Tuesday, November 19, 2013


Things are going well this week. I hear that they (all the missionaries) are all ok now. I hope that is true. It was a crazy storm.  I think we ( in our mission) will just stick to our regular work for the most part.

Here is a little about Sister R who we are meeting with.   The other day we went over to visit Sister R to ask about another sister who is in Legazpi right now. She told us about how she has a lot of siblings (I think they are all sisters), but how none of them are members and how she really wants to share the gospel with them. She talked to us about how, even though she is the only one of her siblings who is disabled (she is almost completely blind and always needs one of her kids with her to guide her around), but that she really is the lucky one, because she has the true gospel in her life. It is really humbling to me that she can have the perspective that she does about life. I am so thankful that I was able to meet her here. 

Last week at church we had the primary program. I thought I would mention it, because it really was pretty great. The primary program was pretty much the same here as it is anywhere. Plenty of screaming, singing, and everything else. They actually did it almost all in English, so that was cool too. The only thing they didn't do in English was the last song. Yesterday we had Branch conference, so it was a regular day at church.

We had dinner at the branch president's house this week too (I think it is a last week of the transfer tradition). We had pancit and chicken curry. It reminds me so much of the chicken curry that we used to eat at home. The food here really isn't that different from what we used to eat at home (at least when we had rice) They just eat rice with chicken, vegetables, pork, or fish on top. The branch president has a super cute baby named Nigel.

We also went on exchanges with Elder Sorensen and Elder Kaumaitotoya this week, so that was pretty cool too. 

I love you tons, and I miss you so much!

Elder Benjamin Merrill

                                                        Ben on a "tricy", a motorcyle-like taxi.
                                                         Ben's district
                                                      Riding a jeepney to Naga

Friday, November 15, 2013


We had a typhoon. The power in our barangay was out all day, and we had to stay inside all day. I felt really lazy. The storm really wasn't too bad in our area, fortunately. We just lost power for ~40hours, which was actually pretty rough. Everything was back to normal as soon as they got the power back on in our part of town.  The storm hit much harder down far south of us though. I really hope that no more people get hurt. It sounds like there has been a lot of flooding, and that very few buildings are even still standing.

This week was a pretty good week. We had a CSP (community service project) on Tuesday. We pulled out like a million weeds from someone's field, so they could use it for farming again. We actually used machetes, or what they call 'itak's to do it, so that was kind of cool.

The work here has been good this week too, except for the bagyo of course. We have been teaching Edmond a lot, but he is living kind of far from the church now. He didn't come this week, which was really dissapointing. However, one of our other investigators that we were having a really hard time getting to church actually came this week which was really amazing. We are probably going to visit him tomorrow to find out how he liked it (and why his sister didn't come). 

We also had a trainer/trainee workshop, which was kind of cool. We taught one of the AP's for one of our practice lessons, and it actually went really well. I feel pretty confident about my Tagalog when it comes to the lessons (especially the first few), but I feel like I am still very lacking in Tagalog skills when it comes to everyday situations. I think it will all come with time. 

I thought I should tell you about a few of my  favorite things that I have eaten here. There is sinigang(sp) which is like soup kind of, but you put it on rice. It is kind of sourish, and it has pork and vegetables like asparagus in it. Also, siopao is really good. It is like those little bao things from Costco, except way better. They are like little toasted rolls, filled with delicious meat of some sort (probably pork) and a hard boiled egg.  Soy sauce and rice has in a way become my bread and butter.

Not too many dull moments here. It is really great. Even the haircuts are an experience. My schedule keeps me really busy too. We get up at 6:30 and then have time until 8 to get ready for the day, exercise, and eat breakfast. We then have an hour of language study and an hour of personal study. At 10 we leave the apartment and proselyte until we return to the house at 12 for lunch and then companion study from 1-3. We then proselyte from 3 until 7:30ish at which time we go back to the apartment for dinner and planning. We then have from about 9:30 to 10:30 to write in our journals or get stuff ready for the next day. We sleep at 10:30 and then start the next day. It really is going by fast already.

Sorry, this letter is going to have to be kind of short. 

I love you guys all so much!

Elder Benjamin Merrill
  Ben on a "skate," which moves on railroad tracks.

Sister Edna, the lady who cooks for the missionaries, her kids and Elder Acidera.
Ben by the railroad tracks.