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Sunday, October 14, 2012

Offenburg



P-Day Hike

Dearest family,
Wow. Conference this week was so good! I felt that there was so much advice in there that was meant for me! Just so you know, we weren't able to watch the Sunday afternoon session, and so I still haven't even seen all the talks yet, but I will be able to see them in the next few weeks during Sacrament Meeting. I got to watch all the sessions so far in English, but when we watch the Sunday afternoon session I'm pretty sure it will be in German, so that will be pretty fun. But no, I've really realized how blessed we are to be able to watch it in English, we, as native English speakers, can understand everything (except when one of those genious apostles uses a word above our vocabulary range) and we don't have to deal with translators, ahh it was so great. During Elder Holland's talk in the Sunday morning session I couldn't even take any notes, I was just so engrossed, just staring at the TV, aww man, it was great!
So. Really big news this week. I have been transferred. I'll be going to an area called Heilbronn, which is in the Stuttgart zone. From what I have heard, Heilbronn is smaller than Offenburg, with about 20-25 members in Church every week. I'll be whitewashing it (so, I don't know how well known that missionary term is, so I'll define it; it means when both missionaries who are going in are new to the area) with another missionary, Elder Buck, who is from somewhere in Utah I think. My first American companion in the field!! Now I won't have to only talk to Europeans all day, who, at the best, are all at least a little anti-American. If I'm honest, at the end of last transfer I would have really welcomed a transfer call, but this transfer had a different feeling and went WAY fast, so I really didn't want or expect a transfer call. And of course, then I get one. What made me even sadder is that since General Conference this weekend, I didn't really get to say goodbye to any of the members, and that was pretty disappointing, but that's just the life of a missionary. There are a lot of members that I will miss here, and a few investigators too. But yeah, I'm sure that I will get to more of that later in the email, I'll just start answering some questions now:
1. So yes, we get the Liahona here in Germany. We get a copy in both English and German, so don't worry about having to send one to me. I am super excited to get the next edition with the General Conference talks in it, so that I can study them a little bit more and figure out how I can improve.
2. Yeah, we found two investigators this week, one of them was a young black guy named Therry, who is from France. He is a student living in our area, and we had a pretty good introduction lesson with him. He has a strong faith on God and Jesus Christ, and is interested in talking about them. The other guy is pretty interesting, he told us this story about how this guy, who he is convinved is an angel, saved his life. He said that he was really tall, and had white hair, not blonde, white. I think it may have been one of the Three Nephites, actually. He also has a Book of Mormon from 1964 or something, it was pretty cool to see. And yes, I'm getting along pretty well with Elder Szvoboda, I wouldn't say that we are best friends or anything, but we get along well enough that the work isn't super difficult or anything. I really did enjoy this transfer with him, but I am pretty sad that it is only one transfer.
3. Yes. President Monson is coming to Germany, unfortunately though, the missionaries aren't invited to any of the meetings with him, or so I've heard at least. But yeah, it would be pretty great if we could go and meet with him, because he's the prophet of course... I think there may be a...transmission, over carry? (The German word is √úbertragung, I'm not sure what word is the best to use in English) that we could watch.
Now, in response to your (Mom's) question of who wrote me this week, I will try my best to remember. So, I got a letter from Benny boy, from my friend Andrew Walton from BYU, from you, Mother, and that may be it. I think, at least, I didn't write it down anywhere, sorry.
Germany has got some GIANT orange slugs!
Anywho, so we stayed with the Freiburg missionaries for the last two nights, because of General Conference, and that was a ton of fun. One of the Freiburg missionaries has been transferred too, and we've been in the same district for the last three transfers, so it was a ton of fun to be able to spend some time with him before he goes off somewhere in the Munich zone. And as most missionaries know, when you overnight somewhere, you don't get as much sleep as you normally would. We are always obedient, in bed at 10:30, but asleep at 10:30? Definitely not. So I am feeling REALLY tired today.
We had six lessons this week, and that officially ties my record! I am pretty excited to see what will happen in this new area, especially because there were actually no missionaries there this transfer, so hopefully the members will be happy to see us. Yeah, sorry this email isn't very good, this week was good, but there was no repeat of the noodles and ketchup story, not yet that is. We did have a great lesson with Konny this week, we watched the Restoration with her, and after I told her that I was leaving, and she got pretty sad. The members that I did see were all really sad that I was leaving too, and that made me a little happier, because I figured that they really wouldn't care, with missionaries coming and going ever few months. But they said, "Das tut mir wirklich Leid. Sie sind ein toller Missionar. Wirklich." So that means, "That really does me suffering. (That doesn't translate that well) You are a great missionary. Really."  And yeah, that really cheered me up a little bit to know that the members appreciated me and the four and a half months of work that I put into this area, even though we didn't see much number success here. It is very surreal though, I never really thought that I would finish with my first area. Where does the time go?`
Overall though, this week went by very quickly. We had a pretty good amount of appointments and saw a little bit of success this week. General Conference really uplifted me spiritually, more than before my mission definitely. It is very interesting to see the topics on the minds of the prophets. This time it seemed to be that the rising generation needs to step it up, and that parents and leaders need to help them step it up, and that we, as adults, need to humble ourselves and become as little children. Anywho, I love you all! You're the best family in the world, and my appreciation grows for you every day!
Love,
Elder Merkley
PS Pictures. Yeah, this first one is me with the Senior couple who lives in my area. They always make food for district meeting, and they have made waffles for me three or four times. Oh yeah, and she cuts our hair! So that's me with my new hair cut.
The second picture is Elder Szvoboda and me with the Fischers, a really cool family in our ward. Oh yeah, did I mention that I am invited to eat every single meal today? Breakfast with the Holmes, lunch with the Fischers, and dinner with the Vosslers (our branch president)? Cause I am...




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