See to learn more about LDS missions.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Nossa semana

Querida Fam-

Mosquitos mosquitos mosquitos.... The problem isn't during the day, I have to put on repellant when I sleep... it's annoying. Also, rain, sun, rain, sun, repeat.

As many of you probably know, we had a transmission for all of the missionaries worldwide on Wednesday. The apostles and other leaders taught about the importance and power of our calling to teach repentance and baptize converts. I learned a TON, and wrote a bunch of notes. They also made a change, freeing up the daily schedule to be adapted better to the local culture and needs of each mission. Next week we'll find out how these changes will affect the mission here. Also, they reduced the number of key-indicators to just four, which will change the way we work a little bit. I liked it, I'm excited to see the effects in the coming months and years.

One wonderful experience we had this week was with a less-active member named Maurício. A few weeks ago a member who lives close told us that Mauricio lived closeby, and that nobody had been to visit him in years. Elder Meireles visited him last week on a division and taught the restoration, but I only got to meet him on Friday. He served a mission from 1977-1979 here in São Paulo, and said he passed in Itaquaquecetuba and Penha (but in the time what now is a stake was a mere branch or ward). Very kind, very courteous. Anyways, as we taught him the Plan of Salvation, the Spirit entered in a calm and powerful way that testified of the importance and truth and perfection of God's great plan for all of us. He wept as he bore us his testimony, and committed to reestablish the habit of daily study and prayer, and said he would come to church for the first time in a very, very long time. Yesterday when he arrived, many members greeted him with kisses and hugs and smiles, and I sat by him during Sacrament meeting. I felt a warm gratitude in my heart for my calling, that amazing comission to call God's children to join His flock, and to call back those who have wandered. The gospel of Jesus Christ is for everyone. So come. 

I love you all!

Elder Merrill

Monday, January 23, 2017

Rain and chuva

Hey pessoal!

This week it rained every single day. Everything from falling mist to a waterfall. But at least it wasn't 800 degrees, so I'll take it.

We did 2 more divisions this week. Same story as always: accomplished lots, laughed lots, and learned lots. On Wednesday I was with Elder Cabrera who is from Peru and it was hilarious to see him talk in choppy spanish too as we taught our bolivian families hahaha... he's forgotten how to speak his own language! Hardcore portañol from both of us...

While we were teaching the bolivians, Elder Meireles and Elder Shamo had a miracle with Cleide and Sergio, who I started teaching with Elder Millaqueo in Setember. They finally made the decision to be baptized! It has been amazing to see the changes they've made in their lives, giving up coffee and drinking, gaining a testimony of the Book of Mormon. I'm so happy for them!!!

Also yesterday at church, I had the opportunity to confer the Aaronic Priesthood to Gustavo. What a cool experience. I love the families we're teaching so much!

Well, my times up! More to come next week! I love you all and have a wonderful week!

Elder Merrill

This week it just rained and rained and when it didn't, the clouds said it would rain some more.... (division with Elder Valadares)
Awesome burger... little spendy, but worth it.
Batismo de Cleide, Sergio, e Paulo! It was awesome
After more than a year and a half, finally got to satisfy my thirst for tennis... the raquets and balls we used from a member whose condominium has a covered court. Awesome p-day activity this morning
Agua de coco!​
We burned some old files with the secretaries...

Monday, January 16, 2017

La vida (notice the spanish?;)


This week was pretty nice, compared to the fast paced correria that constitutes our lives...

Yesterday there was an intense thunderstorm that was super cool! The rain in the strong wind just pounded and the thunderclaps left my ears ringing. When it returned in the middle of the night, I woke up because of the rain and thunder. Cool.

We did 2 divisions this week, so we were able to teach quite a bit and find some really cool new people to teach! One of the days I spent with Elder Rodrigues, meu pai (my trainer) and it's always fun to be with him again. In our teaching group, we have 5 bolivian families (one lives next door to Gustavo and Iris, one is his cousin.... they are giving us some awesome references), so this last week we gave out some copies of the Libro de Mormón and attempted teaching in Spanish... I think I managed semi-well, it's funny to speak spanish now... but the good part is that we understand everything they say to us in spanish, and they usually understand our portuguese haha. The bolivians are a very friendly and open people, they always offer us food and listen to us. Who woulda thought that in Brazil I'd be teaching bolivians?

Anyways, gotta run, but I love you all and have a marvellous week!

Elder Merrill

Sister Rocha and I always twin on accident
One day we saw a group of 40 parrots just chillin on the powerlines... I couldn't get them all in the pic
LOOK WHAT ONE IRMÃ SERVED WITH LUNCH ONE DAY FOR ME. IT WAS SO AMAZING. She went to the States and brought it back with her

A random dog followed us home one day.... He was friendly

Monday, January 9, 2017

1 ano e 6 meses, how did this happen?


Yesterday marked my 1 year and 6 month mark... How? I still feel like a novinho! I don't feel experienced at all!

Anyways, we had a good week. Division on Thursday helped us get more done. On Friday we had the conselho de liderança, so Thursday night 3 more Elders came from the farthest zone to spend the night close to the office.... 7 elders in one little house was an interesting experience, but it was fun haha. I was just super tired getting up extra early and giving our training the next day, then helping some less actives move that night.... ah, the life.

Gustavo and Iris were married on Saturday! Bishop did the ceremony in Spanish for them and their family to understand better. On Sunday morning before church they were baptized, then confirmed in the sacrament meeting right after! It was an amazing experience, I am so happy for them!

Well, gotta run, have a wonderful week y'all!

Elder Merrill

Thank you Spurgeons again for the homemade cookies! they didn't last 24 hours from the time I opened the box haha 
Sister Rocha and Sister Dias rockin the pants, now that Sisters can use them... it's strange, I'll take awhile befoe I get used to it.. 
More yummy Twizzlers.... thanks Sister Doyle's mom!
Pollo a la brosta (bolivian plate)

Monday, January 2, 2017

Feliz 2017!!!!

Wow, I just corrected myself recently from writing unintentionally 2015 as the date, now it's already 2017??? I'm pretty sure I'll still write 2015 for a few months....

The transfer was Tuesday and 20 missionaries went home, including 3 that were my companions and many others that were good friends.. sad when people leave:( We got a bunch of new missionaries too, so after giving the training for them and teaching a couple lessons on the way home, I was exhausted at the end of the day.

This whole entire week I kinda felt so wiped out from the last transfer. It's tiring to teach the area again to a new companion, principally when he won't even stay to have another comp in Mooca. But he's super excited to work his last transfer like no other. He has lots of ideas and will, so that'll help us do pleny ainda these next 5 weeks!

We spent New Year's Eve at our bishop's house, who is also our next-door neighbor! It was fun, I ate lots, and we played Monopoly. At midnight the street nearly exploded from all of the fireworks.... From our house you can get a pretty good 360 of São Paulo and it was fire in all directions. Pretty cool.

At church last sunday and yesterday there were about 30-40 people due to the holidays... I almost gave a talk for the 3rd week in a row! Fortunately Bishop found someone else haha

This last year was amazing. One complete year that I had the blessing to be a full-time representative of Jesus Christ among God's children here in Brazil. I truly learned things I never would've imagined, met people that have changed my life forever, and gotten to know more about my Savior than I would've ever thought possible. It's truly amazing.

This week is gonna be a good one. Gustavo and Iris's wedding, baptism, and who knows what other miracles God will send our way too?:)

Love you all, and have a wonderful start of a wonderful 2017!

Elder Merrill

Elder Vasconcelos is probably on the beach in Recife at this very moment... I'll miss him
One day it rained so hard that it almost took the motorbike with it!
Planner cred: Sister Doyle
Awesome glasses I found at Gustavo and Iris' house