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Monday, October 31, 2016

A vida

Happy Halloween! This year, I decided to be a missionary again... it's pretty scary for some people apparently..... maybe more people should try it.

We did three divisions this week, which took the wind out of me a lil bit. On Tuesday and then on Wednesday, we divided with 2 sets of zone leaders. Divisions are good because you get to learn from other missionaries and can do twice the work in your own area, but it is tiring because you have to plan two days at the same time and then figure out how to work in the appointments both duplas scheduled and share the important information about what you've gathered working with the missionary, then plan how you're gonna help them in the future... Then do it all over again with another set of missionaries. On Friday we went to Bela Vista to do a division, which was Elder Millaqueo's first area. It was cool to work in another area (get back to the favela, since Mooca doesn't have favela.... I miss it) and be able to do a division that we didn't have to plan everything haha

Last night we had a good meeting with the stake president, President Silcox, all the missionaries, and all the ward missionaries in the stake, and we set goals for 2017... We felt inspired to better certain specific things here in Mooca, so we'll see if things improve in the future... t'was good.

Our area is going great, life is going great.... I'm happy!

Love you!

Elder Merrill

I made snickerdoodles! They were soooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo good!
How many missionaries does it take to screw in a lightbulb...?
Only two!
We tried taking a picture in the super hard rain because we were soaking wet, but the rain didn't want Elder Millaqueo to appear.... so we ended up with this.....
I put up my hammock in our house and it is wonderful....
The couple from the picture in the Chastity pamplet (in portuguese at least) is in our ward! 

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Temple and travels


Every week is a good week. But this one was extra because we got to go to the temple on Tuesday! What a wonderful start. I love the temple, and I learned a lot about some things I've been pondering recently. There's such a peace that you feel even just in the garden and on the grounds. If you need peace in your life, go to the temple. 100% works.

After the temple we traveled to São José dos Campos, which to make a long story short took FOREVER. We left our area at 5pm and got to the house of the Zone Leaders 10pm. Oh, São Paulo traffic. Good thing I passed out on the bus, because I was needing some sleep. When we got there, they bought unusually large pizzas that I regret not taking a picture of (because division tradition mandates pizza as part of the ritual). The next day we participated in their zone training meeting and got to do all the role-plays we made the Zone Leaders do on the previous Friday... I guess it's only fair haha. After the meeting and after lunch, we were only able to spend 3 hours working with Elder David and Elder Mount before coming on a return trip that also took 5 stinking hours to get home, but it was good. I went with Elder Mount and it was funny to see all the stares of that a tall american (me) and a HUGELY TALL american (Elder Mount) drew. Everyone asked us if we were brothers.

Once again, we found ourselves with only 3 days to work in our own area, but we were able to see some miracles and worked hard to keep up with everything. Our teaching group just keeps getting bigger and better with awesome people, I'm excited to see what the future holds.

I love you all!

Elder Merrill 

<cliché missionary temple pic>
Temple trips aren't really temple trips if you don't buy american pop 
On the bus in São José dos Campos
Cleide (an investigator) gave Elder Millaqueo and me hammocks! This is me trying out Elder Millaqueo's

Monday, October 24, 2016

A semana

I'm tired. 

We did quite a bit this week, but it was quite a bit of the usual, ya know. Walkin. Teachin. Preachin.

It was SUPER hot for a few days. Like, when we arrived home we peeled off our white shirts and had to sit in front of the fan just to avoid dying. It was rough.

Saw some great sucesses with some investigators. For example, we are struggling to help some people get married, but this week we were able to start teaching one of the husbands that was super uninterested beforehand, so we'll see what happens! 

We did another division this week with Elder Chalampuento and Elder Zamudio, so it was nice to have extra help in our area hahaha...... It's always good to be with different missionaries, because you always learn something different from each one.

Even though there a bajillion problems to resolve that fall on your shoulders, it never ceases to amaze that when we put our trust in the Lord, He makes a lot more out of us than we could on our own.

I love you all!
Elder Merrill

​São Paulo é lindo
Irmã Maria José makes the best bread ever.... Oh my goodness. It's so good!
Thank you Carlos and Mom for all the goodies! [Actually it was Mom via Nat and Brad]

Monday, October 10, 2016


Querida Familia-

Wow, wow wow this week was nutso busy. And I got sooooo many phone calls. The transfer was on Tuesday, so Monday we spent getting stuff ready in the office and on Tuesday we were in the office the whole day to give training to the new missionaries and trainers, verify that everyone got to their new areas, then had to plan our training for the Leadership counsel. On Wednesday, we had our first zone meeting of the transfer (which we held in the chapel that is upstairs from the office. On Thursday morning we came to the office again to finish our training with the Sister Leaders (Sister Doyle and Sister Rocha), on Friday we had Leadership Counsel. And every Sunday we have to come to the office to get the numbers. So that comes out to about 3 days we actually were able to work in our area. And every single day but Saturday we had to go to the office.

But it was amazing to see that the Lord really helps us and knows our circumstances. We were able to teach more wonderful people and had some powerful experiences. We have some awesome investigators, some of whom need to get married but I'm sure it'll all work out. 

I tried talking English a few times.... one day I said the phrase "speshical musical number...." It's better to stick to Portuguese for the time being.

Yesterday at church, there was a lady visiting who knew where Wenatchee is! She lived in Olympia for 2 years. First Brazilian that I've talked to here who's been to Wenatchee... it made me happy :) 

At the Counsel, President and Sister gave awesome trainings. In President's, he talked about how every new missionary in their first interview says that they came on the mission to help other people, and that missionaries with problems have simply lost sight of that focus... if we're struggling, we need to think about our focus. Are we really trying to serve others? To serve the Lord? In Doctrine and Covenants, the Lord first refers to Joseph Smith as "my servant," later as "my friend," and lastly as "my son." All of us are first servants, then we can become friends of the Lord. But only after trials and dedicated perseverance does he grant us the honor of being one of His children. I hope that one day I'll be able to deserve that title, and I know that we can use His Atonement to get there. So if we haven't yet, let's start on that journey today.

Estou feliz, cansado, mas muito animado!

Love you all!

Elder Merrill

They're so small!
They made a statue of me!
Elder Mount next to Elder Millaqueo hahahaha
A member who went to General Conference in Salt Lake brought me back Twizzler

Monday, October 3, 2016

Esta semana

Querida fam-

This week was busy again!

Elder Santana and Elder Barroso stayed various nights this week to do going-home stuffs like go to the temple and do interviews, and they slept in our house since our house is close to the office and they both passed here in Mooca. It was fun to have them visiting us before leaving today. I'll miss 'em.

Elder Hirst went home too... The office just won't be the same without him here. :(

On Friday we were able to see Gustavo baptized by his dad! We wanted everyone in the family to be there, so the service didn't start until 9:15pm, but it was good. And don't worry, President came so we weren't being fubecas. :)

General Conference was stellar! I love the chance we have to hear from God's living prophet. I know this really is Christ's church. I hope you all were supremely uplifted by the talks and music like I was.

I love you all!

Elder Merrill

We found Ben and Jerry's! During the break between sessions of conference, we went to the store. It was kinda expensive, but Elder Hughes and I split the cost. Totes worth it.
And this is Elder Wengreen, Elder Hughes' son.

Mission accomplished

Our going away party for Elder Hirst

We made District shirts! (yes, our district is huge)

Seven is the number of perfection

​Elder Santana and Elder Barroso

Elder Millaqueo was callling the zone leaders while it was super sunny... so he took my sunglasses and se tornou swaggy

​Oh, Elder Hirst. I'll miss him so.

Gustavo was baptized by his dad, Marcelo!
Nobody takes fotos like missionaries when they get together in large groups

Meu filho!