Monday, October 16, 2017

Today was a huge answer to prayers

Prayers have been answered!  After x-rays last Monday I was put
in a splint.  I then had a CT scan on Thursday and put in a light 
fiberglass blue cast.  Today I saw an orthopedic specialist to review 
the scan and find out what was next.  It was good news!  

"All good news.  No displacement of the fracture so no surgery and 
they are applying a new cast.  Re-check and re-xray next week and 
the doctor is confident I will heal well.  Four weeks in a cast.  Yea!"  

Today was a huge answer to prayers.  Thank you so much to all
who have prayed in my behalf.  I was pretty concerned about the
possibility of going home if surgery was needed so I definitely know
I'm still here for a reason.  

I know that God will always answer our prayers and those 
answers will always coincide with His plan.  

I'm super excited to be staying and serving!  I'm also excited to see 
where the Lord will send me next because I know that I am leaving 
Memphis next week (Mysterious music plays)! 

I've learned being a missionary with a cast isn't too bad.  The worst 
part this past week was having to walk instead of bike so we weren't 
super productive.  We were able to have a couple lessons so that was 
good.  I know that the Lord will give me strength and help me endure 
4 more weeks in a cast.  I do have a little experience in this area.  :)

Thanks again for all of your prayers.  I love you all!   

Love Elder Merrill
Elder Merrill in his blue cast 
waiting to see the Specialist at the Campbell Clinic

Sporting a new camouflage cast  

Shout out to Elder Smalley for taking care of Elder Merrill -
and to everyone else who has helped!  THANK YOU!!!

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Prayers for Elder Merrill

Elder Merrill broke his right wrist roller skating on P-day.
He had x-rays at an instacare and was sent to orthopedics.
He will have a CT scan on Thursday and meet with a specialist Monday.
Please pray that this injury can be healed with a cast.  

At times like these I wish I could just give him a big hug.  

I find it comforting that he wrote these words in 
his weekly email yesterday just before the accident:
"I know that if we have faith in God, nothing 
can discourage us and we will always be happy"

This has also made me think about Elder Donald L. Hallstrom's General 
Conference address he just gave called "Has the Day of Miracles Ceased?"


"While it is good to pray for and work for physical protection and 
healing during our mortal existence, our supreme focus should be on 
the spiritual miracles that are available to all of God’s children."

We all pray for the safety of our missionaries every day - but life still happens.  
We know Elder Merrill is in good hands in the ALRM.  
Thanks to everyone who has helped him.
And thank you for your prayers.  

Monday, October 9, 2017

The gospel brings happiness!

Hey guys!  It was a great week and Memphis continues to be awesome!  
Tuesday we had a district meeting.  After the meeting we went and helped 
a family move into a new home so that took awhile.  I always enjoy serving 
others so it was good.  Then that night we taught our English class.  

Wednesday was just a normal day.  We watched a bunch of videos to learn 
more about proselyting on Facebook.  That took a good chunk of time.  We 
then tried out some of the things we learned and were able to have a few 
conversations over Facebook messenger.  That evening we went to dinner 
and rode way out of Memphis, ok - not way out - but we left city limits and 
visited with some former investigators.  It was actually a pretty fun bike ride. 
When we got there they were just about to leave but we were able to talk to 
them.  They said they wanted us to come back so that is awesome.  We then
rode back closer to our apartment and visited a couple people there.  

Thursday we went and did some service at the library.  After that we had an 
awesome lesson with one of Elder Spencer's former investigator so that was 
cool.  She was actually really happy we came over and invited us back the 
same day next week.  After that lesson we went and visited a less active crazy 
Cuban named Rene.  While we were there some of his friends showed up.  He 
invited them all to church so they could find some good wives.  Elder Smalley 
and I just laughed because we really didn't know what to say after that.  Then 
that night we taught our English class again.  

Friday was amazing!  We spent most of the day in the presence of a General
Authority - Elder Klebingat.  We arrived about 8:45 am and the meeting began 
at 9:00.  It was a really relaxed meeting.  Elder Klebingat told us he didn’t really 
have an agenda and hadn’t prepared anything but he was prepared to answer 
all our questions.  We had a wonderful question and answer session.  Every 
question that was asked he answered.  He instructed us for about 5 hours on 
the fly.  It was really quite amazing.  We also discussed some really deep doctrine 
about the plan of salvation.  It was incredible.  He had forgotten his phone so he 
told us he was just going to call on us to read the scriptures - but he seriously 
rattled off reference after reference.  It was very impressive.  We really dove into 
what life was like with our Heavenly Father and the pre-existance and preparing 
to come to Earth.  We talked about how our world is the most wicked one that He 
created so that is why Christ came here.  This was a very scary thought to me but 
also so cool to think that our Heavenly Father trusted us enough to come here.  
Through his entire instruction I felt impressed to write down all the scriptures he 
referenced.  Most of them were about pre-Earth life.  This was very interesting 
and helpful to me because if you remember my patriarchal blessing talks about a 
lot about my pre-mortal life.  After his pre-mortal life instruction we had lunch.  Then 
during the afternoon we focused on how to improve our missionary skills.  He also 
really hit hard on the Book of Mormon.  The best part of to me was that he helped 
me see such simple principles taught in such a deep manner.  I don’t know if that 
makes sense but that is what it was like.  He also talked about the art of pondering 
along with our daily Book of Mormon study.  He instructed that part of our study time 
should be set aside for pondering so we can allow God to really talk to us.  I loved 
that thought.  It really was a wonderful day.  

During my personal study on Saturday I read my patriarchal blessing again and 
studied all the scriptures I wrote down the day before.  During this study time I 
received the coolest personal revelation that I have ever received my whole life!
Definitely the most amazing study experience I have ever had as a missionary.  
I am so grateful for this. 

Saturday night we had dinner with the wonderful Benitez family.  On Sunday 
we only had sacrament meeting because we combined with the English ward 
and had a linger longer after to break our fast.  Elder Klebingat was definitely 
the highlight of the week.  Being in his presence was such a huge testimony 
builder for me.  I know that the plan of salvation is essential knowledge for us 
to have to understand our purpose in life.  I also know that the Book of Mormon 
contains the steps we need to fulfill our purpose here on Earth.  
The gospel is so amazing!  

"So that those who believe in God may have the firm hope of a better
world, yea, even a place to the right hand of God; and this hope comes
by faith, provides an anchor to the souls of men And makes them secure
and firm, always continue in good works, being driven to glorify God."
-Ether 12:4

This is one of my favorite scriptures. We live in a crazy world. I know I can always 
find peace in the words of the prophets. I know that if we have faith in God, nothing 
can discourage us and we will always be happy.

The gospel bring so much happiness to people.  I have decided that being happy is 
way more fun than being sad.  And if we have nothing else to make us happy we will 
always have our foundation in the gospel. That’s the amazing thing about this plan.  
I love it and I love you all!  

Love Elder Merrill

Hermana Robles & Keller, Elders Merrill, Sotomarino, Short, & Smalley 

Elder Klebingat & President Hansen
Elder Merrill arriving to be inspired by Elder Klebingat

Monday, October 2, 2017

Remember to Haz lo Justo!

Hello from Memphis!  And GO AGGIES!  I had to rub that big 
Aggie football win last week into Elder Smalley's face just a 
little bit because he is a big BYU fan. 

This week was good.  I had the opportunity to go on exchanges 
which I always enjoy.  On Tuesday and Wednesday I went with 
our District Leader Elder Sotomarino.  We stayed in his area so 
it was cool to meet some new people and teach his investigators.  
Thursday was a pretty normal day.  Elder Smalley and I went to 
the middle of the ghetto which is always interesting.  We actually 
found some some pretty cool people and a couple of them even 
invited us back.  That night we taught our awesome English class.  
We usually have about 15 people attend so that is great!  Friday 
I went on exchanges again, but this time with our Zone Leaders.  
We really went into the ghetto - like "leave the IPad in the car part
of the ghetto!"  It was really awesome.  I know the Lord will always
bless us with safety there.  

General Conference was so amazing!  We had some investigators 
attend for a session which was so great!  I now love Conference! 
It really is so great.  Some of my favorite talks were from the last 
session.  I also loved the talk about Joy and everything about the 
Book of Mormon.  Elder Nelson's talk was super awesome!  

Today for P-day we went to the church and played basketball this 
morning and then went to the Botanical Garden.  It was beautiful.  
Sorry this is email is kinda short today but I can’t really think of 
anything else to write.  I love you all!  

Remember to Haz lo Justo!   (Choose the Right in Espanol) 

Love, Elder Merrill

Fun at the Botanical Garden

Memphis Spanish Missionaries 

So this happened the other day - 
never a boring day here in Memphis!  

Monday, September 25, 2017

Follow Elder Merrill on Facebook!

Hey guys!  This week was really great!   We had a lot of meetings 
and instruction from President Hansen which is always inspiring.  
But being able to attend the temple was definitely one of the big
highlights of my week.  With everything going on we didn't have 
a lot of time for proselyting but plan to work really hard this week.  

Monday was a normal proselyting day.  We road our bikes all over 
the place and were able to talk to a lot of people.  Biking has been
super fun and I think I am starting to lose weight.  We have been 
chased by some dogs while riding a couple times - a little scary - 
but just adds to the adventure.   We didn’t really have any solid 
lessons that day but it always feels good to just get out and work 
really hard.  It really doesn't feel like work when serving the Lord. 

Tuesday was our P-day because of the the temple trip.  Before the 
temple we went to a place called the Main Event and went bowling 
and played laser tag.  That was really fun.  Then we went home to 
get ready for the temple.  We left for the temple about 5:00.  After 
our temple session we were blessed to be instructed by the temple 
president.  It was really super awesome!  He talked about honoring 
all of our temple covenants and being endowed with power.  Even 
though we won’t be able to attend the temple again until we return 
home, we can still have the Spirit of the temple with us everyday 
when we truly strive to honor our temple covenants.  I am so blessed 
to have these covenants.

Wednesday was another proselyting day and we were able to teach 
a few people which is always great!  We didn't really have any formal
lessons - we just taught a few people on the street.  You just never 
know where that will lead so we continue to teach anywhere - anyhow.  

Thursday was a big day.  We had Zone Conference and received our 
smart phones and Facebook!   We will still keep our IPads and also 
have the smart phones.  New missionaries who come to serve in the 
ALRM will have smart phones instead of tablets.  It’s weird having 
Facebook.  The first time I logged on it felt like I was sinning.  But it’s 
pretty cool.  We can be friends with everyone back home - it’s actually 
encouraged.  Please post and tell everyone to follow me on Facebook 
now!  We can’t message anyone except investigators.  The conference 
lasted all day - 9:30 to 6:00 -so the only thing that happened after that 
was teaching our English class which I always enjoy.  

Friday we planned our next week like usual.  This always takes up a 
good chunk of time.  After that we returned to the ghetto and had a 
really  awesome lesson with Aurora and Adan.  They are the kind of 
people who know God is good and think you just go to church when 
you have the time.  They are good people.  They always give us some 
amazing food when we visit.  We share our spirit - they share their food.  

Saturday was a normal Saturday.  We were able to visit some areas we 
hadn’t been to in a while.  Then we went to dinner with a member we 
had never visited before.  We were able to share a wonderful message 
with her less active husband.  He really opened up to us and we are really
hopeful he will come to church next week.  

Sunday was a pretty relaxing day.  We had a really awesome restoration 
lesson with a former investigator.  The spirit was strong.  After that we did 
some Facebook finding.  We still haven’t really figured all that out yet but 
we will.  Today we have been hanging out with a bunch of other missionaries 
in Bartlett by the temple.  It has been pretty fun P-day.  I always like getting 
to know new missionaries!

This week in my studies I read Ether 12 - man that is one powerful chapter!   
I especially love verse 4:  

4  Wherefore, whoso believeth in God might with surety hope for a 
better world, yea, even a place at the right hand of God, which hope 
cometh of faith, maketh an anchor to the souls of men, which would 
make them sure and steadfast, always abounding in good works
being led to glorify God.

I just love how this verse talks about how if we have faith in God we can 
hope for a better world.  I know we definitely need that hope in today’s 
world.  I love you all and hope you have a great week! 

Love Elder Merrill

You can find him on Facebook under Kaden Merrill

Elder Smalley, Elder Merrill, Elder Short, Elder Sotomarino

Companions - Elder Merrill & Elder Smalley

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Biking in Memphis

Hello!  I am so excited to attend the temple today!  Because of 
this our P-day was changed to Tuesday this week so we don't 
use proselyting time.  I have really been looking forward to 
going - it is going to be amazing!   

This past week we had a really good start to this transfer. Elder 
Smalley and I got a little relaxed last transfer so this one we have 
decided to just work really hard, everyday, and it is already paying 
off.  Tuesday was when Hurricane Irma got to Memphis.  It rained 
ALL day so we tried not to bike too much.  Wednesday we spent a 
lot of time talking to people around the apartment complex.  We 
were able to teach a few of them so it went pretty good.  Thursday 
we rode out into the ghetto of our area.  This area is called Orange 
Mound.  Remember in the movie "The Blind Side" they go to an 
apartment to visit Michael's mom?  Well that apartment is in Orange 
Mound.  It is really a super ghetto.  It's pretty cool that guy grew up 
here right?!  Since it is really sketchy over there we never stay long 
enough for it to get dark when we ride over there.  One street over 
from this is an area that is basically all Hispanics.  We have found 
some pretty sweet investigators there.  Friday was a slower day 
but that night was a party.  Our Spanish Branch had a talent show 
activity and it was really fun.  We got to witness some really awesome 
Mexican dances.  There is also an Italian member in the branch and 
he sang an Italian opera song that was really amazing.  It has been 
really great to be able to be surrounded by so many different Hispanic 
cultures out here.  One of the best parts about being a Spanish Elder
serving in the States.    

Saturday was the adult session of our Stake Conference.  We brought 
Ricardo along with us so Elder Smalley and I switched off translating.  
One of the members of the Stake Presidency gave a really amazing 
talk about the sacrament.  He asked if we are just going through the 
motions each Sunday when we partake of the sacrament or if we are 
really preparing ourselves to take upon ourselves Christ's name.  I 
really enjoyed his talk.  Stake Conference was Sunday and it was so 
awesome.   President Hansen was one of the speakers in the meeting.  
He spoke about missionary work of course.  He encouraged each member 
to be a missionary by their example.  It was a really great talk and I think 
everyone enjoyed the conference and the spirit felt there.    

The other exciting news of the week is that we will soon be getting smart 
phones and Facebook.  This Thursday we will have a missionary wide 
zone conference about these new changes.  I'm so pumped!  This mission 
has changed so much since I got out here.  There's nothing as constant as 
change right?   Thanks for the emails.  I always really look forward to hearing 
from everyone.  Love you all!  

Love Elder Merrill

Elder Merrill and Elder Smalley biking in the rain
-They are getting used to being a bike only area now-

Memphis Tennessee Temple
Today will be the last time Elder Merrill gets to attend this temple 
as a missionary because it is closing the end of the month for renovation.  

Monday, September 11, 2017

Stayin in Memphis!

Hey guys!  Well - I'm staying in Memphis with Elder Smalley - 
our 3rd transfer together!  The big change for us is that we are 
now a bike only area.  President Hansen is trying new thing 
and creating all bike areas.  We'll see how it goes.  I'm actually 
really excited to stay here.  I love Memphis!   And hopefully I will 
lose some mission gained weight biking all the time now - ha ha!  
Hermana Keller is also still in my district.  This will be 6 straight 
transfers serving together with her!  Crazy!  

This week has been pretty good.  We had some complications 
with exchanges and somehow I ended up in Elder Anaya's area 
with him the whole week.  We both had guitars so he taught me 
a few things.  I'm sending the guitar home soon.  We were able to 
do some fun things in his area.  We were given the opportunity to 
do some awesome service for a member with all four of us.  We 
moved all of the member's stuff he had in storage to a shed at his 
house.  Serving together with these Elders is so much fun.  Some-
how hard work with them is always fun.  It was such a blessing to 
serve and spend time with Elder Anaya this past week before he 
leaves the mission field.  It was super sad to say goodbye today. 

This week really wasn't too eventful so I don't have much else to 
say other than the church is still true!  Today we've been at the 
church all day for transfers just hanging out with missionaries.  
It's been fun, but being at the church all day is super boring....  
Well I love you guys!  Have a great week!

Love Elder Merrill

Walkin in Memphis!  

One last picture of this Memphis 6-pack
Hermanas Keller & Petty
Elders Anaya, Merrill, Sotomarino, & Smalley

Elder Anaya's funeral 
He will be missed in the ALRM!

Elder Merrill says good-bye to Elder Anaya

Elder Merrill says good-bye to Elder Jorgensen

Elder Merrill hanging out with missionaries on transfer day