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 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