Monday, February 22, 2010

Ocala, FL Letter #1 Feb. 22, 2010

Hey there family, friends and fans,

Well as you know, I was transferred last week. I am now in a city area called Ocala, so my guess of “going city” was correct. Ha-ha! My new address is 2215 SE 14th Ave. #56 Ocala, FL. 34471.

In addition, I am now in a total biking area. Therefore, as you could guess I have been biking my “guts out” since I was transferred; (which is all right, I don't mind it too much). Sort of a change from the car/bike combo areas I have been in the past. Right now, I am at a library so I don't know how long I will have to write- I have 15 minutes on my timer but I might be able to keep signing in. So if this letter is shorter than normal then…sorry guess I couldn’t keep signing back in to write more letters to ya’ll. The ward here is pretty sweet! My new ward is called the Ocala first ward. So far, everyone I have met seem like super nice people. I did notice that there are alot of older members in this area though, (oh well).

My new companion’s name is Elder Rogers from Arizona. He is a well-seasoned missionary. Elder Rogers has been out for 20 months! (Wow!!) Therefore, he will be going home soon. I am excited to serve with him because I know I will learn a lot from him. In addition, this apartment is a bit better then my last one, (by that, I mean a little bit nicer accommodations).

We have four elders in this apartment (just like my last apartment in Lake City). There is me (of course ha-ha) and my companion (Elder Rogers) then Elder Porter and Elder Crowther. Now get this: In our apartment, we have a giant ping-pong table that takes up most of the room (ha-ha) but that’s fine with me! Woot! Guess Elder Blair will be learning to become a ping-ponging champion (or a good loser) in his down time!

Sadly, Fred was not baptized last week. Elder Taft and I really tried because Fred wants to be baptized so much! It is just that his line of work is keeping him from coming home (since he is a truck driver). Therefore, it is hard to get a hold of him and get things scheduled. Lake City is really ready to explode though. Good things are happening there and it’s only going to get better and better!

Other news Elder See is not in my district, but he is in my Zone so that’s neat! He is in a 3 man in Cheifland. Which I hear is a very pretty “country” area. I talked to Elder See on transfer day and he couldn’t believe that you remembered his birthday! He loved his birthday gift. Also my GPS is still not working, but I can't really use it in a bike area at the moment. So I will keep working with it and see if I can't fix it.

In the apartment that I live in now; are a bunch of computer game playing Elders, (oh yeah!!!) We talk about Warcraft all the time and our district leader played it until he came out on his mission. They have a Warcraft Board game that we all play called “Warcraft miniatures”. It’s pretty fun. We all talk about the new races in Warcraft and everything like that, just some fun stuff to do in our down time.

So yeah, things are looking good here! I might be going to the Orlando Temple this weekend as well. So that will be sweet! And we should have a baptism this weekend as well. I think her name is Kathy. More about all of that next week.

But yeah I’m still trying to get my surroundings and directions figured out, but having fun nonetheless. For P-day (today) we are going to go eat, go shop, then play soccer or basketball, then eat again, (ha-ha!!) and yeah… lol that’s pretty much it! Good times, good times!

By the way the south has now got me saying “dadgum”, “fixin” and “ya'll”. Man it’s getting bad! LOL Well I gotta get going, tell everyone I am always thinking of them, I love my Utah fan club!! Ha-ha!!

Love Elder Biking Blair!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Lake City, FL Letter #18 Feb.16, 2010

Hey family & friends!

Happy Monday (a day late ha-ha!!) This week was crazy! We had a blast there was a festival in Lake City, called the Olustee festival. Check it out!

It was the one battle the southerners won in Florida, so they have this big re-enactment. There’s all of these old southern dudes walking around strutting their stuff. Our ward had a both set up there called “The Elephant Ear booth.” Elephant ears are fried Indian bread, with brown sugar on top of it. It is kinda like a giant churro, (at least that is what it tasted like, the look was totally different) but way, Way WAY good!!

We northern boys, of course made fun of the ward members celebrating the one battle they won… in the war, they lost. Ha-ha! We were like "How prideful is that! Celebrating a battle you guys won; in a war you lost against the country God inspired?" lol They would just shake their heads at us and mutter something about “Yankees”. Ha-Ha!! So that was a super fun thing this week that we got to do!

Holy cow it got way cold and extremely rainy this last week. Also, this week we went on a trade off with a member named Brother Lea, who is a sweet, sweet guy. We went to an inactive member’s house and was trying to get them to come back to church. We were not successful this week, but we will keep trying! Elder Blair never gives up on ya!

A small miracle happened on Sunday (after we ran over to Fred’s house and woke up him up for church...and got him to come) I was standing in my normal spot looking for investigators to come in, so I could greet them. When I turned around and saw two less active members come walking in, (we have been working with them for a couple of weeks). It was very, very cool because from our last few visits with them it did not seem that they were even going to make it to church at all! And there they were; and they did make it so that is way cool. A sweet little Lake City miracle for sure, for sure!

The other thing that is happening is that I am being transferred and so is Elder Taylor in my apartment. Elder Taft is not being transferred he is staying in Lake City. President Newman hinted in my interview that I would be. He was like “Elder I can see you sometime in the future being an urban Elder." But then I said to President, “But president I love the country and the people here”. Then in his wise all knowing president voice; he says "Well that’s the great thing about you Elder Blair is that you can love anyone or anything! And another thing is that you’re very flexible. I could send you to city, country or even campus!" So I don't know where I am going probably city I am guessing though. Dang! Lol I don’t know if I will be called to train again. Just cause I have trained once doesn’t mean I will always train, only if President Newman calls me to train again will I be a trainer.

I still keep in touch with Jason and Debbie. They are doing pretty good. I will have to call them Thursday and let them know where I am transferred. Oh and we got Able's book of Mormon, so that was wonderful to hand that to him! And one more piece of good news; Fred is hopefully getting baptized tomorrow. He is being interviewed tonight! Woot!

Oh hey, Elder Bowen called me this last week. He has not had a chance to leave school yet to come see you guys but when he has some free time he says he will make the trip down to Utah. Yesterday was Elder See’s birthday so I called him and talked to him on his birthday!

Is Abbie getting excited to be baptized? That’s sweet Drew’s first baptism, will be his little sister! And I want to know if he is nervous or not yet? Tell him to write me and tell me all about how he felt and what it was like for sure; after the baptism.

But I gotta get going, got people to see. So I will talk to you next week Tell everyone that I love them! Thanks for the Valentine cards and packages, all the Elders in my apartment loved the candy bar game it was great, we had fun figuring out all the riddles!

Love the wandering Florida nomad, Elder Blair 

Monday, February 8, 2010

Lake City, FL Letter #17 Feb.8, 2010

Hello family and friends

Well, let’s catch you up on the Florida happenings in Lake City this past week. Our new investigator Fred did not make the baptismal font this week, unfortunately his work kept him up in Alabama all week through the weekend. Elder Taft & I will be sure to meet with him this week and re schedule his baptismal date. More on that next week after I have some dates.

And sadly still no book of Mormon for Able, we are still waiting for it to arrive. We did talk to him on Sunday though and taught him a little bit more. After we had visited and talked for a while following the lesson we referred him to the LDS church website. He was really excited and looked it up immediately. When he got there and looked at it, he saw a clip from a talk given by President Monson. Able totally loved listening to that clip. I mean he totally enjoyed it; he was sitting there almost in awe! The talk was about how to help people in the world. President Monson’s Mormon message; “Have I Cheered up the sad and made someone feel glad, if not I have failed in deed”. Able thought that was so nice and something everyone should think about. It really touched him. We also talked to him more about the Book of Mormon. We told him we should for sure get his book by this Tuesday. He wants to read it so bad.

So our miracle this week was Able he just listens so well, and he loves to study! He said that most people just read the bible (like maybe a chapter or two) and call it good. He pointed out that they don't study it. He said that if something does not make sense to him in the bible he keeps studying until it does make sense. He really just eats it up! Able is not very tall; he is taller than me though. He has a mustache and has a wife and a young kid who is 2 years old.

And yeah I heard the Saints won the Super Bowl. That was too bad, (unless you’re a Saints fan) but oh well, and I heard you guys got dumped on with snow "big time" up there in Utah!

Funny story- The “MAMA” monthly CD company I want you to know (lol) that I thought that was a real company that you singed me up for, until I read the package and it said our Ranch Road address on this last one I received! Ha-ha!! Every month I received a CD and a cover letter, with a different CD selection. I thought there really was an LDS based CD club called MAMA and that it actually stood for Missionary Appropriate Mama Approved music!! HA-HA-HA!!

Yeah, but the last CD’s I received for January were good because right now all we can listen to is Motab. Lol. President Newman wants us just to listen to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir because too many Elders are being too lax with what they listened too. So for right now only Motab CD’s until we hear more from President. I believe he will explain himself at zone conference, as far as instrumental hymns etc types of CD’s.

In other news, we do have zone conference this week so that is a bonus! We tracted in the rain again this past week but it was not raining too badly; so we were fine. We are going into the “rainy season” in Florida now I guess. We also met some, "interesting" people this last week while out tracting. We will see where that goes, this next week. And so far, our mission is doing really well with the mission goal, and we are doing pretty well with less actives as well. Some great news is that Debbie and Jason want to come up to Lake City they are trying to make it here by Sunday! I will need to get directions for them though, so they don’t get lost. Yeah that’s another thing I think my GPS is broken. It won't load maps anymore, so I am letting it rest and then I will try and reboot it. Hopefully it should kick back on.

So really I guess that is the update for this week, anyways that’s all from me. I have to get going now; we are going to play soccer with our district this afternoon. I hate soccer but it is not always, about what I want…Ha-ha.

Thanks for the letters and Valentine cards, I sure love getting letters!

Have a great day, take care everyone!
Love, (playing soccer with a smile)
Elder Blair

Monday, February 1, 2010

Lake City, FL Letter #16 Feb.1, 2010

Hello family and friends

This week was pretty sweet! We did some more bike tracting, but I don't mind that so much. Ha-ha except for this past week Elder Taft was chased by a big ol’ sheep dog. Looking back at it, it was pretty funny. Here is what happened: We (meaning two amazingly good looking Elders) biked up to this house, and immediately there are two dogs that come running for us. However, we ignored them and we kept biking. At this point, they left us alone. We rang the doorbell and the dogs just stayed back but they kept barking at us. No one was there so we turn around to leave and one of the dogs takes off. This dog goes after Elder Taft, (cause I was in the lead for once). The dog kept trying to bite his ankle, and just as the dog was about to score an ankle bite on Taft, Elder Taft tried to kick the dog away and right about then the dog thought the bite would not be worth getting a kick in the face so it turned and went away. Elder Taft was not bit, but it was close. Pretty funny stuff though!

We also went to see an investigator named Fred. I mentioned last week that he was a truck driver and came to church last week just from a message we left him on a card. Anyway, he is a sweet guy. He talked to us about how much he loved going to church, and he told us how much love he had felt there. Then we talked to him about Joseph Smith. As we were leaving (it was a Tuesday night) he asked, “If he could call us anytime?” We said, “Sure”, cause for his job he travels to a variety of different states. He said that when he is driving he would like to call us. He also asked if we could pray for him when he is on the road. The last thing he wanted to know is if he could call us his brothers. We said sure!

Then we saw him again later in the week and I knew I wanted Fred to focus on his feelings that he has had since he has been coming out to church, and also as we have been teaching him. So I asked him to describe his feelings. And he summed it all up by saying he felt a lot of love. Then we turned to Galatians (where it speaks about the fruit of the spirit, and one of the fruits of the spirit is love), and then we told him that was the Spirit testifying to him that what he was being taught was true. Then we committed him to be baptized this next weekend, and he said yes. So that was a sweet little miracle that happened this week with Elder Taft & me.

Now for p-day last week we were at our ward mission leader’s house and his wife let us go drive around with his golf cart. Fun times, because his golf cart was one with giant wheels, so we took it “off roading” on his property. Which was sweet!

We also called the Mission office about Able's book of Mormon and they said it should be here in like 5 days, sweet action!! Can’t wait to hand him that Book of Mormon!

Zone Conference is coming up, I think of February 9th, or about then. It’s always fun to see everyone at ZC and hear their stories and what has been happening to everyone. Then transfers are coming the week after Valentine’s Day. So if anyone is sending Valentine cards to their “Favorite” Elder he will still be living at 685 SW Amberwood Loop Rd. #103 Lake City Florida 32025 until around February 18th (or longer if I don’t get transferred this time) so feel free to send mail if your “heart” tells you too! Ha-ha!!

And everyone back home I am rooting for the Colts in the super bowl this next weekend! Tomorrow is ground hogs day according to my calendar and I am thinking that the furry little critter should hopefully not see his shadow, who wants 6 more weeks of this type of weather in Florida? At least the cold has left Florida now and now it’s just officially chilly.

I also need to keep trying to find myself an alligator; I have no idea if I ever will though. I have tried to see them, but failed so far. So I think that is the main events of this week in a nutshell. Sweet “talking” to ya, but well I gotta run. I am a bit hungry and so lunch is calling my name. The Mexican buffet last p-day was amazing, this week we are going to Wendy’s. Not too original, but oh well. I’ll talk to everyone again next week!

Talk to you later.
Elder (still not been bitten!! Woot!!) Blair