Monday, August 14, 2017

The mish is awesome! Patriarchal blessings are awesome!

Hola everyone!  All continues to go well here in Memphis. So 
yesterday Hermana Keller and I performed a musical number in 
sacrament meeting.  We played "Come Unto Jesus." I accompanied 
on the piano and she played her flute.  I think it went well.  I sat my 
iPad on the bench with the cover closed to record it so that's why it 
is dark.  I have a video of a practice I can try to send later.  Enjoy!  


I had the music memorized just like old times - Ha Ha.  It was really 
awesome to actually prepare something and perform again. It makes 
me want to get better on the piano when I return home.  I have been 
learning how to play the guitar a little bit out here.  I know a couple 
songs.  I have decided I really want to take a guitar class in college 
now.  Music is so awesome!  

This week was good.  We were able to find more new investigators!  
It is so great to finally be able to expand our teaching pool.  Ricardo 
is so awesome.  We had a little scare with him this week.  His phone 
wasn't working on Friday so we went to visit him.  When we knocked 
on his door we saw him walk up to the door but he didn't answer.  We 
got a little worried thinking he didn't want to meet with us anymore. We 
decided to stay in the area and knock a few doors.  By doing this we 
ended up finding a really cool guy named Eduardo.  The next day we
were able to visit Ricardo again and he is still solid.  Blessings!

I had a super awesome experience reading my patriarchal blessing this 
week.  Sometimes I get down about baptisms - I just want to baptize 
everyone!  In my blessing there is a section about my mission and being 
a missionary.  I have read it many times before but this past week when I 
read it again it changed my whole outlook regarding my mission. The part 
that caught my eye talks about how I will see success in the people that 
work around me and how that will bring me joy.  Looking back I now realize 
people who are around me have always succeeded.  It has honestly been 
amazing because I love being out here and being a missionary.  I have really 
learned this past year that seeing other people happy makes me happy too!  
      The mish is awesome!  Patriarchal blessings are awesome!  
I have a huge testimony of them.  I read my blessing a couple times a week -
I love it so much!

This week we have Zone Conference so I am super pumped.  They are 
always awesome.  I always look forward to being taught by President.  
I have learned so much out here while serving the Lord.  I also learned 
recently that my release date will by July 3, 2018.  I am going to make the 
most of each and every day I get to wear my missionary tag!  Thanks for
everything!  I love you guys!

Love Elder Merrill

This is Ricardo.
He has a baptismal date set for August 26.
We love him!

The Memphis 6-pack

Service with a Smile 

P-day at the MEMPHIS ZOO 

Monday, August 7, 2017

God has a plan for everyone!

Greetings from Memphis!  Missionary life is really going well
here.  It's crazy that you guys will start school in a couple 
weeks.  The kids here start school today.  

This week we finally had some good things start to happen. 
We were able to have a couple good lessons with Ricardo 
which was awesome.  He always asks us some really deep 
questions so that is always a good sign.  He definitely keeps 
us on our spiritual toes. 

We have also started to have routine lessons again with some 
previous investigators.  Their names are Evelia and Fernando.  
They progressed a lot when we were teaching them regularly. 
Then last transfer they moved and things got really crazy and 
we weren't able to teach them as much.  They have started to 
come to church again every week so that is really awesome.  
Yesterday we had a really powerful lesson with them about the 
plan of salvation and repentance.  We had a really wonderful 
discussion about the pre-existence which fascinated them.  We 
had a member there with us and he was such a champ.  We  
talked about the five steps of Christ's gospel which are 
-receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost &
-enduring to the end.  
After we shared these steps, the member bore a really powerful 
testimony of repentance and how we can always start over.  After 
that Evelia and Fernando opened up to us about why it's been so 
hard for us to meet with them and how they know they need to join 
this church and how they want to change.  The spirit in that room 
was so powerful.  Everyone was totally crying.  It felt like what I 
have imagined Relief Society to sometimes be - haha.  

It has been so awesome to finally start to see success in the area.  
It's hard when the work doesn't go just how you imagine it.  I have 
learned out here as a missionary that when I get down or frustrated 
that I can take it to the Lord.  I know I can take anything to the Lord.
God has a plan for everyone!  He has a plan for me - he has a plan 
for you.  He has a plan for everyone and everything.  

Today I went and got a haircut because next week is zone conference 
and I need to look my best.  My hair was getting pretty long because I 
haven't cut it in about 2 months.  We don't have a member in the area 
that cuts our hair so we have to go to a salon. I wish we had a member.  
After that we just kinda chilled at the church (not my favorite).  We also 
went to a Nike clearance store and I bought some golf pants for a killer 
deal so that was sweet!  I got a black for pair for $30 - originally $125 
so literally a steal.  They are the comfiest things that have ever touched 
my legs.  It barely feels like I am wearing pants - so blessed!  

As always - thanks for all your prayers and love and support.  I really 
hope everyone has an awesome week!  I love you all!

Love Elder Merrill


-English class in Memphis-
The Elders and Hermanas teach an English class 
every Tuesday and Thursday.  Elder Merrill loves it.  

There are cars here called Hoopdies.  
I have been trying to find a crazy one to take a picture of and 
send to you guys and I finally did.  They are pretty much olderish 
cars raised up and on massive rims.  This pink one was huge.  I think 
the car was like a little Nissan and it's now as tall as that man standing by it.  

We recently ate at a restaurant called the Commissary.  
Part of the movie The Firm was filmed here.  How cool is that?  
I also ate the best ribs of my life here - definitely fallen in love with Memphis BBQ!

Monday, July 31, 2017

Stayin in Memphis!

Hey guys!  Today is transfer day and I'm stayin' in Memphis 
with Elder Smalley.  So happy!  It's crazy to think that another 
transfer has gone by!  I don't have tons of time today because 
of transfers.  This afternoon we ended up going to the Pyramid 
and bowling with a bunch of people.  It was super fun!  

This past week was really good.  We helped a member of the 
branch move for two full days.  It was actually a lot of fun.  In 
between moving the guy taught us a bunch of soccer moves.  
I feel like I'm getting pretty good - you better watch out Dad.  

Remember Ricardo from Columbia that came to our English 
class?  We began teaching him this week.  He told us when 
he was at our church service he really felt like it was the church 
he has been looking for.  Miracles do happen people!  

Happy Birthday mom!  You told me that the best gift I could give 
you is sharing my testimony with you - so here goes.......... 

I have definitely come to know for myself that this gospel is 
amazing. The more I learn about this gospel the more I come 
to love it.  As have helped people become more converted to 
the gospel I have become more converted myself.  I have come 
to love repentance because without it none of us would get very 
far.  I have come to love the people I serve. It is amazing to be able 
to see someone through the eyes of God.  I want to do everything 
I can to help others feel His love for each other them.  Miracles are 
a real thing.  I am pretty sure that miracles happen right when we 
think God has forgotten us.  There is story about the refiners fire.  
It talks about how we need to get a little bit beat up before we can 
become who we need to be. I love my Savior and I know He is there 
to carry me when I can't take another step.  I have definitely come to 
know that you were always right - Ha ha - that has been kinda frustrating.  
Thanks for always being there and helping me and showing me that 
this gospel is true.  I love being a missionary!  I especially love it when 
people yell at us on our bikes.  I've heard some crazy stuff but it is all 
worth it.  I'm excited to still have a year left to serve as a missionary.  
I plan to give it all I have!  Thanks for everything Mom.  I love you! 

Love Elder Merrill
Elder Merrill in his new jersey at the Memphis Pyramid

BOWLING at the Pyramid

This 6-pack of missionaries are all happy to 
still be serving together in Memphis for another transfer.
Elder Smalley & Merrill - Hermanas Petty & Keller - Elders Anaya & Sotomarino

Handsome Elders

 -Memphis Zone - 
in their shirts they painted for their zone vs. zone battle

Companions Elder Smalley & Elder Merrill

Elder Merrill & Elder Anaya

What are they talking about? :)

Monday, July 24, 2017

Soccer star and a Miracle

Hey guys!  All is well here in the land of Memphis.  Transfers are next
week so we will see what happens to me.  I really hope I stay here - 
love Memphis!  

Thanks for the package!  I loved everything!  The ties were awesome, 
and I am wearing the Aggie shirt today #aggienation.  We made the 
Oreo pudding last night and it was delicious.  There are some cookies 
left - trying to stretch them out.  It's still super weird to think that it has 
been a year since I became a full-time missionary.  Time is flying! 

Saturday was really a super awesome day!  We played soccer with 
the Spanish Branch's team against another ward in the area.  It was 
amazing!  It was also the first time I have felt like an athlete again my 
whole mission.  Best part - we won the game 3-2.  In the last couple 
of minutes the other team got really close to scoring and tying the game.  
I was playing defender and our goalie had just dove onto the ground to 
block a kick.  Right after that the other team tried to score again so I ran 
and kinda did a jump spin and blocked it with my behind - It was amazing!  
It was so much fun but it was also really hot!  It honestly looked like some
one had dumped a gallon of water on me by the end of the game.  I actually 
drank a gallon of water.  We forgot water so after the game we went to a 
gas station to get some water and a gallon was the cheapest.  I bought it 
and pretty much drank it all!  Today my legs are super sore.  Not really a big 
surprise that I'm a little out of shape.  I feel like I am a different kind of fit now.  
can walk and ride my bike all day long without a problem....Running is kind 
of a different story - ha ha.

This week leading up to Saturday was pretty good.  Our car was still in the 
shop so we were on bikes again.  We haven't had a lot of people to teach 
for a while, so that's been kind of frustrating.  Yesterday we found a couple 
of solid investigators.  Hopefully all goes well with them.  We just keep 
looking and finding and keeping the faith.    

We did have a really amazing experience this past week - I might even call 
it a miracle!  Here is some background.  We teach an English class with the 
sisters every Tuesday and Thursday.  It is super fun.  We have about fifteen 
people that attend the class each week.  This week we had a new guy show 
up and introduce himself to us.  His name is Ricardo and he is from Columbia.  
At the end of class we invited everyone to church as we always do and then 
everyone left.  Then yesterday at church Ricardo just walks into the door for 
sacrament meeting!  We were so excited - it was so awesome to see him again!  
After sacrament meeting we started talking to him.  The sisters had given him 
pamphlet and they had told us that he wanted to talk to us.  So we took this 
opportunity at church to talk to him.  He asked us to come over and teach him.  
What?  This never happens!  Of course we said yes!  We hung out with him for 
the rest of church.  He told us God led him to the church.  I asked him to explain 
that a little more.  He said he went to a store to buy something that he has never 
gone to before.  He said he probably never would have, but that day he felt that 
he should go into that store.  While in that store he saw one of our English class 
signs.  He wrote down the phone number and called the sisters.  He asked them 
about the English class and told them that he would probably be there.  He then 
told us when we announced that we had a church service he was really happy 
because he had been feeling a desire to learn more about the Bible and Jesus 
Christ.  It was truly amazing!  This experience was a huge testimony builder 
for me.  Here we are - missionaries needing people to teach and God sends us 
Ricardo.  Goreally does bless us in our trials.  God really is in the details.  
Remember that!  I sure love you guys!  

Love Elder Merrill

Elder Merrill loves Memphis!

Elder Merrill & Elder Smalley with Luis.

Luis was baptized this past February and recently broke his leg.  
He asked the Elders if they could hang out and take him to the park.  
Elder Merrill said they had a wonderful day serving on of their friends.

The Spanish Branch soccer game

Elder Merrill said the following about this jersey-

"I bought a little present for myself with the 20 bucks that was in my 
package from Grandpa and Grandma.  There is a little Spanish mall 
here that sells jerseys for 15 bucks and then puts whatever number you 
want on it for free.  Real Madrid was the closest thing I could find to 
Real Salt Lake.  And of course - my number 20.  I think it is pretty sweet!"

Monday, July 17, 2017

Missionaries at the Memphis Pyramid

Hey guys!  Sounds like the Merrill Reunion was awesome!  Glad to 
know that people still remember me - ha ha.  That's so fun you got 
to go to the Bees baseball game.  I miss baseball a lot.  It's was 
probably weird not having tons of baseball games to go to this year.  
Thanks for always coming to every game and supporting me.  

This week was a tough one.  We talked to a lot of people everyday 
but weren't really able to teach a lot of lessons.  It really was a slow 
week.  The work here has kind of started to slow down in our area.  
We are working really hard to change things!  

This past week we were on bikes again.  When we got the car from 
the Sisters it had been crashed into in a parking lot so we got the 
opportunity of taking it into a shop for repairs.  So whaven't had 
it since last Tuesday and hope to get it back today or tomorrow.  

Elder Smalley is a great companion.  We get along really well and he 
is the biggest wanna-be cowboy I have ever met.  He's pretty funny.  

Going to the Memphis Pyramid last P-day was amazing!   We were 
able to go with an investigator and the opportunity kinda came out of 
nowhere.  He took us to the restaurant at the very top of the Pyramid 
where I ate some yummy elk chops.  We were then able to go out onto 
the decks at the top.  I took some pictures and it was amazing!  

Today for P-day we went to a place called the Main Event.  We enjoyed 
unlimited bowling, laser tag, pool, shuffle board, and a ropes course.  We
spent most of the day there.  It was nice after this past week.  

It's so crazy that this Wednesday I hit my year mark of being a missionary!  
I love being a missionary more that I ever thought I could.  Time actually 
needs to slow down but I'm going to make the most of every day.  I hope you 
all do the same.  I love you guys!  Have an awesome week!

Love Elder Merrill

Elder Merrill on the top deck of the Pyramid

Elder Smalley and Elder Merrill

Elder Smalley & Elder Merrill 
Hermana Petty & Hermana Keller 
Elder Anaya & Elder Sotomarino