Londrina July 25, 2011

Hi Mommie!
No problem about the short letter! I just love whatever size you send! It’s great to have such a super family like you guys. This week has been interesting. I´m glad that ya´ll had a terrific week! I can´t believe that Jenni is already finishing her mission! I got a letter from her the other week that I haven´t had time to respond yet, but it looks like she will already be done by the time it gets there! It will be neat to talk with all the family about their missions and stuff. Joseph and Jeff will be finishing the end of this year as well, which is strange to think of!
Also: Happy Birthday to Jessica and Kevin!!!
You can tell Jessica that I actually remembered. I put an alarm in my watch a month in advance to send a card, but I think I was in Foz de Iguaçu on a bus and I ended up not sending anything. Oh well. Will you guys have a dinner at Kevin’s house or anything? His food is sure good. Mmmmmmm..... not rice and beans...... :)

This week was Zone conferences. Monday we worked normal and found two awesome families whose children went to church with us yesterday! They are very poor and have a lot of problems, but José Roberto (the Dad) really wants to change, so pray for him! Tuesday we had Zone conference in Marília, which meant that President came to our house and picked us up at 5 in the morning to drive 4 hours to São Paulo. The conference was great. Elder Thiago and I gave our training about fishing for men and President showed a bunch of great videos to motivate everyone. One thing that President Tavares likes to do is take clips of real movies and put subtitles in about the mission. This time He took Remember the Titans and found the part where everyone is shouting “We want victory! We want some more!” And put in “we want to baptize!
We want some more!” And then he took all the parts with super crazy tackles and hits and put in BAPTISM!! Confirmation! Family completed! And stuff like that. It was super funny and also motivated a lot.

We also had the Church doctor for the mission Dr. Hill who gave training about health and stuff. The next day we had another conference in Londrina with pretty much the same things. While the missionaries had interviews with Dr. Hill I was the translator for his wife who types everything. It was funny that I have a harder time speaking English right. After that the week was just pretty normal. The other assistants went to the other conferences and we just worked in our normal area and so, that was pretty much it for this week. I got a little sick this week and so I am using P-day to get better.

Thank you so much for your testimony and love and support. It isn´t possible without a great mom like you! Eu testifico de que Jesus Cristo é o Filho de Deus, o unigênito do Pai na carne. Sei que Ele é meu salvador é redentor e que eu vou seguirs seus ensinamentos. Eu sei que por meio da expiaçáo de Cristo todos nos podemos receber a remissão de nossos pecados. Se nos confiarmos nele, vamos ter uma certeza de que Ele nos ama. Eu amo você muito Mai. Estou orando por você e sei que tudo vai sair bem. Morôni 7 é um capítulo excellente sobre a fé e a esperança. até mais!

(translation: I testify that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, begotten of the Father in the flesh. I know He is my Savior and Redeemer and that I will follow his teachings. I know that through the atonement of Christ we can all receive the remission of our sins. If we trust Him, we have an assurance that He loves us. I love you so much mom I am praying for you and know that everything will be okay. Moroni 7 is an excellent chapter on faith and hope. Until Later)
Elder Markham

Londrina, July 18, 2011

Hiya Mommie!
This week has been super super crazy, but an opportunity to learn a lot. To begin with, thank you for your letter! That is so awesome that Ryan is out in the field, Nils is doing well, Joe também and everybody else! I really have been blessed with terrific friends. All of them are out on missions and doing great. Sharon seems to be doing really well also. She me sent a scripture in her last e-mail which I really liked! EFY will be fun for her too!
So, the leadership conference went really well. It is not zone conference, it is only for the Zone leaders to receive trainings and talk about the difficuldades in their zones. It went really really well! Elder Ayres and I gave a training sobre being fishers of men: how to improve efficiency in the work. Everybody seemed to like the conference and I learned a lot too. Starting tomorrow we will have normal zone conferences which are just like the ones you described. Here we have them every 3 months. This means I will be traveling a whole ton this week. I will go to Bauru, Londrina, Maringá and Foz do Iguaçu. Minha nossa! ( My goodness) It should be an adventure. So, Tuesday was leadership conference, Wednesday we spent in the office all day preparing trainings and stuff, Thursday Elder Thiago got really sick and had to stay in (he is better now!), Friday was normal and Saturday was crazy. Sadly, one of the duties of the assistants is to correct problems when missionaries do silly things. Saturday President sent me to an area to remove a missionary who was causing severe problems. It is sad when Elders choose not to take the mission seriously, but it was also an opportunity to learn more about leadership. I stayed there Saturday and Sunday and we had a baptism on Sunday! It was a really great moment. It was a daughter (Vitória) of a less-active member. When the daughter heard the lessons she had a strong desire to be baptized and lead her family to return to activity. She was baptized and now the mom is coming back to church and her brother is preparing to receive the priesthood next week! Sadly, I forgot my camera and so I don’t have any pictures... My bad! That was basically my week.
The days seriously fly by so fast I can’t keep track! To answer your other questions, Elder Ayres companion is from Texas and is named Elder Dewey. He is super funny. I get to work with him every once in a while, but mostly not. I kind of just don’t have a steady companion because I´m always doing divisions with everybody.
About our house, no, it is nowhere near big enough for 6 Elders. There is just one problem. We don’t have 6 Elders in our house. We have 8! 2 people have to sleep on the floor every night and so we trade off. The other funny thing is that 2 Elders in our house talk in their sleep and lately they have been practicing the lessons with each other while they are sleeping. It is actually really really funny. `snor, and I testify that Joseph was a prophet. Snor`´ ´snor God commanded Adam...´´ haha! And then Elder Ayres who is a really light sleeper gets mad and wakes everyone up and starts throwing pillows and stuff. I just laugh. The secretaries are the ones who take care of the house.
Thank you so much for everything! I would just like to end today bearing my testimony. I know that the gospel is completely true. I know that the power of the sacerdócio (priesthood) is real and that we can see true miracles when we believe. I know that anything is possible for God and that everything He does is for our good. I know that our family will be together forever and that Dad will be here to help us. Please don’t get discouraged. Life is hard, but also good. As long as we are progressing and learning and improving I guess that has to be enough! I love you all! Give a good ól hurrah for Israel back there in Provo will ya?
-Elder Markham

Os Assistentes (Elder Markham, Elder Thiago, Elder Ayres & Elder Dewey

Elder Van Orden and Elder Markham

Milagre! Emily's Baptism

Elder Thiago, Elder Markham & Elder Alves

Distrito do Araponga

Londrina July 11, 2011

Hey Momma-mia!
Bom dia mais uma vez de Londrina, cidade do batismo!

Thanks a whole ton for the pictures and the news and everything! I really enjoyed seeing the family and the wonderful news in the Reynolds family what with the baptisms and confirmations and parties and everything! We have a super great family. It is such a blessing for sure! Thanks for the update about Wildwood and the ward as well. That’s crazy that everybody is getting married and stuff. Give Sharon a super high five for her talk as well!

Londrina is pretty darn cold now. It doesn’t rain that much during the winter either. All-in-all it is actually quite nice to work during the winter. Walking around all day you keep nice and warm and comfortable. I am excited to have two more assistants too, but I don’t think we will travel any less. Our mission has 11 Zones and 170 missionaries. This is a huge number and now the load has simply moved from insane to manageable! I just barely got back from Apucarana and I´m going to Maringá and/or Cascavel this week!

Elder Thiago is really great. He is from Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais. He has a super great testimony and he is really funny and excited. He teaches really well and works hard for sure! He has been on the mission for about 18 months so he is experienced and everything. Things are going really great. As for the Zone conferences, we are going to have lots of conferences this week and next week! The only reason you haven´t heard about too many conferences is because we have them every 3 months and so I haven´t been AP during a conference yet. Elder Ayres and I will give some training about being fishers of men. It should be pretty good! Tomorrow we have a conference with all of the Zone Leaders again and I am excited (because we get to eat a super good lunch with Presidente!) This week we saw a true miracle in Apucarana, one of the zones in our mission.

The Zone leaders there had been having trouble with the ward and hadn’t baptized in a very long time. We arrived running like crazy and held divisions with all the Zone leaders and District leaders to boost morale. As it turned out this week was super difficult. We worked super super super hard without seeing nearly any results. Elder Thiago and I simply decided that we wouldn´t let anything get us down and we would run around smiling and inviting everyone to live the gospel with joy! One of the main objectives that president sent us there was to help baptize an investigator that the ZLs had already prepared, but unfortunately, this baptism fell through at the last hour and we were left with almost nothing. The Ward was having problems with attendance and spiritual meetings and the members were getting a little discouraged. We woke up early and went around the city trying to get all of the less-active members to come to church, but honestly we didn´t have that much success.

We got to church and saw the first miracle. The Lord had brought several investigators and members that we hadn´t even met yet! I got to play piano in the meeting and everyone loved it (They don’t have a steady pianist). Bispo thanked the Elders for giving talks and really liked the meeting. As we left we asked a member who was the investigators that she had brought. She explained that it was her brother and his daughter who had been coming to church for 8 years and already was living most of the commandments, but had never had the courage to be baptized! Our jaws dropped to the floor and we ran to their house to teach him. When we arrived, we found that Carlos (invest.) had simply disappeared, but his daughter was there. With the help of her uncle Brother Reinaldo we taught here and found that she already knew all of the lessons and had a testimony! We challenged her to be baptized that night and the whole family cried tears of happiness. The only problem is that we needed the signature from her Dad who was nowhere to be found! We prayed a whole ton and with great faith in our hearts started filled the baptismal font at the church. We spent all day trying to find her dad, but to no avail. Suddenly, about 6:00 the sister in the ward had a revelation and knew that he was at a local dance close to the city center. The members and some leaders ran to the dance and talked to the Dad. He became super-super happy and ran back with them to the church. We held the baptismal interview and Emily his daughter was baptized 8:30 that night. Pure miracles! To add to the happiness, her dad agreed to stop drinking and join his daughter being baptized next Saturday. A neighbor who had already been to the church a few times went to the baptism and felt the spirit so strong that he come to us afterwards and asked to be baptized this Friday!

I testify that miracles are real! I know that this is the true church of Christ and the He has all power and all wisdom and that when we trust in Him all things are possible. I know that families are forever. Life will have many trials and we will feel lonely often, but God loves us, Christ loves us and I love you a whole ton Mom. Please know that I am praying for you every day and that angels really are watching over you.
-Elder Markham

Members from Bauru!

One of the Families Elder Ayers and Elder Markham taught this week. They Baptized Marcos.

Yummy! Guarana!

Is There A Thing As Too Much Food!

Frost in Londrina?

Londrina July 4, 2011

Happy 4th of July!!!! Yeah! In celebration today I ate a subway sandwich. Yes they have Subway here in Londrina.

So, this week was crazy! Let’s start with last Monday. After my last e-mail we went home and I slept a whole ton. Then we taught some peeps that night. We are working with several families really great here in Londrina, the only problem is that we don’t get to stay here very much. Tuesday morning we went to the airport to pick up a new missionary that had just barely arrived here in Brazil. On our way to the airport we noted that all of the grass had frost on it, which was crazy! I like the cold here better than the heat. Afterwards we had a meeting with president and decided a bunch of stuff. We organized a series of training meetings with president for the week and had meetings with all of the Zone leaders to practice teaching skills. We had a phone conference with everybody later in the meeting and found out that Bauru was having lots of troubles. That night President sent us back to Bauru! Yeah!

We started working there with all of the missionaries in the Zone and we were able to elevate the baptisms and lessons by a whole ton. The cool thing is that I got to work in Independência again! We found and reactivated a whole family less-actives. They had 8 people in the family and 1 who wasn´t baptized yet. Everybody went to church and the ward was super happy and we baptized the son Marcos after the meeting. It is a complete miracle! Hurrah! The Lord has really been blessing us with a lot of success and miracles. We found 3 other people there in Bauru who were baptized by the other missionaries there! Elder Ayres served in the same ward and we had the opportunity to visit all the people that he and I worked with and it was super-great! I visited Elza and Thayná and Bispo and everybody and it was so great!

This is something cool about getting to travel around the mission. I may be able to visit some other areas that I have already been! I got back here in Londrina about an hour about. Ai yai. Sooo tired, but life is sooo gooood!

Today is transfers and so I have to stay here in the office and help president all day probably. The surprise of the week is that President will call 2 more APs to help out. My new companion will be Elder Thiago who will arrive from Foz do Iguaçu later tonight. With 4 assistants it should probably be a lot easier to manage everything :)

So, about ya´ll. Please send some great pictures of the 4th of July! Family and food are super great so please have a wonderful time and tell everyone how much I love them. Thank you for your advice as well. We are trying to do all of those things you put on the list, and ultimately, it is up to the Ward and the person to stay strong. I talked with President about this same thing and he gave a scripture that really explains a lot. D&C 40:1-3. If a person has faith, repents and desires to be baptized than it is their time. We never know what God has planned and as long as we are following the spirit everything will turn out.

I know that God lives and loves us. I know that the Church is true and that Baptism is the door to the celestial kingdom. I know that my testimony is growing a lot every day and that stress and problems are generally part of the growing process. I love you very much and I will continue praying for you every day. Happy Fourth of July!

With love,
Elder Markham