Monday, June 27, 2016

...what missionaries do

We had dinner at the Grant's house the very same day as writing home. It was the most fun evening
meal on my mission. The Grants have a bunch of small children that were really excited at my movie quotes. They particularly enjoyed my Kronk voice from The Emperor's New Groove. Apparently it's pretty accurate. After dinner the whole family says, "You have to come see our foam pit!" I got pretty excited about that! We went to the basement and found a great deal of foam, cut into rectangles, piled into the corner of the house. Almost immediately, foam was flown at one another. Brother turned against brother, father against son, and even companion against companion. It was war! The battle raged for nearly twenty minutes until I said, "I'm Samuel the Lamanite! You can't touch me!" Everyone abruptly attacked me. I took some heavy foam to the face and my nose started bleeding. If you were
there for my farewell address, you know it's no big deal that Elder LaMont starts bleeding like a faucet from his face. But to the Grants, it was a big deal. Of course I played along, screaming from behind a load of tissue, "Help! Our own ward members are trying to kIll me! Call the bishop! Call the police!" The fight stopped and I received very motherly hospitality. Miss you Mom! And Dad, no one to this day is as good at stopping a bloody nose as you.

One particular Friday was very interesting. Elder Madson and I rode our bikes to Taco Bell to grab a snack and wait for the Sister's so we could exchange the vehicle. Every three days we make this switch, and Elder Madson and I bike the three days we do not have the car. All is very routine. I order my burrito and Elder Madson disappears. I find him talking to a man with his two kids. One of the kids asks me, "What do missionaries do?" Without skipping a beat, I snatch a pass-along card from the front shirt pocket of Elder Madson replying to the child, "Watch this!" I whirl around to an occupied table with three teenage kids. I offer them the card, ask to sit and start talking to them and eating my burrito. All of them are sophomores in a catholic school, but I shared the story of Nephi lobbing off the head of drunken Laban, listening to the Spirit of the Lord. All of them wanted a copy of the Book of Mormon after that one! We didn't talk long, but that's what missionaries do! The Sisters, arriving during mine and Elder Madson's separate conversations, sat watching the spectacle. We talked a while, and I was allowed to color the Snapchat icon on the Taco Bell receipt with Sister Merten's new pens.

We had a fun time! 

Sister Alisha Magda, Sister Kimberly Mertens, Elder Keaton LaMont, Elder Tanner Madson

There in the sink is a pink coin purse. Elder Madson claims it looks like a boat when folded in half. It floats well... For the first five seconds. "Wow," Elder Madson exclaims, "all boats should have these spheres on either end!" The so-called boat toppled over and capsized not even a second after that was was said. My roaring laughter followed. The comedic timing was perfect. You had to be there.

Playing the "Will it Float" game in another missionary apartment. 

I'm pretty sure I saw the first armadillo of my life! In the flesh! Rotting flesh... Poor guy. I half expected to find Rango somewhere near.

I have a really awesome story! While Elder Madson and I are sitting in the car on the side of the road
waiting to be on time for our scheduled appointment, Elder Madson says, "Hey! Something's happening!" The tone of his voice sounds uneasy. I see a car pass us, then reverse into view after slamming on the brakes. The window rolls down. "Hey Elders," a friendly voice calls out, "we want to buy you lunch! We will follow you." It was two adult men in their mid-twenties wearing Protection 1 uniforms. Elder Madson doesn't question it, and we hoof it to Subway. The two men introduced themselves as two brothers, Parker and Logan Anderson. The Anderson brothers say they are returned missionaries. Parker had a lot of stories from his mission in Indiana. The four of us swapped a lot of stories over lunch, and a few cookies as well! It was an excellent time. Heavenly Father is really looking out for me. Thank you for your prayers!

So! Unfortunately Elder Madson is leaving to go to Great Bend, leaving me in Rolling Hills. I'm really sad because Elder Madson has been one of my favorite companions and a real best friend. We've had such a blast in the short, short time we've had together. He's definitely a War Buddy. My new companion is Elder Andrasko!

I have a request. I'm really bad at introducing my new companions to my wonderful blog. Send me some questions you want to know about Elder Andrasko next week. I'll only have been with him for four-and-a-half days, but it should be enough to break the ice.

Much love to you all!

Monday, June 20, 2016

MMA training and late night orange julius...

This week has been pretty exciting! I went on exchanges with Elder Ortmann in Maize, Wichita. He taught me to work hard because your time to serve the Lord in His mission is precious. Here are some of the people we saw:

Wakin (wha • keen) - never committed to anything before now because of his wife Karen. Received revelation about the kingdom of God, recognizing the Spirit. Accepted a church tour and wants to bring his kids along.

Crystal - wants to increase her faith by being baptized. Loves the idea of repentance and realizes faith is the way to work towards repentance and baptism. She scheduled her own church tour and asked for the address to the church because she wants to attend sacrament meeting.

At dinner Elder Ortmann says: "If we get one more person wanting to be baptized, I will make us an infused smoothie!"

So we met some awesome people!

Cory - Saw him drinking and smoking on his porch. He said "Hey guys I'm a Catholic, so you can just keep moving on." Well we got to talking, Elder Ortmann was being a pure goofball, so he enjoyed our company.

Katie - Came out of the door to Cory's. "You guys want some beer?" Elder Ortmann says, "Two please!" My heart skipped a beat. "Just kidding!" Katie thought that was hilarious, so she came out to talk to us!

By the end of the night, Cory and Katie wanted us to return. We talked about the Book of Mormon, Cory admitted he didn't believe in a lot of the Catholic beliefs. Katie told me her life-story of recovery from some serious transgressions. She is agnostic, but claims she will have lots of questions while reading the Book of Mormon. It's amazing to me how much the both of them opened to us after we talked to them without being pushy. Elder Ortmann taught me the valuable lesson of simply being friendly to people.

Elder Ortmann and Elder LaMont

In the morning of the exchanges, Elder Ortmann taught me what he's learned from his MMA training. It was a blast, so we took a few 'fight photos' before we switched back to our companionships.

Here's a picture Sister Pinkerton took of us. She needed a front page for the programs on Sunday

Elder LaMont and Elder Mason

Ah funny story! Elder Madson wanted to make Orange Julius in the dead of night. Sister Pinkerton was asleep so we couldn't make a lot of noise. We took the blender to the furthest corner of our room and wrapped it in a blanket. To my surprise, it worked! It was a funny-looking spectacle, so I took a picture...

Elder Madson and blender

... and a selfie!

I made some scrambled eggs to trade for some orange Julius!

Also, I had a first! Elder Madson requested me to cut his hair. So I did! It doesn't look so bad if I may say so myself. Elder Madson likes it and he got a lot of compliments on it too! I wish I would have kept the bangs a little longer... But the difference between a good haircut and a bad haircut is two weeks! Elder Madson got what he paid for!

Elder LaMont cutting Elder Mason's hair

I sure love you all. It's been so great to hear from you. I miss you so!

All the same, I'm really loving my mission. I'm horrified my six-month is nearing. Unfair! I'm just starting to comprehend the basics!

Until next week my fans!

Monday, June 13, 2016

Rolling Hills, Wichita, KS...

The bike which I have inherited is fixed! Brought back from the dead! Good thing too, because this
area is a three-day-a-week car. We are biking the rest. I've never sweated hard before, but this humidity will soak even an arid person like me. I suppose I should be worried if I wasn't sweating while biking midday in 93ยบ weather at 83% humidity without a cloud in the sky. It sounds harder than it really is because "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me" (Philippians 4:13).

I've met such amazing people here. The members are fantastic! There are many missionary-minded families and we are fed every night. The ward takes really great care of us. I sure miss Hays, but I am in love with Wichita. The place in which we are staying is really nice (per missionary standards). We are living in the basement of a widow of the ward, Sister Pinkerton. She's housed missionaries since '07. I was glad to move in from the previous trashed apartment. I've discovered the horror of moving into an apartment a departing missionary left. It hurts my heart to suffer repercussions of slothful missionaries and to know they are out there.

We have an awesome progressing less-active names Seth Horn. Seth is about two weeks sober. This is a really big deal because he would nearly be in a daily coma of drunkenness from his alcohol addiction. He's reading Gospel Principles and the Book of Mormon and has vigilantly come to church. Seth says he's been smoking more than usual, but wants to kick that habit as well because he loves the feeling of the Spirit. Additionally, he's expressed that he desires to have the Priesthood! We plan to work with his son Elijah, but it is a difficult thing to teach him because Elijah dances between the care of Brother Horn and an Anti-LDS mother.

I met a returned missionary from the Reno mission named Ashton Couch. He's been home about a year. He's served in Fallon and Silver Springs. All of the other places he mentioned have escaped my memory.

Also, we've been working much with an Aydinez (eye • din • ehz) family. They have converted within a year and have fallen into old smoking habits. We do a lot of service for them. I've made a garden and Elder Madson began to build a chicken coop with rusty nails, wood, chicken wire and a rock for a hammer because they have no tools besides a shovel and a weak rake. They're always excited to see us, but they have yet to fulfill their commitment of attending church. Working on that one.

On Friday, I lost my name tag that was attached to my backpack. I left one in the pocket of the bag opened and it had apparently fallen out while biking home. I was greatly distressed. However, in my journal I wrote, " I prayed about it, so whatever happens, it's the Lords will!" And guess what? While Elder Madson and I were rushing to make an appointment the following day (Saturday), we took a wrong turn. That turn took us straight to my tag laying in the center of the shaded sidewalk, facing me, right-side up, and perfectly unharmed. Heavenly Father answers the simplest of prayers for the simplest blessings for which we ask. There is no way I could have missed it considering my great endeavor to keep my eyes peeled. Absolutely miraculous! No way would I ever believe my Heavenly Father doesn't hear and answer my prayers.

A recent convert just moved into our ward named Thomas Daniels II. We talked about faith and read the JST of James 2 directly after finding my tag. Faith without works is dead! My faith in searching for my tag would have been in vain if I wasn't constantly searching for it. If I had my head up, I would have missed it!

Elder Madson and I spent some time moving a part member family. I felt frustrated. The house was in an enormous disarray. Nothing was boxed up, the house was filthy, and this family wasn't even active. Yet, they had some of the best help in the world. Amazing saints from two different wards. I pridefully imagined the moving family to have such smug thoughts. Oh how I am in the wrong! If we serve others, we are serving God. Through our righteous actions and Christ-like charity, we provide an example and represent Jesus Christ. I felt so exhausted and hungry halfway through the move. I thought I wasn't going to be able to continue. But praying for help, asking for strength, provided such the difference. Dinner was with the Holyoak's and I had a greatly sufficient amount of food, water, and even dessert. Heavenly Father is taking care of me. I've never recognized that more than now.

Pics of new apartment...

Our room

Other angle of the room

A walk-in closet! First one I've ever had

The bathroom

The basement (the usual spot).

Another angle of the usual spot 

My study area (:

Upstairs kitchen

A funny note -

This adorable thing's name is Daisy. She totally reminds me of Winnie! Daisy is a member's dog we've visited and I couldn't resist snapping a few pictures.

New Companion ... Elder Madson and Elder LaMont

New Companions

Elder Madson and Elder LaMont PDay 6/13/2016

Elder Madson loves sharing the gospel! He was born and raised in Payson, Utah. Loves the mountains! He has a twin sister, loves sports especially basketball and football. He enjoys playing nerd games with family, and is also a history lover! He loves to see old buildings and study how people lived. 

Monday, June 6, 2016

Reunited and transferred...

At transfers, we were reunited!! I sure love these guys! 

The MTC Three amigos!! Elder Smack, Elder Colton, Elder LaMont

Elder Madson and I kicked our companionship off with a great start. His companion finished his mission and left a bunch of fun, expendable toys. Like glow sticks! We split them apart and sprayed incandescent glow all over the dark apartment! Here's some pictures!!

Here's the sort of things that are 'AirDropped' around on P-Day in the big city. Basically a form of missionary Snapchat. This is an Elder in the zone.

We've moved out of our apartment and into the basement of a member's home. It's been absolutely crazy. I'm glad I don't have to do a deep clean of the apartment like I had in Hays.

Because it was fast Sunday, I bore my testimony in sacrament meeting. I learned how much I LOVE bearing my testimony. The ward here is so awesome and I love it! I'm sorry for such a short update! I love you all!