Monday, January 27, 2014

Star Wars and Stake Conference

Hey everyone!!

This week has been pretty great! Last Monday after emails we went to Stouts Grove, the place where they filmed the last Star Wars, and I had so much fun! I was just running around, climbing redwoods...I could've easily been mistaken for an abnormally large 10 year old. We went to this river in Stouts Grove called Smiths River, which is one of the cleanest rivers in America - you can drink from it because it's so clean. In fact we did just that. Well we wanted to get to this jetty-like piece of land in the middle of the river but there was no way to get to it without walking through the cold, knee-deep water. So I took my shoes off and walked across, I really didn't care. But Elders Morely and Call (who weighs 230 lbs) were still on the other side and didn't want to get wet. So I went back and carried them over on my back - like a mama koala. It probably wasn't that good of an idea because I didn't have shoes on and I was walking on sharp rocks. But i felt like I was in Ephraim's Rescue - I was a pioneer of old carrying people across frozen rivers! We always have fun on Mondays. Today I'm going to go crabbing down by the pier with one of my less active members.

So my investigator M****** has a date now! Feb 28th! I'm soo stoked! It couldn't come any slower though. On Friday I had a lesson about the restoration with a 16-year-old boy named C*****. but Elder Haynie and I were not on the same page the entire lesson. We invited him to be baptized and he said yes. We're not sure if he really understands the commitment so we're going to hold off on the celebration. Well, we decided on Saturday that we reeeally needed to role play the restoration for companion study (which turned out later to be an inspired study...)

We had stake conference this weekend and we had to drive all the way down to McKinnleyville, which is like 2 hours from Crescent City. All the missionaries sat in the little choir area behind the speaker and sang for conference. Conference was really great - there were some really awesome speakers. There was actually a general authority at conference - Elder Haium (that is not even close to how he prefers it to be spelled....) I think he is an area seventy. He came around and shook hands with the missionaries before conference started. He gave a really good talk and we were captivated the entire time.... then he said something that made me not so happy. He said, "Well the other day I had dinner with an Elder Haynie," (probably another area seventy) "and there is an Elder Ellis in the quorum of the seventy. And it just so happens that we have two missionaries here today by the names of Elder Haynie and Elder Ellis. So I would like to invite them to join me at the microphone!" Crap... so we went down and stood next to him, and we had no idea what was coming.  He started talking to us and asked us where we were from and how long we've been out. I said two months and everyone started laughing because I'm green and they knew something hilarious was about to happen. So he invited us to teach the restoration to the entire congregation! Crap.... I was sweating bullets the entire time. It was a less than desirable experience for me. We did a very good job, but I was nervous! So I hid behind that nervousness with humor. I just made them laugh a lot to hopefully distract them from how incredibly uncomfortable I was. It seemed to work... so that was my distasteful moment of the week.

I'm really enjoying my companion, Elder Haynie. We get along really well. And as always, I'm having fun up here in CC Cali.

Mom, the house is awesome! That was quite the celebratory moment for me when I got the email and all the pictures of the house.

Well that was the excitement of this week. Love you all! I'll keep you all in my prayers.

Love, Elder Ellis

Monday, January 20, 2014

Upcoming Transfer and a Photo

Our district picture - I'm in the middle.

Hey Everyone!

Well, too late for me to not get my hopes up on the house!! When you send me an email where the subject is "We finally got an offer!" my hopes have already skyrocketed by the time I get to the second sentence warning me not to do just that. So next time reverse the order of those two, mom!

Wow, where to start... well first of all I can't believe a week has already gone by again. Every day is just flying by and I can't keep up! Today marks my two months on my mission, and Wednesday is my first transfer. I can't believe how fast everything is happening... My new companion will get here on Wednesday, and his name is Elder Haynie. So finally my weird situation of being in a trio and having two areas will finally be rectified. I can finally get on a regular schedule again!

By tonight I should have a baptismal date for M*****, one of the investigators I've been teaching. I believe I've already disclosed most of the details pertaining to this particular individual, but if not then I'll bring you all up to speed. He's 13 and he wants to be baptized. You've all been brought up to speed! I can't wait - this will be my first baptism. J***** F***** was baptized while I was here, but she already had a baptismal date by the time I met her. So I'm excited that I actually am having an active part in making this one happen. I also had an investigator come to sacrament meeting yesterday, whose name is K****** and he is thinking about baptism, but he's unsure. He's 10 years old so he really doesn't know what he wants at this point. He wants to see an actual baptism before he makes a decision, so hopefully that will be M******'s baptism if everything goes well.

Most of my week consisted of helping my 2 companions' investigator, who is struggling with alcohol and smoking right now. We're pretty much running around doing all her errands since she fell down her stairs while she was slightly intoxicated and split her skull open. We got there just in time to help her get into a taxi to get her the hospital. She also sprained her ankle so she can't go anywhere so we help her out a lot. I feel really bad for her - she's a really good person, she's just struggling right now.

Well I'm really starting to realize I'm really bad at writing emails home because I've noticed they keep getting shorter and shorter... but email time seems to be getting shorter and shorter too. 
My district took some really awesome district pictures, so here ya go!

Love, Elder Ellis

Monday, January 13, 2014

Service and a Machete

Dear Everyone,

THANKS FOR THE CHEESECAKE MOM. I really liked the cheesecake, although it paled in comparison to Heidi's cheesecake. It was still delicious. And thanks for the letters Aunt Marge. I hope your foot is doing better. You certainly didn't look like you were enjoying yourself when I saw you last so I hope things are going better. I miss your dehydrated apples. I buy apples every week at the store but I always look at them longingly, wishing they were dehydrated.

Wow! This week has been a huge week of service. First, we helped a family move everything they have from one house to another. They were pretty much relocating since one of them was having a baby the next day. Then we went to a yard sale to get a bunch of things for this part-member family that just moved in, who doesn't have much of anything yet. We got them a lot of kitchen supplies, a bedside table and a kitchen table, which had a sheet of glass that we were really worried about breaking in the back of the truck. What made it even worse was the table was an inch too long for the bed of the truck, so we couldn't put the tailgate up! So we were worried about the glass breaking and everything falling out the back. We managed to get everything to their home safely but the kitchen table was too big for their kitchen so we called around and found someone who needed a table and was happy to take it. So everything worked out perfectly. Then the next day we got a call saying that an elderly couple was moving here from Oregon and we helped them unload their truck and move in. We also went and found an address to a place that sells firewood for a family, we helped a little girl put her crayon maker and Spider-Man clock-bank together. And my personal favorite is, we went to an elderly women's house to help her cut down some really tall weeds, that if left unattended would grow haphazardly and even more out of control. So we came to cut them down and dig up the roots, but we didn't have any tools. So this sweet old lady comes out with three machetes and gives them to us. We were like, "what the freak?".... So the three of us just start going postal with the machetes. Needless to say, we had way more fun there than we should've... I mean we got the job done effectively but we certainly enjoyed ourselves while we did so. You never really feel empowered as a man till you garden with machete. So it was pretty eventful week.

Yesterday I was talking to M******, (he's one of the youngsters I've been talking to who want to get baptized) but he wants to wait for his uncle to get into town so he can baptize him. But the uncle said he wasn't going to make it this month, so I asked M***** if he wanted to wait for his uncle or go ahead and do it sooner rather than later. He told me he didn't want to wait any longer, so I could have a baptism very soon guys! I'm so excited!

Other than a ton of service not much has happened. It's just a weird situation since I'm in a trio with Elder Morely and Elder Meiners and now we have two areas to cover so we can't get to everyone. But I assure you, the work is still hastening. And mom, I will get you pictures when I get my Facebook account -  it will be so much easier then.

Well, my love is extended forth to all. Sorry this letter is kinda boring but I essentially summarized my whole week right there so it can't be helped. I'll keep up the good work, just keep supplying me with prayers!!

Love, Elder Ellis

Monday, January 6, 2014

New Year Brings Big Changes

Greetings from Crescent City!

Okay, so this week has been... complicated... to say the least. But in a nut shell, I'm an orphan now. My trainer, Elder Whittingslow, went home.... sooo yeah... quite suddenly, actually. On Thursday around 3 pm we were in the middle of a lesson and we were talking about temple and family history work, when our phone went off. And of course we were grumbling about it since it interrupted a really good lesson. "Of course! Every time... who could it possibly be?!" Elder Whittingslow looked at the phone and it was our mission President! (which is always a bad sign if he calls you personally....) "What the funhouse!? It's President Alba!! Ummm... we have to take this...." So he answers and President Alba told him that he wanted to meet with Elder Whittingslow at 6:30, alone, and that he was already on his way up from Santa Rosa... which is a six hour drive... so we were freaking out the whole day. We kept thinking it had to be something about his family, or even worse... he was being made an AP!! NOOOOO!! At least that's what we kept joking about, but in all seriousness the mission president doesn't come up just to tell us we're doing a good job and to give us a hug, so we were a little freaked out. So they met for like an hour or so and when they finally came out I could tell Elder Whittingslow had been crying. President Alba said they were going to work on getting me a new companion. Elder Whittingslow packed his stuff up that night and they left Friday morning. We have a pretty good idea why he was sent home but all I'm going to say is what he told us, that he had some "legal complexities" he needed to take care of. I was just happy that his family was alright. But yeah, that was the biggest thing that happened here.

We had a pretty cool New Years though. We bought a whole bunch of bubbly and we had lots of noise makers and cool 2014 glasses and stayed up to a whopping 10 pm! Whooooa! Yeah, well we didn't want to stay up really late so we did the count down two hours early and just partied for like 15 minutes. So all our neighbors think we're insane. Well I hope you all had a good New Years, and have some sweet resolutions. A really cool Mormon message we've been showing lately is called, "New Years. Look Not Behind Thee." ( It's really a good message and I encourage all to watch it! And if you've already seen it, then I don't kerr! Watch it again!! Cause I've seen it at least 15 times now.

Well I haven't gotten your package yet, but I'm still waiting! Looking forward to it! But I did finally buy a pillow last week and I was surprised at how much more fun sleep is when there is neck support present. So I encourage everyone to sleep with a pillow! You won't regret it.

I'm managing to take care of myself. Unfortunately, two of my suit pants have slight tears at the seams. This being said, it's a good thing I plan on marrying a woman who is much smarter than me cause sewing really sucks. I can't figure it out... at all.... I'm hopeless, I know. But I'm being well fed, and getting lots of dinners (by the way, Uncle Nate, do you happen to remember a Khou Lo from Crescent City? cause she seems to remember you.) Oh! And look up a "Stonewave", it's one of those "as seen on TV" things but it works sooo well! So I'm cooking all sorts of delightful things with that!

Well, Mom, I am going to need father's address, since I cannot remember it for the life of me. But I know I need to write him. I prayed for an hour straight, sometimes we do something called a "power hour," and I received more than a little of my own personal revelation of what I need to do.

Well, I love you all and I pray for you often and I expect them in return!!!

Love,  Elder Ellis