Monday, January 31, 2011

A great picture from Carlton Reininger

Carlton Reininger is having a great experience in Argentina.  I love this picture and the story he shared of a newlywed couple (standing behind Carlton).  They are not your typical newlywed couple, having been together for 50 years before Carlton stepped in to help them get married (including handling all the paperwork) and then baptized.  Thanks to Carlton's mom for sharing his stories and pictures!

Elliot's January 31 email

Here's the latest message from Elliot.  He was happy to learn that CJ Norris got his mission call to Boise, Idaho, yet another of the great young men from the Newhall First Ward to go on a mission.  Javan Hatch gave his farewell address yesterday at church and we'll hear from Kyle Hill soon also.  Elliot's email is below and you can see four new pictures after the jump.


I'm glad to hear that everything seems to be going well back home! That's awesome about CJ's call and for Javan being so close to heading out. It's so cool to see so many guys from back home out serving and preparing to serve. The mission's awesome too.

This past week was so fun being back with Elder Phillips. We had a really good time and got a lot of work done. We also took some pictures, a few of which I attached. We taught quite a few lessons and got fed really well too, so everyone's happy. Except that Elder Gonzalez got sick! He came down with the flu but he's way better right now. And I bought some vitamins so hopefully I don't get sick or anything.

We didn't have too much of anything big happen this week. We did however get to help a member of our ward out who's been suffering from cancer of the colon and liver. We actually ran into him on P-day at Wal-Mart and set up a time for us to come by to his house on Friday. So me and Elder Phillips went by and gave him a blessing. It was such a good experience. I've given quite a few Priesthood blessings so far on my mission, including one other this past week, but this one seemed more special than usual. His cancer is really bad, and when he was diagnosed he was given 2-3 months, but he's far outlived it. But he's going through a really hard time with chemotherapy every week which really just wipes him out. It's hard to see his pain but he has so much faith. I really think that's the reason why he's still doing well. Then he took us to Mazzios Pizza, so it was a good day. We also had a lot of other good lessons and teaching experiences this past week, and we've been having some good success.

Well I love you all and am grateful for everything! Let me know if there's anything I can do for y'all.


Elder Elliot Adair

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Remember the Ten

At 6:37 p.m. on January 27, 2001, ten members of the Oklahoma State University family perished in a plane crash following a Cowboy basketball game in Boulder, Colorado.  OSU's president made a solemn vow: "We will never forget."  And they have not.

Kendall Durfey - radio producer and engineer
Bjorn Fahlstrom - pilot
Nate Fleming - student athlete
Will Hancock - media relations coordinator
Dan Lawson - student athlete
Brian Luinstra - athletic trainer
Denver Mills - CPA and pilot
Pat Noyes - director of basketball operations
Bill Teegins - broadcaster and voice of the OSU Cowboys
Jared Weiberg - student assistant

More pictures, news reports, a poem from the memorial service, and an extended video recount this tragedy, after the jump.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Mormon Messages: "He Lives: Testimonies of Jesus Christ"

In Doctrine and Covenants Section 76, Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon bear powerful testimony of the Savior:
 22 And now, after the many testimonies which have been given of him, this is the testimony, last of all, which we give of him: That he lives!
 23 For we saw him, even on the right hand of God; and we heard the voice bearing record that he is the Only Begotten of the Father—
As a missionary, Elliot will also bear testimony of the Savior and His gospel, standing "as a witness of God at all times and in all things" (Mosiah 18:9) and blessed with the "power to be mighty in testimony."  (Doctrine and Covenants 100:10.) 

After the jump, enjoy a video in which leaders of the Church bear their own powerful testimonies of Jesus Christ.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Oklahoma Beef Cook-Off

You have to love a state that has an annual beef cook-off.  The 2011 Oklahoma Beef Cook-Off was held on January 22 in Oklahoma City.  This year's big winner was Leah Lyon (pictured in action below) of Ada, Oklahoma, with her recipe for Steak Florentine Orzo with Warm Bacon-Tomato Vinaigrette.  You can find her recipe here if you want to experiment.  Sadly, Elliot had already been transferred to Clinton before the event so he missed it.

More Oklahoma beef links (for you beef lovers out there):

Monday, January 24, 2011


Elliot sent a second email today with a few pictures.  First, here is his brief second email, then the pictures will be posted after the jump.

Hope you enjoy the pictures! Don't worry about the one with the guy holding a knife to my neck, he's awesome and I'm still alive. The family is the Cardenas family in the South, the one with another missionary is Elder Whipple, and Clinton has a lot of churches.

Elliot's January 24 email

Here's the latest from Elliot.

Hola familia!

How's it going? I'm so glad to hear that you're gonna be able to work out of Southern California dad! That's so awesome.

Things are going super well out here. I get to spend this whole week with Elder Phillips, my MTC companion, while our companions are in the city for a leadership training meeting. It's so awesome. We work so well together and have such a good time so it's gonna be a really good week.

So I gotta tell a story. We have a few Spanish speaking members who attend our English services as well as a few investigators. The stake actually got a translator set (complete with headphones, mic, and everything) so that they could understand what was being said instead of just sitting there. Well who got assigned the responsibility of translating? Me of course. I was so stinkin nervous about trying to translate a whole meeting from English because it's really difficult to listen and translate at the same time. Also, one of our investigators with a baptismal date, Juan, had one of the headsets. I prayed so hard that I would be able to speak well and translate effectively. It was such an awesome experience. I felt myself saying words that I did not know I knew and having almost no trouble following along with what was being said. It was still super difficult, for sure, but I know the gift of tongues is real and I'm so grateful for the ability to speak Spanish. It seemed like the Spanish-speakers there enjoyed it too so that's what's important.

So everything's going really well, I'm loving the work and really am enjoying everything. Tell Alyssa happy birthday!!!!

Love you all!

Elder Elliot Adair

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Elliot's January 18 email

I should have seen this coming a mile away.  Literally 30 seconds after I hit the "publish" button on the last entry about how we did not get an email from Elliot yesterday, his email arrived today.  Everything is going well in Clinton.  He hopes to send some pictures soon, which I will post as soon as we get them.  Enjoy his email after the jump.

Somali pirates in Clinton?

For those of you who wait anxiously for the weekly blog post with Elliot's Monday email (that's probably just his mom and me!), you may be wondering why there was no post yesterday.  Did a tornado hit Clinton, Oklahoma, and cut off all email access?  Did Somali pirates capture Elliot and demand ransom?  Did the blog editor slack off on a holiday?  No, none of those things happened.  There were no tornadoes and the likelihood of Somali pirates in Clinton is quite remote.  We just never heard from him.  We suspect he's still settling into his new surroundings and got busy on his P-day (preparation day), which is often the busiest day of the week.  So with no news from Elliot, I though it would be fun to share a video news story from the Oklahoman, which offers one more good reason to be at church, especially if the pastor knows CPR!  Click on the link to see the video and we'll watch for an email from Elliot.

"Saved by CPR at Church"

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Mormon Messages for Youth: "A Priesthood Duty"

"Wherefore, go ye and preach my gospel . . ." (Doctrine and Covenants 80:3.)
President Thomas S. Monson (pictured at left) shared a few brief thoughts on missionary service at the October 2010 General Conference.  His words of advice directed to Mormon youth reminded me of Elliot's preparation to serve his mission to Oklahoma, and his brother Keith's preparation before his mission to the Dominican Republic.  It really is a remarkable thing that we ask of these young men and women as they offer two years of their lives in the service of others, and even more remarkable is the manner in which they respond.  A portion of President Monson's address is excerpted below, and you can see a related video after the jump.

"Now, before we hear from our speakers this morning, may I mention a matter close to my heart and which deserves our serious attention. I speak of missionary work.
"First, to young men of the Aaronic Priesthood and to you young men who are becoming elders: I repeat what prophets have long taught—that every worthy, able young man should prepare to serve a mission. Missionary service is a priesthood duty—an obligation the Lord expects of us who have been given so very much. Young men, I admonish you to prepare for service as a missionary. Keep yourselves clean and pure and worthy to represent the Lord. Maintain your health and strength. Study the scriptures. Where such is available, participate in seminary or institute. Familiarize yourself with the missionary handbook Preach My Gospel.

"A word to you young sisters: while you do not have the same priesthood responsibility as do the young men to serve as full-time missionaries, you also make a valuable contribution as missionaries, and we welcome your service."

Oklahoma sports report

The college football bowl season is now over, so let's see how our two remaining Oklahoma teams did in their bowl games.

Oklahoma State University Cowboys

OSU traveled to San Antonio, Texas, where they played the Arizona Wildcats in the December 29 Valero Alamo Bowl.  OSU dominated the Wildcats by a final score of 36-10 (video highlights).  Wide receiver Justin Blackmon led the Cowboys with nine receptions for 117 yards and two touchdowns, in a season in which he was among the top three in the nation in each of those statistical categories and won the Biletnikoff Award as the nation's top receiver.  Quarterback Brandon Weeden ended a great season, completing 25 of 41 passes for 240 yards and two touchdowns.  Cowboy fans will be pleased to know that Blackmon and Weeden will return for another season.  Arizona ended the season with five consecutive losses and was not much of a match for OSU, who finished with an 11-2 record and a no. 14 ranking in the BCS standings.

OU quarterback Landry Jones threw for 429 years and three touchdowns in leading the Sooners to a 48-20 victory (video highlights) over the Connecticut Huskies in the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl on January 1 in Glendale, Arizona.   The Sooner defensive squad contributed two touchdowns on interception returns and wide receiver Ryan Broyles ended a great season with 13 catches for 170 yards and a touchdown, finishing second in the Biletnikoff Award voting to Justin Blackmon of OSU.  The Huskies had some great moments, including a 95-yard kickoff return for a touchdown by Robbie Frey and a touchdown on an interception by Dwayne Gratz, but in the end they could not stay with the Sooners, who ended the 12-2 season ranked no. 7 in the BCS standings.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Mormon Messages: "Lessons I Learned as a Boy"

I have to say two things about this post.  First, it has nothing to do with Elliot.  Sorry.  Second, I'm a sucker for inspirational stories.  It's a weakness, I know.  I especially enjoy all stories told by President Gordon B. Hinckley, and the story depicted in this video is one of my favorites.  He told it at the Priesthood Session of General Conference in April 1993 in an address directed mainly at the young men in attendance.  This would have been the very first Priesthood Session that Elliot attended as a new Deacon.  (There's an Elliot connection after all!)  President Hinckley started his remarks: "I think I would like to say a few things to the boys. You older men may listen or sleep."  I don't think many of us older guys slept!  Anyway, the story is great.  President Hinckley attributes it to his father and cites a source I do not have.  I do not know if it is true, nor do I care.  The principle is true.  Interestingly, President Hinckley simply tells the story, adding no moralizing or explanation, so I will do the same.  I will simply add a scripture that came to mind at the conclusion of the video, from the story of the disciples who unknowingly walked with Jesus on the road to Emmaus:
And they said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures?  (Luke 14:32)
Enjoy the video after the jump.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Elliot's January 10 email (and a screen shot of his apartment complex)

We got our first email from Elliot in Clinton, Oklahoma, "the most middle-of-nowhere place" he's ever been.  But he has a car, a new companion, and a fresh blanket of snow.  Read the details after the jump.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

How did Elliot end up in Clinton, Oklahoma?

Lindsay asked a question in the comments.  (Hi Lindsay!  Lindsay is Elliot's cousin, the daughter of Elliot's uncle Don, my brother.  Lindsay has a great blog about her two twins, one of whom is also named Elliot.  You can see her blog here.)  So, on to Lindsay's question.  She asked how missionaries are chosen to move locations.  I'll answer that question, and another Lindsay didn't ask, after the jump.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

A brief introduction to Clinton, Oklahoma

By now, Elliot should be in Clinton, Oklahoma.  Let’s see what we can find out about his new home, with lots of pictures and links, after the jump.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Elliot's January 3 email and more pictures

We got our first email of 2011 from Elliot.  The big news is that he is transferring to Clinton, Oklahoma, on Wednesday.  Clinton is about 85 miles due west of Oklahoma City.  I'll have to do a little research to find out what Clinton is all about.  Read Elliot's email and see several new pictures after the break.

New (old) pictures: Elliot and Carlton open their mission calls!

Sister Reininger sent me some terrific pictures.  As background for those unfamiliar with the process of how a young Mormon man or woman is called on a mission, the prospective missionary submits an application, which includes all kinds of information - approvals from local church leaders, medical and dental histories, language proficiency, and other information about the applicant.  The application is then reviewed by church leaders who determine where each prospective missionary will go.  They can go anywhere in the world and they have no idea where they will be assigned until the church sends an envelope with the official "call" signed by the Prophet, Thomas S. Monson.  So there is a fair amount of anticipation and anxiety associated with opening the envelope and reading the letter. 

Elliot and Carlton submitted their applications at about the same time and received their mission calls on the very same day.  Elliot's family was out of town that day so he went to Carlton's house where they opened their letters together.  Sister Reininger took these pictures and sent them to us.  One of them shows Elliot on the phone, presumably calling his parents to let us know where he was going!  Enjoy the pictures after the jump.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Pictures of Elder Carlton Reininger

We received more pictures of Elder Carlton Reininger from Argentina.  Enjoy them after the break.