Monday, March 31, 2014

105 Degrees

Kamusta Everybody!
 It has been a really good and a really really hot week here in Lemery!
 We had a great Zone Conference on Wednesday where we learned much about the deeper meaning and doctrine of the Sacrament. Unfortunately our Mission President was really sick so he couldn't come but the AP's did a good job of explaining the workshop.  This past week Elder Johnson and I also went on exchanges with the AP's. It was fun and we learned a lot from them. They had a rough time trying to sleep in our apartment because they are used to the nice AC in the mission home, so our super hot and humid apartment wasn’t too comfortable.
 The best part of the week has been working with the members. We have a lot of branch missionaries who want to work with us and this past week we have really been working on coordinating with them before we go and teach. We have been giving them bigger parts of the lessons to share and they have been doing great! The spirit is always really strong when they teach and the investigators have been doing much better with their commitments. It’s also better because the members are natives and know how to speak the language perfectly. For example when I was with the AP Elder Malit we went to teach one investigator late at night and her kids were already asleep and Elder Malit tried to say “oh so they are already in the bed?” however he mixed up the word bed with toilet…Oops!  I guess that just goes to show that language study is always really important. 
 Other than that not much exciting is going on. Its 105 here right now so we are just trying to beat the heat. I hope everyone has a great week
  Kita Kits

   Elder Merrill

Monday, March 24, 2014

Lemery Batangas

Kamusta Everybody,
 This past week has been a little crazy with lots of changes.
  On Monday night I went on exchanges with the zone leaders and then on Tuesday morning I got a call from the Mission President and he told me that he “had a different assignment” for me. I needed to go to Lemery Batangas and work with Elder Johnson. The missionaries that were temporally here from Tacloban went back to their mission so I had to fill one of their spots.
  So far things here have been pretty good. I miss the tropical island of Mindoro but the members in Batangas are all really kind and many are very well off so we have had lots of dinner appointments and all the members are willing to help us with anything that we  need.
 We have been teaching a lot of investigators and I am still trying to figure everybody’s names out. There is one guy in the ward who looks literally exactly like Manny Pacquaio; he’s also a professional boxer. Next week I will try and send a picture. The area here has a lot of history. It has the largest and oldest Catholic Church in all of Asia.  We are going to try and tour it next week. There are also a few castles and the place where the butterfly knife was invented is also in my area.
Other than that not much exciting has taken place. Just work, work, work that is the secret!
 Have a great week!
Kita Kits
  Elder Merrill

Monday, March 17, 2014

Elder Police

Kamusta everybody,
                This past week has gone by very fast. It has been great because we have been able to find lots of new investigators. Most of the members in our group are very shy so they don’t give a lot of referrals. But this past week as we have gone to visit many of them at their houses and they have had friends over who have been very willing to listen to us.
                 One of our investigators, Sister Judith, is really progressing towards her baptism.  She has watched all of the parts of the Doctrine and Covenants DVDs and said that she wants to go on a mission to Salt Lake City after she becomes a member so that she can see the temple there. She has also been trying to help her older brother who is a less active to come back to church.
 We have also been hunting for the less actives that haven’t come to church in a very long time. It has been proving to be quite the challenge. Here in the Philippines there aren’t really very specific addresses. On their membership record it just says the barangay or neighborhood that they live in.  We have met lots of people while trying to find them though. One guy ran away from us when we went to ask him if he knew one of the members.I think he thought that we were the police. I also went one time to ask this lady if she knew another member but she turned out to be a he…oops :{ 
 Other than that not much exciting has happened this week. I have been learning a lot about the deeper meaning of the sacrament and have almost finished the book of Mormon for the 4th time during my mission. It has been one of my goals to finish it every 2 transfers.
 I hope everyone has a mabuti week.
  Kita kits
    Elder Merrill

Monday, March 10, 2014

March 9, 2014 - Anti Itch Breath!

Kamusta Everybody,
 This past week has gone really fast. It seems like as I get longer into my mission time starts to speed up. 
  To start of the week I went on exchanges with elder Campos. Teaching with him went well and I enjoyed working with him. However I am not sure how much he enjoyed the exchange. Mostly because that morning when he went to brush his teeth he forgot his toothpaste. So he got what he thought was Colgate 10. however what it really was is Cortazone 10 cream! In a tube that looks a lot like a Colgate one. I felt bad for laughing so hard but after washing it out and using some real toothpaste he was fine and went the rest of the day with minty anti-itch breath! 
 I also went on exchanges with Elder Kaifoto. We had a good time together and found a lot of former investigators in his area. We also realized how different the culture is here. We couldn't find one house so we asked a little girl if the new the family. Turns out she is related to them. She told us her name (Rose Ann),how old she is (6), her parents names, and who in her family was home. Then she showed us where their house was and told us who else she new that lived nearby. Then for all of her help we bought her some candy from the Tindahan by her house. It wasn't until afterwards that we realized that in America that would never happen. Telling two strange men your name, how old you are, where you live, if your parents are home, then letting them buy you candy. Things sure are different here in the Philippines.
  We also had a great experience in finding several new investigators this week. One of our best investigators texted us and wanted us to come and teach her sister and brother in law, Jessa and James. They are both really interested and James has tons of questions. He was very hesitant to come to church but eventually agreed and they all came yesterday. At first he was only going to stay for sacrament meeting but then he wanted to stay for the whole 3 hours. During sunday school he had many questions about the Book of Mormon and said how he is excited to read it. 
 Other than that not much has happened here on Mindoro. On a happy side-note I found a random shop here that has some American goods. My companion though I had fallen off my bike because I stopped so fast when I saw that they had Old Spice deodorant and Reese's peanut better cups. One thing I have learned here is to Enjoy the Little Things. 
 Kita Kits
    Elder Merrill

March 2, 2014 Cobra

March 2

Kamusta Everybody,
 This past week has flown by! Time always seems to go fast when you are having a good time. 
 To start off the week I went on Exchanges with our zone leader Elder Manalili. He goes home this next week so it was great to be able to see his teaching skills and get some ideas on how I can improve. However, I was also really embarrassed due to one of the lessons we had about the Word of Wisdom. Usually members are great about bearing testimony of commandments but in this case we weren't on the same page. At the end of the lesson I asked a brother what blessings he had seen in his life from living the Word of Wisdom and he said, quote "Well, I used to drink, and smoke and have coffee twice a day and I was really thin and strong. Then I quit all of that, and now I have this (shaking his well developed belly). So I guess that’s about it, Amen".  I was a little bit shocked and didn't know how to even respond to that. Elder Manalili jumped in and thanked him for the lesson and then we bore our testimony's and left.  And then right after, the ward taught the brother about how to bear his testimony and recognizing blessings...
  The next day we went to San Pablo for the training check up for my companion. One of the sisters said that she really enjoys reading the articles in the Liahona about marriage and how she applies it to relationships with her companion. I thought that was an interesting idea and have come to realize that the strength of any relationship comes from trust and being open. If you are mad and don’t say anything that is just breeds contention. 
  In our area, we are finally starting to see progress. We have been seeing a lot of the less actives come to church and we are starting to get too big for our meetinghouse.  If more than 20 attend we are pretty tightly packed. Hopefully we will be able to rent a bigger place to meet soon. 
 Our baptism on Saturday also went well. It started a bit late but the ordinance itself was good. It has been amazing on my mission to see how the Gospel changes people. A person must do many hard things to get baptized but they are always happier when they repent. 
 I hope everyone has a great week!
  Elder Merrill

"Nothing is certain in life but change”

Picture:  A cobra we killed outside of our meetinghouse