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

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