Monday, September 29, 2014

Baptisms and More 9/28/2014


We had an awesome week in here in Goa. We were able to find a good amount of new people to teach this week as well as baptize three investigators. The baptism was a really spiritual experience. There was a really neat part where we invited the baptismal candidates to share their testimonies right after they were baptized. All three of the people we baptized shared amazing testimonies, even 10-year-old Jay Frank. I really felt like it wasn't just because of us that they have such amazing testimonies, but because they have felt the spirit. I really have a testimony that the Spirit is really the only way that people can come the know the truth.

Other than the baptisms, I think I'd like to share about one of our investigators named Alvin. He is about 20 years old, has really cool hair, drives a padyak for a living and is studying to become a member. His girlfriend is also a member, which is super awesome. Unfortunately, she lives in Lagonoy, (a few towns over) so we don't know her. He is really smart and loves the Percy Jackson novels. This week we were able to share with him while we had a member present who just got back from her mission like a week ago. It was a really neat lesson. He said that he prayed about Joseph Smith and he felt really good about it. By the end of the lesson about the Book of Mormon, our member present set him up for the baptismal invitation. It was really awesome. He accepted. He has school on Sundays right now, but we are hoping that he will be able to fix up his schedule so he can come to church soon. 

That's about all for this week, but I love you tons and I know that the church is true!

Elder Benjamin Merrill

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Sept 20, 2014


This week was a really good week for finding in Goa. I feel like we just had people placed in our path almost who were ready to listen almost every day. One was a referral from the sisters. He drives a padyak, which is how the sisters got to know him. He let us right in when we went to visit him and was super interested. When we came back the other day he was really excited for us to share with him. We found out that his girlfriend is a member in a different ward, so that is really exciting. We also found couple. They seemed somewhat interested too, so that was good. We also found someone else while we were trying to contact a referral. She had the same last name, so we thought that the people we were looking for lived in the same house too. They weren't home the first time we went by, but we came back a few days later, and said hello. We were let right into the house without even having to say anything. It turns out that she has been taught by the missionaries before and that the girls that we're looking for are her nieces. (She is about 40 years old.). I think I will share the story of one more person that we found. We were just walking along from one appointment to another and a little kid shouts out, "Elders!" and so we turned around and asked him if he knows us. It turns out that they have been taught by the missionaries before in Iriga, but haven't been taught since they moved here. 

The other exciting news is that we have 3 baptisms coming up on Saturday. We should finally be baptizing a girl who is 16, as well as the two siblings from that far area. They are super ready, and I think they will make awesome additions to the ward. 

I really love the members here in Goa. They are going to make it really hard to leave when the time comes. They are really good at fellowshipping our investigators and less actives. We actually had a day this week when none of our less actives were home and we got kind of frustrated. We ended up going by the church, and guess what... All of the less actives that we couldn't teach because they were gone were all at the church for a birthday party activity! The youth went out and picked up the less active youth and took them to the church. I was really impressed because of how far some of our less actives live from the church.

Alam ko na totoo yung simbahan at na tayo ang mga anak ng Diyos. Alam ko na mahal nya tayo at ibinibigay nya ang mga pagsubok natin sa atin para subukan at umunlad tayo dito sa mundo. 

Love you guys tons,

Elder Benjamin Merrill 

Monday, September 15, 2014

September 14, 2014


It's been another good week here in the Philippines.  This week, we've been doing a lot of work using the MLS/ ward directory thing. There are a lot of people on our ward's directory that haven't been to church in a really long time that we don't even know, and there are a lot of incomplete addresses and a lot of incomplete information on it. We have not had the most success finding those people, but we have been able to get it organized better and have found an investigator using it. It has been a very effective way of starting conversations with people. We just ask around for people we don't know on the list and then introduce ourselves as missionaries. We found one new person this week using it. He is super nice and willing to listen. He is catholic, has some pretty unique hair and long fingernails. He hasn't really opened up to us too much yet, but I think he will in our next few visits. 

We are still super excited for a few baptisms that are coming up on the 27th. The one investigator that was going to get baptized this week is going to get baptized on the 27th now. 

Things are still going really well, just kind of same old, same old. I think one of the most exciting things was walking to one of our far areas during the tropical storm. We were right along a stream for a good twenty minutes. We were just praying during all of our lessons that it wouldn't overflow, because the only other path out of there is a really far walk and could have been flooded too. Everything went smoothly though, even though we did get really wet. 

Alam ko na totoo yung simbahan natin. and na mahal tayo ng Diyos. Alam ko na possible yung mga himala kung manampalataya tayo sa kanya. 

Love you tons!

Elder Benjamin Merrill

Coffee Ice Cream Sept 7, 2014


The new 7-11 here in Goa just opened up this week. Here's what happened: We went in to the 7-11 to get some ice cream and were devastated to hear that they were out of cones, so we looked around the store and noticed a box full of cones and asked if they were ok, and they decided to serve us ice cream using those cones. They asked us if we wanted French vanilla or chocolate flavored ice cream, and we both decided we wanted vanilla, but when we got our ice cream, it was brown... I was very suspicious, but I gave it a try, and I immediately know why. It was coffee ice cream. Elder Green thought it was a joke and so he tried some too. We told the lady at the counter that it was coffee, and she didn't believe us and tried to show us the flavoring mix... We didn't really want to pay for it and they really wanted us to. We eventually convinced the manager to try it and at that point she knew what she had done and they didn't make us pay for it. She was super mad at us though. It was kinda crazy. I hope they don't hold a grudge. 

The work is going pretty well. We are going to baptize the girl from last week this Saturday. We are super excited for her. She is super integrated into the ward. She is really outgoing and so she has a lot of friends at church. Our two other little investigators are also doing really well, although they didn't go to chuch... They always ask really good questions in lessons. I think they are really smart. I think they should still be able to get baptized in just a few weeks. We actually also found a family this week. I don't think we are actually going to be able to continue teaching the whole family, but there is kind of a funny story with them. We met them last week and scheduled a return appointment. When we came back, the parents were both gone... Luckily I spotted the tatay who looked like he was outside trying to hide. We invited him in and shared with him. He is gone now though... Working somewhere far away. And one of the older girls in the family flat out told us that she doesn't really want to listen to us. that leaves us with a 12 year old boy. We teach a lot of those. He is really sincere and went to church this week. It is a shame the whole family doesn't want to listen, but I am thankful that they will let us teach their son. 

We also met some interesting people the other day... We saw a few people around our age hanging out and so we went up and talked with them. We asked them what they like to do, and this is what they said (in English): Eat, sleep, walk around, smoke cigarettes, smoke marijuana, repeat. Pretty crazy, huh? We shared 2 Nephi 28 with them about eat, drink and be merry. It was a pretty good lesson and they were really nice. Good times. Everyone is super nice here.

Alam ko na totoo ang simbahan natin and na itong missionary work is ang work ng diyos.

Love you tons!

Elder Benjamin Merrill

Another Great Week August 31, 2014


It's been another great week in the Philippines. We ended up getting to talk to our investigator who didn't show up for her baptism last week. As it turns out, she had an unexpected family reunion of sorts. She is now on track to be baptized a week from this coming Sunday, so we are super excited about that. We actually ended up having a pretty decent turn out at church this week. We had a less-active family that hasn't been to church since I've been here finally come to church, which was way cool. I'm going to go on about our sacrament meeting because it was pretty cool and pretty unique. We had no power at the church this week because of a brown out which made for a pretty hot sacrament meeting. It was super hard to pay attention. One of the cool things that happened is that the primary gave a little presentation and our 11-year old investigator was part of it. She recited the fourth article of faith over the pulpit, which was really neat. The other unique thing that happened this week was towards the end of the meeting, a little boy about 3 years or so old was standing on the pew right next to me and slipped and hit his head really hard on the little thing that holds the hymnbooks. He ended up with a really deep cut right by one of his eyebrows and had to be taken to a local clinic for stitches. Ouch. It looked like it really hurt.

In other news, we have been seeing a change of heart in a lot of our less active members.  We have been teaching more boldly and directly to their concerns and they have really been opening up to us. It has been a really neat experience to be there when they feel the spirit helping them to know wheat we are teaching is right. 

Lastly, we've been able to have quite a few more members working with us this week, and it's given me the opportunity to learn a lot of Bikol. Here goes:

Aram ko na totoo an simbahan ta, at si Jesucristo an satuyang kaguragnan. Aram ko na kung magtubod kita saiya, magsolsol kita sa satuyang mga kasalan, magpabunyag kita sa totoong simbahan pwede kitang makalaog sa saiyang kaharian.

That made me sweat a little bit. I think that last word might be tagalog. I'm not sure if it works in bikol too or not. 

I love you guys tons!

Padangat ko kamung maray!

Elder Benjamin Merrill