Monday, September 28, 2015

Best Week Ever 9/28/15

Hey y'all. This week is going to be "jus a party."  Starting it off by turning another year older and ending it with General Conference. Couldn't be any better!

So I got 2 ticks on my leg the first week I was here.  Luckily they hadn't burrowed in so they came off pretty easily, but I still have scabs.  Gotta love the South!  The weather is getting cooler-ish, but is still hot some days. Hopefully this week isn't too hot because our car goes in the shop tomorrow to get a dent fixed.  I have been trying to keep up my ninja warrior physique - haha.  Morning workouts consist of lots of push-ups, pull-ups, and sit-ups.  We don't have any other missionaries nearby to play sports with or any place to work out, but I hear there is a YSA ward somewhere that plays basketball every weekend (I think it's far away though).

America Ninja Warrior - Here I come!

Well Monday we waited half the day for our electricity to be turned on so not much to report.

Tuesday I had grits for the first time at breakfast and it wasn't as bad as I thought. Not something I would eat everyday though.  I also ate deep fried catfish the other day.  It was disgusting.  It tasted like dirt mixed with fish.  We have spent most of this week knocking doors because we are trying to find more people to teach. So this past week was a little frustrating because of that.

Wednesday I went on my first exchange with the Zone Leaders. I went to Franklin, TN with Elder Porter. He is a Spanish speaking missionary. We got there and went tracting and ran into a 20-22 year old guy named Chris. He had questions for us and we talked for about 20 minutes. He was super cool and nice. There was one time during our conversation where I said a word after his comment like "yeah" and it was in a way that I needed to continue my sentence and keep talking.  I was in trouble because I didn't have anything to say and no words came to my mind.  So I opened my mouth and started speaking and the whole time I still didn't know what to say in my brain, but words were just coming out of my mouth.  Now I think I know what people mean when I hear them say that the Lord helped them know what to say.  I never experienced anything like that before - it was awesome. The Zone Leaders are going back again to talk to him later this week. Next we went with one of the president's counselors to see a lady that had been baptized not too long ago.  She was in a rehab hospital counseling center. She had almost attempted suicide the day before so she put herself in there to get help. Within 5-10 minutes of talking to her, I could already feel God's love for her and I instantly loved her too. We were able to give her a Priesthood Blessing.  It was so cool and the Spirit was so strong.  Afterwards, we went to an appointment in Spanish.  I sat there the whole time trying to pick out the words I knew from freshman and sophomore Spanish.  I didn't get very many.  On the upside, we went to a place called Sweet Cicis for frozen yogurt, probably the best I have ever had, and got it for free because a member owns it.  Sadly though, I didn't see Travis Rosen from American Ninja Warrior - he is from Franklin.

Thursday we switched back to our normal companions and went back to tracting some more. We tracked for about 2 hours. While tracting we taught the Restoration to a lady and she liked it, but she lives far away so hopefully we can see her again.  I talked to my first anti-Mormon and it was definitely interesting and kind of funny. I knocked on this door and an 80-something year old lady comes out and immediately goes off on us.  She has some weird ideas about Mormons too.  For one, she thinks we go to school for 2 years to teach people that the Bible is wrong - what?  She only reads the King James version of the Bible (uh, so do we) and she doesn't believe you need to be baptized.  She must have missed those verses in the Bible.  We tried to share what we really do, but she wasn't interested in learning what we are about.  She did say that her son had joined the church and that it broke her heart. We hope that her son will continue to love her and be patient with her.  That might be a challenge, especially if she talks to him like she did to us.  That night we went to the Bennet's home for dinner. They are super healthy people - dad you would like them.  We talked about Abe Lincoln and the book The Lincoln Hypothesis, which I am going to read when I get back.  It is all about how Abe read the Book of Mormon and knew Joseph Smith and how God told him certain things needed to be done and put into law.  It sounds cool and some of you guys might like it too.  We then went to Brandon and Cassie's.  We talked, but not much about the gospel.  He said he probably wouldn't convert or come to church, but we just invited him to try it and read and pray anyways.  He said he would.  Also I heard that Richard G. Scott died which was sad.  I learned that the last time the church had to call 3 apostles in one conference was 1906.  So will be a historic conference.

Friday we went through our list of old contacts that had previously been taught, but had stopped, for whatever reason.  We contacted them to see where they were at and if there was anything we could do for them or if any were interested in learning more.

Saturday we went to the humane society to help out - we walk and train the dogs. It was really fun. They are nice dogs and it's sad that they are just stuck in there. After that, we went and visited people again from the area book. That night we went to a defense class thing for a lady we are teaching.  Her company is called Damsel In Defense, so if you like cute defense gadgets, MOM, then check it out.  It was pretty cool.

Sunday was Fast Sunday. After church we taught Kristin about how knowing that the Book of Mormon is true is essential to her conversion.  I shared how I knew it was true along with Elder Wardle and the two members that had joined us that night.  It was awesome.  We then gave her a Priesthood Blessing to have strength to get over her smoking.  She also said that the cinnamon we gave her had really helped.  It was very spiritual in there and her kids were actually quiet for the first time too.  Afterwards, we went out with a member named York.  He moves like 100 mph, all the time.  We went to see a family named the Mockerys.  We talked with him and they had 2 pigs that we were able to pet -super cool.  Then we went to the Riggs home to give their kids some toys.  We talked with them for a while and when we left, we saw the super lunar eclipse happening.  I guess it's when the moon is closest to the earth while there is a lunar eclipse.  Because it is so close when it is covered, the whole thing looks red and it's called a blood moon.  It happens like every 70 years.  I don't know if any of you saw it, but it was pretty cool.

Well today is my birthday and my companion made French toast for breakfast.  It's weird.  It doesn't even feel like it's my birthday.  I don't know why, but it's a weird feeling.  Now I am watching the funeral for Richard G. Scott.  We are going bowling again later.

Birthday Bowling

Also thank you for all the quotes. Please continue to send them as you come across them. My goal is to have one for every entry for the next 2 years.  Hope all of you have a great day, a great week and love conference.  Until next week.

Elder Ellison

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Moving Already 9/21/15

So this week has been alright.  We had a lot of meetings and packing and cleaning.  Things are still good though.  Don't worry Dad - I have vegetables, fruit, and almond milk. So I am trying to make sure I stay healthy haha. Also for my journal entries I am trying to end each one with an inspirational quote. If anyone has some good quotes and who said it, could you please send me them through email?  Thank you. Also my new address is 114 Oak Avenue Apartment 5 Dickson, TN 37055.

Monday was P-day and we went bowling for like 3 1/2 hours for $10.  It was nice. I got a high of 128. We went to dinner at a member's home and we had chili.  Bro/Dr. C was there and he gave me my first chiropractic adjustment since being here, so that was great.

Tuesday we had to drive to Franklin for an emissions test. It was really hot and I was sweating when we went tracting later. We had dinner at a member's house and we went and visited other members and less-actives that live around them.

Wednesday we taught one person at night. We tried something new while tracting. We asked people survey questions. It seems to be a good way to begin conversations with people.  Hopefully we can start finding more people to teach.  It is hard to get past the peepholes in everybody's door.  Once they see us, they don't open the door before we've even had a chance to say Hello.

Thursday we had a zone meeting and I finally got my iPad.  Later that night we had a Japanese dinner. Then we went and visited Tracy and John. We had a good conversation and I hope they want to hear the discussions soon.  I also got my first letter from my Aunt Diane. Thank you for that.

District - Dickson

Travel to Zone Conferencce
Trainer - E. Wardle

Friday we got our new apartment so we started packing up everything and cleaning.  That is how we spent most of the day.

Saturday was my brother's birthday, so Happy Birthday!  We were packing and cleaning the whole day and the APs came to help us move the bigger stuff. We also taught Kristen again and we gave her cinnamon Jolly Ranchers.  Apparently cinnamon helps prevent smoking - like it gives you a bad taste or something.  So let's hope it helps her quit.  I had my first deep fried fish down here.  It was really good.

Sunday we went to church, went tracting, then went to a dinner appointment that night. We had enchiladas. They were delicious! We also went to a Pentecostal church and that was really interesting. Afterwards, we went to see Shaun. He was a little drunk, but he opened up to us a little and he said that he actually had read a little of the Book of Mormon. He said that he was going to read the whole thing so I hope does.

Today we moved, but we don't have any electricity yet so we have to wait to have it turned on. We also deep cleaned our entire place in 2 days.  Man that was rough and disgusting!  Hope everything is going well for everyone else.

Please send me quotes.  Thanks.

Elder Ellison

"Greenie Cape"

Monday, September 14, 2015

The Real "City of Trees" 9/14/15

So this week I woke up early Monday and got on a plane to Nashville.  We got there and you could definitely feel the humidity, but now I don't really notice it very much, which is good.  Boise may be called the City of Trees, but Nashville, and basically all of Tennessee, has a ton more trees - like way more!  It is so green here and beautiful.

From the airport we went to the mission office for instructions and then to the mission home for dinner.  Tuesday we went to the Stake Center to meet our companions.  My companion is Elder Wardle from Garden Grove, CA.  He is pretty cool.  We are in the Dickson Area, which is about 40 miles outside of Nashville.  The ward boundaries are huge - 2 1/2 times bigger than the entire Nashville Stake.  I am in the Franklin Stake.  We got back and then went out and tracted.  I handed out my first Book of Mormon.  I was pretty pumped.  We then went and visited people and taught some lessons.

Wednesday we had a District meeting and there are only 2 other elders in the District, but they are cool.  Elder Wardle is the District leader.  Afterwards, we went to Subway and to go visit people again.  It seems like most of the people are either not home or they see us and don't come to the door. 

We went and met the bishop.  He is really nice and you can tell that he just really wants his ward to expand and be better.  There are like 400 members, but because the area is so big and some of them have long drives, many don't come.  There are only like 50 people at church.  

We went and saw a lady that had broken her back.  She is elderly too, but very nice.  As we were leaving, we walked out the door and started talking to another old lady named Janet.  She is crazy.  She told us all about her FBI days and how to identify counterfeit money and how she got kicked out of the mini-night store for cussing, etc.  So yeah, she was funny, but crazy.  We then went and saw an 18 year old kid named John.  His mom was there too.  She is baptist, but we had a good conversation and asked them to read and pray about it.  It was awesome.

Thursday we go every week to help clean a historic museum where an investigator works.  Her name is Kristen.  She is so close to being baptized, but has some Word of Wisdom things to work out.  We then went and taught a lady named Ronda who we ran into while tracting.  It was a good lesson.  We are going back to teach her again this week.

Friday was awesome.  We had two great lessons.  We were tracting and met a woman named Maggie. She said that she usually would say no to what we had to say, but this time she said she would like to listen.  It was awesome.  It really shows that the Lord is preparing his children to hear the gospel.  We taught her the restoration.  It was one of the best lessons we have had.  We set up a return appointment so we'll see how it goes.  Then we went to my first dinner at someone else's house.  It was with an investigator too.  We had a good dinner and then we had another great discussion with them.  Afterwards, we were so pumped!   

Saturday we went and did a service project.  We helped rebuild a deck/ramp.  It brought me back to my farm days.  It went well and we had a good turn out.  The people that we did it for made us some lunch.  It was really good and it was my first BBQ since being out here.  Then we went and visited some more people.

My first Sunday here was good too.  We went to church and Kristen came.  We taught her afterwards and she said that she would completely stop smoking and drinking coffee this week.  So keep her in your prayers that she will have the strength to do it.  We then went to a dinner with a member.  It was a half hour drive and so we had a good conversation about the gospel.  He told us about Joseph Smith's "Lectures on Faith."  You can find it on  He said that it has helped him grow his faith and get to the point he is right now.  I encourage everyone to go and read it.  He said that you can't read past step one until you understand it and live it or else you won't understand anything after that.  He has had it for about 3 years and he just barely started on step 2.  

So at this lunch, the man's brother-in-law was there.  He knows a lot about the church, but isn't a member because he of some of his beliefs and intellectual views.  We had a good conversation though and hopefully he prays to know the truth.  

So later that night we went tracting, but no one was home because they were all at church, so what did we do?  We went to my first non-LDS church.  It was the Mount Sinai Missionary Baptist Church.  It was very interesting and different from what I am used to.  Afterwards, the man that was preaching came up to us and told us a story about when he was a scrawny high schooler.  He got into trouble and his friend took the punishment instead and showed him his first look at the grace of God.  He said his friend was LDS.  How cool is that?  I thought we were going to get some lecture about how we are wrong or something like that, but nope.

Well, other than that, it has been cool here.  It gets dark at like 6 and then when it's dark, no one answers their doors.  The people are weird.  They think that oh, its dark, time for bed.  But IT'S 6pm!!  Oh well.  The humidity isn't too bad as far as I can tell.  I have gotten used to it, but it is starting to get cold though.  Just a little early in my opinion.  Well, I hope everyone is doing great and if any of you want to know, my address is: 139 Treemont Rd. Dickson,TN 37055. 

However, we are looking around for another place, so I will let you know if that changes.  We live at a members house in their upstairs but we don't have certain things we need, appliances etc., so we are looking for another place.  Well, I will talk to y'all next week and I will get pictures as soon as I get my iPad.  Apparently, I don't have the right plug for my camera, so you'll just have to wait until then.

Elder Ellison

Monday, September 7, 2015

Almost There 9/5/15

Hey everyone ,well just 2 more days for me.  I leave here Monday at 3:30 in the morning. I fly to Atlanta, Georgia first and get there about 12:30-1:00 and then we fly to Nashville.  I cant wait!  This last week was great.  We taught Bill some more and asked him to be baptized and he said he would, but he is having trouble understanding the Word of Wisdom.  Unfortunately, we don't get to teach him anymore.

My teachers are great and have taught me a lot.  We were able to do something called TRC.  It's where we get assigned to teach two investigators that could be LDS or an actual investigator.  Apparently, people have been baptized from the MTC.  Elder Olsen and I got Barbra and Nicole.  Barbara is a talker and it took us about 15 minutes out of 25 to teach her a little about the plan of salvation.  After that one, our other three were great.  We asked her to go to church on Sunday for our last lesson and she said yes.  Nicole has a lot of questions that we are hopefully able to answer.  Our last lesson with her is today and we asked her to read the Book of Mormon last time, so we will see how that went. 

Sunday was awesome because at the end of the day, for like an hour after the devotional, we went to watch a film.  The film we watched was a devotional given by David A. Bednar to the Missionaries a few years ago.  It was called Character of Christ.  It was an awesome talk.  It was about putting off the natural man.  He told a story when he was a Stake President about a woman who called him one day and told him that there had been a horrible accident.  She told him that he needed to go to the hospital and identify the three girls that were probably in their stake.  While talking to him, she had another phone on her other ear and she was talking to a nurse.  The nurse told her that one of the girls had been killed.  The Stake President heard on the other phone as the nurse told the lady that it was her daughter who had been killed.  She was a single mom and that was her only child.  Without hesitation, she told Elder Bednar that they needed to contact the other 2 mothers and let them know.  Later that week, she told Elder Bednar to come and see her daughter in the casket because it would be a closed casket and she didnt want the last image he had of her be the disfigured, gross looking girl he saw in the hospital.  Then on the day of the funeral, a woman had called this lady because she was the Relief Society president and complained to her that their family was sick and that no one was bringing them any food.  So on her way to the funeral, she dropped off some food to this woman.  This lady showed a lot of Christ-like characteristics!  That talk was very inspiring.

The last thing that happened this week is that we got to have Elder Dallin H. Oaks come and talk to us about how to be a better missionary.  It was cool.  He just said to teach people, not lessons. Well the MTC has been good and I cant' wait to go out and do it all for real.  I will let you all know how it is in a week or so. Until next time.

It's official - I got the nametag

MTC Teacher
MTC District