Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Short Email

Hey Mom!!! Not a lot of time today!!! 

Well all is good! To answer your question Mom his name is Mike not James. And he has a rough schedule. He has been in court a lot for his son's trial. But I am doing good! The area is good! I am just really excited for tranfers this week! A change will be nice! But I am excited for you all that Greg is home! Cool that he met Elder Bednar! What all did he tell him??? And he is in Elder Martindales home ward lol! I will have to tell him that he met my brother lol! But that is cool! The pictures were nice! Wish there were more though!

Uhm Lisalo never heard from her! But it is okay! You just need to remember that people have their agency!! But just keep them in your prayers. Harlem is doing well! It seems like the area is slowing down... There is rumor of me getting a Greeny. It would be really hard, but I think it would definately be a good thing! It would really help me improve my spanish, because it would force me to speak more! But all is well!!! I Just really wish I had more time! Sorry I did not write a novel this week like I normally do!!! Did Greg gain weight??? Sorry I am really random lol!!! :) :) But no I am good! the Lord is blessing me! I probably sounded a little down last week just because I was not feeling good! But I am good! Don't worry about me! 

HAve fun at the concert! Hopefully Greg will meet Melissa there :) :) 

Well I love you all! There might be a chance that I can get on tomorrow. Our Zone Leaders said we might be able to. Probably not! But we will see! 

I love New York and I love the people! And I love you all! Hope you all have a great and safe week! Keep me in your prayers and I will do the same for you!! Love you!! :) 

Love Elder Mattei :) 

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Becoming a Better Version of Myself

Hey! What up Yall!!!

So I'm not feeling well today and don't have much time becaue we are going to the zoo!! Crazy that Greg is getting home! Lucky Duck! He deserves it! I wish I could see him! And it really stinks I won't get to talk to him until Christmas and by then his mission will be less in his mind :( I miss him a ton now that he is coming home! I could not fall asleep last night . But I am happy for all of you as well! Give him a hug for me and let him know how happy I am for him! And for the service he has done for the Lord! I am so proud of him!!  Tell him to email me when he gets home! I want to hear from him! 

Felipe Munoz left on his mission to Pittsburg! We helped him get stuff ready on sunday night! And Sister Munoz made us gumbo! It was way good! And I was really happy! Sunday was a really good day in general! I for sure need to take you to meet this family after my mission! They are awesome! 

Also I got a package from Melissa yesterday :) That was really nice and made me really happy! It had pictures, a coloring book! Candy, and a puzzle and some other stuff in there! It was really nice! Haha she really is the best! :) Like really she is! :) :) :) Mom when you see her next give her a giant hug for me!!! :)

I also Got a letter from Jackie Martin, and from Sister Duree with letters from the primary kids including Garrett :)

So not much has happened this week! Actually I lied! A lot has, just more negative stuff! We were pretty much dropped by Lisalo... I have no idea what happened she was so ready and she said she wanted to be baptized, but said that she started having family problems and stuff and she thought it was a sign she should not get baptized.. But I would say its the exact opposite... More like Satan was trying to stop her... :( IDK that has just really been upsetting me. She said she would pray again! And I can only hope that her prayer is answered again... She said she prayed and knew it was true and the Holy Ghost told her so... But now she does not know... I am really upset about it and everytime I think about it I become more and more upset...

Same news with Eric and Christina... We taught them a principle that they could not quite agree with. And now they seem to be ignoring us. But I have faith everything is going to work out. We will just give them time and see what happens. And continue to pray! I just wish they could realize how much this could really change their lives. I'm sad because I know what they can have... And if they choose not to accept it.. then :( :( The Gospel is everything... Jesus Christ is everything. Its only through him, his mercy, his grace, and his atoning sacrifice that we can live again! And not only live, but live and be happy... Forever.

On better news! Silvano is preparing for Baptism! He came to Church and loved it!! We are visiting him on Friday!! when I am on a Split with Elder Scott in my area... Elder Scott only knows English lol! So pray for me and that I can magically learn Spanish even faster in the next couple days... Like I said I can speak it pretty well! It is understanding it that i have problems with lol! But it will be all good! I am excited for it! And same with Rogelio and Jasmine! They seem to be pretty excited. 

Life is awesome! I learn to love people more and more everyday! Each one of them is important. And Each one of them is my brother and sister... Sometimes when I walk out. That is really hard to imagine. That the homeless guy laying on the stairs drinking a bottle of Warm Vodka is really my brother. And that God cares for him. But its true and I have a testimony of that stronger than anything else!

I am so glad to be on a mission and doing the things I do! I am not necessarily changing... I look at it as becoming a better version of myself as Hermano Corbride Always said! I love the Gospel and am excited for everything to come! I am glad the RJ, Jackson, Mckean, and soon Tre, have decided to serve the Lord! I have already seen change take place in peoples lives! And I know that they will do the same! They are going to help people. To serve people. To help people find TRUE happienes, and most importantly testify and teach of our Savior Jesus Christ! I love my life and I am grateful for everyone back home! Things are hard and will only get harder! But I am ready for it! I got to get going so I will leave you all be! I love you and I miss you! Hope you all know you are freaking everying to me! Stay who you are and I will see you all soon! 

Love you! 

Love Mark! 

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Spanish Coming Along

Hey Mom!  And Family and Friends! :) Whats up??? I'm going to need to keep it a little short this week! But all is Good here in Harlem! Elder Huerta Luna and I are doing fine! We have five baptisms planned for August! I am sad, because most likely Huerta will not be here to see that! They are Eric and Christina, Silvano, and two kids of a less active member who we just started teaching yesterday actually! Their names are Jasmine and her brother Rogelio. They are 10 and 13! Shy Kids but this is something that they want! I am excited for them all! Arlen was Baptized by Bishop on Saturday!! That was so awesome! She was so happy and I could see it on her face! On Sunday when she received the Holy Ghost she started crying and it was a really sweet experience! Sad thing is she is moving to the Bronx at the End of this month! I wish I could have expressed my feelings for her a little more but it is all good! She knows what I meant lol!  

But the Spanish is coming good! (Don't know why it is in bold now but I am too lazy to change it lol!) I actually have had 2 times this week where I just spoke fluently!! I was really happy! Elder Huerta told me he was impressed! One of the times was at our investigators house. We were visiting Miguel and Pedro... We had to drop them :( I shared with them my final testimony of the Church and how we loved them. It was a really sad experience! And the other time I experienced Spanish just come naturally is when we were visiting with Nelson Yesterday! The older man we are teaching English! He is like 66 and just an awesome guy! We were talking about my family! And Melissa, and he told me I need to hurry up and Marry her when I get home! lol! And that both of us need to visit him! Also that i need to take my whole family to meet him! He is an awesome guy! I speak so naturally around him because I am able to just be myself with him! But in Spanish! There are still some things I do not understand but I get most of it! It was really cool! He was also telling me a lot about himself! He is from the Dominican Republic and since he has moved here has not had close contact with his family. Even though his brother and sister live in Brooklyn and Queens. But he told me that I was his brother  and that we were family and I was in his family since my family is so far from me now! He is a really sweet guy and I love him to death! I really want you all to meet him! He knows he has a family in the Church and said that he has never been happier! Even though he lives alone and only has his Dog for company at times! He is a great guy! I can't wait for you all to meet him one day! 

Another really awesome person I have met here is Felipe Munoz! He served a 4 day mini mission with us last thursday, friday, and saturday! I have never seen someone that was so prepared to serve! He is not going to the MTC and now I know why! He has such a strong testimony and love for the Gospel! And he loves people and that is one of the most important aspects of this Gospel! He has lived a hard life! And that has helped prepare him to serve the Lord! Haha he has also lived a really fun life! He told us about how he hitch hiked/walked all the way to BYUI to go to school lol! and he just registered when he got there! Knocked on a random door the first night and asked if he could sleep there until he found a place to stay! haha Crazy kid! He said going to school there was all a last minute decision!  I want to do something like that sometime! But really he is one of the most legit kids I have ever met in my life! And I am sending the pictures today for you all to see! Mom I am writing a list like I did last time with the pictures so you can understand lol!

Sounds like home is changing! But all still sounds the same at the same time! I am happy for you all! I am really happy with Todd! That was so nice to hear from him! That email he sent me made me cry! I am so so so so Happy for him and the decisions he has made! I love that little kid! Way weird Greg is getting home so soon! Seems like just yesterday I kicked him out of the car and into the airport! :) But I'm happy for him! He did it! And I know how hard it is! haha! Not as easy as I thought it would be! Both physically and emotionally! Glad Lindz had fun in Utah and Cali! Weird to think she will be going to college next fall and Todd to High School! Let me know what teachers Todd has when he registers! Okay well I gotta go!  And Mom if you could send a copy of the DVD that would be great lol! I never got it! And Send the package today, because I am sending the package for you all! And there will be 5 bucks for Garrett in the mail since a card is not good enough for him :)

Oh also three quick things! Find a dermotologist and give me the address nearest to me! Also! See if you can get me Yankees Tickets for the next game on Wed this month! You might need to call President Smith about it just so he knows! Buy four for me and my roommates and we will pay you back! Elder Nevarez's dad did the same with us! He was super nice though! Gave them as a gift! I was so thankful for that! And also!  one more thing! I need Gregs Costco Card!!!! He needs it no more! Okay Well I love you all  very much! I am happy :) Things are hard! But I'm a big boy! Trying to stay cool! Very Hot here! Okay well I love you all! Keep me in your prayers, and even more importantly the people here! Because they need them more than I do! They are Crazy! Haha not all of them.! But Just pray for them because they really are a people that have good hearts. You just got to get it out of them to tell sometimes! Okay well I love you all! God Bless! See you soon! :)

Love Mark :) or Elder Mattei!  HAha! Bye! Seriously! Take care! Love you all and See you soon! 

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Don't Worry, Be Happy!

Hello Everyone!
Everything is good hear in Harlem. Its hot, and people are angry. But thats just normal lol!  But no Greg did call! He needs to call again!  He had to go because we had to report numbers, because Huerta is District Leader. And then President Smith called about a mini mission one of the kids in the ward is going to have with us, Filipe . So after Elder Huerta got off the phone with prez I was waiting for Greg to call back,  but he never did :(  so you can tell him to if he wants. I don't like breaking rules at all, but I would like to talk to Greg about how his mission was and he could probably help motivate me even more. And its only a missionary calling another missionary right? lol! But also when is Aunt Cindy coming into NY? I need to know. I will be with Elder Mitchell another Elder in our District next Thursday I think and if she is only here that day I won't be able to see her, because I don't know him that well and yeah. But Wed would be best, but just let me know when she is coming. Oh and hopefully not FRIDAY SATURDAY OR SUNDAY this weekend as well. Because that is when Felipe is doing his mini mission with us. He leaves on the 18th and does not go to the MTC because he is illegal so we will be like his MTC. lol! But no I really don't like breaking the rules. I'm living with missionaries right now, who seem to constantly break rules. Love them to death, but its hard to be obedient when they are not :( Elder Nevarez, Stevens, and Martindale were super obedient and now that they are gone its harder, but I'm just trying to lead by example. Its hard. Really is. Especially with some rules! But no all is good! We have Elder B and Elder W living with us now! Elder B is from Fiji and W is from Tuskeegee Alabama! Haha they are both awesome! I'm the only white person in our Apartment lol! Weird! lol!  the Four of us had a way fun time on the 4th. We had to be in at 6 so we had a BBQ with a George Foreman Grill (Aparently we can't use a real one 19 floors up on our balcany :( Sad I know lol!) So I made Dads Hamburgers and some Gumbo! It actually turned out really really good :) Elder B is in love with it :) But we did get to see fireworks! On the 4th and the 3rd. I actually thought the 3rd was better. They had a show in queens, and our apartment looks out over the east side of Manhattan Island so we could see it from up there! Way pretty! I did not get any pictures though :( I missed being home on the 4th, making Sparkler Bombs, Dads cooking, hanging out with friends and blowing stuff up! lol! But its all good! We had a good time! Played cards and ate good food! So all was good! I will send home pictures soon! With a little piece of paper like I did last time!  I will try to send them soon! Maybe not till next Wednesday, but I will try to get them out sooner!
But yeah we still have a Baptism planned for Arlen this week! :) At Five o'clock! You all should come! Chiste! Pero... Uhm Yeah I'm excited for it! She is way awesome! She is so ready! She is actually the one who asked us if she could be baptized! So she is super ready!
But then what else has happened? Uhm... Oh actually some pretty cool things! So the other day we were out doing some look ups and we stopped at an apartment building and sat on the steps. Then this car pulls up and we look up and see this Guy and He looks at us. He called us over, and begged us to give him something to read. It sucked because I had just given away an English Book of Mormon so I had no more! Elder Huerta and I dug in our bags for like 2 minutes to find something in English to give this Guy. Ended up giving him the Restoration pamphlet. We got his number and told him we would call him to give him something else to read. So we call him that night and tell him to meet us at 85th street and Lexington to give him a Book of Mormon. This was a really cool experience. Both us and him were about 10 minutes late and we arrived there at the same exact time. He gets out of his car and before we can ever say "Hello Mike how are you doing?" He comes up and hugs us. He told us his story of what happened the day before. His son had just gotten arrested for killing a guy. He was distraught and went to a church and started praying. Asking for a sign. Anything. He told us, that nothing was coming while he was in church. So he decided to drive home. He said he had a weird feeling to drive by his old home. The apartment building we were sitting at.... Not but 1 minute after leaving the Church he saw us sitting there staring right at him. He took the pamphelt and left. Saw Jesus Christ holding the Lamb on the pamphlet. While he was in Church he read 1 Scripture and 1 scripture only. Pslms 23. The Lord is my Shepherd. Said he saw this (the picture of Jesus with the lamb) and started bawling, and knew that this was his sign and this was how God was going to make his life better. Even cooler part. He has a piece of paper right above his head in his car and It says Jesus. He has know idea how it got there. And he has washed his car 3 times and it will not come off. He believes its Gods way of saying he is protected. And I believe it too! But Yeah it was just like a mini miracle and really cool! Keep him and keep his son in your prayers please! He is a good guy, sounds like he is originally form Jamaica. He calls us his miracle and will not call us Elder lol! He forced us to tell him our first names lol!
But something else cool that happened this week is with our investigator Cindy. We brought her to Church and everything was going fine, then she turns to me in sacrament meeting. And says "Can I talk to you in the Hallway?" And I was freaking out because I thought she hated church or something. So we got in the hall and she tells me how she just feels terrible about being at church without her Daughter. Because it was because of her Daughter that she started taking lessons. Because her daughter was asking questions like "What is the purpose of life"  "Why did God let his Son die?" and ones like "What size shoe does God have?" lol!  Things like that. And then the elevator they were standing in opened up and there were two missionaries. And she said "They can answer your questions." lol!
But that was with other missionaries and somehow she fell through and was not taught again until Elder Martindale and Felipe found her when they were looking up some formers.
But yeah, she speaks spanish and English and she told me that she wants to go to the English Ward, because she wants her daughter to be a part of this also and she wants her to understand the importance of this. Because her daughter does not know spanish. (Most of the kids in our ward don't) She said the only reason she came with us is because she liked me and Elder Huerta Luna a lot. So then I was like well.... Actually you would need to be taught by two English Missionaries. then Elder B and W walk out the Elevator lol! And I was like "Well actually they can teach you!"
But we talked with her and all four of us will be going over there from now on! But she loves the Church. she loves it so much that she felt bad being there without her daughter. Which is way cool! She is a cool lady! She is funny, and the one I need Joseph Smith The Prophet of the Restoration... do you guys care if I order it and just have it sent to the Mission home? And I can keep it and watch it with Members and Investigators?
But yes she is way awesome! and will get baptized after she is done with nursing school in September! But I'm just happy we still get to go over there! :)
Then we got a baptismal date for Eric and Christina! they are a couple in there 20's not married. They will be baptized on the 23rd and we have another date for the 6th of August with a man from Mexico. His name is Silvano. He is a recovering Alchoholic... Spelled that wrong  I think lol! But he is cool! The sisters were teaching him, but they handed him over to us because he was always drunk and alone. They asked him to be baptized and he rejected, but I asked him in my broken Spanish and promised him that after he was, his problem would be solved! And he would drink no more! But first he needs to be baptized! The Spirt was so strong and I was blessed with the Gift of Tongue in that moment! I actually made sense and taught about half of the lesson! The Spirit testified and it was so cool to see that man change in just a twinkling of an eye! He is excited to go to church and excited to start on his journey to change his life once and for all! I love seeing the atoning power of Jesus Christ work through people! And it will be cool to see that promise come true! It was not me who said it! It was the Spirit! I could never promise someone something like that on my own! I am excited for him! We have a lot of good things going on here!
Teaching another guy named James with B and W. They want us to. We met him at church on Sunday. Got there way early for the English Ward so Huerta and I started talking to him and B and W came and taught with us towards the end. We taught almosst everything but the plan of Salvation to him lol! We talked for like 2 hours! He went to church and loved it! He loves the idea of tithing! Haha I never thought I would see someones testimony increase off of that, but its so cool that it will! He is an interesting guy with some interesting ideas, but knows the bible really well. And loves the way the Church works! He had some doubts about being baptized again, but now understands the importance. We have met with him once and are talking to him again on sunday! Its nice to be teaching some English!
Uhm, we have not talked to Carlos in like 2 weeks :( He Got a Job :) He has been looking for one for 9 months, and just seems to be when he started reading the Book of Mormon he got one! He recognizes that. And he wants to meet with us, but won't come to church. he wants to.. But yeah. I have a feeling his date will be pushed. But It is all going to work out for him! I just think it is going to take a little more time!
Still no word from Lissalo! :( Keep her in your prayers. then everyone else seems to be doing fine! We have a lot to do! Some days are slower than others! but its all good :) I'm doing good! How are you all! Crazy to think Greg will be home so soon! Miss that kid! I have had a couple dreams about him the past couple nights! Good idea to get new couches. Angel destroyed those things! I actually miss that stupid dog lol! I'm glad lindsay is having fun in UT! Glad she gets to see tre again before he leaves! I need to write him back! i am so slow at that! I have so many people I need to reply to! I need to put letters for Bryan And Nick in the Mail today! And Other people to write! I still need to write Mike Back and Granny first off! I got a letter from her yesterday!

 And the spanish is frustrating! Its scares me at times lol! Elder Huerta does not give me much time for language study... It stincks. Something we are trying to work on. He never plans it in. And I always tell him I need language study. But I rarely get it... But oh well. Its something that I think will come faster with my next companion. And I always try to speak to him in Spanish and he replies in English which does not help... Thats like our only problem though! Well I hope todd has fun at EFY tell him to write me and tell me how it was! Tell him to tell me everything! 

 But I'm good! I hope everything is good at home for everyone! How are the Cards doing? And Mom Yes I did get your package! Thank you so much! I got Blue Bearry again :) :) Elder W gets annoyed that I always squeeze his hand but deep down I know he loves it!  (the bear is a gift from Melissa, that says "I love you" when you squeeze his hand."lol)
So also saw a gun fight a couple nights ago right outside our apartment. Two Kids were firing back and forth at each other. Long story. But it was at four in the Morning! I'm just glad no one got shot! You think its so cool in movies and stuff till you are watching it in real life... Scary stuff! I don't know how anyone could pull a trigger with another person on the End of the Barrel... don't worry about me. This stuff always happens at like 2 or 3 in the Morning. I'm 19 floors up. So much Drug problems here. and people say Weed does not kill. I beg to differ. That is why everyone is getting shot up down here.
Harlem Smells like Mary J. You cant go anywhere and not smell hash on the walls. Its either Marijuana or Pee. I can't really tell the difference. It smells terrible. And people just walk by you and you can smell it on them. Weed sells like Eggs and Bread here. People put it on there grocery list. Not even joking. Just got to love the people though :) Everyone is nice to missionaries :) Well for the most part! Its weird to be looked up to by some people. Then again others look at us like dirt and talk behind our backs like crazy! You get the best of both worlds here. With everything. 
But really Marijuana is stupid. People are dying because of it everyday. But eh its whatever. People get to choose. Met tons of great people here that do it. Just a big problem for them in their lives. Most people here are addicted to it and will admit it.
But mhm... what else.. Nothing really! Just want to let you all know I love you and that is why I am here! and The Lord loves you! And that good things are happening in my life and the lives of other people here! I am serving around some great people! And things are hard, and I miss home a lot at times, but I'm okay and I know this is where I am supposed to be! Harlem is a depressing place, but I do all I can to walk out everyday and make the best of it! Put a smile on, and just be happy and everything turns out okay! And thats really all there is to it! If something is not right! Just be happy! Thats why we are here! 2 Nephi 2:27! It really is! God wants us to be happy and that is why we are here! Well part of it anyway! He wants us to find true happiness! And I know that is only possible through the Lord Jesus Christ! All other things can make us happy in the moment. But its through him that we can be happy for all time! And I know that! Its all through him! John 3:16 says it best! Well I got to go! Just know I love you and miss you and hope all is going good! Miss you! Love you! :) And Can't wait to see everyone soon! have a great summer! :) haha okay love you all! :)

Oh and please pray for everyone here! I love them so much! No matter who they are! Its crazy weird to think about, but each one is special! and They need the prayers! God really did send me to the right place that would try me! Its hard here! But I love everyone and just keep them in your prayers, they need them so so so so bad! Not just the people I am talking to. these people in general. They have it rough and need all the help they can get. This part of the city is crazy. Not the things you see in the movies. New york to me is not everything the movies and TVs show. Not even the News. Its much worse. Just head north. Starting at about 90th street... It gets bad. Real bad and I feel for these people! Remember them. I don't care if you pray about me or think about me! Just do it for them! And always remember how good we all have it! Because seriously... You have no idea. Love your life and love the people in it! And just make the best of it! Okay now i will go! I love you all again! Stay safe! :)
"I would have thought the Rocky Mountains would be a little rockier."
"That John Denver is full of . . . ." (quote from "Dumb and Dumber) haha, heard that yesterday and made me laugh lol! okay love you all bye!
Love Your favorite son (Except for Moms other favorite... Hey mom remember when I almost ripped up the picture of Greg on a stick and you almost started crying??? Haha that was funny! Please don't put me on a popsicle stick lol!)
Mark :)