This last week has been pretty busy. My companion and I prepared and taught many lessons this week. Preparing for lessons is hard because of time constraints. We are learning Tagalog, which constitutes a large portion of our time each day, but our lesson also has to be prepared in Tagalog. This means that I can't say whatever I want, I have to carefully plan my statements based on what words I know how to say. Most of the companion ships translate English sentences into Tagalog and then memorize them for their lessons, but I try not to memorize any specific sentences. I have been trying to memorize verbs, words and sentence structure, and then trying to translate from English during the lesson. This can go very well, but can also sometimes be very stressful. I like this way though. I find that it really helps me to answer questions that are asked during a lesson. If I am giving memorized statements it is hard to answer a question, but if instead I know the words that would be useful in this lesson, I can form a new sentence on the spot. My favorite lessons to teach are when we teach returned missionary volunteers. This week we taught a returned missionary and the lesson went very well. During the lesson the spirit was very strong. We had a lesson plan and started to follow our plan, but I remembered a scripture that I decided to share with our "investigator" instead. I shared my scripture, which really had very little to do with what we were doing up until that point, and then explained a little of what it meant. That lesson I was able to speak such good Tagalog, I was able to remember words that I had only ever heard once before, and I remembered how to conjugate verbs, and I was able to do this all without needing to pause and think. After our lesson, the volunteer gives feedback. In the feedback he mentioned that the scriptures shared seemed like weird choices to him, but then he realized that was exactly what was needed. He also mentioned that although we didn't chastise him, he knew we taught with the Spirit because from our testimonies and words we was chastised by the Spirit. It was a really good lesson. I don't think I can adequately describe everything that made this lesson work so well, but it was quite an extraordinary experience. The gift of tongues is real, because I really couldn't remember half the words I used in that lesson. Most of the words I had only seen once before teaching that lesson, but yet I remembered them all for the lesson.
Every Tuesday there is a devotional where someone comes and speaks to the entire missionary body at the Missionary Training Center. This last Tuesday Richard G. Scott came and spoke. Elder Scott spoke about following the Spirit. He talked about how as we follow Spiritual promptings from the Lord, the Lord will be inclined to give us more. He said the best way to receive more promptings and guidance from the Spirit is to act on the promptings already received. He also said to write down our spiritual experiences so that we will not lose them later. He said that when we read back on those experiences we can be reminded of the Lord's blessings in our lives. He started to ask questions of the missionaries in attendance, he would ask a question and then usually expound and reflect upon the answer given. They were not deep doctrinal questions, but just basic principles. I'm not entirely sure why he asked the questions, but nonetheless he did. Guess what... he asked me a question. It was exciting, I got to speak to an apostle and answer a question in front of the whole MTC. Elder Scott gave a really powerful address. It was very cool to get to hear from him. The Spirit while he was speaking was very strong. I love being here and on a mission.
Love, Elder Nathaniel Merrill