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Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Heilbronn: Polizei/President Monson


This picture is from the time at the Zanders. I didn't want to wear my
BYU sweatshirt to move coal, so Bruder Zander gave me this nice old man
cardigan.
Hello family!

So my first full week in Heilbronn is finished, and to be honest, it was a
pretty long week. We didn't really inherit any investigators from the
missionaries before us, and so that means that we have been doing a lot of
streeting and just contacting in general to try and find some
investigators. That is, until Friday, when we had a nice little encounter
with the police, but I'll get to that later.

First, remember how I said that the missionaries couldn't go see President
Monson? Well, I was mistaken. If I had stayed in Offenburg it would have
been true, but since I got moved to the Stuttgart zone, we were invited to
go to see him speak to the members in Munich. The only downside was that
since every member had to have a ticket to get in, the missionaries had to
stand during the entire meeting, but, I mean, we saw the prophet...so it
was worth it. Anyway, so that is what I did on Saturday, I went Munich and
I was in the same building as President Monson (for the second time in my
life), and it was pretty fun. He spoke all about working with those members
who have fallen away from activity. And he really wants us to work with
love, to do more than our dutiful once a month visit to our home-teachees,
to try and really show them that we love them. It was a really nice talk,
and I really hope that we can try to apply it in our branch here in
Heilbronn.

I guess now I can tell the story of our encounter with the Police... So on
Friday we went into the Innenstadt to do some streeting, because we had
about 40 minutes until the bus came that we needed, and so we were just
talking to the people trying to see if we could find the ones who were
interested. After about 15 minutes or so, we talked to some young guy who
was interested in an English course, so we were writing down his
information, and then these two policemen rolled up (they were on Segways
(which was super cool, btw), so they literally rolled up), and asked us
what we were doing. In these situations (always actually, but especially in
these kind of situations), I'm always for honesty, and so I said, 'Wir
missionierien' (I love that about German, they have a verb that means, 'to
missionary'). And then they asked for our authority or our permit to do
that. We have these Geistliche Ausweise, or Spiritual Authority, from the
Church, and so we showed them, and they told us that that isn't good
enough. They told us that every city has it's own rules, and in Heilbronn,
we aren't allowed to talk to ANYONE, if our intent is to start a
conversation, sell something, or give something away. That means we
essentially can't be missionaries... I was not very happy about that, and I
called President Miles and told him what the police had said to us. And he
told us to talk to our branch president, and try to get a German to go to
the Rathaus or somewhere and try to take care of it. Since then we have
just been going through out phone, calling all the contacts there, and
sitting in buses, trying to start normal conversations with people. I've
had a few good conversations, but it is really frustrating, because I'm not
aloud to do what I feel that I'm supposed to do! Yeah, recently I've
realized I'm not always the smartest missionary. I just like to be outside
talking to people, doing something. Staying inside, or even sitting in
buses, to do missionary work doesn't really appeal to me.

But yeah. So that's kind of my life right now. If any of you have creative
ideas with how we can do missionary work without talking to people, they
would be very much appreciated. We want to start visiting the members, but
we haven't been able to go through the ward list with our Branch President
yet, and so that means that we have no idea who we can visit and who are
'no-goes' (My branch president actually said that in the middle of a German
sentence. It was pretty funny).

We did have the oppurtunity to eat with a member and serve them. The Zander
family had invited us to come to lunch on Thursday, and then they realized
that they were going to get a shipment of coal (Don't ask me why they still
use coal, that's not really common here), and so they asked if we could
come in normal clothes and help them move it. We said yes, and so we got
there, ate a great lunch gave a spiritual thought, and the coal still
hadn't come. You know how companies always say, yeah, our guys will be
there between one and two, and then they actually come like two hours
later? Yeah, that's what happened. So after the Spiritual thought, he
called the company, and they said they'd come in an hour or so, and we
couldn't do any real missionary work, because we were of course in normal
clothes, and so I just said, Bruder Zander, there has to be another way we
can serve you until they come. He would've taken us home, but the car was
gone with his wife, and Bahnhof was over 5 kilometers away...I don't know,
they didn't plan it very well. Anyway, so we ended up mowing his lawn and
raking leaves for about 45 minutes, and then when the coal came we spent
about 45 min to an hour moving about 3,300 lbs of coal, yeah, they ordered
a TON of it. It was actually a lot of fun, I haven't had the chance to just
sweat doing that kind of work in a long time.

1. My companion is still pretty cool, we can usually talk pretty well with
each other and work out any problems that we have. Because problems are of
course bound to happen when you have to be with someone for 24/7. But yeah,
we have a lot of fun together. He worked before his mission, btw, he didn't
go to any school, at least I don't think so...

2. I didn't get to see my ward yesterday, because there was no Church
yesterday because of President Monson. He spoke in Frankfurt yesterday, and
so there was a transmission of that in Stuttgart. But yeah, they are still
pretty cool, we have another appointment with the Rukasz family tonight,
and so that should be pretty fun. We actually don't have a GML here...It's
just one of the counselors of the Branch President who does most of that
kind of work. But he's really cool and he lives pretty close to us, and so
that has been nice. We will be going over the list of the members hopefully
in the next couple of days so we can start some real missionary work.

3. Honestly, we have no investigators right now. Some of the
'investigators' that were in the area book hadn't had contact with the
missionaries for a few months, and others we couldn't get a hold of, so we
are essentially starting from scratch. One funny story, we made out an
appointment with this lady who we found in the potentials list, and then
when we went there, we were talking with her, and I asked her how she came
to know the missionaries. She answered and talked something about her
baptism, and I thought, no, she must think we're Jehovah's Witnesses
(everyone here does btw). And so I asked a clarifying question, and then
she named a couple people from the ward. Yep, it turns out she is actually
a less-active member... Gotta love it when missionaries don't write things
like that down.

Mom, I got the letter from you, but that was it for this week. I just told
you my address last week, so I couldn't really expect more, could I? Also,
for Christmas I was thinking maybe a watch, make sure Daniel says it's cool
though. I want one of those kind of cool different color ones. I don't know
if that makes sense. Just talk to Daniel. Other than that I'll think more
about it this week. Also, ties are a great idea. I love ties.

Ok, I've already written a ton. Wow, I spoil you, Mother. Anyway, I love
you all! You're the best fam-bam ever!

Love,
Elder Merkley

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