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 16, 2012

New Transfer

This week starts a new transfer. I wasn't transferred, and neither was Elder Tolman so our companionship will stay the same. Although our companionship is the same there are changes in the zone, a lot of Elders were transferred into Agoo, and our district is very different now. Elder Tolman and I hope to make this next transfer as good as possible, and if we can, even better than the last transfer was. Our tiny branch on Sunday was very full as we had many of the people we taught this week attending Sacrament meeting. It was very exciting for us. Sunday night we had dinner at a member's house. They made food they don't usually make, just for us. They gave us each a fish to eat. The Philippines had an area leadership training Saturday night. We saw it by broadcast, but President Teh and his councilors spoke to all the Philippine church leaders. The Philippines is the 4th largest country in terms of members of the church and has had the fastest growth of any nation in its first fifty years of church membership. This is the 51st year since the church came to the Philippines, actually it was Gordon B. Hinckley who dedicated the Philippines Area back in 1961. They said the only problem is that sometimes there aren't enough active Priesthood holders in an area to support the number of people. He spoke about the great importance that the Priesthood leadership has in the church. He gave an interesting proverb, I think it was Proverbs 29:18, but it says when there is no vision, the people perish. It reminded me of the 2X4 plan of President Shaw, that is the vision of the Stake. So then President Teh announced the Philippines vision, or goals for 2012. The five points were to Feast on the words of Christ, Strengthen Families, Establish the Church, Save the Rising Generation, and Save the One. He elaborated on exactly what each means and the specific goals for each one, I won't because of space and time, but Elder Tolman and I decided we are going to start teaching President Teh's points to members when we have dinner appointments or when we are invited to Family Home Evenings. The Philippines has two temples and a third on the way. Did you know there was a Temple being built in Urdaneta Philippines? Well the groundbreaking will be in the next few months or so. The Urdaneta Temple is in the Baguio mission. That's why the mission is in the process of changing to the Urdaneta mission. The boundaries will remain the same but because of the soon to come Temple the name will change. Exactly when I don't know, but when the groundbreaking happens all the Baguio missionaries will likely get to attend. I felt better this week with my Tagalog. Before, when I heard someone speaking, and couldn't understand it, I would say to myself, "They must be speaking Tagalog", but now when someone speaks and I don't understand I think "They must be speaking Ilocano". Although that might not sound that exciting, I feel like I can understand very well what goes on in Tagalog. Although speaking and understanding are a little different. I can't speak as well as I understand, but of course I do speak just well enough to say what I need to say. We have tried to get the members in our branch excited about missionary work. A ward in the Philippines lives or dies on its effectiveness in missionary work. Many members are a little nervous about sharing the Gospel, or inviting their friends to listen to the missionaries. We like to teach the members from 2Nephi 32. We can share verses 2-5 about how they have received the Spirit and can always have it with them, and as they study the scriptures and pray they will better feel the Spirits promptings, and that as they listen to the Spirit they need not fear because the Spirit can show them all things which they must do.
Elder Merrill

P.S. Also I know that the package you sent has arrived. The Zone Leaders told me that they picked it up when they were at the mission office for transfers, I just haven't picked it up from them yet. But I will get it before Valentines Day.

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