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

Monday, April 4, 2011

More suprise baptisms!‏

So It happened again this weekend! We had two more baptisms! But this
time was crazy different. Something that hasnt even happened to Elder
Rea who has been out for 21 months. We were studying one morning. It
was between 8 and 9 am on Friday. The lady we have been working with,
Oralia, came with her oldest daughter who is a member here. They came
and said they wanted to talk about Oralia's husband. He is really old
and sick and they dont really know what will happen to him. So I am
thinking they want us to give him a blessing. I was sure wrong when
they said he wanted to get baptized!! And Oralia too, who wouldnt ever
set a baptismal date with us! How often in a mission do two baptisms
come to your front door?! It was way awesome. I guess Elder Rea and I
are doing something right! He really isnt that bad. He is a really
good guy. He just has a LOT of time in the field and is just really
exhausted. On top of training. On top of basically no one to teach.
But It is all good. I am learning a huge lesson in patience and
learning to just simply be happy! Because every personal has complete
control over their feelings. So I am making sure I always am happy :)
Even though I feel sick again... I am still getting used to the life
style here. And OHHH man. To round off a weekend of baptism, what more
than a SPIRITUAL FEAST of General Conference! Mom, you HAVE to send me
the discs of the talks in spanish when they come out. I watched
conference in English because it is kinds odd in spanish. Someone else
talking over the prophet. In October, I'll understand spanish well
enough to get a lot out of conference. There were SO many great talks!
There wasnt a single one that I didnt like. I saw everything but
RElief Society. And dad, Priesthood Session ROCKED!!! I cant WAIT for
the next Liahona to study the talks over again! There was SO much in
all of conference about priesthood, family, marriage, and the second
coming. At least I felt they talked about these subjects. President
Monson is SOOO amazing. I love his manner of speach. So full of love,
but VERY stern on the things we shouldnt do. They are getting more and
more bold from the pulpit, because this world is getting more and more
ripe in iniquity. I remember someone in conference saying that
immorality in society is ABSOLUTE FILTH. God is very serious about
getting is message across and separating the true saints from the rest
of the world. I forgot what talk I wanted to share with you, because I
dont have my note binder. But next week I will remind you all. For
conference, there was a bunch of elders who came to stay in our area
over night to watch all of conference. On saturday between sessions,
we bought about 600 pesos in tacos de carnitas :) I am excited to
receive that package! To hear from my family! I am waiting to get more
stuff to send off to you all, so claud needs to be patient :) And
Kimberly, if you read this, CONGRATS ON GETTING IN TO BYU!!! I know
this was something you really wanted, so, I'm proud that you are
accomplishing what you want to do :) So family, los quiero ¡UN MONTON!
Spanish is coming. SLowly, but it is. Am I fine and safe. Keep reading
and praying, and be sure to have a kneeling prayer, personally and
individually! This comunication with our Father is SO impartant. He
literally is our Father. We are children of GOD! Once we learn that,
everything seems possible. As children of this Enternal Being, we have
an INFINITE CAPACITY to become like Him. So rememeber that, and
remember that I love you all so much! Until next week, my eternal
family :) And thank you to all the other people who read the blog!
Shout out to my homie SHELLEY LESLEY, for keeping it real! Until next
week!

¡Vaya con Dios!
Elder Marsh