Monday, February 24, 2014

Frogs, Classy Dining, and Lots of Miracles!

Hi. It's me.

Have I mentioned that we are amidst the transfer of miracles? Yeah it's a pretty brilliant theme, I definitely resisted it at first because I felt like they were trying to tell me the blah blah blah missionary barf exact obedience brings miracles blah blah blah. I came up with my own vision for the transfer of miracles and that is to focus on my acts of faith to bring about miracles. And hey my acts of faith can be obedience; obedience to the gospel and being an example are the most important things! Now I feel much better. Everyone can relax, I'll never be a robot.

We have been working a lot with an older less-active couple and helping them overcome the struggles they've had with being offended. When Sister Weight came with me on exchange a while ago she gave me the talk "The Virtue of Kindness" By: Joseph B. Wirthlin. Without being too blunt we've been trying to convey what Elder Wirthlin can say way better than I can:

"The Church is not a place where perfect people gather to say perfect things, or have perfect thoughts, or have perfect feelings. The Church is a place where imperfect people gather to provide encouragement, support, and service to each other as we press on in our journey to return to our Heavenly Father."

They've been receiving it, and we've seen the progress in their hearts. We don't have to be perfect! We all make so many mistakes and we all have a ward family and more importantly a loving Heavenly Father and Savior Jesus Christ to encourage us as we change ourselves for the better!

Last week I mentioned the less-active family we've been teaching and how we are trying to help their sons be baptized. Last night we had an amazing lesson about prayer and the father bore testimony of his strong faith in priesthood blessings. It brought tears to his eyes and the spirit was so strong. The kids are slowing beginning to be able to respect their father as he is recognizing where is priorities should be. A spirit of love is slowing being able to surface in their home. It is absolutely amazing to see.

Last night Sister Gotchy made me go outside at 10 to help her catch a frog (they croak outside our window all day erry day, all night erry night). We didn't catch a frog and I got mud all over my rain boots. It was awesome.

My favorite Senior missionary Elder Roner is going home this week! SO SAD!!! But he took us out to lunch at riverside grill, and dang that place is classy. We took a pic, and since he's a senior missionary he can do what he wants-- he can put his arms around us in pictures and give us side hugs. He's my favorite creepy old man ever.

Well that's it for this week! Thanks for tuning in! Y'all are pretty great! Keep on keeping on!


Hermana Merrell

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Delayed Due to Prez Day

Hi y'all. I've been forcefully making myself say y'all in every day language as of lately. Sometimes right afterward I say "EW" but I think eventually I will be fluent in southern since I have been immersed for quite some time now.

ANYWAYS, this last week was good. We shared a Valentine's day message about God's love with most of the people we saw. We had a pretty powerful lesson with less-active Dixie and she seemed pretty devoted to coming to church on Sunday. Sister Gotchy was just super pumped for it. But then she didn't show up. Super sad.

I don't know how much I've talked about Travis, Adrian and Dylan. They are a part member family that we are teaching. Travis is the dad and Adrian and Dylan are the sons. Dylan and I bond over pokemon. When I told him I won't stay in Oak Ridge forever he got really sad because he wants me to hahahaha. I love that kid. We had a really great lesson about feeling the Holy Ghost with them. The Holy Ghost helps us feel happiness and joy but when we have contention we can't feel it. So hopefully Travis won't yell at the boys to shut up during the lessons anymore.

Catherine is basically my 3rd companion now, it's like we're in a trio. She comes out with us a lot and hangs out with us on P-day! Yesterday, Bishop Tobler took us to El Canterita's my favorite Mexican Restaurant in Oak Ridge! We brought Catherine, do you like her outfit?

Anyways, thanks for the Valentine's Day love! I love y'all (ew) and I am grateful for your funny emails to me. VIVA LA SNAPBACKS!!!!!


Sister Andrea Kate Merrell (your one and only)

Monday, February 10, 2014

No Snapbacks Allowed

Okay hello everyone. I just wanted to start out by letting everyone know that MISSIONARIES ARE NOT ALLOWED TO WEAR SNAPBACKS.... and that I learned that the hard way. My cool zone leader gives me a sweet purple and gray snapback, so naturally I wear it on P-day to the library... and naturally THE MAN WHO GAVE IT TO ME TELLS ME TO TAKE IT OFF AND THAT I CAN'T WEAR IT IN PUBLIC. It's okay because I'm still cool and I'm wearing my purple unicorn sweater. I'm fine. Everyone calm down (also for you old people snapbacks are like baseball hats.... you're welcome).

ANYWAYS, now for the good stuff. CATHERINE GOT BAPTIZED AND IT WAS PERFECT. We had a huuuuuuuuuuuuge turnout! President and Sister Irion even came (after my constant nagging, it's fine). The program was beautiful! When she game out of the water she said something like "Hey guyz, I'm Mormon!" Okay that's funny. She invited tons of her non Mormon friends and they came! The whole ward supported her too! We sang Beautiful Savior as a trio and it was pretty good. I sang the alto part. We had to do it again in Sacrament meeting, and yes, I'm still alive. Righteous.

The sweet part about it was that her family came. Her mom hadn't been supportive and told her she wouldn't be there, but then 5 minutes before the baptism she showed up! Her dad and brother Will were also there. It was great that her family came together to see her follow the example of Christ. And so they could see for themselves that Mormons aren't psycho.

I would just like to give a personal shout out to my #1 member missionaries of the week AMY AND GREG GOLDING (my sister and brother-in-law)! Helping out with a church tour for their neighbor Monica! And fellowshipping here so she feelz that Mormon LOVE! Now that's a Valentine's gift. What are y'all going to give Jesus for Valentine's day?

So it's time to wrap this one up. I love you humanz.


Sister Merrell

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Blizzards, Apostles, and 5 MORE DAYS!!!

Hi y'all!

So this week was certainly an adventure, WE GOT A WHOLE INCH OF SNOW!!! So obviously that means all the schools have to be shut down right? Yeah Tennessee is definitely wimpy about snow. They don't have snow plows really though so all the roads were crazy. We live at the top of a hill, so when we were going home for dinner we got stuck. So naturally I floor it and drive zig zags till we get up the hill. When we got home we were informed that we were not allowed to drive the car so we had to stay home. The next morning the roads were still bad so we decided to walk to our appointments. Don't worry I only fell like....once.

Okay other cool stuff, L. TOM PERRY CAME AND SPOKE TO OUR STAKE! It was sweet! It was all about member missionary work! He really emphasized the impact of our personal example, which I wholeheartedly agree with! He made me laugh soooooooo much! I loved it because missionary work is fun, and people gotta realize that! But hey that's coming from someone who thinks it's funny when people slam the door in their face (me). Elder Perry shared an awesome scripture that I think about all the time now when that happens:

Alma 17:11- And the Lord said unto them also: Go forth among the Lamanites, thy brethren, and establish my word; yet ye shall be patient in long-suffering and afflictions, that ye may show forth good examples unto them in me, and I will make an instrument of thee in my hands unto the salvation of many souls.

Laughing when someone slams the door is the epitome of patience. And sometimes slamming the door is not so literal... People sometimes reject fellowship, aren't interested, treat you like garbage, etc. but hey everyone needs to be loved. Just keep on, keeping on!

Okay, last but certainly not least, Catherine (my favorite person in ALL of Tennessee)'s baptism is THIS SATURDAY! That's like 5 DAYS AWAY!!!! Okay I am so pumped. My first baptism, but really she did it all herself. She is the GOLDEN investigator that missionaries dream about. And also, she really is a best friend of mine. It's crazy. It's like we've known each other forever! We (Catherine, my comp, and I) are singing at her baptism, and then in sacrament meeting on Sunday when she gets confirmed. Yeah we are going way over the top for her baptism, but she deserves it! She is going to be a strong member for the rest of her life!

Well that's all I got! Love your hearts! (That's my new southern slang)

Sister Andrea Kate Merrell

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Wazzzzzzzzzzzzup dawgy dawgz??

Jan 27 at 9:51 AM

Okay so obviously I think I'm really funny, because of this title, but in reality I'm going to give the credit to the preach my gospel dvd that I'm quoting... so yeah I'm not that funny. But wait. I'm hilarious.

Catherine's boyfriend is on a mission in Ecuador. She wanted to take the lessons for herself and not him so she waited till he left on his mission before we could teach her. We've known her for a while though. So the first lesson last Tuesday, she tells us she wants to be baptized! Okay, awesome. I didn't think it could get any better until on Saturday we sit down for our lesson:

"Guys I have to tell you something..."
"What is it?"
"I'm going on a mission... Heavenly Father wants me to.."


-----------------------I literally could not stop---------Too much awesomeness.-----------------


Andrea and Diana
Diana lives in an assisted living center and is paralyzed. She loves cheese and scary movies.
It was a good that day started off teaching Catherine, because then it got really... interesting. We go visit this family with unbaptized kids over the age of 9. We knock on the door and the husband lets us in right away and gets his wife. Then they tell us they want to feed us so we sit down for dinner. They tell us their classic story, he went on a mission, came back, and they met at BYU. He taught at the MTC and they got married in the temple. Great right? Well then they told us they us "they just aren't believers anymore..." Uh what? The husband didn't believe in God anymore... and the wife didn't want to talk about what was going on with her... But they told us how happy they are...
When I looked into the wife's eyes she looked exhausted. When the husband was telling us how he doesn't believe in God and happy he is--his face was literally twitching. Yeah homiez, you're really happy I can see it... NOT. They are making themselves miserable.

This reminded me of a quote that I wrote in the margin of my scriptures once:

"All that we call human history—money, poverty, ambition, war,....empires,—is the long terrible story of man trying to find something other than God which will make him happy." -C.S. Lewis

Anyways that's really all I got for now. Stay classy Seattle.