Featured Photo: “I’m closer than you think!”
From Elder Ellis:
Well, it’s already been a week. How fast did that go by? Really fast. It’s great to once again be able to sit down and talk with you all briefly. I’ve been out for almost a transfer now. CRAZY! I’ve still got plenty of stories to tell!
First things first. Long week, but pretty good. Midway through the week we lost contact with J___ (the cool guy from Chicago). We couldn’t meet with him or anything. So we kind of had to drop him as an investigator. THEN! On Sunday morning at 8:54 am, he texted us and wanted a ride to church that morning! We had to scramble to get someone to pick him up, but we did and he made it to church! It was testimony meeting too, and he bore his testimony and said how excited he was to get baptized. His Baptism date is set for May 23. He’s super excited for it! It showed me that no matter who we are, or where we come from, or how scary we look, or even our history, we can’t judge one another. The words from the hymn “Lord, I Would Follow Thee” come to mind: “Who am I to judge another, when I walk imperfectly.” I was intimidated and scared of John for the longest time. But after he bore his sweet testimony about how this Church makes him feel at home and how excited he is to become a member, I know that I don’t have to feel afraid or intimidated. He’s a child of God just like us all. It’s been great!
Other great experiences from this week. On Wednesday, we helped Brother W___ move some boxes full of car parts. They were about 4ftx4ftx4ft boxes and they were on pallets. He had us drag them from his garage to his trailer and drag them up onto his trailer too. It was painful and heavy. Each box had to be at least 500+ pounds (no exaggeration there). We managed to get the first box on the trailer relatively okay. The second box took longer. Half way through, we got to a point where we couldn’t move it anymore. It was totally stuck on something. It was also only half way up the trailer ramp. We took a moment and stepped back and couldn’t figure out what to do. We stopped, and I said, “This sounds weird, but why don’t we pray about it?” I mean it sounded weird to me. Who prays to find out how to move a box up a ramp? Alma didn’t! We prayed and Elder Gardiner prayed in Hmong and said something that I didn’t understand. After we finished praying, I told him I hoped he prayed for strength because we’re gong to need that. After pushing and pulling and basically turning into the Incredible Hulk and bringing out my inner linebacker, we somehow got the box up onto the trailer. It was a crazy miracle. I know that God answers our prayers and helps us along the way. I mean our prayer was to help move a box. No one asks for that! But, he still helped us one way or another. I’ll have you know I was only sore for two days after that.
Yesterday was crazy too. We went to the A___s for dinner. (They took some photos and sent them to mom and dad, that was nice of them!) I was complaining most of the day because it was HOT AND HUMID! I also ran out of my short sleeve white shirts, because I ended up using them all last week doing service. After dinner with the A___s, it got cloudy, which was perfect because we were going tracting after dinner anyway! Then we got to the street and everybody was outside running around doing things! We got to talk to so many people, but they all said the same thing, “You’d better go back home. A HUGE thunderstorm is about to hit in 20 minutes or so! Golf ball-sized hail is coming too!” We still had to tract for the full hour though, so we pressed onward. The thunderstorm was rolling in as we were talking to this person who is old and dying, but wanted to hear our message. We would have stayed longer, but it started pouring rain and sirens were going off warning of either a tornado or big thunderstorm, which happened to be the latter. We got rain dumped on us. I almost took a few pictures and videos but I didn’t want my camera to get soaked. Haha. It was crazy!
Last cool experience. We were up around the West side of Eau Claire and it was dinner time, so we went to this Hmong Restaurant for dinner. It’s actually owned by members of the church (they’re Hmong!). We got to eat some really good food. We went to go pay for our meal and the waiter said, “Hey don’t worry about it. It’s on the house.” Turns out his brother is serving in Cambodia and he knows how missions work. He was very kind and said that we are always welcome here. He knows we work hard and don’t have a ton of money. He was a really good guy. I love meeting people like that!
I think my emails are getting longer each week. Sorry, haha. This week, my biggest spiritual golden diamond of awesomeness is hymn #30: “Come, Come Ye Saints.” It’s been in my head all week this week. My favorite line is “Why should we mourn, or think our lot is hard? ‘Tis not so, all is right.” Often times we think that we are going through things that are impossible for us to overcome. “We can’t possibly make it through this day. It’s too hot. I have to wear long-sleeved shirts in hot and humid weather. etc.” This little line brings me so much comfort. “‘Tis not so, all is right.” We don’t have to complain about our trials. All is right. Heavenly Father won’t give us trials we can’t overcome. I know that to be true. We may think we are dying, but we really aren’t. We are growing. Because I’m a missionary, I want to leave you all with a challenge now. My challenge to you all this week is to think of a hymn that you enjoy and sing it this week! Keep it in your minds and in your hearts! Ponder about why it is your favorite hymn. Hymns hold a lot of truth and spirit in them. Love you all! Keep on keeping on!