Thursday, June 3, 2010

You Know you are in Brazil When....

Tudo bom!!! Com credenza!

Hello everyone I hope you all had an amazing week.  First of all I need to say thank you to everyone who has sent me letters and packages it is always a ton of fun to receive a handful at conference.  This past conference was amazing and not just because of the letters I received although that didn’t hurt. :) As many of you know Elder Godoy of the Seventy was at our conference it was just an amazing spiritual conference where we learned soooo much. Kind of like a mini general conference.  He taught so well and the Spirit was so strong.  I remember two things specifically….  The first his wife said. She was telling a story of when she was leaving her mission she was in tears and her mission president said, "You don’t need to be sad the next thing will be better" HOW TRUE THAT IS! Those were the exact words I needed to hear at that time. The lord loves us he knows what we need and will give it to us. So we don’t need to worry or be sad just take comfort in the Lord.  The second elder Godoy talked about three questions we need to ask ourselves as missionaries but I also think we can ask it as members too.  1) What are we NOT doing that is keeping blessings from us? 2) What ARE we doing to keep blessings from us? And 3) what do we need to KEEP doing to receive blessings? As we answer these three questions and form goals around the answers we will see the blessings of the lord pour more rapidly and abundantly into our lives. That is true.

I have a lot of stories this past week and stories from others weeks that I have forgotten to tell so sorry this email might be a little long!  First this week Elder Domelles and I had a chance to change a light bulb while we were on divisions now this might seems simple but the ceiling was high and they did not have a ladder so we did what all good missionaries do and he climbed up on my back and changed it from my shoulders it was actually quite impressive and made a good video!

Second, a few weeks ago we went to play soccer at the institute building and while we were playing a man came to work on the front gate. Great right that good? well when we finished and had to leave he wasn’t finished but he couldn’t open the gate because he was changing the metal plates in between the bars well this is where the story gets good... all the skinny elders squeezed their way through the opening without a problem then it was me and another larger (but not as large as me) elder I naturally being the polite man that I am let him go first well he struggled a little bit and finally got through as many of you can imagine I’m freaking out right now in my mind thinking there is no way I’m going to fit through this!  Well I’m an Elder and there are about 20 other others on the other side of this gate so I have to try if I want to keep my man status. Well I put my arm through that BARELY fits then my torso hits the bars stop. all forward progress stopped I push a little bit not going to happen no way so I start to back out  but elders always willing to help grab my arm and start pulling! (I’m about 90% sure they did it to see me in pain) well with elders pulling on my arm I get about halfway through. Uh oh stop again! I now cannot breath at all  the pictures from this point make me look like one of the toy heads that you squeeze and the eyes and ears pop out. Yeah I was in pain but not to be out done the guy working on the gate starts pushing! so I feel kind of like a ragdoll in the hands of little boys being pulled pushed and beaten to a pulp at about the last second when I’m two hundred percent sure I’m going to lose consciousness because of lack of air I pop out the other side fall to the ground with the worst pain of my life in my chest!  Needless to say it was a fun adventure! And the pictures are priceless. I’ll try and send them...

I have realized that the best time for a nap is when the missionaries are at your door, kind of like the best time for a relative to die is during finals in college...

This week we were having a delightful lunch at a members home and of course the sister asked me to eat more. "come mais elder" is a favorite saying of the members here in Brasil and a saying you hate to hear as a missionary well I went for some more chicken and BAM it happened I somehow stabbed the chicken in the right way and chicken grease and the ridiculous amount of oil they like to cook their meat in spilled all over my brand-new white shirt! Oh I was so sad but what can you do but laugh when this happens?  Nothing all you can do is laugh so for the next five minutes we all had a good little laugh at my chicken stained shirt, which is good we all need to laugh every now and then right? Well I feel lucky that I made it as long as I have with spilling it was bound to happen on the mission!

I had another "you know you’re in Brasil moments when..."   this week it was really quite interesting. So there we were teaching a lesson and a chicken walks through the living room. You know you are in Brasil when a chicken walks through the house and you are the only one that feels this might not be the right place for a chicken to walk freely... but i guess ill learn right?!
Well this week and the past few months certainly have been an adventure. I truly am learning to love the work and love the people here.  This place is so beautiful and every now and then you will get a glimpse of a sunset and a view that just takes your breath away and you fall in love with Brasil all over again.  The work is wonderful to see people’s lives change because of the gospel that you are teaching ... there is nothing sweeter in the entire world. This gospel is beautiful I hope you all know of the testimony I have and the love I have for my Savior Jesus Christ who without this work and really this life would have no eternal purpose.
I love you all and hope you have another great week.

Elder Mender
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