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Monday, August 31, 2015


Querida Família,

Wow, there's just so much that happens here. I feel like it's been at least a year since the CTM, not 2 weeks! But I finally feel like I'm adapting a bit better to life in real Brazil.

Term of the week: da hora - used to describe something really cool, usually an object or game (literally translated "of the times")

Some quick facts about Brazil (or my area at least) - 

Everything is a hill. No joke. We are always walking either up or down or across a hill, never just flat. I'm gonna get super buff legs before I leave

I don't think there are traffic laws.... the general trend of 

Everyone here is always watching TV. It's super weird. I know people in the US watch more TV than we did (we didn't watch hardly any), but wow, it's constant. Sometimes it's really hard to teach because they don't always switch it off for lessons.

I'm most certainly gaining weight despite the walking. The members feed us every day, and I eat a LOT because it's just always soooo good. Also, I think I'm developing an unhealthy addiction to the super yummy biscoitos (cookies) they have here..... They are SO GOOD and super cheap.... Ah, I just love them too much.... I think I might have to ask Elder Rodrigues to help me through this difficult trial.

So I had a couple new experiences this past week that I never thought I'd have...

First, I got to play soccer with a bunch of Brazilians. REAL ONES. And what's more: I scored a goal. Yup. I did. It was more of an accident than anything else (I just happened to be in the right place and have a lucky kick) but that's not important. I still scored a goal. We took an investigator to play with the group of members that plays every Wednesday night at the court we have next to our chapel, and it was super fun, even though I felt severely out of place and unworthy. They are soooo good. Today I bought some soccer shoes for $20, so maybe that'll help me out... maybe.

Second, I got hugged and kissed on the cheek by a drunk, smoking old guy. It wasn't a supremely pleasant experience, but there wasn't a whole lot I could do. It was when we were leaving someone's house after a lesson, and the whole family said goodbye (because that's just what you do) and grandpa was a lil tipsy and had a lit cigarrette, but if I did anything but take it, that would be rude.... I had to change my clothes completely before we planned because I just wreaked of smoke and alcohol. Elder Rodrigues kept cracking jokes about how he wished President could come smell me, because he'd send me home for sure.

This week I started to read the Livro de Mórmon from the beginning in Portuguese, because we teach about the Livro de Mórmon every day, and I realized I needed to read it so I could strongly testify that it's true. I have a testimony of the Book of Mormon in English already, and though it's the same book in both languages and I already know it's true, I just want to strengthen my personal testimony of the Livro de Mórmon, in Portuguese. As I've read, it's been amazing to discover treasures I've never before discovered, and to feel how my day improves when I read it in a spare moment. Seriously, everyone should read it, it just helps (but I guess you don't have to read it in Portuguese if you prefer English).

We had an AWESOME first lesson with an this great investigator. We taught about the Restoration and he just was so involved, and my Portuguese was coming so much more easily than usual. When the time came, I was able to explain about Joseph Smith and recite the First Vision while looking into his eyes, and I could just see the Spirit work in him. As I testified in my simple Portugues, I felt so strongly the power and truth in those words. He closed his eyes, made a fist, and whispered fervently and joyously: "yes. yes." It was such a powerful moment, and it helped me realize how important that message is, and strengthened my testimony. I can't deny the feeling present in that room, through the background noise and chaos in the other room, that God did restore His church to the Earth in these days.

I'm so thankful for all of the words of support from all of you, you have literally no idea how much they strengthen me every day. I love you all sooooo much!

Elder Merrill

Descendência: 4 generations (dad, grandpa, and great-grandpa)
​We had to make lunch one day, so we took pictures 
..but I got a bad apple
Classic view of a regular laundry day for an Elder..... 2 weeks of black socks
Lest you think I'm going without kitties for 2 years, I'm here to prove you wrong. Cool cat at an investigator's house.
Happy Caturday!

Our apartment building feat. blurry Elder Rodrigues

With some balloons we found randomly in our apartment: "Elder Merrill, olhe..... cachorro girafa!!!" (Dog giraffe)

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