Monday, January 15, 2018

Our investigators Jerry is so great. This guy is a mega-rasta but has such a sweet and loving heart. We met with him twice last week and had fantastic lessons. He got a little bag to carry his Book of Mormon and his pamphlets and he has started reading the Book of Mormon!! That is one of the most important factors in somebody's conversion. You must read the book! Then the second time we met he asked us about baptism and how he can be baptized. So we explained all that needs to happen before then and then extended a baptismal date to him and he accepted it!!! We are super super excited for him!! We also met with this lady named Erida. She has been taught by missionaries before and almost baptized both times but Satan came in and caused something beyond her reach so she was not able to. But this time she is serious and excited and she has come to church every week so far this year and plans to come every week. Her son Roney looooves me and we are going to start teaching him as well! We are very very excited for these 2 and are planning to extend baptismal dates to them both this week! He wanted us to come over after church but we didnt have time because our plans were too full already. But the excitement for these guys is very positive. Positive vibes. Susan, Lilian, and Robert are all doing well. Robert is having a super hard time with the principles of the Restoration, he is a hard core Catholic. But we are trying to be understanding and we have committed him to read the Book of Mormon as well and is in 1 Nep. 8. Susan texted us and said she is really enjoying the Book of Mormon and she has made the goal to read it all the way through. She is in 1 Nep. 13 and Lilian is in 1 Nep. 11. They are progressing super well!!! I love there family so much We had zone conference and did some contacting in Mtwapa. I learned a lot but forgot my workbook at the flat so i cant share the details of what i learned. But just believe me when i say that i learned haha! Silvia is getting baptized next week!!!!! She is very excited. When we first met she would never come to church, her first time was when Hezbon and June got baptized. But every week since then she has been there. She even came just her with her 2 youngest daughters this last Sunday because Hezbon is taking June to school in Kisumu! I never thought i would see a day like that with her. So miracles are happening folks. Elder Matemera the other day thought he would be funny. We have been having power outages and so he went to the box and turned off the switches to make us think the power was out. It wasn't but when he switched it back on the power didnt come back....so then the next day an electritian had to come and somehow 4 of the switches broke.....niiiiiiiiiiiiice one....it was a very warm night sleeping without A/C. The last thing i would like to say is the importance of a smile. A smile shows that you are happy. It shows you are friendly. Now i am not talking about a fake smile but a genuine, real smile. If you cant think of something as you read this right now and Smile. Then stop here, think of something good in your life and smile. Put on a smile. It is attractive but it also does some fancy stuff with the chemicals in your brain so even if you arent 100% happy, soon enough you will be. I invite everyone to Smile more today. Smile at a stranger. Smile at a freind and loved one. Smile AT YOURSELF!!! Smiling is so important! 😀😁😃😄😆😊😎☺🙂🤗😇 I hope you are able to find something good to smile about and can find that true happiness in your heart. Lots of love, Elder Merz

Monday, January 8, 2018

This week has been a great one!! We met with Mark and we talked about him getting a marriage certificate so that he can be baptized. He is almost finished with all the lessons so once he gets that he will be baptized. We talked about tithing with him. And from what i will tell you is his conversion. So we talked about Tithing and how we must start paying it after we are baptized. But then he looked kinda sad and asked if it was bad that he has already paid tithing a few times!!! We were like ummmm noooo.......thats GREAT!! He is such a fantastic guy! I love that man. We went to an area called Mtwapa and did some contacting there and got some great peoples numbers who seem interested to meet with us. That is an area like no missionaries have ever worked in so we are gonna convert everyone there. That same day a member just showed up at the church with his cousin Khamisi and we met with him and he is super nice and interseted and we had 2 lessons with him. He just came to Mombasa last week and we met with him twice and he is gonna stay here...so yeah i can see him in white soon. We also met a guy named Emmanual when we were contacting another time. He was in Boot Camp in Great Lakes and married a girl here and now lives here. He was like "yeah i know you guys!" we asked him how. then he told us all of that and was like "the Book of Mormon, Joseph Smith, right?" we were shocked and like yeah!! He said our church was the first church he went to when he went to boot camp there! We hope to meet with him again soon! Susan, Lilian, Robert and Winnie are all progressing well and they are reading the Book of Mormon and really enjoying it! Susan and Lilian came to church on Sunday and loved it!! We are hoping to extend a baptismal date to them soon! Hezbons family is progressing very well. They are like having a family reading competition!!! June (the daughter) is already in 3 Nephi and we gave the Book of Mormon to her like 6 weeks ago....she is FLYING and UNDERSTANDING IT!!! It is a miracle before my eyes. Then the parents Hezbon and Silvia are having a competition. Hezbon is in Jacob and Silvia is in 2 Nephi. They all love church, are singing the hymns, participating in classes, and Silvia is looking orward to being baptized on the 21st of January!! They are going to be a powerful addition to the branch here!! Sadly though, Nelly (one of the daughters) is going to Nairobi for University and June is going to Kisumu for boarding school. But she is so converted and we gave her a for Strength of Youth and a CTR ring as well. We will see those 2 only 1 more time before they go, so it will be very sad. But I will never forget them. They will forever be in my heart and i will definitely see them again. Silvia gave us our kneeling prayer on Sunday evening and she said how she is so happy because of the truth. How she knows that the Book of Mormon is true, how she knows Joseph Smith is a true prophet, and that they will one day be sealed in the temple. Another cute/funny thing. Silvia said they are going to the temple this year. We explained that they have to be members for AT LEAST 1 year. But she was like "I will find a way! I wanna be sealed!" They are the best ever i wish you people could see and meet them We got kicked out of Sacrament meeting on Sunday as well......now i know a lot of you know my personality and that i like to have fun. And it was not because of that. For just Elder Tshangu and I we had 6 investigators at church, 5 recent converts, and 7 less-actives. The other missionaries had numbers almost identical to that. And the chapel is small so we had to stand outside with a few members because there was so many people there!!! It was such a beautiful sight. Things are going really well here for us!! We have lost a few people we have been teaching from school, moving, and other things. But we are finding more people than we are losing, so we are stepping forward!! Lots of exciting things happening here!! :) I wish you all a great week and excuse me for the novel of an email. Just a bit excited..... 😃 Love, Elder Merz

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

What a year it has been. Lots and lots and lots has happened. Good and bad. Ups and downs. Success and failures. If i look at myself, i might not be able to say that i have changed too much. But i guess in the eyes of some other people I have. The year has flown by for me. 2017 will be a year that i always cherish in my heart. Elder Tshangu and I were able to have a "white christmas" this year. Brother Hezbon and his daughter June got baptized on the 24th. We were not expecting to see his whole family there, buuut they were! All 5 of his daughters, and his wife! It was so so great! Any time is great time to be baptized, but to be baptized on the night of the Saviours birth and then confirmed on the last day of the year. Talk about starting the year fresh!! I really love this family and crazy enough I think they love us too. The wife really loved church and we taught about temples at there house after the baptizms on the 24th. They are looking forward to going, especially the wife Silvia!! She says they are going this year! Haha but she is not even baptized yet! She wants to be though so she is getting baptized on the 21st of January! Rachel and her family are doing well but we had a bit of a sad problem. Rachel got a job in Quatar so she is off to there. We will continue with the rest of the family but it was a sad goodbye for someone so good. Something i have learned is that there is no coinsidences in life (if we are doing the right thing). There was a purpose and a reason for us to meet for only a few weeks, but hopefully had a lifelong impact on her. An example I have of no coinsidences is with one of my best friends Luis. We met in a super weird way but now we are best friends! For Christmas we got to Skype home and have dinner at the Fairbournes house! It was suuuuper nice. The internet was having some struggles but hey its the best to talk to family! It was weird to see my sister back on the other side...but im sure shes happy! They fed us some more american style food (beef, sweet corn, mashed potatoes, fruits, etc.) it was very nice. But we also have a sad goodbye with them. They have lived in Mombasa for almost 5 years but on the 14th they are moving back to Utah, Provo area. It has been such an honor to spend some time with them. they are a really really nice family. I hope to stay in touch with them! For New Years we sadly werent allowed to go to the crazy parties on the beach....but we still got to enjoy the fireworks! I wish you all a happy 2018! I hope you had a fun and safe New Years! It cant believe this is the year in which i will be coming home. Time is going by so fast and I dont like it! I dont i will deeply miss this place when I get back so I am already trying to soak it all in. Sorry this has kinda just been a boring history but oh well I dont wanna delete and try again. I wish each and every one of you individually a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from the bottom of my heart. I cant send everyone an individual email sadly, but this is your personal wishings from me! Lots of love from the sands of Mombasa, Elder Merz

Monday, December 18, 2017

What a week. We had a busy week this week meeting with investigators, recent converts and potentials. Hezbon and his daughter June will be getting baptized next week on the 24th! It will be so exciting and special! Any time to get baptized and follow Christ is great. But on Christmas Eve....perfect way to Remember Christ! How special of a time it is. I wont be getting that "White Christmas" i am used to in the 801. But I have been and will be enjoying it in a few different ways. One way is by the baptisms on Christmas Eve. Seeing people change there lives and want to follow Christ it is a blessing to my soul. The light these people have and how the gospel has blessed them is inspiring and changing me as well. I wish you guys could meet some of these great people. I have been experiencing a white Christmas through the scriptures. The white pages covered in black letters that make any reader happy. The stories and life of Christ have really been a blessing to me this year. This Christmas time has been hard, but when I think about all that Christ did for me and for others. I cant bring it to myself to complain. The scriptures are the words to eternal happiness. My white Christmas has also come from sharing the Light of Christ with others. There is something special about the season and to be a missionary during this time is the best. I have been trying to give it my all this last Christmas season I have as a full-time missionary for our Lord and Savior. The light of Christ "shines" in peoples eyes and lives and I get to be a small part of it all! I may not have white snow, but i do have white sand beaches. And also because I am white.... but in all seriousness enjoy this holiday season. Do all you can to make someones day just a little bit brighter. Visit someone who is sick. Call an old friend. Give a Christmas note to a stranger. Bake some cookies for someone. Scrape the snow off of someones car for them. Go visit someone who might be spending Christmas alone. Offer a smile to a stranger. I love being a missionary. I love the gospel and Christ. I know that Christ was born for you and me. But that today he still lives. I am not even sure how I will be spending Christmas but I know I will be where i need to be this Christmas. To my dear family. Enjoy each other, even if you are far away. Call those family members who wont be around for Christmas and wish them a Merry Christmas. Have a great time at the Nelson Christmas Eve party and love those tender moments. I miss you all and hope you have had a great Christmas season so far and know that someone in Kenya loves you and is thinking about you. "Christmas is the Spirit of giving without a thought of getting" -President Thomas S. Monson "To catch the real meaning of the spirit of Christmas, we need only drop the last syllable and it becomes the Spirit of Christ" -President Thomas S. Monson "The glitter of the season should never prevent us from truly seeing the Prince of Peace" -President Uchtdorf A last thought I had this week. Remember the story of the night Christ was born. Prophets are the star that will lead us to Christ. Without them there is no knowing where we will go, we will be lost. No direction or light to follow. Our leaders or fellow church members are the angles who will come to us and help us to know what to do. Lastly we must be the shepherds. Who listen to to the angel and follow the star to get to Christ. Look up for the star, look up for Christ. Much love this Christmas season and Sikukuu njema! Elder C. Merz

Monday, December 11, 2017

This week will be a bit short because the internet connection is so dang slow. We met with Wachira this week 2 times and hard 2 great lessons. He really understands well and is interested in the gospel. I can just tell you how much more smoothly things run if the investigator is reading the Book of Mormon he is reading it and enjoying it and understanding it!! He said that the way we teach and meet with him is very different and he loves to meet with us. He said we help me actually learn and feel something different and discover for himself. That really made my week. We got 6 new investigators this week. 2 are guys that work next to Wachira. Eddie and James. We had a great lesson with them and just got to build a relationship of trust and become friends. That is a key step so they can trust us with questions and be honest and open, then we can hopefully discern how to help them the most! When we were going to visit Brother Hesbon and his family we met a girl and her 2 sisters they were nice and we gave them pamphlets. They came back to where we were a few minutes later and wanted to show us where they live so we can teach them. We went and met the father as well. We also met with them twice this last week and boy oh boy do they have lots of questions. But it has been a good challenge to be able to study and look up scriptures that will apply to their questions or questions they may have. It is exciting and they are all progressing super well, they are loving the teachings of the church. We had a Christmas party on Saturday and it went super well. We had lots of people there including investigators. Elder Call, Elder Mathemara, Elder Tshangu and I did a Light The World presentation for about an hour. We showed all the videos and shared a little testimony how we feel when we give service or how we have been blessed by someone elses service to us. it went super well. We then ate some pilau!!! Yummyyy!!! That is a quick overview of the week. And a question that came into my mind that is truly a soul searching question that is important to ask ourselves that we also asked our less-actives or recent converts. It is: What are YOU doing daily to seek the Lord? Think and ponder about that and make any necessary adjustments you need to so that you can better seek the Lord each and every day. Christmas love, Elder Merz

Monday, December 4, 2017

So this week we stayed in doors on Tuesday and for half of Wednesday. We got told we could go out on Wednesday and we tried to meet with some people but we had to be at the Likoni Elders Flat by 6 and we had to pack up our bags...so we weren't able to meet with anyone. Staying with them was nice though. There flat is super sweet. You can see the ocean from it! Then the next day we woke up at 5am. I was up like all night because my couch cushion bed kept falling apart..but no complaints! 😊 we took a tuk-tuk at 6 and went to the SGR train station and almost missed our train. We were off the Mtito Andei Chyulu for our zone conference. It was a 3 hour train ride and it was nice! First class again. We got to Chyulu and then took the ride to Makutano where we would be staying. That place is also bush!! Our zone conference was great. I really loved it! Some scriptures were shared that i really loved that i would like to share with you. The topic was about Being Our Brothers Keeper. And to me that is part of the whole idea and spirit of Christmas! So these are the scriptures you can go and look up! Ecclesiastes 4:9-12, Alma 41:14-15, 1 Sam 18: 1-3, and D&C 38: 23-25. On Sunday we had some great lessons though! On our way to see Brother Hesbon and his family we were talking with another guy who we were going to meet with but another friend showed up. She didnt live far and was interested to know more. So she took us to her house and we sat outside and talked and we got to know each other well and they are all interested to know more! We invited them to the Christmas party we are having on Saturday and they said they would all come!! We then went and met with Brother Hesbon and his family and had an incredible lesson about the Plan of Salvation! We gave 2 of them a baptismal date of the 24th and they accepted and the other 2 want to think some more about it! We will know the answer by Wednesday when we see them again! It was a fantastic Sunday and we are so excited for our Christmas party this Saturday and hope to have a huge turn out!! I love the Christmas season so much! This will be my first truly tropical Christmas but I am deeply looking forward to seeing how it is done on the coast! :) All the best as we Light The World! #LightTheWorld Love, Elder C. Merz

Monday, November 27, 2017

The accounting for the last 2 weeks is as follows... So 2 weeks ago the work was going well. (It still is) But during that week we got 13 new investigators and 10 new investigators! Our days are getting so jam packed with people we need to see and meet! Recent Converts, Less-actives, Members, and of course our investigators!! Every Sunday we meet with this investigator. And last week he introduced us to his entire family...and they are alllll interested and super great learners and just the best! The Lord truly does provide people and is preparing people to receive the restored gospel and all of the blessings associated with it. We have had 2 great lessons with them. The first about the Restoration and the second about the Book of Mormon and a part of the Plan of Salvation. They have been such spirit filled lessons and 2 of them know for sure the church is true and that Joseph Smith was a true prophet and want to be baptized! So we are working with the rest of them so they can receive that same confirmation! 😃😃 its one of the best joys in the mission field! So for our weekly District meetings we have to cross on a ferry from an island back to the mainland. It is kinda fun, makes me miss being out on the lake....buuut it is interesting and we have seen some MASSIVE ships at the port! 😮 We also have an awesome investigator named Wachira. He is a guy we contacted but lives right by the church and works right by it as well. He is a barber but has the nicest dreads and is suuuuch an awesome guy! I love him and he is also understanding the gospel super well. The gospel truly is simple, and what a blessing that truly is. No need to make it complex or hard, that's why the gospel is for everyone who accepts to follow it. Even an 8 year old can understand and choose to follow Christ or not. He has a 6 year old daughter and he came to church and reallly loved it and says he will come every Sunday! He is such a great guy! Giving off them Positive Vibes. For our Thanksgiving it was verrrry nice....a bit spoiled we are actually...so there is a family in our branch named the Fairbournes. They are from Utah but have lived here for about 5 years. They invited all the Mombasa missionaries over and really spoiled us. They have a nice house that over looks the ocean and another family from Highland Utah was there visiting. We had turkey, stuffing, yams, green string beans, jello with RASPBERRIES!!!, gravy, mashed potatoes, and probably more haha! It was sooooo good! But after just 1 plate i felt as though i was about to die...but they ALSO had pies....pumpkin, banana cream, and a few others. They dont compare to your pies though Grandma Nelson 😉. That family from Utah also came with a 44 pound of candy and sodas (Dr. pepper and A&W Root Beer) for us....ahh it was the best! And Sister Fairbourne also let all of us missionaries send a quick video home so check that out on my facebook and sorry for the not so good quality...she just pulled me outside and told me to say something to my family at home so it was just a spur of the moment...lost for words...but it was the absolute best!! We also went to the Bamba water factory and played a few of the workers in Volleyball....lost both games buuuut next time it is ours! 😂 then on our way home this clapped out Evo 10 passed us! Oiih it was nice.... Anyways there is a million things i am ever grateful for. No amount of words could say them all becuase i cant even remember them all at one sitting. But a few things i am grateful for is first for the gospel. Without the Gospel i would be lost. But i know who i am and have recieved so much happiness and joy from God. I might not be the best of his children but i am trying to make him happy of me. I am also thankful for my family. They have all given me love and support that nothing on earth could repay them. We have shared uncountable memories, laughs and experiences that i will never forget. It is something really special when you can truly love your family with all your soul and know they have your back. I have such a unique and special family and without even 1 of them things would be different. I am eternally grateful that I can be with them forever. I am also thankful for my friends. For the good quality friends i have. For the person they have helped me to become and for all of the memories and fun times we have and will yet to have. As weird as it may sound I am thankful for those people who may not have liked my presence so much or might have been mean to me in some way. They have also taught me a lesson and even though we might not be friends or on the same page, i still hope they had a great Thanksgiving and that they will have a great Christmas. Everyone deserves love and to be happy, even those people who curse you. Just laugh it off, smile and move forward with those people who have your 6. I am also thankful for all of my church teachers and leaders I have had growing up. You might think I have forgotten about you or you didnt even know you had an impact on my life but for each one I can share a memory and spiritual lesson you taught me. I love each and every one of you and hope to keep in touch throughout they years. I am thankful for so many more things. Streetch your arms out as far as you can and then times that by Buzz Lightyear. .....get it? Infinity and beyond haha!! 🌌 Go check out mormon.org or #LightTheWorld to start spreading the message of love for Christmas. Also go read Alma 22 and just go slow and look at the great spiritual experiences there. Thats all folks... Lots of love, Elder Merz