Wednesday, June 25, 2014
Hey Dad,It’s been a great hard working week and things are going decent enough. We are teaching some great people. ……. is progressing alright and has many questions. We are starting over at the beginning of the investigator lessons and building his "structure of testimony" from the ground up with a strong foundation. He and I connect well.
…………. is a referral from an LDS friend in Arizona. She is originally from Brazil and speaks Portuguese, Spanish and English. It was funny, when we first contacted her a few weeks ago, she expressed at the door that she didn't have much interest in joining the church, we said okay and asked anyway, "can we teach you anyways?" or something to that effect. She shrugged and accepted happily. She has been taught the restoration, about the book of Mormon and is reading it now. She has lots of good questions and I feel really good about her, she is just a truth and happiness seeking person and is honest, which helps. She should be at church next Sunday.
Thanks for everything Dad; things are going great for me here in Ireland. We went out today and drove with a member down through the black valley and through the Ring of Kerry, saw the cliffs of Kerry and loads of other beautiful sights. Ireland is a great and lovely place, it’s a shame we spend so much time in the cities but I suppose sightseeing is for vacations, anyway I was glad to get out for a while. I will send photos next week, left my camera in Brother Kelly's car.
Love you Dad,Elder Merrill
Mom,…….., our Brazilian investigator is doing very good. She actually reminds me of you sometimes, she is 41 and 5foot 3 inches, likes gardening and stuff like that. She loves the book of Mormon and is getting excited to learn more about the church. She is funny and I’m really glad I get to teach her because she reminds me so much of you.
Anyway, I hope you are doing alright and that work is treating you well. We need you so much in this family and are so truly blessed to have you in it, without you it would never be complete. I love you so much, looking back on the many memories I have of you and Dad always gives me strength and brings a smile to my face. Thanks so much mom, hope to hear back from you soon.
To his brother:Hey buddy, glad to hear camp was rough. Those are the good memories. Justin Allred is the man; I honored him at my Eagle Scout Award Ceremony, because of his great influence on me as a leader and a man. I love that guy and will always think fondly of him. I would bet you a hundred bucks he never thought his leadership would affect one of the young men that much, especially myself, but it did. I will likely think of him as an example when serving in the young men program later on in life.
Hope you enjoy your rugby camp, there is going to be a lot going there that won’t be right. You have the power to be a positive influence, so set a good example and never tolerate anything bad. From anyone at all. Ever. You stand up tall and put your foot down when it needs putting down and you put it down hard. I love you, keep up the great work, I learn from you all the time and I’m not even in the same bloody country as you. Have a great week Evan thanks for being the noble person you are.
Zone Interview Training went very well. My interview with PB stood out as the uplifting activity for the week, and the training session went very well, ending up around 4 hours of instruction and a long day. Later in the week, we had an exchange with the APs, which normally consists of us flying up to Edinburgh for the day, but this week they flew down and blitzed the area simultaneously. They are great missionaries and good guys, we all enjoyed the time we had together and did a lot of good work.
Also on Saturday, the missionaries (us) hosted a BBQ for the branch at the church and had a good old time and even a few visitors came.
We have some great new investigators, ……. is Brazilian and golden! Reminds me of you sometimes, short, black hair, really funny. Similar age with 3 kids. She is really looking for and seeking peace and a sense of belonging, and already believes that the church is the answer. We are seeing her this week and will be extending an invitation to be baptized, after which we will continue to teach her, which I’m really looking forward to. We have been working closely with our friend ……… He is growing and learning more as we apply the principles and concepts that we feel he needs, which has been shown us by the Lord. We have really had to ask and seek for help from the Lord over ….., as he has a desire to learn but certain concerns that make it difficult to progress quickly. Last week, a friend of his game him some Anti-Mormon literature; fortunately he still wants to meet and learn and has always come to us with any arising concerns, but unfortunately he has held on to the book and it is causing turbulence for the Spirit to work on him. It seems too systematic when I think of it, how quick and cunning the devil is. Anytime a child of God is progressing in the Gospel, and anytime any important steps are soon to be made towards God, Satan will do all he can to deceive, oppress or even reverse the individuals progression. Even a frustration or distraction from the straight and narrow path is enough for him to start pulling his "victims" away from happiness and salvation. He has no mercy, and targets every man and woman with his stormy assaults on the spiritual, emotional and even physical well-being.I read something interesting today; it’s easier to be obedient 100% of the time, than 98% of the time. True, but if so why do we show SO MUCH resistance over the remaining 2 percent of the rules laws or established principle of the Gospel?
The hay fever monster has come for me, and I have been suffering on and off since Thursday night. I have been given some pills and used the eye drops, which contents are stated equivocally. Little relief is had. Oh well.
Hey! I found out today through mom's line, my genealogy runs back to Perth, Scotland!!!! We go into the Buchanan line, which is the first clan tie I ever purchased and my best one. So interesting, I spend 5 months in the place of my ancestors and never know it until I leave. Interesting. Also, through your line, we are from Denmark. Cool stuff.
Thanks for everything Dad and Mom. Take good care and stay very safe, you’re in my prayers, I pray for all of you by name, specifically according to the needs that I am aware of, and do it every night. I love you. Learning loads. Loving learning. Learning to love learning. Learning to learn. Learning.
See you in no time,Elder Merrill
Sunday, June 15, 2014
To his little brother:
Hey buddy,If I could give you one piece of advice prior to your mission, it would be this;
it is NEVER to early to develop a relationship with your Father in Heaven.
It does something to you when you can look at life and know that there is a purpose to all of this, that your life has a purpose and a meaning, and that every difficult thing or time you face has a specific and particular meaning.
Think about it bro,
Anyway I love you, have a great week. Thanks for being a stellar kid, your a stud. God will watch out and take care of you when you do what you know is right.
Belfast was great, I believe on Wednesday night we drove the 200 km up to Dublin which took 3 hours, then the next morning at 6 or so we drove the rest of the way up to Belfast which took 3 hours sat in a meeting from 10 to 3, then drove the remaining 6 hours through Dublin back to Limerick. Talk about from the bottom of a rock to top and back down in a day. All in all the last 2 weeks I've driven 2000km, around 1200 miles. I like driving so its okay.The meeting consisted of instruction, and setting goals for the mission. Over the last week, Elder White and I compiled goals set by the DLs in the Zone, and felt very impressed to make goals that would be more achievable that they had been previously. We felt like more achievable goals would more likely increase moral, increase effectiveness and help the missionaries overall, which is the purpose of goals. Excited to see what June brings, which is the month the goals were set for obviously. I also had an exchange this last week, which went very well, I was in Waterford, Uncle Jims old stompin grounds. yesterday also, we had zone development and all the teams came into Limerick for a day of play and games. Which was fun, we do it every transfer.
I'm loving being Zone Leader for the opportunities it has given me so far to learn from others. So grateful to be here in Ireland, loving my mission. My testimony of the Savior's mission grows daily, I pray for each member of our family and others by name each night and also for the faith to continue forward on the straight and narrow. This is the true church of Jesus Christ, I need no other truth, because all other truth flows from the source of truth which is God. And all truth applies to truth we learn while in Gods service. The atonement is real, I try to learn more of it every day. The words of the sacrament prayer mean so much more to me now than they ever have, and I have come to understand their true meaning and importance.I love you guys, and I miss you and think of you often. Thank you for everything. Oh also, this last week, on Tuesday, we were teaching an investigator named …… in the church at the same time as a fireside was going on in the building. Right in the middle of the lesson, Elder Kieron of the first quorum of the seventy and sister reeves(president of the relief society, the one of the television all the time) walked by the door of our room. I was like, "whoa I know those guys". Then Elder Kieron came into the room and taught with us for a few minutes, it was a great experience to speak with this man for a time. He had a great effect on our investigator..
So you have some new facebook friends, good to hear. The people of Perth are great, I love them so much. Thanks for adding them, many of them are really close to me and it was a blessing to play any role in their lives while I was there. I felt successful there because I felt loved, and the love was reflected back into the work. I learned so much, and Perth will always have a special place in my heart.Service is really what its all about, if we think about it, all service is a reiteration of the great act of Service, the Atonement of Christ, which serves all of Gods children as far as they are willing to let it serve them. The atonement is a supreme and supernal principle and I love to talk about it, I love what it does for me and how the more I understand it the harder I work to better myself every day. I love our Savior, and I love you all. Thanks for everything, and for letting me know regarding our friends in Perth. Have a great week, keep being amazing, see you in 9 months.
your sonElder Tanner Merrill
It was really great to see you all a couple weeks ago, you all look healthy and happy and I hope that's the way things really are. I love you all so much and feel so blessed to have a faithful family full of Latter-day Saints back home. Preaching the Gospel has given me so much direction and happiness in the short time I’ve been here, that my perspective on many things has changed and I have thankfully allowed many of these necessary changes to happen. I’m far from where I need to be, but I’m least on that road.
Yes speaking of my predicting my call, I have found it so interesting on my mission and I have become more and more familiar with the prompting of the Spirit that most often those prompting come to us without us even knowing! We simply think, "Hmm I’ll go this way" or "hey where does that one guy live? Ok, let’s go there" and we, with utter obliviousness, follow the seemingly random impressions of our "own thoughts". My desire to come to Scotland for me was simply something I wanted to do, to prophecy of a specific mission call doesn't really do anybody any good, but God's mercy and love was manifest in the fact in I actually was inspired. Almost all the time, I never even realize I was impressed upon by the spirit until after something happens, then afterwards I make a remark like "inspired". If we pay attention to our good thoughts and act on them, good things happen, how can that not be God? It is God.
I will share an experience with you that we had yesterday. We have recently made some goals revolving around finding new investigators, as were short on people to teach at the moment, and set out to place 6 books of Mormon in a day. We prayed and left the flat with 6 books in hand. At first we drove to a very dodgy bit, known as stab city(don’t tell mom) and chapped in some of the Gypsy flats, then later we then drove to another street in a bit of a nicer area and chapped there. On the last door of the last street (as things normally happen on the last door) a guy opened the door, kindly rejecting our approach and just as he was closing the door, his daughter probably 16 moved past him and began asking questions. Traditionally catholic, of course, she had a decent belief and an impressive knowledge and competence. Her name was ….., and over the next hour or so she just asked question after question about the restored gospel, really great intelligent questions, and we were able to answer them all in what I felt was very successful teaching rhetoric. She eagerly accepted a Book of Mormon and the invitation to read and have us back around. This was just one of several great experiences we had this day. We passed out 5 books, good enough for me.
Prayers work, goals work, people are being prepared to be taught the truth.
I am loving my new assignment so far and my companion and I are getting along great, he is a hilarious guy and we laugh and work (at the same time usually) pretty much all day. Thank you all for your prayers in my behalf.
Love you all. I will be in Belfast for a meeting on Thursday.