c I came home December 15,2010 //

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Happy New Year!! (12/29/2009)

Why hello from the frigid Northwest. We woke up yesterday morning to about an inch of snow. It was nice to see snow again. I decided that cold weather is absolutely useless without snow. So that stuck around all day and then there were another 2 or 3 inches this morning. It is very pretty and nice to have around.

Well I feel like we have finally gotten a hold of things in Yakima. The work is really progressing along. We had six investigators at church along with a couple of less-actives. I will list the names of the investigators and then give a little bio of them underneath. Rosa and two of her kids, Herrald, Celestino, and Ivan.

Rosa- Rosa has three daughters and a son. She has been taught by the missionaries for a while. Rosa is currently going through a divorce with her husband (due to some issues I won't go into) and she has a court date for the 26th. We were over there last night and we were talking about the Holy Ghost and we asked her "wouldn't you like the Holy Ghost for when you go to court" and she said yes. So we talked a little bit more and she is going to be baptized on the 17th of January. She is awesome. You can really tell that the Lord put the missionaries in her path about the same time all of this was going on.

Heraldo- Heraldo is a 27-year-old guy that is very knowledgeable about the Bible. He has attended a lot of different churches and is seeking the truth. He has a lot of doubts like why we celebrate Christmas and other Holidays. He asks a lot of questions which is always good and he also comes to church every Sunday.

Celestino- I don't know much about him. He has been taught by missionaries for over a year. He wants to get baptized but not married and is living with a lady so that is a problem.

Ivan- Ivan is the husband of a sister in the branch. He just started coming this week so we are trying to get in and teach him.

Well Mom, remember when you told me maybe I won’t have to talk so much in this branch. Well, Sunday I guess the speakers didn't show up or something so they asked the four of us elders to speak. So I guess I may be speaking a lot in this branch.

On Saturday I had a package in our mailbox from the Lundbergs. It was from Susie and she had sent me a pan of Cinnamon Rolls. It was awesome. She is so nice to send me those.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Merry Christmas! (12/22/2009)

So I am in Yakima now and I am really enjoying it. It was hard to leave Toppenish but it was a good change at the same time. There are a ton of Hispanics here and it is nice to be in a normal-size city again. Their branch is a good size and seems to be fully functioning. They are a lot of fun and very nice.

On Saturday they had a branch Christmas party. They had good fun, a piñata, dancing and Santa Claus....well kind of. The Branch President came up to me and said the guy that normally is Santa Claus, could no longer fit in the suit. Since he asked if I could do it, I was like why not. So I left, put on the suit and came out. It wasn't how you would normally think Santa Claus to be. They just had me come out and dance around then I sat in this chair where the kids came up and I just handed them bags with candy in it. It was super fun. I have many pictures and a video that I will be sending. At the end when they announced I was leaving...this one little girl ran up and gave me a big hug and then gave me two pieces of candy she got from the piñata.

The work here is going well. We still are trying to get a handle on things. There are a lot of investigators that are progressing but have their own set of difficulties. They do have a bunch though. Our days are packed with people to teach. It is really fun in that aspect of the work. Elder Cavaness is super fun and so are the other two that cover the branch. It is weird that I went from five units to two and a half. I am enjoying it here though.

I really don't know what else to say. We have done a bunch but it seems as though it has gone too fast. We are still pretty confused too so that may be a reason that I can't think of much to say.

I did get your package. I am excited to open it on Friday. Speaking of which, we still don't know what time we are going to call on Friday but we will be calling on Thursday to give you a time for Friday. We do have a lot of meals lined up so don't worry. We get fed here every night and if one of our dinners cancels, we can just go with the other elders so essentially we have 2 dinners lined up every night. We have had good meals so far but the funniest must have been Sunday. We just had left church because it starts at 12:30 so we just went to our dinners right after. Well we were sitting there for a few minutes when one of their daughters left. A few minutes later she comes back with 2 pizzas. So only in a Spanish branch would you be fed a pizza from the store on the Sabbath. It was pretty funny.

Well that’s about all I have. Things are going great. I will talk to you on Friday then we will have a lot more to talk about!!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Pictures 1 (December)

Pictures 2 (December)

Pictures 3 (December)

A few of my presents/cards I got for Christmas

A few of us on Christmas

Pictures 4 (December)

We went bowling and look who had the high score.

Look at that bowling form.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Pictures 5 (December)

Making tortillas

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Someone threw powdered sugar everywhere (12/15/2009)

Well last night we were at the Morales house for dinner and saying good-bye and someone walked outside for something and yelled it’s snowing! Well I jumped up and ran out there and it was true. So we came back in, finished up and walked outside and it had dusted everything. So we went to this other house for about an hour and came back out and there was a good inch on the ground. We went to another house and came out; now there were two inches on the ground....I think you can see where this is going. This morning we woke up with about four inches on the ground. It was awesome, although they weren't very good at clearing the roads. So finally there is snow and a good amount for my liking.

Well I am being transferred again. I am going to Yakima with Elder Cavaness. He was my companion when I was in Toppenish the first time. He is a really good kid that is leaving at the end of the transfer. He is in Vancouver right now so we are getting doubled into the area. Kind of a tough thing right before Christmas but it will be fun. We just cover a Spanish branch that has about 120 people attend so I am way excited. I will definitely miss Toppenish but I am excited for Yakima. I will only be 20 minutes away so it won’t be too bad at all.

The Morales family is doing great. They came to church on Sunday and then we went over there that evening to see their horses. Well, Sergio is from Monterrey and Monterrey's soccer team was in the league championship so we were able to talk to him during breaks and half-times and things like that. There was a baptism in Sunnyside that night which is the reason we went over there to get them there. Well the game ended just in time and Monterrey won, so we head down to Sunnyside to get them to the baptism. That was awesome. Monday we went over to their house and we had dinner with them. They made Tacos de asada which were really good and then everyone left except the dad left for something for a couple minutes. So we talked to him and he was really opening up to us. He said before you guys came over, we were fighting and stressed out so much that I just wanted to leave. He said that ever since you have started coming over, I have been much happier and my attitude has been much better. So that was really good to hear. I am pretty sure they will get baptized I just don't know when. They are such a good family and I will truly miss them.

Well this week was filled with a lot of saying good-byes and what-nots. We didn't get too much done. I will really miss Toppenish but I am happy with my new area and new companion. I will let you know next week how Yakima is.

Scott, even though I am not in Canada, they say this area is one of the coldest parts in the state of Washington, so maybe I am getting a little taste of what you went through on your mission.

Well I can't believe I only have a year left. The hardest part to believe is that I am half-way done. I can't believe I just have to do what I just did. That is just cuckoo talk to me. Oh well, the beat goes on right? I have definitely learned a TON and am looking forward to the rest of the lesson I will learn.

Here is a copy of the Christmas card I sent out.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

It is frigid (12/09/2009)

It is down right cold. I have been wanting the cold weather so there would be snow, well there is no snow but it is definitely cold. Yesterday while driving down to the tri-cities for our Christmas zone conference, the temperature on the car recorded a high of 3°F. That is FREEZING. That means it is getting in the -'s at night. Plus the wind-chill. The Yakima River is just about frozen over and that is a pretty fast moving river. But all of this without the snow. They say they are expecting 5" on Saturday though, we will see about that.

Well anyway, things are going well here. We had our Christmas Zone Conference yesterday which was really good. We started off with training by President Belnap on focusing in on our goals. Then there was a singing presentation where different people sang. Then there was a slide show of the different pictures and then lunch then we watched “Forever Strong”. It was really good and had a good message to go with it. I would suggest watching it. All-in-all it was good day.

The Morales are still doing well. Last Thursday Elder Searle and I were on exchanges and we went over to see them. They had just gotten back from the hospital because their 5 year old daughter had: the flu, a respiratory infection, an ear infection, and a urinary tract infection. Quite the long list for a little 5 year old girl to handle. Well anyway we offered to give her a blessing and they accepted. Elder Searle anointed her and I sealed the anointing. I could really feel something special from that little girl and that whole family in general. It is hard to explain but it was the same feeling that I got from the Rodriquez family when I was in Connell, who by the way are doing awesome and haven’t missed a day of church since, but it was just really awesome. They are doing great.

Speaking of Connell, I spoke with Elder Mendez at the conference yesterday and he said that the Rodriquezes are doing well, Veronica is struggling a little but he said that just started. He also said that a less active family that we worked with almost every day while I was there has been going back to church. He has stopped drinking and bore his testimony on Sunday. That was really good to hear.

So on Sunday Maria, the lady that got baptized while I was gone, got called to be the teacher in the relief society. That is awesome. It is so good that she accepted that calling. The other day we went to her house and she was reading the Book of Mormon while listening to talks on the internet. That is a devoted and converted lady. She bears her testimony every month about how she didn't realize how lost she was and how much she knows the church is true. It is like President Benson said, we need Book of Mormon converts and she truly is one. I believe she had read the whole Book of Mormon before she got baptized.

Scott- I saw a picture of you on your hike on Thanksgiving and noticed you were wearing my shorts. I am glad you are putting them to great use. Do you wear more of my stuff or more of your stuff?

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

It feels like Christmas....I think? (12/01/2009)

Well it has been pretty cold here of late. Starting Thanksgiving Day it has been really foggy and in the low 30's every other day, the other day it will be sunny in the 40's. It has been fun in a new experience kind of way but I can see where it could get old quick. We saw snow flakes last night but it didn't stick. It was so foggy last night that as we were searching for our dinner appointment, we couldn't find it. Their house is kind of out in the middle of no where and we were on the right road but we couldn't see it because it was off-set from the road enough that it was hidden in the fog. We called twice with no answer so that was kind of interesting. That is about it for the weather report.

Well before I forget, I will be e-mailing on Wednesday next week. We have a zone Conference on Tuesday so p-day will be on Wednesday.

Well to answer some questions that you had Mom and Dad from your letter. There is a lady who is a member that lives in Yakima but has a beauty shop down here that doesn't get very much business in the day so she cuts our hair for free. She cuts it, shampoos it, then restyles if for you, it is quiet nice. I don't know what I will do when I can't have someone shampoo for my hair for me. I think the economy is the same here as it is everywhere. Some people are out of jobs but nothing too major from what I can see. They have things that are like labor camps where a group of Mexicans will get like a six-month visa and they come and live in these somewhat of apartment-type things on the land of these farmers and they just work for them for six months. They have a place to stay and one of those big vans that they all share. It is all done through the farmer. It is kind of interesting. Then when the six months are up, they go home until the next harvest.

I found it quite funny that dad has to baby-sit Grace. I remember it must have been two years ago now that Me, Dad and Scott had to baby-sit Grace and she got into the Christmas presents under the tree and Stacy laid into us. So Dad, don't let her get into the Christmas presents.

Well Sunday I had to give another talk in the Spanish branch. This one I was told to give ten minutes before sacrament meeting. I really do enjoy giving talks now. That may change after my mission but I don't get nervous at all anymore. I spoke on the Book of Mormon.

Well probably the highlight of our week was the Morales Family. Last Wednesday we went over to their house and had dinner and afterwards we taught them the plan of salvation. We asked them how they felt and they said that they have never learned so much. The mom couldn't believe how many questions the kids asked and how in to it they were. So it was a really good lesson. Then they came to church on Sunday which is always a plus. We asked them if they just wanted to come for sacrament meeting or for all three hours. The mom said just for sacrament meeting while the kids get used to it. Well the 16-year-old daughter said why don't we just go all three hours. Well they only ended up coming for sacrament meeting but it was still really good. Well that night we went over and talked about some different things and committed them to be baptized on the 26th of December and they said yes. So far, it is just the 16-year-old daughter and the mom, the 13-year-old son wasn't there but we will commit him probably tomorrow. So that was pretty awesome I would say.

Well that is about all I have to report on. It sounds like you guys had a good Thanksgiving. Have a great week. Be safe shopping for Christmas there are a bunch of crazies out there.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

What are you thankful for? (11/24/2009)

Well it is the season of giving thanks and I am grateful for many things. We actually had about eight offers or so to go to eat with on Thursday. We have narrowed it down to three. We are eating with the Zillah Elders for the three of them. The first will be just a regular family dinner. The second is so big that it will be at a high school. They say there will be something like 300 people there. That will be crazy. The last one will be the Clements. That’s the lady that called you guys. It should be really fun. I am looking forward to it. Let me know how all ya'lls
Thanksgivings went.

Well things have been pretty normal here. We didn't have as many to the Spanish branch as we did the week before but we still had a solid 50 or so. It is a lot nicer to have a lot of people there. There are two families that have come for three weeks in a row. There are now two deacons to pass the sacrament every week. It is really nice. I don't know if I told you or not, but while I was gone they got a new branch presidency and I think they have a new fire under them. They really love these people and just want to help them.

Well the report on the Morales is good. They came to our Saturday activity and they had a good time. The little boy MJ (6) is so funny. It was really fun. Then we were talking to the dad about coming to church and he said he would be there. He said “I just have to come to set the example for the rest of my family.” It was amazing. Well Sunday rolled along and they weren't there so we went by Sunday night and asked what happened and he said he got up late and by the time he got ready it was 9:30 and I said well church starts at 10:00 and he got this confused look on his face and he was like really? So I guess he got confused, but that night he prayed and asked Heavenly Father to help them get to church on Sunday. Heavenly Father wants them at church so they will be there at church. They are an amazing family.

Well I don't have much to report on this week...obviously. I do want to say if you guys are doing a gift exchange. I would like to be in on it. I mean, if I can. Another thing...dad asked a few weeks ago about what I wanted for my birthday/Christmas and I told him I would think about it. Well here is my short, very missionary version, of my Christmas list:

1. That calendar I mentioned before with the pictures and what not.
2. Nice black shoes that I can wear to church and other meetings - size 8.5.
3. A pack of brown socks and a pack of black socks
4. Two long sleeve white shirts, JC Penny Stafford super shirt, no button collar - size 15.5/32.
5. Of course...ties.
6. A gray suit to wear to church and meetings, mine are looking kind of dull and I don't like wearing them to meetings. (This one could be tricky but let me know how you want to do it.)
7. A new watch, I have had mine since the 7th grade and it is pretty dinged up.
8. I heard at missionariesmom.com or something like that, they have a small-sized PMG. An elder here has one and I like it.

Anyway that is my list. So I thought it was a pretty good one.

Anyway I better run, have a great week and remember to be thankful...of course that goes without saying but I everyone else is saying it so I though I should too.....

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Well Hello (11/17/2009)

Well things are going pretty well here. The weather has warmed up. There was been frost outside every morning but it has been warming up into the high 50's throughout the day which isn't bad. I guess I will have to wait some more for snow.

So I have another injury to report. Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday they play basketball at one of the local high schools around here. So every once in a while we will go. So we went on Friday and everything was going well. I was guarding this guy that was just running all over the court. Well one time he was running towards me and he stepped on my shoe and since I was already going backwards, I just went down with nothing to break my fall except my rib, which usually isn't a good thing to break your fall....usually. So anyway, I get up and I was fine and I just played the rest of the day. I didn't think much of it but it was kind of achy throughout Friday and Saturday. Sunday it was doing better but it was still hurting when I would try and move in bed. So I talked to an athletic trainer in the ward and she said that it is either cracked or bruised, but the only thing they can do for it is wrap it in an ace bandage. She said either way it will just heal on its own. So that is my injury report for today.

Well Saturday we had an awesome opportunity to hear from Jeffery R. Holland. Elder Jay Jansen of the presidency of the seventy accompanied him and he was awesome as well. He just gave us the typical rebuking of “you need to be obedient” but he said the mission doesn't really need that. You guys need to teach with more power and authority. We were able to shake his hand before and he said he interviewed during that split second that he looked into our eyes. He turned to president Belnap and said President “you have a good mission here, there are 3 or 4 that are struggling but we all have struggles”. It was pretty intense. It was a worth while experience.

So there were even more people at church this week for the branch. We were up to 64 for this week. It was definitely a good sight. Although I was asked to speak so that was a little interesting thinking there will be maybe 30 than speaking to 64. But it was fun none-the-less.

On Sunday I walked into opening exercises of priesthood meeting and they had already started and said we will be singing a cappella unless we have a piano player in our midst. I am not at the stage that I volunteer to play but I don't like singing a cappella, especially in priesthood, so I told them I would play and they were tickled pink. You would have thought the prophet had just walked in. Hopefully they aren't asking every week now.

Well the Morales are doing well. They seem to enjoy us coming over and what we talk about. I know they feel the spirit; it is just getting them to church. If anyone has any ideas I would appreciate it. It is like pulling teeth trying to get them to go to church.

There is another girl, Morgan. I don't know if I have talked about her or not. She is 18 and works at the Taco Bell here in town. That’s where we met her. We have been teaching her for a little while and she believes everything. She has even been to church three times. Her problem is that she doesn't know if she can repent. I think it is she is afraid to get new friends because she said she will have to if she doesn't want to do the "bad stuff" again. Whatever that means. So we will see about that.

Well that’s about all I have to report. We have seen some success in the less-active aspect of work. There have been two families that have made their way back to church a of couple times in both the branch and the ward.

Oh, another story. So there is another ward that meets in the church building that we meet at after us. After our meetings were out, there was an older man that was struggling getting up the steps into the church house. Some people were helping him up the steps while I was holding the door. I didn't know him but I guess he has been a mission president in Chile and a Stake President in the stake I am in. They call him President Allsop. Anyway we got into church and we left. Well I guess as the sacrament was being passed he took the water and he has having trouble getting it down. I guess he was coughing it up. Well the Bishop goes down to help the man’s wife and they get the paramedics there. They came into the chapel in the middle of the Sacrament. That would be definitely interesting. So they took him to the hospital where he died at 4 the next morning. They said he had a stroke. He was teaching the gospel principles class the week before. So he was doing all right. There will be a funeral Friday.

Well I better run. You guys have a great week.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Pictures (November 2009)

Elder Bair's most important baptism.

A group of Elders

Elder Bair with a new friend.

A group of missionaries (Elder Bair second from right)

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Things are getting back to normal (11/09/2009)

Well after a crazy transfer last transfer, I feel things are finally getting back into place. I feel like an NBA team that has come back, last season was tough, but it is good to get a new start.

Well first off for the weather report, it is down right frigid. It was in the low 40's all of yesterday and it seemed as though it was going to snow but it never did. It is dropping into I am assuming the mid 20's at night but I don't really know since I am not out at that time. But all in all, it is very chilly. Never in my life have I seen leaves change colors and fall but it is in full force here. It is so very pretty and we have been able to help a few people pick up their leaves. I am not going to say that I didn't have a chance to jump in a few piles.

Well we had a good week. Sunday we had 53 people at church in the Spanish branch. We usually average about 35 to 40 so that was really good. It is more than likely since the harvest is dying off and people now have "time" to come to church. We will see what happens next week.

We were able to go over to the Morales’ house last Wednesday and talk to them about Alma 32 and faith. We are now at the point where we just need to get in there and get them to read the Book of Mormon and start praying. They are such a great family and have a desire to learn. Coming to church wouldn't hurt either.

My ear is feeling better. There is no more fluid coming out which is always a plus. Pretty much the whole week when I swallowed it sound as though it was popping which was really annoying. You don't realize how much you swallow until you can hear it. That has seemed to stop though in the past couple of days so maybe it has finally healed over for good. We will see though. I asked the doctor if I need to do anything for my ears and she said the only thing really to do is get tubes put in. So that doesn't sound very exciting. Also she listened to my heart and lungs and said I was kind of wheezing. She asked if I wanted an inhaler. I asked if I needed it and she said are you having trouble breathing? and I said no, then she said don't worry about it. She said remember, no matter what a doctor tells you, it’s about how you feel, not what they think. So that really calmed my nerves down. Oh and also my allergy problem has been solved. I told her that I had an allergy problem and she told me to take Zyrtec and I said yeah I had looked into that but that is quite expensive and she said yes that’s what I thought but at Costco they sell the generic and you get a year supply for 16 dollars. So I asked a member if they could pick me some up and I have taken it for about 5 days and it has worked like a charm, I can go to any dog or cat and not even think about sneezing. It is very nice.

Last Sunday was high council Sunday for the stake. Usually they can get people from the high council that speak Spanish but they couldn't this month I guess. So I had to translate 3 talks from English to Spanish. They would say a sentence and I would say it in Spanish. It was very hard but very rewarding. Although one guy started talking about planets and orbits and another guy was talk about the engines in cars. That was a tough one.

Well sorry but I can’t think of anything else. I need to get back to writing things down so I can remember them. Have a great week.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

So transfers this week... (11/03/2009)

Well, on Halloween we found out what was happening next transfer. Elder Viera and I are staying in Toppenish together for another transfer. Since Elder Viera only has 2 transfers left. We will either stay together the next 2 transfers or I will leave after this one. Let’s hope that we stay together.

Well I went to the doctor on Thursday. We had a nice little visit. We talked about a lot of things and it reminded me of when Stacy went to the doctor one time and she made a list of all the things that she could think of that were wrong with her so she could remember to tell the doctor. Anyway, we go in and the doctor asks me a few questions about what happened and what not and I tell her that I got sick. She asks me questions about that and tells me that I had the Swine Flu. She said that the Swine Flu is the Flu for this season and that it is not as bad as people are making it out to be. So she looks at my ear and said that it had already healed over but it was very very thin and I would probably rupture it again by just sneezing or blowing my nose. Also there was an infection in the outer ear canal that was similar to swimmers ear. She said it looked like proud skin. I thought my skin isn't very proud; I get sunburned all the time. But anyway, so that was that. She prescribed some ear drops and said that the clogged sound and the ringing in the ear will be there for about a month or so. I thought, oh joy!

Well anyway, to go along with the medical theme. Elder Viera had his wisdom teeth taken out on Friday. Someone in the stake did it for free. He had all 4 taken out so he was laid up pretty much all weekend. I was left to take care of him. That was a chore and a half. But I must say I made him take his pills on time every time without fail. So that was good.

Well since I had that doctor’s appointment in Yakima and Elder Veira had his wisdom teeth taken out we didn't have much going on this week. I did talk to Connell and the Rodriquezes are set to go for this Saturday. I don't know if I will be able to make it down there or not. If I get a ride, I can, but it’s hard to find a ride for a Saturday night.

We didn't do much for Halloween. Friday was the ward trunk or treat so we went to that. Nothing too spectacular happened. Then Halloween, we had to be in by dark which rolled in around 6:15. Plus Elder Viera wasn't feeling too great anyway so we didn't do much. I read a lot, that’s about it.

Well sorry this letter is so short. Not much really happened. There was snow over in Sunnyside which is about 20 minutes east of here so maybe snow should be coming soon. Someone told me the Suns are 3-0. That is amazing. Are they playing against good teams?

Well I better run. Sounds like you had a great Halloween. Dad your pumpkin looked really good. I was impressed. Grace your outfit was....original. Sounds like you had a lot of fun. You must have had a lot of pizza. Have a great week.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

A wild week (10/27/2009)

It has definitely been a wild week but it has made it go by fast.

It all started Tuesday with getting sick. Then Saturday rolls around and my ear was sounding very clogged. I didn't think anything of it nor did anything about it. Well 5 a.m. Sunday morning rolls around and I wake up with an ear ache. I tired to just go back to sleep but it was gradually getting worst. I finally got up and took some Aleve. So after about 40 minutes the Aleve kicked in and I was able to go back to sleep at about 6:15 to wake up at 6:30. So I was feeling fine. We went to church and did all of our meetings. The English ward and the Spanish Branch were combined because of the primary program. So lucky me. I got to translate for all of the little kids. The older kids that had their part memorized were hard because they just talked really fast. And the sunbeams were hard because I couldn't understand them very well. But it was fun. The rest spoke slowly and understandably for the most part. So anyone that gets down and about half way through Sunday school my ear starts hurting again because the Aleve was starting to wear off. So I told Elder Viera that I had to go home to get some Aleve. So we go home and I took a couple then just laid down. Well at about 11 my ear drum popped. It felt so good. It wasn't hurting that bad but it was hurting. So I lay my ear down to make sure it drained something and ended up falling asleep. Well 20 minutes later I woke up and we went on our way. I just had to make sure that there was no goop coming out of my ear all the time. So that was that. Pretty exciting.

Well I don't have to much to report because we were unable to get out and do much this week. But Wednesday we went by the Morales. We just kind of went over The Book of Mormon and what it can do for us. Then we asked if they found out that our church was true, would they get baptized and they said yes. So now we just need to help them find out the church is true then talk to them about baptism. They are awesome.

I got a call this last week from the guys in Connell. Victor, I don't know if you remember him but he is going to get baptized in the middle of November. Also the biggest news was that the Rodriquez family is going to get baptized either the 7th or the 14th of November. I am so excited. They are an awesome family. Hopefully I will be able to make it down there. But that is next transfer so we will have to see.

Also, last week we got a call that Elder Jeffery R. Holland is going to come to the mission on the 14th of November. It is going to be sweet.

Well that’s about all I can think of. There is a girl named Sister Guzman or Hermana Guzman who is currently serving in the Visitor Center there at the Mesa temple so if you guys go, you should stop by and say hello.

Well I better run. Have a great week

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


Well the same old same old has been passing through here. It has definitely warmed up but it is still chilly in the mornings and very hard to get up since it is still dark.

Mother, I got your hats. I will hold off passing them out to people until it gets a little colder. There are definitely enough people here that need them. There is a lot of poverty here. I got the box the same day as your letter on Monday.

Well I guess since I am coming up on my year mark, my garments are getting a little raggedy. If I could get like five new bottoms. I would like the Medium short Dri Lux. There is no rush, just next time you are in Mesa if you could swing by the beehive center.

That is amazing that the fire marshal had to tell people to leave the building at the temple hearing. Sounds like it was close to not getting passed. Can they do anything to that land until it passes? I am assuming not. What about the Gilbert temple; is it done and how about the Gila Valley one? How are those coming along?

Yesterday morning I woke up with a little bit of a cough and felt kind of achy. It proceeded to get worse. I didn’t sleep very much last night. Thankfully it is p-day today; maybe I can get some rest.

Well Sunday night we had a little fireside that President Belnap puts on every once in a while. In these firesides he has recent converts come up and share their conversion story and their testimonies and we are supposed to invite our investigators and less-active members to listen. Well we didn't have any investigators nor less-active members but we did have Nick speaking. So we went up there to listen and he did awesome. He told a longer part of his story that I had never heard.

A few years ago he got divorced and to cover up the pain he turned to drinking and the "party life" as he called it. He also got into the wrong crowd and was making money "the easy way". Well he was living in Spokane and he drove down to Sunnyside to visit his grandmother and his grandmother told him that she didn't like the way he was living and she wanted him to change. He just ignored her. She told him that she didn't want him driving back that night because it was too late. Again he ignored her. So later he goes to visit his mom. She works at the casino and didn't get out of work at 11. So he visited with her and she also told him that she didn't want him to go home that night. He ignored her and went and got into his car. He tried to turn on his 4-week-old brand new Lexus and it wouldn't start. Well he had a meeting to be at in the morning so he tried and tried to get there but he couldn't. He called his best friend and told him that he couldn't make it and his friend said okay I will go by myself. So the next morning, that car starts right away. He drives to Spokane and gets home and looks for his best friend because they lived together. He couldn't find him anywhere and neither did anyone else. Well he gets a call from the police and they tell him he needs to come to the city morgue and identify a body. So he goes and he walks into this room and they roll this body out that looked like frozen meat with 6 gun shots in his chest and 1 in his head. This body was his best friend, and that "meeting" was a set up. He said that it was supposed to be him on that table. He goes on and tells how later, he met this girl and she invited them to church and the rest is history. That was a powerful story. The spirit was so strong.

Well that’s about it for this week. Sorry it is short. The Morales family is doing well. They didn't come to church but they said they tried...whatever that means. The Solis family is still stuck on the Sabbath day. And Alida, Veronica daughter is getting baptized on the 31st and her husband is having a change of heart.

I gotta run...Take care

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Pictures (October 2009)

A Group of Elders (from left: Elder ???, Elder Viera, Elder Searle, Elder Bair

Somebody broke into the mission car.

The Elders called the CSI: Toppenish

Officer Radke investigated

Elder Bair got his picture taken outside the Police Car.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

I saw snowflakes! (10/13/2009)

That’s right folks I saw about four snowflakes today, but mostly just rain; it is about 35° and down right chilly. It was even colder last night standing outside talking to a cop for an hour and a half.

The work is really going well here. We went by the Morales family on Wednesday and we had a really good lesson. Vaihane (16) was asking a lot of good questions. She wants to know why her family is going through so much trouble and what they can do to change it. We just talked about having that faith in the Lord and doing the things you are supposed to. At the end, we all knelt in prayer and Sergio (Dad, member) gave a beautiful prayer. It was surprisingly very Mormon-like for being out of the church for over 25 years. When we all said amen and were standing up Josania (mom) was bawling. It was awesome. We had an appointment with them last night but it got changed again to tomorrow night. We will see how that goes. We are planning on going over the restoration and watching the restoration video.

Some other good news is Maria. She was baptized while I was gone and she is doing awesome. She is reading the Book of Mormon for a second time and is memorizing The Articles of Faith. Last Sunday she gave the opening prayer in Sacrament meeting and she walks up and says “Buenos Dias, vamos a inclinar nuestras cabezas” or "good morning, we are going to bow our heads" and says the prayer. Hey, whatever works.

Today we went to the temple; that’s why this e-mail is so late. The temple was good like always. I struggled staying awake because we had the 8:15 session which meant we had to be up at 5:45 to get down there, plus we were up late talking to the cop last night.

Mom, I haven’t gotten your letter yet because yesterday was a holiday so sorry if you had any questions. But dad to answer your question about the plaque. I don't really know; I was thinking D&C 84:88 or somewhere in Alma. I don't have one set but I have a couple in my mind.

Okay....so the cop story.

Yesterday we had interviews up in Yakima so we and the Zillah Elders drove together while they just left their car in the alley behind our apartments where they always park. So that was all good. So we head home that night and pull our car into the garage and the Zillah elders go to their car and the passenger side window had been broken and their GPS was gone. So we were looking at it and calling the guy who is in charge of the vehicles when this truck shows up and rolls down his window and sticks out a gun and says get away from the car!!! Just kidding, the truck pulls up and two guys get out and told us they saw it happen and they had already called the cops that day. It had happened about 2:00 that afternoon. This guy who lives in our apartment complex (Juan) was outside on his lap top when he saw a car pull up and a guy get out with a girl driving. He didn't think much of it. Then he heard stomping noises, once again didn't think much of it until he heard the alarm go off so he kind of looks and he sees a guy walking back to the car with a GPS in tote and get in the car and they drive off. The best part is Juan, worked with that guy (Salvador) before so he tells us all of this and we get a cop there and he takes fingerprints. I got some good pictures so don't worry. But anyway, Salvador has been in jail before for stealing the jars of money for cancer kids. Not a smart guy. Juan had his number so they were going to work with that. We don't know what happened except it was exciting but very cold at the same time.

Well I better run. I have to speak AGAIN in church on Sunday. That is now number ten on the mission. Have a good one

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

I have never lived like this!! (10/06/2009)

Why hello everyone. It is getting down right chilly here. I went out to the car at 8:00 this morning to get something and the temperature read 37° and there was frost on the grass. I am excited for the cold and have been hoping that it would be really cold this winter but I may be regretting that by spring.

So, first updates on Connell. Sunday, Samuel got baptized. He was the son of the member that we found in the garage. I haven’t heard how it went but I am sure it went well. Nancy, the one that was supposed to be baptized at the end of August has said that she really wants to be baptized now so we will see how that goes. There is another man named Adolfo. Now Adolfo has worked for a member for many years and has been talking to the missionaries for over 7 years. The man he was working for is now serving a mission in Texas but I think he gets home this month. Anyway, he called up Elder Mendez and I guess he had been talking to Adolfo and he told him that he wants to get baptized. So Elder Mendez went over there and Adolfo said he and his wife want to get baptized now. So we will see how that goes. Then Veronica now wants her 8 year old daughter baptized and they are trying to see if the dad is totally okay with it. So a lot is happening in Connell right now.

Now for General Conference. Conference was great as always. I did notice that the chorister in General Priesthood meeting was not singing. I thought that was interesting. I really liked President Monson's talk about anger. That was really good. When we stood and sang Praise To that Man for halftime for the priesthood session, it made me think of the time that dad left to go to the bathroom and then came back and said "When I came out of the bathroom I noticed that I was in the girls bathroom, I figured it wouldn't matter much". I also liked Elder Ballard’s talk about Fathers and sons. You also have to love Elder Holland’s talk on the Book of Mormon amazing. All-n-all it was amazing. We watched all sessions at the church.

Now for the work here in Toppenish. It is starting to pick up. The Solis family is Seventh Day Adventist. What that means is they focus all their attention on the 10 commandments and essentially still live the Law of Moses which had the Sabbath on the last day of the week. They are doing well. We haven’t been able to make it out there. They kind of live far away so we can't just pop in.

Every Friday we do something called weekly planning where we plan for the week, easy enough. Elder Viera and I have decided that I am in charge of the Spanish work and he is in charge of the English work, we still have input on both but we are just in charge for that. So I was looking over the names on the branch roster for the Spanish and this one name just kept sticking out to me. Sergio Morales. So after a little bit I said lets put him down to go visit this week. So Saturday night we head over there. They let us in and we find out that Sergio was baptized when he was about 13 down in Monterrey and is now 40. He said he hasn't been to church in a long time. But he mentioned that he had a brother who served a mission. Anyway, we were talking and Sergio’s wife, who is not a member of the church, was saying that just that morning she was talking with her daughter about how with all the trials they are going through in their lives, they need to find God. Well look who showed up that night. Then we challenged them to have family prayer together every night and when we were talking about that, and how you can work out your trials together with our Heavenly Father, Sergio was tearing up. It was awesome. We had an appointment for last night but I guess they have horses and they got loose so she called and asked if we could change it so we are going back on Wednesday. It should be pretty good

I was thinking the other day, I have a few scriptures that I like better than the one that is on my plaque right now. I was wondering if I could change that or if that is set in stone.

Well I think we are starting to work hard and I think it is starting to pay off

P.S. Mom, or Dad, or whoever wants to. I would like those tan slip-on shoes that Lady gave me for my birthday or Christmas one year, and the belt that I bought to match it and also that brown sweater I have. Scott probably has at least one of those things if not all three. But if I could get those that would be great.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Hey! You're back! (09/29/2009)

That’s what I have heard a lot of lately. "Hey I know you." It has been fun coming back and seeing everyone again. We have hit the ground running as well. Elder Viera said that last transfer they really didn't work as well as he would like. So we talked it over and said we were really going to get things moving here.

Elder Viera is really fun. He is a talker but it is good. He really knows his gospel and is a good teacher. I think we go well together. I may have told you this before but Elder Viera is a rapper. Like he has an album out. He has rapped different things and he is pretty good. I am enjoying him. He is a nice guy and enjoys being with people. Hopefully I can learn a few things in that aspect.

Well, I don't know if you remember the Solis family. We had started teaching them right when I left Toppenish in July. We went over last night and had a good lesson. Their biggest hang up is the Sabbath day. They feel it is on Saturday. We told them to pray about it and we will do the same and next week we will discuss it. Hopefully we can show them that Christ fulfilled the Law of Moses which changed the Sabbath to the first day of the week. Their whole church is based on one thing. The Sabbath being on Saturday.

We have been teaching other people but not very much. We are still trying to get things together. We are trying to get the people I was teaching before and some he was teaching. I don't know if you know but Elder Viera actually started his mission here so we have both come back. He served here from February of 2008 to June of 2008 and then came back in July. He also served with Elder Flint when he was here the first time.

Well I better run. Have a good week.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

It’s like Deja Vous all over again (09/22/2009)

So we received a call on Saturday morning. This is how the call went (NO peeking down to the bottom to see what happened.)

ME: Hello, this is Elder Bair
President Belnap: Good morning, this is President Belnap. How are you Elder Bair?
M: Good, how are you President.
PMB: Good. Elder Bair I am going to transfer you next week. Now before I go on, I want to tell you something. I hate transferring Elders and I don't want to transfer you Elder Bair because I feel like you have really liked it up there in Connell.
M: Okay president
PMB: Well, let me tell you where I am transferring you. Elder Bair I am transferring you to Toppenish with Elder Viera. How do you feel about that Elder Bair?
M: Well, I am definitely sad to leave here but I have been in Toppenish so I at least know what it is like. And I know this is not from man it is from the Lord
PMB: (pausing for a second, I think he forgot I had worked there already) Okay, well I am glad you are okay with it, now can I talk to your companion?

I thought you might want to hear how a transfer call is. (PMB stands for Paul Manning Belnap. That’s how he signs all of his letters and texts so that’s what we call him when we are talking about him).

So I am headed back to Toppenish. I am very VERY sad to leave Connell. But by the same token I really liked Toppenish so I am happy that that’s where I am headed. President Whitby told me he would come get me if the Rodriquez family got baptized so hopefully that is soon and I am able to witness or be a part of that.

Speaking of the Rodriquez family. Last Wednesday they called and tried to cancel their appointment because they were sick but we wouldn't let them. We went with President Whitby and talked about the Branch President and Priesthood blessings. Then we gave all of them that were sick blessings, Alejandra (Mom), Jennifer(5), Jayson(3), and Allison(8 months). Then Carla(8) wanted one as well so we gave her one and then Alfonzo (Dad) as well. The spirit during that time was so powerful. When President Whitby was blessing Jayson I could just feel something. I just kept picturing him serving a mission. It was amazing. Then when I gave Jennifer her blessing I could really feel something special, not to mention we had a tough time holding our composure because she was so wiggly we had to follow her head with our hands. But it was awesome. That family is really really special.

Well I better go. Take care. I hope you still have the Toppenish address. If not I will get it to you next week. I have to go buy another suitcase today. I have accumulated a lot of stuff from Missionaries leaving things. I should probably de-junk a little as well. Take care.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Another transfer come and gone (09/15/2009)

I can't believe another transfer has come and gone. The calls will come Saturday. We are expecting Elder Mendez to leave but who knows. I could get transferred again or we could stay together. Who knows?

Some updates on the investigators. We had a regional stake conference on Sunday and Elder Nelson and President Monson spoke. We actually had a lot of people go. I guess stake conference isn't a big thing for the Hispanic folks here in Washington. Alfonso Rodriquez came with two of his daughters. Alejandra Rodriquez did not come because their three-year-old son was sick. I thought it was just like life-long LDS Families that when a kid gets sick, one parent stays home and the other takes the rest to church. So they are doing well. They still don't have a date for baptism but they are currently praying for which date they should.

Samuel didn't come to church but we are about half-way done with the lessons. He is still set to be baptized on the 4th of October.

There is another man/kid (he is 20 years old) named Victor. Victor works with Hno. Gutierrez who is in the branch presidency. I guess one day at work they were teasing Hno. Gutierrez about paying tithing and he just bore his testimony to them. Then later Victor came up and said I want to go to your church. He has been coming for about a month and a half. We taught him the first lesson and it went really well. We are going back tonight to teach him again.

This is mainly for Dad and Scott but there is a train that goes through Connell. I have found that anytime I have time to watch the train I am always counting the cars. Something I picked up from my father and older brother.

The other day I was walking through Wal-Mart when I saw a Wii. I was wandering what happened to our Wii? Where is it stationed?

Another observation that I have had is that I have been taller than two of my companions and shorter than the other two. The weird thing is the two I was taller than were the gringos and the two I was shorter than were Hispanics. I thought that was a little backwards because I don't run into very many Hispanics who are taller than I am.

My Final Burn as Jim Rome would put it, or my last note, or my ending message for today is how to teach Hispanics to become Mormons. Yeah we can baptize many because they are so humble and have the blood of Israel in them but how do we get them to live their lives in accordance to Mormonism. They aren’t breaking any major commandments or anything like that. It is just not knowing that the bishop is in charge of the Priests Quorum or that the keys to the Deacons Quorum are given to the 12-year-old Deacons Quorum president not the adult leader. It’s little things like that. As President Whitby put it, a man I greatly admire, when he goes after the one lost sheep, the 99 are trying to get out and no one is there to help him keep them in. Anyone that is Hispanic and really wants to grow in this gospel learns English and goes to the ward. So how do we get the others to stay in the fold instead of trying to get out? Those are my thoughts. If anyone has any suggestions, please let me know.

Well, I better run. Que les vaya bien!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Brrr (09/08/2009)

Well the weather has been awesome here. Last Wednesday I was sweating so bad that when this little girl was hitting my back for some reason she kept saying its wet, its wet. I thought if you only knew what it was. But it has progressively gotten better until this morning we walked out and it was very cold with the temperature reading 47°. It has been very nice with the daytime highs in the 70's. It is supposed to warm back up here soon though.

The wedding happened on Saturday. It was awesome. It was very short, just we two missionaries, the bride and groom and president Whitby and his wife. It lasted all of 10 minutes. The groom was very very nervous. I think he was expecting it to be some big thing but it was very simple and very awesome. We are going over tomorrow to talk to them about baptism. They haven’t been coming to church because they always say if God is willing we will go. This means, we want to go but if anything comes up, we won’t. So we need to work on that.

So about four weeks ago or so, we went on double exchanges with some kids in the ward. I went with this one kid and we were driving and I told him to stop so we could talk to this lady named Bertha who was out in her garage. She was grinding up corn to make tamales and after talking to her we found out that she is a member of the church. She is from Texas and is up here living with her daughter for the summer to pick fruit. She said that her daughter and her husband are members too but they don't go to church, and she has her two sons up here, ages 12 and 10. The 12 year old, Luis is a member but has not been ordained to the priesthood, and the 10 year old, Samuel, has not been baptized. She said she has been wanting to get her kids back to church and wanting us to come over but she hasn't done anything about it because she felt it wasn't her house so she didn't want to just invite us over. So she told us who she is living with and her son-in-law’s parents are active members in the branch and so we talked to them to have the lessons at her house. So everything is great. We head up there and the active lady said that her son and daughter-in-law said that we could do it at their house, they live right next door. So we go over there and have an awesome lesson, with participation from everyone. Samuel is going to be baptized on the 4th of October and Luis is going to get the priesthood the same day. They all came to church this Sunday. All because one mom/mother-in-law had a desire to go back to church, the Lord made it all happen. (Sorry if this story was so confusing.)

Well right now they just finished picking peaches and nectarines so all of the pickers just keep a box to themselves and give us some. I have never tasted such juicy, sweet peaches in my life. They are so good but they go rotten quickly. So we have to eat them fast, fine by me!

This weekend Elder Waldo came back to visit. I don't know if I have mentioned him. He is actually from Arizona and his parents live by Matt’s parents. Elder Waldo said he was going to visit you guys in December when he is home from BYU-Idaho. I don't know if that will happen or not though.

Well the other day Elder Mendez mentioned how he couldn't believe how well I remember things. I have been thinking about that a lot and I have decided that I can remember situations very well. I just can't remember all of the details. Like that one time when you (mom) took me visiting teaching and that lady gave me a pill.

Well I better run. Keep up the good work.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Pictures (September 2009)

With Elder Mendez at our "home" in Connell, Washington.

A family in the branch at Connell, Washington

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Another Talk in church (09/02/2009)

I had to give another talk in church on Sunday. That was the 9th talk I have given on my mission. Five of which have been in Spanish. This was in English, in the Basin City 1st ward. They had some ward business to take care of so Elder Mendez and I had 10 minutes together. We had planned on 10 minutes each so we had to shorten our material. My topic was on missionary work. I shared the story of Grace and how she would tell the boys with their ears pierced that they were naughty. That got a roar out of the congregation. Then yesterday we had interviews with President Belnap (that’s why I didn't e-mail yesterday) and he told me that President Montierth (that is the stake president of the Pasco stake who was in attendance) called him up on Monday and told him that I did a good job. President Belnap told me thank you for representing the mission well. I just gave a talk. I don't know about representing the mission. But whatever.

So lat P-day we went to the Branch President’s house of the Basin City Branch. He is awesome. He reminds me a lot of Chad, red head and always cracking jokes. But anyway we went and he showed us around his farm on four-wheelers. They also have their own cow where they get their milk so right before we left, I was able to milk a cow. It was definitely interesting, but at least I can say I have done it.

Veronica is doing well. She had to be out of her apartment by the 31st of August and by her baptism (which was the 23rd) she had nowhere to go. But in the last week or so she was able to find a new house and is moving in on Thursday. The blessings of the Gospel are already pouring in on her.

I have a random question. Does the ward still pass out envelopes with the address of the missionaries? I have never gotten one of those. I didn't know if they still did it or what. Just a random question.

Well to close I would like to share a very personal and sacred story. I wrestled with the thought of sharing it but I decided I should.

I have talked about the Rodriquez family before. They are the ones that needed to get married before they get baptized. Saturday night I couldn't really sleep for whatever reason and I was thinking about them, hoping they would go to church the next day. I decided to kneel down and pray for them right then. As I was praying I felt the impression to fast for them starting then. So I got back in bed and fell asleep. I got up in the morning and started fasting. We got to church and guess who was there, the Rodriquez family. All dressed up, looking great. So after a few words, we have our meeting with President Whitby and he said that they had pulled him aside and she said we don't want to get rings right now, we just need to get married. It was awesome. So they are getting married this Saturday at 6:00. We still need your prayers though so we can commit them to baptism and help them along that path. Sister Rodriquez is so excited to be sealed together as a family.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Pictures 2 (August 2009)

Baptisms make it all worth while. Elder Mendez with Veronica and Elder Bair

A self portrait

Ward missionaries with Elders Mendez and Bair

Elder Bair taking a nap with a new friend.

Pictures 1 (August 2009)

Finding time to do service for others.

Elder Bair (right) with Elder Waldo

Trying my hand at bowling

Finding time to study

My desk