Hey Everyone!
This is my blog about all the activities and details about my mission. My folks are going to be updating it weekly, based on the information that I send them through my letters. My current address:
Elder Brigham James Merrell
MTC Mailbox # 138
2005 N 900 E
Provo, UT 84604-1793

Monday, November 22, 2010


Tuesday: We went to our Distrizona meeting. We arrived late. We all woke up late. I was ready a half-hour early. Elder Oversby was ready 10 min. later. The bus took 15 min. to arrive and 10 to arrive at the meeting. I was embarrassed. The rest of the meeting went by without incident. We had lunch, and went to our appointment with Jonathan. He used to smoke 20 cigarettes a day, and no he`s only smoking 6! He has a true desire to change. I probably won`t see his baptism, but he`ll get there. He wants to quit in 30 days. We`ll try and shorten that. We taught the plan of Salvation. He said he loved it, because it was new and hard to grasp. We helped him and gave him a pamphlet. He`s an intelligent fellow. He read our other pamphlets 3 times each! He used to not be spiritual, and had a rough life. But now he sways that when he prays, he feels "accompanied" and not alone! Thanks to today`s lesson, he better understands WHO he`s praying to. He noticed how clear the Book of Mormon is, compared to the Bible. He`s really observant. Elder Oversby and I were talking about girls tonight (he ALWAYS points out women). He compared Megan Fox to a casino, pretty on the outside and trash on the inside (he said it, not me). He wants to marry a temple--beautiful inside and out. I think we both agree on that.

Wednesday: We went to help Nestor this morning like we had agreed, but he had misunderstood and we had done a lot of walking for nothing. We ended up doing some contacts before lunch. In the afternoon, we helped Osvaldo with English before doing some visits...or trying to. Most of our current investigators are under 18, and today, all of the parents came out and told us "the kids weren't interested anymore. "that`s a load of garbage, and they know it. So now we have Jonathan, Estefanìa, who will be baptized Saturday, and Cristian and his wife Veronica. I don`t think we can effectively teach Nestor`s family anymore. We must have walked 9 miles today. We were tired. We went to our ward mission Leader correspondence meeting. There`s a brother that was there, Hna. Andy, the pres. of the high priests. First of all, he doesn't talk unless he has an audience. Then he complains. He told us we weren't using the members enough. That was dumb, because all the members say no, and when we brought him, he made us lose an investigator. Then he said the Bishopric shouldn't have to do Permanaced list, which they haven`t been doing and should. It`s their ward, and we just make the visits. He said the numbers aren't important, and we have to focus on the people. We know that, but obviously we have the numbers for some purpose, and wasn't that why he was reproaching us in the first place? Then he named all the callings he`s had, and said he knows better. After that, Fernanda`s exchanged student told us that he`s a classmate of Hna. Andy. Andy doesn't do his homework or he fails it, claiming it`s because of work and being a Father. The Pres. of the High priests shouldn't even be at that meeting!

Thursday: This morning, we had our weekly planning session. I had to stare at the map again for 30 min. to look for names for Permanaced, just because I know the map better. Lame. But we got a firm grip on what we`re going with our investigators. As we were walking to lunch, I was thinking of how weird and unintelligent the people of Chile can be sometimes. Then I realized that Americans might be even worse...outside of Utah. I realized the WORLD is a messed up place. People are greedy. they compete to see how many girlfriends and one-night stands then can have. Good people are punished by the evil hearts of the men worshiped by society. Drunk men abuse their trapped wives. This world is deteriorating. But there are the candles of the LDS to shine in this darkness. Strong families with values of integrity and honesty, using those virtues to lift others. We're outnumbered, but every soul we change is great in the sight of God. We met someone named Ignacia. Her mom is 22 years inactive. We invited the mom to return, and Ignacia was like, "It`ll be good for you to return. I`ll even go with you!" So we taught her the restoration, an d we have another appointment, she`ll come to Estefanìa`s baptism, and church. She was almost our last contact, and I wanted to save the other contacts for another day. But the Lord rewarded our diligence!

Friday: While doing contacts this morning, Elder Oversby made the comment, "If your hair can be used to describe a cleaning product, you might have a problem." He was referring to the close similarity my hair has to...steel wool. I thought it was funny. We talked to a man who believed in God and nothing else. Not even the Bible. He had studied a lot about every church, he claimed, and he believes that it all sounds like a bunch of stories. He would ask really interesting questions like, "why are there wars and evil in the world?" and I was going to open to 2 Nephi 2 to answer, but he shot off on a tangent with another good question I couldn't answer because of another question. But I found that I wasn't angry. I was just sad that he wouldn't let us give him help. Our lunch didn't open the door. It was with Hna. Andy`s wife. He got there 15 minutes later, without keys. He bought us 2 empanadas. Before we left, Elder Oversby politely asked him to give the Ward Mission Leader his time next week. Andy replied, "Elders, just work. That`s the secret. Are you upset I asked you to work the other night? I know my wife`s home. But she`s sad because of your pride, Elder Oversby." THen he called Oversby lazy. He seized Andy`s hand fiercely, and squeezed Andy`s shoulder. Hard. He thanked Andy for judging him, and told him to go home. He said, afterward, that he was really close to punching Andy in the face. Andy came over later and apologized. Oversby vented to the MIllahual family. They came to his rescue. I love them.

Saturday: We got up and went to the chapel to fill the baptismal font, but the heater didn't work. So the bishop said he`d call someone to fix it and we`d have the baptism tomorrow. We had lunch, and headed into the rain to do a lot of contacts and lessons. We worked hard, talking for 6 hours with people in the streets. The last hour or so, I found that I was sad. I felt something was missing. Fernanda was helping us, and we had a good time talking. I did miss being able to date, briefly, but that wasn't necessarily why I felt bad. We had been rejected by people for such a long time. I was soaked and cold. I felt like I was failing some aspect. When we got home (after making sure a drunk man found his way to his house safely) Elder Oversby wanted to talk with me about how I felt. I talked to him, and tried to think of what it might be that could be hurting me. I realized it was my High goals for myself. I was falling short, no matter how hard I worked. The people just wouldn't listen to us. We couldn't help them. I couldn't be the missionary I've become and there`s nothing I can do about it. And yet I feel guilty and responsible in some way. Following that train of thought led me to my last relationship, and how I didn't have a choice in that either. I sat down, and hugged my knees to my chest, and had a slight relapse of emotions of how I had felt in that difficult time. It wasn't pretty. But to come back out of all this, I thought of things that I could do that ARE in my control, and that I expect of myself and my life. Here comes list #2: Find comfort and measure success in myself; when tempted to anger, react instead with love and understanding; always appreciate the blessings in the present; love and marriage are of the utmost importance, and as such, cannot be easily conceived or controlled--much less predictable and culpable--and I will experience both in the Lord`s time; I will gain a desire for honest work by having the ability to see a need and follow Jesus`s example by performing genuine service; Dedicate one day a week to service to others; I will include the gospel in all aspects of life, and pray to receive the consecrating blessing of the Lord in any thing that I do; Become involved in the lives of others, and be an example and source of strength for people that need help; exercise regularly; give thoughtful advice; be patient in all things, whether it is waiting or acting with long-suffering; speak my mind openly and honestly; always pass on knowledge to the younger generation....

Sunday: We got up and went to fill up the (blessedly warm) baptismal font before coming back and getting ready. Then we went to look for Ignacia, our investigator, and bring her to Estefanìa`s baptism and church. She wasn't home. We went to the baptism. We were horrified to find Hna. Veronica had brought Estefanìa, but not Jonathan. They all live next to each other! But after the baptism, Jonathan came 20 minutes before church started on his own accord. He liked the feeling of the chapel and the meeting. there was a huge difference that he could FEEL. On a side note, mate (pronounced "mott-ay") has been banned. It is the most common drink of Chileans. It`s an herb you put in a cup, and suck it through a special, filtered straw. It`s bitter and wonderful. But zones who have already had interviews with President have been told that mate is out. I have no idea why, because we haven`t heard it from the Pres. yet.It can`t be because of the ingredients or anything. But apparently Richard G. Scott told all the mission presidents to stop mate. Maybe it`s to keep us from staying in houses too long. Maybe it`s for financial reasons. But I think it`s a good chance to see how obedient I am. I challenge people to quit smoking. I can do this, at least. all the other Elders are wether crying or plotting. I`m excited.


Monday: So I`m writing in my second journal! Incredible! I completed 6 months in the mission three days ago. It`s cool to think I've completed 1/4 of my mission already. we slept in until 9:00, and then just laid in bed. It felt deli9cious. I turned 20 years old today. This is where I am still young, but am beginning to grasp the understanding of decisions and blessings of liberty. We wrote the family. I had individual messages from everyone waiting for me. They had been thinking about me all week. Mama sent me some photos of the Halloween party they had thrown for the kids. They said that through the emails, it feels like I`m right there with them. Mama, Cassie, and Devin all got season passes to my home away from home, the Provo Rec. Center. They play racquetball and swim. In the evening, we visited Sonia & Ernesto. They gave us two complements each. Robin and Bilha were next. They got their first "Liahona" and we read with them and answered questions about temple service. Elder Oversby missed his old sector. He was depressed. When we went to the Millahual`s, he felt so loved and happy. We ended at Nestor`s. He gave me a third of his super-sugary cake, an entire dinner, followed by sugared strawberries. It was so much stinking food, I had to shove it in.

Tuesday: We had our Distrizona meeting today. But before that, I threw up some of the cake of the Devil from last night. Not that Nestor`s the Devil. That cake was just evil. You`ll have to take my word on that. We introduced ourselves to each other at Distrizona. We have 3 new missionaries in our zone. We practiced teaching the law of Chastity. Nailed it! (with the help of the Spirit) We had lunch in the house. It was a crazy soup with scary things in it, and a giant home-made bread. We ate the potatoes out of the soup, but nothing more. Elder Oversby had just bought butter, so we lunched on the bread. We set out to work in the afternoon. Since he doesn't know the sector very well yet, i was in charge. His Spanish isn't too good, and he`s a bit shy, so I got to talk to the people a lot more. We were both so excited to find people. And we totally did! We taught with power, authori8ty, and confidence. I was talking in Spanish a million miles an hour, and people listened. Liset, Katalina's sister, received the first lesson. She might be even more receptive than Katalina! Tonight, we went by Nestor, to teach his nieces and nephew. Actually, it was just the nieces there. Marian gave me a b-day present: a panda bear stuffed animal covered in perfume. It smells so good. we started the Book of Mormon from the beginning. Then they were like, "Do we have to stop?" Haha!

Wednesday: We got up today and actually left a little late. Lame. But we headed out to lunch early. Elder Oversby asked if we could do contacts nearby. Then I remembered a reference Hna. Veronica gave us. We visited him. His name is Jonathan. He knew the Church when he was 12. He`s received the missionaries 1 or 2 times. He told us he knew he wasn't ready to receive the gospel, and that he was ready now. So I invited him to get baptized. He said yes, but I saw coffee and cigarettes, so we`ll see. We big him farewell and went next-door, to lunch. We told Hna. Veronica the good news. She was so happy that she invited Jonathan for lunch too. That was awkward. We rested after wards and went out for contacts. I just think it`s so cool to think about the Lord`s timing. If he waits for the right missionary to come, or maybe a specific lesson needs to be learned. I don`t know. But that`s why I don`t get discouraged when contacts reject us. Their time will come if they trust in Heavenly Father. Elder Oversby is a little shy. So I've had the opportunity to mature and teach more. I've come a long way with the language. We went to Nestor`s to read in the Book of Mormon with Marian and Llamila. We did, and Nestor gave me an mp4 as a late b-day present! Ah! Elder Oversby and I discussed our conversion (true conversion) stories on the way home. I love feeling the love of the spirit.

Thursday: I was tired today. Elder Oversby and I have been walking a lot. But this morning, we finally got to see the end of the reparations on the house. But we had to spend all of the morning cleaning. We vacuumed with the broken vacuum, tried to clean off a brown stain from the white wall and found it had just never been painted at all, and found a syrupy liquid that was strawberry milk from July that had been in the fridge since then. Needless to say, our house smells better now. We had lunch with the Bishop. I wanted to ask how the matter with Nestor was going. You see, he was accused by someone of being gay and living with another man. We've been over there many times and know that`s not true. He does have co-workers living at his house, but he`s not gay. If the witness doesn't come to her interview (again), they`re just going to give Nestor his priesthood, finally. We did contacts before going to Jonathan. We decided to teach the word of Wisdom because we saw, and smelled cigarettes (be direct and speak boldly, huh?) But it went really well, actually. He had been hospitalized about a month ago, and they told him to stop drinking alcohol. He did it. And he told us he was thinking of quitting smoking too. So we were like "okay, miracles, anyone?" These people are such great examples to me. Would I be as willing to give up what I love, for God? Oh wait, I already did. Go missionary power!

Friday: I am so happy with this transfer and my companion. We got up and were working right away. We were out, talking enthusiastically with people. One guy opened the window, covered in sweat, and without a shirt and told us it was a bad time. I just thought he had been showering. But I decided it was sweat when I heard a girly giggle and he left. :O WE hiked through the beautiful green meadow with it`s rolling hills. It was a lot less pretty when it made us sweat. We interviewed Estefanìa for her baptism tomorrow. She smoked this morning! So we`ll wait a week. I think she forgot. She`s a little old and wants to quit. We went to the Chapel for the ward FHE. Nobody came. So that was wasted time. We went to the Millahual`s. I got sunburned pretty badly today. Fernanda was assigned to ice my neck. She even rubbed my neck to help my headache. It made me lonely and I asked her to stop. Elder Oversby and I talked about it on the way home. He asked if I was starting to like her. The question caught me off-guard, and I thought about it. I decidedly said that Heavenly Father was preparing my wife for me, so I`ll wait for her. Pres. says we won`t meet our wives here. As personal advice, Oversby told me not to lie to myself. It can hurt later. I think it`s a good piece of advice. I like being honest with myself, and knowing who I am in the eyes of my Heavenly Father.

Saturday: We had a cool contact. His name`ps Francisco. At first, he told us he wasn't interested in the church. He had already looked for the truth. He knew there was a god, but he couldn't understand his personality, couldn't put a name to it. He went off on the big bang, and molecular activity, marveling at God`s work. He seemed to really be looking. I told him, with all the sincerity I could muster, that he has a Father in Heaven who loves him. That he has a plan for Francisco`s life. I bore him the strongest testimony I could, trying to love him. He seemed a little surprised and touched at what I had said, and asked when our next meeting was, at church. The spirit helped me convince someone in Spanish! We talked to another boy who said he`d know the church someday. If he knew that he was going to die the next day, he`d be doing everything he could, for his salvation...just like we`re already trying to do! A lot of people tell us "they`re too busy right now." Would they say that to Jesus? It was fun to work with Elder Oversby. There was a really deaf guy, and all the nearby dogs were barking, so my giant companion took a deep breath, but a hand to his mouth, and started conversing politely with the man...belting out at the top of his lungs. Cliche' missionary desperation to help. (In "Young Frankenstein", the horses are afraid of the name of the maid "Frau Bluker" which means "glue factory." Glue is made from horse hooves!) We did 80 contacts today.

Sunday: Today I had a hard decision to make, and a lesson I learned making it. I cried after I realized how much weighed on me. But I was strengthened when I remembered that I am a representative of Christ, doing what he would do were he here. If I make a choice and wonder if it was the Holy Ghost or me, Elder Bednar says "quit worrying about it." I hope I chose right. Nestor`s nieces and nephew didn't come to church. He said he found them smoking with friends last night. He said something that translates to 2I hit them." I chose to interpret it as spanking, and thought him in the right. We passed by later on tonight. I was resolved to let them go, out of frustration. When we arrived, Guillermo showed me a text message he had received. It said, "Even though I may look fine, in my heart I`m very, very bad." He told me it was from Marian, using pointing to tell me.I thought for a while and said, " We've taught her everything she needs to live a happy life. But right now, we've pretty much finished." But when speaking Spanish, 3rd person can be the same as talking to someone respectfully. He stood up and left. Oversby told me he saw tears. I felt awful as I realized what I said. He thought I had been talking about him. I cried and Nestor took me to his room to talk and cheer me up. I returned to see Oversby talking 2/ Guillermo. He told me after, that all of them feel trapped by Nestor. The only listen to us to make him happy. We came home and decided to leave them. I don`t feel too bad, actually. The lord will take care of them. But Oversby and I had a cry together, hugging. And then we prayed that the nieces and nephew would be provided for. I have to admit, that when I heard about all this, what Nestor said to me this morning, about hitting them, suddenly gave me chills as I realized that it might not have been spanking.