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!!!