Monday, September 23, 2013

Hello Hello Hello!!!
This week went by pretty quick. It took me a while to transition into the missionary schedule last week so that I wasn't tired all the time but now I am feeling great. We walk a lot without having a car all the time and are getting pretty tan and buff. I am slowly trying to get ready for the super sun of Brazil.
The weather of this town is unlike anything I have ever experienced before. It is pretty much perfect every day with lots of sun and just a few little wispy clouds, but this wind is ridiculous! I have never felt so much wind every single day in my life. Last night we were woken up multiple times by this huge storm, but no, there wasn't any rain or thunder or anything, just super loud wind shaking our little apartment. Wierd stuff. But it makes walking easy because we never have to take an umbrella or jacket. I can see why California is such a desirable place to live.
Last week I think I forgot to tell you that we are actually whitewashing this area. It has been interesting trying to get to know everyone and get in contact with all of our investigators (that has been one of the hardest parts of getting started. Lots of the sisters' previous investigators will not answer their phones ever or return calls. Hopefully that will change this week), especially since we are both relatively new missionaries. But we are working hard and getting to know names and faces little by little. The ward is still super supportive even though they do not know us and loved the last sisters that just left.
We were able to go a baptism this week!!! It was for a man named Vince Long who is going to the Singles Ward now so he was baptized by the elders over the third ward. He was actually knocked into weeks ago by Sister Cusick herself so this was a pretty big event for her. I felt the Spirit stronger there I might say than I have the whole time I have been out in the field. It gave us something exciting to work towards and showed me just how much joy can come from this gospel. The Church is so true! I love watching people learn about these things and working with them to help them change. The other missionaries in our district are all great and hardworking, and I know with this army of missionaries we can do miracles.
I love you all,
 Sister Marchant
 P.S. Thanks so much to Emma and Aunt Marty for your great letters! I got them last Saturday. Also thanks for all of the wonderful emails I recieved from the fam and especially Grandma! You are the bestest.
Hello President Castro,****** (these stars mean how many times we exercised this week)
It has been a wonderful week. Sister Cusick and I are working hard together and the time is going by fast. I feel much more accostumed to the jobs and schedule of missionary life. There is a lot to take in but Sister Cusick is very helpful and is teaching me well. She is a great missionary.
This week we had a few really great lessons. We are still teaching Leonard who is a older single man. We taught him the Plan of Salvation this week and set him with a baptismal date! He still seems a little bit unsure but accepts what we teach and is willing to learn more. This was my first time teaching the Plan of Salvation in the mission field so it was really helpful to me. There is so much wonderful knowledge in that lesson that I often take for granted because I have known it all my life. I am grateful for the chance to teach the basics and relearn all of these fundamental doctrines along with our investigators.
We also taught Paul again about prayer and a little about tithing. He is struggling to keep commitments and we are worried he is losing his motivation to learn. He is having problems with the Word of Wisdom and with pressure from his family not to meet with us. We will continue to try to help him stay strong and pray that he will regain his desire he once had to come closer to Christ. We will see him again on Friday and hopefully be able to sort everything out.
We had our first lesson with our new investigator Frankie this week. He is also an older, single man but has a lot of support from his two daughters and grandkids. We met him street contacting and then came back to his house on Friday to teach the Restoration. He seemed to accept it all well except he doesn't think he has the ability to pray with us. We will continue to teach him about prayer and about its importance in receiving a testimony. He liked the idea of there being prophets all throughout time. He also told us that he feels like he can be as spiritual as he needs to be at home and feels no need to come to church. He has a very strong connection with his family so I think when we teach him the Plan of Salvation this week he will be more receptive to us and see the importance of the gospel to his life. We are trying to change our lesson plans and have been EDPEPing to apply especially to him, and I think this will help us to be able to teach more to his needs.
We also had a lesson with Jose and his family this week! This lesson went really well and we are excited to teach them again. Jose, his wife Maria, their daughter, and their friend were all there for most of the lesson. We taught about prophets a lot and about the Restoration and the Book of Mormon. Jose had been meeting with the Jehovah Witnesses in the past and said he was willing to discuss religion but that they couldn't answer all of his questions. I think it will be comparatively easier to make return appointments with them than with some of our other investigators because they are very open and are still searching for which church is right for them. Maria and her daughter are going to a Christian church in the area and are really pushing for Jose to come to any church as well. Jose doesn't go to church and is still trying to decide if he even believes God exists. Our lesson with them this week went really well and they asked some great questions. We are planning on teaching them again soon to teach a lot from the Book of Mormon and to hopefully commit them to baptism. Of all of our investigators we have so far, I am most excited about this family. We do not know them super well yet but I believe that they can change.
We had a lesson with a recent convert, Michelle Johnston, yesterday. She hasn't been coming to church in a while and has had some really difficult problems going on in her personal life the past few weeks, but we finally got a hold of her this week and she is starting on the path back to reactivity. She relapsed into coffee and smoking recently after going a long time without it. She has such a strong desire to change and wants to do what is best for her daughter. She is receiving a lot of pressure and grief from her extended family that is making it hard for her to stay focused, but she is definitely making some very important steps to come back to the church. She received a blessing yesterday, and talked to us a lot about her needs and how she could tell a huge difference when she had the Spirit versus when she feels when she is smoking. We know she can change and are trying to help her in every way possible to get her life back on track. We know she can do it.
We are slowly starting to get to know this area now! We found a few new investigators this week and are getting to know the members better. It was a little frustrating for me at the beginning because it was a lot to take in and I am bad at remembering names, but as we are having dinners with members and interacting more with the ward I am starting to feel more comfortable. Sister Cusick and I are also becoming closer as a companionship and working better in unity. She teaches me every day and I know it was inspired to have us serve together. Everything else is going great! We were able to go to the baptism of Vince Long this week which was a super spiritual experience and was great to see the major happiness that can come from doing this work. We are ready to continue to work hard and find more people to bring to the waters of baptism. This gospel is so true! My testimony has definitely grown of the importance of this work this week and the wonderful blessings that can come from it.
Thanks for all you do,
Sister Marchant

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