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

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