of God...  No one really can, but we can do our best to help them understand that Christ is always there and wants to help us and for us to be on his side.  Not tomorrow or the next day... But today.  This church is true and we are in the right place. :)
Love you all and have a good week!
Äldste Blackburn

(This picture cracks me up... This is inside an Old Swedish church)

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