Tuesday, April 22, 2014

4/21/2014--Easter French Toast Fiasco and More

I will start by explaining what I mean what happened with our Easter dinner. Elder Sonderegger and I like to make french toast, so we decided to make that our easter dinner. The french toast turned out fine, but I can't say the same for the syrup... We totally boiled it way too long. I think it was up there at soft crack, if you know what I mean. That was a real sad thing. The pics are actually from the previous times we had french toast and not from Easter, if you are wondering though. Elder Sonderegger has the Easter pics. I think he is going to have to get us a new pot... (he is the supply manager for the mission). Sounds like Easter was pretty enjoyable at home too. It really just felt like a regular Sunday for me here. We did, however, have 3 investigators come to church this week. We picked one of them up and brought her with us. We were hoping that her less-active mother would join us too, but she didn't want to this week. Hopefully she will come soon. Our second investigator is about 10 years old and his father is a recent convert. The third is his cousin. We were really surprised to see her at church (or at least I was.) I didn't think that she was very interested, but you just never know. She is about 14 years old. It is neat to join others on their first time at church. I am getting to like the ward more and more too.

I really think I ought to get back into reading the Book of Mormon like I did when I read through it super quick. I really learned a lot. Dad's comments about Mormon made me think about it a lot. I actually just finished the church history book, "Our Heritage" this week. It was pretty good too.

We had some good success with a referral this week.  We were referred to a 20ish year old sister who had just lost her mother recently and her family. She has been really receptive as we have been teaching her about the plan of salvation. It is really neat to see things like that work out so well. 

In other news, this week was holy week here in the Philippines, which just means that people close their stores on Thursday and Friday and maybe Saturday, and that there are little to no jeeps on Friday. I didn't see any of the people crucifying themselves or anything like that, though. It has been really hot this week. Maybe that just contributed to the normalness of the week. 

I was just thinking about the adobo recipe I gave you a while ago. I don't think it is the best. The Zone Leaders made us adobo the other week, and it was way better. I think I would try adding some sugar to the recipe I gave you if you want to try it again, or you could probably find a better recipe online. 

I think that is going to be about it for me this week. I know the Gospel is true, and I am so thankful that I have it in my life, I really don't know where I would be without it. 

I love you guys tons!
Elder Benjamin Merrill

                                              Mt. Isarog

                                                                 Easter French Toast

Wednesday, April 16, 2014


This week has been another crazy week in Naga City. 

We actually had the opportunity to attend a funeral for a less active member this week. It was a nice service, and it definitely made me think a lot. I thought about how important it is to have an eternal perspective. There really aren't any endings for us in this world, just short interruptions. It helps me to make it through the everyday trials that I face here. 

I have an exciting story that goes along with the funeral too. I sort of jumped out of a moving jeepney and landed flat on my bum... Of course, I had to be the one to stop the jeep... When I told the driver to stop, he pulled over like he was stopping and kinda slowed down, so my companion jumped off, and was fine, but as soon as I started jumping off, I found out that the driver wasn't stopping. The jeep started accelerating as I jumped off. I hit the ground feet first and  then knocked onto my bum. Ouch. Hopefully that doesn't happen again anytime soon. 

We have 3 investigators with baptismal dates now. One is the 9-10 year old son of a recent convert. He is doing really well, but they still miss church sometimes, so his date keeps having to be moved back. The other two are husband and wife. They have a 3-4 year old daughter too, but she isn't old enough to get baptized, of course. When we invited them to get baptized, the sister actually started crying. It was really wonderful and the spirit was strong. 

I really liked conference a lot. I didn't bring my notebook with me, and I am kind of having a stupor of thought about it right now, so I will try to bring it next week and talk about my thoughts about conference next week. I really liked the priesthood session though, as well as both of the Saturday sessions. I was super tired after conference and work was over yesterday.

I love you guys tons and hope you have a really good week! 

Tuesday, April 8, 2014


I'm excited for you guys to be starting a family missionary plan. You will have to let us all know about how it goes. I am super excited for conference too. We don't get to watch it until next weekend... It sounds like everything is going well back home, and I'm glad to hear it. 

I actually have a joke for all of you guys at home this time: Anong bansa ay hindi sa akin at hindi sa iyo? (Which country isn't mine and isn't yours?)

Wait for it...

Kenya!!! It is actually really funny, I promise. (Kenya sounds like kanya, the tagalog word for his or hers.).

I hope that you are able to get up from rolling on the floor laughing after that one, because I still have to tell you about the brownout. In case you are wondering, a brownout is basically just a power outage, and I am told that they are usually planned here. This past Wednesday we had a brownout that lasted from before we woke up (so maybe like 6 am) until at least 8pm. We had no electricity in our apartment, and therefore no water, because we use an electric pump to get water to our apartment. It was super hot, but we were still able to work like usual. When we got home at night we grabbed some snacks from the apartment and went and ate them on the roof of the apartment and watched to see when all of the lights in the city would go back on. It was a real relief when we got power back on. I am told that the brownout was nationwide and was done to save power etc. I'm not sure what I think of that. 

We actually got up early on Sunday, 5:45ish AM, in order to go and pick up a less active member and take him to church with us. When we got to his house, he asked if we were going to pick up  another family, an investigator famliy who he is friends with. We weren't planning on picking them up too, but we are really glad that we did, because two members of this family came to church with us (A lot of them were sick). It is really wonderful to see the happiness that the Gospel brings into others' lives. The 16- year- old investigator that we took with us told us that he had a really good feeling during church. It was really neat to share their first time at church with them. I think they are really going to progress a lot now. 

We meet so many new people all the time. It is really neat how many people are actually willing to listen to us here in Naga. People seem much more open here than they did in my last area. 

I just want to say thank you so much for how supportive you guys are of me on my mission. I am very thankful for the wonderful examples you have been to me growing up. 

I love you guys all tons,

Elder Benjamin Merrill