Wednesday, March 1, 2017

The Lord's Plan Is Perfect 1-23-17

Oh man!  I have no idea where to begin for this awesome week.  First is sadly our 60 degree weather in January will be coming to an end this next week.  Also, before I begin, this week was full of amazing miracles, but also still had some sad moments.

Monday we invited some of the youth to our P-day and had a good time.  I also got some exciting news.  Down in my last area, Chattanooga, Hayden, the 9 yr old girl with major ADHD, got baptized last weekend.  I was super happy when I heard that because I thought she wouldn't be baptized for a while because of her attention span.  So that was awesome.

Tuesday we did service at the Richard's.  Bro Richard was just called to be our new Ward Mission Leader.  After our service, we had 2 lessons.  The first was a lady named Wendi.  She had been taught everything by missionaries in another area, but she had recently moved into our area.  So we mainly just got to know her for our first visit.  Then we had a lesson with Lina.  It was interesting because the member we had with us couldn't speak Spanish either, but we did well and taught her the Restoration.  Then we had an appointment at 5:30, which ended up falling through because she was sick with the flu, but we had gotten there 15 minutes early.  I thought, "We have a few extra minutes so we can just sit here in the car until the time for the lesson."  However, I kept having this urge that we should be effective and knock some doors, even for a few minutes.  So that is what we did.  The first door we knocked on answered and a kid opened the door, but then we heard a woman inside ask who it was.  We stepped in the door way and the lady said, "I can't believe this."  We were a little confused and she asked why we were there.  We said we were just knocking doors in the area, nothing special.  She told us that she was a member and we didn't have her records from where she moved from.  She gave us her phone number and said she wanted to talk to the Bishop.  We are not too sure how interested she is in coming back to church, but it just goes to show that if we had just sat there and waited a few minutes instead of using the most of our time, we would never have found her and the Lord would have lost a little trust in us in listening to Him and His promptings.  Later that evening we had a lesson with some less-actives that are working on coming back so they can be sealed in the temple.

Wednesday was our sad day.  Good came later in the day, but to start we had some sadness.  We met with Miss Rush.  We did some service for her.  Then later in our visit came a very dreadful moment. We had to tell her that after 4 years straight of meeting with the missionaries, we would not be able to come by anymore.  My heart was wrenching as we told her this.  She understood why and took it well.  She is a very nice lady and has great faith in Christ, she just needed more time to be polished and prepared.  After that we met with a less-active member.  We got to know him as well and invited him back to church.  He has been to McCall, Idaho a few times for his work which is pretty cool.  He has been all over the country.  Then we met with Dan again.  We taught him the Restoration as well.  He accepted soft baptismal invitation.  It is awesome to see that just a couple weeks ago we were struggling to find people to teach and now we have a few people and even some that are accepting baptism.  The Lord knows when His children are ready.

Thursday we had a Zone Conference and we were trained on a few things.  One was how to work with the Ward Councils and find people to teach through them.  That was done by President Griffin.  The Zone Leaders trained on how we can help people attend church.  Then we got to hear Elder Leahman, my past companion, give his departing testimony.  It is sad to see that I am again losing another friend in my mission.  Then we had another training by our Mission President.  He trained us on repentance and forgiveness.  He related it to us and the people we teach.  He talked about how we all have chains of the Devil and how we need to get rid of them.  We carry them until we can let them go.  We let them go by other people helping us and showing us how.  We need to show our investigators how they can let go of their chains.  It was a good conference.  We then got back to our area and had another lesson with Lina.  This lesson was amazing.  First we had a Spanish speaker there so she could speak her thoughts more.  Second is she got an answer that it is true.  She had read about baptism and thought that was something she wanted to do since it was a commandment of God.  We taught her the Plan of Salvation.  At the end of the lesson we set a date for baptism on Feb. 11.  She also told us something really cool.  Back in November/December she had been thinking about how she wanted to come back to church.  She has been before.  She didn't know if she should just show up one Sunday or call the missionaries.  She made up excuses like that is weird or awkward and so she didn't know what to do.  She then made a New Year Resolution that she would start coming.  Well on Dec. 30 Elder Anderson and I were just doing drop in visits on people we didn't know.  We saw the name of a less-active named Rex.  We didn't know anything about him and had no info.  So we went by to see if we could meet him.  Well he wasn't there, but we had talked to him on a Skype call they were having at the time and he told us to teach her.  Well she knew that by us coming over that night God's was answering her and telling her to come to church.  We would never had known that had happened if she had not said anything.  This event proves that the Lord is guiding us through our faith to those people who are ready, even when we don't recognize it at first.

Friday was an alright day.  Our 2 appointments either cancelled or rescheduled.  We had some weekly planning.  Then we spent the whole day finding.  Nothing too major happened.  While tracting, we did have a guy show us a Holy Bible he had that was from the 1600s.  That was pretty cool.

Saturday we had our weekly service at the Davison's.  Then we finally got into a less-active family's home.  We had been trying for weeks and persistence eventually payed off.  The daughter told us the day before when we stopped and set up this appointment that she told her parents that they were going to have to let us in at some point.  So we talked about church and invited them back.  Most of the family said they would come.  The family consists of the parents, 3 daughters, and a son.  The boy is the youngest at 12 and he told us as we talked about church that he wanted to be baptized since he had not been yet.  So we are going to start teaching him this next week.  Then we had a lesson with a referral we received.  Her name is Nola.  She had talked with missionaries for a little bit while she was visiting in Mississippi.  So we taught her the Restoration and she also accepted a soft baptismal invitation.  She also asked about coming to church and so we explained that as well.

Sunday was a crazy day. We had to open up the overflow seating for the first time in my entire mission experience.  Why?  Because Elder Bingham was giving a talk and so everyone wanted to hear it.  No, I kid.  He did speak, but actually future Elder Youngblood was giving his farewell talk and so there were lots of visitors.  He is going to Provo, Utah Spanish speaking so look out for him if you are in that area.  He will be a great missionary because of a couple things from his talk.  It was on missionary work.  I could feel the Spirit the whole time he spoke.  His first remarks were about how we should all be there to worship God because this is His church and not because he is leaving for 2 years.  I don't remember anyone else I know saying that in their talks and I really liked that.  I also got to see a couple familiar faces from when I was in Chatt.  Then later in the day we saw the Fonsecas.  We had not seen them in a while so we thought we would drop by and pay them a visit.

My faith grew so much this week.  The Lord truly does have a perfect plan and it doesn't always go along with ours.  We have to put a lot of trust in Him that it will all work out.  We just need to do what we know we should and then we will see the blessings later come from our efforts.  Elder Bingham and I are continually searching out new ways to find people to teach right now and are going to try some new things like teaching the members the Restoration and other ideas from Preach My Gospel.  Oh how I love that manual!  It has truly helped me be a better missionary and servant of Christ.  I would not be anywhere near where I am right now without it.  It truly was inspired by God through all the people it went through to put together.  It is not just for missionaries.  It is for anyone who wants to be better at sharing the gospel with the people around them and it gives different ideas of how you can do that without just walking up to some random stranger and asking if they want to hear a message about Jesus Christ.  That's my job haha.  However, the Lord truly does have His hand in this work and we are working upward and looking for more ways to improve.  Thank you all for your prayers and I love you.  Above all, know that your Father in Heaven loves you even more.

Elder Ellison

E. Youngblood Heading to the MTC

Selfie Level = Amateur

Goodbye E. Leahman!

The Countdown Begins!

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