|Elder Ellis and Gianni - November 2014|
Happy Father's Day Gianni! I love you and miss you. I appreciate the example you've been to me and support you have shown me. I'm grateful you came into our lives and I'm proud to call you my dad.
Now that I got the sentimental stuff out of the way I can get on with the rest of the letter! Well I very much enjoyed my Fathers' Day! We had only half a lesson in Elders Quorum and then went and had ice cream sundaes. Although I am most certainly not a father, since I have been set apart to a higher calling of a missionary I have certain Keys that I hold that grant me access to delicious frozen treats. Then to top off the night, I had dinner with my favorite fam, the Grahams! They are so funny and they always sign up to feed us on holidays. Easter, Mothers' Day, Fathers' Day, and they even had us over for General Conference! Elder Gasu and I wanted to do something for Brother Graham for Fathers' Day, since the family is always so good to us, so we made him a card and I gave him one of my ties that, after consulting with Sister Graham, said he would like. Elder Gasu is quite artistic, and is very good at graffiti art, so he made a really cool card with their name graffiti-ed on it. We also volunteered to do the dishes with their kids so they could relax, which doesn't happen much. Well, he loved the gift and they greatly appreciated the service so I feel quite accomplished.
So we had an exciting week. I've had two Seventies come and visit us in the last week! We had a half mission conference and Elder Falabella of the Quorum of the Seventies came and told us we are bad missionaries because we aren't getting any baptisms. Well, he wasn't that direct about it but that's more or less what he said to us. He told us that we can get more baptisms by helping turn our converts into missionaries. He gave us the example in the scriptures how Alma converted King Lamoni, who then went on to share the gospel with many people. It was a good talk but what made it even better is that he didn't call anyone to come up to share the talks we were suppose to prepare like we thought he was going to. I thought for sure he was going to call on me since we all went up one by one and introduced ourselves to him. When he got to me he asked me if i was related to the Elder Ellis in the Quorum of the Seventy, which was the exact same way I was picked out to teach the restoration to the congregation in my first Stake Conference. So that mildly concerned me - if I'm asked to speak I'll do it, but if I can avoid looking like a fool in front of a great multitude of people, that would be preferable. But instead of having people come up and speak he just asked people to raise their hands to share something they learned from reading the scriptures about Alma and the Sons of Mosiah. Good thing too, because I accidentally grabbed a note a little girl wrote me instead of my talk, so had he called on me I would have had to gone by the spirit and winged it! Since half the mission was there I was able to see a lot of people I've been able to serve with or around. I saw Elder Kimball and Elder Haynie and a lot of other missionaries I was happy to see. Elder Haynie brought me tidings of great sorrow, because after I left Crescent City, Bro. D******, who was my very first lesson and who had a baptismal date by the time I left, started smoking again. I was bummed to hear that! I love the D****** family and was sad to hear that they are still struggling. On the bright side, one out of three of my investigators with a date got baptized! For those of you who can remember all the way back to my first letters home, K****** C*****, who was one of my first investigators was baptized! This brought me great joy to hear.
Something else that was interesting was I went on exchanges with Elder Bishop, who is one of the brand new missionaries that was assigned to Fairfield this last transfer. It reminded me a lot of when I first got in the mission and went on my first exchange. Well since we were in my area and we didn't have any appointments planned, we spent most of the day contacting. And frankly, I learned I'm a lot better at contacting than I thought, since I was the only one who did any contacting that day. Elder Bishop was silent whenever we went up to talk to people, which is understandable since he's new, but it just pushed me to be better at contacting. Especially since I wanted to be a good example for the greenie so I tried even harder to talk to everyone we saw. Id say it helped prepare me a little for being in charge, since this was the first time I was paired with a missionary that was less experienced than me. We had a fun time together.
Well, I just wanted to wrap things up with my testimony on fathers. Although I am not a father, I have seen the importance of them from a different viewpoint in my life. I know how needed they are, and how much it blesses a family to have a worthy priesthood holder in it. I also know that we have a Father in Heaven, and I know that He loves all his children. He wants us to be happy and to meet all His expectations He has for us. Our Heavenly Father wants all of us to someday return to Him, and He will be waiting with open arms. That is why I am in California today, to share this message with people and help them change so they can accomplish this ultimate goal. I know this work is important and the blessings that come with it are true. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
Love, Elder Hayden Ellis