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, 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


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


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

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


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