Londrina May 30, 2011

Bom Dia Provo!

There is a newspaper company here called Bom Dia Londrina. Hence a horrible funny play on words in my salutation. Great Scott Salutation is a cool word. So thank you very very much for the advice, letter, updates and everything. I am so very happy to have such a great Mother who loves me and gives me so much support. It is starting to be super cold here in Brazil too. Not bone chilling cold like in Provo, but humid cold that gets in everything and sleeping on the floor doesn’t help either, kind of cold. That is super neat that we had a double farewell in church. I never met the Carters, but that is still super-cool. I am also very thankful for such a great extended family. Keep on spending lots of time with them and know that they love you! Family is really terrific and I will be glad to see all of you again. But in the meantime.... No time to be trunky!

I can only think of one word so far to describe my experience as an Assistant: BWAAAAAAAAAHHHHHH??????!!!! My head is still a little bit in exploded mode, but it’s getting better for sure. So, I found out on Monday and spent the day training the newly arrived missionaries, then Tuesday and Wednesday we had normal work days in our area. Thursday we spent all day preparing trainings in the office and then ran home to have the baptism of Evandro (the last kid in a part member family that wasn´t baptized). We marked two more baptisms for this week and then President called us back up and sent us to São Paulo. Since Friday Elder Ayres and I have been working in a city called Presidente Prudente. The Assistants in this mission are called Assistantes viajantes (Traveling Assistants). How I have basically come to see this is that we are basically the S.W.A.T. team for President. If there is a Zone having major problems he sends us basically with the instructions: Come back when you baptize some people. Right now we are here in this ward because they need to baptize more priesthood holders to become a Stake and President wants to help them out. The Super cool thing is that Elder De Souza is the Zone leader here and I have been on splits with him this week. Super cool! Meu Pai da missão! We have already had some crazy experiences. Elder Ayres is super super good and slightly crazy. I think you have to be slightly crazy to be super super good. So far we have marked 3 baptisms, 7 family nights and Elder Ayres got a free pair of $150 dollar shoes from a guy that we knocked on his door. Whaa?! Since we don’t have member lunches on P-day Elder Ayres was joking about trying to go knocking doors to get lunch. I haven´t figured out if he is serious or not yet..... haha!

It is super exciting but also very stressful. I know that President has some reason for calling me as an assistant, but I haven´t exactly figured it out yet. I feel rather inadequate right now, but I just have to remember that God qualifies those He calls, not calls those who are qualified. The truth is that it has been a very stressful week and I am dead tired, but it is an excellent opportunity to grow. I am learning a lot each day and finding out that it is a lot more important what you ´´are´´ instead of what you ´´do´´. Thank you very much for your advice and support Mom. I am trying to get to know the missionaries here better, but I am still on the Zone Leaders!
Back in Bauru Thayna´s mom Kelli got baptized yesterday. Yeah! Suuuuper awesome! The other cool thing about being Staff is that we have a taxi driver whose favorite bands are Tears for Fears and Aha. :)

Next week I have to give training on being a strong leader to all the Zone leaders in the mission. Please pray for me to not make an idiot out of myself! I know that God lives and loves us. When we are on our knees we can often see things clearer than before. God has given us the Holy Ghost to guide us and when we can recognize that voice we can truly make miracles happen. I am learning much about the power of the priesthood and the strength God can give us. I don´t know how I got out of bed the last 3 days, but God truly does bless us when we are obedient. Christ walked this road long before we did. He knows where it ends and by looking to Him we can have a glance of the future too. I know that Dad loves us a lot and thank you so much for the support you give Mom. You are definitely the best Mom probably ever. How is the family doing? How are Abbey and Dallin? Grandpa e grandma?
Mando um abraço! (Send them a hug)

Londrina May 23, 2011

Hiya Momma!

Well, this week has been absolutely insane. This week Elder Stinocher and I worked a ton with the members and had some great results, including the baptism of Rafael! He is super awesome. His friend Carlos brought him to church last week and he really liked it. He felt like he needed to be a better example and help his family learn about Christ and help them come to church. He feels the spirit so strong and he is already preparing to serve a mission. He is such a super example to me of faith and trust in the Lord. I don´t know if I would have the courage to completely change my life like that in only one week. It really was a miracle!

We found a super awesome family as well that are friends of some really good members and also José and Claudia are doing really well! We have lots of people starting to keep the word of wisdom and the Lord is really blessing us and helping us to keep busy. I love the members here in the Ward Independência. They are absolutely terrific and help me see what it means to be a good member missionary. We are also teaching a really great family that went less-active a while ago. They have already come back to church and their son Edison is super excited and bringing his friends over to their house to hear the lessons. The really funny thing is that he has tons of friends from other countries that he just calls by their ethnicity. We are teaching Japanese (Eduardo), Bolivian (Lindomar) and another friend he calls German that we haven´t met yet. He is way funny and his mom makes super good bread. It helps me think of home! Mmmmmmm.

But now for the mind-blowing crazy news. All good things come to an end, including my time in Ala Independência (in the Independence ward). As of today I have been transferred back to Londrina to the ward of the Assistant, which means that I am..... an assistant. (Shocked silence) ...... BaaaAAaH! What?! I came to the mission office today not knowing anything about why, and President had me look at the transfers board to find my new place. I began looking way down at the bottom at the District leaders and normal people just excited to find out my new area, but it wasn’t there. Next I looked at the Zone leaders. Nada. My next thought: Oh no. Hahaha! So as of now I´ve got some serious preparing studying and praying to get doing. Tomorrow I have to give a welcome training for all the new missionaries coming in. I am going to be traveling around the entire mission just helping people out in their areas. Basically I am just losing my mind right now, but I know that God has a plan and with fasting and prayer everything will be alright.

So, about you all! That is way awesome that Elder L. Tom Perry came to our Stake! I haven´t seen an apostle since the MTC, but I guess we don´t always have to see to believe. I really like those points that he talked about. It really is important to have personal values that will help out the country. Congratulations to Sharon for passing all of her classes! She is the best little sister ever. I will be praying for her to get into dance team. I am praying for you ever single night and day. I love you so much and I pray the best for you.

I know that Christ is the Savior and that he lives and loves us. I know He has the power to overcome our weaknesses and struggles and that through His Gospel we can be so blessed.

I will send some sweet pictures next week. Thank you so much for everything that you have done for me. One more time I love you both very much.

-Elder Markham

Me and Elder Bispo from our District

Bauru May 16, 2011

Oi minha amada mai!

I will have to beg pardon again that this e-mail is a little rushed. Today we had p-day with our entire zone and things got a little mixed up and rushed. We went to the property of a super rich member here in Bauru and played soccer and had barbeque and all that stuff. It was pretty alright, but I missed sleeping! I also finally got to the foot doctor and got some orthotics and I hope things will finally get resolved. Vamos ver (we’ll see).

Any who, this week was really good, but also slightly frustrating, but also mostly good. We decided this week to give an even greater emphasis to working with the members and it is giving some decent results. We are trying to mark family nights with people to bring their friends and have a nice atmosphere to present the gospel. The members here are cool and helpful, but it is definitely still a lot of work to keep on top of them as well!

This week in church we had a great turn out. We had 6 investigators there which is a lot better than it has been. One new family came that we have been teaching named José e Claudia. They are way cool and I hope they can be baptized soon! The other miracle that happened was that a member brought his friend with him to come and visit church. His name is Rafael and after we visited him that night, he said that he felt like this was the time to start being an example to his family and he only wanted to know how soon he could be baptized! We marked his date for next Sunday and he is already living the Word of Wisdom and lei de castidade (law of chastity) and everything! Super miracle! Manoel is doing well and he is really excited but he still has a problem with marriage that we want to resolve with bishop.

We found another family that has a great desire to stop smoking and find a church that fits them. Super cool stuff happens when you work hard and pray hard. I probably need to get better at the praying hard and always remembering to thank the Lord for everything part. This is His work and we have to get out of the way and let Him do it! This week had some rough moments when we didn´t really know exactly what to do or where to go, but it is important to punch through hard moments. That is probably true of anything in life too. Elder Stinocher is doing well and learning fast. He is helping me a lot to especially in teaching better which is sweet.

Bauru does have a really big ward. They are decent at fellowshipping, but the size of the ward makes it hard to visit people sometimes. That’s where missionaries and endless walking come in!

I am glad that you are exercising and working and doing super well! I think you are looking really good too! God is truly blessing us cada vez mais. Please pray a lot too! If I like to get long letters or phone calls think how much more our father in heaven wants to hear us his children. Thank you for sending a memory card and all that stuff. I really appreciate it. It is great to know I´m loved though and you guys really are the best. That is way exciting that an apostle will come to our stake! Tell me what he says! So what else cool has happened lately? Are my speakers working out well with our huge ole TV? Well, till later days!

-Love Elder Markham

Recent Converts

FBI of the Gospel


Bom dia! Thank you so much for the e-mail! It was really great to talk with you yesterday as well! I am thoroughly surprised how well Skype worked out. And it is free which is even more awesome. Thanks so much for being such a great Mom. I am so happy that you are doing well. You are looking healthy and liking your job and being around the family and everything good. Happy Mother’s day for sure! I would just like to thank you for always being such a wonderful example for me of how to live the gospel. Sure, everybody has a lot of problems in life, and sometimes we get discouraged and grumpy, but you have always shown me how to keep on going even when things are not ideal. You always taught us to live the gospel and love each other and in the end that is more important than anything else we can do in this life. You are so strong to deal with everything you have gone through and I remember your example when things get hard. Happy Mother’s day to the best Mom in the whole world.

So, I haven´t gone to the foot doctor yet because I can´t find out where it is at! I´ll get there though. The foot doctor isn´t too bad cuz they just look at your feet. Today for P-day the Zone leaders are gone to Londrina again and we’ve got to clean out the house a little bit. It is quite a job to keep our house clean with 4 missionaries, but whatever!

After we talked we had a really cool lesson with a man named Manoel who is going to church every Sunday and reading the Book of Mormon and absolutely loving it! He wants to be baptized but has some marriage issues. Please pray for him!

This sexta-feira (Friday) we are having a sweet activity in the church. It is a competition where the men in the ward have to make a cake and the women get to judge them. It should be pretty fun and I´m hoping the left-overs get donated to us!

Sometimes I wonder if I´m really doing that good of a job as a leader and a missionary. It gets a little discouraging sometimes not to see the results that we were hoping for. This week I´ve been learning an important lesson. It is not about what I think needs to be done, but what the Lord wants me to do. Like it says in Isaiah 55, The Lord´s ways are not our ways. I want to put more focus on being an instrument in the Lord´s hands and seek out what He wants me to do, then put away any pride and do it. I know that in this way we can be more effective and really achieve great things. It is difficult to always be in tune with the Spirit, but it is something very important. Thank you so much for all of the love and prayers! Please give Sharon a huge big hug for me! I love you Momma.

I know that Christ lives and that he is our Savior. I am trying to feel every day more and more the power of His atonement for us. I know that if we try our best we can someday be like Him. I know that President Monson is the Lord´s prophet today. That is an amazing story about Brother Mix. I know that this Gospel is true.
-Love Elder Markham
P.S. Happy Birthday to Dad!
P.S.S. Do you ever hear from Sarah and family in Nebraska? How are they doing?

Bauru May 3, 2011

Hey Momma!
Sorry that this email is late and also will be a little short. We had a huge plans shuffle the other day! On Saturday I got a call from the assistants inviting me to a leadership conference in Londrina. So Sunday we went down there and we had originally thought to stay until Wednesday. On Monday we had a super sweet Conference with and Area Seventy that knows Brother Tyler (Tell Tom that Elder Araúju says hello!). After that President randomly decided to cancel the meetings the next day (today) and we took a midnight bus back to Bauru and got here 4 in the morning and slept a bit at some other missionaries house and now its P-day. Boy I am pretty beat right now!

This last week has been a little bit harder. We are still working with some good people, but a lot of baptismal dates fell through and we need to find some new people now. We got to watch a broadcast from President Monson for our stake conference here and it was super cool. After that the leadership conference was super super spiritual. We learned about the importance of being an instrument in the hands of the Lord and trying to do what He wants in our areas and not just what we want. I learned a great deal and I really felt the spirit super strong there. It is one of the best meetings I have ever been to.

My mind is not really working right now and I can´t think too well about any great stories right in the moment, but I will get on it and write some cool stuff. The news about Osama is crazy. President passed a bunch of guidelines for a few areas with lots of Muslims. Bauru is pretty chill though. War is sad and should stop.

Tell Sister Otterstrom parabêms! That is pretty cool that they had another child! Nils will be really happy too.

I hope everything turns out well with the cabin and stuff! Silly flooding, Trix are for kids! Give Sharon a gigantic and really big hug for me too. I know this was a cruddy e-mail but I would like to bear my testimony that I know that God loves us. When life gets dark and dreary, we need to pray the most and He really does hear and answer us. I know we have a living prophet who receives revelation for all of us. I believe that we can all be a little more in tune with what God wants us to do and truly make miracles happen in our lives. I feel the need to be a better person and I know the Atonement can help me to achieve that goal. I love you so much and I will be praying for you always!
-Elder Markham