Dear Friends and My Family,
Hello everyone. I guess you already know that I've been transferred to San Carlos City. I'm serving in Branch 1. There's 2 branches. I've been made the District leader of the San Carlos district. Which only consists of the 2 branches missionaries. The 2nd Branch missionaries are actually the Zone Leaders. So I have 2 zone leaders and my companion in my district. I pretty much am only in charge of District Meeting. In a normal district I'd be in charge of passing down information to the rest of my district, but since my district is the zone leaders, I only need to pass down information to my companion. So, it's going to be interesting I guess.
My new companion is Elder Garcia. He just finished with his training. He's only been in the area for one transfer and his trainer was not good and didn't teach him a lot of things the way they should have been taught. His trainer didn't want to speak Cebuano, only Tagalog, so now we're working on the language more. I'm glad that I'm still speaking Cebuano though. I don't want to go back to Illango for awhile. He's a native Tagalog speaker and from somewhere in the Manila area. So far he's pretty quiet and doesn't say to much and last night I think he was crying while sleeping I heard him... so, not really sure what's going on. Maybe I'm working him too hard? Not really sure. Just doing my job. So I'm considered his follow up trainer, meaning that I make sure that his trainer taught him the things that he needed to know and so far... his trainer sucked. So, it's going to be an interesting transfer.
|Elder Garcia & I on my birthday|
When I got to the apartment the first thing I looked at was the area book to see how many investigators there were. I was surprised to see there were about 30 progressing investigators. Then I looked at the individually and noticed that most have never been to church and most haven't been taught in about 2 months. I asked Elder Garcia, "Elder, how are these considered progressing investigators?" He said, I don't know, my last companion did the area book. Then I look at their last week Key Indicators, which are our weekly goals and things. Last week they had 7 investigators with a baptismal date and I asked Elder Garcia, so when are they being baptized? He told me he doesn't know who has a date because he didn't think anyone did have a date. So I'm a little frustrated right now because either he didn't pay attention enough or his trainer was a dufus. So... like I said, this is going to be an interesting first couple weeks. As far as catching up my companion on the real things that we need to be doing, finding more investigators and catching up on the area, my work is definitely cut out for me as of now. Last night I only slept for 5 hours. I was up at 3am and I couldn't fall back asleep so I studied till 6:30... by then I was tired, but of well. That's life right. But I'm still alive I guess you could say. The biggest problem is the previous missionaries never were close with any of the branch leaders. Elder Garica's never been to the branch presidents house, so that's something I'm changing immediately We're visiting him tonight and we're going to visit him multiple times a week. He needs to be like our best friend if we're going to have an success.
The things that I've found out about him are the he's only been a member for like 2 years I think. He's 28 years old, but he looks like 20. He's way nice though. He also is a shrimper! So, maybe I can score some shrimp from him. I think my companion may be a little upset with me because I'm changing some of the things that are happening as of now, so I guess we're going to just see what happens. Transferring from Mabini is okay with me, but I do miss Elder Edem. We did become like really really good friends at the end. He's been my favorite companion so far and I'm glad that I got to spend a long time with him. He made the hard times in Mabini at least enjoyable at the same time and endured them with me.
My week so far has been super busy trying to catch up. As soon as I arrived in the new apartment I hung up my white shirts and then we actually went straight to work. I met a recent convert who's very nice and she has a strong testimony. She lives in a one room apartment that she rents that's a renovated old baptist church. It's a rough situation and I haven't figured everything out, but she's a nice person. There are tons of restaurants and places to eat here. It's nothing like my first 2 areas. This place is probably going to be my favorite. Anything I need is here in the mall called Gaisano. It's big and it's got everything. All the groceries we need, all the department goods and needs, and there's a Jollibee, which is like the Filipino McDonalds. There is McDonalds, but only in Bacolod. There's Jollibee's in most major cities. There was one in Cadiz, but of course, not in Escalante.
We've been teaching a lot of less actives though, we had 5 of them come to church yesterday. So the rescue still continues on. There's a less active family that Elder Garica didn't know there concern until I said something and then it came out. Turns out their not married and they say there's no point in going to church because they can't go to the temple. The wife had a previous husband and since it's the Philippines she can't get a divorce to marry her current husband. So, it's an interesting situation. There's another family that is less active, but the daughter is not yet baptized, but she has a live in partner that lives there. Currently they are getting their marriage licence on the 8th and then they'll be married and baptized sometime soon. That is depending on if they get the licence on the 8th, so we're working with them still.
We've got a way cool investigator named Freddy. He's actually like an active member. His wife is a member and his wife's family are all members. The only reason he hasn't been baptized yet is because he's got a coffee addiction. And nobody believes that you can be addicted to coffee... yeah, this dude totally is! We've set a date for him to drop all his coffee addiction on the 17 of August. So we're going to do all we can to help him. I thought last night as I was watching a missionary training video of giving him a Priesthood blessing so that he can have the strength to quit and to abstain from his addiction. He was at church this Sunday, but only at Sacrament. Sacrament is last in the agenda,so a lot of people have found out that they can just go to sacrament. Sort of like the same situation in Victorias where there was nobody in Sunday School, but in Sacrament there was about 90.
Sorry my email is sort of random, I'm still new and not really sure what's going on quite yet. Next week will be better don't worry. I've got the area down for the most part though. I know where everything is, which is usually the hardest thing for people, but with my muscle memory, I just memorize where landmarks and things are so the area isn't much of a problem. It's remembering all the names of these people! And who is less active and who is an investigator. So next week my email will be better.
My birthday was actually pretty good. We taught a lot of people and then the best part was receiving a text! Elders, come over to our house for dinner! AYOS! This was a family that I had met the previous day, so I'm glad I made a good first impression that they wanted to feed me on my birthday. I didn't plan on telling anyone it was my birthday, but their daughter who is waiting for her mission call asked, Elder Ellis when is your birthday. I couldn't lie, so I said tomorrow. haha. So it was nice to have a meal.
The Aventura Family
There were 2 recently returned missionaries that came home this week from our branch so the branch is going a little crazy right now with a transfer, me being a new elder, and 2 of their own coming home from their missions. They're both actually really cool guys and funny too. We've ate with one on my birthday and the other I met at church on Saturday. I've been really trying to make a good impression on everyone so far right at the start. That's the most important part, especially if you're new to an area. It's like a new start. Like a new mission. All new people and all new things. They don't know anything about you and you don't know anything about them so it's way fun at the start because you can change who you want to be. You can do things better from the start with building relationships with the members.
Okay so a cool experience that I had this week. We were planning on eating a like 2 on Thursday. We had been at a teaching appointment and then it was over and then it was like 1:50, but something told me, just don't eat yet. So I was like Elder, let's eat in a little bit, I'm not quite hungry yet. I said, where can we go real quick that close by. He said, we can go here. So we go to the relief society pres. She didn't live close by, we walked like 1KM to get to her house. Anyway, we got there and she oh Elders you got my text! I looked at the phone and said, Sister, we never got your text... what did your text say. Anyway, turns out she's sick and she wanted a blessing, her and her husband were both sick. Cool huh? So that was a nice spirit booster this week!
We only had one investigator at church this week; Freddy. It rained and there were a lot of people that said it was too muddy to go to church. I wanted to laugh SOOO HARD! I've come from the mountain to the city and they're telling me it's too muddy. There are actual roads all the way to the church. If you want to walk you can and be fine. Mostly though, you'd only need to ride a tricycle and you'd arrive at the church A OK! and not even wet and you wouldn't be muddy one single bit.
Okay, Sorry it's super random. Next week I promise will make more sense so I hope that you're not upset with me! It's nice to be in my new area and I'm so far loving it. Elder Gibbons and I are planning on playing basketball today. He's from Mesa, Arizona and is another DL here in our Zone. He's the batch before me so I met him at the MTC. He and Garner were close. And today we're going to the mall to get our shopping done. I walked inside of it and I was amazing, I needed something, I think laundry soap because I left mine in Mabini. It's amazing. I love the city so far.
Found on San Carlos beach
I do know the church is true. It's been an amazing journey so far and I"m loving all of it. Even the times when I'm down, I realize that I've learned a lot. My time in Mabini I learned a lot, not just about missionary work, but about running the church. How it runs and how we can better it and if you're in a leadership position you need to definitely fulfill your calling! Thanks for all the birthday wishes that my family gave me and Courtney :) Y'all are the best! I can't wait to see y'all again.
From San Carlos City, Negros Occ., Philippines!