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Monday, November 11, 2013

Passau: November 11, 2013

Dearest Fam-bam,

Well, this week has been different than almost every week so far on my mission. The biggest thing that was different was that Elder Nicoll almost died on Friday. Ok, I can just imagine how you gasped, Mom. He didn't really almost die, he just got really sick and we had to stay in the apartment all day. We had an exchange on Wednesday with the Zone Leaders, and on Thursday we were switching back, and since the train was kind of full Elder Nicoll and I didn't get to talk until we got back into Passau, which is about two and a half hours of travel time. Anywho, so we get there, and then I ask Elder Nicoll how he's doing...and he wasn't doing well.

We ended up having to cancel an appointment that night, and then he threw up that night, and I guess he threw up on a pretty regular basis during that entire night. So he ended up sleeping the entire day Friday, waking up at intervals to throw up or go to the bathroom. I barricaded myself in the kitchen and had personal study, and essentially killed time. It didn't take me long to go through our Area Book and try to contact people. I made a fancy lunch, read in the Book of Mormon, made No-Bake cookies, ate two or three dinners, and started making transfer predictions for the entire mission. (Speaking of No-Bake cookies. Mom, of course I know how No-Bake cookies are made. I have that recipe memorized. You skip the cocoa, and after you boil it you add 1 cup of peanut butter instead of half) Oh yeah, I also sewed up a pair of pants that were broken. I had a very full day. I was kind of looking forward to the day at the beginning, because I thought, sweet, I can just kind of relax today, and take it easy, but after like three or four hours of silence, and just sitting there I started to get a little antsy. Elder Nicoll decided to crash on our couch for some reason, where the music is... He also had a bowl of throw up sitting next to him for most of the day, and actually spilled that on the floor at one point. It was a little pathetic. Sorry, I know this is probably too much information.

The Sisters figured that I was freaking out, and so they got permission from President Miles to meet us in the Church on Saturday and clean. And that we did. We literally spent like 9 hours or so just cleaning the Church. We threw away bags and bags of trash, and really did a very good job of cleaning it up. It was fun, and yet by the end of the day I was really quite tired. 

Add to that Tuesday, where we had an eating appointment at the Müllers' house, and then spent most of the rest of the day helping them out, and we didn't get much traditional missionary work done this week. We still managed to give out a couple of copies of the Book of Mormon, and get some lessons in though.

Actually, something cool that I just found out today, is that we are finally going to be allowed to start using emailing as a way of contacting! They just sent us a list of new rules for internet use outside of Pday, and it looks like we are going to be able to spend an hour on the computer outside of Pday every week. It is not a huge amount of time, but considering that we haven't been able to do anything with internet up to this point I think it may be really nice. A lot of people don't want to give us a number or their address, and now we can at least get their emails and contact them that way.

Things with Elder Nicoll are still going pretty well. We're tight, I wouldn't say we're best friends or anything, but we get along fine. I feel like we are friends though, if not besties, we at least can have fun with each other, and so I'm happy about that. I really want to use these last few weeks of this transfer to really learn how to always look at my companion as a friend, so that I can apply that from the very beginning next time. I think that Bishop Whitworth's advice is really true, loving everyone is really the key to having an awesome mission, in terms of success and general enjoyment.

This transfer has actually gone really fast, and transfer calls will be next Friday. So I won't know what's happening when I write you next week, rather the week after. The actual transfer will be in two weeks from Thursday. Elder Nicoll and I both kind of think that I will get transferred, but I would love to stay another transfer here. I really feel like I have learned a ton here, and would love to stay.

You asked about the branch, and there has actually been a lot of drama going on recently, which is really too bad. I won't explain it exactly, but it could potentially result in the inactivity of a sister here. She hasn't come for two weeks in a row, and I was told she doesn't plan on coming for the next month, after which she will be gone on a trip for another couple of months. I'm really worried about it. The branch president's wife was talking to me a lot at church yesterday, she has been affected by it a lot. She looked really tired and not super happy. I don't know what is going to happen. It makes me super sad, because I have really learned to love this branch during the last couple of months. All the members here are so awesome, and I worry that this little spat will have far-reaching effects.

So on to lighter subjects, No. I have not purchased shoes yet. I think I am going to skip it. I tried some on today, and they were just super expensive. I am going to want to buy shoes before I go home, but I think I will do that right before I go, so that I don't have to worry about them being super comfortable or anything. I think I'll just deal with wearing the ones with holes in them when there is no snow on the ground, and when there is snow we could I can wear those boots that I bought last winter.

We actually had some teaching experiences yesterday, which was awesome. We had two appointments yesterday night, with the Nigerians, and with Andrej. The one with the Nigerians was actually a little frustrating. One of the guys, Joseph Peter, was having a really hard time accepting the Book of Mormon, and he eventually refused the commitment to read and pray about it. He explained to us that we need to teach from the Bible, not from the Book of Mormon. I think it was at that point that I pulled out my soap box, and climbed on up. There were about four or five guys in the room besides us, and I just gave some real testimony. I had been just praying to be able to speak with power, and I feel like my prayers were answered, because I just told them how I knew that both of these books contained the words of God. I promised them that if they really read in the book and prayed before we came again, they would know. Then I also told them that if they didn't I would wash my hands of any responsibility that I had to their eternal salvation, and would meet them at the Judgement Bar of Christ and tell them that I had tried to help them. I was really worked up, and really dug deep. At that point there were only two other people besides Joseph Peter (They were filtering in and out a little bit) in the room, and we committed them both to read in and pray about the Book of Mormon. We set up another appointment on Wednesday. The two main ones from this group are Frank and Vincent.

Our appointment with Andrej also went well, we actually got there soaking wet, because it started raining out of nowhere, and we didn't have our umbrellas with us. It was a little dangerous, because it was also pretty cold, but we didn't get sick, so I think we'll be fine.  Anyway, we talked with Andrej about the power of doing, and really helped him understand that he needs to do things. We're going to try to stay on him this week, keep more regular contact, and help him to really read and pray about the Book of Mormon.

Mom, I don't mention this enough, but thank you so much for your letters. Sometimes they do get a little bit rambly, but I love them regardless. It is great to just get a little something from home every week.

I love you all! Thank you for all your prayers and support!

Love,
Elder Merkley

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