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Monday, April 25, 2016

Swell semana

Oi everyone!

So this week was good, though a few things I was looking forward to have resolved haven't yet done so.... our new house. Everything was ready, just lacked the deposit in the bank account of the person we're renting from. Naturally, the computers in the mission office had to break on Tuesday (the day the money was going to be deposited) and killed our hopes of moving last week. They are supposed to be fixed today, and MAYBE we'll move this week. Maybe.

...and like prolonging my visa here in Brazil. It's time to renew, so Thursday night we travelled to sleep int the house of the office Elders, so I could go early Friday to the Federal Police station. We went, got in, waited in line, and then the lady at the counter said "Where's the agendment?" (I don't know if that's actually a word in English, I just made it up I think... it means paper that shows you scheduled a visit) and we didn't have that because the mission secretary said they didn't require that last week, probably is a new rule or something.... and so anyways, we returned to the mission office empty-handed and travelled all the way back to our area (its like 2-3 hours journey) and I have to go back AGAIN maybe this week to try again. *sigh* Government stuffs.

But other than that, the zone this transfer seems like it'll be super good. All the missionaries are excited and happy, including my comp and I. Elder Vasconcelos is 23 years old and has 1 year and 4 months on the mission. He's from Recife, Brazil and is already liking Jardim Odete, our area. He also likes Tereré (a delicious drink I'm in love with) so we've already found our common ground:)

We were teaching a new couple we found this week, and at the end asked the wife what would change if she learned that the Book of Mormon were true. To our surprise, she said she'd go to church, get married, be baptized, and follow that path for the rest of her life. We were so shocked since we hadn't even brought up marriage or even talked about baptism! It was super cool, and I'm excited to go back to see if they've gotten an answer from God yet. He really does prepare people.

I love you all, and hope you have a swell semana as well!

Elder Merrill

There's a member that has an avacado tree, and this is how they harvest

Huntin the 'cados

Elder Nascimento, proud after he got one

Brazil doesn't believe in stick deodorant, so Elder Hughes left me this wonderful gift with this inspiring note.

Us at the top of "the stairs"(LOTR reference for all you who get me)

<cliché but epic missionary picture>

We did a service project telling people about dengue and stuff with the Stake, so we got to use the snazzy vests:)

Monday, April 18, 2016

Quick Transfer

Wow, 5-week transfers are too short, I feel like I just got here, and now it's already been one!

We finally got the contract finalized on our new apartment! We'll probably move this week, I'm so stoked.

This week was just dandy. We found six new people on Thursday, so that was an amazing blessing since we've been struggling to find progressing investigators, and finally we have someone on date for baptism that came to church! It was sweet. We were happy.

Yesterday, our ward got a new bishop! It's always neat to watch the leadership change in the church and observe the divine calls to serve at work. I get a stronger testimony of inspired organization every day.

I got to do another baptismal interview last week, and it was actually the friend of the first person I interviewed a few weeks ago! It's so cool to be able to meet the investigators of the other missionaries and to be able to see that the missionaries we're responsible for are doing good work and helping people change their lives to accept the restored gospel of Jesus Christ.

So Elder Barroso will be leaving me here after so short a time. :( I learned a ton from him though, and know that I have plenty to learn from my next companion. Elder Barroso is going to be the next Assistant to the President, so that's cool at least! My next companion is Elder Vasconcellos, who I don't yet know but I will tomorrow at the train station!

Looking forward to a great transfer!

Love you all

Elder Merrill

Trying to figure out where all the media references we got are at.... (for all you young people, this was how they did it before Google maps)

We did an activity for the ward, and played some super fun games after a spiritual message. It was super fun, everyone loved it!

Everyone who showed up to the activity... the Jardim Odete ward is awesome!

This is on the way from the church to our house..... I wasn't kidding about the freeways we have to cross

Monday, April 11, 2016

Vida na Missão

Oi Family!

So no new house yet, but we do have HOT WATER WOOOOHOOOO!!! It's a marvellous concept, water heating. I actually look forward to taking showers again.

We went from lots of chocolate and junk food in our house to no food, because we're poor and live kinda far from the store heh heh... My meals are basically a tiny piece of candy in the morning, a huge lunch, and the lil snacks and such we get from our visits throughout the day, occasionally scoring a dinner at the end of the day. But I'm alive, so that's what counts.

We did a division with one of the district leaders in our zone, and I got to go to the other area with his comp. It was cool to see somewhere new and get to know Elder W. Souza better and help him out with some of their area's difficulties. During the day I wanted to try cupuaçu (a frozen ice-cream-like dessert here) so we went to a place that sold it... anyways, the lil boy working the store misunderstood and gave us açai... (another delicious cold dessert, just that I've already tried it) Oh well, it was good too. 

We've been struggling to see real progress with the people we're teaching, but our Zone had a fast this weekend to help with the work, so I'm excited to see what blessings the Lord has in store!

This transfer was a short one (5 weeks) and so next week I'll know if anything is going to change here.... crazy!

Life is great, I'm happy, I love you all!

Elder Merrill

We did a "secret friend" chocolate exchange​​ with everyone in the zone and Elder Cavalcante and I drew each other's names haha (he looks American, but he's from Manaus haha)

Went to McDonald's for the first time in 9 months.... super odd for me but tasty nonetheless

There's a popular song here that every car blasts called "Ta tranquilo, ta favoravel" (directly translated 'it's tranquil, it's favorable' but the real meaning is difficult to describe...) anyways we took this picture and everyone here thinks its hilarious, even though you probably find no humor in it whatsoever..... just trust me, it's pretty funny.

Monday, April 4, 2016


So this week was pretty stinking awesome.

But I'll start with the not-so-awesome.

First, we're still taking cold showers. Fun stuff, but I'm learning to not sing-scream as I enter the cold water.

Remember that super cool couple I mentioned we were going to get married? So they called Monday night saying "we don't want to go to the cartório tomorrow, it's too rushed and we want more time to prepare..." Basically ruined our hearts. We went to bed super sad. But later in the week we went to teach them and try and help them more. The lesson was super awesome, and after them talking about what they wanted, I felt prompted to ask if they'd asked the Lord what He wanted. They said no and committed to pray for guidance and to come to General Conference and maybe get their answer there.

But then they didn't show up, nor did they answer their phone. We were heartbroken again. 

In fact, none of the 8 people who committed to come to conference showed up, even when we went before to pick them up. It was a lil rough. But oh well, it happens. As Elder Cristofferson taught us, we need opposition in this life, otherwise we're colorless, shapeless, tasteless, meaningless blobs. That was the gist of the message I got. 

But fortunately the good parts of the week far outweighed the bad. First of all, WE GOT TO GO TO THE CAMPINAS TEMPLE. It was so nice to have the opportunity to be in a session in the Lord's house. We rented a bus with the Mogi das Cruzes Zone, which is where Elder Hughes is. We spent the 2 hours there and back telling funny mission stories and trading what lessons we've learned and are learning. Great day.

We had a sweet Mission Leadership Council on Friday with all the Zone Leaders and Sister Leaders, and I learned a bunch from the trainings. President Silcox and Sister Silcox are just so cool.

Also, don't think I forgot about April Fools Day... Though I couldn't prank any of you, I made do with my current resources. I called lots of people in the zone, telling them that at the leadership counsel President Silcox announced that the time for mission service was going to be extended to 3 years for Elders, and 2 years for Sisters... Ah, it was soooooooo funny to hear all of their reactions as they totally fell for it. Don't worry, they all figured it out eventually.

And last of all, of course, General Conference. I got to watch most of it in English, and it was sooo uplifting. We also got permission to stay up late and watch the Priesthood Session, which starts at 9 pm here. I loved all of the talks and can't wait for the Conference Liahona to come out! I love this Church, because we are truly led by inspired leaders, a Prophet and Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Have a marvellous week, I love you all!
Elder Merrill

General Conference with Zona Itaquá!
This is the cat that likes to visit us... It just walks in the door with us, and sometimes jumps in through an open window haha.... it's super cute and playful

A bucketfull of kitty
Temple with avó Barroso

Parcial reunion of district 27-A from the MTC with Sister Kinnaman and Elder Hughes! I love seeing them!