Monday, December 28, 2015

Merry Christmas To All!!! 12-28-15

Wow - the weather has been really nice lately.  We had a 70 degree Christmas, which was awesome.  This is a very weird winter, according to the people here, but I am not complaining.  We also had a week full of service.  This transfer has flown by.  I can't believe there are only 2 weeks left until the next one.  My ponderize scripture this week is John 5: 30 which says, "I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgement is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me." This is Christ talking with his apostles and I think it applies to me too.  It is humbling to remember that I can do nothing without His help and the things that He gives me.  I also need to stop being selfish or just thinking of myself.  I must “put off the natural man” (Mosiah 3: 19) and submit my will to the Lords and seek His will.  He has sent me at this specific time for a reason and a purpose that I am figuring out each day as I strive to follow His will.

Monday we went to downtown Nashville with a member from one of the other missionary’s last area, who lives here now.  We went to the Parthenon, which was cool.  It is an exact replica of the original Parthenon in Athens.  Then we went to this mural that says “I Believe in Nashville.”  Then we went to the strip.  We were followed for a bit by a creepy, drunk construction worker.  He asked us for money, but had no idea what we were saying.  Something was “off” about him, but we met the other Elders in a boot store and lost him.  We then went to lunch in a bar (yep – but not what your thinking) and had some live entertainment as well (music).  Then later that night we taught Devante again, which was a pretty good lesson on the Plan Of Salvation.

Tuesday we helped out at the Bishop's Storehouse again.  Then we helped a member dig a trench in preparation to start pouring concrete.  Later that night, we taught Devante and some of his cousins about the Restoration.  The spirit was so strong in that lesson and they all said that if they came to know that the Book of Mormon was true, they would all want to be baptized. It was sweet.

Wednesday we helped set up the concrete forms.  We had to go in early that night because the entire Nashville area was under a tornado warning.  We didn't get a big storm like some areas, but it was a little scary to think that there might be a tornado coming through.  We played a game called Redneck Life.  It's like the game Life, but redneck style.  It's fun.

Thursday we worked some more on the concrete project and then had a Christmas Eve dinner with the Bishop's family.  That was about it.

Friday was Christmas!  We got to Skype home in the morning, which was really fun.  Then we went to lunch at a member’s home with the other Elders in our ward.  Then we went to their cousin's home for dinner.  We had another dinner later that night.  We hit a possum on the way home.  We decided to take it home, skin it and put it in the freezer to eat later.  I do have to mention that my companion pretty much did most of the skinning part, since I don’t have much experience in that area.  The Robertson’s on Duck Dynasty would be proud that the possum didn’t go to waste.  I can’t believe I’m saying this, but “Yes, we are having possum for dinner!”

Saturday we poured concrete into the forms we set up.  Then we had dinner with an awesome family and that was about it - nothing else to report.

Sunday I gave a talk on Feed My Sheep.  Most of it was taken from Elder Jeffrey R. Holland's talk in the October 2013 General Conference entitled “The First Great Commandment.”  I encourage all of you to go read it or watch it again.  Later, we helped a member install a new water heater and did some tracting, with no luck.  The holidays stink as a missionary, teaching wise.

So my week was pretty good and it was filled with lots of good memories. I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas, full of gifts and remembrance of our Savior.  I hope you also have your New Year’s resolutions ready (that will mostly not be fulfilled, like every year -haha). There is one resolution that I want to keep 100% and that is to read the scriptures and pray every day.  I hope we can all do that this year.  The world is getting more evil and the only way to fight against it is with good.  Good always wins in the movies and books and life.  Just like Christ did against Satan. Satan tempted him and what did Christ use in defense? He used scriptures, which I found out this last week, were all located in the book of Deuteronomy. Reading our scriptures helps us learn how to build up a wall of defense almost like Captain Moroni built for the cities of the Nephites.  It is the best way to keep our thoughts and words clean.  They are a great tool and should be used like one.  I have learned a lot from some talks my mom has sent me from a guy named Hank Smith.  He is really good and funny too.  This has been a great year and I am looking forward to being able to spend this next year as a missionary too.  I couldn't ask for a better way to spend it.  Have a wonderful new year and congratulations to my cousin, Savannah for getting married this week. Wish I could be there. Good bye y'all.

Elder Ellison
Christmas District Meeting

1 of 3 Christmas Dinners - That's Right!

Roadkill - Possum For Dinner!

P-Day in Nashville

Parthenon in Nashville

Service Op - Setting Up Concrete Forms

A Week Like The Pioneers 12-21-15

This week we walked all over kingdom come.  It was really cold and windy too.  It is supposed to rain this week - I will take cold & windy over cold & rainy.  Luckily we have the car this week.  I have experienced a “first” this week.  For the first time ever I don't like and am sick of all the treats you get at Christmas.  I feel like I will be super fat after the holidays.  We are overloaded with goodies.  Ugh! 

So this week’s ponderize scripture comes from my daily reading and for some reason it stood out to me so I thought I would ponderize it.  It’s a little odd because it doesn't seem like a scripture that would catch your eye, but it did. The scripture is Luke 11: 9-10.  "And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened up to you. For everyone that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened." So it is pretty simple, which may be the point. I think we get the idea that in order for us to ask God things or receive answers, it has to be really hard and complex, but it doesn't.  This scripture is written twice in the Bible.  I wanted to break it down a little.  Ask. I thought that it was interesting that it was capitalized even though we all know that it shouldn't be based on its placement in the sentence. Asking is a very key part. The Lord wants us to ask for things. It is the only word that is capitalized in this scripture which may hint towards its importance. If we ask for things, we are going to be given an answer.  Now our part is to ask, His is to answer, and then ours is to accept the answer, no matter what it may be.  Seek. We can ask for things all we want, but the Lord isn't going to just give us the answer on a silver platter. We have to go out and do the work and search for the things we want, and then we will find it.  We need to stop being lazy, even if our searching is mostly on our phones or computers, and do some work. We also need to show our obedience. He is not going to bless us with things we want, if we aren't obedient to what He has asked of us.  Knock. I think this goes along with seek.  When we knock we are right there at the door, and there is always going to be a light on in God’s house with someone there who will always answer.  So we ask for things, which leads to seeking and searching them out, which leads us to the door where we knock.  I think the knock at the door usually comes at the end of our journey.  When we knock, we have showed the Lord that we have made the effort and worked to find our answer.  Then He will open it unto us.  Sorry this was a long explanation, but as I have been asking for things, I have seen that my questions have been answered through this process.  A lot of it comes from reading the scriptures.

Monday was P-day and we played basketball and two-hand-touch rugby. We then went on exchanges for the night and I went to Springfield, which is the other half of our ward, with Elder Ihler who is also from Idaho too.  He is from Malet, or something like that.  About 45 minutes away from Pocatello.  We had a couple lessons with two guys who are really close to baptism.  We had a good time on the exchange.

Tuesday we went to the Bishop’s storehouse and exchanged back.  We then tracted a bit and found one potential investigator. We then went out with a member to have a lesson with Amanda, but she wasn't there when we showed up.  She didn't get back until we were about to leave, so that was a bummer.  We did get to talk to somebody while we were there who may be interested in learning more.

Wednesday we contacted a few people, but they all said to come back another time.  That is the one thing that sucks about the holidays.  Everyone is so busy that they don't have time to listen.  Most of these people tell us to try back after the holidays.  That is 2 weeks of nothing, so we are hoping we will at least get to have a few lessons.

Thursday we tried a lot of people, but again, no luck.  However, later while we were walking to our dinner appointment, a lady pulled into her driveway nearby and started walking towards us.  My first thought was that she was going to offer us a ride, but she asked me if we had a phone number.  So then my next thought was that she was going to get mad or turn us in or something.  I gave her our number and then she told us that she had a friend, named TJ, that wanted our phone number.  So that was cool because we got a referral just from walking an hour to dinner. Our dinner was with Springfield Elders as well and it was an early Christmas dinner at a member’s house, Sis. Durham.  They gave us a bunch of goodies and a stocking full of gifts.  My favorite was a reindeer Christmas tie.  That was so nice of them.  I also got my package from home today.  I got Nanaimo bars, which I was super psyched about.

Friday it was freezing cold.  It evened snowed little flurries in the morning when we helped some members clean out their basement.  We didn’t have any luck the rest of the day until right before dinner.  We had a lesson with a member’s grandson, which went well.  He told us he wants to learn more, so we are going to meet with him some more.

Saturday - not much to report on except for another cold day.

Sunday we had church and no luck the rest of the day.  It turns out that I am giving a talk next Sunday though.  It is supposed to be about 10 minutes long.  Oh Boy!  The topic is Feed My Sheep, which is a good one, but I think it could be a little tricky for a missionary to give it because it may come out sounding like I’m lecturing or shredding into the congregation about doing more missionary work.  Even though there is always room to improve, I’m hoping it won’t come across like I am criticizing or judging at all.  I know I will find a way to be able to talk about the things the Lord wants them to hear. 

So that was my week. I hope your shopping, planning and gift wrapping has all gone smoothly, but also full of remembrance of the real reason we celebrate Christmas.  I wish you all a merry Christmas and a safe holiday for those of you in snowy conditions.  Boy, I am NOT going to miss that this year.  I think Christmas is supposed to be in the high 60s for us, which will be nice.  Haha. Talk to y'all next week.

Elder Ellison

Pre-Christmas Dinner
Rockin' The Christmas Ties!

Meetings & Warm Weather 12-14-15

This week was full of meetings and really weird, unusual, (not going to complain) warm weather. We had two days in the low 70s.  It was crazy, but awesome.  I know it’s really cold back home right now.  So my ponderize scripture this week is Jermiah 1:19 which says, "And they shall fight against thee; but they shall not prevail against thee; for I am with thee, saith the Lord, to deliver thee."  Of course, I see this scripture as focusing on being a missionary.  There are a lot of people, here in the Bible Belt especially, who fight against us any way they can.  They want to harass and discourage us.  They try their best, but they never really succeed because I know that the Lord is with me.  He is helping me every day.  I also think of this scripture in a "regular" person context as well, meaning that the forces of the adversary are tempting us and fighting us every day. We must remember that they cannot prevail when the Lord is with us.  As we look towards Him every day and pray to Him and read our scriptures, we are fortifying and strengthening our walls and armor of protection against them and they shall not win.  There will be many days when our faith and strength will be tested.  If we have not properly prepared ourselves by doing what is most important and what is right, then we will fall and will not have the strength to continue the fight and the adversary will win.  But we can always regain our strength and push through and win in the end, just like a real hero always does, if we start to do those things we knew we needed to from the beginning.  I know that as we pray every day, read our scriptures, go to church, continue to strive to exercise our faith, and look towards God for that extra strength, we will overcome those evil powers.  We will be that hero that stands courageously and boldly in the end, and we will know that it was only by the help of the Lord that we accomplished it.

Monday was P-day and it was really fun being able to play basketball, soccer, ultimate frisbee, and pool with a bunch of other Elders.  We then went and had a Family Home Evening with some members, which was really good.

Tuesday we went to the Bishop's storehouse and helped out there for most of the day.  We then helped out our landlord wrap some gifts.  We had a good conversation about what we believe and were able to answer some of her questions.

Wednesday we had Zone Conference.  We all got "black boxes" installed in our cars which monitor our driving.  We also had a Missionary Christmas Party after the trainings.  I did learn some awesome ways on how we can share the “A Savior is Born” video in our efforts.  I have been wondering how I can better incorporate that in my finding efforts.

Thursday we had a couple lessons.  We taught a lady who wants to get baptized, but just needs to get married.  However, she doesn't know when her boyfriend will be on board with that, so it could be a long wait.  Then we contacted an older, less-active couple.  We shared the video with them and gave the lady a blessing.  We then had dinner and shared the video with a recent convert and investigator.  We had a pretty good day today.

Friday we did lots of service.  We helped our landlords a ton today.  We started out finishing the gift wrapping and then went and helped a member change his broken Christmas lights on his roof. Then we went back to our landlords and helped them with a plumbing problem.  Everything was clogged and we tried to figure it out.  By the end of the night, a plumber had to come and he found roots in the pipes from one of the trees.  We got those out so now they can fix the problems they caused. 

Saturday I got to Skype in and see Mike get baptized.  I wasn't allowed to watch the actual ordinance (mission rules), but I was able to talk with him and watch the program.  I am so happy for him!  Later we used the A Savior Is Born video while tracting and found 2 potential investigators.  We also had showed it to a family, who ended up being in the Area Book.  We didn't know until afterwards, but we watched the video then had a Restoration lesson.  Unfortunately, they weren't interested in learning more.  I got to be honest and say that I used to like the old Christmas video better, but I have come to love it this one too now.  If you haven't watched it, WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?  It is awesome!  Share it with your friends and family as well.

Sunday we had church, which was good, and then later, we had dinner with the manager for the Nashville Tribute Band.  He and his family are really cool.  They told us about a Christmas light show at a house that was synced to music so we went and saw it afterwards.  It was pretty cool.

Hope everyone is doing well.  Just remember that no matter what gifts you get this Christmas, you have already received the greatest gift of all and that is our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  We need to always remember Him each day.  I encourage each of you that read this blog to take time out of your busy schedule and try to find someone that you can serve, even if it is just a little thing.  I know that it will make you happier and the person you serve happier as well.  Hope you all
have a good week.

Elder Ellison
Mike's Baptism - That's Me Skyping in on the iPad.

Zone Conference & Christmas Party

Thursday, December 10, 2015

I'm the New President Living in White House! 12-7-15

So I have been transferred to the White House.  White House, Tennessee, that is.  My new address is 103 Heritage Dr. White House, TN 37188.  My new companion is Elder Mortensen.  He is from Star Valley, Wyoming.  He has been out 14 months.  He is pretty cool.  Unfortunately we don't have a full-time car, which sucks.  We share a car with some other Elders and switch every other week.  It's a bit of an adjustment – since we are on foot for an entire week.  My feet hurt, not to mention that we don't have as many lessons or get to see as many people.  Luckily the weather wasn't too bad Thursday through Sunday.  Only Tuesday and Wednesday were really cold.  So my ponderize scripture this week is Alma 27: 18 which says, "Now was not this exceeding joy?  Behold, this is joy which none receiveth save it be the truly penitent and humble seeker of happiness."  So leading up to this scripture, Ammon and his brethren were traveling back to Zarahemla after their missionary service and met Alma on the way.  Ammon's joy was so great he fell over and colapsed.  I have been thinking about how I can get to the point where I can feel that great of joy – the joy that comes from God.  I have come to realize that I must be humble and not have pride in myself, but I must remember that everything I have is from Him.  Also to be truly penitent means to be repentant.  When we become truly repentant of the sins and mistakes we have made then we open up more room to receive blessings that will help us to feel this kind of joy.  I am still trying to change myself so that I can experience that joy they talk about in the scripture.  I feel joy sometimes, but it can grow to so much more.
The Patterson's - They are awesome!
John & Tracey

Monday was my last day in Dickson so we did the only thing there is to do in Dickson, go bowling -haha.  Then we went to the Patterson's for dinner.  We went to see Branden and Kassie, then John and Tracey.  That was my last day as a “Greenie.”  Sad day.

Tuesday I was transferred to White House.  I am now in the Madison zone which has a bunch of Elders.  That means P-days will be awesome and we will be playing ball together.

Wednesday we had our District Meeting and I got to meet my new district.  We then biked all day and saw a less-active member.  Later we taught another less-active member and his wife, who isn't a member.  We kind of rushed that lesson because we had a meeting with our Ward Mission Leader and he is pretty cool.

Thursday we walked all over.  We didn't teach anyone, but we got a “potential” while tracting.  We will see how it goes when we return to see him.  We got locked out of our apartment because the keys were inside, but Elder Mortensen used a card to open the door.  It’s a comfort to know it is so easy to break in.  Haha.  I then got to meet our landlords and they are really cool and nice.  I also added Pig’s Brain to my list of “weird foods I ate on my mission.”  It tasted and smelled like mushy tuna and it was as bad as you would think.  I didn’t know what it was before I tried it.

Friday for most of the day we helped our landlord change the brakes on his son’s car.  I was zero help because I had no idea what to do, but I learned a lot.  Now I kind of know what to do.  We tried to see some people later, but no luck.

Saturday we went and helped an older lady put up her Christmas decorations.  Then later we walked a ton trying to see people.  We then went and heard the Nashville Community Choir sing Handle's Messiah.  It was good.  I also learned that one of my investigators from Dickson, Kerry, most likely got “antied” by her family over Thanksgiving, so she stopped seeing the missionaries.  Bummer.  However, Mike's baptism is next Saturday.  Hopefully I will be able to go back to Dickson to see it.

Sunday I said the opening prayer in Sacrament Meeting.  We had no luck later as we tracted.  We saw a less-active member that night and we’re hoping she comes to church next Sunday.

Well that was my week.  Not much happened, but that is OK.  I was told that this area does a lot of service, which I love.  This week I have really come to know of the power of reading the scriptures.  They can truly change and bless your life with more happiness.  Reading the scriptures everyday is one of the simple things we can all do to help us know God's will.  They bring happiness, joy, peace, and knowledge into our lives as well.  When we are doing the simple things, such as reading, praying, and going to church, everything else just somehow falls into place the way it needs to.  I have a strong testimony of these things and know good stuff happens if we do them.  I leave my testimony with you in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, amen.

Hope you all have a wonderful week and remember that our Savior is the greatest gift of Christmas.  He is more important than any material 
gift we could ever receive.  I pray for all of you.  I hope you all find true peace and happiness and find ways to look beyond yourselves to help someone out in some way this Christmas.  Until next time.  Goodbye y'all.

Elder Ellison
Elder Mortensen & I - We live behind the house with the boat in the driveway.

                                                                Eating Pig's Brain

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Training Complete! 11-30-15

Leap of Faith  :)
I have officially been out for 3 months now and am no longer “in training.”  Crazy how time just flies by!  My ponderize scripture this week was Alma 37: 37 which says "Counsel with the Lord in all thy doings, and he will direct thee for good; yea, when thou liest down at night lie down with the Lord, that he may watch over you in your sleep; and when thou risest in the morning let thy heart be full of thanks to God; and if ye do these things, ye shall be lifted up at the last day."  First thing I learned was that with no matter what the case may be, we need to ask God what we need to be doing or choosing.  He will always direct us in the right path with the most good and benefit for us.  Second, I learned that by the end of the day, we need to leave our troubles or anything else that might be on our minds, with Him.  When we do that, we receive comfort and a sense of peace and calm.  Third, I learned that we must always show our gratitude and thanks to God, every day.  Not just dutiful repetition, but with sincerity.  He has given us everything we have so I doubt we could ever run out of things to be grateful for.  I tend to focus just on the big things, but there is soooo much more.  When we do all these things, He will bless us and lift us up higher. 

Monday we went bowling again for a couple hours and I beat my high score with a 169.  It was also the highest of the day.  I was the only one to beat Bro. Patterson as well, twice.  So that was P-day. 

Tuesday we taught Mike the Word of Wisdom and he just has a couple things to get over, but he has a strong desire to make those changes so he can get baptized.  Then we talked to a guy who is totally against the government and has some crazy theories.  It is worth noting that he may have been a little drunk when we talked to him and he might also be a little crazy too.  He likes Glenn Beck though, which is awesome. 

Wednesday we went and talked with Monica about the importance of church.  We probably need to go over there when we have somebody who speaks Spanish because she doesn't really understand us very well.  I am beginning to think she may not really know why we are there.  Later that evening, a member drove us around.  We went to dinner with Kerry first and taught her the Plan Of Salvation.  We are praying that she feels comfortable with the baptismal date we set with her.  Later we contacted 2 referrals that were way out of town.  We had a good conversation with one of them.  We talked about God’s plan and tried to comfort her because her husband had passed away a couple months ago.  We did the best we could, but only the Lord can do it the way she needs it.

Thursday was Thanksgiving.  We started the day by going to the Christian Faith Center church to help them hand out dinners to people.  We then went to the Patterson's around 1pm and ate there.  I made sure I didn't eat too much because we had a second dinner appointment to go to later.  On the way to our next dinner, we stopped by a less-active member’s house and she was actually home this time.  We went in and got to know her and her husband.  They were super cool.  Afterwards we went to the River’s home around 6, but we didn't end up eating until 7:15 because the turkey wasn't done.  This was the first Thanksgiving that I wasn't stuffed to the brim, although I was extremely tired.  It was a good Thanksgiving.

Friday we went over early to Bro. Vincent's house and helped him put up his Christmas tree and decorations.  He has a ton of ornaments.  He has some cool ones from the Hallmark store.  After that, a member drove us around all day.  We were able to see 3 less-active members.  One of them said they were going to be at church this coming Sunday.

Saturday was Transfer Calls and I am getting the boot.  I am being transferred out, while Elder Wardle stays to train a new guy for his last 6 weeks.  I am so sad to leave Dickson, but I know I am needed somewhere else to help build up the kingdom of God.  I find out where I'm going and who my new companion will be on Tuesday.  It rained all day and so tracting was fun
😐😐.  We taught John that night and shared The Hope of God's Light video with him because it kind of fits his situation.

Sunday I got an early Christmas gift from Bro. Vincent which was a tie and some banana bread - yummmmm.  There was like, no one at church today and we only had one investigator.  I guess that's what happens with the Holidays.  We taught Mike some more and had to reschedule his baptismal date for next Saturday because he still hasn't quite overcome some of his problems yet, but he is making big improvements.  I am so happy for him.  I gave him a blessing for strength and comfort.  I hope to be able to come see him get baptized.  That night we went to the Church of God of Prophecy.  It was their district meeting or something and so there were more people than usual.  It wasn't as crazy as it can be except for one part at the beginning when one lady was speaking gibberish (“in tongues”), but that was it.  We then went and had dinner with the Valdez family. They are super cool.  I hope that she gets baptized during my next transfer at some point so that I am around to come and see it.  We then went to the hospital to give a blessing to a lady who had broken her ankle and was getting surgery the next day.  I sealed the blessing.

Well, Dickson has been good and I am going to miss this place and the people here as well.  I hope to be able to come back someday after my mission and visit all the cool people I meet in all my areas.  I know however that I am needed in another place and that I am going to learn more from my new companion (the “Greenie Buster”).  I will send my new address in next week’s email.  I hope that as the Christmas season is now upon us that we will all be able to show forth the Light of Christ that is within us by being able to serve or share our testimony with at least one person. We need to always look for those opportunities and take advantage of them.  We get them a lot more then we may think.  Have a wonderful week everyone.

Elder Ellison


My Last District Meeting

Santa's Helpers - Bro. Vincent's Tree

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Almost Done! 11-23-15

Man, I have only one more week until I am no longer in "training."  Crazy!  Transfer calls are this Saturday and I'll find out where I'll be for the following 6 weeks, so if you are planning on sending anything by mail, wait until I know for sure.

It has gotten really cold the past few days with the wind chill.  My ponderize scriptures are now personal ones I am doing.  I must give credit for last week's scripture reference to Elder Jacob Smith. The scripture is 1 Samuel 15: 22.  It is a scripture that I will be looking over probably for the rest of my life.  It says, "And Samuel said, Hath the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of the rams."  To obey is better than sacrifice is what mainly stood out to me.  Especially as a missionary you are blessed for your obedience.  That obedience is to the laws and commandments that God has given us.  They are there to guide us and help us because He knows what's best for us even when we may think otherwise, but if we obey them then we will be blessed and protected and everything will work out.  As a missionary we have many rules.  It is hard to keep every rule and be exactly obedient, but it is possible and we do our very best to keep them.  Those rules are there to protect us and to help us to have the Spirit with us continually and always.  I have definitely seen the blessings that have come from being obedient and I have seen the opposite side of them.  When we go to bed too late, we are really tired the next day, even to where we may not have put in our very best effort as we should have.  I know that being obedient is one of the hardest, but one of the best commandments we have been given.

Monday I got my first haircut since arriving in Tennessee.  Other than that, we just chilled all day. That night we went and saw a part-member, less-active family with Br. Rivers.  I shared with them part of the story of Great Aunt Rose.  It is a very good talk from President Uchtdorf at the last conference that I encourage everyone to read. It teaches about how we can be happier and focus on the positive things in life by having faith, which then leads to hope. We then did exchanges with our Zone Leaders and I stayed here in Dickson with Elder Rivera.

Tuesday the 17th - Oh boy, we all need to watch out - haha. (It's a Psych thing for those of you that didn't know). We taught Monica, well, Elder Rivera taught Monica 95% of the time because he speaks Spanish.  He grew up speaking it so he helped out a lot with helping her understand etc.  I just mainly stood there and looked good haha.  Later that night we had a couple interesting things happen.  We were tracting and we knocked on a door and the guy said that he would talk to us if we didn't use "that" book and only the "true" Bible.  Well then, we might need an interpreter who can speak ancient Hebrew - haha.  So then later we were going up to a house and we were only a few feet away when Elder Rivera just stopped suddenly and said, "I don't feel like we should knock here."  I got the prompting just then to stop also.  As soon as he said those words I immediately felt like something was up with that house, but didn't know what.  So we just turned around, left and knocked on the neighbors next door.  They weren't interested, but we asked them if they knew of anyone who would be.  They told us, "You can try them (pointing to the neighbor's house we had just left), but you might want to take a gun with you."  I am so grateful for the prompting of the Spirit which told us to leave because if we didn't, who knows what would have happened.  I learned from Elder Rivera that I need to pay closer attention to what the Spirit is telling me because I tend to walk fast and I wasn't too focused on what it was trying to tell me until E. Rivera said something first.  After that we went and saw John and Tracey.  Tracey wasn't feeling good, but John wanted to take a break from his studies and so we sat outside and talked for an hour and a half.  He opened up to us about his feelings towards religion and how he is searching for truth.  The Spirit was so strong as we talked.  We shared with him many things and he said he would come to church this Sunday (he didn't come, but he said he would be able to next week).  For the first time since being out here, I almost started to tear up as we were talking with him.  I bore my testimony to him of what I knew was true and that I knew he would know of this truth as well through earnest prayer.  It was an awesome experience!

Wednesday we exchanged back and then we went with Marcus to see Mike.  He set a baptismal date for Dec. 5, which he prayed about and felt good about.  We taught him the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  We then went and saw Kerry and had a good lesson with her.  We finished up the Restoration lesson with her and answered a few of her questions as well.  I invited her to be baptized when she came to know the Book of Mormon is true and she said she would.  We saw Branden and Kassie and they committed to read 2 Nephi 2.  I really hope they follow through and read it.  They are awesome people and I would hate to not be ale to continue teaching them anymore if they are not willing to do their part.  Heavenly Father wants to answer our prayers and teach us truth, but we have to do our part as well.

Thursday we walked most of the day because our truck was getting the last dent fixed.  Luckily it only took a couple of hours and not a few days this time.  We didn't have any lessons today -bummer.

Friday we tracted a bunch, but no luck.  We then had an awesome lesson with the Valdez family.  She doesn't know a lot about religion so we taught simply and explained it in detail.  Nick expressed how although he has a good job (manager at the Nissan's dealership in town), a family, and a home; he should be happy, but he is not and he knows something is missing.  He recognizes that it is the gospel and he wants to someday be able to baptize his kids and be sealed forever in the temple to his wife and family.  It was an awesome lesson.  I shared the First Vision part of the lesson and it was the most spiritual and best way I have ever said it so far.  A few weeks ago, I had shared it with a man we taught when Marcus was with us and he said that I was too stiff and looked like I was just saying it from memory.  Since that point, I have tried to figure out how I can say it more with the Spirit instead of just by memory.  By watching the Restoration video a lot, I told myself that I need to say it with more feeling and as if I am Joseph Smith remembering it and experiencing it.  So that's what I did.  I really think that it helped portray his experiences better so people understand how he must have felt during that time.  So later today I got a letter in the mail from Hermana Nelson, who is in the Las Vegas mission.  It was a letter saying that when she saw me in the MTC, she knew I was her "eternal companion."  I was like, "What?!"  I don't even know you and I'm on a mission!  Even the ladies who I don't know me can't get enough of all this now - haha.  I was freaked out for a minute, but then I realized I have friend from home in the Las Vegas mission also.  Nice prank Elder Branden Hales.  I am so going to get him back!  I have to admit, it was pretty funny though.

My "Love Letter"
Saturday we helped Sister Carlson with some things in her home because she had surgery a few weeks ago and couldn't do much because she can barely walk.  We then went and helped a lady move into her new home.  After that we didn't have any lessons at all.  All of our people that we went to see weren't home or didn't answer.  It was a bummer, but those nights happen, I guess.  I also heard the song "Fields of Gold" in Wendy's. (We sang that song in choir this last year).  Good memories!

Sunday we had 4 investigators at church and we taught Mike half of the Commandments.  We had a good lesson with him.  It is awesome to see him keep progressing.  We also taught Kerry and just shared with her the 5 minute First Vision video.  The Spirit was really strong as we watched that.  We had dinner later at the Palmers.

That was my week.  Hope everything is going well for all of you.  I pray for you guys constantly.  Keep listening to the Spirit more and it will guide you throughout your life.  Take time to read the scriptures and pray too.  Those things are so important and valuable to our progression in the gospel. Love you all and miss ya.

Elder Ellison
This Ninja found himself a sword - for training purposes, of course.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Learning A Lot This Week 11-16-15

So this week our Area Book app had an update.  However, once it was updated, we could no longer open the app or use it for a couple days which made life hard. We couldn't look up any addresses or put in lessons or anything.  My ponderize scripture was Mosiah 18: 19 "And he commanded them that they should teach nothing save it were the things which he had taught, and which had been spoken by the mouth of the holy prophets." Out here on a mission, we teach a lot of people.  There are also a lot of different churches with many different beliefs.  For us, we only teach people the things which the Lord and the prophets and apostles have taught us.  Just like this scripture, we also need to listen to the prophets and apostles and do what they have asked. When we do those things, we are blessed with opportunities to share them with others as well.  We all need to pay attention to those opportunities that come into our path and then take advantage of them by sharing the gospel.

Monday for P-day we just chilled all day and then at night we found 3 new investigators.  After that we went and played Phase 10 with a member and her boyfriend who goes to the Church of Christ.  He has Down syndrome, not super bad, but a little and she has some mental problems because of an accident she had as a baby.  They are great and we had fun.

Tuesday we tracted into a lady that was interested in our message, but we haven't been able to catch her at home since then.  Small world though, the people we had dinner with knew a family of a kid that I played soccer with.  So that was pretty cool.

Wednesday we had Zone Conference with Elder Zwick of the 70.  It was almost all day.  I learned that I need to build my foundation on Christ, read from the Book of Mormon every day for the rest of my life, keep my teaching shorter, simpler, and inviting the Spirit at the same time.  I also was reminded that the past is the past and I need to look more to the future with faith as well as gaining strength through the Atonement.  I also need to make sure that I don't spiritually plateau.  I need to pray with faith, sincerity, respect, kindness, love, and more earnestly.  The spirit was so strong at this conference and I learned a lot.  We went and saw Anthony and tried implementing what we learned today as we taught him the Restoration.  We did it and the Spirit was so strong as we taught and testified.  It was awesome!  Also, on a side note, apparently there was a tornado warning tonight. Yikes!
Franklin Zone Conference
Thursday there was no tornado, thankfully.  We had a good day though.  We taught Mike the rest of the Plan of Salvation and then I asked him if he would be baptized and he said yes.  We had been praying about a date and we were kind of thinking Dec. 5, but we gave him a calendar first and asked which day he thought he would be ready and he said Nov. 28.  We asked him to pray about the 2 dates and then tell us which one he felt was the right one.  We found a few potential investigators while tracting and then went over to see a less-active part-member family. They are awesome. The Father went to the same high  school as elder Wardle 6 years before him. They said they would come to church, which they did, and we have a lesson set up with them for this week and a dinner appointment for next week.

Friday I had my first gyro. (Just for clarification, they are pronounced yero, but I will always call them jiro.)  They were delicious.  We taught a lesson to a guy (total redneck type) that some sisters asked us to go see.  He has been going to Bible School and was interested in learning more about what we believed.  We weren't sure what to expect.  So we started teaching him the Restoration and all through the lesson he would bring up Bible verses totally not related to what we were talking about.  I just did not feel the Spirit at all during the whole lesson.  Like always though, I felt the Spirit as soon as we were able to tell him about the First Vision.  He was kindly “bashing” with us a little, but he was really scattered so it didn't work out too well for him.  He had a hard time understanding how the Book of Mormon isn’t adding to or taking away from the Bible like the scripture in Revelations talks about.  We were trying to explain to him what the scripture meant, but it was no use – he wasn’t listening, just wanted to argue.  We still gave him the Book of Mormon and told him to read and pray about it.  After that we Skyped a family named the Bitzers. Elder Wardle taught them in a past area and they are like his second family.  I finally got to meet them and they are super cool.  We skyped them because they were going through a rough time right now so we were just giving them some support.

Saturday for most of the day we helped our Ward Mission Leader move his parents into their new house that they just built.  Later that night we went to a wedding reception.  We then went and gave a guy a blessing who was in the hospital.  He suffered two minor strokes. He is luckily mostly fine, he just can't feel anything with the tips of his fingers, but still usable.

Sunday we had 4 investigators at church.  We had a healthy “lunner” which was nice for a change. We went and saw a few people with a member and then that night went to the Church of God. There were only 2 other people in the congregation besides us and the preacher.  One of the two people was his wife.  Really small and they didn't do anything too crazy like what we see sometimes.  Our iPads finally got fixed and we had to fill everything back in for a while.

That's my week. Hope everyone has a good upcoming week and hopefully some of you have some missionary opportunities that you take advantage of this week as well.  Miss ya and I pray for you guys all the time.

Elder Ellison
Driver is holding a sign out the window that says, "Jesus Says Forgive" - too funny!

First Haircut in the Mission- go Sports Clips!

Mad skills, but there must be a hole in my racket!

Back in the saddle.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

A Week of Lessons 11/9/15

So this week was good.  We actually had a few days in the high 60s, it was nice.  We had a lot of lessons with people too.  My ponderize scripture was 1 Timothy 6: 17. It says, "Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who gives to us richly all things to enjoy."  My thoughts are that God gives us everything.  Everything we have is because of Him.  So if we are blessed with riches or anything else, we should not boast or be proud or puffed up in ourselves.  Those things are blessings and He can take them away as quickly as He gave them.  We also should use them to help others.  God gave them to us for a reason and that is to help out our brothers and sisters.

Monday was P-day and we did our normal stuff and then went fishing again.  I was the only one to catch 2 fish, but they were small so we only kept one of them.

Tuesday we taught Monica a little bit and extended a soft baptismal invitation.  Then we taught a daughter of a member who is getting baptized in a month.  That was about it.

Wednesday I was in charge of our area because we did exchanges.  Elder Jorgenson came to Dickson to join me.  We had to drop Brenda as an investigator because she isn't focused right now on the commitments she makes to learn and gain a testimony of her own. Then we tracted and got “anti-ed” by a guy who went off on us and then referenced Jude verse 3 saying that’s why he thinks we don't have the full gospel.  I think he got his scriptures mixed up because that one is referring to Jude writing to his brothers and sisters in the gospel that share a “common salvation” and how they need to defend their faith.  So I don’t really know what he was talking about.  Oh well, I know this church is true and that it is the full gospel and I am out here looking for people who are interested and ready to hear it.  Then they can make up their own minds about it after they have taken the time to learn and pray about it.  Later, we went out to Waverly and saw Michael with Bro. Rivers. I also got to drive for the first time since being out here.  It was awesome.

Thursday we switched back companions.  We then went out with Marcus and taught Mike.  We taught him the first half of the Plan of Salvation.  We did that same lesson 2 other times that day.  It was a good lesson with him.  That night we went and saw a less-active member and just checked to see how she has been doing.  Then we rushed over to the church to see another less-active member and taught him the Plan of Salvation.  And the last lesson we had that night was with John and Tracey, also the Plan of Salvation.  They had lots of questions and I think they understood, but they made it a little more complicated for themselves.  They thought it was really deep and difficult, but it wasn't.  It is a simple plan that Heavenly Father wants all of His children to understand.  Other than that, we had a good lesson with them.  I got told I looked 15 years old by a lady we tracted into and 16 by the less-active we taught that night.  Haha.  It was great - I take it as a compliment.  It just means I will look young when I am really old - haha.

Friday we tracted into 2 new investigators.  We are going back next Tuesday to see them.  We also helped some members clean the church that night.  Later, we tracted into a non-practicing LDS guy which was interesting.

Saturday we got up early to go help with Habitat For Humanity.  It was our ward's day and we helped build this lady's house.  We put up doors and painted.  Those days on the farm with all that painting and staining sure helped out, although I think half of the paint got on me instead.  It was on my pants, shirt, name tag, hair, face, arms, and shoes.  It was everywhere.  That took up most of the day and then we went to see a less-active.  He had a sweet Afro.  He had grown up LDS, but started to reject God after his father died.  He has recently started changing his life around and turning back towards God.  It was awesome and he has some crazy stories.  He has been through a lot.  We then went to go see another less-active, but she was asleep with her baby so we talked with her boyfriend instead.  A lot of his thoughts and ideas relate to what the church teaches.  I think we will start teaching him soon, hopefully.

Sunday we taught Michael about service at church during the third hour.  We also had the primary program that day. Later, we tracted for a bit and the first door we knocked on said to come back later because he was sick. He may have been trying to get rid of us, but we said we would come back – so we will.  Then we went to an 8 year old boy's baptism.  After that we went to the Christian Faith Center church.  The minister was kind of funny and then some weird, crazy things happened towards the end.  I had one of those “this isn't right” feelings inside while I was there.  He asked us if he could pray for us, but we declined because we didn't want to get involved with all that stuff that made us feel weird.  We left as soon as we could.

Well we had a good week with lots of good lessons.  I just want to say that I know this church is true.  I know that the Lord blessed us each day.  I know that this gospel changes people's lives for the better.  I know that Joseph Smith saw God the Father and His son Jesus Christ.  I know that he was called as a prophet of God and that he restored Christ’s church back onto the earth again.  I know that Thomas S. Monson is a prophet of God on the earth today and that he, as well as the twelve apostles, receive revelation to know how to better move this work forward and bless the lives of many.  I know that Christ atoned for my sins so that I can repent of my sins, change, and live with Him and my family again forever.  I know that the Book of Mormon is true.  I have felt the Holy Ghost confirm to me it’s truthfulness.  I am so grateful to be a missionary and called to serve among these wonderful people.  I know that God has been preparing many across this world to be ready to hear His gospel.  I leave these things with you guys in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Elder Ellison
Habitat For Humanity Service

Monday, November 9, 2015

The Gospel Isn't A Trick, It's A Treat! 11/2/15

So this week there isn't much to report.  We have had a lot of rain this week.  It rained 3 days in a row at the beginning of the week.  It is leftovers from the hurricane that just went by.  I still haven't experienced a true Tennessee rainstorm, according to Elder Wardle.   We had some good things happen this week.  Our ponderize scripture this week was Psalms 31: 14-15, "But I trusted in thee, O Lord: I said, Thou art my God. My times are in thy hand: deliver me from the hand of mine enemies, and from them that persecute me."  I think this scripture means that the Lord has a plan for us and we need to trust in that plan.  Even though it may not seem like it is what we should be doing, there is a reason He has told us to do it.  Just like Christ said, "Not my will, but thine be done."  If we surrender to His will and do what he asks of us, then we will be blessed in many ways.  It is all up to the Lord's time and all part of His plan.

Monday was Pday and we went bowling all day with Bro Patterson and Marcus. I got a turkey again for the second time. I still got my butt whooped though.

Tuesday we sorted shoes at the Help Center. Then we went with Marcus and taught a guy named Mike. He is trying to figure out his path in life right now. We had a great lesson on the Restoration with him. We then went and helped Sister Rivers with her visiting teaching.

Wednesday - We haven't had a lot of lessons so far this week, but we did get to have a lesson with a less-active member.  It was a crazy lesson, but at the end we showed the First Vision from the Restoration video and the Spirit was so strong from that.  It was awesome!

Thursday we volunteered at the Help Center again with the shoes. They have a mountain of shoes that we just try and find matches to.  We went to find a referral, but she moved so we ended up teaching the lady that lives there now.  We will see where that goes next week.  Then we taught Kerry again.  We finished up the Restoration and had a great lesson with her.  She even said she would be at church again. (She was).

Friday we got somewhat “antied” by a Church of Christ guy.  He asked us if we were married because we were Elders and we said no.  He tried to find some scripture in the Bible to prove we need to be married to be called an Elder, but never could.   So that was interesting – I still don’t know what he was referring to.  Then we taught a kid named David.  He is a member, but he is the only one in his family that continues to try.  It's sad because he has no support at home.  We had fun playing Scripture Pictionary with him.  He seems to have some kind of learning disability, but he knew more of his scriptures then we thought he did.  

Saturday, Halloween, we went to the Humane Society.  We had a lot of extra miles so afterwards we drove way out in the boonies to see a referral who requested a Bible.  We saw where Loretta Lynn's house is.  She is an old country singer I guess.  Then we saw Michael for a few minutes and he had made major improvement on his addiction – we were so excited for him.  He is so closed to being able to be baptized.  Then we went to the ward party.  I went as Elder Wardle.  My favorite costumes were a family who dressed as Studio C characters.  I loved it!  We went in early – mission rules say we aren't allowed to drive after 6pm for safety purposes.  So we just chilled for the rest of the night.

Sunday we had 3 investigators at church and we gave 2 blessings as well.  I gave one of them.  At night we went to a Church of Christ service.  After that we went to Shaun and Taleda's.  We taught them about the Book of Mormon and he told us that since we have been coming over and he has been reading it, he has quit drinking.  I was so surprised and happy.  It was awesome!  I was able to bear my testimony to them about the Book of Mormon and the church. We are hoping they can make it to church this Sunday. It was a great way to end the night.

Hope everything is going well for everyone. Talk to all of you next week.

Elder Ellison
Halloween Costume - Went as Elder Wardle


Tuesday, October 27, 2015

No Longer the "Newbie" 10/26/15


So transfers were this week and E. Wardle and I are staying in Dickson.  I will be here for another 6 weeks.  Our Ponderize scripture this week was 1 Corinthians 6: 17 "But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit."  The scripture is very self-explanatory.  I think of it as we need to become like Him; do as He would, act as He would, talk like He would.  Along with that, we also need to be open and willing to fulfill His will instead of our own, because He knows what's best for us and if we do what He wants us to, then we will be more united.

Monday was P-day and we spent most of the day at the Patterson's fishing.  The fish we caught would be the fish we got to eat for dinner the next day.  Of course for me, I never have good luck with catching fish so at the end of the day it looked like I was going to be going hungry while they would eat all their many fish -haha.  As luck would have it, we had dinner at someone else's house instead.  They are awesome people and next time we go over there for a P-day we are going to be racing go carts through the forest where they built a track.  Later we went to go see Troy and Phillip, but for some unknown reason Troy is in jail for a few days.  I hope he is OK.

Tuesday we tried to contact people.  During tracting, we spent an hour at a lady’s doorstep as she told us her entire life story.  Unfortunately, that was the extent of it  - no lesson, no discussion, no wanting to talk about God.  It’s so frustrating when you know your message will bless their lives and they don’t want it.  Then we contacted referrals that night, but that was about it.

Wednesday we had district meeting and I did some training on how to find people through faith and former investigators.  I thought it went really well and that the Spirit was there as I spoke.  Later we
contacted and then tracked into some potential investigators.  After dinner we had an awesome lesson with a guy who has been less active for about a year.  He really wants to start coming back to church and really wants to make changes in his life and make it right.  He told us he wanted to rehear the discussions again.  It was awesome.

Thursday we did some service to start off at the Help Center.  We sorted a ton of shoes and we still have more to do.  Then we went and taught a lady named Monica.  Spanish is her native language, but she has decent English.  I wish I knew Spanish better right then.   Then we went and taught Brenda the Word of Wisdom.  It was an awesome lesson.  She is really progressing.  We then asked her if she would be
baptized and we set a date.  We had dinner with an awesome family and then we taught Tracey and John the Restoration.  It was an awesome lesson filled with lots of questions.  We just hope we are explaining things clearly like we think we are so that they understand.

Friday we went out with a member during the day.  We didn't see anybody.  Finally we realized we didn't say a prayer before we left the apartment.  So we said one.  A few minutes later a guy called telling us when he would be home.  So we went over and had a great lesson with Bobby.  He told us he had been cross referencing the Book of Mormon and Bible, studying it, and he asked us if the structure of the church was the same as when Christ was on the earth.   You bet it is and Christ is still at the head of it with His chosen prophets and apostles.  It was a great lesson and he is just an awesome guy.

Saturday we helped at the Humane Society and then went out to part of our area called Waverly.  We didn't really find anyone or catch anyone at home.  We saw one of our investigators named Michael before we left.  He has officially heard all the lessons and he actually is making improvement on his addiction.  Wahoo!  I am so excited for him.  He is getting close to baptism.

Sunday we had church and we had 3 investigators there, one of which was Kerry.  She said she liked it.  We are seeing her again Tuesday.  We also met an returned missionary who is home now, but used to serve in Dickson.  He was back visiting his old areas and he knew E. Wardle.  Then we had dinner with some members and that was about it.

Hope everyone is doing well. I pray for all of you and love and miss you guys.  Just keep being good examples and servants of the Lord.

Elder Ellison

Sunday, October 25, 2015

6 Weeks Officially 10/19/15

Well, I have officially been out 6 weeks and I will be staying in Dickson for another 6 weeks with Elder Wardle.  It is starting to get cold here.  The nights are getting in the low 30s.  Bbbrrrrrrrrr.   Our “ponderize” scripture was Alma 39: 1.  "And now, my son, I have somewhat more to say unto thee than what I said unto thy brother; for behold, have ye not observed the steadiness of thy brother, his faithfulness, and his diligence in keeping the commandments of God?  Behold, has he not set a good example for thee?"  It is a little random, but upon ponderizing it I have found a deeper meaning.  I took it and applied it to me and I thought about Christ.  He is our brother and set the ultimate example.  We all need to strive to be like Him in faith, diligence, and steadiness.  Our faith needs to be firm and strong in Him.  We need to be diligent in obeying His commandments and doing whatever He has asked us to do.  We need to be steady and immovable during the times of trial.  If we do these things, then there is nothing that can knock us over in life and we will endure to the end.  If we do better in these areas of our lives, then everything else will fall into place.

Monday was P-day and we had dinner at the Patterson's as usual.  Bro. Patterson asked us to give him a blessing for his mouth.  He has been having a lot of dental work on his bottom teeth.  So I sealed the anointing which makes it my second blessing ever.  I do my best to listen to the Spirit when I say a blessing.  I can definitely see that I am doing His work with these blessings and teaching people.

Tuesday we had trainer/trainee meeting.  We went to Nashville to the mission office building and spent almost all day there.  I learned a lot about how to be a better missionary, companion, servant of the Lord, and receiver of the Spirit.  I also got to see how well I knew the scriptures with a scripture mastery game, but I also saw how much more I have to learn in both the scriptures and Preach My Gospel.  The meeting was definitely a lot better than I thought it would be.

Wednesday we taught a lady named Michelle and the lesson went really well, but she texted us the other day and said that after much prayer and reading from our website and the Book of Mormon, that this wasn't the path for her.  We were disappointed because she was awesome and we thought it went well.  We know that if she keeps seeking God though, that He will guide her and hopefully she will return.  This may be just one small step on her journey to truth.  Later, we went to a First Baptist Bible study.  After that we went and taught Brenda and taught her the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the Atonement.  The Spirit was really strong and she was really enjoying it until her 10 year old daughter started acting up.  We weren't able to finish the lesson because it was so bad.  It was a bummer, but before that, it was awesome.  She just needs to start coming to church and then she wants to be baptized.

Thursday we went back and finished our lesson with Brenda.  It went well, but not as well as the night before.  That was an awesome lesson.  We saw Shaun and Talida that night and taught them a scattered Plan of Salvation. We are going to go over it again next time we see them.  Elder Wardle is starting to give me a lot of the responsibility now.  He said that I need to start doing everything, except drive.  I hate it, but yet I like it because it is teaching me and preparing me for the next 2 years.

Friday we tried contacting a lot of referrals and less-actives in 2 towns called Pegram and White Bluff.  We didn't have a lot of luck until night time.  We were in White Bluff, and we were going to see if we could find a less-active member named Kara Jean Curle.  We got to the house and a lady was there and she said, “Come in, come in.”  So we go in and talk with her.  Her name is Kerry Jean Curle -almost the exact name, but no relation.  She hadn’t ever heard of Kara and she has never been baptized nor has she ever stepped foot into a Mormon church.  We were really confused as to why we had her address listed as a member.  She didn't even have a daughter.  So we talked with her and taught her the Restoration.  She said she would read and she is going to come to church this next Sunday.  It was kind of awesome.  I don't think we met her by chance – it was no accident.  I believe that God led us to her.  We left her some videos to watch because she asked for some.  After a rough day that was a great way to end it. 

Saturday we helped out at the Humane Society.  Then we had a lesson with a lady named Cindee and we read Alma 7 with her and taught her as we read.  She said she would only join our church if God told her to, which is exactly what we hope people will do.  Later, while tracting, we talked with a man named Devonte.  He told us we could come back next week and he seems really open.  We taught him a brief Restoration lesson and gave him a Book of Mormon.  Later that night we went and I got to meet the High Priest group leader, Bro. Litchford.  He is a psychologist.  He told us a lot of how the brain works, which I love to hear and learn about.  I could listen to him talk about it all day.  It was pretty fascinating.  He also has a pet tarantula and boa snake.  He is awesome and funny.

Sunday was Stake Conference which was really good.  I learned that if I ever have a question about something that may be controversial, to go and read the teachings of either the prophets and apostles in the scriptures or the current prophets and apostles.  We need to always listen to them no matter what the world says or what we may make up in our own mind. They are representatives of Christ for the world and they are His mouthpiece.  They are truly inspired.  Then we need to take it to Heavenly Father so we can gain understanding from Him about it and feel in our hearts that what the prophets and apostles taught is true.  Now that I have the iPad, I have been able to watch a lot of talks and devotionals which are awesome.  I love to listen to their talks.

Monday is P-day and I will let you all know what I do next week.  Have fun, stay safe, go read or watch some talks - it will help you in your life and things will be better.  And always look for opportunities to serve others.  Until next time.

Elder Ellison
Brenda's Dog - Newt