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, 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


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 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