Tuesday, January 7, 2014


I think I will tell you about a family here.   The dad  had a stroke (I'm not sure how long ago) and lost feeling in and the ability to control the left side of his body. Because of his stroke, his wife now has to support the family by working in the palayan (rice field) every day so they can have food to eat each day.  On top of this, their oldest son (They have 3  sons and two daughters, yata) is on a mission. They have such amazing faith, and the daughters come to church almost every week, but the parents can't come because of working and the stroke. It is really hard to see them in such a sad situation. We had the privilege of bringing a letter to them a few weeks back from their son who is on a mission. It was really neat to see how happy it made them. I can tell that they really love each other a lot in their family. We also visited them last night. For my last message with them, I shared 1 Nephi 3:7 and they shared with us the experience of getting their son on a mission. They said that everything just started to work out just fine as soon as they started trying to figure out how they were going to support their missionary. I know that the Lord provides a way for us to follow all of his commandments, and that he gives us commandments for our protection and happiness. 

I will tell one more story I think, the story of one of our newer investigators. He is actually the roommate of one of  our less active members. He is about 20 years old, I think. He really didn't seem very interested in what we had to share at first, but we had a really neat lesson with him one day that really changed things around. He told us that he came from a broken family and isn't really proud of  all of the things that he has done in his life.  And we shared the story of the conversion of Alma the Younger. When we talked about the Atonement, I felt the spirit so strong.  It is so amazing to see people's hearts softened by the spirit and  testify of the truth to them. The next lesson, he offered to say the opening prayer. (It totally caught us off guard.) He is doing awesome, so I hope that Elder Acidera and his new companion can help him to continue to progress.

I've also been just tearing through the Book of Mormon these past few weeks. I've gotten through the first 50 chapters of Alma this week.  I really love the Book of Mormon, and I can't even put it down sometimes. There are so many different topics and so many different kinds of stories in it. I have gained such a strong testimony of the Book of Mormon as I have studied it over the past few weeks. I know it is true, and I know that it contains the word of God, and that we really can become closer to Christ  by reading it and abiding by the precepts in it.

Before I go, I wanted to mention one more quick connection that I made about the Book of Mormon this week. It is probably pretty obvious to everyone else, but I thought it was pretty neat.  I was thinking about how there are two people named Moroni in the Book of Mormon (Captain Moroni and Moroni, son of Mormon), and I was wondering how they ended up with the same name. I then read the verse where Mormon talks about how if everyone were as righteous as Captain Moroni, Satan would have no power over us. It was at this point that I remembered whose son Moroni is. Of course Mormon is going  to name his kid after Captain Moroni, because he wants his son to be just as righteous as him. Maybe that was really obvious and I am just slow, but I thought it was pretty neat.

I just wanted to say one more thing about the skype session. I have been thinking a lot about the question, "Are you happy?" especially because I got the same question from President Reeder in my last interview. I have realized that I always end up thinking about myself a lot when I am asked that question. And I tend to focus on the hard things, but when I think of all the people that I have met and taught here, I immediately know that I am happy after all. It really isn't about me. It is about all of the wonderful people that I get to help while I am here. I am always happy when I am thinking about others.

I love you guys tons, and I miss you a lot, but I am loving it here in the Phillippines as well.

Elder Benjamin Merrill

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