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!

July 18, 2012

I'm glad to hear about the overall success at girls camp, mom! I was praying for you each night that everthing would go smoothly! How cool is that, you had a GA at your girls camp. I'm jealous. 

Well this week for me has been all right. I was really sad to see my last comp leave so soon. My new comp, Anz. Hatch is from California, Bay Area. He is in his 7th transfer. Things with us are just fine. He's a great missionary. He is super obedient and always wants to work hard and never wastes time. I'm the senior comp. I want to work hard and I'm sure there is lot to learn from my current comp. 

Our investigators are doing really well. We were finally able to do contact an investigator who we haven't seen in a month.  We saw him this sunday and had a great lesson and set a bap date with him. During the lesson his brother came in and and asked us if we had ever heard the name 'Nicasio' that is the last name of their mother. He told us they were searching for the origins of the name. I simply said i have never heard that name before and we went on with the lesson. At the end as we were about to leave I mentioned the name again and starting talking to them a lil about geneology work and the church. I offered to help search for ancestors and they just lit up. I took the name and date of birth and will try with the members to find her family tree. Hopfully I will be able to. 

The work is going well, thank goodness. Summer is still hot but we are getting by. Time is just really flying on by. 

Mom don't forget to send me your outline/themes/plan for your girls camp so I can share it with the Young Women's pres here. Thank you. 

Man Dad you are a trooper for being up there all week. Doesn't sound like the break from work that you needed but I know you will be blessed for it. 

I Love you all so much and I'm so thankful for your weekly letters! Thank you! 

Anz. Mendel 

July 5, 2012

Hey so sounds like the whole family has had a busy week and the next week will be even busier! Awesome to hear about the 50 mile hike success! Great job Davis! I would love to go on another 50 miler. 21 fish huh!?! Dang. You just are breaking all my records! First the eagle scout project quicker than me and now you've caught more fish then I did. What's next? 

This week has been pretty good for us. Lots of finding work has seemed to be paying itself off. We've found a ton of people to teach this last week and just hope we can keep a good teaching process with them. We talked to this African dude on the street and made an appointment with him for the next day. We arrived and he introduced us to 3 of his friends. We taught them all twice now and they will all be coming to church this week because we've already planned for us to go to their house and walk them there. In other news we taught an Italian family yesterday who were really nice. Catholic but didnt really know much about religion in general. Figures. They took the BOM and promised to start reading it. So finally we are starting to have a teaching pool here in Alessandria. Things are on the up and up. 

Things with the comp are great. Can you believe its already week 5 of the transfer... Transfers are next week.. I will be very sad if my comp gets transfered. You want to know more about my comp? What is there to tell? He's from Salem Utah, He's young in the mission but a champ at Italian. I tried the other day to attach some photos but the crappy computer I'm using won't let me. I'll try other means maybe next week. As for the Ward. Its nice serving with lots of members close. I'm still waiting for the quality member referral "I've got a friend who wants to get baptised" but hey, maybe with time. Lots of members are gone now for the summer vacations but we still have people in church. Many simply aren't able to go anywhere with the way things are here. There is just no work here right now. It seems like almost every other member is out of work. Times are hard . The time has just flown since I got here. A couple days ago I hit 17 months in mission. 6 months to sexy is just 1 month away, lucky for me I'm already working on my physique. 

Right now I'm actually in Genova for P day. From what I've seen so far it's a beautiful city! Hopefully I will get some good pictures and send them to you next week. 

Stinks to hear that there were no fireworks this year. So dry huh? 

I love you all so much. Sorry this email is not the highest quality. 

Anz. Mendel 

July 11, 2012

So how goes Girls' camp? Sounds to me like it's just been a big headache ;) I'm sure you cant wait til the end of the week to have it all behind you! I hope it's been a success so far and you are able to help out the young women. Dad you're such a trooper helping out like you are. Your email made me laugh so hard. You always have been so good at getting down into the trenches and going to work and then the most important part... Keeping your mouth shut when someone should be reproved. I wish I had more of that. My mouth just goes flying sometimes. I just say it as it is. I need to be more like you in that regard. Mom, Talking about Girls camp. I made friends with the Stake young women's president here who is in the Alessandria ward and I told her about your calling. She is a newlywed and she was very interested in how your camp is planned out. Do you think it would be possible for you to foward me your plans for the girls camp so I can share them with her here? Your theme and activites and stuff like that. Thanks.
Wow this week has been a crazy week. We've seen tons of success this last week. But first transfer news. My comp is leaving me, It's really disappointing but that's my life. He is going to Prato, close to Firenze. My new comp here is Anz. Hatch. I don't know much about him.  So.... yeah... Hey!  Anz. Memmott is definitely one of my fav comps though. He and Anz. Weller. I'm just sad we could only do 1 together.
So this week has been crazy missionary work. We found an all time high of 11 new investigators last week. So you could say we have a teaching pool now. It's been a long transfer of finding work and here at the end we have been so so blessed. The lord works in strange ways. Practically no one for 4 weeks and then BOOM all at once. I hope we can really milk this opportunity and see some baptisms.
This sunday we had an amazing miracle. We have been trying to contact this X investigator from the Area Book for almost 3 weeks now. We've called and set up appointments but for one reason or the other we haven't been able to see him. This sunday we decided to do some finding work near his house. We started with some casa and made our way to his house. We knocked on his door (not knowing exactly what door was his) his wife came out and realized who we were and simply stated that Antonio (her husband-the x investigator) wasn't there. Right as the words left her mouth the door rang and Antonio walked up the stairs and invited us in. We learned that they had investigated the church about a year back and the missionaries just stoped coming. They had a BOM. We taught them the restoration and they accepted a bap date right then and there. This was a great miracle to end an amazing week.
So that's about it. Genova last week was amazing. Such a beautiful city. This week the big italian sales started! So... Time for some shopping ;) I love you all so much and good luck with the rest of girls camp!
Anz. Mendel 

June 27, 2012

I think this week passed even faster than last week. The days are hot and long and we have been doing a fair amount of finding work. Our one ray of hope right now is that man *********.  However, since last week we haven't been able to teach them. Last Thursday, we had an appointment with him at 4:30. He lives a lil outside of the city and it's a 10-15 min bus ride to get there. We arrived at the bus stop just before 4:00 and ended up waiting for the bus til after 5:00 the whole time not being able to call him because earlier that morning we had a lunch appointment with an older sister in the ward who asked me if I could change the filter on her air conditioner. Bending over to replace it I took my planner with his number in it out of my shirt pocket and placed it on the table. And stupid me forgot to grab it on the way out. We got to ******** house around 5:30 and he wasn't there, Just his mom was home. We saw on the table though his Book of Mormon, 3 glasses of water and some snacks he had put out for us. It was devistating to know that he had been prepared and waiting for us and we never showed up. His mom gave him the message that we passed by and we called him that night and everything is good. We haven't been able to see him after cause he has been busy with his brother who is sick in the hospital. Hopefully we can see him this week.
We've just had some long days full of finding this week. Luckily the ward here  invites us over often enough. We have some members who are working with some potential referrals so hopefully we can see somthing happen there.
Last night we found a Jack pot apartment complex and found some new contacts. We will see how things go there as we return for follow up appointments. I'm just really trying to turn our situation around here. It's just so hard sometimes with the summer heat. For us and for the people we are contacting.
We went and saw an awesome member this week who has been in the hospital for awhile with an infection of some kind. I made him brownies. Hah you should have seen his face when I pulled those brownies out of my backpack. Just pure joy. Living on the hospital food for 2 weeks he had been dying. It was nice to make his day with some American made brownies.
Well let me know how the 50 miler goes for Davis. I remember I lost like 8lbs on that thing. I love you tons and have a surprise that I will be sending home to you soon here in the next 2 weeks or so. Love you all so much, thanks for all your love and hard work on my behalf. Talk to you next week.
PS. Landon and I have already decided that we will be each other's valentines for next year. Miranda can 3rd wheel if she wants. :)
Love Anz Mendel