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!!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Ocala, FL Letter #20 July 5 , 2010

Dear family and friends,
Well all is well here in the sunshine state of Florida! We have made some strong progress here with the ward. This past week we have received 3 new investigators (leads) from members, which is a very decent improvement from 0! One person is named Stephanie (who is an older British woman; who walks every morning with a member). The other one is a roommate of a member named Karl. He is a pretty young kid, but he seems like he has potential and another one is a referral from a less active member and his name is Shane! So with those three we are slowly starting the member work. It’s a partnership plan; having the members do the finding and the missionaries do the teaching.

Elder Day is doing really well! We are getting along great, and his teaching is improving every day. He still is kinda quite, but that’s fine. His spirit really shows when he is teaching; and especially his love for those he is working with. He is such a loving kid to everyone we meet. It is really great to be his companion!

This week though we did find out he hates frogs, (which is really bad, because well in Florida there is loads of frogs everywhere!) We caught a couple one night and let him hold one. He was freaking out! He held it long enough to take a picture with it, and then he ran upstairs, (so funny). I video recorded it for ya'll anyways! Then one time later that night he locked himself in the bathroom, so we put like 6 frogs in with him, just so he wouldn’t get lonely in there by himself. Super funny oh, man! Elder Day has a goal - by the end of the transfer to catch a frog all by himself, which is a very appropriate goal for him. It’s reachable and it will make him stretch, so that’s a good missionary goal! He will then know that he can overcome his fears, which is a good thing for all missionaries to know.

For the 4th, we had dinner at a members house; Brother Waters, wonderful guy! He made us rice, chicken and biscuits. Well let me back up a bit, actually, he didn't make it; it was Sister Waters that did the cooking. They had so many different kinds of jam!! You wouldn’t believe all of the different kinds. They had everything from raw honey, (which was excellent) to tomato preserves! Every jam was just so yummy! I loved it! Then after dinner, we got to watch some fireworks (that local people were shooting off)! It was a really good 4th of July celebration. Your 4th of July package made it even that much better!! We are planning on having a popper war with the little pop things you sent us! That should be fun.

This week looks to be really good! We are going to be having a meeting with the Ward Mission Leader and the Ward Missionaries this week (to finalize the plan we came up with). I hope that works out well.

Well I love you guys! I miss ya'll so much but please know that I really love the letters and the packages that I have received!! Truly, they make my day. And apparently, I have a Florida missionary mom coming my way today to drop off homemade cookies and banana bread!!!! hmm... So how did you arrange that one Mom? Seriously though, that call made my day, (and it will make my companions day as well…since I always share). lol Well once again, I love ya'll

Talk to ya soon,
Love the Elder looking forward to some homemade treats!
Elder Blair