YouTube - Cambé - PR

YouTube - Cambé - PR


Elder DeSouza, Guiharme, Elder Markham

Elder DeSouza

View From Our Apartment

Cambe October 25, 2010

Ola´ Momma!
As always, thank you very much for your letters. They are a highlight of my week because I love to hear how you are doing! Life for sure is crazy busy, but as long as we make time for the most important stuff first everything else usually falls into place. I´m really glad to hear that Sharon is doing better is school and activities and such! I bet she´ll do just great here is school. That’s so great that Larry’s job is going really well too! I´m glad that the Lord is blessing our family so much. Tell them hello for me! As far as my address here in the mission, I think it is best to just send everything to the mission office. The Assistants distribute all the mail about once a month, and it takes like 3 weeks to get here so it’s probably just better to do that so you don´t have to worry about transfers and stuff. I think that I´ll probably be here is Cambe´ for quite awhile though since it’s my first area and we are opening it up again. One thing I would actually really like is if you could e-mail me 3 or 4 recipes for cooking that are pretty easy to make. The meal schedule here is very different and I find myself rather hungry all the time. Here in Brazil lunch is the main huge meal and it we usually have like raman for breakfast and nothing for dinner. It’s just not important here... except to me haha! Anyhow that´d be great. So to answer all your questions (please keep asking them because it makes it easier to write about stuff):
This week in Cambe´ has been good but also really tough. We are having a real time finding new people to teach, but God has blessed us with some great families. Also, Poor Elder De Souza got really sick this week. He had a fever of 104 and we had to stay in the house for a little while. He is getting much better, but you could definitely pray for him. I´m sure he wouldn´t mind letters either :) (by the way I hope postage isn’t too expensive for you. Feel free to take it easy on sending stuff...) I actually am not feeling homesick at all other than I do miss you and Sharon. I am content to be here and having a good time. The only problem is that I really just don’t know what the heck is going on most of the time because of the whole Portuguese thing and I feel a little useless sometimes, but I keep praying that it will come. The hardest thing is street contacts because people all have different accents and talk about the most random stuff ever. From what I gather it is reasonably safe to send stuff to brazil, but there is still risk involved. I probably just wouldn’t send anything you would be sad about losing is all. And tell me if you do so will know if it comes. We have a fairly strong Ward here in Cambe´, but also lots of less-actives. This week we are going to work with teaching more of them. We are having a stake conference soon that we are trying to get 300 investigators to so I pray that all that will go well! Cambe pretty much is a suburb of Londrina. The people here are fairly middle class and very kind. The members feed us great Almoços {lunches}. Most people here seem to work some kind of retail or construction. Guilharme is doing fantastic! We had a huge fiasco organizing his baptism because Elder de Souza was sick and there was another meeting scheduled the same time and we almost had to cancel it, but he showed forth an amazing amount of faith and said that he wanted to be baptized regardless of the problems so we punched it back a little and he was baptized last Saturday! I had the honor of giving him the Holy Ghost which was absolutely terrifying in Portuguese, but everything worked out well and he was so happy afterwards. He is a great kid. We have possibly another baptism this Saturday with a boy named Renan, but we´ll see on that one. Other than that we have 3 more lined up for the middle of November. Two of them need to quit smoking, so it will be a journey, but I know with God’s help that anything is possible. The work is going great besides our difficulties! This week I have a feeling will be super great. We also walk a ton. I´ve got some pretty blisters on me toesies, but they are healing up just fine and pretty soon I´ll just have feet of iron. Summary: Brazil is great. a good story this week is that the boy Renan was having lots of doubts about being baptized because his parents aren´t married and he wanted to wait to be baptized with them, but we felt inspired to talk to him about the blessings of the Aaronic priesthood (he is 14) that he will receive and then to read Alma 18 with him about the desires of our hearts and being baptized. Now he is excited and he loves to ask me about American Movies and Video games and Yogi-Oh cards. Also It was funny at the baptism because before the service one of the leaders in our ward (like 35 yrs old) got on the organ and started playing all these heavy metal songs like Iron man and stuff. Nobody else even knows the songs and I just have to smile and laugh. Well I had better go. We use e-mail in an internet cafe and I´m tired of typing :)
Love Elder Markham

When Missionaries Get Bored

Me and Elder DeSouza

Elder DeSouza

Cambe October 18, 2010

October 18, 2010
Hello Mother!
It’s so very good to hear from you again. This week has been really crazy what with changing countries and all of that, but it’s all good. Things are great! Tell Camille Happy Birthday! I’m glad you’re still having fun and stuff with the family. How are Abby and Dallin? How are the Grandmas and Grandpa doing? That’s way cool that you got to go to the opera at BYU. The DeJong is a sweet place to watch anything and I’ve never seen the magic flute, but the music is good. The DeJong concert hall has way good acoustics there. I do miss music... we are reduced here to one pair of really bad speakers and the EFY/motab that my companion has. Speaking about being here and such.... Holy cow I am in Brazil! It’s seems really crazy, but I am doing really well and having fun and a great time. So, I got to talk to you in the airport in Dallas, but in Brazil we could not figure out how to make the phones work. We needed a country code or something and everything was in Portuguese and we just kind of gave up. I actually met up with two missionaries that I knew in the MTC going to Londrina right after I got off the phone with you. They had been serving in Texas for 2 weeks and we met up and all went down together. It was sure an adventure. In Sao Paulo for some reason they wouldn’t let Elder Angerbauer check his luggage and it was a nightmare trying to figure out the problem because nobody spoke English and I don’t really know any airport words, but The Lord blessed us and somehow we got the problem resolved and headed to Londrina. No, we didn’t get to see any of the other places because we couldn’t leave security and we never even got off the airplane in Curitiba. I tried to sleep on the plane, but it was really hard and mostly I just stared at the seat in front of me. When we arrived in Londrina the President and the Assistants were there waiting for us and we went to the mission home. Londrina is a beautiful city and the mission home was waaaay sweet; especially after our dumpy apartment in Omaha. I got to sleep in the bed that Elder Scott slept in when he visited our mission. They fed us real good too and the next morning we got some training on the mission and got our papers in order and then we got to meet our new companion! My new companion is named Elder De Souza and he is from Fortaleza, Brazil. He has been out 10 months and it is really great to have somebody who speaks and knows his way around! Otherwise I would be totally lost. He is a great missionary and although we don’t always understand each other we are starting to work together well and I am very excited. Our area is called Cambe. It is a city off to the side of Londrina of probably about 500,000. This area had been closed for a while and so we are opening it up again. The work is a little bit slow just because we don’t know anybody here, but things are picking up and I am very excited. We have one young man named Guiliarne who was with missionaries before and we found him again and now he will be baptized next Saturday! We also have several other families here that have great potential in the coming weeks. Brazil is very different. I like the food though. I haven’t got sick yet. We just can’t drink any water other than bottled which is super annoying, but oh well. The cars and roads and insane and I’m super glad we don’t have to drive! There are also just tons of stray dogs everywhere. Hmm… interesting. The people are really nice here too. It’s funny because in the US people get really touchy about religion and close up when you talk to them. Here, when they are not interested they get really animated and at first I thought they were mad, but right after they just talk to you like an old friend! Ha! The language is a bit difficult and I don’t really understand everything, but when we are talking about the gospel and such I actually understand quite well, probably because that what I’ve practiced. I’m learning other stuff too and I hope in a couple weeks I’ll be speaking better. Elder De Souza and I talk together pretty well and I’m teaching him English. Well, I had better finish soon. Please write back with any perguntas that you might have!
Elder Markham

Bom Dia!

Bow Ties

Londrina, Parana, Brazil

Outside Mission Home Londrina

Various Missionaries and APs

President and Sister Tavares with Steven

Jammed in a taxicab


Airport (He doesn't identify it. My guess is that it is Londrina.)

Elder Angerbauer and Elder Sherwood

I met these two Elders in the Dallas, Texas airport. We were companions for the rest of the flight.

Flying to Brazil October 12, 2010

October 12, 2010
Hello mother! It is so good as always to get your emails! Thank you for sharing mission experiences too. I will be really looking forward to hearing about them! Also, that is so fantastic that Larry got a job! He'll probably be staying closer by now too which is awesome. So, obviously I've got some big news this week. But first I will tell you everything I had for lunch this past week. Ahem...
So my flight to Brazil will be leaving in about 3 hours and I am getting super-way excited, but also a tiny bit nervous. I am way excited to get there and begin serving, but I know it will really take some adjustment. Thank you so much for your prayers and letters and stuff. The package was also fantastic! Thank you for the phone cards and conference talks and such. I will try to call you at the airport if I can. President Kunz will be the one driving me out there so it'll be pretty easy to get permission. The time is finally here and it’s just kind of unreal. I'll be sure to send lots of pictures and such next e-mail. Probably I will send a ton of info next e-mail so be prepared!
This week was kind of slow here in Omaha. Like I said before Elder Haslem had a leadership training this week and also "conveniently"" needed the car, so we spent a lot of time walking around and talking to people. This will be great practice for Brazil, but it gets a little tedious on occasion. Our teaching pool is a little bit small at the moment, but we have met several really great families that we will be excited to start teaching this coming week. Pray for Elder Haslem and Hansen that their appointments will go through! They are also sort of happy that I'm leaving because our apartment is really tiny and not meant for three people so they will enjoy the extra space! I really met some interesting people this week tracting! Along with the nice people I was also told to "go to Africa or something". Tracting is actually pretty fun sometimes because you never know what is going to happen next. This week I had a really cool experience with following the Holy Ghost. We were out just trying some potentials and not really having any luck. We were walking back down a street that we had already knocked and not really expecting much, but then we felt like we should go knock on this door, even though we had already done so last week. We went up and talked to the lady there and she said that her husband was just going through chemo for cancer and was really sick. We talked for a while and offered to help with things and she was very thankful and invited us to come back later this week. Even if she turns out not to be interested, I know that the visit brightened her day. Wonderful things can happen when we listen to the Spirit, I just need to work on doing that all day all the time! Think what miracles could happen then! Hmmm.... I really don't have that much other news. It’s been a crazy week logistically. Well, I will be leaving soon and need to go get ready, but thank you again so much for all your help. I love you Momma so very much and I am proud to be your son. I will be looking forward to hearing about your mission and I am very excited to get to Brazil! I know that God gave us our family to help us learn to be the very best we can. I know you are doing a great job and I am so grateful to be your son. I have a strong testimony of the plan of salvation and it truly is a blessing to be able to talk to others about this wonderful knowledge God has given us. Love you and please keep me updated about how things are going at home!
Love Elder Markham

President and Sister Tavares

The Nebraska Omaha Mission Experience

We found out on Oct. 7 that Steven along several other missionaries in the Nebraska Omaha Mission received their VISAS to Brazil. Steven was to fly out on Oct. 12. We talked with him on in the airport and he said that he wished he could have two missions; one to Nebraska and one to Brazil!

I am glad he had such a good attitude while waiting. The same thing happened to me 30 years ago. I was called to Mexico on my mission but was not able to get a Visa so I went to Puerto Rico as an interim mission. I will always consider Puerto Rico an important part of my mission. I didn't speak much Spanish there I personally grew in lots of ways that has served me later in life.

Anyway I am grateful for Steven's attitude. He seems happy no matter where he is. I am grateful to President and Sister Kunz who treated these Elders like their own even if they were only temporary. I am also grateful for Christina Morales and the whole Zertuche family. Christina and Sarah still write me. They are great! I am sure that Steven will have nothing but good memories of Nebraska Omaha Mission.

Rosemary Markham, Mom

Misc Omaha: Sniffing a tree

Various pictures of Omaha

visit to the winter quarters temple

Winter Quarters Temple

Memories of Omaha

Omaha October 4, 2010

Guten tag, Bom Dia and Hello!

I hope this e-mail finds you in good spirits today! Well, this week has been interesting. I got a ton of your e-mails which was fantastic and I'll try to answer them all the best that I can. Conference was so very very awesome. I absolutely loved all the great insights we gained from the prophets and apostles and I am so excited to share that! My two very favorite talks were by Jeffery R. Holland and President Monson, both about gratitude. For some reason or another I was just sincerely touched by the humility and gratitude of those men. They are so spiritual and righteous, yet they still feel inadequate and grateful. I believe that this is a huge lesson for all of us. I wish I had some of their exact quotes but I'll get them in the Ensign next month. One of my favorite lines from conference was by President Uchtdorf when he said "Humility is not thinking less of yourself, but rather thinking less about yourself." I feel that these thoughts combined are truly heaven sent answers to some of my concerns. I should not sit around thinking how much we need more investigators, or that I am not doing my best, but rather just be so very thankful that we have investigators and spend all my energy praying for them instead of me. Forgetting yourself can be a really difficult task because frankly, I'm stuck with myself, but if a prophet tells us to do it that means I can! I really also loved Dallin H. Oaks talk on the need for priesthood. I wouldn't mind if you mailed that one to me early. Lots of people have concerns about exactly that kind of thing. So, quick recap- Conference= AWESOME. We actually got invited over for lunch by a less active member right before conference and when we went over they agreed to watch it with us. It was so cool because her husband isn't a member and her non-member cousin is staying with her right now. About 30 min before conference we sat down with her cousin Rodney and started talking. We ended up giving him the lesson of the Restoration. The spirit was amazing and we actually quoted the first vision and testified of prophets like 30 sec before conference started, and then we were just like, "well, I know that we have a living prophet and .....Wait for it..... Here he is!" We flipped on conference and totally just had the apostles teach two investigators. Can life be cooler? I submit that it cannot! We gave Rodney a Book of Mormon and we're meeting him again Tuesday. I just love conference! We had another investigator go and watch conference at our stake center. She liked it OK, but she was ticked because she somehow lost her wedding ring at the church. We're going to help her find it, but secretly we were just like "Yes! Now she has to come back to church!" Oh boy. I think God has a great sense of humor. Lots of less active members got to come to conference too. Recap number 2= Conference= AWESOME! So, we've been without car for several weeks now and we finally get it back tomorrow, which is exciting, but in a way I actually just like walking and biking better. We get to talk to more people that way. Just this week we found an awesome family who invited us back and when we ran into them random again the mom was like, "So ya'll are coming back Tuesday right?" and we were like "What?! We don't have to hound you and show up unannounced to teach you?" (In our minds of course.) We also have an appointment with this hilarious guy who stopped us because he wanted to give my companion a haircut. (He’s a barber.) We talked to him for a while and he said, "I've got a question for you Mormons, “So what happened?" That was it. No explanation. Just "What happened?" It was hilarious because he was dead serious and we had no idea what he was talking about. So we just gave him the quick-style restoration and he seemed satisfied. Then he asked "So what about that dude?" Again, we just talked about Joseph Smith because we had no clue what he was talking about. He should be an interesting person to teach. He is so funny. Speaking of haircuts, I have started cutting my own hair again just like when I was a little kid. Ha! It doesn't even look THAT bad either :) Also, this week our senior companion Elder Haslem has to leave for leadership training and it will be two greenies alone for the week. Pray for me for sure! I know that God will bless us, and guide us where we need to be. Wow, this is totally a word-splosion and I could keep on typing for a while, but I'll try to answer some of your questions real quick. My health is doing super. Not so much as a sniffle. (Drat, I have no wood nearby to knock on...) My legs have been hurting from all the walking, but it’s all good because it builds character and I'll just have a beautiful behind when I get home ;) Poor Elder Haslem has been having really bad allergies and Elder Hansen has a bad cold, so I don't know how I've dodged it, but tudo bem! I was so excited when I heard about the temple in Portugal! Just like you and Ana said, I almost shouted for joy too! I was like "My Dad went there! Portugal is awesome! I speak Portuguese! They're building a temple there!" and Elder Haslem was like "Shh! The prophets is speaking." It is an amazing miracle that the temple is being built there. We will have to go when I get back. As for you traveling, take its easy! I'm glad that you are feeling so much better, but don't overdo it. (This is my Dad side speaking). It'd probably be best not to go international until you've tried a few more local excursions nao e`? Thank you for your advice from you mission too. Sometimes I feel like I am not doing enough, but as long as we do our best God will do the rest. One of the people who gave the prayer in conference was the brother of my MTC branch president. Just a random factoid. The Gospel is just so true that I am super excited right now to get out and talk to more people. I'm also excited because they finally figured out how to get me my monthly allowance and I have food money today! Hurrah for food. I mean Israel. It’s also cool that they are building a temple in Mexico!
Thank you as well for the quote you sent me. I have really felt the Holy Ghost guiding us these past weeks. I want to become more in tune with the Spirit so that we go about doing God's will rather than our own, we have some pretty dumb ideas on occasion!
So how are things back at home? How is all the extended family doing and such like? It’s weird not to know what’s going on at my own house, but thank you for the great updates. Sorry about switching times a bit for checking emails. I just don’t know exactly when I will check them. Also P-day is Tuesday next week not Monday. Something about a fake holiday called "Columbus day". They claim that he discovered America but that is clearly false. Lehi AND the Brother of Jared were first. Why don't we have Lehi day? Wait, maybe they do in Lehi? Go Pioneers? What about Mohonri Moriancomur day? I'd take off school for that.
Here is my quote from conference for you all. I want you to ponder how it can apply to your life and write me back a 3 page essay in MLA format about it. Ahem:
"I seem to have lost my voice...... that’s a basic thing that I need to have." -President Uchtdorf.
I know that as we do not lose our voices we will be blessed with words in the very moment that we need them. Will you commit to not lose your voices? Also your responses would bring me lots of mail. (Subtle hint)
But in all honesty, thank you all so very much for your love and support. I get tons of mail and I am so humbled that I have friends and family that are so kind and caring. I need to reach out with more love to people around me. Thank you for the lessons you have taught me each day of my life. I love being a missionary. It really brings happiness to talk about things that mean so much to me and can bless others so much. I know God lives. Us missionaries are so incoherent that if the Spirit wasn't real literally nothing would get done. I am so thankful for the tender mercies God places in our paths every day so that we can remember Him and smile. Christ is truly our friend and ally and it is only through His Atonement that we can improve our lives and overcome our flaws. I love this church and I've been so richly blessed to hear from the Lords anointed this week. Thank you for your prayers and support.

Until next time, this is Elder Markham. Much love. Over and out.

Elder and Sister Ellis, President and Sister Kunz

Omaha September 27, 2010

Hello Mother!
I didn't get your e-mail yet so I'm sorry if I can't answer your questions very well... we're here sort of early today because we don't have a car and we've got lots of stuff to do on P-day and so we're kind of running around crazy-like! As for the backpack I thought that there was a blue (not the black tatty one) one someplace in my closet, but if not, no problem. My current one just has a stupid strap that digs into my side if I put much weight in. I'd like one, but ONLY if it’s cheap. We're going to Wal-Mart today and I'll take a look there because they probably have school supplies.
So, this week has been really interesting/exciting/non-interesting/awesome. Earlier in the week we had a Zone conference with Elder Stanley G. Ellis of the 70. He spoke a whole ton about Isaiah 55 where it says that Gods ways are higher than our ways. God knows the beginning from the end and if we want to have a real heads up on life, we should rely on His methods and revelation rather than trying to plow ahead by ourselves. He said the 5 steps to do this and defeat Satan are 1. Pray always 2. Listen to the Prophets 3. Read the scriptures 4. Fast 5. Obey the commandments. There are some really cool scriptures about that. We should have a competition or something to see if you can guess any of them or find awesome ones. We can always use a good old scripture. He was mission President in Brazil before and when I met him I said "Bom Dia! Tudo Bem?" Then he answered in Portuguese and even though I understood I totally froze up because he was a 70 and I didn't expect him to really say very much back.... ha! It was terrific. The weather here is starting to cool down. We’ve been getting a ton of rain lately, which is fine except for the fact us not having a car deal. I actually think it’s kind of fun. It’s probably good training for Brazil. It’s actually sort of satisfying to walk around in the pouring rain preaching the gospel. Makes me think I should be in an MTC video or something. I got my Preach my Gospel all wet and remembered Ryan parking his car on his wet math book. I didn’t have a car, but we stacked like 100 lbs on it from our weight set and it’s good as new! Ok. Enough randomness. So the Lord has really blessed us in interesting ways this week. As I mentioned earlier, the work here is a tad bit slow and we don’t have a ton of investigators, but this week we found three more people. The interesting thing is that those three are our only investigators at the moment, but all three of them agreed to be baptized in October in our first lesson. So our numbers are wacky because we've got very few lessons taught, but three baptismal dates! I am so thankful that the Lord is preparing people in every part of the world to receive the gospel. It won’t be an easy road for any of the people we're teaching, but if salvation was easy would it be worth having? Whenever times get tough I like to read D&C 121-122 "Christ hath descended below all things. Art thou greater than He?" Another area we are focusing on is less-active work. It’s wonderful to help bring people to Christ and know that He is really helping us out. The members who are active are so solid and so great. They help us out all the time with rides and food and all that. They are wonderful people and I already love the ward here. My companions and I are getting along really well and I'm excited to keep on trucking! General Conference will be terrific also. Well, that’s pretty much the update for this week. One funny story is that we have a guy we're working with who never wants to pray and so we do the nose-goes game at the end of all our lessons and try to catch him unawares. It’s really funny because he never knows when we're going to stop teaching and touch our noses. Good times.
So what’s been happening back at home? How is the family doing? How is school for Sharon? Gone on any crazy adventures? Any natural disasters and or monster invasions? I'll try and check my e-mail again later, but I'm not sure I'll be able to.
I love you all so much and wish you the best! Enjoy conference and know that I am thinking and praying for you. I love this church and the light it brings into people’s eyes. I know God wants nothing but the best for us and when we line up our priorities with His life can be so much easier. I know Christ is my redeemer and I want to work as hard as I can to say thank you for His help. I know we have a living prophet to guide us and that Joseph Smith really did bring back Christ's church. Have a fantastic week and know that I'll be thinking of you!
-Elder Markham

P.S. One Brazil Elder got his visa and took off this week, so there is still hope! Tchau.

Omaha companions

Elder Hansen, Elder Haslem, Elder Markham

Omaha September 20, 2010

So, lots of stuff has happened since last time so here goes my update! First off I'll guess I'll answer your questions. The weather here has been switching from cold too hot to cold to hot like every 2-3 days. Apparently that’s fall here. A really nice Elder named Elder Taggert went home this last transfer and since he lives in Arizona where its super hot he gave me a bunch of winter gear, so I might not need to worry too much about it. It’s actually been pretty comfortable lately since it hasn't been too darn hot. Well, I'll tell you about Sioux City except that I'm not there anymore.... Ha! Sioux City is a pretty decent sized city probably similar to the Provo-Orem area. There are mostly residential areas and by and large people are pretty well off. It has a lot of hills which makes it loads of fun biking let me tell you. The people are very religious and so they are usually friendly, but it can be hard to talk about the gospel with them. The members are great and I really loved the area. The Spanish people are really nice there too and there are actually quite a few. They have a little Spanish section downtown where they seriously make the best ever and cheapest burritos. They are wicked awesome. Yes I get lost all the time (because I never stay anywhere long!) and we do have a GPS in the truck; makes me appreciate the grid system. Sorry, I've not got a lot of time today so this might be a shorter letter. Right now I am in an area called Benson which is in central Omaha. It’s a pretty middle class area but we also include some poorer areas and section 8 housing and stuff, so I've already had some fun times! The ward here is big on paper, but there are a lot on inactive members and that is sort of what we've been focusing on. The work is kind of slow, but we're losing our car this week so we're going to go out on foot and work really hard and get a bunch more investigators hopefully. My new companions are Elder Haslem and Hansen. I was actually with Haslem in this area on the very first day I was here in Nebraska. Our apartment is super, super small and three people totally don't fit in it. I actually think it’s pretty fun! Nice opportunity for some pranks perhaps... haha! It might still be good just to send stuff to the mission home though. Tomorrow we are having a mission wide tour with Elder Ellis of the 70 who was mission pres in Sao Paulo so that should be fun! I am just flying around by the seat of my pants and it is a lot of fun. The members here are really solid who come and we usually get feed most nights so we don’t have to suffer through our own cooking. I am excited to really dig into the work here and I know with the Lord's help we can really start making things happen! I am so thankful for the Savior and this week for some reason I have really just felt His love for me and the people here that I am working with. Sorry this is so short, but I love you all and will pray for you! Just remember the church is true and God loves you, so what else really matters at all!

Random Pictures from Sioux City

Why not microwave stuff and reat BOM at the same time

Elder Iron Man

Markham, Burnham, Miller

Elder Hudspeth

Burnham and Pauni

Sioux City: More Ham

Elder Markham and Elder Burnham

Sioux City: Lots of Ham

Elder Burnham and Elder Markham

Rosalva Family

Sioux City, IA September 13, 2010

Thank you so much for your e-mail. For some reason just really wanted to hear from you this week! Probably because now I'm teaching lots of Spanish people and it reminds me of your mission. I sometimes tell people you went to México and they really like that. I most likely will not be staying Spanish past this week because the MTC asked president not to ruin our Portuguese, but I love it anyways. Latino people I've decided are just way nicer than Americans. They often feed us even if they aren't members! They are friendly and try to talk to me even though I don't speak Spanish. Americans just tell you they already have a religion and close the door. Ha! I'm way excited to go to Brazil and learn more about that culture. It's really neat to realize that you don't need things to be happy. Many of our families are kind of poor, but they are still happy and excited! Living out of my suitcase has helped me realize this too. We had a really great week here in Sioux City. There is one lady named Rosalva who is just awesome and loves to read BOM and D&C and she agreed to be baptized on Oct. 9th! We have another guy named Mauricio who started coming to church and is probably getting close. We also found a whole bunch of new families to teach just tracting around, which is incredible. Elder Burnham says he doesn't think he's ever had so many great families to teach at one time. Families are cool too because the kids usually speak English so Elder Burnham teaches the parents and I tell the kids stories from the Book of Mormon. A funny story is that one boy (about 13 maybe?) just said the BOM is boring and he hated reading it. We ended up getting him a little interested by comparing the Gadianton Robbers to Grand Theft Auto (Very not approved). Not a normal approach but he could relate and I thought it was amusing! The weather here is just perfect right now. The humidity is gone and it’s like 70-80 all day! Beleza! I had to speak in Church yesterday and I told them that I got here right for fall weather and that I plan on leaving for Brazil just before it gets cold and then coming back here to visit right before the Brazilian winter (since they are switched) and just trying to see how many summers I can hit in a row. Church was great because we had so investigators come and also like crazy TONS of less active members. I was so happy for them! Something hilarious that happened was we brought one investigator named Steve (English. I'm still transitioning!) To church and he is great but hasn't been taught word of wisdom yet and then the hymn we sang was In our Lovely Deseret. I had forgot but the second verse says "tea and coffee and tobacco they despise, drink no liquor and they eat but of very little meat" and from up on the stand I saw him jump and turn and start talking to Elder Hudspeth sitting by him. I was trying so hard not to laugh I couldn't even sing!
Thanks for the info about winter clothes too. President talked to me a little bit about it in interviews. I do have a lot of winter gear back at home too so maybe we'll just have to see if it’s cheaper to mail that stuff or buy new stuff. I hope I don't have to worry about that stuff because I'm trying not to accumulate any extra stuff before I fly to brazil, mas tudo bem. pode ser. Apparently winter here gets REALLY cold so I'll have to stock up if I'm here for too long.
Thank you all so much for your prayers and support. It really means a lot to me. Keep up the good work too! I got lots of letters this week even after I switched apartments and made all my companions jealous so keep it up! Letters from girls make them particularly green and can't say I mind either! (Study topic for tomorrow: Charity and brotherly kindness) Please tell the good old sixth ward that I am so thankful for their support. I wouldn't be where I am right now if it weren't for great teachers, friends neighbors and family. Tell the all the family I love them and I am thinking about them. I know the church is true and I love my Savior. I'm beginning to love the gospel more and have a desire to share it with everyone I meet. We have been blessed with so much that the least we can do is share! Also, tell BYU to stop losing to Air force! Seriously, what’s up with that?
Elder Markham

Sarah and Christina

Zertuche Family Baptism

Elder Hudspeth, Elder Pauni, Steven, Elder Miller, Jacob Zertuche (in front), Sarah and Christina

Sioux City, IA September 7, 2010

Wow! This week has been so amazingly crazy! I'm not even sure where to start typing exactly. (Possibly the keyboard....) Thank you so much for your e-mails and letters! It’s so good to hear from you. I love seeing the pictures of the family too and today I can actually send some back! Mom, your health is looking so much better! I know the Lord is blessing you for your faith. I'll keep on praying for you and you keep on improving! Sharon, you just keep getting prettier in every picture you send. No wonder you have like 1.98 billion dates. Just remember that if you date bums I'll send a punch in the mail. (Yeah, missionaries can do that.) Super congratulations to Nathan! That is so awesome that he got baptized! I love our whole family so very much and being away really makes you appreciate things. I will pray for Larry and also for Coach. That’s so sad to hear about his wife. I'm glad we have the perspective we do on death that makes life so much easier. I really love the Gospel and I get excited whenever I get to share it with people.
So this week:
Yeah, we had a pretty good storm. Not really crazy exactly, but enough. I should know because I was out riding bikes in the downpour! My trainers are both Zone Leaders and they had to go out of town for trainings this week and so I was just with Elder Pauni who has only been here 2 weeks longer that I have. We went out on bikes because the ZLs took the truck and got pretty lost. Right in the middle of the road the rain just came down and we got soaked! I actually thought it was way fun, although Pauni wasn't amused. Now I've got a good ole tracting in the rain story! This nice less-active let us in and we had a good little talk. Also, the lightning here is intense. It is starting to get pretty cool here and I'm getting worried about the weather because I'm not particularly prepared for winter weather. You may have to send me lots of stuff if I don’t leave soon... Snow drifts here get to be like 5 ft high.
So, we've been teaching the Zertuche family and 2 of the children (Christina and Jacob) were to be baptized this last Saturday. Sarah, the other one had some serious doubts and felt like God was telling her not to be baptized. We taught her about listening for answers and Gods love and then read Mosiah 18 with her about desires of the heart and baptism. She was still apprehensive and we just went on, not thinking too much about it. Then on Wed. we had a miracle happen and she called us and said she wanted to be baptized with her brother and sister on Saturday! What’s more she asked if I could baptize her! The service was amazing and the spirit was so strong. They just glowed after they were baptized and confirmed and I feel so honored that God saw fit to include me in such a great work. God really is working miracles out here and I am so thankful. We are continuing to work with the Mom and older brother and they are both set to be baptized later in the year!
Another highlight of this week was teaching a man named Wes. He has a member wife, but she is less-active and all their kids are adopted and slightly crazy. He wants to be baptized, but he has a really bad smoking problem. Last night Elder Miller and I along with an awesome Ward member named Brother Kleve taught the Church's stop smoking workshop. I've never taught anybody to quit smoking before, but I felt the spirit work through us and by the end, Wes and his wife both pledge to stop smoking immediately to be baptized in about two weeks! They will have a tough trial, but we will be right there for them. Wes Westendorf is definitely someone you could all pray for,
Last P-day we got to go on a tour of the Sioux City Masonic temple because one of our investigators is a mason and he agreed to visit the pioneer trail center if we went to the Masonic temple. Basically, it was just really weird. A lot of strange parallels to our church but in a strange way. The do have really cool hats though. We sang Spirit of God on their amphitheater stage and the acoustics were awesome! Also they had a legit full pipe organ I got to touch. Sweet!
A huge change that just happened is that as of today, I am now a Spanish Speaking missionary! The other Spanish Elder finished his mission and went home, so now I am moved from Elder Miller to Elder Burnham speaking Spanish! Aye! So far I've had 5 companions and 3 languages in 4 weeks! My head is sort of just rolling right now, but I've decided to go wherever God wants and to just smile and not worry about it. I get to meet so many great people here and I've already been on splits with the Spanish elders and I love the people they teach. I actually understand Spanish pretty well too, so chalk one up for the gift on tongues. God just blesses me so much every single day I can't even write all the cool stuff that happens. Also, this means I've changed addresses again so I wouldn't send any actual letters until I'm a little more stable again, because transfers are in a week and I probably won’t stay in Sioux City. I'm just a traveling man!
Sorry I haven't been writing in Portuguese much but it takes and little while and I've been rather short on time. Today is P-day because of Labor Day and since we had mini transfers we're running crazy today. I would just like to thank all of you for the wonderful support you've shown and I'll try to write some letters back as soon as I can. I know without a shadow of a doubt that Christ lives and this church is true. I’ve seen His hand this week and felt the Holy Ghost guide me as I work, Sometimes it seems like people just don't care about our wonderful message, but I've learned it’s all worth it for those few who are able to change their lives for the better. I am so thankful for a living prophet to give us guidance and I'm excited for conference. I know God loves you and HE loves me and He will always hear and answer our sincere prayers. I love the Book of Mormon and the awesome spirit it brings and the testimony of Christ. I also love singing and hymns and the great spirit they bring. Being a missionary is AWESOME! The work will go forward and I'm excited to help in any way I can. I love you all so much and I'll pray for you. I hope everything is going really well at home, Keep on rockin and having fun.
Elder Markham

Sioux City, IA District

Sioux City, IA August 30, 2010

Momma! It’s so good to hear from you! The good thing about e-mail is that it is free, but the bad thing is that I don't get to read anything from you until p-day. Oh well, no problem! For some reason the package hasn't gotten to me yet, but it probably just takes a long time because it’s out of state. I hope everything back at home is going really well. I pray for you and Sharon every night. I'm glad that Sharon is finding some better friends because that is something that I have been praying for too! Thanks for sending me updates about my friends too! Of course Nils is already in the field. It also makes sense that Zack is finding unique ways to make trouble and Joe is doing great! I held out a little hope that I could e-mail you some pictures from this computer, but it turns out that I can't. I'll try to get to the photo store and shoot off some pictures, but I get a little busy.

To answer a few questions: All the Elders in the picture are going to Brazil and they were in the MTC with me and the sister is going to Taiwan and had some weird travel goof up. Our service project(s) were painting a less active members house, building a rock patio, mowing lots of lawns. It really a blessing to serve and Mosiah 2:17 has new meaning to me! As far as walking goes, we have a truck, but since there are four of us often times two of us just hoof it around. I actually enjoying walking because we get to see the sun and talk to more people, but it is less effective if we have appointments. I would guess on average I walk ~3 miles a day, although yesterday was probably more like 6-7 and this week my senior comps (the ZLs) are going on exchanges and Elder Pauni and I will be walking everywhere. Esta` bem!

I am loving the work here and the people are so nice. We are working with a whole family named the Zertuches that are just dang awesome. We have two of their baptisms scheduled for this week (Christina & Jacob), one maybe for next, two more that I'm sure will come and the Mom will be baptized if she can change her schedule so she can come to church. We also met this really awesome boy named Paul. We just "randomly" walked into him while tracking and ended up talking with him. He's had a pretty hard life and had a real desire for the truth. We taught him about the Atonement and the Restoration and he was absolutely Thrilled! He agreed to be baptized in 3 weeks and we're excited to keep working with him. We are also working with a lot of less-active members.

A lot of people have trouble here staying committed, but they are just wonderful and will add great strength when they feel the spirit and decide to come back. My companions are absolutely hilarious. We went out and bought Tall-Tees and tagged "Sioux City 2nd ward" on them and now whenever we go out in normal clothes we wear those and sunglasses and stuff and we be the Mormon gangstas. Yeah, I'm cool. Elder Miller is a great teacher and leader and I lucky to be with him. Here they call trainers fathers and greenies sons and so I am Elder Millers 3rd born. I also got to go out tracting with the Spanish Elders here and I understood a lot. Apparently I spoke intelligibly enough to that this neat Jehovah Witness named Larazo decided to start reading the BOM. I know that it was truly a miracle of the Lord and I had little to do with it, but I think the Spirit is just awesome. Ammon is right to say we can do all things in the Lord! We met this funny old man who when we knocked said "Come in!" we were confused and so we did, and then as soon as he saw us he said "Now what the heck is your problem? Get out and don't come back!" It was so funny we were trying not to laugh the whole time. We also are teaching this funny lady who believes we are literally made of dirt clods and that Moses was high when he wrote the 10 commandments. Missions are great! To be honest I don't really like tracting, but I love to teach and feel the spirit and help people come to Christ. My confidence is gaining and I'm starting to help more in lessons and stuff.

Thank you so much for your words and prayers! I know God truly listens and answers and I am honored to be counted worthy to serve Him. I know Christ is our savior and the focus of everything that we do.
-Love Elder Markham

Companions in Sioux City

Left to right Elder Miller, Elder Hudsbeth, Steven, and Elder Pauni

Sioux City, IA August 23, 2010

I arrived Thursday afternoon to Eppley Airport in Omaha. We were immediately greeted by President & Sister Kunz. President Kunz is amazing! He has so much spiritual power and love for each of the missionaries. When we arrived he gave us all a hug and took us to the mission home for a terrific dinner. After nothing but MTC food for 2 months it was nearly the best thing ever! The next day we visited a very important pioneer site at Winter Quarters. I got to do a session at the Winter Quarters Temple. It is so amazingly beautiful! Ya'll should look up pictures of it. Then we got our new assignments. I am now serving in Sioux City, Iowa (part of the Nebraska mission).
My trainer is named Elder Miller. He is from Spanish Fork and we found out that we have actually played in band together before! He plays trumpet really well and we've done some jazz stuff together without even knowing it. My situation is weird because we are in a 4some. Elder Hudspeth and Miller are Zone leaders so they have to stay together, but Elder Miller is training me and E. Hudspeth is training Elder Pauni (a Polynesian Elder who has been out 3 weeks!) So we have 4 of us jammed in an apartment and I sleep on the floor, but it’s actually super terrific! It’s fun to have lots of Elders to talk with. On Friday I drove up to the mission and met everybody and then we did some service and tracting. Tracting was scary a little bit, but the people here are actually really nice even if they don't want to listen. It is SUPER humid and hot here right now and I sweat like a geyser (hmm... odd imagery...) but I actually don't mind too much. Its probably real good prep for Brazil anyways! I went to church and met lots of members and investigators and they are all super cool. They had me go to the Spanish branch afterwards and I could sort of almost nearly understand some of the things they said on occasion... (How’s that for confidence!) We've had member dinners every night since I got here and I am feeling super blessed. Elder Miller has 4 people with baptismal dates coming up really fast. He is a stupendous Elder and I am excited to learn how real missionary work is. It’s pretty different from the MTC but that’s ok. Today is my first real P-day so soon we will be going out shopping and stuff. We have a washer/dryer inside our apartment so it’s actually super convenient. Our Apt. is pretty nice and we have space for all of us. 2 bathrooms even wow! We get to come use these computers in a school library and I don't really have a time limit anymore. I appreciate any letters you send, but I think I'll just e-mail the family because it’s cheaper and faster! Please write back with any questions or anything. I still don't really know exactly what’s happening ever, but I'm learning fast and having a great time. I am safe sound and smiling so no worries! I am so very thankful for this opportunity to serve and I am starting to realize what a great blessing it is to have the support that I do. Thank you so much to all the wonderful people who contributed great amounts of time and money to help me be here. I wouldn't be out if it wasn't for the influence of such great people in my life. Again a sincere thank you to everyone who has played such a wonderful role in my life. I love you all so much.
Elder Markham

Steven with President and Sister Kunz

Since Steven was not able to receive a visa right off he was welcomed into the Nebraska Omaha Mission. As it turns out. His ancestor Stephen Markham also served a mission in Omaha many years ago about 1848.

20 August 2010

Transferred to Nebraska Omaha Mission

MTC August 13, 2010

Hello Momma!
I was so very happy to get your e-mail! I was sort of sad at first that I didn't get a letter because I love to hear from you, but when I saw your e-mail on the computer I was so happy! This week seems to have been very exciting for you! The wedding pictures are great! Everyone looks so happy and you are looking really good too! I know the Lord is blessing us so much every day; we just need to have the eyes to see His hand. California? Wow! You are getting ambitious! That sounds like it will be really fun for you! What part of California are you going to? My favorite thing was always to go to the Monterey Bay Aquarium. That place was so awesome! Are you flying or driving? Will you stay with Mark & Cindy? Also remember to take it easy! I know you'll be fine but Dad gave me his worry genes. (My blue jeans are in the wash.) How is Sharon doing? With school coming up is she excited? I'm glad she had a great time with Kevin this week in Salt Lake. The temple is real a wonderful place and I am so glad that is open again and I get to go every P-day! Your Portuguese is very good for the time! I can understand everything you write to me and it’s actually kind of fun! I'd write to you in Portuguese in the e-mail, but it takes me a little while and I don't really have that much time to type. I feel that God is really helping me to learn quickly here. I can actually teach all the lessons completely in Portuguese and more or less say anything I want to! I'm not bragging, I'm just saying how awesome the Holy Ghost is. It’s really amazing how we can always find words during lessons to get our point across and then wonder how that happened afterwards! One really fun thing is practicing contacts with our teacher. One time we "knocked his door" and he was being a really hard investigator. For some reason I just burst out in Portuguese, "I know that we are just a couple of weird white boys who don't speak Portuguese very well standing on your porch, but we have a message that is really important for you!" When I said that he started laughing so hard he could even finish the contact. Missionaries: 1. Teacher: 0. Unfortunately I don't think I'll have time to write a paper letter today, so I'll try to get everything into this e-mail. Our demonstration for the new missionaries was.... interesting. We only got this piece of paper that said "You investigator is from Mexico. He was invited to hear the lessons by his girlfriend (and didn't give a name) so we knocked on the door with 50 new missionaries watching (no pressure) and when he answered he said "Who are you?" We said, of course, the missionaries! We're glad to be here because your girlfriend referred us here! Then he said "My girlfriend? I don't remember that. Which one was it?" Remember that we didn’t have a name and we just stood there awkwardly until he let us in. Hurray for humility! At least this next thing didn't happen. The Sisters who tried the same guy the next turn tried to just make up a name for his girlfriend (in the role play) and he shot them down with "I don't know anyone who is named that. I think you're lying to me. You know that liars go to Hell right?" We couldn't stop laughing for like 10 minutes! One really fun thing we have been doing is that our teachers have started doing Progressing investigators with us. They are an "investigator" all the time and we have to make appointments and teach them lessons and help them with life and its really really fun! We can really feel the Spirit working through us and I am learning so much about the work. What is comes down to is that Jesus Christ is really the center of everything we say or do. He gave us life, everything we have, and the ability to live forever in bliss. My testimony of the Savior has grown so strong and I am honored to be in the Lord's Army to proclaim his name! Thank you for your continued faith and prayers. I testify that God hears and answers and that he loves us so much. I am still getting along great with Elder Larsen. We sort of wish we could keep on being companions, but it will be exciting whatever comes! I still have no word on visas or reassignment. That ok though. I am learning a lot about patience and one thing I have really learned here is this. Happiness is absolutely a choice, so make the right one! Keep on smiling even when you look like a dork! Our branch still has over 100 people in it just because even though lots of people got visas two weeks ago, lots more keep coming in without. Our district is down to 5 but we are having a great time. It would be great if you could pray for Elder Wesby. He's in our district and he is having lots of health problems right now. Well, I don't know what else exactly to say. I love you all so much and I love the Lord and my mission. Please write with any questions comments or concerns. I love hearing from you! One thing you could really help me with is if you could send me a package of G-2 Pilot gel pens. I have run out of pens and they are expensive here. You know the black really nice gel ones? I think you can get them at Shopko or wherever. Thank you so much! I love you muito muito muito! Keep on fighting the good fight and remember the Lord is on our side!
Elder Markham

August 6, 2010

Bom dia Momma!
This week has been pretty exciting actually. Thanks for sending your pictures of your black hair! It looks good actually. I tried to send you some pictures from here, but I can't put pictures on the computer and the photo shop machine thingy was broken this week. Oh well, I'll try to get some off eventually. Tell Mary Ann Happy Birthday for me! It really sounds like you're all having fun back at the ranch. So, basically tons of stuff has been happening this week. Like you said Nils and also like a bazillion other Brazilian missionaries got their visas and all left this week. Our district actually lost three missionaries and now we're down to only 5. Bit of a bummer, but it’s ok because now that there aren’t too many people in our classroom, we journeyed down into the dark and perilous bowels of our building. When we got there we discovered a huge treasure trove of really really comfortable chairs and tables. Our old ones were really annoying. So we brought them up to the fourth floor where we are. (Our teachers still can't figure out how we did it.) And now we're living in style. Elder Funk made us all laugh by quoting that bad guy from Testaments: "Jaaacob. One must procure the finest of things in life." He’s pretty funny. Also this week in the TRC we had to teach lesson 2 in Portuguese. It was great, but the only thing was that it was a family with 2 really little kids who loved to run around screaming (remind you of anyone you know?) It was sort of hard to focus, but we ended up whipping out our Hymn book, and we totally sang, “Where can I turn for peace” for them. It actually got the kids attention and afterwards the older one (probably 2~3?) started clapping and gave us high fives. I love doing TRC stuff because it’s pretty realistic, sort of. Also this week we got to start progressing investigators with our teachers. That is where they pretend to be investigators and we have legit lessons and stuff and they stay in character the whole time and never give us any feedback. It’s cool, except if we mess up, they really will dump us and we'll just have nothing to do in class! No pressure. One is named Scott and we're going to try to commit him to baptism tonight. The other is named Pedro and he thinks if he disobeys us God will kill him. Interesting nao e`? We keep on having great devotionals and stuff and I am feeling happy as ever. Some more funny stuff is as follows: About three days ago we found some random Christmas lights in our dorm room, and so of course we did the only logical thing. We brought up all the lights early to class and decorated our room and then when our teacher arrived we pretended it was Christmas and sang him O little Town of Bethlehem in Portuguese. It’s a good thing he has a really good sense of humor. He laughed and laughed and the said "Vozes Mórmons são muito estranho, não e?" {Mormon voices are very strange aren’t they} (Another hilarious thing was that Elder Larsen found this pine cone that was GIGANTIC! So we were walking around practicing contacts and we saw these two Russian Elders who were looking kind of bummed out about something (probably because the Russian "pocket" sized dictionary wouldn't even fit in my suitcase.) We thought they could use some cheering and so we walked up and Elder Larsen gave them the pine cone and said "This is a gift from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints", and then I said: "because isn't it about...... pine." They laughed for about 4.7 hours and I hope it made them feel better.

Lest you think all I do is goof off though, I promise we have been working very hard. I have learned so very very much about the Gospel and how to teach it. We actually were chosen to demonstrate how to begin teaching an investigator in front of the whole new group of missionaries this Wednesday. Yikes! Pray for us that we don't goof up ok? I absolutely love being a missionary even if I don't have my visa. Thank you so much for your prayers and support. It really means a lot to me. This week I have gained a much stronger testimony of The Atonement in my life and I am just fit' to burst with excitement to go teach. I love the Lord and I know he blesses our lives and answers our prayers. Preach my Gospel is one of the most inspired books I've ever read and it helps so very much. I'd say it’s probably #3 on the list after Book of Mormon and Bible. Also, the district thanks you for all the goodies. You are keeping us pleasantly plump, so thank you much. I can't really think of much to say other than I love you all! Please feel free to write with any question, comments or concerns! Oh! Also down in the dark underbelly of our class building we actually found a piano! So I've got play a little bit which makes me happy. Have a great week!

Elder Markham

MTC July 30, 2010

Ola`! This week has been pretty great! More emphasis on the great, but still pretty. So, quite a bit has happened this week apparently! Congratulations to Abbey and Dallin! I am very excited for them. Also, I missed heading to Luna with the Reynolds this year, but it’s all good. A mission is definitely better. (Sorry ya'll). So we had a couple of fantastic talks this week for devotionals. One was about being yourself in the work (which I in my eccentricity appreciated) and the other was about Different was to teach effectively. A funny story is that the speaker said that we should use music to strengthen our lessons. So Elder Larsen and I decided to sing Joseph Smith’s prayer in the TRC. We were totally stoked because it would have freaked out our teacher, who is somewhat straight-laced, but apparently he was one step ahead of us because our investigator ended up being atheist. No problem except we had to spend our lesson teaching about God and that song would have been slightly out of place.... but next week. Ha! Also I am no longer in a three-some. An Elder got his Visa and Elder Poh switched to a different companionship. Ok, this is crazy. Just today about 10 minutes ago, 3 more Elders in our district got their visas! They leave Tues. and our district will be down to 5. I guess I'll still be here a little while.... Oh well. At least this way I can keep on getting packages from Momma! Oh boy. Also this week Andy Isom, Mark Huntington, Bryan Meyer and Nils all got here! It was great to see them all! Us Provoites basically own the place. It’s great. There are soooo many Portuguese Elders here waiting for visas, but rumor tells a bunch might be coming soon. Also, the Provo temple opened up again this week! I just went this morning and it was terrific! Gotta love the Temple. We are continuing our Portuguese speaking and I feel like the language is coming pretty ok. I can understand most things that our teacher says even when they talk really fast. I can speak well enough to sort of be understood, although I'm sure I sound like a crazy! Other than this, MTC life continues pretty much as normal. If you have any questions shoot. We are working on creative ways to teach lessons, so if anybody has good ideas you should pass 'em on! Thank you all for your wonderful support and love. I feel so honored to be here supporting the Lord and I can feel your prayers for the missionaries. I know this is the work of God and I will work till I drop to move it forward wherever I end up! Keep on fighting the good fight! I love you all and wish you the best. Till next time: This has been Elder Markham broadcasting for "Elder Markham writes an e-mail home on his P-day". Stay tuned for excited updates.
-Elder Markham

Elder Larsen in front of Provo MTC

MTC July 23, 2010

Ola`! For a minute I thought I wouldn't get to send this e-mail this week because all of the computers here at the MTC are either broken or demonido (possesed or in-demonated). It was totally freaking out. Also they never work in class. It’s pretty funny to listen to Irmão Cope yelling at the computer to work in Portuguese! We have some pretty fun times in class. One thing I've learned this week is that English phraseology/humor does NOT translate! For example: Rock on = sobre rocha which a Brazilian would literally translate to mean we are currently on a stone of indefinite size. We totally say it anyways though. We also like to run around yelling Dom Das Linguas! (Gift of Tongues) and everyone thinks we're crazy. It's terrific. So in Brazil, I'll just say something completely bizarre and then they be like "Whose that crazy tall white guy?" and then I'll tell them and teach them and they will be baptized. It’s Brilliant! Well, like I'm sure I've mentioned before, the MTC has some kind of weird time warp a'happenin. This week has been terrific and I have learned so much, but it went by in such a blur. We had this really super fireside by the Mission Secretary where he talked about the importance of making and keeping commitments. The same principle I learned applies to me! It does nothing to just want or say I will improve, but it is in the doing that the blessings come! This week I have tried to set specific goals to work harder and I can already see the blessings! I know that God blesses us when we keep his commandments. We had another devotional this week where Bro. Workman talked about how knowledge and obedience are directly connected to spiritual power and strength. I want to learn everything I can to teach better. This may seem like I'm undershooting a little, but my only goal is to memorize three scriptures before I get off my mission. The Bible, The Book of Mormon, and The Doctrine and Covenants! Sorry I'm being kindof a smart alec this week. I guess there are some things that the MTC will never change... Well, this week our Portuguese has really improved. Our companionship can now teach an entire 45 min lesson in Portuguese and this coming week our whole district will speak nothing but Portuguese for 7 whole days. It will be great! Also I bet our teachers will appreciate the quiet.... Any who, I know God helps me when I put in an honest effort and I will learn all the Portuguese that I am supposed to. This week we got a new district leader and I became "senior companion". This doesn't really mean anything, but now I get to pick who in our companionship says the prayer... HA! Now I control their blessings!!! Also, it appears I probably won't be in a threesome for much longer. Another Elder in our district got his visa and will be leaving on Tuesday so now we'll have an even number (8) and we probably won't stay in our threesome. It's too bad. At first it was a little difficult, but now I love it. It’s weird whenever anyone leaves here, especially those we are close to in our district. When they leave its sort of like: "Bye. .... I think I love you." There are rumors in the air that a lot of visas are about to come through, so hopefully I'll get to Brazil soon. Thank you so much for all the letters and support! I appreciate all of your love. Special thanks to Momma and MaryAnn from my district for all the doughnuts/food! I love being a missionary and I am so excited to press forward in the service of the Lord. Thank you for prayers and know that I am praying for you too! Nils, the Provo MTC isn't so bad. We'll party it up hacky sack style!
Love Elder Markham

MTC July 16, 2010

Wow! It’s hard to believe that I have been here nearly a month already. I'm pretty sure the MTC has some kind of strange time warp going on because days can seem like years, but I swear it was yesterday that I wrote my last e-mail here on P-day. Let me think what has happened this week. One cool thing was that on Tuesday we had a devotional that was a special musical performance by the daughter of Dallin H. Oaks. She is a world renowned violinist who performs lots of spiritual music. I really loved the fireside. Also so this week my companions and I went three whole days speaking only Portuguese. It was actually pretty fun although we never knew what was going on! Our branch keeps getting bigger and bigger because all the Brazil Missionaries can't get their visas. Our branch has about 130 people and it is officially the largest branch in the entire church. Kind of cool, but also slightly annoying. I really appreciate the letters I am getting. It’s really nice to hear from home and about all the great things that are happening. Congratulations to Bryan for his mission call! Also tell Nils that it’s ok he didn't get his visa. We'll just Portuguese party in Provo. Also I've heard the food here is much better than the Sao Paulo MTC. To anyone named Chad the Burn "You need to get your call and then tell me so I don't die". Anyways. I am learning a lot about the Gospel and Portuguese. I am excited to get out into the field and teach! But also, the MTC is great. It was kind of funny this week because one of our teachers is gone this week hiking Mt. Rainier and so we have a sub. The only problem is that our sub doesn't speak Portuguese. Because this week my companions and I couldn't speak English, we had quite and entertaining time trying to communicate with him. We did teach him Tudo Bem (all's good), and Fubeca (slacker). It sounds a little ridiculous, but another teacher promised us if we would speak only Portuguese the Lord would help us learn the language faster. There is a couple here who are going on a mission to be workers in the Madrid temple. I was pretty excited to hear that and I told them about the Palmas and Dad going to Portugal. I also see lots of people here that I know! Both Roundys are here now and they are a sensation for being twins. One of my favorite activities besides teaching is playing hacky sack during gym time. Yeah, I'm getting pretty good. But more importantly, I am learning how to invite people unto Christ. I know without a doubt that this church is true and I love the Savior. I am so thankful that I could be here. I know the scriptures are the true way that God tells us what we need to do and I have come to love them! I promise I'll keep working hard to learn what I need to and be the best missionary I can. Sorry I don't have anything terribly specific this week, but heck, I don't even remember what I had for breakfast! I love you all and I know the Lord will bless you in your lives!
Ate` Logo!
Elder Markham

Elder Larsen and me outside Provo Temple

MTC July 9, 2010

July 9, 2010
I am so happy to be here at the MTC! It truly is one of the greatest blessings I have ever received!
This week has been sort of uneventful, but exciting at the same time. This week one of our Elders got his Visa and went to Brazil. Because of that I got a new companion and I am now is a trio with Elder Larsen and now Elder Poh. Elder Poh is a really funny guy with a great testimony of Christ and I think we all get along really well. We have had several awesome devotionals about the Book of Mormon this week, and the more I read it I come to know that it truly is the words of God. ( Eu sei que O Livro de Mo`rmon e` a palavres de Deus. Testifico que O Livro de Mo`rmon e` verdideiro e` eu amo este livro!) (translation: I know that The Book of Mormon is the word of God. I Testify the Book of Mormon is true and I love this book!) I have had a lot of opportunities this week to practice teaching, and it has become my very favorite thing. I love the spirit that comes as you testify of Christ. To help us practice, you can sign up for a thing called the TE where teachers pretend to be investigators and then give you feedback on your lessons. It’s great! So anyways, happy 4th of July everyone! On the night of the 4th we had a special fireside commemorating the great men who had led the way to the restoration. It was cool except they acted it out and all the actors used THE WORST wigs I have ever seen. The message was inspiring, but I couldn't help laughing at the teachers with horrible wigs portraying Washington, Franklin, etc. After the fireside, Pres. Smith announced we would be able to watch the fireworks from stadium! Everybody started cheering and it was pretty fun. It was a nice change from the routine to be able to stay up a little late, but I was totally wasted in the morning! It sounds like everyone is having fun at home too! Sharon has kept really busy and people are getting calls and such. It’s so great to hear about it! I really appreciate all the letters I got this week. Thank you everyone for your consideration and kindness. It’s a great motivation to hear from people you care about. I promise I will work as hard as I can to be an able tool in the Lord's hands as I go out to serve. In your letter Mom you mentioned that the Kapendas volunteer at the TRC. I love the TRC and I always have such a great experience there! Well, I can't think of to much more to share. Life is settling down and I pretty much just go to class all day. I do have an assignment for you all though. As of two days ago the Church has opened the brand new One of the most amazing features is that members can create profile of their lives with the theme "I am a Mormon". It is actually kind of like a "Mormon Facebook". The idea is that investigators will read the testimonies and stories of real people and then have a desire to learn more about what makes life special for us. I know it is a great tool in this digital age and the Lord will touch many lives with it. I would encourage everyone who wants to create a profile and post your sincere testimony so that you can share you light with the world. I know as you do this you will be blessed.
I love you all! Have a great week.
-Elder Markham

President & Sister Tavares Picture with bio

Eduardo L. and Fatima S. Tavares Eduardo Lucio Mendes Tavares, 41, and Fatima Scarante Tavares, two children, Brazil Londrina Mission; Mangabeira Ward, Feira de Santana Brazil Kalilandia Stake. Brother Tavares is a bishop and a former stake president, counselor in a bishopric, stake Young Men president and missionary in the Brazil Sao Paulo North Mission. Institute director, Seminaries and Institutes of Religion. Born in Vicosa, Mg, Brazil, to Moacir Rodrigues and Maria Ines Mendes Tavares.

Sister Tavares is the ward Young Women president and a former stake Young Women president, seminary teacher, ward Relief Society president and stake family history center director. Born in Curitiba, Brazil, to Bento Antonio Victor Scarante and Tereza Helena Tavares.

MTC July 2, 2010

July 2, 2010
Bom Dia!
I am having just a terrific time here at the MTC (still). I appreciate all of the letters, packages, goodies, smuggled goods, Guaraná, and so forth. My district sends their thanks for the good eating! This week has been great, but slightly more uneventful. I am finally settled in, and the Mission Conference is over, and things are pretty much getting normal, (Missionary normal anyways). To pick up from last week, we had an awesome fireside from Elder Oaks where he basically gave the first discussion to us missionaries. (You can bet there were a lot of scribbling pens!) I really learned a lot and I'm better gradually better and better at teaching. After the fireside I got to meet with Pte. Tavares and his wife. They are the nicest people ever! They speak primarily Portuguese and a little English. When Pte. Tavares first walked up to me he unloaded this stream of Portuguese and I pretty much froze like a deer about to be hit a truck. My district still teases me about that.... Once we started talking though he sort of slowed down and between my poor Portuguese and his English we managed to communicate pretty well. He and his Wife are such wonderful people. They genuinely love people and the Gospel and I am very excited to get down to Brazil! Apparently I am the only missionary here right now who is going to Londrina, so that’s kind of cool and we got some good one on one time. I even told him I loved Guaraná and he said "Muito Bom!" Mom, you asked if I gained any weight. The short answer is: No. The long answer is: Nope. I'm doing really well with the diet and schedule and I haven't felt sick or (overtly) tired or anything. I know the Lord is really blessing me. Our rooms are actually really nice. There are two bunks to a room (so four people) we each have a personal desk and closet and drawer set. Everything is really nice and functional except that my bed squeaks like an angry esquilo (*squirrel) and since I roll a lot that is pretty obnoxious. It’s actually funny because one of my roommates is sort of a messy person and always leaves stuff all over, and periodically they do cleaning checks rating us Celestial, terrestrial, telestial, or outer darkness. They don't tell us when, but this morning Elder Larsen and I just happened to be in the room as they started coming. We hurried and grabbed all the other Elders stuff and shoved it in his closet and made the beds and dumped the trash and we totally got Celestial! Our poor district leader was out doing laundry and sine all his clothes were out he got OD. Our classroom on the other hand is tiny. It is maybe 15’ X 20’ and there are 11 people in it. Also there are no windows and the MTC food is giving some people gas. Hahaha. Oh the good times! That’s cool that Sharon saw me playing hacky sack! Yeah, I must have been at gym. We get 50 min each day to go exercise and we can either go to the field or the gym. I like the field because we can play Frisbee and actually see the sun! I'm trying to teach my district the love of hacky, but they'd all rather go play some fake sport like soccer or basketball. Sheesh. haha! My favorite part of the MTC so far is the TRC where we get to go role play teacher volunteers who pretend to be actually investigators. I love teaching and I really feel the Spirit when we do this. Last time I was even able to explain in Portuguese why we are all called Elder! Mayhap I'll learn yet! I am getting along great with my companion Elder Larsen and our District works hard and has fun. I know the Lord is really blessing me and I pray daily for Him to bless you. How are things at home? You'll have to tell me about the 4th and stuff. I've had the chance to talk to Bishop Sampson a lot and he tells me the family is doing well! How was Sharon’s EFY trip and all her crazy adventures? Does Ryan McChad-the-Burn have his mission call yet? Also where is Bryan going? Also I love you all! That is all.

Elder Steven Markham

Elder Larsen and me by Provo Temple

MTC June 25

Greetings! So here is my e-mail from my second week at the MTC. I am finally starting to get used to the schedule here. Honestly the first couple of days were a little rough, mainly because of the schedule, but I am getting used to getting up early, going to bed on time and sitting pretty much all day! That sounds a little negative, but it actually isn't so bad. We have around 6-8 hours of classroom instruction each day, but some of that is spent in personal, companion, and language study where we can get up and go study outside. That is a welcome relief and I really love all the time I have to study and grow nearer to God. I appreciate all the letters and support I have been receiving. I know this work is true and I will try to be the best missionary I can. So this week has been pretty exciting at the MTC. As you may know, it is the Yearly Mission President conference. All the new coming Mission Presidents are here training with many general authorities. This week I have run into President and Sister King a couple of times. It is so wonderful to see familiar faces and they have been able to talk with Scott too! I also ran into Brother Tyler and he gave Elder Larsen and me some wonderful insight into our role as missionaries. President King told me he met my mission president Pres. Tavares. I haven't seen him, but it’s neat to know he's here! To answer some questions, sorry Mom, there are no sisters in my district. It’s actually 11 Elders waiting on our visas, (although one guy Elder Maner got his this week!) We all get along pretty well, but I am thankful you made me pack earplugs. I think two of my roommates have dreams about chipping concrete and or cutting down trees with chainsaws. I am actually the only Missionary going to Londrina I have met so far. The others in my district are headed to many other places in Brazil. My companion is going to Vitoria which includes Rio, so Chad might like that. The other day I saw Nila and Connie in the cafeteria! Nila said hello and I was very happy to see them! My Sunday schedule is actually very nice and relaxing compared with my other day schedules. We have Sacrament meeting at 8 AM, followed by a District meeting, followed by Priesthood meeting, followed by lunch, followed by another district meeting, followed by a Temple Walk, followed by study time, then dinner, then a Devotional, then a showing of a church movie, then companion study and go to bed. It’s a great relief to have such a relaxed schedule after a week of working so hard ;) Oh! One exciting thing is that because of the Presidents conference, we will be having a special Devotional tonight and also on Sunday. We are all very excited because that probably means talks by Apostles/1st presidency! Can't say for sure, but it seems likely...... It sounds like things are going pretty well at home. I am glad you are feeling pretty well Mom. I pray for you and Sharon every night and I know the Lord will bless you. I really appreciate all your letters and packages. It’s great to feel your love and support. (And fun to make the other Elders jealous!) I am learning Portuguese fairly well. We had our first teaching scenario this week and I was able to contact someone, introduce myself, get to know them, and bear a short testimony in Portuguese. I can also say prayers too. It is amazing what we are able to learn in such a short period of time here! Brother Tyler talked to me about receiving the gift of tongues and I know that the Lord truly does bless us as we try our best to forget ourselves and serve Him. I have an increasingly strong testimony of Jesus Christ and His atonement. I know that God answers Prayer and I have had many wonderful experiences to confirm this. I love the MTC and this work and I am so glad I am here on my mission. This is the biggest blessing in my whole life. I know God loves each of you, and so do I. I pray the Lord’s blessing to be with you as you try each day to learn and grow closer to Him. Ate` logo! Love Elder Markham

Dropping Steven off at the MTC

Ola from the MTC (June 19)

Oi! Since we just got here our District is allowed to e-mail today as a quasi P-day! Thank you so much for the packages you already sent! Because of logistics we just barely got our mail. Thank you for all the stuff, and Yes Joy and Jess, I got you Guaranna!
My companion is Elder Larsen. He is from West Jordan and we get along really well. He is a X-country runner and he's been helping run better. Ha! We both love the work and work well together. Our days here at the MTC have been crazy! We have lots of time to fill, but we always seem to be running around crazy! It’s like some kind of crazy time warp. My teachers are Irmao` Cope e Irmoa` Pe`na. Cope went to Brazil on his mission and Pe`na went to Cape Verde. They both communicate well and I love to learn from them. Here at the MTC we get up at 6:30, go to gym for an hour, stand around waiting for a shower, eat breakfast. Then we have classroom time all until lunch. After lunch we have more class time until dinner. After Dinner we have.... more classroom time. E` muito bem. Then we have companion planning time and lights out by 10:30. One huge difference here than what I was expecting is the style of our instruction. I was expecting a rigorous course with every moment of every day scheduled out, but it is actually the opposite. Although we are in class we have tons of time to study whatever we want. I find this style somewhat difficult because I like knowing exactly what to study and get done, but I've found as I try to listen to the Spirit, I am able to learn well and find principles that I really need. It is actually a great way to go, but it will take lots of hard work on my part to really excel. My Portuguese is bem. I am learning quite a bit, but I still can't really say anything. We've learned how to pray, and bear testimony, and some vocab. I love learning new words and our district always walks around yelling out random words in Portuguese. Other probably think estou perdado a minha mente! One of our district members loves to go around yelling Dom Das Linguas! which translates to "the Gift of Tounges!" haha. The food here is actually really really good! They feed us great stuff at every meal. I even saw Connie working lunch. Thus far in the cafeteria I have also met up with Elder Roundy, Elder Roper, an Elder form my Singles ward, Elder Christian Terry and Elder King. It’s been great! I am having so much fun and I love learning and studying with a group of men whole are all dedicated to the Lord. Our dorm rooms or "residences" are pretty ok. They are big enough and all and the beds are pretty comfortable, but the only problem is that my bed is really squeaky. I have the top bunk, which I actually like, but every time I roll over it sounds like "SCREEEEEEEE PONG!" It’s ok though because Elder Larsen snores so we're even! My desk in class also squeaks and sometimes I get called Elder squeaky. Oh boy. Um, let’s see, Each P-day we will be given 30 minutes to e-mail home. I’m only allowed to e-mail family, but I will try to get letters sometimes for other people, although like I said, we are kept very busy. It is amazing to see what happens when you focus your whole mind on the work of the Lord. He blesses us so much each day and I am so thankful for the atonement. Thank you all so much for the letters you have sent me. I have gotten more than twice as many as anyone else in my district. It’s ok though because the Elders like the cookies and soda you've sent. Thank you for your letter Sharon! I love to hear about your day and how your life is going since I'm not there right now. That funny that you knocked on my door to wake me up because usually it’s the other way around! I am praying for Sister Rich. Please keep me informed about how she is doing. I love you all so very much. Mom, you are the greatest ever. Sharon, I am so thankful you are my sister and I miss you but I love you! I can feel your support and also Dad's. I know that the Church is true and I am excited to preach His gospel to the world. I love the MTC and everything about this church. I know God blesses his Children and I pray we will all strive to keep his commandments. I've got to go do my laundry now, but please tell me how things are going.
Love you always,
Elder Markham