Monday, April 30, 2018

Week Eighty Five

Elder Blair
30/04/2018
Misión Bogotá Norte

This Is My Week Report


First off:             what is upppp???



Ill start the week report off w this pic of: Problem Solving Mode


Betty and June gearing up for BIRTHDAYS.


This week we wrapped up transfers and President Laney went to Peru so we were the mission babysitters..

That included: picking up the new missionaries and meeting with the trainers.

Some awesome new missionaries came to our mission from Brazil, Argentina, Peru, and Bolivia.

We had a meeting with President Laney to train the trainers. I told the missionaries that during my training we worked super hard and got home exhausted every night so they should shoot for that. Today one of the trainers came up to me and told me they're getting home tired. That was sweet.

After we met with the trainers we walked with all of them 20 blocks to the Nogal Chapel. It was hard walking there because a RIOT was going on in Bogotá blocking the way. The secretaries were walking with all the new missionaries to the chapel and the riot was blocking their path as well so that was way fun.

Elder Vieira left us. His mom thinks he's coming home in May so he surprised her. I'm waiting on a video.

Vieira and Mattos both stayed in our house during their last week. Super trunky hearing them talk about plans.

They both left to the airport to return to Brazil so Elder Dias and I headed to our area to get some work in. We contacted some bodyguards and personal trainers and then got a call from an unknown number: Elder Mattos at the airport.

His suitcases were too heavy and he needed $100USD to get on his flight home so we cabbed. I got $$ out at the mall and we saved Elder Mattos' mission. And then when we were about to pay, a dude came from out of nowhere telling LATAM AIRLINES that missionaries are under an agreement and don't have to pay.

So we did all that for nothing haha.

But we had dinner at the airport in CREPES & WAFFLES, so all good.





We also had the DISTRICT MEETING.

Elder Tracy, my best friend on the mission is my District Leader. We all learned how to protect ourselves from earthquakes. Tracy has been a huge help for me throughout my mission. Always calling. One of the coolest people I know.

Im stoked about this transfer because Elder Dias and I will have way more time to work in the area than normal because there won't be any zone conferences.

I was calling different contacts I had made last transfer w/ Vieira and having 0 luck so we said a prayer to call the name we needed to call. I told Elder Dias to choose a name afterwards because he wouldn't have bias and he chose to call Nereirda. I told him, "Nahh I tried calling her 3 times and no answer...but let's try." And she picked up 1st try and was like, "Please visit me! Is it alright if my husband and kids come too?" Power of prayer.

We have been getting tight with our Bishop — Mario Rojas. Super young dude with craziest son ever. I always tell missionaries they can never call their bishop too much.

We had our meeting with Pres. Laney.

Our meetings go like this:

Sunday night, 7:00pm, Laneys house.

1. Pres greets us and says "Hola Elderes, Como están?"
2. We go inside his office, he turns the lamp on and we sing a hymn in English.
3. We talk about the missions' numbers of the week.
4. We talk about missionaries having trouble.
5. We talk about ANY OTHER TOPIC and it takes another 2 hours.
6. We go eat cookies and milk.

Always look forward to the Sunday night meetings with President. President Laney is so cool. The mission is gearing up for a new President. President Laney told us to be keeping track of areas to close and open.

Elder Dias my new comp is so cool. Super humble and well adjusted. We seem to always be on the same page. He just came ready to work. He is also helping me on Portuguese. I think it helps that I have become super interested in Brazil that I can just ask him questions all day. I always tell Brasileros about Joyce Moreno who is an MPB singer.

We went to eat Brazilian food and in the restaurant was worst music video I've ever seen:  MC Bin Laden - Ta Tranquilo Ta Favorável

Highly don't recommend it haha.

It has always helped me during my mission when I'm mad at my companion to ask him about his life.



I'm super excited for the skype with you guys next week!


Love and miss you guys more than I can say.

Elder Blair

Monday, April 23, 2018

Week Eighty Four



I'll start this week report off with a quote that recently came to my inbox:

"I'm super chaaaaarged. Bout to take this whole thing to mars."

-Kanye West

These are my feelings.

How are you family?

I hear some Blair cousins are getting married?

We had a crazy week in Misión Colombia Bogotá Norte.



This dude just came to visit our mission:


ELDER ZIVIC, BUENOS AIRES ARGENTINA

We had 2 huge conferences with him — 1 in Bogotá, the other in Bucaramanga.

see photo below: a view of Giron, and Bucaramanga



It was awesome having him here. Elder Zivic is President of the Caribbean area (so not sure why he came to our mission haha) and he turns 70 this year, so he has almost finished his duty. Zivic gave up going to the Olympics for track & field so he could keep the Sabbath day holy. He taught about listening better, working better with our bishops.

OTHER THINGS

I had 2 splits this week. First one, the Zone Leaders from Bogotá came — Elder Skinner (Missouri) and Elder Valenzuela (Panama).

We all went to Suba to pick up my next companion: Elder Dias. Also from BRAZIL. Im super stoked. Elder Vieira finishes this week. We have so many jokes now and the mission is a 24/7 party with him. Dias will be awesome though. We lived in the same house in Suba and got along super well.



This is us at the terminal. I'm sitting next to Dias.

My other splits were in a trio with Elder Dias (my new comp) and Elder Wood (he used to be AP). We had a sweet day. We found this lady named Pilar who is a powerhouse. Her husband is tied up with intense military vs Guerrilla stuff in Arauca and she hasn't seen him in a year. We taught about the Restoration and she gave us orange Gatorade. #winwin

The whole mission is having tranfers today.


Last night we were doing transfers till 2:00 am.

At 1:00 am we got a call from Zone Leaders in Cúcuta and they told us sister missionaries in their zone wouldn't answer the phone at all throughout the day. They went to their house and the sisters weren't there. I called Pres Laney at 1:00 am and he told me to tell the ZLs to go home and sleep...wait it out.

This morning still no good news...on the day of transfers. We were making calls to all the missionaries and different members in Cúcuta patching the story together. We got a Sunday 7pm last sighting from a member. and then...

12:00 pm news: turns out the sisters were in their house asleep. #praise

Anyway, anything that could go wrong went wrong but everything is all good now.
We are trying to help missionaries call us with solutions instead of problems. We must take 100% responsibility for our lives.

Elder Zivic repeatedly shared this verse with us as well:

D&C 82:3 For of him unto whom much is given much is required; and he who sins against the greater light shall receive the greater condemnation.  

Anyway we are bulking up for a crazy week of receiving new missionaries and saying bye to old ones.


Sure miss and love you guys.

Elder Blair



P.S. We finessed our way into the AVIANCA VIP LOUNGE and got to sit in these seats. #fighttothetop

Monday, April 16, 2018

Week Eighty Three




My Week Report

Hey fam. How are you guys doing?

We had a super busy week.

Started off on Tuesday with a ROADTRIP with President Laney and Sister Laney. We went to Duitama.

On the drive there, we stopped at Price Smart which is legit just Costco.

There are even samples.

We also found this:


We also stopped in PAIPA which is this town known for leatherwork.
Pres. Laney loaded up on leather bags.

Then we got to Duitama. We stayed with the Zoe Leaders for the night. My comp Elder Vieira served in Duitama so we visited this family who loves him:



The dude hugging us is named NELSON and he is insane. His house has so much stuff. That's the only way I can describe it. HE HAS SO MUCH STUFF.

Nelson kept on saying: "The mountains didn't come to Mohammed; Mohammed went to the mountains." #wordofwisdom

Nelson also has a costume shop:



NEXT DAY: We had a good Multi-Zone Conference. We trained the missionaries on going ....the.....extra mile :)

So much fun seeing the missionaries in form in Boyacá. Bogotá Norte has awesome missionaries.

My companion and I finished up the trip by going to Nobsa with some members. Nobsa is known for CALIZA stones which are used to make concrete. A small town made up of farms and smoke towers. We got a RUANA for Pres. Laney and his family.

OTHER STUFF

I had 2 days of splits this week...with Elder Espinoza (from Lima, Peru) and Elder Oliveira (from Sau Paulo, Brazil). So good seeing Oliveira. He was in my district in Suba and we have had some crazy days.

With Espinoza we just worked like dogs in freezing rain for 6 hours straight.

Oliveira and I contacted a lady walking by the temple. She asked us where we were from and I said "Arauca" as a joke (because Arauca is a super dangerous Guerrilla-filled city) and it turns out... her family is from Arauca. I think she took it as a signal. We were talking with her and she was like, "Whoa, I'm feeling something...I never take this way home but I decided to take it today...and I'm trying to find meaning in my life...and you mentioned Arauca!" So pretty sweet that we name dropped Arauca.

Tons and tons of Venezuelans in my area. We have become pretty good friends with Luis and his niece Victoria. Luis has been in Colombia about 2 months. A lot of families go to bed hungry where I work. Super draining...

We had an awesome show up of investigators at STAKE CONFERENCE.

We cabbed to Stake Conf. with Luis and Victoria...and Victoria from Texas showed up as well! She has been off grid for 2 weeks...I thought she wasn't interested anymore. But we were stoked to see her and Pres. Laney came and talked to her as well. Yeah it was a good Stake Conf.

HAD A SWEET PDAY TODAY AS WELL

We went to the Salt Mines of Nemocon way out in the boonies. We took like 6 buses to get there haha.

Nemocon is part of the Sabana section of Cundinamarca, Colombia with tons of fossils and insane geology.

Highlights were:



XILOPALO: fossilized wood.



This 6000 year old flute made out of human bone

Email is too large now so I'll send other pics by message.

Anyways. Miss you guys a ton. Hope everybody is busy doing meaningful projects!

Love Elder Blair

------

Salt Mine photos:



Monday, April 9, 2018

Week Eighty Two

This is my week report:

Had a pretty tiring week!

It went down...

I had four back to back splits. Splits w/ other missionaries take up so much energy, but always are fun.

I was with Elder Sullón (Piura, Peru), Elder Aguilar (Arequipa, Peru), Elder Burbank (Logan, Utah) and Elder Malpartida (Lima, Peru).

All awesome guys.

Lately we have been contacting right outside the temple, and inviting people in. We teach lessons in the lobby and get temple workers to teach with us haha.

On my splits with Elder Sullón, we saw a man walking with a limp, staring at the Temple. We invited him inside so he came. His name is Edwin Toban-- got into a motorcycle accident 4 months ago. It was really cool getting to know him. He seemed interested in what we were saying.

Still giving out band-aids like CRAZY! We gave one to a cab driver who was coughing, to help his throat...

On splits with Elder Burbank, we had tons of sweet contacts.

We stopped one lady walking on the street:

Us: Hey neighbor, we are the missionaries! Do you know us?

Lady: Yeah, I think I talked with you guys a year ago.

Us: Oh sweet! We wanted to ask you if you believe in Jesus.

Lady: No, I only believe in energies. I can interpret anybody's energy while I converse with them.

Us: Sweet! How is our energy??

Lady: It pleases me :)

That contact brought me back to the Bay Area for a sec! Met another lady. We asked what she's looking for in life, and she told us: "A church to attend."Almost peed my pants!

We were also in a park and contacted a dude walking home. We asked if we could walk with him for a bit and he invited us over. So we ended up teaching a lesson with him, his wife, and his mom in-law.

Towards the end of the day, we went way out to the Andes to see if this less active named Robert was home to visit. He was finally home (I had previously tried to visit like four times). He is a sculptor and a painter. He had a huge painting, but it was facing the wall. We asked to see it, and he got really defensive. Just told us "I ONLY PAINT ABSTRACT PAINTINGS, I DON'T PAINT BODIES."  Hmmm...

But we had a good talk with him.


This week, Elder Vieira made Avocado juice. Its super common in Brazil: Milk, sugar, Avocado, Banana if you want. We were all sketched out when he made it but it turned out so good.

Other people we met:

-A Hindu Lady who also came inside the Temple with us.
-Luis and Victoria- A Venezuelan dude and his niece. They came to church with us this week.

Lots of commotion in our ward this week, from all the changes in Ward organization. The Elders Quorum Pres has become the general Elders Quorum Pres. His name is Jaimes Fuentes and he is an insane cop. Super high up, works on the big Narcos of Bogotá. Last p-day, we saw him standing in an alleyway with a trenchcoat. I asked how many weapons he had on him and he just said, "Don't speak too loudly here." LOL

Today we got VIP into the Bogotá soccer stadium.

We told the security guard we had that we had a grandma who was a huge soccer fan and just wanted us to bring her a pic. #finesse




freaky baby faces

Anyways loving life this week. Love the people in my mission. Love the learning experiences everyday.

Missing you guys a ton!

Elder Blair

Monday, April 2, 2018

Week Eighty One

This is my week report (with other missed details from last week).

Hey family, how are you guys doing? I know Olive's doing good "babysitting."

I have lots of stuff to report (sorry for flaking out last week).

FRIDAY 23 OF MARCH, 2018

We flew out to Bucaramanga. In the line boarding the plane, President Laney contacted a Jesuit Priest. He invited him to the Bucaramanga Stake Easter Devotional. We got on the plane. The Barrancabermeja Fútbol team were on the flight #dope. We sat next to a dude who works for Postobon. I read the March issiue of the Avianca travel magazine for the 1st time.

Barrancabermeja futbol team

We touched down in Bucaramanga, Santander. We got a cab driven by Hernando. Exiting the Palonegro airport, theres a billboard that says: "Quien pisa tierra Santandereana es Santandereano." Interpreted: Whoever touches Santanderian ground is Santanderian. #Warmwelcome

Turns out our cab driver Hernando is BFs with Hector Elias. Hector Elias is an OG member who works in a notary and married a couple that got baptized while I was in Bucaramanga. (Elder Jaque and I were witnesses.) Hector Elias also directed the Bucaramanga Missionary Christmas Choir December 2018. (Below is Hector Elias with 2 ladies.)


Anyway, while in the cab, we made calls to different companionships in Bucaramanga to find out where we could stay the night. We cabbed all the way to this huge mall called Cacique to eat lunch. It was packed with young adults who just graduated college.

We settled on staying with Elder Torres and Elder Melendez - Area: Pinos 2.

I was with Elder Torres for the day. Elder Torres is baseball player / coder with biggest calves I've ever seen. We spent the day working hard. We knocked on one door and a young man came out and said he wanted nothing to do with us. But I told him we also can teach English or bathe his dog and he opened up. He let us inside so we taught him with his cousin! #BOOOYAHHHH NEVER GIVE UP

Later that day: Morrorico. Favelas with steepest stairs I've seen in my life.

Rance lost to Colombia en fútbol 2-3.


SATURDAY 24 OF MARCH, 2018

Multizone conference: Bucaramanga / Terrazas / Barrancabermeja

Dont remember anything.

We flew home to Bogotá and I read the March issue of the Avianca travel magazine for the 2nd time.


Flash forward to this week...

We flew out to Cúcuta first thing. (Read March issue of Avianca travel magazine for 3rd time.) I wrote you guys from there last Monday. I could see Venezuela from the Internet Cafe. I spent the day with Elder Wood and witnessed him getting his dear john #rip.

Cúcuta is pretty cray. Almost only dirt roads. Super dusty. On every street, somebody is laying concrete or doing some one-man DIY construction project.

OTHER NOTABLE THINGS

I had two splits this week. One with Elder Orr (6' 8" Alberta Canada). We contacted this preacher walking with his huge family. They were super funny. I also stocked up on 1000 bandaids this week and we have been giving them away in contacts haha.

Also had splits with Elder Thompson (who lived with me in our house in Suba). He is going into genetics and opera so we talked about Crispr and CON TE PARTIRO.

#LDSCONF

Conference was so good. We made breakfast with President Laney and Secretaries at the mission home and watched Saturday morning session there.

watching conference

The afternoon session we got #krispykreme and all watched in the offices. Got good answers to some of the questions I had.

Yeah I thought conference was super cool. Really enjoyed Bishop Causse's talk.

The week went well. I read that Thomas S. Monson never saw his dad say anything negative about anyone, and that's something I've been trying to work on this week.

Also trying to improve on listening to people. I should be better at this from a year and a half of listening to people but I still distract myself quite a bit.

Looking forward to this week. 4 splits in my area. Splits take so much energy.

Also seemed to have a vision of a NY movie. I have a new desire to make my own NY movie.

Love you guys! Already looking forward to the Mother's Day call.

Elder Blair

Monday, March 19, 2018

Week Seventy Nine

Week Report

Hey fam! Missing you guys a ton.

This is my week report:

Monday- the whole mission had transfers. While everybody was traveling to their new areas, we basically just ran errands. Went to Banco Occidente so my comp Elder Vieira could pay for his renewed foreigner visa. Mostly spent time in the mission offices answering questions.

We also went to the bus terminal (in a taxi driven by a dude without legs) to hang out with the missionaries there and greet the missionaries arriving in Bogotá. Fun seeing some of my friends coming to Bogotá from Bucaramanga.

Tuesday we received the new missionaries from the Bogotá MTC. Nine hermana missionaries and 2 elders. Most came from Peru. One from Argentina, one from Bolivia, one from Cartagena. Pretty awesome. We went to the MTC, loaded their luggage in a bus and we all went to Parque Nacional.

Parque Nacional is a super chill park where Colombia was dedicated for missionary work by Pres. Kimball. Pres. Laney started the tradition to go there with the new missionaries. We sing “Oíd El Toque del Clarín” (“Hark, Listen to the Trumpeters”). Then they go out to contact. We started a new part of the ceremony where each missionary gets a sheet to fill out goals for their mission. They each go to a different corner of the park so they can think about it. The sheet is small enough to put in their scriptures afterwards so they can study their goals throughout their missions.

It's a pretty cool introductory ceremony to the mission. (Sidenote: I've been missing the song Ceremony, by New Order lately.)

I had my 18 month birthday and finished my hermana mission #RIPHermanaBlair

Other notable thing was splits with one of my best friends, Elder Vincent. My area has pretty big mountains in it and we spent pretty much all day there. The most insane divide of rich/poor people. These super nice apartment complexes right by essentially favelas. But I love the mountains. It's the coolest part of Bogotá.

Anyway splits was SWEET we visited this dude Juan Camilo who was a reference sent to us. We taught him in his lobby. First lesson went OK but every time we talked, Juan would just wave to people walking behind us, and whenever I looked back no one was there. #yikes

Later we tried to visit this less-active dude named Robert who wasn't home. So we ended up knocking doors for the rest of the day and we found another less-active family who lives with some non members. They let us in and it was dope. We started talking about prayer and we asked them if they had ever received an answer to their prayer and the wife told us that God revealed the names of her kids to her -- Noa and Jacob. Normally would weird me out but I'm so used to hearing stuff like that at this point...

Bogotá is a great city though. It's a serious city. Bucaramanga is super chill 100% of the time. The weather alone tricks your mind into thinking it's on vacation. Cúcuta is dusty and dirty and super hot and humid. Tricked me into thinking I was homeless. Bogotá on the other hand; you know business is getting done. Mostly red brick buildings that go up into mountains. There is a word for Bogotá OGs: Cachaco. I'll attach a photo of a Cachaco.



This is a Cachaco. They bring a lot to the Bogotá vibe.


Forgot why I'm talking about this but it's okay.

Anyway, that was the bulk of what happened this week. I had some pretty cool personal studies this week. Read about Elijah and Elisha. I think Elijah is my favorite Old Testament prophet. I liked how he would just say, “Ok if I'm a prophet then (x) will happen.” And then God always makes it happen. Elijah was just good at taking advantage of the perks.

Also read this quote from Howard W. Hunter: “Our genuine concern should be for the success of others.”

We are getting a training ready for the zone conferences this transfer. We keep starting, getitng somewhere, then we change our minds and start over.

Also, pretty sure I lost my phone. I left it charging in the offices and when I came back it was gone. 100% no doubt in my mind it was the cleaning lady.

Lots to think about. Words that keep coming back to my mind are, “Times are a changing.”

I feel it in my bones. It feels weird to be on a mission knowing at the back of my head that insane tech is dropping every week; that and 10,000 other things. Cool being in a bubble but at the same time I want to be a part of everything going on.

But better to stay in mission mode (turn peoples sucky lives into sweet lives). Those are my words to live by. PAZ


Bogotá w Andes Mountains


P-DAY


Elder Vincent contemplating the mission.


Vieira thinking about his gf. :(


Me contemplating the world of possibilies opened by crispr...


Living the pure life @ Monserrate.


Splits with Vincent.


Falling off the mountain.


Love you family! Live it up.

E L D E R  B L A I R