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

No comments:

Post a Comment