Wednesday, March 31, 2010


What a great week this is for everyone a time to remember the resurrection of our Savior Jesus Christ. How truly blessed we are to have him on our side. I am so grateful that he has one the fight and all we have to do is follow him. I hope everyone takes this week to watch general conference.  I know I am so excited for this weekend. I have been counting down this whole month!  What is even more exciting is that we will have it in English for the Americans down here! Wahoo!

So this past week has been CRAZY.  I could not make up these stories if I tried!  First off all Elders in my apartment were transferred and three more arrived today, they are all Brazilian so I am in for a treat this transfer.   I need to learn Portuguese really fast!!  My companions name is Elder Andrade he is 27 and from Sao Paulo he seems like a really good missionary and I am excited to work with him this transfer!

OK so the crazy part of this week:  on Wednesday my companion and I went to teach a lesson to the Stake President's son who is 8 (they asked us to teach him so we said yes) and when we got there President said he had to leave for a few minutes and we thought that would be ok.  Well he left us with his 4 year old daughter too and as soon as he shut the door she started crying and beating the door trying to escape and she finally figured out how to open it and ran out. My companion went to go see where she was headed when I finally got to the door I see him 40 yards down the road chasing after her at a dead sprint.  When he finally catches her he has to carry the screaming and fighting girl back to the house where we padlock the door so she couldn’t escape again and we started the lesson. During the lesson she would stick her tongue out at us and be a four year old nothing too bad. When we ended with the closing prayer it was as if a demon entered her body and she began throwing shoes at us and sandals and we tried to get her to stop but she just got madder and madder as we would try and hold her she would use her demon powers and break out of our arms then she went into the back room and got tomatoes and started throwing those at us!! It was insane what can a missionary do?! We couldn’t leave because of the padlock and we didn’t want to leave this child alone then she got her bike and started ramming the door thinking she could break it down.  At some point I realized that water was leaking all over the kitchen and at closer examination at some point she had unplugged the hose from the washing machine and that was where the water was flooding from as quick as we could we started to clean it up but the girl realizing she wasn’t going to escape started swinging a broom at us!!!  Finally we got the water cleaned up and the broom out of her hand and as soon as we did that president walked in the door and we ran out screaming... no president showed up and we calmly tried to explain why his house was a mess and that we had done our very best but we were sorry.   We then left and started laughing our heads off wondering if that had really happened!

Well it has been an amazing week and I am excited for this next transfer.  I hope all is well and that you remember that this holiday is not only about the chocolate! :)

Oh have you ever wondered why chicken got robbed of a cool meat name? The pig has pork and bacon and ham, the cow has ribs, hamburger, steak but chicken has just chicken?!  Just a thought...

Another thought~I believe that as we kill flies we are just helping out evolution and making the fly species stronger because of survival of the fittest you know we  are only killing the slow and stupid flies!!!

I love you all.

Elder Mender

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

More Photos from Brazil...the real deal!!

View from the top of the road!
There is a dog on the house in the neighborhood!
Mitch has found that the climate is very similar to a sauna!
Interesting sights....
I love this Mitch with the animals!
Cute Parrot
Another shot of the Mender sweat glands in action!!
Mitch and Companion!
Mitch finds another feathered friend!
The Bedroom.....
The bathroom
The shower.......


Hello all!!!!

What a week!!!  I have some good stories this week. Maybe they are "you had to be there" stories but I think they are funny.

To start with if you have ever wondered what missionaries do in their spare time read 1 Nephi 11: 10, 15, 23   in that order (don’t read the verses in between). One day elder Dias was sitting at his desk and he said, "I have decided the scriptures contain all.  It has my number one wish!"  It was really funny as we all sat there and read it and said dang I want that too!
    10 And he said unto me: What desirest thou?
    15 And I said unto him: A virgin, most beautiful and fair above all other virgins.
    23 And he spake unto me, saying: Yea, and the most a 
joyous to the soul.
One night this week an Elder came home and his family had a dinner to celebrate and the whole ward came and it started with a opening hymn and prayer then the Dad talked, then the Mom talked, then the Elder gave his testimony then they had a slide show (which had the song another summer day has come and gone away in Paris or Rome I want to go home.... yeah that will make your trunky...) and then ends with a closing hymn and prayer it was a new experience for me!  Very fun.

This week we were sitting on the bus and these two women got on wearing the exact same clothes I was like, "Elder look that so weird!!"  He just stopped looked and me and said, "Elder look at us...." that was an “OH yeah” moment for me! You could say I felt pretty stupid!

Last P-day I forgot to mention that we got woken up at 5 AM by the ward clerk asking for our baptismal records. Now for those of you who know me 5 AM is not a good time, and on p-day it is an even worse time, to be awake.   And also here in Brasil the sun is already up so it is close to impossible to fall back asleep so we weren’t too happy the rest of the day and then on Sunday this same man who has been a member for a YEAR! Got up in gospel essentials and said the Lord’s Prayer as his closing prayer.....   Now when you just explained to your investigators that we aren’t the Catholic Church this can be a very confusing thing for them.  Ah what a great adventure a mission is here in Brasil!

I also found out yesterday that here in Brasil they teach that we only have six continents!! Six!  South America and North America are one!  That just blew my mind that they teach that in school.

Yesterday it rained really hard while we’re teaching kids and after we started walking to another appointment and the kids followed us and as all kids do they were splashing each other in the puddles which reminded me of the carefree days and without thinking (like most 19 year olds) I started splashing them too.  They laughed and thought it was so fun but I forgot about the retaliation part of being a kid and two seconds later they managed to have me soaked head to toe... it was quite the day!!!  A lot of fun and I learned a valuable lesson about getting kids wet!

Also I was reading in my missionary hand book and I found out fireworks are not allowed so I would like to apologize to everyone for my very greeny mistake and let everyone know I am trying to repent! Thank you.

Oh speaking of greeny mistakes I forgot my tag on Sunday!  I think instead of progressing in the mission I am digressing!  It was a very tragic day!  I had to borrow the tag of Elder Dias and everyone thought I was Mexican.....

Well this week was amazing and I love being here!   Next week is transfers so if I don’t write next Tuesday you will know why!  I love you all and hope all is well in the States!

Elder Mender  

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Just some Photos

Mitch as a Zone Conference

Elders at dinner - Mitch right far back!

Elders Preparing for dinner


Sister Toledo, the mission President's wife, posts photos of the missionaries on Picassa Web which is so wonderful because we can just download them from her.   So far we have not seen the first disc of photos that are supposed to be on their way from Brazil!   Hopefully in the next week or two.    Hard to be patient when you just never know if the photos will make it out of Brazil or be stolen by some postal worker who needs a memory card!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


What a great week it has been for me here in Salvador Brazil!   To start off with we had our first baptism this week it was really exciting this is a family that we have been teaching this whole transfer!  It was so exciting when the mom and dad said that they wanted to get baptized.   I about started crying right there, I love this family so much they are amazing the whole lesson right before they said "vou" (I will) I was just praying please Heavenly Father help them to feel the Spirit help us to say what is right help everything to be perfect and then bam! They said yes. So I testify that prayers are answered!! Don’t doubt that they aren’t.  It was also really cool because he asked me to baptize him and I did it! I said the words right, his name right, and got him all under in one try! It was amazing and probably a miracle!  But it was an amazing experience and I can see the benefits of my labors and it is amazing!  I just wish everyone would accept it.

As with all good things trials come and this week one of our investigators who KNOWS the church is true told us "I know your church is true but I like sinning too much, I don’t want to go to church anymore."   That is the saddest thing you can ever hear. It amazes me how the mission is an emotional roller coaster you can go from one end of the spectrum to the other.   My district leader and I where talking and I said, "elder i think I'm bipolar!"  And he just laughed and said, "No you’re a missionary."

This week was a lot of fun and a lot of work. I can’t really think about any exciting stories to tell so I apologize for that.  We did do service this week at a members house and I got to make cement in the street that was way cool. Then he asked us to paint his house and having visions of home life when I painted and Mom yelling at me because it looked bad got scared but then as I watched the other elders paint I realized they really didn’t care if it looked good they just want paint covering the wall and so I got into it and it was really quite fun!  I'm pretty much a professional.... not! Speaking of failed projects at home again I was talking with my district leader after the service project about how at home when we were doing projects at home mom always found some flaw in them so we got to wondering what Gods wife said after the creation... and then realized that God is perfect and so are his creations so she was probably perfectly happy!!  Sorry dad you’re not there yet... 

Well I hope all is well at home those seem to be the highlights of my week!  I hope you all know I love you and I pray for you daily. 

Love, Elder Mender

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

The Gift of Tongues

Hello all!

I have had an AMAZING week and I have a lot to write about but first off I hope you know I love you!

Things I have learned after a month in Brazil:
1.     Cock roaches can survive in microwaves.
2.     Cock roaches can fly if they are big enough
3.     Mice can climb in suitcases
4.     Having more than 100 bug bites is possible
5.     Brazil makes pre-existing skin problems worse
6.     Brazil gives skin problems you never knew existed
7.     Blisters the size of golf balls are only cool when Robbie Crossett has them!

Ok so I have some amazing stories to tell this week.  First why I want all mail sent to the mission home... a missionary had his mail sent to the apt and then got transferred and Brazilians don’t really have a sense of privacy so naturally it got opened and it was a wedding announcement from his girlfriend! Well we had a good laugh at that but I want to open my dear john first! I don’t want someone else opening it!

In our area we have this crazy lady that like to sing to you as you walk by... one time we saw her sitting on a rock with a microphone she made out of trash!  Another time we walked by and she started following us singing to us. I asked my comp if he knew what she was saying and he said he had no idea. Weird!

Well last week at church I had an amazing experience!   I was standing there and a man came up and started talking to me! And I understood everything perfectly! And I responded perfectly!  I was getting so excited that I had the gift of tongues and then it hit me: we were speaking English.

So one day we were teaching a lesson and this BABY wasn’t listening to his mom and in the middle of the lesson she whipped him with a belt!!! I don’t even think a bull trainer could have done it harder.  And then another day we were walking and in Brazil the sidewalks drop a foot at a time when you go downhill it isn’t gradual and these girls were running down behind a stroller that had a baby in it and he was just bouncing around like an earthquake! It was crazy and so sad to see!

Well Friday was my comps year mark and I wanted to celebrate right so we went out and bought fireworks! Now fireworks here aren’t the same as in the states... there they are pretty and colorful here they are loud just loud.  so I didn’t know this and I bought ten reais worth (that buys a lot here) and we were back at the apt setting them off because we have a side yard that you can do that in and we had one that looked like one of the flower ones from the states so we lit it and threw it expecting a nice flower thing 3...2...1.... BOOOOM the loudest explosion I have ever heard happened right there in front of me I was so scared I dropped the cup that was in my hand!  I was freaking out thinking the cops would come and my comp was like what are you worrying about they don’t come because of a loud noise.  We went the next day to see what was left and there was just a black mark and no evidence that a fire cracker ever went off it just vanished it was crazy. Well moral of the story we have five left and have purchases 5 different types of fruits. :)

On Sunday we took the sacrament to an older women who was sick and she took me by the hand and pulled me close and said (imagine old woman scary voice here), "you will pay for your sins here in Petrolia"  well I just about started crying. That is the scariest thing you can imagine for a new missionary!!!

This week I had some amazing experiences.  Some of the most beautiful things you will ever see is:  an investigator on her porch reading the Book of Mormon, a Dad sit up to read scriptures with dignity in front of his family, a 12 year old boys eyes light up as you teach about the priesthood that he could hold, or a 10 year girl grin ear to ear and nod her head as you ask her if she wants to be baptized.

Sunday was fast and testimony meeting and we had ten investigators come it was amazing!  And the even more amazing part was that one got up and gave his testimony!!  He talked about how he knew this church was true because when he walked in he felt good and he didn’t see any priests casting out devils it was pretty funny but also pretty exciting!

Yesterday was zone conference and I understood everything it was the coolest thing ever! I had the chance to give my testimony and I got a ton of compliments about how my accent and Portuguese was really good. Members this week have also been telling me that, so I’m getting really excited about everything my mission seems to be going perfect!  I cannot wait until I am fluent but I know with time and effort it will all come together.

Well, I have one quote I want to share with you it is by President Hinckley and a missionary left it above my desk and it helps me every day as I read it. I really love it a ton! "Anyone who imagines bliss is normal is going to waste a lot of time running around shouting that he has been robbed. the fact is most putts don’t drop, most beef is tough, most children grow up to be just people, most successful marriages require a high degree of mutual toleration, most job are more often dull then otherwise... life is like an old time rail journey-delays, side tracks, smoke, dust, cinders and jolts, interspersed only occasionally but beautiful vista and thrilling burst of speed. The trick is to thank the Lord for letting you have the ride."

I hope you understand the truth and hope this quote gives!

Elder Mender

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

His Name is Jeff

What an amazing week this was!!!   My life is just one huge adventure down here!  Some fun stories:

We ran out of water soooo we got to take shower-in-a-bucket!  Well you stand outside and pour waters from a bucket one cup of a time on your body with soap and shampoo and then when you are done you pour the bucket over you! Way fun I felt like I was a kid in the bathtub again! kinda...

Well missionaries carry around pictures because I guess Brazilians love pictures and it is so funny every time I show them pictures without fail three people are commented one.  First Adi and how cute she is.  Then Owen how cute he is. The girls always giggle and point at his picture and then Lauren and how beautiful she is.. it makes me laugh so hard every time.

Oh we did service this week and we helped the bishop prune his fruit trees I wish I had my camera it would have been an epic picture! And then we spread gravel in his yard... yes in his yard but it wasn’t gravel it was crushed up bricks and cement it was way weird!  But he was grateful so that is good.

I have so much time on my hands since I have no idea what’s going on... well I kinda do but it is so easy to daydream.  I always do theses countdowns it’s so bad! And one night I was talking to my district leader and I’m like elder I’m so trunky! I keep counting down till I go home but I’m trunky I love it here! And he just laughs and says I know exactly what you mean it’s just because you don’t know what people are saying so all you can do is think about home.  It was interesting and comforting to know that it isn’t just me!

Oh we also have a family of lizards living with us!  I see the dad a lot I have named him Jeff; well I assume he is the dad he is the biggest.  He is really nice and we like to talk about the weather and sports. It is really nice because he speaks English which is really hard to find here!!

Well this week has been a lot of fun.  We were sitting on the sidewalk and this donkey came running around the corner and it sprinted past us it was so random but soooo funny.  Just the sights you see here are amazing!   I love walking home at night past people on the sidewalk listening to music and playing with their families with smells of cooked meats or fresh fruit it is just one of the most beautiful things I can think of I really do love it here and the culture is amazing.

I love being the white guy here.  Kids will always come up and say "fala ingles" and I’ll just say "ingles" and then they laugh and run away or they’ll ask how tall I am and ill say three meters it is so much fun to just be able to laugh and talk and play with these amazing people here in Brazil!

Well I hope all is well in the states and that you are enjoying your carpet!
Remember if you have a problem turn to the Lord he can solve it better then we can!

Elder Mender