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

Monday, October 12, 2015

Almost 6 Weeks 10/12/15

So this is my last week being a “Greenie Greenie.”  After 6 weeks, I will just be considered a regular “Greenie.”  We get transfer calls this Saturday, but Elder Wardle and I will probably stay here for at least one more transfer.  We shall see.  I had a vegetable called oakra this week which was sort of OK, but not the best.

Tuesday we had our truck back from the shop which was nice.  We went and saw Kristen at work and she said she just had a stressful week and blocked out everyone for a few days.  She didn't end up getting baptized last Saturday. :(  Later we went and saw a man named Bobby.  We tracked into him and we taught him about the Book of Mormon and he really liked it.  It was an awesome lesson and we answered some of his questions too.  He is an awesome guy.  We then went and had Taco Tuesday at a member’s home.  They were delicious.  We also saw Shaun and Taleda.  We talked with Shaun for a bit and then he told us he had been reading the Book of Mormon every morning this week with his kids.  It was awesome - he is really progressing.  We were really stoked and honestly, a little surprised too.

Wednesday I went on an exchange to Fairview with Elder Nalder.  We got there and set out on the bikes.  I used his companion’s bike and let's just say his seat is not very comfortable.  My butt was sore for a few days after that.  We didn't see anyone all day until after dinner.  A member took us around and we saw a man named Joe.  He was cool and wanted to plan a time where we could sit down and talk with him and his family.  He has even read a few pages of the Book of Mormon already.  It was awesome!

Thursday we went and volunteered at a place called Meals On Wheels.  We put together portable meals for people.  It was interesting and fun to learn how they do it.  We then went and did some contacting.  We found a few people that wanted to hear more of the Discussions.  Later we had dinner with some members and then went on splits.  So not only was I a new missionary visiting a new city, but I’m going on splits with a member I just met to visit an Investigator I’ve never met and would be in charge of the discussion to boot.   I was so nervous and a little lost too.  The member drove us to Centerville and I met Johnny.  He was all over the place, but since I was the only missionary there, it forced me to talk more and I actually liked it.  We taught him a great lesson and answered some questions.  It was great.  I could definitely feel the Spirit there.  The member helped out too because he was a convert and shared his story.  We then went and saw a lady named Tammy and even though she didn't have time to talk, I was able to bear my testimony to her of the Book of Mormon.  I felt really good about it afterwards.

Friday we switched back and E. Wardle and I went to a town called White Bluff all afternoon.  We contacted less-actives.  We were totally in the back country – real, live red neck territory.  I’ve only seen that type of area in movies - it was awesome to see in real life.  We had dinner with a recent convert and then went back to Dickson.  We went and saw two brothers name Troy and Phillip.  They are by far my favorite people.  They are so funny - you can hardly tell what they’re saying, but it doesn’t matter.  Elder Wardle says they are usually drunk when we see them, but they weren’t today.  I also trimmed my companion’s hair today.  I did a good job, if I do say so myself.

Saturday we helped out at the Humane Society again and walked the dogs.  I mostly did some “socializing” with one of the dogs because she is very nervous, but super sweet.  After that we went to Brandon's and he said he watched about 45 minutes of conference.  That was great because we were hoping for 15.  The Spirit is chipping away at him bit by bit.  Later that day we went tracting and we knocked on a door.  This guy comes out and the first thing he says is "Do you guys want to come to my church?  You’re inviting me to yours so why don't you come to mine?"  We threw him a curve ball by saying, “Sure.”  We would have gone yesterday, but it was during our church so we are going to the Wednesday night Bible Study.  When we asked him what time and what type of service it was, he didn't even know, but we’ll figure it out.

Sunday was an exciting day.  So we went to church and taught a man named Michael that is really close to baptism.  After that we went out with Bro. Rivers and saw a lady that is less-active right now, but she did watch conference.  That night we went to a Pentecostal church called Power And Praise.  We were invited by one of the ministers.  It was like a rock concert and people were jumping up and down and running around the room.  The preaching was crazy too.  After the preaching, they were praying and speaking in "tongues"(seemed like gibberish to me).  We saw what they call someone “receiving the Holy Ghost.”  It was crazy – I’ve never seen anything like it.  I am definitely learning a lot about the different ways other churches worship God.  Feeling the Spirit means something totally different to me – a lot more peaceful.  Afterwards we went and saw Shaun again.  We taught him the Restoration and he asked us to give him homework, like scriptures to read and stuff like that.  It was awesome.  He is really progressing.  Afterwards we were driving to the church and Troy (one of the brothers we saw on Friday) was walking back home from a gas station and we slowed down in the middle of an empty road and said, “Hi.”  He came over and just hopped into the truck haha.  We were just like, “OK, I guess we’ll drive him home.”  Probably for the best because he wreaked of alcohol and was pretty much drunk.  I have to admit I laughed hard afterwards.  Drunk people say and do the weirdest things.

I will talk to y'all next week.

Elder Ellison

Friday, October 9, 2015

True Missionary 10/5/15

So this week we had the "true missionary experience."  We walked everywhere.  So that was fun. We got honked at a ton for no reason - don't know why.  Some one yelled the "q" word at us -haha.  It's the life of a missionary and I kinda like it (except for the name calling, of course).  It sucked though because we couldn't get very far walking and we had trouble figuring out what to do that was close.   We knocked on a lot of doors.  This week was awesome though with conference and my birthday week.  Apparently when you have a bday on your mission, people find out and you have like a week-long birthday.  I got some brownies and ice cream yesterday during conference from a sister, so it was sweet -haha. 

Monday was my 19th birthday.  We went bowling and I destroyed Elder Wardle!  Maybe it was some birthday luck because I scored a high of 162 and got a turkey for the first time ever.  We then went to the Patterson's, like we do each Monday, and they made some pasta dish that was delicious and an apple cake which was good too.  Sister Patterson made me a tie and she let me choose the fabric.  Once we got home, Elder Wardle got me the craziest shirt ever; a tye-dye rainbow t-shirt with a crazy cat on it.  I rocked it anyways!  It was a good birthday and as an added bonus, it landed on a pday -awesome!  Sad part though, we were able to watch Richard G. Scott's funeral. 

Tuesday we turned in our truck for repairs.  We went to the Patterson's again for lunch and to do some service.  We were going to burn a bunch of piles, but it rained all week so it was too wet to start up.  We then had interviews and our District meeting.  President Anderson is awesome!  He taught me some cool things to help with my missionary work and study.  We then went to Logan's steakhouse with a member for dinner.  It was good to have a steak.   

Wednesday was an interesting day.  A kid named Marcus, who is home right now because of back problems, drove us around since we didn't have our car.  We went and saw a man named Keith,  I may have told you about him already.  We had a good lesson and the spirit was so strong, but then there was a knock at the door and Keith said, "Come in."  In walked the preacher to his church, which he hasn't attended in years, and he was picking Keith up to take him somewhere.  He told Keith not to listen to what we said because it was different then what he says.  Before we left, Elder Wardle asked Keith if we could say a prayer.  The preacher immediately said, "You can pray, just not with me here because I believe we pray to a different God."  Last I checked, there is only one Heavenly Father and we read of Him from the same Bible.  So then Elder Wardle said, "Keith, can we say a prayer with you before we leave?"  He would have said yes had the preacher not been there, but he said no instead.  Sad.  We didn't even talk to the preacher at all, but he took over and controlled Keith.   It was weird.  I had to laugh a bit after we left.  Not sure why some Christians have to be so rude to other Christians.  Later that night we went tracting and a 16 yr. old kid opened the door and let us in.  We taught him the 1st discussion and it was a great lesson.  It will be interesting though because the church he currently goes to is a family church on his grandpa's land and his family wasn't there, so we hope they will be open to hearing more.  We then went to Tracey and John's house and talked with them.  We asked if they would watch conference and they said they will try.  We asked 4 people/families to watch, but only committed. 

Thursday was a rough day.  We talked with lots of people and walked all day, but no lessons and nothing much really happened. 

Friday we walked a ton and we went to Brandon's home and they fed us dinner.  We had a great discussion that sparked their interest on the Plan of Salvation.  We are praying real hard that they will be more open to learning about the gospel. 

Saturday we spent all day at the church just watching General Conference.  There were a ton of awesome talks.  There was a BBQ in the gym before the Priesthood session.  I loved all the talks and it is so cool to hear Elder Rasband, Elder Stevenson, and Elder Renlund get called to be the new Apostles. 

Sunday we spent all day again at the church watching the rest of conference.  It was sad to see President Monson struggle while giving his talk.  One of our investigators came to the afternoon session.  It was awesome and we showed her around the building afterwards.  I think she really liked it. 

Monday so far we still don't have our truck and I gave my first Priesthood blessing to my companion.  It was a cool experience for me.  Our truck will be done by tomorrow so no more walking.  Yes!  Well until next week.  See y'all later.

Elder Ellison