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

Sunday, February 19, 2012

The Sun and the Rain

This past week we had a zone conference. It was good, we had a couple missionary go home this last transfer, so now we have new couple missionaries, the Engles from Arizona. They've only been here a short time but they both shared their testimonies with us. At our zone conference we also had a visitor form the Philippines area health official. I don't know exactly what his office is called, but he is in charge of missionary health for the entire Philippines, Elder Baime and his Wife from Canada. He talked about (can you guess?) how to be healthy. He talked mostly about the importance of daily exercise. He mentioned that the missionary health guide is the best guide for health there is because it's the only health guide that the Lord has put out. He also talked about exact obedience, and that exact obedience is how to become a good missionary. President Jensen also talked to us about faith, and how to build the faith of the members. One nice thing about the zone conference is that it was up in Baguio, I didn't really notice the difference between Baguio and Agoo until I got back to Agoo. When I got back, I was hot. It is not very hot in Baguio. The missionaries there will sometimes wear long sleeve shirts. It is the coldest part of the Philippines. Baguio also happens to be the second biggest city in the country, and one of the most Americanized.
Something happened this week that hasn't really happened much before. It rained. A lot. This is the dry season right now, the other missionaries have told me that it never rains in January or February. It rained a little bit when I first got here, but until now the skies have been quite dry. There may have been a tropical storm somewhat nearby that caused our rain. Of course it still isn't the wet season, and there will be more rain at later times, but the day it rained was quite ill timed for us. We were working near the mountain. Specifically we were looking for a member who is less active, and it just so happened that she lives half way up the mountain. So we hiked up this mountain in the rain and mud in our proselyting clothes. We did find the member and we also taught a good lesson so of course it's always worth it. One advantage about the rain is that people seem more inclined to let us inside. It is somewhat easier to give a real lesson when you are already inside. This last week we did a service project to remove a huge termite mound near a members house. Four missionaries and two members helped to destroy this mound. We used shovels and pick-axes to tear apart the mound, but the interesting thing to me is that the Filipinos all wore Flip-Flops. It just shows there culture really well, they never wear shoes, even when doing yard work they were not wearing shoes. The Filipino missionaries and members all had just Flip-Flops. It surprised me, especially since we were destroying a termite mound. There are termites everywhere, and termites will bite, but yet the Filipinos still choose not to wear real shoes. The other thing about this service project is that we were outside for several hours and I got a sunburn. You may think it's strange that after being in the Philippines for this long I can get a sunburn so easily, but it isn't really. As missionaries in the Philippines we should be spending most of our time inside. We should be teaching lessons in the homes of the people, and so we don't get as much sun as one might think.
Overall everything is going quite well. We are seeing a lot of progress in this area. The ward members are getting stronger. The people we are teaching are growing in their faith. I am getting better at teaching and at Tagalog. We are enjoying ourselves here in Agoo.
Elder Nathaniel Merrill

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