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
Sunday, February 19, 2012
Monday: Today was a wonderful Pday. I was the first one up, and I just walked through the apartment, enjoying the feeling of nothing to do. We went to write the family, but my family hadn written me yet, so we planned to return in the afternoon. Hna. Pinar wrote me and says she misses me and that it`s not the same without me there. Fernanda told me it`s her mom`s b-day this Sunday, and that I HAVE to call. :) We discovered that the 4 of us are almost out of cash, and the rest of our moeny is on our cards. The buses to our Meeting only take cash, and I have enough for my comp. and I to make the trip there. It`s scary because the only ATM in the city is closed. We returned to writing the family, and found out that Daddy now has a cold. My favorite email was from Cassie (friend). She worried about me, and, to comfort me, she used a Scripture I shared with her...a YEAR ago! She remembered! She wanted to open her b-day letter so bad, that Tina had to take it away. My hijo threatened to do the same thing when I got my b-day letter from her. We did contacts in the evening, and had a good time talking with people.
Tuesday: Alright, so today was the best day I`ve had in 2 months. Oh! I`m so happy. I`ve been so focused on the principles of sacrifice and Go`s love for us, lately. today, I finally was able to put them into practice. In my District Meeting, I had everyone analyze the "Christlike Attributes" in PMG and choose their weakest one. Elder Smith and I tied for "Diligence." My next-worst was patience. This week, we`re all going to improve our attributes and become real disciples of Christ. I`m really worried about Elder Smith. He`s too casual with the Gospel, and laughed at me when I tried to motivate them to be better. We had french fries with Hna. Soledad for lunch. Yum. Elder Smith started to annoy me with inappropriate talk, and I then got upset at myself for not being patient with him. So I tried better, and got better. we started a fast for a greater desire for good and for Daddy`s health. We were heading out to do contacts, and Elder Smith was saying somethign contrary, but my comp. said, "I want to do contacts with Elder Merrell!" I was so happy for him! We set an appt. with our first contact. Our last contact (Diligence PWN!) was really special. He was a drunk kid, but we were able to "astonish" (Matt. 7:28) him. He kept asking about 2012 and the end of the world. He also admitted he was smoking and drinking. He wasn`t sure if he should follow God or tuck those beliefs away. I asked for the Lord`s help . I had the impression he was nervous of being held accountable for sins. I taught him of being able to repent, be baptized and receive a remission of those sins. Then, he was really interested. It was like a switch had been flipped. He invited us back for another day. I`m grateful for the Lord`s help with me and my weaknesses.
Wednesday: Today wasn`t as productive as yesterday, but I was still able to learn a few important things. I`ve discovered that I really am happier when I choose the right. I`ve gotten much better at recognizing the Spirit`s promptings, too. I realized that most times, when I don`t choose the right, it`s because I stop and think, "Oh, but this other thing might be fun," or something. But it`s like in one of those shows where, objectively, you know everything that`s going on and what the character should do. You know what he needs, but he still chooses wrong. I figured I know what I need and what will happen if I don`t do it. So, I`m not even going to consider following my own desires and passions when I get a prompting. If the Spirit says, " " that`s what I`m going to do. I was reading some conference talks. One, by Elder Uchtdorf, taught me another lesson. Pride is one of the most dangerous sins. It`s about competition. There are two extremities Satan uses to attack: making us feel more important than otheres, and making us feel less important and feel alone. But the solution to both of those is selfless/humble service (Mosiah 3:19). I love being able to help others. We had lunch with the Llancapan family. I bought a choc. bar for Hno. Llancapan`s b-day. Afterward, I searched our map for 45 min. trying to find our contact`s house for our appt. We never found it, and that means we never showed up. Dang it! Wep re still trying to be better missionaries, though. I hope Elder Brady can change. It seems everyone`s apathetic in this house but me.
Thursday: This morning was normal: Elder Maldonado and I were up while the other two alept. Haha. It`s kind of sad. When Elder Arjona called he had some important announcements. The biggest one was that Elder Hall`s going home, on Tuesday, because of his sickness. Elder Arjona wants everyone who can to meet with them, in Concepción to say goodbye. I spent the next hour coordinating with the other District Leaders, so Elder Hall wouldn`t overhear. I asked Elder Arjona if he knew his next comp. He said no, but it would be really weird if one of us from Curanilahue became his comp., but he`d find out on Saturday. Elder Corliss said I+ d hate him for not telling me something, but I`d find out on Saturday. He thinks I`ll be zone Leader. Ha! I guess we`ll see. We had lunch with Hna. María Rivas. She always makes home-made cherry juice. It`s sooooo good, especially after being in the heat for so long. We had an appt. with a young man, John, we met the other day. I went with Elder Maldonado, so I wouldn`t have to teach alone. John wasn`t home, so we knocked doors on another street for a few hours. We got one appt. with a lady, Veronica. We found an inactive member that has baptism-age children that aren`t baptized. his name`s oscar, and he`s really nice. We had our weekly game night with the ward. We played soccer and tennis. When we got home, Pablo called me. He`s been in Santiago for a few weeks. He said he has a friend, Catelín, who wants us to invite her to church. I told him we`d go by tomorrow. Tender mercies of the Lord are wonderful.
Friday: Today was a good, if uneventful, day. Actually, Elder smith told me of some disturbing news. Apparently, there`s a bill being passed back home, that will outlaw internet copyright infringement--for media, information, etc. I didn`t think much of it until he tol dme that if it gets passed we could lose websites like Google, yahoo, and wikipedia. This is huge! Elder Smith and I went to lunch together. Today, the Relief Society had a party at the city pool. So we walked out there to pick up our bagged lunch and then walked back. As we walked, Elder Smith told me how public gymns work and how great they are. He taught me a little about weightlifting, too. we had peeled potatoes with a lettuce-tuna salad. We bought a completo to help it go down easier. Elder Maldonado went out with me in the afternoon. We went by Catelín`s house, so we could get to know her and invite her to church like Pablo asked us to do. But her dad came out and told us she works in Concepción on weekdays, and that we`d have to return tomorrow. He wasn`t that cordial with us, but we`re going to come back anyway. We found, in a newspaper, that "megaupload.com" was closed yesterday. Since that`s where most of Chile gets it`s music/any media, it was pretty big. If the bill does go through, and we can`t use google, then college is going to be very hard. Holy Smokes!
Saturday: Today was a productive day. WE got up and did our workouts and studies. Elder Maldonado aske dme if I could beat his push-up record. I did, and then Elder Smith beat me. That`sfine. I built for moving and jumping and stuff. I went out with Elder Maldonado, in the morning, to visit some of his old contacts and try and help them progress. wE didn`t find any. and we had to climb a staircase of...I don`t know how many stairs, but we went up a 1/4 mile. Whew! We had lunch with the Riffo family. wE found out that the 60 year-old brother has been working 18-hour shifts for a week, (4 PM-10 AM) and he still comes to church! After lunch, he put on a serious face and said, "Don`t get me wrong Elders, we`re happpy to have you here. Very happy. But--" Right there, I thought he ws gonig to chew us out for something, as a LOT of people like to do in this country. But he said this, "Please forgive us for not having more." He actually thought we cared about that, and wanted to serve us more. This brother is one of the best examples of Christ-like humility that I`ve seen. Elder Corliss had told me a story of a peasant boy who saw a man standing by a shiny car. He asked the owner if it was his. The man said he`d bought it for his brother who wasn`t doing so well. The boy said, "I wish," and the man thought he would wish for a brother to buy him things. But tears came to his eyes as he said, "I wish I could BE a brother like that." I`m going to try and be like that for my family. We couldn`t find Catelín. We were walking around. We passed an old lady on a park bench, and her smile was sweet with a little bit of...hope(?) in it. So I turned around (imagine that image of a missionary doing a 180 on the sidewalk to talk to someone. Weird) and spoke with her. He rname`s María, and she and her husband would love for us to visit them. In the evening, we cleaned the Chapel. Then I helped Elder Brady prepare for the talk that he has to give tomorrow.
Sunday: today was less than awesome, but still ended well. for our class in Priesthood we had to have read "Counsel for the Youth" by Boyd K. Packer. It was a rally good message from the last conference. He said that even though bad, scary things may be happening in the world, IF we heed the promptings of the Spriit, we will be protected. That`s a huge promise. He said that "hearing" the voice of the Spirit is more of a feeling. Elder Brady did well on his talk. We had lunch with a part-member family. I didn`t know that. When Elder Smith introduced himself, I said, "He had the second vision." The non-member 21 year-old said, "What?" Realizing he wasn`t a member, I quickly said, "What?" like I hadn`t heard right, and moved on. In the afternoon, I asked everyone to help clean the apartment for Elder Corliss and his comp. that were going to be staying with us tonight. No one helped for a while. Elder Smith and Elder Brady joined later. We had to take the clothes today. I asked Elder Smith to wait for me. He walked right out the door. My comp. and I left later. They waited a 1/4 mile later. I didn`t speak `cause I felt like Elder Smith just didn`t respect me and had not cared what I had to say. He even said so when I told him what bothered me. He said that he hadn`t heard me aske him to wait, and told me I shouldn`t be so sensitive. He called me a baby and aske if I`d do that to my wife. He said I should grow up. He just kept attacking, blowing the whole thing out of proportion. I said nothing and couldn`t sto pthe tears. Elder Brady swore at Elder Smith for the 2 months of bullying that I`ve endured from Elder Smith. ( hadn`t realized it for what it was). I cried all the way home and the other two stayed to see the laundry sister. I didn`t want to be angry, so I made Elder Smith`s be dand folded hi sclothes. He apologized when he got home. Hna. Soledad asked to speak with us (Elder Smith and I) in person, at 10 PM. She told us about a serious marriage problem that she had(and it is serious). She doesn`t know what to do. I was like, "Please, Heavenly Father, help me help her." I gave her som eadvice, then a Priesthood blessing of comfort. She said she felt the Spirit as I blessed her. I called my convert, Sabrina, and my Chilean mom, Maite Millahual, to wish them both Happy Birthday.