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Monday, February 17, 2014

Klagenfurt: February 17, 2014

Dearest Fam-bam,

Well, a lot of things have been happening this week. First off, until today the weather was awesome. We had sunshine and temperatures in the high thirties/low forties, and it was AWESOME. It snowed all day today, and was pretty terrible. In fact, Elder Krieger and I were standing on the side of the street earlier, and a car came by and splashed water and drenched us, which can be a little dangerous when you have below freezing temperatures... It's ok, we weren't outside for long afterwards.

I think the biggest news is that Elizabeth is going to be baptized in the Dominican Republic. She left on Friday to go there, I think she is planning on staying about a month or so, and right before she left we showed her where the Church would be in her city, and I guess she went Sunday and told the missionaries that she wanted to be baptized. This trip explains most of the drama that had been happening, because she hadn't told us that she was going to be going on this trip, and so she had wanted to cook with us, and we had to cancel last minute, and that's why she was mad at us. It makes sense, because she knew there wasn't going to be another opportunity. I don't know when she will be baptized, but I'll be honest, it was a little frustrating to feel like the only part of her baptism story that I don't get to see is her actual baptism...

I'm so glad that you have had a missionary experience, Mom! You have mentioned often how you haven't been feeling like you have had as many as you would like, and so I have been praying for you to have some, and I will keep doing that! I'm also glad that President Miles told you that I was staying when he called you. He called me on Friday morning, aka the day before I found out about what would happen, and talked to me about my Visa. He gave me a real scare, and I tried my best to convince him to let me stay, and at the end of the conversation, when he talked about calling you, I suggested that he tell you if I was staying or not. I knew you would love it. I also told him to tell you that I said hi. I hope he relayed the message!

Oh yeah. I guess I should tell you my new companion's name... His name is Elder Dickson, and he is from Buckley, Washington. I met him briefly in Munich when he came into the mission, and he left a very favorable impression on me, and so I have high hopes for the next couple of transfers. He has only been in the mission field for about 4 months, so it will be a lot of fun to work with somebody that young. Elder Krieger was actually transferred within the zone, to Salzburg itself. Elder Smith will be going to Wiener Neustadt, which is an area right outside of Vienna. An Elder Graver, who is currently serving in Heilbronn(!), will be coming to Elder Janis. 

As for our trip, I just want to spend a Sunday in Heilbronn, and a Sunday in Klagenfurt. Other than that, I would love to see Vienna and maybe Salzburg. If you could just plan those in, and then just tell me when we're in places I can try to write people to set up places to stay and stuff. 

Sorry, so this Email is super scattered, but my visa is still not solved. I still have a week and a half or so to get the Police Report, and I am praying that I will get it in time. I'm really looking forward to this next transfer, and I really don't want to be emergency transferred out of here. The time it takes is supposed to be somewhat regular, and so I should supposedly get it by Wednesday, if everything goes right.

The work is going really well. We had another baptismal date fall into our lap this week. A member's relative started meeting with us, and he is super humble, and is ready to change. We set the date for the beginning of May, so I'll let you know how that develops.

We taught Radu the Law of Chastity today, and he agreed to live it. He is also doing great on his smoking thing, and this week will only be smoking three cigarettes a day. He is still making a ton of progress, and we are meeting with him like three or four times a week. I found out this week that he is pretty good at Ping pong. he gave me a run for my money...the first game. I have only played like twice on my mission, so it took me a while to get warmed up, but by my second game I was on. Elder Krieger isn't bad either, and he scored the first point against me...and then I scored 21 in a row. Sorry, that might have sounded prideful. Humility is a Christlike attribute I am still working on.

Things are going great with Dominik and Peter too. Peter drove us back from our last appointment with them, and we had a real heart to heart in the car, and I feel like he will probably come around eventually. He really likes what we do as missionaries, and he really enjoys coming to church and seeing how happy everyone is there.

Joint teaches are still happening a lot. We had two today, and we are trying to involve the women of the ward a lot, which has been awesome. With Radu we are trying to get the few youth we have to come as joint teaches, which has been going pretty well. We have already had two of the younger women in the ward come as Joint teaches, and they actually did really well. It is interesting, because we always have to find joint teaches who speak English, and that can limit the options a little bit.

All in all things are looking good. I am looking forward to my new companion, who is coming from the same District as Elder Jerman, who is a Zone Leader now, did I ever tell you that? He started training, and then they made him a Zone Leader a couple transfers ago. I'm really proud of him. But yeah, life is good, and I am happy.

Elder Merkley

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