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Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Passau: October 28, 2013

Dearest Fam-bam,

Anyway, this week has been pretty good. I actually saw Elder Barker real quick on Tuesday, and I would guess that they are doing pretty well. I think Elder Barker would be able to get along with everyone alright, except someone who is just outright mean, I don't think he could deal with that. Elder Niedens is anything but mean, so I think they should be able to get along alright.  

There has actually been a lot going on in the District this week. The Andersons, who are the Senior Couple, had a tragedy in their family, where their daughter-in-law, who is 33, died. So they decided instead of going home in five weeks, they will be going home this Thursday, so I've been calling them a lot and trying to help them prepare to go so unexpectedly. That has been pretty hard on them, and they have been rushing around trying to get everything taken care of. Beyond that the new Elder in Landshut was actually the one who was trained by Elder Szvoboda last year right when I left Offenburg, so we have been having a lot of fun talking about Elder Szvoboda, and about Offenburg. We actually have an exchange this week, which I am really excited for. The new Sister here in Passau is really cool, too. So all in all the District is doing alright, with the exception of the Andersons' family emergency.

I actually do have an amazing recipe for Carrot cake, that Sister Anderson gave me, Mom. I've made it twice, and it is super delicious.

Carrot Cake

2 cups flour
2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp cinnamon
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 cups grated carrots (I actually put four, it makes it more moist)
4 eggs
Pinch of salt
1 cups raisins (optional. I would only put raisins in this cake if you want to destroy everything that makes it tasty. So the choice is yours, but if you do it, the cake will taste terribly. Choose wisely (don't do it))

Mix dry ingredients. Add oil. Add eggs one at a time. Add carrots and mix well. Bake at 35 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

Icing

2 tsp vanilla
1 box powdered sugar (1/2 bag)
1 8 oz pkg cream cheese
1 square butter (no idea how much that means, I've never actually put any in my icing, and it has tasted super good)
chopped pecans (I also haven't tried this out yet, so I don't know if it makes it taste better or not)

NOTE: If you want it to be healthier you can cut the icing in half, but then you don't have as much icing...so do it at your own risk.

Anyway, that one and then the Peanut Butter No-bake cookies would be the two I would like to have in your cookbook, Mom.

Anyway, I am actually really nervous for next transfer calls. I am going to assume that my next area will be my last area, and I also have conflicting desires. I would love to be able to go the area where Elisabeth lives too, do we know which area that is, btdubs? I would also love to have one area in Austria, and I would love to go to one of the areas where Daniel served, none of which were in Austria... so I don't know what I really want. I just want to know what is going to happen. I am also glad that I don't have to make the decision, I know Heavenly Father will show President Miles where I should go.

Yeah, on Tuesday we had interviews, which always happen during our District Meeting, the whole thing was super interesting for me. During the meeting, Sister Miles had to take a phone call, and she didn't tell me right then when she came back into the meeting, but afterwards she said, Elder Merkley, I just had a great chat with your dad! It was pretty cool. The whole time we were in Munich I made sure that my District was keeping a look-out, just in case we ended up running into Dad. But yeah, the interviews were really interesting because President Miles really had some interesting insight for me. I was telling him about a lot of the things that have been on my mind recently, and he had good feedback for each one. He interrupted me at one point and said very directly, 'Elder Merkley, you're a perfectionist!' I was really speechless for a second, because I had never thought about it before, but it's true. I think a lot of stress that I have comes from the fear that I'm not doing everything as well as I could be, that I'm not living up to my potential, or that I'm disappointing people. President Miles had a lot of interesting advice on the subject, along with advice on a couple of other subjects that I brought up.  The advice you gave was also really thought provoking, Mom. I think you are right. I think that may be a reason why my excitement is where it's at.

I did get those letters from the Keith Merks, Mom. Oh my word, the letter from Scotty was the funniest thing I have read in a long time! I could just hear him as he would be saying all those things he wrote. It was hilarious. I also got the note from Miss V, which was also a really nice surprise. Thanks for having her write me something! You're the best Mom ever!

Missionary work has been going alright this week. We actually gave out like three or four Book of Mormons in the last few days, which has been really enjoyable. It has been really fulfilling to get some good work done in the last couple of weeks.

As for relationship with Elder Nicoll, it's been alright. Nothing to get really excited about. We get along fine, we haven't really had any problems with arguments or anything, but I don't know. There also hasn't been a real click. We talked about it for an hour or so yesterday, because I don't want this transfer to turn into a waiting game. I don't just want to endure for another few weeks until one of us gets transferred. I have been focusing on praying that God will give me a piece of the love that he has for him, and have been trying to do a lot of service. I think this week that is something that you could pray for. That I can develop a real love for Elder Nicoll. I know Uncle Keith talks about his little PLOW thing all the time, and it is really true, Love is something really important in missionary work, and I really want to develop a real Christlike love for Elder Nicoll this week.

The members here are great. I really love them. I actually had the oppurtunity to give a talk on Sunday, which I think is the fourth time I have given one here in Passau, and I realized how natural it felt to stand up there and talk to them. I mean, the Sagmeisters were gone, as was Brother Müller, so I was only standing in front of about nine people, three of them being other missionaries, but the feeling was still there. I really enjoy giving talks now. Maybe that is why I have been in so many little branches, because I was thinking about it the other day, and I think I have given between 10-15 talks in the last 16 months, which is something I would not have been able to experience if I was in big wards all the time.

Pristhood was a littler interesting though...our Branch President yelled at this crazy member from Austria while we were having the class. The guy was being kind of rude, and was interrupting and drawing us away from the topic, but yeah, Elder Niccol had a weird impression from his first Sunday.

Anyway, I love you all! Thanks for being such a great family!

Love,
Elder Merkley

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