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 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

Monday, January 23, 2017

So this week was another great week! So we got to meet with one our investigators Elvis is his name. We haven't seen him since the beginning of December but we met with him at his home and he was suuuper nice and remembered everything that we taught him before! Especially the big points about the Restoration like the Priesthood, Apostasy, and about Joseph Smith and the whole Restoration which was suuuper cool! Hes just been super busy at work and his boss doesn't let them have Sundays off, but we now know what days and times we can meet with him! Something I have also come to love is the investigators prayers. They are sooo thankful to meet with us and pray for blessings for us and our families and to find more people to talk to! Its like what the heck!? YOU are still deciding whether or not to accept the gospel but they just have so much love and respect for us and I guess see or think that we are good guys! So i really love their prayers I cant explain it but they are the best! This email will be a little bit shorter because I am giving you guys a homework. So this last week I read Alma 32. And the ending is what I would like you guys to read. It talks about Faith and is suuuper good and easy to understand. This is how our Faith should be and Faith is pretty much the starting point for the gospel. If you dont have Faith in God or Jesus Christ then gotta start from there haha! So the parts I especially want you to read are verses 26-43. I would also like you guys to search up the talk called "To Whom Shall We Go?" from Elder M. Russell Ballard. October 2016. Just google that and it should come up! It should help any of those who are lacking faith or don't know their feelings about being a member of our church! Its a great talk and I hope it helps! Some news for last week but 1. So i forgot to say last week that i got 2 letters that are the best! One was from a Primary class from my home ward with all the little kids. They all drew me a picture and wished my Merry Christmas and it touched my heart because I love kids and just to get that was a complete surprise and I loved it sooooooo very much!! I also got a monthly letter from some of my good friends who are on missions as well and just to hear their testimonies and there experiences is the best! I love to get that letter and I am so thankful for the strong group of friends and family that I have!! I also got my Christmas packages FINALLY!!! So thank you all for who contributed and dropped something in there! Especially the letters that I got! That was the best part and I put on some Christmas music as i read them all so I had a Christmas in January as well! I wish i could thank everyone personally and will be forever grateful!!! You guys are the best and I am so thankful for all the love and support I have from home! Moments of the week: So this week we were in a huuuge dust tornado! Like a real tornado not some tiny little thing. Like a full on tornado valley tornado! ....Okay not that big but it was big and was kinda cool haha!! Also here they know about traffic. So there is like 1 lane going each way but when its traffic time they will turn 2 lanes into 6 somehow so its funny to see haha! Another crazy thing is how here if you are passing someone that's not good enough. You will see people that are passing being passed in like a third lane to there's double take overs here! 😂 This church that is right by our chapel had like a parade as well that we walked with from town and they had like a marching band, 20 piki-pikis, and a lot of other cars that just took up the entire road so yeah it was crazy but good music to walk to lol. Lastly we were in a World Rally Cross Matatu! We were heading back from Kapsoya and its all dirt roads and hills and turns and this guy was going like 60 kph and apexing the turns and we were just like a rally Subaru hahaha it was super cool and fun! I loved it! That's all for this week! Thanks for all the emails and I love to hear from you guys! I pray for you all and wish for you to all be safe and have a great week! Kenyan love, Elder Merz

Monday, January 16, 2017

Oh yeah so I dont remember if I told all of you before but Eldoret is called the City of Champions. Almost all of the Olympic runners come from here! So quick news, I am staying here another transfer! Both Elder Mwanziu and I! We are both super excited and happy! Eldoret is home! The thing about the transfers here is that they dont tell you until about 11:30 on saturday night so if you are moving then you dont know until then and then you have to rush the next day to pack everything! Its all good though we are staying here!! This week was a very good week! We got some new investigators and let me tell you about one. His name is Alex and he has been a Catholic his whole life. He feels that he hasent grown spiritually and so we wants that as well as to come closer to our Heavenly Father. So for him he saw the chapel here being built and was curious about the church. Well that was 4 years ago and he never learned about it. So one day he decided to come see and then boom! We met him and showed him around and got to know him vetter as well as gave him a Restoration pamphlet. Well we met with him on Sunday and he told us he read the entire Restoration pamphlet and that he prayed as well and knows that the Restoration is true and that Joseph Smith was a true prophet of God and that this church is true! I was completly blown away and was speechless! It was so incredible!!! His intentions are true and his desire is their as very strong! So that is very cool!! So here if you havent been able to tell so far we walk!!! So we walked on this super boring dirt road to this place called Kapsoya. It was Elder Mwanziu, Antony (our branch missionary), and me. Well we had like an hour to walk so what do you do when their is nothing to do? Siiiiing. So we start singing Delerious by Vistoso Bosses and sing like the entire song and I was hitting the high notes and we were all just dying laughing and the people walking by were like what the crazy white guy! Andwhen i ay people i mean the occasinal 1 we would see every 15 minutes. Then the day after we were coming from the market and again it was baren of people so we sang All of Me by John Legend and it was cool! We should do a duet but with 3 people. (Dont know the name for that). This week we also got to visit many less-active families as well as members. We saw Sister Jane and 2 of her adorable daughters! Rita (5) and Pinky (4). They are seriously so cute!! On Sunday they came and sat by me and Pinky held my hand haha how cute! :) On Saturday we decided to send a text out from our awesome Nokia phone to all of our investigators and less actives and just reminding them about church tomorrow and inviting them to come! Well the next day we saw the fruits of our labours! We have 11 invstigators at church, 2 recent converts (there arent many here....yet haha), and 7 less actives! It was incredible! The chapel was like filled and so we will be doing that every week!! One last thng for the week. So we were walking and just outside downtown Eldoret is a parking street. Well we were walking on it and I saw some skateboarders. So I decided we should walk over and talk to them. At this time there was 4 people there not including Elder Mwanziu and I. I made a deal with one of them that if I could do a pop shov-it and and 180 off the curb that he and his friends would have to take a pamplet. They agreed and little did they know I used to skateboard. So I did it and they were all like AYYYYY whaaaat!? No way!!!! So then I tried a few other tricks like a kickflip and heelflip and a truk trick. It was suuuuper hard in my church shoes but they all eventually took pamphlets and it was great! They said they hope to see me again and they like love me haha. They are pretty good though so yeah it made me feel cool! They were doing kick flips and heel felips easy. Anyways last part of this awesome story. By the time we leaft there was like 15 people there who all came when they say me skateboarding and some tried to just stand on the board but couldnt and almost fell off and so yeah it was a very good contacting opportunity. We contancted everyone hahaha!! Funny moments of the week: So those that were added about the week but also one day we were in a Matatu and Antony wanted to go buy a banana so he left but told us not to leave. Well he was walking back so we told the Matatu driver to like slowly drive off. So this guy starts booking it to the Matatu meanwhile everyone inside is laughing and when he gets in we are all still laughing hahaha. The 1st counselor is a little bit crazy here. So weve been here for 3 months and in his phone our names are saved Elder Mwanzui and Elder Merze. Keep in mind we have our name tags that show how to spell them and he then changed it but still says our names wrong and we just laugh everytime! The cool thing is, is that his birthday is the 21st of Feburary, mine is the 23rd and Elder Mwanzius is the 29th. Well he doesnt have a birthday this year so Mulati was like "Ahhh what shall we do then?" and he was like serous not even trying to be funny but we were laughing so hard. So then he was like "i will suprise you with a bucket of cold water and then take a picture" So both of us need to be careful becuase he is targeting both of us, but we will get him on his birthday so he better watch out as well! Haha he is great! Anyways thats it for the week and excuse my spelling! No time to fix it! All my love, Elder Merz

Monday, January 9, 2017

This week has been very hard and heartbreaking honestly. We didn't have any baptisms because the two who were supposed to be baptized confessed some stuff to us on Wednesday and we couldn't baptize them. It wasent anything crazy but it was very hard for us. They both told us the same same day and just to hear them say it to us. So its not important but they thought that our church was something different and that by joining they would become rich and famous. They thought we were a free-mason church. And I am still confused and hurt because we saw them change, they had that testimony, they did soooo much to be able to join and they are different people from when we first met with them. So we aren't really sure what to do. Then the next day Philip the one that we baptized a few weeks ago told us the same thing. He thought we were hiding something and that he was joining an Illuminati church. He then said that at his baptism his heart wasent there at all. So yeah this week was rough kabisa. The emotions and all that happened with those 3 was suuuuuper hard and its just not describable. Am i bad missionary? Or what did i do wrong. That is one problem I seem to have is that I care to much, love to much, and trust to much. Here as well as at home. When I care about someone I really really do care about them and would never purposely do anything to hurt them or wrong them. Sadly that is one thing I struggle with. And I still have that love for these 3 but now my trust is gone and its like ALLLL of the time we spent with them was for nothing and everything they said and felt was a lie. Its rough and I don't know what to do. Keep pushing forward is what I will do. On the other hand we were able to meet with many less actives this week and we even had some turn up for church! We were also able to get some new investigators so I shouldn't complain! One of them found one of our pamphlets on the side of the road and he picked it and read it and heard some rumors about the church (wrong ones of course). So he one day passed by the church and went in the gate and met President Kogo (the district president) and then Pres. Kogo called us and we able to meet with him in the next half hour and we had a verrrrrry good language with him! We also got a new investigator at church and one super less active wants to get the missionary lessons again and has started coming to church again which is incredible! We also got to go to one of our members work in Eldoret town and he introduced us to all of his colleagues and got another 1 or 2 investigators and got 12 referrals in 1 day! I think that may be a record for Eldoret haha! Getting my name up on the board. We went to a members house this week and were talking about some funny things. They said that people will like take out a loan and spend 1.2 million kish on a wedding here! I was like so are your weddings like all day then? He was like "Yeah all day, all week, all month!" Hahaha it was so funny! Then somehow we got onto lotteries and a few years ago some won a lottery here and spent alllll the money on a huge part for his town (Eldoret). Its like having a party for everyone that lives in Murray! How crazy and cool would that be!? Then somehow we got talking about Soaps on TV and how they are alllll the same and so predictable and Elder Mwanziu said that his grandma would watch this one (I forget the name) and he said "OH don't you even dare watch that one" Because it is soooo long and the girls love it I guess and we were all just laughing haha. Yesterday as Elder Mwanziu, Antony (Our branch missionary), and I walked around we must have looked the part! We all had on long sleeve white shirts, dark ties and pants, and just stood out so much! It was such a cool feeling and experience! Funny moments of the week: So motorbikes are big here and we saw this one that had a coffin strapped to back. Pshh totally normal. We then saw a Matatu n the middle of the road with cement blocks under the back and the entire rear axel was gone. Like dang these guys are goo if they can steal an entire rear axle while this Matatu is in the middle of the road! One of the mornings there was this cow that was jogging down the street running from its owner and Elder Mwanziu goes "have you even been hit with this animal?" I jut bust out laughing and am like ummm no is that normal!? And he was like it happens quite often hahahaha what the heck! !! Lastly and quickly we were sitting in a matatu waiting for it to fill with people and this guy was getting angry because his window wouldn't open and he wanted fresh air and the entire matatu was laughing and then this guy pulls out a full size towel and starts to wipe his face and neck and is like fanning it at himself and Mwanziu, Antony and I were completely dying in the very back! hahaha it was so awesome! I hope all is going for everyone and know that I love you! Its great to hear from you and again I don't have to much time to email so if I didn't respond to our email I will do so next week! Have a great week everyone and it is great to hear from you! Love, Elder Merz PS- as i tried to send some pictures this computer wont allow me. So sorry again but next time I have a tooon to send! So grab your trousers by the belt loops and hang on because it will be a crazy ride!

Monday, January 2, 2017

Welcome 2017!!! I again dont have much time to email and I am about to explode because the Cybers here are like all closed and the ones that are open completly suck. Hold it in......breath......before my fist goes through the computer screen. Haha nah its okay but lets start the email now yeah? So this week was good! We have 2 investigators who are getting baptized on the 8th! One is Brother Jimmy and the other is Brother Naftal. Lemme quickly tell you about them. We met Jimmy about a month and a half ago and we taught him a few times then we didnt see him for like a month. And he called us and told us that he wanted to continue to learn and this last week we realllly saw the change in his heart. He was part of another church and told us how this church is something different and how everything in it is true and given us to bless us and help us. Such as the commandments we have in the church. Now onto Naftal. This one is very special. I remember the second lesson we had with him he asked us if we could give him money or if the church could to help sponser his music. He is an singer here. I was like well when we say we cant and the church cant he will be gone. But he was okay with it and kept getting the lessons. When we taught him we had to go really slow and then about the 4th lesson I asked him to read the whole next pamphlet we gave him. We didnt thnk he would, but the next time we met with him he went through it all! He said he just sat down and decided to get serious and went through the whole thing with notes and questions! We were blown away! Then about 2 Sundays after that he came into Sacrament meeting and he was shaved bald! He used to have dreads and we were like what theeeeee! We talked to him and he said he wanted to look good for the church and to stand out! We couldnt believe it! And then he had to get a marriage certificate which is kinda expensive for people here and he got the money and waited for 3 weeks and is now getting baptized! I truley can not believe all that has happened just with Naftal! He has such a great testimony and is so wonderful! His wife has also seen him change and is super happy and in love with him more than before and she is now coming and is one of our investigators and their whole family comes! I would lastly like to say how thankful I am for 2016. I have soooooooooo many memories and good times and had the opportunity to meet many new people and get many new friends! I look forward to continuing those relationships when I get home. I also had the chance to get closer with my friends I already had. I cant explain it all and dont have time but I will forever remember 2016 and it will have a special place in my heart. I thank anyone who was part of the memories in 2016 and it was honestly one of the best years of my life so far. I look forward to 2017 and am grateful that I get to be a missionary for the entirety of 2017! Funny moments of the week: So funny enough the internet crashed and froze and didn't work and I was seriously about to throw hands and the computer. So luckily enough I am finishing this email from the senior couple that is here. So our first counselor and I went to this place called Annex, he and I. We met some less active families and there was this drunk lady that came up to me and like hugged me and I was like "Get off!!" She wanted money obviously and I have her a Word of Wisdom pamphlet haha and then as we were walking away she came up to us again and she asked for money and Mulati said "We don't this time but next time we will". I looked over at him and was like ummm really? So in short I will not go back there. So here people also sell a lot of stuff on the sides of the street from fruits to clothes. And many of them don't have business liscenses and when the city counsel trucks come they all ditch and leave! Its hilarious hahaha. And one day we saw a truck full of people that were off to jail and got caught haha. Then the next day we were at the edge of town and we saw an empty truck driving into town and Elder Mwanziu was like "Ahh hes going shopping" and we just both died laughing hahahaha! There was also this bug New Years party here and they had a semi with an open trailer driving around promoting with music and a dj and dancers and we were walking and the dj said "Mzungu" into the mic and I was like "Ayyyyyy" and waved at them and they all waved, it was so funny and cool haha. The last one for this week is the Matatu ride. So we went to Iten again (an hour Matatu ride) and on the way back was what I like to refer to as "The Ride". This Matatu driver would launch hard off of the line every time we stopped or speed bump and then he was racing these other Matatus and were going like 80 mph I swear! He was using every RPM and was apexing turns when it was clear and then we went off road on the dirt track and we were like a WRC Matatu. Hahahaha it was the coolest funnest Matatu ride I will never forget! That is it for this week and it is kinda short and no pictures again so sorry Mom. I will send some next week! I also don't have time to reply to all the emails I got just because lack of time but I will reply next week! I hope you all had a great New Years and lets all make 2017 one to remember! I love you all and thank you all for the emails! I love to hear from my family and friends, you guys are the best! My Kenyan love, Elder Merz