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Monday, October 7, 2013

Passau: October 7, 2013



Dearest Fam-bam, 
This week has been a lot of fun, and has gone by really quick. I guess I should comment on the weather, because Dad remarks on it every week, and I feel obligated to show that I really read his emails. Yes, fall has been setting in, which is making me sad. I don't like waking up when it is dark! It is so much better to wake up to the sun!! Also, I don't think I have ever told you, but both my pairs of Eccos have been worn through. One of them to the point where the bottom is really falling out, and the other only has a crack in it. I thought I could get the second one repaired, but I went by a shoe repair place today, and he told me it was done. I wouldn't care that much, except that when it rains my feet get wet, and I imagine that it won't be that different with the snow. So I might need a new pair of shoes to get me through my mission, which I'm sorry about, because I know how expensive these shoes were... As for other things I need, I hope that my coat will be big enough for this winter. It is more just like a thick jacket, but it got me through my last winter just fine, but if I am in a really cold place I may have to buy a new one. I would rather not though, and I actually just want to wait and maybe buy a cool normal person one before I go home. 
Which brings me to your first question, Father. I think I could maybe use another couple of things of deodorant, and I can't think of anything else right now. You come next week, right? I'll think about it and let you know. Also, just to let you know, next Sunday, as in two weeks from yesterday, is Stake Conference, so if I don't get transferred I will also be in Munich on that Sunday, which is pretty crazy, I know. 
Elder Barker has been doing pretty well, he has been speaking more German with me, which I am really happy about. It is still not to the point where we want it to be, but we are still working on getting better at it. I do feel really good about the time that we have spent together. I think it has been really necessary for my own personal growth. I have been really pleased with my progress in the last few months, I feel like I have learned a ton about myself and about other people in general. It has been a very interesting experience. 
We actually did find an investigator this week. His name is Andrej Schmidt, and is a Russian-German, meaning that he is German originally but was born in Russia and speaks German with a Russian accent. He is about 30 years old, and we actually found him through the Area Book. We talked to him a lot about prayer, and we should be meeting with him again on Friday.  On that same night we should also be meeting with Gogo, whom we talked to a couple of days ago. We set up the appointments one right after the other so that we can hopefully get members to come to both of them. 
This actually reminds me, we had a finding day in Landshut a few months ago, and another Elder and I talked to this guy, who gave us his information. He became an investigator for the Landshut Elders, and actually ended up accepting the invitation to be baptized. He is African and is from Rowanda. Anyway, yesterday when I was in Landshut for General Conference, I had the oppurtunity to interview him for his baptism, which was a really neat experience. It was cool to see how well he knew the gospel, and to really see that he believes in it all too. It was just a way uplifting interview. 
I was also really uplifted by conference this week. I really focused on preparing myself for it during the last six months, and I made sure that I read each talk from the last one, and read a good amount of them more than once. I learn even more being able to read it, and write down my thoughts and feelings without having to worry about missing more wisdom. I would love it if you could send me a copy of the conference Ensign, but you don't necessarily have to, because I could potentially just order myself one from lds.org, and then you don't have to pay the extra money to send it all the way from America. I enjoyed every talk, especially the one from Elder Dube, and Elder Bednar. They spoke such great words of wisdom. President Utchdorf gave one that really made me thoughtful, I can't wait to read that again. Oh, that reminds me, just so that you know, every conference when they do the sustaining of the officers of the Church, the Germans always snicker when they hear how they pronounce President Utchdorf's middle name. They do use a really strong American accent, haha. 
As for your question, Dad, we were able to watch every session but the last. We actually had to miss a portion of President Monson's talk, as we had to leave early in order to get our train back to Passau. Other than that we saw every session. Sunday was a long day though, because that is the day when we watch three sessions, and I don't know about you, but after six hours of trying to concentrate I have a very slow mind. I wasn't getting as much out of the last session, just because I was having trouble focusing. That's why I am really excited to be able to read them, because I always get more the second or third time. 
Another cool thing that happened this week was that I got a package from Aunt Tami!! I swear it was one of the coolest packages I have ever received! She put some of my favorite candy in there, a couple of ties, and two of the coolest games ever. One of them was a Trivial Pursuit game, and I have already been going through and just quizzing myself, I actually need to get some more cards, because I have had the package for about three or four days, and I am already about three-fourths of the way through the cards.
 I had forgotten how much fun Trivial Pursuit it. I have been telling everyone about how Kimmie and I are the Dream Team, and always win. 
Tim and Tam are expecting a baby?! What? That's so cool! I was starting to wonder when they would have their next baby. And it's in May too, that's pretty awesome. 
Mom, you know that when we write letters to our siblings, it's not that we don't want you to read it, rather we want to be able to write super honest letters to a single person, and if we know that someone else is going to be reading it then we can't be quite as honest. Don't fret too much, just be happy that we like each other. 
Love,
Elder Merkley

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