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 a great Pday. The Zone Leaders planned an activity
in Lebu. Initially, no one in Curanilahue wanted to go with me. Bu
then Eler Arjona spoke with my comp, and reminded him of a commitment
he`d made, that I wasnt aware of: to keep his comp. happy. So he
changed his mind. But when Elder Smith heard we were going to the
beach and some caves, he offered to take Elder Brady`s place. It was
really pretty. We went from the main beach, through a long tunnel,
into a smaller inlet. It was an awesome white sand bach. We spent the
first little while taking pictures. We went quite a ways from the main
group. We were climbing on the rocks close to the waves. Elder smith
wanted to go to a specific place, but it was too close to the waves
for my liking. Elder Smith went ahead to show me how. But as soon as
he was pinned in what we thought was a "safe spot", the waves got
ENORMOUS and came over his head. He pretyt much almost died. I got
pictures. But we got back all right. We were going to receive a
spiritual message in the tunnel when Hna. Gomez sprained her ankle.
Luckily, an inactive member with a 15-person van drove up right then,
and took us to the hospital. Lucky. riiiiiight. Here`s waht I imagine
the Spiritual message being: We were in a long, dark tunnel with a
light at the end. The way was rocky and dangerous (hence the sprained
ankle...it was real, not planned, so don`t go having sadistic thoughts
about our teachers). We were told to bring our flashlights. Some
didn`t. These could depend on others` lights, but it was not easy. I
imagine the flashlights being our testimonies. We can lean on others`
from time to time, but it`s a lot more hazardous when we`re directly
confronted with challenges. The family`s doing better. Mom said the
car`s ready and waiting for me. Dad said the clots are now scar tissue
that will dissolve. What a relief.

Tuesday: Today was all right. I got kind of sick in the evening, but
it was a good day besides. We made i in time to catch our bus to
Distrizona. We spoke with the Zone leaders about goals for this month.
As a Zone, we`re actually doing pretty well, and I told them we`d have
2 more for March. It was Elder Smith`s last District Meeting, and he
was talking and talking, taking away from the lesson. I wasn`t the one
teaching it. It was comforting to know he listens better when I`m the
one talking. It shows he respects what I have to say. Elder corliss
was awesome and bought a cake for Elder Arjona, because it was his
birthday last week. We had lunch with Hno. Alvarado, the Elders`
Quorum Pres. He runs a tight ship. He laid out exactly how our lunch
behavior would be. Afterwards, he chewed us out for the actions of two
of us this past Sunday. Apparently someone had tattled, becasue he
wasn`t even in Church on Sunday. He said if he catches us being
irreverent (sleeping, reading Scriptures not of the lesson) again, hed
take us into the hall. Just so youknow, I wasn`t one of the offenders.
When he gave us that little lecture, it was done in a very
considerate, loving way. The other 3 Elders were offended. I thought
it was cool. As a Leader, I`ve found I`m TOO loving, and sometimes
people don`t listen to me. Thanks to this brother`s righteous example,
I can be a better leader. I got sick in the evening, throwing up 3
times. I`m feling better now. The other companionship traveled to
Concepción tonight, for the Conference tomorrow. We`ll be going

Wednesday: Today was great! I mean I`m really happy right now. I
actually heard something cool in our conference: Happiness is a
decision. I think that`s true. The trick is doing it even when it`s
hard. Anyway, we had our big conference today. We got up at 5:00 so we
could take our bus to Concepción. As we got to the Meeting--well, a
half-hour before it--I studied Scripture Mastery for 10 min. with
Elders Woodward and Rasmussen (Elder Rasmussen and I were the only two
to get 100% on the test), the San Pedro Zone Leaders. We spent most of
the day learning about improving our teaching skils. We had some
really cool object lessons. For example, Elder Tanner had us mention
investigator doubts and solutions. We`d then get to try and hit a
bulls-eye on a dartboard, representing us trying to findInvestigator`s
doubts on our own. Then, he played a track on his iPod (low volume)
and told us to listen to the "spirit`s" voice, telling us to throw the
dart at the ballon in the garbage can in the corner. I was the first
one to recognize it, and got to throw from 4 ft. away. After 5
freakin` failed tries, I gave up. analogy to my mission work (being
able to find the doubts but not executing the teaching)? Maybe. It was
embarrasing. Elder Brady got it on his first try. I talked with Pres.
afterward, asking permission to go baptize Scarlet on the 25th. He
said transfers were this week, and I`d be leaving. He gave me
permission and thanked me for my patience with elder Brady. He said
I`d passed through the trial of faith and now the blessings can come.
He thanked me for my obedience and righteousness (in front of
everyone, no less) and told me he wanted me to be a Zone Leader (in
private) somewhere in Concepción. Wow. I didn`t see that coming. I
actually feel really good about it. Better than if he`d told me I`d be
training. Whew! YEAH!!! We came back at 9:00 PM and had a [very] late
lunch with Hna. Diaz. She`s so awesome.

Thursday: today was a good day. for my personal study, I read some
little stories from the January Liahona. they were both about people`s
conversion tories. And the cool part was that they were totally
miraculous! One told of a girl that got a copy of the Book of mormon
form a co-worker, saying that he knew it was a true book of Jesus
Christ`s Gospel, and that it would touch her heart. she read it and
loved it. Some time later, she moved. One day, she passed abuilding
witha stained-glass window of Lehi`s dream. She asked a emmber, and
he referred her to the Missionaries. For the Missionaries, it was
someone who randomly showed up, wanting to be baptized. It happens.
But there is so much that goes on behind the scenes, that we`re not
even aware of. Heavenly Father knows each of us, and will do
everything to give us the chance to choose happiness. It just depends
on us. We had lunch with Hna. Judith, Hno. Neira`s sister. We had
CFC--Chilean Fried chicken. It was good. In the afternoon, I had to o
with Elder smith to Interview their Investigator, Paula. She`s really
smart. And she told me of some of her Spiritual experiences. She`d
been told if she wanted to know something, she just had to ask. she
asked a question on Fast Sunda. Then, someone testified of Heavenly
Father, Jesus Christ, and Joseph SMith. She said she felt, lik, a wind
on her face and a feeling that it was true. As I finihed the closin
prayer, she looked like she had something to say. At my request, she
told me she felt a calm energy on her back as I prayed. It gave her
goosebumps, which she never gets. I still have the Spirit!

Friday: Today was great. 2 years ago, from today, Elder Lisonbee went
into the MTC. He completed his 24 months of service. So I gave him a
call to congradulate him and see how he was feeling. He said he was
dead, and that he was sleeping in. Haha! I can`t believe he`s DONE!!!
It feels like it coul dnever end. And, indeed, there are many times
when I wish it wouldn`t. It`s sad to think I won`t be able to see him
for a while. But I know I`ll see him again soon. It`s just another way
the Mission relates to real life. I mean, Grandfather and Grandpa have
both died, and I was sad. It wasn`t the grief of a permanent loss, but
of emporary separation. We`ll see each other again when I finish my
mortal mission, just like I`lls ee Elder Lisonbee in a few months.
We`ll watch the new Spider-man movie together--AT MIDNIGHT!!! On our
way to lunch, a dog HOWLED at us. Like a wolf. It was sweet. Elder
Smith also completed 2 years today. He wasn`t too inclined to work. I
didn`t push him. He FINISHED his Mission. That`s so cool. We workedin
the afternoon, and met a few people. the most receptive was Gloria. We
took our clothes to Hna. Nidia`s. As I shared a Scripture, I
discovered I had opened to yet another one about humility. Totally
accidental, but it struck a chord in her. She talked bout someone who
was offended by her actions, but she assured us she never does
anything wrong, and she was the victim. She wouldn`t listen. We (Elder
Maldonado and I) met with Hno. Neira for correlation, because Elder
Smith got sick.

Saturday: Today was a great day. I spent it with Elder Smith, `cause
he asked me to. He`s kinda freakin` out because he`s going to see his
family in only a few days more. In the morning, we played some cards
while just talking. He told me about all the things he`s excited to
do/eat/see when he gets back. I just listened. I`m pretty good at
that. Our lunch was a little different today. We had a Branch activity
where the little kids got to play in inflatable pools an there was a
big tarp to make shad for the adults. For lunch, we had Umitas. In
Mexico, they`re caled Taales. Basically, they`re rolls of mashed-up
corn and onions. The eat them with sugar, and they`re pretty good.
We`re probably going to have leftovers tomorrow. :) We spent a while
trying to figure out how to get the font going, for the baptism,
because it was acting up. But we did that and waited for it to fill.
Then we had Paula`s baptism. She belongs to the other Missionaries. Al
went well. In the afternoon, I wrote a reply to Miriam. She`s serving
in New York. That`s pretty cool. I got a call in the night, telling me
the transfers. I`m going to be a zone Leader in the Talcahuano North
Zone, in the "Cruz del Sur" sector with Elder Aparicio. I`ve heard
he`s good. Elder Mendenhall is replacing me, here, to be with Elder
Brady. I called Hna. Pinar in Los Angeles, to tell her how much I
loved and missed her. My hijo`s leaving to be in Temuco Cautín. That`s
cool. Elder Calaway and Elder Montalbán are going to be Zone Leaders
in the other Zones of the North with me. WOOT!!! I love being a

Sunday: So, I woke up to a phone call from the Zone Leaders, telling
me that the Olivares family, from Tirúa, want me to baptize their 8
year-old daughter, Belén--this Saturday. Dang it! I`m getting
transferred. I`ll have to check with Pres. Martinez and my new comp.
But it`s great to have both Scarlet and the Olivares family wanting me
to be part of their lives. I love them all. In SAcrament Meeting, all
of the themes were basic stuff. I used to get bored of all the
repetition, but I realized something really obvious: basics are
fundamental. I hear lots of Missionaries say things like, "I can`t
wait to do such-and-such with my Eternal Companion." But it`s not like
we can just skip there, like it`s automatic. We cannoat make Temple
Covenants if we can`t do simple things like daily Scripture study. So
those primary talks became very important to me. I just love being
instructed by the Spirit. Elder Smith and Elder Maldonado went to
Concepción for Elder Smith`s Interview (the office people actually
screwed things up, and he actually didn`t have it today, and had to
come back). We had lunch with Hna. Bernardina. She`s Elder Oversby`s
convert. I`m so grateful for all of the Sisters` sacrifices in our
lunches. they WWILL receive blessings. The good news is that Elder
Smith`s trip to Concepción was not COMPLETELY in vain: I got a letter
from Cassie!!! It was awesome. :D

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