Monday, October 22, 2012

Week 5---Half-way to the Philippines!

Dear Family,
The dog has no front teeth? That's a bit weird! Tell her to stop and get smarter. Thanks for sending me the picture of my car. Please don't sell it, haha, I really like it. Thanks for putting new headlights in, they look pretty cool! How's Sam soccer season going? Pictures looked good! Sydney, look good as well. Keep up the good work. Ashlyn, you never wrote me this week so I have no idea what's going on with you. Is volleyball over yet? And when does Basketball start? Y'all gotta keep me updated! So Mom is enjoying her time on a cruise? That's nice! Hope she has fun. I get to go to the Philippines for 22 months, so i'm not going to really complain much. Thanks for the letter that you sent of Elder Garner and our mission president. Elder Garner is if I remember right 6'0 so that would mean that I'm going to be taller than the mission president too! Hoo-ray! Also there is a Filipino sister missionary on our floor where our classroom is and she is all of 4'10. I asked one of the missionaries in my district who is native Filipino, but lives in Orlando now is that normal. He said, "YUP!" So it look likes I'm going to be a giant, big, white guy on this island. SWEET! The Lord IS looking out for me after all!
On Tuesday Elder Bednar came to the MTC and spoke to us about how we liked conference? He said, "I hear nothing really that big happened here, and that you weren't screaming for excitement or anything." I guess he heard rumors that the MTC went CRAZY when they announced the new missionary age. He also spoke on how to study and how to actually STUDY the Book of Mormon and modern day scriptures like Conference Talks, Ensign, etc. It was really cool to have an apostle of the Lord come and speak to us. With the new missionary age time at the MTC is going to be cut 1/3. That would mean, if I would've gotten here in January of 2013, I'd be gone in 6 weeks rather than 9. So I would be leaving like... next week sometime. That'd be amazing. Oh well. I'm here and learning what I need to be learning. It's super super fun!
Elder Evans and I are doing great. Our companionship is growing strong each day. It's really fun to teach people and prepare lessons. Even though the people we teach are already members of the church, the spirit is still there when we teach them. My Hiligaynon is coming along fairly well too! It's a hard language, some of the things don't really make sense. Like you never say "do". So like, "Do you need to use the restroom?" is said like this, "Need you the CR?" It's really weird how they put together sentences. Also, CR means bathroom, it stands for "Comfort Room", which... is super funny. But they just say the word CR. But it's going to be great once I actually am fluent. I asked a couple return missionaries I see around here how long it took them to be fluent and they said well in the MTC we learned Tagolog so when I got there I didn't really know much, so it took me about 9 months. One other RM said about 6 months. That's with no Hiligaynon background at all. So I'm going to guess about 4 months if I work at it really hard. I'm working hard here on it too, there's just a lot of other stuff that we have to do as well.
My MTC Branch is Branch 54. My Branch President is President Hodges. He's super strict on rules, so that's probably a good thing for me. The only negative side to my branch is that it's a Portuguese branch. Before we got here everything was in Portuguese. So we kinda through everything off. We still give our talks in Hiligaynon, but now they do the sacrament and prayers and things in English so we all understand. Anyone going to the Philippines is in different branch's. I don't understand why, that's just how it is. So I learned some Portuguese. Like, "how are you?" and "hello!". Not much, but it's fun to talk to some of the people in my Branch.
Chad Lewis came and spoke LAST Sunday. I think I told y'all. But he said that he climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro, and now I want to sometime in my life. So that's a new life goal I have. Climb that mountain! He also told us to Marry UP! Meaning, Marry someone better than you! Dad, you've always taught me that lesson too! Weird huh?
So is everyone at home reading their scriptures? I'm now in Alma 29! Trekking on through. It's super good. I've never gotten more out of the Book of Mormon than I have right now. Also another things, I read my Patriarchal Blessing this week and I learned probably 100 new things. I had no idea what they were talking about, but I now know a lot more. This morning in the Temple it was completely different because my Patriarchal Blessing tells me certain things about the temple and WOW it was a completely different experience than I have ever had before.
Ashlyn, prepare yourself now for you mission. Read the scriptures and say your prayers, A LOT! Make sure to pay attention in seminary because there are a lot of things that I learned at Seminary that are very useful here at the MTC. I guess I'll be home before you actually leave on your mission so that's going to be pretty cool! I'll guess Africa right now for you okay? Portuguese speaking! :) That's my guess.
I honestly just want to get to the Philippines so bad right now. Every night before I go to bed and I'm praying I pray for the Filipino people I'm about to go and teach. I pray that they will be prepared to accept the message that they're going to be taught. I'm super excited and I'm chomping at the bit to go. My ADD is kicking in pretty bad this week, but I'm trying my hardest to keep it at a minimum.
I know that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is the true church on this earth. Restored by God and Jesus Christ through Joseph Smith. I know that as we follow the example of Christ and try to become like he is, we will have true happiness. I know that families can be together forever. What a great message that our church teaches. The Book of Mormon is the words of the Prophets and the words of God and as we read it those thoughts become our thoughts. Like in Isaiah 55 when it says, "My ways are higher and your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts". Well how to do get God's thoughts into our lives. READ THEM! We read his thoughts and his words! And then they slowly will become our thoughts. I testify that Jesus Christ lives and that he atoned for us. He felt EVERY single pain that we go through. Hurt feelings, losing a basketball game, sin, pain, sickness, everything. He knows what it's like. And as I've prayed I've felt that the knows what I'm going through and reassures me everything is going to be okay! It's an awesome feeling. I love this church! I love this work. I'm so happy to be a missionary!
Elder Ellis
P.S: Sorry no pictures this week, nothing really happened that was worth picture taking. Sorry :) Love Y'all!

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