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.