Tuesday, May 13, 2014

5/12/14 The Other Side Of Isarog

Dearest Merrill family,

That's right. I'm here now. In Goa. My new area is just right around on the other side of Mt. Isarog. It is actually really pretty here. There are a lot of mountains here, it makes it really pretty. It was really nice to be able to talk to everyone on skype too. I wish we could do that like maybe two more times a year. That'd be great, right? I'm glad to hear that everyone is doing well. 

My companion here in Goa is Elder Taylor from Ogden, Utah. He is super nice and willing to follow the rules and work hard. We plan on doing a lot of finding over the next few weeks. That should be pretty fun, right? 

I think I already told you about one of our investigators, but I will put him in my letter anyway. He is an investigator that we just found this week. He is a really nice man who seems pretty interested in the church. He really appreciates the work that we do as missionaries. The funny thing about him is what happened when we invited him to go to church. He told us that they just have church out in front of their house. I think it is going to take some work to get him to understand the need for the proper authority in order to have church and the sacrament and all of those things. I think he will be receptive when the time comes though. 

I think I am actually going to have to head out now. 

I love you tons, and I hope you guys have a great week. 

Elder Benjamin Merrill

Monday, May 5, 2014


My time here in the Naga 3rd ward has come to a sudden stop. I was quite suprised to find out that I will be transferring tomorrow. It is really hard to wait to find out where I will be assigned. I think that Heavenly Father has good things in store for me though. 

This week was actually a really good week. We had an investigator family come to church. When we got to church, they weren't there, and so we got really worried about if they were going to come. I was really disappointed because they promised that they would come. As it turns it out, they actually overslept and just ended up coming late. They even brought their aunt who is a member and hasn't been to church in 23 years. It was really wonderful to see them at all at church. It also makes it really hard to leave this area. I think it is about to really take off soon. I also saw one of my investigators from Libmanan at the SM today. He was the first person to whom I extended a baptismal invitation. I can't believe it's been over 4 months since I was transferred from my first area. It is really crazy to just pack up all of your stuff and move it in such a short period of time. I think I might end up staying in my next area for a long time. We will see.

In other news, the sister we are teaching is still doing well, though she did not come to church this past week. She did accept a baptismal invitation for May 31. Hopefully, she will be able to come to church over the next few weeks. As to news about all of our other investigators, most of them are still pretty new, but we have a lot of them, with varying levels of interest. 

Sorry, my mind is really a lot on the transfer right now. I get really nervous for transfers. It is really going to be hard to leave behind all of the really neat members in the ward. They kind of become a family of sorts. Bishop has been at his mission reunion in Bacolod, so I won't even get to say goodbye to him. It's crazy how fast these sorts of things happen, but I know that Heavenly Father has a plan in all of this.

I am super excited to skype home soon. I will see you in a week!

I've started reading Jesus the Christ so I will start emailing insights from that, I think. It is a really good book. It offers a lot of interesting historical insights. It reminds me of my last years of seminary. I really did enjoy seminary. I feel like it was a place where I could learn a lot of new things about the scriptures everyday.

I do know, however, that the Gospel is true and it is what will help us to be happier than anything else can. (Mosiah 2:17-22, 41) I am so thankful for the opportunity I have to serve my fellow man here in the Philippines and to serve my God. 

"17 And behold, I tell you these things that ye may learn wisdom; that ye may learn that when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God.

 18 Behold, ye have called me your king; and if I, whom ye call your king, do labor to serve you, then ought not ye to labor to serve one another?

 19 And behold also, if I, whom ye call your king, who has spent his days in your service, and yet has been in the service of God, do merit any thanks from you, O how you ought to thank your heavenly King!

 20 I say unto you, my brethren, that if you should render all the thanks and praise which your whole soul has power to possess, to that God who has created you, and has kept and preserved you, and has caused that ye should rejoice, and has granted that ye should live in peace one with another—

 21 I say unto you that if ye should serve him who has created you from the beginning, and is preserving you from day to day, by lending you breath, that ye may live and move and do according to your own will, and even supporting you from one moment to another—I say, if ye should serve him with all your whole souls yet ye would be unprofitable servants.

 22 And behold, all that he requires of you is to keep his commandments; and he has promised you that if ye would keep his commandments ye should prosper in the land; and he never doth vary from that which he hath said; therefore, if ye do keep his commandments he doth bless you and prosper you.

 41 And moreover, I would desire that ye should consider on the blessed and happy state of those that keep the commandments of God. For behold, they are bblessed in all things, both temporal and spiritual; and if they hold out cfaithful to the end they are received into dheaven, that thereby they may dwell with God in a state of never-ending happiness. O remember, remember that these things are true; for the Lord God hath spoken it."

Love you tons!
Elder Benjamin Merrill
                                                                      It's a palayan (ricefield)

Ward mission leaders

Friday, May 2, 2014


We are actually trying to get the aircon in our apartment fixed. I'm not sure if I told you about it yet or not, but we have an aircon in our apartment, but it is broken. I think it would be pretty sweet to sleep with it working. Masiram!

I think I will tell you the story of one of our newer investigators.  She is maybe 60 or so years old. We actually found her when we were trying to find the house of a referral. We asked her if she knew the person we were looking for, and she pointed out her house. We then decided to introduce ourselves to her. When she found out what church we were from, she told us that her grandfather had been a member of our church, and she invited us right on inside her gate. She is such a sweet woman. She has big eyes that always get bigger as she listens intently to what we have to share with her and when she hears new things. She gets kind of surprised when she hears new things a lot of the time. In Tagalog, we would say, "Magulatin siya" Something kind of like that she is easily surprised. We invited her to come to church this week as well and of course she agreed. I didn't feel like there was a super good chance that she was going to make it to church, but when we walked in the church doors yesterday, there she was, and she even brought a friend who turned out to be a member from Virac, Catanduanes, which is part of the Legazpi mission now. It is really neat to see people so willing to try what we have to offer. I know that as she continues to make and keep commitments, she will progress in the Gospel and receive more blessings in her life. 

Maybe now is the time for a little of bad news as far as investigators go. There was one family who we extended  baptismal invitations to that didn't take it as well. They really feel like their baptisms when they were young were valid, and don't want to switch religions. At the time, I felt like it would just take another visit to clear things up there, but we got a text the other day that said they are happy to listen, but they don't want to switch religions.  We later received another that said not to come back for a while because they are going to be busy. It is kind of rough to see that happen. Another thing that has been giving us trouble is that one of our best families is on vacation/ working in Manila for a while. I guess the last thing to mention is that the little lady I mentioned above is our only investigator that came to sacrament meeting, which means we will have to push back a few baptismal dates. I think once school starts again in June, things will settle down a little in this regard. 

All in all, things are going well for the work here though. We continue to find a lot of investigators every week here, which is important, especially when people decide to stop listening to us. We found one other investigator that seems really interested.  He is 18 years old, and believes strongly in the bible, but seems really open to new ideas (he also speaks a lot of Bikol, which makes it a struggle to understand him sometimes.) He told us that he is Catholic, but a lot of members of his family are Jehovah's Witnesses. He seems like someone , "who [is] only kept from the truth because [he] know[s] not where to find it" D&C 123:12 I think that he will serve a mission someday.

I think that is all for me for today. I hope my letters get there soon. I think there are about three of them. I think I will end with a little Tagalog testimony here.

Alam ko na totoo ang ebanghelyo, at ito ang nakakatulong sa ating lahat dito sa mundo para tayo ay maging masaya. Alam ko na sa pamamagitan ni JesuCristo, puwede tayong makabalik sa piling ng ating mapagmahal na Ama sa Langit. 

I love you guys tons!

Elder Benjamin Merrill