Thursday, December 19, 2013

12/16/2013..Cold but Happy

These are our Whoo-hats! ;) Sister A got those for us because that is the theme for the ward christmas party this coming Tuesday! They are so awesome! ;)

12/16/2013...In Heavenly Father's Hands and the Idaho Falls Temple!

My week in review: This week truly was a fantastic one! Unfortunately..... we had to drop our two baptismal dates. One had been to church enough times and has been having terrible back pain and has been sick. For another, his mom doesn't want him to be baptized right now even though he is all for it. BUT, we are going to continue to work with both of these fantastic Sons of God and make the most of every single visit! :) Heavenly Father has wonderful things in store for us and we are going to keep pressing forward!

Fantastic Story #1- So, it was really late, probably about 8:45ish and we could have gone home but we decided to make one more visit for the evening. We went to a couples home! I'm not sure if I have told you anything yet about them BUT they are both members but haven't gone in a really long time. They REALLY want to come back and change their lives but they just struggle making the commitment. In fact, we have knocked on their door probably about 20 times but have only gotten in 4 times I think BUT we got in that night, which was incredible! We had a WONDERFUL conversation with them, shared a message about coming back to the fold and the joy found therein and we just got to really reconnect with them which was great! They are so fantastic and Jon has such a strong testimony of prayer, especially amongst his own personal trials. They didn't come to church yesterday BUT we are definitely going to invite invite INVITE for next week. They are such a good family. :)

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Winter and Santa have arrived in Pokie

12/9/2013..Zone Conference and Cold weather

We definitely did have another amazing week! :) It snowed like crazy! AND it was Elder Abbott's first time driving in the snow! Definitely interesting! Haha!  I don't have a lot of time to write this morning BUT I want to tell you guys and a wonderful and incredible story! There is a man here in Pocatello.  He used to chew and drink and live a lifestyle that really wasn't working very well for him. He also would spend every other 2 weeks working at the oil fields in South Dakota in a terrible and vulgar work environment. Overall, it was hard for him to be away from his family and hard for him to live each day. BUT! This last spring, he stopped chewing, and drinking and recently quit his job at the oil fields to be home more, to spend more time with his family and go to church more! The crazy thing is, is he quit his job without having anything to go back too (something really unlike his personality). what seemed like quite a gamble really was something he described as "going with God" :) Also, pretty much the cherry on top of it all is his family wants to be sealed together soon! He was raised LDS but fell away for a while but has since returned and is trying to get his life in order! We have been able to meet with them twice and watched a video called, "The Mountain of The Lord" last time we were there. The video is all about the sacrifices that were made to build the magnificent Salt Lake Temple. :) Overall, he is an incredible inspiration to me. No matter what, God will provide a way! He interviewed with the Railroad this past sunday and finds out today if he made it! Keep your fingers crossed! :) I love this wonderful family and I hope and pray that they make it to the temple and just keep climbing upward and upward after that. :) Other than that, this week we had Zone Conference! We got to have a Christmas program, so many good talks and trainings, a slide show of the mission and a talent show! Man, it was one fun filled morning/afternoon! :) Over Overall, this week has been wonderful. Elder Abbott and I have had great opportunities to teach (we even got to speak in Sacrament Meeting about member missionary work), we got to meet a lot of wonderful people that we are hoping we will be able to help progress toward the temple and baptism, AND we had a ton of fun in the snow..... even though it's freezing outside. ;) But, I promise I'm good! I'm doing well! ;) I hope you have a wonderful and fantastic week! Be safe and have a WARM and wonderful week!

Monday, December 2, 2013

12/2/2013..wonderful memories

 These are pictures of us bucketing water into the baptismal fount! ;)
 This is Brother Scott Axline! Another fantastic individual! Seriously, it was a beyond life changing experience to teach this man. :) He got baptized 4 o clock Nov 30th and confirmed the next day. It was also him and his wife's 19th anniversary, so for their 20th anniversary, there are going to go through the temple. :) Does it get any better than that? :)
This is Patrick! He got batpized at 6 o clock Nov 30th and confirmed the next day! Such a fantastic experience. :) I love this guy!

12/2/2013....2 Baptisms and a 5 minute bedtime dash (and tumble)

   Oh my goodness golly gracious...... this was easily the BEST week of the entire mission for me! It was absolutely incredible! So spiritual! So wonderful and just so gosh darn fun! We definitely had a fantastic Thanksgiving. We had 2 dinners, one with the Dodges and one with one of our Ward Mission Leaders. It was soooooo good and I was so darn full! ;) To be honest, I've gained a little weight since coming out. NOT A LOT! Just enough so that I've noticed a little. ;) BUT, I have started getting really motivated to exercise. I set goals each night for what I want to do in the morning and I tell myself that I WILL accomplish those goals when I wake up! This morning, I did 110 ab exercises, 55 push ups and 80 curls of 20 lbs. It was awesome! I'm starting out kinda slow so I don't burn myself out and I also have a jump rope! Needless to say, I am very very excited about it and I promise I will come back in even better shape than when I left!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

11/25/2013..Happy Thanksgiving and Happy Baptism!!!

Happy Thankgiving!!!!
I definitely had another wonderful week! It went SO well! :) We have a baptism this coming saturday. This past saturday we were able to finish up all the lessons with him, have lunch with him and his wife and help him hang up his Christmas lights. Man! It was the best! :) We also got to sit by him and his wife during their ward on Sunday! His wife is so happy for him as well. :) Apparently, he has been investigating the church for 20-30 years as him and his wife have progressed through their marriage. It has just been incredible to see him come to the knowledge that this is something he needs and that he has grown to desire it. :) Overall, I really don't feel like I did a lot. I know that it was just his time, that Heavenly Father has been preparing him for this moment and that Elder Abbott and I simply had the honor and opportunity to guide him in the right direction. :) He is such a fantastic guy and I can't wait til he and his wife are sealed for time and all eternity. :)

Monday, November 18, 2013

11/18/2013...No Failures..just delays of success!!!

This week we weren't able to set another baptismal date with anyone BUT, one of our investigators moved his date up to November 29th! After talking with his brother in law, who is a bishop, he decided that he shouldn't wait and if this is something he wants, he should do it now instead of waiting and giving satan more time to work on him. Also, he will have a bunch of family in time on that day following Thanksgiving. We are SO excited for him! We were so surprised too! Heavenly Father truly does reward us according to our diligence and efforts. No matter what, if we keep pressing forward through the dark and the light, we will be able to find our way out because the greatest guide of all, even Jesus Christ himself is guiding us. :) As we keep trucking along and keep trying, we WILL be blessed! I know that with all my heart. :)

Monday, November 11, 2013

Picture Time

 That's the house we are building and that is the aftermath of Elder Abbott and I throwing saw dust all over each other!

 That's my grandpa Merkley off to the far left! I found this picture at the MTC and did a double take! I couldn't believe it! It's hanging up at the MTC!!! Man..... it was so wonderful to find. :)

Campinas+Pocatello= Campatello! (taken right before he left the MTC)

11/11/2013..Drinking syrup and trying to move cars!!

I am in the Pocatello 2 area which makes up the Gibson Jack, Indian Hills, Cedar Hills, Mink Creek, Arbun, Johny Creek, and Juniper Hills wards. It truly is up in the hills and on the west side of the tracks where there are SO many trees! ;) The cabin has been going so well! We have gotten to spend a LOT of time up there and have loved it! It's been hard but definitely worth it! The Sister (the only non-member in her family) has really LOVED seeing it go up! She has been getting so excited and the fact that Elder Abbott and I have been able to be a part of that has just brought us so much joy. :) Anyways, she is doing really well! We taught her and her family a lesson this past week and we got to talk about Elder Dube's talk "Look ahead and Believe" It was so good, so spiritual and we even talked about temples for a while which was incredible! 

Monday, November 4, 2013


11/4/2013...Grape football and enjoying our blessings

This week has been so amazing. :) and to get yours and everyone’s emails is like the icing on the cake. It's weird, emails and news don't make me miss home super super bad but they just kinda put me at peace somehow. It's weird! ;) But, thank you so much for the updates! I told Elder Abbot that I approach emailing like a really spiritual experience. I even say a prayer before I read or write...... ;) Don't make fun of me though! Haha! Anyways, thank you for everything! I'm so glad things are going well! I have absolutely loved and adored working in a home ward with all these kids and everyone from age 8-88. It's just been such a good experience! I can definitely add my testimony to that! I KNOW that member missionary work WORKS and that as we, whether we be youth or adults try to involve those around us, all that will come from those efforts is happiness, peace and blessings. Other people NEED what we HAVE. :) and if we truly love our friends and neighbors, as we have been commanded to, we will share our gifts with them.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

10/28/2013...Smiling and Painting fire hydrants

This week was absolutely amazing! So different, so adventurous  so loud and funny, and SO wonderful! Man....... Ahhh! My new area is WAY up in the hills at Pokie! We cover 6 wards and our area is HUGE!  I hope you are all enjoying the leaves! They are amazing here! Just everywhere! When we get the chance to walk on the sidewalks we spend quite a bit of time kicking them around! Haha!

10/28/2013..Piano Playing

The members that we are living with have a piano! :) After a hard days work going every which way you could possibly imagine, it is so wonderful to come home and play a little piano before bed. :) music is such a blessing from Heavenly Father. :) Music has the potential to settle storms and invite the spirit like few things can. As we take advantage of the beautiful tunes and melodies that we have been blessed with, we WILL find a greater spirit and greater peace in our lives. :) 

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

10/21/2013..Reeses Puffs in Paradise

I switched areas! I know, crazy! So, there was an Elder that was up north in Idaho but had to come down south because of Asthma problems. So, he was here kinda floating around with the zone leaders but, last night, it came time for him to get back to work! So, my companionship being the only trio, we got a call saying that somebody was gonna head out. The crazy thing was that at that moment we were having a Sunday night meeting with the Bishop and members of the ward and then we were going over to a recent converts home so we didn't get to find out who was going for about an hour! Man, that was a long hour! haha! But, long story short, it was me! So, I got the news, went to bed, got up in the morning, packed my stuff, helped clean the house, and then went to my new area! 

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

10/14/2013...Be a light for someone

We watched conference from the institute building here in pokie! It was SO WONDERFUL! I absolutely loved it! The messages were so amazing and inspiring. I loved all of President Monson's talk and President Uchtdorf's talk where you said "You can do it now!" Just loved em.

Monday, October 7, 2013

10/7/2013..Be an ANGEL to someone!!

(Transfers came in) I'm actually staying right here! haha! I'm super super stoked! It's just gonna be amazing! What kind of stinks though is that Elders Vigil and Stephens are heading out, to Teratin and Idaho Falls. I'm gonna miss them but their new areas need them! What's gonna be really interesting is that now, I'm gonna have a new trainer and that HE is going to be training a new Elder. And Guess what! He's a Visa waiter! Going to Brazil! So we are gonna be able to do language study and be able to talk to each other all the time. Portuguese has been going mighty fine by the way. It really took off this week! I've been learning a lot of new vocabulary and grammatical principles and gaining confidence as far as conversation goes. I know that Heavenly Father blesses His missionaries. :) He is always there! And He loves everybody in the world so much, more than we can possibly imagine.
Also, I have decided that being a missionary and watching conference is like the super bowl. I was beyond excited! So pumped to hear everything! Especially from President Monson. I KNOW that that man is a Prophet and the President of this Church. I know that he is inspired and called of God. As we listen to his words, we won't go astray!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

9/30/2013..Read the Book of Mormon

Things are going good with Sam! We met with her this week but one of the people living in the place where we were meeting kinda went off and was telling us that there is no way that we could know the Book of Mormon is true simply by the spirit. It got pretty crazy so we are gonna have to find another chance to teach Sam, maybe somewhere else! Haha! I'm not really sure what being a Mason entails actually! But, we got him a bible today and we are gonna drop it by! Whoo! That might actually be a good idea! He’s been pretty busy with football so we will have to see the next time we meet with him! This week I got to go on exchanges too with my district leader. I was a bit nervous but it actually was a really good experience and an awesome day! We got to walk a lot! haha! I have pictures so don't worry! Also, lately, we have been praying and fasting quite a bit for the success and baptismal dates to start coming! We've already started to see the miracles flow and it's been wonderful!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Pictures from Pokey

Hoorah for Israel!!! :D
This is my companheiro!!! :D And Elder Guilsane, one of the Zone Leaders in the back and off to the side, that's Elder Miller, on of the Assistants to the President! Whoo! :D 
(Looks like his companion has as big as smile as wonder they work great together!)

these are my Zone Leaders! They are both super tall so that's why I look super small! ;)

Pic of me and Phil! He is an awesome guy! He's a member of the ward and commonly goes and teaches with us! He went to England on his mission! :D He's got my other name tag by the way, so we were both Elder merkley that day! ;)

9/23/2013..."We don't get strong by doing weak things"

We sure have been busy! This week was a little slower than last week but we still had SO many opportunities to teach and testify of the beauty of this amazing Gospel! Things are going well with Sam! We taught her about the Plan of Salvation this past week and she has begun to read and pray about the Book of Mormon. I know that if she is sincere, she will get an answer! The plan our Father in Heaven has for us is perfect and can bless our lives and the Book of Mormon is the key to truly knowing that ALL these things are true! I really hope it works out too!

Saturday, September 21, 2013

9/16/2013 38 lessons!!!


We have been having a lot of success! This week has been absolutely amazing! We taught 38 lessons!
Also, we went on a church tour yesterday with a girl named Sam and we invited her to be baptized on the 26th of October. At first she said, "Wow! I've only been at this for three days!" But, we talked to her for a little longer and shared a scripture with her. And........... she is preparing to be baptized on that day! She said, "I've got a lot of reading to do!" But, we have faith in her! We KNOW she can do it and it's going really well!

Monday, September 9, 2013

9/9/13..An invitation from Elder Merkley

Things are going so well!! My goodness gracious! There have definitely been hard parts, don't get me wrong but they are so very small and insignificant compared to the bright light of the amazing and beautiful times!  Pokie is where it's at!
Answers to questions/your email: I'm trying to be a little more organized so I'm going to break things down a little! Everyone we teach is our own age! They range from about 17-23! It's so crazy but so fun, amazing and I learn so many things every day! My companion, Elder Vigil is from Kansas. He is super into volleyball and wants to go into business and get his MBA. He wants to be a CEO! We are living about a minute walk outside of our area, AKA-outside of the apartment complexes that we go up and down all day ;). Also, Elder Vigil has been out 14 months! He is so awesome! I learn so much from him every day. He's also been super awesome with me learning Portuguese and willing to help me out! We walk everywhere as well and when we do need rides to dinner appointments we usually ask a member or go with other missionaries.

Monday, September 2, 2013

9/2/2013 From 'POKIE"

Hello Fam-Bam! ;)
Greetings from Pokie where the sun is sometimes out and when it's not, it's usually pouring rain outside! ;)
I want to let you know that my time here has been absolutely amazing. I have had some very humbling moments and some very exciting and inspiring moments. The day I left the MTC seemed to be a whirlwind of train rides, talking to people, and my time on an airplane. I did get to hand out some pass along cards, eat some good food and talk to some wonderful people though! I also had to get up at 2 to say goodbye to Elder Alvarez and Elder Bradd and 5:15 to leave myself so it was a crazy night! ;) Overall though, arriving in Pokie was amazing. As you saw, I got to meet the mission president and his wife, be interviewed, play a bunch of games, eat a TON of awesome food (which seems to be common here in Pokie), also, I got to meet the Elders and Sisters in my Zone, go on a tour of Pokie (surprisingly, exciting and really fun! ;)). One of my zone leaders is actually from Brazil too! Crazy! Later that night, I got to meet my companion too and go to our new apartment! I was so excited! His name is Elder Vigil and he is so awesome! He is super knowledgeable, super bold, and super outgoing. He has taught me loads since we got here! I feel kinda like that elder from the best 2 years, constantly writing everything down! haha! Overall though, we have been getting along great! We are different, of course, but we are trying to use our different styles to teach the best lessons we can and be the best missionaries we can! I am really looking forward to all I'm going to learn during these next six weeks and just EVERYTHING!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

8/27/2013...He made it!!

Elder Merkley with his mission president..President Brinkerhoff and wife.

Sunday, August 25, 2013


Elder Merkley:
At this time, we have not received your visa to travel to your mission. You will be serving a temporary assignment in the Idaho Pocatello Mission until your visa arrives! :) Oh my goodness! I'm so excited! :) I know that there are people there that I need to help and give the Gospel too! I'll be pretty close to Washington as well! ;) I truly am expecting a wonderful experience and no matter how long I am there, it is going to be an amazing experience. :) Thank you for all your support and I will be sure to let you know when I arrive safely! :)

8/23/2013- answers to mom's 20 questions

Answer to  20 questions!
1-Things with my companions are going very well! We have been getting along well!
2-The best thing about Elder Bradd is how calm and wise he is. The best thing about Elder Alvarez is he is very bold and doesn't mind talking to people.
3-I love the other Elders that are staying in my room! Elder Kestler and Elder Williams are great and we are always singing.
4-I get up at 6:30
5-I exercise everyday either after service, or before or after dinner.
6- I eat at roughly 8,11, and 5
7- The best thing to eat is chicken cordon bleu and my least favorite is some sort of pasta called something like italian terazoli. Not delicious but I'll eat it if I have to! Haha!

Picture time #4

 One of his favorite teachers.. Brother Vanwagoner

wow...wearing the same embarrassing!!


My Week in review: So! I'm just gonna shoot off a bunch of amazing stuff that I got to do this week! I got to go to a devotional given by a former NFL football player and BYU football player who has also been a sports caster for the Olympics in exotic locations all over the world! He was so amazing and I have a picture too! Also, yesterday we got to have an in field orientation for those leaving on their missions and it was most definitely one of the highlights of the MTC thus far. IT was just incredible. We heard from so many wonderful teachers, learned so many amazing things and it was super fun too! We also got to watch a play about the life of a missionary which was very funny and very insightful!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Picture Time #3


My week is review: this week was so incredible! We got to have some really amazing lessons with Heleno and Claudio and we even started a new program in class where we are assigned to teach each other and get to know each other! We all pretend to be someone and kinda live a different back story than we actually have and it is such an amazing learning experience! SO GOOD! Also, I finished the Book of Mormon this week! It was absolutely incredible! It's a true book and as we all read it, it can bring us all so much happiness and peace. :)
 Also, I got to sing in the choir for this week and we sang "Jesus Once of Humble Birth." It was such a wonderful experience and you could really feel the spirit. :) We also got to sing for an Apostle! Elder Richard G. Scott was at our devotional!!! He spoke and it was simply AMAZING! Just...... wow. It really was something special. :) He taught about prayer and since then, I have had a totally new outlook about prayer and i have learned a lot. :) We also got to try out to the upcoming Sunday Devotional as well! I am part of an 8 men acapella group singing come thou fount. It really is cool! And we got a yes, so we are in the yes "pile" and we just wait from here, keep practicing and cross our fingers! ;)

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Picture Time #2

We caption this... 'missionary work (or at least missionaries) coming out of my ears"!!


Hey family and everyone!!
 This week overall was pretty tough. It had a lot of up and down moments but overall went well and was a great learning experience. I've got to speak a ton of portuguese and often speak it with my roomates and others outside and inside the classroom. We have also had several lessons since last time I wrote. We have abandoned the notes! Now, we just read scriptures ask him questions and try to work the spirit as best we can! I've gotten to see Elder Law, Cameron and Sarah's cousin, Sister Hirz, and Sister Reed!
I love you all so much! :) Dad, thank you so very much for the pictures! They look wonderful! And thank you for all the confidence and love that I feel everyday. :)

Monday, August 5, 2013


 Bryce and his companion.. Elder Alvarez

What a mimic..still having fun!!


 This week has been amazing. :) Hey Dad! It truly has been amazing but definitely a roller coaster ride as well! But, I think the roller coaster has leveled out for now! Haha! Thank you so very much for everything! I love you Dad! And I WILL stick with it! Thank you so much for your confidence and you are very welcome for the letter!
 I LOVED the care package! It was such a wonderful and SWEET surprise! ;) Thank you for the stamps as well! I am definitely having many adventures! ;) One of mine, is..... I have taught 3 lessons with virtually with no notes! This last one we got to teach someone who spoke NO english and we shared a scripture with him and we had the opportunity to learn a lot about him and to share our testimonies with him! Today, we also had the chance to go up to the temple to write letters and just bask in the beauty of it all. It was soooo perfect. :) So peaceful, uplifting, gorgeous in every regard and EXACTLY what I needed. Sigh..... :)


Hey Mom! I'm on my P-Day right now! Thank you so much for the Email and for all the info! It was much appreciated and I absolutely LOVE hearing anything about home. I apologize for not writing home in the past week. Things are very intense and crazy amazing but I did write a letter but I couldn't find it after that and we are only allowed to write on Friday. :( But, I am writing now! :D
 Thank you for the wonderful letters and for you, dad's, and Tanner's love. It is sooooooooo amazing to hear from all of you and it brought me to tears. I love you all so very much and I miss you guys. On a happier note though, thank you for giving her the necklace! And I am so glad that her friends helped her out a bunch. :) I really hope she enjoys it! 8 months? My goodness! That is a long time! Part of me things that waiting that long would be incredibly hard but part of me keeps thinking, "that would give me more time to learn Portuguese!" Haha! 
I get to see Parker quite often actually! Our main classrooms are right next to each other so during breaks I get to sometimes talk to him and we have been running together a couple of times.
 Oh my goodness..... I found the best running spot. I run around this line of trees over and over right in front of the temple...... It is just heaven. It's so perfect because it's always so sunny, so peaceful and as I hum "I love to see the temple" I just feel so at peace.