Wednesday, December 28, 2011

December 28, 2011

Trevor played Joseph in his Zone's Nativity. See if you can find him.  
Caro Famiglia,

What a pleasure it was to talk you this past Sunday, Looking back over the call it seems like not much was even said. Hah, Both boys froze up... again no shock there, Maybe next year we can have a real conversation. But It was awesome to see you and hear your voices. It has been awhile and at times it was hard to call on the memory of the sounds of your voices. To be honest it was hard seeing you, the whole family, and not seeing Riley. It was kind of just like a second testimony that he really is not home waiting for me to come home. But on a more happy note it was great talking to you.

Thanks for the update on the rest of your Christmas day, Mine was pretty much over when we finished talking, My companion did his skype and then we went home. It was a good Christmas. Very different, But hey, how many Christmases does one have as a missionary and in Italy for that matter? I made the most of it and had a great time. But I still did miss home more than normal.

I spent the first part of the week in Verona on another scambio with Anz. M+++++++. I don't even want to begin explaining how to pronounce it. He's the zone leader in Verona now and we have a lot in common. Mainly, Hah we are known around the entire mission as the two Halo Kids, He's a hardcore Halo Player like me, Hah it was fun talking about stories from the past. But we went out that night and had a great scambio and were blessed with a miracle. We found a young Italian family of 4 who let us in and seemed very interested in our message.
Anz. M+++++++ is a great missionary. He also served with Anz. W*******. He talked to me a lot also about coming to USU with him after the mission and moving into to a Milano Mission Alumni Frat house. Sounds fun. Who knows where my path will take me after the mission, Boh

Things in Mantova seem to be picking up. Anz. Strong and the missionaries who are coming here for the few scambios in the last 2 weeks have been somewhat successful and we've found a few more people to teach. Still work is a lil slow and we have a lot ahead of us.

Love you!

Anz. Mendel

Friday, December 16, 2011

December 6, 2011

Buon Giorno,

Okay where to start, Well the turkey wasnt too hard to find... It just took time. We must have checked 15 butcher shops and then we finally found the right one. Dont worry I made sure to ask them to clean out the center. When we found the right turkey (we only found 3, one 14 kili, 8 kili and 2 kili) we bought it and took it home right then. Stuck it in the freezer then 3 days before moved in into the fridge. I wish I could send home the videos... we took a bunch.

It was great to hear about NYC and of course Sinter Klaus. Landon and I have been talking back and forth about how much fun the last year's was... Do you remember our matching outfits we showed up in? Everything sounds like a blast... What are the shrimp things called
again? The Crackers?

So your calculations are correct, this is week 5, I should find out what happens this Monday, oh I would so love to stay in Ferrara for the Holidays. Just one more transfer is all I need. The odds of Anz. Weller and I doing another one together is almost zero so he would have to be transfered for me to stay, which is very possible. However it is still probable that I leave Ferrara this upcoming week. I don't know what will happen, I'm dying to find out but at the same time, whatever comes, comes. I'm definitely ready for a change though.

So this week has also been rather busy for us, we are completely moved into our apartment in Ferrara now. Our first night here was Saturday. The apartment is really nice and we both love it. We had help from an amazing member, S. N++++ to bring our luggage back and forth so it wasn't too hard. Just transfers bring lots of stress.... On the trains with all this luggage... Stuff like this. The office couple brought us mattresses on Saturday and also our mail so I got the 2 packages (padded envelopes) you sent! Thank you! I loved the stuff for Monkey bread... I wonder if I can find the rolls though.... The million dollar chocolate bar was
perfect too, in  fact, just a few days before, S. N++++ gave Anz. Weller and I the same thing but it was a 500£ bar. So I gave her the million dollar bar, she loved it! it was perfect and really funny. Back to the mattresses the office drove us down... Yikes. Just ridiculous the state they are in. They brought us 3, The first night I didn't sleep at all. That's how bad the mattress was. Then I switched it out for the 3rd and now I can kinda sleep but they are still terrible. We got hooked up with one of the nicest apartments in the mission, it is so nice. But the mattresses are terrible.  Aargh.

This Sunday we saw M****** with S. N++++. M, the referral from Argentina. We had planned to teach her the Gospel... We had a super powerful lesson with her. She loved how the Gospel built on itself starting with faith and then repentance. As we moved on to baptism the
spirit was just so strong so we decided to give her a date right then. She accpeted baptism and her date is for the 14th of Jan. She still has a long way to go, she needs to come to church and start reading better but I think she recognizes the spirit when we come and teach
her and she is starting to take this whole thing more seriously now. I'm excited to see if she will come to chruch on Sunday.

Okay, Anz. Weller and I both experienced the biggest miracle of our mission this week. It was just crazy what happened. About 2 weeks ago during a scambio with Anz. B+++++ and I in Ferrara we knocked into this sweet lady who was so interested in our message and was so nice to us. We couldn't go in and teach her because she didn't have a man in the house so we had to just talk to her at the door for a short moment. She told us how much she loves God and how her whole life she has been praying and searching for the truth. She told us how about 10 years back her husband and pretty much the whole extended family converted into jehovah witnesses and how she just never felt like that church was right and never felt the spirit with them. She told us that she thinks we might have the answers she is looking for and that we needed to come back and teach her more but she was leaving out of town for 2 weeks and we couldnt come back til Dec 4. Bummer we would have to wait awhile to see her again... Well the weeks passed and I had her in the back of my mind mainly focusing on the investigators we were seeing and just other missionary stuff.... We went back on Monday and we brought S. N++++ (the Member) again. She opened her house to us and let us in. S. N++++ and her, Z+++++, became instant friends. Long story short Z++++ recounted the story of when  she met Anz. B++++++ and I the first time to A. Weller and S. N++++, how she felt this overwhelming spirit about us and could feel the love and truth and that on her whole vaction all she could think about was us. The missionaries... She told us she knows what she felt from us is true and that you know when somthing is true or not, you feel it. You don't
see it. We had the most powerful lesson of my life, I was choking back tears, N++++ and Z++++ were both crying. Anz. Weller and I couldn't believe how ready this lady is. Literally prepared her whole life to meet us. This was her first real lesson. She committed herself to
coming to church every sunday, S.N++++ said she can pick her up and take her every sunday and then... she committed herself to bapitsm, after A. Weller gave her the tenth point. My mind was just blown. The rest of the Night Both Anz. Weller and I were just pacing back and forth blown away by the power of the spirit, blown away by the faith and readiness of this lady. I could not wipe the smile off my face the rest of the night... Just absolutely crazy. Tonight we will be setting a baptismal date with her. Most likely she will be coming to see a
baptismal service in Bologna this sunday. This lady is ready. She'll be baptised in 3 weeks. No doubt.

Love you! Have a great week!

Anz. Mendel

PS: I dont know the Robinsons...

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Turkey Triumph

Dear Family,

So I passed my test. I officially know my way around a kitchen. The turkey turned out amazing! Absolutly perfect. And don't worry, the whole process was very well documented. I ended up having so many different recipes and hints, I just studied them all and went for it. Not following any particular recipe. Turned out amazing so I was really happy. We ended up having turkey, the sausage stuffing (my favorite dish for sure) mashed potatoes, gravy, rolls, sweet corn, we all ate til we were on the floor dead and then Anz. P***** made peach cobbler for dessert. We had such a great time making the Thanksgiving meal and being together as missionaries. I missed you all so much but we made the most of our situation and had a great time ourselves. Definitely a Thanksgiving to remember. I would say my favorite part
of the night was after we ate. We, like usual, went around the table and said what we were thankful for this year. And then after, we went around the table saying what things we were thankful for about each other. For example. W******, B******* and P****** all said things
that they were thankful about me and so on in a circle. It was a really spiritual experience as we talked about our times together spreading the Gospel and thanking God for all that we have been blessed with. We have been eating Turkey like crazy all week and we still have tons left. Nothing like fresh turkey sandwiches.

So we are not moving in yet. We needed a few more things before we could move in. Like gas, electricity and mattresses. We have all but the last now and we are waiting for the Assistants to come bring us some this weekend. So after that we should be able to move over there within a week or so. We have the keys already-- its all on us when we want to move. But it is the end of the month and our monthly train/bus passes won't be valid anymore.

The new address is Via Caterina Di Siena 46. If you want to google earth it or something. I dont think it's a good idea to send stuff there with transfers so close. Probably just send everthing to the mission home from now on.

Yes, I would like that DVD, that would be awesome to see.

The weekend in NYC sounds awesome! Have fun. I don't see Dad allowing a crazy drunk guy on the subway to bug you guys this time.

N***** is doing really good. He's making good progress. We brought him to a Ward party this last friday in Bologna. He seemed to have enjoyed himself. All is good there.

Well, Love you tons. Have a great holiday season. Tell me how Dutch Christmas goes.

Anz. Mendel

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

November 9, 2011

Hey mom,

Well I really dont have much to say this week.

I too am so excited to still be in Ferrara for this next transfer. It's gonna be awesome. I just cant wait for the work to explode.

Dang COD came out this week... I'm shaking inside I want to play so bad... Its not even funny.

Thanks for the update on everything.

******* is doing great. We saw her Sunday and again last night. Can you believe this she gave us a refferal. She brought a friend to the lesson. And she is super interested. It's worked out great because she has been having a tough time keeping reading commitments so with her friend now involved they do it together. It's awsome teaching them...

****** is also doing well. His lessons are always so long and he has to argue on everthing. Even stuff that I thought was pretty basic christian knowledge. For example we planned to teach the Plan of Salvation this week. The first time we taught the pre earth life and the fall and by the time that was done we had already been there an hour. It just takes awhile to clear everthing up. But he is still making progress. I still have hope for him.

Sorella ***** has been in Torino this last week, its been sad to not have her cook us lunch almost every day. I have been experimenting in the kitchen these days and I haven't failed yet. Almost all missionaries here just make cheap pasta for lunch. I came to a realization that I will let Italians cook me pasta and i'll cook everything else but pasta. I made a mushroom and beef stir fry kinda thing the other day over rice. It was sooo good. Then I have been making all sorts of different potatoe dishes... italians try to make mashed potatoes here.. lets just say stick with the pasta. I bought stuff today for corn Chowder... Is a leek absolutly necessary? cause I couldnt find it. I guess by the time you respond i'll have already made it so.....

Well Love you mom.

I'm gonna write Kristy soon... I know I'm terrible..

November 1, 2011

So big news right now is transfers... (Drum beats)...... (More Drum beats)..... Im staying in Ferrara another, so doing 3 with Weller. I'm really happy about this. I was so nervous and sad that I might have been leaving. President called us and he told us that he knows me and Weller have been together for 2 already but he wants us to "finish what we started" in Ferrara. Heck yeah! Thats so sick that Pres is looking out for me like that. It would have been so anti-climatic if I were to leave now. We are going to get an apartment in Ferrara this transfer, and then these last 2 weeks or so our work has just exploded. We are finding solid people to teach left and right. Im really happy to be with Weller this long. We work good together and are good friends. I learn so much from him always.

Anz. B. and P. are staying the same as well so no changes to our apartment. Other than that there is not much I think I can say that will serve your interest.  We will have to see how things go.

First we have M, a Peruvian Mother of a sweet lil 8 year old girl. Super elect and ready, she was a refferal all the way from missionaries in Argentina who met her there about a month ago at her father's funeral. I'm really excited for her this transfer. She has some problems that are out of her control in terms of coming to church but I'm really excited for her. We had such a strong Plan of Salvation lesson with her last night. We brought Sorella N, just great.

Then we have ****** that guy our age that I told you about last week, he's making some good progress. Still a hardcore Catholic but... It's coming. Yesterday I made some banana bread and we watched the Restoration movie with him. He liked it. What we really need to do now
i think is just get him to feel the spirit super strong while we are there or while he reads the Book of Mormon. I think he's the kind of guy who won't deny these feelings... Its just a matter of time. The problem has been that he is a fan of going on the internet and finding all the Mormon Dirt there is out there so a lot of times when we are over there we are trying to clear up those problems and its hard to have super solid complete lessons.

There are two 20 story apartment buildings in Ferrara, more or less completly filled with stanieri (Foreigners) Don't know the spelling... Anyways.. we did one of them the other day and taught like 10 lessons, picked up a ton of new contacts and investigators. It cant hurt to teach them and bring them closer to Christ. And maybe bring someone to Church. I'm sick of not having any investigators that Im worried about in church.

Dont worry about the Caramel. I cant believe you sent some that must have been expensive.... Thanks though. You're such a GEM. Have to say I'm a lil disapointed in the no desire to carve pumpkins thing... No shock though. If you can remember it was always me who made sure these traditions were always done and done right.... Let's just say things will change when I return. I wanted to Carve a pumpkin here. We just couldn't find any last minute.

Well I love you, Hope your holiday season starts off great...

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

October 10, 2011

Dear Mother,

I jut got back from the internet point where I promised I'd write a written letter about my week and how I'm feeling. So I'll start with Conference.  How conference worked was that Saturday night we went to Modena, about a 30 minute train ride away from Bologna, and we watched the Saturday Morning Session at 6:00 pm.  Looking over my notes, I really enjoyed Richard G. Scott's address.  He is always one of my favorites and then Pres. Packard's talk was very well done.  I like how he talked about a young people growing up in enemy territory and then going on to talk about how everyone with a body has power over those who don't.  Meaning we have power over the adversary and then of course I liked the powerful end, that "this war started from before the beginning of time is not in question.  Lucifer will lose."  Super powerful, gives me goosebumps.  Which actually was a reoccurring sensation all throughout conference.  So after that session we returned home.  The following day (Sunday) priesthood session was held at 11:00 and then Saturday afternoon at 2:00 and the Sunday morning live session at 6:00 pm.  After that one we had to return home.  I'm sad I can't watch the last session, I guess I still will be able to read it.  But like I already said, I really enjoyed Elder Hales' talk.  How true that everyone in this life will have occasion to ask "Where art thou?" when he said that I thought about myself back in Pisa after Riley died.  And then I thought of Alma and Amulek in Alma 14:10-11.  Seeing the women and children in the fire and God not stopping it. Elder Holland in Priesthood session threw down hard.  Did dad tell you about it?  Was this Justin's first priesthood session?  How did the boys like conference/priesthood session all together?  The 3 boys! And then of course I loved Pres. Monson's talks.  I left feeling very edified and re-charged just like I wanted to happen.  So we returned home ready to work harder.  Especially because Ferrara needs a lot of help right now.  So my companion and I set some new goals and for now we are doing very well with them.

Monday was district meeting, like usual.  And as a district vision we decided we were all going to work on developing Christlike attributes this transfer.  So the first one my companion chose to address was Diligence.  Something I think the whole district needed.  We had a great district meeting and after went right out to work.  We taught this German guy on the train out to Ferrara who is working for the French Foreign legion and has been in Iraq for the last 7 months.  He was really cool.  Swore a lot and wasn't really good at it either. Ha Ha.  I thought to myself, "this guy needs to get XBox Live and learn how to swear."  Then we got to Ferrara and went to a park that we visit often.  I didn't find many to speak with.  Pretty much on the way out of the park we saw a middle-aged couple and just said Hi.  They said hi back and said they were good and here's the strange part...they then asked us how were were doing.  Really strange.  So we jumped on that opportunity to tell them who we are and what we are doing in Italy and started talking to them about the Gospel and restoration.  Pretty normal stuff.  The part that made it not normal was when their 7 year old kid came up and started listening to us and then one by one more and more lil kids came over to where we were talking.  All in all it probably got to be about a group of 7-10 kids and then the couple.  We were preaching the gospel "Suffer the children to come unto me." It was really fun.  The lil Italian's Italian was so cute too.  So I would say the work in Ferrara is starting to come along.

I had a scambio with Anz. P, the zone leader who took D's place yesterday.  Oh my goodness it was so much fun.  We had so much success together.  We taught 7 lessons that day.  Finding sweet people who need the gospel left and right.  He is a really cool guy.  I like the way he picks up the people around him by example instead of being a self-righteous aspirer.  So my scambio with Anz. P was a big success.  Ferrara really needs the work.  Right now our problem is turning all these sweet new contacts into investigators and then get them progressing towards baptism.

I love you mom.  Your love and support sustain me. Through hard times, moments of trial, doubts and temptations, I think of you.  Yu help me through the thick and thin.  Your love and testimony are my rock.  I love you so much.  Thank you eternally for the sacrifices you make and made for me. I know this work is the work of the Lord.  I'm thankful to be a missionary at this time.  I pray I can learn to magnify my calling to the best of my ability.  Talk to you soon.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

September 21, 2011

Wow, lots of cool information this week, That is so awesome that Josh is going on a mission! I've been praying so hard for this! Just amazing! When is his availability date? I'm so curious where he will go! Do you know if he is going to school this fall?

Way funny to here about Newton and Wright being in Miranda's FHE group. I know Newton, Not Wright. Small world indeed.

So transfers news came in the other day, Anz. Weller and I are staying the same out in Ferrara. I'm very happy about this, Anz. Weller and I are so tight. So another transfer will be awesome. Never done 2 before. I think it will make it go that much smoother. So Duque is being transferred up to Vicenza. To be with... none other than my old MTC comp Anz. Taggart. Funny huh? Anz. Parker is coming here to be ZL. He has been a ZL in Milano... Not much else is happening. Remember my friend Anz. Free? He is training this transfer. Pretty sick.

Ferrara has been really good lately. We weren't able to go to church this Sunday because there was a train strike, so we went to Bologna ward. It was fun to see some cool old members but I really just wanted to be in Ferrara. This Monday we taught some super cool people on the trains To and from Ferrara. Awesome to know that the Lord is sending us people to teach wherever we are. A sweet, older sister member has really taken us under her wing out in Ferrara.  She has been feeding us and giving us a place to come and rest on the long days out in Ferrara. She is so amazing. Makes us the best meals and just opens up her home for us. I dont know where we would be without her help.

Right now we have really just been trying to expand our teaching pool, and seeing the members out here. Trying to activate and bring people to church. We still hold church in a member's home but the members are looking for a building as well as an apartment for us. I
really just want to move out to Ferrara now. So these days are just filled with lots of Finding work. It has been very interesting to see that many people know who we are even though the church hasn't been in the city for several years. We are meeting old investigators and less actives on the streets. Ferrara is a lot friendlier than Bologna.

Send my Love to everyone and Justin. Sounds like soccer is going pretty good for him. 

Love you Mother.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

August 30, 2011

Wow, lots of information this week! crazy stuff. So cole Got his mission call! Finally. I've been waiting to hear that for like 2 months. But that's awesome. Is Tacoma, Washington in Grandma's boundaries? Thats cool! tell him congrats for me and good luck! Are you going to invite his mom to the lunch thingys then? Yeah I wanted to ask you if you had befriended Paytons mom/Family, I love Payton and am really interested about his mission. He will be an amazing missionary and I'm not just saying that like everyone does. He is a really spirtitual kid, dispite his soccer field countenance. Like me also.... haha Good old time on the soccer field. 

So thats crazy to hear about the your new calling!  What does it exactly entail? I know the Lord will help you. And using the Book of Mormon is an excellent Idea! Reminds me a lot of something we have been using for Recieving Personal revelation! exactly what you need! Its called (PLV) Stands for Preperare La Via, (Prepare the Road) To Preperare La Via you need to Pregare(Pray) Leggere(Read) And Venire in Chiesa(come to church). These three things will help us to receive revelation. For investigators to help them gain a personnal testimony in the Book of Mormon and thus the Church and it can help you to receive the nessecary revelations for your new calling.... A General Conference talk comes to mind when I think about this... In Elder Neil L Andersons first conference talk as a newly ordained Apostle, he said that when President Monson Interviewed him for the calling he told him that "the Lord shapes the back for the burden that is placed thereupon". I know this is true... I know that he shaped the back of the prophet Joseph Smith so he could accomplish the great work and responsibility that was given him. Throughout the ages of time, God has always helped his faithful servants, from Moses to Joseph to the common missionary, God always shapes the back for the burden that is placed there upon. I know that God will help you mother. If you do your part, which I know you will, God will always do his. That's the blessing. God will always keep his side of the bargain. Best Of luck and let me know how everything goes.

Last Pday The Zone leaders were out of town so it was just my companion and me in the city. We had heard of wars and rumors of wars of an enchanted place known as Ikea on the other side of town. So we got on a bus and searched for it! long story short we finally found it
and had a great day trying out chairs and couches! and also... Ikea is the one and only place in all of Italy with unlimted fountain drinks.... You know how much soda I can put down... So after that we had a lot of sofa trying out to do... It was a lot of fun...

I havent gotten the CD, I dont think it made it. I have obtained a vast collection the last month or two... All I really want is Shawshank Redemption Soundtrack... Thats all I need.

Thanks for you letter this week. Have a blast at Bear lake! and the new School year!

Love Anziano Mendel

Thursday, August 18, 2011

August 17, 2011

Caro Madre,

Hey Mom! happy birthday for tomorrow, I hope the letter I sent will arrive tomorrow morning. Hopefully it will! So this weekend we don't have a baptism, He is going to take some more time to teach and have more opportunities to come to church, I still think he will be baptized it will just take a lil more time.

Its good to hear that you are recovering well and hopefully will soon be back on to normal life. Take things slow and do it right. For me. But I'm sure things get a lil stir crazy. I made the apple syrup the other day and it was delicious. Just what I needed to satisfy the craving. Don't worry about the CDs, I haven't gotten anything yet but don't worry, I've added to my personal library a ton in the last transfer or two from my comps and district members so no worries.

So changes for me and for Bologna apartment, So I got another companion, crazy how many changes that President is making these days. But there is nothing that I can do about it just role with the waves. So my new comp, Anz. Weller, His name is Ryan Weller, ya sounds a lot
like Ryan Wells. Kinda wierd. He's about my height maybe a lil shorter, probably like 180lbs, he's from California, Bay area. He hits his year mark tomorrow. So transfer 8, he is really good at the language and a really bravo missonary. Really good. I'm really excited for this transfer with him, He is a great teacher and there will be lots of opportunity for growth. Its only been a few days together and we have already had some very strong spiritual experiences. I'm expecting really good things for this transfer.

We have been teaching a lady named ****** for some time now and she has not been able to progress much because of her work. She is a house nurse and only has Saturdays off, So we have been seeing her just about every Saturday for some time now. Well miracle this week, we found out that she is changing jobs and should be able to start coming to church this very upcoming Sunday. Doesn't sound like that big of a deal but if she can start coming to church consistantly she will be baptized for sure. She is the most elect person I think I have ever met. Just so ready for the gospel. Our lessons with her are always so powerful and full of love on both sides. We taught her the Word of Wisdom and the law of chasity this last week, Usually the hardest things to teach but she was totally down for both of them and really already had a testimony of these commandments. I hope and pray she will be able to make it to church this week. That will mean everything.

We went to Modena yesterday for a leadership training with Bologna and Firenze zones. It was really good and spiritually uplifting. We talked alot about the doctrine of Christ and then the assistants stressed the importance of the "How To Begin Teaching" points in Preach My Gospel and using faith in Jesus Christ to start lessons off with new investigators. My companion and I were asked to give a presentation/testimony for the assembly of missionaries on the Start Chart,  a program that this mission does. It's pretty much Preach my Gospel, but it's a Chart with 12 weeks on it and has 2 principles a week, (Faith, Word of Wisdom, Tithing, Repentence) just gospel principles and we do four, two minute drills a day, where we teach our companions, using the principle of the week, an inpired question, a scripture and testimony. I shared an example that happened a few days before in a lesson when my tongue was tied and I didn't really know what to say next after my companion had finished talking and it was my turn to say something. The principle of the day was "God is our loving heavenly father", so when I didn't have anything to say that came to my mind because we had done our 2 min drills that day, I testified that she had a loving Heavenly Father and that was exactly what she needed.

Well I love you Mother so much, Get better soon. And try and find out if Cole got his call or not yet... I'm still crazy curious about that. Sorry my letter isn't really personalized today, Didn't have much time. Love you always have a great birthday!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Great Week, July 28, 2011

So this last week has been a pretty good week. One of my favorite in the mission by far, mainly because I did another scambi with my good friend Bona in Ravenna again and those are always amazing. We have so much fun together and also we had an amazing P-day! We went to the Republic of San Marino, and it was just beautiful! I loved going up the mountain city and through the castles and towers of that gorgeous country. Don't worry I took tons of amazing pictures and they are being uploaded to MobileMe as we speak. I had a great time there. The weather was nice and we were in a big group of really close missionaries so we just had a blast. I bought a watch too, a San Marino watch. its pretty sick, I cant decide if I want to wear it on my mission or just wait til I get home to... I got a great deal after bartering a lil. It was only 30£.

So Anz. Rich and I set a baptismal date with an investigator we have been teaching for a few weeks now, He is really awesome. He is always really punctual and came to church dressed like a baller! So I'm really excited for him right now. He is in a really good spot to get baptised. He's really interested, has a job, is married. The only problem is that he's not very good with Italian so we teach him in English and have to translate for him in church but thats okay. Maybe coming to church and being associated with some members will help him learn. So I have high hopes for him. His baptism if everything goes well, will be the 19 of August. I hope he is ready. I can only do my part and then the Lord has to take over and do the rest.

I have a really funny story to tell, I actually knew that Lance Cannon served in Bologna before your email and it's a crazy story how... So after Chruch on Sunday, the 4 missionaries serving here in Bologna were invited over to lunch at G******** 's house along with half the ward it seemed like. It was kind of like a ward party. So me and the other anziani just kinda retired into the other room away from all the madness while everyone got the food all ready and we were just talking and I looked behind me to the shelf and saw about 10 huge picture albums. So I grabbed one, opened the first page and there is Bishop Cannon staring at me in the face! It just caught me by such surprise to see him and his family, I saw Lance and some of his mission photos and then the photos when G********* went to their house... Hah! 14 year old Brinn with braces. And young Chase. I had a good conversation with G*********about it too! Just crazy that the first one I open and the first picture I see was a family from my ward in Utah.
Fratello S******** is now the 2nd counselor in the Bishopric here. 

The work in Bologna is alright right now. Still, doing door to door contacting has rendered no success whatsoever, we have gotten in once all transfer and it wasn't like that in Pisa at all.  I sometimes bring water and sometimes not. There are places where we can get water like fountains and things like that in parks, I usually bring some sort of bottle with me. The heat is still hot but not as bad as it was in early July. I hope it doesn't shoot up like it did then, It gets so humid here sometimes it starts raining and there aren't even clouds in the air. Crazy. The City is huge and packed but honestly now it's not that busy because everyone leaves. Italians love their vacations, they all go on month long vacations from the months of July through August. My first sunday we had about 60 or so members at church. Next week I think we will be lucky to get 15. With deodorant I have 1 and a half left. So for sure enough to get me through the summer and into September. Ya I have seen the University of Bologna. It's cool. It's not really like a separate campus or anything like that. It's just right smack dab in the middle of the city. The students are pretty wild sometimes. Yeah we have a bus pass that we have to buy every month to take the bus around. it costs 36£ a month.

I'm glad to hear you had a great time going to New York and the church history sites! Sounds amazing. 

Love Anziano Mendel

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

July 20, 2011

This week has been pretty good. Just missionary work and crazy heat. It's actually not too bad right now here. It rained last night and cooled everything down. I've been doing some scambi this last week. On Saturday I did a scambi with Anz. Dunshee. We were here in Bologna working with his investigators. We had the opportunity to give a priesthood blessing for an older guy here in the Bologna ward. It was a cool experience. I didn't give the blessing but I did the anointing. There is a special verb in Italian that is kinda of hard to use for anointing and I kinda botched it but I think God knew I was trying and accepted it.

I just got back from a 2 day scambi in Ravenna again with Anz. Bushman. He was in the MTC with me. One group ahead of me. It was pretty good. We had a lotta of cool experinces together. We were doing some Casa and knocked on a door where an abnoxious kid answered and then the dad came and at first was really cold to us. We told him we were
missionaries from the church... and told him we had a message about the family..... He asked us a really wierd question at the door. He said "Voi Credete che chi sono gli Angelli Sulla terra Oggi" (Do you believe that there are angles on the earth today) It caught us by surprise at first and then I said yes. Crediamo quello. He then let us in. We walked in and saw a lil girl in a high chair with some disease like down syndrom, He said "Here is an angel on the earth."    I don't know the actual phrase. They told us what she had but it was in Italian so I didn't really understand the super long medical term. Anyways, we had a super powerful lesson about the importance of the family with them and kinda went straight into the Plan of salvation, pre life and resurection in particular. It was a really spiritual experience. They really loved their daughter and asked us if she was in their lives to punish them or to bless them. We shared our message of peace and purpose of coming here to recieve a body and that everyone has different trials and tests. We left and have another appointment to teach them on Friday. I wont be there for that but I have high hopes for them.

Love you mom, Thanks for everything! I'll attach some pics next week hopefully. I dont have the stuff with me now.


Wednesday, July 13, 2011

July 6, 2011 Hand written letter

Hello, sorry its been awhile since a hand written letter, I just don't have a whole lot of time between missionary work and sleep.  But today I had some time because I had to go back to Pisa from Bologna to pick up my Permessso Di Sorgiorno (permission to stay in the country). So Anz. Rich and I had to go and take first a train from Bologna to Prato, from Prato to Firenze and then Firenze to Pisa.  Lot of travel.  It took awhile because we only take regional trains because they are the cheap ones.  So we got to Pisa today and went to the Questura.  We had to wait forever but I got my Permesso, (green card) and I have some good doesn't expire for 2 years. Usually the Permessos they give to missionaries are only for one year so you have to go through the renewal process all over again and its a real hassle.  So I'm super happy I don't ever have to deal with legal stuff again on my mission and I won't be deported.  I took Anz. Rich around to see the Tower and the River of course.  We got some pictures, ate at my favorite pizza place then I said good bye to Pisa for a long time. It was sad but just another one of those facts of life that we love so much.  I'm on the train back to Bologna now.

Bologna is a lot different than Pisa but I like it.  Much, much bigger and more foreigners.  It's also a Bus city so I'm not riding bikes anymore.  I'm in the process of learning to navigate myself around.  It will take some time to learn such a big city as this.  Living in 4 is better than I thought.  Sometimes its annoying but most of the time so much better.  It keeps us all on task like leaving the apartment on time and staying out til we are supposed to.  So it's Anz. Rich and me and Anz. Dunshee and Anz. Duque.  I love them all.  Anz. Duque is a really good cook and he loves to cook so he cooks for all of us a lot.  And also they are zone leaders so they are always going on splits which will bring other elders to our apartment.  I'm excited for that.  Also in my district is the city of Ravenna with Anz. Bona and Bushman.  Bushman was my first zone leader in the MTC who I loved so much and Bona is now my district leader.  He is so funny and chill.  But also really spiritual and serious when it comes down to our investigators.  I'm excited to scambi with him this transfer.

This Monday for District meeting Bona brought an American Flag and we all said the Pledge of Allegiance because it was the 4th of July.  Did you have a good Fourth of July?  What'd you do?  Did you make my favorite cake?  Do you remember what my favorite cake is?  I hope you had a great holiday and that the summer is going good for the family.

Summer in Italy is kinda brutal.  It's super hot now and the members and all of our investigators all go on holiday for summer so it's super hard to do the work.  My companionship in Bologna was just opened up last transfer so there is not a lot of things happening yet.  We have some investigators bur I'm not sure what will happen with them.  Also we haven't developed many member relationships yet which is clearly the way to go about missionary work.  I tried to start some this Sunday at a picnic we had after church.  its just a long process.  My Italian is really good right now, I think.  I have a long way to go but I think I've made tons of progress my first 2 transfers.  All the members were really shocked when I told them I've only been in Italy for 3 months.  So that's uplifting and encouraging.

So my new companion is really sweet.  I like him a lot.  I'm excited to work with him.  He's really chill but still knows and wants to work.  He never laughs at my jokes though....Haha (not a big deal).  I'm glad I have the chance to serve with him.  He's on his 11th transfer so he's pretty "old".  I like the way Anz. Rich and I teach together in the few opportunities we have had so far.  We have pretty good teaching chemistry.  I look forward to good things this transfer.  I hope I stay with Rich more than 1 transfer too.  Life is good for me.

Bologna apartment is super nice.  We even have a dryer, so we don't have to hang dry our stuff.
I want to end with my testimony that I know this church is true.  I know that missionary work is so important and I'm glad to be involved with it right now in my life.  I know we have a Savior and Redeemer in Christ and that only through Him can we receive remission of our sins.  I love my Savior Jesus Christ and I love my family.  I've been using your tips on Prayer like you counseled.  Thank you so much.  It's helping a ton.  Thanks for everything.

Anz. Mendel

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

My Bologna has a first name.....

So Bologna is good. It's a lot different than Pisa but I'm positive I'll be able to learn the city like I knew Pisa. I'm really sad to go but it was necessary. I dont quite know why it was, but President sent me here for a reason and I'm gonna try to figure that out.
University of Bologna, the oldest university in the Western World
I already wrote a letter and it's in the mail with a lot of details about my experiences in the last week. So that's already coming. But I'll share a lil.
Living in 4 is really different but really fun at the same time. We are all really tight already and things will only get better. I'm really young in the mission compared to all my roomates here in Bologna. But they say they are really impressed with my Italian for being in my 3rd transfer. I'm happy with the way my Italian is right now. I still have a long way to go to become 100% fluent but I feel I've made a ton of improvement.
So my Companionship in Bologna was just opened last transfer so there is not that big of a teaching pool yet. So we do a lot of knocking doors, just a lot of finding work. We have some investigators but I'm not quite sure how interested they actually are. As well as we have some who are really flakey with appointments so that just spoils our day. I do hope for good things this transfer here though. We made our transfer vision a few days ago, and put 2 baptisms on it. So I think with the Lord's help we can reach that this transfer. So I'm excited for that.
I really like my new comp. He's really chill and we get along well. It's gonna be a great transfer working with him. I hope we do more than 1 together too. One transfer is just really short to have a new comp every time.
So Other missionaries..... its all in the letter.. They are all older, Anz. Rich 11, Anz. Dunshee 11, Anz. Duque 12. And Me 3.
Sounds like you had a good time/ tiring time in Idaho. Cant wait til all those kids are grown up at least a lil more and its not such a crazy event to get together. That will be a crazy time for the family when they are a bunch of teenagers. yikes. But I'm glad you're home safe and all. Going back home is always my favorite part of vacations....
Its in the letter, but Bologna is huge. Much different than Pisa. But I like it. it will take some time to get used to but im up for the challange.
Speaking of dieting, thats what I need to do now... There is a scale in Bologna and right now I weigh 205 so the same as when I left but the issue is I know I have lost muscle weight and I know my belly is bigger... More blub down there. Not good. It's not too bad though. That's good that Justin and Davis are trying to eat right. I will try to echo that.
Anziano Mendel

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Getting Transferred to Bologna

Caro Madre,

Hey, I hope you're having a great time with your family in Boise.  That's so awesome that Payton is in our ward now! Way cool.  So when does he leave? That's sweet, I love Payton.  He's a really good kid.

That's so crazy about Jake's call to Australia.  What more can you ask for? Foreign, exotic, and speaking English. So sweet.  Sometimes I wish I was speaking English but the funny thing is that teaching in English is harder than doing it in Italian.  Honestly, I like teaching in Italian better.  It keeps things simple and straight to the point which is how it should be.  Sometimes we teach foreigners who only know English or American Families and its really challenging for me.

I'm not fluent yet but almost there.  I understand about everything but I really have to concentrate to do so.  Making my own sentences and responding quickly is my problem.  I catch myself making the sentence in my head before saying it when I want to be able to just say it.  That should take some more time though.

I'll try to take more pictures.  I don't always have my camera with me though.  So it's not always easy.  The pictures that are up on Mobile me aren't even close to the amount of pictures I have.  It just takes forever to upload them on the crappy computers we use.

So I've got big news this week.  Transfer calls came in and I'm staying in Pisa! No just kidding I'm being transferred.  The Lord is sending me to Bologna.  I have mixed feelings about it.  I'm excited to get to know new people and a new area, but I will so so so miss Pisa.  Mostly the members here who are so awesome.  I will miss them so badly and the sad thing is I won't be able to say good-bye to any of them. I'll see a few at English class tonight but not all.  Super sad.  I definitely want to come back here after the mission.  It is super sad.  I'm really nervous too.  I've heard from everyone that 1st transfers really suck.  It's gonna be so hard to learn a new city.  Especially after being the one who knew the city last transfer.  Learning new members will be tough too.

Another thing that will be super different about living in Bologna will be that there are 4 missionaries in Bologna.  Two companionships but we live in the same apartment.  Living with 4 is gonna be so different then living with two.  Potentially a lot more fun but a lot more compromising and stressful as well.  The other two missionaries are zone leaders which I think will be good for me.

Today I'm packing up my stuff and preparing to leave my beloved "Birth" city of Pisa.  I'm probably about half way through with it.   Tomorrow I have a train to catch at 6:05 am to Milano and then I have to go all the way back down to Bologna with my Comp.  So it will be a long day of travels with all my luggage.  Probably a 4:45 am wake up call tomorrow.

This morning I got a call from the Mission office that my Permesso di Sorrgiorno will be ready to pick up this week.  And that I should go pick it up.  I went to the Questura to get it and they said I can come pick it up around 3:00 tomorrow.  Too bad I'm being transferred.  I missed getting it by 1 day! Killer.  That means I'm going to have to come back another time next week to pick it up.  My Permesso is what keeps me legal in the country so I don't get deported.

Today and tomorrow will be some interesting days.  I'll let you all know about it next week.

Have a great time in Boise with the family.

Anziano Mendel