Friday, December 27, 2013

New Friday P-day

I finished the Book of Mormon today! it was so awesome! Our instrutors are taking us to a chuhasceria today can´t wait. Five more days till we sair do CTM. The internet still only works in one area of the CTM. Me and Elder Lincoln are working hard on speaking only portugues and we´re doing fantastic minimal errors. Not much to talk about. Natal was awesome we had two amazing devotionals. Played Volleyball for two hours. We had an amazing lunch but dinner was fake pizza again. The instructors told us the food sucks in the ctm to them too so pretty excited to get in the field. Super tired this week but working hard and reeping the rewards of the field. It only gets hotter each day but it´s so worth it. Give another update on everyone this week. We get one more p-day before we leave. Hope everyone´s doing great, love you all.
Com abrasos
Elder Menendez

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Email address

If you are viewing this on a mobile device you need to go to the bottom and select "view as web page" to see the mailing/emailing information for Caleb. I also put it in as a comment on the 'Please write me!' blog entry.
Caleb's email is

Week 5: Christmas---Wednesday, December 25, 2013 10:47am

Nao temos muito tempo foi um problema e nos nao temos internete. Hoje e um otimo dia na CTM. Nos temos um muito legal plano por nosso dia. Meu distrito e o melhor e nos estamos aumentando com muito forca. Este domingo foi marvelhosso nos tenhamos uma opportunidade por cantar para tudo pessoas na rua foira do CTM. Eu gostava muito. Onten foi otimo tamben nos tenhamus um reuniaode de testemunhos que foi melhor de tudo devocionals. Presidente degn e otimo e eu ama ele muito.
Feliz Natal Gente!
There's only one place better to be for christmas than here in the CTM which would be at home with you guys. All the missionaries in our hallway last night sang christmas hymns together for half an hour it was so heavy with the spirit and felizidade just like caroling. My district with our old district sang Jesus num presepio for everyone this morning in a devotional where we had the area president speak. It went perfectly and the devotional was amazing. Sunday night was the most spirit heavy moment we've had here. All the missionaries assembled outside of the CTM and we sang hymns on the sidewalk it was magnificent. Our CTM President is amazing he played my favorite christmas song, o holy night, on the piano by heart it was beautiful and today he did a hymn medley he's really a magnificent human. It was the best way to end our testimony meeting. The internet's been down in the CTM and it was scaring us for emailing but an angel of a man came in last night with sixteen laptops and set up a spot where internet was possible so we only get fifteen minutes to email right now. The love here is unexplainable. I miss everyone back home but i love it out here. The weather outside has been plus 60's all week usually 80's 90's. Don't forget the significance of Natal. Jesus Christ lived and he is the center of our church. I wear his name on my Chest every day and I keep his purpose engraved in my heart. He was born in bethlehem with the purpose of atoning for our sins. Let's remember him this Natal and try to be more like him. Thank you to everyone who's helped me to be prepared and to get out here. I love you all. Feliz Nascimento de Jesus Gente.
P.S. My district read Lucas 2 this morning in portugues this morning it was perfect.
Com abrasos,
Elder Menendez

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Week 4: Wednesday, December 18, 2013 10am

1 week till christmas! We get a line broadcast of Elder Bednar for Christmas, super excited. Listened to an amazing talk by Quinten L. Cook yesterday night. Sister Degn told us we can't call on christmas cause too many missionaries but we'll get an E-mail and i'll ask my mission president once I reach the field. My new district is great. We're very diligent in learning and have an awesome rule of no english once we step foot in the classroom. We're learning extremely quickly. Elder Dunkel's learning a bit quicker it's fantastic. We get a new batch of brasileiros tomorrow and we're hoping they're as good as our first batch. Elder Nascimento slept in the bunk under me for the first two weeks and he helped with learning portugues soo much. Our district is now 47-B and the old district is still 47-A. Every night during our snacktime we still get together and do nice notes to eachother to spread the chrismas cheer, it helps spread felizidade and excitement to everyone. The new sisters are in the old district and are Sister Roberts from Minnesota and Sister O'Brien from England. Sister O'Brien's really cool and fun to talk with Sister Roberts is really good at volleyball. Our new instructors, Irmao Alvino and Irmao Barros are awesome. Irmao Alvino looks like buzz lightyear and is really good at keeping everyone animado and ready to learn. Irmao Barros is super awesome and kinda crazy but he has his reasons. They're great a great teaching combination and are helping ous to learn so much portugues and gospel doctrine. The districts are changing all the time. Today is Sister O'Brien's last day in 47-A cause she came straight from her house and is moving to a lower level district. Kinda sad cause we just got to know her but the Lord works in mysterious ways. The weeks are travelling at light speed. The advent calender was a great idea thanks. Next week since our p-day's wednesday it'll be moved to Friday instead. My favorite part about P-day is going to the temple, not only is the temple awesome and extremely beautiful but the bus ride through the city is super fun too. One of the instructors here who I spoke with lived in Batavia for a few years, it's a small world after all. Miss everybody back home but i'm loving the mission life more and more each day. Enough stalling I've been saving the best for last, it's long but bear with me. Last friday we went proselyting and it was definitely the highlight of my week. We each got three Livros de Mormon then we took the bus with Irmao Alvino into downtown Sao Paolo, which is like riding a roller coaster with no straps. When we got there we split into our companionships and were given a city block with both sides of the street to place our L.D.M's. Me and my companion began walking and for fourty minutes were too scared to talk to people and had walked the both sides of the street about six times until we found Irmao Alvino. he told us that we should try at the bus stops and begin with telling the people that we have a presente de Natal for them. We gained the courage to talk to an old man and he reamed us out about how the book may be true but the bible is sacred kind of terrifying expirement. As we were walking back across the street to tell Irmao Alvino I felt inclined to talk to a man at the stop walk. He sparked it all. He was super receptive, read Moroni 10:3-5 on the spot, and promised to read and pray about it. When we finished he said thank you for helping in my life and we walked away it was fantastic! After that we got super excited and spoke with everyone we felt inclined to. We ended up placing all our L.d.M's with about five minutes to spare and almost everyone who took them began reading on the spot. We asked the new elders for one of their books and placed it while we were waiting at the bus stop. When we got on the bus a sister sitting in front of me asked where I was from and I told her where I was from and how I'm a missionary then ended up giving her another book of mormon I grabbed from one of the other missionaries which she began to read on the bus. I was so excited but the best was yet to come. On the bus Elder Lincoln told me how he heard about his friend preaching on the bus to everyone and he said it'd be cool to do. We felt that it wasn't a bad idea and got permission from Irmao Alvino so we got in the middle of the bus which had gotten super packed. We were so nervous but we began "Tudo Mundo! Nos temos um mensagem por voces" and then let the spirit take the wheel. Sao Paolo traffic is the worst and we were stuck in rush hour so we ended up teaching all about the book of mormon and most of the restoration to six sisters who were super helpful with the language barrier. After fourty minutes we asked who wanted a Livro de Mormon and gave out five to the sisters who were listening but to our suprise there was a pool of passengers below us who had been listening as well and wanted some too. We had run out of books so as quickly as we could we wrote the missionaries number on a notecard and gave out about five or six of those. Right when we were giving the last passenger a card the bus finally reached it's next destination letting off almost all the passengers leaving us extremely happy for the next thirty minutes till we got back to the CTM. It was my greatest experience so far and the biggest testimony builder for the gift of tongues and the gift of the holy ghost. Love you all hope you're having as great of a time back home as I am. Deus te abencoas.
Com Abrasos
Elder Menendez

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Week 3: P-Day Wed, Dec 11, 2013 at 11:35 AM

Family and Friends,
I really love my district, we are all power hitters and the CTM realized this so they're splitting us in half. It's really because we got last second provo missionaries and we can't have over twelve but it was still tragic. Today's our last day together but it's P-day so it's pretty awesome. We had one of the best testimony meeting in our district last night and it was right after we discussed an amazing devotional we had in the afternoon so the spirit was tanto forte. Me, my companion and four other elders are getting sent to make another district tomorrow probably. I'm sad we're splitting from our sisters and extremely sad we'll be losing Irmao Costa but we're getting Irmao Barros who is super amazing and Irmao Alvino who looks like Buzz Lightyear. District 47-A was super awesome but we all understand that it's God's plan for us and we'll all become fantastic missionaries nonetheless, Quick Run through.
Elder Winsor, Texas, Jois de Fora
-District leader, great elder, funny awesome and we have toonss in common
Elder Dean, Alaska, Sao Paolo Interlagos
-Zone Leader, extremely smart, very strong testimony
Elder Lincoln, New York, Sao Paolo Sou
-Best friend, great example, super good encourager
Sister Serre, North Carolina, Piracicaba
-Super helpful, extremely nice, really smart, and very good example
Sister Thornton, Maine, Curitiba
-Very fun and great group spirit, super tall
Sister Keegan, New Mexico, Sao Paolo Sou
-Artistic, very shy but strong in message
Elder Higgins, Georgia, Bela Orasante
-Socially different but very smart and diligent
Elder Johnson, Ohio, Campinas
-Very optomistic and kind
Elder Wells, Virginia, Jois de Fora
-Energetic and outspoken
Elder Dunkel
-My companheiro, hard time with the language but very strong in the gospel
Led by Irmao Costa, Kung fu gospel champion, And Irma Debora, super difficult pesquisador.
That's District 47-A, Elders Johnson and Wells came in this week, and Sister Thornton last week but they fit right in.
Kind of excited to see how the change works out. Went to the temple again today never ceases to start my day in the best way. Can't wait for christmas, instead of snow here we have dry warm weather and the occasional bipolar showers. Hope everyone back home's doing well. It's gettting hot out here. I love the country though, it's soo beautiful every part of Sao Paolo offers a different view. For choir practice we have an amazing conductor Irmao Asbahr but he's leaving to Argentina this week to study medicine. He makes the missionaries sound like an army of Angels it's fantastic. His last day is today and he came into our district classroom and played violin while we sang two hymns. He also sang hymns with us on the bus ride back from the temple. Ever since Sister Peterson left and gave our district the miracle tie we've been split in two and lost our conductor, not really working for us. I've felt nothing but love from the Brasileiros gets me so excited for the field. Wish everyone the best of luck. Boa Sorte, ate a proxima semana.
Com abrasos
Elder Menendez

Sao Paolo Temple

Elder Menendez with some of his CTM district at the Sao Paolo Temple

Week 2: Wed, Dec 4, 2013

Dear Family and Friends,
Another week down, Our district got two new Elders and A New sister from provo this week, so we got a new big classroom. We had an awesome devotional sunday and we're supposed to have another tonight. We're going to the police station tomorrow i'm excited. The brasilians in our room left last night, it was really sad. Elder Nascimento was really cool and he was helping me learn portuguese in exchange for me trying to teach him English. We get to go out with Irmao Costa on P-day and he never ceases to amaze us. The days grow longer but they pass by in a flash and become weeks fairly quickly. I've been working with him and my companion is starting to pick up the language a little. We have two mock investigators daily and one weekly it's super fun and we teach great every time. Already got one commited to baptism. I love all the instructors here they're amazing and love to help. We had Thanksgiving lunch last week which was amazing. Curious to see how Natal turns out. Amanda leaves for the field next week it's pretty crazy. Everyone in my district is fantastic and we're accelerrating like rockets with the language. English is becoming that much harder too though. Love you all, ate a proximo semana
Com Abrasos
Elder Menendez

Notes to Family Dec 4, 2013

Tudo dias nos temos actividade fisica mas somente podemos jugar baskete e volley. Eu estou correndo e exercindo. Eu estou trabalhando muito duro por aprender mais de portugues e tem muito cansado todo de minha dias. Todo O brasileiros gostar ajudando nós americanos mas não tem muito tempo por aprendendo. Obrigado por este mensagem. Eu ama muito
Com Abrasos
Elder Menendez

Tell Naomi that seminary is saving my life out here, I had to put up with the various difficulties that went with it but right now i'm always tired and always using the scriptures both of which seminary prepared me for.

Hannah, We have pizza on fridays sometime their Pizza's a lie though, the chocolate, banana, vanilla icing pizza isn't that bad though. But my favorite thing here is Uva Festa my district gave it that name it's mostly guarana soda with grape juice it tastes fantastic and we all love it.

Tell Josh i said sorry about having his hand broken but the lord has a weird sense of humor so whatever happens happened for a purpose.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Week 1: P-Day Wed, Nov 27, 2013 at 10:35 AM

A Familia e amigos
Hoje foi um semana. O CTM é muito bom. Eu estou muito grato por tudo que vocês fazo. Meu companheiro e districto som muito bom. Ele nohme ê Elder Dunkel e onde illinois tambem. Ele tem problemo com aprendendo portugues mas eu estou ensenando. Quando fala espanol ê mais fascil por arender e entender purtuguese mas falando è um poucou mais dificil. Eu estou muito feliz e animado por este oportunidáde. Posso orar em somente portugues agora. Nos brasilerios te amo a tudos e som muito feliz a tudo eles dias por isso Tem amo por tudos e quero muito.

The CTM is so amazing, today marks one week. It`s so amazing here and my district is tão great. My companion`s having problems with the language but we´re all exellerating beyond expectation. The gift of tongues, O dom de lingues, is true and I´ve seen it bless our lives. Traffic here is insane I´m so glad we walk everywhere. I see Sister Peterson and Sister Dalton almost every day it´s fantastic. We get to go out and explore the city around the CTM today which i´m extremely excited about. Today we went to the temple as well as the distribution center which was soo beautiful and amazing. Tell grandma I said thank you for messing my stomach when I was younger because I´m eating a lot of the same foods and I love it while my district members aren´t so grateful. Carne asade for lunch one day this week is how you know I´m loving the food. The language is so great. Knowing spanish has helped me inexplicably with understanding the brasileiros say. At first portugues was our only common base but a few spoke spanish so we could talk and teach each other. My roomates are my companion and four only portugues speaking brasileros so we´ve been teaching eachother our mother languages. A group of brasilians left last night who helped show me that this is a different country. The people of brasil are amazing and loving and soo talented. They are always happy. São Paolo (For Norma: pronounced saun pauloo) Is humungous and oh so beautiful. From our cuarto window we can only see less than 10% of the city. Our instructor said it´s the 5th largest city in the world. Our current instructor is Irmão Costa. I could not ask for a better teacher. He´s a short, loving, fantastic profesór who is one of the most amazing men I know. He speaks fluently English, Spanish, Portugues, and knows a little French. He´s so awesome with the gospel used to be in the military and even knows Karate. My district is accellerating quite quicker than most and most of us can pray fully in portugues. We can even bear our testimonies in porugues which I´m expecting to apply this domingo de jejum. since the second day we´ve taught a portugues lesson each night and since saturday i´ve been using only an english layout. Teaching by the spirit is a fantastic tool. The language is a lot like spanish which makes understanding a lot easier but speaking a little harder to not speak spanish. The accent is the big difference such as R=H, De=Je, and Te=che plus almost all the words are different most with minor tweaks. My district has 6 Elders and soon to be 3 sisters ranging from Alaska all the way through New York and Carolina and Texas to New Mexico we pretty much cover the whole Estados Unidos. I´m so glad for this opportunity to serve my mission and I love Brasil soo much. I even get chances to crochet on sunday and before bed it´s pretty awesome I just wanna crochet, spread the gospel, and live my life. I have been truly blessed I´m so grateful to everyone for all the pictures and everything you´ve done. I love you all.
Com Abrasos Ate a retornar
Elder Menendez

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Please write me!

Missionaries love letters and emails. Getting mail really makes their day.
Please write Caleb in the CTM and during his mission.
Packages can't be sent to the CTM but can be sent once he has his first assignment address but most of the good stuff gets lost in customs or with the postman. Check mission blogs for what gets through if you want to send him something.

A note from the CTM:

DO NOT SEND PACKAGES to the Brazil Missionary Training Center. All packages must be sent directly to the mission where your missionary will be serving not the MTC. If you have already mailed a package to the Brazil MTC and it arrives after your missionary has left for the field, please understand that the package can not be forwarded to his or her mission and will be returned to you.

WE STRONGLY ENCOURAGE SENDING HAND WRITTEN LETTERS. Please write your missionary´s first and last name. Your missionary will provide you with his district and box number. Also, please DO NOT SEND ANYTHING BY FEDEX, DHL, UPS, or other private carriers. The cost to get this type of correspondence is exorbitant.

First email from the CTM

Wednesday November 20, 2013                        9:25am (Chicago time)

Got to the ctm at 10 flights went great made two friends on the flight, one in the brazil airport, and the rest when we arrived in our district. My companion is Elder Dunkel he's really cool from southern illinois. Doing really good it's pretty much summer in illinois so we're fine, i'm the senior companion so expect more problematic e-mails. Lost my food card 10 minutes after I got them. Get to go to the temple every p-day. Saw sister peterson and sister dalton at lunch. hard work all day little break but it's really awesome. Tell Rene i said hi and he would love this. Brazil soccer posters everywhere it's really cool. The ctm has a huge gate too so i feel like i'm secret service. Everything's good talk on p-day.

(Brazil CTM is 4 hours ahead of Chicago.)

We also received an email from the CTM:

Your missionary´s arrival at the Brazil MTC 
Thu, Nov 21, 2013 at 12:52 PM

Thu, 12:5
We are happy to send the good news that your missionary has arrived safely at the Brazil MTC. What a great joy and privilege it is to greet each missionary as they come through the front door of the MTC for the first time. We promise to take good care of your missionary.

They now have companions and are settled into their rooms. They are assigned to a district with capable and caring instructors for language and lesson study. The branch presidents and their wives, will soon give them a second greeting. These couples are rewarded in their callings through the love they always develop as they embrace and watch over the missionaries.

The MTC has a full time live-in physician to care for their health needs. He is assisted by his able wife. We are also happy to report that the Cafeteria food is abundant and very good.

Your missionary will be able to e-mail home on Preparation Day after a morning at the Temple. This will be either Wednesday or Friday, depending on individual assignments.

Your very important young person is about to make an eternal difference in the lives of others. We hope you will be encouraged and comforted by this quote by President Lorenzo Snow: “ There is no mortal man that is as interested in the success of an elder when he is preaching the Gospel as is the Lord who sent him to preach to the people who are the Lord's children".

Please accept our love,

President Ralph Degn and Sister Mary Ann Degn

Leaving for the Brazil CTM

Mom was just too excited for Caleb, she couldn't cry.
Many of his friends were able to come see him off.
Thanks to Brother and Sister Barrus & The Peterson family and the banker at Chase in Chicago across from the Secretary of State. Their experience and help were invaluable to Caleb getting his visa in time to go to the CTM.

Caleb getting set apart as a missionary of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Caleb's family on the Menendez side came along with his good friends the Petersons & Luis Castellanos. President Coombs set him apart. It was a great day.

Caleb reading his official calling.

He got the travel packet first and came up to girls camp to read it so Mom could be there. We thought it was the mission call because Mom had been checking the mail, but someone had brought it in and put it on the fireplace. So, we had to wait until Mom got back from girls camp for the actual reading. The travel packet said Brazil but not which mission so there was still the excitement and anticipation when he opened his calling letter.

Where I will be serving.