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Monday, November 4, 2013

Passau: November 4, 2013

Dearest Fam-bam,

This week has been a really good week. To answer your first question: yes, the Andersons got off ok. The Elders in Landshut helped them get onto the train on Wednesday, and they flew home on Thursday morning. As far as I know they are back in Utah. There will be about a month until the new couple arrives, because of the unexpected departure of the Andersons.

The weather has been starting to get a little bit colder. I have had to break out my winter jacket, which has been kind of annoying, because it's been at that kind of in-between temperature where you don't need the big jacket, but anything else wouldn't really be enough. Whatevs, I'll get through it. As for winter clothes, no I haven't bought any. I probably should buy a new pair of shoes because both of my pairs have holes/cracks in them, which wouldn't be very enjoyable if I was to walk through snow, but I haven't gotten around to it yet. As for jackets or anything like that, I think I am just going to use the same jacket I did last winter. It doesn't look super big, but it was warm enough to get me through last winter, and so I hope it will get me through this winter too. I bought a couple of scarves in the last couple of months, so I now have a little bit more variety in that area. I don't really want to buy new clothes until right before I go home, because I want them to still be nice. Some/most of my white shirts are starting to get yellow armpits, but I kind of have the same feelings. It's winter anyway, and I don't really want to buy new shirts again. I think I will be able to make it through.

My exchange with Elder Sessions was a ton of fun. We gave out a couple of Book of Mormons and had a ton of fun together. I love exchanges, and it was a ton of fun to talk about Offenburg. The church was finally moved from Offenburg to Lahr, a city more in the center of Offenburg's area. I'm glad it got changed after I was there, because the church was really close to where we lived, and it was way convenient. It's funny that you asked about Offenburg, because this week guess who showed up at Church? Two members from Offenburg. They are actually members of the Freiburg ward, their last name is Jung. While I was there they had been called as stake missionaries or something like that, and were asked to go down to Offenburg every week for church. They didn't remember my name, but to be fair, I also didn't really remember their name. They weren't the most personable people in the world, It was a lot of fun to talk to them though, and hear their accent again. I haven't heard that accent since I was in Offenburg, which was over a year ago.

For the cookies Mom, the recipe is the same as regular No-bakes, you just put a cup of peanut butter in after you boil it instead of cocoa. They are super easy, but ridiculously tasty. I think it is really cool that you are doing this cookbook, Mom. For which side of the family was it again? I know you have mentioned it before, but I can't remember, and I don't really want to sift through all your old emails to figure it out.

Oh my word, is Tanner's farewell next week? No one tells me anything! When is he reporting? Why did he wait so long to go on his mission? Now we won't see each other for like three and a half years! That ridiculous! 

Things with Elder Nicoll (note the spelling. Dad, you've been pretty creative with your spelling. Mom, I made the same mistake for the first week or so) have been a lot better recently. One morning during personal study I was taking some time to pray in our bedroom (I feel very blessed that I've had this opportunity in every one of my apartments so far) and I was trying to think about how I could make this day better, because I wasn't feeling very excited about it. I had the thought that I need to treat Elder Nicoll as my friend. For some reason during my mission I have often seen my companion as just that, a companion. I just haven't looked at my companions as my friend as well. Focusing on seeing Elder Nicoll as my friend has really helped me to learn to love and like him more. Our relationship is still not where I would want it to be, but it is definitely getting better. We are having a lot more fun together then we did at the beginning. I'm going to keep focusing on this during this next week, just looking at Elder Nicoll as my friend, not just someone with whom I have to spend time.

We met twice with the Nigerians this week. There was a different group of them each time, but we had pretty good lessons. Ok, let me rephrase that, the first one was good, and the second had potential to be good, but due to the fact that the U17 World Cup game between Mexico and Brazil was going on in the background, I don't think it achieved the spiritual levels it could have. In case you didn't watch the game, it went into shootouts, and from what I picked up from the yelling (they apologized, they were just 'caught away' in the game. I love how Africans speak English, it's hilarious), they actually had to do two different rounds of shootouts. In the end Mexico won the day though. But for realsies, the lesson was pretty good. They're just having time accepting the fact that God would reveal more to us when we already have the Bible. I straight up got out that scripture in 2 Nephi (I think), where it talks about A Bible! A Bible! and I read it to them. They really liked it. I'll let you know how things develop there.

We haven't made any progress with Gogo yet. We're going to try to give him a call this week to see if he wants to meet again. I'll be honest though, I'm not sure if anything else will come out of that. As for Andrej, our last two appointments have fallen through, but we should hopefully be having one this week.

Mom, as for missionary experiences, I don't think it is about how many you have, I think it is more about being ready to do it. If you pray for the opportunities and you are looking for them then I think you are doing just fine. Who knows, maybe your opportunity is just saying a kind word to someone? Or maybe it will just be your example. I think real missionary work is a lot more simple than we make it out to be.

Anyway, I think you are right, Dad. I really have been blessed to be able to serve where I have. I really have learned to enjoy giving talks, and I have gotten a lot better at being able to express myself at the pulpit (even in a foreign language). I am actually kind of sad that I won't be able to give talks as often after my mission.

Well, I think that is all that I have for this week. Like I said, it has been a pretty enjoyable week, in spite of the weather, and the apparent lack of success. We haven't been finding a ton of new investigators or even potentials recently, but we're doing our best, and I feel good about the work we are putting in. I have really been trying to find my own level of work recently, because sometimes I still feel like I try too hard to try to duplicate some of my old companions' level of work, which I feel may have been influencing my happiness.

Alright. I love you all. Thank you for supporting me, and for all your prayers!

Elder Merkley

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