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

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