Thursday, December 22, 2011


Okay, seriously, for real this time, SO MUCH HAS HAPPENED. I hope my little fingers can go fast enough to tell you ALL the important things.
Tuesday morning, left the MTC 630 am, arrived in the mission about 710 am. Went to a church to meet the lovely mission president winn and his energetic and bubbly wife sister winn. I was just praying all morning for some confirmation that I knew I was supposed to be here. Anyway, President gets up, says this is the highest baptizing mission and we still have 230 more to go before the end of the year to reach our goal. We all got up, told about our self, a little testimony then he said the Lord would tell him who our companions were to be. So, my turn comes up, I got a new companion Sister Jennifer Picuasi from Ecuador. Our area is Rose Park... when he told me that I had no idea where it was but the girl next to me goes, "oh my, you will get shot, I have never been allowed to go there cause it's too dangerous. the is the ghetto" YESSS!!! That was my confirmation right there. The Lord just knows me too well, in the ghetto with a latino comp, okay, I can do this. We live with 2 other sister's, Sister Harris from San Diego and her companion just so happened to be my comp from the MTC, so me and hermana johnson still live together! Anyway, we live in the basement of a members house. She lives alone with her disabled grand daughter. She is really cute, and lots of times the grand daughter just shows up. We will say amen from a prayer and she will be standing right above us. Or just staring at us while we study or things like that haha. It's super funny, she's a sweetheart. The house is so ghetto as well. We have no kitchen, so we have a tiny fridge and microwave, do our dishes in the bathroom sink, all 4 of us sleep in the same room, all our beds are touching, and for my clothes I use a plastic bin. All the other sisters in the mission have cars, but we get bikes! Fun fun fun. And I am so glad the package got to me because we went tracking on Tuesday and I WAS FREEEEEZING. So I was super glad I have a jacket. I also wear my scarfs around my head and mouth like an islamic because my face gets super cold when riding. Anyway, that's my new life. And seriously, I have talked to 1 white person while knocking on doors. All else are African, Tongan, or Mexi. It's the best ever. But pretty dangerous. For example, while tracking the other day this black guy comes up to us and was like, "oh puhleasse don't tell me you dem jahoooova winesses peeeple." No we aren't we are from The church of jesus christ of latter day saints. "Ohhh, yeah, I knows all bout you. I bet dey neva teach you in sunnndi school dat dem black peeeeple cudn't have dat preeeshood. I go to church fuur lonng time and I neva cud pass dat bread stuff caaus I dint have dat preeeshood power. So you mormons can jus git away frum me now." Other stories, knocked on this guys door and he was super high on drugs, another lady shut the door on us in the middle of our prayer with her, this other black lady wasn't interested in our message oh boy, but she was more than happy to sing hymns with us. Man was she getting into it! So there is the good and the bad. But it's the best thing ever.
Some good things that have happened. While out knocking doors we were trying to get ahold of this reference we had get but he wasn't answering the door. While we were there out of the corner of my eye I saw this lady from the apartment below taking out the trash and immediately had the impressing, you need to talk to her. So a couple minutes later we went down there and luckily she was outside smoking. We talked to her for a while and her life is crazy. 34 and has 2 grandchildren. But I couldn't even explain it. I could just see in her eyes that she was out of hope. She couldn't even breath when we were telling her about Jesus Christ and the love He has for her. We sang with her I need thee every hour, and she started crying. So she is now reading the BOM and has a date to get baptized. She is sucha sweet lady, maria is her name. Such a miracle we found her and those are the prepared people the Lord has for us. Then we are teaching the Mota family. All were baptized 2 weeks ago except the husband, he was never open to it until he realized the difference it made in his whole family, so he decided to get baptized. Their family is REALLY struggling right now. He doesn't have a job, the mom is really sick. They have 5 kids in 1 apartment. They are so cute though. Every time we come over the kids just run up and hug us, it's the best thing ever. Anyway, the other day we were talking down the street and I randomly saw 20 bucks just laying on the grass in the middle of nowhere. Of course I was stoked to get 20 bucks, then had a thought, we should just put this on Joaquin's door (dad of the family) so on our way to the Christmas party we just stuck in on their door and left. We went to visit them sunday morning to make sure they were coming to church and the mom was crying and was like Joaquin just had to take Michael (their baby) to the hospital cause he woke up this morning and there was vomit and hershey squirts all over his bed and he couldn't move. They HAVE NO MONEY for a hospital bill. But she was telling us that when he went to the hospital since they didn't have insurance there was something that covered them but they still had to pay a little bit to get the medicine and stuff. She was just crying and said, "But it is a miracle because the other night some little angel put 20 dollars on our door and that was exactly the amount came to at the hospital. I was planning on using it to buy pampers for my kids, now I don't know how I will buy those, but I was just grateful for that little miracle God gave my family so we could take Michael to the hospital." So who ever would have though that 20 dollars could have saved the day, I sure didn't, but our loving Heavenly Father does. And He always has a way of some how making things come together. That doesn't mean it's easy, it just means He still has His hand in our lives and is kindly guiding us, even when things are hard.
We are teaching a few other families, Cruz family with a mom and three daughters, they are loving being taught. She even invited her friend to hear from the missionaries cause they say they have both been looking for the truth for a really long time, and she wanted to friend to know about it. So that's like a 2 in one. We found an inactive family with a 12  year old son that has never been baptized. He really wants to be and the family came to church on sunday and is really loving having the missionaries over.  We also found this other man whose wife is catholic but he is getting baptized. His son can't walk or talk so he really loves the plan of salvation and has had a testimony of the book of mormon ever since he opened it. His question to us yesterday was, if my wife doesn't get baptized how am I ever going to reach exaltation without her? Good thing God is a loving father, who definitely has a plan!! But there are so many miracle that happen, I am so grateful to be here. The Lord knows me so well and put me just where I needed to be, just with the Latino world, I seriously forget I am in Utah, the only that reminds me of it is the licence plates. Oh and the whole mission got together on saturday and Dallin H. Oaks came and  hung out with us for a day. He spoke to us, them joined us in our talent show, ate lunch with us. The whole deal,  he is a super goofy, jolley old man. His shoulder shake really hard when he laughs. I loved it. He also wakes up at 4 every morning, so I can't complain. We did it in the Holladay North Stake center building and all the members that made us christmas lunch have children on missions. So we sang Army of Helaman and Called to Serve for them. There was not one dry eye in the room. It was really powerful.
Christmas DAY!! Whoo. I'll be calling home 6ish. I have 30 minutes. So let's get in those I love you's!!!!
I hope and pray each of you realize the amazing blessing we have of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Maybe we can't convert everyone around us, but we are planting seeds. This gospel and knowledge of a loving Heavenly Father and a Savior is something the world is starving to know. Never be afraid to share with amazing blessing you have!!!
Peace and love from above. See you at temple square haha. Just kidding. I won't be there, thank goodness!!! Though I am sure the lights will be lovely. Merry christmas to all, and to all a good night. Behave yourself now.
With love, kisses and hugs,
La Hermana Marshall


Hey mom, here is an email from the new mission president in SLC!! Sorry the phone call was cut short, the pay phone cut me off a minute early so I didn't even get to say I LOVE YOU!!!!
Hope all is well. I have been meaning to tell you, my favorite christmas story is I BELEIVE IN SANTA. It's short, but relates santa to Jesus Christ. It only has a few words, but it's awesome! Or the one about the christmas dress and the little girl that didn't believe in christmas because her family was so poor. I know Madison has the first book. LOVE YOU!!! Good luck in your lesson. I know you are amazing and have such a great effect on the girls. I am also glad you are getting your life in balance. If life were a cookie I think working too much would be like swapping the amounts of the salt and sugar. A cookie is no good with 2 cups of salt and only 1 tbsp of sugar!
May God be with you. I'll update you on my new area. Tomorrow this time I will be there! Ahh, what should I wear haha!!!
Love, Hermana Marshall


Elders and Sisters,

During the first week in December we had 53 baptisms and 46 confirmations bringing our total for 2011 to 2436.  We have three big weeks in the pipeline with 75, 86, and 110 on date.  I don't have the results for this past week but we will let you know as soon as we have the results.  The Lord is very proud of your obedience, hard work and faith.  You are giving Him the best present you every could this Christmas.

As we prepare for our January zone conference I am taking a survey and would like your thoughts and comments.  I would like you to take a minute and think about what it is that a high baptizing missionary does versus a low baptizing missionary.  Not their characteristics, but what are the specific things that they do that result in baptizing every week.  Every missionary needs to be obedient, diligent, faithful, clean, charitable, etc.  But I am looking for the specific actions that you have seen that make for a high baptizing missionary.  Please let me know in your letter this week the 3-5 things that you think make for a missionary who baptizes every week.  Thanks for taking the time to do this.

I want to share with you an experience I had this week.  We were teaching a woman who has had many problems in her life.  You could say her life was a mess.  She expressed her experience in going to church this way, "I felt like I could breathe again."  What a wonderful way of describing something we all too often take for granted.

Keep up the great work.  You are all doing so well and we are so proud of you.  Everywhere we go the members tell us how great you are and how much they love having you in their homes.

We love you,  

President  & Sister Winn


 Hello dearest family.
WHERE TO START... I got my reassignment. Long story. I've been having some pretty dedicated conversations with my Heavenly Father about where I was going to get reassigned. I told him, that I probably shouldn't get reassigned to Utah... cause if I go to Temple Square or SLC I won't tell my family where I'm at, cause I don't want them to find me. I also told him these places won't be a very good idea. I told him I would be pretty upset, and I'm sure there are plenty of people in NY, Texas, California, Florida or even Arkansassy that could use me. I promised him I would work really hard.... So we talked about it for a couple of nights in a row. Then last night, I didn't have a change of heart, but we came to a compromise. I said, I know the Spain consulate is in SLC and it will be most practical for me to serve there, and I know the gospel is important everywhere. So I told him that if it be his will, and I did go to SLC, that I will go and I will serve under the condition that I didn't see anybody I knew. No family. No friends. Only people truly searching for the gospel. He agreed with my that this would be a good idea. So family and friends, for who knows how long I will be serving in the Salt Lake City Utah Mission.... dream come true. If you see me, walk the other way, please!!!! I leave Tuesday morning at 6 am for the 20 minute bus ride with 8 other Spain sisters to start a mini mission ha! Now thinking about it, it's pretty hilarious. But luckily for mission covers over to Wyoming and Nevada, it barely even covers around salt lake. Aunt Kimberly's house is even in my mission... so tell her to have the missionaries over for dinner haha. Anyway, that's the best news of my life as of today. Just gotta ride with the tide and go with the flow. But I will be calling home Sunday for 5 minutes.... so I will call in the morning sometime before you go to church since I don't get to call from the airport, yet.
I GOT TWO OF THE BEST PACKAGES OF MY LIFE THIS WEEK. 1. from the sweetheart Irene Hola who had all her kids so kindly write my letters and treats and a Christmas book. Irene, thank you dearly! 2. Some wise soul (brooke shoko foster) managed to sneak in TACO BELL to the mtc. BEST.MEAL.OF.MY.LIFE!!! Thank you so much miss cookie. You know how to feel my soul haha.
Also, Natalie Sargent got her mission call to serve in CHILE! That is super exciting. I cannot wait for her! Two of my roommates are having surgery this week. One is getting her gallbladder out and the other is getting her knee worked on cause her knee cap keep popping out of place. My challenges are nothing compared to theirs, they are so strong and such a good example to me. So pray for them and I may be wiping some bums this week if the patients need me!
We had an amazing workshop this week on the atonement. We talked a lot about the unconditional and conditional parts of the atonement. The atonement is unconditional to all mankind in overcoming death and the fall of Adam. Everybody will be resurrected. As missionaries it is our job to share and invite people to the conditional part of the atonement. The part that is made conditional on us, we are the determining factor of how much grace and mercy we receive. It is by our faith, our willingness to change and our turning our heart to him that we receive the fullness of the atonement. We were teaching this baptist guy and he asked the question, "in my church, I know I am saved. I just have to accept Christ and he takes care of the rest. But I would never want to join your church because I would never know how much I need to do to gain salvation." Such a legitimate question right. He's exactly right. Our church does require works, because faith without works is dead. We were stumped. Everything we were trying to say we were getting into a deeper hole. The teacher of the workshop taught us afterward, that if he's asking, how much do I have to do, he doesn't get it. He doesn't understand the atonement and the price that was paid for there to be an atonement. He doesn't understand it's healing effects and what joy it can bring. Because when we truly understand it, when we understand the sacrifice that was paid, and how much we can truly gain from it, then we no longer ask what more do I have to do... but instead, what more can I do for you, my Savior.
I am totally out of time and have to teach a lesson in 3 minutes! But he is getting baptized on Saturday!!! WHOO.. He finally overcome his addiction to pornography and the word of wisdom. The atonement is real. It can heal each of us and make us whole once again. Talk to you Sunday. Peace and love.
Love, Hermana Marshall


WOW! Thanksgiving sounds like a blast and a half!! Christian, how did you like the grand canyon? Pretty amazing yeah? One day I will hike it. And congrats on being accepted to LDS Business college! That is so exciting. Two of my MTC roommates went there before their missions, they are from Mexico and Equador. So if you don't find a pretty lady in Salt Lake and wait long enough maybe you can marry one of them, that will be fun! Ryan and Aleesha, how was thanksgiving with the Fife fam? Hope all is well. Weirdest thing happened, I saw this lady the other day with Fife lips... You and all your sisters have the same lips, and the best part of all, this lady looked like Michael Jackson so then I totally thought of your other sister that wears all black and big shades. Anyway. Hope all is well and hope you are loving California and recieved my letter with pictures I sent you! Sisters, how was the PHOTOSHOOT!!! Holy hannah, glad Ryanne waited until I was out of the picture yeah? I bet you all looked beautiful. Hair and makeup professionaly done? I can't even image how pretty you all looked. I really hope Cameron participated and was dressed up like our little sister (remember when we always fooled ryan's friends he was our little sister with make up and princess dresses) Sorry buddy. But Cam how was thanksgiving for you? Glad you had Christian to spend some time with so you didn't have to be the only boy the whole car ride down! I bet seeing Danny and David was so fun!! Sounds like over all is was a successful trip and holiday! Glad to hear everyone is doing good!
Mom- this quote is for you. This should be the scripture you always have with you! "Blessed are those who are flexible for they shall not be bent out of shape." It's a pretty good one, and oh boy, you are pretty flexible! That's what I love about you. I always brag to my friends how my mom always does cheers and kicks above the fridge haha.

There are a couple of stories I would like to begin with. One, remember how my companion let's them rip ALL THE TIME. They smell so bad and are always so loud. She has the worst gas of anybody I have ever met! So I found a whoopie cushion the other day in the give away box and decided to play a prank on her. So, we have 6 girls in our room. First night we started with Sister Smith, from Georgia. We gave her the tooting device and when my comp came back in the room she blew it up like 4 times and ripped them huge! My comp was rolling on the ground with laugher then she was like, OH GIRL I CAN DO BETTER THAN THAT. Then she says, MY GOSH IT SMELLS SO BAD IN HERE. (little does she know it has to be her that stinks). So over the past couple nights we have been passing it around the room and letting each sister take their turn fooling her. She thinks it is the funniest thing in the entire world. And she never fails to say, Oh my gosh girl... get the febreeeeeeze! It smells so bad..... haha! So I just find that pretty entertaining. Especially if she brings it up the next day and is like man, I was really could not breath last night from everybody smelling so bad. But one day to her suprise she may find out she is only punishing herself.
Then yesterday I had the great opportunity of being a host! That means I get to welcome and new missionaries and introduce them to the MTC, show them around, get them to their room and all that jazz. It was great! But who would have ever known that's how it happened, I guess you don't get the special treatment when you're late ha. It was actually harder to watch other people leave their families though. I guess when I was the one leaving I just had so many thoughts running through my head I didn't really notice the looks on everyones faces and if anyone got in the car crying. But it was so sad so see little brother hand his big brother his backpack and look down and start crying, while mom just can't get enough hugs from her son and dad is proud but is really going to miss him. It was really cool to experience it from the other side of things and not actually being in the picture. But the first girl I helped with an adorable sister from Cody, Wyoming. Just a cute little cowgirl that was going to New Mexico on her mission. She was so excited to her here and said she is the 6th out of 8 sisters to serve a mission. Her other sister returns home from her mission in 3 weeks! So I helped her around and taught her all the secrets! Then when we were rapping things up some girl just came out of no where and some elders were trying to help her then they yelled, 'um.... can we get someone that speaks spanish to help this sister.' So I went over and get her stuff and she just looked scared to death!! It was so sad. She is from Puerto Rico and doesn't speak a lick of english. She was such a sweetheart though! She was telling me how she is a convert of 4 years and converted with her 2 little sisters. She said how she really hopes her little sister who is 20 will go on a mission soon!! So I helped her through everything then took her to her class room and gave her a hug, she sat in her seat and just started sobbing. It was the saddest thing in the world. She was so overwhelmed and does not think she will be able to learn english. I was talking to her for a while, then her companion came in the room.... and it was the best thing ever. She was in the exact same boat. She was from puerto rico as well! They started talking and you could see it in her face that she had hope again! It just goes to show how merciful our loving Father in Heaven is and how well He knows us. He gave her exactly what she needed to help her get through. He is so kind like that.
Anyway... Thanksgiving was GREAT!!! We had a man by the name of Russel M. Nelson come and speak to us, anybody heard of him? His wife Wendy gave an amazing talk on how there will be times in life when what the Lord asks of us seems unlogical and we will not have a clue how to do it. You see this over and over again in the scriptures. But you also see that when we say "I will go and do because I know the Lord will provide a way" that the Lord always does provide away, a way that is better than we ever could have imagined. We should never seek to do things after the manner of men, but after the manner of God. We must always seek His guidance, for He will show us how to build a ship or a barge, and how to make tools or provide light, He will show us where to find food and how to build a bow when ours broke and our family is starving. He will show us how to win a battle when all odds are against us. When we seeks to do things His way, He always provides a way. We will always live the gospel when others are doubting, denying and saying this way is better and more fun, it's so much better. But why will we live the gospel, because we form our life after the pattern that God has drawn for us. Then, when the rains come, the storms are fierce, the temptation is strong and the battle is close, we will not be washed away or beated. We will stand strong.
Elder Nelson also tied his talk into this. He told us about how the church was first established in Russia. He and a member of the 70 went over there and were yelled at many people from the government saying, your church has no chance here. You will never meet any of the requirements, so just leave. But 4 years later, after ALL they could do, even though they didn't know how to do it, after being kicked out and rebuked, the Lord put His hand in and opened up the doors of Russia. He said, "You are on a mission. You don't know how to do it. But after you have done the best you can, after the manner of the Lord, not the manner of men... The Lord in His loving kindness puts His hand in the picture and makes up the rest."
Then we continued the day by making like 8,000 humanitarian packets to go to Sudan. That's what we did all day. They were medical/emergency kits. It was the best thing ever. We should start this tradition in our family.
My two favorite things I have learned this week. 1-the true meaning of "keep the commandments." Our branch president always refers back to the hebrew defenition of words. He said to keep means 'to build a protective wall'. Then the word commandment meants 'to establish the appointed pattern.' So KEEPING THE COMMANDMENTS means "to build a protection around the patterns which the Lord gives us." Commandments are only a pattern of living that the Lord gives us, he shows us the pattern that we may establish it in our lives and prevail again the devil, these patterns become a protection against evil. And you want to know the best part... Every pattern the Lord establishes brings blessings. Every pattern, chastity, honestly, tithings, attending church and the temple, partaking of the sacrament, reading scriptures, and praying brings blessings and a closeness to God. We gain strength, confidence before the Lord, confidence before your fellowman, trust in relationships, health in the navel, the windows of heaven are opened, you are clean and are able to obtain guidance and direction in every decision in life, and the best of all, we have the constant comfort and company of the Holy Ghost. We must trust the Lord's ability to bless us and we follow His patterns. Any weakness in a pattern we bring unto Him, He will make it a strength.
The next thing I learned was in a workshop we had yesterday. We read in the bible dictionary the definition of CONVERSION. Read it. Read the scriptures that go along with it. Conversion isn't a one step, boom, I know and I am converted for life. He (Christ) says, "It is a continued process of Christ blotting out our sins through the atonement, refreshing us in our daily struggles and trials, old things are passed away, old sins are forgotten and you can become a new creature in Christ. I have prayed for thee that thy faith faileth not, and when thou art converted, convert thy bretheren. AND I WILL HEAL THEM."
Conversion is changing and coming unto the Lord and being better than we were yesterday. We are continually converted as we overcome sins, trials and struggles in our life. It is a mighty change in our hearts and lives that brings about a new person. We can be healed and refreshed. We can become a new person in Christ, be closer to Him and more like Him than we were in the past. The best part of this activity was that I had to write down my own conversion story. Yeah, I was born in the church, but through out life I have had to be converted, to know Christ is my savior, that I can always rely on Him, that His ways are better than my way and most importantly, whenever I fall, no matter what mistake I make or how far down I am, the Lord can lift me and heal me. This process of conversion will continue through each of our lives, until and end of our lives! I love it though. It was portrayed in a way I have never imagined, and it's a beautful thing. Such an amazing gift the Lord has given us.
My lovely companion and I attended the temple this morning. I JUST LOVE THE LITTLE OLD COUPLES. They are so stinking adorable. And we found out a great secret... Temple food is WAY better than MTC food. So every p-day we eat breakfast, do the temple stuff, eat lunch. My soul and stomach are both filled by the time I leave. It's just so amazing the strength that comes from being in the temple. This is the best pattern we can develop in our lives, one the brings the richest blessing.
Millions of other things have happened this week, but my little fingers just can't quite type fast enough. Although we did talk to Jamie in the travel office at church headquarters... and she said Spain just sent her NEW APPLICATIONS to apply for visas, because they just went through elections and got a new government. So she is in the processes of reapplying all the visas! Come on spainards, get it together. So I will leave the MTC December 13th and who knows where I will end up for christmas or the next couple months. Who knows, maybe I'll just have to go visit spain after my mission! But one of the sisters on my floor was telling me when she did study abroad to spain the sister missionaries got arrested and taken to jail overnight for leaving a BOM at someones house. Secretly, I would love if that happened!! Don't tell them that. Crazy though huh!
Some good news, Natalie Sargent turned in her mission papers! I am waiting to see where she is going, but am SOOOO stinking stoked for her!!! Madison Beyers has a KILLER wedding dress and wedding plans. That will be a wedding not to miss, wedding of the year is the rumor I started about it. Brooke Shoko Foster is heading over to China/Africa/Thailand for the next couple months of her life. What fun things are happening!
Everyday I am just so amazed at how true the church it. It's all so simple, but for some reason we make it so difficult for ourselves. The Lord has provided this marvelous plan for us to be successful and happy... so take part in it! Soak it up cause it's the best thing in the world. I am so grateful for the personal relationship we can each have with Jesus Christ, and when we rely on Him, all things are possible. If you don't know this for yourself, you to know Him- you won't be dissapointed.
I love you all. Send a little more snow down this way to the provo area. The land is as dry as could be..... Hugs and kisses from the sister missionary.
Love, Hermana Marshmellow