It’s great to hear that everyone is doing so well! I'm glad that everyone had a good end of the school year. And I am really proud of Riley for getting the presidential award!
A lot has happened in the past week. Time here is weird, the day seems to last forever but at the end of the week it seems like time flew by. I got to meet my branch president, he is an interesting individual. He is exactly like the prison warden in Shawshank Redemption ( I asked the zone leader during church if he thought so too, he gasped and totally agreed). His name is President Anderson; he is a nice guy but he is very strict on a lot of seemingly trivial things. Such as tie bars, he doesn't let anyone wear them. I got up the first day of meetings to tell about myself and he walked up and took it off of my tie, then put it in my pocket. And said that we can’t wear them because he feels they are too distracting. I wasn't too embarrassed because he did the same too his new 2nd councilor. I have also seen him pull missionaries hands out of their pockets, button their jackets and make them retie their ties. I understand that he wants us to look our best, but it’s a bit extreme. However, I have been doing my best to be exactly obedient and I am just going to wait to wear my tie bars till I am in the field.
Another thing is that we are not allowed to chew gum, so it’s a good thing that I have 14 packs here with me to leave untouched.... please send a box of mints. The other day for breakfast there was the choice only between a pizza bagel or "eggs", that from my experience seem to be laced beans (if you know what I mean)…so in other words I went the whole morning with pizza breath. PLEASE SEND MINTS!
I have met a lot of funny missionaries since being here. The elders in my district and zone are all nice, and pretty funny. There is one elder from New Zealand name Elder Kafusie. He thinks that all Americans "sound fruity". When he heard me talk he asked if I was in the mafia. According to him, and a lot of other missionaries, I have an east coast accent? Now he calls me Scarface, whenever we see each other we say "hey how you doin?" and "forget about it". I told him my slogan could be "bada bing bada boom, baptism" he liked that! He also apparently hasn't had cinnamon toast crunch since he visited America when he was six, so since being here he has had two bowls every meal..he calls it his "bowl of happiness" (it sounds funnier when he says it in his accent). My companion also taught me how Tongans call each other, they make a 'shhht' sound. I have since discovered that it is a lot of fun to walk around the MTC and make that sound. All the Tongans look up but they can’t figure out who made the noise; nobody expects it to be the white guy:)
Tagalog is coming along pretty well. I can make sentences and can teach the first lesson in preach my gospel. I have been trying to read the Book of Mormon, and I think that is helping quite a bit. Some of the words are really strange though, and it seems like it takes a really long time to say anything.
The devotionals have been great that we have had so far, Elder Zwick of the 70 came and spoke on Tuesday and talked about how missionary work is like building a temple. Last Sunday the missionary director for the church got up to speak. He told us originally that he had planned on showing all of the home front Church videos, all of which he had directed. But because we would be watching sister Monson's funeral, after he spoke he said the Holy Ghost told him not to show them. So he gave a 40 minute talk simply relying on the spirit. He even stopped for a minute, halfway through his talk, to write down a prompting. That was something that was really powerful for me.
Because of devotionals, I have decided (for the one and only time in my life) that I am going to do choir! That's because the choir members get a reserved seat. The director is also very funny; he has a voice like Will Farrell. He told us the story about the man who wrote "Lead Kindly Light". He was a minister in America who was from England; he was very pride full and didn't attribute any of his things to God. However he became very ill and thought he was on his deathbed. On a ship back to England, where he thought he would die, the wind stopped. And he was stuck at sea for 6 days. During those days he humbled himself and saw the error in his ways, and wrote the song. I really liked that story.
I miss you all! Kita Kits
- Elder Merrill
Mom- Thank you for your emails, and the quotes each day. Here is one "Darkness is not a thing, simply and absence of light, even the smallest light will always drive away the darkness"
Dad- Thank you for your email, and letter. The Resurrection is a very interested topic, I’ll look up Alma 40.
Marlee- good job on your finals! Working hard and doing your best now will pay off in college, so good job!
Riley- Great job with you medal! And my companion weighs a good 250 pounds, and unfortunately does sleep on the top bunk. He wanted to sleep there, and I had already put my stuff on the bottom one before I met him. SO if I get killed by a mattress and bed frame, you know what happened. Also thank you for your letter. (Because of the movie the “RM”, Riley had asked Hayden if his new companion weighted a buck 80 and if he was sleeping on the top bunk)
Ady- Good job getting citizen of the month! And I like your picture a lot!
Budgy- Who’s a good dog!!!???