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.