Wednesday, May 11, 2011

May 4, 2011 from Pisa

Dear Family,
Hey ya’ll, another week has passed here in Italy, I honestly can say that the weeks do in fact go fast, even when the days go slow.  This week has been a real busy one for me.  Because my companion is the district leader, I’m kinda forced to travel a lot.  I’ve been on 3 scambio’s this week, one to La Spezia, I had one here in Pisa and then I was in Firenze Monday of this week.  In fact I’m going back to Firenze for P-day this week.  I’m on the train right now.  It’s about an hour train ride from Pisa to Firenze.  I’m really excited to go and see the centro. (Pronounced “chentro”). So La Spezia was good.  I love the city, such a beautiful place, however, the missionary apartment in La Spezia is disgusting and I had to sleep in it.  That’s my least favorite thing about scambis is sleeping in other apartments.  Our Pisa apartment is so nice.  We, or I should say, my comp keeps our flat very clean.  I learned a lot from Anziano Frustaci while I was there so that’s good.  Being on scambio in Firenze was better.  Their apartment was really nice.  And Anziano Bullock is an amazing missionary.  He is also dying this transfer.  He was just great to learn from. What I really like about Anziano Bullock is that he is not an in your face self righteous missionary.  Anz. Bullock just does it for himself and for God and I really could tell.  I just like to be in my city of Pisa though.  Pisa Pride!
Trevor at Cinque Terre
So good news this week, D***********, our baptismal date came to church for the first time.  Which was really cool for the both of us.  He said it was completely different than he expected, but he enjoyed it.  The next day we had a lesson about the Word of Wisdom and it also went great.  This was what I was really worried about cause he smokes a lot.  So I didn’t know how it would go over, if he would be able to quit.  We told him about how we don’t smoke and he said, Great, I’m already quitting.  He said he used to smoke 60 cigarettes a day! Now he’s down to 15.  We have another lesson with him later tonight. I hope he has been progressing.  Other than D******** we don’t really have any other progressive investigators.  M******, a sweet lil lady kind of dropped us this week.  She said she received an answer after prayer and reading the BoM and we thought, “Great” .Then she went on to tell us how her family is catholic and she has been studying Buddhism and feels attracted to that.  So...we asked to set up another appointment and then she told us she was going to Berlin for a month to live with her daughter and that we could come back then.  So...that’s kind of wrapped up.
So we’ve been working also with this less active named  F************.  He’s really shy and uncomfortable but super nice.  He bought us pizza last night, which is, of course, always nice.  We teach him a lot about prayer and the BoM.  He’s just kinda a bum, 26 years old with no job and never leaves his momma’s house.  I don’t know what I can do to help him there though.  Any ideas?
So my first transfer is almost over.  I really don’t want Schultz to leave.  I wish he’d stay another transfer.  I hope my next comp is good.  Time will tell. I’m pretty much guaranteed to stay in Pisa for this next transfer, probably at least two more.  Sounds good to me.  I wouldn’t mind staying in Tuscany for the rest of my mission.
So I’ve kinda figured out I’m sick of making all the same things so could you send me some simple quick recipes that I could make here in Italy?  That’d be great.  I make pasta and pizza wraps a lot and I need something new.  Hope that’s not too much trouble.
So I have two more talks that I read this past week that are both just absolutely amazing.  Both given by Elder Jeffrey Holland.  “Safety for the Soul”.  It talks about the Book of Mormon and what a powerful testimony he gives.  And then “Place No More For the Enemy of my Soul”, talks about real love and lust and how different they are.  Awesome as well.
Okay it’s Wednesday night now.  You would not believe what D***********told us today in our lesson.  We were teaching him about the 10 commandments, fasting and following the prophet.  It all went good and then we got to the commandment about honoring our fathers and mothers.  He kinda cracked a joke saying this “doesn’t really apply to me”.  We asked how come and he told us when he was born he was put directly into a Catholic convent.  Straight from birth.  He told us he has never met his father and the first time he met his mother he was 18.  Crazy stuff huh! Count my many blessings.
Well, I don’t know what else to say other then I’m fine here.  Don’t worry ever.  I’ll be good.  You taught me well.
Love you all so much,
Anziano Mendel

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

April 27, 2011 From Pisa

Trevor's District Celebrating their Departure from the MTC
Hey Fam,

Things are going good for me here in Italy right now.  I'm at the Immigration office in Pisa and it's a total nightmare.  Hah.  We thought the DMV was bad, freaking stampede to get in the building and get a number.  People were like animals and then constant fights between people about who will go first.  Its ridiculous.  It's like people forget they're human and act like beasts when they get in these situations.

I hope you had an awesome Easter back in utah.  My Easter was pretty good.  We got invited to a member's house which was awesome and we feasted.  The pasta was amazing of course but unfortunately Italians don't know how to do BBQ and that's what we did.  They made us ribs but they didn't put anything on them....just put them right on the grill and then ate 'em.  The whole time I was asking myself "Where's the BBQ sauce?" They didn't have it though...Super sad but it was fun.  They wanted to play Risk with us after, so not only have I never played Risk, I was learning it in Italian! So that was interesting.  We were playing in teams of two.  I was paired with their 16 years old son and we totally won.  Our objective was to destroy red which happened to be my companion and another member named E*******. He's so funny.  He's a little Black dude from Senegal.  He was such a poor loser it was hilarious.

A lot of the youth in our branch are really into football, like American football. But they are all so bad, first time they gave it to me to throw I had my comp go long for the pass.  All the Italian kids laughed like I couldn't throw it that far, then when I put it in Schultz's chest their mouths were on the floor. It felt good cause usually I'm so down on myself because I can't understand what they are saying, the language is still tough.  I feel like I'm learning though, so that's good.  The day after Pasqua (Easter), Pasquetta seemed to be more of a holiday then Sunday.  It was so peaceful in Pisa, it felt like Venice cause there were no cars on the roads.  Just families out and about at the market.  We started to do Casa (tracking) that night too and we got the cops called on us, so we had to go home.

I have some good news though, we set a Baptism date with D******** last week, May the 14th.  I hope he makes it!  He smokes a ton though, that's what I'm really scared about other than that he's totally solid.  It's crazy the first time we met him, he was so closed off.  I thought he was a zombie and then 3 weeks later, he has a baptismal date and he even teared up when we taught him about the Plan of Salvation.  Such an awesome experience for the both of us.

I'm really excited for my next week.  I'll be in La Spezia again tomorrow on Scambio and then Monday I'll be in Firenze (Florence) for Scambio.  I'm not quite sure if I even like Scambis but the cities are both awesome.  Oh can you get me some addresses of people so I can write them?  I thought I would just be emailing but I can't so I need some, like family and friends, you know who.

I've been reading some conference talks this last week and have really been enjoying it.  Do you remember Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin's last talk before he died?  Entitled "Come what May, and Love It", Oh my gosh, absolutely amazing.  I just love that one so much.  Also, "A Matter of a Few Degrees" by President Deiter F. Uchtdorf.  And "Lift Where you Stand" Just Great.  Go read them.

So about the train thing, I don't really know.  I just know the idea and no details. My comp doesn't know either.  So I guess don't worry about it.  I just thought It'd be nice to have for when/if we come back to Italy.

The first 2 weeks here, honestly I was really homesick.  It's weird how I wasn't homesick in the MTC, but I was out here.  It wasn't bad or anything, I was just thinking about home and you all too much but I think I'm doing better now. Still tough.  Here in Pisa, we have a real solid, but small group of members but a ton of less active that seem to have been neglected so that's what we work on a lot and there's lots of finding work to be done.  It's real hard to get in doors though.  A. Schultz says it's better in other cities though. Pisa is just tough with it being 100% Italians and a ton of old people and then also college students because there is a university here and oh and sorry I forgot my camera when I went to Cinque Terre, believe me I was more down then you.  Not only that, I had to drag a duffle bag around the whole place because I was scambi'ing.  Heavy too.  I'll try to get the pictures.  But I'm pretty much for sure going to still be in Pisa for the next transfer, probably two more at least.  So my new comp will want to go so I'll be there again.  And I'll bring the camera then.

So is it weird having a daughter graduated from college with a full time legit job?  Seems weird for me to even think about it.  She'll be loaded with money by the time I get back right?  I mean what are her expenses like?  Nothing besides her car.  Totally sweet.  Every thing will be so different when I get back.  Any sweet movies come out?  Someone is keeping a list for me right? Better hope so....

Well I'll wrap up with my testimony of this work and this glory.  I'm so glad to be here in Italy serving the people here.  I love my Heavenly Father and his Son Jesus Christ.  I know that because he took my sins and sufferings from me that I can get through any challenges here on a mission.  I'm thankful for families and truly know families are part of God's plan for us to come to earth to learn, grow and be tested together.  In the name of Jesus Christ Amen.

Vi voglio Bene, Ciao, Ciao, Ciao

Anziano Mendel