Monday, September 11, 2017

Love you Alekken!!! Give 'em Heaven

[Love you Alekken!!! Give 'em Heaven Elder LaMont!(;  ]


"Put some Windex on it"

-- My Big Fat Greek Wedding

In my past update I *believe* I neglected to mention transfer news. As unexciting as the news is, I will officially inform all of you Elder Bischoff and I will remain together another transfer to tie up his training. Interestingly enough, Elder Smack is now our district leader! Oh, yes! Fun times ahead!

Early in the past week while at an appointment with Billy and Amie, Elder Bischoff is giving a lesson and I am distracting Vaida. We are having some fun playing tag, but Vaida decides to cheat and hop on a bike. I follow suit and mount another child-size bicycle. As I ride to the end of the driveway, the wheeled contraption decides to jump me! I tumble to into the blacktop, landing in such a way to keep my clothing from being ruined. My hands are scraped and bleeding. "You're bleeding!" Vaida yells. Nah, Sherlock I just endo-ed into the hard floor at top speed without a scrape. The wounds are not even slightly alarming, but Vaida goes into nurse mode. She grabs me by the hand, takes me into the bathroom and proceeds to drench my hands in hydrogen peroxide before mummifying my hands in toilet paper. It was adorable! If only slightly painful...

Lots of funny things happen at Billy and Amie's. The last time we were there, Elder Bischoff challenges me, "Last in the car is a rotten egg!" I smirk, lock the doors, and mosey to the driver-side door all the while Elder Bischoff is manically trying to open a locked car door. Smiling as I manually unlock my door, I slip into the vehicle and proceed to drive away. Of course I had no intention to leave my companion, but Elder Bischoff never backs down. I hear a massive THUMP and there is an Elder Bischoff laying on the windshield of the car as it is in motion! The most fiendish idea creeps into my mind: I reach for the windshield wiper controls without a second thought and spray him with all that a Toyota Corolla can offer! Some indistinct yelling is heard as Elder Bischoff barrels off the hood with speed comparable to a torpedo and lies prostrate on the warm blacktop. Vaida yells, "Elder Bischoff! Are you okay? What's hurt?" to which Elder Bischoff hollers in reply, "Pride! Just my pride!" As Vaida approaches him, she wrinkles her nose and asks, "Why do you smell like windex?" I let my poor companion clamber into the car as I ask, laughing, "How soaked are you?" Elder Bischoff responds with, "Drenched! Just my whole shirt. You'll be lucky if there's any windshield wiper fluid left! You only left it on for about ten seconds!"

You'll be happy to hear this: Steven Alexander is progressing so well! Today marks day three of his 'fast' from smoking. Steven has selected a day at the end of this month to be baptized. Our plan is to have him battle away from the cigarettes so that he may be worthy and ready to enter into the healing waters of baptism on the thirtieth of September. Ian Englebright has been a massive help in the conversion of Steven as a formidable fellowship. Last week on the day, Elder Bischoff and I met Ian for the first time and he is already teaching with us! I couldn't be more happy.

John 11:35 is the shortest verse I've had the pleasure of reading and it is one of my absolute favorites. It reads, "Jesus wept." I declare with a doctrinally sound testimony the well-known phrase 'Grown men don't cry' is blasphemy. In all due seriousness, our Father in Heaven and our Savior Jesus Christ do feel sorrow. Like Enoch, it is easy to question: how God? How, when the particles of a million earths cannot begin to sum the number of worlds you have created, have you a broken heart from the wicked of this world? "How is it thou canst weep?" The Lord responds, "They are the workmanship of mine own hands ... I created them; and in the Garden of Eden, gave I unto man his agency;"

You and I have been created by an all-powerful and all-knowing supreme being who loves us very deeply. He rejoices when we are happy in valiantly living His commands, He weeps when we do wrong. When you are faced with a right-and-wrong decision this week, remember that.

I love you! I pray for you! I thank you!

Love from Wi-Chee-Tuh

Food bank antics


Fran├žois JR learns his apprentice

Ping pong - Elder LaMont VERSUS Gauge Conrady

Monday, September 4, 2017

The 'M' is capital!

Unfortunately, I have not much to share. Much of this week I've spent in a self induced coma of sleeping medicine because I had fallen ill. Not to worry! I am on the mend. Forgive the resulting short update and very few pictures.

It took me about 20-and-a-half months, but I finally collected some new name tags. These name tags are different though!

In the beginning of the week, Brother Andrew Ormond called upon us and the sister missionaries to attend an early morning seminary class to demonstrate a Book of Mormon placement to a friend at school. He received more than he asked for because the sisters were on exchanges with the Spanish sisters of Wichita. That means six missionaries filed into the primary room making the class substantially larger. Sister Casos shared an experience with the young seminary students: she was walking the dusty streets of western Kansas and came across a man working on his car. Like all missionaries, they stopped to speak with the man. At first, the man was very skeptical. The moment they took a copy of the Book of Mormon from their bag, the man's countenance changed dramatically. "Wait, I think I have one of those," he spoke softly "one moment." The man rushed inside and came straight out clutching a dusty Book of Mormon in his hands. "Do you belong to the church from which this book belongs?" the man asks. The sisters respond in affirmative. "This was given to me by a good friend seven years ago. She told me this book and the church it belongs to would change my life forever. I've not opened it yet." Several weeks later the man was baptized.

Wednesday evening we receive a call from Ian. It is then we learn he interviewed with Bishop Labrum. In this interview, he was found worthy to receive the Aaronic priesthood.

Steven Alexander is a young man taken in by Billy and Amie's family. When he began to listen to our discussions, Steven was interested only in secular knowledge. It wasn't long before Steven became interested in attending church with them. Once there, Steven felt the Spirit in his heart in a most familiar way. He became involved with singing in the choir and participating in class. Most recently he expressed a desire to be baptized. We've been working hard with Steven. We pray his vices will melt as he puts his faith in the Lord and is strengthened by the atonement of Christ

Saturday morning Elder Bischoff and I were able to travel to Benton to assist in an Eagle Project for Sterling Schurr. We took pictures of a great amount of headstones so they may be indexed. Unconventional missionary work for Elder Bischoff and I, but missionary work all the same.

It's finally here! We are getting Facebook! That will happen either today or tomorrow. If you receive a friend request from me, I didn't check out of Kansas early. I'm still in Wi-Chee-Tuh! This is a very exciting way to move the work forward. I'm still trying to figure out how it works.

Ian stood at the pulpit this fast and testimony meeting. He relayed the story of the woman healed by the touching of the Master's robes in the 5th chapter of Mark. Ian related this immediate miraculous healing to that of his own conversion. "Within one month," he said "I've come from an investigator to a member receiving a calling and holding the priesthood." Such joy filled my heart as the congregation hummed an 'Amen' as Ian closed his testimony in the name of Christ.

This week I was inspired by what I had learned in the 84th section of the Doctrine and Covenants, verse 106: "And if any man among you be strong in the Spirit, let him take with him him that is weak, that he may be edified in all meekness, that he may become strong also." We learn the same in Ecclesiastes 4:9-10: "Two are better than one... For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up."


Love you all!

The Boy Warrior, a Saved Soul, and the Oak Tree

Announcing the new and improved Elder LaMont!

The man, the myth, the legend: Elder Alekken LaMont holding our mission plaques

(Photo credit to Dad)

Yesterday, one of my greatest friends and best brother gave his farewell address in sacrament meeting to mark his second-to-last Sunday in the United States before his ministerial journey in the islands of Vanuatu. How proud I am of him!! Way to go Alekken. I'm sorry to have missed your talk, but I was there in spirit. Vanuatu is so blessed to have recruited such a spiritual giant.

Little wonder civilizations of early times spoke of our fates woven together in a giant fabric. Elder Smack and I became temporary companions again on an exchange! It was a blast. How neat it is to see how different Elder Smack has become since he was one of my two companions in the MTC. Upon a visit for a certain investigator named Leeanne, we taught the restoration while working on a Disney puzzle. I had to take a selfie for good measure to mark this unique circumstance.

                                 Myself, Leeanne Cosentino, the one and only Elder Smack

Elder Bischoff and I visited Ian a lot this week. We've had a blast. He's allowed us to do our laundry over there. Thank heaven because I'm sick of going to the laundromat. "It reminds me of Santa's workshop only it smells like mushrooms and everyone looks like they want to hurt me." Ian has instilled within us a great love for Sonic's fast food.

As you can see.

50 cent corn dogs at Sonic? Yes, please!

It's no Vanuatu, but Kansas can be pretty sometimes.

Ian Englebright was baptized this weekend, Saturday August 26th. From the water emerged a new creature in Christ: a forgiven disciple of our Savior. It was such an enchanting experience. Every one of us have been so amazed by the example of our dear brother Ian and the story of his conversion. Some converts simply catch fire.

"For there are many yet on the earth who are only kept from the truth because they know not where to find it--"

The following day I was privileged to stand in the circle joining Ian's father, who has patiently waited for this moment for many years, in confirming Ian a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the quorum of the twelve apostles visited the Kansas Wichita Mission the very same Saturday of Ian's baptism. What an opportunity to look in the eyes of an apostle of the Lord! What an honor to simply shake his hand! There was something so special about the confirmation Elder Oaks, a member of the quorum of the twelve, is human just like me. Elder Oaks is an exceptional speaker, and has quite the sense of humor. The Spirit which accompanies him is amazing. I am so grateful for this rare opportunity.

After the mission conference, according to President McCuistion, Elder Oaks said this to Elder Nattress, Elder Rawson, and President and Sister McCuistion, "I rarely say this when I visit missionaries, and I visit a lot of missionaries, but your mission was very well prepared. They all just looked really great and I can tell a lot about a missionary from the way he or she looks and when I look into their eyes. And your missionaries are some of the best that I have met." President also claims Elder Oaks said on several occasions, speaking of the message he delivered, “I do not know why I said that. I’ve never said that before, but I know it was by the Spirit.”

Quite the compliment! Though I'm sure he says that to all the mission presidents he has the pleasure of meeting.

The mission with Elder Oaks

There's Elder Oaks... and there is me!

I can't express the enormity of the feelings I have for this gospel with my words. I know this church is true. It is the very church of Jesus Christ. I know the priesthood power is held by worthy men called of a Heavenly Father who loves me, you, and every one of our brothers and sisters very much.

Friends and family, I love you. I pray for you. I thank you.

Love from Wi-Chee-Tuh