Monday, January 30, 2012

hmm... wait a second that´s not him... TWO?!?!

Oi Família!!
So, big news, that is with the whole fact that we had an apostle come. Let´s start out. First off we all woke up, but on our best suits, white shirts, shoes, socks, garments, basically best of everything haha. And we left for Penha, where Élder Anderson would go. We arrived there and all went into the chapel. We received some instruction and we were all waiting and trying to keep quiet. Our president was as nervous as heck!! I have never ever seen him so nervous haha. Usually we are all nervous of getting burned by our president hahaha (in a good way) but this was the opposite. I think he waxed his head too hahahah. Anyways, that's not the point. We were all waiting. He got word that Elder Anderson had arrived. We all stood up and waited. Waited. Someone told us "they" were getting a drink of water. Okay. But finally he entered. My first thought: I´m pretty darn sure Elder Anderson does not have white hair like that.... wait... That´s Elder Ballard! And after Elder Ballard walked in, so did Elder Anderson. Yeah, two Apostles! I was very very excited. I learned so much from them. Also, a member of the 70 was there, I forgot his name, but I´ll remember next time. It was very awesome! Elder Anderson knows how to speak portuguese also! His accent sounded very french and sometimes he used french or even spanish words but it was very cool. Basically, it was a very spiritually uplifting experience and was awesome!
Anyways, this week was very very good! We found a family, they went to church last week and the mom and one of the sons (Damiana and Wallace) were baptized this week! It was very good :) Vitória (a filha.... daughter!) was almost baptized but she had a lot of fear. So we will help her this week and help the other children of Damiana get baptized this week that comes also. But it was very awesome and I´m so happy for them :) It´s amazing how you can gain so much love for a someone or a family in so little time! this next week I believe we will have 4-5 baptisms. It´s possible! :) the week after we have 3 marked as well!
Speaking of those 3 let me tell the story of two of them. So we were going to the house of Damiana and we were stopped by these two girls, one mom and the daughter. The mom asked who we were and everything (by the way, we were doing magic tricks for some mulekes... umm... rapazes... i don't remember..... little boys? I don´t know) Anyways, we talked to them and set up an appointment the next day. The next day we taught them the plan of salvation and asked them to pray and when they received the answer they would follow the example of christ and be bapitzed. This is what we do everytime so was nothing new. But the next time, I gained a huge testimony how the lord sends people in your way that are prepared. We asked about how the prayers were and they both (by the way we asked the daughter first because the mom was out and was returning) said that they felt really strong in their hearts that they need to do the thing we asked: baptism! Also, the mom said that we were sent in their path which I completely agree. I gained a huge testimony about that and I'm really excited to help them till the baptism and after!! :)
So sunday was crazy!!! I was running all over the place (searching for people, getting signatures and all that) And one hour before sacrament meeting two things happen. First off I'm asked to give a talk! Second play the piano. Oh yeah and my companion had to say a prayer! AHHHH haha. First time I had to give a talk that is 10 mins long and I have an hour to prepare but really i don't because i have to help our investigators also! So I spent 10 mins preparing and said a prayer and went for it. Luckily it went really well. I talked about how we can have true happiness true progressing in the gospel and serving others, especially through our home teaching! I shared the experience I had with dad--how me and him went to visit Brother Talley. I'm very grateful for that opportuinity I had and I always will cherish it :) Anyways, it was weird cause I stood up from the piano to go and give a talk and then sat back down hahahah. But I spoke for 15 mins... hahaha I just start to get going sometimes. Anyways, I had lots of people say that it was really good and they gave specific parts they liked, so I know they understood too! :) I feel really good and that my portuguese is really progressing well. I know it is, because I can´t remember some words in english now. and I as I´m writing this I´m still thinking in portuguese... it makes it difficult haha.
Hey phil I have a question: Na sua missão, você tinha quantos batismos? Same question for you dad, on your mission, you had how many baptisms. I just want to see what the difference is between here and europe. Becasue here São Paulo Leste, Elder Ballard said was one of the highest baptizing missions. But also retention is back. This is what bugs me. We have a lot of recent converts, but I hardly see them at church.. It really bugs me. This next week, we are going to visit a lot of them and try and help them. But the biggest problem is the people don't do their home teaching and visiting teaching. We have to have the help of the ward. It doesn't work without them. There are not two churches (the church of members and the church of missionaries) but there is one, we have to remember that and help out one another! That's my advice, always do home teaching. It's so important. But also, do your párt to help out the missionaries!
This saturday, I will get to go to the temple again! This time, because a person that my companion baptized will be going through the temple for a mission!!! He is very excited and me too! :) I'm actually very lucky that I get to the temple so often! :)
So let me start off the next line with that I need new jeans... hahah. It's like i'm emo or a girl. They are so tight on me hahaha. But also, I'm 70 kilos now... which is like 155 or something like that. hahaha. Basically I gained a lot! But! I'm normal now :) I'm not fat just normal finally :P hahah. Also it helps that I work out... hahahah. But yeah, new jeans would be nice... I don't know what size yet, I'll let you know just keep that in mind :D
Two funny stoires! Both with drugs! Kind of... First! We were walking along and I was telling a story to my companion when he suddenly stops me and says: Look there! I looked to my side to see this man walking. but then he stops and turns to the side. Take note also we are walking pretty darn fast. He continues to walk and stop and turn to the side. He just keeps doing this. And the whole time he is walking extremely fast that he gets out of our sight. It was the strangest thing I saw, but pretty hilarious.
The other: So we were walking to our next appointment at night; we were late. So I said, let's take this way, I know it's faster and Elder Richins took it when we were late. We didn't like to take it too often because it's more dangerous but yeah. So we started off and we got pretty far but then we got to one point where I didn't remember if it was left or right. So I got to the end of the road and I just stood there. Thinking hmm... left or right left or right. And my companion just bolts past me saying, " Vai Vai Vai Vai!!!!" or "Go!" I was very confused but I followed him and he's like: Man you're crazy! Still very confused! I asked him Why am I crazy? He says because we had stopped right in front of a drug deal and there was a guy that was walking towards us with a knife hahaha. Then I said: "Oh." hahahaha I didn't even realize that had happened hahah but okay.
Anyways, I'm glad you finally got some pictures! yay! haha, and yeah I have duck tape on my belt! It would be really cool if Mitt Romney won!! That would be really exciting! :) The members here are talking about it a lot. Oh hey HAPPY BIRTHDAY DAVID!!! I sent him a card but I had to say that too! :) So gentry reed is going to brasil too?!?!?! CRAZY!!! But knew it hahah. That's awesome! Yeah, I wish I could send you some of the rain here. We get rain everyday here and it's hot still haha. And tell brother marks I will e mail him. Not sure about this week because I sent you guys a long e mail today but I will :)
A GIRL!! :) Yay! To tell you the truth, I forgot to even guess what it would be... But! A girl! I'm so very excited :) I will need pictures when it happens! When will it happen by the way? I did get the pictures you guys sent me in hawaii!
And yeah dad, we have mission conferences a lot actually haha. Our president is really awesome. He always gives the conferences and really inspires all the missionaries. He knows what is right :) by the way, I'm very excited that when I come home, there will be a new carpet :P ahahaha. I can't wait to see all the new things that happen :) Did you know they have Outback here as well. It's not in my area. We do have a mcdonalds but i've never gone haha. It's funny, here mcdonalds is EXTREMELY expensive. It's like if you took a girl on a date and took her to mcdonalds, that's impressive hahahah.
Anyways, this week was really good. My companion has taught me a lot about faith and really a lot. He's an awesome guy and I'm gald to be working here in Limoeiro one last transfer, I really think this is my last transfer here. It will be hard to leave, I really love the people here. But a new area will be good too :) Anyways, I love you guys too much and I hope that all is well! Especially with the new baby coming too! :)
Com amor,
Élder Grant Shaw Merrill

Monday, January 23, 2012

Elder Neil L. Anderson

So this is a very VERY exciting week!! We are getting a visit from the Apostle Elder Neil L. Anderson! This thursday! Ah, it´s super super exciting! I don´t know what I will do! I´m pretty darn excited. That´s all I know! haha. This past week was transfers and I stayed! :) Excited for that! My new companion is american and his name is elder Hedrick. He´s way awesome! He´s a lot like me so we get along perfectly. He´s a really great missionary and already taught me a lot. He has 1 year and 4 months on the mission so he will be going home in like september I think. But he´s way awesome and i´m really excited to start working hard with him.
This past week we have been reinventing our area. We have been trying to make as many contacts as possible and talk with as many people as possible! I´m very tired now but it´s very rewarding. Busy busy busy. But we had 5 people at church yesterday and 2 of them are marked for this up coming week! We are working with a family that is really cool. They are really chill and like us a lot. But that´s also a problem. It´s really easy for people to have testimonies of you but of the church is harder. So we need to make sure that when we teach we are teaching by the spirit and to show them the truth and not to have them like us. There´s a fine line but we are doing really good :)
Elder Diniz (my last companion) funny story! He left us a present... But not one we wanted. So the monday before he left for home he decided to get really sick hahaha. And so we went and ate bbq and went back home. He went and layed down complaining about his stomach. We had to go get our hair cut but we had to wait for him first. Then out of no where we see him running into the bathroom and vomits right where we take showers. He sounded like some sort of dying animal hahahah. It was pretty gross. But anyways I didn´t even want to look, we went to the hair cut place. He threw up 2 times there. One of the times, didn´t quite make it to the bathroom all the way hahaha. So anyways we went back home and the vomit didn´t go down the drain! It stayed and smelled horrid!! The next day came and i didn´t take a shower and we switched companions. After me and elder hedrick took our squeegee (how do you spell) and shoved it down the drain. Finally, it started to drain a little bit but the smell didn´t leave until 2 days ago hahahah. Moral of the story, if you feel sick don´t eat bbq and leave a chunky present in the bathroom :p hahaha. But I think he was really really nervous to return home.
Oh hey! I heard Mitt Romney is doing really really good. How good is he doing? And I heard about a cruise in rome. What happened? Also, a cool present would be tom´s toothpaste, I like it a lot :p yeah I buy toothpaste here, but tom´s toothpaste is so much more awesome :P hahah. Anyways...
So I´m glad you guys liked hawaii, it is pretty awesome :P Oh before I forget, watch 17 miracles. It´s awesome! :) anyways. Sounds like you guys had a really really good time :) From the minors I received snacks from harry and david SO GOOD! THANKS! :) And I got the hymn book from hannah! :)
Here it rains just about everyday right now and also thunderstorms everyday. With that being said, it´s hot. hahaha. It´s hot even when it rains haha. But that´s okay :) Anyways, got to go soon, today isn´t p day because we are having an apostle coming! Eu estou mutio animado e eu sei que vou aprender bastante. Nós temos uma grande opportunidade aqui e vou aplicar todas as coisas que eu aprendo! I love you guys so much! Tchau!

(Translation by Phil of the last 2 lines:  I'm really excited & I know I will learn a lot. We have a great opportunity here and I will apply all the things that I learn.)

Com amor,
Élder Grant Shaw Merrill!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

transfers! 6 months!

So I didn't get this posted earlier in the week. This is Grant's January 16th e-mail--enjoy.

Tomorrow is transfers!! Exciting! I´m about 90 percent sure I will stay here in limoiero because my companion is going home! :) Let me tell ya, he is darn excited! :P haha. I will miss him though, he´s a pretty awesome guy and good missionary. What I´m wondering is if i will be companions with a leader of district again or not! haha. Since the beginning I have been and so it´s all i know! haha. So I´ll let you know if i stay, go, become senior or what! alright? alright!
Funny story but not super funny. Just was funny to me haha. We were walking here and i started cracking up like crazy and my companion thought I was crazy haha. But it was because I started remembering the time when adam forgot about jessica in the snow (or something like that) and when he picked her up finally, he threw a snowball at her and it hit her in the back of the head or something like that. Anyways, so I just started cracking up because of that haha.
We went to the temple again! Man, I´m really grateful for this opportunity I have to go to the temple so often it´s good. :) I bought some more stuff that I´m excited to show you guys! haha. I also understood everything that was said in the temple. That made me feel like I´m progressing! haha.
Oh hey dad! Want to know something that should make you feel good? Almost everytime people see your photo people think you are my "25 year old brother" hahaha, and they are surprised to hear what your age is! haha. hey phil left for his mission in ´07 right? anyways, want to know what they think about jessica? Usually: girlfriend hahaha and that gavin is my child haha, but other times they can imediately tell that she is my sister because of the smiles haha. people say that I am a male version of jess.... well, that is good because i have a goodly looking sister but that´s weird hahahah.
the end of transfers are always really slow here. But this week we have some good possibilites. I will be redoing our map soon (as soon as our secretary comes back...) and I will be really working with the membros menos ativos... less active memebers this week! I´m exctied to be working with my new comp, and with this I really hope I will stay, but I´m pretty darn sure I will!
So How's hawaii?!?! so jealous! haha. I bet it´s awesome! so what will you do with me when I get back?!? well... I guess i am in brasil now, so that is pretty awesome too ;) hahah. I got really confused when you wrote 40 degrees in medford, because here, that is EXTREMELY hot hahah. I forgot you are referring to faranheit haha. but the weather here is crazy. first off, yeah it´s always hot, but that doesn´t mean anything for rain haha. it rains just about everyday here and we have been having thunderstorms like crazy here too! I like it though :) Just not the rain hahaha.
The letter with hearts on it was for someone else, the secretario of the mission mistook my name for someone else hahaha :P haha. And I received a small package from the minors and hannah! Thanks :) :) It was sweet! But I always finish off the food too fast... hahaha.
Mom... José is crazy. hahaha. Last time I saw him, he had a gun on him hahahah. Man he´s a funny guy and crazy haha. But everytime I try and show him why it´s okay to have children. I just wonder how his wife is doing! haha. And aunt marian! I use an internet café! Lan house as it is called here. Hey ask phil if he knows a sister moreira! That´s the name of my presidente but also of a sister that served a mission around the same time phil did! So ask him :) haha.
Hey I used the credit card! Sorry! but this past week, i had like no money at all. So just letting you know! Used it twice actually O_o haha.
So you guys went to bubba gump shrimp huh? how was it? jealous de novo! jealous again! haha. but that´s okay :) I eat foreign food everyday ;) hahaha. Even if it is the same thing :P hahah. Anyways I´m excited to know who my companion is later tonight! :) I love reading your emails every week! It gives me great strength. And I always try and keep in mind, is this what mom would expect of me? Helps me do my best! :) I know I´m where I should be and I'm grateful for all the experiences I´m having!
I now want to see President and sister swenson (david´s mission president)! He said they look like you guys mom and dad :P must be good looking hahah. Anyways, until next week! Btw (made 6 months this week! :D)
com amor,
Élder Grant Shaw Merrill!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Working away..!

I am including the first paragraph of my letter to Grant--it will help explain his comment about Costco in his letter--Coleen

First I want to tell you about my experience at Costco yesterday that had me thinking about you--I had to go to Costco to pick up my new glasses. Well, when I got there it was crazy busy--like the week before Christmas type busy. Parking was a nightmare. I eventually found a spot way far away, but as I pulled into the spot there were 2 shopping carts blocking the spot. I was less than happy. I hopped out of the car and moved the carts (grumbling a little under my breath) and then hopped back in the car and parked. As I was walking through the parking lot to Costco, I thought--"Grant would not have been happy to see those carts. He would never do that or let me do that. I am glad for that." Okay, so maybe my story isn't as good as the stories you share, but it made me think about you and smile.

Man what a week... Let me tell ya, I do not like the holidays to work here. No one really wants to hear ya haha. That being said, all of our investigators that I thought were good, all fell through or we had to cut them. Times are sometimes difficult, but I know that there will be results as long as I am doing my best and giving my all.
The smoothies by the way were really really good! Thanks! I could use like 20 more! haha. And it worked to freeze the bananas, I just didn´t have a ice maker at the time and I need to buy one still.
So mom, I loved the costco experience! haha It was great! Glad you are following my counsel! hahaha! Tem que seguir meu conselho! I´ll be sending the christensens a letter soon so no worries! Hey do I have grandma´s address? I don´t know. Hey also I had something that I would like to receive in a package...but right now I can´t remember what it is!
I´ll try and send the pictures again, I´m using interenet explorer this time and not firefox like usual so maybe it will give! don´t know though. By the way, I had a weird expeirence. There was one day this week that nothing was going right (well..more than one, but not the point :P) and we were both super tired and everything and we ran into this guy who started talking english to me. Well this happens a lot actually but usually people just ask "What´s my name?" and no I didn´t error they truely ask "my" name and not "your" hahaha. I dón´t know why but it´s funny :P anyways, so I started talking to him..but in português because we aren´t allowed to speak english on the streets, but I was so tired and fed up with that day that when he asked me to talk with him in english.. I tried. But I honestly couldn´t remember how to say certain things or like that manner in which you say it. it was really weird! haha
We have a new rule now that we can´t drink coke! I´m kind of excited about that... because now I have a reason to deny coke! :] yay! hahaha.
Like I said, this week was really hard, especially because my companion will be leaving next tuesday for home, it makes it even harder to work full force!! But also because nothing was seeming to go right. But this next week I´m going to be redoing our map here with new lists of members and all of that and I will be working a lot with the members less actives here! they really are a big help actually. Well the ones that like the church and want to return, they help a lot, because they are friends with non-members! It makes it easier!
Oh I think I meant tchau. I´m pretty darn sure it´s tchau, but in all honesty I´ve never had the opportunity to spell it out hahah. Kind of sad huh? hahah. but yeah good-bye!
WHAT?!?! You´re going to hawaii?!? Carumba! E agora? O que eu vou fazer? Droga. hahahaha. Alrighty you guys can go! but you owe me ;) hahaha. Something, I don´t know what! haha.
So I´m glad dad´s missing me too ;) hahah. btw where did dad´s inserts go? haha just kidding :P Hey also dad in 2013 I will be running with you! okay? You know what I´m excited for?  21 of december 2012! I have been waiting for this day forever! Hey I ran into crazy José this week too, he went to church again hahaha. He wanted to show me revelation 14:4. I said okay... and showed him the verse in genesis that says fruticai...and multiplicai.. .I forgot how it goes in english. Man! haha. but anyways it was fun. Sorry there wasn´t a lot that happened this week, was kind of a slow week, but tomorrow will have a training meeting that will be really good! btw the way, I think i received a package and an elder said that I received some letters, one with random hearts on it and from new hampshire. What?!?! But alright sweet! I love getting letters with hearts on it!! hahahaha. and did hannah send a package?
Once again sorry there isn´t a whole lot to talk about this week, but there will be more next week promise!! Anyways, Love you family! I´m trying to make you proud :) and ...have fun in hawaii... hahahaha. e continua a ler as escrituras, especialmente o livro de mórmon! :) até mais!
com amor,
Élder Grant Shaw Merrill!

Monday, January 2, 2012

New Year! Que guerra!


What´s up my family? What a week! These past two weeks are probably some of the hardest. No one really wants to hear you message because it´s christmas time and new years so everyone is just stuck in their house or partying it up. So that does make it hard. But we did have a baptism this week! Sônia was baptized! I´m really grateful for that and I really hope she starts using the gospel in her family to help her family and bless it! Something random but I learn a lot is how not to be a dad. Sadly but true, I have learned how I don´t want to be a dad. It´s just interesting what some people think it is right haha. Random thought :P haha.

So new years eve night... I did not sleep one bit! I tried, but let me tell ya, the people don´t let anyone sleep haha. Fogos, fireworks, are going off almost every second non-stop and it´s so colorful I love it, but so loud :P. It was like a war! It was so cool! Loved it.. But it really was like a war, just shots going off every second non-stop. This happened with christmas too, but this was way worse haha.

I got the letter of Jessica! well.. not letter hahahaha. but picture ;) hahah. It was sweet :P Thanks Jess!

So Jared is an elder now?!?! Awesome :) When will he put in his papers? He should leave like... now :) thanks :) haha. Man Si Casa Flores (first off, should be Sim :P if it was in portuguese and Casa de Flores) anyways, that sounds really good. :) ..jealous.. BUT do you guys get to buy a pineapple from brasil and make juice out of it?!?! Yeah... I do love the juice her :)

How was Jacksonville? Was good? And sherlock hOLMES qual?...which...? Kyra will be bapitzed?! Man! That´s awesome :) haha. Tell her that I wish I was there to support her! :) But I´m there in spirit :) thanks haha. Man I´m missing all the good talks huh? hahah. Pojo is back too?! Man... The time is here is going to go by too quickly for my likings. I´m liking it here too much :P haha.

Say hi to phil and corinne for me before they skidadle (Just used that word!! :P) i feel umm... falta... of them.. gosh sorry, how do you say that.. i MISS them, remembered! yes :) Can´t wait to receive the letter from you guys!

Did you get the photos by the way? I never know.. haha. I had something else to say but I don´t remember it.. But hey, this next week will be good. I´m workin hard, trying to improve myself as much as possible. Somedays, it is super hard to even just lift myself out of bed. But other days, I can't stop moving. I just know I need to be consistante and "hard all the way" (thanks phil ;)) haha. Christmas and New Years passed well and now is the new year, new focus for us missionaries in são paulo (which this is year is be preach my gospel missionaries), and a new start! Also, my portuguese is getting better! I can really start to tell more and more. But I need to study more and more every day. That is something I can´t stop is studying the language. Anyways, don´t have a lot to say haha. But I LOVE YOU GUYS SO MUCH TOO! hahaha. Beat that! anyways, Thanks for being awesome! T´chau!

do melhor filho, amgio, e irmão:
Élder Grant Shaw Merrill!