Tuesday, June 24, 2014

June 22, 2014

Kamusta Everybody!
 This past week has been really good. It was the last time we had to meet with President Peterson. On Thursday we had the last MLC and President taught us about his favorite scriptures and then left a lot of the time open for answering questions so we discussed things about how to better help missionaries and some deeper doctrine questions.  I was conducting the meeting so during lunch I had the thought to ask President if he would say the closing prayer.  He hasn't said one in a meeting with us before so I was hoping he could just this once before they go home. He said thanks for the idea but he didn’t agree to it. I felt kind of bad that I had asked but then just before the closing prayer he got up and said he would pray instead of the assigned person. His prayer was different than any one that I have ever heard. You could really feel that he had a deep understanding of who God is, and how he feels about each of us missionaries. 
 Other than that this week hasn’t been too eventful. We have seen really great progress with Sister Silvano from one of our part member families. The mother has been listening to us but before this week she was so shy that she wouldn’t ask or answer any questions.  However, she has started to read the book of Mormon and on Friday she told us how exited she is to be baptized in July. The Book of Mormon and the Spirit are what really do our teaching.
 I hope everyone has a great week! 
  Kita Kits

    Elder Merrill

Monday, June 16, 2014

Goodbyes to President Peterson

Kamusta everybody
This past week has gone really well. We had a lot of good meetings and also a great baptism.
 On Tuesday we had a lunch appointment with an American guy named Bob. He is in his 60’s and we met him at a bookstore last week. He seems like he is pretty lonely and doesn’t get to talk to Americans very often. He married a Filipino and lives in Taal. The lunch was really good but he didn’t want to hear anything about our message. It made me appreciate how willing the Filipinos are to learn about what we believe.
Wednesday we had Zone conference. It was the last time most of the missionaries will see President Peterson. He bore his testimony and told us the things he wanted to make sure we understand before he leaves. He talked a lot about Priesthood Keys, The Doctrine of Christ, and The Book of Mormon. It has been really amazing to see the influence he has had on all of us missionaries.  At the end of the meeting he had us all give him a hug. I was conducting the meeting so I was sitting by him and got to watch each missionary say goodbye. It was really neat to see how much people loved him by the way they said goodbye.  At the conference I also won the Qwan Challenge (qwan is a nonsense word it Tagalog).  One of the office sisters read off a list of counsel given by President Peterson since our last zone conference and if you have done the thing on the list that he’s counseled us to do then you remain standing. I was surprised at the end when I was the last one standing!   I have really learned that being exactly obedient will make the work a lot easier.
 Thursday we had the Baptism of Brother Romulo, Christian, and John Lloyd. All of their families came and really felt the Spirit. The talks were good but the best part was their testimonies. Brother Romulo’s was the best. He has come so far in the past few months. When I first met him he was really drunk and didn’t really want to talk to us but by the hand of God and some tough repentance he really is a new person. While he was bearing his testimony I felt really humbled and happy that I had helped a person improve his life, and be one with their family. The baptism was also on his 31st anniversary. I look forward to them getting sealed in the temple next year.
 Other than that not too much happened this week, Happy Father’s Day to all and I hope you have a great week!

Elder Merrill

Monday, June 9, 2014

New Companion

Kamusta Everybody,

This past week has been great! We have been super busy but we had a great baptism and have lots happening this next week too. 

Thursday sadly Elder Johnson got transferred. We went to the mission home and I met my new companion Elder Williamson. It was tough to part ways, especially with all of our investigators getting baptized so soon, but God needs him in a different area. 

Friday we had a really good lesson with one of our investigators, Joy. She is deaf and doesn’t know sign language so it is a little difficult to communicate. This week though we explained to her about the restoration and she understood it really well. She has been praying and she was able to get herself and her mom to church. This experience has really strengthened my testimony that the Spirit is what conveys the truth of our message, regardless of how we communicate it. 

Saturday Jericho and Daniel were baptized! Their Mom is a member but has been less active so we found them through their Grandpa.  However, as we have been teaching the two little boys Mom also started coming back. The baptismal service was really good and when they got up to bear their testimonies I could see how happy the family was to all be there together. I was also really impressed and grateful for the Primary President, she gave them a Book of Mormon story book and she has been making sure they feel welcome. 

This next week we have zone conference and also a few more baptisms. It has been really amazing to see the changes in the branch here. 

I hope everyone has a great week
Kita Kits  
 Elder Merrill

Monday, June 2, 2014

Coconut Shell Mops

Kamusta everybody,

   This past week has gone really well.  On Tuesday we were able to go to a special meeting in San Pablo were Elder Craig C Christenson, one of the Presidents of the 70, came and spoke to us. He gave a really good workshop about prayer.  He talked to us how about when we really make prayer a mental exercise and try to gain the spirit before we begin to pray that we can receive clear answers and also know the things to ask for while we pray.

  We also had a great experience teaching two of our new investigators named Joy and Joan this past week. Joy is deaf and doesn’t know sign language or how to read very well, but she is good at reading lips. The young women in the ward all like her and she even attended the youth camp last week.  She always looks really interested when we teach her mom but she can’t understand very well. On Wednesday we bought a small whiteboard and drew out some of the principals in lesson 1 and she completely understood! She was really excited and we could tell that she felt the Spirit.

  We also have two little boys Jericho and Daniel that should be getting baptized this Saturday. Their mom used to be less active but she’s now come back to church and is excited for her kids to become members.  They are 10 and 8 and are fun to teach. They understand everything we say and don’t let on how much they already know. When we practiced the interview with them and asked about the law of chastity all they said was “bawal maging backla” or “don’t be gay”. The former Branch President was with us and laughed a bit and said that at least they know about that part. Then he did a really good job explaining the rest of the law of chastity in little boy terms.

  Other than that not much has happened. This morning we went and toured the really big Catholic Church here. It is 200+ years old and had lots of interesting paintings and stuff inside.  We also helped a member wax the floor of her classroom with coconut shells.  It worked surprisingly well! 
I hope everyone has a great week!

  Elder Merrill