Monday, January 30, 2017

Testimony is knowing - Conversion is becoming

Hey guys!  How are things going back in your Winter
Wonderland?!  I am so jealous of all the snow you have
there.  It honestly feels like Spring here.  There is no snow
and it is currently 50 degrees.  Training is still going awesome.
Elder Giles has been really fun to be around and serve with.

So this past week was absolutely amazing!  We had a zone
conference on Wednesday about all the new schedule changes. 
I am really excited for the new schedule.  It just allows our days
to be a little more flexible.  We will still get up at 6:30.  We can
then plan at 8:30 instead of at night.  We then have our personal
study and a half hour for companionship study.  We always have
an hour of language, and now because we are trainers we do an
hour from the 12 week training schedule.  Really we can do these
anytime during the day, it's whatever works best with our schedule. 
In the meeting they talked a lot about how this will help us use our
free agency for the better.  This will also benefit our lives helping
us learn to use our time wisely after our missions. 

Saturday was definitely the highlight of the week.  We were all
looking forward to the special mission meeting in Little Rock
with Elder Neil L. Andersen.  The entire mission attended.  When
we arrived we all gathered into the gym and they organized everyone
so we could take a photo with Elder Andersen.  Literally as soon as he
walked into the room you could just feel of his spirit.  I was like - wow -
an apostle of the Lord is here.  It was amazing!  After the photo we went
into the chapel for the meeting.  President Wakolo began the meeting
with his powerful testimony.  Then we heard from Elder Klebingat of the
seventy.  He spoke about leaving everything behind and giving everything
to God.  We then heard from the Presiding Bishop Wadell and then from
our area seventy, Elder Beheshti.  Then Elder Andersen spoke to us.  He
spoke on how we must plant ourselves firmly in the word of God so that we
will be steadfast and immovable.  My biggest take away from it all was this:

"Testimony is knowing, conversion is becoming."

When we are truly converted, we can then help others better feel that converting
power having already experienced it ourselves.  At the end of the meeting he left
us all with an Apostolic Blessing.  It was so awesome to just feel of the spirit there. 
I will definitely remember that day for the rest of my life. 

Well I hope everyone has an awesome week.  I love you guys!

Love Elder Merrill

Elder Merrill - Elder Giles - Elder Spencer

                       The entire Arkansas Little Rock Mission - Photo with Elder Neil L. Andersen

Can you find Elder Merrill?


The J-crew

The missionaries always sing this when they are together for meetings. 

Monday, January 23, 2017

Don't let your fears weaken your faith!

Hey guys!  I hope y'all had an awesome week.  This week was
great!  Things are starting to pick back up here in Jonesboro. 
We have started to find some new investigators again.  We are
kind of in a rebuilding stage here.  We had an awesome lesson
with Francisco, one of our investigators we have been teaching
for a while.  We went to teach him more about the gospel of Jesus
Christ and the conversation somehow ended up about the law of
chastity.  So we taught him more about that and the we also taught
him about the Word of Wisdom.  He didn't seem to have a problem
with either so we committed him to live both and he accepted! 

The gospel is amazing!  President gave us some encouraging words
this past week.  Sometime missionary work can be really hard.  I was
reading my patriarchal blessing again yesterday morning and a phrase
in there stuck out to me that has never stuck out before.  The phrase is
"don't let your fears weaken your faith."  I feel like that was Heavenly
Fathers way of saying, "Hey I got stuff!  You - Elder Merrill - continue
to work hard and bring back my children to me and I will take care of
everything else.  It is truly amazing how the Lord speaks to each and
every one of us.  I really don't know what I would do if He didn't.  The
power of prayer is real and so is personal revelation.  My testimony of
these has really grown out here on my mission. 

This week we have a missionary broadcast about some changes in our
day to day schedules so that will be exciting.  Also this Saturday Neil
A. Anderson is coming to talk to us!  I am so excited!  It is going to
be amazing be in the presence of an apostle of the Lord. 

Well that is about it on this side of things.  I can't believe you had
another snow day!  I am so jealous.  I love all of you! Everything is
going Awesome in Arkansas.  Have a great week!

Love Elder Merrill

Elder Merrill
in a tunnel & in cowboy boots!

Monday, January 16, 2017

Everyday - Everyday - Everyday

Something President Wakolo says is this: 
Everyday - Everyday - Everyday
We keep working hard everyday despite the ups and downs!

This week has been pretty good, a little long, but for the
most part good.  We have recently started teaching a guy
named Floyd.  He is less active and has two grandkids living
with him that aren't members. We are hoping to set baptismal
dates with them soon.  Other than Floyd we didn't have a lot
happen this week. We got a lot of doors slammed in our face
and a lot of people who didn't answer the door or missed their
appointments.  But.....SWEET IS THE WORK!

I can't believe that I will hit my six month mark on Thursday -
January 19th!  This means I get to burn a tie!  I found a really
ugly tie in our last apartment that got left there so I took it to
burn!  I'm excited - it is going to be sweet! 

We had an awesome experience last night.  We were blessed
with the opportunity to speak at a youth fireside that was held
in the Boudrero's home.  Elder Spencer was picked from our
companionship to give a longer talk.  I got to share a few words
about preparing for a mission.  It was very cool to experience the
spirit there.  Tonight we are going to eat dinner with the family I
was with on Christmas day where I got to talk to you.  I am pretty
excited. I really hope we get to enjoy some great Brazilian food.

Well hopefully next week is more eventful.  Even when I haven't
had the best week it is still a good week because I get to be a
missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and
share this true gospel!  I love it and I love you guys!

Love Elder Merrill

Elder Merrill, Elder Donahoo & Elder Spencer
showing off their new $7.00 tie racks they got on sale!


                      We received an email this past week from the mission office that said this: 
"We wanted to share this wonderful letter with you about the new assignment for Elder Merrill." 


Poem written by a member in Arkansas

Monday, January 9, 2017

Piano jamming and a 20 oz steak

Hey guys!  I am so jealous of all the snow you guys have!  We
only have maybe 0.5 inches!  I can't believe you actually had a
snow day.  We also had a snow day this week, but it was caused
by only maybe one inch of snow.  We had to stay inside all day
because of it.  Arkansas is freaking out because of the snow.  It
is pretty dang funny to this Utah Elder. 

So training is awesome!  My greenie is sweet!  His name is Elder
Giles (pronounced Jiles).  He is from Kearns Utah, and he is a boss
at the piano.  I'm attaching a video of us jamming out.  Our district
here in Jonesboro is now is me, Elder Spencer, and Elder Giles as
the Spanish Elders.  Elder Donahoo and Elder Smith as the English
Elders.  And our sister missionaries are Sister Green, Sister Neville,
and Sister Tarpening.  We all get along pretty well so it's fun.

So not a lot happened this week.  I went to Little Rock on Monday
to get my other companion Elder Spencer and we stayed down there
until Wednesday for the training meetings.  When we returned to
Jonesboro a member took us all out to dinner.  He bought us each
a 20 oz. steak.  It was so awesome and I probably gained five pounds
but it was totally worth it.  The work was a little slow the end of the
week but it has been nice to have some down time and get to know
all our new companions and get them settled. 

Can you please send me a picture of my deer antlers?  Also - I now
really love cool looking socks now so you can send me some of those
anytime.  I hope that you all have an awesome week.  Love you!

Love Elder Merrill

Christmas card from the Jonesboro Missionaries we received this past week

The new ALRM missionaries and their trainers
Elder Merrill is on the back row - right end
Check out that big smile!  He is excited to be a trainer :)

2017 ALRM Mission Calendar

The new trio of Jonesboro Spanish Elders
Elder Spencer - Elder Merrill - Elder Giles

Elder Merrill and his 20 oz. steak 

Elder Merrill and Elder Giles jamming

Monday, January 2, 2017

I'm training!

Hey guys!  I am once again staying in Jonesboro but it's good
because I love it here.  And I will become a trainer this transfer!
I am so excited!  Elder Sweeten is going to be a zone leader and
our old zone leader, Elder Spencer, is coming to be my companion. 
We are going to train a new greenie together so I'll be in another
trio.  It should be really awesome!  Elder Spencer is an awesome
missionary.  I'm sad to see Elder Sweeten go but he is going to be
an awesome zone leader so I'm excited for him.  Elder Anaya is also
being transferred.  I will miss them both! 

So the baptism I told you about didn't end up happening.  She
dropped us a couple days after I talked to you.  It was rough. 
But we have started teaching this new family and they are awesome. 
It's a mom and a dad and two daughters.  They texted us last night
and said that they were reading the Book of Mormon as a family and
that they were loving it.  We are hoping to set a baptismal date with
them soon. They are golden!

Today I have been chilling in Little Rock all day at the mission office.
Elder Donahoo and I got up at 3:30 am this morning and drove down
here.  Haha - that was fun.  I will be in Little Rock until Wednesday for
the training meetings.  I really hope that I get a cool greenie.  We will get
back to Jonesboro Wednesday night.  A member is going to take us to get
steak when we get back.  It will be great! 

Well that is about all this week.  Nothing crazy exciting happened besides
teaching the new family and transfers.  Thanks for the pictures!  Tell everyone
I miss and love them. I hope y'all have an awesome week!  I love you guys!

Love Elder Merrill

From Elder Sweeten's mom Kay:
Just got my son's letter. He has so much love for the Jonesboro Elders. He misses
their association already. It is comforting to him that he knows they are separating
because they are on the Lord's errand and can expect the Lord to look after each of
them. It reminds me of the four sons of Mosiah, their love for each other, their love
for the Lord, and instead of a love for the Lamanites, these missionaries love the
people to whom they are called to serve in the ALRM

--Jonesboro District--
Elder Anaya, Elder Donahoo, Sister Missionaries,
& Elder Merrill & Elder Sweeten

Jonesboro Elders with Jon Boudrero

Elder Merrill & Elder Sweeten sharing the gospel

Searcy Zone Meeting

Elder Merrill with Elder Donahoo and Elder Anaya
at the Searcy Zone Meeting

 Elder Marriner Kaden Merrill