Monday, December 28, 2009

Lake City, FL Letter #11 Dec. 28, 2009

Hello family, friends and fans!

This is my last letter to everyone for the 2009 year.

Christmas was so amazing!! It was great to talk to all of you guys again!! It made my Christmas day an extra special one! And it sounds like all of you had a bomb diggidy day!! Holy cow we had such a fun Missionary Christmas that morning! We had a huge sleep over (we invited some other companionships to spend the night) at our little apartment. Everyone stayed up until midnight watching for Santa. And right at midnight, we opened one Christmas present each. Then we crashed and slept until about 9 am. When we woke up; Elder Taft and I went to the ward mission leaders’ parent’s house for Christmas day. There was so much food it was amazing. Then I was able to talk to you guys for a while, I loved talking to everyone! You all sounded just the same, then after that I went to eat some more, and play fetch with their dog Max who is a black lab (she reminds me of Saddie) lol.

The next day we got back to work as usual. This coming weekend we have a possibility of 3 baptisms, I might have already told you about them but yeah, we are praying for a miracle! We will have to see how it all plays out. The thing I cannot believe I have been out 7 months? That’s crazy! But yeah time is going by so fast, other than that- this week has been slow (since it being the holiday week we have not had much action), but we will keep pushing down here! We find out about transfers on the 6th of January and then if we are being transferred we will move on the 9th of January; so tell everyone to keep that in mind when sending letters these next few weeks. However, I am hoping to stay though.

Oh and I loved all the Christmas presents from everyone- they were totally sweet! It was way cool of everyone to send me such great gifts and cards. I loved all of it and The 24 days of Christmas gifts were tons of fun. It was totally awesome; when it got near the end, we could pretty much guess them! But neither Elder Taft nor I had ever seen Peppermint Jr. Mints before. But really I have to thank all of you; everyone took good care of their favorite missionary (ME hehehe) this Christmas Season! I can't believe Christmas has already come and gone and with no snow but I will survive.

But hey, I gotta go now. I will have more time next week to write cause the other library will be open by then.

With love,
The totally amazing Elder in the south,
Elder Blair

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas!

May you enjoy the peace of the season and remember the love of your Savior during this special time of year.

Love,
Elder Blair

Monday, December 21, 2009

Lake City, FL Letter #10 Dec. 21, 2009

Hello to all those who are waiting for Santa’s visit this week!

Last week was sweet! We had a blast and it is getting close to Christmas so I am so excited!! We had a Christmas Mission Conference this past week; where all the missionaries in the whole mission came! It was way fun, great food, and tons of laughs and smiles! Everyone loved it a lot! I was happy because I was able to see my old companions again Elder See and Elder Bowen.

More good news; we are working with a lovely guy named Verlon. He is an amazing guy and he came to church on Sunday; and he loved it! This past Sunday we confirmed “our miracle” Carrie (who was baptized last week) and she absolutely adores church! She says, “That she just feels so much different and so much lighter.” She has already made 4 new best friends in the church. She is a really, sweet, we call her “our mission grandma.” When we come over to her house she always gives us fruit punch, lol such a sweet lady!

This ward loves the pace Elder Taft and I are setting! We have had a baptism for 3 weeks in a row. Then when we came into church this last Sunday we asked; “Who is getting baptized today?” lol. Too funny! However, we didn't have anyone this weekend, but next weekend we have some people that could be real possibilities. We have several we are working with closely, such as Verlon, or a part member girl (who is 13 and considers herself a member) named Jordan. We could also have another part member named Brittney be baptized this next week. Therefore, we will defiantly work hard this week to get them ready.

Holy cow it is getting so cold here! I think it could snow, but they say it won't. You never know- God can work miracles! lol Another sweet thing is that; we reached our mission goal of 1050 baptisms this year!!! We got a txt from the AP’s (Assistants to the President) this morning saying we got 1055!! So our mission is just sweet, we nailed it!! Woot!! Sweet action!

We are having such a blast here and we can't wait for Christmas!! All the Elders in our apartment (4 of us total) got each other a little something for Christmas day. And even though it really doesn’t feel like Christmas here (cause, there is no snow) we are still pretty excited! Another crazy thing; is that Elder Bowen (who I served with in Fernandina Beach) is going home on January 14th!!! what!?!? Man that is so crazy, I can’t believe that. He called me and said he knows his flight number and what time he will be departing and arriving home, and everything. That is so crazy- time goes by so fast out here. I remember I was with him for his 18-month mark, and that seems like just last week. Simply crazy…but it’s so totally sweet out here in the mission field.

I am excited and having fun!! "talk" to some of you on Friday!! I am going to my ward mission leader’s home so I will be calling you from his house. I am excited to talk to everyone!
Merry Christmas everyone, I love you all!

Love,
Elder Blair (part of the baptizing duo …Elder Taft & Elder Blair)

PS my LDS e-mail account has been acting up lately, so if you have e-mailed me and I have not replied that is why. Today it won’t even let me open up my account, just know I love all your mails and letters and I thank everyone for sending me mail!!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Lake City, FL Letter #9 Dec. 14, 2009

Hello Everyone,

Well this week was another sweet week! Let’s do a recap: Steve was baptized on the 6th of December, and that was totally wonderful!! Then Sunday, the woman that I talked about in last week’s letter (her name is Carrie) she came out to church. Then on Tuesday, she told us “How much of a wonderful day she had Sunday and Monday and how she felt so free and happy.” I responded and said, “Well Carrie that is way cool. I am so happy for you, but what did you do differently to merit such a blessing from God?" She thought for a moment and she said, "Well the only thing I have done differently was go to your church and read the Book of Mormon." I smiled and said, "Exactly." We went on to explain how this is the path that God wants for her, and if it were not- then God would not have given her these great feelings. So right then we went over the baptismal interview questions with her. She said the only thing she had a hard time believing was about Joseph Smith. So then we opened up to D&C 135 and read how Joseph Smith has done more for the Salvation of mankind save Jesus Christ only. Then after we read all of D&C 135 I looked at her and asked "Now do you believe that Joseph Smith was a prophet?" and she said, “Yes”.

Then I asked her to be baptized again, (because we had also asked her last week) and her answer was the same. "I need more time to study." Therefore, last week we just kept coming by and teaching her, and teaching her, and teaching her. I knew she was ready; I could just feel it. Then on Friday night my district leader, Elder N. and I went on a split. My companion went with his companion. All I told Carrie before hand “Was that I had someone for her to meet.” She was excited.

So my district leader and I came by; and I asked Carrie to tell him how she felt about the Book of Mormon. Then from there she bore the sweetest, most sincere testimony ever!! She said, “How all of this had just changed her life and how she knew it was true.” He just smiled at me, and asked Carrie about baptism. She said her same standard answer. Then my District leader talked to her about the baptismal questions. He said that if she was interviewed and passed then she could be baptized. So then, she asked, “Who do I see for an interview?” I pointed at Elder N. and he said "Me" lol. Carrie looked at me and said “You knew this was going to happen!” I smiled and said I had a hint. Then him and Carrie went into a separate room for the interview.

I was just so happy I couldn't sit down! When Carrie came out of the room after the interview she ran to me with her arms out saying, "I'm getting Baptized Sunday!!" She gave me a big hug and thanked me for coming over and teaching her and everything. Then she hugged Elder N. and then she hugged me again. When we left the house, My district leader told me how in the interview (after she answered all the questions) he said "Carrie these are all the things you need to know to be baptized in order to make sure your ready for baptism and Carrie you passed!" He said she was so happy!!

The new Ward Mission leader here has asked us to call him every night with an update on what happened that day. Our mission leader loves Carrie to death; he says she is just golden! So we called him later that night after we found out Carrie was going to be baptized. He was like, “Give me the news Elders.” So I said, “Well... it's news. I don't know if you can call it good or bad but its news.” And he was like; “Ok”. Then I said, “Well we went and saw Carrie tonight and well... when we saw Carrie... (Sigh). (It was dead quite on the other end of the phone). So I continued… “Well she said to us.... well, she told us that... she wants to.... be Baptized Sunday!” Then Elder Taft and I just started laughing so hard! Then our ward Mission Leader started to laugh! HA-HA!! We got him good!! It was pretty funny!!

So Carrie was baptized on Sunday by Elder Taft. Carrie didn't care who baptized or confirmed her, so I let Elder Taft so he can have that experience. I will be confirming Carrie this coming Sunday!! Lol it is pretty sweet!

We have another person getting ready for Baptism too. Her name is Jordan. Her entire family are members, but she is not. She considers herself Mormon and wants to be baptized to make it official. We’re going to try and make it “official” this weekend. Just Miracle after Miracle... in Lake City.

It has been a really sweet week, even tracted in the rain and all that fun stuff this week! The ward is starting to get on fire about missionary work, which is sweet. It is just so much fun! This Thursday we get to have a Christmas Mission Conference with all the Missionaries in the entire Jacksonville mission. So I will get to see Elder Bowen and Elder See again!!

Yeah the weather here is weird. It gets cold one day and the next is muggy and humid. My companion still has his “Utah blood” because he has not been through a Florida summer yet. His blood has not thinned out; so cold to me is 55 degrees and I have to wear a sweater and he just walks around like normal. Not a bit cold, can you believe that? I am freezing and he is hot! Yeah I love my mission so much!

I love you guys, and pass along my thanks to everyone for all the cards and letters! They sure keep me smiling day after day! I hope all my extended family, my friends, and all of the ward members have a fantastic Christmas! Be sure to enjoy the snow for me!! I will be sending some more pictures today!

I love you all!! Bye

Love Elder Blair (alive, happy and “dunking” in Lake City, Florida)

Monday, December 7, 2009

Lake City, FL Letter #8 Dec. 7, 2009

Hello & good morning to everyone back home!

Well this week was pretty amazing, well maybe a lot more than pretty…maybe out of this world amazing! It was a week of miracles! But where to start?

Well, last Sunday we had a member of the ward come up to us and said that his stepson is interested in taking the lessons. So we scheduled an appointment to go over to his house on Tuesday. When we arrived, he surprised us and took us out to lunch! When we got back from lunch, we talked about the restoration of the gospel. This stepson is an older guy, don't know exactly how old he is, but I would say maybe in his 60's. Anyway, after the lesson we asked if we could come back again, so we scheduled a second lesson with him for that coming Thursday. Thursday arrives and we get there for our appointment. We started off with a DVD. We watched “The Prophet of the Restoration” which is a 50-minute movie about Joseph Smith. Afterwards we were sitting there talking and the thought came to my mind that I should ask him if he wanted to be baptized, (but I didn't because it was a part member home and I didn't want to seem like a pushy missionary) and this was only the second time we had met him. His mom had just been sitting there quietly when out of nowhere she said; “Steve do you want to be baptized?” and Steve replied "Sure why not." There I was just sitting there with my mouth open (I am sure) and saying to myself…”what???”

Then Bishop Ambrose comes back in the room (he had went to go look for some cassette tapes of the Book of Mormon, or something like that) and FYI he is not a current serving Bishop but he was in the past when he lived in California. Anyways he comes back in and starts talking away not realizing what Steve had just said. So then, I ask Steve, “How many times he has been to church?” Steve replies “About 2 or 3 times.” (Keep in mind that they have to have attended church at least twice before they can be baptized.) Next, I said "So Steve you said you want to be baptized, what about this coming weekend?" Now Bishop didn't hear our conversation before that Steve wanted to be baptized so he was shocked, to say the least. Steve was like “Yeah that sounds good." And Bishop was like "Steve do you know what baptism means?" And Steve said that he has read up on it a bit, so I quickly went through the baptismal interview questions with Steve and…he passed!

Then we had our District Leader come interview him the next day. We taught him about the Plan of Salvation and everything, and...he accepted it all! Steve was baptized yesterday! Our new ward mission leader got way excited too! He got everything ready for us; the talks, the font, everything. The Baptism was a huge hit with the ward!! Tons of people were there, and lots of food, and visiting afterwards. It was just amazing! That was one of our miracles this week!! lol It was so fun!

The other miracle we had this week was with another investigator. Elder Taft and I were about to drop this investigator, but she did like a 180 on us! We went to her house (she is an older lady, and her problem was that she would never read the Book of Mormon) to follow up with her before we made the decision to drop her for now. We show up and had a really spiritual lesson with her. We committed her to read just 3 verses and that was Moroni's promise, and also challenged her to pray about what she read when she was done. We told her we would drop by to see her the next day, to see what her answer was. We left her house knowing that if she didn't read just 3 verses; then she would have to be dropped because it would not be the right time for her to hear our message.

We came back the next day and she invited us in immediately. She said she had read those 3 verses; and when she read them, it had also made her want to read the book from the very beginning. So she did. That same night she had read the first 6 chapters! Elder Taft & I were like wow! But hold on peep’s cause that is not the most amazing part. Here is what blew Elder Taft and me away. She said that she has always had a problem reading (after she was diagnosed with something-to do with her eyes) and that she use to love reading; but now she can't read more than a page at a time. She can't focus on the words and ends up putting it down. However, with the Book of Mormon she said, “It was easy to read, she understood what she read; and that she felt comfort and peace while reading it.” She came to church yesterday and we are hoping that we can get her baptized this coming Sunday! Which is way sweet.

Then another miracle we had this last week was when Elder Taft and I were tracting. We tracted into this guy that wants a bible study which is a good place to start. But come to find out, there is this kid in the ward (whose name is Dustin) and he is 17 years old. He is the only member in his family, but that guy we tracted into was his mom’s boyfriend! We are going to start teaching his entire family… so yet again another miracle! it is so amazingly sweet! Then to add just a bit more to an already terrific week, that same member Dustin; has a girlfriend that is interested in the church! She has already been to church and she loves it!

So wow we were blessed with Christmas miracles this week, I tell ya!! So yeah, that is the news from Lake City (aka the city of miracles) from your favorite Elder…Elder Blair

Love,
Elder Blair (who is making miracle memories)

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Lake City, Fl Letter #7 Nov. 30, 2009

Hello Family, Friends & Fans

Thanksgiving was awesome because we had dinner at a members house (the Lea family). We ate so much food we were stuffed! Then later that same day we had another dinner with the other companionship of missionaries in my apartment at 6pm. So we had a dinner at 1pm then a dinner at 6pm (cause the other missionaries didn't really have anywhere to go because no one invited them for Thanksgiving). I went out and bought them a turkey and then I used mom's food that she sent me around my birthday to make one big thanksgiving feast! Which was way sweet!!

I don't know if I told you guys this, but we bought a Christmas tree and some decorations for our apartment. Then we slept under the tree the first night we put it up, just like we do every year as a family. Yeah baby I am keeping that Blair tradition alive (and passing it along to my companions).

We had a baptism this last Saturday, her name is Elise Collins. Her entire family are already members; but she is 9 years old and not baptized yet. So, good news; we got to count that for a mission baptism lol. We are really starting to work with a lot of part member families, which will be fun! Our mission only needs 77 more baptisms till our year goal of 1050 is reached!! So that will be sweet to hit that goal!

We went to a festival of lights in Lake City on the 27th, which was way cool! There were a lot of Baptist bands there singing Christmas songs which was way funny. And Santa smelled like booze and cigarettes and that is what ticked me off lol. Santa is supposed to smell like cookies, pine trees and peppermint, not booze and cigarettes!

I had to buy a cheap sweater because it is getting really cold here at times. One day it got down to 48 degrees and with the humidity, it makes it much colder because it is a wet type of cold. So yeah, that is pretty much all of the events of this past week. So what is everyone planning on doing for Christmas, or around the Christmas season? Anything amazing, if so then be sure to write your favorite Elder and fill him in.

I am taking a lot more pictures so that you guys can see more of the areas I am in, and the places we go. And I made some pretty funny videos recently. My companion is such a farmer... he cracks me up sometimes! However, holy cow we just got a ward mission leader that is so rich! He is an attorney and his face is on the back of every phone book in Florida lol. He has so much property; like I would say at least 10 acres’ or more. So that’s pretty sweet!

I think that is all the news I have. Thanks for all the cards, letters, and care packages. I think I get the most mail out of all the missionaries in my mission! Sweet, sweet stuff!! Oh yeah send my love to everyone, take care of each other, and have fun!! lol

I will talk to you guys in less than a month!
Love Elder Blair (who is looking for the real “peppermint smelling” Santa)

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Lake City, Fl. Letter # 6 Nov. 23, 2009

Hello to everyone with frozen winter toes!!

So, transfer calls have not happened yet, so no news yet on that. We should be getting them today and getting shipped out tomorrow to our new area, (if we are leaving). It is called an “emergency transfer” because it would happen quickly. However, it would be because the original transfer date would fall on Thanksgiving Day, not really an emergency. I don't think I will be transferred this time…but you never know. In my Presidents interview last week, I asked President Newman if I would be transferred. However, he didn't say yes and he didn't say no. What he did say was “That he has no problem keeping missionaries in an area for 6 or 7 months”. Therefore, I don't think I will need to worry too much about packing this week, but one never knows. As soon as I know “who is going”, I will let you know as soon as possible. I might not know until tonight though. Maybe I can let Ronee know if I am being transferred, and she can relay the information. So that is all I know about what is happening with transfers.

I am glad you liked the pictures and the sea shells, I sent home. I have had those for awhile and finally got a chance to send them. I will be sending more pictures very soon. I am glad you enjoyed our little “Elders in the Kitchen video.” Yes, indeed it was a missionary kitchen lol. Dude, making those donuts was so fun! That was such a crazy night! Then we went to the beach the next day for district meeting!! Ha- ha good times, good times! And we loved the mustaches you sent! We had a mustache party and yeah I did take pictures of everyone wearing the mustaches! We even have a video of it lol. It was pretty funny; I will send that home in this next group of pics.

I haven’t had a chance to use the church puzzles yet. The family I am working with now has kids, but I don't think would understand the puzzle seeing how they are 3 years, 18 months, and the youngest one is a 3 month old baby. So yeah, I will need to use those with older kids. Elder Taft and I were supposed to have a baptism yesterday (Sunday) but it didn't go through. She backed out at church yesterday and now we are thinking that she wanted to be baptized for the wrong reasons…just for a handout or something? We won't find that out for sure until tonight though because that is the next time we will see her.

Other than that, the weather here is getting colder each day. I really miss my Utah snow!! There are some trees that have their leaves fall, but not many. It “kinda sorta” feels like winter. But not winter as I know. The days are getting cooler but no snow.

And so everyone can rest assured that Elder Taft & Blair will enjoy Thanksgiving this year, “Yes for Thanksgiving we are having dinner with a part-member family”, (that is if we are still here, and not transferred). And today we have a dinner appointment at 3pm with a part-member, so that will be good! Two meals in one week, wow we must be doing something right…LOL!!

Ok your funny Elder story of the week coming up! As we were out tracting yesterday, we knocked on a door that had a sign on it saying "Real Men Trust Jesus Christ" We knocked on the door and talked to the guy who lives there. However we found out he was “not interested” in our message at all. Even though, we told him that we have a message about Christ to share with him. So, after we talked to the guy and decided he was not a “Real Man” we thanked him and he closed the door. As soon as the door was closed, we whipped out our cameras and we took our pictures by his door with the sign behind us!! Ha-Ha!! It was pretty funny!!

Yeah that is what is happening here in Lake City, Florida. I hope all is good up there. Thanks for sending me the articles about that meteor crashing in Utah. That totally looked pretty sweet! Did anyone find a piece? Did they determine how big it was? I bet all the pieces burned up as it entered the atmosphere. Man, I wish I had been there to see that!!

Well, hey I gotta get going. I will talk to you next week, Happy Thanksgiving everyone! Elder Taft and I have to go and give the ZL’s (Zone leaders) a ride. Well love you all and “see” you next week. I will talk more next week. We just have to go and give the ZL’s a ride…so we got to bail! (Oh and I get to call home in like a month). Byeeeeee

I Love ya’ll bye!!

Love from Elder (looking for some snow in the South…) Blair
PS We just got transfer calls and Elder Taft and I are staying put.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Elders in the Kitchen!



The finished product:

Friday, November 20, 2009

What are you thankful for?

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Lake City, FL Letter #5 Nov. 16, 2009

Hello to all my fan club members!

This week flew by so fast, that we blinked once and it was gone! We had zone conference, which was pretty sweet. I just love Zone Conference, you always walk away with a huge “to do” list both personally and spiritually. But feel as if you can raise the bar just a little bit higher than you have done in the past.

We got a pretty sweet investigator this past week. I think she might possibly be baptized this coming Sunday. I know you would all love her. Her name is Rose. She is a really sweet, sweet lady. In addition, she made it out to church on this last Sunday, which is always a big plus with new investigators. Sometimes it is hard for them to make it to church, even after they know it is true and they want to be part of the church. Rose’s comment after the meeting was “All that was said there was the truth, she could feel it.” She said that she knows she needs to be baptized. Then she said, she “wants to learn a little more, but by Sunday she could be ready!” (LOL) Rose said that her “last baptism” she felt was “fake.” She wants to make sure this one feels real. We suggested that she attend a baptism with us this week. Therefore, we are taking her to a baptism this Wednesday evening, so she can see how it goes and how it feels.

So yes, that’s pretty much all this past week. My birthday box totally blew me away. It was amazing! I was totally blown away with everything inside!! How did you get everyone to get all their gifts and cards ready to be sent at one time? It really was a party in a box (LOL)!! We had an unofficial-official birthday party last Monday. Everyone was like, “Dude this is so cool.” Yeah we had a great time. Be sure to tell everyone it was almost worth leaving my teenage years behind, just to have such an awesome & totally sweet birthday surprise box!! It rocked seriously guys! Awesome, awesome birthday!

Hey and guess what I bought last P-day? A CD of Alvin and the Chipmunks Christmas songs lol!! It is pretty sweet! Before I forget…just a reminder that transfer calls are this coming Saturday. So don’t send anything after this Thursday. I will let everyone know this next Monday if I am being transferred or not.

So yes, that is the update from Florida and by the way…it is cold here!!! 55 degrees this week! Brrr its cold enough to have icesiscles hanging from your favorite elders nose…HA-HA my Utah mates…I can hear your groans from here…but for Florida that is cold indeed!

Take care everyone and thanks again, you guys are an awesome Elder Blair fan Club!!
Love,
From the Elder who loves the liquid Florida sunshine!! (Even when it’s cold!!)
Elder Blair

Monday, November 9, 2009

Lake City, FL Letter #4 Nov. 9, 2009

Hello from the old dude in the South,

Yeah, lol my birthday was weird cause I didn't even remember it was my birthday that day (until later that day I realized it was the 8th). As a special surprise, Elder Bowen and some of my favorite Fernandina members gave me a call last night. They started the call off by singing Happy Birthday (lol). It was pretty sweet! Ronee also called me; it was fun talking to her again! And Jason and Debbie called me and wished me a happy birthday as well! Wow!! What a great surprise!! It was tons of fun talking to everyone, Fun fun times for Elder Blair yesterday!

But yeah no baptism this week for TJ. Oh well, just gotta keep working I suppose. I got the GPS and man, it helps out so much! It is totally sweet. And it is pretty accurate. Elder Taft and I calibrated it in to show us the shorter distance routes all the time. So to test it, we plugged in this address and she took us to a dirt road, the dirt road was a cut through. lol It was pretty wild, we didn't even know that road existed! It looked like it was not used for a long long time. I programmed her to have an “Australian accent” and I call her Claire! Yeah it’s pretty funny. She’s a great traveling companion, ha-ha!! We have not tried the pedestrian mode yet for when we are biking or walking. We will need to try that this week for sure.

But holy cow… we are like going hard and working like mad every day, and still nothing. But Elder Taft and I…we won’t quit. We just got to keep pressing forward with faith. It wears on you though, so that’s why I am glad we have p-days. It gives us time to un-wind form the previous week.

Oh and I have pictures that I need to send home still from Fernandina. So I will try to do that today too, along with the seashells, I gotta send those too. So yeah, you guys should be getting some sweet stuff soon.

For my Birthday dinner, (even though I won’t be there this year), I suggest Teppanyaki, (or you could go to Famous Dave’s). But lol I don't know which is better… Sonny's Bar-b-Q which is here in the south, or Famous Dave’s back home. Ha-ha! Just go ahead and pick one and then let me know how well I liked my birthday dinner this year! Lol!!

Anyways I love you guys! Have a good one! I hope all is well up there in the cold!! I need to get going now and head to Wally World to get us some food for this new week.

So long from the companionship of 3 (Elder Taft, Elder Blair and Claire ha-ha!!)

Talk to y’all next week!

Love, Elder Blair

Friday, November 6, 2009

2009 Mission Tour 10/28/2009

At center with the Ringwoodinator!

Transfer Day 10/15/2009

Who's your Daddy? Elder Blair's first son.

Zone Conference Jax West 9/15/2009

Still making the white shirt look good.

Zone Conference Jax West 8/12/2009


Would Missionaries exist with out the Relief Society?
Spaghetti, the food invented for royalty! (or missionaries)

Is that Elder eyeing my food?

Monday, November 2, 2009

Lake City, FL Letter #3 Nov. 2, 2009

Howdy peep’s!

Well this week was pretty, cool! Zone Conference with Elder Ringwood was pretty sweet. He talked a lot about unity and said, “That we are doing something amazing in this mission”. He talked about 2 Nephi 31 as well, which was totally sweet! I enjoyed hearing him speak to us. Yeah it was pretty amazing listening to his talks, unfortunately I was so tired from the day before (of extensive tracting and the fact we had a total of 8 elders in our apartment the night before). We had the Zone Leaders and the AP’s (Assistants to the President) stay in our apartment for the night, which was pretty noisy, thus I didn't get much sleep. Therefore, I was very tired during Elder Ringwood’s talk, but still got a lot out of it. He brought a great spirit with him that filled the room.

Then for Halloween this year, we went and tracted! Ha-Ha big surprise, right? People couldn't believe we were out on Halloween night, still working! lol Some “more kinder” people gave us candy, and some people actually thought we were dressed up as Mormons! Once they found out that we were the “real deal”, they were kind of surprised.

I have a great Halloween story to tell everyone. We were in this one neighborhood, (which we had just finished tracting,) and it was about 8:50 pm. Being time to head back home, we started to walk back towards our car. Our car was kind of far away. So anyway, we started to walk back, when see a cop car driving very slowly with its lights on, but not flashing. I whispered to Elder Taft, “This is for us,” and Elder Taft’s like “nu huh,” and I said, “Yeah huh.” Then when the cop car got right up to us, he flipped on his flashlight at us and said, “Are you two soliciting?” I said, “No we are not selling anything,” as I walked up to his car door. He then said, “Well then what are you doing?” And I said, “Sharing the message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.” The officer then replied laughing, “That’s soliciting.” I promptly replied with, “No sir even in the Florida state law it says we are allowed to do this. However we are leaving this neighborhood now anyways.” He had this really confused look on his face. Then he said something like, “ok.” And we started to walk off. Then he asked us, “Why are you out on Halloween night?” So I replied and I told him, “The Lord never takes a day off. He wants us to go out and share His message every day!” Then the police officer said, “Ok God Bless” and they drove off. Lol. It was freaking sweet!! I got my first cop car called on me… and on Halloween no less. Boy was I excited! But yeah that was our big Halloween night and yeah it was amazing, one for the journal indeed.

The person we are going to be baptizing soon is T.J. lol he is a sweet dude. We are working on getting him and his girlfriend married. Then we hope to baptize them on Nov 8th (Oh yeah that will be sweet, right on my birthday. Couldn’t ask for a better birthday!!) So yeah, that is what is happening this week, looks to be a totally sweet week.

So I hope everything went well for you guys Halloween night. I know Will really enjoyed the murder mystery party! Lol he sent me two emails about it!! I want to hear how everyone’s Halloween was. What did everyone do? Any great parties or outstanding costumes this year? And all the details on the Murder Mystery. Tell me who had what parts, and who killed, bribed, stole from each other etc. And send as many pictures as you can. Also, I got the Halloween Cards from everyone, which was super great. I sure love hearing from everyone.

Well this Sunday I hit the 20's (the big 2 and 0) lol. Well I guess I will talk to you next Monday. Take care of each other for me, and tell everyone I say hello and pray for each of you every morning and night.

Well let me know how you guys are doing and all the happenings back home.
Love,
The Lake City cops favorite Elder…
Elder Blair

Monday, October 26, 2009

Lake City FL Letter #2 October 26, 2009

Why hello there!

This week was pretty, crazy! Elder Taft and I taught over 100 lessons and got like 37 new investigators this week alone. Our mission’s weekly standard is to teach 100 lessons per week, so we hit 100 and kept right on going! So yes, we are busy, busy, busy! I loved the Halloween package it was pretty, sweet! The little white haired lady that screams and has red flashing eyes Elder Taft and me put that in our car, on the dashboard and named her Esmeralda. She screams as we drive! Good times, good times! Lol

Yeah, we are having a blast in Lake City, our area covers the “country side” of Lake City and not so much the city part. It is really nice here, but the homes are really spaced out, far from one another. However, it’s all good. Umm-good news we are not getting lost so much anymore. We are starting to get a feel of the area now. What I enjoy the best so far about this area, is the country feel. It’s not a big city at all. We don't even have a map that shows our full area, cause all the Lake City maps they have to buy, don’t cover all of our boundaries. Our boundaries cover farther then what the map covers, (so we have investigators on streets that are not even on the maps). Man it sure got cold here the last week. I am talking like down in the 60's. We were freezing! 60’s yeah that is right, for Florida that is cold!! Ha-ha everyone in Utah! But we had a good time.

This coming up zone conference (this Wednesday) we are having a 70 (from Salt Lake) coming to talk to us. I think we were told who it is, but I can’t remember his name right now. His talk will be on 2 Nephi 31. So we are studying that chapter like crazy every free minute we have. And I’m tired as usual, lol the work really wears you out. We have really full, busy days from sun up to past sun down, but what’s good about that is it means you know you’re working hard!! Lol. If you don’t hit your pillow and pass out then you have not worked hard enough that day. Ha-ha! We don’t have a gym here, but yeah we are trying to still work out each morning. But man we are so tired every single day, cause we are so focused on trying to get baptism’s so we can help to hit our missions goal of 1050 baptism the year.

Elder Taft is turning into a good missionary. I don't think I am really teaching him too much or doing anything amazing as a trainer, Elder Taft is just doing it himself. But yeah it’s pretty stressful being trainer and senior companion. It is a lot of pressure, knowing you are helping to train a brand new missionary. A powerhouse missionary trained me, and my next companion was a powerhouse and now I have to be the powerhouse. It’s a little scary cause I don’t know what to say all the time. However, it seems like things are going good so far, so that is a good sign, I guess. We have a baptism coming up this Saturday, with a part-member family, which should be sweet; it is a 13-year-old kid. He is the only non-member in his family, but now he has decided to be baptized. He seems like a really, smart kid. The ward here is pretty sweet, they help us out a lot. I am in a ward called the First Ward.

I guess that is the summary of my week. Oh, and the dogs are getting worse in this part of Lake City (there is quite a bit of pit bulls) and sometimes they are not chained up or fenced in. However, no bites yet, so all is good!

Hope all is well with everyone. You guys should be getting snow soon, right? Oh and I did see a few trees down here that had their leaves change color… the only color they changed too was yellow, no orange, or red leaves.

I gotta get going guys, Elder Taft & I have to go shopping now, and then plan a birthday party for an Elder in our district. Thinking of everyone back home, friends, family and ward members. Thanks for always keeping me in your prayers!


Love,
The Elder from the North who is now freezing in the South,
Elder Blair

Monday, October 19, 2009

Lake City, FL Letter #1 October 19, 2009

Hey y’all
Umm… let’s see… You probably want to know where I am now. My new area is Lake City. My address is 685 SW Amberwood Loop #103 Lake City, FL 32025. This is a super nice area. You can send everything right to that address. I am in a pretty, good area so I don't think anything will be stolen, or lost. The people are really nice and will listen to you. Lol. It is a bit more “country” than Fernandina was. However, I like it. We got into the area on Thursday and got settled right into our new apartment.

We had to twin boys get baptized this past weekend, so that was pretty sweet. Yeah our first Sunday at church was great. Sacrament meeting was good; it was the yearly primary program. This ward seems to have a lot of good-hearted people. The baptisms were from a part member family, and the ward had been working with them as well as the other missionaries before they left. We didn’t do much at the baptism; they had us give the talks at their baptism was all. The boys were nine years old. Great way to start our week!
Elder Taft and I got lost a lot, these past few days. We went to go buy some food from Wal mart the first day we got in and we got lost going to Wal mart and also coming back home. HA- HA! We still get lost also going around our area, so what I am going to do is buy a GPS unit to use in the car. Because we only have so many miles left for this month and I hate wasting miles just trying to find a place. Yeah I am pretty tired of not knowing how to get around, or where I am. I have no mountains to know where I am going and which way is North. It took me awhile to get use to Fernandina and where everything was at and once I knew where everything was, I got transferred. Ha-Ha! I did see a Sonic, and a Subway, while we were lost and trying to find our way back home, that’s about all I know of the area for now.

Man I tell you what…it is really stressful being Senior and Trainer now. I am trying to do everything right that I can, but I am still losing hair over it. Ha-Ha Elder Taft is a good companion he tries really hard. He reminds me a lot of Weston back home. Other than being trainer and senior and getting put into a new area, things are still pretty fun. We get a lot done and work really hard. We are in a four-man apt. with two other missionaries. They are Elder Navertil and Elder Taylor. Navertil is from Alberta Canada, and his companion Elder Taylor is from Utah. Elder Navertil has been out the longest, he came out the same time as Elder See. Oh and my companion Elder Taft is from Richfield Utah. He is my first “Utah” companion…usually I get Idaho. lol.

I really miss my last area and my last companion Elder Bowen. We had a lot of good times, but after every transfer, I seem to miss my companions. I think all missionaries do. Yeah it’s all ok though because I will see them again. I sure miss the Fernandina branch members as well. There were some awesome people there! However, we are already starting to meet cool people here as well. I think that is all for now.

Love you guys hope all is well. I will try to get some of these picture CD’s sent out to you guys soon. We are sending this from the college. We went to the Lake City Community College to use their computers today. Hope all keeps going well for everyone and tell everyone thanks for all the cards and letters. I love gong to the mailbox!! I know I can always find myself a smile or two in there.

Love, Elder Amazing Blair

Monday, October 12, 2009

Fernandina Beach, FL Letter #19 Oct. 12, 2009

Hey sorry fam & friends,

I do not have a lot of time for this email. Why you ask? Cause craziness is going on!! Lol I will be transferred this week to a new area. So I am sad to say that I am leaving Fernandina Beach this next week. I got the call this past Saturday, letting me know about the transfer, and today I got a call from the mission president, President Newman letting me know that I will be training a greenie for this next transfer so....Yeah, you guessed it. I am pretty, nervous! I hope I can teach him well, it is a big responsibility. It might be a little rough, since I have only been in Florida 4 ½ months. I guess I will wing it and just do my best, with the Lords help I will be prompted to teach him all he needs to be a successful, top rate missionary! I do not know where I will be, and won’t know until this Thursday at our transfer meeting. Therefore please do not send any packages to me this week. Just wait until I know where I will be going; and my new address. If you want to mail a letter, please do so before this Thursday, but nothing after that.

So yeah, Elder Blair is no LONGER a greenie lol. I will be both a senior companion and a trainer for this next transfer. The way it works; is that every “transfer call” cycle you are notified on Saturday that you will be transferring out of the area or staying… Then on the following Monday the mission president, calls new District Leaders, Zone Leaders, and Trainers. So I got my call this morning from President Newman telling me that I will be training a new greenie. He also said that I am “white wash training” which means that my new companion and I will leaving to an area that neither of us knows. Therefore, neither of us will have served in the area where we will be assigned too. So, we have a clean slate to work with. Elder Bowen will remain in Fernandina Beach and carry on with the work here.

I am excited but yes, it is very hard to leave this wonderful area. It is so beautiful (even if the weather is not always in my favor) and I have grown so much here. The people here that I have met are wonderful both in and outside the church. They will always have a special place in my heart and in my memories. I am very sad to leave this fantastic branch. Everyone here has been so amazing! I know that I will be back to visit each of them again after my mission for sure! Lol this week (before transfers) I must say goodbye to all the wonderful people I have met during this time working in this part of the Jacksonville vineyard. It will be a mixture of sadness, happiness and nervousness this week and next!

I think that is it, well I know that is the big news this week! I hope all of you guys are well. Well I gotta get running and help some of these members here with some service, so I gotta go now. I love you guys a lot and I will let you know where I am at as soon as I know.

Love (the no longer” green”) Elder Blair

Monday, October 5, 2009

Fernandina Beach, FL Letter #18 Oct. 5, 2009

Hey fam & friends!

Wow wasn’t conference wonderful this past weekend? !! I really enjoyed each speaker, and especially glad to hear another Temple location being added to the great state of Florida!! And of course the additional temple in my home state of Utah!! Woot!! I think I enjoyed Elder Holland’s talk the best, his comments really seemed to stick with me.

Things have gone slow this week, seems like that happens more than we would like it too. We had to drop all three of our baptism dates, which we had set for this week, because none of them showed up to conference. On the other hand we have not as of yet, dropped them as investigators. Seems like many here have a rough time trying to keep commitments, sometimes I think they are just lazy and it is hard for them to make changes in their lifestyles. Elder Bowen and I are praying daily that they will shape up and keep commitments. Uggh it is very frustrating, at times. You can feel the spirit, and you know that they can feel the spirit and they know it, but they just cannot seem to follow through.

Anyways it has cooled down a lot here- 70's and 60's some days, which is a welcomed change! Still hot but not boiling…hehehe! Elder Bowen and I have been playing detective this past week …that is we are always trying to find wayward members that are attempting to remain in hiding or something and get them to come back out to church. HA-HA!!

We did receive some fantastic news this past week!! It looks like Jason is going to be baptized in about 6 months, he received his letter from the Church Offices in Salt Lake this past week! We are so pumped to hear that bit of good news! In case you forgot, Elder See and I baptized his wife Debbie, and we were waiting and hoping that Jason would get clearance to be baptized as well. At last, that news came through!! We were able to go back to the Orlando temple again a few weeks ago, I love being in the temple, it is just so peaceful there. That is one place you can focus on your spiritual side, forget the frustrations of the world, and just feel the spirit wash over you.

But wow conference was amazing, like I said, I really liked Elder Holland’s talk but anyways, I really cannot think of anything else to add this week. The days here just seem to blend together a lot but I love my mission, it is totally amazing. I am learning so much here, sometimes it is just hard to put into words when I write you each week. I just cannot seem to find the right words to express the growth I am feeling as I serve my Heavenly Father.

I hope you all are doing well and being safe. Anyways, I need to go. We had a dinner appointment earlier today with a part-member family, so that was nice. I will talk to everyone next week!

Love,
Your favorite Elder in the South, cooling down now with 60-70 degrees daily…Elder Blair

Monday, September 28, 2009

Fernandina Beach, FL Letter #17 September 28, 2009

Hello Everyone,

Well people this week was very interesting!! The main things that happened this week was that we biked a lot! More than we normally do in one week’s time. Even better news than that; is the fact… that I am keeping a pace of 15 miles per hour now on my bike yeah! Lol. We leave our apartment at 10:00 am each day and return each evening at 9:00 pm. We have 1,000 miles allotted for our car so we will drive to the areas further away and normally bike 2-3 days each week. This week we did a lot more biking than normal. Our normal routine is that we will bike to a certain street, lock up our bikes and tract the street, then bike again to another area and lock up our bikes and begin again with tracting.

Let’s see... we did meet with some of our new investigators again this week. It is sad to see that some of them took three steps backwards from where they were last week or when we met with them last. But, such is the life of a missionary. Missionary work has its ups and downs, especially when you are working with new investigators. Elder Bowen and I just keep positive and supportive and know that it is all in the Lords plan.

We are working with this wonderful woman right now. She is preparing to be baptized, but she has been raised catholic and so currently she is not exactly sure she wants to be Mormon “just yet” lol. However, we just keep finding these amazing people and then other times we find the weird and then sometimes we find the ugly. Lol. This branch here is super friendly and very nice. They are always so willing to help our new investigators. They are always offering to help out in anyway, like giving our investigators rides and such.

But yeah, the Spiderman Elder in the pictures I sent home would be Elder Olsen. Elder Olsen arrived in Florida the same time I did. We were in the MTC together, so he came out with me from Utah on the same plane. Elder Olsen was in my district until this last transfer.

I am pretty excited for General Conference this year because we will watch it at the branch building with the entire branch. Everyone comes to the ward building and the branch members have a huge potluck meal. Everyone will bring food and it will be so much fun-watching conference with lots of people all gathered together! I can’t wait until next weekend!

Some of you asked about Ron. No, we have not gotten in contact with Ron lately. However, one of our branch members will be going to Jacksonville soon to visit him. They are going to see if he would like us to come by and visit him, but we are not going to go down there if it is going to cause a scene or cause him to feel upset or bad. We will wait until we hear from the branch member and see how Ron is feeling.

Our Jacksonville Mission has set a goal to have 1,050 baptisms by the end of the year. It is their 2009 mission baptism goal. Everyone is really focused on doing all they can to help hit that number. I don’t have any idea where we are currently as a total mission, but I have no doubt that we can make it by the end of December!! So Elder Bowen and I just gotta keep working hard and hope we will get some baptisms’ soon to help out the mission with their goal. That is what we are focused on each and every day.

On a side note, I would like you to get me some magazines called Solar Physics or Astrophysical Journal if you can find them. I would like to read some articles and see if that’s what I want to go into for my career or not. I am still not sure about what I want to do for a living and it keeps pestering me in the back of my mind from time to time. Don't worry I don't let it affect my work; I am totally focused on serving the Lord and working in this part of his vineyard. It will all work itself out when it is time. I get to teach our investigators class again this Wednesday, Elder Bowen and I take turns each week. I really like teaching the class, it is an awesome experience!!

Guess what I have decided to be for Halloween this year? Bet you will never be able to guess this one!! This year for Halloween, I am going to dress up like a missionary!! Yeah lol it will be fun!! I have a feeling I will be able to play this part really well!

Oh adding on to my wish list; is a Utah Ute’s flag. Not one of those small-sized car flags but a full sized flag. I just have an urge to stick it to these Florida fans…hehehe Go Utah!!! Yes, I know I like to live dangerously, but we will see… muhaha (evil laugh). This is just another idea; I don't need it anytime soon. Just adding to my wish list (in case anyone is looking for weird and abnormal things to send to their favorite elder in the south)!

I am loving it here so much. There are tons of fruit stands everywhere you go with a huge variety of different fruits. And by the way, despite what others say, it does not rain like clockwork every day, nor does it rain every day here. There are so many awesome things that I love about Florida. To many things to name them all; but a few that stick out are the branch members first and foremost. They are really helpful to missionaries and missionary work; they are very friendly, open, and welcome everyone. It is amazing to see their outpouring of compassion for others. The branch is a great mixture of members, young, and old, short, tall, with all of them enjoying the fact that football season has started again. HA-HA!! Second is that the state of Florida is always green which is good (and bad) cause I do miss the change in the fall colors but having everything so green everywhere is such a boost! But the rain is the most amazing thing ever!! There is nothing like it anywhere else. It is hard to describe, you have to experience it to know what I am trying to put into words. Florida rainstorms are indescribable.

Love,
The amazing Elder Blair (who keeps pace at 15 mph with his incredible peddle power!!)

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Fernandina Beach, FL Letter # 16 September 21, 2009

Hey there everyone,

First off: Please tell Brother Rasmussen that I will not be in the Jacksonville City area this week when he visits Florida. However, if he wants to get in contact with me, then he can get in touch with the Jacksonville Mission office and ask for the number for the Fernandina Elders, and then yeah, he will be able to get in touch with me that way. Our whole mission got cut down on car miles this last Zone Conference (we were docked down by 100) so Elder Bowen and I have been biking a lot. Which is fine, I do not mind biking all the time, now my bum doesn't hurt as much. I bought a new bike seat, so I’m good with doing a lot more biking.

This last Wednesday for our investigator Convert Class at the branch, I was in charge of teaching the lesson. I taught about how the Book of Mormon is truly another testament of Jesus Christ. We read scriptures in the Bible and in the Book of Mormon about Jesus. It was a pretty, good class, and I love teaching! Then Friday (at least I think it was Friday... days get meshed together in my mind now. lol It’s like they just bleed together) anyway Elder Bowen and I got a phone call about 9 in the morning telling us about this wonderful lady named Barbara and her son David who wanted us to come over and teach them. They had heard from a friend (who is a member) about us. So we went over and had a wonderful lesson. We were not sure what to teach, so we winged it. We were not really prepared with a specific lesson because we didn't know what to expect (basically, we were hoping the Spirit would kick in and help us! And what do you know…it did!!) We had a wonderful teaching lesson for about 2 hours!! And yes, before you ask they did make it to church on Sunday as well!!

We talked to Joseph who couldn't make it to church this past Sunday. It’s hard for him to make it to church because he works from 6pm to 6am every night. So hopefully next week we can get him out to church. We are also teaching this lady named Sam who is really, funny. She was concerned about Joseph Smith, so we showed her a movie about him and his life. We also read the Joseph Smith history and she like…loves him now! Lol. She was like "that’s not fair to him that they don't have his full story online" and we replied “Yeah that’s Satan for you. He makes good things and good people seem bad, so it will blind people's minds to the truth” and she totally agreed.

But holy cow we had a rough few weeks a little while ago with almost no one to teach. Now we have a huge teaching pool, which is amazing! Oh and with Dimache and Callen we really have not gotten in contact with them as of yet this week. We are going to keep trying, so we will see how that goes. We have taught Dimache twice thus far, so hopefully we can keep that going and get her ready to understand the truth of our message. So, that is our week in a nutshell!

So yeah um what else did I want to say? I am having fun and I absolutely love Missionary work!! I apologize if my weekly letters seem to jump all over the place, but it is so hard to tell you guys everything cause the whole week seems to run together. We are having an amazing time and Cumberland Island was sweet! I really enjoyed it a lot! You would all love the hiking trails and the beauty of the area. So lush and green. The day was over all too soon. But it will always be a cool memory!

However, the fall here is nothing like the Utah autumn days. Man it is so weird not having the leaves change color at all! I miss the fall lol. I would love it if anyone can send me some pictures this year of Snow and Autumn-ness!... (because I miss that) it would make me very happy! Everything is green here, no yellow, gold, orange or red leaves anywhere. Very different autumn. But it’s all good, not too much down time to look at leaves anyway, unless if they hit the bike tires as you’re peddling along the road..ha ha!

I have been going to the gym with Elder Bowen a lot. When I get to the gym, I jump rope for 30 minutes straight, then run for a full 10 minutes. Then I jump on the workout bike and do that for another full 10 minutes. That is a full hour workout. lol Then I got tracting all most all day, every day, and that is either walking or biking. So yeah, I am getting a lot of exercising done. So watch out, here comes the mighty Elder Blair!! lol.

Be sure to send everyone my love, tell them I am always thinking about them, and wondering what they are up to. I heard that the Blair family is once again planning the Halloween Murder Mystery party. I hope everything goes great this year with the party! Let me know how it goes and be sure to take pictures and send them to me. I want to know who murdered who!! HA-HA!!

Transfer week is still 3 weeks away, so let everyone know they are fine to keep mailing those letters. I love letters!! We have an appointment this afternoon so anyways talk to you dudes and dudetts later.

Love from the most amazing-ness Elder ever, which might be.... why…its
Elder Blair of course!!

Into the eye of the storm!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Fernandina Beach, FL Letter #15 September 14, 2009

Hello from the South!

Well, well, well, this week was simply sweeeet! No other words to describe this past week than sweeeeeeeeeeeet!!!

So to start off…the first part of the week went by extremely slow; not a lot of investigator visits. Therefore, Elder Bowen & I did huge amounts of tracting…and tracting…and more tracting! We didn't find many people who wanted to talk with us. However, as we were out tracting on Tuesday, Elder Bowen turned to me and said, “Elder Blair I want you to pray about a day that we will go and tract, and I want you to pray about which street; and then we will go there”.

That night I prayed and felt like Thursday on a street called Kelp. I continued to pray for quite awhile that night and this was the answer I received each time. However, on Thursday we helped a member move for about 4 hours and after that we had to get Elder Bowens tooth temporary cap on, which took us all the way down to Jacksonville. So by the end of the day we missed the time to go and tract Kelp St. Then on Friday, we had some appointments that were quite a way from Kelp St. so of course we couldn't do it then.

Finally, on Saturday, we got on our bikes and set off for Kelp St.! As soon as we got in the area and turned on Kelp street, we chained up our bikes and got to work! This street is located in the ghetto of Fernandina. There are really humble, humble people in that area, but it is also a challenge- because it is hard to find people willing to keep commitments. Shortly after we started, we found a man named Joseph. He said, “That he believed that God sent us to him”, An answer to his prayers and ours! After talking for just a minute, we set a return appointment to visit Joseph on Sunday right after church. He was very busy at the time, but he said that he would try to make it on Sunday to church. So great way to start off on Kelp St. After that, we found five other people that wanted us to come back, all five were in that same area. Elder Bowen and I were pumped! After several weeks without anything…we felt as if we were at our lowest, lower than we had ever been. Everyone we seemed to meet had a hard heart, and would not even speak to us, or was using trickery on us. Finally, last Saturday things were really starting to look up!

On Sunday (Joseph did not make it to church) two women walked into our little church branch! Yep just like that… they walked in off the street and wanted to know more! They just showed up! Crazy! It’s as if we felt so down and so bad, and then God just threw people at us…, which was sweet!

A little earlier this week we started to feel like we were working for money and free pizza!! Ha-ha!! Because one of our investigators gave us a 20 dollar bill, for being nice to them. He really wanted us to have it and wouldn’t take no for an answer. He told us he wanted us to have the money so that we could write home and tell our family that, “They are not all bad down here.” So Mom, Dad, friends, family… “They are not all bad! Foster and Gale Harris are really super nice, nice people!!” lol Another time last week, we got free pizza one night, and another time when I was driving, Elder Bowen made me pull the car over so we could tract three houses that were just there by themselves. I was like, “Sweet this is inspired. We are going to meet someone that will be a miracle!!” However, we met a guy that gave us 5 bucks. Lol. So that is why I said it seemed like we were tracting for money and pizza all week HA-HA!

Oh and on Saturday, as we were riding our bikes home from tracting (on Kelp St.) a dog got out of the yard and started chasing me. I was just riding along minding my own business and next thing I know, I saw the dog coming right for me. I said to myself, “Oh crap!” So I started hauling and went as fast as I could, but the dog kept the pace and was getting ready to bite me. I decided to veer off the path, so I went down into a ditch and out onto this other road, trying to shake him off. It didn’t work.

Then finally I thought, there is no way I am going to out run this thing. I said to myself, “Time for a show down!” Then I slammed on my breaks and I fish tailed my back tire. I looked right at the dog and yelled at him to “go home!” The dog looked shocked for a second and then started barking again. Then I pointed in the direction of his house, and said again, GO HOME! The dog walked off but kept barking all the way home. By this time, Elder Bowen comes up to where I was stopped. (He was quite a ways off, cause he is a way faster bike rider) as he pulled up he just started laughing. He thought it was pretty funny, however I didn't think so. All I knew was that I was tired, my butt hurt, and we finally had a good day of tracting and that dog was not going to ruin my day, (and it turned out he didn't)!

Anyways back to Joseph… It turns out he got married 3 days before we met him (cause we did drop by to see him on Sunday after church). He was thinking that he and his wife should start going to church. We set up a baptism date with him for the 27th of this month and told him about the Word of Wisdom. Joseph said he doesn’t have a problem with smoking or drinking, and he is willing to give up tea and coffee as well. He is very excited for our missionary class that we have on Wednesday at the branch, and so he is coming to that this Wednesday! Lol

So overall, it turned out to be a pretty sweet week! The two ladies names that just showed up to church Sunday were Dimache and Calleen. We are meeting with Dimache tonight, and we are excited about that. Then today for P-day, we are going out with our district. We are all going to Cumberland Island!! (It is in St. Mary’s!) LOL looks like we have an awesome day ahead of us!

I am pretty excited about our investigators, they are all studs!! Well that is pretty much my awesome, dog-defying week. I am losing a lot of weight. Just since getting the gym membership, I lost another 7 lbs last week! So that’s good! Lol man, I love it out here!! I got discouraged for a minute, but Heavenly Father made my week so awesome…just when I was pretty close to down and out. So yeah, love you guys!! I’m excited for this next week! I will see how it goes and let you know but everyone please try and keep the people I mentioned in your prayers.

Talk to you guys in a week! Yeah lol anyways take care everyone. I pray for all of you each, and every day!

Love from The unbitten Elder in the south,
-Elder Blair

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Fernandina Beach, FL Letter #14 September 8, 2009

Hey family, and friends!

Well I hope everything is going well with each of you! I was not able to mail yesterday due to the Labor Day holiday. We did not take it as a holiday and stayed very busy all day. I hope everyone had a nice long weekend off work or school, and did something fun! Since yesterday was not our p-day you did not get a mail, but today you will and here it is!!

This past week was pretty crazy for Elder Bowen and me, to say the least. Elder Bowen and I tracted in the rain on Wednesday the 2nd for 5 hours straight. And the rain just kept a coming. We had our raincoats on the entire time, but after a full 5 hours of rain, we were still soaked through to our skin. The word “downpour” took on a completely new meaning after we finished those 5 hours of rain soaked tracting! But, it’s all good! Then the next day Thursday the 3rd we decided to skip lunch and keep tracting nonstop, which we did. Then when dinner rolled around, we just decided to keep working and skipped over dinner that day as well. Yeah we just tracted straight through… pretty crazy stuff! But we felt the need to keep working and pressing forward and did not give any thought to food that entire day.

Backing up a little bit to the week before last, we met this guy. He seemed very interested in talking to us that day. Then later said he would love to meet with us and talk to us some more in depth, maybe for lunch someday. So we sat up an appointment for last Friday (September 4th) at a local McDonalds. So we met with him Friday at McDonalds. Let me just say that because he had sounded so interested and friendly we were way, way, excited to meet with him. He seemed like a cool guy and very interested in what we had to say.

However, he turned out to be a devote Baptist who had decided it was his “responsibility” to try to save our souls. He was bound and determined to make us “see” that we were false Jesus' (in his words). He was so confused in what he was trying to show us. Elder Bowen and I showed him James 1:5 (If any of you lack wisdom let him ask of God...) and he said, “That scripture does not encourage us to ask God anything”, yeah so, he is a bit messed up and confused. So long, story short- nothing happened with him, but we all left on decent terms and we wished him well.

However, we have some super decent looking investigators coming up! One of them is a great guy by the name of David, now he is a really cool dude and very smart. I just hope things go well with him. I will keep you posted on how we are progressing with David. We are hoping to talk with him again this week. Its funny how sometimes you meet some strange, strange people while on a mission and then sometimes you find some really cool people! So far, the cool outnumber the strange…ha-ha! Our branch is full of Cool! They love missionary work and are supportive of new members and investigators.

I got really sick on the weekend, lol so I was down in bed all of Sunday afternoon. I'm feeling better now, so that is good. I don’t want to be in bed ill. I was glad I got over it so fast. Now I can go out and get to work… make up for those hours I missed this past Sunday afternoon!! Lol

Other than that, nothing different or exciting happened really this week. Hopefully this next week will be a little better. I wanted to share with each of you a scripture I really like. This scripture really seems to fit so well with me at this point in my mission. It is Alma 29: 1-2 lol pretty sweet scripture! Be sure to look it up and then you will see the wish of my heart at this point in my mission. This scripture fits me 100% right now as I serve the Lord and try to find his lost sheep and return them to the fold. You’ll see what I mean by that. After you read it tell me what you think of it.

Anyways that’s all for now, talk to you guys next week!

Love the Elder who looks awesome wearing a raincoat…
Elder Blair

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Youtube Star Elder Blair!



This was shared by Sister Newman, during a Zone Conference luncheon.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Fernandina Beach, FL Letter # 13 August 31, 2009

Hello Everyone (Yes that means you too)

Hey this week, was very stressful for Elder Bowen and I. As you know, we were planning on getting Ron baptized on Wednesday, because he could not make it to church the last Sunday for his scheduled baptism. If you recall last week I mentioned that his legs would not work and he kept falling all over the place in his house. So we were shooting for Wednesday the 26th, as that is what Ron wanted. Yeah we were planning for sure on the baptism Wednesday, and getting everything all ready for it. We wanted to give him a few days to see if he would feel a little better (and stronger).

Then this past Tuesday we were out tracting in his area, and we saw an ambulance turn onto his street with its lights off. We were so worried that he was dead. So we jumped into our car and drove straight to his house. However, we were relieved to find out that he was being shipped to a hospital hospice center, due to the fact he could no longer take care of himself. His home nurse was there and his friend, so they told us what was going on with our good buddy Ron. I guess the nurse had called the ambulance so they could move him easily to the hospice center. We asked for the address of where it was located and found out it was a center located in Jacksonville, Florida. After we got the address, we had to call President Newman to see if we could go out of our area to visit Ron. We are not allowed to drive out of our designated area without receiving permission from the Mission President. We were able to receive permission to visit Ron. Since we had permission, we went the next day into Jacksonville, to see Ron. He did not know we were coming so when we walked into his room; and he was like all smiles and said “Hey guys!" lol he was pretty excited to see us! We talked to him for a bit and then we asked him "Ron do you still want to be baptized? Cause if you do we can make this work, we promise we will find away to baptize you." He said, “Yes” he wanted to be baptized.

We thought the best place to start working on his request would be to talk to the nurses. We went and talked to the nurses to see if we could possible transport Ron to one of our churches in order to fulfill his wish and baptized him. The nurses said that they have a chapel here and they could easily set us up a time to meet with the local Chaplin to see if we could use his font. They set us up to meet with the Chaplin at 2:00pm the next day. Elder Bowen and I talked about it and we decided Instead of driving all the way back into to Jacksonville the next day, we would just call and talk to the Chaplin at 2:00pm. So I called the front desk and the nurse said that the Chaplin was already in Ron's room, so they transferred me directly to Ron's room.

I talked to Ron and he said, “That he is not getting baptized, and that he wants to remain a Baptist.” I then asked why? Ron said that he had been reading some things about the Book of Mormon that he just does not agree with. (The thing is with Ron; his eyes are bad and he cannot read the Book of Mormon. All the reading that was done with Ron was I and Elder Bowen reading to him, we always had to read to him). So basically, the Chaplin had scared Ron out of being baptized. I have to admit that I was pretty mad and hurt and part of me wanted to go throw down with the Chaplin. But instead, we called and talked to President Newman about what he thought we should do. President Newman said that we might just have to let this go. He said that the Chaplin only has one investigator to deal with and he will be at the hospice there 5 days a week (or so). President Newman also said that we have several investigators waiting for us to work with them, and then he said that we do more a week then he would do in a year. That was nice to hear the president say that, but I am still pretty upset about it. If I had my way, that Chaplin and me would still have more than just words. So now, we are focused on our other investigators.

Good news though, the week started picking up super well over the weekend and it looks like we have several new “solid” investigators. So for Elder Bowen and I that is really the main event of this next week….Work with the solids, they are easier to hold! (ha-ha)

Elder Bowen and I are at Ronee’s house again doing laundry today. So yeah, I will be here writing for a while because I have a lot of laundry to do this week. Man it is amazing how much laundry you have to do every week when you don’t have a mother doing it for you! LOL Anyway I am one with the washing machine…sweetness! I know I said this before, but I really love the branch members here, they are so supportive of missionary work!

So like anything new at home? What has changed, what is happening with everyone? Is there anything new I should put on my list “to do” when I get back?

Elder Bowen and I are not being transferred so we will remain in this area for six more weeks. There is still work to do here, and it is for a reason that I am staying in Fernandina Beach. Elder Bowen and I (since we are not being transferred) are also buying a gym membership this transfer. We will begin our days even earlier, work the body out each morning, and then work the spirit out the rest of the day! These Elders love to get up even earlier each day! ha-ha

I gotta get going my laundry is done ha ha!! Well until next week then- That’s all for now. Hope all is well with you guys. Love you all and know that I am always thinking about everyone back home! Love you!!

Love
Elder (one with the washer) Blair