El Salvador

El Salvador


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


Tuesday, December 29, 2015

A Beautiful Baptism.

Hey Family!

So we had a great baptism this Saturday with Israel! He was so excited to get baptized! When he came out of the water he had a huge grin on his face. Then when we were leaving the font I told him to stay there while his mom brought him his towel. Then he stops at the top of the stairs and turns around. While looking at the water he asked me, "Now can I jump in"? hahah he wanted to jump in the water and start swimming but I told him no but it was hard because I was laughing. The next day was his confirmation and it was also really awesome. On Sunday we were able to bring the whole Hernandez family to church! Last week just the mom and her daughter and son went because the father hasn't wanted to commit himself yet. We did divisions with the members and I went with one of the members in our branch to pick them up. The father, Rodolfo, still didn't really want to go to church but we kept taking away all of his excuses and he finally said that he would go! Now the whole family is progressing to get baptized! They just have a few questions and problems about a few things but we will be able to help them out with that.

I don't have too much to say since we were just able to talk. I miss and love you all so much!

Love Elder Markham

Isreal and his family at his baptism with Elder Markham

Isreal's little Sister, Garrett, Isreal

** Update:  We got to skype with Garrett on Christmas Day!  What a fun day it was!  The best Christmas present for his Momma!  We laughed about old times and memories that we are going to make together in the future!  Garrett has really grown up and has done some great things for the people of El Salvador!  He bore a beautiful testimony in Spanish to us.  He truly has the light of Christ with him!  We love him beyond words and are so thankful for his example!  

Notice the glow from Garrett's side of the TV?  It's the Light of Christ that he gives off!  He is truly a disciple of Jesus Christ!  We love Garrett!  He is such a great example to all of us!

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Preparing for another baptism...and soccer balls...

Hey Family!

So I don't have too much time but let me tell you about Israel. His mom has been a member for a few years now. But last Sunday she came up to us and asked if we could help her son prepare for his baptism. We said yes, but then she told us that he just turned 9....I couldn't really believe if she was serious or not. But it looks like we will be having another baptism next week! 

The other day we went to his house to teach him but first he wanted to play a little soccer with me. We started kicking it back and forth and then I kicked it and it went past him and started rolling down the hill. He started to chase it then he stopped while it kept rolling. I wondered why he stopped. But it rolled down a steep hill so I didn't see where it went exactly. I said that my companion and I would get it but when we got to the hill, it turned out to be a cliff! I KICKED A 9 YEARS OLD KIDS BALL OFF A CLIFF! I felt bad and said I'd buy him another...since they only cost 25 cents. I bought him one two days later and he was in love with it. The next day I saw him and he started to tell me that a dog took his ball. Then his mom said that he was playing with it and a huge pit bull came by and ran off with it and Israel started to cry. I told him I'd get a new one.

I cant wait to talk to you all on Christmas! I love and miss you all!

Love Elder Markham

Monday, December 14, 2015

Teaching English classes and eating pupusas!

Hi Family!

This week was a pretty great week of activities! But first the pupusa eating competition didn't go as well as I hoped. We couldn't do it Monday because they got back to the house late. So we said we would do it Thursday because we had a huge pupusa party. It was an activity between our branch and the other ward that attends our church. Whoever wanted to participate could make a pupusa and whoevers was the best won a gift basket for Christmas. All the other people played games and watched "Meet the Mormons". Then everyone got to eat pupusas. It was awesome and we had about 10 investigators there. But one of them had to leave early and it was pretty late so we walked her to the bus stop and waited for her to take the bus to get home safely, But when we left, the guy I was going to do the competition with, started eating pupusas. Then when I got back he said that he was already eating 6 and was about to get numbers 7 8 and 9. I had to hurry and start eating but when I got to 6 they ran out of pupusas. Then he got all happy and said he won and everything. haha it wasnt cool.

We've been teaching English classes and we've had tons of people come. And they all love it! Especially the Hernandez family. We started teaching them las week. There are the two parents, and two kids but one is 13 and the other is 5. They go to all the activities and they even went with us to a baptism that the other Elders had. They said that they really liked it. It's been great being able to teach them. They just haven't been able to go to church yet and they don't want to accept a baptism date. But they say this week they are going to be able to go to church. 

Yesterday we found another family just sitting outside their house listening to music together. We began to talk to them and turns out the husband is the brother of one of our investigators. But the part most surprising is that they already don't go to another church and haven't been baptized! Because here, everyone is baptized in other churches. But we were able to teach them that families can be together forever and that they need to be baptized by the authority. They said that they aren't sure yet but that they are willing to prepare to be baptized on the 16th of January. The lesson was super spiritual and awesome! I am so happy that I can live with my family forever and that the true authority to do it has been restored! I love the mission and everything I get to do! I love and miss you all!

Love Elder Markham

Monday, December 7, 2015

Another Baptism for Garrett and Watch out for flying Fireworks!!

Hey Family!

This week was great! Saturday morning we had the temple trip with our investigators and members. We were able to bring two investigators, Jose Henriquez who will probably get baptized within the next month and Leonel who got baptized later that day! I want to send pics but I can't because my memory isn't working haha. But I did the baptism Saturday and my companion did the confirmation Sunday. We had lots of members come! It was great but a little stressed and rushed because we went straight to the church after the temple trip. Leonel shared his testimony after his baptism and it was awesome! He kept talking about how he was going to come here then take his girlfriend, who's a member in our ward, to his other church after he came here with us. But he liked it so much that he wanted to get baptized after the first time he went to church! That just shows the power of the Spirit that testifies to everyone about the truth. I know without a doubt that the church is true and can feel my testimony growing every day!

The temple trip was fun. There were 4 different groups that came through out the mission. Each group came at different times and there was a total of about 1,200 people that went! It was awesome! My companion and I were going to teach about the life of Christ but we got there late because the bus that was supposed to pick us up with our Branch never came so our branch president rented a bus that he drove. But it was cool because I also got to see Carlos Jimenez. He was super happy to see me too haha. But he didn't get baptized yet because he still has to get married but I guess he's scared to talk to his...señora? I don't really know what to call that in English. 

All the kids in El Salvador like to set off fireworks in the streets at Christmas time...we have to be careful cause sometimes they don't watch where they are throwing them....or maybe it's because they like to throw them at me!

We watched the devotional Sunday and it was awesome because I could understand it! I'm pretty sure that was the first Christmas Devotional (Link here) that I actually learned something from because all the others I just slept through...oops. Tonight I'm going to have a pupusa eating competition with a guy whose mom is a member but he still hasn't gotten baptized because he feels like his mom is pushing it. He's been to church a ton of times and already knows everything... But he's a pretty big guy so it will be hard. We are going to make a deal that if I win he has to get baptized. haha wish me luck! I love and miss you all!!

Love Elder Markham

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

A Baptism coming up and a trip to the Temple

Hey Family!

Well first things first! This next week we are going to have the baptism for Leonel Olivares! He passed his interview so this Saturday will be his baptism! Saturday is going to be a great day because in the morning we are going to have our Temple trip with the investigators and less active members. That's when we all go with them and they learn a ton of stuff about the Temple and the Book of Mormon and a ton of other stuff! It's super awesome! Then we will have Leonels baptism that afternoon, then that night we are going to watch the Christmas Devotional! I'm super excited for that because last year I could only understand the choir singing the Christmas songs....pretty sad right?....oh and that's because it was in English.

This week was another tough week. It's not too hot though in our area because it's up on a mountain. Lately we've had some wind passing through so it's felt pretty good. But since all we do is walk up hills and stairs it still feels like it's 100 plus degrees sometimes. 

This week we were able to do divisions with the members a few times. They helped us out with finding more investigators. Our branch president gave us a reference for an older guy named Jose. We taught him a few times this week and he went to church with us yesterday! He's a great humble guy. He doesn't have a lot and a few years ago had an accident so there's a pretty big hole in the side of his head. But he is always wanting to learn more! He always reads what we leave and he's picking it up well. It's just that he talks a lot so we don't get to teach much in one lesson haha. But he's married so that is super awesome. He has a baptism date the 26th of December so it's another day I'm really looking forward too! I miss you all so much! I hope the Radio is playing all of dads favorite Christmas songs haha.

Love Elder Markham

Monday, November 23, 2015

A new area with lots of hills, and Garrett's testimony of the Savior.

Hey Family!

So this week was kinda hard and long. But first let me tell you about my area a little bit more. It sits on the side of a mountain so all we do is walk up huge hills and walk down huge hills. And we do that about all day looking for people to teach. The members here have helped us a lot! One family brought their friend to church and he's already gone to church two times and is obeying the word of wisdom! He should get baptized here pretty soon. His name is Leonel. But when we aren't teaching....we're walking... But at least I might be able to get my big strong legs back?? 

We also still don't have a house so that's a big problem. We are still living in the next area over. I gave a talk in church this week. It doesn't really feel like giving a talk in church because we have a small branch so it's more like teaching a class. This week we met an older lady that lives with her sons and a few grandchildren. She is super sick and can't really talk much. We taught her about faith and blessings. Then we were able to give her a blessing which was a super spiritual moment. And when we had finished she was crying and said thank you and just sat there for a bit. Then she said that her only wish is to be healthy like she was before and be able to talk like before. I thought a bit about how we are all going to be healed after this life and that we all will be blessed with a perfect body but only through the love of our Savior, Jesus Christ. I know that He lives and that He paid the price for our sins. I know that all things will be made right through Him. I am so grateful for the blessing He's given me to be here preaching the Gospel. There's no other place I'd rather be. I love and miss you all so much!

Love Elder Markham

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Opening a new area in the mission and PICTURES!

Hey Family!

It has been one of the hardest and craziest weeks.....

Monday: I was in the office all day because my companion had to talk with president. Then we had to go back to the house so he could pack his bags and had emergency changes. Then I went to stay with Elder Hale and Elder Guzman again.

Tuesday: We just worked and taught in their area and I was told that I would receive my new companion the next day at changes.

Wednesday: At 7:30 in the morning getting ready to go to changes I got a call that said I had changes as well. All my stuff was still in my house and nothing was packed but they said that I'd pack after I got my new assignment and turns out I'm opening an area called San Patricio. It's close to my old area. But there hasn't been missionaries in this area for more than a year! We have to start from zero. We just went around with the first councilor (of the Bishopric in the ward) meeting the members. Oh and we don't have a house there yet so we are still looking to rent one.

Thursday: We went with one of the members to find a house. We found a few options that are in a super nice area. But we still have to talk to the owners. That will be tomorrow.

Friday: We went with another member to find some people to teach.

Saturday: The same

Sunday: A family brought a friend to church so that really helped us out a ton! 

The place I'm in is a pretty small branch of about 40 or 50 people that are active. The first few days were a bit hard but I think we have a hold on things. I'm just glad we've been able to get so much help from the members! 

I love you all! I hope everyone's doing great! Estoy muy feliz para poder servir aqui en El Salvadro! Amo la mision. Amo El Salvador. Y no hay otro lugar donde quiero estar! Les extraño y les amo mucho!

Elder Markham

Some of Garrett's favorite children in El Salvador

Here are the stairs to Carlos' house. It was difficult for Carlos to get up and down the stairs as he was missing a leg.  But he would do that to get to church each week.  Carlos will be baptized soon but Garrett had to leave the area before getting a picture with him.

A rainbow at the church

Heres alberto and his wife from Santo Tomas.

They are the ones that survived a crazy mooto accident and now he's getting better from his surgery that he had from internal bleeding. He's a member but his wife isn't. She couldn't get baptized because they aren't married but they'll get married soon!

Monday, November 9, 2015

Garrett is practically a Latino!

Hey everyone!

It's been going great here in Santo Tomas! So I have already been here for 5 months and I'm here for at least one more month because changes are this week but I don't have changes! Just my companion. This change is only going to be for 4 weeks because it was going to end too close to Christmas. But the next change is 8 weeks. I will be here for at least 6 months and if I have to stay the next change I will be here until February haha. 

Carlos Jimenez went to church again and loved it! We found out this week that he's not married so we will have to help him get married before the 8th of December. That's his baptism date. He hasn't drank coffee or alcohol and he just needs to keep going to church and get married and he will be good to go! He is such a great guy! We also found a few new investigators that were super happy to have us come in and visit them. They are a young couple and their names are Iris and Rene. They said that they need help with where they are and are super willing to listen to us. They had a ton of questions for us so it helps us know that they really want to change. 

I can't believe Christmas is already coming!!! Thanksgiving doesn't exist here at all soooo....but hey! This week we were walking down one of the passages and there was a family setting up some Christmas lights outside their house so we stopped by to help them out! It felt so good to hang up Christmas lights! But...it wasn't the same because it was about 90 degrees and so I wasn't freezing. But there are tons of trees up and everything haha. I have to go but I love you all and miss you so very much! 

Love Elder Markham

**Garrett gave a talk in church yesterday and a guy told him he was pretty much a Latino because his Spanish is so good.  He only gave Garrett two things to change: 

Garrett:  "I would say todos de nosotros, trying to say all of us, but it's only todos nosotros. Then he said I said mas que when I'm supposed to say mas de. He says it's not a big deal because every missionary does it" haha

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

"Day of the Dead"...And "All Souls Day"

Hey Family!

It was quite the week! So I didn't write yesterday because here for the 1st and 2nd of November they do this thing where everyone goes to the cemetery to decorate their families graves and stuff to remember them. And man there were soooo many people. We went there to talk about family history with everyone. We had a table display with a huge banner and a ton of family history pamphlets and stuff. But it wasn't that successful haha. Not many people here are interested in learning about their ancestors and stuff haha. So we just had to start talking about the plan of salvation to get references to teach people.

Well Orlando probably wont be getting baptized soon because his niece in Guatemala hasn't been able to take his papers out. The office of the mission says that they can't help us so there isn't much we can do but wait and pray. But we have another super awesome investigator that I talked about a bit last week. Carlos Jimenez went to church with us. He only has one leg but still walked down...I guess hobbled down....those huge stairs and waited for us to pick him up for church! We visited him with two members two different days this week and they both struggled to get up those stairs. But he is amazing. The only problems he has is alcohol. But I know that the healing powers of the Atonement of Jesus Christ will help him. I've already seen it so many times here in the mission.

I can't believe it's already November! I hope to see a few pics of the bright Christmas tree that was put up on Sunday....right? hahah I miss and love you all! 

Love Elder Markham


***Nov 1 & 2
Día de los Muertos or Day of the Dead (Mexico, Central America). In most regions of Mexico, November 1 is to honor children and infants, whereas deceased adults are honored on November 2. This is indicated by generally referring to November 1 mainly as Día de los Santos Inocentes* ("Holy Innocents Day") but also as Día de los Angelitos ("Day of the Little Angels") and November 2 as Día de los Muertosor Día de los Difuntos ("Day of the Dead").
Traditionally, it is an observance festivity to celebrate and honor one’s ancestors. It’s based on the belief that there is interaction between the living world and the world of spirits. On the Día de los Muertos, thealmas, or the spirits of the dead, are said to come back for family reunions. Many celebrate setting upofrendas (altars) in their homes to honor the memory of deceased loved ones and to welcome their visiting souls. Others visit their loved one’s cemetery plot and decorate it with flowers, candles and food. The holiday is celebrated with family and community gatherings, music, and feasting, and the festivity of its observance acknowledges death as an integral part or life.
Día de los Santos Inocentes is not to be confused with Día de los Inocentes (April Fool’s or All Fools’ Day) which is celebrated on April 1st.
Nov 2
All Souls’ Day or Día de los Difuntos. This Catholic observance celebrates the memory of all early martyrs, saints and the faithfully departed.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Teaching by the Spirit!

Hey Family!


It was a pretty fun week this last week! I don't know if you remember but there was a less active member that came at the end of church this last week looking for us to give a blessing to his wife. We went by and gave her a blessing on Sunday and went back on Wednesday to share a lesson with them. She was already up to full strength and was doing great! Then we talked about the plan of salvation and the importance of going to the temple. Brother Guillen baptized his wife about two years ago but they went less active before they could get sealed together in the temple. We talked about the temple and helped them get super excited to go. Then they came to church yesterday and really liked it! 

On Saturday we had an open house for the new Stake Center that they finished this last week. Me and two other Elders were in charge of talking about baptism in the room with the baptismal font. Elder Vasquez and I had all our white clothes on and Elder Villalobos was dressed like John the Baptist hahah it was funny. But there were tons of people there! IT was a great turn out!

My favorite lesson we had this week was on Sunday. We met a guy named Carlos who was sitting in his wheel chair at the top of a Mayan stair case. We hiked up this stair case that seemed like we were climbing Mt. Hood! Then we found him just sitting there looking very lonely. We started teaching him about our church and asked if we could have a lesson with him. He agreed and we started with a prayer. Then he asked what Mormon meant and so we started talking about the Book of Mormon. At first he kept saying how he only reads the bible and that's all we need. But slowly within the lesson the Spirit got stronger and stronger and by the end he was so excited to read it! All we did was teach and testify with the Spirit and then we invited him to get baptized. He didn't give us a for sure yes or no but he said that he was going to invite all his neighbors to join us on Tuesday so that they can all learn about the Book of Mormon! It was awesome!!!!! I love being a missionary! 

I love and miss you all so much! I hope all is well!

Love Elder Markham

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Lots of Baptism Dates! And Blessings for the Sick

Hey Family!!!!!!

Well it was one of the quickest weeks yet! We were able to find tons more people this week and really worked hard on getting everyone to accept a baptismal date so that that is the focus on all the lessons. Well, now we have 14 people that have baptism dates and that's not including Orlando! We still are trying to get his papers. He said he talked with his friend in Guatemala and she is goinjg to try and take them out. It would be a lot cheaper and quicker. The only thing is that at this time of the year everyone is preparing for the next school year and they have to take out their birth certificates and other papers like that. So I guess there's just tons of people and the waiting lines are huge and you have to wait about 3 or 4 hours.

Wednesday I went on  divisions with our district leader Elder Villalobos. He's from Mexico and his oldest sibling is 40 and his youngest is 15! His niece is 17! That's pretty crazy...But it was awesome because we were able to find so many people and have great lessons! The spirit was so strong during a lot of the lessons. We taught a guy named Oscar. He says he doesn't really have a strong relationship with God because he doesn't go to church or anything. He also says that he really needs help to raise his two daughters. We talked about how the Gospel will bless his life and he was so happy. It was funny because one of his daughters during the lesson went and got a little jello cup out of the fridge and started eating it. Then, after the lesson, he told his daughter to get two for us. But she said that there was only one more. Then he ran to the fridge looking for whatever he could get for us. We told him not to worry about it but he promised in the next lesson he would have something for us. Every week I'm amazed by the generosity of the people here. It has really helped me develop a greater love for them and want to serve them more! 

On Sunday after church a guy walked in with just regular clothes on. He came looking for me and my companion. He said that his wife was really sick and needed a blessing. It turns out that he is a member but hasn't gone to church for a long time. He took us in his car and we went to their house. He said for not going to church for a long time he knew he shouldn't give the blessing. We were able to bless his wife and set a visit to return back and visit them this Wednesday. They told us how she had been really sick all week. The doctors didn't really do anything to help them so they knew they needed a blessing. It just made me think about how much our Heavenly Father loves us to put trials in our path so that we have to go back to church no matter how disobedient we are. I love being here and there's no where I'd rather be! I love and miss you all!!!! 

Love Elder Markham

Monday, October 12, 2015

Alma 30:41

Hey Everyone!

Today was another crazy week! First, on Tuesday, we had a multi zone conference. It was really good. We talked a lot about helping the less actives. They showed us some crazy numbers. There's about 130,000 members in El Salvador and there's three missions here. So there's about 45,000 members in my mission more or less. But the crazy part is that only 6,000 go to church. There are 34,000 less actives that live in my mission, not even a fifth go to church! That was the big thing we talked about for the most part. Then we talked more about our investigators with baptism dates and stuff. But after the whole thing we ate a super great lunch that a member in my last ward made. I was only in the area for 6 short weeks and I haven't been there since the spring time. But he still said, HI ELDER MARKHAM?! HOW ARE YOU DOING?! haha it was awesome, and he makes great food! So something I forgot to mention about my companion is that he doesn't eat very much at all...so every meal he gives me whatever he doesn't eat. haha

Then we had to go back to the big city of San Salvador on Wednesday and Thursday for two different things. That makes about 50 times I've gone there these past few weeks. I pretty much live there now. And we for sure will have to go back here soon because I've almost been here for a year now and after a year we have to go back to migration. I just don't know when for sure. I'm just glad that I live pretty close and not on the other side of El Salvador. 

We did a few other services this week and found some awesome new people to teach. We visited one guy named Walter and his awesome family. They said that if we ever need anything then to just call them. He even said on pdays we can go to their house and use their computers. Then he asked if we wanted to talk to our families on skype? As he was getting up to get his computer I had to explain about the rules. It was funny though. But when we set a new visit for tonight he said that he was going to get pupusas for us haha. 

Just to finish I finally found the scriptures that helped me gain my testimony. It's in Alma 30 but mostly verse 41. I love it so much. I also tried the thing where you write a scripture and keep it somewhere you can see it. This week I picked D and C 136 29 If thou art sorrowful, call on the Lord they God with supplication that your souls may be joyful! I love and miss you all!!!

Love Elder Markham

Friday, October 9, 2015

"I love the work here in El Salvador! It is the greatest thing ever!"

Hey Family!

This week was a crazy week...so we started off Tuesday with a meeting in President's house because that's when all the news (new missionaries) came and since he was supposed to come with the news, President told us to come. We were there all day and it was nice because we had air conditioning, delicious food, and all the new people thought I was amazing because I could speak Spanish and I had been in the mission for a year. Then Wednesday morning my companion had to go home so the APs took us to the airport to drop him off, then we went to the change meeting. And I was called to train...again...haha and I got my new companion Elder Holmes. He's from Utah and he's right out of the mtc so he doesn't know any Spanish yet. He's also a nice quiet guy but he's doing pretty well!

General Conference was awesome! I loved it so much. We got to listen to three of the sessions in English and we listened to 2 in Spanish. I love listening to the words of the prophets! What was I thinking before when I didn't care much to pay attention?! Haha I really loved the one about having the spirit and doing all the little things that sometimes we don't think are important. I went right home afterwards and cleaned up my desk! 

Sadly we are having more problems with Orlando's paper work. I guess the stuff that the other Elders took out expired so now we have to take them out again! I'm not sure how long it will take or how much it will be but we will find out this week when Orlando calls his friend in Guatemala. Hopefully it wont take that long.

Last night we had an awesome experience with finding a new investigator. We were looking for a guys house but couldn't find it. We asked a guy that was in his house if he could help us but he didn't know either so we just talked to him and just a few short seconds later we were in his house sharing a lesson. It was a great powerful lesson and he really liked it. His name is Victor and he's only 22. He lives alone and stopped going to church a little bit ago. He seemed to really like it because he says he wants to invite a few of his friends on Saturday to listen to us too! I love the work here in El Salvador! It is the greatest thing ever! I love and miss you all at home!

Love Elder Markham

"It's Oregon in El Salvador!" says Garrett (raining)

Monday, September 28, 2015

Positive Attitude makes the work easier!

Hey everyone!

This week was a crazy one. We had to make a ton of trips this week into the city of San Salvador so that meant taking lots of long buses in traffic and stuff. It was a very tiring week. But we were still able to get a lot of work in! We found a few more families to teach but they weren't too acceptive of the Gospel. But we still had some other great lessons with a few families! We are teaching a family called the Trujillo Family. The parents are super awesome! They have two kids and since they are only 14 and 17 they aren't super interested like their parents but sometimes the parents make them come in and listen ahaa. The parents are married which is pretty rare here so that makes everything a lot easier. They also read the Book of Mormon everyday and LOVE it! They are so close with not drinking coffee. The only problem that they would have is that they haven't been going to church. They want to go so bad because they love everything we teach, from the restoration of the gospel to the plan of salvation and all the commandments! They are so excited every time we go by and they study everything we leave for their homework before we get there so we almost never have to teach them haha. All we need to do is help them get to church and not drink coffee and they are all ready to get baptized! 

Orlando took out his passport this week and will be getting married and baptized the weekend of the 10th and 11th of October! It's going to be great because he has been waiting for this for such a long time! He has even been helping clean the church and going to all the meetings Tuesday afternoons with the Elders quorum. He's pretty much been a member for months. But now he will finally be an official member! 

We start a new change today but since my comp only has about two weeks here I'm staying here in Santo Tomas for at least another 6 weeks! I'm super excited to be able to see Orlando's baptism and see the growth of the other investigators here! I love the missionary work that I get to do here! I know the Gospel is true and that Jesus is the Christ. I'm so grateful for the blessing I have to live with my family forever and there's no place I'd rather be than here in Santo Tomas El Salvador!!!! I miss and love you all tons!!!!!

Elder Markham

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Garrett loves being a missionary!

Hey Everyone!

This week was pretty crazy! Tuesday morning I got a call saying that I was receiving a new missionary that was leaving the mtc that day! So....I'm training again! Except he's right out of the mtc. His name is Elder McHaley from South Jordan Utah! He's great! We were able to find some more good investigators this week. Orlando is doing great but we weren't able to get enough money for him so we are still waiting and can't have his baptism this weekend but he's still enduring! 

I completed my one year mark Thursday so to celebrate I read the first chapter of "Jesus the Christ" haha. The mission rule is that you can't read it until after one year in the mission. But that was about it. I haven't gotten sick but every once in a while I start to fill weird, then I started thinking that maybe I needed a voo du blessing from JJ...do you think you could throw one my way JJ man? 

I really love the study time in the morning we have to really search the scriptures. My faith has strengthened so much! I know that Jesus is the Christ and that only through Him can we be saved. Many people don't understand how the atonement actually works but I'm so grateful for this chance I have to help them understand it. Many people don't accept but there's no other place I'd rather be! I love it here and I love being a missionary! I love and miss you all!

Elder Markham

PS quick funny story...on the way here I saw a place called Grandpas bakery...they always name stuff here in English. Now I'm not sure about the details behind it...and there's nothing against you Grandpa...but wouldn't it sound better if it was Grandmas? haha maybe that's just me

Monday, September 14, 2015

A Year Done! Half way there....Garrett feels like he's running out of time!

Hey Everyone!

Christmas is here!!!! Ever since the beginning of September the stores have been preparing to sell their Christmas stuff haha.

But anyway, this week was super awesome until Friday night...we had emergency changes and my companion and our district leader got sent home. So now I'm with Elder Hale for now in his area. We are trying to still visit the people in my area preparing for baptism but it makes everything super difficult. We've tried leaving to visit with the people in our branch but there isn't very many, and they haven't been able to go out with us. We at least got a new Companion this morning so now we are in a trio and hopefully it will be easier to leave with just one of the Brothers in the ward. Besides that, not much has been going on differently. We're going to have Orlando's raffle tomorrow to help him get some money to take out his passport so we can have him get married and baptize him next week. 

Also tomorrow is independence here and hopefully it will be super sweet! It's kinda like they are going to celebrate me completing my first year in the mission because this Thursday the 17th of September is one year in the mission! It's gone by too fast! And everyone says that the second year is always way faster which worries me because I feel like I don't have time to get done all I need to!!!! Well I gotta get back to work haha. I love and miss you all so much!

Love Elder Markham

Garrett LOVES to go to the Temple!

Elder Nelson leaving their conference

This kids name is Tonito.  He came up to me one day and asked me for a tie. So I gave him this grey one, and now he wears it every day to church....it's also already got a ton of stains and stuff. But he's only 8 haha

Now those are some pupusas. the giant one is called a pupusa loca and it's full of just a TON of stuff. Definitly my favorite so far!

Garrett says "everyone and their dog" has one of these pet birds!

Monday, September 7, 2015

Finding new investigators! And being able to give blessings to those in need.

Hey everyone!

This week was another good week! We found a ton more investigators! Two are super awesome! One of them we passed by when he was just sitting outside reading a book. I thought...no one here reads books. Then I felt that we should go back and talk to him. He went by and talked to him about the Book of Mormon and how special of a book it is. We then gave him a copy and set a date when we could come back. We went back a few days later and he had already been reading all the testimonies and a few chapters! It was awesome! He had tons of questions so we just spent the whole lessons answering them!

I don't know if you remember the couple that drove up to us on the motorcycle and started talking to us, but this last week the husband was in a terrible accident and almost died. He had a crazy surgery on his stomach. Now he's resting in his house. We went by to give him a blessing Friday. He lives super far away. We had to take a bus for about 30 minutes then we had to take a moto taxi. It's like a little red scooter taxi thing that's pretty cool. I'll try to get a pic of one later. Then we went back last night to meet his wife and mom. His wife is super ready to be baptized! She was going to be baptized years ago and they already have plans to get sealed in the temple!!! But the guy has to get divorced before he can get married to her so that she can get baptized. He tried getting divorced to his ex wife but she was asking for a ton of money each month and he didn't have that kind of money so the lawyer left him. But we are going to help them because I know tons of members that are lawyers who can do it for cheap. One of them is Karen Zepeda who I baptized back in January when I was in Alta Vista. 

I love and miss you all so much!

Love Elder Markham

Monday, August 31, 2015

Not enough time in a day...

Hey everyone!

It was an awesome week this week! We went to the temple Wednesday! I love the temple so much! Then we got to have a special meeting with President Nelson on Friday! He came here with a few of the 70 and they all talked about missionary work. We got to shake his hand and everything! It was cool to get to hear him and be there in the same room as he spoke. We got to really see his true personality and he is a pretty funny guy! I only got two pics of him when he was getting into the car and they didn't turn out very well but you can still see him haha.

We found a ton of new investigators again this week! Sometimes I just feel there isn't enough time to get everything done that we need to haha. And we have been receiving tons of blessings. Like one time in Olocuilta a guy and his wife rode up on their motorcycle and said, "what a miracle that we found you". Turns out the husband is a member but the wife isn't and they didn't know where the church is. Also the wife is really interested! A ton of the people we are finding are all reading the Book of Mormon and say they love it, but they just don't come to church haha. That's the only problem for right now. Mainly because our area is HUGE! 

Today we went to Olocuilta to eat some pupusas and I got a pupusa loca with a ton of stuff in it! AWESOME! I miss and love you all tons!

Love Elder Markham

**President Nelson is one of our church's apostles from Salt Lake City.  The 70 (or Seventy) is a group of priesthood that oversees the areas that they have been assigned to.  They look after the people in that area and make sure the church and it's members are taken care of.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Diligence and obedience is the key to receive God's help...

Hey Everyone!!!

Well good news and bad news. The bad news is that the new Elder I was going to train had to go back to the United States for something. The good news is that I'm still training but I'm finishing the training of an Elder. His name is Elder Alvarez from Costa Rica. This week was soo awesome! We found a ton of great new investigators that want to be baptized. We received so many miracles in the streets of people just coming up to us and saying, hey when you get the chance you need to visit my son and his wife that live over there. Then when we would go by they are all just super positive. The spirit has really been helping us through these past few days and I know that it's through obedience and diligence in the work. Like it says in Doctrine and Covenants 84:99 and 100 we aren't worthy to be in the presence of God if we aren't diligent. That scripture has really helped me to work harder and be better. I love seeing the people having a desire to change and leave the worldly things behind. The people here really have that desire but sometimes its hard for them to act and really change. But That's why we are here and I love this chance that I have to help them. I want to send some pics so I don't have too much time. I love and miss you all!!!!

Love Elder Markham

**here's a kinda funny story for the week. 

The other day we were looking for a family that we talked to in the street and said we could come by. My area is huge and there's jungle areas that I've never been and the houses are spread out and literally made of bamboo and mud so there aren't any numbers or anything. So we just got an idea that this guys house is down this one dirt road past the school next to the store. Here in El Salvador every other house is a store and they are always very small. But anyways, we started down this one street and we were walking for a few minutes and I thought maybe we passed it. There aren't many people in the street but when we asked them they just said, "oh yeah, the school is just down there". So we kept going. Everyone told us, just down there....well after walking for about 30 minutes in the jungle on a dirt path we finally found the house because the daughter was outside waiting for us haha. So she helped us. It's also a good thing that they are super humble because we are going back tomorrow!

Here are a few pictures from Garrett's new area in Santiago El Salvador!

Santiago with the Lake in the Background

Elder Flores, Orlando with his grandchildren and Garrett

It feels good to hold a real football after one whole year!

The Lake.  You can see the two volcanoes from his first area in Alta vista.  He has traveled around the lake in all of his areas.  He has to tract through these jungles to find his investigators that want to know about the Gospel.  He loves it!!

Monday, August 17, 2015

Training again....and getting lost in the Jungle!

Hey everyone!

Well guess what! I'm training again this change! Except I'll be training an Elder straight off the plane haha. I got the phone call on my birthday at about 11:00 pm when we were already sleeping so it was a pretty good way to end it! My birthday was awesome! We did some service in the morning then went to Olocuilta to eat the best pupusas ever! And Sister Vasquez called me to wish me a happy birthday. It was awesome!

Yesterday we had quite the time. We went looking for a family that hasn't gone to church for a while. But we took a wrong turn in the jungle and got a little lost. Let's just say there were no houses...just jungle. And yes it was very hot and humid and going there was down hill. But when we had to go back it was all uphill! Those little football workouts I did in the summer were easy. I thought we'd never make it out alive haha. But it was cool because after we found the family and shared a lesson, about 4 or 5 of them asked us for blessings. It was a great day. We should be baptising Orlando pretty soon because we are putting together a thing to sell some stuff with the sisters in the ward so we can get some money. Also, some other people are donating. It's going to be awesome to finally help him! Well I have to go but I love and miss you all!

Love Elder Markham

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Finding less active members and playing American FOOTBALL!

Hey family!

Well...it's official! I will never be wearing my suit again! They told us this week that suits are no more ahah. That kinda stinks though because it's already pretty used with a little hole in one sleeve. But anyway, this week was another week of entering in at 7:00 pm so we didn't have a ton of lessons. But on Saturday we did go to a lesson with a member to teach a less active sister. Then afterwards I asked him if he knew any members that lived close by. He took us to two different members houses and showed us about 3 more! It was awesome because we had been looking for the less actives for a while but the directions here are terrible! So it was impossible with out the members help. The only thing is that they weren't in our area haha. But the families were very happy that we came by. I don't have a whole lot of time today but I can't wait to read your emails! Oh! and today I brought my football to play with for p-day. It's AWESOME! I started playing catch with a few Americans then all of a sudden all the Latinos wanted to play. It quickly just turned into them running around in circles throwing it to each other so I just watched and talked to an Elder from the states haha. I love and miss you all!

Love Elder Markham

** A couple months ago the headquarters in Salt Lake City for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints came out with a new policy that many of the missions through out the world would not require their missionaries to take or wear full suits because of their hot and humid climates.  El Salvador was one of those missions.  This is also to relieve some of the financial burdens on families to send their missionaries out in the field.

Garrett is required to be in his apartment at 7:00 pm for safety reasons as the gang violence is getting worse in San Salvador.  We appreciate your prayers for his safety.