|Me and Elder Stoddard|
Happy Easter everyone!
My Easter was really good! If any of you haven't had the opportunity to watch the "Because of Him" video at http://easter.mormon.org. I highly suggest you do it.
Yesterday there was a Easter program that the choir has been rehearsing every week to sing in. The missionaries had actually been attending all the practices but we missed the last one and apparently they made some really big changes so they invited us not to participate.....which was fine by me, because it sounded a lot better than it would've if I had joined in! There were also some really great talks given in Sacrament meeting. One of the talks was given by Brother Clark, who, when it comes to church-related doctrine, is probably the smartest man in all of California. His calling is actually to go to Salt Lake City for one week every month and just to study. That's all he does the entire week - just study the gospel. I do laundry at his house on Mondays, which is where I am right now as I write this, and looking around his house, his book collection is substantial, to say the least. But I digress. So Brother Clark gave a talk about Christ's resurrection (of course) and he did such a good job. I felt like I was at General Conference again. And what made it even more exciting is that one of our less actives, S****** R******, who hasn't been to church in over a year, was able to make it. Also our investigator, E***** A******, came too. Although she's pretty regular about coming to church, it was an exceptionally good Sabbath for her to attend church because the talks and the lessons we had that day were pretty much everything she needed to hear. In Gospel Principles the lesson was on the priesthood organization, which is something she needs to understand. Last week I taught the class about the priesthood overall. I'm quite proud of myself (in the most humble and modest way possible of course) - I've gotten much better at teaching since I've been on my mission. When I taught the lesson last week I had zero preparation of what I was going to say and talk about. At most, I just read over the lesson plan but I didn't think of what I was going to say - I just dove right in and started teaching. And of course there were things I could've done better but overall I think I did a really good job. I am certainly a lot more confident in my teaching then at the beginning of my mission. Oh there I go again, digressing and whatnot. I do apologize. Well to top it off, we had dinner with the Graham family, which is the family I watched conference with. I adore the Graham's. They are one of my favorite families here! They take good care of us. They gave us little Easter gift baskets, like missionaries need to eat any more junk food... But I've been able to keep the weight off - jogging every morning and the occasional P90x really helps keep me in good shape.
Well the new missionaries came in this last week. Elder Smith is Elder Reece's replacement and Elder Makoni's new companion. He's a cool guy, and I like him. He's almost dead though. He's done with his mission in August, so it's closing in. He might be getting a little trunky, but so far he's focusing on the work. And we also have a new district leader. Elder Hurd replaced Elder Welch. I'm going to miss Elder Welch - he's been my favorite district leader so far, but he went to the Ukiah zone, so I'm not going to see much of him for a while. But Elder Hurd seems like a good guy. He's strict, and will throw-down in an instant, but he's a good guy. Also, Elder Walpole transferred in. He's one of the missionaries I came into the field with. He is 26 years old... good golly! But all the more power to him for coming out! And Elder Bettridge transferred in too. He was my first zone leader in the Eureka zone, and now he's my zone leader again! He's really funny and loves to have a good time, though he is a hard worker. As opposed to his companion, Elder Merriam who is also a hard worker, but he's also very serious about it. He wants to get stuff done. This is actually his last transfer, and so far no trunky symptoms, at least not that I've seen. He's trying to go out strong. It'll make for an interesting companionship.
I've been learning a ton about the scriptures, and have had multiple opportunities to share what I know. I've had several conversations about the Bible this week, and luckily all of them consisted of stuff I actually knew about! So I put up a good illusion of knowing what I'm doing. A couple days ago Elder Kimball and I were talking with this elderly women and her daughter that we visit every now and then. Well the mother studies with the Jehovah Witnesses, so every time we go over she tries to prove to us that Jehovah is God. Well this last visit she was trying to show us in the Bible where it says that. And they have a ton of Bibles - they have a King James, Catholic, Jehovah Witness, and so on. I remembered something in John 8, which is where the women is taken in adultery and the people wanted to stone her, but Christ says to them that those of them who haven't made a mistake before, throw the first stone. Well the Jehovah Witnesses have completely omitted that from the Bible. That chapter starts at verse 12 for them. Well I showed that to her, and used the other Bibles for comparison and it got her thinking. She said she would ask the Witnesses she meets with about it. I was really glad I had remembered that. I'm also going to go to a Bible study with one of our investigators. His name is K*** N***** and he really loves everything we say, except when talk about the Book of Mormon. He doesn't believe that Christ ever was in the Americas. That's something we'll need to work on. I'm really nervous about the Bible study. All of those people know a lot more than me, so if they decide to bash then.... that'd be no good....
I was able to participate in an Eagle service project, where we picked up trash off side street next to a freeway. We managed to gather over 1000 lbs of trash and the occasional perplexed glance from oncoming traffic in the process. We supposedly have a big service project coming up later this week that takes place in Vallejo! It's a three-day project that includes the Fairfield and Vallejo zones so they are going send us over in shifts. I have no idea what we're doing but I'm really excited about it!
We are still working on our investigators. E**** is sooo close to baptism! She was able to attend a double baptism in a another ward with us and she said she liked it. One of the people who was baptized was a women in her 90's. I've never seen that before! Everyone was a little more nervous than excited when she went under.... It was so great Elisa was able to make it, and things started making sense to her, like the importance of the sacrament (she's an ex-Jehovah's Witness and their sacrament service are a little different than ours... I hope you all don't think I'm just picking on the JWs cause I'm not, I promise!) So the baptism was really good for her because things started to click and make sense.
Well everyone, remember our Savior, in all times and in all places. Remember what He went through for us, and most importantly remember why He did. I know that our redeemer, Jesus Christ, lived and died for us. I also know that He lived again, and that He broke the bands of death. And Because of Him, so will we. #BecauseofHim
Love, Elder Hayden Ellis