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.

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


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.
Elder Merrill








Wednesday, October 16, 2013

October 14, 2013

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. 

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