Monday, September 1, 2014

A Fiji Mermaid and Cannolis

A paper mache Fiji mermaid.

Elder Milne and Elder Ellis with the Fiji mermaid.

Alessandro and Elder Ellis

Aunt Mary and Elder Ellis with homemade cannolis

Elder Ellis getting some hammock time while Uncle Davide cooks pizza

Hey Mom!

First of all congratulations to my Uncle Nate for his promotion! I don't know what all those fancy chef words mean, but it all sounds pretty prestigious! I'm happy for you, Uncle Nate, you deserve it! And mom, I was dying from that Chopped episode you told me about! So funny!

Elder M***** isn't the easiest guy to live with but he's a lot better than people led me to believe. I seem to be the only one that actually gets along with him, but I'm really making a concentrated effort to see the best in people and not let little stuff bother me. So I'm not sure if I'm getting really good at that or if he's just easier to live with than I anticipated, but either way it seems to be working! I went on exchanges with Elder Kimball this week, (I can't remember if I mentioned that he transferred to my zone, but if not, then I'm letting you all know now!) and that was really cool. We had a chance to talk a lot about Fairfield and what happened after he left. Good news that he revealed to me: my investigator, E***** is still well on her way to get baptized this month! I'm so excited! I hope President will allow me to attend her baptism. There's a rule that you can go to out-of-zone baptisms if they are less than 30 mins away, and from here to Fairfield is like 50 mins... so I doubt he will, but maybe if i ask nice enough...

So one of the pictures you sent really confused me, since I looked at the pictures before reading the email. I was wondering why some toddler was holding a picture of me, then it clicked that it was little Ale! Holy Moses, he got big!! And he's already walking around?! I was so bummed out to find out I missed his first steps! Of course while serving a mission for 2 years I was well aware that he was likely to figure out how legs worked, but I was really banking on the possibility that he didn't feel like he had anywhere to be in a hurry and not learn how to walk till he's 3 years old. That was a bit of a stretch. Davide, the backyard looks amazing. I can't wait to try out that pizza oven! And I miss Mary's cannoli's! Those are SO GOOD. I remember making those my personal reward when I got Ale to be happy and fall asleep!

My mission is trying something new that I am very excited for! It's call and its going to be a way for the mission to find more service opportunities for us missionaries! Hopefully we'll find some big projects - like the tri-zone one in Vallejo that I was in where we helped CDA give free dental care to people. That was the coolest service project I've ever been a part of, so hopefully we can find more like that. What's interesting about it is that during the projects that we'll be assisting with, we aren't allowed to proselyte; its strictly service. So I'm really psyched for that to start up; service is one of my favorite things about missionary work. I personally think it's the best way to get people to open their hearts to you and to the Gospel.

So we had a really cool Sacrament meeting yesterday that I really enjoyed. It was like testimony meeting but the difference was we had one speaker who talked briefly on hymns and how they are prayers from the righteous to our Heavenly Father. Then the ward members were invited to come up, share their favorite hymn and then we sang a verse of their choice together. It was a really great idea and tons of people went up one after another to have us sing their favorite hymn. I wanted to go up but so many people were sharing theirs, that there was literally no time for us missionaries! So I'd like to take the opportunity to share mine now. My favorite hymn is probably number 259, "Hope of Israel". The reason I love this hymn so much is because it reminds me of the importance of missionary work, whether by full-time missionaries or member missionaries, is especially in these latter-days. The work of Salvation is hastening (D&C 88:73) and is being preached to every nation, kindred, tongue, and people (D&C 42:58). We all need to get involved in this wonderful work! Something I'd like to invite everyone to do is to share their favorite hymns and why they like them! Whether you want to tell someone in the family or share it on Facebook, I know hymns are a great way to invite the spirit and that Heavenly Father hears every one of them you sing.

Love, Elder Hayden Ellis

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