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,