Sunday, December 30, 2012

Frederico's Baptism!

Hey Everyone and Merry Christmas!
      It's been a fantastic week in Crenshaw! Transfers came and both Elder Reeves and I stayed together so things will be staying pretty much the same. But this week we've been able to see the fruits of our last transfer. After waiting for a month, Federico finally was able to be baptized yesterday. We were a little anxious for him this last week not knowing if he was going to bail out again, but he felt good after his baptismal interview on Wednesday. Come Saturday we went over to his apartment to remind him about bringing extra changes of clothes and towel, He said he was still hesitant, but would still prepare himself to do it. I wasn't sure that he would truly commit until we were at church in Gospel Principles class. The topic was on Exaltation which is quite a strong doctrine to understand, but in class he commented on that if we are true to live the gospel of Christ, we will one day stand side by side with God in glory. I was super glad for him. Also for the first time since I've been here we had another investigator at church Andrea. She was a little sick and could only stay for the first couple classes, she felt a little bored in the class and confused about the lesson, but she has trust in what we teach her so it should be fine as we explain more with her. We will be going over to her house tonight to eat tamales and Mexican food! I'm excited! Anyway back to the baptism, the service was super great as our ward mission leader and Federico's apartment manager Hermano Pioquinto performed the baptism. I was such a relief to see him in the water smiling afterwards, because I knew he felt like the right thing to do. During the baptism, a member of the stake presidency came to the baptism, but he didn't understand Spanish so I translated for him. I've never had to translate before and it’s super hard to listen, think and talk at the same time. I'm not used to all that multitasking. :) Anyway, Federico bore his testimony afterwards and I translated for him. I learned a lot about how the spirit works at that moment. I swear that it was one of the most powerful testimonies I've heard in my life. He's a very intellectual guy, and has had a hard him understanding faith, but as he bore testimony of Christ and how to endure to the end, I could help to notice the change he's made in his life. It was strange to translate for him and also notice that the same words I was translating spoke to the President as well, but it was more of a feeling confirming his words not mine. So that was the highlight of my week! Today the whole mission came up to the mission office to have a Christmas Musical Devotional. Next year I hope I can participate because in was super beautiful! President Baker gave an awesome testimony about the spirit of Christmas and it inspired me to continue sharing the spirit of Christ the next coming year. The Mission Is GREAT! I hope you all can learn how to give and receive gifts this Christmas and share the love of the season with everyone!

Os amo tanto y Feliz Navidad!!!

Elder Marrott   

Investigating Families

Hey Everyone!
       I hope everyone is enjoying the great winter because I'm not. Well it’s been raining quite a bit, and a little chilly but nothing I can't handle. Anyway it’s been quite an eventful last week of the transfer as we are starting to see more potential coming out from our area. The beginning of this week, Elder Reeves and I found a woman Ana who's from an indigenous pueblo in Mexico and likes to make adobe pots. I hope to teach her this coming week. We also found a family who had a lot questions on how the church views the Karan and the use of make-up. They seem fairly interested what we have to say especially after Elder Reeves bore to them a strong testimony about receiving answers to prayers. We also ran into a less active while trying to contact another less active. His name is Christian Ruiz and he was baptized 3 or 4 years ago near San Francisco. He moved down to Los Angeles and never got back to church, he thought our visit was inspired to get him back to church. He loves the missionaries as they helped him out in the past to stop using cocaine and to get back with his family. None of his family are members, so there's a lot of potential to get them all to investigate the church. Also this week we had the opportunity to go up to the Visitors Center twice this week with some of our investigators to see the Christmas lights. One of them was Cynthia. We've been working with her quite a bit. She lives with the Diaz Family who Joel, one of their sons (non-member) is her boyfriend. She has 2 crazy little kids who like to cause a ruckus everywhere they go. Cynthia has a strong desire to be baptized, but because she's not married to her boyfriend, who doesn't want to be married, it is kind of hard to do that. All of her family and his family want them to be married, but he lacks commitment. She's kind of hopeless about it all, but we are going to try to help keep their hopes up and promise her blessings for her determination to follow Christ. We all will be praying for her. But we all had fun up at the VC and I got to take some fun photos! We also went up yesterday with Fredrico who's going to be baptized (hopefully) this coming Sunday. He got to talking with some sister missionaries that helped reassure us that he has a testimony in all the things we've taught him. He's got good friendship with our ward mission leader Hermano Pioquinto because he is his apartment manager what luck! Well transfers is tomorrow, so we will see what happens. One of my favorite missionaries Elder Shumway is going home tomorrow. He was one of my best friends in the mission since the beginning! Time is going by so fast. I finally got through reading the Book of Mormon since I start the mission. I know I read really slowly, but I've come to love and understand it so much better than I have before. I've decided that Jacob is my favorite book and it is jam-packed full of great scripture and it powerfully expresses the desire for everyone to accept the simplicity of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Chapters 4 5 and 6 are my favorite. I love in Jacob 6 when it say "O be wise; what more can I say? If we truly are wise, we would all accept the gospel of Jesus Christ. For that is how we will achieve the greatest happiness and joy in this life and the next! I wish you all a marvelous holiday season, and do you best to remember the importance of Christ's birth!

Os amo tanto!

Elder Marrott        

More cool people taught and remember to be a "Member Missionary"

Hey Everybody,

Sorry that I didn't write on Monday, its temple day today so we are doing all our preparation day stuff like email. We came super early at 5 am for the temple session and it was still dark and they had the Christmas lights on. They are super cool and fun, I will be going up to the temple Christmas activity this Sunday, so hopefully I will have some pictures for you all soon. This week was little frustrating and slow mainly because of health and car problems. On Friday Elder Reeves got sick with the flu, so we had to turn in early a couple days to he could heal up, but he's doing ok now. Also we've had car problems all week and yesterday we spent the whole day at the shop so they could replace the battery. No fun at all. HOWEVER, the best part of this week is that we were able to recommit Fredrico to a baptismal date for the 23rd of December. We taught him a lesson about the Gifts of the Spirit that we can receive once we are baptized (look to Moroni 10) He really came to understand the blessing that the Gift of the Holy Ghost is going to help him to his conversion process and He no longer needs to wait to receive the ordinance of  baptism. We are looking forward to that. This week as well was the Christmas Party at the church where the English ward (Adams ward) Combined with our Spanish ward for a dinner on Saturday. There was a lot of people there, unfortunately not of our investigators could come. There was a lot of Food of every kind. Ham, Turkey, Tamales, Enchiladas, you name it was there. And of course Santa came so it could get better than that. Apparently the biggest news is going around here is the death of a popular Latin singer Jennie Rivera. She died in a plane crash in Mexico, and every Latino person we talk to is super upset. It's like Michael Jackson just died again. I had no clue who she was but now I know. One cool story that I heard this week was from a recent convert in our area named Jose Campos. He’s a super nice guy and he works in LA as one of those Brinks truck drivers that drives money to banks and business, etc... He told us stories about how people tried to mug him. One time he was standing in front of a bank when a guy ran at him with a sword. The guy tried to stab him but missed, then Jose punched the lights out of the guy, and he's a pretty big man! I thought that was really funny. We also heard something really interesting on Sunday in a meeting we had with the Stake High Counselor over Missionary Work. He heard with all the missionaries coming in soon that the quantity of all the missionaries will make about 50 more missions! But because that's not possible, every mission will be growing super-fast and more missionaries will be added to every mission. This probably means many areas that missionaries cover will be divided in half. That also means that amount of people that missionaries will teach will cut in half too. That's the super sad thing. Many new missionaries come into the mission with hopes to teach like crazy, but it will be sad if they come in and have no one to teach. So what the church is demanding of every member is to provide even more referrals for the missionaries to teach. We are dependent now on member more than ever! Invite your friends to listen to the missionaries!!! Remember in D&C 50 and our role to preach the gospel with the spirit. We can teach the gospel more effectively and spiritually when they have a friend in the gospel to help them. Keep on keeping on!

Os amo tanto

Elder Marrott

P.S. I heard through the grapevine that missionaries are now being admitted into CHINA for three year missions!!!!! The work of God continues!!!

Meeting many people tracting and setting dates

Hey Everyone!

       I hope you all are enjoying the start of the Christmas Season. It's a little different from what I'm used to in Los Angeles as it’s not as cold, but as of late it’s been raining quite a bit here. Something cool that the Los Angeles Temple Visitors Center does here throughout the whole month of December is they hold a little Christmas concert every night. As missionaries, we've been inviting all the members and investigators to go up one night to feel the spirit of Christmas Season, and to see the lights set up around the Temple. I personally haven't seen it lit up yet, but we are making plans with our investigator Fredrico this weekend to see them. Elder Reeves are I getting into the Christmas mood with music, eggnog and all kinds of good stuff. Anyway, this week was up and down but it could be worse. Elder Reeves and I tried out an idea I had this week to carry around a bag a candies where each one has a Book of Mormon scripture on it. It made it a lot easier to talk to people on the street, but no immediate results came from it. But we did run into a woman running backwards in the park, so we talked to her, not interested though. We did meet a guy named Dywane trying to contact a former, and he told us how he did military training in Springfield Missouri, but didn't like it because everyone is racist against black people. Then he told us the story of how his house burned down when his Air conditioner blew up. The insurance company and government paid for the reconstruction He gave us a tour of his house, and it’s the nicest house I've been in beside the mission home in the mission. He's also unemployed but the government is paying for him too; mortgage and everything. Now I'm starting to understand why California's in debt! But the best part of this week was that we were assigned a mini missionary from the Hermosa Liahona ward. Where I was born in the mission!! His name is Jesus Martinez Morgan (19 years old), and he was taught before by Elder Reeves when he was in his area. He was baptized 2 months ago, and he's a fun guy. I got to go back to the Stake Center in Torrance, where I ran into Kevin Godinez and Violeta his Mom who got baptized my second transfer in the mission. They are my favorite family in the mission and my last companion in that area (Centinela), Elder Cressman, is still there. I miss my birthplace! Anyway, we had fun with Jesus. We found a guy in his house blasting music from his apartment, and he said he was baptized in Utah, but he's a major alcoholic. Then he when off to tell the story on how his friend ran through his front door window. Super Funny! Later we taught a lesson to a woman named to Yolanda who's from El Salvador but her husband is the biggest African American I've ever met! They got married 15 years ago, and she spoke no English at all. She was super hard to teach as she kept changing the subject speaking nonsense. Before the lesson we planned to have Jesus extend the baptismal invitation, but he got nervous and she misunderstood, but I don't think she was able to understand the lesson because she didn't try to listen at all. She made us some really good carrot cake though. Lastly, some other Elders in our area had a baptism and they invited us to give a missionary message to invite the people in attendance to have their friends listen to the missionaries. Jesus gave a great testimony of his conversion story and his love for the Book of Mormon. It was great to serve with him. We hope this week that our investigator, Fredrico, will accept another baptismal date this month and he will feel the urgency and desire to be baptized! Anyway I hope you all enjoy the Christmas season, and find a way to give a little more of your heart to some in need

Os amo tanto!!!!

Elder Marrott   

Thanksgiving Dinner and Fredirico

Hey Everyone!

        Thanksgiving week was quite eventful and Elder Reeves and I did get to eat. The Familia Pioquinto, members in our area and our apartment managers prepared us a dinner over in the ward chapel along with the other Elders serving in our ward. A lot more people here cooked more ham than turkey this year, because its 10x easier and cheaper. Not many people here have large kitchens, and usually they have large groups of people come over for dinner. We visited one Family who the Husband is a recent convert, Jose, and his wife Silvia is an investigator.  They are from El Salvador and they love the missionaries. We had a conversation about Thanksgiving dinner and somehow we got talking about fruit, and in El Salvador they grow a lot Cashew Fruit (I forgot the name in Spanish). Apparently cashew nuts actually come from a fruit. I HAD NO CLUE! Silva made us a cashew fruit drink, and It's probably the strangest flavor I've ever tasted. It’s super juicy, but it has a very dry taste. I was stunned. Anyway, concerning the missionary work, we had plans to have a baptism with a man named Fredrico. He is a super intelligent man, who has come a long way to receive a testimony of Jesus Christ. We usually teach him once or twice a week, because it’s hard to get contact with him because he doesn't have a cell phone. Recently he has had thoughts that he didn't feel ready to be baptism because of fear of responsibility, however Elder Reeves and Elder Rosales were able to clear up those doubts when I went on splits in another area. The day came that it was Fredrico's baptismal interview; we were waiting 3 hours at the chapel until we got note from Hermano Pioquinto, the ward mission leader and his friend that he was not ready and felt really rushed. We got super bummed. We fasted and prayed for him on Sunday, in hopes that he would be able to resolve his feelings about baptism. We taught him after church, and we were able help him understand the importance of baptism and how he should do it because of his desire to follow Christ. We explained that his Book of Mormon reading will help him resolve his fears, and his testimony will grow. He reassured us that he wants to be baptized in December, so it was an answer to a prayer that he isn't going to postpone it any longer. Besides Fredrico and a couple other investigators, the work in Crenshaw is really slow mainly because the part where most of the Hispanics live in our area reside in a place called the Jungle where it’s full of gated apartment complexes and it's super hard to contact them. However Elder Reeves and I aren't discouraged. Even though we might not have many people to teach, we do see quite a few things out of the ordinary. I'll just say that there's quite a few people here who are "under the influence" some things are probably inappropriate to write. But it’s been fun. Haha. and I hope everyone enjoys the start to Christmas Season!

Os amo tanto

Elder Marrott

Turkey Bowl in the Jungle

Hey Everyone

         It's been another fun week in Los Angeles starting with the TURKEY BOWL that the mission set up to play last Monday. It's been a while since I played flag football and I played center the whole time. My zone got to play against two other zones. It was interesting because sisters played too so we did our best to play with them without tackling them. They played super well as one sister picked off a pass from one of the Elder's in our zone Elder Olsen. President Baker was there and he talked trash about everyone, it was pretty fun. Unfortunately there will be a rule change this next month that sports won't be permitted to be played in the mornings and all missionaries will have to run 20 minutes every morning because too many missionaries are getting hurt. I don't care that much because I’ve actually missed running, but it will be weird running in the JUNGLE in the morning. I don't know what I will see. Elder Reeves and I hope to have a baptism this week with Fredrico but we think he might have some doubts, we will be praying for him hard. On Saturday, we had a ward Thanksgiving party with the ward and they serve a whole bunch of Turkey and mashed potatoes. I was concerned that I wasn't going to have turkey this year because since I'm serving in a Spanish ward. Nonetheless I got my Turkey. I hope to share with you all more fun stories from the Jungle, but I'm out of time. I'll let you know next week!

Os amo tanto!

Elder Marrott  


Got it cornered?


He's kinda cute looking...

Pictures of Luis's Baptism Day!

Elders with Luis (Scotty in white!)

Elder Marrott with Luis

Luis and Parents

Luis with his Parents and Elder Marrott

Louis and family with Elders

Louis with family

Elder Scott in front and Luis in center surrounded by Elders!

Luis's Baptism! Hooray!

Hey Everyone,
             It's been bittersweet this week, but I'd say it's the happiest I've been on the mission so far! I found out last Monday that Elder Walker would be training this transfer, so I knew I would be leaving. It was hard to leave all my investigators especially Luis just a couple days before his baptism, but it know it was an inspired decision. So now I've been transferred from Hollywood to Crenshaw aka "The Jungle!" It’s about 20 minutes directly south of Hollywood, but it's totally different. My area is densely populated with African Americas, and we live in an area densely compacted with apartment buildings. Apparently, the story of my area is that in the 70s or 80s, some construction company wanted to extend Baldwin Hills (really nice subdivision) with a huge neighborhood jam-packed with gated off apartment complexes. At one point the company couldn't fund the project anymore and the government had to finish it. There's several apartments here provided by government welfare now, but its really well kept and maintained. Compared to Silver Lake, it’s really hard to do tracting and contacting because of all the gated apartments, but my new companion Elder Reeves from Ogden, Utah has worked the area really well and we hope to baptize this transfer!
          BUT THAT'S NOT THE BEST PART! LUIS FINALLY GOT BAPTIZED ON SUNDAY!!!!! And I had the privilege to come back and baptize him. It was at 2:00, but my church in my new ward had sacrament a 1:00 so it was crazy getting there on time. We got all my previous companions, Elder Blackham and Elder Rodriguez, rides so they could see it too. I had to borrow baptismal clothing from Elder Rodriguez, because honestly I never thought was going to personally be baptizing, but it was awesome that Luis wanted me to do it. Elder Walker did a great job organizing the program and having awesome members to speak. But the best part was that his whole family got to come and see, Mom, Dad, Sisters, Sisters boyfriend, and his grandparents. They all loved it, and his mom and grandmother cried when he got up to bear his testimony, and it was by far the best testimony I've ever heard in my life, because the Spirit was so strong. I'm very excited for him as he has plans to work with Elder Walker and his trainee to go to lessons and teach with them. He said he would serve a mission, but he was an obligation to go to college if he wants to get his visa. I hope, he will have the chance. I was able to write him a letter and give him a copy of Our Search for Happiness by Elder Ballard. I can't explain in words the blessing it is to help someone come to know that Christ is our savior and that he has restored His gospel once again through a modern day prophet. Luis has a lot of great things ahead of him and I hope he is able to help his family attend church and listen to the missionaries too!
         I've been reading in Moroni 6 this week and it talks about the great blessing it is to be baptized in the Church of Christ and how we all will be remembered and be kept in the right way. That is my prayer for every member, missionary and investigator to learn the gospel that they may feel of the blessings of conversion and peace within the gospel!

Os amo tanto

Elder Marrott  

PS I hope you enjoy the pictures of the baptism and my adventure last week killing the mice in our apartment