Monday, February 27, 2017

Happy 19th Birthday!

Thanks for the birthday wishes everyone!  You guys are
awesome!  All and all things are going pretty good right
now!  Being a district leader is really awesome.  It isn't
much different from being a normal missionary other
than I have more responsibility now.  I instruct our district
meetings and on Sunday nights I call all of the missionaries
in my district to get their numbers for the week and see how
they are doing.  It really has been amazing to witness how
everyone is succeeding around me.  A phrase jumped out at
me in my patriarchal blessing the other day that says, "you
will have the privilege of seeing success in your laborers." 
I have definitely been able to see that lately and it has been
such a testimony builder for me. Whether I am the one teaching
a person or some-one else is doing the teaching it is so awesome
to see the change that happens in people as they make progress
towards coming closer to Heavenly Father. 

It has been really awesome having a native companion.  He is a
hard worker and he has definitely helped my Spanish.  Our rule
is that when we are outside our apartment we only speak Spanish
to help me learn.  And when we are inside we only speak English
to help him because he is trying to learn English.  For my birthday
today we are going to the Clinton library and museum.  I'm pretty
excited because they have an awesome Beatles exhibit on display
right now.  Thanks again for everything!  I love you guys!

Love Elder Merrill

Elder Gonzales & Elder Merrill


Monday, February 20, 2017

Being a District Leader is pretty sweet!

Hey guys!  How is everybody?!  Sorry about last week, my email
was not working and I was only able to send that little bit.  This
last week has been pretty good.  My new companions name is Elder
Gonzales.  He is from Chile and speaks very little English.  He is really
funny and I am enjoying getting to know him.  My Spanish has already
gotten a ton better!  So far we get along great.  He came out with me to
the mission field and has been serving in this area his whole mission. 
It's kind of a tough area so sometimes he gets a little unmotivated to
work, but so far it hasn't really been a problem.  We are going to work
hard together!  We were on walk week this past week.  He doesn't have
a bike so I think we walked like 15 miles.  Luckily it wasn't too hot.

Being a district leader is pretty sweet though.  My district consists of
us, a set of Spanish sisters, and the Spanish zone leaders.  It's really
great because I get to serve around Elder Sweeten again.  He is a zone
leader here.  I did my first call in last week to get the weekly numbers
and check in on them.  It was pretty cool.  Tomorrow I have to direct
and teach my first district meeting.  I'm a little nervous but it should be
pretty good.  I'm going to teach about our purpose as Spanish branch
missionaries.  It is way different than the Jonesboro ward.  It's like a sixth
of the size, and of course everything is in Spanish. The branch still has to
rely a lot on the missionaries to teach and give talks on Sunday so looks
like I am going to get pretty good at teaching on the fly.  

My new address is:

Elder Marriner Kaden Merrill
LDS Missionaries
7820 West Capitol Avenue  Apt. 613
Little Rock, AR  72205

I can't believe I'm going to be 19 in a week!  I'm looking forward to my
birthday package.  I always love ties, like really love ties ;)  It's also crazy
that I hit 7 months out yesterday.  I still feel like a greenie sometimes.  

I am so blessed to be a missionary.  It has been amazing to witness the
miracles and tender mercies that the Lord gives us from day to day. I know
that this gospel changes lives, I've seen it.  It definitely gives me strength
each and every day.  I know that God lives and that He loves us.  I love that
God gives us trials not only to strengthen us but to teach us.  I love all of you
guys and hope that you have an awesome week!

Love Elder Merrill

Elder Merrill on Merrill Drive in Little Rock Arkansas

Elder Merrill's District Leader Letter from President Wakolo

Monday, February 13, 2017

District Leader & Transfer to Little Rock

Hey - I'm sorry, but my email app has been broken all day. 
But I went to the Memphis Tennessee temple today!  And
I got to go with Elder Toomer.  We get to attend the temple
once during our birthday month and we both have birthdays
in February.  It was so amazing!!!

I am being transferred to Little Rock to be the District Leader! 
I'm a little nervous but mostly excited.  My new companions
name is Elder Gonzales.  He is from Chile and doesn't speak
a lot of English.  He is also hilarious. :)

Sorry this is so short but we have to head out to the new area.
I will send a long email next week.

Love Elder Merrill

Monday, February 6, 2017

6 month tie burning

Hey guys!  This week was pretty normal.  The beginning of the week
wasn't anything out of the ordinary.  On Wednesday we had another
zone meeting which was really good.  They challenged us all to never
give out a closed Book of Mormon, or in other words to always share
a scripture first.  Then after the zone meeting Elder Spencer and I went
on exchanges in Little Rock.  It was really fun.  We taught and talked
in Spanish the whole time which was super cool.  We don't really get to
teach a lot in Spanish in Jonesboro.  That is probably the only  thing that
I really don't like a lot about being in Jonesboro.  

We get our next transfer emails on Saturday.  I hope I get to stay here
at least one more transfer to finish training Elder Giles.  On Saturday
we went out and visited our top investigator, Abbey.  She is the grand-
daughter of Floyd, a member who has started to come back to church
after 60 years of being inactive.  We had an awesome lesson about prayer. 
She expressed that it was still kinda weird to her to pray because she has
hardly ever done it.  While we were there Floyd totally opened up us and
he bore his testimony.  It was amazing.  The spirit was present and was
really strong.  Abbey definitely had a change of heart about prayer.

Church was really good yesterday.  A missionary just returned to the ward
and we got to know him a little bit.  He seems like an awesome guy.  He
said that he wants to come out with us all the time so that will be sweet. 
We also had a baptism in the ward of a member's little boy.  It was really
awesome to be there and feel of the spirit.  After the baptism we had dinner
with a family in the ward that is really awesome. The dad served in the Brasilia,
Brazil Mission.  In his last area he baptized a woman who he ended up marrying. 
They are awesome and dinner was amazing.  The wife's sister is coming to live
with them in a couple weeks.  She is the only person in their family who is not a
member so they want us to go teach and baptize her!  It will be sweet.

It's crazy to think that my birthday is the end of this month!  I'm getting old.
Thanks for everything, I love you guys!

Love Elder Merrill

Elder Merrill burning a tie! 
Tradition when missionaries hit the 6 month mark

Elder Spencer, Elder Giles & Elder Merrill

The Elders by a Jonesboro member's Tesla.
They were lucky enough to get to ride in it too. 

A Datsun 210. 
Elder Merrill saw this car and had to take a
picture for his dad who used to drive a blue one. 

Sad suit pant casualty. 
The culprit - A nail sticking out of a table 
Solution - mail them home for mom to fix