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Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Heilbronn: February 25, 2013

Dearest Fam-bam,
The weather here has become very cold in the last few days! Well, I think it is cold at least. There have been a lot of days where the weather was in the 20s, and we didn't have as many appointments as we had wanted, and so we spent a lot of time outside.
But yeah, in spite of the weather this week was pretty good. I have been making a lot more of an effort to talk to Elder Buck, and during our last comp inventory, we talked about how sad it is that we are not really good friends. We are both pretty cool people (Or so we like to think), and yet for some reason we just haven't really clicked that much with each other over the last four and a half months. We then made a goal to become really good friends in our last month. I guess it does really show how comfortable we are with each other, that I could just say to him, 'Elder Buck, we're not super great friends. Let's fix that.` I think that with a lot of people, i wouldn't have been able to really say that. But yeah, and we also made a goal to start going jogging a few times a week, and I made him pinky promise to start today, and so we ran this morning for a little over thirty minutes. There was definitely snow on the ground, and it was really cool for the first 3-4 minutes. I felt super hard-core, and then I just remembered how much I hate running, and the last 25 minutes were just normal. But, I was just frustrated with the 15 pounds or so that I've gained, and I wanted to start losing it a little.
Anyway, I guess I can just answer some questions now...
This week I got one letter I think, from Alicia, whom I am pretty sure you have never met. Which is sad, because she is one of my best friends.
Anyway, this week was great with Phillip. We have a ton to teach him, and we were stressing about that a little bit (Was I a big worrier before my mission? Because I worry about everything now...), but it ended up going fine. It was actually a little weird, I mean, how do you teach someone who already knows and believes everything? I asked him this questions about prophets, about why God would call one again, and he gave this perfect answer, even touching on authority and priestood, and describing their role very well. Then we were just like, 'Yeah, exactly...' So it was a little weird, just because he already understands everything, and already lives essentialy every commandment. But it was pretty great, because we watched the Restoration with him, and he told us afterward that right at the beginning of the movie, he felt this really strong spirit confirming to him that Joseph Smith was a prophet, which he said he had never really thought about that before. Fun stuff, to be able to see how the Spirit works to teach these things to people.
I was on an exchange during our appointment with Sven, and actually met some members who Daniel worked with... It was kind of weird, because I introduced myself, and then the wife said, Elder Merkley? We had an Elder Merkley a few years ago, and then we made the connection, and it was great. We spent like four hours there helping the dad assemble some entertainment center. Anywho, Sven. Yeah, we actually just spent like an hour with him walking around this kind of open air marked that only happens once a year or so. Lots of cool things, and lots of great German treats, haha (It was good that we went jogging this morning...).
We didn't have as many lessons as we wanted this week, I think we had two with a member, two other lessons, and one less active. That is about the average though, for what I have got in my mission so far. But next week we have this one day where we already have five appointments made out, with the potential to find five investigators. We're pretty pumped about it. My experience so far is that it takes about four or five weeks of a lot of finding and a lot of hard work, and then you have this one week where it all comes together, and you can have a lot of appointments. And then you start again, doing a lot of finding, and a lot of hard work. This week there were a couple of really hard days where we just didn't have anything. We feel like we have changed the area a little bit so far, like now it is a lot easier to get at least five lessons a week, where before we had trouble getting two sometimes. Because of that we usually have an appointment every day or so, and there have been a lot of days where we didn't have to do any major finding.
Our puzzle is still going, we got all the easy stuff done now, and so it has slowed down as we have lost motivation, but I think we'll get our second wind soon and push through, haha.
It's funny that you talk about these perfect little Mormon answers, Mom. From my experience, the Saints here in Germany don't really do that. Sunday School classes are really great sometimes, especially in a really small branch setting, because the members are so honest. They really say what they think. That is one thing I have really learned so far on my mission, it just to be more honest and straight forward about things. I haven't prefected it yet, probably never will, but I think it is really important to really mean what you say, and not just beat around the bush.
Anyway, life is good in ol' Heilbronn. We work hard, and we try to find people, sometimes we even manage to get someone to take a Book of Mormon, or get some information from someone. That's nice when that happens, haha. I think I'll try to send some pictures with this email, don't laugh at me because I've gained weight.
The first one just kind of happened, we had decided that it looked like the Holy Hand Grenade from Monty Python. The second one is that family that knew Daniel, their name is something wierd... I wrote it down, but I'm too lazy to look for it now. Ask Daniel. (From Daniel: The family he is talking about is the Grahovac family. Brother Grahovac was the ward mission leader in Ulm, an area where I served for 6 months. Shortly after my mission, they moved to Stuttgart. They are a great family and I am delighted that Andy got to meet them, and that they remember me!)
Well Family, I spoil you every week with such long emails. I hope you enjoy them.
Elder Merkley

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