Wednesday, December 5, 2012

December 4, 2012

Well it's been an interesting week to say the least. First off, I can't believe it's already December. Christmas is fast approaching. We already set up some sweet stuff for Christmas eve and Christmas. Namely we have somewhere to go and do Skype. So I'm really happy about that. We are going over to the same house where we prepared the turkey. It's a really cool family and I'm already getting nervous to talk to you all again. For the last time before I get home. 

Well the biggest thing that happened this week happened Monday morning on the way to District Meeting. My companion fell off his bike. He was coming down a hill and around a windy turn. He realized he had too much speed and tried to brake and make the snake like turn at the same time and the bike slid out from under him sending him crashing to the ground. Luckily he had on a helmet, but he received a gnarly looking gash along his left eyebrow. Really deep. I actually didn't see the accident because I was ahead of him. By the time I got there 2 people were already on the scene and the Ambulance already called. It really was a miracle though. Less then 1 minute after his crash an off duty paramedic walked by on his way to work. He knew exactly what to do and diagnosed the situation for us. He cleaned out the cut and gave him a gauze pack for his cut. The ambulance arrived and went the whole nine yards on him. Put him in a whole body brace, neck brace, locked his head onto the stretcher, wrapped this thing around his body and really just did everything. I rode in the ambulance with him to the hospital, called President and explained the situation. We got to the hospital and they kicked me out of triage pretty fast so I went to the waiting room and waited, luckily the other Elders arrived shortly after. We waited for prob 3 hours or so and he just came walking on out with 4 stitches and a big bandage over his cut. It looked like someone lifted up his eyelid and squeezed a golf ball up there as well. It's still pretty swollen today. Important thing is he's fine. He was definitely guided by God's angels. It could have been a lot worse. He actually did faint yesterday in the apartment, That was really scary. I've never seen someone faint right in front of me before. He took a nap and got up too quick afterward and just boom, on the floor. I caught his head before it hit the ground too hard. Afterward I gave him a blessing which was one of the most spirtual experiences I've had in my mission. I love Anz. Walsh. He just has a heart of gold. So yeah it's been a dramatic couple of days. 

You asked about our investigators... They are doing great. *********** stopped making progress, nothing was sticking with him. After 2 months of teaching him he still wasn't able to pray. So... Yeah. Not good. ****** is doing great. She fasted with us this week. Which was really cool. I just don't know why she can't make the next step towards baptism. She is so close! We want to talk to her next lesson about the Role of the BOM in conversion. We think maybe she isn't understanding the BOM as well as she could. I have hopes that she will be baptized before the new year and definitely before I leave. 

Our "little" peruvian family is doing AMAZING. If ever baptism was a doubt in my mind for the 15 it is not now. We had a crazy weekend with them. We were soooo close to having to move their baptism date but now we're all good. I'll explain. Thursday night we had an appointment with them, wanting to teach the WoW, and Chastity. However, we got there and lil ******* had these sores in her mouth and was crying up a storm so her mom had to take her in the other room and couldn't be at the lesson so it didn't make much sense to teach it without her there. So what we did was read from the BOM where ******* had left off. We read Nephi 3 with them. And it was an amazing lesson just what we needed to get them really focused on the BOM. So for the next lesson, Saturday night. We are on a bus headed to their house and we get a call from ******* saying that hubby and the kids were out of the house for a birthday party and wouldn't be back til late but that they would all be ready for us to come pick them up to go to Church the next morning. We were devastated because their baptism is coming up really fast and there is still so much to teach. But what could we do. So next morning we go to their house personally and pick them up. Do you think I'd just go to Church no problem and hope they'd make it there? Heck no. We weren't taken no chances. So we get them to Church, HAHA i go in to Primary with the kids because they were nervous to go in alone. And the parents went to priesthood and old lady society. Then Gospel Prinicipals starts and guess what? no teacher -- we have to teach. No one else in the class but Jour investigators. Think we taught Geneology? Nope! WoW and Chastity! We were so lucky to be able to get that lesson in otherwise them getting baptized on the 15 was not going to be possible. Next lesson; Monday. We get there and there is such a light feeling in the air. Everyone was so happy. They just loved Church. And are so excited to get baptized on the 15th. They accepted Tithing and follow a Prophet. Now we just have the practice interview and the real interview this Saturday. 

You asked about the Weather. It's been terrible. It's rained and been freezing for almost 2 weeks straight now. Makes our work really hard. 

Well I'm super jealous about the indoneasian food this weekend that you will all be eating. Can we have a late indoneasian food party when I get home within the first 2 weeks or so? I'm dying for some good food other then Italian. 

Well I love you all so much! Dang I had no idea a heating system would be that expensive! That's ridiculous. We are extremely blessed. 

So my Homecoming is the 10th? Perfect. Who will be speaking with me? Do they give RM's topics? I hope not. I was able to listen to that video you sent me. HAh Brayden... Such a goober. 

Well have a great week! Love you all and miss you tons! 

Anz. Mendel

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

November 27, 2012

Well, It's been another good week, once again I found myself behind a turkey. This year the turkey was almost double the size as last year's. Only that we had 60 plus mouths to feed instead of only 4. The Branch threw a Thanksgiving party and asked one of the American members to cook the turkey. It's actually a tradition here in the Branch. So the American member ***** asked if we wanted to go over to her house and help prepare it. I was there so fast! Don't worry I have plenty of pictures to share this week. The Thanksgiving party in itself was a huge success. We had a bunch of investigators there. ***** had me at the head cutting the turkey for everyone. It was fun. It was great to hear about your Thanksgiving, mine was good but I just really missed you all. I'm thankful for my family and this will be the last Thanksgiving that I will be away from family! 

Our work is going great, Anz. Walsh and I get along great. We are working super hard and have had a ton on our plates this last week. Our investigators are doing great. **** and ****** werent able to come to church this week because there was a stupid Marathon in the city and they shut the whole city down. No bus to take and no access to their part of the city in a car. The adversary works in strange ways to keep people from church. ****** made it though! She got to the startion close to the church but her ride wasn't able to make it in to pick her up because of the road blocks but apparently Taxi's still found a way so she took a taxi to church. This was a sign to us that she is really committing herself. Anz. Walsh and I both gave talks in church as well. The Branch Presidency called us Saturday and asked if we could speak. My comp and I and then the branch mission leader.  So pretty much we had to fill up the majority of the time. I had about a half hour to prepare for my talk the night before and before I knew it I had already been at the pulpit talking for 20 mins. That would never have happened before the mission. It's crazy how easy it is to talk about the gospel. I talked about Abinadi, how he never saw the fruits of his labors, to his knowledge no one was converted to the gospel. Abinadi didn't baptise anyone. Maybe he thought he died in vain as a failure. But he didn't. We all know that Alma was converted. But he didn't. But nontheless that didn't matter. He was sent from God to deliver a message. He fulfilled his purpose and was killed. God doesn't look upon Abinadi any different then he looks upon Alma the younger who baptized thousands. No effort is wasted. We don't need to see the success of our labors to know that God is happy with our sacrifice or effort. That was pretty much what I talked about. 

Last night it thunder stormed super hard-- parts of the path on the way home from the church were flooded. We were riding on the bike path and I saw this huge puddle at the last second in front of me and slammed on my brakes just in time. "We have to find another way around I say" but my comp thinks we can make it through. "its not that deep" he says. I respond "prova pure" (be my guest) so he goes for it. HAH the water was up to his knees while he was riding a bike and then he falls off the bike. Luckily he caught himself going down so he didn't fall full in but his bike got fully submerged and his whole lower half was completely soaked! I couldn't help but laugh my head off! Hey! I did warn him. 

Sorry this email is super short, I don't have much time today, Tell Grandma thanks for the B day money. That is so generous of her. 

That video you sent me has no sound to it. Or at least the computer I'm using now doesn't support it. I'm going to go to the library and try with the computers there. It looks super trunky. 

Love you all! Enjoy the pictures.

November 20, 2012

Well it's been a pretty good week, getting a new comp is always a new experience especially when that new comp isn't American, it's even newer. We get along great. His name is Anz. Joseph Walsh from Manchester, England. He actually started his mission when he was 18, so he's been out 8 transfers, 1 year and still 19. He's a great missionary and we will have a great 2 transfers together. Full of success. 

Well Happy Thanksgiving. It crept up on me this year. Sadly this year I will not be buying a 44£ turkey to cook myself. However, the Branch here has a tradition of throwing a Thanksgiving party seeing as there are 2 American families here in the Branch. So I should be able to get myself some turkey. I, of course, volunteered my services. I'm gonna make a whole bunch of Mash potatoes and some corn probably. It will be tomorrow night. The reason why last year Thanksgiving was so special and fun was because we were living in 4 and we were all so close. This year we don't have that luxury living in 2 with transfers just last week. I hope you all have an amazing weekend staying at home. In my opinion those have always been the best years anyways. I'm Thankful for my family who loves and supports me. Have a great weekend. 

So our Peruvian family is doing really well! We've seen them twice since last we spoke and they are growing so well in the Gospel. Last lesson after finishing up the Plan of Salvation the lesson before we brought the Restoration film watched it together and then just kind of reviewed what we've talked about and made sure everything was 100% clear to them. It was a great lesson as we had the opportunity to clear up questions about the BOM and about Baptism itself. They all seem really excited about the Baptism and just want to have a more united family. They made us this really good peruvian dish the other day and I'm gonna try and recreate it this week or maybe next week. They weren't able to come to Church this week because both of them had to work which was sad but they are set to come this upcoming Sunday. However, ******* made it to church this week. 3 times now! She is doing amazing. We saw her last night and kinda did the same thing we did with the Peruvian family. Talked about her questions and doubts and then tried to teach about revelation and recognizing the spirit in her life. Another awesome lesson. Anz. Walsh and I teach well together and its just the first week. I look forward to many miracles this transfer. 

Nice to hear you saw Brayden,  Crazy Brayden is home. Next up... Tj. 

Being with an Englishman is fun and surprising all the differences it creates. For example he didnt know who Kobe Bryant is. That one just blew me away. He is great though. I make Harry Potter jokes aimed at him and we both get a good laugh. He has served with Italians the last 4 transfers so someone has to do it. Speaking of Britts. Did you see the new James Bond Movie? That looks cool. 

Well, Love you all so much! Have a great holiday weekend. 

November 13, 2012

Well this week has been a really good week for us here in Firenze. There is lots to share. Lets start off with Transfers. 

So as very much anticipated, my companion Anz. Francom is going to a city called Trento, about an hour north of Verona in the mountains, the alps. He is going to have a nice cold snowy winter. Meanwhile I am staying here, still DL, but luckily Pres is sending sisters down here so the district won't be made up of just us and the ZL's. My new comp is an interesting one. He is going into his 9th transfer I think, which I'm really excited about. Someone who should be able to speak decent Italian. I didn't want to die with a greenie or a newer missionary and have to do a majority of the teaching. But his name is Anz. Walsh. He's from Manchester, England. So I get my 2nd foreign companion who is still not an Italian like I hoped but oh well. I've heard great things about Anz. Walsh so It should be a great transfer. Obviously you never know what can happen with the way transfers work but most likely he will be my last comp so I'll finish the mission in Firenze. A Milan missionary's dream. At least that worked out for me. Transfer 15. 

Well this week we were extremely blessed with a million dollar referral. A beautiful Peruvian family of 5. They are so amazing and so elect. Our first appointment with them was last Thursday and it was kinda crazy in the house. The dad had just barely returned from work and the lil 2 year old was crying up a storm so we weren't able to convey much. We kind of just talked about who we were and did so "How to begin teaching points" and set up another appointment for that Saturday. So for the next appointment we arrive and things are a lot more calm. They had even made food for us. We sit down and share the message of the restoration. They just go on and on about how they want a good church for the kids to go to and learn about Christ. The 9 year old is super curious about religion and God so he is just eating it up. We had an amazing lesson with this family and everything was set for them to come to church the next day. But the world is working against us, it decides to rain super hard Sunday morning making it difficult for them to arrive to church in bus because they don't have a car. So I called around 8:50, church starts at 9 and they told me they couldn't come due to the rain. I asked them if we can organize a ride would they be able to come and they said yes so it was then up to me to find a ride. Which turned out to be a difficult task. I asked the Branch President who says that no one has room in their cars to take a family of 5. But he said he'd try to find something. So we start Priesthood, and we have the lesson. He makes the normal announcements and doesn't mention anything about this family so at the end I stand up and ask all the priesthood holders there if someone would be willing to go pick them up. I mean its an elect family of 5! Lets freaking bring them to church. Luckily we had a volunteer. And he left right then and got them there to Gospel Priciples class. They had an amazing time in Church, the gospel principles lesson was on "Roles in the Family" and then we had the Primary program so it was just for them. It was literally a miracle to get them to chruch and they loved it! Then last night we saw them again. This time for the Plan of Salvation, only the first part. And they just ate that up as well. We invited them to be baptized and after getting past the usual first obstacle of "we have already been baptised Catholic" they accepted a date for the 15th of December. They are just so ready for the Gospel. Andrè read 3 Nephi 11 the chapter we gave them as homework the first time. Then he sat down with his parents and made them read and then after he started to read from the beginning. After they accepted the date, ****** asked ******* why she wanted to be baptized. If it was just something she is saying because everyone else wants to or does she really want it. She goes on to talk about some family/marital problems they have had in the past and how she just wants to have a strong family and then ******* started to talk about how his family is the most important thing for him and that he thinks this "change" is a good thing for his family. Wow they are just so cool. They are so nice to us and really have a fire within. I don't want to get to ahead of myself but I really can see this family getting baptized. Sorry that story was long and all over the place but teaching that family this week has been just so full of miracles and so full of the spirit. We really are just so lucky to be teaching a family like them. 

Also ******* made her way to church this week. We had an amazing lesson with her on Monday and after weeks and weeks of trying to give her a date she said that next week she will sit down with us and pick a date for her baptism. 

********* is doing good he still just needs lots of time but he's getting there. 

So our work has really been given a huge boost by this family. We are going to have an amazing tranfer. Having such elect people to teach will help keep me focused and not trunky so that's another plus as well. 

So you got my flight plans huh? That's exciting. Yeah things are winding down. I miss you all so much. Just a lil over a month and we will talk and then I'll practically be home. You asked if there is something you can do to make these last months special for me? I have no idea what more you can do for me then you already do. I'm so thankful to have had so much support my whole mission. I can always count on a fat email full of love from home each week and that is more than enough. Don't send me anything for Christmas or my B-day thats just a waste of money. I'm doing great. 

How cool to hear that Davis was so successful his first go at the ACT. I'm so proud of him. 

Cool to hear about your car coming in. That's exciting. Hope you like it. Send me a picture of you next to it. And talking about pictures. I'm sorry to report that I missplaced the cord that connects my camera to the computer and that USB drive that takes the information directly from the card isn't working anymore either. I have no idea why. I found a replacement cord but its 25£!!! I dont know if its worth it. So sorry. I dont know how else I will be able to attach pictures. 

The question about the members. Yeah every once and awhile we get invited to eat with members. Its nothing like Alessandria where we ate with members at least 4 times a week but occasionally the members have us over. 

Thinking about this upcoming summer. Things are sounding incredibly busy and even more incredibly expensive. June the whole month practically in Italy, then we get back and you have trek to deal with...

Well love you all so much. This was a long one. Have a great week. 

November 6, 2012

How disappointing to hear about Obama winning again. I was so sure that Romney was going to win. I guess that was just ignorance on my part seeing as my information was so limited. It was really funny walking around Firenze yesterday and seeing all the signs that read "election day in the USA" hah! Do we even know who the president is in other countries? I don't. Even on the sides of buses, On the electronic screens it read election night. Everyone was talking about it. I guess who the President of the US is affects Italians more than the Italian Pres. Dang hearing about the tires costing 50% more just stresses me out for the future. How in the world am I going to have enough money to do anything. You all are keeping your eyes open for a good job for me when I get home right? You've never mentioned anything about that even though I've asked many times. I just want to start being productive pretty fast once I get home. I don't want to stand Idle for weeks and weeks. 

This week has been a good one. We have had some great success with our investigators. This week we saw a part member family that we have started to work with this transfer. It's a family of 3, the mother and 15 year old daughter are members and the Father is not. His big problem has just been the faith to change from past habits. Like drinking and Sabbath day observance. We taught the family the Gospel and for some time we have really been focusing on getting the Mother and Daughter involved in the teaching but they've been rather shy and closed. This last week however, they both bore powerful testimony on the power of the Gospel of Christ and the help it gives us to change bad habits and start a new life. Surely their testimonies meant a lot more to him than ours. He made lots of progress there. 

Other than him, **** and ********8 are making great progress as well. ********** is no longer an atheist which is a huge step. He is praying and meeting with us often. We tried to give him a baptismal date last lesson but he didn't think he could be ready for it. He wants to be baptized, he just wants more time. Too much time. But I think He will come around sooner or later. ****** came up with some  excuse to not come to church this week but we saw her the next day and she is doing good. Both of them are on the path towards Baptism, just that they dont want a date quite yet. 

We had interviews this Monday with President here in Firenze. Mine went great. We talked a lot about the work and specifically the members here. He knows a lot about them here because it is a District and he is the head.  Our zone and our apartment for that matter are 30 min bike ride (going fast) away from the church and then our zone streches far south and members have to drive a long way to get to the church.
Things with me and my comp are great, we are good friends.  For me it's just been another great life lesson that I've learned a lot from and am very thankful for. I feel like I've grown a lot from where I began in the mission. Before I would always feel like leaving an argument or conversation unsolved or "un-won" meant a failure on my part to prove my point/prove that I was right. But I've learned that it's not always that way. Taking Pres Monson's advice can never lead you astray. 

I love you all so much and cant wait to see you soon. I'm working hard don't worry. I'm kinda curious what kind of companion President will send me for my last 2 transfers... Guess we can only wait and see. Anz. Francom is leaving at the end of this transfer. Well love you all! 

Anz. Mendel 

Ps In that video I think I came off looking really weird. Really skinny.... I guess you will see. 

October 30, 2012

Okay First things first. Porca misera! Mom, Dad, EVEN Grandma mentioned something about the "big changes" in her (DANI's) life, with her boyfriend and all. However, Poor lil Anziano Mendel has been left in the dark. You've just teased me with a taste of what's going on. I want the full meal. Even the gravy on top.  I emailed Dani last week begging for an update and I didn't get anything from her this week. Last I heard from her was her letter a month or so ago. So spit it out. What's happening? Luckily for other reasons I have to come back later and finish up emailing. So I will be on later this afternoon. Additional information would be appreciated. 

So I'm now a double-diget-midget. Honestly I've never heard of that before. Usually missionaries here try to hide the fact that they are about to expire to appear bravo. So  the phrase isn't used. Thanks for the update though. Dang 99 days. That's pretty crazy. I miss you all tons too. 

So It was exciting to hear that you have a ballot for me to sign. Sign my name in blood under Romney! Basically the farther right the better for all the other elections! I'm practically Fascist. It's grown a lot in the mission. That's something I haven't expected. As my time here has passed and I've gotten better and better at Italian I find myself in debates and discussions with members and investigators, mostly members defending capitalism and fighting against all the socialists that are here. Its just too fun sometimes. I don't think I've ever lost a debate. 

I can't believe you don't know what you want to be for halloween! I have a perfect costume for you. It might be a lil late but you should be a Nun! How funny would that be with me in Italy and all. I was thinking of being a nun for my first Halloween back. 

This week we made great progress with 2 of our investigators. ****** is Italian, an atheist. We saw him twice and he's really making good progress. He's reading and even said the prayer at the end of the lesson. For an athiest that is really good. He has a lot of questions and really likes to talk. We are putting into practice the latest technique, you could say, from president about being simple and bold. We just say things how they are. Don't sugar coat anything and I think it's really helping. ****** is from Peru which works out great because there are more Peruvians in the branch then Italians. She came to church this week and made friends really fast with a few great sisters in the ward. One of them even invited her over to lunch later in the week. 

The seasons are changing. It got really cold the last 3 days. No more beads of sweat just layers upon layers of clothing to make it through the day. It's fine though. This is my favorite part of year and you can really smell it in the air. Thanksgiving is 2 weeks away and then there's Christmas. 

Nice to hear about James and Whitney getting home. Funny to think that she got her call while I was in mission, she left and got back while I was still in the mission. The sister missionaries that I started with have been done with their missions for months. Speaking of Homecoming talks. You need to make sure that my talk doesn't fall on the same day as Landon Smart's. If for some reason the ward has something else planned for that same weekend that I get home and cant do it then. Honestly I think I would prefer to do it that same weekend. Just get it over with. ;) I think I'll be nervous too. Giving a talk in Italian to a room full of 60 or so people is a lot easier I think. Do they usually give return missionaries topics? 

Thanks again for the updates. That storm on the east coast just sounds brutal. America can't get a break can it! 20 billion! add it to the national debt. Where are we at now 15 trillion or so? 

So reminder of the things you need to fill me in on fast for when I come back later this afternoon. 

1). Dani and whatever the heck is going on there.
2). What day exactly is the election. When do you find out who won or not? 
3). What can I get all of you as gifts for when I get home. The 2 boys are easy. But for the rest of you? 

Love you all so much! Have a great day! Hear from you soon. 

Brayden Miller is Home

The first of the Homecomings has taken place - Brayden Miller is home.  This short message video was shot at Brayden's home after his homecoming address.  Well done, Brayden and welcome home.