Monday, May 25, 2015

A Mission Blanket and Reminiscing about Kansas

My friend Abbie sent me an amazing Christmas/birthday gift. What's better than having my
name tag on even when I sleep at night?!

Hello everyone!

So, to be completely frank, our week has vastly sucked. It's been full of drama that's not ours but the members made it ours. So Elder Yepez and I have been greatly frustrated all week and it just hasn't been overly pleasant for either of us. That being said, we had a pretty eventful week and had some highlights.

I was able to go on exchanges with Elder Kimball on Tuesday. It was really cool to be companions with him again and reminisce of our time in Fairfield together. He is the only companion that I've served around more than once, and this is the third zone we've been in together. It's almost exactly a year from the time we parted ways and I became companions with Elder Gasu. Ahh, nostalgia back to the Fairfield days...

Welcome back to another exciting Elder Ellis venting session!! My ward doesn't at all understand the point of missionaries and it's really frustrating for Elder Yepez and I. Missionaries are placed in a ward to assist in its missionary work, not do all the work for them. Our members frequently call on us to make sure other members are at certain activities, or to teach family home evenings for them...every single week. We are always the first to be called to give a blessing, which, don't get me wrong, we love to exercise our Priesthood, but they need to learn to call their home teachers before they call us. Not to mention we are, without fail, called upon to help with all the last second move-ins because they can't get anyone else to show up to help. These are just a few examples. Now we don't mind doing these things every now and then, but members have to remember where their jobs end and where ours begin. Our stewardship isn't making sure all the Relief Society knows about the Christ-like parenting class at the church - that's the Relief Society Presidency's job. And last minute move-ins shouldn't fall on our shoulders because the Elder's Quorum can't get themselves in gear. I think our members forget that we work and they think we just sit around all day with nothing to do and are free labor for whenever they have a job they would rather not do themselves. And one last thing, if you are having some issues and drama with other members in the ward, talk to your bishop. If Elder Yepez and I look like Dr. Phil to you, then we apologize for the misunderstanding. Well, that's all for this week on the Ellis rant show, folks! Thanks again for enduring with me another Elder Ellis venting session and hope to see you all next time!

The last couple of weeks I have been trying to whiten my teeth at night. I am using this stuff that you paint on and then shine a light on it which is suppose to activate the whitening gel. It's sooo hard to stay away from foods or drinks that could stain them. So this is what a diet feels like. I don't like it - diets aren't my thing. So if you happen to notice how wonderfully white my teeth are, feel free to give me a shout so I can know it's not a complete waste of my time!

It was my 18 month mark on Wednesday. It's hard to wrap my head around the fact that I left to serve a mission exactly a year and a half ago. My sister mission is over! And the last 6 months are going to go by impossibly fast.

Our baptismal dates dropped us :(. I never even met two of them because they cancelled on us every single week we tried to see them!! But we have a guaranteed baptism on June 3rd with Bob L***** - he's the 85 year old man who dismissed my Mother's Day dinner message about the stripling warriors. Apparently he wasn't fully medicated that day. We went to teach him on Friday and he told us he wants to be baptized ASAP. It appears after 85 years of being the only non member in a vastly Mormon family, it finally occurred to him he wants the blessings of the temple, so that is his goal. Rhett, his grandson-in-law came and spoke to us on Saturday and gave us background info on him. He also mentioned that there were some less actives at the Mother's Day dinner when Bob interrupted my message and told us to go away. Rhett told us my dinner message, (the part I was able talk about that is,) apparently touched the hearts of the less-active family members at the dinner, so at least it helped someone - although it didn't do much for Bob. We have been able to teach him twice so far and he really seems to be the golden investigator his family keeps telling us he is, (when he's on his happy pills, that is.) We will need to teach him every day if he is going to make it to his date on the 3rd, but I think he can do it. He'll just have to quit his decaf coffee, but if he really wants to be sealed to his family for all eternity, then I'm sure he will realize it's well worth the sacrifice. It's amazing to see how the Lord opens doors when others close. Even though the Aponte's dropped us, the Lord has blessed us with a man he has been molding and preparing for 85 years! That's a long time for his family to wait, but their patience will finally pay off and I'm honored to be able to have a small part in this family being together for all time and eternity.

Brother P*****, the less-active member who we helped with his phone, has a lot of struggles he is dealing with. He reminds me a lot of my brother, and a lot of myself. He reminds me of Stephen because he has Asperger's Syndrome. I never asked him if he does, but after living with it for my whole life, I've gotten pretty good at spotting it, (not to mention he has few books laying around his house about the "Atypical life of Asperger's Syndrome", so that made my deduction much easier to make.) He reminds me of myself because he is so incredibly hard on himself and is his own worst enemy. That's exactly how I use to be, and occasionally still am. I didn't realize how similar we were until the other night when we went to see him. While we were there he broke down in tears that I am sure have been building up for a while of frustration and self-loathing. He said many things to us, like how he shouldn't exist and how much of a waste of a person he was. That really tugged on my heartstrings because I use to think a lot like that. He also mentioned how he wished so hard that he was a better person like Elder Yepez and I. That made me feel even worse, because Elder Yepez and I haven't been the most patient when it came to dealing with Brother P*****, so we were rebuked pretty hard by the spirit right then and needed to repent later that night. I felt prompted to offer him a blessing of comfort. I remember telling him how much his Heavenly Father cherished him, and how important he is to Him. I want to share that same message with everyone who reads this week's letter. If you every start to feel worthless or like you have less value than you really do, remember that you are a child of supreme and eternal God. Which not only means you have eternal value, but you are the most important thing to a infinitely loving Heavenly Father who created all things. And this is being brought to you by someone who use to hate himself growing up, so I know what I am talking about. Never forget who you really are, and you will never see yourself less than what you really are; God's most precious creation.

Yesterday President and Sister Alba came to Lakeport to speak to the combined Kelseyville and Lakeport wards. They both spoke about missionary work, and how both the members and missionaries can see miracles if we work together to bring souls unto Christ. Despite the fact that a large, mobile, standing projection screen fell over, (and had it fallen in the opposite direction it would've landed on President Alba and Bishop Tipton,) it was an amazing meeting. President and Sister Alba are going home very soon and they don't have many meetings like this left! They go home on June 30th. It's going to be so weird having a new mission President, but I'm excited for the change and looking forward to what President Wright brings to our mission.

After church, Elder Yepez, a young man named Joey Sainsbury, and I went to visit some media referrals that we've gotten. Unfortunately both of the people we visited didn't even know they ordered missionaries to come and see them. The second place we went to we ended up talking with the father. We shot the breeze a little and when he found out I'm from Kansas City he told me he's from Prairie Village! He asked what high school I went to and after I told him Shawnee Mission South he told me he went to East. It was really cool to reminisce about Kansas with someone.

Well, that's my week in a nutshell. It was full of frustration but there were certainly some ups along with the downs. Overall it was pretty good. Hope everyone has a great week!!

Love, Elder Hayden Ellis

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