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)