Monday, February 16, 2015

February 15, 2015

Kamusta Everybody!
 This past week for Elder Nikau and I has been really good. We were first able to have a fun service project on Monday cutting down banana trees at a member’s house. (We did however also manage to break 3 of the tools in the process) the best part of that service project was it was at the house of a less active family. While we were shopping for vegetables Monday morning we stopped by the stand of a less active member to buy vegetables from them. The father was there and asked if we were coming from his house. A little confused I asked him why and we found out that his daughter and wife were clearing out their backyard and he had assumed we were helping. We ran home, changed and then met him at their house and cut down all the trees. Since then he’s invited us to dinner twice and his wife came to church yesterday. It was a faith building experience that even on P-Day we were guided to help someone.
Other than that the best part of our work has been teaching Leo and April. We have been teaching them over the past several weeks and it has been great to see them feel the joy of the gospel in their lives. Yesterday they came to church for the 2nd time and when we visited with them that night most of the lesson was them telling us about all the blessings they had seen that day after they came to church.
I hope everyone had a great Valentine’s Day and also had a chance to share the love Heavenly father has for us.

  Elder Merrill

Monday, February 9, 2015


Kamusta Everybody! 
 This past week has been really good.  We were able to attend a lot meetings and it was great to have the privilege to be able to listen to Elder Arden, the Area President as well as President Beck, the general Young Men’s president. 
 Most of the meeting was a question and answer time. One piece of advice that President Beck gave to us was to keep a really good journal. He suggested that we put one lesson we’ve learned each day as well as the happiest moment of the day. He talked about how the lessons he wrote down in his journal helped him get his kids excited to serve and also gave him great perspective on how he grew throughout his mission. 
 One of the highlights of the week was that one of our investigators, Leo and his wife April, came to church! Leo works for a private resort and usually is on the side of the road trying to get customers. On our way to church we saw him outside and figured that they weren't coming, but then they showed up just in time for sacrament meeting!
 One of the funny parts this week happened while we were teaching a new investigator how to use the Book of Mormon cross references. I opened up to a random page and showed him a verse... unfortunately I realized that the verse I had him read was 1 Nephi chapter 4:18 where it says.. “therefore I did obey the voice of the Spirit, and took Laban by the hair of the head, and I smote off his head with his own sword."  Not the best first verse for an investigator to read. I just said we would explain that story next time...
 I hope everyone has a good week! 

  Elder Merrill

Monday, February 2, 2015

How much is that doggy in the window?

Kamusta Everybody!

 These past few weeks have been great and also really busy!  I apologize for not sending an email last week.  I was trying to register for school and it took a bit of time last week.

 We’ve had a lot of great things happen in our area! We had stake conference this past weekend and the talks were really good. One of my favorites was by the Stake President. He explained how when we follow the commandments one of the greatest blessings we often receive is spiritual light.  He described what he meant by using the Saviors teachings.  For example, when we obeying the law of tithing He will “open the windows of heaven”, or in Isaiah when it talks about fasting and describes how “our light shall come forth out of darkness”.

 We also have had some success with the less actives in the ward. It has really strengthened my testimony of the power of the Book of Mormon and how even using a really simple verse can help others see how important daily scripture study is. One of the scripture verses that I learned about this week from the Spirit was in 1 Nephi "and my father dwelt in a tent". We were visiting a less active sister and when we complemented her on her nice home she said “no, it’s just really small". We were trying to think of an appropriate message and that scripture came into my mind.  I realized that here on earth we kind of dwell in a tent, or like the sister said in a small house.  Lehi came from a rich home to eventually wander in the wilderness and dwell in a tent.  We came from a rich home in our pre earth life but we all need to wander in the wilderness and dwell in tents (so to speak) to be able to make it to the promised land, or the Celestial kingdom.  As long as we have faith and use the Liahona we have promised blessings ahead of us. 

 This week we also got to visit one of the less actives who are caretakers of a private pool. There is a lot of resorts in our area and most of the area is over a hot springs. We put our hand in the pool and it was really hot! They said that before people can swim they have to leave the water there for 3 days to cool down. What I don’t understand is why our shower in the apartment is still cold...
 I hope everyone has a great week!
  Elder Merrill

"How much is that doggy in the window?" dogs in the Philippines are usually substitutes for a door bell. When you get close to the house they bark. This one even has his own area on the 2nd story! 

Tuesday, January 20, 2015


Kamusta Everybody!
 The past few weeks here have gone really well! We have gotten adjusted to our area and have been building a pretty good teaching pool. We have been focusing on the less active priesthood holders. It’s been a little bit difficult because there is a big group of them that are all friends, and they are all waiting for the others to come back to church before they do.

 This past week we had our zone Training meeting and there was also the area broadcast. Both meetings were really focused on goals. In our zone training meeting we talked about the desires of our hearts. Desires are what we prioritize, and are manifest in our choices and actions. I think we often have lots of wishes but sometimes don't act to make them happen. In the area broadcast there was a really good quote I liked about making sure that our goals are focused on the plan of salvation, it motivated me to try and make more of my goals and desires centered on the gospel this year. Sometimes spiritual goals are hard to measure, but they yield the most lasting results.

It has been fun re-experiencing with Elder Nikau all of the unique things here int he Philippines; trying new foods, learning the language and one of the highlights of the past week, getting chased by a very large crazy lady asking for money. 

 Hopefully everyone is doing really well!

Elder Merrill

Monday, January 5, 2015

Calamba 1st

Kamusta Everybody
 This past week has gone really well! I was transferred to Calamba Laguna and my new trainee is Elder Nikau from Australia. We have spent a lot of the week getting to know the area and meeting the members.  Wednesday for New Years we had to be in the Apartment by 7. We woke up at around 11:30 and sat outside to watch all of the fireworks. Our apartment is really close to the city plaza so we were really close to the big fireworks show.  Everyone also had really loud horns that they blew at midnight. 
 We have been doing a lot of tracking and were really blessed to find the Mozo family, one of the first people we tried to talk with. Brother Mozo was outside and we stopped to ask for directions. We talked with him a little about the church and then he invited us to come back. We got to teach him and his wife on Saturday and it went really well. His wife is very familiar with the bible and said how she really wants their family to be able to attend church and be united. We're excited to be able to teach them again tomorrow. 
 The ward here is somewhat small, about 70 members came to church yesterday. And there are a lot of less active priesthood holders. I'm excited over the next while to be able to try and help build up the ward here. The Bishop is really excited about the work and gave us a list of members to find and visit. 
 I hope everyone has a great first week of 2015!

   Elder Merrill 

Monday, December 29, 2014

Home away from home

Magandang Hapon sa inyo lahat!

 This past week has been great. There has been so much going on but it’s been really fun and there have been lots of unique ways to be able to share the gospel. Today is my last day here in Tanuaun. This next transfer I will be training and reopening another area again. It will be sad to leave but I couldn’t have thought of a better way to spend my last week.
 On Thursday for Christmas we were able to visit several members and a few investigators. My favorite part of the day was how everyone was really happy. People gave gifts but you could feel that that wasn't the most important thing..even for the little kids. Everyone was focused on the Savior and their families. Even with the gifts that were exchanged it was easy to see that they were given with the person in mind and lots of thought had been put-into it. 
 Then Saturday was Fiesta. It was hard to teach because everyone was either cooking or eating, but we were able to find some potential investigators while visiting a few members. It reminded me of a quote by  Elder Christopherson in Preach my Gospel about how we should always have our nets in the water, or in other words, we should be looking for opportunities to share the gospel. Even the busiest day can be productive if you look for opportunities to accomplish your purpose. 
 Yesterday, several of the members prepared a really nice birthday dinner for me. I am officially no longer a teenager!!  It was really kind of them to prepare something and it made me feel like I was in my home away from home. 

I hope everyone has a great new year!

     Elder Merrill

Monday, December 22, 2014

Merry Christmas

Maligayang Pasko sa inyo lahat!
 This past week has been great as we have been preparing for Christmas. While there may not be snow or very many Christmas lights here there is still a lot of excitement. For me the best part has been teaching members how they can help others feel the Saviors love this Christmas. 
 On Saturday we had the ward Christmas party. It was luau themed and went really well. We helped decorate the chapel to look Hawaiian and the other members helped cook and made presentations and the Relief Society and Primary did dance numbers. The Primary was very funny, I was impressed by how good they were. 
 Sunday night we had the Baptism of Raell. The final member of the Gallinero family to be baptized. It was an amazing baptism and the spirit was really strong. President Mangum, as well as the other couple missionaries, were able to attend. Raell bore a great testimony and it was wonderful to see his father baptize him. That was the best Christmas gift this year. 
 I hope everyone has a great Christmas day and can find ways to bless others as well

 Elder Merrill