Monday, July 28, 2014

Transfers are Coming 7/27/2014


How is everyone there? We are doing pretty well here in Goa. We actually just had our transfer announcements this week and found out that Elder Taylor is transferring. I'm not sure who my new companion is going to be, so I am kind of nervous. We will find out on Tuesday who I am going to get. 

The work has been really good this week, and we had a really high sacrament attendance. We had almost 120 people, whereas we usually average around 80-85. We had tons of less active members come to church as well as two investigators, which was really great, because it will keep them on track for their baptismal dates on August 16th. For some reason, though it has been kind of tough to get investigators to come to church. We're really hoping they will continue to come. 

We also finally got power back on in most of Goa this Thursday. It has been really nice to be able to sleep with an electric fan again. We still can't work in some of our areas after dark, though, because they don't all have power yet, so that is kind of hard. Unfortunately, we haven't been able to get to some of our investigators because of this. We are really hoping that the power will come back soon though, because we really want to get to all of our far away teaching pool. 

In spite of the many areas we have that are still dark, the work is still moving on here in Goa, and people's lives are being changed every day by the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ. I know that I am about my Father's business here in the Philippines Naga Mission and there is no place I'd rather be. I know the church is true and I love you all tons

Elder Benjamin Merrill 

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Typhoon! 7/22/2014


This week, I got to experience a pretty strong storm that passed though the Bicol region. It was quite the destructive storm, but all of the members, investigators, and missionaries here seem to be safe. We have had the opportunity to be of service to a few of the members here so far, which has been really great, but we don't have any power for several weeks, which makes things a little tough, especially because it means we have a 5:30pm curfew until there is power again. It puts a pretty big damper on the work. No pun intended.

Other than that, we had an investigator who we've been working with for a long time finally come to church and a lot of less active members. It was neat that they came in spite of the storm. I know that this is Heavenly Father's work and that he loves us and will help us to share the gospel and to do what's right.

Love you!

Elder Benjamin Merrill.

Yummy buko!

Monday, July 14, 2014

The Typhoon is Coming 7/13/2014


We have a typhoon coming tomorrow. It is definitely one of the biggest things on my mind right now, but I will see what I can remember from what happened this week.

I guess I will start with a little finding experience we had this week. It was kind of interesting and probably not coincidental that this happened right after we upped our finding goals. What happened is that we looked all up and down this one street looking for a referral that the sisters had given to us. We looked for her for a really long time and people kept pointing us to the sister missionaries' apartment because they thought that that was who we were looking for. We didn't end up finding the sister we were looking for, but while we were looking, we ran into one of the less active members from our area and started chatting with her. She told me that she figured out who it is that I look like. It turns out that he has passed away now, but we asked her for the name of the family and where they live, and she pointed us in the general direction. When we got to the house that this sister had told us about, we found out that the family doesn't live there any more, but that a new family does. We were able to share with them a little about the church and one of the sisters there told us about how she had been to church once. It was a really neat experience.

We also had a second experience that I consider to be a result of our increased finding goals. On our way from where we were when we bumped into the bishop of the Lagonoy 2nd ward (one of the neighboring wards in our zone) who actually knows Elder Taylor because he had been assigned there at the beginning of his mission, and he actually ended up having a referral for us. It was a less active member, but we found him that day and taught him. It turns out that he hasn't been to church in 5 years and he was a little drunk when we found him, but he is super nice and was willing to let us come visit him every so often. We plan to take Bishop Oliva over there with us sometime so he can be more comfortable with coming to church here (he hasn't been to church since he lived in lagonoy like 5 years ago).

Other than that, it has been a pretty normal week, although our sacrament meeting attendance among investigators was kind of disappointing. We think it might have been because of the rain... People are pretty funny about not going out in the rain here. We did have one investigator come to church, which was pretty neat. I think he is the closest to baptism of all of our investigators, and he comes with a built in fellowshipper because his girlfriend is a member.

I have one more experience that is actually kind of funny. We saw a bunch of signs all around town for an all you can eat buffet, so we decided to go just this last Saturday. It was at a resort that is really new, so we thought it would be pretty good. Talk about whited sepulcher... It was pretty funny though. We got into the place where the buffet was and let's just say the food was less than delicious... most of it was cold... And the best thing, which was the fried chicken, was almost gone for most of the time we were there... They also had some super loud videoke going on... It was a huge waste of money, and by the time we left, it was pouring rain outside, so we walked for like 30-40 minutes home in the rain without umbrellas... crazy!

I love you guys tons and I hope that you have a great week!

Elder Benjamin Merrill

Monday, July 7, 2014

7/6/2014 They Finally Came!


We had a really good Sunday yesterday. We had four investigators show up this week to church. We were able to talk to one of them between meetings to see how he was liking the service. He really believes that he was feeling the Holy Ghost. It was so wonderful to see how much his testimony was strengthened by doing something as simple as just coming to church. We really need the spiritual nourishment that can only be found in the Church. I am so thankful for the opportunity to be a part of these individuals lives as they are guided to the truth through the power of the Holy Ghost. 

Two who came were actually referrals that were given to us by the Goa 1st Ward elders last transfer. It turns out that they had been to church in the first ward a few times, and after we told them about the 2nd ward, they agreed to come to church in our ward (as they are in our area) and as it turns out, our meeting time actually works out better with their schedule anyway. They seemed to really enjoy coming to church in our ward as well. They are about 10 and 12 years old. They actually live in a really far area from the church, so it is expecially cool that they make the long trip to the church. 

The other person is doing really great too. He has a hard time coming to church as well sometimes because he lives really far from the church too, so this is the first time he's been to church in two weeks. His girlfriend is also a member too, so that is really a good motivation for him, I think. He is actually pretty young though. He turns 17 on the 19th. I think it would be really neat if he gets baptized. We really could use more priesthood holders here in Goa 2. 

Sounds like you guys are getting started on a family mission plan too. I hope that you guys can have a lot of success there. I know that our Heavenly Father will bless us as we help him to hasten his work.

I love you tons!

Padangat ko kamung maray!

Elder Benjamin Merrill