Monday, December 26, 2016

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Merry Christmas Everyone!  I really don't have anything to write today
since we talked about everything yesterday.  It was so great to talk to you
and see everyone!  After we talked we went over to the Boudrero's.  We
had dinner and played games with their family.  They are so cool. 
As promised here are some pictures!  Love you all!

Love Elder Merrill

We loved Face Time with Elder Merrill on Christmas Day!
Best Gift Ever!!!

Merry Christmas from the Jonesboro District Missionaries!

Elder Sweeten, Elder Merrill, Sister Missionaries, Elder Anaya, Elder Donahoo

The Church is TRUE!

Christmas Dinner at the Boudero's home

I received a text from a Sister Green the other day. 
She sent this picture and said,
"Enjoy this picture of your wonderful son with my
children and Freddie.  He is doing great and is such a joy!" 

Road Kill Opossum

Monday, December 19, 2016

The most important work in the world

Hey guys!  Things are still going awesome here. This week
was a good one.  The Christmas Zone Meeting in Little Rock
was so awesome.  The ALRM (Arkansas Little Rock Mission)
is where I am supposed to be! 

We are teaching a lady named Jana right now and things are
really looking pretty good. We have set a baptismal date for
New Years Day and it looks like it is going to happen!  We
found her through her husband.  The family had just recently
moved here and we received a referral for the husband who
was baptized about 10 years ago.  We made contact and went
to their home.  We started reading the Book of Mormon with
him because he wasn't able to come to church because of his
job.  One night his wife, Jana, decided to join the conversation
because we were talking about family history.  She agreed to let
us come back and teach her the restoration.  We went back and it
went great.  We invited her to be baptized and she accepted.  The
last two weeks her whole family has been coming to church and it
has been awesome!  And they love it!  It makes me so happy to
see the gospel changing someone's life in so many ways.

Another fun thing that happened this week was that we had a crazy
thunderstorm.  We had a tornado warning on Saturday and things
got crazy.  The tornado ended up going somewhere else but a really
big thunderstorm came instead.  With the storm came a flash flood
warning and that totally happened.  We were driving to go visit a
less active family in the middle of this storm and when we got to the
end of our street it was completely submerged in water.  We decided
to go back to the house and wait for it to pass.  Luckily it calmed down
before our dinner appointment so we were able to make it to that.

The weather is getting colder here.  The cold hurts more here because
the humidity makes it go all the way through your clothes.  And there
is literally no snow at all so everything is just brown. 
It's kind of depressing. 

Christmas is also super weird here.  I definitely miss participating in
our Christmas traditions back home but it gives me comfort knowing
that I am out here doing the most important work in the world.
For Christmas we are going to a members home right after church so
I can Skype any time.  I will have the members text you - it will be a
lot easier to set it up that way.  They are pretty cool.  The dad is from
Brazil so that's awesome!  I am super excited to talk with you guys on
Christmas!  It is going to be amazing!  I love you guys!

Love Elder Merrill

Elder Merrill & Elder Sweeten eating quail

Elders Merrill, Donahoo, Sweeten & Anaya

A member texted us this picture and said this, "I had the blessing
of having your son over to my house for dinner tonight.  He is a
blessing and a wonderful missionary.  He is doing well!"

Can you find Elder Merrill?

Christmas Zone Conference in Little Rock

Zone Conference Christmas Tree
trimmed with missionary ornaments! 

The mission asked us to send a couple pictures of our missionary when
they were elementary school aged for a Christmas surprise.  They put
together a fun slideshow to show at the Christmas Zone Conference. 

These are the 2 pictures that we sent. 

Dear Parents,

Thank you so much for sharing your child’s early life photos with us.  The missionaries loved looking at each one and trying to guess which missionary it was.  We had such a good time and felt such a good spirit!!!

We hope you will all have the merriest of Christmases knowing that your son is doing a great work for the Lord and for all those they bring to a knowledge of the truth.

We love and appreciate your support!!  Merry Christmas!!!

Monday, December 12, 2016

Holiday Service

Hey guys!

Another great week has gone by.  We did a lot of service this
past week and I really loved it.  Also I can't believe Christmas
is almost here!  Make sure everyone knows my new address
to send me cards and gifts! (hint hint)

1403 Golf Course Drive
Jonesboro, AR  72404

The ward here is having their Christmas breakfast on Saturday
so that should be pretty fun.  We have just started teaching this
awesome lady.  Her husband was baptized about 10 years ago
in Oklahoma.  He hasn't been able to come to church since they
moved here because he works every Sunday.  But they came
yesterday and it was awesome!  We went to their house last
night and taught an awesome plan of salvation lesson.  I really
hope that she gets baptized. 

We had an Elder in our district go home this week for medical
reasons.  It was kinda hard to see him go because he came out
with me.  We have been serving in the same district since we
got to Arkansas.  I know it was for the best and we are all praying
really hard for him. 

We are going down to Little Rock tomorrow night for the Christmas
Zone meeting which should be pretty awesome.  We have so many
members that want us over for Christmas!  We will have to work
out some things about how we can Skype on Christmas Day! 

Tell everyone I say hello and I love you guys!
Thank you for everything!

Love Elder Merrill

Missionary service - so many leaves!
Elders Merrill, Anaya, Donahoo, and Sweeten

Elder Donahoo taking a selfie.   
Elders Merrill, Anaya and Sweeten photobombing.

Jonesboro Missionaries helping out with Super Saturday dance decorations. 
Super Saturday is held once a month, usually for youth 14+ for the Searcy Stake. 
There are 11 units in the stake.  Some units drive 2-3 hours to participate in activities. 

Elder Merrill talking to Freddy Green. 
Freddy loves to hang out and help the missionaries. 

Elder Merrill misses his sister Sydnee!
(notice the license plate)

Monday, December 5, 2016

When you put the Lord first everything falls into place

Hey ya'll! 

This week was crazy - but it definitely taught me one thing: 

When you put the Lord first everything falls into place. 

We moved from our apartment on Tuesday into a members
old home with the English Elders.  It's been great!  It is super
nice living in a house.  And on top off the move we also did
10 hours of service. We literally felt like we had no time to
proselyte with everything else going on. But looking back at
the numbers for this week you would think we had a normal
average week!  It was amazing! 

Today for lunch we cooked up some deer a member gave us. 
Apparently you can shoot like 6 deer here in Arkansas so he
had a ton of Whitetail.  It tasted a little different than what I
have eatenbefore, but it was pretty dang good. We breaded it
and fried it up.  Yum!

Our big focus right now is the church Christmas video and
activities on  It is really awesome and all of
you should go check it out if you haven't had the chance to
yet.  We went to the church and watched the First Presidency
Christmas Devotional last night.  It was so awesome!  I love
this time of year and the opportunity it gives us to think more
about our Savior Jesus Christ.  He loves each of us!

Things are still going great here in Jonesboro Arkansas!
Time is flying by and I am enjoying each and every day. 
I wish you all the best!

Love Elder Merrill

Elder Merrill - the red-nosed Missionary!

Crazy Elder Merrill & Elder Anaya

Jonesboro District getting Haircuts! 
Grateful to members who share their talent of this
service to keep these missionaries looking their best! 

Monday, November 28, 2016

A New House & Superman Spirit

Hey guys! This week has been great!  Thanksgiving was so
awesome.  The members fed us breakfast, lunch, and dinner
and I'm pretty sure I gained 10 pounds.  And the best
part of the day was that my team won the turkey bowl!!!

We spent some of the weekend cleaning a house that all the
Jonesboro Elders are moving into tomorrow.  There will be
5 of us living there - our trio and the English companionship. 
It's going to be like an awesome mini district everyday!  

1403 Golf Course Road
Jonesboro, AR  72404

My new companion, Elder Anaya, is awesome.  Elder Sweeten
and I get along great with him.  He is from Los Angeles, CA. 
We accidently locked ourselves out of our apartment this past
week and he saved the day by picking the lock with bobby pins! 

We attended the baptism of an amazing guy this past week the
English Elders in Jonesboro have been working with.  It was
very spiritual.  The convert told us that he felt like receiving
the Holy Ghost was like getting a Superman cape so Elder
Donahoo got him one.  It was so awesome!  We also had a cool
background for photos because the Young Women left up their
colorful backdrop from the YW in Excellence program.  We have
set another baptismal date for someone we've been working with
so I'm excited for that! 

I love serving in Jonesboro.  The members here are so supportive
and kind.  They recently had a fast for missionary opportunities. 
How awesome is that!  Thanks again for all of the support!  I'm
so thankful for my mission and the chance I get to serve.  I know
that we can all Light the World with service this Christmas season!
Check out

Elder Merrill

Good times cleaning the new house

Elder Sweeten, Elder Donahoo,
new awesome convert,
Elder Elliot & Elder Merrill

That Amazing Superman Spirit! 

Lots of Jonesboro support by the colorful background

Elder Merrill & Elder Anaya hanging
out at a member's home on P-day. 

Monday, November 21, 2016

Transfers and Thanksgiving!

Hey guys!  This week has been so good.  We found out about
transfers on Saturday and Elder Sweeten and I are staying in
Jonesboro!  We are also getting another companion so we will
be in a trio again.  His name is Elder Anaya.  He is from California
and has been out longer than me but shorter than Elder Sweeten.
He knows more Spanish than both of us so he can help us learn
even more.  Now I won't have to translate in sacrament meeting
every week! 

Today we are going to a members house to make rings out of
quarters so that should be way cool.  I am super excited for
Thanksgiving this week!  We have people signed up to feed us
breakfast, lunch, and dinner!  I might gain ten pounds, but it is
going to be super awesome! 

The weather is cooling down here now so I am definitely glad I
have the sweaters.  Gearing up for the winter here.  I have really
enjoyed being in Arkansas.  A lot of people here don't have any
teeth!  It is crazy how many people don't have a single tooth in
their mouth.  A lot of people smoke so it makes their teeth fall
out.  Also everybody out here says y'all and a lot of people have
funny accents. The craziest person we have met so far was this
little old lady.  We knocked on her door one day. She answered
and we started talking with her.  She lives alone with her 20 cats
and 4 dogs!  She was a real life crazy cat lady!  She told us that
her animals her only friends which was sad.  We shared a message
with her.  She said she liked it but didn't ever want to talk to us again.
But that's ok because no matter what the church will always be true! 

This week I would have to say my spiritual highlight was going
on exchanges with the Zone Leaders.  We went down to Little
Rock for a couple pf days. While there we spoke nothing but
Spanish so that was awesome!  We were teaching a lesson and
something amazing happened!  I understood every single word
that was said and I taught and bore testimony without having to
think twice about what I was going to say.  The gift of tongues
is real!  I know if we are living worthily enough to have the Holy
Ghost with us all the time Heavenly Father will bless us in whatever
way will work best to overcome our trials.  Another thing I have
learned out here so far is that when we put the Lord first and are
obedient, everything can just fall into place. It really is amazing how
much the Lord is in our lives.  All we have to do to acknowledge Him
and open up our hearts to Him and He will bless our life! 

I hope you have a good week and have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Love Elder Merrill

Someone who leaves their family for a short time
so that others may be with their families for eternity.

Elder Merrill's address:
3700 South Caraway Apt. B-12
Jonesboro, AR 72404


Monday, November 14, 2016

Primary Program Participants

It has been another great week!  We found a family of three that we
set baptismal dates with so that was way cool!  The work is going
great and I really love it out here.  I really love being a missionary!

Yesterday was the primary program in our ward.  It was sweet.  We
just randomly walked up in the middle of the song "Called to Serve"
when the kids were singing and we started singing with them.  It
was pretty awesome.  We talked to Heather's friend Wendy.  She
was awesome to talk to and she took our picture.  My Spanish is
coming along great and I am definitely getting better.  Translating
for sacrament meeting has definitely helped my language skills. 
I really enjoy the Jonesboro ward. 

Next week we have decided to try and email first thing.  Hopefully
we will have more time.  Thanks for everything.  I hope that you
all have an awesome week! 

Love Elder Merrill

Elder Sweeten & Elder Merrill smiling after singing
"Called to Serve" with the Jonesboro Ward primary children. 

Donuts at District Meeting. 
One of their investigators manages a Krispy Kreme store. 

Monday, November 7, 2016

Southern Food and Blessings

Hey everyone!  This week has been pretty awesome!  I have been
enjoying the southern food experience.  It started off with an authentic
southern barbecue place which was amazing and very fattening.  Then
next on the list was catfish.  We went out with some members and got
some fried catfish, which was probably even more fattening but even
more delicious.  Along with that I tried fried okra which was pretty good. 
Every vegetable here is either fried or covered in butter -- it's awesome! 
We also went to Zaxbys which is a Southern food chain.  And to top it
all off, we went and got chicken and waffles. I know it sounds weird,
but it was dang good.  It is simply that, four chicken strips on a waffle
and covered in syrup - you just eat it all together and it is soooo good. 
So the food this week has been amazing and I might have gained nine
pounds but hey, life is great!

On the more spiritual side of things we met a girl named Annie.  She came
up to us and asked if we were Mormon and we said yes.  She told us that her
best friend growing up was Mormon.  We were like - that's awesome!  Then
she said, "well aren't your gonna teach me something?"  So we jumped into
teaching her about the restoration.  We got to the first vision and the spirit hit
us all pretty dang hard. She read the first vision and by the end of it she was in
tears.  She looked and us and all she could say was thank you.  We invited her
to be baptized and she said yes!  It was so amazing to see the spirit hit someone
that hard.  Hopefully she continues to feel the spirit and get baptized on the 26th. 

This week we also have had the awesome opportunity to go and give a few
priesthood blessings.  It is so amazing to be able to give someone a blessing
who you barely even know and be able to bless them with exactly what they
need.  That lesson I talked about in my weekly letter was really amazing. To
see the spirit really come over someone is an amazing thing.  And for me to
feel that same spirit testify that what is happening is true and right is even
more amazing.  Being out here is super awesome and is definitely what I
need to be doing right now.  Out here sharing this true gospel! 
I hope everyone has a fantastic week!

Love Elder Merrill. 

So grateful for members that feed the missionaries! 

Monday, October 31, 2016

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween!  Today has been super busy and I don't have too
much time to email...but this past week was awesome! 
The highlights:
Yesterday we were out walking by the trailers and this lady came up
to us and asked us to bless her house.  She had been seeing things and
she really wanted them to go away.  So we went into her house and
we blessed it.  It was one of the coolest experiences.  When we went
into her house it just kinda felt weird and lonely.  But as soon as we
closed the prayer the spirit came flooding into her house.  It was amazing
to have that opportunity to use the priesthood and feel the Lord work
through us.  The second experience was that a member asked us to go
to the hospital and give some blessings.  It was really cool to be able to
feel like I knew those people without ever meeting them. 

This evening we are going to a members home and carving pumpkins
with them.  Then we are going to hand out pass-along cards with candy.
It's going to be super fun!  I caught a little stomach bug this past week
and I was kinda moving slow the next couple days but I am all better
now.  It definitely showed me that when you can't get out and work hard
all day that the days are super long and boring.  So I'm happy to be feeling
better and back to working hard and serving the Lord!  I promise to write a
super long email next week!  Have an awesome Halloween!

Love Elder Merrill

Happy Halloween from Elder Merrill

Monday, October 24, 2016

Aggie Elders at Arkansas State

Things are going great here in Jonesboro!  It is super awesome to have
a companion from Cache Valley and to be teaching him Spanish.  Having
to teach him the Spanish language has really helped me learn even more. 
The work here is going great!  We set a baptismal date with a lady this
past week so that was super awesome!  She was a bible referral who
invited us back. We taught her about the restoration and she told us that
it all made sense. We then invited her to be baptized and she accepted! 
Hopefully she stays committed and continues to progress.

I love being a missionary.  Our day to day schedule is pretty much this:
8:00 -1:00 we have our studies and a lunch hour.  1:00 - 6:00 or 7:00 we
proselyte and go to our appointments.  Then we usually have dinner in a
members home.  After dinner we usually go and visit less active members
in the ward and share gospel messages with them. 

This morning was pretty sweet.  We went to the Arkansas State Bookstore
because it is owned by a member of the bishopric.  He was actually in his
office today and he hooked us up with some free Red Wolf stuff.  I got a hat
and a sweatshirt.  He is a really cool guy and we talked to him for like an
hour.  We discussed how to make money after our missions.

Your testimony definitely gets tested out here with of all the different religions. 
I get told I'm going to hell a couple times a week.  But I can promise you this -
This gospel is true!!!  It is the only gospel with absolutely all of the truth.  I am
so thankful for the strength we can obtain through the atonement of our Savior
Jesus Christ.  Even though it gets tough out here sometimes I definitely love it. 
And because I have been tested so much my testimony has grown like crazy.

We are going over to a members tonight for dinner and family home evening.
Then we are gonna go visit a less active family.  Thank you to everyone who
sends me emails (  I absolutely love reading
them and I promise I will do my best to respond to them.  I love you all so much
and hope you have a wonderful week.

Love Elder Merrill

- Elder Merrill and Elder Sweeten -
2 Elders from Cache Valley in their new
Aggie Game Day Shirts!

Monday, October 17, 2016

President Wakolo visits Jonesboro

Hey guys!  My new companion Elder Sweeten is awesome!  It has been 
super awesome to find out all of the ties we have in Cache Valley.  
Remember the guy we met in the Kater Shop who was going to the 
Bentonville Arkansas mission?  His name is Elder Pugmire and he is one 
of Elder Sweeten's best friends!  I saw him in the Mexico MTC the last week 
I was there.  Crazy small world right?!  This week was another good one. 
Elder Sweeten is a really hard worker so we are doing something all day long 
so that has helped a lot.  We have picked up a couple Spanish investigators so that's 
good.  It has definitely been an adventure teaching Elder Sweeten Spanish.  
President Wakolo came to Jonesboro this weekend.  He gave us some 
great advice for this next transfer.  We also had studies with him this morning 
and that was super awesome!  He is an amazing man.  I can't believe that I 
have already been out for 3 months!  It honestly feels like it has been 3 or 4 weeks!
Thanks for all that you guys do for me! 

Love Elder Merrill

Elder Merrill and the missionaries of Jonesboro were blessed to spend the weekend 
with President Wakolo.  President Wakolo texted us this picture last night and said this:
"Sister Wakolo and I had the privilege of worshiping with these great missionaries 
in Jonesboro.  Thank you for them.  They are on fire!  Best wishes!

Monday, October 10, 2016

Transfers and becoming a Spanish teacher

Things are going pretty good here.  This next transfer is going to be a lot
different than this last one.  Both of my trainers are leaving.  Elder
Moore is going to Batesville and Elder Santiago is going to Danville.
Also every other Elder's trainer is leaving as well. The only missionaries
that are staying here in Jonesboro are the three greenies that got here this
last transfer.  And to make things even crazier my new companion is an
English Elder which means while he finishes up my training, I am going
to have to teach him Spanish!  His name is Elder Sweeten and he is
from Nibley Utah!  So that's cool!  This is going to be interesting!

Everything else is really going great. We are teaching a lot of people and
still getting a lot of doors slammed in our faces. The joke here is that
whenever a door is slammed in your face here someone is baptized in
Mexico haha. :)  I am super happy I am staying here because Jonesboro
is awesome!  The members here are great as well.  The Boudrero's are
amazing and it is so fun to go and see them and talk about home - Logan. 

Something I have noticed this last week is how much your testimony gets
tested out here in the mission field.  The other day we had a discussion with
a man who really likes everything about "Mormonism."  He likes reading the
Book of Mormon and loves how the church is organized but his interest is
purely intellectual.  I sat there an thought about how important a testimony
is because this gospel literally makes no sense without a spiritual witness.
I know with a surety that this church is true and that the Book of Mormon
is the word of God.  It makes me sad to see families that don't have the gospel
in their life and don't want it either.  But every time I feel discouraged I just
think of everyone supporting me.  Thank you for all that you do for me. 
I wish I had more time to email but with all these exchanges happening today
we don't have a lot of time.  I love you guys!

Love Elder Merrill

Monday, October 3, 2016

General Conference was so awesome!

Hello!  General Conference was so awesome!  We watched all ten
hours!  That was a first for me and I really learned a lot.  We watched
a couple sessions of conference at members houses and the rest at the
church.  It really was awesome.  Nothing too exciting happened this
week.  We picked up a new investigator.  He is a pretty cool guy.  He's
a fire fighter and seems pretty interested so hopefully things go well
with him.  We went to a Brazilian ladies house for dinner this week
and had this rice and bean stuff that was amazing.  She also served us
GuaraƱa which was pretty sweet!  I'm so happy to have my bike.  We
rode bikes on Friday all day and it was awesome.  We figured it out and
decided that we biked almost 20 miles so that was pretty sweet.  My rear
was kinda sore the next day but it was super fun.  It's crazy that this transfer
only has on week left.  I love it out here and am definitely thankful for
everyday.  This gospel is so true!  I hope that you guys have an awesome week! 
I love you!
Love Elder Merrill

Dinner at a members home

Mission District & Zone Leaders

Monday, September 26, 2016

The power of God is real!

Hey everyone!

This week was pretty awesome!  We did our first exchanges as a district
and I got paired up with the other greenie here.  It was good to see
that we could actually go out and do this work without the help of our
trainers.  We visited a couple of our investigators and found a couple new
ones as well.  We had an awesome experience in finding people.  We said a
specific prayer that we would find at least one person to teach and set a
return appointment.  It was so amazing to see our prayer answered after
about an hour and a half.  We were headed back to the car and decided to
knock on one more door and we found someone!  I know that when we
humbly ask specific prayers that they will be answered! 

On Tuesday my companions and I went and knocked on the door of a trailer
and found this guy.  He is super awesome and has totally changed his life
around by going to church. We talked to him for a while and were just
getting ready to set a return appointment when -bam- he went into a seizure.
It was crazy!  He hit the ground and we didn't really know what to do.  His
daughter was there who is a nurse so she immediately started helping.  When
he stopped shaking and we kind of had him sitting up we offered to give a
blessing.  His daughter said yes.  He was still in pretty bad shape so my
companion put his hands on his head and gave him a blessing.  As
soon as he said amen and lifted his hands off, this man woke right up and
was pretty much totally normal.  It was crazy!  He looked right at me
and started talking as if nothing had happened.  It was amazing to witness
first hand that the power of God is real and that God works through us.
I know that when we call on him in faith that he will always be there. 

It has been so awesome out here and I am having a blast.  We just set two
baptismal dates this week for October 22nd so that was super awesome!  I am
definitely getting the hang of this and feel a lot more comfortable teaching.
I am really excited for General Conference.  We are going to watch a couple sessions
with members and the rest at the church.  I feel like my Spanish is coming along well
and we have started to find more Spanish speaking people so that is really cool.
I have learned out here serving that missionary work takes a lot of faith and
I have definitely felt and seen mine develop more each day.  I absolutely love my area. 
The only thing different about home from here is that there are no mountains and you
sweat no matter what when you are outside - haha.  The ward and members here are
awesome and they are so willing to help us which makes it really great.  I have been so
blessed to have already seen some pretty cool stuff happen out here and I can't wait to
see what is in store for me.  I love you all and hope you have a great week! 

Love Elder Merrill

IPad basketball balancing

Dinner with members 

Being a missionary is cool!