Monday, July 28, 2014

Rat Attack

Mom and family,

This week was so rad--one of the best!  We had transfers and luckily I’m still here in the Lagoa Ward.  This is the best ward ever.  Elder Aguiar also stayed, but we both got new companions and divided our proselyting areas.  My new companion is Elder Dunford.  He’s from Pennsylvania and spent the past 8 months as a secretary in the mission office.  There are now 6 elders in our ward! It’s way fun.  There’s so much work to be done here.

Because our old house wouldn’t fit all 6 elders, Elder Dunford and I moved to a new apartment.  The apartment is way nice. The desks and beds that we got from the mission came from an area that was closed this past transfer, so everything is well used.  We also got a surprise in the oven, which came with the furniture.   The elders that were using the oven had a "pet" rat that was living in it.  They had given him a name, “splinter", and were feeding him every night...weird.  Splinter had traveled from their house to ours in the oven.   We found out that we had a rat because he climbed up on elder Dunford’s white shirts and left little paw prints and poop on them.  Finally, we bought a rat trap and set it last night.  We woke up about 11:30 when the trap went up.  It didn’t work though, and we saw the rat run into a package of plates and cups....gross.  We both grabbed pans and emptied the package in the living room.  We chased down the rat and killed him with a frying pan. That night was a little crazy.  It’s a relief being rat free though.

Poor Splinter--they showed no mercy!
Also, we had an awesome baptism. Moises is the son of Jaqueline who was baptized about 6 months ago.  We have been teaching him for so long, but he never wanted to accept a baptismal date.  Elder Dunford and I went to teach him his first day here.  Moises accepted to be baptized this past Saturday.  I don’t know what changed, but he all of a sudden wanted to be baptized and accepted the Book of Mormon fully as the word of god.  At his baptism he asked if he could bare his testimony (super rare).  He said, "I had always gone to other churches but had felt something bothering me inside.  When I came to the church of Jesus Christ, that feeling went away.  I know that this is the truth. Amen."  There was a strong spirit.  I love being a missionary.  Moises (future "Elder Viana") has already started to do visits with us now.  He’s amazing.

Elder Marsh and Elder Dunford at the baptism of Moises Viana
Love you and this gospel,


Elder Marsh


Pre Transfer District

Pre Transfer roommates

Monday, July 21, 2014

Great Week

This week was great.  That family that we have been helping for a while now was baptized yesterday!  It was great.  The mother, Junia, calls us angels and has adopted us as the "padrinhos" (god-fathers) to her children, Tony, Yasmim, and Kamilly.  The mom wasn’t baptized yet but will be soon!  She has to stop smoking and drinking coffee, but she is progressing very well.
Baptism of Tony, Yasmim and Kamilly
We also started teaching another cool family.  The family is Carlos, Ivone, their grandaughter Fernanda, and their 24 dogs!  It’s funny to teach them because everyone has one or two dogs on their lap.  I've adopted my own, Mo.  He is small but jumps really high...high enough to get my white shirt and tie dirty when we walk in their door.
Ivone did a street contact with us.  She said, "Hey Elders, my daughter was baptized in your church and was married in the temple."  That doesn’t happen every day, so we made her a priority and visited her the next day.  The story of her daughter is sad.  Her husband left her and she became very depressed and in the depression fell away a little.   It’s been years since she’s been to church and has never been visited by any member.  Visits from members can make such a huge difference.  It's important to work and always look for opportunities to serve.  I read a scripture this morning and it is now my favorite:
"Now if a man desired to serve God, it was his privilege; or rather, if he believed in God it was his privilege to serve him;"--Alma 30:9
It’s a privilege for all of us to serve God.  King Benjamin taught that to serve God we need to serve our fellow men. Go to the rescue!
I love you!
Elder Marsh

My fun district 

Monday, July 14, 2014

Rough Week for Brazil

Well this week was rough for the Brazilian soccer fans.  There was a huge loss on Tuesday to Germany and we weren’t even allowed to leave our apartment afterwards.  

Practicing the circus skills
Elder Aguiar on the slack line


We had a way fun p-day though! We went to the Monteiros's house to play around a little.  Leonardo Monteiro is an 18 year old in our ward that does visits with us every week. He’s awesome.  He’s going to serve his mission in Boston starting in October.  He invited us over to his house which has lots of fun things.  We played on the slack line a little, went down a huge slide, played soccer barefoot on a grassy field and then played some ping pong.  After, they gave us cake and ice cream. It was a super relaxing day.   

Barefoot soccer
Every week I’m more and more grateful for growing up in the gospel.  We meet all types of people here and it’s so clear that the gospel blesses families.   We are teaching a family right now who are really nice and love us missionaries.  About a year ago they were living in a normal house and had everything that they needed, but now, the mom and 3 teenagers live in a one room house about the size of a suburban.    They're in this situation because the mom started to use drugs and alcohol.  I wish that missionaries had found them sooner.  Every commandment is really just a huge blessing. She is sober more than a week now and hopefully will be able to get a job again. 

The gospel really makes a difference though.  I’ve seen so many times the way that living the commandments and doing the right things can make changes for these people.  The Book of Mormon changes the lives of those who read it.  There is a recent convert in our ward who could never find peace in her life because her family was always being torn apart by drugs and other bad influences.  She now finds peace in sacrament meeting and praying and serving her family members.  

I love you and am so grateful to have such a great family.

Elder Marsh


Tuesday, July 8, 2014

P-Day on Tuesday

Our p-day was moved to today because of the soccer game.  

This week was another good one.  We had an awesome experience with an investigator named Luana.  A couple weeks ago we found her family when we were knocking on doors after a few appointments fell through.  They accepted to read the Book of Mormon and pray and be baptized if they received an answer to their prayers.  The next day we returned to see how it went.  Luana had read and prayed and felt something really good about the book.  She went to church and some of the activities that week and then went to church the next week.  The whole time she was reading and praying and every time feeling better about the Book of Mormon and the Church of Jesus Christ.  We had marked her baptismal date for this past Saturday, but the Friday afternoon before she was still super stressed and scared to be baptized the next day.  We tried everything to help her feel calm about the baptism, but it didn’t work.  That night we prayed a lot for her to feel better so that she could actually be baptized on the next day.  We passed by the next morning to see how she was doing.  She answered the door with a huge smile.  She told us that she would be baptized no matter how nervous she was because she knew that it was what she had to do. Friday night she had read the Book of Mormon and then prayed one last time about her baptism. She felt a peace and then a bright light entered into her room. Luana knew she wasn’t alone and was completely positive that she needed to be baptized.  The baptism went really well.  The whole family watched and now wants to become members of the church too!  Heavenly Father really answers prayers.

I seriously feel so blessed every day.  Sunday was really cool too.  Elder Aguiar and I talk with more than 140 people a week in the street and invite all of them to hear our message and to come to church. In more than a year on my mission no one has ever actually come to church because we just invited them. This Sunday we recognized a young man enter into the sacrament room.  We went to greet him and he said, "Yeah so you guys invited me to church...and I came..." Finally someone came!  I was excited.  His name is Clevio, and he really liked the meetings.  I think he'll be back next week too.

Happy Fourth of July!!

Elder Marsh