Sunday, July 28, 2013

July 21st--Mambini branch update

Dear Family.. and anyone else if you actually read this,
Hello everyone. I hope everyone's week has been going well and that everyone is doing okay and safe and nice. This week has been better than last week. We've got a new investigator that's really progressing quite fast and is recognizing the spirit really well. It's a blessing... finally. Been waiting for one for awhile here. I miss y'all family. A lot. Also, my birthday is coming up. Crazy to think I'll be 20. But I"m excited. That's closer to 21 to get my gun permit. HAHA. Dad, aren't you proud? Our new investigators name is Shena. She's 16 and friends with some of the young women. She was taught a few times by Elder Daplin, but then he ended up not following through on her and somehow, he just stopped teaching her. Anyway, we came in contact with her when she came to church 2 weeks ago and we're teaching her now. We taught her 3 lessons this week and now she's attending seminary with the young women. She's praying about Joseph Smith and she's keeping her commitment. The young women are really helping and it's really nice to see them start to fellowship non members. 

Ping Pong champ!
Monday I wanted to have so much fun playing basketball. However... it's the Philippines and right as we finish with lunch, it started pouring rain. The court was all wet and we were still thinking of playing, but we decided not to just in case we got sick from getting cold in the rain. So... instead, the smart Elder Ellis decided we'd play a ping pong tournament with the whole zone. Well, almost. There were 2 companionship's missing. We set up two tables and did a double elimination play, with a losers bracket and everything. There were 4 rounds in the initial bracket, then the losers bracket depending on when you lost in the other bracket. The 1st bracket came down to me and Elder Lofthouse. I won. Then Elder Lofthouse won the losers bracket and we met again to find out the overall winner. We played best 2 out of 3. I won in 2. Not to brag... haha. But that was soooo much fun. It was really great. Super successful and I haven't played ping pong in a long time!
Tuesday was a busy day. We taught Sister Lumantad. Still not coming to church and still not progressing. There is a legit crazy woman that's always at their house when we visit and she always joins in on the lessons. She always ask like weird questions, but she's way funny and it's fun to have her. Sister Lumantad is worried because every time she goes to church, she said that her kid screams and cries. I'm not sure if I believe it, but it's all a matter of faith. If it were me, I'd make sure my kid didn't cry and put a little bit of discipline in his life, but there's not that much here in the Philippines. Then we went to a less active house and met a man that we've never met before named Carl. He said that he was a member but he goes to church in Escalante Branch. I was like... huh? Anyway, we shared with him a scripture, but he didn't know how to read the Book of Mormon, like verse to verse of find scriptures. Then we asked him to say the closing prayer and he said he didn't know how to pray. So we're not sure if he's active or not, or what's going on there. He lives in Mabini area, but goes to church in Escalante... We'll work on it I guess. It started to rain. I brought my new umbrella from Grandma and Grandpa Ellis, thanks so much. haha. I had no idea they were going to send one. I got it like 3 weeks ago in the package they sent me. Elder Edem didn't bring his, so we both got under mine and walked for about 2 kms to Sister Dumdum's house. We taught her about missionary work and invited her to invite her friends that she knew to listen to our unique message. After that, we had our appointment with Shena. We meet with her every other night at 7pm at a young woman's house, named, Gia. We taught Shena the first part of Lesson 1. God is our Heavenly Father, The Gospel Blesses Families. It was a pretty good day actually. 

Wednesday we taught the Garcia family. They weren't at church this Sunday and I'm not really sure why not. We taught them the last part of The Plan of Salvation. Where we go after we die. Sister walked out in the middle of the lesson because there was something "important" that came up. Some people came to visit outside and they were talking. I'm not sure about what, but she never returned. We said goodbye to her though and she said sorry. Then we went to Sta. Ana and Fuentes. Mary Ann's brother returned from Manila and he's actually not a member yet, so we were like, sweet! He let us right in their home and we taught him The Restoration, just the first little bit, just like we taught Shena on Monday. He didn't really understand the role of Jesus Christ. He knew he was important, but didn't know why. So we explained it a little better. He said we could keep returning. Anyway... he's now found work in Cebu and left on Saturday. So now, we don't have that investigator. Darn... We also taught Sister Mercedita about Enduring to the End, which is the hardest thing for us as members of the church to do. We also taught Sister Jorolan about reading the scriptures and study the scriptures. She still needs to decide to get married. So we've had a lot of teachings our first two days... we were way stoked and excited. 

Thursday we had an apartment check and of course we passed like always. I always clean our apartment way good. They then gave us some mail. Elder Edem got a package from his family with new pants and shirts and some chocolate. I got a letter from Courtney :) So it was already a good morning. Then we worked right after they left. We went to a less active brother, Ernesto. Every time we visit he's always just ah, next time Elders next time. However, this time he let us right in. There was a man fixing his electric fan and so we took the opportunity to teach them both. Turns out the man fixing the electric fan is an investigator from "STOP". His baptism was this Saturday. HAH! So funny no? So we taught him and the lesson went for like an hour I think. They both did most of the talking. It was good though. Then we went up to the Despojo's, but they were home. They were up in Moncada, that way far place that we have no time to go to. So then we just went to the Desuyo's. Brother Desuyo wasn't there, he actually wasn't home all week long. So, we haven't had contact with him. He's not progressing and I don't think has a desire to go to church. It's more just like a game to him I think. So we're not taking him too seriously anymore. We then had another appointment with Shena at 7. We taught about Prophets and about Jesus Christ and how He established his church here on earth when He came here. She understood it really well. Then we explained the Apostasy, which is the hardest thing to explain, because it's new to most people. Nobody really would think that the true church of Jesus Christ left the earth. Until someone tells you about it and makes you realize it, you'd never think about it on your own you know? So it was way cool and she had a few... AHHH... moments of like, that makes sense. It's always nice to see people have those moments. 

Friday wasn't a good day. After our weekly planning session we cooked lunch and then Elder wasn't feeling to well. So he laid down for a little bit. I started studying. I read the Book of Mormon and then studied in Preach my Gospel about the Book of Mormon to see if we could use it better in our studies. We worked, but it was about 4 pm and it started pouring rain. We took shelter in the church because we were going to attend seminary at 5 to teach them about how to do missionary work to their friends. We gave them all pamphlets and asked them to give them to their friends. We've got 1 referral so far from it. So success! Also, Shena was at seminary so it was nice to teach her some doctrinal things from the Book of Mormon because that's what this year is. It ended at 6 and then we had our dinner appointment at President Dalaguit's at 7 like we do every Friday night. It was a successful day because we got a referral. The branch hasn't given us any in 3 weeks... this is the first one we've received. Finding is the hardest part and it's not easy through us as missionaries. It's so much nicer when the members do it. 

Sister Dum Dum and friends
Saturday we left right after our studies. We didn't even eat lunch. We needed to up our numbers since Friday wasn't that good of a day. However, we were super punted. We did teach Sister Jorolan however, about the law of tithing. She already knew it and understood it. She told us a story about her son paying tithing and so she already understands the blessings that come from it. We also taught Sister Mercedita about Prayer. We felt like their family doesn't pray together to we taught her about that. Her husband was asleep in the next room, but I knew he was awake. So I talked loud so that he could hear me. Little punk. Then we had an "emergency" branch council meeting at the church to discuss missionary work. The district President last week talked to all the Branch Presidents and then now this was them relaying the message to us. We're now going to have a branch council meeting every single Saturday. It's awesome. I'm super stoked for that. After the meeting we taught Sister Dumdum with her kids. They're all grown up, one still lives with her, but he's preparing for a mission. We taught the first 2 questions of the Plan of Salvation. It was way cool. I like teaching smart members and they've been members for a way long time. And they're sealed. Only the mom is less active now, but she's still way smart. Her only problem is church attendance. She comes and then... not. Then comes... and not. However, with Elder Daplin and I she never came. With Elder Edem and I she's come 4 times, just not consecutive. It's needs to be 4 consecutive for a rescue! We also taught Shena again. We did The Restoration! Joseph Smith, the Priesthood and the Book of Mormon. The hardest things to teach, but the spirit was totally there. It's a good setting and it's super nice. She understands it and committed to pray about it all. She then was at church on Sunday. All 3 hours. It's been good to see someone finally progress well. 
Sunday was an okay day. A stormed came in on Saturday night and really made the whole mountain all muddy. So a lot of people didn't come to church. Nobody from the Sta Ana and Fuentes area came but one. Quennie Jorolan. It was sad. None of the Diana's. We didn't even teach them this week. Every time we went to their house, they weren't their. So only Shena was at church as our investigator. And we had one less active, his name is Brother Bawaan. We actually haven't taught him in 2 weeks, but he's coming to church. He was rescued yesterday. COOL HUH??? Shena has a date for August 17. Coming up in a few weeks. That's when we've planned it. Transfers are next week on Tuesday. I'm not sure if I'm transferring, but I've been here 3 transfers. So far people who transfer are just transferring to different areas in the zone, so I just never know anymore. That's the beauty of a mission. 

Drinking from a well!
Well, that's my week. Super busy and we taught a lot of people. It's been a pretty successful week and I'm happier than last week. Today we have ping pong and basketball planned again. Let's hope that people come to play today. Some said they can't because they're busy, but who knows. Thanks for everything. If I can request something in my next package: pancake mix... like the crustee's add water thing. And maple syrup. haha. I know that's probably a weird request, but I miss pancakes. 

I love my family so much. Thanks for everything y'all do for me. Happy Birthday to Grandma Ellis yesterday! Keep going, I'll see you when I get home! Hope everyone has a good week! I do know the church is true. Sometimes I fail to mention that. I fail to bare my testimony in a lot of letters and things. I do know it's true. That's why I'm here. The Book of Mormon is true. Joseph Smith was and is a prophet of God. I know it. I know He knows it. The Philippines is doing well. Don't worry about me too much. I'm still safe and okay. 

Love you all.

Elder Ellis (The Ping Pong Champion)