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Monday, February 24, 2014

Klagenfurt: February 24, 2014

Dearest Fam-bam,

Ok, so really big news this week pertaining to my police report: it came. It came, and I went to the city hall and I already have my Visa, and so they won't have to emergency transfer me!! I'm really excited about that, because I was definitely starting to get worried there for a little while. Thank you all so much for your prayers, I don't think I could have gotten it all taken care of so quickly had it not been for that.

In regard to the plan you sent me, Dad. It sounds great! I'm going to avoid pondering that too much though. In my mind, the end of my mission is still very far away, and that's how I want it to stay. I don't want to get distracted with thoughts of going home, because I know that it will reduce my effectiveness and my happiness.

These last few days with Elder Dickson have been going pretty well. At this point I would say that we are getting along pretty well. He is a really good missionary with really pure desires to do what Heavenly Father wants him to do. I am slightly concerned, because he is really hard on himself, and gets really down on himself for any mistakes that he makes. In addition to that he is really self conscious about his German, and has had a hard time taking any part in the lessons we have had this week. I really want to help him with his German and his confidence, but I have already noticed how much more English we are speaking than ever before on my mission, and that is something that I want to change, because I know speaking will be the thing that will probably help him the most.

Also, I'm probably not supposed to tell you this, because Elder Dickson likes to keep this on the DL, but he is a crazy fast runner. His fastest mile time is 4:01. Crazy, right? We went running on Tuesday, which was really nice, he is good at pacing himself so that I don't die, haha.

Things are going great with Radu. We actually had a Fireside on Friday night, which he came too, and he bore his testimony there. It was so cool, because I think that the seven or eight members who were there will take him a lot more seriously now, and will really see him as a part of the ward. We are trying to start get him integrated into the wards through activities, because we are already running out of things to teach him, but he loves coming to Church so much that we want him to still be able to come and get that spiritual boost. I think it is going alright with his smoking, he is still sticking to his program so far, but I haven't talked to him today, so we'll see how it goes.

I haven't heard anything new about Elizabeth yet, but I am hoping that we will hear something from her before she just shows up. I don't know, I would really have preferred it if she was baptized here, because I feel like it would have been great for the ward. It would have been a lot more real, rather than someone just showing up and saying that they were baptized on their trip to South America.

Dominik and Peter are still doing pretty well. We had another good lesson with them this week, but they didn't come to Stake Conference this week, so I don't know what is going on with them. I feel like their biggest problem right now is consistency. We are going to try focusing a little more on the basics, so that we can get them reading and praying regulary, which will hopefully also lead them to start attending Church.

Gehardt is the name of the referral from the ward member. Things are going really well with him. He really listens to all the lessons, he is coming to Church consistently, and he really has this honest desire to change his life. I think we are going to have to reteach the Word of Wisdom again though, because he mentioned something in our lesson today about only smoking every now and then, which threw up some red flags for me, because we had committed him to live the entire Word of Wisdom a while ago. We'll see what happens.

I had a really cool experience this week. So it all started a few months ago, where one of our members invited one of their acquaintances to the Christmas Party. She came with her family, and we invited them to English Class and just chatted them up a little. The wife started coming to English Class a while ago, and a couple weeks ago I was praying, and I had the feeling that I should ask this lady, Zsuzsanna, to meet with us and talk about our Church. So we went to English Class this last week, and I was really praying for help, because I was really worried about messing something up. Long story short, I got up the nerve, and asked her right after English Class, and she said yes! So we will be teaching her on this Saturday, right before there is some sort of party in the Church, which she will be staying for. I'm really excited because it would have been easier for me in that moment to just turn away and not do it (for reals though, the feelings I had reminded me of how it felt to ask a girl on a date. I was really scared she would say no and that she wouldn't come to English Class anymore), but Heavenly Father helped me to have the courage. It was pretty awesome.

So ward support in general is still going really awesome. We are still getting more joint teaches than we have ever had, and I am really grateful that Heavenly Father has led us to so many prepared people, and that the members are so willing to come and be a joint teach with us. Our GML has us give him a list of the joint teaches every week so that he can keep track of it and tell the members at the end of the year how many times they have gone with the missionaries.

Honestly Mom, I don't really need anything for my birthday. I don't know if I would really need/want candy. I eat a lot more healthily than I used to, and at that point I would be getting home in a month or so anyway, and so I don't think it would be as appreciated as it potentially could be. If you were determined to do something you could put a little bit of money in my account, but that's not really necessary. I'm pretty content with what I have. I am just trying to ride it out with all the missionary stuff I have, and then buy some more cool stuff before I go home. 

I don't know what else to tell you. Life is pretty good. I'm trying my best to be positive, trying my best to love my companion and serve him, and I think I am doing pretty well in general.

Anyway. I love you!

Elder Merkley

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