Saturday, January 24, 2015

Transfer to the Office

Hey Mom! 

This has been a crazy, crazy week! I have a long story to tell you today, since I hardly received any emails (obviously, since I usually writeon Monday). But everything has changed, and I´ll tell you why. ;D

For the last week or so Elder L and I were thinking a lot about the next change. We knew we would have changes (since we had been together three changes already) but we just weren´t exactly sure who would be leaving the area. I felt that I was leaving, and he did too. I even prayed about it on Monday to finish off our P-Day. I felt that I would leave, I just didn´t know exactly where. Would I serve in Oriente, where it is blazing hot? Or stay in the Capital? Would I have a Gringo companion, or finally a Latino? Anyways, we talked a lot about it, but we didn´t know for sure until Tuesday night. Zone leaders called Elder Leatherow to say that I was, in fact, leaving! Confirmation. :) 

It was kind of hard to sleep that night. Lots of thoughts were going through my head, and I was really excited! 

Finally, we left for changes on Wednesday morning. It was really hard to have my last real talk with Elder L. I have enjoyed my time with him so much. I have to admit, I shed some tears as we left the house for the last time. :) Elder L has taught me everything I know. He taught me to be diligent, to be obedient, to have faith that the Lord will bless us if we do our part, and a whole lot more! Really, he has been a really good friend to me. 

Finally, changes! 

For a very long time my name did not pop up on the screen with my companion. Zone after zone flew by, but nothing. Elder L got his companion, a Latino (his prayers were answered) and every time a new missionary popped up on the screen my heart skipped a beat. Yeah, changes are pretty exciting. Hahaha! :) Finally, my picture popped up! 
I was called to...the office! :) 

I have been called to serve as the Financial Secretary for the mission! My new companions are Elder Vasquez and my trainer, Elder Lucero. You can´t imagine how surprised I was to be called here. I did not think for a second I´d ever be an office elder! But here I am. :D 

I love my job so far! I have only had two days here in the office, but I have learned so much! 

Elder Vasquez and Elder Lucero are great! It is definitely a little strange being in a trio, but really rewarding too! 

It is definitely a huge responsibility I have now, but I know that I will do fine with the Lord´s help! More than anything I am a little nervous about my Spanish. Elders call us a lot about problems they have with money and my Spanish has to be really good to answer all of their questions and resolve their concerns. ;) A lot of the work I do here is on the computer. I have tons of emails to answer and I have to confirm if bills have been paid for electricity and water for every area in the mission. I also give permission for reimbursements, which requires good judgment. Well, there is a ton I do here. Elder Lucero told me it is a very stressful job. So far I haven´t felt a whole lot of stress, but I know I will once he leaves and I am working by myself with six weeks of experience. But I will keep learning a lot every day! Hopefully I will be ready. :) 

Sadly, I might not have as much time to write you every week. We barely have any time to do anything! They tell me we don´t even have P-days really, we just write on Friday. So just to keep that mind, my schedule to write from now on is Friday! 

I have no clue how long I will be Financial Secretary, it could be two changes or it could be six or more. I am new in the mission so I could have a lot of time here. We shall see! :D 

To tell you a little about my schedule, every day we try to leave for the office at 10, we work until 4 or 5, and then begin working in our area! The elders have told us that the ward is really, really good, and that they baptize every month, so I´m really excited!

Anyways, this was a crazy ¨transfer¨! But I´m really, really excited to work here! ;D 

I hope you have an awesome week! 

I love you!

Elder Marriott

Friday, January 23, 2015

New Year's Eve

Hola Madre!

Estoy fantástico, gracias! Y tu

Man! So soon, huh? How does it feel to have three of your kids away from home at the same time? Maybe you can take a few deep breaths at least. :) My camera is really nice! She should get one just like it. 

Yeah, that was a pretty quick read wasn´t it? [He read the Book of Mormon in 3 days before he left] It was definitely worth it though. If she reads it in two weeks it will be perfect! She should read it in her mission language though...whatever it is. I don´t even think I can pronounce it. Tell her to study it as much as she can though, she definitely, definitely won´t regret it! She will be scrambling to learn really quickly like I did when I got here. It is so sad to watch people talk and not have a clue what they are saying. You should know. ;) 

I´ll definitely help you a ton when I come home, don´t worry! What are returned missionaries for anyways? We can work a lot harder than the average 20 year old kid. Haha! :) This week Elder L and I went over to Bishop O´s house and helped him paint one of his rooms. We painted the walls green and the ceiling blue. It reminded me of old times. Bishop was a lot less picky about it than you are though. :D 

New Year´s Eve was crazy here! We visited five members who invited us to eat dinner, and all day the people were setting off firecrackers in the street. We got home at about 9:00 and planned as we listened to our next-door neighbor´s loud music. Everyone woke up at 12:00, it was so loud! The next morning there was mountains of newspaper on the streets. They have an interesting way of making firecrackers and fireworks here. Wish I had taken a picture of one. It´s like a cylinder of newspaper with a fuse at the end. Hahaha! :D

Highlights of the week? On Monday we watched Frozen as a zone! The zone leaders got special permisison from Presidente V to watch a Disney movie. It was pretty fun. It is a lot different in Spanish, but the songs were still really good! I didn´t understand everything, but since I had watched it a few times before my mission I always knew what the characters were saying. :) 

Tuesday I had intercambios with Elder B! It was a good day, we worked really hard and contacted lots of people! Elder B´s Spanish isn´t the greatest, but he is never afraid to open his mouth! He is a really friendly guy. :D 

This month we fasted as a district that every area can baptize in this change. Elder L and I also fasted for Familia M, that they would receive an answer that the Church is true and have the desire to be baptized. We are teaching them tonight, and I really hope the lesson goes well. We will ask questions to discover their doubts that they have. Every day I have been praying so hard for their baptism. We are also really hoping to baptize D M. Also, we have another ¨investigator,¨ R C, who was baptized but supposedly wasn´t confirmed. We will hopefully baptize him again this change. 

Also, yesterday we had the opportunity to give three blessings. The Spirit was so, so strong in each one of them. I really love giving blessings. I am thankful that I am worthy to have the Melchezidek Priesthood. I never feel the Spirit as powerfully as when I give blessings. 

It was a great week! I have been learning so much and my testimony is growing every day of the Savior and His Atonement. There is nothing I like more about my mission than testifying of gospel truths and feeling the Spirit during our lessons.

Looking forward to another great week! I can´t believe three are only two more weeks left until changes. ;D

Have a fantastic week! 

I love you! 

Elder Marriott

P.S. Thanks for the picture of Tessa! Made my day.... :)

Puchica!

Hey Mom!

Wow! Sounds like you had a really good week! It must have been so great to talk to Stasia and Brian! They are perfect for each other! So awesome how that all worked out. ;)

You asked for some cultural facts?

First, you can tell the class that here in El Salvador, it is all about tortillas! On the side of the streets you will see ladies flipping tortillas, patting them down flat with a spatula, flattening out the dough with their hands as they wait for the tortillas to finish cooking. Man, the tortillas are really thick though! They are like pancakes almost. :) You can teach your class to say, ¨Deme veinte tortillas, porfa!¨Hahaha! Seriously, though. Some people here only eat tortillas and frijoles!

Secondly, you can tell them that lots and lots of people walk here! They either walk or take buses, but you will see hundreds of people every day, at least here in the capital, walking around and doing their ¨mandatos.¨ When we walk past people we greet them by saying, ¨Buenas!¨ in which they always reply, ¨Buenas, que le vaya bien!¨ Always, always. Maybe you can teach your students that phrase. At least here in El Salvador people use it a lot! In some countries though, like Honduras, it is almost an insult. You don´t have to tell them that though. ;)

Thirdly, churches! As you walk down the street, at times, and this is very likely, you will hear a preacher shouting into a microphone at a nearby church. He will read verses from the Bible and explain them very dramatically and emotionally. After he finishes preaching, the people will begin to sing a song, clapping as they do so. It is, to me, a little hilarious. I cannot imagine the Spirit being in a room where people scream into a microphone about God. In fact, I know He wouldn't. I wish people would come to the Church and see how we do it.

Fourth, here´s a fun word you can teach your students. I say it a lot. The word is ¨Puchica.¨ Or something like that, I´m not actually sure how it´s spelled! It is pronounced, Poo-Chee-Ku! If that makes sense. :D You use it when someone says something that is hard to believe or really interesting. It is like saying ¨Dang!¨ in English. It is so fun to say though. :)
Okay, guess what?! We had our first baptism this week! We baptized R C. He was baptized about eight years ago, but never confirmed a member of the Church or received the Holy Ghost. It was really awesome! We have been teaching him for the past few weeks and he was so pumped for his baptism!

The ceremony went really well! Our first speaker was a recent convert, he has been a member for five months, and we asked him to speak on baptism. For ten minutes. What really happened, he spoke about (but not limited to) the Book of Mormon, missionary work, the Priesthood, the doctrine of Jesus Christ, his conversion story, baptism, and receiving the Holy Ghost. Mostly he just talked about the Book of Mormon though. It was more like a sermon than a talk though. He spoke in a very, very loud voice like a preacher. It was, I think, about 25 minutes long. More than anything I just wanted to help Rene feel happy for his decision to be baptized and be motivated to continue staying active in the Church.

Next the Bishop spoke about the Holy Ghost though, and his talk was really, really good! The Spirit was really strong!

I am so thankful that we had this opportunity to baptize though! I know that God has blessed us a lot! Mostly I just feel really hungry for more baptisms. I can already see the difference it has made in R, after he received the Holy Ghost in Church yesterday!

We have changes on Wednesday! I have been feeling lately that I will be leaving the area, but we will see! I am excited to get to know another Elder! We shall see, I´ll give you all of the juicy details next Monday!

I hope you have a fantastic week! And more than anything, Happy Birthday!! I sent you a card in the mail and I hope you get it soon!! :)

I love you! 

Elder Marriott

Monday, January 12, 2015

Inspired Questions

Hola Madre! 

Wow! That is really exciting! I wish I could have been there for her talk! What exactly were her reasons for serving a mission? It will be the greatest experience for her! It will be awesome to have three returned missionaries in the family! ;D I am really happy for her. Though I have heard some crazy things about the missions in the Philippines! :) 

This week we had a multi-zone with Presidente Vasquez! It was really, really good! I learned a lot about the importance of asking inspired questions to invite the Spirit during every lesson. One of the seccions in Preach my Gospel is called ¨Teach People, Not Lessons.¨ It is really important that as a missionary you are focused on what your investigador needs, what his doubts and questions are, and how you can help him best understand the Restoration of the Gospel. This week I have really tried to put this in practice and ask more inspired questions. It really does invite the Spirit a lot! Yesterday we had a really powerful lesson with one of our menos activos, J S. We taught about the first great commandment, to love God with all of your heart, might, mind, and strength. The Spirit was so strong. :) 

On Saturday we have a baptism! It is for R C, who nearly 10 years ago was baptized but never confirmed into the Church. He was totally inactive until a few weeks ago when he began to attend church again. We are really excited for him! We have taught him a few times and is excited for his baptism! 

We are also hoping and praying that D M and S M will be baptized also! They both have fechas and we will teach S tonight and D to see if they are ready for their interview. :D 

I love you! 

Elder Marriott

Monday, December 29, 2014

More Obedient :D

Hola Madre!

Yeah, it was really awesome to see all of you!! I was thinking this morning, ¨Hmm, what am I going to tell Mom today?¨ I guess I wasn´t the only one. :D

Hahahaha! Each puzzle piece is as important as the next, because if one piece is missing...the puzzle cannot be completed! ;D That is probably my favorite quote of all time! So inspiring.

Yesterday we visited familia M. Sadly, I don´t feel they are as ready for baptism as I hoped. Sandra, the mom, asked us again why she needed to be baptized a second time. We are going to reteach prayer, faith, and the authority of the Priesthood. Lately they have not been reading the Book of Mormon, which I think is their problem.

I have a favor to ask you. :) If you have time, can you (and even better, Papi also) write your testimony for familia M? Elder L had his parents write theirs, and S and S were really excited to read them. It doesn´t have to be long, just a short testimony and maybe how the gospel has blessed your life. :) Don´t worry about it if you don´t have time though!

This week I have been thinking a lot about obedience and what I can do better as a missionary. I know that the more obedient I am, the more success I will have. After our Skype call I felt really bad about how Elder Leatherow and I don´t speak Spanish to each other in the house and on the street. We started right when we got home and only speak Spanish to each other now. Also, we felt bad that we took more than an hour to Skype. I know that almost every missionary does, but it is because they are not as obedient as they should be. Anyways, our next Skype session will only be an hour unless I get special permission from President Vasquez or something. ;D

Thanks for your example! I totally forgot how you were the only Gringa on your mission to always speak Spanish. Anyways, I felt and still feel really bad about that. But it´s fine, we are only speaking Spanish now!
I am excited for a new year! I can´t believe it is almost 2015! I have been making a few goals for myself. There is so much I can still improve myself on.

Have an awesome week! Have tons of fun in San Diego and Phoenix! ;D

Love,

Elder Marriott


Pan con pollo!!! :D

Monday, December 15, 2014

22 & Testimony

22! Hahaha!
Hola Madre!

Wow! So many things have been happening lately! I am sooo excited to talk to you all on Christmas. I can not even believe that we only have a week and a half left! 

This week we had changes! Elder L and I are staying together! He is the new district leader too. I am so grateful to have another six weeks with him, he is such a good Elder! The only Elder who had changes in our district was Elder F. He took off for San Vicente where he will finish training another Elder. 

Something crazy happened this week. The other Elders in our district, Elders B, R and F, got robbed! Someone jumped over the back wall and came in through the window. He took $150 from Elder B as well as other electronics, including an iPod, Anyways, they are now living in our house. It is pretty hectic having four of us in one small house, but also really fun. :D 

A couple weeks ago K K asked me to share a short testimony about the Savior. She said they would read missionaries´ testimonies during the sacrament meeting right before Christmas. Here it is! 

I have always, as far as I can remember, had a testimony of the Savior. I was, as a lot of you know, raised by goodly parents who taught and lived the gospel of Jesus Christ. Since I was really young I had a knowledge of His birth and life here on the earth, and could feel the love He had for me. 

Every member of my family surely remembers Christmas Eve at our house, where as a tradition we read and acted out from the Bible the events leading up to the birth of Christ. I think we can only have the Christmas Spirit when we focus on Him and the perfect life he led. 

As a missionary, I now have the opportunity to learn and testify of Jesus Christ every day. Each time I do, I feel the Spirit witnessing the love and mercy He has for each one of us. And every time I feel the Spirit, my faith and love for Him grows. 

One of my favorite scriptures about Christ is Isaiah 9:6 which reads, For unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given, and the government shall be upon his shoulders. And his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace.

I testify that Jesus Christ is our Savior and Redeemer. He gave His life for each one of us so we would have the opportunity to return to our loving Father in heaven once again. He loves us more than we can comprehend. I invite all of you this Christmas season to really ponder on the perfect life of Jesus Christ and try even harder to become more like Him. I know from experience that as we study, ponder, and pray about our Savior, our love for Him and those around us will grow.We will feel the Christmas spirit all year round as we live the restored gospel and share it with our family and friends. These things I testify of in the name of our Savior Jesus Christ, amen. 

I hope you like it! 

I am really, really excited to Skype you all for Christmas! If you want you can write down some specific questions you would like to ask me. Our time is limited. :D

Have an awesome week! Listen to lots of Christmas music for me! ;) 

I love you! 

Elder Marriott

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Birthday Cake

Hey Mom! 

I had a really good week! My favorite experience was our noche de hogar with Familia M. Elder L and I bought cake mix and frosting and baked a cake! Aren´t you proud of me? It was Salomon´s (the dad´s) birthday on Tuesday so we decided to celebrate his birthday a day early. We taught a short lesson and ate steak, chicken, salsa, and tortillas for dinner then cake to top it off. It was so fun! 

I love Familia M so much. We have changes and if I stay in this area I want to see them baptized so badly! They have strong testimonies and enjoy church so much! But they have problems with coffee. S, the Mom, stopped drinking coffee but S is still working on it. It is a rule that investigators have to keep the Word of Wisdom for three week before they are baptized. Elder L and I fasted for them. I know that it is just a matter of time before they are baptized. It would be so great to see it though! ;D 

Christmas is so close! I´m so excited! We have been singing Christmas songs and enjoying lots of Christmas trees and lights! Here, everyone celebrates Christmas on Christmas Eve! There is always lots and lots of ¨pan con pollo.¨ Then on Christmas everyone sleep until about four in the afternoon. On New Year´s Eve they repeat the whole process too. Elder L and I want to visit five or six families on Christmas, an hour with each member. It´s just what Elders do here, since no one wants to have lessons at their houses on Christmas Eve. ;D

I love my mission so much. This week I have been studying the attributes of Christ, and it has really helped me have the Christmas Spirit. I love our Savior so much. He loved us so much that he gave his life for us. The least we can do is dedicate our lives to Him as we live the gospel to the fullest. I am so thankful for Him and His example for us. :D

I literally have no more time, I wish I could write more!! 

Have a super awesome week! 

Love you!

Elder Marriott