Monday, June 26, 2017

New investigator, lost power and golfing video

Hey guys!  I'm so glad to hear that you went to Elder Sweeten's 
mission homecoming.  Elder Sweeten is awesome! He definitely 
helped me out a lot.  I will really miss seeing him in the mission 
field.  Sounds like yesterday was a missionary Sunday with the 
homecoming and a mission farewell.  I can't believe all those 
guys are all starting to leave on their missions and that I have 
almost hit my year mark!  It literally blows my mind.    

This week has been good.  Elder Smalley is so awesome and we 
get along great!  He came out one transfer after me and I had met 
him a few times before so already knew each other a little.  It's 
really going to be a great transfer!  

As far as the Lord's work goes - this week was pretty normal.  We 
had a good lesson last night with a new investigator we picked up 
at an English class this last week.  We showed up for the lesson 
and he was there and already had the pamphlets and a Book of 
Mormon with him.  We found out that he had talked with some 
missionaries almost two years ago.  He told us he was ready to 
listen to our message again so we will see where things go with him.  

We did have a little adventure this week.  We lost power on Friday 
for about 7 hours.  It was mostly during our morning hours where we 
are actually in our apartment.  Let's just say it was hard to stay awake 
during personal study in the dark - haha.  We did lose a little bit of food 
in the fridge.  Hopefully I have enough to last me the week because I 
have no more MSF for this month.  I used it all on the food that was in 
the refrigerator.  But all is well.

I can't believe the water is all the way up to the front lawn of the cabin at 
Bear Lake and I'm not there to enjoy it!  Oh well - missions always require 
a sacrifice right?  But really - I would NOT trade this experience I'm having 
serving the Lord for the world.  I am so blessed to represent my Savior 
and serve him everyday!  The church is true!

I love you guys!  Have an awesome week! 

Love Elder Merrill

This is the biggest Baptist Church in Tennessee - 
and pretty sure one of the biggest in the South

Mini-Golfing P-day party today!
My companion Elder Smalley is in the blue shirt

It was awesome to see the Bourdrero's on transfer day last week 

Elder Merrill sent this video to his Dad today for his birthday!
It made us laugh so hard and love him even more!  

Elder Sweeten's Homecoming - June 25, 2016

It was really fun to meet him and hear stories about Elder Merrill 

Monday, June 19, 2017

A week of good-bye

Hey guys!   I am staying in Memphis!  My new companion is Elder
Smalley.  He is pretty cool.  I have gotten to know him at meetings
and stuff so this transfer should be pretty good.  Today was pretty 
much spent moving stuff around for transfers and chillin at the 
church with tons of missionaries.  It's been good, but for me being 
at the church all day is super boring.  I would rather go out on the 
town and do stuff.  We are planning to visit the Bass Pro Shops at 
the Pyramid in downtown Memphis soon so that should be amazing.  

It was pretty fun sending Elder Spencer home.  He has spent a year of 
his mission here in Memphis so everyone wanted to throw a goodbye 
party for him.  We we served a lot of food and Elder Merrill might be 
little fatter now. :) You guys will have to find Elder Spencer when he 
comes to Utah State in the Fall.  I told him to come find you so hopefully 
you can meet sometime.  Oh - he also gave me his bike!  He said he 
didn't want the bike anymore because he has another one.  We said 
good-bye today - it was sad.  I'm going to miss him.

This past week was good.  Nothing too crazy has happened lately.  We 
had another super awesome thunder storm.  I learned that thunder can 
actually be loud enough to set off a car alarm - it doesn't just happen in 
the movies.  It was pretty sweet.  It's definitely getting very hot here! No 
matter what I do when I walk outside I'm sweating!  I'm hoping to sweat 
off all the weight I have gained - haha!

Being a Spanish missionary in the states has been amazing!  Not only 
have I learned a language - I have been able to experience just about 
all of the Spanish cultures and foods because everyone living here in 
our country is an immigrant.  I have learned so much about so many 
different countries, and experiencing the food is amazing.  I wasn't sure 
at firstbut I am super happy that I am a state side Spanish speaking 
missionary.  It is the best!  

Sounds like LTC was awesome!  I remember APTC being amazing and 
it made me really excited to be a missionary.  That will be awesome to go 
to Elder Sweeten's homecoming.  I got to see him today and say good-bye.
It was sad. I will definitely miss him a lot.  He was an awesome companion.

That's about all the happenings from this week.  Love you guys!

Love Elder Merrill

I just wanted to send you a little email and say thanks. Thanks 
for everything. I always loved hearing stories from your mission.  
Hearing them always made me want to make some of my own. 
We have an investigator from Brazil right now who speaks Spanish 
and Portuguese.  She promised to teach us Portuguese if we teach 
her English. So I might come home having learned three languages!  
I also wanted to say thanks for all the times I felt like I messed up pretty 
bad and you always helped me know you still loved me. That I always 
had your support.  I have learned a lot out here but mostly I have learned 
that you guys were always right!  As much as I don't want to admit it it's 
true. Thanks for everything Dad.  I Love You!

                                               Good-bye President Wakolo & Family
Elder Merrill will miss these people

I asked Elder Merrill to write something 
about President Wakolo - this is what he said:

"No matter what you do, he will always look at you with more 
love than you can ever imagine.  He has always made me feel like I am 
enough.  And that is pretty amazing.  He has blessed my life forever."

Good-bye Elder Sweeten
Elder Merrill & Elder Sweeten
He will be missed!

Elders Merrill & Anaya, Hermanas Petty & Keller, Elders Spencer & Pickering
The last 6 weeks in Memphis with this Spanish District has been great!

Hanging out at the church in Memphis

Monday, June 12, 2017

Spur of the moment talk in Spanish

Hey guys!  This week was pretty average, nothing too amazing happened. 
Although church was pretty awesome yesterday.  I was the one translating 
in sacrament meeting for the people that were giving talks.  I learned that it 
is a whole lot easier to go from English to Spanish than it is from Spanish to 
English.  We sometimes have to translate for people who don't speak Spanish. 
Anyway, the people finished their talks early and the branch president turned 
to me and says, "Elder Merrill, can you give a talk to fill the time?" There was 
20 minutes left!  So I then gave a 20 minute talk in Spanish just on the fly!  It 
was actually a pretty awesome experience.  Everything to say just came to me!  
The theme for the day was pioneers so I talked about how we can be modern 
day pioneers by sharing the gospel.  I shared the story of Marriner Wood Merrill 
encountering Satan at the Logan Temple when he was the temple president.  I
bore testimony of how Satan will always try to stop us from sharing the gospel 
and helping the Lord's work progress.  After the meeting everyone told me it 
went really well and that it flowed pretty smoothly.  A few people came up to me 
and were like, "that guy's your Great-Grandpa?!  I have totally read that story 
before."  It was really cool and I am grateful for the spirit I felt in that meeting.  

Today we went disc golfing and mini-golfing for Elder Spencer's birthday.  It was 
fun as usual.  I love my district here in Memphis.  I am really going to miss Elder 
Spencer when he goes home next week.   Love you guys! 

Love Elder Merrill 

Elders Pickering & Elder Anaya, 
Hermana Petty & Hermana Keller 
Elder Merrill & Elder Spencer

Elder Spencer's mission funeral - he will complete his mission next week.

Final Zone meeting with President Wakolo
Benton Zone in Little Rock Arkansas
May 3, 2017

Elder Spencer's Birthday party

Monday, June 5, 2017

Graceland, Grotto and Great Artwork

Hello everyone!  This week was so great!  We seriously did
the coolest service project ever on Saturday.  We went and
helped make meals for the elderly at the FedEx Forum.  It was 
seriously a party.  We were there for about 6 hours doing
service.  They had a DJ and everything so we pretty much had
a six hour dance party.  Other than that the week was filled with
pretty normal missionary service.

But today was totally wicked!  We went to Graceland!  I asked
Grandpa Leishman if he could help us out with money last 
week and he said yes.  It was $62.50 per ticket and I really
wanted to take my companion Elder Spencer.  We went today
for P-day and it was seriously amazing.  We pretty much saw
everything.  We started with the mansion.  They gave us an 
iPad and we had a tour narrated by John Stamos.  We could
also watch vidoes and all the places.  It was awesome.  Then
we went and saw car, the records, the fashion, the bands
that Elvis influenced, and the movie section.  It was pretty much
a whole day listening to Elvis and looking at all of his stuff.  It was
absolutely amazing.

And the gospel is absolutely amazing!  
I am so blessed to be a missionary and share it!

Love Elder Merrill

This was from a church member there serving:

"The missionaries there worked themselves silly!  When I left the service 
project of putting together meals (Jambalaya, dried) for Seniors, they were 
at 205,000 meals.  Now...Your SONS carried 90% of those boxes with 48 meals 
in each box, the bags of lentils, rice, and dried veggies...not the supermarket bag...
the ginormous industrial bag.  They did so happily and were very, very efficient 
and represented the Church (and you, as their parents) with wonderfulness!!!"

The project ended up making a total of 503,000 meals!

Home of Elvis Presley
Elder Pickering, Spencer, Merrill & Anaya
ready to take on Graceland

So long Elvis.....

Some guy did these sculptures in a man made cave in the 1940's
and they are all about Christ's life.  The best part is that the whole thing
is in the middle of some random cemetery.  It's just kind of weird.

Elder Merrill & Spencer, Hermana Petty & Keller, Elder Anaya & Pickering

And the artwork of the 
Elder Merrill continues...

I received this from Elder Pickering's mom this week:

"So, three pics of your son...Elder Anaya's marvelous work,
Elder Pickering learning how to draw from Elder Anaya,
and Elder P's mom (me) wanting to get in on it...Haha!"