Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Not a Great Week

Mitch did not write a letter to share this week so I'm taking an exerpt from the letter he wrote to us....

So Monday night/Tuesday morning was really, really rough for me. While we were sleeping our house was robbed. The robber came in the house through the bedroom window, just by my head. He took all our companion and I are now without our cell phone, ipods, cameras, and watches....but that is not the bad part. We had borrowed a laptop from a member and were making a program for a church activity and it got stolen too! I feel horrible, I never imagined something like that would happen. But I'm so grateful that we are alive, usually robberies don't go that smoothly here in Brazil. But I need to buy this member a new laptop. He is really poor and has done so much to help us and will be starting school again in February. I know I have a few dollars in the bank so please put it in my account. (We just told him to replace the computer)

Sorry I didn't send an e-mail yesterday but we spent the whole day trying to find a phone that worked (to call President Toledo) and looking for a new house...I'm really stressing out right now. I just want to get back to work. We had so many good people lined up to teach and ths is totally screwing up my life. But it is OK, I know it will all work out.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Happy 75th Birthday!

A 75th birthday only comes around once in a lifetime!   So we wanted to celebrate with you....this has been quite a year for celebrating your birthday (and by year we mean the last twelve months)!   We started out the celebration with a call which said let's go to Florida and celebrate mom's 75th birthday...well thinking that mom's birthday is in January that seemed like an exciting idea!   But the get together had to be scheduled in August.   

So we gathered in Florida at Walt Disney World for the birthday celebration without end!   Did you know when it is your birthday at Disney they give you a button that identifies you as the birthday girl?   And did you know if you wear it every day for a week, every where you go you get birthday cake and that every one wishes you happy birthday?   Well Pat does!!!!

First Birthday celebration!!

Next Birthday Celebration!
You get the idea!

Then we were off to visit the Disney parks.....oh did we mention it was 100 degrees and 99% humidity? We visited MGM, Magic Kingdom, Epcot, and Animal Kingdom all in one week.   Here are some of our photos from the week!

Did we mention it was hot?

We saw Pluto and Goofy!
 And Tigger too!
 And of course Winnie the Pooh.

 We partied at Hoop de Doo!

 This kind of looks like a parade!

Grandma and the Cousins!

Pat and Lew - still in love!

Pat, we had the kids over for Family Night last month and we talked about what we wanted to share with you on your birthday.   All the reasons that you are special to us.   We came up with a HUGE list of things and wanted to share some of them with you as a kind of birthday tribute!

Special Thoughts


Mom, you always made us whatever kind of cake we wanted.  I especially remember the snowman and my favorite, mac and cheese.  Do you remember my 16th birthday?   You put me over your knee.  I was thinking I should return the favor.  I always remember how you always woke us up singing...whatever was on your mind.

My favorite memories are knowing that you and Lew would always be there for family milestones.   You are always there for the "big" events....blessings, baptisms, temple endowments, graduations, missions, football games, performances, marriages.   The list goes on and on.  You are an amazing example of love of family.   I also love your generally sunny disposition.    You are a great example to our family....we love you tons!

The Boys....and Anne Marie

Always to be remembered....those "terrible" Christmas cookies.   
Could you ever make enough?  
We remember when we came to visit you always made sure everyone had breakfast no matter how many people were there, or how long we slept.
We remember hot dog casserole and macaroni salad (Yummmmy)
Enjoyed going to the Hill Cumorah Pageant and staying at your house.

Short and Sweet
Fun Loving
Loves to be with the Family
Makes everyone feel like part of the Family
Loves to be with the Family at the Temple
Loves the Gospel
Good cook

Pat, we are so grateful that you and Lew have made the trip up to be with each of our children as they have gone through the are a few pictures to help you remember those trips.

Owen - Boston Temple 2005

Mitch - Boston Temple 2009

Anne Marie - Palmyra Temple 2010

Pat, I can't thank you enough for all you have done for our family.   You have obviously been a fantastic mother.   Joe is all that I could hope for in a friend and husband.  He is kind, and caring, and constantly thinking about the needs of others and I know he learned all that from his mother.   You have been a great example to our boys and have always encouraged them to do the right things and have written to them and supported them on their missions.  You have made gifts for their babies and always remembered them on their birthdays and special events.   Not only were you there for the birth of our children --- you've been there for the really important events in their lives.  You know them and love them!   You truly are a significant part of their lives and for that I thank you.     You have shared your spirit with them and your love of life.   They know that they are important to you!   

Hope you have a great day today and know that we love you!  Happy 75th Birthday!!!!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

No Energy

12 January 2011

Hello my friends!

How is everyone on this fine day?
So first off I was transferred from Passe to Santo Antonio de Jesus it is a city, in the middle of nowhere, about three hours away from Salvador.  I’m really excited to be here with my new companion Elder Corriea, he is from San Paulo and everyone just says really good things about him!  That’s always good right?  So lets talk a little bit about why I love transfers, especially this one.  Remember the first transfer I had when I got to the home and it didn’t have any toilet paper but I really had to use the bathroom?  I think this transfer might be better.  We got here at 7 at night and  it was already REALLY dark at 7 and well…. we didn’t have any energy.  Wait you ask, Elder Mender, why didn’t you have any energy?   GOOD QUESTION!!!  The answer is because the secretaries forgot to pay the bill!!!  Oh alright, the secretaries are busy guys….that can happen, but here in Brazil they don’t shut off your energy until you don’t pay THREE BILLS, which means the secretaries forgot to pay since last OCTOBER!!  So I got to spend all morning running around a city I didn’t know.  Trying to get the bills paid so that I can have light and water to shower and OH YEAH… SEE with!  It was definitely an interesting night unpacking in the candle light.   Let’s hope we don’t have to do that again!

Other than this life is really good and we are excited to start off this transfer strong.   Last week some fun things happened, I got to speak in church and it actually went really well (last week was my first time giving a talk here in Brazil).  I guess that means my Portuguese is getting a little better!  It was interesting because I remember as a youth getting asked to talk for 5 minutes and only taking two!   Sunday I was asked to speak for 20 but with how things went I ended up having 30 mintues and I’m pretty sure I could have kept going for another 30!   I don’t know why when I was younger I thought it was so hard to speak.   There is just so much to share and say!  I love it!  I found out I get to share another talk this week.  Two Sundays in a row!  Woot! Woot!

Well I guess that is about it.  Sorry I don’t write an email every week but life has been really, really hectic lately and sometimes I forget or don’t know what to say.  I hope you all know I love you.  Sorry if you haven’t gotten a letter from me in a while….I blame the mail service here in Brazil because, I promise, I really am writing! 

Have a great week and remember, if it is not already a habit, you have to read the Book for Mormon everyday!!!  Just like Nike says “Just do it”!

Love to you all,

Elder Mender