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, June 25, 2012

     Hello.  I am sending some pictures this time.  The first is of our Zone conference.  Urdaneta Zone and Pres. Jensen.  The next is me and Elder De Jesus, my trainee, and Elder Tolman, my trainer.  Elder Tolman is the Current Assistant to President Jensen. I put in a few pictures of Sister Villanueva's  baptism.  I also added a picture of a huge but friendly Pit Bull.  There is nothing in the picture to compare him to, but he is big, and he is only 1 year old.  That picture is mostly for mom.  That Pit Bull belongs to Lourdes Tabelin, BTW. 
     This was a good week, as you can see we had a Zone conference.  Actually it was a Tri-zone conference and it was Pres. Jensen's last conference.  He is leaving July 1 and Pres Monahan arrives.  It will be interesting, I don't know what that will be like.  I really love Pres. Jensen, but Pres. Jensen speaks highly of Pres. Monahan so it should be good.  We were told that Pres. Monahan will have a conference in his first week, and then the second week interview all the missionaries.  Pres. Jensen said in his closing remarks that what he wants for us more than anything else is to learn to always have the Spirit to be with us.  He gave amazing talks, but that is all I will say about them. 
      So this week we also had a Baptism.  That was great.  Elder De Jesus baptized Sister Villanueva.  Elder De Jesus was pretty excited as that was his first baptism on his mission.  Afterwards Sister Villanueva bore her testimony and mentioned that when she was baptized she really felt like Jesus loved her.  She also said that she had never quite felt like that before.  She has been baptized into other churches before but nothing compares to the feeling here.  She is such a great person. 
       This week we had some interesting experiences with some of our Less Active members.  First there was one name we had on our list that nobody knew.  The Ward Missionaries assigned to her are out of town so although we tried to find her, we didn't know how.  So one day we go to the house of an investigator (an interesting investigator here, because they come to church every week but run away when we go to her house).  She ran away, despite the fact she ran away earlier in the week yesterday she did indeed attend church, but since she ran away we decided to teach a less active nearby.  As we were talking before the lesson we found out she was the only member in her family, we also learned she had the same last name as the person on our focus list.  So I pulled out the list and asked if she knew this person, she responds "That's me."  The name on the list is not the name she uses, but it is her real name.  So we found her, in a round about way, and she did come to church yesterday.  We had another less active family come to church yesterday that hasn't come in years.  Years.  The members told us they wouldn't come back, well they did. And they brought with them a neighbor who is an investigator.  Missionary work goes on and will not be stopped.  We are focusing right now mostly on part member families.  As we find and teach less actives with investigator family members, they all start to progress in the Gospel.  We have quite a few part member families in our teaching pool right now.  A lot of people looking to come back. We are hoping and praying for them to return. 
                    Have a good week, keep your head up, and smile,
                                          Elder Nathaniel J. Merrill

Monday, June 18, 2012

This week was a good week.  We have a lot of good going for us right now.  Sometimes I feel like you have to look for the good, other times you can see it everywhere.  This week was pretty good.  We had stake conference this week, so it was a little bit difficult to get investigators and less actives to attend. (They had to go to Urdaneta) But those we have been working with the most did go.

     This week we found and started teaching one great less active family.  They were very warm friendly and accepting toward us.  They didn't seem very much like Less Active members.  We managed to teach them a few times and then later we mentioned it to another member in the ward.  The other ward member was amazed.  You're teaching them. They actually let you in.  Those are the kind of reactions we were getting.  The ward was surprised they would even talk to us, and yet the family is doing well, keeping commitments and so forth. 
      We also have an investigator who should be getting baptized this Saturday.  This will be my first baptism with Elder De Jesus, and he excited because it is also his first baptism.  The Sister getting baptized is great.  She found the gospel and the truth, and now tells everyone about it.  She has given us so many referrals.  She tells everyone to come to church.  She even knows and encourages less actives to come to church.  She has been religious her whole life and now it finally so sure she has found what she wanted.  We are very excited for her. 
     We also found a new investigator in what I would call a miraculous way this week.  First off we were having a slow day.  It was raining all day, every appointment we had fell through, every backup plan we had made had been tried and we had just essentially been walking to appointments all day without any teaching.  After walking away from the house that we should have had an appointment, we decided to go to a recent convert's house that was nearby.  It seemed the only option at this point.  But it just didn't feel right to me.  I felt like we should do something else.  So I decided we would go back to the house we had just come from.  We were probably one hundred yards away and we started walking back.  When we got to the house, the person we were supposed to teach was still not there, but there was a family friend there.  The family friend had never talked to the missionaries before and agreed to let us teach her.  We ended up teaching a very receptive woman Tala.  We had a really good lesson, and then afterward we asked her to say the closing prayer.  During the prayer she very sincerely thanked God for allowing her to meet with the missionaries.  It was a very great prayer, and certainly made us missionaries feel pretty good too. 

I guess that's all I will relate right now, but I have a suggestion for the ward news letter.  I think in the ward news letter, accompanying  the missionary reports should be their missionary addresses.  Then ward members could easily find those addresses to write the missionaries.  Just my opinion.
Good luck to you all and have a wonderful week,
                                                            Elder Nathaniel J. Merrill

Monday, June 11, 2012

I've have been having some good days lately.  First question.  Has anyone ever heard of Manny Pacquio? He is probably the most famous and well loved person in the Philippines.  He is a boxer and when he has a fight, no one is outside.  Incidental he had a fight last Sunday morning.  (Saturday actually it was in Vegas but for us Sunday.)  The Sacrament attendance was supposed to go down, but we had 11 less actives we had visited come to church.  The week before we had 3, and this week was said was going to be low.  We also had 4 investigators come to church.  Manny Pacquio lost, coming to church won.  For at least 15 people that is. 
      This week we also had great success with our teaching in the last week.  We have one less active who really doesn't want to pray.  The problem is when we ask him to close the lesson with a prayer, he will refuse and then his wife would always say the prayer.  It was impossible for us to find out his concern because his wife would very quickly take the responsibility on herself and start praying.  So what did we do? We asked his wife to say the opening prayer.  We had a powerful lesson, and then at the end of the lesson, as expected he didn't want to pray.  Unlike previous however, we were able to ask why.  We found out his concerns, and then we helped him resolve his concerns about prayer.  I felt very guided by the Spirit in what to say to help him to overcome his concerns.  The Spirit was also very strong as he prayed, for the first time I've heard and probably for the first time in a long time.  Afterwards he was very happy, as were we.  We went in with a good plan and then were led by the Spirit to help a good man. 
     We had a couple interesting finding experiences this week.  First was an investigator.  We started talking to a man, and the first thing he said was can you guys come to my house.  I thought he must have been a less active, but as we spoke with him we found out that he was a nonmember and when our church building was being built he helped work on it.   He had some LDS friends and knew we had some "good stuff" to tell him.  We went to his house later and were able to teach him about the restoration.  It was interesting because he was very excited for us to come.  Our other find involved a small miracle.  We had been trying to contact a certain less active for about a week.  We found his house and then returned several times but he was never home and we never had contact with him.  Then a few nights ago we were out again in a far away place at night.  We knew where we could get a tricycle, but before we got far one drove by.  We are always thankful for a timely tricycle, but for this one we were especially thankful.  Why? As we were driving our tricycle driver started to cry.  When I noticed that I started to talk to him.  I asked him what his name was... And it was the very less active we had tried to contact so many time.  After our ride we talked with him a little longer.  He had recognized us as Elders and knew he was not doing everything he should.  He asked if we would come and teach him to help him change his life.  He said he had been trying to change his life already.  We have been able to teach him once and have appointments for others.  He is so receptive.   I am out of time here.
    Good luck to you all and have a wonderful week,
Elder Nathaniel J. Merrill

Monday, June 4, 2012

So this week there was a storm.  Not a Hurricane, maybe a tropical
storm.  All I know is that it had a name, Ambo.  This was the first
storm of the season, hence the name starting with A and means we are
definitely in the rainy season.  With our storm came heavy wind and
rain, and this was just a small storm.   The last few days there has
been more rain than sun.  It rains all day, and then it rains all
night.  Back in December I bought an Umbrella, and for the first time
this week I used it.  Yesterday was a particularly interesting day.
Firstly, at church a person shows up who I have never seen before.  I
asked the first councilor in the bishopric, who knows every member
less active or not, who it was.  He responded I don't know it must be
an investigator.  Now it is not very often that an investigator shows
up to church that the missionaries do not already know.  Then we as
the missionaries very quickly and excitedly tried to find out why they
had come to church and how we could help them.   It turns out that a
member invited this investigator to church and she took the
prerogative to come by herself. The member who invited came (luckily)
but the investigator was the first to arrive, which is what caused
much of our original confusion about her.  We later went to the
member's house and set an appointment to teach the investigator at the
member's house later this week.
      Yesterday again, but now in the evening we found ourselves
walking home with the other  Elders in Pozorrubio.  It was heavy rain
and the 4 of us were hurrying to try and get home before 9:30 and the
time is 9:15 and we are two miles away.  We had been walking already
for about a half hour and because of the time and the rain there was
absolutely no ride for us.  No one was out at all except for us.  We
had already been walking for a long time and then one lone tricycle
drives by.  This tricycle by my estimate was particularly small, but
nevertheless four wet Elders climbed into the small tricycle. This has
been one of many experiences where we find ourselves far away and by
sheer luck on our part we manage to get home on time.  This letter is
really short this week because we have a lot to get done today, but I
thank you all for your prayers and letters.

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