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

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

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.

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