Monday, July 25, 2016

End Of An Era 7-18-16

So transfers are on Wednesday this week.  We know at least one of us is leaving for sure.  We find out which one in the morning.  It's been a good 8 weeks and I'm looking forward to being meshed into the Knoxville mission.  I will let you all know what happens at the end of this email.

Monday we didn't do too much.  We stayed in Jamestown because of our mileage limitations.  We just hung out at the church and played some basketball.

Tuesday we were at the Food Bank as usual.  We then went over to see Jim and we were able to share some scriptures and talks with him that talk about how God answers prayers.  It was a pretty good discussion.  He took us out to dinner afterwards.  Then we went over to Frankie's and taught him about prophets.  He is still holding onto the things we have taught him in the past, which is awesome.

Wednesday we saw a couple less-active members.  I got a haircut and we saw Shasta that evening.  She made it to church last week which was great.  We had a super awesome lesson with her about faith.  She got teary eyed while explaining some of the things that have happened to her.

Thursday we did weekly planning and then we went and did exchanges.  I went down to Crossville with Elder Wood.  He is from Compton, CA.  We went and gave a lady a Blessing because she wasn't feeling too great.  We went later and had a lesson with three girls who are the grandkids of a recent convert.  We went over the gospel of Jesus Christ and after that, I gave my first Baptismal Interviews to them.  They all passed and are getting baptized this next Friday.  It was pretty scary for me because I didn't really know what to do, but I did do one thing right.  That was to listen to the Spirit to know if they were ready.

Friday we had our last District Meeting of the transfer and then Elder Christensen burned a shirt marking his 1 year mark.  We went back to Jamestown and were able to help out the Millers a little bit by getting some water for them.  They fill up these big water tanks at an Artesian well.  The tanks are too heavy for them to lift and carry themselves because of their bad backs, hips and what not.

Saturday we saw some more less-actives and were able to give one a Blessing.  That was about it for today.

Sunday we had church.  Later we visited some elderly ladies in a nursing home.  Then we went and gave a Blessing to a less-active lady with Brother Miller.

So this week was a pretty good week.  We gave a lot of Blessings as well.  They are extremely helpful and I have seen them work almost instantly.  I have had many Blessings in my own life whether it was for school, sickness, guidance, comfort, etc. the list goes on.  They are for anyone who needs them.  It is a great blessing to be able to hold the Priesthood and use it to help others.  I know that these Blessings come straight from our Heavenly Father.  The person giving it is only the mouthpiece.  I am so grateful to have the Priesthood in my life as well as the opportunity to receive a Blessing whenever I need one.  I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Elder Ellison

P.S. The transfer verdict is that I am leaving Jamestown.  I will be going down to Chattanooga to serve in a branch.  I will still be a District Leader and my new companion is Elder Porter (a little funny to me).  Elder Christensen is getting Elder Parker.  So that is about it.

"Ninja" District
Last District Meeting Before Transfers

Jamestown Food Bank

My Companion Just Stood There And Watched Me Get Beat Up!

Friday, July 22, 2016

Do I Hear 8 Weeks? 7-11-16

So this transfer, because of our mission change, is an 8 week transfer instead of 6.  It has flown by, but has also been long at the same time.  So next Monday we will get transfer calls and it is for sure that half of the missionaries that moved missions will be transferred so we shall see if I leave or Christensen does.  I will let you guys know in my email next week.

Monday was a pretty good 4th of July.  We hung out with the Crossville Elders.  We played some basketball and then later we went back to our area.  We got to stay out until 10:30pm so we could see fireworks.  Unfortunately, it rained in Jamestown at night so no one was shooting fireworks so we just hung out with Jimmy that night at the theaters and got out of the downpour.  That was our night.

Tuesday we were at the Food Bank and it was supposed to be a busy one because people can come back every 6 weeks, but it wasn't super busy so the next one probably will be instead.  We then tried some people.  We were supposed to go with President Griffin and teach Jim but Jim had to reschedule.  Later we started teaching the two grandsons of the Hirners.  They have both expressed interest in getting baptized and receiving the priesthood.  One is almost 14 and the other is 9.  So that was pretty cool.  I also learned that Brother Hirner used to be a professional lightweight boxer and almost went to the Olympics.  He also tried to go find Ali and challenge him, but he never got the opportunity.  He has some pretty crazy stories.

Wednesday we saw the Delks.  They gave us some fruit from their trees:  peaches and nectarines.  They were really good and juicy.  Then we saw Jim.  As we were talking with him, the wind picked up, dark clouds rolled in and the temperature dropped with thunder and lightning.  Those are sure signs of possible tornados and we all thought that one might happen so we left pretty quickly and went to the church for safety.  It started down pouring as we drove over there.  Luckily nothing happened.  It was just a huge storm, but we’re told that we might have severe thunderstorms in the next few weeks.  We then saw Frankie and taught him about our loving Heavenly Father and how important families are.  We went over briefly our last lesson with him and he remembered pretty well once we asked him questions or gave hints to help him along.

Thursday was weekly planning.  That's always fun, not really.  Later we saw Sister Kennamore and we had to discontinue teaching her because she hasn't been keeping her commitments to do her part.  Then we had a lesson at the church with the Hirner boys, Zach and Matthew.  We taught them the Plan of Salvation.  It helped out a lot that we had the chalkboards there because we were able to draw out the whole process.  During our lesson, the lights started flickering because of the huge storm outside.  We got some delicious food for dinner from the Alexanders.  They bring us fry sauce with the dinners and that is just heaven.

Friday we drove down to Cookeville for a Zone Meeting.  It was pretty good.  President Griffin was there.  He trained us on the Safeguards for our iPads.  His main point was how he wants to set a “narrow gap” for obedience so that when we get back, we will not be afraid of the temptations that come with the world.  His main points were to avoid pornography and other things like that.  I thought it was interesting how he described the difference between addiction and habit.  An addiction is when you have to do it and you need it in your life.  A habit is a habitual thing, but it doesn't run your life completely.  However, a habit can become an addiction if acted upon continuously.  Another interesting thing we learned is that the pornography industry makes more money than the NFL, NHL, NBA, and MLB combined.  As well as the top industries like Apple and Exon Mobile combined.  That is a ton of money.  Pornography of some form is on at least 86% of all internet websites.  Satan has a huge industry that keeps building momentum.  He knows what our weaknesses are and so he has put this in our world so that we will misuse and abuse the special gift of procreation that our Heavenly Father has given us.  We all, at some point, have seen pornography to some degree in our lives and that is just fact. You can't even drive down the highway without seeing a billboard with something on it, but if we will look away and avoid it as much as possible and not dwell on those unclean, negative thoughts, then we are on the right path.  This is a huge problem in today's world and it needs to stop.  We can be the change.  It all starts with us.  We need to help the people around us as well to stay away from it. I t is a horrible, evil thing that Satan has devised so well to seem not so bad, but in reality, it ruins lives, families, and marriages.  So that was our Zone Meeting.  On our way back we were notified that we were under a tornado warning.  As we were driving, we saw a huge dark cloud that was swirling and starting to form a tornado.  That was pretty sketchy.  Nothing touched down luckily.  Not too much happened for the rest of the day.

Saturday not too much happened.  We saw Frankie again and we read chapter 2 in the Children's Book of Mormon with him.  We explained what was happening in the story as well.  Before that we went over chapter 1, which talked about the Restoration and he remembered a lot more than I thought he would.  That was just awesome!

Sunday was a pretty lousy day.  We tried contacting people and some addresses didn't even exist.  It is kind of frustrating, but whatever.  We will find them eventually and when the Lord leads us to them.

So we have been told that Helaman 7: 4-6 has been going around Facebook right now and this is what it says:
4 And seeing the people in a state of such awful wickedness, and those Gadianton robbers filling the judgment seats--having usurped the power and authority of the land; laying aside the commandments of God, and not in the least aright before him; doing no justice unto the children of men;
5 Condemning the righteous because of their righteousness; letting the guilty and the wicked go unpunished because of their money; and moreover to be held in office at the head of government, to rule and do according to their wills, that they might get gain and glory of the world, and, moreover, that they might the more easily commit adultery, and steal, and kill, and do according to their own wills--
6 Now this great iniquity had come upon the Nephites, in the space of not many years;

Man, the Book of Mormon really has been written for our day. We don't get to watch the news, but we do hear some things.  Isn’t this exactly what is going on in today's world?  The “Gadianton robbers” of today are deceiving many with their flattering words, words they say just so people will like them, vote for them and support them.  They lie, thinking they are above the law or above others because of money and position.  People are being condemned because they are obeying the Commandments and staying righteous.  That “great and spacious building” as described in Lehi's dream is very real.  People are losing their way back to God because others make fun of them, hurt them, kill them, or condemn them for their beliefs.  It is very sad, but there is one thing I will do.  I, like Moroni said, will not deny the Christ.  He is my Savior and He loves me.  He has brought me through my trials.  All I know is that as long as I stay righteous and obey Him, I shall be blessed forever.  My mortal trials are for now, but they will not be forever.  The blessings of eternity and happiness are far greater than any mortal pleasures on this earth.  As we continue to step closer and closer to the coming of our Savior, may we be able to always stand up for what's right and what we know to be true.  Ezra Taft Benson said, "Those who love the Him the most, will be the most like Him."  Do we love Christ? If so, then we need to strive each day to be like Him.  Just like the children's song says, "If the Savior stood beside me, would I do the things I do?  Would I say the things I say?  Would I live more righteously?"  I fail every day, but I know that each day is another day that I have the chance to do it again and be better.  I love each of you and I leave you with these things, in the name of our beloved Savior, Jesus Christ, amen.

Elder Ellison

July 4th Rain

Monday, July 18, 2016

How Blessed Are We! 7-4-16

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What a great week?  It's weird to think that I am coming up on a year already.  It is flying by so quick.  I mean, next month will be the month I hit a year.  Time flies when you are serving the Lord.  Super cool with our rules for the 4th - we can be out until 10:30 so we can watch some fireworks.  We are super pumped about that because if we were still in the Nashville mission we would have to be in by 8, so I'm excited.

Monday we went and hung out with the Crossville Elders at the church and played basketball and what not.

Tuesday we went to the Food Bank.  Later we had a lesson with Jim that went well, but he has come to the conclusion that he is not going to do anything until he gets his answer.  We are hoping our mission president, President Griffin, will be able to come with us to the next lesson and help us know how to help him.  We then saw Frankie and taught him the Holy Ghost.  We blind folded him and had him walk through some obstacles while one of us was the Holy Ghost and the other one was the devil telling him to go in different directions.  We hope he will be able to learn and retain things a little bit better like that.

Wednesday we had a bunch of extra miles left over from the month so we drove to some farther out places to try and contact less-actives and investigators.  We also contacted a referral and have a return appointment.

Thursday we went out to the border of our area.  We again tried to contact more people out there.  At one of the homes there was a dog who had like 10 ticks in each ear.  Some of them were huge deer ticks.  We picked some of them out for him.  They were almost the size of a penny.  Then we went back and went to the Book of Mormon study class at church.

Friday we had District Meeting.  It was pretty good.  Nothing too major or exciting.  We then went and helped the Millers get ready for their BBQ on Saturday.  They were inviting everyone they could.  So we cleaned the porch, mowed some lawns, and did a bunch of that kind of stuff.  Later we went to the Sells.  The mom is not a member, her two kids are recent converts, and her husband is less-active.  She told us that she got an answer to her pray to know if the church is true and also got an answer that she would be baptized August 20.  We were so excited to hear that and the fact that she set her own baptismal date was awesome too.

Saturday Elder Christensen had a baptism to Skype into from his last area.  Then we went and helped the Millers set up everything.  We then had the BBQ and there were both members and non-members there.  It was really fun and cool to meet new people. We helped clean up a little bit afterwards too.

Sunday we had church and then we saw Sister Kennamore a little bit later.  We committed her to come to church next week.  I guess we will see if she does.  We then went to the Turton's to use there Wifi because we have to email in our District numbers now.  I had to get all of our District emails and stuff and send them to the Zone Leaders.

Man, how blessed are we to live in this great country?  America truly is the Promised Land as talked about in the Book of Mormon.  The prophet Lehi gave this land a blessing that I would like to share with you.  He said that this land will be blessed.  The people will be blessed as they obey the commandments of God.  This shall be a land of Liberty.  No one will be lead to this land unless it is by the hand of the Lord.  However, if iniquity should arise, then this land will be cursed because of the iniquity.  Then he said something that I just now noticed, the righteous will be blessed forever.  Lehi asked us and told us that if we want to be blessed and remain free, we must keep the commandments.  As we look at the world today, it is getting worse and worse.  We know that this will happen before the time Christ comes again, but as the world gets worse, we do not have to.  As long as we remain true to our beliefs and keep the commandments of the Lord, we will be blessed forever, no matter what happens.  We can even help others make right choices too.  There is a story I heard about a man that said when he was a child that he was going to change the world.  As his life went on, he soon came to the end of his life and was lying on his deathbed.  He was disappointed because he had not changed the world like he said he would, but then he thought of something.  If only he had changed himself first, then that could have affected his neighbors, which would affect the town, which would affect the city, which would affect the state, which would affect the country, which would affect the world.  So we need to make sure that we are keeping God's commandments and as we are, then others will see us and may want to make a change as well.  So keep the commandments and stay faithful in being righteous so that we may be blessed forever, no matter what the outcome is.  I leave you with these things in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Elder Ellison

Attitude Adjuster

Working at the Movie Theater
I Love You!
I Feel Like a Pioneer
I Love My Country!
Sgt. Alvin York Memorial

Snack Bar at the Movie Theater

 Footloose Dancin' 

Friday, July 15, 2016

Here Comes Summer! 6-27-16

So this week was pretty good.  We already are starting to see fireworks.  The humidity is killer.  It would be a lot better if I wasn't in slacks, white shirt and tie, but that is the mission life.

Monday we were down in Crossville again and we went bowling.  Then we played some basketball later and that was so much fun.  I haven't sweat like that in ages.  Ball is so life!  #ballislife

Tuesday we helped out at the food bank.  We then were able to see Jim.  He still has not received his answer, but we still have faith that he will.  He told us that Sunday he was at his neighbors church and the preacher said one thing that started to get things to click in his head.  So we are hoping that it continues clicking until all the pieces of the puzzle fall into place.  Then after that, we went over to Frankie's for his interview for baptism.  Unfortunately he won't be baptized for a while.  He is having trouble remembering and understanding the things we teach him.  So his parents wanted to wait and make sure he is ready and comprehends everything and we agree.  While people don’t have to know “everything” before baptism because learning is a life-long process, they should have a basic knowledge of the gospel principles along with that desire to follow Christ’s example.  So we are going to continue to teach him.  We will try explaining things in new ways and use object lessons to relate gospel principles in ways he can understand better.  It is going to be a slow, but great process.

Wednesday we helped out some members load up some wood for a less-active member.  Then we ran straight over to the movie theater to help the member there sell tickets.  No one could work at that time and they were swamped.  He sold out one of his shows. It was crazy busy.

Thursday we went on exchanges.  I stayed here with Elder Richins.  Elder Christensen went down to Cookeville for the day with the other Zone Leader.  We had a pretty good day.  We had about 5 lessons.  That is not normal for us in this area.  We saw Frankie again and went over a little bit of the First Vision that Joseph Smith received.  We then went to have a delicious dinner.  Some members made us dinner from their Inn's restaurant.  There were fries and they are from the west so we all know what that means:  They make their own, very delicious, FRY SAUCE!!!!!!!  Man, I did not know how much I missed that stuff until I had it again.  We then went to the Book of Mormon study class after which, we went tracting some more.  We felt lead to this one particular street.  As we knocked on doors, we knocked on the door of a less-active member.  I had no idea that they lived there.  It was an old lady and she was sick.  We were able to give her a blessing and I performed the anointing.  It was awesome to see that we were led to her house.

Friday I conducted my first District Meeting.  It went pretty well I think.  At least I hope so.  We then got back to our area and we went over to see Frankie.  We asked him questions about our lesson the day before and he said he didn't remember at first, but as we went on and asked questions, he knew more then he thought.  It was awesome.  Later we visited a part-member family and they fed us ribs.  They were sooooooo good.  The mom isn't a member, but she is being taught.  We asked her if she wanted to be baptized and she said that she would.  So we are going to help her prepare for baptism.  We hope to set a goal with her for sometime in August.

Saturday we weekly planned.  We later went to a family reunion of some members, but there were a lot of non-members there.  We didn't teach anyone of course, but one of the members there said that someone asked who we were and they were able to have a “missionary” opportunity.  So just our presence sparked people's interest a little.  We then saw some fireworks later that night.  It was pretty cool.

Sunday we had church.  Then we visited a part-member family and had a lesson with them.  We were just planting seeds with the husband, but we think, in the Lord's time, he will be ready.

So in my studies this week as I was preparing a “training” with my companion on faith in Jesus Christ, one of the things that we shared was from a story in the book of Numbers.  The children of Israel are headed to the Promised Land.  Then Moses sends 12 men to go and search this land.  They come back and separate into two groups.  10 of the men say, "the land is amazing. It is full of milk and honey and just amazing.  But while we were over there, we saw Giants.  And we in our own selves are grasshoppers."  The other 2 respond with, "we have the Lord on our side and He has promised this land for us.  So they are bread for us." A couple verses later in the 14th chapter, the Lord tells Moses, "how long will it be ere they believe me...?"  “Do we believe in Christ?” is a different question compared to, how long will it be before they believe me?  We might believe in Christ, but if we believe Him then we are showing forth our faith in him.  He may tell us to leave a certain situation or go and do something.  We may not see the purpose behind it, but if we believe Him and have faith in Him, then there is nothing to worry about.  But if we only believe in Him, then we are not necessarily going to do the things He asks all the time, especially if they are tough or inconvenient.  So I ask that we look inside and ask ourselves, do I believe in Him or do I believe Him?  We must show forth our faith in Him and always do the things He asks.  Always remember that it is for our own good even if it doesn't seem like it all the time.  I know that our lives will be blessed if we obey those commandments and the things He asks.  I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Elder Ellison

Ball Is Life

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Happy Father's Day 6-20-16

So first off, happy Father's Day!  It's a bummer we don't get to Skype on this day as well.  So my week was pretty crazy since it was the first one in the new mission.  We had lots of driving and a few changes with mission rules and what not, but that's normal.  Not much else to talk about here.

Monday we got to go to hang out with the Crossville Elders.  We went bowling and to the biggest tree house in the world.  That was pretty cool.  It was huge.  I have no idea how they made it so big like that.

Tuesday we helped at the Food Bank like normal.  Then we had to drive down to Cookeville to meet our new mission president, President Griffin.  He is really cool.  He said that his goal for each missionary is to stretch them and push them further than they thought they could go, take them to the next level of their potential.  I am looking forward to now being able to learn from him this next year.

Wednesday we went back down to Cookeville again for a Zone Conference.  We got to meet Sister Griffin, the office staff, and the Assistants to the president.  We were given trainings on how this mission works and what their rules are.  Later we saw Frankie.  We finished up the lessons with him.  Now we start preparing for his baptism next Friday.  I am so pumped for him.  Later that night I received a call from President Griffin.  He said that he was splitting our district into two different districts and he asked me to be the District Leader.  I am a little nervous about this new assignment, but I have received great help and advice from the APs and Zone Leaders.  I know I will also get help from my Father in Heaven as I council with him.

Thursday we did some service for some members then we had a pretty good lesson with Jim.  It is a little frustrating for us because we just don't know how to help him anymore.  We have told him the things that he needs to do many times and he just doesn't have that faith or motivation to change it up or act upon it.  We made that promise to him again that he would get his answer this week if he truly desires it.  This time we read in Galatians and talked about the fruits of the Spirit.  We told him to focus on those feelings as he prays and reads.  We then went to a Book of Mormon study class the ward is doing.  Not too many people come just yet, but hopefully they will soon and we will find more people to come to it too.

Friday we weekly planned.  We saw Frankie again and read some of the pictured Book of Mormon with him.  Later we had dinner with the Hodgsons.  Skott told us that he had been thinking about getting baptized recently.  We both perked up when we heard this.  They described it like a kid receiving a gift on Christmas.  After the dinner we talked about some gospel things.  We tried to bring comfort to him regarding some of his concerns.  He said that for about 4 weeks now he hasn't had a single alcoholic beverage since he asked his wife if it bothered her.  She said< “No, but she would prefer if he didn't.”  He said then consider that one his last.  Way to go Skott!  We invited him to be baptized, as he had been many times before, and he sat there for a little bit thinking about it, then he said he would pray about it.  That is one of the best answers we could have received from that question.  He is well on his way.

Saturday we got our registration for our car finally.  Somehow, it had been expired since the end of last November.  I'm surprised it lasted that long and no cop pulled us over for it.  Later we crossed time zones and went out to Deer Lodge for dinner.  After dinner we contacted a referral that was out there.  She was super nice and we were able to share the Restoration with her.  She wanted to know what the difference was from her beliefs and the beliefs that her son now has.  We answered her questions and hopefully we can get out there more often so we can continue teaching her.  After the lesson we offered to mow her grass because it was like waist high.  We went and got three lawnmowers and began mowing.  It was my first time mowing in my proselyting clothes.  It felt weird, but awesome at the same time.  Elder Christensen and I finished up and we were waiting for the member to finish on the rider when this boy, her neighbor across the street, asked us if we wanted to play some basketball with him and his brother.  We said sure and so we had a little two vs. two.  He asked us what church we were with and when we told him, he said he was good friends with some of the members we know.  This kid was pretty cool and he was even battling stage three of Hodgsons Lymphoma cancer.  He was only 19, which is pretty sad for that to happen to him, but he still loves playing sports and having fun and doing those normal teenager things.

Sunday we want to church.  Later we were having lunch with the Turtons and she felt like we needed to go visit one of her neighbors so we went over there.  We had tried contacting this lady about my second week here in Jamestown, but she wasn't interested.  When we went over this time, she let us right in and we were able to share the Restoration with her.  It was a great lesson and the Spirit was definitely there.  Afterwards, we didn't think that she was going to be super interested in learning more just yet, but that our visit and sharing the message with her today was a key part in planting a seed that will someday grow and she will be ready then.  Later that evening we had a lesson with Emily.  This was the first time we saw her after Girl’s Camp.  She loved it and she even bore her testimony during the testimony sharing time.  She has read the Book of Mormon almost 4 times now.  Man, she is just so awesome!  We asked her if she had received an answer to know if it is true and she said that when she prayed about it she felt like she got her answer.  She felt like our Savior was watching over her.  We are super happy for her.  She really likes how we have explained everything that we have taught her and how it all makes sense.  We taught her tonight about the word of wisdom, tithing, and fasting.  We then asked her again if baptism is something she wants to do.  She also really liked how, unlike the other churches she has been to, we don't force baptism on her.  It is something we give her the option of choosing.  She said that she wanted to talk to her dad about it first.  We also asked her to pray about it to know if this is something the Lord wants her to do.

What a great week! I have come to see how everything that happens with all of the people we are teaching, has started from a little seed.  Every single person we talk to, whether they are interested or not, has a little seed that is being planted inside of them.  We may knock on someone's door and share one principle from the gospel with them and they may not be interested, but sometime down the road, other missionaries will share another principle.  Each principle helps that seed start to grow.  Eventually, that little seed will start to pop up out of the ground and will want more and more nourishment of water and light.  That's when a person will be ready for the restored gospel.  However, none of that will happen if the seed isn't planted first.  A seed will not grow unless it has nourishment either.  Elder Holland talks about how his faith once started out as a little seed, but over many years of nourishment, it has grown into the tree of life.  Alma compares our faith to a seed in chapter 32.  Each step and action we take in faith helps that seed grow.  So I would just like to encourage everyone that reads this to help nourish your own seed of faith as well as to help nourish the seed of others. This can be anyone, even someone who is of your same religious beliefs.  We can always learn from one another and help each other.  We are all trying to get to the same place in the end with that same goal.  So why not help each other along the way because we are always much stronger united than alone?  I close my testimony in the name of our Beloved Savior and Redeemer of the world, Jesus Christ, amen.

Elder Ellison

World's Biggest Treehouse

New Mission - Pres. & Sis. Griffin + Ball Is Life

World's Biggest Treehouse Tour

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Last Week In Nashville 6-13-16

So this was my last week in the Nashville mission.  As of this Monday, I am now in the Knoxville mission.  I get to meet my new mission president this week.  I am looking forward to that.  This week was super hot! It got into the 90s a couple days.  I also got to see the fireflies come out. They were popping up all over the grass, which was super cool to see.  Too bad we don't have those in the west.

Monday we didn't do too much except we helped the Millers hoe their garden after dinner.

Tuesday we helped out at the Food Bank as usual.  We had appointments fall through, which was disappointing.  Later we drove down to the Zone Leader’s apartment and stayed the night there.

Wednesday we woke up early and got to go to the temple for the last time.  I don't think I will get the opportunity to go again for over a year now.  It was a really cool experience.  Our whole zone got to go.  We got to see President and Sister Andersen for the last time.

Thursday we saw Jim.  Unfortunately he did not get his answer yet.  We believe the reason for that is because he doesn't have a testimony about the Priesthood yet and he is starting to lose faith and hope after not getting an answer for over 4 years now.  We gave him a blessing of comfort so he could know what God wanted him to know at that time.  Later we gave Frankie a blessing too.  He had picked up a dead bird and got the bird flu.

Friday we had a couple more lessons.  We saw Frankie again and he was feeling much better and more energetic and hungry.  We also gave a 95 year-old lady a blessing because she was sick too. By the end of our visit with her, she was perky and full of energy and didn't even seem to have bronchitis anymore. The power of Priesthood blessings is very real.

Saturday not too much happened.  Later that night we hoed some more of the Miller's garden.  It looks pretty good so far, if I do say so myself.  I thought that I was done pulling weeds after I left home, but it looks like I will never get away from those wretched things.

Sunday we went to church, obviously.  Half of the ward was gone because of vacations and what not.  Later we had a Stake Priesthood meeting.  The Stake President, Pres. Day, said something pretty cool.  He said, "We need Real Men.  Real Men build up Zion.  Real Men keep the commandments."

President Day is right.  We need Real Men as well as Valiant Women.  These people can be you and me.  We need to look at ourselves and ask a couple questions.  Are we helping to build up Zion?  What can I do to start helping or to keep helping?  Am I keeping the commandments?  What do I need to change to become a real Man or a Valiant Woman?  If there is anything that Satan has wrapped a chain around us for, we need to get rid of it and cut it off.  Break those bands with which we are bound.  There is a quote I want to share with you that comes from the Addiction Recovery videos the church put out.  It says, "Because of the love and grace of the Savior, you do not have to be what you have been." So if there is anything in our life that we can't forgive ourselves for, just know that our loving Savior loved us so much, he made it possible for the marvelous, miraculous gift of forgiveness for us and others.  We can change and be forgiven by Him if we ask and the trick is for us to forgive ourselves.  If there is anything that we are doing that isn't what God would have us do, then we should throw it away.  Get rid of it.  In this day and age, we need more Real Men and Valiant Women more than we ever did before.  The Lord's work is moving forward quicker than ever.  He is the Coach and we can choose to be the spectator who enjoys the game while it is going, but the thrill is gone after that final whistle. Or we can be the players on the field, all working together for that one goal, and when we win, that thrill will be there FOREVER.  Who are we going to be? We can either stand back and try and figure out what to do or jump on board and have eternal happiness, as well as help others feel of that same happiness.  It's our choice. I know that for myself, when the Lord calls to me throughout my life, when it's my time to get out there, I want to always answer, "I'm READY! You can trust me and I will not let you down."  When the Lord calls us, what do we want to respond with? I hope that each of you will look at yourselves and see what is it that you can do become a better Real Man or Valiant Woman and then do it.  Don't just think about it and dream it, but make it become a reality and you will be blessed.  I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Elder Ellison

Last Temple Trip of My Mission
Just a cave - No big deal

Zone Temple Trip

Naptime on the way back from Zone Conference