Monday, December 12, 2016

Hey, Are You Single? 11-14-16

So this week was a pretty good week.  I had to wear my sweatshirt like everyday though, which is no fun because we all know what is coming.  It also has been really smokey down here because there are 4 fires that are surrounding us somewhat.  Now when I say fires, it is not like the west.  These are just like overly big bonfires, not ones that are burning hundreds of thousands of acres – at least not yet anyways.  So a lot of people have told us we should go in soon because of the smoke and we are just like, this is like we are camping back home.  It's a little funny how much they freak out about these little ones.  The reason they are having them at all is because of the drought.  Chattanooga is 20 inches less than normal and so when people throw their cigarette butts while hiking, it starts a fire because it is dry.  They also caught an arson that caused one of them.  Also Transfers are next week.  I know, right before Thanksgiving.  We find out Monday what the verdict is and I am guessing I will leave because I have been here for 3 transfers and I am finishing training E. Thomas, but we shall see.  So that's about it here, time for the week.

Monday we just chilled with the other missionaries and also watched an Elder burn some pants for his 18 month mark.

Tuesday we started out and had a lesson with Olivia and Rebecca.  We reset Olivia’s baptism date for Dec. 10.  So that is going to be awesome.  We then went on exchanges with the Zone Leaders and I went to the Harrison Bay Area with Elder Jepperson.  He is an awesome guy and super fun.  We had a great time.  We did “finding” for the whole afternoon.  We talked with this old guy at the end for about 30 minutes.  He is from the Seventh Day Adventist church and who was really friendly and nice.  We were joking around with him and then just started asking about things like what he believed in and then he started to ask us.  As we got further into our conversation, he got more argumentative and was trying to prove his side right.  He wouldn't let us answer his questions completely before he would interrupt and try and prove our unfinished answer wrong.  He needs to “see” things have happened, like a prophecy being fulfilled that came from a prophet, in order to know they are a prophet.  We started to get a little irritated and finally just stopped answering him and said we were leaving.  He was trying to prove our beliefs wrong, while all we were doing was trying to talk to people amicably about Christ.  So that was a fun time.  Other than that experience, it was a pretty good day and we had a lot of fun.  I learned a lot from E. Jepperson - he is going home next week.

Wednesday we had District Meeting and then we just went and tried to do some finding.  We knocked on a couple sorority and a fraternity houses.  Those are always exciting because you never know what you are going to get.  At the fraternity, as we were walking up to talk to one of the guys, he puts a big thing of chew in his mouth.  Afterwards we were both like, “Well, there goes your teeth.”  We found a couple people from our tracting that are possibilities, but nothing too amazing so far.  We had one guy tell us it was good we were doing it today because the world is going to need it now after the election.  The person he wanted didn't win apparently- haha.  We just laughed afterwards.  Lots of people have asked what our thoughts are on the election results or have said something like, “You must be happy with who won.”  We have always said, we don't know too much about either side since we don't watch or listen to the news.  All I can say is that the people have voted and now all I can do is just pray for him and hope he does a good job.

Thursday was a fairly good day.  We got a potential investigator through a Bible referral.  She said we were an answer to her prayers for God to send someone with the gospel to her.  She also was very unbalanced from being drunk, so we shall see how we can help her.  We taught a potential investigator the Restoration.  She seemed to agree with a lot of the things we shared.  We later met with Zack and taught him about Tithing and Fast Offerings.  It worked out perfectly because that's what one of our lessons was on in church the previous Sunday so that helped out.

Friday we weekly planned.  Then later we contacted some referrals and potentials and had some pretty good lessons from it.  One of them was a lady named Deanne who wants to search for religion because she grew up in a town that was so small that everyone went to the same church –the only one there.  We had an awesome lesson with her.  We later had a quick little lesson with Hayden where we went over the First Vision again, but with a video this time.  She got distracted a lot which was a little difficult, but she seemed to have grasped it a little better with a video this time.

Saturday we did some finding and we found a guy named Robert who had learned a little bit about our church 15 years ago.  We are going to start meeting him.  We also knocked on the door of a girl who had just moved from Tullahoma.  She was a member and didn't know where the church was.  To figure out which branch she should go to (the family branch or the singles), I asked her (because I couldn’t think of any other way) in the most awkward way, "So, are you...uh... single?"  We had a good laugh afterwards because that is something you don’t usually hear missionaries say.  It was a little weird, I’m not gonna lie.  Come to find out, she was single so we directed her to the YSA branch haha. We then tried a lot of people, but no luck and we also found a couple potentials later through tracting.  Later that night, we had YSA Missionary Correlation meeting.  Before the Sister Missionaries got there, luckily, I bent down to grab something and... I will just stop and say that when you are biking for a while, your muscles in your thighs and behind grow and sometimes you don't even realize it until later when you have something happen like... totally rip my pants - right down the seam in the behind area.  It was about a good 18 inch rip.  I made sure it was hidden during the whole meeting - so that was a nice experience.  It's a good thing there is a member that has offered to sew anything if we need it because I NEEDED IT – BAD!

Sunday we had Stake Conference.  Our Mission President spoke and during his talk, he called all of the missionaries to come and stand in the front in a big row.  As we stood there and he spoke, the Spirit was just so strong.  As we looked out across the sea of faithful saints, we could see a couple of them crying.  It was a really cool experience.  We talked with him afterwards and he said that his plan was to get them to feel the Spirit and to shed a few tears.  It was awesome because he told these members that they were looking at today's modern-day Army of Helaman.  There were many other great talks as well during the conference -one of the best I have been to.  We then went with our YSA mission leader, Tyler, to his home for lunch.  His mom had cooked a real authentic Southern meal.  It was her famous homemade fried chicken (which was really good), baked beans, potato salad, pickled beets, and rolls.  It was pretty good and I was so full I almost puked it up.  They are a really awesome family.  We then later had a dinner with some other members.   They had invited a few other people over and so luckily we didn't have to eat too much because we were still full and this was only a couple hours later.  Boy was this day filling!

So my thoughts today are a little bit directed towards judging others and comparing ourselves to others in regards to the gospel.  We should not compare ourselves to others on the way they are living the gospel.  We shouldn’t judge others because they don't live the gospel the way we think it should be lived.  The gospel is unique, just like everyone else.  The way the gospel works for you, is the way it works for you, but it will not look the same on any other person besides yourself.  Our Heavenly Father wants us to do the best we can to live the gospel and to do it the way it works for us.  Now, that doesn't mean that we can say, "Oh it works for me to go boating on Sunday."  We need to be doing our best every day to improve how we live.  If we don't pray as much as someone else or we don't read as many chapters in the scriptures as someone else, then that is still OK.  The fact of the matter is, is that you are doing what works for you and it is still good enough.  It is all good enough as we put forth our effort to do our best.  As we focus on Christ and do our best for Him, He will bring us together as brothers and sisters in the gospel without judgments or comparisons.  I leave this with y'all in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Elder Ellison

Oooops - I ripped my pants.
Another Whoops - Panorama Error - Either That Or I Have A Big Freak Head!

District Photos

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