Monday, April 8, 2013

Mambini Branch Week 2

Dear Family and Friends,
Sta. Anna--place in new area!

Hello! I hope that conference was amazing for you all! I have not been able to watch it yet, because here in the Philippines it comes a week later because they wait for translation in English and Tagalog. I just looked on though and saw that there is going to be another temple in Utah though which is awesome.  I'm so excited. I really enjoyed Conference in October and I'm thrilled to watch it again this weekend. Thanks for not telling me anything that happened though. I can't wait to watch it for myself.
Philippines is awesome!
I'd like to give a shout out to my father today! HAPPY BIRTHDAY DAD! Hope that you are having a great birthday and I'm excited for you. I hope that you get your new car going well and don't worry, I'll help you out with it when I get home, so don't get too stressed out. Are you doing anything fun for you birthday?
This week was a little different, I was away from my companion a lot because he was in Bacolod for Zone Leader training on Monday and Tuesday and then he had exchanges with the AP's on Friday and Saturday. I worked with Elder Cababat on Monday night and Tuesday in Mabini and then on Friday and Saturday I worked with him in Bonefacio, which is where he is assigned with Elder Doverte his companion.

Mom & baby
Cute Mambini wildlife
So Monday, Elder Daplin and Elder Doverte left for Bacolod around noon. They left me and Elder Cababat in Escalante, a city which I've never been too, to go shopping, send letters, eat, and then find our way back home to Mabini. Luckily I'm good at asking questions to random people on the street now or I would've totally been lost. Elder Cababat is a completely new missionary, Elder Doverte is training again and so he only speaks Tagalog and doesn't understand anyone here. I, of course, only understand Illango, so Cebuano is really fun. haha. We were able to find the grocery store and go shopping, so no worries. I lived! Monday night we went and taught some people! We taught a couple of less active families and also two investigators that we happened to find that night. It was really good. In one of the LA lessons there was a young man, who's 20, and wants to go on a mission. He said that he didn't have money though, but he has a desire. We taught about the principle of tithing and it was such a good lesson and the spirit was super strong. People understand Tagalog so it's okay when Elder Cababat speaks, they understand him, he just doesn't understand them. It's sort of the same thing with me. They understand me, but sometimes I don't understand them. It was a successful night and I loved being with Elder Cababat, he's a great missionary.

Missionary apartment (Ellis has top bunk)
Tuesday we studied, ate then went right to work. I was still with Elder Cababat and I'm left to work in Mabini, an area that I've been in for 5 days and I still don't know that well, but it's okay. I found everything that we needed to find. We taught our recent convert, Caren, the one that was baptized last Saturday and then we taught 2 other less active families. They live really far and it's a super fun hike. It really shows the faith of the members from that area, because there are some super active ones that live there and walk every Sunday to go to church. It's really nice to see and that's why this branch here is super nice and super strong. The people that come to church sacrifice so much time and effort and walk so far. I love the Mabini Branch. Later that night Elder Doverte and Elder Daplin came back from Bacolod and we exchanged back in Escalante. When we returned home there were 2 packages for me that they brought back from Bacolod. One from Grandma and Grandpa and one from Courtney! Thanks so much y'all! I loved the candy! It's great getting things from y'all.

Ants on Elder Ellis' toothbrush (gross!)

We had a zone meeting in Escalante about how things are changing, new rules, etc. President wants us to have a baptism every week, which is super hard, but it'll take a while to get up the numbers to accomplish that. However, Elder Daplin and I have accepted the challenge and we have baptisms lined up for May 4, 11, and 18. We taught 4 less active families and are trying to get them to come back to church. The church is super close to them so I don't know what the problem is, just like a lack of GOING to church!  We taught 3 investigators, and one has a baptismal date for May 4th, so we're really happy. He was at church on Sunday and so everything is still on track and good to go for him. When we got back to the house we started planning for our next days activities/ teachings, and then ..... So here in the Philippines they are obsessed with Karaoke. We're in the middle of planning and all of a sudden I hear this Filipino dude just start blasting his voice to Ricky Martin Viva la vida loca, or whatever it's called! I was just laughing so hard, because I can remember when mom would listen to it in the car and I just couldn't stop laughing!

Off to work! We just studied and blasted out the door and tried to get as many teachings as we could because of the meetings and the exchanges that we had our numbers were a little low, so we wanted to really try and boost them up .We had 7 LA's. 2 Recent Convert Lessons. 2 Investigators with a member present lessons. And 1 other lesson to an investigators without a member present. We also contacted a less active family for the first time, which is funny because we always walk by their house, we just never knew they were members until we decided to talk to them. They said that they can't go to church because every Sunday, the mom (who's like 60) gets a headache. ONLY ON SUNDAY! I was laughing so hard during the lesson just because of the things this woman was saying. After the lesson Elder Daplin and I were just cracking up and it was so funny. I don't even know what to think. We also played with a Filipino Eagle, I'll send a picture. It's a baby one, but it's such a pretty bird. One of less active families caught it, it was hurt or something, they let it go and it came right back to their house. It's a super cool looking bird though. Thursday I also turned a skin tone darker. I'm like black now, almost, I think... Elder Daplin looked at me on Thursday night and was like, "what happened to you?" We had spent all day walking in the sun and so I think that's why.

Filipino Eagle
Friday and Saturday
I'm just going to link these two days into one thing. Elder Daplin went to Bacolod with exchanges with the AP's. They do it once a transfer, or at least they try to put AP's with the ZL's. I was working with Elder Cababat again, but this time we worked in his area. He's still new to his area, just like I was to mine, but he has so many things going on in his head that it was so funny and he had no clue where he was going. Need not fear, we just asked people a ton of questions and eventually found our way around. We walked I think for 2 hours straight to find this investigators of theirs and he wasn't even home! PALAGPAT! So yeah, that was fun. We walked all the way across their area to go to a Recent Converts house to teach them. It was a fun lesson. There are like 3 kids that were recently baptized, so it was a fun lesson. I love teaching little kids. Saturday we studied then exchanged back, but the ZL's took forever to come back home, so by the time we got back to Mabini it was dark and late and we couldn't work. Never fear, Elder Daplin and I planned for Sunday and just prepared for the next day and cleaned up the house a little bit.

New buddy!
Church was great. I love going to church here. It's actually very spiritual and the people really love their testimony meeting. We actually had an investigator bare her testimony! She has to be married before she can be baptized though, but we're working on that. She has a date for the 18th of May, so everything should be worked out by that date. We then taught some more LA's and 2 other Investigators. We had a really good church attendance and a good meeting with the branch president on the missionary work here in Mabini.

I'm loving this area. I love this place. I love the Philippines. It's summer time here, super hot, super sweaty, the humidity is a killer, but I'm loving it more and more each day. The trick really is to just dive into the work and get lost in it. I miss y'all so much though too, especially during conference and dad's birthday and spring break where y'all are having fun. It's okay, I love being here. It's no vacation and it's actually the EXACT opposite of that, but I couldn't ask for more. Thanks so much for all you do for me back home. I love you guys. Keep pushing forward. I've really been reading the D&C lately and I love it so much because there is so much revelation for myself in there. I especially love sections 28-35, all about missionary work and things and I'm just loving it. I know this church. Thanks for all the support and prayers that come my way. They are great appreciated! Have a great week!

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