Monday, February 23, 2015

Coming At Ya Live With The Flu

Hey everybody!

I can't really hear right now, my eyes are watering, my nose is running a 6 minute mile and I've basically coughed up my lungs, but that is quite alright because today is a great day to be alive even with the flu! The elders brought me some soft tissues so my nose doesn't feel scratchy when I blow it in toilet paper. #purebliss So, I'm just going to be straightforward and let y'all know that this email isn't going to be the greatest haha.

This week it SNOWED, and that's rare over in these parts; that being said, nobody knows how to drive in it so the city shuts down. It was pretty crazy. There was also a lot of freezing rain which isn't my cup of tea. It didn't snow down here until Wednesday, but it was snowing cats and dogs up in Knoxville. So when we went to hear Elder Christofferson really late because his travel had been delayed. While we waited we had a testimony meeting, I liked it because normally when you hear other missionaries testimonies it's when they're either arriving or going home. Anyways Elder Christofferson arrived and we had a brief meeting, it was a question and answer session. There were a lot of interesting questions asked and I loved the way that he approached them. The one that really struck me the most was when a missionary asked how can we stay the person we are becoming when we are no longer a missionary. Elder Christofferson responded with Jeremiah 31:33:

"But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the Lord, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people."

We must have the gospel written in our hearts. The gospel shouldn't be something that's associated with us, it should be who we are.

Sister McDermott and I are being transferred out of Chattanooga on Wednesday, they are closing our area. I'm grateful that I had the opportunity to serve here because I have been put in situations that have helped me grow. It has helped me recognize a lot of the blessings that I have had here in the mission and that I have at home. Of all of the missionaries in the world, Heavenly Father chose me to serve here. Chattanooga was a "furnace of affliction" and I'd like to think that as I leave here I have been a little bit refined (1 Nephi 20:10).

Love all y'all,

Sister Merrell

Sunday, February 22, 2015

My Diana

Hi everybody!

So yeah, it's me. We didn't get to email yesterday because it was President's day or something like that. We celebrated with dollar hot dogs at sonic in the pouring rain. The real celebration is happening today because we get to go to Farragut after we finish emailing to listen to Elder Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve. Heck yeah! I'm stoked. #presidentsdayafterparty

The other day my dear friend Tish from Oak Ridge, texted us and told us that she had someone for us to go see. DIANA!! When I was in Oak Ridge I used to visit Diana twice a week in the assisted living center. She always made me laugh and she is just a really special person to me. The last time I saw her when I was leaving Oak Ridge we threw her a birthday party and she just wanted to keep holding my hand because she didn't want to see me go. It was hard to walk out the door that day because I thought I would never see her again. Anyways, Diana was moved to a hospital literally down the street from our apartment! I thought that this news was too good to be true so when we walked over there I tried not to get my hopes too high. We walked in the room and I saw her I just wanted to cry because I was so happy. Diana had to move over here because she had a tracheotomy, and the assisted living facility doesn't offer that sort of care. She still has the same spunk and I am super excited that Sister McDermott got to meet her! Heavenly Father loves me so much! It was really a pick me up and so much more. I feel like this is why I am still here in Chattanooga.

This week we also had Zone Conference. It was awesome to sharpen our teaching skills and to learn. I loved every second of it.

I was reading in Ether 2 this last week. I love this chapter so much. It is a great model of how we should approach prayer and how answers come.

 "22 And he cried again unto the Lord saying: O Lord, behold I have done even as thou hast commanded me; and I have prepared the vessels for my people, and behold there is no light in them. Behold, O Lord, wilt thou suffer that we shall cross this great water in darkness?"

The Brother of Jared approached the Lord in prayer. He asked Him for help, and the Lord responded, "What can I do to help you?" This is how I feel about the answers to my prayers sometimes. In my prayers I am calling out for help in desperation: Help! Where's the life boat? What's the escape route? Help me out of this darkness! And the Lord responds to me, asking, "How do you need Me to help you?" 

 "23 And the Lord said unto the brother of Jared: What will ye that I should do that ye may have light in your vessels? For behold, ye cannot have windows, for they will be dashed in pieces; neither shall ye take fire with you, for ye shall not go by the light of fire."

Sometimes my ideas are dumb, sometimes they're not the right one like maybe I think of a "window" but that's not right because it will be "dashed in pieces" or maybe I think of a "fire" but that's not going to work. Sometimes the Lord tells me what I DON'T NEED but he won't tell me what I NEED. 

"25...Therefore what will ye that I should prepare for you that ye may have light when ye are swallowed up in the depths of the sea?"

He knows that I learn as I struggle for my answer. I have been prepared to face my trials as I have gained the testimony that I have today. Jesus Christ is my light when I am surrounded by darkness. My faith in Him can lead me through my trials. I'm glad the Lord trusts me enough to struggle.

Love y'all! 

Sister Andrea Merrell

Monday, February 9, 2015

Another Week in Da Hood


This week... hasn't been my favorite week on my mission. But you have to have not-so-great weeks to appreciate the super great ones right!!?!? Okay cool.

We were going down to Eastlake to go visit Hermelinda, and we got off the bus at the wrong stop because my brain was telling me that it was the right one. When we got off the bus, Jasmine was in her car about to turn and she yells at us, "HEY!!". Okay so it wasn't my brain telling me to get off of the bus, it was the spirit. It was cool to see her. When we got to Hermelinda's house she wasn't there and some of her kids were. They told us that their brother had been in a really bad accident while playing with fire and gasoline he had been burned very badly. Everyone all over the neighborhood was talking about it and people were telling us that they had heard about it on the news. It's really sad, so keep them in your prayers okay!

Okay so I was reading in Jonah this week and I really liked Jonah 4:4 - "Then said the Lord, Doest thou well to be angry?" I was thinking about how this is a question that I should ask myself often. Does it do good to ever be angry? No! It's a waste of time and energy. But hey, maybe you're burning calories or something right? Yeah, not worth it! Being angry is LAME. In this circumstance, Jonah was mad because the Lord was being merciful to wicked people. He wasn't trying to see the people of Ninevah as children of his Father in Heaven. Elder F. Enzio Busche said, "When you cannot love someone, look into that person's eyes long enough to find the hidden rudiments of the child of God in him." So what I'm trying to say here is, #1 it's not worth it to be angry and #2 love humans even when they are hard to love. Being happy is just so much more enjoyable.

Love y'all!

Sister Merrell

Monday, February 2, 2015

Things Are Happening

Hey hey!!!

It's story time!

We were wandering around the streets in Eastlake and Sister McDermott all of the sudden stops. She asks me if I heard that noise. I turn around and watch her walk towards the chain link fence and then I follow. We got closer and I finally knew what she was talking about, I could hear some serious soul music! This girl really had some pipes. We walk around to the gate but it was locked, so then we went back to the window and I called out to her,  the singing stops and we start talking with her. She comes outside and we give her a Book of Mormon through the fence. Her name is Jasmine and when we went back a few days later we went in and taught her the restoration with a member from the YSA branch, Keyaundra. Jasmine was very receptive! It turns out that her family had met Mormons before, her dad was familiar with the boys in the white shirts on bikes and remembered having them over a few times a while back. We're excited to see what's in store.

A member told us about a boy, Elvis, and his family who had recently moved into the branch from Guatemala. Elvis is the only one in his family who is a member. We went over and met his mom Hermelinda, she speaks very little English and Sister McDermott and I speak very little Spanish so it makes for a great time. We brought a bilingual member though so it all worked out! Hermelinda told us how much she loves the church and how the men are great role models for Elvis. She reads The Book of Mormon and believes it to be true! We're having a lesson with her and her other two kids this week and we have high hopes that they'll get baptized!!!

Also here's a picture of me and Sister Bridgette. She dyed her hair red this week. Imma fan of it.

Well I'm about out of time! Love y'all!!!

Sister Merrell