Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Blessed to Talk to You

Hello everyone! Well this will be rather short considering I had the blessing of talking to you all yesterday! I miss you all! I just want to say that! It really made me happy to see you all! Now I can't wait until I will be able to do it in person and give each one of you a giant hug! :) 

We were fortunate to be able to speak to Mark for longer than we expected.  He is doing great and looks great too.  Most of this email was related to his college applications.

Well Mom that is about it sadly :/ lol! I will be able to say more next week! But Yall already know everything! Tell everyone I say Hi! and I am excited to see you all soon! But don't go getting trunky on me, because that will only make me trunky! Love you! 

Love Mark! :) 

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Still Chillin' in New Rochelle

Hey everybody how are you all doing?

I am great! Still chillin' here in New Rochelle with Elder Kay. Neither one of us were moved! So who knows how much longer I will be here, I may finish here or I may get transferred my last cycle! So I am going to keep this extremely short that way I have more to tell you all next week! Plus I have not received an email yet today lol! But I never got my 12 days of Christmas package that you said you sent.. I received the Tree and the box from Granny (Thank you very much by the way) :) but I never saw anything more than that. And we live with the office Elders so they have been checking for it daily.. IDK, did you send it or... yeah. I just really hope that it is not lost somewhere in the mail. So please let me know! I will be getting on tonight to check my email again so we can talk about it then.

Apart from that I am excited for Christmas, and more than excited to talk to all of you! I need to know what time will be best. We will be using a member's computer. So please let me know! :) I was thinking around like noon my time? What do y'all think? Whatever is most convenient for you all! 

So they are opening up a Portuguese area here in our ward. They will cover the same exact areas as us. Which is like 5 cities, the 3 biggest being New Roch, Mount Vernon and Port Chester. So that will be nice to have more than just the 2 of us in the ward. :) 

Monday night I saw Hermana Mena from the Stamford ward. She is the bishop's wife. We were walking around in Port Chester at night and she basically jumped out of her car to come and say hi to me! :) That was really nice seeing her! Then last night we came to the chapel to attend a meeting for a missionary in our ward who is preparing to depart for his mission to California. Renato Villa, he reports to the MTC today. He is the son of the Bishop here. It was really nice being able to talk to him, and contribute my thoughts and feelings about what a mission is. Then while we were at the meeting there was a Sister who came in that was about to be released by President Taylor (Stake President of Westchester Stake). It was weird talking to her, knowing that would be me in just a few short months... 

We did a Secret Santa gift exchange between the missionaries here in our Zone. I bought Elder Vanner a remote control Helicopter. It is way sick and only 10 bucks. I might go buy me one. But knowing me I would probably break it! And Elder Pickard bought me a glass chess set. So looks like I am going to learn how to play chess :P I have completely forgotten. Dad you taught me years ago. All I can remember now is the the little horsey moves in a L shape lol! I was most impressed with the gift Elder Kay and Elder Eliason made for another missionary, Elder Stevens.. They made him a bull whip! It is way cool! Elder Kay has one too, but the one they made him is super legit. I am thinking I am going to make one for myself. 

So I will be sending my S.S. their gift hopefully by tomorrow! I hope it gets there by Chistmas Eve :) 

Shot Calls came Sunday night, and it appears that Elder Eliason will not be living with us anymore and that he will be going down to finish his mission in South Manhattan. I am really happy for him! He has wanted that for a long time! As for me I am doing just great! Nothing at all to complain about! I love and miss you all! Hope all is well and I am pumped to talk to you all next week! Love you! 

And yes, I did hear about the shootings :( Newtown is in our Mission. :( That made me really sad... I think I said one of the most sincere prayers of my life after I heard about it. I still can't believe it.. I could literally write a whole page with my feelings... But I will refrain. There was a son of a family in the Yorktown stake who died :( It makes me sick knowing someone could do that to a bunch of innocent little kids. Moroni 8 gives me so much comfort! Knowing that all those little children will be redeemed because of the grace of the Savior..

IDK how to skype. When I get on tonight you write out and tell me what will be best. You can do it from FACEBOOK? I did not know that. 

Well I think I hit everything else! I miss and love you all! Love Marky! :) 

Love Mark! :) 

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Getting Ready for Christmas

Hey Mom I am going to have to be rather short today because we are going to try and hurry to go down to the city so we can get some shopping done and go see the tree!  at Rockefeller Center  Well first off Lion King tickets are a go! Elder Dennisen bought them for us. I owe him 97$. We are going the 20th of Feb. So two weeks before I go home! :) It will be a fun last cycle! So transfers are next week! I have no idea what will be happening! But I will let y'all know next Wednesday! uhm... Oh! Thank you for sending the packages! I am excited to get them! :) I did open them up day by day last year.. Except for the last one... haha I kind of cheated on that one, because I knew what it was. But thank you for that! I am excited to get it! But I am even more excited to go shopping for my Secret Santa today! :) 

Crazy that Lindsay is getting all of that together! I will get home, and she will leave just like that! Almost is not fair! But I am excited for her!! :)

So good and bad news. This year I will only be able to talk for an hour :( But good news is I can skype! :) If you guys want me to! or you could just wait to see me when I come home?? IDK. I kind of like the latter! It would make it more of a surprise! :) But you all decide! Well like I said I have like no time today, but I will email you next week, and be calling next week as well! Maybe I will be in a new area.. Maybe I won't! I guess we will see! :) I miss and love you all! You are in my prayers! Remember what this time of year is really about! 

Love you! Love Mark! :) 

Thursday, December 6, 2012

The End is Coming

Dear Mom and Dad! How are you both doing?? :) So I am going to try and answer all of the questions that you both asked me! I am not feeling too hot today but, I will try to make this email interesting! So Mom first of all don't be grouchy! lol! J.k! I don't know about you guys but I am really excited for Christmas!! I am so pumped to call home! So do you want good news first or bad news first?? Well I guess you really don't get to choose because this is an email, so I will start with the optimism. Well Mom it will be for you at least, I don't really know how I feel about it.. I am coming home the week of the 5th of March.. So a week earlier than I thought. Apparently that is going to be a 5 week cycle, because of the influx of new missionaries that will be coming in... There will be 40 coming into the 14 going home... Last conference really pumped some people up! So yeah, I am still not sure of the exact day, but I am fairly certain I will be gypped off a 2 year mission by a day or 2 lol! But it's good to know there are so many people willing and ready to serve.

The bad news is that Michelle will not be getting baptized this week, not even this month :( Her bap is pushed to the 4th of January, due to some issues with the chapel being used, and her family wants her to be more prepared. So it is still going to happen. Just not this weekend. We were invited to the English Ward Christmas party though... So the free food will help heal the wound a little bit lol! 

So this week we had Zone Conference, it was really good! I liked it a lot! Elder Johnson from the Seventy came to speak to us! We talked about how we could develop ourselves into being better missionaries. So it helped a lot! The spirit definitely  makes everything worth it!  It was good to see a lot of the friends I have made... It's weird though... I don't know anyone anymore.. I'm getting old. I still feel like I am a greenie though.. I really do not want the end to come.. I am scared! I have no idea what is going to happen!  Elder Mattei has been out longer than most of the missionaries in his area, so he does not know most of the newer ones.  It is becoming more apparent that "the end" of his mission is getting closer.   This can be a "scary" and confusing time for a missionary as he is still trying to focus on the work at hand, but is beginning the process of transition and begins to think about life after the mission. 

So with that said, I don't know if I will die here or if I will die with Kay. Dying refers to the end of the mission.   Anything can happen. I have never been so unsure about transfers. I don't feel like I am am going to get moved.. But it is possible.. I would really like to go back for my last cycle and die in Harlem. 

So today for Pday we played Dodgeball and had a Christmas breakfast in our Pajamas with the Zone. Elder Kay and I cooked. It was a lot of fun! We played dodgeball last week as well! Then a couple weeks ago we hung out with Elder Lewis! Next week we will be going to the city to see the Tree in Rockefeller Center. We don't have a tree in our apartment so that kind of stinks :/ I am half tempted to go to my old Bronx apartment and ask for my tree back lol! But I won't do that. 

So I bought Taylor Swift's Christmas Album from Target last week! IT IS SO GOOD! :) I freaking love her! haha! Sorry that's my random thought of the day! 

So Dad you asked what my favorite areas have been.. It's easy to say. As much as I loved them all. Harlem # 1, then Stamford, then the Bronx. And so far this is my least favorite. Not saying at all that I don't like it.. it's just not the same. I liked Stamford a lot! The thing that makes this place good is who all I am living with. But not going to lie.. having 3 missionaries who are about to go home in 1 apartment is not the best idea.. It makes it really hard on me. But I miss my old areas a lot! I talked to Hermana Baltazar on the phone the other night and that was really nice! That made me happy! But this mission is amazing! I have made such good friends. The hard part will be staying in contact with everyone.. some of my best friends I have, have been made here. I just wish you guys knew them. I miss my boys back at home a ton as well though. I am so excited to see them again! 

So I do want to go to the Broadway show. Will you look at Ticket prices in Feb on a Wednesday afternoon?  I really need to get them soon, I need to go talk to the Denisens who work in the office and have them buy them. Elders Baba, Stratton, Peterson and I will be the ones going if we can get tickets. So as of right now that is still what I want for Christmas. but none of them are willing to pay more than 100 buckaroos, so if the tickets are too much and out of their price range I will have no one to go with. So I will just have y'all send me money for Christmas in that case. But mom you can do a 12 days of Christmas thing again! I really enjoyed that last year! :) 

So yup that is the life! :) I am just about done with my Essays, so I will send them to you in a little bit mom so you can tell me what you think! 

This week we went to our investigator Lourdes' house. It was her daughter's birthday, and some members who were in Stamford are related to them so I got to see them so that was really nice! They were the ones who gave me their phone to call Hermana Baltazar lol! But when I got here they were already teaching Lourdes and her family, so I don't think it was any coincidence that I came! All things happen for a reason! Mckeon taught me that! :) 

Both of my suits are in decent shape. They have a few problems.. But I just wanted a grey more fashionable suit... haha I think that is the one thing you will find a little different about me when I get home.. I am more into fashion now. You can thank Elder Hellberg, Elder Eliason, and Elder Lewis for that.... And Portillo. And Just New York in General.. It kind of rubs off on you. so yeah lol!

So that's about it! I am good! I am happy! and I am hungry! So I am going to go eat now! I miss and love you all have a great week! :) 

Love Elder Mark Mattei! :)

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

My English Stinks

Hey there mom! Sounds like everyone is doing good! Thanksgiving went really well! We went to the Rejas family's house, and also to the Galvez family. The Galvez's are really cool. We normally visit with Norma and Alejandra. Norma is 22 and we are teaching her boyfriend George, and Alejandra is 18 and she is married and has a 1 year old son named Sammy! I like them a lot. We also visited with them on Sunday, and we had a really good heart to heart with them. They opened up a lot, and let us know some of their concerns and things . It was sad to hear some things they told us, but I saw so much progress in them both. I really would like to see the both of them return to full activity in the Church. 

So Thanksgiving was great! Both of our appointments were part member meals! :) So it was good! I enjoyed part of the Cowboys game with George when we were visiting Norma and Alejandra on Thanksgiving. He is a huge sports fanatic! He is majoring in Sports Management and has promised me some hookups if he works for any big teams lol! He is way cool. The 3 or them have become really good friends of mine!

So to answer your question Michelle will now be baptized on the 8th! We just got to figure some things out, because apparently there is a party going on here at the Church that night. So it may be moved to the 9th.. But we are not sure yet. Either way it is going to happen! :) She is such a smart little girl! We taught her the Plan of Salvation at Church on Sunday and I was amazed at how fast she picked things up and how much she understood! She looks like she is 8, and acts like she is 16. Its the weirdest thing! She is only 11! 

So we have been helping the English Elders (Eliason and Plouzek) teach some college girls lately. There is a girl in there ward named Mariah and a couple of her roommates have a lot of questions about Mormons.. So she did not have all of the answers so she invited us over.. That was about 6 weeks ago. We go to the college campus each week and teach about 4 college girls the gospel. Not going to lie the first time it was REALLY WEIRD to be on a College campus. She even took us to dinner at dining hall there.. Crazy awkward, then her friends asked us some of the most ridiculous questions... The first time there were about 8 of them.. the ones who were not really interested kind of fell off. We are now teaching Melissa, Kristin, and Melina. It has been a lot of fun! And they are all reading and Kristin and Melina have even come to church a couple of times! I am really interested to see what happens with them! I think all of the interest came in after General Conference with the new announcement that sisters can now serve at 19. Because Mariah decided she was going to leave at the beginning of this summer. So naturally her friends had questions. She is a really good girl and a great example to her friends! I have a lot of respect for her!  It would be extremely hard to be going to college, and be as active in the Gospel as she. 

So no more news for BYU as of yet. I have progressed a little on the essays. The good news is I am almost done! So all that will really be left to do is edit and send it all in... And Mom I don't know what to tell you about the Seminary thing. Call and ask them. I have no idea why it keeps turning up empty. We should figure that out though. :) 

Oh and yes we did get to go back down to the Rockaways in Queens! Friday we went with our stake and I led one of the Groups! That day President and Sister Morgan went down as well, along with their son Ryan. It was really good! We worked our tails off! There is still so much to do! We did not finish working in the 1 house we were working in that day. Then we went down again on Saturday as a Zone and we spent a whole day at a house working! The family there bought us McDonalds so it ruined my fast food and soda fast! But it was all good! We had to crawl into a little 4 foot hole in the side of their house and clear stuff out from under it, as well as rip up their wooden floorboards. It was fun and a lot of work! I was so happy to serve them! It was one of the best experiences of my mission.. I will never forget it! We really helped people.. over the 3 days combined I did over 18 hours of service.. I was dead each day and slept like a baby! I don't even want to know how the South Missionaries feel.. I love serving! I hope and pray I can do something like that again! :) It was the experience of a lifetime. We helped others as the Savior would! And we were happy as we did it :) 

So life is good ! :) I am happy as always! I need to know who I need to buy my secret Santa gift for this year so you guys should let me know ASAP :) And I just want to apologize to you all.. My English stinks. Spanish has really messed up not only how I speak in English but how I write lol! I really need to take an English course when I get home. 

Stinks to hear hockey is still on hold.. At this point the NHL probably won't be back on till next season...  But glad to hear LSU is in a bowl game! Makes me really happy to know that Notre Dame is the football team that they used to be! I hope they destroy Bama when they play them.

I love you all! I hope you have a great week! I will talk to you soon! :) 

Love Elder Mark Mattei! 

Friday, November 23, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving

Hey there mommy! :) I will try to reply to everything you asked. You wrote A LOT! and I have very little time. So seeing David was awesome!   David Phillips is a childhood friend of Mark's who used to live in O'fallon and just returned from a mission to Colorado.  It made me really happy to see him! :) And David told me you saw the video. Some other missionaries in our Zone told me that I was in it! So I saw it! I am glad that made you happy! :) I knew that it would! :) 

Thanksgiving will be good. We are going to visit the Rejas family. It will be fun. No Macy's day parade :( And no Turkey Bowls :( So I am kind of bummed out about that! But it will be all good! We are going to make the best out of it.

For Pday we went up and visited Lewis! I am looking of a new suit! So Elder Lewis is trying to help me out. I really want a grey one. I was looking at H and M today. Now we are at a.. well, not really investigator's house, but guy they visit's, house. And he is really funny. The missionaries have been visiting him for over 30 years!! Still not a member.. Not really investigating.. I think they just come over here to hang out. He is really funny. His name is Mike. I would love to come to this area just to get to know him.

So I am glad you talked to President Smith! Thank you for all you are doing Mom to help me prepare for the application process I really appreciate it! I really appreciate the letter from Brother Tuttle! so make sure you tell him thank you for me :)

So we will probably have the opportunity to go do service in Queens again this weekend! I am hoping that I will feel better by then. I have been sick the past couple of days! But I am excited for Thanksgiving.. kind of lol! But more excited for Christmas that will be here in just a few short couple of days!

Well I got to get going! I have a line of people waiting behind me to email! So I love you all! And I hope everyone is doing alright! :) You are all the best! have a great week! you are in my prayers! :)
Love Marky! :)

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Service in Queens

Well Good Morning! 

I have not received and email yet but I am just going to go ahead and start! So how is everyone?? What all has happened this past week that you all have to fill me in on?? :) 

So this past weekend we had the chance to leave the mission and go and help do some service in Long Island! It was so sad, but despite all of that it was a happy time to be able to serve and help others. People's basements were completely flooded, as well as parts of their main floor. We spent the day throwing stuff out and tearing out sheetrock. As well as ripping out carpet. We were there for about 6 hours on Saturday. It was nice to see the other part of the city, but not so much under those conditions. The people were so grateful for the service we rendered. There were over 1,000 members there serving the people who lived in Queens. Every group was organized into groups of 8. Elder Kay took half of our Zone, and I took the other. It was a good opportunity to learn how to lead as well. Only us and 2 other Zones from the Mission went. It was more of a Multi-stake activity than a mission activity. We are all hoping we can go back!

We started off by waking up early in the morning. Elder Kay and I went and bought some work gloves and some doughnuts for everyone. Then soon the buses pulled into the New Rochelle Chapel to pick up all the Members and Missionaries. We had to pack our lunches for the day. When we got there we were told to go to certain streets and just look for people who needed help. It was Work! WORK! WORK  all day! At the end of the day we were helping this man clear some stuff out of his basement...There was tons of mold, and it was just nasty. He had years of memories and so many other things down in his basement.. Just about all of it had to go. I picked up an antique dresser and it just fell apart as I picked it up because of the water damage. There was only room for me and 1 other small kid down there. The water was still about 3 inches deep, it had been over 8 feet... It was sad, but it was good to help! So many people thanked us, and opened their hearts to what we did, and to the message we taught. I would have to say that this was probably the highlight to my week, and one of the highlights of my mission. We really served, and I feel like we accomplished a lot and helped many people. And the Missionaries in The South Mission and in New Jersey still are. We are all hoping that us as a mission can go down there and help. 

It was exhausting, but it was worth it :) I'd never had a desire to work so hard. We were all a mess by the end of the day. The bus ride home was long, so Elder Kay and I passed the time by trying  to sing country songs., Sadly we have forgotten most of the words to almost all of them lol! But it was fun! 

Other than that we are teaching a little girl named Michelle. She has a bap date for the 10th of December! She is really smart! She is the Granddaughter of our Gospel Principles teacher, Hermano Bucay. So she was pretty much a miracle. 

I love Elder Kay  - he is an awesome companion. We get along so well! We are having a ton of fun! But life on my end is good! I hope to hear from you all soon! Please pray for the people that were affected by the Hurricane! They need it, and God is the only one who can give them the peace that they need. Hope all is well! I miss and love you all! :) 

Love Mark! :)

Here is a link to a church video that depicts some of the service Mark describes above.  You can find him about 1:35 into the video.   Please watch if you haven't already.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Fun Changes

Dear Mommy and Daddy! :) 

So I will try to address everything you asked me. About the election, yeah Romney lost. What can we do? Hope for the best and expect the worst :) Hopefully he can actually do something in these next 4 years.. You guys know me, I am no politician; I don't care enough. But things do need to get better. Let's hope for the best! :)

With that said here is the good news of the week! ELDER KAY IS MY NEW COMPANION!! :) Elder Kay is his best bud from the MTC. We are ZLs together!! I am so happy! :) And Elder Eliason is in our pad! He is in the English Ward! I feel so bad for Elder Plouzek. He is living with 3 almost dead missionaries (close to going home) who go home together. Haha he does not even have a year yet! But the two of them are the new office elders. It's a new position in the mission.. They basically do all the stuff that the AP's did not want to do before. I am so excited for this cycle! Those were the best transfer calls I have received my whole mission! 

So Lydia got baptized! Elder Kropf baptized and confirmed her! It was really cool! Hopefully the other 3 sisters will follow her example some time this cycle! And now we have a baptismal date with a little girl named Michelle! She is 11! And the Granddaughter of the Gospel Principles teacher Hermano Bucay! It is a miracle. She just basically told her Grandpa that she wanted to be baptized. We met her at church on Sunday, then visited with her Monday night. She set her date for the 10th of December! So we are pretty excited for that :) 

And BYU App deadline is the 1st of December for Priority. And we need to finish the app before we can start recommendations. But I was thinking Sister Hudson as well for a teacher one. And President Smith, and Brother Tuttle as well! :) You read my mind mom. I am almost done, I really just need you to put on my GPA and things of that sort. So please get on that!! This week! I am going to try and finish the essays by next PDay. I will send you all of the revised ones. I have kind of changed them up a little bit. I was thinking the same thing that you mentioned, that with this new change in mission age, there is a much better likelihood that I can get in! :) So please pray and keep your fingers crossed! 

I am 100% committed to getting into BYU. And my second option is UVU. I just really feel like I need to be in Provo, so I will not be applying for BYU I :/ Not now at least, sorry :(  lol! And thanks for the EFY link mom! I will be looking into that as well if I do not get in for summer semester. :) 

And about my release date.. ah you know I hate talking about that, but if everything goes as follows I should arrive on the 14th. Assuming we don't have some drastic changes in the mission from now until then... That is so scary to think. Elder Kay and I really hope that we get to kill each other off, but I doubt that will be happening! Seriously he is my best bud out here! :) I am so happy we are companions! 

So that story about Lindsay made both Elder Kay and I laugh! That is funny! So did she actually meet President Smith?? I could not really figure out from what you told me. 

But yeah I am good! We were out of power until Friday afternoon last week. I hated it. The dark is so depressing. And tonight we are grounded ( we can't drive) because of the snow storm. So we are just going to go back and move Elder Kay in. But to answer Dad's questions we did get to do some service.. not too much hurricane related, but service none the less. We helped an investigator of the Scarsdale Elders rake his and his neighbor's leaves. We also helped him carry a bunch of free fire wood to his back yard (He got the firewood because of all the trees that had fallen over as a result of hurricane Sandy) So.. it was kind of service for them. Most of the work is to be done in New Jersey and in the South Mission. To the looks of it, President Morgan is trying to organize something so our mission may be able to provide relief to those areas. Because of the long gas waits and many highways that were closed this past week, it was almost impossible to get over to Jersey or Long Island. But hey who knows maybe I will be leaving the mission soon to go help out :) The biggest problem here was power outages, and the 6 hours we had to wait to get gas. We had to wait until midnight to get gas.. it was ridiculous!! We waited for 2 hours Thursday morning, and the station ran out. then we came back that night and got in line at 7:40. We started filling up 1 car at 11:40, but our car did not get filled because at 12 the workers had to go home.. (we were like 10 cars behind the English Elders.)  So annoying.. We were running on empty for days. Thankfully to Maria, our landlady, we were able to fill up part of the way because she had a 5 gallon tank, or else we would have been in a bind! It was not until yesterday in the morning that we were able to fill up completely! :) It has been stressful.. But at the same time a lot of fun :) I feel terrible for the people in Long Island and Jersey. :( Everyone needs to keep them in their prayers! 

Well that's about it! I think I addressed everything you both said. :) I love you both! Thank you for your advice! :) I am taking it! :) And yup Dad the End is coming... I don't know when, but I feel it is getting closer! Just got to keep our heads held high! Well I love you all! Take care and have a good week! You are all in my thoughts and prayers! :) 

Love Mark! :)

Thursday, November 1, 2012

The Storm

Hey there mommy! :)
Happy Halloween everyone! Haha so mom first I am going to address your concerns about my short emails recently. That is because we generally go to the library to email and we are only given an hour. 
And about a care package! Don't worry about it! :) It is not a big deal. But if you do sent one just send whatever you would like :) It does not matter to me! :)
So about the Storm. It hit pretty bad. We do not have electricity. We have been out since Monday night. So naturally walking around in pitch black has been a blast. We just stayed in our apartment. Down by the beach some small sailboats washed up onto the shore! And there are a lot of trees down! Luckily our church still has power which is about 1/8  mile from our house. But we were grounded all of Monday, and until like 4 yesterday. We looked for stuff to do, but sadly around here there is not too much. If we could somehow get an organized project together that would be nice. The biggest problem is that like nobody has power! The wind was extremely strong. Rain was not too bad at all! But as you said apparently it has hit the city really hard! I have not heard a lot! But yeah.. That is what is going on as far as that. We are just looking for opportunities to help. Staying inside for 2 days really made me appeciate what we do every other day. Although it is sometime repeticious! It was just nice to finally be outside doing things! :) \
But I am glad to hear you talked to President Morgan! He is a great guy! I love him so much! We had interviews last week, and it is always such a blessing to be able to  talk with him.
And when Elder D. Todd Christofferson came, that was really cool! He said a lot of interesting and powerful things that really got me thinking! It was a great opportunity and I left from it remotivated! :) He has a true and strong testimony about the Gospel, and about the Savior. What he said at the end of his testimony was truly just amazing! Before that I got to pick up missionaries from the train station in Scarsdale, so I was driving around by myself. That was weird! It was the first time in forever that I was alone! But it was nice! lol! :) I miss having alone time!
So Lydia, 1 of the 4 sisters is getting baptized this Saturday! :) It will be right before Elder Kropf leaves! So we are really excited for that! :) 
Well I don't have too much more time these computers only give us an hour. But I just want to let you all know I love you! And thank you for all you do :) I am good! The storm could not take me down! I am doing good! Just trying to get used to the cold weather! I HATE THE COLD! haha! Okay mom I am going to send you a second email! But I love you all! :) Have a great day! Have fun trick or treating tonight! Garrett save some candy for me! :) Love you all!
Love Mark! :)

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The "New" Mark

Hey mom! :)
Well not much time like usual! So I am going to try to answer all your questions. Okay yes I received mail from almost all of my friends! As well as most of our relatives. I have had like no time to write letters though with all of these hectic pdays we have been having. I need to write them. It is likely I will not go to the city at all next cycle and I will spend it catching up on all my letters. So I apologize about that to every one :(
Glad to hear Todd got good grades! :) That really made me happy to hear! I wish I would have tried harder in High School. I now realize how important that was. I have changed a lot in that regard. I realize how important school is, and how it will lead to success and to making me happier. That is why I am so eager to go to BYU. And to go to Utah. I want to stay the person I have become on my mission. And I am afraid if I go back home and just start sitting on my butt again I will become the "old Mark".  Not saying that I am different. My priorities are just a little better well organized now :) But I think as far as personality goes you will find it surprising how little I have changed haha! My actions are different though and my decisions. And I believe I am a lot less prideful lol! And you are going to hate me for this but I have not been taking as many pictures as I should :( Next cycle I will be going to the Statue of Liberty though and Battery Park, and the Empire State Building :) So I will make sure I have my camera on me then.
Today Elder Kropf is going to see "Wicked" so I will be hanging out with Elder Fusco, our AP. So that will be funnish... lol! We are going to the city.. again.. haha I really just want to relax! But oh not much time. Hopefully I will get on in the city and be able to email. But Lion King Tickets - don't worry about it. I talked to Elder Dennison in the office (senior missionary), he is going to figure out the ticket situation for us :) I just need to know how much you guys are willing to spend! I may go see it in Feb when there is a pday show. But I don't know yet. A couple missionaries want me to go see Newsies with them!
Well no time, ask me about the meeting we had with Elder Christofferson next week!! It was so good and I want time to explain it!
We are setting a date with the Lopez family this week! The 4 Mexican sisters! So pray for them! Okay really got to go now. We need to meet up with the AP's! Okay love you all! Have a great week!
Love Mark! :)

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Finally Adjusting

Hey there! Okay so I am going to address the Lion King first... There are only night time showings?? No day time... :( If you could look again that would be great. But yes that will be a problem if they have stopped showing them during the day. And not necessarily that week but it would need to be sometime during my second cycle. And not the last week of it. So maybe like the 26th of December. That would be good! :) So just look around there. I really hope they still have daytime showings.  Many of the missionaries in his mission are able to view a Broadway show before coming home.
Well not going to lie, not much new.. Going to the city again today for Pday. Haha I think next cycle I am not going to go at all! lol! It's just such a hassle :P But it has been nice to enjoy some of the new privileges we have. They are now able to go into the New York South mission to see such sights as the WTC Memorial, Empire State Building and Statue of Liberty.  But I would much rather serve there again! I really hope I can go back and finish my mission in Harlem!
ZL Zone Leader stuff is normal. Not too much going on. We are now allowed to give permission to missionaries to leave the Zone on Pday. Zone Leaders have a lot more responsibility than before, but still nothing too backbreaking. My favorite part so far has been going to Zone Council and getting to meet with all the others ZL's, APs,Assistants to the President and President and Sister Morgan. Those are pretty cool meetings where we all get to share our thoughts, ideas, and experiences from the mission.
Oh Big news! This Saturday Elder D. Todd Christofferson from the Quorum of the 12 is coming to talk to us :) That is going to be so cool! I remember when he came to our stake! It will be cool getting to meet with him again! He is coming to talk to the Yorktown Stake (Where I was in Stamford) And I was upset that I was not going to get to hear from him after I got transferred, but now he is coming to talk to all the Missionaries so I am really excited! :) It is going to be sick! I will tell you all about it next week! \
Other than that, not too much new. I took over the area yesterday when I went on a split with Elder Elliot (District Leader from English District) He is really cool! Such a great teacher! I learned so much from him! I think it was one of the better splits I have had on my mission. The ward has been struggling with people coming to church so we have been focusing for now on a lot of less active work. We were looking some people up yesterday and we had a bit of a miracle. We just so happened to visit a family who was having some internal struggles... Can't say too much. But it was truly amazing what led us up to going there :) 
So tell Lindsay to email me! I want to know her plans about serving! I think she should get her papers in ASAP! And if she does not want to leave until after I get home, just put her departure date for after! But she could get her call within the next 2 months in all reality! .. Following the announcement at General Conference that young women can now go on missions at the age of 19, Lindsay has decided to put in her mission application early next year.  Yes, I have requested that she not go until after Mark gets home.
All of our investigators are slowly progressing. I love helping them work past their fears and doubts! :) I have finally started meeting some members, and I completely got punked multiple times the other day at the Arroyo's house( I think that's their name lol! ) First off I ate a tiny pepper.. Freaking Hot as.. yeah. But it surprised me how hot that little thing was. Not going to do that again... then they played a game with us..  It was way weird.. There was one person who would decide how to touch someone's face with their hand and just do something funny.. like run their finger across the person to their left's forehead, for example.. I thought the game had no point... Well turns out Elizabeth ( the mom lol) had lipstick on her fingers.. So whenever she touched my face I got lipstick all over me...  I had no idea what was going on, but everyone else was laughing at me and I did not quite get it.. haha It's kind of hard to explain but it was funny... Elder Kropf got a pretty good kick out of it. It took me like 10 rounds until I looked at my hand and there was a red mark and I was like "what the?? " lol It was fun!
To answer you question Mom we have been going down to the city for our Pdays. Last week we went to China Town and to the 9-11 Memorial with Sister Keanini and Sister Floyd!  I was proud of myself! I did not spend any money apart from $7 for Metro!
But anyways that is about all the news for this week! :) I am doing good and finally adjusting to this place! :) We are trying to pick up the work! We really need the help from the members so that is what we are focusing on.. But first we need to get them to church! Well pray for us here! Pray for the ward! :)
I love you all! Take care and have a great week! :) 
Love Mark!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Just a Few Quick Thoughts

Well I know you are writing but I am going to start writing now! So the big question is.. When is Lindsay putting in her papers??? :) Hopefully soon! :) That is such a big crazy change!
But anyways conference was so good this weekend! I loved all of it! One thing that really stood out to me is when President Monson said "As we act on the promptings of the Spirit the Lord will use us more frequently to run his errands" Or something along those lines. I was listening to it in Spanish so I do not know exactly what it was that he said. But I loved it! I learned so many things by the leaders of the Church, as well as by the spirit! :)
So not a lot of time so I am going to cut to the chase. Mom could you look for Lion king Broadway tickets for like the 2nd of January? There are like 4 or 5 of us who want to go and the sooner the tickets are bought the cheaper they are. So If you could look and tell me prices that would be great.. and would you be willing to buy them and then I could just have everybody pay you back? Because we would all need to buy them together so we could be in a group... But either that day or like the week before or something. Any of those Wednesdays would really work. Just make sure it is a Wednesday. could you do that for me?? :) Thank you tons! :) Just look at prices and let me know what I could do for myself?? That could be my Christmas present! :) Please do that this week!!! :) The sooner the more money we all save!
Okay well about college. Second thought apply for the Fall semester. Not summer. After some praying that is what I want to do. And Elder Fox told me I could apply as a freshman because that is what he did at multiple schools lol! So if you could start that.  Okay well mom not a lot of time! but I am glad to hear bout Linz! :) She should go right after I get home! A Well mom I love you all! Got to keep it short! :)
Oh scc ID no idea where it is! Well I love you all! Love Mark! :)
Sorry about the short email! WE are going to the city again! :) Chinatown and Memorial for the Trade Centers! lo love u all! :)

Sunday, October 7, 2012

A New Area

Hey there mommy dearest! :)
So your letter today was as scatterbrained as I normally am lol! But I will go ahead and try to answer all of your questions. I may not have too much time because this is Elder Kropf's dying cycle and he wants to go down to Manhattan and take advantage of the new privileges we have been given... AKA we are going to Time Square today :) And yes Elder Kropf is the one with the Yoda lol!
So the area is good! Still upstate so I am still in a car. Right now Elder Kropf is the one who is driving .Although I am fairly certain the the next couple days I will be the one taking charge of that so I can learn my way around the area. The area is huge! It borders my last area in Stamford/Greenwich. And we live in a small apartment. There are only 3 in the building. Our landlady Maria is awesome. She owns a Pizza joint as well so she is always giving us free pizza lol! She loves us. So we are well taken care of. Plus this is the nicest apartment I have lived in. A little smaller than the others, but for sure the best furnished and decorated. I really like it! :) And I am finally on the Bottom Bunk!! First time in 18 months lol! So that has been nice. I feel like I sleep a lot better, when I am closer to the ground. New responsibilities are  fairly simple, be kind, loving and an example! So not too bad. Plus we take numbers on Sunday nights and call the AP's. So nothing too bad... I was not excited when President Morgan called me though lol! I was trying to avoid leadership.. But oh  well.. What the Lord wants, I will do. :)
So packages, just send them to the office. It is in my Zone so I can pretty much go there whenever I want to pick it up... Just for now on send mail to the Mission Office. I will get it pretty much when it comes in.
So the area is really nice! We live about a 2 minute walking distance from the Church! So that is a huge plus!! And yes I am still working in the Spanish Ward! :) This ward is a lot smaller, and I have hardly gotten to know anyone yet.. But I plan on changing that soon. I am going to implement the plan we used in Stamford and use it here. And we are giving a training about it to the Zone next Monday.. That is something President Morgan wanted me to do, and one of the big reasons why I think I was called as a Zone Leader. So I am excited to see the Work get moving here. Member Participation in Missionary work is kind of down the tube here, so it will, with much faith, be coming back up here shortly :)
So I am thinking this is probably my last area but I really don't know. We will see what happens! :) We are teaching some really cool people. There are 4 Mexican sisters who come to the Spanish class, and come to church each week. The hard part has been actually sitting down with them and teaching them. They are all younger. Se llaman Mia, Lidia, Nance,.. and I forget the others name lol! But they are cool. Then there is this lady who we are teaching. She is ready to be baptized, she just needs to move out of the apartment where she is living because she is living with another guy... She is looking though :) That is the good news :) Elder Kropf has done a great job at teaching her!  She is so smart and has a sincere desire to learn :)
And then there are a lot of other people but I don't have much time lol! :) But things are going well.. as always I am a little slow adjusting to change but I will be good :) I am glad to hear the family is doing alright and nothing too Crazy is happening... I will try and write Todd again soon. I got a big stack of letters that I need to reply to. lol!
And thanks for telling me about Julian. Tell him I say "what's up" and I love him. I love you all very much! and I miss you! You are all in my prayers! :) Tell Bishop Remund I say Hello as well :) I love you all. Take care and have a great week! I will talk to you all soon! And try to have even more time to email next week! Take care! Love you all! Love Marky Mark! :)
(Auhoo hoo) That is my monkey noise for Stephie! You can tell her I just made that in the Library for her lol! :) Bye Bye! :)

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Transfer to New Rochelle, NY

Mommy! Ok this stinks but I have like no time! I am in New Rochelle with Elder Kropft. I will be killing him. Term meaning that he will be sending him home next transfer. This is his last cycle. I am also a ZL .now.  Zone Leader, similar to a district leader but works with a larger group of missionaries. I am certain he will explain his responsibilities in future emails.   But I am happy about the changes, it was hard at first but now I am really excited to be here :) this stupid computer at the library only gave me 15 mintues to email because the library is closing in a couple of minutes. and we were helping with Transfers all day.  But I am glad to hear Thomas is doing well! :) As you all are. :) Sorry that this will be the shortest email of my mission.
Well I love you all very much I promise I will say more next week! :) You are all the best!
Love Mark! :)

Some pictures from his last weekend in Stamford:

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Thank You to Everyone!

Dear Mom and Dad :) 

So Mom first off.. you didn't find any dermatologists in the area for me like I asked lol! I am only saying that so I don't forget to ask again. 

But anyway my birthday was really good! :) As you know I went to the Baltazars Monday night and they had a really interesting/fun party for me :) I appreciated it a lot! I also had 2 other parties that day. 1 with the Vera family and 1 that the Sisters planned haha! So by the end of the day my face was stuffed with cake! But it was a lot of fun! :) I enjoyed myself. 

And Mom thank you for all the cards and for the package! :) I appreciate it so much! I got a good number of cards, so I just want to say thank you to everyone who sent me something... haha I even got a letter from Tori! That was really surprising!.. I was confused when I saw the envelope because it was not the same last name that I was used to haha.! But I am going to write her back today.. :) Sounds like she is doing good with her Husband and her baby boy :)  

So the work is going really good :) We found this awesome kid named Christian this week who is a friend of Katherine Baltazar. He is legit. Such a humble perosn. He is 18, still in High School, but so open to the things we are teaching him. We left a Book of Mormon at his house Sunday night, then called him Tuesday to see if he got it, and he said "Yeah what part do you want me to read" And he sounded really excited to start reading so that was a really cool experience! :) 

Also we have taught Emmanuel again, as well we are now teaching his mom! :) He said he was going to pray about which Saturday in October will be the day he gets baptized! :) I am just so happy, because his Mom, Dora is so open! We had such a great lesson with them Sunday night :) 

So we have given like 15 blessings in the past week! It has been such a blessing for me to be able to see the power of the Priesthood work through us.. The one I gave to Hermano Alfaro was a really spiritual experience.. and it was given completely and utterly by the Spirit.. The Lord promised him some big blessings.... :) Priesthood blessings, especially ones for the Sick have really helped me understand the Atonement.. They really are such a powerful thing..

So I don't have too much time today, but I just want to let you all know that I love you and I am constantly thinking about you.

Well everyone thank you so much! :) You guys are all the best! :) I love each one of you! Thank you for all you do and for your support! I love what I am doing out here! There is no place I would rather be :) God Bless! :)

Love Marky Mark! 

Oh Mom could you please send a flash drive with all my mission picutres?? ASAP please :) just save them and put them on there and if you could have them out by this weekend it would mean the world to me :) Thank you Mucho!!!

Love Mark! :) 

Thursday, September 13, 2012

A Gospel Comparison to Halo?

Dear Mom... Thank you so much for sending that to me! :) Your conversion brought tears to my eyes and I felt a really strong special spirit at I read it. So thank you so much :)

Well other than that.. I really have no idea what is going to happen with Transfers. I know that Elder Vazquez is out of here. As well as Elder Stevens will probably be going to. Shoot there is even the potential that I could leave and Fox could take over the area. (Probably not) But it is still possible. But I will let you know when I know something. Maybe splitting the area?? That is possible as well becasue of all the Work we have from this plan! :) Our investigators are doing great! I love them all! Every  single one is an awesome person and I love them so much! Haha quick funny story!

So all those years of me playing Halo came in handy yesterday! We were teaching our investigator Emmanuel, he is 12, and he loves Halo! And he had some doubts about getting baptized because he feels like he would need to be perfect, or God would expect so much more of him after he would be baptized.. So I related the Gospel of Jesus Christ to Halo and the Master Chief ( the main character in
the game lol) Baptism was the beginning of the game. Afterwards he would die (or spiritually die in real life. SIN) but he would advance to Different Checkpoints (places where it saves the game and you don't have to restart.) And that is equivelent to Sacrament and Repentance. And New Levels are steps in the Gospel (Priesthood,Patriarchal Blessings, Callings, Temple, Etc.) And at the End you beat the game. (Resurrection) And throughout the whole game you have someone there to help you (Cortana, ask Greg I don't feel like explaining. It's a Hologram Master Chief has inside his helmet.) And I compared that to the Gift of the Holy Ghost and how that will help us finish the game and keep on going on and Fighting and killing the Covenent, as compared to enduring to the end..     It was completely led by the spirit. And at the end we asked him if he still had doubt and he said "no.. not really the Halo Analogy made everything pretty clear and helped a lot! 

so Mom all those years of me playing video games was actually a blessing :) it helped someone's elses life in their progression in the Gospel and coming unto Christ! :) :) Next time we go we are setting a bap date with him! That will be on Saturday! :) So we are excited! if you did not understand the analogy I made just ask Greg to explain it to you lol! 

Well we got to get going! But I just want you to know I love you and am thankful for all that you do! :) You are the best Mommy! :)

I love you all and you are all in my prayers! 

Love you! Love, Marky

Some answers to questions -

1. So yes we get fed very well! Somehow I am still managing to not gain weight.. like 3 or 4 weeks ago we had 4 dinners in 1 night lol! 

2. And it varies. Right now we have a really big teaching pool because of our recent Ward mission plan! It is going great! We try to teach 20 lessons a week, Including Members and less actives. But right now we are really focusing on getting With Member Lessons! :) 

3. We cover 2 cities Greenwich and Stamford (And yes I know they are both very rich) 

4. WE only cover 1 Ward. The Sister Missionaries cover Norwalk CT. 

5. We go to PEC the First Sunday of Every month. Other than that we go to Correlation every Sunday morning. In my other 2 wards we went to PEC each Sunday. 

6.Stamford is a lot different. A lot more houses and sane people. Most of the people here are from either Peru, Ecuador, or Guatemala. In the Bronx they were almost all Dominicans. We don't really work in the Rich part of our area. We stay really close to the actual city. 

7.Most are employed.. Stamford's nickname is the "City that Works" haha kind of lame. But they do landscaping.. Or surprisingly a ton of them work at McDonalds. Just depends. A lot work at Restaurants as well.

8. Well today we are just relaxing. Last week we went to the Mall.. And other than that we just play sports and hang out. I would like to go fishing or hiking one of these weeks though. That would be a lot of fun! :) 

9. So we are now allowed to go to the Statue of Liberty and Time Square and all of those places. Hopefully I will be back in the city at the end of my mission so I can do all that.

10. and yes I have been to the Natural History Museum. 2 times actually and 2 Times at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. I have not finished looking through either 1 though. They are HUGE! Makes the Art Museum in STL look like a little turd. From what I remember though i think I like the Museum of Natural History in D.C more than the one here.