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Monday, July 25, 2016

The week

Querida Família- 

We both spent some time sick last week and had to stay home a day, so there wasn't too much that happened, but I think we're past the worst of it now, just a little stuffed up. Being sick is no fun. You always just feel so tired...

One day we were teaching an investigator and it got cold all of a sudden and we only had on short sleeved shirts. He saw we were sick, so he fed us hot soup and gave us sweaters to use. I love nice people.

One night all our appointments fell through and so on our way home we stopped by 3 different evangelical churches to see what it was like.... it was interesting.... and loud. We even kinda participated in one of them haha... Ai ai....

Saturday our ward had a Festa Julina, which is an annual celebration that involves lots of music, food, and group activities. It was super fun! Lots of members brought their friends, but unfortunately everyone lived in other areas except for one lady. We gave her a quick church tour but she wasn't interested at all..... oh well, we tried.

We had a sweet Zone Conference this week combined with another zone. We learned a lot about better ways to teach like the Savior, especially by using inspired questions to really teach the person, not just the lesson. We can't ever help someone until we know what their needs are, and effective questions and careful listening show that we actually care about them. 

I love you all and have a wonderful week!

Elder Merrill

Zona Penha!

"The Group".... We don't know what type of a group we are, but we just call ourselves the group.

Festa Julina

Ward activities are the best.... food without end

Irmã Vera and Irmã Valéria (Valéria feeds us lunch at least twice a week...) they're so sweet!

Monday, July 18, 2016

Nossa semana


This week was a lil slow. But it happens sometimes. Without the "mais ou menos" weeks we couldn't appreciate the awesome ones.

After futebol (soccer) on p-day I was sore for like 4 days heh heh....

There were various days that literally EVERYTHING fell through, plans, plans if the plans fell through, and even last resort plans. *sigh* But thank goodness not every day was like that.

Julio and Mariela moved this week:( They had a somewhat emergency come up that made it unsafe to stay here, and so we helped them pack up and head out. They came to our ward yesterday for Mariela's confirmation and to say goodbye, since they'll be in a different stake... it's sad to see people go.

We did have a wonderful miracle on Saturday. A member's husband that's been investigating the church for 10 years finally decided to be baptized! He knows more than most members, I'm almost sure. He said he watches every General Conference. The only thing holding him back were some doubts, but now he's beginning to really have faith. I'm excited to continue helping him to prepare for baptism to be clean of his sins and be able to lead his family in the gospel! I'm so grateful for the wonderful opportunities Heavenly Father gives us every day of our lives!

I love you all!

Pics of the awesome LOTR-themed planner Sister Coronetti made for me

Julio and Mariela getting married! 
Mariela's baptism!
Perfect use of the Pillow Tie.... Last Saturday we had to do some baptismal interviews in the farthest area of the zone, a 2 hour bus ride there and 1.5 ride back.... it was killer, but I was prepared:)

My new soccer shoes.... we're playing on p-days now with the young men
Me fixing our shower..... this always happens to me

Monday, July 11, 2016

Um ano


It's weird. Friday marked one year since I entered the MTC. I still remember clearly how lost I was. I'm glad I've since figured some things out. Not everything, goodness I've got plenty to learn, but some things I'd like to share quickly:

- You often find exactly what you're looking for. If you pessimistically search out the bad, the flawed, the imperfect, you'll find it; if you look positively for the good, the blessings, the lesson, you'll also find it. In either case, you'll be justified in your findings. The difference? Your happiness. 

- Being on a mission doesn't in and of itself change anything about you. It just gives you opportunities, and you can choose if you'll make the hard effort to do what's right or if you'll slip into the spiral of justification and excuses doing less-than-optimal because it's easier and more comfortable. Wherever we are, we have the power to choose, and that's what counts.

So now I've been philisophical, I'll move on to the week.

We got the transfer call yesterday, and I'll be staying the next transfer here in Penha with Elder Moraes! It's good, because that'd be super annoying to leave so soon....

One day we walked an hour to get to lunch, just to find out the Irmã was out of town, so we called the Bishop and he saved our day. Since he's the institue director, we ate with him there. Afterwards, he destroyed Elder Moraes and I in foosball and then we spent over an hour just talking about doctrine. It was awesome. Totally opened my mind to some things I'd never considered about the Creation, the Fall, the Light of Christ, and other super cool things. Our bishop is so cool.

Last night we were at the church to prep the baptism of another area and I was playing to piano to pass time and someone motioned me into the other room, where they sat me down at the piano in front of a ton of youth. Long story short, before I knew it I was accompanying a the choir at a stake youth fireside to a song I'd never even heard before. Since I was already there, they announced I'd just be the pianist for the whole thing. This seems to be something that happens with frequency to me..... Thanks mom and dad, the people of Brazil appreciate the lessons you made me to take when I was younger haha:) The fireside was cool, and it made me miss the Wenatchee mission prep ones....

Julio and Mariela (the bolivian couple we've been working with) got married on Friday! The Elders quorum president took us out to ice cream afterwards. That night, we were able to have a wonderful baptismal service for Mariela. Julio was so happy and proud that his wife is finally a member. It was cute. They're planning on going to the temple to be sealed next year! I love the feeling that the knowledge of God's plan brings, that we can truly be together with our families forever if we follow the gospel of Christ!

Have a wonderful week!

Elder Merrill

Monday, July 4, 2016

Happy Birthday 'Murica!

Happy 4th everybody! 

Though I'd forgotten until last Friday when somebody told me that Monday would be Independence Day, that didn't kill my festivity this morning. At 6:32 I called the americans in the Zone and wished them a good 4th, then called some other americans and sang the Star Spangled Banner to them, then Elder Bush called me to blast the Mormon Tabernacle Choir version of the National Anthem, and Elder Hughes called to sing me "You're a grand ol' flag." Anyone extra inspired today can study 1 Nephi 13 about the prophesied necessity of the US and mark it using only red, white, or blue colored pencils (Yes, white colored pencil. You never use it for anything else anyways). Enjoy the fireworks and send me pics next week, I won't be seeing any here, unless there's a soccer game (they do use fireworks for those, and you can usually tell who's winning based on the flashes and bangs haha)

So moving from America to Brasil, this week was another great one. We did a division Wednesday with another area and then that night went to the Assistant's area for a division with them. Friday was Leadership Council so we stayed 2 nights with Elder Barroso and Elder Santana, which was super fun! I loved the day I spent with Elder Barroso, remembering our too-short 5-week transfer together in Jardim Odete. 

At the Counsel, the sister AP's presented a new "6-week planning" that we'll begin doing in the misson at the beginning of each transfer to have an even larger vision of what we can accomplish and how in each 6-week period. Also, it'll give more direction to weekly planning and make it a lot easier to keep track of things. I think it's cool.

Well, that's about it for this week 

I love you all and make good choices:)

Elder Merrill

They traded the lock on the gate at the church building in which we usually have our District Meetings.... This is Elder Beatty attempting to hop the fence, but gave up when the little points put a hole in his shoe.... I managed to get over and pressed the button from the inside to let everyone in. Only cut my hand a little on the pointy things.... good thing I got a tetanus shot!

Penha Zone shirts! (the scripture is "Wherefore, by their fruits ye shall know them" 3 Nephi 14:20

Division with the Assistants!

Afterwards I made cookies with Elder Barroso