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

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World's Biggest Treehouse Tour

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