Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Week 85 - Killin' it in Hawaii...Literally

We had a super crazy, busy, tiring week. I fell asleep in my shirt and tie on the couch like 3 times this week before I could even get ready for bed. On Friday we did leg day with Kaneke in the morning, then helped some guy that's moving to Utah load everything in a giant container. When we got to his house we could barely walk, then found out we had to haul everything up his giant uphill driveway to where the container was parked out on the street because they couldn't back it in down the driveway. So we spent almost all day running stuff uphill and loading it. Needless to say I've had a really hard time walking these past few days. Seeing my companion and I go down stairs was hilarious.
We also flew to Oahu this week. On the flight there the guy sitting next to me wasn't interested at all. I'm pretty sure he was Jehovah's Witness, but whatever the case he wouldn't talk to me at all. So I decided for sure I was going to talk to whoever sat next to me on the flight back. I ended up sitting next to this couple and before I could even get a word in I saw movement out of the corner of my eye. I looked over and they were just making out. This continued most of the flight, so long story short I didn't end up having a good gospel conversation on either of the flights :(
We also went to teach Teki this past week. We worked it out for him to get the priesthood in Hilo! But the most interesting part of the night came right before dinner. I was talking to Teki's uncle, a member in our ward, when we both saw a flash of brown run across the counter. We concluded that it was a mouse and got geared up. Elder Gleave and I both had spatulas and Teki had a fly swatter. Brother Aholelei is apparently really afraid of mice, so he was behind the counter. We last saw the mouse climb into a basket where a bunch of bags were, so we slowly pulled the bags out one by one until they were all out of the basket and still no mouse. So me, Gleave, and Teki all looked down into the basket at the same time, and this mouse comes peeling up the side of the basket, jumps right at us, sprouts wings, and flies straight for my face, at least that's what it felt like. Then all hell broke loose. All three of us freaked out and started jumping around. In half a second Teki's all the way in the living room on top of a chair, Bro Aholelei's balancing on the counter and a kitchen chair, and Gleave and I are looking for this mouse. I guess in the chaos the mouse was hit by someone or something and was twitching underneath the overhang of the cabinets on the ground. I found it and Bro Aholelei was like "Kill it! Kill it!" So with one swift flick of the spatula I sent its' butt through its' brain and our tiny friend to the mouse spirit world. 
So all in all had a pretty eventful week. Hoping for even better things to come!
Love you guys!
-Elder Merrill

Monday, March 23, 2015

Week 84 - Somehow They Called Me On a Mission

Alooooha friends and family,
Sorry I didn't get a chance to write last week, we've been pretty busy. Covering two wards has been crazy, but we're never short of work which is always a good thing. We still don't know too many people in Kealakekua ward, the new ward we're covering, so we were thinking of ways we could build ward members' trust. They had a chili cookoff which was also accompanied by a talent show, so we decided to embarrass ourselves and sign up for the talent show. So we teamed up with another set of elders in our zone which was hilarious because none of us have the talent of singing. We decided a few minutes before the performance on a song called "Somehow They Called Me On a Mission". It was terrible. We had fun with it though and I think the ward did too.
We're also teaching this awesome guy named Kaneke. A few weeks ago a girl came up to us and said that her husband was a non-member and had been asking her questions about the church, so we set up a time with her to meet. Like an hour before the appointment she told us that he didn't want to come anymore. We said we'd still like to meet with just her so she agreed, then a few minutes later texted us back saying that they would both be there! We had a really good lesson with him and were able to start answering some of the questions that he had. I love teaching him because he didn't grow up going to church, so us teaching him is basically the first time he's heard any of this and he's super accepting of everything we teach. We went and worked out with him this morning and compared faith to a muscle, how you have to exercise it if you want it to get stronger. He's reading the Book of Mormon and progressing great!
We also met with a girl named Momi this week. Her mom's a member and all of her kids except her oldest daughter, Momi, are as well. We met her at dinner a few weeks ago and were able to sit down with her and have our first lesson yesterday. It was kind of a sketchy lesson because her mom's a little crazy and so is she. They got in this huge argument and we weren't able to get a word in, then Momi stormed out and said she needed a breather. But at the end of it she accepted the invitation to continue meeting with us, this time at her house. She said she wants to be baptized, so we have high hopes for her as well!
We taught in Elders' Quorum yesterday about a talk from this past general conference. It was from Elder Klebingat about approaching the throne of God with confidence. I'd encourage you all to read it because he gives 6 great steps about how we can improve our spiritual confidence. I liked where he asked if you were to have a personal interview with the Savior a minute from now how would it go? Would you be ashamed and linger by the door, or walk confidently in and meet His gaze? I think being spiritually confident comes from you knowing you're doing the right thing. It doesn't mean you're perfect, because everyone screws up every now and then, but it means you're trying and putting forth your best effort. It's when you give your all, and sacrifice your will for His that you can confidently walk in to that meeting.
Love you guys and have a great week!
-Elder Merrill

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Week 82 - Lakwe

Iakwe friends and family!
This week was an awesome week. We saw the Welle's, our Chuukese investigators, three times to make sure everything was set for their baptism. All three of the kids (Aki, Lani, and Lea) were baptized on sunday! They brought a bunch of their extended family to attend the baptism. In sacrament meeting they announced the baptism right as the family was walking in, and it was like a line of never-ending small brown people. There was like 15 or more non-members that they brought with them to church and to the baptism. Everything for the baptism went great! For his closing remarks, our bishop had all of their family stand up, and then challenged them all to meet with the missionaries and receive the ordinance of baptism for themselves! He said "I'm going to speak out of love, but be bold. This is the true church and gospel of Jesus Christ and you all need to be baptized by the authority of the restored priesthood of God". Hopefully their mom recognized the spirit that she felt and bishop's words will motivate her to prepare for her own baptism.
We also met with this super cool part-member family. The mom and daughter come to church every week, but the dad never comes and is a non-member. We talked to him before and he told us to come by on saturday for service. We showed up for service and are helping him restore a special edition '64 mustang! He knows literally everything about cars. He's a professional mechanic and has been working with cars since he was a little kid. He also knows a lot about how to make cars fast. He used to race cars and told us he's had over 250 tickets in his lifetime. He also joked about how he's trying to convince his wife and daughter to put nitrous in the car "just in case". I guess they're against it though because the car is going to be for his daughter when she turns 16.
Another cool experience we had was at dinner one night. We were eating with one of the single mothers in our ward and her family and she told us that he oldest daughter hadn't been baptized yet and wanted to take the lessons! So we talked to her and she said she wanted to start meeting with us every week so she can get baptized! I'll let ya know how that goes.
But overall a great week where the Lord truly blessed us.
Love you!
-Elder Merrill

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Week 81 - Through Much Prayer and Fasting

Aloooha y'all!
Another great week has come and gone here in Kona. Last week was our first week of covering two wards. There was some shuffling of missionaries with this past transfer, and after all was said and done we found out we were covering two wards. It's been crazy trying to get everyone sorted out and find out who everyone is, but no complaints about having more work!
We also had a cool experience. We had just got out of an appointment and had about 30 minutes until our dinner. We were about to get into our car when this guy came and talked to us. He asked us to take a walk with him and we were both convinced he was going to bash with us. But instead he told us his life story of how he came to believe in God, which was a really cool experience. He told us a story of how he was going through a divorce, so he was on the way to the dealership to sell his car. He stopped at a gas station to fill up with gas and a homeless man walked up to him and asked for money. He gave him some change, but later realized that was the money he needed to pay for gas. He had no money left and didn't know what to do, so he prayed. Right after he said amen, a strange old man that he'd never met before walked up to him and told him he was sent from God and handed him a check with his name on it for $20. Then he went to the dealership and somehow sold his car and drove off with a nicer car having no money and terrible credit. On his way home the dealership called him and told him he'd overpayed $200 for his car and to come back and get a check for the money. He had a really strong testimony of prayer. I found it inspiring the level of faith he had. Basically just complete reliance and full trust in God.
Then we had a lesson with the Welle family. Up until now we were unsure if Leah, the 12 year old girl, was going to be baptized. She really wanted to, but was baptized in Catholic church when she was a baby so her mom didn't see why she needed to be baptized twice. We fasted for her mom's heart to be softened this past sunday and when we went to our lesson with them last night the mom had no problem with all 3 of her kids being baptized this coming week! Prayer and fasting works!
We had a great training in a meeting yesterday. We were trained on sacrifice, specifically the things we sacrifice to become better servants of the Lord. They shared a quote that talked about how the only thing you can sacrifice to God that's truly yours is your will. Everything else is just things he's given or loaned to you. The thought hit me that God really doesn't care about material possessions. He doesn't need money, land, or whatever else it might be. As is shown in the case of the widow's mite, he obviously doesn't care about the volume of material things we give, but rather the amount of sacrifice we are willing to personally commit ourselves to.
Well I sure love you guys and hope you have a fantastic week!

Elder Merrill