Monday, August 10, 2015

These Are Crazy Times We Live In 8/10/2015

I can't believe I will be seeing you guys on Thursday. I don't really have much to say. Life is going to be really diffferent (with three fs) when I get back. The baptism went over really well this last week and the members put together a little farewell gathering for me.. It was pretty nice. It is going to be really hard to leave... But I guess I don't really have much of a choice. It was really exciting to hear about Mark coming home. It makes me excited, even though I am pretty nervous to speak... At least it's in English... Maybe I will just give my talk in Tagalog. I can't really think of anything else too exciting. We spend the night at the mission home tonight and tomorrow night and then we head to Manila. Crazy times!! I love you guys so much!

Alam ko na ang simbahan ni Jesucristo ng mga banal sa mga huling araw ang tunay na simbahan ni Jesucristo at na ipinanumbalik siya sa panahon natin sa pamamagitan ng isang propeta ng Diyos na si Joseph Smith. Alam ko na ang Aklat ni Mormon ay galing mismo sa ating panginoon at na maaari din nating malaman ang katotohanan ng Aklat ni Mormon sa pamamagitan ng tunay na pagsasaliksik at taos pusong panalangin.

Mahal ko kayo at excited na akong makita kayo sa Huwebes.

Magkita na lang tayo sa airport


Elder Merrill

Sunday, August 2, 2015


I have so many feelings this week. I am really starting to feel like I am going home next week. It is kind of exciting and kind of sad. I guess the biggest news is that Rose is going to get baptized this Saturday :) We are really excited for her. She is super ready! We are so glad that we met her. She is definitely an answer to our prayers. I also got to baptize one of the sisters' investigators, J. He has a super strong testimony. It was so neat to be a part of his baptism.

This week was super busy... We got to go to one of the sisters' farther away areas to interview one of their investigators, we had zone conference, and of course, we celebrated my birthday. The zone conference was actually on my birthday, so that was kind of cool. I got to see a lot of other missionaries on my birthday. We had a little celebration on Friday night at Bishop's house. I had some pizza delivered and the sisters surprised me with a cake. It was really fun :) I was really surprised that the sisters brought a cake. Some of it even got on my face as you will see in the pictures. My birthday was super awesome.

Despite all of the crazy business, we were able to find some new people to teach. The first that we found is E, an older man who we just tracted into. He is really kind and willing to listen to us. It is really refreshing. The second is actually married to a member. V's wife is a member who is super active. He just got back from doing construction work in Zambia. He seems really kind and is definitely very quiet. He has investigated the church before, but usually gets interrupted when he has to go back to work in zambia. Hopefully things will go through for him. It would be really good for their family. They are about your age (mom and dad's age) and have two kids. Our last set of new investigators were a member referral (YES! :D). One of the family members is a member's girlfriend. they are both about 17. I see good things to come for my replacement here in Pili.

We actually received some sad news from L this week as well.  He told us that he needs some time to think and that he will probably be able to make a decision about baptism in January. Kind of sad. He is willing to keep letting us visit him though. We are going to just try to read the Book of Mormon with him. I think that will help clear up his mind about things :)

That's about it for this week.
I can't wait to see you guys!
This whole mission thing went by way too fast.
Love you tons and have a good week!

Elder Merrill

July 27, 2015

The t-shirts turned out super awesome. I will send pics next week or just show it to you when I get home. :) We had a church tour/ meet the mormons viewing. It was pretty good. (before I forget, I wasn't able to get contacts. They were super expensive here. I think it might be better to get them at home). Anyway, The activity was pretty good. We ended up having a pretty decent attendance. Bishop's wife even had some meet the mormons t shirts printed. It was super stressful. We had to decorate about half of the rooms for the church tour.

We had a less successful week as far as finding goes. We got a lot of referrals from an older man last last week and finaly got around to contacting them this week. None of them were really interested... We kind of spent a ton of time with it so it was kind of disappointing, but it's ok. R is doing super great. She is completely committed to her baptism on the 8th of august. We just have to teach all of the lessons and get the zone leaders over here for an interview and she will be sitting pretty :) She is definitely an answer to my prayers and maybe yours too. It is such a miracle that Bishop's family hired her just in time for us to be able to teach her before I leave :) She always reads her assignments and does the things she needs to do to progress. She is a wonderful example of obedience. I know that as we obey God's commandments, he will bless us with knowledge about those commandments and about any of our other concerns. (John 7:17 and Ether 12:6) Commitments are a vital part of spiritual learning.

L wasn't able to make it to church this week, which was kind of sad. We still haven't been able to contact him, but we think he might have a concern about his family. We actually started teaching his son a few weeks ago (we haven't been able to teach them together because of their schedules). J (Lester's son) told us this week that he can't keep listening to us because his aunt told him that he has to stay catholic because he was born catholic. This might have affected tatay l as well. We're not really sure... kinda sad. I had a cool experience that night though... We helped a member prepare to teach a lesson on Sunday and I got to drive his padyak (pedicab) on our way home. It is harder than it looks. I ended up running into a papery kind of sign before we made it all the way to the highway... The army guy who was standing by the sign had a good laugh. After we made it through the sign we went off of the road. It was pretty funny and the padyak and my companion and the member are all ok. We all thought it was pretty funny.

We got caught in a rainstorm while walking between appointments and took shelter under the nearest roof. The
family who lived in the house came and said hello to us. As it turns out the owner of the house is American. He was vicious. He immediately recognized us as Mormons. I tried to start a light conversation about how he likes the Philippines. He didn't really want to talk about anything other than the fact that he thinks our religion is false. It all started when I asked him if he has ever met any Mormons and what he thinks of our beliefs. The first thing that he told us was that our religion is false. (very unfilipino heheheh). He then proceeded to tell us about all of his degrees and army experience and how we need to study more before we can teach him about anything. He told us about why the Book of Mormon is false and about the falsehood of several of our other beliefs. It turned in to a really long, one-sided conversation. It left me with a really bad taste in my mouth... He was nice enough to pray for us at the end so that we would be saved though. It makes me glad that I came on my mission here. I actually forgot to tell you guys about the two Austrian girls we met on a jeep last week. They also made me glad I am here in the Philippines on my mission. They didn't speak a lot of English, but they knew all of the bad words. Yikes. I really love the Philippines. The people here are so nice. I feel like something I have learned from the people here is to put the feelings of others above our own. It is really important that we are always kind to others even when they have made bad decisions. I just remember the Savior's example with the adulteress. It is a wonderful example of unconditional love and forgiveness. I will have to work on this maybe with the American that we met. I don't think we are going back there anytime soon though.

Hopefully that paragraph wasn't too hard to follow. I can't believe how soon I will be coming back. I am really excited to see you guys. I am really going to miss it here though... It's coming so fast!

I love you guys tons!
Have a good week.
Elder Merrill