Tuesday, September 4, 2012


I love my brothers.  I think they are hilarious.  We can all be pretty funny, especially when we are together, and even more especially when we have an audience.  I find Travis particularly funny, mostly because he is most prone to my kind of stupid humor. 

I have been blessed with the opportunity to live with my brothers at college.  From January to April, all four of my parents' children were living in Provo, a 9+ hour drive away from our home in Prescott, Arizona.  We had a blast, and although we were all really busy, we had great dynamics in the house and we found ways to have fun.  

Over this summer my three brothers and I experienced a lot of change.  Travis got married, I did an internship in Africa, Merritt did a mission trip to Nauvoo to perform with their stage group, and Landon started his two year full-time mission to Japan.  Now Merritt and I are back home.  Landon will be back in two years, and Travis is still here but is all married and grown up.  Luckily, we still know how to have fun.  Last week Travis and Merritt sent a package to Landon, who is preparing for his mission at the Provo Missionary Training Center (MTC).  This was Landon's commentary on the package:

"I got the most interesting package in the mail this week. It was from Travis and Merritt, and I got my towel. Thank you for that. Also, I received several other interesting things in the package. These things were a bag of confetti, a small rubber goose figurine, a CD giving me so many hours free on AOL (useless in the MTC, useless in life), a large screw, a "Stop Bedwetting" card, and a black crayon. This let to a large discussion in our district on whether it's pronounced "cray-on" or more like "cran," though of course the latter is correct. My thinking overall was that brothers should find something better to do with their "random pile of stuff for potential activities" than send it to me. I got quite the kick out of it though, especially the AOL CD."

Landon is having a great time at the MTC.  Landon is so studious and thoughtful, so his letters are always insightful and interesting.  Last week Landon told us a story that he heard from one of his MTC teachers.  It is an interesting story.  I'll let you read it, and then Travis' response:

"One of [my] teachers, Bishoff Sensei, was working with us but has left the MTC because he's starting law school soon. He served his mission to Japan, and got back probably about five years ago. On his last day teaching at the MTC, he wanted to share with us an experience he had on his mission and bear his testimony of the wonderful things that await us there. So I want to share his story. It's a little bit violent, but at the end you will see why I was inspired by it, I think.
One day Elder Bishoff was riding his bicycle while on his mission, and his companion was riding up ahead of him. They were biking on the side of what he called a highway, and across on the other side of the highway he saw a man and a woman arguing as they walked. The man was a Yakuza, which as far as I understand is a member of the Japanese mafia. He had tattoos all down his arms. As the man and woman continued to fight, she suddenly swung at him and clawed his face. This made him very angry, and it became violent. Now Elder Bishoff had seen this from across the road, and he called to his companion and they stopped. He was really wary of what to do, because he was scared since the man was very big for a Japanese person and was much bigger than he is. But then he remembered that as a missionary he was called to be a representative of Jesus Christ, and so he decided to act in faith and try to act like Jesus would if he had been there. He and his companion ran across the road, and as they approached to where they two were still fighting, a Japanese person stopped him and basically told him that he should not interfere, that he might be killed. But Elder Bishoff continued on, and told this person to call the police. At his point the woman was very bloody, and the man was trying to throw her in front of the oncoming cars. Because of this, she had grabbed a fence and was holding on to it and he was trying to rip her off of it. Elder Bishoff didn't really know what to do, and his Japanese at this point was not very good, so he just went up to the man, who was facing away from him, put his hand on his shoulder and turned him around, and said, "Yamete kudasai," which is simply, "Please stop." The first thing the man saw upon turning around was his missionary nametag, which of course has "Jesus Christ" written in large font as part of the church name written on the tag. Suddenly the woman, who I am sure was terrified and distraught, threw herself upon Elder Bishoff, seeking help. The Yakuza looked from Elder Bishoff's nametag to his face, and said, pointing at him, in an astonished tone, "Kirisuto, Kirisuto," which means, "Christ, Christ." Then he said, "This is none of your business." Elder Bishoff responded that yes, it was his business, as a representative of Christ. The man then said again: "Kirisuto, Kirisuto."  The man, who was still holding on to the woman's wrist, threw her arm at Elder Bishoff, and walked away, and the woman ran away as well, leaving Elder Bishoff covered in her blood. He related this story to us to teach us that we have the authority and responsibility to act as representatives of Christ at all times, and that we don't need to fear the consequences because Christ will help us, even if, as in this case, we don't know what to do about the situation. I was so inspired by that story because the Yakuza member gave up and walked away upon just seeing the name of Christ written on this missionary's nametag. For some reason Jesus Christ meant something to that man, and simply reading his name caused him to stop his violent attack. In this case, Elder Bishoff was like a savior to that woman, saving her from additional injury and possibly death, helping her when she was in dire need and others around would not. He told us, "You are called to do what no one else can do." I don't know if I will have an experience like that, but I like the idea of my purpose being only to help others for the next two years, even if others aren't or won't, and teach them about Jesus Christ."

 I think that is a really awesome story.  Travis' response was even more awesome:

"I have a story to share with you all. A deeply personal story.

When I was in Japan about 6 years ago, I fell into a bad crowd and become part of a gang known as The Yakuza. I got tattoos and dated bad women.
One day I was walking down the street when one of my ex-girlfriends saw me from the bus she was on. She hit the emergency stop button on the bus, opened the door, ran across the traffic and started yelling at me in front of everyone. I told her I didn't want to talk to her ever again, because she had done really hurtful things to me. I turned and started walking away. Suddenly she was on my back, attacking me. She was very violent, punching, scratching and biting me. I grabbed her arm and threw her over my back. I almost threw her into oncoming traffic, accidentally. Then she jumps up on the fence for leverage and starts kicking me and kicking me. I'm trying to block her attacks when suddenly I feel a hand on my shoulder, yanking me around the other way. Now the girl is kicking me in the back repeatedly with her heels. She actually broke the skin several times, requiring stitches to mend my wounds. He's wearing some tag that says Kirisuto, whatever that means. I'm trying to figure out if this white cracker is law enforcement or something, and start repeating "Kirisuto" over and over, asking him what that means. Instead he tells me to stop, please.  Stop what? Defending myself? She's kicking me in the head right now! The girl gets mad that I'm not paying attention to her so she jumps on this white guy's back, sobbing and screaming, trying to get him to go away so she can continue to assault me. This gives me a chance to run. Once I get far down the road, I look back and see that she's headed to opposite way down the sidewalk, the same direction the bus had been traveling. She was probably late for work."

So there you are.  A little bit about my brothers and I.  I love how we are so united as family, and how we are united in the gospel of Jesus Christ.  Even when we are joking around and enjoying ourselves, we are able to focus on what is most important in life.  And what is most important to me is the gospel and my family.

Super old pic of my brothers and I.  And my sister. 
Yeah, this is the only pic I could find of the four of us.