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Monday, March 10, 2014

Klagenfurt: March 10, 2014

Dearest Fam-bam,

I enjoyed this week a lot. Even though we had a ton of fallen through appointments I feel like we were able to be really effective with our time and get a lot done. Another plus was the weather. Just like the reports are telling you, Dad, the weather is very Spring-like. I went to Church yesterday with just my suit coat, which was the first time that has happened in months. It is kind of an awkward time though, because it is too warm with my big jacket, but a little too chilly without it. But I would rather have that problem than the problem of freezing.

I don't know exactly when we change to Daylight Savings time... I assume it will be soon. I was actually thinking about it this week, because it has been very light recently as we have been waking up at 6:30, which I love. Getting up to a lit room is the best feeling in the world, and I kind of had this feeling that it wouldn't be a while before the world took that away by switching the time on me. Luckily they can't stop the natural sun patterns, and so soon I will be waking up to sunlight again.
It's so weird that Nicole is already home. I remember hearing how she went on her mission, and now she is home already... Crazy. It's also really interesting to me how each mission is totally different. In our mission for example, President Miles has never commented on how long lessons should be. We try to keep them under an hour, but I have also had lessons that have lasted an hour and a half to two hours. We had this one investigator who would get mad at us if we took less than an hour and a half. I think the different cultures play a role in that too, because our eating appointments also go a lot longer than they would in America. It's also really cool that you are able to go and teach with the missionaries, Mom! I think it's so awesome that you have been able to have more and more missionary experiences.

It looks like Radu is still smoking one or two a day at this point. He still loves coming to Church, and is becoming more and more an active part of the ward; and we just hope to help him overcome the last boundary in his life between him and the fruits of the Gospel. I don't think he has told his parents yet. I don't know if he will either. I feel like that is something that he will try to avoid.

Things with Elder Dickson are still going pretty well. It's hard to keep him positive and happy, but I'm doing my best. To be honest, I feel kind of sad, because I feel like I'm sacrificing German speaking for communicating with him right now. His understanding is very limited, and even when I talk to him in German he understands about half of what I say, if that much, which can get frustrating for both of us.  I don't know, I worry that I'm not doing my part in this companionship in leading out in German speaking. I just don't want him to get even more frustrated than he is, but at the same time, I know that if we don't speak German, his won't get any better, and mine won't either. It's a tough situation, and I have just been trying to be as positive as possible, and when he beats  up on himself I just ignore it, and try to stay positive. I feel like I have been a little sadder this week though.

Our meeting with Zsuzsanna went really well this week. We took our Bishop with us, and invited her to baptism. She said if she does find out, she will be baptized, which we are really excited about. We are hoping to set a baptismal date with her this week as a goal, and work towards that. Her only problem is time. It is already hard for her to get away from her kids once a week, but I think if we were to set a date with her for about six weeks or so in the future, and then ask her to make the effort of also getting away for church every Sunday. We think helping her set a date will help her to show her faith and be able to make a more concentrated effort.

We did actually find a couple new investigators this week. One of them is a pretty cool story. Elder Dickson and I felt this week like we were teaching a lot less than we wanted too, and we really wanted to find new people to teach. Well, we prayed that Heavenly Father would help us to find new people, and the next day we seemingly coincidentally found a new investigator. We had had an exchange the day before, and Elder Dickson had talked to some guy in the bus, the next morning we were walking around in the city to take care of something for Radu, and had stopped to talk to this lady on the street. While I was talking to her, Elder Dickson saw this man again and went and talked to him. We ended up getting his number, and after we had gotten home we actually end up getting a call from him, asking us to come over to his house on that day. We went over and taught him, his name is Bernhardt, and he is pretty cool. It was definitely a miracle.

The next day we talked to this guy on the street who ended up inviting us into his house and letting us have a little talk with him and his roommate. It was funny, because it ended up that these two college kids are living in the top part of a member's house. He's like 87 or something, and is currently in the hospital, but it was just interesting to see how the Lord led us. Even though we didn't do as much teaching this week as we had hoped, we definitely had a lot of oppurtunities to share our testimonies and invited people to come closer to Jesus Christ.

We found another investigator whose name is Raheeb. I talked to him on the bus on Friday, and we ended up meeting on Saturday. He is Muslim, from Pakistan, and is currently getting his PhD right now in Austria. His English is essentially perfect, and the lesson went really well. We really focused on helping him to understand our purpose as missionaries, and the importance of the Book of Mormon, and our message altogether. Although he said straight up that he isn't necessarily looking to change his faith, he did understand why it would be important, too, if he were to find out that the Book was true. We are hoping to try the same tactic with him as we are planning for Zsuzsanna.

Umm, that's about it I think. The ward is still supporting us a lot, and we are really trying to work with them as closely as we can. I think that we are doing that pretty well. They like us, and we have seen a good amount of investigators coming through them, which is something I haven't really experienced before.

I love you all so much, and pray for you all every night!

Elder Merkley

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