Monday, September 30, 2013

September 29th--Sherwin's Baptism

Dear Friends and Family,
Mt. Canalaon
Well, this week has been a little different. Work hasn't been that great. I guess I'll start with Elder Sobreviga spraining his ankle on Monday while we were playing basketball. That wasn't a fun thing. Literally rolled the whole ankle right on top of another Elder's ankle. It was so black and blue... then purple the next day. Poor guy couldn't walk at all for a day and a half. We did all that we could though and then work from then on he was walking slow, with a limp, and it was very painful for him, but we still got some work done thankfully.
Monday night we were trying to figure out what happened to his ankle and he was icing it, so not much work was able to get done. So Monday was a complete bust.

Tuesday morning we wake up and his whole ankle is the color purple and when he stood up from his bed he couldn't put any pressure of his ankle. So that was an interesting morning. We did our studies like normal, but he couldn't walk, so what could we do? So I did my best to just clean the house and then serve him I guess. We did go to district and he pretty much was just bragging my shoulder the whole time while walking into the church and back out of the church. We did do our online facebook thing and we're pretty much having zero success with it. In Branch 1 Elder Garcia and I were having some success. But our facebook has received not a single referral and it's just a joke. We have to add everyone and we have people from Manila adding and just all over the place, rather than just from San Carlos. So it's pretty hard to just keep track of everything.

Wednesday Elder wakes up and it's the same thing. His ankle isn't better at all. We did our studies and everything and then made lunch. He then iced it and tried to walk it off but we couldn't get it back to where he could walk. At about 5:00 he said, Elder, let's just go. So I said, you sure man? He's like... yup. So we walked to our Branch Presidents house because we're teaching his "yaya" or maid type person. Just like helper is what they call it. I guess maid is derogatory or something. She's been reading the Book of Mormon and has accepted a date for the 26th of October for baptism. We invited her to go to church on Sunday, but we're not sure what happened because she said yes she would go. Sunday comes and Nope. No Sister yaya, or Sister Crisencha is her name. We eat dinner at President Dellomes' house whenever we teach her so it's nice. He's a way cool Branch President and really tried to help out with everything in the church and do awesome. He's great. We then taught Brother Roberto about the role of a father and what fathers need to do for their children and for their wives. It's always good to teach those kinds of things. I like teaching about the family and the roles of the father and husband ;)

Thursday we worked with Brother Ryan Purca. We went to the Leduna's house in Punao. Sherwin had school, so we teach his LA sister, Joan, who has a day off everyThursday. She works at Gaisano here, which is the mall, in San Carlos. She only has Thursday off and isn't a high enough or long enough worker to request to change toSunday as day off. So we teach her and just to strengthen her faith. We also needed to get the parent signature for Sherwin's baptismal record so we grabbed that from his mom. His mom isn't a member yet nor his papa, so we're going to work on teaching them. They've been taught before, but not really sure what happened. We keep trying to visit Malo, but she's never there anymore. She always out with her Grandma, which that's who she lives with and calls mama... that's pretty sad. Grandma is mama in this case. We also taught Romel about the first part of the plan of salvation and then his older sister shows up from work and sits down and starts asking all the questions. It was great, so at the same time we turned around and taught the restoration right after. That was a long lesson because she kept asking questions.  She thought we were a branch of Catholic at first which is the first reason why you can't have a true church with branches? So... we pointed that out that this is the restored church and it has no branches. The Church of Jesus Christ is the church of Jesus Christ. We invited them to go to church on Sunday, but still nothing. So, we're going to keep trying I guess. We also taught Brother Roberto about Alma 30, about Corihor and how he lied... and then was killed. We were thinking maybe he was still lying to us, so we were just trying to scare him a little bit. But yeah, it worked I guess. We feel he's okay now.

Friday was a decent day. Elder's ankle started to do better and so that was nice. We haven't taught that many less actives this week because with Elder not being able to walk for a day and a half, we decided to focus on investigators. So we needed to teach some less actives and that's what we did. We taught the Sebuyan family about the word of wisdom and hey said they didn't have any problems so that's good! They actually came to church yesterday! We also then went to a Recent Convert and taught him and his grandma who isn't a member. We mainly focused on the RC because the grandma isn't super interested and so we're just working on building a relationship for now. Then we taught Crisencha about L3. We watched a video of the train bridge guy, who loved his son but his son was stuck on the track and he could either throw the switch and save all the people on the train or sacrifice his son. I've heard the story, but Elder has a video of it and we watched it with her and it was way awesome. Just then taught of Jesus Christ and his gospel. Oh, I guess you don't know what Lesson 3 is. It's the gospel of Jesus Christ. So that was a good lesson.

Saturday we had our baptism. It was great! President Lopez was in attendance and it was nice for him and his wife to attend. They were doing a training in San Carlos and so they were already here, so I asked if they would just stay and attend and they said they would. So we were happy. Sherwin was baptized and now has no more sins. The branch was then doing a family week/day on Saturday and asked if we would present some things. We were actually the judge of poster making and I spoke about eternal marriage, AWESOME! The branch was blown away I think. So it was a great branch activity and there were investigators and tons of less actives there!
Sherwin and family
Sunday we had to do two interviews. One in Guihulgan which is an hour and a half away. Then right up to Canla-on to do another interview there, so we spend over 170 pesos on bus fare in one day. That's more than it is to go to Bacolod. We got back home at 8pm last night... we got to do absolutely no work in our area because of interviews. It's sort of makes me upset, but that's my job I guess. It's fun to interview though and to meet other missionaries investigators. We had Roberto, Wishely, and a few other investigators at church yesterday. So of the young women brought friends and so that was good. People that we've never met before. Overall the chapel had a ton of people and President Dellomes was super happy.

This week's been busy. This upcoming one is going to be even busier! We've got our meeting in Bacolod tomorrow and we're spending the night there tonight. On Wednesday Elder Wilstead and I are doing exchanges here in San Carlos while Elder Sobreviga works in Canla-on. On Saturday I have to go to Bacolod with Elder Shaffer to do fingerprints for my exit visa... not sure what's up with that. Then in the afternoon on Saturday Roberto will be baptized. He passed his interview yesterday and so we're going to have another one. 
I love y'all back home. Thanks for all the love and support you give. It's hard, but put your shoulder to the wheel right? Talk to you next week!
Elder Ellis

Monday, September 23, 2013

September 22--Zone Conference week

Dear Family and Friends,
ALOHA! How is everyone doing back in the US of A! I hope you know that the US is honestly a blessed and consecrated country. There's a reason that it's the promised land, only if we obey the commandments of God and always remember him. Just read the Book of Mormon and you will see that for yourself. It's interesting to just correlate the Book of Mormon with our day now and it's amazing to see the similarities. I just finished the Book of Mormon this past week again, and wow, I'm blown away every single time I read the book. 
This week was good. We had our zone conference and all that fun stuff. Pretty much I spent 3 days in Bacolod so there's not that much to report on this week. I'm sorry, so this might be a little bit of a shorter email.

Monday we played Basketball with 4 other companionship's. It was really fun and it was good exercise. We also had a great family home evening in Calinling. It's just a place, not really a person. However we had about 5 different families join, but not all the members of those families. Not really sure what was going on. It was great and I taught the lesson. I did that paper cross thing that dad taught me and it's pretty cool because I just lie the whole time while telling the story until it's over. Then at the end they are like, did all the really happen and then I tell the truth and they get really mad, but still say it was cool. Mom, if you don't know the story, dad can explain the paper cross story. I actually used Dad as the character for it so they were more interested. I showed them a picture of my family and they agree that we are all beautiful people. Honestly, anything that's white they think is cute, so... yeah. But they all ask why I'm a little smaller than my dad. I never know what to say. Then we taught Roberto and he should be baptized next Saturday the 5th of October. We're going to have a baptism every Saturday in October so far. So that's cool! We're excited to be fulfilling the vision.

Tuesday we had Brother Ryan Purca work with us. He's done with his mission papers and is waiting for an interview from President Lopez now. Since we're a district and not a stake, President Lopez is over San Carlos. Other than that, he's ready to go. I've given him some ties that I don't use so that he has some for his mission. Working with him we're able to teach anybody and count it as a member present lesson so any investigator taught we did that. Since we had zone conference this week, we just totally ignored less actives and focused on our investigators this week. Which was good because our work this week was a total bummer because Bacolod is far and the typhoon brought much rain!

Elders Sobrivega & Ellis
Wednesday we went to Bacolod. It was fun we traveled with Elder Wilstead and Elder Cudac, his trainee. Elder Shaffer and Elder Garcia from SN Carlos 1. And then Elder Sobreviga and I. We ate at McDonalds upon arrival. Then we went to meet the missionaries that we were staying the night with. Talk about a total joke... my whole zone gets to stay in a hotel with hot showers and air con and I have to stay at another missionary apartment with an electric fan, crappy mattress, and 12 other missionaries! So, all the Zone Leaders got the shaft while their zones get nice hotel rooms. I'm not going to complain though, but I would've stuck the ZLs in the hotel, not all the new missionaries. Who knows what they do there at night with nobody else watching them, in Bacolod City. So we stayed with the Zone Leaders in Bacolod 2nd Ward. Elder Johnson and Elder Malit. Elder Malit is my batch mate. Elder Johnson was in Escalante while I was in Mabini so I knew both of them. And... the rest of the missionaries I was pretty much here longer than all of them. Except 2 I think... and the ZLs. It was weird. Our mission is SO young! For dinner we ate McDonalds again, but I just ate fries and ice cream, I wasn't the hungry. I miss McDonalds fries. And ice cream is never a bad thing. Then we just went to sleep.

I'm Lovin' it!
Thursday we had our zone conference. It was good and there was a ton of people there! 6 zones I think... all the far zones were attending. I feel like I don't know anybody because I've been in Cebuano forever and nobody really cares about the Cebuano's. They're like oh... you're Cebuano cool. DON'T CARE! But Zone Conference was good. It's only preparation for Elder Nielson of the 70 to come next month. We had to do all this stuff, stand, sit, then all shake his hand a proper way and announce where we're from and our name to him and his wife. So it should be good October 16! We learned about the Plan of Salvation more and how to do better personal study and language study. Elder Doane did a good training... apparently during lunch I should be studying flash cards. Rather than 2 hands on my sandwich I should have only 1 and the other hand on flash cards. That's what he trained about, just using time more wisely and effectively for language learning activities. Thursday night we had a MLC meeting which we will also when Elder Nielson comes. That was the best dinner I've had in the Philippines so far though... wow. Ribs and good meat and I was blown away. So good. The MLC we all just discussed problems we're having in our zones with achieving the vision and problems that we're seeing just pop up and how we can fix them. The biggest one is getting all the interviews done with the Zone Leaders because our areas are so far away. So, it's been good, at least that's the problem. Having too many people to baptize! Right? We slept at the Bata Elder's apartment again with Elder Moody and Elder Nunez. Elder Rilliorta and Elder Gibbons are the Elders in Bata. It was a good night. We got slurpee's and talked for a little bit.
Mission Office Sign

Friday we woke up, got ready and went to McDonalds again... you see what I'm getting at with McDonalds... I miss America. We just wanted pancakes and so we ate breakfast there! AMAZING! haha. Then we rode the bus home and that's about the time that the wind started kickin' in from the Typhoon. After about a hour on the bus the rain was so strong and the wind was crazy. So it took us longer to get to San Carlos... but we made it safely. We got home in time to teach Roberto, that was it.
Baboy (pig)
Dinner at President Dellomes' house
Saturday we went to Punao to teach Sherwin, who will be baptized this Saturday! So that was good, we just ran through the interview questions and made sure that he knows them! He passed his interview on Sunday! :) So Saturday it is! We're excited. We then taught our new investigator Romel. He's 15 and lives like right on the beach. This is the family of 10 that I was telling you about, but he's the only one that is usually home. Mom this week was working when we went over both times. He's good and won't except to be baptized yet because he's Catholic. We're just focusing on getting him at church though, but I think they all go to the cathedral for church. It's at the same time... so it's going to be interesting, but we're just praying for help to know what to do. We also got invited to President Dellomes' house for dinner. Little did we know it was his sons birthday. Most of the branch I swear was there, but there was Baboy (pig) I'll send a picture. Literally... the whole pig. On the table. I know mom was asking about that one time. Yes, it's true :) It's good too. They only do it for holiday's and special events. Like last Christmas I had it at every house!

Found out where the less actives live!
Elder Wilstead in Canla-on is just tearing it up and so they're going to be having a weekly baptism now there. So every Sunday we're going to have to go there. It's super far! So it takes pretty much all our Sunday. If we have them and another interview, we're totally just hosed for our Sunday work! I guess it's a good thing for them! As long as we have a baptism every week though, then it doesn't matter what our other numbers are. As long as we're having people progress, return, and be baptized! However, the bus to Canla-on leaves every 1hr... we found that out yesterday. So, we were late to their church, so their investigators went home. So when we got to Canla-on we did the interview at their investigators house. That was interesting, but they gave us some bread and MILO afterwards so it was a nice bonus. The Corson couple. Their 2 really old people and I think they'll go any day soon so it's good their being baptized now! They're very cute and sweet to us. I did one interview and Elder Sobreviga did the other one. Afterwards we waited for a bus and then it just starting pouring rain. I guess some of the storm is still in the area or something. But it was fine, we were under a roof. The bus came and then after an hour we started down the mountain for Sn. Carlos. We got home at 8pm and decided to do personal study since we hadn't studied yet for the day. It was still a good Sunday. We had 5 investigators at Sacrament! :) Roberto. Wishley. Sherwin. Irish (new). and Irish's Sister (We've never met, just yesterday for the first time)
So my week was really good! I'll send some pictures here in a bit. The computer shop is running of a back up generator, power's been out for awhile... so it took us about 30 minutes to get up the Internet and computers again. Everything is going well though! We're excited to start fulfilling the vision of the mission and it's going to be hard to keep up just because it's that hard to do. Not many people are doing it, but there are people that are doing weekly baptism. I just want to be one of them. I can't ask my zone to do something I'm not doing. So I told them last zone training that we gave them, I can't tell you to do this, but President did. But this next zone training, I can say it. Elders, we can do it. I know we can do it. Because we're actually doing it. I love you guys! Thanks for all  the support! Philippines is still awesome and rocking! Just keep praying it stays that way. Have a great week!
Elder Wilstead & Ellis

Elder Ellis
1 Year na ako! :) 1 Yr pa jud! Ayos ra!

Monday, September 16, 2013

September 16th---Anniversary week, Hump Day, or whatever you call it. It's been a YEAR!

Hello Everyone!

This week has been really good! We've been working really hard this week. Since we're the zone leaders we can't let any other area in our zone have higher key indicators than us, so we've been working our tails off. The city is a little different than in the bukid, or the mountain areas. People here are always busy, gone, doing other things, the people in the mountain work early in the morning and then just hang out during the day and then return back to work at night. That's just because it's so hot. So here it's really hard to catch people to teach so it takes a lot of planning and patience. If you tell someone you'll come back tomorrow at 4, they say yeah sure, then you go to their house and their never home. Nobody is ever home for a returning appointment. They just do what they need to do, when they need to I guess. 

Merry Christmas!  Just kidding...
Average meal minus stuffing Grandpa Ellis sent
So last Monday, sort of a funny story. So we played basketball. Elder Wilstead worked me, it's hard guarding a 6'4, but I managed. My fade away is really what's working on him, kind of. He's big. While we were playing, I put our cell phone in his bag. After we were done playing, I forgot to take it back out. Of course, they go back home to Canlaon, which is like an hour and a half up the mountain from here. We have no phone. We're supposed to text President every night when all the missionaries are home safe. So, yeah, there was nothing else that we could do. So... we went to Canla-on to get the cell phone. They were in the process of putting an addition 2 missionaries there in Canlaon, so there's an apartment right next to the other missionaries apartment.  It had beds and everything, so we got to Canlaon about 8pm and then just stayed the night in the new Elder's apartment. It's so stupid, just for a cell phone, but it's my fault for leaving it in Elder Wilsteads bag. They did put 2 new missionaries in Canlaon this week, so now that branch has 4 and one of the missionaries is ELDER EDEM!

Tuesday we just went to the district meeting in Vallehermoso district. That's where Canlaon has their district meeting, so we went to observe to make sure that they were doing everything okay and making sure that all was in order. They split the district this week and made the 4 Elders in Canlaon their own district and then Vallehermoso and Guihulgan their own district, so in my zone, there are 4 district, with 4 Elders in each districts. We then went straight to work.  Everyday this week we've planned to teach 3 investigators with member presents, 1 other lessons, just finding on our own. Obtain 1 referral everyday, and find 2 new investigators everyday. We were able to achieve that goal! And we have a goal for teach 3 less actives for recent converts a day as well. As you can see our day is way packed. We walk everywhere too so that makes it more fun. There's never not anything to do! So Tuesday we reached all our goals and we taught a few less actives, the best part was teaching Melma, who is an investigator. She's 15, her mom is member, but less active and we're going to baptize here. She hasn't been to church yet, but we're working with the young women to go and fellowship her. Her only problem is that she doesn't have a friend at the church yet. We haven't set her a date for baptism yet, but will this week for October 19. Roberto is still doing good. We actually teach him every single night at their house. It's right by our house, well close, so on our way home every night, we stop by and we teach him a lesson. He'll be baptized on the 5th of October

Canla-on District, Vallehermso District and San Carlos District
Wednesday was transfer day. Elder Robertson actually got sent to Mabini! haha. My batch mate, is now in my old area. I told him to go follow up on some people. I'll see him at Zone Conference this week. Oh yeah, this week is Zone Conference in Bacolod, so be looking for pictures on facebook. There's like 6 zones at the same time, so it's going to be a ton of people, so I'll try and pop in some pictures :) Then Elder Edem and Elder Bragas are the new missionaries in Canlaon, so make them 4. Elder Bragas was Elder Sobreviga's companion 2 transfers ago. So it's cool that we now have our old companions in our zone with us. They're eating lunch with us today. Actually, they're buying us a chicken and we're going to eat it. Anyway, back to Wednesday, we taught a lot of Less Actives, and they are the ones that frustrate me the most and make me go crazy. We actually have 2 RM's in our branch, both Less Active now... One has WOW problems and the other is living with his girlfriend... palagpat. Pretty much Wednesday we did a lot of walking and talking to Less Actives trying to bring them back to church... and they all have stupid reasons why they can't come to church. Ambot sa ila. 

Only the goat would listen?
Thursday we worked in Punao. Sherwin will be baptized on the 28th of this month, in like 2 weeks. His parents aren't members, but all his siblings are. One is sort of less active, the other works on Sunday, but this Sunday he was at church with one of his sisters, only the two of them came. His sister that was with him is 15. So that was cool. A 13 and 15 year old came to church by themselves and they probably are one of the farthest places in our area. We also found a new family to teach that claims they are devoted catholic, but after asking how their church attendance is going, they haven't been in the longest time. So... I'm not buying it. We taught them the restoration and gave them a Book of Mormon and challenged them to read it. So we will follow up this week when we return back to them. We've been working with a less active named Efrin to come back to church and his family, we teach him about once a week and still nothing, but I"m not giving up. Giving up never got anybody anywhere. So that's what life is about, not giving up. Roberto, we taught about the prophets and then he always has the crazy doctrinal questions, which is good, I just want to know where they come from sometimes. He always talks with his buddies at work about the church and I think they're the ones that ask him things. 

Friday we planned for all this week and prepared for the Zone Conference, just in case we're asked to share something about our zone. We also found another family that we've started teaching. The Aparan family. They're a family of 10!!!!! However, the dad we've met once, but he's never home, but way nice guy. The Mom always calls up "sir", which is funny, but it's okay. I'm only 20... not really a sir. But we've taught them the Restoration and the Book of Mormon so far and how to pray. They are catholic and yes, she is an active member, I think... she seems like it. The mom always asks questions and we've got answers. She has a son that is really interested. It's a good find, we've just got to get them to church. They're lot super far, just one ride in a tricycle, but it's far and they're a little poor. But they live right on the beach, nice area! Then we've started teaching Roberto the 10 commandments, he didn't know what they were, so it's good that we teach that. It's interesting that nobody here knows the 10 commandments. Which is any catholic would just study the 10 commandments, they'd realize that they break 2 of them all the time! It's just interesting... they don't even read the Bible, only the Priest. It's just a sad thing to me I think. 
City apartment is much nicer than mountain apartment, but they aren't home much.
Mom cares more than Elder does....
Preaching from the rooftops....almost!
Saturday we went back to Punao to teach Sherwin and Malou. Sherwin was home and we pretty much just taught him the baptismal interview questions to see if there was anything we missed or need to address. He passed fine, so we're good to go. Malou however, wasn't home. Or was playing somewhere, we couldn't really find here. We were then invited to the church to the young women activity and to give the devotional before their activity. So we did. It was good and they actually had 2 investigators at their activity. One of them was Wishley. An investigator who will be baptized on the 12th of October. Her family is members, she just moved in with the from Cebu, where he mom is. Her parents are split, but the Dad is an RM. I don't know what happened to the mom... After the activity we went to dinner at Jollibee, which they have this really good pineapple burger. Sort of like the teriyaki burger at Carls Jr... but not as good, by any means. haha. Oh Thank you for the J DAWGS sauce by the way. My companion doesn't understand why you sent that, but I put it on my rice yesterday and it was sooooo good! Then we went to Roberto's house and he wasn't there... which is weird. Him and Sister were on the way back from Bacolod, so we didn't get a chance to teach him on Saturday

Sunday we had 5 investigators at Sacrament. Then we need to go to Guihulgan to do an interview for baptism. Since it's the District Leader area, we have to do the interview... it's an hour and a half away. So it totally just kills our Sunday. After getting back home, i received two packages. One from Courtney and One from my family! Thank you so much. I have the best Friend in the whole world and the best family. Thanks for everything that was inside and i love it all. I do not need to buy a lot of food for this week! I'll try and share with some of the other Americans though, that's just what we do here. We've got to get each others back. At least her in my zone, that's what we've established. If we've got something good from home, we share. haha. Then we went to teach Wishley about the Law of Chastity and Word of Wisdom. Does someone want to explain to me why it's not called the Law of Wisdom? It's only a Word of Wisdom? I've searched. I've watched a video where 2 missionaries in the 1850's taught a man and they said it's not a law, but a word of wisdom... True of not? 
This week was really good and I'm looking forward more to this week with the Zone Conference and everything. I'm excited to see some of my batch and some of the other Elders that I haven't seen in a long time. Elder Garner doesn't have the same Zone Conference as me, his is the day before, but the ZLs have a meeting on Thursday night after the ZC, so I'll see him then. I love going to Bacolod. Good food and more fun! :) I love you all back home. Thank you so much for all the things that you do for me. Even your prayers just carry me through the day and give me strength for this very physical demanding labor. I love you. 
Anniversary packages from Courtney & Mom/Dad
Apartment tour

J Dawg sauce goes good even on rice!



One year on September 19th!

Elder Ellis 

Monday, September 9, 2013

September 9th--First Mission Leadership Council as a Zone Leader

Dear America,

This week has been pretty good I guess. Not really. We didn't have a baptism. We weren't expecting one, but President told me at our Missionary Leaders Council that if you don't have a baptism, it's not a good week. So yeah, it wasn't a good week. He's really stressing the weekly baptism, which I'll be honest when the vision of that first came out in April, I wasn't a believer. I was just going to continue to do the work that I was called to do. However, I've repented and returned to do the thing that I need to do. I will have a weekly baptism. It's going to be hard to start it, especially when the missionary who I just switched with really didn't find that many people. We have people lined up for baptism starting on the 28th and going for three weeks after that. So we're just going to find more people and start lining them up on different Saturdays. 

I spent my entire Monday in Bacolod. I bought my needed rubber shoes, they're pretty cheap so that's good. I need some new ones about every transfer. They're comfortable and water proof, until they tear, haha. Elder Robertson was my companion for Monday and Tuesday because Elder Sobreviga was "sick". I really think he would've been fine if he went to Bacolod with me, but oh well. We spent some time at the mall in Bacolod, Robinsons. I bought a new watch since my old one broke. I wanted a little bit nicer of a watch, so I bought one to keep the time. Also that night we ate McDonalds and I did see Elder Garner there so we talked for a little bit. We tried to get Slurpee's but all the machines were broke because the power went out for about 5 minutes so something happened to all the machines. I guess they break when that happens. I did buy some American candy, and I'll be honest. That just hit that spot that day. I love when y'all send me some American candy and stuff. It's such a blessing, so thank you! Monday night I talked with Elder Moody, Elder Gibbons, Elder Robertson for a bit. It's seldom that we can talk for a long time with other Americans. Since I've never had an American companion, it's nice when other Americans are around. 
Elders Ellis & Garner
The Avengers
Elders Ellis (ZL) & Doane (AP)
Tuesday was our MLC Meeting, that's what they call it. It was amazing! I was surprised that it was actually so good. I wasn't expecting that. Every zone has a brand new zone leader. We're going to be able to meet with Elder Nielson of the 70 when he comes in October. He's going to have a meeting with us Zone Leaders so I've rather excited. And nervous... hopefully he doesn't chastise us too bad. Elder Nielson is part of the Philippines Area Presidency. I guess you saw some pictures of the meeting. It was good getting training from President and being able to openly discuss ideas and problems with work in different zones with other zone leaders and things. 

Wednesday we had a zone meeting in which we relayed all the details from our MLC meeting to the zone. Since Elder Sobreviga wasn't at the MLC meeting, I really was the only one talking that much and teaching the zone. I think that meeting was great and I think that we got the information back to the zone in a good manner. Most times in the past I haven't like that meeting just because the way the Zone Leaders have taught it, but I really tried to study the material and not just word for word everything that President told us. Rather, I used scriptures and quotes, then taught the thing that relates as taught by President Lopez. We've got some new missionaries to the zone. Elder Wilstead is awesome, probably one of my favorites. He's a baseball player for UNLV, but lost his scholarship by coming on a mission. BYU is going to accept him though with no problem. He's from St. George, went to Pineview high school. He just stepped down from being a zone leader since Feburary. So long. He's only 2 batch's ahead of me, so like 3 months. We ate lunch with him and Elder Alfeche his companion. Then we just worked. We taught some less actives, that are okay with us teaching them. They don't really keep commitments, nor really care that we teach them. So we just do our best to serve them and to help them and know that we love them. We've got an investigator I think I told you about Roberto. He's a part member. He's going to be baptized on October 5. He still smokes sometimes, but not that often anymore. So we're still working on the with him. He's an Illango, so it's rough to teach, but it bring back a lot of my language from Victorias. Speaking of Victorias. At our MLC meeting I got to talk with a Sister assigned in Victorias now. She said that all the members still talk about me and they miss me. Ryan Jumbas is not the President of the Young Men! And there are a lot of returned less actives that I was working with, the Perez family to be the key on that I was happy to hear about. It was nice to hear that they still love me! 

Thursday we went to a place called Panao. It's pretty far, it's the only place that we actually have to ride a jeep too. The people there still go to church sometimes though. We have 2 investigators there. Sherwin is a part member. He's 12, never baptized. He's brothers and sisters are members, parents are not, but he's been coming to church and we've been teaching him. He's got a date for baptism on the 28th of this month. So we're going to teach him. The only problem is he still is at school during the day and gets home at night and the area is dangerous at night so we can only go there on Saturday and Sunday. So, we're going to teach him longer lessons, hopefully he can handle it. Another is Malou. She's a next door neighbor of a member. She's 13, and was taught by Elder Edem in the past. She lives with her grandma, but has some friends at the church so we teach her and we're going to baptize her. She came to church on Sunday. We think that we're going to baptize her on the 12th of October, so that we'll be doing this weekly baptism thing. We teach Roberto every night at his house. They're house is right next to ours... well like a 3 minute walk, so we just teach them on the way home every night. It's nice! He'll do well. His family is way active.

How do you like these bananas?
Friday we went to a place called Stampar. It's in the mountain. It's the place where we went 2 weeks ago with the branch to go visit the less active family, anyway, we finally went there. The area is nice, it's not that far, compared to some of the place that I walked in Mabini. So it was nice. It's out of the city and you can actually see the whole city from their house, I'll send a picture. They didn't come to church on Sunday though... they said they would. That's the problem... always saying, never doing. We taught a bunch of other less actives, but only a few were at church. They all work on Sunday. I like the members here that at least go to church and then work after church! At least their doing something! Some members say they need to work all morning... but they don't care anyway. We have tricycle drivers and bicycle drivers that come to church and then after go back to work. I respect them a lot. 

Saturday we went back to Panao and to Sherwin and Malou. They're doing well and both came to church on Sunday! I like their area. We were given a lot bread and tang by two families there. One was a less active, the grandma of Sherwin, and the other was Sherwin's mom, who's not a member. I think they give us food and drink so that we don't bother to teach them, but I'm going to change that. We also taught a recent convert that's now less active. He moved to Bacolod for 6 months and didn't go to church there and now he's back, we randomly found him at his house, there hasn't been people at the house for months, but we decided to stop by and see and his wife was home and said to come back. So we did go back and taught him. He said that he might come to church but it shy because he hasn't gone in a long time. I don't really understand that... people being shy to go to church?... We did teach a lot of other less actives and some active members. There's a place called Calingling, which has like a bridge, then next to the bridge there are about 6 houses. All of them are members. It's pretty cool. We're going FHE there next Monday. So we shared some scriptures with them there. It was fun.

Sunday I've come to find out if we're going to start baptizing weekly, the zone leaders are going to be super busy doing baptism interviews. If the district leader has a candidate for baptism, we interview that person. Other than that, it's the DLs that do it for other missionaries. But we have 3 DLs... maybe 4 soon if they put another companionship in one of the other areas. So we're going to be super busy on Sunday! Yesterday we did interviews in Calatrava and Macasilaw. I was going to Calatrave and Elder Sobreviga in Macasilaw. However, the interviewee didn't come to church so I didn't have anyone to interview. Elder interviews 4 in Macasilaw, which is a mountain part of Calatrava, they have a little branch up there way in the mountains. On our way home we waited for 1 1/2 hours just for a bus or a jeep, it was only like 6:30pm. Nothing came forever, then finally a jeep. When we got on the jeep it broke down like 8 times on the way home. Took another 1 1/2 just to go 18 Kms. Such a joke! But we got home safe and no harm. We got home at 9 so we weren't able to do any work because of the interview. I worked a little bit in Calatrava with Elder Nery, while waiting for Elder Sobreviga in Macasilaw. 

Sorry if my email is a little bit shorter. I'm trying to cut my email time down. But I will put in all the key details and everything about investigators and things and my days. It was a decent week. I'm excited today to play basketball with the zone, but it's currently raining, next to our apartment though is a covered court, so we might play there. I hope all is well with everyone back home. 
I know that this work is true. Being a ZL has made me realize a lot of things and I've really working hard and trying to go that extra mile and just really pushing myself so please keep me in your prayers! I know that we can achieve the weekly baptism. I need to have faith in it and hope! Just like we read in Ether! Hope and Faith! I love the Book of Mormon. I just read 3 Ne 11 this morning and I love it every time. Jesus Christ is an amazing teacher! That's why Elder Holland always calls him the Master Teacher. I learn something new every single time that I read the scriptures. I don't know why I never tried to learn more as a kid. I love them now! So read your scriptures everyone! You'll learn tons. I love y'all back home! It's Christmas season here now. They've already started the music. Any month that ends in "BER" is Christmas season here. Keep up the good work and good luck with school! 

Elder Ellis 

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

September 1st: Transferred, New Companion, and New Leadership Opportunities

Dear Family and Friends (I'm sure only my parents read this haha),
The rumors are true. Most of you have heard from Facebook from members in Branch 1 that I've been transferred. They are true. I'm now serving in Branch 2 and have been made the Zone Leader in San Carlos Zone. Today we have a Zone Leaders meeting, called MLC (Missionary Leadership Council). It consists of Zone Leaders, AP's, President and his Wife, Coordinating Sisters, and I think maybe the office staff missionaries, but I'm not sure. It's going to be cool. The meeting is in Bacolod and it's on the first Tuesday of every month. So I'm able to go to Bacolod once a month now, eat some good food, and get any needed supplies. Not that I really need anything, but I do like these rubber shoes and I need to buy some like once a transfer since they brake fast, but they're way nice and easy to clean.
Elder Sobreviga & Ellis (Zone Leaders)
San Carlos Branch 2
The transfer was a surprise to me. I had no idea. I just received a phone call and it said to move tomorrow to San Carlos 2 and I will be the new Zone Leader in the zone. So... that's all the happened. I don't ask questions, I just do what I'm told. It was a shocker for sure.
My email might be a bit different today since I don't have much time, that, and nothing has really happened. Freddy Mahinay was still baptized on Saturday and I'm counting it as a baptism. I didn't attend however because Elder Sobreviga, my new companion is sick with Dengue. I guess it's a blessing from living in our house and being a Zone Leader. It's like a WELCOME TO THE CLUB gift of something. I don't think I'll get it though, I should be fine. I'll wear my deet mom at night and I'll make sure to stay away from mosquitoes. Our work this week wasn't much since Elder Sobreviga is sick. However, we did do some work in the late afternoon and night time. But I'll tell you a little bit more about my area.
San Carlos Branch 2 is actually a great place! There's some mountain areas, and there's an island. I asked President yesterday if we're allowed to work on the island because there are less active members there and we have some referrals there too. However, his reply to my text was, "No". I'm a little upset, but I know I'll be blessed by following his council. If you remember this was the last area of Elder Edem before he transferred to Mabini with me. I know that he went to the island, so, I'm sad that I can't go. It's in the area book as part of our area and it is the branch boundary. However, we'll leave it up to the branch to do the missionary work in that part of the vineyard.
On Saturday the branch does what's called a "Caravan". They get a bunch of members and they go to less actives families that live a little bit farther away from the church. The members talk with them, we bring some food and we just fellowship them. So this Saturday we went to a place called Stampar. On our way there Elder and I were talking to a man on the side of the street that told us the person that we were going to try and visit was in the Hospital. So... now we were all the way in the mountain for nothing because he's not even home! So, even though it was a little bit of a waste of time, it was still fun. I got to see a crocodile. There's a man who keeps it at his house in a little pond thing. Don't worry, there is a gate! But it was cool. He has two of them, one of them is HUGE, and the other is a little baby. It was cool to see a crocodile!
We taught a few less actives this week here. There's not a ton of investigators, but we'll get some more. There was a problem with unity between the Elders and the branch last transfer, so that's something that we need to fix. But the branch is totally willing to help with the work and it's awesome. We had a great meeting yesterday. The Auxiliaries are actually pretty well put together. The only thing that's really missing that I see, is young men... there's not that many and the leadership for them is a little not there yet. But, it'll get there.
Less Active put a picture of Jesus on the door, but we knocked anyway!
There's another investigator that's a part member, Brother Johnny Caballero. His family is all members, but they're like kinda less active, but they sometimes come to church, so we're not really sure. He's been to church twice so far, but not yesterday. SAYUNG! However, we've set him a goal date for Sept. 21 for Baptism. So we're hoping and praying for that day.
Other than that, nothing really happened. We didn't work that much, I've just been spending all day in my study chair reading the scriptures, listening to conference talks, and studying Preach my Gospel like an animal. I'd like to think I'm a PMG scholar already, but I'm not. It's a goal for President for us to become PMG scholars. I will become it.
I'm sorry my letter is short this week. I will make sure that more things will happen this week and I will tell you how my meeting in Bacolod went! We've got a goal to baptize 10 people this month. It's a goal only, but we know that if we do our best and try our hardest and be obedient that the Lord will bless us. We're going really start getting the branch involved in helping us. We received 6 referrals yesterday and so we're really excited about that. One of them is on the island though... so we're sad. But it's okay. We'll get it working! I love this work.
I'm learning to box in my spare time (not!)

 I do have a testimony of this work. I know I don't share it that often. I really do love being a missionary. Sometimes, yeah it's hard and I get down. But isn't that life? Life isn't perfect and tons of trials are going to arrive to us! So this is only a glimpse of what life is going to be. It's crazy to think that Elder Nickell comes home in a month and half. That is just blowing my mind. It's cool though. I'm almost at one year and I"m super stoked! This next year is going to be great. I'm not a new missionary anymore and I'm more experienced and I will know how to speak better and to help people better. With more experience comes better results. I'm very excited. I do know the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is the true church on the earth. There's no way it's false. There can only be one church that true and it's this one. I taught a 45 minutes on the spot lesson in Gospel Essentials yesterday on faith and it rocked! I think... the Lord was guiding me. I had no preparation, no materials, no manual, my Preach my Gospel was at home. I just had to go from knowledge and the scriptures and it was fantastic! I went from Faith... and moved into the Restoration of the Gospel and it was such a blessing form God that I was able to teach and not be scared. I think it's weird, but actually... I kind of like teaching. I think it's going to be something I have to do in my future. I'm satisfied when I teach, it's sort of weird and it brings me joy. I know Faith is real. We just need to trust our faith and move it and keep pushing and we will receive that witness of truth.
I love you all back home. Keep pushing forward with life and do well in school. I can't believe the twins are Juniors in High School. Just remember, study hard.  I love you guys. Thanks for all the things that y'all send me. Oh... the Krusteaz pancake mix, is... gone. I've eaten it all. Can... you send more please? hehe. That's one for the books to put in any package y'all send me, if I can request that? A syrup like... every 3 packages cause that lasts longer. hehe. Thanks family, y'all are the best. I love you so much and I miss you. Look for picture on President's facebook tomorrow!

Elder Ellis