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Monday, October 21, 2013

Passau: October 21, 2013

Dearest Fam-bam,

Well, this week has been really crazy, and has gone by really quickly. I think I will just jump right into it. On Tuesday we actually had two eating appointments, because the members wanted to say goodbye to Elder Barker and Sister Regnier, who was also transferred. Elder Barker stayed in the Munich Zone, and actually went to Ingolstadt with Elder Niedens. You probably don't remember, but Elder Niedens was actually in my District when I was in Offenburg. He is about four months older on his mission than I am, and I think he was a completely inspired choice for Elder Barker's next companion. I can't think of a single other missionary who could do a better job. Sister Regnier was transferred into Graz, in Austria. It was really sad to say bye to both of them, and I feel like my friend group has been torn apart a little bit.

Speaking of which, it's funny that you were hanging out with the Jermans this week, because I was actually hanging out with Elder Jerman! We had Stake Conference this weekend, so I went up to a meeting on Saturday night, and then we all stayed in Munich at the Mission Home, and went to the meeting the next day as well. All the missionaries from our Zone were there, which was a ton of fun. Elder Jerman is actually District Leader in his district as well, so we got to see each other at some district leader training meeting we had before conference. I really enjoyed it. Stake Conference itself was also really great, the entire conference was devoted to missionary work. Our Stake President here is young, and is super motivated to do missionary work. He had three full-time missionaries give talks, in addition to President and Sister Miles. He also had all the missionaries in our Zone stand up and sing in a Choir in the Sunday session of the conference. I really enjoyed the Saturday Evening session, I think it may be one of the most spiritual church meetings I have been to in a long time.

Letters... Hmm, I actually got that one from the Merks a couple of days ago, and I got one from Sheridan that she sent three months ago. Apparently she sent it to the wrong address, so it took a while to find its way to me, haha. I also got a letter from my friend, Madeleine, whom I met at BYU.

So my new companion, Elder Niccol (please note my spelling error, he spells it two cs and one l), is from Lehi, Utah. It's actually kind of funny, because Elder Niedens trained him, and now I'm working with him, and I trained Elder Barker who is now working with Elder Niedens! Elder Niccol can speak pretty darn good German, he's been out on his mission for about a year, and can really communicate pretty well. I had decided that I only wanted to speak German with him, and it has actually been a bigger adjustment than I had thought. I think it is because Elder Barker only spoke English with me, and we usually spoke English in the apartment, and now sometimes I just forget that I want to speak German all the time. I have learned a ton of new words in these last few days though, mostly because I am used to telling stories exactly how I want to, because I can do that perfectly in English, and now I try to do that in German, and I am now learning all the cool words that I had never learned before. Words like Stoffwechsel or vornehm, or bek├Âmmlich. They are really awesome words. We have been getting along pretty well, so far. I don't think that we will be having any problems with that. He seems to also want to work hard, and so I am looking forward to the work that we will be able to get done in the next transfer.

As for staying in Passau for another transfer, I think it is right. Like I said, I feel like there is a lot more that I can get done here, and if nothing else, I love the members here, and so I am happy that I can stay one more and spend a little bit more time with them. However, I will be honest, I hope that I get transferred after this one. Only because I only have four complete transfers left, and if I stay another one in Passau, then I will only have three in my last area, and I don't want to only spend three in the area where I will be able to build up relationships the best, because of the reduction of the language barrier. I actually would love to go somewhere that Daniel was for my last area, so that we could meet some of the same people. They actually just sent two new missionaries into Ulm, so now they have four Elders there.

Anywho, I can't believe that Scotty is going on his mission!! That is so cool that he has the opportunity to serve! I hope he has a great time.

Mom, yes, I got your letter with the talk in it. You actually forgot to put in the entire talk, there were only a couple of the pages in there, but don't worry, I still know the talk, because I have been studying every talk out of that last conference. I love that talk too, and I think it is way inspiring.

Andrej has been doing alright. Elder Niccol and I had an appointment with him on Thursday, which is the first night after transfers, and it went pretty well. We focused on what Andrej's part is to be able to receive an answer to his prayers. We were a little disappointed, because he hadn't prayed at all, but he had done his reading, so that was great. We will be meeting again with him in a couple of weeks, and will be following up with his efforts to read every single day.

Gogo... We had an appointment with him about a week and a half ago, where he forced another 50 Euro on us, gave us dinner, and then essentially told us that he doesn't plan on joining our Church. I was really sad, especially since he had read the Book of Mormon all the way until Moroni 6 or so. It was a great time, and I think we will try to stop back there again in a couple of weeks, but it sounded like he is a little closed off to our understanding of God's character. I hope that after he reads the promise in Moroni 10 though, he will come around... we'll see.

We actually had a pretty interesting experience this week. So we talked to this guy and his wife on the street on Friday and got his information. His name is Amaechi, and he is from Nigeria. We went to his place on Sunday to teach him and his wife. When we got there he led us into a room where there were three other guys from Nigeria. So we started teaching all of them, and unfortunately we had only brought one Book of Mormon with us, but we committed them all to read in it and pray about it. They asked a ton of questions and we spent a good amount of time explaining various concepts to them.  It was a lot of fun. We are planning on going back in about a week or so, where we hope to get them all Book of Mormons. I'll let you know as soon as something changes there.

Anyway, but we actually saw a good amount of success this week. We had almost no time to find, and yet we still found people while we were on our way to appointments and stuff, it was fun. I actually have been having fun with Elder Niccol. He actually reminds me a little bit of Elder Buck, in the way he talks and stuff.

Other than that I don't know what else there is to report. Life is good, I'm still having fun, and hopefully I will still learn a lot during this next transfer. I really want to focus on learning to judge myself by my own and the Lord's expectations in the next six weeks. Sometimes I feel like I develop my own opinion of myself based on what other people expect or want of me, and that is something that I am trying to get rid of. So that is potentially something else that you could pray for.

I love you!

Elder Merkley

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