Monday, July 10, 2017

Happy Fourth of July

Hope everyone had a great Fourth of July! We sure did. As soon as dusk reached the city, the entire city erupted with all kinds of fireworks. Elder Tippetts and I didn't even need to buy fireworks to be entertained. Every driveway sparked and glowed, the sky was a din of chaos.

In contrast to the excitetement of the Fourth, it's been much less of an exciting week because much of it consisted of moving our apartment. We have remained in the same apartment complex, but Elder Tippetts and I are dismayed to have a smaller apartment without a washer, dryer, and a friendly neighbor to offer us wifi. Apartment inspections were the day before the move which made it all the more difficult to want to leave. Finally had the place clean! Oh well.

Elder Tippetts and I learned from neighborly gossip the commotion from last week that brought an officer to our apartment door was a fight! Fireworks went off at a most convenient time from elsewhere to provide the illusion of gunshots while a woman attacked a man. She scratched him up like the enfuriated Catzilla from Mouse Hunt as the yelling and screaming ensued. That's when the same woman started whaling on the man's vehicle and our neighbors upstairs yelled, "What's going on? Oh, call the police!" (Might have cleaned the dialogue on that one). It was about this time I was taking cover in my room from what I thought to be gunfire, but it was simply the typical domestic violence among Kansan neighbors. Never a dull moment.

Sunday, I had the greatest opportunity to interview Ramona Jarvis for baptism. Ramona is the nonmember paternal mother of an active family the Bel Aire Sisters have been teaching for about four weeks by the name of Cashman. Ramona has incredible support from her active family, so she understands the gospel very well. She is to be baptized this weekend. Because of certain medical conditions, Ramona will be baptized in a pool in the backyard of the Cashman's home. 

Kay Fralin is progressing incredibly! She is still committed to remove coffee from her life, though relapse is a part of recovery. Elder Tippetts and I are working really hard with her. Kay loves to have us in her home to read from the Book of Mormon and discuss the principles she is learning. Most recently, we've been reading about Nephi and his brothers obtaining the plates and an angel appearing to Nephi's wicked brothers. We've discussed how the Lord will always provide us a way to be obedient to His commands as well as how easy it is to reject the word of God if we lack faith. Though Kay was out of town for the weekend, she is committed to be present for church with us once again qualifying her for baptism in the way of church attendance. We are so excited! The prayers for her from home are working wonders and miracles! Thank you!

Elder Tippetts and I taught a most receptive family this week. As a missionary, you know you've come across those the Lord wants you to find when plans are being made to live the word of wisdom upon the first contact of teaching the restoration! Preach My Gospel chapter ten teaches this: "You will help people most by teaching them the gospel of Jesus Christ." I couldn't agree more whole-heartedly. From the positive attitude of this family Elder Tippetts and I are teaching and pondering our lesson with them, I have felt a most reassuring confirmation the Gospel of Jesus Christ is the way to achieving what matters most. It is most indeed the way to true happiness. It is my hope and prayer, as we continue teaching the lessons to this wonderful family, the same confirmation will reach their hearts as well.

We were most blessed to have Brandon Williams attend church with us this week. Brandon has been to church before and enjoys reading the Book of Mormon with us though his family frowns heavily upon him being baptized. We pray as Brandon shows his dedication to the faith, his parents will soften their hearts and allow Brandon to do as he wishes.

I heard a most profound story told to me in Gospel Principles this past Sunday I'd like to share.

A wealthy and successful man esteemed by his nation had one night a dream he passed on to the next life. He, with a myriad of other souls, were guided by angels through the heavens. Along the journey, one by one, souls were appointed by the angels homes in which they would reside the rest of eternity. One woman, paralyzed from the neck to her feet in her mortal life, received a most beautiful mansion for her reward. Though she was afflicted with a sore trial, it was this woman's endeavor to help those around her be happy as she walked the Earth. The angels continued to designate the most beautiful residences and mansions to these post-mortal souls that the man had quite jubilent feelings as he imaginined what his reward would be. As time wore on the mansions became homes and the homes became shacks. Finally, the man's name was called and an angel designated him a small shack in a large field. This man contested the angel's judgement, "But why? Don't you see that I was a man of much wealth beloved by many people? I even donated great portions of my riches to charities! Why is it that I receive the lowliest of living conditions in heaven?" The angel responded with scripture, "Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward." To this, the man had nothing further to say and entered into his shack. Indeed he received his reward on Earth.

An object lesson. God is a 'Fourth Watch God', helping us the way a personal trainer helps us. He allows us to grow and to stretch until we can bear no more, then immediately stretches forth His hand as Christ had done to his drowning apostle, Peter.

My companion thinks he is Thor, smashing a broken bicycle helmet.

I love each of you and thank you most profoundly with words I cannot find in my vocabulary for your undying support, love, and prayers. Elder Tippetts and I are still working hard and seeing many blessings and wonders that are rained upon our heads from the many prayers in our behalf and in behalf of those we teach. Thank you.

Love from Wi-Chee-Tuh! Until next week!

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