Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Meeting a Kansan and Eating Jellyfish

Hey Mom!

It's hard to believe we're already in September. My companion, Elder Meiners, hit his year mark this week, and in two more transfers I'll follow suit. It really doesn't feel like I've been at this for almost a year. I look at the four brand new missionaries in our zone and feel like It wasn't long ago that I was in their position! Well, it really wasn't that long ago, but in mission life, pushing 10 months is getting up there in age. I'm starting to feel pretty old in my mission! One of the new missionaries graduated high school three months ago. That's pretty weird for me since I'm used to being the youngest in my zone. I can't even begin to imagine what the next year is going to feel like.

We'll I had a really cool run in with a fellow Kansan! Elder Milne, Randall, Meiners and I were helping a man move into his new house. He met the Spanish missionaries down in San Rafael and they helped him pack up his truck and then sent him our way to assist with getting the truck unloaded and everything in his house. If my mission has taught me one thing, it's how to load and unload a moving truck! I'm being prepared for the rest of my life here. So I jumped in the truck and started handing the other Elders boxes to take inside and that became my job for the rest of move. It gave me an opportunity to talk to an old man by the name of Bob who was "supervising" the project. He's a really funny guy, and certainly not afraid to hand out praise, sometimes for silly things. I'd pick up a box and place it on the tail gate of the truck for the other Elders to come get and he would give me a hearty "Good job!" or "perfectly executed!" I never thought I could feel so good about myself for something like stacking boxes! Although after he said it continually for 45 mins, the compliments started losing their luster. But after talking to him for a little while I discovered he is from Kansas City, so we had a lot to talk about there! It was nice to reminisce about the Kansas barbecue and the thunder storms. Normally the only conversations about Kansas I have are about tornadoes, farms and how I'm not in Kansas anymore.... So this was definitely a nice change of pace! The other service project we did this week was helping a member get a ton of wood in a chipper and cutting down a lot of vines and unnecessary foliage hanging from a tree. I was on the "vine disposal team", and naturally we were equipped machetes. Nothing better than slicing through an inch thick vine with one swing. That's satisfying... Unfortunately, I went too hard and ended up stabbing my thigh on the end of a down swing. So I left that project with a war wound! It's not that bad, just a small cut but let it be known that blood was shed for the sake of service!

Sorry for not mentioning it in my last email, but keeping track of everything I want to send each week is really tough and sometimes I leave stuff out. Yes, Gianni, the beef jerky and salmon were really good! And of course the Martinellis paired with it made it the best food care package I've ever gotten. Nothing makes a missionary happier than sparkling apple cider and dehydrated beef!

Well a couple of things happened this week, probably one of the biggest things was the announcement from President Alba that the mission is taking a break from Facebook for a while to reevaluate and get reorganized. I'm fine with this; I find I don't really use it much anyways. Facebook can be really distracting while you're trying to work and for a lot of missionaries it's just an hour break to relax and watch videos of ice bucket challenges. So, for an undetermined amount of time the Santa Rosa mission is going to be off Facebook and Skype, which is kinda sad since that was one of the main things that set us apart from the other missions. We were the first IPad and Facebook mission, but after a while people start getting casual about using these tools so it'll be good for us to take a break. We also had interviews with President (that's when we took all the First Presidency pictures) and we had Zone Conference, which was like any normal Zone Conference but this time we watched a really powerful video about the Atonement, which I will send home on a flash drive. It isn't made by the church but it really explains what the atonement was like for Christ and for His Father in ways we all can understand. Sometimes the Atonement can be a hard concept for people to grasp. It explains what it must've been like for Heavenly Father to allow his Only Begotten Son to atone for the sins of mankind. John 3:16"¶For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." I recommend watching it. I think it's called, "For God so Loved the World" or something like that. Powerful video! I plan on showing it to our investigators. On top of it all, we have a temple trip coming up! We didn't have one last transfer, which is when we would normally have had one but the Oakland temple was closed so we put it off for this transfer. And that's coming up in a week. So a lot is going on right now.

Well Sunday was a good day because we had an investigator come to church! We haven't even met with her yet but she had a friend bring her. She and her son are looking for change in a big way. So I can't wait to meet them both and start teaching them!

Sorry that this email is really late! I just had a super crazy P-Day that involved the beach, rock climbing, taking a bite out of a jelly fish, (fun fact: jelly fish that wash up on the beach are not for eating, they taste like pure, concentrated salt. Awful!) and urban exploring in some bunkers! I took so many pictures so I'll send those next week.

I love my mission, I love my friends, I love my family, and I love my Heavenly Father! Till next week!

Love,  Elder Hayden Ellis

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