Monday, November 21, 2016

So this week was another crazy one! Kenya never lets me down haha. So this week we went in a Matatu like an hour away to see this less active. When we got to the stage (where all the matatus line up and get passengers) a fight occurred over who was going to take me, it was weird!! It was out in the bush which was cool to see! Then we got a call, an emergency. So here their are no street lights, no stop lights or road signs, no speed limit, so pretty much no rules. The sisters were crossing the street and a bota-bota was overtaking a car and didn't see them and (motorbike) hit Sister Matata. Then the bota-bota like bounced off her and hit head on into a car so they were both taken to the hospital but thank goodness she is okay and so is the bike rider. So we rushed to the hospital and the Matatu that we hoped in had 23 people in it including us. Okay so these things are the size of a normal mini-van at home. So imagine 23 adults crammed into one, hahaha it was so fun and awesome!!! One of our investigators Philip wanted us to meet his family. We were doing community service but he came and helped us for the 2 hours that we did it and then took us to his place. Afterwards we were going to a members house and he wanted to come so we all hoped on a Matatu and he payed for all 3 of us and wouldn't let us pay him back. He is not rich by any means, but it really hit me hard the love that he has for us and how in his eyes we might have like a glow or something special about us. That really hit my feel goods deep down. Then on Sunday we had a baptism. My first one ever. Sister Beti is so amazing and has really changed since we first saw her. Everyone says that it is something that you cant describe and the spirit you feel is the same way. Well they were right, it was one of the best most joyous happy feelings I have ever had. Sadly I cannot describe it but just say that the church is true and the spirit is real. I am loving the mission and know I was called here to Kenya for a reason. It is so so good, and worth sacrificing all that I left behind. Thank you all for the letters and have a great thanksgiving! Be thankful Trump is your new leader. Just kidding haha. ;) Weekly laughable moment: Well the 23 people in a Matatu was pretty amusing as well as the fight over me. But another Matatu experience is here. So we were coming home one night and took a Matatu and there was traffic like downtown LA. We werent moving at all. And youd see Matatus just flying by on the shoulder of the road and on sidewalks and curbs and then our driver got the idea. So we went like off-roading and over HUGE curbs and rocks and we were like a billy goat on the side of a mountain. Except we were climbing though bushes and like a forest and through cars and just no care whatso ever. We also ran a bota-bota off of the sidewalk so we could drive on the sidewalk haha I was like wow this is incredible! Everyone was like honking and it was just crazy! Oh yeah and to add the cherry on top, it was raining. Not crazy but enough to make everything muddy and slippery. We almost got stuck going off the road and I'm pretty sure we gave some walkers a shower of mud. And the Matatu only had 1 windshield wiper that was SUUUPER slow and it was like trying to get water off with a stick, it was pointless but so fun! It was so funny to be bounching around in a loud matatu running people off the road and going off road in a van with 1 wiper hahahaha

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Alright so first things first we have a baptism next Sunday!!! Her name is Sister Beti and she is 27 and is super excited to join the church! :) We had our first zone conference this week and it went well! It was good to see some more white Elders as well as everyone else and make friends! That very night was well.....the us debate....yeah i found out that day who won and everyone from the US is like ahh crap. Hahaha its on their news stations, in the newspapers its everywhere which was really surprising to me! So good luck and I'll be better off here in Kenya haha. Mwanziu and I also gave talks on Sunday and I talked on how families can be together forever which I am so grateful for and which is a big thing for me. This week was good with the zone conference and we also got a few more investigators so now up to about 9 and 4 of them have baptism dates and are really progressing! We just had lots of good lessons this week and are really seeing how the gospel can change people lives! It really is amazing and so cool to see and experience!! We got to meet some more members this week as well as go to a farewell party for a sister here that leaves this week to go to the MTC then off to the Uganda mission. So somethings that are a little different here as follows. When you go to someones house whether it be an investagator and especially members they ALL feed you! And they make like the biggest amount of food possible. My companion eats more than me which is crazy because he is so much smaller than me and he just laughs at me for it! We went to the Sosiani branch Presidents house with everyone in our district and had dinner which was really good. And that night at their home with the experiences that we had I really felt at home, it was something I hadent felt yet since I was here. Its hard to describe but I just felt like I was home. It was really really good! We also got to meet with another member and she was telling us stories and one story made me laugh so hard. So I guess the temple in Nigeria people steal the angel Moroni from the top hahahaha! She said they like bring in a chopper and hook up to it and just take off with it, I was dying just imagining that happening. Like oh look they're back to take it agian and then seeing a chopper fly off with it and see it disappear into the distance. I would laugh so hard but its also not funny because temples are a house of the Lord and they are stealing from him which is never a smart idea but I was laughing so hard! Another thing the cars here are pretty much like Utah....well kind of. Matatu's, Tuk-Tuks, and bikes rule the roads but 75% of the normal cars are Subarus. They all have catback exhausts with UEL headers for that classic boxer rumble. Most of them are lowered as well on coilovers or just chopped springs. Mostly Forester XTs and WRXs. Sorry if you dont understand that just car talk haha. Its weird! Well im running a bit short on time this week so hopefully i will send a longer one next week! Weekly funny moment: So the stores here are playing Christmas music and "the song" came on. All I Want For Christmas Is You by Alicia Keys came on and i just starting singing it super loud and hitting all the high notes and everyone was looking at me like I was crazy hahaha. It reminded me of when Jackson and Spencer and I would go to Lagoon and blast that song as the worker just looked at us and laughed! It was so funny! Hahaha Thank you all again for the emails and cant wait to hear from you next week! Love you all and all is good here in Kenya! :) Love Elder Merz

Monday, November 7, 2016

So I want to say some things I didn't have time to say in the MTC. The first is that the flight from SLC to Atlanta and then to Joberg was looong! And in SLC when we were boarding the plane one of the guys said leave your bag by the door. I was like ha funny joke it's my carry on. Then he came and started to grab it and I was like wow what are you doing!? He said to grab anything i needed from it and then he took it and i put it under the plane. So from SLC to Joberg i had my passport, plane ticket, and a Sudoku book. For 21 hours of flying haha. And if you don't know missionaries aren't allowed to watch movies on the planes so that's all i had. I don't know why they put it under the plane because it is a carry on and would fit, but it happened to me and like 5 other Elders but they all had backpacks so i was like well this is nice hahaha. Also the last 3 nights in the MTC we had some rainstorms! And not just any rainstorms but some South Africa rainstorms! The lightning is sooo big and the thunder just commands everything! In the MTC there is a room with a glass roof and a like 15 Elders all went up there to watch the storms! It was so cool!! So now more about Kenya. Its getting hotter here but its not too bad. I apply my sun cream every 2 hours haha or I will cook. My companion just laughs every time I put it on. We went to a Pre-school graduation this last week and all the kids loved me and this other white Elder that serves in a surrounding area. We told them stories and made them laugh and they all wanted high fives it was awesome!! When we sat down this little little kid like a 2 year old came and just stood between my legs and had the cutest little brown eyes and he was so amazed to see a white person. He would run his little hand up my whole forearm and just feel my white skin haha it was so cute and the kids here love to see me! We have right now 7 investigators and they are all slowly progressing with one being baptized next week! Brother Kennedy the security guard at the church he wants to wait until December to be baptized so his wife can come and attend and he hopes she will join as well! On Sunday he even bore his testimony and sometime in the future probably around when he gets baptized I will tell you about how we met and yeah its just a crazy experience! Lots of people here when they see me say Mzungu. Which means white guy. Some of them say Mzungu and then some Swahili stuff after that I don't understand so I ask my companion and he like says a censored version I know it haha. The other day we went in the craziest part of the city. You could like barely walk there was so many people and I was the only Mzungu there. One guy said that and then started saying some mean stuff in English and if it weren't for my companion making me keep walking. Well I'd probably be on my way home for fighting. Haha no fights. He said to just ignore and keep walking and I did that the next day when it happened again and it worked. I told him I don't want to go to that street again though because its scary and crazy at the same time. But its also fun because its like a market street so people are selling random stuff and its all so cool! But not good for a Mzungu haha. Also everyday we walk like 15 miles in total i feel like. Its 3 to the church which we walk to every morning and then we have to walk 1-3 miles to get to members houses or investigators houses so its awesome! I like it honestly not lying! A little more about living here. I sleep in a mosquito net every night. Take a malaria pill every day. And we have to wash our clothes and dishes by hand. We don't get an oven, or dishwasher, or washer and dryer. So our clothes hang dry which is cool!! Its different but its fun! My future wife wherever she is, is lucky! Haha just kidding. Weekly funny moment: Oh my this moment was so funny in person I'm not sure if it will be as i type it but here we go. So if you don't yet know what a Tuk-Tuk looks like google it. There was a big dude and the driver in the front and an older lady and me and my companion in the back. We went and got gas and here they have someone fill it up for you. Well no one was filling us up so the driver got out and started to get into a fight with one of the guys and I was just laughing my butt off. Then the old lady started like yelling and my companion said she was encouraging our driver to beat him up. Eventually we left and we turned around on the side walk and then got stuck in this ditch and I was laughing so hard again because he we were sitting there for like 5 minutes as our driver tried to drive us out then like 10 people had to push us out. That's not all though. We then went on the most bumpy road in the history of roads, and mind you these Tuk-Tuks don't have springs so we were bouncing ALL over the Tuk-Tuk because our driver was just flooring it! Then we got to this big still incredibly bumpy hill and we got stuck again. But this time there was like 20 cars piled up behind us so me and Elder Mwanziu had to get out and push it and then we continued on the road bouncing around the cabin like it was going out of style. I was laughing so hard my body hurt hahahaha. It was the best thing ever!!! Thanks for all the emails and support! I love the emails and pictures! Keep sending them! Be safe and know you're all in my prayers! The pictures are 1st of my badge. Joburg from the MTC. Elder Brown and I. Elder Harrott (I have more and will send them later). I will send some more later! Mega amounts of love, Elder Merz

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Habari Zenu!! So im in Kenya now and its so much different here than home or even the MTC. So we woke up at 4:30 to go to the airport last Tuesday which was crazy because me and my old district stayed up till like 1 just laughing out butts off and spending the last time together that we can for 2 years! Elder Harrott got the South African Flu and i was worried id get it but luckly i didnt! Also one of the African elders at the MTC got the mumps which was really scary but everyone is okay! Before Elder Harrott and I got to the airport we "somehow" found out the score of the Manchester vs Burnley football game haha it was nill to nill though so not that exciting. haha I love football (not american football). We played it everyday in the MTC for our hour of sports time a day and it was super super fun! The kids that played football at home watch out i have some african football moves now! At the airport Elder Harrott and I got some really good breakfast and we met this girl from Australia in the line for the money exchange and she wanted a picture with me because she said that I am "The Real Life Book Of Mormon" haha so we took one it was super funny. Then we were on the same flight and when we got off and departed she wished me good luck and said id be a good "book of mormon teacher" haha. We got to Keyna in about 5 hours and we got off stayed at the mission home (which is flipping big) for 2 nights then said by the all the other elders and went off to our areas. It was hard to say bye to Elder Harrott but i know ill see him again someday! We took an 8 hour bus ride to Eldoret. Lemme tell you. The bus had NO air con and the windows didnt open so dont complain if your cars air con doesnt work haha. We arrived here and our flat wasent ready yet so we stayed with some other elders for 2 nights. My first Kenyan meal was Chapati and Ndengu which is both really good! The food here is different, very different but good and im learning how to cook it so when i get home i can make it for whoever wants some! Then we moved into out flat which was a relief because i can make it like home. Its my home for probably 12 weeks or more! My companion is Elder Mwanziu, hes from Nairobi and has been out for 4 months and served all 4 in Mombasa so i might be here for a while haha. Weve gotten along well and im super glad that hes my companion. So it says english is a national language here but no one speaks it soooo yeah im learning Swahili which is fun! The main form of transportation here is walking (which we do A LOT of). A Matatu which is like a small Ford Sprinter van but like the size of a mini van so a million of them drive up and down the streets honking a whistling for you to hop in there matatu. its so funny and crazy and 2 of them were getting in a fight because they wanted to take the white guy haha. They also have Tuk-Tuks which is like a scooter with a carriage on it that can hold i guess up to 5 people. Me and Elder Mwanziu got in one and i thought it would be just us but another guy hoped in and well its hard having broad shoulders in the Tuk-Tuk haha but i was laughing like the whole time. Wanna know what a shower is like here? Turn your shower to full cold and then hop in, thats how it is here haha Ive never taken faster showers. I also wake up to a rooster every morning so thats kinda cool but weird! Its super hard to adjust here especially when i wash my clothes by hand. But hey its a new experience and I love it! There is also a couple coming that is staying in out little compound. So its a house and then we're staying in the servants quarters but i heard the couple is from Utah and that means they'll treat us suuuper good especially since we'll see each other every day! Im super excited! Its also weird being one of like 3 white people here. Me, and 2 other Elders here but we are all in different areas so i dont see anyone. Everyone looks at me and stares and its kinda creepy and scary. Especially walking in town i feel like im gonna get mugged every time and my area is in the city haha. On Sunday we had 6 random investagators at church and 2 want to be baptized and we have dates already set up for them as we teach them the lessons. It'll be nice to get to know the branch a little bit more so I dont feel as homesick. Ive been feeling homesick since i got here so just rememeber me in your prayers please! I love it here though and am so glad to get to come here. With only 6 Elders in the 3rd or 4th biggest city in Kenya its crazy but makes me feel so special. And yes i stand out A LOT like everyone thought haha the whitest guy possible and the only one yes i do haha. Thanks so much for all the love and support and emails! I have more time to email now so email me! Hope all is well with everyone and that everyone is safe! Love the experience. Love the people. Love Yourself. Love God. PS- Happy Halloween to everyone! Enjoy one of my favorite holidays and be safe everyone! Eat some candy for me and enjoy it! Love, Elder Merz