Thursday, July 25, 2013

Letter #4 - July 25, 2013

Iakwe in raellep! Sorry I didn't write you last week, I was super busy getting everything done.
As for my companion, we're getting along a lot better now. Our teachers have commented on how much our companionship unity has improved. Our lessons have improved drastically, and ever since I've fasted, everything that bugged me before I am now able to push aside.
We have 17 missionaries in our district now. me and my companion going to Hawaii, Elder Ackley(from hawaii) and his comp going to Iowa, 2 to Oklahoma City, 1 to Spokanne Washington, and the rest to the Marshalls. our branch is our Marshallese district, two Samoan districts, and one Kiribati district. Everyone's super chill and easygoing. Our branch president has a glass eye, but he's a nice guy. His two counselors take turns falling asleep during each of our sunday meetings. Our zone leader is Kuresa, the backup QB for BYU.

An elder from New Zealand in my zone just taught us how to play coin rugby. It's basically the paper football game with a quarter. It was a really great way to pass the time during laundry cause it gets crazy boring.

We have this thing called TRC where we'll have either returned missionaries that speak the language, or native speakers come in and we teach lessons to them. They're not pretending to be an investigator so it's really centered around getting to know them and teaching a person not a lesson. My comp and I had an elder that just got back from Hawaii. He told us that he was so excited for us and that it was honestly the best mission in the world. Since we are the first missionaries going to Hawaii called to speak Marshallese he told us we might be teaching only in Marshallese. He told us how he got his call to Hawaii speaking english, then the night he got to the mission home, his mission president told him he was going to be learning Marshallese.

During our tuesday devotional the speaker talked about how, as missionaries, we needed to not contend about the Lord, but to contend for the Lord, and to never give up. He said "the only way to get the best of an argument, is to avoid it".  Then he told a story about how a trainer that decided to follow the mission rules and tract for just 30 extra minutes before returning home changed one young elder's mission. The missionary later wrote his trainer a letter and expressed his gratitude for setting such a great example. He said that principle that he instilled in that young missionary of enduring to the end had a great impact on this young elder. In the letter he said that his trainer could add him to his convert column. In our district meeting after I bore testimony of how important it was for us to become converted to Christ on our missions. That through inviting others to come unto Him, we grow closer to Him ourselves. Above all else I want to come closer to my Savior by the end of my mission. I want to truly come to know him and stand as a witness of him at all times, and in all things, and in all places.

I was hesitant to tell this story so don't let it freak you out, but here goes. Last week, one of my good friends in my branch, Elder Luke, suddenly woke up in the middle of the night. In the corner, at the foot of his bed, he saw the shadow of a man, stooped over and holding his legs. He tried to move, but couldn't. So he tried to call out to his companion for help, and couldn't speak. He sat there unable to move as the figure slowly moved towards his face. Suddenly he heard a thud and was able to snap out of it and grab his flashlight, and when he shined the light, the figure disappeared. (Side note) A minute before he woke up, his companion also woke up and had the impression to go look for something on the other side of the room. He realized while he was over there that he had no clue what he was looking for, so he went back to his bed. However, as he was looking, he bumped something, the same bumping noise that snapped Luke out of whatever was happening.

So that day we were talking about similar stories that other missionaries in our district had of being bound(which we probably shouldn't have been doing in the first place, but who doesn't love a good ghost story) So as we went to bed I had a bad feeling and those thoughts lingered with me. I had a dream that I was standing over my head while I was sleeping, and I could see someone standing on the side of the bed lurking over me. I could see myself trying to move and call out for help, but I was bound. I woke up from my dream and still had that same bad feeling. I curled up in a ball, closed my eyes as tight as I could, and started to pray. I had that weird feeling where you know someone was watching you. I knew that if I opened my eyes I would see someone or something standing over me. I've never felt so scared or alone in my life. My companion was literally 5 feet away from me, but I felt completely hopeless and abandoned. I prayed for what seemed like an eternity, but nothing happened. As I sat praying in the feedle position with my eyes closed tight, I received the most distinct impression of my life. I remembered that as a misisonary I had the power and authority to call upon the ministering of angels. I asked God to send down angels to deliver and protect me. I never opened my eyes, but I saw a vivid vision of angels, clothed in white with gold cords and armed with swords, surrounding my bed. After this happened I felt an immediate wave of peace and comfort rush over me. It was like I could feel the Lord's arms holding and comforting me. After this happened I was able to fall asleep instantly.

But now I'm good. The MTC is incredible and the greatest experience. The spirit is so strong, and I've never felt the Lord help me so much in everything I do. I love you all.

Iakwe, Elder Sammy Merrill

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