Monday, April 26, 2010

Ocala, FL Letter #10 April. 26, 2010

Hello everybody,
This week was something else. To start it off my companion Elder Porter has a lot of back problems and riding on a bike is not making things any better. He went to the doctor to see what he can do to get it fixed on this last Wednesday. Well they told him to stay off the bike for a week. Therefore, we have been taking it easy and riding with the other missionaries in their car. So we are kind of in one big 4 Elder companionship which is kind of weird- but fun at the same time.

One night we came home from working and we had the Zone Leaders sleeping over and the District Leader (and his companion) hanging out with us in our apartment. About 10:20 I started getting ready for bed cause I was dead dog tired from working all day. The other missionaries were still talking and stuff, but my companion and I hit the bed. While we were trying to get some sleep, the others started a wrestling match in the other room. But I just rolled over, not thinking too much about it. However, it kept getting louder and louder. Well my companion and I were still trying to sleep. I think he was having more success than I was at falling asleep, but then out of nowhere I heard the strangest sound. I didn't know what it was. I couldn't place the sound, but I got out of bed and started walking down the stairs, to see smoke everywhere! First thing I thought was, “Great they started a fire and now I have to go upstairs and get my companion out of bed and get out of the house.”

Before I turned to go back upstairs, I heard coughing coming from outside our back sliding glass door. So I went out there to see all the missionaries coughing and trying to get air. I asked. “What's going on?” but no one really answered me. They were still kind of talking amongst themselves, until one of them said, "Where is Brandon?" Brandon is one of the missionaries that stay with us in our apartment. I looked outside and saw no Brandon, then one of them said "He is still in there." So then I am like “Crap my companion is upstairs sleeping and Brandon is in a burning house” so I said, “I will save him!” I turned and bolted into the house, white smoke was everywhere. I could barely see. I made my way to the kitchen, then suddenly some powder white smoke shot right at my face. I wiped my eyes to see Brandon holding a fire extinguisher. I told him I was there to save him, but he said he didn't needed to "be saved", at that point I ran outside again because I could barley breath at the time.

I got outside and found out “the rest of the story.” The missionaries locked Brandon in a closet and then opened it a little bit to spray glade air freshener in Brandon's face. In the mean time, Brandon grabbed the first thing he saw and that was a fire extinguisher and sprayed it back at them, and then sprayed it all over the house. Then me and the other missionaries ran in and yanked the fire extinguisher from him. Once I grabbed it, I ran back outside, while the others chased him, grabbed him, and wrestled him into submission. By this time, our whole downstairs was covered in white powder. Wonderful... but Brandon cleaned it up the next day.

Another amazing thing happened this weekend! We had discovered several weeks back, that an American Idol judge was coming to a local golf course to do a charity event type of thing. So we kind of jokingly said, “We should go.” Well the day kept coming closer and closer until the night before the event. At that point, we really decided to go and see this American Idol judge Kara DioGuardi. So while driving there we started talking about what would happen when we got there? Well, we then planned on giving her a Book of Mormon! So on the way I am writing down my testimony in the front cover of the Book of Mormon. (I even personalized it for her. I started it out "Dear Kara.") So yea, we got to the event and started to get really nervous, but walked in anyways. About that time, a nice old lady escorted us to the back by the golf course.

There were news cameras, reporters and everything. Therefore, once again we were nervous. We really did look out of place…a bunch of millionaire golfers, preteen girls, and four missionaries in white shirts and ties.... awkward!! After her little speech, she started talking to some of the people there. Then Brandon and I walk forward. Her manager starts to talk to us, and we told her we were from our church and just wanted to thank her for all of the charity work she has been doing. Next thing we know, she moves us to the front of the line, and we get to talk directly to her! ...yeah buddy!.... and we get a few pictures (there were like 6 camera's taking pictures of us with her)... yeah weird!

We might be in the newspapers soon. Then after the pictures, I turn to her, explain about the Book of Mormon, and tell her that this one is for her! She thanks me for it; and that was that. She had some more pictures to take, but yeah she has a book of Mormon given to her by yours truly! So next time you see her on TV you can be like “Yeah I know the kid that gave her a Book of Mormon!” Yeah!! Yeah!! Woot!! Woot!!

So those were the main highlights of this week I hope you enjoyed that! I know I sure did!!
Love from the Semi Famous Elder Blair

Monday, April 19, 2010

Ocala, FL Letter #9 April. 19, 2010

Hello Ya'll,
Well, me and my companion Elder Porter have been working are butts off this entire past week, we are totally focused on tracting and trying to find people to baptize. It has been a long, hard week. Things just have not been going our way. If we have nothing else to do (appointments, lessons, etc) we tract. So that being said we have been seeing lots of people and been teaching lots of new people but nothing has connected yet, However we will keep going strong, so it’s all good. We had zone conference this last week, which it was great! They kinda went back to the basics. They want us to focus on committing people better.

Oh, our recent convert Jack got his girlfriend to listen to the missionaries in Orlando and she was baptized this past Saturday! Moreover, get this; Jack was the one to baptize her since he now has the Aaronic priesthood!! It was way neat to get to see him do that, (since his girlfriend is going to be moving to Ocala anyway she got to be baptized up here). Yeah I am pretty proud of Jack!

I also got to take someone’s cigarettes this week, a woman named Cecilia, We tracted into her taught her the commandments and she was willing to give up smoking and everything to be baptized. She gave me her address because when I tracted into her she was at her friend’s house. So come to find out she is in 2nd ward, which means not my investigator I was kinda bummed about that. However, I got the opportunity to take Elder Brandon there (to her house) and teach her the first lesson! It was amazing how spiritual the lesson felt as we were teaching. We told her to give us her cigarettes and lighters and (with some coaxing) she did! It was wonderful to help her dump out her ashtrays and everything! We were so excited! Then the rest of the week the other missionaries took over and taught her a little bit more. She was still pretty solid till Sunday... she had a cigarette and didn't want to come to church after that; (which was way super sad to see that). Elders Brandon and Porter went to her house and tried to get her to not give up. However, “It was too late,” she said. Then she said that she “Was not strong enough and she dropped herself”. So in a very sad way I learned that it doesn’t matter how you start- you can be super pumped holding to the rod, (or as the Baptists say "On fire for Jesus!") but it matters how you finish that counts. However maybe one day she will see the missionaries again, but for now we just got to keep going and finding the elect who will listen to our message.

Oh and another thing we did this week (that was fun) was an outing we took as a district. Our entire district went to this “End of the world Sermon” (we actually got an invitation in the mail). Therefore, since we had been invited we decided to go and check it out. So last night there we were sitting there in full missionary armor (19-21 year olds) “presiding authorities” at this meeting! (Ha-ha!! It was so fun to think of it like that). They taught some truth but it was more along the lines of "philosophies of men" mingled with was kinda different to see how others have been taught. It helped us to see why they think some of the things they do. Yes that was pretty much my week.

Tomorrow is my old companions’ birthday (Elder Rogers) I am going to try to give him a call and wish him the big 21st!! Lol he is such an old man now-ha-ha! Well I might have to go soon (they have a time limit here) and we have our p-day to enjoy! I am not sure what we have lined up. We might go to Firehouse Subs but really, I have no idea what we are doing for p-day. I really do have to sign off now, but I will actually talk to you guys soon!(Mother's Day) so that’s a plus!

Well you guys take care of each other and tell everyone that I love them!
Love you guys a lot!
The Elder with the growling stomach -Blair

Monday, April 12, 2010

Ocala, FL Letter #8 April. 12, 2010

Hey family and friends,

This week was pretty amazing! We met a guy named Lorenzo; when I first met with him (while tracting), he immediately brought me into his house, sat me down, and told me to teach him while he was getting his Grandson ready for something. So I sat down right then and there; and taught him about Joseph Smith, then went onto tell him how Christ came to this country and about the Book of Mormon in general. He just ate it up! I invited him to be baptized and he said “Yes”, gave me a big hug, and thanked me! He told me he would be ready for church on Sunday but he went for a walk on that Sunday morning I guess. Therefore, we couldn't find him. However, we will get him to church this week!

We are also having a baptism this weekend on Friday, with a kid named Cory. Cory is 17. I don't know if I have told you about him yet or not but yeah he is being baptized finally. He is all down for it!

However, the absolute highlight of my week was getting to see Jason be baptized!! Boom Digitty, sweet action!! It was wonderful!! Just being in Fernandina Beach again was so awesome! I have missed everyone so much. When we walk in the church first thing we, see is and Jason walking down the hall dressed in white and smiling from ear to ear! He comes up and gives Elder See and me a big, big hug! It was really nice seeing him in again but especially nice to see him in white finally! Then we took a few pictures together and went into the Relief Society room to start the baptism “officially”.

Debbie was asked to bare her testimony. She got up, looked at Jason, and said "We got a lot more than just a bible honey." (If you remember her and Jason’s conversion story, all Jason wanted was to order a free bible off the internet, and then got a Book of Mormon as well as his free Bible.) She then went onto say “We made it this far, and if we made it this far we can go anywhere!” Then she bore one of the sweetest testimonies I have ever heard in my life. She thanked President Newman for allowing me and See to come up there to be a part of the baptism. Then she thanked everyone for all they did to support them to this point. It was a really sweet moment.

Next up was Elder See. Once he started to give the talk on baptism, Debbie just started to cry. Elder See gave his talk; followed with his testimony. Then we went the baptismal font to see Jason be dunked by President Newman. It was so amazing!! The spirit just flowed throughout the room, everyone in the room felt it. Then before I knew it, it was my turn to give a talk on the Holy Ghost. I will admit I really didn't do too well holding in my emotions at that point. Just knowing how much it meant to Jason and Debbie to be at that point in their life was more than my heart could contain. I remember sharing that, “Now Jason will now start learning even more, because he will be taught from on high.” I don’t remember much more of what I said.

Man, it was just a sweet, sweet day! And we got dessert out of it as well. (Ha-ha) It was so nice seeing everyone again! It was like coming home. My little Fernandina branch has grown into a ward now, but they are still my “Florida family” and I love them all. It really was so great to see everyone again, I have missed them. I am pretty sure Ronee sent you a picture or two already of us at the Baptism, but I will be sending more home soon. She showed me Abbie’s baptismal pictures too! That was way cool!! Congrats to Drew for doing a one dunk, and congrats to Abbie for making that awesome choice to be baptized! I’m proud of each of you!

As you can tell, I just had a blast this weekend! And as a bonus, I then got to hang out with Elder See in Chiefland on Sunday! Lol that was sweet. We were wrestling and a sprained my thumb but it’s all good. Lol it was a really, super good week here in Florida. It sounds like your week back home was really good too!

Well I’m sending all my love to each of you, tell everyone hello from their favorite Florida Elder! Thanks again for all the letters and cards; I just love my fan club back home! Your all remembered in my daily prayers! Were off for some P-day lunch and some errands.
Love ya’ll,

Elder (typing without use of one thumb) Blair 

Monday, April 5, 2010

Ocala, FL Letter #7 April. 5, 2010

Hello to everyone!
Hey guys, this week was a pretty good week! My new companion is Elder Porter so we have two Elder Porter's in one apartment! My Porter has been out for 3 months, so I am the senior companion again this time. My companion also has a cousin serving in the Jacksonville mission who is Elder Hill, they are both from Utah.

My companion this last week was Rogers; so we took the time for him to say good-bye to a lot of members. They are going to miss him; he has been in this area a long time and has grown close to many of the ward members. Then on Thursday Elder Rogers left for his new area. Elder Porter and I are back on bikes, which is not so bad. My companion - Elder Porter is a bit older guy. He came on his mission when he was 23 years. He seems like a smart kid and he is a really hard worker!

On Friday we tracted our guts out, and got 9 people to commit to a baptismal date. Unfortunately, we had to drop all of them because they were not answering their doors when we came around to pick them up for conference. However, there is this one guy named Cory, (he is friends with a bunch of members) and so he has come to several Sunday meetings already. We heard he was planning to show up for the priesthood session of conference, so we managed to call him and told him to come a bit early.

Cory was there at the church when we got there so we sat him down in a room for a bit and talked to him about all that he has learned so far. After that we went over the life of Joseph Smith briefly, and then taught the first lesson. Following that, we invited him to be baptized. He said, “Yes he would”. We told him if he wanted, he could be baptized on Easter Sunday, since he has already been to church 3 times, but he told us he had an Easter party to go too. Then he said he could do it the next week on Sunday, so we were like sweet!! So we gave him the book of Mormon and assigned to him a chapter to read. We will try to see him tomorrow, to get his mom to sign the baptismal form (since he is only 17) but he said his mom would be cool with it. We also have a meeting with him this Wednesday as well, at his members’ friends’ house. Yeah pretty sweet miracle there!! We are praying that all goes well with him this week for his baptism. Yeah and of course, it was conference weekend, which just added much more joy to the whole day!!

I am glad you got to meet Elder Bowen, Yeah, I love that kid!! We had such a blast in Fernandina Beach, it was an awesome area. Man we had good times! And isn’t that sweet that Jason is being dunked finally!! It is going to be a way sweet experience. Jason is just an amazing individual, I have never met anyone like him. His faith is so strong and he will be an amazing member! And for the other great news, Elder See and I have special permission to go to the baptism, even though it is out of our areas. Elder See gets to come with me, as well President Newman. President Newman will be dunking him! What a special day that will be! I can’t wait to see everyone from Fernandina again, that is an amazing area. They have now been made a Ward, and are no longer a branch because they have enough members to make up a ward now! Woot!! And Jason will be part of that ward now too!! It will be a miracle day for sure!! Mighty miracles, Mighty miracles!

I really loved the Easter and April fool’s day packages. They were way sweet! The books you sent seem pretty awesome as well, thanks for everything. The April fool “prank boxes” were hilarious! I totally fell for it! I really thought they were actual gifts. I looked at it and I was like... “Cocoa talkies? What the freak?, then I looked at the self-propelled rolling pin...and I thought...“ I'm not that lazy!” Now the alarm clock fryer...I was a little upset that one was fake! I would have liked that one to be real!! Ha-ha! But I gotta run, talk to everyone more next week.

Love from the Elder (who is seeing double with the Elder Porters…ha-ha) Blair

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Happy Easter!

Wishing you an Easter filled with thoughts of our Savior,

Love Elder Blair