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
Wednesday, March 7, 2012
Monday: We woke up early this morning and I kept Eldr Smith company as he finished packing. I hugged him goodbye and wished him good luck. I spent the morning cleaning the house up so I could make my video tour of the house. We went to write the family. Daddy doing so much better. He had his filter removed and he`s recovering well. He`s not coughing as much, now. Mom and Daddy spent the weekend alone and had a good time. Mom said Devin paid his tithing and fasted without being asked. Cassie`s a bit sick, but still has stellar grades. I spent the afternoon packing. I got it all done by 6. LIfe`s good. I got to say goodbye to the Diaz family. I didn`t expect their strong reaction to my leaving. Hno. John and his wife were both very impressed with my happiness. They said it`s totally contagious and that I should always be how I am. Hna. Paulina asked how I can always be so smiley. I`ve really learned on the Mission. I taught her what I`d learned. I think she`ll be fine. They`re such a good family.
Tuesday: So, today we had our transfers. I got up 40 min. too early, and got to wait in suspense. I couldn`t believe I was leaving Curanilahue! I had been totally prepared to finish my Mission there. We got all my stuff together and made the bus on time. WE got to the Terminal safely. WE didn`t have to wait long before Elder Brady`s new comp., Elder Mendenhall, arrived. Elder Brady`s and my goodbye wasn`t that emotional. As Zone Leader, my first responsibility was to wait until all of the Zone had arrived. I met my new comp. Elder Aparicio. He`s a total crackup. He has the straight-face kind of humor. As I`ve come to know him, I`ve found him to be a little relaxed, but he wants to get things done well. His last comp. wasn`t much of a team-player, and he really likes me. I had a good time talking with Elder Mcconnell, too. But I spent most of my time with elder Burch. We had lunch with the Bishop`s wife. When we dropped my things off at the house, I found it to be totally messy. OMG! So I asked my comp. if we could take some time to clean up. Now it looks amazing. We have a few investigators preparing to be baptized. One, Thomas has a date for next week. we talked with his mom, who`s going through a divorce. She is having a really hard time. I just wanted to help her so much. I felt that she somehow felt responsible and guilty about what happened. I told her it wasn`t her fault. She started crying, and we all felt the Spirit. She`s going to read her Scriptures more, so she can be closer to God. Her name`s Reaquel. Elder LIsonbee called me up, and swung by with his parents. Yeah. I was fereaking out on the inside. We dropped off the dirty clothes before coming back home. I`d heard Elder Calaway had had surgery last week for appendicitis. I called and he said he`s feeling much better. He`s gonna be a Zone Leader in San Pedro, 30 min. to the South. I felt like a Junior comp. today. It was nice.
Wednesday: So...I feel kind of overwhelmed. Haha. After having cleaned up the house, I was kind of excited to get up. We did our exercises, and had personal study. I found a book called, "How to become more creative" which is something I deperately need. And it explained my lack of creativity as a result of my "judiciary imagination." That`s the use of imagination to weigh consequences and make decisions. It weakens creativity. We started out the day doing contacts, before going to visit the soon-to-be-ex-husband of the Sister we visited yesterday. He kicked his wife and children out of his home. But the man we spoke with was penetant and broken. He explained how he was feeling, and we explained how things can get better. I thought my comp. was going to go into explaining how to love his wife, or something. But he did well and set the goal of helping them both come closer to Christ. That is our purpose after all. We shared with him the story of King Lamoni`s father, and how he asked to know God, so he could receive the Eternal life. We had lunch with our WArd MIssion Leader, who is awesome and actually does stuff with us. We got ot call the two new Missionaries in our Zone,a nd welcome them to Chile. For a contact, my comp. called out to a kid with a basketball, asking to see it. The kid gives it to him, he dribbles it ONCE, it bouncesinto the HIghway, and a bus pops it. It all happened in 5 sec. and I was laughing SO hard. And then, he teaches the kid a lesson and asks if he wants us to come over. The kid shook his head no, and asked for payment. My comp. didn`t have money, so I had to pay. lame. We went to see a past contact, Samuel, who runs an upholstery shop. My comp`s done that his whole life. So we helped upholster a couch. We taught Thomas, our 9 yr.-old investigator about faith, using water balloons and a blindfold to make a cool activity. Then we had our commitee and gave a class. And finally, we picked up the clothes. I`m so lost. :) But it`s nice to be with someone who knows what they`re doing.
Thursday: Things are getting better. I still felt a little stressed when we spoke with each other to plan the Distrizona. I have been so wire-tight, trying to anticipate everything because my comp. is relaly laid-back and likes to do things in the moment, without planning. Next to him, the Mamita we live with things I`m a no-nonsense, super-organized, clean Missionary. But I`m getting better. Our Meeting went off without a hitch (We DID end up planning it). We`ve got a really good Zone. There`s an Elder Gonzalez from Provo. He went to the other High School. He spent 11 months in Iraq, and told me some stories. When he finished, he said, "I like you, which is weird because, since the war, I`ve had trouble with that." I really wanted to gain the Zone`s trust, and everyone else had equally positive reactions. :) As we were leaving, a bird pooped on me, but only on my backpack strap. Yay! We had lunch with an Hna. Aurora, who isn`t a member. She`s been investigating since October, but isn`t fure. She loves the Missionaries, but her relationship with Elder Aparicio is too casual, just like everyone here. He says he wants to "enjoy the Mission", but I think there may be a better way. But I`m trying to be more humble. We visited Samuel, the Upholstery guy, but he was busy. He`s gonna read a chapter of the Book of Mormon before we visit again. As we were walking from him, we started talking with two kids-- one 15, and one 18, both fireman in the 3rd company of firemen. The 18 year-old, Collin, said we could talk with him right there. We sat beneath a tree and taught baptism. Collin said he wasn`t baptized yet. He was excited to learn more. WE`ll talk on Sunday. wE taught Thomas the Baptismal interview questions. He`ll review it with his mom. I gave her the talk "Forget Me Not" by Elder Uchtdorf from the NOvember Liahona. We ended the night with the Guiñazú family. We live with them, and they are SO Nice. They made us a butt-load of completos. They like it when we visit.
Friday: Today was a good day. It rained for the first time in a while. Walking through the windy rain reminded me of my dear times with Elders Calaway, Burch, and Zuñiga. I wonder what it will be like, to look back on the Mission as a whole? My companion`s beginning to remind me of Elder Argueta, who I got along with so "stellarly." I`ve begun to notice he`s a bit of a manipulator, saying rude thigns while apologizing. It`s really disorienting. But I`m trying to see the best in others, and my efforts have been rewarded. The Assisstants called and chewed him out for something he forgot to do. He acknowledged that he wasn`t perfect, but he tries to be better. And he really doesn`t get down on himself when he messes up. I`ve gotten hard on myself, really hard, for failing. But I`ve learned that it`s okay not to be perfect. It`s the effort of TRYING that the Lord expects. And I`ve never stopped doing that. In the morning, we went to buy our bus tickets for our trip tomorrow. We had lunch with a cool Sister that made us a veggie pie. It was great. We went through the rain all day. wE found osme new investigators: Roxana, and Alex. Roxana didn`t want to talk at first. She`s Catholic. But as we explained about Christ`s Church and the Apostasy, she became very interested. It was all academic, until we mentioned the GIft of the Holy Ghost. She wanted it, and will continue receiving us. Then we taught Thomas about Prophets and the Restoration. His mom really likes it when we come over. She really needs the visits now. We came home early, because some members from San Vicente lost a house and were coming to pick up our spare mattresses. While we waited, we shared the "17 MIracles" movie with the Guiñazú family. They loved it! P.S. My comp. says I sleep talk in Spanish and english. He heard me say, "Oh my goodness!"
Saturday: Today was sooo long! We travelled to Tirúa, because the Olivares family asked me to baptize their youngest daughter, Belén. I wanted to be out, waiting for the "micro" bus at 6:20, so it could take us to the bus terminal for OUR bus at 7:30. Yesterday, it took us an hour. My comp. got us out the door at 6:35. I freaked out a little, on the inside. WE caught a micro at 6:45, and I asked Heavenly FAther for help. We made it in 30 min! We got on the bus and made the 3-hour trip to Cañete, then another hour-and-a-half to Tirúa. It was so cool to walk up the hill to their house, just like old times. Their house looked the same, and it brought back all my feelings of love for them. Lehi`s voice has dropped a lot, and Jayson is still a little, round sweetheart. Hna. Olivares swas so happy to see me. And Hno. Renato, from my previous sector, Curanilahue, was there. I saw him last week! Haha. The Olivares` had all teir relatives over (minus Diego, Meybelline, and Gonzalo). I had met them all over the course of 3 months last year, but it was great to see them al again. The baptism was performed in their backyard pool. I had to repeat it because Belén`s toe popped up. So we did the second time kneeling. Hna. Olivares made us Choripanes with a good sauce. She`s like, "I made you the sauce that you like." I was like, "What sauce?" But when I tried it, I was like, "Oh THAT sauce!" It was amazing. So it was a good day. We took a 5-hour bus back home. When we arrived, I was so dead. But Hno. Guiñazú invited us to have some warm soup he had waiting for us. He`s so good.
Sunday: Today was a good day. We went to our meeting with the Ward Council. The WArd here is really excited to help the MIssionaries. They have a few Young Men who are preparing to leave in a little while, on their missions. My Comp. has a great relationship with the members, too. He has a great sense of humor, and knows how to use it. We had a class on the Fall of adam and Eve, the one I taught a few weeks ago. When we got to lunch, I was SO Hungry. My stomach was killing me. But as I ate, it got worse, and I asked the Sister if I could bag up my lunch. She asked if I was well, and I said no. She invited me to lie down in one of her rooms. As soon as she closed the door, I cried from the pain. Then the whole family came in and saw. Oh geez. After a rest, I didn`t feel better, so we went home. I was worried because we`d miss our 6 o`clock appt. with Collin. But we randomly ran into him on the way home. Crazy! Tonight, was the first time I asked my Zoine for their numbers. Elder Alvez`s District, as well as hi sown sector, had low results for a week of work. I wanted to love him, but I wanted to do better, too. I was a bit too rough with him. My comp. asked, "Do you feel you`ve served Elder Alvez enough to be able to ask things like that of him?" I told him no, and he taught me how to be a better, loving leader. I have more respect for him now.I called Elder Alvez back, and apologized. I felt so bad. I just don`t want to mess up.