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.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

April 13, 2014

Mom, Dad, Sydnee and Evan,
Thanks for  all the birthday wishes.  It has been quite a run, best 20 years of my whole life. Thanks for all the love, support, time, money and putting up with nonsense that you’ve done for me, for all the hours you stayed up for me, for all the rides you’ve given me, for all the times you sacrificed for me.  You are the perfect family and I wouldn’t have you any other way.  I love you all.

Got our moves call last week, I’m staying in Perth according to my wishes, and  I’m getting a new companion, Elder Compain Shaw, from New Zealand.  He has been out a little over a year, older than me, he' 6 6, that’s all I know.  Our branch president, President John Ferrans, is taking us out to eat tonight, at the Carvery in the Isle of Skye hotel.  I’m excited for that, sounds posh, or.... nice. Posh means snobby rich, or really... nice, I don’t know any English words for it.

Another Good week, we did loads of service.  On Wednesday after a great lesson with a new investigator, we asked if we could do anything for her, she started to think and I looked out her window and noticed her garden/yard could use some work.  I asked her if she would let us work in her yard for a couple hours, she said, "now?" I told her we would go home and change but then would come back and help out. She agreed, so after changing we rode the bikes back to her home and spent a couple hours pulling trees, weeding, mowing, trimming and pruning her yard.  It’s safe to safe I’m grateful for all those hours my mom made me do yard work ha-ha. Thurs, Fri and Sat all consisted of service, usually helping folks move houses.  Great fun and good work.  I’m happy and loving Perth.  Dundee zone/stake is a great place to be.

Oh check this out, while my comp and I were walking to the place where we email there was this little bird chillin on the grass next to the pathway and I was looking at it like, that’s a nice bird, then BAM, a flippin falcon came out of nowhere and grabbed it and took off with it. I was like, dang Scotland is nuts.  True story I JUST saw that. Wild!

Anyway, I’ll get going, I hope you have a fantastic week and are happy and well. I love you,
your son

Elder Merrill


Sunday, April 13, 2014

Photos from our service project

Bro Watson and I in Strathtummel

Dressed up for service Project

Tummel Bride at Pitlochery

The Cottage (Brother Watford)

April 7, 2014

Mom and Dad,

Obviously general conference was this weekend, which was very uplifting and wonderful.  We watched it at the Bingham Terrace Chapel, and enjoyed all of the sessions. I liked especially Dallin H Oaks talk on priesthood, the other man’s talk about his wife jumping out of the truck, and sister reeves I believe it was, she was great as well. 
I’ll give you a quick report of something good that happened last night.  As we were crossing the street to our flat at 9pm, I could see some people on the top floor of our flat complex, smoking and drinking on the balcony, who saw us approach the building.  As we climbed the stairs underneath them, I could hear several people on the balcony murmuring that we were the Jehovah Witnesses that lived below, something like, "oh no its those Jehovah's that live down there".  Right as I was walking in our door, I felt it was my desire and responsibility to inform these people of their mistaking us for JWs, and this I know now was an impressing from the Holy Ghost.  I climbed the stairs; Elder Arvig followed, and told them in a kind and casual way not to worry any longer because we were not JWs, but Mormons.  I began to return down the stairs and one of them called me back up to explain what a Mormon was, and a conversation unfolded lasting around 30 minutes.  During the conversation, the four people who were having a BBQ, asked many great questions about God and other Theological concepts.  I answered well, feeling led by the spirit, casually asking them inspired questions to teach them in a way most edifying to their understanding (being mid 20 and less religious people).  They loved us, and liked our answers, and even fed us sausages and orange juice (which they made sure to tell me wasn't spiked). It was a great conversation. 

Again, 30 miles away in Dundee city this morning, we bumped into them again while walking from the train station to the city center. God has a will, and He just does what he will and if we as saints are sanctified and worthy our thoughts will be his thoughts and we will do what he needs us to do. I never felt prompted, but realized afterward that my thoughts were from God and he led me to some of His prepared children.
I love you, the Holy Spirit guides,
Have a great week,
Elder Merrill
Hike to Kinoul Hill

Dear Mother, (My birthday email)

It’s been nearly 20 odd years that I’ve been in your care.  If you think living in Scotland doesn't mean I still rely on you for the lever of compassion and love you have given me against the smothering boulder of the burdens of life, I want you to know that's not true.  Your example of love and the many other things you taught me have been crucial and foundational to all of the success and happiness I’ve had in my life. Thanks for everything, and I mean everything that you do for me and for our family. A wise man seeks an eternal partner that has the mothering capacity and spiritual strength and emotional know how matching that of his mother. Thank you for providing me with that wisdom, along with God's help, and for setting the highest standard. I love you, though our time here is so short, I will always owe you for the years you have been a blessing to my life.  If God didn't absolutely need you to be my mom He would not have tried so hard to make it happen, I know He pulled some strings there. Don't take that trust lightly and I know you never have, so thank you.  I love you, Happy Birthday.

Your first son,
Elder Merrill

Thanks Dad,

The knees are done up because of the walking, we walk miles and miles and miles each day. We only walk, but it’s not too bad, I’ve just taken up some leg strengthening techniques including some stretching. Should help. 

I love you and miss you of course, have a great week. Thanks for being a worthy example and Hero for me and others, I heard a quote in conference, every young man needs a hero to live up to, I add my own quote " without a standard near by, young men will live up to the nearest source of example they can find, whether it be television, sports stars or celebrities, or other unworthy and misleading sources.  This is why young men and women need to be surrounded by people of courage and integrity, the higher the standards of our adults, the better standards the children who grow up around them will have." I feel that way about you and leaders in my youth, very important people to my growth and in deciding who I wanted to be.

Thanks for the love, have a good one,
Elder Merrill

Me and a Scottish badger


Kinoul Hill Pday hike

March 31, 2014

Hello Family,

Man that wedding/mission reunion sounds fun, I’m visualizing meeting some of my mission buddies in 20 years or so, we would have a great time. Sounds like a blast.

I’m doing well.  Perth is likely my favorite area, the members are wonderful, we are fed a lot, the work is successful and the city itself is simply a nice place to be. Oh and the flat is nice as well. I’m happy and healthy, except for some knee cap problems, which I’m working on. 

Well, last Thursday was my one year mark.  That's halfway done, halfway to go. So interesting, I’ve taken some time to reflect on who I’ve become and the ways I’ve changed in the last 12 months and also envisioned who I will potentially be after the next 12 months. The amount of learning and change is very rapid, anything could happen. All I’m sure of is that I’m extremely thankful for every bit of change I’ve experienced.  Somewhere in Nephi 19 or 20, God said through Isaiah, "I have sent thee into the refiner’s fire; I have chosen thee in thine affliction".  In other words God is a refiner and we are being refined, and as you know, during these two years, the fire is very hot. I’m grateful for the heat, and that I can take it.

Sometimes I pray for the heat to increase, so that I can become more and more like the Man who set the perfect example all those years ago. Life doesn't come in a manual, but it comes with parents kind and dear. So thanks for being just that, plus wise and patient. I love you and miss you all, but this short time is almost over.  According to Earths reckoning, 2 years seems long.  According to Heavens reckoning, a two year mission takes place over a period of time less than half a minute.

One year down! It’s been an amazing and substantial 12 months.  I love you all, thank you for all your support and prayers. Pressing forward to the next year of work in the service of God. Couldn't be happier, they say the second year goes much quicker, here we go.

Thanks for the prayers
Have a great week,
Elder Merrill

Tracking along the Tay

The Tay (longest river in UK)


March 24, 2014

Trying to find new investigators this last week was difficult.  On the few occasions that we had a chance to talk with some new people and set some return appointments, the appointments were cancelled or dodged in every case but one.  That one case was a man named ……. who lives in Methven. We taught  him about the Book of Mormon and the restoration and had a couple of great lessons, he has pretty eccentric ideals and also has some pretty weird beliefs.  ……. was convinced that man(adam) was created by mortal yet superior beings for the purpose of inhabiting the earth to dig and mine for gold which was used as a high grade conductor in the beings civilization, and that the superior beings left behind some of their own, which are the aborigines and native American/south americans and that's why everyone hates them. Honest to Ghandi though he isn't crazy, he is a smart truth seeking kind of guy, just has some of these weird ideas.  Oh and he can hear the earth hum.  That too. 

Well Mom I love you very much, thanks for being the amazing mother you are and for your example.  God created man, in Adam we fell, and in Christ we shall rise again.  This is Gods church, and is the perfectly restored church of Jesus Christ.  It is true, I know it!

Elder Merrill 

 To his Sister,
Things for me are going well sis, I love being on mission, do you think I should extend 3 months? Ive given that some thought... tell me what you think. The weather is starting to warm up. Our investigators and converts are doing well, so happy and its great to literally watch their lives get better as the gospel works on them. Faith, Repentance, Baptism and Confirmation, Endure to the End and that's it! Easy- peasy. (Endure to the End may or may not include getting married in the temple, having a family, providing for your family, raising your family, become educated, work and get money and use it wisely, serve others, be humble, read scriptures daily, pray always, develop unbreakable faith, attend thousands of hours of church and auxiliary meetings, work in voluntary non paid callings for years at a time, pay 10% of everything you make plus donating to the poor and other charities, be selfless, patient, happy and live your life as close to as perfect as the Creator Redeemer Saviour and Master of the whole entire world.)

I love you sydnee, Jesus Christ loves you and knows you, I am so happy to know your living the life God intended you to live.  Keep It up,

Elder Merrill


Saturday, April 5, 2014

March 17, 2014

Dear mom,

Saturday went fantastic, it was a great experience baptizing Sandra and I can tell you that your prayers were definitely evident. Her faith and strength is amazing, and I’m so grateful for the opportunity I had to participate. Elder Arvig confirmed her on Sunday and she is now an active member of the Church. I’m really getting close with the members here, they are some really good people and I have enjoyed serving in Perth immensely since I’ve been here.

Oh by the way, Elder Arvig made pie last week, and guess what? We took like half of it to people, I’m sick of this my wife will never give anything away. Ha-ha it’s the frustration of my life when people are all giving my snacks away.

I do miss the temple, I’m happy to hear you and Dad are still going when you can. It’s only been since I’ve been out that I’ve learned about the temple, and what it means and the significance of it all. It will be one of the first things I do when I get home in a years’ time.

Keep it up; you’re doing an amazing work!

We ate dinner at Eleanors, a member in the branch, last night. We had two starters, mussels and bean salad, and then sweet corn chowder (a lot of it) then LOADS of pork chicken and potatoes and then two deserts, meringue and trifle. I was sick because of how full I was, the food was dang good but way too much for even my body to handle.

I’m really not sure what details to put, today were climbing kinnoul hill (google it) if the weather stays nice, which it has been lately. After the baptism, I spoke with Aimee and asked her how she feels about baptism; she said she wasn't planning on doing it, YET.  The yet part is an improvement.  She comes to church every week, and to FHE which is at Eleanor's the night, just having a hard time deciding on baptism, were working on it though, the Lord knows what she needs.

I love you mom, thanks for all that you do, I am proud to be your son. I know this is the work of Jesus Christ and that I’ve been sent here to Perth by the inspiration of God through the Holy Ghost, and through the Holy Ghost he leads this work.

I love you to the moon and back,

Elder Merrill

March 15, 2014

Hey Merrill family, 

Just thought I would send you a quick email, were filling the font as I write this, and in 1 1/2 hours we will be baptizing Sandra. I’ll be sending you all photos of us dressed in white, so you won’t have to imagine what things are like for much longer. I love you all, the Lord lives, have a great weekend. 

Your brother,

Elder Merrill
Sandra's Baptism

Hey Dad, the baptism went smoothly, and was a fantastic experience. I was really in awe of the spirit and faith that Sandra has.  And she was so happy; I can say honestly that I’ve not seen many people happier than she was on Saturday.  Her face was shining brightly, and she kept telling me how good she felt. Amazing experience, the field is white, but all the fields surrounding it are green here.  Nevertheless the Lord is preparing people.



March 10, 2014


Funny story about Coach Boban.  Like we have talked about before, work hard all the time and people won’t ever forget you. Be a man now, or as Boban would say, be a man, not a mouse! BE A CHAMPION!!!  I still can’t believe he did that ha ha I feel famous.

It’s a different kind of work out here, and for me it’s much harder.  I can pound the asphalt or run up any mountain all day long, no sweat.  But there is a different aspect to missionary work that is much harder, but also much more rewarding. If I do things right, I will leave a legacy of hard work and obedience for people in Scotland to remember me by. Dad used to say, "Whenever you do work, make sure you leave your name on it, and do it well".  Good point Dad.

Oh yeah! I forgot to tell you didn't I? While I was in Dublin, Ireland, I made pumpkin chocolate chip cookies for the guys and myself, and they were the bomb.  Seriously you’d all be proud, they were that good. The best part, after they were done, I didn't go around and give em all away to the neighbors! We kept em and they were good. I’ll send you pics I took of them next week.

Thanks for the Advice on doing service; we could definitely be doing more of it here, thank you. It is a great way to soften people’s hearts. Just look at the way Ammon soften the heart of King Lamoni by offering to serve him. Saved his life, the king even wanted Ammon to take his daughter to wife.

I’m healthy, little chub that wasn't there 1 year ago but I’m still stacked and jacked. ;)

A couple members have been taking care of us, but feeding us too much, while I’ve been here.  They are the nicest people ever; they just give us way too much food. The ……. ( who are recently re activated after 40 years of less activity, and just last week went to the Preston Temple to be sealed! they are gold) feed us a lot here and there, but …….is a really nice single lady who gives us 5 course meals every Sunday... I’m dying every Sunday night, but its good food.

My feet are doing well now, there have been a couple days in the last week where we have just walked miles and miles and those are foot killers, but they get better after a day or two of normal distance work. The shoes I have should last at least another 8 months, if not the whole year.

I am better at smiling now, that should be at least one change you notice.  It started out by me not wanting to look upset or angry while walking around, I wanted to give the public the impression we were always happy ( which is true but I just didn't smile) so I forced a more mild face and after a couple months it stuck.)

 Almost 20 years old. I had something of a moment of silence while I thought about that. Life is so short.  I’m smiling thinking about the Basketball season, basketball was always a very fun game for me because I really enjoyed it and I wasn't bad at it either. I remember sprinting down the court every Saturday morning and jumping high above the wee lads on my team to get the rebounds, what a fun time.  We won a lot too, remember Wes? Remember his half court shot that one game? I still can’t believe that happened.  3 seconds left, I threw it into him from under the hoop on the opposite side, he caught it nearly at the half court line and threw it up...... swish! Good times. Really good times.

Interesting concept, Faith and Belief.  I always think of this way: no one has a better testimony or more infallible belief in God than Satan and his followers; after all they have no veil to cover their eyes or cloud their remembrance. Faith is action, Faith is faith, you have to pursue to slightest hope, normally without any factual evidence, to establish faith.  And then as we know faith and knowledge are far distant but the bridge is crossed only by our own works. Hope for truth can be sown into our souls by the testimony of others combined with the spirit, but faith and knowledge can only be found by mighty study, prayer and sacrifice.  This is why it’s so hard to find, but the journey has gotten easier, for myself at least, as I’ve gotten further down the road towards a perfect knowledge. This seems to be the case because of the blessings and light that this knowledge brings; line upon line, precept upon precept, and this is the way of the Lord.

 Well Family, I love you. I’m doing great and happy to be serving a mission. Humility is not learned easily, but I’m much more of what the Lord wants me to be now, than I ever was. Thanks to you guys, my faith was sufficient.

 Mom, Thanks for all the things you have sacrificed and will yet sacrifice for our family; if ever person could have such a mother as you, every child would be brought up in the strength of righteousness because of your love for dad and others.

Your son,

Elder Merrill