Monday, November 28, 2016


Happy Thanksgiving! The holidays are great on a mission!

Elder Andersen of the seventy came to tour the mission. He spoke a lot on the importance of teaching by the Spirit. Also, there was a great deal of time he set aside for a Q&A for the missionaries. I asked a scriptural question that led to a large discussion of the law of consecration. My mind was opened and enlightened to an understanding I have never before beheld. Of that experience, I ponder what it must feel like to live life without the gospel, then to feel the Spirit and feel the light while being taught it. Although I see it often, I may not know what that must feel like to the fullest extent, but being edified by the Spirit must feel something pretty close.

There is a small town called Larned near Great Bend. It is still in our area, but we are only able to travel there once a week. There is a historical sight that appears to be a historical quarry. I couldn't help myself, I climbed all over it and explored every nook and cranny. Elder Christensen was kind enough to snap some action shots.

I learned that Elder Christensen has a fear of heights, but past the face of fear I thought this was a good picture. I'm not quite sure why it is he went up there in the first place...

By the time I was finished messing around, I acquired a lot of stickers. Elder Christensen just thought that was hilarious, but he was kind enough to help me pull out the majority of them.

We had Thanksgiving dinner with a family quite a distance from Great Bend. All the way in St. John. It was quite a feast, there was a ton of food and we were even sent with leftovers! Turkey! Turkey sandwiches! Turkey soup! Is it time to start quoting Christmas Story yet?

I hope all of you had a most wonderful Thanksgiving and made time to ponder of the many things we have to be grateful for, particularly a belly full of food. I love America! Thank you all for your concern for my well-being, the prayers for those whom Elder Christensen and I teach, and all the emails! I am so lucky, and so grateful to have such great people behind me in this sacred endeavor.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Major Award

Man! Saying goodbye to Wichita was tough. But my last day was grand. Elder Wood and I won a major award! We had the cleanest apartment! When it was announced at Zone Conference, everyone was surprised Elders even made it in the top three let alone the winners of the contest. The prize was the housing coordinators cleaning our place one p-day and taking us out to lunch.

I found this poem in my studies and I thought, "Well, revelation doesn't get any clearer than that."

“Father, where shall I work today?”

And my love flowed warm and free.

Then He pointed out a tiny spot

And said, “Tend that for me.”

I answered quickly, “Oh no; not that!

Why, no one would ever see,

No matter how well my work was done;

Not that little place for me.”

And the word He spoke, it was not stern;

He answered me tenderly:

“Ah, little one, search that heart of thine.

Art thou working for them or for me?

Nazareth was a little place,

And so was Galilee.”

-- Meade McGuire

I do love Great Bend. My companion is Elder Christiansen and I am serving with another companionship of elders in this area. They are Spanish-speaking, so that's interesting. Elder Christensen is just out of training so it's my job to "Greenie-Break" him. He's a really good guy, except he likes the Broncos... We still manage to be friends.

The other elders are Elder Winegar and Elder Leishman. Elder Winegar has been out for about ten months and is from Sandy. He has this innate talent of sounding exactly like David Spade, but Elder Winegar doesn't hear it. I think he sounds exactly like Richard from Tommy Boy. Elder Leishman is from Logan! He's been out for his two years, nearly.

We've been knocking on a lot of doors because we do not have a lot of progressing investigators. One such door we knocked in the dark and the cold had a sign upon it that read, "Due to the high price of ammunition, we will no longer be firing a warning shot!"

Elder Christensen tentatively read the sign aloud. I felt a mischievous grin on my face and reached over him to knock on the door, and I did so nice and loud. Elder Christensen did not appreciate my humor at that moment. A man answered the door hurriedly, said, "Get the outta here!" to shut the door in our faces.

The ward here is tiny. I know I said that about Hays, but this time I'm not messing around. We don't even have pews! And the back of the chapel is a half-court. This elder from northern Utah has never seen anything like that before.

The apartment isn't too bad. I've done a lot of cleaning. The shower was particularly unsettling, but I attacked it with vinegar, scrubbing bubbles, and elbow grease. We have a spare room and a powered room adjoining the spare room. That's all Elder Christensen's space. He can clean his own bathroom!

Monday, November 14, 2016

One-hundred-fifteen days later...

"Everything is almost always usually okay."

I was faced with grief on Tuesday. You see, on July 31 Elder Andrasko and I had an amazing lesson with a Martha Prentice. Here's a segment from my journal from that date: 

"She's a 71+ year-old woman living in a health clinic. She has a neat roommate named Maryanne too. We awoke Martha. She said things like, 'I need more religion in my life. You boys will come back, right? Thank you for coming. Come back any time you like. I wish I had something to give you.' It was very difficult to understand her. The Spirit helped incredibly... I want to see her again soon. I feel so much sympathy and love for her..." 

One-hundred-fifteen days later on November 12, I finally returned to the rehabilitation center on Seville Street. Elder Wood and I signed in and started to her room. I had been there before and I was very excited to see Martha again, a promised return. I walked straight to room 108 with Elder Wood close behind. I arrived at the room and found a woman I did not recognize. I abruptly turned to the sign-in office and prayed and prayed I simply had the wrong room. I reached the nurse and asked for assistance. The nurse then kindly informed me of Martha Prentice's recent death. I was heartbroken. I still had the sense to ask for Martha's roommate for many years, Maryanne. The nurse led us to her room, but Maryanne was asleep. Elder Wood knows where she is, so I Maryanne will be well taken care of. 

I feel terrible I didn't return to Martha in time to see her again alive. But I can rest well knowing I kept my promise. I did return. It is my hope Maryanne will have the opportunity to accept the gospel of Jesus Christ with Martha helping her from the other side. Elder Wood will have to keep me in the loop. 

We have an investigator named Emma. She is a very stubborn lady who will not attend church for the life of her. We've been trying to soften her heart for weeks. It helps I absolutely love meeting with her. Emma is very intelligent. She is a professional therapist and we share a lot of interests. Emma taught me a valuable lesson, and that is this: everything is almost always usually okay. She admits it is nonsense she tells her young clients to make them smile after some rough sessions. There is a silver lining in everything. 

Elder Wood and I went on exchanges with the zone leaders, Elder Clifford and Elder Waldron. Fun fact: Elder Waldron was trained by Elder Hilborn also many transfers before my arrival in Kansas! Elder Clifford and I were privileged to meet some very neat people. The most significant of them being Raul and Ethan. 

Raul has worked with the missionaries for weeks. He's had a rough go in life because he is a few shadows older than me and has a three-year-old daughter. He went to court the very day we met with him and has been doing everything he can to stay out of jail to take care of his daughter. Since his arrest, he's wanted to make a change. The missionaries met with him soon after and committed him to be baptized a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Elder Clifford and I had a great lesson with him. Both of us were inspired and impressed to promise Raul if he committed himself to following the example of Jesus Christ, court would go his way. He would not dread his court dates. it was a powerful promise the both of us were nervous to make. However, there is no denying the power of the Spirit when it comes to the heart with that magnitude. A powerful experience. 

Meeting Ethan was really fun. We approached a young family cleaning their garage and offered to help. Unfortunately we arrived too late and they were nearly finished. We offered the parents a copy of the Book of Mormon. Their son Ethan surfaced and inquired further about the Book of Mormon. We explained all we could in the five minutes before the family had to leave. Ethan would say as we read to him from Moroni, "It makes so much more sense than the Bible! Can I have my own?" His father wouldn't allow Ethan his own copy, but we committed the whole family to read those holy scriptures every night as a family to build their testimonies in Christ. Hopefully very soon we can commit them to continue in furthering their quest to learn and practice the very true gospel of Jesus Christ. 

During the exchange, I noticed Elder Waldron's rice-patty hat. I gently removed it from the rack and gestured for Elder Wood to take it with pleading eyes. Nothing needed to be said. Elder Wood jubilantly donned the hat and ensured we had adequate stereotypical facial hair for him. I snapped this picture as all of us laughed. 

Elder Wood

Here is big news! I'm getting transferred to Great Bend!! Salina Episode 2! 


Elder Wood (son), Elder LaMont (father), and Elder Hilborn (grandfather)

Grandfather, Father and Son

Monday, November 7, 2016

The leaves continue to fall in Wi-Chee-Tuh...

'Tis the season of melting Jack-O-Lantern's, trashed Halloween decorations, and November hangovers for the populace of whom have lower standards. America is looking to a day of giving thanks, then tearing each other apart for retail deals that have plans delving well into the Christmas holiday! 

The leaves continue to fall in Wi-Chee-Tuh Kansas, and my time in Rolling Hills may soon be coming to a close. Elder Wood has finished his training material and received his driving privileges. In doing so, the pupil has surpassed the master. He's a far better missionary than I could ever hope to become. My young padawan is strong in the power of the priesthood. But he sure needs to work on his driving! The record shows we've nearly been in one accident and mounted one curb with him behind the wheel. He's just been anxious to drive again. I'll know if I'm leaving Wichita one week from now, the fourteenth of November. 

During zone conference, I ran into a familiar face! Sister Christiansen! Here she is with Elder Wood and I: 

I served with her in Hays while I was training. She is now a sister training leader in the Derby zone. Sister Christiansen is so much fun. 

We had a baptism on Saturday for Amara Reyes! Amara is nine years old. She is the daughter of Lashauna Griffin, a less-active member of the ward. Amara has been looking forward to being baptized for years and years and asked I baptize her. The baptismal service was spectacular! Amara's big sister brought a baby doll that screams for food and a diaper change as assignment from a Home Economics high school class. It works with a series of magnets to indicate to the demonic machine it is being "taken care of". The baby screamed nearly through the entire first half of the service.

I am loving this work so much. So grateful am I to be a missionary in this fantastic mission. My thanks extends to each and every one of you for your undying support and myriad of utterances in the behalf of me, Elder Wood, and wonderful people of Kansas. Much love to you! Thank you!