Monday, December 29, 2014

A Christmas Surprise and a Gold Star for Service

A Christmas surprise from the Grahams

Who says Elder Ellis isn't in Kansas any more?

Christmas Day Skype call 

Happy New Year!

Holy son of Moses! I can't believe this year is over! How did that happen!? We are nearly in 2015, people! We made it! Claps and pats for everyone! But seriously, it's so strange to think that this year is over. I had barely started my mission a year ago! Back then I was just a humble, moderately handsome greenie, who wasn't sure what was happening half the time! And now here I am! One year later and I can proudly say that I'm not a greenie anymore, though everything else seems to have been pretty consistent.

Elder Chan and do copious amounts of tracting. We knock n' talk everyday. But from it, we pick up the most investigators out of everyone in our zone. Now I'm not trying to sound boastful or anything. Not like: "(insert obnoxious accent of your preference) Oh ho! Look at me with my bountiful oasis of investigators! I stumbled upon Zion here!" No, I'm not saying that. I've just never really had much of a testimony of tracting until now. I always thought it was just something you had to do in order to get investigators. If the Lord sees you doing what you're suppose to, and He sees you working hard, you'll find investigators somehow - whether it be a member referral or someone randomly stopping you on the street wearing a shirt that says, "I heart the gospel." But I've never seen success come directly from tracting before now! When we picked up our first investigator, we knocked on the door and then when he told us to come back, I was like, "Well maybe next time man. Let us know if we can do anyth-wait - what did you just say? Ar.... Are you sure?" So I don't know if it's just this area is more receptive to a couple of strangers at the front door, or if Elder Chan is just ridiculously good, but tracting is bringing us some results I've never seen before!

So, funny story about my adventures with my foreign friend! One of our members couldn't feed us for dinner so she gave us a $20 gift card for Dominos pizza instead. When we got there we planned on ordering two smalls for $24, but the guy at the counter said we could do two large, three-topping pizzas for $16, so we opted for the cheaper, large pizzas of course. After explaining to Elder Chan how that transaction could possibly make sense, and how we could get more food for less money, my companion learned why America has a weight problem.

Well, Elder Chan and I had a fantastic Christmas! It was fun to Skype home to my family, but it really wasn't that big of a deal since I saw them two weeks ago. I am looking forward to Mother's Day when I've had a sufficient enough time away from home to be excited to see the family again! Just kidding - love you Mother! Anyway, we had a pretty busy day on Christmas! We had three dinners we went to. Let me tell you, the Lord created the human stomach not intending for it to eat as much as I did that day. That's why Christmas only comes once a year. I'm excited to return home and only have one dinner on Christmas, and not have the pressure of eating too little and practically disrespecting the family's entire ancestral line. We also had an abundance of whimsical glee on Christmas Eve. We weren't having much success that night tracting, since it was Christmas Eve and people wanted to spend it with their families and not us, so we retired early and Elder Chan taught me the songs of his people. We spent a good 30 minutes singing in Mandarin. Well, I was backup singing, of course. He knew the lyrics and all I did was make noises in a rhythmic manner.

The day after Christmas I received a very surprising and much appreciated visit from my Cali Family, the Grahams! They completely caught me off guard! We were weekly planning at the church with the Elders from Napa 2nd Ward and we got a call from the Grahams saying they were already on their way to Napa, bearing Christmas gifts no less! It was very good to see them all again! #christmasmiracle

So, I have gotten into a very bad habit due to my little medical timeout. Whenever I go to Ward Council or Sacrament meeting and see the bishopric, I subconsciously compare them to Bishop Lusty and his counselors. The Tooele bishopric always look like they're having a blast - like they just got back from Disneyland. When I see other wards it brings me back to the harsh reality that it isn't always like that. Speaking of the bishopric here, my cherished mother asked me on Skype if I was ever going to give a talk in sacrament meeting on my mission. Well, thanks a lot mom, because I'm giving a talk on January 25th! I totally blame you for this. I've managed to dodge the podium so far, and just like that my streak has come to an end.

I received some rather suspicious mail the other day. Some dude from Sandy, Utah sent me a letter and five of his audio books he made about the church. He said he found my blog and felt as if he needed to send me these CD's... Apparently he just looks for missionaries online to send copies to. I still think it's a little strange but if they work for some people then who am I to be critical.

I think it's safe to say Elder Chan and I more than deserve a Gold Star for service this week! Yesterday after church we were tracting some apartments and asking people if they needed any sort of service or assistance. We knocked on this one door where the women only opened it a crack so we couldn't see inside and asked us what we wanted. We introduced ourselves and she quickly told us she was Christian and was happy with her faith and that whole routine. But when we told her we were looking for community service and to help people out, her attitude changed a little and she started asking us about it. She inquired to what capacity could we provide service. I figured since she knew we were volunteers of a church she wasn't going to ask us to do anything illegal like transporting drugs (once is enough for me, thanks.) So I told her we would do our best to help her with whatever she needed help with. She asked her if we could empty a.... something.... I'm still not sure what she said, but we were like, "Suuuuure! No problem!" Well, it just so happens she is physically handicapped and was referring to her bedpan, and the contents thereof, that needed to be emptied into her actual toilet, and then sanitized. So while Elder Chan was doing that, she requested that I get some carpet cleaner and remove some stains in her carpet made from the aforementioned bedpan contents. We then reheated her some dinner, and attempted to teach her about Joseph Smith, but she wasn't having it, and we went on our way! She was very appreciative though.

Charity never faileth, even when it's super gross.

Hope everyone has a Happy New Year! 

Love, Elder Hayden Ellis

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