Monday, January 27, 2014

1.27.14 Having Hope is Important!

Dear Friends and Family,

Happy Monday again. How is everyone doing this week? Sounds like your stake conference was good. We have district conference this week, so we're excited for that. President Lopez should be coming and it should be great. We're just hoping that we have some investigators come, usually they are super shy of big crowds. But we'll see and pray that we get more to come to church. We had a good turn out this week. All the investigators that we've been trying to get to come to church were at church this week! How cool! Except for the one that had surgery on her appendix. We are cleared to baptize her though, she's just waiting till her stitches heal up and she can get to church. She promises to come next week though. 

Month 2 of studying the Christlike Attributes and so far so good. I think "Hope" is the shortest one in the Preach My Gospel, so it makes it a little hard to study, but there's tons of scriptures and things that go with it and I've looked up all the ones in the topical guide and the bible dictionary. It's been great! I learned the Hope is a lot more than just wishing for something to happen. It's believing that it will really happen, then doing everything in your power to make it happen. Again, it's not a passive thing like I was talking about faith last week, it's a very active thing that we need to do. This week was more of a physical work time. You've got to think about what you want, set a goal, then go for it! You can't just hope and sit back in the house, you've got to get out there and go for it! "You get what you go for!"- Elder Boyd K. Packer. It's so true though! I love it. This week has been good. 
So I'll give you some updates on the people that we've been working with:

Spot the American!
1. The Aberido Family; doing great! The mom we found out this week never does her Book of Mormon assignment. So this week we really focus on the Book of Mormon and why it's important. The daughter, Judy Mae, always reads though and prays. She doing great. The younger son is 10 and has the attention span of about... me. So not very much so I understand, so we really work with him in the lesson to understand. It's okay though. Great family. Sunday, the mom walks into church and we're like, "WHERE'S EVERYONE ELSE" It was so sad, but she only came to church! Judy Mae and the son, Ramil, didn't come and she said they were somewhere else. So that's a total bummer, but next week they should all be coming. We'll probably move their date to the 22nd of February so they can all be baptized on the same day. We taught them the word of wisdom this week and they don't have any problems with it, even coffee, which is weird for a Filipino to not have problems with coffee! But that just shows how ready these people are for the gospel. 

2.The Buenavista Family; if you remember the mom and the oldest daughter is a member, two 2 younger daughters aren't members. So we've been really just trying to get them to come to church with other members in the area. This week they finally did! All 3 of the daughters came to church with all the other members in the area. So there are 2 investigators there! BOOM! So nice, we love them. They're the cutest girls too, Lovelove we call her (Anarose) and then her sister Anamae. LoveLove is 10 and Anamae is 12. Super cute little girls. Now if we could just get the mom to get into gear! We're hoping that us teaching her kids really gets her thinking about what's important in life. 

3. Edrian Kaye; she doing great! She comes to church, goes to seminary, is in like Mosiah now with her Book of Mormon reading. Her dad says go ahead you can baptize her, but her baptist aunt says no way! So we're really struggling with getting her to say, who cares what my aunt says. The aunt pays for her school and stuff, so it totally sucks! If she's baptized, no more funding for school, so that could go bad. So we're not sure what to do, but she still comes to church and is way cool! 

4. Analou; is the one that had her appendix

removed. She's doing good and always reading her Book of Mormon. Super smart and bright girl. She lives with a member family, so it really helps out. But we're working with her and doing the best that we can! She's way cool to talk to though, pretty open and stuff, not like a not of Filipinos that are really shy of a super good looking American, just kidding! :) But the Ortega family that she lives with is super cool! We're supposed to have Family Home Evening with them either today or next week. I think we're going to do next week because we have a different one tonight, but Elder Lenoy told a family yes and I told a family yes at the same time... so, that was our fault. haha! Oops.

5.The Layco Family; we haven't been able to visit them this week. We don't know where they are or why there haven't been home. They can still be baptized, we even have the mom's permission, but they just haven't been coming to church like the past 2 weeks and this week when we went there, they weren't there. 

6. The Lausa Family; the kids are all recent convert of Elder Barangay. Most of them have a problem going to church now, but that's just a lack of willingness, not sure what's going on. However the mom never wanted to listen to the missionaries until I walked up to her little store thingy in front of her house and she's like, you're American? I was like... yup. But then I was speaking Cebuano and she was like, what the flip? You know Cebuano. Then... we were able to teach her! haha. Cool huh? Yesterday we did the full lesson one. It was an okay lesson... I don't want to go into details, but Elder Lenoy and I had a nice talk about that lesson. So something that was lacking and it was definitely focus and care for that family. They're cool though! 
Something that really frustrates me here is that men don't like to listen to us. They don't want to give up their vices, don't really care about God. They say they don't have a religion and I think it's just an excuse to like... sin. Or to at least rationalize their sin. It just gets me so upset. I mean, what do I say to a dad that says, I've got to provide for my family, so I need to work on Sunday. "Brother, just have faith, God will provide?" It's way easier said than done. The relationships of husbands and wives are way different here in the Philippines. It's like, mom does her thing and dad does her thing, they are just partners kind of a thing. It's super different and not like a traditional American family. It's really hard to explain... just like everything else. 

I got a letter from Brandon Dennison this week and I can't stop laughing. Everything that I experienced in my first few weeks is like all he wrote about. It's so funny. I'm in the middle of writing him back and just like explaining that it gets better! I told him the first 6 months is hardest, the 6 months after that are hard, and the last year so far has just been great. You finally know what you're doing, you're good at the language, and you just love the people that you work with. Honestly, if I could just like hang out with Filipino's I would all day. The culture is way different, but super fun! When I catch members gambling, I just laugh and say, "Sister, what are you doing?" She just laughs and says sorry elder. But it's just super fun. I love them all! Since i just can't hang out with them, it's rough. Sometimes I just catch myself sitting and chatting about life or just anything with them, but I honestly think that's how you gain your trust with them. If you don't give them your time, then that's a total let down for them I think. So, I don't know, I know what the mission rules state and things and try not to stay to long at people's houses, but sometimes, I just want to talk to people about their life and here their stories! 

Cargo day!  Escalante Zone.
So to wrap up the week we had 5 investigators at church. 7 less actives. So far we should be having quite a few baptisms this next month. We're excited, hopefully the weather just keeps holding out for us so that they can go to church! It was a good week and we're looking forward to a better week this week! I love you all and I hope that you're all doing great! Keep up the good work. I'll try and send some pictures, but the Internet is super super slow, so I hoping it'll work! Thanks for the package and HAPPY BIRTHDAY GRANDPA! You think I forgot? haha. I love you guys! Take care! Have a great week!

Elder Ellis

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

January 20th--Personal Growth

Dear Readers,

Kamusta na kamu diha sa America or bisan asa, kay naa ko mga amigo nga nagaserve ug mission! Tani, okay na man kamu! This week has been a lot better than last week, so I'm a little bit more happy. I didn't mean for my letter last week to completely just be a kill joy, but that's just how some weeks go in the mission, it's expected, just like anything else crazy that goes on in this place. So far it's still raining, non stop. Last week I talked about and it hasn't stopped yet! All my pants on muddy and I've got to wash them all today, and my polo's too, it's been a fun work week. Our investigators are all stoked that we keep visiting them because they're like, "Elders thanks for visiting, even though it's super muddy and totally not good weather." It's all good and we're happy to do it, not only because it's our job, but because who else can do it? I've really realized that this week. Who else in the world can help these people with their salvation? Only US! Elder Lenoy and I are the only one's with the authority to bring the restored gospel to these people in our area! I've always knew that, but it's fun to think about. If we don't work, nothing will happen and these people will surely be lost! 

Elder Lenoy learning how to make charcoal.

Cutest kids on the island!

Filipino house

Tungits--a Filipino game

So I learned something really cool in my personal study this week. I've decided my lats 9 months I would study the 9 Christlike Attributes in Preach my Gospel, as in STUDY JUD! Meaning, look up all scriptures, cross references, talks, anything on the topic. The first one is faith and that is now done all last month. Now I'm on to Hope. But while studying this week, I caught myself going to the Plan of Salvation and WHY was Jesus Christ the one that had to be the Sacrifice? I got to thinking of the Bible and the stories and the things in there. Then I got onto sacrifices. In the biblical times, the best, oldest, most pure lamb was to be sacrificed. So then I got to thinking, it's all symbolism. Which I've always known that, but it just clicked better this week .So it makes sense now why Jesus Christ was the one to be the sacrifice for all of us. If you think of a family and something happens to the mom or dad or just something happens in the family, it's usually the older son or daughter that steps in and helps out the rest of the family. So it would completely make sense that Christ did that for us. The most pure and the best person in all of existence. So it just clicked a lot better this week. Another thing that was brought to my mind this week was what is the difference between belief and faith? So one of my personal studies was just dedicated to that! Because we're told to have faith in Christ, but Christ told all the people before he healed them if they believed that it was possible... so what's the difference? So far, I've concluded that faith is a deeper step of belief. When we believe something we usually just think it's there and yeah, maybe that can happen, and so on. But when we have faith, we do all we can to make that thing happen or make it come true. If there's a dream that we have and we have faith that it can be achieved, then we'll do everything to achieve it. However, if we just believe, that's nice, but it's more of a passive term I think is what I'm trying to say. It was brought up in district meeting this week and since I was already studying faith, I wanted to see this difference.  So it was a good week of study. 

On to the work portion of the week. Work has been rough. Super muddy and there's been just terrible weather. People are getting sick because it's been colder than normal, but I've been loving. I've turned my fan off a couple of times at night since it was so cold. The wind has been a nice gift and all is well. I love it. The only reason I don't love it is because Filipino's hate it! Any mud and they don't want to go to church. They'll go by rice at the market in the afternoon, but they won't go to church in the morning. So funny! That was one of our less actives that I saw yesterday so I talked to her and said, Sister! What are you doing! You came all the way to the market, but the church is right across the street and you didn't come! She just kind of laughed about it and I was like,"You're killing me sister" So it was funny. But, I let her know I was upset. We went to her house later yesterday too and taught her and her family, she has daughters that aren't baptized yet. She only stopped going to church about a year ago I think, she said January, but he kids are like 12 and 10, so that doesn't make sense, they would be baptized by now. So we're doing out best. 

The Aberido Family, like one of my favorite ones, didn't come to church this week either. Something happened with the roof on their house and Sister Melanite Aberido said that she had to fix it, so they didn't come to church. So we were sad and upset. We has some great lessons with them this week on the Plan of Salvation and they were totally stoked and like focused on it. They're like, "We get resurrected?" They were stoked by the fact that that is going to happen to us after we die. Analou is another investigator of ours, who recently has been in the hospital. She got appendicitis this week. So she's been operated on and we don't know what's going on, we haven't been able to talk to her or text her or anything. So hopefully this week is better with her. She can be baptized too, just all of sudden this thing happened. 

We had a broadcast this week from the area presidency about the area goals for 2014 here in the Philippines. They didn't change from last year, of 2012. It's all the same goals. Because they're not getting completed because nobody is really willing to do them! So, it's a huge problem, but we're doing our best. The attendance from our branch for the broadcast was 5 I think... which goes to show how important it really is. 

Elder Lenoy and I are doing good. It's a little rough, but all is well! The work is still continuing and I'm trying my best. I still love the work and all is doing well. I love you all back home and hope everything is doing okay! Keep praying for me if you would and our area. Thanks so much! I love you again. Have a great week!

Elder Ellis

Monday, January 13, 2014

January 13th: Hard Week!

Dear Friends and Family,

Happy Monday again. It seems that Monday comes to fast sometimes and sometimes not fast enough. Not saying that I just live for it to be Monday, but reading my email and just sitting down for a little bit is very nice sometimes. It's a great stress reliever and just a great way to relax. We've just been so busy and it's been a little bit of a different week.

Here's pics of my Escalante apartment:


I don't think I've ever had anything go too terribly wrong until this week but I still just keep holding on to... pretty much nothing.  I just pray our investigators and members come to church and things, then they don't show up. It's been raining here the past 5 days non stop. The roads are washed out in the far out areas since they're just dirt roads so our attendance was way low yesterday and we actually had 0 investigators at church. Something that has happened only 3 times my whole mission I think. There was always someone there! However, this Sunday, nothing. Our investigators live pretty far from the church so maybe that's why they couldn't come. We texted a few, but only got replies from a new family we've started teaching. They said the road is too bad to come to church, but that they are reading the Book of Mormon. So we answered questions and anything they needed over the phone. We'll go visit them tomorrow. So, I guess you can say this week was not that great. haha. However, still smiling!

There's a situation with our power. Monday to Thursday our power was just slow, like my fan would turn slow, our lights would flicker on and off. I was just thinking ghost or something and didn't really care. Then I played with the breaker switch and blew the whole houses power... I guess there was a problem with the connection outside to the breaker. So we were out of power for 2 days. Last night at 11pm we heard some guys outside our house looking for us, they were from the power company because we went there the night before and tried to get them to fix it. Anyway, we got it fixed now! I guess with the rain and things, water got into the box outside on the post and then blew when I flipped the breaker on in the house... so note to self, don't do that again. So I was without an electric fan for 2 nights, but I slept great still! It's been cold since all the rain and stuff, so it didn't bother me that much. It's so moist that all my stuff just feels wet. My pillow, the clothes, my towel hasn't dried for a few days, but it's all good!

Since all the rain has just been coming down, I guess the rain all goes into a tank and then it goes somewhere. However when the tank gets full they shut off the water to the city because it can get not clean... which it's not clean anyway... so I don't know what they're trying to get at. So we had no water for 2 days either. haha. It's almost as if I just lived through Mini typhoon for a few days. All is well though now. We have power and the water came back on this morning! So we were super happy last night when our power came back! This morning the water! :) Happy Elder Ellis.

We've found a great new family this week; The Abaledo Family. We've been teaching the Dad, Mom, 2 Daughters, and 1 Son. We had two different lessons with them this week. The first one we taught all about the family, then about prophets, then about Christ building his church while he was on the earth, but then of course the apostasy. Then we got to the restoration. That's my favorite part. I love saying the first vision in Cebuano. It just like rolls right off the tongue. It was so spiritual, you could just feel it flow through the room. After I said it, I was just impressed to pause. After about 10 seconds, I think Elder Lenoy was like... what's the American doing? Anyway, so he started talking. It's okay though, it was still really spiritual! We were impressed to just leave them with the pamphlet rather than going on to the Book of Mormon, we would just leave it for the next lesson. When we went back to teach about the Prayer and the Book of Mormon, we just asked follow up questions. The daughter Judy Mae is super smart! She answered every question in depth, not things we're use to hearing from investigators. So we're super stoked with this family. The live the farthest of any investigators that we have though and they walk about 2 km before they would ride a motor to go to church, through cane fields and muddy small paths, so they weren't able to come to church. They said they will next week though. So we're super stoked on them! They're super fun to teach. Everyone is always interested except the dad. We're not sure if he's really listening, just acting like he's not listening, but right now we're going to tact or lesson at him. Because if we get the dad, the rest of the family is set. 

Okay, more bad news. We went to another family that we've been working with, the Apas Family. The daughter attended youth conference last week and they've been going to church. On Saturday we go over and they said, we don't want to be baptized. We're like, WHY? Then they said, Dad doesn't want to be baptized and we all just want to be one religion so that there's no fighting or anything. So if he's not going to be baptized, we're not. There's 4 of them. A nice family! So our next step is really just focus on the dad and we're going to hope for the best. He doesn't really want to talk to us, but we've got nothing else that we know what to do! The next door neighbor of theirs, just a young woman age would always come in the lessons to I guess. Edrian Kaye is her name. Anyway, she also said that her mom all of a sudden changed her mind. Her baptism was supposed to be this upcoming Saturday

Speaking of Baptism! We were supposed to have one yesterday as well. Luigy Gargar. We've got his parent permission signed and everything. He's a young man and has tons of friends at church and stuff. His parents were cool with it and his dad even said that he wanted to come to his baptism! Friday night his mom goes off on a rampage on how Mormon's are evil and all the bad people in the world are Mormon's. (False) Anyway, we just hoped that on Saturday his dad would bring him, but Saturday comes, we wait at the church, no show... So... yeah, not a great Saturday. All that happened on the same day. The families telling us no to baptism, the no baptism, no power, no water, and tons of rain. I think Satan had control of that Saturday to be honest. 
Nevertheless I still have faith in the Lord and Savior. I'm sure that he can make anything possible and won't abandon me here in the Philippines. I've really been trying to focus on my prayers this week and just making sure that I'm super sincere in listening back. Half the time I just jump right into bed and fall asleep... which isn't the way it should be. We should actively listen after we pray right? So, I've been trying harder to do that. I've also been studying my patriarchal blessing a lot more this week just trying to figure out some stuff with the future and what not, it's been great. I think I've something down, but not sure of course. I guess we'll see what life throws at me. I'm so thankful for the Book of Mormon though. Sometimes I wish I could just read it even more. There's not many hours in a day and we do a lot of stuff, so it's rough, but I want to try my best to read it even more. Things are still going well here in Escalante. It's no San Carlos, so I just miss my last area. I really just loved it there! I love Escalante too, not that big of a deal. Sometimes you just get attached to an area and a city and people that you really love here. That's what happened to me. I miss you all back home so much. Thanks for all the love and support! I hope y'all are gearing up for the concert you lucky little punks! haha. It's all good, there's plenty of concerts to attend when I'm home. I miss you. I love you! Hope you are all doing great! I'll send some pictures next week to you! 

Our new friends!

Elder Ellis

Monday, January 6, 2014

Pardon the English &'s totally fading now!

Dear Friends and Family,

Well I guess you've all heard by now that I've been transferred. I'm back into Escalante Zone! It's still a Cebuano speaking area and I'd be willing to bet that besides Elder Gibbons, or both of us, we've been the longest missionaries in this mission to be speaking Cebuano.

Elder Cudac and I at Canla-on Chapel

Canla-on has the best rice on the island

Brother Harolds and his wife

Transfer day....I loved San Carlos & my companion!
  I came back and saw some members in Mabini Branch that were at the Escalante Chapel for a meeting and they said I'm practically amazing at the language now. Honestly, I'm super glad that I'm back into a Cebuano Zone. I knew I was going to transfer last week, I just didn't know where and I"m super glad that it's not across the island and it's only here in Escalante. I do have some friends that are in this zone, Elder Shaffer is here, Elder Rakuro, Elder Gibbons and some others. Escalante Branch is split into two area because there's a sister companionship here as well. Sister Ralph (From Tacloban) and Sister Turtal, whose first area was my first area in Victorias 2nd Ward. Super funny! They're a cool and fun companionship and we both had baptisms this past week. 

We've been visiting a lot of members and diong area stuff the past few days so I don't really know what to say. I'm still new to the area. Elder Lenoy, my new companion is a native Cebuano speaker and doesn't speak English so I've only been speaking Cebuano the past 5 days. I miss Elder Barangay a lot, he was a great companion and probably my favorite one so far. Him and I got really close. He actually called me and said he missed me, haha, silly kid. Escalante Branch was his last area and he baptized a lot of people here and also left us with a big mess of not updating records so we have no clue who's been taught what and there is still one he baptized that's not yet confirmed! The members are great here and I've eaten a lot. I'm going to die if I don't work out, so that's my goal while I'm here is to be diligent in working out because if I don't... I'm doomed. 

Three-some with Elder Cudac and Elder Barangay before transfers.
Christmas with Elder Barangay......I'm going to miss him!
We made our own baptismal pants
Served our Filipino companions an American Christmas breakfast
The Cebuano here I've realized that I didn't realize before is funny. They try to make their own kinda dialect and change the "L"'s to "W"'s. It's super funny because it sounds completely stupid, but everyone does it, so I guess that's the thing to do here. So now I'll have to change my L's to W's. I'm not going to, because then I'll be speaking really Cebuano wrong. I guess there's a reason I'm still in Cebuano, hopefully I'll use it later in my life because that would be awesome because this language is so sick!

Jessica Liavore's baptism

So we had a baptism on Saturday if you didn't see on facebook. Her name is Jessica Liavore. She's 29 years old and is a former investigator of some sisters that use to be here over 2 years ago I think maybe or just over a year. She's been taught by many different religions and has never really felt that any of them are true until our missionaries came along. I guess this was finally her time for baptism. She way great and gave a great testimony at church yesterday actually on how she's super happy that she became a member and that she wants to continue and learn more about the church. It was super great! I'm super excited to continue to work in her area and we'll probably have her come with us to teaching appointments in her area too so that we can baptize more of them there. Her whole area will become members soon! ha! We have tons of investigators near here house, but none have really been committed yet, nor come to church. So it's going to be a little rough, but it's going to be great. I'm super excited to serve in this branch and to be apart of it. My apartment is nice, just about the same as the one in San Carlos. 

I miss San Carlos so much. I had a few members text me and just say thanks for everything and the branch president, Dellomes, he's a good guy. I'll miss him too. The Leduna family freaked out and were super angry. I was texting them the rest of that night because they were just so sad that I was transferring. I went to their house though, even it's super far away just to say goodbye so that I could say goodbye. They cried. I was super sad to leave them... I just got so close with them. They're super awesome. We need to go back and visit them when you come here! Okay? 
 Ladiwan Family...such a great family
Saying good-bye to the Leduna family.  I'm going to miss them.  Love this family!
Well, I'm not sure what else to say about my new area. It's Escalante so there's not too much to do here so we've got to make stuff up. Today we're going to play volleyball in Buenavista, which is another area in the zone. I'm not sure who's all coming right now, but that's what we're doing today.

I love you all. Thanks for the email on Christmas and New Years and I hope that everyone is doing great back home. I know the church is true and that the Lord has a plan for all of us in these days and that as long as we do our part, he'll keep up His end of the deal. I love being a missionary. I love it. I love helping people and meeting new people and talking with them and just being with them! It's so fun! I miss y'all so much back home. It's weird that I come home this year, don't worry, I'm not trunky at all! Just weird to think about. Thanks for everything! Have a great week! 

Elder Ellis

Thursday, January 2, 2014

December 29th--Transferred to Escalante Branch this week!

Dear Family and Friends,

HELLO! Merry Christmas this week! How was every one's Christmas? I hope it was fantastic. I can't believe that I was able to skype you this week, it seems like I didn't at all. That's weird. Most of the time missionaries can't like get back to work after that, but honestly, it just boosted my work. I was excited, more happy, and our work this week has been great. I just wanted to recap what I did on Christmas. 

Christmas Eve was the worst day of work I've ever seen in my mission. Everybody is busy, nobody wants to talk, they all go to Catholic Mass, and their beliefs are all about Jesus, but only Catholic is the true church and we're going to mass tonight. That's pretty much what we got on Christmas Eve. From members, they were just busy getting ready for Christmas and there was a couple of activities at the church that they were attending. Anyway, long story short, nobody wanted to listen to us. We only taught 1 lesson to Raymond and that was at our dinner appointment. Which our dinner appointment was a little weird. We went to Harold's house, he's a member, way cool, into guns and stuff. We ate there, but his family was only half there and he had to rush back to work, so it wasn't like a super great like family setting that I was hoping for, but it was alright. We went home and there we met with Elder Pulsipher and Elder Lopez. We just decorated our house and then played Santa for Elder Barangay and Elder Lopez. They've never really seen an American Christmas or experienced it before, so we decided we'd give them a Christmas that they are never going to forget. It's their first Christmas in the mission too. It was successful and we put presents under our Christmas tree for them and everything. In the morning we woke them up and they woke up to pancakes, eggs, bacon, the works! They'll never forget it. However they weren't that stoke at pancakes... I guess Filipino's aren't huge fans of it. Oh well, we loved it. Then I skyped y'all back home, that was great, you're all looking good and I hope that you are all feeling better now! Then we went to lunch and had a good lunch, then visited some members a little bit and prepared everything for our baptism! It was great! Edward and Elma were there and it was perfect and just amazing. The baptism was super awesome and all the missionaries sang and it was a great experience. We had so many people there too from the branch. Okay, so I'm a little upset because Elma and Edward came, but Patrick never showed up! What the heck! Who doesn't show up to their baptism! Anyway, he hasn't been home all week. But something happened on Christmas Eve and President called me. He said that I was needed to switch with an Elder in Canla-on for the time being until he said otherwise. I can't tell y'all what's going on, but I've been working with Elder Cudac in Canla-on since Thursday morning.
American Christmas

Elder Pulsipher & Ellis
White Christmas

Canla-on is that active volcano I told you about. It's a small branch and from what I've observed so far at church on Sunday, it really needs to Priesthood holders. I looked around and all the recent converts are Sisters and all the active people are sisters as well. There were 6 Men at church. 6. The total that were at Sacrament were over 100 and 6 of them are Men. About 40 Women. Then there rest of children below the age of 12. So, I don't know if that's an issue that they want to work on, but as far as baptisms though, it's a lot of kids. What happens when the branch president moves or finds a good job somewhere...? Then... there's nobody else to lead the branch. It was a pretty sad sight, but it's all good I guess. They're at least baptizing, so that's good.
Elder Cudac and I worked so hard the past 3 days trying to find people to teach. The men are super stubborn and don't really want to listen to us, but there are some. We just need to find them and seek those who are ready to listen to the gospel. There are some and we've found some more too this week. We've got one investigator that they were teaching before, but I guess they didn't really see that he was gay... Within the first minute of teaching him I picked up on it, but I guess Filipino's just don't pick it up as easy or something. So that's sad. A lot of men here are gay and want to be women... so that doesn't make the situation any easier! I guess it's just a trial, no big deal. We did look through our area book and find some former investigators that we could go and contact. We contracted this one family, I forget their name right now, but they were super like excited to see us I guess. They received us right away with no questions asked. They already had a Book of Mormon and it had been a few years since the missionaries had visited them, so I guess it was a good thing that we went by. We challenged about 20 people to baptism this weekend. Most of them said yes! Maybe about 16! Then... come Sunday... 0 of them were at the church. Typical. I don't know how to help these people just come to church, it's like they feel it's true, the receive answers and they just are like... well, you're church is far, I'm just going to go to the Catholic church made of Bamboo right in front of my house. That's how it is. They build like these little chapels everywhere and then you can always just go to those churches if you want. It's just weird and I don't understand why they'd want to go. They don't get anything out of going to church other than the fact that they say that they are active in the Catholic church... which it's not like they have attendance or anything. I just don't understand sometimes. The funny thing is, I've never had to battle the trinity here once. In the most Catholic place ever... I've never once had someone concerned with the Trinity. Talk about belonging to a church and not knowing what your church believes in... this is it! Anyway, I'm sorry for going off about that. Just bugs me a lot when I work so hard and nobody seems to progress. Even though we just had a baptism, sometimes it's just hard to be a missionary. haha. I guess who said it would ever be easy right? Anyway, Canla-on's a great place to be. The weather is colder because it's maybe 2000 ft in elevation about Sn. Carlos. It's usually in the clouds actually, so the rain there is way cool. It's so light and it looks like it's snowing! Super werid. Their apartments up there are so ugly and nasty. No water and the power is sometimes not on. It's just a mountain place, it's the best they can do. Elder Cudac is a great missionary though. Even though he's still kind of new, he's a great teacher. Elder Wilstead trained him really well. I'm happy with him.
Elder Cudac & Ellis

Mt. Canlaon
Anyway, I don't know when I'm going to come back to San Carlos, President said sometime this week, but who knows what's going on. I hate not knowing stuff. Just isn't fun. I miss having like a sure plan. I feel bad getting to know these people in Canlaon and then just leaving. It's alright though, it's still all good. As long as they get baptized that's the important part! So far so good though up in Canla-on. 

I just wanted to say thanks again for skyping. I know it was a little hard for me to share some experiences and things off the top of my head. We're just working so hard, I just take it one day at a time and I'm always just up in the air worrying about everything. I do know that this church is true though. I love the Book of Mormon, whenever I get down or sad I guess, I just read the Book of Mormon and my hope returns. It's been the biggest help on my mission. Dad was asking if my testimony started somewhere and I'd have to say it's the Book of Mormon. If that book wasn't with me right now, I'd be so lost. It's just all the answers to my questions and things. I love it. It's crazy to think that Joseph Smith translated it though, just totally by the power of God. I can't think of a bigger testimony builder than that! I love the church. I love being a missionary. I love bringing this gospel to others! I love Filipino's, no matter how different they are and no matter how many times they call me names. Jesus Christ was called all sorts of names too and that was among his own people! I miss you all so much! I hope the girls maybe email me and tell me how their Christmas was... anyway! Love y'all! Thanks for everything! Have a great week!

Elder Ellis