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Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Heilbronn: Ohh Whitewashing

This was actually Andy's first area, Offenburg
Dearest family,

This week was pretty crazy. It was really weird in a lot of different ways. On Tuesday I went from Offenburg to Z├╝rich, and then back. On Wednesday I went from Offenburg to Stuttgart and worked with the Zone Leaders there in a trio for a little over a day, and then I went on Thursday from Stuttgart to Heilbronn with my new companion, and we went into our new area (and found our apartment!). And then on Saturday we had to go back to Stuttgart for a meeting there, it was pretty crazy.  But yeah, the title of this email, Ohh whitewashing, has really been our saying for the last two days. When we find weird things in our apartment, we just say, 'Oh whitewashing'. Oh, a bus doesn't come from there? 'Oh whitewashing'. Yeah, you name it, and we had to figure it out. Luckily there's another missionary in our district who has spent a few transfers here before, and so he clued us in on some of the tricks, and that's helped us a little bit.

Anyway, I'll start by answering some questions:

1. My new area seems pretty good, I've only really worked here for two and a half or three days, so it's pretty difficult to really tell, but I like it a lot so far. The city Heilbronn has a completely different feel from Offenburg. It feels a lot bigger, I think it may be about a 100,000 or so, but yeah, it feels a lot bigger and noisier than Offenburg, which has a sleepy feeling to it. This new branch seems really great, there were about 30 members in Church on Sunday, and I was able to talk to a good amount of them. There are a few young families here, which surprised me. In Offenburg there were four youngish people, the rest were mainly just old. The branch president is about 30-35 maybe, as is one of his counselors. I think I will be getting more eating appointments here than I had in Offenburg, because there was this one family, the Rukasz, who we already had an eating appointment with on Sunday, who told us that every Sunday that we didn't have another eating appointment we could come eat with them! It was so cool. They also let us role play teaching the first lesson to them (This is something our mission president has asked us to do, teach one lesson a week to members, as if they were investigators). They even said we could teach them the 2nd lesson when we come back, and they're actually going to do the reading we assigned them during the role play! But yeah, we actually got invited by three different families to eat on Sunday, but of course, we could only go to one of them. We also have another eating appointment on Thursday already, so yeah, the branch is pretty cool.

That was for Dad btw, now for Mother's questions:

1. Transfers are actually on Thursday, but since my companion was going to train, we ended up leaving our area on Wednesday.

2. So Elder Buck is actually from the area of Fresno, California. The members were really impressed that we were both not from Utah (Let me take this oppurtunity to thank you, Mom and Dad, that I did not grow up in Utah).  Honestly, he's great. He's super tall, like 6'4'' or something, but it's ok, I'm used to having super tall friends. But yeah, we get along really well (or at least we have for the first 4 days), and I have the feeling that I can really be myself around him, which is a feeling that I didn't really have in the last while. We understand really well with eachother and have similar senses of humor. But yeah, it's been pretty great working with him so far.

3. Umm, so we inherited no investigators here. That means this week was the first week of my mission where I have not taught any lessons. We did however find three potential investigators on our first day together, and that was really cool, it definitely gave us a nice spiritual boost.

Mom, I'm 'practically' a seasoned missionary? I want to tell you something, I never really felt like a Golden. Elder Persicke never gave me the feeling that I wasn't a real missionary, or that he was training me. He did a really good job at helping me to work my harderst and learn without really being taught (If that makes sense. I'm not sure it even makes sense to me...). So essentially I try to follow President Uchtdorf's advice when he talked about the middle. I want to serve like I'm in the middle of my mission.

But yeah, I have really enjoyed having an American companion, we talk about what we like that the Europeans do, and what we don't really like as much. We love the people regardless, but it's nice not having to hear about how all American things are dumb and superficial. Because that's what a ton of Europeans think (Even European members...).

By the way, I took a few good pictures that I was going to send with this email, but unfortunately these computers are a little different from the ones in Offenburg, so I can't send them this week. Next week I can try to bring a cord or something. But I took this one where I was wearing this ridiculously big jacket and I was looking a little bit sad. Now let me explain the reason behind this picture. I was going to send it to show you how bad I need my new credit cards, because I have to wear this ridiculously big jacket that I found in the apartment until I get money to buy my own. It's colder, btw. Already colder than what I have experience for most of my life, aka, I need a jacket. Before I forget, here's my address: 

Werderstr. 164
74074 Heilbronn
Germany

Yeah, and the other picture was of our ridiculously messy kitchen, which we have started a deep clean of. By we, I mean Elder Buck... Anywho, I love you all a ton! Thanks for your emails and prayers! This truly is the true Church!

Love,

Elder Merkley

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