Monday, February 24, 2014

Feb 24th--San Enrique Area needs some TLC and Prayers

Sa Akong mga Pamilya kag mga Amigo,
Leaving Esclante

Mt. Can-laon from this side of the Island

Transfer Day

Guess who the ZL is now...Elder Pulsipher.  Reunited!

If you haven't heard by now, I have been transferred. I transferred last Monday. It was a long day. It's the first time that I've ever been south of Bacolod City in 17 months of my mission. I've always been on the top half of the island, so now I got to see a little bit of the bottom half. I'm in San Enrique Branch. It's about an hour and a half south of Bacolod and it's in La Carlota District. So, it's another district, weird, I've only been assigned in one ward my whole mission. There are 11 zones in Bacolod Mission. 4 Zones are Districts and I've been assigned in 3 of the zones out of the 4. Let's hope I don't make it to the 4th zone that's a district because it's super far away. Sipalay, where Elder Garner was for his second area. In Bacolod on Monday I had the chance to eat McDonalds with Elder Garner and Elder Pulsipher, so it was a good Monday! Elder Wilstead was also at the mission office where we all meet for transfers so I got to see a lot of my friends! It was a good Monday, like I said. Elder Pulsipher is my zone leader and on the bus ride back he says, "So... there has been a turn of events." haha. Punk, since I was his zone leader and now he's my zone leader. I got to my new apartment and it's actually quite nice, no complaints. Well one, it's right on the highway so all the dust flies into my house and so if don't sweep every morning, it gets super dirty.  But it's an upstairs apartment! We have a water pump from a well underground, so there's always water to our house, we just pay the electricity for the pump. So far we haven't had any power outages like we always did in Sn. Carlos and in Escalante. It's a decent sized house, my bed is smaller than my mattress, still trying to figure that one out, but I got it situated so everything is still okay. There's a like double bed in our apartment too that my companion has claimed. He's smaller than me so I was gonna throw him on my bed, but I decided to just love him and let him have it. Lucky kid, he got the good side of me. But all is well. Monday was a good night, the church is right across the street from our apartment pretty much, at least I can see it. It's an OLD church... it still has the old church logo on the outside. Nothing like any of the other churches I've been in, so it's good. Small, but good. 

Tuesday was my first district meeting. My district consists of Elder Vibal and Elder Gibbons, then me and my companion, Elder Urgelles. There's only 4 and 3 of us come from Escalante Zone in the past. So we all know each other. Elder Vibal is our district leader! He's a cool guy and a good missionary. Super smart at scriptures too. Elder Urgelles and I then went to meet some of the members and actually we just walked down one big long street and taught tons of less actives. There are tons! I also got a chance to meet the branch president and his wife. Great people, tons of fun! Sealed in the temple! ;) Which is good! We also ate at a less actives house, they think if they feed us that they don't have to listen to our message, which is quite funny, but that's how it goes sometimes. They made sure to keep busy and no down time so that there was no time to share. However, one of the brother turned on the Olympics, but it was over, but I see the US didn't do that well. 

Wednesday we had a huge day! We've got very few investigators, it's super hard to find interested people here. They're super busy! Our area is near the ocean so if people are home they're still cracking shells with oysters to sell or some other type of shell fish, or selling fish or doing anything! But we caught some of the investigators that they've been teaching. The Delepedro Family, Sister and 2 kids, have been attending church for the past year on and off. Not been baptized, but we committed them for baptism and to come to church. But they didn't come on Sunday, so we don't know what happened. They say they're poor, so maybe they didn't have fare to ride the tricycle. There's another part member family that we're teaching, Sister Balijong and her husband. Sister is a member who was baptized in Manila, but can't remember where. Brother isn't a member but willing to listen. Neither of them were at church either. They're not married either, so that will be another thing that we're going to need to do for them! The Comporaso family is a less active family. The Mom is returning to church now and they have a 9 year old daughter who isn't baptized yet, so we will be baptizing her on the 8th of March. She was actually at church! There are a few others that we teach at their house, but so far, they're not too interested and they are just kids. But President said, baptize kids, so I guess we'll try to baptize them. One of the kids though, we talked to the Mom and she said that we can continue teaching. Her name is Maricar Amor. She's 12 years old, super smart girl. We want to teach her mom too, but her mom is a different religion that isn't super fond of the Mormon faith. So, I think the Mom is ruled out, but she said her daughter has her choice to choose what she wants. So that's a plus sign! ;)
The Comporaso family

Thursday was another good long hard day of work! We teach a ton of people in this area! It's not as spread out as Escalante was, which is a good thing, we can focus on certain areas more and more, so it's a plus! Only if we were teaching lots of investigators and not tons of less actives. That's what I want!!! Investigators! So we're going to try and focus on that a lot more this week, finding new people to teach especially around the houses of less actives. I think if we give the LA's an assignment to help the investigators, they'll want to come back maybe, it's worth a shot. We even gave a less active some pants to fix, I had the hem on my pants come undone, so I gave it to a less active to fix so that she had money to come to church and she still didn't come to church!!! AHHH!!! That's the worst! 
Sister who fixed his pants

Friday all the Americans were needed at the La Carlota chapel for picture taking for more of our visa papers. I don't know we keep needing to do this stuff! Fingerprints, pictures, this time just pictures, but I though our visas were good for the time that we asked! Oh well, I guess the church is just taking care of it, so I'll take the picture and continue with my day. We taught a lot of other people, I'm not familiar with all their names yet, they're in my planner, but I don't know who is who exactly. I'll just say our area is pretty big! We'll never run out of things to do I think, there's always places to go and there are some other places that we ride a bus too, it's that far. On Friday night though we had BBQ, it was pretty good, I think I ate a bit too much BBQ though cause... it didn't feel good after. haha. But I was okay when I went to sleep. 

Saturday if I was still in Escalante I'd be reporting on baptizing 2 people, but I"m not. Here in San Enrique we just worked a lot again. haha. We had some good lessons and then we had a church activity! We had a branch family home evening and we invited selected less active families only to be in the church and with the missionaries and the branch presidency! It was a success! And only one of the families came to church on Sunday... so I guess not a success. haha. 

Sunday...GREAT! Elder and I were chosen as speakers and I just nailed my talk! I think I did. I didn't have that many problems with the language and everyone said I had a good message. I talked on, 'How can I be happy in this life, despite all the trials and troubles?" I gave all the members that were there certain steps and things that we can do to be happy and to make sure that we're all on the path of happiness. After Sacrament we went to class, good class. After class, we walk out of the room and there's a member talking to a Korean guy in English. She signals us to come over there and to talk to him. So I talked to him and he wanted to know more about the church. He was just waiting for his wife to come get him and he stopped by the church I guess, I don't know, anyway, since I speak English and so did he and he didn't speak Ilanggo, it was awesome. I taught him about Joseph Smith, the Book of Mormon and gave him an English copy. HE WAS STOKED! He kept flipping the pages and looking at the pictures. He's a Christian, so that was good. I got his address and phone number and gave it to the office. He's married to a Filipino in Bacolod and so he lives here right now, so I gave it to the office and they'll tell the missionaries assigned in his area! Super awesome! His name was Dennis Han. Totally a cool Korean name! He lives an hour from Seoul, so I know there's missionaries in his area somewhere if he ever goes back. I hope to see him in the after life. We had 71 attendance at church... it's a small branch, I'll take a picture of our meeting house this week and send it next week. It's been a good week though. 

Well that's my week! I'm excited for another week of work here in San Enrique. The real transfer week is this week and I swear my companion better not transfer because I don't know this area yet. Hope all is well back home and that everything is okay! I love you and miss you! Keep sending prayers please... they're needed ;) Love y'all! Have a great week! 

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Feb 17th -Transferred to San Enrique with Elder Urgelles

Dear Friends and Family,

Well, I don't have much time this morning because I received a phone call last night telling me that I will be transferring. This morning I looked on my missionary thing and I'll be transferring to San Enrique Branch in La Carlota Zone. My companion is Filipino. It's an Ilanggo area, so I will be speaking that again. Which, not to excited about, but not my choice. Elder Wilstead, Pulsipher, and Gibbons will be in my zone again! So there are very good upsides to this transfer. I've asked Elder Wilstead how my companion is and so far I've only heard good things from him and Elder Pulsipher. So looks like I'm saying goodbye to Escalante. Which is sad because we were having baptisms the next 4 weeks in a row! So, I'm super bummed about it. The Buenavista kids passed their interview yesterday, so they will be baptized on Saturday at 2pm. I was going to baptize them, but not anymore. Sister Melanie Aberido will be interviewed the next Sunday and should totally be fine for baptism! The week after, Sister Vivian, she's doing so great and reading and praying and doing awesome and should be ready for the 8th. Then our other investigator Judy Lausa, will be baptized on March 15! So we've got it lined up perfect and then I'm transferring. It's all good I guess, it's just my luck, but it's cool. 

This week was good, we had some good lessons, but we really struggled finding new people this week. Transferring will be good for me though, so I'm happy. San Enrique was Elder Robertson's first area and Elder Sobreviga's 2nd area. I've heard it's a rough area, but after being in Mabini, I think I can pretty much go anywhere and be happy. I was really surprised that I'm transferring, but I guess somethings got to be going on big, because all the former Zone Leaders that are in the zone are getting pulled out and moved. I know 2 of us are going to La Carlota Zone. So, I'm just going to ask for your prayers and hoping that all will be well which I'm sure it will be! I don't know if I'll be able to shoot you off another email this afternoon when I get to my new area or not. If not, I'm sorry... I'll be able to email you next week! haha. I love you! Thanks! Talk to you next week. Sorry for a terrible email. haha. 

Elder Ellis

Hey, I got here in San Enrique. My companion is Elder Urgelles. So far so good. Apartment isn't bad, pretty good condition. It's an upstairs apartment so it's decent. Right on the highway though so it gets dusty about ever single day it seems. So far I've heard terrible things about the area, but putting them out of my mind. 50+ only attending church and people not progressing. Looks like they need some Elder Ellis up in these parts. Love you mom. I'll have a better report next week for sure. My companion and I haven't emailed President yet today, so we're doing it now. I'm sure you're asleep. Just wanted to let you know I'm safe. Love you mom! ;)

Elder Ellis
Annalou's baptism

Jessica doing her laundry

Look, I can climb coconut trees!

Monday, February 10, 2014

Yellow Personalities are often Misunderstood! As an American, you must serve with your heart!

Dear Friends and Family,

I just want to say that I have the best parents in the whole wide world who I am thankful for guiding me throughout my life and literally steering me out of pitfalls in my life. Just a shout out to my Mom and Dad for being awesome! Love you guys! I know I've totally been an unthankful kid most of my life, but thank you. Honestly, I don't know what I'd do without my awesome parents in my life. Dad, I did get your letter this week thank you so much! You are a great DAD! ;) Also tell Sister Mardesich that I got 2 cards from her as well and the McBee's that I did get their Christmas Card. Way after Christmas, but it's the thought that counts. Right! :)

This week we had a fantastic baptism! Annalou was baptized and confirmed ;) Totally awesome! She was excited for her baptism too and then she found a great group of young women that she likes to be around at the church. On Sunday she had no clue that some of her friends were actually members. She had never seen them at church or something before or her friends hadn't been a church the past few weeks. But now she loves going to class and hanging out at church with her new friends that she's found. 

We've received a special assignment from President Lopez that he want's us to do. There's an area that way far from here in Escalante, but still part of the area in the branch. There's 2 active members from this area. It cost a lot to get home and to church. So what President wants us to do is to start a group there. So we've been there twice now and visited less active families in the area and if they've be willing to come to a house for church since the church is so far. There's quite a bit of less actives in the area and that's why President wants us to build a group there. So we're going to try our best, but when I brought it up in our meeting with the Branch Pres. he didn't seem to happy about it or stoked as  would like him to be since he will be leading it or at least helping with it. The place is called LUPA. I guess I failed to mention that. The group leader would most likely be one of the 2 active members, and they're both RM's. So that's a good plus. One would be the leader and the other a councilor, until we start getting more males coming back and helping and reactivated. It's a pretty big task, but our next step is that we have to call the Chin couple and they'll come with us to Lupa and take pictures and then show President. So it could happen in my time, it also could not, I guess it just depends on how it all goes and if it get's approved by the area. Which it takes 2 weeks for that I think last I heard. So maybe in a couple weeks you'll know more. I worked there this week with the perspective group leader Bobby. He's 23, served in Manila mission and is way cool! We went to some pretty far areas around Lupa and just made sure that IF it was going to happen that they would be willing. So far we got a good review from them and they said they would love to come to church again! There are a few part members there as well, so that would be good for some baptisms in that area! The only problem we're seeing is Priesthood and a meeting house. We've got a house that we can meet at, whether or not it will be used as the meeting house is the question. 

I went on exchanges this week in Bonefacio Branch. This was the 2nd time that I've been able to do exchanges there. The 1st time was about 10 months ago when I was assigned in Mabini. It's a good area and a great branch, just filled with nothing but sugar cane fields. It's a flat area and there's one longggggg road that goes through the area. Luckily it's paved, but you just walk everywhere. The people are way accepting though. I worked with Elder Stead and he's a Tacloban Missionary, no clue when he's going back, maybe in the upcoming weeks. He's a cool Elder, from St. George, laid back, obedient and we get along. He's my district leader and all He wanted to know was how he can be a better leader and gain the respect and love of his district. So we had a long talk about that and I'm putting my money he becomes a Zone Leader next transfer, if he doesn't go back to Tacloban. We had some really good lessons and at the end of the transfer he says, "Elder Ellis, I must admit, I was wrong about you." I was like, "What are you talking about Elder?" He said that 2 missionaries just say that I joke around and don't take things serious, I know who they both are and neither of them have ever worked with me before so I don't know how they could possible know that. Sad thing is 1 is my Zone Leader. Then he said, "But, you're an awesome missionary! I don't know what they're talking about." So, that was nice to hear and not nice to hear that the gossip is Elder Ellis is a joker. But Filipino's are jokers too, so if you don't learn to joke with them and actually understand them, then they're not going to trust you. The 2 missionaries who said this though really have no clue what they're talking about and they're very different from me. So, I don't really care what others think. I think if you're not happy and not smiling and laughing with the Filipino's, then there is a serious problem! LOVE THEM! I love them so much!!!!!!!!!

I've learned quite a bit about the Prophet Joesph Smith this week since I've been reading that book that Dad sent me. I'm at the part now where he learns from the Angel Moroni and it's a lot more detailed in that book than what they usually teach in church! I love it a lot more. I never knew also that the Smith family would gather around every night and Joseph would teach them on the revelations and things that he received. Even when he was still a teenage. Could you imagine listening to a teenager telling you about revelations and visions and things, it would so interesting, especially coming from someone with a background like Joesph Smith. Just for his family! That would be so cool! And also how he wasn't just like, MADE PROPHET, all of a sudden. He still needed to prove it to himself and the Lord that he had what it takes. That's why he could get the plates right away. But through the years he went back and received instruction, just like church or school! We got to learn. So that's what we need to keep doing is to continue learning and growing in our spirituality and our knowledge about the gospel. Just like D&C 131:6, we can't be saved in ignorance. At the last day we won't be able to say, "Father, I'm sorry. I didn't know that was a law or that was a commandment." So, it's our job to make sure that we find out these things for ourselves. I honestly love doing my personal study every morning. There's no other time in my whole life where I will just have no worries and can study the scriptures for 1+ hours a day on any topic and search and read and feast upon them! That's a big goal for me when I get home is to make sure I read and study everyday in the Book of Mormon. Even just the smallest down time. I think it's such a blessing to have like, an iPhone. You have access to the scriptures within seconds on any type of down time, how cool is that??? I really want one of those when I get home so that I can do that! Technology is amazing these days and we have access to so much! Such an awesome blessing. I wish the Bacolod Mission was privileged to get the iPads... but we're not yet. haha. Some day I guess we will be! 

It rained on Friday and Saturday and so our attendance at church was a little down. We only had 2 investigators at sacrament. One being Vivian. She's a super great person to teach. She answers questions, reads, haven't gotten her to pray yet, but we'll get there, but SHE ACCEPTED A DATE for the 8th of March! So pray with me that her prayers and everything gets answered and it continues. She's so cool too! At church yesterday she was like smiling and happy and I could tell she really felt like she belonged there. Super awesome!
Karon gusto nako ipamatuod kaninyo nga nasayud ko ang simbagan tinuod jud sya. Ang obra nga ginabuhat nato dinhi sa yuta mao and pinaka importante nga trabajo para sa atong Ginoo. Palihog jud padayon ang inyong pagkabuotan ug pagkamatarong sa simbahan. It cannot continue without the members! 
I love you so much! Thanks for the thoughts and prayers again!

Elder Ellis

Monday, February 3, 2014

2.2.14 Death by Meeting....but it was all good!

Dear Friends and Family,

Maayong Gabie sa inyo tanan! Since it's night time there, but it's day time here... well morning. How's it going back home? All is well!? Hope you all loved the superbowl! And I'm sure it's still going on, but still going for the Seahaws from across the globe. This week was tons of work, but also tons of meetings, not a huge fan, but it's all good. I know you like it mom because of the pictures :) haha. 

Walked 10 Km for this was on the way to find new investigators.

We had our district conference this week and Elder Adoro of the 70 came and was the presiding authority. He's from the area 70, so he's is a 70, just a different quorum. He spoke a lot of Tagalog, so hard for us Americans to understand, but it's good because that way the Filipino's understand what he was saying, that's the important part. I understood a lot though, he's a good guy! Way funny and has a great sense of humor. We had meetings on Saturday and Sunday to be attended. On Saturday it was an adult session and Elder Lenoy and I were actually called on to present a tithing lesson. It was FANTASTIC! We heard from the members from the district all weekend how good it was. We were funny, but super spiritual and got the point across about how important paying tithing is. On Sunday I got to see all the members from Mabini and they were like flippin out and telling me how much they miss me. If you remember Shena? I don't know if you do, she's the young woman that was baptized right after I transferred from Mabini. She was at the conference so we were able to talk. Still super active and doing great! She's cool. The Mabini members were funny and just like, Elder we miss you, and they wanted Elder Lenoy and I to come to their house and eat, which we can't, but I really want to. I miss some of the people there. That was a rough area, but looking back, that's what made me the missionary that I am because I went to that area. I learned so much.
Elder Ellis & President Lopez

Escalante District

We had a mission president training on Wednesday, which was actually mostly the missionaries training each other. Each of the companionship's demonstrated teaching a commandment and then we all did an evaluation. We also had interviews with President and I asked him if I can be considered as a trainer next transfer if possible, he said yes you can train, but I don't know when. So I guess we will see.   I really want to train again since the first time didn't go to well, so I think I will do better this time. I want to train in a Cebuano area because I'm a lot better at Cebuano than I am at Ilanggo. So I guess we will see what revelation President receives on transfer day. Praying that I get my prayer answered... haha. Just pray for me too. Thanks!

Elder Ellis & Lenoy
Mission President Training
So this week we found out that our investigator, Sister Melanie Abarido, isn't married to her husband. However, not a bad thing, no worries. So she had a previous husband and then they split, but now she's been with the current husband for 10 years. Since there's no divorce in the Philippines, President just needed to interview her so he did after the district conference on Sunday and she passed. So she will be baptized in a few weeks. We're still working on the date, depends on church and how we feel. I want to make sure these people stay in the church, not just baptize them and then they go less active. Seems to happen to often than not on this island... But she and her family is doing great. Only her son comes to church with her, not the daughter, so those 2 might be baptized first and then her daughter later. 

Analou has recovered somewhat and she came to church yesterday and was interviewed by our district leader and he gave her the go ahead! So we're good to baptize her and so she will be immersed in the waters this Saturday! STOKED! She's a way cool investigator and super strong. Hopefully stays strong, but it'll depends on the branch fellow shipping her! 

We've found a great new investigators this week! At family home evening last Monday at the Claur Family we met her. Her name is Vivian! She's 20 years old is like their house help. The dad is working abroad and the mom works too, so Vivian just stays with the kids and cleans and cooks and all that kinda stuff. Like a maid almost... but it's not proper to call them that here. They're called, Domestic Helper. She's way cool and we taught her 3 lessons this week. 1 was at family home evening and I think she had a blast too. The Claur family is super great and funny! Sister Claur is the Sister in law of Brother Despojo, who I baptized in Mabini. Weird huh? haha. I actually knew them before I transferred here in Escalnte. So Vivian has a great fellowshipper in the branch, a whole family, and she came to district conference and said that she had a good time, so I hope she did! We will teach her again tomorrow we're thinking. It'll be about the Plan of Salvation, the best lesson, but the hardest to get the Filipino to really step back and look at the big picture. So we're excited. We haven't challenged to baptism yet, but we will tomorrow and set a date for March sometime! :) WHOOO! Hoping and Praying! She reads her assignments and she knows how to pray, just a little shy to pray, but will on Tuesday! Promise! So we're super happy for her. 

MarryBe and the Buenavista family all didn't come to church on Sunday. The mom is in Bacolod and will return sometime this week and the kids were worried that they couldn't go to church because they didn't have their fare to pay the motor, so that's probably why they didn't come, we don't know. We'll check up on them tomorrow and see what's going on. 

This week, not much happened. We had a lot of preparation for meetings and things to do this week so not much happened. I will have exchanges with our district leader this week... Elder Stead. He's an American, so I'm super excited! He's a cool kid. He's from Tacloban mission. I have heard a lot of them are going back to Tacloban, but none from my zone as far as I know. Sister Ralph is still here, but that just means they'll go soon. That will make for some interesting emergency transfers in the near future... 

Sorry for the short email this week. I think I've out of things to say. Everything is going okay I guess though. I'm still trying to do my best with my companion. Still hard, but that's life. I guess there's a reason that I"m with him. He's a good guy though, most of the time. 
Branch Missionary
Digging a burial site

I love y'all and I miss you back home! I hope all is well again! Let's kick off the new week and congrats to the Seahawks! (No I didn't watch the game). Thanks for all the help and prayers you send here to me. They are much needed! Have a great week!

Your Friend in the Faith, 
Elder Ellis