Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Happy New Year

28 December 2010

Hello Friends and Family,

First off, I hope you had a Merry Christmas and I wish you happy New Year.  Just so everyone knows I respond to every card I get. So if you write me and don’t get a card back you can know one of two things, I did not get it or some Brazilian postal worker decided to try and read English (your card from me) sorry if you have not heard from me but know that I love you and I am grateful for all your support.  Really I am.  So the past few weeks have been amazing.  We have been working really hard and seeing a ton of blessings. One of these blessings is a man named Christian. He is super humble and super spiritual he bore his testimony at his baptism and told everyone how he knew the Book of Mormon was true from the very first time he read it with us. It was amazing.  Today the zone played soccer so we decided to wake up way early and go play (we live in the middle of nowhere) well I’m no Brazilian but I’m definitely learning this tricky game. It was a lot of fun.  Then as we were coming back we passed a store called "cacao show”, which is without a doubt , the best chocolate in the world. If you’re lucky I might bring you back some in two years.   So that was fun.  I’m trying to think of other stories to tell.  I’m extremely tired, we have just been going non stop this transfer, which is amazing.  We have so many lessons that most days we have to do divisions with members or we can’t teach everyone.   We are teaching a family the mom is named Lenina.  She is a single mom and has four boys, 11 to 17, and they are such a humble family and way fun to teach.  Because of Christmas and everything we didn’t have a lot of people at church this Sunday but I know in the next few weeks we will have a lot of people.  Speaking of Christmas I think I gained about 100 pounds in two days. The sisters here just feed you, and feed you, and don’t let you stop eating. If you try and stop they just pile it on your plate for you.  Christmas eve and Christmas day was rough but I guess I can’t complain because I love the food here and they really do their best for Christmas.  I’m so grateful for the chance to be here.  Our district decided to go caroling in the town square last week and it was a lot of fun. We had some people stop and listen but we usually had to chase people town and tell them we had a present for them (a pamphlet, DVD, or Book of Mormon) to get them to listen to us.  I’m so grateful for this time of the year when we get to remember the birth of Jesus Christ.  I know that he is the Savior and Redeemer of the word.  I am honored that I was considered one worthy to be a representative of Christ.  I love Him and am grateful for his eternal sacrifice, which makes it possible for us to be clean of our sins and, if we endure to the end, live with our families with our Heavenly Father for eternity. 

I love you all and hope you have a wonderful end of the year. 
Elder Mender

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Have I Told You It's Getting Hot?

8 December 2010

Hello Meus Queridos Amigos,
This week was another great week! Have I told you it’s getting hot here? Yeah it’s a whole different kind of heat I think my body is mad that it has been hot for ten months straight and hasn’t had one cool day but it will survive. I hope...
We are teaching a ton of amazing families! We found a family who some Sisters have taught in the past. We also found a man named Ruam who wanted to get baptized when he was younger but his mom wouldn’t let him and now that he is 20 it’s his own choice. It has been really neat this week as we have been prompted to walk a different direction then are normal pattern and in these moments we find these people that seem elect.
I’m so grateful for this month of December and for the chance to be a missionary we are using the birth of Jesus Christ in our contacts and seeing a lot of Success I love the spirit that this season brings.
I do have one cool story that I want to share. The other night me and my comp were walking in the street and a woman stopped us and was talking to us as she realized what we do she asked, "Are you happy? Because I don’t believe two young men like yourselves could truly be happy doing what you’re doing." As I thought about that question I was hit with huge sense of peace and joy and I was able to testify that I really was the happiest vie been in my life and that I could think of no other place I would rather be. I know that I was called to serve here by a prophet of God and that as I sere with all my heart might mind a strength I will continue to be blessed. I hope that during this month we all can seek to strengthen our testimonies of Jesus Christ and then go and share it with others for this is what really brings us joy. I love you all and hope you have a great week. Thank you so much for all your support!

Elder Mender


November 23, 2010

Hello everyone!!

Well this week was a great week.  We got a lot done and have a lot of fun stories.  The first one starts out Saturday night we were sitting in a lesson with a woman who had a baptism date for next week and I felt like I needed to invite her to be baptized the next day...  It’s really hard to try and convince someone to be baptized the following day but I thought hey why not she is ready!  So I gave her the challenge and at first she said no, I'm going to be baptized next week.  But it was really cool to be able to respond to everyone one of her concerns, and finally she just stopped sat there in silence for what seemed like three hours and then she said "ok I'll do it"... with a huge smile on her face it was the most exciting thing in the world!  So cool. So we hard her baptism this Sunday which was one of the best baptisms I have ever been to very spiritual everything just went together perfectly.  The branch here is really starting to come together here and it is a very neat thing to witness I am very excited for this area.  We had another cool lesson where we sat down and instead of the lesson we had planned we just got out our hymnbooks and would sing a hymn and then share a message about it and then sing another hymn and share a message about it. It was a very fun lesson and also really spiritual it was just what the investigator needed on that day. I'm so grateful for the hymns and the spirit they bring when we sing them as a praise to our Father in Heaven, we taught another lesson last night actually which was one of the most powerful lessons I or my companion have taught.  As we walked in the door we both knew that we needed to talk about the word of wisdom so as we asked him about it he told us he had a problem with the word of wisdom with smoking and coffee.  I swear the whole lesson I was just sitting there writing in my planner scriptures and outlines of messages that came to my head and I saw the word of wisdom in a whole new way. I'm so grateful for this commandment, which really blesses our lives more then, we can know.  It was interesting the week before he had told us he wasn’t baptized because he hadn’t felt the "desire” we were able to bear strong testimony that it was because of the word of wisdom that he hasn’t felt that desire.  Its like this we know that the spirit touches our hearts and that’s what gives us the desire. Our bodies are temples of Heavenly Father and that is why we can have the spirit touch our hearts but if we are doing everything in our power to keep these bodies clean (drugs, alcohol, smoking, coffee) we aren’t showing respect for the temple of God and the spirit cannot and will not be with us and for this reason we don’t feel the spirit.  For a long time I always thought the word of wisdom was so that we could have energy and health but it’s so so much more than that. That’s why one of the blessings is hidden treasure of knowledge or a testimony!!  The law of chastity is the same exact thing and every other commandment that God gives we have to keep them BEFORE we get that witness or testimony of the trial of our faith.  And then he told us well ill try to stop smoking but I don’t want to make a promise I cant keep. Well that doesn’t fly!  You can say that about anything and stay promise free and never have a responsibility the rest of your life but we have to learn to make promises and commitments. It’s that way of our Heavenly Father only he calls them covenants.  SO we got to share a story with him of a man who kept the hardest promise of all who made a promise and kept it even thought he was scared and didn’t know if he could keep it but he did!  And it is because of this man that we are all here and have the chance to one day return and live with God for eternity it is because of our Savior Jesus Christ.  Yeah we are going to mess up we are going to make mistakes but it’s ok. Its part of the plan.  The question is are we going to let the atonement of our Savior be in vain or are we going to do everything we can to repent and use that sacrifice in our lives.  We can use it for anything to stop smoking, to stop bad habits, to repent of a sin, and to get back the joy and happiness that we are supposed to have in the life.  I know the Jesus is the Christ. I know that God is our Heavenly Father and is just waiting for us to keep the commandments so he can bless us.  I hope you all are reading the book of Mormon because that book is key it can become our personal liahona it is how we can receive the personal revelation. Never forget that the last part of the gospel of Jesus Christ is endured to the end.  Never stop just keep pushing on and you will be blessed.  Im so grateful for the chance to be a representative of Jesus Christ for this short time.  I know this is where im supposed to be and I love it here.
I love you all and I hope you have a great week and a great thanksgiving!!

Love, Elder Mender

Hey, Hey, Hey

October 27, 2010

Hey, Hey, Hey!

So I have a ton to tell today so lets just jump right into it!  What an amazing week we had! It was super busy, super happy, and super sad! All at the same time!  Já pensou?!   So lets start off with last P-day. So that night we went to teach the family we encountered who had the doubts with coffee and marriage.  When we started the lesson he told us he quit coffee and was going to get his marriage papers the next day!!!  This family is so elect.  I absolutely love them!  Whenever they learn a commandment from God they just do it.  As I was thinking about the differences between this family and others families I’ve taught the only thing that stuck out is they kept their commitments!  They read every night as a family they prayed together as a family and when they had doubts they didn’t ask us to explain more. They just prayed and asked God they are the most amazing family.  This Friday Elder Merrell and I went to Pilar to help our investigators prepare for baptism.  This is when it gets sad.... well Daisy, one of the women we have been teaching, who was marked for this Sunday got told a bunch of lies by her "friend" so she decided not to be baptized this week. I get so sad when I hear people who are scared to be baptized because of what their friends say.

Have a great week.

Love,  Elder Mender

Just Do It

October 19,2010

Hello hello,

So how is everyone?  I’m doing great, thanks for asking!  This week was an amazing week. Elder Sato and I had some great great greeaaaat experiences.  We tracked into an ELECT family.  Cool story about how we found them we were walking down the street and Elder Sato heard Japanese anime and got all excited saying it was a sign that we had to knock on the door. So we did and bam we found them.  They went to church and we are helping them prepare for baptism they love the church but aren’t sure about marriage and coffee.  But we will get that sorted out in no time.   We also have another young man who we are working with who just accepts everything and is excited for his baptism this Sunday.  Also, in exciting news--the group of members out in Pilar, Elder Merrill and I had a chance to go out and visit them Saturday and we got stopped by another woman who is a member but didn’t know the church was there in Pilar, well she brought her husband, who isn’t a member to church, and we have three possibilities for baptism this week there. Elder Merrill and I will go there Friday and work until Sunday.  This week was just amazing and this next week is going to be even more amazing.  I’m sad that it is the end of the transfer but im so glad I got to be here for this transfer. I have learned so much and grown a ton.  One of things that we have been focusing this week is helping our investigators understand that they can receive answers to prayers. This is such an important part of the gospel. I hope everyone is praying. I know that God loves hearing our prayers and that he is ready to answer and will answer.  I have received so many answers in my life and especially here on the mission.  Prayer is real; prayer is powerful and prayer works. In the words of an important man "just do it"

Love, Elder Mender