Thursday, February 25, 2010

I Did Not Get Deported

Mitch with President and Sister Toledo

February Missionaries in Salvador, Brazil

Mitch at Airport meeting President Toledo

Meeting their Trainers

We think this is Mitch's Trainer??

Hey All,

What a great week!! Sorry I didn’t get to email yesterday but we had to travel to Salvador yesterday so I could become legal here in Brazil! Needless to say we are so tired today but excited that I didn’t get deported. :)

Well why was this week such a great week?  Because I'm on a mission!!!  Yesterday while we were in Salvador I was sitting in the mission office and I picked up a church newspaper. Some random paper from last November and as I read it I was taught by the spirit and remembered a few reasons why I came on a mission.  I want to share some of the thoughts i had with you.

Sorry my letter today will not be as funny as usual but these topics are important to me and I hope to convey my thoughts to you as well.

The paper was on service:  in it every article I read touched my heart.  One was about a celebration President Monson had to honor young women leaders of old some of the things these women did in the church were amazing!  There was a quote from president Hinckley about how we need to give the youth road shows and dances and parts in plays and not rob them of these special opportunities and i thought about how as I was a kid I watched those road shows and wanted so bad to take part in one but never got to.  And i realized that is one reason why I am here in Brazil, why leaders of this church are so important especially local to give these kids opportunities that will strengthen their lives and testimonies!  I want so bad for these kids that I am serving to know the joy that comes from living the gospel principles, the joy that comes from having good friends, and the joy that comes from participating in wholesome activities!  The youth of this church are so important and so often we rob them of priceless moments because we look beyond the mark.  How simple it is to put a smile on their faces.

Another article was about how service makes us happy! It was a study done by a BYU teacher and how as we sacrifice our time to serve we find greater happiness and even though it was applied to youth I know it can apply to all of us.    The easiest way to happiness brothers and sisters is to forget you and go to work. SERVE!!!  It is simple, it can be hard, but it is so worth it!   I am so grateful for the chance I had to grow up in a family that taught me how important service is. I'm grateful for the example of my dad, mom, and brothers all of whom helped strengthen my testimony of service as a young child.  I know the truly we can only be happy when we help others.  Has Christ not promised us that when we clothe the naked, feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, and comfort to the lonely we do it unto him!  Who would refuse to help Christ? Then why refuse to help others. This life is not a time for us to become millionaires but to prepare to meet God.   I know why I am here in Brazil to bring the world its truth and to help my Savior find his sheep and feed, clothe, and comfort his children.

The last article I want to talk about was one about the scripture in doctrine and covenants that was given to Oliver Cowdry about him remembering the night the Lord spake peace unto his mind. The article applied it to a missionary who is having a hard time with the language and reads it and finds comfort remembering that special night when the lord spake peace unto him.  I know that we are ALL entitled this sacred experience and if you have not had it i encourage you to search diligently with faith, and real intent and then when you receive that peace to never forget it for it truly will be a sacred and sustaining experience throughout your life as it was for Oliver and is for me and millions of people around the world.

I give my testimony that this is the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  Christ is at its Head.  God lives.  The atonement is real, powerful and perfect.   I know that as we follow the simple promises of the Lord we will be blessed as we learn to serve others and not worry about how hard our life is now we will find eternal joy. It is my hope and my prayer that we all might come to knowledge of these eternal truths through prayer, scripture study, attending church, and applying them in our lives.

I love you all and hope the best for you!  Because even if your not in Brazil having the best time in world i still love you. :)


Elder Mender

P.S. in the MTC and from bishops I've heard the more you work in the rain and heat the prettier your wife gets.... I figure my wife is probably working for some modeling company right now.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


Hey everyone!

It has only been a couple days but what a crazy few days it has been!! Let me first start out by saying if you get sick easily you probably want to stop reading right now.

So with you having been warned there is a saying here that to be a real missionary you have to poop your pants, get robbed or beat up.  Well I’m a real missionary now and i didn’t get beat up or robbed.... yep I pooped my pants.  Lets go to the start though.

Saturday night I was out teaching with Elder Barlow who returned home (with honor) today.  He bought me some chicken from a street vender I asked, are you sure this is fine?   He responded oh yeah I've been eating it for six months!!   So I ate it what I didn’t put together is 6 months ago is still 18 months after he had been in Brazil not 4 days...  his body had adjusted mine had not.   Well thanks to my dumb mistake I have had the worst diarrhea (don’t know how to spell that sorry if its wrong but you get the idea...) of my life!!    Well on to the next part yesterday was transfers which mean  ... drum roll please... i have my new area and Trainer!!!   We will talk about that later.   Well my area is 8 hours away from the transfer station so we had to wait at the bus station all day and then we took the 10:30 bus to me area ohhhh the bus station saw that we were missionaries and charges 40 reais to put our bags on the bus soooo gay ha-ha no one else had to pay!  Dumb.  Well the whole way here I had stomached pains and you know the bad stuff well we finally get to my new apt (which makes my old apt look like a kings palace) and well I don’t make it to the actual bathroom but whatever it happens you know so I go the bathroom and there is nooooo toilet paper. Now my comp doesn’t speak any English I speak very little Portuguese this could be hard but toilet paper is a very easy word explain across all languages you just point at the toilet and your bottom you know? They understand.   Well as it turns out THEY DONT HAVE ANY!!!!  So today I got to walk the store ten minutes away with pants and underwear that was less than ideal. That was an experience....  ha-ha let me tell you what!!  This is going to be an amazing two years that is all I’m saying.

Back to my new trainer and area!!!  this is the sweet part!  I'm in Petrolia in another state not actually Bahia it is the hottest place in the mission (a desert) it was 110 yesterday.   But its one of the highest baptizing areas. Missionaries love coming here because it is flat and you lose a lot of weight here. Ha-ha missionaries are saying ill drop 25 lbs my first transfer. My trainer is elder mach ado from Rio!!  Woot! Woot! Just the coolest guy he was the only trainer to run in the room and hug is new comp with a huge smile on his face just amazing.  So humble and nice I'm excited to work with him and to learn from him.  President said he had a smile on my face.   OH funny story about my area when Sister Toledo heard where I was going the first words out of her mouth were OHHH NOOOO not very encouraging for a new missionary if you know what i mean. Ha-ha but its all good.

Well the food is good but I think I might have actually caught some sort of worm which isn’t as exciting as it sounds when you’re sitting in America in an air-conditioned room with a nice bathroom... but when you’re in Brazil and you think you have one you want it to die fast.  Moral of the story don’t wish for things they actually come.  (Remember how I said I wanted a worm?) Oh and I said I wanted to serve in Petro joking annndddd i got it.

Well I'm going to walk a loooootttttt here, which will be good.  But not a lot has happened besides these fun stories.   Oh my p-day is Tuesday so that is when i will be emailing from now on unless its transfers and then i might have to email on Wednesday, like today.   But it has definitely set in that I am in a different country and I'm so happy to be here.  I have no idea what anyone says to me but I'm trying hard and loving it.   I'm so grateful that the Lord saw fit to call me here and that I was actually able to make it here!

Oh my apt is crazy ha-ha I’ll explain that real quickly!!!   So the shower... outside. Bathroom light doesn’t work, toilet seat is broken, and so it comes off after every use.  Smaller then my closet at home.  Beds... outside in front yard.  Um...  yeah lots of friends aka bugs all over the place.  It is crazy I'm really excited for the next two years i know i am going to have tons of fun stories!!

Stay tuned for next weeks email i hope all is well know that i love you and i really couldn’t be happier here!  There is nothing better then serving the Lord!


Elder Mender

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Grandkids are fun!

Last Saturday we watched Adelynne most of the day while her parents went over to Gilford, NH.   We just had a blast with her!   She is such a cute little girl and just so mild mannered.   We had lunch.....grapes, string cheese, and crackers.   We played games - peek a boo and hide and seek.   We read books, and played with legos.   It is so funny that as grandparents you feel like you have so much more time to play the games than when you are the parent!

We bundled up in the car mid afternoon and Adi was out for the whole trip down to Concord to meet her parents and go to dinner.   The picture above was from a ribs place called "Famous Dave's" that I had never heard of but the food was very good and reasonably priced.   We had a great day with the kids!   We did miss Mitch and Owen since we think if they had been there we might have actually been able to finish the "family meal"!   Maybe in a couple years!

Things I Have Learned

Hello all!

What a great week it has been in Brazil!!!

Things I have learned:
  • 1.     I will spend the next two years of my life in a constant sweat.
  • 2.     Ants will be an ever present in my life also (shower, dinner table, bedroom, everywhere) and other bugs
  • 3.     I really am in another country
  • 4.     Brazilians are the nicest people ever
  • 5.     Bus rides = no room... seriously
  • 6.     Fruit here is amazing thus juice is too
  • 7.     My Portuguese is worse than the 6 year old kid that was picking on me.
  • 8.     Clothes really aren’t necessary if you are Brazilian
  • 9.     There is no such thing as too much PDA...   like it can’t get worse.
  • 10.  The church is true no matter where you are!!!
Well I have learned a lot in the few days I have been here.  But the most important is that I am so excited to be here and Brazil is amazing.  I’m sad that I have already been out five months and only get another 19 here.

On Tuesday I got here and started sweating... immediately.  I found out Brazilians drive insane and motorcycle drivers are even more insane BUT they have fewer accidents then we do.  I have decided that if we just let people drive how they want we will have fewer accidents.  When I got to the apartment I found out that transfers are next Tuesday so I will just be staying with the assistants until then.  (They also have the nicest apt in the mission) so  things will be interesting.  Let’s just say Park City was not the best preparation for a mission in Brazil. 

So I have been in the city of Salvador living a very nice life. Next week I will get my area and my trainer, I am very excited.  Some fun things that have happened this week....  I was walking down the street and this little kid calls me A-hole!!! I was like elder what did he say?  He said don’t worry about it. I was like no what he said! And he told me that he called me an A-hole. This kid was…8?   It was pretty funny. 

Showers are also the best part of the day....  I just stand there under the cold water and it feels so good.  Ha-ha  

Oh we walk a lot here... like a lot a lot.  I am so sore I’m pretty sure instead of getting out of shape like most missionaries do I will get in better shape.  I walked up the longest stair case in Salvador and just about had a heart attack! Ha-ha not really but it was bad.

The food and juice here is amazing so many different kinds and it all is so good.  If it wasn’t so hot here I would think I had died and gone to heaven. 

Well the missionaries here are amazing, hard working, and funny.   It is great. It is a reality here that we can baptize weekly if we work hard.  So I am pretty excited.

Everything is great here I already love the people and the culture and I’m sure it will just become more intense as I learn how to speak the language!!  Ha-ha it is so funny we went to an Avella which is pretty much shacks crammed together on the hillside where thousands of people live and these three kids were picking on my Portuguese hard core.  But it is way fun.

I hope all is well in the states and that you know I love you!!


Elder Mender

One Transfer Down

Hello friends!

How the heck are you?  Well things are great here. I survived transfers and am still in Park City which is amazing my trainer and I are living it up and working hard. 

This week has been wonderful.  Tuesday we had a chance to go to the Jordan River temple which was wonderful it has been way too long since I have been to the temple.  We came out and we had a message from the assistants saying they had news about transfers and we were all worried that one of us might be leaving but when we called them it was just a mix up and we got to stay!!  It was fantastic. 

So one interesting stories this week:  there is this family that has been going to church since October but they haven’t wanted to get baptized and we have been told not to go by because they just need space and time.   Well this Thursday morning during personal study I had this thought that we needed to go by that night.  And I was like no bad idea we will scare them off but I couldn’t forget about it so I said a prayer and it just felt right.  But I was scared to tell my companion because well we were told not to think about it!!  So I finally got the courage and I told him and he said," I think its too soon but ill trust you” so we went and just talked and I invited them to take the lessons and they looked really excited and said ok.  Well the next morning we got a call from the ward mission leader (who had told us not to go by and didn’t know we went) and he said that the family was ready to get the lessons and moves forward with baptism!  It was an amazing experience so we are in the middle of teaching them.  They are really an amazing family and I hope they stay with it.  The whole experience was a hugged testimony builder of how important it is to listen to the Holy Ghost.  I can really see in difference in the kind of missionary I am when I am listening to the promptings and when imp not.

oh I think this was last week and I cant remember if I told you all or not butttt I got a signed book from president Uchtdorf with a little note for me it was really cool and i will cherish it forever!

We have some investigators who are really athletic and one was going to go to the NFL but had too many concussions and the other is a kid who just got back from rehab and has just been working out pretty much his whole life.  He was on some all-star team where the coaches made sure they had all the drugs they needed to "perform well” so that is really lame but he is such an amazing kid. One of the ways we have been fellowshipping them is to play basketball with them. ...  They are in 100x better shape then I am!  Ha-ha my companion and I crawled into bed Friday night sore as can be.   But they are such amazing people and I really hopeful that they will get baptized soon.  My trainer still tells me I have match faith, which I am ok with. Ha-ha

Oh this Sunday we went to the singles ward up here and I think last week I told you missionaries are awkward BUT missionaries AT a singles ward is pretty much the most awkward thing ever.  These people are just so weird.  I was laughing the entire time annnddd it dragged on for an hour and half!  How ridiculous is that a sacrament meeting for 95 minutes and these aren’t normal talks these are singles ward talks!  I was very grateful that I have not spent a ton of time in a singles ward.

Well there isn’t a whole lot else but life is great I cant believe how fast time is flying it seems like you have a p-day and bam the next day you have it again!  But the work is great my testimony is strong of the work.  If you ever want to strengthen your testimony SHARE IT.  It helps a lot.  Well I love you all and I hope things are great.


Elder Mender