Monday, January 26, 2015

God Loves You Meow And Forever. I'm Not Kitten!

Hey hey hey!!

Check out mine and Baby McDermott's new shirts! We just couldn't resist! Also hold off on the compliments on the excellent photography... Ha.

This week started out pretty cool. We had an appointment with our investigator Jill and so we had a team up come with us. Jill ended up cancelling so we were trying to drop in on a bunch of less-actives and we weren't having much success. We finally stopped by to see a lady that we had been trying to get in with for a while. She said that it wasn't a good time so we made an appointment with her for Thursday. I told her that I was writing it in pen so she better keep the appointment! I looked up at her and then I looked down again and my pen had magically exploded all over my hands. I asked her if we could come in so I could wash up. She let us in and we were able to talk with her for a while and get to know her! It was awesome! When we went back on Thursday we were able to have a good talk about where she was in her faith. She is so strong because she has endured so much. We are excited to be working with her now.

We had zone meeting this week and we received some good news. Elder Christofferson of the quorum of the twelve apostles is coming to visit us in February!! YAYAYAYAYAY!!! Zone conference was absolutely wonderful as always. We had interviews with President Griffin, and boy I just feel so lucky to have him as my mission president!

President counseled me to pick something to work on and to study it and to experiment with it and keep a record of my success and growth. I have started working on being more gentle... Well I have been working on it in my head for a while but now it's on paper too haha. In Proverbs 15:1 it says:"A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous(regrettable) words stir up anger." When I read this I thought of the times I have said something that I regretted and that was definitely not gentle. These instances always stir up anger, but when I have a soft answer I can feel comfort in knowing that I wasn't the cause of contention. In Present Monson's talk in April 2014 general conference he quoted this poem: 

"I have wept in the night
For the shortness of sight
That to somebody’s need made me blind;
But I never have yet
Felt a tinge of regret
For being a little too kind."

This is definitely something that I am working on. Being more gentle and kind with my words so I can cease to feel the regret of words I have said that weren't kind. I'm not perfect, hahaha soooo definitely not perfect, although some days I really wish that I was, but I am trying. Heavenly Father blesses us when we try.

Love all y'all!

Sister Andy Human Girl Merrell

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Post MLK day in the 'Noog


This week has had a lot of fun things going on! It was transfers so Sister Bridgette (a Tennessee Knoxville Mission Legend) had her goodbye breakfast for those that were getting transferred. We crammed a ton of missionaries in that apartment of hers, that's for sure! She's the one on the lap of the sister next to me... obviously hahha. We also got to help a lady name Zabrina paint her house. She was referred to us by some elders in Georgia. It was fun to do some service, we had our work cut out for us that's for sure! Oh and my precious trainer/mother/bff Macall Weight went home!!! Wow that went by fast right? Just 15 months ago she was training me! Also yesterday was MLK day and so freedom was ringin' erry where in this city!

We went over to see a recent convert, Patricia, and we finally had a the talk with her about living the law of chastity. It went surprisingly well, we discussed with her that the home should be a refuge from the world and all of it's temptations. We also talked about how important it is that we look at/ watch ourselves constantly and self-evaluate of how we can be better and how we are doing in keeping the commandments.  Mosiah 4:30 sums it up pretty well: "But this much I can tell you, that if ye do not watch yourselves, and your thoughts, and your words, and your deeds, and observe the commandments of God, and continue in the faith of what ye have heard concerning the coming of our Lord, even unto the end of your lives, ye must perish. And now, O man, remember, and perish not." At the end of the lesson she knew what she needed to do.

This morning I was reading in 3 Nephi 9 when Christ is speaking during the darkness following his death: "O all ye that are spared because ye were more righteous than they, will ye not now return unto me, and repent of your sins, and be converted, that I may heal you? Yea, verily I say unto you, if ye will come unto me ye shall have eternal life. Behold, mine arm of mercy is extended towards you, and whosoever will come, him will I receive; and blessed are those who come unto me."

As I was reading this I was thinking, he spared the righteous people but He still had invited them to come to Him and be healed and converted. He didn't only spare the perfect people. I know that I make mistakes all of the time, but I always come back to Him because I stay close. I still need to be healed sometimes even though I am close. I need to continually be converted even though I am close. 

Love all y'all! Have a great week!!!

Sister Andy Face Girl Doll Merrell

Monday, January 12, 2015


Hey Hey Y'all!!

This week has been COLD! I have literally been freezing, but that's okay because I just jog in place really fast and Sister McDermott is embarrassed because obvi I look like a fool. We're the coolest though! This frozen fountain is down the street from our apartment downtown.

We contacted a lot of former investigators that seem ready this week. Jamie is the girl friend of a recent convert and she has a cute baby! We went over and talked with her and she told us about how much she has changed her life. She has started to make decisions that were right and she just wants to feel peace. Sister McDermott did such and awesome job describing peace and telling Jamie that is within her reach. It was awesome! We're going to start meeting with her weekly! We also started teaching Jill. She was so overwhelmed with emotion as she talked about the spirit the missionaries carry with them. She accepted a baptismal date, we are determined to help her be ready. We met Janice tracting, she accepted the lesson and she drove us home afterwards. It was awesome to see her offer what she had to help us.

In Chattanooga I have seen pain, I have seen poverty. I have seen sin, I have seen suffering. I have seen struggling. I have seen sorrow. This place has really opened my eyes. And while I am among these people I have the task of seeing them the way Heavenly Father sees them. It's hard because so many people suffer because of their decisions. My mind is brought to Mosiah 4:17-19:

"Perhaps thou shalt say: The man has brought upon himself his misery; therefore I will stay my hand, and will not give unto him...But I say unto you, O man, whosoever doeth this the same hath great cause to repent;....For behold, are we not all beggars? Do we not all depend upon the same Being, even God, for all the substance which we have..."

I need God, and so does everyone else. I need to know that He loves me. I need to recognize that daily because the days I don't recognize it are hard. I am here to help people feel His love. Maybe they don't always understand His love, but when they feel it, it makes a difference whether I see it or not. That's why I keep going every day.

I love all y'all!

Sister Andrea Merrell

What the Heck it's 2015?

Happy New Year Y'all!!!!

I seriously can't believe that it's already 2015. I'm definitely freaking out!!! For new years we went to the YSA activity on signal mountain at a member's house. We played pool and did white elephant and ate some delicious food! My bff Jessie in the YSA drove us there and home, she is just a wonderful human. I've been so blessed with great friends that I've met here in Tennessee.

On Monday night we went over to a member's home to have family home evening and it just so happened that their sister-in-law Valerie (non-member) was visiting. As we got to know  Sister McDermott really realated well to her. She began to open up and we learned that just a few weeks ago she had been completely atheist and she is slowing opening up to the idea of there being a God as she has sought Him and found peace while going through a really hard trial that has really affected her. We had planned to teach the restoration for the family home evening lesson, so we just talked about the first point, God is our loving Heavenly Father for the bulk of the time. She told us that just a few days ago she had said her first prayer since she was a child and she described a feeling that she had never felt before, peace. Heavenly Father put her in our path for a reason. She wasn't completely prepared to receive the entire message we had for her, but I do believe that as her trust in God grows she will be ready some day. I'm glad she's related to some Mormons so they can point her in the right direction! The next day we did and I watched this video that reminded me of the night before:

I love that we can all perfectly relate to Joseph Smith, that when we lack wisdom, we can ask of God!

Love Y'all!

Sister Andrea Kate Merrell

Thursday, January 1, 2015

My Concussed Christmas!


I've been so tired this week! Maybe because Elder Goldsberry and I bonked heads on Monday playing basketball. If ya didn't hear, his head split open and we had to take him to the hospital to get it glued back together. I had the ball and he went for the steal and I turned my body and our heads collided. And if you were wondering, I dropped the ball, he went for a shot, missed and then ran to the bathroom because there was blood dripping into his eye. We took this picture after like 5 minutes to commemorate the occasion. What a blessing!

Christmas was awesome! We walked to the Bass's house and had breakfast with them and called home! Bahahaha that was so weird. I hope you guys understand how awkwardly awesome I am after talking to me. Well after the call we went to the Huff's house where we spent the rest of the day. We had an AMAZING dinner and I read everyone the story A Christmas Dress For Ellen. It was nice of them to let me share one of our family traditions. I really really love the Huff family because they treat us as one of their own and they make us feel so much at home. They are some of the most amazing humans that I've ever met. We played games and enjoyed each other's company and topped the night off with FIREWORKS! It was a perfect Christmas.

We had a great lesson with our YSA investigator Zack this week! We found him after looking through the area booking and we saw that he investigated about a year ago. He has a very extensive theological background so we know he has a lot of questions he hasn't brought up yet. We brought Taylor, a recently returned missionary, as our team up and the lesson went perfectly! We made sure to portray the darkness of the apostasy against the light of Christ's earthly ministry. We testified of the Book of Mormon and he was willing to put the time and effort to find truth from it. It is so exciting to teach Zack because he has a high level of understanding, very different from a lot of the people here in Chattanooga. The great thing about serving in the YSA branch as well is that our investigators don't have to live in Chattanooga, they just have to live somewhere in the stake. It keeps things diverse. Booya.

This morning and yesterday I was studying Alma 60-61 and I was really enjoying what I was reading. Moroni writes a letter to Pahoran and he is ticked off because he feels like Pahoran had hung him out to dry by abandoning him and his men with no resources to survive and to defend themselves. Pahoran reads this epistle and his response was is so awesome in chapter 61:9 -" I am not angry, but do rejoice in the greatness of your heart..." Pahoran responded with understanding and love. He sought first to understand where Moroni was coming from and he was a great example of good communication. I think that this is a great lesson for me especially because it helps me remember to not be quick to being angry. I need to slow down and be on the level of the people that surround me and understand their points of views and situations.

Anyways, just a random thought there! I hope y'all have a good New Year! Ew it's so weird to think that it's going to be 2015! The time has flown on by!

Love y'all!

Sister Andrea Kate Merrell