Monday, May 30, 2016

Oh Hays...

The tribe has spoken! 

Shoutout to the wonderful Brinck family of Smithfield, Utah! If you're somehow reading this, thank you for your beautiful letter. Expect a response soon. If it is not sooner, I apologize because...

I'm getting transferred!

Oh Hays, we bid thee farewell. 

Michelangelo: Goodbye home sweet home... 

Raphael: And hello cruel world!


I'm going to be serving in Rolling Hills! West of Wichita. Elder Madson will be my new companion. Big changes are coming!!

I've a few stories to share in great celebration of my time in Hays! 

A close shave... 

I thought I would get a haircut before I left for Wichita. Don't ever go to any salon connected to Wal-Mart just because Great Clips is closed for Memorial Day. The woman cutting my hair, Madi, and I were casually talking religion.

All of a sudden, I feel a swipe of a razor on my head and hear a vulgar exclamation, "Oh ****!" Now tell me: is that something you want to hear from someone you've trusted to cut your hair? No. No it's not. Madi cut my hair way short at the sideburn. She proceeded to freak out, but all I could do was smile. It's no big deal to me! I assured her everything was fine. She resumed to cut my hair and I proceeded to say, "I like this way more than what I instructed you to do!" She kept apologizing, but I repeatedly said, "Don't worry!" I left the salon thanking her, and wishing her a good day after leaving her a generous tip. I didn't think too much about it, but the Spirit bore powerfully of how we must treat everyone like Christ would. I can't imagine Christ being very upset about having his hair cut too close. I'm really happy I received encouragement from the Spirit from doing something right rather than receiving a reprimand from choosing to do wrong. It would be really easy to be upset, to demand a refund, to get into a fit of rage. But it would all be over a few hairs that are sure to be restored. Are there instances in our lives that are just a few hairs? I encourage you to think of what is most important and fulfilling in this life: becoming like our Heavenly Father who loves us indescribably.

Poor Vinnie! 

Elder Zurcher and I were walking around a trailer park and played with some kids. We played soccer and dodgeball with the them! Yes... I got a little competitive. One tried to tackle me and poor Vinnie (one of the kids) got beaned in the face with a kicked volleyball! He started to cry, but everyone came together to reassure him that he was okay. Instead of crying, he began to laugh and resumed playing with us! What a tender lesson to be learned here by children. Remember to always flock to our wounded brethren. Pick them up, dust them off. Help them. Be Christ-like!

Let the Spirit be the teacher...

We taught a man named Philip the other day. My testimony that the Spirit is the true teacher really grew! I kept trying to teach the man on an intellectual basis, and the lesson was not as stellar as it could be. I sure wish I would have let the Spirit teach, and got out of the way! Failure sometimes hurts, but I've learned valuable lessons. Failure isn't really failure until we quit trying, and because of the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ, we don't ever EVER ever have to stop trying. I'm so grateful. I'm so humbled. Thank heaven I'm not doing this work alone. Life is too difficult a mission without the help with which our Father has graced each and every one of us.

Oh how I love each and every one of you. Thank you so much for your prayers, your wonderful support, and your love. It makes a difference in this work: the salvation of the human soul. How great must be your joy! Thank you!

Monday, May 23, 2016

I love my mission...

Elder Zurcher and I drove out of town to find some Less Active members who live in the boonies. I took some pictures! As I flipped through my camera roll, a certain parable began to flow through my mind...

A sower went out to sow his seed:

"...and as he sowed, some fell by the way side; and it was trodden down, and the fowls of the air devoured it."

"...they that hear; then cometh the devil, and taketh away the word out of their hearts."

"And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprang up with it, and choked it." 

"...choked with cares and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to perfection."

"And other fell on good ground, and sprang up, and bare fruit an hundredfold."

" an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience."

"For behold the field is white...

...already to harvest." 

"And lo, he that thrusters in his sickle with his might, the same layeth up in store that he perisheth not, but bringeth salvation to his soul." 

A mission is hard work and full of sacrifice. From an earthly perspective, there is no logical reason why someone like me would love this work so much. I'm often out of my element, despised, discouraged, distressed. I'm glad I so often am able to teach the Plan of Salvation. By living His commandments, we can grow. Each of us will improve; Each of us will be more and more like Christ with each passing hour. I love this gospel, I love my savior. I love my mission.

Have not lost my humor...

Guess who I met?

Yeah! One of my childhood heroes!

"How many men does it take to send a message?"


Sometimes I feel as Mushu. "Khaniiiee baby! Hey, we need a ride." #spatintheface

When my companion wants me to bail him out of an awkward silence... "Don't look at me, I ain't bitin' no more butts."

Or when somebody comments that I look like I'm fifteen years old... "Of course! I'm travel-size for your convenience. If I was my REAL size, your cow here would die of fright! DOWN Bessy!"

Sometimes, I even feel Heavenly Father is like Mushu: "Blessings! Blessings on you, blessings on your family, blessings on your cow!" But most of the time, God is Shane: "Somehow I'll make a man out of you!" #mulan


My personality is still intact. Those of you who did not know I had one: here you go. I'm a dork, I'm not the tough-guy I always pretend to be.

I liked this fountain. I've not seen anything else like it in Hays.

 Christ said: "He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water."

Did you know there's a ton of Statue of Liberty's throughout the state of Kansas? One of them is in Hays!

"We stole the Statue of Liberty! The small one... from [Hays, Kansas]." #despicableme

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Monday, May 16, 2016

Fun ...

Elder Zurcher and I gave William Green a good scare! We go to his door to find the door open beyond the closed screen door. William is sleeping in the armchair. "Go to the side of the house and make a bunch of noise," Elder Zurcher says to me "and I'll video it." I quietly sneak to the side of the house and proceed to make loud noise with my fists against the wall. Had the video been of better quality I would have included it with this update. At the very least, it is funny to hear how Elder Zurcher describes William's reaction.

I had my Nathan Drake moment of the week. William Green, Elder Zurcher and I were throwing a football. I accidentally threw the football on top of his house and proceeded to make the climb to retrieve it. William gave me a boost, I scaled the roof, knocked the football to the grass and jumped to the ground. No sweat.

I am currently writing this in a bowling alley. Elder Zurcher organized a time we could go bowling in celebration of Sister Viera's last few preparation days before finishing her mission with Danny Higgins. Having a blast!

Sister Dahl, Elder Zurcher, Sister Viera, Danny Higgins, and Elder LaMont

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Another Miraculous Baptism...

Another miraculous baptism! Diana North has been baptized and confirmed a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and received the Holy Ghost. Guess what? I performed the baptism, my first one! What a special and sacred opportunity. When we asked Diana whom should baptize her, she requested me to do it. "Because," she said "you never gave up on me from the beginning." Can you believe my joy at the prospect of her response? It is "even to the separation of it from the body, as it were, so great is my joy" (Alma 29:16). Diana bore her testimony at the baptismal service, expressing her gratitude of the Lord's hand in ridding the cigarette addiction. Also, Diana looked Elder Zurcher and I in the eyes and thanked the both of us for our service. My feelings are indescribable.

The confirmation was Sunday. Elder Zurcher was asked by Diana herself to perform the ordinance. When the 'amen' was said I opened my eyes and noticed Diana, a completely new person. Incredible experience. 

Fun with the ward...

Later that same day, Elder Zurcher and I attend a ward party at a park just outside of town. After we eat some delicious food, Elder Zurcher plays volleyball with the Sister Missionaries and a few others.
I can't help myself to being drawn to the crowd of younger kids, reminiscent of the many games of the imagination throughout my childhood. I ask, "Hey can I play?" A blonde boy named Aaron Raat (rate) pipes up, "You sure can! We are playing a superhero game! Which superhero do you want to be?" The crowd of young eyes are on me as I contemplate whom it is I should be. I look at them. Then I look at myself. I feel a grin upon my face as I decide. "I'm the Incredible Hulk," I say. I had a blast playing with them, climbing all over the playground, punching out imaginary bad-guys, and tearing around the park. I had a pretty awesome moment with Aaron. There were a great number of bad-guys below the bridge upon which we stood, running to head us off. Aaron looks at me and says, "Hulk... Smash!" I flew off the balcony far to the ground below taking out about 8 to 10 bad-guys as I struck the ground with my fists. It's official: I still am never going to grow up. I had way too much fun!

Monday, May 9, 2016


Happy Mother's Day to all of you wonderful mothers!! Especially to mine, Michelle LaMont, and the fantastic mother-figures in my life. I love you Mom! <3

Since Elder Zurcher doesn't care much for Aikido, we made arrangements to attend the gym here. The manager allows us to pay the monthly cost for six weeks because we are missionaries. I am so blessed by the Lord who gives me these small and simple blessings I can so easily take for granted. I'm really happy I've been able to go to work out over the course of this week! I don't need to lose any more weight or I'll blow away in this mad Kansas wind.

After emails last week, Sister Dahl and Elder Zurcher wanted me to join them in juggling a volleyball. I couldn't help it you guys... I just hit the ball like I would a soccer ball because I kept sending the ball flying every time I used my hands despite the practice I had junior year playing volleyball with friends at lunch. They didn't seem to mind too much.

The following story is in a present-tense because I enjoyed writing it.

When it is time to get to work on Monday, Elder Zurcher and I make way for Andrew Cervantes. Andrew is in the front of the trailer park playing basketball with a ten or so friends. Elder Zurcher and I show ourselves with a, "Hey Andrew!" Andrew seems really embarrassed to know us so we change tactics. "Can we shoot some hoops with you?" Andrew seems hesitant, but responds, "Sure guys." Tyler, a buddy of Andrew's, sizes me up. Tyler is just as tall as I, but he is ripped. He looks me in the eye, making it very clear he despises religion.
Some may say stupid, some may say fearless,
but I search his intoxicated eyes and boldly ask, "Why?" Tyler continues in defiance to tell me no man could ever get a single religion entirely correct. I vocally agree and Tyler is stunned. I explain Christ is the head of the church, a church to worship God. "What god?" he scoffs. I peer into his prideful eyes, staring at the soul of this lost brother of ours, saying, "Our Heavenly Father." It shuts him right up. "I like you!" he announces to me. Tyler hands me the basketball. "Here you go church-boy. We're shooting for captains." I put the ball in the air from distance immediately, and all that is heard is SWISH! One of Andrews buddies, awestruck, chimes "Did church teach you that?" I yell back, "Sure did!" Elder Zurcher and I play ball with them and dominate! I hear in the midst of the intensity after a rebound of mine, "C'mon Jose! White church-boy is jumping higher than you." My team won. Needless to say, Elder Zurcher and I left quite the impression, and I had a blast. Unfortunately since then, Andrew is no longer progressing, but I must say this was a cool experience!

First thing Friday morning, Elder Zurcher and I travel to Salina for Zone Training. One of the Sister Training Leader's trainings leaves quite an impact on me. Following her instruction, I close my eyes and visualize the Savior Jesus Christ. In my imagination, I stand in a plane of white. The savior sat upon a golden throne white as the whitest shade ever to be seen. His hair was white, His eyes were white, His white brow was alit with a white flame above His powerful eyes. The grandeur of His presence is indescribable, perfect. I imagine him walking the streets of Hays, Kansas alongside me. I hold back tears as I come back to reality, touched by the Spirit.

Within the next few days, I am shocked to read the following account of the Savior appearing to Joseph Smith in the Kirtland temple:

"The veil was taken from our minds, and the eyes of our understanding were opened.

We saw the Lord standing upon the breastwork of the pulpit, before us; and under his feet was a paved work of pure gold, in color like amber.

His eyes were as a flame of fire; the hair of his head was white like the pure snow; his countenance shone above the brightness of the sun; and his voice was as the sound of the rushing of great waters, even the voice of Jehovah, saying:

 I am the first and the last; I am he who liveth, I am he who was slain; I am your advocate with the Father."

It seems the Spirit touches our imaginations as well as our minds and our hearts. Never before have I read or heard of this account until after my experience in Zone Training.

I bear testimony of a Savior and Redeemer. Jesus Christ, the son of the living God. He loves and knows each of us. Of this, I promise you.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Feeling Clean...

This week I took Elder Zurcher to Aikido, and I'm guessing we won't be going again because Elder Zurcher didn't like it all. I had the wise idea we learn about choke techniques. Brandon Sensei was just fine with it, but try to imagine Elder Zurcher happy with it. I blacked out in the demonstration.

I didn't signal to stop quick enough and the next thing I know the world is spinning and voices seem to come from a far distance to right in front of me. I wasn't sure it could be done, but you can indeed get someone to lose consciousness in less than thirty seconds for a minute or two by cutting off the blood supply in their neck! Awesome! I felt a little woozy for the rest of the class. We met a woman named Neva (knee - vuh) E.the following day. She really needed to talk to someone because she is a widow. We left her a Book of Mormon, but later in the week, I blew it. She refused to continue reading the Book of Mormon and said, "I've already found Jesus and been born again." I lost my patience when Neva looked me dead in the eyes saying, "Get rid of this," touching the name tag on my chest, "and go find the truth." I used all my energy to not allow it to offend me, but I couldn't hide my glare. I didn't sleep well that night, afraid I might have frightened Neva.

Elder Zurcher and I were asked of an elderly single sister of the ward to make caramel popcorn with her. It was great to serve her by listening to her crazy stories of her college years. We left with five one-gallon bags of the popcorn in the end. The same day, we met with Diana. She is struggling to quit smoking. We constantly reassure her that she is going about the path our loving Heavenly Father wants for her, and she believes it.

Sunday was amazing. I love how I have learned I am SO dependent on the ordinance of the sacrament. I entered with my heart heavy, my mind negative; but through the edification of the amazing Hays ward family through their testimonies helped me to allow the Holy Ghost to raise me
to much a much higher state of spirit. Diana came to church, although more reserved than normal. William received the Aaronic Priesthood and called to the office of a priest in the Elders Quorum! Oh such a happy day! After church we visited Diana, and it was such a wonderful experience. Diana had a lot of questions about the priesthood, the bible, and some verses she found. She expressed a concern about the consequences of sin. Elder Zurcher and I answered her questions, talked about the King James Version of the Bible, and expressed her validation for the concern by addressing the importance of the atonement. During the lesson, Diana's spirits soared. She seemed much happier.

I received an inspiring email among so many I receive from my wonderful support group illustrating to me of finding ways to serve using God-given talent. When I noticed in the times I had visited Diana a state of uncleanliness in her house, I was prompted to act. First of all, I used my talent of unwavering stubbornness. Those that know me well also know I excel in such pig-headed techniques. I told Diana we were going to help her relieve stress by vacuuming and sweeping the floors, and
washing the dishes. I received quite the glance from Elder Zurcher! Diana began washing the dishes, I picked up the broom, and Elder Zurcher began his great battle with the resistance of a partially defective vacuum. As I meticulously swept the linoleum floor, moving about much furniture, Diana inquired of my family and I of hers.

I learned a valuable lesson in charity. As we learn about our friends, neighbors, even enemies, by genuinely wanting to know more about them, our love for them increases as well as their love for us. It is also a wonderful opportunity to share the gospel as we hold our candles high. Diana's countenance took a one-hundred-eighty degree turn from this morning. I wish you could have seen her face as her home became cleaner. Diana was touched by our charity, grateful for our service, and happier than I've ever seen her.