Monday, December 27, 2010

Starke, FL Letter #21 Dec. 27, 2010

Hey family & friends,
Well Christmas was super fun this year! In the morning we went to see the Baker family and visited with them and then from there we biked over to Sister Gainey's house; where we had some of the best food ever made! ha ha.

It was super fun and it was really awesome to talk to ya'll on Skype this year! Elder Lewis and I really enjoyed our Christmas presents this year. Sister Gainey surprised me and got me a Utes tie! I also got some awesome shirts and a Utah Utes wristband from some sweet members.
I love it so much out here; this area has become my family! I have met so many awesome people out here on my mission and had such awesome experiences. It has left a huge impression on me, and memories I will treasure for a life time.

Yesterday Elder Lewis and I were sitting in church when one of the youth came in and told us there was “snow” outside. We of course thought he was just pulling our leg so we didn't budge. However after much persisting… we finally went to the doors and looked outside and it was snowing!!! We couldn't believe it!! We just stood there in awe and amazement and then I stuck out my tongue and caught a Florida snowflake! Yeah buddy!! A dream come true for Elder Blair to see some sweet snow in Florida.

And on a side note, we have received our next year’s goals! Our mission goal is 900 baptisms and 80% retention. For 2011 we are trying to focus on keeping our converts solid and active in the church this year!! So Elder Lewis and I will be giving it our all in 2011 and doing our part for the 900 baptisms and 80% retention!!

Well that’s the update from Florida this week. Love ya'll, stay safe and be sure to set some awesome New Year’s goals!!

Love Elder Blair (Who dreamed of a white Christmas and got it…a day late…but enjoyed it anyway!!)

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas everyone!


Elder Blair

Monday, December 20, 2010

Starke, FL Letter #20 Dec. 20, 2010

Well fans of Elder Blair…

This week was... once again…. Absolutely….Amazing!!
We had so much fun stuff happening this last week, I won’t even try to write it all down, but here are a few highlights! First Elder Lewis & I made totally sweet Christmas cards and started passing them out to people we knew!! Also this week we decided to save on miles on the car, so committed to walking everywhere for a whole week. Yep, we walked everywhere! It honestly was super exciting to walk everywhere we needed to go. And as we walked, we talked with everyone that we met. We talked about the gospel, our Savior and talked about! is really such a sweet way to share the Gospel.

In addition, to all the other wonderful happenings this last week…(Better, sit down for this one…) This year Elder Lewis and I sang in the church choir for Christmas!! Yeah yours truly joined the ward choir and sang in the Christmas Program. Elder Lewis sang too…even though he doesn’t like Christmas music. Ha-ha, it was a way, way sweet Sacrament meeting! We sang tons and tons of songs!! This then in turn…put me over the top and super in the mood for Christmas!! I loved it!!

Then last week we also had the Christmas Zone Conference where I got to see Elder Day again and Elder Bass along with all of my mission friends!! I really loved all the letters from everyone, it was super sweet to hear from ya’ll! Be sure to tell everyone that Elder Blair was totally surprised to have so many Christmas letters to read during our Christmas Zone Conference!! During the Zone Conference, I saw so many people that I don't even know. Our mission has tons and tons of new missionaries coming in now. It was weird to have so many now that I don’t even know… it was crazy! It was as always-super fun and we had awesome food! It’s always good times when a bunch of missionaries all get together to celebrate anything!!

I can't wait for Christmas day!! Elder Lewis & I are planning on going to Sister Gainey's house this Christmas!! Man I am so excited!! Christmas Day can’t arrive soon enough; we are looking forward to Saturday and hoping that Santa can find his way to the back woods of Starke to visit Elders Lewis and Blair.

Well I should be talking to ya’ll soon… just 5 more days…according to the calendar on the wall! Until then peeps...dream of candy canes and reindeer!!I gotta get running, talk to you soon!

Well tons of love from
Elder Blair (Who really did sing in the Christmas choir...cross my heart…lol!!)

Monday, December 13, 2010

Starke, FL Letter #19 Dec. 13, 2010

Hey, hey, hey ya'll back home!

This last week has been really fun! Last Tuesday, was a super awesome day! All the missionaries got to attend transfer meeting even if they were not being transferred. So we went into Jacksonville where we were able to see all of the departing missionaries and say a few goodbyes. We also had a chance to hear each of the missionaries (who were going home) bare their testimony, (during transfer meeting) which was very impacting. It was nice because we got to say goodbye and take a few pictures one last time. In addition, I also got to see Elder Day there as well! He has now been transferred to Orange Park where he is Senior Companion! Oh yeah, my little boy is growing up so fast! Ha-ha!! I am a proud dad! And even better news- this coming week I will see him again for a few hours, because we are all getting together (the entire mission) for the Christmas Devotional on the 16th! So I am super stoked for that!

This past week we had the opportunity to go caroling with some members to some part members and less active members’ homes. It was great, we also gave them a tray of goodies and homemade treats! That was super fun! We went with Bishop and his family, and then The Canova's (and several other ward families). The Christmas caroling song book came in handy that you sent-Ha-ha! And then on Saturday we had the Ward Christmas Party!! Which was super fun!! Man there was so much food there!! We had a blast and Elder Lewis & I also used that as a “finding opportunity” because we had a less active family show up, and two investigators show up as well! That makes for a great party if you’re a full time missionary!!

This week Elder Lewis & I went and visited a referral that the Bishop gave us of a part member family. The mom is less active, but she has three kids that are not members (one of them is a really close friend with the Bishops daughter). She wants to take the lessons, and she also showed up to church this Sunday as well! So I am super stoked! Looks like we might be having her lessons at the Bishop's house (or their house) either way - we don't mind! She is super sweet girl and I think she is ready. So if all goes well (and I don't want to jinx it), we may be having a "White” Christmas! Last year I wanted a “white” Christmas (missionary style) and well we didn't get it … so we will see what happens this year! Would be so cool to have a baptism for Christmas!!

Things are just going really, really well here and I am so happy to be here in Starke for six more weeks! Super fun times! And by the way guys, I noticed those “Bronco chips” were really Boise State Bronco chips not my Denver Bronco’s (but I’m not complaining because they tasted good). Ha- ha! Thanks to ya’ll for the letters and the packages, it is always fun to get stuff like that!! I am really glad to hear that Abbie hopes Santa comes my way…and leaves me some toys this year, cause I would much rather have toys than ties and shirts…So that is a good thing! Ha-ha!! Elder Lewis and I are sure having fun with our countdown to Christmas gifts each day!

Ok, well I gotta run, so I better get going. Well love ya'll and I will be talking to everyone soon!
Elder Blair (who is dreaming of a “white” Christmas…missionary style!!)

Monday, December 6, 2010

Starke, FL Letter #18 Dec. 6, 2010

Hey family, friends and strangers soon to be friends…ha-ha!!

Warm winter wishes from yet another week in freezing Florida…the so-called sunshine state!
Well first things are first, neither Elder Lewis nor me are being transferred which is very awesome!! So we will be here for the Christmas holidays!! Oh yeah that made us both very happy!!

On Sunday Elder Lewis & I fooled half of the ward into thinking that we were leaving this week due to transfers (both of us)! They were just super, super sad that we were being transferred 3 weeks before Christmas! Then later that day we told them we were not moving after all and it was just a joke. Well we then got jumped on and got “beat up” by some of the youth. A lot of the adult ward members promised that “pranks” would be coming our way for that little transfer trick. We just told them to bring the heat! Lewis & I can handle it!! Ha-ha!!

So looks like I will be in Starke for 6 months of my mission at least, which I am really happy about that! This week has been so cold in Florida that I got me a new awesome jacket! It is super warm and classy and I got it for a steal lol. So much for those snowbirds who fly to Florida for the winter…they might be better off to stay’s not warm here!

Also, we had a less active member finally came to church on Sunday. Lewis and I were working with her for so long…and we were just about to give up. Then on Sunday boom, she walked into church!! I was like holy cows! “What you doing here?” She just looked at me and said, “Coming to church!” We laughed and then she picked a seat by someone she knew. During the meeting she got up and bore her testimony during Sacrament meeting!! Super strong testimony as well; really cool!! So we were really happy about that.

Well family there is also a woman that has just moved into our ward from the Gainesville Stake. She is super sweet! She is 28 and has cancer... and its terminal. The doctors are surprised that she has made it this long, her goal is to make it through the holidays. It is really quite sad, but she is in pretty good spirits about it. She was baptized in 2008 and in 2009 she got cancer. At that time her goal was to go through the temple and she has accomplished that. Right now all she is trying to do is have a good Christmas for her son who is 8 years old. She is really a huge spiritual giant! She has an amazing conversion story and has a strong testimony. So far with the brief conversations (that I have had with her) I have learned a lot from someone that is dying. So Elder Lewis and I are going to try and make this a good Christmas for her! We have some ideas in the works and we are going to be getting the members involved as well. All should turn out well. If anyone at home has some ideas or suggestions be sure to let me know.

Well family & friends I love every package and letter I receive from each of you! It makes me happy to see that I am not forgotten lol. I am pretty popular with the other missionaries because of it, and pretty infamous about my package receiving lol. It has been fun! Every time I get one I get the amazing feeling of rubbing it in my companions face first…and then I share!! Hehehe!!

Oh hey one other thing. Guess what? The music rule is back, we can listen to stuff besides Mormon Tabernacle choir now; as long as it is uplifting and does not detract from the spirit. So that was great news!!

One more thing: Me and Elder Lewis made a sign for members and put it up at the church (to remember to get on it goes something like this:

"Since the Dawn of time there have been good people assembled together for the cause of righteousness
King Arthur assembled with knights the of the round table,
Robin Hood assembled with the merry men,
Helaman assembled with the Stripling Warriors,
Captain America assembled with the avengers,
And today Mormons assemble on!!

If I do say so…it’s pretty sick looking!!! I still need to add my own information on the site, I just need to get a picture up and then I am good.

Well I gotta run, love ya'll and remember I will be talking to ya’ll for "real’s" in less than a month!
Love Elder Blair (freezing in the warm Florida sunshine…what sunshine??)

Monday, November 29, 2010

Starke, FL Letter #17 Nov. 29, 2010

Hey family,

Things this week went pretty well, although the week seemed kinda slow being a holiday week. Elder Lewis & I had a really good Thanksgiving at sister Gainey's house! I stuffed myself so, so, so much! And then we fell asleep at her house... yep a good old Thanksgiving nap (best thing ever). After that we went back to our house and then later the Barber's brought us over to their house for desert! I had about 3 helpings of that (and then I felt like I was about to puke so I stopped...ha-ha).

Also this week we met a less active member named Ron who is a pretty sweet guy. Ron got in a huge motorcycle crash several years ago so bad that he almost died (three times) but I suppose God is not finished with Mister Ron cause he is still around and kicking!

Things have also been slow this week because we have been having to bike everywhere in our huge area! It takes us a long time to get somewhere, we had been doing our best to save miles but alas we have still gone over. which really stinks! However I guess if I get transferred to a bike area that will be ok with me, I suppose. Transfers are the 8th of December so keep that in mind when sending letters this next little while. I am not sure if I will be transferred this time or not. I really love Starke, so I wouldn’t mind staying.

Man it has been getting cold here lately! Our early mornings (and at night) it’s just downright chilly! There is actual frost is on the ground outside and I can see my breath. Still amazes me that I am in Florida the so called “sun shine” state! Hey but I need to get going my time is up here at the library. Tell everyone hello for me and that I think of them often out here in Florida. And anyways that is my Florida update for the week. so yeah, love ya'll bye!

The Elder with the frozen toes…
Elder Blair

Monday, November 22, 2010

Starke, FL Letter #16 Nov. 22, 2010

Well People ... Hi again!
Things this week went amazing! First things first; we had a baptism!! Glenn is his name; he was never baptized because of his living situation. He is renting out a room from a member of the church who is a female so therefore he never was baptized…that is until now. Brother Beckom stopped by their house and met with Glenn personally. Glenn told him that he did not understand why he could not be baptized and neither did Brother Beckom. Then Brother Beckom called us Monday night and told us to check on Glenn's situation. I figured “here we go again.” Glenn has had so many baptismal dates for the past two years that it is not even funny. Nevertheless, we stopped by and I told Glenn that ultimately the choice was not up to me. I let him know that we would have to get the ok from President Barry. Well... I will be honest…I didn't think Glenn should be baptized because I didn't feel that he was ready to make the promise between him and God. President told me to have Bishop Barber call him and let him speak to him about the situation. Therefore, we did. Then on Wednesday Bishop Barber called President Barry and then President called me and told me to baptize Glenn...I was like what?? You serious? Um ok?

The next day we went to Glenn's house and told him the news. I said “Glenn in the case of your baptism President talked to me and in this case he is making an exception and you can be baptized." After hearing that, Glenn jumped up and was so excited that he started calling people he knew in the church and telling them about his baptism! He was so stoked that he wanted to be baptized on Saturday! Right then the Spirit hit me and told me that Glenn was more than ready to be baptized. I felt somewhat silly at that point that I ever thought otherwise... So we got him all interviewed and Saturday was his baptism! On Sunday he was confirmed a member of the church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Pretty Crazy huh? By the way, the cakes you sent me mom, came in super handy!! Since Glenn's Baptism was so short notice, I didn't think anyone would make treats so I baked two cakes for his special day and they turned out super good!! Go Chef Blair!

November has been a very busy month hasn’t it? Wow and this next week is Thanksgiving!! I am so excited! Elder Lewis & I are going to Sister Gainey's house for Thanksgiving and unfortunately, we are going to be biking to her house (because well we are pretty much out of miles). So we have a 40 min bike ride up to her house and 40 min bike back... well at least I will get to work off all the food that I eat! Ha ha.

Thanks to everyone for all the packages you sent. I really loved the boxes for my Jump Day and the birthday cards from the Primary Children!! Also if possible thank Sister Merrill Jenkins; she sent me a letter and I am going to try to write back today if I have time. President Barry just wants us to be on pc's no more than an hour, so yeah that is just a heads up. I may be keeping my letters on the short side going forward.

For P-day today ummm let’s see…I am playing some soccer and Frisbee with the youth (since they are out of school for this whole week). Well I send my love to everyone back home, and stay warm!! Have a very Happy thanksgiving! And ya'll stay safe.

Love Elder Blair (A little more humble this week…)

Monday, November 15, 2010

Starke, FL Letter #15 Nov. 15, 2010

Hello All,
This week was a blast!! I had a super fun 21st birthday celebration! An outstanding member family invited Elder Lewis & me over to their house for some cake and ice cream. They surprised us and made this big huge pumpkin cake! Oh boy, I tell you it was super good! Earlier in the day, I treated myself to Sonny's for lunch. I had their BBQ pulled pork, which is always a super good treat!! Then later that afternoon I got to pass the football around with some member kids. The birthday football was sweet, and I have had a chance to use it a lot this past week. I have really enjoyed it!

At the end of my birthday night, we had an appointment with a part member family. Man, we had an amazing lesson! The person we were teaching said that he got goose bumps!! It was a great lesson. After the lesson, they fed us lasagna, which was out of this world and then cake for desert. So I really got totally spoiled on my birthday! Sweet Action!!

The rest of the week went really well for Elder Lewis & me. We always look forward to every Wednesday night, because it is such a fun night! All the youth come down to the ward building and do their activities but before (and after) we get the opportunity to play soccer, basketball, or football (keep away) with the all the youth! I always have such a blast!!

We also met with some less active families this week; and are getting a couple of them coming back to church. So we are super excited about that success. Elder Lewis & I are going to turn our main focus to “perspective Elders” to try to work with them directly so we can get some more priesthood holders for this ward. If we can… then our hope is that they can split off into a separate Keystone branch and a form a Starke ward! Oh yeah, that’s how we roll! Later each week (normally on Friday’s), we go up to a little town in our area called Keystone. While there, we work with members who live in that area and less active members. At the end of the night, we always head to Kevin Conova's house. He is a super, super, funny member. Every Sunday he keeps us up to date with what is going on with the world of sports!! We look forward to that visit each week! So I was glad to hear that the Bronco’s won.

Also, Sister Gainey got to go to the temple this past weekend and loved it! Her family came up from Utah! We got to meet all of them and hang out with them! They are all CRAZY, but crazy in a super cool way! Her family is totally awesome! Lol How are the missionaries in your ward? Are they cool or lame? Because when we were visiting with Sister Gaineys family from Utah, they said that they really liked us and we were way better than any missionary in Utah (because they are all so quiet and reserved). Ha-ha!!

I love Starke so much!! I love my mission!! It has been a blast so far!! Oh, man one thing I have been craving recently is Flogging Molly!! Oh man that is one thing I am excited for, we will have to go to a concert when I get home! I miss my Irish music! Well I gotta get running now, take it easy peeps!! We will “see” everyone next week!! Til then peace, word, love ya’ll
(Your favorite missionary in Florida…the one…the only…)
Elder Blair

Monday, November 8, 2010

Starke, FL Letter #14 Nov. 8, 2010

Well hello world!

This is your favorite elder checking in for the week! I suppose I am an old man now, the big 21 hits today!! Ha ha! Man things sure cooled down here in Florida this week. I woke up one morning to 39 degrees, so needless to say I pulled the sweaters back out! I love Florida winters, but I do miss the Utah snow... I hear you guys will be getting some snow this week. Lucky you!! I can’t wait to get home, build a big ol’ snowman with Abbie, and get out my snowboard! Dang it, I sure miss the snow!

Things here are awesome!! Sister Gainey is going to the temple this coming weekend with her family to be sealed to her mom! We also picked up an awesome new investigator, from a part member family. His name is Joey. We stopped by their house this week and talked for a while with them. After awhile he asked us, "So when am I ready; or good enough to start taking the lessons?" I looked at him and said “Well you look good now!” Therefore, we have two appointments this week scheduled with them! Elder Lewis and I are super excited!!

The Ward here is really doing well; they have been bringing a lot of less actives back to church. In addition, they are out sharing their testimonies with others! I am so happy for them! We also did a lot of service this week for members and less actives and even investigators. One person we helped this past week was Sister Cole who is super awesome; but less active. What we did to help her as a service was cleaning out her garage. Then for a family named the Trailers (who are freaking awesome and cook way- way good food) but that alone is not what makes them awesome, they just are awesome all the way around ha-ha!! So we helped them with some service this past week. Another service was for a non-member named Steve, he is a 76-year-old man. Steve has been trying to renovate his house, so Elder Lewis and I go and provide the muscle he needs to be able to finish the work.

A bit of sad news, my trip to Ocala got scrubbed. We are planning on going another week, just don't know when yet. It was postponed because there is a leadership meeting on Tuesday this week. Our zone leader didn't want us to go to Ocala today and then hurry back later today in time to get ready for the meeting. I was going with our Zone leader and since he had to be at the leadership meeting tomorrow in Jacksonville, it would be too much for today. I was released this last transfer as a DL so therefore I don’t have to worry about going to the leadership meeting this transfer. So our Ocala trip may be next week or sometime in the next several weeks; I am not sure. Therefore, I am probably going to have a lazy P-day…just kick back and relax... go shopping and do the normal Monday p-day routine.

Thanks for all the birthday cards and gifts! Elder Lewis was pretty jealous! Ha-ha! I really loved everything. I loved all of it and we will be sure to put everything to good use! you can trust Elders Blair, & Lewis to make sure everything gets enjoyed to the fullest!! Ha-ha!! I thought the watch was really cool, I really loved it. I got a kick out of what it said on the backside of the clock face, “made with peace and love” and the outside of the box said “it's your lucky day!” lol cool!

Glad to hear Elder Day wrote you guys, I sure love that kid! He is an awesome missionary! Well I had better get going and get a couple of things done today…like shopping and laundry ha-ha!! Anyway thanks to everyone for the great birthday and be sure to let everyone know I love them!

from “the old man -but still totally awesome”…Elder Blair

Monday, November 1, 2010

Starke, FL Letter #13 Nov. 1, 2010

Hello family, friends and fans!

First things first! You are all awesome!! I am pretty spoiled as a missionary… getting packages all the time (ha ha it’s super awesome!!).

This week was so much fun, On Wednesday we had a great youth activity at the ward. It was about holding fast to the iron rod and illustrating the importance of making a correct choice and then holding firm to that choice. We started out with each of the youth being blindfolded. We then sent them on a on a path, telling them to hold firm to the iron rod (a rope was representing the iron rod). While they were holding onto the rope, their parents acted as the Holy Ghost by whispering in their ear what to do.

All the rest of us were voices from the “world” trying to tempt them to let go and come have some fun and not to listen to the Holy Ghost. At one point, I grabbed a one-dollar bill out of my pocket and was telling them if they would let go I would give it to them! A few of the youth reached out and felt the money and I will say a lot were tempted once they felt it was real money! They were tempted to let go at that point, but they all held on strong! Good job for them!! Several non-members showed up to the activity and also many less active families (which we will now be stopping in to see this week)!!

Hope everyone had a great Halloween, can’t wait to hear all about it. The trunk or treat party was awesome!! Elder Lewis and I got to judge everyone’s “trunks” and homemade pies, costumes and carved pumpkins! It was such a blast!! I even made a “trunk” for the Halloween party!! For our trunk and we put spider web everywhere and dressed up a stuffed man and put him in our trunk, and then for a final touch we put some skeleton dude in our car as well! It looked pretty awesome! I also went out, bought Halloween face paint kit and painted my face as a zombie!! (Elder Lewis dressed up like a Mormon missionary). Super fun!! In addition, many less active and non-members came to that event as well. So great member and full time missionary efforts last week.

Saturday was the trick or treat day for Starke, no one went out on Sunday. Saturday we went out on a hayride latter that night with some non-members and some members. I can now “officially” say I have been trick or treating in the South!! John and Jacob, (some non-members that we have been working with) along with their friend Hyrum (who is a member) coaxed me into putting my clown mask on and going up to a door with them and I did. I got me some butterfingers!! Heck ya!! Lol it was really fun.

We had a very eventful week and we are pumped up for the new week and the new transfer!! You asked if I was picking up any Spanish? No, I have not picked up too much Spanish. I know a little; enough to ask if they want Spanish missionaries to teach them but that’s about it. Next Monday I will be going to Ocala to spend the day with some recent converts (Michael, Kaitlin, Jack just to name a few) and they will be helping me celebrate my big 21st birthday. Were leaving early, but I will try to write everyone from the Ocala library if possible. I am really looking forward to next Monday and P-day!!

Well Peace and Love From
Elder Blair (still young at heart)

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Starke, FL Letter #12 Oct. 25, 2010

Hello from Florida!!
Well everyone this past week has been pretty slow actually. I will give ya'll the highlights though. Ok highlight number one: I am not being transferred so that is very cool!! I am super excited to stay in Starke. We have a lot of things lined up here, so I was really looking forward to staying this transfer. Highlight number two: I am going to be companions with Elder Lewis again!! We are both staying right where we are. Highlight number three: Sister Gainey's little girl Katlin was baptized this past Sunday and Elder Tate got to come down and see the baptism!! Very sweet weekend, very cool. Next highlight, I was in Lake Butler this week (the missionaries there needed me to interview one of their investigators for baptism) and we were driving down the road when all of a sudden, there was this Giant (I mean GIANT) Cow!! It was so huge that is all we could see was cow, and more cow. It was heading right for us on the other side of the road. Seriously, all you could see was a whole lotta’ beef heading our way. It was as big as a house and this little tiny, tiny truck was pulling it!! So crazy! Only in the South would that happen!

Oh and one thing that I forgot to mention that happened last week, Elder Lewis got high! Yep, yep true story, I was there. Here is how it happened. We were at a teaching appointment and there were several other people there smoking. I assumed it was cigarettes that they were smoking, I was wrong ha-ha!. After we left the appointment, Elder Lewis turned to me and said “Elder I don't feel normal, I feel like I am high or something”. Then Elder Lewis just started laughing and laughing and wouldn't stop. Our next appointment was the with Bishop, so we walked up to his house…by this point Elder Lewis needed help walking (cause he thought his legs were floating above his head), so we sat down in the Bishop's house. Bishop said that we “smelled like weed.” We quickly explained to him the situation and what was going on at our last appointment and right there and then he started to laugh and laugh, well having the bishop laughing- started Elder Lewis laughing again... Kind of annoying. I wanted to make sure Elder Lewis would be ok.. he was looking a little ill at this point. However, the Bishop told me just to take him home, lay him down and feed him something. Lucky for us; his family had sent him a whole bag of cookies that day so I gave him those. Well he downed them right away and then I made him two peanut butter sandwiches, which he ate almost as fast! Don’t worry I took video of the whole event. (Ha-ha!!) and Elder Lewis is none the worse for the event.

Man, Elder tall Porter is leaving this transfer (he flies out tomorrow). Simply crazy, I remember back getting to serve with him and Rogers in Ocala and that just seems like yesterday to me. I had such a blast with those guys (best three man companionship ever ha ha). I am lucky that I was able to serve with those two missionaries, they were amazing and I learned a ton from them.

Another thing Debbie and Jason (from Fernandina) are going to be sealed in the temple in April!!! However very sad news, I won't be able to attend. The General Authorities have said that they don't want us (as missionaries) doing any temple work. They said that our focus and our mission is to serve the living and because of that, I can't go to the temple. It really stinks, and I am kind of upset about that… but I suppose I will live. I hear the mission is having a huge bunch of new arriving missionaries this week from the MTC. Super pumped about that. Jacksonville is the best place to serve a mission ever!!

The weather here is turning a little cooler lately, (at least cooler for Florida ha-ha) so you are seeing more and more people bundled up as you pass them on the streets. Anyways I gotta get running, I'll talk to ya'll later. So for now, ta-ta to everyone!

Love Elder Blair (keeping an eye out for giant southern moving cows!) ha-ha!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Starke, FL Letter #11 Oct. 18, 2010

Good morning world!

Well family, friends, fans and everyone out there in Utah (and beyond) that may be reading this weeks Elder Blair update!

This week was absolutely amazing! Elder Lewis & I started out this week very determined that we would do all we possibly could for a concrete baptismal date by the end of the week. Therefore, we started out the week with a power fast and then we worked super hard seeing people, tracting and basically doing all we could do to find wherever the baptismal date would be, or whoever it would be. By midweek, however still nobody was even close to being ready, but we had some new investigators lined up. We decided to fast again and kept going, and going and no matter what we would not give up! We went all week long...working hard and then harder!

Then things took a strange turn Elder Lewis came down with the flu. I mean he was really sick and throwing up for two days type of sick. Finally he got better and we set out again. By now it was Saturday here in Florida and we were having a great lesson (with one of the people we are teaching named Chrystal), and she was talking to us about the lesson asking questions. When suddenly from the back room her son started to cry. She went to check on what happened; when she got to him, the other children said that he fell off the top of the bunk bed. He landed on his head (on the cement floor), His mom was of course really worried, his head was hurting, and he had a large bump. We offered to give him a blessing, of course. Chrystal allowed us to give her son a blessing, and after our blessing, his head started to feel better and he was acting just fine. We let them go so she could get him tucked into to bed and let her take care of him. So we did not get a chance to talk to her about baptism, which was what we wanted to do after the lesson and her questions.

Then Sunday came… still we had no one lined up. After church, we did our studies and then decided to go out to see all of our investigators, and inviting them. But no one was ready. Still we continued on our way... we just kept going. We stopped and saw part members, investigators basically everyone on our list. And still no one. Now 8:30 roles around and we have to be in at 9:00 pm so we decided to make one last stop by Chrystal's house. She seemed kinda too busy to have an actual lesson. However, we asked her about her son. We found out that Joshua was doing well. Then Elder Lewis & I testified that it was through the power of God that healed him and that that was proof that our church is the true church of Jesus Christ. Then we invited her to be baptized… and she said yes (of course)!! We set the day for November 13th as a goal, and it turns out November 12th is her birthday, so she was ok with that!! Oh, man. We were so happy!! Last day of the week, last appointment of the week, and almost the last hour of the week and we finally got a baptismal date!!! We are so totally stoked. Therefore, that was our miracle this week in Florida! It was a really good week!!

I have received all the packages ya'll sent, thank you for them and all the letters ya'll have written!! It makes an Elder proud to hear letters shouting his name all the way from the mailbox! Those letters always bring a smile to my day!

Before I forget I wanted to tell you that we will be having transfers on Tuesday next week (they also switched that to our p-day), because of it being transfer day. So I won’t get a chance to tell you if I moved or not until a week later. I hope I am not transferred this time because we have all sorts of things lined up for Halloween with the ward members and then trunk or treat with the kids. But we will have to wait and see. If I pray that I won’t get transferred then I probably will, then again if I don't pray for that ...just because it might transfer me… then I will get transferred! LOL you never can tell with God, he has a great sense of humor with us missionaries sometimes. We’ll have to just wait and see what happens this time. I’ll let everyone know as soon as I know something. Until then thanks again for everything and thanks for all that ya’ll do for your favorite Florida missionary!!

Love you guys!
Love Elder Blair (who along with Elder Lewis had their hard work, fasting and prayers really pay off this week!!)
PS We are getting our car repaired this next week, from our bumper-to bumper fender bender.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Starke, FL Letter #10 Oct. 11, 2010

Well hello family and fans!
Once again, all is well in Starke! Ummm not too much happened this last week. Elder Lewis & I worked really hard but still no solid baptism dates. However, Elder Lewis and I came up with a way to help him teach effectively even with his memory loss, and it has been working a lot better. It is pretty cool; the way we are helping Elder Lewis teach; is using his iPod and creating a checklist. This way when he is done with a principle he can check it off, and then move onto the next one. Good stuff!!

This past week I had the opportunity to eat some alligator tail. It was super, super good. I also got to go down to Lake City, (in my old area) on Wednesday. I was so happy, because I got to see all of the wonderful ward members that I knew down there. An extra special treat… I also got the opportunity to see Carrie again! I was so happy to see her again!! It was so awesome; she was all smiles… as always! She came out to the Wednesday night class (that I had the opportunity to teach!!) so I was able to spend some more time with her! Oh, man being down in Lake City and seeing everyone again was so awesome. Big, big day!! Surprisingly most of the members remembered me, which was cool! I thought being gone for a year they would forget, lol but I suppose I was wrong. While in Lake City, I went out on the tradeoffs with Elder Vangendren (my Zone Leader) who is really a great and amazing missionary and a super spiritual guy. He is helping me a lot with becoming a better district leader. It’s sad that he is leaving this transfer and same with Elder Tall Porter. Man I tell ya, so many good friends that are going home this transfer. Which is kinda crazy and sad at the same time. I am just so glad of the time I have left. I don't want to waste a minute of it.

I am dressing up as a clown for Halloween this year for the trunk or treat at the ward building. I got my costume already put together!! I will send pics and everyone at home do the same of your costumes for me. A bit of sad news… Elder Lewis hated our pet spider so he killed her... that little punk, oh well I guess. She would have been a very cool Halloween decoration on the side of the house. And the car is good; however we still need to get the fender fixed.

Big thanks to everyone for all the packages you sent me lately and all the Halloween decorations I have received so far!! I will definitely put them to good use!!! I loved all of it! I got grandma's package, which was awesome, one of the best ones ever!! Tell her the fall leaves made it to me safely, ahhh a taste of Utah autumns!! Remember the first rule for a missionary…...Missionaries can never, never, never, receive too many packages! Ha-ha!!

Well Fam and fans, I know it’s sad, but the time has come to an end, so I had better get going now. I love” talking” to you, it’s always fun! See everyone next week! Take care of each other for me,
Elder Blair (clowning around)

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Starke, FL Letter #9 Oct. 5, 2010

Hello family, friends, fans and everyone reading the weekly updates from yours truly…me!!
Well ya'll, we have had a busy, busy week. We are trying to do all we can here in Starke to move the work forward. This week we have been stacked with appointments from members (and less active members). Also, this last week we had zone meeting where our zone got together and talked about the changes the mission is taking and what we should do as missionaries to change. We talked a lot about how to plan out our days and how too really jam-pack each and every day. We learned how we could be more obedient, so that we would be able to receive the spirit at all times.

Therefore, Elder Lewis and I really decided to do just that! During the week, we strived really, really hard to change and also to be more obedient. We tried each and every evening to plan more effectively for the next day and the remainder of the week. And the whole week just bombed out on us. We had appointments fall through…and investigators that we knew were getting close to baptism; back out of their date. In a nutshell really, the whole week turned upside down on us. Though we did get knocked down over and over again, we are getting back up again and going to be heading out in full force this week!! We are going out even stronger and harder so we can find some miracles!

One of our goals (as a zone) is to read the entire Book of Mormon this transfer (6 weeks). In order for us to get that done by the 28th we have to find time to read it, more than just in our personal studies each morning. Elder Lewis & I have been reading it as we are eating our lunch, and at the dinner table as we eat dinner each night. We have been reading before bed and before our “personal” studies in the morning. It really has been an amazing experience and we have loved it!

Funny story this week: As you know from last week, we had some ribs promised us at our “trailer restaurant”. Therefore, this week we went back to our friend the “bbq rib man” and wanted to try some nice, juicy long anticipated ribs! As we were sitting in our car (in the laundry mat parking lot), just kicking back and waiting for our ribs…someone backed up right into our car! At first, I didn't know what happened, but then I looked up and saw some woman’s huge SUV right in my front bumper...crazy!! Oh, man, well we got things sorted out and there was not too much damage done to our car. Therefore, we will be getting our car fixed soon. We can still drive it, so all is well.

General Conference was amazing!! I loved every minute of it, from the first speaker to the last speaker it was just simply amazing. For missionaries it is like Christmas we wait and wait for 6 months and then we just sit back and soak it all in. Elder Lewis & I tried so hard to get people to come and listen to the prophet, but none of our investigators showed up. Like I said…our week turned upside down, but overall a good week here in Florida!!

Love ya'll, stay safe
Love Elder Blair (driving in a broken car this week)
PS sorry didn't email on Monday…we were super busy.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Starke, FL Letter #8 Sept. 27, 2010

Dear fans of Elder Blair,
This week we had a pretty fun time. Elder Lewis and I spent a lot of time and saw many of our “less actives” this past week (by the way you asked where he was from? Elder Lewis is from Tremonton, Utah). Our focus was talking to them to see why they had not been attending church and then trying to get them to come to church on Sunday. It really kept us very busy throughout the week. The good news is that we saw some success from our week’s efforts, which is always nice. Another great thing is that we currently have had many families start what we call Family Mission Plans this last week. This is a plan that they set up as a family with goals and ideas of how they as a family can share the gospel with their friends. We have already had one member bring two of his friends to church, after setting up his Family Mission Plan with us. Therefore, that’s great!! Member work is a lot different from tracting all week, but I think I am starting to get the hang of it.

We took a walk on the wild side this last week. Here is that story. We saw this place awhile back and finally decided to give it a try. We went to a little hole in the wall-eating place; it was located in a little trailer that sits in a parking lot of a laundry mat. Ha-ha!! Oh yeah super good black BBQ!! Lol The owner of the “trailer restaurant” was all out of ribs so we had the BBQ chicken instead. However, he promised us next week if we come back, he would have ribs all ready for us!! Oh yeah baby!!! BBQ ribs for Lewis and Blair coming right up! Therefore, I will be looking forward to that this week.

We also had an amazing zone meeting this week. They taught us a ton about how to work with members and how to unite us with them; so they don’t feel separated from the missionaries. And, so far, it has been working and I am really happy about that! Elder Lewis uses his i phone to help him remember his lessons etc. due to his short-term memory loss; it all works out pretty well for him. We are doing great together. We are also going to teach Todd again this week since they are back from their trip to Disneyworld and invite him to be baptized.
We are still hoping to have him all ready to baptize his daughter when she turns 8 next month.

Other news, Katlin, our recent convert down in Ocala had her baby two nights ago! It’s a baby girl, and mom and baby are both healthy and doing well! So that’s pretty cool. Well that is pretty much the missionary news for this week.

I am so excited for Halloween this year! We are going to be helping with the trunk or treat this year and I am also going to be decorating our apartment this year. So what is everyone back home doing for Halloween this year? If anyone wants to make a Halloween decoration donation to the Starke tool shed home for Elders Blair & Lewis, please feel free!! Ha-ha!! We welcome all decoration donations!!

The woman on the Mission blog is Erin Sapp. I taught her last year along with Elder Taft. Oh that was super fun to see she finally stepped into the waters of baptism, her husband was able to dunk her and it made her family so happy to have her take that step! Fun, fun times here in the Jacksonville mission! Oh yeah be sure to send those haberno hot peppers our way…we are up to the challenge…ha-ha!! I am sorry I missed seeing Jupiter last week but the moon here was so big and bright I totally could not see the planet at all. Oh well maybe in another 40 or 50 years…LOL

Believe it or not, things are finally starting to cool down a bit in Florida. How about Utah? Do you see any of those wonderful fall colors coming your way yet? I miss the signs of fall; Florida has no fall to speak of…just yellow leaves. I am glad to hear about all of the mom’s that attended the luncheon from Jacksonville, and super glad to hear that our mission won…but I really never had any doubt that Jacksonville wouldn't win (wink). I know all the missionaries of the mothers that attended! So that is pretty cool. And I am glad you got to meet Elder Chadburn he is a real good guy! Sounds like an awesome time at the luncheon! If you want to make me up some more of those green eggs and ham books, I want to give those out to some of the kids I baptize back here. If you have time and want to make some more that is, I could use about 3 more. They are cool! Be sure to say thanks to everyone for their letters, I sure love looking in the mailbox and seeing letters jumping up and down and yelling “pick me…pick me” ha-ha!!

I will be watching conference this weekend at a local member’s house and I will be thinking of everyone back home watching it at the same time! That will be cool, I am pretty pumped for conference!! And you commented on the picture of the pigs’ feet…you were absolutely right…it looked super gross and indeed, it tasted super gross too!!

Well that’s my life as of now, nothing of much news to report this week. Be sure to take care of each other for me and I will talk to everyone again next week. Love to everyone,
Elder Blair, Elder Blair, Elder Blair (just practicing with Elder Lewis)

Monday, September 20, 2010

Starke, FL Letter #7 Sept. 20, 2010

Well family and fans,
Well, I had a pretty awesome week! However unfortunately Elder Bass is now in Georgia and hard at work serving up there on a bike! (Which is pretty funny…well it is funny to me anyways). I know his pain…oh so well!! I bet he is missing having a car about now. So since this last week was the last week with Elder Bass we spent some time during his last few days here going around and saying goodbye to all of his friends that he made here while serving in Starke. Then the night before he left (Wednesday), we went to a good-bye party for Elder Bass hosted by some ward members here in Starke. It was pretty fun, lots of good food, and great people! Then before the night came to a close Elder Bass got hawooginized. You’re now asking, “What is a hawooga?” Well let me tell you…a howooga is where someone holds you down, then takes their knuckle and jams it into the person’s inner thigh and grinds it into their skin. Big ouch!! I tell you that it gets pretty intense (especially when a bunch of 400 lb of dudes lay on top of you!) Moreover, this family has this as a tradition and they always do it when a missionary is being transferred. Therefore, I had the blessing of watching Elder Bass get owned, because Elder Blair is staying in Starke.

My new companion is Elder Lewis. He is a pretty cool kid. Elder Lewis has short-term memory loss. He reminds me a lot of Dory from Disney’s Finding Nemo. Lol He is really funny and totally cool about the whole thing. So that is pretty much the news of the week. Oh, one more thing…my companion Elder Lewis ate some Zingers that had some maggots in them the other day. Which of course he then properly puked up! Oh how I love being on a mission!

I wanted to tell you about our visit from the Seventy last week. The 70 basically told all of us that we need to be a lot better as an entire mission. He went through a lot of different ways to improve and told each of us that we need to put the “old self” behind us and work on becoming a new person while here. I think a lot of our mission is not 100% supporting and sustaining President. I think that is why he was challenging us to improve and become a new self. He was an amazing speaker, he spoke about effort and attitude, and the things we need to change to become better as missionaries and individuals. He pointed out that we need to realize our duty here; our relationship with God and who we are. We need to change our identity and to become true disciples of Jesus Christ.

I really loved the green eggs and ham book! I have been sharing it with some of the members here. We are seeing our investigator Todd when he gets back from Disney world with his family. We are still hoping he will want to get baptized right away so he will be able to baptize his daughter next month. Well we are about the Lords work and keeping busy. So you guys take care of each other and always remember I love you guys!!

Love Elder Blair (Who never eats Zingers!!) LOL

Monday, September 13, 2010

Starke, FL Letter #6 Sept. 13, 2010

Hello family and friends!

Well first things first, I am not being transferred this week. I am going to stay another 6 weeks here in Starke it looks like, (which is good, I am happy about that)!! However, my companion Elder Bass is being transferred so that kinda stinks. I have been enjoying serving with Elder Bass and really didn't want a new companion, but oh well...

Things here are going well here in Starke. Elder Bass and I have set a baptism date with some amazing people named Chris and Liberty. So we are very hopeful they will be baptized. This past week we had a super powerful lesson with a couple of kids named John & Jacob (they are 13 and 12) During the lesson (we taught the first lesson) we explained to each of them what the spirit feels like when it testifies of truth. We told them to pay attention to what they are feeling and then we paused a moment. Then we asked if they were feeling any of those feelings now? And they both said “yes”.

They both want to be baptized, however their mom is not so sure about all of it. She wants to talk to them about it first to make sure that they really want to do it. She is struggling with the fact “If they are old enough to make that choice for themselves?” Therefore, we are hoping and praying that their mom will soften her heart (get the answers to her concerns) and let both of the boys be baptized!

Another wonderful thing this week that happened- is that we had an awesome lesson with a part member named Todd! His little girl is turning 8 in October. Elder Bass and I thought that it would be cool to have him be baptized early, so that he will be able to receive the priesthood in time to baptize his little girl in October. It would be cool if he could be the one to baptize her! So after our last lesson we talked (one on one) with his wife, and asked her about it. She thinks that would be cool, so she is praying for it to happen. We have several other members of the ward doing a mighty prayer for Todd that he will soften his heart and accept the prompting of the spirit. And then follow the example, which Christ has set for him (and everyone) to be baptized. That is the update and information on what is going on with our investigators here in Starke.

Another major thing happening in the mission is that we have a Seventy coming to the Jacksonville mission this Thursday! He has asked that all of the missionaries have a 5 minute talk prepared about “What we are doing to be a more effective missionary?” So I have been spending time working on that, hopefully that will go over well on Thursday.

Well everyone, that’s pretty much it...for my "News of the week”. I really love the packages and newsy letters that everyone has sent me lately! I really think that, is one of the reasons Elder Bass is so sad to be transferred this week, because he won’t be enjoying those wonderful “friends and family of Elder Blair” care packages anymore...LOL (it has nothing to do with me as his companion)...ha-ha!! The “love in the mailbox” makes the difference - ha-ha!! Seriously everyone has been super cool to keep writing me and updated on the happenings back home! Thanks for that! Anyways I love you guys, stay safe and be happy. Take care of each other for me!
Elder “staying put for now” Blair

Monday, September 6, 2010

Starke, FL Letter #5 Sept. 6, 2010

Hello family & friends back home,
Well today has been a busy day! To start the day (for Labor Day) we went to a lake located on a military base at Camp Blading. There we had some hamburgers and hot dogs, then got to watch the members have fun in the lake while we just sit on the picnic table and watched. Lol it was a great time though and a nice day to spend with members and to be outdoors.

Something funny this week happened while doing a service project. Here is the story. Well earlier this week we were doing service (at a member’s house in Starke) helping them install some insulation in their attic. It was a crazy thing crawling up into a small attic and carefully stepping on the 2x4’s -so we don't step down on the dry rock. We had to be really careful where we were stepping. We had to crawl all the way down to the end of the attic and hang up some lights (so that we could see). It was as if I was crawling in a mine, Elder Bass and I described it as the mines of Moria!! yeah!! (from Lord of the Rings) Anyways… as we were installing the insulation; I was carefully duck taping the insulation pieces to some pipes when all of a sudden I heard this huge crash!! I turn around to see Elder Bass's lower half is through the ceiling, and then just as I registered what my eyes were actually seeing, the rest of him fell through the hole he created. So I hurry as fast as I can carefully crawling over the boards and look down through the hole. Now I can see Elder Bass dancing around and rubbing his elbows. Once I realized he was ok; I just start chuckling to myself! It was so funny... and somewhat ironic I suppose. Here we are trying to do free service to help them fix their attic and Elder Bass smashes a whole through their ceiling. So needless to say...we are going back this week to do “more service” to help fix the hole Bass left. Ha-ha!

Another interesting thing that happened to us this last week was making a big catch! We caught a moth that was the size of a bird!! (I am not kidding either; you should have seen this thing). Super crazy!! It was flying around our house, (after I let it in accidently) and after an epic chase, we finally caught it! Then we took it outside and threw it into our pet spider's web!! However, it got out so we chased it again and then threw it back into the web. So now our pet spider won’t need to eat for 2 months at least! (Don't worry I have it all on video).

But the major highlight of the week is the baptism of Michael and Katlin!!! They were married this week (on Saturday) and then baptized on Sunday!! I was blessed to be able to attend both events. However I was late to the wedding, cause the person from Ocala that was going to give me a ride… I didn’t realize that I gave him bad instructions on how to get to our house, which made us late. I did make it to their reception! Oh, man it was soooo awesome to see them again!! I was so, so, so, happy! Finally, after a long time of much prayer and fasting… they did it!!

So I stayed in Ocala for 2 days for their wedding and baptism. For the baptism Elder Day got to baptize Michael and I baptized Katlin. Man it was such an amazing event. There was a member from the ward that sang a beautiful song just before the baptism. The name of the song was “I will seek Him”. After that song, there I was; standing in the water with Katlin and the spirit there was felt so strongly, that it took me a few seconds to even begin get the words out.
Man, I love my mission; Elder Day and I had some very very powerful lessons with them last transfer. And we have just seen them grow so much! It was such an epic moment of my mission. Michael, Katlin, Elder Day and I, have certainly made a friendship for life!! Miracles like that just make my mission! I promised Michael and Katlin that when they are sealed in the temple I will not be late! I will even be a day early!!

Well, my own testimony has grown so much once again, just over the example of what Michael and Katlin have done! Watching them struggle, learn and grow…and then watching them reach this point was amazing and extremely faith building. I know this church is true and it brings happiness! I saw it in their eyes! They have found the happiness that everyone is trying to find in this failing world! And I am just so, so, so, so glad that I was able to witness the event of them coming closer to their Savior.

Well I love you guys! Ya'll stay safe now and I will talk to you soon!
Elder (still smiling) Blair!!!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Starke, FL Letter #4 August 30, 2010

Hello out there to everyone reading this letter!
Hey, how are you? I am great, hope you are too! Well this week I conducted my first District meeting! President Barry was there, with his wife Sister Barry and their daughter (who just returned home from her mission in Nauvoo). So yeah pretty crazy first meeting. Sorta made the Elder in charge (yours truly) just a wee bit nervous. President Barry is a good president, he loves what he does and that makes for a great experience each time you’re around him.

First thing I did at the meeting was I had our district set a goal for this transfer period for number of baptisms and number of re-activations. Next, we talked about what we could do differently for this transfer than we had done in the past to reach our new goals (that we had just set). Then I asked them to follow me into the gym (we were at the ward building). I had before the meeting - set up a maze (of chairs). The maze represented our goal that we had just set together in the other room. At this point, I asked them each to put on a blindfold. I asked them to try to maneuver through the maze and arrive safely at the exit (on the other side of the room). I gave them all two strikes and on the third one, they were “out”.

As I had assumed, they all failed. So then, I reminded them by asking “What is it that we should do first? “ They all answered “Pray.” Therefore, I had them pray and ask God to help us with our goals. I then took my companion Elder Bass through the maze blindfolded as I guided him (by my voice). He made it successfully and easily to the end of the maze; he reached his goal. Following that then we went back in and finished District meeting. I thought it was a fun first district meeting. I tried hard to make it different, fun, but teach them something they could use as well. However now this week, I have the AP’s coming to my district meeting... so maybe I failed at my first district meeting. Ha-ha!

With our current investigators, we are continually working with them helping them to get closer to being baptized. We also helped a member here in Starke move to Ocala, (my old stomping grounds) Elder Bass and I went to help him unpack and then get settled in his new place. Since I was in Ocala, I was able to stop by my old apartment (pick up my mail) and see Elder Day!! Seeing him was a big highlight of my week. Elder Day’s new companion is Elder Fazon. We talked for a while and then unfortunately I had to go. On another note, I have special permission to head back down to Ocala this weekend for a wedding and a baptism. Guess who? Yep Michael and Kaitlin! I can’t wait to be able to be there with them for their big day!! I am pretty excited about that! I love those guys!

Another fun thing that Elder Bass and I did; was on Sunday we got to go to a priesthood meeting for our Stake area, which was being held in Lake City! I was able to see members from my old Lake City ward! I was even lucky enough to be able to visit with Brother MacRae again. He was our ward mission leader in our ward in Lake City, (he was the one who Elder Taft & I gave the little toy car to for Christmas) Super cool guy!! That was super fun, I loved it!!

I have printed all of my pictures off now, so I will be sending home 2 cd’s full of pictures this week for everyone. Some pretty funny stuff in those pictures! I really love this area. Lots of red neck boys and southern hospitality which I love. The members here feed us usually good ole southern food, and for our p-day, we really don't do anything too different because we are located in such a small town. There is nothing much to do overall, but I still really enjoy it. For Labor Day (p-day next week), some of the local ward members are wanting us to go to a Flea Market that they know of. They say that to "really" fit in over here we need to be sporting a huge belt buckle and they want us to get one at the Flea Market. You know the ones that look like they weigh 10lbs each? LOL We’ll see. Therefore, Elder Bass and I may do that next week.

I sure love hearing from everyone and appreciate all of the support I get while serving the Lord! Please be sure to thank everyone for keeping in touch and writing all the time. I wish I had time to answer everyone, but my days are packed from the minute my feet hit the floor until I fall into bed each night. Tell them I really love everything though and am grateful to hear how everyone is back home. I really gotta get going now.

Love to everyone!
Love from Elder (pondering the fact he may just be turning into an actual red neck?) Blair

Monday, August 23, 2010

Starke, FL Letter #3 August 23, 2010

Well hello family, friends and fans,
This week Elder Bass and I had a super fun and an amazing great time. Last week I was gone for three full days in Jacksonville at a Missionary Leadership meeting. It was good, we studied and learned a lot about how to ask more inspired questions and then to use those questions to guide the lessons we are teaching investigators. The leadership conference also had a huge section where we learned a lot about prayer and then how to teach the investigators about prayer; so that they better understand what it means. As an entire mission, at the end of spiritual lessons we are now going to start having kneeling prayers with the people we are teaching. Another thing we learned about is how to better use the Book of Mormon. One new approach is to introduce it by the first paragraph in the introduction and then move to the last two.

Boy, oh boy those 3 days we ate so much! During those three days, Sister Barry had us eat three times every day with two snacks and a huge lunch. The days were very long and packed with stuff from the minute we began to the minute we ended. The leadership meetings lasted from 8 in the morning until like 5 every night. Then we ate dinner and then we would go out and apply what we learned that day in the field. It really made it solidify when we would put into practice what we had been learning that same day.

We had a fantastic baptism this past Sunday evening- yep Bobby Coleman was baptized!! He is so super sweet! He was so ready for baptism; Bobby loves the church and the Book of Mormon. It was an amazing day! His girlfriend (who is a member) was so happy for him. She gave a wonderful talk about baptism, it was a super good, and really brought the spirit into the meeting. You should have seen Elder Bass! He was super, super excited. This was his first baptism and let me tell you he did so well. Man I was so proud of him. He didn't mess up on the words or anything everything went so smoothly, he acted as if he was an ol' pro at doing these! Moreover, Elder Bass got it done all in one dunk!!

Oh, man, it was such a super good weekend, we had a blast!!! Um nothing too super funny happened this last week - we both just had a good week! A bit of good news, I found my camera. I have tons pictures printed off on a CD so plan on me sending them to you shortly.
I loved Drew’s letter, he really knows how to make me laugh! Oh, man that last letter was super funny!!! I loved the fortuneteller thing, tell him my companion and me were laughing for a long, long while over that!! One great thing about living behind a members home (in their converted tool shed) is that if we are not home, then the delivery man will leave the package with the members and then they bring it to us when we get back home. I also got the ice cream gift card, but sadly, there is no Brusters in Starke but Elder Bass and I will be sure to use it when we get to a Brusters location. Rest assured I will use it eventually lol

Man it has been raining like crazy here lately!! Every couple of days, it is a huge downpour and I mean a downpour!! Try staying dry in that monsoon weather…ha-ha!! Well I gotta get going pretty quickly here, so I hope I answered everything; let me know if you need anything else from me. I try to remember to answer what I can. Elder Bass and I gotta get running now, so I will talk to you all again next week.

Well I love ya'll!!
Elder “jumping over puddles” Blair

Monday, August 16, 2010

Starke, FL Letter #2 August 16, 2010

Well family and friends,
Another week down in Starke, and I am loving it!! This week we have been challenging the members to give out copies of the Book of Mormon, So far we have challenged the entire Bishopric, the Young Men and Young Women and several Primary leaders.

Good news, we have a scheduled baptism for this Sunday with a super awesome guy! His name is Bobby Colman; he has been dating a member in the Williston Ward for a while and has been going to church there for a bit. Now he is living up here in Starke and wants to be baptized. Therefore, we are pretty happy about that!

This week have had tons and tons of fun! Elder Bass is a super funny kid, he reminds me of Golden Kimball, I love being companions with him! He is from Utah and has a southern accent so I tease him with that a lot.

I love the members here! They are all super stoked for missionary work and are happy to help in whatever way they can. We have already made some great friendships with the ward so far. We live behind some members home in their tool shed, Lol (yeah you read that right, it kinda looks like a trailer from a distance, but in reality they have converted their old tool shed into a home for the missionaries). We have had some good times with the family that lives here (and owns the tool shed).

At our little tool shed home, it even came complete with a great and awesome pet! Did you guess it was a Banana Spider! lol It is outside our house and we like good pet owners that we are… we catch bugs every now and then and throw them in its web! (Wouldn’t want our little pet to go hungry). Oh, in case you’re wondering…I still hate spiders, a lot!!! (however, if they leave me alone and are not in my house, I am fine with them. Living in Florida, you have to learn to accept spiders as part of the package deal). Ha-ha!! We have named out little (not so little) friend Spidey (very original name). I will be sure to get a picture for you. Fun stuff!!

Oh and this Sunday was the only Sunday that I have been super late to church during my entire mission. Why was I late, no we didn’t over sleep…because we lost our keys! Holy Cow we ripped our place apart looking for them. We were looking everywhere for them. At one point we even had the members that we live behind help us look. We had a dude come out and brake into our car (because we thought they were in there) but nope, not there either... finally, we found them inside the cracks of a couch... Holy Moley…super funny!! Moreover, we made it on time for our Primary Sharing Time! We talked about the Resurrection. That was fun to be with the Primary on Sunday!

So that has been my week in a nutshell!

Looks like I gotta get going soon, so my companion can get on the computer to write his family. Ummm maybe I have a few more minutes, looks like Elder Bass is still writing some letters. The area here is full of trees, tons and tons of trees!!! And amazing wildlife. You can see everything from snakes to bears, and the best part…there are lots of southern people that are just super fun!! They just make you smile because they are so open and friendly. Boy oh boy can they cook some great meals. Had a fresh fish fry the other day…yumm!!

Oh and on a side note, I think I have lost my camera but I have prayed so as I continue to look… it will turn up :) Don’t worry dear scrapbooking mom a lot of the pictures I had taken other Elders have as well so I can get copies for you. But I will just keep looking for my camera if I don't find it soon I will get a new one this week or next week.
Thanks for all of the cards and letters …makes a missionary feel happy to know the word got out about the new address change!! You guys are an amazing support team, thanks so much for always sending me “smiles” in the mail. I love it!!

Lol well I gotta get going now though, Elder Bass needs the computer. Guess his family is waiting to hear from him now too…hehehe!

Anyways love you all!! I will talk to everyone again next week!
Love Elder (friends with Spidey) Blair

Monday, August 9, 2010

Sweet Miracle! Starke, FL Letter #1 August 9, 2010

Elder Blair had an accident last week in which the Lord blessed him through the power of priesthood so that he was healed and could continue the work he has been called to do. The miracle is told through 2 different perspectives. Elder Trott who is the District Leader in Ocala where Elder Blair was serving at the time of the accident. Then following that Elder Blair.

We begin with Elder Trott's account, and then Elder Blair's version (in his weekly letter) from his perspective. Missionaries are indeed watched over and cared for each and every step of the way-by a loving Heavenly Father. What a blessing it is to have the priesthood; to be able to ask for and receive healing blessings when we need them most.

Here is Elder Trott letter:
"So last Tuesday I called Elder Blair on the phone to see where he was. So he answered and I said, "What are you doing?" He said, "I'm goin' really fast." So I asked him why and then immediately thought to myself he was probably racing on his bike down a hill. So I said, "Oh, cool. Well what are you guys up to?" and he didn't say anything. I asked again, "Blair! What are you doing?" and still nothing. I'm sitting on the phone saying "Hello! Earth to Blair! BLAIR! and still nothing. Then I hear his companion (vaguely) yelling, "Dude! Blair! Are you okay?"

By then I'm yelling into the phone. Still nobody was picking up the phone, but I could hear them talking. Finally his companion Elder Day picks up the phone and said, "Hello?" and so I said, "Day, what happened?" He said that Blair was going really fast and flipped over the front of his bike! So naturally I started laughing and asked them where they were so my companion and I could get to them. Well I guess when he flipped over the handlebars, he landed on his shoulder.

I swear he broke something and we all thought it was his collar bone because we could feel and see the bone sticking up through his shirt. He freaked out when we tried to touch it because he was in so much pain, and he couldn't move it. So we rushed him to the hospital. He was really pale and looked really bad, like he was in shock. We get him into the ER, checked him in, and sat him down in a wheelchair. Then we pushed him over to a corner and gave him a priesthood blessing.

Two hours later they finally got around to seeing him and ordered x-rays. The doctor came back and said that everything was fine! We were all shocked at first. We all said in unison, "What? That can't be!" We saw and felt where his bone was sticking up, but the doctor said the x-rays looked good and had him rotate his shoulder a little bit and he could do it. Then Elder Brandon remarked that we gave him the blessing, and Elder Blair looked up and said, "Oh, thanks! I'm good." Ha! Then we left.

How crazy is that? I mean what a miracle! Obviously the Lord has some special task for Elder Blair and didn't want the work to slow down (maybe just for him to slow down on his bike! Lol!). That was a sweet miracle I witnessed that I wanted to tell you all about. I'm blessed to possess the power of the priesthood and the ability of the Lord to heal the sick and afflicted through that priesthood." (End of letter)

Elder Blair's version:

Howdy everyone!
Well folks, I was moved out of Ocala and put in Starke Fl, which is probably the smallest town I have served in the entire time I have been in Florida. In addition to Starke, our area covers three other smaller towns (that are not actual ”towns” I would say more like “villages”.) I also cover Lake Butler, and Macclenny. I am not near Fernandina at all and nowhere near St. Augustine. I am closer to Lake City and Gainesville.

I found a pair of cowboy boots in the apartment, (which is actually a small trailer), so I put them on and now I fit in perfectly with the town folks here. Ha-ha!! The ward is super friendly, which is great. They love missionaries, so I am having a real blast already! We already have a couple people that are ready to be baptized, so we are looking forward to that!! I also have a car again, so I am trying to watch what I eat… which is going to be hard in a town like this! I tell you these people know how to make some good “down home-finger licking” good food! I am so happy to be back in a small town again, and if President Barry is going to be doing 6 to 9 months in one area before transferring missionaries this area could be my last area…which would be fine by me! I already love it here!

My new companion is Elder Bass who is a farm boy from Farmington, Utah; he seems like a cool kid. He is taller than I am and this is only his second transfer after being out in the mission field. But yeah I think I am going to be having some super fun times here in Starke, and before I forget my new address is 5820 NW 201 Way Starke FL 32091.

I have been getting used to being a DL these last few days. The main thing that has changed with being a DL is that that I have to check on the Elders in my District and see how they are doing. I talk to them about how they are doing and get their numbers for the week (lessons taught, appointments made etc.) and then on Sunday I call the Zone Leaders and give the information from my District to them. During the week, I conduct a District Meeting and try to inspire the other missionaries to be better for the upcoming week. Counting Elder Bass, and me I have a total of six of us in my district. There are no sisters in my district. I have Elders Brown, Robbs, then Elders Chadburn, and Angle who are in my district.

I do have a great story to share about my last week in Ocala. Here goes: Well it was my last full day in Ocala so I was still with Elder Day, and we were biking down this huge hill. At the time, I was going down with no hands (cause after 6 months on a bike you gain certain skills). I was about half way down, when I noticed I was getting a call from my District Leader, I answered my phone and started talking to him. Pretty soon, I was losing control of the bike, so I tapped on the brakes (to slow down) and I guess I tapped too hard. Next thing I know I flew over the handlebars and crash-landed pretty hard. I could feel my lip was cut and my shoulder was hurting pretty bad. I got up, told Elder Day to call the other missionaries because I didn't want to ride my bike home, mainly because I was pretty mad at this point. It was my “picture day” in Ocala, I was looking forward to taking pictures of everyone, and here I had gotten all jacked up.

The other missionaries came by and picked me up and as we were driving home, I felt my shoulder, which was hurting pretty bad at that point. I could feel a bone sticking straight up. I then asked Elder Brandon (who was taking me home) to feel it for me, just to confirm it really was my bone sticking out. Well he did and then he told me that we were not going back home; that we had to go the ER to get it checked out immediately and taken care of. As we were driving to the hospital, I began to fade in and out of conscious because I guess at that point; I was in going into shock. By the time, we got to the hospital I could barely stand up, so they set me in a wheel chair. I asked for a priesthood blessing at that point.

After that then came the long wait. The ER takes forever…and there were stupid people coming into the ER for treatment on something as simple as a toothache (which I thought was retarded). However, finally they took me back to get some x rays. After they were developed, they came back in the room and told me “It was just a sprained shoulder and a bruised collar bone”. I thought they gotten my x rays mixed up or something. I was starting to complain “that they got something wrong” and at the same time I reached up to feel where the bone was poking out, and it was gone. It was completely perfect; nothing was poking up against the skin. Then a missionary sitting across from me, said “Blair you’re fine, you had a blessing”. And that was that. They decided to put me in a sling for a couple of days, and then let me go home.

Now less than a week later it is a little stiff, but I am fine! So the basic comforting details are this: I’m alright and alive, and thankful we have the priesthood and can receive healing blessings. It was a super cool experience, and of course, everyone’s daily prayers back home for my safety I’m sure helped a lot too. Keep those prayers a coming-ha-ha!!

I am at a member’s house right now doing e-mails but hey, I gotta get running now. Elder Bass and I are going to do a service project for a part member family. So um, I guess that is it from me for this week. I will keep you updated on what happens here.

See ya'll later,
Love Elder Blair (fitting in perfectly and wearing his “cowboy boots” in Starke)

Monday, August 2, 2010

Ocala, FL Letter #24 August 2, 2010

Hello to everyone again,

Well, family and friends, here I am once again to tell you the Missionary chronicles “news of the week”. This is going to be the shortened version and hopefully in a fast time frame seeing as a lot has happened this week and I don’t have much time today.

Ok, so first off we started this week with a fun p-day then we just blazed through the rest of the week at top missionary tracting speed! Elder Day and I are trying to teach (and find) as many people as we possibly can. We also stopped off at several members’ homes this week along with everything else. With the members, we taught them about how the Book of Mormon is meant to be shared with others. Moreover, as members they are obligated to share it. We let them know that angels are preparing someone close to their family; someone that they already know- to accept a copy of the book of Mormon. It was a super fun time! The ward is getting more steadier with missionary work, they are slowly getting on board. Once this Ocala train starts moving there will be no stopping it!

Another change this week, (something different that happened) is that a couple of us in fact did get transfer calls on Saturday. I am being transferred and moving to the position of District Leader; which I am not too excited about, but we will see what happens. I'll do my best. I hope I like my area and being a DL. I guess I will spend more of my time now helping other missionaries. I really love just being a missionary, that is where the spirit is the strongest and you really feel as if you are making a difference. And ugh, I just don't want to leave Ocala right now. There is a sweet guy that is going to be baptized soon. He started crying in our lesson this last week and knows he needs to change his life and wants to follow Jesus Christ. The sad part is that he is leaving out of town for two weeks for work, but he promised us he would read the Book of Mormon everyday until he gets back. So I will miss working with him and seeing him step into the waters of baptism. There is a lot of work left here to do and a lot of amazing ward members.

So now for the rest of this week I am going to go around say my goodbyes, and take pictures of everyone that I love here in Ocala. As you can guess, 6 months is a long time to be in an area and I have gotten to become very close to the ward members here. I am kinda sad to go but I guess I am needed somewhere else. Also, Elder Brandon is leaving as well from our apartment of four Elders. So yeah, Elder Day is bummed, that I will be moving. I will miss that kid; he has been a great missionary to work with. He has a great love for the people and the work. Some other bit of news; Taft is going to be made a Zone Leader.

I have no idea where I will be transferred, but I will let everyone know where I will be serving next - on Monday. We will have transfer meeting later this week and move to our new locations at that time. So if anyone is thinking of sending their favorite missionary some “love in the mail”…just hold off for a week and then you can send it to my new location. Remember I said, “hold off” not “forget about sending it all together” ha-ha!

Mom, umm I will see what I can do to get some more Jacksonville missionary moms for you, in my new district. Glad to hear that you have Elder Day’s home contact information. Maybe his mom will join the group after talking to you! I loved the binder you sent; it had some good stories in it. I have used several of them teaching already! If you could, (now I am not saying go crazy), but if you could send me some Michael Wilcox talks on CD that would be cool. However, don't send me like 1000 different talks though. There is one called Faith to Walk on Water, I liked that one and then maybe one other of his talks.

Sorry I have to cut this short and leave but Tall Porter is down visiting and he has to go back soon. Therefore, I want to go and enjoy my last p-day with him in Ocala. I will talk to you more next week from my new area. I really got to get running now. I send all my love to you guys back at home, and will talk to you next week from a new “undisclosed” location.

Elder packing his bags Blair
PS Tell Abbie that her puppets were nice; I have really enjoyed using them as I teach the families with little kids.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Ocala, FL Letter #23 July 26 , 2010

Hello Family and fans of Elder Blair!
This week we had a blast! On Monday, we enjoyed a family home evening at a member’s house. We watched the Joseph Smith movie; it was super fantastic of course! We also had some amazing chicken that Sister Blackmon made for us. This last week we were focused hardcore on the members’ involvement in Missionary work. Our district leader, Elder Trott challenged us to drop Book of Mormons off at various member homes and commit them to pass them out to other non-members. Therefore, we asked each member of the family to come up with two names each and then asked them to pray about it and see which one out of all of them on their list that God wanted their book of Mormon to go to. Therefore, last week we saw several member families and committed them. Then this week we have four more families that we are going to go and see. We’ll teach them and commit them!

We also took members out tracting with us and had some fun that way! I love to include the members on splits with us. I went out with Joey Reid and during his mission he served in Mexico City and luckily enough we ran into all Spanish people that night. Yeah you guessed it…he pretty much taught the whole time, but it was fun. Elder Day had the awesome time of being companions with Jack as they tracted. They placed a couple book of Mormons and met a prophetess lol.

Finally Michael and Katlin have completely quit smoking!! They have not smoked for about 5 days now and are still going strong!! So that is just awesome news! The Bishop said he was going to help them with the marriage license fees but the Bishop is going to be out of town for the next two weeks!!! Ugh seems like it took them so long to get to this point…and now something else has gotten in the way, but at least it will happen! So that is a good thing.

Missy, an awesome less active member we have been working with just got re-activated. In addition, this Sunday she brought her next-door neighbor to church with her. Get this…He asked her, “When are you ever going to introduce me to the missionaries?” Ha-ha! Therefore, she brought him to church with her on Sunday and introduced him to the missionaries. Oh yeah we will start teaching him this week for sure!!! Seems like things are just going really, really well so far this week, at least it is off to an amazing start. I know it’s still early in the week but I am really excited for this week. I hope things just keep improving. Up, up, up!

Last night I was on the phone with Michael and Katlin talking to them about church, when next thing I know Elder Trott, Elder Barro and a Spanish member named Nicko teamed up against me. I was already laying down talking on the phone as I was almost already for bed lol. Then out of nowhere Elder Day just jumps up and yells "Leave my companion alone!!" and starts to hold them off. At this point Katlin is still on the phone and she was like, “Um Elder Blair what’s all that yelling?” I told her I had to fight some guys and I hung up on her. Ha ha heck ya. (I’m sure she could hear the urgency in my voice). Next, I jump up and Day and I started wrestling all three of them at once. Then Elder Brandon comes in the room and joins the “Spanish” team. Now it was four on two. Brandon jumped on Day and got him in a chokehold, so I pushed Trott and Barro into the wall and jumped on Brandon. Then I grabbed him by the neck and made him tap out. Next, I go to wrestling Barro and Nicko. I put Nicko's head in-between my legs, choked him out with my awesome powerful biking legs, and made him tap out! Ok so now it was me and Trott, then Day and Barro going at each other. You should know that Trott wrestled all through high school, so I was way out matched, so I lost. And sadly, Barro tapped out Day.

Then the fight moved downstairs where Trott, Barro, and Nicko were attacking Elder Snow. At this point I was watching from the stairs (already tired from the first fight), but then I got my second wind and was like, “Eh what the heck” and yelled in my strongest he-man voice "I'm coming!!” I reached Barro first and grabbed Barro and then added Nicko at the same time. Elder Day came in behind me and grabbed Barro for me. I was super tired from the first match so it took me a little longer, but eventually I made Niko tap out. I then turned and saw Day getting choked out by Trott, I was not about to let him grab my companion so I ran to help, but it was too late. Day tapped.

I then decided to fling all my weight against Trott (for tapping out Day) and took him to the floor in one leap. I started to come in strong against him… however I must admit it was not going so well for me. Bonus though, I was really sweaty so I kept slipping out of Trotts submissions! Next thing I know someone jumped on Trott as he was on top of me, (couldn’t tell who) and I was like "Oh fudge" cause I assumed it was Barro. I guess Trott thought the same thing because he said, “Barro?” Then Elder Snow's voice came back sounding “oh so triumphant” saying, “Barro tapped out!” Well, I was super excited now, because that meant it was just me and Snow vs. Trott!! Woot!! So with pretty much the very last of my energy in me, I threw Trott off me. It was pure will power. Next Snow and I jumped on Trott. After several minutes of wrestling, Trott threw Snow onto the couch, and then in a split flash he immediately flipped around my neck and got me in a chokehold. At this point then, everything was going black and white. I knew I didn't have much longer. Snow came back to get Trott off me, but too late I tapped and that was that. We still lost, but man, we had tons of fun! Yep yep!!

Well my time is up on this pc so I gotta run. I love you guys, and I always keep each of you in my prayers. Be sure to take care of one another for me!

Love Elder “tapped out” Blair (but took a few out first!)

Monday, July 19, 2010

Ocala, FL Letter #22 July 19 , 2010

Hello everyone,
Well Florida is heating up, but this week was fun! We had a fun p-day as we always do, and then today we played soccer in the morning with a bunch of the young men in the ward. I scored two goals and tried to do a flip after I made them, but I ended up just landing on my back. All in all I had a good time and my back is fine (mom, I can hear you asking already). So since we played in the morning it threw the P-day schedule off so that is why I am writing you later this afternoon.

Tuesday I was getting ready to head out and work and when I looked outside and my bike was gone... the helmet was still there but the bike totally gone... so yeah I was robbed. Luckily enough, I had the bike Elder See left me. That bike needed a tune up real bad, so off we went to the bike shop. Ugh... not a good day. I ended up spending over 60 bucks on the tune up and couldn't get the bike back until Wednesday. My companion bought a lock, so I think we will be good for now cause we lock the bikes up together. If I am transferred, I can just pick up another lock in my next area. Man oh man, when I got the bike back though, I can fly on that thing. Freaking sick bike, I can eat hills like nothing else now!! Therefore, it’s kind of a win and a loss I suppose.

Then on Thursday, we had Zone Conference, which I really liked (except for those long hours,) but it was all good. During Zone Conference President Barry was telling us about some of the other missions in the world and how some of them are "test - piloting missions" where you stay at the Stake Center and chat online with people. You teach them the gospel and answer their questions and then when they want you over to their home you go and teach them in person ... Crazy huh?? Tracting is all right, but there is a better way for missionary work to be done. It needs to involve the members more than the missionaries. The missionaries should be the support to the member missionary work. And the good thing is that exact thing is what President Barry is focusing on, so I think this will be really good for the Jacksonville Mission. After all, the missionaries won’t be here forever but the members will be. The roots need to be the members and the missionaries the branches on the tree. President Barry is a really neat guy, he is very, very happy to be here in the Jacksonville mission with all of us.

But hey, I have five minutes left on this pc so I will go and get another one so I can get back on and finish this letter. Might be 10 or 15 minutes though, hopefully I can write a little more.

I’m back… hello again. Oh, update on Michael and Katlin, well their both done with smoking; but not sure about marriage now. Some of the ward members are inviting them to a family home evening tonight so they can see what a structured family can look like. Karl is doing fine. We are just trying to get him to have a testimony - that this is the true church. We will be following up with him today on what his answer was about that. We hope and pray that goes well.

There is also this less active lady that we are working with currently. Her name is Missy, she is really awesome! We go over have dinner, then a lesson. Last week she came to church, but not this week. She was not feeling so hot, but she will be there this Sunday. Elder Day and I are really excited about that!! That is pretty much my week in a nut shell. Oh great news, President Barry is letting us have two member meals a week now, so we can focus on getting the families to have their own family missionary plan! So that’s something nice too, that in and of itself will help move the member work forward in this area.

So how’s things back home? I loved Abbie’s surprise parade box! Man it was packed full of awesome stuff & treats that my companion and me really chow'd down on quickly.
I always love my care packages and wonder what will be inside? So if it’s some homemade treats I would love that, cause I love homemade stuff. I love anything and everything really…ha-ha!! So go ahead and send any care packages!

I would love to write a little more however now the work calls :P so I need to sign off for this week. But I will talk to ya in another 7 days! Yup, yup, only a week away until you hear from your all time favorite Elder …that’s me!! But I gotta get running, thanks for everything. Have a fun week! I love everyone, bye!
Elder goal scoring, (but non-back flipping) Blair

Monday, July 12, 2010

Ocala, FL Letter #21 July 12 , 2010

Well another week that has gone by all too fast,
This upcoming week we have a zone conference, with the new president. I am told it will be 5 hours long! (Holy cow big, big change from the 3 hour zone conferences), also from what I hear President Barry will be leaving Elder's in area's longer. Something he mentioned to the Zone Leaders was that 9 months in an area will be common… so my next area could very well be my last... how crazy is that?? Also coming up soon is Leadership Training meeting, in these meetings President will give the leaders in the Jacksonville mission in depth trainings, (all Zone Leaders and District Leaders and Trainers will be going to it) and it will take about 3 days! Kinda long, but I will get the chance to hang with my old companion Tall Porter! So that will be awesome!!

As for the work, this week it was really good. We have 4 dates this week set up for the 24th (I hope and pray they will go through...) we got a man named Karl who lives as a roommate at a member’s house; he is a swell guy. We had a really amazing spiritual lesson with him this week, and were able to talk to him about what he wants out of life. We tied it all into the gospel and set him on a track to be baptized on the 24th of July. He has already given up smoking and is more than willing to live the law of chastity. He wants to be a great Dad for his future kids! Really, a cool guy. I hope he holds strong until his baptismal date. He also came to church this week; however, he could only stay for the first hour because he had work. But he said he really enjoyed it, so that is a good sign.

Another new investigator we had this week was Emilao. He is a 16-year-old kid with whom we found tracting last week. We had the first lesson with him already. He said it has been awhile since he went to church and he knew he needed to come back. We taught him the lesson and then gave him a Book of Mormon, and brought him to church this Sunday. He said he really enjoyed it as well, and he loves the young men! They were a really great with him and he enjoyed the fellowshipping opportunity. He wants to come to church this next week! He is also planning on getting baptized on the 24th as well!! I really pray all of these people are baptized, because I really want Elder Day to see some miracles his first transfer out. Also, I want these people to find the peace the Gospel can bring into their lives.

The other two dates for the 24th are Michael and Katlin. We set a date with them, but I am not sure if they are quite ready for it. Just seeing them and talking to them, Katlin is now having second thoughts about getting married and they both have not quit smoking yet so... I don't know- we might have to drop them this week..., which is sad, but it might have to be done.

Well that’s all the information I have now. So I think that’s all. I got g-ma's package it was really neat! I liked it a lot. I think I would have to say one of the things I liked the best in her package was the lovely pictures of Bryce Canyon and other places in Utah. Yep that was the best! Florida is nothing like Utah.

I did get the letter talking about President Barry's farewell, so that was good. And Sister Berry remembers meeting mom at the farewell. When she saw me she said, “You know I think I met your mother and little sister at our farewell.” And I said, “Yeah that would be my mom” Ha-ha!! But hey, I gotta go there are other missionaries here that have to e-mail their families now; so I gotta get running.

Sorry I can't stay on long to write to everyone, I am at a family history library in Palatka and I took the first part of my computer time writing my weekly letter to the President. I might write you a letter later, but for sure, I will “talk” to you next week in an e-mail.
Well I love you guys, take care of each other.

The Elder who is praying for 4 baptism dates…Blair!!