Featured Photo: Entering the Mission Field (The real Ragnar!)!
From Elder Ellis (email dated 8/15/2016):
Hello, everyone! So in conjunction with this awesome subject line, I have a cool experience that I must share! So that’s how we will start this morning!
On Saturday morning, Elder Oldroyd and I went running. Yes, I know, surprise surprise to everyone: I went running. Surprise to myself as well. Anyway, athletic level aside, we went running. As we were running along our normal path, which consists of about a mile one way and a mile back, we noticed these flashing blinkers. As we passed by they said, “Ragnar.” We found out very quickly we were running on the same path as the Ragnar race! So I can now say I ran the Ragnar! Or a portion of it! Haha.
There is a spiritual experience I got out of this though. As we were running, someone passed me by and said, “Good work man, keep going!” I thought, “Silly person, I’m not even running the Ragnar, but you keep going!” It made me think of a quote from President Thomas S. Monson in the April 2014 conference. He says, “We cannot truly love God if we do not love our fellow travelers on this mortal journey.” It’s so true! Christ said “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind…This is the first and great commandment…The second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” We can’t love God if we don’t love our neighbors! It doesn’t matter who they are our how far along the journey of life they are, we can love them and life them up. This runner didn’t even know I wasn’t a contestant in this race, but he still cheered me on. On our spiritual journeys, we can help others by cheering them on and lifting them up as we all work towards becoming better. It’s what the lord wants us to do and it’s something simple that we can do.
So leave it to Elder Ellis to find some spiritual experience from running…Haha. Well onto the rest of the week then shall we?
Let’s start with M___. This week was so fantastic, I mean it’s unbelievable how blessed we’ve been. Backstory time! So M___ has been asking questions, praying, and reading the scriptures for weeks now. She said herself that she could never get answers to anything. That is until she started reading the scriptures and praying. Once she started doing the small and simple things, she began to get answers. We told her to pray and ask about baptism. For three weeks, she said she didn’t get an answer. For three weeks, she’s said that she just needs to be patient because God isn’t telling her the answer yet. We committed her and promised her that if she came to church, she would receive the answer she is looking for. Last Sunday, she came to church. Elder Oldroyd and I both got up to bear our testimonies and WE DIDN’T SEE HER! Someone mentioned to us afterwards, “Oh, did you see M___ and her daughter here today?” We were baffled, “Uh no, we didn’t see her here at church.” So we texted her after and asked her how it was and other missionary related things. She replies back, “Oh ,it was wonderful, I got some answers.” We were dying to meet with her.
Fast forward to Saturday, as in two days ago. We finally got to meet with her. We talked about her week, her new job, what’s going on with her daughter (her daughter was baptized in April and she has been investigating to know more about why her daughter is so happy now), etc. We finally asked her, “So what answers did you get?” She said, “Yes, I got two answers.” Then she talked about how she got an answer about what to do with her “gentleman” she dated a few months ago and how to let him go and how she can best help him by not worrying about him. We then asked, “So you got a second answer right? What was that?” She took a breath. In this moment, I’m positive the whole world stopped. Everything, my heart skipped like seven beats. The world stopped moving and everything was weighing on the next thing that M___ would say. I mean, it was the most intense moment. She took a breath and said, “I need to be baptized.” I almost literally jumped for joy. I was so happy! She set a date for September 17th and is going to prepare herself for baptism on that day. We were just ecstatic! The spirit was so strong in that moment, it was so good. I know she felt it too.
So that was an amazing experience. There are so many other things that happened this week. Saturday was just a day of miracles. So we had our lesson with M___, then went to the Oakdale stake fair. It was a lot of fun, good food, etc. Aiden and Gage came too! We went over to their house after and helped Gage write his talk for church on Sunday. I reached into my bag and realized I didn’t have my iPad. I freaked out. I had already lost all my pictures once, but to lose them again? Holy cow I couldn’t do it! Gage noticed I was missing my iPad and told me to pray that I would find it. I thought, huh, my recent convert has more faith that prayer can work than I do. I was a little skeptical, I admit, but it was cool to see Gage prompt me to pray. Gage has been a member for two weeks, and he’s prompting me to pray, so I did. I was confident I left it in the car of our member who brought us home from the stake fair. As we were driving home, I had a thought, what if I left it on the top of our car and it had fallen off somewhere?? Oh, I was getting more and more uneasy. We pulled onto our street that we live on and I saw a red and black square in the middle of the road. I immediately stopped the car and said, “No way.” I backed up, got out, and picked up my iPad. Not damaged, not stolen, and still here for me. I just had the best feeling of gratitude. Anything could have happened in that moment. Someone could had ran it over, stolen it, and it would have been lost forever. I felt that God loved me enough, because he knew how much that little iPad meant to me. It also strengthened my testimony of prayer. Gage is awesome, I’m so grateful for him! I’m so grateful to God, for loving me enough to help me with this simple thing.
So on Sunday, that was a crazy day. Our church building was broken into. Someone smashed the bishops office window and pried open the clerks office and the library. They trashed it all. Threw open file cabinets papers everywhere, it was crazy. The person also apparently tried to pry open the baptismal font, probably unknowingly. So church was canceled yesterday because it was a crime scene. So that happened. We went to church in Oakdale. It was sad, because Gage was so excited to give his talk too. He will probably give his talk next week. FYI we weren’t the only church in Hudson to get hit. There were two other churches of other faiths that also got broken into. Good news though, no one is hurt. All is well. 🙂
Man, so this email is already long enough and I’ve only talked about my weekend. So I’ll briefly update you all on what else happened. We had a specialty training on Tuesday about contacting people using pamphlets. We also started a zone wide iCloud photo sharing thing. It’s awesome. Posting miracles for days! I got to go on a exchange with Elder Pierson, it was fun!
Final shoutout to Lucia! She’s finished her mission, or will have by the end of the week. Time travel makes verb tenses so confusing. Anyway, she has served faithfully and somehow couldn’t get a six month extension…. Grrr…. But she’s blessed the lives of so many people and will continue to bless the lives of many. Keep up the great work, Sorella Montagnoli!
Oh, and Jarek, there’s someone in my zone whose cousin is in your mission too. It’s a small world and you’re mission famous too.
I’ll give your eyes a rest for now. Haha. That’s all the fun stuff that’s happened this past week! It’s been crazy! Love it! Being on a mission is the best thing ever! I love you all! Have a wonderful week!