Monday, September 26, 2011

Work, Work, Work

Man what a week!! Missionary work is certainly like a rollercoaster everyday. This week we have been trying to find more people to teach, but not with much luck! It´s pretty difficult. Anyways so we had a baptism for this saturday but when we went there and got everything set up, she said that it couldn´t happen today because no one could come. So we were pretty bummed about that. But later that day we went to talk to her and we got it set up for that next day, sunday. So we kept our fingers crossed and luckily it happened!!! Yay!! Maria is very strong with her testimony and will now be a strong member of the church. The two that were baptized last week were confirmed this week. So now they are members and all´s going well!
So no matter what, I will always be emailing you on monday, even if it isn´t my p day. For example last week it wasn´t my p day because we were able to go to the temple on wednesday. That was awesome!! I´m glad that we have the opportunity to go every 3 months but I think you have to be in the city of São Paulo. Not completely sure. It´s hard to know what´s going on sometimes haha.
So I think this p day (which, again isn´t today because we have a zone conference) I will try and print pictures because I tried sending in an email and it didn´t work. But maybe next time i´m not sure!!!
It sure is hard being a missionary!! I really want to be the best I can be, but sometimes it´s really hard when you're the junior companion! My companion is really good but he does things a little differently. Like not keeping the best of records sometimes, or spending too much time at a member's house. But he is a really good missionary and when we teach, he really teaches by the spirit and lets our investigators know that we love them. We are just in a slump right now because we don´t have very many people to teach.
I´m trying my best to learn the lanuguage every day. Somedays I have no idea what to study but I study anyways!! It´s difficult and somedays when I have no idea what´s going on or what anyone is saying, I just pray.
I love Ruby already!!! I can´t wait to meet her!! Gavin will be the best big brother ever! haha. I'm glad that he still remembers me. haha.
I´m in the city of Sao Paulo...I´m pretty darn sure. haha. I really don´t know. It´s hard to know what´s going on sometimes haha. Our ward here is awesome!! The Bishop is awesome and likes to practice english with me, but I have to remind him that I need to learn portuguese haha. Oh, we also teach an english class every thursday. That´s fun! It helps my portuguese too. I was able to play the piano for sacrament meeting last sunday. That was fun as well :) Glad I had that opportunity! We eat at members' homes everyday (or at least try to) Every sunday we get a list of who we will eat lunch at. Yeah lunch is huge and then if we are lucky we get dinner. But lunch is definitely filling. I eat so much now and get so hungry. Last time I weighed myself I was 145 pounds I think not sure. It's like 66KG So whatever that is haha.
Oh how I miss little Gavin!! I´m glad he was so excited about Nursery!! haha that´s awesome!!
I´m pretty darn excited about conference this week!! Hopefully those that we have invited will come!!! And I get to listen to it in portuguese so.. let´s see if I get anything out of it!! hahah jk. I will.
Man Dad!!! You are on fire!!! 26 minutes faster huh?? You're pretty fast! "You're my hero Ferris!" hahaha. Anyways say hi to Jess and the gang (+1 more now!) Glad you guys could visit them!!!
Well, I miss you guys and think about you a lot!! You really learn the importance of families when you are away from them that´s for sure!! haha. But when I´m teaching, everything goes away and only that person matters. It definitely brings me a lot of joy. We just need people to teach now! haha. We will find some people. I did do some good street contacting the other day! haha. I´m trying to have no shame (não tenho vergonha!!) and just talking to people. I want to be the best I can be and show the Lord how much this means to me, even during the roughest parts.
Well I love you all!!
Elder Grant Shaw Merrill

Thrilled to get our e-mail--then to my surprise, he sent a another e-mail today!!!

Well, I have a little extra time to email some more! haha. I like that I can e-mail! So I have definitely learned that this church is built off the scriptures. Everytime I read them I find something in them that we do. Like it talks about keeping records in them and even things like that. We really do follow the scriptures. And every time I have had a question about something, I seem to always find it very soon while reading the scriptures!!! The scriptures are key for knowing this gospel is true because they are where the truth comes from. Revelation is scripture and so scriptures are essential. I encourage everyone to read and study and ponder them, everyday. Don´t forget a day. But study them. And study all the scriptures, not just the book of mormon, but all. There is new truth to be found in each. I love it!!
I love the time in the morning that I have to study the scriptures and preach my gospel! Oh and I get to watch DVDs! hahaha, that is the District dvds. For companionship study, which for me is 2 hours because I´m in a program that supposedly makes me ready for any position in 12 weeks. Llike I could be a trainer, zone leader, district leader in that time. We shall see haha. I´m learning the area better and members better now, but still have a hard time knowing exactly where we are. I´m sure getting a good leg work out that´s for sure. I love it haha. Oh and next package, cereal would be awesome to have or any type of food but that especially!!! Also, more of my favorite contact stuff. I´m going through that pretty quickly. Anyways just some ideas, who knows!! haha. Oh and because we have a zone conference this week, I think I get to check mail, so I will check for the package! Well, I´m running out of ideas to say, so I probably should just wrap things up.
I´m grateful for you mom and dad and I think about you everyday and how I´m trying to be the best missionary for you guys!! I pray for you everyday and hope that you guys are safe. I talk about you guys with the investigators that we have (when we have them hahah) and show them the pictures you sent me. Thanks for being the best example to me!!
Love once again, seu Filho, Amigo, e Irmão,
Elder Grant Shaw Merrill

Monday, September 19, 2011

O Campo!! (The Field!!)

Well I´m finally out here!!! I´m pretty excited!!!! So updates!! We did another proselyting trip on the friday before we left and in a way bigger spot. E. Ransom did better but still was pretty hesistant about talking to people. I don´t blame him though it´s pretty difficult when both of you don´t know what´s going on. haha. So we had tons of meetings on Monday about the field and a bunch of other stuff. It was long. That´s all about that hahah. Good just really long. But we said all our goodbyes and stuff like that and that was good. It was really sad though at the same time. Good though because we were all finally going out to were we needed to be!! haha. So yeah it was good. Said bye to my instructors. (Irmão Viana, David, Zamboni, e Marchins). Good guys. I might have the possibility of seeing Marchins again!
So The MTC is in Norte and my mission home is about 20-30 mintues away. Although, we had to leave at 5:30 in the morning because the Mission Presidente wanted to have us at his house at 6:30 for meetings again. His house is about an hour away from CTM. So it was a fun wake up call!! haha. So we had a bunch of meetings again in portuguese hahah and with breaks in between for breakfast and lunch. Let me tell ya, I thought the CTM food was good. But man, it stinks compared to home made food. I forgot how good it was!!! haha. I love it!! I have been eating some good food while out here. They really do know how to take care of you while out here!!
After all that we then went back to the mission home and got our new companions! For american´s in our mission you always start out with another american just so you can not go insane haha. But you are only allowed to speak english 3 hours a week with them. But most of the time we just speak portuguese. It´s pretty darn difficult... haha. But worth it!!! So we went to our home and we had to use the metro and buses to get there, so it´s kind of far. That's the biggest worry for me, how in the world am I going to learn where things are here. haha no idea. We shall see!!
So that night I gave my first lesson!!! It was for 2 people (grandma and grandson) getting baptized that next sunday (yesterday). And they had only a little bit left. So guess what I taught? Law of Chastity. hahah. Yeah my first lesson was law of chastity. But!!! it went not too bad!!! We went through the pamphlet and they accepted it really easily!!!
While out here I have learned way more than I thought possilbe it´s quite amazing haha. I learn so much from my companion. Oh sorry name: E. Richins. He´s from utah. haha. But he's way awesome :) He teaches me a lot everyday. And corrects me with pronunciation and helps with words i don´t know. It´s good. I try my hardest but it´s really hard to pipe in a conversation that you don´t know what´s going on. American´s speaking portuguese are easy to understand, but brazilians are quite difficult haha. But I really can tell that I am getting better everyday. There´s nothing better!!
I feel like we could be doing more with our time. It seems like we walk from appointment to appointment and that´s the exact thing we aren´t supposed to do. haha. But I think this week we are doing more contacting and I will get mroe practice in that. I am understanding about 50-70% of what´s going on. Depending on the person. Sometimes 0% if the person is impossible to understand haha.
But I am trying my best to read in portuguese only with pmg (Preach My Gospel) and pamphlets. I Still read scriptures in english for right now though.
So yes yesterday we had 2 baptisms!!! Yay!!! it was sweet! Kauê and Lucia. (Grandson and Grandma). They are way awesome people and I could really tell their sincereness for this gospel. I am really happy for their decicion and I can´t wait to help more. We got probably 2-3 potential this week for right now. But this week is young so we could get more!!! We were supposed to have 3 yesterday but Maria was a little bit iffy. I´m not sure what´s up so we are going to try and see what´s up but hopefully this sunday she will be baptized.
Church was fun! Stood up in front of everyone and said hi. They do it Preisthood, Sunday School, and then Sacrament Meeting. So that was different. Small little ward haha. Oh btw my area is called Limoeiro. I have no idea if you are able to look it up or not but you can try!!! We are in a part of São Paulo that seems more poor than others. Every street it packed full of houses and other buildings. All with gates so yes you do have to clap instead of knock!!! Cars are crazy here. Motorcycles are even crazier. But Buses are the craziest. Seriously. Mom if you thought Dad freaks you out when stopping at a red light. Wait till you try riding in one of these buses. I don´t think they would stop for anything!! haha. But! We get to our destination fast. haha.
We walk everywhere and when we need to get somewhere that´s a little bit further away we ride the bus but that´s it. haha. Met the Bishop and Counselors they are awesome! One counselor is japanese. There are a lot of Japanese people here actually. And it´s really weird hearing them speak Portuguese and with a brasilian accent haha.
In our house, we have our own washing machine and "drying" machine (hang dry!!) But I guess the washing machine doesn't do the best job but oh well!! And toliet and shower are the same. That´s strange haha. But I´m used to it now. I´ll take some pictures and send them to ya!!
Btw I think I only will be able to check mail every...3 or so weeks not sure. I will miss checking everyday that´s for sure hahaha. So because of some elder we can´t play futeball anymore (well for me never hahah) on p days so that won´t happen for me haha. no biggie though!
So A new baby for Sister Christensen!! That´s super exciting!!! Ah!!!! Pictures again!! hahah.
And I will check for the package when we go get mail!!!
I did mais ou menos (so so) with reading brother Christensen´s letter hahah. But I will try again now and see how I did. I´m glad that your foot is a lot better!!! And Visiting teaching supervisor huh?!? Spiffy! haha. That´s awesome!!! I´m not sure if i can email pictures. I will figure out how all this works and next p day send you guys a letter with pictures (hopefully) Okay?: sweet!!!
Oh my gosh!! I loveeeeeeeee Ruby!! :) She is beautiful!! AH!!! Thank you so much for the pictures. So cute. I am so happy that everything went awesome!!! I certainly am missing you guys a lot and I want to say hi to little Ruby but I will wait faithfully!! haha. Well... I love you guys and hope that all is well there!! I´m doing good and working hard each day it´s hard to do your best when you're the greenie sometimes but I will do my best because I want to make you proud and never regret a single moment. Doing work helps me forget about my worries or things that are hard in my life. It makes me happy cause I am helping someone else in their life. So I found that you just need to always be in service of others and you will forget what makes you sad or other things. Well Time for me to have a good p day! haha. I love you again and miss you all! Ciao!
Seu filho, amigo, irmão,
Elder Grant Shaw Merrill
(I put my full name because I just always have) hehe.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Today is P-Day. . .

Okay, so for the first time since Grant's p-day changed to Wednesday I didn't write my e-mail on Monday. Last night I was tired and I thought, "I'll just write him tomorrow." I even left myself a reminder note on the table so I wouldn't forget when I got home from work. So this morning at work, in comes an e-mail with one sentence: Hi!! P day is today! sorry!! A mother's nightmare--that you'll not send your missionary an e-mail. So I quickly responded, hoping that he was still online. It was a short e-mail, but it made it to him before he was done writing this. He's doing great and looking forward to leaving the MTC next week with mixed emotions! Enjoy--

Oi Familia e Amigos!!!
What´s happening?!?! So yes I sent this before I got anything from you guys but that´s okay I have next time to read them :) We have p-day today because tomorrow is dia de indepência (Day of Independence). So I´ll read them next week :)
So!!!! This week was a hard one at first but a really really good one too!!! :) I learned a lot!!! First off, I´m finishing off alma right now--about 5 or so more chapters. Ah Alma is an awesome book and I really love how much we can learn from all of it!!! It´s awesome. I´m also finishing up the Gospels and heading into the Acts. Reading about Christ´s life is really a blessing and learning everything that he did and how it can apply in my life is such a great learning experience! It´s my favorite! I have really come to love the scriptures more and more every single day!! I have also studied every chapter in preach my gospel (some more than others but all at least 1 or 2 times) except for 13 in English. I´m going back through them but after I think it will be somente portuguese! somente = only.
So funny story!!! We practiced prosyleting this week and we were practicing on each other and then went down stairs to practice on some random people. Irmão Viana (this is one of Grant's instructors) told us to practice on this worker there so me and E. Ransom went and started a conversation with him. We told him what we are all about and told him about Christ and the book of mormon and testified to him. And we left him with the book and told him he could call "this" number if he wanted more information. Well there really wasn´t a number there because it was a practice but he kept on saying where´s the number?? And we were really confused and eventually he just said "okay alright thanks!!! so... No problem right I can keep this book of mormon right?" Now keep in mind this is my really nice book of mormon. And we were like yeah of course!! And so he started to walk off with it!!! And so we were like no no no!! Wait!! We need that!!! He didn´t really understand that it was a practice run and... Irmão Viana didn't tell us but he wasn´t a member hahaha. So that was awesome :) We placed our first book of mormon and took it back in the same day!!!! hahahah.
So next tuesday I´m leaving!!! I´m pretty darn excited!!! :) I cannot wait to be out in the field if you haven´t noticed!!! haha. This week I have felt really really confident in my portuguese. I have so much to learn and I really have a hard time understanding people that speak fast and mumble but I feel like i´m doing pretty well!!! I´m really going to miss everyone here!!!! It´s actually kind of sad. Going to miss all the friends I made here. But we are all going to be serving the Lord and doing what it is right!!! We all are going to be bringing others unto Christ and that is what matters!!! I am going to miss my comapninon a lot!! (E. Ransom) I really have grown to appreciate and love him. He´s an awesome guy but he is in my mission as well, so this is not goodbye. haha.
So I just realized I just used 'So' for just about EVERY PARAGRAPH! haha. Whoops.. I´ll get more creative!!! I went prosyleting yesterday!!! BEST EVER!!!! I loved it soooooo much :) It was so much fun!!! Talked to a lot of people!!! Only passed out two book of mormons but it was fun :) Loved it. Hard to understand people but man I loved it!! :) We talked to this one guy who hated mormons and so we talked to him for a while. But it was frustrating because I couldn´t tell what he was saying a lot of times. I couldn´t defend our church and help him because I couldn´t understand him. So I just testfied but even then he cut off so we had to just let it go. But after that incident we found a guy that was really receptive and he loved everything we said and was really excited about it and took our book of mormon and marked the pages that we ask him to read. It was awesome I really felt like a true missionary then. :) We found some other pepole that already had a book and they would say: "Já tem!!!" (I already have!!) But we found a woman walking home from the grocery store that we talked to. We offered to carry her bags but she didn´t need any help. So we just walked and talked about our Chruch. All in all Awesome experience!!! love it!!! We get to go again but to a bigger area this friday!! That will be sweet!! :):)
Just another reminder: sen to the mission home!!! :) Thanks. I hope I will still get to play piano while out in the field. Because It has been a blessing that I have been able to play music and do those things that I love and preach the gospel!! I love it!!!!!
During TRC, we have been doing really good! And really nailing every lesson!!! So yesterday Irmão Zamboni (I know right?? Best Name ever. Named after ice rink cleaner :P yeah..) said that we have been doing really good and he would love to have us as missionaries if he was a non member. It really meant a lot to me and I was really excited when he said that to me because I really felt that I have progressed in preaching the gospel as well as speaking the language. It was really good.
Jess.. you getting big yet?!?! :P I am SO EXCITED!!! It´s pretty awesome :) AH!!! I cannot wait!!! This past week we had some speakers come for fireside and they brought their kids. one 6 and one 5. and they bore their testimonies. Basically: That was really weird to see someone that young speak so darn awesome at portuguese :P hahahah. I was jealous needless to say :P hahahah. I ended up not playing the national anthem this week, but someone else did. I was pretty excited to sing it!!!! But the thing was everyone said that they would have rather had me play it because.. it was really bad hhaha. I couldn´t even really sing to it!!! it was interesting :p hahah.
I have learned so much about prayer this week. Prayer is soooooo important. Whenever I feel really down I can always rely on prayer. It is my private time and I can speak to the Lord about anything. It really helps me and I really can feel the power of prayer work with me. And I really can feel your prayers working with me as well. I am so thankful for your prayers!!!
Just got your message!! Thanks :) Good to hear from you and yeah you probably won´t hear from me next week!!!
Well I know this church is true and I know the book of mormon is true. And I am so thankful for this work! There is nothing more important than that.
If you send me a package: I really want some moleskin notebooks :) Thanks!!
Elder Grant Shaw Merrill