Wednesday, August 31, 2011

So Close!

Another week closer to Grant leaving the MTC--Wow!

Oi Everyone!!
Yes it is so close to being me out of the CTM :) :) :) I´m so ready and super excited!! But sad too!! I´ll miss all my friends I made but they are going to be serving the Lord as well so no worries. :)
So Mom you will get another charge to the credit card. Yeah debit card is just not working and I have no idea why. The lady said that it could be that just certain cards don´t work in Brasil as Debit. But who knows.. hahah. I wish it did!! I did call to start it though! I´m pretty darn sure... You can check it out if you so feel like doing so :P So I got the Christensen´s letter(s)!! haha. It was awesome!!! They sent it in all different letters so I got more mail :) It was the best!!! Everyone in my district was jealous :P Btw my Branch consists of my district so I think we will be going into a different branch. And our Branch predsident left!!! Sad day!! But alls good :)
I got your guys letter too!!! I loved the 80 things thingy it was the best :P hahaha. You will have to explain some of the stories some time. But for now I´ll laugh at the ones I know hahah. It´s the best. So we went to the Campinas temple again today. And... I took a picture shhh :P haha. I had too it´s just so awesome!!!
Btw, so i dont forget!! Start sending to my mission home!!!! Isn´t that crazy to think about??? I will be in my mission so soon! :D Yes it´s so very exciting!!! I just want to start sharing the gospel with everyone!!! :) So I´m guessing Dallen is in the MTC huh? Sad that his visa hasn´t come yet!! But I bet it will!! :)
Next week I do some prosyelting!!! Two days. Monday and then again on friday!! for like 1-2 hours i think? I´m more afraid of that than the field because in the field I will have a senior companinon the proyselting is two white guys who really don´t speak portuguese hahaha. :P it´s funny but freaky!!!! Anyways..
so I can pretty much read the Preach My Gospel in portuguese without much trouble maybe like a word here or there i don´t know but I can get the jist of it all. Jist that is a weird word. Is it an actually word? I don´t know. So the scriptures are still hard to read but I can get the "jist" of it too :P hahahah.
How´s the leg mom?? good that´s good. hahah. :P wish you could answer and I could hear it sometimes but that´s okay :P haha. So!!!! Crazy Crazy story!!! Story about how important it is to keep the rules!!! So the other week a missionary in Vitoria had his leg destroyed by a train. About 7 in the morning on P day i think, him and his companinon were at the train station. Don´t really know what they were trying to do but one tried to jump on the train and got his leg caught under it or something like that. Apparently it´s on the web haha. (secuirty video). But they were not where they needed or supposed to be and so this is an example that the rules are there for your protection and for you to be able to feel the spirit to teach with it. That's what it is all about. The ability to have the spirit and teach with it. This week I decided to work on being more humble and that is the biggest definition of it!!! Being humble is being able to be teachable by the spirit. To have the spirit is the most important thing ever.
Isn´t it cool whenI leave that´s when Jessica is supposed to have her baby?!?! Setembro 13!!! It´s cool. No biggy. HAPPY BIRTHDAY GAVIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! HAPPY BIRTHDAY HANNAH!!!! :) haha wont forget you Hannah no worries!! Btw Hannah Grant did write me :P hahah.
Nascimento can read english. Just dont´use too hard of words. He speaks portuguese, is learning spanish (incrediably fast!!), and knows some english. He´s probably the same level of english as I am portuguese maybe even better so he can read it. Just make sure it´s legiable :) hahah.
Sorry I don't tell cool stories that happen. The reason is because nothing happens. hahah. I write in my journal every night and it´s really only my feelings and what I need to work on or whatever that kind of realates to today. Or how my teaching went. Because it is the same everyday here. It´s the best don´t get me wrong!!! But I want the field. I want to stop teaching fake people and I want to teach real people and know that I could be having an effect on people´s lives so badly!!!! It will be crazy hard in the beginning but I want it!!!!
So... 18 huh Dad?!?! MAN!! I always miss the awesome ones ;) hahaha. Jk :P Hope you caught that reference!!! hahah. Can´t wait to catch one bigger :P hahaha.
Yeah you're right mom. I was a horrible letter writer :P hahah. (I didn't call him a horrible letter writer, just for the record.) But now look at me!! Yeah Jared and Louie haven´t sent me one yet or i haven´t got one yet! But Hannah Adams did send me! So I´m getting some letters from friends too! :P I have like 5 from Brother minor :P hahaha. No one has beat him yet haha.
I am learning so much from the scriptures it is insane in the membrane!!! i love it!!!! I swear each and every story realates to me as a missionary somehow. Especially Alma. Such a great book!!! Read Alma 32! Great one about faith!!!! You learn so much more when you make sure to pay attention to the people and how they are interacting with others and where the people are currently. It is a great blessing to have this time to really study the scriptures as hard as I want. It really brings me sooooo much joy. I love it more than anything right now. I could always be doing this! But I have a short amount of time and I do not want to waste a second!!!! I love you guys so much!!! And I pray for you guys everyday!!! I never forget you guys in my prayers. I love you!
Seu Filho, Irmão, Amigo,
Elder Grant Shaw Merrill

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Best Week Yet

I sure miss my boy--I would love to hear his voice, but this is certainly the next best thing!

Oi Oi Oi!!! :)
What´s up family and friends?!?! Looks like the enter button is working again :) We are on a roll!!! hahaha. So I got the collins' letters!! Did you write the stuff on the envelope mom? It looks like your handwriting. That´s what's awesome about you is that you just take charge :P hahaha. So!! I leave September 13th!! Isn´t that crazinaz?!! AHHHH!! I am so excited!! I want to teach real people!!! I want to start telling people about the message that I have!!! I know I really don´t know the language but I can give lessons, I want to tell people what I know :) I want to be out in the field!! Please and thank you :) :)
So what is my mission home address. That would be useful to know :P If you could send it that would be awesome. And Also put it on my blog and give to sister Morgan for David would be good too!!! :) Please and thank you!!!
So like the title says!! Best Week Yet!!! I have learned so much!!! Especiallly in something you guys (parents) have always taught me. Planning!!! It is the driving force in how diligent you work and how productive your day is. If you are specific and realistic and meaningful when you plan you get so much done and things that actually mean something! I have really really learned how to plan very well and I am getting way more done and WAY more out of the gospel and language study times!!! :) It´s really been a blessing :) So Do anything cool for phil´s b-day?!?!
I´m starting up Jesus the Christ today :P Crazy I know but I´m so excited. I finished Our Heritage and it's  amazing what the old saints went through to be able to get this Church moving. They sacrificed so much. They gave of their lives and went through so much persecution. It really makes me realize. I´m giving two years of my life, but not my life. I´m giving nothing compared. So I have nothing to complain about and this work in fact is fun and a blessing. There is no reason for me to be sad or discouraged or feel like I am being cheated. Because I´m not. I´m being greatly blessed by serving a mission!!! It is one of the most rewarding things I have ever done!!! :) If not the most!!! It is 100% gospel (and language) and I will never get this opportunity again. I don´t want to waste a second, so I am giving it my all!1 Of course I am really enjoying myself and having fun too :) No worries I know I can be somewhat of a person who just works all the time when I get my mind set into it. But I am having so much fun!!
So today instead of the São Paulo temple, we went to the Campinas temple!!! It was WAY AWESOME!!! I loved it!! :) It was the coolest temple ever!!! Well, all temples are! I just get excited over going to the temple :) Only wish was that it was at a different time than the morning. It would be better at a different time but that is okay :) :) hahah.
So we have fake progressive investigators and one of them we are going to have to teach law of chastity. It´s a humbling experience when you realize, how do i even teach that in English and have to do it in a different language. hahaha. :P But it´s so fun planning lessons and teaching them and realizing I will be doing this for real in a little while!! :)
So almost all of the american´s left this past week. There are only 30-40 americans at the CTM right now. And there is supposed to be 150. It´s CRAZY!!!!!!! There are now only 10 people in my branch... Which is my district hahaha. :P So this week has been hard!!!! But really rewarding. Because I am doing Portuguese only this week. It is very hard, and I´m not doing well past two days. But tomorrow and today I will be doing a lot better! I just pray for help each day and guidance and then I try my absolute hardest!! The worst is when it gets night time and I´m just done for the day. But I have to remind myself to keep going and not give up!!!
I really really love mornings here. For the sole reason of personal study. That is one of my favorite times. I get to study what I want and really really learn what I need and want to learn. That´s my favorite time.
Nascimento Address:
Élder Franceyl Alves Do Nascimento
Missão Colômbia Barran Quilla
Calle 82 # 55-20, Apto 2
Edifico Matisse
Barran Quilla Atlantico
:) Thanks!!! Man that´s crazy what happened to Andrew (Cloward)!! Get Better!!! And Dad I would love to run a marathon with you!! :) And Mallory is engaged?! YAY!!! That´s super exciting!! :) Happy day for her!! haha. and Bohnnaza is fun!!! I´ll beat Corinne :P Corinne you will do an awesome job with the pictures!! that´s still really really weird she (Ashlee DeKorte) is getting married... hahah anyways. :P I miss you guys!! And Hannah and Pagie those are some attractive pictures :P hahah. I´ll make sure to show them to everyone ;) hahaha. jk Keep letting me know all that is happening!!! I wish I could write forever!!!! Make sure to send me my mission home address :) oh and if you didn´t send the package yet, I would love some more moleskin notebooks!! :) I love them!! (same company you bought the music notebook for me) If you already did send the package then next package :) thanks!!!
I love you guys and I know this Chruch is true! I~ll have to leave at that cause I´m pushing the time!! But I love you all!!
Elder Grant Shaw Merrill

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

More Elders

Grant sounds great--I love Wednesdays!

Oi Minha Familia e Amigos!!
So this past week we got 2 more missionaries from provo!!! Yay!! They are cool dudes! And today we got another one!!! :) It´s pretty exciting!! haha. I love p days, reading e mails is just soooo awesome and makes me happy. But also in the mornings each p day is temple day. And that is theeeeeeeee best!! Ah! I love it! So E. Nascimento was extremely happy about hearing that you guys would be willing to send him letters hahaha. :) Like it made his world!! He will get me his address today I think. Yeah!!! I play piano basically every single sunday and tuesday. ( Tuesdays we have devos  [devotionals]). I should send you guys my old schedules!! I´ll see if it will fit in my next letter.. hahah. I´m sending you guys another letter, stuffed in their with a letter for hannah, phil, jess, louie, jared, and you guys. hahah. :P So we shall see!!
So every night I have been reading our search for happiness! I finished it the other night. Very good read. I also try and read every night couple of sections of D&C. Trying to keep up with my studies. :) I read out of the book of mormon and bible during personal study and I study  a chapter or section of a chapter in pmg. Everyday I also read a chapter of the bom (Book of Mormon) in portuguese. And then try and translate it. Bom language is pretty difficult in portuguese :P But It really helps a lot. I try and write words of the day. And figure them out later.
I'm SOOOO glad you guys got my letter!!! I was starting to become really worried... hahah. Hopefully that means all my letters are getting sent out. haha.Okay so yes! I bought the bom and bible in portuguese today. I tried using my debit card again but it didn't work... But I did do my credit card. So check online to see if it is working! :) Thanks :) Man I can´t get enough of the cookies!! I eat one every single p day it´s basically the best thing ever!!!
Okay funny story!! So last p day (oh btw!!! I did get your letter last p day too!!! Thank you SOO Much for the pictures. It is definietly something to look forward to and to remind myself who really matters and to keep you guys in my heart so thanks :)) Anyways so last p day we were exploring trying to find our instructor Viana´s house. Well Viana´s and Martins House. It´s really going to be Martins because he is getting married in a couple of weeks and so Viana has to go haha. They are good friends but wifey comes first :P hahah. Anyways so we went into this building that we thought was their place. But soon realized it wasn´t. We thought it was a prision because of all the bars and stuff. And we were walking all around it and stuff. We then heard some screams and shouts and soon found out that we were creeping on a elementary school!!! hahaha. Was rather funny. :P
So How´s being a high counsler??? And Hey!!! HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU PHIL!!!! :D Super exciting. :) What did you guys do?? So guys, did you send the box already?? Yeah mom I have 4 letters from Brother Minor. :P It´s bascially awesome. Got to catch up ;) hehe.Any new calling yet mom?? And How´s the leg? How´s Diana? Whoa sorry lot of questions hahaha.
I can´t wait to get all the letters from the collins that will be awesome :)P hehe. You guys are funny. That video should be taken down :P ahahha. So I sent a letter to the Christensens!! FYI!!!
Hey Dad! I have decided that I want to run haha. I´m always ahead of everyone during gym, in fact I pass a lot of people and I don´t really waste a lot of energy.. So Yes I will run when I get back!! :)
I love this new system here!! It´s more difficult but!! It´ really really helps!! One of my Brasilian roommates had to go home last week because he needs heart surgery. He won´t come back for 4 months. That´s super scary. I´m praying for him!!! :)
So this is usually the time I send off my emails fyi. So around here I´m known as the person with the really big mouth, monkey feet/ankles, can catch an apple in my mouth, do the matrix, and piano/violin man hahaha. It´s pretty funny.
I´m really wanting to go out into the field now even though i really don´t know the languauge hhaha. But I´m giving 100% of myself and won´t stop until the end!!! I love it. I always am keeping myself positive!! I think about you guys all the time but I dont´let myself dwell on missing you guys. I think about you guys to keep me going. I´m really loving being here and I'm learning all that I can in the gospel and in the language so I can become the best I can be. Btw Dad you are a crazy runner :P I´ll beat that :P hahah. jk. maybe... ;) Well I can´t wait to hear from you guys again!! :) I love you!!
Love, Seu filho,
Elder Grant Shaw Merrill!

Oh hey!! Got a little extra time. Yeah my companion is getting a lot better!! :) He just gets discouraged by the language a lot and then doesn´t want to do anything. But he´s getting better!! I just need to learn Humility and Patience. That´s the biggest thing for me haha. Pride is something I need to make sure doesn´t affect me. It´s not good and we all learn at different paces. Like I see myself as the worst in my district but i probably am not but i just see myself that way :P hahah. No worries though, I´m not discouraged I just get better each day. I try my best everyday 100% or nothing :) I love reading David´s emails!! It gives me encouragement and what I should look forward to :) Tell him I met he´s instructor and that sister Piçanha remembers him!!! haha.
Well, I probably should go now :) Time to go have fun outside!!! And then back to study study study :) Just how I like it. I really do!!! This is an opportunity for me to grow in soooooooo many ways and I will not let it pass. This is my time to grow in so many different ways and bring others unto the gospel! Love you!
elder Grant Shaw Merrill

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Yeah--we got an e-mail; P-Day Changed to Wednesdays!

Okay, so I tried to clean this up a bit. I certainly didn't change all of his grammar, etc., but hopefully you get the essence. I think he must be trying to type as fast as his mind works.

I´m using a different internet service so I can actually enter! haha. Man This week was weird and interesting!! Congrats to Adam for passing his tests! But first off yeah the new program started up and it basically made it more specific of what to study and a lot less free time. So I like it! It´s more of us teaching. Like everyday you are guaranteed to teach an "investigator." And you now have two progressive investigators. they are just your two teachers thtat you have. I have a new teacher now! His name is Iramão Martins! He´s way cool and awesome! But I´ll miss Irmão David because he will no longer be my teacher! So I´m doing a lot more teaching and only in portuguese but I can throw in english words when I don´t know. It´s still pretty broken but that´s okay that´s how I learn! haha.
So a lot of my roommates moved out into the room right next too us! 3 of them So that left me and my companion haha. But that is because we now have two brasilians in our room and they do too! It´s really fun and It really does help my portuguese a lot! I try and speak to any brasilian that I see in portuguese. They are cool guys!
This weekend I was sick again! haha. Like not good sick haha. Eventually coughing grossness hahah. Oh Cool Story!! So the other night I went to bed feeling pretty good but I then woke up in the midddle of the night like at 3. And I had a horrible horrible pain in my side that it just was unbareable! I couldn´t stand it. Every time I breathed is really when it hurt bad. So I would try and hold my breath for a while but obviously that strategy didn´t last long. Eventually I found a position that worked "the Best" but still hurt bad. I ended up accidently waking up my companion twice and the second time I asked him if he could give me a blessing (at 4:30). After he gave me a blessing like 2 minutes after I felt 90% better! It was amazing! I was still hurting just not as bad at all! It still hurts right now but never that bad again! :) hahah. Apparently I got that from coughing too hard when coughing up mucus hahahaha. So be careful of the mucus!! I´m taking some good meds from the doc to make sure i am fully healed!
So I thought you mom the other day! Well I always think of you :P but i mean I thought you because I played Consider the Lillies for the choir tuesday night! It was very pretty! Yes I am basically the unofficial official piano player. Everyone here thinks I´m a pianst gunies (man apparently not an english one cause I do not know how to spell that word haha.) **Insert from Mom--I believe he meant genius.** It´s really funny haha. They are also amazed that I can play violin just as good haha. I just like to play is all i say! So I´m keeping extrememly busy nonstop by studying gospel, portuguese, and playing music. You should see my scriptures, man they are crazy marked up haha. Speaking of! So I´m thinking of buying some nice portuguese scriptures and the bom is 44,10 R and the Bible is 21,50 R. How much is on the card?! And think it´s worth it? one R = .66 Dollars. If that helps!! by the way thanks for the medicine as well! I am using it up as well!
do my contact cases go through one bottle or two? I can´t remember I´m not running low on a bottle yet just curious :) We have a sweet thunderstorm last night! It was super loud and awesome! And some rain! We also have two new Elders in our district and I think we are expecting 2 more today! there were supposed to be 33 that were for my week. Only 5 made it! That´s amazing. I feel extremely lucky! That´s sad for Dallen! Well hey provo is just as good though :) haha. Except no brasilians and fluent speakers and that you aren~t actually in brasil. But! Still learning :) The guys that come from provo still know portuguese probably just as well. It really just matters how much effort is put into it.
So I got Jessica´s letter! Thanks Jess! :) And I got 5 from brother minor hahahah. So Yeah :P One other from david but no one else! I really do like recieving mail it feels so good :)
So I actually don´t mind TRC. It´s basically the same thing, they just try to make it even more realistic and just video tape you, but you dont even think about the video tape when doing it.
Hi Grandma!! How are you doing?!! I sure do miss ya! :) Still playing scrabble and watching music and the spoken word?! haha. I think I get my humor from you ;P hahah. You are one great gal :P hahah. Well I love you!
I will have to see Planet of Apes now dad :P And Have fun in happy camp! And up in Portland! Say hi to Arick for me! And that is super exciting and scary for Katie! haha. I feel lucky hahaha. Just kidding! I will have to find out nascimentos address! It´s weird that you are High Counselor Dad :P haha. Speaking as one though huh? Sweet. Do work. Do good Work. haha.
Well I misss you guys a ton ton!! And I love you guys a lot! You guys mean the world to me and I think about you everyday! But no worries I am fully concentrated on my mission and will be giving it 100% even if my companion doesn~t try.. I will give 100% hahaha. I wish I could think of more to say and had more time! But oh well!!! I love you guys!

Seu Filho, (your son), or whatever the relaionship is you whoever is reading :P,
Elder Grant Shaw Merrill (Shaw is just in case;))
Forgot to ask. Can you ask Sister Morgan to ask David if he got my letter? thanks mom!! I love you and miss you! This past week I was wanting to hear your voice a lot! But prayer works miracles and thats what I have learned. So for me I keep praying and I make myself stay happy, even when It´s really hard to I stay happy by staying busy. I dont´let myself have down time that way I dont get sad. So don´t worry I´m very happy :) but just know I was really missing you and Dad this week haha. And you guys pray all the time too :) OH! And How´s Diana?? Is she worse now? I remembered her in my fast sorry I forgot to say anything about it. haha.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Another Week in the MTC

Oh, how I live for Tuesdays! I love hearing from my missionary!

Oi Family and Friends!!! I´m glad that you guys found my shoes :) thats good haha. And I played violin for the devotional last tuesday. It was really really easy but fun!! I enjoyed it haha. I got Jessica´s letter the other day! And 4 letters so far from brother minor. :P i´ll keep a good look out for letters from you guys! I sent you guys one too!! Theres a letter for Grant in there if you could send please :) And I´ll be sending one to Hannah too soon so yes :) So I got myself a new bag! Same type as Phil´s but this one has São Paulo Leste (East) on it haha. Tomorrow is the start of a new program. This current program is being scrapped to a degree and this new program is taking over. Basically it´s a lot more strick and going to be a lot more of us teaching. I´m very excited for it :) Although.. we are going to be taped and I don´t like the sound of that :P haha.So you guys need to look up a talk by Jeffery R. Holland!! It´s from last year in August given at the MTC in Provo. If you find one where there is a piano/cello duet before the talk that´s the right one! One of the best and most motivating missionary talks I have ever heard! It´s just awesome!! :) So did you get any charge on my debit/credit card. I tried using it but it was being denied and then same with the credit, but it was happening to other Elders as well. But the lady cleaned it out and it started working for other people. I ended up paying with cash but I just wanted to make sure nothing unnessarily got charged! Sorry :) haha. Elder No Nascimento hasn´t gotten any letters or emails at all, even from his parents. I feel really bad for him so I think when he leaves for Columbia and I´m out in my mission area I will write to him!! So Dad youre moving up huh? :P haha. jk. High Consouler is less stressful though that´s good! Haha. I´m super excited for whe n Dallen Comes!! :) He will love it here! And Phil better keep working hard ;) hahah. So yesterday a ton of Elders left and now it feels so empty here! Missing a lot of good friends! But it´s okay they are doing good work! Theres apparently like 90+ missionaries still waiting for visas at Provo. did I tell you that? I don~t know. haha.So the national Athem playing wnet really well! It made sister Clark (President Clark~s wife) smile and shine with joy and that´s what you go for here. :P haha. I could work on it more though for next time. Not like I have anytime anyways haha. :P It´s okay keeps me busy and that is the way I like it!! haha So I have been memorizing 30 verbs a day here so you could say my portuguese is growing :) haha. I can pray and give my testimony on mostly anything I want to now. And I can understand a lot more now, but only slow or little bit slower than normal speed. I can´t understand very well normal speed hahaha. I feel like I´m progressing really well even though I still take a while to speak and have a hard time catching everything. But what can you except from like 3 weeks or whatever out, so I´m not discouraged. :) I´m doing great! We went to the temple today and I feel really crappy today (sick wise) but hey I´m serving the Lord and I´m very happy :) so that´s what matters. Thanks for mr. cheney cookies. Thye  are SOOOOOOO good :) yum yum. :) Dad get better! And Now you can fish more! haha. I want to go fishing with you in 2 years! How was the pickled beets?? Hows the fetus Jess?! :P hahaha. I never know if i´m repeating myself or not haha. so I´m getting along with my companion really nicely and I have learned lots of patience :) hahaha. A new district goal of ours is to only speak Portuguese during class time and meal times. It´s pretty difficult but a lot of fun and I learn so much more and what I need to work on more doing it that way. It´s really good for me. :) My testimony grows so much every single day. I have grown sooooo much since being here and I am finding so muchy happiness with this. I´m not even out in the filed yet but I love the people here. I love this gospel and I know it´s true! EVerything about it is true and I´m just so thankful to be out here in the field. I read Phil´s book everyday and that helps a lot. Prayer has become so important to me here. Since I can´t talk to you guys everyday, I talk to the Lord and it has blessed me so much. I stay happy constantly. I really haven´t had a sad sad moment I feel So tthat´s good :) I love you mom and dad. I love you Phil, Jess, Corinne, and you too Adam :P hahaha. Alright sadly time to sign off! Till Next week :)

Love, Elder Grant Shaw Merrill

P.S. still wish I could use the enter bar on this computer haha. Sorry!

(I added the returns at the end of Grant's letter!)