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, March 19, 2012

Working with New Elders

Last night in our Barangay was a festival. A Barangay is kind of like a neighborhood, it's probably not possible to really explain though. Anyway there was a festival and a little parade. It was kind of funny, I don't have any idea what they were actually celebrating, and it wasn't the city, just a little area where our house happens to be. Actually the festival is a little bit sad because it hurt the church attendance, but we were glad to still have some investigators and less actives come to church. Some people who haven't been to church since I've been here came last Sunday. There was another kind of weird event earlier in the week as well. Elder Fraser and I were in a hurry so we were walking quickly, and then we noticed everything was still. The Traffic had stopped, the people on the sidewalk weren't moving, no one was talking except us. The only other sound was a loud speaker that I couldn't understand. The loudspeaker was coming from the Catholic Basilica, it was a prayer. After it ended the people all did the sign of the cross, said amen, and went on their way, but the entire area had been still moments before. They had policemen stop the traffic during the prayer. You know you are in a Catholic country if... It was a little strange.
Earlier this week I got to work with Elder Carr. Elder Carr is on his first transfer. Essentially meaning he has been here in the Philippines a lot less time than I have. It was the first time I worked with an American who has been here less time than me, it is also the first time I've worked with a missionary who is on his first transfer. Elder Carr is a good missionary, but it was a little bit hard. It was hard because if something wasn't understood I couldn't ask someone to translate. In fact, if needed, sometimes I was the translator. It was a tough day, but I feel like it's a good gauge of how much you can do. It is a real test of ability now that there is nothing to lean on. Something else that I've noticed while here is that you really begin to love these people. There are times when we have to drop investigators, we've taught them for a while, and they are not progressing. Our time would best be spent elsewhere, helping people return to church, helping people who keep commitments. We teach the doctrine the best we can, and then people use their agency to follow or reject it. Anyway, we had to drop an investigator who we'd taught for a while, who liked us to come, but didn't really progress. I realized how much I really loved this little family as we told them we couldn't come back. I pleaded with them to keep the commandments and to do what was right, not because it was my duty, but because I loved them. I knew what I was saying would help them, I knew if they followed they would be blessed and be happy. I pleaded for them to do what I said so they could receive the blessings their Heavenly Father desires for them. They were not at church yesterday.
Despite that sad ending to my letter, I am doing well and am happy.

Good luck to you all and have a wonderful week,
Elder Nathaniel J. Merrill

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