Elder Pinho is Cool!

The Breaking of the Fellowship

Elder Lee, Sister Sena, Sister Horne, Elder Markham

Elder Lee wearing a short tie

I will tell you who everyone is at a later post. Steven is in the back

Cambe February 28, 2011

Momma! First of all, I love you very much. Secondly, that is a lot of crazy cool news; especially about all the mission calls happening in the ward. I am so very happy that Tyler is going on his mission! I know I probably wasn´t his closest friend, but I have always thought a lot about him and hoped he would go! I know Dad helped him out a whole ton too. What a great kid.

First, I´ll answer your questions and then I´ve got some news for YOU! This week went really well! We taught lessons até o pó and found even more people who are interested. The coolest is Jessica. We are teaching her entire family and when we taught the commandments like word of wisdom and chastity she said ýeah, I don’t have any problems with that. Ever since I started reading the Book of Mormon I just didn´t feel any more desire to do any of that stuff. Wahoo! She could be baptized this very week! Her mom really likes the stuff too! We are teaching another family with two sons named Ricardo and Rafael. They are all super interested and love the lessons, but still have trouble going to church. We found another family who when we knocked on the door the Mom just said to us: We took lessons from the missionaries a long time ago and we already we go to church and I already know that Joseph Smith is a prophet. They have a whole family who are so happy and bright! I put this in Google translator and it said this: baptize us! Ha! Super cool.

We are also working with a guy who has managed to cut from 80 cigarettes per day down to 10. He is going to church and could be baptized this week! We are teaching another lady too who came to church this week and loved it and made lots of friends. Yeah!

The mission conference with Elder Tobias was crazy. We had to change our teaching style completely! Before we had become accustomed to explain how Jesus was baptized and how he organized his church and everything with considerate detail in the first lesson to help people understand the baptismal invitation when we gave it, but Elder Tobias warned us that we need to rely more on the spirit and not “prep” people to give a certain answer. We need to just teach with power, and let the Holy Ghost tell them whether to say yes or no. A very cool thought, but we have noticed it harder to receive yeses. It’s something to work on anyways.

Cícero is doing great. He got the priesthood and he now has the calling to wait by the door and greet people. He says his spiritual life has never been better and he is rather happy. Stella is having a lot of difficulties gaining acceptance from her family about her decision, but she has a really strong group of friends here and I believe it will turn out well. Guilherme is still planning to go on a mission and he is doing super. Rhuan is having a very difficult life, but he is continuing strong in the church and his grandma is taking good care of him. Antonio is just awesome and crotchety. He is so funny. Karine is loving church too. Ala Cambé is really quite good at integrating people. Thank you for your advice about loving the ward. I really have come to love the ward here. There are so many great people.

This leads to my next piece of news. This morning I was transferred! Tomorrow I will head to the bus to Bauru (spelling? não sei) Sáo Paulo. I do not know where that is or what my area will be or who my companion is yet. I only know that I´m leaving Cambé. I´m excited but it is sad at the same time. Elder Lee and I have really come close and learned a lot together. Cambé is a terrific area and I will miss these people a lot, but it is the will of the Lord and so we go! I´ll let you know more of what happens next week I guess! Thank you so much for all of your faith and prayers. I can really feel the Lord helping because I know we don’t merit any of this on our own. Thank you for all of the advice you give I love it! You are the best Mom. I know Dad loves us a lot too and that he is helping a lot. I know this church is true and that we have a living prophet on the earth today. When I testify about this I feel this conviction in my chest that I know it is true and I wouldn´t deny it for anything. I pray the Lord every day to be humble enough to be His instrument and I am learning so much. Good luck this week and know that I love you!
-Elder Markham

Cambe February 21, 2011

Momma! Bom dia!

A primeira coisa que quero dizer é isso: Nossa que televisão enorme! The second is that I love you, and the third is I love food. Sorry your thumb got cut. Looks pretty painful and also tetanus shots hurt like crazy! I guess that’s what you get for using a knife without your totem-chip. (Boy Scout thing)

This week has been really good, although I would kill for a little snow right now. The temperature has been hovering around 95-105 for the last week or so and it rains every day which only makes it more humid. I also have an amazing ability to never get tan, only sun burnt. A lady the other day told me I am the same color as her baby when it was born! I thought that was pretty funny. I got called antisocial yesterday because I wouldn´t do the cheek-kiss goodbye thing. Brazilians are awesome and funny.

This week has been super great. We have 2 baptisms this month and we have a goal of 4. We did a special fast and made some goals to make this happen. It’s all in the Lord´s hands, but some great things are happening here in Cambé. Elder Lee and I are speaking nothing but Portuguese from 6:30 to 10:00 at night which is cool. It’s still hard to tell jokes, but I´m getting the hang of this Portuguese deal. We found lots of new people this week to teach and we taught 39 lessons, which is great! We are working with two ladies named Katia and Silvia who are way interested in the gospel, but are a little timid to go to church. We also found this awesome family with 2 kids of baptismal age. They are not sure that they want to change religion right now, but they are reading the Book of Mormon and praying and they are well educated and understand everything. All they have to do now is go to church and the gospel trap is totally sprung! Ha! They are great.

We are teaching another family who is way funny. They have a son Ricardo who is friends with all the young adults in our ward. He is way lazy, but he is so funny and he is really enjoying what he is learning. His parents like it too and ask awesome questions and are learning a ton. Évelen is practically the ward baptizer. She is the girl who brought Stella to church. And yesterday she brought another girl named Jessica who accepted a baptismal date the 12th of March and is totally reading the book of Mormon. I heard this quote that on the placard of a church it said “Do not read and pray about the Book of Mormon. That’s how they get you!” Yup. It’s totally true. Read+pray+go to church=baptized.

I got some valentines this week too. haha! I seriously did. Maybe being in a band did something for me even if I dress in the dark. I just tell all the Brazilians they are my girlfriends and they get really jealous. haha! Let’s see... what else happened this week? We got chased by this insane dog that wanted to kill us, we had this awesome cake the other day and the mission is just awesome. We are having a mission conference later today with Elder Tobias and is should be awesome. Mom, I love you so much. I have been thinking a lot about family lately and my testimony has really been growing about God´s plan for us. I know Christ is the savior of the world and I am grateful for everything you have taught me through word and example. Keep on being awesome and know that I love you and I am jealous of our TV. I will keep on working hard if you do! Give Sharon a hug for me.

-love Elder Iron Man.

Elder Lee and Elder Markham with Maicon in the middle. He should be receiving his mission call any day now.

Stella's Baptism

Elder Lee

Baptism Resistance is Futile! (or Steven being crazy)

Cicero's Baptism

Cambe February 14, 2011

Oh, that’s weird that it is Valentine’s Day there! It is in March here in Brazil so I didn´t even think about it! (And I don´t have a valentine, so tanto faz!)
That is so awesome that you guys got to go down to Las Vegas for a little trip. It is cool to see Amber married in the temple and please tell her that I wish her all the best with her family! It really so true about all the contrast we can see in the world. On the mission you run into a lot of people living the wrong way and sometimes it seems like the whole world is beyond saving, but then when you see someone pray sincerely for the first time or accept baptism everything seems so much more worth it. Thank you for the updates from Joe and Nils too and the pictures you sent. I really do love seeing pictures of the family!
This week has been another week of miracles. We set really high goals for lesson taught this week and then DESTROYED them! Yeah! We taught 43 lessons this week which is 10 more than last week. We are speaking with everyone and being very well received and in all; the work here is going terrific!
Also, do you believe in miracles? Because this week we totally had another baptism. YES! We baptized the girl named Stella that we have been teaching for about 2 1/2 weeks. It was really a miracle! She was introduced to the church by the awesome rapazes (boys) in our ward here and we found her at a family night in a member’s home. She learned everything super quick and received and answers and basically just fell in the water. It was a super spiritual meeting and we also baptized a little girl whose sister we have been teaching for a while. It was the ward´s baptism, but still super awesome! Stella´s family is pretty against the church and they are giving her a little bit of a hard time, so we need to pray for her a lot, but she is SO elect! It was an awesome week.
We are also teaching a guy named Pedro and his girlfriend. We got let into his house only because it was raining super hard and we forgot our guardachuvas (umbrellas) and he saw us and felt bad for two drowning Americans and invited us in. He said he was having tons of doubts about his religion and had stopped going and praying. We showed him some really specific answers in the Book of Mormon and he wants to come see the church next week. Way cool.
Cícero got the priesthood this Sunday and he is more happy than I´ve ever seen him. Our goal is at least one more baptism this month and it is TOTALLY possible for the Lord. We also found some really good ice cream here called Torta de Alemã. Mmmmmm.
We are also teaching several other families close to our house and saving a lot on the whole walking deal. Today we were talking about how much we missed microwavable food.... Mmmm. This computer spell checks in Portuguese and so it says everything I´m typing is wrong, but it thinks ´´today´´ is a word.
I might have to ask you for some more peanut butter eventually because we had a division with the Zone leaders and I accidently got Elder Pinho addicted to peanut butter. He is way cool. He is the drummer in a band and loves American rock music just like me! And he calls every night to check on our numbers and ask for peanut butter :)
This week we found a dog that likes to chew on bricks. Elder Lee took a cool picture of it that I´ll have to get from him. Who knows? Maybe bricks taste good? I don´t know, I just kind of feel like 4th Nephi right now. It is the happiest book and also the shortest! I don´t have too much to say other than things are terrific. Thank you so much for your prayers because I know that they are helping. Being a missionary is really great. In summary, you want to know the truth? Ok. I am Iron Man. Mom, I love you so much for than I can say. Family has really started to mean a lot to me now that I know more of how lucky we really are. I know we have the spirit of the Lord with us as long as we are worthy and that with God´s help we can really do anything. I know that this church is the only true church in the universe. I know God lives and Jesus is the Christ. I am honored to be counted as one of the warriors for the Lord in this day and age. The Book of Mormon is completely true and it is such a powerful tool to cut down false doctrine. Now if I could only get hold of a light saber because sometimes the Book of Mormon doesn´t cut through all the cathedrals here... but joking aside, this really is God’s work and Glory. Keep up all the good work back at home and always stay true to the faith. I don´t know what I ´d do without you Mom and I pray for you and Sharon every day without fail. I hope you have a terrific week and write back soon!
Love you!
-Elder Markham

Cambe February 7, 2011

Oi Momma! Thank you so much for your letter! You always have so much to say that means so much to me. I really appreciate your advice on how to cope with the stress and the purpose of the work and everything. It’s completely true that if life wasn´t hard we would probably feel cheated in some way. I´ve never really thought of it that way so thank you!

That’s crazy that you had a crazy huge storm. Here it has been raining a ton too which actually helps with the heat. A story that I think is pretty cool/funny is we were out teaching in a huge storm and there was tons of thunder and lightning too. We were giving the first lesson and when we got to the first vision I said `Vi um pilar de luz...`(saw a pillar of light) and in that exact moment nearly there was a HUGE lightning bolt with thunder that took out the power. Yeah, I totally call down thunder in our lessons :)

Thank you for praying for me to reach my goals. I can feel the help. This week has been one of the hardest working most productive weeks yet on my mission. The best part is that we had guess what? BAPTISM this week! Yeah! We baptized Cícero this last Saturday and he was confirmed in church and will receive the priesthood next week! The story was so cool. We´ve been teaching him for a long time now and running out of ideas how to help him. One day we had a division with the zone leaders and I and Elder Pinho worked here in Cambé. We went over to Cícero´s house and he kind of was still scared about baptism and everything but said he had a desire to be baptized. Elder Pinho had a baptismal form in his backpack and he just pulled it out and said “if you have faith in Christ you will sign this form and be baptized this Saturday.” Cícero just thought for a minute, then signed it and was baptized! I know that this truly was a miracle and that your prayers helped this to happen! It was a really happy moment. Something interesting is that Cícero has a lot of back problems and couldn´t bend back for the baptism, so we did it kneeling in the water which was a cool experience.

We also found a whole bunch of new people to teach this week and its going to be a lot of fun to keep on working with them. Elder Lee and I get along well and it’s kind of nice to be able to communicate with him well! He is from Sandy and has lots of family there. Maybe next week I´ll send you their address and you can say hi or something. The sisters baptized this week too and are doing great! This last month the mission baptized 105 people and our goal this month is 125. We are hoping for 3 baptisms this month here in Cambé and we already have 1. We have two more people named Stela and Rojeiro who could definitely be baptized really soon. We will work and pray hard!

That is sweet that my package got there finally. The MP3 works well. It has some weird problems here in Brazil, but whatever. I can listen to my music so thank you a whole ton! We are eating well too thanks for asking. I got really sick last week and lost a little weight, but I´m just great now and the food here is really good. Ice cream is awesome.

Mom, I know that this church is true and that this is the work of the Lord. I have a strong testimony that miracles are real and that God knows and loves each and every one of us. I am excited for the time that I can understand more about the plan and everything because right now I definitely do not. I know the time will come when I will though. I love you Mom so much. Being away helps me to appreciate family and I promise to be a better son when I come home. I know Dad is helping us too. I continue to pray for you every day and thank you so much for all the love and support. Till later days!
-Elder Markham