Monday, July 24, 2017

Training Take: 2

Training Take: 2

Elder Tippetts is going home. I will be training a new missionary whose name I have yet to learn in this same area. I'll be sure to announce the new guy next week. I'm afraid other than this announcement, a report of this week is a little dull. You will not be reading long.

The heat in Kansas is something else! It seems to never be cooler than triple digits until the late evening.

The last district meeting of the transfer was on Tuesday. Between cookies and silly stories we learned together about revelation through prayer.

Sister Curran vividly telling the story of her car accident with the chalkboard

District photo (from left to right): Sister Thompson, Sister Petersen, Sister Curran, Elder LaMont, Elder Tippetts, Sister Garner

District photo 2 (from left to right): Sister Thompson, Sister Petersen, Sister Curran, Sister Garner, Elder LaMont, Elder Tippetts

Amie is trucking along in the Book of Mormon! Already she is reading about King Benjamin in the book of Mosiah. How astonishing her progress! Amie has committed also to lead her family in a family scripture study.

Elder Tippetts and I spent some more time this week helping our widowed recent convert, Helen Wallace. She feels better when her yard is well manicured. Of course, we can help her accomplish five times that what she would achieve on her own. I manned the weed hacker ("The weed hacker, Verne!!") and Elder Tippetts clipped the grass with a lawn mower. In just a few moments, the yard looked great and Helen was so happy. There is such a wonderful blessing in service, a feeling that is indescribably joyous.

Speaking of widows, I met a new one this week by the name of Sister Lewis. Sister Lewis was very happy to see us. So happy, in fact, we had a surprise lunch delivered to her home from a local deli and donuts afterward at a location hysterically named 'Hurts Donut'. We had to walk to the donut bakery and Sister Lewis is confined to a wheelchair. Of course, Elder Tippetts and I pushed her chair along. While Elder Tippetts was holding the reigns, so to speak, at the top of a small hill, Sister Lewis says to him, "Let go, I want to go down this hill alone!" Elder Tippetts replied by letting his hands off the wheelchair as I gave him a look that silently screamed, "Are you mad!?" Not half a moment after that exchange, Sister Lewis was barreling down the hill. "WHHHEEEEEEE!" she shouted. I thought to myself, 'Certainly a lot of trouble is about to commence. We are soon to be on the phone with the bishop and mission president explaining why a good widow of the ward was hospitalized in a full-body cast while in our care.' We chased the runaway wheelchair. At the bottom of the hill, Sister Lewis was smiling. "I do it all the time," she said, "once a man tried to catch me and I fell out!" Elder Tippetts and I shared most bewildered looks and went on our way, pushing Sister Lewis.

Elder Tippetts and I are very happy to report Kay and the wonderful family we are teaching were able to attend sacrament meeting this week. The ward is helping so wonderfully. It. Is such a blessing.

A funny moment of dialogue while in the apartment, studying:

[Looking outside the apartment window] Elder Tippetts: Oh, look! There's a puppy.

[seeing the dog crouch to relieve itself] Oooh, my bad, I'll give you some privacy.


Elder Tippetts: Dang it, he left! It was a hit and run! Right in front of our window! He just stopped, dropped, did his thing and then he was gone! Must have been in a hurry. Took like ten seconds.

[With Vinny accent from Atlantis] LaMont: "Eleven, tops!"

My mind has been full of thought concerning grateful expressions of both Adam and Eve as recorded in the book of Moses: "Adam blessed God, saying: Blessed be the name of God, for because of my transgression my eyes are opened, and in this life I shall have joy, and again in the flesh I shall see God. And Eve was glad, saying: Were it not for our transgression we never should have had seed, and never should have known good and evil, and the joy of our redemption, and the eternal life which God giveth unto all the obedient."

Elder Dallin H. Oaks taught:

“Some Christians condemn Eve for her act, concluding that she and her daughters are somehow flawed by it. Not the Latter-day Saints! Informed by revelation, we celebrate Eve’s act and honor her wisdom and courage in the great episode, called the Fall. … Brigham Young declared, ‘We should never blame Mother Eve, not the least’ (in Journal of Discourses, 13:145). Elder Joseph Fielding Smith said: ‘I never speak of the part Eve took in this fall as a sin, nor do I accuse Adam of a sin. … This was a transgression of the law, but not a sin … for it was something that Adam and Eve had to do!’[Doctrines of Salvation, 1:114–15]” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1993, 98; or Ensign, Nov. 1993, 73).

I corroborate this truth with my testimony. I am eternally grateful for our first parents. I am happy with the blessing of agency and a knowledge of good and evil. All of us make mistakes, Heaven knows my list of them is quite long. However, the plan from the beginning included the blessing of a Savior to atone for our sins and misdeeds that we can return to live with God again!

I'm grateful for the words of Elder Oaks and for this knowledge I have that I have learned for myself. I thank those of you in my life that have taught me well by word or deed, instruction or example.

I thank you and I love you!

Elder Tippett's equipment for baseball with little Vaida. "You just took a picture, didn't you?"

Yeah, I'm not going to put this on my head.

Zone conference last week

Sister Curran playing with a camera at a dinner with the Flickinger's

Monday, July 17, 2017

Outta Hand Outta Mouth

This week has been an adventure; from completing the task of moving apartments to English lessons with the refugee family in the ward.

A beautiful shot of the apartment exterior from the courtyard

Elder Tippetts and I are excited to report the "most receptive family" from last week is progressing as well as could be. The name of this family is McDonald-Saunstaire (sauna - stair). Billy is the father, Amie is the mother. They have three children: Anna (15), Lily (13), and Vaida (10). They also have a dog named Roxie! Tuesday Elder Tippetts and I taught the Plan of Salvation as we had covered the Restoration last week. Amie was so excited to share she read the Book of Mormon and felt it was true! Throughout the lesson, Lily was glued to the Plan of Salvation pamphlet, Anna remarked how it felt her heart was getting a hug, and Vaida offered insight to be a part of the conversation. A tour of the church was set in order for Thursday.

On Wednesday Elder Tippetts and I carefully planned for the church tour in the afternoon. Come evening, the Cox family invited us to dinner and allowed Kay Fralin to join us. Sister Cox made the very best imitation Cafe Rio sweet pork I have ever tasted. It was so good, I wanted to cry. When dinner was finished, we began a lesson about Joseph Smith being called of God to be a prophet and restore Jesus Christ's church to the Earth. As it turns out, a forefather of Brother Cox was very close with Joseph Smith, and journaled about Joseph's character. The same great grandfather also recorded his own great lamentation following Joseph Smith's martyrdom at Carthage Jail.

Thursday brought the time for zone conference once again. The most powerful message to my heart was a story from Elder Jeffrey R. Holland addressed to new mission presidents and their wives. I will include it at the conclusion of this message in addition to my observations and thoughts. Elder Holland shared too a perspective on the Prophet Moses in chapter thirty-three of Exodus.

"The Lord said unto Moses, Depart, and go up hence, thou and the people which thou hast brought up out of the land of Egypt, unto the land ... flowing with milk and honey: for I will not go up in the midst of thee; for thou art a stiffnecked people: lest I consume thee in the way."  [v. 1,3]

"That can't have been a message received enthusiastically," remarked Elder Holland.

Verses twelve and thirteen tell of Moses' pleading to the Lord to lead His people. The Lord's response is this, verse fourteen: "And he said, My presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest."

Elder Holland continues, "Moses then said, 'Good! Because if you won't be leading us, I don't want to go!'" and jests, "Actually, he said, 'If thy presence go not with me, carry us not up hence,' but I prefer the looser Elder Holland translation."

Elder Holland concludes with the story highlighting the importance of the divine companionship of the Holy Ghost he parallels to Exodus 33. You won't regret reading it, that's a promise.

After zone conference finally came, the opportunity to tour the church with Billy, Amie, and Vaida arrived! We showed them to the chapel and the classrooms explaining what they will be doing for three hours on a Sunday. All of them were so happy and excited!

The baptism of Ramona Jarvis, a day anticipated by so many, arrived. Brother Cashman, Ramona's son, has been waiting for her to make this decision for thirty long year! Brother Cashman performed the ordinance. It was such a happy thing to see and certainly such a privilege to be there.

The following day Ramona was confirmed. Elder Tippetts and I were invited to stand in the circle and what an honor that was to be so close to the powers of Heaven reaching to Ramona allowing her the constant divine companionship of the Holy Ghost, the third member of the Godhead. Billy, Amie, Anna, and Vaida were there to see it! As well, Elder Tippetts and I were surprised to see Brother Crockett again provided Brandon Williams a ride to church again. Happy day!

Sunday brought the unique experience of dinner with the Evan's family. After a wonderful meal of Enchiladas a watermelon-eating contest ensued between Elder Tippetts and one of their adorable young daughters.

Check out link below for the video!

Elder Tippetts and I are having a great time. After all Elder Tippetts has until the 27th of this month and he is going home! We are living it up!

A message I received last night from Elder Tippetts. He claims it reads, 'Help'. It is strikingly similar to the scene of a shipwrecked distraught lion on the coast of Madagascar seeking rescue in vain. Name that movie anyone?

I sure love all of you. Thank you a million times for prayers, love, and support. Miracles are happening in Wi-Chee-Tuh!


"Elder  Holland  closed  by  relating  a  story—being  careful  to  protect  the  privacy  and anonymity  of  the  participants—of  a  young  man  from  southern  Idaho.  One  night  the young  man  stormed  out  of  the  house  and  set  off  to  join  an  infamous  motorcycle gang.  He  succeeded  in  that  resolve  and  for  20  years  became  immersed  in  a  culture “of  temptations  yielded  to  and  degradations  explored,”  never  contacting  his parents,  who  feared  that  he  was  dead. Eventually  ending  up  in  Southern  California,  he  one  day  was  sitting  on  the  porch  of a  rented  home  when  he  saw  two  LDS  missionaries  making  their  way  up  the  street. “With  a  rush  of  memory  and  guilt,  regret,  and  rage,  he  despised  the  very  sight  of them,”  Elder  Holland  recounted.  “But he was  safe,  because he kept all  visitors  at bay by  employing  two  Doberman  pinschers,  who  viciously  charged  the  gate  every moment  that  anyone  came  near.” The  dogs  startled  the  missionaries  as  they  passed  by  and  continued  on,  “our  man on  the  porch  laughing  at  the  lovely  little  drama  he  had  just  witnessed,  wishing  only that  the  gate  hadn’t  restrained  his  two  dogs.” Then,  the  two  elders  stopped,  looked  at  each  other,  conversed  a  little,  “likely  said  a silent  prayer,”  then  turned  around  and  approached  the  gate. “The  Dobermans  on  cue  charged  the  gate  again,  hit  it,  snarling,  frothing,  and  then stopped  in  their  tracks,”  Elder  Holland  said.  “They  looked  at  the  missionaries, dropped  their  heads,  ambled  back  to  the  front  steps,  and  lay  down.” The  man  on  the  porch  was  speechless  as  the  missionaries  opened  the  gate,  walked up  the  path,  and  greeted  him. “One  of  the  elders  said,  ‘Are  you  from  this  part  of  California?’ “The  man  said,  ‘No.  If  you  want  to  know,  I’m  from  Pocatello,  Idaho.’ “There  was  a  pause.  ‘That’s  interesting,’  the  elder  said.  ‘Do  you  know  the  [such-andsuch]  family  in  Pocatello?’ “With  a  stunned  look,  our  biker  paused  and  then,  in  very  measured  words  said, ‘Yeah,  I  know  them.  They  are  my  parents.’ “‘Well,  they’re  my  parents  too,’  the  missionary  said.  ‘God  has  sent  me  to  invite  you to  come  home.’” The  younger  brother  had  been  born  after  the  older  boy  had  left  home.  The  elder brother  did  not  even  know  of  him. “Mom  and  Dad  have  been  praying  for  you  every  morning  and  night  for  20  years,” the  younger  brother  said.  “They  were  not  sure  you  were  alive,  but  they  knew  if  you were,  that  someday  you  would  come  back  to  us.” The  wayward  son  invited  the  two  in,  and  they  talked  for  the  rest  of  the  day  and some  of  the  night.  He  did  return  home,  returned  to  Church  activity,  and,  in  March 2015,  was  married  and  sealed  in  the  Boise  Idaho  Temple. Elder  Holland  said  the  young  elder,  without  realizing  it,  gave  the  missionary  speech of  all  time,  when  he  said  to  his  brother,  “God  has  sent  me  here  to  invite  you  to come  home.” “We  are  sent  by  God  to  invite  His  children  home,”  Elder  Holland  concluded.  “We  do that  through  the  Holy  Ghost,  the  Comforter,  the  Spirit  of  Truth,  on  the  strength  of the  Atonement  of  Jesus  Christ.  Welcome  to  the  divine  companionship" (Lloyd).

Elder Holland also remarked, concerning the nature of the love the spouse has for this man, "she loves him not for who he was, but who he is."

Elder Holland teaches, "This  is  a  story  of  the  role  of Almighty  God,  the  Savior  of  the  World,  and  the  Holy  Ghost  involved  in  the  work  of the  ministry  to  which  we’ve  been  called. “The  Holy  Ghost  prompted  those  parents  to  keep  praying,  to  keep  believing,  to  keep trusting.    The  Holy  Ghost  inspired  that  rebellious  boy  to  come  to  himself  like  the prodigal  he  was  and  to  head  for  California.    The  Holy  Ghost  influenced  that younger  son  to  serve  a  mission  and  be  willing  to  accept  a  call  to  Southern California.    The  Holy  Ghost  inspired  one  of  my  brethren  in  the  Twelve,  who  was  on the  assignment  desk  that  Friday,  to  trust  his  impression  and  assign  that  young  man for  service  not  a  great  distance  from  his  native-born  state.  The  Holy  Ghost  inspired that  mission  president  to  assign  that  young  missionary  to  that  district  and  that member  unit.  The  Holy  Ghost  led  those  missionaries  to  that  street,  that  day,  that hour,  with  big  brother  sitting  on  the  porch  waiting,  and,  with  Doberman  pinschers notwithstanding,  the  Holy  Ghost  prompted  those  two  elders  to  stop,  talk,  and  in spite  of  their  fear,  to  go  back  and  present  their  message.  … “And  through  the  elders,  the  Holy  Ghost  taught  repentance  and  brought  true conversion  to  one  coming  back  into  the  fold.”

Amazing, I say. Don't tell me there is no God and this work isn't inspired.

Fun fact: the motorcycle gang referenced in this article was declared by Elder Holland to be the Hell's Angels.

Lloyd, R. Scott - Church News staff writer; Elder Holland Shares Account of “Missionary Speech of All Time” with New Mission Presidents; 30 June 2017;