Monday, November 25, 2013

A Little Bit About Love

Hey Ya Fanz,

So the power just went out for half an hour in the middle of emailing... so that was fun... and frustrating. So my thoughts are really scattered right now so just a warning.

We went to visit Diana, a lady who is paralyzed and lives in an assisted living center. She had to go to the hospital and was on a respirator the day she was supposed to get her patriarchal blessing. We were so sad. And we were so scared she wasn't going to make it. BUT she recovered and was back at the assisted living place within the week. She's getting her blessing on Tuesday! We are so excited and honored that she has invited us to be a part of that. Anyways when we went to visit her we had to wear surgical masks, gowns, gloves, shoe covers, the whole 9 yards. It was kinda fun.

This week I learned a lot about love:

We were eating lunch at a member's house, grilled cheese sandwiches. And I found a HUGE hair in mine. And I continued to eat the entire sandwich. You know you love someone if you eat their entire hairy grilled cheese and don't even say a word.

We went to visit my great black  less-active friend Leon! He insisted that I smelt his hand. So I did it. And I almost died. Then he told me he had just been gutting pig intestines. You know you love someone when you don't throw up all over them.

We go visit a few people who live at this place called Callahan towers. It's for disabled people whether mentally or physically. It REEKS so bad in there. We have to hold our breath every time we are in the elevator. Yesterday we went to go visit some less active people there and we found ourselves wanting to stay longer because we enjoyed visiting them (this was surprising because normally we don't chat and we get right to the lesson so we can get in and out). You know you love someone is you want to stay longer at their house even though when you're sitting on their couch there are bugs crawling all around.

Last but not least. We had invited 6 investigators to come to church. They all said they'd be there. The meeting was starting and we kept glancing towards the door. Finally they started passing the sacrament and we realized they weren't coming. I wanted to just cry. I felt so discouraged and saddened. You know you love someone when you just want them to understand that obtaining eternal life is the most important thing. It disappoints you so much when they don't see that and when they don't keep commitments.

I whispered to Sister Weight and asked her what does someone read when they've really done all they could and people basically reject them. Alma 8. OH YEAH! It made me feel so much better. Alma was rejected but Heavenly Father told him to go back to the people and to try again. He was blessed for it. So this week is another week to try again! But it's thanksgiving so everyone told us they're going to be out of town... so that's cool. Hahahaha. Whatever we'll find a way!

Anyways. Everyone have a happy thanksgiving!


Sister Merrell



Monday, November 18, 2013

First Dates, Homelessness, and a Big Pile of Leaves

Hey Fanz,

I love being a missionary. There I said it. And I'll never take it back!!! This week has just been jam packed with miracles!

So anyways, first item of business. Sister Valdez was playing in a football field sized pile of leaves with her kids (okay maybe a slight exaggeration in size but at the same time not really) and she lost her keys in it! So she called us to go help her! We all got there (the zone leaders came with) and Elder Schouten said a prayer! And guess what?? WE FOUND THEM. All because we asked in faith. So great. But honestly as a missionary I never fear when I lose stuff... except when I lost my planner yesterday and almost died. NBD (no big deal--your welcome dad).

We have really been picking up the pace here in Oak Ridge. We had a training on planning so we decided to take that to heart. Weekly planning ended up being 4 hours... hahaha but we DID SO MUCH! We made individualized goals for every investigator for every day of the week and figured out how we could achieve those goals and be accountable! I've seen a change in Sister Weight and I. We are working harder than we ever have before! We have been revamped and we are actually trying to get members at every lesson! We are encouraging people to set baptism dates and helping them realize that they are ready! We are just going to keep working harder and harder! There is always room for improvement!

Our investigator, Maria, told me that I'm pushy. DANG RIGHT I'M PUSHY BECAUSE I KNOW HOW BAPTISM AND RECEIVING THE GIFT OF THE HOLY GHOST ARE THE BEST BLESSINGS AND ARE THE BEGINNING OF OUR JOURNEY TOWARDS EXALTATION. K sorry I just get excited. But I just thought that was so funny. I think a better word for pushy was unceasingly encouraging...bahahhaa.

So I read the Book of Mormon every day (duh) and I always wonder how the crap did I not understand it as well as I do now (the storyline, the doctrine, all that jazz). Want to know the secret? Pray before you read! Yeah that's actually no secret but it's something I had never done. I get so excited to study the Book of Mormon every morning! It's so kewl! Like this morning I read about how Zeniff spied on the Lamanites! IT WAS SO INTENSE! Also I have tender moments when I realize Heavenly Father wants me to learn the lessons that the prophets did during these times. He helps me see exactly how I can apply what I learn. I am obsessed with the Book of Mormon and I want everyone to read it!!

Also I wanted to share a precious moment with Sister Weight when we hit rock bottom..... We were on bikes and we were hungry for dinner and had no meal appointment and we had no time to go home to eat. So we stopped at a grocery store and bought lunchables and ate them on the ground outside. Lowest of the low. That's what being a hobo is like kind of I think. Bahahahahaha and Sister Weight kept saluting people with her pizza lunchable (I've taught her so well).  We love riding our bikes in the rain.

Elder Arnold and Elder Schouten are getting transferred. So like bye to them. BUT I GET TO STAY IN OAK RIDGE WITH SISTER WEIGHT FOR CHRISTMAS!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I'm so excited!!! We took this last and final picture of our district, I look fat in the one that has everyone so here's the one where everyone looks dumb and I look kinda cute and Elder Parkinson and Elder Russo aren't even in it hahaha.

OKAY HERE IS THE LAST AND BEST THING! So Maxine (the lady we live with) had a date! His name is Tommy and they talk on the phone every night and he came all the way from Detroit for dinner! And we got to eat with them and it was so awkward!! So I wanted to remember how I 3rd wheeled with Sister Weight on the most awkward date of my life... so we took this amazing picture! Bahahahaha so awkward. Also I asked her the next day if they kissed... and she said yes... on the cheek. Hahahaha old people lovin'. So great.

Well that's it.Thanx 4 all da fan mail this week! Keep it up!!! I love you all!!!


Sister Merrell

Monday, November 11, 2013

Coincidences??? I think NOT!!!

Hey Humanz,
So this week was interesting...

We ate pizza at the friendship bell with all the Elders in our district. The friendship bell is a bell that the Japanese gave to the people here in Oak Ridge that made the atomic bomb.. or something.. I didn't read the plaque because I was too busy stuffing pizza in my face before the Elders ate it all. And then I played some basketball to burn off all the pizza I ate (don't you even worry mom!) and let's just say I'm a baller and leave it at that.

We had zone conference... and they called on me to give a talk about the area book. And I almost died. But I'm still living so that's good...

The primary program was yesterday so that was perfection, but what else can you expect from that?

We raked a TON of leaves. And I loved it.

Some cool stuff happened too...

We were on our bikes and I had to go to the bathroom wayyyyyyyyyyyyy bad so we stopped at the grocery store and on our way out we bumped into one of our investigators who was having a hard time. Her son is in prison and his parole hearing is coming up and it looks pretty bleak. So anyways we helped her load up her groceries and talked to her a little bit. That definitely wasn't a coincidence.

Also we were contacting a referral and they told us they weren't interested. But the little girls over at their house playing with their kids said their mom would want us to come over so we went and BAM we got 3 new investigators. Definitely not a coincidence!!!

Well that's all for now. Here's a pic of me and my beautiful leaves and a tribute to America from my favorite humanz I get to share a car with..(Sister Weight, Elder Arnold, and Elder Parkinson)


Sister Merrell

Monday, November 4, 2013

Happy Halloween and stuff.

Hi y'all... (yeah I just sunk that low and said y'all... sue me)

So let me tell ya all about my super fun Halloween!!!!!.... I ate ground beef out of a pumpkin... The end. How exciting right!?

Anyways this week we had a really awesome district meeting! I had to role play to teach our investigator Maria and try and get her to commit to a baptism date because we've been struggling with that. So I picked Elder Russo from our district to help and we taught my companion Sister Weight! I was so nervous but Elder Russo was such a great teacher that the lesson flowed with ease! We taught about baptism but centered it on the most important thing... guess what that is??? ETERNAL LIFE! Did you know you can center any gospel lesson around the most important thing? It's crazy. We practiced doing that too. I taught keeping the sabbath day holy and it went pretty well I guess. The most important thing is obtaining eternal life and we can obtain that by accessing the atonement entirely through the gospel of Jesus Christ!

So....This lady asked us to come to her house to do some yard work. She shows us her backyard and it's a forest... and then she tells us to chop it down! So it's way fun actually because I can take out all my energy on chopping these weeds to bits and pieces! And the Elders make fun of Sister Weight and I while we do it so obvi it's going to be a good time! And we get to do it again on Wednesday YAHOO!!!!

Well I decided yesterday after some awesome revelation from Heavenly Father that I am going to have a "HERE & NOW" attitude. I am focused on all the awesome people here in Tennessee! I am focused on what I can do "HERE & NOW". I know it will be a struggle, but I will do my best and Christ will help me with the rest!

Sometimes all our appointments cancel and we have to sit on the side of the road and make phone calls and these sorts of pictures result....

Love all you homiezzzz


Sister Merrell