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Monday, November 28, 2016

Só na boa

Querida gente-

Posso só escrever em português para vocês? Seria bem mais fácil. Vocês precisam aprender mesmo para me entender quando chegar. ugh. Sometimes words are difficult. [Can I only write you in Portuguese? It would be much easier. You will need to learn to understand me when I arrive.]

So I'm tired. We did two divisions this week, and it helped us cover lots more ground lots more quickly. I passed one day with my dad, Elder Rodrigues! It was fun to teach together again, and to think that one year ago he left me in Cohab Juscelino. The next day I stayed with Elder Chalampuento, who had come about a month ago to do a division with me. 

We had a miracle this week! On Wednesday we were visiting a less active for the first time who hadn't had a missionary visit in 14 years when the member who was gonna give us lunch the next day called and said they wouldn't be able to feed us anymore. So I turned to the irmã and said "have you ever given lunch to the missionaries before?" She said yes, and I said, "would you like to have the opportunity again... tomorrow... to feed 4?" She accepted, and the next day we had an awesome lunch. Look how the Lord's timing is perfect. 

On Friday an exciting thing happened. We went to the cartório to mark a date for Cleide and Sergio's wedding! The soonest available was January 7, which is sad that Elder Vasconcelos won't be here for it, but he'll be able to Skype in from home. I'm so happy for them! It's amazing to see people taking the necessary steps to change their lives and accept the gospel. That's the joy of the mission. I love it.

I love you all!

Elder Merrill

P.S. Everyone who hasn't yet seen this year's Christmas video, it is PHENOMENAL and you all need to go watch it:

Last week we all color coordinated without meaning to!
I made chicken one day but it wasn't sufficiently dead... jumped right off of the counter and broke one of our plates....

Eu e meu Pai!
Família Cleide and Sérgio
Elder Chalampuento studying hard.... poor tired guy, I woke him up by pouring water on his face hahaha

Monday, November 21, 2016

New Transfer

Hello everyone!

This week went wonderfully! 

Elder Vasconcelos got to the office at about 10:30pm on Monday, and then President gave us a ride home because it was so late. Then we got up early to return to the office and didn't go home until late again, but we were able to teach a lesson to an awesome family we're working with and it was cool to get right in the groove where we left off 6 months ago (we were companions in Itaquá, in case you forgot)

I'm addicted to cuscuz nordestino (its like a corn flour that you cook with steam in a special pot then can eat with egg or meat or other things... google it) and eat it like every single day. It's super cheap, and super good.

I also tried cake made with ginger, pimenta (spicy pepper) and strawberries. I don't know how one makes such a cake, but it was good. Interesting, but suprisingly tasty.

We got to work and are already settling in for an awesome transfer. There are many wonderful people we're teaching and that are really progressing, so I feel super motivated to make this transfer one of the best of my mission! Things aren't always perfect, but that's impossible. We just have to make the best of whatever God gives us.

I love you all!

Elder Merrill

We were helping some Sisters with their bags during the transfer, and the wheels to all of their suitcases broke... at the same time... so on to the back it went (I'm on the right) Also, this random nice guy (center) helped us. T'was an adventure.
Thanks for the goodies Mike and Kristi!
Christmas planejamento [planner] that Juliana (a recent returned missionary in our ward) made for this transfer for me haha

Monday, November 14, 2016

Week of the death

Dear fam,

Well, I'm currently companionless. I got up at 5:45 to go with Elder Millaqueo to the airport, put him on the plane, and came back. So sad. He was kinda depressed the whole week since it was his last, but the mission just can't last forever... it's gotta end sometime. He was the first missionary I killed (missionary jargon that means being the last companion). But I know who my next companion will be.... Elder Vasconcelos. De novo! If you don't remember, we were companions one transfer from April to the end of May in Jardim Odete, and we'll be together for just 6 weeks since he dies (finishes his mission) at the end of this transfer. Which also means I'll probably stay for 2 more transfers here. I like this area, so I'm chill with that.

Being the last week, Elder Millaqueo had a Self-Reliance course one day and went to the temple another, so I got to spend a little bit of time with my dad on the mission, Elder Rodrigues! (His comp went home today too) It was fun to get together for a lil spurt.

We did a division in Vila Lavínia with the Zone Leaders there. I spent the day with Elder Patson, who was my first District Leader when I was in Cohab, and it was cool to relive some great memories. I still feel like he's my District Leader, I learned a ton from him in that one day we spent together. He's awesome.

Starting with the first Sunday of this month, we started singing Christmas hymns in sacrament meeting, it made me so happy.

Also last sunday I played the piano, gave a talk, gave the Gospel Principles lesson (which we've been giving for about 9 weeks now, the teacher was released.... our preparation is stellar, we get to the class, open the manual to see what the lesson is, then just go hahaha. This last week was about the Gathering of Israel, which was a little harder to do on the fly, but we managed:)

I'm tired, I'm happy, and I'm excited for this next transfer. Should be awesome.

Love you all!

Elder Merrill

Distrito Elite!
Sunrise in Mogi das Cruzes
Pop Rocks with papai! (Elder Rodrigues)
Pizza Hut to say goodbye to Elder Millaqueo with Kelly, Juliana, and Marquinhos... mmmmmmm so good

​Tchau Elder Millaqueo! I love this lil bud.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Tacos, Testemunhos, and Tranquilidade

Querida família-

Today our p-day was awesome. It was Elder Millaqueo´s last (next Monday he goes home), so we had to make it count. There was no meeting this morning, so we were able to deep clean the house. Then we went to a shopping (mall) and ate TACO BELL. Yup. 1 year and four months, on the other side of the world it's still the same. I know some of y'all are Taco Bell haters, but you can't deny the coolness of eating at one of the first Taco Bell establishments in the country of Brazil... not to mention my supreme deprivement of any mexican food (even americanized mexican). Anyways, as we were finishing up, I saw across the food court what appeared to be another mexican food establishment. Naturally I had to buy a taco from it. It reminded of Café Rio, suuuuuper good. Oh guacamole and pico de gallo how I'd missed you. Afterwards we took a stroll through the big and super nice mall... it was mainly just stuff for rich people, so we didn't even think about buying anything except for a R$269 (like $84) tie... lol psych. We left and went to Brás to buy R$11 (less than $3,50) ties hahaha 

Our area is still going pretty well, but we have cut a few people from our teaching group and are trying to find new people. Lots of street contacting, but that's the missionary life. Oh yeah, and even though Cleide isn't a member, she talked with the Relief Society presidency to give us lunch Saturday! So. Cool.

It was leadership councill week, so the usual correria that comes with it. We gave a training on how to help people make and keep commitments better because people can only show fruits of repentance as they do those simple things like reading, praying, and changing their lives to live the commandments. It went well, I thought. Sister Silcox gave a cool training on having the faith to find people prepared to receive the gospel and how that needs to affect our planning. Elder Millaqueo bore his testimony since it was his last council, it was so sad... I love the lil' guy. I've learned a ton from him. He is such an example of humility and pure desire to help others, two things I really need to work on. How great it is we have companions that always show us our weak points and how we can always be better.

Açaí rocks
Açaí selfies rock
Kitties rock
..until the member family puts 6 kittens on your back and they all dig in their claws
We knocked the door of a lady and started teaching the Restoration, and when we pulled out the Book of Mormon her eyes lit up and showed us this copy she got 20 years ago from some Sister missionaries... cool.
Elder Webster after a long hard day on tour....
"Yo quiero Taco Bell!" ....check.
...and then appeared another taco establishment, so naturally I went, purchased, and of it also partook.