Monday, October 20, 2014

A Problem Cyst and New Families to Teach

Hey Mom!

Well, Elder Corn and I had a very good week and have found so many new families to teach! First, we met an inactive family who hasn't come to church in a very long time. We tried getting to the root of why they decided to not come to church and of course it's because of a social reason, not doctrinal. He still believes the church is true, knows Joseph Smith is a prophet, he even asked for a blessing which I gave him. But someone insulted him at church so he and his family decided to stop coming. It's sad when people let trivial reasons stand in between them and the Gospel. They like having us over and we had dinner with them on Friday. So we will keep coming by to visit them and leave them with scriptures to read out of the Book of Mormon. Hopefully we will be able to help them remember how important church attendance is and reactivate them.

We found another really cool family while we were tracting the other day. We knocked on this one door and the son answered and we asked him if his family would be interested in a blessing on their home. So he asked his mom and they accepted. As we were asking the mom what she would like us to pray for, the 17 year old son was being super legit, turning off the TV's without us asking and trying to get his brother to come and join us. For those of you who don't know, these are very uncommon actions for a 17 year old boy who was busy playing video games not 10 minutes prior. The family is very religious and after we prayed and blessed the home the mom talked to us about how important the family is and how it's starting to dwindle in importance especially in places like California and we are just sitting there nodding all along the way! The best part is when the son brought up his dad, who doesn't live with them, and mentioned how he might need a blessing too. We offered to go see him if they told us where he lives and he started getting ready to take us there! Definitely not normal for a teenage boy. "Hmm, I wonder if my dad needs to pray with theses two random guys we let in our house, I should probably drive them there!" He was so cool! His mom stopped him since they were just getting ready to go to a football game. The family is super stellar and said we could come back and see them, which in Ellis translation means they are totally getting baptized! We also found a really great part member family we are going to reactivate. We went to visit a person that we found on the ward list and ended up meeting her little sister who is probably around 13 and not a member. She said how much her mom loves the Mormons, so that makes us wonder why she stopped coming to church since she's already a member... But the girls seemed really interested in the church, so we gave her a restoration pamphlet and she looked excited to read it. I asked her if she likes to read and she said she loves reading.... "Well in that case we got something else for ya! It's called the Book of Mormon, have at it!" Of course we explained what it is a little more than that, but that was the gist of it. Her eyes got a little big but she said she would read it! So we found even more people to teach! We also left a blessing with a homeless man, and he wants us to come visit him at the shelter he's staying at. Our area is really starting to blow up!

We had zone conference this week and President and Sister Alba and the AP's shared some of their wisdom with us. One of the things President talked about is how important it is to have a testimony of the Savior and It made me think of the man we met the day before who claims to be Jewish, Muslim and Christian. He doesn't believe in one set path back to God. He also doesn't believe that Jesus is the Christ, and doesn't believe he is the Only Begotten. In fact, he actually said it is sinful to refer to him as that. He believes that he was just a prophet, like Moses or Abraham. So he wanted to pray with us, but didn't want us to close in the name of Jesus Christ, so of course we just ended up not praying. Even though he liked a lot of what we said, like about the Word of Wisdom, without a faith in Jesus Christ he will never have a mighty change in heart like Alma the older did. When the Savior calls him, he will not recognize the voice (Alma 5:38). My favorite part of zone conference was President Alba showed us a screening version of Meet the Mormons and I thought it was fantastic! I can't imagine why people would be critical of the movie. I thought it did a very good job of setting aside common misconceptions about the church and helping people to see that we are normal people too.

Well, I have some rather disturbing news... I finally went to the doctor to get my cyst checked out, and he came to the same conclusion as I, that it is indeed a cyst. And with this particular cyst it will never go away without surgery. Not only is it bad enough that I have to get butt surgery, but I might not be able to get the surgery on my mission, so I might have to come home for it. Let me describe how much going home for this surgery would bother me the best way I can. Elder Makoni, a missionary I served with in Cordelia 2nd Ward, was hit by a drunk driver a couple days ago. He was flown to Santa Rosa and has a few skull fractures. Pretty severe right? Well apparently not, because he's going to stay in the field and get back to work in a couple of days! Are you kidding me?! He fractured his skull and is staying, but I might have to go home for a bump on my booty!? I'm going to be so bummed if I'm temporarily medically discharged for this... If I'm going to go home early for something, I want it to be for something cool like a gunshot wound, not for this... Well, we will see what happens.

Well I'll depart by leaving you with this scripture! 3 Nephi 5:13: "Behold, I am a disciple of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. I have been called of him to declare his word among his people, that they might have everlasting life."

Love, Elder Hayden Ellis

Monday, October 13, 2014

Sixteen Stones and a Bee Sting



Monday, October 6, 2014

Conference and a Future Roadtrip

Sarah and Lauren Graham came to Utah for Conference and spent an afternoon with us.
Our dog, Joe, who is a little challenged when it comes to people skills,
allowed Lauren to get close enough to pet him - which is a really big deal.
Sarah and Lauren Graham came to visit from Fairfield, California. They are one
of Elder Ellis's favorite families!

Hey Mom!

Wow, so where to begin... Well it's a brand new transfer and I have a new companion, Elder Corn. Like I said last week, I already know Elder Corn because he was my District Leader in Crescent City, and since the six of us were so isolated up there, we spent a lot of time with each other. So it's strange being his companion now, but we get alongreally well. He has changed a lot since we were in Crescent City. He is a lot more optimistic and cheerful than when I knew him before so it's much easier to be around him now. Not to mention I'm always having a good time with my roommates. I love my apartment, we are always laughing so hard. Elder Milne, Elder Huff, Elder Corn and I are all super compatible and often speculate what a long road trip with the four of us would be like, and we came to the conclusion that it would be ridiculously entertaining.

So something really cool happened at transfer devotional. I love that meeting solely because I'm able to see all the missionaries I've served around so far and catch up with them. Something really cool that happened there was I ran into Elder Wilson from my ward in South Jordan, Utah! Turns out that after he left on his mission to somewhere in South America (I can't remember where) he got sick and had to go home. After putting his papers in again he got called to my mission! So I was able to see him at Transfers. It was super cool seeing him again, given I only knew him for a couple of weeks before he left on his mission. I was also able to see some of my favorite missionaries: Elder Christiansen, Elder Haynie, Hermana LemMon, Elder Gasu, just to name a few. I love Missionary reunions, it's always so much fun to catch up with an old companion and share stories and reminisce!

Mom, that is so cool that you were able to meet, even a part of, one of the coolest families in Cordelia 2nd. I mean there are so many cool families in that ward, but I think I really connected with the Graham's and it's definitely on my priority list to keep in contact with them. And I can't BELIEVE that Joe let Lauren get near him! I can't even get that close to that little weirdo! That is just too funny.

So unfortunately Elder Corn and I have been having some car troubles as of late and our Corolla is incapacitated. First we needed to get one of our tires changed, so we take it to an auto shop in San Rafael and long story short, we wait there for 3 hours and leave with all the same tires that we went in with... So because of miscommunication we wasted a lot of time. That was a bit of a bummer. And then the next day the check engine light came on again after we had fixed it the first time, and we took it to the Toyota dealership to get it fixed, and we still are without car. But it's okay, because no matter how many car problems we have, the church is still true.

I wasn't able to see "Dare to Serve" between Conference sessions on Sunday. I know Elder Mallory was in it. Elder Mallory was serving in Fairfield at the same time I was, although he was in a different ward. We lived in the same apartment complex so I got to see him quite a bit. He's only a transfer ahead of me so we'll be heading to BYU-Idaho at the same time. I love that guy, we hit it off so quickly.

That is so cool that Ellen Frederickson was called to serve in Louisiana! I didn't even know she was considering a mission! When does she leave? Have fun with the gators and the mosquitos!

I loved General Conference and took so many notes on it! I got a blister from holding the pen for so long! We watched the second session at the Stricklings, though the rest of it was at the stake center. I noticed that they talked a lot about helping the poor and the needy in this Conference. I loved Elder Holland's talk on it, and how he pointed out how much the Savior loved the disadvantaged and the needy. He himself, the creator of the universe, was homeless. That was pretty powerful for me. They also gave a fair amount of attention to fortifying our testimonies to be prepared for whatever may try to shake them. This is true now more than ever. In this day and age, there seems to be so many things that may instill doubt and uncertainty about things we hold sacred. So many things try to grab our attention and sway our opinions to their favor. Media, advertisements, and people alike all may have intentions to plant a seed of disbelief and pull us away from the truth. We need to be ready to combat these inevitable situations by building up our testimonies now. I know that we can build a spiritual barricade to ward off the things that try to tear our testimonies down, just by doing simple things like praying, scripture study, and attending church. Then we can put on the whole armor of God and be given the protection he intended us to have.

Well, sorry this is so late! I had a really busy day. We had a zone barbecue on Rodeo beach and it took a lot of preparation and we had to speed though the day to get there early enough to start cooking but we had sooo much fun! You know it was a good day when you have a huge headache by dinner. Pictures to come! Love you all!

Love, Elder Hayden Ellis