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

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