Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Quad Squad

Hey Y'all.

Oh my goodness. This week has been the craziest yet. First off, I am now in the Monroe Ward serving in Loganville. I am with Sister Palmer from Kaysville, Utah. She has been out for 1.5 months and is a trooper because she is taking over this whole area. The rest of us are pretty much whitewashing. But as of right now we are living in Monroe with another set of sisters, Sister Holmgren (MY BABY) & Sister Hosman. We live in this small home. A family lives in the basement and another family lives in the front part of the home. But our little corner of it is nice and cozy. Especially with four of us. We have air mattresses and one bathroom. One. It's a struggle, but a fun struggle. We have fun. We call ourselves the quad squad. The Ward is absolutely wonderful. It's so small, a lot smaller than I'm used to. But by the time we are through here, it will be a lot bigger. There are great things happening here. We are excited.

It's perfect here in Loganville. Literally perfect. It's a perfect mix between country and city. There are TONS of rolling hills with cows and horses grazing in it and the only thing keeping them in there are cute white picket fences. The homes are so precious. Big porches. Gardens. There are some dirt roads here and there. But there's still a Walmart and chic-fil-a, so we good. And the members are solid. They are so missionary minded it's awesome! We get so much help already (:

One of our miracles was Jeanne. Wednesday we were going around, trying to meet all the members and less actives, when we pulled up to a less actives home , prayed, and was about to jump out, my companion turned to me and said she felt we weren't supposed to be here right now. We prayed again and looked through the area book to see who was in need off us at that moment. We spotted Jeanne (a referral) and both felt like we needed to see her. Jeanne was introduced to the church by her friend from work at the hospital in Atlanta. Her friend knew she was struggling with seeing hope and the joy of life so she gave her a Book of Mormon with her testimony written inside and referred the missionaries (us) to her home. We knocked on Jeanne's door and she answered. We told her that her friend had sent us and she was SO happy, but was just about to leave for work. (We caught her JUST before she left for work). We set up a return appointment for Saturday. When we visited her on Saturday we found that she has been reading the book of mormon and has felt God's love for her through it. The Spirit was so strong, we were all in tears as we bore testimony of
the restored gospel. We asked Jeanne if she has found Jesus Christ's church, she responded "I think I have." She is now on date for April 30th and she couldn't be more happy. We really can't do this work alone. We NEED the help of members. Because Jeanne's friend gave her a copy of the Book of Mormon, she is able to have the joy she has been searching for in her life.

I hope everyone had the greatest Easter! I know sometimes we get caught up in the fun candy, Easter bunny, and everything else, but I hope we all remembered the Savior this Easter and what he went through for us. I am so grateful for His sacrifice and the knowledge that because of the atonement I never have to go through anything alone. He lives.

I love y'all. Happy late Easter.

317 B Alcovey street
Monroe, GA 60655

Love, Sister Merritt

Our first night. We were so tired.

Monday, March 21, 2016


Hey y'all:

So transfer news: I will be going to Monroe and finish training Sister Palmer! I don't know too much about her. But I do know she is just darling. I will also be serving as a Sister Training Leader. I'm excited. Plus I'm still in the same zone so that's good because the Athens zone is THE absolute greatest. (:

We were able to get 12 investigators to church. TWELVE. It was crazy trying to make sure everyone was taken care of, but they all loved it!

We have been able to see way too many miracles this week. EVERYONE wants to be baptized! WOO. When I first got to Athens we met a lady named Glenda and her 10 year old son. They seemed really interested but could never get in contact with them, so we ended up having to drop them. But this week we had an impression to stop in on them. Victor (the 10 year old) has been reading the Book of Mormon every day and wants to learn more. So we have visited Glenda and Victor every day this week. We brought them to a baptism and Glenda talked to us afterward "So I was thinking, could victor and I be baptized?"

We also met this great guy named Jacob who had met with missionaries 15 years ago in Alabama. We have met with him a couple of times this past week and we brought up baptism. "Baptism! I've been baptized before. Come to think of it, it may have been in your church! If I did get baptized into your church, does that make me a Mormon?" "Yes." He grins really big and says "that's exciting!" So he comes to church this past Sunday and LOVES it and says he would really like to come back every week, which of course we agreed with.  Well we asked the ward clerk to see if Jacob was a member and HE IS. We found a long lost less active who loves church, so that's exciting. We're just confused as to how you go about forgetting if you've been baptized or not?? Weird.

We also met a woman named Brittany. She's a single mom of 4 and super sweet. She let us in allowed us to teach her the restoration and asked right off if she could be baptized. So yay!! We didn't have to ask anyone to be baptized this week. They all just want to!

Speaking of baptism... It's amazing being able to see lives completely change when their faith in Jesus Christ starts to grow. We met Herman when he was living with some recent converts when I first got to Athens. He was very shy, wouldn't look at us when we talked to him, didn't keep any of the commitments we left him, and whenever we came he would have a cigarette in his mouth. We don't know why we kept going back. He didn't even seem interested in learning. But for some reason we kept going back. Well, the landlord was going to sell the house. The recent converts found a new small place to live, but Herman wasn't able to. He went back in his tent, which he had lived in for 5 years before living with the members. He was homeless. We kept meeting with him. We would meet just out on the streets, or in McDonald's, or in members homes when we could. We eventually found out he had a big problem with drugs, alcohol, and the law of chastity. We brought him to the 12 step addiction recovery programs, read the Book of Mormon with him and the elders gave him a blessing. He came to church every week, wore his camo (the only thing he owned) but wouldn't talk to anybody and would sit in the back of every class. We kept meeting with him. We would teach him little by little and over and over again until he understood. Eventually he prayed for us, he started reading the Book of Mormon on his own, he stopped doing drugs and drinking, he found an apartment. He was changing. Or should I say, the gospel was changing him. He wanted to be baptized! We went through a lot of interviews. A member of the mission presidency told us to wait for 3 months to a year to have him be baptized. He also thought it was best if the elders started to teach him instead.. We were disappointed, but we obeyed. 3 months later, though, brings us to Saturday. Herman was finally able to be baptized. It was the most spiritual experience I have ever had and his testimony of the gospel is so strong. I have a strong testimony that Heavenly Father loves each of us. The gospel is for everyone and it can change lives if we allow it to.

Love y'all!!

Sister Merritt

Our Methodist ministry friends. (:


Hey y'all!

We have had a great week. It's been such great weather. The flowers are blooming. The leaves are coming back, which makes Georgia so much more pretty. The bees are buzzing. Spring is here!

Friday we had set the goal to get one lesson with a member present. We had one scheduled, but our lesson and member both cancelled. It was getting toward the end of the day, but we really wanted to make this goal. We decided we would just tract this neighborhood that has been in the back of our minds for awhile. As we were walking down the street we saw this guy outside talking to some people in a car. We walk up to him and start talking about the church, only to find out that he's a long lost less active! We ask him if he had ever talked to his friend about the church. He said "no they have a different belief." So of course we then proceed to talk to his friends about the church, in which they were really interested! The member was able to bear his testimony and tell his friends about Joseph Smith and how wonderful the church was! We were able to get our lesson with a member present! It was amazing to see that as long as we set goals in faith and then work as hard as we can and talk to everyone, the Lord will do the rest.

We had such a crazy big sister exchange but it was so much fun. I went on exchange with sister Gray in Greensboro which is ALL country. I am in love with that place. They live in a cute cabin right on the lake and fields of cows and horses all around. IN LOVE. <3 We were able to see lots of miracles and find a lot of new investigators. We were able to have a lesson with a recent convert whose mom absolutely HATES the church, but the mom actually sat in on the lesson and agreed with everything we had to say regarding the plan of salvation, so that's cool. We also were able to tract a little bit. One lady answered the door, we complemented her on her cute home, to which she responds "do you want to see the inside??" "YES!" So we were able to get in, see the home, share a message, and she wants us to come back the next day.

More quick updates:

>> we now do bible study, every Monday and Wednesday night with a whole trailer park. It's crazy.
>> we met a dog named Lucy in Colbert who literally followed us to every home we went to. She's pictured below.
>> we got to feed some horses.
>> we had a southern day, Talulah Gorge, which had precisely 536,362 steps. peach cider, honey stick, moon pies and the best BBQ you have ever tasted. Ever.
>> AND HERMAN IS GETTING BAPTIZED. Do y'all remember him? He was the homeless man we were teaching when I first got to Athens but we had to hand him over to the elders because "he wasn't safe"... But now he's getting baptized and I'm soooo happy! (:

Love y'all! Have a great week!!

Love, Sister Merritt

Friday, March 11, 2016

The 'Blessing'

Hey y'all.

This week has been an interesting one.

First off, about a month ago we met this 27 year old girl named Katherine. She is heavily involved in the Methodist ministry on campus and LOVES Jesus Christ. Well, a couple weeks ago she invited us over for dinner with her and her ministry friends, of course we are expecting a big bible bash as we go inside, but we were pleasantly surprised when they just wanted to learn more about our church. Last week she called us up again and said that she wanted to "bless" us because she knows how draining it is being a missionary and she wants to give us a recharge. It sounded interesting (plus it gave us another chance to teach) so we accepted the invitation. We went over with a bunch of her friends, they prayed over us and they begun. Two twenty minute sessions. One for sister Foster & one for me. They basically just close their eyes and tell us what they're seeing and then they interpret it in a way that could maybe/possibly/ try to apply to our lives. They had a scribe writing it all down for us so don't worry, I have it all on paper! Basically it's like the Methodist version of a patriarchal blessing. It was a cool experience. And of course we were able to teach them and they want to come to church YAY!

We had a mission wide sisters conference this week which was definitely the highlight. There are 62 sisters in our mission and I love them all <3 We had a bunch of trainings given by the sister training leaders and Sister Bennion on our divine nature, and "straightening our crown." The BEST thing was our role plays though. ...I never thought I'd say that. Sister Kong and Barben showed us how exciting it is extending invitations, promising blessing, and following up.

"Sister Barben, will you come to Sisters P-Day with us as we hike Kennesaw Mountain at 12?"

"... Ummm I don't know. I have so much to do. Wash the car, clean the apartment, grocery shop, and email my family. I don't know if I'll have time."

"I can promise you that once you make it to the top of the mountain, you will be refreshed by that cool air and the view will be amazing."

"Well.. Umm.. I'll definitely try. I'll try to make it."

"Okay....OH! I forgot to tell you! Elder Holland.."


"Elder Holland. You're favorite Elder Holland is going to be there!!!!"

"He'll be there at noon at kennesaw mountain! So will you come?!"




"Yes!! SOOO.. Will. You. Come. On. Monday. At 12?!"

"YES! I'll be there!!"

We were laughing so hard all of us. We were crying and laughing and laughing and crying. Envelopes with our husbands pictures in them became our inside joke, But it was so wonderful. President Bennion gave us all roses at the end and we all had a good time and learned a lot.

Ever since Sister Foster has been here she's had this really bad cough. Everyone just thought it was allergies. We called the mission nurse a bunch of times and she would just tell us to get some cough drops and Claritin. Well the cough had just been getting worse so we just decided we would go into urgent care. Turns out she has had Bronchitis this whole time! Poor thing. She's a trooper though. Her cough won't stop her from working her hardest.

Anyway, we have had some solid lessons this week with some great new people! We have been biking lots thanks to a deal we have with an investigator... We will bike 10 miles a day if he'll read the Book of Mormon 10 minutes a day. So far we have kept our end of the promise..we'll see if he has kept his this week. That's about all that's new here.

Love y'all!

Love, Sister Merritt