El Salvador

El Salvador

Address:

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

garrett.markham@myldsmail.net

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

Hey!

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

Monday, July 11, 2016

Last Change of the Mission...service opportunities can be interesting!

Hey Family!

Well it's my last change! I'm staying here in Apopa and my companion is going to a pretty far place. I'm excited to see who my new companion will be and what we can accomplish. We finished this change off with Wendy's baptism. It was also super spiritual because there was an activity for the young single adult group so when it was time for her service they all came in to support her! She was also able to bring her family that aren't members. Her uncle wants to learn more but he lives a little far so we are going to get his direction to the other missionaries. 

President Vasquez is coming out with some new plans to help the wards and stakes. One of them is a way to help families that haven't been sealed, get sealed in the temple. We visited a family, the Vaquerano family, with the bishopric last Sunday. The daughter wants to go on a mission real bad so she's been going to church by herself for 4 years. Everyone else has been inactive since then. But after the visit we talked to the family and they said they felt so special and important to the ward. They spent the whole week preparing to go to church. They even introduced us to a few of their friends that they have been helping. Yesterday they all went to church together! They were all so happy! They said that they had felt the spirit so strong that day and know that this is what they need to do. SO a little about their friend. He has a very hard situation. His whole family left him to go to the United States and he has lots of problems with drinking and smoking. He loves the Vaquerano family so much and says that they pretty much adopted him. He's always there with them so it's easy to find him. He's been helping with their house that they are working on. But he wants to change his life around for the example that they have set for him. His name is Carlos. I know that with the help of Jesus Christ he will be able to stop drinking and smoking and turn his whole life around. 

Here's a quick funny story with Carlos this week. So we saw some people that were carrying an entertainment center to their house. Carlos was helping them and it was huge so we decided to help. When we got to the house we quickly realized that it wasn't going to fit. We tried every way that we could but it was useless. The problem was that there were stairs right at the door way going up. So it was impossible to get it in. We stood there staring and thinking what we could do when Carlos suggested that we just brake down the stairs with a sledge hammer and a chisel. But before the owner could even say anything Carlos was already ripping them apart. By the time he was done there was a huge mess of bricks everywhere! After a couple hours we finally got it in and helped clean the bricks up a bit. 

I love you so much and cant wait to talk to you! 

Love Elder Markham

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Garrett's Testimony of His Savior and of Eternal Families

Hey Family!

Happy fourth of July!!!!! With my companion we spent all morning listening to the few patriotic hymns on my flash drive. Then as all the Latinos called us for something I would say to them, HAPPY 4TH OF JULY!!!!! But they didn't really care hahaah. 

Well this week was great! Wendy passed her interview to get baptized this saturday! We also wanted to help Belinda, who's 11, get baptized but she will have to wait a few more weeks. But Wendy has really gone through lots of stuff but I know that becoming a member of the church of Christ will be a huge blessing for her. 

Yesterday we had an awesome sacrament meeting. The testimonies from the members were all so strong. This is my first ward here where once the bishop gives the time to the members to share the testimony, half the members run up to fill the stand. There were lots of great testimonies about the Savior. Which helped us so much because we were finally able to help a teenager named Fernando get to church. All his brothers and grandma are members. He just hasn't ever gone to church because he's never really been too animated (I think Garrett meant to say "excited" here...he can't remember the correct English words) to go. But afterwards we talked to him and asked how he liked it and he says it was great and wants to come back next week! He says he also wants to get baptized the 23rd of July!

I just want to share my testimony of the Savior that I know He lives. He is my friend and my brother. He is my redeemer. He gave His life for me so that I could live again. He knows how I feel during my sufferings because He suffered every pain of each and everyone of us. In the mission He has changed my life. I have felt the power of His atoning sacrifice. My sins have been washed through His blood. During my time here, He has walked beside me, testified with me and has never abandoned me. He is the way to the eternal life. And for His sacrifice I will be able to live again with my family in the presence of our Heavenly Father. I love Him and I know He loves me and I share this in His sacred name. Amen.

I love and miss you all so much! Talk to you next week!
Love Elder Markham

**This is something that Garrett shared in his personal letter to me that I wanted to share with all who reads his blog.  I'm so grateful for the experiences that he is having...and that he is being changed for good in many ways, and that these experiences bring him a greater love for his family and a knowledge that he will be with us forever.

Also, something I didn't tell in my letter but we visited a man this week who has had a blood cancer that wasn't too great. When we got to his house he was in a coma. We sang a hymn and watched him take his last breathes. It helped me understand the Plan of Salvation better and I know that we will all be resurrected after this life. I'm so happy for my eternal family. I have to go! I love you all soo much!!!! Talk to you next week! 

Love Elder Markham 

Monday, June 27, 2016

Several baptisms and many more to come...Garrett loves sharing the Gospel with the Good people of El Salvador!

Hey Family!

We had the baptisms for Roberto and Maryori this week! It was a lot of fun. First Roberto and Sonia got married. We helped a family cook them hamburgers in the morning and the wedding was in the afternoon. After everyone had eaten we had the baptismal service! We had Maryoris in the night so that her mom could make it when she got back from work. She was really happy to get baptized!!! Now we are planning for July! Pretty crazy that July is coming up right??? Well here's what we have so far. And all this happened Sunday! After church we went to the stake center because we always talk to the bishop about the work in the other ward that we help called the Refineria. He wasn't there but we found the ward mission leader. His name is Mitchel. He said, "Elders! We have lots of work to do with in the next few weeks. And we need to do it now!" So we went into a room to talk. He told us about an 11 year old girl from a family that are members but she hasn't been baptized yet. They are coming back to church and she wants to get baptized in a couple of weeks. There's also another sister in the ward that was less active and lives with her boyfriend who isn't a member. They both have been going to church now for a couple months and the boy friend wants to get baptized the 16th of July and get married the 9th. Then he said he has a few more he is still working with. After that we went to visit America with her husband and children. She was baptized last week. We found Wendy there. She is the niece of America and was living with her for a long time but never got baptized. She went back to live with her parents but now she's back again! It surprised us when she said she talked to the Bishop and they decided on a baptismal date together. We asked her when she wanted to get baptized and she said Saturday! haha it was awesome but she was drinking coffee last week. So she has to wait until the 9th to get baptized. But she is super excited! Then another member told us that he had been talking to his friend about the church and he wants to learn more. So we visited him and his wife with the member named Melvin. They said that they were getting married this week and would love to get baptized! If someone is already married or getting married that means they are so prepared by the Lord here! So that was our Sunday pretty much. It's amazing how much the Lord has blessed us with all this work but making it easy because we have had all the members helping us. Here we see how important the members are in the missionary work. This ward doesn't have full time missionaries but they will probably baptize the most in July!

The Zone is doing great! We finished the month with 25 baptisms. Which is a ton for here! I have never seen a zone baptize that much. The zone that baptized the most last month baptized 19! As a zone we are preparing to baptize 30 in July. We know we can do it but it's not just us that are bringing the Gospel to the children of God. It's also Him Himself with His Angels. I love being here! I love missionary work! I love you all!

Love Elder Markham

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

More baptisms, and getting mistaken for the FBI!

Hey Family!

It was one of the best weeks yet!!!! So we ended up having the baptisms for the Elias Family, Etel and America! America is an investigator that has been listening to the missionaries for such a long time, a little more than a year! Last week we fasted with her so that the Lord would put into her heart a baptismal date. Wednesday we went to her house and she told us that she wanted to get baptized Friday. We thought that she wanted to get baptized next week then she said, no in two days! haha so we helped her get ready and we had her baptismal service Friday and yesterday she was confirmed. The service for the Elias Family was Saturday morning. It was very special. They were all so happy. They got confirmed yesterday as well! Saturday night was the service for Etel. Once again, it was a very special experience. Her mom was there and Sunday she came to church! We hope to help her parents start coming back to church with her and her sister.

Roberto didn't get married and didn't get baptized this week because he was a little scared haha. But he says this week for sure. We kept visiting him and helping him to have faith. So we will have his wedding and baptism Saturday. We are also going to have Mayori's baptism Saturday. She is the daughter of another investigator who can't get baptized until she gets married. But her daughter wants to get baptized now and we don't know when her mom will be able to get married. 

Friday we had an awesome zone activity! We took pictures of families with a special banner for Fathers day and wrote the directions down of the people to go by and drop the pictures off and see if we can talk more about how Christ can bless our families. We got 180 referrals in three hours ! It was awesome! There were always people in line to get their picture taken! I mainly walked around inviting people to go get their picture taken, but it was funny what some of the people said when they didn't want to. One guy told me he wasn't going to get his picture taken because he knew we were going to do other things with the pictures. I thought...what could those other things be... Then I remembered that everyone here thinks that we are from the FBI. Wednesday an investigator told us that on the news, they were saying how we aren't going to be let in to the neighborhoods anymore because we are here to watch the people and not really to teach about Jesus Christ. hahaha

I miss you all so much! 
Love Elder Markham

Monday, June 13, 2016

Garrett loves what he is doing and found an old Friend

Hey Family!

So this Saturday we are going to have 5 baptisms. The first one is a little 9 year old girl named Etel. Her whole family are members but her parents are less active. Her brother and sister go to church but they never helped her to get baptized. So we taught her this week and are going to do her interview today. She is really smart and is great! We are also going to baptize a man named Roberto. He has been living with his girlfriend who is a member. The missionaries have been visiting them for a long time now but they never wanted to get married. But now they finally have said yes. So they will be getting married this Saturday and then he will get baptized. We also have the Elias Family, pretty much the best name right? (Garrett's middle name) haha There's the dad, Alexander, the mom, Saida, and their daughter, Alexandra. Alexander's parents have been members for a really long time so they pretty much got them prepared for us. The parents started bringing them to the church for about 6 months to clean it every Saturday. They loved serving and had a lot of fun with it so they kept going with them to clean up. Then they finally started coming to church and listening to the missionaries just a few weeks ago. They were already married and didn't have any problems with the word of wisdom. They were super prepared by the Lord. They are such a special family. I love Alexandra because she's a little quiet 9 year old girl that is very shy. She always sits there during the lessons quietly, then when we ask her something she just smiles and doesn't know what to say. We are also going to have a few more baptisms in the coming weeks.

ALSO! Yesterday at church, I started walking towards an older sister in our ward. I couldn't see her very well but I felt that I had known her for such a long time. When I said hi to her, she turned around and kinda shouted for joy and almost gave me a hug haha. It was Adela from San Patricio. She was the lady that gave us dinner every night and her son also always helped us with everything. His name is Aldo. She lives here in Apopa but when her other son was killed she went to San Patricio for a while to get away. But now she's back! She says she's kinda living in the two areas but she said I need to visit her and help teach her brother. Today we are going to see if she's there. But it was really specially to see her here again.

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

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Garrett continues to be converted...

Hey Family!

Well this week was awesome and crazy at the same time. First of all about the area and the zone...In our area we have tons of baptismal dates for the 18th of June and a few more for July. Twelve investigators went to church yesterday. There were a few people sick that didn't go that always go as well so next week we will have more. We actually don't have just one area. We have three. But that's because there are two wards that the missionaries got taken out for some reason and now we are in charge of helping the investigators in that area progress and get baptized. The zone is huge! There are 10 companionships and they are all spread out pretty far. For example, Friday I broke my record for being farthest from the capital when we took a bus ride to an area called Chelatenango for 3 hours. It's on the boarder of Honduras. We did interchanges so that I could do an interview for an area over there. But the zone is great. We should have around 30 baptisms as a zone which should be the most out of the whole mission this month.

My companion is Elder Sabey from Utah. He's great! I love having a focused companion who wants to work and be obedient and wants the salvation for the people. Friday we went to Presidents house for our Consejo de Lideres. It's the meeting with the assistants and other zone leaders. We just talked all morning about last month and what are the goals and plans for this month. I really enjoyed it! 

The ward we have is really great too! I've been able to meet some people that are so sweet and have huge testimonies. I love learning from them because they have been a huge part of my conversion. Everyday I feel more converted to the Gospel with a greater desire to serve the Lord. It's crazy that my time is running down. Just about everyone I talked to this week had to remind me by asking me when I go home but I'll just keep working hard. I love the mission so much! I love and miss you all!

Love Elder Markham

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

A Happy Weekend and new challenges come with a new calling

Hey Family!

Well we had the best weekend ever! We had the wedding of Kelly and her baptism! It was so awesome! The spirit was so strong. You could see the huge difference between the two of them and the love that they have through the blessings of the Gospel. Just to remind you they have 6 years together, 2 years listening to the missionaries and did not want to get married at all. There were many times when they almost separated. But now they are happily married and Kelly was able to get baptized. Her husband isn't very into the church stuff but we will help him.  Yesterday we had divisions because my companion was sick, so I went to visit her with a member that's going on his mission to Canada in August. She was so much happier this time! She said that it was the first Sunday where she's actually been able to feel stress free from her work and other responsibilities that she has. She knew it was because she had received the gift of the holy ghost and could take the sacrament for the first time. I just love being able to help people find happiness and peace through the gospel. There is no other substitute.

This Saturday is going to be Estivens baptism. He is also very excited to get baptized! His uncle is going to baptize him so it's going to be great! Estiven is already a great missionary. When we went to visit him this week he was outside his house playing soccer with some friends. They were all pretty happy to see us. His friend asked us if it was true that he was going to be getting baptized this week and we said yes. Then she said that she wanted to get baptized too haha. So we started to teach them together and she now has a baptism date for the 2nd of July. She went to church with us yesterday and said she liked it! Her teacher also told us that she answered all the questions and I asked her, Michell, how she knew all the questions. She told me because she read the pamphlet that we left with her! She already is progressing super quickly!

Now....there's more news...I have changes this week again. I'm going to Apopa and they told me that I'm going to be Zone Leader there for the zone. It was great here in Valle Nuevo and I'm going to miss lots of people but I'm ready for new challenges. I miss and love you all! You guys are the best!

Love Elder Markham

Monday, May 23, 2016

Bats in The Night...Weddings and Baptisms!...

Hey Everyone!

Everything is ready for Kelly's baptism and wedding this Saturday! It's going to be awesome! She gets married at 3:30 and the baptism will be at 4:30! Her future husband is a little bit harder to get to go to church but we will help him. Kelly has been an investigator for about 2 years or so. She always loved the church and stuff because it has helped her a ton through her difficulties and stuff but she never could get baptized because she didn't want to get married to her husband. But now they are finally getting ready this Saturday! The whole ward has been helping a ton and everything is going great! Aaaaand! Karen Zepeda is going to get them married! We were going to have another baptism for Estiven but he got back late from an activity and slept through church. But he says he wants to get baptized the fourth of June!

So funny story for the week....

I was sleeping in the middle of the night when I hear my companion say, Elder Markham there's a bat in our house! I said that I was fine because I had my mosquito net. My companion doesn't so it woke him up when it fell on his face haha. He ran over, turned on the lights and killed it. Then he just left it there until the morning. I told him to get a mosquito net and it wouldn't happen, mostly just joking around with him. Then the next night I was dreaming and I heard something next to my ear. Then I felt something on my shoulder crawl on my face then back on to my shoulder. When I woke up there was a bat on my shoulder! I don't know how it got in but I just hit it off with my hand even though it didn't go anywhere because of the net. I quickly jumped out of my bed and turned the lights on. Then my companion killed that one too. Haha it was crazy but now I have to worry about bats crawling on me during the night.

We are going to do Estivens interview this week and he should get baptized next week. We taught him about Prophets this week and showed him a picture of Thomas S Monson. We told him to pray and ask God if he's a Prophet. The next day he said he prayed and felt really happy and knew that he was a Prophet. He's doing great!!!

I love and miss you all! You guys are the best!

Love Elder Markham

PS..Garrett is feeling like no one remembers him...so those of you who read this blog, if you could write him a quick note letting him know you are thinking about him...that would be awesome!!  You can email him to get on Monday, but he would love a letter in the mail...he hasn't gotten much, only from family now and then....so if you have a chance, then send him something!  Thanks!  His addresses are on the home page!

Monday, May 16, 2016

Reaping the blessings of bringing people into the Gospel!

Hey Family!

It was a great weekend with another Stake Conference here in Ilopango.....for the 10th time or so just in this stake hah. There were two Seventy, the Temple President and our Mission President. It was so spiritual. I really learned alot about the small things in the family and the blessings that we receive while we do those small things and go to the Temple. I was also able to see Karen Zepeda and her mom! They once again had a big bag of bread for me. They were sitting down a few rows behind me and on the other side. During the conference they said to raise your hand if the missionaries were the ones that brought them to church. Many people raised their hand. I looked and Karen and her mom and they were both raising their hands but also pointing at me haha. We are also planning our investigators wedding and Karen is going to be the abogada (lawyer) that marries them! It will be awesome! Elder Aguilar, one of the Zone leaders that's in Alta Vista told me that this week we are going to do divisions and that I'll be going to Alta Vista and that the Zepeda Family already invited us over to eat dinner. He told me that they are always asking about me and wondering when I'm going back to Alta Vista for interchanges.

I also saw Orlando again! It was amazing to see him! He is now an Elder in the Priesthood! He was telling me about how his life has just been improving. He told me that just three months or so ago he was finally able to open a bank account and start putting money in there. I was just so happy. I just remember the first day when I met him and he didn't have anything and his relationship with his family was not the best. The Lord has blessed him so much. I am so grateful to be one of the missionaries that got to teach him from the beginning. He also gave me and my companion a stick of gum during the session. He's a giver.

The time is flying by! I love you all and can't wait to hear from you! 
Love Elder Markham

Enjoying the fruits of El Salvador...but watch out for falling coconuts!

Hey Family!

Not much to say this week. But it was great to see you all and talk to you for a bit. It's hard to think that that was the last time we will talk while I'm here in the mission. The time is really going by too fast!

 It's the fruit season and it's getting ready to start raining as well. Like I said you have to be careful while walking or you'll get a huge mango or avocado to the head, or even a coconut! Some of our neighbors are members and sometimes they give us fresh mangos. They are sooo good! The pupusas are pretty great as well. I've been eating quite a few lately. Just trying to enjoy them while I can. But I'll be able to make some pretty good ones back home. 

Sounds like Blake's becoming quite the Spanish expert. Sorry Brad, but your Spanish is a little weird haha. It will be fun to make some sweet Spanish videos in your Spanish class next year Blake! And maybe Aubrey too! Are you thinking about taking Spanish this next year? 

This week is the week of the family here in El Salvador. There's a few activities this week. Wednesday is a thing they are doing in the church to teach families about Family Home Evening and Friday will be an activity that will teach the families about the organizations and stuff in the church. It will be great!

I love and miss you all! I hope to hear more about what you are all up to!

Love Elder Markham

Monday, May 2, 2016

He's been in the Capital too long... and can't wait to talk on Mothers Day!

Hey Family! 

So this Sunday we will be talking at 6 my time! I'm super excited to see you all!

This week was a good week. Tuesday they called me and asked what airport I'm going home to....that was weird. Wednesday I did an interchange with another Elder in the district named Elder Newey. He's from Utah. It was really awesome. We taught tons of people. We found this older guy that lives alone. When he came out to see us he told us to come right in! He told us the house was ours haha. He then took us on a full tour of the house. It was a really sweet guy. Then we were able to teach him about Jesus Christ and how He could change the mans life. He really listened well to us and Elder Newey told me today that he went to church yesterday! It was awesome! We also found a guy that we started teaching. He told us that his grandson served a mission and lives in San Patricio. San Patricio was my last area. I showed him a picture of me with a kid from there and he said that that was his grandson. That just comes to show that I've been here in the Capital for too long. I know every ones Parents, children, grandparents and grand kids. 

Today we went to a place called Suchitoto. We just went to go see a really big lake and take pictures and eat at a really expensive restaurant ahaha. It was fun. It's the farthest I've ever been from the Capital....and it's only about 45 minutes away. 

The members here have been helping us a ton with the lessons. We had more than 20 lessons with members this week. We are trying to get them to give us more references. Today we should get a few. Our ward mission leader is awesome! I miss you all! I can't believe it's already time to skype again! I will see you all Sunday!

Love Elder Markham

Monday, April 25, 2016

The importance of keeping the Sabbath Day Holy

Hey Family!

Wow, I've never been so tired in my life haha. I forgot to tell you last pday but once again we were out of water. We didn't have water for another week and a half! Luckily yesterday we had water in the morning before going to church!

We have been teaching lots of people! We have about 9 or so lessons a day with less active members and investigators and each lesson has about 4 or more people. There are two families that we are going to teach today that have daughters ages 9 and 13 that haven't been baptized yet. The families are members, just not the kids. So we should have those two baptisms pretty soon. 

While studying this week and teaching lots of people about the Sabbath day I learned some cool things and was also really grateful for the example that mom and dad set for us in helping us get to church every Sunday. I like what it talks about in Doctrine and Covenants 59:9 about how the Sabbath day cleans us and we will be without mancha (stain??). I can't remember what that means in English but you can look it up haha. It's sad when people choose not to go because we have to see the blessings that they lose. But it's rewarding to see the huge blessings they receive when they go! SO thanks Mom and Dad for everything!

I miss you all and can't wait to talk on Mothers day! 

Love Elder Markham

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Some changes and getting excited for Mother's Day!

Hey Family!

I don't have too much time today, but real quick we had a great week. I was kinda sad though because Elder Togisala had emergency changes and went to San Patricio where I was before I came here to Valle Nuevo. My new companion is Elder Hernandez from Guatemala. He has 11 months in the mission and he's a great missionary! Kevin passed his interview for his baptism! Ana didn't because she still has a few things to work on but said he can get baptized this week. 

On Tuesday we went to the temple! It was awesome! I love going to the temple! It's one of the things I love most! I was able to get one of the really big Book of Mormons for Jenifer. She's the less active we found last week that hasn't been able to go to church for her eyes. But we were also able to teach her sister. Her sister is awesome! She has a huge desire to do what is right. They have both been reading in the Book of Mormon like crazy and they understand so well! They both went to church yesterday and I'm sure she'll get baptized in May. She has a date for the 14th.

It's crazy to see the time go by so fast. Everything is going great! I'm happy, healthy and nothing could be better! I miss you all so much! Just a bit more until Mothers day (The only day besides Christmas that we get to talk to Garrett)! Love ya all!

Love Elder Markham

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Small miracles that become Big...

Hey family!

It was a pretty good week this week. This week we will be doing Ana and Kevin's interview for their baptism next week! She's ready but just a little scared for the big commitment. Her and Kevin went with us yesterday to church. We are teaching another sister named Linda and her daughter Camila. They are really awesome! Camila is only 8 but she likes to listen. Linda lives with her mom and brother but they don't really want to listen much. Linda said that they would go to church with us Sunday. But when we got to her house in the morning she was sleeping and her brother didn't want to wake her up. But a little after sacrament meeting during the Gospel principles class, they showed up! It was awesome that they came! Linda wants to go to a church to help her daughter. She accepted a date to be baptized  the first week of May! 

We had an awesome experience this week. Last week we were looking for a man named Jose Duran. But he lives in a gated area and unless you have a visit it's hard to get in. So the guy at the door didn't let us in. But this week we found his daughters address in the ward directory and saw that her birthday was Friday. Jose isn't a member. So we went there a little later in the day Friday and there was a different guy there. We said we were going to visit her and gave him the direction. He let us in and said that he thought the last passage was hers. We went down there but as we were walking we noticed that the numbers were too big so we thought it would be another one. As we turned around there was a little girl looking at us and I felt really strongly that we needed to talk to her. I asked her if she knew Alexis and she said she moved. But that her dad (Jose) still lived there. She took us to his house but he wasn't there. I then asked how she knew her. She said that her sister was listening to other missionaries and that Alexis always brought her sister to our church. We then asked if we could see her sister and went back to her house. We met her sister and she started to tell us how she has been wanting to go back to church but her mom doesn't let her because she has an eye problem where her vision goes away suddenly and can't see. Her mom only trusted that her friend (Jose's daughter Alexis) took her to church. We put a visit with her to go back and we are planning on trying to meet her mom and uncle to see what we can do to get her to church. It's awesome how God has helped us to find His children in need. After we talked to her, her sister came out of nowhere again and told us that Jose came back so we were able to meet him as well! He's not a member but he will be soon!

I love and miss you all! 

Love Elder Markham

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Continuing to learn and always striving to be better

Hey Family!

This week was a huge learning week! I loved the talks from this week especially the ones in the Priesthood session! I learned more than anything else what I need to change in my life to be a more powerful missionary and priesthood holder. I have already tried putting these things in practice and I've already been able to see a few changes. I'm so grateful for General Conference and the words of the living prophets! And I didn't know Grandpa was a poet! haha....I don't know if you saw the session when someone shared a poem from Edwin Markham...

Well we haven't had water for about a week now. The whole area where we live hasn't had water so I guess while we were out visiting a truck came by and started selling water to everyone. Some members live real close to us so they're going to be helping us out a bit haha.

Rodolfo has his testimony and is ready to get baptized! He believes that the church is true and that the Book of Mormon is the word of God! We are getting ready for his baptism here in a couple weeks! He is doing great! The thing that I like most about teaching him is about the Savior and repentance because the Spirit is always so strong. He has a huge desire to change his life. I can see the happiness it brings him and that is what the mission is all about. Bringing others unto Christ through faith, repentance, baptism and entering the temple. I love being here and being able to help so many people! I love and miss you all!.....like always! haha

Love Elder Markham

*Garrett says they have drinking water...but that's it.  He appreciates things more when living under hard conditions.

Pics sent by Elder Togisala (his mom Amber)

Elder Togisala and Garrett