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 Rag├╣? 

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