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.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 rainedand 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 ! 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!