Elder Merrill's Current Address

Elder Merrill's Current Address

Elder Nathaniel Merrill
Philippines Baguio Mission
PO Box 7 (po box for letters only)
Brgy: San Vicente East
Urdaneta City, Pangasinan 2428

Monday, January 23, 2012

Less Active Lessons

I often write my emails home before I read emails I've been sent each week. Because of that I don't respond to anything written. But this week I read some emails already so I can answer some questions. I would also want to congratulate Elizabeth on her swimming and her poem. Also Jonathan for his basketball team's success.

What is the weather like? Well right now it is hot, humid, and rainless. It is the dry season, they tell me. It has rained only a few times since I have been here, but I have seen pictures, and heard stories about the rain. When we visit some members, we will ask if they have a book of Mormon, a common response is that they lost it in a flood. Elder Tolman has a picture of him in two feet of water because the road was flooded. I don't know what time of the year is the wet season, but I know that the hot season starts in March. Right now it is usually only in the 80's. This week I went on exchanges with a Filipino Elder. It is nice to work with Filipinos because they speak Tagalog better than they speak English, I learned a lot of new words, and he taught me how to cook Adobo, which is the Philippines national dish. I also got to see the ocean. My area is near the ocean, but I have never seen it until now. I also ate some strange things with this Elder. He would go to street venders and ask me if I had tasted something they were selling, and then he'd assure me it was good and buy me some.
I previously mentioned that we contact mostly less active members. Our mission President, President Jensen, gave us a pattern to follow in our teaching less actives. The First lesson we teach is always the Atonement of Jesus Christ, then we teach them as we would investigators, and go through the missionary lessons as needed to help them return. There are a vast array of less actives. There are some who after one lesson agree to come to church and haven't missed a week since, there are some who are very bitter about the church or who don't really have testimonies. Some people just dropped inactive after marrying someone of a different faith, there are a lot of possibilities. The privilege in teaching less actives comes in the fact that we get to help people with testimonies and the light of the gospel to not fall away. Those who are baptized have greater need to stay on the right path, because with greater light is also greater condemnation. Another advantage is that we teach the Atonement of Jesus Christ a lot. The atonement is very central to the Gospel, and although every missionary will teach it, they don't always focus on it. We focus a lot of study on learning about, and how to effectively teach the Atonement of Jesus Christ. We have to help remind people of the truths that they once knew. We use the Ordinance summary record, as well as the active members to help us find less actives. President Teh had an analogy about a tree and said that first you pick the low hanging fruit. The low hanging fruit are members who have the Melchizedek Priesthood, who have been endowed, or have been on missions before becoming less active. These are the people we try to go to first. They are those who often have strong testimonies about the church despite their less active status. I am always finding a lot of good things in the scriptures. I am finding things to help me, as well as to help those I teach.

Life is good, I love you all. Love,
Elder Nathaniel Merrill

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