Friday, February 7, 2014


Dad's Chinese New Year themed email reminded me of my Chinese New Year's Day. We actually started off the day with a service project for one of the sisters' recent converts. We dug out a garden for them and planted some kamote. I am not really sure if it has another name in English or not. That is what we call it here. It is kind of like a potato. Wikipedia tells me it is the same as a sweet potato, but I disagree. Basta, we ended up spending most of the day there, because the sister who we did the service for kept cooking us more and more food. (Which was really good, I might add. We had one chicken and papaya thing, then jackfruit, and finally pansit.) We also got to chew sugarcane and drink buko juice, and eat sili peppers (that's hot stuff). One of the people who we did the service for said to me, "Bikolano ka na!" when she saw me in pain from the pepper I ate. It really was hot. That means, 'you're Bikolano now', by the way. After that, we had to hurry home and then back to Naga to withdraw. The really cool thing was that while we were in Naga, they were shooting off a bunch of fireworks for New Year's. It was really cool.

I also got to go on exchanges with Elder Snyder this week. It was really cool to work with him again. He is a really hard worker and loves the work.

I think I will tell a little story of one of our investigator couples. I'm not 100% sure how exactly we got in contact with them, but I think they just came to church one week or something like that. Pretty cool, right? The husband is 85 years old, and the wife is of similar age too, so they are super old, but still really active and have lots of questions for us. I think they have come to church about every week I've been here, so they are ready to be baptized in that regard, but they still go to church at the Iglesia ni Cristo... We don't think they really have any intention of leaving their old church right now either. I think that the Spirit will soften their hearts eventually, especially because they are so willing to come to church and to hear our message. 

Maybe I will give you a little background on the Iglesia ni Cristo now too. I'm not exactly sure what they believe, but I know that it was started by a man who used to be a member of our church. The story goes that he graduated from BYU and then he wanted to be made prophet, which of course didn't happen. He then proceeded to create his own church with some of the beliefs of our church and some other beliefs. Their churches are all over the place. They are definitely great and spacious buildings. 

On a happier note, I wanted to talk about another one of the connections I made while I was reading the Book of Mormon this time around. It is from Ether. There is a part where Moroni talks about how no one was allowed to translate the Jaredite plates until his time (or something like that), and so I had to wonder why that was. I think the reason is that it was a great blessing for Moroni to be able to be the one who translated the plates. I think this because of the similarities between his story and that of Ether. They were both hiding from their own wicked, warring people, and hiding in places like the cavity of a rock, etc. I think it must have been neat for Moroni to read the story of someone in such a similar predicament to his.

I love this work, and I know that it is our Heavenly Father's work here on the earth. Mahal ko yung trabaho ko dito sa Pilipinas, at alam ko na ito ang trabaho ng Diyos dito sa Mundo. Alam ko na mahal Niya tayo, at na sa pamamamagitan ni Jesus Christ at Kanyang Pagbabayad-sala, puwede tayong makabalik sa piling ng Diyos pagkatapos ng buhay na ito. Sobrang nagpapasalamat ako para doon.

I love you guys!

Elder Benjamin Merrill

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