Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Wind of Change January 11, 2015


Today is my last full day with Elder Bolambao. We don't quite yet know where he is going or who will be my next comp though... We will get to find out tomorrow. It's really hard to wait... This week was pretty good and featured many ups and downs. The mission came out with new standards of excellence this week that are based on talking to everyone. We are supposed to try to have 50 meaningful contacts or "OYM"s (Open your mouth) each week. This inspired us to talk to a lot more people this week. There is a story that goes along with this that is pretty funny.

On our way home from Daet one day, Elder Bolambao talked to a woman on the jeep who said that we could come over to her house, so over the next few days, we did. We went to their house in the evening and they welcomed us right into their house. We were really excited because her husband was there. We had found a whole family to teach, and we found out that the husbands father had been taught by the missionaries before. We shared a short message about the restoration and everything seemed to be fine. They even said that we could come back. The next morning, however, at 5am we got a text from them that basically said to please never come back and that they only said that we could because they were caught off guard.... We were pretty devastated. The good news is that someone else who we met the same day accepted a baptismal date after her first lesson.

One of our investigators is doing ok, though we did have to move her baptismal date to next month. She also did not come to church this week, which was pretty darn disappointing. I think she likes going to church better in Daet than Basud... I don't really blame her, but it makes things really tough. It would be nice if we had a few more members so we could get classes and stuff like that going on Sundays. This week, we had to pass the sacrament water by putting the cups on the bread tray because the people from Daet forgot the water tray. It was actually pretty funny though. At least they remembered the cups.

I've definitely gained a testimony of sacrament meeting attendance during my time here in Basud. It is really sad to see what happens to those who don't go to church. Many of our less actives just don't really make the commandments a very high priority in their lives, and causes them to forget what is important in life. I feel like a lot of them have just become a lot harder or less sensitive or something like that. There are also a lot who simply forget the doctrines of the gospel. It kind of makes me think of what I've been reading in my personal study. I've been going over the book of Ezekiel because I haven't really read it before. If you remember, he, like many of the other prophets of the time (Jeremiah, Isaiah, etc) told of the destruction of Jerusalem because of the wickedness of the people. I feel like I've been called to a calling similar to his. I'm kinda a watchman of Israel of sorts and have a responsibility to warn others of impending destruction or have their blood fall upon me. It's a heavy responsibility

1 Again the word of the Lord came unto me, saying,

2 Son of man, speak to the children of thy people, and say unto them, When I bring the sword upon a land, if the people of the land take a man of their coasts, and set him for their watchman:

3 If when he seeth the sword come upon the land, he blow the trumpet, and warn the people;

4 Then whosoever heareth the sound of the trumpet, and taketh not warning; if the sword come, and take him away, his blood shall be upon his own head.

5 He heard the sound of the trumpet, and took not warning; his blood shall be upon him. But he that taketh warning shall deliver his soul.

6 But if the watchman see the sword come, and blow not the trumpet, and the people be not warned; if the sword come, and take any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at the watchman' hand.

7 ¶So thou, O son of man, I have set thee a watchman unto the house of Israel; therefore thou shalt hear the word at my mouth,and warn them from me.

8 When I say unto the wicked, O wicked man, thou shalt surely die; if thou dost not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand.

9 Nevertheless, if thou warn the wicked of his way to turn from it;if he do not turn from his way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul.

10 Therefore, O thou son of man, speak unto the house of Israel;Thus ye speak, saying, If our transgressions and our sins be upon us, and we pine away in them, how should we then live?

but a rewarding one as well.

I love you guys tons! Have an awesome week.

Elder Benjamin Merrill

Friday, January 9, 2015

Happy New Year January 5, 2015

Hey Family,

Just as a disclaimer, this email might be shorter than some of my other ones. We had a district activity at Bagasbas beach this morning. It was pretty fun, and as you have perhaps seen  already in the pictures, we buried Elder Romanovitch. 

New Years was basically a repeat of Christmas. Everyone wanted to feed us. Between the 31st and the 1st, I think we got fed like 5 times. Tuesday was the only day last week that we didn't go to Daet... We actually had a funeral this week as well for a member who passed away last week. He was really nice. He was around 74 years old. I had the opportunity to give a short message at the funeral about resurrection. It is always sad when someone departs from this world, but it is very comforting to know that Heavenly Father has a better place prepared for us after we die. He was endowed, and so it was kind of refreshing to see him in his burial clothes. It reminds me that there really is a greater purpose to our life. 

Other than that, we had exchanges with the two elders in Daet on Wednesday. Elder Llanera was my companion (he's my batch), which was super cool. He is a really funny guy and we got to go to a new part of Basud called Taba Taba. (It means Fat Fat...). It is a really far away place that has a beach, which is pretty nice. We were able to contact the members that live out there, and they were super receptive. It is really tough for them that the meeting place in Basud is so far away, but I think that they will be able to come over the next few weeks. One of them has a husband who isn't a member, but is leaving to go work in Saudi Arabia... Too bad. 

Church attendance was also really good, even though there was no church in Basud. (We're not really sure why, but I trust Bishop a lot.) We had about 23 people from Basud at church. Our investigator even came this week with a few of her cousins. (Her grandmother was sick and so she stayed home). We also had a less-active family that we just met last week come to church as well. They are actually a 55+ year old couple. The husband just retired from the army, and they just moved to basud from Daraga, Albay in the Legazpi mission. (They hadn't actually been to church there though.) They were baptized in the Talisay ward (Talisay, Cam Norte). We actually just ran into nanay last week after going to contact someone and finding that no one was home. She actually started to talk to us as we walked by and told us how they had been baptized. Nanay then proceeded to invite us to her house. They were really nice and everything, but I was a little surprised when they came to church. Maybe I should have more faith.

As just a side note, I heard that there is a giant package in the office with my name on it. I should probably be able to get it on friday. I think Elder Snyder who is the current finance secretary told me about it and may have peeked inside. 

That is about all of the excitement that happened this week. I think this next week will be my last week with Elder Bolambao though. I am pretty sad about it. I think I'm really going to miss him. I really just hope my next companion is as humble and kind as Elder Bolambao. We will find out for 100% sure if he is transferring next Monday, but It would be really abnormal for him to stay longer. We'll see what happens. 

Love you tons!
Elder Merrill