Correspondence

To correspond with Elder Merrill you can email him at tanner.merrill@myldsmail.net he may not be able to email you back but he can write to you and he loves the letters.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

December 7, 2013


Hey Family,

Story, so last moves, one of the missionaries in my district, Elder Devin Roper, went home early for medical reasons.  He lives in Texas, and since he has been home he has been going out with the missionaries in his ward to do work.  Turns out, one of the elders in his homeward is Elder Taylor Peterson from San Diego.  Small world

Ireland has been a little more difficult.  We have the most success in both Ireland and Scotland with foreigners, mostly Chinese and Nigerian. There are Chinese elders in Glasgow and in Edinburgh and Dundee now.  Oh yeah, for moves call, I’m staying in Clondalkin and serving with a new companion named Elder Winn. I’m still District Leader.   Interestingly, my old companion, Elder Austin, is getting sent to Stranraer, one of the areas I’ve opened thus far, so I’ve been filling him in on a lot of stuff.  It’s pretty cool, very coincidental, lots of that kind of stuff happens here.  Elder Johnson finished his mission and went home yesterday so it was sad to see him off but good as well. Elder Lesuma is staying here with me and will be training a new missionary. It’s been a very fun moves and I’ve seriously loved it, went by so fast. Days are flying by now; it’s almost 9 months since I’ve left home. Wow.

I’m happy to hear that I’m in your prayers, and it doesn’t surprise me because I feel the strength from Heaven that comes surely because of your prayers.  Have a great week,  thanks for the love and the packages, I’ll tell you when I get them, I hope soon.  Love you loads.

Elder Merrill

Merry Christmas

 

Dec 2, 2013


Ireland feels so detached from the rest of the mission I would prefer to stay in Scotland most of the time.  Ireland is split; it started with the whole Catholic Protestant thing.  Northern Ireland belongs to GB, and the south or majority of Ireland is the Republic, still a part of Ireland and we can roam freely in between both, but it is very hostile and Belfast is especially dangerous.  The missionaries in Belfast are under alert all the time.  I’d love to serve up north, I think I will. 

I’m glad to hear the other ward missionaries are doing so well.

To answer your question if I play the piano, I don’t really have much opportunity to play the piano, even though I have had that chance here and there and it’s been great.  I focus a lot on the guitar and can play the instrument fluently.  I still can’t read but I haven’t ever been the kind to do things the conventional way.  I’m so so so happy I didn’t sell my guitar that you got me, I will be able to use it now ahah thanks for buying me that by the way, I know I didn’t touch it much at home, I feel bad about that sometimes. Oh well, I’ll try again when I get the chance, when I’m home.

Living in a big ward is so different from the previous transfers of my mission, but it’s good in many ways.  Obviously the support is better and our ward is great for missionary work, but there is simply something about a small branch that I miss.  There is a specific closeness and uniqueness to the work, but you’re 5 times more likely to have success in a Ward than in a Branch. I miss a branch, but the ward is better for missionary work. 

To Dad: Read any interesting books lately? What are you reading now? I’ve seen lots of cool books since I’ve become more interested in Doctrine and such.  Dad, I’ve changed loads, we can actually talk about church when I get back.  I always knew it was true; I just didn’t care too much.  It sufficeth me to say, I do now.   Thanks for everything; you’re the best father I could have asked for.  I must have done something right in the schools of the pre mortal existence to fall into our family.  I Thank God every day.

To Mom: Thanks for the cookie recipe.  When I get the stuff, I will be sure to try it.  The package made it to Ireland over a week ago, they just are super dumb in the DHL here, and so I have to work for it.  No worries, I will get it and let you know how the cookies are.  Thanks in advance for everything; you are the best mom in the World.  I love you, I’m doing great and life in Ireland is very rewarding and cold. 

To his Sis: Missionary work is hard work, but I’m loving it and there really isn’t anything to complain about. I hope above all things that I can be a good example and influence to you and Evan, it’s one of the biggest reasons that I came out here in the first place. I know everything I do reflects my dedication to the righteous cause of building the Lord's Kingdom on this Earth.  I love you and I thank you, the most important thing to me above all things is that my family and I make the right decisions to endure to the end so that not one of us is missing in the Celestial Kingdom, my goal is to make sure everybody is there! I do my best, as you stay on the straight and narrow path; you will never fail and will never be alone.  Read 3 Nephi 31, great chapter.
Miss you loads, drive safe, have a perfect week.

To Evan: Glad to hear your working on being respectful to mom and dad, it’s a commandment after all. It can be hard to get into the habit of reading scriptures and prayer, I know trust me it was difficult at first, but I love it now and honestly it’s great, gives me identity that I didn’t have before, so I’m grateful for that
I love ya buddy, have a great week. Wreck shop.

Miss you all, it was cooler than ever to see you all at the SLC temple, great and historic landmark that it is, I’ve learned so much about the temples and the history of the church that it’s changed my thoughts on a lot of things.  Can’t wait to see it again.  Till then, take care and have a fantastic week!
Elder Merrrill
Ps. I get to see you in 23 days!

 nt thing.  Northern Ireland, belongs to GB, and the south or majority of Ireland is the Republic, still a part of Ireland and we can roam freely inbetween both, but it is very hostile and Belfast is especially dangerous.  IED's and shootings were very common in the past couple decades, its calmed down, but still very dangerous. THe missionaries in Belfast are under alert all the time. Most Irish hate the british and even the Irish in the North, its pretty messed up, if you walked down a certain street in any city in Scotland Ireland with a Union Jack shirt or anything british you would simply not make it out alive.  True story. Id love to serve up north, I think I will. 

Im glad to hear the other ward missionaries are doing so well, the alpine mission is at least a very difficult mission, so props to him for his success. I know lots of Cooks, cant think of specifics.  Im not too big of a fan of one of my ZLs at the moment, one is great, the other is arrogant.  I respect him and there istn any problems between us, he is just prideful and shouldnt be ZL.  Did you ever serve as Zone Leader?  It takes the fun right out of missionary work haha I will probably end up serving as one soon enough but I wouldnt mind if I didnt.

I dont really have much opportunity to play the piano, even though I have had that chance here and there and its been great.  I focus a lot on the guitar and can fluentely play the instrument, still cant read but I havent ever been the kind to do things the conventional way.  Im so so so happy I didnt sell my guitar that you got me, I will be able to use it now ahah thaanks for buying me that by the way, I know I didnt touch it much at home, I feel bad about that sometimes. oh well, Ill try again when I get the chance, when Im home. sorry.


Living in a big ward is so so different from the previous transfers of my mission, but its good in many ways.  Obviuosly the support is better and our ward is great for missionary work, but there is simply something about a small branch that I miss and honestly prefer.  there is a specific closeness and uniqueness to the work, but your 5 times as likely to have success in a Ward than in a Branch. I miss a branch, but the ward is better for missionary work.  Win some ya lose some, oh well, its the cycle. 

Read any interesting books lately? what are you reading now? Ive seen lots of cool books since Ive become more interested in Doctrine and such.

Dad, Ive changed loads, we can actually talk about church when I get back.  I always knew it was true, I just didnt care too much.  It sufficeth me to say, I do now.

Thanks for everything, your the best father I could have asked for.  I must have done something right in the schools of the pre mortal existance to fall into our family.  I Thank God. anyway, have a great week dad, love you.Elder MerrillAunt Carols cookies!On Mon, Dec 2, 2013 at 2:32 AM, Kurt Merrill <premierpaintinginc@yahoo.com> wrote:

Hello my Irish Lad,We took the family to see the lights at temple square.  Debbi and her family were with us.  Sage included.  Sage has some friends from his soccer team from England and Ireland.  We were able to meet up with them and talk for a while about their countries, etc.. The one from Ireland, the red head named Daniel, was interesting.  Sage says Daniel is by far the best on the team and that he messed up his knee at the first game of the season and was unable to play another game.  They went on to have quite a losing season.  But fun.  Anyway this young man told us about Ireland and says he's from up by Belfast and considers himself British?  Apparently the folks who live in the upper part of Ireland don't play well with the folks that live down where you are at.  The boys from England said none of the young people go to church and if they do they are bullied.  Sad that a generation has been brought up to be secularists.Today I taught the HP Group lesson.  I decided to talk about missionary work and shared some of your insights and experiences.  Then I had the dads of missionaries tell the group about their sons missions and give us an Idea of how the work is going in each mission.  Also how their sons are developing and growing.  It was a really good meeting with Brother Green telling about Carter, who is in his last area and is doing very well.  Brother Sorenson was sharing some things about Shane; they seem to be flourishing in Washington State.  They taught 26 new discussions last week.  Shane in now in the office and has something to do with the fleet of cars for the mission.  Brother Williams shed some tears talking about the transformation of his son and how the work in Africa is flourishing.  Brother Christensens boy, Ryan will be home in January!  Can you believe that?  He has a baptism set up for this month.  Which is rare in his area.  His other son is in Texas and he is trying to re-activate some of the less actives.  An older man that they went to visit asked him if he knew Lloyd Christensen?  He said yes that is my grandfather.  Well the old guy told him that he felt like the lord sent the person who baptized him...sent his grandson to help him become active again.  Brother Buhler said that his son is in Georgia with three of his cousins and McKay Court.  He is doing well, is a zone leader and is working hard.  They all spoke of how their sons have developed greater faith, stronger testimonies of Christ and a love for the gospel and the scriptures.  I think Williams said that his son read, which he never did at home, he read 250 pages of Jesus the Christ in one day, when they were kept inside because of violence in their area.We have a new High Council rep for our ward.  A Bishop Cook from the 4th ward?  Do you know him or his kids?I hope you had a good week this last week.  I hope you will stay positive and do the best you can with all you have.  I always wonder who the Lord has prepared for Elder Merrill to meet and teach the restored gospel to?  I have wondered if you have opportunity to play the piano?  Or if you are still playing the guitar a bit?  How is life in a larger branch or ward?  Do you enjoy having more member to work with and support?Our ward will look much different when you get back?  Lots of new move in's.  We have three Renstroms in our ward now.  Johns brother and Dad and mom.  plus many other newbies.Have a great week!I love you,Dadps. went to my Brother Kent's daughters baptism yester day...Anna.  She was beautiful and it was a good experience.  Went over to their house after for some of Carols sugar cookies.  remember those?  Then Evan and Mom and I went to dinner in SL afterwards.  Sydnee had other plans so she was not able to be there...take care lad   

 

 

 

Monday, November 25, 2013

Some Missions are like fishing in Colorado!


Hey mum,
 
I’m trying to take care of myself, it’s just so flipping cold and we are always running about outside.  Honestly, I miss Scotland and think about going back, Ireland is great but I connect with Scotland like I do with Utah.  By the way, read Isaiah 2:2 and know this, Utah translates to mean, top of the mountains.  Church is true!
I’m happy to hear Evan remembers me well; it does my heart good to think I had something of a good impression on the kids.  It’s the whole desire of my youth to have a positive influence on their lives, I made plenty of mistakes, I just hope their memories aren’t as good as mine when it comes to it ha-ha. 
 Remember, nothing does a child’s heart better than to see his parents praying aside the bed every night, despite arrogance and ignorance from my end, which I’m sure had you two worried, your influence and example was always there and was the SINGLE and ONLY thing, in some cases, that kept me on the right track desiring to do good.
I love you mom, thanks for everything, I hope one day I can feel as if I have paid back the kindness and sacrifice you’ve shown me, but something tells me that won’t ever come.  You’re amazing, and dad is alright too.  Have a great week, see you soon.

Elder Merrill

Ps. Evan has impressive taste in music, Elvis is Gospel Gold!


Dad,

Some missions are like fly fishing in the Colorado River.  You just cast and cast and you have success.  Some missions are like deep sea fishing in Alaska with a guide that has a shotgun, you just hold the rod and go through the motions and a big fish pops up every time. This mission is like fishing for tiny crabs dug deep into the cracks in the depths of the ocean of shark and eel infested waters, and once the crabs are caught, which requires diving deep and picking them by hand, the predators come out of their holes to do all they can to drag the crabs back down.  This mission is hard, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.  I am pleased to serve here, the difficulty and challenge is a witness to me that God knows I’m tough, but wants to make me tougher.  He knows I’m rough on the edges, and wants to smooth them out.  He knows my potential and has given me a job to do, and only through fishing in the deepest and darkest waters can I become the fisher of men that he has in store for me to become.  This caliber of refining could not happen in an "easy mission", it could not happen in any other mission.  The challenges I’ve faced in this mission have carved my soul and filled the gaps necessary to take me higher.  Your example took me to this point and will continue to take me higher.  Thanks, I’m out of time but I love you and appreciate all of your support and love.
The work will change with the times, but as we know, God never changes.  He knows the hearts and minds of his children, we can only work harder and harder and hope it is enough.  I feel successful; I have changed and awakened to the reality of our eternal situation. Love you, thanks again.  Have a great week.

Elder Merrill

 

Dear Sydnee,

Well you’re growing up, and I’m not there to see it, thanks for updating me I hope that life is great for you and that you’re happy. My mission is going well, and is going by very fast, I’ve done a lot of good and hard things and have dealt with many problems and had many light days, and many dark days.  The dark days have only driven me to come closer to my God and the best way to do that is to pray always! If we pray for every reason every day, we can surely live in this world, without being of the world. This is what God wants for us while we are here, remember, we are just passing through this life.  I love you Syd, keep making great choices, it does my heart more good than you could ever imagine to know my baby sister is accepting the outstretched hand of Jesus Christ that offers love and peace above all things, and salvation.   

Love you,

Elder Merrill

 

 

Monday, November 18, 2013

Top of the Mornin to you Lad!


November 18, 2013

 
Dear Family,

Well I miss you and I love you, it’s been a harder week and we lost all of our investigators early in the week so our efforts are now focused on building a teaching pool up again. Which means tracting and street contacting, the least effective use of time in the world. But oh well. The ward here is very supportive and there were nearly 150 people at church last week.

 So last Thursday, my companion and I were chapping the door of a potential investigator in Lucan, a man answered the door, who wasn’t the person we were looking for, but we began teaching him anyway. After a couple minutes, it was clear that he wasn’t interested, so I asked him if there was anyone he knew who would be interested that we could go by, he began to say no to that as well, but then he straight up fell backward, passing out and collapsing on the floor. As he hit the ground, I said "oh dear he's narcoleptic". We waited for a sec, and then he quickly stood back up, and began talking to us like nothing happened. I asked him if he was okay and he said he was tired and closed the door. Me and my comp burst out in laughter as we walked away, we still have no idea what happened. We joked that he was struck down by the spirit because he denied us. Could be....

Interesting week, it was very cold and I got sick for the first time in my mission, with a strong cold and chest pain, I stayed out and worked anyway and I’m pretty much better now. The cold soft gel pills you gave me saved me at night though.

I love being a missionary, and especially getting lots of time to study the scriptures and feel the spirit, I love the scriptures and as I seek revelation or confirmation concerning the teachings in them I’ve become very familiar with the doctrine of the church. I think I’ve lost my patriarchal blessing, I can’t find it. That worries me, but my goal at this time is to build a relationship with Jesus Christ, as is told to me in my blessing, so I could use the blessing for direction. I’ll keep looking; I feel the sprit work through me every day which is really what keeps me from feeling down when we are having little success at this time.

Have a great week, thanks for everything I miss you loads, Happy Thanksgiving whenever it is this month,

PS… today, a man said “Top of the mornin lad” to me, it was a dream come true.


Elder Merrill

Nov 11, 2013


Hey Family,
Ireland is colder than the other side of the pillow but it’s great.  I have found that this mission is pretty dangerous, as a couple of missionaries have been mugged in the last few weeks.  As long as we are careful at night and stay in the areas that are lit we will be good.

We have gotten loads done this week and next week is very promising and we already are rocking 2 appointments virtually every day of the week. It’s a very hard area, but I am doing my best to solve the issues that concern the area and trying to take a different approach than in the past, by the spirit of course.  I am doing a lesson at the District Meeting in a couple weeks on Recognizing and following the spirit. This week I am doing a lesson on the Book of Mormon and its application into our work, specifically in finding.  I enjoy doing district training; it gives me a chance to influence a good size of area in Dublin.  We have reactivated 4 people from less activity in the church since ive been here, so things are moving along and work is getting done.

I love Ireland and though it is great place, I just wish I had a car here, we waste so much time walking and bussing around, hours and hours a day spent walking down empty parks. We try and be effective by talking with people but there is either no one there or they aren’t interested.  There have been a couple good opportunities to teach on the trams or busses and we have passed out all the books of mormon that we had last week, which is nearly a dozen.  I am working hard, loving life. Weak, but fearless.  The socialist work unions here are thriving. You can’t walk down the street without smelling the Marxism seeping in through the cracks in the concrete, radiating from the ideologies of captivity, taking control over the hearts of many men through temptation and debt, it makes it easy to understand why it can be so hard to spread light where the darkness is so thick.  Difficult, but not impossible. No doubt, right?

Love you all!

Elder Merrill

Sunday, November 10, 2013

November 4, 2013 I am in Ireland!


Hello Family,

 How’s your week been?  It’s been a great week in Ireland.  It’s been a hectic one, but it’s all coming together.  First of all, getting here from the highlands was crazy, and since we got here there have been little confusions about my district and some of the missionaries. We got here by a series of busses and a boat.  I drove from Oban to Glasgow, bussed to Stranraer, took a ferry to Belfast, bussed to Dublin, and then bussed to Clondalkin.  It was chaotic and crazy but we made it.

Dublin is a beautiful city, and everything here is so different from everything else I’ve seen my whole mission.  I’ve never been around other missionaries, and now I live in a four man flat with three other guys who I get along very well with.  We are like brothers. My new comp is Elder Austin from Phoenix, AZ.  He's 6,4 and plays baseball at Southern Virginia U.  We are sharing the flat with another companionship. Elder Lesuma and Elder Johnson.  We are all getting along great and are honestly like brothers, it’s actually really interesting it’s like living with a bunch of giants.   I’m the smallest guy here.  We are 6,2 to 6,6 and I’m the lightest at 180lbs.  The money system here is funny, the Euro is the currency and it’s weird because I’m used to the pound.  Oh well.  Ireland is great, much flatter than Scotland and so far colder and wetter, or maybe it’s just that I don’t have a car any more.  It does suck not having a car ha-ha oh well.  Every one besides elder Austin is from Utah.

 I can feel the legitimacy of my calling as people ask me tough questions, or when I find myself in a tough situation and the spirit guides me through the whole thing.  I feel confident in my ability to do anything as long as the spirit is with me.  It’s a great confidence to have and I wouldn’t trade what I know for the world. 

The stories of missionaries getting kidnapped is crazy.  A missionary in my zone got mugged last week.  Although beautiful, Ireland is a dangerous area.  I’m constantly aware and watching our backs.  It can sometimes be difficult, but I think as long as I pay attention to my conscious (the light of Christ) I will be okay.  The accent is fantastic, some people talk so fast that even I have hard time to understand it.  I’m working hard and loving life, thanks for your wisdom and example.  I’m proud to be your son.  I’m running short on time today, and I have to plan a last minute district meeting for tomorrow, it’s what I get when I put it off.  I’m doing it on Christ like Attributes and how faith affects our obedience and how obedience affects our blessings (DC 130;21,22)

 
The ward is huge and I’m excited to reap the benefits of a supportive area.  Dublin is a beautiful city, very European.  I’m happy as can be, and busy as can be, and cold as can be.  But I’m okay. 
Love you all, thanks for writing, have a great week and just know I love you.
Your son,

Elder Merrill

Thursday, October 31, 2013

October 28, 2013


 
Hey Family,
First of all, have I had the experience to do anything in primary?? Hah, in my areas there hasn’t been primary, or any sort of classes.  We clump together for Sunday school, sometimes priesthood in Stranraer, then sacrament.  In Oban, the whole meeting is just Sunday school then sacrament in the same room, sitting around a table the size of the dinner table at home. But I gave a surprise lesson last week on priesthood and a talk this week on the atonement. NO notes, no books, just winging it like dad does. 

I feel as if it’s going to be pretty weird getting back and seeing all the changes to the ward, oh well, such is life I suppose.  Speaking of changes, I have some.
Are you ready? 
I have a new assignment, to serve as District Leader, and open a new area in Clondalkin Ward, Dublin, Republic of Ireland. This will be a great opportunity to serve 5 companionships in Dublin, and the ward is something like 100 active members.  In my 7 1/2 months as a missionary, if I counted up every person at church every week it comes to about 245 people, this will be covered in about 3 weeks in Dublin.  Such a difference going from 5 to 100! I’m very excited, sad to leave Oban, I feel a wee bit that my work here is not done, but I have confidence in Elder Urbieta to step up and carry it forward.  I’m also excited to serve in such a great and thriving part of the Lords kingdom.  The Clondalkin Ward has a massive stake center, and sees 100 people every Sunday.  100!!!  Even the flat is posh, we have a house and were in there with another great companionship that I know and served with In Ayr while I was in Stranraer. So that’s the news, hold on sending the package till further notice.  Love you, thanks for the email and the hilarious and curious story about the hunting trip.  Well I’m off to Ireland, bye for now Scotland!
Love you all!
Elder Merrill

 

October 21, 2013


Family,

It’s so good to hear from all of you, I miss you and can’t wait to see you on Christmas.

Yeah, those KIWI things are wretched demonic little buggars. We don't have them and I hope above all things that we never get them in this mission. When I was dating Madeleine, she had one in her car, and whenever I drove it, that thing would just rail on me.  "Slow down, speed up! Aggressive braking! Use your blinker! SLOW DOWN!" I’d always yell back at it, "shut up KIWI!" Madi loved it, laughed all the time.  But KIWI and I never got along, it should accept the fact that I’m not a perfect driver, darn near to it, but not perfect.

We met some people on the street in front of the Tesco in Oban a couple weeks ago; a couple, both were very down on their luck, one having a terminal illness and both homeless.  We spoke for some time with them, and eventually asked if we could meet up with them again.  They proposed that meeting them in their cave in Dunollie probably wasn't a good environment, but that a few times a week they met at a soup kitchen in Oban.  A few days later we met them there and taught them, and we also met about half a dozen other people willing to listen and ask questions to what we had to say.  It was amazing and we have received many potentials from HOPE, we went there twice last week and are volunteering to work there next week.  Hopefully we will have success from meeting so many people that the Lord has prepared.   It’s very humbling to see so many people down and out, as they say, with so little, and hanging around with them can sometimes be sobering, and maybe not the best crowd, but Christ spent his life with those who were down and out, did he not?

Also this week, we had 5 people at church, despite inviting several people to come and getting many yeses.  A couple members were sick, and nobody besides a few showed up.   It’s difficult, even when we do get investigators into church, to make them understand that this church is God's kingdom on Earth, because yes the spirit is there but it’s simply hard for people to take a small room with a few people meeting around a wee table as the true Church of Jesus Christ.  I don't blame them, and I’m not discouraged.  If we get the right person, who is prepared and humbled before God, into church, and if they keep the commitments we ask of them then they will realize the magnitude of truth behind the small unit here in Oban.

It’s such a blessing to have such amazing parents with great testimonies of the Gospel and of this work, it is the true church and preaching Christ's Gospel is the most important work we have to do.  I’m grateful, and I want you to know that it because of your love and how you raised me, that I know God lives, and that he has called President Monson as a Prophet, and I am very aware of the importance of my calling, and that I was called by God and assigned by this prophet to serve this mission.  Your great example and exceptional love for me and for others is what got me here. 

Quick story, we were eating dinner the other day, around 7pm, and were sitting in the study room talking, when the something went amuck at our door.  Someone was jiggling the handle and trying to key their way in.  I grabbed my pen and a jacket (great defense alternative) and rushed the door opening it quickly..... And ill finish the story next week. 

For the package.... chicken in a biscuit is the only thing I can think of.  Wait a couple weeks to send it, in case I move to Ireland.  We get our call this next Sunday for moves. I’m pretty sure I’m staying though, because of my calling as DL.  The breakfast essentials mix is great, and the porridge was good.  I eat loads of porridge; I invented a recipe for it, spoonful of peanut butter, raspberries, blueberries, brown sugar. It’s the best breakfast ever. It’s getting really cold up here too; we will see how I survive.  The showers getting cold too. 

Thanks for everything you; I love you and miss you.  Have a great week,
Your son,
Elder Tanner Merrill

 

To his sister:
AHHHHHHH PUMPKIN COOKIEZZZZZZ??!!?! I am jealous; I haven't had one of those in ages.  Hope they are good.  Utah is great I miss it loads! You don't miss it till you leave it, but trust me sister; it’s the best place to be in the world, everyone, even in Scotland, wishes they could live in Utah. Seriously, I’m so happy I was raised there, and I will definitely raise my kids there.  Great state, god given land, why would you ever leave? Beats me. 

Last p day I played tennis for the first time in like 8 months.  It was a blast.  I’ve still got it!  You’d probably beat me.  Hey Syd, I love you and miss you loads, have a great week and keep being the amazing example to your wee brother and I that you are. This church is great because of the amazing youth like yourself who have such amazing faith and learn who God is when they are young.  It's also great because it’s the only true church and there are over 80,000 missionaries worldwide all proclaiming the same thing, come unto Christ, repent and be baptized, and if you endure to the end of your life, you will have happiness in this World and Eternal Life in the World to come.  The Church is true, Thomas S Monson is the Prophet of the living God, and you are the best sister ever.  All true.
America!
Elder Merrill

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

October 14, 2013

Mom,
I’ve decided to do the next District Training session on Healthy Eating and how a healthy body and mind can help us to have the spirit with us.  It’s a very unique and interesting way of training a district, but it’s going to be great.  The last few I did were on, helping investigators to keep commitments, planning and setting goals according to the spirit, and asking effective questions in lessons.  My training sessions are about 60 to 90 minutes long.  It has been a very good experience.   I’m going to finish off this training with sandwich making, they will never forget it ha-ha.

Dad, I appreciate your comment about members and relating their conversion to the oil in their lamps.  While members, it’s true, must find the truth themselves and are responsible for their own salvation.  It is this truth that convinces us of the blessing of families.  Parents give us wisdom from experience, and guidance to even the odds against the world.  I have certainly realized this blessing at what it means to me since I’ve been out on my mission.  The foundation of my faith was not built by my own efforts, but from mom’s example and yours.  So thank you, all the hard work and obedience pays off hopefully, with a son who wants to do exactly as you have.  I love the book of Mormon; I used to politely snicker at people who would say it was their favorite book.  I understood it was important but how it could possibly be someone’s favorite story was beyond my comprehension.  It wasn't until I made my way, slowly and by the spirit from 1 Nephi to helamen that I found out for myself how great of a history it actually is.  I do not know what I would do without it. 


It’s been a good, yet trying week.  Lots of work with comparatively little success, but I’m not getting down.  It takes more than a speed bump to slow this race car down.  Speaking of speed bumps, my car is dead.  It was surprisingly easy to accept, that is after I threw myself backward over my chair weeping and wailing and crying.  But I’m fine, leaving a BMW in the hands of any 16 year old, no matter how skilled, is like finding out a dear one is diagnosed with cancer... it was only a matter of time.  I’m just happy that Sydnee was not injured or anyone else for that matter. 

Miss you and love you all!

Elder Merrill

 

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Conference Weekend


October 7, 2013
Hello Family,


Dan and Joyce were lovely people and it was great to have visitors in the Oban twig! (Exclamation point) It was great to see some Utahans again and to hear the familiar testimony of a born-and-raised.  I’m pleased to hear they phoned you and said the nice things that I told them to tell you.  £20 pounds goes a far way when feeding false information to your parents about how good of a missionary you are ;).  Nah, they kindly offered to phone you up, I’m sure it was cool for you guys, certainly made me happy.  I’m doing my best to honor our shouline Dad; it can be challenging out here as you know, but I remember my legacy, not only that of the church but of our family, and it gives me extra strength. 
I’ve been reading a lot in Isaiah, my favorite chapters have been 5, 30, 45, and 63 or 64.  This is a Tanner Merrill original analogy, reading Isaiah is like mowing the lawn; if you want to go fast, go for it, its fine.  But you’ll just end up going right back over it 2 minutes later to pick up the bits and pieces you left behind.  So it’s taken me a bit.  But the lawn looks good. 
Conference was amazing; the prophet’s talk was really something else and inspired me and others.  And Holland's in the Sunday morning session was truly inspired and interesting, giving us a lot of deep thought and made me consider other deeper ways that I can better serve the missionaries in my District. Love conference on a mission, we watched it in Glasgow last night and we have stayed over in Knightswood with Elder Hutchings, my best friend and brother, also in my MTC group district.  Good man.  He’s moving from Nevada to Utah as well as some other new friends. 
We have unfortunately lost our real last chance for member presence, with our last active priesthood holder in our area moving to Florida for good.  It makes things tough without other priesthood but that’s a challenge, especially as district leader trying to set an example for my district with member present lessons.  Nothing we can do but try out best.  We were able to drive down to Cambeltown last week to visit some less actives who haven’t had any contact with the church for 15 years, ever since the branch down there was closed.  It takes 2.5 hours and over 100 miles to make the trip, but we are really making progress with at least one less active, whose testimony is still hanging by a thread.  We have helped him to rekindle his fire, given him a Book of Mormon, which he has picked up and began reading again, and he is going to try to make the 100 mile trip to church next Sunday.  A real miracle, but in the back of my mind, I tumble the possible opportunity to open yet another branch in Cambeltown whilst serving in Oban, it would have to be all on our own, and now that I think about it, we have plenty of other things to focus on, building up Oban will be tough enough.  

Have a great week, and stay strong. 

Elder Merrill


To his sister:
Things in Oban are kicking along, how did you like conference?  I loved it, conference as a missionary it is like Disneyland, and I love Elder Holland.  Oh hey, listen to his talk; it’s great I think you’ll love it.  Recognizing the spirit, by David A Bednar of the 12.  It helped me tremendously; I wish I had it earlier on.  Glad tennis went well, you’re a champion Syd, I admire your goodness and it seriously has a great impact on me, and I’m sure others.  You’re such a good example, and as we were told in the relief society session of conference (you bet I watched it) you were told, and I agree fully, that a virtuous woman has so much influence for good.  You have POWER! Use it! (Exclamation point!) Glad to hear life is good, be true to the faith as usual my good sister.  May God be with you till we meet again.

Elder Merrill Loves you



 

October 1, 2013

It rained all day!

Hello Family,

I’m doing pretty well thanks, the work is particularly difficult in this area so were not quite baptizing anybody yet, but we are making progress elsewhere.  This last week, we drove down to Cambeltown, and the Mull of Kyntire(look these places up), which is about 100 miles from Oban but still in our assigned area, being the largest are in the mission(we may be tied with Thurso, but I don't think so).  We contacted less active members who haven't had activity in the church or any contact for over 14 years.  They were so happy and shocked to see Elders knocking at their door and we left a couple families with several books of Mormon.  Their main problem is the travel to church, because Oban is so far away.  We are working.

I’m doing great, health wise, I’m getting fat but I’m fine.  Nah, but lack of solid exercise mixed with stress and cheap quick meals has gotten me out of shape.  Because of good fortune and natural fitness given to me hereditarily, I still was able to hike Ben Crauchan, a flipping monster.  It was fun.  There were 8 people at church today.  We are meeting loads of new people; it’s just difficult getting people to commit to come to church and things.  Opening a new area usually is slow, but I think things will pick up quickly. 

This Tuesday for District Meeting I have planned a lesson on helping our investigators and others keep the commitments we invite them to keep.  Commitments are the most important aspect of missionary work, PMG chapter 11, so it’s going to be good. Every week, I plan and give 90 minutes training session to all the missionaries in my district, record their goals and actual numbers for their work in their areas, and report to my mission leaders about the district.  In my district are the missionaries in Dumbarton and the Zone Leaders in Glasgow.  Its loads of fun, and I get to go on lots of exchanges with all of them.  Keeps me busy and traveling all over this great country.   We drive a ton!  Our mileage is 100 miles every day of the month, leading up to nearly 3000 miles every month.  Its great fun, needless to say I’m getting better and better at driving.  But I’m always tired from the journey.  I’m taking my vitamins and I think that's helping out ;). 

Glad to hear your job is going well and things are moving along as they should, you and Dad are great examples of organization and leadership, and those two attributes mixed with righteousness breed obvious success.  Plus, the blessings of me serving a mission, can’t forget that.  I love you all and still miss you.  Hope life is always getting better, enjoy your big ward!
 
P.S. Thanks dad for the story on your mission, I was able to look up the church on Osington AVENUE in Toronto, how cool.  It’s going to be great to be able to have mission conversations when I get back.  There’s a specific type of conversation that only return missionaries can have, it’s going to be great to share stories and laugh about mission life together. 

 
Evan,
I miss my buddy.  Hope life is good for you pal, and that you’re staying out of trouble and hanging out with good people, remember, you become who you surround yourself with.  So... surround yourself with rich good looking evil fighting decepticons.  Got to love a good old Skate Park, but they are usually full with quite the opposite group of people you want to be around, oh and football, I hope you’re wrecking shop.  I know your working hard and I’m proud of the kind of person I was able to watch you grow to be.  Over the last few years, you have really grown up and I’m excited to have you as a best friend for life.  Make sure to love and respect mom and dad, and to always stay faithful to God.  Evan, you will always find peace and strength in the Church, it is the one true church on earth.  I love you little brother.  Make sure to say your prayers, it’s easy to forget and hard to get into the habit, but it will help you tremendously.  Have a great week punk rabbit. 

Elder Merrill

September 30, 2013


Sept 30, 2013

Quick update on the area,

Elder Urbieta is a nice guy, and every week we get better at teaching with one another.  The area is doing well, finding and getting people to come to church is slow but we have high hopes.  This week, another member is moving to America, this one to Florida.  That leaves us with no Branch President, and only one other priesthood.  We are teaching a woman named Mairi, who last year lost her daughter to a car accident, the roads in this part of the country are windy and if you’re not careful, they can be dangerous.  But we have tried to comfort her with the scriptures concerning God's plan for us and life after death, specifically Alma 40: 12, 13, 14 I think.  She is away a lot so we have a hard time getting her into appointments but when we have met it was great, and the members we have invited have really helped us out. The spirit is so strong when your teaching according to the needs of the investigator, and you can really see the things we say resonate hope in their hearts.  We try to keep our use of time most effective and we are doing everything possible to have success, when it comes down to it, I just hope to leave this area, and the work we have done here with my name on it, and the Lords name on it.  Leave it better than it was found.   We are doing that.  Maybe they will send me to an area with a ward or even maybe a building next; I do like small areas though, so I suppose it doesn't really bother me too much. 

~Elder Merrill

 

 

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

September 23, 2013



Hey everyone,

Thanks for your confidence and faith in me, I love you all and feel your prayers. 

Mom, thanks for all your worrying, but I’m okay.  I have not been bothered with any false prophets.  I am paranoid, therefore, cautious.  I love this church.  It is true and I’m doing alright.  I love my mission and I love the Lord.  The doctrine is perfect, and it’s true.  I have made some considerable changes of heart since I’ve been here, and have become much more informed on Satan’s hand in this world and where it is headed.  But here is wisdom, stay informed, share knowledge and don't take it lightly.  Ether 8, Moroni prophesied where this world is going.  Will we be among those in the last days who are able to say that we saw what was happening before it all came down.  Read Ether 8, take it seriously, I certainly have.  But there are plenty of false prophets all over, but only we…. can invite the spirit at all times. 
 

As for Kolton Browns call, I say he is going to Mexico City, Spanish Speaking Mission. And that is doctrine, ha-ha… no it’s not but good luck to him.  He’s a good man and will love a mission.  Love you all so much, have a great week my family.  May God bless our home, and the country of America, it needs it.  Scotland is already blessed, it just needs more Mormons. ;) 

Adios mi familia. 
Elder Merrill

 

 
Glen Etive
 

September 23, 2013


Sep 23, 2013

 

Family,

Good Morning everyone.  It’s been a great eventful week, and my first week serving as District Leader has shown how much extra work a calling can be.  But it’s been a blessing thus far to be responsible for the accountancy of other missionaries, and to be a part of their lives even more. Hope everything is well with you all back home,  The assistant to the President and I were speaking last Thursday and he mentioned that he had recognized me but couldn't tell where from, he then told me he was from Riverton Utah.  So curious, I asked if he knew the Pembertons, astonishingly he does know them.   All of them by name!  He lived across the street from the Pembertons old house and his grandparents lived down the street from the Pembertons grandparents house in the boonies, we both shared experiences and memories about having light saber battles and playing on the trees, we very likely have crossed sabers before.  His name is Elder Alexander Neilson.

Elder Merrill and Elder Neilson
Anyway, love you all.  I miss you as usual.  Have a great week

Elder Merrill

p.s. send the photo and the story to Debbie. She will know him. Small world!

September 16, 2013

 

Family,

Hey everyone, this week was very interesting due to moves call.  I’m staying in Oban with Elder Urbieta.  I’ve been called as District Leader, and I’m excited for this new calling and challenge.  I’m looking forward to the lessons I will learn while serving the people in my district.  This Thursday, were driving to Edinburgh for a leadership meeting, and then driving back the same day. That’s 7 hours of driving in a day,.... but it’s so beautiful in this country that I don't really even care.  Real quick, the toothbrush you sent me is amazing; it definitely was worth sending, so thanks a bunch.  I thought sending chicken in a biscuit and a toothbrush were contradictory but oh well, I love em both.   It’s much harder to work and teach here than it was in the south, people are less open, a little more cheeky and frankly uninterested.  But the Lord is preparing people to receive his message and all we have to do is be obedient and valiant and we will find them.  Pray for us to find those people please.  They are here.

It’s getting colder and colder here, but a good friend of mine just got called to the Shetland Islands, which is much colder and windier, just in time for winter wind. So I’m not complaining.

Love you guys and hope everyone has an amazing week, I’m working on a letter for you all, I’m just very busy and my hands are cold all the time so it’s not the fastest way.  Thanks for all your prayers; I miss you guys very much.  Mom, I read through the part in the book of Mormon about stripling warriors the other day, and was impressed about their gratitude to their mothers for raising them right.  So I want to say thanks and I love you, for being an amazing mom, and raising me to love God and serve others.   I miss you loads.

Take care, with love,

Elder Merrill