Monday, April 28, 2014

Loving Service and Your Mom

Our newest convert A*****, with Elders Kimball, Ellis, Makoni and Smith
Hello people from home and beyond!

So this week was a week of service! Have any of you ever heard of CDA? It's the California Dental Association. Definitely look it up - there was a news report done on it on Friday, I believe. We had a service project with them, that included the Fairfield, Vallejo, and Napa zones. For three days CDA was giving out free dental care to everyone that walked in. It's really incredible everything they did. They did extractions, fillings, cleanings, dentures, and even a couple of root canals, etc, all for free! One didn't even need ID! You literally just walked in, they kept track of you with a clip board, and would get all this work done on you, then you would walk out! So what could the missionaries of three different zones possibly add to this mighty workforce? Well of course we dove right in and started pulling teeth! That's a lie, we did no such thing. But we did serve as escorts and assistants. All patients needed to be escorted everywhere they went. Imagine 1,500 people walking around, having no idea where they are suppose to go, many of them doped up for pain, and many of them confused because half their mouth is gone. It would be catastrophic. So we would take the patients from place to place, make them feel welcome, provide casual small talk, all that good stuff. And we did this for 12 WHOLE HOURS, we worked from 5 am to 5 pm on Friday with the Vallejo zone, and Napa took Saturday. It was so much fun but incredibly exhausting. My job at first was to be the exit enforcer, which entailed forcing people to use the proper exit! The set up CDA had was very organized and systematic. So people couldn't be walking around wherever they wanted after they had their work done. Also they didn't want people coming right back to get more work done or more medication, so that was also a concern. There was a small gate near the building where the surgeries were getting done that people had to exit from. Well many people did not wish to do that, since it was muddy and wet, (from the pouring rain that I had the pleasure to work in all morning) or because it was far away from where they parked - I heard all sorts of excuses. But those were the rules on the table, so trying to convince people to use this measly looking gate, that lead to nothing but mud and puddles was an interesting experience, to say the least. Most people were more than willing because they were so grateful, but there were a lot of people who were quite stubborn, and I had to get authoritative on them! I was pretty much a glorified bouncer. After that I became a regular escort so I took people to the stations they need to go to. It was cool, and it was great publicity for the church! Most of the volunteers I talked to that weren't missionaries were members of the church. I had quite a few discussions with people about the church and I actually taught a lesson to someone about the Book of Mormon, and told him he should read it. There were many great missionary opportunities here. Unfortunately no one thought to bring their camera, so I don't have pictures of this event, but they have a website and a Facebook page that have lots of photos of it. It was a wonderful experience, and I was really grateful for the opportunity to be a part of this event. During the entire thing I was just so happy! I was also cold and wet, but that couldn't bring me down. I love service so much!

I'm so exhausted, this week was a long one. We hardly had any lessons this week because everyone we normally teach bailed on us. We spent most of our time walking around and tracting. We found quite a few potential investigators, so that's good, and we also found a less active home that Bishop Clawson has been trying to get into. He was actually told that the members there moved, so he had stopped going by there. It's a good thing we found them! It was funny, when we knocked on the door and the mother answered and invited us in, we were slightly hesitant.... People never invite us in! Something is suspicious about this! Then when she called us Elders we were like, yep! She's a member. Then we told her we would come by later, and she told us we should bring the home teachers by too! Yeah, we got it! She's a member! It's was pretty funny. We brought it up in ward council and the bishop was quite surprised, but happy nonetheless.

Well, we had a baptism on Saturday. It wasn't mine and Elder Kimball's, but it was the other Elders in our ward, Elder Makoni and Elder Smith. Her name is A***** and she's 21 years old. She actually wasn't being taught for that long before she decided to be baptized - I think like a month and a half ago they started teaching her. It was a really great baptism, the spirit was so strong during it, and she had a lot of nonmember family that was there. Elder Kimball and I gave the missionary moment during the baptismal service, so hopefully we touched someone's heart. Brother Graham baptized her (the Graham's are the family we watched conference with and had Easter dinner with) and Elder Makoni confirmed her yesterday. After the baptism we went to the Beverly's home (they are another fellowshipper family for A****) for an after party. It was a great opportunity to get to know her relatives and for the members there to introduce themselves and show her family that's she's in good hands. A***** is going to do just fine in this ward since she's got a huge support group here. Fellow shippers are soooo important. People need to know that a ward is more than a group of people you go to church with. A ward is a family. There is a promise in our mission, and I'm sure it's a universal promise as well, that if we have every set lesson in a member's home, we'll double our baptisms. Which is totally true! And it's not just true for people investigating the church, but for members too. If you see someone at church you don't recognize, then go introduce yourself! Make a new friend, we can never have too many friends. You never know what a simple hello could do for someone.

Well most p-days we just go to the stake center and play basketball, write letters and email. But sometimes we go to this place called Scandia, it's kinda like an arcade place that has go-karts, laser tag, and batting cages. We haven't been there in a while. There's definitely a lot more to do here than in Crescent City.

Way to go mom! Good job making friends. And all it took was food, I mean that's how you won me over.

I'm sooo excited for Mother's Day! Can't wait to Skype home to the family! Youth of the world! Hearken unto my voice! Love thy mothers! It's actually a commandment! You are literally obligated to do so. Isn't that neat? I miss my mom so much. I appreciated her when I was home, but not to the extent I do now! She had to take care of me, not to mention tolerate me, for 18 years! That's a tall order! Happy early Mother's Day everyone! I love you, Mom!

Love Elder Hayden Ellis

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