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.

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