Monday, February 23, 2015

Another Crazy Week February 22, 2015


Just so you don't worry about it, there's no transfer in our companionship. 

This week was pretty good though it also seemed really long... We had a pretty good week and some pretty interesting finding experiences. There was one that was particularly interesting. We were looking for a member whose name we found on the ward directory. We went to the street that he was supposed to live on and no one seemed to know who this guy was.... Kinda weird. Someone told us however of an african-american man who lived nearby. Foreigners are a rarity around these parts, so we were super excited to go to his house and meet him. We were able to go to his house and share a lesson. He is from Greensboro NC. He is a Duke fan too, which is pretty cool. He fought in the Vietnam War, but we are not sure how he ended up in the Philippines. He has a filipna wife though. He was really nice, but not super interested in our message. I think he was more interested in having someone to talk to. What happened the next day was the best part. We had a random super tall 16 year old young man come up to us and introduce himself to us. Turns out he had found out about the two American/Canadian guys who went to his grandfather's house. He invited us to come share with him this past Sunday (yesterday). We had an awesome lesson. I just love how these finding things don't always work out the way you expect, but they do always work out great.

We also have a really exciting development with another family. They are a 7th day Adventist family who we found kind of late at night a few weeks ago. Brother works nights as a guard at the main elementary school in Basud. That is where we met him. He is super great and has the strongest handshake I've ever experienced in my whole mission. He is super interested in reading the Book of Mormon to find out if our message is true. They seem to always keep commitments such as reading and praying, which is really awesome.  This week, we read 2 Nephi Chapter 31 with them and invited them to get baptized. They accepted a baptismal date for April 11th. They weren't able to go to church this week because brother got a special call to work on Sunday, but we are sure they will come next week. 

This week, we had two investigators come to church, a 10 year old girl from a part member family and a referral from the C family. We were kind of sad that the the 7th Day Adventist family didn't make it to church, but unfortunately, we think it might have been for the best because church got started so late this week. We showed up to church like 20 minutes early to set up the barangay hall but church didn't start for an hour after that.

I feel like things are going really well here in Basud. I feel like we are really working hard and with the Lord's help are beginning to see results, even though I probably won't be in Basud to see many of our investigators all the way through baptism.

Love you tons! Keep on keeping on and have a great week :)

Elder Merrill

Monday, February 16, 2015

Time Keeps on Flying By February 15, 2015

Time just keeps on flying by... This coming week is the last week of the transfer which means that a week from today, we will find out if there is a transfer in the Basud companionship. I could be moving to my next area this week. I feel like I just got to Basud...

This week was pretty great. We basically just crank out the finding all day every day here. It is pretty great. We have been really focusing on getting specific return appointments and it has been really good for us. We still aren't quite teaching quite as much as we'd like to be, but I feel like we are doing pretty well. 

I want to tell the story of one of the families we are now teaching. We were tracting through one part of our area while looking for a less active member whose name we found on the mls. No one seemed to know him or be interested in what we had to share. Most of the people we talked to there didn't even listen to us long enough to hear our names... It was pretty dang discouraging, especially because of how nice people usually are to us. We finally came to one woman who told us to ask someone else because she wasn't from there. She ended up pointing us to a really old looking lola who is probably from around there. We went and said hello to the nice lola. She told us that her name and has a child that is a missionary like us (It turns out he is a Catholic missionary, but that is still ok, because she said she has a daughter or granddaughter who is a member of our church.) She didn't know the person we were looking for, but she invited us to dinner for one of the next days and said that we could share with her then. She is super super nice. We ended up having a delicious dinner and an awesome lesson. We taught her along with a group of her great-grandchildren. There is a picture of us with them in the Skydrive, I think it is the 4th to the last.

There is also some good news for Basud. Bishop has been thinking a lot about the unit and, as it turns out, is on the same page as us. He was thinking about how helpful it would be for Basud to have its own meeting house. He said that he is going to try to talk the Stake President into putting in an application for Basud to become a group first. We have a requirement in the Philippines (I think) that you have to have 50 members to become a branch. I also had an interview with President this week and he recommended the group first philosophy too. Hopefully things will all go through with that. 

My interview with President Reeder was really great. I really appreciate his inspired leadership of our mission. I felt like the theme of my interview was just basically to not get discouraged because the Lord is pleased with our work in Basud. It was really good to hear that from him. I don't feel super discouraged with the work, and I don't feel like I get discouraged very easily.

To end on a higher note, I really have high hopes for Basud. I really love it here and will be sad to leave if my time comes this week, but I think it will be ok as well. 

Thank you so much for your continued support. I really appreciate your advice and everything. I really liked the email that Craig Gillespie sent me. It was about how no one likes trials, but they are really a blessing and we wouldn't grow without them. I know that this is true, even though as Craig said in his letter, sometimes we “look through a glass darkly” (1Cor13:12)...

I love you tons!

Have a wonderful week! 

Elder Benjamin Merrill

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Half Day Mission and More Feb 9, 2015

This week was a lot better. I feel like we were able to teach a lot more people and not just talk to them which was really nice. I feel like I don't really have anything too exciting to write home about, so I will just write about our day yesterday. Yesterday, we were invited to go to church in Daet and afterwards had what they call a "half-day mission" Basically the missionaries split up into different groups with members and we visit all of the less active members. My group had the C family and Bishop and his wife as well as the Ward Mission Leader and a few others. We got to go to Taba Taba, the beach area, which was really awesome. The members out there are super receptive, but just live so far from the church that it is really hard for them to to go to church. We also visited another member that moved to Basud from a nearby town/ municipality called Talisay. He used to be Bishop there before, but now has a position in the local Catholic church by his house. Some of the members who were with us knew him and it was really good. We then went to the house of the woman who used to be the relief society president in basud back in the day only to find out that she was gone because her carabao gave birth while they were out running some errands. It was really awesome to have so much member support this week. We also have some of the young men from daet who are preparing for missions planning on working with us this week which should be nice. That night, we also found a new family which is really great. They really want to pray and find out for themselves if our message is true. I thought it was really refreshing to have people who didn't just think our message is the same as everybody else's. 

I don't really have much more to say about this week. Things are really improving. I hope you guys have an awesome week! I hope everything goes ok with mom's new gluten-free developments. The mission secretary says just to let me know when you have things worked out. You could ask me if you have questions about it too. 

Love you tons!
Elder Benjamin Merrill

Sunday, February 1, 2015

It's February February 2, 2015


This week was another awesome week in Basud. Don't freak out, but Bishp De Guzman put in our papers this week for Basud to become a branch. We only had 22 attendance in Basud, but we had a lot of members go to church in Daet. I think we have just barely enough members for us to possibly have a chance to make it a branch. I think that Bishop sees how much the group could benefit from having a place to meet that is closer to centro, which would be super easy if we had a branch here. Kinda scary...

In other good news, sacrament meeting in Basud was awesome even though we didn't get any investigators there and the attendance was kind of small. The C family went and got sealed this week! Brother and Sister C bore testimony and it was really awesome. Brother C just had a different feeling about him. It gave me a lot of hope for the group in Basud. One other sister bore an amazing testimony as well and shared a really neat experience about how she was able to go to the temple for the first time. It sounds like she experienced some real miracles. We are so blessed to have a temple so close to us in the states. I have just been realizing how much the members here have to sacrifice to go to the temple. I know that the blessings are worth it and that it is super important to go to the temple as often as possible. 

The way the work went this week is kind of discouraging. We talked to tons and tons of people, but were not able to get as many lessons as we would have liked to. Elder R. and I talked about it and we decided that we need to work harder to have on the spot lessons when we talk to people rather than just asking for return appointments. Hopefully that will help us to get more new investigators. We have been getting a lot of return appointments to which we are the only people that show up... I just say that we need to take the advice that Elder Bolambao used to always say "but...  patuloy pa rin tayo" I think things will get better. 

I love you tons!

Elder Ben Merrill