Monday, June 8, 2015

A Baptism and a Beloved Companion's Departure

Bob Lininger's baptism

Part of the Lininger Family who attended the baptism

Me and Elder Yepez at the baptism

Killing my companion, Elder Yepez
My Zone

Hi everyone!

So this was a sad week for Elder Yepez and I since it was his last one in the mission, but it also was an amazing one since we were able to see Bob get baptized. It was full of very mixed emotions as you can tell.

I'll start with the happy one: Bob Lininger was baptized on Wednesday. Heck to the yes! It was such an amazing day and it went by without a hitch. I'm so grateful I was able to be a part of this experience and it seriously was the most incredible baptism I've ever been to (except my own of course). It was a very spiritual and tearful experience for all his family that was there. It was amazing to see one more step taken for this family to be sealed to each other for all of eternity. It's incredible for me to see someone who is 85 years old be baptized. I think I've only met one person who was baptized older than Bob, and that was a 90-year-old women in Fairfield. I've met so many people around that age that think it's too late for them, but Bob is a perfect example of God's love and patience for all this children. He has prepared Bob for 54 years for that moment on Wednesday. He never gives up on us and always wants us to come home to Him. Bob wanted to be confirmed the same day as the baptism while he still had family in town. So after the baptism they had a special musical number by the great-grand children, and then the confirmation. At first there were only three Melchizedek priesthood holders from his family who were in the circle, but Elder Yepez and I were called over to stand in the circle as well, which was really special for me. Wednesday was a very humbling day for me. After the baptism his family kept coming up and thanking us for helping Bob get baptized. I remember thinking about how little I actually did in this process. Elder Yepez and I met with him everyday for two weeks, in contrast to the work and preparation that took place by the Lord and Bob's family over the space of 54 years. So I was really more of an innocent bystander who was just lucky to be there for it. The Lord just had me in the right place at the right time to play a small role in a much bigger plan for this family.

Even though there was no indication in my last letter, the transfer is over! Elder Yepez left me today and he actually returns home tomorrow. We commemorated the occasion by burning one of his suits. Considering the pyro I am, it's surprising I haven't been burning articles of clothing to celebrate certain milestones in my mission. The fact that I only own one suit right now probably explains why I haven't been in a burning frenzy. It was a pretty emotional goodbye, primarily for Elder Yepez. He has very mixed emotions about the whole situation, which is very normal. He is excited to go home and see his family, but he is leaving two years of his life here, and a lot great people he has met. I know it will be the same for me, but I bet it will be even worse. I'm going to have a really hard time - very conflicting emotions will accompany my return home. Well, I am going to miss Elder Yepez - he has been a very good companion and friend to me. I don't know how many of my companions I'll be really close to after my mission, but he will definitely be one of them. Well, enough about the sad departure stuff.

I bet you are all wondering about the other half of transfer doctrine! My new companion is Elder Stephenson. I've only talked to him a couple of times but I've heard a lot about him from Elder Whittingslow. I replaced Elder Stephenson in Crescent City way back in my earlier days. Right now he's a Zone Leader in Davis area and he'll be a Co-District leader with me (oh yeah, I'm a District Leader now by the way.) Really the only other thing I know about him is he was homeschooled. Oh, and one more thing, he's going home in six weeks! I'm killing ANOTHER missionary! I've never heard of someone sending two missionaries home in a row. What are they trying to DO to me?! The struggle is so real. I'm not really sure what to expect from Elder Stephenson, so we will all find out together but I'm pretty excited about it. I'll be a good transfer, and if it's not, I'll make it a good one.

We will be having an All-Mission Conference on the 23rd for the Alba's departure a week later. Then President and Sister Wright will get here on the 29th, so not much time left before that happens.

Like you said in your email about the Salt Lake City Mission, Mom, my mission is also losing a lot of cars. I think Salt Lake takes an average of eight cars each transfer. But there are some areas that have to have a car in it so they won't take all of the cars away. We are definitely noticing the car drought that is sweeping the missions.

Well that's about it for this week. My invitation for all of you is to google a "Pomsky".  Isn't it cute? 

Love, Elder Hayden Ellis

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