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Thursday, December 13, 2012

Heilbronn: Christmas Time December 10, 2012

Dear Fam-bam,

Another pretty good week here in Heilbronn! Winter really let us have it, there has been snow on the ground for the last few days, and it has been snowing pretty constantly for a while. I have been breaking out all the winter clothes I have to try and stay warm, but since I didn't really bring any with me that doesn't mean that much. I am however very grateful that I bought a scarf and a beanie last week, as I have been wearing them almost every day, and they have been helping me to stay warm.  I think I will answer a couple of questions before I go further, these questions usually help me to direct my emails.

1. The Germans like Christmas a lot. They have a huge Christmas market in essentially every downtown here. I had never even heard about them before, but they are so great. They sell some really typical German stuff there, Bratwurst, and other meats, alcohol (of course), and a lot of just cool Christmasy nick-knacks (I don't think I have ever written that word out, so I don't if that spelling is right, but that is what spell check is telling me...).  All in all I would say that Christmas here is pretty commercialized, pretty similar to America in that way. But the Germans do have like three Christmas days. They have Christmas Eve, Christmas, and then just a second day for Christmas... They like celebrating. The Germans actually make fun of Americans for working so hard some times. They get normally longer vacations, and they have a ton more holidays here. 

2. Now, as for Christmas. We have not yet received an invitation for Christmas day (the first one). We have received an invitation for Christmas Eve, and the second Christmas day, but we are still hoping that we will receive one for the first Christmas day. I hope that we will be able to Skype, I think it will work out. If we don't receive an invitation in the next week I think we can just talk to our Branch President and he can help us to find something.

3. Now Mother, as for Christmas cards. YES. I have received a billion of them! I think I got about 5 of them on one day! I opened our mail box and they literally were just falling out because we don't usually get that much mail, so we never really expect to get too much. Ok, so btw, a billion was very much an exaggeration, but I do think I got between 10-15 this week, which is a ton! And yes, I got the envelope thing this week, and have started to work on the brownies, thanks Katie! Have you received my package yet?

That is fantastic news about Grand!! The Leukemia just went away? Wow, that's a miracle if I have ever heard one! That is definitely a huge blessing. Will he be doing the sealing for Tin and Brock?

Specific needs for prayer? I would just ask that you would pray to help me to be able to learn to be happier. I am happy, but I think I could be happier, you know, just get to the next level. I wrote a little bit about this to Tin, but at the beginning of my mission I concentrated more at strenthening my testimony, I feel that it is a lot stronger now. Now I want to concentrate on learning to be happier.

Sometimes I feel like I forget to talk about missionary work in my emails...anyway, we have been meeting with this less active, Bruder Reisinger, a couple times for the last couple of weeks, and we are going through the lessons with him and helping him to remember everything that he once knew. He has been coming to church the last few weeks, but he does have a problem with smoking, so we will have to address that with him. Umm, but it is really great to teach him, he gets way excited because he is just experiencing again the joy of learning the Gospel.

We also started meeting with this other guy, Sven Peters, about a week and a half ago. He already has a testimony of the Book of Mormon, but he has a lot of problems witht he branch here, and he has a smoking and drinking problem. He actually has already had a baptisimal date, so we hope to be able to help him to see past his problems with the branch and overcome his problems.

We also found another new investigator this week, Ismael, this young Muslim guy. We don't know how much potential he has, because he believes really strongly on the Qu'ran, but he said that he would pray about the Book of Mormon, so we'll see what happens there.

Anyway, I love you all, hopefully everything works out for Christmas!

Elder Merkley

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