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.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

November 17, 2014


Hey Mom,

They are champions, it was a great baptism and I was so happy to be there and to be a part of it.  I baptized Jordan; the other is James, obviously very identical twins. I'll send pics of the baptism; you don't see many of those. They do everything together, literally.

You will get my letter soon; I am writing Dads and will send it this week.  I am insanely busy and frankly a bit stressed today, too much is going on and schedule conflicts have kept me on my toes.  Speaking of toes, yes we do walk everywhere.  We take buses a few times a day as well, and occasionally get rides from members. Elder Oldham is great, doing well.  We are teaching fine together and get along just great.  We both like a lot of the same things and he is a good humble and talented person. 

Today, a member is taking us to St. Andrews for a visit and in two weeks’ time we will go golfing there with him.  He is a member at the course and golfs there 4-5 times a week.  Next week, on Monday, were golfing at Piperdam, a nice country club near but outside Dundee.  I think when the members here found out we both liked golfed, they all jumped on the gun and we have actually managed to develop some great friendships through our "mutual interests".  Elder Oldham plays golf, and I'm really good at pretending I know what I'm talking about.

I'll send pictures.  Thanks for the photos of you guys golfing.  It’s a beautiful area of the world we live in, and you guys look great and happy. 

Well I love you, have a great day, I love you.  Thanks for the email and the update. I hope I stay in Liff for Christmas, I would hate to be sent off to some unknown land, I know we'd be well taken care of here.  The ward here loves the missionaries.

I love you!
Elder Merrill

 

To his little brother:

Hey pal,

It was good to see photos of you and Dad golfing.  You both are studs and look like pros.  You are a champion Evan, I'm proud to be your brother.  You are a very good and strong person and are a force for much good.  Just do everything you can to stay on God's side.  When it comes to "war" between good and evil, it rages on every day, all around us.  As we already know, good will eventually avail and win the fight, so it’s not about which side will win, it’s about which jersey you are wearing when the game is over.  Wear the jersey of righteousness and goodness, the jersey of God.  Do what you know you should do, and touch not the evil thing.  I love you Evan, I'm so excited to see how much you will do in this world.   Love God, I know this church is true and nothing else in the whole world will ever make you as happy.  Nothing else, I've tried a few of those other things that seem like they bring happiness, they certainly don't.  Keep going strong Evan, I'm glad you’re having fun and doing well.  Again I'm proud of you, enjoy Sundance when that day comes, I'm a little jealous of you but one day you'll be on a mission and I'll be sending you pictures of me skiing so it’s all fair. 

Love you brother, keep your head low,

Elder Merrill

Monday, November 10, 2014

Nov 10, 2014

Hey Syd,

Well, the weather is getting dreich, which is Scottish for bad.  The temperature is dropping daily, today is freezing outside.  Luckily it’s a calm day.  Some days the winds blow and the rain falls and it is just frigid.  Lots of cloud cover and very little color is anywhere to be seen. Just a bit of green and lots of grey.  I'm doing great, working hard.  We get busier and busier as we find more and more people to teach about the Gospel.  I think about home here and there, and even have begun to have a few dreams about being home, which tells me where my subconscious is at times.  Nevertheless I work harder and longer every day. I love being a missionary, it’s a hard thing to do sometimes but it’s never anything less than purely satisfactory.  Nothing could be more fulfilling at this time in my life than doing missionary work.

I look forward dearly to seeing you again, and witnessing how much you've grown.  You'll be 18 when that day comes.  How is school?  Seminary getting any better since we last spoke of it?  Work?

I hope your life is full and busy, it is so important to stay busy.  Even return missionaries can fall away.  It’s extremely important that no matter how strong you feel that you remember the basics of living the gospel, that is:

Reading the Book of Mormon daily.
Praying daily.
and taking the Sacrament each week.

If you do these simple things, you will never be tempted to commit any serious sin and you will be happy.  I promise.
I love you sis, have a great week.

Elder Merrill

Mom and Dad,

This week was good and we got a lot done even though it was moves week.  Elder Oldham showed up.  He's a great guy.  He is humble, obedient and has a strong testimony of the Gospel and Personal Revelation.  He's a good guy and I am seriously excited to see how much we will be able to do in the next six weeks.  We will accomplish lots and lots of work, we both feel and know the Lord has prepared us and many others to come closer to Him.  We will find teach and baptize.  We also got roped into choir practice this week, as the ward prepares for the Stake Christmas Spectacular.  I knew very little of the music and lyrics, as much of it was from Frozen and other conventional Christmas songs.

..... and ..... have baptismal dates for the 6 of December, which I found out yesterday is stake conference weekend so it may have to change.  Nevertheless they will be baptized in December.  They are good kids.  Others have come into the picture as investigators.  We had a good meeting with bishop last week where we went over the ward list.  It was good to be in close communication with bishop and I know he felt great about us carrying out his agenda with his ward.  I've learned many great skills about how to work with ward councils and wish with all my might that I knew these things at the start of my mission.  I would have done so much differently.  Humility is a characteristic quality I'm working on now and I pray and study over the subject constantly.  I know the Lord compels his children to be humble, so I am humbling myself before he does that.  The scriptures say, blessed is he that humbles himself without being compelled to be humble.  And also, blessed is he that has faith, without needing to see, in reference to Thomas at the visitation of the Resurrected Christ to the apostolic assembly in Jerusalem. I love and read the scriptures daily and will speak more in my letter to you. 

Forgive my poor communication skills.  I love you and think of you all often.  Thanks for all you do to bless my life the lives of others.  I'm grateful for righteous examples as goodly parents like you who I can look up to and hope to be like someday.  Life would be much harder without you. 

I love you; have a great week my lovely Parents!

Your son,

Elder Merrill

 

Nov 4, 2014

Hey Dad,

Well this week was full of interesting happenings, nothing too exciting, but eventful.  As you know I attended Amy’s baptism.  We worked very closely with her during my time in Perth and got to know her very well.  I had an opportunity to bear testimony at the meeting and enjoyed everyone's company very much.  The Johnstones are wonderful people, I love them.  They definitely are amongst the people I've gotten the closest too on my mission.  It has been so great to see them a couple of times during the last few weeks, visiting Perth was an interesting experience but it just felt like I had never left, like I was still there.  It made me think, that's probably what it will be like coming home.  I will wake up the day after I return, and it will all just be like a dream.  It'll probably be as if I never left. 

Great to hear that Elder White got a hold of you guys after all, great news.  Ha-ha we had a good time together, three good months in Limerick.  

Last night was moves call, so transfers will take place this coming Thursday, they are normally on Wednesday but it’s a national bon fire holiday and its unsafe to move during those so we are doing it on Thursday. Okay here is the news.  Slightly unexpectedly, Elder Pease is moving to Cork.  I am receiving Elder Oldham, who is only three transfers out and he is coming from Oban actually.  President has also assigned me to serve as District Leader.  Good stuff.  

Last night as well, we had dinner with a member couple.  He is a bigtime golfer so we chatted a lot about the sport, and he even said in the weeks to come, at some point, he will take us golfing.  Cool enough, a couple weeks ago we were in a charity shop and after speaking with the lady at the desk for a while, she gave me a perfectly fine set of golf clubs for free. (Bag and all)  There are only 7 clubs, but it’s certainly adequate for a game of golf.  I told this member we would be golfing on our family trip to Scotland/Ireland and he thought he may come if we go to Dundee.  Good guy.

Yes, whilst at Amy's baptism, a couple young guys that I taught when I was in Perth told me they were getting baptized on the 15th of Nov.  This is exciting news, I worked quite closely with these kids and invested well in them, hoping one day some missionary would reap what I sowed.  Very little did I know, I would later reap the fruits of my own work.  Jordan the younger of the two, (they are twins) asked me to do his baptism, the other, James, asked me to confirm him.  This was a great night last Saturday and this week has ended very well. 

I feel your prayers, thanks for everything.  I love you and will speak to you very soon,
I pray as well for you all, and I hope you have a great week as the snow begins to fall,
Elder Merrill

PS. I have been working on a letter for a while.  I'm sorry I am absolutely terrible at writing.  I have wanted to write you guys since I got to Limerick.  I have written no one in that time so I have been trying to get on that.  I just wrote Viviane but I haven't sent it.  It’s like when I was a kid and I would do a school assignment and never turn it in. 
I wanted to let you know I got the package!  It was perfect as well, the SOBE was genius I miss those things so bad.  I am enjoying everything in in and savoring every parcel.  Thanks so much, it’s great to get these things, the cookies and biscuits and snacks were all perfect and I'll be enjoying it for weeks to come.  Love you

Oct 27, 2014


Hey Mom and Dad,

Whew, my mission passes before my eyes as it were a dream. I was speaking to mom about how I love the fall season, the autumn months have always been my favorite.  It seems no matter where you are, there is energy in the air that you can feel.  Nothing reminds me more of home than the feeling in the fall air.  But indeed it comes to an end, and the cold sweeps Dundee with wind and rain.  Winter comes. The weather here has already been getting worse, and quickly went from long sleeve shirt business to coat and jumper with long johns business.  The problem with Scottish weather, however, is that it is so unpredictable and you never know what to wear for fear of either underdressing or overheating midway through the day being miles from the flat. I miss all your autumn cooking and baking, the members take good care of us here, and one family even invited us all over for dinner next June.

This week was great.  For the first time in 5 weeks, we had investigators at church yesterday.  Luckily, it was a primary presentation.  Let me tell you something, the kids in this ward are the most impressive young bunch I have ever come across.  They are smart, they are cute and they can sing.  So our investigators enjoyed it very much.  Also, our ward does lots of activities which keeps things alive and draws people to us.  It’s a great place to serve.  I'm happy and busy, and usually tired.  Crazy, today is my 19 month mark.

I pray for you guys and the business often.  You provide me with motivation and love for this great work, and I feel great joy to hear of the blessings that you all recognize and feel back home.  Blessings travel across seas and even across worlds; it’s an amazing thing the Gospel.  If you really understand it and the magnitude of Gods plan, than you understand that EVERYTHING is the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  If anything, my mission has taught me this principle.  Before me mission, the Gospel and the church were appendages to my life.  But now, it is all things.

Two good men of service and men of God passing away.  Interesting to hear of Uncle Eb's detour, something I never knew about, which is fine.  The Atonement is such a powerful thing; I can't imagine how great his understanding of it was after coming back into the church.  Both the healing and repairing aspects of the Savior’s sacrifice would be made active in his life.  The spirit world is an interesting place, I do marvel about it sometimes.  We understand so little about the realm without the veil.  There is so much to know in our world that we don't get too much of a chance to gain that understanding. 

Things are going well here, we have more and more success and I begin to enjoy myself more and more as I realize my purpose for being called to Dundee.  Elder Pease is also doing really well and we are getting along.

I love you both, thanks for your wisdom and righteousness, and for keeping your covenants. I can't wait to go to the temple in 4 months.  See you there.  Have a great week,

Elder Merrill

 

 

Oct 20, 2014


Mom,

Sage is team captain, doesn't surprise me a bit, what a champion.  College is such a strange place.  It was VERY beneficial for me looking back now to be living at home while doing my first year and I would recommend that whenever possible. It’s just a dangerous place these days, plus very expensive. 

Send the package the way you think is best.  I just heard DHL was cheap, but if you’re not confident in it do whatever you feel is best.  Instead of candy this time around send some cookies(chewy ones), cracker type stuff(maybe cheezits or animal crackers, that kind of stuff).  Biscuits that we don't get here are appreciated, like Chicken in a biscuit, wheat thins and stuff like that.  Thank you so much for all of these packages are fantastic.

Sydnee is such a great girl.  I pray for her so much, and I can't believe that she is almost 18.  She will be YSA by the time I get home, that's nuts!!!  Everyone is growing up too fast for me, but I suppose the world still rotates whether you’re in it or not.  It’s great to hear of her success in sports.  My own success was crucial for my confidence and social stability in high school.  And yeah, having my name and photo up in the gym and in the school magazine helped a bit too.  Plus some trophies in the weight room.  All good stuff, like brother like sister eh? Except for the straight A's, that's not like me ha-ha that's all her.  I'm proud of her. 

It was a slow week, lots of finding, little success.  It’s okay though, we plan on having success soon because there has never been any success of considerable note that has ever occurred in history without a long trail of failure and shortcoming to precede it.  Failure is the evident and necessary anecdotes of success.  No worthy success comes easily nor without sacrifice.  So we work on.   I read Ether 12  this morning, that is a very good chapter.  I love the dialogue between the prophet Moroni and the Lord.  It's such a great growing experience for Moroni and reading it really humanizes him and sheds on us a great lesson. 

I love you Mom and I love this church.  I plan on calling you guys one day for parental advice; it seems that your children are doing alright.  Think of the stripling warriors who fought on without one being killed, while countless others were dying all around them.  These are the last day, parents like you were reserved for the faithfulness and valor that would be required of the House of Israel before the Second Coming.

Have a great week, talk to you soon,

Elder Merrill

 

Oct 13, 2014


Hey mum,

Wow it’s certainly been a great month to live in Utah!  Conferences, temple dedications, fall is coming on, I love this time of year, in fact its probably my favorite time of year.  Dads a great spiritual example, he does so much good and I know he has been an great leader for many people, in and out of our ward.  When he dealt with the young men, they all loved him.  I can remember speaking with a few of them and they always smiled and expressed love for Dad.  I never questioned why, I only felt blessed to have more time with him than they all had.  You both have always been great to spend time with us, which made all the difference growing up.  Although there were many times that I chose to spend time with friends rather that with Dad playing tennis, or with you doing something else I always love being with you both.  The time I spent with you or dad was always infinitely more valuable and enjoyable than time spent with others.  I remember faintly a book you had read about expression of love.  There were five, or so, ways to show it.  Time, gift, touch, words of praise, and other stuff I don't remember.  I've thought of that, and recognized I like all of it but Time seems to be the most valuable to me by far.  Neither you nor Dad were ever hesitant to spend time with me, and always seemed to put us kids first in everything.  Never think that these moments went unnoticed.  They carried me through life and they've carried me through my mission.

Thanks for everything Mom, I'm sorry I don't have the time nor resources to share all the stories I might have.  Here's one.  Yesterday, we have about 45 minutes left in the night, and we were walking about in the dark (as it gets dark at about 6pm this time of year) and not wanting to waste time we decided to think of a way to make our finding efforts more effective.  Elder Pease prayed that we would find someone to speak with that we could have a great effect on.  We followed the direction he received to walk down a certain road, and saw one man walking our way.  We approached him, he was agnostic and called us too young to know anything and that we were unlearned and inexperienced.  We spoke about God and shared our beliefs, which he questioned.  It seemed his attitude was to challenge everything we said and to prove us wrong even though he had no evidence, nor reason for his own beliefs, which were inconsistent anyway.  In a spark of genius, Elder Pease said to the man, "I dare you to read the Book of Mormon, I dare you." The man seemed taken aback, and seeing the tables had changed slightly, I said to him, "If you can read this book with a sincere and open mind, and put it down afterwards regarding it useless slander, I will owe it to you that you have proved us wrong."  He agreed to take the book and read it.  It was a great time and a great way to finish the night.  

Also, a couple weeks ago, to assist in building our faith, I insisted in weekly planning that we should pray for a Headquarter Referral, which is when someone is referred to us through the Mormon.org website.   We prayed a few times for this to happen, and not more than two days later, HQ called us with a referral. 

I will probably buy boots today, I think its wisdom.  I love you mom, I miss you and am very excited to be reunited with all of you in just a few months.  Have a great week, thanks for being great!

Elder Merrill

p.s. this is me right now.

To his Dad:

Thanks for your love and confidence Dad, as I near the end of my allotted term of service, I think a lot about the future and look forward to all the things life will throw at me.  Whatever happens, I plan to serve the Lord and lead a good life. I have gained a testimony and knowledge from God.  He would never give me these things without plans to use them for good, and without the intent of granting even greater things to me if I live a good life which He knows I can and will.   That's that, I look forward to seeing you all again. 

I love you Dad, thanks again for everything,

Elder Merrill

 

Oct 6, 2014


Hey Mum,

I certainly did love conference, it’s always a great time and I will always remember how great of a spirit I felt as the choir sung and the prophets spoke.  I love it.  We watched it at our stake center, which is here in Dundee, known as the Bingham Terrace building as it is on Bingham Terrace.  Another great part of conference for me was seeing all of my good friends from the Perth Branch, who came to watch conference at the same stake center that I was in.  It was amazing to see them and catch up.  It was a great happy moment to see again the faces of some the people I've grown the closest too on my mission.

That's funny that you met an Aberdonian in Utah, funny story too ha-ha.  I can see it now, that's awesome. 

You feel fulfilled when you’re tired and you've done a lot in a short time.  My companion, Elder Pease, is a good and humorous guy from Logan Utah.  He likes motorcycles, is originally from Texas, and is 19.  He has red hair, is 6foot 4, and is into all sorts of things that guys are into.  He has a girlfriend as well.  He is a good missionary as well with great social skills and a good amount of confidence.  I like him, he is always willing to change and improve which is his best attribute, and he could very well be a great leader in future times.  We have a couple investigators, as well as a couple new ones that we got last week.  There is much to be done here, less active work, part member families and the regular stuff.

Our flat is small, old and cold most of the time but certainly adequate and gets the job done, or at least it will when we get a chance to buy a dresser. 

There is another team in the Lift Area but they live on the other side of the area from us.  Takes about 40 minutes to get there on a good day, the bus system sucks because to get anywhere we must first take a bus into the city center, and then take another outward toward our destination.  Brigham definitely didn't construct Dundee. No news yet from Limerick but I saw all my old friends from Perth yesterday, which was an amazing thing.  I couldn't stop smiling as I reunited with some of my most loved members in this country. 

Alright Mom, I love you and miss you.  Have another great week, and have peace.  Thanks for everything,

Your grateful son

Elder Merrill 

PS Thanks for the package contents of the last one, they are still serving good purposes.  I'm using all the extra blankets I’ve towed around as well.  It is getting cold, winter is setting on this week and it’s coming down in Dundee.



Hey Sydney,

Yes it seems that from time to time an email doesn't make it across the ocean.  Sorry about that, it’s good to hear from you.  I liked one of the talks in conference that spoke about making sure our activities from day to day are not merely entertaining but that we are always spending time in productivity.  If we understand our purpose and the skill of goal setting, we will make sure we are spending a great deal of our time doing only things that pertain to achieving that purpose.  Sometimes life can feel like a state of "limbo", I think this happens mainly when we are idle, or at least close to it. 

I'm doing great, enjoying missionary service and the great rainy weather of this island country. Dundee is an interesting city, and we are very busy trying to do all the things we feel the Lord expects of us here.  He is undoubtedly helping us to do the things he knows will be most effective of our time.  If I know anything at all, it is that you don't have to be a missionary to receive this kind of guidance.  Seek some guidance from our Father in Heaven about what you should do.  Remember President Uchtdorf's 4 steps to answers (from Moroni 10:3 and 4) :  1 read the word of God 2 Ponder God's works among men throughout all time 3 Pray to know the answer to a question or guidance in specificity, and 4 DO the thing that comes into your mind.  I promise my good sister if you always follow this pattern for seeking guidance, you will always receive it!  God loves us so much and has provided his most Beloved Son as a sacrifice, that all of us may have the opportunity to become clean enough to return to live with Him, having grown and received so much experience on this earth. 

I love you, thanks for the email, have a wonderful week and I will indeed see you in no time.

Elder Merrill
  

 

Sep 29, 2014


Hey Dad,

A lot is different about my new area and assignment, but things so far are going well.  The flat is small and old, but suitable and we have hot water so I can shave properly.  Elder Pease is 6 foot 4 red head (just like my first comp) and is 19 years old.  He is from Layton, and likes guns and motorcycles and punching stuff.  We get along fine, decent actually.  He seems to be going along fine with a few of the changes that I brought to the work here, and even expressed some excitement and confidence saying, "It's good to have a companion who will help me and allow me to be the missionary I know I can be".  Its all good, and I am confident in my ability to do what I've been sent here to do.

Yeah the old Ryder cup is taking place not far at all from where I'm at.  I heard that we got wasted, expected I suppose it doesn't seem like any one has been on their game as much since guys like Woods and Phil hit the course.  That's where I live, no big deal.  Gleneagles is an amazing resort, we hopped over there when I was in Perth but never golfed there or anything.  Beautiful area.  

Sydnee has a jeep?? this is news to me.  What kind of Jeep?  So the jeep breaks and you take it to a turbo installers shop? I see what's going on here. Pictures please.

One good thing about Liff area is that it seems that all the members, of which there are 130 plus active in the ward, love and feed the missionaries regularly.  We have six dinner appointments set up for this week.  Which is great

I am pretty darn excited for General Conference.  Its a great thing as a missionary.

I've gotten quite bold out here.  Anyway, thanks for everything Dad, I love you and revere and admire your fatherhood.  Fatherhood is not a far thing from Godhood.  God understands all things, and above all names of Majesty and Nobility, asked us to call him, Father. 

I feel your prayers, its a great time to be in the full time service of God.

Have a great week,

Elder Merrill

 

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Sep 22, 2014


Hey Mom,

I am being transferred to Dundee, Scotland, to serve in the Liff(Dundee 2nd) Ward as senior companion to Elder Pease.  I will let you know if I need to buy anything new because it sounds like I will be on foot for the winter, again.  I will be in Dundee on that date, let them know if they want to come around to email me their number and perhaps if I have it at that point I can email them my number. 

Mmm pumpkin waffles.......

Thanks for everything Mom, I will let you know the address as soon as I get it.  The package address will be the mission home unless there is anything changed since I was there. I'm excited to go back to Scotland of course, however I will miss this city.  Limerick is the easiest unit to serve in, the members are missionary minded, they help out, they feed you, there is almost a small branch mindset here which allows you to get to know everyone.  It makes a huge difference, and I've loved it here. I will miss it, I talked a bit about the move in Dads email if you want to know a bit more. 

Well, I love you Mom, thanks for everything.  Thanks for the prayers, I will do my best to say farewell to everyone.  Its funny, the last week or so people in the branch have found out I was likely to leave, and we have had 2 meal appointments pretty much every day since a week and a half ago.  I feel good about what I did here, I know I left it better than I found it, made friends, I am content and feel I have done my purpose here.  Although I feel I've done some good, I haven't been able to help everyone. 

You have a great week mom, I'm thinking about you and I miss you.  Take care,

Elder Merrill

 

golf simulator Limerick Ireland


Sep 14, 2014


 Dad,

Good old Uncle Jim is a great way to start off this email.  He's a great man; I've always looked up to him because of his presence and because of his military service.  Plus now I know of the considerable sacrifices he has made to serve God and my respect for him has grown several fold.  I love and aspire to be like him.  President Miles' talk sounds like it was needed and I agree with his notion and the topic in regards to missionaries being prepared for missionary service. He's a good man and I've gained more respect for men like him since the beginning of my own service. 

Now I like the sound of President Hobson's talk.  Who is he by the way I can't remember the name?  What’s his calling? I love the community that he was describing; I would attribute many of the problems that the Irish culture has to the fact that community and culture have been destroyed! It’s a sad thing when a man who has lived in his neighborhood for a decade doesn't know his neighbors, or even their names or professions.  This happens every day and it reminds me of the good places I grew up in. 

Multi-Stake conference, wow I don't remember ever going to one of the those.  Sounds like it was fantastic though, you had two members of the Quorum of the Twelve, that is something else.   I'll bet that was a really great time. I have come to love conferences of all sort while I've been on my mission, they are great opportunities to hear from experienced people who have prepared quality talks and are certainly led by the spirit. Great stuff. I'm getting excited for general conference. 

Ready, Aim, Shoot, yeah perhaps John hasn't shot as many guns as the rest of us haha no that does sound like an analogy that I would understand very well.  But hey, sometimes you don't have time to aim.  In those cases, you must have trained yourself to the point where muscle memory dictates accurate and effective movements that can save your life.  This may be related to developing good gospel habits, memorizing scriptures and building up skills and spiritual gifts.  I would say it’s safe to say most of the time that we are called to utilize our gospel knowledge unexpectedly.  I would say the same about the priesthood, thus the statement, sanctify yourselves.  I would add to the same, we must arm ourselves with the gospel knowledge and spiritual confidence adequate for all the unforeseen trials we hope to overcome.  If I desire to be prepared and able to climb out of every metaphorical pit I fall into, I mustn’t depend on the testimony or knowledge of others.  Nor should I say to myself, if any emergency situation arises, I will go to where the tools are, and bring them, and fix the problem.  We must arm ourselves with the tools of salvation at all times.  I like the way it’s put in the scriptures, put on all the armour of God, and I would add to it, and never leave home without it! 
 
Oh yeah dad rough job, you'll get through it! HA you chump, I'm so glad to hear your getting out and golfing and relaxing, I pray that you will have opportunities to relax and enjoy your life, I know how busy you are and how stressful work can be.  It’s great to hear of the success in the ol business. It’s an amazing and proud thing for our family, this business you've created out of nothing.  I seriously admire you for this dad and I've always felt the foundation of my inspiration to be independent and entrepreneurial came from you.  Thanks for the skills you helped me to develop early on; I use them every single day. The praise I receive for my abilities and skills I vicariously receive on your behalf, for without your fatherhood I would not have achieved so many things.  Thank you, can't wait to do some golf when I return, I'm afraid I will not be very good but the mechanics are still there so we will see.  We can have fun with it either way.

Glad you liked the voice recording, I hijacked Elder Henries family time but I am happy you heard it and liked it.  If you'd like, feel free to send me one and I will use it.  It’s totally up to you, but I'm down for whatever. Elder Henrie and I get along just great, we laugh and work hard and I just look up to the guy.  


All is well,
Love you father, take good care.  
Your son,
Elder Merrill

 

 

Sep 8, 2014


Hey Dad,

First of all, Viviane made us those pumpkin cookies!  They were pretty darn good, they weren't mama's cookies, but for what she was working with they were nice.  Second, she was indeed baptized, and it was a wonderful baptism.  Elder Henrie confirmed her yesterday at church, which was his first time doing so.  She was beaming and blended right into the branch.  She is amazing, since receiving her witness about 2 weeks ago till now; she has given us over 10 of her friends name and addresses to teach.  Conversion is magnificent; a cool part was sustaining her as a new member of the church.  Everyone raised their right hand and she looked around and grinned and I knew she felt surrounded by family.

Moves call is two weeks away, on the 21st I think.

My companion, Elder Henrie, and I are getting on very well.  We seem to connect on more aspects of both gospel and non-gospel topics that any of my previous companions.  He's a country living truck loving gun shooting Canadian, and plus, he lives not 15 miles over the Montana border in Canada, barely even Canadian.  But we get along very well; we teach well together and laugh all the time.  A very compatible companion, certainly easy to love.

I'll tell you what dad it seems that every week I walk into church and for some reason I am giving an unexpected lesson that I have no plans for.  It happened a few times early in my service here, and I suppose those lessons went well enough that I'm now the go to for quick substitutions for gospel principles.  Which is okay, I have the ability to pull a lesson or talk out of my sleeve, and if I have such talents I shouldn't shirk in using them.  As a matter of fact I pray constantly for opportunities to use my gifts, to magnify them.  Probably a gift that you helped me to develop, your confidence, conversationalist and ability to teach simply for understanding.  Any praise I receive for my abilities is a reflection of how well you've taught me, along with the blessings that God has entrusted me with.  I understand well my responsibility to use them for good, and to develop more.

Well, we had a great week here in Limerick, although a good portion of our week took place outside of the zone entirely.  On Tuesday, we gave a Zone Meeting Training on Conversion. The training went very well; we received some good praise from the Senior couples regarding it.  One Senior Elder in particular I’ve grown very fond of.  Elder Hale from Salt Lake.  He and his wife serve in the Cork Branch here in the Zone; he is a good and well educated man and a talented story teller, which many interesting stories to tell I might add.  He and I get on well, and he has told me that he may be able to hook me up with a cheap deal on a lifetime membership at the Front Sight Nevada shooting range.   Gold mine.

 

Later Tuesday evening, we drove up to Dublin to spend the night with the Dublin ZLs.  4am the next morning, we all got up and caught a plane to Edinburgh, where we had a great Mission Leadership Council Meeting, discussed goals and such, what the mission needs, area and mission welfare and other administrative topics. Very good to be in Scotland again.  After the meeting, around 4pm, we blitzed the APs area.  I was on exchange with Elder Clement, my good friend from Austin, TX.  We did lots of finding and met some good people, however the theme of the day seemed to be atheism, and so our teaching pattern seemed to repeat itself with every street contact we had.  Good time.  We flew home Thursday night, stayed the night in Dublin again, and were back home 11 am Friday morning, and got to work right way. 

Highlight of the week was Viviane's baptism, which was fantastic.  She was so happy and prepared, it was an unforgettable experience.  Really reminded me of my purpose here, and made me feel some needed fulfillment and success which was quite motivating.   Great week, I love being out here and can't believe I've only 6 months or so left.  I may get grey hairs in Limerick, I feel like some days I'm a lawyer, others a police officer, others a teacher, others like I'm running a business, but always a missionary.  Thanks for everything Dad, how's the old truck by the way?  Is Syd driving? Mom still driving that piece of junk?

I love you Dad, take good care, let us go on is our great cause.
Your son,
Elder Merrill

 

ps found this deer rug! its in our flat now.

Sep 1, 2014


Mom,

I thank you again for the package you sent last week, I've enjoyed the peanuts you've sent I haven't had anything like that my whole mission!  …… is indeed progressing spiritually, last week we had a good visit with her at her home, and she felt ready for baptism so we set a date with her.  This weekend, saturday the 6th at 5pm, she will be baptized.  Great news, we are super excited and I especially will consider this week one of the more memorable weeks of my mission.  Also, the sisters in our branch have two investigators with baptismal dates for the following week, and another team in the zone has had similar success.  It appears that by the end of the next fortnight, there should be four baptisms in Limerick zone, which is astounding.  Its great to be a part of the work here, its historic and every time we baptize, we get one convert closer to becoming a stake, and that would be a big deal. Great time to be serving a mission!

Syd's doing an internship at the firehouse eh?  What will she be doing exactly?  That's interesting, sounds fun.

So the time for the trip sounds good.  I can find something temporary to do to make some money and stay busy.  15-17 days in late June/early July will be great.  Glad to hear that ……. got a hold of you, she really is a nice lady and reminds me of you in a lot of things she does.  I'll be excited to see how well she imitate your cookies/pie, certainly couldn't be as good as yours but I'm sure it will be a good reminder of home.  We shall see, I'll let you know.  I've only been a part of the process for ……., she has put forth so much effort and had so much faith, I'm sure if we told her part of the deal was moving to Utah she would pack her bags and go.  She will make a fantastic member missionary, just this week she gave us nine referrals!  We have contacted five so far and three have books of mormon, we also have return appointments with two of them.  Not only this, but she has given the sisters a referral and also the Elders in Galway, and offered to Joint Teach the referrals with the missionaries.  She is an amazing person, Im just glad I was the one to be here to find her and work with her.  Lifelong friend there.

Anyway, thanks mom, I love you! have a great week,
~Elder Merrill

August 29, 2014


Mom,
First of all, the package did come.  Thanks so much, a lot of its contents were needed.   Thanks for all the muchies and peanut butter, that stuff is gold.  Also the letter was nice, of course, there's nothing like a package to make a missionaries day. 

Lots of crazy things going on here in Limerick, we are very busy and there is always some unexpected task to focus on.  …….. and ……… are doing wonderfully.  Working hard, yesterday was Zone Development so we played soccer and rugby (touch) and a few other sports all day which was a blast, with the whole zone of course.   Before we walked to the field, it was raining hard and I prayed that we might have warm weather and dry enough to play.  Well as soon as we started walking to the field, the sun came through the clouds so fiercely that we had to get one of the Sr. Couples to buy us all water!  It was so humid and hot, we were sweating and getting burnt and, just roasting.  Great time though I scored a few goals. 


In regards to be prepared and being consumed with being prepared….
There is no harm in analyzing world affairs, being informed and involved and preparing for potential disasters to come.  However, when our analyzing become a hindrance to our peace and feelings of preparedness, or in other words when our analyzing and data intake turn into unnecessary predictions and create feelings in our hearts opposite of faith, a line has been crossed from beneficial to potentially destructive.  Faith, though infinitely strong, is as fragile as we allow it to be.  Your comments to Evan were great, I'm blessed and happy to have a wise father.   God has things under control to the degree that we can count on Him.  Do whatever necessary, consider Captain Moroni's preparations and fortifications, all necessary.  Moroni had a perfect understanding, and knew well his enemy both spiritually and physically.  But I think we can tell the difference between Moroni and Teancum, who, although a good and honorable man, let his feelings and anger get the best of him, and was killed because of his haste and irrational operative behavior.  At first, Teancum worked with tactic, slow and steady, knowing his purpose and not letting irrational fear disturb his faith in the cause he was fighting for, and he killed Amalikiah successfully.  However the second time around, he was angry, and moved too fast and didn't consider the big picture, getting himself killed. Remember Alma 48:17.

I love this work, and I know my service as a missionary is building up God's kingdom here on earth, and God has given me a sure witness that He lives, and that his prophet Joseph Smith was called to restore the gospel to an Earth and a people hungry for truth and freedom.  This truth and freedom belongs to all men, those who want it will receive.  The work goes on.

I love you Mom, thanks for the great update, its all fantastic news.  You are a champion saving people!  Dang!  I didn't get dads email so I'm sitting here like, WHAT?  Crazy, I suppose God uses us all in unexpected ways.  Who knows how many lives you have really saved being such a great example of righteousness.  All the young women love Sister Merrill.  I do to, keep saving lives, you are a great mother,

Love you.
Elder Merrill

August 18, 2014

Family,

Last week was certainly interesting, and I have been busier than ever.  In many ways this is a good thing, I like being busy and under a bit of stress.  I'm happy to do all the work and planning and take all the phone calls I do, because I feel very involved and fulfilled in assisting the Lord in his purposes at the end of the day. 

My new companion is good, we like a lot of the same things and we both have an abstract sense of humor.  On top of this we both love the work and work hard and obediently, all is well there.  He's from Alberta, Canada and owns guns and trucks and is all into hunting and such.  We have 3 missionaries in the Zone who are ill in one way or another.   We have dealing with this and things seem to be escalating in a lot of ways. All good friends, so were keeping an eye on all of them, closely. 
………. is doing very well, however this week was as well interesting for her.  During the week we had a great lesson and spent some time with her, as she studied later during the weekend she texted us, saying "I am so happy! The book is true! I feel so good!"  It was an awesome experience for me.  She went on to confirm her witness by acting on the testimony she had gained, as the next few texts that she sent us contained the names and addresses of a few of her friends, people she wanted us to share the gospel with. 

A few of the things were working on now is planning for Zone Training Meeting tomorrow, then next Monday is Zone development, which is like a sport and games day for the zone.  Also this month they are flying us up to Edinburgh instead of having us drive to Belfast for our MLC, which is great!  Throughout all this we have exchanges and of course our own proselyting responsibilities.  I'm enjoying the work and loving my mission.  Looking forward to sharing stories and being with you again, have a great week!

I love you,

Elder Merrill

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

August 11, 2104


As far as obedience goes, I couldn't have said it better myself.  Obedience is the key element.  God has shown us all the way to live lives full of success and joy and has simply set forth which decisions to make with clarity and boldness, laying also before us the consequences and promised blessings of decision making.  And on top of that he has given us records of dozens of experiences where others have made decisions, good or bad, and related simply the consequences that fell upon them.  It is so simply laid out for us in these latter days.  Lest we forget and trod into paths forbidden. Father Lehi explained this phenomenon perfectly and understood in his old age the concept of agency and consequence, which are inseparable from one another.  

We had a dinner/lesson night with our branch president and his family, the …………., this week.  We are very close with them and they are all fantastic saints.  We had an amazing dinner; our investigator came along as well.  Sister …….. Had some cousins over, and they spent the whole time sitting with and befriending our investigator.  The second the cousin met our investigator until the second she left, she was teaching and testifying the gospel.  This was throughout dinner.  Afterwards we had a great lesson.  Our investigator got a spiritual whitewash and made some great friends, it was a great night. 

Yesterday all four of us Limerick Elders, that is Elder White and I, and Elder Sewell and Elder Johnson, drove up to Dublin.  This morning we all got up early with the DUB ZLs and played some basketball, me and Elder Stoker won. Then it was time for Elder White and Sewell to get on a bus to head to Edinburgh, as they are going home.  After they left we drove back, and spent about 4 hours planning transfers for all the missionaries going out or coming into the Zone, it takes a long time and gets a bit stressful at times, especially trying to keep them all in companionships, sometimes however you can't do anything and someone ends up alone.

I too am so grateful for our family and where we live.  It’s an amazing place.  Elder Johnson, who I am with for a couple days until Elder Henrie arrives from Glasgow, is from Provo.    We reflect often on Utah and the many things we love about it, it’s a great place.  I love you, thanks for emailing so diligently, I really do love to hear from you even if nothing is really going on.  Take good care and enjoy America, I miss her!  

Love you,
Elder Merrill

 

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Jul 28, 2014


Hello Family,

I was in Cork this week, and for one reason or another there were tons of Spaniards on vacation there.  We had several opportunities to GQ (street contact) them and spoke to a few of them.  On a couple occasions I was able to speak Spanish with them, and even talk a little about the church and what we do as missionaries, I was able to express myself well and can honestly say I spoke the best Spanish I ever have. It was good; I also speak quite a bit of Spanish with our Brazilian investigator, who speaks Spanish, Portuguese and English. She is so solid, she invited us over for breakfast last week and fed us this huge Irish breakfast with fruit and pancakes and the whole lot, we love her. 

It is highly unlikely that I will be transferring this moves, as Elder White is going home so I will get a new companion when he goes.  Life is good here; the zone is doing fantastic in many aspects of the work.  We have lots of work; the zone has baptized 4 people this month, which is great as well.

Last Thursday I flew to Edinburgh for a 24 hour exchange with the Assistants.  We had a great day, did some tracting, taught a couple lessons and even had a dinner appointment.  It was cool being back in Scotland for a couple hours, and travelling alone was fun as well.   It was very warm, the hottest day of my mission easy.  I flew back the next day, feeling tired and fulfilled.  Missionary work is the best. 

I love you, thanks for everything you do.  16 months down. Crazy, every day is only a few minutes to me now. 

Love you
Elder Merrill

To his little Brother about a hard choice he made this week:
Life is full of tough choices, and quite often we are faced with the decision between the right choice and a choice that we really want to pick.  We show God what matters to us most by how we make these decisions.  Choosing the right shows discipline, patience and strength, and builds the same.  Choosing the wrong always shows weakness, immaturity and lack of self-mastery.  Making the right choice is rarely the easy decision and always takes faith.  There is a reward in heaven for every sacrifice we make on Earth.  I'm proud of your good decisions and impressed with your self-discipline, you made the right choice.  

Good luck and enjoy yourself; I love you, take care of your sister,
Your bro,
Elder Merrill