Monday, September 15, 2014

Race to the End....1 week to go!

Dear Friends and Family and other Readers,

Um... Hello. This is Elder Ellis ;) So, I'm done next week with my mission. It's pretty crazy, I honestly can't believe it. It's almost like I've thought for 2 years that next would never comes and now honestly I don't want it to go or... I do... it's just really hard to explain. I'm excited to get back to America, but I will for sure miss the times that I had here. I guess it's good that I made it last and made the best of it and the best memories for sure! ;) This week, not much happened and I don't have much to report. We didn't have a baptism yesterday and Saturday to Sunday we had a typhoon that passed by. We didn't get hit by the eye or anything, but it was pretty strong winds and yesterday was just rain all day. I'm sort of sick of getting wet all the time though. It was fun when I was a new missionary, but now it's just sort of old. At least I'm use to it I suppose. A lot of people get sick when they get wet here, or they go to bed and wake up with a fever, so I be countin my blessin's. hah... 

This week we had the opening of the Self Reliance Center in Negros Occidental. The branch is in our chapel actually. They've taken the family history center and bulked it up and renovated it and it looks good. It's just like the job search place that they do it America for members and non members and stuff. But it's really cool and they're teaching people how to better their businesses and things like that. How to take care of kids better, medicines and stuff like that. We only were there for about an hour and a half. The mayor was there, an area 70 was there, Elder Nobleza, and President showed up at the end and asked where our investigators were. haha. I just laughed since we didn't have any there, but it's totally President to ask that as the first question. Funny guy. Sister Lopez just took pictures of us, I was trying to not get in a lot, but I guess I did since mom saw. haha. Love you guys!

Opening Day

We've been teaching 2 teenage girls the past couple of weeks they've been to church twice and they've started attending seminary we actually found out. We didn't even tell them about it,  guess the young women invited them to come! Cool huh? We've got a rockin young men and young women program in this ward. Probably the best I've seen my whole mission. As far as fellow shipping and things go with that aged, there's none better. They're awesome!

I'm writing a pretty quick email today and then I'm making me a picture to hand out to the members and then we're going to continue on our p-day. We're trying to play basketball today... last basketball in the Philippines ;):):):):):) Should be great!

Going to work hard this week! Don't worry!
Love you guys! Have a great week!

Elder Ellis

Monday, September 8, 2014

9.8.14 Baptism + Apartment Pics = 2 Weeks left

 Dear Friends and Family,
Bacolod Apartment Study Area

Bottom bunk is mine.  Don't worry, Mom!  My bed is made now.

Our kitchen

Laundry Area

Outside view

Sorry for the little email today. I'll try and do as much as a I can. We don't have much time. We're doing some shopping a little bit today again. I did some successful shopping last week ;) I got some gifts to bring home for the family, so no worries. It's hard not thinking about the day that y'all are going to arrive here. I only have this P day and then 2 more. Crazy stuff. Today we're going bowling after we eat and do some shopping. Should be a good day. I'm looking forward to it. 

This week was amazing. We had a great baptism. The Narciso Family was baptized this past Saturday! I know I've been talking about them for the past few weeks now and how they've been progressing, but they've finally made it to the waters of baptism and now are members of the church. I asked the mom how she felt yesterday and she said that she feels so good and she's super happy of their decision. At the baptism they both gave great testimonies! The mom just shared about her experiences and then said that she knows that the church is true! Cool huh? ;) Made my week. I baptized the family and after it, I just stood on the stairs next the font for about 5 minutes and was just thinking about how happy I am. No matter the hardships here, just small moments make them all go away. I'm super glad that we found them, well, more like they found us. Still, it's all about the life changing that matters. I think I mentioned about that last week. It's amazing to see and it gets me every time. 

The Narciso Family before baptism


This week was my last zone training meeting and at the end they gave time to all the departing missionaries to speak just for a bit and say their "last words" I suppose. As if we're dying. Which we sort of are. I didn't have much to say, but I just told everybody that it's all about the love and the people that matter. Don't get caught up in the numbers game that a lot of the missionaries get caught up in. It's all about the love and time that you're giving to these people that matter the most. That's all I said. I know I haven't been super "good" as a missionary and being perfect or found tons of people to baptize or fulfilled the weekly baptism thing, but I know that I've made a difference for the people that I've been able to teach and for their lives. I didn't come out for numbers, I came out for people. I love it so much and I'm really going to miss it. It's really mixed feelings. I guess that's what happens when the mission is starting to come to a close. It's still going well! We won't have another baptism though till the 27th and y'all will be here to witness it ;) His name is Danilo Pahalongo. He's 13, but he's as tall and bigger than Elder Urgelles. He's super prepared and is a referral from a recent convert. Super cool kid. 

San Enrique zone repeated

Sister Turtal and Sister Uata

Not many cool stories from this week. We met a women who is called a "free-thinker". I guess they believe in God, but it's an excuse to just do whatever you want in all reality. Because you save yourself. They believe Jesus Christ to be a prophet only, at least what this old women was telling us. It's going to be a weird judgement day for her though. 

Investigators first time at church

Young Women's group

Nobleza family

On Saturday morning we get a knock on our gate. Elder Matamata and I go outside and it's the Jehovah's witness missionaries. haha. Two sisters. We were just getting done doing our workout and so we weren't wearing our missionary attire, just shorts and t shirts. They asked our names and I said, Elder Ellis. The women then looks at the girl next to her and was like... "Ah... gali, mormons kamo?" Then we said, yes, we're the missionaries. Then they started to get scared and it was super funny, but we just talked to them for like 3 minutes. They wanted to give us a watch tower and we accepted it with open arms and read it. It was pretty pointless. The topic of the month is "Will the people on the earth destroy it beyond repair?" I don't know what that has to do with the gospel. I guess their church has gone green or something. I thought it was going to be on a better topic. Oh well. They were nice though. Then I saw them on Sunday again eating outside at a eatery. Funny experience though. 

All in all the weeks been good. We've been working hard despite the fact of my thought of y'all coming to visit! We're still working and doing great ;) Gonna push through the next 16 days. Weird huh? 16 na lang! ;(

Love you guys! Have a great week!

Elder Ellis

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

8.31.14 Baptism + 3 weeks left = One Excited Mom

How's my family and friends doing this week? I hope all is well and fine and dandy with y'all. This week has been booming with excitement that's for sure. I had the opportunity to go to Manila by myself on Friday. I left here at 4am and was home by 3pm. I had someone pick me up and drop my off, so I had someone with me, but at the airport I was just by myself. Weird feeling for sure and it really made me a bit upset. I was on a airplane, but I wasn't on a airplane to go home. It was the weirdest thing, almost like I should be going home, but I'm not. Manila was nice though, lots of people probably talking about me and I didn't understand anything they were saying so that's a plus. I met 2 Sisters from the Olongapo mission at Immigration. One was an American from Michigan. Her family is from Utah. Nice Sister. Her companion was going home, so they were doing the immigration things as well. They were the only others I saw in Manila. I met a couple of members at the airport coming back to Bacolod, they were from Leyte, so they speak Cebuano, so I was able to just hang out with them for a couple of minutes. Most people wouldn't be shocked at an American speaking Tagalog, but when you get to the other languages, they don't understand what you're saying and they start to wonder, so people were just laughing at me... Or shocked I suppose. One of the two. I got all I needed to done though and now I'm cleared to enter The United States of America again ;) 

President Lopez came and interview our investigator for baptism. The couple that is cohabiting and it's super awesome! He passed them! The mom then said that she feels like the biggest burden has been lifted knowing that she can be baptized. So they'll be baptized along with their son this upcoming Saturday at 6pm. You guys wanna come? ;) haha. They're doing really good and the mom asked us how she can share to others about the church. She's self employed, really good business woman actually, and so we're going to give her pamphlets to give to her customers. She's really excited, I'm excited for her as well. 

We had a baptism this past Saturday! Of Brother Inocencio Murillo. His nickname is Bombom! Which is the 2nd bombom I know on my mission. The other one was Bro. Lumacad from Kabankalan. Baptized him as well. I guess Bombom is a good luck charm. I should find some more Bombom's. His baptism was really good though. We had our ward mission leader baptize him because it was his referral originally. His mom was super happy for him too, although she didn't attend. We're going to try and teach his family this week. They have a really busy schedule, but I think we can catch them sometime. His brothers are all in bad situations and he's super stoked that he's gone down this new path of life for the better. It's so nice to see people change their lives right before you eyes. It's such a blessing! I will surely miss it, that's for sure. But the mission still continues, it's just about applying the things I've learned to my own life and to my future family. Which, I'm rather excited about to be honest ;)

There are 3 fiestas in our area is week which was a bummer on our work. Super loud, they go all day and night, the speaker blare with crappy techno music that isn't even close to as being good to dubstep, so it really is just a hindrance to our work. We can't even teach people because it was so loud. We tried to and there was no spirit, the investigator couldn't hear what we were saying, it was just a bum deal. But we still had a baptism none the less, so our week wasn't a total bum deal after all. Successful gihapon sya. Everyone keeps reminding me I"m going home. Members too. I tried to keep it a secret about when I go home, but they as and I just say, I still have a while to go, then they safe when? What month? I say September... then they're like... that's next month! But it's September right now to us. Weird... I go home this month. I never though this month would ever come. Now I have mixed feelings on if I want it to stay or just go away. HA! I'm sure y'all are excited to have my home though. Just be patient with me okay? I may take a couple days to get my English back up to speed. Writing my letters I still have to say all the words in my head until I type them out and even then the spelling wrong and it takes me awhile still. So, just be nice. And let's eat some good food alright? Things are going well still here though. 
We've got tons of investigators that are super hard headed. They'll take months before they finally crack, but then those are the ones that will stay as long as the missionaries keep teaching them. We had a lesson this week where an investigator said there's no way there are 3 kingdoms. We're like really? Let's go to the Bible; We asked the question, Where in the bible does it say there's a Purgatory? No answer. Didn't know. Then we said, however, the Bible does say this, in 1 Cor. 15. So then she's like... "oh..." It was kind of interesting to see her change, but I don't think she accepted it really. She's super hard headed, but they're still a fun family to teach. The youngest one of them who is 20 is a member. He's preparing for a mission and I think I'm going to give him my quad scriptures, the small one that I bought here. He only has a triple paper back. 
Yesterday we had to go to the hospital to give a member a blessing. He's a ward mission leader from a different unit in our stake, but our area has the hospital in it, so we were the ones called. So yesterday we're trying to find this guy and nobody knows where he is, he's not in his room or anything... it's because he was still in the ER, no clue. We finally found him though, gave him the blessing. He's getting his appendix removed. He's also waiting for his mission call. We're happy for him, hopefully the surgery goes well.
I get more and more excited by the day for y'all to come and play with me and make sure that my converts are still going to church! I think Mom is super excited! haha. Love you mom!
This week was good, which me another good week. We'll have a baptism on Saturday! 3 of them! ;) I can't send pictures this week again, sorry. I'll try later tonight if I have time at a different computer shop. This one isn't that good for sending pictures, it won't let you put it a USB or SD Card.
Love you all! Thanks for all the support and prayers! :) 4th quarter y'all. 1 min left to go. Have a great week!
Elder Ellis

August 24th

Sa akong barkada kag pamilya,
Alright, the first week of my last transfer in the Philippines has come to a close, it was a super fast week. I hope the other weeks will be just like that and then this will be the best transfer ever. It was super fast. Honestly I can't believe I'm sitting here at the computer again. We're in a different computer shop right now so there's tons of kid looking at my screen and trying to read the English that I'm typing. I'm just laughing at them because they can't understand a single thing I'm typing. They just like looking at other people's screens. The place we're at is a lot cheaper than the other one, no air con either, so I'm drenching in sweat right now. There's a rotating fan, but... it's rotating, so I only feel it every couple of seconds. haha. It's all good though, I'm not complaining. It's nice here! I'll for sure miss it. The ward is doing pretty well so far. The activities are keeping the recent converts active and getting them the friends that they need in the church. We've got baptisms for the next 2 weeks lined up pretty well. On the 6th we'll baptize a family. The first family I've baptized in my mission, with kids. I've done the couple thing, but we'll baptize one of their kids with them. They love the church and have completely fell in love with the doctrine. I love it! It's just proof that God really does love us missionaries and he's preparing people. People just show up to church, I mean, it doesn't get more golden than that right?
The computer I'm sitting at right now is like Windows 98, I swear, so I can't upload pictures for some reason. Which is terrible, because I took pictures of my house for mom to send to you today, so hopefully I find a different way to send them. Sorry mommy ;(
So there are recent converts in this ward, twins actually. Their mom and dad aren't members and they have a step sister who isn't a member either. However, we've been teaching the mom and the step sister. They both have different schedules, so we teach them at different times. The sister is doing really well, she read some of our pamphlets and then said that she really wanted to go to church because she really likes the things we teach. The mom talked to us for about 1 1/2 hours on Saturday night. It was so cool. She started saying how she didn't want to talk to the other missionaries because she thought they were plastic and didn't really care about what they taught and stuff, I don't know, I know the missionaries that have come through here and they're really good, maybe she just had a change of thought. She talked about how hard our life must be a stuff and she's like, "I've never heard you guys complain once". Then she said, "I believe you". haha. WHAT! Just like that, she pretty much just taught herself! Cool huh? She still didn't come to church, she's super busy every morning, but we'll get her to go sometime. The step sister, didn't come either because she has school on Sunday mornings. Yeah... talk about something super funny. A church that believes in the Sabbath Day has schools that make you do things on the Sabbath Day and then just say, well just pray at your house or something. hahaha! Love it!
Update on the Narciso Family. Doing great! They'll be interviewed on Saturday by President, so far I see no reason why they shouldn't pass and then they should be baptized next Saturday, the 6th. They're just super prepared people! I'm just one happy missionary when I teach them. I just wish all could be like them. The mom is so good at the bible and asked me yesterday, Elder Ellis, how come the catholic church does exactly the opposite of the things that is in the Bible. I just laughed and said... because they don't have the restoration. We have the restoration and fullness or truth. The Dad is super quiet, but still really good. They read and reread the assignments that we give them! Our tithing lesson with them yesterday was awesome. The mom said, this completely makes more sense than any other church, I wish I would've known this sooner. haha. Good timing I guess huh?
BomBom, another investigators will be baptized this upcoming Saturday! He's been doing well and we talked to his mom yesterday. He's 15 years old and his family is just a bad situation. His 3 older brothers have just gotten into some bad stuff and their in prison and now he's just like, well that's stupid. He works with his dad to provide for their family just a good kid. We talked to the mom yesterday and she said, you bet he can be baptized, if that's what the wants, we'll let him do it. You'd be shocked to see how many parents here just let their kids do whatever they desire. Things that you don't see back home. I don't think if a different religion was teaching my kid and he was 15 I'd let him be baptized. You know? But it's just different culture here. Kids do what they want... thus when they grow up they don't change that much. It's just funny.
Well, not like I'm counting, but I'm excited for y'all to come here in 30 days. haha ;) I love you so much! I miss you more than anything! And it's going to be a great adventure with you here!
Thanks for all the prayers and support! Love you guys!
Elder Ellis