Monday, October 23, 2017

This week has been an adventure!! From Tuesday to Thursday afternoon i was back with Elder Mwanziu on exchanges. To get to there place you have to get in a taxi i guess youd call it. You fit 15 people in it....the cars are a little bit smaller than the early 2000's Subaru Foresters....yeah 15!!!!! It is incredible and if your wondering not comfortable at all. Your stuck like that for an hour until you get to Nitiri. Then you bike for an hour to get to there area. Its not fun. But we visited with some good people there, biked all over and enjoyed the beauty. We went to the Nzoia river as well and dang its pretty! pics will be added!! We then switched back and traveled alot of the day to get back to Kitale. Man the lord will give you strength even if you think it might be dumb. He gave me the strength to ride uphill in the slippery mud for an hour. Then on Friday....yooo what an fun day. We met with the Huruma Elders from Eldoret in this place called Moi's bridge which is halfway between us and in both of our areas. They had a guy who is super interested and invited a ton of missionaries but it was us 4. So we met and then met up with him. He directed us to his house because he had to go buy something. He said "You see that tree? Turn left there, follow the road straight and then wait at the second bridge" Ummm.....yeah.....okay.....then he met back up with us after us walking for an hour and half. He walked us to his house and on the way told us he is a polygamist...we got to his place and 2 of his wifes and 5 of his children were there. We had a great lesson with the kids but the adults were all busy with something else. We got fed some very yummy mutton and potatoes and cabbage. We then went and planted 4 trees for each of us missionaries that were there and he is gonna get little placks to mark them! We took lots of pictures. He cut us all a sugar cane and we then walked in the pitch dark an hour and a half back to main road. Oh and let me add it was POURING rain! So we were absoutley soaked and then no cars were coming so we had to walk to the town and then get one. It was so much fun! Being a missionary is great! You come to enjoy the things like being drenched and all the little hard things or things you have to go though, you enjoy it because your a missionary. Then on Sunday Lucy, the polygamists oldest daughter came to church and we had a lesson with her after church! She is a new investigator and we are excited to teach her!! This week is the re-elections. Not really sure what is going to happen because one of the guys said he is not doing it so they can then re-schedule but the other guy is saying it will still happen so who knows!! Pray for the missionaries safety!! Everyone in the 801, enjoy the fall for me. Its my favorite time of the year and so i just ask you to enjoy it for me! 😊🎃⛄ Love, Elder Merz

Thursday, October 12, 2017

So on the 4th it was a good day! We had our DDM and set goals as a District. At our chapel the Pehrsons were there doing a temple preperation class. So after both meetings we met again! They then invited us to lunch with them and we went. I contacted this white lady who was at lunch and turns out shes a baptist and has lived here for 12 years...but she gave me her number to set up a time to meet! We also later that day went and did some tracting and had some great success! We met with a guy who wants us to come back and meet with him. He seemed interested. We then went and met with another guy who we had a lesson with right there about the Restoration and he was very interested!! It was so great and we have plans to meet with him as well! We also walked basically to Uganda. Haha not really but we walked like an hour and a half on a road to go and visit some less actives. It was worth it though! We had great lessons with them and we passed a school that just got out and a tooon of kids were following us because...well im still white somehow. But Elder Mayekiso and i decided to jump around and scare them...so we did. And we made one of them cry...like legitly cry and was scared....oops. Haha but the lessons with the 2 less actives were so great and we even got fed by one of them! I forgot my camera but we will go soon so you guys can see the bush! Also on the 6th was my Hump Day! It was a Great day!!!.....NOT.....let me tell you why. SO due to the elections here and our safety we are told to stay indoors every monday and friday. So for my 1 year i got to stay inside all day...HOORAY! It was still good though! :) I just called Sister Pehrson and wished her a Happy Birthday instead. We also saw half of General Conference....will see the other half on Sunday. But the saturday sessions were great!! I will attatch my favorite talks for anyone who is interested to see them again or for the first time! https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2017/10/three-sisters?lang=eng https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2017/10/a-yearning-for-home?lang=eng https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2017/10/i-have-a-work-for-thee?lang=eng https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2017/10/be-ye-therefore-perfect-eventually?lang=eng https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2017/10/spiritual-eclipse?lang=eng https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2017/10/by-divine-design?lang=eng https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2017/10/the-book-of-mormon-what-would-your-life-be-like-without-it?lang=eng I liked all the talks given but these ones were my favourite ones! I hope you will enjoy them as well! 😊 All is going well here and I love you all! thanks for all the love and support! Lots of Kenyan love, Elder Merz
So i got transferred to Kitale. It is the "bush" as we call it here. Its super nice and pretty. I dont have much time though today to email so i will just send pictures and hope you guys enjoy them! I have some good stories for next week though so be ready!! :) Lots of love, Elder Merz

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

On Tuesday we went and saw Sister Dorcus at her home. She is a Kamba and all kamba's loooove githeri. So she made Elder Otika, Bro. Wafula, and I some githeri. It was veryy good buuut she gave us MASSIVE plates and each an avocado. Now these avocados were not normal. They were bigger than softballs! We ate, and ate and ATE!!! That was for lunch. Didnt have dinner that night and the next morning had a small breakfast! We also heard on the news that was playing at her house about the next James Bond! The next one is coming out like Nov. 8th 2019 and it will be Daniel Craigs last Bond film! Excited for that! We taught her about tithing and fast offerings and it went great. We talked about that in the Gospel Principles class we have the Sunday before so it was great! We went and taught Lilian again but this time it was a bit different. We only got to see her for about 10 minutes because she was leaving to go meet up with her family for her cousins funeral who just passed away. But we shared with her scriptures about the Resurrection and about the spirit world and you could just see in her face peace. That lesson was a hard one for me and the entire time i had a lump in my throat like in just a few seconds im gonna start to cry, and eventually a few tears rolled down my cheeks but it was great to just share those truths with her. Families and temples. We went to Sister Stella's house and talked about families and temples with her and her mother. Stella is preparing to go to the temple and her mother who is not a member wanted to know more about our temples. So we talked about the importance of temples today and baptisms for the dead. We prepared super well and almost every question she had we had at least 1 or 2 scriptures just from the bible to read. It was great to have her ask us a question and then to be able to have her open HER bible and read the scripture and then she was like hmmm well okay it says it right here!! We then shared with her some nice temple videos on YouTube from Stella's computer and it went great! Families and temples are the 2 best things!! We also met with John twice this week and he is really progressing well! Something that he loves and that stands out a lot to him is the atonement. And how perfect and wonderful to have stand out to someone. If they understand the atonement they understand Christs role and importance in there life. I hope we will all understand and apply the Atonement in our lives. I also got to do another interview. This guys name is Elphas. he is a great guy and was making me laugh in the interview!!! He was saying how he needs someone big and strong to baptize him so he doesn't drown in the water and have to jump out like a fish. He then asked if i could do it and i explained that i couldn't haha! Then after the interview as we were walking out and he saw the other Elders he said "He asked simple questions! He must have omitted the hard ones!" and we all just burst out laughing! Hahaha it helped me to realized though that the gospel really is simple! Sunday was great! In Priesthood Brother Osienya was roasting Brother Shikuku. They were saying how the quorum should give some money to help one of the guys who is getting married and Shikuku was complaining a little bit. And then Osienya was like Shikuku things are different. "In your day you find a wife by going and fetching water" it might not sound funny but EVERYONE was laughing! And then we had 2 baptisms of Sister Dorcus and Brother Felix. The bishop baptized both of them and they're testimonies afterwords were so strong! They were so happy and just looked so fresh and new and changed. I love to see that change in people it is the best feeling and thing to see. That has been my week. I hope you all have a great week and for my people in UT. Enjoy the nice fall you are going to have! :) Until next week, Elder Merz

Monday, September 4, 2017

So they are saying no more plastic bags here in Kenya. And they have a nice punishment to go along with it! $40,000USD and up to 2 years in prison! Hahaha niiiiice right? So to start off the week we got on a bus and it was all good. They are doing a lot of consturction around here and the bus we took like backed up and just drove on the wrong side of the road a few times and did a few U turns in places we werent supposed to but EVERYONE does that so it is okay. But then a police man hoped on and yelled at the driver and conductor and made us drive straight RIGHT back into the first jam that we got out of. Then later on we went to Mlolongo and I got to do an interview for them. The guys name is Daniel and from Nigeria and just a greeeat guy! I love to interview people especially people who know so much already and who are so ready to follow the example of Christ! Daniel was fantastic though. He showed me so much respect and called me Sir. I dont think I have ever been called Sir before, only call other people Sir. But now i know why i was taught to call people sir at home. Because it makes you feel good and shows how much respect you have for the person. Go read Revelation 3:21 its a nice scripture. Mary our recent convert was getting upset the other day when we met with her....not because of us. But because she was wondering why people hate, bash, degrade, or disregard our church. So we just helped her to understand that it is part of being a follower of Christ. And helped her to remember that Even Christ wasn't accepted and loved by everybody. She is doing so great though!! :) So the guy that lost the elections took the elections to court because he felts there was massive cheating. And there was.....the party that one they said that all of theyre people (mayors, judges, officials) (the kenyan equivelant of those) they said that they ALL won by 54% of the votes. Its like come on guys! If your gonna lie or cheat AT LEAST do it where it might be a little bit convincing!! So yeah they are going to have elections again but EVERYONE seems to be happy about it so things are going well so far! I would lastly like to share one thing. I read something this last week and it said this "Parents, grandparents, and leaders, your message must be clear." Then it continued to go on and talk about the importance of setting a good example. Here are some words i would like to add on that. In showing our (your) children we need to be clear. By our example they will see our commitment to follow Christ. Prayer they can see. But something that came to my mind was with scripture study. Yes the gospel library is a great app and tool to have! But make sure you have and use real tangible scriptures! because if your child doesnt see the screen of your phone or your focus ont he word of god they will just think and see the example of you always on your phone. And they will follow that screen to face attitude and not learn the importance of reading the scriptures. Read with them from the tangible pages of the word of god. And from the screen show them videos or other benefits of the technology. Hope you have all had a great week and have a great week this next week! Love you all and thanks for all the love and support! Elder Merz #1 The internet is now sucking so I will have to send pictures at a later date.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

So this week is my Dads brithday! I am so grateful and thankful for him and all that he has done for me in my life. For being a great example and leader and just fantastic all around! If you see him wish him a happy birthday! Congrats on being 50 haha! love you dad!! ❤ Hope you have the best birthday! So this week we got to meet some members of our new district. Elder Coombs. Sister Kiio. And Elder Gimeyi and his trainee Elder Wilde. It was great to meet with all of them and things will go great with us! We get along great! We met with Brother Matika and his wife Elizabeth again this Wednesday but we split up so i went with Elder Cotts and he interviewed her for baptism. We then talked about somethings. They want there baby Samuel to have a baby blessing and Brother Matika wants his patriarchal blessing! So i told him how he can get those things done. We then read some of the Book Of Mormon with them and there baby was making noises the whole time so it was abit hard. But something interesting happened. When we were closing with a prayer the baby didnt make one peep the entire prayer! Then right after we said amen it started making noise again! Thats the power of the holy ghost!! It was awesome! We lost our phone on Friday...it slipped out of Elder Otikas pocket on the bus and someone apparently wanted the crappiest phone that orbits the earth so yeah we gotta get a new one. But on Saturday and Sunday we had Stake Conference. It went well and they talked about the importance of self-reliance as well as how important it is for members to work with the full time missionaries as well as be missionaries themselves! I have been reading an Ensign that we have at our flat and am loving it. I would like to share something from a talk I liked as well as here is the link for the full talk. https://www.lds.org/ensign/2014/11/general-womens-session/living-the-gospel-joyful?lang=eng You are loved. You are dear to your heavenly parents. The infinite and eternal Creator of light and life knows you! He is mindful of you. Yes, God loves you this very day and always. He is not waiting to love you until you have overcome your weaknesses and bad habits. He loves you today with a full understanding of your struggles. He is aware that you reach up to Him in heartfelt and hopeful prayer. He knows of the times you have held onto the fading light and believed—even in the midst of growing darkness. He knows of your sufferings. He knows of your remorse for the times you have fallen short or failed. And still He loves you. And God knows of your successes; though they may seem small to you, He acknowledges and cherishes each one of them. He loves you for extending yourself to others. He loves you for reaching out and helping others bear their heavy burdens—even when you are struggling with your own. He knows everything about you. He sees you clearly—He knows you as you really are. And He loves you—today and always! Do you suppose it matters to our Heavenly Father whether your makeup, clothes, hair, and nails are perfect? Do you think your value to Him changes based on how many followers you have on Instagram or Pinterest? Do you think He wants you to worry or get depressed if some un-friend or un-follow you on Facebook or Twitter? Do you think outward attractiveness, your dress size, or popularity make the slightest difference in your worth to the One who created the universe? He loves you not only for who you are this very day but also for the person of glory and light you have the potential and the desire to become. More than you could ever imagine, He wants you to achieve your destiny—to return to your heavenly home in honor. I really love this. God loves each and every one of us. He is not waiting for us to be perfect to love us. He KNOWS us. Not he knows OF us. But he KNOWS us. He knows our struggles, weaknesses, pains, sorrows, desires, passions, hobbies, etc. He knows we have made wrong choices and mistakes but HE STILL LOVES US! He does not care about what makeup, clothes, car, house, or anything. He loves us as we are but also for who we can become. I cant really explain how much God loves us or is there for us but he loves us so much. I hope this helps some of you to know how much God loves you and is there for you. I hope you all to have a great week and be safe! Again Happy Birthday Dad!! 🎆🎉🎈🎊❤ Love, Elder Merz

Monday, August 21, 2017

So the report for a few weeks is not very big. The Lucky Summer Elders came to stay at our flat. That is Elder Brown and Elder Nyanhamo. So we had 5 Elders in our house. It was great though! We all got a long very well and no one got killed surprisingly. But it was awesome to be with Elder Brown my first ever companion on the mission wayy back to the MTC days! We have both came so far! All of the days except for 3 we were strictly stuck inside not even in the compound. But 3 days we were allowed out so we got together with the other Elders and just partied and talked with them. Elder Brown also brought an American football so elder Card, Brown and I threw it around and all the little kids were trying to take it haha! Its funny all 3 of us were running backs as well! But now everything seems to be going okay and safe so that is good! Googling about the elections here would give you more information than i can give to you haha. But this last week we were able to go out for 3 days. So the transfer news came as well. Elder Mbaya left for Mountain View with Elder Carlson. But Otika and I are staying here!! Excited for this! A lot of our investigators are still coming back from up country so we had a hard time to meet with them but we were able to visit a few members and recent converts and have great lessons with them! Also a miracle happened! My comp and I as we leave in the morning we say a pray. I prayed that day that as we were at the church meeting with some of our investigators that the Lord would provide us a new investigator who will be good. Who speaks good English and is ready for the gospel. While we were at church a new car came in and the soldier came over and introduced us. The guy lives by the church and passes it everyday. So we gave him a tour of the church as well as we got his number. He also got to meet with Bishop and a member of the stake presidency and he had some very good questions by someone who really does just wanna know the truth about out church! The craziest thing is that he listens to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir like every morning for an hour!!! So it was a direct answer to my prayer for that morning!! We are planning to meet with him this week!! Also on Sunday another new guy just showed up who lives by the church and we talked with him and he participated in all of our classes and is as well "a kingdom builder" if you would. We are going to meet with him on Saturday! We were able to extend a baptismal date to brother Felix who is the Bishops nephew and yeah overall it was a pretty good week!! Lots of love and hopefully more stories for next week. Stay safe and for those going back to school I wish you luck! Especially to my amazing Brother and Sister! Also a little shout out to my little brother for being a great mechanic to my car! Love you bro keep it up and we'll have a duel when i get back! Or just work on the cars together...hahaha Love, Elder Merz

Monday, July 31, 2017

KARIBU NYUMBANI ZUSTER MERZ!!!! Welcome home to my amazing Sister Alexis. She is such a big example to me in my life and i am so thankful and grateful for her. She has had so many amazing memories and experiences as a missionary and one day we will be able to sit around a campfire and share stories and experiences! So last Monday night as I am trying to sleep President Msane calls us. My heart dropped off the face of the earth for obvious reasons. But I was half asleep. But he told us that some new missionaries are coming in and he wants one of them to be in a 3 sum with Elder Otika and I. We were told that he was coming the next day. He came the next day and he is super funny! He is from DRC Congo so he speaks and sounds french and doesn't not know much English. So we were just laughing the first night and he was like "Good dream" and i just about died laughing the way he said it. He says things that are funny, but i am helping him to learn English. The Buru Buru sisters also got a sister from the Congo and so I am now the district leader for the biggest District in the mission! I now have 10 missionaries under me. Saturday was an amazing day for me. We get on a bus and this lady sits next to me. Her name is Jackie. So there are guys that go around on the buses and sell candy and gum. Well she got some sweets and gave me some of them for no reason! It made me smile a ton and then we talked the whole bus ride until we had to get off, i contacted her as well and got her number so we can go teach her! then as we are walking to the church there was a massive Jam and this guy was telling us to come to his car. At first I was like no thanks i dont wanna get kidnapped. But we went. Then the back passenger rolls down the window and its the very pretty white lady who is like "ELDERSSSS!!" i was like what the freak is this?? I go on the other side so i dont get run down and it is a couple from Texas/Florida who is here on holiday and they wanna work with us! I got there number and hope to work with them this week before they go back to Utah because they go to UVU. There names are Stone and Kennedy Ramsey. We also went to South B and i did an interview for them and it went great! What a fantastic opportunity it is! We then went back to the church and met with Beth. She is a very good investigator and she has some family who is in the church so we are hoping to see her in the waters soon! We also got fed which was great! We then had to go to the Buru Sisters flat because they were locked out, so we had to help them in and then we walked suuuuper far back home. But overall it was the best day of the week! On Sunday it was a special day. We had a baptism of Sister Mary. She is soooo committed and is like already a member before she got baptized. But she is so ready and got baptized and it is even MORE special! It was her birthday!!! So she got baptized on her birthday!!! How special!! The week has been great but also this week is a difficult one. It is great to have my sister home but it is also there is a small comfort in knowing you have a member of your family that is a few hundred miles away instead of 10,000. But now everyone is 10,000 miles away. She that is a bit hard. But the harder part is that the 3rd of August is my dearest mothers Birthday. Her 50th. It still cant be true in my mind. She just doesn't email me anymore. But she is still there. I cant get it through my head. It is something that will be hard for me my entire mission. But there will be days like the 3rd where it will be even harder. If your mother is still alive and you get this. Please truly appreciate her. There is so many things i wish i could tell my mom. So many memories i still want to have with her. But there is now a gap in my heart and life that cant be filled. I miss you Mom. I love you so much. Happy Birthday Mom ❤😞💔 Also this week might be my last time to email for a few weeks. It is election time here and this is Africa. this is kenya. So we might be inside due to safety for a while. Last elections the missionaries were inside for a month. So if you dont hear from me, just hope I'm still alive. One last thing. The church is doing another Face 2 Face event with Elder Rasband and they are satellite broadcasting to the Buru Buru chapel. Where i serve. Some of our investigators will be there. So watch that and you might see me. Look for the probably only white guy in the crowd. Anyways have a great week and remember to smile. I will try to do the same. Love, Elder C. Merz

Monday, July 24, 2017

SO MY AMAZING SISTER IS COMING HOME ON THURSDAY!!! It is so crazy that she is already done with her mission! She has been such a big example and help to me as a missionary but more importantly as a sister. Shes always been there and really wants the best for me. I wish her the best of luck and success as she comes home and moves back into the normal world. There is so much I could say but time is never my friend. So basically just Congratulations and know how much I love you and care about you! This week has been a bit frustrating. But we got to meet Matthew. We were eating some fruit on the church's grass and this guy comes in the gate and up to us. He introduces himself and we then and go teach him and he speaks super English and is really good and interested! We also got to meet with Matika and his wife again and I guess we answered his prayer! He wanted us to read the Book of Mormon with him and his wife and thats what we had planned to do. It was great to see the spirit guiding us in that planning! We also got to share the video about our amazing prophet with an investigator. Its called On the Lords errand. In short he is a great great man and has been his entire life! He is such an example to me and someone I look up to dearly. He also has a special place in my heart. So on Saturday we were waiting for our investigators and Otika was playing football. Well he rolled his ankle super bad. And we had to go to the hospital. Let me tell you. This hospital scared me. It had to be haunted. Look up an episode of Ghost Adventures where they go to an old abandoned hotel and that was what it was like. Open, empty dark hallways with wards that have beds and scary equipment and there were no workers in this one part and yeah it was straight out of ghost adventures. Then when he got an x-ray the dude is wearing sandels and normal clothes. Niiiice right?? Anyways keep on praying and going to the Lord for the help or wishes of your heart. I can promise he hears all of our prayers! Love you all and welcome back my sister home nicely!! Love you all, Elder C. Merz

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

This will have to be quick because Hakuna time. But the week was good! We had interviews on Tuesday with the President. Elder Harrott and Elder Card and Elder Otika and i went to Subway and somehow someone snatched Elder Harrotts bag. Feels super bad for him :( But all is well. Then Wednesday we had Zone Conference. The Zone Conference went well. It was a loooong day since i had to be in Upperhill at 9 for a leadership meeting so we arose at 6 and got back and went to bed at around 11. It was great though!! Sister Torrie made some niiiiice deserts from home! Like some fudge! YOOOO that stuff is sooo sweet! It made me sick! :/ so when i get home i might die. We had some good plans for Thursday but duties call. We had to go to Mlolongo to do an interview for baptism. It went super great for my first interview and it is such a privilege to be able to interview someone who wants to enter the church and to really just be led and feel the spirit!! But it takes so long to go there and we had to wait for the lady so we didn't do anything on Thursday. Skip to Sunday. We had 2 baptisms of Ken and Solomon. I got the opportunity to baptize them and it went super great! As well as 2 recent converts gave talks in Sacrament. We also had a little party for 2 missionaries who returned home who served here in this mission! And then met with a few investigators! The week was a great week! Happy birthday to two very special people. My cousin Zach and his wonderful mother Mindy! I hope you guys have a fantastic birthday! As well as for my friends that have already been out a year or left last 20th of July like Tim and Luke. Happy 1 year to you guys this week! Congrats!! Love you all!! Love from ya boy, Elder Merz

Monday, July 10, 2017

So I forgot to mention last week but my new companion is Elder Otika! He is from Eldoret but goes home in December. But we get along super well, he is great! He reminds me A LOT of one of my best friends from home, Drew Cash. We have 2 baptisms coming up this next week. Solomon and Ken. Kens mother is a less active and Solomon is Kens good friend. We went and visited Solomons family and it went great! They never heard of our church but could see how happy it was making there son and now they want to learn as well!! The gospel really is great and no matter who you are you can have an influence. This 11 year old by his example is introducing his family to the church! On Thursday Elder Pavik my good friend came to visit us. He got moved to Busia on the other end of Kenya but they were in town for MLC. So we snuck into the Kayole 1 and 2 flat and made there house look like it was broken into. Elder Harrott and Elder Card were freaking out and then they opened one of the bedroom doors and there he was just sitting and chilling! SURPRISE we yelled hahahaha it was sooo funny! I wish you guys could have been there! Elder Pavik and I then just talked about cars because he is super into them as well. But sadly he goes home in 11 weeks! But we'll keep in touch!! We got some good new investigators this week and I am looking forward to helping them to progress! One day we were coming back from Dandora and this dude hops in the drivers seat who has NO CLUE how drive but starts going and is jerking us around because the car is manual and is flipping on the wipers and almost runs over some people and yeah it was soooo nice hahaha Elder Otika and I were laughing sooo hard!! But the actual driver didnt think it was funny...party pooper. Then that same day we are almost home and this little girl just runs up to me and gives me the biggest hug around my legs. Its just little things like that, that give you something nice to smile about! So theirs this guy. He says he is Christ. But his name is John Paul. Buut anyways yeah he is kinda crazy. So long of the short i bet you didnt know that "Christ" plays rugby. Yep it is his sport of choice. Number 12 position actually hahaha freak this guy makes me laugh! The week was a great week though and the people are progressing well. I made it though the first week as a DL so I can keep on going! Thank you everyone for all of the love and support you give to me! Hope all is going well and family you all look so great at the 4th of July parade! Love you all and miss you all so much! Thanks to everyone else who sent me pictures as well! All my love from the land of lions, Elder C. Merz

Monday, July 3, 2017

Many changes. This week was a good week. We got to have lunch after our DDM with the whole District and we then went and saw brother Matika and his wife again. She is progressing well and they were supposed to come to church on Sunday together as a family but only Brother Matika was able to come. But when we taught his wife about Tithing he told us how he has been having a problem paying it himself. We had a great discussion with him and on Sunday he brought his tithing and showed us! It was great!! It made me feel really good and smile on the outside as well as the inside. We got to see Agnes our Recent Convert on Thursday in Dandora. She lives in Athi River so she goes to the Athi River chapel because it is much closer than the Buru Buru one. But she was at her sisters house in Dandora so we went and saw her. Her husband was also there and it was a miracle. The gospel really does change people. I have witnessed that many times but this time it was just different for me. When we first met her husband he was not a very good person and would get drunk a lot and Agnes even told us that she wanted to leave him and in the lesson we had before he was not engaged at all and not interested but we referred him to the Athi River Elders anyways. Well I guess he has been taught and was a COMPLETELY different person when we met with him. They were both just so happy together and just had a glow to them. It was something so different and it really touched me. the gospel really is for everyone. We went to a lesson with the sisters on Friday and we were talking with Jennifer about church. Sister Maina gave such a strong testimony about church. The whole room was just dead silent and everyone could feel a close connection and Jennifer even had some tears rolling down her cheeks it was so powerful. These people just really need to know how much we care about them and there happiness, because we really do. I want to make everyone happy. Life is hard and I think everyone should have a reason to smile each and every day. Then came Saturday. We got a referral from a member. It is her boyfriend and wants to know more so we met with him and it was just overall a great lesson. We got to be at the church for the Young Womens activity as well...so we got fed some good food. Thats always a plus! We then went with the Bishop and Brother Loviet and home taught Brother Musheme. He is this tender older guy who is the only member of his family but he is soooo strong in the faith. He is the nicest and just most genuine person. We taught him and then went with the Bishop to see a lady named Mary. We have met her a few times around where we stay and we contacted her. She is so nice and interested. We went and met with her. So she is actually from Dallas. She has family here that she was visiting but by gods grace we were able to bump into her. We went through the introduction to the Book of Mormon and she is going to read it on her 19 hour flight back to Dallas. We got her contact information and i was able today to send that referrals to some missionaries in Dallas so she can continue to learn more. I pray she gets baptized. it will truly bless her and her family. Tonight was also transfer night. We got a call from the Mission President and I am now a District Leader. I have 8 missionaries that I get to lead. It is a great opportunity for me but I am scared as well. I want to be a good leader. To help each and every one of them individually and personally. To help them become better missionaries and better people each and every day. So pray for me. The last few days have been hard on me. Elder McGrath has been transferred to Athi River and I am now a leader and I am deeply missing my family. Especially my Mom. I am very good at hiding my feelings and sometimes it just comes out. I really am not as strong or wonderful as people think or say I am. My Sister goes home in 3 weeks and I have over a year until I get to be home. I love to be a missionary dont get me wrong, it is the best thing ever! But it is also the hardest thing. I get made fun of daily, i dont get respected and things are just so difficult. Please pray for me i could really use it. Have a great week everyone and enjoy celebrating the 4th of July. The US really is such a great country! My Aunts such as Shauna and Mindy. If you take any pictures of the parade or the fireworks or any pictures on the 4th could you send them to me? Again thanks everyone for everything. Know how much I love you all and care about you. Smile and be happy. I miss you Mom. All my love, Elder C. Merz

Monday, June 26, 2017

First off I am a bit late. I dont know when holidays are so forgive me. But the biggest Happy Fathers Day wish to the two most influential men in my life. My amazing Father and Grandpa. You guys have taught me so much and have helped me to be the man that i am now and the one i am striving to become. Thank you for all that you do for me and for all of the fun memories we have. Cant wait for more and hope you had a fantastic day with family and friends! Sorry for being late but all of my love is for you two. This week has been good. We met with Joshua again and had a fantastic lesson all about the Book of Mormon! Its crazy how before i came out i couldn't talk about it for 5 minutes but now its easy to spend an hour helping someone else to understand it. We then went with the assistants for some stuff and at the place we went I was joking about getting a massage. But this lady offered herself to give me a massage...😖😲 yeah my mistake. But we contacted her anyways! We then went to the church and met with Mary. Another new investigator who is progressing very very well! She is great! She just came to the church one day and wanted to know about our church and is now progressing and loves to come to church and participate and ask questions! Forward to Wednesday, we went and visited brother Matika and his wife. She had her baby 2 weeks ago! They are such an adorable little family! We aught her the last lesson, she understands super well and she really wants to be baptized. She has to come to church fist though. So we set a baptismal date with her! On Thursday we went to Dandora and met with Derrick. We had the most amazing lesson about Titihing i have ever had. He was really affected by Malachi 3:10 where it says: "Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it." The prove me part really hit him. Our heavenly father is promising us sooo many blessings from following tithing that we wont have room to receive them. And how we must prove him if he wont do that. That hit him very big and it was a great learning experience for me as well! The last thing i would like to quickly share is how i find it weird how people dont think i am 19. They think i am older because i am so "tall and strong". Weird. And the girls here have a hard time believing i am not married. What the freak man. What is happening?? We had a great week and hopefully our normal cyber that we go to will be open so we dont have to come to this crap place. Oh how i love typing something and seeing it appear on the 80s computer screen seconds later. Karibu Kenya. But anyways thanks for the emails and the love! Kenya is great so far and i am so thankful and honored to be a missionary here! As ell as no pics this week because of the email place. Pole! Nakupenda, Elder C. Merz

Monday, June 19, 2017

On Tuesday we had Zone Conference and it was great! Super super long but it was great! We left our flat at 6:30 to get to Upperhill and then we left at like 5:30. Elder McGrath and I walked to town and there was a tooon of people at the stage where we get a bus to go home. We managed to hop on a bus but it got full then people got off and we sat there for an hour and the bus didnt even start up. So one guy called the management and they told him that there are thugs along the road that are stopping all the buses and stealing from people inside and they even light a bus on fire!! So we walked through Nairobi at night (I loved it so much! I miss being out at night!) So we walked for like 20 minutes to the Upperhill Elders flat and stayed there with them until like 8:30 then we got picked up by an Uber with Elder Harrott and Elder Card. Our Uber was the best! He was roasting the matatu drivers the entire time and cutting them off and saying just how much Hooligans they are! We were laughing soooo hard! He then started saying that Obama is the most useless President in history. I asked him if he had a family and he said yes 4 girls. But Elder McGrath thought he said cows so again i was dying and he then told us to take his 2 twin 18 year old daughters on a date. Sorry man! Patrick is my favorite Uber ever! Then on Wednesday we went to a fireside that Elder Sitati from the 70 was at. It was suuuuper cool!! Again we left at like 6 and we went with the Mlolongo Elders as well as Elder Harrott and Card. We stood in line for a bus for an hour then got on and came home. Again got to be in Nairobi town-center at night! I also saw an RX-8, the new 2017 Land Rover Discovery, and a blue Evo 9! The Evo is my fav! Thursday was fun as well. I went on Exchanges in Mlolongo with Elder Barnard and it was great! On the way there cops were stopping Matatus and buses and seeing if they were too full. If they were the cops would take the conductor and put them in the back of the police truck and then take them all to jail. There was a big crowd there watching so we all just watched and laughed at them. Friday we switched back and this old lady almost got hit by a matatu backing up and then we almost got hit by some bumper car matatus. Then they all ran from the cops I was like what the freak is going on this week!?!? We then almost rear ended a car that cut us off and slammed on its breaks in front of us then we passed it going the other way and saw it pulled over hahaha!! That's what he gets freaking idiot! We then went and saw Jeremiah and his family and he took us out to a hotel after meeting to eat!! It was super un-expected and great! He is suuuuch a great guy and hope to have him baptized on the 2nd of July. We also so Derrick and had a great lesson with him. We really need him to come to church though. Then on Saturday we had to do a baptismal interview so we went to town and then went to the Masaii market. That is the worst place ever. You go there looking at cool African stuff and i can promise you that you will not leave without buying something because being a white guy there there was like 10 guys trying to get me to get something following me around. So yeah i left with some stuff. We then went to do the interview and a white Evo 9 FLEWWW past us and i was like ahhhhh!!! I freaking love Evo's! We then went to our bishops and got fed dinner by him and got 2 referrals from him which is great! He is such a nice and great bishop! Its good because he loves us as missionaries as well. Sunday was also filled with fun. Sister Sharon got confirmed and all the classes went well. We also had 2 great lessons with 2 of our investigators. Marian and Ken. Ken brought like all his friends to church and they want to know more so we got 7 referrals from him! All he did was ask them if they wanted to come to church!! It was great! He is 11 by the way and that's why they came. They both have baptismal dates as well!! This week was great and full of adventures! I hope that you all have a great week as well and enjoy the little things! Stay safe and know a person in Kenya loves you haha! Until next week! Love, Elder C. Merz

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

We have 2 absolutely golden investigators right now! One is Jeremiah and the other is Nicholas. I think I told you about them last week. We met with them again this week and Jeremiah even had us over to his house and introduced us to his family. One of our other investigators named Elizabeth the one that was super pregnant. Well she had her baby on Tuesday night! Its a little boy!!! We should be seeing her possibly on Wednesday! One of our investigators sells Chapos at a stand and he got some new neighbors. They sell vegetables. Well we got waaaaay tricked....turns out there are twins that work there and we got tricked super hard by them! It was super great! One of them left and she was wearing like a skirt and a short sleeve shirt and the other one came back and she was wearing all long stuff and we were like oh you got cold? She totally played along with it and then a few minutes later her sister came back and we were like whaaaaat??? We had 2 investigators come to church that we were super excited about! One has never been but loves the lessons and knows them super well and the other one comes but not in a loooong time but she came as well! We had great great lessons when we met with them as well! We have 6 people with baptismal dates! And working on making it more people. We also had a baptism of Sister Sharon!! Her husband who is a member baptized her and he helped us with all of the lessons and it all just worked out suuuper well!!! So I was about to lose my marbles this week. They have tribal music that they play and it haaaaaate it sooooo much!!!! And this Bus was playing it soooo loud i was about to yell at the conductors and the driver! They are also doing tons of construction by our place and we have to walk though it because well this is Kenya and thats normal and this big excavator filled with rocks was trying to take me out! It was like swinging at me and then dumped its rocks riiiiight behind me! It was scary!! Then there was this old guy who was arguing with another guy and he said "I will blow you to he-ll!" and we just started cracking up laughing! It was funny! We also saw a siiiiiick black E60 M5! It even had an exhaust and it flored it right in front of me so i got to hear the scream of that amazing V10....I miss cars.... Anyways its been a great week!!! I am requesting for family and friends to send me pictures of us together! I dont have like any and I wanna make like a little album of pics from home! So email them to me! :) Thank you and love you all! Love, Elder C. Merz

Monday, June 5, 2017

Every week we text our investigators and potential investigators and just remind them about church. Well 2 people texted us back and said basically "Never call or text this number again" at first I laughed but then i realized it is a sad thing. So yeah we will probably text them again anyways. After our DDM (meeting of missionaries every Wednesday) we were invited over by one of our members to have lunch. It was super nice! To be with all the missionaries in our district and just to make more friends. The father who is less active, bore his testimony and it was super strong and powerful! he was saying how one day missionaries one day just contacted him and he was interested to know more so he got taught and his whole family has been baptized and his son has even served his mission! So just 1 little seed definitely can grow into a big tree. Even a forest! We also visited a friend of one of our members who lost her child at birth and we were able to really give her comfort and support. She is not a member but was smiling a lot by the time we left. It was a cool experience because us and like 15 of her other friends came with us to all give her love and support. Then on Saturday on of our recent convert families we helped them enter there stuff into family search so that they can soon do temple work when the temple is announced! On Sunday we had a great day. Agnes was confirmed and then we met with this referral from one of our recent converts named Fredrick. He came and we had a lesson with him and WOOOW! The lord really does answer prayers and provides for us. We prayed to find someone who is ready, who can speak good English, and is ready with his family. Well that is exactly him! His name is Jeremiah! Hopefully more news about him in the upcoming weeks! I love you all and thank you so much for all that you do! Hope the Utah weather doesn't fry you all....but now you know how i feel! Love you anyways! Pics....Elder Harrott cutting my hair....and then Elder Card and McGrath joined in haha! And us at the Gitongas house after DDM. All my love, Elder Merz

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Hello again! We had some very great lessons this week. We have a super pregnant investigator who is progressing very well but we aren't sure when to give her a baptismal date since she will soon have the baby and need some recovery so yeah we are just waiting but still visiting them. We went and visited Agnes and we got 2 new investigators from that who are both very interested to know more and were kinda blown away when we were explaining stuff to them and we hope to meet with them both this week. They are Regina and Peter. So there is this guy Derrick. He is very very good and yearning for the truth and the gospel. But when we met this last week he got persecuted and harassed for coming to our church and it hit him very deeply i could tell. So he wants to still learn more but he wants to wait a little bit so we are praying for him and we shared with him D&C 121 and helped him to understand that the righteous will always be persecuted. It was a hard meeting and emotional but in the end i know he will be baptized one day. Not to much for this week. Its been a great week but not much to report on. All is going well and things are moving along for us. Asantani for all of the prayers and love for my family and I. I love you all and hope everyone is having a great time with life and smiles a lot! Love to hear from you guys and its a blessing to have you in my life. Forever grateful for all of you. All my love, Elder Merz

Monday, May 29, 2017

So last Monday we went to this super good chicken place in town called Chicken Inn. We went there after staying the night in UpperHill for skyping home. Might not seem so special but it was niiice chicken and food. Oh and other fun thing about Skyping was when Elder Card was skyping and I was with him and I was messing with one of those electric fly swatters. Yep...thought it was broken but then zapped myself and let me just say that it is not broken but works. And works very well. I am also getting a problem recently. I am falling asleep on long matatu rides. Like without trying. I think i am getting old...haha. They use lots of buses here instead of the smaller matatus but there are so many jams and some rides take an hour so its interesting. We also went on Exchanges the last week. I went with Elder Limu and we went and talked to a Pastor! He was a bit scary at first but really wants to know more about our church. And it was super cool because the pastor is from Congo, the member that came with us is from South Sudan, Elder Limu is from Zimbabwe, and then me from the US. So it was 4 different countries coming together to talk about the gospel and I was happy to represent my country! Its very cool and interesting how in lessons I am having I am learning as well. I am learning from what my companion says, from what the members that come with us say, from what the investigator says, what the holy ghost is saying, as well from what I am saying. That has been very interesting for me to see and to experience. I love to learn and am glad to get that opportunity as I am helping someone else learn. So we have one investigator named Syncy. We have a basketball court and we let people come and play and he was playing one day and we went and contacted him and he was interested so we have been teaching him and helping him to come unto Christ. He is a Catholic and said before that he doesn't want to give up his church because he likes it. But then when we met this last week he said "So how can I be baptized?" We looked at each other in shock and were stumbling for words because we were NOT expecting that! So we told him that yes he can be baptized and we set a date with him for the 18th of May! It was such a powerful lesson! Random note. I saw a guy wearing a Murray football jersey this week!! I was like WHATTTT!!! Like it straight up was a Murray football jersey! That was super interesting! Lastly for the week is that we were able to help another soul Come Unto Christ this week with another baptism. Her name is Agnes and when I got here we just talked about the commandments with her and then helped her prepare some more for baptism and then Elder McGrath baptized her this Sunday! It was super nice and it is such a rewarding feeling and experience. I am excited as I am with all the Recent Converts to see there success and growth in the church. I hope that everyone has a great week and a shout-out to all of my friends who are a year younger who will be graduating High School soon! I again am so thankful and grateful for all of the love and support from everyone. I can never repay you guys for that and am forever indebted. I love you all and wish you to be safe and have a fantastic week. Love, Elder C. Merz

Monday, May 15, 2017

This week has been probably the best week in a long time. We got to meet with some potential investigators and had some very good lessons. We also gave another baptismal date as well as are preparing others to be baptized! We got fed a few different times and the best of course was the opportunity to Skype home and talk to my family. Elder McGrath and I as well as about 16 other missionaries got to go to the 2 senior couples flats here in Nairobi and Skype home. The Petersen's and the Pehrsons. The Pehrsons you guys know and the Petersen's are from Los Angeles but go home tomorrow so it was nice to go on Safari with them as well as get to Skype at there place. I got to talk to my Sister in the Netherlands and my father and brother at home. It was very very nice but also a bit weird because the next time that happens....she will be at home as well haha so it was a great nice Skype for the last time as us 2 Merz missionaries are out! I also got to talk to Elder Cards family for a bit as well as Elder McGraths! It is so fun and cool to see your best friends families and just talk to them for a little bit and get some love and support from them as well! So my emails will hopefully go back to being better as they were before. Not this week but I will go back to what i was doing before to make them more enjoyable and give you guys more information about KENYA!!! So just something a bit spiritual for today is just an answer to my prayers. These past few weeks have been the hardest and most difficult of my entire life so far. With the Eldoret incident, my mother, the flu and tons of small stuff. Its crazy how life works, its as if when you are going down you are going down lower than you have ever been before. Then when you are feeling happy and just absolutely great, it is as if you have never felt like that before. We all are constantly changing and growing, if you aren't then you need to. But it is just nice to take a step back and look and things and say "Hey I can get through this!". And that is coming from strength not of my own, at least not until recently. I have been praying so hard for help, to feel peace, love and comfort. Instead of helplessness, hopelessness, loneliness and worthlessness. And my prayers have been answered. By no means is everything good. But because of the grace and love of Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ I have been able to feel that. From all of you and from my mom as well. I love the Plan of Salvation, its one of my favorite lessons to teach. And now it has even more of a place in my heart because of my sweet mother. because of the gospel I know that one day i can see her again and that this is not the end. I might include something about Mothers Day next week as well because I don't have to much time today but it is for all the mothers including my own. Thank you all for the love and support and prayers. I hope to keep getting them and am eternally grateful for them. Everyone have a fantastic week and know how much I love you all. All my love, Elder Merz

Monday, May 8, 2017

So this last week has been an alright week. The days seem to just drag on forever but thats okay things will get better. We had a baptism last week that I forgot to mention and another one planned for this Sunday! It is a bit hard to get to know my new area just because it is new and freaking massive. But I just have to be patient and give it time like everything else. So Elder McGrath just hit his year mark in April and has been in Buru Buru (my new area) for 5 transfers. He is from West Jordan and is super cool! We get along well and its kinda funny. I swear ive seen him before because he worked at the Murray Ice Rink and I probably saw him when I went to the hockey games because he worked during some of there games haha! What a small world it is! Not much for the week to say or add as things are still hard obviously. But today we went on Safari! Elder Harrott, his companion Elder Ochieng,Elder McGrath, Elder and Sister Pehrson, and Elder and Sister Petersen and I. I forgot to bring the cable that goes to my new camera so no pictures this week but ive got some super cool ones for next week! Thanks for the emails and all the love and support I can really feel it and am so thankful for all of it. I love you all and hope you have a fantastic mothers day. I am a bit excited to Skype home but it'll be super hard with the current circumstances. But it will be good. If you have a mother make sure to call her, go see her,or give her the biggest hug and tell her how much you love her and appreciate her. You never know when it will be the last hug. Love, Elder Merz
Happy Birthday to my amazing Sister. I am so thankful for her example, love, support and for all the help throughout the years especially right now. I am so blessed to have her as a sister and she gets the nice discount of me fixing her car for Cafe Rio so you could say shes special haha! Shes only got a few more short weeks on her mission and I cant until one day we will be able to sit around a campfire and share our mission stories with each other. I love her so much and am forever grateful for her and hope she has an amazing birthday! So I moved again back to Nairobi. I am in Buru Buru somewhere safe and nice. But things still arent going to nice as now I have the flu sooo its still gotta go down before it goes up. But I am just putting one foot in front of the other and just trying to get through each day. I have read some more emails and am thankful still for all the love and support I can really feel it and I am forever thankful for the friends and family that I have. They truly are the best. I hope that you guys have a great week and are safe. Love going out to my family and friends, Elder Merz
So long story short I have decided to try to stay out. This is what I feel is the best for my family and for me. I am in Mombasa now and still struggling with everything, plus even more stuff added on top. The two biggest things are the home invasion and the biggest one of all is the loss of my poor mother. I have read a few email that I have gotten from family and friends and thank you all from the bottom of my heart. I can not at this time read all of them as just reading the few that I have read it has made me cry. But thank you all for the love and support for me, my sister, and My Family in general. For everyone who has helped in anyway possible and who will continue to help, you are blessed and will receive the highest of blessing for yourselves. I am eternally grateful for all of the amazing and irreplaceable family and friends that I have. I don't have the strength or the words to say much as of now. But my prayers and hearts go out to all of you. My very soul is torn, broken and in the deepest state of despair and pain for what has happened. I am again blessed with all the love and support though. Thank you to those who have and will continue to help and take care of my family while I am not able to be there for them in person at this moment. I dont like words to be honest. The words "I love you" are about the strongest words you can say to someone who you truly care about with your all, your everything, your soul. But to me those 3 small words, those 8 letters put together do not do enough. Do not do justice for what we are trying to express or show. You can never truly express your feelings as words do not work satisfactory enough. If I had the words for the love I have for all of you and including those who don't get my emails but have given, and shown there support and love to me and my family, i love you all from the very deepest of my soul. There are people out there who are praying for all of us right now and we will never know. But everyone just remember how much I love you and am eternally indebted for all that you have done. Prayers continually going out to my Sister in the Netherlands, my wonderful Father, my incredible Brother and to all of my extended family and those others who are affected by this tragedy. All of my tenderness, affection, infatuation, yearning and love, Elder Merz
Not sure where to start, or how to begin. This will be a short email as might the rest of my emails for a while. This has been the worst week of my life so far. At 1:30 am on Wednesday (So Tuesday sleeping night). 3 guys literally broke down our door and shattered it into pieces. They murdered someone just before and then they held machetes to us and told us they were going to kill us. While the other 2 robbed us. They took a lot of stuff including my camera so no pictures for a while. The Pehrsons and Elder Card and I were emergency transferred to Nairobi. A lot more with that story but that doesn't matter. Sunday was the day my life will change forever. It was Easter as we all know and its the time to celebrate and remember the Resurrection of Christ. On Sunday I was told from my mission President (President Msane). That my dear mother who I love with all my soul has passed on. Yeah about the worst news you could get as a missionary. I am torn beyond measure and not sure how I am going to handle this. I honestly dont know if I can. My life feels ruined and will be changed forever. I love you with all of my soul Mom. No one will ever be able to replace you or do what you have done for me. Words do not exist in any language the love I have for you and how much you will be missed. Thank you to those who have emailed me about that. I have not read them yet because I am scared to. But one day I will. Thank you for all the love, support, and prayers. I ask you to continue with them please as I am not sure how this unfillable whole in my heart and soul will be filled. Christ will have to carry me this next week and for longer I am sure. Because I cannot take even 1 more step, can not even think about taking one. My love from the very bottom of my heart goes out to all of my extended family, family friends, and any one who got the opportunity to meet one of Gods angels, my mother. I especially give all my heart to my Sister, Brother, and specially to my Father. That's all. Not more to say about that. I am empty. I am hurt. I am torn. I love you forever Mom. Her funeral will be Saturday at noon at my chapel. Friends who can make it, please do to show your love from me. She loved all of my friends so much and I know she would love your support. Email my Father for more information. All the love my heart has left to give, Elder Merz

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Sorry for not emailing yesterday I got all my clothes tailored so I don't look like a child anymore with massive clothes! So we didn't have time to email yesterday so here I am today! This week has been a good week here in Kenya. On last Monday we get invited to one of the best members house for her birthday party as well as an integrated Family Home Evening. I shared Alma 60:21 which says "Or do ye suppose that the Lord will still deliver us, while we sit upon our thrones and do not make use of the means which the Lord has provided for us?" and connected it with D&C 50:24 which says " That which is of God is light; and he that receiveth light, and continueth in God, receiveth more light; and that light groweth brighter and brighter until the perfect day." I love these scriptures because we need to do as it says. We need to make means for what the lord has provided for us as well as when we have light we need to keep using that light or else we will not get more. This last week we also had exchanges with Elder Tucker, my very good friend from Bountiful and who is just super cool and one of my best friends in the mission! We got bounced like all day but we keep on pushing forward and looking for people to talk with and share this amazing message with. We also went to Moi University again and we got some referrals from our investigator as well as on the hour long Matatu ride back we had some fun....so Elder Card and I were sitting in front and I was talking and joking around with the driver. So after like 5 minutes we pull into this tiny town and he hops out to go get a drink or something and another gets in just to watch the car. I jokingly say "Twende" which means lets go. SO this guy starts to drive away and I am like WOOOW dude i was just kidding don't actually jack this guys car!! Then on the ride back we were singing simple songs like the wheels on the bus and then we sang the primary song popcorn popping and then I sang a solo of a hymn and then we got everyone to sing a few songs like happy birthday and silent night and then we also sang some more Christmas songs as well as the "aint no mountain high enough" song from Remember the Titans haha everyone was laughing and having the best time ever! I will never forget that! So we watched Conference this weekend and I absolutely loved it! I loved many of the talks and I will share some quotes from my favourite talks from 2 of my favourite apostles. The first is from Jeffery R. Holland when he talked on Saturday. "Jesus listening can hear the songs we cannot sing." "Stand as close as humanely possible to the Saviour." "It is by divine design that all the voices in Gods choir are not all the same." "Come as you are, but don't plan to stay as you are." I also loved Dieter F. Uchtdorfs talk and here are a few things he said that I love. "Fear does not change our hearts." "God did not give us the spirit of fear but of power and love." "Dont be paralyzed by fear because something might happen." "If we walk up right in God all things will work for the benefit of us." We also had a baptism on Sunday of Sister Scola. She is from Upperhill Nairobi and is going to school here. She attended the church in Upperhill for about a year but never really took the lessons or got baptized. So the last month we have been teaching her and I got to baptize her! I feel so close to heaven when I am at a baptism and especially when I am in the waters! It was such a great experience and I am so blessed to have been asked to baptize! Lastly we got some transfer news. So Elder Thomas is recovering well and is going to Mombasa so I am staying another transfer here with Elder Card! Not much news but yeah that's what is going on! I hope you all have a great week and are safe and I pray for all of you! Much love from the wonderful country of Kenya! ❤ Love, Elder Merz
So this week has been a very different week in the mission. So last Monday we were playing football and where we were playing wasn't the nicest place to play. There was like 50 spectators and a bunch of them were drunk which was kinda funny but is also wasn't. This one super drunk guy was betting his super old flip-flop for the winner, we were laughing so hard!! So we were playing and someone kicked the ball the Elder Thomas and he got it and stepped weird off the ball and long story short he might have torn a ligament in his ankle. So Tuesday we were with the Pehrsons all day at the hospital and he got an X-ray that didn't look too good for his ankle and we got lunch at the hospital hotel(cafe) which was verrrry good. So after lunch we met with the surgeon and he said it doesn't look good and he might need surgery. His exact words were "Give it 6-8 weeks and it might be healed." notice the MIGHT. The surgeon was super nice and cool. He is an Indian and has been a doctor in Russia, India and Kenya! He asked us about what we do as missionaries and even though we believe different stuff he was very respectful and glad to hear that some young kids are doing something good with their time. He was awesome!! So then on Wednesday we just hung out at the flat, he was icing and elevating. Then some Elders from Kisumu came and stayed with us. One of them is Elder Mortezazadeh. He and I talked about Real Estate a lot because that is what his dad does and that is what I want to go into so it was very cool. Him, his companion Elder Jack and us two just hung out and laughed a lot. Then on Thursday Sister Msane surprised visited us and she was super impressed by how clean our flat is and even told everyone the next day at Zone Conference! She also talked with us and talked to Elder Thomas about his ankle. Sister Msane is the best and is even an retired doctor in South Africa. So she takes care of us well. So on Friday morning President and Sister Msane picked us up in the Boma In mini-van and took us all the the chapel for Zone Conference. It was a super good zone conference and we talked about how we can get more referrals, new investigators as well as get more help from the members. I look forward to implementing the things I learned this next week and use what works here. So some more news. Elder Thomas flew out from here to Nairobi to get another X-ray and MRI so I got a new companion. His name is Elder Card! He is from Cardston, Canada. Hahaha yes Corynn Elder Card! He is super cool and we get along very well already. Its kinda funny because we are both tall, strong, and both played running back in football! I will continue to find out more about him and tell more next week about him but yeah so he is my new companion here since Elder Thomas had to go to Nairobi. I will let you guys know of the news as well of him once I find out more. So lastly is the BIG news! For those of you who didn't see Conference I am with you....yeah because of the time difference we are seeing it this next week. But Elder Thomas got to watch it live with the office couples in Nairobi and THEY ANNOUNCED A TEMPLE FOR NAIROBI KENYA!!!!! He called me immediately and within an hour like all the members and missionaries knew! This is a blessing beyond the description of words. This well bless SOOO many people and not just here in Kenya! In Tanzania, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Uganda etc. Before everyone from here would have to travel to Joberg to go to the temple but now one is being built here!!! This is a blessing from heaven and I am beyond happy to have that news! That is what the people here needed. It will bring the less-actives back, make the members even stronger, as well as give our investigators and recent converts something to look forward to, to continue to grow closer to our Father in Heaven! Words have not been invented for the joy and the blessing this is to me and everyone who this has touched. I slightly feel like my missionary work here so far has helped that temple come here and that the work I will continue to do will just make that even more. I am so thankful for this church and for the blessings and answered prayers that come from living and following Heavenly Father. All my love and joy until next week, Elder Merz

Monday, March 27, 2017

This week has been crazy! Last Monday I got THE NICEST haircut in the world I think! They shaved my hair up nice in like a lazy boy type chair and then they shampooed my hair for like 20 minutes giving me a nice head massage AND THEN I got a shoulder, neck and back massage! All for the price of a haircut!! It was sooo relaxing and nice and the place is like super sweet inside as well!! So one of our investigators named Senior he is doing very well! We met him at Kipchoge stadium where a bunch of Olympic runners have ran and we teach him there which is super cool! He love the gospel and the church and is progressing well. We as well as he can already see the changes he has! He is super nice as well! Just an overall great investigator! This week we also went to Kapsoya to see an investigator at work and a school right by her work got out and so a tooon of kids came and we were speaking to them in Swahili for like 15 minutes just joking and laughing with them, it was super cool! So let me tell you about something I will never forget. So we were walking home and this super nice Range Rover passed us and then turned on his hazards and was blocking the road. So as we walked by I went up to him and starting asking him what was wrong and he told me and then I like helped him find out what was wrong with the car. He was going to Boma Inn right on our street and after helping him for like 45 minutes he welcomed us to Boma and got us a Soda and we talked with him for like 30 minutes and it was just the coolest thing ever! There is much more to that story but I don't feel like typing it all haha! We went to this University called Moi University to see one of our investigators which was super cool and then on the way back I could have sworn I was in Utah. The road had lots of bumps and pot holes and it was right before sunset and they were playing new normal music and I was in the front seat and it felt like I was at home cruising with my friends! It was the best!! We also went to Kipchoge later in the week and got to watch them do running events! Some there will most likely be Olympians so that was like suuuuuuper cool!!!! We watched the steeple chase and in that they have to jump over some water and a few guys didn't know that and they fell into the water and it was like deeeep. Or they would slip or trip over the bar thingy and EVERYONE was dying laughing it was kinda sad...buuut super super funny!!! On yesterday we got invited to a members who fed us, it was super good. It was Ugali, scumawiki and turns out cow intestines....yeah she didn't tell us until afterwards but I would have it again! It was super good! But got me thinking later last night....so an intestine is going through my intestine...how does that work...still didn't figure it out but that's okay! Shout out to my cousin Cassidy who comes home from her mission this next week! I still remember when she left and it seems like just a few short weeks ago! So Congrats to her on completing her mission! She is such a great example and influence to me! It is so cool to have 5 missionaries out from my family at the same time! In 4 different countries on 4 different continents! Brazil, California, Belgium/Netherlands, Michigan and Kenya/Tanzania! That is so cool and I am excited to one day share all our stories together! Love you all and hope you have a great week! Thanks for the love and emails and some of you are slacking on the emails! Haha love you all! Love, Elder Merz

Monday, March 20, 2017

Another great week here in Kenya! So this week we met with Naftal and Jimmy this week. So there is this book called My Family booklet. It is about family history for these recent converts. When we met with Naftal and Jimmy we went over there progress. I was caught dead. Naftals was ALLL filled out! And family history here is like impossible just because how people are named and the lineage its hard to explain but I was like whaaaaat!? And Jimmys was almost the same way! His grandmother is a witchcraft and he said he gets scared to even talk to her and we had a good laugh about that with him. Another funny thing about Naftal, so he is a bota-bota rider. I dont understand how they "get cold" here but he "gets cold" and so he wears 7 layers of clothes! Like 3 long-sleeve shirts and some light jackets then some heavy jackets! He looks like a big marshmallow when its all on, its funny kabisa!!! This week a prayer was answered. We got some new investigators! We got Ezra, Edward, Scola, Angie, Samuel, and Senior. Those are the good progressing ones and we have a few others that might join the group as well. Samuel will be interesting to teach. He is like 24 and NEVER attended any church before and he has read like 20 verses total from the bible but we gave him a Restoration pamphlet about a month ago contacting. He read it last week and said it was all clear and while reading it he got a warm joyous feeling in his heart and he said it made him super happy! Its like hey hey hey.....I know what that feeling is...want me to tell you? Hehe. So teaching him will have to super slow and simple but I am up for the challenge! We also journeyed to Iten again this last week and got 6 referrals there from people who want to know more about our church! Its hard for us to go there and for people to come from there to Eldoret. Its expensive to travel but the Lord sees our sacrifices! On Sunday we also had Metrine, Sam, and Ibrahim confirmed so that was super amazing! As well as Monica gave a talk on Sunday and it was super great! The branch is starting to give little responsibilities to the recent converts to keep them coming to church and to learn and grow more so its working out great! So people have been asking about Elder Thomas and I forgot to tell about him last week so this week is the week. He is from American Fork, he is my age, he played soccer and ran track. He is super cool and funny and we get along really well! He also got to interview Elder Bednar for one of the Youth Face2Face events and he has lots of super cool stories! He is white (if you cant tell). I'm not really sure what to say about him, he is going to SUU to run after the mission. He is just awesome! I love him! That is all for this week and if you guys have a spare minute pray for my amazing, wonderful Grandpa who is having a serious surgery today (Monday). I love you all so much and am so thankful for your support! Kenyan love, Elder Merz Pictures are of us at Iten! And the video link is for The Lords Prayer in Swahili sung by the amazing Alex Boye! Hope you enjoy and the Swahili is a perfect match! This is also what Swahili sounds like! Enjoy! I love this song and the video! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vsINANZ6Riw
HAPPY BIRTHDAY GRANDPA FRED!!! I hope you had the best birthday! You have been such an influence in my life and we have so many unforgettable memories! I cant wait until I will get to work with you again! I am so lucky and blessed to have my Grandpa. I dont know how many people can this but my Grandpa is my best friend. He is so fun, funny, and overall just the best! I miss you so much Grandpa and I hope all is going well! I pray for you and love you so much!!! So this last week somethings happened. I burned my foot suuuper bad with a pot full of boiling hot water, yeah that felt nice and is still recovering but I push on haha. Also Nancy the first baptism I had here is doing really good in church and has received a calling as a Relief Society teacher! How awesome! So the schedule for missionaries has changed as well as the numbers we report and now in short we get to decide how to use our time. So the Lord really trusts us missionaries and believes in us! I am so thankful to be trusted this much! I will not let Him down. So on Wednesday we met with Okello and asked if he had a marriage certificate, he said no and I asked him when he would have the funds and be able to go get it. His response still rings in my heart "Even tomorrow". So he is getting his certificate so he can be baptized with his wife! We also met with Jimmy and Naftal on Wednesday and had good lessons. After meeting with them we went to a bar....well we thought it was a restaurant and this drunk guy at the counter called us over. So he was telling us to buy him lunch meanwhile this guy is getting drunk at noon, has car keys (so a car), and a super nice smartphone and we are like ummm dude you have more money than us! hahaha some people! Friday we had 2 lunch appointments and got fed at both places Ugali and Scuma...yeah we were crawling home that night because we were so full! We also went shopping at the market on Friday and some guy was like shouting "Mzungu Mzungu" at us and this random guy walking by was like "they are missionaries not mzungu's" we both just laughed and that is now our saying! Sunday we had a baptism of Sam. He has been coming to church for a long time but was just never baptized but everyone thought he was! So it was a great day! I love the strong spirit and just feel that the heavens open when someone is baptized! I love it so much! I would like to share Romans 8:28 with you guys. It says: And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. I love this scripture and believe in its words. Things will work out for good if we love God. Its that simple just love God and for each of us that means something different but love God and all will work out for good! I hope you all have a fantastic week and are safe! I love you all! Love, Elder Merz

Sunday, March 12, 2017

So very quickly I forgot to mention last week that the best little brother had a birthday! My bro Spencer is turning 16 which as we all know is a very special one! If you see him wish him a happy birthday! Happy birthday bro I cant believe you are already 16! A lot of things will change but I know you will be able to handle them well! I am so thankful for all of the fun times we have had and will have in the future! Be safe and remember I love ya man! So this week was a crazy one. We hung out at the bus station for like 3 days but in the station I met this guy Miko. He is from Germany, about 200km south of Berlin. He was super cool and we talked for like 30 minutes! I love to meet new people!! So a few funny stories really quick. So Elder Thomas and I were walking and this girl was like hey come greet me. So we went over and she was like "Im looking for a man" he turned and walked away to a group of people I was talking to. She followed and was like "i want a man" then i said "well look at all these nice options" Pointing to the like 6 guys by me and they all like straightened their shirts and like looked nice! Then she was like "no i want a white man" and then the guys like got sad and we just laughed and were like....well sorry! Hahaha it was great! As well when we picked up 2 new white Elders that are serving here last Monday we were with Elder and Sister Pehrson. Well long story short we had 5 white Elders in the back of their truck and them in the front so 7 white people in the same truck. We drove by some matatus and this matatu conductor was like yelling "EXCESS.....EXCESS!!" and took out his phone and took a picture of the license p late and then was like shouting "Policia wapi!?" Which is where is the police in Swahili. We were all laughing so hard because you should see how they pack these matatus hahaha! It was super funny! I decided I will just include funny moments instead of saying them at the end. We had another baptism this week of Sister Monica. Her mother is a member but less active and we've been teaching her a while and she has been progressing very well! She loves the church and an RM here I am pretty sure likes her....so yeah there we go! We also got this new investigator named Okello. He is so amazing and he had an amazing first lesson with him! He already loves us and we have a baptismal date for him as well as he contributed in the 2 classes on Sunday (gospel principles, and priesthood) as well as he attended the baptism of Monica! It is so amazing and I am so humbled and grateful to the lord for putting such good people into our path. It really is a blessing! I love the missionary work and am excited for rainy season to be coming. Thats where it rains like all day every day for a few weeks! I am so thankful for all the emails and my wonderful friends, family, and other support I am getting! Keep save! Penda, Elder Merz

Monday, February 27, 2017

So lots of news for this week and I will make it short as I can. So first thank you all who wished me a happy birthday! I had a great birthday and let me tell you how it went. So the morning was the usual morning and then we had some very good appointments and lessons and then Elder Mwanziu and I had some planned appointments at the church. So we go there and Antony that branch mission leader was there as well as Brother Ruben who is the First Counselor is the branch Presidency. So in Kenya they have a very wonderful birthday tradition. Its called Washing. Its this lovely thing where you are unexpectedly being drowned in water. So those 3 teamed up and whipped out the churches fire hose and they filled buckets of water and we were running around. Me trying to not get washed and them trying to wash me. So they got me pretty good and then I got revenge on all of them. I got Antony with a bucket that got him half wet, and Ruben the same. And then i was going the back way behind the church to hopefully surprise them and right as i turn the corner I see Elder Mwanzius shoe go around this other corner. I thought to myself...pshhh this guy. So he was hiding in this corner and so I ran by with my full bucket and absolutely drenched him in the corner!!! Then we had like a huge water fight and then it started raining pretty good! So that was like an Africa birthday present to me to have it rain on my birthday when its usually just super hot! We then walked home in the rain and I got to hear that nice mushing sound of wet socks and shoes with every step. Then Elder and Sister Pehrson (the senior couple we share a compound with) brought us some reallly good pizza which is a luxury here and then we went over and they made me a birthday cake which is also a luxury so in total it was a verrrry fun and memorable birthday! One I will never forget!! Then the next thing I will tell you guys is about Saturday. So mission President Msane called and gave us some news....Elder Mwanziu is being transferred to Changombe. To Dar Es Salaam and is the new District Leader there. I didnt believe it at first and neither did he, like the rest of that night we were like what that heck!!! And I am staying here in Eldoret for another transfer! The whole Eldoret district is changing this transfer. Elder Le Cheminant is going to Chyulu and is Elder Harrots new companion. A sister is leaving. and lastly Elder Call who I came from Salt Lake with is leaving as well which again is super sad. Then on Sunday Jimmy and Naftal got confirmed at Sacrament meeting and then we had 2 baptisms as well. The first is brother Ibrahim who I told you guys about before. We had to postpone his to this week due to his marriage certificate. Then Naftals wife Metrim was also baptized! So Naftal and his wife and both been baptized in the last 2 weeks! It was super spiritual and I cant stop myself from smiling the entire time when baptisms are going on! I love these people and to see them make these covenants and to join this true church it really is something that words can not describe! It was super happy! We also had an 8 year old get baptized with them so we had 3 on Sunday!!! It was crazy we had over 50 people at the baptisms on Sunday, that's the most that we've ever had! Then Elder Mwanziu bore his testimony and it was sad. So after the baptisms we just said goodbye and took a million pictures together with everyone! So today (Monday) Elder Mwanziu and I split up. We got a call last night at like 8 that he was leaving tomorrow so we had to pack everything quick and yeah it was all hard and sucked. I am so grateful for him and his example and for being my mission father. I am so blessed to have served with him and became such close friends. Saying goodbye to someone im close with is the hardest. Like when I hugged my friend Kyle down at BYU and then had to drive away. Or hugging Will and Drury and then just saying see you in 2 basically. Or when Luis came over and we talked for like 45 minutes then we both had to go and just watching him get in the Evo and drive away. That stuff is the worst and it was the same with saying Goodbye to Elder Mwanziu. He is an eternal friend and I am so grateful I got to be companions with him. Dar Es Salaam is not prepared for him! Anyway to end this suuuuper long email my new companion is Elder Thomas from American Fork! I am super excited to be with him and to become great friends with him as well! We picked him up today and were are already getting along good so that is great! Pray for us and I will tell you more about him next week when I as well know more! Thank you all for the birthday wishes and I hope you all have a great week! Kenya loves you! Love, Elder Merz

Monday, February 20, 2017

Thanks everyone for the birthday wishes and wishes I will get next week from you guys! I cant believe i will be turning 19 and in my last year as a teen! NOOOO i wanna be a teen! Just kidding haha anyways thank you all and Im sure it will be a great day!! Its the 23rd for any of you who dont remember or know! 😂😊 I would quickly like to wish my Brother Will a happy birthday! I am so thankful for your friendship man and for all of the fun times we have had and will have! I hope this year racing goes great for you again! Thanks for everything Bro you are the best and I miss ya! Sorry I missed doing this on the 25th Of January but oh well! So my Valentines this week was something else....SO we walking to Kapsoya. Super boring and dusty and hot. Well there's a school that you pass and as we were walking by there was 7 guys that come out and were talking about me. So I went up to them and was joking around with them and gave them all pamphlets. Then we walked for like 2.5 km together and guess what? Yep they all play rugby! So I was able to talk with them about that and they thought I was so cool and even invited me to come play with them sometime! Then we passed another school for kids and then like 12 kids were following me and yeah that was cool! Then Antony needed some date Advice and Elder Mwanziu and I are both Pisces so yeah he got a good date. Then in the Matatu home from Kapsoya our Matatu and another one were fighting over who gets to take this 1 guy. Well after like a minute of him going back and forth both of the Matatu drivers looked at each other then both zoomed off and dusted the guy...I was dying of laughing! Then I picked some roses at a store for Antony for his date and walking in town as a white guy holding roses was an experience. Like ALL the girls smiled at me and like wanted me to give them to them and even guys were like wishing me a happy valentines and wanted them! We then had a valentines party at the church and on our way home I did my first white contact! This girl has lived here for 10 years and is from Idaho but never heard of our church...I was like pffftttt WHAAAT? Like i still don't understand how thats possible but okay. We also got 7 new investigators this week. 4 of them are from me contacting them on the road and they are all super good potentials! We met with all of them last week and have plans to meet with them this week! Also we had 2 baptisms on Sunday! Naftal and Jimmy! It was such an amazing experience and I felt the spirit super strong. Looking back and seeing there lives before the gospel was in there lives to now....WOW its a change! Like they have both changed sooo much and everything else in there lives has changed for the better as well! Its truly incredible and I am so lucky to be a tiny part in this journey of theirs! I love them and am so thankful I got to see them enter into the waters of baptism and make those sacred covenants! Thats it for this week. Short but sweet! The internet is super slow but I am thankful for the last week and look forward to this next week! Love you all and thanks for the birthday wishes! Elder Merz

Monday, February 13, 2017

Happy Valentines Day everyone! I hope it is a great holiday for all of you! Remember to show your love and appreciation for those around you. Strangers, neighbors, enemies, and especially your families and close friends! So this week went by suuuuuper fast! We had a Zone Conference on Thursday and Friday and then a District Conference on Saturday and Sunday. The ZC was for all the missionaries and then the district conference is like stake conference. It was super full on Sunday it was fantastic to see everyone from everyone in our district! So the last 4 days just flew by! So Im not sure if you guys remember Naftal and Jimmy. They were the ones that had the problem with the church a few weeks ago. Well Naftal got married in the church and comes with his whole family and told us that when he didn't come to church for those few weeks that he didn't feel happy and he just felt that he needed to be at church. So for the last like 5 weeks hes been coming with his wife and kids and going to lessons with us and hes really seen what the church is about and he is good now! Very good in fact! And then Jimmy is the same way! He always wanted to change and not want that and he has. He is not married nor has kids yet but he as well has been coming to church the last 5 or 6 weeks and helps in the lessons that we have on Sundays! So those 2 are getting baptized this next week!! I am super excited for that and pray that it will work out! There is also Ibrahim who as well comes with his whole family, his wife is an investigator like Naftals wife and he has a super strong testimony in the church. He had to wait to get his certificate as well but he is very very ready and good and is also getting baptized on Sunday! So we have 3 planned for this Sunday! I would lastly like to quickly share with you guys a scripture or two that I like and read this last week. Alma is talking to his son Helaman in Alma 37. In verses 4-14 it talks about the Book of Mormon and its coming forth in the latter days to "future generations"....or in other words us. It also talks in verses 8 and 9 about the power of the words in the Book of Mormon as well as the Book itself. It says how it brings us closer to our Heavenly Father and knowing more of his son Jesus. Its a super great chapter and just something that made me happy when I read it and I invite you who get this email to read it as well and pick out for yourself something that you like or something you learned and got from it. I am so grateful and thankful for the Book of Mormon and how ALL of us no matter what our situation is, where we are in life, it doesn't matterHow it can bless all our lives and we can find answers to our any question by reading it and praying. Thank you for joining me for another episode offfffff Funny Moments from Africa...haha. So we contacted this super nice guy this last week and we had a little 10 minute lesson with him. That was great not funny. The funny part is when we were leaving he asked how my family back in Sweden is. I was like umm what? He was like your from Sweden aren't you? I was like ohh yes I am.....and im from the US. Mostly the US but all of my family is well....thank you for asking LOL. Then one day we were walking in town and there was like a group of 12 guys just hanging out, not scary just like hanging out. And as we walked by one of the guys was like "Mzungu I'm broke can you help me with some money?" Then I say without even thinking "I'm broke too, I was gonna ask you if you could help me!". Then him and all his friends laughed and yeah it was a great time! I am glad that I can have fun and make others laugh while I am here! I also say a guy wearing a jersey of my boy Clay Matthews! Anyways that is all for this week and I again wish you all an amazing Valentines! You all get some love from Kenya! Have a great week and be safe! I love to hear from you guys! Love, Elder Merz

Monday, February 6, 2017

Soooo for this weeks email I have some stuff. So our 1st counselor in the Branch was in the hospital and he got out and we went and visited him at his house. He had a question for us about 1 Nephi chapter 8. It was suuuuper cool to be able to help him understand what it is saying and what it means and you could just see the smile on his face! It was one of the coolest lessons I've ever had with a member! That day I also got an answer to a prayer. That morning I prayed to have someone put in our path so that we could have a new investigator to teach. Well after seeing Brother Mulati we were walking back to town and giving out pamphlets. Well this one guy I contacted was suuuuper happy to take the pamphlet and I had a little lesson with him and then he said he wants to know more and that on Sunday he will try to have time to come to church! It was a direct answer to my prayer. So I learned 2 things from this. THe first is that we need to pray if we want help and answers. The second is that god hears each and every one of our prayers. The third is that for him to provide an answer we MUST have faith and then with faith comes action. Without action nothing will happen. Its like if i would have prayed for that but then not given out pamphlets or talked to people. It never would have happened. We must do our part and then trust in god to provide the rest. One of our investigators Naftal that I told you about who had that problem. Well he had a church wedding last Wednesday! We didnt go....because we didnt even get informed about the occasion but when we heard we were both shocked! Him and his wife have been coming with their kids to church the last like 4 weeks as well so on the 19th we will baptism him! We also have 2 other baptisms for the 19th so hopefully we will have 3 on the 19th! :D I am super excited for that! This week we have a zone conference and a district conference so this week is already busy! And this email will again be a little bit short because we are attending a family home evening with a branch member and need to go to that! So thanks everyone for the emails and I wish you all a safe next week and to be joyous!! Weekly moments of laughter: So right after emailing last week we went shopping. Well yeah I saw like 12 white people and 2 pretty English girls in the supermarket and I was just like pshhh what the heck!? Like honestly what is going on. Then this week we went to this place called Annex. Its about 8 kilometers from town and we went there in a Matatu but the people we were supposed to see werent there so we decided to walk back. And on the way this crazy guy came to us and walked with us for like 2.5 kilometers and he took Elder Mwanzius bag of chips. I was laughing but then got annoyed because he kept following us. He would have followed us alll the way home so we told him we had to go another way and crossed the street and went down this other street. He kept walking for a little then crossed as well and was looking for us. Sooooo we raaaan through this petrol station and were hiding behind cars and buses and then we crossed back over the street when he wasent looking and booked it down this street so he couldnt see us., Hahaha it was soooo funny I wish I could make my emails better to show you the amazingness of that experience but it was great! And lastly I dont know why I am saying this to all of you but I guess every now and then I talk in my sleep....so early last week in my sleep I guess i said "Pants? What the heck!" haha some dream I must have had. And then I also guess that when I go to sleep I just pass out in like 5 minutes. I went to sleep later on that week and Elder Mwanziu was laying in bed and then I like shouted "Are you kidding me!?" he thought i was joking around but then when he got up and looked at me I was asleep.....soooo that's nice hahaha All my love, Elder Merz

Monday, January 30, 2017

This week has been one of the hardest weeks missionary work wise. We had an INCREDIBLE amount of bounces. We would have plans to meet with people and then we would go to the meeting point or walk for an hour to their home for them to not be there. Then we would either call and their phone would be off or they would be like oh yeah sorry I had to go somewhere....so then wed walk another hour and half to meet with someone else for the same story!! But by the end of the week we were able to meet with a like 14 people in 3 days so that was super nice! I also got to sit in a real car this week! It was super nice but the inside smelled like how my Civic does and so it made me homesick for that car hahaha. This week we also saw 3 white joggers in 1 day and i was like WHAT THEEEE! Like what are these guys doing? Pshh whatever haha. I would just like to say thank you. Thank you to all of my friends, family, teachers, and leaders and just everyone that has talked with me about the gospel or taught me in the gospel. Its really really cool how we'll be teaching a lesson and then they ask a question and I will randomly recall a lesson I learned. It doesn't matter if it was 4 months ago or 10 years ago, its just amazing how that works and happens and then to see how it helps that investigator!! This is another short week of writing because we had bounces like everyday and me describing the walking would not be to interesting i think. Left foot, right foot, left foot, right foot, left foot, right foot, left foot, left foot, right hand, right knee, left ear.....yeah boring right? Haha So i heard that in my home state of good old Utah last week at one of the resorts they got 70 inches of snow in 1 storm. Yeah you guys are lucky. OF COURSE that would happen while i'm gone haha! But luckily for me the last 2 nights its rained all night so I get to fall asleep t rain...but not just any rain...Kenyan rain! Its super nice I love it!! I would also like to give a shout out to my amazing Sister. On last Friday 1 year ago my family changed. My sister left on her mission and I am just so thankful for her example and for being able to look up to her and see how shes changed so much on the mission! It'll be 3 years without seeing her but its worth it because we are doing the work of the lord! Funny moments: So if you know me I love to make others laugh. As well as laugh myself. So we got in a Matatu that was already packed but we got to sit in the front 2 seats by the driver. But we had to crawl through the drivers seat because the passenger door was like welded shut (that's smart). So elder Mwanziu went first then I hoped in put my hands on the steering wheel looked back and was like "Alright lets go!" and everyone laughed hahaha it was great!! I am also now an African model. SO i got this super super nice custom African paint vest. And at the place I got it I am there first white customer as well as I introduced a new product so they took a bunch of pictures and I'm gonna be in there magazine now showing that a white guy has shopped there and to promote the new product! NIIIICE hahaha Anyways love you all and hope you have a great week!! Looooove, Elder Merz