Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Breaking Out The Sweatshirts 10-24-16

So this week, we had to wear our sweatshirts a little.  It was windy, dark clouds covered the sky, and looked like it would rain but didn't.  However there wasn’t any sun so 67 degrees felt way colder than it really was.  We had 2 days in the 60s this week.  I do not like what is happening.  Why does it have to be cold?  Well, I guess I will just have to live with it.

Monday we went and got haircuts at a barbershop in town.  We got some interesting looks since we were the only white people in there, but we didn’t care and they did a good job.  They didn’t shave any lightning bolts or jersey numbers into the side of our heads so it’s all good.  :)  After that we just chilled until the end of the day when a YSA member came and we did some slack lining.  So that was fun. 

Tuesday we met with Dean for a little bit and tried to see when we could meet with him again.  We talked with his sister afterwards and tried to help her as well.  Some of her issues are a bit out of our league, but we did the best we could.  Later we did some finding and contacted referrals.  We then went with Bro Smith and saw some members of the branch and we even gave one of them a blessing that her foot would be healed.

Wednesday we had District Meeting and later we contacted more referrals.  We then headed to a former investigator's house and as we pulled up, she was outside yelling at some people and they were saying something about a gun.  Needless to say, it was bad timing so we left since things seemed to be in control at the time and went down the street to Jacqueline and Letia's to have a lesson with them.  As we were there, we saw cop car after cop car go down that road to that lady’s house.  We have no idea what happened, but hope everybody is OK.  We had a great lesson with the family about the importance of church.  They have a lot going on, but we are trying to help them so much.  They are still working on a date they can get baptized.  After that lesson we saw a less-active and talked about the power of the Book of Mormon.

Thursday we did some weekly planning.  We then had a lunch with a crazy less-active again.  After that we had another lesson with a guy we haven't seen in a long time.

Friday we met with Zack and went over the 10 commandments.  He is still working towards baptism, even though it is a little ways off.  We then met with Rebecca and Olivia and went more into detail of keeping the Sabbath day holy.  We then headed to see Dean again, but he was sleeping and we ended up talking to his sister again.  She had a much different presence about her than when we saw her a few days ago.  Later that night, the Sister Missionaries asked us to meet with one of their investigators named Shantez.  He has a hard time remembering the things they teach so they wanted to get our opinion on how to teach him or help him better.  It was a pretty good lesson and he remembered a lot more then we were expecting.  We talked about a lot of different things and we even taught the lady that drives him around. 

Saturday we contacted a Bible referral and we ended up talking to her for an hour.  She lives in one of the three projects in our area and it was much nicer inside then we thought.  She said she was going to come to church Sunday, but never showed up.  Then we went and did a bunch of finding and tracting.  Right before we went to dinner we were tracting and we met a lady named Margaret.  She doesn’t know much about the gospel and doesn’t have much education, but she wants to learn and said she would come to church, but never showed.  We are looking forward to teaching her though.  We then had dinner and taught the 9 yr. old girl.  It was a much better lesson than the last couple times.  It will definitely be a process and a long time before she can get baptized though.

Sunday we had the Primary program at church.  Not much else happened though.

Well that has been my week. Can't believe October is already coming to a close.  Time flies when you’re doing the Lord's work.  And there will be much more joy in the world if everyone can have faith in Jesus Christ.  So share Him with everyone.  There was a scripture I read out of the Book of Mormon in 3 Nephi 18 that is Jesus talking to the people and He says that because they have seen Him and know who He is, they must now share it with everyone.  If they do not keep this commandment, they will be victim to temptation.  The same goes for us.  It is a commandment to share the gospel and if we love Him, we will keep His commandments.  I says these things in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Elder Ellison

These Are All Over the Side of the Road - Not Sure What They Are, But They Are Sticky Inside - A Fruit Maybe?

Welcome Mat - Ha Ha

Well Done 10-17-16

So it was the start of our new transfer.  I am still here in Chattanooga and still serving with and training Elder Thomas.  So far we are still getting 80 degree weather which is super nice because who likes the cold?  Not me.  We had a pretty good week. 

Monday we went up to Hixson for our last District P-day.  On the way up there we stopped by a less-actives home and gave a blessing to his non-member wife.  Later we played some beach volleyball.  That was super fun.  We also played tag on the playground.  We still aren't too old or too big for that - haha. 

Tuesday we saw Olivia and Rebecca.  We read out of the Book of Mormon with them and helped them understand the story and what was going on.  Later we went and worked up in the North Shore area across the river.  We met a really nice lady.  She firmly believes that we were an answer to her prayers and that us showing up on her door right then was God’s way of telling her that this is the path she needs to take.  Her name is Leslie and she is the wife of an investigator we have only seen a couple times.

Wednesday we went to a less-active’s home to help her assess some damage to her house and see what needs to be done.  We later tried to contact some people in our area book.  We met with John and Adina.  We read a chapter out of the Book of Mormon with them.  They are friends of some members.  After the lesson, the members took us to eat.  After we got our fill of pulled pork sandwiches, we went to contact a referral.  This lady’s name is Pam and she is really nice.  We dropped off a Bible for her that she had requested and within a couple minutes of talking to us, she opened up and just started to cry.  We read a couple scriptures that could help comfort her in her situation and she asked us when we could come back.  We were to go back Saturday morning, but she wasn't feeling well.  We will reschedule.  That evening we met with Zack.  We went over the Gospel of Jesus Christ lesson.  It was kind of a review for him.  He is going out to Logan, Utah for Fall Break to visit a friend.   We looked at the weather and it is supposed to be rainy and cold almost the whole time.  We wished him good luck.

Thursday we met with Rebecca and Olivia again and went over baptism and confirmation of the gift of the Holy Ghost.  We talked about where they were at and in the end, we asked them to pray about a date they can be baptized on.  We won't get to meet with them until Friday because it is Fall Break this week.  We came back and did some weekly planning.  That night we had a good lesson with Venita.  Our Branch Mission Leader, Bro Smith, came with us and we reviewed the Restoration.  She had some good questions and we were able to answer and clarify them.  She has some things that she will need to work out over time, but she seems like she will move forward in the gospel.

Friday we had District Meeting and we got to meet the new people in our District.  Two of the areas got whitewashed.  That means that they took both missionaries in those areas and replaced them with two new ones.  In our District, I am the second oldest in terms of being out the longest.  That is so weird to me.  After District Meeting, we went over to the Rossville area and met with a guy named Gerald.  He is a super nice guy.  Right now he is only curious about what we believe, but we are hoping that he feels the Spirit and his desires change.

Saturday we met with Yetta again.  We went over the Restoration with her.  We left her with the commitment to read and pray about the Book of Mormon.  She is such a wonderful lady and it is really sad to see her in the condition she is.  Just try and imagine only skin and bones and that is what she looks like.  She can't weigh more than 80 lbs.  That night, the branch put on a fish fry.  We had a pretty good turn out and we had two investigators come.  It was at a park and there was a bunch of things to climb on at the playground and so I was over there doing a little American Ninja Warrior training.  Felt good to do something like that again. 

Sunday was an OK day.  Great that we had church, but we didn't have anyone that we are teaching come to church.  Fall Break was the excuse for the YSA, but not sure about the others.  A little disappointing but that is OK.  That is just how it goes sometimes.

So I would like to share a scripture with you guys.  It's 2 Timothy 4: 5-7, "But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.  6 For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand.  7 I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:"

This scripture is pretty famous and one of the last things the Apostle Paul wrote.  This can also apply to us though.  We all are part of the ministry to teach others about Jesus Christ.  The two main keys are to endure to the end through everything we face and to be diligent and continue to work hard.  If we can do these things, we will be blessed and be able to say like Paul, "I have fought the good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith."  We will have worked hard, endured to the end through all our hardships, stayed strong in our beliefs, and shared them with others.  If we can do this throughout our lives and missions, and make it to the "end", then we will be able to hear and feel the words from our loving Heavenly Father, "Well done, thou good and faithful servant."  Oh how glorious it will be to hear such praise from our God.  We can then know that our efforts were enough, they were cherished, and that we were able to show God how much we loved Him by feeding His sheep.  I leave these things with you in the sacred name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Elder Ellison

Shoe Insoles Completely Destroyed - Evidence of Hard Work

Monday, November 14, 2016

One Hectic Week 9-26-16

So this week has been crazy, hectic, stressful, and not the best week we have had either.  We had some ups and downs, but that is just life and they suck when they come about, but they don't last forever.  It's still in the 90s over here, which I am totally cool with.  

Monday we went to the local park with other Elders and played sports.  Later that evening we went out with some of the YSA and visited some less-active members. 

Tuesday we tried to find some people.  We then went to lunch with less-active lady who is a little off her rocker.  The sisters were there too and it was an interesting lunch as usual.  We then had a lesson with Rebecca and Olivia.  We went over the Word Of Wisdom with them.  It was pretty funny because they were drinking coffee as we taught them haha.  Then we rode our bikes down to our next lesson with Jarvis.  On the way, in almost the exact spot I crashed, Elder Thomas ran over some staples.  It popped his tire and so we had to walk the rest of the way.  We were an hour late to the lesson, but at least we made it.  We went through the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  He then offered to give us a ride back to our place, which was so great.  Our bikes barely fit in his car.

Wednesday we went down to Knoxville for the New Missionary meeting.  It was pretty good and we got trained on the same things that I was trained on when I switched missions.  We then came back and went on exchanges.  I stayed and got Elder Hoch, who is also a new missionary serving in Signal Mountain.  Not much happened that day after we got back.

Thursday we had District Meeting and then we went and tried to contact some formers and potentials.  We then had to start heading to our lesson with Jacqueline and Letia.  On our way back, we stopped to check the map to see where we were and which way we needed to go, we hear the air leaking out of a tire as we sat there and looked down to see Elder Thomas's back tire was flat again.  We think the tire itself had gotten broken the first time and it poked it a little bit.  So we had to walk again, but we were close enough that we made it on time for that lesson.  We finished the last discussion with them and then set up who would take part in their baptism.  We finished by playing basketball with some investigators and members.

Friday we had to go to the library to order a tire and tube for the bike because it is a custom size and Walmart doesn't carry it.  Later we met Olivia and Rebecca again and went through the Ten Commandments and the Law of Chastity.  Then we headed towards Jacqueline and Letia's because we had a confusing phone conversation with them and it sounded like they were bailing out on their baptism date.  So we headed over and President Griffin and his wife came down because he was going to do the interviews who ended up driving right past us as we walked there, since we didn’t have functioning bikes.  We went over and got everything cleared up.  Some family issues came up that day and it was just crazy for them.  We rescheduled the interviews to be right before the baptism the next day.  Pres. Griffin and his wife then took us to get some ice cream with them which was cool.  You don’t get one-on-one time with the mission president and his wife everyday. 

Saturday more conflict came up with Jacqueline and Letia’s family and it was just crazy.  They were too focused on that so we are rescheduling their baptism.  We went over to check on them in the morning with our Branch Mission Leader and he took us to lunch afterwards.  We got back and waited for an investigator to show up… he never did so we Weekly Planned.  Later we visited some less-active members and walked home.  UT had beat Florida and we passed a drunk college student who was singing a song called Rocky Top.  We joined in singing with him for a minute and then kept walking. Haha

Sunday we had church. Only one of our investigators showed up to church, unfortunately.  It was still good, but we were expecting a lot more.  

So because of what happened this week, I thought I would share a few thoughts on opposition.  It happens to all of us, especially as we strive to do what is right, make the right choices and head down the right path - the path towards God.  The adversary and his followers don't want this to happen and they do everything they can to put stumbling blocks in our way to stop our progression or to make us think it is too hard to overcome so we will give up.  I heard a story recently of a man who had gone to heaven.  When he got there, he was met by Saint Peter.  Peter took this man and showed him another man who was rock climbing.  He asked the man what he saw.  The man said he saw a devil right next to this man and he assumed he was a very good guy because only one devil was around him.  Then he was taken and shown a second man who was also rock climbing and was asked what he saw.  The man said he saw 50 devils around this guy and thought he wasn’t very good because of he was surrounded by so many devils.  Then Peter told him that the man with 50 was a great man and had strong faith which was why it took so many devils to try to bring him down.  The man with only one was weak and gave up too easily.  It only took one to tempt him and get him to make bad choices.  We all should strive to be like the man with 50 or even 100.  The thought that certain things just can't be real or come about because they are "unrealistic," is not of God.  If it is good and leads us to do good things, it is of God.  We faced a lot of opposition this week, as well as our investigators and Satan knows where to hit us to give us the most struggle.  We need to remain faithful and always strive to do what's right and what leads us to God.  We must not be surprised when bad things or "misfortune" comes into our life as we try to do what's right.  If we think we are the only one going through difficult times, remember that everyone does even if we don't see it.  If it gets too hard, there are many people in our lives who are there to help us.  God has given us families, friends, bishops, prophets, the scriptures, and a Savior.  Jesus Christ will always be there for us to help us get through our trials.  His atonement is not just to be forgiven or to be resurrected, but to also gain strength and support during our earthly trials.  Trust that we will receive help.  Know that God will put people into our lives always to help us as we have faith and trust in Him.  I say these things in the name of our Lord and Master, Jesus Christ, amen.

Elder Ellison

Ice Cream with Pres & Sis Griffin

Cool Hike to a Dried Up Waterfall

Every Word, Every Page 10-10-16

So this week was pretty good. We got back to using our bikes Friday.  I had some pretty awesome experiences and learned a few things.  Transfer calls are in the morning, but most likely we aren't getting transferred. This transfer will be huge with lots of changes and we have 30 new missionaries coming in.  We also were able to give blessings to people in the hospital about 5 times this week, I had the opportunity to give a couple of them.

Monday we went to the Chattanooga Aquarium.  It was super cool.  We spent almost the whole day there.  They had a fresh water river section, an ocean area, and a river monster fish group.  We stopped for lunch and 3 out of 8 of us took down the 1 pound burger challenge, myself being one of them.  It was gone in about 15 minutes, maybe less.  We got our pictures on the wall.  We were the first ones up there for the month. 

Tuesday we saw the girls at UTC and had a pretty good lesson about following the prophet.  That was about our day.

Wednesday we had our last District Meeting of the transfer.  We went on exchanges with our Zone Leaders so I stayed here and worked with Elder McLeod, my old companion from the month of August.  We did a lot of finding and had a great lesson with Jacqueline and Letia about the priesthood.  The member we had helped them see how the priesthood can bless them even if no one in the home has it.  We saw a less-active member after that.

Thursday we did a lot of finding with potential and former investigators.  We had a great lesson with Zack that evening.  He is going to be baptized Jan. 7 down in his home Ward in Georgia.  So even though it is a ways away, we are excited for him. 

Friday we had apartment inspections and we aced it!  The missionary couple that did it took us out for lunch afterwards as well.  We saw the UTC girls again and talked about trials, missionary work, and service.  On our way to that lesson, we had just got our bikes back together and we were on the college campus.  We were riding on the road and went to get up on the sidewalk.  As we came up to it, I pulled my front tire up to hop on and it went right back down and missed the curb.  I ended up falling over, but I'm alright.  I just laughed it off because I know people saw me.  I guess I’m a little rusty on the bikes after not having them for a couple weeks.  We then contacted some referrals.  One lady named Yetta, is the sweetest lady you could meet.  She has some health problems because of a procedure she had earlier and now she is literally skin and bones.  She is the skinniest person ever! She has been stuck on her couch or bed pretty much for about 2 years.  During this time, she has come to love God more, trust in Him, and not be mad at Him.  She was super nice.  We had a good visit with her. 

Saturday we weekly planned and then did a lot of finding.  We rode our bikes up some steep hills and we were so out of shape - haha.  That was pretty much our day.

Sunday was a good day.  We got to have dinner with the YSA branch to break the fast.  That was about it for our Sunday.

This week I don't have a spiritual thought, but I would just like to say, I know this is the one and only true church on the earth today.  Jesus Christ is at the helm and is our Savior.  The Book of Mormon is true.  Every word, every page.  We are led by a prophet of God today and by twelve apostles.  They are His chosen servants to direct all of us back towards our Heavenly Father.  I know these things are true from my own spiritual witness from the Holy Ghost.  I leave my simple testimony with you in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Elder Ellison

The 1 lb. Burger Challenge Winners!

The 1 lb. Burger

Chattanooga Aquarium

Biggest Butterfly I Have Ever Seen!

This Is What We Call A "Chatt-Mobile" Here In Chattanooga