Monday, August 7, 2017

Called to Share the Truth 7-31-17

So, just some quick highlights:  Anne came to church this week.  We also had a dinner and lesson with her.  She is making some progress.  We had transfers and all 3 of us are leaving and when we told her, she started to tear up.  It was pretty heart touching.  We got to give 3 blessings yesterday as well -all for healing.  I gave a talk in Sacrament that was like my Farewell Talk for the mission.  I talked about how we are modern-day pioneers and how we are the ones who are preparing the way for those people that come behind us.  

We had a bonfire last night where another “dying” Elder and I burned some of our old nasty clothes before we go home.  That was fun.  Definitely broke the city limit on how big it was.  Oops.  We also did a lot of service and we were an answer to someone's prayer.  We were contacting formers and this one lady named Pam told us that she was talking to God earlier that day and was asking where to go and where she can find peace.  Then we showed up later that day.  We had a great discussion with her.  Elder T and I were talking to her and Elder Billman was having an awesome discussion with her husband.  She liked a lot of the things we told her and we told her she could find peace through our message and this was where God wanted her to be.  Being a missionary is so awesome!

I just want to end this last email with my testimony of this gospel.  I know it's true.  There is nothing that compares to the joy and peace the Restored gospel can bring into a person’s life.  I have seen it change lives.  I have seen it empower people.  The things I have experienced while being out here just make me think and know that it has to be true.  There is no other way to explain it.  Words do not describe my gratitude to my Father in Heaven for calling me here and letting me meet so many wonderful people, both members and non-members.  I know the Book of Mormon is true.  It has brought me closer to God just like the Prophet Joseph Smith promised it would.  If any of you are not reading the Book of Mormon every day, then the best time to start is today.  It's amazing.  It has true power.  It exposes the enemies of Christ.  It shows us their playbook and how we can combat against it.  Read it.  Our prophet today, President Monson, is giving his last few messages to us and he told us to read it.  It is that important.  I promise you that you will receive the help you need if you do.  No matter what misfortune or challenges may come our way throughout life, turning away from God and the gospel when it gets hard is not going to work.  I answer with this wonderful statement I have heard from an apostle, "It's true isn't it?  Then what else matters?"  I love you all.  I look forward to seeing you and talking to you soon.  Have a wonderful week.  Be a pioneer as the Lord has asked us to be and prepare the way for someone else to receive the gospel in their life too.  Again I know this gospel is true.  I know we have a loving Heavenly Father who helps us each day to reach our potential, and I know that my Redeemer, Jesus Christ, lives.  I leave these things with you in the name of our Savior, Jesus Christ, amen.

Elder Ellison


District Dudes

E. Billman Can Sleep Anywhere!

We Are About To Die - Weird Tradition For Elders About To Go Home

Another Quilt We Sewed For The Veterans

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

The Home Stretch 7-24-17

So this week was an interesting week.  Not a lot happened because of some things that came up, but we did have the hottest day of the summer so far at 96 (plus all that humidity).  We just stand there and start sweating.  It's ridiculous!

We also had a ward activity and our investigator Anne came.  She got to meet a lot of the members and had some conversations with them.  It went super well and when she was leaving we just casually asked, "will we see you tomorrow?" (Church) and she said, “Yeah, I can probably come for one hour.”  It was awesome because the first time we had to do a little convincing and this time it was a pretty quick yes.  I think she is starting to connect some dots.

Also, a little word for the wise; don't try to get someone else assigned a talk for Sacrament meeting or else it will backfire as it did to me.  I now have to talk next week for my last Sunday.  Should be pretty interesting.  Ha ha

We had exchanges this week and I was in the trio with Elder Billman and my old companion Elder Smith.  That was so much fun!  I didn't even feel like I was on an exchange.  It just felt like we were companions again only with a tag along this time.

We also got to learn a little bit about guitar and how to play.  I’ve got a lot of work to do.

Well, that's about it for this week.  Sorry it isn't too exciting.  Next week will be a much better one.  It kind of has to be right
😁.  See you all soon.  Have a great week and share the gospel with someone this week.  Love y'all, bye.

Elder Ellison
We Sew Quilts For The Veterans
Sew Fun!
Awesome Members - They Taught Us Guitar - Their Son Can Shred!

Exchanges With Old E. Smith

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Choices Have Consequences 7-17-17

So we had an interesting week and finally had some success.  After working hard and keeping our faith strong, the Lord has started to bless us and has helped us bare our afflictions with patience.

We had another good lesson with our investigator Anne.  We talked all about the Spirit.  She is trying to learn and understand these things because it is a foreign concept to her.  In our lesson we invited her to come to church, and guess what?  She came!  She is our first investigator at church in a long time.  We even had a missionary giving her homecoming talk and I think some of the things that were said were for Anne.  She said after church that she will probably be back again.  We still have a lot of work and teaching to do, but super exciting.

Another success came from a meeting with a less-active member.  They came to church last week and we set up an appointment for this week.  We went by and had a great lesson with him.  He really wants to change and doesn't want to fall into the cracks like he usually does.  We told him things that would help him start this change in his life.  The next day we went by to drop off a tie for him to wear to church and the big huge beard he had the day before was completely shaved off.  He said it was a start to the changes he was making.  It was awesome!  The second visit, his mother was there who also needed help and she asked us to give her a blessing.  We did and we told her some things God teaches us that would help her change as well.  Both of them were at church on Sunday.

The last success I want to talk about is with a lady named Shantel.  She had stopped the Elders on their bikes about a month and a half ago and asked for a Book of Mormon.  Well they never really got a hold of her again.  We finally did.  She said that she has been reading it and even read some to her kids.  She had a question about eternal marriage and it was something that she said she would want at some point.  We read the Introduction to the Book of Mormon with her for a bit and explained it.  I'm looking forward to meeting with her again.

We had Zone Conference which was really good.  The Picketts (the new Mission President & his wife) introduced themselves and we had a couple trainings.  Then I had the opportunity, with a couple other missionaries, to give my departing testimony since it was my last Zone Conference.  It was a good conference to end on.

So to explain the title of my email:  We were visiting less-actives and we stopped by one who told us not to come by anymore.  She said they had already told the missionaries before not to come back and that if her husband had answered the door, it would have been really bad.  The whole situation went downhill from there.  We had stopped by because no one knew who she was and there weren’t any notes about her.  Past missionaries, whoever they were, chose not to update the records or make any notes, for whatever reason.  So after this incident, we put notes everywhere to prevent something like this again.  It just goes to show that sometimes our choices made in the past, result in consequences for others down the road, for good or for bad.  That is why when we make our choices every day, we should always choose the harder, smarter, and right way than the easier, not so good, or wrong way.  Our choices have consequences whether we like it or not.  We don't always get to know the outcome, but we can give ourselves a better chance if it is more along the lines of the gospel and in accordance with God's will.  (If you want to know the end of this story and more of what happened, then ask me when I am home.)  I love you all and wish you all a great week.

You can do hard things!

Elder Ellison


Met Sis. Pickett

Zone Conference - Met our new President Pickett

We Went To The Zoo For P-Day

Just More Animals At The Zoo - Ha Ha

Monday, July 31, 2017

Meeting The President 7-10-17

So this week was another week of hard work, but only minimal success.

We met with a referral we got last week.  Her name is Anne and we had an awesome powerful lesson.  We have to teach her a lot differently than most people we teach because she doesn't have hardly any religious background or a faith in God.  It is really interesting, but really fun.  I hope we can help guide her to receive an answer that God is real and does exist and care about her.  We talked about a bunch of different things and we were all over the place with the Restoration and the Plan of Salvation.  She had a lot of questions too.  We are looking forward to our next visit because we gave her a Book of Mormon to read and pray about.  We helped her recognize what the Holy Ghost is as well.  In that lesson, she is the first person I have taught that I told they were feeling the Holy Ghost because I was too.  It was a super cool experience.  We felt just filled with joy and motivation.  It's lessons like that one that make all of this and the disappointments worth it.  Nothing compares.

We also had an awesome lesson with some members Sunday night.  We shared with them Genesis 28 and we talked about the things that we need to do to get back to live with God.  I shared this a few months ago as well.  The Spirit was so strong and my companions said that it was something they totally needed.  They said they felt the Spirit in their home and they told me that there was something different about those members than the other times they visited and didn’t share a lesson.

We also got to give a couple blessings to some people who really needed it.  Being able to find them just shows that Planning is more effective than winging it because the Lord will help you plan where to go and He told us in planning to go to them.  It was awesome.

We also got to meet President Pickett on Sunday.  He was at our building for a meeting and so we said hi for a minute.  We have Zone Conference this week too so we will see him again and his family.  He is a really nice guy and I'm looking forward to getting to know him in my limited time with him.

That is about it for this week.  I hope everyone had a good 4th of July and I hope you all had missionary opportunities as well.  There is no joy in this life greater than having the gospel in our lives and sharing it.  Just try it and see if it isn't true.  Hope you all have a great week.  I love you all.

Elder Ellison


Campfire Dinner

P-Day Fun

More P-Day Fun

Tennessee Rain

God Bless America 7-3-17

Well, I hope everyone has a good 4th of July tomorrow.  We should be having a good one over here too.  Hopefully it doesn't rain again.

So this week we did a lot of finding and less-active work.  We didn't have too much success come out of it unfortunately, but we did have little.  One of the biggest was that we found a new investigator that seems pretty promising.  We tracted into her and she immediately said she would like to hear our message.  We shall see where it goes.  Another big one was we got a sweet referral from a member in Nebraska.  He is a convert of a year and a super solid member and super missionary-minded.  He referred a friend that hasn't had much religion in her life and when we went by she was nice and set up an appointment with us.  The man that referred her said that was going to be hard to do.  I can't wait to teach her.  One of the smaller ones we had was while tracting.  We talked to a guy who said he had read and prayed about the Book of Mormon and said he was fine where he was at, but he did say he would still read it because (in his words) you never know.  Some past missionaries tracted into him and gave him a Book of Mormon and asked him to read and pray about it and now we are the follow up.

This week we also got a new car.  A Chevy Malibu which is really nice and has Wifi in the car.  While we were picking it up, we were lucky enough to be able to say goodbye one more time to the Griffins before they flew home the next morning.

Today was my last Fast Sunday on my mission and so I had to get up and bare my testimony.  I used Helaman 5:12 about building my foundation upon Christ and when I do, then nothing Satan throws my way will knock me down.  I compared that to my mission and how I have faced a lot of different adversities and had a lot of hard times, but yet I still am happier than I ever have been and have the peace I need because of my foundation in Christ.  I know this is true because it has happened to me and I know it can happen to everyone.  Do it yourself and build your foundation in Christ and you will not ever regret it or forget it.  It will change your life.  And then help others do the same around you.  We are always stronger when we work together to help each other out.  I leave this in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Elder Ellison

I'm King of the World!


Goodbye Pres. Griffin

Goodbye Sis. Griffin


Sunday, July 30, 2017

Push On In The Work 6-26-17

Well this week has been a good start for the last transfer.  We have been working hard and we found some new investigators that have potential.  We are working on cleaning up our area and getting the ward on our side.  The missionaries that I have as companions both have some awesome ideas on how we can improve and we all have that determination to make this area great.

My 2 new companions are Elder Billman (been out for 4 months), and Elder Tevaga (been out for 8 months).  Elder Billman is from Idaho Falls and likes fishing, hunting, cars, and working on engines.  Elder Tevaga (pronounced Tevanga) is from West Jordan, just outside of Salt Lake, and is descended from Samoa.  He loves sports, especially basketball, football, and rugby.  It's going to be a good transfer with these guys.  They are like my escorts kind of, because I sit in the back seat while they drive me all over - haha.

So first off to end in Chattanooga, I visited with Caitie who is still working on baptism.  We might have good news this week so we shall see.  Also the 11 year old from our recent convert family, Kaitlyn, got baptized on Saturday.  I'm bummed I missed it, but so grateful to be a part of their conversion.  We also saw some other recent converts that last night so I could say goodbye.  It was a good last day in Chattanooga.

In the past few days, we have just been working hard here in Grove Park.  We passed our goal for new investigators just in the few days I have been here.  We also saw today the Ward showing some trust with us.   We are super excited for what this transfer will bring.  My last 6 weeks and there is no time to slow down, just keep working hard every day.  

Also the Griffins are headed home this Friday which is sad, but we are excited to meet President and Sister Pickett as well.  That is about it from me.  Have a great week.

Elder Ellison

Tracting With My New Comps E. Billman & E. Tevaga

Chattanooga Goodbyes 

Chattanooga Goodbyes

New Area - Forest Grove

One Last Change 6-19-17

Well I thought I was finishing here, but the Lord had other plans.  For my last 6 weeks I will be transferring to Grove Park.  It is an area in north Knoxville.  It will be the first area I have had that is less than an hour and a half away from the city the mission is named after.  I will now be about half an hour away.  I will be going into a trio with two young missionaries.  My new comps will be Elder Tevanga and Elder Billman.  My last 6 weeks are going to be fun and a lot of working hard.

Well this week we had a sweet lesson with a lady named Mary Beth.  We had tracted into her last week and she asked us to come back.  Well we were planning on talking to her for a few minutes, but it turned into a long discussion and we went over the whole Restoration.  We invited her to church and she said she would come.  Well sadly we got a text Sunday from her saying she is good where she is at and will contact us when she wants to talk again.  It was so heart breaking because she seemed to be the most solid person we have found in the last couple weeks.

We also had our last Zone Conference with the Griffins.  That was sad.  It was a really good meeting.  He talked to us about how we have changed on our missions.  We talked about the people and the area's that have changed us and helped us with certain things.  We also had a training from the Assistants on our Mission Vision, goals, and plans.  I'm looking forward to seeing how this mission will continue to grow and will reach a new level.

Well that is about it for me this week. Happy Father’s Day to all those fathers out there.  Have a great week everybody.

Elder Ellison

Crawfish - Eh, Just OK

Dinner with Henrys

FHE with Christensens

Last Zone Conference with Pres. & Sis. Griffin

Selfie with Pres. Griffin

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Families Being Brought Together 6-12-17

So this was another OK week just doing a bunch of “finding” and trying to figure out how to pick the area up even more.  We had a couple guys yell at us to go away which is always different.  One of them was a less-active member.  We didn't even say anything.  Not a word and he said don't ever come back.  Twice.  Then shut the door.  Oh well, that's just how it goes.

We had our last MLC with the Griffins.  It was a very spiritual meeting.  We have our last Zone Conference this week too.  It's so sad that they are leaving, but our new mission president sounds awesome.  We are told that they are very similar so it shouldn't be too much of a difference.  I get almost exactly a month with our new mission president.

Transfers are next week so we shall see what the results are for my last transfer.  I'm pretty sure I will stay here with Elder Frederick, but I will keep you posted next week.

Highlight of the week: we had a lesson with our recent convert family.  They have an 11 yr. old daughter who is a little bit autistic and afraid of water.  Well she has been doing much better with water lately and we asked her if she wants to be baptized and she said yeah.  So we put her on date for Jun. 30.  We are looking forward to that.  In order for the family to be sealed together forever, she has to be baptized to go into the temple because she is over 8.  It's so awesome to see this family progress and just knowing that they will be sealed together in about a year brings me so much joy!  Stephanie also got a calling in the Primary with the 4 yr. olds.  She said that that is what she used to do a while back.  So it is something that she likes, which is good.

We have been doing a few member visit lessons and talking about the Book of Mormon.  All of the members we have seen so far have a few people they have in mind to give a book to or to invite to hear the gospel.  Hopefully we can be getting some referrals from them here soon.

That's about it from me this week.  My comp keeps telling me how much more time I have left and just a bunch of trunky comments, but I just let him all the things I will be able to do that he won't for another year haha.  It is sad that time is winding down, but I am very grateful for each day I'm given to serve the Lord.  I hope you all have a great week.  Love ya.

Elder Ellison

Facials - Mine Failed!


Last MLC

Magnolia Trees Are Everywhere!

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Power In The Pages 6-5-17

Hey everyone.  So this week wasn't the best of weeks.  Good things still happened, but the work was kind of slow unfortunately.  May has come and gone which is just crazy to me.  I just want time to slow down so I can get everything done and learn everything I need to before this service is over.  There is just something about missions that you learn things and do things you never would have without it.  It is amazing!

So first off Daniel and Stephanie (our recent converts) went to the temple on Saturday.  They said they enjoyed it.  They want to go back to be able to do it for their own family names.  They are making some huge progress. 

Next we had a couple exchanges this week.  I was back to my old area for a day with one of them.  That was kind of fun.  Brought me back to the good ol' days of downtown Chatt.  We also went with the assistants (Aps).  We had a really sweet lesson with a guy they tracted into.  This man shared how he is just lonely and needs some company and to feel like he is wanted and cared about.  We got to tell him about Home Teaching and how a big part of our church is taking care of all the members.  We also asked him about baptism and he said he had been baptized before, but he would get baptized again.  It was cool to see that for him it wasn't a big hurdle. 

This past week there were a few times where we have had to express the importance of the Book of Mormon.  I would like to do the same now.  There is a power in the scriptures that we can feel as we study from them.  We have been told that the Book of Mormon can help us grow closer to God if we live and apply the principles it teaches from within than any other book.  In today's world, we CAN NOT risk to go a day without reading our scriptures.  When we read the scriptures, especially the Book of Mormon, we are arming ourselves with the Word of God which is the most powerful thing we have in this world.  We are spiritually building up a wall of defense every time we read and when we do it each day we are strengthening that defense.  If we miss a day, our walls of defense get a crack which will grow the more we miss until we are exposed on all sides.  Today in church we were told that we cannot just read the scriptures anymore.  We have to be studying them every day.  There is a difference between reading and studying.  When you are studying, you are feasting upon the Words of Christ.  When you read, you are nibbling on a snack.  So I want to ask all that are reading this entry, if you have only a Bible, read your Bible every single day and study from it.  If you only have a Bible, obtain a Book of Mormon to further your knowledge and understanding of our Heavenly Father’s plan and the purpose of Christ's ministry.  If you know someone who doesn't have both a Bible and Book of Mormon, then get them one and share your testimony with them of how they have helped you and blessed you.  If you have a Book of Mormon, read it and study it every day.  I promise that if you do this, you will see a difference in your days because I have.  It's so much better if you have it every day.  Your spirit will be full.  Matthew says it the best, "Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and all these things shall be added unto you."  If you want more peace, joy, love, patience, charity, kindness, meekness, hope, faith then study the scriptures daily.  Every single one of us has at least 15 min. a day of free time, if not then you are too busy.  I share these things with all of you because I love you and care about you and I want you to be prepared for anything and to be better off.  The scriptures have changed my life.  I am so grateful for them.  I love them and the new things I learn each day in my studies.  I leave these things with you in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Elder Ellison



Sunday, July 23, 2017

Reunited 5-29-17

So this week was a pretty good week.  We had a couple exchanges and we have a few people that we are working with right now and getting new ones as the weeks go by. 

So first off, I got to go on exchanges with Elder Bingham, my “son”.  It was really awesome to be able to catch up and see how Bristol was doing. 

The next highlight is Daniel and Stephanie.  They are going to the temple this Saturday to do baptisms for the dead.  We are super excited for them.  Also Daniel passed the sacrament with us on Sunday.  He did a great job.  Next up is blessing it.  This week we taught Daniel all about the Priesthood and what it can do.  So we are going to help him get more involved.

Our teaching pool is really low and we don't have too many solid people to teach right now, but a miracle happened this week.  On Saturday a member called us and told us about a friend of his that wants to meet with us.  He said his friend has lots of questions and is ready to make some changes in his life.  We are really excited to start teaching him.

Sunday night another miracle happened.  We went to contact a former and in the notes it said a man answered and told them to never come back.  So we went anyway and I was prepared for it again, but we didn't even need to knock on the door.  The lady we were trying to go see was in the garage.  We started talking with her and had a great lesson over the Book of Mormon and the Holy Ghost.  Half way through, her husband came out and sat down and we talked with him.  He was pretty cool and we got a return appointment with them for later this week.  We are pretty stoked to be teaching them.  The best part is her mom is a member and she helps answer her questions and even reads the Book of Mormon with her to help her out. 

Well that is about it from my end this week.  I love you all and I hope you have a great week.  Remember what the Lord has said, "For behold, ​​​angels​ are declaring it unto many at this time in our land; and this is for the purpose of preparing the hearts of the children of men to receive his word at the time of his coming in his glory.” (Alma 13:24)  “And ye are called to bring to pass the ​​​gathering​ of mine ​​​elect​; for mine elect ​​​hear​ my voice and ​​​harden​ not their ​​​hearts​; (D&C 29:7)"

Elder Ellison

Civil War Signal Lookout Post


P-Day With Future Missionary & Future Convert

Day of Service with Senior Couples