Bonjour tout le monde!
Has it already been a week since my last letter? I can't believe it's already February! And I seriously cannot believe that the other Elder Ellis (Austin) is going to finish his mission this month! I can just imagine how wild it is at the house right now with Mom getting the house all clean and ready for him! (My deepest apologies, siblings! I would help clean up but it seems as though I'm a bit "pre-occupied"!) Even though the week went quickly a lot has happened that I hope I'll have the time to tell you about!
First thing, though! I just came up to the office to write the letter and when I walked in there was a nice little package waiting for me from my sooper dooper great friend Brynnley! The best part: she's going to serve a mission! That was the best news ever! Congratulations, Brynn! I'm going to try to write back to you today and get the letter off but I just couldn't wait to tell you how excited I am! Even though our reunion party with the other Wyview kids will be pushed back... Speaking of them, I need their addresses! Someone want to send me those? Abby Stewart, Elder Sam Norton, Elder Zach Harris, Kevin Fonseca and the great Hillary Gilland?
Second thing—some housekeeping. So two of my ties that we got from Missionary Mall are coming apart... They are my two favorite ones! If I remember right, there should be a two-year warranty on them. Can we look into that and see what I need to do to get them replaced? And the whole iPod situation. The music rule in our mission is: "If it brings you closer to Christ." President Cannon has left a lot of things up to us to make decisions on and so I've come up with a list of music that I've heard from other missionaries so far that I would like. In my first two transfers with Elder Baker, he had an iPod that we would listen to in the morning. It really helped us stay awake during studies because it's so easy for your thoughts to drift and music really helps me I've found. So if you could send me my blue iPod nano (it should be in my "Apple Box" at the top of my closet) that would be much appreciated! You can just clear everything off of it (Matt or Hannah can help you with that) and add your favorite church music and then these as well:
-Nearer: a New Collection of Favorite Hymns
-The Lower Lights (all 3 of their albums)
-Libby Linton (whatever gospel stuff she has)
-Mindy Gledhill (I think she has a gospel album...)
-And some Eminem, Akon, and Beyonce as well... Kidding!
Okay... so as for what I've been up to this week!
For pday on Monday we played pickle ball with the zone leaders. It is one of my favorite sports now! It was so much fun. Elder Reid and I played one on one for almost three hours straight! I got some wicked blisters on my fingers, though. We had Family Home Evening later that night and cleaned the chapel with the French branch.
Tuesday I went to district leader training with Elder Osorio. Each district leader in the zone was asked to prepare some training. There were some really great things that we covered. We talked about conducting interviews, setting goals, apartment cleanliness, "train to train," and working with Sisters. Everyone had great things to share and I learned quite a bit. I love the missionaries I get to work with here! Everyone is so focused and ready to work! You know that saying "The mission is the best two years of your life!"? Someone there made an interesting comment that I love. He said, "I don't think that's the best way to describe it. I think the mission is the best two years for your life, not necessarily of it." After that we had a lesson at the freshman student housing that I wrote about in December. Last week we decided to go back there and share another really good video that the Church made called "Heavenly Father, Earthly Father." We found a few new investigators from sharing it so we went back to teach this one kid named Brennan. He is really nice! We taught him about the Book of Mormon and answered a few of the questions that he had about Mormons from talking with his family who are Catholic. It was a great lesson and we all learned something from it. I've really been trying to make sure that every lesson that we teach fits the guideline in D&C 50:22 "Wherefore, he that preacheth and he that receiveth, understand one another, and both are edified and rejoice together." You can be sure that you taught a good lesson and the Spirit testified of truth when the teacher and the student have learned in the process. Anyways, so after Brennan we knocked for pretty much the rest of the day. It was so incredibly cold and weren't having any luck with getting into the big buildings so we just had to keep knocking on the streets. We didn't teach many lessons but we met some cool people anyways.
Wednesday was great! We started off with district study and went over our goals and the progress we have made in our areas. We ran out of money for the month (of January) last week and so for lunch we had to hunt for pigeons around the bus stops to roast. We ate them with J Dawgs sauce so they weren't too bad....... :) Kidding, we had p.b. and honey sandwiches! But I am getting a little low on J Dawgs sauce though so... the first person to send me another bottle gets a huge prize! I'm serious. If you send me some, the week I get home I will take you to get a J Dawg. And I'll pay. So booya. Anyways, back to Wednesday—we did a ton more knocking and actually taught some lessons! We found three new investigators all on the same floor of an apartment building which was awesome. That night we played sports with the YSA and met some of their friends. The only thing that I would ask for in my mission is more member work! We really need their help and sometimes it's hard to show that. We've talked about it, the leaders of the Church have talked about it, and we've had meetings but it just isn't really picking up. I'm not exactly sure what we can do to help them see the important role they play in this work. Sports were fun, though! We played volleyball and shot some hoops.
Thursday was one of the most productive days I've had so far! One of the members, Christian, came to a few lessons with us. He served a mission in the Philippines. We taught some of our most solid investigators more about the Book of Mormon. Christian shared his testimony with everyone about the way his life has been changed by reading and applying it. It really helped them to see beyond the fact that it's a book and to realize the power of the message it contains. I hope we get to work more with him soon. He taught me so much in the few hours we taught with him! That night we were about to go home and then I had the weirdest impression to go see Dustin. He lives a few bus stops from one of the metro stops on a completely different line than the one we were on so I tried to brush it off but I couldn't. The thought just kept coming back to go see him and so we started heading his way. On the bus to his apartment a person came to mind that we had met over a month ago named Emma. I flipped through my old planner and found her number and called her up. She was so happy that I had. She told me that she had been waiting for weeks to talk to us because she had thrown away the slip of paper with our number on it that I gave her. She said that she had had a horrible day and couldn't get in contact with any of her friends or family and just needed someone to talk to. We got off of the bus and rang for Dustin but he wasn't there so we started to walk to Emma's. When we got there we talked for a while and then shared a few scriptures from the Book of Mormon. She needed to hear them so badly. It is amazing to me how the Spirit works. Often times we don't know the reason why receive a prompting to do something, to go somewhere, or to talk to someone. At times, even after following a prompting we may not even be able to do what we set out to do. But the simple act of following a spiritual prompting to help another person places you in a position for the Lord to use you to your fullest potential. Never disregard or wait to act on a prompting and you will always see miracles.
I'm out of time but here's a quick summary of the last few days...
Friday we had our weekly planning session and then went on splits with the Chinese elders for a few pass-offs. We met a new investigator at Tim Horton's and gave him a Book of Mormon. We had soup and institute with the YSA and a few less active members came!
Saturday we went to see Emma with Caitlin but she wasn't feeling well enough for visitors. Caitlin came out so we went and got hot chocolate anyways then we went back to the church for a baptism. One of the Sisters’ investigators, Victoria, was baptized. It was a wonderful baptism and one that we had been looking forward to for a long time! We finally got in touch with Tim and had a lesson over the phone at our apartment that night.
Sunday we had our normal meetings and I put on contacts for the first time in probably over a year! My prescription was a little weird and took a while to get used to. I'll probably stick with glasses for a while. We had dinner with Phil and his family at their house. I love them!
Time to go! I love all of you! Thanks for your love and prayers!