A New Padawan
Elder Tippetts said the ultimate goodbye to the Bel Aire and the mission. His work and faith touched very man hearts in this area. I'm sad to see him leave, but happy he is able to honorably return home to family and friends.
Thank you Tippetts family for sharing your son with Kansas! I am honored to be his final companion!
House of Cards by Tippetts
Transfers and the time for me to meet my companion came Wednesday. The name of my new associate is Elder Jaymz Bischoff. This is Elder Bischoff's first area, lucky duck. He is from Henderson, NV though he's lived a great deal other places including Alabama. Elder Bischoff is really intelligent, sarcastic, courageous, and outgoing. It was this very day I was fated to eat squid at a Korean restaurant, fun fact.
Introducing Elder Bischoff
The day after transfers was difficult. Elder Bischoff and I are at the home of the volunteer member to feed us and the sisters that evening. We wait for the sisters, and wait, and wait some more. Thirty minutes pass after the scheduled time to meet when we learn they were in a car wreck. Both Sister Thompson and Sister Setoki are alright. They could not stop the vehicle quickly enough to refrain from hitting the car in front of them at a red light. The sisters left the wreckage with scrapes and bruises.
This poor Elder Bischoff already is having what will be the craziest week of his mission when we are called upon, for the second day in a row, to dedicate a home. The first was a simple prayer to help an investigator family the sisters are teaching feel at home. The second however, was very interesting.
Elder Bischoff and I enter the home and meet a lovely young family with healthy Christian religious background. After preliminary pleasantries, the family tells of us of very odd things happening in the house: flickering lights, slamming doors, disembodied footsteps coming from the stairs, apparitions, and a haunting story of a neighbor committing suicide in a field adjacent to the house. We said a family prayer with them and left a Book of Mormon. That'll keep Casper's evil twin out. The realization that Elder Bischoff were living a realistic episode of Supernatural was priceless.
In our adventures of visiting Sister Lewis, we came across this lovely scene:
A hidden oasis
The Billy and Amie clan is faring very well. Of course, lingering financial and word of wisdom vices still exist that are problematic for the mandates of baptism but we have three or so lessons a week with them. The family has come to church every week since meeting with us and the ward is becoming very familiar with them. Such a blessing!
In the past two weeks we've had some interesting adventures with them like
spotting a menacing Racoon eating Figaro the cat's dry food on the porch,
building a fort with Vaida,
and adoring Cousin Theo's puppies (Three-toes and Capone).
Elder Bischoff seems to be having full of abnormal experiences. From day one he mentioned he had a distantly related aunt (Bischoff's mother's sister's sister-in-law) in Andover, KS by the name of Celeste Sant. We recently discovered Sister Sant is in our ward! Fancy that! The Sant's live in the sliver of Andover the ward includes. How funny he found her in his very first area. It paid off greatly, for they fed us two days in a row. No complaints!
Celeste & Jake Sant, Elder Bischoff
Brother Sant showed me his compound bow and recurve. In a moment of nostalgia, I requested a picture.
Keep dreaming, right Elder LaMont? Few more months of mission to go yet!
I had a blessing of a most unique opportunity to offer a service. Elder Bischoff and I are cleaning out our car at a gas station when approached by a very young child on a small bike not much older than eight with no parents in sight, "Do you have a dollar?" I nearly turn him away, but something inside me stirs. "What is it you need for a dollar?" I ask him. "Some shoes." is his shy response. I look at his feet and see shoes too big, torn and tattered. His eyes meet mine and the feeling inside becomes stronger. "Come on. Let's go get you some shoes." Elder Bischoff and I walk with this young boy to the Family Dollar next door. We reach the shoe aisle and I ask, "How much are the shoes you want?" He looks at me after checking the tag and tells me the amount. "Well how much do you have?" The boy looks down, crestfallen. "Zero dollars," he utters. The decision then was not difficult to make. I help him try the shoes until we find the right size, purchase the pair that fits, and place the shoes in his backpack to send him on his way. Either that was the greatest con in the world, or I felt scripture fulfilled in my heart, "When ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God." Like King Benjamin I tell you these things not to boast, but to bear personal testimony to you service brings happiness. Indeed we serve God when we help one another.
Elder Bischoff and I were presented with a chance to teach with our Stake President, President Daley. Tyler and Nicole Evertsen, interns at a goliath business in Wichita, arranged the meeting with investigator friends Joe and Andrea. The meeting began with ferocious ping pong. Joe and I came out on top against Elder Bischoff and Tyler. Dinner followed, then our discussion took place. Each and every one of us was awestruck by President Daley's teaching. I was so inspired and learned much.
Let me tell you a most miraculous story. One evening Elder Bischoff and I receive a call from an unknown number, "Elders, my nineteen-year-old son is interested in the missionary discussions." We make the necessary arrangements and soon we are in their home. The man we spoke with on the phone is David Englebright. His son's name is Ian. Ian told us a story of his baptist mother dying almost a year ago. Before her passing he attended the baptist church, but without her Ian began to explore. He joined a Christian fraternity and swore himself against harmful substances and vowed abstinence until marriage. Ian's father patiently waited for the time to be right in order to show him the gospel of Jesus Christ. The message of the restoration was very well received by Ian's heart. The Spirit was so strong with him. We challenged him to pray and read the Book of Mormon, to ask if it is true.
Two days later it is fast and testimony meeting. Ian comes with his father and finds his way to a pulpit. He tells of an experience he has the night before in the car with his father, reading a restoration pamphlet given to him by missionaries. In a discussion of the Book of Mormon, Ian's father pulls over to show Ian Moroni 10:3-4. Ian explains the feelings as a 'tsunami wave' of love, peace, and joy like he never before felt. At the conclusion of his testimony, Ian announces he desires to soon become a member of this church as he knows with all his heart it is true. "It was right here in front of me all this time," Ian says, looking at his father's eyes. That night Elder Bischoff and I return to their home at the scheduled time and challenge Ian to be baptized on the 26th of August. Ian responds with an emphatic, "Yes!"
I'll never forget the beginnings of Ian's conversion. These things are very sacred to my heart. I'm so grateful to be in Kansas to share this gospel especially as it is so well received. Please keep Ian Englebright in your prayers!
Love to you all from Wi-Chee-Tuh!