Monday, August 25, 2014

An Earthquake and the Stripling Warriors

Elder Ellis' picture with his cousins in Borneo. It looks like he had a great time!

Happy Birthday, Stephen!

Happy Birthday, my brother! I miss and love you and hope you have an awesome day!

So I've had a pretty good week, but it's not much different than the previous weeks. Novato is pretty tough and hardly anyone wants to listen to us. Marin County is just a very wealthy area, and people here are pretty well off for the most part, so they don't think they need to listen to a pair of charming and handsome gentlemen talking about Jesus. So contacting and tracting is really hard here, and Elder Meiners and I have had very little success, but Saturday night we had a little bit more luck! We were walking around an apartment complex and didn't talk to anyone for a good 20 mins. People either weren't out or were ignoring us, so we decided to head back to the car and go home since it was close to 9 pm and clearly nothing was happening that night. As we got close to where we parked some women started shouting "Elders!" at us from down the street and ran up to meet us. She said she knew missionaries when she saw them and was eager to hear if we had a special word from the Lord for her. So we taught her about Prophets and how we have a living one today and she graciously accepted the message. She told us she loves to study different religious literature and she was going to go home and study the Book of Mormon she has on her bedside table. We asked her if we could come by and teach her more sometime but she gave us the vague and almost nefarious answer of: "Oh, we'll see each other again..." While Elder Meiners and I were giving each other a "what the heck does that mean...?" sideways glance, she turned around and sprinted away with her friend that was just hanging out in the background. So that last part was a little strange, but it was much needed and definitely one of our better contacts we've had in Novato.

Well I stand corrected from my previous email, Elder M***** is quite delightful and really funny. He has brought this insane new energy to the apartment that makes everything so much more interesting and fun. I'm not sure why people were so bummed to hear he was coming because I'm having a blast. He's just a really goofy guy, and I'm a pretty goofy guy myself, so we are enjoying each others' company.

Well last night we had a stake meet-and-greet, which is the first Sunday of each transfer. All of the missionaries in the San Rafael Stake get together in Petaluma with a member of the Stake Presidency and do some sort of activity to get to know everyone in the two San Rafael zones. What we did yesterday was pretty much a testimony meeting but if we wanted to we could stand up and share why we decided to serve a mission. I decided to stand and share some reasons I decided to serve a mission. I like to think of myself as a modern-day stripling warrior. Alma 56: 47-48 "Now they never had fought, yet they did not fear death; and they did think more upon the liberty of their fathers than they did upon their lives; yea, they had been taught by their mothers, that if they did not doubt, God would deliver them. 48 And they rehearsed unto me the words of their mothers, saying: We do not doubt our mothers knew it." My mom was the reason I came on a mission, because she raised me to love God, and to have faith in him. I owe everything I am now to my mom and I'm so grateful for her example to me. I also shared the time when I was 7 and I said I didn't want to pull a prank on my mom because I wanted to do what the Lord wanted me to do. That's an experience I know my mom holds close to her heart because that's the first time she realized I had a testimony. So I think that's probably the moment that set me on the path to serve a mission.

So as you all know, I was in an earthquake!! Just randomly at 3 in the morning Elders Milne, Randall and I (Elder Meiners slept right through it,) wake up to fairly violent shaking. It only lasted a couple of seconds after we woke up but it was still pretty crazy. It was a 6.1 in American Canyon, but it was probably only a 3 or 4 where we were so it wasn't that bad. After it stopped we all went back to sleep pretty quickly. Although there was no damage that I know of in Novato, I hear there was pretty bad damage in Napa. We haven't heard anything yet about a disaster relief effort but we still don't know much about the situation.

Well here's my unfortunate news for the day: so Elder Meiners and I are driving home earlier today to drop our laundry off and I had my hand sticking out the window. I suddenly felt something small hit my hand then it just started hurting so bad - like something small had stabbed me in the hand. I looked at my hand and there was a bee stinger in my hand!! What!?! How does that happen?! How does a bee fly stinger first into my hand while I'm driving 35 mile an hour!? It was the weirdest thing! I haven't been stung by a bee in a long time and I forgot how much it hurt! So that's my unfortunate moment of the day.

I have no idea where Borneo is, but from the looks of it, I feel the only way I'm going to be able to go there again is if I'm still in a picture frame.

Well, its hard to believe I'm coming up on my year mark. It doesn't feel like things are going by so quick but time is flying. I'm so grateful for my mission and all that it has done for me and how much I've grown and learned on it. I know how much a mission blesses someone's life and how much it benefits someone to go on a mission and I'm grateful for my mom for helping me get to this point.

Love, Elder Hayden Ellis

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Frozen and Transfers

Me and Elder .Randall at Headlands Beach

Happy Monday!

So transfers are happening as we speak! The results are as follow: I'm staying in Novato. Well of course I am, I would be pretty surprised if I was getting transferred out so soon. Elder Meiners is also staying, so no change in our companionship. Elder Sacco is transferring out and we are getting a new missionary in our apartment. His name is Elder M*****, and not many positive things are said about him. Only one person in this zone is happy that he is coming so everyone is pretty bummed right now, especially Elder Randall. So this will be another transfer I might have to practice exercising patience and tolerance. It will be an interesting next couple of transfers.

So we managed to teach a lot this week. We had at least one lesson a day, which for this area is pretty good. Things with our investigator, L*****, are going so well! One of our members, Sister Clark, is very good friends with her and is so helpful with fellowshipping her and making her feel welcome. We also have a lot of lessons at her house and she is very good at explaining things to her and having them make sense. So she is a valued member in our ward! Fun fact: Brother Clark is a visual effects supervisor. He works on a lot of movies, one of which is Ted, and works quite closely with Seth McFarland. He does the Teddy bear, and he is responsible for everything about Ted except for the voice. So that's pretty cool. There are so many movie makers here in Novato is ridiculous. But I digress. The work here is going really well right now. We are getting referrals and our investigators are progressing really well right now. So I'm pretty hopeful to have a baptism soon!

Well, I'm sorry, but not much happened this week so I'm not sure what else to write. Learning the piano is going better than I thought it would. I'm learning how to play "Let It Go" from Frozen, so that will make me popular with 8 year old girls. Other than that, it was a slow week. I know that things will pick up next week, and I'll have a lot more to write about.

Love, Elder Hayden Ellis

Monday, August 11, 2014

Nicholas Cage and Fishing in Tiburon

Hey Mom!

So something really cool happened last Monday. My celebrity encounters continue! So we went to Stinson Beach after we sent emails and the beach was stellar! We had such a good time. We played Ultimate Frisbee, football, and soccer, and I got some great pictures, (which I'll send eventually...) Then the Sisters finally got there and they were all excited and told us they just met Nicolas Cage. Of course we didn't believe them until they showed us pictures they took with him and pointed him out on the beach. So Elders Choffin, Merrel, Hansen, Meiners, Sacco and I did the only rational thing and sprinted down the beach like madmen to where he was. Of course we slowed down when we got close to him and acted casual. When we got to the finely dressed man that was pointed out to us, we were wondering how to approach him. Then Elder Meiners just went up to him and asked him how he was doing and shook his hand. And sure enough, it was Nicolas Cage! So my companion took the initiative to solve the problem of how to break the ice. We all shook his hand and talked for a little while. We asked him why he was at the beach (turns out he's in town filming a movie here, which we were told a week prior when we tried to get to on the beach and were stopped by a police officer because a movie was being filmed so the beach was closed,) and how things were going. We didn't talk for long since he didn't want too much attention drawn to him, which was weird that no one knew it was him considering how much he stood out for a guy on the beach. He told us that he liked us Mormons and then departed. I wanted to get a picture with him but I didn't have my camera at the time and I didn't want to go get it and come back since he was with his family and I didn't want to bother him. But I do have a couple of pictures that Elder Choffin took, and one that Elder Jeske got with him after we saw him, so that will be my proof of the encounter. So needless to say, Cali is the place to be if you want to meet famous individuals.

So transfers are in a week! Crazy! This is the fastest transfer ever - I feel like i just got here... We are all pretty sure that Elder Meiners is transferring to Santa Rosa to be a Tech Elder so I'm expecting a new companion soon. I can't believe how fast things are going by -  I'm closing in on my 9th month. Well, it was a really good week and we managed to get in contact with a lot of our investigators and potentials that we haven't seen in a while and have quite a few appointments set up for next week, so things look like they might pick up in this area. We also got to help one of our investigators clean out her garage, which was mildly difficult since she has a slight tendency to hoard. It was slightly challenging since there was so much stuff and she didn't want to throw anything away. We basically just rearranged her garage so it's more organized. Glad we were able to help her, but I think for a couple of days after the endeavor I had fleas, because she told us her dog had some flea problems and my legs were pretty itchy for a while!

We just got done fishing at Tiburon with one of our members, Brother Dixon. So although we didn't catch anything, we had a lot of fun and I got some really great pictures. Hopefully we're better at being fishers of men than we are at regular fishing.(Speaking of Tiburon, we just read on Facebook that Robin Williams died!! What?! Man so much is happening in the world its crazy!)

Well, that's it for me this week, since I still have some things I need to finish for this P Day. Till next week!

Love, Elder Hayden Ellis

Monday, August 4, 2014

Developing Talents and Papa Returning Home

Doing some manly gardening for Mama
Waiting for Elder Whittingslow
The bridge to the lighthouse
The lighthouse
I don't always look so indifferent - they keep snapping pictures when I'm not expecting it.
There are some really cool bunkers from the World Wars in this area.
Hi Mom!

Well the bad thing about being in a Facebook mission is that there really aren't any surprises for those back home... So yes! Elder Whittingslow is back in the mission! My Papa came back home! Crazy part is that he is in my District now! He took Elder Slaughter's place who was emergency transferred a couple of weeks ago. So Elder Whittingslow and I are going to see a lot of each other now! We have a lot of catching up to do. It's strange since I have been out longer than my trainer now, only by a week or so but I'm still older than my daddy! Now we are going to go home at the same time, which is really weird to think about... but it's also pretty cool!

So I have taken it upon myself to develop some new talents while I'm on my mission. I've been thinking about it lately and I realized I don't have a particular set of skills or special talents, so I'm going to work on that while I'm on my mission! I have decided to undertake the process of learning how to play the piano! I'm working on learning how to read sheet music right now. I figured since I'm not musically inclined, that's something I can work on! Any sort of tips or advice are more than welcome. Also I'm learning a little bit of ASL (American Sign Language) from Elder Hansen. So I have all sorts of projects I'm working on out here!

Well Elders Randall, Sacco, Meiners and I went and helped our investigator, L*******, out with her house. Some tree roots found there way into her plumbing and her house flooded. Worse part of it all is she may or may not have a slight hoarding there were many things that got damaged by the water. We went over to try to help her salvage what survived and clean up around her house. She was very grateful for the much needed assistance and as a result, she was at church yesterday, and I don't think she has made it to church before then. See what a little bit of reaching out can do for people? Mom, I really enjoyed the story of the Elders helping their investigator move and then her decision to be baptized as a result of it. Some people just need someone to reach out to them and know they care. Service for others really goes a long way - that's why I love service so much.

Well I have to wrap it up since the other Elders are waiting on me. We are going to the beach again and this time the whole zone is going to be there instead of just three of us. Have a great week!

Love, Elder Hayden Ellis