Wednesday, December 5, 2012

December 4, 2012

Well it's been an interesting week to say the least. First off, I can't believe it's already December. Christmas is fast approaching. We already set up some sweet stuff for Christmas eve and Christmas. Namely we have somewhere to go and do Skype. So I'm really happy about that. We are going over to the same house where we prepared the turkey. It's a really cool family and I'm already getting nervous to talk to you all again. For the last time before I get home. 

Well the biggest thing that happened this week happened Monday morning on the way to District Meeting. My companion fell off his bike. He was coming down a hill and around a windy turn. He realized he had too much speed and tried to brake and make the snake like turn at the same time and the bike slid out from under him sending him crashing to the ground. Luckily he had on a helmet, but he received a gnarly looking gash along his left eyebrow. Really deep. I actually didn't see the accident because I was ahead of him. By the time I got there 2 people were already on the scene and the Ambulance already called. It really was a miracle though. Less then 1 minute after his crash an off duty paramedic walked by on his way to work. He knew exactly what to do and diagnosed the situation for us. He cleaned out the cut and gave him a gauze pack for his cut. The ambulance arrived and went the whole nine yards on him. Put him in a whole body brace, neck brace, locked his head onto the stretcher, wrapped this thing around his body and really just did everything. I rode in the ambulance with him to the hospital, called President and explained the situation. We got to the hospital and they kicked me out of triage pretty fast so I went to the waiting room and waited, luckily the other Elders arrived shortly after. We waited for prob 3 hours or so and he just came walking on out with 4 stitches and a big bandage over his cut. It looked like someone lifted up his eyelid and squeezed a golf ball up there as well. It's still pretty swollen today. Important thing is he's fine. He was definitely guided by God's angels. It could have been a lot worse. He actually did faint yesterday in the apartment, That was really scary. I've never seen someone faint right in front of me before. He took a nap and got up too quick afterward and just boom, on the floor. I caught his head before it hit the ground too hard. Afterward I gave him a blessing which was one of the most spirtual experiences I've had in my mission. I love Anz. Walsh. He just has a heart of gold. So yeah it's been a dramatic couple of days. 

You asked about our investigators... They are doing great. *********** stopped making progress, nothing was sticking with him. After 2 months of teaching him he still wasn't able to pray. So... Yeah. Not good. ****** is doing great. She fasted with us this week. Which was really cool. I just don't know why she can't make the next step towards baptism. She is so close! We want to talk to her next lesson about the Role of the BOM in conversion. We think maybe she isn't understanding the BOM as well as she could. I have hopes that she will be baptized before the new year and definitely before I leave. 

Our "little" peruvian family is doing AMAZING. If ever baptism was a doubt in my mind for the 15 it is not now. We had a crazy weekend with them. We were soooo close to having to move their baptism date but now we're all good. I'll explain. Thursday night we had an appointment with them, wanting to teach the WoW, and Chastity. However, we got there and lil ******* had these sores in her mouth and was crying up a storm so her mom had to take her in the other room and couldn't be at the lesson so it didn't make much sense to teach it without her there. So what we did was read from the BOM where ******* had left off. We read Nephi 3 with them. And it was an amazing lesson just what we needed to get them really focused on the BOM. So for the next lesson, Saturday night. We are on a bus headed to their house and we get a call from ******* saying that hubby and the kids were out of the house for a birthday party and wouldn't be back til late but that they would all be ready for us to come pick them up to go to Church the next morning. We were devastated because their baptism is coming up really fast and there is still so much to teach. But what could we do. So next morning we go to their house personally and pick them up. Do you think I'd just go to Church no problem and hope they'd make it there? Heck no. We weren't taken no chances. So we get them to Church, HAHA i go in to Primary with the kids because they were nervous to go in alone. And the parents went to priesthood and old lady society. Then Gospel Prinicipals starts and guess what? no teacher -- we have to teach. No one else in the class but Jour investigators. Think we taught Geneology? Nope! WoW and Chastity! We were so lucky to be able to get that lesson in otherwise them getting baptized on the 15 was not going to be possible. Next lesson; Monday. We get there and there is such a light feeling in the air. Everyone was so happy. They just loved Church. And are so excited to get baptized on the 15th. They accepted Tithing and follow a Prophet. Now we just have the practice interview and the real interview this Saturday. 

You asked about the Weather. It's been terrible. It's rained and been freezing for almost 2 weeks straight now. Makes our work really hard. 

Well I'm super jealous about the indoneasian food this weekend that you will all be eating. Can we have a late indoneasian food party when I get home within the first 2 weeks or so? I'm dying for some good food other then Italian. 

Well I love you all so much! Dang I had no idea a heating system would be that expensive! That's ridiculous. We are extremely blessed. 

So my Homecoming is the 10th? Perfect. Who will be speaking with me? Do they give RM's topics? I hope not. I was able to listen to that video you sent me. HAh Brayden... Such a goober. 

Well have a great week! Love you all and miss you tons! 

Anz. Mendel

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

November 27, 2012

Well, It's been another good week, once again I found myself behind a turkey. This year the turkey was almost double the size as last year's. Only that we had 60 plus mouths to feed instead of only 4. The Branch threw a Thanksgiving party and asked one of the American members to cook the turkey. It's actually a tradition here in the Branch. So the American member ***** asked if we wanted to go over to her house and help prepare it. I was there so fast! Don't worry I have plenty of pictures to share this week. The Thanksgiving party in itself was a huge success. We had a bunch of investigators there. ***** had me at the head cutting the turkey for everyone. It was fun. It was great to hear about your Thanksgiving, mine was good but I just really missed you all. I'm thankful for my family and this will be the last Thanksgiving that I will be away from family! 

Our work is going great, Anz. Walsh and I get along great. We are working super hard and have had a ton on our plates this last week. Our investigators are doing great. **** and ****** werent able to come to church this week because there was a stupid Marathon in the city and they shut the whole city down. No bus to take and no access to their part of the city in a car. The adversary works in strange ways to keep people from church. ****** made it though! She got to the startion close to the church but her ride wasn't able to make it in to pick her up because of the road blocks but apparently Taxi's still found a way so she took a taxi to church. This was a sign to us that she is really committing herself. Anz. Walsh and I both gave talks in church as well. The Branch Presidency called us Saturday and asked if we could speak. My comp and I and then the branch mission leader.  So pretty much we had to fill up the majority of the time. I had about a half hour to prepare for my talk the night before and before I knew it I had already been at the pulpit talking for 20 mins. That would never have happened before the mission. It's crazy how easy it is to talk about the gospel. I talked about Abinadi, how he never saw the fruits of his labors, to his knowledge no one was converted to the gospel. Abinadi didn't baptise anyone. Maybe he thought he died in vain as a failure. But he didn't. We all know that Alma was converted. But he didn't. But nontheless that didn't matter. He was sent from God to deliver a message. He fulfilled his purpose and was killed. God doesn't look upon Abinadi any different then he looks upon Alma the younger who baptized thousands. No effort is wasted. We don't need to see the success of our labors to know that God is happy with our sacrifice or effort. That was pretty much what I talked about. 

Last night it thunder stormed super hard-- parts of the path on the way home from the church were flooded. We were riding on the bike path and I saw this huge puddle at the last second in front of me and slammed on my brakes just in time. "We have to find another way around I say" but my comp thinks we can make it through. "its not that deep" he says. I respond "prova pure" (be my guest) so he goes for it. HAH the water was up to his knees while he was riding a bike and then he falls off the bike. Luckily he caught himself going down so he didn't fall full in but his bike got fully submerged and his whole lower half was completely soaked! I couldn't help but laugh my head off! Hey! I did warn him. 

Sorry this email is super short, I don't have much time today, Tell Grandma thanks for the B day money. That is so generous of her. 

That video you sent me has no sound to it. Or at least the computer I'm using now doesn't support it. I'm going to go to the library and try with the computers there. It looks super trunky. 

Love you all! Enjoy the pictures.

November 20, 2012

Well it's been a pretty good week, getting a new comp is always a new experience especially when that new comp isn't American, it's even newer. We get along great. His name is Anz. Joseph Walsh from Manchester, England. He actually started his mission when he was 18, so he's been out 8 transfers, 1 year and still 19. He's a great missionary and we will have a great 2 transfers together. Full of success. 

Well Happy Thanksgiving. It crept up on me this year. Sadly this year I will not be buying a 44£ turkey to cook myself. However, the Branch here has a tradition of throwing a Thanksgiving party seeing as there are 2 American families here in the Branch. So I should be able to get myself some turkey. I, of course, volunteered my services. I'm gonna make a whole bunch of Mash potatoes and some corn probably. It will be tomorrow night. The reason why last year Thanksgiving was so special and fun was because we were living in 4 and we were all so close. This year we don't have that luxury living in 2 with transfers just last week. I hope you all have an amazing weekend staying at home. In my opinion those have always been the best years anyways. I'm Thankful for my family who loves and supports me. Have a great weekend. 

So our Peruvian family is doing really well! We've seen them twice since last we spoke and they are growing so well in the Gospel. Last lesson after finishing up the Plan of Salvation the lesson before we brought the Restoration film watched it together and then just kind of reviewed what we've talked about and made sure everything was 100% clear to them. It was a great lesson as we had the opportunity to clear up questions about the BOM and about Baptism itself. They all seem really excited about the Baptism and just want to have a more united family. They made us this really good peruvian dish the other day and I'm gonna try and recreate it this week or maybe next week. They weren't able to come to Church this week because both of them had to work which was sad but they are set to come this upcoming Sunday. However, ******* made it to church this week. 3 times now! She is doing amazing. We saw her last night and kinda did the same thing we did with the Peruvian family. Talked about her questions and doubts and then tried to teach about revelation and recognizing the spirit in her life. Another awesome lesson. Anz. Walsh and I teach well together and its just the first week. I look forward to many miracles this transfer. 

Nice to hear you saw Brayden,  Crazy Brayden is home. Next up... Tj. 

Being with an Englishman is fun and surprising all the differences it creates. For example he didnt know who Kobe Bryant is. That one just blew me away. He is great though. I make Harry Potter jokes aimed at him and we both get a good laugh. He has served with Italians the last 4 transfers so someone has to do it. Speaking of Britts. Did you see the new James Bond Movie? That looks cool. 

Well, Love you all so much! Have a great holiday weekend. 

November 13, 2012

Well this week has been a really good week for us here in Firenze. There is lots to share. Lets start off with Transfers. 

So as very much anticipated, my companion Anz. Francom is going to a city called Trento, about an hour north of Verona in the mountains, the alps. He is going to have a nice cold snowy winter. Meanwhile I am staying here, still DL, but luckily Pres is sending sisters down here so the district won't be made up of just us and the ZL's. My new comp is an interesting one. He is going into his 9th transfer I think, which I'm really excited about. Someone who should be able to speak decent Italian. I didn't want to die with a greenie or a newer missionary and have to do a majority of the teaching. But his name is Anz. Walsh. He's from Manchester, England. So I get my 2nd foreign companion who is still not an Italian like I hoped but oh well. I've heard great things about Anz. Walsh so It should be a great transfer. Obviously you never know what can happen with the way transfers work but most likely he will be my last comp so I'll finish the mission in Firenze. A Milan missionary's dream. At least that worked out for me. Transfer 15. 

Well this week we were extremely blessed with a million dollar referral. A beautiful Peruvian family of 5. They are so amazing and so elect. Our first appointment with them was last Thursday and it was kinda crazy in the house. The dad had just barely returned from work and the lil 2 year old was crying up a storm so we weren't able to convey much. We kind of just talked about who we were and did so "How to begin teaching points" and set up another appointment for that Saturday. So for the next appointment we arrive and things are a lot more calm. They had even made food for us. We sit down and share the message of the restoration. They just go on and on about how they want a good church for the kids to go to and learn about Christ. The 9 year old is super curious about religion and God so he is just eating it up. We had an amazing lesson with this family and everything was set for them to come to church the next day. But the world is working against us, it decides to rain super hard Sunday morning making it difficult for them to arrive to church in bus because they don't have a car. So I called around 8:50, church starts at 9 and they told me they couldn't come due to the rain. I asked them if we can organize a ride would they be able to come and they said yes so it was then up to me to find a ride. Which turned out to be a difficult task. I asked the Branch President who says that no one has room in their cars to take a family of 5. But he said he'd try to find something. So we start Priesthood, and we have the lesson. He makes the normal announcements and doesn't mention anything about this family so at the end I stand up and ask all the priesthood holders there if someone would be willing to go pick them up. I mean its an elect family of 5! Lets freaking bring them to church. Luckily we had a volunteer. And he left right then and got them there to Gospel Priciples class. They had an amazing time in Church, the gospel principles lesson was on "Roles in the Family" and then we had the Primary program so it was just for them. It was literally a miracle to get them to chruch and they loved it! Then last night we saw them again. This time for the Plan of Salvation, only the first part. And they just ate that up as well. We invited them to be baptized and after getting past the usual first obstacle of "we have already been baptised Catholic" they accepted a date for the 15th of December. They are just so ready for the Gospel. Andrè read 3 Nephi 11 the chapter we gave them as homework the first time. Then he sat down with his parents and made them read and then after he started to read from the beginning. After they accepted the date, ****** asked ******* why she wanted to be baptized. If it was just something she is saying because everyone else wants to or does she really want it. She goes on to talk about some family/marital problems they have had in the past and how she just wants to have a strong family and then ******* started to talk about how his family is the most important thing for him and that he thinks this "change" is a good thing for his family. Wow they are just so cool. They are so nice to us and really have a fire within. I don't want to get to ahead of myself but I really can see this family getting baptized. Sorry that story was long and all over the place but teaching that family this week has been just so full of miracles and so full of the spirit. We really are just so lucky to be teaching a family like them. 

Also ******* made her way to church this week. We had an amazing lesson with her on Monday and after weeks and weeks of trying to give her a date she said that next week she will sit down with us and pick a date for her baptism. 

********* is doing good he still just needs lots of time but he's getting there. 

So our work has really been given a huge boost by this family. We are going to have an amazing tranfer. Having such elect people to teach will help keep me focused and not trunky so that's another plus as well. 

So you got my flight plans huh? That's exciting. Yeah things are winding down. I miss you all so much. Just a lil over a month and we will talk and then I'll practically be home. You asked if there is something you can do to make these last months special for me? I have no idea what more you can do for me then you already do. I'm so thankful to have had so much support my whole mission. I can always count on a fat email full of love from home each week and that is more than enough. Don't send me anything for Christmas or my B-day thats just a waste of money. I'm doing great. 

How cool to hear that Davis was so successful his first go at the ACT. I'm so proud of him. 

Cool to hear about your car coming in. That's exciting. Hope you like it. Send me a picture of you next to it. And talking about pictures. I'm sorry to report that I missplaced the cord that connects my camera to the computer and that USB drive that takes the information directly from the card isn't working anymore either. I have no idea why. I found a replacement cord but its 25£!!! I dont know if its worth it. So sorry. I dont know how else I will be able to attach pictures. 

The question about the members. Yeah every once and awhile we get invited to eat with members. Its nothing like Alessandria where we ate with members at least 4 times a week but occasionally the members have us over. 

Thinking about this upcoming summer. Things are sounding incredibly busy and even more incredibly expensive. June the whole month practically in Italy, then we get back and you have trek to deal with...

Well love you all so much. This was a long one. Have a great week. 

November 6, 2012

How disappointing to hear about Obama winning again. I was so sure that Romney was going to win. I guess that was just ignorance on my part seeing as my information was so limited. It was really funny walking around Firenze yesterday and seeing all the signs that read "election day in the USA" hah! Do we even know who the president is in other countries? I don't. Even on the sides of buses, On the electronic screens it read election night. Everyone was talking about it. I guess who the President of the US is affects Italians more than the Italian Pres. Dang hearing about the tires costing 50% more just stresses me out for the future. How in the world am I going to have enough money to do anything. You all are keeping your eyes open for a good job for me when I get home right? You've never mentioned anything about that even though I've asked many times. I just want to start being productive pretty fast once I get home. I don't want to stand Idle for weeks and weeks. 

This week has been a good one. We have had some great success with our investigators. This week we saw a part member family that we have started to work with this transfer. It's a family of 3, the mother and 15 year old daughter are members and the Father is not. His big problem has just been the faith to change from past habits. Like drinking and Sabbath day observance. We taught the family the Gospel and for some time we have really been focusing on getting the Mother and Daughter involved in the teaching but they've been rather shy and closed. This last week however, they both bore powerful testimony on the power of the Gospel of Christ and the help it gives us to change bad habits and start a new life. Surely their testimonies meant a lot more to him than ours. He made lots of progress there. 

Other than him, **** and ********8 are making great progress as well. ********** is no longer an atheist which is a huge step. He is praying and meeting with us often. We tried to give him a baptismal date last lesson but he didn't think he could be ready for it. He wants to be baptized, he just wants more time. Too much time. But I think He will come around sooner or later. ****** came up with some  excuse to not come to church this week but we saw her the next day and she is doing good. Both of them are on the path towards Baptism, just that they dont want a date quite yet. 

We had interviews this Monday with President here in Firenze. Mine went great. We talked a lot about the work and specifically the members here. He knows a lot about them here because it is a District and he is the head.  Our zone and our apartment for that matter are 30 min bike ride (going fast) away from the church and then our zone streches far south and members have to drive a long way to get to the church.
Things with me and my comp are great, we are good friends.  For me it's just been another great life lesson that I've learned a lot from and am very thankful for. I feel like I've grown a lot from where I began in the mission. Before I would always feel like leaving an argument or conversation unsolved or "un-won" meant a failure on my part to prove my point/prove that I was right. But I've learned that it's not always that way. Taking Pres Monson's advice can never lead you astray. 

I love you all so much and cant wait to see you soon. I'm working hard don't worry. I'm kinda curious what kind of companion President will send me for my last 2 transfers... Guess we can only wait and see. Anz. Francom is leaving at the end of this transfer. Well love you all! 

Anz. Mendel 

Ps In that video I think I came off looking really weird. Really skinny.... I guess you will see. 

October 30, 2012

Okay First things first. Porca misera! Mom, Dad, EVEN Grandma mentioned something about the "big changes" in her (DANI's) life, with her boyfriend and all. However, Poor lil Anziano Mendel has been left in the dark. You've just teased me with a taste of what's going on. I want the full meal. Even the gravy on top.  I emailed Dani last week begging for an update and I didn't get anything from her this week. Last I heard from her was her letter a month or so ago. So spit it out. What's happening? Luckily for other reasons I have to come back later and finish up emailing. So I will be on later this afternoon. Additional information would be appreciated. 

So I'm now a double-diget-midget. Honestly I've never heard of that before. Usually missionaries here try to hide the fact that they are about to expire to appear bravo. So  the phrase isn't used. Thanks for the update though. Dang 99 days. That's pretty crazy. I miss you all tons too. 

So It was exciting to hear that you have a ballot for me to sign. Sign my name in blood under Romney! Basically the farther right the better for all the other elections! I'm practically Fascist. It's grown a lot in the mission. That's something I haven't expected. As my time here has passed and I've gotten better and better at Italian I find myself in debates and discussions with members and investigators, mostly members defending capitalism and fighting against all the socialists that are here. Its just too fun sometimes. I don't think I've ever lost a debate. 

I can't believe you don't know what you want to be for halloween! I have a perfect costume for you. It might be a lil late but you should be a Nun! How funny would that be with me in Italy and all. I was thinking of being a nun for my first Halloween back. 

This week we made great progress with 2 of our investigators. ****** is Italian, an atheist. We saw him twice and he's really making good progress. He's reading and even said the prayer at the end of the lesson. For an athiest that is really good. He has a lot of questions and really likes to talk. We are putting into practice the latest technique, you could say, from president about being simple and bold. We just say things how they are. Don't sugar coat anything and I think it's really helping. ****** is from Peru which works out great because there are more Peruvians in the branch then Italians. She came to church this week and made friends really fast with a few great sisters in the ward. One of them even invited her over to lunch later in the week. 

The seasons are changing. It got really cold the last 3 days. No more beads of sweat just layers upon layers of clothing to make it through the day. It's fine though. This is my favorite part of year and you can really smell it in the air. Thanksgiving is 2 weeks away and then there's Christmas. 

Nice to hear about James and Whitney getting home. Funny to think that she got her call while I was in mission, she left and got back while I was still in the mission. The sister missionaries that I started with have been done with their missions for months. Speaking of Homecoming talks. You need to make sure that my talk doesn't fall on the same day as Landon Smart's. If for some reason the ward has something else planned for that same weekend that I get home and cant do it then. Honestly I think I would prefer to do it that same weekend. Just get it over with. ;) I think I'll be nervous too. Giving a talk in Italian to a room full of 60 or so people is a lot easier I think. Do they usually give return missionaries topics? 

Thanks again for the updates. That storm on the east coast just sounds brutal. America can't get a break can it! 20 billion! add it to the national debt. Where are we at now 15 trillion or so? 

So reminder of the things you need to fill me in on fast for when I come back later this afternoon. 

1). Dani and whatever the heck is going on there.
2). What day exactly is the election. When do you find out who won or not? 
3). What can I get all of you as gifts for when I get home. The 2 boys are easy. But for the rest of you? 

Love you all so much! Have a great day! Hear from you soon. 

Brayden Miller is Home

The first of the Homecomings has taken place - Brayden Miller is home.  This short message video was shot at Brayden's home after his homecoming address.  Well done, Brayden and welcome home.

Friday, October 26, 2012

October 23, 2012

Well, Thanks for your letters. That southern Utah trip sounds like a blast! Can we do it next year too so I can come? The picture was great. Dang those 2 boys have grown up a bit. Not enough to be able to take me but close maybe ;) I miss you all so much and I'm glad you had a great weekend.

As you said I've found a bit of my rhythm her in Fireze. I can get around now and I'm learning more of the members. This Branch is a lot different than the others I've served in. I don't know how to explain it. Just has a different mood to it. This Sunday I gave a talk in church, 15 mins on missionary work. So pretty much open topic. I talked about the influence of a member on missionaries. I kind of grafted off of a talk by Elder Holland. The one a few years back where he thanks the church for all that they do. I listed off all the things that missionaries are thankful for that come from the members. Shared a few stories of how certain members in my mission have made my day or even changed my life. It was a hit, everyone loved it. I think It might be easier for me to give a talk on gospel principles in Italian then it will be in english when I get back.... I'll have to warm up my english speaking skills. 

Well a normal day for us here in Firenze. We are usually able to set up 2 to 3 appointments with investigators, less actives or a member and then time in between is usually spent in parks and on the street talking to people. I haven't knocked one door yet in Firenze. I love all the variety of parks here in the city. Alessandria had zero parks so I'm making up now for the lack of parco done in Alessandria. OH and speaking of Alessandria, ****** and ******* were baptized last week, ******* will have to wait til March to turn 8 but that was really exciting to hear about. 

For P-day we have always just walked around in the market and around the Cathedral Down town. Usually another companionship comes in to visit so we have always been in company. For example my good ole Anz. Memmott came to Firenze last p day and we chilled together. Today we are going to play basketball with the other elders in the city. 

This week we found a new investigator to teach named *******, She is kind of an emotional wreck but she has a sad story so I don't want to be too heartless with her. She is in her late 50s or early 60s and her 2 sisters have died in the last 3 months. So she is just mourning and needs someone to talk to. This would be the perfect situation to bear hardcore T about the Plan of Salvation but its just been impossible to get a word in with her. She just goes on and on with stories and endless tears. We speak for 10 seconds and she interrupts into another story. At this point she has the address of the church and said she will come. If she does we will see, if not I don't know if we will see her again. We don't even have her number to set something up. 

That House looks amazing! That's like fairy tale kind of stuff! I'm so exicted! We will really be there for a week! So cool! I can't wait to plan that trip out! I'm glad we are going to see Alessandria. I think that is the city I want to go to the most. If we are just in 6 when we go there I prob could find sleeping arrangements for all of us. Really It wouldn't be a problem. 

Well I can't beleive Davis is 16! All of your kids are growing up! Make sure those 2 boys aren't getting sassy with you or when I get home there's gonna be some pain! ;) I love you all! Have a great week! 

Ps. In the markets there is lots of really cool stuff that I can't bargain down unless  I buy a lot together. I need to start looking out for some gifts I can bring home for you all. Does Dad need a nice italian belt? or any of the boys for the matter.. Or even you mom. A bag? Leather jacket? I dont know what do you think? 

October 18, 2012

Wow, thanks for info on Ashley's farewell. Sounds like it was a blast! That picture was just too good. Chase has always been so comfortable in between 7 cute girls! Thanks for the CES talk by Elder Holland. I should be able to print it out here at the internet point.
Well this week has been pretty good. We had a lot of commitments that pulled us away from the work, mainly the bike that was left here for me broke 2 days after I arrived. So we had to track down another bike, on foot in a city that I don't know yet. We finally found a suitable option and I bought it. So we are now fully operational.
Things with the companion are fine now. Pretty good actualy. We get along great. He's a cool guy who has had a hard life and fighting to survive is the only thing he has ever known. After I learned more about him it was easier to resolve things and get moving foward. He's a great missionay and is a capable person.
I met the branch here for the first time this Sunday. It just so happened to be fast and testimony meeting. Usually Missionaries are asked to introduce themselves the first sunday. The branch President didn't announce it but I made my way up for the first testimony of the meeting and introduced myself. The branch is... interesting. Very different from Alessandria. For the most part it is made up of South Americans. Peruvians. So there is lots of spanish going on, the 2nd counselor walked up to me and asked if I spoke spanish and when I responded no he let go this big ol sigh of dissapointment. I was like... "this is italy isnt it" I speak Italian that should be enough. It brings me back to that day at Wendys where they messed up my order and put 3 pieces of cheese on my burger. No queso!
Walking around Firenze with my comp, memories of doing the same thing with my trainer all those days back when I was in Pisa come flooding in. Only that now the roles are reversed. Mormon tourists have stopped us each time that we are anywhere near centro. Among the most common of questions asked is how long you have been in the mission. I let my comp respond first always, he says 6 months and then I say 20. The member always gasps, eyes get big, smiles appear and they tell me I'm almost done. Like I don't already know. Doesn't help with Trunkiness.
We don't have many investigators right now.... Shocker. We have two. ****** and ******. ****** is peruvian who has been investigating the church for some time now and then ****** is really a cool one. He's a student from Denmark studying art. He is really just bravo.
I had another "first" in Firenze this week. Near centro a man started mumbling swear words and blaspheming us, which wasn't unusual at all, I just pretended like I wasn't hearing him. Then as we walked by he dropped a bunch of F bombs and spat on me. First time some one has spat on me for being a missionary. It took a lot of self restraint not to turn and stomp him or something but I just kept walking. And then again that same day we saw him again and he started to say the same things only this time he didn't spit on me.
The other week I officially finished all the standard works of the church. So I started reading Jesus the Christ. I'm about 100 pages into it now. I'm learning a bunch.
Well, I hope that for next week I will be able to tell you about some new investigators we found. I love you all so much and miss you tons!
Anz. Trevor Mendel
Via Mannelli 121
50132 Firenze

October 11, 2012

Well, Im in Firenze now... its been a big change. The city is, of course beautiful. But I miss the members and investigators in Alesandria. Transfers went pretty smoothly and I found myself in Firenze at around 8 that night. Long day of travel and waiting. The Facts about the current situation... Firenze has 2 companionships of elders and two Branches. I haven't been to church yet because we had General Conference but I've heard we have around 50-60 sacrament attendance. Not too bad. Not good. But not terrible. It's not Ferrara or Mantova. My Comps name is Austin Francom. He lives in good ole Sandy Utah. Off of Sego Lilly. So nice and close. He went to Jordan and graduated 2011. We get along all right. The last 3 city changes President has had me follow-up train which is potentially super hard. I've done it 3 times and this one has been the hardest. 

The only ray of light in terms of investigators is a student from Denmark. He is really cool. He had some friends back home who were return missionaries so that's how he knows about the church. He's cool he just doesn't have a lot of time to give us so that's tough. 

My comp says that they always eat at home even on Sundays. I've never had to do that my whole mission. At least Sundays members would invite us over to their houses. We will see if I can change things. Our branch mission leader lives over an hour outside the city so we never can see him. Member/missionary relationships are just poor here. A complete change from my life in Alessandria where I made great friends with tons of members. 

General Conference was amazing of course! The announcement on missionary work was crazy! We were all flipping out. Yeah, I wonder how they are going to gauge missionaries coming into missions... They are going to have to make people wait. Because true, You cant only have new missionaries coming in during the summer like they all will want to not to interfere with School. I guess we will see how things go. For Davis it won't be much of a change I think. A few months. Justin it will save him from waiting a whole year. But then on one side of things. I think its great that people CAN leave earlier but I dont think that everyone necessarily needs to leave before they are 19. Already there are too many people in missions with no real life experience and no maturity. The major part of my companions don't even know where to begin cooking and cleaning. I loved how I was able to get out and live on my own before my mission. Instead of just going straight from mommys house into the field. I think Bishops really need to consider this when they reccomend missionaries for service. I really enjoyed President Uchtdorf's first talk on life's regrets and then I liked Elder Holland's of course and then also Pres. Erying on how sometimes it is us that puts a pavillion up during times of trial. I couldn't help thinking about Pisa and Riley during that talk. 

Thanks for giving me the update on the Presidential debate. Sounds just awesome! I'm so sad I missed it. We actually met two new yorkers in the city the other day that knew us as mormons but weren't members. They told us " We're New Yorkers! And we're voting Romney!" I was all like Heck yeah! I didnt really say that. Just thoughts that I've learned not to vocalize. (But still are okay for my emails home) :)

As with ******, Her baptism should be this weekend. The 13th. I will prob call the Alessandria Anziani to find out if it went through or not. Or I will see it on the newsletter they send out each month. 

You made Arancini!?! Wow... I was supposed to make those for you for the first time when I got back... O well. How did you make the Ragù? 

Well Love you all so much! Talk to you next week! Dont forget to include the political stuff. 

October 3, 2012

Well, we had our baptism last week. **** was baptised the 29th and confirmed the 30th. We had a great service even though it wasn't very well attended by the ward. We were really excited to see her make it all the way to baptism and to see her as happy as she was that day. I brought my camera to attach pictures but for some reason the computer I'm using won't pull them up. I think I will be back at the internet point this afternoon. Around 5 or so my time and will try to use a different method to attach pictures. I really did take a ton of pictures this last week. Lots of amazing pictures that I want to send to you. Seeing as this was my last week here in the city.
So for transfers. As you and I expected I'm being transferred away from Alessandria, I'm really sad to leave this amazing ward and especially sad to not be able to see ***** and ********** get baptized because they are so close! Their baptism is next weekend. And they have been taught pretty much everything. On one hand the transfer sucks but my new city is pretty cool. President is sending me to Firenze (Florence). So I will be dying in the beautiful city of Firenze. I'm pretty excited to be in the best zone for the last few months of my mission. Now I just hope that there is something to do down there in terms of missionary work. But I really doubt it. I've never been blessed with a transfer to have current investigators in the city. So I guess we will just wait and see. My new comp I know nothing about. He is really young. He is going into his 3rd transfer (I'm in 14 now) his name is Anz. Frankum. I think that's how you spell it and that's all I know about him. 
So this last week my Comp has been really sick, so we've spent lots of time locked up in the apartment while he sleeps. It's been pretty boring for me. But he wasn't doing so well so sleeping was the best option.
Saturday night we had a ward activity in the church and it was a huge success. We had tons of investigators there and had a blast. The theme of the activity was the many ethinicities that the Alessandria ward has. We have like 11 different ethnicities here. So someone from each different country was to prepare a presentation on the country and prepare a type of food from the country. So we as missionaries represented the US. I made a Power point presentation and Friday while my comp slept I spent 4 hours making 10lbs of chocolate chip cookies. I literally made so many! And I'm proud to say they were definitely the overall favorite food there. I thought for sure that there would be some cookies left over but nope. All eaten up! I was getting compliments left and right and pleas for the recipe. The power point that I shared was fun too. We were all laughing and joking together. I really do feel at home here. I guess its been like that in every city for me.
Sunday we went to have lunch with the ******** family. (dont even try to pronounce that :)) He is the one that just barely opened up a new restaurant and is the famous pizza chef. His new Restaurant is so nice and instead of taking us home to eat at his house sunday he took us to the restaurant and we ate there. All to ourselves. He took us in the back and showed us how everything works. We have to make our way to his place in our Italy trip! It was just so good. The bread he makes and serves is the best bread I have ever tasted in my life. Just out of this world.

******, ****** and ***** are doing great. We saw them last night. They are on track for their baptism and I really see nothing stopping them. They are such a cute family. I will attach pictures later. I will really miss them.
So I will see what I can do in terms of a picture in my living enviornment. I might forget in the half a day I have left in Alessandria... I will try. I will send a bunch of pics later today.
Thanks for the update on the political world. Keep it coming!
Love you all so much and have a great week. If you want to ask something or respond quickly I will be on later. 
Anz. Mendel 

September 25, 2012

Well It's been another crazy week and this next week won't be much less crazy. I'm preparing to leave Alessandria. I really don't want to leave but that's how its been with all of my cities so It's just part of life. I will learn to love wherever I am. It's just exactly what you said mom, it will be tough to leave with so many people here making such great progress and getting really close to baptism. I know President is inspired though so he will do the right thing. It's crazy to think that my next city will most likely be my last city. He really could just send me anywhere. It would be nice to go to Milano but there are slim chances there. It feels great to know that I will be leaving this city with so much potential, we have a baptism this saturday so that will leave a fresh new convert to teach and then week one of the next transfer ****** and her son are pretty much for sure getting baptized and then so much more potential for the immediate future. Selfishly I really want to stay to see all the fruit from the hard work I put in to this city. When I arrived, there literally was nothing. But really If I harvest these baptisms or someone else it doesn't matter to me. The important part is they get baptized. It will be sad but not the end of the world. In the end it's exactly what you said. Who knows what will happen. 

So ******* passed her baptismal interview this last Saturday so she will be getting baptized this Saturday at 3:30. We are excited about that and hope everything goes off without problems. 

Main Highlight this week was definitely *******. This Sunday we had a real scare with her. In Gospel Principles, 2nd hour. The lesson was on Temple work and baptisms for the dead. I brought that up in the previous lesson so she had some questions that she wanted answered. And Gabriel the teacher this time did a great job at explaining it all and there were no problems. Near the end of the lesson she was asking questions to the whole class about the temple and what she has to do to enter. Naturally we started talking about her baptism. And of course she brought up that she had already been baptized within the last few years with another church. Gabriel just told her straight up that her baptism wasn't done with the proper authority and wasn't valid and that she needed to be baptized again with the proper authority. Something that she has already heard. Like 3 times. But something about this time it just clicked in her brain and she just broke down in front of the whole class. In tears. Members tried to comfort her but she wanted to leave the church. After she was convinced to stay for the 3rd hour we set up an appointment with her to come over that same afternoon to talk in a more personal environment. We got home after church and just hit the books, preparing a lesson for her. Trying to explain Authority and the restoration using as much of the bible as we could. We arrived at her house expecting the worst but not fully understanding why she broke down in church. I had initially thought it was because she had a problem with our church and didn't want to go through with the baptism. But I soon found out in the lesson that wasn't the case. She broke down because she couldn't believe that the pastor of her previous church would baptize her without the proper authority. She broke down because she thought she was baptized and was following commandments and then when she found out her baptism wasn't done right she was just crushed inside. She said she can't wait for her baptsm to be done right. She already has a super strong testimony and on top of that, that same night her x-husband was in town with her kids and he signed the permission for her and his kids to be baptized. Something that I've been worried about for awhile now. She is doing amazing. 

As for the "stand in Holy Places" It was definitely Elder Jenson's talk about the witness trees that I was talking about. When you asked me about this topic I immediatly came home and read President Monson's talk Stand in Holy places. In his talk he talks a lot about Prayer. As a way to be sure to always keep a stong relationship with Heavenly Father to stand in holy places. You might want to talk about prayer. 

So the subaru Outback is what your looking at? Sounds cool. As for me and a car I have no idea. I haven't really thought about it and honestly can't really remember the options. I'm kind of just out of the world at the moment. 

So I heard that the iPhone 5 came out this last week. Thinking about getting that Dad? you should that way you can give me your iPhone 4 when I get home ;) 

So something that you haven't been doing... Keeping me up on the political race for President. I heard from some members that Romney got caught saying something about not wanting to help poor people... What's happening? 

Well love you all so much. Can't wait to hear from you next week. I should have some good information to give you next week. 

Love Anz. Mendel 

September 18, 2012

Well, this has been another good week with lots to do! It's almost getting to the point of too much to do and becoming stressful to manage it all. With my luck I will be transferred in 2 weeks and won't be able to harvest any of the hard work I've put in in terms of seeing baptisms. We just have tons of potential right now. And some Investigators really close to baptism.
So ******** is coming along great, she should be getting baptized this month. We have taught her all the lessons now, the next lesson we will go over the baptismal interview and then this Saturday she will have the actual interview. Hopefully she will pass it and then there is nothing stopping her from getting baptized. She is reading the BoM like a Champ! She has almost finished 2 Nephi. She has really been a blessing.
We had another great lesson with ******** this week as well, In the past it has been tough to see her. She has come to church with her family 4 weeks in a row but it's just been tough to see her during the week. One lesson max two we have been able to teach her. Hopefully we solved that problem this week. We created a baptismal calendar for her and planned our 3 appointments a week for the next month all the way up to her bap date which is the 13 of Oct. The ward is just in love with her.
If you remember almost a month back now we went to the Bishop's house and taught a sweet lady and had just an amazing lesson with her. Well we were finally able to go back and see her again. This time we went back and taught her whole family at her house. She has 3 kids and if you remember the story she is recently widowed. We taught them the Plan of Salvation. And I really think it hit home with them. They all seem to have some deep scars from their father's death. They need something in their lives and I think they are realizing or at least the mom is, that it's this. They committed to coming to church this week.
Stand in Holy Places and be not moved huh? Well the first thing I thought of was Hel 5:12 and then an amazing CES fireside with an X70 a year or so back talking about returning to our sacred grove. Basically the concept is when trials and doubts enter our life "go back to our sacred grove" or go back to the critical moment in our lives where we found our testimony and there is no doubt. I dont know... I need more time for these kinds of things. Look for the fireside talk.... I'll think about it and let you know next week.
This P-day, actually right after we get done emailing we are going to go play soccer with the elders quorum at a ledgit 5v5 court. I'm so excited. Can't wait!
Well I love you all so much. I feel like this email isn't that good this week. Sorry. Hopfully next week I'll have something better. Love you all so much and miss you tons!
Anz. Mendel

Monday, September 17, 2012

September 11, 2012

I felt the same way on Septemeber 11th. I made sure everywhere I went that everyone was aware that is was 9/11. This last week went great. I've never taught as many lessons as I did last week and never had as many investigators in church as last week. We are working with lots of different people these days it's starting to get stressful trying to manage all these different people that we are working with. It's just tough trying to prioritize people and then be able to set up full days of teaching to be able to see everyone. In Short things are going good with the investigators with my comp as well as with the ward. Ha yeah my comps shell has popped off I think. You weren't really worried if I would be able to do that were you? 1 transfer with Anz. Mendel and you've pretty much become whatever he wants you to be. :) Joking of course. But there may be a lil truth in there.
I did 2 different scambi this last week and had a blast with each one of them. Last Friday the traveling assistants came to Alessandria and did a scambio with us. I was with Anz. Osborn. And my comp went with Anz. Sciarretta. Anz. Osborn and I went outside the city to another city where a bunch of members and had a full day of less actives priesthood blessings in the hospital and then our amazing Bishop heard that our last appointment for the day was cancelled he got us an appointment. The Bishop here will do anything for us. We had no Idea what to expect.  We were able to teach an amazing lesson on the love of God and the BoM. 

Just had to add this picture of Trevor and his
"brother" missionaries, Anz. Mendel, Elder Smart
Elder Oliver
Yesterday I did a scambio with an Italian missionary Anz. Squarcia. I just had a blast with him. It was so fun speaking italian 100% with him for a day. He told me that I speak great Italian which is probably the best compliment an italian missionary could give me. It was just fun seeing my progress with the language. I haven't worked with a non American for the longest time. So it was just kind of a mind opener.
****** and her family are doing amazing and are progressing very well. She has been to church 3 weeks in a row now and is really making good friendships with the ward members. ****** is doing well too.
So is Justin moving downstairs now? What is going to be expected of me when I get home. Is Davis planning on clearing out of my room or am I going to be expected to move back upstairs? You talking about doing some painting work reminds me of when we painted the basement and my room together. Such good memories. I'm sure it will turn out great I have no doubts.
I miss you tons too, Every once in awhile It sneaks up on me too. Don't worry time really will fly. I'm working hard and know why I'm here. I still have much to do. Much to become before I get home.
That picture is just too good. I know Bridger. He's a really cool kid.
For this P day I don't think we have anything planned. Just gonna grab a pizza and maybe do some store browsing.
Love you all so much! Thanks Dad for working so hard for me!
Anz. Mendel 

September 3, 2012

Hello Family,
Thanks for your emails this week. It was great to hear from you. This week has been a pretty good week for us. The weather has really changed. It has gone from terribly hot to cool and rainy. I love the rain so It's been a good week.
Last P day was super fun. We drove down to Genova with the ********* family. Ill help you pronounce that when I get back. We drove down with ******** (24) and ******** (18). We had fun on the way down telling jokes. It was fun translating all our american jokes into Italian. We got to Genova and went to the Port and ate lunch. At the Port there is a super old pirate ship they have from hundreds of years back. So we saw that. Then we just kind of took a stroll through the center of the city. We saw the house of Christopher Colombus. And did a lil Window shopping. That's pretty much it. We did get a Gelato at Grom though which was good.
This week ****** and her two kids came to church again! The ward is getting really excited about them. It's been awhile since the missionaries have found a family to teach. She is loving church and especially loves the classes for her kids. We had an amazing lesson with her this last week on the Restoration. Tonight is Ward council and Bishop has already talked to me about how this month and for the rest of the year his focus is on Missionary work and reactivation. So the Bishop will be breathing down our necks like a hungry dog but I'm ready for the challenge. We have a lot of people right now to teach so at least that's not the problem. We just need to move forward, us the missionaries and the ward together and get these people baptized. I'm really excited though for ******.
We also picked up a new investigator this week named ******. She is a member referral and is actualy the mom of a member here in the ward. They are from the Philippines. Here in Alessandria there are about 40 active Phillipinos and they are all related. So this lady just moved here from the Philippines and everyone she knows is mormon. She can't not get baptized. We have taught her twice now. She speaks okay english but understands mostly what we say. We just have to use a translator a lot of times. It is tough teaching to her but she has a great heart, that is easy to see and is always happy when we are there. Her daughter who is the member is so excited that we are teaching her mother that every time we are over there she makes us a bunch of food. Amazing food. I'm afraid by the end of the teaching process I will have gained a few pounds. I might just need to start throwing up to get where I want to be before I get home. Joking.
The other day this old guy stopped us on a park bench and wanted to learn about the church. Of course, anxious for the opportunity to teach him we sat down for what would become one of the angriest moments of my mission. This guy was just ridiculous. Trying to tell me that I'm not Christian and I'm going to hell. He even brought Romney into the conversation. I wanted to rip this old guys head off. He sounded a lot like Boyd K Packer too. To give you a picture of his tone of voice.
On A more positive note, How exciting is it to hear about the Italy trip next year. Yeah I think Verona would be a pretty good area to base from. It's a lil far away from where I am now but I think its a good half way point between the places we want to see. Plus I know that area of Italy well. 

Well I Dont have much more time. I love you all so much!
Anz. Mendel 

August 28, 2012

This week has been pretty good. Last week the summer heat just about put me in the grave but it's better now. On monday this week it started to get a lil cooler, at least at night. So I can finally sleep well. This last week has also been tough as I have been struggling with allergies. Something in the air here that drives me crazy.
We had something really cool happen this sunday in church. Unexpectedly we had someone come to Church for the first time. A 37 year old black lady we had met on the street a few weeks back. She's lived in Italy for 21 years, speaks perfect Italian and has 2 kids born here. She even has a car. She was just so friendly with everyone! The ward loved her. I've never seen anything like it. Her first time in church and she just acted like she had known all the members for a lifetime. She said hi to everyone. Going out of her way to meet people. She loved the two classes after sacrament meeting. She told us that she was searching for a church to raise her children in. We showed her the primary classes and she seems really interested. I hope this miracle will actually end up going somewhere. 
Do you remember me mentioning our investigator, **********? We saw him again yesterday and had a really good Plan of Salvation lesson. Dad, remember that story from your mission that you would always tell me about that lady you met with the cats? How the cats came up to you and jumped on your lap during the lesson and it was a sign to the lady you were teaching that you were good people? Hah well the EXACT same thing happened to me this week with ****** and his cat. During the lesson the cat came up slowly slowly licking our fingers and ****** was just astonished. He told us that when there are strangers in the house you will never see the cat again. Later in the lesson the cat jumped up on the table and layed down right in front of us and let us pet him. You should have seen ******** face when his cat did that. And he, himself told us that we must be good people beacuse his cat can tell. Your story instantly came into my mind when this happened. 
This Monday we did family home evening with the ********* family. We came over and I taught them how to make Chocolate Chip Cookies, ate dinner and had a spiritual thought. They asked us what we usually do on P-days here in Alessandria cause there's not much to do here. (Alessandria really is probably the most unimpressive city I've seen in italy). But I love it still because of all the awesome members we have here. So they wanted to do something with us for P-day. We are going to drive in their car down to Genova together today. Should be an awesome trip.
I'm sorry to hear about the water heater problems you had this week. The timing just sounds awful without Dad there to save the day. I think we take for granted how talented Dad really is. How many Dads are there in the world who know how to do literally everything like Dad does? I'm sorry to hear about the chunk of change it will cost too! That's ridiculous.
Well I hope the boys are having a great first week at school! I pray for them always and my thoughts were especially with them this monday as they both started new schools.
Travis wrote me this week. It was so good to hear from him. He really is just such a good guy.
Well I love you all so much! Thanks for all your support!
Anz. Mendel

August 21, 2012

So Transfer news, Yeah I will be staying here in Alessandria for another transfer. Our companionship is staying the same. There were as uaual lots of changes throughout the mission. None of which would interest you as transfer news doesn't interest me much either anymore. It's just the mission life.
I'm glad to hear you had a great Birthday. Sounded like it was relaxing and just what you needed. Did the boys treat you well?
It is true the mission has asked us to not receive packages. Apparently the import charges on the packages are pricey. I wouldn't want you to send me anything anyways. I don't need anything and I'll be home a month after Christmas anyways.
Yeah ********* was a real miracle last week. Too bad it didn't really last. We haven't been able to see her all week and she never answers her phone. So we will see with her. ********* we haven't heard from and we haven't even tried really.
This last week our Bishop invited us over for dinner at his house with his family and a referral to teach. A friend of his wife. We went and were treated with one of my favorite Italian dishes: Arancini. Which is basically a ball of rice with meat sauce in the center and then fried. About the size of a snowball. They are amazing. I will make them for you when I get home.
We had an amazing spiritual experience with this referral. She is a single mom with 3 kids (16, 21, 7) Her husband passed away young, 2 years ago and it had been really tough for her and her family. We taught her the message of the Restoration using the 10 points to begin and we just had such a strong spirit. She accepted the message so well and was anxious to start reading the BoM. At the end of the lesson she revealed to us that that same night was the anniversary of the death of her husband and how she didn't think it was a coincidence that we were there to teach her this message. She told us at the end that she knew before that night that we the missionaries would be there to share something with her but she didn't expect our message to be so beautiful.
It was a great teaching experience that we had with the Bishop's family and I think we really earned his trust after it all.
We've had some other referrals given to us in the last week too. An elderly man named ****** who seems interested. It's really been tough to find people ourselves so we are trying to work really hard with the members to find.
It has been just ridiculously hot this last week. Over 100 degrees outside. Inside of our apartment it's 87 Degrees and I'm trying to go to sleep. The heat just sucks the energy right out of me. I can't wait for summer to be over.
Well I love you all! Have a great week and good luck with the start of school!
Anz. Mendel

Thursday, August 16, 2012

August 15, 2012

Thanks for your letters this week and the great advice and perspective you gave me. I know that you love me and will always be there for me. Dad was right in his analysis when he said that you worrying for me is not a result of a lack of trust or incapacity on my part but rather a display of charity towards me as your son. I am so blessed to have such supportive parents who sustain me during my mission and will always be there for me. Thank you.
This last Saturday we had a member baptism and we really tried our best to get investigators to the event. By the end of the day we didn't have anyone that seemed like they would be able to make it and it was a lil discouraging to pass up an occasion like this to help investigators come closer to baptism. However, at the baptism we had a miracle. About 10 min into the baptism before the actual ordinance our investigator ****** walked into the chapel. I don't know how she did it, She didn't even know exactly where the church was, all she knew was that is was right next to a grocery store. But she made it! she saw the baptism and stayed for refreshments afterwards. She met lots of members and the next day... came to church! We are really excited about her.
This Tuesday we had interviews in the beautiful city of Genova, President talked about his main goal as a mission President. "To let the Mission Go 'through you" exactly what Dad talked about in his email; having the mission staked into your heart. Find a testimony that will endure and not be built upon the sand. Later in our personal interview we talked about personality and had a great discussion. I told Pres. how grateful I am for the changes I've experienced in my life and how in my mission I've seen the changes I've made each different city that i've served in. It was a great interview and i'm not just saying it to please you. :)
Yesterday, there was a big holiday in Italy called Ferragosto. Basically everyone leaves the cities and goes into the mountains and has a BBQ. So that's what we did we went with the GANS Members of the church 18-30 unmarried and had a BBQ up in the mountains next to a river. It was a lot of fun. I've really made good friends with our ward mission leader. He is 23 years old and is just about to send in his mission papers. So we talk about mission life all the time together. He really is just too bravo and will be a friend for life.
What a pleasant surprise to hear that you saw Anz. Parker at Education week. Small world isn't it. Anz. Parker was one of my greatest teachers out here and I miss him loads.
Yes there are transfers this next week the 23rd I think. I'm pretty sure that I will stay. I'm not expecting to leave and will be really sad if Pres sends me away. I guess we will see.
Great to hear that the Italy trip is still on. If I could put any input in the cities/people that I would want to see are in Mantova and Ferrara (which are right next to each other) and then here in Alessandria. There is a member here that owns a Pizzeria. And he just won this award for the best pizza in italy 2012. He is a pro. And It'd be cool to bring you all to his restaurant. Also coming to Chruch here in Alessandria would be fun too cause there are so many members I could see. Other than that plan it for what you want to see!
Love you all so much!
Anz. Mendel

August 8, 2012

This last week has been really discouraging. Mainly because of ********, he was making amazing progress, he was so close! the closest investigator I have had to baptism in a long time. But his progression has stopped. We haven't seen him since Sunday last week. It's been a week and a half. We usually see him three times a week. Last week he told us he couldnt see us til friday. Then Friday he called and cancelled the appointment. Then he told us he would be in church then he didn't come. And now he won't answer at all. The problem is obvious. He can't quit smoking. To have made his bap date he had to be done with smoking by the 7th of August. Last week he realized he couldn't do it so he ran. Too discouraged to even confront us. He's just on the run now. I don't know what I can do when I can't even talk to him. It's just so discouraging. I can't even tell you how many investigators of mine would have been baptised if not for Word of Wisdom problems. Sometimes I feel that its just impossible to baptize.
So that has been the main theme of the week. Praying non stop that we can see ******** and he can have a change of heart.
The weather is hot and I've been trying to eat better than usual, with my workouts also I been able to lose some weight. Some of my italian belly. Which is nice.
I had a few questions this week that I wanted to ask you.
With Davis turing 16 soon..what you planning on doing about the car situation? Mom has been driving the civic right? Just a curiousity.
One more question. Are we still planning on coming back to Italy next summer? Any news on that?
Thanks for the olympics update. Every once in awhile at a member's house or something i see a lil clip. Everyone everywhere is watching it. Makes me jealous but o well.
Love you all!
Anz. Mendel 

August 1, 2012

I was really excited this week to read your emails about how the wedding went and the big reunion of the family. It's sad that I missed an event like that but it really didn't occupy my brain to much. There is too much going on here to have distracted me too much.
From your emails I didn't get an overall 'feel' of how the wedding turned out.  What obvious and plain testimonies these moments give us on what the Gospel really does in our lives. It's not just some belief that helps us give sacrament talks and gets us to church on Sundays. It influences every aspect of our lives. 

As you had mentioned, I hit my 6th month mark this week. Technically, I hit it next week because I will be getting home Friday, Feb 8th. But I started Feb 2nd so I have been a missionary 18 months. The time has flown but at the same time, I have been away from home for awhile. The tiredness at times is just tremendous. This last week especially. I am just so tired all the time. The mission has been great. Once in a life time opportunity. I'm so thankful I decided to serve.
********* is doing great, he came to church this week and this time even brought his brother. Last Thursday we taught the Word of Wisdom. And that right now is his biggest obstacle in getting baptised. I really hope he can do it but it's going to be tough. I just hope he can summon the mental capacity to overcome an addiction like smoking. He doesn't smoke too much, a pack a day. 20. He accepted the commandment and is trying now to wean himself off of it. We are just praying for him now which is all we can really do. We can give him encouragement and comfort but when it comes down to it, he is the one who has to make the decision to quit. For your information. We set the goal for the 7th of August to be completely off smoking. Otherwise we will have to move his bap date back.
Other than *********, we found a nice lady from the Dominican Republic named *******, The first time we met her she didn't have a man in the house so we couldn't enter. Since then we have been able to see her twice and bring male members each time. She seems really interested and has begun to read the BOM. Her schedule is tough because she works in a rest home so sometimes she works through the night. We will just try our hardest to get her into church this week.
You asked about the members here and then about my Mission President? The members here are great. I've already made good relationships with many of them. That has been something really easy for me my whole mission. Making strong relationships with the members. We are about 100-120 in church every week. This for me is an essential aspect of missionary work. Strong realtionships with the members. Earning their trust. This is something I am trying to help my current companion with. This for me is a lot more important then going out and doing mindless hours of finding work that rarely produces results.
As for my mission president, I dont know why I never mention anything about him. He's a great President and his zone meetings are always exactly what I need. I love my President, He does a great job. I know he's inspired. He's good. 
I loved the picture! Thanks for sending it. You look great what are you talking about!
Oh and thanks for the olympics news. Keep that coming!
Love you all!
Anz. Mendel 

July 25, 2012

Wow, this week sounds like a blast back home! Everyone together for the Wedding. I'm sad I can't be there with you all but I know why I'm here and it's where I should be. You will have to give me all the details about the wedding next week.
I did hear a lil bit about that freak who shot up the place at the Batman midnight showing but I didn't have all the information. Some people in this world. Tell me about the Batman though!! Was it just epic? Better than the 2nd? Don't ruin it for me but still. Give me the juicy news ;)
Thanks for the info on the Girls camp. I'm sure it won't be seen in a negative way. The YW stake Pres. here is cool and I don't think will be offended in any way. I'm sure she will be so happy to have all the ideas.
So this week for me has been pretty crazy. One of the busiest in my mission. Just crazy stuff happening. Some of which I will expound upon at a later date most likely when I get home. It would just be too hard to get it all down on paper and respond to every question. Know that all is good and we having some great success these days. Our priority investigator is making amazing progress, He is really getting serious about his baptism. This last week we taught him about the 3 things that will help him find a testimony. Reading the BOM, Prayer, and coming to church. And he's doing all the 3. He came to church for the first time this sunday and was able to meet the whole Bishopric and the ward mission leader. I think he had a great time and it was a spiritual experience for him. Yesterday we taught him the Restoration again being a month since he's heard it. Now we are on to the commandments. Mamma Mia it has been a long time since I have had an investigator reach this point in the teaching process.
In other news we are teaching this older Italian couple. Not too old but yeah... They're up there. They haven't been keeping their reading commitments and haven't made it to church yet even though they say they want to come. This Saturday night we had a lesson with them and even brought 2 members with us. The daughter of the bishop and her fiance. It was a great lesson with so much personal testimony coming from us and the members about the importance and power of the BOM, and coming to church. They promised they would come to church the following day. So that next morning before I go to church I gave them a call to see if they were on their way. And the wife just flipped out on me. Screaming "I want to come to church but I just can't!!! Too much to do!!! I have to make food and clean my dirty house!!! Non Posso!! non posso!!! this call just made the blood in the veins jump a few degrees. She had just lied to my face less then 12 hours before. So we ended up going over there the next day Monday night. Luckily I was on Scambio with Anz. Higgs 15th transfer and Me 12th transfer. Notorious Box breakers both of us ;) (box breaking is an expression in italian, means to just kind of chasten someone) So we broke their boxes pretty good and they knew it and saw it coming. We sat down at the table and she just had the biggest smile on her face because she knew what was coming. 
Give my love to the whole fam for me! Ryan would go and get married while Im gone. I love weddings! Drinks all around!
Love you all!