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

Sunday, February 19, 2012


Monday: Today was awesome. I woke up at 7:30 and got paked and ready
to go to Concepción. I`ve had to bring my passport to the office for a
while, and I totally spaced. Elder Walker, the Secretary, called me on
it when we arrived. I travelled with Elder Corliss and his hijo, Elder
Butterfield. On the way up, Eloder Corliss and I just remenisced about
a lot of things we did together. Let`s just say 2 1/2 housrs passed
quickly. We have a meeting in Concepción tomorrow, but we came a day
early so that we could say goodbye to Elder Hall. He was REALLY
freaking ou t. He said he`s anxious, and confused about how to feel. I
teased him about all the different ways he can look at it. One of the
Sister Missionaries, Sister Eggbert, said that even though she has
less time left than me, she`s not as trunky as I am. Wow. I`m not
trunky, and Elder Corliss totrally defended me. But she looked at me
like I was sinning. Wonderful. We had lu nch at the new Subway they
built. NOt worth it. We replaced Elder Diaz for Elder Butterfield, for
the Meeting tomorrow. We had to wait in the office for a while before
going to write the family. Mom said Daddy`s cold has turned into an
infection and that he bonked his head on Uncle Doug`s new truck. I`m
so worried for him! I just want some good news. Pres. gave us
permission to visit someone from Hualpencillo. He also thanked me for
being with Elder Brady and sticking it out. Elder Pliler said I might
be asked to train again, next transfer. I think that`d just be the
best. We spent the evening with the Cruz family, being loved and
loving back. Then, we spent the night with Elders Mendenhall and
Jackson. They`re really close friends of mine.

Tuesday: This morning was cool. WE all got up on time and did
exercises. Elder Mendenhall was really impressive. He rean 3 km and
then did "ab-ripper X" with me. That HURTS! Haha. I didn`t last long
at all. But after that, Elder Mendenhall kept going and worked out
with his arms. He`s a stud. I can`t wait to swiom. That, I can do. We
eventually had to leave to our Meeting in the church. we`re realizing
that the number of baptisms is going down as a Mission. We`re all
working hard, but the Asisstantsand Pres. want us to be able to work
more efficiently, being able to do more. We didn`t really learn
anything new. They just helped us realize that our focus shouldn`t be
on contacts or referrals, but that all of the other things help us
baptize more people. We practied finding someone`s doubt and solving
it. I was the Investigator, being taught by Elders WAlker and
DeGracie. I swea, they spoke for, like, 5 min. before they asked me a
question. They would just talk AT me. It wasn`t too productive. But
ewhen they started asking questions, trying to find out where I was
standing and they were able to progress and stuff. I got to see Elder
LIsonbee and Elder Burch. They`re so great. We travelled back home.
Today was elder SMith`s b-day. Elder Maldonado and I went and got him
a Raspberry-chocolate cake. mmm. Yesterday, I oculdn`t write my family
for the full hour. So I did, today! I chatted with Cass and Dev. Cass
said Mom`s been going easy on me. Apparently Daddy has one lung that`s
"dead." Cass said he can recover, though. I certainly hope so.

Wednesday: So, for the first time in 61/2 months of being a District
Leader, I didn`t have to prepare a class for my District Meeting.
Usually, Elder Smith doesn`t pay attention, claiming he already knows
it. So I gave him the class and it was really greatifying to see the
enthusiasm with which he taught the class. It had been a while since
he`s had it. Before the District Meeting, while we were together as a
Zone, Elder Coprliss asked if he could borrow a marker. I gave him
mine. As we started our Meeting, I realized he needed it for his
meeting., instead of jotting something down. I said sorry for having
mislead him, and Sister Eggbert (the one that called me trunky on
MOnday) said to only say sorry if I mean it. Duh! That`s why I said
it! We had our class and went home. On the ride home, I was really
concerned with how Sister Eggbert has been treating me. I mean, I`ve
been nothing but nice to her, in the whole 2 conversations we`ve had
in 3 months. I barely know her. Elder Smith says she likes me. Ha!
yeah, right. If she takes another swing at me, I think I`ll have to
confront her. We had some really yummy noodle soup with beans and
longaniza for lunch. The other missionaries had their first
appointment with their investigator who showed up to church by
herself. It`s their 3rd Investigator that they`ve had, that has come,
ready to be baptized. I want to be a fruitful missionary. It`s been 6
months since I`ve baptized. I know success isn`t measured by baptisms,
but I want...something. We met Manuel yesterday. He invited us back
today, and we taught about baptism. He said he doesn`t want anything
to do with that, that his Pastor said he`s already saved. I know I
cand do better, but I just want a little help.

Thursday: today was a good day. I woke up and had my personal study. I
also read Elder Scott`s talk, from this past Conference, about
Scripture study. He said that memorized Scripture passages can be like
close friends that will always be there to offer comfort, strength,
and guidance; and they won`t fade over time. It`s our connection to
Heavenly Father for the things we need. These days, I`m preaying my
hardest for Daddy`s sake. I love him so much. I think this is one of
the few times I`ve had to dependd on my faith so much--trustin gthat
everything will be alright. We had lunch with Hna. María Rivas. She
made apple/orange/ chirimoya juice. We did contacts for a while,
before Elder Maldonado called and asked if I`d go to an appt. with
him. He said Elder smith didn`t want to go. So I went. We stopped by
Hno. Riffo`s house and had him accompany us, because we were
visiting his daughter`s in-laws. The investigator`s name is Sergio.
I`ve got to say that it felt good to teach again. I mean, REALLY
teach--with a companion and everything. I`ve realized we haven`t had
investigators because I just can`t do this on my own. I`ve had 3
months (almost) where preactically nothing has happened. Pres. asks me
to be patient. I thought I was, but iot`s getting harder. I find
myself wanting more, but I guess that`s the first step: recognize that
the impatience and wanting is there. I`ll be better. We had the weekly
activity night and Elder maldonado went to the bathroom in the church.
all the Neira family tried to tell Elder Smith to be with him. He said
no. I know he`s right. the manual said we don`t have to accompany our
comps. to the bathroom. But he was pretty impolite to Madelyn and her

Friday: Today was pretty uneventful. I did have a really good time in
personal study, though. I read Pres. Monson`s talk from the last
conference called, "Stand in Holy Places." He spoke about moral
standards an dhow the world has totally lost it`s moral compass. When
God`s prophet calls the world out on things like that, you need to sit
down with yourself and see how you`re doing. I`m so grateful for
coming on my Mission and havin gthe Spirit in my life. Pres. Monson
says that there is NOTHING that brings us greater joy in this life. He
aslso spoke abou thte special relationship we can have with Heavenly
Father, through daily prayer. I think that was a little bit of
inspiration--the fact that I chose that story at this difficult time.
We had lunch with the Branch Pres`s wife. When I explained about
Daddy`s situation, she told me to pray as well. I AM feeling better,
even now. Like, no matter what happens, everything will be alight. I
guess I can`t be selfish to demand to have what I want over what
Heavenly Father wants. We met a really nice woman today named Karen.
We chatted with her, and found out she doesn`t feel like she knows
Christ. She said we oculd come by another day, to help her. In the
evening, we visited Hna. Soledad. She seemed to be doing better. We
just had a nice visit.

Saturday: Today was a great day. I read General Conference talks in
the morning. I really liked one by Sister Elaine S. Dalton. It was
called "Love Her Mother." It was for fathers who needed more help on
how to help raise their daughters. Her counsel, obviously, was to love
their wives, and she said how to do it. I feel like I`ve changed a lot
in the Mission. For example, I find every possible chance to love
people, but it`s been so long since I`ve even considered anything
romantic. Romantic was all I aspired to be, before the Mission. but
that`s only part of it. I`ve learned that righteous actions also have
a large rold in everything we do. Things like dligence, hard work,
honesty, REAL love--charity (being able to see people as who they
really are, and loving the bad as well as the good), patience, and
being able to accept the Lord`s will in all things. That came out of
nowhere. I`m grateful for revelation. See there? The Lord just helped
me see that I`ve learned really good things. I can remember specific
instances when I learned those attributes. I treasure all of the
opportunities I have had, to be able to progress. I`m feeling the
Spirit so strongly right now! I know Heavenly FAther loves me, and
that all of my life has a Plan, and that it`s for my happiness. As I
become aware of the happiness that the Spirit can bring, I am trying
to encourage Elder Brady to be better. But he`s just getting angrier.
I went with Elder Smith to a downhill biking event (with Pres`s
permission). We worked extra hard during the week so we could have
time to go. It was free. They had some really good riders. In the
afternoon/evening, we cleaned the Chapel.

Sunday: Toiday was a vbery good SAbbath Day. We started it out by
going to our correlation meeting with the Branch Mission Leader. Elder
Smith and his comp. weren`t ready on time, so they weren`t there. So,
we got chewed out for Elder Smith`s actions on Thursday. Hno. Neira
also told Elder Brady to stop looking so darn depressed all the time,
and to start studying Spanish. Elder Brady continued to stare blankly,
unaware he was being spoken to. It was 5th Sunday, so we started out
with everyone together. Pres. Rojas put a black dot on the otherwise
blank whiteboard. He asked us what we saw. A lot of people said, "A
black dot." He asked if we wouldn`t rather like to see all the white.
He said, "Sometimes we see only the black dot in our Brothers and
Sisters, instead of the vast white background." I realized I may be
one of the "spot" people, so I think that`s something else I want to
work on, for myself. An RM asked, "If you had a child on a train
track, listening to their headphones, and they couldn`t hear your
shouts of warning, would you leave them there saying, "Oh, they have
their agency?" Or would you take their earbuds, pick them up, or take
some other action?" It was a good example of good parenting skills
I`ll keep forever. Judging from yesterday`s entry, as well as a lot of
times in personal study, I`ve found that writing=revelation. If we
aren`t writing, we aren`t learning. Same thing goes for school. We had
yummy tomato pasta for lunch. In the afternoon, we got a call from a
member from concepción, who was visiting here, and asked for a
blessing for his mom. We met up at the church. The mom recently had
her leg amputated, and she had a foot-long stick coming out of her
neck (she never explained it). In the blessing (for a head and tummy
ache) I gave her, it sounded like I was preparing her and her family
for death. That`s a first. I hope everything goes well.

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