Sunday, March 22, 2015

Chairless in Basud March 22, 2015

This week was pretty crazy. Tuesday afternoon, we went to Naga and stayed the night. In the morning, we got on a plane to Manila. It was way cool because my whole batch and all of the other batches around mine were all there. I got to see Elder Snyder, Elder Green and a bunch of others. It was really fun. After getting off the plane in Manila, we got in vans and spent like half an hour in traffic on our way to the immigration place. We then waited in line for a long time, and when that was over we packed back into the vans and headed for Moa (Mall of Asia). Moa was awesome. We got to eat subway which was great and then went bowling. It was completely insane. It was way too much fun and I even got a turkey once. I got a good amount of gutterballs too, so I ended up bowling like a 126 or something like that that time. After that, we went and got Jamba Juice. (Can you believe they have that in the Philippines?) It was way fun, but as it turns out we weren't supposed to go there. President had given us permission, but what happened was that the area presidency called President after we were already at moa and told him that we weren't even supposed to go there at all... Oops. I just feel bad for the next group of missionaries that head up to Manila because they definitely won't end up being able to go. We ended up making it back to the hotel around 7pm and just hanging out there. We flew back early Thursday morning and I got kinda airsick. I am very happy not be in that plane right now. I totally hope that I get to see all of these cool missionaries again. After we got back to Naga, we ate lunch and then took the 3 hour bus ride back to Basud... Super long... I was so tired when we got back that I almost fell asleep in the middle of saying something during a lesson. I'm doing fine now though :)

About the Chairless thing...

When we got to the barangay hall for our sacrament service this week, the barangay people had only left us like 6 chairs... Super crazy... We ended up having a lot of people sit on tables... Super crazy... And on top of all of this, our seventh day adventist investigators came to church this week. Fortunately, they really enjoyed the meeting despite the lack of chairs. We were so glad to see them. It turns out that they are friends with one of the other members. They ended up giving them a ride home after the service. It was great. I'm so thankful that the Spirit can still be there in our little barangay hall. We rearrainged their baptismal date for May 2. I probably won't be around for it, but I think they will be in good hands and that they will really be ready by then. We are really excited for them. We are working like crazy and talking to everyone, but haven't really found anyone with tons of potential yet. There are definitely a few people with some pretty good potential.

Next week, we will be in Daet for church, so that will be nice. We don't plan on having a shortage of chairs.

I have one thing that I would like to share from my personal study this week too. It is from Helaman Chapter 5.

6 Behold, my sons, I desire that ye should remember to keep the commandments of God; and I would that ye should declare unto the people these words. Behold, I have given unto you the names of our first parents who came out of the land of Jerusalem; and this I have done that when you remember your names ye may remember them;and when ye remember them ye may remember their works; and when ye remember their works ye may know how that it is said, and also written, that they were good.

7 Therefore, my sons, I would that ye should do that which is good, that it may be said of you, and also written,even as it has been said and written of them.

8 And now my sons, behold I have somewhat more to desire of you, which desire is, that ye may not do these things that ye may boast, but that ye may do these things to lay up for yourselves a treasure in heaven, yea, which is eternal, and which fadeth not away; yea, that ye may have that precious gift of eternal life, which we have reason to suppose hath been given to our fathers.

I really like how it says that we should do good not so that we can boast, but that we should keep our focus on laying up treasure in heaven and gaining eternal life. I think it can be tempting, especially in the mission to brag about numbers of lessons, baptisms, and things like that. The better thing to do is keep our focus on the souls that we are bringing to our Heavenly Father.

I don't really know how to get the formatting back to normal, but I love you tons and have a great week!

Elder Merrill

March 16, 2015


This email might have to be kinda short. We are actually going to manila on wednesday and thursday this week for immigration stuff that needs to be done. I am actually pretty excited for it. I think it will be fun. I heard that they usually let missionaries go to the Mall of Asia and stuff like that. 

This week, the finding has been kind of tough. We have just been finding a lot of people who aren't that interested... We were able to find one guy though who was taught by the missionaries several years ago and is really interested in the church (a lot because he is catholic, but believes that he shouldn't worship saints). He is super nice, and we found him when we saw him playing his guitar outside of his house and we just talked to him. That is probably the biggest finding success we saw this week. He is a really neat guy though. We are also working with the members a ton in order to get referrals from them. I think that will probably yield some good results.  

London looks really awesome. 

I really thing things look very hopeful for Basud, though it does have it's obstacles. I hope we can work through them.

Love you tons! Let me know if there is anything specific that you would like to know more about how I'm doing from week to week.

Elder B. Morris Merrill

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

I Can't Believe We Are Already a Week Into March March 8, 2015

In other news, we had a meeting with our stake  president and bishop this week. By the end of the meeting, the stake president decided to put in the papers for Basud to become a group. I think it is exactly what this place needs.  It was a great meeting and I feel pretty impressed with President Abao. He was really inspired to come to the chapel at the same time that we were there. He was originally planning on just talking to Bishop about Basud (our area), but when he saw that we were there, he invited us to join. I am really excited for the group thing to go through because, if it does, we will finally be able to rent our own meeting house and hopefully it will be close to centro. I think it will make the work skyrocket when we have our own meeting house. 

Other than that, I think the work is going pretty well. We have a few new families and a couple of older ones that we are teaching. We have one really neat family that we are working with that are 7th day adventists. They are really trying to find out for themselves if the Church is true. It is just kind of tricky for them to make it to church because they aren't really that active in their own church. Needless to say, we had a much lower turn out among investigators at sacrament meeting than what we expected. 

I still feel pretty good about the work because I feel like it is really headed in the right direction. I am excited to see what the future holds for Basud. 

Love you tons!
Hope you have a wonderful and gluten-free week. 
Elder Merrill

Thursday, March 5, 2015

March 2, 2015 This Might Be a Short One

Here is a little story I read and really liked about the importance of fulfilling our callings etc. I think it is pretty great. I hope you like it too. It is from Elder Marion D. Hanks.

“Let’s use the name Donna to designate [a] sweetyoung lady who left her home for nearby biggercity for employment. She had great desire toattend a church university and needed funds tohelp her achieve her ambition. She failed to findworin the big city, and as time went by shebecame more and more discouraged. Then,through a series of incidents, she came into theinfluence of an unscrupulous and designingperson whtook advantage of Donna’s lonelinessand youthfulness and the discouragement of herinability to find work and led her into an immoralexperience.
“The experience was horrifying to Donna, and shereturned homwith broken heart to tell hermother and, after time, her bishop of thetragedy.
“There was counsel and compassion, admonitionand direction, prayer and blessing. Donna wentback home to make her adjustments and to beginto learn the sorrow of remorse of consciencandthe blessing of gratitude for the graciousness andgoodness and mercy of God. Then one day shehad to counsel again with the bishop, to report tohithat through this one fragmentary, tragicexperience it was now apparent that she was withchild. Now different situation existed, and therewas additional counsel and an effort tmeet thisnew situation. Therwas consideration of theRelief Society Social Service program, whichprovides for such situations, and otherpossibilities were considered; but the decisionwas finally made by Donnthat she would remainat home in her small town to wait her time. Someefforts were made adissuasion in view of theproblems this course involved, buDonna decidedthat, under the special circumstances of herwidowed mother’s illness and otherwise, shewould remain there.
“Donna stood up in the next fast and testimonymeeting and explained her condition. Sheacknowledged her fault and asked the forgivenessof her people. She said to them, ‘I would like towalk the streets of this town knowing that youknow and that you have compassion on me andforgive me. But if you cannoforgive me,’ she said,please don’t blame my mother—the Lord knowsshe taught me anything but this—and please don’thold it against the baby. It isn’t the baby’s fault.’She bore testimony of appreciation for her bitterlywon but dearly treasured personal knowledge ofthe importance of the saving mission of JesusChrist. Then she sat down.
“The man who told me the story reported thereaction of the congregation to this experience.There were many tearful eyes and many humblehearts. ‘There were no stone throwers there,’ hesaid. ‘We were full of compassion and love, and Ifound myself wishing that the bishop would closethe meeting and let us leave with this sense ofappreciation and concern and gratitude to God.’
“The bishop did rise, but he didn’t close themeeting. Insteahe said, ‘Brothers and sisters,Donna’s story has saddened and touched us all.She has courageously and humbly accepted fullresponsibility for her sorrowful situation. She has,in effect, put list of sinners othe wall of thechapel with only her name on the list. cannot inhonesty leave it there alone. At least one othername must be written—the name of onwho is inpart responsible fothis misfortune, though hewafar away when the incident occurred. Thename is familiar one to you. It is the name ofyour bishop. You see,’ he said‘had fullyperformed the duties of my calling and acceptedthe opportunities of my leadership, perhaps Icould have prevented this tragedy.’
“The bishop then told of his conversation withDonna and her mother before her departure forthe big city. He said that he had talked with someof his associates. He had talked with his wife,expressing concern for Donna’s well-being. Heworried about her lack of experience and herloneliness. He had talked, he said, with the Lordabouthese things also.
“‘But then,’ he said, ‘I did nothing. didn’t write anote tthe bishop or to the brethrein Salt LakeCity. didn’t pick up the telephone. didn’drive afew miles to the big city. just hoped and prayedthat Donna would be all right down there allalone. don’t know what might have done, but Ihave the feeling that had been the kind of bishopmight have been, this might have beenprevented.
“‘My brothers and sisters,’ he said, ‘I don’t knowhow long I am going to be bishop of this ward. Butas long as am, if there is anything can do aboutit, this won’t happen again to one of mine.’
“The bishop sat down in tears. His counselorstood up and said, ‘I love the bishop. He is one ofthe best and most conscientious human beings Ihave ever known. cannot leave his namthereon the list without adding my own. You see, thebishop did talk with his associates. He talked withme about this matter. think that he thought thatbecause travel occasionally in my businessthrough the big city, might find way to check onDonna. might have done, but was hurrying tothis meeting or that assignment and didn’t takethe time. too talked with others. mentioned myconcern to my wife. aalmost ashamed to tellyou talked to the Lord and asked him to helpDonna. And then dinothing. don’t know whatmight have happened had done what thoughtto do, but have the feeling that might haveprevented this misfortune.
“‘Brothers and sisters,’ he said, ‘I don’t know howlong will be serving in this bishopric, but wantto tell you that as long as am, if there is anythingcan do about it, this will not happen again to oneomine.’
“The president of the [Young Women] stood upand told similar story. The bishop’s counselor incharge of this auxiliary organization had talkedwith her. She had had some moments of thoughtand concern but had done nothing. She added hername to the list.
“The last witness was an older man who stoodand added two names to the list—his own andthaof his companion ward teacher. He noted thatthey were assigned to the home in which Donnaand her mother lived and that they had failed insome visits and made no effective effort to be thekind of teachers that the revelations of God hadcontemplated.
“‘I don’t know how long will be ward teacher,’ hesaid, but as long as am, will nomiss anotherhome another month, and will try to be the kindof teacher that the Lord seemed to have in mind.’
“The meeting ended, and the wonderful man whoshared this great experience with me said,Brother Hanks, think we coulnot have moreclearly understood the importance of the officesand officers and organizations in the Church if theLord himself had come down to teach us. thinkthat if Paul had come to repeat his instructions tothe Corinthians that “the eycannot say unto thehand, have no need of thee: nor again the headto the feet, have nneed of you. Nay … themembershould have the same care onforanother. And whether one member suffer, all themembers suffer with it; or one member behonoured, all the members rejoice with it” (1 Cor.12:21–22, 25–26.)—I think we could not haveunderstood the point more clearly.’
“A number of years ago Brother Joseph Andersonand had the privilege of driving with PresidentJ. Reuben Clark, Jr., to solemn assembly in St.GeorgeOn the way related to him this story, ithaving recently happened then. He thought longtime and had tear in his eye as he said, ‘BrotherHanks, that is the most significant story everheard to illustrate the great importance of ourfilling our individual obligations in the Church.When you have thought about it long enough,pass it on to others.’
“I have thought about it long and often. believe itillustrates powerfully and humblingly thepurposes of the Lord in establishing his kingdomand permitting us the blessing of individualservice therein. now share it with you and prayGod tbless us all to understand its implicationsand to act on them, in the name of Jesus Christ.Amen.” (In Conference Report, Apr. 1966, pp. 151–53.)
I can't think of anything too exciting that happened this week. 

Sacrament meeting was ok. Our 16 year old investigator (grandson of the American man that we met) went with us to sacrament meeting. He told us that he wants to become a member of the church and that he liked the meeting because he felt like he could really understand everything. It was really great and one of the sisters in the ward was really nice and explained everything to him and why the church is the way it is. It was really neat.

My mind is about ready to explode with college decisions, etc, so I might have to leave it there. 

Love you tons!
The future looks bright!

Elder Benjamin Merrill