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Monday, November 5, 2012

Heilbronn: Fall

It snowed last week!

Dearest Family,

This week went by pretty quickly, and I don't even know what experiences I should relate first, not because I had a ton of them, but just because I don't know where I should begin... I guess I'll just answer a few questions to start.

1. So Halloween was a pretty normal night, though we did see a few groups of trick-or-treaters walking around. And after knocking on a door where the occupants were all getting ready for Halloween, I have made the decision that next Halloween evening, I will do no dooring, because it was definitely one of the awkwarder situations I've been in. Particularly because the people didn't speak German very well, so we couldn't communicate why we were there very effectively. Other than that though, it was a pretty typical evening.

2. The branch here is really quite great. The branch president is pretty young, and really wants to make a difference here. We have one member of our ward, Bruder Lichner, who is actually the High Councilor over Missionary work, and so he is really determined to go on joint teaches and things with us. Bruder Lichner is also super big, I mean like 6'8'' or something, and played basketball in some German league for a while. But yeah, we accidentally made out two appointments for the same time on Tuesday, and so we decided that we would try to do splits so that we could give the members a chance to work with us, and so that we could make both of these appointments. When Bruder Lichner heard that, he was like, ok, I'll do it. Even though he had earlier told us that 7:30 was about the earliest that he could make an appointment, he said he could come for this one at 6. And then he started talking to other members and found us another man that could come before we could even start asking around. Still no real referrals. We get fed usually at least once a week, which is more than I've experienced before. It isn't uncommon though, for us to be invited twice a week, which is really great.

3. Still no progressing investigators, and no investigators in church. This week we were able to teach one lesson, with another three or four appointments that fell out. But we have been working really hard and doing a lot of contacting, and we already have five or six appointments made out for next week, and so I think we will be able to find a few new investigators this week.

4. The countryside in general is pretty beautiful here. We were driving with a member yesterday, and some of the countryside was just so beautiful. The grass is still super green, but the leaves are all starting to change color and it was just great to look at. But I don't think there is really anything unusual in this area, not that I've seen yet, at least.

And Mom, those are great goals that you have. I really have formed a strong testimony that missionary work is best done through the members. What we do, as full-time missionaries, is, to be quite honest, weird. I don't always blame the people for not wanting to share the innermost beliefs with some stranger on the street. The real way to do missionary work is with that relationship already built, or when you are just in a normal situation and you can talk about the gospel without pushing it. I'm not saying that what we do isn't worth it, or that it's not important, I just know that there is a better and more effective way to do it. Wow, Chase is coming home already? Say what? I really didn't realize that he had been out for so long

I did have one interesting experience this week. While we were teaching this investigator who has been meeting with the missionaries for a couple of years, his name is Arisa, and he lives in a refugee home, this other Afrikan came in and started talking to us. The room was super super small, and so he was standing less than a foot away from where I was sitting. Anyway, because of this close proximity, I could smell the alcohol on him, and see it in his eyes that he was drunk. I probably should mention that this all happened before noon. Anyway, and so he started speaking a mixture of German and English to us, saying some really weird, and most incoherent things, and our investigator was super embarrassed and tried to get him to stop, but he just plowed on. And then he started rapping, and I must say, he was surprisingly good. Especially when one takes in the fact that he was drunk. Anyway, so this guy is practically sitting in my lap and rapping super loudly, globules (Is that right in this situation? I think so...) of spit were hitting me in the face, and the whole time, our investigator (who is quite intelligent and nice) was trying to get him to stop so that we could talk alone. He finally convinced him after 5 or 10 minutes of this. As you can very well imagine, that essentially chased the Spirit away for that lesson.

Other than that, we did a lot of contacting this week, so it was pretty normal. But this next week I get to go to Munich for a couple of days because of a meeting that they have for some missionaries, and that should be fun. I think I will be able to drive there with another missionary from my group, Elder Fiedler, who is a German. For some reason, although we have only seen each other a few times, we have become really good friends, and so I'm excited to see him again. Maybe I'll even be companions with him someday.

Anywho, I love you all! Have a great week!

Elder Merkley

PS Mom, why did you stop forwarding me other emails?
PPS Also, I got your letter from Brussels yesterday, Mom. Thanks!

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