Tuesday, December 9, 2014

New Comp, Baptisms, Heat

So a lot has been going on! Got a new companion! I have a baptism coming up, and the heat is starting to hit hard haha.

So elder Balcaza was transferred to be a Zone leader over me, and I received elder Fontolvo in Exchange, he is an awesome missionary and a wonderful companion with one flaw. This is his last transfer so I’ll only get him for this 6 weeks, but we are prepared to work and he will work till the end haha.

So The Arrana Gonzolo family is going to be baptized on the27th of December and I am so happy for them. There is a pic of them somewhere and it should be posted with this. They are very happy and very grateful for me and my companion. They are very eager to learn and strengthen their testimonies. They are a wonderful family. Sara is the Grandma, Maria-Argentina is the mom, Maria-Laura is the oldest daughter, the oldest son is Gonzalo, And then Jesus and Fatima. They are wonderful.
Also we have a boy, His name is David, his mother is a member and he wants to be baptized. We have set u his date on the following day (the 28th). He has Asperger’s and is honestly one of my favorite people to visit. He has memorized Soy u hijo de dios (I am a child of God) with just me and my companion signing it twice.
Normally our p days are on Mondays but there was a party yesterday that took place in Brazil, and everyone flocked over there. I do not know the name of the party but walking around town yesterday was spooky and was literally a ghost town...Haha But none the less back to it today!











Monday, December 1, 2014

So went on exchanges with Elder Ogden for two days which was fun! We are able to see Foz Brazil from there so we are actually pretty close to Brazil, just a short swim and there. We had some sweet lessons with Elder Ogden in his area and then back to my area with my companion.
Thanksgiving, does not exist here so it just kind of happened. I had a pretty big celebration in my head and on that page for my planner but other than that it was a normal day of work. 
Gave a call to the Nurse missionaries, who are in charge of about 100 or so dumb teenage boys and their well-being and turns out i have a bit of a viral infection and just to wait it out. It’s getting better now haha. 
Hit a big milestone for the missionaries in the field, I am officially done with my training! haha so no longer reading Preach My gospel and watching videos about how to be a missionary for an hour a day. Which is nice i guess. And it keeps us out of the sun for another hour. Which is getting a lot hotter haha. So woooo!! No more training!!
We have a family that loves the church and they are a wonderful family of 6, 5 of which have Baptismal dates for the 27th of December!! So I’m excited for them. I’ll get some pictures with the family when I can. There is a Grandma, Sara, and the mom, Maria Argentina, a daughter who’s name slips my mind, Gonzalo who is 12 and then Jesus who is 8 and Fatima who is 3. They are wonderful and Fatima has finally starting to talk with us!!
I’m currently studying the Bible right now, starting from the last chapter of the New Testament and working back. I’m currently in John. And a chapter to go read, and I recommend is Hebrews 11, and also an interesting verse in 1 Corinthians 15:29!
Baptism Pic) This happened on Sunday, We had a baptism of a little girl who just turned 8, she was baptized by her father. It doesn’t count as a baptism for us but it was still a beautiful experience to see.
Machete pic) So this was alongside our service and on the walk home i attached our tags to a machete that we didn’t really use the machete, just snapped a pic haha. It would be interesting if we would have actually used it, but the grass wasn’t tall enough for it. Those houses in the background are homes, they can range from a family of 6 to just one person by his lonesome, one of the houses close to these are the son and his wife of the bishop of our ward.

Book pic) This is the first page of our
Guatanese Book of Mormom...I don’t even know how to pronounce these letters let alone speak it haha.


Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Lamb, Rain and Car Chases

Salutations. Hmm..Its been a while since I’ve had a lot of time to write so lets get to it shall we! So, I’m assuming we don’t celebrate Thanksgiving here based on the fact that I haven’t heard any one talking about it and people are moving straight to Feliz Navidad decorations but what ever haha. I’m not to sure there is even a turkey any where close to me. But a good alternative we have had recently was Lamb. Holy cow was it amazing! The lamb was prepared on what looked like a oil drum, cut in half and welded as a grill. It was a straight up leg of a lamb and just plopped onto the grill over the hot charcoal. It was, well I’m not to sure how to describe the taste to be exact but it was wonderful and I wish we could have it again. I have been picking up some Guatanese and its so different from Spanish its difficult haha. Spanish is coming along a ton better though. I’m feeling a lot better about it then I did a while back. The weather her is a lot like Texas when it comes to rain, it just appears in a moment and then stays forever.. We where having Lomitos at Mon Lomito pretty close to our pension (apartment) with two other elders when it started pouring and it was pouring hard. So we tried to wait it out but it kept coming and pretty soon the streets were flooded...So we ran to our pension which got us soaked from foot to about plaque and ended up leaving the other two elders stranded with us in which they were able to sleep over. A while back I saw something for the first time in my life. We were walking down the road from a awesome lesson, and on our way to Hermana Santa Cruz´s house when we heard honking and metal on rocks. So I turned around to see what looked like a Ford Explorer with the rubber shredded off the front right tire. Smoking profusely and barreling down the road towards us. We stepped to the side and watched as it zoomed by going way to fast to care. We also noticed that the front glass was shattered in the safety glass fashion and seemed to have a large indent about driver side half way up. About a few car lengths behind was a Police truck trying to catch up to the now get away vehicle. It was pretty crazy, And instead of having a siren for the police truck they were simply honking at cars.. No pics this week the computer usb port is terrible and wont let me open the files.. sorry Love to all-

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Computer kiosk blues


I would have had a large post this week, and sorry if any words are missing the letter ´n´ the keyboard's keys are a tad non-responsive. It also wouldn't let me send any pictures.

Entonces I'm going to share a short story that I shared in church this past Sunday.

When I was 5 we were living in an apartment in Utah and there was a large storm that came through. My Mom was at work and my Dad was checking on the neighbors making sure they had their yard tied down. I was alone and during this time the power went out and it was dark. Being simple minded, I quickly thought to pray. Kneeling down I prayed, simply asking God in the name of Jesus Christ if he would bring the lights back. They did not turn on instantly but after my prayer was finished I flipped the switch off then back on and the light had returned. The power of prayer is real, but only if we have faith in God.

Really starting to not like Mondays. I guess I'm a bit homesick but not really.  It is hard to describe.

Miss you. Love you.
Colter,

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Normal

It’s beginning to get harder to find things to talk about!! Ha-ha everything is slowly becoming normal and I’m beginning to be accustomed to it.

The work is great and I’m loving it. People are a lot more open about religion here than in the United States. Having a religious conversation with people isn’t crossing into a red zone. People in Paraguay are some of the nicest people I have ever met, minus the fact that not a lot of people reply to me when i say Hola, but none the less, Super nice people. They will always invite you in unless they are truly busy or working. Most of the people in my area are Catholic, but not Fanatics. There is a large catholic church basically in front of ours and that’s how we give directions. It is pretty much the town center. And when we talk to people it basically starts off something like this.

Hey! How are you, what’s going on.
+Oh not much
Is it alright if we shared a quick message with you?
+I’m catholic
We share the message with everyone
+Oh alright come on in.

The heat hasn't hit us yet and I'm not excited for mid-December when they said it will be here. Not excited at all. So far, staying cool is rather easy and most people are very generous and offer us ice water when we are teaching or visiting.

We are pretty good with talking to members and getting meals with them. The food, I’m not too sure what anything is yet but I have yet to find anything that I have not liked and or not wanted to try. Meals at home typically revolve around cereal and ramen which my comp has never had before, and loves it.

Umm haircuts are easy to come by and at the same time I've been busy and keep forgetting to go get one. We have a member in our ward who does our laundry for free which is super nice on her part and we make sure to ask her if she needs help with anything and let her know how grateful we are of her.
Sundays are interesting, we have church at 8 in the morning starting off with Priesthood, then Sunday school and then followed by sacrament. Then we go home and study for a while and then eat and back out into the field. We typically try to visit with families on Sunday and talk with them just getting to know them and seeing if they have any friends that are interested.





Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Story Time

There isn't much going on this week but at the same time we have had tons of lessons and tons of investigators. ​There is a lot of time in the field, just haven't found the ripe fruits yet.
Interesting story I would like to share though. While in the MTC I had a dream of some old friends from 8th grade, at Bear River Middle School. So I decided to get into contact with some of them. One of them in particular named Alisa, and has continued to keep in touch with me. She told me a story about how she has been praying for her father. He has been having problems with smoking and with alcohol. In her prayers she has asked for him to be able to stop and be able to come back to church again. Recently this has been turning into a reality as he had begun dating a LDS woman and has committed to stop smoking and drinking, and is doing rather well. He has begun his return to church now also. I absolutely loved this story, so I was sharing it with some members and with some other investigators. I thought this would be the end of the story for now. After telling Hermana Santa Cruz the story of Alisa, she had this desire in her heart that she wanted to meet Alisa, whom was very out of reach, and seemingly impossible. But it turns out that night in Hermana Santa Cruz's dream she saw a girl walk up to the pulpit and bear her testimony, the next day Hermana Santa Cruz asked me if I had a picture of Alisa so she could clarify if it was her or not. I was able to print one off, at my next P'day. Upon showing Hermana, she gripped the picture and nodded telling me this was the girl who bore her testimony. Hermana SantaCruz new is was Alisa had bore her testimony in church/  The Holy spirit was felt, and I felt the warmth the scene brought to my heart.

Elder Merrell
My new companion Elder Balcaza, me, Hermana Santa Cruz and her daughter.

Monday, October 27, 2014

10/27/2014 Waterfalls, Transfers, Maps, & Spanish

Last P day after we emailed, we went with other Missionaries to this place called Salto De Monday. Its spelled just like that haha. It is a small set of waterfalls that we got to go take pictures of. It was an absolutely beautiful place to be and to look around.


After that, I learned that my companion would be transferred and that I would be staying, which is odd for a new missionary to stay in an area and receive a new senior companion, but what the heck lets do it haha. So later that night. we received a call saying that during transfers, I would be staying with another Elder who will remain nameless. Upon arriving at the drop off point, and saying our goodbyes, me and Elder nameless went upstairs to their house. After a quick snack and some reading I realized it was 12. It was a good 2 hours past when we are suppose to be asleep. I prepared for bed and said my prayers and it was not until about 6 am that the other Elder went to bed. I know this because of the loud manner in which he entered the room. The next day we then sat there the whole day as he worked on little things here and there. It was his area, so I assumed that we would go tracting or something that afternoon before needing to go to the Collectivo to pick up our new comps but nope..so it was a bit odd,,,, and then it got scary.  I noticed that Elder nameless had a tendency to talk to himself.  It wasn’t in a playful loud manner, it was in a cynical hand over his mouth mumbling manner. I was scared for my life.


After that dreadful day, we hooked up with our new companions around 6:30, and me and Elder Balcaza (Pronounced Vallcasa) were able to make it to mutual that night and introduce him. He is a spanish version of Spencer Riggs in my mind. He is very huggable, deep thinker kind of guy. He is Argentinian and is super cool. I didn't get a chance to snap a pic with him. I will post one next week. Lo Siento.


I noticed something beautiful here this week.  Everyone is burning their garbage. There is a garbage service and trucks and such, but everyone just piles it up on the curb and lets it burn. This creates a ton of smoke so it is really smokey all around, and very irritating, but come about 6 that night when the sun starts to set, its breathtaking. The clouds along with all the smoke lights up with color. Absolutely wonderful, the smell isn't the best but it looks great.


Umm..I hate flip flops..And it is all you can really wear around the house, and they advise you to not be barefoot because there is a little bug that burrows into the bottom of your foot and it just isn't pretty so we have to wear flip flops...I HATE IT..probably one of my biggest issues right now haha.


My new comp has a different approach. We went and began to search for a map, after finding the map we found a photo copiar so that we could enlarge it. And then come  Sunday, the  ward secretary and bishop and others all huddled around this map in a dusty and extremely stuffy room..  They were all speaking spanish. I have never felt more like Indiana Jones in my life.


I had non dried mango for the first time.. Interesting texture but tastes great. Saw a white beetle car with whitewall tires. That was cool, caught me off guard.


We had the Primary Program this week!!! It was super fun and it was awesome to watch the kids sing and talk all in spanish. There are not as many kids as in my home ward but the feeling was all the same.


Spanish in the discussions is coming along good, I'm able to teach all the sections of the lessons practically unassisted, but we like to balance it out to about a 30 70, my companion being the 70. And I'm not sure if its because i'm actually just really terrible in my spanish or what but after everything I teach, my comp then repeats the same things back to the person. Haha kind of makes me feel a tad pointless. But the spanish is coming along great, and in the end,  I know that there will be times where I have to teach the entire lesson.

Elder Merrell
















Monday, October 20, 2014

10/20/2014

So basically why i wasn’t able to post last week was based on the fact that I had to take another trip to Posadas again, but this time was on my P day, so wooo...Basically what happened on the trip was we went there. Ate LaMetos again, Oh my gosh.... And then hopped on the bus and headed out. It was a total of 11 hours to get to where we needed to be and then sat around for a while and then another 11 hour trip in the other direction haha. So trip trip trip, sleeping on busses, and not being able to buy food because Paraguay and Argentina use different types of Currency.


Well we got back around Wednesday morning at about 5 am and then went back to work. Then when we had a chance to hop on emails and such mine just seemed to not want to help me out at all. So I was stuck sitting here doing nothing. But now it seems to be working so yay!!!
We have this wonderful family of Investigators, but they live about 2 kilometers away from us so it takes us about 30 minute walk to get to their house. After getting there we had a okay lesson with them, they didn’t seem too eager to listen this time. And we didn’t speak guatanese so they didn’t seem too eager to listen to our Spanish. Afterwards we had to walk back. Oh goodness the walk back felt longer until we got picked up by a small Delivery car. One with the front row of seats and then a 4x5 covered trunk. Well we were in the trunk and on a dirt road it wasn’t so enjoyable. But in the front row we had the Spanish version of Ed, Edd and Eddy. And oh my goodness did they make the week for me. They would stop traffic in there little dinky delivery truck with two missionaries in the back to hit on anything with legs. And they loved it, after getting shut down we would take off and me and elder Mechan would get thrown around a bit in the back and then this repeated about three times before we finally thought we were close enough to home to hop out. After hopping out we saw them take a very sketchy u-turn so that their heckling could continue. We laughed and laughed and continued walking.
So my companion and I have been seeing flyers and such for a party on the 18th of October, and we were fairly convinced that it was on the other side of our small town so we wouldn’t have to deal with it. We were so wrong..It was a stone throw away from our apartment and goodness was it loud. That night was alright trying to sleep to but from about 3-5 the fireworks started. Elder Mechan took a video of the fireworks and every time he tells the story mentions that I had my pillow wrapped around my head lying on the bed. I wanted all the sleep i could get.
In one of the Pictures we are eating the famous Lo Metos, haha not to sure how or what it is, but there is meat, chicken and some white sauce that is amazing, We are also enjoying the best drink ever, which is a Guarana flavored fanta drink.
The town is Like Katy is to Houston. But it is Hernandarious to Siulad De Este. The number one way for people to get around is by Motorbikes and scooters; it’s actually quite interesting to see so many around. And many a times there are 3 or some people on one of them. I even saw one of those family stickers everyone is so fond of on the side of a scooter; they had a family of 6. 
The food here is good, nothing to crazy or exotic, there are some fruits I’ve never seen or tasted, and i regret never seeing or tasting them. I’m convinced one was a crab apple but i have no idea haha. 
Matte is forbidden to be drunken by those who have not drunk it beforehand. The mission President is pretty lock and key with this rule. And after talking with one of the sister missionaries here she said I’m not missing much. It is more of a custom then it is of a actually drink. There is a good 4 hours in the day where everyone sits around and passes around a matte cup. And the sister missionary told me it tastes like grass. So i summed it up like tasting childhood again, a mouth full of grass and a sour taste in your mouth. But i guess I’ll have to wait to actually try it.
The weather is starting to heat up and the humidity is starting to get to me. I miss shorts, i really do. It’s a struggle to start the day sweating before I even walk out the door. It is also messing with my sleeping, we don’t have a AC unit and we have moved the beds from the back room to the main room with the fan on the balcony. It gets pretty miserable at nights but I'm managing. 
The water situation is interesting; we don’t have a water heater for the tap so that is typically very mild to cold water but it isn't consistent. The shower is a different story, the shower head is this big bulky thing and pumps out hot water which is nice, or well it was nice when it was colder out. But the problem with it though is it has some sketchy wiring going into it and if i lift up my hands about an inch or so above my hair i get a good shock of electricity. 
Today will be my first set of transfers, i don’t know if I will be transferred or not but they typically come in about a 6 week time frame. And it’s nice to be able to keep track of time this way too. And there is a high possibility that my senior companion will be transferred and i will receive a new senior companion coming up and will have to teach the area to him if he does not already know it. I hope not.
I’m never really given a heads up when we have to leave...Ugh..Till next time
Elder Merrell

















Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Fireflies!!

Weeks are going by fast, not sure why or how but they are haha. Before I get to the obvious talking about General Conference I'll talk about the things that happened leading up to general conference haha. 

Tuesday- we went to another zone meeting, it was a lot of fun seeing people again and getting a break from the constant Spanish.That afternoon we were able to go do a bit of tracting. We tried to go and set up an appointment with some investigators we knew and that fell through so we went to visit some members that we knew and share a quick message with them. It was a semi swampish area, there seemed to be a small pond nearby and it was a wonderful thing to see and very up lifting to see some fireflys, it was very simple thing. But felt very comforting to see them around. 

Wednesday - Friday
A lot of traveling and paper work. We left Tuesday night around 11 and had a long bus ride into Suidad De Leste, (I"ll never be able to spell any city right..) and then drove over into Posodas, since they assumed we slept on the bus, which didn't happen, we began paper work and such. After Wednesday of paper work we went to a small town away from Posodas and did splits with some elders there for a few hours. I was able to meet a member there who built model boats and also raised rabbitsAbsolutely blew me away. After that we went and caught another bus and went into Ascension for more papers. Another chance of sleeping on the bus. Thursday morning turned into a waiting game at a consulate of some sorts and all to sign one paper. After we got the chance to go and look at the temple and get some food in us. We then closed the day with catching another bus all the way back to Hernandarus to where we learned our companions, We split up earlier, were still in Suidad De Leste. So we staid up till about 2 am on Friday to make sure they had a key to get in. Then we finally were able to catch some sleep. We then began to recuperate and then were able to tract some that afternoon. 

Come Saturday and Sunday.
So we watched conference at my church, We set up the Spanish session for the members of the ward in the chapel and me and two other missionaries went into the secretaries office to watch it in English. I'm so happy i was able to watch it in English. It was such a wonderful conference!! I was however not able to watch priesthood session in English and most of that went right over my head. For the talks given in Spanish sadly they dubbed over a English voice for us. But that aspect is wonderful and I'm super happy that they are doing that now for people!

I had an opportunity to be a translator for a family here. Earlier last week we gave them a curious George book that was in Spanish. And this week they came back to us and told us they don't know what it means, so i was able to read/translate this book for them, it was amazing and i felt very happy about my Spanish and how far it has come along!

Elder Merrell.



Sunday, October 5, 2014

Papers, Colten, Storms and Stars

We went on a trip last week. We were asked to go to Posodas in order to deal with some paper work, and for me to obtain a residencey card for both Paraguay and Argentina. So we then started the trip, a nice 6 hour bus ride from our town to I beleive Ignacion, which is across the river from Posodas, and then a short taxi ride into Posodas. We then slept for about 2 hours, woke up at 2 am and set off for some other city where they dont require a social security number in order to do the paper work.

The best part of the trip probably happened in the second 6 hour leg to the other city. While everyone slept I was wide awake and not sure what to do. Upon openeing the blinds of the small van/bus we were on, I was able to see the night sky and all the stars that it had and oh goodness was it beautiful. I can't begin to describe it. We were out in the middle of nowhere between cities so it was pitch dark to start with and in addition to that, about 15 or so kilos away from us was a huge lightning storm. So to see the stars and all the lightning at the same time was wonderful. Then after about an hour of watching and thinking we came into a town and the stars and storms were taken from me. It was wonderful while it lasted though and I'm very happy that i didn't get some sleep for once.

Upon entering into the city we then began the paperwork process. It was decent but it took forever. After about 10 hours of paper work and finger prints and such, they handed us all of our papers back one by one. I was one of the last few to receive mine, and upon receiving my papers the Senor there pointed out that my name was not Colten...In which a police station earlier the same day read it incorectly and printed that as my name..So congrats to any Colten Justin Merrell in Argentina, cause you are now a resident..

After a defeating walk back to the bus/van, we were able to go to a mall for a quick moment and have some McDonalds.​ And never in my life has a McDonalds burger felt/tasted more sinful in my life. I felt as if after i would need to repent for eating it. :)

We then turned around and began the trip back to Posodas. 6 hours there and then another 6 hours back to Honondarius, getting home just around 6 am the next day. It was a long few days but we managed, and quickly got back to the work. At some point this whole process will have to be repeated..

On a happy note, I was able to finish Jesus the Christ book on Saturday after we had a quick moment for some down time. I started reading it for a very childish reason but that isnt very important. I finished it all the same for personal reason now. And then come Sunday we went into a different part of our area and began tracting. We knocked a few times but to no avail we didnt find any one wanting to talk with us. After a few minutes we came across a nicer house and began talking with the mother of the house. She told us her son had been baptized in our church. We started freaking out ever so slightly and then she told us he was here. so he came out and we began to talk with him and he was Baptized but never confirmed as a member of the church. And that was about 2 years ago. He then ran inside and came out with a book of mormon, a picture of his baptism and also a Jesus the Christ (in spanish). We kept talking and he asked us if we have read the Jesus the Christ, and my comp said he had not but I was able to tell him that I had. And now next time we visit with him he is going to ask me about any questions he has. Can't wait....

Elder Merrell




Saturday, September 27, 2014

White Shirts and Red Dirt :)

My companion is Elder Mechan and he is from Peru. He does not know much english, and the english that he does know come mostly from songs. We get along alright..More or less based on the fact that I am not going to be troublesome and he has been here for a lot longer then me. Oh and he is 26 years old and will be heading home in January.

I am living in a small town. We are currently renting a third story apartment, It is one of the taller structures in our area, they dont get much taller then 3 stories. There are vendors on every corner for fruits and nicknacks and such. There are some very humble sections of the town and some very nice sections of town, but both can be right next to each other too.

They have us on a payroll system in where every P day we take a card and go get cash at a ATM for food and such. There isnt much left over after a week of food buying and such.

We were standing in the middle of a circular roundabout and there was a collection of vans, motorcycles and cares.  They were all yelling words at us but it didn't make much sense. I only understand about 30% of the spanish but it is also mixed in with Guatanese and Portugese. Throw in some English thoughts and it makes things a bit tough.So thats how the language is comming along haha.

We got to My city by bussing from Posodas for about 6 hours to the small town and then catching a taxi ride to our apartment, it didnt take too long but im not to excited to have to take that ride back at some point haha.

One problem I couldn't imagine that I would have are the mirrors. All of the wall mounted mirrors are about 8 inches too short for me. It is becomming a problem haha and I dont enjoy bending over.

While we were walking we came across some actuall nuns and my compaion with his fluent spanish told me he wanted to get a picture with them. We didn't get the picture. haha, They were not too pleased with us..

Oh..So Apparently when it rains here we dont go tracting based on the fact that no one ever lets in wet people. While it rains the town gets really quiet and everyone just waits for it to pass haha. So it rained for about 2 days straight and so my companion and I just sat and studied and waited. It was nice to be able to study some and relax a bit but at the same time I missed saying hola to people.

People here are extremly nice, I would not go as far to say receptive of the message, But they are extremly willing to talk with us. They listen to our message and then tell us no thanks. Its tough we haven't had many people agree to meet a second time with the exception of a guy who me and my companion were convinced had a bit to much to drink the other day.

Here are some quick pictures.The computers here are extremly slow. Hopfully they will send. One is of the river that seperates Paraguay and Argentina. The other is at the Buenos Aries temple where we stopped between flights earlier. And the other is of me and my companion Elder Mechan.

Con Mucho Amor
-Elder Merrell




Monday, September 15, 2014

Not sure where the question mark is on the keyboard....oh well..

Lets just start where we left off..Short and sweet cause I dont have a lot of time.

Sorry if i spell everything wrong, I don't have a english computer..Its all spanish haha..

We had infield orentation and it was alright, not really what i expected but it was fun, I had the oportunity to speak with a Japanese Missionary that was heading back to Japan, He learned english on a trip to hawaii and we talked it was fun haha.

We came across a pillow room..And that`s about all i can say about that..

So I am convinced that my parents do not know how to pack, Cause when i first weighed my bags in Texas, They were both over 50..And then Being in Utah and weighing them 6 weeks later..I managed to drop about 5 pounds on each bag..No idea how.. For the last couple of days we traded ties, talked, studied and packed, On the Sunday night devotional before leaving Me and Elder Mahoney were asked to be ushers. It was alot of fun and i had the chance to talk to a senior Missionary, Elder Mcartney.

We got talking and turns out he knows some people from Katy! I was thinking there is no possible way that i will know the people he was about to name. The Savoie Family, from Louisiana. It was crazy..I knew them!! We talked and talked and then we talked some more about Corbin heading out on his mission and such. It was a wonderfull expereince to meet a some what similar face haha.

Then we left..We walked out bags out at 6 in the morning, Right after waking up at 2 to say goodbye to Elder Evershed and Elder Foster. We got onto the Bus and it took us to the Train, and from the Train to check in and through security and such. We then flew to Atlanta, It wasn`t that long of a flight. We then had a 5 hour layover there and I was able to talk with family and some friends. Then came boarding, We got on, and it was a two isle plane..Never been on one of those before..It was alright and very interesting having meals and such on the plane. I didn't sleep at all on the 10 hour flight. After landing we went to baggage clame..And apparently the Delta airline baggage workers were on strike..So then came a 3,4 hour wait untill they came back from where ever they were and unloaded our bags..The mission workers began to scramble to get us new flights and such to our respected places. We were then crammed onto a bus and taken to the Temple in Buenos Aries, it is so beautiful there, and it is a huge temple!! WE got to walk around it then quickly go eat at the MTC there and then back onto the bus to go catch or flights. I was lucky enough to set off the metal detectors, but instead of emptying my pockets and such I received a pat down..which i passed no worries there. Our flights, which were also delayed for a few hours were fine and nothing to worry about. We laned in the Posados Airport and oh goodness is that a small Airport, It was small in a cute way haha.
After a few days at the mission home and getting cleared to enter Paraguay if needed we were assigned our areas.. I was assigned to the area in Paraguay named Hernondarias,It is about 6 hours away from Posodos and is well into Paraguay. 

When we hit Paraguay we found our zone leaders, And after some very persistent shoe shinners I managed to convince an elder to pay for me.

 Elder Pulver, A local Tremonton Utah ressident. Me and him began talking and seeing who all we knew in common, It was sweet. And luck has it he is a grandson of the Fronks Family. And was cousins to Riley Clark (Married now and cant remember her new last name). Very interesting.

One thing weird about Paraguay is they speak spanish, But they also speak Guatanese, which sounds like spanish, but if you try to pay attention..You have nooo idea what they are saying.

My first friend here in Paraguay is a 4  year old boy who's family recently joined the church, His name Is Fer, Short for Fernando. He teaches me Spanish and i attempt to understand what he is asking and teach him some English in return.

In Paraguay there are some interesting things that i have noticed, The Lightning has color to it, Not sure how to describe it but it has a redish blue hue to it, but is still very noticable. Everyone and there dog drinks Matte here and they all carry around the cups full of the stuff and along with that large coolers full of water to pour into it. There are alot of Big dogs here and a lot of small cats..Not sure how to explain that but yah haha. Oh also the money here in Paraguay isnt the Peso, It is the Mil, And 1 mil is about 20 cents in American Dollars. We went to the store and bought some food and it came out to be about 44.000 so basicaly about 8 dollars and 80 cents for 4 good peices of meat, Rice, Cereal, Tomatos, lettus, And milk..It is really cheep here..

Yesterday i had my first sunday here in Paraguay, and goodness was it terrifying when the bishop turned the time over to me. I got up and managed to let some spanish fall out of my mouth but afterwards some of the sisters came up and told me that my spanish wasn't great. Thats comforting.. But that I spoke with the spirit. So in the end i guess its alright. Spanish in general is comming along alot better then i thought. When you have nothing else to listen to i guess it just starts to make sense haha.

Not sure what else to say. ITs been a long few weeks since last time and other than that it has been some sweet missionary work. The people in Paraguay are very kind and nice and are willing to listen. Just not come to church haha. Hopefully that will change over time.

Con Mucho Amor
Elder Merrell

Hola from Posadas

HOLA from Posodas Argentina!!! So we had a lot of flying and such, and ill talk more but basically just letting you know i have made it safely here. It is beautiful, I'm not sure if i will be returning. :)

Write you later
-Con Amor Elder Merrell

I'm tired of planting seeds, I'm here to harvest.

Not much has happened in the past week and nothing too crazy happens on Friday or Saturday.  It was nice to have gotten past all of the Chin Ches, and also getting past all of the Visa scares. I was able to receive my Travel plans on Saturday and I will be flying out of SLC Airport, I leave the MTC around 7:30 and My plane boards and leaves at 11 to Atlanta, We have a 5 hour lay over there in the Airport then we take a longer flight down to Buenos Aries. Then from some well known sources we will be able to take a 12 hour bus ride from There to posadas, I really hope for the Bus ride, It would be very nice to be able to see all of the Scenery and be able to experience that in a slow manner rather then on a plane. But i guess I'm the only one who wants that.. Go figure.

Sunday was alright and the devotional was sweet, nothing crazy happened. But while here at the MTC I'm about 35% sure that i have gained about 4 pounds...Crazy right?

Monday is another simple normal day, Tuesday is nice cause we have the Tuesday night devotional and were able to here from Elder Clarke Of the Quorum of the Seventy, He had a wonderful talk and it was very powerful, talking about bringing those recent converts back into the church. Me and my companion were also asked to act as security before the devotional started. It was fun and it was very interesting to see how stupid some people can truly be..

Umm..Wednesday was the day new missionaries come in but we didnt receive any additions to our zone, it was rather sad but at the same time it was nice. In class Wednesday afternoon was taught by a Brother Lund and was a wonderful lesson, We were able to teach him as an acting investigator that he taught when he was on his mission (a role play essentially). Afterwards we were able to talk with him and ask him about Luis (the investigator he was playing as) and he told us he got to friendly with him and was unable to convince him to be baptised, but at the same time maintained a very strong relationship with him. I then said "Well you planted a seed for another missionary" His reply then blew me away.

 "I'm tired of planting seeds, I'm here to harvest."

I quickly after the lesson wrote down the quote and plan to serve my mission in the manner that I am here to find those the seeds have been planted for already.

Sorry for the small post today but there wasn't much that happened, next week will obviously be a lot larger and will be from Argentina!

Con Amor

Monday, September 1, 2014

Chin Chas!

So this week has been rather interesting. One thing I dislike is the fact that I have two different sets of weeks..The normal week the whole world goes by and that makes sense. And then todas las personas en la MTC. Arrive here on Wednesdays and then you base that on how long you have been here. So by that logic, I have been here 5 weeks as of yesterday. And I have 11 daysleft at the MTC. Its bitter sweet, Based on the fact that I don't want to just be sitting here in this Hunger Games like camp..Where we are divided into districts, Cut off from the outside world, Constantly monitored by small white golfcartish cars.. :)   Everyone is in white, and everyone has the rule book memorized like the back of their hand. But, I know as soon as I leave and hit Argentina..All the Spanish that I have learned and accumulated over the past weeks will slowly dissolve based on the fact of how fast they will be speaking in Argentina.

A scary thing about the Visa wait is that they tell you, No news is good news. Which basically translates to have fun being terrified that your visa wont come through. The three other elders that are going to Posadas, and also some of the Hermanas going to Posadas in a different district have all been called in to get another FBI clearance and its really scaring me based on the fact that I haven't been called in..But what ever..I'll I can do now is wait.

Chin Chas...also known as the Red Menace, Also known as the common Bed Bug...It has been interesting..Not in my room but in the other apartment for the other half of my district. They found lines of bites on Elder Jones's skin and he quickly went to the doctor. I'm not sure about how he was raised, but i was just told to leave things like that and don't scratch them and tough it out, but I guess they did the right thing by screaming bed bugs from the balcony's and everyone quickly knew around west campus. They were required to spray everything that was not dry cleanable. And it took them most of Monday to do this. They then were given a different room and required to move all their stuff there. We thought that was going to be the end of it all but come Wednesday, Elder Jones, Slaugh, Danielson and Sandburg all have bites and were required to go up to the Main MTC campus to get checked by doctors. This time the doctors were not convinced they had beg bugs even though there were 4 victims this time and not just one. None the less, they had to go find proof that the bedbugs have followed them into their room. But for now...we just sit and watch.

The Return of a consistent teacher is rather nice. Both Brother Glock and Brother Lund have returned from Vacation and are now our teachers on a regular basis! Thank goodness, But just so happens that our luck is still bad, Our third Teacher Sister LeBaron was called to go start the instate Spanish Ipad Program. And thus we were given a new teacher bringing our total up to 11..Holy cow..

OH! Super cool thing, I was able to talk with Hermana (Madi) Schofield, who none of you know. But is cool because before moving to Texas I went to school with here in 8th grade..So it was awesome to catch up with some one who graduated from Bear River High school. It was interesting to be able to catch up with some one who went to the school I would have graduated from. She told me about those who were serving missions and who is planning on leaving. I wont have the chance to run into any other people from Bear river it seams like. It's sad but it was fun while it lasted.

​Our apartment is either really cool....or really really gross. One of the elders received a package and within said package there was a small container containing a perfect balance of soap and water in order to create perfect spherical very fragile, liquid enclosed air pocket. And upon blowing them typically what happens is they float to the ground and with a silent pop all particles dispenser in many different directions. But in our apartment...After one of these perfect liquid encased air spheres were created they fell slowly and then bounced upon our carpet and on some occasions began to roll.. It was quite a fun experiment and exceedingly entertaining.

Until next week, Con Mucho Amor
-Elder Merrell





Thursday, August 21, 2014

PDAY 3

Today is Pday number 3. And time is flying by like there is no tomorrow, and by that I mean it drags,,, and drags,,, and drags,,,, and then for a moment,, zips bye extremely fast. We are starting to quiz each other on what we had for dinner the day before, And we get it wrong. It is a very weird set of circumstances and not to sure how to explain it.

SPANISH! Spanish is coming alright and it is already moved into my vocab rather quickly, while at the same time it has replaced some things all together. I can no longer testify in English based on the fact that I was attempting to reverse translate a testimony in my head for my Zone President who does not speak Spanish. In Spanish when you testify, they taught us to use the word Creer, which translates to "To believe" and in Spanish the testimony makes sense, but the second I was trying to translate it back saying in English "I believe the church is true" is odd sounding, so I would constantly stop myself and have to substitute testify and other words in and out. It was miserable and I looked really really dumb..But i stumbled through it..

So when you are at the MTC this is what is supposed to happen, you show up day one and are introduced to your 2 teachers and then two weeks later introduced to a third teacher and then have those three teachers alternate respectively throughout the week. That is not the case for us though. After our teachers learned of our terribly poor Spanish and lack of some English skills they both magically happened to have a 10 day vacation on the same set of days...And the thing is they said we would have subs and we were alright with that, until the sub came in and told us that he/she would now be our new permanent teacher...But this hasn't just happened once...We have had a total of 10 teachers so far..Coincidence,,,, Or are we just to much to handle?? I think it is the later of the two. It has been rough not having a consistent teacher, Because one thing you will learn (whether you like it or not) every teacher wants their first lesson, to be the lesson that you wont forget and tell us/ask us why we are here on missions and what our duty is..We are slowly getting tired of having that lesson for the 10th time yesterday afternoon...We have had one too many 'life changing' lessons and I cant remember which one changed my life more... :)

Minus the ridiculous amount of teachers simply going on vacation and never seeing again the Spanish is coming on rather well. Also we are feeling rather confident in our teaching abilities, But we are all suppressing the fact that we know as soon as we hit Argentina we will be blown away by speed and also understanding of the words that will be spoken to us. I am slightly feeling the need to fake a nervous break down.  I heard through the grape vine that if you do, they give you the option to send you into the field as soon as possible.  That is one way to get out of the MTC, but I'm not that desperate yet.

Oh so we had the awesome opportunity to hear from the General Young Women's President

Bonnie L. Oscarson

 on last Tuesday, ( I think it was last Tuesday)and were also able to hear from Sister Jenny Oaks Baker, Elder Oaks Daughter, Both were amazing talks and both were interesting and also their high notes (literally). Sister Oscarson was able to talk to us about her family and the numerous amount of missions she and her family have served in the Netherlands and those respected countries. Then Sister Oaks Baker, who if you don't know is a world renowned violinist and has been performing since she was 8 and playing since she was 3, was able to play some amazingly conducted musical pieces for us along with her 4 kids and family friend. Both were wonderful talks.

There were ALMOST riots this morning...So close..like i could here the quiet whispers of uncertainty..It was crazy..But thank goodness the return of the strawberry and mixed berry cream cheese has returned for breakfast. We were honestly seconds away from doing something crazy like turning over a salt shaker or something, or maybe even a napkin holder, but that would only happen if we knew there was no hope. But we had faith and the past two breakfasts were miserable but the wait was well worth it..I take it the MTC staff heard our silent thoughts of rebellion and quickly restocked before it got out of hand. I'm not sure how they would handle the wrath of a two person riot.

Also to all those classy missionaries, don't wear a three piece suit..cause if you do another missionary, (me) who enjoys his Ráspbérry Lémóñádé, very fancy stuff here at the MTC, will, with the help of another Elder. Perfectly rehearse and execute a maneuver in where my Elder will, while taking his jacket off, Drop a solid elbow onto my tray..And my wonderful Raspberry Lemonade will just so happen to soak the back side of your jacket..And while I'm sitting there apologizing in Spanish, I will be manically laughing in English in my head..

(If I think of more to add i'll send it to you but other then that, that will be all :) unless you ask me some questions and such)