Monday, April 16, 2012


Mamma san!
I'm so sorry I missed camping, but I will get to see you next month! I'm really sorry to hear about the Maxfield's, I'm trying not to let it frustrate me, I hope everything will still be okay at home, I'll be praying. What a tender mercy, though, to get to meet Elder Nelson! HE is so wonderful, I was just thinking about him the other day, I'm most excited that Lydia got that opportunity, what a great experience for a budding testimony! So, fun fact, guess who taught the seminary class on Jeremiah 16:16 in the Carondalet Ward's seminary? That's right, ME! Did you know that I am a fisher and a hunter? I sure didn't, I've never been particularly good at OR fond of either (or so I thought)! While tornado season is approaching, being that I am in the city, close to the help and safety that the mission would provide in the case of disaster, I would rather you save the shipping costs for the time being, especially in lieu of recent goings on. I sincerely apologize about the lack of pictures, I still can't find my camera charger and the Elders in my last area are horrific about answering the phone(REALLY aggravating). I will let you know if I don't find a solution by next week.
The coolest experience this week was on Saturday, when I got to spend a big chunk of it with PResident Clark! He came out to teach our three investigators with baptismal dates, Akouvi, Vanessa, and Mensura. He really uplifted and encouraged Akouvi, who we reviewed the Gospel of Jesus Christ with and went over keeping the Law of Chastity, President wasn't expecting us to throw that last part on his shoulders, haha! He also REALLY enjoyed our venture into the Bosnian's house to teach Vanessa, her mom Gracima(no date, yet), and Mensura, he was laughing half the time, he thought it was so much fun! We read Jacob 4 together and talked about the importance of scriptures and reading them, we also set Vanessa(16) up with a date to the Mormon Prom that night, it was great! Mensura, we found out, is only 16 as well, and is expecting her first son with her 18 year old husband Valentino(Vanessa's older brother) very interesting culture, but they're living the Law of Chastity! Valentino is as great guy, too, and we hope to baptize him as well, maybe even at the same time as Mensura, because she didn't make it to church yesterday, so we will have to push her date back., but she still REALLY wants to get baptized!
Did I tell you I was moving an investigator and tore my pants right up the back when trying to set down a million pound solid wood dresser? Well, I did, I bought a new pair on supersale for $15 (Kenneth Cole, super sweet) but still have holes in two other pairs of pants as well, so I'm hoping to find a member who is a seamstress(or, seamster?) soon!
I love teaching the gospel, it really helps me understand it better. There are few things I love more than sitting in a lesson, focused on an investigator, and to have the Spirit give me something to say that has never occurred to me before, or never been so clear. They are things that seem simple, yet are so profound when truly learned and applied. I told an investigator last night about the importnace of prayer, not the sub-conscious in-your-heart kind of prayer, but REALLY praying. I told him that parents know that ski-doos and brand new cars will make their children happy, they're not dumb, but what happens to parents who give that kind of stuff to their kids without the kids needing it or asking for it? They get spoiled rotten! They don't understand what's important, they don't know how to make decisions, and they expect to always be given things for nothing. But if we, as God's children, will ask for things we need, it becomes a teaching opportunity. We ask for a Sea-doo, and then we can be taught that it would be better if we take the money for a sea-doo and put it in a college fund for now, or if we ask for money for gas to get to school, we can be taught that education is important enough to make that kind of sacrifice for. Heavenly Father wants us to learn and grow, but that can't happen unless we come to Him and let Him teach us what will make us happy and why, and how to get it. We can ask for guidance, and when we recieve it, our faith in Him will be that much stronger, we will carry those distinctive answers with us forever. Last night an investigator told us she prayed for comfort when she visited her grandmother's grave to know that she was still with her, and when she placed flowers on her grave, she turned around, and there was a single bright red Cardinal sitting on the stone in front of her, her grandmothers favorite bird and (especially) sports team. A very small answer, but it struck her to the very center, and she will never forget that small token of love from her Father in Heaven. "Ask and ye shall receive, knock and it shall be opened unto you." May we take the Savior's counsel more to heart and "pour out [our] whole souls" unto our Father in prayer. I love this Gospel and I love sharing it with those I love. I hope all is well!
Elder James Marshall

Monday, November 7, 2011

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Monday, October 31st, 2011

Okay, sorry if that thing at the beginning of my last email was confusing, I was just trying to demonstrate how crazy of a feeling it is when time is flying by and all of a sudden I have to switch planners because I'm through with my first transfer!
I'm glad Naomi is feeling better, but bummed I missed her first sacrament talk! Thank you SO much for the package!! The gloves are SO nice, they're a little tight, but I think they should be. The coat from brother Scofield is AMAZING! It is exactly the kind of coat that my call packet asked for, zip out liner and everything, and I wrote him, but the package didn't come until Tuesday(really quick if you sent it out on Friday) so I didn't have a chance to mention it in my letter, so PLEASE thank him for me!
Thank you for the advice on smoking, it's amazing how much of what you said is included in the program the Church teaches, it is truly excellent. One of our smokers is sick and the other fell off the map, so no progress at the moment, but I will be keeping everything you said in mind as we work with them! This week has been very administrative. We have had meetings in STL, Weekly Planning and Mission Correlation all in one week, but Thursday was the greatest day of my mission so far, and Elder Marshall (remember, he's been out 10 months) said it was the best of HIS too! We spent ALL of our time teaching! It was GREAT! Four lessons, all of them came through! We taught Teri-Lyn, a single mother who is VERY studious in the large print triple combo and bible we got her, loves 1 Nephi, and who's 6 year old daughter loves coming to church, she came to church twice in a row, but missed this week because she was sick. Tim Evans, a man looking for God after a long life without Him, he just started going to church a year ago and he's 51, he is so friendly and his house reminds me of Grandmother Jeanine's because he had a vision of his father and Elvis one time and so has Elvis plastered all over EVERYTHING! Also, we had an AMAZING first lesson with our next-door neighbor Liz! She has no religious background and is very honest with us, allowing us to really apply the Gospel to her and her needs, it was such an uplifting lesson. Then, to close the night, we taught another single mom up in Potosi, April Eads, who also has no religious background but is looking so hard for the truth and is very in tune with the Spirit, we had a great lesson and all of her questions were about baptism and she agreed to be baptized! I love this work so much. Elder Marshall said that he has never faced more adversity at any time in his mission, and I am not surprised, but that honestly just strengthens our testimony just as it did Joseph's (editor: he is referring to Joseph who was sold into slavery by his brother and yet bore his trials and let God make something good come from them, I mentioned it in an earlier letter to him.)  that this is where we need to be, and God has sent us to Potosi and the adversary really isn't happy we're here. I love the Spirit that I feel when sharing the Gospel and in our wonderful Church buildings that isn't found anywhere else we go. We visited a Pentecostal church with Tim Evans on Sunday, and it was pretty interesting. We wanted to hear some of the preaching, but we could only stay for 35 minutes before we had to make it to Sacrament, and so we only caught the singing (35 minutes of it!), which was pretty intense, I might add. I threw a snowball at Elder Marshall this morning! I made it out of the thick frost that had covered our car last night, then I wrote him a love note in it to apologize! I'm almost concerned about the end of this transfer, because I don't see how any companion I get could be as amazing as Elder Marshall, and I'm even MORE nervous at the prospect of training in four weeks! We shall see. I am doing well, though! If the protection of the Lord isn't comfort enough, I don't know if I could have any more reliable sources of help than Elder Marshall and President Clark, they are truly phenomenal. 

YAY Max! Aw, I miss my little buddy so much! Sorry about all of my stuff, thank you for keeping it safe, though! I'm kind of jealous that Liz is moving in AFTER I left, that would have been so fun to have her home!

(Editors note: Jimmy's nephew went to his first day of pre-school today and his sis is moving into his room temporally so we had to pack ALL his stuff and store it - 7 bins!) 

Thank you so much for all that you have done for me, everyone reading this, because if you are reading this, you have probably done more than you know. Every decision I have to make, I stop and think about whether or not it is worth not only the two years of my life that I am sacrificing, but all of the Lord's time it would take up, and all of the time, energy, and love put into my being here by everyone I know and love. I'll continue to work hard and I'll be emailing you some baptism pictures before too long!

Elder James Marshall

Monday, Oct 24, 2011

almost started crying when I read about the Vilayvong's endowments! Was that not just the most amazing thing ever?? Oh, I cannot WAIT to be able to go through the temple with them when Kenny and I get back. Brie is going to be learning the Espanol, huh? I bet DoLo is SO proud! She's going to be like the Sisters from the District! I am so sad I am missing so many AMAZING events, but hearing about them are such an inspiration to me!
This area is a tough one to work. There are many many people in very humbling circumstances, and it is marvelous seeing how vastly differing their paths are along their individual spiritual journeys. Many of them are willing, but have a long way to go, but that's okay because I have a feeling I will be in this area more than my 2 training transfers! No baptisms yet, but one of our Progressing Investigators is already on 1 Nephi 17!
Okay, my email got partially deleted and now I'm short on time. Dag nab it. Speaking of which, my companion always makes fun of me for being 80 years old because of some of the things I say and the fact that I wear a cardigan!
I am so happy to hear everything is going so well! You will be pleased to hear that my companion and I go jogging(yogging?) every other morning and that I haven't gotten sick despite EVERYONE dropping appointments because they are! Also, people have a tendency to invite us back, and then when we come back their spouse or sibling will answer the door and tell us that they aren't home, and we'll see the person walk through the back of the house! What the heck! We always have to just chuckle to ourselves and stop by later. We had to order 2 cases of 40 BoMs this month because we are handing them out like crazy! I love placing them! I believe it was Brigham Young who said a Book of Mormon given away is a future convert. We find it easiest to share a card with people with our info on it, but often as I can I use it as a book mark for a chapter that answers their needs that we have been able to discern in the short time we speak with them. I hope that everything continues to go well, and before too long I should be able to write you about a baptism or two! We are looking very hard for families to teach, which is hard, believe it or not, and we are having some success, and I can't wait to see their progress! Also, one of the hardest things is figuring out how to meet and deal with husbands and boyfriends. Women usually want to go to church it seems, and then they either talk to their significant other and suddenly don't, or it's just awkward trying to establish a relationship of trust with him. Any tips? 
YAY FOR PACKAGES! I can't wait! Also, the mail is getting bounced around a little, so I haven't gotten any letters in awhile, but that's okay, because I realized I sometimes focus too much on if I'm going to get one today! I can't wait to share with you more about the wonderful people here (ie Brother Tom Pezel; 67, Branch Mission Leader, used to be 70, Branch President, High Council, etc!)

con amor,
Elder Marshall

184 My bed!
185 Our front room
189 Comp Study drumming session using highliters and a 3-hole punch (he used to drum like dad)
193 The local grocery store, we couldn't stop laughing, I don't know why.

163 This "gated community" in the middle of nowhere. Do these rules seem a little odd to you?
166 My first in-field haircut! I could remember if I already sent this one...
174 P-day with the ZLs at Elephant Rock!
178 Me and my comp free running the park! Bouldering is awesome!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Monday, October 17th, 2011

"WHOA! Did you see that?!"
"That crazy thing that just flew by!"
"You mean that blurr?"
"Yeah! What was that??"
"That was my first transfer!"

Holy COW! I'm through my first planner and don't even know how it happened! I only have one more left before I'm out of the training program and might be expected to train!! AAAAAHHH!! Time is FLYING!
 Okay! So Potosi is the geographic center of our area, but the vast majority of people live in Desloge(where we ACTUALLY live) and Bonne Terre, with Potosi being the next largest town. We live RIGHT on the edge of our area, if you look, Park Hills is in Farmington(where we lived before) Ward. Our address is Bonne Terre because the mailing out here is really funky. The demographics are that this is the country, and there is not a variety at all except the 20 or so employees working at the two Chinese buffets all of whom came from China, and the same number working at the two fairly authentic Mexican(HALLELUJAH!) places. We have our own 2010 Chevy Malibu full-time, but we really don't use many miles because Potosi is a 50 mile round trip and we only go there twice a week or so and most of our work is in Desloge and Bonne Terre. Funny you mention it, I got my first in-field haircut yesterday with my comp at Sister Peters' house, she works at Penny's cutting hair and did it for free! She is very sweet and has already fed us once as well! The members aren't feeding us very often, but that has alot to do with the activity rate and the fact that we aren't allowed to pass around a calendar and have to schedule them on the fly. Our staple diet has been pancakes and eggs for breakfast, top ramen or a bagel and cream cheese for lunch, and pasta for dinner, but last night we threw together some old noodles we didn't finish, a can of green beans, baby carrots, italian sausage, and lots of butter and garlic into our new(to us) electric griddle a member gave us and had some GREAT stir-fry! Okay, missionary story time.
This week has been rough. We set some high goals and have been working really hard to achieve them, but appointments kept falling through, mostly because everyone out here is getting sick, and new appointments all got scheduled for this week. Finding was going well, but we wanted six new investigators, which means we had to teach them a lesson and set up a following appointment. We only had 2 new as of Saturday night at 8:15. We had an appointment fall through so we started tracting these low-income apartments, and the last two doors were tender mercies from the Lord. The first was a wonderful single mother who isn't into any religion but said it was only because she hadn'y found one, and Elder Marshall and I both saw the light in her eyes as we shared a brief message of the Restoration and set up an appopintment and decided she was the reason our appointment dropped. So we had one door left, it was 8:30, and we had 2 out of 6 investigators for the week. We knock the door, and a lady answers and laughs and tell someone inside it's "church people". The response comes "sorry, we're flat broke" and I call inside, "What we share is free" (that exchange can be found paralleled in Our Search For Happiness, you'll find it if you read it) and she called us in. There were four people and a young child, the woman calling to us has brain cancer, and we began teaching them the Plan of Salvation and getting to know and love all of them. We got a lesson scheduled for tonight with all four. We made our goal that the Lord wanted us to set, and He led us right to His children who needed us most. We got home at 9:40 glowing. We will also be teaching them the stop Smoking Workshop (three of them have been smoking since 7 or 8) at their request. I love this work. I am so excited for tonight. We could have stopped and gone home before we found those people, but 3 profound times now the Lord has blessed us at the end of our most difficult days.

Elder Marshall

The view from our balcony. Walmart anyone?
What was an R8 doing in FARMINGTON, MO?!
Sister Peters cutting my hair on her front porch yesterday :)


Elder is finally in his apartment.  This is his new mailing address.  Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to write him!  I can only imagine how much he appreciates it.  And as the months get colder, he will appreciate it even more!

Elder James Marshall
102 John Court #104
Bonne Terre, MO 63628

Monday, 10 Oct 2011

I AM sleeping tight in my own bed, now! Though my feet stick off the end most nights, haha! I can't imagine what my 6'5" companion is doing every night! Having our own place is very nice,if for no other reason than actually living IN our area cuts way down on travel time and we can be much more productive, I love it! That Old Testament really is cool, many of the disillusioned people we talk to who may or may not be ready for the Gospel talk about how churches need to be more Biblical, especially regarding the Old Testament. OT trivia!
Q: Did Moses have the Melchizedek Priesthood? If so, where did he get it from? 

I asked for more detailed conversion stories from you because I love sharing them, I love telling people, especially youth, about how it wasn't the words of anyone, but the example of one young man who was quite alone in his beliefs that is blessing the lives of my entire family and every person I meet on my mission. The Lord truly blessed me with a mother who so keenly recognizes light and truth and shared it with her husband and family. Something that I have especially found to be true this week is the way the Lord works with us. He extends tender mercies, but often at the end of a grueling path. This week was very hard, and just as we were at our most fatigued, and at the end of our night, our appointment fell through with a promising potential, and we decided we had to just keep working until the clock hit 9, at guess what?? We set up two appointments next week with three separate and AWESOME new investigators (including our next door neighbor) and met a less active member who we can start teaching and hopefully get back to church! All within half an hour! This is the Lord's work, and no unhallowed hand can stop it from going forth! I do, however, ask you to pray for Ronny Helm. He is our most promising investigator, and has a baptismal date, but we are pushing it back, because we are being impressed that he isn't quite ready and he has had some struggles with the Word of Wisdom. We taught him the stop Smoking Workshop, but he has had trouble adhering to it, so we are praying very hard that his desire and the Spirit will overcome what he cannot. We taught three new investigators this week and have appointments with all of them and they could all very well be baptized if they are willing, not to mention those we found but aren't teaching until next week! The more I strive to give my all to this work, the more my faith grows, and the less influence the adversary has over me.

It's Hictionary time!
"Do any of you want some soda?" = "Yun's want some sody?"
Waashington = Warshington
Tur Du Lac = Turtle luck
El Tapatio (Mex restaurant) - elta-PATIO

Elder Marshall!


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