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Monday, December 26, 2016

Busy busy busy week


This week was so stressful I had 15 new pimples break out. Yeah. But it's passed.

So Wednesday I went to Guaratinguetá (the farthest zone) for the zone conference there. But Elder Vasconcelos and Sister Doyle were in the self-reliance course at the same time, so I gave the training with Sister Rocha hahaha. For one day, I was President's companion, and she was Sister Silcox's. 

On Thursday Elder Vasconcelos went to the temple, so I got locked up in the office with the secretaries with nothing to do all day. I got cabin fever super bad. When he got back I was ready to explode because I couldn't stand so much nothing..... yeah.

Friday we ate so much at lunch, then went to the next house and ate, then at the end of the day Gustavo and Iris made us more bolivian food...

..then on saturday we ate the strangest thing I've yet eaten on my mission, called buchada de bode, which is billy-goat stomach filled with it's intestines, kidneys, liver.... I wasn't a huge fan. Also, the fried intestine was alright, but after a few bites I couldn't continue.... do not recommend for the weak or even relatively strong of stomach...... but a great cultural experience heh heh.

Then that night we ate churrasco at bishop's house, where we spent Christmas Eve. It was super fun, but we slept stuffed.

THEN on sunday for lunch there was a huge turkey, pasta, rice and beans, maionese, salad, ribs with potatoes, farofa, fruit..... oh my heck. We weren't even hungry before lunch. And later that night a member gave us like 6 desserts and sent us home with our fourth panetone (actually it was chocotone)

In short, Christmas=food. 

Cleide and Sergio were married on Saturday! It was simple, but wonderful.

Yesterday, as it was Christmas day, I got to call mommy and daddy. It was great to see your smiling faces, even though I was speaking a fair amount of portuglish haha

Elder Vasconcelos goes home tomorrow, so I'll be getting a new companion, Elder Meireles. He goes home at the end of this transfer hahahaha. I just keep killing my comps! 3rd in a row!

We had an amazing miracle this week too! So on Tuesday we visited Gustavo and Iris with the bishop and on Monday it didn't work out in the Federal Police to get their documents since it was chock full and they said there were no openings until after the new year. After a great lesson, bishop went home, opened his computer and looked on the Federal Police site to see exactly 5 vacancies (2 adults and 3 of their kids) for the next day. He called them to tell them the news that they were could resolve it the next day, and they responded saying "after you guys left, we knelt and said a prayer that we would be able to get our documents without delay so that we can be married and baptized." It took less than 2 hours for their prayer to be answered. The next day, they went and resolved everything, and their wedding is scheduled for January 7th. Their faith truly amazes me. I am so grateful that I have so many blessings in my life, and I love being a missionary.

Hope everyone had a spectacular Christmas!
Elder Merrill

Awesome tie from Elder Oberholzer
Look at the name of the street of the church... yup. "Street of the Mormons"
We matched without meaning to again!
The bishop performed the wedding in his office

Monday, December 19, 2016

Feliz Natal!


Needless to say, I'm excited for Christmas this Sunday. I love Christmas.

Our week was pretty busy. We went to 2 more zone conferences in São Miguel/Itaquera and in Guarulhos/Cumbica which ate up 2 days of our week, but tudo bem.... On the way home from one, President dropped me off to do a division in Camargo Novo with Elder Azevedo, which was super awesome. We had many miracles, including one lady in a car who stopped to ask us who we were and asked to be taught, a member who gave us a reference when we asked if she had any friends, some really cool lessons. Friday night we traded and I came back to our area. So I was only in Mooca for 2 days this last week haha.

Today bishop and Gustavo and Iris are finishing up the documents they need to be married, and so next week we'll already have a date for them!

Saturday is Sergio and Cleide's wedding! We're excited!

This is Elder Vasconcelos' last week already. So weird. This transfer flew by! We have a ton of stuff to do (finish up the zone confs, prepare for the transfer, self-reliance course, go to the temple, wedding, baptisms, Christmas, etc) and only 7 days to do it, but it'll all work out. I love life!

I love you all!
Elder Merrill

Epic selfie from Elder Bush
We had a secret Santa and Elder Botelho gave me a tie and this cool pen with my name engraved on it

I saw Santa!!!!

Monday, December 12, 2016

Esta Semana

Hello family!

This week was great, and (suprise on this part) tiring.

Last Monday kinda took it out of us because we didn't really have much rest on our p-day with bolivian consulate and meeting with president and district meeting and appointment that night with a member, but it all worked out.

On Tuesday we spent the morning trying to figure out what we were gonna do for our zone conference training and didn't finish, so us and the sister liders went to our areas for lunch, worked the afternoon, and came back at 7 to finish. It was tiring, but I think it turned out well. The first conference was on Wednesday and it was super fun. We've got 2 more this week and 1 the next. Go team.

We did another division this week and I spent the day with Elder Capener, who is from Boston. It was awesome, but it's always weird when I walk on the street with an american because I'm just so unaccustomed to being with people that aren't Brazilian or Hispanic. 

Gustavo and Iris, the bolivian couple we're teaching made us bolivian food one night. We ate bisté and chuño.... not really sure how to describe it, but it was good! They're just the sweetest!

Yesterday there was an area Brazil conference (like a stake conference, just to everyone) and Elder Maynes and Elder Holland were some of the speakers. It was so good! I loved how everything was directed specifically to Brazil, it brought a special spirit. I love this work. I know God really loves and cares about each one of His children.

I love you all!
Elder Merrill

Presidente e Sister e a gente
Elder Hughes and I Spider-manning at the Christmas Zone Conference
Found ginger ale.... so good....
Elder Dantas ripped his pants..... it's not that bad
Today for P-day Alecsander and Nito came and visited! I played soccer in the rain in my shirt and tie with them just to relive good times from Cohab Juscelino

Monday, December 5, 2016

Milagres acontecem

Hey fam!

So this week was awesome! We were able to get lots done and I am absolutely pooped.

On Tuesday we spent the whole morning and afternoon planning our training and making the PowerPoint for the council with the Sister Leaders, which was super tiring but a great experience. I hate and love preppin for the councils because it is a ton of work but I end up learning a bunch more than those who receive the training. We talked about leadship as being a stewardship and the importance of ministering to other missionaries by elevating, inspiring and blessing them. I felt many things I need to be better at in my personal ministry. Every time the Lord gives us a calling, it's a chance to influence others for good, and we will surely be held accountable for how we handle the trust he gives us by how we bless those entrusted to our care.

Thursday was the day of service for everyone in the world (December 1st) and we had a great painting service project lined up, but on Wednesday the member called and said he'd already painted and that we didn't need to go anymore. -_- Good thing we had another project for Saturday morning which didn't fall through. Still counts, right?

Friday was the council and it was super good. It was amazing how our training went perfectly with Sister Silcox and President's, since he didn't give us a topic to talk about. We just prayed and went with what we felt was important for them to hear. I felt the spirit super strongly and was quite uplifted. But when we got home we collapsed and went to bed early. Drained.

On Saturday, our awesome bishop went to the cartório and was able to move the wedding date up for Cleide and Sérgio, so now bishop will perform the wedding on December 24, and Elder Vasconcelos is now able to be there! Woo!

This morning (yeah, p-day) we woke up early and went with Gustavo and Iris to the Bolivian consulate to get the documents they need to be married. I was going to escort them to make sure they didn't miss any important details, but right when we were entering behind the front desk the secretary dude yelled at me in spanish that it was "bolivians only!" Sorry. My bad. Chill bro. First time in my life in a Bolivian building, and got kicked out because I'm white. Anyways, they are so sweet and have such a strong desire to live the gospel, it was touching to see their gratitude for us helping start the process with them, and I was grateful everything went smoothly. Next week another document will be ready and then they'll have to go to the Federal Police to get another and then we'll be able to schedule their wedding at the cartorio and then it'll all be set... good thing our bishop is quite on top of things and knows people, so we'll see if we can resolve all of this within the month. I have faith it'll all work out.

I love you all!

Elder Merrill

Sometimes you get home and collapse on your bed and fall asleep without even taking off your bag...

Everyone who hasn't visited and watched the Christmas video needs to repent and do so right now!​
In Liberdade today for p-day! It's like a Chinatown in São Paulo
A themed Bradesco bank!