Monday, December 30, 2013

Christmas in Brazil

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!  I hope everything went well. Christmas in Brazil was pretty awesome.  We wanted to do something special Christmas day for our investigators and the members that help us out a lot.  Mom sent me some chocolate chips so I started planning how we would make cookies for these people.  I was excited for days to bake them up and then make Christmas deliveries like we do at home. On Christmas Eve I started mixing everything together.  I ran into a few problems...It turns out that I’m not as great of a baker as I thought I was.  Without all the luxuries that I have at home
(measuring cups, mixer, preset oven, MOM) I’m pretty much useless in the kitchen.  The first batch was a little ended up looking like a giant cookie cake that was burnt on the bottom.  I added more flour. The oven was still too hot so that didn’t work out either.  I decided to add more sugar and turn down the oven.  I took a shower and forgot about those....Finally after three awful batches we made cookies that didn’t look too bad.  We didn’t want to try any of them because there were only 6 so we put them on a plate, wrapped them in saran wrap, put a bow on top, and just went to bed.  We delivered them Christmas morning to one family that helps us out a lot.  They weren’t home so we wrote a note and shoved the plate into the mail box. It was a lot of hard work to make that plate of cookies!  The family told us a few days later that they enjoyed them though!  It was a Christmas Miracle!

Talking to mom and dad on Christmas day was awesome.  It was definitely the fastest 40 minutes of my life.  I think I pretty much talked the whole time because I didn’t really get to learn anything new about my family.  The time passed by like a dream.  It was great to see everyone so happy and bundled up.  I miss them a lot!  But hey it’s only 5 more months until Mother’s Day!

This week was really good for our missionary work too.  We worked a lot with the less active members and ended up finding some new investigators through that.  Some people were full of Christmas spirit and happy to see us missionaries. A couple families just invited us in and offered us cake and soda without even asking who we were or what we were doing knocking on their door!

We had a pretty funny experience on Saturday.  We got a referral to teach a brother and a sister who are about 23 years old.  They are basically Brazilian hippies.  They talk super low, way slow, and say "cara" a lot. (“Cara” is like saying “Dude”)  We taught them the restoration.  After we quoted Joseph Smith’s first vision, the Sister, Malu, responded,  "That's crazy..." We started laughing and showed them our "proof" that it was true, The Book of Mormon.  They both like to read and accepted Maroni’s challenge.  As we were leaving they said, "Thanks Mormons, we needed to get a little closer to God."  That was a fun lesson.

Also, Anderson Silva broke his leg in a fight Saturday night! Everyone is talking about it and they’re pretty down about it. It’s kind of sad actually.

I hope Christmas was great for everyone else as well!

Elder Marsh

Monday, December 23, 2013

Christmas Conference


December 23, 2013
This week passed by so quickly!  We had our Christmas Conference this Tuesday which was way fun.  Everyone in the mission was there so I got to see Elder Lutz and Elder Galvao again.  They were both in my mtc district.  Sister Fortunato put together an awesome presentation with lots of the Elders and Sisters. There was a choir and a few soloists.  Our mission has some awesome musical talent!  At the end, all the missionaries sang the efy melody together and that was way powerful too. Our mission president is awesome.  He is a very spiritual and very powerful guy. He always says the same thing when he starts to talk to the missionaries, "Que privilegio Elderes e Sisteres" He talked to us about the importance of service and remembering our Savior Jesus Christ during this time of the year.  Then we ate super good food and took lots of pictures.  Basically everything about the conference was great. 
Christmas Conference with Elder Lutz
This week we found a tiny gecko lizard thing in our house.  He was pretty fun to  have around but we decided to set him free. 

Gecko friend
This week we were teaching a less active member and her family.  She was baptized 3 years ago but has been less active for a while.  Her husband isn’t a member so she would always go to church with her son Tiago who is 14 now.  We asked her if her son had been baptized, but she couldn’t remember, so she called to him in the other room,  "Tiago, did you get baptized??" "I don’t know mom!"  Then she thought a second and asked, "Well...did you ever get into that little pool at the church?!"  "Yeah!"  I thought that was pretty funny.  
The work is good right now.  People are even more willing to hear about Christ during this time of year!

Feliz Natal. I was reading 2 Nephi 25 in my personal study today.  It’s such a great chapter about Christ.  I love the Savior and I know he really does live and can change people’s lives.  This church is so true!

Elder Marsh

Christmas Conference with Elder Lopez

Monday, December 16, 2013

The Six "D"s

The mission is the most stressful thing I've ever done.  It's like finals week back to back to back...I'm losing hair!These are the things I think about all day everyday: What do we need to do to find new investigators?  What do they need to accept a baptismal date?  What do they need to stay firm until they are confirmed a member of the church?  I find myself praying all the time for help...we need prayer! 

We recently started to teach a mother and her 6 children. It’s unusual to find families with lots of children these days in Brazil.  Most people only want 1 or 2 max.  This family moved here recently from a little town in Rio Grande de Norte.  They are really funny.  The kids all have names starting with "D".  Dalliane, Daniel, Danielle, Denis, Debora, Diego.  It took me a few days to memorize all those names.  They live about 100 feet from our front door. We found them because the husband of Dalliane, Rodolfo, asked us for a Book a Mormon.  He’s a less active member from Rio Grande de Norte also.  They went to church yesterday and really liked it.  We have taught them about 3 times now and still haven’t gotten through the first lesson!  They love to talk.  Tonight we're going to watch the Restoration movie with them.  We think the kids would like to watch a movie, and it’s a powerful video.  Pray for this family please!  The mom, Rosangela, smokes a lot and will need some help to quit.

Thanks for all the letters!  I love reading them and so does Elder Lopes.

Elder Marsh

Monday, December 9, 2013

Happy Birthday Jordan!

First of all I want to say that the daily letters are awesome.  Its super fun to open them every night!  Elder Lopes da Silva says thanks! Every night he translates the letters by himself and will probably be speaking English by Christmas. And I love the picture book.  Pictures from Yellowstone are way cool! Thanks so much!
I’ve been told that the traditional birthday celebration here is to break a raw egg on the head of the person whose birthday it is.  I’m going to try to avoid that. 
Things here are going super well.  The language is coming along very well.  I can almost pretty much understand everything that people say but sometimes they can’t understand me.  I get really excited in lessons because I love teaching about the Restoration and sometimes I start talking way too fast and then no one can understand me haha.  I’m working on controlling myself and slowing things down for other people.  Brazil is awesome right now.  It’s super hot which weird for the Christmas season, but you can still feel that the people are getting all excited for Christmas. I love the people here.  They are incredibly laid back and super nice.  The "mineiros" have a reputation throughout Brazil of being super chill.  And the food here is so good.  We eat pretty much the same thing every day.  Beans, rice, spaghetti and meat. Try it someday!  The spaghetti part took some getting used to but its good.  Also, my companion can cook really well.  Last night he made carrot cake, and I made banana and cinnamon smoothies.  Try that! Frozen banana, milk, cinnamon, and sugar.  Fica bom.
We have an investigator who comes to church every week by herself named Ana Lucia.  We teach the Gospel Principles class at church, and she is the one who talks the most and helps us out.  She’s been coming to church for the past 2 months now, but we cannot ever teach her during the week because she is always "too busy".  Usually we have a few minutes after church to teach a little to her, but then we don’t get to talk to her until the next Sunday.  Yesterday we talked to her about how she was feeling towards the church and the Book of Mormon.  She told us she knows that it’s true.  She said her husband is not very receptive though.  Ana reads the Book of Mormon in the bathroom because she can’t let him see it.  She’s so solid!  I’m certain things will change for her soon.  She’s doing what she knows is right and she’s going to be so blessed for it.
I love you guys, Elder Marsh

Thanks so much for the letters! Seriously they are awesome.  I love hearing about all the updates in your lives.  Keep them coming.  Merry Christmas!


Monday, December 2, 2013

Turkey Day

December 2, 2013

Hey! The first card of Christmas was great.  The "I am the light of the World" Christmas tree is now on the wall.  Elder Lopes liked his card too!  I translated English to Portuguese for him...I think he understood. 

This weekend we had stake conference.  It was a bit of a different experience.  Our president of the Contagem Stake is "bravo."  He gave power talks.  Saturday night he talked about the importance of institute.  He said, "If you’re less than thirty years old, married or unmarried, work or don't work, and you don’t attend institute...In the name of Jesus Christ, I call you to repentance." Heads just dropped in the church! Then he talked about the importance of having a temple recommend.  He said, "There are some of you here that jokingly just ask for a signature on your temple recommend.  I don’t think that’s funny.  You should be coming to me asking for an interview to prove that you are worthy to enter the house of the Lord!"  It was sweet.  He testified that being worthy of a temple recommend would certify the spiritual strength we need to face challenges in our life.  The Sunday morning session was a lot about missionary work.  Our first counselor of the Belo Horizonte Mission, President Montero, gave a talk about never giving up on teaching family members and friends about the church and promised that one day our diligence in missionary work would bring great rewards in their lives and ours. Overall, it was a really cool experience.  The stake center was packed and the spirit was super strong.  
Jordan and Brazilian graffiti  

The man in the two pictures is a new investigator that we have.  His name is Roberto.  At first look, you’d think he’s a little strange...he is.  But he’s also really cool and way interested in the gospel.  Last week he came to church all on his own.  He said he had been going to church for a while in another city but when he moved he couldn’t find a church building. After some searching, he found it and just decided to come.  He came just for sacrament and sat in the back.  Elder Lopes and I saw him and thought, "Who is that guy?" After church we talked to him and he asked US if he could be baptized! Another miracle.  Now he’s living the word of wisdom and all the other commandments! I'm noticing more and more how much the Lord blesses us and our work.  It’s seriously amazing. 

Elder Lopez and Roberto
Elder Marsh and Roberto

Thanksgiving looked awesome.  Not much of a celebration here but we did see a man walking a HUGE turkey in the street.
This church is true.  The Book of Mormon is a bigger blessing than I could have ever imagined. 

 Love Elder Marsh,

Monday, November 25, 2013

Cat for dinner (3 months in Brazil)

November 25, 2013
We walked a lot this week.  We keep receiving strange referrals from the church headquarters asking for Books of Mormons and other videos.  Referrals are awesome but everyone we´ve contacted doesn’t remember asking for a visit and thinks it’s strange that we have their name and address haha.  Who knows, it’s weird but we´re trying to contact them all, and they live in the randomest places, so we´ve been busy. 
One of the contacts led us to a beco not too far away.  A beco is just a really small street.  The contact wasn’t home so we tried to teach their neighbor, Antonio, instead.  We talked about his religious background and we asked him, "Why is God important to you?"  His response was awesome.  He said:

One day I was working construction on a house nearby, and my wife brought me beans, rice, and salad for lunch. My co-worker asked me if I wanted him to heat up my lunch and I said yes of course.  But when he gave me my plate back, there was some sort of meat on it. I asked him,

"What kind of meat is this?"

"Eat it and maybe you'll find out." 

I was scared to eat this mystery meat, so I prayed to God and asked him to help me know what it was.  After, I had a vision of a giant black cat.  God had given me an answer.  I told my co-worker, 

"I know what this meat is! It's cat!"

"How'd you find out?!"

"God told me!"

Then I ate it anyways.  But now I know that God cares about me. 

I was laughing so hard that it was hard to keep talking about the lesson after that.  It was good though.  Experiences like that help you to be happy and excited about the work.  Some days are super hard.  Sometimes we plan well, work really hard, and one's home that day.  It’s a bummer, but it’s super important to stay excited because no one wants to hear how to be more happy from two sad looking missionaries haha. 

Sorry this email was so short. 

Elder Marsh

Monday, November 18, 2013

Eventful Week

Eventful week.

We had transfers a week early because lots of missionaries finished up there two years of service and went home.  I stayed here in the Vale do Jatobá but I got a new companion named Elder Lopes da Silva.  His name barely fits on the name tag ha.  Cool thing dad, he’s from Curitiba! I like him a lot and I think we´ll work well together. 

Grecia was really firm all week, but then Friday morning at 6:45 am we got a message that she didn’t want to get baptized because she was having doubts.  That was probably the worst text message of my life!  We got dressed really fast and went to a pay phone to try to talk with her.  Quick side in Brazil, they don’t have like cell phone plans, so you pay by the minute and it’s super expensive.  We get a 100 minutes every 21st of the month.  Usually we run out about two weeks before that so we use pay phones A LOT.  We could not get a hold of her after like five dropped calls so we just got on the bus and headed to her house.  Grecia was sleeping so we waited at the gate and talked with her sister.  She started asking us about living in the dessert with lots of wives...problem targeted ha.  After Grecia got up we talked with the family and resolved most of the concerns and Grecia was reanimated and ready to go for baptism again.

The baptism was really cool.  Her boyfriend’s dad baptized her and her boyfriend’s mom gave a short talk.   Small problem...I forgot to turn off the water to the baptismal font. Yikes.  There was like an inch of water in the bathrooms and it was starting into the hallways!  That was a mess.  It took a while to clean up afterwards.  I will absolutely never forget about that again. 

Also, along the same lines, we didn’t close our window yesterday because it was hot and sunny when we left the house.  It poured for like 45 minutes.  When we got home,  Elder Lopes´s bed was soaking wet and there was a ton of water on the floor throughout the apartment.  The good thing about Brazil is that every building and house just has tile on the floor.  I haven’t seen carpet in almost three months now.  That minimizes water damage I think. 

Church was really good too.  Lots of less active members were there and brought friends or spouses with them.  It’s cool to see people get excited about the gospel all over again!

I love you,

Elder Marsh

Monday, November 11, 2013

So Good!

November 11, 2013
This week was seriously incredible.  I learned so much.  We had exchanges with the Zone Leaders on Wednesday and the whole time he just tried to show me how to discern the intentions and the needs of the investigators.  Almost everyone here will listen to a message about Jesus Christ but not everyone is open to accepting the message of the restoration. We are working on finding those that are ready by telling them our purpose as a missionary right from the first contact.  Our purpose is to share the message of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ through a prophet and to help people make covenants like baptism.  A lot less people want to hear about that, but when they know they´re good!

The first picture is of the missionaries that serve here in the Vale do Jatoba and the next area, Barreiro.  It goes Elder Oaks (an American from Colorado), me, Elder Carnauba (our district leader), Cristian (a new member), and Elder R. Souza (my companion). 

Cristian was baptized yesterday.  It was such a cool experience.  He is married to Idice, an all-star member in our ward.  She has been bringing Cristian to church for a very long time and taught him all the principles of the gospel.  He was basically a member in every aspect except for the baptism part.  We have been teaching him for almost a month now and set a date for yesterday.  When we went to their house on Saturday though, he was still unsure if he wanted to go through with it all.  We went over all the baptismal interview questions with him.  He knew it was all true but still was uneasy.  I kept hearing the spirit say, "just pray, pray, pray."  Elder Souza was hearing the same thing and asked Cristian to offer a prayer and ask for guidance.  All four of us knelt down and he prayed.  It was maybe the most sincere prayer I’ve ever heard, and the spirit was so strong. After, he said, "I think I'll accept the Elders' invitation."  It was so cool.  At the baptism, Idice gave a short message and bore her testimony.  She bore her testimony of the church and then thanked Cristian for making this decision so that they could have the priesthood in their home.

We also have an awesome new investigator.  The girl in the second picture is Grecia.  She was a referral from a member in the ward, and she is so elect!  We shared the restoration with her on Friday and tried to answer all of her questions (she had a lot). On Sunday she came up to us at church and said, "Elders, I already received an answer. What do I need to do to prepare for baptism?"  What?! I didn’t even know what to say. Also, she is dating a returned missionary who is less active.  She told us that she wanted to reactivate him and has already brought him back to church once.  This morning, at 8 o’clock, we had a lesson with her and taught the Plan of Salvation, the Word of Wisdom, and keeping the Sabbath Day Holy.  She just kept asking questions!

This is so fun. 

I love you,

Elder Marsh

Monday, November 4, 2013

Speaking in tongues?

November 4, 2013
This week was inspirational.  We had an awesome zone conference.  Our president is so powerful and bold.  We learned about how to go from just hard working and diligent missionaries to missionaries that baptize.  He gave us three words: Ânimo, Ousado, and Dedicação, which pretty much means excitement, boldness, and dedication.  People can see when you not happy.  No one wants to join the church if the missionaries aren’t excited about what they’re teaching.  Get excited!  Being bold is something that I’ve been working on my entire mission.  This week I made a goal of talking to at least one person every time we get on the bus.  Let me tell you, it’s not as easy as it sounds.  Most of the people on the bus have head phones on or are sleeping and just don’t want to talk to a stranger. Also it’s super loud and hard to understand what they are saying.  It’s all part of the game!  My contacts on the bus are generally different than street contacts.  I usually try to start a conversation with the people and work the gospel in naturally. After talking for a while most everyone wants to know what I’m doing here. So far I have 16 bus rides strait that I’ve talked with someone.  Dedication is so important. Whenever I’m tired, hungry, disappointed, or just really sweaty, I just think to myself: Just keep going! I don’t have time to waste! It’s only two years!
President Fortunato also talked about how to work in ward council meetings.  We had one last Saturday.  It was great. The bishop only talked about missionary work.  Every quorum or auxiliary has a goal of reactivating 3 members by Christmas.  It’s going to be an awesome time to work here.  I saw our ward numbers this week.  We have almost 800 members in the ward but only about 100 at church every Sunday.  Our goa,l along with the bishop, is to reactivate and baptize enough people that we can have a church building of our own. 

Meriele, the girl that read all of 1 Nephi in one day, is now almost completely finished with the Book of Mormon.  She was at church yesterday and really liked it.  That was awesome.  The members are helping us so much now. We have so many new referrals.  There were 8 investigators at church and 5 of them were brought by their member friends.  So solid! 
Funny experience this week too.  We visited a referral this week that was kind of sick.  I gave her a blessing and then after she asked me if I was speaking in tongues....nope...I thought I was speaking in Portuguese haha.
I love you,
Elder Marsh

Delicious BBQ
Steepest hills
Sizing up our dinner
 Contagem Zone with President and Sister

Monday, October 28, 2013

Focus on the less actives

October 28, 2013
We had a good week in Brazil. 
So last week we found a family of ten people in between appointments.  Usually we try to focus on referrals from members, but we were not about to pass up the opportunity to teach 10 people at once!  We stopped by the house on Tuesday.  You wouldn’t believe that the entire family could possibly live there.  7 kids and one of their spouses share one room.  We taught the message of the restoration, and they seemed very interested, so we left a Book of Mormon and asked them to read 2 Nephi 31.  The next day we returned to see how the reading went and teach the plan of salvation.  We were a little surprised to hear that only one of the family members read the Book of Mormon.  When we asked why, they told us that their 14 year old girl kept it to herself the entire time.  It turns out that she read the chapter and then wanted to understand the entire book so she started from the beginning and read all 22 chapters of 1 Nephi. That was pretty cool.  She told us that she could feel her relationship with her Heavenly Father growing as she read.
We really tried to focus on teaching less active families this week.  Our mission president promised that we would have baptisms if we started reactivating families.  The bishop and his councilors gave us a list of 10 less actives that they wanted us to visit.  It’s a bit of a sacrifice to try to visit all of them because our area is crazy huge.  It takes about 45 minutes by bus to visit some of the people.  So far though, the blessings have been much greater than the sacrifice.  All of the families have been very receptive.  They have promised to return to church and they still totally have a testimony of the church.  It seems like all we really had to do is show up on their door step and invite them back.
There is one family we taught on Saturday that was extremely active a few years ago but for some reason just slipped away.  When we stopped by we asked their 19 year old daughter to read Ether 12:27 which talks about humbling yourself and then Christ can make your weaknesses become strengths.  She started to cry and told us how she had always loved that scripture and that she remembered reading it often when she was having a hard time.  Everyone in the room could feel the spirit and we promised them that they would feel the same thing if they returned to church.  They will be there on Sunday!
Also, I'm getting way better at soccer.
I love you and hope everything is well,
Elder Marsh

(He also sent photos, but he didn’t label them.)
Our district! With Elder Carnauba as district leader
Home made pizzas with our Portuguese neighbors!
 Rose who loves to help the missionaries out.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Week--who really knows?

October 21, 2013 
Awesome awesome week!  
This week was pretty great. So on Sunday I heard that we would be doing exchanges this past Tuesday with the district leader, Elder Carnauba, and his companion, Elder Oaks, who is also American and has been in Brazil less time than I have.  I just kind of assumed that I would be on the exchange with Elder Carnauba so I wasn’t too worried. I found out on Monday that that was not the case and that I would be in the other area with Elder Oaks.  I was pretty stressed and was praying like crazy. 

When I got to their area, Elder Carnauba gave me the phone and told me some things (all in Portuguese) about the lessons they had planned and then left me with Elder Oaks.  It´s a little scarier being in Brazil without a native by your side.  Two Americans in white shirts and ties really stand out.  The day went pretty great though.  We ended up teaching ELEVEN lessons!  We taught 10 lessons to investigators and 1 to a less active member. We also got 6 new investigators, which means they said they’d read the pamphlet of the restoration, pray about it, and be baptized if they got an answer. So sick! It was probably the best day yet of my mission.  There were two lessons that were particularly good. 
We were looking for a girl that Elders Oaks and Carnauba had contacted in the street a few days earlier and ended up finding her dad, José.  He is pretty old and had a hard time understanding our Portuguese, so we just slowed things down and taught as simply as we could.  The spirit was super strong and we promised him that with the principals of the gospel, his home could be a place of peace where his family could feel true happiness.  We gave him a Book of Mormon and said a closing prayer.  After the prayer, he was holding the book against his chest and told us that we were like angels.  Super cool! We left that house smiling.
The other lesson was with Rachael.  She is less active and hasn’t been to church in years.  She lives alone so we just taught her outside the house.  Elder Oaks gave an awesome short message about persevering to the end and to Christ.  That was a little miracle because his Portuguese is kind of awful right now and she totally understood everything he said.  After, I asked her what she needed to do to persevere to the end.  She said, “Probably go to church and read the scriptures, but I feel shameful returning to church after not going for so long.” We promised her she would feel the spirit there and no one would judge her....She was totally at church yesterday!  With her son!  I was so excited.
Another cool thing.  We taught Magno and his family this week twice. It was really fun because I got to teach in English.  It’s so nice to be able to just say what you need to without thinking of words in Portuguese.  He is a great guy and has been reading.
Marcelo, the man who has a member friend at work, quit smoking this week and was baptized on Saturday.  He was so pumped.  He’s going to be a great member.   

I love you guys,

Elder Marsh

Monday, October 14, 2013

Week 7--Crazy 2 year old

October 14, 2013
Ok really good week.
I want to start with how interesting of a day yesterday was though.  Church was awesome.  We had 5 investigators there.  During fast and testimony meeting a member got up and started bearing his testimony about how in his first life he was Noah and could have married any woman he wanted but was too busy building an ark.  It just got weirder from there.  Oh well!  The investigators didn’t seem to be bothered by it, and the rest of the meeting was great.  Then we went to our almoço at Leodetes’ home.  He is our ward mission leader. His wife brought 2 non-member families and both said they’d go to church with Leodetes’ family next week.  So awesome.  There were like 3 two year old kids running around the house the whole time--which made things really fun to watch.  But while I was eating I felt something like water dripping on my shoes so I looked under the table and there was a kid there peeing on me!! Everyone seriously just laughed and laughed.  Super funny.  I cleaned my shoes up and everything is good now.  After almoço it was different than any other day yet.  Cruzerio and Atletico played each other yesterday afternoon.  The streets were empty. Not a soul in sight.  Walking in the street was like walking in a mine field because no one was out and then every couple of minutes there would be a huge explosion!  People just randomly throw firecrackers the size of dynamite sticks in the road and then when a team scores...its nuts.  
Elder R. Souza has been having a tough time walking around this week.  He has an ingrown’s hard to be patient with someone when they can’t walk because their toe hurts, but I’m trying.   We were still able to teach some new people and do some really good work. 
Apparently, our mission is really good at getting people to church but not so good at setting dates for baptism.  So now we have a new rule from the president.   If a street contact says yes to an appointment, we are to then invite them to be baptized right then!  It’s kind of scary, but I like it.  So far the reactions have been way good. 
I met an awesome guy this week.  His name is Magno.  He moved here a year and a half ago after living 8 years in Connecticut.  He speaks English really well so that’s fun.  He has had a tough time here.  He lost his job in the USA and can’t find good work here.  He isn’t married but has a 2 year old and his girlfriend was supposed to have another son yesterday!  He told us he needed direction so we are trying to teach him about how the gospel can bless his life, and we talked to a member who might be able to get him a job in a hotel where he´ll be able to put his English to good use. 
I had a really good personal study on Tuesday.  I was studying the section on faith--the Gospel of Jesus Christ lesson in Preach My Gospel.  I found an awesome scripture. 1 Nephi 7:12 It talks about how anything is possible if we EXERCISE our faith and are faithful to Christ. This really hit me.  There’s a big difference between having faith in Christ and being faithful to Christ.  It’s not so easy to be faithful and follow all the commandments of our Heavenly Father, but when we do, that’s when the blessings come.
Te Amo 

Elder Marsh
 12 Yea, and how is it that ye have forgotten that the Lord is able to do all athings according to his will, for the children of men, if it so be that they exercise bfaith in him? Wherefore, let us be faithful to him.  1 Nephi 7:12

Monday, October 7, 2013

Week 6 Pictures!

October 7, 2013 

I’ll give you a description of the photos first:

Rainy season is starting up.  Sunday night the rain was so hard that it sounded like people were throwing rocks at the window.  These are the clouds that roll in over the mountains.
This is a family in our ward.  Hugo and Rita are the kids in the picture.  Rita speaks English which is fun.  Their dad is an English teacher here.  The mom and Rita left to return to their home in Portugal after being in Brazil for 4 years.
It seriously rains so hard here!!!  We were soaking wet, but that's OK.  People will let you into their house when they see you are freezing cold and wet.  Also, you can see the graffiti on the wall there.  That's basically every wall here in the Vale do Jatoba.  Lots of it is actually super pretty.
You can buy fresh coconuts here for less than a dollar.  There's a fresh market that sells them near our house.  So good!
We went to a wedding on Saturday.  Geam and Monica got married.  Geam is one of our investigators.  Monica is a great member and we have a date set with Geam for later this month.  I was pretty psyched.  There were tons of members at the wedding too!

This was at conference.  Me, Elder Souza, Diego, Ana Clara, and Rebeka.  Diego and Ana Clara are our two investigators.  Rebeka is their cousin, and she is a member.  Rebeka’s brother’s name is Moroni.  They are a huge blessing in getting Diego and Ana Clara to church and making them feel welcome.  Diego is probably my favorite person here in Brazil.  He is super cool and keeps all the commitments we give him except for baptism.  He says that he thinks that this church is A church of Jesus Christ, but he doesn’t know if it is THE church of Jesus Christ.  We have a lesson tonight with him about the atonement.  He has lots of questions after the Sunday morning session of conference.
Conference was awesome this weekend. As a missionary, it is the equivalent to a Jason Bourne movie.  I couldn’t take my eyes off the screen because I didn’t want to miss any of the action. We only got to watch the two sessions on Sunday, but I learned so much!  The power of the atonement to change people is something that we need to incorporate better into our lessons.  Thomas S Monson is without a doubt a prophet.  When he speaks it’s so powerful.  I also loved the story about the Man in Papa New guinea who accidentally started a fire too big to control.  After he had done all he could do to stop the flames he prayed for help and God sent rain.  We must do all that we can first, and then after that, God will send us the miracles in our life.  Also, I have a new favorite scripture.  Hebrews 12:1 Run with patience the race that is set before us (something like that).   
We had some really good lessons this week.  We found a great family.  It’s a family that’s kind of different than most.  We are teaching an older woman name Lucimar and her son Luis who is 23.  Luis has two sons that live with him that are 6 and 3 years old.  We also teach a friend of Luis, who is always at the house name Eduardo.  Then we also taught the fiancé of Luis.  We taught them about the restoration and the plan of salvation.  They like it. It’s always exciting to see people understanding and learning about the church.  I get seriously pumped up!  This is one of the most important messages of their lives!
I love what we do here! The church is so true and will always change people for the better.

Elder Marsh
Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the asin which doth so easily bbeset us, and let us run with cpatience the race that is set before us,  (Hebrews 12:1)

Monday, September 30, 2013

Week 5 Humility on P-day

September 30, 2013

This week was good as usual.  Today is p-day, which means one of the most humbling days of the week.  Almost every P-day, Elder Souza and I play soccer with two other Elders that live close by.  They are all Brazilian which means I don’t stand a chance. Every Brazilian is born with magic feet.  They make me feel like a giant uncoordinated American just running in circles.  I seriously look like a giant everywhere we go because I’m always standing next to elder Souza.  I’m about 8 inches taller than him and weigh almost 70 pounds more than he does.  He likes to call me "grande americano".  Two weeks ago we played ping pong in the church instead of soccer.  We didn’t have a net so we used hymnals instead.  It was pretty legit. We played for like 2 hours. I went all out and showed the elders that I’m not completely uncoordinated.  I have pictures but I forgot my camera.  I’ll send them next week. 
Yesterday it rained.  It really rained hard.  The roads were totally flooding while we were walking to church. You know how in the movies cars drive by and splash people with water?  That really does happen.  Two cars drove by us on the way to church and afterwards I was soaking wet from my waist down. 
Brazil gets better and better every day.  I can almost understand what people are saying now. That makes life much more fun.  I love speaking Portuguese too.  I’m really working on my accent because it’s kind of terrible.  Most people can understand me but sometimes I need Elder Souza to translate.  Tomorrow is going to be interesting because two different member families are bringing nonmembers to fhe so elder Souza and I are going to split up with members.  I get to give the entire lesson at fhe by myself so I’m praying everything goes well!
The members here are awesome.  Yesterday we had 4 investigators at church, and we were only expecting one of them.  The church is a long ways away from our area so it’s hard to get people to church some weekends.  The other 3 people were friends of the members that they wanted to bring to church.  We have lessons with all of the people this week too.  Members are what seriously make the difference.  We can work work work but lessons go so much better with members there, and the people love church when they have a friend, that’s not the missionaries, to sit with. 
I love working here.  I love the people and the church.  I love you all.

Elder Marsh