Sunday, May 17, 2015

Fishing in the Lagoon

I started getting a little bit sick this week so I was packing some honey lozenges 

 So we went into a house to teach a new family, the family aguero.  We were waiting for them for a little bit on the couch so I figured that I might as well pop out a honey drop and throw that sucker in my mouth.  Right as I was opening it a whole herd of kids walked into the room.  So I being the only one with the only candy felt like I should eat the last one with discretion... so I sat on top of it... and then we taught a bomb lesson... and then when we got up to leave and I snatched it up.   When we got outside we said goodbye and started going off.  I looked at the candy and saw all sorts of stuff stuck on it, hair, dirt, other stuff... does a little bit of hair stop me from eating a honey lozenge? Nope.

The next day we had a birthday of an investigador.  So We pitched in and bought a little bit o peanut butter here (we had to pitch in cause its more expensive here that shredded gold) and being as creative as possible we made a 15 stack pancake cake for her birthday.  In the end they didn’t like the peanut butter too much....dang...

We had a bomb lesson with an investigator this week where we taught him in the house of a member.  Everything was going golden but then while we were talking about the 1st vision the member gets up out of nowhere, turns on the tv, and puts in the dvd of the 1st vision... and then it ended up not working out... so we just had a good old ruckus for nothing.
 I am either sick in the head or I’m getting old cause I am losing everything. This week I did indeed lose the we went on a wild goose hunt looking for the darn thing. Everybody was saying "you lost it on the bus? Its long gone..." so we called it on Wednesday and somebody answered saying "hello?" in English.  I was super confused so I answered in Spanish saying "hola?" 
And then they hung up...
So we called them again and somebody told me that they were talking in English again. So I put the phone up to my ear and I heard "WHO IS THIS? YOU HAVE THE WRONG NUMBER! STOP CALLING!" and then they hung up again.
When we called the next time the phone was turned off.
It’s been over 14 long days since we heard from phony... I don’t think I’m gonna find him again...

I got a flashback to my good old Albion years this week when several of my zits from my old years started coming back to visit.
My companion, being an opera singer, had to have a good ol clean face every night so he showed me a home remedy of how to clean up my face with lemon and sugar.  Now you could say that I’m so clean I could be on the acne clear commercials.  Lookout acne clear girls, here comes Elder Andrew Huber Merkley

We were riding on bikes this week when we had a car pull up to us, say "here brother", hand me a paper, and drive off...
Dazed in confusion I looked down and realized that it was a Jehovas witness flyer.  

I found a store that sells 10 peso ties:)

And…my comp slapped a bee out of the air

And that would about sum up last week that I didn’t have time to write cause we went to the temple this week and the day that we were supposed to write we thought we were supposed to work and then the next day we had 2 different intercambios that we had to go on.... my bad...

So we went and we had a sweet lesson with the family aguero, the wife and kids.  We taught a dope lesson and everybody loved it.  We have super awesome new bikes so I tried riding away in the sunset like a sweet cowboy would do it, just on my bike. 

So I stepped on my pedal and pushed a couple of times about to hop on the bike when my foot slipped and I totally ate it hard in front of the whole family... I got up redder than my cherry tomatoes and said "I look like such an Idiot!"
We rode off and down the street we were laughing and then one of the kids came over to us and asked, "Hey my mom wants to know if you need anything."
Do you have something to help me recover my pride? If so give me all you got...

Later that day we went to a members house and her son went fishing and gave us a good ol big 10 pounder for free Woo!
So when we were leaving I was trying to ride with the fish in the bag in my hand.  I went over this small dip thing in the dirt road and I don’t know how but it launched me off my bike.  Luckily I have cat like reflexes and I landed on my feet a good 3 feet from my bike. How I do it? Very carefully.

The next day we had 2 lessons planned and then we said that we were going on a bus at 2 after eating lunch.  For one of the first times on the mission everything worked out perfectly....      strange...

The next day we got up bright and early to go to the TEMPLE!!! Woo! So while we were going the devil tried kicking off 30 missionaries and the bus started lighting on fire... and yet all 30 of us were strangely calm about everything.

We went to the temple, it was super sweet. 

I went on 2 intercambios this week.  The first one with Elder Mathews in Canuelas and the 2nd with Elder Sandberg in Monte.

For P-day we went fishing in the lagoon in Monte and it turned out to be sweet.  We didn’t catch anything like in Deer Creek but still we had 2 elders who had never been fishing.  I have never seen anybody so excited to go fishing in my life.  Grandpa Merkley they may have even been more excited than you.  They were screaming while they put on the bait and worms.  My little white legs got burnt, and we ate some good ol sandwiches with watermelon on the lake.

That night I was on intercambios with Elder Sandberg.  We went and had a lesson where we were teaching like 10 little kids in a family and we tried hyping them all up to do a prayer after that it was like we were Mickey at Disneyland.  There was literally a line for who was going to do the prayer next.

We then went and had a sweet little lesson with an investigador Oscar.  We taught him about where the church comes from and how he can know it.  We gave some sweet testimonies and felt the spirit super strong and then without us even inviting him he said "well.... I guess we should say a prayer right now to see if its true right?" yes... yes we should:)

Then we went and knocked on a random door and a family just answered it and before even asking who we were said, "come on in!"   We went in and it was a family of the mom and dad, 3 sisters, a cousin that they adopted, and their son who is 4 and has some problems in the brain and cant walk.  We just sat there and talked with him for like 40 minutes.  He was just so happy about everything.  Even though he couldn’t even walk he was just a happy little camper, laughing more than everyone else.

It then came to my mind the scripture in D&C 9:6
 Do not murmur, my son, for it is wisdom in me that I have dealt with you after this manner.
Many times we complain because of what we have or what we don’t have.  The more I am out here the more I see that God has something for all of us.  Even though it will be hard to accept sometimes God knows what will be the best for all of us.  We just have to thank him and like a wise man one said "don’t worry be happy"

I love you all.  Have a great week.

Elder Merkley

Sunday, March 1, 2015

A Little Thing Like Prayer

Hello there family and friends.  This week was a guddun.

Well I’m not too sure if I told you guys last week but my comp Elder Senzig and I are really FUN.  No but for real we have a lake real close to the house that is about 6.5 miles around so we got up at sunrise and went on a bike ride around the lake.  It took about 45 minutes and it was sweet.  I’m totally gonna be doing it every P-Day for my exercise.

We went to a member’s house and he showed us a huge zit thing that he has on his arm.  I forgot what he was calling it but I shook his hand and then they always say goodbye to us with a hug and a kiss if they are men.
So when we left the house my comp was like "hey man did you know that he had staff infection on his arm...?"  I was like "nope... why is that important?" and then he proceeded to tell me that staff is spread through the oils of the body... and that Hermano touched me a good bit... so the chances of me getting it are pretty good.  You could say I would have beat Lance Armstrong in a race home to scrape off my skin where he touched me.  I ain’t gettin no staff.

We started out a lesson with a fighting family.  It was super super great. Then I tried doing a little question to help them listen more and it was like letting a trained bear out of the cage.  Usually it works so well and it cooperates.  But every once in a while it just goes crazy and tears everybody that it sees to shreds.  The question that I asked was definitely the second type.  We were pinned down in that house for the next 2 hours trying to hide from the bear. 

We found out this week that a member sold another person’s house without their consent while they were on vacation.  Welcome to Argentina.

We told a menos activo that we were going to his house to pick him up on Sunday.  He was super stoked and told us that he would be ready.  So Sunday came around and we went to his house to go help him out and see if he wants to come with us.  When we got there we saw him asleep outside.  We clapped, and clapped, and clapped... for probably 5 minutes.  I didn’t think it was possible but he was more passed out sleeping than I was when I was younger.  So finally his son comes home and we asked him if he could wake up his dad.  He walked over, found a wine bottle next to him and said "I don’t think he’s gonna be able to make it..." Dang it... 

Buuuttt... the good news is that even though he didn’t come to church we had 20 people come to the branch for the first time!!! WOOO!!!  I’m all riled up.

Today we had our zone activity where we had an egg toss and played some games and we had to walk about 15 kilometros to get there and back.  Haha we walked so much.  On a scale of not far to far, I would say pretty dang far.  We also had a little bit of time to kill so I suggested that we played lava monster on the playground.  Did 20 grown men end up playing lava monster on the kid playground? Yes. There were some little kids watching us like we were crazy. Whacha doin here little kids? Ya’ll can’t play here, Don’t you know this is our turf?

Also when we were coming back I lost my wallet with all of my cards, money, license, passport copy, 2 bank cards, DNA, just some important stuff.   So I was freaking out. We started stopping all of the busses asking if they can let us look cause they do a little loop around the block and we couldn’t find it anywhere. So finally I did a little prayer asking for an answer.  I don’t care what it is, just an answer.  And then it came to my mind "You lost it.  It’s just paper that you can always replace.  If God wants you to have it He will help you find it.  If not, there is a reason for it." I sat pondering on that response that I shouldn’t be so stressed out, but if I didn’t find it, it may serve as a lesson.
15 minutes later we got a call.  We answered it and I heard a voice "Elder Merkley?" we started talking and I found out that it was a buddy from my MTC group named Elder Whetten.  He told me that he found my wallet on the bus and that he had it in his hands at that moment.  I just thought to myself "Thanks big man yet again."

So we had a super sick week finding new people to teach.  You could say the last couple of weeks have been like trying to find a needle in a haystack—a haystack that is about 15 miles long. And called Monte. 

This week we were riding by this house and a guy yelled at us "God bless ya!" So we did a little turn around and went and talked to him.  He wasn’t that interested but his sister, Liliana, started talking to us.  She said that she has 2 little girls and wants to start going to go to a church to help her kids have a better future. We taught her about the church and we taught her about praying and even before we invited her she said "I’m going to pray every single day."  Well... that makes our job easy.

The second person, Oscar, was a reference from an investigator.  He only had like 10 minutes to talk the first time so we got there and taught him how to pray and then we headed out.
The next time we went he said "Ya I’m reading and praying every day! I feel great! When do you guys have the reunions?"  We just looked at each other in pure shock... WHO ARE YOU!??!? WHAT ARE YOU DOING HERE?!?!! 

The last one is a family who had a son try to commit suicide this last week.  We went and they only had a couple of minutes so we also taught them how to pray.   We gave a sweet prayer and then when we finished, they were all crying.

It’s interesting to see how such a little thing like prayer can help so many different people in different situations—whether it’s a lost wallet, a worried mom, a recently divorced father, or a family who is passing through hard times.  Such a little thing can change our day and help us think more clearly.  

In Jeremiah 29:12-14 it says

 12 Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you.
 13 And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.
 14 And I will be found of you, saith the Lord: and I will turn away your captivity, and I will gather you from all the nations, and from all the places whither I have driven you, saith the Lord

Prayer really can change our whole day or even whole week.  If we can just accept what comes and realize that God will guide us towards the best life, it really does take a turn for the best.  If we do it we can and will feel a change and a different happiness. If not we will stay the same as always so why not do it? God is listening.

I love you all and I hope everything is good. Take care
Elder Merkley 

Harry Potter's Room

Well, another week has come and gone.  Things are so sweet here.  My comp is trying to teach me how to sing still.  

We were going back to the pension one night and we saw this guy walking super slow in front of the pension and he kept on looking at us.  I thought to myself as Hans Solo said so often "I’ve got a bad feeling about this...” So I told my comp "Keep going, we are gonna ride past the pension." So we kept going and as we were passing that guy he looked right at us and he said, "Hey guys! What’s up! Ya’ll Mormons?"

We stopped those little bikes and turned on a dime to talk to him. Turns out that he is from Seattle teaching English here in the summer.  Named Nathaniel.  What a great guy.

We were going to have a reunion de distrito in Monte and then the whole schedules got screwed up so we just ended up making pancakes in the pension with 8 elders.  Yay!  FUNNEST MEETING EVER!

We had a meeting in the morning for some Elders this week but we are 6 hours away from where they were going to have it so they just told us that we should just stay where we were and Skype them.  So we went to a member’s house and made some maple syrup (thanks Katie), with peaches, cream, apples, banana, and French toast.  It was one of the best breakfasts that I have had in a long long time:)

We then went into a small room that kinda reminded me of Harry Potter’s room, just with a window... and legos... and tried to listen to the meeting.  I say tried cause it was all muffled and it sounded like they were behind 3 brick walls. 
Were we determined to stay there all 7 hours? Yes. Did we understand a single word? That would be a definite no.  2ND FUNNEST MEETING EVER!

We had some people come to the pension and kill the many families of spiders that aren’t paying rent here.  So they sprayed some stuff and they said in a couple of hours it will take effect.  We went and slept and then in the morning I found 3 or 4 dead spiders on me.  What a great way to wake me up in the morning!

We were studying this morning and a bird drilled our window.  Sooner or later Mr. Clean is gonna have a lawsuit on his hands for cleaning those windows a little too well.

We got new bikes.  On which this morning we woke up bright and early at 5:30 and we went for a bike ride around the lagoon here that is about 7 miles.  We ate a little snack at the halfway point but it was super cloudy so we didn’t get to many pictures.  Either way.  Coming soon pictures of the bike ride.

I ate lamb.

I learned how to grab flies out of the air.  There is a dragonfly flying around my head in this moment.

I found 300 pesos in my pocket.

Well... to finish off the week yesterday it started showering, just pouring water so we, with our brand new bikes that we have had for less than 24 hours, were riding home from the house of a member cause she gave us a little tupper of food for lunch.
I had that food in my right hand and the other hand on the brake.  We were going home calmly in the streets when we saw a car booking it on the left.  Thinking quickly We had to pull the e-brake on the bikes to avoid him but what I didn’t realize is that the left hand brake is for the front wheel so as I squeezed those new brakes in the rain I stopped dead in my tracks, as if I was hitting an invisible wall.  I then flew threw the air like an acrobat with the food in my hands and landed in a puddle with my neck down to my feet completely covered in water... the bad news? I broke my new bike. The good news? I saved the food. I would still count that as a win.

As we were riding home laughing about what just happen and the mass of people who saw me fall with style I thought about a scripture in Doctrine and Covenants 78:19 that says

19 And he who receiveth all things with thankfulness shall be made glorious; and the things of this earth shall be added unto him, even an hundred fold, yea, more.

And D & C 46:32
 And ye must give thanks unto God in the Spirit for whatsoever blessing ye are blessed with.

Many times we have little problems and trials in life.  But it is from these things that we have to learn.  We shouldn’t hold things against people for what they have done, just bless God for the chance to learn and trust that he can help us.  I am learning everyday and be it a day happy or a day full of hardship I am grateful that the Lord has put me here.

I hope that you can all see the good things that the Lord has given you.
And I also hope that you have a great week.  
Elder Merkley

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Laugh it Up, Chuckles!

Nah it’s a joke. My comp, Elder Monteza, received the call that he was leaving and that I was going to stay for another transfer.

They told me that I was going to be getting a newer Elder that is from Utah whose mom is from Peru.  I just can’t get enough of those Peruanos.  He is named Elder Senzig.  He is a bulkier guy. My height. Sings opera. And it seems like we are gonna get along just perfectly.

We got a new fridge this week:)

We also knew that it was going to be our last week together so we cleaned out all of the trash together and the next morning we were going to finish it off.  That night out of nowhere a huge thunderstorm came and blew all of the trash everywhere.  All those times toilet papering karma finally came around and bit me right in the bum.

I told my comp to go into the store and buy a little dulce de leche.  The cheapest one.  So he went in and pointed to one.  And I signed to him I don’t know... and then the next and I replied the same.  He did that with all of them and I gave him the same sign. I finally got tired and told him to come and change me to guard the backpacks.  I was trying to signal to him to come over but he didn’t understand.  Inbetween us 2 there was the line for the checkout.  And in that line there was a little grandma waiting with all of her stuff.  I started to signal to my companion and then I saw her start signaling back.  Pointing to herself and then looking around and then pointing to herself again.

I didn’t want to yell in the grocery store so I tried signaling to her that I wasn’t talking to her and then my companion thought that I was signaling to him saying no to what he was doing and then he started signaling to me asking what he should do and I tried answering him by waving my arms and the grandma thought that I was talking to her again....
.... Finally after waving my arms in the air and several attempts to fix things I just realized that it is never going to work and I just will have to enter.... much more complicated than buying a little jar of jam should be.

We have an investigator who some of the women in the family are getting sick and having some pain in the back.  My comp, being very superstitious, told me that it was an epidemic and that a huge disease was going to spread from here.  I knew that it wasn’t the truth but he started freaking me out, saying "Don’t drink the water. You will get the virus..." And then she offered us water and I looked in and there were some little floaties.
I skeptically put the glass up to my lips and pretended to drink with pure fear running through my veins thinking that I’m gonna be the first case of the new disease that infects the whole world.  But then I realized who was telling me a story and drank it down.

We also had a fly swarm enter into the house and a bunch of spiders with them.  Before the mission I completely hated spiders with every living fiber of my body.  But when I saw them catching the little flies and then wrapping them up and eating them I thought "man... spiders are actually pretty cool.”

So after receiving changes my comp started packing up.  He had a lot of stuff so he was packing into the wee hours of the morning.  As crazy as it may seem I couldn’t sleep there was so much ruckus.  So I was up at 1 in the morning cleaning the pension in my undies.  And then out of nowhere somebody starting banging on the doors.  It freaked me out and I almost touched the ceiling I jumped so high. 
I thought "There are robbers and they are going to rob us."
Then "No it’s somebody who is in trouble and needs help."
To "Maybe they are trying to escape from some thugs"
So I was about to open up the door like a victim escaping my persecutors and then I realized "Hey wait... I’m in my undies... I can’t go out like that...  But wait... by the time I get changed it could be too late..."
So I threw open the door... and... it was a family of members who live behind us and saw that we were still up and wanted to play a very very funny joke. While they were laughing at me in my skinnies, I thought to myself "Real funny guys. Laugh it up, Chuckles, and wait for the sweet taste of vengeance."

Later at 4 a.m., I went downstairs to take a bathroom break, without my glasses, after my companion was finally asleep.  As I was going downstairs, I suddenly saw a little boy about Asher’s height, dressed all in white, looking at the wall, just standing there, not moving, not making a noise... just standing there. I stopped as ice rushed through my veins.  I felt my stomach drop to my feet.  I didn’t want to move or make a noise for fear of him looking at me. So I stood there too, in silence, not moving or breathing—just standing still.  After about a minute I moved closer to get a clearer view of him and I squinted my eyes.  And realized that it was just a fan.

This week we had church and after a week of working hard and being in the sun the whole week we had a killer attendance of 10 people.  I was so dang disappointed we had worked so hard the whole week and then in the end, everybody that we invited didn’t come.  I felt like I had worked so hard and it all just went down the drain.  So I went to go bless the sacrament and while I was reading the words, a scripture in Mosiah 5:13 came to my mind:
For how knoweth a man the master whom he has not served, and who is a stranger unto him, and is far from the thoughts and intents of his heart?

And then it all made sense in my mind.  Sometimes we have to suffer a little bit so that we can understand a part of what Christ felt.  In that moment I asked for help from Him so that I could keep on going forward.  I felt a happiness and peace that renewed my energy and made me want to go out and find everybody that is ready to hear what we are sharing.

I know that God listens to us.  He helps us when we need it.  And sometimes we just have to pass a rocky path to learn to overcome it.

I love you all and I am praying for you every day.  Have a great week and I will talk to you all soon.