Monday, March 31, 2014


I got transferred! My new area is called "Lagoa" which is in the same zone as Ribeirão das Neves, so I didn't go very far.  The area is in the city of Belo Horizonte. My companion is Elder Queiroz.  He is from Fortaleza, Brazil, and he's a way good missionary.  I think things are going to go very well this transfer. 
We had a miracle this week.  When I got here on Wednesday we didn't have anybody to be baptized on Saturday, but we got a call from the Zone Leaders asking us to visit all the people that had already been to church in March and set a baptismal date for the 29th.  We did just that, but unfortunately we didn’t find anyone on Wednesday. On Thursday we decided to continue our search and prayed for a miracle before leaving our house.  That afternoon, Elder Queiroz remembered that a member had given him and his old companion a referral that they had not contacted, so we went to visit that member.  When we got there we found out that the member’s sister, Eide, had just moved from a city that didn’t have the church yet.  We spoke with Eide and found out that she had already been to church various times so we invited her to be baptized on Saturday.  She accepted, threw away all of her coffee, and started reading the Book of Mormon.  Eide was baptized on Saturday and confirmed Sunday! It was seriously amazing to see how the Lord had prepared her for us. Miracles definitely happen.

You might be thinking, "That sounds so easy." Well, there is definitely no such thing as an easy baptism.  It’s always a battle to get the investigators and everything else prepared for baptism.  On Saturday we found out that the drain to the baptismal font was broken, and it was full of water that smelled like dead fish.  We had to spend about two hours emptying the font with five gallon buckets, dumping all the water down the toilet.  My back is killing me, but it was totally worth it!

 I hope all is well.

Elder Marsh

Miraculous Baptism of Eide


Monday, March 24, 2014

New Elder, New Apartment

Unfortunately our mission tour with Elder Gavarret was cancelled on Friday, but I think that it was rescheduled for April sometime.

We had a really interesting week though.  On Thursday night we got a call at 9:00 that we would need to go to the mission office in the morning to pick up a new missionary.  We are now in a trio with Elder Leite de Sousa.  He is from São Paulo and he’s way good.  He has a pretty interesting story of why he arrived on a Friday, a week before transfers.  The original plan was for him to enter into the mission field sometime in May, but this past Tuesday he got a call from his stake president telling him that President Fortunato wanted him in the mission field in two days.  Wow...that is pretty short notice right?  He said he accepted, quit his job, called his parents, and started packing.  Can you imagine how crazy that would be?!  He's really excited to be here though, and teaches very well.  Having three missionaries together at the same time is a blast.  Unfortunately, the change won’t be permanent.  We have transfers this next week and we are going to have a second companionship in our ward.  The work is going to explode here in Riberao das Neves!

In order to accommodate the two new missionaries, we had to move today.  I was so happy.  Our house was trashed.  Missionaries have been living there for years, and missionaries generally aren’t the cleanest of people.  We moved to an apartment on the second floor.  Luckily we had very little things to move.  Basically only a bunk bed, dresser, fridge, stove, washing machine, two desks, and two chairs.  I’m pretty exhausted though haha. My upper body strength is pretty pitiful.

We are working hard right now to find some new investigators.  We found an awesome family this week.  Samila, Henrique, and Olivia are sibling and are super open to the gospel.  They are all around 20 years old and could really help out the ward.

Our friend Ronaldo had a baptismal date this past weekend but it fell through because he won’t stop drinking coffee!  We have done everything we could but it’s not working out.  He says he’s not addicted but I think he almost cried when we tried to take the coffee out of his house.  Please pray for him to have the will power he needs.  Nothing can happen until he actually wants to change.

I love you,

Elder Marsh

Monday, March 17, 2014

Work in Jardim Colonial

Mom, I know you’re worried about the pants....I got them back.

Chris, congrats on the "Get Out of Jail Free Card."  I’m glad you’re not going to have any points on your license.  (We had a court date this week for the ticket Chris received when totaling my car.  They dismissed the ticket when they saw our insurance took care of all the cars involved.)

This week was really busy.  We worked a lot every day.  Hours pass by like minutes when there’s so much to do.  I’ve really started to learn the importance of economizing time.   We've been traveling to a  faraway neighborhood every day this week called Jardim Colonial (Garden Colony). It’s a pretty awesome place.  All the houses and streets were constructed on super steep big hills.  There are a lot of members there but very few of them are active in the church.  It’s difficult for a lot of the families to pay for the bus toll to go to church Sunday morning.  There is an awesome family though that we visit every time we go there.  Irmã Dora and her family were the first people to get baptized there, and they are super firm in the church. They love to teach their friends about the church because the gospel changed their lives a ton.

I forgot to tell you about the talk that Romareo gave in church last week.  He was baptized about a month ago and this was his first talk ever, but he did an awesome job.  He made is look so natural, and then at the end he bore his testimony of the church and closed with, "I know these things are true because prophets don’t speak their own words but the words of God." It was pretty powerful at the  end! He’s going to do such great things in the church.

Unfortunately, Fabiana and Arlen and the family decided to stop investigating the church this week.  They were doing so well before! It hurt a lot to leave their house that night.  Random people turn into family because you learn to love them so much and just desire their eternal happiness more than anything else. Pray for them please.

Sorry I don’t have much to say this week--just a lot of normal missionary days.

Love you,
Elder Marsh

Monday, March 10, 2014

New Chapel

This week was another great one.  We have being working with an amazing family recently.  The family consists of Adilson (71) and his three sons Andre(10), Luis(7), and Kauan(5).  No, they aren’t his grandkids but his actual sons.  Adilson is a rock star investigator. He went to church the first time three Sundays ago with his neighbors, who have been inviting him for years.  He said that that Sunday he was lying in bed thinking,  "Should I go to church today?" when he heard a clear voice say, "Get up and  o."  He went and loved it.  The next Tuesday we went to his house and invited him and Andre to be baptized. They both accepted, but Adilson made it clear to Andre that it was a serious decision.  He first told Andre,  "You aren’t doing this for me, or the Elders. You’re doing this for God! So think about your answer."  Andre started reading the Book of Mormon a lot and reading all of the pamphlets.  What he wants most right now is to serve a mission in Spain when he turns 18.  Adilson had smoked cigarettes for over 50 years, but he went from a pack a day to one a day in 24 hours. That’s a miracle.  It did take him a while to stop smoking that one a day, but yesterday he and Andre were baptized.  The service was superb. Over 50 people went!

This week a new chapel opened up close to our area.  We spent 3 hours on Thursday and 5 hours on Saturday inviting people to the open house and giving tours.  The new church is awesome.  It’s two stories and has a soccer/basketball court. Everyone who visited was super impressed with the building and the organization of our church.

Today I got to play basketball for the first time in 6 months.  It wasn’t pretty but it was super fun.

I love you,

Elder Marsh

Monday, March 3, 2014

Bom de Mais

This week was great.  We had some pretty awesome experiences with our investigator, now recent convert, Viviane.  We got a referral a couple weeks ago to visit Viviane because she had already been to church about a year ago, but for some reason she had stopped going.  The first day we called her and asked if we could make an appointment for that afternoon.  She said that she woke up that morning feeling like she needed a change in her life and felt like she was missing something. The lesson was good and we set a goal for her to be baptized on the 1st of March, but she still had lots of doubts and concerns.  It was super difficult to teach her after the first day because she was never home and has a crazy schedule with her work, school and son.  She went to church last week and we finally got to teach her again on Wednesday.  We taught the Plan of Salvation to her.  After, she told us, "That makes so much sense."  The next day we taught her with the bishop and talked about the baptismal date.  She was really scared to be baptized and still didn’t really want to.  (Every other church here teaches that baptism is one of the last things that people should do, so a lot of people get nervous when we ask them to get baptized in 3 weeks.) We asked Viviane to say a prayer to end the lesson and ask if she should be baptized.  The spirit was super strong, so there was no denying that the answer she got was yes.

At the baptism, there was a "surprise special musical number".   Elder Oliveira apparently signed me up to sing a "Teach Me To Walk in the Light" solo.  Anyone who’s heard me sing knows that it’s not pretty, but I just went with the flow and sang the song in English.  After, I talked about how we are all learning to walk in the light of Christ.  Baptism is just the first step so there’s a lot more to do afterwards!

On Sunday she was confirmed a member de A Igreja de Jesus Cristo dos Santos dos Últimos Dias and received the Holy Ghost.  We talked to her after church and she thanked us for helping her learn and get baptized.  She said, "I didn’t think I would ever join this church.  I was avoiding you guys until last week, but now I feel so good with this decision."

Also, Fabiana and all the kids went to church yesterday!  That was a lot of kids.  Matteus, the oldest son, even went to the youth conference this weekend.  Lots of stakes in Brazil do boys camp and girls camp during the weekend of Carnival every year so that the kids can get away from the parties and bad influences.  Luckily here in Ribeirão das Neves, there’s not much of a party, and most people travel to other cities for the weekend.

I hope all is well,

Elder Marsh
Investigators: Adilson, Andre, Ronaldo, Peter, Diego, Rafael, Stefane, Fabiana, Arlen, Mateus, Miara, Iandra, Gustavo, Leal, Chris.

I don’t need anything right now. Thanks mom and dad.  Love you.
Congrats Chris!  Go cougs!
What does "Bom de Mais" mean?
Bom de mais (pronounced bom dee m'eyes) is a common saying in Brazil.  While there is no literal translation, it is generally accompanied with a smile and a thumbs up sign. 
Depending on where you live, you might describe it a number of ways.  For instance, in Boston when asked if something was good or not, we might smile and say it's "Wicked good".  Perhaps in France, they might say it's the "Creme de la Creme". In Brazil, they say it's "Bom de Mais".