Monday, April 30, 2012

good week! :)


Alright! So this week was very good! Well.. It had it´s ups and downs but that´s okay it was good in the end! So Alessandro, the kid we were teaching, ended up going to jail. So that was kind of a bad part of our week. We have been trying to get him baptized for a couple of weeks so far and nothing was happening and he ended up going to jail. But we are teaching his dad and trying to help him out and he´s really cool. So there´s some progress there. But the awesome part of this week was that the sunday before we met this kid named Caio. Aparently he has been going to church for 1 year and 3  months and that he was never baptized! I didn´t even know that... haha. So we met up with him and it was because his parents weren´t allowing it at all. But we just went there explained somethings to her and she let it be and his dad too. We were going to baptize him yesterday but it turned out some relatives wanted to see his baptism, so we have to wait this sunday that comes now. But I´m super super excited now :) :)

Also, i forgot to tell you. But here in Jacareí, there´s a lot of random people riding horses haha. Like a lot. It amazed me how many people do that. But it´s dang sweet haha.

Yes, I´m very excited to talk to you guys too here in a little bit! It´lll be very exciting. I´m pretty sure we can use skype again! And this time, it will be a richer person´s house, so it will work fine :P hahaha jk :P kind of haha. I loved the peanut butter by the way! Very good! Elder Holland spoke in english and had a translator. I´ll try and sned you guys a letter soon, sorry i´m slacking! That was cool that you guys saw alan! I´m sure he´s doing great! :) 

Dad, i know you´ll be read yfor your race when the time comes :P and you´ll own it :P haha. But Sorry, I got to go already, I promise I´ll write more next week! I love you guys!! :)

Com amor,

Élder grant Shaw Merrill

Monday, April 23, 2012

Elder Holland is the Man!


First off, got your package! Woot! yay! It was sweet! I loved it sooo much :D The frisbee was sweet! One problem. My razor is series 1 and the head was series 5. So it didn´t work :/ but thanks :) We already ate the oreos hahah. Also the apron was sweet and the jeans fit! Also, rolos are yummy thanks! And thanks for the journal and new belt and other sweet stuff! Got my card too! I actuallly thought, hmm.. well, usually there´s money that goes with cards, but what will it be this time, ah yes! Unlimited money!!! hahah jk jk :P Anyways, it was awesome and a very good birthday! :) Thank you!

Élder Jeffery R. Holland is the man! So we went to Penha and listened to him and some 70´s as well, and man, it just was the sweetest thing ever!! yes, loved it. Elder Holland is so passionate about his mission it´s amazing. He really made me think about my mission and how I want it to be. Because he talked about how his mission was the changing part of his life. How his mission has shaped his life more than any other person he thinks. He made a promise saying that he cannot promise how many baptisms we will have, but he can promise that we all can have at least one conversion. Ourselves. Because we are all the Lord´s investigators. We are little bit ahead, had more lessons, showing more faith, etc. But we are still his investigators in the gospel. He said all our converts had the right to see us in 20 years and still be faithful in the gospel. He talked about how we are asking them to pray, read, show their faith, go to church, sacrifice, and do all this, so how can we not do it and let them down. they have that right from us. He said that it seems like the Savior was less impatient with a certain group of people. Pharissees, Saudees, (i have no idea how to spell those names) scribes, etc. Why? Because they preached something but they didn´t live it. they were hypocrites! Hypocrites were always the group of people most offensive to the lord, even during the restoration. (they draw near to me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me). So, we cannot be hypocrites and we must live what we preach and we must be converted. This has made me think about where I want to be at the end of my mission and thought about what my mission should be doing for me. Well, I thought of 3 specific things that I wrote a lot more about in my journal. The mission prepares you to be a parent, a spouse, and a leader. These 3 things can be achieved through the mission. And with each one of those things, a firm faith in the gospel is required. So us being converts has to happen. We must be one of our converts from our mission. That is required. Man, just hearing and listening to Elder Holland was amazing. He said so much, I didn´t bring my notes, but I´ll show you someday. That was just something that stuck out to me and made me realize even more that a mission is not just a time of competition of how many baptisms and how you get them. But it is how you leave them and how you come out of it. He talked about that it is not leading them to baptism and that´s it. We are to lead them to baptism and then lead them to the temple. There´s this family that I baptized in Limoeiro that I´m going to be writing tons of letters and emails just trying to do everything I can so that when next Christmas comes around, they can be prepared to go to the temple. That is my goal, to be there and see them go through the temple. We are helping people become saved, but if we know anything about that, baptism is the start. We have baptism, confirmation, priesthood (for men), endowment, marriage sealing. That is our job. To invite others to come unto christ, by helping them receive the restored gospel, through faith, repentance, baptism, receiving the holy ghost, and for some it ends there. But it must continue, there is the last one that some missionaries forget about: endure to the end. We must help them with that part as well! anyways just some thoughts this week.

So anyways, the holland dealio was motivating and all :) hahah. We were working hard with alessandro this week. But it was so hard to find him at house, i was getting frustrated because in the end he was interviewed and wasn´t baptized. It was just a little bit frustrating but he is still progressing, we just got to teach him better. anyways, Valdir we have to wait to teach him, because going to church for him is against the law for him right now, because he can´t be super close to his daughter, so we have to wait on that now hahah. But we will continue again when the probation is over. It´s such a weird situation because everyone needs the gospel but you have to respect the law and all haha.

But the work is really progressing here, I just hope to see some better results this week. :) I´m so glad you turned back to windows computer :P haha Mac doesn´t even exist here really. I know it does, but no one has one. haha. Thanks for the money update, now i know i need to use my money more wisely hahaha. But now i have the other card, so we're good hahah :P I liked the story about phil :p that was great haha. I can´t wait for the day, when I will meet Grandpa Shaw. That´s a day i´ve been waiting for forever. Which means I also can´t wait for the second coming. Elder Squires was Elder Schenk´s companion. He´ll get random phone calls from doctors to make sure he´s okay as well hahah. He´s way awesome! I like him! Random thought, we were watching the restoration last night with deutsh (how do you write that?!) subtitles and now I´ve learned some of that language too :P I already decided after the mission I will learn japanese hahah. :)

Insert--This is what I wrote to Grant that helps make sense of the above:

You bring me such joy, Grant. I was reading through parts of my old journal from when Grandpa Shaw died and right after you were born. You were a light in my life then and now. It was really hard on me when Grandpa died and when you were born, you helped bring light back into our little family. I laughed really hard at one thing--when you 2 or 3 months old Phil asked me if we were going to keep you and I told him yes. He said, "Good, because I like him."

I got the picture of the tour of italy... man good tasting, sooooooooo jealous :P but that´s okay, I get rice and beans everyday ;) hahah. Well, hey! Grandma Merrill has that book of her history right? I want to read that someday. Also, I´m definitely going to do family history when I get back.

Anyways, I gots to go now and do stuff to relax and get ready to teach some peeps tonight :P We´ll be eating dinner with some of our investigators tonight. Let´s bring them to church this week ;) yes I agress lets! WOOT!!! I love you guys and I think of you often. I have random moments where I remember funny things and I laugh to myself. Like when dad was soooo mad because he had to go to the bathroom, but he was on the jetboat so he couldn´t. hahaha :P anyways, até mais! Eu amo vocês mutio. Mais do que vocês conseguem imaginar! Pois é! então, essa semana foi boa e essa semana vai ser mutio melhor. Por favor, não faça coisas que eu quero fazer :P estou bricando... só em poucinho. :P Tchau!!

com amor,
Élder Grant Shaw Merrill

Monday, April 16, 2012


So good luck--I'm not really doing any editing on this one--it's a great letter--Grant is doing so well--it's just his English and/or typing skills that might be in question!!!


First off... Russia?!?!! WHAT?!?! That´s so crazy! Nossa, cê é loco! that´s awesome, he´s going to love it! So it will be... a whole year till i see that kid, after I get back from the mission. Man.... I miss him! But he´s going to love it! You got to say hi for me and give him my best love :) He´s going to love the mission and GAH! that´s just too crazy!

So, what a good week! One of the better weeks I´ve had in this area. We have been working like crazy this week and just trying to find tons of new people and just help the ala... ward... out too. In the end, sunday came and we were blessed! So first off, we had this lesson with this rapaz (still don´t know a word for it in english very well... I guess young man) that´s dating a girl in the ward and we had the lesson with him and her family. The dad was all pumped up and waants him to be baptized like now, which I do too, but it was just funny how pumped up he was. Which makes sense because his daughter is dating someone out of the church haha. So anyways, we taught him the gospel of jesus christ and it was also kind of awkward because he was hugging his girlfriend the whole time and being all snulggly with her hahaha. But anyways, it was still a good lesson and i felt the spirit really strong and we invited him to church (his name is Gabriel) this sunday and he totally was going to go but because of miscommunication between us and the dad (we thought they were going to pick him up) he didn´t come. Anyways, we will continue teaching him this week and hopefully he will go to church and then continue to be baptized.

But that wasn´t the miracle that happened. During this, this week we have been trying to get in contact with Alessandro that went to church this week passt. But it was really hard, becaue he lives far away and he works from morning until 6 and then goes to school from 7-11. Also, his mom (on saturday) said he was sleeping but I had told her that we had marked an appointment with him that day but she said she would not wake him up. I got flustered up with her a bit and saying that alright, fine I´ll wake him up and it will be my fault. I just really wanted to teach him and also, it really was him who are marked the appointment so I knew he was waiting for us. But she didn´t let me and I had to let my companion take over the rest hahah. So we only ended up talking with him on friday with a recent convert of 2 years. But there wasn´t any time for a lesson. We just invited him to go to church again with his dad and we would get him a ride. oh funnyk story really quickly. When we left with the recent convert (his name is anderson) we started going to the house of alessandro. And Anderson really wants to go on a mission and was going to sell his motorcycle to help, but it got stolen. So, he was really bummed about that, but I know the lord will give me a way to go! but that´s not the funny part. Alright so, We were walking and there was this girl that he knows and he went up to her and put his arm around her and said, "Have you heard of the true gospel?" hahaha it was great. Also, with some random kid he just asked, "hey how old are you?" "12" "Deacon awesome!" hahah, it just was cool to see how animated he was about the work :P Aniyways back to the story of Alessandro! All in all, sunday came and we found no one to help us give us a ride and we couldn´t go to his house by bus to pick him up, because bus takes a looooooooooong time here. So all in all the dad and him didn´t go to church. I was super bummed because he was our best investigator we had had. But later that night we went to ward consel and he just happened to show up. I guess he had asked Pedro, our ward mission leader, if he could go to the activity at the church that sunday night and Pedro was like, you don´t need to ask, I´m coming to pick uyou up! So anyways, we ended up just teaching him the gospel of christ, giving him a book of mormon, to pray, and invited him to be baptized this next sunday! He accepted and was really wanting to follow Christ in his life. He´s a great kid and I know that he will be baptized. Now, we just have to do our part and help him learn and keep the commandments this week. The only way we can teach him though is 6h30-7 walking to his school so it will be interesting but good. Tomorrow we will teach him the word of wisdom and help him stop drinking coffee (which is always super easy to do with people that want to be baptized). But anyways, it really was a miracle.

Another miracle that happened. We went to church with no one at church. I got disanimated because of that and just didn´t know how we were going to have any success with this happening! But Elder Squires (an elder from the branch here [here there is a ward and a branch and I´m part of the ward. We meet at 8h30-11h30 and the branch meets at 9-12, what lucky bums :P]) said hey you need to talk to a visitor thats here, so right as I heard that, I went running into the chapel and say a guy sitting next to a recent convert. Went over and talked to him and got to know him. He  is the dad of that recent convert and we set up an appointement to talk to him tonight at the chapel. because he can´t be taught at his home because it isn´t his home. Also, here´s the thing. He lives somewhere else than the rest of his family and he ca´nt visit them because of the mom (I don´t know the situation entire) So he said to his daughter that he will get baptized in her church just to see her. So, we can have a baptism this week, but the daughter doesn´t want him to just get baptized for that reason. Which makes complete sense, because baptism is a promise we are making to God and not just to see your daughter at church. So, this week we are going to really work with him to be baptised for the right reason. But we also have let the daughter know that she needs to help him have a testimony at once.

Also, at the ward consel! First off, a week back or so, we had talked with the bishop and some of the liders of the organizations to get 15 families that have members inactives or families that have non-members in them and we were going to start working with that. We also asked about the plan of the mission of the ward. So what had happened was that during the ward consel the bishop just basically said we need to do better as a ward. They had all talked about things they could do to help us and all that. and now instead for 15 families we will recieve 35-40 families! Wow! Also, all next month, the memebers will be visiting these families as well! I´m super excited about that. They are also creating a ward mission plano and just getting really excited. The ward is wakening up and the work is progressing well.

Hey, also, Elder Squires has a brother that is working in north carloina with the same exact thing as phil is. He name is Cody Squires. So, if he knows a cody that´s the brother of the missionary that lives here with me! Alright so transfers came and went. Me and my comp (elder Jackson) stayed :P and I´ll kill him off now hahaha. otherwords this is his last transfer :P. He´s way cool! He´s taught me a lot about our purpose being more than just baptising. That´s probably one of the biggest things that I´ve learned with him. Oh but this being all said, I didn´t become senior companion still. But  that´s  okay just there is more for me to  learn! :)

It´s weird, I have to remind myself that I´m 20 years old now. but I´m still a child :] You can never take that away :P hahah. I´ve been trying to send some pictures but I´ts not working! So I´ll print off some and sent them to you. Sorry, it´s been a alittle bit that i´ve written a hand written letter to you guys. I´ll do that soon :) Hey and thanks for the info about astronomy and hockey :) because also, I was talking with an elder my plans after the mish and his plans and for my plans to work better I need to switch my track to fall winter. Which within my plans (haha sounds evil :P) it requires me working like the next day I get home haha. So get on top of that. But with all that being said, I´m at this stage that I don´t want to go home at all. LIke, I get sad thinking about it (the fact that I will go home hahaha) but don´t worry mom, I still love you and want to see you, just don´t want to be home yet :) But I guess that´s how it should be haha :) Speaking of, mother´s day is coming up and if we can use skype I will be using skype in the same house that you saw the pictures of me and you will be able to hear me a lot better. (they are rich :]) Also, thanks for the address of Louie! :)

That´s good that Jonathan got his visa so fast! And I´m still amazed that Jared is going to Russia, That blows my mind hahaha :P I´m glad she got my letter! I still got to write Jordan whoops O_o. Im slacking a little bit on my letters. but I´m trying to catch up haha.

Yeah, it´s cool about Marriner Wood Merrill! it´s also crazy that he had 8 wives and 43 children! Man, he really obyed the spirit of law huh? hahaha. Anyways, I don´t know why but recently I´ve been really into family history stuff. Which is why I just want to talk with Grandma and just record the whole thing and just tell, alright start telling stories hahaha. :P Also, I want to read the book that was made of the family history on her side. Wasn´t there one made? Hey also, do we still have all that work that Grandma Shaw did as well? Because after the mission I would love to look at all that stuff and just get started with family history and really learn more. One of the only things I know is that my ancestors from both sides comes from England right? Hey mom, who was the first person in you line (the shaws) that was baptized into the church? Was it from the beginning? Because I know Marriner was bapitzed like... 1856 or something like that. Anyways, just my mind going crazy :P hahah.

So yeah, this saturday is when Elder Holland will come. And yeah, we just have to have money in our account to show we can make it and yeah we can go :) So I´m VERY excited to learn so much :) Yeah, we shoke elder ballard and elder anderson´s hands. It was awesome :) we were going to take a picture, but they arrived late, but still very awesome :) An expierence I will not forget :)

Not transfered, not new companion, and didn´t recieve the package! But I´m pretty darn sure this saturday I will receive the package. I can´t wait for it :) Hey also how is my IRA account and my savings and checking account? Because yeah I had to loan some money to Elder squires for transfer. That´s hwy there was a big take out of it recently. I don´t want to spend so much. That´s something I´m learning to: how to manage my money better haha. So slowly but surely I´m trying to get better with that. The probelm is every two on the mission we get 125. But that goes very quickly because we use the bus 2-3 times a day. And it´s 3 reais (real is the currency here reais is plural and yes it does mean "real" in english as well but it isn´t pronounced like that) per bus. So it gets expensive. Also, sometimes lunch falls and the sisters forget to give us money on sunday. And we have to buy food for breakfast and dinner. So I end up with nothing very fast hahah. But I´ll get better.

Hey I heard that Elder Schenk had sat up in his bed and started walking as well! I heard that he is in SLC now as well? If so, I´m super happy with his progress and realizing the miralce of prayer and fasting that is happening here. I´m so glad he is progressing well!

Dad you got to get your foot feeling better! :P I´ll pray for it ;) hahaha. But hey, I´m definitely going to start up running and run with you alright? alright :) But anyways, it´s always good to hear about your new running project :) Also, I´still want to build a computer with you too! Just thought I would throw that in there... hahah. Man, I´m just really pumped for this next week and really excited to teach people the simple truth. I´m praying for help this week to get what we need to get done. There was a quote by Abraham Lincoln that Phil gave to me before I lefet on the mission. It´s more or less like this: "When I pray, I pray like all depends on God, But when I act, I act like all depends on me." I really liked this because if we want a miracle to happen, if we want to really have success in our lives, it requires fervent prayer to God, and then doing all you can to do the Lord´s will! Anyways, I wrote lots for ya to read and I miss you all and I´ll talk to you next segunda-feira... how do you say that.... Monday! so Until then and also until mother´s day! Sorry, I never sent anything for you mom on your birthday (like a letter), I was thinking about the other day. But hey HAPPY LATE BIRTHDAY and I´ll try be a better son :P hahaha. Hey IF i sent stuff sometime in the future (as a pacakge) what sort of stuff would you like to recieve? Just keep in mind this is just an idea for right now. Well, anyways, I´m going to head down and rest and write letters and eat. :) and then work :) Tchau! Tchau!

Com Grande Amor,
Élder Grant Shaw Merrill!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Let´s read the weekly letter....hmm...WHAT?! awesome :)

Note:  We were in Rexburg this weekend and when we e-mailed Grant not only did Evan & I write, but at the bottom, Phil, Corinne & Grant Collins (Grant's cousin) each added a note to Grant--thus the title of this week's post.


What a good week/alrighty week. First off the alright part. Paloma, the girl with who we have been working, didn't get baptized this week, and it seems like now that she is fleeing from us, so that's not super fun. I've been trying to think where did we go wrong and what we could have done better. But now, it's a little too late. But with the good part, me and my companion did a really good weekly planning. This next week we are trying to focus more on doing family home evening with members and their friends, visting families with non-members in the family and woking with the older recent converts here. Originally we were basically just doing contacts because that worked so well in my old area , but you have to adapt to the area and also work is very difficult without the help of members haha. So this week that comes we really will be working with that and I'm hoping to have 1-2 baptisms this next week (we had 2 people at church, but one is an eternal, but the other is really excited about the church :)) and 7 people at church!!! And now we just got to find those people!!!

Hey dad! Request!!! Can I get my line of authority? I was talking with a elder last night and we talked about that I realized I don't know mine. I would really love it. I'm pretty sure it's just dad to dad to dad. Hey speaking of! I was looking into a book about church history and I saw something interesting... first off: we are related to Marriner Wood Merrill right? Did you know there is a Joseph F. Merrill (his son) who was also an aposlte? That's cool hahah. But I think he's kind of related to us. Because Marriner had like 8 wives and he's from a different wife. hahah way cool :P but if i'm right this is what I got: Marriner Wood Merrill.... Charles Edward Merrill.... Laville Hendricks Merrill.... Then there's no record but it should be Owen S. Merrill.... Evan Merrill.... Me!!! Is it right? I don't know. But yay! Also, i was talking about all the people in my family their history and all that and I was realizing something, some of my aunts and uncles I don't know a whole lot about. First off I would love like a pedigree chart of them and their kids. that'd be sweet :)

Hey! you guys didn't answer some of the questions I had :P haha. So easter was awesome! we went to a member's house to celebrate easter... the birthday of their son... and mine :] they sung para bens and happy birthday to me and ate cake and I got a HUGE chocolate egg that I´m SO excited to eat today! yes!! With other goodies inside. Anyways it was sweet! I also got homemade cookies from another member and another egg haha. I'm spolied :] yes! And if the package is the mission home, I will get it tomorrow! okay? sweet! :)

Corinne's all grown up now and graduated? Well, finally! haha i'm kidding :) congratz! Jonathan is going now? yay! what's louie's address? It was really good to hear from everyone and good to hear that there are some people that think of me from time to time hahah. :P But hey so the subject of this email...

April 21, Jeffery R. Holland is coming to our mission! This is the second time he came to this mission when my president was president! And this will be my third apostle I will meet! wow I just dropped my jaw when I saw that. But there is a slight chance that not the entire mission will meet him, but I doubt it haha. But I'm so very excited and so VERY lucky to have this happen and very ready to learn :) but I got to go! Got lots to do today! tonight I'll learn if i was transfered or not!

com amor,
élder Grant Shaw Merrill!

Monday, April 2, 2012

A week of feeling the spirit


This was definitely a week of a lot of learning. More learning about myself and in the gospel. This week, as you already know, we had a conference and Elder Schenk's parents were there. It was really special and I really was grateful for that. They are some of the best people I have met and I was really touched by what they had to say and how much faith they have. Sister Schenk talked about her son a lot and some of the experiences he had. There was one experience that really made me think and really evaluate my own faith. I'll summarize what happened. Elder Schenk would always get really bad migranes before the mission and his mom was worried about him getting them on the mission. One day it was really bad, it was p-day too, and he was really feeling really sick and not able to do anything. So he thought about it and finally asked his companion to give him a blessing. He received that blessing and soon afterwards all the pain and all the sickness went away. But he started doubting a little bit and alllllll the pain came back. He wondered why that happened and he remembered the story of Peter. Peter started to walk on the water to Jesus why? Because he had faith. But the moement he had one doubt and one mistrust, he fell. It didn't take much. But with this, I realized this is how I should not be in my mission. I shouldn't have one doubt. If I am keeping the commandments and the mission rules and giving one hundred percent, miracles from God WILL come, but we can not doubt them one bit. We can not doubt that one person can't be baptized. God knows who is prepared and who is not, we do not until we discover. But it is by faith that they are baptized and really believing that anything is possible. This reminds me too that as missionaries, we have to believe that our investigators will do the things we asked them too. If we really don't believe that they will, of course they won't. It's that simple. It doesn't matter who the person is, we have to believe that they can follow Christ and be baptized and follow him for the rest of their life. We must be surprised and hurt when this doesn't happen. Because if not, we will not give our all. But it all starts in faith.

Also, during the conference our President talked to us. It was very special. I realized that it was one of his last conferences like this until he leaves. It was sad, because I have learned more than I ever have with him. I really do love him, he's one of the greatest men I have met. He taught a lot, and I forgot my notes at the house. But he said something that was interesting. Someone had asked him about his success and how he got it. First off, He owns a company and so does his wife, so they are VERY well off haha. But anyways, he explained a lot of things that had helped him in his life and how after the mission he had spent one full day only studying his patriarchal blessing and all this. But he said the one thing that helped him out the most, the key to all success was: Choosing the right wife. I laughed at this but also realized how true it was. Not only success in this life but in the world to come. If we wish to have complete success in the world to come, all weighs on this. But in this world too, this is important. And it's weird to realize but really my mission is not only a time to help others come unto christ, but also a time for me to become the best I can so that I can be the best father and husband I can. Firstly, my duty is to the people. I must love them and I must give 100% to them and really understand them. But next, I need to develop my attributes and really become like Christ and learn how to really be a father. It was a very special conference and I felt the spirit so very strong. I think this is something I have learned the most: how to feel the spirit. The next part is how to seguir... follow, at times this is extremely difficult, but once again this is where faith comes in. Well, after learning TONS from that conference, we received letters and packages! I only got the package from Jessica, not from you guys, parents! I'm still waiting haha.

This week, I have been anaylizing where I stand on my attributes of Christ. I was examining some of them and I've come to a conclusion. For me, the absolute most important attribute that a missionary , or anyone, can and should have is virtue. This attribute is the most important because it is the attribute that determines if we are worthy to have the spirit and the authority and power to teach. Without this attribute, we lose our spirit and authority. Without this attribute, it is extremely hard, if not impossible to develop other attributes. I also was seeing how I stand on other attributes and I have noticed how the mission really puts you to the test to all of them. Lately I've been noticing how my patience has gotten way better. Still, there are a lot of times that I want to react a certain way but I really have to control my ways. But with companions, investigators, members you learn a LOT of patience. With investigators has been really difficult with me and I have been noticing how frustrated I get because I think I'm teaching it so simply but they aren't understanding. I have to remember a couple of things: 1. I have been in this church since born, so the ideas of the principles and doctrines make sense to me because I have lived with them my whole life. 2. Every single person will learn at a different level, but everyone can learn by the spirit and sometimes we may be teaching it clearly, but we aren't allowing the spirit to really testify. Also, something that phil wrote in a book he gave me is this: we need to teach the important things and ask them to pray if it's true. That's it. If they aren't understand, just say the important part of it and ask them to make a prayer about it. It's that simple. It requires faith on their part and on yours. You really have to believe that God will answer their prayers. But you also have to understand that they might receive an answer but they don't know what it is like. Our job is to help them understand that answer and show them how they can follow that answer. A lot of people will receive a manifastation of the spirit but will ignore it or not see it. 3. Some people simply refuse to learn or accept what you are saying. With all this I have learned something. Find those that understand and accept to listen. If not, you will just waste time. This was something hard for me in the beginning, because I did not want to give up on the people. The thing is we aren't giving up on them. We planted a seed, did what we could do and we now have to move on and finds those who are willing. We put their name away so that other missionaries can help them in the future. This is what I've learned about patience with investigators. I could go on, but I'm already writing a lot :P hahah.

Also, general conference was amazing! I loved it. Something I've noticed, because of my mission, the talks at gc make a lot of more sense now hahah. The thing is that they just say the simple truths but they really show you how it is true and how we can apply it in our lives. Elder Jeffery R. Holland gave a really good talk. His anaylsis of the parable was really good and it made me think about how this could happen in the mission somethings. As missionaries there is sometimes glory of being a leader or something similar. There should not be any of that. Some of the best missionaries I met on the missionaries were juniors. It just depends on your obedience and diligence. We should not want a position so bad that we speak badly of others that have that same postition. He said something interesting as well. We do not lose anything, when others gain something. So why have envy? There is no reason. There was a lot of amazing talks given and I really recomemend listening on the website again and reading when the magazine comes out. It was extremely good and I Learned a lot from the spirit. Also, I almost cried during that singing parts, because I thought of you mom and how you would be singing :P also, I thought that maybe you were crying when looking at all the missionaries singing called to serve :P hahah.

Sadly, a girl that we were planning on baptizing during conference, last minute cancelled.. Paloma is her name. She is a girl we found while doing a division the other week. She came up and talked to us on the street because she noticed and recognized my leader of zone. She had been an investigator old of theirs when she was living in their area. But before getting baptized she had moved to Jacareí (where I live) and now we found her and we have been trying to find her. But everytime we went to her house (by the way she lives like 45 minutes away, almost of the city limits) she wasn't there. So we almost gave up. But last friday we went again and this time I looked at the address and thought, "maybe it's an o and not a d" Yup... Sure enough she was home! hahaha. We had been going to the wrong apartment the whole time haha.  But we talked  to her and she remembers almost everything that was taught and the only thing that was missing was she wanted to really feel the spirit before getting bapitzed. I was so grateful for the opportunity we had to bring her to the conference because you can definitely trust in the Prophet haha. But I got sad when she couldn't come at the last minute. But that's okay, we will work with her this week, and I'm really hoping that she will get baptized this next sunday. I know it can happen and I know it will! :)

I was watching Other Side of Heaven today (yes, we can watch it, so if you want to send it sometime, that would be sweet :)), and there was something that I noticed. The way Elder Growberg was a missionary. How was he a missionary? Well, he gained their confindence first, loved them, and then helped them progress in the gospel. We can not just enter into someone's life and expect them to just grab a hold and accept right away. We have to love the people and give them a reason why they should be baptized. I really really want to work on this. Really having true love for the people. I think this is so important for the work to progress. I look at the people I have baptized and I say to myself sometimes. Do I really really love these people? I'm glad to say, yes I do, but still this needs to happen way sooner in the process too. Because it is easy to love after they have accepted and decided to be baptized.  But it's almost more important to love before the process begins.

Thank you very much mom for your big hug and thoughts. I really appreciated it :) Sorry! My companion is american and his name is Elder Jackson. He will be ending his mission the next transfer! haha.

Something else! HAPPY BIRTHDAY JESS! You are one step closer to being 30! :P hahaha. Whoa, weird... hahah That means I'll be 20! Don't worry mom, I'll be getting cake here :P but it's not the same without dad's homemade cakes! oh well! Speaking of Jess, I laugh so hard everytime I read one of the story's that Gavin does haha. He is hilarious! hahah. Oh, remembered me! the other day I was walking and randomly I thought of the time that I had to take care of Gavin and I totally put on his diaper wrong, what an amazing miracle hahaha. but I just started laughing and I'm pretty sure my companion thought I was nuts haha :P

How was wicked? Wickedly amazing? Yeah I'm funny. Laugh! But I'm sure it was great, like the other millions of times ;P hahah just kidding! But I still want to see phantom of the opera please :) thanks!

Hey I have a question! At byu-i, do they have astronomy as a major? and can you play hockey only during the winter? Let me know! thanks! Say hi to phil and corinne for me and say congrats to Corinne! yay! how exiciting! :)

Can you get me Louiés address? that would be SWEET! Hey Sean and Alan shuld be coming home soon right? That's sweet and crazy fast!  I would like to leave a chapter with you guys Alma 32 and Alma... 34 I think. There's a part in there that talks about the word of god being a seed. At times, you wonder as a missionary why people don't feel something or stop believing. Well, there's an answer for that here. Sometimes the "seed" is good, but the people forget to nurish the seed with their faith. We must continue doing the basics like Dad said--Prayer, Scripture Study, FHE, keeping the commandments, all that. Why? Because it strengthens our faith and makes us ready for the test of our faith and helps our testimony grow!

Well I wrote demais... too much... so I think I will wrap this sucker up and call it goooooooooooood! Yes :) also, fun fact, I talked to the Schenks... I can not speak english well hahahah but writing is easy.** Anyways, bye family and others!

com amor,
Élder Grant Shaw Merrill!

**Well, we might argue the writing as well! Haha!