Monday, April 21, 2014

Trainer and DL

**Cole is doing well - love his letters!  To see photo's go to his blog:

Hi guys. We've had a good week. We got our transfer calls this week, and I am going to be staying in Denton. I'm pretty excited to be here again, I love the area and the ward here is amazing.

President called us on Tuesday. He talked to Elders Munoz, Hepworth, and I. He asked Munoz to be a Zone Leader in Euless, Hepworth to train a new missionary in a different Denton area, and asked me to train a new missionary and be the Denton Spanish District leader. I am super excited! I start doing District meetings and exchanges and everything on Wednesday, when I pick up the new missionary. It is going to be a super fun transfer! I will probably be staying in Denton for the next 3 months, so that makes the first 9 months of my mission here in Denton.

Haha, so one time we taught these guys outside and at the end of the lesson we asked them to say a prayer. He bowed his head, and started praying to us haha. It was funny, but also pretty sad to see that this 40ish year old man who had no idea how to pray, or who to pray too. I guess that is why I'm here. 

We taught this white family, they actually flagged us down and asked us who we were, so that was pretty sweet. Then, we taught them, and they actually understood the authority, and the fact of the apostasy. It was amazing. Haha, that was probably the only time in my mission that someone has understood the reality of the great apostasy, and they are an English family. 

Sounds like y'all are gonna have a good time on spring break. Haha, the picture of Liza and all her friends looks like trouble. I heard the final 4 was here in Arlington. Fort Worth Mission Represent! Haha #called2swerve



Sunday, April 20, 2014

Like A Wildfire Catching Blaze

Hey there everybody!  

First, a couple of weeks ago we did a contact that ended up being super super drunk and he told us to pass by.  When we try to pass by they seemed to have sobered up and just slam the door in our face, so we decided maybe he can be a last resort kind of a thing.
So then this week we did another contact and we talked to a girl who seemed real interested in the message.  So we went to her house and knocked and who answered the door?  The super super drunk guy from the street.  Was he still super super drunk? Yes. Yes he was.
At his insistence he told us to come in.  So we went into his little gate and we started talking.  For the next 40 minutes we ended up talking about the next 3 subjects.
1.) How his house is my house
2.) How he knows us somehow
3.) How real friends you can count on one hand.
About the 3rd or 4th time I heard how he knows us somehow I accidentally started to laugh.  I couldn’t help it, I just did.  Then like a wildfire catching blaze to a dry field my laugh spread to my companion.  We tried to cover it up and say that I had a cold but he got a little mad.  And then when we calmed him down he just kept going about how you can count all of your friends on one hand.  I couldn’t help it and I broke down again.  I told the guy that I was not feeling good so that we could get the heck outta there and save the rest of his 3 points for another day.

This week my companion Elder Flinders and I were on our way to an appointment.  It has been raining a lot this week so there was a lot of water in the gutter.  There are also huge speed bumps in the middle of the road that if you go over it it feels like they are going to break your coccyx (or however the heck you spell that) to you have to choose the best of 2 evils.  My companion chose to go through the water.  What the poor guy didn’t know is that there was more moss than there is salt in the Great Salt Lake and when he went through it caught his wheel and he turfed it pretty hard.  I was watching it all in slow mo and it really looked pretty cool how he did it.  He was sliding and doing 360s like in the movies and in the end nothing bad happened. Except he ripped his pants.  Like in the movies.  He had a huge tear so that everybody could see his undies haha. Luckily we were next to a member’s house so we went and she gave me the thread and I got to stitch the guy up haha in the end it looked awful but it worked out.

I also moved into the 24/7 missionary category this week.  I was sleeping like a baby when I abruptly awoke saying gracias and my companion was laughing super hard.  It was 5 o clock in the morning and I had no clue what the heck was going on but my comp filled me in.  He told me that he woke up to me saying, "Sister, we are here to find people.  To help people come to Christ and feel the love that he has for us.  To find the blessings that he can give to us."  When he heard me say that he said "Amen!" and I responded "Gracias."  I am still really really curious about who I was talking to and for how long I have been talking in my sleep in Spanish but that I feel I will never know.

I will tell you that conference was super super good.  It dumped buckets and buckets of rain but in the end it turned out good.  I suggest watching it if you didn’t have the chance.  We had our investigators who were Atheists come and they told us that they liked it a lot haha, woo!

Anyways.  I love you guys.  I hope that all is well.  

Elder Andy Merkley

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Elder Cook: March Update

March 10, 2014
Well another week gone by! They just really fly by! I feel like in no time i will be out one year! But everything is going well here! There was some good things and also some not so good things! Elder Quijan is doing really well though! He is learning a lot really quickly and he actually applies it to his teaching! I am learning a lot from him! Ha i feel like i am learning more then he is, and i am the trainer! But yeah its pretty fun! The District activity last week went well! It was way fun! We went into the gym at the church here and we set up a bunch of tables and had a lot of fun! He had a huge nerf gun war then we went and roasted marshmallows and hot dogs in our fire pit! But anyway Billy is still doing well! He is understanding like everything we say and he teaches us so much! His sister got baptized just last month and his other sister we are teaching! Its pretty cool to see, all of Billy's family is getting interested in the Gospel! He sees and recognizes the blessings from reading! So we had a pretty special experience happen this last week! President Batt has come up with a new idea for the mission! It is really cool! But we are going to get bombarded with Book of Mormons and we are going to hand them out to everyone we see! And also he has an appointment with the President of the Navajo Nation this week in Window Rock and he is going with our Zone Leaders. The President of the Navajo Nation is a member but he is less active and President Batt is going to tell the President of the Navajo Nation that the Book of Mormon is going to change his peoples lives! So it is really cool! President Batt had a vision actually of this! And actually there was a talk yesterday at church that this lady had a dream that there were going to be people lining up to learn more about the Gospel and the cool thing is, she didn't know about President Batts vision! It is really awesome to see and we are all excited! One of our senior couples told our ward about it and they are getting really excited! So we are going to teach people how to hand out Books of Mormon! Anyway we are really excited and there is going to be a lot of good things happening here in this mission sometime! Whether it be now or later, its going to happen and i hope i get to see some of it! But yeah, so that was an awesome experience! But on the other hand Tamara, one of our  investigators is falling away from baptism. She is losing her faith. But we tell her to keep her faith up and to read the Book of Mormon and pray about it! I know she can get through it, she is just doubting a little. But anyway that is really all for this last week! i hope you all have a great week and i love you all!
Elder Cook 

March 17, 2014
Things are going really good! We had a pretty good week this last week! Its crazy because this is the last week of this transfer and that is just one more down! Its going by way to fast! I will be starting my 7th transfer this next one and when general conference comes, that will be my 9 month mark! its so crazy and it goes by way to fast! I am getting close to one year out! Anyway this last week was good! We had to go into Farmington this week because Elder Quijano had a doctors appointment and he might get transferred to Farmington because he might have to go a couple times a week and that is just too much driving to be out here. It takes us like 2 hours to get to Farmington. But yeah we will see. Hopefully not but whatever happens happens. But this last week was really good. Billy has been doing alright. He is still reading but he missed church because his dad came to see him. But that was his third week missing church so we are really trying to focus on him. And also we saw a couple who got married in the temple awhile ago and they stopped going because they felt like they didnt have a a testimony. But we had a really good lesson with them about Church, Praying, and Reading (CPR). Anyway hopefully we will see some good things from them. they have a really awesome family and we are going to start to really work with them! But yeah thats really about all! ha it was a slower week then usual. But hopefully it will start to pick up! Oh and also we have a family that is going to be baptized on March 29! We are excited for that! They fed us Ach'ii which is sheep fat wrapped in sheep intestine. It was kind of gross. But i am glad i got to try it! Haha but it is exciting for this family! They have really seen the Gospel bless their family! well we are excited for this next week and hope you all have a great week! 
Love Elder Cook
March 24, 2014
Good morning everyone! This last week was the last week of my 6th transfer so i will be starting my 7th one! I am really excited! So this is what happened with transfer news. My companion Elder Quijano is getting transferred to Shiprock, New Mexico. So i wont have a trainee anymore... But he has to be closer to a doctor where he can go like 1 or 2 times a week. And out here it takes us 2 hours to get to Farmington so that wouldnt really work out if he stayed here. I will miss him but i know he will do great in Shiprock! So i am getting a new companion and his name is Elder Robinson. I was talking to President Batt yesterday and he was telling me about Elder Robinson and how he is really cool and he says that we will get a long really well! Ha which i was never scared in the first place because i have gotten a long really well with all my companions so far! But i am excited! And Elder Quijano will like his new companion too! But anyway we may be having a baptism this Saturday! We have a way sweet family that is ready to be baptized! They have their baptismal interview tonight so we are excited for that! They will do great! But anyway so we are excited for that! It is John and Ramilda Yanni and they have 4 girls! The oldest one is 9 and she is going to be baptized also! So that is fun! Billy is doing great also! He had a pretty rough patch earlier but we had a really good lesson with him this last week and he is doing a lot better! And his cousin is helping a lot too! So we are excited for him too! But i am running out of time! But i hope you enjoy the pictures and i love hearing from you all! Have a great week! 
Elder Cook

March 31, 2014
Well this last week was a good one! It was kind of slow because we were in Gallup all day one day and then also Window Rock another day. I had to pick up my new companion, Elder Robinson! And also we had zone training this last Thursday so we went to that. And then on Friday we had weekly planning and that took a little longer then usual because I had to explain it all to my new companion and also we had to create a plan on how we are going to hand out Book of Mormons so we can flood the area with them! It was good! But we did have a baptism this last saturday! John, Ramilda, and Kara Yanni. They are a way sweet family! They have been taught for like almost a year and now they felt like they were ready! It worked out! But yeah so that was a really good day on saturday! But also Billy, one of our investigators that we have been teaching since i got here is going to jail maybe. He missed his probation and he is going to turn himself in today. But he has been going through a really hard time lately and a lot of things have just some up. He is starting to lose his faith. But we told him to start reading the Book of Mormon again because he hasnt been able to read it for awhile. He said he would! We gave him Enos 1 because he has been praying to see if it is really true and we just keep reminding him that his answer will come when he really commits himself to really wanting to know if it is true and he really tries to find the answer! But that has really all that has been going on this last week! My new companion is from twin falls idaho and he is a football player. So he is pretty big! Ha but he is way cool and i am excited for this next transfer! Its crazy, i hit my 9 month mark in 4 days! Ha the months go by so fast for me! Anyway i love you all and i hope you enjoy the pictures! Have a great week!
Elder Cook


Sunday, April 6, 2014

Running on Fumes

Well, this week was a good one.  I didn’t have time to write on Monday because we had transfers. I am happy that I get to stay in Ezeiza again cause there are so many awesome people here but at the same time I am pretty dang sad to see my comp Elder Santos go. We didn’t have that much in common but we got along really really well and it was easy to work with him.  

Now I have my first companion from the states WOO! His name is Elder Flinders and is from American fork Utah.  He loves basketball, and hunting, and horses, and nature and stuff like that so it is pretty dang easy to get along with him.

Also he likes to work out, so in the mornings we have been getting up early and running and working out.  Haha I am so out of shape.  On the bikes I can go for longer than the energizer bunny but the first 2 minutes of running... lets just say I was running on fumes.
Anyways the last couple of weeks have been good.  I will give you a more full update next week my comp is ballin and things are good.

I love you all,
Good luck this week.
Love Elder Andy Merkley

Pray To See If Things Get Better

Hello everybody,

This week was a bit strange. some of the days we were running from lesson to lesson and then other days we had the whole day booked and every single one fell through.  Haha The rollercoaster life of the mission right? 

In Ezieza we have the area split in two.  We are in one area and the other area is the Hermanas’.  Literally all of the leaders are on their side and we cant cross over so we cant have to many meetings with them or so we thought until we talked to the president last week and he told us that we can go into their area if a member invites us.  So this week we tried having a lot of meetings with some of the leaders to kinda gain a bit more of trust and find out who we should meet with.

We found out from one of them that an inactive Hermana was super super sick and wanted a blessing. So we booked it over to her house to help her out.  We got there and we clapped.  And clapped. And clapped.  Her door is a good 20 yards from her fence so we realized that the clapping isn’t gonna do too much good.

So my companion looked both ways and full sprinted on her property and clapped and then full sprinted back haha.  He looked a little uncoordinated with all of his books and his backpack trying to full sprint back to me before they opened there door but just in the knick of time he grabbed his bike, made it look like he was sitting back and relaxing and just waiting when they opened the door. And it worked like a charm.  Haha to tell you the truth, I don’t know what happens if they find you on their property but I’m not gonna be the one to test it out.

In other news, like I have told you guys, there are sometimes where the number of dogs on the street far outnumber the amount of people.  This week we had many of these times.  One of these afternoons as we were weaving through the crowds of dogs there was one right in the path of Elder Santos.  Usually when you say Cucha the dogs high tail it outta there. I don’t know why but they all scatter when you say it haha. Anyways my companion told the dog cucha and it looked around and ran off.  My companion, at the same time, thought that he was going to hit the dog so he swerved to miss it, but when he swerved the dog didn’t know what to do and ran straight at him.  He barely nicked the little guy and it ran off completely fine.  It was really really sad but at the same time it was really really funny to look at his face of pure shock and horror.

This week church was good but a little long.  They were having the aniversario of the women’s society and the presidenta literally mentioned every single name of every single woman in the church who was a member, all 90 of them and their traits that they have.  Haha it was good, just... a little long.

Also for you guys who like music I was in the train today when I met a blind guitarist named Roberto Meglia and he told me that his stuff is on YouTube and he played some for us and it was real sweet so check it out.

This week we started teaching a kid with more or less 23 years named Matias and his friend Kevin.  They are both super curious about God and what happens in life and after.  Yesterday they were telling us that they are both having pretty hard times in life so we read 3 Nephi 18:18-21 about praying.

We explained it to them and Matias told us, "I’m not sure if this is right but I feel like we should pray with our families and if we do it then maybe things will get better in our families.  I’m going to pray with my parents everyday to see if things get better."  Then Kevin told us "I think I’m going to do the same.  I want to see if it can help my family."  Haha usually we have to ask several times to say the prayer but both of them promised us that they are going to do it without us even asking them to do it.  Haha it made our job real easy.

Anyways I love you all.  Sorry it wasn’t that active of a week.  Transfers are next week and I am kinda hoping that Elder Santos and I are together for another transfer haha.
I hope that things are good for you guys too.  

Love Elder Andy Merkley

To Yolar

Hey what’s up?
This week was pretty good. We switched our house next door. It’s a little bit bigger and the walls were just patted white. Every morning we have to wake up 15 minutes early to read the scriptures. We are too lazy to get out of bed so we read in our beds but with the way white walls and the pure bright light that is in our room I feel like I’m waking up in the celestial room every morning. It goes from really dark to pure bright.
On Wednesday we had zero plans and was the day we changed our house so when we left to go out and preach I told my companion “We’re just going to yolo it today.” (You guys can ask Ryker what it means.) He gave me kind of a weird look but is really shy so didn’t say anything but just gave me a head nod haha. Throughout the day I kept saying that until I made it into a word-- yolar – to yolo. We actually had a pretty successful day so I think I’m going to start yoloing it more often.
On Thursday we were walking in the street and I saw a group of little kids about 7 or 8 years old shooting something in the tree with slingshots. When we got closer I realized they were trying to kill a huge black iguana. I asked them what they were going to do with it once they killed it. They looked at me like I was stupid and said “We’re going to eat it duh…”  Like five seconds later they knocked it out of the tree and some stray dogs ran by and swooped it up so they kids took off running haha.
This week we baptized Jose Alfredo Cruz Hernandez. He’s pretty dang awesome.  His mom was baptized by my companion Elder Gonzales when he was here. Jose recently moved here from Veracruz. His baptism was way awesome and the spirit was super strong. He is 19 years old and I saw him change from a kind of a punk into a way awesome person and now he wants to serve a mission.
That’s about all I’ve got for this week. The internet blows chunks here and takes forever so I can’t upload any photos or respond to emails because when I press respond it just says loading forever. 
Con amor elder Kimball  

Making Dry Peanut Butter

Hey there everybody!
Well this week was a good one.  Super super busy doing random things but in the end things turned out pretty good.

I don’t know why but everybody decided to celebrate "Lets not be at home when the missionaries come week!" so lets just say that we did a LOT of knocking on random doors this week.

Haha besides that on Sunday a couple of the young men were super super stoked to come with us to help us out so we went on divisions to cover more ground.  I went to the members and my companion looked for the new investigators.  We went around and talked to some people, played some games so that the kids would pay attention, and then went around to a lot of houses where nobody was home. 

We went to a house that was one of our final plans and the menos activos members were there so they invited us in and luckily my companion for the day was a member who was friends with the family so we started talking to them about cooking and whatnot. I told them that I made some homemade bread that morning and then she got super excited and told me to wait for a minute.  So I waited and she returned with a cookbook. She told me that these are all Argentine recipes and that she hasn’t used the book in ages and it would be better if I had it! haha how neat is that?  So anyways now I have a cookbook of all argentine recipes and I am hackin away at them.  When we have free time I’m gonna learn how to make them so when I get home I will be a professional, woo!
Anyways the other day I woke up and I did my exercises and ate breakfast and showered and did all that bidness.  Then I got on my knees to start my prayer to study.  When I knelt down it felt like there was a huge clump of clothes under one knee.  So I went to fix my pants but then I realized that my pants were fine.  

I felt my knee and I thought that I had something stuck to it so I lifted up my pant leg and.... I....Saw.... A......huge lump thing that is about the size of a golf ball. Haha we still don’t know what exactly it is but after prodding it and laughing about it for a good 20 minutes we decided that maybe we should call the nurse.  We called her and after telling her all of the symptoms she told me that it is a cyst (like the one that I had in my wrist?)  And that after a couple of days it should go away and that it’s nothing to be too worried about.

In other news this week we were passing a couple of kids on the corner and they were telling us to stop and talk with them and usually when somebody here says that you do quite the opposite.  But we stopped and talked to them and they ended up being super funny and telling us how much they love Brazil and the States.  So I talked to them for a while and they asked us if they could take pictures with us and put them on Facebook and already some of the contacts that we have made said that they saw us on Facebook haha.

Well, I made fresh bread and my companion and I are doing experiments like in chemistry about how to make peanut butter, result number one:  Dry

Well... I love you all.
I hope that you are having a good week.

Love Andy