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!!

Elder (one with the washer) Blair

Monday, August 24, 2009

Fernandina Beach, FL Letter # 12 August 24, 2009

Hey Ho-there Friends & Family,

This week was interesting Elder Bowen’s surgery went well; he is getting a temporary crown in a couple weeks, so all is good with him. This past week we had to drop many of our previous contacts because they just were not ready to keep commitments, so we have to move on. Our goal is to find people that are ready now. The guy that looked like Nick has been dropped (we didn't get very far with him actually), and some of you asked about pictures of Mike, yes I got pictures of Mike that I will send next week. He is such an awesome guy!

I am at Ronee’s doing laundry today, so I have a while to write everyone. Oh, just a reminder that we get transfer calls this coming Saturday (August 29th) so remind everyone “No mail past this Saturday” until I find out what is going on this time around. You can mail anything up to Saturday and I will get it just fine, but after that hold off until I let you know next Monday if I am being transferred or not. Lol I think I might get transferred cause I have almost tracted this entire area, but if I stay it is for a reason and if I leave it is for a reason too. Can you believe that I have been out three months? Seems much shorter, which is cool. However, it is going way to fast! I wish I could slow time down a bit - there is so much to do here.

Ron couldn’t be baptized on Sunday. His health is really starting to fail him. I went with a member of our branch to go pick him up Sunday and he wanted to go with us, but could not even get out of his chair. I had to carry him to the bathroom and then on the way back he wanted to try it on his own. He started to walk, then fell on the floor. He was frustrated with himself. He wanted to go with us and be able to be baptized, but his legs were not capable of carrying him anywhere. It was pretty sad to see. The branch president is willing to let him be baptized anytime this week, so when Ron has the strength we will get it done. It might come down to Elder Bowen and me carrying him in and out of the font. We’ll do whatever Ron wants. He is very upset with his body, but we know it is not his fault. These things happen to all of us, part of our earthly trial, but it’s just so hard when you’re the one going through the trial at the moment. We are hoping... we will get him baptized this week (maybe even tomorrow).

I got a blanket today so you don't have to buy me one. It is Spiderman! Yeah lol got it while out shopping today. Oh, if you have already bought me a blanket you can still send it because it gets cold here at night with the AC on. I just wanted you to have one less thing to send. Ha-ha! I have been growing my hair out a bit, due to having to wear a part now. I don't mind the part so much now. It is looking better as my hair gets a bit longer, but my companion says that I remind him of Peter Parker lol, which makes the inner geek in me laugh! (Thus I picked up the Spiderman blanket today…HA HA HA!!)

Guess what? We don't have to iron our clothes! We just walk out into all this wonderful wet humidity and they get unwrinkled immediately!! Also, I have a funny story this week to share with everyone. Here it is: Earlier this week Elder Bowen and I were tracting and we were attacked by horse flies!! They filled the entire street, every step we took there were more horse flies! They were in our face and in our hair, all over our shirts, and landing on our arms. We were beating them off with our Book of Mormon’s lol!! However, the flies were very crafty because as we would go to smack them on our face, they would fly away… so we would just end up smacking ourselves!! HA HA! It was funny to watch!! Swing, slap, face smack-, swing, slap, face smack…slap….

Then as we were tracting (this same day), a giant black cloud came rolling in heading straight at us. Well Elder Bowen wanted to try to defy the rain (just cause he thought that it was only a thunder storm and no rain would come from it…hahaha) He stood outside of the car (while I stayed inside ) for about a full 3 minutes then boom the skies just opened up and it down poured!! Such a storm as we had not seen!!! Ha HA Ha. It was hilarious!! Oh yeah at least one Elder knows when to stay put inside the car!!

Man I am having a blast! Kind of a bad week though. We tract’d in some rich areas, the people there wouldn't even hear us out. We did talk with a great kid; he wanted to buy us an ice cream cone from the ice cream truck. Oh and we tracted into one guy who has some of his family who are already members (but not him) and he wanted to take us out to dinner right then! Can’t tell you how bad we wanted to take him up on that offer for dinner (cause that day we skipped lunch). However, we fell behind earlier in the week (due to Elder Bowen’s surgery and because Elder Bowen did his rain dance, which he called, defying the rain…) lol so we couldn't stop to eat, because we had many things to do that day. But we will definitely stop by his house again (we were not finished knocking on all doors for that street anyways). But yes, all is going fairly well. Just as I said earlier, kind of a bad week overall last week, but this week should pick up!! Remember no letters sent past Saturday cause of possible transfers. Other than that ummmm… making some good memories out here in Florida!

My laundry is drying now. I hope you are keeping my face book page updated, even though I don’t look at it, some people I find here are going to look me up on face book. I know that when I get home I am probably going to University of Hilo I would like to try astronomy. I just think it would be a sweet field to go into. The care packages were totally sweet!! What are you guys going to do with the care packages if I get transferred? You won’t be able to use Ronee’s address for the packages. Also, the Wal-mart cards are tight! The care packages have really been helping your favorite Elder stretch his food budget just a little further each week. Elder Blair and Bowen send everyone a big thanks for all of your packages and letters.

We don’t eat fast food very often, and because I am not eating fast food; I am losing even more weight. The fast foods that are here in my area are: Wendy’s, Hardees’s (which is like the south’s version of Carl’s Jr.) Taco Bell, um Fire House Subs (which are amazingly good, all the missionaries love that place), and guess what the south’s Subway's Shops here do not support the point card thing! Can you believe that? I do miss Wendy’s but I can go with out for now… besides we are well taken care of by the members here!! The branch members are awesome to us missionaries…the few, the proud, the Lord servants!!

I gotta go my laundry is done, and my comp and I have to go and see our investigator Ron. Good luck on your luncheon mom, hope the missionary moms have a blast! But yeah all you guys can still send me pictures I love those! Ok... well stay cool, I sure miss you guys, have fun up there in the North! Just think you will get snow this year (soon, very soon) … while I will be on the beach!! ( Lol not really).

Well have fun FAM and friends! Love Elder Gingersnap Blair

Monday, August 17, 2009

Fernandina Beach, FL Letter # 11 August 17, 2009

Ok Everyone,

So this week was pretty sweet! We had fun last Monday playing softball with an investigator; really, it turned out to be a lot of fun! Then we had Zone Conference and it was awesome! I always love Zone Conference; they are very inspirational, uplifting and inspiring!!

Then this week we found some pretty, sweet people tracting!! Lol however I went to another area this week (in Hillard) for a day with Elder Saltmarsh. We did it as a trade off. So we got to experience tracting with other Elders. Wow, it was very barren up there, but we had a great time. We tract’d for like 4 hours, until we were rained out. We had to take shelter in a member’s home up there for a little while, until the rain calmed down. The storms down here…WOW! I just can’t get over how sweet they are!

Then on Saturday we tract’d into a bunch of kids in this one neighborhood. There were about seven of them just talking with us and asking us questions. After that, we threw the football with them for a bit. By the end of the visit, they seemed to be pretty good friends with us. As we, left they said they are apparently going to find us on face book (even though we told them we never check our emails there). But yeah it was fun to talk with them. They said that many of the Mormons they have run into are boring, but that we were a lot of fun (ha ha) that’s us…the non-boring kind of missionaries!

Then other day this last week we tract’d into another guy, oh man. He kept telling us that we (Mormon’s) pray to Adam. And that Joseph Smith could not have carried the gold plates, because they would have been like 250 lbs so it would be impossible to run with them. I got pretty upset with him because first off; gold does not weigh that much (250 pounds, I mean really) but even if it did…it wouldn't matter. I simply told the guy "God has done impossible things before - what about Moses and the Red sea?" lol. He had no answer. Sometimes people frustrate me, but then I find so many people here, that I just fall in love with! (Ha-ha) It is amazing!

Ron (our investigator with cancer) we met with him again this week. We had been talking to him for about 5 min just chatting casually, and he pipes up with “So I am getting baptized this next week, right?” Lol, the way he said it just makes me laugh even now! He was cracking all sorts of jokes yesterday, we helped him get rid of some inappropriate DVD’s while we were there visiting. Ron seems so happy and positive about everything. It is great just to hang out with him and help him with whatever he needs. Yeah, so... Ron is a Stud!! I love the guy; he is so stoked about his baptism. When we showed him the Joseph Smith story on DVD and asked him how he felt about it, he replied “I believe 75% and I believe 25% is possible.” (Ha-ha) So a few days later, he decided to do as we suggested and find out for himself. He prayed and felt really good about Joseph Smith! (Imagine that) I love Ron! I wish everyone could meet him, you’d love him too!

Another day we met this lady tracting. She is about to lose her mom, so we set up a meeting with her next week. We told her the message we have to share would help her with this hard and difficult time in her life. She said she wants to hear our message, but she will be in Georgia all this week, so we had to postpone her until next week. We will see how that goes.

Man I love really love tracting! We have the opportunity to meet so many funny and awesome people… and each experience makes me love my mission even more! I just want to tell everyone that I meet about the gospel, so they can be as happy as I am. Sharing the gospel with others is the best experience you could ever have! My companion, Elder Bowen is going to Jacksonville for surgery on his tooth. When he was up in St. Mary's serving there, he had a bike accident and he knocked out his tooth! Now he needs to get a permanent replacement in, cause right now he just has a retainer with a fake tooth on the end. He has to take it out to eat, lol it is pretty entertaining, if I do say so.

I am at Ronee's house doing emails today. She is always looking out for us Elders and taking care of us here. She is such a nice, person!! Anyway so I have a lot of time to write today, (unlike the last few times that I have been writing you). Lol You may have noticed my emails have been a little short lately, but all is good here in Fernandina Beach!!

Oh, man so much fun, fun stuff going on here. President and Sister Newman have both seen my blog site. Lol yeah, imagine my surprise when I heard that! Wow!! They are both awesome, being with them leaves you spiritually fed for sure!

Yeah the college I might be going to is University of Hilo in Hawaii. Apparently, they have an awesome astronomy program, and I think that’s what I would like to go into. However, I don't know what kind of careers’ go with that. Still have to find out that part, plenty of time for that later. Right now, I am in the Lords University!

I am down three belt loops now since I have been on my mission, believe it or not. Those early morning workouts are paying off, (and the bike riding, and the lack of cupboards that restock themselves with food, like we had at home…ha ha!!) If Elder Bowen and I are together here after this next transfer, we are going to get a gym membership…so we can wake up even earlier to start our day… hooray! Lol.

Yeah I have lot of fun on my mission though. I caught a blue tail lizard finally and I got a picture of it! So now, you guys can see something other than those ugly brown ones in Utah! I have also ran into a few banana spiders down here. (Drew I can hear you laughing from here!!) Their webs are so strong you can pull it back like a string and flick it. It feels like a fishing line, but not as strong. I will get a picture of that as well for everyone. Another thing; I went to the beach early in the morning recently. I went early so no one was there and we got tons of seashells!! I will be sending home a jar full! Another thing you can find on the beach are shark teeth at times. So I will try to find those and send some home.

And guess what? I don't know if I told you guys this, but we have a dishwasher! Yeah, yeah lol fun, fun stuff! We still have to rinse our dishes first, because our dishwasher is not the best… but we still have one lol ha ha!! So other than that I think all is good. That is all the new news I can think of. I’m sorry that my last couple weeks of e-mails have been so short, but I get super busy and have to rush sometimes. The length depends on the day, but today I have lots of time, so I am catching you up on everything. So now you are up to date on the Fernandina happenings!! lol

Well take care family, friends and everyone!! I love, love, love all your letters!!

I really love all you guys!! Take care!!

Elder “Yankee in the South” Blair

Friday, August 14, 2009

MTC Memories

The beginings of a Super Hero

Enter Here!

Elder Blair's District

See more of Elder Blair's MTC Memories here

Monday, August 10, 2009

Fernandina Beach, FL Letter #10 August 10, 2009

Hey there everyone,

Hey people, how’s everything there in your little section of the USA? I am still having a blast here in hot & humid Florida. I just keep loving my mission more and more with each passing day. The other day Elder Bowen and I were tracting down a new street. Well we tract to this house, knocked and no one answered. So we went onto the next house, thinking they were not at home. About 15 minutes later, we noticed this guy coming out of his house (the first door we knocked on a little while earlier) going to his mailbox. I ran as fast as I could back over to his yard and gave him a lesson by his mailbox!! HA HA The look on his face was so hysterically funny.

I started talking to him about Christ visiting the Americas and the guy said that he was a Spanish Indian, and then stormed off - but anyways that was just something funny that happened, seeing the look on his face was well worth the quick dash back up the street to preach and testify at his mailbox!

We have also had some sad news today about Ron. Remember I mentioned him last week. Well he received word by his doctor that his cancer is not curable and all they could do for him at this point was put him on some heavy meds. And because of those, they said that he couldn’t drive anymore. Ron still really wants to be baptized. Our branch here is really awesome, they are always offering to give him rides and such, helping him in any way that he needs. Keep him in your prayers.

We had another awesome storm here this week and I got amazing pictures, just wait until you see these bad boys!!! You’re going to wish you had been here in person to witness this storm for yourselves. Don’t despair, because I was and I captured it all on film!! Ha!

I can’t write much, my time is shorter today because Elder Bowen & I have to go play some soft ball to fellowship an investigator we have been working with. I know, I know, wish it was basketball or football, but not so lucky…this investigator is really into softball…so softball it is! But listen here is what I will do, I will send a hand written letter later to fill you guys in more great happenings in the wonderful area of Fernandina Beach. Oh yeah I got a Disney Pixar greatest hits CD today, it was sweet! Anyways yeah, I will have to write a letter because I am short on time right now, I have a softball that is calling my name, sorta wish it wasn’t …but it is!

Take care everyone glad to hear you’re all doing great and enjoying the summer! August is hot, hot and then hotter in Florida, but I am a survivor…lol

A Ginger for life!
Elder Blair

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Fernandina Beach, FL Letter # 9 August 5, 2009

Hey there, it’s me-

Sorry for the crappy e-mail I sent earlier this week. When I tried to send it the first time, the internet crashed. I attempted to start to write it all over again, but I didn’t have the time so I just wrote a quick e-mail. I am hoping that this letter makes up for that e-mail.

This week as I said, was slow, but still fun. We tract’d a bunch in a place where not a lot of missionaries go, cause it is too far away for their monthly miles. But we made the trip. The first five doors we knocked on, we had all five agree to have us come by and teach them a little more at a later appointment. One of those guys was Ron! For each person that we actually talked with, we must have spent at least a half hour with each. Ron invited us inside and we talked with him for an hour and a half. However, all of those appointments fell through except Ron, and we are still working with him.

I love the people here especially in the ghetto. As we drive by, I wave to everyone and they all wave back. It is pretty funny, when some actually wave back- they have a totally confused look on their face… "like who was that person waving to me?” Oh, there was a cool guy we met while tracting. He seemed really excited when he spoke to us, but he said, “Guys I have a deadline, soon, so I can’t talk. But how about some bottled water?” Then he gave us the two thumbs up sign. So, we said, “Sure” and he was like “Darrrrn right!” We waited while he came back with a bottle of sweet tea and a Sprite. He told us he was out of bottled water. We told him that we could not drink tea so he kept offering us peanut butter crackers and Sprite. So finally, I took the Sprite and he was like “Alriiiight!!” It was pretty funny. That guy made our day! We are going back to him sometime next week because he is fun and open to us.

We also started to tract some apartments that said “No soliciting,” but we really are not selling anything, (however we don’t want to cause contention) so we would sneak around like Link sneaking into Hyrulle castle in the N64 version, lol it was fun! At these same apartments, we ran into a lady who looked very young. So I asked if her parents were home. She said she was 21 and lived by herself. lol. We all had a good laugh and ended up talking to her for an hour. We are planning to go back to see if she kept up with the reading of 3 Nephi 11.

Ya there is this other lady we are teaching (that I don’t know if I told you about in my e-mail) she is a Baptist that believes in the Godhead, so we were like “sweet, she is golden.” We were reading our Articles of Faith off to her, and she got excited to know that we believe in the gift of tongues (cause she said, "That sometimes when she prays she starts praying in English then starts to switch into the language of Jesus). While we were teaching her, we noticed someone pulling up into her driveway. The lady got out and came up to the door, came inside and sat down (apparently, this lady was her pastor!) So I thought, “Oh crap”. I proceeded to get out my scriptures, because until this point we were just talking to her, not reading scriptures. But if her pastor wanted to throw down and bash, then I was ready (even though I do not like bashing). I have done it before and usually I will try to avoid it, but I did not want her to shake our investigators faith about our church.

The Pastor didn’t want to bash, but she did tell us that she has the gift of Prophecy. She said that she could look straight through us and tell that we we’re believers! I thought to myself, “Well it is not like our badges on our shirts don’t give it away or anything. Nor the scriptures in our hands that might say we are believers, but it is her gift of prophecy that told her that". (he-he) We thought that was funny! Yeah that was my fun filled week! But other than that, whenever you guys get more pictures I would love to have some pictures of everyone! I have a little photo album here that I am starting. Also please send me some of Debbie’s baptism too, so I can put those in my album as well. Well I think that does it for now.

Love you guys!
Elder Blair

PS I would like some books called the “Missionary Library”. They are Jesus the Christ, True to the Faith, Our Search for Happiness and another one called, The Great Apostasy” I think those would be cool to have and use out here.

I finally decided what I want to study for college. I would like to do astronomy I just think that would be cool. But yeah just thought I would throw that in there. Ok bye….

LOL one more thing... I have Elder See’s new address! So yeah, if you want to write to him he would like that. Tell him that I miss him. And if you could… also scrounge up some cool Disney soundtracks like Hercules, Mulan, Quest for Camelot, or Lion King (you know - the classics). I am allowed those types of CD’s because that don’t drive away the spirit and we can play it here on our little CD player. Lol ok now I am done…for real!

Love you guys!!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Fernandina Beach, FL Letter # 8 August 3, 2009

Hey peep’s

Hey there, so not a lot happened this week. We had a lot of appointments set up, but they fell through. We might have a cool guy lined up for this week though. His name is Ron. He is recovering from cancer. He has been going through cancer treatments for the past 3 years. He is a real nice man; he tends to be somewhat slow at times, mostly due to his medications he has to take. He was our bright point, because other than that, the other appointments as I said fell through. Lol

I wrote a big email earlier. But it just got totally erased on these crazy computers. So I will try to write it again but I don't think I will have everything in it, as I did the first time. Please don't send packages UPS unless it is something you don't have to sign for, cause it seems like a lot of missionaries are having problems with the UPS signing requirement. This week has been really, really slow. Most of our appointments fell through. So nothing really happened. Sorry, I’ve not got much to talk about this week.

Elder Bowen and I are still having a blast together! Ha, ha, We have been getting a lot of rain lately, more than usual for Florida- I think, but all is well.

I will keep you informed if anything else comes up, but I gotta get going now, my time is up. I will try to write a better email next week, sorry. It has been a very hectic day.

I love you guys!!

Bye from your favorite Elder,
Elder Blair