Monday, August 4, 2014

Hastening the Work - Aug. 3, 2014

Kamusta Everybody!
 The work has been really good this past week!  We’ve really started to hasten the work here in Lemery by working better with the members. Our Branch President has been doing a great job of getting the members excited about doing missionary work. 
 One of the recent converts here, Lance, has been having trouble getting to church because it is far away and he has no money to pay for a tricycle. He had missed church for a few Sundays and the young men took notice. One of them gave Lance a bike and the Branch President gave him an old cell phone so he can know about activities and what time seminary is. Yesterday Lance came to church and bore a really powerful testimony! One thing I have really learned here is that it is almost impossible to be successful in missionary work without the excited and enthusiastic participation of the members.
 This past week I have also learned a lot from the talk “Only and Elder”, by Bruce R.  McConkie. The church and missionary work is really a family effort. If we all work together we can accomplish anything. Especially bringing back the less actives. I have also really liked looking at the talks on
 That’s about all for this week.

 Have a great week!
   Elder Merrill

For our Zone P-Day today we took some antique photos is a house build in the Spanish era here.

Fiesta Wedding - July 27, 2014

Kamusta Everybody,
 This past week has been really good. Most everything has been repaired after the storm and life is back to normal. 
 We have been really focusing this past week on trying to visit the recent converts that we have and make them feel like they are really part of the ward. There was just called a new Relief Society President and she has been really great about going and visiting all the recently baptized sisters. 
 One of the highlights of this past week has been teaching Sister Fe. she was referred by her sister and has been really progressing. The only problem that she has is that her and her boyfriend aren't yet married. He is willing to get married but was hesitant because the culture here is that when you get married you have to have a really big celebration, and they can’t afford much. She talked to him this past week and explained why it is so important they get married and they decided to get married on the 16th. It worked perfectly because that is also the day of Fiesta here. The plan is that instead of having to prepare their own big party they will just have everyone attend the wedding service then go eat at the Fiesta. Sister Fe has been really excited and on Tuesday we went and helped them get their marriage license and other paper work done. 
 Other than that not much exciting is happening here. I hope everyone has a great week!


   Elder Merrill

Typhoon Glenda - July 20, 2014

Kamusta Everybody,

  This past Wednesday we got hit by Typhoon Glenda. It didn’t do too much damage but there were a lot of people who had parts of roofs ripped off and sadly our most recent convert, Sister Juvie, had major damage to her house and it was destroyed so we spent most of the week giving service and helping people fix up their homes. 

 The thing that has impressed me the most is peoples attitudes. Despite all the damage everyone seemed to be ok. After people got their own houses fixed up they went and helped out others and were all laughing having a good time with each other. I also was amazed how God will provide for us in unexpected ways. There was no power and most of the stores were closed, and the big mall was damaged but nobody was in need of food, because during the storm the fish farms got flooded so there has been tons of fish in the river. Usually tilapia is 100 pesos a kilo but this week it has been 15 to 30 pesos a kilo. 

 Despite the storm we were able to still have the baptism on Saturday of Sister Juvie, and her son Szander, as well as Sister Christina and he daughter Christine May. I feel like I have been privileged to be able to know each of them and to have been able to teach them. All of them really prepared themselves for baptism. Looking back there wasn’t any big concerns or issues. They were always reading with their families and grew really strong in their faith. 

I’ve attached some pictures of the baptism, Sister Juvie’s house and helping after the typhoon. 

 That’s about it for this week! I hope everyone has a great week.

  Elder Merrill

Joy and Vilma - July 13, 2014

Kamusta Everybody,

 This past week has been really good. We had a fun zone P- day where we hiked up to a waterfall in one of the areas in the zone. The only problem we had is that it started to rain really hard! It took about an hour to get back through a lot of mud but we all had a really good time. I was impressed with the attitude of the sisters in the zone..several of them slipped and got really muddy but they said it was one of the more fun Zone P-days they have had. Learning to laugh at yourself and having a good attitude makes all the difference in how much we enjoy things.

 On Friday we had a really good MLC. It was President Mangum’s first one and he shared with us a lot of good insights that he learned from the apostles at his training a few weeks ago. One change that we are starting to implement is teaching people lesson 5 in Preach my Gospel.  I think it will really help all of the converts here in the mission stay active and progress in the church. The lesson emphasizes the "determination to serve him to the end" that it talks about in D&C 20:37.

 Yesterday two of our investigators Joy and Vilma both were baptized. They have come a long way and it has been a testimony building experience for me as well as the members who have fellowshipped them. One of the branch missionaries who has befriended them gave a great talk about the Gift of the Holy Ghost. I also realized during the service how perfect the Lords timing is. They were both supposed to be baptized about a month ago but weren't quite prepared. We were disappointed we had to push the date back. However, last Monday Joys husband arrived home from working in Saudi Arabia and was able to attend. He came to church as well and seems very interested in the church also becoming a member. Realizing that helped me to better understand that often seemingly setbacks are sometimes Heavenly Father helping us to achieve more. 

  Have a great week!

    Elder Merrill

Earthquake - June 29, 2014

Kamusta everybody!
 This past week has been great! We had a really good zone training meeting on Wednesday and were able to teach the zone the things that President Peterson had shared with us last week. It was really good to be able to hear and see all of the things that President Peterson has taught the missionaries. Later on Wednesday we also felt an earthquake! We were sitting in a member’s house and noticed that the walls were shaking and could feel ourselves moving. The said yesterday that it was 5.5 magnitude and that we were at the center. When we got home to the apartment we noticed a few of the floor tiles were broken.
 One thing that I have really noticed this week is the amazing effect the Book of Mormon has on people. We have 5 different investigators who have been reading everyday and are going to be ready for baptism in the next few weeks. One of the Sister Juvie got a new job Mondays to Fridays so now we can only teach her on weekends. But on Saturday when we visited with her she is doing great. She has almost finished 3rd Nephi and was so excited to tell us all the things she has learned about baptism. 
 Other than that not too much out of the ordinary is going on. I am excited this Thursday to meet the new mission President. 
 Kita Kits

Elder Merrill