Monday, June 30, 2014

June 29, 2014

Hey, Family!

The work has been pretty good here in Goa, especially because so many members were willing to work with us this week, which was really a huge blessing. However, there has also been a mysterious drop in sacrament attendance among our investigators. We really aren't sure what is going on with our investigators, especially with some of the ones who had been coming every week before... We are going to continue to emphasize the importance of church with our investigators and less active members in our area. We also put considerably more time into finding this week, and were able to meet a few new people and a few former investigators who are willing to listen to the missionaries again.

We were able to find two mothers who were sort of a referral from a less active member. What happened was that they were at her house when we showed up, so she just had them stay so we could teach them too. It was really nice to have member help that way. We also ended up talking to someone on the path who turned out to be related to a less active member that we know. We haven't been able to get back to him yet because he seems like he is never home, but hopefully we will soon.

I love missionary work, and I love it here in the Philippines. I am so thankful for the opportunity I have to be out here in the mission field right now.

I hope you have a great week!

Elder Benjamin Merrill

June 22, 2014

Hey, family!

Another week has passed here in Goa, Camarines Sur. Not too many exciting things have really happened this week, but it has still been a good week. I guess one of the best things that happened was when we found a man  this week. He actually doesn't seem super interested yet, but he is definitely willing to listen. Basically, what happened was that we went to one of the former investigators that we found in our area book. There was no man home there, so we couldn't teach them, which was kind of disappointing because they seemed willing to listen, but as we left, I noticed a man sitting down outside of the house next door, and I felt like I should talk to him, and so I did. He ended up letting us teach him, and we found out that one of his daughters, who is in Manila is actually a member of the church. We will have to see how things go, but I think he will progress.

Other than that, the work has been just about the same old, same old. We definitely get to do a lot of teaching to the investigators that we have been teaching and to a lot of less actives too. Church was kind of disappointing this week though because we didn't have very many less actives or investigators there. I think it might just have been because of the fiesta. We are hoping that more people will be able to come next week.

I think I am going to have to leave the email here, because we have to go.

I love you tons though, and I know that the Church is true.

Elder Benjamin Merrill.

June 15, 2014

Hey everyone,

This week has been a really good week. We have been retaining investigators pretty well as well as finding a few new ones. We actually ended up finding someone new by accident once. We went to the house where we thought the tailor who made my new shirts lives, but after we knocked on the door, someone else came out. It actually turned out to be pretty great because he told us he was busy and what day we could come back without us really even having to say anythning. He is a really nice man, and already believes in a lot of correct doctrine, but he tends to dominate the lessons a little bit too much. He is really nice though, and seems like he has a lot of potential.

Tatay  (The man who gave us shelter from the rain) is progressing really well too. He didn't come to church this week because of his job with the Goa Search and Rescue. He had something he had to do apparently because of the fiesta, and the Stake conference times didn't work out as well with his schedule. He seems really interested to read the Book of Mormon though, and so I think he will be able to gain a testimony very quickly. I am really excited for him.

We were also able to get to our most progressing investigators who dropped off the face of the earth after getting a job for two weeks. Everyone including her is now set up with a baptismal date for July 26. Should be an awesome day if we can pull it off. She is really nice though, and has been investigating the church for a long time, so I don't think that there will be any problems with her baptism because she seems really ready.

I am so thankful for all of the blessings we have received, are receiving and will receive in our work here.

Love you tons!

Elder Benjamin Merrill

June 8, 2014

June 8, 2014

This week was actually a really good week for our work. Remember the older man who let us sit under his roof? He and his wife have started to take the lessons, and they are super nice. They say that they really haven't ever had any religion, but they have always believed in God. Way neat. Nanay has had a stroke so one side of her body is hard for her to move, and her voice is really quiet. Tatay is doing some sort of volunteering job for some sort of search and rescue group or something, but used to be a security guard in Manila. He seems like he has had a lot of hard times in the past, but he is still really nice. I think they will really progress.

The other two new people were both sort of referrals. The first was from a somewhat less active/ somewhat returning member, and the other from a super active member. The first one is actually the boyfriend of the member. He is super nice and is really interested. He is only about seventeen years old. He seems like he has really been prepared to hear the lessons. The other one is probably only about 20 years old too. She is interested in hearing what we have to share, but we aren't sure how interested she will be in keeping commitments. Hopefully she will feel the Spirit and want to make changes in her life when the time comes.

I have one more good story this week about our investigators that came to sacrament meeting. We actually went to pick up those kids that we are teaching and take them to church. One of them came, but there were a couple of younger, like 6 year old kids that came too, and I ended up having to watch this one boy during sacrament meeting... It was way rough. Just super tiring... I am afraid for when I have my own kids. It was quite the experience.

That seems like the biggest news for this week. The work keeps moving on here.

I hope you guys have a good week!

Love you tons!

Elder Benjamin Merrill

Monday, June 2, 2014

June 2, 2014


Things keep on movin' along here in Goa. We had one day where we got to work with Aldrin this week, which was way fun. He is a super funny guy to talk to. We ended up getting caught in the rain and I didn't have an umbrella... Elder McBride accidentally threw mine away the other day. Needless to say, we got very wet and found a nice man who let us come sit under his roof. We plan to go back and teach him this week. I also have a new umbrella now. Good stuff. 

Our one progressing investigator continues to progress very well. The sad thing is that we only got to teach her once this week. She comes to church every week, but it is really hard to be able to teach her because we need a member present. Hopefully we can get that figured out. Everything seems like it is about to slow down a little bit too because school starts this week and next... Hopefully we can squeeze the last little bit of work out of the members before that gets them too busy. It is really nice to work with the members even though their bikol always makes me nosebleed (what they call it when you don't understand someone else's language). The members here seem like they are really nice. 

We've also been doing a lot of finding lately...  We had some people offer to teach us how to play mahjong, so we might take them up on it and see if they will let us teach them about the Gospel too. Most people are just really set in their Catholic ways here. It is hard to break tradition for sure. I hope that some of them will at least allow us to talk to them and share a few short messages sometime soon. 

I hope that we can find those people that the Lord is preparing for us. Don't worry about me though. We are really doing well here. 

I don't really have much else to talk about this week, but I hope you guys all have a good week. I miss you tons.

Love you!

Elder Benjamin Merrill

 Ben's district in Goa
 Aldrin, a member in Goa

Baby Jeff Jeff

May 26, 2014


The work is still pretty tough here for the most part. A lot of the less active members and even some of our investigators here are women and only rarely have a man in the house, which makes it really hard to get to teach them because we need to have a man who comes to the lesson with us. We usually do ok, but when there is no member, it makes it really hard.

We have one investigator who is really progressing a lot. She is on schedule to be baptized on the 7th of June. She had actually been taught about a year ago, but her parents didn't want her to get baptized or something like that. She is 18 now though, so she will be able to get baptized now. We are teaching her all of the lessons just to make sure she knows everything she needs to. She is usually really quiet, so we are working on making her more comfortable with us and open to share her ideas. She is really neat though, and Is really progressing.

Finding has been especially tough in this area. (Maybe because I kind of have to lead all the time). I think the people here just aren't quite as receptive as they were in Naga. We actually found one guy who seemed really interested this week after we had just gotten punted. I saw a guy laying in a hammock and felt like we should talk to him, but I let us walk by him. The feeling wouldn't go away, so we decided to turn back and talk to him. He let us share a message with him, and it went really well, up until he told us he would be spending a few months to a year with his brother in Manila. That was pretty disappointing, but as it turns out, his brother is actually a member. It was neat to be able to follow the promptings of the Holy Ghost, and you never know how things will turn out for that man. I think he is in good hands like the guy from dad's story whose hairdresser is a member.

That is really about it for me for this week. Look how much my Bikol is improving:

Aram ko na padangat taka kan satuyang Dios asin ki JesuCristo. Aram ko rin na saiyang work talaga yung work na ini na sakuyang ginigibo.

Padangat ko kamung marahay!

Elder Benjamin Merrill 

May 19, 2014


The work continues to move on. I hope  you guys are doing well too. I am having a lot of trouble with my spacebar, so you might have   to bear with some extra spaces in between words. The work is pretty tough here,butthingsarestill going well. We havean investigator  now that is really interested, and whose 'wife' is even a member. He is from Sorsogon, which is  actually  a part of the Legaspi mission now.  He is just working here in Goa for a few months. The only problem is that he is not married to his wife.  We are really hoping that he will be able to get baptized here, but we will have to wait and see. Hopefully things will work out for him. He even came to church this week. We also found an American. Can you believe that? He is actually from Mesa.  He said that we can come teach him sometime though, so we are way excited for that. It will be an interesting experience to teach in English.  

In other news, I am having some new shirts made. They are supposed to be done on Saturday. I am pretty excited for some personally tailored white shirts. They were only P350 Each, which is about $8. Pretty sweet deal, right? I will take some pics for sure and you can tell me what you think next week. 

This might have to be a shorter email. I am having troublewith my spacebar and it makes me really sad... And wehave to go eat lunch soon too.

On a more positive note, the members here are really cool. We have been able to havea lotofmembers work with us. The members were really fun to work with too. They like to be funny and joke around a little bit too.  

I don't really have much else to add for this week, but I will try to get a longer email to you guys next week.

Padangat ko kamung maray! 

Aram ko na ginigibo ko an gibohon kan satuyang kagurangnan. I'm thankful for the opportunity to be out here, and I know it is the best place for me to be right now. 

Elder Merrill