Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Wildfires raging in Oklahoma City and north Texas

The unrelenting heat and extreme drought conditions have combined to create dangerous fire conditions all around Elliot in Oklahoma and Texas.  There are numerous reports (see the links below) of fires in and around Oklahoma City and Edmond and in north Texas.  Sadly, many homes and other structures, including the Harrison Bethel Baptist Church in northeastern Oklahoma City (see video below), have been destroyed.  Our prayers go out to those affected by the fires.  If any of the missionaries are affected, the mission president will undoubtedly post something on his blog.

Oklahoma news reports

Wildfire forces evacuations in southeast Oklahoma City

Fire flare-ups continue Wednesday; dozens of homes destroyed

Texas news reports

Area fires break out

Possum Kingdom Lake wildfire destroys homes, resort facilities

Video reports

Strong winds fed wildfires in Oklahoma that have destroyed homes and forced the shutdown of part of Interstate 40. NBC's Aditi Roy reports.

Firefighters in Texas work to contain wildfires that have destroyed dozens of homes. KXAS-TV’s Scott Gordon reports.

Wildfires burned the Harrison Bethel Baptist Church building early Wednesday, August 31, 2011.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Elliot's August 29 email

Here's the latest email from Elliot.

I have 2 companions! This past week we picked up a second companion, Elder Toki Lang. He actually came out at the same time as me. He's from the Marshall Islands and he's awesome. It's different being in a 3-some, but it's sweet.

I didn't get to see any of the Hotter N' Hell [a local cycling event]. We had a number of appointments Saturday and weren't able to see any of it really.

That's exciting for Alyssa! [She starts at BYU today.] I hope she enjoys it. College is a lot of fun and I'm sure she'll have a blast. And I'm glad y'all had fun at Lake Arrowhead too. Happy belated anniversary!

And tell Grandpa happy birthday too!

This past week was pretty cool. We had so many meetings and appointments and stuff. Wichita Falls North had a baptism, and I had the opportunity to interview him, Mark, for it. It was the second baptismal interview I've been able to conduct. It was so cool to see how strong his faith was and how the gospel had helped him. We have a few investigators now with baptismal dates for this coming month and I hope everything works out. The work's going well here and I'm having a lot of fun.

And I hear it'll be under 100 this coming week! That'll be the first time for me in forever it seems like. I might have to put a sweater on if it only gets to 95. That's chilly.

Well I love you all and I would have sent pics, but I forgot my camera. Next week!


Elder Elliot Adair

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Wichita Falls Museum Day 2011 "Stroll 'n Roll"

The Wichita Falls Museum Day 2011 "Stroll 'n Roll" is coming up on Saturday, September 10.  What a cool event!  Ten area museums and one historic site will be open for free tours.  All the details about the event are on the linked website, with pictures and descriptions of the various museums and historic sites, including:
I hope Elliot gets a chance to see some of this.  It looks like a great day.  You can follow the event on Facebook for any updates.

Mormon Messages for Youth: "My Duty to God"

Back in April, we posted a story about Spencer Zimmerman and Dayton Hayward, two young Deacons and triathletes from Gilbert, Arizona.  Here's another video about Spencer and Dayton from Mormon Messages for Youth. Enjoy.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Elliot's August 22 email and pictures

Here's the latest email from Elliot.

Buenos dias!

Sounds like it'll be an exciting week! That's a lot going on but I'm sure it'll be fun. Let me know how everything goes!

This past Saturday I tried something called a Hatch Chili Pepper. It was the hottest thing I've ever tried, and I've eaten some really spicy things before. I got it all on video, me eating it. Classic.

My bike is still going through some desafios [challenges]. I put my bike down in front of an investigator’s house and when I picked it back up there were a bunch of cactus spines which I discovered only after having a bunch of them stick into my hand. So I'm going to have to replace my grips. My rear brake got knocked loose the other day but I haven't gotten to fixing it yet. And I think one of the pedals might bust here soon. But it's a good bike and I'm sure will last me for the next year.

We had an awesome week. We taught 20 lessons overall. We've been keeping super busy, so much so that we didn't tract for more than a half hour to an hour all week long. I've never had a time in my mission where I've just taught so many lessons. We're seeing miracles happen and people coming back to church. Yesterday we discoverd that Adrinne, who had been coming to church for the last 6 months, is not actually a member. She loves the church though. She even has an app on her iPhone (Gospel Library?) that she studies at night when she has questions. She's reading the Book of Mormon and likes the example all of the church members set. It was definitely an answer to a prayer for me, because the night before I prayed that there would be someone at church who we could help out. We’re gonna visit with her sometime this week.

So everything's awesome. We've been having a lot of fun, and I couldn't complain!

I love yall!

Elder Elliot Adair

And remember: BEARS [See the picture after the jump to know what this means.]

Sunday, August 21, 2011

The New Era: "Everyone Wins"

In May, we posted a story about two young men from Arizona, Brandon McEuen, starting quarterback for the Safford High School Bulldogs, and Teren Bingham, starting quarterback for the Thatcher High School Eagles.  It's a great missionary story of two young men who became friends through sports and ultimately became brothers in the priesthood.  It's been a popular story on Elliot's blog. 

The August New Era features an update to the story of Brandon and Teren, "Everyone Wins," with new pictures.  They even made the cover.  I copied a few of the pictures after the jump, and additional pictures can be found here.  Enjoy.

A postcard from Elliot

Elliot sent a postcard to us last week.  It's hard to make out the date but it looks like it was postmarked August 13.  Straight from Wichita Falls, "Where good times have no limits!"  You have to love that slogan.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Mormon Messages: "The Blessing of Scripture"

In this year of the 400th anniversary of the King James version of the Bible, the Church recently produced a new Mormon Messages video.  The video, which is based on Elder D. Todd Christofferson's address at the April 2010 General Conference, tells the story of William Tyndale, who was instrumental in translating the Bible into English.  Tyndale is well known for speaking out in favor of sharing the Bible with all.  First, there is Tyndale's promise to a cleric who opposed making scripture available to the common man: “If God spare my life, ere many years I will cause a boy that driveth the plough, shall know more of the Scripture than thou dost!”  And his final words, spoken immediately prior to his execution, were a plea to heaven to soften the heart of the king: “Lord! open the king of England’s eyes."  From Elder Kristofferson's address:
Tyndale nevertheless undertook the challenging work of translation. In 1524 he traveled to Germany, under an assumed name, where he lived much of the time in hiding, under constant threat of arrest. With the help of committed friends, Tyndale was able to publish English translations of the New Testament and later the Old Testament. The Bibles were smuggled into England, where they were in great demand and much prized by those who could get them. They were shared widely but in secret. The authorities burned all the copies they could find. Nevertheless, within three years of Tyndale’s death, God did indeed open King Henry VIII’s eyes, and with publication of what was called the “Great Bible,” the scriptures in English began to be publicly available. Tyndale’s work became the foundation for almost all future English translations of the Bible, most notably the King James Version.
Enjoy this video on the life of William Tyndale.  For those who would like a free copy of the Bible, the Church makes them available here.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Elliot's August 15 email

Here's the latest message from Elliot.


That sounds like a really intense ride dad. We ride about 15-20 miles/day normally, but it's all flat. Windy sometimes, but not bad. And it cooled off a lot this past week! Never thought that 100 would feel nice, but it does.

Tell mom good luck with that split! [Lori is teaching a grade 1/2 split class this year.] I can't imagine that would be too easy. And also have fun at BYU Alyssa! It'll be awesome. [Alyssa leaves in a week.]

This past week was pretty cool. We taught a lot of lessons and got 6 new investigators. Fernando, the one who came to church the week before for the first time in 40 years, is doing great. We hope to baptize his whole family this coming month if possible. His children came to church yesterday but not his wife. She's still working then, so we have some work cut out for us. My new companion is doing well. He's catching on pretty quickly and we're getting a lot done.

My bike is all fixed and is running great. So there are no worries on this side. I hope everything's great!


Elder Elliot Adair

Thursday, August 11, 2011

New pictures of Elliot

President and Sister Taylor posted new pictures on their blog, including a few of Elliot with other missionaries and with his new companion, Elder Jacobson.  The first is from a leadership training meeting Elliot attended July 19-22 in Oklahoma City.  The rest are from transfer day on August 3.  Here they are!

Elliot at the July 2011 Leadership Training Meeting with Sister Davey and Elder Aliifua

Elliot and other missionaries at August 3, 2011 transfer day

Elliot and other missionaries at August 3, 2011 transfer day

Elliot and Elder Peper, Elder Callahan, and Elder Jacobson at August 3, 2011 transfer day

One year! (but who's counting?)

On August 11, 2010, Elliot reported to the Missionary Training Center in Provo.  He has now been out exactly one year.  Since arriving in Oklahoma in October 2010, Elliot has served in Oklahoma City, Clinton, Noble-Purcell, and Wichita Falls (Texas) with Elders Phillips, Ortiz, Whipple, Gonzalez, Kimber, Endicott, Nield, Andersen, and Jacobson.  It's been great to keep up with him through his emails and the blog and we're looking forward to one more year.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Elliot's August 8 email and pictures

Here's the latest email from Elliot, with pictures after the jump.

Hey y'all!

So my new companion's name is Elder Brennon Jacobson from Maltby, Washington. He's way awesome and we've already seen a lot of work moving forward.

Oh, I forgot to mention. If last week you looked at my bank account and wondered why there was a charge from a movie theater, it's because we got to see 17 Miracles! [Check out the trailer after the jump.]  It was so sweet. I'd recommend it to anyone. It's incredible what the early pioneers went through in order to make it to Zion.

They haven't got me my wheel yet! It was supposed to be there last Thursday so we've been walking and taking the bus. It's alright though. Hopefully it'll come soon. The way I broke the wheel was by dropping it about a foot or two while lowering it from a truck bed. It was kinda ridiculous that it got bent up so badly when really nothing happened, but I imagine it was already out of true. Oh well. Asi es la vida.

This past Sunday was really cool. We had a guy come to church out of nowhere for the first time in 40 years. He was baptized into the church when he was 12 and hasn't really been since. He really only spoke Spanish, so it was good to be there to help him out. None of his family is baptized and he told us that this is the church he wants his kids to be a part of and grow up in. We're meeting with him tomorrow night and hopefully everything goes well! We have a lot of appointments for this next week so it should be really awesome. We found a lot of new investigators and potentials recently so I hope things get going good here!

It's my one year mark this Thursday! It's crazy to think that half of my mission is done already, I just wanna make the most I can with the time I have left. tell Keith Happy Birthday!  [Keith's birthday is August 13.]


Elder Elliot Adair

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Newhall First Ward missionary newsletter

Here is the most recent Newhall First Ward missionary newsletter from Sister Connie Hollingworth (pictured), with reports from Elliot, Javan Hatch, Kyle Hill, Ian Loveland, CJ Norris, and Carlton Reininger.  We really appreciate Sister Hollingworth putting this together every month!  Enjoy the newsletter after the jump.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Bats, space shuttles, and high school football

This picture (which I shamelessly "borrowed" from Elder Woolley's blog) says it all.  According to a Wichita Falls news channel, there have been a record-setting 46 consecutive days over 100 degrees this summer, with 72 total for 2011, nearing the record of 79 set in 1980.  Given the current forecast for Wichita Falls, that record should be broken next Sunday.  And the average summer temperature thus far is 91.7, well above the 88.5 record average set in 1980.

The biggest problem, of course, is the lack of rain.  There has been no rain in Wichita Falls for 52 days, still shy of the 75-day record set back in 1914.  The ongoing drought caused the USDA to issue a disaster declaration for 74 Oklahoma counties, and many cities, towns and rural water districts are issuing water rationing notices.

The drought has caused some unusual effects.  Over in Austin, Texas, the drought has killed many crops, in turn reducing the number of pests that bats love to eat.  So now there are 1.5 million bats living under a bridge in Austin who fly out for dinner earlier and earlier every evening, to the delight of the locals.
That means they have to leave home earlier than usual each night to find nourishment — giving the locals in this bat-crazy city a precious few more minutes to watch the normally-nocturnal critters fly before the sun goes down.
Each night they stream from under a bridge by the hundreds of thousands in a black cloud so large that it shows up on local weather radar.
"It's wonderful for people to be able to see them, and they are really spectacular," said James Eggers, director of education for the Austin-based Bat Conservation International. "But it's an indicator that things are a little tougher for the bats."
We hope the bats are doing ok, especially since 2011-2012 has been declared the Year of the Bat by the United Nations.

Another strange effect of the drought occurred when the waters of Lake Nacogdoches, 160 miles northeast of Houston, receded by some nine feet.  As the water receded, a four-foot diameter tank from the Columbia space shuttle, which disintegrated over Texas on its re-entry into the Earth's atmosphere on February 1, 2003, was revealed.  The tank will be recovered and sent to Kennedy Space Center's Vehicle Assembly Building.

Not surprisingly, one thing about Texas that has not been affected very much by the heat is high school football.  The players need to be kept well-hydrated, and practice times have been adjusted to keep the boys off the field during the hottest parts of the day, but football must go on.
In Texas, high school football is nearly a religion, highlighted by a television drama series "Friday Night Lights" that follows the lives of a Texas high school football team and its entourage.
In the real thing, the key to survival in the heat is water, and plenty of it, according to veteran San Antonio high school athletic trainer Paul 'Doc' Rost.
"Basically right now we have hydration stations set out where a kid can go at any time and get a drink," Rost said. "I tell 'em, if you're thirsty when you get out here, you're dehydrated already."

Monday, August 1, 2011

Snow in Argentina for Carlton Reininger

In stark contrast to the extraordinary heat Elliot is experiencing in Wichita Falls, Carlton Reininger is in the middle of winter in Argentina.  His latest email included a couple of snowy pictures.  It looks like he's having fun! 

Can it get any hotter in Wichita Falls?

In today's email, Elliot reported that it's "ridiculously hot" in Wichita Falls and supposed to get hotter.  He wasn't kidding.  Here's the forecast for the next few days in Wichita Falls, according to  It's supposed to reach 112 degrees tomorrow.  Yikes!

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Elliot's August 1 email and pictures

Here's the latest email, along with some new pictures posted after the jump.  He's getting a new companion on Wednesday, another brand new missionary.


Well I'm training again this next transfer! It's lame seeing Elder Andersen leave, but I'm excited to help another greenie. It's so fun and it really helps to have some new missionary fire. We'll be picking him up from Oklahoma on Wednesday.

I busted the back wheel of my bike on Saturday. [I wonder if it looks like the one pictured at right. I also wonder what he was jumping off of when it broke!] It's warped completely beyond being able to be trued. It's frustrating and I'll have to just buy a whole new one tomorrow probably, unless it'll be more cost/time effective to have them build a new one off the same hub. We'll see.

Things are going okay here. We've had to drop a lot of people recently but we've also found quite a few people these past 3 or so days. After my wheel busted we went through everyone that had been being taught by the missionaries beforehand and called them, and we got quite a few appointments off of it. So we should still have plenty to do here. It's still ridiculously hot and I hear it's just gonna get hotter, but that's okay. We're taking care of ourselves.

I love y'all and hope everything's going good!

Elder Elliot Adair