Monday, December 2, 2013

Week 16 - It's me, Elder Merrill

Malolelei friends and family!
I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving. Holidays out in the mission field are a lot different than back home. We don't really have friends to go cruise with or family to go see, so we just got together with our makeshift family (the missionaries in our zone) and play some football, rugby, ukulele, etc. Then we went to a member's house (I guess you could relate them to like an awkward cousin) and had dinner with them. We were fed plenty, and I had a lot of different things to be thankful for.
This week we got a with date! She's going to be just the second baptism for our small Honoka'a ward this entire year! Her story is actually really cool, so I'm gonna paraphrase it for you guys.
Her son, Brandon, joined the church a while back, and shortly after went inactive. After him and his family went through a lot of trials, they decided that they needed the Lord's help, and they needed Him in their lives, so they started to come back to church. As they consistently came to church, prayed, read scriptures (the small things) they gained the spirit in their lives and the Lord was able to lift them up. They completely changed their lives, giving up their old lives of partying, drinking, etc. They are now some of the most faithful members of our ward, and a lot of our work and investigators come from his example that he's set. Friends that he used to party with notice the change in him and how much happier he is, so they ask him about it, and he invites them to start taking lessons from us!
Anyways, relating back to his mom, Georgia. She also noticed the change in him and his wife and how much happier they seemed to be. She also wanted that same happiness in her life and started taking lessons with us. We taught her the plan of salvation this week, and it really opened her eyes as to how life continues after, and why what we do here on Earth is so critically important. She started crying and saying that she should've been the one teaching this to Brandon, and that she should've been the example of him while he was growing up, because she's his mother. But she said instead, he has been the example to her and has helped her find greater happiness. She smoked since she was 14, and for the past two weeks, hasn't smoked a cigarette! We didn't even address the Word of Wisdom yet, she just knew it was something that she needed to stop, and she knew with the Lord's help it was possible. 
Brandon's story bore testimony to me of how important it is to be that example for all those around us. He says that it's hard, at work he's like the outcast and he's not invited to go out with his friends on the weekends anymore, but he also says he's so much happier and wouldn't trade this happiness for anything. He and his wife are preparing to be sealed to their family in the temple! And he told us that his mom making the decision to get baptized on the 21st is the best Christmas present he could ask for!
So go out and be that example that Christ needs you to be always!
I love you guys and thanks for all the prayers and support!

-Elder Merrill

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