The morning of preparation day last week was fantastic. Brother Slaven (slay - vehn) invited us to join him in his home to lift weights. If you have per chance seen the historical fiction TV series ‘Vikings’, then you may have an idea of how strong Brother Slaven is. As we are deadlifting, I come across a weight I have trouble raising level even with my knees. I take a quick breather and challenge my undertaking once again. With some trouble, I manage to completely lift the bar. Brother Slaven taught me a lesson. He says, “I’ve seen it only three times in the gym someone lift something they couldn’t lift the first time.” This may adequately indicate I simply made a conscious decision to stop being a pansy, but I also learned the power of faith and persistence. Psychologically, it’s not difficult to allow ourselves to become discouraged when the feat before us seems insurmountable after a first endeavor. At the times we see a similar moment in our lives, we can choose to realign our heart and minds. We can allow ourselves to be strengthened through an omnipotent, loving Savior and Redeemer.
Interviews this week was comical. I am on deck, ready to be interviewed, chatting with Sister McCuistion. In looking for a bin to throw away my fruit gusher wrapper, I manage to clumsily disarray the custodial closet. A row of ruckus later the custodial closet is cleaned up, albeit a tad reorganized, and a trash can was procured. In an instant later I am ushered into a room with President McCuistion. After some conversation of the required reading he asks me, “Anything else you want to talk to me about Elder LaMont?” I hesitate but gradually bring myself to ask a question I introduce with a sheepish smile, “Soooo I was reading in Abraham-“ “Of course you have!” President laughs. He knows I love to ask deep questions at the conclusion of our time together in interviews.
Had lots of fun on exchanges with Elder “Fluke” Fluckiger! We visited an investigator with a snake and lots of guns, ate ribs, and saw the sights of Manhattan.
Elder Richins and I have a couple fun experiences teaching those with an atheistic belief. The first man is kind and simply says, “Give me your spiel.” Fancy this: the definition of spiel is, “A long or fast speech or story, typically one intended as a means of persuasion but regarded with skepticism or contempt by those who hear it” (Apple Dictionary). I cannot find a more accurate manner to describe the scene! Though this man displayed skepticism rather than contempt, it’s unlikely he will make any progress.
It’s nearly the end of the week as we find ourselves visiting Brother Howard. Because we express our interest in guns, he finds his AR upstairs. Brother Howard was kind enough to show us a thing or two about taking it apart and letting us take pictures.
This night, Ian Englebright came to visit myself and Elder Richins. We caught up and ate at the local Chinese buffet, Imperial Garden. Ian told me fantastic news: Vaida is going to be baptized in the coming weeks. She wants Elder Bischoff and I to be there. With Ian’s help, we may be able to attend the baptismal service. Ian had me cut his hair and he went home shortly after. It was great to see him again.
After church Elder Richins and I meet with a new investigator, Trey. His roommate tells my companion and I up front he is a strong Atheist though at one time he was Southern Baptist. In a polite way, we told him to sit down and join the lesson because he simply has nothing to lose. The Atheist challenges, “I could not follow God unless his existence was proven to me.” Unfortunately our testimonies of faith fall upon deaf ears. Laman and Lemuel saw an angel and chose to disobey. On the other hand Alma the Younger saw an angel, but “fasted and prayed many days that [he] might know these things of [him]self” (Alma 5:46). Alma continues, “Now I do know of myself that they are true; for the Lord God hath made hem manifest unto me by his Holy Spirit.” Without faith, seeing an angel alone will do nothing for you.
Perhaps the message we share will stir the unbelieving soul unto repentance. Elder Richins and I will be following up this upcoming week.
Much love to all of you from Oz. Thank you for your love, support, and prayers!