|Elder Ellis and his Italian Mafia|
|A photo sent by a member in the Napa 1st Ward|
Happy Valentine's Day!
Great googily moogily, my ward loves the snot at out of us! One member took us to dinner at this sushi place in downtown Napa and he ordered $138 of sushi. Never thought I could eat enough sushi to fill me up! It was pretty funny, while we were sitting there eating, we noticed a tour bus stop and a ton of Chinese people got off with their cameras. They proceeded to walk into the Japanese restaurant and started taking a bunch of pictures of everything. Really? You come from China to California to take pictures of a Japanese restaurant? That seems rather counterintuitive. Though I digress. My ward is fantastic,everyone loves us and takes care of us. Our dinner calendar was already full by the first week of this month. We have a really great ward that's very missionary-minded.
I have learned to be even more careful about overestimating the understanding of my investigators. Elder Chan and I were teaching a women we picked up a week prior named Tammie. Our game plan was to teach her about the restoration, specifically about the first vision, which I would do, then Elder Chan would invite her to pray about the things we taught her. When I had gotten to the part where Joseph Smith was going to the woods to pray Tammie was still with me comprehension-wise. Then I recited the first vision to her in Joseph's own words, "I saw a pillar of light exactly over my head, above the brightness of the sun, which descended gradually until it fell upon me. When the light rested upon me I saw two Personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description, standing above me in the air. One of them spake unto me, calling me by name and said, pointing to the other--This is My Beloved Son. Hear Him!" Right when I finished I asked her what she thought was happening from what I said and she, with tears in her eyes, firmly proclaimed "He died". "Uhhhhh, not quite. Love the enthusiasm though, keep that going." It helped me realize how simply I need to teach to people. I can't assume everyone knows what I'm talking about right away.
Another unfortunate event involved Elder Chan and me teaching a women named Brenda. Brenda has a very interesting perspective about church. She doesn't believe in coming to church since Christ didn't have a name for his teachings when he was on the earth. At least according to her, that's why she doesn't attend church. Really it's because she hasn't had good experiences with different churches. Example: Elder Chan and I were teaching her about the Book of Mormon, and I asked her if she thinks God would provide another set of scriptures for his children. I made sure to phrase it in a way where she couldn't misunderstand it as anything other than a yes or no question. She proceeded to go off about paying tithing in another church and how they would take the parishioners tithing for themselves. She ranted about this for 30 minutes - absolutely no dialogue from us. After what seemed like an eternity, I finally managed to find enough open air to say, "I just asked you if you think the book could be true or not..." She then just gave me a half shrug and that was the lesson. Fantastic.
We had stake conference yesterday and something was said that was particularly powerful. One of the speakers shared a story where Elder Holland went to the MTC to speak to the missionaries, and was informed one of them wanted to go home. When he heard this he stopped right in the middle of his talk and addressed the missionary. He said, "I don't know who you are, but don't you quit. Don't you ever quit. Everything I am, and will become was because I served a mission." And I know how true that is. It's the reason I decided to return to California. I knew how much my mission still had to offer me, and how much I had to offer to the Lord. I know there's a lot of work I still need to do in the short 9 months I have left.
Lots of Love. Cordially, Elder Hayden Ellis, Esquire.