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.