Saturday, March 4, 2017

The Last Week 2-6-17

So we are coming up on the last week of our transfer. Elder Bingham has improved so much throughout these last few weeks.  It has been a fun transfer and looking forward to the next one.  We had a decent week with some good things happening.

Monday we got to go down to Johnson City with a bunch of other missionaries again.  We played basketball like all day.  We went to the Community Center and played with the kids there too.  My team went undefeated which was awesome.  We played about 10 games in a row with like no stops in between.  I was so exhausted by the end of that day.  It was great.  We finished the day by doing some Ward Directory sorting.

Tuesday we did our usual service at the Richard's.  We later had a lesson with Zach.  We taught him the principles of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  Then we went and had dinner with some members.  We went out on a Home Teaching visit afterwards. 

Wednesday we had our District Meeting and then had interviews with President.  We talked about a few different things.  It's always awesome to be able to talk with President Griffin.  We then had exchanges with the Marion Elders and Elder Bradford stayed with me in Bristol.  We went out and did some finding.  We were able to find a potential investigator and hand out a Book of Mormon, which we haven't been able to do much recently.  Later we met with Dan again.  We had an awesome lesson with him and helped him see the importance of coming to church and how it can help him understand and receive an answer about the restored gospel.  Then we got to help out with the Young Men’s activity.  They were doing it on missionary work.  We got to bear our testimonies to them about being missionaries.  It is interesting to see how my view on missionary work and it’s importance has changed and grown stronger over the course of my mission.

Thursday we exchanged back and then we did lots of finding.  We then had a sweet lesson with a less-active.  She is starting to get more active again.  We answered some of the questions she had and read from the Book of Mormon with her.  We also gave her a blessing for a few things she was wanting help with from God.  Elder Bingham performed his first sealing part of the blessing.  He did a great job for his first time.  One of the cool things I want to share from this visit was something that only the Spirit could have had a part in.  As we were answering her questions, one was on fasting.  She wanted to know how she could obey the law of the fast even though she can't do a normal fast due to diabetes.  We explained to her that fasting is a way to show God that you are willing to give up something in return for help from him.  She then replied, "I could fast from using cigarettes."  She is wanting to quit smoking and only the Spirit of God could have prompted her to say that.  She was going to go 24 hrs. without smoking as her way of fasting.  It was awesome.  It was even better when we told her that this next Sunday was fast Sunday.  She got super excited about that. 

Friday was our good ole’ weekly planning day.  After that we went tracting for a couple hours.  We were able to hand out 2 Book of Mormons which was awesome.  We talked to, more like listened to, one guy talk to us about a bunch of gospel stuff.  It is always awesome to me to meet nice people like him who just share their testimonies with us and their knowledge to help us learn too.  We met another guy later named Terrell, who seemed interested in talking to us.  He just didn’t have time that day, but asked us to come back.  We got a couple potentials on that street to go back and see.

Saturday we didn't get to do our usual service so we went and did some tracting.  Pretty cool is the first door a man answered and invited us to come to his church (Penecostal) and have lunch and watch the Super Bowl with them.  I was super pumped and totally wanted to, but we couldn't find his church so we couldn't go.  Plus we didn't think it was appropriate since we aren’t allowed to watch the Super Bowl.  It's funny though, some churches out here will close for the day because they think no one will come on Super Bowl Sunday.

Sunday was an awesome day at church.  We first had a ward fast for missionary work in the area.  We also had an awesome Testimony meeting to which I felt the Spirit very strong.  The rest of the day we went and saw a member who had not been to church in a while. 

One of my thoughts this week has been on the Atonement of our Savior, Jesus Christ.  It is awesome to think that He did that specifically for me.  To think that for at least one second, He felt all of my pains, sufferings, and trials.  Each of us had time given to Him.  He felt each one of our struggles separately.  The Atonement is meant to be very personal.  It is not just some big random thing out there, but is something we can use every single moment of our lives.  Why did He do this?  Right at the start He realized what He was about to go through and asked, "let this cup pass from me."  But He persevered and pushed on.  "The goodness in Him allowed faith to triumph..."  Why?  Because, "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends" (John 15: 13).  He pushed on because of His love for us.  He called us His friends.  Because we are His friends and He loves us, He did it.  He said we are His friends, but is He our friend?  He goes on in that scripture in verse 14 and says "Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I have commanded you."  That is how we can make Him our friend.  He loved us in order to go through all that He did.  Can we not do our best to do what He has asked?  Can we not do our best to try and take away some of that burden He had taken in that garden?  I was reading this last week in 2 Nephi 9, and I recommend going and reading this chapter as it talks a little bit about the gospel and the Atonement, but as I was reading, there were a couple things that stood out to me that helps me see what I must do in order to strive to do my best.  Verse 45 says, "O, my beloved brethren, turn away from your sins; shake off the chains of him that would bind you fast; come unto that God who is the rock of your salvation. 46 Prepare your souls... 49 Behold, my soul abhorreth sin, and my heart delighteth in righteousness;..."  I believe that if we can apply some of these things and work at them, as well as strive to keep all the commandments we have been given, that we will be able to shake off those chains that hold us down and we will be new people with a desire for righteousness and we will be able to take away a small portion of that burden.  In all, we will come unto our God and show our love for Him.  I leave this with you in the name of our Savior and Redeemer of the world, Jesus Christ, amen.

Elder Ellison

Weekly Service at the Richard's Farm
Pres. Got Skills  -  Double Texting & Swag!

Missions are a little rough on shoes, ya think?

Taste Testing - Is this Chicken Liver or Dog Food?

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