Monday, December 21, 2015

Week Nineteen!

"I used to pray that God would feed the hungry, or do this or that, but now I pray that He will guide me to do whatever I´m supposed to do, what I can do. I used to pray for answers, but now I´m praying for strength. I used to believe that prayer changes things, but now I believe that prayer changes us and we change things¨-Mother Teresa

"I slept and I dreamed that life is all joy. I woke and I saw that life is all service. I served and I saw that service is joy" -Kahlil Gibran

Quite a few of you have already heard this news, but I think it´s about time that I make it public. I have another cyst, the same problem that sent me home last time. I´ve been working with doctors (aka the top gynecologist in all of Uruguay I am well taken care of) for a few weeks now, trying to make it so I could stay here in Uruguay as a missionary for as long as possible, but it looks like my time is coming to a close this week. Honestly my mission has been the greatest miracle of my life, and I have seen miracles every day that I will never be able to deny. I feel so blessed for the time I have spent here, the people I have met, and the things I have learned. I could not have asked for an experience more perfect for me. 

This week I was talking to a sweet Hermana that I don´t know very well, and she told me that when things are completely out of our control, that´s when we can know for sure that God is controlling them. I know that my Heavenly Father has a plan for my life, and I´m just trying my best to live it. I´m really grateful for all of your help in this. I haven´t actually heard when I will be home yet, but it should be by the end of this week. We are going to the temple in Montevideo this Wednesday and Thursday, and I am supposed to bring all of my things to take home with me from there. 

 Now on a more normal note, I would just like to say that tomorrow is December and that is really weird because it is about a million degrees here. And also because I feel like it was October yesterday. 

Yesterday was the Primary Program. Basically what that is is all of the children in the church ages 3 to 11 sing songs and say lines that they (should) have memorized. I was informed (not asked) the day before that I was going to lead all of the songs for it hahahahaha. I think you can all imagine me trying to sing songs in Spanish and controlling little Uruguayos. Then the day of the pianist did not show up, of course, so I just winged it and asked someone to play the songs on their phone. I pretty much looked crazy trying to get the 5 kids excited and to sing louder, but it was an experience I will never forget. Overall I think it all went well and a lot of the people in the ward told me I did well, so I´m not too stressed. 

Not a whole lot more happened this week. We just worked hard and saw miracles. I made potatos on Thanksgiving but other than that it was a normal day. I will probably see you all in a few days!

Hermana Marsh

p.s. Healing blessings come in many ways, each suited to our individual needs, as known to Him who loves us best. Sometimes a "healing" cures our illness or lifts our burden, but sometimes we are "healed" by being given strength or understanding or patience to bear the burdens placed upon us." -Elder Dallin H. Oaks

Week 18!

I think on the mission I am constantly reminded of my weaknesses and imperfections. None of us are perfect. However, "we are infinitely more than our limitations and our afflictions" (Jeffrey R. Holland). We all have weaknesses, but we are not defined by them. Our Heavenly Father does not expect any of us to be perfect.In the Book of Mormon, we read that "And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them" (Ether 12:27).

 He knows we have weakness. He knows we cannot do this on our own. But He has promised us that if we are humbled and have faith , he will turn our weakness into strength. We are enough as long as we are trying our hardest. I have been trying to give it my all every day, and have seen the hand of God making up the rest.

We have two investigators, Andres and Marinella, who are progressing really well. When we met them, they were homeless and she was pretty sick. They have a 4 year old son as well. Anyway everytime we have met with them (always in the chapel because they don´t have a real home), the only thing they have asked of us is that we pray for them. And we have been praying a lot. They also have been praying and really searching for the truth. This week Andres found a job and a house they can afford with his new salary!!! I was so happy. Marinella said that she knew it was Heavenly Father answering her prayers, and her testimony really touched me. He is involved in our lives, we just usually don´t see it. They have decided to be baptized. We still haven´t chosen a date for their baptism yet, because they need to get married first, but we are all really excited for it. 

Our sweet recent converts Lucia and Sofia absolutely love going to church, especially primary, but their mom started working on Sundays and can´t take them. We had a lesson with them this week where they both prayed to be able to go to church this week, and then asked us to pray for that as well. On Sunday morning they walked into church and I almost cried I was so happy. Their mom was able to take a few minutes just to walk them to church and then go back to work. They are my little angels. 

This week there was a soccer game between Uruguay and Chile. The streets literally go crazy. Like three people cancelled our appointments with them because of it as well. Also the next day someone slammed the door on us after they found out my companion was from Chile. Uruguayos take their fĂștbol seriously. 

Everything is going good here. We are working hard and seeing miracles every day. Everyone eat a lot on Thursday for me.
Hermana Marsh

Monday, November 16, 2015

Week Seventeen!

John 16:33 reads: "These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world."Sure we'll have hard times in the world. But Christ has overcome it. He has overcome it all. He has overcome every single tribulation and trial and pain and affliction and heartbreak and hard time and job loss and rude comment and rejection and softball sized cyst. The fact of the matter is that He has already overcome the world. As long as we're on His team, we already know that we're going to win. So why worry? Leave it in His hands, and He will take care of it. Actually, He already has. About 2000 years ago in a garden called Gethsemane and on a cross on a hill named Calvary. 

This week we did not get to work nearly as much as I would have liked because we had to spend a bit of time in Montevideo. I have gotten to know the bus station/ mall combination in Montevideo very well. It is seriously more like an airport than any bus station I have ever seen. 

Two of the people I have been working with since I arrived here in Uruguay in July were sealed in the temple this week with their children! The joy that they had is indescribable. I just want everyone to be able to feel that same way and to know that they can be with their families forever too. 

Okay so I have had some funny language slip ups this week. Mes means month and mesa means table, and I told someone that I had a table and a half in Uruguay instead of a month and a half. I also told my companion that my hot dog (pancho) instead of my stomach (pansa). Oops. We laughed it off both times. It´s bound to happen when you´re forced to speak Spanish 24/7. My companion knows about 10 words in English, and her favorite thing to say is "I don´t no sĂ©."

Summer is quickly approaching and with it comes humidity like none other and a house filled with cucarachas. When they get big, they fall on their back and can´t move and then die like that. I still scream every time I see a dead upside-down giant bug. 

Really not very much happened this week because of all the travelling. We are excited to be able to start back up working hard this week and then I will have more updates. Love you all!

Hermana Kaylee Sarah Marsh

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Week Sixteen!

Mis Queridos,
This week was a little different than most, but still good! On Wednesday at 3:30 in the morning Hermana Dixon left, and my new companion arrived at around 10:30 am. I was just with a sweet member of our ward during that time so I didn´t have to be alone. Bless her heart she got so little sleep. Hermana Leiva is a really great companion for me! She is incredibly patient, especially with my Spanish. She´s a little quiet too, so I have been talking more this week than I have before in my mission. She has already had 13 companions and 7 areas, and still has 4 months left on her mission, so I think she is used to change. I know I am going to learn a lot from her and she will be able to help Mercedes a lot. 

This week I had my very first dream in Spanish! I know that probably sounds like not a big deal to all of you but I was so excited because it means my brain can think in Spanish while I am sleeping. I have spoken less than 10 words in English in the past week because Hermana Leiva speaks hardly any, so I am still constantly learning more Spanish. 

We had a change in our schedule this week. We now wake up at 7 and work until 10 at night, then go home and sleep at 11. It has taken some getting used to, but it´s good because it is starting to get darker later. I also officially finished my training this week, so I have another hour in the afternoons to work as well. Overall the afternoons just got a whole lot longer.

Yesterday I went to Montevideo to sign my visa papers, because right now I am technically just here as a tourist. We had to wake up early and spend 4 hours on a bus each way and a whole lot of hours waiting in a lawyer´s office, but it turned out my papers weren´t ready to be I will be returning to Montevideo soon to actually be a legal resident here. Because we spent the whole day doing that yesterday I am writing today. It was a little frustrating to not have a P-day, but we will live. I am going to get to know Montevideo pretty well by the end of this ordeal. 

Overall this week was pretty good. Different, but good. I am really grateful for the things in my life that I know will never change, because there are so many unsures. I am grateful for God´s love and the scriptures and that we have a living prophet. Those steadys are what keep us going through all the unsteadys of life.

I love you all and hope you have a great week!
Hermana Kaylee Marsh

Week Fifteen!

“Perhaps the greatest charity comes when we are kind to each other, when we don’t judge or categorize someone else, when we simply give each other the benefit of the doubt or remain quiet. Charity is accepting someone’s differences, weaknesses, and shortcomings; having patience with someone who has let us down or resisting the impulse to become offended when someone doesn’t handle something the way we might have hoped. Charity is refusing to take advantage of another’s weakness and being willing to forgive someone who has hurt us. Charity is expecting the best of each other.” -Marvin J. Ashton
This week I only have about 5 minutes to write because it is Hermana Dixon´s last day in Uruguay so we are going to party it up (missionary style). This week really went by so fast and was just filled with miracles. We have seen so many investigators progress, which is something that we had pretty much lost hope in before. 
We extended a baptism date to Ana Laura, who accepted and pretty much cried because she was so happy. She is only 32 and lives alone. She told us that she has always believed in God, but is the only one in her family. We are really excited because she just has so much desire to learn about the Gospel, and we see so much potential in her. Also she made a cake because Hermana Dixon is leaving so that was pretty much the cutest thing ever. 
Halloween is not celebrated as much here. It´s not too safe for little kids to go out alone at night, so basically a few walk around in the afternoon with little bags, and anyone can give them candy. No one really knocks on doors or anything like that. The cool thing about Halloween was that there was FOUR BAPTISMS. No one that I have been teaching, but four women in our ward that I have gotten to know at church. Seeing their joy just brought so much hope.
My new companion is Hermana Leiva and she is from Chile! I am so excited to meet her tomorrow morning. I just know I am going to love her so much, and I´m sure my Spanish will improve significantly because I don´t think she speaks any English. Bueno. 
Anyways sorry this was so scattered but I have got to go! I love Uruguay and being a missionary. And just because everyone always seems to be so worried (apparently having to have surgery in the middle of your mission causes that) I am feeling great and healthy! We walk probably about 6 miles a day and my legs are never even sore anymore.
Hermana Kaylee Marsh

Week Fourteen!

This week I was studying a lot in the New Testament. I love Luke 5. Simon Peter had been out fishing all night long, with nothing to show for it. No fish. Peter is a professional fisherman who knows the lake, the winds, the fishing patterns. All logical reason says there is no fish in that lake. For heaven's sake, he had been throwing his net out and bringing it back in all night and there was nothing. In verse 4, Jesus says to him "Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught." Now here is Christ, a carpenter, who had likely never fished in his life, giving direction on fishing to a man whose livelihood is fishing. Peter answers "Master we have tolled all night, and have taken nothing: nevertheless at thy word I will let down the net."  Now what was Simon Peter's reward for obeying the direction of the Savior, no matter how illogical it seemed to a mortal's mind? They "inclosed a great multitude of fishes" so much that they had to "beckon unto their partners, which were in the other ship, that they should come and help them." There were so many fish that they "filled both the ships, so that they began to sink." Simon Peter was so amazed that he "fell down at Jesus' knees." "He was astonished, and all that were with him." This miracle had such a faith-building impact on him that  when they got back to land, "they forsook all, and followed him."

 Either we can be like Simon Peter, or we can be like the world. We can do as the Savior asks, even if what he asks of us seems silly to us. We can be humbled and remember that he has much more knowledge than us. We can keep the commandments and follow Christ, or we can not. However, when we don't, we are keeping ourselves from receiving those blessings that He has prepared for us. If Simon Peter had not followed the direction of the Savior, he would never have seen those fish. His faith would be less. Because he did, even though it went against what he knew, he was blessed beyond belief. 

Those same blessings are waiting for us. To Simon Peter, a fisherman, two boatfulls of fish was probably the greatest thing he could imagine. Now to me, that just sounds smelly and gross. He has different things waiting for me, and different blessings prepared for each of you. The greatest things that you could ever imagine. Maybe that's two boatloads of fish, maybe it's that A in your hard class, maybe it's the promotion at work, maybe it's to have enough money to buy food for your family for the rest of the month. This real-life example shows us that truly if we do what the Savior asks, He will bless us with blessings we cannot imagine. We will be so filled with blessings, we won't even have room enough for them, just as the boats began to sink because they were so filled with the blessings.

Anyway not much happened this week. We went to Dolores (literally translated Pains) for a Choque Fuerza (Strong Crash), which just meant we contacted all day because the missionary work is struggling in that area. I left my jeans in the chapel that day, because we had been doing service in the morning, and they got stolen hahaha. So now I have no pants. Good thing 99% of the time I wear skirts anyways. 

Also this week I received a set of sheets in the mail and I have no idea why or from whom. We call them the mystery sheets. Also, a few of the members here have started calling me "Mi Gordita" or pretty much "my little fatty." But also some of them tell me I am too skinny and then feed me cake. I´m okay with it. 

This week will be my last week with Hermana Dixon because she is going home next Wednesday. I feel a little ripped off that I only get 5 weeks with her, because she is the best companion I could imagine. I just love her so much and she is an incredible missionary. Next week I will be writing on Tuesday instead of Monday because we will have changes, and then I will be able to tell you who my new companion is and if I had to leave Mercedes. 

The work here in Mercedes is progressing slowly but surely. We had to drop a  few investigators because they weren´t progressing, which was really hard for me. But I know that their time to accept the Gospel will come. We had an investigator come to church with us this week! Her name is Noelia and she is doing awesome. She hasn´t had an easy life, but has been able to find peace through the Gospel. We´re working harder than ever and are excited to see the progress in the future.

Love you all!
Hermana Kaylee Marsh

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Week Thirteen!

First off, I would just like to let everyone know that MY MOM`S BIRTHDAY IS THIS WEEK WOOHOO. I won`t be able to talk to her, so everyone should send her lots of love on the 23rd. I can`t believe she is already 29 again!

This week we have no internet in the chapel, so I am like a real Uruguayo and writing in a cyber! Which means I cannot send any photos and there is a pretty good chance this email will not actually send. We will see. 

We sure have been facing a lot of rejection here is Mercedes. Both Hermana Dixon and I feel like we are working harder than ever, but seeing so few results. We always ask people if we can help them, and lately we can`t even get to the word "help" in the question without them yelling at us that they don`t want to hear from us or they don`t have time. Okayyyy but we just want to help. It is so good though, because we have also seen so many tender mercies from the Lord. For example, a random text from a member saying how much she appreciates what we are doing. A hug and beso every time we pass by the house of two primary girls. Running into a member from Montevideo. A friend of a member who said she doesn`t want to listen to the charlas, but that we are welcome in her home and invtied to dinner anytime. A beautiful sunset. Homemade lemon bars. The tender mercies are everywhere, and are what get us through the days when all 4 of our night appointments fall through (which has happened 3 times this week). God is just so good to us.

The members here are preparing for a trip to Montevideo to go to the temple in Montevideo, but most of them cannot afford the bus ticket. The women in the ward have been making and selling tortas fritas every Friday to help those who cannot pay. It is so cute, and the ward unity is amazing. Also we buy tortas fritas every Friday now to support them, so I can`t complain. 

Two funny stories of the week:
1. We had a bus driver named Roberto, and he pointed out his sister`s house when we were on his bus. So obviously we decided to try and find her. We knocked on the street he had told us and just asked "Do you know anyone that lives here who has a brother named Roberto?" We only realized after how creepy that was. Always adventures here in Uruguay.
2. A member asked us to go to her house to sing to her eldery mother. She wasn`t going to be in her house all day, so she told us to just walk in. So we went and just walked in, but it turned out that her son was ditching school that day and yelled "What are you doing?? This is my house!" We couldn`t stop laughing haha it scared him so bad. 

I think that`s all for this week. A lot of walking and a lot of blessings.

Hermana Kaylee Marsh