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

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