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

Sunday, May 8, 2016

22 New Investigators

Hey Mom!

First off, I promise I won´t be emotionally hurt if you paint the "orange room" before I get home, Mom. In fact, I might be a little happy about it. Remember how many times we had to paint it when we first moved in?! The only thing that kept me from dying of boredom was the music I had on my phone, that I listened to all day. ;) I don´t remember if I told you before, but the people here are not picky at all about how well their houses are painted. One time, in my first area, we went over to a member´s house because they needed help with a paint job. We started painting, but the paint was so watered down that it just dripped all the way down the walls to the floor and made puddles on the dry earth. I can tell you, they didn´t care in the least! I asked my trainer, Elder Leatherow: Hey, maybe we need to be more careful as we paint. He told me, "Nah, they just want this wall to be blue. People don´t care how it looks, they just know that a light blue is better than dirt brown." My mind went back to how meticulous I had to paint the "orange room" just months before. Not one dribble. Hahaha! In Soyapango, by the end of our service project my hair, clothes, and hands were all blue. (The paint dripped from the celing, surely and steadily). Good times! You might not trust me again to paint when I come home. :) Just kidding!

This week was so great! Elder Neifert is definitely, without a doubt, one of my favorite companions here in the mission! He is always happy, and is always humming, whistling, or singing (just like me). We both love singing hymns, and sometimes we practice before beginning our companionship study (so we can be prepared for our lessons later in the day). He sang in a choir, and knows how to sing bass, tenor, and alto. I´m not good about singing parts, but I do love singing (as you surely know). :D

President held a Multi-Zona on Friday. He invited us all to repent, because there are a lot of missionaries who have been very disobedient lately. A few missionaries went home lately for having girlfriends in the mission, and others are just not focused at all on the Lord´s work. It´s a little saddening. But Elder Neifert and I decided to make a few needed changes. We want to be as consecrated as possible. :) That´s another thing about my new companion, he´s very obedient and humble. He never gets angry or frustrated at anything I say or do. We get along great! When you have a great companion, you´re always happier, and I´m not an exception. ;)

We found 22 new investigators this week (I´m serious. Hahaha!), which is a lot in this mission! We have been talking to everyone in the street, and many of them have invited us in so we could share our message about the restoration. It´s been great! I know a few of the people we found will progress and be baptized, so I´m excited! Our goal this week is to find at least four new people to teach every single day.

On Friday we will have another leadership council, which means another zone conference soon! This will be my sixth zone conference here in San Miguel! I can´t even believe it myself. :D

Have a wonderful week, and I´ll see you all on Sunday!!

I love you!

Elder Marriott

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