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Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Klagenfurt: December 16, 2013

Dearest Fam-bam,

Ok, so I'm going to jump straight into Christmas preperations, so that I don't forget. Well, there actually is an offer to skype from our Bishop's house, and that would be on the 24th of December. If we were to do that then we would Skype around 7 or 8 o'clock our time, which would put it around 10 or 11 in the morning your time. The other option is that I could potentially Skype at the Casellas' house on the 25th, it would probably be a little earlier though, maybe around 6-8 o'clock. I don't know if you have a preference. It could be that the internet at the Casellas' house would be a little slower, but I'm not really sure. Ok, so let me know next week what you prefer, and I'll make it happen.

Mom, that's really cool that you were able to help out at the Conference for the Arcadia missionaries. That's so crazy to me that they are all close enough together that they can all get to one place. That would be impossible for us. We didn't even do anything as a Zone last year for Christmas, we just had a Zone Conference a month or so before, and didn't even really focus it on Christmas.

It's also crazy that your companion just randomly texted you, I hope that I'm able to keep such good contact with my companions after the mission. I also hope the people that I've trained will be able to say that they had a good trainer too. I can definitely say that about my trainer.

Scotty's emails are HILARIOUS. I love reading them! Can you actually give me a more exact description of what he does? It sounds like he is really enjoying his work, which is obviously centered around Family History, but I am still kind of confused about all the mechanics. By that I mean what kind of rules and restrictions he has, what his responsibilities are, and things like that. I also didn't really notice, but did Ben use to count the months in his emails? Did he really not like it at first?

The ward here is AWESOME. Really, I love them so much. I think I mentioned last week how I feel like the work is going really well here, and I can only reiterate that today. Elder Krieger has said that he hasn't seen Klagenfurt having such success the whole time he's been here. Between our two companionships we have three investigators with baptismal dates, and we are finding a ton of people. Last week we found a total of 28 potential investigators between the two of us, and we have about 4 or five appointments with new people set up, most of them for tomorrow. I metion that in conjunction with the ward, because up to now we have never had a difficulty finding a joint teach. Every time we have wanted one we have been able to get one. The Bishop's wife saw us standing around kind of forlornly yesterday, because we hadn't been invited anywhere, and as soon as she found that out she invited us to her house, even though we'll be going there next week anyway for Christmas Eve. I have already made some good friends with some members, and I know almost everybody's name now.

We had our Christmas party this week, and it was so cool. There were over thirty non-members there! Most of them were people whom members had invited, and some were people whom we had invited. We are working on the members to help them each develop their own family mission plan, and we are making sure we know who brought whom, so that we can help them to do more work with these people. We even saw a little success through email. We had met with this woman last week, and she is super nice, so we sent her an email on Thursday with a link to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir webpage, and an invitation to our Christmas Party. And she came! And brought us a pineapple, tangerines, and socks! It was so nice of her.

As for the language, I am adjusting pretty fast. I mean, if someone speaks real Kärtnerisch I have no chance, but Germans wouldn't have a chance either, so I don't feel bad about that. I translated again at Church again, and it was a lot easier this time, I was able to translate really fluently. I also know though, that my ability to speak the language, and translate aren't from my own abilities. I had such a hard time learning German before my mission, I've only been able to learn it out here because the Lord has blessed me with understanding. I'm convinced about that.

Our best investigator remains Francesco, who has come to church four weeks in a row. We meet with him around twice a week, and our lessons have been going pretty well. I really think he will be baptized on the nineteenth of next month. We are going to try to teach some commandments soon, so pray that he will be able to give up his coffee when we teach him the Word of Wisdom! He already has a great relationship with some of the members, in fact, some of the members even invited him over for Christmas day! We're going to work on expanding his base of friends though.

I figured something really cool out this week! So far on my mission I haven't done a ton of bus contacting, mainly because the buses haven't been ideal for contacting up to this point, either too full or too empty, and it hasn't really worked out well. The buses in Klagenfurt are awesome! I've been really focusing on starting a conversation in every bus, and I even found two potentials this week through it! It's been so cool to see how easy, and how normal it is. I'm trying to focus on making sure that I bring every conversation back to the Gospel, so that I can bear my testimony and fulfill my purpose as a missionary. It's been a good week in terms of contacting.

Other then that I don't know what to write about. The holidays are right around the corner, and I am a little worried because this will be the last week where people will really want to meet with us for two weeks or so, because of all the holidays, so the work will probably slow down considerably.

Well, I don't really know what else to write, except that I am really excited to talk to you next week!

I love you so much!

Elder Merkley

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