Thursday, May 25, 2017

Families Are Together Forever 5-8-17

So this was another awesome week.  It was the last one of the transfer too, so you know what that means:  TRANSFER CALLS!!  Yep, I will be receiving a new companion.  His name is Elder Frederick.  I don't know too much about him yet, but I will after Wednesday.  I am staying here in Chattanooga.  It looks like I may finish my mission here too.  

First off, the parents that were baptized at the beginning of April, now had another daughter, who is 9, enter the waters of baptism this last Saturday.  It is so cool to be a part of this family coming together who will one day be sealed in the temple to live with each other forever.  The parents have really changed over a month’s time as well.  This week both of them said the best prayers I have ever heard from them.  The dad baptized his daughter which was a really cool experience.  We also talked with this family and another recent convert family about going to the temple.  We set all of them on date for Jun 3 to go and do Baptisms for the dead.  So in the meantime, they are learning how to do family history and are getting names of their family members to take with them.  I can't wait for a year’s time when I get to hear that they all are going to be sealed as a family.  Another cool thing we heard at the baptism was that Zach, their 5 yr. old boy, was walking around the house with a white shirt and tie on, carrying a Book of Mormon in his hand.   He said that he was an Elder.  That was awesome to see that even at his age he wanted to be a missionary like us.

Another experience I wanted to share comes from our District Meeting this week.  One of the trainings given was on how the Holy Ghost can help us missionaries in our work.  Well we were told 3 things and were challenged to figure out 4 and 5.  Well in my study for this, number 4 really stuck out to me that I had not thought of before.  One of the fruits of the Spirit talked about in Gal 5:22 is temperance.  I looked down at the footnotes and temperance can also mean self-control.  Wow!  So the Spirit can help me to have self-control?  Yes it can!  And as I continued my search, I came across 2 Pet 1:5-8 which says to add to temperance, patience and godliness.  So patience is also a fruit of the Spirit and something He can help us with as well as godliness. So if the Holy Ghost can help us to have self-control, then we will have patience which is also a form of godliness.  So I thought I would share with you my discovery today.

Finally we had a pretty powerful moment Sunday.  It was Stake Conference and Elder Bluth of the Seventy was there.  He spoke to us about some pretty awesome things, but the coolest part was President and Sister Griffin gave there last testimonies at a Chattanooga Stake Conference.  They sat down and Elder Bluth called them and all of us missionaries up.  It's funny because the exact same thing happened to me when I was in Chatt a few months ago haha.  Anyway, he called us up and then the missionaries and the choir behind us all sang “Called to Serve.”  It was super powerful.  There were people crying all over.  Sister Griffin was a wreck and President was in tears as well.  Can't believe they are almost done as Mission President. It will be so sad to see them go.

Well that was my week.  I hope you all have an awesome week.  Go out and share the gospel with someone every day.  Be active in the work of salvation.  One thing that I heard this week that really stuck with me was, "I don't want to be at the Judgement and have someone come to me and ask me why I didn't share the gospel with them." -President Evans.  The more we have people engaged in the work, the easier it will be to find the elect of God and bring them back into His fold.  I love you all and hope you can have a great week.  If you have any missionary moments this week, I would love to hear about them.  Until next week.

Elder Ellison

Alexis Baptism - Baptized by Her Dad


District "Funeral" - That Elder is Done & Heading Home

MLC

I Got FRIED Playing Kickball - I Peeled Soooo Bad!

Monday, May 22, 2017

Baptism 5-1-17

Hey everyone.  I can't believe the month of April has come and gone.  Well this is what happened to end out the month.  First off, we had the BYU head football coach, Kilani Sitake, come and speak for a fireside.  He told us about his life story and his experiences.  It was really cool.

This week we had an investigator preparing to be baptized this Saturday.  We needed to see them before the interview, but they weren't home.  We tried again the next day and they weren't home.  We had never had any trouble finding them at home before so something seemed a little strange.  We were sitting there wondering what to do and I said a quick prayer asking the Lord to help us find them.  We wondered if they were at the mom's work so we drove there and searched the whole parking lot for their car.  We finally found it and were so grateful that the Lord inspired us where to find them.  Just goes to show that the Lord does answer prayers when you have faith.

Another cool experience we had started the night before.  We said a prayer to close our day and we asked the Lord to help us find people to teach because a lot of our teaching pool isn't super solid right now.  Well that morning we were in “The HOOD”, and we tried a former.  She wasn't home so we just knocked some doors on that street.  2 doors later we started talking to a guy for a bit.  Towards the end he told us that the night before he was praying to someone (he claims to be pagan, but we’re not sure what his beliefs are) and asked to be shown something:  Shown that God is there.  Well we came knocking that next day, gave him a Book of Mormon, and told him we were an answer to his prayer.  We are seeing him this week and I can't wait to see where it goes.

The last thing was that we had a baptism for Bri.  It took some time and persistence, but she finally joined her mom a couple months later in the church and now the whole family is in the gospel.  There were a lot of things that worked out just the way it needed to in order for that to happen.  It was a super awesome experience.  She received the gift of the Holy Ghost Sunday too.  Daniel, who got baptized a month ago, got the Aaronic priesthood also on Sunday so that he can baptize his daughter this next weekend.

Good things are happening right now and we are so excited.  Transfers are next week so we shall see what the Lord has in store for us next Monday.  I pray that you all may have a great week.

Elder Ellison

Bri's Baptism

Chillin' On Our Porch

The "Smolder"


Saturday, May 20, 2017

Missionary Work 4-24-17

So a lot happened this week. It has rained every day at some point for about a week now.  We also had our last exchanges of the transfer so we get 2 weeks to just work our area together.

First off I wanted to talk about a miracle we have seen over the course of time.  The last couple weeks there has been a lot of rain.  Well for us, the Lord has blessed us to not get soaked.  Every time it is raining, the Lord provides us with someone to teach during that time or it will stop raining right before we go out to knock doors and then start up again after we are done.  What a blessing!

Thursday we went on exchanges with the Assistants (APs) and I went and did some YSA work.  Not too much success, but we did get to go to Institute there and we talked about a few chapters in the Book of Revelation.  It was so cool.  The scriptures are so awesome to learn and study, especially prophecies, descriptions, and finding out what they mean.  We were in the chapters that talk about the 4 beasts and then went on to the 7 seals.

Also, we had a cool experience Saturday.  We went to go try some investigators we tracted into a few weeks ago.  We have never been there at the right time.  So we did one last stop and we got in.  We taught the whole Restoration.  They liked it and even asked us questions to help them understand.  One awesome question was about the Priesthood.  We explained about Baptism needing to be done by the Priesthood authority and he asked if getting married would need to be redone by someone who has that authority.  No one ever makes that correlation.  So we explained the difference between civil and eternal marriage.  It was just an awesome lesson.

Finally our Mission President spoke in our ward Sunday.  He talked about how this work is hard.  Even though it is hard, it is true.  He eventually made his way to talking us missionaries up a bit and then talked to the members about being member missionaries.  Afterwards we had a lot of people tell us how much they love our Mission President.  It was a powerful talk.

Well this week should be exciting.  We have a baptism this Saturday and are preparing for that. I hope all of you have a great week.

Elder Ellison

Party at the Mission Office



Thursday, May 18, 2017

Changing Your Roots 4-17-17

So to start off, we had 2 exchanges with some Elders in the Zone.  On one of our exchanges the Elder I was with and I tried a less-active couple.  They let us right in and we just talked with them for a long time.  We showed the Easter Initiative.  Before we left they gave us 2 things.  The first was some German chocolate because the lady was from Germany and recently returned from a trip there.  It was delicious!  The second thing required that we buy a ton of ice cream.   We were given some Carolina Reapers.  If you don't know what that is, it is the hottest pepper in the world.  So at the end of the night, what did we do?  Oh yes, we tried them.  We took very small pieces, but as soon as it hit our tongues, our whole mouth was on fire and our saliva was on fire as we swallowed It went all the way down our throats.  The ice cream cooled things a little in our mouths, but it didn't take it away, just masked it.  Somehow my finger touched a pepper and so when I rubbed my eye, that was not fun at all.

Our second exchange we had a cool experience.  We were in the other Elder’s area because they just whitewashed in (which is when two new missionaries come in who don't know anything about the area and it is basically starting from scratch) and they didn't have much of a teaching pool.  So we worked their area double to help get some things going.  The Elder I was with and I went tracting towards the evening and we knocked on the door of an apartment.  They answered and we asked if we could share a message about Jesus.  So to me it was almost like the story President Uchtdorf told in the women's session in October, fourth floor, last door.  The parents were going to say the usual, "we are good thank you," but a 7 year old girl spoke first and said, “Yes.”  So the grandma said we could because the girl had said yes.  It was really cool and if they progress, then it will all be because that little girl stepped up first.

I gave a talk in the YSA Branch.  Can you guess what on?  You got it.  Tithing.  No I'm kidding, it was definitely the Atonement.  I first talked about Satan and the things he does to put us in bondage and related it to how we can only escape if we use the Atonement every day.  I had multiple scriptures to go along with it and ended with the survey that I think I have talked about before.  It is about the 4 questions asked to temple recommend holders.  If I haven't shared that yet then let me know and I will.

We also had Zone Training Meeting and I gave 3 trainings:  One to the missionaries with Elder Smith, one by myself to the missionaries, and one to just the District Leaders.  All of them went well. The one to the missionaries was pretty good.  Elder Smith and I had a really good one on how to begin teaching and we added getting rid of what we call “eternagators” (investigators that investigate, but don't keep commitments or progress, they just sit there) by dropping them for a while or baptizing them.  Either help them progress or help them progress by giving them some time on their own.  Then there was my training.  I spoke about what the title of this email is, changing your roots.  I first talked about how we all want good fruit to come forth from our labors and the only way that good fruit will come about is if we have good roots.  I spoke on 4 roots that can be found in missionary work.  They are the root of Homesickness, Negativity, Work, and Love.  The first two I talked about how we need to change it or use it to help us do our best.  The second two I said are things we need and are good for us.  I ended with the scripture John 15: 16 and how we have been chosen to this work and we should have the hope that we will bring forth good fruit that will remain as long as we start with good roots.

We also had a sweet Easter Sunday.  We went to some awesome members and had breakfast for dinner.  We then did an Easter Egg Hunt because, why not?

Lastly we had interviews with President Griffin.  In the interview we had to teach him about repentance.  It was a little different than most interviews, but it was still good.  I just want to end with a little writing about repentance.  First and foremost, repentance is not supposed to be a fearful, dreadful, scary thing.  It is meant to be a joyous experience.  There is no better feeling than when you have peace come over you and the guilt of whatever mistake you have made is gone.  As our Mission President's son defines it, it is a daily course correction.  We need to repent every day or else the Atonement that Christ performed willingly, is not being used by us properly.  He is the Prince of Peace and peace only comes when we correct our daily behavior to be more in line with God's will.

I close this email in the name of Him who is our advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ, amen.

Elder Ellison

They Said to Leave a Book For Others to Enjoy - So I Did!

Easter Egg Hunt

I Balled Too Hard To Stay Awake Waiting For Interviews - I Can Sleep Anywhere Now

P-Day Hike

The View Was Awesome Until We Decided To Block It



Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Unlimited 4-10-17

So first off, to explain the title, we have a car that has no mile limits currently.  We have actually two cars right now.  One that has a mile limitation, and one that doesn't.  We have to get one of our cars fixed from a rear ending a while back and so they gave us another car to drive while it is in the shop. Well that car is not in the shop yet so we have two cars.  OK so the rest of this week we did a lot of finding and a couple exchanges with other missionaries.  We also set two more baptismal dates which was awesome.

So the first baptismal date is for a girl named Bri.  She is the daughter of a recent convert that was baptized back in February.  We have been working with her for quite a while now and she has finally accepted a date to be baptized on April 29th.  It has taken her a while to want to be baptized because of certain circumstances, but she has decided to finally work with us towards that date and we are hoping and praying that she will be ready for it.

Our next date is for a girl named Alexis.  She is nine years old.  Her parents Daniel and Stephanie were the ones that were baptized last Saturday.  She wanted her dad to baptize her and so we are working with him to get the priesthood and we are now teaching her the lessons.  She will be baptized on May 6th.  She is a lot different than most of the nine-year-olds I have talked to in the past.  All of the others had very small attention spans and didn't always understand all that we taught, but Alexis has a very good attention span and understands everything.  One of the coolest things about our last lesson was her dad.  He had a little skepticism regarding some of the things that we taught them and he was still working to believe some things.  However, during this lesson with Alexis he finally decided to be baptized because the Spirit was so strong and had really touched him.  He even helped us teach her one of the principles of the lesson which we were having trouble helping her to understand.  He taught it in a way that she could understand and it was really cool to see him do that.

This week we also gave a man a blessing.  After the blessing he said he really needed that and after a couple weeks of not being at church, he finally attended this last Sunday because he was feeling well enough.  Also, as I mentioned earlier, we went on a couple exchanges this week. We did a lot of finding on those exchanges and I was with two Elders that were either three or four transfers out.  So they were pretty new.  Well we had fun and we found a few people to go back to and try to teach.  I also got to see my old area of downtown Chattanooga which is awesome.  It feels like I'm right back at home.

Well that's it for me for this week. Sorry not too much happened, but I hopefully will have some really cool experiences to share with you guys this next week.  We have Zone Training meeting tomorrow (Tuesday) and I have to give the closing remarks so we shall see how that goes.  I hope all is well for you and I hope to hear from you guys.  I love you and keep the faith.

Elder Ellison

We've Had a Little Rain

Nice View With the Exception of the Nuclear Power Plants in the Back

Monday, May 15, 2017

Best Week Ever! 4-03-17

Wow! So this week was an awesome week. We had transfers but as you know things are staying the same for this one.  We had to help out a bunch of missionaries though because they couldn't get rides.  So Tuesday night we were driving all over, picking up luggage and driving it to a member’s home who had room.  We were out past 11pm.  For those missionaries out there, you know that is no good haha.  Then the next day we had to do the same thing when they got back from transfers.  We did so much driving in those couple days that we were using “approved” miles rather than our own.

All right, so here is why it was the best week ever.  First off the new Easter Initiative came out.  It is all about the Prince of Peace.  If you haven't seen it then go to Mormon.org.  It shares how Christ is the Prince of Peace and how we can find peace through gospel principles.

Second it was General Conference.  One of the talks that I liked came from Elder Sabin of the seventy.  I really like one of the things he talked about.  He talked about how we need to stand up inside.  If we can be the person we want to be on the inside then it will naturally show forth on the outside.  It all starts from the inside out.

Ok so highlight of the week:  I was able to witness my first baptism.  Daniel and Stephanie got baptized in between sessions of General Conference.  We have been working hard with them and they finally have gotten to this point. The Spirit was so strong in the service.  I gave a talk about the Holy Ghost after the baptism and before we confirmed upon them the gift of the Holy Ghost.  I am so grateful that I could be a part of their journey.  It is not over yet either.  One of their daughters, possible 2 of them, will get baptized in the next couple weeks.  She wanted her dad to baptize her so we are working on getting him the priesthood to do that.  One of the daughters is afraid of water so hopefully we can work through that.  Again, I am so grateful I could be able to witness their transformation and dedication in following their Savior.

That is it for me this week. Hope it is a good one for all of you.

Elder Ellison



video

Homeless man on a beach chair with wheels being pulled by 2 huskies while waving an American flag - For Real!  You don't see that everyday.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Transfers 3-27-17

So first start out we had transfer calls today and Elder Smith and I are staying put for another transfer.  This last week we had a lot of meetings and driving and preparation for our baptisms coming up this next week.  

On Tuesday we had a really cool experience:  We were able to go up to Knoxville and listen to David Archuleta.  He came and visited our mission.  Half of our total missionaries were there and we were some of the lucky ones that got to go.  He talked to us and sang some songs.  He talked a lot about him gaining a relationship with Heavenly Father and about listening to the Spirit.  One of the really cool things he talked about was the very first miracle that Jesus Christ performed in His earthly ministry.  He had heard this from a professor at BYU.  The very first miracle that Jesus Christ performed written in the scriptures was the event of turning water into wine.  As the professor explained, this event is significant because it shows that Jesus Christ can change things.  As he changed the water into wine, he can also change you as a person into something better.  Not to say wine is good for you or is better than water, but you know what I mean.  This change happens because of the Atonement of Jesus Christ.  His sacrifice for all of us is something that we can use to become better people.  The atonement does many things for us such as helping us to repent, to be forgiven of mistakes we have made, to have someone there right beside us who knows exactly how we feel when we go through pain and sorrow, and to provide a way for us to become better by following His example.  We get to start over every day and try to do better than the last.  So that is one of the cool things he talked about.  He also sang some songs which were really good.  He has a really good voice.  He even told us some experiences he had growing up and on his mission of learning to listen to the Spirit.  We then got to shake his hand afterwards.

Later that week we had a lesson with the Miller family who is scheduled to be baptized soon.  It was awesome.  We went over the Law of Tithing which can sometimes be a little difficult, but before we even taught anything, they told us of an experience they had where they had seen the blessings from it.  They had learned about the Law of Tithing a little bit before in church, they talked about it afterwards, and they calculated out their expenses to see if they could pay it.  In the end they saw that there was no way they could. Then one day while shopping, Sister Miller had the thought to look through her gift cards and see how much money she had with them.  She looked on the first and saw about $20.  Then she looked on some others that she thought only had a few dollars or none on them.  When she added all of the money up from the gift cards it equaled the exact amount of money that they would have to pay tithing on that they thought they would not be able to pay.  So even with a desire to keep this commitment before baptism and without even having to live it right now, they already saw that it works.  This next week we are working with them on their baptism which is on the first of April.  We are so excited for them and can't wait for a great weekend ahead because it is also General Conference.

The last experience this week I want to talk about is one that happened while finding.  We were about to go tracting and we said a prayer before we got out of the car.  In the prayer we asked that we would be able to find someone who will listen to our message.  We also asked that we will recognize them as people God has prepared and that they would recognize us as God's servants.  While tracting, we went the whole street until we were left with one last door.  A man named Jeremiah answered and said that we could share a message with him.  We asked when and he said right now so we taught him the whole Restoration lesson on his porch and was able to set up a return appointment.  We also got to help teach tailored to his needs because he didn't quite know how the Spirit felt or how God answers prayers.  As we were sitting there talking to him, I thought to myself, "We said a prayer asking to find someone to teach because our teaching pool is small. We then knocked into Jeremiah who told us we could share a message with him right then and it was someone who wanted a closer relationship with God and wanted to know how he could receive answers to his prayers and feel of the Spirit."  This was a testimony builder to me that God leads us to His children who are looking for Him and in need of help.

That was basically my week and so I hope that all of you will have a great week and will learn something from General Conference that you can apply to your life as I too will be looking for that same thing.  I know as we do that there will be something in there; a sentence or a whole talk related to something that we need.  I love you all and I look forward to sharing my thoughts with you next week.


Elder Ellison


Getting Swole - #6monthstosexy
District