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.

Monday, February 24, 2014

February 17, 2014

Hey Dad,

Sounds like you’ve had a great week. That topic seems to be a popular one these days, I wonder if the members listening will ever do anything about it or if they will come under condemnation some day for remaining idle. Even way over here the topic of member missionary work is the hot topic. I gave a talk yesterday. I was given the responsibility Saturday night at 9pm, which is not unusual, and began preparing a lesson on missionary work. About ten minutes into planning, I had a great stupor of thought and could not think of any way to continue. I took this immediately as a prompting that I wasn’t on the right subject, so I "re prayed" to pick a topic. This time, instead of praying to know what to talk about, I prayed to understand the needs and concerns of the people in the Branch.  Immediately the thought came into my head to completely change the topic and write a talk on Family and the Book of Mormon. So I did.

My talk covered a few of the ways that Satan is trying to destroy our agency, the importance of the family, and the many negative influences the world has on our family, and how the Book of Mormon is the tool given us by God to provide protection against these attacks. It was interesting.

I don’t feel like I’ve lost the form to ski.  You taught me well enough, it shouldn’t take me too long to get back into it. I think about skiing and hiking daily, am not sure why but it creeps in quite often. I just miss being outdoors, and can’t wait to hit the mountain again. Soon enough.

Thanks for the email Dad, have a great week at work. Don’t forget to wear a helmet when you’re in the back country with Evan.

Elder Merrill

Hey mom,

Thanks for that great story.  I needed it a wee bit.  I miss you, I miss you all a lot, but I don’t miss allergies.... I’ll probably get hit with them when spring comes around, it rains so much here that pollen has a hard time sticking around.  I’m doing well physically.  I’m healthy; some complimented me on my teeth yesterday, which was really nice. 

We met a less active member last week and she is super nice. Since a week and a half ago, she has fed us three times, gifted us well over £20 worth of food, and had us over another time for a lesson. She is easily the nicest lady I’ve met here, she is the best. She smokes and hasn’t been to church for ages, but is a really really nice and good person, and is a single mother of two kids. We’re getting to know her really well.  If we ran out of money I’m pretty sure she would feed us for every meal as long as she needed too.  She definitely needs and deserves the Gospel in her life again, so were going to work on it. I’m pretty sure she’s only like 29, also her brother is less active, and we see him often as well, who knows what could happen.

Alright Mother, have a great week, I love you very much, and I hope everything is going perfectly for our family back home.

Elder Merrill

February 10, 2014


Another week down, something like 60 left.  I’m glad you liked the photos.

I’m better at smiling now, somewhat unfortunately, I’ve forgotten how to make the mean "default" face I used to make back home.  Wearing a badge with Jesus's name on it means you have to look happy or at least content all the time.

I’m doing well, this week better than last, or the one before that, working on a few things.  I’m getting on pretty well with everyone in the branch, so that’s good as well.

Great to hear all of those wonderful people were asking about me, I miss our Ward, it’s a great Ward. Tell everyone I said hello and thanks for everything.  How’s Mark Wilson? Or Bro Johnson? Bro Karen?  Those are some good guys I think about here and there, the influence of a GOOD young men’s leader sticks with the young man his whole life, that’s one thing I’ve learned and taken note of. 

Like I said the time in Perth hasn’t been a cake walk. I felt a little discouraged and decided that my faith wasn’t really where it should be. I was talking to people hoping they would accept the message but not having much faith that they would, and it was hampering the spirits ability to do anything. I recognized this after praying about my problem, and was led to a talk about Faith in Christ, which lifted my spirits on the subject.  I spent the last week evaluating my diligence and dedication and recommisioned myself to the work, twice as obedient, twice as diligent and prayed for faith. I’m doing much better, and I’m twice as happy. I haven’t lacked in work or effort or obedience or anything, I’ve just tried to reevaluate the reason and purpose for why I’m sacrificing and serving a mission.  Through a lot of prayer and studies, my faith and knowledge is increasing and I’m definitely getting closer to the Savior. 

I definitely have a testimony that you’re happier as you work harder.  Hard work and happiness are directly related. I’m doing well, happy, working harder than ever because im more driven than ever.  I’m running on all cylinders, full steam ahead, I feel a greater desire and enthusiasm for the work.  It’s come as I’ve compared my desires with the questions and comments made by former high judge Alma in chapter 5 of his book, and reevaluating myself. 

I’m focusing on studying the Atonement, a fascinating subject.  It seems to me because of the importance and subjectual centrality of the topic of the Atonement of Jesus Christ, the spirit is eager and therefore quick to manifest and testify of truths concerning it. It’s a quick way to feel the spirit, reading about Christ and trying to imagine him, physically doing the things he did, with a human body, feeling all the pains that we feel.  I think we forget, and I’m guilty of forgetting, that the Savior was not immune to pain or fear.  LUKE 22 describes Jesus's fear and sorrow as he anticipated what he knew was going to be very hard, and described it as the bitter cup. Amazing subject, endless study opportunities. 

In the bible, the word Atonement is mentioned 1 time. In the Book of Mormon, 36.  That’s why the spirit testifies so intensely of the Book of Mormon, it’s a cover to cover testimony of the Savior. 

……. is learning, still progressing.  We invited her to be baptized, she said she wants to be baptized, but wants to learn more and become more comfortable with the spirit, for being so young, she is very mature and smart, and we agreed to help her to read and learn the Gospel until she decides that she is ready for baptism.

Thanks for everything, I love you so much. I hope the work at home is going well.

Sounds like a great book Mom, if you think about it, in John 4:14, Jesus describes the importance of taking into our minds only good things when he says, he who drinketh of the waters which I have to offer him will never thirst, (I’m paraphrasing), but it’s what we "drink of" that determines our thoughts and actions quite a lot, so we need to ask ourselves, what are we drinking from, is the fountain of living waters that Jesus spoke about?  Is it too much TV, Xbox, or facebook?  It’s a good thought.

Have a great week, Love you. Your son,

Elder Merrill

Monday, February 3, 2014

February 2, 2014

Dear Mom,

First of all I’m very pleased to hear that my letters arrived, and at the right time. I love you all, I know I don’t physically write enough, but I’m glad I did.

……. is slow but progressing. We’re seeing her today hopefully, she accepted wholly the word of wisdom, but doesn’t quite understand the restoration and baptism, and doesn’t seem to have enough desire.  We will be teaching her about baptism this week and committing her to a date, she could use a prayer or two. We need her to accept baptism.  We’re fasting this month to have 13 investigators with a baptismal date by March.

Perth Branch is great; the people are kind and knowledgeable.  One member, (English), named Cliff is very dedicated.  He literally goes tracting like every day, by himself.  And we get some good referrals from him.  Good man.

All is well, I’m happy, growing, facing trials every week but getting better. Thanks for the love and prayers, their needed.

Love you all!

Elder Merrill

To his Sis:

Thanks for the email.  You are amazing, certainly one of our Fathers elect Daughters. I’m honored to have been called as your brother. I hope that whatever is going on in your life at the moment is helping you to grow and become a better person. Remember, there is no reward until after the trial of your faith. Expect and pray for trials, and search the scriptures as much as you can.  Read the book of Mormon as if its today’s news today. And have a great week, I love you too.

Elder Merrill