Monday, October 21, 2013

October 20th--Mission Conference with Elder Nielsen of the Seventy

Dear Friends and Family,

This week has been amazing. Earthquake, Elder Nielson of the 70 comes to visit, mission tour, Wishley passed her baptismal interview, Sleepover in Bacolod, Cooking 2 kilo's of Fried Chicken and Kool-Aid, it's just been a great week and the spirit was super strong. 
Looking back I realize that I don't really write a lot of spiritual experiences in my letter. I guess I just never really realized it and I'm sorry for doing that. I always just thought you'd all be interested in my physical experiences and funny stories or something rather than listen to me babble on about my feelings. So this week I would like to share some of the things that had happened. We didn't get much work done this week so I think it'd be a better email if I just shared with you these things, rather than share my week. 
So most of you know if you've been reading my letters that Elder Nielson of the 70 came this week. In preparation we were all emailed a talk by Elder Bednar from 2001, I think. He gave an address in the Marriott Center at BYU and it's entitled, "Strength in the Lord". I would encourage all to read the talk if you want to google it. It's honestly one of the BEST talks I've ever read and ever studied in my whole life. He started it off with reading Mosiah 27:25 and saying that all of us need to change. The atonement has two parts. Most people think of the part that helps bad people become good. What about the good people to better people, then the saints? So that's really what he was talking about. The atonement has two parts, the Redeeming Power and then the Enabling Power. The Redeeming Power of course we all know helps us from sin and can redeem us from the Fall of Adam. We can return back to God and be clean again in his presence. The Enabling Power helps us once we've put off the natural man to become better! Also with the physical side of the things in our life. Elder Bednar talks about his wife being pregnant with all her kids and she was sick in all 3 pregnancies, but the Lord was able to help her with her physical strength. Same thing with Nephi in the Book of Mormon when Nephi was tied up on the ship. He didn't ask to have the removed or for his brothers to untie him, he asked the Lord for Strength to actually BREAK THE BANDS! So it was just an amazing realization that I had that the Lord can help us physically, especially when it comes to our missionary work. It was a great training and really changed the way that I think about my missionary work.

He then talked about the bad traditions that the Spanish brought with them when they originally came to the Philippines and how nothing has changed. All the countries in Asia have no central belief on God. So when the Spanish came to the Philippines they brought that and how it's changed the Philippines because of the belief in God that they all have. However, the established the wrong church here! So it all relates to just bad traditions! Then he says, obviously nobody here reads the Bible because nobody knows what the sabbath day is. And if you actually go to a catholic church and read the ten commandments on the wall if they have them, they're changed. The whole thing about bowing down and worshiping other God's isn't there and also the sabbath day just says, worship on the sabbath. It's super interesting and now you know why they have no clue about it. 

MLC group

Sister Nielsen have a training and she put up a picture of their family with all their kids and their wives. She then went through and told a story about how they love to boat, camp, eat Mexican food, and do all these fun things. When the kids found their wives, the wives and their daughters husbands didn't really like to do all these things and that their family changed a little bit. She said, "You don't have to be a Nielsen to be loved by the Nielsen's." It was interesting and then she talked about our companions. They're not an Ellis! They don't like the crazy things that I like. She said, "There's a difference between TOLERANCE and EMBRACING someone." I was thinking there's only really been one companion that I loved and that was Elder Edem. The other's I've just embraced, I guess you really have to live with them to really understand them. But they're very different from Americans and I've never had an American companion. So I'm really going to work on that the rest of my mission and just have Christlike love for my companions. She talked about why would you attack one other because you're both on the same team! She said you're both here to do the same thing and you have the same purpose. The Lord's put you with this person for a reason, figure out why you're with them. It was a great training and I really loved it and enjoyed it. Their son when to Russia on his mission and didn't baptize a single soul. That would be super rough to have zero baptisms, but later he realizes it wasn't about the baptisms. It was about serving the Lord and fulfilling your purpose as a Priesthood holder that matters. It's our duty to serve the Lord as a Priesthood holder, he talked a lot about that too and really thanked us for being men and stepping up to the plate and answering the call. It was nice to have a general authority say, "Thank you". 
After the initial zone conference with him, or the general meeting. US, the Zone Leaders, the AP's, and the Sister Training Leaders got to have our own meeting with him. He taught us how to become leaders and asked us, "Which way do you face?". Which means, who do you represent? Do you represent the missionaries in San Carlos to the Mission President? or Do you represent the Mission President and the Lord to the Missionaries? It was something that I had never really thought of before, it's simple! But ofter times I find myself representing the missionaries in my Zone here in San Carlos to the President Lopez, rather than the other way around which is what it should be. It was a good lesson that I learned. 
So needless to say, it was a great day!
Okay, so about the Earthquake. Tuesday morning we were studying at our desk and my desk started shaking and I told Elder, "Stop shaking my desk!" and He yells, "LINOG!" Which means earthquake, I learned that work real quick. I've never needed to know it before. So we ran outside real quick to be safe. Our whole house was shaking and the poles outside were shaking and the house was really moving good and the ground was rolling nicely. After it was over after about a minute I was like that's cool! That's the first earthquake I've ever experienced! I was just wondering where the center was because it was pretty strong here so I was concerned where the center was. Carmen, Bohol was the center I later found out at 7.2 on the scale. So that's pretty large actually. We thought maybe Mt. Canla-on was going to erupt. It's still technically active. But it was just an earthquake. Over 80 people are dead in Bohol and I"m not sure about Cebu. We're all safe here in Negros though. Aftershocks have been hitting on and off all week after the initial blow. We had one last night. One yesterday while we were in the middle of teaching a lesson, so that was funny. We all text ed President Lopez if our zone was safe because he had to text the area, which then goes directly to the Prophet which is what Elder Nielsen said. The communication of the church never ceases to amaze my eyes. 
bohol earthquake.jpg
Bohol earthquake, compliments of

members sleeping in church after eq.jpg
Here's some other cool facts I learned:
1. Before General Conference all the general authorities meet in the temple. Elder Nielsen told us the first prayer they offer is always for the missionaries all throughout the world. I thought it was nice. We're in good hands obviously. 
2. 892 Chapels in the Philippines
3. 680,000 members in the Philippines
4. In my mission there are 36,344 members of the Church
5. 26,190 of them are less active... 2/3.
6. Of that: 2,989 Melchizedek Priesthood holders
7. Of that: 1,306 are less active
So needless to say... it's been a good week and there is definitely some work to do with the less actives! We're supposed to be establishing the church here. So, we're going to do more work on that and with strengthening the members and the work in the branch to become a ward and the district to become a Stake in Zion. 
I love all y'all back home. Hope you weren't too worried about the earthquake. We're all safe and fine. I love you so much and I'm thankful for all the prayers that you send my way. Just know many go your way as well! Talk you next week!
Elder Ellis

1 comment:

  1. Love hearing about his Mission. I have not written forever but read all of them. I forgot how to reply to him. It is not from this is it? Thanks much for sharing.