Monday, October 13, 2014

A Miracle

One of the great views out here!

On the airplane flying from Los Angeles to Guatemala on August 6th. :D
You didn´t think I could go without this, did you? ;)
Dear Mom,
That´s good I guess! [He has a plaque at Lincoln Ward and Beaver 1st Ward now.) Now I´m twice as popular out there, huh? Getting around! Hahaha! Kidding. That´s really nice of everyone. I definitely miss our ward out there too! There were so many good examples I had, including Bishop Shumate, Bishop Ripley, and BroLo (Brother Lohrey). They are such good men.

Wow, Brian and Stasia might go to Turkey! What are the chances that happens? Too crazy! I kind of hope they don´t so I can see them and Hannah right when I get home. Whatever happens happens though I guess. :)

When did Tessa put her available date as? I really can´t believe she is going on a mission! It´s kind of funny because she might even get home before me depending on when she leaves. ;D

President Vasquez sent you a picture when I got here, right? We all took a picture with him and his wife and then wrote down our parents´ email addresses. [I didn't get it!]

He is really, really awesome though! We got to the mission home in the afternoon, had a couple lectures about our finances, health, and other safety advice, and ate a late lunch. We also had an interview with President Vasquez. He is just really nice and I already feel close to him.

Just to tell you a little about him, he used to be a professional soccer player. He actually has a Mormon message! He is a convert to the church but was called to be a bishop at the age of 21! Since then he has also served as the President of the MTC in Guatemala (before President Cox) and now as a mission president here.

This week I had another interview with him. He said a lot of nice things about me and answered some questions I had. He is just really sincere and I look forward to getting to know him better.

It´s so crazy to think it has nearly been a month that I have been here in El Salvador! There is so much I have learned though. I love it out here and can´t imagine being anywhere else! :D

This week we had two of our investigators at church. This was a miracle. It is really, really difficult to get people to church. Our district leader, Elder Flores, had an investigator at church but hadn´t had one for around six weeks! But he has been inviting every single investigator and even visiting them before church to get them to come. A lot of the people don´t work on Sunday and don´t have a desire to do anything at all.

Anyways, two of our investigators, Alex and Jose Maria, came to church. It was so great! They both really enjoyed it. It is a rule here that to be baptized, an investigator needs to come to church at least three times. They are both a step closer now to baptism, which is really exciting!

Sadly, Elder Leatherow, who arrived at this area in July, still doesn´t have his first baptism. He also had to open the area though, which makes it understandable. We have been working so hard though, and we have two baptismal dates in November. We also have families that are really close to being baptized, familias Mulguia, Patris, and Martinez. Really we just need to continue teaching them and building their faith in the church.

As you probably know, there are so many churches here! A lot of people go to the Catholic church and Evangelical church. One of our problems is helping people understand the Great Apostasy, that for a long time the priesthood was lost from the earth. Pretty much people believe that all churches are good, that we can be saved as long as we are baptized and believe in Christ. I am so thankful to have a knowledge of the restored gospel, to know that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the only true church with the authority to perform sacred ordinances such as baptism.

Elder Leatherow and I had a really good experience this week. On Wednesday we were walking to the home of an investigator and Elder Leatherow was prompted to talk to someone on the street. While he was talking to him, a lady tapped me on the shoulder and asked if we could come visit her and teach her about our church. She said that a lot of her family live in Utah and are members of the Church and she wants to learn more. I was so excited! I got her address and name, Jacqueline, and set up an appointment. We visited her on Friday and she is really positive! She is 23 years old, has two kids, and was really interested in the ¨historia¨ of the Church. Sadly, when we went to her house to pick her up for church (she said she wanted to go to church before accepting a baptismal date) her husband answered the door and said she was sick with Chikungunya. I am really excited to keep teaching her though!

Anyways, I have had a lot of good experiences this week! I wish I had more time to email! :)

I hope you have a great next week!

I love you,

Elder Marriott

Monday, October 6, 2014

So much fun!

Hola Madre!

Yeah, it is a rule that we should not email our parents anything negative (I think I already cracked that one ;)) about our mission or email you anything bad that happens. You´re welcome. :)
Wow! There seems to be a lot going on over there, with school, plays, dancing, cub scouts, etc. Sometimes I wonder if you guys aren´t busier than me out here. ;)
To answer your questions, it is not nearly as poor as I thought it would be before I came to El Salvador. In fact, I haven´t walked into a house with a dirt floor yet even! Delgado is fairly well-to-do compared to other places here. People generally have brick or tile floors, and brick walls. Trust me, there will be area I will move to later that will be a lot more poor. I´m starting big I guess. :)
And no, I haven´t really been depressed with the living circumstances here, with an exception to the drunkards I see on the sides of the streets every day, often with their shirts off and lying against a building. Alcohol and drugs are so horrible, and they are very, very common here. Elder Leatherow and I were walking over to one of our investigators´ house and saw the father, Walter, on the side of the street. We called out to him but he was so drunk he didn´t even say anything, or pay any attention to us.
I enjoyed General Conference so much also. The hours flew by. Every talk was so amazing. I especially enjoyed President Dieter F. Uchtdorf´s talk about testimony, and the greater light we can obtain as we study and ponder the scriptures and live the Gospel. He said that gaining a testimony is the quest of a lifetime. That is so true. My testimony has grown threefold since I´ve been out here. ;)
Right now Elder Leatherow and I have two investigators with baptismal fechas. Their names are Alex and Mauricio.
Alex is around forty years old and can speak fluent English. He lived in the United States for twenty years. Sadly, for most of his life he didn´t have friends, or very good ones, and often lived away from his family. He has made a lot of mistakes and we are trying to help him repent. He is such a good guy though!
Mauricio is probably around fifty-five years old. He works at a car shop and we teach him there two times a week. He is so awesome. Every time he expresses his desires to learn more about the gospel through the scriptures and church attendance. For the last week he has really wanted his own copy of the Doctrine and Covenants and Pearl of Great Price, and on Sunday his wish was granted by the bishop of our ward. On Friday he committed to stop drinking coffee too, and we have high hopes that he will be baptized on November 8th.
This week flew by so quickly. I feel like every week is shorter than the week before. :)
My Spanish has been progressing really quickly. I still have problems with conjugations for some verbs, but I have been learning so much just by having conversations with people, teaching lessons, and reading El Libro de Mormon. I thought I learned a lot of Spanish at the MTC... Nah, it really all started here. ;)
Elder Leatherow and I have so much fun every day. I am so thankful he is my trainer! He is obedient, hardworking, and just super nice. We already have quite a few inside jokes. :) He lived in Ogden, Utah and I invited him over to Provo after our missions so we can hang out and he can see our familiy. I hope that´s all right. ;)
I hope everything is going great at home! Praying for you about twenty times a day, probably more! ;)
I love you,
Your favorite younger son,
Elder Marriott
P.S.This picture was taken last P-day. We were trying to find a button to turn on the projector because the remote wasn´t working. Elder Leatherow tried right after me. :) 

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Great Week in Delgado

Elder Leatherow and Elder Marriott
Hola Madre! 
Right now we are in Delgado. It is not too hot every day, maybe in the 80s, and not very humid either. It rains a lot though,  pours really. It´s a good thing I brought an umbrella! I am just going to talk about a few small topics now to help you get an idea about the people, some of my experiences, and little things like what I eat around here. :)
First I want to talk a little about some of the problems the vast majority of people have, what Elder Leatherow and I have to help with as the people grow their faith in Jesus Christ and his gospel.
He knows how his mom loves shoes :)
The people here are very, very good at lying. I have never met very many people who can lie with a straight face, but almost everyone here are professionals. :) For example, one time Elder Leatherow and I went to visit one of our contacts, Carlos. His father told us that, sadly, he was sick and had a very common virus, Chikunguya. At that moment the mom came out and with a straight face told us he wasn´t home. The father told her, ¨I just told them he was sick´´ and she then muttered something about checking on him and went back into the house. Elder Leatherow loves catching people in their lies, and I have to agree there is a certain satisfaction to it. ;)
There is a really big problem here with coffee. I truly believe that coffee drives away the Spirit, and it is hard for investigators to progress if they have a problem with coffee. Some people might think, and do think, that it is not a big deal, but it leads to bigger problems, like alcohol and problems with the law of chastity. Elder Leather have a hard time convincing people to stop drinking coffee, and invite them to pray and ask God if the Word of Wisdom is actually a commandment. I am so glad I never had problems with it. :)
You wouldn´t believe the tiendas here! Everything is so cheap! A small bag of chips is only ten cents, and pan ducale is only a quarter. Elder Leatherow and I buy some snacks from the tienda near our house to munch on after companionship study. It is great! :)
Personal Study
This week my appreciation for personal study has increased so much. I love studying, pondering, and applying the scriptures to myself and our investigators. The spirit is always so strong during personal study, and I think I truly understand what it means now to ´study the scriptures.´ I have learned so much over the past week, which has strengthened my testimony so much in God and the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
"Pet" Pigeon
To finish, I´d like to tell you about one of our investigators, Family Martinez. Recently they lost their only girl in a car accident. We have been teaching them about the Plan of Salvation, that through the Gospel of Jesus Christ they can live with their daughter again. In our last lesson we watched ¨Together Forever´´ which is about a bunch of families who have problems in their lives that have been solved by living the Gospel, and knowing that they can live with each other forever as a family. There was not a dry eye as we watched the video, the Plan of Happiness is such a beautiful thing. If you get the chance you should watch it for yourself, it really is great.
My week was so great! I have learned so much Spanish, my testimony has grown so much, and I have a lot ¨less disposition to do evil, but to do good continually.¨ I love my mission so much, I cannot imagine being anywhere else.
Backyard Jungle
I love you so much! I pray for you over and over every day.
Your favorite younger son,

Elder Marriott
P.S. If you have specific questions about my mission ask them, there is a lot I can tell you about I just don´t know specifically what you want to know. And no, I don´t have a whole lot of culture shock, though my cold showers in the morning is always good for one. ;)

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

El Salvador!

Hola Madre!

Sorry, I have two weeks of emails to answer in an hour, so this might be a bit shorter than usual. 

Sounds like you have had a great week this week! Its (sorry, I cant get some of the symbols on this keyboard to work, so my grammar will be horrible this week) so awesome that homeschool classes have started already and you are busy with that! Tell your students I said Hi! 

My week has been so awesome this week! My trainer is Elder Leatherow. He is from Ogden, Utah. I dont think there could be a better trainer. We work so hard every day and are obedient in every way! Right now I am in Delgado. It is such a great area! The people here are so nice. 

My only problem right now is it is hard to understand everyone! They talk so fast. Every day I am getting better, but a lot of the time I can only catch words, but not understand how the words string together to make sense (if that makes sense). :)  

We have six progressing investigators right now. I will tell you about one of them. 

Family Flores are a wonderful family. They have three kids, who are fifteen, eight, and two years old. They dont want to be baptized right now because they believe in the Bible and specifically in a verse in 2 Corinthians which mentions that the truth will be revealed by means of three witnessnes, which they take to mean signs. Its so awesome, because the dad has received his three "signs" some of which are dreams he has had about the church. He is ready for baptism, but will only be baptized when his wife is ready. She has two signs, and is waiting for her third. So interesting! I have never heard anything like it. 

Elder Leatherow and I have decided to pray that she will receive her third sign and want to be baptized also. They are the greatest family, and they remind me of the Verdons! If they join the church they will definitely hold leadership positions. 

All of our investigators are great, I have felt the Spirit so strongly this week, especially when we teach families. Every day is so new and full of possibilities. 

I love my area, my companion, the people here, and Spanish! Cannot wait until I can communicate and understand better though. :)

So glad to hear about Lexi! That is so great! 

Devin is doing great! I heard he got his first investigator a couple or three weeks ago (I guess it is really hard to find in Nebraska though) :)

Sorry, I have to go now! I hope this week is great, I am praying for you every day!

Your favorite younger son, who is semi-fluent in Spanish

Elder Marriott

P.S. Bad news. I lost my wallet yesterday morning. :( For some reason I had it in my suit pocket and it fell out while we were walking. Can you shut down my drivers license and debit card? I can take care of everything else. Thanks! :)

Time to Shine

Hola Madre!

That was a little sad that I had P-Day early. I hope I will have some time next week to write you, since I am leaving for El Salvador early Tuesday morning! Not sure how that will work out. 

I am doing great here! Yes, there is a ton of good food. There have only been two meals I didn't enjoy a whole lot, most of the time it´s awesome! No, my clothes aren´t getting tight yet, don´t worry. I´m sure the basketball and volleyball helps. ;)

My district is still great, and Elder Kimball and I don´t hate each other or anything, thankfully. Haha. I learn new Spanish every day too, it´s so nice to be able to teach a lesson without stuttering at all sometimes. Yes, it happens. ;) 

It´s to get such a long update from home! Great to hear about Hannah, Tessa, and Lizzy´s typing skills (maybe someday she can be half the typist I am). :) Sounds like you are still really busy! 

My time here is almost coming to a close! Only one more week of preparation, and it´s time to shine! I am getting more excited every day, I know my mission has already started but I feel like I´m missing out on a lot of the real experience of serving a mission, if you know what I mean. :)

Everyday passes by really quickly now. Today I had to opportunity to attend the Guatemala temple for the fourth time here. It is so beautiful! 

It´s hard to know what to say now, since nothing really new happens. I have great lessons with my investigators (all three of them) and Spanish is definitely coming along. I can now almost read the Predicad Mi Evangelio and know exactly what it means, though there are still words I struggle over sometimes. But when it comes to having a normal conversation with a friend, I think I´d be lost. Unless it was strictly about the Gospel of Jesus Christ. 

There is nothing I want more right now than to be here on this mission. The Spirit is so strong at the MTC and everyone is so nice! :)

I love you and pray for you every day,

Your favorite younger son,

Elder Marriott

Friday, September 5, 2014

Daily Schedule

Hola Madre!

I am emailing this morning because tomorrow for P-Day we will be going to the Market and touring the city a bit! I hope everything is going well at home! It's sad I couldn't warn you that I would be emailing you early. Oh well. 

This week I wanted to share my MTC schedule with you. :) You are probably wondering (I hope) what my days are like! I'm sure it's a little different than when Jameson was in the MTC in Provo. ;)

Every other week we receive a schedule which we use to plan our days every night. They are pretty much the same every week, with small changes. 

First, we wake up at 6:30 every morning (my alarm clock is set for 6:29 just in case) :) We then get ready for the day by saying our prayers, making our beds, brushing our teeth, and changing into missionary attire. The first part of the day is a little sad. Everyone is really tired and doesn't really say anything. It'd be a miracle if an Elder smiled at you in the hall, for example. Every once in a while someone grunts, "Buenos dias" to you as you brush your teeth. ;) 

Then, from 7:00-8:00 we have personal study! Lately I have been reading Jesus the Christ, Preach my Gospel, the Book of Mormon, and El Libro de Mormon. Jesus the Christ is such an amazing book. It has been amazing to learn more about Christ's important role in our lives. I generally study it half an hour every day. Also, one of my teachers said that President Gordon B. Hinckley promised that if we finish reading the Book of Mormon in Spanish we will be fluent in the language. I am working on it! Hopefully I can finish in three months. :) 

Despues personal study we have Language Study from 8:00 to 8:30. This is when we complete the grammar lessons for the day, memorize new verbs, words, and gospel phrases, and study anything we feel we can improve on in regards to the language. 

Breakfast is next! We have half an hour to eat, from 8:30-9:00. Breakfast is a great part of the day and is always delicious! :) Generally there are eggs, ham, refried beans, salsa, cereal, and lots of chocolate milk! There are a lot of different breakfasts though, including pancakes, waffles, sausage, etc. I am not sick of the food here yet, so that's good. ;)

After breakfast we have Tall, which is a language-learning software here on the computers. It is pretty much an extended Rosetta Stone, and there is tons to learn on Tall. So much so that sometimes it's difficult to decide what next to study. :)

From 9:30-10:30 we have more language study, and then sports! Every day for sports we play basketball! It is so much fun, besides it being about 80 degrees outside on a normal day. ;) One of the Elders from my district, Elder Newey, is so good at basketball! He is about 6'1 maybe but he has the hops! It's a miracle if I can make as many points as him, but every once in a while it happens. I am probably about 6'3 now and the second in my Branch (I am only shorter than Elder Mattson by probably a quarter of an inch). 

Anyways, after sports and showers we have lunch! Lunch is pretty great, especially since at lunch you can have an ice cream out of the freezer. The ice cream sandwiches, some of which are strawberry pumpkin, are soo good!

Companionship study is next, where we plan for the days lesson. Or if we have a lesson with our first teacher, we teach then. Our lessons should be 15-20 minutes, and we don't use notes or anything anymore. :) From then on we have grammar instruction, gospel lessons, dinner at 5:00, and more companionship study after dinner. 

Usually at night we teach one of the lessons from Preach my Gospel in Spanish, either with the Latinos or one of the districts from our branch. I am getting better and better at Spanish every day! :) Finally, we have snacks around 7:30, more grammar or gospel lessons, and then plan for our next day at 9:00-9:30. Then we get ready for bed and lights are out by 10:30. :)

It's awesome here, and I am so excited to get out into the field and start preaching! :)

I love you,

Your favorite younger son,

Elder Marriott

Thursday, August 28, 2014

So Pumped!

Hola Mom!

I'm a little surprised you guys are getting by without me! :) Kidding. But I guess your life wouldn't be complete if you weren't improving our home in some way. Haha! 

Last week I realized Devin had probably emailed me to my other email account, so I sent him an email last week. I will read his email in a few minutes and if I have time I'll tell you how he's doing. He probably already has 50 baptisms or so. ;)

This week was so great! It's so weird to think it has already been three weeks! Halfway there. Out of the MTC, I mean. Haha! I only have 99 weeks left total! ;) Pretty much I have been studying Spanish nonstop, learning the gospel, reading the scriptures, eating really good food, and drinking tons of chocolate milk! (They have unlimited chocolate milk here, and orange juice, lemonade, milk, etc.) :) 

My Spanish has improved so much. Yesterday I taught a Latino about "Revelation Through the Book of Mormon" and my words were really flowing together! It felt great. I also memorized the first five verses of D&C 4 yesterday in like half an hour. It takes a bit longer in a different language. :)

My highlight of the week was when President Cox, who has been having health problems and was being looked after in a Seattle hospital, came back and spoke to us in two devotionals. He is probably the most inspiring speaker in the world. I was so pumped after his devotional! His topic was "High Expectations." I am so much more inspired to work as hard as I can. I'm thinking I should be able to hit 100 baptisms or so a month. What do you think? Just kidding. Still, I am looking forward to the mission field so much now! 

This week the new Elders came in. It's nice to see some new faces and make new friends! We have some pretty cool new roommates, two "gringos" and three Latinos. Way cool! :) It's kind of weird to think I was in their shoes only three weeks ago. I had no clue what was going on. I tried to give them some good advice and help them feel welcome. 

I got a lot of emails today, I wish I could say more but I should probably check my other ones. :)

I hope everything is amazing back at home!

I love you,

Elder Marriott

Hey Tess!

I was gaping when Mom mentioned that you wanted to go on a mission in her email! That would be way cool! Is it official already, or are you still deciding? It has been the best experience for me so far, you should do it! 

No way! I can't wait to go. I got to visit the temple today and the celestial room at the Guatemala temple is so beautiful too! The Spirit is so strong. Tessa. Did you ACTUALLY drool [in the Ogden Temple open house]? Hahaha! Kidding. 

Hope you have a better week!

Love you back!

Elder Marriott