El Salvador

El Salvador


Elder Garrett Markham
El Salvador San Salvador East Mission
PO Box #3362
San Salvador, El Salvador
Central America


Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Mom's final note...

Mom's final note:

I want to thank you all for reading Garrett's Mission Blog the last two years he has been gone.  Garrett left our home on September 17th, 2014 a humble, somewhat timid, but strong servant of our Heavenly Father and entered the Mexico Missionary Training Center to eventually serve in the El Salvador, San Salvador East Mission.  He came back on Thursday August 25th, 2016 a humble, confident, happy, even stronger and righteous servant of our Heavenly Father.  It's hard to believe the changes that happen to these missionaries while they are gone, but they truly become so much better in every way.  Garrett still has the same humble attitude he always did, and the same wit with his jokes and comebacks.  But he is a Spiritual Giant compared to when he left, and I couldn't be more proud of him!  I have had the opportunity to be on video calls, since his return, with some of the people he has served in El Salvador.  I am humbled and thankful for not only their gratefulness for all that Garrett did for them while he was there, but I am truly thankful that they were there to help take care of him as well.  I have learned that Garrett was well loved by those he served and served with while in El Salvador, and I will be eternally grateful to my Heavenly Father that he was able to return home safely.

He has shared experiences that no mother wishes her child would have to go through, but I'm thankful he had them to make him a better and stronger person.  He is fluent in the Spanish language and I enjoy listening to him engage in conversation with those he video chats with since he has left them behind in El Salvador.  I know he will continue to be a help to others throughout his life as he will be able to translate and serve others with this second language.

I am so thankful for Garrett and the person that he is.  I am so proud of him and all that he has accomplished.  I know he will continue to go on in life doing great things and being a positive influence to those he comes in contact with.

Thank you again for following his progress!  May Heavenly Father bless you all!  Garrett is home and we are so thankful!  We love him forever!

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Garrett's final letter and Testimony from El Salvador!! He's coming home!

Hey Family.

It was another good week here in Apopa. We were able to visit tons of people and see great changes in the lives of many. It's probably what I'll miss most about the mission. There's nothing more rewarding than that! They gave me a few minutes to give a testimony during sacrament meeting. I spoke a bit, then a sister in the ward spoke a bit because she goes on the mission this week.

It's hard to believe that this is the last time I'm writing you guys. I'm super excited to see you all! I think I'm more nervous coming home than when I left for the mission. I love you all so much and can't wait to see you all soon.

I know this is the Lords work. I know that Jesus is the Christ. He did everything for us. He is the way to eternal life. I love Him. I know Joseph Smith restored the true church. I know with out a doubt that this is the only church with priesthood power. I feel so honored to be able to posses this power and be a chosen son of our Heavenly Father. The Book of Mormon is true. All you have to do is read it with real intention and pray and ask God if it's true. I know that I will be with my family once again after this life. I love you all! See you Thursday!

Love Elder Markham

Garrett's friend Aldo (and his sister in law) served him delicious food this week!!  I'm so thankful for the many kind people of El Salvador who have taken care of Garrett while he has been so far away from home!

Garrett and Aldo

Garrett and his companion Elder Nelson from Arizona

Karen Zepeda's Father with Garrett and Elder Nelson

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Garrett is still bringing happiness to the people of El Salvador during the short time he has left


This week was another great week! We had 16 investigators in sacrament this week! Many of them are families like the Solis family and the Sanchez family, then Benedicto and Jackelin went too. They were going to get baptized this Saturday! They passed their interviews and everything! The lawyer that was going to marry them came to church to talk to them after sacrament meeting. While they were talking and reading the birth certificates, we found out that Benedicto was tricked into marrying someone else. But everything is okay because they still want to work toward getting divorced and then getting married so that they can get baptized. It will just be within 4 months or so. There's another older man that went to church with us for the first time yesterday. His name is Josue. He lives by himself and is kinda sick so he wasn't able to clean out his house. We offered to help him last week when we started teaching him. We did the service this week for him and he was so happy. We just took out old stuff that he didn't want and layed out some bricks he had stacked up to make it easier to walk around when it rains. After the service he said that he was going, and he did! It always feels amazing to help someone go to church especially for the first time. 

We were visiting an older sister named Gloria. She was about 60 years or so. She was best friends with some members that live in front of her. We taught her with them and they were also able to bring her to church a few times. She was very excited for her baptismal date for the 3rd of September and didn't have a problem with a single commandment. But when we went to visit her this week her family had told us that she passed away earlier that morning. It was very sad but it opened up the door to the rest of her family. We were able to help them out with some stuff and teach them about the plan of salvation. Her granddaughter is even more willing to listen to us. She listened to us but not too much. She went to church once but now it sounds like she wants to go more and learn more about the church. Last night we were with the member family that are best friends with them and they started to express how happy and thankful they are that we helped them return to church and how we've helped the other family with all the stuff that they are passing. The spirit was really strong and I'm just so happy to see the happiness that people here have been able to receive throughout my mission.

Well not much else is going on. We are going to keep working hard this week and doing all we can to baptize in September. I love and miss you all so much!

Love Elder Markham

Monday, August 8, 2016

Garrett's Birthday Week, a baptism and portraying Nephi again.

Hey Family!

I completely forgot about my birthday this week until I saw some of your birthday wishes. SO thank you so much!

This weekend was the baptism of Belinda. She's the 11 year old little girl that was going to church in our other ward by herself for a long time. She was so happy to finally get baptized. She had been attending for quite some time now. Her mom and friend went to the baptism. Neither are members but really liked it and want to continue to learn more! 

The sister in our ward that cooks our food, Sister Garcia, and her daughter, Milagro, have their birthdays on the 11th as well. Sounds like they wanted to cook up something awesome! This week we also had our temple trip where we bring our investigators and converts. I was Nephi again. It was cool. We only were able to bring Fernando, Diego and their grandma and a few other members. It was the vacation week and nobody wanted to get up early. haha we had to leave at 7 in the morning. I guess there were about 1600 people that went to the activity. The other mission president showed up because they wanted to try and do it this weekend as well.

It's been pretty hot this week. We had a few rain storms and floods in the streets. It's always fun walking in the night when the streets are flooded and there's lighting strikes close by. I still jump because I'm not used to it yet. There just aren't cool storms like that in western Oregon. Today I'm going with the Zepeda Family to see if I can find some souvenirs! 

I miss you and love you so much!
Love Elder Markham

Garrett and Elder Togisala

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Sometimes the poorest are the most humble...

Hey everyone!

Well this week was a hard week, but finished great! Today I'll tell you guys a few things about some of the people we are teaching.

The Sanchez Hernandez Family: The mom is an inactive member that hasn't been to church for a few years. She is married to her husband and they have three kids that we are teaching also. Just the mom is a member. They are a reference from her sister that's also a member inactive but is slowly coming back. The whole family has a desire to learn and prepare to make covenants. They are all reading the Book of Mormon and they stopped drinking coffee. They were going to go to church yesterday but they didn't because the mom plays soccer on Sundays and she thought it would be bad to leave after sacrament meeting to go to her game. But they said that this week they are going for sure!

Sonia: That's the mom of Fernando and Diego. She's super positive about going to church and reading and hasn't drank coffee for a bit. She is really working hard so that they can keep improving their family relationship. She's come to church these past couple Sundays. She said she hasn't been able to read because she needs new glasses but when she can her mom reads to her.

The Solis Family: We were walking down the street when we heard a little boy yell, "Hola Hermanos!" Which means "hello brothers!" We walked over to talk to the family. They were out buying pupusas together. They said that the missionaries visited them before and said we could go by the next day. They never got baptized because the dad is married to another woman. He wasn't able to get divorced from her because it's a lot of money. So he just lives with another woman right now and they have three little kids. They went to church a bunch and love learning more. The sad part is that the dad has a really painful cancer and doesn't think he will live much longer. He's told us a few times and in his prayers he mentions it, but his dream is to be able to see his kids graduate from high school. But like I said he doesn't think he has too much time. He rents a moto taxi to try and work and make some money. He's always around where we are and so when he sees us he gives us free rides. We asked if he would like to see his kids get baptized and he said he would love it. We are going to see if we can get them baptized so that it can give him more hope for an eternal family.

Jaquelin and Benedicto: They are a very humble couple. They live in a bus in the jungle and don't have a lot. They have been working hard to not drink coffee. They went to church last Sunday but they didn't go yesterday. We are going to visit them tomorrow to see why because they said they'd go yesterday. We found them when we helped Benedicto carry two beds to his house to use as a couple walls and fences. But I think they should be getting baptized pretty soon.

We have tons more but those are some of the people that are progressing. The time is going by fast! I can't believe that it's already August. Next week I'm going with the Zepeda Family to get some recuerdos (memories...souvenirs)! I love and miss you all!

Love Elder Markham

Monday, July 25, 2016

Bringing much happiness to Families!

Hey Family!

So this is going to be pretty quick...

So we had a multi zone meeting this week with President Vasquez. It was cool because we talked about how much the mission has gone up! President got here about 3 months before I did. When he got here there were 244 missionaries and each year they were baptizing about 650 people. Now there are 159 missionaries and we already have about 600 baptisms and we are now finishing up July. President Vasquez has been doing a great job helping the mission progress a lot! 

Saturday we had Fernando's baptism! It was very powerful! It was great to watch Diego, his brother, baptize him! Afterwards, Diego shared his testimony and he started off talking about how 8 months ago before he got baptized he always fought with Fernando and never talked with him. They had a really bad relationship and wished they weren't brothers. But ever since the missionaries baptized Diego they've become great friends. Now they are best friends and are always joking around and having a great time. Diego then finished saying how happy he was to see his brother in the church and to the interest in their mom. He said that he hopes Fernando baptizes their mom in a few weeks. Yesterday we went to church early with Diego and Fernando for Fernando's confirmation. Their mom said she was going to go but that she'd be late. When we left they doubted that she would go. But about 15 minutes after the meeting started she showed up and Fernando and Diego were shocked with excitement. The Gospel has really changed this family. I love helping the families be together for ever and having this happiness!

I love you all so much!
Love Elder Markham

These pictures are of the Baptisms of:

The Elias Family

Etel Rimeriz

Carlos Ayala

Maryori Presa

Wendy Vasquez

Fernando Martinez (with Garrett's companion Elder Nelson)

Thursday, July 21, 2016

An investigators dream..."Follow Me"...

Hey Family!

We had changes this week! I'm still here in Apopa and will be finishing my mission here. My companion is Elder Nelson. He's from Arizona and he's a great guy! He has about 16 months in the mission or so. I saw Aldo Thursday walking through the street. Actually he saw me. We were walking down the street when I heard someone calling us, I turned around and saw Aldo running around the corner yelling my name. It was so funny! I ran over to give him a hug and we talked a little bit. I told him that I'm going home next month so he has to come to church to see me off. Hopefully it will help him go to church. Aldo is the guy I was going to do the pupusa eating competition with. He said he'll come right before I leave. That night his mom was in Apopa staying with her brother when she called us up to go by her house and pick up some doughnuts that she brought us. She gave us a huge bag of doughnuts that she made! She's so sweet.

Fernando went to church with us again yesterday. We are going to have his interview tomorrow and his baptism will be Saturday. HIS STORY IS AWESOME! So his brother and grandma got baptized a little while ago but he never went to church or anything like that. He never really cared much about anything. We struggled so hard to get him to go to church. We finally did a few weeks ago. After he finally went with us we visited him a couple days later and he said that he had a dream...In his dream he was facing a black wall. There were also two black walls to his sides. He said he heard a voice behind him that said, follow me. It surprised him and he tried to turn around to see who it was but he couldn't. When he was finally able to turn there was nobody there. He told us that he knew it was Jesus calling him. Ever since then he's been a lot happier and excited to learn more and go to church and to get baptized! And now that their mom has seen the changes in both her sons, she also wants to learn more and go to church! Before she never wanted anything to do with the church but it's because when the missionaries taught her husband a long time ago they never paid much attention to her. But now it's her time to receive the gospel and join the family at church! 

Belinda also went to church. She goes to the other ward. She is 11 years old and the ward says that she can get baptized if she can keep going to church by herself. Her parents are members but are inactive and no one from the ward can go get her because it's too dangerous. But if she goes to church one or two more times she'll get baptized!

Everything else is going good for now. We have a few more people that are preparing to get baptized. But I'll have to tell you more next week! I love and miss you all!

Love Elder Markham