Monday, January 19, 2015

An Ellis Promised Land and an Apartment Purge

Elder Ellis did not send home an explanation about this photo. Any guesses? 

Hello! (Insert Grandpa's voice when he answers the phone)

Good day, family, friends and beloved associates. Another week rolls by and I'm nearing the end of another transfer, which went by far too quickly, as they always do. Two more weeks to go.

I don't think I've mentioned it before but there are tons of Ellis' in this ward. That was the first thing everyone said to me when I initially arrived in Napa. This information actually preceded the Kansas jokes, so that was refreshing. All I know is I have reached the Ellis promise lands. If I had to take a guess about why the Israelites wandered the desert for 40 years, (which I don't need to guess considering it's clearly outlined in the Bible) it would be for what I found in Napa. My people. Such a union between Ellis' calls for much jubilation. No need to send for me mother, for I am home now.

So Elder Chan and I have had a really good week! We managed to get a lot of service in which is always good. We try to volunteer at Salvation Army at least once a week and managed to help out a little while on exchanges with the 3rd Ward Elders. Elder Blackhurst and I were together, and while we were there we made 130+ sack lunches that they handed out to homeless people in town. And in each of those sacks was a sandwich, also prepared by us. I have never made more sandwiches in my life than I did that day. I feel like the amount of food I prepared should qualify me for some scholarship at the Cordon Bleu culinary college. We also volunteered with 2nd Ward and helped serve food to homeless people. Elder Chan served people bread, a member from 2nd Ward served salad, Elder Moua was in charge of handing out deserts and Elder Sutterfield and I poured people beverages - one of which was coffee..... so I'm not sure how I'm going to explain myself out of aiding and abetting Word of Wisdom issues at the judgement seat.

We managed to get a ton of work done this week. Elder Chan and I met with a few less actives and managed to see quite a bit of success. One in particular was a women who hasn't been to church in many years. Elder Chan and I had this game plan of how we were going to commit this women to pray with her nonmember husband everyday and inevitably come to church. After we showed her a video about prayer, we discussed it with her and inquired to see how her personal prayer was going, which, to our surprise, she informed us she was praying daily. We then started to investigate her scripture reading habits, and again she made known unto us that her reading is progressing well. We were starting to run out of commitments to leave with her! I decided to cut to the chase and tell her she needed to come to church and before I could name several reasons why she should, she said, almost enthusiastically, she would attend church. Really? It was that easy?! I mean I'm glad she's willing to come back to church, but if it was that easy then why the heck is she less active!? But she ended up not coming to church so I guess there's still a little work to do there. Knew it was too good to be true.

We have a half-mission conference coming up and an area seventy, Elder Nielson, will be coming to speak to us. I always love these little mission conferences. They get me psyched for General Conference. Makes me think of the book of Mosiah and what King Benjamin's address looked like. I can practically see it now. The camera starts to ascend while getting different shots of King Benjamin's tower, while the typical conference narrator voice says, "Welcome to the 1st Semi-annual General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Prehistoric Saints." At least that's how it looks in my head whenever I start reading Mosiah. There is something that concerns me about this half-mission conference in Fairfield. Elder Nielson will choose random missionaries to interview and random apartments to inspect for cleanliness. The possibility of a general authority choosing to interview me is quite unnerving.... and the possibility of a general authority deciding to inspect my apartment is horrifying. I wouldn't say our apartment is dirty, buuuut it's not something that would hold up against the strict evaluation of a man who has more priesthood power in his pinky finger than I have in my whole person. So today is devoted to purging our whole apartment.

We finally had someone come to church! I have learned a very valuable lesson from my rant about lack of church attendance in my last email home. It is this: if you are faced with frustrations in life, complain and whine about it to everyone who will listen. That should fix it, and if it doesn't it'll sure make you feel better! One of our investigators named Ivan, who Elder Chan and Nichols found while we were on exchanges, came to church yesterday. He really enjoyed it. The only setback about his situation is that he's going to jail soon for speeding. He may or may not have been going 150mph....But when he gets out we are totally going to baptize him. He's so solid, and reads everything we tell him to. He's progressing really well and if it weren't for the whole jail thing I could see him being baptized in a couple of weeks.

I'm doing super well and I'm excited to be serving the Lord in his vineyard, or at least the vineyards of Napa. Have a great week everyone!

Love, Elder Hayden Ellis

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