Monday, December 26, 2011

Just a short note from Elder Marsh, the day after Christmas.

Hey well I was really glad to talk to everyone yestersday! We had a
good christmas here and things are going good with the work. e have a
baptism planned for this week. Guadalupe will baptize his sister :) I
know I need to send more photos of everything that is going on here.
Well I have to make this one short because of tie, but I love you guys
so much! And happy birthday to cassidy!

I will be hoping for the package soon too, and I will let you know
when it gets here. Bye, love you all!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Happy holidays from Sonora! Everyone has their big jackets, beanies, gloves, scarves, and it is a CHLLING 60 degrees f outside!


This week there are many things planned like ward parties, christmas dinner with members, service projects, and new people progressing! After Guadalupe's baptism, we started focusing our efforts on his sister, Selene. She is progressing just fine and loves coming to church every Sunday. That is fine with us because getting people to church is always the toughest commitment! We are planning for her to be baptized at the end of the month, but she doesnt want to set a date because she doesnt like a lot of pressure. It is really different teaching her than when we taught her brother because we could put a little more pressure with him and asked him really good questions. So now we are learning to adapt our lessons to a different style of learning.


This Christmas a family invited us over for dinner. But christmas in mexico is a little different! the 25th is a day of NOTHING. Everyone sleeps. Because from about 6 o clock on the 24th until around 6 am the 25, its a party! On the 24th, we eat dinner, the smash open a piñata. Everyone opens up presents after that, and (the non members) start drinking. The 25th will be the sabbath, so the time in between everything, we are going to go around to all the members and sing them christmas songs with santa hats and everything :)


Thinking back on the whole year that has almost passed brought a lot of things to mind. This time last year I was in a classroom with a bunch of other pale gringos, learning spanish. It was actually COLD with snow. We waited for every sunday and tuesday night be cause thats when the 70's and apostles came to talk to us. I remember I didnt like practicing my teaching skills at ALL because it was tough.


But now, I am in my area, with my companion. In charge of if the ward has progress as far as new members. The area can be rough, and the people dont always get that Joseph Smith was not the same thing a Mormon Pope! Now I long to teach, because it can be tough to get the chance to find someone new who really has the desire to follow Christ. And this year is the only year of my life that I was a missionary every single one of the 365 days. Next year, at this time, I will be in Hermosillo, waiting for the plane to take me home.


Oh, how I do NOT want to go back home! Sure the mission is rough and the challenges are like I havent ever had to face. But I would MUCH rather be here in the mission than back at home. I love you all, mom, dad, cass, and claud, but the mission is the best.


This past week, I studied a bit about the Priesthood and how critical it is for God's church. The put it in a few words, without the Priesthood, Our Father wouldnt be able to move the church. There would be no progress. Nothing would happen. God needs worthy, clean men to hold the priesthood to be able to benefit and usher the progress and growth. Then this sunday, Guadalupe was conferred the Aaronic Priesthood and will be prepared to baptize his own sister at the end of the month :) Next month, he will be conferred the Melchizedek Priesthood. But to be in the room as another man is changed into a tool in God's hands is a very unique experience that hasnt happened very many times in my mission. But I could share with him the experience I had when I baptized my own sister with the same priesthood power, and he wants to do the same.


There are miracles here! I didnt think I would be where I am after a year, but I kind of did know it all along. I didnt know what would happen, but I know I would be doing everything for the Savior. The best way to pay him back in a VERY small way for his sacrifice is serve the mission for 2 years. Everything is for him.


This christmas, lets do like the Wise men did and follow the Light as it leads us to Christ. (matthew chapter 2). Lets follow the spirit to and remember Christ, not getting TO caught up in the hustle of the season with sales, parties, dinners, presents. The Wise Men passed through the cities and even visited King Herod, but not even a King could differ the Wise Men from reaching their goal. Coming unto Christ. He is the center of all we do.


The church is true, and MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL!!!!!


Elder Marsh

Monday, December 12, 2011

One year!

This week I complete ONE YEAR! The time has gone by way to fast and I cant believe this time last year we were buying stuff, packing, and giving farewell talks in sacrament. Road trip to Utah, snow, the Temple in Salt Lake, Papa and Beverly, dad spilling his Wendy´s ice cream in the car, all of it! Then Wednesday came and I entered the MTC. It all goes by too fast!


The ward asked us to speak this passed Sunday and it was great. I talked about the influence of the Holy Ghost and how when we follow him, God makes us into what we need to be. Thinking back on the years and how the mission has gone, I have learned so much, thanks to the spirit. The ward laughed when I said I used to have long hair, a beard, and played in a rock band. :) In my talked, I ended up sharing the scripture mastery scripture (whoo Seminary!) Mosiah 3:19 that talks about how anyone can become more like Christ by following the Holy Ghost.


The Holy Ghost is what moves everything! He is so important and critical in missionary work and in everyday life. This weekend, Guadalupe was baptized and received the Holy Ghost. It was by that same Spirit that we found him in his house, sitting at his table, doing homework. We knocked on his door and the Gospel changed his life. I learned a lot from teaching him. It was a great blessing from the Lord when he was baptized. He is super tall, and well, the water in the font didn't fill fast enough, so he had to kneel down to be baptized! But it was way cool.


The mission is great! I miss you guys and I hope you are enjoying the Christmas season. It really is the best and no one does Christmas like Sacramento Stake! Here in the ward, everyone is leaving for christmas. So they arent going to do much :( oh well.


Take care! I love you all.

Monday, December 5, 2011

The "cold" finally came!

So the weather has cooled down drastically and we even have to take out our sweaters now. But then at midday we put them back in the house because it is hot again haha. But Sonora continues being my favorite spot in the world right now.


Changes rolled around yesterday and EVERYONE got mixed around like crazy. But it is awesome because I have had 5 comps in the mission. 2 of them went home, but the 3 who are here still are all going to be in the same district! Elder Ticona and Elder Rosales are come to the same stake, same district. So I will be able to see some old friends again. As for me, I will be in Barrio Mayo until Christmas :) That is what I wanted in the end, so I am happy.


Speaking of Christmas! It is right around the corner!! In just a few short weeks it will be here. Elder Islas and I are planning on buying santa hats, Christmas ties, and a Christmas card and we are going to go sing to all of the people we know in the ward and in our teaching pool. I looking forward to it and whatever the members are going to have planned for us. We went to look for a little tree to put in the house, and we found a bunch of ornaments. We are going to buy lights too :)


As far as sending stuff in a box, I am happy with whatever! Ties. Lots of ties. You guys did great witht he birthday box and the california flag, so I trust in a good surprise this time too :) my companion wants a simple green hymn book in english if that could be possible. And maybe you could send, i dont know, candies or something small for the investigators. Whatever is fine :)


As far as the work is going, well, we are doing alright. Guadalupe is a guy that we found a few weeks ago who has gone to church a few times. His progress as far as book of Mormon and prayer is going more or less, but he really likes going to church and listening to the classes. After we taught him the plan of salvation, he started practising memorizing it. Then the next day he repeated it all back :) He is really cool and loves learning. But he likes to hang out a lot and invited us to go do stuff with him. He is a good friend and the simple fact that there is a good friendship between the missionaries and the investigators, he is interested in learning and growing more. I actually had a very spiritual moment with him last week when we were just chatting and he asked me "What does it feel like to be a missionary?" And I couldnt say anything. I didnt know what to say. Then I started thinking about why I am here, what it is I do, and the people that have been touched and changed by the simple love that God has for us. I concluded simply that if you like to see miracles, that is what it feels like to be a missionary. Every lesson, every investigator, even a simple contact can invite the spirit strongly and have an impact on the people, and on the missionary. Missionary work is seeing Miracles. And I only have one more year or seeing them! But Guadalupe is planned to be baptised this next weekend. But the thing is, that simple door contact led us to find more people. Guadalupe brought his sister to church, too, and she loved it! This really is the work of the Lord.


I know the work is true and I cant believe I am going to complete one year out. Time goesby WAY to fast! And I am looking forward to be able to call you guys too :)


I love you all! Go and watch the devotional from the first presidency from last night. It was awesome! It will help Mom not stress out for Christmas :)


Elder Marsh

Monday, November 28, 2011

Who says there is no thanksgiving in mexico??

So we were working hard this past thursday, not expecting any kind of thanksgiving dinner, turkey, stuffing, cranberry suace, kind of day. Then we remembered that a family had invited us over for dinner that night! They said to come at 4 in the afternoon, but we were working at that time and could go. So we ended up there at 7, and Sam, a counselor of the bishopric was delayed at work and hadnt even arrived. So we got there just in time to enjoy all of the Thanksgiving favorites with a great family of the ward :) Sam is a gringo, too, and we had a hard time explaining to the mexicans what a pretzle is, because there were some involved in the dessert, and they dont even exist here!

Something that I had to learn one time on my mission was the importance of staying positive. It is something that I forgot and the Lord is reteaching me that same lesson. I am learning now that people are exactly how they are. Try as I might, I can never change they way my companion is, the way the ward is, the way the mission is, nothing! All I can do is serve everyone with love and do what is right. But more than that, I need to do it with happiness and from my heart. After almost a year out here, I have slacked on a lot. But the thing is, the atonement helps us to change everything. I havent been perfect, and sometimes I slip up more than others. But I am glad to always be able to change.

And mom, I am not sure if my last letter got to you, but I didnt hear from you this week. You might have missed the email I sent. But I will be letting you know in a few weeks from where we are going to call you if they dont change me! Because the transfer ends this week.

So reflecting on this week, and thinking about the sad things, the happy things, the struggles, and my own progress, I could see that I have grown in a big way. That way is the most basic, but most critical aspect of being a missionary. And its teaching. Being able to listen to the spirit, find scriptures, share experiences, EVERYTHING that involves teaching has been and still is the best part of being a missionary. Forming questions, making invitations, I love all of it! And in this year I think that is what I have done best. Establish quickly trustful relationships with investigators, find what they need, and present them the doctrine. That is why being focused in the mission is so important. Because teaching isnt just in those 45 minutes with the investigator, but you need to be thinking and praying constantly for them! Thats how the spirit guides you to teach what is needed. I love the mission :) So with that taken care of, I think what the Lord is teaching me now is being mature, but being myself. And more importantly, helping others in a loving way. I have done a lot. But I have a lot to do. And we learn what to do better by prayer.

I love and miss you guys. I always pray for you. I am fine, living, and loving the mission. So dont worry too much, Mom ;) We will talk soon. Just hang in there. You just have to wait one more year. And I only have a year left, in which I have much progress to make.

With love from MEXICO!

Elder Marsh

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Well I have three letters for ya. Tami has been hoarding letters. ;-) Here's Letter #3

Hey back home! I am learning so many things here in the mission. Trust in the Lord. Learning from my companion. Being the one in charge in really something else. I am learning quick that a missionary needs to have confidence and know how to work. I have been able to learn that no matter what, the Lord loves us. He wants to help. But he also lets us choose what it is we want to do and to be.



I have been noticing lately the importance of the family and what it is God thinks of the family. The past week I visited a lot of different types of families. Members, non members, families without priesthood. In Mosiah I have learned a lot about how to love people and how the increase the love that you have. This is my little advice for the week. Service, however big or small, will increase your love. Make the bed for your wife, clean the room of your sister, all of that with a grateful heart will increase your capacity to love others.




I love you all at home, and I am glad to be here in the mission. I have been able to learn so much and looking back on what I have been able to do and learn, I have loved every bit.




Until next week :) I love you all.







PS: I am sick of english. It is a lot harder than spanish. ;)

Letter #2

October 24, 2011

Well, another transfer AND companion down! Elder Alvarez went home today and Elder Islas came in his place! And they they bumped me up to Senior Companion now! So I have the control of the area now, mwahahah! Nope, just kidding, companions should always take in count from the two of them, but the did move me up! Elder Islas barely has 6 Months in the mission, so that means he still has desires to work ;) He is excited to be BACK in Obregon because he started of here in a neighboring area with one of the Elders in the district! So he gets to see his trainer again. He is from Veracruz. I still dont know him to well, but he seems like he will be a good companion. I think I am going to enjoy this transfer a lot :) But we have to start looking for more people to teach like CRAZY because we got "left in white" like we say it here. That is to say the list of investigators in almost blank! But I feel really good about the Mission :)



We had another baptism this weekend. Cynthia was baptized and confirmed a member, and she is very happy! I realized the power and influence of the holy Ghost because the two of them after their baptism looked a lot calmer and pleased with their decisions. Teaching them was a very cool experience and now after baptism we can teach more about the temple and vicarious works so they can go! A recent convert does not need to wait one year to go to the temple. They can go theoretically that same week! Baptisms for the dead is the next step in progression and one can quickly gain a testimony of the temple just shortly after baptism. In fact, I heard that Daniela from Huatabampo went to the temple the past week! Im not sure if she went for sure, but there was a temple trip and she had planned on going. I was very excited to hear that :) I also was informed that Maria Elena, also from Huatabampo, and her husband set a date to be sealed! Im pretty sure they told me in May, so I will be able to go with them to the temple to see their sealing :) I will be very happy that day. And to top it all off, Francisco should be ordained an Elder soon!!! The priesthood is going to help their family so much, because they need extra strength to be able to go to the temple next year too.




Well this last transfer kind of knocked me out of my rythmn. Killing missionaries is tough jeje :) But I think I am going to learn a lot this transfer and I look forward to what I will be taught. I have been learning recently the imprtance of staing positive and happy. The scriptures promise us joy and happiness. They are obviously blessings from God! So, the opposites, saddness, depression, are temptations that impede us from feeling the light and love our Father has for us. And we cant feel the spirit either. It is important to stay happy no matter what, or everything is going to be so much more difficult and we wont be able to recieve help from above. I know the scriptures are true because their promises are real and I have felt and seen them.




I love the mission, and I love spanish. The more I am here, the more I dont want to leave! There is a family in Huatabampo that is already manking plans for me to come back and stay with them haha. The mission is EVERYTHING. Even when it gets rough.




Elder Marsh

Letter #1

October 17, 2011


Im sorry I didnt write home last week! The mail service was down when we came to write and it was already late in the day. So I didnt have the chance to write!



Anyways, things are still going here! It is my companions LAST WEEK in the mission and its well... Interesting. We will have to see how the week goes! We should have a few baptisms for this weekend too! In fact, last week we had a baptismal service for Bianca! Teaching her and Cynthia ( who will be baptized this weekend) was always such a great experience. We always had the spirit teaching them. I have learned here that, in question of teaching investigators, that when people really DESIRE to know and to act, teaching them is so easy. Acceptance of the Gospel isnt a problem. Bianca was baptized and will soon recieve a calling in the ward! She had the chance to reflect on the weeks of teaching and kept noting her stage fright type nervousness during her service. But once she enter the font, everything was calm and happy, becuase there was a primary activity before the service, and a TON of kids sat right in front of the font to watch. She loves kids a lot, so she felt the Spirit in her baptism and was very happy :) I was blessed as well to be able to feel the spirit give me a few things I needed to know. The scripture in Galations says it all when it talks about the fruits of the spirit being peace :)




As well as a spiritual baptism, the Spirit was strong again in our meetings on sunday. Elder Toris of the Seventy came to talk to us. He is former president of the mission in west Monterry Mexico. That is where my friend Manuel Aguirre from Huatabampo served his mission! He reminded me a lot of dad, because when he started to teach Priesthood, he whipped out all of the hot apple technology that dad always has :) iPhone, iPad, all of it. He helped out the ward, too. He mentioned a few things the ward can do to improve to be able to grow more. He gave us some statistics of Mexico. He said that every year between 36.000 and 40.000 people are baptized in the country of Mexico. That is enough for 16 stakes YEARLY! That is equivelent to an entire ward per stake being baptized every year. But the problem is, there isnt a new ward every year per stake like the numbers say there should be. We lose a lot of converts. So thats why he came to see us, to help us improve retention in the stake. The missionaries are working hard to bring people to Christ, now the wards, stakes, and branches need to keep people active and happy.




Elder Toris then shared a GREAT activity with the book of mormon. Something that has always called my attention and that I could finally see why. We scanned almost all of the first book of Nephi for the most important things of every chapter. We found that there was a sequence. Prophet, prayer, vision, Christ, Apostles, Sciptures, Revelation, Profecies. We then read the first chapter again and found all of the above. Elder Toris expalined that God wasnt trying to tell us the Nephi was born of really awesome parents, but that he gave us the pattern of how he calls his prophets. The sequence is also identical to the famous story of Joseph Smith. The spirit came like a brick wall and I realized we need to focus on what God says through his scriptures and less of the cool stories.




Recently I have also found, refound, and continued to find my love and testimony for the book of mormon. The short, bubt powerful book of Enos help change my life, the way I have been feeling in the mission, and to understand more fully the Atonement of Jesus Christ. So everyone, go read :) Then do what the Book says. This is how we can all come to really understand the scriptures, and the love that Heavenly Father has for all of us. After all, teach the world about Jesus Christ is why the book was written.




So mission life continues to FLY by and I draw closer to ONE YEAR! Honestly, it has gone by WAY to fast. But I feel ready to achieve so much. Being Junior Comp for almost a year has taught me quite a bit. Now I think I am ready for new responsibilities, new trials, and new blessings. But I have learned that I need to be more Patient. Now you can be more specific in your prayers when you pray for me :)




I love you so much. I have the best family :) But dont just sit around waiting for me at home! I want the 4 of you to spend time with the scirptures and with prayer more. So that you can all grow with me. So that I can come to a family who has grown with me :) Have a great week, and we will talk soon :)

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Can you believe it's been 10 months?

Im sorry I didnt write home last week! The mail service was down when we came to write and it was already late in the day. So I didnt have the chance to write!



Anyways, things are still going here! It is my companions LAST WEEK in the mission and its well... Interesting. We will have to see how the week goes! We should have a few baptisms for this weekend too! In fact, last week we had a baptismal service for Bianca! Teaching her and Cynthia ( who will be baptized this weekend) was always such a great experience. We always had the spirit teaching them. I have learned here that, in question of teaching investigators, that when people really DESIRE to know and to act, teaching them is so easy. Acceptance of the Gospel isnt a problem. Bianca was baptized and will soon recieve a calling in the ward! She had the chance to reflect on the weeks of teaching and kept noting her stage fright type nervousness during her service. But once she enter the font, everything was calm and happy, becuase there was a primary activity before the service, and a TON of kids sat right in front of the font to watch. She loves kids a lot, so she felt the Spirit in her baptism and was very happy :) I was blessed as well to be able to feel the spirit give me a few things I needed to know. The scripture in Galations says it all when it talks about the fruits of the spirit being peace :)




As well as a spiritual baptism, the Spirit was strong again in our meetings on sunday. Elder Toris of the Seventy came to talk to us. He is former president of the mission in west Monterry Mexico. That is where my friend Manuel Aguirre from Huatabampo served his mission! He reminded me a lot of dad, because when he started to teach Priesthood, he whipped out all of the hot apple technology that dad always has :) iPhone, iPad, all of it. He helped out the ward, too. He mentioned a few things the ward can do to improve to be able to grow more. He gave us some statistics of Mexico. He said that every year between 36.000 and 40.000 people are baptized in the country of Mexico. That is enough for 16 stakes YEARLY! That is equivelent to an entire ward per stake being baptized every year. But the problem is, there isnt a new ward every year per stake like the numbers say there should be. We lose a lot of converts. So thats why he came to see us, to help us improve retention in the stake. The missionaries are working hard to bring people to Christ, now the wards, stakes, and branches need to keep people active and happy.




Elder Toris then shared a GREAT activity with the book of mormon. Something that has always called my attention and that I could finally see why. We scanned almost all of the first book of Nephi for the most important things of every chapter. We found that there was a sequence. Prophet, prayer, vision, Christ, Apostles, Sciptures, Revelation, Profecies. We then read the first chapter again and found all of the above. Elder Toris expalined that God wasnt trying to tell us the Nephi was born of really awesome parents, but that he gave us the pattern of how he calls his prophets. The sequence is also identical to the famous story of Joseph Smith. The spirit came like a brick wall and I realized we need to focus on what God says through his scriptures and less of the cool stories.




Recently I have also found, refound, and continued to find my love and testimony for the book of mormon. The short, bubt powerful book of Enos help change my life, the way I have been feeling in the mission, and to understand more fully the Atonement of Jesus Christ. So everyone, go read :) Then do what the Book says. This is how we can all come to really understand the scriptures, and the love that Heavenly Father has for all of us. After all, teach the world about Jesus Christ is why the book was written.




So mission life continues to FLY by and I draw closer to ONE YEAR! Honestly, it has gone by WAY to fast. But I feel ready to achieve so much. Being Junior Comp for almost a year has taught me quite a bit. Now I think I am ready for new responsibilities, new trials, and new blessings. But I have learned that I need to be more Patient. Now you can be more specific in your prayers when you pray for me :)




I love you so much. I have the best family :) But dont just sit around waiting for me at home! I want the 4 of you to spend time with the scirptures and with prayer more. So that you can all grow with me. So that I can come to a family who has grown with me :) Have a great week, and we will talk soon :)

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Happy Birthday Elder Marsh! He got my gift...a bit of cooler weather. :-)

Hey Mom,

So NYC was a blast? I am glad you guys had a lot of fun! I have always wanted to go visit up there, and you guys just decided to go. With out me. ;)



life in Mexico is still pretty nuts. I just remembered yesterday that tomorrow is my birthday. I think we are going to visit some members who bought me cake in a little bit :) Honestly, the days just come rolling on. There is hardly any difference in the days. Tomorrow is back to work, so it wont be to much different. But the Zone Leaders when to a meeting in Hermosillo this morning, so I will get the package this week. Thank you so much for that, mom. Missionaries love mail ;)




I am on the other side of town in the ward called Mayo. Here, my companion, Elder Alvarez, is on is last change to head home and so he is hearing about flight plans, arrival dates, all of that. But for some reason, he isnt a lazy worker. We work like crazy! There are a few people who are progressing, and 2 solids ones who want to be baptized for sure. The ones who are really sure are Bianca and Cynthia. They are friends and got to know the cuhrch by a member who lives nearby them. We have taught them a few things that they have really enjoyed. We have taught some of my favorite lessons. Word of Wisdom, and Chastity! I really do like teaching those lessons a lot, because you can tell how much a missionary loves his investigatores and how much the investigatores trust the missionaries. Turns out they love and trust us a lot amd they have strong desires to serve the Lord. They had mentioned they werent completely sure about being baptism. Like they werent completly ready. We told them that as they learn and put into practice God´s commandments, the desire and readyness to be baptized comes naturally. Sure enough, after teaching those two commandments, they felt more ready. Cynthia started turning down friends who wanted to go out fo coffee and Bianca took out her tongue piercing. Watching people literally change their lives to follow what our Father in Heaven wants is just as sweet as the Spirit in a baptismal service.




The Elders from my last ward called me and told me a lady who we were teaching, Mary, was having a baptismal interview, and they invited us to the service. After she passed the interview, she asked for me to go to the area to baptize her! And so we asisted and took Biance and Cynthia with us. The baptism was very special, and the two investigatores said that what they felt there was that little extra they needed to feel ready. And so they are 100% sure and ready to be baptized the same weekend as General Conference! They are very excited to listen to the prophet as well.




And so thats how things are going here in the mission! Everything is just fine. The heat is going now. It is still hot, but the heat goes away with the sun now. We are still learning and growing here. I am glad everything at home is going good. I love you guys so much. Tell the family I said hi and that I miss them!




Elder Marsh

Monday, September 12, 2011

A Lost Letter? Well, more like never was posted. But, it has been rescued and the publish button pressed so enjoy!!

Hey, how is everyone back at home?! Not too much is going on here, so that is why I havent written too much. Things are a little rough here and I am trying to keep my head on straight. This is probably the roughest part of my mission, but the spiritual confimations are even better.



So a few weeks ago, President Eyring taught me about listening to the Spirit. I have been making EXTRA effort to do that, because I really need the help! I have been amazed at the things I have heard while actually LISTENING for the Masters voice. During the Stake Conference we had, I was litening carefully and I enjoyed a topic from Elder Carlos, one of teh Area Authorities in Mexico. He taught from 3 Nephi and from Elder Dallin H Oaks that "repetition is a principle of learning." So I began to listen for the repetitions. I heard MANY times "confidence in the Lord" and "sacrifice". Later that night, we taught a family home evening lessen with a Part Member family with the Joseph Smith movie and I heard these phrases even more. As I helped my investigator understand what Joseph Smith endured in his life, she felt the spirit. I, guided be the Savior, asked her questions, to see if she was progressing. I asked is she believed that the Gospel was restored by Joseph Smith. She said she was unsure because of the lack of time and experiance in the church. I told her that I just wanted to know if the felt it was true because the knowledge comes later. She said she believed it and that she had a peace and comfort that she hadnt felt before. I felt the spirit inso many ways. That same peace that rushes over. Thoughts and inspirations in your head. Confirmation of the truths you have already learned.



I know that Joseph Smith restored the Gospel of Jesus Christ. As a prophet said a testimony is something that the Holy Ghost seals and binds to our souls in a way that we cant forget. I have that testimony that ONLY through our Savior, we are happy, and we can be with our family after this life.



I hope everyone has a good week :) And so you all know, my birthday is he 27. Send me stuff :)



Monday, August 8, 2011

Finally, Elder Marsh has been transfered. It's only getting better and HOTTER!

From little pueblo to the big city! I am in Obregon now, and it is HOT!! Over a hundred is NORMAL for us. We hope for a nice breeze 100-105 because when it hits 116, it is tough to work. We leave the house at 10 to find as MANY teaching appointments as we can before we eat at 1, 1.30.Then we study from about 3-4 again to beat the hottest part of the day. The area here is WAY cool. There are US reastraunts and bowling alleys and everything. It is awesome! But now I dont have a bike, so we WALK. Miles and miles and miles. Getting sunburned isnt nearly as big of a problem as just getting worn out. The sun takes ALL of my engergy and by midday, my body is giving out. Even though the ward is WAY awesome and my companion is a great guy, this area is a bit tough. It really is a test. It gets hard to stay focused and to really think in the sun. I need a lot of help from the Lord in this area, because the people are tough here too. I feel like it is just starting to get rough.



But my companion is awesome! Elder Ticona is from PERU! How cool is that? He comes from a different part of the world, so Mexico is new for him too! Tortillas and beans dont even exist where he lives. He is a very sincere testimony and is hilarious too. We are always chatting about stuff and laughing a lot. He is a great friend and I love him a lot. He has a strong desire to learn English because he wants to marry an American girl :) The ward LOVES him to death, so we get a lot of support and a lot of food ;)



I got to this city with a baptism waiting. Elder Ticona and I had the great opportunity to finish up teaching and baptize a young man named Bryan. He is 12 and goes to the church activities a lot with the other youth his age. He really is one of the brightest kids I have met. He askes the best questions of us so he can really understand God`s commandments. One time we were teaching, he told us he was watching South Park. They had some message about God that wasnt in harmony with the Spirit, and he decided he wasnt going to watch that show again, just because of one obsene part! Bryan is going to grow up to be a great missionary and Elder Ticona and I love chatting with him.



But the best thing about Bryan is his influence on his family. He lives with his grandparents and an uncle. His Grandma has had bad liver problems, in and out of the hospital, taking tests, and hasnt been able to even move around her house. But the days leading up to Bryans baptism, she got a little better. The day of the confirmation of Bryan, she came to church, and very excitedly told me that she had gotten up that morning with NO pain at all! I took the opptortunity to explain that God gives us the ways to complet all commandments if we just try. She says she didnt havew much intrest in talking to us because she promised her mother when she died that she will always be Catholic, but we fasted and prayed so she could live somthing spiritual. We decided we cant convince her even with the strongest of testimonies, so we wanted her to really feel the spirit for herself. And she did! We have faith now the she will listen to us. All we can do is help her have more faith.



So, it is hot. The people are a lot ruder when you knock on their door. My companion is way awesome. And this transfer is going to be a bit rough. But with prayers and faith, we can be stronger than the sun in out work.



Until next week ;)



Oh, it was in the 90`s, probably 100 today. Then we got hit with a flash storm and the street got flooded. It is crazy in Sonora :)



Elder Marsh

Monday, August 1, 2011

Do you need to feel inspired? Read this!

So here we are! This is week 5 of 6, next Sunday we get the transfer calls! I really dont know what to think. We found an AWESOME lady to teach. Her name is Victoria. She has three kids and is WAY interested in the Gospel. She was actually a reference from some converts of a missionary who is finishing his mission this week! We have a great time sharing our testimonies with her. Even when we teach her in her place of business. The beer shop across the street from her house :) There are things here called Expendios. They are just drive up store things that sell nothing but beer. But she works there for conviniece, not for any strong vices ;)



Victoria has a daughter, Maria. Unfortunately, she left for vacation last week, and we cant teach her! We dont know when she will come back, but her mom told us the first thing she packed was the Book of Mormon she more than excitedly recieved. We are thinking she will read and come back home to be baptized with her mother :)



We are helping this great family with a big problem they are having. Victoria´s son isnt really doing so great and got caught up with some street life at a young age. He is 17, but I cant really share all that has been going on with him. But Victoria is a mother worried out of her mind and is really stressed out about what to do with her son. But, she loves going to church. She reads and prays. And she wants to be baptized. So we are going to keep helping her in all the ways we can, so she can know how much God loves her and her family.



In fact, when we went to meet with her, we went to visit her in the hospital where they were taking care of a nephew. He is a little baby of just over a year old and had a very toxic and deadly infection. He had all of his body a black color where the infection was burning his skin. It wanted to leave his body in any way, through his eyes, ears, nose, and mouth. They really didnt know what was going to happen to him. When Victoria told us his name was Jesus Israel, (which sounds way cooler in spanish) I felt SUCH a peace. I knew he was going to be fine. We got to the hospital to bless him. He thought we were doctors and started to cry a bit. But he calmed down and probably realized we werent there to hurt him. We gave him a pamphlet of the Plan of Salvation to play with and we gave him a blessing. Afterwards, he was so excited and wanted to leave with us! We said by and he streched out his arms and want us to take him with us. It was SUCH a powerful and refreshing experience with Jesus Israel. I wont ever forget about that baby. What was so powerful was his innocence. How no one knew what was going to happen, but he was so happy. So excited. When we left, Elder Rosales told me that the baby looked so uch cleaner. Much more healthly, just after the blessing. Then the Sprit rushed over me and I knew the Priesthood has such power. A power that I really dont understand, but that I know is true. Because I have seen it heal. Jesus left the hospital and is now practicing walking at home. He wants to run, but is still a little wobbly :)



I know the church is true. I know that God has given us his power to bring to pass miracles in this life. Jesus Christ lives.



I love you all.



Elder Marsh

Monday, July 18, 2011

What can I say....another letter and pics from our favorite missionary in Mexico!



So I completed SEVEN MONTHS in the mission last week! It is gone byWAY too fast! We continue to work and work. The branch here in Huatabampo has picked up quite a bit! There is a bit more participation and a LOT more of the spirit. We confirmed Daniela this passed sunday and she is doing GREAT! she loves church a lot and she just looks so much happier. Having the spirit with you changes everything. She is no exception. Our little convert likes running all over the places excitedly telling all her friends she just got baptized :)



So the change comes on august first. I will have completed SIX whole months in Huatabampo. There are some people here that I love a lot and I keep saying I will be here for a year because I dont want to leavethem! But we are going to see what happens.



And mom, to answer your question about the baptisms here, in the little tiny branches way out here, news travels slow. So the big baptism festivities like the refreshments after dont happen. You might think that is something expected that just happens, but not out here! I would like to get something like that going. Brownies and cookies and lemonade and all of that would beawesome. We are supposed to be having another baptism this saturday, so I will see what I can do! Here in the branch, if we dont do it, it probably wont get done. So planning out baptisms like that will take a bit more work. But we will get something awesome done ;)



Anyways, if Rick Perry finds this, thank you so much for updating me on the branch at home! I will always like the quirky things President Cassinat says :)



I will be waiting to hear from you all! Write to me! Love you all.



Elder Marsh

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Elder Marsh....still doing great and seeing blessings!

So the baptism of Daniela came early! We were planning on holding her baptism this weekend on the 16th, but she wanted to do it earlier! So we planned it all out, got the branch together, and held the MOST spirtitual baptism that I have ever been to. The members even said it was one of the best they have had in a very long time. With half the branch, the Spirit very strongly present, and the MOST excited person that I have baptized, it was a service that I wont be able to forget. I had the opportunity to talk a bit about the Atonement during the service. After I taught Gospel Principles, after I talked in Sacrament meeting. It was a crazy, hectic, but spiritually refreshing sunday. And whats more, I was privileged to use the Priesthood power and perform the ordinance. When Daniela came out of the water, she was laughing and told me "gracias". I was a bit unsure why she had thanked me, because no one had done that before. But then the spirit came to me and told me something I had been praying about. But of that sweet manifestation of the love of God I cant share :) Somethings are too meaningful to hand out. Daniela is a very special daughter of God, and I feel so blessed to hve been placed in her path. Even more blessed to have helped out my Savior in the salvation of this soul.



Elder Rosales and I cant believe the change is halfway over! We are now entering week 4, and that thought really just scared me. I feel I might be going at the end of the change on the first of august. But the thing is, I wont be all that bummed if I dont get changed! My companion and I are seeing so many results of our labor and our baptism goal this month is becoming more and more reachable every day! We really saw the hand of the Lord this week as something happened that had never happened before. we had FIVE brand new people come to Sacrament, 4 of which we have never taught, 2 of which we have never even MET! There is a direct correlation between investigators who come to church and the ones who get baptized. Almost everyone who comes enters the water. So Elder Rosales and i are very prayerful and we are going to start teaching a whole bunch of new people this week. And we are going to prepare them to be baptized this month :)



I really do know the Lord loves us, and worries for us. He just wants us to be happy and enjoy this amazing life he has given us. My companion and I watched the Testaments this morning and a line really made me think. Jacob is arguing with his father about some choices Jacom has made and askes his father why he just cant be happy. Elam, the father then says "Am I happy! I am happy because you are happy. Wherever you are I cant always be your father, but you will always be my son." This made me think quite a bit, and I thought about what Elam wanted to say. I then realized that Elam said he cant always be the father, because his son forgets him, or doesnt heed the parental warning from a caring father. And that a caring parent cant ever forget about his son.



We are the same with our Father in Heaven. Whether or not we want him to be our Father, we will ALWAYS be his children. And he will always love us. I know this is true, and I know he knows us.



I hope all of you have an amazing week :)



Elder Marsh.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

We love Picture's!!!




Elder Marsh is experiencing some rainstorms.

Yup, it is raining here! But only at night, because the strong sun comes up and wipes out all of the clouds. Anyways, things are going great! Elder Rosales got here and we went right to work. One day, we went out for a First Visit. We got there, and no one was home. So we starting moving again, lead by the Spirit. Passing by the side streets, doing a few contacts, I didnt feel that we were in the right area. So we turned down another street, and passed a house with a door open. Inside I saw someone. I didnt know if it was man or woman, one or two people. But thats when I felt it. "There" I said, almost outloud. We turned around, knocked on the door, and found Daniela. She is 17 and listened attentively as we taught about Jesus Christ and the Book of Mormon. She accepted baptism in that visit. We came back the next day and her grandma filled here head with all the crazy stuff the "Mormons" believe. SUPPOSEDLY, we only drink orange soda and we cant eat pig meat. Also, we have to pay HALF of our money to the Church. I had never heard these things in my almost 20 years of being a member. :)



So about the hald the money thing, Daniela told us that even if thats what it takes to be a member, she was willing to do it. The Gospel changes people, it is true. But some people already changed, and just need the Gospel. We taught her the law of tithing and she gladly accepted, having found a new job. Something she started to pray for when we taught her how :) She even went to church yesterday! Going to church is the HARDEST commitment for people. In fact, in my almost 5 months in Huatabampo, I have only brought 6 people to church, 5 baptized, one waiting til the 16th of July. And so, of all the people who have come to church here, they all enter the waters of baptism. So we are pretty sure about Daniela :) We are just going to move along with her to her baptismal date! We might even baptize her this week if things work out ;)



I continue to see miracle here in the hot Sonoran Desert. Francisco, who was a hard man with a lot of rage, a man who would have shown up to church without a shirt if we let him, now has the priesthood, shows up with a white shirt and tie (big step for him), and openly shares in class his grand testimony of the power of prayer. I love this work. I love seeing the Lords hand and the power of his love on peoples hearts. It doesnt matter the 110 degree weather or how sweaty I get. There are people ready to live the Gospel here. Out of the hundreds of people, houses, families, "no"s and "yes"s that arent heartfelt, they are here. And every mile is worth my while. Yes, Hercules is an awesome movie :)



I know the church is true. I know prayer is a way to speak with out Father in Heaven. More importantly, I know he listens.



Everyone, take care.

with love,

Elder Marsh



PS. Mom, take pictures of the festivities of the 4th of July! We dont have that here. Indepence day is in September, along with Day of the Dead. Just a taste of the Holidays here :)



Monday, June 27, 2011

Elder Marsh has learned that Mexico is hot, insects can be eaten, and many people have weird views of Mormons.

It is really hot here. At 6:30, I wake up. At 7 I am brushing my teeth. And I am already sweating. So Elder Rosales is a cool little guy! An inch or two shorter than me. That makes me feel good that 6 foot Elder Rea is gone and now I have a short friend :) Elder Rosales keeps telling everyone how humble I am and how he hasnt met many missionaries that are like me and how I am going to get changed after these 6 weeks to be a leader somewhere. That scares me because Elder Rea always said I am going to be a leader too.



The work continues! Fancisco after his baptism has continued to be a great man of faith and his family looks so much happier with a huge increase of love. I can really tell people now that I know the Gospel of Jesus Christ can change families.



We have been looking for a strong base to start working with, contacting, and trying to get any sort of a reference. We contacting a young lady at her house and 17 year old Daniela has been loving reading the Book of Mormon and chatting with us! She is the most promising investigator we have and is progressing towards baptism. She couldnt come to chrurch this past week, but she did come 5 minutes before we started to tell us that her aunt got sick and she wouldnt be able to stay. So we have to push her baptismal date back a bit, but we are still working with her. The fun part about teaching Daniela is correcting all the bad things her Aunt says about mormons. How we, supposedly, "dont eat pork" and "we can only drink orange soda, and NOT cocacola." Daniela asked is she got baptized if she would have to marry a mormon man, like her aunt told her. How funny are the worlds views of us :)



So Elder Rosales come all the way from the state of Mexico. DF. Federal District. However you call it. It is a big, dangerous city. And the people talk funny from there :) He tells me in his house, if the tacos are less than 3 pesos, the meat came from a dog. There are also grasshopper tacos. That isnt what I had in mind when I thought "Mexican Food"



So today, as we enter into the cyber cafe to email home, I notice a white lady walking out. I thought, "hmm. You dont see very many light skinned mexicans." Then a white man came out. I saw the license plate on the car that said New York, and they were speaking English. I then thought, "This is too good to be true!" I had in mind that I was going to teach and baptize a white family here in Mexico, in English! I asked where they were from and they said they were here in town for a Conference. Of Jehovahs Witness. My thoughts proceded in this manner: "Yup. Too good to be true." A bit downcast at the fact I would not be teaching them, we got to chatting and they said they came down to do Ministerial Work, but liked it so much, that they just decided to live here. They are up north by the coast in a city called Guymas and passed by Huatabampo on the way up. They have 5 years here in Sonora, and speak very little spanish. Hardly enough to get by, but it was still impressive the kind of understood my Companion, in pure spanish. So, I did feel a bit of pride (of which I should repent) when I told them I had 4 and a half months here, struggling to keep speaking in English because I kept reverting to Spanish! :)



Anyways, pray to have the Lord put missionary oopportunities in your way. Dont just pray for the missionaries, but go be one, and reference the people you find! Testify of Jesus Christ, and he will bless you.



I love you all!



Elder Marsh




Saturday, June 25, 2011

The end of one missionary, the start of another‏.

And that ends it for Elder Rea! He went of to his home in Merida Yucatan to get rained on by a huge hurracaine! But we parted on the best of terms. We baptized Francisco(more on that in a sec), cried a bit, and parted as great friends. I miss my companion already. We were both really sad to have to end, but happy with the opportunity to grow. Now that my mission "dad" left, it is time to start putting myself to work because I know it is right, not because my trainer is there with me.



Elder Rosales arrived today too! He is from the state of Mexico. The Federal District. Kind of like our Washington DC. And also one of the parts most dangerous of the country. I still dont know him to well, but he really wants to get to work here in Huatabampo and get people into the water! so we are going to see how things work out :) I am excited to work with someone new and find ways to improve my teaching skills.



So, summer time is roling around now back home? It has felt like summer for 4 months already. Mexico is a hot place :) Claud wrote me an email and she is very excited to go to the club and the fonsecas to swim around! Swimming is acutally something I miss a lot. Sometimes I think there would be nothing better than to just jump in so icy cold water when it is 104 under the sun! I am also to hear all the good things Claudia is doing for me back home, sharing with all of her friends whatI am doing. I love my little sister a TON! So mom, just tell her to reference the parents of all of her friends to the missionaries. They will love you ;)



Now, about Francisco! After a YEAR talking to the missionaries, he decided on baptism. Francisco is a very big man. Tall, and, I wont say fat, but VERY well fed. So Elder Rea and I baught him his own baptismal clothes that fit him, and he entered the waters of baptism :) I confirmed him the next day (me first confirmation!) And he recieved the Priesthood! So we are going to continue helping him grow in his very humble testimony and faith, because the branch wants to call him as second conselor ;)



Mom, I love you to death. But I dont want you to starve to death! So you dont need to feel that I wont have enough money for the mont. The church and the Lord help me! I want my little sisters to have food too ;) But either way, thank you for caring about me in all the waysa you can, being so far from me. I love you.



So that is about all I have! We are going to see how the week plays out with a new companion and a new 6 weeks to work!



Everyone take care. And read the scriptures!



Elder Marsh



PS. Shelley, how is the blog coming?;)

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

New Photo's!!!






Some pictures for the blog. I put some pictures of the money here. A picture of when we counted all of Elder Rea´s ties when he was packing. And these little desert scorpions that live here. They are called Aracran. They run super fast and live in the corners of the house. They do hae poison and can kill small children. Maybe even me, being the size of a small child ;)

Love, Elder Marsh


























Monday, June 20, 2011

Elder Marsh is killing Elder Rea. ;-) For those that know mission lingo, you know what I mean!

Yup, this is the very last week of the 2 year service Elder Rea has given to the Lord! He already has flight plans and has begun to pack in the spare moments we find. We even caught ourselves recounting all the amazing things we have passed through the last FOUR MONTHS we have had together. Elder Rea and I started off (and of my account, continued) a little shakey at first. We had our differences and we did argue from time to time. But luckly enough, the Lord blessed me with a very pacient and helpful companion who just waited it out until I got over my new language, new country, new life phase. And now we have been able to work hard, follow the Spirit, and reach the hearts of certain people with a powerful unity that I can literally feel when we teach. Now just as I am REALLY loving to work with him, his mission is over! As district leader, he gave us his final capacitation, or lecture or whatever you call it in English when your district leader gives a lesson to the district. He touched on very spiritual moments we have shared and just about everyone was crying after he shared one of his final testimonies as a full time missionary.

Even with everything coming to and end for my companion, the past week has been a very spiritual one. Fast and Testimony Sunday was literally one of the best that I have ever been to. The branch here is very small and at times, it is difficult to sit through the meetingings! But this week was very different. Almost all 50 on the members that came bore their tiestimonies. The meeting lasted about 1 hour and 45 minutes. But every minute was full of the presence of the Spirit and an abslute blessing. Elder Rea and I wrapped up with our own testimonies and closed out one of the most spiritual sacrament meetings I have I attented. It was very refreshing to my own spirit.

Earlier in the week, we were visited by one of the Area 70´s, Elder Benjamín de Hoyos! To start off, I almost killed him. Completely on accident, I was walking out of the chapel when he came in. I tripped on the rug, and inadvertently shuffled the rug up, causing the 70 to trip! It was worse for him, with his arms full of books! But the meeting we had with him and his wife was SO amazing. I came to really understand WHY I even came on the mission. They focused very heavily on the Atonement of Jesus Christ. They said that if everyone really understood the Atonement, what Christ did for us, missionaries would never break rules. Or also, as members, we wouldnt ever break commandements. We learned that liteterally EVERYTHING we believe as members of the Church of JEsus Christ of Latter-day Saints is focused on the Atonement. The sacrament. The hymns. The FIRST principle of the Gosple, according to the objective of missionaries, is Faith in the Lord, Jesus Christ and his Atonement. That marvelous act really is EVERYTHING we believe. It is the central point of the plan of Slavation. We can not be resurrect, or much less, return to our Father in Heaven without the Atonement. We would be lost for ever! But thanks to our amazing God, who´s purpose is to bring us back, we have a way! It is through Christ and his incomparable act of love. And guess what. I get to teach every day about this stuff :)

That is when it hit me. I have an obligation to serve Christ in this form of a mission because of the importance to let everyone know that we have a way back Home! I am obliged to Christ, by way of his Atonement, to complete with what he has asked me to do. To teach the Children of God here in Sonora, Mexico :)

Speaking of the work here in the MMH (Misión México Hermosillo), we have a baptism planned in the Eleventh Hour of the mission of Elder Rea! We have known Francisco since just about the end of my first transfer here. He has been talking with the missionaries since about AUGUST of last year! His wife and children are members and have been waiting a very long time for Francisco to make the decision to be baptized. Now here we are in June. TEN MONTHS later! He really has been an eternal investigator. We met him in April when he came to the broadcast of General Conference. We talked with him a while and then we asked what he wanted us to do for him. He said "help me understand". He has been slow to progress. Reading, not so very often. Praying, but repetitivly. He has always told us he has no desire to change religion, but we have always felt the need to be with him. Last week, he finally saw that he has been learning all along when he could answer some simple questions in the lessones. Elder Rea realized that it has been Franciscos state of mind that has been stopping him. We had had a VERY powerful, faithful, and innocent prayer with him , in which he desperately asked to be shown the way. The next day, Elder Rea told him that Satan has been working against him because he has thought all along "im not going to be baptized." Then Elder Rea told him not to think that way, but to think it would be something good to do. He looked down in thought. A moment or two passed. He looked up at Elder Rea and asked when he was leaving. When Elder Rea told him in a week, Francisco asked "You want to baptize me, dont you?" Elder replied, "I do. And the Lord does, too." He thought another moment and said, jokingly, "give me a thousand pesos and Ill do it." Everyone started laughing and we set his baptismal date for this weekend. If we make it through this week ( the week before a baptism is ALWAYS stressfull) it will be the baptism that will give me the most satisfaction because of all we have done with Francisco. So, lets see how the week plays out ;)

That is all I have for you, folks! I know the gospel has been restored. I know that the Spirit REALLY does giude out steps and our words. More importantly, he touches peoples hearts and prepares them to take the first steps. Faith in the Lord, Jesus Christ and his Atonement.

The church is true, becuase it is God´s.

Elder Marsh

and mom, thanks for the money. We need to buy baptismal clothes very, VERY big for Francisco. He is a big guy :)

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Still teaching in Sonora!!!

How has everyone been this past week?? Did everyone enjoy Stake Conference? Or in my case, District Conference :) We had a HUGE number of asistance this past week for our tiny branch! Too bad it wasnt a regular weekend ;)

So. Updates on investigators. Again, we dropped about all of them. Alejandro was nearly impossible to find this week. He is living in a rented house and has problems with the other guys there and realy doesnt want to be in his situation. Like he prayed and as we have been praying for him, he found a job! But even after we taught him about recieving blessing and then completing with the Lord, he failed to show up to church again. So, the font remains dry. We DID find two other people though. We went to the house Alejandro used to live in and we found 2 women. A mom and her daughter. They shared that they had problems and we taught them part of the restaration and commited them to going to church! We show up sunday morning to bring them along, and the mom was showering. The daughter said they are getting ready to go to church. Well, the mom came out and THEN shared she had no intentions of asisting with us, but was going to keep attenting the catholic church. Easy come easy go! Elder Rea and I are still a bit stressed about having a dry baptismal font and a small teaching pool. Which is rough, so close to the end of Elder Rea´s mission! But we keep moving on.

In District Conference, one of the talk was based around service and the importance there of. The speaker shared, along with many prophets of old and of new, that the only way to TRULY be happy in this life is be serving others. Selflessly giving your time to help the ward, the stake, Zion, or your next door neighboor. I got to thinking about that and I realized that the best moments of my mission is when I am serving. When it is way to hot to be outside, but we still hit the doors and share our testimonies. If all I can do to serve is iron my companions shirt, I still feel good about helping others out. So everyone go do it! The talk meshes perfectly with the Mormon Helping Hands project a few weeks ago, but dont wait for someone to tell you to serve. Just go do it! It will make you more happier than Facebook or a sweet new iphone. Trust me, I dont have either of those things, but I really dont need them ;)

Much love from hot, dry, Sonora! I heard the weather is wet in Sacramento. How about sharing ;)

Elder Marsh

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Today, it's two letters for the price of one!

Time continues to FLY in Mexico! It isnt as hot here as it has been. It is getting cooler. Which worries me becuse it rains HARDCORE in Huatabampo. Sometimes to the point of flooding!

Elder Rea and I are still working! He has 4 weeks left and is really hard not to think of home for him! He told me he does NOT want to leave, but in the slow moments, his thoughts get stuck on home. He still has a good heart and continues to teach me in every aspect of the mission.

Im glad to hear my family is busy and happy! KEEP DOING STUFF TOGETHER! This is for every family, not just mine! A huge problem in Mexico is the concept of mom, dad, and kids all in the same home basically doesnt exist. So love your family. Hold them close. Read the scriptures, every day with them, no matter what. Having the spirit in the home outbeats soccer, work, Entertainment Tonight, AND the Bachelor everytime! I promise :)

Not too much is changing here! I continue to grow and understand the lessons the Lord has been trying to teach me all my life. The biggest thing right now is just humble myself and accept that I know next to nothing, but can always get better.

I love all of you at home who read this, thank you for the love and support!

Unfortunately, I am not going to share a ton of spiritual stuff this week, because it has been pretty sacred ;)

Cheers!
Elder Marsh

I know it's been a bit of a dry spell, but here's a letter!!

How is everyone at home?? We are doing GREAT here in Huatabampo! Elder Rea is drawing ever nearer to his death (mission wise, dont freak out ;)) and we found an AMAZING investigator! So one day, during studies I was thinking about how the Lord has said that the people I am serving are some of the most choice he has prepared. So with this though it mind, we left the house and started to work. This day was a Weekly Planning session, so we went right to ourt lunch appointment. We got the the place and the Husband, Brother Medina had a friend their with him! We were introduced and got to know Alejandro. We had lunch with him and got to talking about spiritual matters. When he dropped the question, "So what differences are there between your church and the Catholic church?" Elder Rea and I took a breath and thought of where to start. With the Restoration of course! We taught him, can back the next day, and commited him to be baptized :)

But thats all I have time for because the cyber cafe is closing! Prayers and love to you all and we will chat next week!

Elder Marsh

Monday, May 16, 2011

Two classic missionary photos!

One of Elder Marsh and Elder Rea sowing the wheat!


Bringing their brothers and sisters to the Savior.








The other.....being the young goofs that they are!





Oh, how we love them and are so thankful for their love and service.


The Lord truly works through those that he calls.




Once again.....Prayer works!

So all the prayers from here and from home worked out! The Lord blessed us with another oportunity to baptize! I was thinking about the weeks left in the transfer and how much time Elder Rea has left. I told him if we want to baptize every week before he leaves, we need a mircale to baptize this week! And a miracle we received :)

Normally we pray to baptize people we are teaching. I didnt think to pray to baptize someone that wasnt even our investigator! Turns out, there is a big family that lives here. The family of Jesus Manuel. Aunts, uncles, grandma, cousins, all of them live together. Well, the uncle lives here. He is in his 20s. Turns out that he has a girlfriend (but they are getting married) who was talking with the missionaries where she lived in a city a few hours from here. So she took all the lessons and told them she wanted to be baptized. When she called to tell the family, they said they cant go to her for her baptism and they wanted her to come here. So she moved down her to marry her man, and we baptized her :) It was so cool the way it worked out! We are going to follow up with her and keep teaching. They are way nice people and happy members. They have their eyes set on the temple in a year. It was funny because they were talking about how expensive the civil unions are here. I just told them to wait a year and go to the temple where it is free! Everyone laughed :)

So that was the big deal of this past week! Thanks again for the letters I have received. In fact, one of my good ol pals sent me a letter about the importance of love in missionary service. It came as a second witness, this letter, because I had been thinking the whole week what to do better and I decided I could love the people in my area a bit more. Then I recieved this letter and the Lord told me in this special way that I am doing things correctly :) Anyways, with a new effort on loving people, we went to visit a convert, Oralia. Remember her? She was the one who came to our house and asked to be baptized. So we visited with her and gave her the picture of her baptism and began to chat about the events of the big week we had with her. In that week, we passed by her house and testified of many things. We told her we werent going to come back for a few days she she could have time to think. A few days later, she came to the house. Anyways, we were talking about that week and I asked what made her change. She said she felt that we genuinely cared and loved her enough to help her. That was what spoke to her and helped her decide to enter at the gate of baptism. The third witness of the importance of love :)

There you have it folks, another week in Huatabampo, Sonora! Thank you for reading and sending me mail, I love hearing from everyone at home.

If anyone sees Christopher Predovich, tell him I said "Bunk Beds on Dirt Floors" :)

Con cariño,
Elder Marsh


Thursday, May 5, 2011

Is he going to stay or is he going to transfer? I have no idea, but he does want us all to learn Spanish. That's our Elder Marsh.

Quick shout out to Shelley because I assume she is still on top of this thing.

The change (transfer as its known in english) is almost over! Elder
Rea is thinking they are going to change me. This is the last week of
my second change in the field. I cant believe I am coming up on 5
months! Whether I go or I stay, the mission is amazing. And I love it.
It is such a blessing to be here helping people change their lives for
the better. One of our converts, Irene, is taking a trip to Nogales.
But she was pretty excited to find out there is a chapel building up
there she can attend! And she is looking forward to a temple trip to
do baptisms for the dead. That is how we do work, we only have 3
converts, but they are all solid.

Quick question, how many people read this? I never know if I am
talking to an audience, the ward, half of Elk Grove, or just my
family, Shelley (because she is the boss of the blog), and Chas
(because Shelley shouts stuff to him from the computer while he chases
a naked Hayden around the house ;p)

Anyways, the sun is roasting me! I get the most awful mission tan more
and more every day. Even with sunscreen. And they say it gets hotter
from here. But the heat is different. It doesnt race up and fall back
down like home. It gets hot and stays hot. For days. Weeks. But the
worst is when my poor little scalp gets hit, because I cant do
anything to protect that! I read about how Nephi didnt pray to have
his circumstances changed when his brothers tied him up and plotted
his death, but he pray to have the strength to change things himself.
So that might be my challenge. Pray to have tougher skin so the sun
wont burn me. Not that the sun can just stay away :)

I dont have much to report about baptisms, because they arent
happening. Investigators? One. But told us he has no desire to change
religion. And really, I dont know what to do. I have kind of ridden
down into a low part. I dont know if I am not obedient enough. If I
dont have enough faith. I have asked Elder Rea a million times what
the Lord wants. We have run out of ideas here. The people we contact
dont progress. The members dont refer anyone. The less actives arent
home or dont live here. And I am just a little lost, down here in the
corner of the mission! Happy, yes. Enjoying what I do, absolutely. But
confused!

btw, I forgot my camera, so I cant put pictures. And the machine I am
using is super lame, so I DOUBLE cant put pictures.

And mom, I hope you sent the package, because the zone leaders went to
Hermosillo today!

Here is a spiritual gem that I found that I want to share. First of
all, thank you to David Thomas Bell for your case of mission cds where
I found this gem. And David, if you are reading this, WRITE ME!
Because I miss you :) And if David is not reading this, Mom, facebook
him and tell him to write me. Include my address please :) Now, the
good stuff. Elder Holland gave a CES Fireside Devotional thing in 1994
JUST after he was ordained. When Presidents Hinkley and Monson where
COUNSELORS in the first presidency! That is how you know it was for
ever ago. Anyways, this devotional is about the Book of Mormon and it
is one of THE most powerful talks I have ever heard. And I heard Elder
Holland for myself in the MTC! This talk just might outdo the one I
heard. Anyways, if anyone can find this talk in the depths of the
internet, find it and listen to it. I promise, you wont think of the
Savior the same way. you will love him more and want to defend his
holy name and every turn. There is a quote in it from C. S. Lewis that
says people who say that Jesus Christ was a good moral teacher but not
the Son of God have the inteligence of a poached egg. So crazy :)

I was in charge of the lesson at FHE the other night! I taught about
temples and how ridiculously amazing important they are to our
exaltation. Basically what I learned was that we want to go to Heaven,
so we make special covenents. Then, we must be obedient every day to
obtain this blessing. It is a chain that works back and forth. Heaven
(goal) -> Covenents -> obedience. But, obedience is the first law of
Heaven. So, we are obedient -> we make covenents -> we go to Heaven!

Anyways, I hope to write next week, but I if dont, I is because I am
traveling to a new area and wont have a chance. Pray for me, and the
people of the area of Huatabampo because they are tough to get moving
in the ways of the Lord. I love you all at home, especially my dear
family, and Papa and Beverly.

Cuidense mucho.
Sepan que Dios nos conoce, y quiere que regresemos.

Elder Marsh

P.S. Everyone just learn spanish. It is easier to write and think for me :p

Monday, April 25, 2011

Read Elder Marsh teach us all a little about the lessons from Peter

So the weeks have been FLYING by here in Huatabampo. We are almost
done with this transfer! It ends the 7th of next month I´m pretty
sure. I´m glad to hear my family had a great time with all the Easter
Activities! Claudia filled me in completely on what you all did. With
the huge dinner with the usuals. How fun! I sure missed out. We didnt
do very much here at all. Normal Sunday. No one ever gave a talk about
the Resurrection :( That part was kind of sad. But I still remembered
the Savior when I took the Sacrament. Anyways, something cool that did
happen over the Easter weekend was I ate menudo! I asked one of the
members here if she would make it for us and she did. Out of
EVERYTHING I have eaten from a cow, (liver, heart, tongue, and
stomach) the menudo was what I liked the most. It is really weird, and
smells like feet. But the soup part is really good and the stomach
part you dont really taste if you just swallow it.

As for investigators. We are still working, but no one else really is.
Elder Rea and I find a bunch of people, but getting them to progress
is always the real challenge. We still are working with a man named
Fransisco. I dont remember if I have said anything about him. His wife
and son are members, and he comes to church about every week. But he
is tough to get to read and pray. He wants to change himself and be a
better man, but he is slow to commit to baptism. He wants to, but not
so soon. We also found a super old guy named Enrique. We met with him
twice and had to drop him because he left for a different city and
doesnt know when he will be back. But he was about 80 something,
barely could hear. We invited him to be baptized and said he already
was, but why not again! But then he left. So, he wont be getting
baptized after all. Elder Rea and I are working with a youth named
Alfonso, 18. We were out one night looking for a house of an
investagator. We couldnt find the house and got a bit lost. So we
turned another corner and found a Michoacana. (AWESOME little snack
bar things with all kinds of fresh fruit products and nachos). So we
grabbed some milkshake/fruit water things. Alfonso was working that
night and asked if we came from a school. We told him no and that we
are missionaries. He asked what a missionary is. So we contacted him,
and set up an appointment with him to come back the next day ;) But he
hasnt read, prayed, or gone to church either! So we are going to need
to keep working with him.

Huatabampo is rough, but I like it here a lot. And my companion is
really great. I have a lot of blessing here and 3 solid converts.
Well, basically solid. My first convert, Irene, we caught her smoking
again. And she had a cup of coffee. We went to her house to see her
and found her with her old habits again. She hasnt been smoking very
much, but we counseled her to keep reading. She actually almost
finished the Book of Mormon in the month since we baptized her. And
so, I poured out her coffee, we shared a few laughs, and went on our
way. My converts mean so much to me. Without them, it would be much
harder to be happy here.

So, I had a few run ins this week with some peole who wanted to Bible
Bash. Some of which, Jehova Witness who came to our house! I really
dont like to do the Bible Bash thing, because it really doesnt do
anything. They dont understand the true doctrine anymore after a fight
with missionaries than they did before. Nevertheless, they came to the
door, and inturrupted my study time with a ton of false doctrine. So
Elder Rea and I kind of sorta really tore apart everything he had to
say. After about 20 minutes of shooting down all of his false
doctrine, he introduced us to his companion. His 14 year old son! It
was funny, but we felt sort of bad, because he was way scared. We
actually had an incident like this again durning the week, but it
ended on a spiritual note and I ended up learning a bit. Elder Rea and
I went to see Alfonso and his michoacana. We were teaching him about
the Restoration when a group of youth came up with a bible and asked
what we were teaching. I didnt say much because there was a group of
about 7 people attacking our beliefs and how our prophet is false and
well, I was scared! But Elder Rea didnt need much help. After a while,
the youth he was talking to, we realized he was kind of shaking. He
had a scared look in his eye. The Spirit came upon Elder Rea and I at
about exactly the same moment and we realized how wrong what we were
doing was. Then we started speaking with love. With and intent to save
these youth, not prove them wrong. I felt prompted to speak up at this
point and tell the youth that we didnt want to take away his faith in
Christ and we didnt want to deny that he believed God lives. So I gave
him a Book of Mormon. Elder Rea invited him to pray about Prophets. He
told us that if God reveals more than what he already has in his life,
he would change. So, we kind of left it there and havent seen him
since.

What Elder Rea and I learned from this was exactly what happened when
Peter sliced the ear off of the Roman Soldier who came to take Christ
away. When the Romans came, Peter didnt even think, but witha flash
of a sword, cut off the ear. Jesus, in his infinite love, healed the
man of his wound. The Roman who came to take him. If we as
missionaries are just going around, slashing people Spiritual ears off
with the truth we have, we arent doing what the Savior wants. In fact,
we are doing the opposite. Then he has to heal the damage his Disciple
has caused.

And that about sums up what I have been doing here! I love the mission
so much. I learn every day. I am scared of the end of the transfer
because everyone says I am going to leave, and I dont want to leave
Elder Rea! He is teaching me so many things. So, we will keep working,
keeping finding, and keep testifying of Christ!

P.S. EVERYONE in a branch, ward, whatever, who is a MEMBER should
coonstantly be bearing testimony of the Restored Gospel to everyone
they can, then referring these people to the missionaries! Just do it.
You will recieve blessings.

Love you all,
Elder Marsh

Monday, April 18, 2011

Let's all give a Shout Out to Elder Marsh and Mexico (insert any festive Spanish sayings you know..here. I only know Taco)!!!

It is warming up here! I got a littleburned even with the sunblock! But it is all good, because I am a missionary, and the Lord wont let me get cancer ;) Let me start off by saying thanks for the deaelders my various fans have sent me! Shout out to Shelley, d´Art and Kay Newbold, Rick and Judi Perry, and, my biggest fan, CLAUDIA! (Mom, you should start a budget with her. Dearelders are only free to the MTC!) The way mail works here is everything gets sent to the mission home. From there, anytime anyone from there comes to the zone, or anyone goes there from the zone, mail gets passed on. Then to me, the farthest outreach of the mission! So it is a bit slow. Snail mail for sure! But nevertheless, thank you everyone who has written me. Much love, I´ll eat a few tacos for you all ;)

No suprise baptisms this week! Quite the opposite. Things are going slow for us down here, but we cant figure it out! We work. We teach. We knock the doors. But the pool of investigators drains pretty fast. What happens is people let us in. We teach a great lesson. They accept at least one of the 4 commitments (church, book of mormon, pray, baptism), we leave, and NEVER see them again. But we dont know why! But it is okay, because I am enjoying it here. That is something I am learning. Just be happy! Im alive. Im an Elder of Isreal. What could be better??

So mom, you asked about festivities for the Easter holiday. It is called Pascua. I dont really know if we do much on the day itself, but all of the happenings with the Fariseos is for this time of the year. The crazy guys who run around in womens clothing, masks, drums, and go house to house with a Cross and a figure of Jesus asking for money. The end of it is on easter, so I guess the go all crazy or something. More on that later! It isnt like USA where a sweet bunny goes around leaving chocolate for people. On, and this week leading up to easter is called Semana Santa. Holy Week. Being interpreted as "Go to the nearest beach and hand over your agency with every beer" week. Bleh.

So something cool happened with Elder Rea and I. It isnt amazingly groundshakingly suprise baptism fantastic, but it was a good spiritual experience. We were out contacting in an area we hadnt been to before. One house here, not there. One house there, not interested. We dont do a lot of house to house, more of looking for someone a specific house, as guided by the Spirit. As we were walking, I saw a nice looking house, nice car, and a lady sitting inside, probably chatting on Facebook, like my own dear mother on any given friday night ;) So, I said, "that one, Elder. Lets go." Called for her to come out (as is custom with houses that hacve fences) she came out, and we bore quick testimony as with all contacts. She let us in, and we presented the Restauration to her! Her name is Adelina and has a good heart. Except for the fact that when we invited her to be baptized, she just straight up went with a "no". Followed by a "I feel safe in the Catholic church. It is very comfortable." So, after a few second of, "Oh. My. Goodness. COMFORTABLE??" A thought both Elder Rea and I had, I calmly explained that we covenent with God only. We dont commit time to the church, but only to Him. She still wasnt completely sure, but then something else caught her attention. The Spirit told me that she simply doesnt understand, but when she does, she will be baptized. But what caught her attention was the Book of Mormon. With conviction and sincerity, she told me she was going to read it. She has travelplans all this week, so we cant see her. So, I invited her to read the entire week. She agreed, very sincerely. After the lesson, Elder Rea told me that the Spirit told him ALSO that she simply just doesnt understand, but when she does, she will be baptized! I was so amazing to feel and HEAR the Spirit working through us both. Not just me feeling the Spirit, and him feeling the Spirit . But it really felt like us and the Spirit were all together. I LOVE teaching people! When I feel the Spirit, not me, testifying! There is nothing like this work! Baptisms or no, I am completing my purpose.

A Quick word about Elder Rea. He has been the District Leader since before I arrived. But for the past few weeks, the other missionaries havent been here. Come to find out that they stayed back a bit in their other area, because the SENIOR MISSIONARIES can choose to stay a bit longer! Yup, the other Missionaries in our district are a senior couple! It is way cool! Elder y Hermana Garcia.VERY nice and hard working.But the cool thing, the seniors here work exactly the same way! The dont help out with President or run errands for anyone. They knock doors and teach lessons JUST like us! What is even more cool, Elder Rea helped train them when they arrived in the mission last year! So, our entire district is a family! As the lingo goes, whoever you train is your hijo. your trainer is your papà. Your trainers trainer is your abuelo. There are tios y hermanos and all of that, jsut like a family. So, Elder Rea´s district is all the poeple he has trained. His hijos! Pretty funny.

BTW, I MISS CAMPING WITH ALL OF YOU! Even the crazy Lesley´s and Fonseca´s. And Mike, I havent found your family yet ;)

This past week, we bought soccer jerseys and had them customized! Elder Rea and I have Mexico ones that have our names, Huatabampo, and Zona Navojoa on them. They are so cool! And a jersey with the personalizations for about 13 bucks!

Last cool thing! When I was in the MTC, I had the opportunity to listen to Elder Holland, LIVE and (basically) IN CONCERT! Last week at Zone Conference, we watched a talk from Elder Holland. The same one I was in the MTC for! The exact same one. It was amazing. President gave us the talk and permission to have a portable dvd player for training purposes, so we are going to watch the talk a million times over one of these prep days.;)

We are heading into the last few weeks of the transfer, and all the missionaries think I am going to get transfered. But I dont really want to go because we are going to start get the branch kick started here! This area needs a lot more work! So keep praying for me, and I will keep searching for the Lord´s prepared.

I love you all back at home, thank you for the contact. Keep writing me!

Elder Marsh

How did this happen? I forgot to post last weeks letter. I will repent....here it is!!!

How is everyone on this fine day?! Everything is going great here in Huatabampo! We dont have any baptismal dates coming up soon, but using baptismal dates inst really the mode of oparation for Elder Marsh and Elder Rea ;) We had a pretty good week, this past one. There is this bus we take to get to the other side of the area, and a guy promptes his organization on the busses. He works for a Rehab Center. Turns out, he is a less active member and invited us to the center. Elder Rea and I have fondly renamed it, the "gold mine" because, think about it. Ex drug addicts trying to turn around their lives, living in a center together. We walked in and handed our Books of Mormon and gave some blessings on the spot! We have a youth named Antonio commited to be baptized soon. He is 16 and helps out at the center. Recently reformed himself. His heart is wide open to receive the Savior and I knew the second I met him he was prepared by God to accept. But none of the 4 or 5 people from the "gold mine" who said they were going to come actually came. But we did have another of our 3 investigators come. His name is Fransisco and is married to a member in the branch. He went to conference with his wife and when we met him, he asked if we could help him understand! So we gladly started teaching him. They showed up late to sacrament, so Elder Rea and I were a bit down when no one showed. But they came in after the announcements, right in time for testimonies, because it was fast sunday. His wife and son bore their testimonies and I looked over at him and he was crying! I was so moved to see the Spirit working in that meeting. As for me, all is well! I'm not really sick, just still getting used to the food here. The food isnt bad, its just different. The water too. Nothing is bad. Just not what my body has been used to for 19 years! It is actually way too good here. I am getting fat! My skin has gotten all stretchy, ewww. So I told Elder Rea we can only eat food from the street on pday. Not every day how it has been for a month! The carne asada and flour tortillas are just too good! So Elder Rea is district leader, but he hasnt had a district for since the transfer! We dont know where they were, but the other Elders stayed in their other area for some reason or another. But they are getting here tonight. So we are in the neighbooring area spending some time getting their house as nice as we can. Things are getting hot here! I saw is was 35°c in hermosillo, the hot part of the mission. Elder Rea said that was only about 90°f and LOW! We are expecting over a hundred for a few months. Next month until about august. I hope I am somewhere cooler by then! I have gotten so tan. Except for where my watch is :) Missionary tan! A bit more about me. About what I am learning here. I have been learning a lesson in temperance. Learning self control in everything, because in the mission, we really are representatives of Jesus Christ. It isnt something we say to hook people and get them to listen. Its true! For good or for bad, a wonderful impression or an "ugh, that Elder was this that and the other." Everyone watches everything. So I have been trying to not only LIVE like the Savior, but BE like him. Like the words in Timothy, an example of the believers. It is interesting when people actually notice when changes have taken place, but uplifting and encouraging. Anyways, the other lders just arrived, so off we go! Love you all at home, dont stop believing! And dont stop studying conference talks online! Start if you havent, because nothing is more important that the words of the LIVING Prophet.
Elder Marsh