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

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Learning Quickly

Hola Mom!

I forgot to tell you! Right when we got here at the MTC they took our cameras away.. I will be sending pictures in a month and a half I guess.

Sounds like you haven't even stopped working on the house after I left! I'm a little surprised. ;) 

This week has been pretty awesome! Every day is better than the last. Elder Kimball and I can now teach lessons in Spanish without any notes! I even taught a ten minute lesson about the plan of salvation by myself in Spanish. Well, using an English pamphlet to help out a little. Last week, I used to dread teaching lessons to "investigators" (who are really teachers in disguise ;)). It is really stressful. But I'm actually starting to enjoy it, now that the language is a lot easier to speak. On Wednesday our teacher was sick and so we taught his T.A. It was hilarious! He said he was completely happy in his life because of his money, cars, clothes, etc. And that he didn't need the gospel. I still don't exactly know how to approach people like that. All I know is that EVERYONE needs the gospel and Church in their lives. It should be mandatory. Just kidding! :) What was even more humbling in that lesson was that he spoke so fast! He wasn't being easy on us like our teacher, so I had to ask, "Que?" like three times before I understand what he was saying. Hahaha. In yesterday's lesson I understand almost everything my teachers were saying in Spanish! It's exciting how quickly I have learned. I know the Holy Ghost has helped me so much. Without Him, I would be a hopeless case. 

Sunday was so amazing. After Sacrament meeting we ate lunch and learned about health, culture shock, Joseph Smith, and listened to a devotional given by M. Russell Ballard. It is so nice just to relax and feel the Spirit.

Our lecture on health was a little disturbing though. I am so scared that on my mission I will drink (somehow) a little contaminated water and get worms or something. They had pictures and everything in the lecture. So gross. One Elder had to have worms extracted from him that were more than four feet long. It's important that I drink clean water, eat healthy food, and avoid mosquitoes! Anyways.

Yesterday was sooo awesome too! The six-weekers celebrated before they left. We almost all crammed into one of our rooms and sang hymns. It was literally at least 110 degrees and the humidity was probably 100%. So hot. I was just standing there and singing and there was sweat running down
my legs and face! It was a little hard not to cry when we sang "God be With You 'Til we Meet Again." We sang the chorus so loudly! 

My district is so amazing. We are all really good friends and know each other pretty well. This week I told them I was homeschooled (which they found hard to believe) and since then they have been calling me "Elder Homeschool." It's pretty funny. 

Elder Kimball is way awesome too. I would rather be his companion than anyone else here. He's a great guy. On Sunday we taught a lesson about our commission to teach the gospel. We both had really good experiences and I felt the Spirit a lot as we taught. 

I love you,

Elder Marriott

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

First Letter from Guatemala!

Dear Family (Mom? :)),

Before I begin, I should mention that P-Day is on Tuesday for now. Later, I will probably switch to Wednesday. Don't worry, I'll write every week if I can. :)

Thanks for the picture! Sounds like you guys had a blast this weekend. That's awesome that you and Pap will be cub masters! It brings back memories of 11-year-old scouts at our house. Remember when we all prepared a trailmix for a little hike? It's funny I can still remember that. Anyways. 

That's so cool that Sister Allen, King, and Newlun can come over this weekend. You must be really excited. :) 

All I can say for Lizzy is, good luck with that. Just kidding! I hope she wins. :) [Miss Junior Beaver County Pageant]

This first week literally felt like a month, but at the same time it seems like I just got here. Yeah, that makes no sense...but it's true. I don't know where to start, so I'll summarize my story after passing through the security gate of the airport. 

When I got to the boarding gate, there were already four Elders and one Hermana. I thought I was the last missionary. In the next half an hour, at least twenty-five Elders joined the crew. I made so many friends on the first day! I think only the best missionaries get to go to the Guatemala MTC. The flight to L.A. was pretty good. It wasn't very long, but I was sitting next to two ladies who apparently didn't want to talk at all. I tried to start a conversation, and they like...shunned me. They were nice, but they were too absorbed in their books and cell phones. Oh well. ;) After waiting a couple hours at the L.A. airport, we left for Guatemala. The flight was sooo long, and I only got about two hours of sleep. We arrived at seven in the morning. From there we took a bus to the MTC. Traffic was crazy! Here, if you want to make a right turn you wait until there is a one second gap in the traffic and just push the pedal to the metal. It was exciting. ;) Once we got to the MTC the bus just backed out into the busy street. Everybody stopped their cars in front of it, and then we backed again into the MTC parking lot. 

Everyone here gave us warm welcomes and helped us with out bags. I was really surprised, because most of the missionaries here are Americans! There are many Latinos too, just not nearly as many. Kind of disappointing in a way. Haha. So, we were able to take a nap for a couple hours, went to lunch, and then our day actually began.

My new companion is Elder Kimball. He is a great companion! He's really "chill" but he works hard and follows the rules. He is pretty hilarious sometimes, and we're similar in some ways. I'm grateful  to have him as my companion.

The first day felt like a month. I'm not kidding. They pushed us so hard! Every day has been getting easier and easier though, so that's good. 

Our district is way awesome! There are ten of us. Towards the end of the week we really started opening up to each other. We have a lot of fun, but we are also really hard working. 

I have to tell you about one of my most spiritual experiences this week. During a devotional my Maestra, Hermana Garcia, talked about the Atonement of Christ. I felt the Spirit so strong there were tears rolling down my face (even I cry sometimes, Lizzy). My testimony of the Atonement is definitely stronger now. 

Every day we have personal study, companionship study, Language study, and classes where we learn Spanish and how to teach lessons. My Spanish has improved so much! I'm certain I can teach gospel lessons, give prayers, bear my testimony, and invite people to be baptized even better than Katie, if you can believe it. ;)

Today we got to the attend the Temple here! It is really small, but sooo beautiful. 

I wish I could write more, but I need to reply to my other emails. Hopefully I have a bit more time afterwards (we only have an hour to write emails).

Of course, I'm typing about 130 WPM so that helps. ;)

I love you,

Elder Marriott