Happy New Year Cambe January 3, 2011

Happy New Year! 2011 is officially here and that is really weird. A New Year is an exciting time to start afresh and learn more and set goals, but it struck me the other day that it shouldn’t be the ONLY time that we do that stuff. In testimony meeting everyone talked about goals and plans and things that they want to better for the coming year and I thought to myself: Because of Christ we have the chance to do that every single day of our lives. Because Christ died for us and suffered our sins, we can repent and change and make plans that will really happen every single day that we live. Each Sunday we can go to church and partake of the sacrament and we literally become a new person. The old sinful self is gone and we are reborn in Christ. I´ve been thinking a lot about my mission and how I´ve been lately and I´ve decided that I want to be even better. The mission has been great, but I feel I can do more and I feel like my gift to the Lord this year needs to be to just let go of my old self and give everything I´ve got to this mission. In Mathew Jesus taught that he that loses his life for the gospel will find life eternal. I want to apply this promise and help others to realize they can do the same.

This week we had some great experiences. We are teaching a family who is a friend of a member and they appear really golden. They understood the message really well and truly have a desire to find out if it is true. Today we will go back and find out more about what they think and feel. We also focused a lot this week on fewer actives here in the ward and as a result, we discovered 3 new families which are part-member and will be an excellent place to work and try to complete some families. We a teaching a young girl named Jacqueline and she is so excited about the gospel! She received a new church manual in Sunday school for the start of the year and she was absolutely ecstatic to start reading it! She kept asking us to mark parts for her to read. She´ll be baptized for sure! The biggest thing we need to improve this week is finding new people to teach. We slacked a little bit on contacts, but this week is a great time to renew our excitement!

We passed New Years Eve at the house of a member until the normal hour of 9:00. It was a bit difficult to teach over New Years because everyone was having a party, but we managed! They had tons of fireworks here and since we live in the town square they were let off right next to our house! It was REALLY REALLY loud! So much for sleeping haha! It was a fun time though and it will be good to have this New Year.

Thank you for the pictures and the news! Sorry about the ice and the arthritis and stuff. That sounds rough. I wish I could be there to help you keep the snow clear and put away the decorations, but this is where I´m supposed to be for sure :) I´ll be thinking of you and wishing I could shovel some snow to escape the heat! I´m getting pretty tan now! It’s great that Sharon’s operation for wisdom teeth went well too! It stinks to have them out, but tell her that it gets better pretty quick. New years and Christmas looked fun at the family´s house! Please send more pictures, they are great! Super cool that Ryan is excited as well. It’s such a blessing that I have so many great friends who want to do the will of the Lord. Thank you for Zack´s letter as well. Somehow he managed to sum up quite a bit of what I´ve been feeling lately. There is so much that I feel like I should know already and I get really frustrated with myself sometimes, but I guess I just can´t let that happen. I will work on being humble enough for the Lord to teach me what I need to know. I think that missions are specially adapted for every single person who goes out. Nobody will have an easy mission because everyone has different weaknesses they need to overcome. It definitely has not come easy for me thus far in Brazil, but faith in the Lord can carry us through whatever challenge. Mom, keep up the great work. You are such an example to me. I am praying for you every single night and I know that you have angels with you helping you through the trials. Things may not be easy, but God never said it would be easy, He only said it will be worth it. Never stop believing and never be afraid to ask for help. I know Jesus Christ is your savior and my savior. I know God´s plan is real and we can do miracles in His name. I know this church is true and I love learning about it. I love you so much! Thank you for the prayers and support and say hi to everybody for me!
-Elder Markham

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