Sunday, May 17, 2015


 I guess I'm supposed to post in my little corner of the internet world that I made it home safely so y'all aren't too worried. I am back in Orem, Utah. I'm trying to stay busy. Working at BYU and trying to remember how it is to live life without the guidance of a little white book. It's weird. And I am so definitely weird.

I miss being a missionary. I'm glad that I do though, because that means my time in Tennessee meant a lot to me. Being a missionary helped me find myself in the sight of the Lord. And now the challenge is to live a normal life and remember that every day. I'm excited for what lies ahead.

I'm still having missionary experiences, even while being home. Catherine came to visit this last week and we were able to visit temple square and the Payson temple open house! Her non-member friend Sam joined us as well. I felt the spirit as I did on my mission as a gentle reminder of the truthfulness of my beliefs.

I know that Jesus is my Savior and that means He's always there for me, even as I am no longer a full-time missionary. I know I can feel him more prevalent in my life as I stay committed to my gospel study and experiences. God's plan needs to always be on my mind. I want to do what he wants me to do. I'm trying my best to prioritize His will for me, although it is difficult. I know I have to be committed to my communication with Him. I covenanted to always remember so I can keep his spirit. That's a covenant that I need to reflect upon often.

I am grateful for those who have continued to view my experiences from my mission on this blog from the beginning to the end. It was evident at the start that I had a lot of growing to do. I'm still growing too. I love the Lord with all of my heart, and I hope y'all know that.



Monday, April 6, 2015

Easter Livin'


Okay so this week has been the weirdest but most fun week EVER!! So I'm not sure if the secret got out.. but, I've been working in the mission office and living at the mission home, helping out because the help up and quit! It's been such a fun week! We were delivering furniture to missionary apartments so I got to go see Maxine in Oak Ridge! And I also got to go back to Chattanooga! It's been a wonderful week. But seriously. I was totally dreading having to live in the mission home because I didn't want to leave my area and my people that Sister Johnson and I have been teaching; but, it has just been such a dream spending time with the Griffins! Izzy, Olivia and Hannah are like the little sisters I never had. President and Sister Griffin have treated me as on of their own. I love them.

This morning I was studying and thinking about what I will say when I bear my testimony at transfers. There's so many experiences that I've had and I honestly just don't even know how to sum it up briefly. Only God truly knows intimately the things I've experienced. But there is a scripture that can convey the feelings that I feel as I look back and think of my time doing the Lord's work.

Alma 36:21-
Yea, I say unto you, my son, that there could be nothing so exquisite and so bitter as were my pains. Yea, and again I say unto you, my son, that on the other hand, there can be nothing so exquisite and sweet as was my joy.

As Alma the Younger describes his repentance-- or change he's experienced I think of the change I've seen inside myself. The spirit at times has told me things that were hard to hear but when I obeyed and changed there was nothing exquisite and sweet as my joy. I've seen this joy as I've invited others to come unto Christ and change.

My time as a missionary has set the stage for the rest of my life. I know that Jesus Christ is my Savior and my Redeemer. He knows me so well. He knows how to teach me to my understanding. I know The Book of Mormon is the word of God, and that means so much more than it being a book that was written by God through His prophets. It means it's a book that can change hearts; it changed my heart!!

I love you all so dearly. I am sad to be leaving Tennessee, I wish this time in my life could go on for forever, but I know there are great things in store in my future life-- especially spending time with you all.

Sister Merrell

The Spirit is Just so GREAT!


So much has been going on here in Knox 1st... So many miracles!!

We found a part member family who's records weren't in our ward a few weeks ago. We had been trying so had to have a spiritual lesson with them, but they seemed to always find a distraction. This week we went over with the Restoration DVD and the determination to feel the spirit in their home. Felicia called the boys in and they were all glued to the tv. At the first vision part the spirit was so strong and after the movie was over, Austin (12 years old) told us that he loved the movie. They said they wanted to be baptized! It's going to be a long road for them because their are a lot of concerns but it was so amazing to help them recognize the spirit and to come to know that it's possible to feel in their home.

We had an Easter egg hunt at the church for a primary activity. We had visited a less-active member and there was a ton of people that lived with her. We invited them and their kids and they came! As they were leaving I had the opportunity to give Floyd, the family friend, a Plan of Salvation pamphlet. I was testifying of revelation that prophets receive for us to day and I felt the spirit strongly. It was cool to have the opportunity to share truth with him in the church, it was a sure place to feel the spirit.

My favorite miracle this week has to do with Christina. We had a team up for a different lesson and the appointment fell through. We asked our team up if she would feel comfortable going to the projects and she said yes! We took her to drop off a pamphlet for Christina to study before our next lesson with her. We were able to invite her to church and the member said she was willing to drive her! Christina came to church!!! I was so happy! And she had a wonderful experience!! She said that she felt so comfortable and wished she had known about the church sooner in life!

Oh last thing we did service at UT stadium and swept the bleachers! It was pretty fun and we got to meet some cool people! 

Sorry I have to rush this! My computer is about to kick me off!

Love y'all!!!

Sister Merrell

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Called To Serve

Hello hello!!

This weekend was especially amazing.

I was able to attend stake conference for the Cumberland stake because Catherine was speaking. I just wanted to share a bit about the things she said. She talked about how her parents raised her to know that she had a Savior and as life continued on, at a summer camp that she attended each year, she came to know Christ not only as her Savior but as her friend and her companion. She went on to describe how her friendships with a couple of her close friends, that happened to be Mormon, prompted more to learn more about the restored gospel. She began to search for truth and was reading the Book of Mormon. She felt peace and comfort as she read but she struggled to know if it was true. She met with sister missionaries to solidify her search, and as she brought up her concern the sisters read to her this scripture with her name inserted:

"He doeth not anything save it be for the benefit of Catherine; for he loveth Catherine, even that he layeth down his own life that he may draw Catherine unto him. Wherefore, he commandeth none that they shall not partake of his salvation."

After reading this scripture, she knew the Book of Mormon was true.

Hearing Catherine's talk took me back to when I had a powerful experience in the beginning of my spiritual enlightenment. Throwing it back to the year 2009, I was a junior in high school. I had just been dumped by my long time boyfriend, and I was devastated. As a 15 year old girl my self-worth was majorly dependant upon what this boy thought of me. I was overcome with sadness and I had no idea what I could do to bring joy back into my life (dramatic right? hahaha). There was a seminary teacher at school Brother S'ua, and I felt like I should talk to him-- I didn't even know the guy! But I went to him and he didn't even hesitate to invite me into his office. We sat down and we began to flip through the pages of the Book of Mormon-- we read a few scriptures and one of them particularly stuck out to me because he inserted my name into it. He gave me a list of the scriptures that we had read over. That evening, I studied the scriptures on my own. I reread the following:

"He doeth not anything save it be for the benefit of Andrea; for he loveth Andrea, even that he layeth down his own life that he may draw Andrea unto him. Wherefore he commandeth non that they shall not partake of his salvation."

I knelt in prayer beside my bed and I prayed out loud personally for the first time in my life. As I prayed I poured out my feelings of pain and sadness to God. I felt the Saviors arms wrapped around me. I felt the Spirit tell me that I am a daughter of God of infinite worth. Through this scripture I came to know that Jesus Christ is not only the Savior of the world, but He is the Savior of MY world-- even my silly dramatic teenager first world-problem world. He is there to comfort me, strengthen me, encourage me and to help me over come sin. This is how I came to know the Book of Mormon is true.

The Book of Mormon is the word of God-- and that means that we can come to know God, His love for us, and how we can return that love to Him from within this book's pages. It's true, I know it. And this knowledge has led me to and through so many miraculous experiences, especially during my time as a missionary.

Catherine received her mission call this week to the Utah Salt Lake City South Mission-- Spanish speaking. 2 Nephi 26:24 is the scripture I chose to put on my mission plaque. I have a hunch that she'll choose it too.

Love y'all,

Sister Merrell


How y'all doin??

Okay so this week was pretty awesome. I got to hold this parrot named mango, his owner wasn't interested in learning more about the restored gospel but he let me hold his bird despite my slight terror. I'm overcoming fears all over the place, I'm tellin ya! But I still won't hold one of our investigator's giant scorpion, that's just too much haha. Anyways the parrot wasn't really what made this week awesome.

Brian got baptized! It was awesome, the ward all contributed and it was a great experience! Brian was late to sacrament meeting for his confirmation. We couldn't get a hold of him either, so we were terrified! But then after the sacrament he and Lakenzie walked in and we got down to business and he received the gift of the holy ghost. He and Lakenzie keep us on our toes, that's for sure. Love them!

This week we met with one of our investigators, Christina. She lives in the projects--yep I thought I had left projects forever when I left Chattanooga, but lucky for me I still get the adventure. Anyways the first time we met we taught her the restoration and her mom was there was pretty argumentative and get this, Christina was standing up for the things we were teaching her! Cool huh? So this week we went over and read the Book of Mormon with her this last time and she really understood the purpose of gaining a testimony of it. At the end of the lesson she prayed to know it was true. It was awesome to see her humility. She is a sweet heart.

I've been thinking a lot about Doctrine and Covenants 123:17 this week:

"Therefore, dearly beloved brethren, let us cheerfully do all things that lie in our power; and then may we stand still, with the utmost assurance, to see the salvation of God, and for his arm to be revealed."

Okay so a lot of you know this about me, I'm a planner. I like to plan things in advance-- like for instance at home I'd plan my birthday celebrations in July or August just to guarantee perfect preparation for September 14th haha. But here in the mission you really see the things right in front of you that aren't in your control, and it requires a ton a patience! Something I'm probably not known for.. I can't control people's reactions to the things we are teaching. I can't control if Brian shows up to sacrament meeting on time or if Sister Johnson puts liquid dish washing soap in the dishwasher and suds get all over the floor (haha love her). In these instances I definitely have the option to not be patient, but in order to stand still, to see the arm of God, I must CHEERFULLY do all things that lie in MY power. I have to learn to be patient with the actions of other people-- and to do it cheerfully! That word makes a huge difference!

Love y'all! Have a splendid week!

Sister Merrell

Monday, March 9, 2015

It's a Hard Knox Life... But Not Really

Hola Familia!

Brian is all set for his baptism this weekend! We're so excited! His wife, Lakenzie got baptized a couple of weeks ago and she was sick this weekend so she didn't come to church. But Brian came on his own so that was really cool!

Last week at church, David an elderly retired dentist showed up for church. He ended up bearing his testimony and he talked about how impressed he was with the church. It was his first time attending. Well after sacrament meeting basically everyone pounced on him. We got his info and we were sad because we thought he lived in the elders area... but luckily we thought wrong! We taught him the restoration this week and he accepted it! The spirit was really strong and we could just tell he had sincere desire. He called us this morning and cancelled our appointment with him for tomorrow. He said that he wasn't putting enough effort in right now to continue researching. I WAS DEVASTATED... for about two seconds and then I decided that we'll call him next week and invite him to church. Some people call me persistent. This guy has the potential to be golden, we're not letting him fall through the cracks!

I have some awesome news. Remember my recent convert Catherine? She put in her mission papers this week. I was over joyed. Also she's coming to the stake center today to spend p-day with us! And on top of that she's speaking at Cumberland stake conference in a couple of weeks and president said I could go! There's a lot to look forward to right now!

I have been thinking a lot about a part of Moroni 8:16 this week: "and I fear not what man can do; for perfect love casteth out all fear." I wrote it on the top of my mirror in my bathroom because it's something I want to ponder each day. Do I care what other people think more than I care what God thinks? When I love God and I understand His perfect love for me, I have no need to fear of others opinions. If people don't appreciate the message that we have to share, it's okay because Heavenly Father is proud of what I'm doing right now. What kind of fear do you need God's perfect love to cast out?

Love all of you!

Sister Merrell

(Sorry, no picture this week because I got a black eye when I got in a bar fight... jk that's a lie hahaa)

Monday, March 2, 2015

Holla From Knox Town!

Hey y'all!

I am so excited to be here in Knoxville, Tennessee serving in the Knoxville 1st ward with Sister Johnson for my last transfer! She is from Seattle, Washington. She is 25 years old and she has been on her mission 4.5 months. I'm absolutely loving it here! Our apartment is a mansion, we have a car, and we have so many willing and able members to help the work progress!

So things really are rolling here, on Saturday night we were able to set a baptismal date with our investigator Brian for March 14th. Brian's wife Lakenzie got baptized last weekend. They both had Mormon friends growing up, which led them to look up the church online, which led them to come to church, which led them to both decide to be baptized! This is evidence of the power of a righteous example, that's for sure!

I've been really thinking about Ether 12:27 lately:

 "And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give‍ unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace‍ is sufficient for allmen that humble‍ themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak‍ things become strong untothem."

Oh my goodness, I have so many weaknesses and as I have come unto Christ I've had to bring them with me; and He made sure to show them to me! It hurts to have weakness! I don't want to be weak! I don't want anyone to see my flaws, especially the Savior. But He is the first one to see them, and when I go to Him he shows me how to rely on Him. I can't put on a face for Him, because he knows who I really am; so I need to be someone who is humble, I have to let him teach me. He shows me how I can lean on Him in my weakness for strength. That's hard for someone with a lot of pride I'm telling ya first handed! But yes, I make mistakes that only the Savior can console me about and only He can help me change. I'm grateful that Christ still loves me even though I'm weak. I grateful that he loves me enough to help me be strong.

Love y'all,

Sister Andrea Merrell

Oh, P.S. I held a snake last night and I didn't even vomit!