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 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


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


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