Monday, May 24, 2010

Ocala, FL Letter #14 May 24 , 2010

Hello fans,
Yep, looks like I am one year older, in being a missionary. My one-year mark was outstanding!! More about that later, but things are going really well in our little part of Florida.

We got to meet Elder Nelson a few days ago (Saturday). It was a really awesome experience! In addition, we had Elder Laurence (a newly called seventy), and Elder Rasband a senior member of the Seventy! As missionaries, we got to go up and shake their hand and say hi to them. Following that, they then gave us some pretty good advice. Elder Anderson who is an area seventy (from this area) talked about “listening and following the spirit.” Then Elder Laurence talked about how to use the ward members more in our missionary efforts. Elder Rasband talked about how our leaders receive their call, and what our calling is as missionaries. Then Elder Nelson spoke about how we need to look for the future leaders of the church in this area, and how the rich need the Gospel as well.

From my perspective, I can see that this mission is going to change a lot of its focus in the future. Because right now we really don't use the ward members as much as we should, and we also stay away from the rich areas of town. However looking at it now, (after the talks) I can see how this will greatly help the work in Florida go forward. The south needs help with their home teaching, they are in the 30% almost every month. Mainly this is due to the fact there are so many less active members that each active home teaching companionship has loads of families they visit. The most I have heard is a companionship having 15 families to see, (can you imagine?) and with that over whelming numbers, it is hard for them to keep up with a high percentage with such a huge commitment like that.

Therefore, that’s why we are going to have to be looking for more of the higher income people that can help support the current members and support the local church in their area. Aside from that, we are working with a family in our area; their names are Michael and Kaitlin. They are a really cool couple, very nice and very receptive. Only struggle with them now is just getting them married. They both want to do it, but just a little nervous to take the step.

My hump day activities were great! We had President interviews that day (I asked President if that was the last interview and he said he does not know), then came back and saw some appointments we had already set up. Then tracted for the rest of the day, then came home and ate some really good food! Thanks I loved the food!!

Another thing… I did get all my packages from everyone for Hump Day! Woot I am happy about that!! Well thanks to each of you for all you do for old Elder Blair. I sure do love your packages!! (and so do a lot of other missionaries!) ha-ha! I think I got the entire Shwan’s delivery truck (loved the chocolate cake, apple pie and lasagna) I have not had a chance to try all of the other meals yet, but I will let ya know how they are. It was pretty funny when he delivered the food cause all the Elders in the District were over at that time and so they all came out and saw him pull up and dump a bunch of food in my hands. lol. Thanks to everyone else for all the awesome goodies, we had an amazing birthday party!! Love ya for remembering your favorite Elder on his special day!

Today for p-day, we may do some boxing at Jack's house or something like that? I don't know if we will be just boxing but maybe some UFC stuff too cause Jack use to be a MMA fighter so we will see what happens. Other than that… get lunch and try to find a way to do laundry as well. We do have some laundry machines in our apartment complex but it cost money so we try to find other alternatives. I miss Ronee cause and she knew we were limited on our funds as missionaries and she always let us do laundry at her house. It was really awesome; we need to find a system like that here in Ocala. I talked to Ronee on my one-year mark, she is a very cool lady! Can’t believe she remembered my hump day!

But alas I must go and get some lunch for my stomach as it is kinda hungry.

Love to everyone
Elder (growl-growl-that was my stomach!) Blair

Monday, May 17, 2010

Ocala, FL Letter #13 May 17, 2010

Well, well, well,
This week has been really good so far. The two little girls Kayla and Kayara were baptized on Tuesday!! Both twins, and probably one of the scariest baptisms I have had so far on my mission. Here is what happened. We get to their house, and we have a member of the ward Madi take them to the church, but while they were getting in the car I asked them, “So are you girls excited to be baptized?!! Kayla said yes, but Kayara just silently shook her head... no. Well come to find out she was afraid of the I promised her “It all would be all right and I wouldn't let anything bad happen to her.”

We arrived at the church, got them all ready, and dressed in their white clothes. We took pictures and all that fun stuff. Then comes time for the baptisms; well Kayla went off without a hitch. She actually jumped in the water, was baptized and then started swimming around! Ha-ha! But Kayara just stood by the door and said, “That she didn't want to get baptized anymore.” Her sister kept telling her to come in the water. I was trying to make her feel comfortable, by talking to her and showing her how much fun her sister was having. Even the Bishop was trying his best to get her into the water, but she wasn’t moving, not even a step.

Finally she slowly she got in the water, but she didn't want me to dunk her. She said, “She wanted to do it by herself,” (yes that’s right she wanted to baptize herself!) So then, I gave her a very solemn pinky promise that I wouldn't let anything bad happen to her. Then she made me a pinky promise that she would trust me. But she still didn't want to do it!! This little girl broke a pinky promise!! guh,...can you believe that? Finally, she tested out the water a little more, and a little more, then finally we got her to agree to the baptism. After all, of that, she then started swimming in the font and telling me, she didn't want to get out!! What? Certainly one of the craziest things I have seen while on my mission. Those two little girls were so sweet, and afterwards their smiles were stretched across their face until it reached right up to their ears!!

Also, this week Sean got baptized (an investigator we have been working with for awhile), yep he finally got dunked as well; and his baptism was a lot smoother! Seriously though both were really good and amazingly spiritual baptisms. Sean also said that when I get home he will run me through all the dungeons I want; so that he can get me to lvl 80 in WOW (heck ya! Lol. Can I hear ya'll say money!)

Another really neat thing happened this last week. About 3 weeks ago, we were called by some ward member that was from Williston Ward. She asked us if we could come and give her aunt a blessing, so we did. The doctors had told the family that she really wouldn't make it much longer and that she only had a few days to live. We gave her a blessing that evening. Well, the ward member called us yesterday and told us that during the blessing her aunt was promised that she would make a full recovery and would be healed. The next day she was out of a coma and sitting up and having a full conversation with family members. Now she is being transferred to Tampa to be re-diagnosed and cured. So that was also something that was really cool to have them call and tell us all of that! Wow, I was shocked, and that is an understatement!

So all in all, it was a really neat week. I am very, very, grateful to be out here and doing the work I am doing. It is so rewarding, I wouldn’t wish to be anywhere else but on my mission and I am sure you see why after reading all of this.
OK I got about 30 seconds left on this pc so good-bye for now and remember I sure love you guys!

Love Elder “Pinky Promise” Blair

PS I talked to Elder See yesterday and he sounded really happy that he got to meet you guys at the airport!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Ocala, FL Letter #12 May 10, 2010

Hello again, long time no talk (ha-ha)
Well, I am glad I was able to talk to everyone yesterday afternoon. It was good to hear everyone’s voices again. I was also glad I was able to answer so many questions. Everyone seemed as if they are doing great! I pretty much gave ya'll the update on Sunday, but this past week has been great. I did find out that I would not be transferring this next week, so my address and companion will remain the same.

I think I told you in an earlier letter that the “warcraft guy” (the one I taught with using Warcraft terms) is being baptized this Wednesday. Therefore, that is a big perk for this upcoming week. His name is Sean and he is about 30 years old. So that will be a great thing for Wednesday!

My companion “Little Porter” is now going to go see a back surgeon to see what his opinion is of his back problems. We will have that appointment this week as well. I hope Elder Porter’s back heals soon and that he will not need surgery on his back.

I’m pretty sad that the other Elder Porter in our apartment is leaving this transfer. We got to be really good friends since we have been in the same apartment together. It is fun because we have a lot of the same interests. He will be missed for sure.

This month I will have my last President Newman interview before he ships off. Which is kinda weird but exciting. He will be leaving sometime in June; I am not sure the exact date. I have really liked President Newman as my President. He is a really great guy. I'm really not liking this Florida weather at all; it gets too hot and humid. I am kinda thankful this is my last summer! (but also kinda sad at the same time).

Oh, here is some news for ya’ll. Jason got to bless the Sacrament on Sunday!! He called and told me that this morning. I am so happy and proud of him! He is such a great guy! Oh and I also saw Jack this past week. He has been having some family trouble, but things are getting better for him. He has kept me up to date with the Jazz, and all my geeky stuff. lol He is a really funny guy! I can't wait till ya'll meet him. He is also planning on going on a mission, so that is wonderful!

This week since we are in kind of a four man with the car, we are going to be going around and seeing people for the other Elder Porter, so he can say his goodbyes. He has been in this area for 6 months! What a long time! It looks like I will be in this area for 4 and a half months. All of my areas so far have been 4 and a half months. First Fernandina, then Lake City and now here in Ocala. Which I don't mind. I like staying in a area for that long, I kind of enjoy it. You get to know the people, your way around and seem to make good progress in that time.

Well I love ya'll lots! Take care of yourselves and tell everyone I said hello and send them a big ol’ Florida humid hello!!

love, Elder (Smiling) Blair

Monday, May 3, 2010

Ocala, FL Letter #11 May 3, 2010

Hello Everyone,
This week the weather sure kicked up a lot. It actually got into the 90's already a couple times last week. Boy that makes it really hard to work, but oh well. I just brought a lot of water with me all last week to compensate. Elder Porter’s back is way broken. They are sending him to a chiropractor, to see if they can help him out. Keep him in your prayers.

Well we have been teaching this one man name Irvine. Irvine is a really humble guy and the missionaries have taught him in the past (so that’s a plus). The only problem is that we cannot baptize him until his probation is off, (which is in July hopefully). However, Irvine has two 9 year olds that could be baptized. We talked with him about that fact, but he said he really wanted the baptism to be a whole family thing. His thinking is that if they are all baptized together they all can start “fresh” together. He also wanted to be an example for them. We then explained to him about the Holy Ghost and His role is in our lives. We explained how he will help us on our way back home to our Heavenly Father. We told him that his children need that now, more than ever, so they can overcome the trails that they will face. And even though he cannot be baptized with them, he can still be that example of a father that gets them up and gets them ready for church, and makes sure they are doing what their Heavenly Father wants them to do etc... So after we said that he said yes to getting his children baptized. The only thing he wants to do is run it by the kid’s mom. I called the other missionaries that had previously taught them and they said the mom, is a real piece of work and did not want her kids baptized last time. Therefore, we will do our best and hope for the best, and pray that everything will work out.

That is really the main event of this past week; we did a lot of tracting this past week. We did find a guy sleeping on the floor while we were tracting, lol he looked pretty funny. I was on a trade off with a Spanish Elder (we were tracting in a Spanish neighborhood) and came across this trailer with this guy passed out on the floor. Elder Christensen said something in Spanish and the guy opened his eyes for a minute said something back in Spanish then went back to sleep. We just looked at each other laughing, then I snapped a picture of him lying down… and we went on our way.

Which reminds me I just put a bunch of pictures in the mail today. Hope all is going well at home. Oh an Elder talked to me about a great idea after I get off my mission. He said I can work at Disney for a semester, and get some college credit and get money cool!

I really love you guys and thank you for always sending me mail and packages and stuff. The other Elders in my apartment always get so jealous when I get mail…and I love it!

Well my time is almost up; I only have about 5 minutes left until my pc goes to someone else, so I will just talk to you this Sunday! It is pretty crazy thinking its Mothers Day already- it seems like Christmas was yesterday. I will be probably be calling after church (about 12:30 my time). I should be able to talk for awhile.

Love, Elder (water toting, scripture carrying) Blair