Monday, November 23, 2015

Temples and THE Best News!

Hey y'all

This week has been fun. WE WENT TO THE TEMPLE. It was wonderful . I wish I could go to the temple every day on my mission. Sister Dowdle and I felt like we just received so much direction on what to do with some of our investigators and I was able to feel the peace that I just needed at this time. On our way home we  saw a big yellow billboard that just said "JESUS" on it #onlyinthesouth and on the other side it said "Coming Soon!" Lol I don't even know. Like, why? But it was funny.

Wednesday we helped the UGA sisters with their booth on campus and got tons of great contacts. We usually put a whiteboard up with a question that people can come up and answer. So the question was "What are you grateful for?" And guess what! Someone put my name! And they weren't even a member! Wow, I felt special. Haha but we did get the UGA sisters a ton of new investigators and they're solid too. Campus is the place to be.

We had a bunch of less active work happening this week. Our Ward bishopric gave us a list of over 100 people to contact and we finally got it finished. Not very many people were still interested in us coming and visiting with them or coming back to church, but we were still able to contact them and know that they really do exist. We also had dinner with Trevor and Anna this week, they're my favorite people that we are working with. I just adore them and I know Anna will get baptized someday. Trevor is just sharing so much about the church with her and she's reading the Book of Mormon and doing her assignments and ahh! Love them.

We also put Charlie Elder on date to be baptized! Yay! The 12th of December. Put it on your calendars (; haha

So. Get ready for the BEST news you have ever heard. You may want to sit down. ELDER HOLLAND IS COMING TO SPEAK WITH US! Also on the 12th of December. I am beyond excited!! I'll keep y'all updated. Anyways, I hope y'all have the best Thanksgiving. I'm grateful for all of you! And of course I'm so grateful for this gospel. It's perfect. And I'm so happy to be sharing it with those around me.

Love, Sister Merritt

Parable of the Testimony


Hello y'all (:

I hope y'all had a FABULOUS week as I know I have here in good ol' Athens, GA.

First: HERMAN PRAYED! After teaching him for so long, Herman finally said the prayer. It was short, and simple, but beautiful and heartfelt. Also, he is reading the Book of Mormon! Which is also a miracle. Wow, Herman is doing great. He still hasn't found a place to live, but we're still praying for him.

Second:  We found two new investigators this week. Glenda and Victor. We went to one of our investigators on Tuesday who we were going to have to drop because he really wasn't progressing and he was always drunk when we went over. As we approached the house he told us to go ahead inside and start teaching his sons as he continued to sit in his garage with a bunch of other people and smoke his cigarette. However, there wasn't a woman in the house. So we told him we couldn't go inside without another woman. Glenda, heard us say this and asked us what church we were from, and when we told her we were Mormon she asked if she could join us inside. We promptly agreed and she brought her nine year old son inside as well so we could teach them both. We taught the restoration and you could tell she was truly soaking it all in. Afterward, we asked if she would be interested in learning more, resulting in a return appointment and two new investigators. This never would have happened if we hadn't of been obedient to the missionary handbook or "The Book of Blessings" as our mission Presidents wife, Sister Bennion, calls it.

Third:  We taught the Trevor and Anna this week, they were excited as ever to see us. They had also kept their commitment and had read the Book of Mormon! Anna likes it a lot and Trevor is there to explain it to her if she gets confused. They are the cutest couple ❤️    They are taking us to dinner this week. I'm way excited.

Fourth:  I just want every single person in the world to meet Charlie. He is the sweetest thing. He came to church again this Sunday. He just loves it so much and is soaking everything in! We plan on putting him on date this week, wish us luck!


I was reading the parable of the talents and remembered something I have learned on my mission:

Now, Talents weren't referred to the skills we have like we usually talk about when we talk about the parable of the talents (a good cook, a wonderful piano player, etc) Rather, talents were a from of money. And it was very valuable. SO, I like to replace the word TALENTS with TESTIMONY. Because a testimony is extremely valuable and we have multiple testimonies. I could have a testimony on tithing, on prayer and on the atonement. And another person could have a testimony on keeping the sabbath day holy and the word of wisdom and so on... SO...

15 And unto one he gave five testimonies, another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey.

16 Then he that had received the five testimonies went and traded with the same, and made them other five testimonies.

17 And likewise he that had received two, he also gained other two.

18 But he that had received one went and digged in the earth, and hid his lord’s money.

19 After a long time the lord of those servants cometh, and reckoneth with them.

20 And so he that had received five testimonies came and brought other five testimonies, saying, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me five testimonies: behold, I have gained beside them five testimonies more.

21 His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.

22 He also that had received two testimonies came and said, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me two testimonies: behold, I have gained two other testimonies beside them.

23 His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.

24 Then he which had received the one testimony came and said, Lord, I knew thee that thou art an hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strawed:

25 And I was afraid, and went and hid thy testimony in the earth.

I know that as we share the testimonies we have been given, we will not only help others gain more testimonies, but we will also gain more ourselves. Sometimes it's a little bit scary getting up in front of people to share what you know and believe. But we can share our testimonies in multiple different ways. Whether by being an example, to sharing a quote from General Conference on Facebook, to teaching your children. I hope we all have the opportunity to share our testimony this week. And I know as we do that, our Heavenly Father will look down on us and say, "Well done, thou good and faithful servant."

I hope y'all have a wonderful week. 

Love, Sister Merritt

We found a swing and it was too tempting.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Autumn Miracles


I know I say this a lot, but our Heavenly Father has been blessing us so much! God is so good! So first of all, last week we met the sweetest old man named Charlie as we were walking down the street. He was going for a nice stroll and we started talking to him about the Book of Mormon. He was genuinely interested and gave us his contact information and a time we could visit him again. We met with Charlie this week, taught him the restoration, and invited him to read from the Book of Mormon. Now, Charlie is actually illiterate, but he knows the basics of reading and promised us he would read and pray. Well, he did, and he came to church on Sunday and absolutely loved it! He's so excited for us to come back this week to teach him more!

Last week we miraculously met a less active, Trevor, who wasn't on our Ward roster yet. He invited us to come over this week to meet his non-member wife, Anna. They had just moved here about a month ago, they have been married for just a couple years now, no kids and Anna actually LOVES the sister missionaries. She said the sisters would come over all the time just to hang out with them. I then proceeded to ask her what the sisters had taught her about the Book of Mormon. Nothing. THE SISTERS WERE SLACKING. So, we tell her about the Book of Mormon and Trevor is getting excited and wants to share what he knows too. We can tell that Trevor wants to come back so bad, but doesn't want to be pushy with religion to his wife. Now he doesn't have to...we will!! Anna was actually super interested as well and they are now reading the Book of Mormon as a family. We have high hopes for them (:

Herman was able to get a priesthood blessing to help him with the word of wisdom this week. He actually read the Book of Mormon!!! HALLELUJAH! Aaaannnnd had questions about it, which NEVER happens. He's progressing slowly but surely. We keep moving his baptism date back until he truly understands the covenant he is going to be making, but he'll get there.

Jayne is a less active/recent convert that we have been working with. She is the sweetest, cutest lady, it's just hard for her to get to church for medical reasons. Because she hasn't been able to make it to church, not very many people in the Ward know her, so it's hard for her because she needs a lot of help around the house and driving to the store, etc and she doesn't have family around to help her. She's also a retired interior designer (my major!) so we have lots of talks and she gives me good advice. Anyway, as we were leaving her house after helping her this week her neighbor who she had just met came over to visit with Jayne. Carol is a fashion designer, very classy lady. She's not religious at all, but knows a lot about Mormons and really loves our values and stance on family. Long story short, we got talking with her and taught her a little bit and she said she'd like to learn more but couldn't have lessons in her home. So Jayne is being a little missionary, telling carol we could have lessons in her home and she just bears testimony of how she knows the church is true. I love Jayne. And Carol is a hoot!! :)))

LASTLY, a member of the bishopric called us asking us if we knew this less active, Sister Bradford. We didn't. She wasn't on our Ward roster or any of our teaching records, and I honestly have no idea how the bishopric found her because they didn't know anything about her either until the night before they called us. Anyway, they asked us to go visit her telling us they already knew Sister Bradford's living situation and the Ward is working on helping her. So the next day we visit her. She lives in a moldy, flea infested trailer (oh, by the way mom, I think I have fleas). She has to keep the doors open at all times so she can get a little bit of decent air, but that means at night too. So she's always nervous somebody is going to come into her trailer while she's sleeping so she doesn't get very much sleep because she's worrying too much. She has to have oxygen tubes to help her get clean air and she doesn't have a car (why she hasn't been coming to church) or any food really. BUT, despite all these challenges she is the happiest person I know. Her smile and laugh is so contagious. She keeps telling us that our Heavenly Father has blessed her with a roof over her head and the church finding her. We got her to church on Sunday and as she was taking the sacrament, she treasured that moment. She said she was so happy because she had the gospel in her life. I look up to her.

It's all in our attitude. We can choose to be happy. Despite all our own individual trials and challenges, are we choosing to be happy because of the knowledge we have of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ?

Anyways. We got three investigators and three less actives to church! We had game day on Saturday and so we set up the booth again (:  it was a pretty good success. Last Monday we had sisters P-day. Everyone came up to campus and walked around downtown Athens. We took Sister Checketts with us all day yesterday. She's hilarious and shares my love for Disneyland and finally, we have felt the Holy Ghost guiding us every second of every day!! I'm so grateful for the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost and the part it plays in this work. Without it, the work would cease.

I love and miss y'all. I've been out for 6 months! Can you believe it??? See you in NO time.

Love, Sister Merritt

Monday, November 2, 2015

We Love Dogs!!

Okay so first of all, this week has been so good! We have felt so blessed from meeting new people who are just amazing. I have come to find that tracting just doesn't work all that much. What's better is just street contacting, that way they can't slam the door in your face and if they run away, we can run after them. (.... Not that we've done that. Oops) but we have been able to find 6 new investigators this week from just walking around outside. Of course we have to have the courage to talk to them, but something wonderful always takes place as we have enough faith and courage to talk with everyone that we see. Also EVERYONE in Georgia and their dog--- has a dog, so bringing up how cute their dog is, is always a wonderful conversation starter.

Us: Oh my goodness, what a cute dog!
Them: thank you!
Us: what kind of dog is it?
Them: chihuahua mixed with a Great Dane
Us: wow! I have a dog back home.
Them: where's home?
Us: Utah
Them: wow, you're a ways from home
Us: yeah, we are on our missions for the Church of...

See it works! And it doesn't only work for people on the streets, it also works for less actives we don't know about! This week as we were visiting a referral and we felt like we needed to park at the beginning of the neighborhood and walk to her home. As we were walking we met this lady named Dez who was walking from a neighbors house. we were able to teach the four minute restoration, set a return appointment and make really good friends with her. She's a sweetheart. We said goodbye and headed back toward the referral and then saw the cutest dog. We started the conversation again "oh my goodness, what a cute dog!" The owner, Trevor, started talking to us about his dog and how special she is to him and his wife, and then he's all "so I went on my mission to California." And we're all like, "what?!" Haha HE’S A MEMBER. He is less active right now, but would like us to meet with his wife, who loves sister missionaries but who is not a member.. They had just moved into the area so his records weren't here yet, but it was such a miracle finding him. If it wasn't for the dog, we would've never talked with him. So shout-out to dogs.

An update on our dear friend Herman: he is currently living in a tent, hopefully not for long. But, he knows the church is true, and is planning on being baptized this month (: he is good friends with a less active, Jesse, and Herman is already being a little missionary and trying to reactivate Jesse. Yes! We love when this happens!

Thursday night we had our ward trunk or treat which was super fun! All us missionaries were able to hand out candy to the little kids and it was great for us to invite many less actives and investigators. There was a great turn out.  Halloween night we had to be in by five to do our weekly planning and then anything we really wanted. So, we decided to have a sleepover with the UGA sisters, and of course to carve pumpkins. They turned out awful. We blamed it on the fact that we didn't have Pinterest to give us cute ideas, it was still fun though (:

I hope y'all had a wonderful Halloween. (: thank you for all your love and support.

-Sister Merritt

Tender Mercies

Hello (:

This week has been just full of getting to know everybody. All our investigators, less actives and members. Since I'm still new in the Ward and my new greenie, Sister Dowdle is new, it gives us a good excuse to stop in on everybody. So, my new companion is Sister Dowdle. She is from Alabama and she's absolutely the cutest. We get along great and I'm pretty sure we need to be companions forever. (: The Ward has been awesome and have been helping us so much. These little tender mercies and miracles have been taking place here in Athens and I know that as we continue to work hard we will see more and more.

1: A recent convert, Pam, took us to dinner at Wendy's one night. As soon as we arrived the lady working the counter asked us if we had a Mormon Bible. I took one out of my bag and handed it to her. She handed it straight back, telling us to sign it and put our phone number in it. She is searching for a church and has been hearing a lot about the Mormon church. She told asked us when she would be able to come to church. She was just so prepared and ready. We definitely weren't expecting that response

2: As we said goodbye to Pam and was about to exit, One Directions "Ready to Run" comes on the radio and so obviously we had to stay until the song was over. It was definitely a tender mercy. (:

3: So because I am training again all of a sudden, we were able to go to the follow up meeting for all the new missionaries. My favorite people (missionaries) from Shallowford are also training! ... We were missing one. But it was sooo wonderful to see Sister Barben and Elder Poulsen. Plus, the follow up meeting is always good. It always pumps us up and gets us ready to talk to everyone that we see!

4: So our investigator is really struggling with trying to find a place to live and he doesn't have any money for food, so we decided to talk to some members about getting him some food to eat. All of a sudden a less active calls us, telling us he has a bunch of food that he doesn't want and was wondering if we could use it. Of course we took and and was able to get it to our investigator. He was so appreciative. (:

5: As we were completely out of a lesson one afternoon we saw this lady walking her dog. We were able to talk to her for a little bit and we found out SHES A MEMBER. She hasn't been to church since she was a teenager and she wasn't on our records at all. It was such a blessing to find her and she wants us to come back this week and visit with her. She says she needs to come back to church, she's just a little nervous.

I am so grateful for all these tender mercies that happen each and every day. I know that if we look for the Lords hand more fully in our lives we will be able to see that he is highly aware of us and is giving us blessings and miracles that we wouldn't have seen otherwise. We just need to look for them (:

I love y'all (: have the most wonderful week.

Love, Sister Merritt