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

Monday, June 27, 2011

Randon Acts of Kindness

A few days ago I received a voicemail from a mother who had been vacationing in Pisa on a Wednesday and had spotted "the missionaries" riding their bikes through the center of town.  She waved them over and talked to them for a few minutes but they told her that they were on their way to teach an English class at the church and would be done at a certain time if they wanted to come back and talk again.  So she and her family went to visit the church and spent a nice amount of time talking with the missionaries.  One of them was Anziano Mendel.  She said that he looked good, that he seemed happy and that he had a great spirit about him.  She must have asked him for my phone number which she called while I was at an appointment so I wasn't able to speak to her myself.  But I was thrilled that she would take the initiative and ask Trevor for my number so that she could share this story from one "mother to another".

Thank you for your act of kindness.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

June 23, 2011

Hey dad, thanks for your letter and advice. That experience I had with my friend was a definite testimony builder for me and for him I think. This week has been a wild one. With high highs and low lows. We have been fed a ton lately which is awesome but I'm worried the 7 years of plenty are near an end and the famine will soon sink in.... Who knows. Transfer calls come on Tuesday. I'm really worried about those. I'm not looking forward to my first transfer. Not at all. I love the people here in Pisa, There are so many members here that are just awesome it's gonna be hard to leave.
This last week, the 16th of June was Luminara, A holiday in Pisa and it was awesome. Every building along the river was lit up and they had a huge firework show. It's every 16th of June. You have to see it!
Yesterday for P day we went with Livorno district to Firenze, It was a lot of fun. But when I got back. I noticed that my bike, which was locked up, was missing the back wheel! Someone tried to break through our lock, couldn't so they decided to steal my back wheel, just mine too. Not my companion's. How lame is that. I had to carry my bike on my shoulder all the way back to my apartment from the station, close to 2 miles I would say. That was such a beast.
This week is junior comp, senior comp switch week, so I'm senior comp right now. So Giove has me start and lead all the lessons we have been teaching. We had an amazing lesson with a less active family about faith the other night using Alma 32. I tried to talk about how we can develop faith that will be able to overcome the trials and difficulties that are sure to come in this life. It was really a powerful lesson and the spirit was there so strong. I really feel like I'm getting the hang of this language and usually don't have a problem expressing the things I want to say. The member actually told me after the lesson how well I speak for only being out 3 months. So I'm feeling good right now.
Thanks always for your hard work and sacrifice for me. Love you
Anziano Mendel 

June 21, 2011

We see a ton of Amercan tourists here. We get stopped by them all the time. We kind of avoid the piazza dei Miracoli for that reason. But it's awesome to see them in church. Did that Family tell you about my talk..... Hah I found out about 5 min before I gave it that I was to speak that day. I was really nervous because I had nothing prepared. It's the American families who were there who liked it cause they had no idea what I was saying. Haha so yeah, I tried. I used 1 Peter 3:15 and tried to talk about how the best thing members can do for missionary work is to be an example. "an example of the believers". I talked about misisonary work not being so much the things we say or the things we do but more of who we are. "We become what we want to be by being what we want to become each day" Elder Richard G Scott. I really like that quote.
So Aaron is out on the mission now huh... That mom lunch thing is getting pretty big. I love Aaron and am sure he will be a good missionary. Who is left still home besides Ryan! That really is rough that he has to wait so long. I'll be back for 8 months before he gets home... dang...
I heard from Dani about the great experiences she is having at EFY, thats so cool.
So I still haven't received that thing you said you sent me awhile back... With the Riley pictures.... When did you send it? how did you send it? And Mom I really need some CDs like Lots of them.  If you dont want to send me normal soft music at least send me some soundtrack stuff... Just like famous intrumental music. Without lyrics... I need it....
I really am curious to see what will happen to me and the rest of my district next transfer. I hope I stay. Really its quite possible that My whole district will stay the same after this transfer.
Time really is flying by fast. June is almost over. My 2nd transfer is almost over. Its crazy to think back and see how fast things have gone.
Well, Love you mom. Thanks for everything. Good luck with the cake i wish I could be there to eat the cake shavings.
Aziano Mendel

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Visit from the Beckstrands

Well, I am happy to announce that Trevor looks great and seems to be doing well!  He met us at the Tower of Pisa today with a member named E******* (originally from Africa).  We chatted for awhile, we gave him your bag (and we brought peanut butter) and he was cute and had brought us some cookies (which were delicious).  They were nearby at a ward party for the national holiday today.  He lives just 5 minutes away from the Tower and led us towards his home to get gelato.  We got gelato with him, chatted for a few minutes and then said goodbye.  I asked him how things were going and he said good.  I'm sure you already know about his baptism last week.  He seemed in good spirits.  He said he mainly eats pasta that they cook for dinner and was excited to get the mixes you sent.  Here are some pictures.  I gave him a mom hug and wished him well.  It was nice to see him!

May 21, 2011

Dear Family,

I hope everything is going good back home.  The last week has been interesting for me.  I finished my first transfer here in the mission.  Hah 15 to go.  Well as you know Anz. Schultz went home and I'm honestly kinda depressed about it. I miss him a lot but that's how a mission is I guess.  My new comp is Anz. Giove. He is a really hard worker.  I hope for good things together.  I feel like I'm getting better at the language though.  Understanding and speaking better. We're only speaking to each other in Italian so I guess I can't feel bad when there's nothing to say.  We'll learn the language together by SYL'ing all the time (speaking your language). The MTC group that was under me got to the country a few days ago.  Unfortunately the trainee that came to my district here is one who I didn't get to know very well and he looks so young.  Kinda funny.  My district is completely new now.

I wonder how district meetings will be.  It's still La Spezia, Pisa and Livorno.  We take a train to Livorno every Monday for district meetings.  Except this Monday.  The Firenze zone (me) and also the Bologna Zone have Zone Conference then so I should see some old friends from my MTC District there.  It's going to be a nightmare getting there though.  We have to be at the Church in Modena by 11:30, so to do that and to do that cheaply we have to take a regional train to Firenze that leaves at 6:54 am, then take an Intercity to Modena from Firenze and then a bus to the chapel.  Then we have Zone Conference and have to repeat the whole thing all over again to be back to Pisa.  It will be a long day.

The days are starting to get nice and toasty.  If the summer is anything like the last summer in Italy I'll be in for one for sure.  It was so hot last summer here.  I wonder if Pisa is similar to Rome in that way.

This last Tuesday, the night before me and Anz. Schultz left for Firenze we had dinner at a member's house.  It was so good.  I even got the recipe.  But they had this fruit for dessert that was so good.  It was called Nespole.  I'd never even heard of or seen fruit like it.  It kinda looked like apricots but it wasn't.  It was cool to try something so new.

Well, I love you all so much.  I'm happy to be here even when its hard and discouraging.  I know the lessons it's teaching me.  D******** is getting baptized this Sunday and I'm giving a talk at the service.  Its on Faith and Repentance, the first two principles of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  It should hopefully turn out good.  Tons of love, Ciao Ciao See you soon.

Anziano Mendel