Wednesday, November 30, 2011

I'm Doing Just Fine

Hey there everyone!! How are you??

So I have been thinking about you guys a lot this week! And I have been thinking about how the Lord has blessed me with such awesome family and Friends! :) I miss you guys and love you all so much! 

So Thanksgiving was fun! We went and ate at Sister Ortiz’s house for lunch and our investigator Anthony’s for dinner! It was a lot of fun! Nothing like being home though! And the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade was a lot of fun as well! :) We went with the Sisters: Sister Anderson and Alverez!  Fun for sure. But way over hyped! I think it would be fun to be there with like Garrett and Thomas! Or just like little kids! But really cool balloons! My favorite was the Picachu one! Lol! 

So Anthony’s Baptism is Saturday! I am way excited for him! Elder Hellberg will be baptizing him! So that’s way cool for him right before he goes home! And we are going over there tonight to make sure everything is good! :) 

So I sent Stephie a card yesterday! A little late I know! So please call her and tell her it’s on its way and that I say Happy Birthday! :) How is she doing?? :) So yeah I kind of knew Bryan was going to be quitting football. He told me in his last letter. I hope I hear from him soon lol!  And yes I will write Todd. I always mean to do it but I feel like I never have the time! I will probably keep this email short just so I can make sure that I do it! :) But I enjoyed the little letter he wrote on Facebook.

So yup all things considered I'm doing just fine! :) That’s funny you watched all those videos! I miss stupid things like that haha! But I am good! We just really need to pick the work back up! Elder Hellberg’s trunk is starting to get heavy. It’s been a difficult week for the both of us. He has been pretty emotional. I feel for him!  But the Lord is blessing us! I am happy! :) And I cannot complain! :) I am just ready for the new cycle!  Well I will try to write more later! But if I don’t I love you all very much! and I miss you a ton as well! Not much has changed! and I am going to go write Todd a letter now! :) Well I love you all! 

Okay add on lol! But yes I will keep Nichole in my prayers! That’s awesome she had an interview with Bishop Remund! Tell her I said Hello and that I am happy for her! she is such a great girl and she is going to be eternally happy with the decision she made! 

And I am glad you got to see Melissa on Friday! :) That seriously makes me so so happy! :)  What did you guys get me?? :) haha! And I still have no idea what to get her! Lol! So yeah one more thing I want for Christmas is a new set of Scriptures! Mine are getting torn up! Different little kids have enjoyed ripping pages lol! All of which I have taped! But a new set would be nice! I have pretty much marked the ones I have up and down! And those pictures I asked for last week! :) 

And I just want to say sorry about the Amex charges.. I ran out of money really fast last month and I bought some Rogaine  lol! :) So don't be too mad at me! Sorry! I made a budget for this month so I am going to try my best to maintain it! Okay well I love you all much! Todd should be getting a letter very soon! :) 

Love, Mark! :) 

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

Hello! Hello! Everyone!

Hope everyone is doing good! I am doing pretty awesome myself! I had a good week other than the fact that I was sick last Wednesday and Thursday and was in all day! Never want that to happen again on my mission! So boring just to lay in bed all day without movies to watch or video games to play! lol! But it was a good week! :)

So Thanksgiving is tomorrow!! Yay! Happy Turkey Day everyone! :) We don't get to play football tomorrow so we are going to do it today as missionaries on the island of Manhattan. So that will be fun! President Smith does not like us to play sports off PDay at all. Even if it is with investigators, which I disagree with but oh well! I know there are some elders who are going to go play with their Wards anyway tomorrow. Our Ward does not play football, so we don't really have anything going on in the morning! But we are going to the Macy’s day parade tomorrow. but only for a little bit! But I am excited for that! I think that will be pretty fun! We got special permission from the AP's to go! After that we are going to teach a lesson at the Church with 2 or 3 of our investigators who are of deacon age! (12 – 13 years)  So that will be pretty sweet! And their friends from the Church will be coming as well! I will tell you more about all of them in just a minute! :) Then we are having a lunch with Sister Ortiz and Dinner with our investigator Anthony and his wife Angie! :) So it looks like it is going to be a pretty eventful day!

So you were asking - Yes looks like I will be here for 6 more weeks after this transfer! We had interviews with President Smith and he asked me how I liked the area and I told him I love it! And he told me “good” because he does not want to white wash it because he knows how hard Elder Huerta Luna and I worked to build it up from where it was! (White washing refers to the practice of removing both missionaries, ie. Mark and his companion, from the area.  Elder Hellberg, his companion is going home next week.) This area was dry for 3 years before Elder Martindale came apparently. And just in this past year we have had 8 baptisms. Crazy! The Lord really does work miracles! But it only comes with hard work! I have a testimony of that!  And on the 3rd we have one more on the way! :) Anthony is a great guy! I am excited! Like I said we are going over there for Thanksgiving! His wife Angie was a less active but wanted to expose him to the church! And now he is here and is making great friends and loving the things he hears and has felt them in his heart that they are true! :) Really relaxed chill guy! He is from the Dominican Republic and just cool to be around. He is like 26 I believe and works at a barber shop here in the city! :) But anyway back to what I was saying about my interview. President Smith asked me if I would like to stay 6 more weeks and I said "of course" then he looked me in in the eyes and said, “You love Harlem right?” And I said "yes"  and he said, “Good. Because this will be the best area you serve in!” And that was way cool to hear! But kind of sad at the same time because I know when I leave I will be heartbroken! I love this ward and the people here! But I am glad that I will have been able to spend 8 months with them! :) 
So yes we are teaching Diego (Friend of Luis M.) and also 2 friends of Christian C. Diego is 13 and reminds me a lot of Todd lol! Funny kid! I just met his mom for the first time the other day because she is super busy! Way fun family! Reminds me of home a little bit actually! But we are teaching his friends Izel and Rapheal. Izel does not speak a lick of Spanish lol! But he wants to be baptized into the Spanish Ward so he can be with Christian. And Raphael, we have only met with once! But we are playing dodgeball with them all tomorrow at the church! And talking to them after! 2 Sundays ago I taught their young men’s lesson and challenged them all to read the Book of Mormon between now and Christmas! So I am excited for them! They are all awesome kids! Diego has a baptismal date for the 3rd of December but he feels like the Bishop is pressuring him into it so if the Spirit directs we are going to tell him to think about it between now and Christmas and also to pray. And he can let us know then and will continue to meet with us until then! :) And Izel said yes to Baptism but was going to speak to his mom and we will find out how that went tomorrow! :) But it sounds like his mom is already really supportive! :)

So mom glad to hear you listened to the Spirit about your job! I know that must have been tough but it will all work out for the best! I am trying to get better at listening to it! But sometimes it’s really hard with all the noise and distractions that are New York City lol! And you all know me with my ADD lol!

And fun that Lindsay is doing all that! I will be keeping her in my prayers for sure! :)

So sounds like Christmas will be fun! I wish I could go black Friday shopping! I remember when me and Mckeon went last year! And that was probably the most fun I have ever had going shopping lol! I bought that pump action paintball gun lol! Gosh I miss that kid! What are the big gifts this year?? And awesome to hear about Julian! I need to write him! I miss him too! I just miss so many people lol! I am excited to call home on Christmas to talk to you all! And no not much for Christmas I really want! Just the Lion King lol! Keep it for me! Also Harry Potter and other movies. then the Picture thing I asked for! If anyone else wants to send anything just send money! And yeah let me know next week about Secret Santa! I am excited to go shopping for that! We are going to go to FAO Schwartz next cycle. The Giant Toy Store from Home Alone! I am pumped so I am probably going to end up buying for more than just my SS lol! But I also need some ideas for Melissa lol! I am struggling to think what to get her! any ideas?? And then I will probably send home some gifts for my friends. lol! Just some small stuff! But yeah I am excited for Christmas in NYC :) It’s going to be fun! Just going to really miss family and friends! And I don't really know what a latino Navidad is like so I guess we will find out lol! :)

 Okay well I am going to pause my writing for a little bit. We are leaving to go play football! :) I will be on to finish typing later! Love you all! :) 

Back! So mom to answer your questions.... No most likely not I will not get to go to the Rockefeller center :(  and unless you can send me Jack n the Box or Steak n shake or QT there is nothing that they don't have here that I really miss lol! If I can think of something between now and then I  will let you know!

So football drained the heck out of me! I am so tired! We had a way good turn out though! I am so beat up! Sometime I think I try maybe a little too hard lol! 

Well I have already written a lot! lol! Uhm mom if you could get a new cord for the N64 I would appreciate it! :) Get it for Garret please! and also if you could send me Both of the heads from my Lacrosse stick in a package that would be great. Elder Covel lives with me and he played lacrosse in high school so we want to throw around. We can buy the shafts here!  :) Well other than that I love you all! :) And I miss you! Miracles are happening! Tell Greg I would like an email soon! :) And also from all of the kids more often! :) Tell Nicole I said hi! She is in my prayers! Well I love you all! And I hope you don't have too good of a thanksgiving without me :) J.k. Have fun with football and Turkey and tell Granny, Pop pop and Steph I wish I could be there! Take care and God Bless! I hope you all have a great week! :) 

With MUch love! Elder Mark Mattei! :) 

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Super Short!

Hey Everyone!!

Glad to hear about Lindsay and Greg that is awesome! And still stinks about todd! (Todd is still not playing hockey due to a concussion) and if you all can notice I don't have time lol! I love you all and all is good! Seeing Bro. Tuttle was  great!  But it was great and I loved it! We have 2 bap dates one with David who is 14 and one with Anthony! Both awesome people, David, or Diago is a friend of Jose Munoz! We are all really excited for what is to come! And I apologize this is so short again!

No plans yet for Thanksgiving! And I hope greg figures everything out! He is in my prayers as you all are! And Mom I need my social security card number! lol! Ahh... I am so rushed I don't know what to say! Just know that I love you all! And things are going amazing! I got a letter from Tracy, Sis Robertson, and Granma this week! All of which i appreciate so much! You seriously have no idea!  I would say more but have no time! Well I love you all!Take care! I pray for you all! :) Love, Mark! :) 

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Phone Calls!

Hello everyone! 

I am doing great! Glad to hear everything is semi normal back home! Ya know I almost forgot how crazy our house was after living here for 7 months lol! But that stinks about Todd and the concussion! And yeah I am way excited to see Brother Tuttle! I am anticipating his phone call and being able to see him! I really can't wait! And I was going to see Aunt Cindy! You guys told me she was coming again soon like 4 months ago... I would love to see her! Just so happened that she came like my first week in NY and my comps guilted me into not seeing her lol! But is she coming again soon I hope?? Before I leave Mann? But really I am way excited to see him (Brother Tuttle is a family friend/former bishop that will be in NYC next week on business - one of Mark's favorite people)! That will be fun! Also I am seeing Elder Sawa probably next week! Well I guess not elder anymore but Sawa lol!(Sawa, aka Hiroki Sawayanagi, is a former missionary who served here in St Louis.  He recently moved to Queens).   He called me the other night and I talked to him for like 30 minutes! haha! Hopefully I will be meeting up with him sometime next week! That will be fun! Such a great guy! :) So I am pretty much ecstatic to see the both of them! Something familiar! haha! 

I feel bad for Elder Hellberg. His mom is in the city this week! haha He wanted to go spy on her today for p-day. He is so trunked out! He is trying to hold it in but it is so obvious! And his mom being in town this week made it worse lol! Elder Clark and Torres went down to the temple this morning to go meet her. Both Torres and Clark are in our district and both served with Hellberg as well. lol! So I just think it is funny! Elder Hellberg is always talking about home though lol! Its kind of funny, but at times can be a little distracting for me as well! 

So we seem to  be losing all of our investigators lol! Edgar moved to Miami :( But he said he is going to find the missionaries there! So Keep that man in your prayers please! And Custodio is now in the Bronx so Elders Dilling and Hume are teaching him and helping him out! But yesterday we started teaching Miguel, Pedro and Ana again! I don't know if you all remember them but I was teaching them with Elder Huerta and Elder Martindale about 4 or 5 months ago! So we will see how this goes for the second time around! I pray they are willing to Act this time! Elder Hellberg is a great teacher so I think it will go really well! :) 

Haha so you will never guess who just called!!! Brother Tuttle! Lol! That was so cool to be able to talk to him! I'm excited! I am going to see him either Saturday or Tuesday! :) I don't really have any idea where we should go, but i will figure that out! lol! But its going to be fun! :) I love him so much and I am excited to see him again! 

Also we are teaching this guy named Anthony! He is way cool! I was talking to him about the World Series!  He is newly wedded to a less active in our Ward and she decided to come back to church! Also they came to Church this weekend so that was awesome! He is a cool guy. He is from the DR. (Dominican Republic) We plan on setting a baptismal date next time we see him! 

Also we are teaching a friend of Luis Munoz. He is 14 and goes to Scouts on Fridays with the kids. Also he has gone to church a couple of times and he is peaking some interest! So we are excited to begin talking with him! So is Luis! So its going to be a good week this week! I can just feel it! :) 

So we watched part of the New York Marathon this weekend! That was cool! They ran right by the church! We were standing there trying to cross 5th Avenue with the Munoz for about 30 minutes lol! It took Jose forever to run across. And yeah that just made me miss XC a ton! I really wanted to just jump in there and run with them! I really hope when I come home I can enter some races on my own! Would not mind to come back at some point and run the NYC Marathon with Jackson and Tre. Just like the good ole days! Also missing hockey a ton! Gash. Every time we walk through Central Park I can always see the kids skating around off in the distance! I'm for sure going to join an adult leuge or something when  I get home! 

So LSU spanked Bama! Haha Elder Willis was so mad! Sounded like a great game! I really hope you recorded it because that is one I will want to watch when I get home! That is so awesome though! Makes me so happy! LSU is still #1. What # did Bama drop down to?? 

Well  mom glad to hear work is going good! I am so grateful for both you and Dad and all you do! You both are awesome and the best parents ever! I hope I can show more gratitude than what I did before my mission! Because the 2 of you are seriously just amazing! I don't have a whole lot to say this week! Just thank you for everything! I miss you all! I miss the Ward! Please let them know that! :) And I love them! And  please help out the missionaries there as much as possible! This is the Lord's work and it is such a blessing to be part of it! You all should do the same! :) 

Love you tons! 

Love your goofy son Mark! :)

P.S. Tre, Mckeon, Jackson and Rj are freaking awesome! I just read an email from Rj and Jackson and I am so proud of all of them! That's just exciting! So many people are being affected that it's not even funny! How blessed they are to be out of the country in other parts of the world serving the Lord! It really does take someone special to go to a place like France and Russia! I truly believe that only those that are truly prepared and truly called to serve the Lord could do something such as that! And how lucky Tre and Mckeon are to be in Mexico! From my experience some of the most humble people in the World! :) Tre and I might as well share the same mission! Because 90% of the Mexicans we meet here are from Puebla! :) I just love them! sorry just wanted to throw that in there really quick! :) They are examples to me and how blessed I am to have them in my life! 

Sunday, November 6, 2011

A Beautiful Day in Harlem

Hey Mom it is a beautiful day in Harlem! The weather is nice and everything is just perfect! The News about the Cardinals win was awesome! I wish I would have been there to see it! But everything is going good here! And yes the Harlem side of the city is pretty trashy! Every morning there is a ton of trash and debris on the ground from the night before! But I love it! It's home for now! Until I get transferred! I have been here a really long time! And I don't know if I will have another area on my mission where I will stay this long lol! So it's my home away from home! :)

That's sad Tony Larussa's retired! I did not know that end of the story!! I saw something on ESPN this morning while doing Laundry and it took everything out of me not to watch! Both LSU and THe Cardinals were the primary topics! Ahh so hard! Me and Elder Hellberg just ended up taking a walk while our Laundry dried because I did not want to watch lol! Missionary life is so weird! What other culture has to be around someone 24/7, can't watch tv, can't  call home, has to wake up at a certain time and go to bed at a certain time?? There is none! Lol! Its so weird now that I think about it! But it all comes down to agency ya know?? And I have seen the blessings from doing just the little things! But anyways keep me updated on the LSU game! And yeah I knew about the Saints... I was at the Munoz and it came on Spanish news for about 3 seconds and I saw enough to realize that they lost lol!

Oh and speaking about Greg and not knowing what he is going to do... I actually think I may have changed directions with what I want to do... Guys... I think I want to be a teacher?? I mean tell me what you think. But it just makes sense! And not just a teacher! I would really like to go into like administration so I can be over a school and make pretty good money. Here are my reasons! 1. I would get to help a ton of kids learn and grow and I would have a much higher impact in somebody's life than if I would be speaking on a TV talking about football all day. 2. I would have summers off to spend with my family. 3. Good retirement. 4. I could Coach! Something I have always wanted to do! I loved helping Todd! And I think I would be a lot better at it, then what I am an actual athlete! And I would still be around sports. and I could coach XC, LAcrosse, or Hockey.. IDK it just makes sense to me! 5. and I would be able to write like I have always wanted to do! It just made so much sense to me! I prayed about it and it just seems so right! And I could incorporate so many of the different things I am interested in into this career field. If I was an administrator i would still get to be a public speaker, I could still deal with Sports.. Tell me what you think! IT just makes so much sense with what I want to do with my life! So I pray that Greg can have the same kind of revelation I had! And yes I still want go to to LSU. Probably do a little more time at SCC though.

Crazy to think Tre is in the MTC! I am so happy for him! He is going to do great! I will have to find out who his teachers are! There are hundreds of them so I doubt they are the same! But I can hope! :) I miss that boy! Such A good kid! I remember how nervous I was before I went in! I was acting so awkward lol! Even Tre could see it! Ahh seems like so long ago! But at the same time just yesterday! Elder Huerta is in his mission boundries so I am going to have him go visit Tre when he goes home! 

I miss my little Mexican lol! He was so fun to be around! But now he is comps with Sorenson and living with Elder Kay! So he is going to have fun up there! Elder Hellberg only has like 5 weeks left in his mission! He is pretty trunky lol! But he is working hard so that is good! He is going to be the second person I will have killed off! He is a great kid and I love him a lot! He has taught me a lot of things! Patience being one of them lol! But no our apartment situation is not good! I miss Elder Stratton. 

So today I went to the Bronx zoo for the second time! Personally I prefer the St. Louis but It was still pretty fun! I was pretty bummed because I left my Camera! But other than that not really! Went to Central Park a couple weeks ago! When to Chinatown once. Also went to go shopping with Elder Hellberg in South Mann. Nothing too fun! Elder Hellberg has pretty much been taking charge on the P-Days the past couple weeks. Which I am fine with because he is going home soon! But yeah not too much really exciting. Most of the really fun NY stuff we will not have the opportunity to do as Missionaries. Well we do get to go to one Broadway play our last 2 cycles so until that.. eh. I will go see the Lion King for sure! :) I am excited for that! :) And the Snow was good! I bought some gloves and a hat! And my boots destroyed anything in my path lol! I felt like a tank! Elder Hellberg made fun of them but i think they are awesome! :P 

And the work is going good! We have not seen as many people the past couple weeks, but its all good! We are teaching a family of like 6! Belkis, German, Jason, and I forget the other ones names. They were only there for one lesson! They accepted Baptism! So we will talk about a date with them the next time we see them!  :) Also we are teaching Edgar, who is the Catholic Priest! We have not met with him in a couple weeks! But that is going good! He just remains really busy and his plans are always backed up! But we have had help from a member in our Ward who went to the Catholic Seminary for 4 years.  He is one of the smartest guys I have ever met! He works for the UN! Way nice guy and so knowlegeable! He pretty much just teaches us each time we go there! Even better than that! Edgar is a great person with a great heart! With a strong faith in Christ! And he just loves! Just loves everybody! :) And Wilson is still coming to church! Like I have said a thousand times.. Their situation is really interesting.. and it just got even more so.. And the two kids.. Ahh.. Their  mom won't take them to church! It's so frustrating! Such a nice lady! But Rogelio and Jazmine want to go..  But nice people! I just want to see them at church a little more often! The Sacrament is so important! I have grown a testimony of that while I have been on my mission!

Okay 3 more things! First.. So we were walking down the street yesterday and I had one of the most Random/Weird experiences of my life! This guy just calls out "Mormons" and I stop and talk to him! Then he goes and tells us how much he loves us, and I can just smell the stench of Alcohol on his breath! And then he grabs Elder Hellberg by the Head and pets him lol! Then he reaches over and strokes my hair as well! Haha remember all of this is happening in the middle of a crowded New York City sidewalk lol! Then we are just like "You have a great day sir" LoL! What a CRazy old man!! LOL! Haha! I love Harlem people! Just brightens my day! haha! there is always something new! haha then the day before that we are buying metro Cards and this guy just yells out from behind us "Look Everybody! White People!" " everybody @#$%^& look at the  @#$%^& White people" Then two tourists walk down who have no idea how to act and the man is like " More white people! I am in heaven! MAn White people I love you guys so much!" haha And I am sitting back trying not to laugh! Then he says "Oh they're not talking to me. The white people don't love me back. Jesus, Why don't the white people love me?" Haha and the 2 tourists look like they are going to poop themselves because they feel so awkward lol! So I just walk up to him and ask him his name and tells me Kelvin And I just told him I loved him! and it just looked like it made his day! haha it was so funny! He was a little crazy but haha just made my day! Haha, That's Harlem for you though! Bunch of crazy people that you can't help but love! 

 So we were teaching this man nambed Custodio. He is like 65 years old... Talk about a life changing/ Spiritual experience talking to this man.. He told us his life story. There was just something so different in his eyes! So much love! And so much faith! Mom, I can't even explain it! He is going to die. But he knows where he is going! He knows! I can see it in him! We walked into his room after he had switched hospitals, and the Book of Mormon is sitting right on his bed side! He tells us of his faith in Christ and wow... What a great guy, what a choice spirit of our Heavenly Father! He has seen the hand of God in his life! And through him I have seen it in mine! And I sure hope all of you are too! It is amazing! and it is life changing! If anyone ever lacks faith! Just get on your knees and pour your heart to him and he will answer you! He will hear you! He loves you! I promise that! And I promise he is there! Just look for him! 

I love you all so much! And I miss you! Just keep being the awesome people you are! To both my family and friends! I love you all and will talk to you soon! Take care and have a great week! 

Love you all!

Elder Mark Mattei! :)