Monday, April 28, 2014

Investigators attend Church + Baptisms set = I'm getting transferred again!

Look who's droppin' in this morning!

P-day pics from last week:

How's everyone doing in the United States!? ;) Having one of your best friends get married over the weekend makes me feel super excited! That's so cool! What a blessing it is that we can be together forever with our families and the ones that we love the most. No matter what happens to them or us, we're still together forever! The biggest blessing in my mind that has ever been given to us on earth, to have the knowledge and the Plan of Salvation. In 22 weeks I'll be with you again in the land of the free! :) Needless to say, I miss home, but it's all good. Nothing a little bit of fried chicken and unlimited rice can't cure. Training is going well, it's a bit rough, my companion is a little shy, but what new missionary isn't shy about talking to complete random people about the gospel right? So all is going well and I"m not complaining that much. Well, not really at all. All is going well. Our area is doing good, well, better I guess I should say. This week we had 80% of our investigators that we're actively teaching at church, so I'm going to take that as a success! There were only 2 of them that weren't at church that we were hoping would be there. This week was our Branch Conference, so we had a lot of leaders from La Carlota District attend, the branch leaders did a lot of work this week, finally, and they visited like all the less actives and made sure they were going to church so that we looked good in front of the district leaders. So our chapel was super super full. It's super small to begin with, like the size of the overflow part of our stake center. Yeah... that small. I think we probably had 85 in attendance yesterday compared to our usual 50+. So it was a good week. 
San Enrique Branch missionaries

Our investigators John Paul, Christian, and Michael are doing good. They're all 14 years old, friends, and they have dates for May 24. We're just going to have all our investigators go on May 24 I think. I think the branch would get mad if we just split them all up and went every week, waste of water maybe? I don't know, haha. They're doing good. They're all in 1 Nephi Chapter 2 of the Book of Mormon right now, I know that's not that far, but it's far for a Filipino okay? At least they're reading every day, so I'm proud of them. If they can sit down and read 10 verses without stopping, then we consider that a success! So they're doing awesome. We love teaching them too. There's also these like neighbor 8-12 year old girls that come to every single one of our lessons. There's about 7 of them. They all have a Book of Mormon and they read and they listen. We can't commit them to baptism because of their parents, but they always want to listen. Hopefully in due time, they remember everything and when they grow up they'll be pricked in their hearts to join the church. I want to slowly just start teaching all their parents, it's hard with work and everything, but I think it's something that we can try and do. 
Amor and Jeremy are doing well. This is the mom and daughter that have been investigators forever! Since the time of my batch mate and they still haven't been baptized. They came this Sunday though and we've also set them for the 24th of May. Hopefully they continue to go to church. We've left everyone with one week extra just for an emergency or they miss for some reason, so I hope that all works out. I'm sick of working and nothing happening. I guess that's why I got sent here and not to Europe or something because I'd just get super angry with not having a lot of success I suppose. I don't know, but it's going better now than before in San Enrique, so at least we've got some pluses going for us now. 

The Comporaso family, the less actives with the 9 year old daughter that we're teaching we are church now for 2 weeks in a row! I think we'll actually baptize her on the 10th of Mayand so we're looking forward to that! It's proven once the branch reaches out and invites and fellowships them, they'll come to church and hey look, it'll produce a baptism! What do ya know?! We're happy right now. We were actually way stoked yesterday at our attendance so we're looking to have a good week this week!

I've been having some really good Book of Mormon reading this week. I'm back in Helaman and then 3rd Nephi again and I just love it every time. It also frustrates me how dumb the Nephites are sometimes. I mean, the smartest and the dumbest. Falling back into sin and transgressions. It's like, you should've learned your lesson the first time sort of deal. Then I thought to my own self how many times did I have to fall in order to learn my lesson finally. So, it's been really good and now, I don't want to fall anymore. I've learned so much and I've been a lot better mindset with life and things. I want to be a better person! Do better in school. Study harder. And definitely be a better member of the church when I get home. I love the church, just never showed it that much. But that'll change when I get home! Magnify my callings and be a better member!
Making Bukko Salad

I love y'all back home! Thanks for the thoughts and support! I miss you and love you still. Time is flying. I'll be home before ya know it ;) Have a great week!

Halong Pirme,
Elder Ellis ;)

PS.  I'm getting transferred.  I think I'm going to Kabunkalan zone. I don't know which area or who my comp is, but that's all I know so far. Love you guys and wish y'all the best. I sure miss you tons. 

Monday, April 21, 2014

4.21.14 Waterfalls and Goals to Achieve

Dear Friends and Family,

Sorry this is going to be a bit of a short email. I'm running a little low on time at the moment. We spent all morning getting lost in the jungle and having some super fun climbing to rocks and viewing a waterfall. It was way cool! 

This week, not as successful as I had wanted it to be. Our investigators, all the ones that are progressing and things, didn't come to church. We were supposed to have Amor and Jeremy's interview on Sunday, but they didn't come to church. We weren't able to visit them at all last week, they were never home. The other investigators didn't have money to pay to go to church this week, to ride the bus, so it sucks, that's life, I'm use to it now, over it, live to fight next Sunday I suppose.

Holy Week was this week... definitely a big week for all the other churches. Friday... the biggest holiday in the world for the Catholics. Too bad they worship a dead Jesus. Friday, Good Friday, is bigger than Sunday... how strange? They're more happy that Jesus died than that Jesus lived again???????? Is that for real?????? I mean, we do understand that the death was NECESSARY for all of us to return back to our Father in Heaven. Yes, we are very grateful. But think, we all get to live again too, because HE lived again. So honestly, their churches are a joke, I don't know if I can openly say that. But really? I mean, I don't understand any of the doctrine in that church. Reading Matthew Chapter 6 alone, questions most of their doctrinal foundations and also the 10 commandments. Oh well. At least we know what the truth is and we live by it. 

Our week was alright I guess. My companion and I are getting along okay. Not any problems. He's struggling with the language, but still speaks Tagalog so at least he can talk to people, unlike an American who can understand or talk to anyone. But, he'll get it! ;) I'll help him out. haha. We're doing alright though. 
Just want to leave my testimony that I know this work is true. I will never regret being on a mission no matter how hard it gets, how far I fall, how bad things get, how non-progressive, how much the branch leader frustrate me with their lack of caring towards the work of salvation, I know one thing and it's I did the right thing and I made the right choice by coming here! ;) Only got 5 more months and it's super weird to think about. Sort of like the 4th quarter of a basketball game. Last ditch effort. Leaving it all on the court. Game winner. Buzzer beater. Love you guys! You're in my prayers always. 

Elder Ellis

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

4.14.14 Trainer + Conference = Very Busy Week

Dear Friends and Family,

As you all know I'm now a trainer! My new companion is Elder Racaza. He's from Quezon City and is great! His whole family is members of the church, he's got a mission type background, he's worked with the missionaries at home before, so he's way good! Only problem, Tagalog. haha. It's not a problem and it will come with time so I'm not worried at all what so ever. I picked him up from the mission home on Thursday and so, that was pretty much the start of my week.


Elder Ellis had to demonstrate Inviting the Spirit in Teaching in Hiligayan

New Comp Elder Racaza

Monday we did our p day. Basketball was good, I was a little tired and not really playing the top of my game, so it wasn't a good basketball day. It was still alright though, then on Monday night I think we went to one appointment and it wasn't that great. It was with the Metusa Sisters and they have a ton of friends that we teach, but none of them were there. 

Tuesday, HAPPY BIRTHDAY DAD! Yeah, it's Dad's birthday on Tuesday. So we had a great district meeting! Hope you like the pictures dad! ;) Then right after that Elder Wilstead calls me with a transfer announcement and we find out that Elder Urgelles is transferring and that I will be a trainer. So all day we just went around saying goodbye to people, then we packed, and then I cleaned the house because I wanted it to be awesome for my new companion. Luckily Elder Wilstead and I are buddies so he let me know if I was training an American or not, it's not, so I just made sure it was clean. haha. We just packed and stuff and got ready that night.

My district

Wednesday I was in Bacolod. We traveled there and then I had to spend the night waiting for my new companion to come in that night and I would pick him up on Thursday morning. 

Thursday I got to the mission home and we had a good training in the morning by the assistants about training and things, I haven't trained in our a year, so it was a good refresher. I've been learning tons though and I feel like I've grown a lot and I'm a lot more effective of a teacher! Even though, I haven't been able to baptized tons, I feel like I'm doing my part, which is what's more important. I got my new companion, took some pictures, ate lunch, then back to our area! We got back to the apartment, I took him to go and buy some food, and then we went to work. We visited just the same people we always visit and I just showed him some of the area. He doesn't understand anything or anyone, so it's super funny! But all is well!
Facebook friend that is now in La Carlotta.  

Friday, the first full day of missionary work for Elder Racaza. He was blasted wasted tired, it was awesome. We worked so much and found 14 new investigators in one day! WHAT UP! That's how it's going! It was a great day, 3 of them were referrals from on Sister in our branch that's preparing for a mission. They were just a few kids, BUT, we ended up talking to theirs Mom's and things and so now things are looking a little good with some families. It's in a part of our area that we've never had much success with finding before so I'm super excited about it! They're all still new so, no progression yet. 

Saturday and Sunday was conference all day as you know. So that was it. I was a little bit, not disappointed in conference, but I guess I was searching for other things. Some of the talks were really good though and you could definitely tell the theme was on faith and doing our best and forgiving others! Super great messages. I like the ones on the family and how we need our families and in times of trouble or turmoil, all we've got is our family! Love it! I've just got such a better outlook on life and things now, I've been more happy serving a mission and I'm loving it! I wouldn't trade this for anything in the whole world! 
Breakfast before Conference

I love you guys back home, sorry so short this week because we didn't do much, but I'll have some better stuff for y'all next week! Love you!

Elder Ellis

It's Rough, but it WILL Get Better!

Sa akong mga pamily kag mga amigo,

Well... How's everyone doing this week? Totally sucks about Elder Anderson getting home for medical reasons, that's the worst thing for a missionary getting sick and having to go back home, just know my prayers are always with you buddy, as well as all my other missionary buddies. It's cool to know that I have friends and things that are going through the same things that I'm going or at least know a little bit of what a mission is like. It's nice to email them and get letters from them as well. I hope they're all doing great!
Filipino English--How do you throw garbage properly?

I hope you guys, (my family) are having a blast in St. George right now! That's awesome! I miss St. George so much! I hope it's awesome as ever and that you are having a great time! I can't wait to get back and then actually be able to go with you hiking and biking and stuff! Going out on the boat again, it's going to be a blast! ;) I miss you guys back home!

This week was good, it started off with a good Tuesday! Great day, lots of teachings. The coolest part of the day is when we found this kid in a jeepney, I'll send you a picture. There's the kid and says to us, "Hey Mormons" So I was like, "Who you callin Mormon's" So we go and talk to him. The kid who said Mormon's is actually a recent convert, but he had a friend and they were just chilling in the jeepney. So we took the time to share to both of them. The member's name is Ricky and his friend who he was with was name Micko. So then we talked to Micko and we were like, Hey, we want to come and visit your family, is that okay with you. So we did! Turns out, they have 8 all in the family. The kids are from the ages 12-18, all can be baptized. They're receptive, but it'll be hard to get them to church, but the Mom was saying she really wants to know what's true and things in the world, so it's going to all be well. We can walk our entire area, in one day. So that's what we do, every single day. We start at the furthest end, then walk all the way back to our house. By the end of the day, I think we've walked about 15km's or so. It's not too bad, good work out, it just sucks because there's no trees or anything to cover the sun so we just get beat by it all the time! 

Ricky & the jeepney
Wednesday we had a zone training meeting and then the best thing ever!!!! ;) Exchanges with Elder Pulsipher! You already know that I like, love this Elder so I don't need to tell you that. We've just become way good friends and I'm super stoked to see him after the mission. We worked in his area of La Castellana and we tore it up. We found their area 7 new investigators and were just talking to everyone we saw, just super happy about the work, which is how it should be. Sometimes it's hard being companions with a Filipino because we have nothing to talk about. We walk for kilometer without saying anything to each other and it's super awkward. But I guess it's okay, gives me quiet time to read the Book of Mormon and stuff. When we're out working though it bugs me a little because I like to talk and be social and things. I mean, you guys know me. The class clown, the social butterfly, mom always says. So this is just a big change for me and it's rough sometimes, but it's all okay. Makes me behave I guess you could say. At night we made friend chicken, grape juice, rice, and just really kicked it. As much as you can kick it on a mission. We watched a church video and then just continued eating. We didn't sleep much, just talked in our room for the longest time. It's nice to work with him.

Elder Pulsipher & I with Mt. Canlaon in the background

Sister Smoot from Lindon

My Zone

Thursday we exchanged back and it's back to good ole' San Enrique! So we went back and then got straight to work. Same ole' same ole'. It's the same people, that one new family is the only new people we've really found this week, so it's rough, but I think it'll get better I hope.
94 year old Aunt of a member

Friday we did our weekly planning and realized that all our investigators have gotten pushed over to the Sisters area. So... now we don't have that many to plan for... only about 10 people. That's it! 10! Totally bogus, but it's all okay. We just need to find more people. Like I said last week, we usually didn't focus on this part of our area so it's a little different. But we're trying hard. President called me on Friday night and we talked about it for a little bit and some other things. It was the best conversation I've ever had with President and really gained a lot of respect for him from our conversation. He's more understanding than I use to think and he knows what's going on in our area, so it's okay he said, as long as we're doing our best is what matters. 

Saturday we worked all day long. Started again in the far away part and worked all the way back to our house at night. The only bummer was we went by that new family, the Aquino Family, and they weren't home so we didn't get to invite them to come to church. I don't know where they were! I was super upset, but it's okay, we'll invite them this week and remind them to go. They're super cool, the kids are alright, the Mom is awesome, the Dad is a little shy, but that's just the Filipino men. They're really shy unless they have friend around and it's just a very social culture here... If the neighbors and people around you find out that the missionaries are teaching you, they start to make fun of you and stuff, kinda like that deal. So it's hard. Mormons are made fun of a lot just because we teach the truth and everyone knows it. If your friend can't smoke or drink with you anymore, he's not too much of your friend anymore. That's just like the culture.
Sister Balijong's child

Taught all these girls and they had really great questions!

Sunday... surprise surprise, only 1 investigator at church! ;) But hey, that's better than it was last week! We've had 0 for 2 straight weeks now, so now we're doing great! ;) 100% improvement! WAY TO GO! ;) Afterwards we actually ate at the church with the branch president. He bought some chicken and we brought some rice from our house, so we ate there with the Sisters. The Sisters are doing great! They've picked up our old investigators and so there were 4 at church this past Sunday. Things are looking up in San Enrique! The Sisters are doing great! These are probably the most fun 2 Sisters in the whole mission I bet. They're just fun to be at church with and stuff. A little bit on the joking side, just like me, a little YELLOW in their blood. So it's all good! Love it! ;) 
So all in all, we've had a better week. Our numbers are a little lower and we visit the same people every single day. I think they're really sick of us, but it's all good! That's the work of the Lord. We visit every single day, things will get better! They'll progress faster maybe, so I'm excited. It's transfer week this week. Calls will come tomorrow if there will be anything, so I don't know, anything could happen. I really want to train, but I don't know if it'll happen... but the Lord will do what he wants and to help his work progress! So, I just pray that nothing bad happens ;) I'd be fine with pretty much anything though as long as I have a good companion. Not really in the mood right now to get another one like my last companion, but all will be well! I'm not too worried. 
I hope y'all are enjoying the pictures, I made sure to take a lot this week because I didn't get to take any last week. I hope all is well back home with you guys! Love you tons and I miss you.
Brother Ricardo & some branch members

Kabalo gid ako nga ang simbahan naton amo ang matuod nga simbahan diri sa kalibutan. Excited gid ako para sa Conference! Basi magbaton ko sang pagpadayag halin sa Dios para sa akong kabuhi. Kay, wala gid ko kabalo ko ano ang akong humonun pagkatapos sang mission ko. Indi gid ko trunky! Pisan pa gid ako! Malipayon gid ako nga nakamission ako. Gani budlay gid sya pero, malipay pa ako. Ambot lang kon paano pirme malipayon ako bisan ano nga natabo sa akon. Damo oie, pero ayos lang gid sya. Padayon na lang ako sa mission deba? Tani okay pa kamo tanan dira. Nahidlaw gid ko kamo, pero amo ni sya ang sacrificio nga kinahanglan ko maghatag sa akong Ginoo kag ang akong Amay sa Langit!

I love you all! Keep going! Read and Pray! And "GO TO CHURCH"

Elder Ezzy E. Ellis