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


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

Monday, March 12, 2018

Week Seventy Eight


This is my week report:


We were walking home from the offices and passed by Restaurante Daniel. A sketchy white van pulled up and a mariachi band piled out. They started playing as they walked inside. Fitting end to the week.


No memories.


We went to Bucaramanga for the Zone conference. I took advantage of airport wifi to download "LE LIVRE DE MORMON" + "TEACHINGS OF BRIGHAM YOUNG"

Flight to Bucaramanga was short. I sat next to a Caleño. There was a travel magazine advertising Sau Paulo (where my companion Elder Vieira is from). Looks like a good city. It has 2nd largest Japanese population in the world after Japan.

We got some time to visit a few of the converts here. Everybody in my area was shocked when they saw me. So awesome seeing Arelis and Thomas. Didn't have much time but we had some small talk and said a prayer with them.

We went to stay in North of Bucaramanga. I was with Elder Goncalves for the night. His area is so huge it doesn't make sense. There is a massive steep hill of favelas in his area. I asked what the hill was called. Goncalves told me its called "ESPERANZA" (hope). Right when he told me, we saw a 12 year old with a rattail and a HUGE BLUNT in his ear head down the stairs of the hill.

Thats what I call esperanza. ;)

The zone conference went well. It was the last one of the transfer. That was a relief. You can see pics of it here.

We had given the same training 5 times throughout the transfer and it felt great putting it into the shredder. Sweet seeing Elder Skinner and all my boys from Bucaramanga!

Elder Patterson came to visit the mission with his parents and they stopped by the zone conference as well. Sweet seeing Patterson again!

We had 3 more splits this week. All were pretty tiring.


So yesterday during Sacrament Mtg, President Laney sent us a text saying he already had the transfers ready. After church we went to Bishop Rojas' house for lunch and then scrambled back to mission offiices to get our stuff and go through transfers to look for mistakes, and then we ran to the Mission Home.

We had our meeting w Pres Laney. We told him the mistakes we found in the transfers. There weren't many. (One elder was gonna be kept in an area for a 6th transfer so we stopped that.) We made plans for the multizone for next transfer. Then we finished the meeting and Sister Laney gave us Coke for the long night that awaited us.

We headed back to the offices, counted all the missionaries who will travel and we sent the secretaries to buy bus tickets. Then we started filling the EXCEL Transfers sheet.

Then we made calls to all the zone leaders in the mission and told them who's coming and going. Always funnest part. :)

We were in the offices till 3:30 AM. Right as we left, I realized I forgot my keys. We had to walk to the Secretary's house like 10 blocks away from the offices (Bogotá is cold at night). Finally got to our house at 4:20 (blazeit) and I said the shortest companionship prayer ever and we slept like logs.

Love Elder Vieira. He always says "mas loco que el Batman" —"crazier than the batman." EX: "these transfers are crazier than the batman." It's supposedly a saying in Brazil. I keep telling him Batman isn't known for being crazy haha.

Way cool seeing Maude and Olive in France. Awesome that they got to see the Lecrosniers. One of the best families ever.

This is our next Mission Pres:

to put the fear in you.

Love you guys so much!!!!

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Week Seventy Seven

This is my week report:

We have to go on splits with all the zone leaders every transfer (there are 12 zones, 24 zone leaders). This week, pretty much every day was splits.

I have only gotten to work with my comp in our area once this whole transfer haha.

It was fun because almost every night this week, there were 4-6 missionaries staying with us. My companion, Elder Vieira, has this workout video called AB RIPPER X and we all do it in the morning. We quote from it all the time i.e. "IF YOU NEED A BREAK, TAKE A BREAK!" and "NICE MY BROTHER." and "DON'T DO THIS EVERY DAY; YOU DON'T NEED IT."

So this week on splits I went with Elder Crandell (from my first district, one of my best friends here.), Elder Varillas, and Elder De los Santos.

Splits were so much fun with Crandell. Back to good old days when we went on splits together in Barbosa and Tunja and didn't know any Spanish. A member named David came with us the whole day. He just finished his mission in Frankfurt, Germany. (His dad passed away during his mission and David gave an awesome talk 2 weeks ago.) We visited Victoria (the lady from Texas). Victoria is doing awesome. She always participates a ton in Gospel Principles. Afterwards we visited a less-active family way out in the mountains. It was a sweet lesson and we got them pumped up to go back to church again. Mostly it was fun hanging with Crandell again.

Intercambios with Varillas was cool. At the start of the day we said a prayer to meet a family. We pretty much got rejected 8 hours straight. Then before heading home we knocked 1 more door and a family let us in. The Murcia family. They are awesome. Sebastian lives with his mom (who is kind of loopy. She thinks she is Sebastian's sister). His grandparents had recently died so we taught a pretty good Plan of Salvation lesson. Brother Cando was with us all day. He is from Otavalo and taught us some quechua: ALI PACHA.

Yesterday was a great day with Elder De Los Santos. De Los Santos is a chef from the Philippines.

I had nothing planned so we were just gonna go out and wing it. I called brother Castiblanco (a member I met last Sunday in my ward). I asked if we could swing by and visit. He said yes so we cabbed over. We visited him with his parents. His parents got baptized in 76 and are the 2nd oldest members in my ward. The mom got eye surgery this week (not LASIK, it sounds like they surgically installed lenses in her eyes. What is that called?). Anyways it was a good call to visit them.

Then we asked them if they knew any other members we should visit. Immediately, Hermano Alonso (the grandpa) told us to visit León Velasquez. He is the OG member with the most time in the ward. We invited Hermano Alonso to come with us to visit him and we all headed there.

P.S. — Hermano Alonso is a powerhouse and introduced us to 3 people on the way to Leon's house.

We got to Leon's house. Leon is 85 and lives in a private old-people neighborhood. He is in a wheelchair and can't really talk anymore. Mostly grunts. But Hermano Alonso was good at translating what he said. I asked Leon what his favorite verse in the BOM is and he said it was "a brief explanation about the Book of Mormon". I asked why and told him thats' not a verse. He just told us to read it to him and never explained why. But Leon is awesome. Two things he did that blew my mind:

1. He told Hermano Alonso to remember his daughter's birthday on April 21st. Leon has all Hermano Alonso's kids birthdays memorized.
2. We asked if there was a service he needed and he told us, "Buy me a nice coffin." MIC-DROP.

I really admire Hermano Alonso as well. Every Sunday, he wheels Leon home. He was also good about moving his wheelchair around.

After those 2 member visits, Elder De Los Santos and I got some good contacts in. We went to see if this dude Danny was home. I had met him the the day before. Danny was there and so was his family. They are from Maracaibo, Venezuela. We taught them on their floor because they don't have any chairs. They gave us Arroz con Leche. Pretty awesome. Big love for Maracuchos.

So turned out to be a sweet day w/o plans.

Other stuff:
- Awesome administration. We were preparing the mission results for leadership conference and there were some numbers that would NEVER LINE UP. We painstakingly went though 1 by 1 for hours .GETTIN BUISNESS DONE

- CRAZY CRAP GOING DOWN IN THE MISSION. Some dudes sneaking out at midnight, some love note etc. Lots of crazy phone calls. We have had to shut down 3 areas this transfer.

Yeah we go to Bucaramanga on Monday. Stoked! Will see lots of my best friends here.

Love you guys

Elder Blair

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Week Seventy Six

[ No letter this week, but some messaging. ]

This is in Cucuta.
This is the lady who told me she's known me since I was born haha.

This week we went to Duitama.
It's a city in the middle of huge farmland.
Pretty cold.

It was my first zone.
Barbosa is part of it.

But it was super cool.

Our Mission Pres. got sick in the middle of the conference.
My comp and I had to take over.
We just had to finish his training and keep the show running.

FB fights are so useless.
I still stand by that nobody has ever changed there mind because of a FB fight.
Have they?
I don't think I'll ever return to social media.
But I know it will be unavoidable.

Monday, February 19, 2018

Week Seventy Five

I’m just gonna send my weekly report via messaging because I have tons of photos.

First I’ll send some pics from Suba that I never sent.

Elder Richey in Jordan (pretty much Syria)

With Oscar

Saying goodbye to the Garcon family

Saying goodbye to my mission leader. I love this dude!

Saying goodbye to Libia.

Doing transfers first night.

Okay here are some photos form this week:


He’s from Mexico City and is Elder Porras' cousin haha.
The pic above is with riot control.
There is a super liberal university right in front of mission offices.
Riots on the daily.

Surprise service:
We cleaned this dude’s truck

We also got drenched.

I also had splits with Elder Hildebrandt.

This is him.
He is from Peru.

P.S. — Here is a pic of my inventory with Elder Zuñiga.
I normally hate inventory but lately it’s been pretty cool.
I like asking missionaries about their life plans.

A pic of my inventory with Hildebrandt.
I also had splits with Elder Navas this week.

This is Elder Navas.
He is Colombian.
Raised in Honduras.
Also lived in the states for awhile.

There is a huge private school right in front of our house.
Their marching band was practicing.
We watched for a bit haha.

Inca Kola is a soda from Peru.
Here are some pics of us trying it.

Elder Mooney.

My comp Elder Vieira.



This pic is from lunch yesterday.
The dude next to me makes gold bars for a living.

P-day today with best friend Elder Vincent.

Saying goodbye to Elder Wright.
Leaving Bogota at 4am.

Parque Jaime Duque.

This tourism park honoring a pilot named Jaime Duque.

The week was awesome though.
I was talking with a dude in my ward named Jorge Trujillo (this huge rugby player) about nanoengineering. He told me about a Colombian named Rodolfo Llinás who is developing nanobubbles of water to cure Alzheimers.

Lots of really interesting people in my ward.

This week we are going to Boyaca.
Cold farmland.
There are still witches in Boyacá.
Super superstitious.

Sunday night we have a meeting with Pres. & Sis. Laney.
They are the best.
We just brainstorm ways to improve the mission.

I bought a suit today.
I felt so grownup!!!!!!!!!!
It was 80 bucks.
Is that good?
I ripped one suit and the other got worn out.

Everyone in my MTC group says I’ve gotten taller but I think I’m pretty much the same.

No one in Colombian cares about the Olympics. Just the World Cup.

Monday, February 12, 2018

Week Seventy Four

Hey Family. How are you guys?

This week was sweet.

Week was super busy. I am writing you guys from Cúcuta. I can see Venezuela from where we're at. By my side is Elder Mooney one of my best friends from the MTC.

We flew into Cúcuta this morning.

Every Sunday night is sweet. We meet with President Laney and talk about everything going down, and then after, we all eat chocolate chip cookies and milk. It's cool. Always casual. Pres. Laney asked my comp and I to share something we have learned recently from the BOM.

P.S. I wrote Elder Porras this week. He and his wife Nadia INVITED ME TO EAT TACOS WITH THEM IN MEXICO. He just moved back to DF Mexico City.

We had the MTC activity. I was with Elder Allred and Elder Turner. They are both going to the Medellin mission. It was crazy being with them. I realized how behind I was on music. They kept telling me about Brockhampton. Really fun day with them though. I took them to the mountains and we found this crazy rich neighborhood with the biggest houses in Bogota.

Sidenote: We walked by the temple and the Barbosa branch (my first area) was there. SO CRAZY seeing all of them.

We have splits with all the Zone Leaders of the mission. This week we had them with the ZLs from Barranca (the hottest part of the mission). I was with Elder Hernandez. He's this dude from Peru who converted his entire family.

We had 2 multizone conferences this week. My comp and I gave a training on using time wisely. We start the training by pretending we arent prepared and then SURPRISE we are prepared.

We also had a leadershipconference and my comp and I gave a training about reaching potential. soooooo deeeeep.

My comp is crazy. Elder Vieira is 25, from Brazil, and always makes cat noises.

P.S. — Today an old lady touched my face and told me she's known me since i was born.

Also Pres. Laney's wife is super sick so #prayforHermanaLaney.

Love you guys,

Elder Blair


Monday, February 5, 2018

Week Seventy Three

What is happening fam??? Sounds like everybody is doing sweet stuff.

This week was way packed.

So last weekend was transfers. Elder Patterson (the last AP) gave me his keys and his phone (touchscreen #yesss) and all his problems. Pres. Laney sent us the transfers (who's going with who and where). We go through and make sure nobody's already been comps with each other. Then we send it back with any corrections and we keep going till we get it. We were in mission offices till 2am like zombies working out logistics.

This week we picked up the new batch of missionaries from the MTC. So much fun. We had to train them for 4 hours while Pres. Laney did their interviews. The new missionaries are crazy.

We finished the calendar for the transfer and made agendas for all the multi zone conferences. Way more computer than I'm used to. My eyes are always burning at the end of the day....

All moving all the crap Excel mission reports to google drive. #TEAMGOOGLEDRIVE

On Saturday we had p-day and I took everybody to the indigenous tribe in Cota way out in the middle of nowhere. I don't know how I remembered the way lol. But we lucked out because the tribe leader "El Abuelo" was there. He preached to us about mother nature for an hour and then I gave him a CTR ring jaja.

Our ward is crazy. Only old people. Tons of the pioneers of the church here. The dude who does the voice of Heavenly Father in the temple is in my ward too lol.

It kind of sucks because we have 0 time in our area. I can count our investigators on 1 hand. Definitely not what I'm used to. Yesterday we finally got some time to get work in. We got lucky and knocked on a door of a family that let us in 1st try.

Also a lady named Victoria from Texas is our main investigator. So weird having a gringa investigator. She's awesome though. She just showed up to church one Sunday and told the missionaries she wants to change her life.

Love the Laneys. They are a powercouple. They make everybody in the mission feel important.

My comp Elder Vieira is also a powerhouse. Hes a pubro at helping improve wards. For example, he showed up to Zona Suba and started a weekly ward FHE.

Yeah things are going super good. Missing you guys always though.

Elder Blair

Ecclesiastes 2:17 Therefore I hated life; because the work that is wrought under the sun is grievous unto me: for all is vanity and vexation of spirit.