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Monday, October 1, 2012

Offenburg: Bye Bye Wallet

Kinderspielecke means "Children's Play Corner"
It appears to be on a Train.

Dear Fam-bam,

I really enjoyed this week, and to be honest, I don't really know why. Last Monday, I just got this really good feeling that this is where I belonged. Not only in Germany, but on a mission, serving the Lord. This feeling has stayed with me, more or less, for most of this week, and so I was able to enjoy this time a lot more than a lot of other weeks. Oh, and I guess I should explain the title, yeah, I lost my wallet this week. So that means that you should probably cancel my credit cards and stuff...and maybe send me new ones, and maybe a new driver's license. Don't be mad. I'm already pretty mad at myself, and mad at the punk who stole it and didn't give it to the bus driver! Ach, it doesn't matter, but that was really really frustrating. Especially because I now have no money... Yeah, whatever, it's done.

So I guess I'll start off with the questions, in case in the course of answering them I share a few stories:

1. Testimony meeting, this week we just had a normal church meeting, except the Stake President was there, President Bolt. Daniel probably knows him, he's been the Stake President for over nine years. But normally during testimony meetings we have no problems trying to fill up the time. There are those people world-wide who get up with what appears to be a prepared talk, one in which they only share stories that have a very tenuous connection to some gospel principle. I was very pleased to realize that it doesn't only happen in Glendora 2nd Ward.

2. I'm really excited for General Conference this weekend for multiple reasons. Foremost because we will be able to hear from the Prophet and the Apostles, and that's just crazy in itself. I really never thought I would be one of those people who got super psyched about General Conference, and yet, here I am, super happy about it! So here we watch one session on Saturday night at 6, then we watch three more (If you're a guy, because of the Priesthood session. The Relief Society one is earlier on Saturday) on Sunday. The extra one we will watch in a few more weeks because we will already be asleep when it happens. I think we can watch it in English, but I don't know for sure... I would like to watch it in German, but it's just annoying with the delayed translation and stuff. Did I ever tell you how my first or second week of church we had the sacrament, and then we just watched a General conference session? Cause that happened... Anywho, so we get to overnight with the Freiburg missionaries on Saturday night, and so that's another reason that I'm excited. Also, I'm doing an Austausch (Exchange) in Freiburg tomorrow, so that will be a lot of fun too. 

3. My German skills. Sometimes I feel like I can speak really good German, and sometimes I have the feeling that I can't speak any German at all. It just comes with the day. I get a lot of compliments with my German, but I know I still have a really strong American accent, and that I have a lot of room to improve. It is a lot more rare though, when I don't understand someone. Usually when we talk to people I understand everything they say to me. I started reading the Book of Mormon in German this week, and I am understanding most of it. Granted, it is 1 Nephi, which I practically have memorized from all the various times that I've started and not finished...

4. My understanding of the German people and culture is pretty good I think. I love German food (even though it makes me gain weight), and I love the German mannerisms. They have this whole different set of ways to express themselves. During an Austausch this week, Elder Niedens and I were doing them to each other, because we both think that they are really cool. There's no way that I can explain them over an email, but I really like them. Oktoberfest doesn't really effect this area here, though last night there was a Weinfest  or Wine festival or something like that, in the city here. I had forgotten about it and we walked through the Innenstadt and everyone was holding a glass on wine and there was some lady singing in German in this concert like setting, I don't know, it was very strange.

5. The work is going pretty well here. We don't have any progressing investigators yet, but I think that maybe this week that will change. So we had this really good lesson with Konny over Joseph Smith. And we invited her to pray about him, and she said she would do it, so we'll see, she's already a few chapter into 2 Nephi with her reading, but up to now I haven't had the feeling that she's really making any progress, but I think that maybe soon she will. We meet with her every week, and I am so grateful for the Branch President for referring her to us. Our only referral, and she's our only steady investigator. The ward is pretty great, I blessed the sacrament this week, and I was just looking at the ward and just had this great love for them. They're really great people. The Relief Society President announced to all the adults that they should invite the missionaries over more, because we love every invitation we get, and then after she came up to me and asked if we had received some invitations already. She is really great, she invites us over every couple of weeks to eat.  I was blessed to teach four lessons this week and find one new investigator. This guy we found, I guess we had talked to him on the street a few days eariler, and then he called us and made out an appointment with us (That is literally the first time that has ever happened to me). Other than that I had another interesting meeting with Erwin, and he fed us again, but I don't know if I want to get into that...

Ok, I'm really tired of writing now, so I think I'll close it there. I had a really good week. The weather has been nice and cool, the people nice, and the work good. We had two days this week where we did just finding. I think in those two days we may have done 6 or 7 hours of streeting and about 4 hours of tracting. And then we were going by on potentials. It was a hard couple of days, but it's worth it, because the work's good, the Church is true, and Jesus Christ lives.

Love you all!
Elder Merkley



Andy says this car's paint job reminds him of his "lucky finals jacket",
Which is indeed quite similar in its color scheme!

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