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

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Week 5

April 29, 2013

 I gave my first mission talk today.  I had about two hours in the morning to prepare it, and you know what?  I wasn’t worried or nervous at all.  I think because I have to teach doctrine on  wim so often I just jumped right into the planning process and spoke on the inspired topic of receiving and recognizing the spirit.   It went well and I used some great scriptures.  My favorite scripture is small, simple but symbolizes a large view of the gospel and what it means to do missionary work. Nephi 4:6.  This is pretty much my life at the moment.  Walking into the house of Laban, doing the lords will in righteousness but not knowing beforehand the things which I am to do, relying solely on the spirit of the lord and the power of the priesthood to guide my words and deeds according to the will of the father.  

Things are going fine here, were making progress and we actually have an investigator with a baptismal date set now, Allister.  We get stronger in teaching by the spirit every day and it’s awesome to be a missionary in the beautiful country of Scotland.

I’m glad you have all enjoyed looking at Stranraer from home.  Next, check out Portpatrick, it’s a wee town just over the peninsula ridge, beautiful place.  We spent Sunday there, walking about the coastline talking to people and taking a bunch of pictures. 
Hope the wee ones are doing well.  Hope yall are getting along.   Hope to hear from you soon. I love you.
Elder Merrill

Monday, April 29, 2013

Week 4

Elder Tinsley and Elder Merrill

Dear Family,

The birthday package was awesome, you all know me so well!  The tie is fantastic, and made me laugh (Donald Trump).  All the food was like the perfect gift, all of it much needed.  Thanks for the money too, I love you all.

Things are going well here in Stranraer.  It’s been sunny quite a bit recently, and it’s been up to 12 C, that’s pretty warm.  The golf course is beautiful, we might go use the range today if we have time.  On clear days, it’s hard to miss how beautiful this area really is.  We’re tucked in the back of a large bay with beautiful rolling hills at our sides, and you can see Ireland out of the bay if you look close.

Our flat is cold and bland but we livened it up a bit.  Since my b-day, we have eaten steak and chips every night!!  It’s cheap here, steak is, and it’s good.  I do the cooking; seriously, I cook the steak like a boss.  Like A Boss!

We now have one new investigator; the wife of a less active fellow named Mike Harvey, her name is Emma.  I’m going to commit her to baptism tonight.  I prayed about it, and after teaching the Restoration tonight, she’ll be ready. 

Church here is so different but very spiritual.  Elder Tinsley and I do the sacrament, and it takes one brother less than a minute to pass it about the congregation. We also give the invocation and benediction.  The blessing of serving in Stranraer is more than I could ask for. 
Mom, if a woman named Sister Mary McRobb calls home and wants to talk, she is a nice member in the branch and be warned she can talk all day.  But she basically pulled your number out of me, I only gave her the home number.  I was hesitant to hand it out, but she is very kind and feeds us.  Her husband, Duncan, is also a great member.  He is 80, but acts and looks 60.  He can run, jump, bend down and yell better than any man 40 years younger.  He has been a member since he was 50.  Awesome guy.  The McRobb’s provide us with most of our referrals, probably half of the referrals we get, around 7 a week.  All the members here are amazing, and have basically adopted us.  At church yesterday, the sisters in the branch all brought me a birthday cake.  It’s incredible, the spirit and souls of the people here is unmatched anywhere in Scotland or Ireland.  It’s so good to be the companionship to open up this part of the mission.  So lucky!

Although, these next few words will be hard to believe, they are true.  We went to Subway today, and I ordered a Spicy Italian Sandwich (foot long) on flatbread.  She said she was surprised I ordered flatbread, because Subway hadn’t even launched it in the UK, but was actually starting flatbread in its stores starting next Wednesday, the 24th of April.  She then said Subway was beginning the new bread by putting it in stores in the south of Scotland and England, then moving North.  She said several stores in the south of Scotland already had the bread, but weren’t to release it till this Wednesday.  She then asked if I wanted to be the first person in the UK to have a flatbread sandwich at Subway.  I said, of course.  So, today, the 22nd of April, I, Elder Merrill was the first person to eat a Subway foot long sandwich on flatbread in the entire United Kingdom.  Cool huh?  I thought so.  It was good!

While walking to a dinner appointment early last week, a man called out to us, yelling a bunch of rubbish to us from a wee window on the second story of a house on McDowell Street.  We were like, “What?”  He asked if we were Jehovah’s Witnesses, as they have territory in Stranraer, and we replied that we were Mormons.  He said, “Oh.”  He then invited us in, we talked for about 15 minutes then we had to go but we left a BOM with him.  He said he felt prompted to call to us.  Interesting!  Anyways, hope you’re having fun looking at all photo’s of where I live.  Hope this letter finds you all well.  I miss y’all, and I love all of you.

Elder Merrill
P.S. Elder Tinsley sings on a regular basis!

P.S...Please send my address to all my friends!

Monday, April 15, 2013

April 15, 2013


Hello everyone,

So sorry I wasn’t able to call on my way out.  Every flight was delayed and we were so late to Chicago and London, they literally met us with a bus outside each plane to port us to the next plane, it was nonstop flight all the way and we never saw the inside of an airport after Salt Lake all the way to Edinburgh.  I drove the first night around the block once, which was easy, but the second day they needed someone to drive an elder to and from the Edinburgh bus station.  So, my second day in Scotland, I drove a manual shift car through the busiest capital in Scotland, all on the left side.  It’s a trip but I had it down no problem.  I was called to serve in Stranraer, Scotland.  Now I cruise through the country side, as you may imagine I love driving through the countryside in Scotland, it’s as cool as it sounds.  But yes, put simply, Stranraer is a beautiful place.  It’s a wee town right at the back of a very large bay in the south of Scotland, there’s always fog and Ireland is 17 miles away, so we never see it. Me and Elder Tinsley, a tall red headed but confident fellow from Farmington Utah, are the only missionaries in Stranraer and its surrounding cities. We cover everything all the way up to Ayr. There are several wee villages in the area, including Castle Kennedy, Kirkcowen and Neuton Stuart which is my favorite. They are all the epitome of textbook Scottish villages, with stone fences, small historic cemeteries and lots of big churches, all brought together with lots of sheep, rolling hills and a foggy overcast. It’s the most beautiful place in the world. I love it here. There are a mere 20 members in the wee branch of Stranraer and me and elder Tinsley are sort of responsible for keeping what’s left and dangling on a thread alive. 3 Days here and we’ve already made fantastic progress, bringing back some less actives and finding some new potential investigators. Ill share one experience for the sake of time and space. We were going out to Neuton Stuart, or Newton Stewart, and the person who was in our area book as a less active wasn’t home, but because the drive takes almost 30 minutes and is like 50 kilometers away from home, we decided to spend a wee bit of time there finding. We drove through town, sort of letting the spirit guide my driving, and elder Tinsley pointed to a grouping of homes a bit way away and we decided we would try to chap(knock) the lot of them. As we parked in the neighborhood, we talked and decided to, instead of knocking on every single door, to walk down the street and only approach the doors and people that we felt impressed to. So we walked, and passed about ten houses before we both felt like knocking on a specific door. We walked up knocked and waited, when the scot answered the door, we began to speak and they slammed the door. It happens. So we moved on, doing the same thing. Came to another door, same thing happened. At this point we were halfway around a large block in Neuton Stuart, when by one of the last houses, we both felt prompted to knock on a specific door on a corner. We both walked up to it and chapped, and after a couple knocks a lady opened. We told her who we were and she seemed interested, we told her that our message could improve her life and bring her closer to Christ. She looked at us, and said that not five minutes earlier she had been contemplating her own faith and thinking about the churches in her area, trying to decide where to turn, and then we knocked. We shared a discussion and left our number and a pamphlet. Were hoping to set up another appointment with this woman, Ann, and at the moment we are working on her, and she is calling us here and there. Cool experience, as I’ve been here, and as I study and pray every day, I feel the spirit guiding my every move and everything I say. Like I said that’s only one story. There are many good spiritual ones and already some crazy ones as well. We had a drunk guy tell a kid to go get his gun and shoot us, elder Tinsley started walking away. So I followed, but right before I left this man’s presence, I said, 'there are no guns in Scotland, 'cept mine', he then ranted off swearing and yelling like he had been before. It was a good laugh.

There is a special spirit here in Stranraer, the people are close and each of them has a great faith. I feel a great pressure of responsibility for this town and her surrounding areas, and I’m coming to know that God has great plans for this wee branch, to invest his spirit and missionaries in such a small area is a big deal. I know this church is true and that I’m doing my best and giving everything to the Lord. I know if I work hard, and do what I’m here to do, we can turn this branch into a ward or two. It’s a long ways away, but we are here for three months, and were sort of like the Spartans in this war, here to turn the battle around and make the enemy retreat.

Lots of rain and wind here and there, but it’s sunny right now.

Thanks for your prayers and support, I don’t yet know my address of my flat, as I haven’t moved in yet. But I’ll send the info around as soon as I can.

To my Family,

from Elder Merrill

Dear Mom, Dad, Sydnee and Evan,

I love you all, and miss you as well. The spirit has come to guide and prompt my every decision, and it’s quite a different way of living. Folk here are so surprised that I can understand them, and they are normally pretty impressed with the accent I can pull off. They love to tell stories and they love to hear testimonies, that is after they are sober and let us talk to them( like %10). It’s so beautiful here and I love it. Look through the book of Scotland, find Ayr, it’s a lot like that just a lot smaller. If you can find castle Kennedy, Kirkcowen, Newton Stewart, Stranraer or anywhere around the south of Scotland that’s where I am. Mondays are my P-day. I move into my flat in the middle of town on Wednesday. in one conversation you’ll here the word AYE like fifty times, so now I say words like, flat, aye, norm, wee, lad, lass, dirkie(blanket), scones(bread), lorry(semi truck) and a load of other sort ems. Till we speak again! May the lord bless our home.

Elder Merrill


(April 12, 2013) We received this from the Mission President today!  In 1840 Elder Orson Pratt, an LDS Apostle, climbed to the top of Arthurs Seat.  There he dedicated the country of Scotland for the preaching of the gospel.  Today, your missionary climbed the hill and dedicated themselves to the preaching of the gospel in this great land.

April 8, 2013 (highlights of his letter)
Dear Family,
I am so excited to leave for Scotland in the morning.  My experience here at the MTC has already changed who I am and has made my relationship with God exponentially stronger.

Dad, thank you for your letter it’s spiritual significance was so great and your encouragement was also great.  There just isn’t anything quite like encouragement from one’s father.  Thanks again Dad!
There is a replica of the “Act Well thy Part” stone carved into a rock in the MTC.  It was so cool to see it and to dwell on it for a moment.  I took a second to pray in that moment, the same way David O McKay did.  I’m confident, but humbled.  The fields of Scotland are white, ready to harvest.  I’m going to gather the sheep, and bring them back to the Shepherd.

Well, I’m off.  Thanks so much for your letters and care packages.  I’ll fly safe.  Today my district called me the Elder Navy Seal Body Guard of the trip, which I accepted.  Love you all, and may God be with you till we meet again.
Elder Merrill

P.S. The family scrapbook was such a blessing.  It is so good to have memories of such good times.  We are all so blessed!  My best preparation for the MTC was the time I spent with my family.  Thanks for building me up.  Love you all.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

My first Investigator - A Retired Navy Seal!

Happy Birthday!  I love you.
I hope everyone is doing great.  I am!  Some days are more difficult than others, but altogether it’s a fun time.  My perception of life falls further from where it used to be every day, and closer to what God wants it to be.  I feel the spirit guide my words and thoughts, and it’s been a great experience.  I had a real legit investigator!  You won’t believe what happened.  My first investigator was a retired Navy Seal!  We had an awesome 50 minute lesson about the Restoration and eventually committed him to read the B.O.M. and pray about it.  He actually prayed for us.  At first he was uncomfortable doing so, and said no to praying, but we gave him some spiritual motivation and he did.  It was a cool lesson.  Anyway, the spirit will reside in he that is humble, and acknowledge God in everything.  So I’m working towards that. 

Thanks for writing, it’s awesome to hear from you especially.  I’ve been using the gym quite a bit, lots of basketball(speed) and rowing.  Get the kids to think of questions they may have about faith or anything else to take into conference.  Revelation often comes better to those searching for something.

Hey buddy.  The MTC is going good.  It’s very spiritual and I get to feel close to god all day every day, which has been a very changing experience.  I miss you man, keep working hard in school and keep it up.  Be a good example to everyone in your life.  Make decisions you know would make me, and God, proud.  I know you will.
It’s good to hear your dating guys worthy to date you.  Keep that up always, and be careful.  I’m doing great but the bed is hurting my back, the food is radioactive, and I’m studying 12 hours a day sometimes.  But overall, I’m happy.  I miss you and I’m sad I won’t be able to watch you in this time of your life when you’ll grow so much and become who you will be for the rest of your life.  Keep that smile on your face.  It’s so contagious and I miss seeing it!

I’m so excited to go to Scotland.  Or Ireland.  I love you all and I miss my family everday.


Elder Morning  (oops I’m tired sorry)  Elder Merrill

My district feels like family!

April 6, 2013
I can only send a few pictures with each email so bear with me.  Things are going good, the days are meshing together.  I am learning a lot and I feel ready to get out to the field.  My companion and I are still getting along great and our district of six guys are like family now.  You will see picture of my district and my comp.  My companion is Elder Edwards and he is the redheaded kid.  Thanks Sydnee for the laundry bag. It is  like a luxury here!  I owe you one.
Mom and Dad, we leave early Tuesday so if you guys are going send me a letter before I leave, best do it by Saturday and no later.
Mom, I’m not sure when ill be able to get back to you, so HAPPY BIRTHDAY!  I wish I could be there to give you a hug and sing your happy birthday song.  I miss you and even though I’m doing great it’s been a difficult experience doing things all on my own.  Anyways, I miss you guys and I’ve got to go but I’ll send as many pictures as I can in the next little while.
I’m definitely learning that, every day the spirit becomes a bigger and bigger part of my lesson. It’s been so interesting to experience the spirit having such a large role in my life every day.
love y'all.

Monday, April 8, 2013

The Spirit is leading my lessons


Dear Family,
This will be a better letter then the last.  You guys would like to hear that I’m really starting to get the spirit to lead in my lessons, of which I give a dozen every day.  Thanks so much for the package. 
Dad and Mom, I miss you guys and having someone to come home to and talk to and share things with.  I also miss practical advice.  But today, I did my laundry on my own and I did just fine!

Syd and Evan, you two stay out of trouble and respect mom and dad.  Without me around, Sydnee, you know you are the example for Evan.  I know you are perfect for this obligation and you’ll be an awesome example.  You are a great sister and I’ll miss hearing about your days.  Do great on the tennis team this season.  Evan, you are an example to your friends, they all look up to you a lot.  I know you are a great kid and I’m proud of you.
Good luck in school and work everyone.  Each of you tell me something interesting.

I love my companion and all the fellas in my district.  Love Ya’ll.  May the wind be at your back!
Elder Merrill

P.S. I got 8 hours of sleep and 3 full meals today and still fell asleep twice today.  It’s a lot to adjust!


First letter from the MTC!

Dear Family,
So far the MTC is a lot of fun, but it is also a ton of work.  I’m constantly moving and my companion and I are either studying, eating or walking to a class.  We do everything with our district, made up of 6 awesome guys all going to the same mission.  We all get along great and it feels as if we have known each other for years.  All six of us are in a 190 sq ft room, with 6 beds and all the luggage as well.  It’s very crowded, but it works.  There is almost no time to write, ever.  I hope I get more time in the field or I am pooched.  It’s taken a while to get used to missionary life and things like shaking girl’s hands and calling everyone Elder or Sister.  My companions name is elder Edwards from Cedar City.  He’s cool and we get along great.  By now, all six of us already speak to each other with Scottish accents, very strong ones, similar to the accent in “So I Married an Axe Murderer.”  It’s hilarious and I have the best accent by far, according to the guys.  The foods great and I’m trying to drink lots of water.  I am tired all the time, even though I got plenty of sleep last night.  I guess I’ll get used to it.  I’ll email you all on my next P-day.  There is seriously NO TIME to even get to visit Mike or Carson.  We are always hustling from place to place, running up and down stairs, it’s crazy.  But the Spirit is great all day and I’m learning a lot!  Got to go, haven’t been able to get to the mail yet so I hope I haven’t gotten too much mail or cookies or anything of that sort.  Love you all.  Miss you all.  Hear from you soon!

-Elder Tanner Merrill
P.S. I am doing great, so don’t worry.  Write back, I’ll get back to you as quick as I can.  I’m always in a hurry.  My district: Elder Merrill and Elder Edwards, Elder Goldie and Elder Facer, Elder Hutchins and Elder Anderson

Sorry I barely have any time to email. We are busy all day and in the classroom studying almost 12 hours every day. I miss you all but I am doing great. The spirit is strong and I am learning so fast. Just in the last two days I have felt a huge, huge, huge improvement in my ability and confidence in teaching the gospel. I’ve really been able to let the spirit take over my lesson and it’s been a very eye opening, humbling, yet empowering experience. I love you all and I’m having a great time! Thanks for the package and the letter it was like christmas and my district loves you. Thanks! Yummy stuff. I’ll talk to you guys later. Write back

Dad, thanks so much for all your lessons and support you’ve given me up till now. Everything you’ve taught me has counted and I’m growing and I definitely have the spirit on my side. Thanks for being a great dad and example.

Mom, I love you so much and miss you. Thanks for showing me how to be social and make friends. You’ve been so great and I couldn’t have asked for anyone better to have raised me. Thanks for teaching me how to do laundry!

Syd, you are a fantastic person and you have an amazing soul. I miss you and I hope your school is going great. Keep it up!
Evan, sorry I have no time buddy but I love you and your the man. Keep up the good work, be a good example to your friends and listen to mom and dad.

Love you all!

Elder Merrill
I love rasberry cinnamon rolls!

Elder Merrill enters the MTC March 27 at 1:15pm!

Tanner farewell March 24, 2013

It was a great day with lots of family and friends!

November 14, 2012 Tanners Opening his call!

Tanner actually guessed for a week that he would be serving in the Scotland Mission!  He was right and his reaction was awesome!