Monday, July 27, 2009

Fernandina Beach, FL Letter # 7 July 27, 2009

Hey, hey it is your favorite Elder again, reporting from Fernandina!

I confirmed the “Hulk” (Mike) yesterday. It was pretty cool, I didn't mess up, which was good! In addition, I also talked in sacrament meeting yesterday. I don't get as nervous as I once did talking in Sacrament. I actually enjoy talking really. It was a really nice meeting. A new convert Greg (there is a picture of us in front of the Orlando Temple, posted on the blog) talked also. He didn't even use any notes…that guy is a beast.

Unfortunately, we are about out of miles for the car, so we have to ride our bikes almost every day (and my bum hurts!) It is ok though, I am willing to sacrifice my bum for the work! Ha-ha!!

We met a new investigator, she was a media referral. Her name is Alexandra. At first, she only wanted a free bible, we explained a few things about the Book of Mormon and then she wanted one of them too. The next day we came by, gave her a Book of Mormon, and committed her to be baptized. Alexandra said she is looking for a new church and so she thinks this will be good for her. She is really amazing. After talking with her, she is thinking about getting married to her boyfriend, and she is willing to give up smoking and drinking. So that’s good! She will try to come to our class on Wednesday at 7pm at the Branch.

So anyways, I read the blog comments today and yeah lol that’s cool!! Several people from the branch found my blog as well. I will read it each week on P-day.

Elder See was transferred to St Augustine. We had raccoon with Brother Harris before he left, and holy cow Brother Harris knows how to cook! Elder See was scared to try it, but I dug right in! Ha –ha! It was soooo good, didn’t taste weird or nothing.

Oh and it rained so hard the other day that it rained sideways!! The rain was coming down so hard it almost snapped a tree in half! My new companion is Elder Bowen. He is a pretty cool guy. He is from Boise, Idaho and has been out 18 months. So yeah, he will be going home soon.

(And yeah my bum hurts sitting in this hard chair, so this letter might be short sorry. Yeah hopefully I will have an awesome month I will always try to better myself, from month to month. I have never been so tired and so stressed out on my mission, but I have also never been so happy than I am out here serving in Florida! I love it out here!! My testimony has grown so much, it is amazing. And I still have 22 months to have it grow even more! Ha, the time is just going by so fast!

Please tell everyone I am sorry I have not sent lots of letters to them personally. Tell them I try but I get so busy each and every day. Sometimes I do better just e-mailing a general letter that can post to the blog for everyone. Anyways things are fun out here! I am hoping to do better than I did last month! I will always try to push myself harder, because I know it will be worth it! After all that I can do, then will the Lord help me.

Oh-oh-oh guess what? Elder Bowen and I got free milk today! This is what happened; we were going to pick up some really good milk (that is only down here in the South) and so we stopped by CVS pharmacy where it is the cheapest. It is called TG Lee milk. So we went in and they were out, but just as we were leaving the milkman pulled up. We decided to wait, until he went in and loaded the milk on the shelves. Then we went in to get our milk; we grabbed a carton and was heading to the check out, when the milkman said, “Boys put those back!” When I heard that I thought, “Dude seriously you are going to deny the Lord's servants their milk?” Then he said to meet him at his truck in a few minutes. So we put the milk back, and went out to meet him at his truck. Guess what? He gave us free milk! Oh yeah! He won me over… Lord bless the TG Lee milkman!!! I don't know if he was a member or not, but he made a celestial friend in me! Lol

So anyways everyone, I love being a missionary!! I don't ever want to stop! Things are going so well. Until next week, take care everyone. You can always write me, I love letters (even though sometimes I am too busy to write back immediately). I promise I will respond as soon as I can.

I hope all of you are doing well. Remember to always read and pray because that is where I found my peace and joy. Please tell the primary children that I really loved their pictures! They were pretty cool. I put them up on the wall all around my bed.

Anyways see ya later all!! Oh, one more thing. I finally tried boiled peanuts from Brother Harris! They were so good!! Anyways I gotta go, sorry this is not very long this week, but my bum hurts in this chair. I put “Sore no More” on it every night. If anyone has a suggestion for getting over sore bike bum, tell them to write me as soon as possible!! Ha-ha!!
Take care

The slowly getting a tan “Ginger” in the south, Elder Blair

Monday, July 20, 2009

Fernandina Beach, FL Letter #6 July 20, 2009

Hey, hey, hey another week already!

So, lots to talk about this week, so much jammed packed stuff happened!! Ok, so first off, I am not being transferred. I will remain at this address for at least another 6 weeks, but Elder See is being transferred. This Thursday I will get a new companion, which is good for Elder See, because his time with this area is done. I don't mind staying though; a lot more needs to be done here!

Well let’s talk about Mike; he is a 6'5 320lb HULK! He towers over Elder See and I, and that is when he slouches!!! Lol Now to add onto that, Mike is a Minister (well now a former minister). We went and talked to him because our Jacksonville Mission area was trying to have 100 baptisms on the weekend of the 19th. We prayed hard for a baptism so that we could help with our mission’s goal of 100 baptisms and a name came to us- Mike. We were like "Mike? - Minister Mike?"

Last time we had talked with him, he was trying to start his own church, so we kinda dropped him as an investigator. Nevertheless, we were told Mike’s name, so we went and did as we were told. We laid it to him flat out. We were like "Mike building another church is wrong cause there is only true church and it is, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Any other Church is not a church of Christ.” And he was like .....(Long pause) "Ok." So we were somewhat like stunned for a bit, and didn’t say anything. Next we thought maybe we should explain things a little more, so we added, "Once you become a Mormon you’re staying a Mormon and you should try and get your other friends to become Mormon, ok?" Once again, he was like "Ok." So now we were pumped! We asked, "Do you want to be baptized into this church?" and he said, “Yes!” Ok so we were not only pumped, but now we were really, excited!

Mike is a really, sweet guy. He grew up in Michigan (in Detroit) and he was telling us of his scary experiences there as a kid. He said, "If you walk to the store you sometimes fear for your life, because the Street People up there tease and heckle you. They say things like, “Come over here white boy!" The whole time he is telling us this story, I am just thinking to myself, “Mike!! Your 6'5 and 320lbs!!! You could just slap them and their jaw would fall off! (Or, as Elder See says, he could pass gas and blow the entire Lamanite army away if he wanted!) Ha ha. But Mike wouldn't hurt anyone, he’s just a gentle giant.

So by the weekend he is already for baptism (meaning he was interviewed and everything). Yeah there we were waiting there at church, just waiting and waiting for him to show up. Still he was not coming. This whole time I am thinking (his sister is an anti Mormon) so I was thinking, “She scared him off and he won't show or something.” By this time, I was now waiting in the parking lot and praying that Mike would show. I was totally freaking out. Then Elder See and I decide to drive to his place, and who do we see? Mike, just finishing locking up and getting in his car, he was just running late. Then I throw up a “prayer of thanks” to my Father in Heaven and a thought came to me, it said, “Oh ye of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?” Yeah, so the Spirit pretty much rebuked me. lol

First, we had a Court of Honor after church, for a young man in our branch that made Star. Mike is there visiting and such. Then comes time for the baptism, and Elder See is baptizing Mike. I was in the small hallway down from the font, just to watch and make sure things went ok. Lol now remember Mike is 6'5 320!!! Now picture Elder See next to him. So Elder See dunks him, and well… let us just say, “That there were almost was a double baptism!!” Poor Elder See was trying to pull Mike back up and he almost went down, his eyes were popping out of his head!! I was sitting there smiling, trying so hard to hold in my laughter! I thought, “Elder See almost got baptized by someone without the Authority!!” Ha- Ha. But, Mike stood up and all was fine! Elder See got him in one shot! Yeah, Elder See probably had an angel help lift up Mike, cause other than that we would have had a double baptism for sure! So yep, all went well and I will be confirming him this coming Sunday. Ha, good stuff!!

You asked some questions - Let’s see. One was about washer and dryers, right? Yeah, I need to go to a laundry place. It is in our apartment complex, we don't have a washer and dryer in our apartment (but I hear some missionary apartments do). But all is well here.

Next question was about my hair having a part now. Um yeah, the part on the side is a mission thing. President Newman has asked us to part our hair, so we are obedient and wear it that way.

So since this is Elder See's last P-day in Fernandina Beach, we are going to see the lighthouse here that he has always wanted to see. The Branch really hates to see him go, and boy do I have some big shoes to fill. Lol. Hopefully my next companion and I will be able to have the font filled every week! Yeah that’s my goal!

Hope all is well at home. Hope work and stuff is well, because I don't know if the economy is still bad or not. I hear some people say they think it is going to get better soon. The only news and stuff I get out here is if a TV happens to be on while we are tracting to people’s homes. Ha-ha like Michael Jackson, yeah we saw through a window he was dead. That’s how we heard the news, but other than that, we get no TV or news - what so ever.

The fishing is really sweet down here. I see lots of people with these huge loads! This one guy was talking to us about a 300lb fish they catch down here! I hear August is the hottest month for Florida, so I hope I can hold out! Ha ha.

I had such a craving to play WOW or WAR a few days ago, lol but I just kept on working and the feeling passed! Ha, ha oh boy. Anyways things are going very well and I caught a toad!! (they are a lot slower than a lizard ha ha) I will keep trying for a lizard however!

I honestly hope Drew, that you are not gone by the time I get back, cause I got some awesome mission stories to tell you before you leave! So maybe try to be home for at least a week after I get home, before you ship off? Lol But the mission will be the best time of your life! I am already having a blast! Just do your best to hit the ground with a running start! And you will be fine.

Start doing your best to prepare now. I didn't hit the MTC with a running start at first, and I fell on my face, but I picked myself back up and started running and I have been fine my whole mission so far. Just start developing a personal relationship with your Father in Heaven now, and you will be a dominating missionary! I have got tons of tips for ya, so I don't want my little bro. on your mission until I see ya and give you tips lol. But remember you will still stumble but continue to pray and read the scriptures and if you start to fall, I guarantee if you’re doing what’s right, there will be a Hand out to catch you before you face plant! Ha, ha I know from experience!

Tell everyone, I am going to try super hard to find time to write each of them soon and thank them for all of the letters and cards etc.

Anyways, I love you guys a lot. Looks like Fernandina still needs this Awesome Red Head to baptize more people !! So I will go and DO!

Take care everyone, love you all, and please keep writing!

With love from,
That awesome Elder somewhere in the south-Elder Blair!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

More Photos 7-16-09

MTC Companion Elder Perez, "No Swine Flu here!"

Missionaries are my homeboys!

Boys in Black- We make this look good
Provo Temple

Pimpin ain't easy!
Convert Greg's first trip to Orlando Temple

Gator Bait!

The day Debbie got dunked!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Elder Blair's Sports Illustrated Cover!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Fernandina Beach, FL Letter #5 July 13, 2009

Hey, Hey, Hey Everyone

I am sending a CD soon with over 100 pictures on it. I will send it and then if you have questions just let me know. In the future, I will just print off a little thumbnail print picture that shows all the pictures and then I will put a little note beside each one. This time I won’t cause I forgot… but yeah oh well. I might still have time today to print off a thumbnail print of the pictures, not sure. So we will see. lol So if you get one then ya do, and if you don't get one, then just let me know if you have any questions about who or what is happening in the pictures after you get the CD.

This Saturday we are getting “transfer calls.” It seems hard to believe that I have been in this area almost 6 weeks! I really love this area! It is really, really pretty and the Branch is really cool! It is slow as far as investigators and baptisms; but I don't let that get me down. I just take one day at a time, and I love every minute of every day!

Elder See and I tract all day unless we have appointments, (which aren’t many,) so mostly we tract all day, every day. I am getting pretty tan, I’m even getting a watch tan line, (which I am pretty proud of) ha ha! So, we tract all day, then Elder See does “District calls” to other missionaries beginning at 9 pm each night. After that then we crash hard; and if we don't crash when we hit our pillows- we have not worked hard enough that day.

Also, we just had President Interviews, which was sweet! I totally love President Newman; he always blows me away- spiritually. I think he is going to be a GA but that’s just my opinion.

We have a baptism scheduled for the 26th of this month, so hopefully that goes through! His name is Mike Potts really a super nice guy. He likes to help people. He was going to be a licensed minister until he found the missionaries.  If all goes well, (the only problem he has, is coming to church) so hopefully we can get him out, and he can be baptized on the 26th! So if you want…keep him in your prayers, we will be!

I really love Florida, such a beautiful place! The humidity is getting easier to deal with, and the rain is so powerful down here!! We had a lightning storm that was directly over us; I have never seen lightning so close!! It was pretty cool, it lights up the entire sky and everything!!! And it makes the walls shake with the thunder!! I LOVE the storms down here!

Jason and Debbie are doing well, Jason is still waiting to be baptized, but he considers himself a “dry” Mormon. He is such a funny guy, and has an awesome testimony. To hear him tell “his story” is just so funny! He says, "All I wanted was a free Bible; and I got 2 free Bibles, 2 free Book of Mormons, a wife, a new church, and two best friends." lol He is totally cool.

Yeah I wouldn't mind staying in this area for another transfer, it is pretty nice here. The branch is taking good care of us. On Tuesdays and Wednesdays, we have classes at the Branch. Tuesday is a Book of Mormon class for members/recent converts/investigators (basically anybody). Brother Elliot teaches that class, but now he is on vacation- so we teach it for him until he comes back. When I say “we,” I mean me! Lol I teach for that whole hour (7pm-8pm), I get such a rush from teaching! I love it so much!! We read a chapter or two out of the Book of Mormon, and then we pick it apart piece by piece, verse by verse. Which is so much fun! We just finished with King Benjamin’s speech (which was really cool).

Then on Wednesday’s we have a convert/investigator class, where we pick a subject and then go in depth with it. I really enjoy that too! Last week Elder See taught, so I think this week I will get to teach the class. Which I don't mind at all, I really love teaching! I always get such a spiritual high from that!

I am glad to hear the family reunion was not so hot, lol I meant temperature wise! First year I can remember that we had rain at a reunion though. Oh, before I forget let everyone know that because of a possible transfer; don’t send mail past Saturday (July 18th) cause I don't know if I will leave this area or not. I will let you know next Monday (July 20th) in my normal e-mail if I am leaving. But even then, I won’t know where until Thursday of that week (so around the 23rd) so remember this coming Saturday is the last day to send mail.

I did not get grandma's package yet, maybe this week, but remember don't mail after Saturday. And um lost my train of thought… give me a second.... or two... The Wal-Mart card helped out a lot! I used what was left over from the 4th of July BBQ items to buy some extra groceries. I have not eaten possum or raccoon yet, probably this week.

Tell Grandma I am writing down recipes I am learning out here and she can try and cook them for you guys! Lol Elder See made Feijoada (some Brazilian thing) that his brother learned when he severed down there. But yeah, stuff like that I am keeping it written down. I made Elder See a homemade pizza which was really good, but yeah that was pretty much my week.

I got the new debit card and the president letter you sent. My shoes are getting beat up a bit, lol but I am going to keep beating them up so that I can walk off the plane in these things… and be like, “look at my shoes”! Lol They will be a cool keepsake!

I almost caught a snake! Ha, but it was too fast! I still have not caught a lizard yet, their stinking tails brake off when I try to grab at them. I caught lots of lizard tails though! Ha ha! (The tail keeps wiggling for a while after it breaks- kinda gross, but cool at the same time).

Well I love you all, hope you all stay safe and such! My next update will be next Monday! So yeah, keep reading and praying!

The Awesome Red Head in Florida!
Elder Blair

Monday, July 6, 2009

Fernandina Beach, FL Letter #4 July 6, 2009

Hey Everyone,

Still really humid down here, but I am getting use to it, so that’s good. I got to the library a little late today, but all is good. I really enjoy Florida; everything is really green down here!

The 4th of July was amazing! The Zone Leaders wanted us to set a goal for the 4th of 100 lessons and 100 baptism invites! So we went out early and went to work! We skipped lunch, and ended up tracting for about 7 hours straight! We were so busy tracting that we took no thought about food or drink because as long as we set our mind on His work… blessings just seem to come!

We were really hot and sweaty, but still happy about the work! Several people gave us water bottles! We met some nice people, but most were not interested in our message. We found some sweet people and we know that the Lord is still preparing some of them. They just were not quite ready. They will be soon, just not ripe enough yet.

(I have to type fast because these computers only have 30 minutes on them, and people are in line waiting; so I will hurry).

Oh, we also tract'd into this awesome guy, (he didn't want to hear our message) but he offered us water. He gave us some water and then said, “Well tell your friend that he can come get some water too, I got plenty for you all.” We told him it was just me and Elder See and he had this really confused look on his face. Then he said, “I could have sworn I saw three of you guys coming around the corner” (he was on his porch when we met him). But yeah, there probably were three of us. :) After that, we didn't think about our thirst (we had the water), didn't think about our hunger either.

That night we had two BBQs! First one, from a member Brother Mangleson and our Second BBQ dinner was at Jason and Debbie's place. Brother Mangleson was at 5pm, then Jason and Debbie's at 7pm lol. We were stuffed, but we ate as much as we could!

Oh, I got the greenie package, it was pretty sweet, and I really enjoyed it! I sent a letter home with a picture of a wicked sunset! Yeah um, don't worry about sending extra t shirts we only wear those kinds of clothes doing sport activities, or service projects. Other than that, (even on P-day,) we are in our shirt and tie.

We are working hard. We got some cool new investigators this week! Twain is a cool guy hopefully he will get baptized, same with Darrell, both swell dudes. I got about 10 minutes left, so I will hurry (or maybe I can get some more time… who knows- I will find out). Anyway, this Branch is soo cool down here! The area has many good-hearted people; set in their way, (most are old and rich lol) but someone out there is ready for us! So we will keep looking.

Oh, I do need a blanket, cause Florida is not cold… but our AC is!! A little heavier blanket would be nice, that moose one I took just doesn't it. I can't think of what else to write. The week goes by so fast… good thing I keep a journal. lol My mission is already going so fast, soon I will have been out two months, I can’t believe that! I am learning so much out here, working hard, and having fun too!

I love you all. I am looking for a Gator so I can get a picture to send to you. Gotta go though, my time is up. Please tell everyone thanks so much for the cards and notes, Elders love getting mail!!
I will write better next week!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Fernandina Beach, FL Letter #3, June 29 2009

Hello again Everyone,

Last week was awesome! I can't even remember all the stuff I did, but I will try. Well, let’s start with the “main event” and work from there. Debbie was baptized on Saturday, (June 27) and confirmed on Sunday, (June 28). I did the baptism! I was so nervous; I kept going over the baptism part in my head over, and over again, all day. Then on Friday we walked her through what was going to happen and we showed her the font (it’s pretty funny that this small of a branch has a baptismal font when only the Stake Centers in Utah have them), and it does not have the prayer on the side of the font (like ours in Utah) so you have to have the prayer memorized. Yeah, I was nervous.

Then President Newman told Elder See, he might show up at the baptism or the confirmation on Sunday. I was hoping he wouldn't show up at the baptism; which I lucked out on; he didn't show. But the whole time I was so nervous! I really didn't think that when I left that Utah I would be busting my baptism clothes out this soon!

Oh, the reason why President Newman wanted to come was so he could talk to Jason (and if he got a good feeling from him tell him that he would write Salt Lake and ask if he could get baptized in a year or less). On the day of the baptism (this branch LOVES to support new converts; so tons of people are there) Debbie is all dressed in white, and I’m dressed in white. We got tons of pictures of us, and also got pictures with Jason as well; because we are counting him as “baptized” even though he is not.

Then the time came for Debbie & I to go into the font, she had told me on Friday she was nervous and I told her, “That’s alright this is my first time too. You don't have to worry; you just get to stand there. I say the prayer, and then dunk you. It’s all on me, if I mess up we will just do it over again, then maybe again,… then maybe I might have to do it one more time!”

So we got in the font and everyone was standing there watching, but I tried not to focus on them. Debbie got in and I went from nervous to calm in an instant! I said the prayer perfect, dunked her perfect, and didn't need to do it again! Afterwards, the whole area around us felt clean and pure, and it was not just in the baptismal font… it was everywhere! it was pretty sweet! I walked out of the font feeling happy and “spiritually juiced!”

Then as I was changing, I realized that I forgot to bring a spare shirt! Oh my goodness, I didn't know what to do! So I was in the changing room ringing my shirt out trying to get it as dry as possible… then I put it on and started to get dressed. Next Elder See ran in and said "Elder did you bring a spare shirt?" I turned around, (looked at him dead in the eye), and said ... NO! So we grabbed me a crappie yellow shirt from the baptismal font changing room and put it on, because the font water had bleach in it, so if I tried to put my suit coat on over the wet shirt it would ruin the suit.

Yeah, so when I came back into the Relief Society room, Elder See whispered to me "It's ok everybody knows." Then I look around and everyone was smiling at me… (like they were holding in the funniest joke ever). I had thought that my suit coat would hide my crappie yellow shirt, so no one would know. However “lovely” Elder See told everyone about my shirt situation.

Then Brother Harris welcomed Debbie into the ward and gave a short talk on the Spirit, which she would get the gift of on Sunday. Brother Harris said, “That the Holy Ghost would prompt you on different things… (and he went to name a few of them) then he said, “Or if a greenie Elder forgot to bring a spare shirt...” yeah! Well I will say it was a good learning experience! Next time I will remember! lol pretty funny day… Saturday was.

Sunday President Newman showed up at the branch. Elder See & I greeted him and I told him about my shirt experience. President Newman said, “Well at least you didn't do what I did my first baptism and didn't bring spare underwear”. Lol I love that guy!

After the meeting, he met with Jason in private and he told Jason that if it was up to President Newman he would be baptized today, but he has to ask the First Presidency. He also told Jason that they might just say to go ahead and baptize him, (based on President Newman’s recommendation), so lol Jason is hoping the First Presidency responds soon.

I am getting really good at tracting, compared to when I first came out. It is fun being out here! I am learning a lot of things, There is no "member only dinner meal" appointments anymore. We have to have an investigator present to have dinner with members, but it helps out with the work… to get more converts… and helps us missionaries lose weight!! lol I went down two belt loops already.

Lol Propet are sweet shoes, they are my tracting shoes and I love them a lot! I hope to mess them up real good though, so when I come home I can walk off the airplane and be like; “Look at my shoes!” lol

There are sooo many lizards down here, and different colors, and some geckos! In Utah you go camping and everyone is all like “ooo one lizard lets catch it.” Ha, ha Down here, they are everywhere! I see more of them than I see of other bugs! Holy cow though, the locus down here get big! I will get a picture of one so you can see.

But yeah I feel like I have been working my bum off, but I am still so happy. Lol it is so fun down here I wouldn't trade it for anything. Elder See pulled a prank on me, and asked me where our phone was? I knew I had it in my suit coat pocket, so I checked and it was not there. (He has it the whole time) Then he told me, I needed to find it or we would be in trouble. He told me to go pray about it, so I did. I told Heavenly Father to forgive me for being such a butthead and losing the phone. And I asked him to help me find it.

Then I got up and started looking again and it was in the bathroom. Lol I was so happy. I showed Elder See, and he told me he had it the whole time! I was laughing; I told him “You jerk! I went to pray and I told Heavenly Father I felt like a butthead for losing the phone and you had it the whole time?" lol We both started laughing! Elder See still laughs about it.

Oh man, my mission is awesome! I’m worried that I am starting out so good because most missionaries this is their hardest time. But I feel fine! I’m having fun working; I know it is hard work but its fun. I wonder if that is going to come back and bite me in the butt sometime down the road or not? Because people say, “Every missionary goes through their own Gethsemane out on their mission”. But I don't know, I am having fun just being here and I feel blessed to work in His vineyard. We will see what the future holds.

We have to do 100 push-ups each day (the first time I did 10 man pushups and 90 girl pushups), I am now at 40 man and 60 girl and doing 160 crunchies a day. I think just start out small, just do what I can do, Then work my way up.

It is fun down here, even though we are not getting a lot of new investigators, but we will keep trying because angels are preparing people to receive us and we just have to find them. This week we get to try raccoon and possum!! woot woot! Super stoked about that!

People who like fishing would get along well down here, they have like awesome fishing here! Brother Stewart is going to take us fishing on the beach (because we can’t go on boats), we even saw a guy cleaning out a shark! One day there was another guy who caught this massive fish!!! I want to fish out in the ocean just once, to get something that big. lol

Oh, a tornado hit the Jacksonville area (in the city) they call it a Water Spout because it follows the water. It was heading to our area but I never saw the actual tornado, just lots and lots of rain! It was so sweet!!

If anyone wants care package ideas, some bagpipe hymns or bagpipe music (or something like that). Some CD's would be cool but classical/hymns/instruments oooo or some Indian music, which would be sweet. It can be singing (besides hymns, but nothing-hard rock that detracts from the Spirit). Some institute manuals for BOM or Old Testament or New Testament or D&C manuals. You don't have to send all those; these are just some ideas, for what I think would be sweet out here to have.

I think that pretty much does it. I’m still working hard; I mean it’s no secret that it is hard work… like flipping 16-hour days!! You’re tired, you’re sweaty, and no one wants to listen or they do listen… but don't care. It is somehow still AWESOME, FUN, fun work!!! As president Newman said, "We are looking for the Elect people that have been prepared, so we must raise ourselves to the summit above the tree line. That is our goal. I just love it out here pretty fun stuff!!

I think I mentioned that address book, yeah please send it soon, I want to write to everyone. But yeah, there is fun stuff I get to write in my journal every day.
Well I gotta go buy milk and I think that is it… cause mom’s food is still there. We are trying to make it stretch as long as we can, so we can save our money! Write me soon everyone! Have fun catching those lame brown lizards up there in Utah and remember; down here, we get all the cool multicolored ones!

Hope to hear from you guys soon. I love the letters, I think they are awesome! Can you believe I have been out a month... only 23 left, it is going by too fast, way too fast... Well love you all, take care, remember to read, and pray!

Love always,
From the amazing “Elder in the South” Elder Blair

P.S Meeting a few Spanish people down here, and so I asked some Spanish Elders for a copy of the Book of Mormon in Spanish. Maybe I can learn somewhat, and try and talk to the Spanish people down here and tell them about our awesome message. But I won't use it in my personal studies, cause I have been called the English speaking mission; so that is my first priority! In my free time, I am learning it lol so yeah it is fun stuff!

Peace out

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Fernandina Beach, FL Letter #2, June 22 2009

Hey Everyone,

So I would like you to send out this to everyone as a general “Elder Blair” update. People can email me, or write me as well, I don't mind. Tell them I will try to respond to all mails and letters. Some replies short and some long, depending on the time I have. So yeah, last Monday I didn't have lots of time to write, but this Monday I do because last Monday we had to go and get a marriage license for Jason and Debbie.

Ok, so this week was bonkers! Last Monday we went and got a marriage license for Jason and Debbie; so they could get married on Friday, baptized on Saturday, and confirmed on Sunday. Buuuut… things don't always go as planned. We went to Jason and Debbie's house to teach them some things; like tithing and fast offerings (which they were willing to pay; even though they don't have loads of money). Then we went through the baptism questions, and there was a snag. Jason was on probation. We didn't know exactly what to do; all we knew was that he could not be baptized right away. We decided to call the Mission President. It turns out, that if it is a misdemeanor you could be baptized, but if it’s a felony, you can't. We went back and asked him about it and it was a felony charge. He explained it to us that he was charged with a crime he didn't commit. He said that at the time, he didn't see any way out of it. His lawyer told him to take a plea deal. Well he said that when he did that, the accuser tried to drop the charge; but the judge didn't care and thought he was guilty anyway. So, he went to jail for 10 yrs. He is now on probation for 10 years. We were like, “Crap, how do we tell him that he probably won't get baptized for 10 yrs” …cause he knew this church was true and he loved the church and was so excited for baptism?”

We told him that he couldn't be baptized right away and that he would have to wait for; how long we didn't know. He was crushed and thought that the church was judging him. He said that he didn't want to go to church anymore and was upset. So we left, and then on Tuesday, there was a “Book of Mormon class” at the church, for new converts or investigators (or anybody) and Jason and Debbie showed up! We were like “ok!”... We kind of talked a little to them right before class and they said; they still wanted to get married and wanted to talk to us after the class. We didn't know what to think.

After the class, we went to their house and we asked Debbie if she still wanted to be baptized... she said she really didn't want to get baptized without Jason, and asked if there was anything we could do for him so he could get baptized? Well our mission president is calling Salt Lake and seeing if he can get approval, but he didn't want us to give Jason false hope… sooo… we said, “As of now, he cannot get baptized because we follow and sustain the laws of the land. And since he is on probation, we cannot baptize him because it is still part of the repentance process. Therefore, we can’t baptize him until it is completed (if its 10yrs… then it is 10 yrs) then we reminded him, “That our life on earth is short compared to eternity, so 10yrs in the big picture is not that long.”
We knew this would be hard for him to accept; and he lashed out a bit, told us that this was a bunch of bull crap. And that he could go to another church, and be accepted just fine. Then he said, “Apparently according to you; the atonement of Christ does not cover me”. Then he told us to take our stuff and leave and to take all of our videos, our books, and his Book of Mormon and get out.” We told him that we would leave, but we would not take those books and gospel DVDs because they were his. If he wanted to throw them away or whatever; that was his choice.

As we stood up to leave, the spirit prompted us to stay for a little and testify, so we did just that. We told him that he could go if he chooses to those other churches; and he could join them. But we knew that he knew; this church, “The church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is the only true church. After that, we said many more things; that I can't remember (neither can Elder See) because the spirit took it from our minds, I suppose. All we know is that the spirit was with us. I would think of the exact same things Elder See said before he spoke them. We knew that the spirit, not us, but the spirit rebuked him.

We said whatever we said; then we told him that we still loved him very much and the same with Debbie (during this whole time that we were talking with Jason, Debbie didn't know what to think or do- so she offered us some mints. Kind of makes me smile; she's a really, nice person) and we ended by telling them that when they make a decision- to call us. At this point, Jason didn't want to get married, or go to church or nothing any more. But we left and didn't have any contact with them for a while. We didn't feel sad when we left, but instead peace. We knew that we did and said what we needed to and it was what he needed to hear.

Later they called us, saying that they wanted to get married, but no baptism. We thought, “Ok that’s good, at least they won't be living in sin. And that is a step in the right direction”. That call was on Thursday (I think) and the wedding was Friday. So Friday we get another call and it was Jason. He said,”After the wedding he wanted to talk to us about some things”. Ok... well we didn't know what to think now. The Branch President married them. It was a small wedding just me, Elder See, and the Branch Pres and them. After we went to their house and they invited us to sit down. Jason said that he had been doing a lot a lot of praying and he said that he knew this is the only true church. He apologized for the way he acted and wanted us to continue to teach him and Debbie; we accepted! He said that he will keep doing what he is suppose to do, (like not smoking or drinking or anything) and he considers himself Mormon even though he is not yet baptized.

We were so happy! We were praying so hard the last few days, for him to have his heart softened and the whole district was praying for him as well. And it happened! He said he thinks baptism is like a cookie you want before dinner, and when you reach for it, (if it is not time) your mom will slap your hand. Then when you finally get the cookie, it is the best cookie ever! He said that if he has to wait the whole 10 yrs. (it might be 5 yrs. if he can pay the court fines) he would have one STRONG testimony.

I totally agree with that! I think Jason has stronger faith than I do! He is an amazing person, and we talked Debbie into getting baptized this next week. Jason agreed that it would be the best thing for her and he is still willing to come to church, and pay tithing, even though he doesn’t have to. (We checked on that, to see if he can before he is baptized, and it was fine). This 4th of July, we are having a BBQ at their place! ha ha It is amazing how things work out, they are such nice people and so poor; but still willing to offer to cook us a BBQ dinner (we said that we will pitch in with the food) but Wow that whole situation just amazes me!

Now, I have to tell you about Brother Harris! He is the 1st councilor in the Branch Presidency, nicest old guy. He has some leg problems, and he is kinda big too, so he walks around on two canes. But sweet, sweet, man! He has 40 acres somewhere in Florida with his family (mom, dad, aunts, brothers and sisters) and they all have property next to each other. He is living here for the time being, and has some good property here. He has two small ponds; that we fished on last P-day, which was sweet! We didn't catch anything though, lol but still fun! He is so happy to drive us to zone conference this week and always feeds us good when he can- (planning on feeding us possum and raccoon next. I’m excited for that...seriously I am!) But we can’t eat with members, unless they have a non-member there. It is part of the mission rules here. But he has a non-member friend we are teaching, so it works out perfectly! He has the best accent for a southerner I have ever heard! Makes me smile every time he talks.

Brother Harris and this other member named, Brother Kruzan, took us on their branch Temple Trip which was fun! We had to get up at 2 am because we had to be at the church at 3:30 am to get to the Orlando Temple by 7am because that was our session time. It was a fun trip, but they wouldn't let us baptize or do the endowment session. They did let us confirm and witness the baptisms. Still a good trip though.

Then on the way back, Brother Harris and Brother Kruzan took us and we stopped at Russell Stover’s chocolate shop! Lol We said we didn't want anything, but Brother Harris wouldn't take “no” for an answerer and bought us a 3 pound box of chocolate! Lol Then they took us to a BBQ place to eat after the chocolate shop, such a nice guy! This week is zone conference, and he said he would take us. I was just calling to confirm if he still could, last night and he said, “sure.” Then I told him we would have to be there at 9 am so we will have to leave maybe about 7ish. He said, "Gosh that’s early, we will have to stop off at Hardees and get you boys some breakfast." lol (Hardees is like Carl’s Jr. just to let you know) makes me laugh though, such a nice guy! But yeah, family I love you lot’s! I hope all is well. Keep me updated what goes on at home. Hope your summer is going well. You know you guys don't just have to send emails, but letters work too! I just can’t send a lot out on Monday because it is hectic. Oh and on the swine flu thing, I stole a flyer that said stuff about the swine flu and about what you should do if you have any of these symptoms. Lol I took it because I thought it would make a nice addition to the scrapbook because that is MTC history! Lol But yeah I got some stuff to send to you for the scrapbook, so I will send that when I can. And I need some CD packages so I can send my pictures down to you :)

Well everyone I gotta go Elder See is hungry, and we need to eat.

PS I forgot to tell you about our workout. Ok, so we run and stuff, then we do 100 pushups and 100 sit-ups! Lol yeah!! The Lords missionaries have to be buff, ha ha. Any way gotta go, love you all! Take care and tell anyone to feel free to email or write. I will respond when I can, but I really love reading things about home, family and friends!

Lol. Love Elder Awesome Blair (yeah I can do that)

Pictures From the amazing “Elder in the South”

"I'm smiling because I get something other than eggs!"

Tall in stature

Let the good times roll!

First night in Jacksonville, just arrived from the airport.

A thousand mile journey begins with the first step.

The Blair Bunch

My siblings, Drew and Abbie

She loves me, what can I say?

Fernandina Beach, FL Letter #1 June 15 2009

Hi Everyone,

So yeah, I didn’t get the chance to call from the JAX airport, but anyways, President Newman is so amazing! He like..walks with God or something! He is a spiritual beast! His wife is really nice; she made us some dinner with “real” food since we have been having MTC food all the time. Yeah it’s so, so, so, humid down here. When I get out of the car, or apartment my glasses fog up. So I always walk with the glass cloth in my pocket. My first companion is Elder See. He is a really nice guy, and is from Idaho. He has been out a year and one month.

We went shopping today, I hated it. There were too many options and we get a card with $ 140 a month on it. We figure $30 bucks a week for food, plus other personal needs and things; which is not a lot. But we will deal. The area I am in right now is the Fernandina Beach mission. Beautiful area, really nice, lots of trees, and we are set up in a small town.

The ocean is really close and we tracked into a guy that just caught a shark out fishing! Anyways, my apartment is on the second floor and not much to look at, but I don't care, we are not in it a lot anyway. We tract a lot! I bring a hankie with me all the time, so I can wipe the sweat off my face, before I knock on a door.

The APs and the Mission Pres picked us up from the airport. We stayed at the Ap’s home which was very crowded. Elder Perez was switched to Spanish speaking in his meeting with the Mission Pres. Which, I am so glad it was not me! I love English-speaking mission. It is pretty sweet, cause that way I can come home and cry repentance to people in my language (ha), but meals are ok. We have a lot of meals with eggs cause, we can get eggs for cheap, but I don't mind that.

Well the Sunday before I got here it was fast Sunday. My companion Elder See was fasting to either find someone or for them to find him. That Sunday, Jason and Debbie walk into the church (book of Mormon and Bible in hand) and he found out that the way they heard about the church was when Jason just wanted a free Bible. So he looked online and he eventually found the Mormon web site and ordered a free bible. Then he found himself speaking online with the missionaries and they sent him a book of Mormon too. By accident, they sent him two bibles and two book of Mormons, which was perfect because Debbie needed one as well.

Then they researched the church, he saw that the closest one was in walking distance to his home. So he and Debbie walked to church. Now Elder See and his other companion taught them Monday after church, and right on, the spot told them they needed to stop smoking, drinking, and they had to get married, and then baptized! So Jason gave up everything Monday, and has not touched anything since. Debbie had a bit of struggle with smoking, but she has now been 4 days (today) without one, because Jason refuses to buy her smokes. They are getting married this Friday, then baptized Saturday then confirmed Sunday in the branch. Yeah, just like that boom. Me and Elder See gave him some ties and stuff, so that he could have something better to wear to church.

So yeah, pretty wild for my first week! I have noticed that when we have tracked, cause we do that a lot, but anyways we usually park then just start tracking, but I have noticed that animals recognize us. They get all barky and growly at first, but we just keep walking up to the house. People have all these signs that say “beware of dog” but we go anyways. The dogs usually quite down and want to play, and lick us and stuff. But this one lady opened the door, rejected our message; and then she told us about her dog, “to watch out for him, cause he will attack us”. (He was on a chain in the front yard.) lol He didn't pay us no mind, just sniffed us, licked our hands and that was it. It’s pretty sweet.

A few days I forgot to bring my water bottle with me, and I get really thirsty, but I don't want to go back to the car and get it. I just want to keep tracting. I get really, really, really, thirsty. Then I think, “well maybe the Lord might help me out”, Boom! The next house, the guy gave us water bottles!

I was in shock, there are so many small miracles that happen out here, and then of course Elder See's miracle where people just walk into church!

It’s totally sweet out here! I love Florida! We also got a 14-year-old kid named John that wants to come to church! He is pretty cool, his sister is a recent convert, but she is trying to get him baptized as well. He seems like a nice kid, plays lots of video games, has a 360. Um so trying to think what else happened this week... a lot happened!

Oh, this guy on the airplane, he was pretty nice. Talked to him for a while, he was interested about our church, so I gave him a pass along card. First teaching experience! I will have many more soon! This week we are going to dominate!

It’s really fun here. Meeting another guy we contacted this week, his name is Mike. He seems like a real nice guy, meeting with him Tuesday. Elder Olsen (from the MTC) is in my District. Oh and Elder See is the District Leader. But other than that, I don't know. We are just a two-man apartment. My first district meeting is Tuesday.

There is a different way we go about approaching people here. It is way different then the MTC approach. We go up and we have a picture of Joseph Smith in the grove, and we say, “How are you?” Then after they answer we say, “We are Representatives of Jesus Christ come to share a message of hope and happiness. And if they don't close the door, or tell us to screw off…(in a nice way) then we tell them about Joseph Smith and the first vision and we show them that picture. Then we show them the picture of Christ amongst the Nephites and talk about that. Then we talk to them about the BOM and say that “if they read and pray they will know this to be true.” Then right there we commit them to baptism; saying, “Once you know this is true, will you be baptized in Christ’s true church?” Because the president said, “That angels are preparing people for us to teach and we are here to find the elect, so the elect will recognize this message and want to know more and will be willing to be baptized.

It’s a pretty cool process, a little different, but cool! As President Newman told me in our interview; “That every battleground is different, but from what this general has observed; this is the tactic for this battleground. And I have been sent from God, to serve as a soldier for God in this area. I have been prepared as well, for this area.

He said, that you shouldn't have to worry; he will send me home a man lol. We shall see… there is still a lot of kid in me yet! But maybe if anyone could do it; it would be President Newman.

Well I love you guys at home! Hope all is well. Write to me! Tell me how are things; and all that! If you would like to send peanut butter chunky, that would be oh so nice; because I forgot to get some today! Well have fun, be safe, and stay healthy!

MTC Letter 4 June 5, 2009

June 5, 2009

Ok, so I will call around 6 pm (probably), basically just to say that, “I am still leaving on the 10th and that I have not got the swine flu”, but they get all sorts of upset if we say that! Lol so technically it is called Influenza A lol, but whatever.

So this week we have been on strict protocol to stay in our rooms if we have any symptoms such as cough, sore throat, aches, chills, or fever. One of my companions Elder Frampton went home with a confirmed case of it. After that, me and Elder Perez kept going to the front desk to get our temps checked, (he went home on a Saturday) and on Sunday, I came down with a 99.2 temp which is only a slight fever but they made me stay in bed all day, (which was totally weak). But I got over it, so that’s good!

Elder Perez & I took some time to get use to us being a “two companionship” but we got in the swing of things and we taught really well. Elder Frampton came back today, so now we have to get use to being a three companionship again, but we will.

So food here is still making some of us gassy, but I’m used to that by now. Most of our district got cold’s over the weekend (and Monday), so a lot of weekend time was...basically being in our rooms. They are cracking down on that, in fact now they won’t let parents drop off their missionary's in the MTC room. ALl missionaries have to be dropped off at the curb now. We were the second to last group EVER to have our families with us, inside the MTC. I heard the First Presidency was planning to do that anyway September of last year; but they extended it. So we got lucky! lol

Anyway, this past Saturday we were working on teaching the “word of wisdom”, and my teacher wrote that on the board, (but put it as WOW, which I laughed at that! Because I haven’t even thought of that game until now)! Guess I will be learning a different type of WOW now. But all of us are excited to get out of here, and to Florida! We are also scared as well, cause we will be teaching real people soon. We are also sad that we are leaving each other, cause we have all gotten so close as friends. We are planning to meet up after the mission, which would be totally tight.

Since the swine flu there is no more b-ball cause it is a contact sport (which is lame) so we are just going to be playing volleyball which is fun; we love the cool sand court! I am taking pictures of being a Jedi, cause we got light sabers after the first week of being here, cause we are learning to use “the force" and all that, now.

I got my pics off my camera and onto a CD. I will mail it home soon, so you can upload to your scrapbook (and don't forget to put some on face book). Email is a lot faster than writing. I felt like I wrote a lot, but they give me a time limit on this stupid computer thing, so now I have 8 minutes left. I’m just in the laundry room doing some washing at the same time.

Oh as a District on Thursday, we decided that we are not going to say anything “worldly” until Sunday night, like no movie quotes and no worldly songs or nothing. It is somewhat hard, but oh well. Man time has gone by so fast!!! I can't imagine how it will feel in two years. I will be like, “Man felt like I was just in the MTC!”

My favorite scripture just in case the Ward asks is Matthew 14: 29-31 that’s the one where Peter is walking on the water (I think that is the reference, but not sure). Yeah, I love how the Savior saved him and then said, “Oh ye of little faith”, and it says he immediately stretched forth His hand. He didn't just wait, and say “oh ye of little faith” then pulled him up. No, He saved him first, and then lectured him. Awesome scripture!!

I better get going. I will call tonight for a few (only 5 min) so yeah. I will call in Salt Lake and Atlanta the day I fly to Florida. We have to be at the MTC travel office at 4 am so early, early, even for missionaries!! lol

Well take care family

Elder Blair

MTC Letter 3 May 29, 2009

May 29, 2009
Dear Fam,

So another week down, Yeah dad, it does feel like I’m in the army but in a good way I guess. So questions that you asked that you wanted answered, right? Elder Wall went home, so my companion’s now are Elder Perez and Elder Frampton. Both are really, good guys. Elder Frampton is from Pleasant Grove, Utah and Elder Perez is from Idaho. Um… we did some practice teaching with some “investigators” which went really well. We are really good at teaching Lesson 1 in Chapter 3 of Preach my Gospel or PMG. Now working on Lesson 2 and learning to work on the “needs of our investigators”. Man a lot is going on so hard to put it in writing.

The district loved your cinnamon rolls. I got them a couple days ago so we had them for P-day. Also, we loved the mustached! We need another package of them, because we are all going to get our picture with them on! There is 11 guys in our district and we are all really close, (all but three of them are going to Jacksonville). We all arrived at the MTC together and we will leave on June 10. The other three are going to San Antonio, Texas.

Our branch President is President Newsome. He is a pretty cool guy, even though I don’t see much of him. Our teachers are awesome. Their names are Brother Crockett, (and yes, he is related to Davey Crockett. It’s like his great, great, uncle or something) and Brother Chunn. Both are RM’s and back not even a year from their missions.

Elder Calaster was our weekly fireside. He is a member of the 70’s. He gave a really great talk, but I was falling asleep during it sometimes; because I mean… we are studying and working 14 hours a day. I get up earlier than the rest, so I can have extra study, cause I’m on the Lord’s time now, no time to waste!
I liked all of your individual letters to me that was cool.

If anyone wants good mission advice look up Miracle of a Mission by Jeffery R. Holland. It will probably be only on computer, because it was a MTC devotional in 2000. He is my favorite General Authority now. Ha Ha. But what he said, really inspired me! So let all of the YM watch it too, if you can.

Oh, we went to the call center, which is so much fun! The first time I did not have anyone interested in missionary visits. The second time I got 2 out of 5, so that day I was so happy! It was amazing to listen to their testimony, all they need is just the truth of our church, and they would be awesome. But yesterday, I got an anti-Mormon guy who would not shut up. I was so close to Bible bashing with him cause he was like, “There is so many ways to be saved in Christ and the Mormons only say there is one which is blasphemy.” I was so close to saying, “Ephesians 4:5 buddy”. But I held my tongue. Then he said, “The Book of Mormon turns you away from God” LOL (2 Nephi 25:26) but I didn’t say that either. I just bore my testimony to him and then ended the conversation. But he made me so mad. Lol oh well.

They finally opened the gym for PE time; they were putting in a new floor. But yeah, finally played B-ball I was 7-10 for 3 points shots Yeah!!! You know it happens when you have the power of God I guess. LOL

Gosh, it is hard to write a whole week of cool stuff in a letter. We went to the temple and I have seen Spencer! Also, I need my patriarchal blessing, and I think that’s just about it. Time is going by so fast here… it seems like yesterday I was arriving at the MTC! And I don’t mind that you send me a lot of letters while I am here, I like getting them. Getting e-mail set up today as well. So soon, I will mail, but I really don’t mind writing.

Take care of each other. I am sending you my dork dot
Love you always,
Elder Blair (I lost my first name)

PS I need my Gospel Principals Book

MTC Letter #2 May 25, 2009


Things are now just rocketing here at the MTC! With a little sadness my companion Elder Wall went home. I kept trying to tell him to endure to the end and the Lord will bless him, but I guess it did not take...

I'm now companions with Elder Perez, and Elder Frampton. Both are really great Elders and the Spirit we have is amazing. Today we practiced doing "street contacts" with approaching Elders at the MTC and I felt the spirit leading me what to say the entire time.

I'm learning so much about the gospel here! At times I get jealous when the other language speaking Elders are talking in foreign tongues. But on the other hand I would not want to stay here for a full 2 months, especially not after all the things I have learned! I just want to get out and DO!

All of my district are so awesome. We played volleyball the other day as a entire group. We built so much unity (in a fun way of course). As we study and write down lessons it is amazing at the promptings the spirit gives us. We just got done with laundry as a district, and the whole time we were all down there memorizing scripture while washing our clothes. It was so funny, Ha!

Sorry I cannot write to all of you individually, I'm just short on time because laundry took longer than I wanted. I will try next week to send individual letters to everyone. Tell Abbie her card was awesome, and tell Drew I love him as well and that I have some good ideas for the next Blair missionary!! Everything is well here.

Love your missionary pal,
Elder Blair

MTC Letter 1 May 20, 2009

May 20, 2009

Dear Family,

Just to let you know everything is fine. My first companion is Elder Wall. Ha! Since his last name was Wall and mine is Blair I had to wait for a while for him to get here today. The day has been great! I was called to senior companion (even though they did it on alphabetical order).

My first full day here will be tomorrow. My actual P-day is Friday (or Saturday), so I will write you then too. We get E-mail next week. The gym is closed until next week so no B-ball yet. The food is decent, so far.

I will serve you well. I hope we have some very enthusiastic ZL’s. The Spirit is very peaceful here. I will study hard and am excited for what tomorrow will bring. I will write again this weekend. Stay true to your faith and I will pray for you! I love you guys.

Your son, & brother,
Elder Seth Blair

PS They need my first set of MMR dates because they did not have that on file.