Monday, June 27, 2016

Great Investigator

Hey Mom!
Elder Manzo's Birthday

This week was great! I have to tell you about one of our investigators we´ve been teaching this week.

His name is J (he´s 11 years old), and I used to teach him a long time ago with Elder P. He went to Church for a few weeks, but he lost his enthusiasm and stopped going. This week Elder Manzo and I decided to stop by and teach him and his other brothers and sisters (it´s a family of 5). We decided the best approach would be to teach him about the Book of Mormon and assign him a verse to read every day.

In our first lesson we invited him to read a verse from the Book of Mormon. The next day, he had read it and memorized it completely. We were overjoyed. We assigned him another verse, and he had it memorized before we came by the following day. On Saturday we stopped by to visit, and assigned him his fourth verse. He also accepted the invitation to go to Church on Sunday (I wasn´t surprised, the Book of Mormon is a powerful instrument). Two of his brothers and sisters had read and memorized a couple verses too, and all of them said they would go to Church with him.

Anyway, Sunday came along, and Elder Manzo and I were sitting in sacrament meeting. It was already 9:15, and he and his family hadn´t arrived yet. Suddenly he ran in through the door and sat down next to us. He greeted us and then rehearsed, word for word, Mosiah 2:17. Unable to restrain ourselves, we both congratulated. Many of the members were watching us, with amused looks on their faces. We asked him, "And your brothers and sisters, are they here too?" "No," he responded. "I came by myself."
He had taken the bus and walked all the way down to the chapel, all by himself. After the three hours of Church classes he took off again, by himself. Thankfully, (since he didn´t have a quarter for the bus to go home) his Primary teacher lent him one.

To tell you the truth, J was a great example for me this week. It was refreshing to see someone, who isn´t even a member of the Church, with such a strong desire to learn and do what´s right. Before, he never prayed in our lessons, but now he always volunteers to say the prayer, each time thanking God for "the brothers" who have passed by to teach him and help him be a better person.

JC is excited for his baptism on the 9th of July! This week we held a family home evening at his house and we learned about blessings, and how we can receive them. One thing is certain: blessings aren´t free, we have to earn them. And JC will receive hundreds of blessings after following the Lord´s example and being baptized on the 9th. He will be, just like JP, a powerful and faithful member of the Church.

JP continues learning more each day. He especially loves reading from the Scripture Guide, and he told us the other day that he already read about Missouri and the New Jerusalem. He loves learning about the prophecies that will be and are being fulfilled  preparatory to the Lord´s Second Coming.

Have a fantastic week, Mom!!

I love you!

Elder Marriott

Monday, June 20, 2016

Paradise

Hey Mom!

I am definitely looking forward to scraping and painting the house again! Make sure my I-Pod is ready for use. Kidding! ;) 

This week was great!! On Saturday we held J´s baptism. Forty (!!) members came to support Hermano J. They also provided the refreshments (little croissant-sandwiches from WalMart). There were only thirty sandwiches, so an hour before the baptism Elder Manzo, another member and I went to a close-by store and bought sandwich bread, mayonnaise, and bologna. We made thirty sandwiches in ten minutes. Not to brag, but I´m without a doubt a sandwich-maker expert--with all my experience. You should be proud. ;)

The baptism turned out to be an excellent, spiritual experience. The speakers were well prepared, the bishop gave a warm welcome, and J was really happy and content. On Sunday, after receiving the Holy Ghost, he patted Elder Manzo and me on the knee and whispered, "Gracias," to us both. He told me that as he received the Spirit he felt an overwhelming peace in his heart. He felt innocent, like a little child. That night we passed by and taught him about missionary work and he is excited to share the restored gospel with everyone! He will be a powerful leader in the Church. He loves learning, and is eager to serve the Lord.

Guess what?! On Tuesday we taught JC again, and he accepted a baptismal date! He will be baptized on the 8th of July, in the last week of my mission! You can´t even imagine how overjoyed I was after our lesson with him. I have visited him for seven months on and off (he comes to Church almost every Sunday) and at last he is willing to be baptized. He will be another powerful convert. The Lord is blessing me so much in my last transfer here. JC´s wife´s sister also wants to be baptized, as soon as possible. Possibly we will baptize her with Juan on the 8th. I feel like I´m in paradise. ;)

Elder Manzo is obedient, hardworking, and an efficient teacher. He loves joking around, and maybe that´s why we get along so well. Neither of us can let a good laugh pass us by. ;) I´m lucky to work with him.

Have a great week!

I love you all!

Elder Marriott

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Just Like Paul

Hey Mom!

Wow, it´s incredible how busy you always are. You guys are always on fire! And I thought a missionary had a busy schedule.

This week was great! On Friday we had interviews with President Vasquez! He taught us about ways in which we can be more auto-sufficient (I think that´s how you say it in English). He told me about one of his RM sons, who baptized almost every week of his mission. A bit ago he asked him, "How did you baptize so much on your mission?" His son responded, "Easy. I just put everyone else to work!" When a large pool of members participate in mission work, a missionary can work for more than 8 hours each day. With the help of the members, the missionaries just need to coordinate family home evenings, lessons, and activities, and let the members do their thing. President is offering us a lot of new ideas to help the ward council and members accelerate the Lord´s work with us. It´s great!

Oh, guess what? J will be baptized this Saturday, the 18th. The bishopric announced his baptism in sacrament meeting yesterday and a bunch of members congratulated him afterwards. Bishop even came in during our Gospel Principles class and gave him a big hug. Our ward is truly amazing. I´m confident that many members will come to support him on Saturday too. J will most likely be our ward mission leader in August, when he receives the Melchizedek priesthood. He´s a powerhouse! During the baptismal interview he shared his desire to serve the Lord his whole life, just like Paul in the New Testament.

Sorry, my email is a bit short this week. There just isn´t much time today.. ;)

Have a wonderful week, Mom!

I love you!

New Comp

June 6, 2016

Hey Mom!

This week was great. On Wednesday I received my new companion, Elder M. He´s a great guy! Like I mentioned, he is from Ecuador. I´ve only had companions from Hondorus, Mexico, and the United States until now. He´s a little bit different. This week I got to know him and I learned one thing about him I didn´t know: He sure knows how to talk! There is not a dull moment. When we are walking on the street, he loves talking, about nothing in particular, or rather, everything! He talks about his companions, his areas, the mission, other missionaries, and especially food!

And he knows how to eat too! For lunch on Wednesday he asked for four tortillas (they´re really big!) and I asked for two just so I could give him one of mine (I only eat one every day for lunch). After about two hours of proselyting he told me he was hungry again! He said in Ecuador people eat a lot of food, but they aren´t as big as people here either. In Ecuador they eat a ton of rice, soup, and meat. Reeeaaal meat. Anyways. I remember one time when I did interchanges with him we ate dinner at a member´s house and afterwards he said, "Okay, let´s go to the pupuseria." He then proceeded to eat four pupusas. Incredible, huh? Yesterday he was so hungry (our cocinera just gave us four tacos) that we made pancakes at our house too. Today we went to the supermarket and he bought cereal, milk, eggs, beans, bread, sandwich meat, and chips! I´m still a little shocked at how much he eats. It´s funny, because when we compete I can eat more than him, but normally he eats a whole lot more than I do. ;)

He´s a great worker! He´s always very animado (excited?), energized! He walks with a spring to his step, and is very optimistic about the progress our investigators are making. On Saturday we taught one of our new investigators (we´ve taught him four times I think) about the Sabbath day and invited him to Church. Elder M testified energetically about the blessings we receive when we keep the Sabbath day holy. On Sunday we passed by for him and he came to church with us. On the way, we talked to a member who told us the missionaries have taught him for more than two years and he never went to church even once! We´re hoping to baptize him this month. Elder M is great!

On Sunday it rained soooo hard, early in the morning. The attendance decreased a ton, because most people didn´t want to leave their houses in the pouring rain. We´ll have to teach about sacrifice and the blessings that follow when we are obedient--no matter what.

Last Friday we went to another leadership council, and on Wednesday we will have another zone conference. This will be my seventh one here in San Miguel. Elder M and I are the only missionaries who have been here since December--everyone else is new. In December Elder M began his training when I got here. Crazy, huh?! He´s still "green." ;)

Have an awesome week!! Keep going strong, and keep smiling!

I love you!

Your favorite youngest son,

Elder Marriott

Staying in San Miguel

May 30, 2016

Hey Mom!

You won`t believe this, but transfers are on Wednesday...and I`m not leaving! Elder N is going to be the new general secretary! The assistants called last night to inform us and he didn`t sleep very well. He was in his bed, tossing and turning for a whole hour before dozing off. Today he has been asking me questions about the office, over and over and over. So, what`s it like? What did you do? Did you work in your area very much? Is it really stressful? President is assigning excellent elders to be his new office workers, that is certain. There will be three ex-zone leaders working in the office all at once. ;)

Anyways, so there it is. I will be finishing my mission here in Chaparrastique, and it will be my fifth transfer here. I already know who my new companion will be too. It`s one of our district leaders, Elder M. He will be a great companion. He is from Ecuador, and is an obedient, hard-working missionary. We`ll get along together well. I`ve already had two interchanges with him here in our area, so he is already a little familiar with it too. :D

Our zone had a wonderful month of May! We had a lot of baptisms, and have many more planned for June.

J and his two granddaughters came to Church on Sunday, and they have baptismal dates for the 18th of June. They all love going to Church. J tells us he is excited to be "Mormon." I love it!

My mission is going so well! The members are supporting us a lot, and we are finding a tons of great new investigators. As I told President in my weekly report, by consagration we receive blessings and miracles of the Lord. We have been focusing a lot on ways we can be more obedient. When missionaries choose to be obedient, the Lord trusts them and blesses them with power and authority, which helps us as we fulfill our purpose to help convert the Lord`s chosen sons and daughters. Obedience, obedience, obedience. It`s the key to a missionary`s success.

This week Elder N and I started waking up early to play basketball at a nearby court as part of our exercise program. We played for 45 minutes and then showered and prepared for our studies. It felt sooo refreshing to run around like I used to. I forgot how good I felt after track and cross country practice. It invigorates you! I definitely lost any basketball skills I had before, but poco a poco I`ll get back up to par. Hopefully. Today for P-day we are going to play for a good hour out in the basketball court here at the stake center. Elder N is a good basketball player! He never gets rebounds (he`s short) but he`s good at dribbling, passing, and shooting. Anyways, it`s good to go out and have a bit of fun every once in a while. Who would have though, right? ;)

What will you miss the most about El Salvador?

The people here, and pupusas! There are so many wonderful people I have met here in the mission. They are all so amazing. Even random strangers are always so nice and friendly. Most people smile and wave at me in the street, and welcome me into their homes, almost always, so we can share a message. Most people don`t accept the Restoration, but they never get angry at us or anything. Most people are so humble too. At least here in San Miguel.

I will, without a doubt, miss pupusas. A lot. They are so, so delicious. I think we will probably eat pupusas in heaven. Pupusas and chocolate ice cream, if I`m not mistaken.

Have a wonderful week, Mom, and I`ll keep praying for you all!!

I love you!

Elder Marriott

Monday, May 23, 2016

Absolutely Not

Hey Mom!

Sonja Merrill! What a great name, for a delightfully cute little baby! Excited to see her soon. ;)

This week was great! Elder N and I have been working hard, and we´ve been finding a lot of great people! JP, our new "escogido" came to church on Sunday with his granddaughter, who is 16 years old. He stopped drinking coffee almost a week ago, after we taught him about the Word of Wisdom. He said on the third day he was very, very tempted to drink coffee but he got through it all and didn´t take a sip. I´m proud of the man. It just goes to show that he understands the doctrine of Christ and is very eager to make needed changes in his life. He will be baptized on the 18th of June.

The members have been helping us a lot this week, and a lot of them have been telling us to call them if we need help with our visits. The ward is participating a lot more in mission work than before, so we´re all excited.

Elder W, one of the missionaries who served here in Chaparrastique more than a year ago, came to Church yesterday!! He came with his sister because he is preparing to start up a business here in El Salvador. He will be selling jams and jellies and importing them to the States to sell. He gave us a jar of mango jelly! Elder N and I are going to buy peanut butter and sandwich bread and eat sandwiches for breakfast this week. A few investigators came to Church to see him too (a few of them hadn´t been coming xD), so that was good. He´s a good guy, and participated a lot in the gospel principles class. His Spanish actually wasn´t too rusty and his sister even read a scripture in Spanish :)

Is there anything I like to eat now that I hated when I got here?  

Absolutely not. Since my first day here, I have loved everything people give us to eat. As you know though, I´m not picky at all. I love pupusas, plantains, beans, rice, chicken, beef soup, chow mein, tortillas, etc. It´s all good! There was a part of my mission when I stopped liking the tortillas here (in Apopa), but I started eating them again here. I usually eat one for lunch and two for dinner (they´re a lot different from the tortillas we eat in the States, trust me). You should Google Image them.

Hope you have an amazing week, Mom!

I love you!

Elder Marriott

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Flechon

San Miguel Multi-Zona
Hey Mom!

Thanks for the long email! I know I mentioned it before, but I love hearing about everything that´s happening at home. I especially loved what you said at the end, about Pap putting "get to 1400 in chess" at the bottom of his to-do list. Tell him I support him 100%. I was telling Elder N the other day about how much I love playing chess, and he thought it was really weird when I mentioned I even had a chess coach that came by and taught me once a week. Man, but I sure enjoyed every moment! Remember when I was ranked #2 out of 2300 players on FICS? I still can´t get over that, and I hope I can get back up to where I was before. Probably not, but we´ll see. :D

This week we held another zone conference! Elder N and I talked about the standards of excellence (they don´t exist anymore, which is a huge change in the mission), working and teaching with the end in mind, and daily/weekly planning. President taught us too, for a good 40 minutes! It was the first time that he came to one of my zone conferences, which is awesome! You got the picture, right? Anyways, he taught us about our vision as missionaries, and how we can find and teach new investigators.

Today Elder N had migrations, so we went to San Salvador at 5:00 in the morning. There, I got to see and talk to Elder B! He is still in Apopa!! It is his sixth change there, and he already has 10 months in the mission! So crazy, because I clearly remember his first day in the mission field, in September.

He has already lost 60 pounds over the course of 10 months. He is working hard, and is a good example for all of the companions he´s had. Happy to see that he is still a "flechon," or a very obedient missionary.

Elder N have been finding some great new investigators, many of them who have been taught by the missionaries in the past. One of them was taught five years ago and already went to Church three times. His wife is Catholic, but he convinced one of his daughters to come to Church with the missionaries. He already has a testimony of the Restoration, and will go to Church again on Sunday with one of his daughters and a grandchild. He just needed another invitation. That experience got me thinking about how many people there are in our area who would love to receive the missionaries again after a lapse of time. I know there are a lot, and our purpose is to find and teach them again.

The zone is one fire!! One of our district leaders had 6, I repeat, 6 baptisms last Saturday. He will be baptized two or three more on the 28th of this month. It made me so happy attending the baptism and seeing so many people in white! Next week I´ll make sure to send you a picture. There were actually seven people baptized, because another companionship had one too. So far we have 10 this month, and the average number of baptisms for a zone is 9. Our goal is to have at least 6 more baptisms this month. The Lord is blessing us so much! The converts are very special, and powerful! On Sunday Elder N and I realized eight interviews, which was fun too. The O Family were almost all baptized, and they have powerful testimonies about the restored gospel and the blessings it brings. I love doing baptismal interviews because I can see clearly the blessings people receive as they accept and live the gospel. It´s magnificent!

People love us us North Americans!! Everyone stares at me and Elder N wherever we go, and love it when we teach them. I think we teach more lessons than other missionaries because of our racial status. ;) Many people shout out English words and phrases as we go past, and are delighted if we can understand them and respond questions and comments. It´s all "tranquilo."

Have a wonderful week!

Love you too!

Elder Marriott