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