Monday, July 27, 2015

Training My Son and a Sleep Aid

It's Elder Ellis with his fool proof anti-sleep aid.
 Look how happy I am to be at a 4-hour planning meeting!

My son! Elder Christensen! He is such a stud!

Is that Elders Christensen and Ellis studying in the women's restroom? Yes.....that's exactly what it is.

Elder Castro and me

The former Elder Chan visited with his parents before they toured the mission.

Hi everyone!

So this last week has been a really eventful to say the least. I have had so many meetings that I have had to go to. I guess it's just preparing me for the rest of my life in the church. If there are two things a Mormon does best, it's load and unload a moving truck and conduct and attend meetings... that's a pretty accurate description of my future in a nutshell.

On Monday of last week Elder Stephenson and I drove to Santa Rosa to drop him off like I explained in my previous email. After he went to his departing missionary meetings, I was paired with Elder Hacking and Elder McFadden for the rest of the day, and stayed the night in the Stony Point Elder's apartment. Oh! And I saw the former Elder Chan! He wasn't a missionary anymore, and it was really weird. He is just Him Lok now. He came by the apartment we were staying at with his parents. His father is the Stake President, so that's how he was already released. His dad got the call to be stake president the same day Elder Chan got his mission call, so that's pretty cool. I was really glad to see him one last time before he left California. The next day we went to transfer devotional and we were all introduced to the greenies. It was a pretty typical transfer devotional, other than the fact that it was President Wright's first one, so of course he did it differently than President Alba. Following that, all the trainers went to some meetings while the new missionaries went to meetings of their own. Then I paired up with my good friend, Elder Mallory, and two other Elders and went about trying to figure out what to do in Santa Rosa for the rest of the day. I have never served there so I was glad to have Elder Mallory, who knew his way around, to be in charge of where we went, since I didn't have a clue! By the way, to answer your question mom, I met Elder Mallory my fourth transfer in the mission in Fairfield. He lived in the same apartment complex as me so I saw him daily. Well after more meetings, I was finally assigned my new greenie and his name is Elder Christensen! Wooooo!! My MTC companion and now my recent MTC graduate are both Christensen's! And might I add that he is such a stud. He is from Lehi, Utah and he is straight out of high school. Elder Christensen is just the most humble guy. He takes correction so incredibly well. I'm having a blast training him.

So at transfers I accidentally left my phone in the Davis missionaries' car, and by the time I discovered it, they had already departed for their area. So Wednesday, Thursday and most of Friday we didn't have a phone. *sigh... The struggle is so real. How in the world did Alma get any missionary work done without a cell phone? Fortunately the Davis Elders (Elder Hacking and Elder Johnson) mailed our phone to us and it got here around dinner time on Friday. So we have it now but not without many hardships beforehand.

On Thursday Elder Christensen and I went to Nice and Lucerne and I got to show him the rougher part of our area. There wasn't much activity up there that day, but we did get to meet with one of our investigators, David, and we gave him a blessing of healing. I didn't have Elder Christensen do it since I didn't know what his comfort level was with blessings and I didn't want to toss him out there and say, "good luck!", especially since plenty of that will come later on while we are tracting. I remember my first blessing with Bro Cappell in Crescent City, when I anointed and then panicked and also sealed the anointing... Fond memories of my own greenitism.

We had an awesome lesson with Annie and James, who are investigators that took the discussions in the past but weren't ready at the time. Annie actually asked us during the last church meeting before Elder Stephenson left to come by and teach them. They told us how they wanted to take the lessons again and that they both want to quit smoking, get married and be baptized and sealed in the temple. Right on! We can help with that. We proceeded to do some "How to begin teaching", and state our purpose or job as missionaries and Elder Christensen invited them both to be baptized. They said yes, which upon reflection, went way better than my first baptismal invite. That's my boy! I think they are really genuine this time and want to be baptized. And then on Saturday we had a second lesson with them and it went pretty well. They kept their reading commitments we gave them, and are pretty dead set on quitting smoking and getting married. We told them that Bishop Tipton could marry them for free. They also mentioned that Annie has been smoke free since Wednesday, so hopefully she has been keeping that up since we talked to them on Saturday. She's been eating a lot of sunflower seeds lately but you can be baptized if you eat sunflower seeds, so it's better than smoking! We taught them about the restoration and answered the questions that they had. Prior to the lesson we prayerfully decided that August 29th would be a good baptismal goal for them to work toward, and Elder Christensen presented the suggestion to them like a champ (That's my boy!). They will pray about it and we will talk to them on Tuesday to see what they feel and if they think they can make it or not. More to come on them.

I'm pretty bummed about Dave and Natalie. They are not progressing or keep any commitments at all. I guess Elder Stephenson and I were just seed planters for them. We will meet with them again but I don't think they are ready right now.

So I had my first district meeting of this transfer on Friday. My district changed again. So now instead of having the two sisters in my district, or as the mission likes to call, a "Sistrict",  I have the zone leaders, Elder Mathusek and Frodsham, and Elder Snow and Elder Coursey. I think District meeting went alright. Elder Mathusek thought I did a much better job than I thought I did, but I am my own worse critic so that might have something to do with it. I taught on the importance of having gospel knowledge. On missions we are given so much time during the day to study the gospel. We have an hour of personal study, an hour of companion study, an additional hour for 12 weeks if the missionary is new, AND a hour of language study if they are proselyting in a language other than their native. It's clear that studying the scriptures and increasing our gospel knowledge is important Even Jesus Christ studied the gospel for 30 years before he started his ministry! I know how important it is to read and study the scriptures daily, because we need that constant spiritual nourishment, and if Jesus Christ did it then that's probably a pretty good indication that we should do it, too.

As I'm teaching Elder Christensen how to be a missionary, I'm getting all nostalgic about my first transfer. I can't believe how long it's been but how fast it all went by. I must say, Elder Christensen is far more prepared to be a missionary than I was, so pats and claps for him. He is going to be an awesome missionary.

So that was my week - it primarily revolved around my new companion, Elder Christensen. Even though each day that goes by I look forward more and more to the future that's waiting for me, I love this work I am privileged to assist in, and I wouldn't trade these 20 months (give or take), I've been out here for anything.

Lots of love, Elder Hayden Ellis.

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