Tuesday, July 15, 2014

7.6.14 Transferred....back to the same area!

Sa Akong Barkada,

WHAT'S UP EVERYONE! I hope that y'all are doing good. I know some of you heard that I got transferred last week, which is true. I got transferred to the other side of the city, then found out that our areas are actually just being combined! So now we've got a huge area. Elder Merciales is my new companion. His old companion was Elder 'Iloa and my companion transferred, so now we just got put together and all is well I suppose. I'm also the new district leader. The zone leaders got moved to a different area, they just opened up a new area in the mountains about 40km's south of here in Candoni, the first missionaries there and they did the first sacrament ever yesterday up there and there was 19 in attendance! They had 8 investigators. President Lopez was in attendance as well. The 19 includes some kids too of the investigators they had, but still, that's a pretty cool start I think. I want to do exchanges up there some day, it'll be way cool. Which I'll actually get the opportunity to since I'm the district leader. Then I have 2 sisters in my district, one from Arizona, she's been out about 10 months I think and her companion who is from Marikina, which is up in Manila, she'll go home with my batch. So she's almost done. 80 days! ;) haha. 12 Weeks, that's super crazy. I've got 12 more chances to get a baptism. That's it. I've got to work harder and get these people baptized. I have a personal goal to baptize 10 more people before I go home. Then the other Elders are from an area that's up north, Himamaylan. There's Elders there. So that makes 8 in my district. So it's better than the other districts that I use to have of 4 Elders and things that made district meeting no fun at all! But we're going to be good.
This week we've finally had a miracle performed!!!! After all the hard work that we've put in to try and get Jemma baptized and her mom saying no, then we just got bold with her last week like I told y'all and just said, Sister, you've got to decide, not your mom. You're a big girl, you can do it if you want to. So she prayed about it, got an answer and then on Tuesday morning she texted us and said she wants to be baptized on Saturday! ;) BOOM! So luckily there was already a baptism planned for the sisters so we just told our ward mission leader to add a name to the list. The cool thing is that President was invited by the sisters because they were baptizing a former pastor, President likes being invited and talking to them and stuff, so he was just there already, so it was just a bonus I guess. 
Jemma Denopol, 21 years old, oldest of 7 kids. She lives here, but when she returns to her home, she'll be able to bring the gospel to them ;)))))

We went to the Lumacad Family on Tuesday morning because we were transferring and then when we said goodbye Sister Lumacad was in tears... like just bawling that we were both leaving at the same time. Usually it's just one at a time, but she was shocked that both of us were going. I didn't tell her when I got back to Kabankalan that I was still here, but I waited to visit them. Then when she saw me she was super shocked and was super happy. haha. We had a fireside on Saturday before the baptism and she was our speaker since she's a recent convert... but she told the whole story. Then I was just laughing. She said, "Then Elder Ellis transferred, but then he came back, so it's all okay now" The whole room was just laughing. It's nice to know that I'm a bit loved here. I think this is the only place that has ever really like me back. San Carlos people liked me too. I really like Kabankalan though, it's nice!
So, I'll tell you about the new part of my area. It's super far!!!! Love it! We do a special sacrament in a place called Tampalon. It's about an hour away from Kabankalan and we have to go every Sunday after church here, we usually split with members so that I can work and here and Elder can work there since he knows the people better, that's what we did yesterday. There's about 20 members up in the mountain, but we have a TON of investigators that we're teaching too. We work there like maybe 2 or 3 days a week and we're really trying to build it up and apply for a group. After that, we can build it up and then apply for a branch. Once it becomes a branch, they can build a meeting house. But it won't happen in my time here. I've just got to prepare the area for all this to happen. The first elders that went up there to start the sacrament, was Elder Edem (my old comp) and Elder Allam (I was his zone leader in San Carlos). So they had some good missionaries. The lack right now is Men. The only way it's going to grow is if we focus on men so that the future can have a good foundation. The last 2 elders baptized a few children, which is good for the kingdom of God after this life, but for the future of the area, just a little lacking on the actual focus. It's hard to get man baptized because they're usually busy, not interested, or in tune with the spirit, but I know that God can help us fulfill what we're needed to do in this area. I'm super happy to be here. When I was on the other side, I was like ah, Tampalon sucks, I never wanted to do exchanges with them to go up there, but now that it's my area, I like it and I want to go there. haha. 
The flood! There was no other way to get to our investigators house to teach her, but take off the shoes and suck it up ;)

Family Home Evening @ Cornelio Family again ;)

The Mom and Dad of all missionaries in Kabankalan Ward, but we never get to go visit because they're not in our area, but on transfer days we can go and say goodbye, so we went and they fed us breakfast and we said goodbye... little did any of us know that I was going to come back.

This week we've found some cool new families, I like it. I really want to just baptize a whole family, mom, dad, and kids. I've done mom and dad and the kids underage, but I would love to baptize just a whole good big family. We've found one right now, unfortunately, they're not married, so that's just a whole mess. I hate how when you find people willing to listen and accept the message, there's always a problem. Either not married or had a previous husband so they CAN'T get married, just tons of problems with marriage here. The area recently just changed the rule so that papers need to be done with the city hall if they're not married something that costs money, and most people aren't willing to spend money just to get papers signed when they can just live like they are and it's okay and they're poor anyway they say. I don't know, it's hard, but still fun.
I watched a video at our ward fireside called, "Called to Serve". I guess it was made in the 90's. I've never seen it before, but I really loved it. It had pictures of the MTC and stuff and interviews of other missionaries and missionary mom's and dad's. It was a good video and really got me thinking. I really love being here. It's going to be SUPER hard to leave. I know sometimes I talk like I don't like it, or I'm excited to come home, but the people I've met, been able to help, bring into the church and into the kingdom of God, I'm really going to miss it. I'm going to miss the people so much. I've gotten so close with some of the members here just knowing (or hoping) that this is my last area. I've been just making memories and getting close with them. I love this area. It's super nice. I was super bummed when I was getting transferred, but super happy when they told me I was coming back, only angry that I had to go 2 hours away for them to tell me to turn around and go back and move to the house over. All is well though. I wouldn't give up this opportunity for all the world! ;) I love being a missionary. I'll miss it for sure. I know the church is true now. I know the Book of Mormon is true. I know the Priesthood power is real. I know that we have prophets and apostles that guide the WORLD! I know that this is God's work. Nobody can stop it from progressing! I know that God answers prayers and fasting. Just the baptism we had on Saturday was a miracle. I love it!

I love you and miss you guys so much. Y'all are always in my heart!
Did you read your Book of Mormon today? I did.
Elder Ellis

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