Monday, September 28, 2015

Merritt Farm

Hello my favorites <3

It's fall!! I absolutely love fall and it's beginning to feel more and more like it here. The weather this week has been mostly rain and pretty cool compared to the summer haha. We have had fun though. This Saturday our Ward was doing a BYU alumni fun run for children's cancer and they asked us to help pass out waters about halfway through the race. Of course we said yes and they dropped us off on a pretty busy corner with a table, some water, and cups and then took off. It was raining pretty hard, but it was okay because we had some raincoats. When the race ended a bunch of men from the Ward came and picked up the cones and asked if we wanted a ride back. We told them yes, but we would need a woman to come pick us up so they said they would pass the word along. ... We waited 45 minutes on a corner in the rain with a table and some water. We looked like we were trying to sell some lemonade on this street corner. It was pretty funny. I'm just glad they remembered us eventually. Lol. 

This week was fall break, so not very many people were home. We had only two set dinners for the week and one of them we had no idea who they were at all. However, we felt prompted to ask the Boggs (the members we didn't know too well) if Jody (our investigator who needs friends) could join us for dinner. Of course they said yes and Jody was excited. We met them at a nearby restaurant and Jody and the Boggs instantly clicked and became fast friends. Turns out the Boggs are converts of three years and they belonged to the church that Jody is going to at the moment. The Boggs took over and taught about eternal families, the plan of salvation and pretty much the whole gospel, bearing testimony and answering ALL of Jody's questions. Sister Boggs and Jody are going to lunch this week and she has already invited Jody to watch conference with them. It's so amazing to see the members get involved in the work, i know having friends in the Ward is so crucial to a persons conversion and they have been such a huge help already!

While we were tracting Thursday afternoon we came across an old house with a giant yard. There were "no trespassing" signs at the beginning of the driveway so of course we began our long trek up, past the signs and to the house. We knocked on the old, rickety, spider-webbed door twice and nobody answered. As we were leaving, an old lady came out of her garage door and asked what we wanted. We told her we were missionaries for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and to our amazement she had never heard of us before! We were able to talk to her about the Book of Mormon but to be honest she really wasn't interested. She just liked to talk and talk and talk about her family growing up right here in Marietta, Georgia. She talked about her father who was a farmer and she told us she named her younger sister. Stella Merritt.... I was like what was the last name? "Merritt. M E R R I T T." I looked at her and then showed her my name tag. "WE'RE COUSINS!" She yelled. Hahaha. Turns out a bunch of the land in my area used to be a farm called "Merritt Farm" we were able to share with her about family search and we are going to do some family history together so we know how we're related somehow. It was just a funny coincidence. (:

Anyway, after being in the Shallowford area for 4.5 months it's time for me to go. Im going to Athens! Im so excited (: but I'll get y'all the address real soon. Have a great week, remember that I love you.

Love, Sister Merritt

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Busy Week!

Hello <3

So this week has been so great. We have been able to have so many lessons this week and we found four new investigators and lots of potentials. Yay! We also went on exchanges, had interviews with President, and went to a one month follow up meeting for Sister Holmgren. Yes, we have been extremely busy this week.

The new family we are teaching are from Australia. Yes, I love their accents. Yes, sometimes I try to copy them. They are a part-member family and the mother (member) has been wanting their kids to be taught for so long. We are so excited for them to start coming to church and progressing towards baptism.

I went on exchange with another greenie, Sister Fuller. I wanted to show her how amazing the Shallowford area was so we stopped in on as many people as we could and got in with every single one of them, which just doesn't happen. Since we got in with so many people and had WONDERFUL lessons, we didn't have much time to tract, hallelujah, but we felt impressed to do at least one street. We prayerfully chose three houses that we could tract and we had good meaningful contacts and was able to teach the four minute restoration on all three doorsteps. The last home, the lady just moved here and was looking for a church to go to. She asked to have a copy of the Book of Mormon and said we could come back in a week to teach her more! Miracles.

Saturday before dinner we had about a half hour to kill and had already gone through all our plans. We looked through our area books and found a former investigator who lived close by and we felt prompted we needed to go to her home. She answered the door and was super friendly and open. We were able to answer all her questions she had about the Book of Mormon and life after death. She told us she would like to know more about what we believe. We gave her a reading assignment out of the Book of Mormon and she wants us to come back and follow up with her on her reading and to teach her more. It just goes to show how the spirit works in our lives. If we hadn't of acted on that prompting we probably would've never had gone to her.

I'm so grateful for the opportunity that I have to serve our Heavenly Father for 18 months and for the things that I am able to learn. I feel like I have a greater understanding of how the Holy Ghost works in our lives and I'm so grateful to have it as my constant companion as long as I'm worthy. I love the Shallowford Ward. Im convinced it's the best. What would make it even better is if all ya'll were here too! I miss ya'll. I'm grateful for all your support and love. <3

Love, Sister Merritt

Monday, September 14, 2015

"I really baptized her!"


First of all, Jennifer was able to be baptized!!!! She was so excited. It was such a good baptism, and the spirit was there so strong. Bishop was crying the whole time. We had our two recent converts speak. Minnie (member for 7 months) spoke on baptism, and Chelsea (member for 2 months) spoke on the Holy Ghost. They did AMAZING. And both talks touched Jennifer. We had Elder Roberts do the baptism. He has been out for about a month and it was his first time baptizing someone. She went so low she almost hit the ground. "I really baptized her." said Elder Roberts. Jennifer then gave her testimony. I had never before heard the story of why she let us into her home in the first place, and it was so touching to hear that a voice inside her head told her to "let them in." She said she's never regretted it and she knows this is the truth. We are so happy for her! The Ward members are great. Her visiting teachers are AMAZING and just taking such good care of her already. (:

This week has been full of working with the members. We have received so many referrals this week and have really been working on getting the members trust. I cannot tell you how often we have heard "thank you for bringing the spirit into our home" this week. It's been awesome.

I think it all started with zone meeting. We were all supposed to prepare a four minute restoration lessons and then we would role play it. ROLE PLAYS. They are aweso...actually I hate them. They are so hard, and you look and feel so dumb. But they are the best things. They help so much. So sister Holmgren and I got with another companionship and taught the four minute restoration. Simple and full of the spirit. It was amazing the spirit you felt while in the church gym. All these missionaries testifying that our Heavenly Father loves us and because he loves us he sent His son, Jesus Christ to take upon Him our sins, and that Jesus Christ's church has been restored through a living prophet named Joseph Smith. powerful.

We decided to do this while tracting. So while we are on door steps we don't even allow for them to reject us and close the door, we just start teaching. It's helped so much and we have been able to have such meaningful contacts this week because of it. By testifying of these things on the doorstep, there is no denying the spirit that comes. There have been tears in people's eyes! It's amazing.

The elders came up with a fun way for us to leave thank you cards at dinner. We are now writing a thank you note on the back of a picture with all of us and sneaking it onto their fridge somehow. ... Aka, it's just an excuse to get a picture with us (; haha just kidding. But it's fun and the members have loved it so far. The picture is below, but sorry it's a little blurry.

We haven't had many lessons this week and everyone we had scheduled to get in with canceled. SO we did a lot of tracting. One night when we had already tracted all the streets we had picked out we hopped into he car and looked through our GPS to see who was nearby we could stop in on. There was something marked right at the beginning of a street so we clicked on it and it literally said "tract here." Okay! So we did. We found this Muslim lady who let us in to teach her. She said it was funny because the night before her and her husband were talking about Mormons and had a bunch of questions, and we were able to answer them all for her. She's really not interested in converting, but it was still a cool experience nonetheless (:

I've been studying a lot on faith this week and I found this really awesome talk called "the transforming power of strength and character" by Richard G Scott. But I really liked this little part of it...

"What are some of the empowering principles upon which faith is based?

-Trust in God and in His willingness to provide help when needed, no matter how challenging the circumstance.

-Obedience to His commandments and a life that demonstrates that He can trust you.

- Sensitivity to the quiet promptings of the Holy Spirit.

-Courageous implementation of that prompting.

- Patience and understanding when God lets you struggle to grow and when answers come a piece at a time over an extended period."

Anyway, I hope we can all have a little more faith this week and nourish that faith by daily prayer and scripture study. I know that our Heavenly Father loves us all, and because He loves us, He has restored the truth on the earth once more. I love you all. <3

Love, Sister Merritt

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Stairs and Stairs and Stairs....


There are so many hills in Georgia. SO MANY. For some reason this week we decided to tract all the neighborhoods with the steepest driveways ever. Like, I had to take breaks on the way up to the houses because the driveways were like a mile long at a 90 degree angle with the road. (I may be exaggerating) but STILL. I've come to appreciate those people who have put in stairs alongside their driveway so it's a lot easier to walk up. S/O to stairs.

Also, people here like to feed us. Everywhere we went people gave us food, especially last Wednesday. We were so full all day, PLUS we had a double dinner. I'm not complaining, but if I come home 50 pounds heavier, blame Georgia. 

I really enjoy tracting too. It is SO funny to hear people's responses to us sometimes. Like this last week this woman got her words mixed up and told us to "take our message to someone who doesn't need it." Okay, ma'am. You just admitted you need this message. Or once this woman wouldn't open her glass door and asked us what we wanted but she kept saying " I can't hear you!" ... Hmm weird. Maybe it's because there is a glass door in between us? Idk though. Haha people are funny. 

As we were driving to a street that we had planned to tract yesterday with Chelsea, Kirk and Latisha, some potentials came to mind. We had met them on the Fourth of July, they let us right in and we were able to share with them the Book of Mormon. They told us we could come back anytime, but every time we went by (with Chelsea) they were never home. We had never entered their names or address into the area book but we wrote it down in sister Barben's planner, and when Sister Barben did the address. We had no idea where to find them. So as we were driving we asked Chelsea if she remembered where they lived. Her response was "They just came to my mind too!" But she couldn't remember where they lived either. When we pulled into the street we had planned to tract we were so excited to see that this was Kirk and Latisha's street!!! We were able to knock on their door and they were home! They told us what a blessing we had been to them on the Fourth of July and to come back this weekend to share more about our church with their family! Miracle.

Last night it was getting dark and all of our plans and backup plans fell through. We were looking through the the GPS to see who lived nearby who we could stop in on. When we were scrolling down we both felt prompted to go the Richardson's. A part-member/less active family that we have been trying to get in with for months but we always seem to miss each other. As we pulled up to their house we noticed a lot of cars there and it looked like they were having a party. We didn't want to be a bother to them but we went up to the door anymore, knowing they would probably just schedule a better time we could come back. We were joking with each other saying how funny it would be if they just invited us in and had a share a message with everyone! Well... That's what happened!! Sister Richardson opened the door telling us to come right in and that they needed a little family home evening lesson! We had dessert with them and they allowed us to share a short message with them which brought the spirit really strongly and invite them to church. One of the teenage girls mentioned that she really liked my dress.  I told her that if she came to church with us, she could wear it! She was really excited! They said they'd all try to make it (: it was definitely a blessing! 

Anyway. Thanks for all your prayers and support. Love ya'll. 💕

Love, Sister Merritt 

I had to take a break walking up those stairs... 

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

"Awesome-Sauce" ?

Hey ya'll.

This week has been eventful and uneventful all at the same time. Don't ask me how that happens. 

First of all. We went to visit Jennifer this week and she tells us she has news. SHE GOT A SUNDAY OFF OF WORK. About time. She was able to come to Stake Conference and loved it! She is now back on date to be baptized on the 12th of September- and we all could not be more excited!! 

Second of all, we have been teaching these two girls, Jade and Isis. Their grandma wanted us to do a bible study with them. So we have been tying in the bible stories with the Book of Mormon stories and our lessons. It's been really fun aaaannnnd they want to be baptized as well! September 19th. We are working hard toward these baptism dates. It's never easy when satan is working against you. But Alma 26:12 states that "in His strength I can do all things." We can do it (: 

Other than that it's been pretty slow. I mean, we have had lessons but there isn't too much progress happening, which is okay. Baby steps. We had Stake Conference this week. It was really wonderful, all about the family and how we can strengthen our testimonies in the home. I also learned that "awesome-sauce" was added to the dictionary?? REALLY?? Oh dear. Bless the future generations.

It's been so cool this week! I have absolutely loved it! There has been a cool breeze with almost no humidity. HEAVEN.  And the bugs have been dying down, which is amazing as well. I have gotten used to people calling me ma'am here in the south. But I don't like it. It makes me feel like an old lady. However, I catch myself saying, "yes ma'am" or "no ma'am" all the time now. And "bless his heart"-- that's a southern favorite I guess. Anyway.

I was just informed last night that the Shallowford Ward had their first baptism in five years last year. And it's just been growing ever since. The Lord is hastening His work and I feel so blessed to be part of it. There are amazing missionaries that I have the opportunity to know, learn from, and work with here. The members are greatly involved with missionary work, always giving us referrals and praying for their family and friends to accept the gospel. The people that we see on the streets and in their doors are friendly and are slowly but surely being prepared! Let's all pray for enough faith and courage to share this gospel with all who will listen. 

Have a great week. I love ya'll! 

Love, Sister Merritt