Monday, August 17, 2015

Being a Catch and Tri-Tip

My Calvin Klein model shot. I think I'm a shoe-in for the auditions.

Dramatic stare

Me and Elder Christensen

No caption necessary.....the picture says it all

The Larson's like to have missionaries leave their handprints and their dates of service
in thestairwell. You should see the rest of it - handprints everywhere!


Weekly planning meeting selfie.

Me with President and Sister Wright at Zone Conference.

My newest culinary experiment - salmon pan fried in flour, baking powder and seasonings. Turned out super well!

I made some sausage egg salad. It was delicious! I'm ready for Chopped!

Hello, all my loyal subscribers!

So before I say anything about this week, I must announce my jubilant news: my investigator in Napa, Rhett Tippins, got baptized a little over a week ago!!! YEEEEAAAAH!! I'm so psyched! I worked so hard on him with my companions, Elder Chan and Elder Eccles. Like my other Napa investigator, Daniel Herrera, who got baptized after I left, no one told me it was going to happen so I didn't get to Skype in for it. The downside to being a sower (which I am quite convinced is my assignment out here) is that you don't get to be there till the end and you just get randomly booted somewhere else instead. I talk about sowing seeds like it's a bad thing, which it totally isn't, don't get me wrong! Planting seeds in missionary work is equally as important as harvesting. You can't harvest what isn't planted. What I have learned is the Lord has a special job for all of us that He wants us to do. I guess the Lord wants me to prepare people for the idea of baptism more than anything else, and I am okay with that (I just wish people would at least tell me that the baptism is happening beforehand instead of casually bringing it up weeks afterward!)

Tuesday was a pretty solid day. We had an excellent lesson with Ki Morales, this 11-year-old kid that missionaries taught not so long ago. This is the first time I have been able to meet him since he has been down in the Bay Area all summer. He really likes to study with us and read the children's version of the Book of Mormon (which I enjoy as well - finally something being taught on my level of understanding!). We went over and read several chapters (which isn't as impressive in the children's version) out of Alma with him, each taking a turn to read a page. His mom, Christina, was not there today. In the past she was also studying with the missionaries but she is pretty busy at work now so it's hard to catch her. The chapters we were reading with him were Alma 40 and onward. The central theme as we read was to keep the commandments and you would be blessed, and he understood that. So I invited him to be baptized (with his parents' permission of course) to keep the commandments more fully and get more blessings from God. So he said he would talk to his mom and step-dad about it and we will see what happens when we go back. We also had a really spirit-filled lesson with a man we see named Adrian. He is Mexican but speaks pretty fluent English and would rather speak in English than Spanish, so we got dibs! At first he said he didn't have time to meet with us, but as we kept talking he eventually he told us how he is scared to die. He said after his mom died, he always was afraid of death. He explained his fear stemmed from worrying about what would happen to his family here on earth if he were to die. We discussed a little with him of the Plan of Salvation. He said he is still looking for an answer from God for what he needs to do now. We left him with Alma 40-42 to read and pray about and we will stop by tonight to follow up with the reading. It was a really good lesson and I think as he continues to read and pray (and hopefully come to church soon) he will get an answer very strongly, because I think his desire is there to know God's will.

So Wednesday for us was an absolute bust. It was a really rough day. Nothing I'm not use to by now; harder days are going to happen every now and then. We drove up to our northern area in Nice and Lucerne because the next day we were going to be in Ukiah all day for a zone conference, which is annoying since Thursday is our busiest day. So we tried to reschedule our Thursday on Wednesday which didn't work out to well. And we couldn't make contact with anyone we tried to find up there so we came back down to Lakeport unsuccessful.

On Thursday we had Zone Conference in Ukiah which was awesome. Nothing better than a zone conference to humble all in attendance and demonstrate everything we aren't doing well! I discovered there is a lot I still need to improve on. We received training from the tech Elders (don't leave you iPad where it could be stolen, some Facebook stuff, etc.) and also from the AP's. The Assistants talked about the importance of the dinner hour we have with members and how we can make it more effective. We are definitely there to eat, but even more so to help the members with their own missionary efforts! Sometimes I forget that and just eat a ton of food and feel like I did my job by emptying their fridge. Zone Conferences are good because they show there is always something we can improve at. But something Elder Christensen and I did do well at was cleaning our apartment! While at conference, Elder and Sister Porter, who are in charge of our housing, went to each missionary apartment in LC and Ukiah and did apartment inspections. And we got a 6 out of 6! Which means we got 6 rolls of toilet paper! Woo! We needed them so it was a really good incentive to really deep clean our apartment! So let's review the list shall we? I am good at cleaning, I am greatly improving my cooking, and if you look at the pictures of Braylin and me from last week, you'll see I am very good with children. So looks like I am turning out to be quite a catch!

Normally we teach our recent convert, Patrick, on Thursdays but obviously that couldn't happen since we were in Ukiah so we moved it to Friday. It went pretty well considering who we are teaching... Patrick is the most ADHD and off-topic person I have ever talked to. And it's frustrating because he is prone to interrupt and out talk you. And he speaks very loudly and without ceasing, so it's incredibly hard to interrupt or direct the conversation where it's suppose to go. We managed to read D&C 86 about the blessings of the priesthood and commit him to be ready to receive it when the time comes. He spoke with Bishop Tipton last Sunday about the Aaronic Priesthood and they will have a priesthood interview in 3 weeks. So progress is being made with Patrick! Very slowly, but it's being made!

We had a bi-ward Hot August Nights dinner in County Park this week. It was super successful. There was a really good turn out, though to our disappointment, no one we invited showed up. You would think free Tri-tip and homemade pies would be enough to get attendance out of people.

Elder Christensen and I helped the Capas family (the family who lets us do our laundry at their place on Mondays) build a fence in front of their house so they have more space to keep their animals. They raise some goats, pigs, calves and chicken. Elder Christensen went with Brother Capas to work and I was with Kyle, their non-member son-in-law. Kyle wasn't excited to help out with the fence originally because he knew the Elders were going to be there and the Capas have sent many missionaries to their door in the past. So I didn't bring up the gospel at all to him! I just talked to him and got to know him. He has worked 10 years in fencing so he knew what he was doing and taught me how to put up wire fencing. When he saw my only intent wasn't to shove my religion in his face, he began to open up a lot and we had fun working together. A lot of people have the idea that Mormons go knocking doors to shove our beliefs in their faces and just convert people. Sometimes the best missionary work doesn't have to be preaching to people, it can be as simple as just being their friend and being a good example of the Church. This is breaking the ground for seeds to be planted in them. As they see our Christ-centered example, they will start to ask questions and be interested on their own for someone to teach them the gospel later. This is why it's important to always be living what we teach to people and being that example to them, because you never know who is watching and needs your influence in their life.

We had some new members move into the Lakeport Ward. One of which is a YSA named Reuben who lives in Lucerne. I think I've mentioned him before but if not, just know he is awesome. He got in contact with us a couple of weeks ago and told us he just moved in and needed a ride to church. So a member was able to give him a ride yesterday and we were able to meet him in person. He has a strong testimony in the gospel and wants to go to the temple soon. He asked us the first time we saw him on Sunday where the tithing slips were, requested 5 Plan of Salvation pamphlets so he could start handing them out to people, and wants to go on splits with us to go tracting.... Wow. This guy is on fire. We love Reuben! In addition to Reuben, the Westovers also moved into the ward. I talked to Bro Westover at the Hot August Nights dinner and he told me a little about his mission in South Korea. In South Korea people always wanted to save face so they would commit to do whatever they were invited to do to by the missionaries (i.e. come to church or read the scriptures, etc) but would rarely keep the commitment. They figured they would never see the missionaries again so it didn't matter later on what the missionaries think of them! That would be so frustrating to deal with. I'm glad I'm in a place where people tell me to my face they don't like me - it makes it a lot easier for us to know where to spend our time.

So I had some revelation hit me at the Capas' house while we were helping the build a fence. Well, maybe not revelation, but I did have a moment where I really did a lot of contemplation. After a couple of hours of working, Sister Capas came down and, much like a mother, made us take lunch break even when we weren't hungry. So we walked up the hill and start munching on a sandwich on their deck. Well the Capas' grandson, a 3-year-old boy named Nathan, walked up the hill, put some balls into a wagon and continuously rammed the wagon into a retaining wall while I looked down from the balcony at the spectacle. I asked him what he was doing and he replied, and I am translating his three-year-old speech in my own personal Ellis translation into what I imagine he was trying to say, as follows: "Good sir, I am attempting to relocate this wagon and its precious cargo to this plane of higher elevation." I tried to explain to him that ramming the wagon into the 3 foot retaining wall wasn't going to make that happen, but this kid was relentless and just wouldn't listen to me. As it was happening, I started thinking that I'm no different than 3 year old Nathan. How many times have I gone through life just ramming my wagon into a wall trying to get to a higher point in my life. All the while the Lord has looked down upon me, trying to give me loving council of how I can get my wagon to where it needs to go. I know the Lord can see the whole picture, and He knows how we can get from point A to point B. All we have to do is take a moment to stop, look up, and listen. I'm so grateful to have a loving God that wants nothing more than to have us return to Him, and for His church to be once again on the earth for Him to direct and show us exactly how to do that.

Well, it was a really slow week, but still full of a lot of insight for me. My mission doesn't cease when it comes to teaching me. Even the days I couldn't possibly see a lesson come out of anything, I learn something. Not everyone gets to learn theses lessons, so I am grateful to be one of the few that get to do assist in this work.

We are going to the Oakland temple tomorrow which I am really excited for. We are hitching a ride with Elder Mallory and Elder Raban in Clearlake and whoever is taking them. Since we have to leave at 5 am to try to avoid traffic, we are going to spend tonight at their house so I don't have to try driving down that early in the morning. I'm glad to have so many temples so close by and readily at hand. We really are blessed to have the temple blessings so available to us nowadays. #blessingsofthetemple #4everfamilies

Love, Elder Hayden Ellis

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