Monday, February 16, 2015

A Significant Valentine's Day and Adversity

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Happy Valentine's Day!

Hope everyone had a good Valentine's Day! Does everybody know what this V-day signified for me? It is the last Valentine's Day that I'm mandated to spend all day with a dude. Yes! And yeah, Mom, I got both packages. The shirts fit well and I really like the snacks you sent! Thanks, Mom! I'm so glad you'll be starting your new job soon. You have endured well, thou good and faithful mother.

We had awesome miracles this week. We had some amazing lessons, one with Kara, one with a new investigator named Stephen, and one with an investigator named Tanya. We had such a powerful lesson with her. We planned to teach her about the restoration through the prophet Joseph Smith. Before the lesson she started smoking, which I mention because it comes into play later. Elder Chan taught her about the Great Apostasy and about having proper Priesthood authority. Then I taught her about Joseph Smith and his experience and she was totally with it. She really understood Joseph's question about why there are so many churches around because she often wonders that herself. Once I finished teaching about the restoration, Elder Chan testified about what I taught being true. The amazing part is she then testified to us that what we said was true! That Joseph Smith saw Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, and was called by them to be a prophet. She even said that she felt good and didn't have the urge to smoke a cigarette at that time. I've never had someone testify to me that what I was saying was true before. We almost didn't know what to do at that point. It was an amazing lesson and we invited her to come to church and she was all for it! That being said, we called Tanya Saturday night to remind her about church and she spitefully told us she wants to stay Christian and that she doesn't want any more visits or calls from us. I have no idea how she went from super solid to dropping us. Needless to say, we are pretty bummed about it but things like that happen. We just need to have confidence that the Lord has a plan even if we can't see it yet. We had another lesson with Brenda that went as expected. She didn't read the four verses in Nephi we bade her to read, and then when I read them with her, she got caught on one tiny little detail she didn't agree with and went on a rant. "He says right here he wrote this with his own knowledge, so he's saying he's not inspired by God, so he's not a prophet. You won't ever find that line written by the prophets in the bible. Nope, none of the prophets wrote that. Not Moses, or Abraham, Adam, or Mark, James, Mathew. None of them." We could've pointed out that half those men aren't prophets, but apostles, and that Abraham and Adam don't have any of their own writing in the Bible. But needless to say, that wouldn't have helped anything at all. So Elder Chan just kinda cut her off and said, "that's a very interesting perspective" - which apparently is a go-to one-liner that Chinese people are taught to say when they don't understand what a white person is saying. So I took advantage of the subject change, told her to call us if she wanted to learn more about the Book of Mormon, and left. We decided to drop her then. Every lesson we have with her is ridiculous. The first one we had with her Elder Chan showed her a video about how families can be together forever and she disliked it because she doesn't get along with her family. So I'm not sure why we tried teaching her as long as we did, because even though lessons with her are entertaining, they go absolutely no where. So sorry everyone, no more amusing anecdotes about Brenda.

It's interesting you bring up adversity, Mom. I've been talking about that a lot with missionaries lately. One missionary, Elder Lamunyon, is brand new, straight off the plane. And he's having struggles with his trainer, Elder Nichols. They just couldn't be more different. Elder Nichols loves to hunt, Elder Lamunyon loves animals - just not dead ones. That's just one example of how little they have in common. Plus, Elder Lamunyon has Asperger's Syndrome, so of course that makes him even more interesting to work with. Last night I was with Elder Lamunyon and we were talking about how he's having a hard time. I told him that the companions he doesn't get along with are the ones who will help him grow and learn the most. Having a companion who's perfectly like you is great and all, but the ones you struggle with are the ones who prepare you the most for the rest of your life. Trials help us grow. My zone leader, Elder Despain, shared with us at zone conference that temptations are from the adversary and trials are from God, which is so true. Don't be upset or bitter when life throws a curveball at you. It just means God loves you enough to let you go through a trial, in order to help you become who He knows you're capable of becoming. Always trust in God, because he will never lead you astray.

Love, Elder Hayden Ellis

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