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Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Klagenfurt: January 20, 2014

Dearest Fam-bam,

Well, this week was awesome. We got a ton accomplished, and we taught more lessons and people than I have ever taught.

Before I get into that, I actually have some really sad news that we just got like 45 minutes ago. So we had one lesson with Francesco this week, and he was telling us about this job that he got, which will require him to work on Sundays. We talked about it for a while, and then I ended up promising him that if he looked for a job that wouldn't require him to work on Sunday, the Lord would help him to find one so that he would still be able to come to Church. I really felt like I should promise him that, and I felt like it could be a turning point for him. Well, we texted Francesco last night to see when we are going to meet this week, and he just sent us a text where he told us that he has decided to keep his job, and that there won't be any need of setting up any further appointments. It really made me sad, and it really made me question myself, and what I told him. I really felt like it was right at the time, but now I am really unsure. I know I shouldn't question those feelings at all, but I just feel really sad that he decided to stop investigating. We're going to try to keep contact with him, send him emails and stuff, but it seems like, for right now at least, he won't be investigating anymore.

Now that we got that piece of depression out of the way. Life is still good! We actually had seven joint teaches again this week, which was awesome! The members are really doing a great job at supporting us, and are willing to pick us up, drive us to appointments, and we can also usually find rides for investigators when we need to. They are being very supportive.

Elizabeth is doing awesome. It's funny that you mentioned the Law of Chastity in that story, Dad, because that is one of the things that we taught Elizabeth this week. We didn't explain the law as exactly as we could have, mostly because of the language barrier, which would have made that pretty redundant. We did however give her the talk about Chastity by Elder Bednar, and she agreed to read it. It was actually a good lesson, except when our joint teach started talking about all the naked women that he has to paint because he is an artist... It sounds kind of crazy, but the way he pulled it in actually kind of worked. It was also pretty funny, because I was looking around the table, and I realized that none of us were Austrian. Two were Americans, one from the Domincan Republic, and one from Coatia. Yet we were all speaking German.

Dominic came to Church again yesterday, as did his step-dad, who is also a non-member. We've been focusing on teaching Dominic, because we felt like Peter, the step-dad, didn't have a ton of interest, but recently he has been subtlely showing more interest in Church and our message. He hasn't said anything outright, but he is taking a bigger and bigger role in our lessons and talked to me yesterday about how he enjoyed Church. We are going to try to start focusing the lessons a little bit more on him, and see if we can help him increase his interest a little bit.

We had quite a few new investigators pop up this week. One's name is Frau Lahoda. She was a former investigator, and had stopped taking the lessons like 10 years ago or so. We met with her twice last week, and will be meeting twice more with her. Right now, she doesn't quite understand the principle of authority, and so we are going to try to help her understand that principle this week. She's really cool, and she should be coming to Church next week as well. I'll be honest, there are a ton of other really cool investigators, but I'm getting kind of tired of writing right now, so I don't know if I am going to tell you about them all...

I know you are going to be mad about that, Mom, but think about how awesome I've been in writing emails during this last year and a half.

Fine. I'll give you a brief run-down:

Guido, Dragi, and Magnus- A family from Germany. Right now it seems like their main interest is more out of curiousity rather than a burning desire to find the truth. They are very active in their own church, and actually have a lot of similar beliefs to us.

Rudolf- Our first lesson with him went awesome, and before our second he actually tried to drop us, because his girlfriend and his family and friends don't want him to change his religion at all. We had a really good second lesson with him, so we will be meeting again with him tonight, but he is not sure that he is ready to "throw away" his entire life right now, so that could play a big factor with him. I'll let you know how it goes.

Heimo-Taught him the Restoration, but we don't have another appointment with him for three and a half weeks or so, so there won't be a lot of updates with him in the foreseeable future.

Like I had mentioned, this week went pretty well. I am typically happy, but there are always times when something really frustrates me. I am trying my best to love and support Elder Krieger, but sometimes I feel like our personalities are just too similar in some ways, and then too different in other ways, and it makes it really hard. I could complain about details, but I don't think that would lead to anything good or would help the situation at all. I am really going to try to go the Lord this week. I know that this is a perfect time to really try to strengthen my relationship with him. I wonder if that is why he has given me so many difficult situations on my mission, to drive me to remember Him. 

So I am very impressed with your member missionary work! Way to go out and invite the new neighbors (I didn't really know whom you were talking about. Who moved out?), I love how little things like that can really make a big change. Even if they don't join the Church or anything at least they now have a nice impression of you.

As for letters, I got one from you this week, Mom, which was awesome. Thanks for writing me! I love getting your letters, and even though you say that they are just really haphazard, I still love them. They are just a nice taste of home. Your last packet of Missionary letters was awesome as well, thanks for that. I'll try to write the Menloves in the next couple of weeks. I think you're right, I think they would love that.

Mom, rocking the new iPhone? Way to go! Just so you know, I never want a smartphone, though, so don't try to get me one when I get home. I have seen too many young people being totally addicted to the internet, texting, and the games on those things, and I don't want to lose the ability to communicate with people face to face. I'll always have a computer, where I can look up things as needed.

On that note... I love you!! Thanks for being awesome.

Love,
Elder Merkley (The Eldest. I've seen how the other two cousins throw in these qualifiers, and I thought it looked like Benny boy was getting a little uppity, calling himself, the Elder Elder Merkley. So I thought I would just declare my place as the Eldest of the three.) Andy's a little uppity himself.  Since Benny boy is actually older than Andy, I'm assuming he's referring to the fact that he's been a missionary longest. RGM

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