Friday, December 27, 2013

December 23rd--It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas!

My Beloved Family and Friends,
Well this is Christmas week right? So I guess I should tell everyone MAAYONG PASKO! That's Merry Christmas! So I hope that everyone is going to have a great Christmas. This will be my second Christmas as a missionary and in the Philippines. It's super weird actually, I feel like the past year has like not really even happened, if that makes sense. I mean on the one hand it seems like I've been here an eternity, but then when I look back at last Christmas, I can't believe that was a year ago. I don't know, it's hard to understand for me I guess. I guess time is just different for a missionary, just as time is different for God. 

I thought I share some Filipino Christmas Traditions: Filipino culture is usually too poor to really celebrate a big Christmas with Santa and all that stuff. They usually spend all their money on food it looks like to me. People will save for a long time just to eat a big meal on Christmas. Yes there are still gifts and things, but like it's not like you wake up Christmas morning and Santa came and all that stuff. So yeah, just a little different. Another thing they do is they go from house to house singing songs about Jesus and just like regular Christmas songs, but the funny thing is, it's like caroling right? We do that in America. But here in the Philippines they all ask you money! haha. Even like 6 year olds and their friends do it, then they want money! Then you get like a family who comes and does it, asks money again. The funny thing is like, they won't leave until you either come outside and give them money or... no. That's it. They don't leave. Unless it's been like an hour. They'll just stand outside and say Merry Christmas for an hour until you give them money. It's so funny. We actually go out and sing back to them, then pray, then give them a lesson! I've given out 10 referrals to the Branch 1 Sisters because of it, so I hope they get some success from our little funny things that we do while home praying and teaching from our own gate. Sort of funny that they come to us! Anyway, also on Christmas of course all the Catholics go to church! It's the only time of year that they go, except on Holy Week! So it's good for them and harder for us to convert them because all their friends and family attend mass on Christmas so they are all like, this Mormon things not true, because I've got mass with my family. Pretty funny, also weird because they have no clue what they do at their own church, nor can they explain any doctrine, but they know it's true is what they tell us. Super funny, but it's all good! 
Exchanges with the APs

This week I did exchanges in Bacolod with the AP's. I worked with one of the new AP's, Elder Sablan. He's the batch after me, so I've actually been here in the mission longer than he has. He's a Filipino, but from Seattle, Washington. His dad works there and they all live there now. But he was born here in the Philippines. He's a good missionary. His first are was Mabini, I was the one who changed him out. He didn't baptize anyone there in that area, but he planted 1 seed, Karen, which we baptized. Other than that, I mean, the area is super rough so I understand. Anyway, he's baptized a ton of people so that's why he's AP. It was good to work with him, my Illango is like, not there anymore. I can still understand it though, my speaking is a bit off, people had a hard time understanding me. So that's why I was having a rough time on our exchange. I think they should come to our area and speak Cebuano, but I'm not the AP's. I think we're like the same lever of teaching skills if I were to be honest, I guess he just has a way with people that I don't. haha. I don't know. He's companions with Elder Doane right now though. We worked in Bacolod 3rd Ward, probably one of the most established wards in the mission. It's been the AP area for over 2 years now, so they've just had many blessings and very good missionaries the whole time. We visited the bishop and his house is nice, his kids are RM's, his wife feeds us a snack, then they all gather and waited for us to share a message. Super great. Almost... too great of a ward. That's why they get shocked when they hear other things that happen in other missions. Like, "What! That doesn't happen!" It's super funny. That's why I like Elder Wilstead as an AP because he's been assigned in some pretty interesting places like Canlaon, which is still very young. 
Canlaon Area

We had our Zone Conference on Friday, it was good. Elder Barangay and I had to set up everything for it that morning so we were at the church pretty early. It was successful though and yes I conducted the meeting. It was weird, I've never conducted a real meeting before, but it was alright! No problems. We learned a really good way to teach tithing. Usually we teach it 1000-10%=900, but President told us we need to teach it 1000-10%=1000+. So that's something that we're going to have to change. Something interesting that I've never thought of before. We also watched the First Pres. Christmas Devotional, it was good. Some good talks. Although, I wish the 1st Presidency spoke... but I guess it's okay. It was still good. 

This week, I also worked in a place called Cabagtasan. It's a group up the in mountains under branch 1 here in San Carlos. Right now Elder Leng and Elder Bragas are assigned there and Elder Bragas is our District leader. They needed a baptismal interview and it's so far away that we decided to just do exchanges on Saturday and I'd interview their investiagtor there on Sunday and then Canla-on needed an interview as well. From Cabagtasan, there's a motorcyle that will take you over the mountain to Canla-on City, it's a like an hour ride by motor. Totally crazy! Unexplainable! So amazing the view from up on the top of Mount Canla-on... which is a Volcano. haha. It's super cold there, the coldest are in the mission. Their house's water is about 45 degrees. I swear I was going to raft the snake river when I took a shower up there, just so cold! Usually I complain about being hot, but not this time. I slept way good though, it was way cold while sleeping. Very nice! This place is literally on the side of a mountain. I went to church in Cabagtasan, and they don't have a church yet. They just meet in the missionary apartment downstairs, I took a picture of our sacrament meeting. I spoke at Sacrament, then we taught the class, then we listened to gospel doctrine. It was like way cool actually. Super fun and they still had 8 investigators at church and they'll have a baptism this week. There was a total of 28 at church! Not too bad! 
In San Carlos we had 5 investigators at church. Edward, Elma, and Patrick all passed their interviews and we will be having a white Christmas here in San Carlos City at the baptismal font! It's going to be great. The 25th @ 7pm, you need to be there! haha. But We'll take some great pictures, so don't worry, it'll be awesome. We're way excited!

San Carlos Branch Party

I hope that everyone is having a great week and that you're having a great Christmas! Sorry I didn't do much in San Carlos this week, I was gone in other places on the island and doing my Zone Leader duties, I guess you could say. haha. It's been a good and successful week. We've found some good new investigators and we're really trying to work more closely with the members and gain even a better relationship, since I think since they split the area with us and the Sisters, it seems that it's gone down a bit. Merry Christmas! I hope that you are all great and MERRY CHRISTMAS! I hope you take pictures of your Christmas and send them to me! I'd love some pictures of my family, you don't send me pictures that often... so, you should probably do that more! Of the family! haha. Love you guys! Have a great week and a Merry Christmas!
Elder Tomas has Dengue Fever

Elder Ellis

Monday, December 16, 2013

December 16th: Prayers are VERY Helpful!

Well, I'm sure you've seen pictures on facebook already. That was the first part of my week. It's been pretty good. We've been really had some hard time finding new investigators. We've started just talking to people that are on the road and on the side just trying to look busy or something and we talk to them, but all of them live outside our area. They're just there seeing a friend of something, so we've given out so many referrals this week and it's not fair because we've been giving other people investigators, but none for ourselves! Haha. It's not a huge problem, but it's just something that I wish we had investigators, more of them at least. We have investigators. It's always nice to have more though. It's hard with our area since it's less city, so that means less people. Everyone is always busy and caught up with life and they miss so many opportunities to talk to us or just blow us off. It's fine though, we're doing our part so that's all that matters. 

 Facebook pics:


Last Sunday, I forgot to tell you that I was really angry at one of the councilors in the branch presidency and then a lot of Single Adults in the branch, because for the past 5 weeks the church has been a drop off point for tons of food and clothes to take to Tacloban City for all the Victims of the storm.  The reason I was angry was because they picked Sunday at 9 a.m. to take all the things to the big drop off point in Dumegette.  Out of all the days of the week, they picked the Sabbath and right during church. The city is 3 hours away and all they needed to do was take some boxes from the truck they rented, get them off the truck and then come home. 20 people from Branch 1 and 2 decided to "Volunteer" their services and to "help" take all the things to this city. Anyway, after they "unloaded" the truck with the 15 boxes of things, they all went to the mall and just went shopping, took pictures, then went to a restaurant, then took pictures all around the city, and just like hung out down there all day. If that wasn't bad enough, then they put it on facebook and turn around and profess to keep the sabbath day. I was pretty upset, just because if others look at them, WHILE WEARING THE YELLOW little MORMON HELPING HANDS vest, then they are seen breaking the commandments while representing the church... that just really upset me. Like if you are alone with yourself, fine, do your thing, don't care, that sins on you, but when you represent the church and the whole group of people do this while being on the church's errand... grrr...  

Last Monday we didn't really want to go to Bacolod too early. We didn't have a ton of money so we stayed in San Carlos as long as we could. We emailed here, ate, and did some stuff; then just got on the bus and went to Bacolod about 1pm I think. We slept over at BATA apartment as usual on Monday night so that we are close to the mission home for our meeting on Tuesday morning. On Monday night, we all just sat around and talked. One of missionaries that is assigned there is brand new so we were just talking with him and just the funny stuff that he thinks is funny and how we were just like that at first, then now nothing surprises us anymore. He's from a town in northern Idaho. 

Tuesday we have to be at the mission home at 7am so we all wake up at about 5:30. Honestly we don't sleep much on Monday nights because we all just talk and share stories and like what's been going on in our areas and things, so Tuesday mornings are such a drag... However, we're all waiting for the shower and then 6:30 hits and there's one more Elder who needs to shower so we can go to the mission home. The new Elder just like, cuts him and jumps in the shower while his back was turned. We had to establish some rules. I guess he didn't realize it, since he's not a zone leader that he didn't need to be ready till 8am for studies.  We had to be at the mission home at 7am, so someone needed to be told. haha. I'm just kidding about being mean to him, but we told him not to do it again. We went to the mission home and got there late, but not for the meeting, just for breakfast, but we still got to eat and the meeting started on time. It was a good meeting a lot of the same things that we hear all the time and a lot about baptism. The AP's did some cool trainings and a lot of them were chastisement about not getting a weekly baptism. Only 4 zone leaders I think are getting weekly baptism, which is great! I'm happy for them, but, we're doing our work here that needs to be done and BUILDING the kingdom. We had a great "baboy" (PIG) for lunch and that's honestly the highlight of the meeting. I love Lechon Baboy. It's so good. We traveled back that night and we wasted tired and we needed to prepare for the meeting that we teach the zone the next day. 
For my mom!  Cheese!
MLC Council
What did he say?
Cool Trainings
Zone Leaders

Wednesday we had our zone training meeting. I think my training went great, at least that's what they all said. Some Elders said I have no problem speaking in public, which I don't know if that's true or not. Our training was good until President Lopez came in about when we had about 10 minutes left and everyone was like... what's going on and it took the focus off the meeting. He was there to pick up the Macasilaw Elders which is a mountain branch because he had to do some interviews there. We also set some new zone goals for our goals each week. We now set them as a zone and we all have the same goal, which it says not to do in Preach My Gospel, but it seems to help us and that was the instructions we're to follow. We set them a lot higher than what we did last month. Elder Barangay and I thought that we could push our zone a lot more. We've seen them do it before and we know it's possible, because so far our zone is killing it in percentage numbers than every other zone. All zones have decreased in baptisms, except for SAN CARLOS ZONE! :) We've increased every single month! Cool huh? Way to go San Carlos. After our meeting, Elder Pulsipher and I did exchanges in San Carlos. It was awesome. It's cool working with an American to be honest. We are just so much more on the same page than anyone else. Also, we're both good at Cebuano. Elder Pulsipher actually knows a lot more than me.  He knows a lot of the deeper words that not a whole lot of people even use, but when it's used it makes more sense. He's a real Filipino! We're best buddies here in the mission. He was in Escalante Zone with me too, so we've known each other for a long time. Our numbers were so high because we pretty much ran everywhere we went. It was awesome and we did a lot of work. 

Thursday we exchanged back and Elder Barangay and I went straight to our appointment. We were supposed to be up at the Leduna's family at 2pm so we went there.  Since they're all members now, we're working on the non members of the family. However, every time that we go over there they're gone, the dad and the brother, so it's super hard. After that we then walked up and down the street for an hour trying to find more people to teach and get new investigators in Punao... we had no luck. Nobody was on the streets, home, nobody interested... just a rough hour. We went back to San Carlos where we met with a little more success. The Sebuyan family was home and the Dad has now been coming to church for 3 weeks, so we will be returning next week from less activity. We then taught Edward about the living prophets and the prophets of old and we taught him about Thomas S. Monson. It's hard for people to pray about a prophet they don't know or can't see or we don't have video's or anything to really show them, but we asked him to pray about it. He said he would. 

Friday we did our weekly planning session and made sure that we have everything good for next week and that our baptism on Christmas is going to go great!  Elder Barangay made some Filipino dish that is usually way good! There's a fruit in it called Mangoes... not Mango, but it's a different fruit... it's green and looks like a pea and when put with pig meat it's way good. This time, however, he put way to much salt and I almost just dried up like a little prune. He didn't even finish it. It was terrible. Later that day, we had a great lesson with our investigator Patrick, he's the part member. He'll be baptized on Christmas as well. He taught him word of wisdom and the law of chastity. It's so funny teaching LOC to kids, they love it.  We have to actually teach that it's not okay to live in the same house if you're not married because everyone here thinks that that is just totally okay.  It's interesting to tell them things contrary to their belief that "you're not allowed to kiss before getting married, but you can sure have babies." Like I said... it's the Philippines, can't be explained. We also taught Cynthia (YAYA) the Maid of President Dellomes. She says she wants to be baptized, but honestly, the things she tells us and other people I bet are completely different. We were going to baptize her on Christmas too, but decided not too. She's not ready and she hasn't done the things to prepare herself. 

Saturday we had a great day! We went back to Patrick's house because we wanted to and we taught them again about the gospel of Jesus Christ. Or the missionary purpose pretty much. We explained the importance of baptism and the Holy Ghost and what it does and why it's important. I'm getting good at teaching Children, which is honestly the toughest thing to do.  It is better to bring the parents in first, though because we can bring children into the church later.  We need their parents in order to help them stay active. We also taught Elma and her dad about the gospel of Jesus Christ too and then we committed her dad for baptism for Jan 11, but then he didn't come to church. I wish they wouldn't commit if they knew they're not going to come. Just say no, rather than YES! GRR! We're also working with a brother named Raymond. We've taught him in the past and I think you know that, but this week we taught him a great lesson on the plan of salvation and he was stoked. Committed to come to church... and then... no show, so yeah, that sucks; however, we're going to work on him. They have to kids and they're both young so only Sister goes to church (who is a less active member that's returning) so now we've got to get brother to start going and we'll be good. We got punted from Edward because there was a midnight sale at the mall that he works at, Gaisano, so we couldn't teach him because he had work till 2am
Elma's house

Sunday, we had Elma, Edward, and Patrick all at church. They will all be baptized on Christmas Day and their interviews will be next week. We're super stoked for them. We then had an interview to go do in Vallehermoso, which is where Elder Pulsipher is assigned. The funny thing is the investigator of theirs that we were interviewing, we found for them, so it's super cool. We just met him in Gaisano one day and then taught him in the mall actually on Pday, then we referred him to Vallehermoso and now he's being baptized. 
Upcoming events of this week are:
1. Exchanges with the Assistants on Wednesday and we will be back in San Carlos on Thursday
2. Zone Conference on Friday, President Lopez will be coming here to San Carlos and we will have it here in San Carlos. So look for pictures. 
3. Work work work
I think that's the main things that are going on this week. I don't think I'm missing anything. I miss y'all back home though. Looking forward to skype next week! It's going to be great! I hope you are excited and this is my 2nd to last skype and my last Christmas in the Philippines :) Weird... time has gone way fast. Especially that last 4 months. Super fast. Being a zone leader is hard and great all at the same time, time seems to just fly by and you just look and say, where am I? It's interesting. Thanks for all the thoughts and prayers back home, they are sure helpful. Only if you knew. I love you! Talk to you next week!
Elder Ellis

Monday, December 9, 2013

December 9th--Christmas in San Carlos! Yeah, No Transfer!

Dear Friends and Family,

GREAT NEWS! NO TRANSFER! I'm still here in Branch 2 going on my 3rd transfer here now! I'm super stoked. Maybe it's because Elder Anderson said we needed to stay in our areas long in order to gain a relationship with the people, so maybe that's why, or because President wanted us to have Christmas in our areas that we've been in for a transfer so that we're close with the members. There were only 2 transfers for my whole zone, so that's interesting, usually there's a lot more. Maybe it's President's Christmas gift to me :) haha. That wouldn't surprise me actually. We didn't have our zone leaders meeting last week because of transfers, so we're having it this week, so I will be going to Bacolod today with Elder Barangay. We're excited. I need some new rubber shoes. Got to buy new ones every transfer! They're way great though. All the missionaries here use them! 

Monkey Sanctuary--word to wise....don't pull a monkey's tail!

We've done a lot of work this week. (Power just went out and running off generator). You've got to love this Country that's for sure. haha. But this week was great. We had a great baptism of Letecia Leduna. If you don't know about her background. She's been an investigator since maybe 2005. Missionaries have visited visited and visited and nothing! I guess the Lord really does soften the hearts of people because all of a sudden she just decided to listen to us. In 6 weeks she was baptized. Stopped her smoking and drinking coffee. Coming to church every week with her family. She's doing great and we love her so much. She's been super fun to teach. At the first when we started teaching she was very shy, didn't really pay attention, didn't show much care, but now she's way interested and asks questions and just does great! Her family now is just way interested. The next victim that we've pointed out is the father. He's not a member either! He's going to be super hard to get though. He's always gone or doing other things, but apparently he asked a few days ago, "Why am I the only one left here on Sunday?" Super funny, s

o we think maybe he's going to open a little bit more. We just try to be as nice and friendly as we can to him when we're there. The brother is also not a member, he'll be a little bit easier we think, but we'll focus on the father and brother maybe at the same time, their schedule is a bit weird... so we'll do our best. I guess you'll here about it later on huh? haha. 

Sister Leduna & family

Elder Barangay, Sister Leduna, & Elder Ellis
Edward is doing great! He reads the Book of Mormon everyday and really reads it. He asks the craziest questions that I never have investigators ask. Things like... the difference between the Gentiles and Jews, is America still the promised land, just things most people don't ask and Elder Barangay and I always have to be on our feet. He's still having a hard time really FEELING his answer to be true. He's still expecting a sign and I'm tempted to read that part in the Book of Mormon where a sign is asked for and then he's stuck dumb, then trampled to death. But I think that would just be way too upfront, but it's in the backup plan. haha. His mother in law, the owner of the sister apartment, who's a less active member and hasn't been to church in who knows how long, was at church this Sunday! Is that super cool or what! We've been inviting her for the past month and it's maybe maybe maybe, but then this Sunday she actually came! So here starts her rescue. I looked this morning to see how many rescues I had here in Branch 2 and I'm up to 9 now. We're going to try and get a ton this month. We had about 10 less actives at church this past Sunday. We were way stoked on it. I honestly feel like rescuing less actives is just as good as doing anything else. Anything to help the branch and the kingdom is worth doing. Other think baptism is the only thing that's important. Yes, it is. That's our purpose. But if we're not helping less actives come back, their souls are damned too, so we need to help them as well! The goldmine is part members. When we find less actives and they have members that aren't baptized. It's great. And we kill two birds with one stone. Bring them back to church and baptize their other members of the family. Just like the Leduna family, Edward, and others! So it's been great! 

Yaya, the maid of President Dellomes is doing good. Her husband is still giving us problems. We haven't been able to talk to him. We always miss him when ever we plan to go visit him and it's hard. She wasn't at church this week. She's always hit and miss. She can still be baptized on Christmas if we get the okay and if she goes the church, but I guess we'll see how it plays out! It'll be interesting. She's a way cool person and has tons of friends at the church too, it's just that her husband just thinks she catholic and should die a catholic, which is funny. Because... she'll just accept the gospel on the other side anyway, so he should just let her accept it now and not have to go through spirit world being sad. 

It's been a long time since I've talked about Raymond. We haven't been able to catch him the past couple of weeks, but this week we got him! On Sunday. We were able to teach him. His work is in Escalante, and he stays there during the week and only comes home on the weekends. However, through divine help he's now being transferred to San Carlos for work. So he will be able to come home every single night. We're going to start teaching him every other night at the church before they go home. It's going to be great. He's a great guy. We found out that he has some word of wisdom problems, but those can be stopped so we're happy that's he's being transferred and that we'll be able to see him more often that every 3 weeks. 

The Artaba Family has a son Earl Patrick that is not yet baptized. A part member family. However, the only problem is they're super busy and like we feel that mom just wants him to be baptized them they're just going to go less active again after the baptism. So it's going to be interesting. We'll see what we can do and do the best we can at working out with them and getting them back to church. 

My District

Elder Ellis- ZL1
Elder Barnagay- ZL2

Elder Leng-JR
Elder Bragas-DL

Sister De Castro- SR/TR
Sister Tui'tavuki- JR

Sister Woodruff- SR
Sister Tampos- JR

Sister Lara- SR/TR
Sister Menguito- JR (New Missionary)

Sorry, I don't have much to report. I did get my Christmas tree back, yes mom! I left in Mabini when I transferred, but I had some Elders bring it to me on Transfer day when they came through San Carlos to go to Bacolod, so I have it back and the lights and the stockings and everything :) haha. Everyone is totally jealous. We're going to have a great Christmas this year though. Baptism and then teaching and we've got our dinner appointment set already! SO BOOM! Taken care of! haha and skype of course! :)

I want to leave with my testimony but in Cebuano. Kabalo ko nga ang simbahan nato mao ang tinuod nga simbahan dinhi sa kalibutan. Ug ang pakapare nga naa sa atoa tinuod siya pod. Ang Basahon ni Mormon, mga pulong sa Dios ug ni Jesukristo! Ang akong trabajo dinhi sa filipinas, dili waay pulos. May pulos gid siya! Salamat sa tanan ang inyong pagampo para kanako. Malipayon jud ko kay nakita na ako ug mga palalanging sa mga kinabuhi ninyo. 

I love you! Thanks for everything! Have a great week!

Elder Ellis

Monday, December 2, 2013

December 2--Happy Birthday Twins! Sister Leduna's Baptism

Dear Friends and Family,

Kamusta po kayo? That's actually Tagalog, so yeah. I don't speak it, but I still can understand some. Basta, how is everything going back in the United States? Still great?! I'm really missing the cold weather right now, I could really use some. It's super hot here still, nothing has changed in the weather. Always hot and rainy. Got to love it! This week has been great and exciting as always here in the Philippines. It hasn't rained all week, so it's been hot, all week.
No wonder his back hurts!
Sister Letecia Leduna passed her baptismal interview yesterday and will be baptized this coming Saturday at 3pm! So be excited all of you. She's been an investigator for years, but finally she'll be baptized and she's come to realize that this is something that is very important. It's only taken all her kids to be baptized first. This is one of my favorite families on this island. I will miss them so much. We've grown so much closer the past couple weeks about baptizing Jamila and now with mom being baptized this coming week. The told me yesterday that they don't want me to transfer, but if I do, they will never forget me. That's nice to hear! haha. I'll never forget them either. Just an amazing family. I love getting close to families here, the only sad part is when I get transferred and have to leave the people that I've gotten close too. It's a hard emotion to explain, but not fun at all. But the work needs to continue in other places I suppose. There's people in other places that need to found by me and me only I guess. It seems like that's what happens in missionary work. It's weird to explain, but it just seems like that's that. 
Leduna family always gives the missionaries drinks!
Leduna family
Monday we had a great P-Day. We played some basketball actually. But then a lot of people bailed out so it wasn't as fun as it could've been, but 3 on 3 isn't too bad. Then we go home and we lock ourselves out. We locked the gate, went inside, then went back outside and left the key's inside. So we got stuck between the gate and the door! Luckily Elder Pulsipher and I are awesome and we unscrewed the screen to the window, took all the little glass panes out, then threw his companion through the window and then we got it through the front door. It was great! And that took us an hour to finally figure out that it was possible. So yeah, just got to love inspiration I guess. Elder Barangay climbed the roof and everything, but everything was locked upstairs, but we finally found the way in!

Tuesday we had a great district meeting. Elder Barangay taught our lesson. We just got an official district leader now, they added 2 more elder's to our district. They are assigned way up in the mountains in a crazy place. They'll stay at our apartment every Monday night in order to attend district meeting on Tuesday morning. This week also they've told us they are going to add 2 more elders to put on the Sipaway Island. If my calculations are correct, I might transfer, but I might just get put on the island since I know the area and then I'll still be in San Carlos and in Branch 2, but just a different area. But I guess we will see. We've also been teaching Edward every other day as it allows. He's great and still reading the Book of Mormon. He committed to be baptized on Christmas Day, we've got 4 lined up for that day actually. He also said he'd be a church yesterday, but never showed up. So we're going to go see what happened, I think he might have taken his mother in law to the hospital, I know that she wasn't feeling well. If it's not that, then I don't know what it is. I"m a little upset he didn't come to church. 

Wednesday I had exchanges with Elder Marlin from Canla-on. He's a great Elder. He's actually from Tacloban mission and so I was able to hear some stories and to see all his pictures. He was the very last Elder they found, him and his companion. Their area was the first to be hit by the storm surge, so he had some pretty wild stories. He actually has nothing. No scriptures, books, nothing, just a few clothes, and his camera. Anyway, while Elder Barangay and I were going to Canla-on we got on a bus that only got us to the crossing to go to Canlaon. The bus for Canla-on wasn't leaving till later. So then from the bottom of the mountain we rode a motorcycle all the way to the top, it's like a 45 minute ride. So that was super fun. After we exchanged Elder Marlin and I got back to San Carlos at like 4pm and so we didn't have much time to work. We did teach 2 less active families that did come to church this Sunday! We also taught Elma, who's also been an investigator for a super long time. She's the part member, anyway, she was also at church again on Sunday. She's got a date for Christmas as well. We're super excited for Christmas this year. I've got to make it a white Christmas! Right? 

Thursday morning we did our studies and pretty much I just wanted to go over any questions that he might have about the mission or rules just because every mission is different. So he did have a lot of questions. So we just sat down and went over them. He's a great Elder. Then that morning since we didn't get to teach a whole lot the previous night, we went to teach some more people before we had to exchange back. We stopped by and taught Dominador and Cyrell, just a less active couple. They're way cool, but we're not sure what happened. No matter what we do, they just don't want to come back to the church or something. We're not sure. We've talked to the branch about it and we're going to be getting their help on the issue soon. We stopped by some other people, but they weren't home. Then it was time to exchange back. So we traveled back to Canla-on. Then by the time Elder Barangay and I got home it was late afternoon. So we did go visit some people, but nobody wanted to listen to us I guess. Typical. Even members sometimes just kinda shrug us off and are like, yeah, we've got something important to do. But at 7pm, I know they have nothing important to do. haha! So joke's on them!

Friday we had a great day! We went to the Leduna's and we just prepared Letecia (the mom) for her interview on Sunday. She couldn't get what tithing was. It was so funny! She kept saying the wrong things. Like mixing up the word of wisdom with the law of chastity, which everyone does here! Even members. Like I said, the church is still young. We're still trying to get it to grow! After that we went to Elma and taught her about the Book of Mormon and to make sure that she really knows that it's important to read it. And then committed her to be at church on Sunday! Which she was!  We also taught Edward again and he still is having a hard time feeling that his prayer is being answered. It's super frustrating, because we know he feels that it's true. We're still trying out hardest with him though! 

Saturday wasn't a great day, but it was still good. We taught Erlinda, she's a part member and a new investigator! She reads the Book of Mormon but works every Sunday. Our lesson was super rough because she had all her gay friends over and they kept talking and things. Spirit was totally not there, so that wasn't great! We also taught the Sebuyan family and made sure they were all coming to church on Sunday. They're a less active family that if they all come it's like 10 people. They're a big family! Way cool. The Dad is the only problem though, but they all came to church this past Sunday! So success! Then we taught yaya too. Her husband has said no to baptism, but we're going to go talk to him and straighten him out. So I'm excited for that!

Sunday we had 5 investigators at church. Elma, Earl Partick (part member thats 9), A visiting girl, Yaya, and Letecia. It was a great church service, got to love fast and testimony meeting. It's the weirdest Sunday of the month for sure here. It's always scary to have investigators at them because you never know what is going to come out of someone's mouth! Nonetheless it was still successful. Then since our district leader was in the mountain, we had Elder Pulsipher come and give Letecia her interview, but since he couldn't come to later, we just did the interview at her house. So all 4 of us went to the Leduna's house and it was super fun. They're just a great family and fun to be with! Then we found out that we needed to give a blessing to a member who was in a motorcycle accident from Canla-on so we went to the hospital. He's okay, just some bruises and scrapes. 
Well, that's my week in a nutshell! I'm glad my package arrived there! Enjoy! Well it's the Christmas season, I miss you all so much! I hope that everything is going great here for you! I love you! Things are going great and very successful. It's transfer week so anything can happen. Let's pray nothing happens actually! Just more baptisms. No transfers! Thanks for everything you do for me! I'll send some pictures! :) I love you and Merry Christmas! The church is true. Never forget that!

Elder Ellis