A lot has happened this past week!
On Monday we went to the hospital to check up on my companion. He has an infection in his lungs but they gave him medicine and he will be just fine.
On Tuesday I found out that I was being transferred! It was a little bit unexpected because it doesn't feel like I've been in the area for that long. So between appointments I spent a lot of time saying goodbye to members and investigators. There are so many really nice people in the Alaminos ward so it was hard to say goodbye. The families that I had become close with were sad to see me go, but hopefully because the area is right by the mission home I’ll be able to see them again when I come for meetings.
Thursday was transfer day, my new area is Lopez 4 and it is way out here in the boonies. It is close to the edge of the island and up in a big mountain. It is really pretty here and the people are all very nice. My first area was more of a city but out here it is mostly bamboo huts, rice fields and trees. My new companion is Elder Torculas. He goes home after this cycle. He seems like a good missionary and I think we can get much good done here. People have told me that he is a bit "trunky" or lazy though because he is going home soon. He also has a bit of a history of disobedience. President Peterson told me that he is my "special assignment" so, at our first planning session, I told Elder Torculas that we are going to be exactly obedient. He agreed to it and our goal is to help him have his last interview with President Peterson to be his best. So far things have gone pretty well. We have a baptism lined up for this week. A 14 year old boy named Linmark. He seems very sincere in his desire to be baptized and is a really good investigator, I'm excited for his baptism.
While I was at the mission home on Thursday waiting to get on the bus with the other elders headed to Lopez, one of the lady's in the ward, who I visited a lot because her whole family is inactive, pulled up on tricycle. She is about 60 years old and her husband and all of her kids won’t go to church. She is the headmaster of the school in town and is super busy but she took the time to pull up and handed me a really kind letter and some snacks for the bus. It was very simple but so sincere and very sweet of her to take the time to come and say goodbye. I was really touched and was sad to have to leave. I felt bad because she is honestly so busy that she doesn't even know what year it is….she dated the letter she wrote to me, Sept 26 1993 :)
I finally got your package! Thanks so much!!! All of the altoids and jolly ranchers are great! The music is also really good, I have listened to it a lot. The letter from Brock was also wonderful..I am sending him a letter as soon as I get a chance.
I miss eating lamb on Sunday’s!! The only meat that they have here has tons of fat on it and it’s not so good. Pinoys (slang for Filipinos) love fat on their meat. There is a college in my new area so because of the student population there are lots of little places to eat for really cheap. The people make dishes and you can buy a plate and eat there. So I am eating super cheap, healthy and good. Plus, I don’t have to do any dishes :) which is important because in my apartment we have water from 6 a.m. to 12 p.m. and none at night!
Well that's about all for this week! I hope everyone is doing well and has a great week!
Elder Hayden Merrill
Philippines San Pablo Mission
Barangay San Juan, Alaminos
What a lot of my new area looks like
Me and Elder Peck (my "Indian companion"...he is waiting for his visa to India)
with Brother Silos (the ward mission leader) and his wife, Sister Silos.
Sister Silos (a.k.a. the "bag lady" because she makes really cool bags) and her family. Sister Silos said that I can be her adopted grandson; she wanted me to let Mom know that I'll be well taken care of in the Philippines and that you don't have to worry about me :)
Nanny Baliwas and Sister Rachel
What people look like after taking pictures in the sun!