Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Transferred--Speaking Cebuano

Dear Family and Friends,

This has been an amazing week. Just to let you know first off, yes, I've been transferred. I'm now in a place called Mabini. It's all mountains and sugar cane and the area is so beautiful. It's super hilly and just wonderful. I'll try and show you some pics. It's about 3+ hours from Bacolod on the other side of the island. It's nice to be away from a big city. There is no stores, no shops, internet cafe, nothing in my area--literally nothing, so currently I'm emailing from Escalante, which is our zone. It's a Cebuano speaking area, which is a pretty similar. I'm still speaking Illango to everyone and they seem to understand me, so all is well so far. It's Mabini Branch and it's a wonderful branch with wonderful members. The Branch President is super awesome and so nice and feeds us every Friday night.

Elder Daplin & Ellis

I have no clue where Elder Matamata is. My new companion is Elder Daplin. He's from the lower part of the Philippines, where Americans can't go or bad things happen. He is so cool and is a lot like me in a lot of ways. We like the same things, music, etc, and so it's been a good 4 days so far. Our house is huge, dirty, and I sleep in a top bunk.  I'm not a huge fan of the bunks because it shakes anytime I or Elder Daplin moves because it's not that well made. I'm thinking it'll break in the middle of the night, but as long as I'm on top, that's okay right? So I'll tell y'all about my week so far in more detail.

Contemplation from the patio of the apartment
So last week we received a lot of referrals that Sister Scott (my mtc teacher) wanted us to go and contact, so we started by contacting some and only actually was able to contact one and they pretty much just told us to go away. It was still funny though and gave us the opportunity to share the gospel. So yeah pretty much just walked around canetown looking for people to teach, but the people there are hard headed and so uninterested, it's so hard to even TALK to people, let alone TEACH them. You say hello and they just ignore you or walk into their gate or house. So rough. We still persevere though.

Tuesday we taught the Mirasol family, well the dad. He had recently burned his leg with some super hot water. It was a nasty burn. He can't really come to church a lot because he watches over a sugar cane field, so it's a pretty hard situation for him. However, the family goes to town every Saturday to buy rice and groceries and things, so I don't really understand what's up with that situation. After the Mirasols' we taught the Montano family. That's always hard teaching them because they have a lot of things that need to be fixed and a lot of concerns. We try our best, but there's not much we can do for their situation. Next, we taught the Perez family.  We are super happy because they came to church on Sunday! We asked them how they enjoyed church and then we taught them a lesson.   During the lesson a phone call comes, I just look at it real quick and it's the APs. I was confused because the transfer announcements don't come till Wednesday usually, so I was thinking it was just a question they had or something. We finished the lesson and then I called them back. The APs proceeded to tell me that Elder Matamata and I were to report to the mission office in Bacolod at 8:30am in the morning and we were both being transferred. I was like, What???  They didn't tell me the new area, new companion, new anything! We went to say goodbye to some families because we still had some time and then went home and started packing. I stayed up till about 3am updating the area book and getting everything ready for the new missionaries. Elder Pineda and Elder Doane were up too and so we were just having a work party. 

Reported to the mission office. I still didn't know my area or companion. Everyone else started talking about their new areas and things and they knew their companions. I guess the APs forgot to text it to me that morning because they never did, so then I just asked them and they texted me it. I read it and it said I was going to Mabini. I asked where that was and the missionaries were like Escalante! I said, CEBUANO??? AHHHH! I was flipping out. I don't know Cebuano or anything, so I was starting to get really nervous. Now that I'm here though, it's not that bad. I'm learning pretty well and people are understanding. Elder Daplin arrived at the mission office and then we went and got something to eat and he was telling me about the area and cebuano and all this stuff. I was like, this Elder is way cool. He's way awesome and super nice. We rented a van which it was way faster and 3 pesos more. We rode with 3 other missionaries that are in Escalante zone as well, so it was fun and it doesn't stop to pick people up, so it was a direct drive unlike a bus that stops all the time to drop off and pick up. We got to our house and then i unpacked for an hour and then we started getting right to work and he introduced me to a lot of people here in Mabini. It was super awesome and the people are super awesome, nice, and funny! We also got fed! YES! I love getting fed!

Couldn't fit inside the jeepney, so we rode on top!
So let's just say this day was awesome. Since I'm not a trainer or training, we can now leave the house a lot sooner. We left at 10:30am and got right to work. I met more Less Actives and Members and it was so fun. We had 8 lessons to less active members, 2 lessons to investigators with a member present, and 1 other lesson. I got to see the area and get a feel for Cebuano. We walk a lot and up and down mountains and over rivers and through cane and I enjoy every single minute of it because it's so much fun!
Cat play!

Forgot he was allergic!
We did our weekly planning session which took awhile because Elder Daplin pretty much gave me a run down of everything and everyone. He plans very well and very hard. We went to some pretty far areas and we rode a motorcycle up the mountain. We just pay the dude and ride on the back. It was super fun. Just straight up the mountain! We taught a recent convert who's dad isn't a member, but the rest of the family is. They also had a son, born in covenant who was baptized on Saturday, so it's not our baptism, just like the ward thing with all the 8 year olds. We taught a couple of other investigators with a brother in the ward named Brother Leonis. He is soooo funny! They are a super great family. He's a convert to the church and their family is sealed. He worked with us for little bit and he has a motorcycle so we were able to ride it rather than walk a whole lot.

Elder Ellis, Caryn, and Elder Daplin

We just went straight to work. We went and taught a recent convert, then another investigator, and then to a less active. Later we went to our BAPTISM! OH YES! BAPTISM! They've been working with her for over a month and then I come and get the reward with Elder Daplin. I feel so bad, haha, so oh well. Her name is Caren, she actually speaks Illango so that's good because we can communicate just fine. Elder Daplin did the baptism. He also baptized that 8 year old, but it doesn't really count for us, but it was a great service and there were tons of people that came. The branch is super great at supporting!

Mambini branch

Yesterday Caren was confirmed in church. We had 89 people at church and that was a good turn out I guess. It's a branch and that was about the same number we were getting in Victorias, so I'm not sure. I spoke in Church and the members were very nice to me. In Sunday school we learned about the trials of Emma and Joseph Smith. Holy cow, I already know about them, but every time we learn I just think, wow, that's so crazy. I love Joseph Smith.  We later had a dinner appointment at the Ondoy's. Two of their kids are return missionaries and so it's always fun to talk to them. They just share stories and things. They made Adobo which is like my favorite!

I'm loving this area that I'm in. My companion is great. The people are great. The area is great. So beautiful! I don't want to transfer. I'm going to lose a lot of weight here and I'm drinking about 2 liter's of water every 8 hours. I know the church is true. I know that the Book of Mormon is the WORD OF GOD and that we can grow closer to our heavenly father by reading and praying to know if it's true. Even if you've read it and haven't prayed about it, you need to pray and then you WILL grain that knowledge that the book is true. I testify that it is true. I love y'all back home. Keep up the good work

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