Sunday, December 18, 2016

A Week of Improvement 11-21-16

So this was the last week of the transfer. My time here in Chattanooga has come to an end. Elder Thomas is going to be staying to take over the area and he is TRAINING!  In other words, I am getting a “GRANDSON!”  I am so proud.  I am also going to “follow up” or continue to train another missionary in Bristol, TN and VA.  I have been told that a Geico commercial was shot there.  If you see the one where the gecko is walking down the middle of the street and says, "on this side is Tennessee and this side is Virginia," then that's where I'm headed.  I will be serving with Elder Anderson.  He has only been out for one transfer (6 weeks).  So this week it was warm for most the week and almost got to 80 one day and the very next day, it was windy and about 55.  I almost cried.  I'm glad I don't have to ride a bike during the winter though.  We did get a lot of rain one night so all the smoke from the fires has gone down.

Monday was super fun.  Some of the missionaries from the District came with us to an indoor jump park.  It's a big trampoline place and the best part - it had some Ninja Warrior type stuff.  It felt so good to do flips and climb on stuff again.  After that we met up with the rest of the District and had a breakfast dinner.  Our mission president, President Griffin, came and we had interviews afterwards.   We talked about different things.  Turns out, I have the same personality type as him.  He told me some stuff about that and things we tend to do and ever since then, I have looked back and noticed how I do some of those things -haha.  We also talked about goals and he told me a little bit of what will be happening with me at transfers.  He played a song at our last Zone Meeting that was really good so I asked what it was.  He said it was called “Roads” by Chris Mann.  He said that Chris has some other good songs as well.  I would suggest checking him out.  So that was an awesome time.  We had a lesson with Zack while we waited for our turn for interviews.  We had to postpone his baptismal date because he wants to make sure his family will support him in his decision and also give them time for it to sink in.  So we are still working with him on that.

Tuesday we had Zone Conference and we had some really good trainings.  We got trained on how to use the new Christmas initiative the church is putting out on Friday called Light The World.  One of the Assistants did that one and during it, they had us prepare to role play if we were to contact a referral off of it.  President Griffin gave us a character and situation to prepare for and then after we prepared, he called Elder Thomas and I up to do it in front of the whole Zone with him as the “referral.”  So that was really nerve racking.  We didn't do horrible, but we definitely weren't ourselves.  We then reversed and he did it to us.  Man, do I have some work to do!  We later had a training by President Griffin.  His training was on repentance and sacrifice.  He talked about how repentance needs to be a true change of heart.  And for us as missionaries to have the Spirit with us more powerfully, he listed 6 things that hinder us which were: Disobedience, Fear, Passion, Pride, Sarcasm/Negative Attitude, and Laziness.  He then asked us to go home that night and write down 1 or 2 things in each category that we would be willing to sacrifice and give up.  He wanted us to fast about it the next day and then for the next 40 days, we are to work on letting go of those things we wrote down or improving upon them.  It was a really good training.  Afterwards, we did exchanges with the Signal Mountain Elders and I stayed in the area and received Elder Hoch for the day.  He is a Spanish missionary so we went and did finding in part of our area that has a lot of Latinos.  Both of us got 2 possible investigators that day for our areas. 

Wednesday we exchanged back and then we went finding that day.  We contacted a lot of people in our Area Book and some referrals.  We also went by Jaqueline and Letia’s house since we haven't seen them in a while.  We only saw the kids and got to play some kickball with them for a few minutes. Man, I miss those kids!  We saw Hayden that night also and we taught her about the Restoration of the Priesthood.  It was a bit of a struggle teaching her, but we eventually got through it.

Thursday was our weekly planning day.  We went and tracted for 3 hours afterwards with no luck.  We found one potential on the bus though.  We did run into a Jehovah Witness that thinks our church is racist and tried to prove us wrong.  His “doctrine” didn't even make sense.  Then, two doors later this guy from a Presbyterian church first words to us were, "You guys don't believe in Jesus Christ, the Son of God."  We both looked at him with a confused look and said, “Yes we do.”  He wasn't interested, but he did say, "I'm glad I spoke with you guys."  So that was good - some people have the strangest ideas about Mormons.  We laughed about it a bit because our church literally has Christ's name in it, it was on our name tags, and the pamphlet we showed had a picture of Jesus Christ.  Later that day we had dinner with our Branch Mission Leader and then tried to see one of our investigators.  He was sleeping when we arrived so we talked with his sister who is a returning less-active member. 

Friday we met with Olivia and Rebecca.  We read some scriptures with them and also talked to Olivia about telling her parents about her baptism over the break.  We then went and contacted some referrals.  We met with Dean for a little bit and told him he needs to start coming to church again.  Afterwards, we rode by a man’s house as he was taking leaves.  We stopped to give him a Pass Along card and he started to bash with us a little bit.  Most of the things he was saying we agreed with, but he had this deceptive idea that we thought Joseph Smith was God.  He tried to quote some scripture to prove it, but didn't know where it was.  He even tried to tell us at one point that there were 6 chapters in the Book of Malachi.  It was really interesting because I have never had people in this area bash with me except for these past two days. 

Saturday we did some tracting in the morning and found a new investigator.  We then helped the Relief Society with their project and made a couple ornaments.  Afterwards, we went and did a bunch of finding.  We found a couple less-actives home.  One said she wanted a ride for next Sunday and one said he would come this Sunday if we called to get him up.  Later we saw Jacqueline and the kids again.  They have just been going through a busy time, but we played with the kids for a couple minutes.  We are just trying to show that we care and are still thinking about them.  We later met with a guy we tracted into last week.  We talked about a bunch of stuff and gave him a Book of Mormon.  He said he would read it.  He also said that if he ever feels like he needs to do something or that something is true, then he will go forward with it.  Oh boy, is he in for a surprise when he starts reading!  He is currently searching for a testimony of Christ, so hopefully we can help him out. 

Sunday we just had a lot of church.  I gave a talk in the YSA on repentance and forgiveness.  President Griffin pretty much helped me write my talk from his training session and he didn't even know it -haha.  After church we met a less-active and talked with him for half an hour.  He was just sitting outside trying to find it in himself to walk into the church building.  He said he is just lost right now and so we tried to help him.  We are going to watch the Restoration video with him Tuesday.  Later we went and visited Central Church of Christ that is just down the road from us.  It was a shorter service than normal because they were having a dinner fellowship thing after it. 

Today, in the spirit of Thanksgiving, I just want to say what I am thankful for:  loving family and friends, the restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the opportunity to dedicate 2 years to serve God fully everyday, sports, a mission president that helps me grow and become a better missionary, the blessing to live in the free country of the United States of America, missionary companions who teach me things that they may never know they taught, the strangers I get to talk to every day and come to love, a living prophet and twelve apostles to lead us in today's crazy world, a Savior who went through everything for me personally and for everyone else, and a loving Father in Heaven who watches out for me each day and has provided me with all of these things I mentioned and more.  I leave these things with y'all in the name of Him who made it possible, Jesus Christ, amen.

Elder Ellison

Jump Park

District Breakfast Dinner

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