Monday, March 30, 2015

Easter Eggs and Zip Lines

Decorating Easter eggs with the Vandenburgs
Swinging with reckless abandon like a couple of school girls
At the Graham's house in Fairfield
Fun at the foot doctor with Elder Eccles

Dismounting from the zipline seat
And getting smacked in the face when the seat sprung back unexpectedly.

Happy Birth-month, Mom!

Sorry I forgot, (or completely disregarded all together,) your birthday month, Mom. I just want to say how grateful I am for you and for your example to me. You've been more than I deserve and I'm blessed and proud to call myself your son. Now that I got that sentimental crap out of the way, let's get to what you all came here for!

Elder Eccles and I took a road trip to Vallejo for his ingrown toe problems and he had them removed right there! It was super gross yet fascinating to watch. I still have mixed feelings about it. But he had half of three of his toenails removed and Dr. Pilkington, (who is also a member,) put some medicine on it which kills the nail so it never comes back. So that's a bummer. Buh-bye toenails. We also got to see the Beverley's and Graham's in Cordelia! It was so good to see them again. I got really nostalgic while driving around Fairfield. I can hardly believe I was there a year ago this month... Doesn't feel like it's been that long at all!

The Zone Leaders told me during interviews with President Alba that we are changing apartments and moving into a new one with them. The Zone Leaders, and the Elders that they currently live with, are getting kicked out of their apartment so it can be remodeled. So what's happening is Elders Tepox and Hansen are taking our apartment because they don't have a car and it's closer to their area and more convenient for them to live in our apartment, and I am moving into a new apartment that's further north in Napa. The Zone Leaders and Elder and Sister Porter, who are in charge of our housing, told me some really good things about the apartment. Apparently it has a washer and dryer, which will be REALLY nice to have in the apartment so we don't have to worry about which member will help us with laundry on Mondays. Also, it's a really nice area and it's bigger than the apartment we live in now. AND it has a gym! If it pans out like Elder Despain and Francom say it'll be like, it should pose to be the best housing unit in the mission. Too bad I will only live in it for a couple of weeks. So my address will no longer be 467 Seminary St. I'll let you all know what my new address is when I figure it out myself.

Elder Eccles and I have gotten SOOO many referrals this week! It's been absolutely ridiculous how many we've gotten. I think we are at 13 or so now. Something like that. None of the new investigators we're getting are from our contacting. One of the referrals is an African kid named Abubakarr. He moved here from Sierra Leone a month ago and he's just about one of the nicest kids ever. While we were trying to teach Abubakarr, he proceeded to inform us of how corrupt his home country's government and medical system is, and how the Ebola virus is terrorizing everyone there. We received extensive knowledge from him on the topic of the Ebola virus. That being said, I think he educated us more than we did him... We didn't manage to get a whole lot of teaching done but we will make sure he's more focused on what we are saying next time we go over.

Thank you, mother, for your extensive research on what my mental capacity was lacking. I appreciate it. Don't worry, I'm taking careful notes on your findings about a saying I've only used once (Holy Toledo), but probably never will again. And yes, I got the package and the picture, (which provided me with more than one giggle, but it's still more respectable than Home Depot)! Everything you sent fits and is greatly appreciated! And don't be too surprised about your son's vast knowledge on medical anomalies. I had asked Elder Eccles about his medical condition and I completely spelled it wrong. It's 'Ileus' not 'Elias'. When I started reading the symptoms to him that you emailed to me, he told me that's definitely not the disease he has... So Elder Eccles may not have symptoms of mental retardation, but I might... Apparently Illeus is a life-long condition so he has to deal with it for a long time to come. Please send my love to Aunt Liane for her condition and my disdain to you for your incompetence in constructing a decent NCAA a bracket. Golden State Warriors all the way!

Another referral we received was a handoff lesson with the second ward missionaries, Elders Tognetti and Wilkes. A handoff lesson is where two missionaries who have been teaching an investigator tell them that they won't be teaching them anymore, and that the other two missionaries will take over since the investigator lives in their area. I don't really like handoff lessons, they are kinda awkward. "Hey, so we know that you have already gotten to know us and you're comfortable with us already but here are two brand new guys that you know nothing about who will be teaching you from now on. Bye!" So we met with the second ward and their investigator, Nilima, and taught her about the plan of salvation. The lesson went pretty well and she seemed fine with Elder Eccles and I being the ones to teach her from now on. She already has a baptismal date for April 25th, so I may have a baptism coming up if all goes as planned.

Last night we had dinner with the Vandenburg family and towards the end of dinner they asked if we had any pressing appointments later that night. We didn't so they invited us to dye Easter eggs with them. This we could not refuse... So we had a jovial and quite whimsicaltime dyeing eggs! I have lots of pictures to send home of that experience, not to mention our pre-dinner activity of me going down their zip-line! It's was a pretty good night, if I do say so myself. I'm pleased to announce that my day today has been one of much joy and miracles. We went back over to the Vandenburg's to do our laundry because we realized after we got home last night that we had no place to do it today, and they were cordial enough to let us return this morning and do our laundry. While we were in between loads we made much merriment with their children by playing games such as basketball, baseball, football, and of course some more of the zip line. Then after we departed, Elder Eccles and I went to Big 5 Sporting goods to buy some knifes, which will most likely find themselves in a picture home so you'll see them eventually. They were about $10 each - why wouldn't we buy them?!

While we were there we got a phone call from a member in Vallejo that came up to Napa a couple of days ago to have dinner with us so we could eat with a single woman. He told us that there was a nonmember in the hospital that wanted to meet with us. I'm not proud of myself when I say we allowed p-day to be a priority and told him we would come by later. If I had known we were going there to also give him a blessing, then I would've made sure we had gone right away, but that's no excuse because I still put someone who wants to come closer to Christ on hold just so I could send some emails. Now luckily nothing bad ended up coming from this decision, but I'm disappointed in myself for confusing my priorities. Anyway, Elder Eccles told him it was our P-Day and we weren't available then and I didn't say anything to stop him. We later got another call from him around 4:30 pm asking us again to come by to talk with him and give him a blessing. So, we cut our email time short and went to see this man in the hospital. When we got there we were told by the member, who was also doubling as the police officer keeping an eye on him, that his name was Paul, and he was in the hospital because he had tried to commit suicide. Just like that - I felt guilty for not coming by earlier. We went in and talked with him and he's such a nice guy. He told us that he indeed tried to take his life, and proceeded to ask us some questions about the LDS church because he wants to join it. He asked us questions about the Word of Wisdom and whatnot. One question the asked stood out among the others. He asked me, "Can I still be forgiven by Him even after all I've done?" I almost broke down in tears right there. I told him absolutely and began teaching him that through Christ we can be cleansed of sin. Then we gave him a blessing, which he asked me to give. For the first time in my life, I actually felt like the words I was saying we're not of my own. I was saying things that I wouldn't normally think to say and Elder Eccles told me after we left that he felt that way too. More importantly, Paul could feel it, and he recognized the power that came from the blessing. He quickly asked when we could meet again and we gave him a pamphlet with our number on it and left. This happened about two hours ago and I still feel the spirit from the experience!

I know that the Priesthood is real, and that we truly have the authority from God to bring his children back to him. I also know how crucial missionary work is, and without it people like Paul wouldn't be able to find the peace and solace Christ has to offer a tortured soul. We have prophets leading and guiding us in this dispensation, which we will hear from next week. I invite us all to carefully listen to the inspired words they speak. They will give us counsel specifically for us in this day and age. I testify of these things in the name of Christ, Amen.

Love, Elder Hayden Ellis

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