Monday, November 18, 2013

November 18th: Life of a Missionary

Maayong Buntag (or I guess it's night time there so... Maayong Gabie),

Thanks for the package!

Kamusta kamo tanan da? I hope everyone is doing great this week. I feel like life is just going super fast all the time here and that everyday is like a hour... I feel anytime I realize what I'm doing I'm sitting at my desk studying. Throughout the day it feels like I'm not even present and when my mind catches up, it's the morning again and I'm reading my Book of Mormon. Hard to explain and probably unexplainable, so I won't try. We haven't had much more clean up from the storm this week. Everything is still good. We're just waiting for the power to get back at full force. It's still on and off and they're not done yet with fixing it all. We had a couple nights this week that we didn't have any power. With no electricity all the time we've been left with restless nights and getting mobbed by mosquito's. When 6:30 comes our eyes were dead and we were so tired, but the only thing to do is get up and go to work. I'm never going to complain though because of what happened to the other missionaries in the Tacloban Mission. I would never wish those things upon anyone. It's been rough for them and the ones who feel like them can move on are now getting assigned in other missions around the Philippines. We have an estimated 15, I think, coming to the Bacolod Mission. The will now be called Bacolod Missionaries, not Tacloban Missionaries. We will bring them into our home and mission like the 1st day of their mission. It's a new start for them and a new beginning of their mission life. I think there will be 2 in my zone, if my calculations are correct. Elder Shaffer is still missing a companion and so he's just been working with us the past week and a half. President said that he'd have one and then I guess something happened. So, we're pretty sure he'll have one tomorrow and we'll have a new missionary from Tacloban in our house. I hope all is well with the Elder. That's only my guess though, so I could be completely wrong. 
San Carlos Zone
Zone Leader meeting
Eating well!

This week we've been working a lot in Elder Shaffer's area. Branch 1 hasn't had a baptism in a long time, so we've been working with him to find him some new investigators. We found him 11, I think in one day. 3 are a crazy religion that believes in going to the room for church and they pray in their heart, then they receive revelation for themselves. That's the whole church service. They don't believe in the Bible, nor that Jesus Christ is the Savior. If you sinned, you need to pay for that, not Jesus Christ. So that's interesting. It's only found in the mountains. I dealt a lot with them in Mabini, but I just never really explained what they actually believe. It's crazy though. We also had a lesson in which we had 14 people present. I'm pretty sure they were more interesting in what 2 huge white guys wearing ties had to say than the actual message itself, so we found out where they all live and will contact them individually and their families. They said they were interesting and would love to learn more. so that was a good experience for sure! After all that happened we walked a little to the foot of the mountain in their area and there was a family that they've been teaching. When we got there the dad, and all his little buddies were drunk with them. There's a wine here that they make from the coconut tree... it's like fermented coconut wine... I don't know how they make it. It's super cheap and people get way hammered on it. So they love to drink that, which is not fun when we're trying to teach the gospel. So we couldn't teach them, just say hi and walk away and continue with out day.
Elder Barangay and I are doing great. We've been a good companionship so far. People really like him and he's pretty good at persuading people to do things actually, which is way useful. He's a cool guy. He was worried about his friend in the Tacloban mission all last week, until we heard that they were all safe and that they were all in Manila. So we were way happy to heart that. It's been good that they can email and let us know that they're safe... or at least we can hear that they are safe from President Lopez. We really good at teaching together. We know when to stop, ask questions, then follow up, we're always on the same page and it really helps. I always have a hard time understand the Filipino brain and thought track, so sometimes, as with all filipino's I get a little angry haha. But I'm working on it. Sometimes, I just think to myself, now why on earth did you do that? But I usually just laugh it off and continue on.
Our training in Bacolod this week was good. President trained us on we can just be better missionaries and what things we need to do in order to baptize more people. I think he just wanted to see us after the storm and all see us still smiling and take a picture. It was nice to see everyone after the storm. We were the furthest north zone that was present at the training and the other zones said it just rained, there wasn't that much of a problem in the other places. So the storm really just skimmed the top of the island. Cadiz, Escalante, and Sagay still have no power at all. So some of them are coming to email here today because it's the only place closest that has power. It's been rough for those 3 zones. I'm not sure about Victorias. It's still north, but I think that it's still okay. Cadiz and Sagay just got destroyed I heard... the power isn't expected to return till late December. We're expected to be back up here in San Carlos in full strength in about 2 or 3 weeks maybe... then we shouldn't have any more problems.
The whole Leduna family was at church yesterday!!!!!!!! Except for the dad, he's never really listened to us, it's okay though because the Mom use to never listen either. Sister Leduna still has some word of wisdom problems, so we will be waiting and helping her with those things before we do her interview. However, Jamela, the daughter was interviewed yesterday and we're good to go! She will be baptized this Saturday at 3pm! We're super happy for her and her decision! The mom will continue to come to church and we'll continue to help her with her word of wisdom. As long as she has that true desire for baptism and the truth, the Lord will help her in those ways so she can be baptized and come to His fold.
We found some new investigators this week. One was a referral from his wife who lives in Bacolod. So we found this guy and talked to him and he committed to come to church like without us even teaching him, I guess he just wanted us to leave or something, because he didn't show up. But we went back after church and he said that we could come teach him on Tuesday. So that's what we'll do. He was a way cool guy so I'm excited, I think he'll actually progress well if we play our cards right. He also seems like he just wants to prove us wrong, I can't tell yet if his questions are just for his knowledge or to see if he can argue with us... we haven't figure it out yet. There's also another two investigators that are good. One is a part member and the other is the part members friend. We met them at the Artaba family, a family that is a returning family from less activity... but the daughter and 2 sons are not yet members. We're working with them and it's slow progression, but we'll continue. They're a cool family. One of their daughters got electrocuted 2 days ago... so she is in pain. haha. 
This week has been different with covering 2 areas, then the training in Bacolod, we feel like we haven't been able to do much in our area this week. So it's sad... but we'll get a full week of work this week so we're super stoked for that. We sick of always traveling and doing random things, like going to Bacolod, or having Elder Shaffer now with us because he doesn't have a comp. I love him to death, but we can't fully focus on our area. I love the work still. It's still hard as usual, but we're trying our best. Poverty is still a huge issue... and in the part of San Carlos that we're assigned, it's the most prominent. The work will still continue. Your prayers would still be the most helpful thing right now. Even just a little insert into your prayers would be nice :) I'm a beggar, so I'm not going to be a chooser. haha! Thanks so much for all you do back home. I hope that everyone is still safe and okay and that no harm is coming upon you. Enjoy the snow, I'll enjoy the rain! I love you all! Be safe!
Elder Ellis

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