Monday, April 3, 2017

Megan's LAST email

I know with all my heart this gospel is true. I am so grateful for the things I have learned on my mission. I would not take one minute back.  I will definitely be leaving a huge chunk of my heart in Alabama. 

See y'all in a few days! My Homecoming will be this coming Sunday, April 9th, at 1:00 pm! There will be refreshments at my Dad's house afterward.

The church address is: 
13006 Boulter Street, Draper, UT

My Dad's address is:
1519 Nashi Lane, Draper, Utah

Mosiah 18:30

"And now it came to pass that all this was done in Alabama, yea, by the waters of Alabama, in the forest that was near the waters of Alabama; yea, the place of Alabama, the waters of Alabama, the forest of Alabama, how beautiful are they to the eyes of them who there came to the knowledge of their Redeemer; yea, and how blessed are they, for they shall sing to his praise forever."

I am so grateful for this place and the people here. Alabama is where I have come to the knowledge of my Redeemer. 

I couldn't decide what to share with y'all about all the things I've learned on my mission. I decided to narrow it down to the top...100... (:

1. Faith over fear. "There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love." (1 John 4:18)

2. Specific prayers bring specific answers.

3. Agency is one of God's greatest gifts, and one of the biggest frustrations in missionary work.

4. The Lord's timing is often much different than our own.

5. Speaking in tongues means something COMPLETELY different in the South...

6. Mission calls are 100% inspired of God. There is no doubt in my mind that Alabama is where the Lord wanted me to be.

7. The Spirit teaches more than any missionary ever could.

8. Families are at the center of Heavenly Father's Plan of Happiness. I'm so grateful for mine.

9. The South is loud and proud about their faith in Jesus Christ!

10. People in the church are not perfect, but the gospel is!

11. Trial and error. Get back up each time you fall- that's what diligence means.

12. If you replace your S's and your T's, you will have better luck in the ghetto. Ex: "Jus go scraight down the screet!" and "Lemme grab my striptures right quick.."

13. If you move to the South you WILL gain weight. It's just a fact of life.

14. Leadership in the church isn't a position of authority so much as it is an opportunity to serve. 

15. Alabama's state bird should be a cockroach (yes, they fly).

16. The scriptures are our spiritual lifeline. If you don't read them, your testimony will falter.

17. "You can do anything for two weeks!" A President Hanks motto that got me through my mission.

18. 1 Corinthians 13:8 "Charity never faileth..." If you love the people, you'll love the work.

19. Grace isn't a "get out of jail free" card, but it is the enabling power of Christ's Atonement. It allows us to change.

20. Missions bring the most unlikely of friends. I look at people so much differently than I used to.

21. Obedience is the first law of heaven. Although most mission rules don't affect our salvation, they teach us to humble ourselves and be obedient.

22. One of Satan's greatest strategies is to get us to doubt ourselves. The Lord doesn't call the qualified, He qualifies the called.

23. A testimony can't be proved, not even through the scriptures. It comes from the Spirit. This is why we shouldn't obsess in church history or the faults of past prophets. If you want to know the truth, ask God! Not Google.

24. There is something to learn from every single person that comes into your life, especially companions.

25. Church Leaders are called of God. They are given inspiration to bless you specifically. I am so grateful for both of my Mission Presidents. 

26. Member missionary work! Truth is, a missionary's job is pointless without member involvement. 

27. Humidity is the WORST. Hot or cold, I'm not a fan.

28. Hills are considered "mountains" in the South. LOL.

29. Southern hospitality is real! People are so nice here.

30. The Holy Ghost gives us promptings all the time! We just have to learn to listen.

31. The gospel isn't a checklist, but a continuous cycle that brings us closer to God.

32. Joseph Smith was a Prophet of God. He was a very imperfect person- just as the rest of us are. Through him the Lord restored His authority to the earth.

33. Sweet tea is almost as hard to quit as cigarettes for some people!

34. The seasons change daily in Alabama.

35. Hope is what keeps our faith alive. Hope is made possible through Christ. 

"And what is it that ye shall hope for? Behold I say unto you that ye shall have hope through the atonement of Christ and the power of his resurrection, to be raised unto life eternal, and this because of your faith in him according to the promise." (Moroni 7:41)

36. Store contacting is a good way to spend all your money, and share the gospel at the same time! Sorry Dad....

37. The most common phrase in the Book of Mormon is: "And it came to pass..."
This is a good reminder to us that all hard this will eventually come to pass.

38. As much as I hate to admit it, Tracting works... SOMETIMES. I wouldn't take back a single knock because of the few we found success at.

39. Part member families are "low hanging fruit".

40. I'm grateful our church is a "Lay Ministry". It is so easy for other churches to become corrupted when they are paying someone to preach to them. 

41. Fun fact- A shopping cart is called a "buggy" here. (:

42. When someone says they're "fixin' to", they aren't planning on fixing anything... It just means they are fixin' to go do somethin'! 

43. Testimonies are meant to be shared! 
" That which one shares, he keeps.
That which one selfishly keeps, he loses."

44. A good way to start a conversation here is by saying: "ROLL TIDE!"

45. Football and religion are close to equal in the South.

46. Everything happens for a reason. Trials are just blessings in disguise. 

47. Life is unpredictable! Change is inevitable. Sometimes you just have to roll with the punches.

48. President Hinckley said all converts [and members for that matter] need 3 things:
     1- A friend.
     2- An assignment.
     3- To be nourished by the good word of God.
I have found this to be true!

49. There is a difference between reading and studying the scriptures.

50. The stereotype is true- Southerners love their homemade fried chicken and Macaroni and Cheese. 

51. Baptism does not equal "saved". It is the first step to us becoming more like our Heavenly Father.

52. "There is no chance, no destiny, no fate, that can circumvent or hinder or control the firm resolve of a determined soul."

53. "...wickedness never was happiness..." (Alma 41:10) Satan tries to trick us into thinking that our sins bring us joy. True joy can only be found in the gospel of Jesus Christ.

54. You are the happiest when you have your "arrows out"!

55. "Therefore, if ye have desires to serve God ye are called to the work;" (D&C 4:3)
I may be a Sister, but I was called to be a missionary. 

56. Miracles are only seen through a positive attitude! There are tender mercies in every day.

57. There is a lot that goes into running a Ward. I have so much respect for Ward Auxiliaries/ Leaders. 

58. The purpose of prayer is not to align Heavenly Father's will with our own, but to align out will with the Father's. I've learned that "Thy will be done." is easier said than put into action.

59. "Service Softens Stony Souls" -President Hanks

60. We are blessed when we sacrifice willingly. That's why agency is so important. No blessings would come in being forced to choose the right.

61. Good-> Better-> Best. Sometimes we are asked to give up something good because God knows what's best.

62. "Keep the change". Just as we could gather coins to be of great worth, the changes made on missions are of great value to our lives. 

63. I learned how to make authentic Mexican Horchata! It's a long story...

64. You can forgive someone even if they have no desire to be forgiven. It's just really hard.

65. Dr. Pepper is not the healthiest to have every day... )':

66. The "Primary Answers" are so important. Read. Pray. Go to church.

67. The best way to lead is by example. 

68. "Patience is a virgin!" -Sister Hintze

69. I love the temple! I have missed being able to see one every day. I plan to go at least once a month, if not more. Hold me to that y'all.

70. It is really hard not to hold babies. I can't wait to hold my nieces and nephew.

71. Sometimes you'll get a prompting from the Spirit, and never know the reason why! But it's always better to follow through with it.

72. The South will flourish in the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ someday! I just know it.

73. "Never let a problem to be solved become more important than a person to be loved." -Gordon B. Hinckley

74. No effort is wasted! Only God will see the full effects of our labors.

75. Anti-Mormon literature is like spiritual pornography. It's deceiving and addicting. It seems as though people can leave the church, but they just can't leave it alone.

76.Strangers in the South are more willing to help you than friends out West.

77. Southerners are more afraid of a little snow than they are of a tornado warning.

78. If you though testimony meetings could get a little crazy in Utah, try one in Alabama.

79. Tornado Warning Procedure:  Put your bike helmet on. Get in the bath tub. Pull your twin mattress over your head. Bring snacks, you'll be in there a while.

80. In bad weather, the first things to go in stores are: 1- Milk. 2-Bread. Not sure why...

81. "Proper Planning Prevents Poor Performance." -President Sainsbury
 Planning is a skill you'll use your whole life!

82. Satan cannot replicate peace.

83. "A good minute" means quite a long time. Not even close to a minute.

84. "90% of Southerners don't have 90% of their teeth" -Sister Patten

85. "Two men looked out prison bars: One saw mud, the other stars."
Perspective is everything.

86. Answers to prayers can be difficult to understand at times. You could be so sure your answer meant one thing and find out later it meant something completely different!

87. "When the focus of our lives is on God’s plan of salvation, which President Thomas S. Monson just taught us, and Jesus Christ and His gospel, we can feel joy regardless of what is happening—or not happening—in our lives." -President Russell M. Nelson

89. Tenacity is really spelled "GRRRR". -President Hanks

90. It is possible to have fun, and work hard!

91. The Sacrament is the most important part of church. It is our personal communion with Heavenly Father and our opportunity to renew our covenants.

92. It is so easy to "miss the mark". The gospel is simple. There is no reason to complicate it. 

93. "Any time there is a Conference of any kind, it is a time to receive personal revelation." -President Sainsbury

94. I learned that I was meant to meet Lindsey Harris.. along with many other people, but my purpose for being in Alabama became clear when I met her. She has become one of my closest friends. It is a friendship I plan to keep my whole life.

95. The Plan of Salvation is precious and sacred doctrine. It brings comfort, peace, and assurance that anyone can choose to return to Heavenly Father.

96. The two great commandments are to: 1- Love God. 2- Love your fellow man. This is at the center of the gospel.

97. I NEVER want to go inactive!! I will do everything in my power to keep my testimony strong and stay active in the gospel throughout my life. 

98. There will never be a point where we stop learning or growing.

99. The Book of Mormon is absolutely the word of God. It was preserved for our day and has power to bring us closer to God than any other book on earth. 

100. Christ didn't just suffer for our sins. He also felt every sorrow, pain, sickness, and negative feeling we would ever feel. Because He suffered for us, we need not suffer alone. I have felt His comfort and peace. I know He lives. He is never out of our reach. 

Alma 7:11-12

" And he shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people.

 And he will take upon him death, that he may loose the bands of death which bind his people; and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities."

Monday, March 27, 2017

Megan's Letter 3/27/17

I am completely humbled at the miracles we see as missionaries every single day.

The spirit was so strong at Savannah's baptism! She cried as she listened to the talks, and she bore a strong testimony after she was baptized. After the baptism she insisted we sit down with her 2 nonmember friends and teach them the Plan of Salvation. She could have taught the entire lesson on her own. (: I can't wait for the day that her and Matt become a forever family.

1 Thessalonians 2 

"13 For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.

19 For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming?

20 For ye are our glory and joy."

I can truly testify that the glory and joy of missionary work comes through seeing the conversion of those you serve. The converts I have come to love have taught me more than I ever could teach them.

Lindsey's birthday was on Friday!! I am so lucky to have her in my life. 

Sunday was bitter sweet. An amazing fast Sunday, but due to General Conference it was my last Sunday to see all the members! The Florence Ward is my 2nd home. These people are family here.

I love Alabama. I love this gospel. I love my Savior. Have a great week!

-Sister Merrill

Monday, March 20, 2017

Megan's Letter 3/20/17

This week has been absolutely crazy and we only have about 20 minutes to email so I'm going to keep this short!

Stephen was baptized! He is incredible. I'm grateful that I was lucky enough to pick up the phone the day he called the church. He is a miracle!

Savannah is doing AWESOME. She is on track to be baptized this Saturday! It's a blessing to see how much peace the Plan of Salvation has given her. What amazing knowledge we have, and often take for granted.

Shawn is progressing well towards April 15th! I love his little brother Kevin too.

Brother Foote and his family came to visit and took us to this amazing restaurant on top of a tower!!!

I got to spend a few days with Sister Beck this week! She is amazing and probably the most genuine person I have ever met. I love her.

We saw Charlotte yesterday! It was her 1 year mark of baptism. She is going to try to come to church next week!(:

I have a new companion as of today! Her name is Sister Beus. We actually came out together but haven't been able to serve around each other until now.(: I love her so much!

Ether 12:6 says:

"And now, I, Moroni, would speak somewhat concerning these things; I would show unto the world that faith is things which are hoped for and not seen; wherefore, dispute not because ye see not, for ye receive no witness until after the trial of your faith."

I feel that I can truly testify of that verse this week. Although I've definitely seen some trials recently, I've also received many witnesses that this work is true. Miracles happen every day. The spirit of God is alive in Florence, AL! I love this gospel so much.

 I'm so grateful for my mission and I wouldn't take one minute of it back! I love y'all and I'll talk to you next week!

-Sister Merrill

Monday, March 13, 2017

Megan's Letter 3/13/17

Let me tell y'all a little bit about this week!

Shane is doing really well! We did end up pushing his baptismal date to April 1st since he is having trouble quitting smoking. No, that's not an April fools joke. (: He came to church this week, pink eye and all!

Shawn is doing...okay. We taught him the Word of Wisdom this last Saturday. What Southern 11 year old wants to hear he can't have his sweet tea!? He was not a happy camper. We finally have a set baptismal date for him on April 15th!

HUGE miracle this week- So last year Sister Patten and I taught the sweetest girl named Savannah! She was living with a less active member and they were planning on getting married later on that year. She never could progress too far since she couldn't be baptized unless she moved out or got married! She slowly fell out of our teaching pool.

Well turns out they did get married last year! And we have stopped by to see her a few times and invited her to take the lessons again. She said she would love to. So we went over there this week with one of her favorite members, Sister Dickson. We decided to start with the Plan of Salvation due to some trials we know she's been facing. She cried during the lesson and said it brought her so much peace! We invited her to baptism and she picked March 25th! She came to church yesterday with her husband and his two boys.

Another little miracle to me was that my trainer, Sister Patten, came to visit this week! She was here for a temple wedding and I was lucky enough to spend some time with her. This girl shaped my mission and changed my view on the gospel. I love her so much.

We saw SNOW yesterday morning!! That never happens here. They about shut down the whole state. (; It reminded me of home!

(Don't mind my face)

I hope y'all have an amazing week. I love this gospel with all my heart and I'm so grateful I get to share it.

-Sister Merrill

Monday, March 6, 2017

Megan's Letter 3/6/17

Hey y'all this week was SO good. I am just so happy to be here.

Stephen is progressing every day! We saw him twice this week. He is really trying hard to quit smoking. We committed him to stop completely on Friday! He came to church yesterday and said he hasn't smoked one since we last talked. That is a miracle because he had been smoking 3 packs a day!

Another miracle was that we got to see Charlotte finally! Her mom passed last Sunday so she is having a hard time. I am grateful that she has a knowledge of the Plan of Salvation and that she knows she will see her mom again. I was talking on the phone with her last Monday and she brought up a really good point. She said that God does not keep us safe, he keeps us secure. That is so true! God isn't going to stop trial and tribulation from coming into our lives, because that's how we grow! He will, however, keep us secure in those trials.

Alma 36:3 says

"...whosoever shall put their trust in God shall be supported in their trials, and their troubles, and their afflictions, and shall be lifted up at the last day."

 I love Charlotte so much. We are hoping to go over another day this week but it can be hard since she lives allllll the way out in Lexington.

We spent a good minute with Lindsey this week! We went to this historical Indian Mound here in Florence! There has been some speculation that this mound could have been built by the Nephites because of the time period, and an ancient Native American story about a great and last battle with a "great white people". Of course the museum said nothing like that. (:

​We also went to the walking bridge with her!

Sister Cullimore hit her year mark on the same day I hit my 15 month mark! So we went downtown on our bikes (yes I biked, pick your jaw up off the floor) to get Ice Cream and take a few pictures!(:

​ Zone Training was last week as well.

Anyway it was a great week here in Florence!

I hope y'all had a great week too. (: Talk to you next week!!

-Sister Merrill