Monday, January 14, 2013

It's Starting to Click!

Dear Family,

Hello again from the Philippines. I can't believe that it has already been a week since I've emailed you last. This week has been so so busy. We're working super hard. If you remember our Investigator Ryan, I think I told you about him, he's a super good investigator. He keeps his commitments and is really excited about the gospel. Very smart person. He's actually a teacher. Since he lives so far, we teach him at the church after church, so we've moved his baptismal date to Feb. 2. So we're excited for that date. If you remember the first two investigators I talked about that used to have a baptismal date, well we've sort of dropped them. The husband decided to baptize their daughter in the Catholic church. This is after we had been teaching them for 5 weeks, but they were just not keeping commitments and things. Maybe just not the right time. They've been taught before by missionaries. The brother is actually our Ward Mission Leader. He's 19 and preparing for a mission right now. It's a hard situation to explain.

So last Monday Elder Pineda went to Bacolod for Zone Leader training so Elder Doverte and I had all Monday just the two of us. So we had a family home evening at the Ynayan's family. It was so fun. We played this way fun game with marshmallows and flour, I don't even know how I would explain it, but it was still way fun. The lesson was way good and really spiritual. So it was a way good family home evening. There's a reason why our church wants us to do FHE on Monday nights :)

Tuesday we waited for Elder Pineda to get back from Bacolod, so we went and ate lunch. Then tried to go visit a less active member who lives nearest to our house so we could get back in time if we needed too. Anyway, they either didn't want to answer the door/gate or something, so that was nice of them. So we just left after standing in the rain for 5 minutes. It rained so much on Tuesday. Not just rained, just like... unloaded. Like Heaven, everyone was crying, all the people. So much water. Within 2 minutes there was a river in the street. I'm not even joking. Then Elder Pineda got home and we went and worked more. Then he wasn't feeling good. At this time it was like 5pm and we had no teachings because people wouldn't listen... go figure. However we did get two teachings that night. One to a recent convert and his family, and the other to a less active member. The LA is in ward 1 area, so I've never met them before that night. So it was good to meet them.

Wednesday. So after Zone Leader training the Zone has a meeting the following Wednesday and of course, the ZL's teach us about what they learned. The ZL meeting was in Cadiz, about an hour bus ride north of Victorias. So we went to Cadiz. The meeting was 4 hours long, so long, but still there was a lot of things that we learned and how to be better missionaries. Also some changes in rules and things, but nothing that really changed significantly. Then after the meeting we ate at Jollibee! It's just like a fast food, McDonalds type, but it was good. It was nice to eat a cheeseburger, a good one, and a meal without rice. I've eaten rice everyday for 2 months straight. They are shocked when I tell them I've never eaten this much rice. Rice can cure cancer! Did you know that? Also Gatorade. Rice and Gatorade are the two main things. We had a teaching that night at the Alvito family. They're recently married and baptized, actually on the same day, so it was fun to teach them. They're young and way understanding. They invited us to have lunch with them on Friday. They live on a farm and have lots of coconuts and fresh fruits and things, so we went there for lunch on Friday. I'll tell you about that in the "Friday" section.

Thursday was good. We actually worked a lot. We taught a less active about the pre-mortal life, then linked it to our life on earth and what we need to be doing to prepare ourselves to go back to our Heavenly Father's presence, especially with scripture reading. I don't even know how to stress that enough. Scripture study is so important, especially for new members of the church and for people like you and me also. They're just so important. I wish I would've figured that our a lot earlier in my life than when I was 19 and 7,000 miles away. I honestly LOVE the scriptures. We've been teaching another less active family, the Delante's, and trying to get them to come back to church. The wife and the son came during Christmas time, but since then nothing. So we're doing our best to strengthen them and try and address their needs. Being a missionary is fun. I'm not going to say it's like a game, but Preach My Gospel and the new way missionary work is, it relies so much upon the spirit.  Lessons can go anyway that you need it to go, because it depends strictly on the spirit. It's super fun to actually feel the spirit in your life more and be apart of you. I've never felt it this much in my life, nor really have learned more in my life also. I love being here and I love being a missionary.

Friday we worked so much. I think it's the day that I've worked the most since I've been here, okay hours outside working (I'm always working). Hopefully you follow that. We had the lunch appointment. Fish, coconut water, some weird veggies that were actually good, and then just some other little side things. Then we taught them about the Law of Tithing and how it can bless their lives. I've never really thought about it till now, but the Law to Tithing is awesome! What amazing blessings we receive from paying our tithing and always giving back to the Lord for the blessings that he's given us. Then in the end, he just gives us more. So how great is that! Then we spent all day in ward 1 area with Elder PIneda. We taught 3 other less active members. It's been really good because my language has gotten so much better. I actually taught the whole restoration the other night! The whole thing! In the language. So cool! Then we had a dinner appointment and taught another lesson on scripture reading and how important it is.

Saturday was fun. A little rough. Only because we got punted a lot. So we had a lunch appointment, then a teaching appointment right after that. We go to the house that we were supposed to teach an investigator that we haven't taught before, just contacted, and as we were at her house we got a text from her saying that she was at work. Grr... so then we went to the Quiamco's house and visited and taught a lesson on wisdom and the scriptures and there was a man there who had a question on wisdom and the difference between wisdom and knowledge. Good thing he understood English because I had no clue how to answer it in the language. And my companions had no clue what the answer was. I didn't either. I simply just said that wisdom is applied knowledge. You can have all the knowledge that you want, but if you're lazy, then you have zero wisdom at all, right? So that's pretty much what I said. So then he's like, oh, okay, makes sense. That was a fun experience.
We also had to go to Cadiz again this week for the Philippines Area Broadcast. There, the Area Presidency spoke to all the members that are in a leadership position, and also missionaries, about how to better the work here in the Philippines. It was great!  They want us to make a goal that each member has their own set of scriptures, so I'm not the only one who thinks scripture reading is important I guess. haha. But it was way good!
Sunday, our sacrament attendance was 109! That's the highest it's been since I've been here. How cool? Also President and Sister Lopez visited our ward. It was good to see them also. They're a great couple. I love them. He's a great mission president. We had our investigator Ryan at church, so after church we taught him about the restoration and he said that he would pray about our message and about Joseph Smith. We're really excited about that. Also, President Lopez interviewed me yesterday after church just because he was there I guess and had time, so that went well. I'm still here! :) haha. Just kidding. The interview was great. He asked how my family was doing, so I hope y'all are doing good because I told him y'all were all fine. So I'm glad you're doing great! :)

 Elders Ellis, Dovete, new elder, & Pineda
Borrowed from President Lopez's Facebook page

This morning so far we've cleaned the house and killed a mouse. I saw it climb under our sink under the draw.  I told Elder Pineda to ready his shoe. I slowly opened the door and BAM! Elder Pineda nailed it. I have a picture. I'll show you in 20 months :) haha.
All in all I'm enjoying it here. I'm loving it more and more each day and each week. This week has gone by so fast because we're just working to death! So I'm honestly just loving my mission so far. Even though no baptisms yet, I'm still loving it. As long as I'm fulfilling my purpose, I'm a happy elder. I love y'all and miss y'all back home. Keep being good and choosing the right! Don't worry to much about me. I"m being good and doing the right things.


 Missionary Work can be exhausting!

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