Monday, October 9, 2017

Week Fifty Six

Hey fam hope all is going well!

This week was packed. Prob walked 15 miles at least everyday. Mostly just doing damage in our area. We found some crazy people this week.

Stuff that went down:

We went to visit some elders in the zone who live out in the boonies far away from everyone. Elder Jimenez (Guatemala) and Elder Hulet (Utah). We made them some arepas for breakfast. 

Lunch with our mission leader and his wife. The LEMUS family. He was in the military most of his life. Power couple. They come to every activity, give rides to everyone. This photo is from last transfer. He always roasts us. If he doesn't like the prayers we say, he says it to our face. Sister Lemus knows every single hymn. She always directs the music and chooses these obscure hymns no one knows and just belts a solo. Dope.

This is what it's like when the Colombia national soccer team plays. Huge screens set up in neighborhoods to watch. Whole country shutdown.

So we spent the whole week trying to find people. Prob worked harder than any other week. And usually new investigators come pretty easily. This week was rough though. So much rejection. I remember Pres. Rains warned me that would be hard and I remember thinking it wouldn't bother me. But definitley gets to you. 

Accidentally sat in puke in this park. I was brushing my butt on this tree to get it off and everyone was looking at me OOPS.

Met a lady with an Oakland As hat who was holding a green and yellow parrot who matched her hat.

We taught an intense Catholic missionary named Edel Silva. We were talking with him in his door for awhile. Then he asked if we taught english. BOOM let us in. He's super cool.

Really love the people we teach though. Everybody in Colombia calls each other neighbor. 

Missing you guys a ton! I love the mission. I feel like im in an agency video game sometimes. 

Love you!
Elder Blair

Monday, October 2, 2017

Week Fifty five

Hey Fam. Hope everyone's doing good.

RIP Robert D Hales, Tom Petty, Las Vegas.

On Monday night Elder Tracy arrived. I slept over with him and Elder Heredia in La Cumbre. That night at 11, I had to go back to the terminal to pick up new elders. I had 2 all-nighters this week in the bus terminal waiting for new elders to arrive. It's never sure when the buses will arrive. And you can't sleep because you can't miss the bus. Elder Tracy and I went 50 hours without sleep while waiting. It was also good though. I had time to talk with a struggling elder. He really likes to draw though so I gave him a challenge this week to draw a white dragon.

Tuesday, Elder Tracy and I fell asleep in every lesson. Tracy and I were on splits and we knocked a door. A man let us inside. We shared a short message. Then we invited him to say a prayer. He said he wasn't able. We told him we knew he could and then we both bowed our heads and closed our eyes and fell asleep haha. I woke up like 2 minutes later and he was just staring at us. I made Tracy say a prayer.

Wednesday, 2 elders arrived that will be opening the recently closed Bucarica area. Elder Skinner (from Missouri, who started his mission in Barbosa), and Elder Quiñonez (a rapper from Guatemala). The first district meeting we just read Matthew 14. We also have to study language in every district meeting so we had a rap battle. Then we all stayed in Bucarica to help get things going in the area again. We all just spent the day contacting. This week alone they found 11 new investigators.

My comp arrived this Thursday at 6:00am. My new companion is Elder Jaque. He's from Chile and speaks perfect English. Pretty much another gringo comp. He learned English from movies and music. He's seen every movie. It's awesome, he's super cool.

It felt so good to be back in my area. We spent Thursday and Friday visiting everyone. Our area is huge so I'm trying to show Elder Jaque everything I know, but I still haven't touched a ton because I've only been there like 4 weeks total haha. It's been a fun week though.

One dude we visit is named Saul. He lives in Bucaramanga but all his family is in Bogota. Super cool guy. He came to conference with us. He wants to join the church but doesn't really understand anything so we are trying to amp up our teaching skills with him. But he came to general conference with us and seemed really into it.

We also visit the Amaya family. All are super nice and super Catholic. One of the sisters is named Sharol. She was like: "My one doubt is Maria. Why don't you guys believe in her? I got fired up and shared 1 Nephi 11 where Nephi sees the virgin exceeding of all beauty. Sharol felt way better about the church after that.

We also found this dude who's name is Cristian Ronaldo haha.

Conference was really cool. All the gringos in the zone watched it in the bishop's office. We fist pumped every time the missionaries got a shout out.

Favorite talks were probably Christofferson, and Stanley G. Ellis. I think holiness can be easily tied to transhumanism. Loved a line in Ellis talk: "The members of the trinity are no strangers to hard things."Overall heard a theme of migration which was cool. hashtagwecandohardthings

Sure missing you guys. Sounds like America is crazy this week.

With love,

Elder Blair

Monday, September 25, 2017

Week Fifty Four

Hey family. Hope everyone is doing awesome. Missed you guys this week.

I've been out of my area all week long. Living life with Elder Gough and Elder Heredia in LA CUMBRE. Week has been so much fun. We saw this poster for the new IT movie. The evil clown. So we've been joking about that all week. Stuff like: "Hmm that's weird. I found a curly red hair in my rice. Probably nothing..."

Elder Gough finished his mission. It was fun being with him his last week. Super funny, hard worker. He gave me and Elder Heredia all his ties and shirts.

So right now transfers are hapening. 7 Elders left my zone and 7 new ones are coming. There's been a lot of running around to terminals and frantic calls. Everything's going good so far though. I'm stoked because Elder Tracy — my best friend from the MTC is in my district now. I'll be on splits with him for a few days before my comp comes. So I'm pretty excited for this transfer.

Sebastian Sotelo got baptised. That was another crazy day. Cabbing between LA CUMBRE and my area. Sebastian is awesome. He's this 18 year old kid lho lives with his grandma. Really responsible. He's already saving up to go on a mission.

We have been trying to teach every principle with an example in lessons these days. It's really funny coming up with examples on the spot. Elder Gough talked about how if you put even a tiny bit of cat poop in a cake mix, you wouldn't want to eat the cake. I can't remember how he related it to sin but I had to keep myself from laughing.

I have a testimony of anything it's probably repentance. I like when the new testament talks about becoming new creatures and changing our hearts. I don't know, I feel like sin is real. That it keeps us from living. I feel yearnings for living real life and sinning is like living fake life. I'm grateful for the mission for all the time it gives me to think about these things.

I love you guys! You should have won in student council —somebody messed with the ballot.

Elder Blair

Monday, September 18, 2017

Week Fifty Three

Week Report

Hey fam! Missing you guys.

A lot of stuff went down this week.

We had a multi-zone conference with about 50 missionaries.
President Laney gave a training about "how many doors do you have to knock to achieve a baptism?" The point was that it's a ton and it's easier to work through members.

The APs came to stay with us. I worked with Elder Picuasi for the day. He's from Otavalo (near where President Raines served).

We had interviews with President Laney. My companion, Elder Knight, received some bad news of his Grandpa passing. He talked with his family. It was rough. I think this week was insane for him. News out of nowhere just a week before finishing his mission.

We dropped him off at the airport with some of our investigators. We sang God Be With You Till We Meet Again hashtagothersideofheaven. He headed home on Friday to be with his family for the funeral. Thursday was his last day in the field and we passed by lots of the people we teach so he could say his goodbyes. Elder Knight is awesome. It's super weird without him.

So this week I'm with Elder Gough (from New Mexico) and Elder Heredia (from Ecuador). Elder Gough finishes his mission next week. He is from Elder Knight's group. Their area is called LA CUMBRE (the crest). LA CUMBRE is crazy. It's this huge ghetto in the mountains. Super hilly. It's the loudest area I've ever been in. Kids just ripping on motorcycles all day. There are tons of red zones where we can't go. It's how I imagined Colombia to be. Anyways, it's fun to be in for the week.

We drank pony malta with raw eggs.

I got my film developed.

It's been complicated working between our areas. I had to go on divisions Sunday. I was with a recent convert. It was so weird being without a comp.

Elder Knight planning

District mtg in Bogota. 
Elder Arteaga, Elder Teijeira, Hermana Manzaneda, Hermana Ttito

Alex Pareja making arepas. Hes my best friend in Bogota

Elder Powlus and Elder Vincent

Elder Arteaga- maybe my best missionary friend. We were in the same district 10 months.

Teijeira, Santiago, Estevan

Teaching maria fernanda (she's like Olive)

Working hard. Love the people we teach. Love teaching. Things going well. All the gangsters here have rattails and Adidas caprees.

Love you guys!

Elder Blair

Monday, September 11, 2017

Week Fifty Two


We had leadership council this week. We went to Bogota two days before because Pope Francis came on the 6th and all the airports were shut down. The whole country went crazy.

We stayed w the APs, plus Elder Sandquist (Utah) and Elder Hilldebrant (Peru).

Wednesday we had splits with two elders in a Bogota area called Nisa. I was with Elder Soria. We cabbed there. Left the cab and realized we left our phone inside. We sprinted after and the driver saw us. Nothing. We were pretty bummed; called our phone like 20 times.

So we did our splits. Elder Soria and I knocked on this window to contact and we hear a lady's voice say, "WE ARE WATCHING THE HOLY POPE ARRIVE. PLEASE LEAVE." Nisa is a huge area. Walking way far between visits.

We go back to the AP's house after the day. I try calling once more. The second time I call this lady picks up. She got our phone in the cab. She was way far and it was already 10 at night, but we got permission form the APs to cab over and pick up the phone. We found her house. She opened up her window on the 2nd floor and threw our phone down. Elder Knight threw her a Book of Mormon. It was funny. We were stoked.

Next day we finally had leadership council. There was a training by President Laney, by sister missionaries, and the APs. Most of the trainings were about working with ward council and helping them help us in missionary work.

We all went to the temple after. I saw a movie I hadn't seen.

Elder Heninger is a ZL in Bogota who made videos before the mission so it was cool talking with him.

We had to load up these boxes of Book of Mormons; insanely heavy to take back to Bucaramanga for the zone.

At the bus station to go back to our zone, we saw Hermana Mero, a sister missionary who finished her mission in January. She was with her family. It was weird to see her be a normal person.

Friday I had splits w my MTC companion Elder Karren. It was super fun. We just talked about MTC memories. It was fun teaching with him.

Elder Knight and I made another lesson plan about Faith without action.

Sunday we had lunch with Bishop and his Wife. They both love to draw. Bishop has tons of animé faces drawn next to verses he likes in the scriptures. We asked them to teach us how to draw. They put a vase of flowers on the table and we all drew.

I really love my area. I've lucked out with all my areas. Every time I say hi, people say hi back, which is not the case in Bogota. In lessons, people want to put salsa music on in the background. We're teaching one dude, Carlos, who loves the idea of becoming gods. Its always fun teaching him.

Today we went on a hike in the zone. It was way technical. Pretty intense. I touched this poisonous plant and had to pee on my hand to heel it. It was halfway through so the rest of the hike was only with my left hand.

Pretty packed week. Miss you guys everyday. Love you!


Elder Blair

Monday, September 4, 2017

Week Fifty One

Dear Family

Hope all is good in Oakland, CA. Everybody here always asks about you guys. There are a lot of Blair family experts in my area because I rave about you guys ALL THE TIME.

This week was good.

Monday we had a good p-day with the district. We were hiking to Mt. Fiore. A dude on the way told us it was closed, so we went off trail and found this awesome waterfall. Elder Gough found these weird pumpkin fruits in this tree and picked some for all of us. I found this thick vine and we all took turns swinging. Cool day.

Tuesday we had companion exchanges. I was with Elder Hansen from Oregon. He's a cool dude. We talked about Ender's Game. His dad once saw Orson Scott Card in a Q&A and asked him if he came up with any character ideas on his mission. Orson Scott Card said, "Yeah--I wasn't a very good missionary. I just stayed in the house and wrote books." He also told me Elon Musk is making a tunnel company?? Please confirm.

Anyways, we had a pretty cool day. We went to ward council. Only 3 people showed up and they all fought about the air conditioners for an hour.

Wednesday we had the district mtg. Elder Karren (my MTC comp) is our district leader. He asked me to train on Baptism Dates so I gave a training on that.

Friday we had more companionship exchanges. I was with Elder Jimenez. He was my zone leader when I was in Barbosa so it was fun being with him for the day. Jimenez is from Guatemala. We went up to these apartments in the mountains called Bella Vista. We knocked tons of doors. Found tons of people. We bought a pineapple and gave it to this old dude. Jimenez's comp is Elder Bardo from Brazil. Bardo is crazy. He can sing just like Shakira. He's just out of control such a funny dude. At night we ordered in Dominoes.

Saturday- lunch with the Brito family. Hermano Brito is from Barranquilla (where Shakira's from). Hermana Brito is from Medellin. Hermano Brito has like 70 yellow birds. He keeps them in all these connected cages with the water and feeder system. I asked if he sold them but its just a hobby. I like their house. Tons of open space with windows always open. Hermano Brito used to have a Toucan. His son August served a mission in Dominican Republic. I found out I knew one of his comps. This dude in our ward in Bogota. Then we had an open house with half the zone. Knight and I were the only ones who really worked. WE found this Canadian dude who came in.

This dude named Fernando in our ward came up to me a couple Sundays ago and asked me for a French Book of Mormon. He has this French cousin who's staying with him for a year. So this Saturday we visited them and the French cousin threw me off hardcore. I hadn't heard French in so long. #lockmyheart

Sunday I just remember a blur of visiting a ton of people.

Today we went and bought Colombian stuff. Elder Knight is checking off his mission bucket list. He's such a funny dude. We always take turns rapping in Spanish. We've been making custom lessons to teach and that's been pretty fun. We made one called PLAN DE LA TRINIDAD.

Yeah the area is cool. Tons of lizards. Super rich people, super poor people and everyone in between.

My area in 2 words can be described as sweaty Gs.

But working hard and enjoying this transfer a lot.

Peace out family

Elder Blair

Monday, August 28, 2017

Week Fifty

Hey Family

Thanks for all the happy birthdays. It got me pumped up!

Oakland 1st Ward is so awesome — everybody wrote me.

Week was awesome.

Bucaramanga is so cool. Always bright. Everybody's in a good mood here. Super humid. My companion Elder Knight joked that breathing in air is like eating soup. Sometimes I take 3 or 4 showers throughout the day.

Uncle Josh was in this area too. There's a waterpark and 3 huge malls and just tons of people. Super green. I want to ask members if they remember an Elder Stanley this week.

I've had to give talks in Sacrament Meeting 2 weeks in a row. That was funny.

Our Bishop's name is Wolf Fang. We helped him move his house this week. He kept singing TURN DOWN FOR WHAT. Such a funny guy.

This week we had companion exchanges with the APs. We had to travel to Bogota. We got an Avianca flight, and being at an airport threw me way off. Haha. It was cool being in Bogota. I loved my last area even though it was ugly and grey. We got there pretty late. I was with Elder Wood for the day. He's a funny dude we had a cool day.

We double decker bussed back to Bucaramanga the next morning and drove through Cañon Chicamocho. GOOGLE ASAP. Super pretty drive

We have to spend a lot of time out of our area and it screws us up sometimes.

There's a super awesome Recent Convert family — Familia Caseres. They have a son named Luis who wrote a rap for me for my birthday. So awesome. Elder Knight and the family surprised me with a cake on Sunday. It was so funny. We visited the family and then we left. Elder Knight said "I forgot my planner in their house". So we went back and the cake was out and music was on. They've known me for like 2 weeks. People are so awesome here.

We are working hard and getting better at teaching. I'm pretty used to the mission now. I don't feel like I'm 20. Guess it's time to start acting my age.

Miss you guys a ton,
Elder Blair