Tuesday, April 26, 2016

"Un Montón" of Blessings

Hey Mom!

I`m glad to hear that Katie could share her testimony in Spanish! She`s on fire! Her Spanish classes were totally worth it! She was always a level (or two) above me during our Spanish classes. I could barely speak, but she was completely fluent! She is always really enthusiastic about learning new things, and advances quicker than the majority of other school students. She`s a wonderful example for all of us! :)

On Tuesday I received my new companion! He`s from Missouri, and has about a year in the mission. He`s one of my favorite companions so far! He is always happy, and is an obedient, diligent, and humble missionary. I`ve already learned a lot from him! We worked really hard this week, and have been focusing a lot on finding more people to teach. Our pool of investigators is really large, but a lot of them are not progressing (most of them do not attend Church). So we decided to keep finding new investigators and teaching them the message of the Restoration of the gospel, with the invitation to read the Book of Mormon to know if it`s true. We already have a lot of new investigators who will go to Church with us next Sunday, and we`re happy with the progress we`ve been making in our area so far.

It`s probably that I`ll be finishing up my mission here in Chaparrastique! I`m totally fine with that. The ward is great, and has been supporting us and visiting with us more often than ever before!

E. and Y. stopped drinking coffee last week, and both of them went to Church yesterday. They will be baptized on the 14th of May. I can`t complain about anything. ;) The Lord never stops providing us with "un montón" of blessings and miracles! :D

How are the houses here in our area? It depends. In some neighborhoods, they are made of tin roofs and stones, and in other neighborhoods are made of bricks. A lot of them in one part of our area have dirt floors and lamina roofs, but the nicer houses have tile floors (like ours). Houses are usually a lot smaller than in the United States. They consist of one room in the front (as you enter the house) and maybe one or two other rooms and a bathroom. I`ve never seen a two-storied house here either. People usually have a backyard (patio) out back where they wash their clothes by hand and then hang them up to dry.
Like Tessa said, I should take some pictures. ;)

Hope you have a wonderful week!

I love you!

Elder Marriott

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Golden

Hey Mom!
About ten minutes ago the assistants called us about transfers tomorrow. Surprisingly, my companion Elder Pantoja is leaving our area! I`ll be staying at least one more transfer here in Chaparrastiqe--my fourth one. I might or might not train another zone leader. It`s hilarious, because I was so, so certain that I was leaving, and I even started saying goodbye to some of the members and investigadors in our area. Well, the tables are turned. Elder Pantoja is leaving the mission in one transfer, and I`m only left with two. Crazy, huh? ;)
Can`t believe you already got my flight plans...I like to think there is so much time left still! Two transfers is a long time, right? Right? :D
On Saturday we finally baptized Daniel!! His wife was already baptized in February, but he wasn`t quite ready still. It was funny, after his confirmation he whispered to me, "I felt really strange during the blessing, like I wanted to cry. It was a peaceful feeling." He's a great guy, and he`s excited to visit now with the Elders quorum in our ward. When we passed by their house last night I directly asked him, "Well hermano, you and your wife have been baptized. Who are we going to baptize now?" We placed a baptismal date with one of his sons there on the spot. ;)
I also have to tell you about another investigator we have, Efrain. One day we passed by a tienda to buy water, and he started talking to me in English (that`s totally normal here). Taking advantage of a great situation, I asked him if we could pass by and visit him one day. He said yes and gave us his address. Turns out, we had already taught his mom. They live right in front of a member family, who are their good friends. He went to Church with us, and this week found a new job in order to have the chance to go to Church every Sunday. He is fifteen years old, and is already planning on serving a mission. We placed a baptismal date for the 14th of May, but yesterday he went to Church for the second time, and we will probably push his date forward. He`s awesome. He told us that he wants to visit other investigators with us too, to prepare for his mission. A golden investigator! We have at least three baptisms planned for May already! ;)
Have an amazing week!!
I love you!
Elder Marriott


Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Two Prayers a Night

Hey Mom!

I know! Can you believe this will be our last Skype call already? Time flies when you´re serving a mission! :D

Grandpa is 93!! Tell him I said Happy Birthday!

This week was pretty amazing. On Wednesday we went up to the leadership council and on Friday had our zone conference. I have to say, the conference was probably the best we have had together. Elder Pantoja and I taught about personal revelation, how to create a model ward, the standards of excellence (in the mission they are now called "minimum faith."), and chosen people ("escogidos").

I especially liked one of Elder Pantoja´s presentations about prayer and how we can receive personal revelation. He invited us all to say two prayers at night, one at 10:00 p.m. and one at 10:25, before going to bed. As we pray, we should thank God for all of our blessings, talk to Him about our day, whatever problems we are having with our investigators, and specific questions that will help us fulfill our purpose as missionaries. For example, we can ask Heavenly Father, "Father, Daisy (one of our investigators) hasn´t come to Church for the last two Sundays. What can we do to help her attend Church?" If all missionaries did this, we would see the Lord´s hand more in everything we do and teach. He would guide and direct us more as we find, teach, and baptize His sons and daughters.

What is something funny that happened this week?

Maybe this shouldn´t be funny (in fact, I know it shouldn´t) but this week one of the Hermanas in our ward had a crazy experience. As she was proselyting with a member, she was talking to her and not paying attention. When she turned her head again to look in front of her, she banged her forehead on a rusty old sign. They continued walking, and she accidentally fell into a hole full of dirty water. Finally, they entered an old tienda (a small store). Apparently a cat had jumped up onto the thin lamina roof, and it all caved in. Dirt and garbage fell onto her head, and she had to use two bags of drinking water to clean herself off! Luck was not on her side that day. When she told us her story, Elder Pantoja and I of course thought it was hilarious (I might need to repent for that one). :D

Have a wonderful week!! Tell all your Beaver friends I said Hi!!

I love you!

Elder Marriott


Thursday, April 7, 2016

All Questions Answered

Hey Mom!


I almost teared up when I saw the picture of Mama and Papa Ripley and Nicole. Awww. I think I`m going to have to visit too, I`m just not sure when. :) I love the April Fool`s joke you played on them! Hilarious.


This week was incredibly fantastic! We went on interchanges many times with the Elders in our zone, President held interviews with all of us, and we got to watch general conference on Saturday and Sunday!


My favorite conference talk was the last one, given by Elder Holland. Amazing! I decided that I need to focus more on the Savior and His teachings every day, and like Nephi, ponder in my heart the mercy and goodness of God. If we're not careful, we'll forget about all of the wonderful things we learned in the conference. We must make changes in our lives, or all is for naught. :)


The Lord answered all of the questions I brought to conference too. Isn`t it amazing that Heavenly Father answers every single one of our prayers? Sometimes I wonder, as the hymn goes, why he should even love and listen to a soul so rebellious and proud as mine. He loves us with all of his heart, might, mind, and strength, no matter what we do. It`s impossible to repay him, but the least we can do is love Him back, serve Him, and keep His commandments. The very least we can do.


Elder Pantoja turned 21 on Friday! We ate pizza for dinner and drank the most delicious soda ever (only found here in El Salvador), Kolashanpan. Our cocinera gave him a cake yesterday too, which was scrumptious.


Tomorrow we`re heading up to San Salvador for another leadership council meeting. It should be good. On Friday we`ll have our zone conference too, and we`re excited. There is so much we want to share! It`ll be excellent.


Anyways, I hope you have another amazing week!


Love you all!


Elder Marriott

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Thirsty All the Time

Hey Mom!

First off, I have to tell you that I laughed when you said that Papi killed your raspberries with the rototiller and then added: Gone. Dead. Destroyed. Hahaha! I forgot about that inside joke we had. :D That`s good though that now it will be easy tend the garden. Just be careful not to destroy the raspberries next time. Because like a puzzle, every raspberry is as important as the next. If one raspberry is missing, the garden cannot be completed! ;)

That`s awesome that Stasia and Hannah are going to come back. I`m excited to see pictures of Stasia`s second baby! Can`t believe I`ll soon be an uncle of four!! Incredible. :)

This week was great here in San Miguel! Elder P and I have been finding lots and lots of great new investigators, the members have been supporting us even more, and we have a lot of baptisms planned for April. The Lord continues blessing us!

It was a hot one this week! Here, La Semana Santa (Easter Week) is so burning hot. I`m never hungry--just thirsty, all the time! Erik mentioned to me, when he talked about his mission here, that people drink bags of water. Well, I`ve become really familiar with them. Our fridge is full of bags of water,  and we buy them multiple times every day, two for a quarter! ;)

Question: Do you feel safe all the time?

To tell you the truth, here, yes, I feel safe all the time. It`s all pretty tranquilo, generally. Every night we enter our house at 8:30, and we never have problems either during the day.

Soyapango was a little more sketchy, but I`ll give you more details when I come back home. ;D
It`s just important that, as Tessa said, that we follow the Spirit when He tells us to take a different  route, turn around, etc. For example, one day we were in interchanges with other zone leaders in la Union. Elder P was working with Elder V (the ex-assistant when I was an office elder). Elder V turned to Elder P and said, "Let`s buy a bag of water here at the tienda." Elder P responded, "I`m not thirsty, are you?" Elder V repeated, "No, but let`s buy water." They walked toward the tienda and right after leaving the road a taxi flew by, exactly where they were walking. They probably would have been hit if they hadn`t be in tune with the Spirit.

It`s a great blessing to have the gift of the Holy Ghost. It`s so important that we are always in tune with the Spirit, so He can guide and direct us, over the course of our lives. Because racing taxis aren`t the only things we`ll confront, and we should always be ready. Like the scout motto says, Be Prepared! ;)

I hope you have a wonderful week!!

Love,

Your favorite younger son,

Elder Marriott

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Can't Speak English!

March 21, 2016

Hey Mom!

San Miguel Zone Service Project
I have some unsettling news. Lately, it has been really, really hard for me to speak English. The other day I went on divisions with a brand new missionary, straight from the state of Utah. Obviously his Spanish isn`t top-notch yet, and so he often had me translate Spanish phrases and words to English. For the majority of them, it was really, really difficult. I couldn`t speak English with him, so we just spoke Spanish all day.

I`m glad that I won`t give my homecoming talk until August 14 with Tessa, because I`ll need the extra month to practice my English. It`s especially hard to teach and testify in English, as you might assume. I`ve literally taught almost 2,000 lessons so far over the course of these 20 months in the mission. :D

If you ever get to go back to your mission area, what would you do first?

Great question! Lots of members and investigators ask, "Are you planning on coming back here after your mission?" Honestly, I would love coming back to El Salvador after a few years. There are so many wonderful people I have met so far, in every one of my areas.

As part of my journal I wrote a list of all of my recent converts in the mission. If I came back, first I would go and visit every single one of them. I would ask them if they are still active in the church, if they have continued growing their testimonies of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. I would spend time with each one of them, and encourage them to keep reading the scriptures and progressing spiritually. I want to do everything I can to support my converts so they can be faithful members of the Church their whole lives. For example, the Gomez family, in Apopa, will be baptized on the 30th of this month. I would love to go and visit them, and congratulate them for the changes they have made since their first lesson from the missionaries. Obviously, they wouldn`t be recent converts if I came back, they`d just be converts. ;D

Then I would visit the members, especially the members that visited with us and invited us over for dinner often. Those are the best ones. :) There is a family here, for example, that I would love to visit. This morning we went over to Lorena (to buy a cake for a recent convert, whose birthday is today), and the Lobos family were there, buying breakfast. They invited us to pupusas, and we spent a good half an hour with them, eating, talking and laughing. You just can`t forget people like that. ;)   

I love my mission, every single moment of it. The Lord has blessed me so much, every single day. I am so thankful for everything I have learned, everything I have felt, and everything I have seen over the past 20 months here. I feel the Lord`s presence every day, and I love being close to Him. I am so imperfect, but He makes my weaknesses strong. I can never repay him for what He has done for me. The mission isn`t and never has been about me. It`s all about our Heavenly Father and His children.

Thanks for everything you`ve done to help me out, Mom! I wouldn`t be here if it wasn`t for you and Papi. :D

I hope you have a wonderful week!!

I love you!

Elder Marriott


Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Loving Every Single Day

Hey Mom!

First off, congratulations on your new calling! I`m honored that you`re my mom. :) I won`t be one of your minions for a few months, but at least I can keep praying for you! You`ll do great and I know you were called by inspiration. 

"Todo lo puedo en Cristo, que me fortalece."
This week was fantastic! We experienced a marvelous miracle yesterday. After beginning our fast with a prayer we left our house and started walking towards the stake center to help out with a wedding for two investigators in another area. On the way, a teenager greeted us and asked if he could go to Church with us. Surprised, we answered, "Of course! Where do you live?" Turns out, he lives in the San Carlos, which is part of our area. As we walked he told us that he had already been to Church in the past and that the missionaries were preparing him for baptism. We asked him if he wanted to be baptized and he said yes, and we placed a baptismal date on the spot for the 9th of April. The best part was, was that a member, his teacher at School, invited him to Church. That`s why he talked to us in the street in the first place. Because a faithful member extended an invitation. There is power when members and missionaries work hand in hand. Miracles come to pass. :) Yesterday he went to Church with us and tomorrow we will teach him for the first time. Ojala que se bautice el 9 de abril!! 

We are planning two baptisms for the 26th, for William and Daniel. William has been visited by the missionaries for more than a year. He`s been to Church, and has a strong testimony. His only problem is that he drank alcohol for a long time, and could not stop. We finally helped him stop drinking and he is really excited now to be baptized. 

Daniel`s wife was baptized two weeks ago and he still wasn`t ready, but he is preparing for the 26th. His only problem is that he has not gained a testimony of the restoration of the gospel. He has been praying every night and reading the Book of Mormon, and I know the Lord, through his faith, will answer his prayers. 

The Lord blesses us so much every week, and I love every single day of my mission. It`s wonderful, and I wouldn`t trade it for the world! 

I hope you have a wonderful week!!

Love,

Elder Marriott