Monday, June 16, 2014

6.16.14 The Lord's Work Sure Works Up an Appetite!

Dear Friends and Family,
Hello again from the Philippines! I hope everyone had a great week and that good things are happening back home and you are seeing miracles in your lives and seeing the hand of the Lord in your lives as much as I see Him in mine these past few weeks. The work has been really rough with school starting and things. So we've been trying to find some really long time less actives that we have a list of and that's what we do for 3 hours a day till the kids get out of school so that we can teach the other families. 

I hope you liked the pictures from Zone Conference Mommy ;) I tried to get into some. I don't know if I looked good or not and here's why. In Bacolod there's a burger joint called, "Big Beefy Burger". At this place they have a 5 minute challenge: 1 pound patty, with all the works, a plate of fries, and a lemonade, you need to finish with nothing left in your mouth in under 5 minutes. If you finish, it's free. If not... 250 pesos. Your Son, is a champion! ;) Finished with 10 seconds left to spare. I have the whole thing on video so I'll show you when we meet again. Honestly the biggest thing I've ever eaten and soooo fast. Afterwards I didn't feel to bad actually, just felt really really full of food. The burger was gigantic. So, yeah, I might have looked a little big in the pictures, but didn't stop me from putting down 5 glasses of ice cream! The burger was served right off the grill so it was super hot, burned the whole inside of my mouth. I had no taste for 3 days. All is well now and back to normal!

 This week we also had our investigators Sister die, so she's all in distress and worried and things, which we're trying to teach the Plan of Salvation, that's the next lesson, but she's been busy with her family. However, her Aunt was at church on Sunday. This is the second time that she's been at church. We haven't been able to give them dates yet or anything just with the timing of the death of their relative. It's hard to explain. The Aunt has 3 kids that live with her, none of which are her "actual" kids, they're all relatives, but I guess because of home life and what not, we don't know details, they live with the Aunt. But we teach them all and the neighbors and each lesson there's about 10 people, it's super good and they read the Book of Mormon and they all know how to pray now and it's super good and we love going to their house.
The Trumpita Family is doing really well. When we visited however they didn't read the assignment that we gave them in the Book of Mormon so we read it with them. We also committed them to come to church this Sunday and they even said sure they'd come. We explained that Church has classes and stuff too and the mom was like, "ah amo na gali, nami gali ang pagsimba". It means like, "Ah... church is actually nice huh?" Um... Yes Sister. Church is great ;)

Our week was a lot better in the fact that our number are triple what they were last week. Last week was not good at all. And we were even in Bacolod for a day. So this week was a lot better. We've found some new investigators and also went to a new part of our area that's SUPER far, but a member took us in their jeep, so we got a free ride. The family that we went and visited has just been recently coming back to church for the past 3 weeks, they have a son who's not yet a member just because they went less active for so long. I guess the Dad just felt something and said that he's needed at the church. Nobody visited him or anything and in fact, we had no clue there were members in his area. So now we know and we've got something good to work with.
Our progressing Investigators Jemma and Jennevibe her sister are doing really good. They're super progressive, only problem is the mother consenting. They haven't had a chance to talk to their mom yet, so we're just waiting on that to continue baptism :)!!!!!!!!! Boom roasted.

I love you guys! My personal study was really good this week and I've been reading the Joseph Smith History and in the Pearl of Great Price. I learned tons! About Adam and Eve mostly. Some things that make a lot more sense now when you add the temple and then the Pearl of Great Price, but Mormon Doctrine, it all makes sense now ;)! Love it!

Hope y'all have a great week! Everything is going great here so far. Don't worry!

Elder Pulsipher and I at Mag-Aso Waterfalls, Kabanakalan City

Elder Ellis

Friday, June 13, 2014

6.9.14 Rainy Season + Zone Conference = Busy Week

Dear Readers,
Well, I don't know what to say about this week. It's rainy season right now, so we've seen non stop rain for the past 7 days straight from 1pm to 4pm, then it'll pick back up at about 6pm to 7pm, it really hurts our work and it really hurts people going to church. You already know that though. Also school started here in the Philippines this week, which means people are "busy". Even the parents because they have to "take the kids to school" which they don't. And... that takes 30 minutes if they did. Excuses excuses... gotta love them! I think as far as key indicators go, this week would be an all time mission low for me. We only taught 12 lessons to investigators this week and 16 lessons to less actives and recent converts. That's how much we got punted and rained out. It was a rough week I'll be honest. But, I guess that's whats supposed to happen after to have one of the best weeks on your mission last week. I honestly don't know what to say right now. I'm speechless because of such a terrible week, haha. 

Yesterday we had 3 investigators at church. Two of them are family members of a recent convert. We've given them a date for the 21st of this month and they are progressing towards that date. However, they haven't had a chance to talk to momma yet, and they're really nervous to tell mom. The older sister is named Gemma (21) and her younger sister Jenevibe(11). They're really smart though, keep all commitments, read the Book of Mormon, and we've already had their prayers answered, they already have received witness from the spirit that it's true, our only problem now is having their mom not get mad. Gemma doesn't technically need parent permission since she's over 18, but it's still a culture custom here to get permission from your parents. The third investigator at church was that referral family that I told you about last week. We committed the whole family to come to church and only the oldest daughter came. We know the dad has no work on Sunday and the mom doesn't either so we don't know why they didn't come. The only thing we can think is money to pay the tricycle. We were going to visit them yesterday, but then we were blessed with rain and they live in the mountains and we weren't able to get there. At least the daughter knows what it's like now though so she can tell her parents that it was good. She also had some friends at the church that she didn't know and it turns out their far distant cousins are members, so that was a cool connection we found out yesterday. 

We taught the Lumacad Family (our Recent Converts) about the temple and preparing them to go to the temple in a year. They were super excited and I'm super happy for them. They've recently come in contact with some apostatized members, so we had to teach them about agency as well and that it's their choice to not come to church and be offended. They were confused as to why people say some things they do, but we just said, someday someone will say something to you that you won't like... but it's your job to know that it's their sin not yours and you need to just continue on the path that you know that's right! They're super super strong. Sister Lumacad is just super insanely strong with reading and understanding. She was talking about the 7 dispensations yesterday in our lesson, something that's not taught in missionary lessons, but she had some questions about it, so I helped her out with what it means and the prophets and what they did. So it was really good, I'm glad to have helped with their conversion, they're really great! ;)

Sorry that I don't have much to say this week, like I said, nothing to really write home about. We've got less actives all grouping together against us and forming like groups and making sure that we don't teach them or try to bring members to their houses to help. They say that we're annoying and that we are always at their houses just bothering them. I'm fine with it though, just kinda a bum deal because some of their kids were our investigators and now we can't teach them, especially now that school started there's no way they'll let us teach them because they have to "focus" on school... meanwhile they just play for hours after school anyway. Oh well.
I've learned a new term this weed!!!! It's called "busy". Or in Ilanggo, "Sako". I've known the word forever since the times of the MTC, but I found out what it actually means this week. As long as you are doing something until noon (12pm) That means you were busy all day!!!! I've asked tons of people this week why they didn't read or go to church and their answer was, "Sako gid ako der"==="I'm really busy Elder". Then I have them break down the times, what time did you wake up? Shower? Why were you busy? They were doing laundry they say. Okay till what time? Till 12. After 12 what did you do? Took a nap! What time did you wake up? 4pm. WHAT?! After you woke up what did you do? Prepared to the evening. What did you do to prepare for the evening? Swept the floor and did the dishes. GREAT! So you had about 3 hours that you could've read the Book of Mormon and then they laugh at me! hahaha! That's what busy means everybody! Cool huh? If that's the case then every day of my life I'm the busiest person on the planet here... really, we would be compared to here. haha. 

I love you guys! Got to go to Bacolod now for Zone Conference! Have a great week!

Elder Pulsipher & Ellis

Happy Companions!  Loves when he gets Ice Cream!

Did you read and pray today?

Monday, June 2, 2014

6.2.14 Happiest Week so Far!

Dear Friends and Family,
HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY MONDAY MORNING! Everything is going great this week! One of the happiest weeks I think I've had maybe my whole mission. Even though not super fun things took place, it's rained every day, it's been the hottest temperatures I think in the past 6 months this past week, we've got punted, almost half of our investigators hide from us now, but for some reason, all of that doesn't matter once 2 people stepped into the waters of baptism on Saturday morning. The Lumacad Family are now baptized and confirmed members of the True Church on the Earth ;) Elder Espiritu and I both decided that we would both baptize, so I baptized Brother Lumacad and he baptized Sister Lumacad. We had quite a bit of members at the service and then they both gave their testimonies afterwards and it was soooo great! I was just super happy. On Sunday Sister Lumacad actually bore her testimony in testimony meeting and was crying and everything. She's super strong. I think probably the strongest convert that I've baptized. She’s already in Jacob in the Book of Mormon and trying to answer all her questions from the Isaiah Chapters was just the funniest thing to do. All the symbolism and things I don’t understand she was like, what’s this Elder, and I have no clue half the time. I mean, I have an idea, but I don’t want to teach deep/false doctrine to a new member!
Lumacad Baptisms

This week was super rough for work though, however, we were blessed soooo much! We’ve been really praying lately to focus on families and to be able to find solid families to teach and we ask Father in Heaven to lead us to them and for them to find us. Of course we can’t find everybody! So we asked for them to find us. If you remember the family that we found last week that came to church, the Artisano Family, while we were teaching them this week there were 5 kids that joined in the lesson. They are the next door neighbors. We asked them if it’s ok if we come over to their house and they said sure, mom and dad even said you could come over too. So we’re going to go there on Wednesday night! ;) Then on our way home, a member told us that she has a family referral that she wants us to visit with her on Sunday. So yesterday we went with her and she took us to this family and it’s a family of 5! The 2 sisters we’re there, but the others were. They were super nice and we got a return appointment and it was just a wonderful experience. A good solid referral. Doesn’t happen often, so I’m really counting this as a blessing right now!

Hiking the Mountain to find Investigators

As I mentioned above, it’s been super hot, rainy, and to even up with that, we leave our shoes outside our door just because of the rain and the mud that’s on the shoes and stuff so our house doesn’t get super dirty. To make the week better, in the middle of the night someone came by and just stole all the shoes that we outside our apartment complex. This is the first time someone stole my shoes outside my door. I always leave my shoes outside in all my areas and nobody ever steals them. Who wants dirty shoes that are too big to fit a Filipino foot, but I guess this guy wanted them. He got 2 pairs of my shoes, plus flip flops, my companions shoes, the elders that live next to us had their shoes stolen, so it was just a wonderful experience having no shoes for a bit. All I had are my running shoes, so we went to the store and got some new shoes, so right now I’m rockin some ugly foam shoes that look like shoes, but they were cheap and I’ve only got a few months left so I don’t care. I was just bummed, but school starts here today so maybe some kid needed some shoes for school, so I love him because he’s a child of God and I hope that he uses the shoes for school and that he gets some good grades! But yeah I was a little bummed out. Spending some money that I didn’t want to spend, but it’s all good I suppose.

My companion and I are doing great. We’ve been working good together. All of a sudden nobody works with us anymore. The bishop was pushing all the RM’s to work with us the past few weeks because of a report due, but the report is now done, now nobody works with us, so it’s a bum deal. Our WML got his teeth pulled this week so he didn’t work with us either. So we didn’t have a ton of member present lessons this week so we were really hurting for them so we were just grabbing member neighbors and things to bring with us to lessons and what not. All of sudden a lot of investigators are hiding from us now, I don’t know the reason why they’re hiding. If I didn’t want the missionaries to come over, I’d just tell them so that they weren’t wasting their time, but I guess that’s just the difference in culture. Here they just hide and they know that we see them, but rather than confronting, they tell their children, oh just tell them that I’m not here and then the kids learn to be a liar when they grow up. This week I saw one of our investigators, literally saw her behind this wall and then this kid told me she wasn’t here. So I said, “You mean that person right there (and I pointed) behind the wall isn’t who we’re looking for?” And she was like, no she’s not here. So I made sure that our investigators knew that we saw them and that lying isn’t good to teach or to do. Oh well I guess. Elder Espiritu and I were talking about it and how we’re just going to find new investigators and interested ones. If they hid, we won’t go back and we’ll find others that are interested and focus on them. That way time isn’t wasted at all and we’re doing the best we can and helping the people that need help.

We’re looking at a prospective of 5 baptisms this month of June. I can’t believe it’s already June! Time flies I guess ;) 2 of them are super solid, part members. The other 3 are cousins of a member and one of them, his mom is a member, but she doesn’t let him go to church. I don’t really know why, but she will answer for her sins in the next life I suppose. Haha. It’s just a super bum deal, the mom is not even interested in coming back to church nor listening to us. Just “too busy” with life is what she said. Which doing laundry and sleeping on Sunday doesn’t sound “too busy” to me, but that’s just the thing to do here! Got to love it and bare it with love.
Cornello Family FHE

Today we’re going to go to a hike. I think there’s a waterfall that we can take some pictures at so I will have some good pictures for next week I guess. I hope that all is well you all and you’re all doing great. You are all greatly missed, I wish I could tell you how much, but there’s a work to be done here and I’m the one that was called my God to do the work in this area at this time. So I will go and do. I finished the Book of Mormon again this past week, it’s true now as it was true before. Have you found out for yourself that it’s true? If not, I would encourage you do pray about it. I love you! Have a great week!
Travel Plans arrived!

Elder Ellis ;)

5.26.14 Cool Things Happen on Missions

Dear Readers,,,, :)

How's everyone doing so far??? I hope that all is well with y'all back home and you're all just really kicking it. School is over and now you get to all have fun and start your summer vacations! That's so exciting! I hope that you all have a great summer and work hard and save all your money Sam and Ash; that way you have money during the school year because you're going to want to do things and soon... you'll find yourself with no money. Haha! But seriously, y'all have a great summer. I'm just gonna keep kickin it on this island for the next 3+ Months ;) haha. Do y'all have anything fun planned so far though, or just going to work all summer? I've got no clue what's going on? Y'all should let me know and make sure that you take lots of pictures and send them to me! ;) 

This past week was really really good. We've taught a lot of people, had some great memories and spiritual lessons with our investigators and the Lumacad Couple had their baptismal interview yesterday and they passed with flying colors so we will totally be baptizing them this upcoming Saturday!!! ;) Who's excited??? I'm super excited! I've been waiting a long time to baptize a couple again. The last time I did that was in San Carlos, so I'm glad that I get to do that again! ;) They're a super cool couple, I wish and hope you meet them someday. They really want to go to the temple! Which is cool. They're super determined to go to the temple. So we're going to help them get to the temple. They have 3 kids, I'll send you some pictures. Their sons are super super super spastic. I could only imagine what I was as a kid because of what I am now. haha. But I don't know, you've never said that I was a problem to raise or anything. So I don' t know. These kids just do not sit still or anything while we're teaching or anything. Even at church they're a hassle, but they're just kids, so what are we going to do. This past week we showed them how to have a family home evening. I'll send you some pictures because it was super super super fun! Brother and Sister were laughing so hard during the games and the kids in the next lesson were like, let's just skip the lesson and go to the games, but it was FHE. haha. It was just super fun bonding moment for us and them. I was super happy. 

So here's a cool story: 2 or 3 weeks ago we had a company from BYU come here and do weights and heights for kids between ages 6mo-5yrs old. This was for nutrition purposes and if they qualified for some free help from this humanitarian group. Anyway, 2 weeks ago while there were tons of people at the church, Elder Espiritu talked with a women and then just got her address and asked if we could come and visit her. So we went once like a week ago and she was asleep and so we were just going to come back later. Then, we didn't forget, but didn't really focus on her or anything. But on Thursday we go back about 4pm and she was there. She has 2 kids. We asked if we could share a message with her about Jesus Christ and she said, "Of Course!" So we shared with her and her 2 kids that were there. Then, there was a niece that lives with her that was in the back and we invited her to sit in the lesson as well. While we were teaching all of them, the dad comes home from work for a second, and so we got to teach the WHOLE Family. I don't know if I've ever told you, but that's super hard to do. Catch the mom, dad, and all the kids at ONE time. Super rough to do and sometimes, impossible with the hours given and the schedules. But somehow we were blessed to teach them all. We only shared about the basics of our message and why the gospel is important to us and how it can help our families. They seemed super interested. So we asked if we could have a return appointment and we would come back on Saturday night. Saturday night comes and we go back and everyone is there, but the dad, but there was a new addition. Another niece! So we picked up a new investigator niece of hers. The second lesson was about prophets, Jesus Christ building his church, and the Apostasy. We stopped there because we felt that attention was perfect and we thought we'd leave them with a cliffhanger to the return lesson on how the church was restored. We then just invited them to come to church "if they had time". We just left it at that. We didn't teach about Joesph Smith or the true church being restored yet or anything like that, so we thought they'd just be like yeah, church, okay, whatever. Anyway... BIG faith builder... with 10 minutes left to go at Sacrament Meeting, these 4 people show up outside and Elder and I are like, who's that? Then we looked closer and it's this family! hahaha! Without the dad though, he was working, but all the others came! We were super surprised, like overly surprised. That's never happened to me before! The same week we find someone they go to church. I guess the spirit was really that strong. She has some connections with the church too, her Sister is a former investigator of the Sister Missionaries. Her and her husband are Born Again Christian, but I guess not that active since they came to church right away. So this week, we're really looking forward to teaching them and seeing what happens. This would be a miracle and such a wonderful family to have. The mom is super smart. Like way smart! Not just the faith type person, but she believes in works, something that most people here don't believe in here. So it was just a great faith builder. 

All our other investigators that usually come to church weren't there. All the Kids that we teach all had something going on, work, no money to pay for the tricycle, things like that. We still had 7 investigators at church though. Our Gospel Principles Class is always full of people. The Sisters have some really good investigators too in our Ward. The class is way full and sometimes it gets out of hand with debating doctrine and things, good thing our teacher is good at calming it down and half the time their questions are super pointless, so we just answer them really easily and move on with the rest of the class. 

This week I've moved onto my 14th planner and there's 16 planners in all! It's crazy! I just know that we will be blessed in the coming weeks with our work and with baptisms and things. It's getting me super super excited and I'm a very happy missionary right now. Everything is going great. All is well! ;) I've been setting some goals and things this week about my future and what I want to do, career, school, and other things like that. I wrote them all down last night. I've just been thinking about them, so I decided to write them down last night so that I don't forget. 
Making Chicken Adobo---favorite Filipino dish

I know this Church is true. It's nice to hear from you back home about how things are going! It's always nice to hear from back home ;) I've been getting emails from Joe and Ryan and they're doing good it sounds like so I'm super glad that all is well with them! If you could send me Jared Ross' email and Windley's email, I would love to talk to them and see how they're doing. I love you guys back home! Keep being good and reading your scriptures and praying ;) Halong!

Elder Ellis
My District