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.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Funny things from our Mothers Day phone call!

Mothers Day call!

He looked great and was so happy to see us.  A couple of funny things..

We asked him if he was singing in sacrament? (not something he loved before)  and he said, “of course, if I didn’t that would be 1/18th of us not singing and that makes a difference!”

Who is your new hairstylist since your mom isn’t there?  he said,“It’s me!  Do you like it?  I cut it a little short and got a little bald spot but it is growing back and I think it looks pretty good!”

How is your bed?  He said, “That is a funny story.  We had to set everything up and my bed was so uncomfortable but I just chalked it off to bad beds on a mission.  (his bed at home is pretty awesome – we spoiled him) He said he told his companion his back was killing him but his companion would just say…they are the exact same!  Finally, Tanner jokingly fell down onto E. Tinsley bed during the day and said wow your bed is seriously so much better than mine!  Elder Tinsley tried Tanners and said, “Ouch that hurts.”  They took off the bedding and realized that Tanner had put the coil sides up and was sleeping with coils in his back!  So funny we couldn’t stop laughing.  Oh the things you learn on your own!


Thursday, June 20, 2013

I wrote this poem in the MTC!

Dear Family,

I wrote this in the MTC.

By word and by sword
with God at their side
young men walk the Earth
where darkness presides.

By trial and error
they share what they know
with all eagles above
and all creatures below.

So as day by day
they raised up their heads
they looked round about
and the darkness had fled.

The dark was replaced
and though it gave fight
the men with black name tags
destroyed it with light.

By Elder Tanner Merrill

Every Elder in my District had me write it in their Journals.  Thought you'd all like it.  I hope everything is well with you all.  I love you.  You are in my thoughts and prayers, everyone of you.

Elder Merrill

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Letter to his Sister!

Letter to his sister with good advise: 

Life is good and the work is hard but I’m getting along.  It’s a blast serving a mission and I love it, such an interesting life.  It’s so good to hear your doing well and that you are making good decisions, nothing makes me happier than to see my sister still waxing strong in her faith.  The priesthood can be as much a blessing to you, just as it is to me or dad, seek out the righteous and lovely things in life and you’ll find it.  You get what you go for. Remember that.   I love you and miss you so much, rely on the spirit to guide you.  Listen, always listen.  Love you so much!



Jun 17, 2013

I got the Trewartha's mail, and I got your package, thanks for that it was amazing and I will live off of its contents for weeks.  Slim Jims were a great idea, good stuff. So thanks, Tell them I tried the donor kabob and it was awesome!
Thanks again
Elder Merrill

Dearest Family,
It’s been an interesting week in Stranraer, our investigators Ann and John have had issues keeping commitments and showing effort, so we have had to drop them.  It’s a bummer, as they were doing so well and have had great spiritual witnesses accompanying their lessons.  We had an investigator at church yesterday, which was fantastic.  It’s funny to say it but she was pretty much over fellowshipped.  That sounds impossible, but the second she walked in every member walked over with smiles and hugs and welcomed her, knew her name, and showed true love for her as a visitor and friend.  It was an amazing experience, not something you’d see in a larger branch, and it definitely brought a smile to my face.  My joy increases as we plant more and more seeds of light within our area, the progress is slow, but it’s happening.  We've increased our branch attendance with less actives and investigators, and although the increase is slow, it makes a difference in such a small place.  I love Stranraer and the people here, it has many problems, probably more than most, but it’s just an awesome place and everyone’s family.
I believe it hit 70 degrees this week, that was great.  It’s still raining a lot.  Scotland.
Today, after email, were driving up to Ayr, then to Glascow for our Pday, that should be fun.  Being banished, we don’t see many other missionaries on Pday when were local, so were making our last Pday a party.  It’s going to be great; we will probably play some form of game with the Elders and Sisters in Glascow.  It’s the biggest city in the UK, so it should be fun.
I love you all, and hope you’re doing well. 
Elder Merrill

Oh yes and one more thing,
We've recently started teaching a Czech man named Martin, when we taught him the Restoration; we have to use a translation app on his cell phone.  We speak back and forth through this device.  He's got a baptismal date set for a month or so from now.  At the end of our lessons, I pray into the phone, and then he reads it.  It’s very difficult trying to get him to understand things, as he doesn’t know what God is, or prayer, or the Bible.  So it’s like teaching a deaf person, who doesn’t know that he's deaf.  Pretty interesting, he is great.  Pretty golden, less than a month ago he was rich, had a wife and a good job.  Since then, he had lost everything, including money, his home, his wife (divorce), and his job.  He has nothing, and has been humbled to receive our message.   When we first met him, he exclaimed to us that he had been taking his resume around to every business in Stranraer.  He was very upset as no one had called him.  I asked him if we could have his phone number and if I could see his resume.  He gave one to me, and as I read my mind was pretty much blown.  The guy is a genius, speaks 6 languages and has attended lots of school.  I pondered how it was possible that he didn’t have a job, when I read the number off the top of the paper, and put it into our phone, I called the number so that he could have our phone number.  He looked at his phone waiting for it to ring.  Nothing happened.  I called again, no ring.  Puzzled, we checked several things that could be wrong with either of our phones.   Nothing was wrong.  After looking more carefully we discovered he had put the wrong number on his resume, of which thirty had been passed around the town.  First he expressed frustration, but it soon turned to hope and we saw his upset face turn into a smile and then a laugh.  He expressed great gratitude to us for helping him find his mistake; he then changed the number and redistributed the paper throughout the town. It was great lesson, and tells us of the importance of checking and double checking important information.  I am sure this could be related to the gospel.  May we pay close attention to the small and simple things in life that can make a huge difference.  To all of you an amazing week, I love you and miss you all.
Till next week,
Elder Merrill

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Hello Family,

It’s so good to get messages from you all.  I miss you, and I can’t wait to see what the house looks like when I get back.  Who knows what mom has in store for it.  How is the weather?  It got up to 27 C here one day, that’s around 75 Fahrenheit.  Not too bad, when it’s sunny the whole place lights up and there are a good 4x as many people about.  That, and it’s a lot more beautiful when the suns out. 

We try our best to work with the members, but it’s difficult because of the very few numbers.  So we rely on working with less actives, referrals, and former investigators.  Since we are the first missionaries here in years, there are many less actives and former investigators.  We have several people we are working with specifically, but only one progressing at the moment.  Our biggest issue is getting our investigators to church; some are progressing wonderfully with all of their commitments except church.  Our best investigator, Gordon, lives 25 miles away and doesn’t have a car, so he will come by bus next week.  John, our favorite because of the funny things he says and does, like pouring coffee in the trash bin and offering us weird foods, is stuck in the mud because he can’t get himself to church, it’s a difficult issue to overcome.  We have just gotten so far with John that whenever he dodges appointments or misses church, we do what’s called “John Recon”, and drive around Stranraer looking for him, it sounds extreme but we usually find him, speak to him and everything’s good again.  He's just got social issues, mostly his family not being too keen on Mormons.  We’re working on it.

Moves (transfer) call in on the 23rd, and even though it’s at least a 60 % chance I’m staying in Stranraer, it’s still an interesting time, and the Lord is sometimes unpredictable in these things. We shall see.

Still love it here, the people are like jars of peaches stored in food storage for years, you may have to push and pull at the lid, and you may drop some, but the few you can get open are sweet.  Bad analogy, the people are tough, but nice and love to learn.  Something about this place, a lot of people can’t read, or can’t read well, and have a very, very hard time understanding the Book of Mormon or anything more complicated than see spot run.  But I love it, it’s still beautiful.

From Whithorn, the bottom tip of Scotland, more the Isle of Whithorn I can see the Isle of Mann.  I love motorbike races; the roads here are all really long and windy, perfect for anyone wanting a good race track for anything nimble.  Not exactly a Vauxhall Meriva, but it’ll do. 

I miss you all, you are great examples to me.  I love hearing from my family.

Elder Merrill


Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Update from Branch Presidents Wife

Dear Sister,
Just wanted to let you know that Elder Merrill is doing good, he is a darling boy, we love him like our own son, he is a pleasure to have in our home ,you did a good job of raising him, he gave a lovely Testimony today, he has that smile that would melt any ones heart.  He is darling.
Hope you and your husband are doing fine, keep in touch. 
                                            Fondest love  Nancy   xx

Small World

June 4, 2013
Brian Edwards (a friend in our old ward 10 years ago) was on a business trip and meeting with the missionaries in the Scotland and Ireland mission when someone said "There's an Elder from Pleasant Grove. You should meet him." He said, "Turns out it was Elder Merrill, formerly of Grove Creek 8th Ward." 
What a small world!  I was so happy to know someone actually got to see him!

Week 8

May 20, 2013


Dear Family,

Another interesting but good week has gone by here in the south of Scotland.  It was good to see you all over skype last week, the technology that allows us to do this is such a blessing.  I miss you all and I think about you every day.  As I’ve been so far from home, and witnessed such a new and different culture here in Stranraer, I’ve realized some incredible blessings that I have had in my life and very literally overlooked.  The blessing of being raised in a family strong in the faith, actively engaged in the kingdom of God here on earth is a blessing of comfort and I only now know how lucky I am.  It’s a blessing to know that back home, my parents are trying their best to stay on the straight and narrow path, magnifying their callings and doing 'well their part'.  So few in this part of the world experience the blessing of having a faithful and righteous family, let alone, a family back home who prays for them each day.  Over the past week I’ve met many individuals and I’ve seen many people who have broken, unsupportive families who bring them down.  In seeing this, it’s hard to imagine that their family is fulfilling the purpose God has intended for them, which is order, structure and love.  I can’t thank you enough for raising me the way you did, and I guess what really counted was the time you all spent with me.  I love you all. 

It saddens me to know how much of a better brother I could have been, all the time I could have spent with Evan and Sydnee and didn’t is something I think about quite a bit.  So, I’m sorry to both of you.  I love you both and we can have some real good times together when I get back.  I guess I got caught up in things that weren’t really important, and it was definitely a mistake I’m aware of now.  I look up to you both in different ways and I’ll see you in no time.  Keep being great people and love each other.

We have two really solid investigators and 4 others who are very good and will have baptismal dates soon.  John and Alister both have baptismal dates in June and are very enthusiastic.  They both smoke so that is a pretty major obstacle, but were working towards it and their beginning the very difficult journey of quitting.  We are doing all we can to keep their spirits up, but only God can give them the strength they need, and only they can ask for the strength to overcome this obstacle.  And only by asking in faith will they receive that strength. 

In a similar way, we need to ask for the things we desire/need in life, through prayer.  Sometimes, God has great blessings wishes to pour upon us, but he waits, he waits for us to ask in great prayer for the good and righteous things we desire.  If we do this, he will bless us.  He wants to bless us.  He promises us if we do what he asks that we will receive blessings that we have not room enough to receive.  I love you all and hope you’re doing well. 

How’s church?  What’s new? Fill me in; let me know what’s going on with my country. Thanks again, for being a great family.  And send pictures.

Elder Merrill