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Friday, April 12, 2013

Heilbronn: April 1, 2013

Dearest Fam-bam,

This week was pretty great! The weather was still cold, and members have been telling us that this spring is the coldest spring that Germany has had in the last 150 years... so I guess it is pretty uncommon, but what do I know? Winter is just a thing of legend in California.

Also, I know that I am turning 20 tomorrow, and it is really weird. I can't believe that I'm not going to be a teenager anymore. When did I get old? Yeah, there are a lot of mixed feelings going into this age change. Our branch president invited us over for dinner, and I think we will be actually having lunch with Sven. So I should be having a good birthday. I got one of the packages you sent yesterday, and I made Elder Jerman open it for me and take out the brownies, so that we could eat them. I was good and didn't look into the package, although I was sorely tempted.

Yeah, Elder Jerman and I are getting along alright. This last week has been one of the most humbling of my life though. I just have been having to make myself be humble way more than I wanted to. I don't know, I think training is just overall a humbling experience. I have been swallowing my pride and forcing myself to listen to his ideas, even if they are idealistic. Yeah, I've been working on trying to be humbler, and it has been getting better. Elder Jerman is really a very impressive Golden. He is not afraid to talk to the people, although his German is not very good. He really wants to be obedient and a good missionary, and we are working and finding pretty well together. When I choose to be humble, then things are good, when not, then I get frustrated and a little upset. So I just need to be more humble.

I love this ward so much!! Eating appointments and everything are just getting better and better, because I know the members so well, and we have pretty good relationships with each other. I know the little problems in the ward, which are not too prevalent. That in itself is impressive, because the branch is only about 30 members, and a lot of little branches like this have all sorts of spats and feuds. But in our ward there is just a good feeling. I feel like a part of the ward, and the ward members really like me (I think), which just makes a lot of fun. 

It sounds like plans for the Trek are going pretty well. I wish I would have had a chance to do something like that, you'll have to let me know if it is enjoyable, if you survived, and if Dad somehow managed to swindle Mom into carrying some extra candy.

So Philipp is doing super great. I am kind of concerned, just because the 'hand-off' between the missionaries and the ward isn't really happening right now. We are teaching him the New Member Lessons, and he doesn't have home teachers yet. I am not worried that he is going to be going less-active, his testimony is really strong, but I just want to stop being selfish, and get him to form some stronger bonds in the ward. He has started having interviews about the priesthood, so I think he will be getting that in the next few weeks.

Yes, Sven will be getting baptized on Wednesday, he has been handing out fliers to everybody, emailing invitations to everybody, and just getting really excited about it.  He stopped drinking alcohol on Wednesday I think, and hasn't touched it since. We have been praying a ton for him, and have been working as hard as we can to have daily contact with him, so that he knows that we love him and are thinking about him. We went to his apartment this week and it didn't smell like smoke at all! His whole countenance has changed in the last couple of months. Sorry, we always call this rehab thing therapy, because that's the translation of what they call it in German, and I forgot that it had another name in English. But I think it may be this private thing, but because of the health care in Germany, he won't have to pay anything to go there. He will be going there to make the final step in getting rid of his addiction, as much as is possible at least.

With questions three and four there will be no comment made... Except that we tried really hard, did a lot of finding, and hopefully the next couple of weeks will be better.

Anywho, Love you all!!

Elder Merkley

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