Saturday, March 31, 2012

Bible Videos: "Jesus Tried by Caiaphas, Peter Denies Knowing Christ"

 57 And they that had laid hold on Jesus led him away to Caiaphas the high priest, where the scribes and the elders were assembled.

"If These Walls Could Talk: A History of Moore's Old School"

Elliot very much enjoyed the time he spent in Moore, Oklahoma. He was there for about four months, paired first with Elder Soto and then with Elder Karl, and in a ward with some great people, including the mission president, my friend John Sorensen, the Lusk family, and many others. As parents, it's comforting to know your missionary son is in good hands while he is gone for two years. And I now have a soft spot in my heart for Moore.

The other day I ran across an article in NewsOK about Moore's Old School and a documentary that has been produced to tell its story. It's such a classic tale of small-town middle America, set in Oklahoma against the backdrop of the Depression, WWII, and the '50s. The two-story school that still stands today was constructed in 1928, following a fire that mostly destroyed the prior building. For many years, the school was home to children from first grade through high school. In 1958 it became an elementary school, and was finally closed as a school in 1980.

The stories recounted in the article are terrific. My favorite:
Wes Rigsby, 74, remembers that second floor well. One Halloween, a milk cow was loosed upstairs. 
“A dairy cow will go upstairs, but it won't come down,” Rigsby said. “They're nosy, and they'll slobber on everything.” 
Rigsby claimed to know many details of the incident but denied involvement: “I don't know the statute of limitations on something like that,” he said. “But the next year, the janitor was waiting outside the door with an unloaded shotgun. ... He wasn't going to let it happen again.”
Mr. Rigsby later explained:
“I've gone to college and vo-tech, I've even been a teacher, but as far as I'm concerned, it was the very best school,” Rigsby said. “A lot of the things we learned weren't in books, things like being honest with our fellow men.”
The Old School is now the Old School Business Center & Auditorium, home to various businesses and an event center. The center's website includes some really fun historical information, including Old School yearbook photos from 1941-1960, photos of recent events at the center, and a collection of photographs and articles of the history of the school and the business center.

And now there is a documentary of the Old School, produced by Trifecta Communications, a current tenant of the center. The trailer for the documentary is below. I'm trying to find a way to purchase the DVD online and will provide an update when I do. But I know you can pick up the DVD at the Moore City Hall and at the Moore Chamber of Commerce. Enjoy the trailer.

Update (4/3/12): Bathroom Bandits Hit Old School Building. Thieves made off with two very unusual items from the Old School Business Center and the owners are hoping you can help get them back.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Oklahoma State Fair celebrates "Something-on-a-Stick" day

Today is one of the greatest holidays of all. No, it's not Christmas, Thanksgiving, Elliot's birthday, or even National Plum Pudding Day. It's Something-on-a-Stick day! And it is being duly celebrated at the Oklahoma State Fair.

In its blog story, "Ode to the Stick," the Oklahoma State Fair explains:
It is a commonly known fact that food tastes better when it is served on a stick (deep-frying it and dipping it in chocolate doesn’t hurt either). Serious eats like steak, pork chops, and chicken get to become fun and portable when served on a stick. Skewered food is easier to dip into sauces, dips, and marinades. And, well, food on a stick just makes people happy. Come on, can you keep a straight face when you are eating a Giant Foot Long Chocolate-Covered Rice Krispies Treat On-A-Stick? We didn’t think so.  
From Shish Kabobs to Pizza On-A-Stick to Corn Dogs (regular, jumbo, jalapeno, and chocolate-covered) to Sausage On-A-Stick, the Oklahoma State Fair has all the classic foods on sticks you could ever want.
I can't say that I've ever eaten a Giant Foot Long Chocolate-Covered Rice Krispies Treat On-A-Stick, but I have to acknowledge that the thought of that indeed makes me smile. And some of the other treats described on the blog - Bacon-Wrapped Chicken On-A-Stick, Deep-Fried Creole Sausage On-A-Stick, Battered & Fried Jalapeno Pepper On-A-Stick, and Frosted Flakes Chicken On-A-Stick - are equally intriguing.

From the State Fair's Facebook page, we learn one very important food-on-a-stick fact:
Question: How many miles of Fair foods on-a-stick were consumed during the 2011 Oklahoma State Fair? 
Answer: Thirty-Two miles of skewered Fair food was consumed during the 2011 Oklahoma State Fair. To put that in perspective, that is the approximate distance from OKC to Guthrie. [Map]
That's a lot of food-on-a-stick! If your average corn dog is eight inches long, that would equal something in the neighborhood of 250,000 corn dogs.

And now, as the lunch hour approaches, allow me to share a few tantalizing photos of various foods that can be eaten on a stick. I'm not sure what all of these things are, nor am I sure that I could be tempted to try all of them, but there certainly are lots of options. Now I'm off in search of a good corn dog!


Monday, March 26, 2012

Elliot's March 26 email

Here's the latest email from Elliot.

Hi family!

Thanks so much for getting my apartment squared away. I think I'll send President an email today or maybe give him a call about classes. I talked to Sister Bennett who's in the Lawton 1st ward and also going to BYU and she got permission from President Taylor to go online on the day she is going to register. So I'll see what I can do. I should be able to take care of it though. I'm also contemplating switching my major to something along the lines of becoming a physician's assistant. I decided I really like working with people and I feel like that would be a good route for me. But we'll see. If for whatever reason I can't register for classes I'll have either President or Sister Taylor contact you.

Yeah there are a ton of huge crane flies dad. They are massive and they're everywhere. You'll walk across some tall grass and out of nowhere a whole group of them will fly up around you. I haven't been bit yet though. But it's wild because our apartment AC hasn't been turned on yet so it's hot in there, but we can't leave the back door open otherwise we get an infestation of them. So we have our windows open 24/7 with fans blowing in. It's okay at night but hot during studies or planning sessions. [The Lawton Constitution featured a story on Friday, "Crane flies invade Lawton." It turns out that crane flies, aka "Texas mosquitoes," do not bite and are not dangerous to humans. But they're kind of ugly, especially in large swarms.]

But Lawton is still good! The work is going super well. It seems like all of our investigators are progressing super well and I figure that many of them will be baptized in the coming months. One thing in particular that was cool was "Joe," a guy they were visiting here a few months back who was ready for baptism but moved out the week before he was set to be baptized, moved back into town. So he still wants to be baptized and it should happen sometime next month. He's pretty solid and we're excited for him. It's really cool to see so many people growing in faith and to see all of our hard work pay off. I hope the best for them.

Tell TJ and Troy I say congrats! [Two of Elliot's friends from home have weddings planned, TJ Schramm on April 28 and Troy Norton on April 13.] And that is a cool name Keith and Kim picked out. [The baby is due in early June!] I call dibs on being the cool uncle.

Les amo!

Elder Elliot

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Elder Britten Schenk recovering in Brazil

Elder Britten Schenk, from Hyde Park, Utah, serves in the Brazil Sao Paulo East Mission. Like every other missionary, he has family and friends back home who worry about him and pray daily for his safety. But accidents happen, even to terrific young men and women serving on missions.

On March 16, Elder Schenk was hit by a bus while waiting to cross a street in Sao Paulo. The Deseret News has a couple of news reports on the accident and its aftermath (here and here). Elder Schenk suffered serious injuries and has been hospitalized since the accident. His parents traveled immediately to be with their son and, with others in the family, have been providing daily updates on his condition on a blog they created in the wake of his accident. The blog can be found here. The reports are promising, as Elder Schenk appears to be recovering well and making good progress. The outpouring of support from friends, family, and complete strangers has been tremendous, as can be seen in the comments on the blog (many of which are written by Brazilians in their native Portuguese).

Our thoughts are with Elder Schenk and his family. You can keep up with his progress by following his blog. We'll plan to provide occasional updates here as well.

Bible Videos: "The Savior Suffers in Gethsemane"

 36 Then cometh Jesus with them unto a place called Gethsemane, and saith unto the disciples, Sit ye here, while I go and pray yonder.

Oklahoma City Museum of Art: "Princely Treasures: European Masterpieces 1600-1800 from the Victoria and Albert Museum"

Direct from the Victoria and Albert Museum in London comes "Princely Treasures: European Masterpieces from 1600-1800," an exhibition at the Oklahoma City Museum of Art. Oklahoma City is the only American stop on the international tour of this exhibition. According a story in The Oklahoman, the exhibition features approximately 80 works from the London gallery's extensive collection of decorative art,  divided into five areas: “Princely Patronage,” “Power and Glory,” “Religious Splendor,” “Display in the Interior” and “Fashion and Personal Adornment.”
  • Princely Patronage presents key figures from the princely courts who were the great patrons of the arts in Europe between 1600 and 1800. This is seen in objects such as Fan Leaf, an image of the Marquise de Montespan surrounded by luxurious items painted on vellum from 1674, and Fran├žois Boucher’s portrait painting of Jeanne-Antoinette Poisson, Marquise de Pompadour, 1758.
  • Power and Glory explores how military power was celebrated and representations of war were used to decorate objects commissioned for courtly use, from armour and weapons to tapestries and paintings. Highlights include a tapestry woven in wool titled The March, 1718–19, which is from a series known as “The Art of War” and measures over twelve feet high, and pair of carved walnut and silver flintlock pistols by Jean Baptiste La Roche from 1760, which bear the royal arms of France and Louis XV’s monogram and portrait.
  • Religious Splendor reveals the nature of objects made for worship, commissioned by secular or ecclesiastical patrons for public or private devotional use. Highlights include Charles Le Brun’s painting The Descent from the Cross, 1642–45, and a silver-gilt monstrance from 1705 by Johannes Zeckel.
  • Display in the Interior presents furniture, textiles, and ceramics made for use in palaces and noble residences, either for decorative or social purposes. This is seen in objects such as a commode with gilt-bronze mounts by Charles Cressent of 1745–50, a cabinet on stand by Pierre Gole of 1661–65, and a cotton, dyed and quilted bedcover made in India, 1725–50.
  • Fashion and Personal Adornment reveals the care and attention aristocratic men and women took to dress in fashionable style. This includes a 1760 silk and linen lined sackback gown from London, a silk satin waistcoat from 1730–39, and a gold, painted enamel, gilt-metal watch with brass and blued steel from 1636–1670.
The exhibition is currently on display through May 13, 2012. For information on visiting the Museum of Art, including hours, admission, parking, etc., check here.

And here are two good videos about the exhibition, one from the OKCMOA and the other from The Oklahoman. But best of all, check out a series of photographs of the exhibition, courtesy of the Victoria and Albert Museum, after the jump.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Arbor Week in Oklahoma City

Oklahoma City will celebrate Arbor Week during the last week of March. Check out the news video about it below. I had no idea Oklahoma City was such a tree-friendly place so I did a little checking. I learned that Oklahoma City has been designated as a Tree City USA community by the Arbor Day Foundation, along with 24 other Oklahoma cities (but not Elliot's current home of Lawton). Elliot's home town of Santa Clarita is also a Tree City USA community.

I also learned that Oklahoma City is home to the Margaret Annis Boys Arboretum. Located in Will Rogers Gardens, the arboretum sits on 10 acres of pristine park land and features hundreds of varieties of trees, including Oklahoma native species as well as specimens rarely found in the state. The oldest trees in the arboretum were planted by famed horticulturalist Henry Walter in the 1930s. The arboretum was renamed after Margaret Boys during a dedication ceremony on September 24, 2009. Ms. Boys was a long-time teacher and philanthropist who donated $1.5 million on her death in 1990 to the Oklahoma City Community Foundation, with instructions that it be used to beautify lands in Oklahoma County.

Here's the news video about Arbor Week. Then, after the jump, check out a bunch of really great photos of the arboretum, and a public service announcement from the Arbor Day Foundation.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Bible Videos: "Jesus Warns Peter and Offers the Intercessory Prayer"

 3 And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.
John 17:3

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

General Conference: March 31 and April 1, 2012

We invite you to attend / watch the 182nd Annual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on March 31 and April 1, 2012.

General conference is a semiannual gathering of the Church. During general conference weekend, Church members and others gather worldwide in a series of two-hour sessions to receive inspiration and instruction from Church leaders.

The schedule for the upcoming general conference is as follows (all times Pacific):
Saturday, March 31, 2012
  • 9:00 – 11:00 AM – First Session
  • 1:00 – 3:00 PM – Second Session
  • 5:00 – 7:00 PM – Priesthood Session (must attend in person, will not be broadcast)
Sunday, April 1, 2012
  • 9:00 – 11:00 AM – Fourth Session
  • 1:00 – 3:00 PM – Fifth Session
For those of you who live near Elliot's home in or around the Santa Clarita Valley, you can view all sessions of general conference at the LDS Chapel on 24443 McBean Parkway, Valencia (map). If you live elsewhere, you can find a chapel near you by searching here. You can also contact a representative of the Church online for more information and assistance finding a chapel.

All general sessions (other than the Priesthood Session, which must be attended in person) can be viewed / heard on the following channels or websites (check channel listings in your area):
  • AT&T – 567/1567
  • Dish Network – 9403
  • Direct TV – 374
  • Time Warner Cable – 698 (contact provider to confirm method and availability)
  • SiriusXM – 143
We also recommend visiting to learn more about the Church, and to learn more about general conference.

And in case you're new to Elliot's blog, here are the links to the stories we did about the great experience Elliot had when he got to sing with a choir of missionaries at the October 2010 general conference:

Deseret News: "Many hands help with not-so-typical baptism"

Traditional Mormon baptisms are performed in fonts located in chapels, like the one pictured here.

But baptisms do not need to be performed in a designated font. They can be performed virtually anywhere there is water. For example:

But I have to say, I had never heard of a baptism being performed in a physical therapist's hydro-therapy pool until now.

A recent story in the Deseret News recounts the amazing experience of Clifton Russell Jr., an elder in the Lincoln Ward in Tacoma, Washington, and his friend, Bobby Merritt. Brother Russell, a long-time member of the church, was confined to a wheelchair due to the effects of diabetes, which also took his vision. He shared a room in a nursing home with Bobby, who also suffered from physical limitations. One day, the local missionaries visited Brother Russell and also met Bobby, who expressed interest in their message and ultimately decided to be baptized. The Deseret News tells the rest of the story:
As the appointed baptismal date drew nearer, the elders and Lincoln Ward mission leader Gordon MacDonald felt it would be wonderful if Russell could baptize his friend. They enlisted the help of Pat Garlock, a physical therapist and former bishop of Soundview Ward in the Tacoma Stake, who owns a sports medicine facility with a large hydro-therapy pool. 
“I felt tremendous gratitude that we had something that could help and accommodate both the person doing the baptism and the person being baptized,” Garlock said. 
After the opening portion of the baptismal service, the nine men in white carefully put a life preserver around Russell, edged him into the pool and floated him over to a submerged chair. Several others cautiously led Merritt down the steps into the pool. 
Then, with his right hand and his left hand holding his friend’s hand, Russell pronounced the baptismal prayer and the men in the pool helped immerse Merritt. 
“I had been practicing the ordinance, and I was so excited to exercise my priesthood,” Russell said. "I really feel blessed and honored to do this, with all my challenges. Bobby likes everything about the gospel and he’s really excited about being a member.”
What a great experience. And here are two pictures showing all the many men who helped perform the baptism in Brother Garlock's hydro-therapy pool.

And now, for a look at the lighter side of baptism, after the jump you can see the baptism of Delmar O'Donnell from Oh Brother, Where Art Thou? While it is a comical depiction (with a bit of mild language, sorry!), Delmar's speech beginning at about 2:20 of the video is a fairly accurate summary of the purpose and effect of baptism. Enjoy.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Elliot's March 19 email and pictures

Here's the latest email from Elliot, with two pictures after the jump.


The weather's pretty crazy here right now. It's raining hard and there's a lot of thunder and lightning. It's pretty intense. This is the season for it. Last year was wild and I don't suppose it'll be too different here. But no worries!

Did you see what Carlton's doing for an apartment this year? If I can't stick with him then Liberty Square sounds good. Sorry I haven't been the most helpful with the apartment situation. I was waiting to see what a few missionaries out here are doing but Elder Phillips it going to head to the U instead of the Y. But that's all good.

This past week was awesome. We had a lot of appointments and a lot of our investigators came to church. We have 2 new investigators that are particularly awesome. One is "Jane." Her mom was baptized just a few weeks ago and she went. During the baptismal service she felt like she wanted to be baptized, but in the past she had never liked going to any church. She came though that weekend and she felt like "this is the one." She's set to get baptized the 7th of April. The other is "Joe." He is super legit. He had a health scare a while back and since has been searching to come closer to God. The Mormon church just kept coming back to his head. So he looked up the website this past week and looked at just about everything on it. After that he chatted with some missionaries online and ordered a Book of Mormon. He's solid and is planning on coming to church this Sunday. Hopefully we can set a date for baptism with him this week. So between that and 4 other people who are looking into the church that came this past Sunday, life's good. I've never had an area this on fire before.

So I went down to Wichita Falls on exchanges this past weekend and got to talk to Adrienne. She's doing super well. She's going to get married to a guy from Sandy, UT in June and they plan on getting sealed in the Salt Lake Temple sometime in November. I'm pretty excited because I'll be back to go to that. She'll be moving up to Utah midway through this year too. She's has a calling teaching the young women in the Wichita Falls ward. Its great to see how involved she is and how strong she is in the gospel.

I can't believe that my homecoming is already scheduled! [August 19, 1:00 p.m., 24915 Peachland Avenue, Newhall, California.] This is going way too fast. That's so cool that I'll be talking the same day as Carlton. Dad gum.

I love y'all! Have a great week!

Con amor,

Elder Elliot

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Bible Videos: "The Last Supper"

 19 And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me.
 20 Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you. 
Luke 22:19-20 

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Comanche National Museum to honor Code Talkers

The Comanche National Museum in Lawton will feature a terrific exhibit later this year highlighting the contribution of Comanche Code Talkers in World War II. Seventeen members of the Comanche Nation served as Code Talkers. They were fluent in the Comanche language and used that knowledge, along with the training they were given by the Army, to send critical messages that confused the enemy during World War II. They were recruited from Cache, Cement, Cyril, Fletcher, Indiahoma, Lawton and Walters.

The Code Talkers: Front Row, left to right: Roderick “Dick” Red Elk, Simmons Parker, Larry Saupitty, Melvin Permansu, Willie Yackeschi, 
Charles Chibitty and Willington Mihecoby.  Back Row, left to right: Morris Sunrise, Perry Noyebad, Ralph Wahnee, Haddon Codynah, 
Robert Holder, Albert Nahquaddy, Clifford Ototivo and Forrest Kassanavoid.  (not pictured: Elgin Red Elk and Anthony Tabbitite)

Here is a great description of the Code Talkers on their induction in the Oklahoma Military Hall of Fame in November 2011:
The Comanche Nation Code Talkers served in the U. S. Army 4th Signal Company, 4th Infantry Division during World War II; they used their Comanche language, which the United States Government once had forbidden them to use, in radio transmissions that helped save the lives of thousands of Allied Soldiers. They served in combat from the D-Day, June 6, 1944, invasion of Normandy to the end of the World War II in Europe in May 1945. The 14 Comanche Code Talkers who served in the European Theater of Operations and are now deceased, were: Charles Joyce Chibitty; Haddon “Red” Codynah; Robert Holder; Forrest Kassanavoid;  Wellington “Mike” Mihecoby; Perry “Taxi” Noyobad; Clifford Ototivo, Sr.; Simmons Parker;  Melvin Permansu; Elgin Red Elk; Roderick Red Elk; Larry W. Saupitty; Morris “Sunrise” Tabbyyetchy, and Willis Wood Yackeschi. Two other Code Talkers did not serve overseas and one was sent back to the United States from England for medical reasons; Four Comanches served as Code Talkers during World War I with the 357th Infantry Regiment. In 2001, the U.S. Congress awarded the 14 Comanche Code Talkers of World War II and four Comanche Code Talkers of World War I the Congressional Gold Medal for their military service. The Code Talkers of World War II were awarded the European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with five Campaign Service Stars, American Campaign Medal, World War II Victory Medal and the Knight of the Order of National Merit from the French Government.  Perry “Taxi” Noyobad was awarded the Bronze Star Medal and Purple Heart; Forrest Kassanavoid, Larry W. Saupitty, Willis Wood Yackeschi, and Roderick Red Elk were awarded the Purple Heart during the Korea War. Melvin Permansu and Roderick Red Elk received the Korean War Service Medal and United Nations Service Medal. In 1995 Charles Joyce Chibitty, then 78, was honored as the last surviving World War II Comanche U.S. Army Code Talker in the Pentagon’s Hall of Heroes.
Finally, here's a short news report from KSWO in Lawton about the upcoming exhibit: 

Monday, March 12, 2012

Elliot's March 12 email and pictures

Here's the latest email from Elliot, with two pictures after the jump. The first picture is a great one. It shows his name on the departure list for August 16. Five months to go!

Hey familia!

Okay I was thinking about the BYU apartment situation and do you know what Carlton is planning on doing? I'm not too sure if he's even going to be back in time or not. I know President Taylor lets missionaries go home a few weeks early often to let them get back into school and I know he'll be home right around the start of school. That would be sweet to room with him.

Speaking of heading back to college soon, can you believe I only have 5 months left? Yesterday was my 19 month mark. Elder Grover has been out 6 weeks longer than me too. It's cool being with another experienced missionary. We had a lot of success this past week. We set three new baptismal dates and have six new investigators. 2 of those new dates were with that family we tracted into last week. It was so cool. Then the other new date is the wife of a returning member who is awesome. She's been praying about if this is what God wants for her in her life and she keeps on feeling that this is the right path for her. All of the dates are set right now for the first few weeks of May so we have some time before then. But that's good because a decision like baptism really shouldn't be rushed. We already have a lot of appointments set up for this week and we'll be super busy because we also have district meeting and exchanges in Texas on Friday-Saturday. But I'm looking forward to heading to TX again. It should be a really good week.

Right now I'm emailing y'all from Brother Brennen's house in Chattanooga, Oklahoma. It's a very small town but I love it. He and his wife are the only members who live here. It feels like back when I was in Clinton. Lawton's a big town so we don't get out to towns like this much, so it's a nice change of pace. It rained last week so it's nice and green now, hopefully we can get out and enjoy this day.

[Family stuff redacted.]

And thanks for the package mom! I appreciate it very much!

Les amo mucho!

Elder Elliot

Monday, March 5, 2012

Mormon Messages: "Young Church Service Missionaries: Elder Wyatt"

We posted a story some time ago about Church service missions, non-traditional missions designed for those who wish to serve but, for one reason or another, are not able to perform the duties of a traditional proselytizing mission or wish to serve in a different capacity. The Church recently posted a Mormon Messages video that tells of the experience of one such young man, Sterling Wyatt of Logan, Utah, whose physical limitations did not limit his desire to serve. It's a great story of family, service, and devotion. Enjoy the video.

Elliot's apartment in Lawton

In today's email, Elliot told us about his great new apartment in Lawton -- nice, spacious, and on a golf course. It doesn't sound like any of the places where I lived in Paraguay! Here's a link to a website with information about the apartment complex, along with a couple of pictures, one from the website and one captured from a screen shot on Google Maps.

Elliot's March 5 email and pictures

Here's the latest email from Elliot. And there's five new pictures after the jump.


Elder Matthew Karl is from Alberta, Canada. My new companion is Elder Brett Grover from Spanish Fork, Utah. He's so cool. I think this is going to be a sweet transfer. He's Spanish speaking as well and has been out one transfer longer than me. We've definitely clicked so far and I think we'll have a lot of fun and success.

I actually am not sure what the address of my apartment is, but its at 53rd and Gore in Moore [must have meant Lawton] and its called the Invitationals. This is my second apartment in a row that sits on a golf course. [The Lawton Country Club and Golf Course.] Its super nice. We have a back balcony that sits right on the course. It has two bedrooms and two baths as well as a good sized living room and kitchen. I might be a bit spoiled.

This has been a pretty awesome 5 days in Lawton. Karma was baptized here on Thursday and Helen on Saturday. Karma has 2 sons that joined the church a few years ago and she's awesome. Helen's Grandma is a member and she's been coming to church for the last little while as well. It was cool to walk in and enjoy seeing them get baptized. I had the opportunity to confirm Helen a member of the church on Sunday which is the first time I've done that. It was a bit stressful organizing the baptisms and dealing with transfers and everything that comes along with it in one week but it was great. I think I'm going to love it out here.

We had a really cool finding miracle this week. We drove past a street and Elder Grover remembered that someone they had been teaching lived on it. So we flipped around and tried them. They had 3 cars outside and were definitely home, but there was no answer.  So we looked around and saw that across the street there was a home with a garage open so we knocked on the door. Theresa came to it and before we even said anything she told us to come in. She said she had always seen missionaries on the street and had always wanted us to come by the house but missionaries never had for whatever reason. We taught her all about The Restoration [great video link], God's love for us and about the Book of Mormon. We committed her to baptism on the 31st of March. She then told us that earlier in the day she watched a show on the History Channel about the apocalypse and was praying to make sure she was on the right path. That's usually when we show up. It was a super cool experience.

So Lawton's cool! Its interesting being far away from other missionaries now besides the Sisters in Lawton 1st Ward, but we don't see them too often. That's a good thing though I think. Being a little more isolated with a much smaller zone means that we don't have as much to worry about, we just get to focus on the work more fully. This area is all military. It seems there are more people who work out of Ft. Sill than anything else, and a lot of people are living here from out of state. The area and ward have a lot more young families than anywhere else I've served I think. I'd been to Ft. Sill to teach soldiers before and when other missionaries (the AP's and two others) come down they stay Saturday night with us, which is exactly why we got a nice apartment.

I hope everything's going well for y'all! I'm still waiting on Elder Phillips to find out if he's going to the U of U or UVU to see if we can get an apartment together or something. I'll let you know when I find out. Do you know if Aaron is still going to transfer to BYU?

Love ya!

Elder Elliot

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Newhall First Ward missionary newsletter

Here is the most recent Newhall First Ward missionary newsletter from Sister Connie Hollingworth (pictured), with reports from Elliot, Javan Hatch, Kyle Hill, JK McKeon, CJ Norris, and Carlton Reininger.  We really appreciate Sister Hollingworth putting this together every month!

Enjoy the newsletter after the jump.

Mormon Messages: "Jesus Christ is the Way"

"Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life:
no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." (John 14:6)

"Remember that there is no other way nor means whereby man can be saved,
only through the atoning blood of Jesus Christ, who shall come." (Helaman 5:9)

Lawton, Oklahoma - Elliot's new home

As he told us in last Monday's email, Elliot was transferred on Wednesday to Lawton, Oklahoma. Goodbye to Moore, goodbye to Oklahoma City, goodbye to the Sorensons, the Lusks, and the Taylors. Let's see what we can learn about his new area.

First, a little history and some basic details about Lawton. Lawton was founded on August 6, 1901, on a section of prairie south of Fort Sill, a military post established in 1869. Land in Lawton was divided up in the Kiowa-Comanche-Apache Land Lottery of 1901. Winners of the lottery were able to choose plots in the order their names were drawn. A young woman named Mattie Beal had her name drawn second, and the home she built has been completely restored and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Lawton is named for Major-General Henry Ware Lawton. Born in Indiana, Henry Lawton fought in the Civil War and later in several campaigns against Native Americans. He is best known for capturing Geronimo in 1886. He was killed in battle in the Philippines in 1899. Lawton had also served as a quartermaster at Fort Sill, which explains how the city came to be named after him.

Lawton is located in southwest Oklahoma, about 90 miles from Oklahoma City. With 90,000 residents, it's the third largest city in Oklahoma. The city's official website is here.

Enough of the details. Let's see what else we can learn about Lawton.

There's a couple of cool museums. There's the Museum of the Great Plains, with lots of great displays and exhibits, including the Blue Beaver Schoolhouse, the Elgin Train Depot, and the Frisco Steam Locomotive. And there's also the Ft. Sill Museum, where you can learn all about the history of Fort Sill. I'd really like to visit the Comanche National Museum and Cultural Center, which is an entity of the Comanche Nation that offers a glimpse into Comanche heritage and culture.

Outside of Lawton you can find the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge, which provides habitat for large native grazing animals such as American bison, Rocky Mountain elk, and white-tailed deer. Texas longhorn cattle also share the Refuge rangelands as a cultural and historical legacy species. More than 50 mammal, 240 bird, 64 reptile and amphibian, 36 fish, and 806 plant species thrive on this important refuge.

Lawton is the home of the Cameron University Aggies,  the largest four-year higher education institution in southwest Oklahoma. The first classes were conducted in the basement of a bank in 1909. Now, Cameron now has 6,000 students and offers more than 50 degree programs. It is named for Evan Dhu Cameron, Oklahoma's first State Superintendent of Schools.

Let's see, what else? Lawton has a community theater, now in its 60th season. Upcoming features include a pair of one-act comedies, The Real Inspector Hound and Black Comedy. There are lots of lakes and parks in and around Lawton, including Elmer Thomas Park (home of Lake Helen), North Mountain Wilderness Area, Mountain Park Wildlife Area, and Tom Steed Reservoir.

And Elliot will not go hungry in Lawton, home to lots of places to eat. I've never been to Lawton so I can't vouch for any of these places, but there's a few that look interesting. Possibly the best-named place is Pizza Emergency, home of the "biohazard" pizza and the 28-inch "gut buster." Then there's the Dry Beaver Supper Club, which, thankfully, does not appear to feature any beaver delicacies. It does, however, offer "gator tail" as an appetizer, hot links, and sauces ranging from mild to "light you up." I have a guess as to which one Elliot would pick, although it looks like he may have to wait a while since the website says the restaurant is temporarily closed due to highway construction. Finally, Elliot should try The Catch, a Lawton fishhouse featuring catfish, okra, and blackberry cobbler.

Well, there's a few highlights about Lawton. Looks like a fun place for Elliot for the next few weeks. You can stay current on the latest Lawton stuff by following its Facebook page and its Twitter account, @Lawton_Oklahoma.