Monday, January 25, 2010

I'm a Missionary!!!!

So like my subject says I feel like I am finally a REAL missionary! 

Why? What made this week so different from my others?  Well brothers and sisters I will tell you. Hold on to your seats as you are in for the most exciting letter of my mission!!

To start off this week we were at an investigators house and he asked me to play pool so me being the competitive person I am agreed. After he kicked my trash he asked if I was willing to make a bet! Now the first thought was I’m a missionary I can’t bet! But then personal revelation came and I said sure!  If I win you read the whole book of Mormon in 60 days.  And he said ok if I win you buy me last samurai. (Some ridiculously expensive Japanese place) so we started.  I completely convinced that the Lord had promised me that I would win. As we play he gets up by three balls.  I’m starting to sweat a little bit but then by some strange series of events I’m up by two balls!  And I sink my last one before the 8 ball I mean I’m on fire just making every shot. But of course the 8 ball is a hard shot so I miss! Then it’s his turn and he sinks all but one of his and gives me another hard shot! I miss again...  I’m thinking come on I was promised a win here!  Well as you can tell this is a very intense pool game all in the room staring very quiet and I felt like I was playing professional billiards.  Well getting back to the game apparently Heavenly Father did not give me revelation because I LOST hard and tonight I am going to pay a ton of money for his food.  Moral of the story: listen to the prophet and don’t bet even when you think they’re going to read the Book of Mormon. 

Reason number two why I am a real missionary! Thursday night at about one in the morning I wake up feeling horrible I then run into the bathroom where I begin throwing up and having other bodily problems due to some flu or food poisoning or something ridiculous and that continued until about 10 in the morning. Needless to say I did not sleep and was not a happy companion as we went out and worked.  But I’m finally starting to feel better and this week should be great!  So don’t worry about me.  Not that I’m thinking many of you where too worried...

Reason number three!  I had my first baptism on Saturday! He asked me to speak at the baptism and to confirm him on Sunday it was a really great experience for both of us I think. It was so amazing to see the excitement in his eyes and face throughout this whole process. What a wonderful week!

Well that was about it... but as I look back on this week I feel like I have passed missionary initiation and I am now one of the real guys in black suits with a name tag.  I also hit 4 months which is ridiculous because time is flying wayyyyy too fast! I feel like we have p-day and then the next day it is p-day!  But in two months I get to burn a tie! How cool is that?!?!  I have realized that as missionary simple things bring me enjoyment... I feel like a 5 year old. For instance a game of tic toe kept me entertained for about 30 minutes.  I also make up random songs about my amazingly amazing life.

Oh I have also realized that missionaries just make everything awkward.  It doesn’t matter what we do every situation we are a part of is just plain awkward but it is fun and I love it!  I am learning so much.  It really is a labor of love.   I feel like love is what I am learning a love for my companion, for my family, my friends, the people I serve but really a love for Christ and his atonement. Preach my gospel says that as you learn more about the atonement your desire to share it will increase.  How true this is! Because as you learn more about WHO Christ is, WHAT he did for us, and WHY he was the kind of man he was your heart changes and it becomes more Christ like.  I remember one of my first weeks as a missionary I had to learn fast what kind of missionary I wanted to be.  I made it a goal to study Christ and the missionary that he was.  One of the missionaries at the match taught me that if I ever had a problem I could turn to the scriptures and find an answer.   That is probably the best advice I have received on my mission.  I want to testify that this is true!  For EVERY problem we have in this life the answer is in the scriptures.  If you don’t know how to act, or what to do, or what to say, TURN TO CHRIST.  He has all the answers.  One of the really cool things about being a missionary is that we can promise blessings.  I can promise that if you make Christ your example a joy and peace that you have never felt will come in to your life.  No matter how perfect  you are you can become better.  That is why we are here on earth to learn how to become like Jesus Christ our perfect example.    As you do this, order will come into your life.  One of my favorite stories from the bible is when Peter walks on water, as he focuses on Christ it isn’t that the seas are calm, but more that he doesn’t notice the wavy seas!  And that is the power of Christ to bring a peace into our lives!  Yes life is hard, and stressful, and boring, and long, but Christ has already won the battle! All we have to do is look to him. Please do!

I hope you all are doing great.  Know that I love you a ton!  I’m so grateful for your support!  Have a great week and remember that even though I’m not there with you right now, I was once, and I will be soon enough!!


Elder Mender

A Perfect Life? I Think So!

Hello all!!!

How are you doing on this fine snowy day?!  It is snowing like crazy up here. We probably wont get back to Kamas tonight but that is ok it will all work out. It has just been an amazing week and I hope you all can say that too!

This week has been an adventure.  Just one crazy thing after the other! I feel so blessed to be here in park city and having a chance to learn how amazing this work is.

On Monday for P-day we went up to Olympic park and took the tour it was a lot of fun and ski jumpers are crazy.  But I also bought a pair of Oakley glasses and an Armani watch and a DKNY watch they are beautiful!! And because I am such a smart shopper I saved... $682!!!  Crazy huh?  Well that was fun.

We have a baptism this Saturday for a 10 year old boy named Christian he picked up an things a lot faster then we thought and when we asked him if he wanted to change his baptismal date a week up he got so excited and had the biggest grin on his face. It has been really neat to see how the gospel can bless EVERYONE and if they are able to keep commitments they can have greater joy and happiness then they have ever known! Even a ten-year can understand!    I love it.

Oh we got a flat tire yesterday and I got to pull out my mad skills and change it in less than 8 minutes.  Ok my companion helped a little but man we are so fast we should be on NASCAR or something! 

We have been out trying to find like crazy and it is really funny some of the reactions we get.  We received a referral last Sunday for this Jewish lady and when we showed up she was upstairs and she yelled for us to come in but it was locked so she came down stairs and asked who it was when we said the missionaries she laughed and said "forget it” I was like,"forget it?"  She didn’t even open the door or look out the window!! It was crazy funny.  

We had a dinner appt. with the bishop’s family and I had them laughing solo hard. I told my date story.  If you haven’t heard that ask Lauren she tells it pretty good. (It is too long to type.)  My companion and I are pretty much the perfect companionship.  He is so funny and everybody loves him.  We pretty much joist feed off each other.  It is hilarious. 

On a more serious note, this week has been one of intense spiritual growth I have learned this week about how the spirit works and about the importance of this gospel. I cannot explain how I know these things to be true but I know that they are true.  The spirit has testified to me and I can’t deny that I know that God lives and Jesus is the Christ.  I am so grateful for the trust the Lord has shown in me in letting me preach his Gospel.  I feel like I would give anything to be the kind of man I need to be.  I don’t know everything the Lord has in store for me but I have decided to give everything I have to him and the advancement of the Kingdom of God.   I love this work and I love you all so much.  I hope that one day I will be able to say just like president Hinckley and Joseph Smith that "I gave it my all and did my best."

Well the food here is amazing and we get a TON of it.  The weather is perfect and the people amazing.  I am going to be so sad when I have to leave and go to Brazil but I know I need to go there and I am excited for that too!!!  What an amazing two years this has already started out to be!


Elder Mender

Monday, January 11, 2010

Park City Madness!

Boom dia!

Well what another great week it has been here in park city!  Some fun things that have happened...  I had a woman slam a door in my face before I had a chance to open my mouth!  It was amazing kind of how I have always pictured this great work!  Ha-ha I really did love it.  Then another day we had a dinner appt. and then a lesson planned with another family and at the lesson they decided to feed us again!  AND send us home with more food.  It is just crazy how much they feed us here.   Well I shoveled my first driveway on my mission. Something I never thought I would do when I opened my call to BRAZIL!    We had zone conference this week it was one Joseph Smith and it was just a wonderful chance to teach more about the prophet and what an amazing man he was.  I think back and I realize how lucky I was to grow up only 20 minutes from his birthplace and to often have the chance to go and feel the spirit that is there at that sacred site.  

We spent a lot of time down in the valley this week because of district meeting, zone meeting, and other things and I really see how blessed I am to be in Park City.  This area is the area that every missionary wants because it is big and free.  You don’t feel like you are squashed in one small area. 

This week we went on splits with the Zone Leaders that was a really fun experience.  We got to teach a few lessons and one lesson was to 5 children and it was a lot of fun to try and teach a lesson with all their craziness I really do miss kids so if anyone wants a babysitter in two years I am your man!  Well anyway then next day they had baptism and being the missionaries they are they forgot to get someone to fill the font! And at the last minute he was freaking out because they got locked out of the control room to fill the font and they had about two hours before the baptism... so one elder was calling everyone he could to see if they could find a key and the rest of us were running buckets from the kitchen to the font!  It was quite an adventure finally they got a hold of a locksmith in one of the wards and he came and broke in for us.   What else....

One of the Bishops here is amazing! He does this thing ever Sunday were he invites a few selected families (different each week) to a meeting and we pray and think of houses! Not even names of families who are ready to hear about the gospel.  It is really cool because the mission average is 10% of referrals will get a return appt but these are 33% so we are seeing a huge jump in our numbers this week! It is great we are so busy.  We find that we come home at night so tired and wake up even more tired but as we get up and get to work the Lord makes up where we lack.   I look back on how much sleep I used to need and think I could never have done this but now as we strive to be 100% we have blessings that are just remarkable!

I know this church is true! I cannot question it. So many things have happened to me this week and I can tell you without a doubt that God knows each and every one of us.  He knows our needs and wants to help all we need to do is turn to him.  I pray that we will all do everything we can to spread the gospel.  I hope that we are not ashamed of what we have or that we think some person might not accept it.  Who are we to decide who can hear the gospel and who cant?  I know that this work is real and that we have a sacred responsibility to invite all to come and hear it.   This week I have seen the light in people’s eyes as they hear the Gospel and remember that it is true and decided to act on it.  It is such a blessing in my life to be out here on a mission.  I know that as members of this church we have the gift of the Holy Ghost. What a blessing that is! I am trying so hard to be able to listen to the promptings with exactness.  I know that as we do that we are blessed.

One really cool thing that happened this week: we have this object lesson when we are teaching about faith and we put a book on the table and we say with your faith pick it up and usually they will look at us weird and say I cant. But this week when we taught a 10 year old as soon as we said it he just picked it up.  And it hit me right there that is why the Lord tells us we need to become as little children. They are so pure and innocent.  They don’t doubt they just act and do.  I know that as we began to show that kind of faith where we don’t question it but we do what the lord has asked no matter how weird or hard or uncomfortable it seems we will be blessed. Sometimes we don’t know why we need to do it but sooner or later we will see the Lords wisdom and that is why we need to trust in him and have faith, hope, and charity.

I love you all so much.  I really do.  Sorry if it takes me longer then it used to respond to letters but I have no time for myself! (Which is wonderful!)  But I will do my best to respond when I can. :)

Love elder mender

Monday, January 4, 2010

Missionary Rock Star



what a crazy week it has been. i pretty much love it here.  it is freezing cold but the work is good!!  ok so tuesday night we had a wedding and a baptism which was really cool! it was a young mexican couple and it was so good!  i couldnt understand a whole lot of what happened BUT they got married and baptised and then the food was AMAZING.  you dont even know! real authentic wonderfulness!

wednesday we went around doing missionary stuff. it is so interesting how missionary work is in park city you dont track you just go from lesson to lesson and members give you referrals!!  its like.... a gold mine!!  we had some lessons in spanish and i would testify in portueguese and it was awkward but it works out.  the spirit can appearently translate poor portuguese into spanish. 

thursday was new years and we had new missionary training down in the valley so we went down in the morning for that then after rather than drive all the way up to park city just to turn around and come back down for lockdown we stayed in the valley and double worked draper.  we went to in and out for lunch... seven of us and this woman just comes up and pays!!! it is crazy out here!  missionaries are like, i dont even know what we are like! but i havent come home one night without at least a bag full of food!  they just feed you here and buy you things and its crazy you dont even know! haha and in park city missionaries get all sorts of "hook ups"  or places we eat free, get free services, or huge discounts!  oh yeah so any way  we were in draper double working the area and we went on splits and went to a lesson at this members house AND after the lesson they fed us of course but they had this huge basement with a basketball game, ping pong table, fuseball table, pool table,  mini kitchen with popcorn maker, and living room with every game system imaginable it was crazy... unlike anything my young eyes have ever beheld. then we had lockdown where the president makes zones stay at a church so they dont get hurt by drunk people. and we got to watch night at the museam 2  and play basketball and of course eat tons of food. this mission is definately not a mission where elders lose weight! then that night we had to stay in the valley so we spent the nights at our zone leaders house and missionary couches just arent that comfortable...

friday  elder lopez got a new visa waiter as a companion and elder m and i moved back out to kamas whihc is about 28 minutes from park city so we have to drive that every morning and night.   it is pretty crazy.    but we have divided park city so elder lopez gets the spanish branch and we get the english wards so this week is a trial run it will be interesting to see hwo that works.

but i am having so much fun!   the members here just help like crazy with everything and ward mission leaders, bishops, and the stake president are so involved.  which is really nice because most of park cities work was spanish so now that we split it we have to build up the english pool.  i am just so excited to be out here.  we have the feeling that i might be here for a bit which is ok with me because i feel like i have some things i need to do before i leave.

one really interesting story that isnt done yet.  in one of the wards here a missionary went to salvador brasil on his mission and died  in an accident down there it was really hard on his family because his dad isnt a member and it kind of tore his family apart but they say that my companion is exactly like elder Knoop, that they could have been twins.  and we have just been feeling promptings that we need to go talk to the dad and the bishop also felt that we should go so we are trying to track down where he lives but it has just been really weird how we are all connected and both me and my companion feel like we need to go talk to this man.  who knows how it will end!

well not a lot else...  time just flies here i cant believe it has been one week.  it needs to slow down but they tell me it just speeds up!  i hope you all had a great new years.  i love you all and am so grateful for your support in all its various forms.  have a great grand and wonderful year! i know i will!  (this year is my full year in the mission that is crazy!!!)

love elder mender