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Monday, August 5, 2013

Passau: August 5, 2013

Dearest Fam-bam, 
Well, there is honestly very little to tell you, because I did of course just email last Friday. These last few days have been relatively uneventful, with church, finding, and just a lot of normal stuff. 
Just an interesting tid-bit, apparently there is another Andrew Merkley, who also has the nickname Andy, who apparently left for his mission in the last few weeks, because I can not count the number of emails I have received, that start out with, 'Andy, I'm hoping this is your email. I assume it is because most missionaries' emails are like this...' and then they go on to sometimes say some pretty personal stuff. Needless to say I have been getting a kick out of it, and have answered every single email that fell into this catergory. Don't worry though, I didn't pretend that I was this other mysterious Elder Merkley, I explained to them very nicely that I was not their Elder Merkley. 
Holy Moly, is Stuie really going home already? Wow, that was pretty quick. I can still remember playing soccer with him and a bunch of Mexicans one morning. It was pretty fun, but I felt at a disadvantage because I couldn't speak Spanish, which was the main language that was being spoken there. My first experience with a language barrier...little did I know I would sson become very familiar with such barriers. 
Mom, what the crud is this thing about britches? Is that some sort of saying that is only really used in the backwaters of the deep South? I swear I have never heard that before, and was very confused in reading it. So to answer your question: no. I didn't say anything about having the same britches to get happy again. 
Oh, I forgot to write it last week, I got a letter from Sheridan! I guess she had sent it to Heilbronn, and it must have missed me by a few days. It was really funny and very much Sheridan, I hope to be able to write her back in the next couple of weeks. Today may be difficult because tomorrow is Elder Barker's birthday, and we're going to go out to eat today to celebrate. But since we have this delay anyway, I would like to confirm, is Sheridan's address the same still? I don't have the letter with me, so I can't copy it here, but can you ask her if she has moved since then? It was like over two months ago, and I always worry that I'll send letters to the wrong address. This fear has only been heightened by my recent experience of receiving a ton of emails meant for someone else. 
Yeah, the work will really start again this week. We are finally done working at the Müllers' house, so we now will have a lot more time to really find. Which I have mixed feelings about. I am glad because I know this is how we will see more success, but at the same time I'm not super pumped to spend all day talking to people who don't really want to talk to me. Especially in this weather. I forgot to mention it, but the last couple of weeks have been so hot that the second hour of Church (We only have two hours in our branch here) has been cancelled the last two weeks. I straight up lost about three pounds while I was fasting yesterday; probably from all the water weight I sweated off. But yeah, it has just been super hot recently, and doing a ton of finding is not my favorite thing to do in that kind of weather, haha. Of course, in that weather there is nothing, besides swimming, that is really fun, so I guess I'm just out of luck. 
Also, could you send me the Cinnamon Rolls recipe ASAP? I know it will be too late for Elder Barker's birthday, but I can make them maybe next week for him. Elder Barker found some random American Store thing while he was on an exchange, and so we have brown sugar right now, might as well use it! 
Life is still pretty good over here. There are a lot of things that we do that I don't really like, for example, the previously mentioned finding in Sahara like temperatures, with the humidity of the tropics on top of that, but overall I do enjoy being a missionary. I enjoy the oppurtunities of service and growth that it provides. Looking back, I have been able to see a change in myself, which, for some reason, surprises me. I feel like I am a lot more mature than I used to be, and that I can deal with a lot of situations, with a lot of different people, and with my own emotions a lot better than I used to be able to. I don't enjoy the kind of mission culture that puts pressure to be stupidly intense about things, but I do enjoy the oppurtunity that I have to come closer to Jesus Christ, and really focus on the meaning of missionary work. The 'Why' of things. Focusing on this Why has helped me to gain perspective and overcome the concerns I have in my own work. I just realizemore and more that I am here for Jesus Christ, and He expects me to serve the best I can. I will never be able to really compare myself to somebody else, because I am different than they are. Anyway, I just realize that I have learned a lot of life lessons in the last year. 
Thanks for being the best family ever. I have been thinking the last couple weeks about how grateful I am for you all. I am just so happy that you, Mom and Dad, always lived the gospel. That we always studied the scriptures together, that we had FHE, that we really did things together. Thanks for being such great examples to me! 
Love,
Elder Merkley

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