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 28, 2013

I think the computer shop we are in is run by a member.  They are playing EFY music and have New Era posters on the wall.    
     Here is what President Monahan told me about transfers. "Your new area will present challenges and blessings. You will find that your new companion is surprisingly talented and humble. You will be able to help and learn from other. The branch needs a lot of help and that is where the Lord needs your talent in working with members!"
I am now in Mapandan branch in Mapandan district. I am in Mangaldan zone and Elder De Jesus is in the zone as well.   I am follow up training again and my companion is Elder Marafina. I suspect I might train again next transfer because I've trained a lot and there are over 40 missionaries coming in next transfer.  (all the 18 year old  Elders and 19 year old Sisters.)  So I am back down to a branch and I am also in a very small zone.
    Back in Lingayen, to finish this week before I transfered we had another baptism. Reymon got baptized and he has expressed desire to serve a mission.  He was baptized by one of his good friends in the ward it was great.  I won't see his confirmation though. I had a good last week in Lingayen we got a lot of lessons right up to the end.  We also had a dinner appointment with the Relief Society President where we talked about all the needs of the ward.  The Relief Society in Lingayen is great.  
     Here in Mapandan we had a baptism interview right away.  I got there Friday and we had a candidate interviewed on Saturday.  This is the first time I've come into an area and had a baptism right away.  This will also be the 2nd baptism of someone I didn't find.  Mapandan is my biggest area.  There isn't much besides fields.  It is only a branch but covers a larger area than I've had before.  It also seems to have the least transportation.  We don't see as many Tricycles going by.  On Saturday we took a 'shortcut' that my companion said takes about a kilometer off of our walk,  then we proceeded to walk for about 40 minutes.  There is a lot of walking.  It is a good little branch though.  The Elder I replaced has been really sick though.  He had a parasite and they didn't work for the last 2 weeks.  Everyone we go to seems to ask "Why haven't you come by for so long?"  which is a little tough.  Because of that we don't have very many solid appointments.  We do have some great investigators though.  We have one 'eternal' investigator.  She has been an investigator for 4 years but now she actually has a baptismal date and is doing very very well.  We also have one as I mentioned being baptized on Saturday.  
My companion is also very good as well.  Elder Marafina is only in his first area but I am very impressed with him.  Every companion I've had for 9 months has been in their first area.  I don't know the entire area yet or all the members and investigators but it does look to be a very good next few months here.  
Have a good week, keep your head up, and smile.
                                                                           Elder Nathaniel J. Merrill

Monday, January 21, 2013

I am almost definitely going to be transferred this week.  Why?  Well my companion Elder Sta.Ana, who if you remember is my trainee, is training next transfer!!!  So my trainee is training which means I shall leave. (Well it's never for sure but I think you can 99%)  We officially find out on Wednesday and then transfer day is Friday.  Everyone says I am going to go to a middle of nowhere area.  

     We had a baptism last Saturday.  A nine year old of a recently returned family was baptized. As we have been working with returning families now we have a lot of young investigators.   We haven't focused very much on the young kids because we are trying to help the families return, but now we counted up all the 8 year olds and older of families that are returning and we have about 7, the oldest being 12, that will probably be baptized in March.  The 8 year olds aren't convert baptisms but it is still going to be exciting to see them baptized because we helped their families return.  Those baptisms are in addition to the other investigators.  Next transfer there will be a lot of baptisms, I won't see them but I did help them get there.  We also have one more baptism before I leave.  It will be on Tuesday and one of our ward missionaries will be baptizing him.  That one will be exciting because he is 18 and has already expressed interest in serving a mission.  He will have 1 year from now, the ward missionary who is baptizing is one of his good friends and will also be serving a mission soon.

       Another exciting thing was the Young Women New Beginnings.  The reason it was exciting is because they formally welcomed our recent convert who is a young woman to the stake.  On Friday Elder Sta.Ana went with another missionary to the Train the trainers meeting with President.  I worked in my area with Elder Wilding.  Elder Wilding is fairly new but he is a pretty good missionary.  While working with him we stumbled upon the house of the mother of our Young Men's President.  She was super super nice to us, and I remember hearing the Young Men's president pray a short time ago that his family will come back to church.  Well this may be the beginning to the answer to that prayer.  With Elder Wilding we also taught one of our new investigators.  This was a referral from a member and is one of the most receptive people I've met.  We taught them for the second time and afterwards Elder Wilding was amazed to find out that was only the second lesson to them.  I have high hopes for all of our investigator families right now.  There is a lot of potential in this area... The area that I am leaving... but it is still way exciting because people will be being baptized.  Last Year in LIngayen 2 ward you could count the baptisms on one hand.  This January we have 3, February there are 2 more that are very ready and then we have a lot of very progressing that I believe will also be baptized.  It is exciting to see an area that is progressing so well even though I am on the way out.
          One of these is at the top of the Pangasinan state capitol building.  We just walked up to the top.  We walked past 4 guards and none of them cared at all.  There is also a baptism here.  There is also a cool investigator family.

Have a good week, keep your head up, and smile.
                                                                           Elder Nathaniel J. Merrill

Monday, January 14, 2013

As to Dad's inquiry I am still in Lingayen, although probably not for much longer.  I was also interested to hear about MacArthur coming to Lingayen.  I knew that he came but didn't know when.  Here in Lingayen the 'fiesta ng dagat' is in January.  The ocean festival completely covers up anything about MacArthur's landing and I haven't heard it mentioned.  
     This week I got to work in Labrador.  Since my stay in LIngayen this is the first time I have actually left Lingayen for work.  I've worked in other areas in Lingayen but now I got to work in Labrador.  Labrador is a very beautiful area and I worked with Elder Daplin, a very new missionary.  The one thing about Labrador is that it is easy to talk with everyone, or Preach by the way.  In Lingayen as you walk from place to place you see a hundred people or so, while you can greet everyone you wouldn't usually be able to share to every single person.  In Labrador you very much can share to every person because we only saw about 10. President Monahan recently gave the Labrador branch President an inspired promise that Labrador branch will double this year.  (Kind of like Elder Gillespie's branch that went from 11 to 22.  Labrador is looking to go from about 30 to 60)  Anyway it was a good time in Labrador.  Later in the week we split again.  On Saturday our baptism candidates were interviewed, and there was also the Philippines area broadcast.  After the interviews there wasn't very much time before the area broadcast but we all decided to work.  Because we were in our area, Elder Sta.Ana went with one missionary while I took the other and then we split up in our own area.  Essentially we had double the lessons and the interviewing missionaries had none.  But that was ok because they didn't really have time to go back to their own area anyway.  The Philippines Area broadcast was awesome as well.  The Area presidency spoke about the 2013 area goals.  
      This week was also our stake conference.  So Saturday we got to listen to the Philippines area presidency and then Sunday the Stake President and others including President Monahan.  President Monahan's talk was funny just because it was in English (actually it had maybe 10% Tagalog).  Anyway the Filipinos liked it.  I was very impressed with each talk, the stake conference was really good.  
     There was another instance this week that an investigator was having a hard time.  We knew that things were rough and I felt that we should go and give her a blessing.  Well she is progressing well and really wants to be baptized.  We went to give her the blessing and she was packing at the time.  She was called just now to go work in a diffident place.  When we got there I would like to note she had already packed her Book of Mormon.  It was nice though that we were able to give a blessing just before she left.  She will come back in about 4 months and I am sure she will be baptized although I won't be around.  She was supposed to be interviewed with our others on Saturday.  It is kind of sad but at the same time we were very happy to be able to be there in time to give her a blessing before she left.
Have a good week, keep your head up, and smile.
                                                                           Elder Nathaniel J. Merrill

Monday, January 7, 2013

I don't know what to say anymore, I feel like all my letters sound the same. But nonetheless we had a good week this week.  I've been talking a lot about how our area is blossoming and really doing well.  Last Tuesday just after our companion study President Monahan called and said he is considering splitting our area.  Then yesterday we had 29 people we were teaching come to church.  I know there are some small branches that don't even have 29 people.
    We have one person Lena we are teaching right now who has a few friends in the church.  We arranged for one of the friends to pick up the family.  (our church just switched to 1 pm BTW)  Well at about 10 am the friend texted us and told us that our investigator went to church, but not our church.  At 10 am they were at the Catholic mass.  Well that was a disappointing  we had expected them to come and I was wondering if somehow our church invitation had been confusing and that's why she went to the Catholic.  Before church we went by a few investigators to go with them, but they weren't even home which was disappointing still.  That's the point where you worry about the switch from 9 am to 1 pm and it's effect on church attendance.  Well as we walked into the church at about 10 to 1pm there sitting with a few of their friends was sister Lena and family.  They came to church.  Actually they went to church twice yesterday and they really enjoyed themselves at the true church of Jesus Christ.   Needless to say we were very happy.  The friends accompanied them to the investigator class and also took care of the children which was so very nice.
   Our awesome ward took good care of us this week as well.  We had dinner or lunch appointments every single day last week.  We taught one of our elect investigators about the word of wisdom this week.  Before we taught the lesson, we saw the coffee on the table. (not a cup of coffee but the powder)  We were a little apprehensive but we taught what we needed to.  As we talked about the WOW we started saying the things we needed to avoid and everyone was strongly agreed with, when we got to coffee she agreed again.  We were surprised, "Do you drink coffee?' we asked.  "no it's hurts my heart, I stopped drinking it years ago."  The same with tea, she told us "I would probably drink tea later tonight but now I won't be drinking any".  She only had the coffee to give away for a new years gift.  The other investigator there gave up smoking and drinking a while ago because he had a 'feeling' that he should.  Prepared by the Lord.

    Later in the week we felt we should visit a certain active member who is old and has a caretaker.  The caretaker is another active member.  We went to her house and greeted her and talked to her for a moment.  We asked where her caretaker was, and it turned out she was sick and took the day off but not without getting a replacement.  The replacement was someone we did not know but quickly found out was a Mormon before.  She told us she got baptized some time ago but hadn't been to church.  Well we knew that we had been truly inspired to go to that home.  We told her that God had inspired us to come and teach her and we were there to help her find her way back.  She came to church.
      I have a picture here of a family that has come back to church and their daughters recent baptism.

Have a good week, keep your head up, and smile.
                                                                          Elder Nathaniel J. Merrill