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 brother.
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.