Monday, February 29, 2016

Dogs and Little Girls

Hey y'all.

What a week. It's been so very long but full of adventure.

First. We met this awesome lady named Pepsi who we are teaching now. She is searching for a church for her family right now and when we went into her home to teach the restoration she asked great questions that is missionaries love to hear like, "there are so many churches on the earth today, how do I know which one is right?" And, "wouldn't God love us enough to send another prophet so I know how to raise my family?" We put her on date for baptism the end of March. She's ready.

We spent an entire day in a tiny town called Crawford, Georgia. It’s about 15-20 minutes east of Athens but still in our Ward boundaries and way out in the country, so we decided to scope it out. It's cute but there are animals literally everywhere. We were driving down this small dirt road trying to find a house and came to a dead end. So we turned around and saw this huge field next to us filled with DOGS. There had to be around 50 of them. We sat there and watched them for a second which ended up being the worst decision because they saw us and swarmed to the car. We couldn't move for 10 minutes because these dogs
were laying themselves right in front of us and would NOT move. But we made it out of there finally.

We parked the car and rode our bikes all around this little town of Crawford. We were chased by so many dogs that I lost count. We were invited into a home where they had exactly 368,183,729 cats I believe and then were chased by more dogs, invited into 3 homes right off, met 3 new less actives, and knocked on 41 doors. Overall our Crawford trip was a success, resulting in 3 new investigators and 7 lessons, but next time I'll just stick with driving through that town.

We had a lesson with Anna and Trevor this week on the Holy Ghost. As we were talking  we had the prompting that we needed to invite her to be baptized. We did NOT want to do this because last time it resulted in an "absolutely not!" And then things were awkward for awhile. But there came a point and a time in our lesson where that's the only thing that came to our mind (the Holy Ghost is very stubborn sometimes. And so are we) we were having this internal battle for a second but we really felt like we needed to ask her so we did. Silence filled the room for what seemed like forever. And the answer was surprising. "Yes!" Sister Foster, Trevor, the couple who was with us, and I could finally breathe again and everyone was so happy. Especially Trevor. She didn't want to pick a date yet, but we didn't have to beg them to come to church this week, they just said they would be there and they would pick us up. They came to Stake Conference yesterday and absolutely loved it! They talked about the things they learned all the way back home.

Saturday evening we were waiting at home for our ride to pick us up for the adult session of stake conference. We weren't exactly sure what time she would be picking us up, only it would be within 15 minutes. As we were waiting we had this overwhelming feeling that we needed to spend this time contacting. So we start walking through a neighborhood behind our apartment complex. We decided we would visit a potential at the end of the street. As we were walking we see a group of young girls playing in the front yard of a home, when they saw us they stopped what they were doing and just stared. One of the girls ran up to us and we said hello, asked her name, said nice to meet you and then continued down the street. While we were walking away my morning studies of "talking to everyone" came into my mind and I realized everyone meant everyone. Even little girls. So we turned around and noticed that this young girl had followed us. She smiled and asked "Are you the people that teach us about Jesus?" "Yes!" She grinned really big and told us to come meet all of her family and friends. She went throughout her whole house, gathering everyone she could to have us share a short message. We gave all the young girls pictures of Jesus in the Americas, taught them a really simple restoration and told them we had to go, but would be back soon. We went back through that neighborhood the next evening and found out that all these girls had hung up the picture in their bedrooms. We know that we have planted seeds within these young girls and we are so grateful that we used those extra 10-15 minutes working. We have learned it's so important to not waste a second of the Lords time. Miracles are waiting to happen.

I'm so grateful for the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost and the guidance it gives me every second of each day. I know that this is Heavenly Fathers work and as long as we are listening to that still small voice and obey we can be led to those people who are ready (:

I love y'all. Have a great week & stay good.

Love, Sister Merritt

Miss Lessie


This week we were finally able to get in with our potential investigator Lashanna. Every time we have tried, it just hadn't worked out. But she finally called us and said she would DEFINITELY be at home that night. So we go and she invites us into the living room to wait and talk to her three young boys as she does something in the kitchen. Well, we ended up waiting for 30 minutes. We kept asking if she needed help and she just kept telling us to sit and relax. Finally she comes in carrying trays and trays of food. Fried chicken, hot wings, meatballs, mini sandwiches, chips and dip, fruit trays, & drinks. We were so overwhelmed. Haha that's southern hospitality for you though. The lesson ended up going great and we are seeing her and her boys later this week!

We have been visiting this cute 93 year old lady in our ward named miss Lessie Pearl. She is seriously darling. After our visit with her we asked her if we could take a picture with her she responded with "are you building a garden??" We look at her a little confused and then she continued saying, "do you need a scarecrow?" "NO MISS LESSIE! You're the cutest lady ever!" I love her. If i could take her back to Utah with me I would.

Last preparation day we went to see the tree that owns itself. Like, the tree literally owns itself. Weird. But awesome.


Love, Sister Merritt

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Happy Valentine's Week

Hello my favorites!

I have finally seen that southern hospitality that I have been searching for here this week. It's been a chilly week and as we have been tracting there has been a LOT of people inviting us in "before we catch pneumonia." Reminding us to "eat more fried chicken to put some meat on those bones" and next time we come back to "wear gloves and a hat." Literally everyone has told us this. Haha

We have seen many miracles this week though. One of them being with Damian's wife, Rochelle. We have been trying to use the videos that are available to us on gospel library more in our teaching to use our iPads more effectively. I have noticed that it's good to show a video to bring the spirit and calm everyone down. We have seen a a little tender mercy occur this week because of a video. We have been teaching this man Damian. His wife is normally home and she is kind to us but doesn't normally like to listen to what we have to say. One day we came over for a lesson and Damian was on the phone in the other room but Rochelle (his wife) let us in and proceeded to frantically tidy up the living room for us. We asked her if she would join us for the lesson and she said she probably wouldn't. We then asked if she wouldn't mind watching a short video while we waited for Damian. We showed her the "introduction to the church" video on family (we know family means a lot to her.) It calmed her down a lot and pricked her heart just enough to get her interested and by the time Damian came in the room, Rochelle grabbed another chair, listened to the lesson, and asked great questions.

Because of Presidents' Day, preparation day was switched to Tuesday and we had a full day of tracting planned! WOHOO love tracting. *sarcasm* But we have had our eyes on these streets few weeks but decided, for some reason, to keep them till Monday. We went up and down street in the frigid air. Knocking on every single door. The first 2 doors, no one answered. But the 3rd door we knocked, we had seen a little boy playing basketball in the driveway earlier. We knew someone had to be home. We knocked and 2 young girls answered the door, and then their mother peeked her head around the corner. She kindly welcomed us in from the cold, as the electrician man who was working inside looked at us, chuckled a bit and politely pushed past us to get more tools out of his truck. We sat down and immediately began HTBT, emphasizing the gospel and families, and the Book of Mormon. She asked interested questions. She was so engaged. We taught the restoration, but as soon as we got to the First Vision, of course the electrician decided to start up his drill. Ugh, I've never prayed so hard for someone to cease their work. All ended well though, she wanted to learn more on Wednesday.

As we left the home, the short, scruffy, and friendly electrician stopped us and apologized for interrupting. We knew we had to talk to him! It was a perfect opportunity. We asked him if he had ever heard of our church before. He smiled and said 'Yeah, for two years in
Vegas.'. We were confused. But then it dawned on us both that he was a member and That he was a Vegas RM. We asked him what ward he was in, he explained that he didn't go anymore because he worked on Sunday's. We got his name...turns out he's a less active in our ward that we haven't been able to to find for 5 months! Out of all the electricians
that the company employees, they sent this guy. We left him with an invite to stake conference and our card. The following homes were just as great! We made several more return appointments and others invited us in and allowed us to share our message. Everyone's hearts on Beaver Pointe Road were softened this Presidents' Day Holiday. Heavenly Father is the greatest domino player. Just thinking about what He did that caused the electricians to be called is a testimony to me that everything that takes place in our lives, He has control, just put your trust in Him and do what you're supposed to do.

Love y'all.

Love, Sister Merritt

"Do sisters wake up in the morning and choose to match?" -Elders

Monday, February 8, 2016


Hey y'all.

As I've been studying the Book of Mormon this week a couple of verses in Alma 5 really stood out to me...

"... Have ye spiritually been born of God? Have ye received His image in your countenances? Have ye experienced this mighty change in your hearts?" " and now behold, I say unto you, my brethren, if ye have experienced a change of heart, and if ye have felt to sing the song of redeeming love, I would ask, can ye feel so now?"

One thing that I absolutely love about being a missionary is seeing this "mighty change" take place in the hearts of people. We have experienced a couple of these mighty changes this week...

Mike. We met mike a couple of weeks ago. He was sitting on his porch as we approached him. He was really kind to us... Until we told him what church we were from. He wanted us to GET OFF HIS PROPERTY. His sister told him to be nice so he listened to us a little bit and we ended up having a nice discussion. He said he wasn't ever interested in learning more but told us to stop by whenever. We have been stopping by every once in awhile and teaching him a little here and there, left him with a Book of Mormon and invited him to read it. ... He won't, because he has the bible and doesn't need more. As we went by one day we felt like we needed to invite him to church even though he would probably say no. Surprisingly he said YES! He came and absolutely loved it! "I love church in general. But I feel something special about this one," he said to us. Sunday night we stopped by to see how he liked church and he told us he'd been reading the Book of Mormon and he wants to come back to church next week. It was amazing to see the Spirit work within him to have this change in his heart occur.

Trevor and Anna. As y'all know, we have been working with them for A LOOOONG time. But guess what! THEY CAME TO CHURCH. *angels singing* They have been reading the Book of Mormon, they're doing well on the word of wisdom, keeping the sabbath day holy and they've just been doing awesome. Anna still doesn't want to be baptized. But she'll get there. The change in them is amazing to see. I'm not sure if they can see it, but we sure can! They're just happier and I love that (: the Ward is going through leaps and bounds to help them as well. Inviting them to game nights, activities and dinners.

And the Ward has had a change of heart as well. When I first got here to Athens, they weren't too missionary minded. It's been a process, but they are helping us so much more and we couldn't be having success without them. #athens1stward

I feel so lucky to have the opportunity to witness all this mighty changes within people's hearts, but mostly, I feel so privileged to witness a change of heart firsthand within myself. I know that the gospel brings so much joy and it causes us to become better and strive to be like our Savior. If you have experienced the joy and peace the gospel has to offer, my question is "can you feel so now?" If not, I would encourage you to read, ponder, and pray. It works, I promise (:

I love y'all. And I hope y'all had a great week as well. Until next week!!

Love, sister Merritt

Monday, February 1, 2016

Cul-de-sac Miracle


Well, transfers are this week and it looks like I'll be staying in Athens for a little bit longer and staying with sister Foster. (: I'm happy about this because we have found some pretty great people this week that I want to teach! 

EXCHANGES. I was in a trio with Sister Robinson and Sister Lauritsen staying in Athens. We had some pretty solid lessons and then at around 7pm all of our appointments fell through for the rest of the night. So of course we say a prayer asking for guidance. It's dark outside and we usually don't like tracting when it's dark (safety reasons) so we pray. We decide to pull up some former investigators that we haven't tried yet. We looked at one in particular and we all felt like we needed to go and visit him. We type in the address, Peltry Ct, and drive off. It leads us to a cul-de-sac and we drive around looking for the house number. We couldn't find it, but there was one house left on the street so we figured it must be the right one, parked the car, hopped out and knocked on the door. It was a dark house, no lights were on that we could see. I don't know why we stayed at the door for as long as we did. Nobody answered the first time we knocked, so, being the determined missionaries that we are, rang the doorbell and knocked some more. Suddenly a man opened the door. We introduced ourselves and started asking him a couple of questions. He just looked at us really confused saying, "I'm sorry. I'm just in shock right now." Then it was our turn to look at him confused. He continued saying, " I was just praying that God would send me someone to help my family become closer." We gave him a Book of Mormon, bore testimony of the family and how the gospel blesses it and scheduled a return appointment.

Sister Foster and I went back Saturday and he let us right in, grabbed his Book of Mormon from the other room and told us EVERYTHING he learned from reading it so far. He had read so much of it and absolutely loved it. His wife and 8 year old son listened and participated as we taught the restoration. A FAMILY. We are teaching a family! I've been praying to teach a family my whole mission! I'm praying that they will see how the gospel truly does bless families and they will progress to baptism and eventually be sealed in the temple. <3 

Later we realized that I had yet again typed in the wrong address into the GPS and the former investigator had actually lived on Peltry Drive, not Peltry Ct, but I know Heavenly Father listens to our prayers and will answer them if we are willing to act on the answer we receive. I know we were supposed to be at Damian's home at that time. 

It has been fabulous weather here lately! We have just been soaking it all in and enjoying it. Miracles are happening all around us. We have had a lot more member help. We are finding great people. The church is true. The book is blue. Life is beautiful. I know He lives and loves us. 

"Men are that they might have joy.

Love, Sister Merritt 

I finally made it to the famous Waffle House, which is on like every street corner here! Can't believe I went half my mission without trying it. But actually, it's not that great, I'll stick with my mom's waffles (: