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Monday, August 19, 2013

Passau: August 19, 2013

Dearest Fam-bam,

This week was kind of boring... I don't even to know what to tell you all about. I guess I'll start with today, because today was really thought-provoking. We went to a concentration camp with the Sisters today, it's called Dachau, and we walked around and looked at the museum, and it was really awesome. I had actually forgotten how tiring it is to be a tourist, but all these pictures and facts really made me think about the Holocaust, and it made it a lot more real to me.

We had a finding day in Landshut on Saturday, which was also a ton of fun. I was working with this guy named Elder Spencer, who is in his first transfer. It is so funny, these Goldens all think that I am old on my mission, haha. It makes me laugh every time. Anywho, we doored into about 7 (that is no exaggeration) people who were not wearing pants. The Germans are very...unashamed in some ways. Like how they just come to the door and open it wide when they are not wearing pants. Elder Spencer and I were just dying of laughter after the fifth time in a row. I can't even count how often that has happened to me on my mission. Fortunately it is usually older people, but at the same time, that is a little unfortunate, because no on really wants to see that. I have been scarred in many ways. Things have been seen that I will never be able to unsee.

Is it weird to have missionaries living with you? I feel like that would be weird to have members see me wearing pajamas, or see me without my missionary face on, you know? The closest I get to that is when I do service for the members, but those kind of opportunities are few and far between, and I still get to wear my nametag and whatnot. Do they ever join you for things like family scripture study, or lunch or things like that? Do they just eat your food? This concept is so foreign to me. You asked about our apartment, and like I have said before, they call our apartment the Passau Palace, because it is really big. It still has that kind of dirty missionary feel. It takes a lot of effort to keep the apartment somewhat clean, and I am not a clean freak, so I feel like I'm fighting a losing battle, haha.

Things have been going pretty well with Elder Barker. We still get along well. He has been getting better and has been trying to speak more German this week. I still speak mainly German with him outside the apartment, but it gets hard when he only ever responds in English, and when I feel like he doesn't understand me at all. The longer language studies have helped though, as I think we both have the feeling now that we are at least doing something about his language skills. I don't think that one of us will get transferred. My patience has been getting a lot better though, which I think has been helping my relationship with Elder Barker. I have been trying to understand him, and have just realized that this is who he is, and have tried to love him for that.

I have felt myself making a lot of progress recently, too. I feel like I have come to accept myself for who I am a lot more, and have come to just be happier in general. A lot of gospel principles are making a lot more sense to me, in that I have been able to really see the need and the blessings of things. For example, with obedience. I have a goal this week to try and just be more obedient. Not that I think I am disobedient, but I have just been thinking a lot about obedience, and have realized the blessings that come with it. I just want to try and be more obedient in all that I do, so I can try the Lord and see what kind of blessings I receive. Anyway, I have been doing a lot of deep thinking recently, and I feel like I have really been getting places with my thoughts. I use to try to think deeply about things, and then I would just never get anywhere with my thoughts. Now I find myself forming conclusions and forming opinions about things, which I am really happy about. Like I wrote in previous emails, I have just been feeling myself become a lot more content recently, and am working on becoming even better at it.

Any interesting cultural events? Hmm... Well, I love being in Bayern right now, because I have never seen so many people wearing Lederhosen as I have in the last few months. Oktoberfest is right around the corner, and if I stay another transfer I may be able to get a look at it. I love how everyone just wears Lederhosen, it's so hilarious! Other than that i didn't get any letters this week, either did Elder Barker. In fact, I'm pretty sure Elder Barker has only received like 2 or three his entire time here.

Sorry, so I don't have a ton of time to write tonight, but know that I love you all!! I love being able to read your emails every week!

Love,
Elder Merkley

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