Monday, September 28, 2009

Fernandina Beach, FL Letter #17 September 28, 2009

Hello Everyone,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Fernandina Beach, FL Letter # 16 September 21, 2009

Hey there everyone,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Into the eye of the storm!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Fernandina Beach, FL Letter #15 September 14, 2009

Hello from the South!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Fernandina Beach, FL Letter #14 September 8, 2009

Hey family, and friends!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Youtube Star Elder Blair!

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