Tuesday, March 27, 2012

03-21-2012

Familia y amigos-
Estoy AQUI!!!! Yessss. I love Spain. I just love it. The accent is different which is great, but the words they use... are just so different!!! They never use the word frijoles, cause they just don´t even exist. If anything is handsome, sweet, good, great, cool, pretty, awesome is all que quay. ALL THE TIME. Everything, que quay. Yeah my dog just got hit by a car, que guay. Then vale is like the okay, or esta bien or bueno equivalent. We never go to our casa, we only go to our piso. Every swear word possible in mexico is common language here. I met the Family Chinga the other day, so it´s fine. But the thing I probably miss the most is that nobody yells, ´´andale gorditas´´ when we are riding our bikes and walking on the street. I love it though, it just feels so right to be here.
It is so beautiful. The buildings, the streets, the history is amazing. Today we went sight seeing to some castles and stuff, and it was gorgeous because it was raining all day so it just makes everything look so much cleaner and so vibrant. I just love it!!
Man, so much has happened. Seriously, have I been here for 5 years yet, cause it feels like it. So the MTC experience was great. It´s smaller, and you get to leave when you need to and 3 times a week we hopped on the metro to Madrid´s contral park to do a little preaching and teaching. I loved my red headed comp Sister Coakwell, just a sweet little shy girl, but so hilarious! Every week we got to go to the beautiful Madrid temple and the language of the session was decided by majority of people that spoke what ever language. That was fun. I had some amazing experiences in the park and enjoyed myself a lot there. Then it came time for the REAL DEAL, like the REAL one this time.
There were 2 sisters and 8 elders from the MTC going to the Madrid mission. So at 8 am thursday morning President Watkins and his lovely wife came to the MTC to have a little orientation meeting with all of us. He told us what he expects of us and the standards for the mission. Then I got my new comp! My real mom. My real mission mom, no more of the babysitter business. Straight up native from Argentina!!! From some little pueblo Santa Elena. She and her family got baptized 3 years ago. Hermana Gabriela Farías. Such a stinking sweet heart and lucky for me she doesn´t speak a lick of english. She´s been in the mission for 11 months and is just great. I love her lots, just so funny and we really have a great time. We live with two other sisters who are serving in Barrio 1. Hermana Hernandez from Chiwwwaaawwwaaa, Mexico and the other Hermana Wilson from Califonia. We go to bed at 11 and up at 7 in the winter but in a few weeks we are changing to the summer schedule which is out till 1030, bed at 1130 and up at 730.... then sandals are also permitted in summer time.
We are white washing... meaning both are in an area we have never been before. Sisters haven´t been here for a while because there weren´t enough in the mission. We are in Barrio 5... HUGE AREA. We have 44 metro stops that we cover. Seriously, where do we even start?? It´s just been a wild experience trying to find out where people live. We have been working a lot trying to locate the less actives and majority of the time the apartment does not exist! The ward we are in covers a majority of the tourist locations so they tell us people are constantly moving in and out. We have about 25 english speakers in our ward some from the states but a lot from Scottland and England. Everything here is based off metro stops, then the street name (never a number), then the number of their apartments, then what floor they live on and what number it is. It´s nothing like finding a house in America. We never knock doors here, (which is the one thing I learned how to do in Rose Park). Because there are no doors to knock, the only way to possibly knock doors is to ring the doorbell speaker thing out of the street and have them let you in. Every living habitation in Spain is apartments... there are like 10,000,000 people here and a ward covers about 3,000,000 of them. We do a lot of street and metro contacting though, we also get all the referals we can!!! As a mission the goal is to contact 105 people a week, that´s not just talking to them, but telling them about the church, giving them something, and getting their information.
Most of our ward is south americans, tons of ecuadorians and peruvians. They are just the sweetest things in the world. Our first day here we got a call that some other missionaries had met this lady on the metro that lives in our area. So we decided to go visit her. Come to find out her husband was baptized when he was 8 but never went back to church after he was 12. They just moved here from Ecuador a couple years ago and only had enough money to bring their 8 year old daughter. Their 10 year old is living in Ecuador still with her grandmother. So we talked to them and found out that for a while he´s been wanting to come back to church. They came to church on sunday!! They got dressed up so nice, and THEY LOVED IT. Their little daughter loved primary and the dad said it was just like he remembered it.
We also found this family from Republic of Dominican. Their daughter was baptized almost a year ago. We went by and the mom told us she has been reading the book of mornon and has been living the word of wisdom. The daughter in law has been sitting in with us and really wants to learn more and they are both coming to church this sunday.
There have been 10 million other amazing and crazy experiences. Like when I was standing in the metro the other day and all the sudden I felt someone squeeze my arm super tight. I turned around and this tiny old man was just looking at me straight in the face and smelled horrible. He just asked us, where are you going? I think you are going the wrong way! I just asked him how many he had had to drink cause he was obviously the most drunk person I've ever smelled and seen in my life!!!  On our way to church the other day we came up out of the metro and there was a marathon going on. There was this black guy on the corner who has a huge box of wine and was cheering for every single person who ran by. When a black person ran by he was like RUN BLACK BROTHER RUN. Then when a blondie would run by he was like RUN BLONDIE RUN!!! On and on and on, cheering for every single person. He came over to us and said, I´m not drunk, I am a good person. Then when a little old lady tried to get mad at him he said, I promise I only have water in this little box of mine. I was super entertained.
I am so grateful to be here. Everytime I study the gospel it all just makes so much sense. It just works together so perfectly. I feel so privlaged to be sharing this message with the world. I just look into every face of everybody I see and think man, if only they knew how much God loved them.
I love you all so much. Thank you for your INSPIRING emails this week. I really needed them. You be good now. Remember that you are of great worth and I hope you each find the true joy living the gospel brings. Nothing is too hard if you always seek the guidance and counsel of Heavenly Father.
Much love from across the atlantic.
Hermana Marshall

03-15-2012

Family-
 
I literally have no time to email this week. But I am going into the field at 8 am tomorrow morning. Seriously, it´s about time I start my mission!!!! Ahhh. Seen so many miracles this week when we went contacting in the park. I man just walked right up to me and said I want to know more about your church because I know the bible isn´t complete and we have to recieve the gift of the holy ghost by the laying on of hands. YESSSS!!!!!!
I love it. I love you all. Thanks for all your emails, I will hopefully have pday on monday.
 
Peace and love from spain.
 
Love, The Marshall Myster

03-08-2012

Well, Madrid is marv. I´m loving it. We are STILL considered visa waiters while here in the MTC, so everybody in our district has already been in the field.... this means, we have LESS class and study time and we go out to this huge central park and go proselyting. I have had some very interesting experiences. You first walk in the park and everytime we´ve been there there is a huge gang of blacker than black africans who are drunk. So once we get past them and all their comments then we can start the real work. People here just aren´t as nice as those cute little latinos we all love. First real person I ever talked to in spain yelled at me... Well he was nice at first talking about his family and job. The moment I said anything about the church he just looks at me and basically yells "LEAVE IT ALONE, JUST LEAVE IT ALONE!" So... rejection. Then we went into the park the other day and this man in english just yells "Go home, GO HOME, we don´t need you here. Just go home!!" I just smiled. Then I was talking to this other lady on the metro and just looks at me and says, "I don´t want it."
But some people do listen!! Last saturday when we went to the park I had two russian companions. I taught them the basic phrases so they would say hi to people and ask them what their name was then just look at me. We found this sweet sweet 84 year old man with no teeth. His wife died 4 years ago and he started crying when talking about her. He was telling me how he has her ashes on his fire place at his house. So we taught him the plan of salvation and wants to hear more, so we got his info and the missionaries in his area will go visit him. Then we found this other man, Feliz, or Happy is his name, and he just feels like God is a jerk cause he let's all his children suffer ALL over the world. But him listened, answered a ton of his questions, and that was a really amazing experience. He started to see that maybe God really does love the world.. We talked to these super cute little 15 year olds, the girl is christian and the boy has never had a religion and doesn´t know if God exists. But we talked to them and everything we told them they just loved and said they´ve never got those kind of answers before in their church. Hmm.
Probably my favorite part of everything.... Remember how great it is when Chinese people speak english. You know like in New York when everyone is trying to sell you stuff... and in restaurants when all they want in hot water and noodles. Well, it´s so much BETTER when they try to speak spanish!!!! Best thing of my life. They still are here, selling sunglasses and purses and probably even hot water. Just so entertaining. They are children of God too.
But those Russian missionaries are SOLID. Their lives have literally been rough. The sister that was my companion joined the church then her mom died from cancer, her dad died and brother died from alcoholism all within 3 years. She is the only member in her family and her siblings don´t even know or care where she is right now. That isn´t even the start of all the things that have gone wrong in her life. I was just sitting there listening to her story just thinking in my head, gosh how lucky am I?  I literally never have any reason to whine about little things. Just listening to her testimony of the Savior and her reason for serving a mission, this Sister has LITERALLY suffered in her life, not the suffering like most of us suffer, I didn´t get that pair of shoes I wanted, or I don´t drive the car I want, or my homework is too hard, or I don´t like my body, or I have the flu, or I have a scratch on my arm... but she has fallen into the pits of life.
But who was there for her all along, the Savior himself. The person who loves us the most and understands us the best, who never forsakes us. Even many times she had NO idea He was there. She didn´t even really care that He was there. But His hand was and is always extended and His love always surrounds us. No matter how far we fall or for whatever reason. He understands exactly what it feels like, and what the hurt and pain is like, and what we need to get back up.  He suffered all these things so that we don´t have to, but we have to use our agency to gain access to His help. It´s always there but we have to desire it more than any other pleasure or good thing in the world. His gospel is the only thing that can fill our souls and heal or wounds.
Those dang russians always were tougher than we are. But I really learned a lot about the atonement just by a simple conversation with her.
 
Hope some of that made sense.... we only have 30 minutes to email here in the MTC. As soon as I find a post office be expecting some letters soon.
Be good. Do what´s right. Say your prayers.
 
Con mucho amor, Hermana Marshall
 
p.s. best thing about pday, we can go where ever we want!! Cam guess where I am going today, the real madrid soccer stadium!!! I´ll send you pictures don´t worry!

03-01-2012

Well fam damily, I finally made it! I am here and as loopy as ever due to major lack of sleep, feel like I¨m going back to my night shift days. First time in my life I couldn´t sleep on a plane, probably cause the man next to me smelled SO horrible! It feels so surreal... When I was at the airport with 20 million missionaries I was just thinking to myself, wow, I´ve never really traveled outside of the country with other people except for one with my family. It´s always been just me! So that was weird, but we are here at the Spain MTC for 10-14 days while they do paper work. It´s super weird sitting in class again!! But it´s fine, the thing I¨m super stoked about is that we get an hour of gym time again and there is a huge track, soccer field, basketball courts, tennis courts and todo!!! I am so excited to lose the 45 pounds I gained in Rose Park.... FINALLY have a new companion, even though Sister Johnson is still here with me. I miss her already. Sister Cokewell, she will be serving in Madrid with me and also was a visa waiter in the SLC mission! I have a roommmate from Argentina and is going to Milan Italy... to be serving with the one and only Laurel Simkins. How cool is that!! Anyway, it was a pleasure talking with all of you today on the phone, maybe that was like 2 days ago, but seems like today. Got to get used to the 8 hour difference!! I am pooped and I just fall asleep standing up, even when people are talking to me. Basically sleeping and writing this email. My pday will be on thursday again while I¨m in the MTC, so if anything needs to be mailed just mail it to the Madrid mission office, seeing as I will be in the field shortly.
Favorite experience on the place, two blacker than black home boys from Georgia were behind me on the plane with an elder in between them. They were coming over here to watch their brother play basketball. The Elder started talking to them about being a missionary, the rules and everything. They were just to funny about it. They were like, "Whoa whoa whoa wait now, you can´t even twitter or tweet or nothing like that? And all yalls first name is Elder now? Why can´t you all be unique and have different first names, why do they have to give you a new one... cause now when I say hey Elder and they all gonna start lookin at me and none of ems gonna know who I was talkin to, heck I won´t even know who I was talkin to"  Then when the elder asked them what they knew about God they said, "Well, this is all I know... that there is God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit and then MY MAMA... and that´s all this world needs." The elder brought up the book of mormon and read some of it to them, then they were like, "man, don´t give this book to my friend David who´s sitting right over there cause I know some how he´s gonna use it to try to pick up girls" But my favorite part was when the guy was like, "so, you are going to be here for 2 years but do you even talk spanish? Cause all I know is hola... heeeeeey..... como estas?" Just some excellente entertainment that I enjoyed on this flight of mine.
 
Love you! And you'll hear from me in a weeeeeeeeeeeek or so. The weather is so lovely here, and I just cannot wait for this awesome adventure!
 
Paz y amor,
 
Hermanita Gordita

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

02-27-2012

This week was some kind of adventure!!! Yes sir. My favorite part of the week is when we were riding our bikes and some hispanol yelled, "ANDALE GORDITAS!!!" (meaning hurry up you little fatties!) I just felt right back at home in Mexico.
 
I was at the mission office last Wednesday for a training, and after a break I came back to sit in my seat and a very large statured man by the name of Elder Linder was standing beside my chair. He said, "Sister Marshall, do you want to get out of here?" I just said, "You know, don't tell anyone I said this but yes, I do." Then he said, "Well how do you feel about going to the Provo MTC this friday at 11 am?" I told him I would feel good about it, but then I asked him why I was going. He replied, "Just to go and pick up your visa so you can finally get out of here Wednesday morning." I just smerked and said, "I'll be there!"
My companion didn't asked me what he said for about 20 minutes, then she finally was like, "so what did Brother Linder want?" I just said, "To inform me that I was going to Spain." She almost screamed in the middle of the training.
So pretty sweet yeah, I'll be getting outta here wednesday. Something crazy though, a couple weeks back we were teaching this amazing man who wanted to get baptized on Feburary 25th. After this amazing lesson we had one night I came home and just kneeled down and asked that Heavenly Father would be so kind to let me at least stay until the 25th so I could be here for his baptism.... What do you know. This weekend we had the baptism of 23 year old Antonio Cruz and I got my visa. The Lord is so merciful.
A couple nights before his baptism we were teaching him about the plan of salvation, and at the end of the lesson he said the sweetest prayer. He just said, "thank you that the sisters could come again and teach me that my life could be so much better than I ever imagined." Saturday morning we had his baptism at 11 am. He came alone and had no support, his girlfriend is baptized but super antimormon because of her 4 roommates she lives with and are all horrible examples. She kept telling him not to get baptized, he has no family here, and all his roommates are super catholic and never say one word to us when we are there. But, luckily his girlfriends aunt is active in the church and in our ward. She came to be his support and you could tell he was so grateful! Our ward mission leader gave the talk and just mentioned the great privlage it is to make this promise with the Lord and to have the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost. Antonio just started crying, man crying though, you know, just like a tear here and there. Then we the missionaries did a special musical and he just looked so happy and so ready! He jumped right in the water and literally came out of the water glowing and glisening. Afterward we went to eat and he said the food on the prayer. He just said, "Heavenly Father, thank you so much for this opportunity to be this clean. I can't even describe it but I just feel so good and so happy." During the time we sat there eating dinner with him he told us how many bad example every single mormon friend has been to him, but then he said, you know what, it doesn't matter cause I make my own choices and this is the best choice I could ever make. It just made me so sad, because how many times are we bad examples? Which too often turns somebody away from the light and life and joy the gospel brings. Our example is everything, never be afriad to just be who you are, tell people you went to church on the weekend and how great it was and what you learned, just love being a follower of Christ and be an example of the believers. It's the least we could do for the Savior who did everything for us.
I am so grateful I was able to be here for his baptism. It was definitely one of the high-lights of my life. The other day I just mentioned to him so you going on a mission next? He just said, oh sister, step by step.... I have to start with baptism! But I seriously have no doubt he will go! I have it perfectly planned out that his farewell will be the week after my homecoming!
But this girl has got to go get packing some bags. Thanks so much for ALL your emails. I seriously am working hard on getting letters back to you... I am just seriously lacking on TIME!!! It's just slipping through my fingers.
Remember that time I served 2 1/2 months of my mission in Rose Park, Utah? BEST THING OF MY LIFE. I am so grateful for this opportunity that Lord so sneakily placed in my life. 73 visas came in for missionaries going to spain, and only 6 of them were already in the field. Meaning, those 67 other missionaries will not get this experience I had. My favorite part about it is that I can come visit them all the time after my mission! Those times in life when sometimes we can't ever see what good will come out of the experience we are having, just keep the faith and have patience, never doubt the goodness of the Lord. He so merciful and loving and every single thing he does is for our benefit and our growth.
 
Peace and love from SLC for the last time!
 
Love La Gordita Hermana Marshall

02-20-2012

Snow. YES. Finally. We actually got a decent amount down here is the Park of Roses, so that was pretty neat. Geldmacher is engaged? WHOOP. That is wild. You finally saw my little Arkansassy? I love her so much, and miss her dearly. Her wedding is going to be magazine status, so it's fine.
 
BUT- this week in the mission was 7 days long and 24 hours wide each day. It was just dandy all the way through. A couple weeks ago we were knocking this apartment complex and found this lady who was inactive and hadn't been to church for a couple months, but she said she worked on sunday's so she couldn't go to church still. Then while we were there we just decided to keep knocking a couple doors. We met this 26 year old Nestor. He seemed a little sketch at first, but we just talked to him on the door and the spirit was like, give him bom, give him a bom.... and I was just like, oh no, my comp will do it, and before I knew it the door was shut and we were walking away, and I was like, great, I just made that guy lose his shot at eternal life! The whole way home I was just expecting a lighting bolt to knock me off my bike... everytime we went back he was never home! But the Lord is merciful, so a couple weeks later we finally find him home and we give him a BOM and he was like yeah, of course I'll read it, and we set up a time we could come back. We go back with a member so we can get in his house (cause you have to have 3 girls in the house to go in) and he just starts talking about his parents dying 4 years ago, so now he is the oldest of 6 and they all live with him in his little apartment building. He had a TON of questions about after death and so forth. We start teaching about the Plan of Salvation and he was like, you know that makes sense cause I've always felt like maybe I existed before this life maybe as like a soul or something... Then we talked about the life after and he was just SO ELATED to hear that his parents were okay and that there was a chance of him living with them FOREVER! He was just so comforted, then the next lesson we taught him about the restoration, and he was like yeah, yeah, it all sounds true! He is so willing to pray and read, at church yesterday we talked about our relationship with our Heavenly Father and it was just so cool watching his face while he listened, sounds a little creepy but it's not, cause it was just so incredible for someone to finally understand who he is and where he stands with God.
Then we have Mr. Carlos, he's 29 and he is Eduardo's roommmate. Everytime we teach Eduardo, Carlos comes in like midlesson and listens and we include him and he has tons of questions but he'll never ask them because he feels too dumb to. So we have been trying to just stop by him and he has a lot of questions but he has been so hard to reach. When ever I mention anything about having an open heart to get answers he just says, well, I don't want to open my heart because every time I have it just gets broken. BUT... last night we finally took our first little baby step with him. We just started talking about the BOM and he again had so many questions. He believes is God but just says he doesn't know Him very well, but there has been times in His life where he has just thought about God and asked Him, why am I doing these things in my life and why can't I be happy? We invited him to pray at the beginning of the lesson and he was like, no I can't, I need to practice before I pray to him so I don't sound dumb. But slowly as the lesson progressed, he started opening up little by little. Beverly (our recent convert) bore a LEGIT testimony about how the Book of Mormon has changed every aspect of her life. After trying and trying and trying to help him open up, it was her testimony that did it. He just looked down at the book and looked at us and said, "so you're telling me, that if I take this book a little more seriously, I will find answers to questions I've always had, and it will change my life and help me have a better life?" YES!!! That is exactly what we're saying. He was just like, okay then, of couse I'll read it. Then at the end of the lesson, I just looked at him and was like, so... since now you understand a little better HOW MUCH God wants to hear from you, are you ready to say a prayer? He just got on his knees and said, yeah, yeah I am. During that prayer I just couldn't stop thinking about how incredible it was to experience this son of God having his very first conversation with his Father. I could just imagine the happiness on God's face as his son asked him for help so that he could get closer to him and feel more of His love and change his life. The spirit was so strong and I just couldn't even imagine how the Heavens were rejoicing.
For some reason we make prayer too hard or seem like it's a hard task, but it's just talking and listening to the most loving, patient, kind, powerful creature in the universe who wants us to be completely happy just like He is. Why in the world wouldn't we talk to Him ALL DAY EVERYDAY???
Moral of the story, just say your prayers. There is a way good talk in the october conference ensign that called the Privalge of Pray. Read it. Pray more, and feel the power that comes into your life.
 
I love you fam damily! Be good and remember Jesus in all you do.
 
Paz y amor
 
Hermana Marshall
 
P.S. my new comp is asian
 


 

Monday, February 27, 2012

02-13-2012

HELLO! Thank you all so much for the love and support, just wanted to say that. Happy St. Patrick's day tomorrow! Go luck of the Irish. (Try not to think about anything that has to do with love here on the mission ha...)
EXCEPT, for the LEGIT san valentine dance we had for the ward,  yeah, missionaries can't dance, but that doesn't mean I was so stinking entertained by watching all of these latinos dance. There is one brother in the ward from Mexico, THEY ARE GREAT!!! He is just as wide as he is tall (maybe 5 foot if that) he has a huge fro and was wiggling all over the dance floor. I felt like I was right back in mexico. It was probably the best thing of my life!!!
So today is going to be really short cause here we are doing emails and the place closes early today, so I only have like 5 minutes to write instead of an hour!!
But do you remember Eduardo? The cuban? We found in the rain while he was randomly fixing his blinker? He is so amazing. We were teaching him the commandments the other day, and usually when we teach commandment number 5 which is honor your father and mother everybody agrees and we move on. But it was a little bit different with him, when we were talking about it he was like, "hermanas, it is so important to honor your father and your mother, but one of the main reasons I want to get baptized is to let go of the bitterness I feel everytime I think about them. My parents left me an orphan when I was 5 years old. Years later I found my dad, but my step mom never wanted my around so she would hold my down and cut my legs with a knife. My dad wouldn't let my stay there, so I was on my own again. At a young age, I knew I had an eternal identy and that some how I was a son of God. There were so many times in life I have been alone, literally alone, abandoned, and unloved. But somewhere deep deep down inside my broken heart I knew that I had a perfect Father (as he pointed upward) that would never abandon me and loved me more than anybody else ever had." It was one of the most amazing stories. He told us that's why he appreciated our love so much, because he has no family, his only daughter lives in florida, but he has no wife or other family. We had an amazing conversation with him about the eternal and infinite love Heavenly Father has for him. It was just so amazing to me that after all he had been through, and after life was SO hard, for SO long, he never, never gave up and never lost hope that God loves him.
I hope this is something we never lose sight of. This week has been really hard to see how easy it is for people to forget this. We went over to visit a family who just joined the church before I got here, and the sister says to us when we walk in, how does one leave the church? She said, I just don't really see the blessings anymore, I knew it was true at one point but I always thought things would get better. But we still have money problems, and we even pay our tithing, my family and kids still aren't perfect. I just don't think God is really going to bless me for doing anything that's right. I know I haven't given my 100%, but even if I do, He still won't bless me because there are other people out there getting more blessings than me and they aren't even members of the church.... She went on and on and on. She kept telling us how if the church is really true then she wants a vision from God.
It was just incredible to me how one man, can suffer and suffer and suffer and still turn to God. Then, someone else can see small struggles as a sign that God doesn't even exist. It just reminded me of Nephi verse Laman and Lemuel. Nephi still suffered the same things as they did, yet they always managed to lose sight, cry about every little thing and chose not to follow God because of their afflictions. Then, there is Nephi, who whenever he struggles, he gets on his knees and asks for help cause he knows that God will provide a way to do what He has asked of us. I just pray that as each of us go through times of hardship, doubt, change, temptaion and even times of happiness we can ALWAYS remember the infinite love and compassion and patience our perfect Father in Heaven has for us. He is ALWAYS there. Yeah, maybe this life is full of learning experiences and a lot of times, learning them the hard way, but when we remember that is the reason we are here, and we knew that was the reason before we ever came here, then it makes things a little easier and more worth it. When we keep our eternal perspective with our daily prayers and scripture study, we will never doubt the heavenly help that is poured upon us daily. Remember, when life knocks you on your knees, you are in the perfect position to pray!
 
Peace and love from above!
Sista Marshall

02-06-2012


Oh, hello there!!
 
Courtney, how was the dance?? Your hair and dress were SO CUTE!! Did you kiss him? Don't tell me details like that, I'm on a mission.... but I hope you had the time of your life. Mom didn't send me pictures of anyone else in the family, but I'm sure you all looked pretty too for whatever you were doing.
 
So, good news, I'm still in Salt Lake. Ha. And it's been great. I don't know if I ever told the story about the lady Amy me and Sister Harris met. Well we were trying to find this house one night around 8:30, and this lady was sitting outside smoking and we were about to go down this street and this lady yelled to us, it's probably not down that way cause that's a dead end. Then we started talking to her, she said how her brothers went on missions and she was like oh my word you guys look so cold, why don't you just get in my car and I will drive  you around and help you find this place. So we drive around looking for this address, and she is telling us about her 3 daughters and her rough life she's had.  We never find the street we are looking for so we go back to her house, and the street was the one we were already on and almost walked down until she told us not to. She felt so bad and was like oh my word, I am so sorry the devil just made me lead you astray I am such a bad influence....
We were like oh my word, don't even worry about it, it was so good to meet you and I'm sure there was a reason we were supposed to meet. She dropped us off at home, then a couple days later we walked by again and she runs out from her drive way and gives us a huge hug and she was like, oh sisters, remember the other night when I led you astray but you told me there was a reason we were supposed to meet, well I know there was a reason, cause as soon as you guys got out of the car I felt the more peace than I have ever felt in my life. I just wanted to tell you thank you for showing me your love. We ended up going inside her house and meeting her twin daughters. This was all the way back on Christmas eve though.
For the past week or so Sister Harris and I have really been meaning to go back and visit her, and she's always been on my mind. We got her daughters birthday presents and just wanted to go see how they were doing. Then this Sunday at church we had a meeting with the ward mission leader so we stayed later, then as the other ward was starting I felt a tap on my shoulder. I turned around and it was Amy!!! I was just talking to her for a while and she was like, do you know what, after I met you sisters I started to read my bible and I just felt like church is the place I need to be, this is my first time to church is 15 years. I even brought my girls with me because I decided I needed to be a better mom. And guess what, my daughter, yes my daughter, is going to get her temple recommend today. I don't even know how I could have a daughter so good cause I haven't been a good example but I am so proud of her!!!
We stopped by later that night to drop off the birthday presents. We talked to them about reading the book of Mormon and praying as a family, then when we were done with the lesson one daughter was like, dudes, I just want you to know that the spirit was totally here and I know what you guys are saying are true. I am so glad you are here to help my mom quit smoking so she can live longer and so we can have a better life as a family. Amy was just crying and saying how grateful she was that the Lord sent us to help her quit smoking and get the blessings of the gospel again. She just kept saying how grateful she was that one random night we walked by, she said it is the change in her life she has been waiting for.
 
Then I think I've told you about Antonio, we found him washing his car one day. He's 23 from Veracruz, Mexico. In our first lessons with him he told us how he wants to change his life and knows that praying to the virgin Mary is not the right think go do. So we have been teaching him and he just gets it! His eyes just light up and he loves the changes the church is bringing into his life. We were teaching him the law of chastity this week, and he has had his girlfriend for 4 years (she is a member but he never knew she was). He didn't quite understand why it was important to live, especially after they've been together for so long. But he said he would pray about it and ask God why it was important. Then the next day we went to teach him and he was like, Sisters, I don't think I can live the law of chastity, I just think it will be too hard. We couldn't figure out why he was saying this, then we got it out of him. He started telling us how he works with this guy who is a returned missionary. He told him how the missionaries were coming over to his house and that he was learning about the law of chastity, then the returned missionary said, yeah that law of chastity, I started breaking it a month after I got home from my mission, it's not a very big deal. AHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I wanted to punch that kid in the face. Antonio was just like, if someone who did exactly what you guys are doing and served a mission, if he can't even live this commandment there is no way I can!! I told him the story of Alma the Youngers son Coriantum in Alma 39... we talked a lot about it and we just told him,  yeah there are a lot of bad influences out there and a lot of bad examples, but in all reality the only example we should look to is Christ. The next lesson we had with him he said, sisters, I can do this. I can live this, I know it's important. He has the most sincere desire of anyone I've ever seen.
But that night it made me think so much about the example we set for those around us. We may not even realize the decisions we are making are effecting so many others around us. This sad story of the elder that couldn't keep living what he taught could have been the reason Antonio never came unto Christ. We NEVER know who is watching and who we are being an example for, good and bad. I just hope that where ever we are, what ever we are doing with our life, we can continually be an example for righteousness and show others the joy we find in living the gospel. I had a certain cousin of mine in mind while Antonio was telling me this story, I just hope he decides can shape up his life because I know he is having a negative effect on many many many people around him, but the only thing he may not realize is how powerful his righteous influence could be!! That's the way it is with all of us, we can change lives everywhere we go when we just allow the Lord to be with us and put us where we need to be!!
We also baptized an adorable 8 year old Destiny this week, her dad is in prison and it's so sad!! But her sister and mom got baptized a while ago and we just taught her the lessons and she was so excited to jump in that water.
Wish I had more time to write!! Love you all!!!
 
Love, Marshall
 
P.S. Trailer Park picture is dedicated to Madison Beyers, Carson Ward and Joshua Hancey. FOUND ME A PLACE TO LIVE!!!
 




 

01-30-2012

Another week FULL of stories. Where do I begin.
 
To answer your question mommy, YES Natalie did come do spilts with me... It was so great, she definitely saw the real life of missionary work, being told to leave, having plans fall through and all that jazz, but it was a huge blessing to have her with us and her spanish is so great. She'll be an AMAZING missionary. And I saw Elder Gallup today. And the mission president took our whole zone to Tocano's for lunch today... SOOOO GOOD! I even ate chicken heart.
 
I wish my fingers could type faster cause there is so much to write. Sibilings, be expecting letters soon.
 
For starters, favorite quote of the week, "I don't like missionaries, and I don't like mormons. SO GO AWAY."  The best experience of the week. We had a referal for this 91 year old man from Mexico, we went into his house and the music was SO loud. Was asked him 4 times if we could turn it down cause we couldn't hear him, and when he finally understood what we said he told us there wasn't any music on... definitely deaf!! So then we found his hearing aide so he could hear us and we had a pretty good lesson with him, then we asked him if he wants to be with his wife again and he said NO... cause she wasn't very nice. Then when we left he pulled my companion in for a huge and kissed her on the cheek and I was like oh great, so I go to shake his hand, he pulls me in for the hug and cheek kiss, then as I'm pulling away, he LAYS ONE on my lips. Then I try to get away and he almost falls over so I have to catch him..... so, that was interesting. Don't worry mission president already knows and I'm not getting sent home..... Sister Johnstun, I know what you're thinking, and I know what you're saying to yourself right now.
 
Moving on to more spiritual things.
 
Sister Gail Mayberry, the sweet 65 year old got baptized this week. I felt like I was at the retirement home when I was at her baptism, it was the best thing ever! The best part is when I was giving the talk and this old lady's phone starts ringing and she answered it... and kept talking! My oh my. But the spirit was SO strong, she was so excited to get baptize and cannot wait to do baptisms for the dead for all her family and be sealed to her husband that passed away. She did say she didn't think it was fair that she has to wait a year! She is so incredible.
 
Miracle. Sister Winn was coming on splits with us (mission presidents wife) and she was LATE. We were at Beverly's house waiting and waiting. Sister Johnson and I went outside to wait for her so if she drove by we could see her cause she was lost. Neither of us had our coats on but so she didn't want to leave the front porch. So I was out on the street looking for her, and Sister Johnson found saw this guy that was fixing his car and thought she should go ask if she needs help. She talked to him for a second, then Sister Winn came so I went over and talked with them. His name is Eduardo and he's from Cuba. Asked him if we could step by in the next couple days and he said we could. Great. So we stopped by sunday night and it was him and his girlfriend Ana from Mexico. We had knocked on his door like 3 weeks ago and this super stanky pants guy told us to never come back. So... we knocked and Eduardo was home. We asked him how long he had lived there and he said he just moved in a week ago. He didn't have any furniture so we all sat on the floor and just talked. He kept asking, so what is this message you bring? What is the message you have to share with us? So we started teaching about the restoration. We have this little object lesson we use, and before we even finished it he goes, wow, I have been searching for all these answers all my life. We told him about modern day prophets and apostles and the book of mormon. He looks at the book of mormon and opens it to a random page then just smiles HUGE. He was like, I already know this book is true, I just opened it to this page and it said something along the lines of pray about the message they bring because it is true.
I felt like I should tell him the story of how we found him, so I was telling him that it was a miracle that he was randomly fixing his blinker and sister winn was randomly late, and how we knocked his door before and we were never planning on going back. I just told him that it was a miracle that we found him and he started crying, and he said, I knew you were messengers from God the first time you talked to me. Just the love and care you showed me, and that you go out in the rain, snow and cold, I knew it had to be true. I knew God lead you to me. My whole body was a giant goosebump! Seriously, he is SO prepared! We asked him to pray about the message and Joseph Smith and he was like I don't even have to, the message is true!!
 
Next miracle, in this mission the standard of excellence, or goal the mission president sets for the mission is for every companionship to have 1 baptism every week. We have met the goal for the past couple weeks, but Feb. 4th we had nobody! They have to go to church 3 times before they can be baptized, so we were praying really hard that by some miracle that Lord would have somebody prepared for us. There is this man named Javier Luna that the sisters found in November who had been baptized, but they lost his records, so he has to be baptized again.... weird, but kinda lucky. Then he had a family emergency and had to go to Mexico. We never knew when he was going to get back. We have literally knocked on his door everytime we went by. Nothing. No answer. So, we thought he just moved there for good or was ignoring us. We were Sister Johnson and Magdaleno were walking through his apartment complex the other night and this guy was calling out to them from the hot tub. He was half naked and just staring and them, so they were like... yeah, we should walk a little faster and get out of here. Then when we get home they were like we had a missed phone call from this random number the guy said his name was Javier Luna.... we were like WHAT??? He is still alive. So we called him back the next day but no answer. We invited him to church in the message we left, but he never came. So Sunday night around 8:30 we got out of a lesson and didn't have anything else to do, so we called the other sisters to see what they were doing and Sister Johnson was like well we are just talking to Javier Luna on his door step cause we can't get in cause there is only 2 of us. Perfect, we'll be right over!!! Got there and we went in... He is definitely from Mazatlan!!!! So that was super exciting, we were talking about that and he said it is so dangerous now and even he feels scared to go there and that's where he's from. That was sad. But he was like Sisters, I want to show you something. He pulls out this HUGE picture of the temple that he made and on the bottom it says, this is a place full of blessings waiting for Javier. He had made it for himself. So we started talking about where he is in the church and all this, he just looks at us and says, Sisters, I AM READY. I know I have to be baptized again and I want to do it as soon as I can.... All of our heart jumped right out of our chests. We asked him the baptisimal questions and his only problem is that he sometimes drinks green tea, but he was like, whatever I need to change I will, no big deal. I saw you guys walking last night while I was in the hot tub, but you probably didn't hear me, then I called and you never answered, but I just wanted you to know I was back in town and I am ready to follow Jesus Christ.
WOW. I am still saying prayers of gratitute for this HUGE miracle the Lord put right in our path. He is so amazing, the spirit was so strong. I can't even explain how amazing the Lord is and how He always blesses us in way we could never expect.
We have a quote on the mirror in our house that says, "once you have done all in your power and turn to God, you must expect the miracles to come." It is so true.
That's how it is with anything in life, yeah, times are hard. There are times and it's hard to even see the Lord's hand in anything in your life, but it is always there. We make the decision to choose if we see the Lord's blessings or not. He is always preparing us for something better, He just tests us a little sometimes, but He never forgets us and never forsakes us. I feel like here especially on the mission, it's always after a hard week or a hard day that the miracle comes. After every door has rejected us but we still keep knocking that's when the Lord guides us one of his precious children He has meticulously prepared and placed in our path. Heavenly Father is just amazing like that. We should never doubt him.He pulls throught better than we ever could.
 
I love you all!! Peace and love from the Salt Lake Valley....
 
Besos from me and the old man,
 


Hermana Marshall

01-23-2012

WHAT A WEEK. Seriously. I never knew it was possible all the things that happened this week.
Where to begin?? We will start with the sweet heart from Honduras. Beverly and her two sons Jason and Walter.
Beverly was taught by the boy missionaries a couple of months ago, but it never really went anywhere. Right before I got here Sister Harris and Sister Picuasi knocked on her door and she didn't even get up from the couch when her kids answered, she just said, no thanks, not really interested. Then a couple weeks later she just so happened to be at her friend Digna's house while we were teaching a lesson. We continued to teach her, she is AMAZING.
Her boys are also amazing, well, it depends on the day. They are either super good or SUPER BAD. Satan is to rediculous, like seriously redic!!! When ever a person is about to do something good in their life that is when Satan tries the hardest, the hardest! Either right before or right after. That doesn't mean he never stops trying, he just tries extra hard when we are about to make a big deal decision like getting baptized, going on a mission, going to the temple, deciding to come back to church and change our lives, before we get married. You know, he's just a punk like that. Anyway, we felt it super strong for sure this week. We were in a constant and bloody battle with the adversary.
So going into this week our ultimate goal was getting this whole family baptized, Beverly wanted it to be a family decision, so it was either all or none. We have a lesson with them on Monday night and the boys literally started a fire in their room during the lesson. Their two friends were over and they were just being boys, yelling at their mom, swearing, all that jazz. So they finally get calmed down and their two friends are twins, one is chubby and one is skinny so they literally call the gordo y flaco. Super funny. Flaco is such a bad influence and Gordo is such a sweetheart. So Gordo is only 8 but he was talking to me and was like hey, why don't you guys ever go visit my mom? You should go right now, she's home not doing anything. That ended that night.
The next night we go over, the lesson was great. We made cookie dough and had them shape out their favorite scripture stories and we talked about them but they also said they no longer wanted to get baptized cause they were scared of going under the water and just didn't think it's what they wanted to do. Next night, mission presidents wife came with us, we get there and Walter will NOT come out of his room cause he is glued to hs video game. His mom tells him to come out, sister johnson tells him to come out, he just won't. Sister Winn, never even met this boy, walks back in his room and just says, how do I push pause on this game? He just stops the game immediately, then she said, now their are messengers from God here to talk to you so do you mind coming out to listen to them? He came right out. The lesson was about the Holy Ghost so we hid candy bars and had one voice be the Holy Ghost that they had to listen to and the rest of us were trying to lead his astray. They were blind folded and it was so fun. They loved it, probably just cause they got candy. But we taught them about just like they couldn't see anything it was important that they tried really hard to listen to that good voice, so we just asked them in their prayers tonight to see what the good voice is telling them and if being baptized is something they really want to do and if it was the right thing to do. Next night the other sisters went over there and they were the worst they have ever been. They were being so rude to their mom, they listed to the lesson for maybe 2 second and just ran off. They got home and we were just like, what are we going to do? Their baptisimal interview was the next day and we weren't even sure if they wanted to be baptized or if they were ready... So we decided to fast. And oh my gosh did we pray SO hard. Just that whatever was supposed to happen would happen and that we would know what we were supposed to do. Their interview was at 7 the next night (friday).
Friday morning the zone leaders call us and say we just had a really strong impression that Elder Montgomery (this super funny elder that is great with kids) needs to do the interview with the boys tomorrow. This elder isn't in our area but we are going to bring him in for this special occasion. Great, we said, anything  you feel you need to do just do it cause at this point we need ALL the help we can get. So we pray all day, go to her house at like 6:50, her sons are there, BUT SHE ISN'T. We were like, hey where is your mom? Oh she went to the store with Digna (by this point Digna does not want Beverly to be baptized because she couldn't get baptized). Oh my word. The Elders show up to do the interview, but we can't because she's not home. The Elders are like hop in our car and we will go to the store to look for her... but we can't get in their car cause we need 3 sisters. So the sprint to the end of the apartment complex to the member they just ate dinner with, this super week spunky bright colored makeup 80 year old runs back with them, and jumps in the car with us. We go to the store to look for her, not even there. But we do meet this black guy that flagged us down cause he wanted to go to church. So that was a blessing. We go back to Beverly's house and she's not there, so we call Digna cause Beverly doesn't have her cell phone, she lies to us and says that they aren't together. Then a couple minutes later Beverly calls back and says, sisters, so sorry I will be home in like 3 minutes. Perfect. One prayer answered. She gets home, we go in the house, now it's 8 pm and her sons are gone! We have NO idea where they are and they don't have a cell phone. By this point their is us and 4 other Elders are waiting to do this interview in their house. We were like Elders, what should we do? Could we do the interview tomorrow or what? They say, um... no... we have to do it tonight. We have to! So we say, okay. you guys go do the interview and we will look for the boys. Before we departed we all said a prayer together. I can't even explain it, but during the prayer I just saw and felt the power from Heaven pour down and knew something would work out. While they were doing in interview Sister Harris and I ran around to all their friends houses looking for them. They were no where. So on our way back, I felt like we should go a different way then we came. I see a group of kids so we go over there and start talking to them, lo and behold, Walter was there!! One down one to go. He said Jason was going to be coming back soon so we hung out with them and played soccer in the street, that was fun. But we just wanted to make sure he didn't run away again. Like 5 minutes later, Jason comes running up and is like, Walter you have to come home, the coolest guy is there doing magic tricks! Perfect, we didn't even have to convince them to go home. We walk in, this Elder Montgomery is sitting on the ground with gordo, flaco, walter and jason, doing magic tricks. It was amazing. After a while he was just joking around with them and was like alright which one of you guys want to be baptized tomorrow? They said they were thinking about it. He was just like well before you get baptized we do this crrrrrazzzzzy thing called an interview, do you care if we do it right now? So they did the interview, once again they were stoked on being baptized. Great, left the night feeling good about the baptism the next day, but we did have to change the time from 7 pm to 1:30 pm to gordo and flaco could be there cause they really wanted them to be there but they had to go with their dad at 3. So we got it done.
Saturday morning we get a phone call for Beverly she said, sisters, I think it might be better if my sons are baptized today and I am baptized another week cause I am having some lady problems and I don't even have any white underwear. Don't even fret, we went and got her some white underwear and I even explained to her how to use some certain lady products used in water cause she is latino so she's never used them before. Problem solved. BUT.... she was sitting on the couch, pulls out the underwear and was like HERMANAS, we look over and they are HUGE!!!! So big. We just started laughing SO HARD. It was hilarious. Funniest thing of my life.
Running out of time, but need less to say, even once we got to the baptism we faced so many challanges, they were serious about not wanted anyone to see so we had to baptize them with the doors shut, the Elder Montgomery had to come back over so he could baptize them, we had to get her some underwear that fit, we had to confirm them after church in the bishops office, the list goes on and on and on.
While we were laying in bed that night, I just said out loud, So He really means it when He says, "After ALL you can do, I will open the doors." We were really tested this week from the adversary, but it just showed me how strong Beverly and her kids are, and how important it was so the Lord that they were baptzied because He knows how amazing they are going to be, when they go on missions and baptized little hellians like themselves ha.
And we may or may not have had a nice photo shoot with the large underwear, so hope you enjoy the pictures.
 
I have seen SO many other miracles this week and seriously wish I had time to talk about them all. All in all, I know the Lord hears our prayers. I have never prayed harder in my life, but he was just seeing how hard we would try, and how much this really meant to us. You have no idea how amazing it felt to see walter and jason smiling and swimming in the font after their baptism and to see Beverly crying when her and her sons got baptized. It was incredible.
 
I love you all and hope you all NEVER forget the power of prayer when the adversary is pushing temptation to the limit. He always tempts us to doubt ourselves, do doubt our faith, and especially do doubt our Father in Heaven. But never do it. Never. The LORD ALWAYS WINS.
 
Love you all,
 
Love Sister Marshall
 



 

01-16-2012

So many great stories this week.

Started off with zone conference, amazing. Talked about how we better
never judge a person by the cover or doubt because of the way they
look or what they are doing that they can change. We also talked a lot
about if who ever we are teaching isn't progressing or keeping
commitments then we have to have the faith to set them aside into the
Lord's hands so He can work with them a little more and prepare them
the way He needs to so they will be ready.
We set a new goal to find a new family to teach everyday, cause they
say 1/10 families will be baptized that we teach. So WE HAVE BEEN
SEARCHING. But it's good, this week we like cleaned house with
investigators and really thought and prayed about who was progressing
and not then we knocked doors hard core to find new families.
A couple great, funny and touching things happened this week. We are
knocking doors in this apartment complex and they are 4 really close
doors that are all facing each other. While we were knocking on the
first doors these two little girls started giggling behind us and just
sat on the ground right by us. So after the person closed the door we
waved then went to the next door and they did the same thing. They
followed us like that for a couple of doors. Then, we went to the next
little set of door and we knocked the first one, then turned around
and they were knocking on ALL the doors at the same time. We just
looked at each other and were praying the doors wouldn't open, and
none of them did. So we pretended to leave and said bye to the girls,
then we went to the next set and after we knocked the first door they
ran around the corner and knocked ALL of them again. One lady opened
so we walked over to her door and started talking to her, then like 30
seconds later ALL the doors opened at the same time. One lady looked
out and was super mad and slammed the door. They other door was a
little girl and the next one was another lady that was mad. Holy cow
we though. We ended up re knocking the doors and talking to them and
they we all SO rude. One lady was like I don't want nothing to do with
the Mormon church cause they are all two faced like my mother in law
and ex husband. That made me super sad.
Then one night we were riding our bikes home and there were these two
guys in front of us and I got a super sick feeling, it was so weird.
So we just went on the grass around them then they yelled, hey, are
you guys missionaries.... so my companion stopped, then I turned
around and he was like I'm just wondering if you have a doctrine and
covenants. I said I only had one in Spanish, but he was like I'll take
it. Then, he was like, do you know where Jo Smith comes from, New
York, in the witch triangle with the spirit knockers... he was going
on and on. He was like I read the book of Mormon before and I was just
laughing so hard hearing all those stories about Joseph Smith (he
obviously didn't read it). Then he was like, you know you guys should
try reading the Muslim bible, cause my grandma is Mormon but I just
think you guys don't know any other religions that's why your Mormon.
Then he continued to say how when he finally decided to stop doing
heroine and meth he said to God "Who am I to you" then God said back,
"You're my son." I told him that was really good cause he is God's
son. Then he said, and that temple place you guys have, it's all good
and stuff until you go in the secret room I had a dream about.... He
said, the secret room is a huge casino where everybody goes and
gambles. By this point in the conversation he had pulled out a little
something something from his pocket, rolled it up and smoked it up
right in front of us. We were like well, we gotta go but if you want a
d&c go to temple square. Then he said, oh they already kicked me out
of there. Great. Great uplifting conversation for sure.
BUT we have had some amazing experiences. Like last night. We were
riding our bikes to an appointment and we passed this guy walking on
the sidewalk. I got the strongest impression to talk to him... but I
kept riding cause I was already sort of past him. I was just praying
for another chance to talk to him. So I jumped off my bike and put it
on a pole and my comp was like what are you doing, I was like we gotta
go talk to that guy. She started to lock the bikes and I was like no,
we don't have time. So we ran over out of the alley we were in and he
had already walked by. So we just yelled to him, Buenas noches! He
turned around and was like what the heck? But then we just started
walking with him, and asking him about who God was to him. He was
like, I know I'm God's son, but I am really far away from Him right
now. And it's impossible to change my life, I came here from Mexico
and had a job, but now there are now jobs so all I can do for money is
sell drugs. I walk down the street and people know who I am and need
their drugs. I hate what I'm doing, it makes me feel so bad that I am
giving these people the drugs that are killing them but I don't have
any other choice, I have to eat and I've tried being homeless and
asking for money but you can't do that in the winter time. It's just
impossible for me to change my life, even though I know what I'm doing
is like the worst thing I can do. He proceeded to take off his
backpack and show us all his goods inside. His name was Carlos. So I
just wrote my testimony of the atonement in the front of a book of
Mormon to him and told him, I know you think you can't change your
life and there is no way out, but if you read this book I promise you
will you find a way out and God will open another door for you. It was
so crazy cause lots of people we've talked to just have the darkest
scummy eyes, but his weren't dark, they were just lost. I don't know
how to explain it. He looked at the book for a long time and said, you
know the missionaries have passed by my house a lot but have never
stopped and talked to me. But I like to read, so I will for sure read
this book. We left and went to our appointment. All day we didn't have
the cell phone with us cause the other sisters had it, we get home and
they were like, okay, who the heck is Carlos? He called and left a
message that said, Hey missionaries, it's Carlos calling, I just
wanted to thank you for our conversation tonight and stopping to talk
to me. It really gave me a lot of hope and made me feel really good.
It was just amazing, cause who knows, maybe Carlos won't be baptized
next month but maybe he will. Maybe he will keep selling drugs or
maybe he will be an Alma the Younger and completely change his life
around. I don't know majority of the outcomes of the people we talk
to, but I do know that everywhere we go we are guided. If we are close
to the spirit we will be where we need to be to touch the lives of
those who are around us. Probably one of my favorite experiences thus
far.
Then our dear sweet lady Beverly we are teaching from Honduras. She is
a single mom and really really wants to get baptized, she even said,
sisters, I know it's my time. You guys knocked on my door a while ago
and I was rude to you and didn't even want to talk. But as soon as I
shut the door I knew you were sent from God and I knew it was my time
to change my life. But she doesn't want to get baptized with out her 2
sons who are 11 and 13. The only problem is that they are never there
in the lessons! They are always running around, jumping all over,
starting fires with their library cards (like they did last night).
Anyway, we were like Beverly can we ask your sons what they want and
if they want anything to do with the church? So we sat them down and
were like so what do you guys think about church they said they liked
it. But the younger one was like, but I don't want to be baptized till
I'm 20, we asked why and he was like I don't know cause I'll just be
older.... Then we found out he was scared to get baptized cause he
thought we did it in church during sacrament meeting while everyone
was watching! We told him he could have as few people there as he
wanted. Then we asked them the baptismal questions and they knew
every single answer. They were whipping out all these bible stories,
and said that the word of wisdom is no drugs, smoking, coffee and
beer. They knew EVERYTHING. We were so surprised cause we were pretty
sure they have never paid attention! Anyway, then he was like, well if
I can have who every I want then I want to be baptized this Monday.
Then his brother was like and I want to be baptized Tuesday so I can
miss school! Then we talked them into being baptized on Saturday with
their mom and they said okay. She is so precious cause she told them
how they can serve missions and have the priesthood so that when she's
sick they can give her blessings. Wow, the spirit was so strong. She
even had a dream about the tree of life, not sure if I talked about
that last week, but she was asking us about what her dream meant and I
showed her a picture of the tree of life and she just smiled huge and
was like yeah, that was my dream!!! Crazy. Miracles of the Lord are
everywhere.
We also found this other guy Antonio washing his car. We went back
another day and were talking to him about the church and he was like
you know, on Jesus's birthday when we pray to the virgin Guadalupe I
hate it. I hate praying to her. I want to change my life, I'm sick of
living the way I do, but I know if I pray to her my life is not going
to change. It was amazing to hear how he has been prepared by the
Lord.
There is always so much more to say and so little time!! But I do want
to say, remember how you sent me those clothes. PERFECT TIMING. Sister
Winn dropped is off late Friday night and Saturday morning an Elder
called and was like hey sisters I am just wondering if you have any
extra clothes cause a family called us last night that just got out of
the homeless shelter and they really want to go to church and be
taught the gospel but don't have any clothes. So I gave the clothes to
them. It was the most perfect timing in the world. Thank you so much
for the letters as well. It was delightful. I will try my very very
very best today to write all of you back but writing letters is
seriously so hard and so little time! I will write you soon though.
I just want you all to know that I love you dearly. The gospel is
true, don't ever be afraid to share it! But most important to show the
example of Jesus Christ by the way we live and by the way we show our
non judgemental love to everybody. Cause the gospel can change anyone,
where ever they are, only if they have the desire to change. As soon
as someone and anyone decides to turn to God he comes running to save
their soul.

That's all I got for today. The snow is great. I love you all!!

Love Sister Marshall

01-09-2012

Thank you for all the emails this week! I love reading them. It was good to hear from Marissa Birch finally! You should send the emails to her as well, I believe her email is marissareeder01@hotmail. DAD- happy happy birthday, 78? Right. Gosh time is flying. I was going to send you some hair dye for your birthday but I figured you are probably bald now. I'll send you a hat to keep your head warm. Hope your big day was lovely and I'm sure you still celebrated European Christmas and gave everyone gifts. You are so COOL!
SNOW!!!! Seriously. Snow. I could not believe it. I ran out side barefoot, threw a snowball at myself and ate it for breakfast! I was so glad to finally have a real winter day! Yesssss. Best thing that happened all week.
Well 6 sisters got their visas! Finally. They fly out TODAY. Weird, they are already at the airport. I didn't get mine though... so.... don't get too excited yet. But this week we are having zone conference, and Brother Atkinson's is speaking to us. He's from Argentina and he's a legend!!!! So I am super excited to hear from him. The theme... You're not called on a mission so you can fail, every missionary can baptize. So I'm pretty excited for it!
This week was good, hard, cold, hot, up, down and everything in between! We had a family of 4 to get baptized this next weekend. Digna and her 3 beautiful daughters. Their dad left their family. She loves the church. She just gets it all. BUT... she so happens to have a boyfriend. This boyfriend doesn't want to marry her because he wants to be free (so he doesn't live with them) but he pays for everything. EVERYTHING. Rent. Car. Food. So... she can't let him go cause she doesn't know how her family will survive. But she can't marry him cause he doesn't love her that much. So, she's not getting baptized this week cause there is a little thing called the law of chastity that she understands fully just hasn't quite figured out a way to live it yet. It is so sad to see somebody realize the joy of the gospel but just leave it by the wayside because something else catches their eye. We were teaching her the Plan of Salvation the other day and her 2 year old son who hardly ever talks was looking so intensely at a picture of Jesus. Then he pointed at him and said, "El es mi padre. El tiene una casa grande en cielo" Basically he said, that's my dad and he has a big house in heaven. SERIOUSLY kid just preaching from experience about the pre earth life. The mom just started crying and we all got chills. It was so amazing. So Digna still has the desire to be baptized she just fells trapped with the situation she is in.
Then there is Fransisco. Most sincere man you'll ever meet in your life. He was all set for his baptism this weekend, then we were doing the interview questions with him and we got to tithing and he was like...ooooo.... about tithing. The thing is I really want to pay it, I know it's a commandment of God. I just don't know if I can pay it right now, my disabled son needs pampers, my wife can't work cause she's taking care of him, my house is 1,000 dollars a month, gas is like 200 to even get to work for the month. The list goes on. So he said, I just don't want to get baptized if I know I can't live all the commandments so I still want to, just maybe in the future when I know I'll be able to pay my tithing. AHHHH. I just wanted to cry. He is so ready! The bishop even went over and told him all the help the church could offer him and all the blessings he would receive from paying tithing and trusting in the Lord, but he wouldn't take it. I totally understand where he is coming from. Totally. But I we can do is testify and just pray for him. It's so hard when you're teaching someone and they just don't think it's really going to work. Or they can't see how much the church will really help them. That's where faith comes in, and if they don't got it, it just ain't gonna work.
But, we found an AMAZING 10 year old boy. Marco. His mom was baptized a year ago and his dad was also. But his dad never went to church to get confirmed, so it didn't count. His mom is totally inactive and hasn't really been to church since. She said she felt TOTALLY pressured into baptism and well as the dad, hence why he never went to church to get confirmed. Anyway, Marco has a huge desire to go to church and do what's right. His dad said, if he wants to go to church I totally support him because if this is the true church and I don't let him go, I don't want that on my shoulders. So we were teaching him how to pray because he said he's always scared his family is going to die when they aren't home. So we taught him how to pray and told him he can ask that God will keep his family safe. Then he suggested to his family that they say a family prayer every morning before they go to work and school. He is such a sincere little heart. We were talking to him about praying and coming to church then he said, "I know church will really help me by stronger and better. But I really think my whole family needs to go to church cause I know it will help my dad stop saying bad words,and it will help my mom cause she is always angry and always is on her cell phone. And it will help my older brother cause he is kind of dumb and doesn't even know how to do the dishes and he always makes fun of people and it will help my little sister to stop whining and crying all the time. So I think when I go to church I won't even sit by my brother cause he always laughs at people and I don't like to do that, so I'll sit by myself." IT WAS PRECIOUS. His sweet little desire was a huge example to me of how we all need to be. We need to become like little children, who are just humble and ready to do anything the Lord asks of them. He came to church and even knew the first hour was the most important cause it's when we take the sacrament. I am so amazed by his strength and example and I really hope it helps his family gain a testimony and come back to church.
Then the disabled girl that lives upstairs ran outside the other day and literally tackled me and just said "I love you" as she was laying on top of me haha. Then she was like where are you going, I said to teach people about Jesus, she was like OH OH OH, I love Jesus. Can I grab my bike and come with you?? She is adorable. Then she has a new favorite habit of kicking toilet paper rolls down the stairs, it's so funny!
So the mission is going going going. 4th week here already. Time is flying! Thanks for all the inspiring words in your emails and letters. Time is up. Peace and love from this girl.
 
Love, Sista Marshmellow

01-02-2012

It seems like it has only been 30 minutes since I last emailed you.... but looking back on things SO MUCH HAS HAPPENED!!!
The weather was super bien caliente last week. Even on my bike I didn't wear my coat, and I went swimming! Joke. But it was so weird. Especially since it's January. I still wake up daily hoping for snow outside.
Today we had the opportunity to go to Salt Lake temple. Before the mish I always wanted to go to the live session, but who ever would have thought I could go on the mission! It was great. I loved it. The temple is SO beautiful inside. And the lady next to me fell asleep and was snoring! I found it funny. Walking out of the temple I saw my friend Brady Matthew's from USU... he had just gotten married. Then I walked outside the temple to ever to casually run into Kynzie and Chad Thorpe Kelley, DREW VANDYKE, Carson Ward, Kyle Young + wife, and so many people from USU. Seriously... the weirdest thing of my life! It was crazy. They were there and my companions were off to the side and I felt like I was being ripped right down the middle. But it was so fun to see them. I was freaking out! They were freaking out. I can't even handle it anymore. It was great though.
We were knocking doors the other night and were having no success but I was just super entertained. First guy answers the door and we were introducing ourselves and he goes... "excuse me, I was already baptized and now I am totally turned off to the church." Slam. Next door, Jehovah Witness drinking a beer. Next door, it opens an inch and I see one eye then he yells "who yu lookn' fo??" I just wanted to say.. your soul mister. He just said, "sorry white girl, we Muslim." Next door. Southern baptist. Super nice and entertaining, but just told us to leave. Then while we were riding our bikes home we cross this bridge and my comps chain came off right before the bridge. So I pull over to the side and it's super dark out side. I start getting off my bike to go help her and there is a man standing right next to me! I almost screamed. He heard my almost scream and was like "don't worry, I ain't gonna hurt ya." So I was like okay, then what's your name? "Coooowboy..." He definitely rides trains across the US,homeless, and was supposed to meet a man down by the river to hook him up with a place to stay cause he was sick for the night. I put 10 bucks in the Book of Mormon and as he was headed down to the river I was like hey, do you know how to read? He stopped, turned around and yelled at me, "Already read it. Jo Smith is a prophet. Thanks anyway." So.. he missed out on the 10 bucks. Then I was just like, Alright cowboy, may God be with you. He again yelled at me and said, "Adios, se vaya con Dios" but in a super southern accent like Madison's mom! It was just a great end of the night ride home.
So a little more about the weekend. We baptized a young man named Andy he's 12 and precious, we first taught him the day I got here. His parents were baptized 2 years ago, and his old sister is now inactive. So I think it was really good for her to have us there teaching cause she always sat in and listened to our lessons. Her boyfriend is currently in jail and gets out in 9 months. He's in the nortenos gang here in SLC. Great! Though we weren't successful in our efforts to get her to church. Anyway, last weekend the 24th Andy was supposed to get baptized but his mom 'got a sign' that he wasn't supposed to be baptized. She avoided us for the rest of that week. We went back on Tuesday of last week and just Andy and his sister was home so we taught him a lesson on the front porch. Right when we were finishing his mom came home from the grocery store and let us in but said we couldn't stay. We just had Andy share with his mom what he had learned (about the 2,000 stripling warriors being taught by their mothers) and set up a return appointment. We returned on Wednesday taught the lesson, asked if he still wanted to be baptized, he said yes. Had him ask his mom when he could be baptized and she said, well why not this Friday! Friday didn't work out because she wanted Brother Benson to baptize him. He could do it Saturday and even though the mom said she had to work she checked her schedule and she randomly had it off. Andy was baptized on Saturday, his step dad gave the talk and told Andy how proud everybody was, and Andy was just crying and so happy! He got confirmed on Sunday and the blessing talked about him going on a mission. It really hit me because right now in this moment I don't see the lasting effects of my mission- but I know that is one. So many miracles we saw with Andy this weekend and it was a very beautiful thing!
We are also teaching a woman Beverly with 2 sons. She is getting baptized in a couple weeks but last night while we were teaching her she asked us what her sons had to do to go on missions! That also was amazing to see her vision into the future! We are also teaching the Arviso family. They are from Guatemala and the sweetest people you will ever meet in your life! They have  been to church for 6 months, have the first vision and intro to BOM basically memorized. They just haven't gotten an answer that the church is true. Come to find out.. what is their concern? They think we focus was too much on Joseph Smith and that we worship him because the bishop of our ward told them the first person he wants to meet when he gets to heaven is Joseph Smith. He took this the wrong way, and thought to himself, no the first person should be Jesus Christ. So, we are working with them, they are progressing though, they pray better than I do and read SO MUCH. They just say, we yeah I feel good when I read this book but I also feel good when I go to other churches, for I know that's not my answer. I was always told I wouldn't really get into deep doctrine on my mission, but oh we do. Like every single verse he picks apart. Like now in this verse what does the word fire mean... and in this verse what does this word symbolize... They are amazing though. They have SO much potential and I know when they finally get their answer they will be super solid!!! So we are trying to clear things up about Joseph Smith and hopefully they can recognize their answers.
I got my suitcase! So thank you mom and family for that. What else what else. I am just seeing to often the timing of the Lord and how we need to respect it. I come in contact with so many people that have heard lessons and lessons, missionary after missionary. But things have perfectly played out in their life that right now they are receptive, they are just a little more humble than they were before and they can see the Lord working in their life, so they decide to change. It is such a beautiful thing. Yet at the same time, I talk to so many people daily that just aren't quite ready for it. But all that's important is that at some point in life when they do decide to turn to the Lord, hopefully they will come across that little blue book in their house or remember something that was said a long time ago. It's just so cool to see this whole work going about.
Overall, great week. new years party we got to wear JEANS. It was so weird, cause we were driving in a car, wearing jeans, I just felt like we were going to the movies and I was sinning big time. But we weren't and it was fun. Yelled happy new year at 9pm and all went to bed. Your new year sounds great though! Mexican music and huge family party, snowmobiling and with Z's. Tell J and K congrats on the pregnancy! How fun.
Time up. Gotta go.
LOVE YOU ALL.
 
Love, Hermana Marsh
 




 

12-26-2011

Oh, hello. Long time, no talk.... yeah?
 
Well I just wanted to thank Dana for the email. Thanks for you example and testimony, I love seeing converts to the church who are as strong as Dana cause my biggest fear in the mission is that converts will fall away, but I just pray they can stay strong even when times get tough. I am SO glad to hear that Sister Evans made is back to Nicaragua after her procedures. She is the best!!! I love the whole family actually :) Hope Matthew is excited to leave for Australia in just a couple weeks.
 
It was just dandly dandy talking to the family yesterday. So sad we couldn't face time... oh well. Not a lot has happened since yesterday but I guess I'll just tell you all about the stuff that I didn't get to tell you about. Baptism Saturday, name, Joaquin, father of 5. His wife was baptized early December, but he would never let the missionaries into his house to teach her. Anyway, in early december my companions invited him to a family home evening with his family and another family. He came, and it was a terrible experience. He ended up leaving because everyone was giving him a hard time about his life and all the wrong choices he was making and so forth. After he left my companions asked if just they could go talk to him. They went and told him sorry for what happened and what the others had said to him, that's not how the church works. But if he wants to learn more they were there to teach him. He said he wasn't interested, but he said if his wife wanted to she could get baptized. So her and the 2 oldest kids got baptized. After a couple weeks, he wanted to know more. That was right when I got in the field. So we taught him, and at first he never wanted to answer our questions cause he felt really bad if he didn't know the answers. But... slowly he started learning the answers. Pretty soon in lessons he was explaining things to his wife who was already baptized. He quit smoking, after smoking since he was 13 or so. He was made a total turn around. 100%. It was so amazing to see his change from the beginning to now. He was SO excited for his baptism and he can't wait to hold the priesthood and be the leader in his home. On Christmas Eve we went and caroled to him with some of the elders that had given him blessing or baptized him. He started crying. The toughest man in the world, and he was so grateful and so humbled. I just love that no one is cast off forever. The Lord indivially knows each and everyone of us, and the second we decide to change He is right there to lead up by the hand and bring us up out of the depths of life. It is such a beautiful thing.
 
There is one thing I ask... this brother and his fine family have NO church clothes what so ever. And no money. Hence why I got them boxes of pampers for christmas and why the $20 on their door meant the world to them. So I do ask... if any of you have extra shrits/ties send them my way! I would has he's about the size of Ross F? His kids are like 10, 8, 2 and a baby for the boys. The daughter is 14. So if you have any extra church clothes that would be great.
 
With our other investigators this week it was good. The lady Digna and her 3 daughters we are teaching are doing good.... Digna has a 'boyfriend'/ husband, and she really wants to get married so she can get baptized... but he said, he doesn't want to marry her cause he doesn't want to feel tied down... 4 kids later. So I am just praying he will soften his heart cause she wants to be married. She brought her friend Beverly to one of the lessons and she is getting baptized in January! Her and her two sons. How exciting. She is so ready. We were knocking doors the other day and found 2 different ladies that have been going to chruch for about a year, read the bom, all that jazz, but haven't joined the church yet because they don't feel like they've recieved their answer!!! So... hopefully some answers will come rolling out of heaven soon, or maybe we can just learn how to recognize them.
 
Walking down the street the other day we saw these 2 guys Daniel and Flourentino who were super interested! We had no idea what we were getting ourselves into. We go to have a lesson with them at the church, come to find out they are 7th Day Eventists.... Totally came to prove us wrong about worshiping on sunday. They said they believed everything we believed except for the fact that we worshiped on sunday. They whipped out all these news articles about worshiping on the 7th day. They were looking for somewhere in the scriptures where Christ approved worshiping on the first day of the week instead of the seventh day... But since they haven't found it they will continue to worship on saturday. We continued talking and just testifying.They wouldn't take the answer that since Christ was resurrected on Sunday that's why we worship on sunday. They found it interesting that we had 12 apostles like Christ did when He was on the earth and I found it interesting that they have a woman prophet. It was an interesting conversation, and obviously we don't have all the same beliefs. We just invited them to church for christmas, and I don't remember doing this but my companion said I threw in the line, you guys obviously won't be busy since you have church on saturday. Anyway, that was just a very edifying lesson I'd say.
 
I think I already told you about our investigator Fransisco, he is seriously just the cutest little oompa loompa I've ever seen. He has such a strong testimony of the Book of Mormon, even though he thought Joshep Smith wrote it.... Haha. That was a little confusion we had to clear up. But he has the most sincere desire out of anybody I know. And the Lord has been preparing him, I guess he used to drink a lot but a month ago he had to go to the hospital for alcohol poisoning, so he hasn't drank since.... so word of wisdom, no problem!! He chose the 15th of January for his date of baptism.
 
So that's about that. These past couple days have been super warm, I haven't even worn a coat! So crazy that it's winter. I am glad to hear that my family snuck into my mission area and looked around.... Mom, I'm glad you didn't see the bad parts. I guess some of my stories about broken windows, bloody doors and drug dealers may have put a bad image in your head haha. My tongan companion told me when she was talking to her family yesterday her cousin told her how he got shot in his stomach in rose park. Great! Just more of an adventure haha. It's not that bad, I love being here.
 
So I may be getting new companions this wednesday because it's tranfers. I could even go to a new area... or maybe just get my visa. I guess we find out like that day before we leave cause they get us a flight out of here as soon as they can. But I will just be letting you know as things come up. Time is up. But thank you so much for the wonderful christmas presents. I LOVED hearing all of your voices on the phone and on the tape recorder. I put it right by my bed while I fell asleep so it felt like I was right at home being put to sleep by my very own family. I loved the shirt Cameron. Funny thing is right before my mission I went to aggie ice cream and though to myself wow I LOVE THAT SHIRT. So, you totally read my mind :) I loved the pj's as well. The stocking was my favorite though. We went caroling to investigators and recent converts. That was so fun. We went to this one ladies house and while we were singing she just started sobbing and her kids were like, oh my, she's crying again. But she just said she hasn't felt this much love her whole life until she found the church. That is my favorite thing about being a missionary. All we do is bring hope, joy, and peace into lives. Well we don't, but Christ does.
 
I know this church is true. I am so grateful for the atonement and the opportunity everyone has to change and come unto Him. I love you all!!! Thanks for your love and support.
 
Your lovely missionary, Hermanita Marshall