Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Starke, FL Letter #12 Oct. 25, 2010

Hello from Florida!!
Well everyone this past week has been pretty slow actually. I will give ya'll the highlights though. Ok highlight number one: I am not being transferred so that is very cool!! I am super excited to stay in Starke. We have a lot of things lined up here, so I was really looking forward to staying this transfer. Highlight number two: I am going to be companions with Elder Lewis again!! We are both staying right where we are. Highlight number three: Sister Gainey's little girl Katlin was baptized this past Sunday and Elder Tate got to come down and see the baptism!! Very sweet weekend, very cool. Next highlight, I was in Lake Butler this week (the missionaries there needed me to interview one of their investigators for baptism) and we were driving down the road when all of a sudden, there was this Giant (I mean GIANT) Cow!! It was so huge that is all we could see was cow, and more cow. It was heading right for us on the other side of the road. Seriously, all you could see was a whole lotta’ beef heading our way. It was as big as a house and this little tiny, tiny truck was pulling it!! So crazy! Only in the South would that happen!

Oh and one thing that I forgot to mention that happened last week, Elder Lewis got high! Yep, yep true story, I was there. Here is how it happened. We were at a teaching appointment and there were several other people there smoking. I assumed it was cigarettes that they were smoking, I was wrong ha-ha!. After we left the appointment, Elder Lewis turned to me and said “Elder I don't feel normal, I feel like I am high or something”. Then Elder Lewis just started laughing and laughing and wouldn't stop. Our next appointment was the with Bishop, so we walked up to his house…by this point Elder Lewis needed help walking (cause he thought his legs were floating above his head), so we sat down in the Bishop's house. Bishop said that we “smelled like weed.” We quickly explained to him the situation and what was going on at our last appointment and right there and then he started to laugh and laugh, well having the bishop laughing- started Elder Lewis laughing again... Kind of annoying. I wanted to make sure Elder Lewis would be ok.. he was looking a little ill at this point. However, the Bishop told me just to take him home, lay him down and feed him something. Lucky for us; his family had sent him a whole bag of cookies that day so I gave him those. Well he downed them right away and then I made him two peanut butter sandwiches, which he ate almost as fast! Don’t worry I took video of the whole event. (Ha-ha!!) and Elder Lewis is none the worse for the event.

Man, Elder tall Porter is leaving this transfer (he flies out tomorrow). Simply crazy, I remember back getting to serve with him and Rogers in Ocala and that just seems like yesterday to me. I had such a blast with those guys (best three man companionship ever ha ha). I am lucky that I was able to serve with those two missionaries, they were amazing and I learned a ton from them.

Another thing Debbie and Jason (from Fernandina) are going to be sealed in the temple in April!!! However very sad news, I won't be able to attend. The General Authorities have said that they don't want us (as missionaries) doing any temple work. They said that our focus and our mission is to serve the living and because of that, I can't go to the temple. It really stinks, and I am kind of upset about that… but I suppose I will live. I hear the mission is having a huge bunch of new arriving missionaries this week from the MTC. Super pumped about that. Jacksonville is the best place to serve a mission ever!!

The weather here is turning a little cooler lately, (at least cooler for Florida ha-ha) so you are seeing more and more people bundled up as you pass them on the streets. Anyways I gotta get running, I'll talk to ya'll later. So for now, ta-ta to everyone!

Love Elder Blair (keeping an eye out for giant southern moving cows!) ha-ha!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Starke, FL Letter #11 Oct. 18, 2010

Good morning world!

Well family, friends, fans and everyone out there in Utah (and beyond) that may be reading this weeks Elder Blair update!

This week was absolutely amazing! Elder Lewis & I started out this week very determined that we would do all we possibly could for a concrete baptismal date by the end of the week. Therefore, we started out the week with a power fast and then we worked super hard seeing people, tracting and basically doing all we could do to find wherever the baptismal date would be, or whoever it would be. By midweek, however still nobody was even close to being ready, but we had some new investigators lined up. We decided to fast again and kept going, and going and no matter what we would not give up! We went all week long...working hard and then harder!

Then things took a strange turn Elder Lewis came down with the flu. I mean he was really sick and throwing up for two days type of sick. Finally he got better and we set out again. By now it was Saturday here in Florida and we were having a great lesson (with one of the people we are teaching named Chrystal), and she was talking to us about the lesson asking questions. When suddenly from the back room her son started to cry. She went to check on what happened; when she got to him, the other children said that he fell off the top of the bunk bed. He landed on his head (on the cement floor), His mom was of course really worried, his head was hurting, and he had a large bump. We offered to give him a blessing, of course. Chrystal allowed us to give her son a blessing, and after our blessing, his head started to feel better and he was acting just fine. We let them go so she could get him tucked into to bed and let her take care of him. So we did not get a chance to talk to her about baptism, which was what we wanted to do after the lesson and her questions.

Then Sunday came… still we had no one lined up. After church, we did our studies and then decided to go out to see all of our investigators, and inviting them. But no one was ready. Still we continued on our way... we just kept going. We stopped and saw part members, investigators basically everyone on our list. And still no one. Now 8:30 roles around and we have to be in at 9:00 pm so we decided to make one last stop by Chrystal's house. She seemed kinda too busy to have an actual lesson. However, we asked her about her son. We found out that Joshua was doing well. Then Elder Lewis & I testified that it was through the power of God that healed him and that that was proof that our church is the true church of Jesus Christ. Then we invited her to be baptized… and she said yes (of course)!! We set the day for November 13th as a goal, and it turns out November 12th is her birthday, so she was ok with that!! Oh, man. We were so happy!! Last day of the week, last appointment of the week, and almost the last hour of the week and we finally got a baptismal date!!! We are so totally stoked. Therefore, that was our miracle this week in Florida! It was a really good week!!

I have received all the packages ya'll sent, thank you for them and all the letters ya'll have written!! It makes an Elder proud to hear letters shouting his name all the way from the mailbox! Those letters always bring a smile to my day!

Before I forget I wanted to tell you that we will be having transfers on Tuesday next week (they also switched that to our p-day), because of it being transfer day. So I won’t get a chance to tell you if I moved or not until a week later. I hope I am not transferred this time because we have all sorts of things lined up for Halloween with the ward members and then trunk or treat with the kids. But we will have to wait and see. If I pray that I won’t get transferred then I probably will, then again if I don't pray for that ...just because it might transfer me… then I will get transferred! LOL you never can tell with God, he has a great sense of humor with us missionaries sometimes. We’ll have to just wait and see what happens this time. I’ll let everyone know as soon as I know something. Until then thanks again for everything and thanks for all that ya’ll do for your favorite Florida missionary!!

Love you guys!
Love Elder Blair (who along with Elder Lewis had their hard work, fasting and prayers really pay off this week!!)
PS We are getting our car repaired this next week, from our bumper-to bumper fender bender.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Starke, FL Letter #10 Oct. 11, 2010

Well hello family and fans!
Once again, all is well in Starke! Ummm not too much happened this last week. Elder Lewis & I worked really hard but still no solid baptism dates. However, Elder Lewis and I came up with a way to help him teach effectively even with his memory loss, and it has been working a lot better. It is pretty cool; the way we are helping Elder Lewis teach; is using his iPod and creating a checklist. This way when he is done with a principle he can check it off, and then move onto the next one. Good stuff!!

This past week I had the opportunity to eat some alligator tail. It was super, super good. I also got to go down to Lake City, (in my old area) on Wednesday. I was so happy, because I got to see all of the wonderful ward members that I knew down there. An extra special treat… I also got the opportunity to see Carrie again! I was so happy to see her again!! It was so awesome; she was all smiles… as always! She came out to the Wednesday night class (that I had the opportunity to teach!!) so I was able to spend some more time with her! Oh, man being down in Lake City and seeing everyone again was so awesome. Big, big day!! Surprisingly most of the members remembered me, which was cool! I thought being gone for a year they would forget, lol but I suppose I was wrong. While in Lake City, I went out on the tradeoffs with Elder Vangendren (my Zone Leader) who is really a great and amazing missionary and a super spiritual guy. He is helping me a lot with becoming a better district leader. It’s sad that he is leaving this transfer and same with Elder Tall Porter. Man I tell ya, so many good friends that are going home this transfer. Which is kinda crazy and sad at the same time. I am just so glad of the time I have left. I don't want to waste a minute of it.

I am dressing up as a clown for Halloween this year for the trunk or treat at the ward building. I got my costume already put together!! I will send pics and everyone at home do the same of your costumes for me. A bit of sad news… Elder Lewis hated our pet spider so he killed her... that little punk, oh well I guess. She would have been a very cool Halloween decoration on the side of the house. And the car is good; however we still need to get the fender fixed.

Big thanks to everyone for all the packages you sent me lately and all the Halloween decorations I have received so far!! I will definitely put them to good use!!! I loved all of it! I got grandma's package, which was awesome, one of the best ones ever!! Tell her the fall leaves made it to me safely, ahhh a taste of Utah autumns!! Remember the first rule for a missionary…...Missionaries can never, never, never, receive too many packages! Ha-ha!!

Well Fam and fans, I know it’s sad, but the time has come to an end, so I had better get going now. I love” talking” to you, it’s always fun! See everyone next week! Take care of each other for me,
Elder Blair (clowning around)

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Starke, FL Letter #9 Oct. 5, 2010

Hello family, friends, fans and everyone reading the weekly updates from yours truly…me!!
Well ya'll, we have had a busy, busy week. We are trying to do all we can here in Starke to move the work forward. This week we have been stacked with appointments from members (and less active members). Also, this last week we had zone meeting where our zone got together and talked about the changes the mission is taking and what we should do as missionaries to change. We talked a lot about how to plan out our days and how too really jam-pack each and every day. We learned how we could be more obedient, so that we would be able to receive the spirit at all times.

Therefore, Elder Lewis and I really decided to do just that! During the week, we strived really, really hard to change and also to be more obedient. We tried each and every evening to plan more effectively for the next day and the remainder of the week. And the whole week just bombed out on us. We had appointments fall through…and investigators that we knew were getting close to baptism; back out of their date. In a nutshell really, the whole week turned upside down on us. Though we did get knocked down over and over again, we are getting back up again and going to be heading out in full force this week!! We are going out even stronger and harder so we can find some miracles!

One of our goals (as a zone) is to read the entire Book of Mormon this transfer (6 weeks). In order for us to get that done by the 28th we have to find time to read it, more than just in our personal studies each morning. Elder Lewis & I have been reading it as we are eating our lunch, and at the dinner table as we eat dinner each night. We have been reading before bed and before our “personal” studies in the morning. It really has been an amazing experience and we have loved it!

Funny story this week: As you know from last week, we had some ribs promised us at our “trailer restaurant”. Therefore, this week we went back to our friend the “bbq rib man” and wanted to try some nice, juicy long anticipated ribs! As we were sitting in our car (in the laundry mat parking lot), just kicking back and waiting for our ribs…someone backed up right into our car! At first, I didn't know what happened, but then I looked up and saw some woman’s huge SUV right in my front bumper...crazy!! Oh, man, well we got things sorted out and there was not too much damage done to our car. Therefore, we will be getting our car fixed soon. We can still drive it, so all is well.

General Conference was amazing!! I loved every minute of it, from the first speaker to the last speaker it was just simply amazing. For missionaries it is like Christmas we wait and wait for 6 months and then we just sit back and soak it all in. Elder Lewis & I tried so hard to get people to come and listen to the prophet, but none of our investigators showed up. Like I said…our week turned upside down, but overall a good week here in Florida!!

Love ya'll, stay safe
Love Elder Blair (driving in a broken car this week)
PS sorry didn't email on Monday…we were super busy.