Monday, June 29, 2015

The Albas Depart and Defending Traditional Marriage

A little piece of Kansas here in California

Elder Chan and me

It was so great seeing some of my favorites.

Saying goodbye to President and Sister Alba

God Bless America!

Happy almost Fourth of July!

So Elder Stephenson and I have had yet another rather slow week. It seems like we are slowly losing our investigators and have less and less people to teach. So as a result, we are doing a lot more finding and a lot more knocking doors. Which ultimately means we are out in the 100°+ heat nonstop, so that's fun... But we need to clean out our Area book more and take out the people who aren't interested so it's not so cluttered for the next missionaries.

We had another lesson with Vincent, and our plans were to drop him since it seems he only wants to talk to debate with us, but we ended up having a really good lesson. And by good lesson I mean we straight up confounded him with the spirit! His doctrine really didn't make any sense and he contradicted himself a lot. We taught by the Spirit when we discussed the importance of baptism and obedience. It was funny, we shared the scripture where Jesus taught Nicodemus about being born by water and the spirit and Vincent claimed that being physically born from our mothers womb was what he meant by being born by water.... Um, what? Did you just Nicodemus us? So we shared the rest of that scripture with him where Nicodemus asked Jesus the same question. It was a solid lesson and Vincent actually did more listening this time than talking and the spirit was strong. So we decided not to drop him. He ended up coming to church yesterday and stayed all three hours. I know Vincent felt the spirit, because I felt it strongly. All the talks and lessons that day seemed to all be geared toward his concerns. It's funny how the Lord works. I know if he keeps coming to church and reading the Book of Mormon he will start to gain a testimony of what we teach.

We had our all-mission conference on Wednesday which was the last time we saw the Albas. It had a really sad and almost somber atmosphere about it, but it also was very lively and exciting too. I'm going to miss the Albas so much. They have such strong testimonies and have been amazing leaders. I am so grateful for their service and dedication to the Lord's work.

One of the bummers of the week was that we had to drop our investigator with a baptismal date, Dennis, because he just wasn't progressing. We have been meeting with him for a while and have tried everything we could to help him build enough faith to take that step of baptism, but he just isn't willing to do it. We have been reading with him in the Book of Mormon in 2 Nephi 2, which is all about agency to keep the commandments, and we ultimately have the decision to follow God or follow Satan. We boldly and lovingly testified to him that God is reaching out to him and needs him on His side, but he gave us a lame excuse, (and I've heard some fairly decent excuses pertaining to this particular subject, and his definitely did not make the cut,) as to why he isn't ready to be baptized and said he needs time to think about it. So we told him to tell us when he is ready and we would be back but until then we won't stop by regularly. We did a pretty good job and kept good feelings between us. Normally I'm really bad at dropping an investigator. I feel like I'm breaking up with them. "Really, it's not you, it's me. I hope we can still be friends." But we did a really good job! Hopefully he is ready for baptism at some point, but all I know is we've done everything we can so it's up to him now.

There were some interesting things that happened this week. One thing was we drove to Cloverdale to get Elder Stephenson's back adjusted. The drive there was sickening. If you're bored with nothing to do, check out the road, Hopland, that connects Lakeport to Cloverdale. That road is messed up and you will know what I mean when you see it. I don't get carsick anymore but that drive jacked me up almost the rest of the day.

So another interesting thing that happened was that we saved a life this week... that was a pretty solid plus. One of our less actives and the member we help a lot with his technology incapabilities, Brother Prior, had a low blood sugar attack. We happened to be there at the right time when it happened. Out of nowhere he started sweating like crazy and got really delirious and weak. Luckily Elder Stephenson knew he had diabetes and knew what to do so we got him food and water to get into his system. He wouldn't have known what to do if we hadn't been there and would've gone in a comatose state and probably died. So Elder Stephenson and I have been working on getting him in-home care. That's a work in progress. I'll keep everyone updated on how my friend, Brother Prior is doing.

MY INVESTIGATOR IN NAPA, DANIEL HERERA, GOT BAPTIZED! THE JUBILATION I FEEL IS OVERWHELMING! He had some blockades that would've stopped most people but he is so solid that he persevered and was baptized. The only problem was no one in Napa told me it was happening and I wasn't able to skype into it because I found out a week later! I was so frustrated but so happy at the same time! So that's one of my victory stories of the week.

Well, some more sad news was the Albas left for home today. It feels like a piece of this mission died with them! I've had them for almost 19 1/2 months. But I am excited for President and Sister Wright, it's almost like we have a fresh start in our mission. So that will be cool and I am looking forward to it. This week was a week of many mixed emotions.

Even though the law of the land has changed, the law of God remains the same. While maintaining respect for all people and whatever life decisions they choose to make, I am steadfast in my support for traditional marriage, which is ordained of God. And even though I seem to be on the minority side of the matter, I add my testimony to that of Paul, in Romans: "For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek." I am not ashamed of God's law, and His plan for His children and for marriage.

Hope everyone has a great week! Love all around!

Love, Elder Hayden Ellis

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