Monday, September 29, 2014

Transfers Again

September 29, 2014

I got a new companion!  Elder Bravo.  He has a Brazilian name, looks Brazilian, speaks flawless Portuguese, and he’s from Oregon.  We studied at BYU at the same time, and we came on the mission on the same day.  It’s going to be a good time together!

We had a good first week together.  We baptized a boy named Kelvin.  His brother and grandparents are all members of the church but were inactive for a while. It always seems like working with less active members brings baptisms in the end.  

Sorry that this email is so short but my hour on the computer ended.  

I love you mom,

Elder Marsh


Monday, September 22, 2014

Zone Conference

This week was zone conference which is always a fun time.  President is so inspired.  He knows exactly what the mission needs, and the conferences make a huge difference in the work.  This week he talked about the importance of planning and working.  Simple principles are often what we forget most easily.  He used a scripture that I had never noticed.  D&C 9:7--

"Behold, you have not understood; you have supposed that I would give it unto you, when you took no thought save it was to ask me."

God usually won’t just give us a blessing because we ask for one. We need to work for it! 

Elder Marsh and Elder Anderson at the baptism of Iziele.
We had a great week here.  Our investigator, Iziele, was baptized and confirmed!  She is from the Northeastern part of Brazil and has been in Belo Horizonte for only 8 months, but she loves the church and the Book of Mormon.  It’s great having investigators who are all learning about the gospel for the first time.  It’s as if they are entering into a whole new world and they bring a new excitement to the ward!

Elder Anderson eating jabuticaba off the tree trunk where it grows.

Things are going great,

Elder Marsh

Monday, September 15, 2014

Stake Conference

This week we had our stake conference and we were privileged to have President Fortunato speak at both the Saturday night and Sunday morning sessions. I also was assigned a 10 minute talk about, "Why I’m on the mission" at the Saturday night session.  Really, every missionary was told to prepare a talk and then president would choose someone to actually speak.  It was a good experience that gave me a chance to really think about why I'm here.  

There is a part in the story, "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" where she is walking on a path in a strange land, and she stops at a fork in the road.  She is lost but finds the Cheshire cat in a tree, and she asks him, "What way should I go?"  to which he asks, "Where are you going?"  Alice thinks, and then responds, "I don’t really care."  And the cat says, "Then it really doesn’t matter does it?"  There are so many people that are just like Alice in this life.  Whether they know it or not, they are lost and without direction.  That’s where the missionary work comes in.  

In Preach My Gospel there is a quote by Elder Dallin H. Oaks that explains the purpose of missionary work:
“We do not preach and teach in order to ‘bring people into the Church’ or to increase the membership of the Church. We do not preach and teach just to persuade people to live better lives. … We invite all to come unto Christ by repentance and baptism and confirmation in order to open the doors of the celestial kingdom to the sons and daughters of God. No one else can do this”
We are the only ones who can bring this message and open the door to the celestial kingdom.  That’s a lot of responsibility, but that's why I'm here.
I love the gospel.

Elder Marsh

Monday, September 8, 2014


We had transfers this week!  Unfortunately, I had to leave the Lagoa ward and Elder Dunford.  It's sad leaving everyone behind, but I'm in a sweet new area called Progresso with Elder Anderson.  Elder Anderson is from Spokane, Washington and is a way funny guy.  I have a good feeling about the work that we are going to do together here.  The Progresso Ward is one of the oldest in Belo Horizonte.  I think the ward has been divided 4 times, so there is some history here.  They say that about 15 years ago, the sacrament meeting would get so full that there wasn’t even sitting space on the floor, and people would watch the meeting through the windows!  That’s basically every missionary’s dream.  

I'm excited right now.  Tonight we are going to have a family home evening at President Fortunato’s home.  His FHEs are legendary in the mission.  Of all the people that have been to his home for family home evening in 2 years and 3 months as president, only one person has not accepted his invitation to be baptized.  He invited us to bring a man who has been investigating the church here for months now.  I really don’t know what he is waiting for, but we are hoping that President Fortunato can help him. 

As a missionary, I have learned how the Lord puts us in the right places at the right times.  We brought a man to church yesterday named Waldo.  In the gospel principles class he bore his testimony saying, “My mother died 2 weeks ago, and my wife left me.  I moved to the area last week to try to forget about these things. Then the missionaries knocked on my door and offered to bring me to church.  I know Jesus didn’t forget about me."  He is a very special person.  

I'm so stoked to be here in this ward right now.  Miracles are going to happen...I can just feel it.  


Elder Marsh


Monday, September 1, 2014


September 1, 2014

This week was way good.  Barbara got baptized on Saturday.  I was so happy.  It was not easy but totally worth it.  Last week, she decided that she wouldn’t be baptized because she wanted to really KNOW that what we had taught her was true.  She had received several confirmations from the spirit that the church was true, but she wanted something stronger. I've really learned to care about others a lot more. It may seem silly, but we lose a lot of sleep because of our investigators.  On Thursday, Elder Dunford and I just studied scriptures to help Barbara be baptized on Saturday.  He ran across Alma 32:16-18.

16 Therefore, blessed are they who humble themselves without being compelled to be humble; or rather, in other words, blessed is he that believeth in the word of God, and is baptized without stubbornness of heart, yea, without being brought to know the word, or even compelled to know, before they will believe.

 17 Yea, there are many who do say: If thou wilt show unto us a sign from heaven, then we shall know of a surety; then we shall believe.

18 Now I ask, is this faith? Behold, I say unto you, Nay; for if a man knoweth a thing he hath no cause to believe, for he knoweth it.

When we taught her that night we watched the restoration movie, and then talked with her a little about how she was feeling about her baptism.  She literally said, "I just want a sign."  So, we whipped out the Book of Mormon and started to read.  She read slowly, and by the end of the three verses there were tears going down her cheeks, and the spirit had filled the room.  It’s amazing how the Book of Mormon can answer the questions of the soul.  We invited her to be baptized again, and she accepted! 


Our Elders Quorum President is also a rock solid member.  He has an amazing childhood story living in the slums.  When he was 12, his dad died, and so it became his responsibility to make sure that there was food for his family of 6 while his mom cleaned other people’s homes to pay the rent.  He sold ice-cream for 10 cents and popsicles every day to gain the dollar equivalent to 4 dollars a day. That was enough to pay for the rice and beans for the family each day, and sometimes the butcher gave him scraps of meat that didn’t sell.  He served a mission and has been incredibly blessed ever since.  

This ward is so awesome.   I love all the members, especially our ward mission leader. His name is Daniel, and he's from Bolivia.  He served a mission 12 years ago but hasn’t lost a bit of his missionary spirit.  He works so hard to help us out and wants our investigators to be baptized as much as we do.  He's in these pictures with us.

A missionary serving with us is having a bad day....he just found out that his girlfriend married his younger brother and they're expecting a child in November.....AWKWARD.

I love you,

Elder Marsh

Oh I've learned to play guitar on the mission!! Just kidding that's Daniel's guitar.  We use it to sing special musical numbers at baptisms.  

Barbara got baptized!

Daniel, the ward mission leader, with the Elders in the Lagoa ward.