Monday, December 28, 2009

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

Hello family, friends and fans!

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas!

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

Elder Blair

Monday, December 21, 2009

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, December 14, 2009

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

Hello Everyone,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I love you all!! Bye

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

Monday, December 7, 2009

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

Hello & good morning to everyone back home!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Elder Blair (who is making miracle memories)

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

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

Hello Family, Friends & Fans

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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