Thursday, March 31, 2016

Easter Week 3-28-16

This week was a way better week compared to last week. Just in one day we had the same number of lessons as all of last week.  So it was much better and way less frustrating.  Also, just a side note, I was hoping to meet Ziggy Ansah at the Bishops Storehouse on Tuesday, but he ended up going on Wednesday, which was a bummer.  My ponderize scripture this week was a little difficult to understand, but it is in the scriptures a couple times so it must be important.  The scripture is Luke 17: 33, "Whosoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it; and whosoever shall lose his life shall preserve it."  So I was thinking about what could be an embedded principle in these words and I came to think of selfishness.  As we turn outward and look to help our fellow brothers and sisters, we shall receive blessings that will help us in the eternal perspective.  In the book of Moroni, he says that we must have charity, which is the pure love of Christ.  Jesus Christ truly was our example in turning outward and not being selfish.  I know that as we strive to do the same, we will become more Christ-like and happier.

Monday we had nerf wars again and other sports.  Later we saw Roger for the first time since his trip.  We watched the Easter video and read some scriptures with him.

Tuesday we helped out at the Bishops Storehouse.  We heard about the Brussels bombings there and that the missionaries were able to bear their testimonies to the whole world.  What a great experience to have gone through everything they just did and still be able to testify of their Savior.  Later we got bashed/antied, which was interesting.  But to brighten that up we found a potential investigator.

Wednesday we did some service for the Worthingtons.  They are doing more concrete stuff.  We did some tracting afterwards, but no luck.

Thursday was an awesome day.  To start out we got to see President and Sister Andersen.  They are so awesome and I love them so much.  We had interviews with President and had some training by Sister Andersen.  Then we had a Restoration lesson with Lindsey.  She is awesome.  We invited her to be baptized if she came to know these things were true and her response was "yes, definitely."  We tracted and Justin came with us which is always fun.  He is about to put in his papers for his own mission.  We then went with Bishop to see Roger.  We reset a date for Apr. 9 so that is super exciting.

Friday we knocked doors the whole day and got a couple potential investigators that we will hopefully start teaching soon.

Saturday we helped our landlords do some yard work to get ready for their family Easter party.  Felt back at home while I worked the weed eater.  Not much else happened after that.

Sunday was Easter, the time to celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.  We had church and then went straight over to the Thompson's for lunner (combined lunch and dinner).  I got an adjustment from Bro. Thompson.  It felt so nice.  I definitely was in need of one.

As it is Easter time, I would just like to bear my testimony that I know my Redeemer lives.  I know that Christ suffered in the garden for each of us individually so that He could help us each in the way He knows we need.  I know that He died on the cross, but three days later, He defied death and rose again.  Because of this marvelous event, we too, will be resurrected and have a perfect body.  This is not the end.  We shall live with our family and friends and loved ones forever.  I know Christ is my Savior and I love Him.  I cannot wait for that glorious day when I will be able to see Him and my Father in heaven face to face.  I am a child of God and I know He loves me as well as each of you.  In this I close my simple testimony in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

P.S. I would like to add that reading the talk by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland called None Were With Him is awesome!  If you can watch it too, that is even better.

Elder Ellison

Service is what it is all about

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

A Weekend With An Apostle 3-21-16

So this week wasn't the greatest but certain things made it one of the best weeks.  First the weather started out good, but on Sunday we were walking through snow/freezing rain.  So that sucked.  I also got to meet an Apostle which I will share more about later.  We had a miracle and an awesome lesson.  Also I shook David Archuleta's hand as we passed each other.  At Stake Conference I was going into the bathroom and he was walking out and I didn't realize who it was until I was letting go of the hand shake.  I just saw the missionary ahead of me do it.  He is really short.  So that was pretty cool though.  My ponderize scripture this week is Alma 48: 17, "Yea, verily, verily I say unto you, if all men had been, and were, and ever would be, like unto Moroni, behold, the very powers of hell would have been shaken forever; yea, the devil would never have power over the hearts of the children of men."  This is my mom's favorite guy in the Book of Mormon.  Captain Moroni was a man of faith and strength in the Lord.  This scripture explains him very well.  The words, “If all men had been” are very interesting.  I think the scripture would be so much more powerful if it said that all men were like him.  Imagine if we had his faith, hope, charity, love, boldness, courageousness, then the adversary would have no victory whatsoever.  Even all the evil powers in this world, whether they be small things or big, shall fall and not hurt any of us.  As I read this scripture I think to myself, what do I need to do to become like Moroni?  What do I need to change, act upon, or strengthen to be a man such as Captain Moroni?  I know the answers as well as you do, but the choice is if we want to and make that effort to change.

Monday for P-day we didn't do much.  I got 333 juggles with a soccer ball with no practice so that was nice.

Tuesday nothing happened, unfortunately.

Wednesday - it is definitely one of those weeks that are really a struggle.  In total we had 3 lessons.  Not sure what is going on right now, but we will come out on top when the Lord wants us to.

Thursday we did lots of service.  We worked on the farm and then helped a recent convert.  Since we aren't getting lessons, we are looking for more service opportunities.  In the Book of Mormon, the best missionary was Ammon and he didn't go in teaching, but he went in to serve.  He did service until the time was right for him to share the gospel with the Lamanites.

Friday we did more service after weekly planning.  The service was for a former investigator and he bought us dinner afterwards.  After that, our night and week was made.  We went to go see a former investigator.  When we knocked on the door a woman named Lauren opened it and let us in.  Her step father just so happened to be in the home, so that was just one of the ways the Lord helped out.  The people we were going to see were her mom and brothers, but they were all out of town.  She had talked occasionally with the Sister Missionaries when they would come over.  She said that she had read a little of the Book of Mormon, but not enough to remember.   So we talked for a little bit and then I asked her if she had any questions for us.  This question broke out into an amazing conversation. She started to say no, but then the tides turned and she started to cry.  She recently has been going through a really tough time with her fiancĂ©.  She has also been feeling like she is lost and doesn't know how to get her faith back.  She asked us about God's plan for us and if He really has one.  We answered her questions as best we could and there were many times where we sat there in silence while she cried and just got things out.  The spirit was definitely there and helping us to comfort her.  She told us that she had been going to counseling with her fiancĂ© and she had gone that day and it was really rough.  Afterwards she was just hoping that there would be someone she could talk to.  Low and behold, God heard her prayer as well as knew she would say that prayer.  So He caused us, His servants, to put into our plans the night before to go see them, had another male in the house so we could go in, and guided us through the Spirit.  The Lord works in marvelous and mysterious ways.  We are planning on going back to meet with her and it just works out because right now she is living there so we can go see her fairly often.  That whole experience made the whole dreadful week of no lessons worth it.

Saturday started out amazing. We got to go and hear from Elder David A. Bednar and two other people from the Seventy.  The Spirit was very strong in this meeting and we learned so much.  Bednar didn't give a long talk that we could take notes on, but instead we had more of a conversation back and forth with him asking us questions and teaching, and us asking him questions and teaching ourselves based on his questions back to us. So he started out by telling us 3 things of what we were not going to do. Number one, don't take notes. How many of us take a ton of notes and then never use them again or they get lost?  All of us.  Now in addition to no notes he told us for number two, write on small plates, not large plates.  Just like Nephi wrote on small and large plates.  Writing on small plates means to write down impressions, feelings, things you hear that may not have been spoken.  Those were the things he wanted us to write down.  And number three was that we were not going to play “guess what's in my head.”  So my notes are small from the things that we talked about, but the feeling of that Spirit which I felt in that meeting was amazing.  A lot of the things that were talked about were things that I have been trying to improve or learn.  Some of the things I learned though were that I need to go and do instead of just asking God to bless me with this and expecting it to be given to me.  For example, I can't say give me the words to speak, then I'll open my mouth.  I also learned that I can't be so demanding.  When I pray I can't ask for it to be given to me right then.  I can ask, but it is His choice on when I will receive my answer.  Along with that, he talked about getting answers to prayers.  I think a lot of us, me included, want the answers to our prayers to be something huge.  Well they don't have to be huge for us to get the answer we need.  At the conclusion he gave us a blessing that can be for everyone.  He blessed us that if we feast upon the words of Christ and the scriptures, our faith will increase and we shall never fall away.  I definitely am going to make a better push for my studies to be better and more of a feast than just nibbling.  It will be Thanksgiving dinner with the scriptures every day.

Sunday we again got to hear Elder Bednar speak to us in our Stake Conference.  He mainly talked about the basics and fundamentals that we all need to keep improving.  He also talked to the people that weren't members.  He shared the restoration and even gave proof and facts of how there is still continual revelation.  The Bible is not it.  God continues to speak to us through his prophets.  I wish and hope that someday I will be able to teach the restoration as simply and powerfully as he did.  He gave us a blessing there as well that said if we seek, ask, and knock then our eyes will be opened through the Holy Ghost to see things that we have never seen before and our ears will be open as well.  And with General Conference coming up, he told us how we should go into it.  He said that our notes should be on the main idea of the message.  Then we should read the talks over and over again each time looking for the invitation within the message.  Then after we get the invitation, look for the blessings that come from acting upon that invitation.  So there is a little hint to all of us from an Apostle of how he would go into General Conference.

So even though our week sucked lesson-wise it was one of my favorite weeks.  I really enjoyed listening to an Apostle of the Lord and his counsel to each of us.  I know that we are guided by modern prophets and apostles in these days, and that revelation continues to this day.  We can constantly be shown what to do as the world changes around us.  In two weeks we get to hear from the General Authorities and I invite all of you to go and watch it and listen to them. I love each of you and I know that the blessings we received this weekend can help each of you as well.  Always look for God's hand in your life and you will see those little miracles and blessings you didn't know were there right in front of you.  Have a great week y'all.

Elder Ellison

Half price shakes on St. Patty's

Snow in Spring

Had to get some pictures of the new Spring blossoms

These things are delicious!

The 70s Feel Great 3-14-16

This week the weather was fantastic.  Well, kind of.  It was warm, which was nice, but it was also rainy. There was one rainstorm where we were in a lesson and it started dumping.  So after our lesson, the less-active members gave us a ride home.  Well from the 5 seconds we were out in the rain from his house to his car, we were soaked.  It was crazy.  Other than the rain, it was good.  Also just a little surprise for all of you, this next Saturday we are having a mission-wide conference at my stake building.  We are going to be able to hear from Elder Craig C. Christiansen and Elder David A. Bednar.  It is going to be so sweet.  He also is speaking at my Stake Conference on Sunday.  I am looking forward to the end of this coming week.  I will let you all know how it went next Monday.  So my ponderize scripture for this week was Alma 13: 28-29, "28 But that ye would humble yourselves before the Lord, and call on his holy name, and watch and pray continually, that ye may not be tempted above that which ye can bear, and thus be led by the Holy Spirit, becoming humble, meek, submissive, patient, full of love and all long-suffering; 29 Having faith on the Lord; having a hope that ye shall receive eternal life; having the love of God always in your hearts, that ye may be lifted up at the last day and enter into his rest."  One thing that really stood out to me in this scripture was the word humble was used twice.  Saying that we need to humble ourselves before God and become humble.  We must come to the realization that we need His help to get through and to come out on top of our trials.  Another thing that I noticed was that we will not be tempted above what we are able to bear.  Even in those rough times that we all go through and struggle with and fall down again and again, it is never something that we can't conquer.  We will always come out on top no matter how long we go through our trials.  He will never leave us either.  We may think that we are alone and it may feel that way, but that is so we can humble ourselves and call out to Him for help and guidance.  He loves us more than we know and so He is always going to want what's best for us, just like our own parents do.

Monday we got to go down to Madison and we played basketball and had Nerf wars.  So that was really fun.

Tuesday we got to go to the Bishop's Storehouse and I found out that there is an Elder Orr in the other district next to us that is from Middleton.  He knows Bro Walker and the Koefeds.  So anyways, after that we tracted and it was pretty hot.  We met a 90 yr. old man that didn't look 90 and he said he expects to live to 100.

Wednesday not much happened.  We had a member visit with an older lady and she is a talker.  After that we went to a less-active's home and talked about prophets and apostles.  We invited them, just like we are with everyone else, to come see Elder Bednar.

Thursday we got to work on the farm and we did some fence work. We then had a great lesson with Bro. Blaylock on prayer and the scriptures.  He said that he would make more of an effort to get back into those good habits.

Friday we weekly planned and then had a lesson with a former investigator that was a slight bashing session, but not too bad.  We then tracted and had no luck.  We had just a couple minutes left and we decided that we wanted to get our full hour in so we knocked on one more house and a kid named Titus came out and we talked with him for a little bit.  He said that he kind of stopped believing the religious stuff at about 14 and we tied that right in with Joseph Smith and how he too was 14 when he had a question that puzzled his mind for a long time.  We asked if we could come back and he said we could and we probably would be able to meet with his family too.

Saturday again, not much happened.  Justin came tracting with us for the afternoon because he said he had nothing better to do.  So that was fun until it started raining again.  So then we tried a couple less-actives, but no luck.

Sunday we had Ward Conference at church and I learned some really cool things on how to unite with the members in missionary work.  I look forward to trying some of those things out and see how it helps.  Then later we went to the United Freewill Baptist Church.  It was a little boring, but still interesting.

Well that has been my week and I wish you all a wonderful next week.  I just want you all to know that I have a testimony of this gospel.  I know that it is true.  I know that the Book of Mormon is true.  I know that Christ suffered for all of our sins and died on the cross for each of us.  I know that He rose again on the third day to overcome death for us again so that we can live with Him and our families forever.  I know that He lives and loves me and each of you.  There is nothing more satisfying than to know that He went through everything He did for me, because He loves me.  I am eternally grateful to Him.  I have not found any greater gift or happiness than to have the fullness of the gospel in my life and to receive the blessings that come from it.  I know that Joseph Smith, as a 14 yr. old boy, had a question as to what church was true.  And through his faith and action, he received his answer.  I know that he saw God, the Father and His son, Jesus Christ. They did show themselves to him and did answer his question.  I know that it was because of his question that opened the way for the Restoration of Christ's gospel to come upon the earth again in its fullness.  Every part of His church is here again.  I want everyone to be able to receive what I have come to know is true.  I want everyone to find out for themselves, through praying in faith as Joseph did, and to receive that same witness as I and many others have as well that it is true.  I am very grateful to be a part of this church, gospel, work, and to be a missionary.  I close my testimony in the name of my Savior and Redeemer, Jesus Christ, amen.

Elder Ellison

Good Times On The Farm

Mending Fences

The Turn Around 3-7-16

So this week started off a little shaky, but it slowly started to change into a much better week.  Our tracting has definitely gotten a little better towards the end of this week.  I am also looking forward to the 70 degree weather next week, even though it will be rainy.  So my ponderize scripture this week is John 16: 33 which says, "These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world." This is the Savior talking and I just love the things he says in here.  One, you will have peace in Him.  When we look to the Savior for help and for that strength we so desperately need, He will give it to us.  We can be at peace to know that He went through everything He did just because He loves us.  Second, we shall have tribulation.  He tells us straight up that we will have trials and challenges in this world.  Even though they aren't something we love, they are a blessing.  They help us to humble ourselves enough to ask for help.  I think it is interesting how He said that in Him we will have peace, but in the world we will have tribulation.  We are told to be in the world, but not of the world.  When we are of the world, we don't have Christ with us.  We don't see the purpose or have that hope.  Only when we have the Savior right by our side can we be at peace with ourselves and have that hope that is so key.  In the book of Moroni in the Book of Mormon, he tells us that we must have three things in the end and those are faith, hope, and charity which is the pure love of Christ.  Then the Savior finally tells us to be of good cheer, don't be afraid and have fear, for He has overcome the world.  I can't think of a greater blessing than to know that through my Savior, I can be made clean and pure and may have eternal joy.

Monday was a gorgeous day.  So much that we sat outside and let our legs embrace the ever forbidden rays of the beautiful sunlight to our slack-covered legs.  Basically meaning we did a little tanning.  I was sitting in the chair just soaking it in and I was actually starting to sweat just by sitting there.  So that was the best feeling.  I haven't had that in a long time.

Tuesday was Elder Nimmer's 20th birthday so for his birthday we got drenched.  We walked out in the morning and got about a mile away when it just down-poured on us.  We were so wet that we had to change clothes.  We then went out to lunch with some members for his birthday and then just knocked on doors the rest of the day.  I took my umbrella to stay dry, even though I may have looked like a weirdo.  We then had a birthday dinner at the Cousin's and we had steak, shrimp, and broccoli covered in garlic.  It was a delicious meal that filled us up so much that we still felt full the next day.  It was so good!  Right after eating that huge meal, we went and helped some members move into their new house.

Wednesday we went to lunch with a member who played drums for a famous country singer back in the old days.  I think his name has Gary in it, but can't remember.  Well anyways, I referenced 2 movie characters to 2 different people.  First was the member Brother Taylor.  I think he looks a lot like the dad of Tron, or Obidiah in the first Iron Man (the bad, bald guy).  Second was at the lesson we went to after lunch at a less-active's home.  Their son who was there reminded me of the "unicorn" from Men in Black 3 (the one who can see the future and past).  He just talked a lot like him and sounded like him.  Those were just 2 funny thoughts I had. At their home, we talked about the Book of Mormon and bore our testimonies on it.  They said they would read it every day.  So our tracting seems to be doing a lot better today.  We have made a few improvements or changes.  For example, we are now praying about which road we should tract on that day.  We still have a lot of improvements to make, but it looks like things are starting to pick up.

Thursday we had Zone Meeting and there were some awesome trainings given.  The one that really spoke to me was on, well, tracting.  Since we have been struggling with that we took tons of notes.  Since having that training, and working on using the things we learned, I believe we have gotten at least 1 potential investigator every day since, which is a major improvement from how tracting normally was for us.

Friday we had another good tracting session and even have a potential whose wife is apparently a member that isn't coming anymore.  He said we could come back and talk to both of them.  We did some phone cleaning later, which is actually really fun.  You never know who you are going to end up talking with.

Saturday not much happened.  We did have a visit/lesson/dinner with the Martinez family.  They are super cool, love soccer, and love to just talk your ear off.  They even invited us to stay and have dinner.  We had homemade, from scratch, tamales.  They were super good.  Later we were trying to contact some former investigators and one of them had a burnt-out porch light.  I don't think our black jackets helped at all either.  The dad came and grabbed a baseball bat before he opened the door.  Once he opened it and saw that we weren't just some punk teenagers, he lightened up and was really nice.  We had no luck so we decided to end our night on a good note by going to one of the local gas stations, kind of like a Maverick, and they sold any-size freezes for $0.69.  It was a sweet deal and a sweet treat.

Sunday not much happened.  We had a good testimony meeting in church.  We had a really good dinner with a couple families as a break-the-fast meal.  That was about all.

Well, that has been my week.  My faith and knowledge has truly grown over this last week.  I have come love how prayer can just be something we do out of habit, but when we add in faith, knowledge, and thought that we are actually having a two-way conversation with our Heavenly Father, then we will start to have a much better experience when we pray.  I just encourage each of you this next week, that when you pray, open up more and talk to God like He is your best friend.  Talk to Him about things that others may not understand because He will understand you completely.  Share your thoughts, feelings, concerns, gratitude, fears, questions.  Make it one of the most meaningful prayers you have ever said.  He is always there and always listening.  I promise you that if you pray with faith that He is actually listening to your prayer, your experience with prayer will be changed just as mine has.  Mine used to be more just out of habit and not as meaningful, but I have learned in just 6 months what it means to truly pray and make it more meaningful.  I had an experience just last Sunday where I was really frustrated that we didn't have hardly anyone to teach and our tracting just sucked and we weren't seeing any success.  That night I expressed my feelings of frustration and said about a 20 minute prayer, just telling Him how I felt.  I asked Him to give me peace and to ease my feelings of frustration.  As I was asking for this at the end of my prayer, my frustration subsided from where it was and even though I was still a little frustrated, I had a sense of peace and a feeling that everything is going to work out.  I know that He answered my prayer and helped me.  I am still working on not making it as repetitious, but as long as I am sincere about all of it, then it is part of my prayer.  I leave with you these things in the name of our beloved Savior and Redeemer, Jesus Christ, amen.

Elder Ellison

Base Camp 2-29-16

So this week we did a lot of walking.  Luckily the weather is starting to get warmer.  I can tell that summer is just around the corner, which is what I am looking forward to.  Not much else is going on.  So my ponderize scripture this week is Mosiah 1: 7 which says, "And now, my sons, I would that ye should remember to search them diligently, that ye may profit thereby; and I would that ye should keep the commandments of God, that ye may prosper in the land according to the promise which the Lord made unto our fathers."  So the main thing that stood out to me is search them diligently and you will profit.  Here King Benjamin is telling his sons, and us, that they should search the scriptures diligently.  To search them with effort, work, sincerity, etc.  If we do so, then we will profit.  We will have gain.  We will be blessed.  The scriptures should be to us a tool, a comforter, a guide, a road map, our "baby" so to speak.  The scriptures are very important.  We wouldn't have them if they weren't.  They can help us and bless us so much.  By reading and studying the scriptures every day, my testimony has grown tremendously about the importance of them.  I hope you all can have your own testimonies grow by reading them every day.

Monday was P-day and we went down to Gallatin with the other Elders in our district, and we went bowling.  I got a new high score of 179.  It was fun being able to bowl again since Dickson.  We also played a game of laser tag.  The one at Wahooz is way better in my opinion.

Tuesday we got to go to the Bishop's Storehouse since all of the other companionships were getting transferred.  So we were the only ones there.  When we were there, a guy came in and he works for the church and he is over the southeast region.  He is the uncle/ adopted father of guess who, Ezekial "Ziggy" Ansah (he played football for BYU and now plays for the Detroit Lions in the NFL for those of you who don't know him).  It was pretty cool hearing some of the stories he shared at lunch.  He said he was going to bring him next time he comes in a couple weeks.  I hope I am able to go down on that day.  Then later we had dinner with the Hansen family.  They are pretty cool.  He sings in the band Eclipse.  He also was the first Spanish missionary to get called to the Tennessee Nashville Mission.  How crazy is that?  We then had a lesson with Roger and it was good except one thing.  Darn Satan got in the way again like usual and something came up to where Roger had to leave a couple of days ago to go down to Selmer to help someone.  He is going to be there for a couple weeks.  So he unfortunately wasn't baptized this week, but he said he was going to go to church when he is down there so that was cool. 

Wednesday I gave a training in District Meeting on Patience and Humility.  These are two attributes I definitely need to work on.  There is a new sister in our district that went to Centennial until she moved after her junior year.  So then later we were tracting and a lady pulled up and was really rude. She said she works for the city and that in White House you have to have a solicitor's permit and we tried to explain that we weren't selling anything, but she got worse as we kept trying to explain.  She said it didn't matter and that we had to have one if we were knocking doors at all.  She said that if she saw us doing it again, she will call the cops.  Turns out she called them anyway, haha, because a cop pulled up like 5 minutes later.  We did call our Mission President right after her and just made sure we were good to go.  So this cop pulls up and we explained and she said, “OK.  You guys are fine.”  Which we already knew, but now we have that to support us.  We then went to the White House Church of Christ.  It was kind of boring. 

Thursday not much happened.  We had a lesson with Bro Blaylock.  We also talked with a guy who said that he has had a vision in a dream of Hell.  That dream is what caused him to change his life around.

Friday I hit my 6 month mark and was able to burn a tie.  I am officially at Base Camp, as my trainer would tell me.  Later we had a lesson with Bro McKean.  He is really nice and he always gives us little snacks and goodies. He gave us some sesame sticks which I love so I gobbled them up. 

Saturday started off very interesting.  We were walking to see an investigator and there was a preacher preaching on a street corner so we said hi as we passed.  On our way back a car slowed down as it passed and out of the back window came a Taco Bell bean burrito that was half eaten.  I was in front and it barely skimmed my shoulder, but landed directly into elder Nimmer's chest and splattered up onto his face.  Gross!  That was a first for both of us.  We also got more honking than usual as cars drove past.  Then we had a couple of lessons with Justin in the evening.

Sunday we had church and then we tracted until dinner.  We talked with a lady that may have had a little bit of Alzheimer's because she kept repeating the same thing like, “Do you know where that church is?”  We kept saying no.  Other thea that, our day was uneventful.

Well this week was full of adventure.  We had a rough week lesson-wise which is frustrating, but that is just how it goes.  Even though the life of a missionary isn't always a bowl full of cherries, I still love being a missionary.  If anything, I could be having the worst week ever and I still will learn something new or something that I need to apply into my own life and change.  I love this gospel and I know it is true.  I love the scriptures, especially the Book of Mormon, as it contains the fullness of the gospel.  It has helped me in more ways than one and I know it can do the same for you.  If you’re not reading the scriptures, start now.  If it is hard to find time then make time, or just pick a number between 5 and 10 and read that many verses each day and your life will begin to get better and start going up.  They are God's words to us and they help us know the direction we need to go to accomplish His will.  I love you all and pray for you and I hope you all have a great next week as February comes to a close and March begins.  Until next time.

Elder Ellison

The Flying Burrito - Somebody threw a half-eaten burrito at us on the street

Another Term In The White House 2-22-16

So for transfers I will be staying here with Elder Nimmer again.  The next transfer won't be the normal 6 weeks, it will be 7 weeks because of the MTC transfer changes in March.  So I am looking forward to serving here some more with these awesome people.  So this week the weather got pretty nice.   I was able to wear my short sleeves again.  So my ponderize scripture this week was 2 Nephi 4: 31, "O Lord, wilt thou redeem my soul? Wilt thou deliver me out of the hands of mine enemies? Wilt thou make me that I may shake at the appearance of sin?"  So this is Nephi saying a prayer to God.  These words are definitely something that we can incorporate into our own personal prayers.  I thought it was interesting how in the scriptures it talks about Nephi being large in stature and he is super righteous and obedient to the commandments and seems to have no fear or doubt, but this great man was praying that he will be scared of sin.  So much that he wanted to even shake at it’s appearance.  I just wonder how that would affect us if we truly asked for that as Nephi did.  We may pray about it, but I believe that it will only come to pass if we truly want it and have a desire to act upon it.  This is just something that I thought was cool and something that I could apply into my own life seeing how in today's world, I am surrounded by sin that has been growing stronger since Nephi's days in 500 B.C.

Monday was P-day and we had an awesome lesson with the Cousins about the Book of Mormon and how it can bring even more happiness into our lives.  We also got much needed haircuts.

Tuesday we got soaked again.  It was just a steady drizzle for most of the day.  We had a lesson with Roger and he has been reading the Book of Mormon and he believes it is true.  He definitely is so close to getting a testimony that it is true.  We then had a lesson with a less-active member and his son about faith, prayer, answers to prayers, and the Book of Mormon.  I shared a thought towards the end of this conversation that just came out and I don't know where it came from, but I thought I would share it with you.  It isn't the exact wording, but it is along these lines:  Faith is something we act upon, even if it is just a sliver of faith.  Just to have the faith to act, to get an answer to our questions.  We all have questions that we want answers to and God is the one that can answer all of them.  In order for us to receive these answers, we have to have a sincere desire to know the answer, no matter what it is and no matter how long it takes to get it.  God may answer your question immediately, or He may say, "I want to see how faithful and desirous you are to know the answer to your question." He wants to see if we will search diligently, pray continually, and have faith that we will get our answer in His time.  We also may feel like we are just talking to a wall, but even if we think that, we still must pray and act on the faith we have and trust that He hears us.  I know He listens to every prayer.  I know He will always answer our prayers.  I know that He will never leave us on our own.  If it seems that way, just know that He is always there and look to Him for guidance. 

Wednesday we held a funeral at our District Meeting for a dying sister missionary.  After that we had only 1 lesson during the rest of our day which is a bummer.

Thursday not too much happened either.

Friday we got to go to the temple in the morning.  It was really cool.  There were a bunch of missionaries there.  It was a very spiritual experience like it always is.  We also planned for the next week.  Later we had another lesson with Roger - we wanted to see where he was at.  He said that he is almost there to know that it is true.  He also said that this is something that he wants to do.  He even said that he is leaving town soon for a couple weeks and that he was wanting to go to church where he will be staying.  He even knows where the church building is down in that area which was really cool to hear. 

Saturday we had been invited a couple weeks ago to go to a Seventh-Day Adventist Church so that's what we did.  After the service they invited us to go eat lunch with them.  All of the food was vegetarian, but there was a lot of good food.  I liked everything I had except one, so that was good.  Too bad there wasn't any meat though.  We didn’t have any luck on lessons, but luckily it was warm.  We also got transfer calls at dinner as well.

Sunday was an interesting day. President Anderson came down and went to Ward Council with us.  Then we got a new bishop counselor, so we got to hear a lot of great testimonies.  President and Sister Anderson gave their testimonies and so did the Stake President.  It was an awesome Sacrament.  We also got 2 referrals and one of them is a 12 year old girl that has already said that she wants to be baptized.  Later that evening we were trying to contact less-actives that were a bit farther away since we have the miles for it this month.  We drove almost to the Kentucky border.  We met a guy who doesn't believe in the Jesus story.  He is the first one I have met like that out here in the Bible Belt.  We then knocked on another less-active’s door and they apparently moved a couple years ago and the guy we were talking to was really nice.  He said that he does the musical ministry at a church in town and he asked if he could pray for us before we left and we said sure.  So we said a prayer on his front porch.  It is always cool to me when people just ask if they can pray for us no matter where we are. 

Well that was my week. Roger is hopefully getting baptized this Saturday so that is going to be really cool.  The weather looks like it is going to start getting warmer now, which I am excited for.  I am so grateful to be a missionary and to serve in the best mission in the world.  I am grateful for all of you and your support.  Keep up the good work wherever you are at this time in the world.  Just remember always that your Father in Heaven loves each of you individually.  More than we can comprehend.  We should never turn our back on him, but always remember that his hand is outstretched and will always be there for whenever we are ready to trust Him and grab on.  I know that Jesus Christ lives and that through His sacrifice we can be made pure and cleansed from sin.  I am eternally grateful for Him and to know that I can get strength and help from Him in my times of trial.  I love you all and miss you.  I love this gospel and I love my Savior and Heavenly Father.  Have a great week everybody.

Elder Ellison