Wednesday, February 8, 2017

What a Week! 1-16-17

So we had a pretty great week.  It started out not so great, but ended better.  It also got up to 70 this week and has been steady at high 50s for the whole week.  It is weird to think that just a week ago we had snow on the ground and it was freezing.  We also have seen some miracles happening the last couple days.  So before I begin the week report, you should know that we were kind of starting from scratch in our teaching pool and so we don't have a lot of people to teach currently.

Monday we hung out at the church with the Sisters and a member from their ward.  We played a new game called Quelf.  It was pretty fun and interesting.  We also got some "humble pie" too.  There was whip cream there too and at some point, I got teamed up on in a whip cream battle.  They got me once, but every other time I was too quick.

Tuesday we started out like usual at the Richard's farm.  We pulled more stakes up out of the ground.  We fed their animals (a great Pyrenees dog named Bear, a goat, and 50 chickens).  As we were getting into the enclosure, I got two hooves in the back from the hungry goat.  Then as I fed the chickens, Bear jumped all me because he wanted to play.  He is one big dog.  So after the farm, we went out with Tyler to see an investigator named Don.  We started talking about the Spirit and then it changed to talking about the difference between judgment and righteous judgement.  That night we had a lesson about the Book of Mormon with an elderly couple who are active members.  After them we had a lesson with a lady named Rhonda.  We ended up reading some of the Book of Mormon with her.  She seems a little more interested than our first lesson with her so we shall see.

Wednesday we had our District Meeting.  We had to change it because of a meeting we had on Thursday.  After lunch, we helped a less-active move a couch out of her home.  Then we went and did a lot of finding.  We finally found one potential investigator.  We have a lesson set for Wednesday so we will see how it goes.

Thursday our day started at 5:30 so that we could be out the door by 6:40.  We had the New Missionary meeting in Knoxville and we were driving some other Elders down too.  It was a good meeting.  Lots of motivational things came out of it.  The meeting was 3 hours and so we didn't get back until about 6:15 that night, but we had 2 awesome lessons.  The first was with a guy named Bill.  He was nice and would listen to us.  He wasn't too interested though.  Cool fact though, he got baptized in the Jordan River over in Israel a few years ago.  The next lesson was with a lady named Edie.  Both of these people were tracted into a month ago when we did exchanges.  We taught Edie the Restoration and had a great lesson with her.  She sincerely told us she would read the Book of Mormon and pray about it.  It was a good night.

Friday was the bomb!  Miracles everywhere!  It started out with some apartment inspections and weekly planning.  It didn't really start until 3.  We went out and did some tracting.  We applied some tips we got from the Elders we drove with to the meeting and we got 2 lessons with some potentials.  We are hoping to see them again this week.  Then we had a lesson with a guy named Dan.  His first question to us was, “What does God want with me?”  He also wanted to learn the basics again because he couldn't remember them.  We taught a couple principles from the Restoration and also answered his questions.  We gave him a Book of Mormon to read and set up another time to see him.  As we were leaving, he asked us what we would do if he wanted to be baptized.  WHAT?!  It was more because he is in a wheelchair and not completely mobile, but we told him we would figure something out.  We then went and saw a less-active.  It was getting towards the end of the night so we went to one of our investigators named Lina.  She is the wife of a less-active.  We met her a couple weeks ago and she is from Columbia.  She speaks broken English so sometimes communication is hard, but not too bad.  We stopped by to deliver a Spanish Book of Mormon for her.  We were able to talk with her for a minute and we invited her to church and she said she would come.  We also set up another appointment for this next week.  So this day was one of the best days we have had in a long time.  We might be able to get a couple of our investigators on date for baptism in these next couple weeks.

Saturday we did some service at the Davison's.  Then we went over to Miss Rush's.  We asked her if she felt like she was ready to find out for herself if this church is true.  She told us that she is not.  Sadly, she might not be for a while.  Give it time and we hope she will, but just not right now.  After her we did some finding.  We stopped in at what we thought was a potential investigator’s home.  We talked to the guy there and he was a little drunk and was trying to act cool and be funny.  He wasn't interested so we just offered a picture of Jesus and he told us there wasn't much use for that there.  Then he walked back inside after leaving us with a comment I have heard numerous times on my mission, "hail S***n."  I just laughed to myself as we walked away and kind of felt bad for the guy that he chose to do that, but it was a first for Elder Bingham.  We continued on like nothing happened.  Cool little miracle from the day.  We were looking for a less-active in a trailer park and we found the trailer, but the front door was guarded by 4 little yapping dogs.  So we went to the back door which I didn't think would get answered.  Well we got back to the road and looked over and saw a guy working on his car fixing his wheel bearing.  So my first reaction was that this guy looks a little rough so I didn't want to bother him.  Then I thought well.  Elder Bingham likes doing mechanics so maybe we can help.  I asked Elder Bingham if he would like to help this guy and he looked at me and smiled and said no.  He is a little shy so I knew why he said no.  Well the Spirit was giving this prompting to go and talk with him and I am not going to let Elder Bingham just stay in the comfort zone because there is no growth there.  So I turned and walked over to the guy.  He was a very nice guy.  We offered help, but he didn't need it, which is ok.  We gave him a picture of Jesus.  We then asked if he knew his neighbor, the less-active we were looking for, and he said he did.  He told us that if she wasn't at home, then she was at her daughters place right across the road.  We thanked him and then found the lady we were looking for.  She was not interested in coming back, but the lesson here was that if we had not talked to that man because of prejudgments or our shyness, then we would never had been able to find the less-active lady we were looking for.

Sunday was pretty good.  We got a new Ward Mission Leader which is Bro Richard, so I am excited.  He is awesome.  Although now I am going to be training 2 people because he doesn't know too well what he is doing for this calling and I am the only one with the experience.  The old Ward Mission Leader and myself are going to be helping him out until he gets it down.  I am looking forward to being able to work with him.  He is a convert himself so he might be able to give us some insight on what works and what doesn't.  The rest of the day we did some finding.  Towards the end of the evening, I took Elder Bingham to his first non-LDS church.  We went to the East Bristol Church of Christ.  It was a pretty good service.  It was mainly on the life of John the Baptist.

Well that is all for this week.  This next week is already looking good and I can't wait to see what else it has in store.  One lesson I really learned this week is that I just need to do the work and within time, the fruit from our labors will come forth.  It may be frustrating for a while, but in the end it will be great.  I just need to listen to what the Lord says to do and then do it, no matter what the outcome, even though He already knows what that will be.  I hope you all are having a great first month of the year.  It's good to hear from you guys and the great things you are doing.  I love you all and hope it is a great week.  God bless and I will talk to y'all next week.

Elder Ellison

Humble Pie  -  Tastes Like Pumpkin

New Missionary Trip with these Hooligans

This Parrot Tries to Eat our Shoelaces

Tracting for Dayz!

Friday, February 3, 2017

The Greenie Life 1-9-17

So we had transfers and I am going to be training another new missionary.  My new companion is Elder Bingham and he is from Hurricane, Utah.  He is a pretty cool kid.  He likes sports and played football in high school.  He also wants to be a mechanic for work.  He’s a little shy until he is comfortable around you and then he is super talkative, but I am hoping to help him be able to be more comfortable talking to new people like I had too.  So this week has had a few ups and downs.

Monday we got the transfer calls.  We didn't do too much that day because none of the other missionaries were able to come and hang out.  So we were at the church all day just by ourselves.

Tuesday we went to the Richard's and it was raining a little so we helped them clean up their Christmas decorations.  We then went over to Miss Rush's so Elder Anderson could say goodbye.  Not too much happened the rest of the day.

Wednesday I got my new greenie, Elder Bingham.  When we got back from our 2 hour drive, we went out to do some finding.  We stopped in at a less-active's home because no one had seen her in about 4 years.  We didn't have an address until a sister missionary that knew her before she moved here gave us her info.  So that was awesome.  She isn't interested in coming back, but we might be meeting with her boyfriend at some point to explain some of our beliefs.  We then went tracting for a little bit.  We got some rejections, which are always fun.  We then went to the Book of Mormon study class.

Thursday was my dad's birthday so Happy Birthday to him.  I shall keep his age confidential.  We had District Meeting and after that we went and did some tracting.  We had some snow flurries, but nothing major.  We didn't have much success during tracting. Not too many people wanted to talk to us.

Friday we had weekly planning.  We did a lot of “dropping” in our teaching pool.  A few of the people we had are not interested at all, but just like the visits.  It snowed for most of the day, but didn't stick until night.  We went out with a young man from the ward and we only had one lesson with him.  He leaves on his mission in about 2 weeks so we are trying to help him as much as possible until he leaves.  After our time with him, we went tracting again.  We met some cool people, but also a couple stubborn ones.  One lady we talked to wasn't interested, but we were able to serve her by getting her mail for her. Then another old lady told us we should change our title as "Elder" because no one around here has used that in a few years.  Another lady we met told us we believed in a different Jesus.  I asked her what one she believes in.  She told us and I said that we believed in the same one as her and she told me no we don't.  I said yes we did, I think I would know.  Then we tried to leave by giving her a picture of Jesus and she went off on how that isn't what He looks like.  I guess she has seen him or something.  Then she finally said she wasn't interested.  We finished that street and went to another one.  The first lady we talked to told us who her neighbors were and the one across the street she said was Jewish so we went and knocked.  I have never talked with Jewish people before.  They opened the door and said "Mormons!"  They let us right in and we just talked with them and their Korean exchange student for about an hour.  The husband was Jewish and so we got to learn a little bit about them, which was cool.  They were super nice people and we even got to learn about Korea too.  They were not interested, but said that they always welcome us in and told us if we ever needed something to call them up and ask.  They had offered to feed us dinner too, but we politely declined.  It was a good way to end the day.

Saturday it had snowed a couple inches overnight so the car was parked for the day which made a damper in our plans.  By lunch though we received word that we could use the car now so we went off to Miss Rush's to introduce Elder Bingham.  We are working on dropping her because she is not interested in the church, just enjoys the visits.  It is going to be really hard because of the relationship she has with the missionaries.  She has been meeting with them for 4 years and she does so many nice things for us.  We are going to be easing off of our visits over time.  After that we just went tracting again.  We are trying to build up our teaching pool after we dropped so many people during weekly planning.  So lots of finding for us and so far not too much is coming from it.  Having the cold doesn't help because it gives them an excuse to not stay at the door long and talk with us.

Sunday we had church and because of the snow, not too many people were able to make it.  Today was like the coldest day ever.  It had gotten close to 0 overnight and this morning when we left for church it was 10 degrees.  Luckily it is supposed to be in the 60s by Thursday so I'm looking forward to that.  We went tracting some more and froze our faces off.  It got to the point where my lips became numb so I started talking and smiling a little funny.  That was about it for us.

So from the start of this new year, I have decided to end my journal entries with a "Miracle of the Day."  It has become really interesting as some of the days don't seem to have much happen, but I am noticing little things now that I wouldn’t normally think would be miracles.  This is also true when I might be writing down things that I am grateful for.  It definitely is something that helps me see the Lord's hand in each and every day.  So I hope you all are having a great new year so far and are staying strong to your resolutions you made.  Keep up with it.  You can do it.  Don't let anyone tell you that you can't.  You are the creative force of your life.  I leave you guys with these little thoughts I had this week and I hope y'all have a great week.

Elder Ellison

Shut Down the Town!     3 inches Snow.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Welcome 2017! 1-2-17

Wow the new year has just creeped up on us so fast.  To finish off the year we had a pretty good week even though we had the holidays.  Also, another transfer has come and gone and we found out the results this morning.  I am staying in Bristol, still District Leader, and will be training again.  I will now have trained 3 missionaries.  Elder Anderson is leaving to another area. So anyways, this was our week.

Monday we had P-day with everyone in our District because one of the Sisters is going home and it was her last P-day so we partied.  We went bowling and played games at the church.

Tuesday it was raining so we couldn't go work on the farm.  We had a lot of miles left for the rest of the month so we went further out and did some finding.  We met a man named Bill who was married to a deceased member.  We talked with him for a while and we helped answer some of his questions.  He likes having proof.  He does have a belief in God, but he has a hard time believing things in the scriptures because it was so long ago.  It was a great lesson and I think we helped his faith grow just a little bit more and some things started to make sense for him.  The cool part was that we would not have had that lesson if we had not continued to look for his home.  It didn't have an address on it and we were about to give up and just move on to the next person, but we decided we would try a couple homes nearby and see if we could find it.  One home directed us to him.  I'm so glad we didn't give up on looking for him.

Wednesday we saw Miss Rush and then we had to run over to a friend of a member and give her a blessing.  It was an awesome experience and we offered our help.  We also said if she ever just wants to talk and ask questions, we would be more than happy to help her out.  We then went over to a member’s home for the rest of the night and helped paint their bathroom.

Thursday we had our last District Meeting of the transfer.  Afterwards we had exchanges with the Marion Elders.  I was with Elder Hopkins. He has been out about 2 months less than me.  We did a lot of drop-in visits to try and find people.  At the end of the night we had a lesson with some less-actives that Elder Hopkins taught before.  He started his mission here in Bristol so he knew a lot of people that we tried to see.  He even suggested a couple people we can try and see again.

Friday we switched back and then did weekly planning.  Then that afternoon we had a very successful finding day.  We had a few lessons with some investigators and less-actives throughout the day.  Then at the end of the day we stopped by to try and find a less-active and he wasn't home because he is a trucker.  We actually talked with him for a couple minutes over Skype -haha.  He told us that he wanted us to teach his wife.  She had been taught a couple years ago, but then the missionaries just stopped coming by.  So we talked with her for a bit.  She is from Columbia.  She has lived here for 4 years so her English is still in progress, but it is much better than it was the last time missionaries were there.  We set up to see her again this next week.

Saturday we did some service for a member.  While we were feeding the chickens we got to see the roosters do some dominance fighting.  It was pretty entertaining, but we also have to be careful because they sometimes try and attack us too.  Later we saw Miss Rush.  Then we had to end proselyting early that evening.  We hung out with the other missionaries because no one invited any of us over to celebrate New Year’s Eve.

Sunday our church now starts earlier and then our whole day just fell through so we just did some finding.

Well as it is the start of a new year and it is the time when everyone makes new goals or resolutions, I would like to share with you 2 quotes that will help hopefully.  These are quotes that I actually heard this last week.  So the first is, "To reach a goal you have never before attained, you must do things you have never before done."  This is so true.  Sometimes we may have to do some hard things in order to reach our end vision or goal.  Now to help us reach our goals, we need help from God.  So this second quote has to deal with help from Him to achieve our goals, "Pray like everything relies on the Lord. Work like everything relies on YOU."  We can always pray and ask for help, but nothing will happen unless we put forth our own effort.  God will provide us with the situations to achieve our goals and with those situations we are given, we need to make the choice to act upon them, even when it might be hard or our first time and we are scared.  Always remember that fear is a product of the devil and is not from God.  Always remember as well this from Mark 5:36, "Be not afraid, only believe."  I hope that something from this will help one of us achieve a goal we have set this year.  I close in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Elder Ellison
New Year's Eve Facials  -  I don't really get the point of them.
The Richard's Farm

District Funeral - She's Going Home

I Swear I Am NOT Asleep!

Bristol Speedway At Night