Monday, April 13, 2015

A Famous Grave and the Chopped Kitchen

Elder Eccles and I went to the Tulocay Cemetery and found Lilburn Boggs' grave - he was
the former Missouri governor who issued an extermination order for the Mormons. 

I was given a cactus by an investigator and I decided to accept the challenge presented to me.

I took the cactus and made it delicious!

My culinary prowess is ever increasing. If I ever get stuck in the dessert with a cactus, some
chickens and a tomato, I can rustle up a pretty decent meal. Be proud of me!

Fast Sunday really takes a toll on the psyche of young missionaries.

No cognitive functioning present.

Hey Mom!

Great googily moogily! You just dropped a lot of info on me! Where to start...? Congratulations to Mariah Wimmer for her mission cal! Welcome to the Cali-Club! #Calilyfe. Also to Riley Stephenson for his mission call. My co-worker before my mission went to Mozambique and he loved it there. Congrats to Jace for the engagement! So much is going on! That's fantastic to hear about Stephen being able to go to BYU. And even more exciting news how Grandpa is now in Primary! That is just too cute!

So some rather unfortunate news here. Elder Eccles and I went to another appointment for his toe problems in Vallejo, which all went well and he was given some simple instructions and we were out of there within 30 minutes. Perfect right? Well after we got home we had to make a call so I told Elder Eccles to grab the phone so we could set up an appointment. After extensively checking his pockets, his bag, and the entire interior of the car, we came to the conclusion that we left the phone in Vallejo. Which we did. Luckily the doctor we went to see was a member of the church and promptly got our phone to the Vallejo missionaries in the area and they were able to get the phone back to us. But we left it there last Tuesday so we had to go an entire week without our phone... How incredibly unfortunate our circumstances were, but all is well now, ANNNNND Elder Eccles toesies are doing well!

I know what you are all have been thinking to yourselves over the four months that I've been here: "Elder Ellis has been in Napa California, the wine capital of the world, and still has yet to present us with a humorous story about wine-related shenanigans." Well, I'm here to tell you today, wait no longer! A few nights ago after we retired to our place of residence, our roommates and zone leaders came home with a bottle of wine. After intensive questioning, we were informed that their investigator, who has little understanding of Mormon standards, insisted on gifting them this alcoholic beverage. So we had a bottle of wine... We decided to open it and pour it out, making it a picturesque moment. Unfortunately, we had no corkscrew, (I mean it makes sense, why would missionaries feel compelled to carry a cork screw around?) So, determined Elder Francom decided to take a knife to that bad boy and try to get it out that way. No success. He then had me try to remove the aforementioned cork in a similar manner. The unfortunate result was wine exploding all over our kitchen, our lovely white shirts, and, of course, my face. It's fortuitous that I properly moisturize my lips with Burt's Bees Chapstick because if I had dry lips that night and had licked my lips, then I would've broken the Word of Wisdom. Finally, there is my Napa wine story about how four missionaries were covered in red wine. And now Stephen can finally say, with no reservation, that his brother is in "wine country".

We had an awesome lesson with two less-active men named Mitch and Wade, and then right afterward with another less-active named Marty. Our Ward Mission Leader came out with us on splits and he really clicked with the two of them. We talked to them about how important Sabbath day attendance is. Mitch started telling us, like he does every time, how he likes to go fishing on the Sabbath, and how he feels so much closer to God there. Something popped in my head when he said that and I immediately replied: "Mitch, there's nothing wrong with fishing. In fact, God approves of fishing so much that He gave you six days to do it. But He wants your attendance and devotion on Sunday." It got me thinking how we have so much time to do all the things we want and need to do throughout the week. But on Sunday God wants our time. This is what God asks of us. And it's not that steep of a commitment he wants from us, if I say so myself.

I was SOOO exhausted on Sunday. Fasting kills when you need all the energy you can get! I don't think I've ever been less focused on anything in my life. But it was a successful week. We invited Abu, (the Sierra Leone kid who moved here roughly two months ago,) to be baptized and he said yes - so we possibly have a baptism coming up in this area. We've also been getting a ton of referrals, probably more than I've ever gotten in my mission as a whole. So there will be plenty to do here for many transfers to come!

I went golfing again today at the Silverado Golf course and I am getting pretty darn good! We always go to the driving range because we just like hitting balls as far as we can. At first I wasn't doing any better than the other two times I've gone, so I looked over to see how the country club members (who knew what they were doing) were doing it. I saw one man swing back and hit the ball in one quick and fluid motion. So I decided to try it just like that and my technique improved drastically! I started hitting almost 7 out of 10 balls at least 150 yards. So I'm quite proud of myself now! Pictures to come.

I talked to President Alba during interviews about when I go home and he told me to talk to President Wright about it in July. So, I still have no idea when I come home but I'm pretty sure I'll return the same time as scheduled. And I would like to come back to California as soon as possible when my mission is over, so if we could make that happen then that would be ideal.

Love you all! Have a super stellar week!

Love, Elder Hayden Ellis

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