Saturday, June 4, 2016

It Comes To An End 5-23-16

So the end of this transfer is here upon us again.  Elder Smith is being banished to Illinois to be with my mission brother Elder Andrus.  I will be staying here and receiving Elder Christiansen who is coming from the other Illinois area.  It was a good transfer and it sucks that things like this have to end, but there is always something new and exciting just around the corner.  This last week was a bit chilly because it rained a ton and more is still to come.  But we aren't getting nearly as much as the people in Texas.

Monday we didn't do too much.  At night we went to the United First Methodist church in town because they were having a revival.  It wasn't too exciting so we left early.

Tuesday we started out at the Food Bank as usual.  Then we went on exchanges with our Zone Leaders.  The reason for it was because we were not getting the amount of lessons they were hoping for the week.  So I went down to Cookeville with Elder Adams.  We tried contacting a lot of former investigators.  That is basically what we did all day.

Wednesday we exchanged back at District Meeting.  We later went and saw Frankie.  We gave him a children's Book of Mormon to help him with his reading.  That way he will be ready when his baptism comes.  We have it scheduled for this week, but we may have to push it back a week because we will be cramming to get everything in.  We then went and helped some members at their inn.  They then fed us dinner.

Thursday not too much happened today other than we had dinner with an investigator.

Friday we weekly planned which is always fun.  Not.  Later that day we had dinner with Skott and had an awesome lesson with him.  He has a couple things he needs to do on his part and then he will be baptized, no doubt about it.

Saturday we had apartment inspections.  We passed with mostly flying colors -haha.  Just a few minor things.  Then we got our transfer calls.  That was about it for today other than Elder Smith wanted to start saying goodbye to some people.

Sunday I gave a talk in church as I mentioned last week.  It was on "What does it mean to bear testimony?" As my conclusion to this blog post I will copy it onto here.  I think and hope it went well.  Then we said goodbye to a few more people and that was our day.

So here is my talk:

So what does it mean to bear testimony? I'm sure each of us will have a thought or opinion on what they think it means to them individually.  In a talk by Elder John K. Carmack of the Seventy, he answers this question for us.  He says, "What does it mean to bear testimony? A testimony is an open declaration or confession of one’s faith.  To bear is to give or bring forward.  So as I bear testimony, I am giving a declaration of my faith.  Most of you would gladly bear testimony if called upon.  I wish we could yield a minute to each one of you.  The real power of the Church is not financial or political, but the quiet testimonies of it’s members.”  For him, it is declaring your faith that you have either come to know or something that you believe in.  Now even if you may not know something, believing is still a key part.   Elder Holland said, "belief is a precious word, an even more precious act..."  We must believe something to be true before we can know it is.   Once we have these two key components of our faith, then we can share it with others.

Now we all may have a testimony, but what is it that we can do to strengthen it, make it grow?  Well, in True To The Faith under testimony it says two things, "Your testimony will increase as you share it.  Do not wait for your testimony to be fully developed before you share it.  Part of a testimony’s development comes when it is shared.  In fact, you will find that when you give what you have of your testimony, it will be returned to you--with increase. 

Testimony Bearing
“In Fast and Testimony Meetings and in conversations you have with family members and friends, you may feel prompted to share your testimony.  In such instances, remember that you do not need to share a long, impressive discourse.  Your testimony will be most powerful when it is expressed as a brief, heartfelt conviction about the Savior, His teachings, and the Restoration.  Pray for guidance, and the Spirit will help you know how to express the feelings in your heart.  You will find great joy as you help others share in the hope and assurance the Lord has given you."  So how do we help our testimonies, and I would add faith, grow and strengthen?  We must act upon it and share it.  President Hinkley used the analogy that if his arm was in a sling, his arm would become weak.  But if he uses it regularly, then the muscles in his arm will grow and develop.  In 2 Timothy 1:8 it says, "Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord...: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God;"  In Moroni 1:3 he tells us, "And I, Moroni, will not deny the Christ;"  Don't be afraid or ashamed of your testimony because it isn't good enough, it's not big enough or strong enough.  True to the Faith tells us not to wait.  Your testimony, no matter where it is at in the stages of development, is good enough.  By sharing it, it only enhances your development. Be like Moroni, steadfast and immovable in the fact that I will not deny the Christ.  Christ told us to follow him.  Doesn't that mean in all aspects?  He bore testimony numerous times, so why don't we do the same?

Throughout my mission my testimony on testimonies has grown.  When I was back home, I didn't bear my testimony as much as I should have.  As a missionary I bear my testimony A LOT!  Back when I was in 7th grade, I had a friend that I would not have even thought would be interested in the church.  One day we were on our way home on the bus and we got on the topic of church.  Another friend of mine in my ward was there as well and we were able to share a few of our beliefs with him and then we invited him to come to church, just to check it out.  He said yes, to my amazement.  He started coming after his first visit almost every week.  That experience was probably my first true missionary moment.  It was really cool to see that even though I thought he probably wasn’t even close to being interested, he was.  You never know who it will be or when.  If we invite someone that we think will probably say no, we don't know how it could turn out. They very well could say no, and that is ok.  Or, they could be like my friend and surprise us and say yes.  A testimony is truly a precious gift that our Father in Heaven has given us to have.  A testimony is our greatest tool.  It, along with our faith, is something that no one can take away.  When you bear your testimony, no one can deny it or argue with you because it is your belief and eventually is something that you know.  In Preach My Gospel there is a quote from President Monson that says, "Regarding one’s testimony, remember, that which one willingly shares he keeps, while that which he selfishly keeps he loses..."  So don't keep your testimony to yourself and hide it, but let it shine forth to all who see you.  Preach My Gospel also says that sharing your testimony often is the most powerful way to invite the Spirit and help others to feel of it as well.

Your testimony is yours and it should be something that we WANT to share with everybody.  Now as a missionary, we commit people to doing things and so I want to commit each of us to make a more conscious effort to find places where you can bear your simple, but powerful testimony.  It should be fairly easy for us to find opportunities to bear our testimony because we are in the South.  I have heard numerous times of people being asked, “What church do you go to?”  Right there is a perfect time to share with them our testimonies.  Elder Holland tells us in Preach My Gospel as well that when we are talking with other people, something they say will always highlight a principle of the gospel to which we can bear our testimony.  I know that this is God's work here on the earth and that it is hastening.  There are many of our brothers and sisters who are lost or searching for the truth and it is our job as members of this church to help them and find them.  To share what we know is true and can bless their lives.  We have been asked to share it and Wlder Eyring even says it is a covenant that we have made to share it.  I know that as we reach out willingly and with a true desire, we will be blessed in our efforts and we will find our brothers and sisters who the Lord has prepared for this amazing gospel.

I know this gospel has been restored in it’s fullness and that we have all of the parts of Christ's church.  I know we are directed by a loving prophet, Thomas S. Monson, and by the 12 Apostles who love us dearly and care for us.  I know these things because I have prayed and searched, and because of that, I have had a confirmation from the Spirit, that warm feeling, to know that this is true.  I am so grateful to be out here serving a mission.  I am grateful for this chance I have to serve with all of you at this time.  I close my testimony in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Elder Ellison

Boo Hoo!

Just Your Average District Photo

Peanut Butter Energy Bites From Home - Yum!

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