Saturday, January 23, 2016

It's Gonna Take Work! 1-18-16

My feet are super sore after this week.  We walked everywhere!  We need to do a lot of work to build up our teaching pool.  We are going out and trying to find those people that God has already prepared and who are waiting for us to come and knock on their doors.  There was one thing that I learned this week that I really liked.  We are not just out here to find people that are being prepared or that need us to prepare them, but we are trying to find the people that Heavenly Father has already prepared.   I’ve thought a lot about that and it is a subtle, yet interesting shift in how I see things out here.  It was super cold this week.  I busted out the thermals for the first time and they helped a ton or else I would have been an icicle.  So my ponderize scripture for this week was Luke 17: 33 "Whosever shall seek to save his life shall lose it; and whosever shall lose his life shall preserve it." Throughout my scripture studies in the Bible, this scripture has been repeated multiple times so there is definitely something important to learn.  During my ponderizing I thought about it as selfishness.  This is not my work, not your work, but it is His work.  As we seek to save our life, that is ok to do, but what if God asks us at the end, "How many of my children did you help?" And we respond with, "Uh no one, but myself."  We are all brothers and sister and we are here to help each other.  It also goes with “putting off the natural man.”  Being selfish can be a very destructive thing.  Throughout my life I have thought about me too much.  Being on a mission has shown me that when I do that, I will not have success or will not put forth my best effort.  I have had to work on forgetting myself and just focus on serving my companion and the people I am teaching.  We are promised through this scripture that if we are forgetting ourselves, we will still be blessed in the end.  I still have a lot to learn and to work on in regards to this scripture and many of the other scriptures I have ponderized in previous weeks, but I know the Lord can help me through these things as I put in the effort.

Monday we cooked our roadkill possum.  We had it for dinner.  It was surprisingly good.  It tasted like beef or a roast in a way.  It may have been because we made it in a stew, but it tasted good.  So that was our last night as a trio.

Tuesday we went to transfers and I got my new companion, Elder Nimmer.  He is from Orem, Utah. He has been out for 18 months and he loves soccer, which is awesome.  Too bad it is too cold to play much.  I was really scared and nervous for taking over this area for my first time, but so far, the week has gone fairly well.  I have prayed for opportunities to help my trust in God grow and well, I got my opportunity now.  So be careful what you ask for because it will happen – Haha.  And be ready to work for those things you ask for as well.   We tried to see a few people and then went tracting.  We found 4 “potentials,” which was really cool.  We are working really hard to change some things to help this area grow.

Wednesday we contacted a referral and will be going back in a couple weeks to see him.  I gave a training at our District Meeting on listening.  I was told it went well.  Unfortunately, we didn't have any lessons today.  We did meet a guy from Norway or Sweden (or one of those countries) and he comes from a religion that believes in like Asgard and those things.  I didn't know that people believed in that stuff, but it was interesting to learn.  Also, Elder Wardle The Great, went home today and was reunited with his family after two years of hard work and service to the Lord.  Sure will miss him. Thank you Elder Wardle!

Thursday we walked a ton and didn’t have any luck throughout the day, but later we had a lesson with Natasha and Eric.  We went over the Articles of Faith.  It was a good lesson and we were able to find out where she is at with wanting to learn more etc.  He is a member, but she isn't.  We then went with Justin to see another part-member family and they are super cool.   It was fun getting to know them. We also met a lady whose dad is from Iceland, which was cool.

Friday we walked a super, long distance because everyone is worth the walk, even if they aren't there.  We didn’t have any luck today though, so not much to report.

Saturday we had 2 lessons with less-active members.  They went pretty well and we had a good dinner with the other Elders and a family in the ward.  So we had a pretty good day.

Sunday we had a broadcast for church and got to hear from Elders Hales and Rasban, along with 2 other people.  They shared some good messages that were mostly on parenting.  It helped me a little to know what to do in the future.  We tracted for most of the afternoon and pretty much froze because of the wind.  We then went to a youth fireside where they talked about the importance of Family History work.

Well that was my week and I am really glad that the Lord has trusted me to take over the area and for giving me the chance to work on putting my trust in Him more.  The White House area is not mine, nor Elder Nimmers, but it is His.  So we are working on making sure we are doing His work and being as obedient as we can so that we can receive the blessings the He wants to bestow upon us and this area.  We are working on doing our part and we know that if we continue to do that, we will be blessed.  Our Mission President has promised us that if we are being obedient and working hard, then we will see others come to Christ and have a baptism every transfer.  We are striving to be able to have that promise fulfilled as we do our part and are accountable for it as well.  Hope y'all have a great week and new year.  I would also like to ask you to look this year for opportunities to be able to bear your testimony to the people around you.  This is something that we are asking the members in our ward to do right now and I know if we truly seek them and ask God to give them, they will arise and the Work of the Lord will continue to march forward.  I love you all and pray for you often.  Until next time.

Elder Ellison

E. Nimmer & I 

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Transfers Again 1-11-16

So this has been a crazy week since we are working 2 areas.  We were in Springfield the first 3 days and in White House the last 3.  So we did a ton of packing and planning for that.  We actually got snow on Sunday and it stayed on the ground.  Not like anything back home of course, but it was colder than home that day too, which was weird.  My ponderize scripture for this week is Alma 38: 5 which reads, "And now my son, Shiblon, I would that ye should remember, that as much as ye shall put your trust in God even so much ye shall be delivered out of your trials, and your troubles, and your afflictions, and ye shall be lifted up at the last day."  That scripture really applied to me this week.  Recently I have been trying to learn how I can put my trust in God more.  It comes with great relief to me that when I do, I will be helped and strengthened through my trials, troubles, afflictions and will be lifted up at the last day.  I remember one of the talks given in the last General Conference by a sister whose family motto was "It will all work out."  I know that I am supposed to and will always go through hard times and challenges, but if I put my trust in God, then it will be easier and it will all work out in the way He wants it to.  He can shape that trial and move it in the direction that can help me become better and learn something that I need to learn.

Monday we just chilled.  We then had an awesome Family Home Evening with the whole Cousin family.  We taught the Plan of Salvation and then invited all of them to come to church and a few of them did, which was awesome.

Tuesday my dad turned the big old 21......+ 30. So happy birthday!  We were in Springfield today and served in the Bishop’s Storehouse for most of it.  Later we taught some people the Plan of Salvation.  It went well.  We then went and bought a bunch of food for the people we had just taught as kind of a Secret Santa thing, but for the new year.  Elder Ihler got some money sent to him to spend on one of their investigators, so we chose them.  We also found a potential investigator.

Wednesday we had our District Meeting and then tried to catch some people home.  We also tracted and found 3 new/potential investigators, which was awesome.  We had dinner with a less-active member and an investigator, which was really good.  We tried a few more people, but didn’t have any luck.  We then packed up our stuff and went back to White House.

Thursday we got our apartment inspected and we passed.  We tracted and found a “potential” out of it.  We then drove down to the church to wait for the member that took us to Nashville a few weeks ago.  He came to take us to the temple because he was going through for the first time.  Elder Ihler was his escort and there were 5 of us total.  Elders Ihler, Mortensen, McKown, Rock, and me.  It was really cool to be able to go.  For me, I felt the spirit really strong as I prayed a bunch.  I probably said 4 separate prayers.  We didn't get back until 1am - oops.  I was so exhausted.

Friday I was able to go to the farm for the first time.  We had breakfast with Sister Durham and then did some work she needed help with.  We then tried to catch some people home, but had no luck.  That night we made a little campfire that didn't work out too well because the wood was kind of wet.  It was mostly just burning cardboard and paper.  So the church has changed the way transfers are handled world-wide to where we don't have Transfer Meetings anymore.  Now we just arrive, get our new companion, then leave.  I am not too sure how I feel about that.  I was hoping to hear Elder Wardle’s departing testimony, since he goes home Wednesday.  At least I will get to see him and say goodbye.  Transfer results:  I am staying here and E. Mortensen is going to Paducah.  I am getting Elder Nimmer as my new companion - back to a duo.  I am really nervous because I will be taking over the area now.  I just hope that we can do good work here and I won't fail at the plans and stuff like that.  That's where my ponderize scripture comes into play.  Although I am nervous, I have been asking God to help me put my trust in Him more and that is what He has done.  I definitely know He answers prayers.  I will be leaving this area all up to Him.  It is His area and I am just the tool in building it up as part of His kingdom.  It should be a fun next transfer, even if I'm scared and sad that E. Mortensen is leaving.  I can't believe that I am at 4 1/2 months now.  Next transfer will be 6 months, which is weird.

Saturday E. Mortensen packed up a little bit and then we tried some people.  We went out with our Ward Mission Leader to see some people too, but no luck, which was a bummer.  We went back to his house for dinner and got haircuts from his wife.

Sunday we had church and then helped Sister Durham move some furniture so the painters could paint the walls.  We then went to dinner at the Thompson's.  He is the Chiropractor in our ward, which is awesome.  He was also a tight end for BYU a while ago.  We had an awesome dinner and we got some much-needed adjustments.  I felt so much better after that.  I was deeply in need of one.  We then had to go to Springfield for the night so we could drive the car back to White House in the morning in preparation for transfers the next day.

This week I have deeply thought about the importance of testimonies.  I used a little game my mom sent me that helps with testimonies.  After the game, we extended the commitment for them to share their testimonies with someone this year. They said they would except for one, who said that they were going to work on building theirs up until they could share it.  I thought about that and how they were willing to work on it.  I also watched a talk by Elder Holland recently called "Lord, I believe."  It is a great talk.  In there he invites each of us to lean upon his testimony if we do not have one yet or if ours isn't strong enough.  I would like to invite each of you as well to share your testimony with people around you whenever the time occurs or, if it isn't strong enough yet, then to work on it.  Just by doing that, you are exercising your faith so much that God will help you gain that testimony.  My testimony may not be like Elder Hollands, but I hope that it helps some of you find yours and builds yours up.  I know this to be true.  I know that this church is true.  I know that the Book of Mormon is true.  I know that God is there and that He lives and hears each of our prayers.  I cannot express how much this gospel means to me.  If I hadn’t had it in my life, I don't know how I would have gotten through some of the things I went through.  It pains me to see people out here who do not have its fullness.  It pains me to see people out here reject us to come and teach them so that their own faith can grow from what it is already.  I know how much this gospel can bless their lives and can make them so much happier.  I love my Heavenly Father and my Brother and Savior, Jesus Christ.  I know that He suffered for each of my sins, pains, temptations, and afflictions individually, along with each of yours.  I know that because He was resurrected, we also may be resurrected and live with God and our family forever.  It is a great blessing to know these things and to know that we can always find mercy and joy through Him.  I know that because we all fall short of the glory of God, it is because of repentance that we can again be able to return back to His presence.  Put your trust in God and all things will work out in His way.  Maybe not the way we want, but that is OK because it is for our good in the long run.  I love all of you and can't wait to see how much you all have grown spiritually through these next 2 years.  Talk to y'all next week.

Elder Ellison

Leap of Faith!

We are so cool!


Free Haircuts!

What - Snow?

Nashville Temple - Love It!

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Happy New Year! 1-4-16

So Happy New Year everyone!  Also, congratulations to my cousin, Savannah, for getting married.   Wish I could have been there.  Well, my dream winter is coming to an end.  The temperatures were in the low 40s this week, but luckily we have the car until transfers.  I am currently in a trio, last week and this coming week.  One of the Elders in the other area of our ward went home to straighten some things out, but is planning on coming back out soon.  It was sad.  So other than that, the week has gone well.  My ponderize scripture this week is James 4: 10, "Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up." I have recently been trying to humble myself more.  I know that when we are humble, the Lord can mold us and shape us into who He NEEDS us to be.  I love the quote in The Restoration movie when a man is sick and he says to Joseph, "My pride has brought me very low."  Joseph responds with, "Now the Lord can lift you higher."  I just love that line because he humbled himself and the Lord was able to bless him.  I know that by being humble I can surrender myself to the Lord and do whatever it is that He needs me to do.

Monday actually started late Sunday night.  We had to drive to Springfield at 11:15pm and didn’t get to sleep until 3:45am.  We had to get up at the usual time so we only got like 3 hours of sleep. We stayed in White House for P-day and did some service.  We helped a member pull out some of her concrete frames.  Then we had a really good Family Home Evening at the Cousin's. 

Tuesday, because our District Leader went home, his companion became the new one.  I got to go on an exchange to Gallatin with Elder Blackburn.  He is from Layton, Utah.  We worked at the Bishop’s Storehouse for a while and later found two “potentials” during tracting.  We had a lesson on the Plan of Salvation with a pretty cool guy.  We even set up a baptismal date with him.

Wednesday I stayed in Gallatin and we did service for a lady.  We trimmed her flowers and shrubs and then asked if she would be interested in hearing our message.  We set up a return appointment.  Nothing really happened during the day, but we had an awesome lesson with a member.  We taught the Restoration and it went really well.  They liked our message, except the man has trouble with believing in modern day prophets.  We had a good discussion though.

Thursday we exchanged back.  We had interviews with President Anderson, which were good.  For some reason, for the first time ever, I teared up when he asked me to bear my testimony on the Book of Mormon.  I could have said more, but it was hard to go on after saying just a few things.  (I will expound on it later).  So we got back and went tracting and found a “potential.”  We had to be in by 6pm though because of all the crazy New Year’s people driving on the roads.  So since we were on our property, we went over to our landlord’s home and played a game.  They had a football game on, which I didn't mind too much -haha.  We stayed up and did our New Year’s count down.

Friday we got the whole day off.  We call it Super P-day.  We were able to watch certain approved movies.  A member, the one who took us to Nashville, brought us a 63" TV and DVD player so we could watch in our apartment. The Gallatin Elders came over as well and we watched 6 movies throughout the day.  We watched Minions, Catching Faith, Inside Out, Cars, an old western, and Ratatouille.  If I wasn't a missionary, I probably would have had more fun just staring at the ceiling than watching movies all day, but since this was a once-a-year thing, and I never get to watch TV, it was good.  We had a blast.  It was nice being able to relax for the whole day.

Saturday we were back to work and we tried a couple people, but we were only able to teach one less-active member.  Later that night, I think it was a mixture of tiredness and a slice of key lime pie, we made some awesome video clips with a nerf gun. 

Sunday we went to church at our new time – 11am.  Afterwards, we drove to Springfield to spend a couple days there since now we have to cover two areas temporarily.  We will return to White House Thursday morning.  We tried a lot of people, but were only able to make contact with a few.  We taught the Restoration to three ladies, which went well.  We met with a less-active and talked with him for a bit too.  We set up a few return appointments.

So that was our week.  I mentioned earlier that I would expound on my testimony of the Book of Mormon:   I know that this book is true.  As I read it every day and study it, which is the real key, I am learning so much.  I am currently reading about Captain Moroni and some of the war chapters and I am noticing all of the missionary verses that are in those chapters that I never saw before.  I also have a desire to change as I read it.  It makes me just think about my home life and how I want to change some things when I get home.  One of them being, reading this book everyday.  I wasn't the best at it and I want to change that.  This book is changing me and my life.  I love Joseph Smith's comment in the Introduction about how a man will get nearer to God by abiding by it’s precepts, than by any other book.  I know that statement to be true.  I cannot express how grateful I am for this book.  I KNOW this book to be true.  I know this book changes lives for the better.  If you are not reading this book, then start now.  If you are reading the scriptures and not this book, that is great, but your learning, studies, and knowledge will be enhanced tremendously if you include the Book of Mormon.  I just read a wonderful talk in the January Ensign entitled Were My Studies Sufficient?  It talks about how important the Book of Mormon is.  I hope you all add this to your resolutions to read it every day from now on.  I can promise you that you will find more joy in your life, understand more things spiritually, changes for the better will occur, and so much more.  I love each and every one of you.  I hope you all have a great 2016.  And I leave y'all with this in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, amen.

Elder Ellison
And Then There Were Three - Trio

Back-Breaking Work at the Bishop's Storehouse.  They are heavier than they look!