Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Daily Schedule Continued

Hola Mama!
Us Elders and Bishop Vicente and his family! :D

Wow! I´m always surprised how busy you all are back at home! There is so much going on! I love reading your letters every week! ;D

I guess I will finish what I started last week now. Hahaha!

We come home no later than 9:00 after proselitismo. Then we say a prayer and plan who we are going to visit the next day and call our district leader, Elder Flores, for our daily report.

Finally, we change and sit back for a cup of hot chocolate (so nice!) and talk for about half an hour before bed.

Anyways, there it is! You´re right, I am learning a lot about how to better manage my time better and just good life skills, like you said. ;)

Last week on Monday night we had a really good noche de hogar! We invited one of our investigator families, Familia Munguia, and Familia Flores, our ex-investigators who had not been making any progress. Only Familia Munguia could come though.

At the stake activity. ;D
Anyways, it was super great! One of the members, former Bishop Milo, provided an activity, a short General Conference clip, and a lesson. I felt the Spirit so strong. It was just a great example of a well planned and powerful noche de hogar. It feels so great to have noche de hogares with investigators. It really shows that the Church consists of members besides missionaries, and that we are all normal. Well, members more than missionaries. But I think you understand. ;D

On Tuesday we had divisions! I worked in our area with Elder Flores. He is a really, really good elder. It is really hard to find elders who are as focused on the Work as he is. He walks really fast, talks to everyone he can on the calle, and almost thirsts after lessons. He is a really good example for me. By the end of the day, though, I was already missing Elder Leatherow. Man, I wish you all knew him! He is the greatest trainer there ever was, and I hope I can work up to where he is now.

Wednesday, we had a really spiritual experience at our correlation meeting with our mission leader, Oscar Reyes. He asked us at the end of the meeting why we had come out on missions, if it was just because our parents wanted us to, or if it was out of love for the Lord. I just answered, ¨Nuestra voluntad,¨ and he started to cry. He told us to never stop believing in the things we are teaching as missionaries. He told us to always believe in the Book of Mormon, that Joseph Smith was a prophet, the gospel really has been restored to the earth.

I pledged again that night to stay true to what I have learned.

I know the Church is true, without any doubts. Jesus Christ atoned for our sins so that we can return to His presence again. Joseph Smith was a prophet. Through him, the Church was restored and the Book of Mormon translated. Thomas S. Monson is a prophet viviente of God. God loves us all more than we can imagine. I want to give back to Him as much I have received.

On Saturday we had a stake activity. But it was different than any activity I have been too. Pretty much all of the wards in the stake came, set up tables for themselves, and sold dinner and desserts for the members. Nothing was free or anything! Weird, huh? ;) As missionaries we had our own table. We provided missionary pamphlets, DVDs, pass-along cards, and a box for where people could place any references they had. The stuff on our table was free though. ;D It was fun!

I hope you have an awesome week!

Your favorite younger son,


Elder Marriott

Monday, November 10, 2014

My Schedule

Dear Madre,

Sounds like you all are doing great! I love reading your emails a ton! I´m sorry I barely have time to reply to what you say, just know I am reading them. ;D

Today I wanted to tell you a little bit about my schedule as a missionary, just so you could get an idea of my days out here.

In the morning Elder Leatherow and I wake up at 6:29 in the morning (with a minute to spare!) and say a morning companionship prayer. We just take turns praying, so sometimes I will pray in the morning, and sometimes he will. Trust me, since I have been here on a mission I have prayed hundreds of times in Spanish, it is going to be so weird to start praying in English when I get home. :D

Next, we workout. Lately I have just been doing pushups. My goal is to be able to do 200 in twenty minutes, something I will be working on for the duration of my mission no doubt. Hahaha! I also write in my journal if I have the time.

Breakfast is at 7:00. Usually Elder Leatherow and I eat cereal or oatmeal. Just depends on what we are craving on P-day when we buy, really.

After we eat breakfast it´s time to prepare for the day. We hop in the shower (which, like Erik told me before my mission, is cold) and change. A lot of the elders do not have running showers. They have to pour water from their sink into a bucket and dump it over their heads. Something to be thankful for. I am completely used to cold showers though, so it´s fine. In and Out. :D

Personal Study begins at 8:00. I have been studying the scriptures in English and Spanish, but I study in English during personal study. I also read Preach my Gospel, some of the Standard works, and pray for specific investigators for that day. I love personal study. I can always feel the Spirit so much during that hour. It is a great time to prepare spiritually for the day.

In companionship study at 9:00 Elder Leatherow and I tell each other what we learned during personal study, and plan for our investigators for the day. A lot of the time we prepare specific scriptures that will help our investigators progress.

At 10:00, because I am still in training, we have a program that is called 12-Weeks, which is for missionaries who are beginning their missions. We read from Preach my Gospel, discuss how we can help our investigators progress, have practices, watch the Districts, and read scriptures. It is a great time to learn and to progress as a missionary.

Idioma is at 11:00. I find that reading the Book of Mormon in Spanish helps me a lot. I am already in Helaman now. I can literally see the difference when I read El Libro de Mormon in the morning. I can speak Spanish so much better that day.

Finally, we have lunch. We go over to a member´s home, Hermana Sandra, and she makes us lunch. It only costs about $50 every month too. And the food is always good, though we do eat a lot of rice, beans, tortillas, and chicken. :D

Next is the fun part. Proselitismo! When I thought of proselitism before my mission, I thought of knocking on doors. And it is partly that. But really we just go to the specific investigators we have planned for, and try to talk to people on the street to have people to teach in the future. We never knock on doors.

The more lessons we have during the day, the happìer we are. It feels so great to have a 7-lesson day, for example. You feel so successful when you go to bed that night. Elder Leatherow and I have been working really, really hard to have lessons, but this week has been pretty hard. Most of the time nobody is home. We are always trying hard though, always doing our best. I know the Lord will bless us if we continue to work hard and put our faith in him.

My time is up though. :P Maybe I´ll finish this next week and tell you about some of the experiences we have been having!

I love my mission so much. I cannot imagine being anywhere else. I have learned so much, my testimony is growing every day, and I can definitely see the blessings I receive as I help in the Lord´s work.

Have an awesome week! Stay in there. ;)

I love you!

Elder Marriott

Monday, November 3, 2014

Super Chivo

Hola Madre!

Haha, I have been forgetting a bunch of English vocabulary. It´s a good thing in a way, but it´s just really weird. I forgot they used ¨transfers¨ and ¨splits.¨ It´s a lot different here. :D

I love the word ¨chivo.¨ And yes, I know it means goat, which is really interesting too. Hahaha! Almost like an insult then, right? :D

We had changes on Wednesday and something really surprising happened. No, Elder Leatherow and I are still companions, but we got another Gringo! 

Elder Flores and Elder Brust got a third companion, Elder Rowles. Elder Leatherow thinks this is the first time that there have been five Gringos in one ward here in Central America. It is so weird.

Anyways, so that is pretty exciting. I´m super glad that Elder Leatherow and I are staying together though. He is such an awesome companion, I´ll be sad in December when we get new companions. I am almost confident we will. 

Which reminds me, you should tell your Spanish class that your son Elder Marriott thinks they should learn Spanish. Tell them to put their heart, mind, might, and strength into learning the language. Because there aren´t many things cooler than knowing two languages really well. I wouldn´t say I am fluent yet, but I can understand nearly everything people are saying, which is so, so awesome. Tell them they will never regret their decision to learn. I love Spanish. I am improving so much every week. In El Libro De Mormon I am already halfway through Alma and I have no problems understanding any of it, though I don´t know every word. Especially within the Isaiah chapters, PHEW. :D 

This week was way awesome. On Sunday we had our first investigator family at church, Familia Mulguia. I know I told you a little bit about them in another email. They are a family of four and are super positive. The dad has already accepted a fecha del bautismo.
This was super weird. One day there were a bunch of birds
 flying together in a tunnel of wind. Way cool though.
The mom was taught by hermanas years ago, and apparently they were super good. She has been really happy to listen to us. It is important just to talk to everyone you can. Some people, or a lot of people, may not be ready for you, but they might be ready for future missionaries, in five or twenty-five years. 

Here, instead of Halloween they celebrate el Dia de los Muertos on November 2. Elder Leatherow had a really tough weekend, since so many people were out of their houses visiting families, friends, or the cemetery. On Saturday Elder Leatherow thinks we walked at least twelve miles. Familia Mulguia made up for it on Sunday though, it feels so good to have investigators at church!

There are a lot of nice views here. It´s just we are not supposed
 to take pictures when other people can see us. :D
I love my mission so much. I can´t imagine being anywhere else. Every day is so new and fresh. We are always finding new investigators to teach. 

Thanks so much for writing me a lot about home. I love your emails so much! 
Elder Leatherow taking a picture. Hahaha!
I hope you have an awesome week! Hang in there. :D

Your favorite younger son,

Elder Marriott

Monday, October 27, 2014

Doing Great

This view reminds me of Tacoma.
It looks so much better in real life though. :D

Before and after, I guess...
Hola Madre,

Before I begin, I should tell you none of the extra keys on this keyboard work, like exclamation points, question marks, and apostrophes. So I guess just prepare for that. Haha. 

That is so awesome that Tessa is going to the Phillipines. CRAZY. And I do not even know how to pronounce the language she will speak. 

I love reading about what is going on at home, hopefully you enjoy my letters as much. Sometimes I think you guys are busier than I am out here. :D

This week I want to tell you about divisions, which we had on Saturday

So at district meeting Elder F told me we were having divisions. I thought for sure I would go with him, but he told us Elder B, his companion who he is training, and I would work in his area. I could not believe my ears, and I will tell you why. :D

We have a lot of these, scurrying around our house. :D
Elder B really, really struggles with Spanish. It takes him like thirty seconds to say one sentence. A sentence that does not make sense. :D And I am not perfect either. After all, I have about six weeks in the mission, so I definitely cannot understand everything people are saying yet. I am getting there though. Not to brag, but my Spanish is almost as good as Elder F, our district leader, who has been here for eight months. :D My classes before the mission and the MTC really helped. Anyways. 

But divisions was a lot better than I thought it would be. It was a little hard sometimes when Elder B tried to say something and the investigators did not understand hardly anything. Sadly, this happened a lot. But he is trying, which is the important part. 

I learned that most important in a lesson is the Spirit. In one of our lessons I felt the Spirit so strong as Elder B and I shared our testimonies about the Atonement of Jesus Christ. There is not a better feeling. As missionaries it is crucial to teach with the Spirit. If it is not there, there is little point in teaching. I learned at divisions that I need to make sure to always bear my testimony with sincerity, with feeling, so my investigators can feel that I really do have a strong testimony of the Gospel. And I learned I need to work on my Spanish todavía. ;D

Elder Leatherow and I are doing great. I am having my first change on Wednesday and I really hope he will still be my trainer. I am pretty sure he will be though. 

I want to be ready in six weeks to train, if the Lord calls me to it. My goal is to finish El Libro de Mormon and be completely ready to teach by myself if I have to. 

We shall see though, I might just be a junior missionary. I hope not though. :D

Elder Leatherow and I had a bunch of crazy lessons this week, from teaching a possessed man to teaching a deaf lady. Trust me, I will have a lot of stories when I get home. They do not give us enough time every week for emailing. :D

I hope you have an awesome week, praying for you every day.

I love you, 

Elder Marriott

BREAKFAST. First time I made plátanos. They were really good.
I will have more tomorrow 
morning. Funny story, one of our new
 investigators gave them to us. Way cool. 

One of the pasajes. Kind of cool. :D

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

God Answers Prayers!

Hola Madre!

Our pet pigeon has two kids! Here is a picture of one with her. :)

Glad to hear everything is doing great at home! It is so crazy that Tessa sent in her papers! I really hope she goes foreign. :)

This week has flown by! I can´t believe that it is already the 20th of October. It seems like a couple days ago that we were starting October. So crazy. :D

Today I want to tell you about an experience I had with one of our investigator families, Familia Mulguia.

For Fast Sunday this month Elder Leatherow and I fasted for the members in our ward. They are what you call ¨Sunday Mormons,¨where they will go to church on Sunday but the majority of them do not want to do anything else. We have invited them to help us with missionary work (because it is so much more effective when members are involved) but they will not do anything in general. My first week here we made a packet for all of the members interested. The packet included a Book of Mormon, a church DVD, and ¨the Family: a Proclamation to the World.¨ We have been trying to help them get excited about missionary work, like the Lincoln ward was in Tacoma.

We have started to see some progress since our fast and many prayers in this regard. I know that God answers prayers!

Yesterday, Sunday, we needed a member to come visit a part-member family with us. After calling a few members, one of them, Salvador Campos, agreed to come with us.

First we visited the menos activo family (I´m literally starting to forget how to say stuff in English :D) and then Familia Mulguia. Our lesson with Salvador Campos and Familia Mulguia was one of the most spiritual I have had since I started my mission.

We have taught Familia Mulguia in the past. We taught lesson one, the Restoration, lesson two, the Plan of Salvation, and the Book of Mormon. This time Elder Leatherow and I planned to verify their testimonies of Joseph Smith and ask if they were ready to be baptized.

Right when we started teaching them, we felt the Spirit so strongly. They had both, the mom and dad, fulfilled their compromisos and were excited to learn more. They asked so many questions! One of the most spiritual moments of the lesson was when Salvador asked their daughter, who is thirteen, if she believed that Joseph Smith saw God the Father and Jesus Christ. She answered, ¨Yes, I believe.¨ and we could feel the Spirit increase again, almost tenfold. :D

The dad accepted a fecha bautismal, and the mom is so close! We are going to teach them on Thursday evening and I am so excited. The whole family of four can be baptized, since their son is eight years old. I am praying that their hearts will be opened even more to the Gospel.

I know that Joseph Smith is a prophet. Every time we testify of him we feel the Spirit manifesting that our words are true.  Elder Leatherow and I had a fairly disappointing day on Saturday. We planned thirteen lessons (with many plan de respaldos) and only taught three.

But yesterday made up for it all. There is nothing I love more than to feel the Spirit, and we feel it in every lesson we have. :)

My mission is flying! I know these two years will be up before I know it. Let me tell you,. it will be bittersweet. :D

I hope you have an awesome week!

I love you,

Elder Marriott

Elder Leatherow and I bought cookies until the end of this change, just in case I get a new trainer (I really, really hope he stays for another six weeks.) Changes are next Wednesday!
But don´t those cookies and hot chocolate look good? They are. :D

I know the lighting is terrible, but this is the bird of El Salvador! Can´t remember what it´s called. :) Super chivo, huh? :D

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. :)