I had a really busy week and a half. We taught almost 30 lesson last week! We had an amazing lesson with our investigator Ramone about the plan of salvation. He told us he tried using an app that tells you which religion you're best suited for and his came up as LDS! If an answer like that coming from an app that's free on the AppStore isn't revelation from God, then I don't know what is! The only unfortunate part about the lesson is that the member who went with us went deep doctrine and talked to Ramone about the earth being celestialized. No investigator needs to know that! That's too deep for them to understand! This is why having a member present scares me sometimes. We only need to teach the doctrine of Christ to our investigators. This doctrine of Christ is stupid simple. It's so simple, it's stupid. At least the Pharisees thought it was. I taught in district meeting last week about the doctrine of Christ, and one of the first things I did was type "doctrine" into the gospel library search bar. Why not, right? Just about everything that it came up was in the New Testament and was from the four gospels. In many of the references it included the phrase: "they were astonished by his doctrine." It occurred to me that the Pharisees were so astounded by what Jesus taught the people, not because it was mind-boggingly complicated, but because the teachings of Christ are so simple that even a child can understand: faith, repentance, baptism, receiving the Holy Ghost and enduring to the end. I can see the Pharisees just standing there thinking: "Seriously... That's it? That's lame!" It's not complex or hard to understand - the Gospel of Jesus Christ is the epitome of simplicity.
I went on exchanges with the Greenie in my District, Elder Lamunyon. We went to a lesson in his area with a recently baptized 8-year-old girl. We taught her the first lesson, the Restoration, and got to the third principle which is about prophets. It was Elder Lamunyon's turn and he asked her if she knew what priesthood keys were, and then proceeded to explain them. Priesthood keys are not something someone teaches to a little girl. It made me think of how green I used to be and how far I've come in 15 short months. I've grown a lot since I came out on a mission. It's helped me in ways that going right to college wouldn't have been able to provide. It's helped me to think about others more than myself. Missionary lifestyle doesn't leave any room for selfishness. The whole purpose of embarking on a mission is to serve the Lord and serve others. I read this really great talk by Elder Holland, "Are we Not all Beggars?", which is very inspiring. I invite all to read it!
So many people came to church on Sunday! It was great! Alfonso and his kids, two other less actives, and one of the Ellis families all showed up! Also, our recent convert, Van Meno, received the Aaronic priesthood. It was suuuch a good day!
Okay, many new announcements... So we are getting a new white handbook, which for those of you who don't know, is the missionary guideline handbook. The mission is also receiving new iPads that we actually keep after our mission, but I'm sure my mommy already knows this since she's most likely already paid for it. (This is Elder Ellis' mom and this is the first I've heard about the iPads. It must have been paid for by a generous benefactor. Thank you!!!) Using Facebook to proselyte is totally pointless now. We can only proselyte to people in our assigned area and can't be friends with anyone outside the mission. If I can only use Facebook to talk to people in Napa 1st Ward, then why not just go knock on their doors? The Santa Rosa Mission isn't even the same mission it was when I got here, it's completely unrecognizable.
I went with Elder Nichols on Sunday to talk to the Walkenhorsts. Darren Walkenhorst was in The District 1 videos that missionaries watch to learn about how to be a missionary. So that was pretty cool! Elder Chan and I, Elders Tognetti and Moua, and Nichols and Lamunyon tried out a creative finding idea. We went to downtown Napa and drew the plan of salvation on the ground in chalk. Be creative with missionary work! Missionary work doesn't have to just be tracting!
I started feeling sick on Sunday and Monday. I caught a bit of a cold and I still have it! The members and investigators around here are pretty funny - when people found out I had a slight cold, they all started loading me up with tons of vitamin C supplements and cold medicine. I feel so loved.
I had zone conference on Tuesday. I felt the spirit very strongly during it and I learned much. The main thing I took away from it, though, is how great of a mission president I have. President Alba is an incredibly hard worker and has all my respect. I'm really lucky to have such an exemplary individual as a leader and example in my missionary work. President Alba is without a doubt going to become a General Authority. The work is really beginning to take a toll on him. I can't wait for him to go home in June just so he can finally relax. He has a much deserved break coming his way.
Elder Chan and I went to visit a Native American investigator we have named Gina. The lesson ran an hour and a half, and the two of us probably talked for a collective 10 minutes of it. Oh my, she can talk! I feel fairly informed about the Native American's religion now. She even gave us yellow medicine, which is a type of medicinal tea leaf. Am I going to drink it? Of course not. But I accepted it just for the experience! A Native American gave me tea. I'm pretty sure I'm a honorary Cherokee now!
Hannah Ward, congratulations on your mission call!
Hope everyone has a great half-week!
Love, Elder Hayden Ellis