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 :)