Monday, November 30, 2015

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas


On preparation days, we usually run with a member. Last preparation day, while we were running, IT SNOWED!! It was so great and I couldn't stop smiling. However, it did not stick and I have not seen any precipitation yet. It's not the same over here when it comes to snow.

This week, we were supposed to go to Lyon in order to do a conference with all the new missionaries, but President Brown cancelled it because he did not feel good about it. Anyway, we expected to take a train to Lyon on Tuesday, but they told us that we would be taking the train on Wednesday. Tuesday went along normally, but we were far away from home and the sun was setting. So... we ran about 2 to 2-1/2 miles in our winter gear. Once inside, clothes came off and all of the windows opened immediately! Wednesday came around and we took our 9.5 hour journey to the mothership. Périgueux is not that far away from Lyon, but their isn't a rail that goes straight between them. We have to go down through Montpelier. It's a little grueling but trains through the south of France aren't too bad 😍

Train Party. Yes. Harry Potter trains are real.

Once in Lyon, on Thursday, there were about 6 people that had to go do legality. In legality, they do some medical tests and ask a lot of questions about your health history and stuff. Then they give you a sticker  that says you're legal. In my interview thing, the lady said that she was going to give me a card for a free blood test. I assumed HIV so I quickly told her that I was not sexually active. She said that the test was for anyone who wanted it. However, I still refused the paper and said I don't have HIV (VIH). She insisted and I finally just folded it and put it in my pocket because I didn't want to walk out and have the other elders see that I had an AIDS paper.

It takes too long to get home, so we were lucky enough to stay in Lyon for Thanksgiving dinner at the mission home!! It was great and Elder Berry and I did almost all of the dishes afterwards. The Browns are the best.

Party in Lyon

Elder Berry says, "Check out my suave companion - the vest and everything!"

We came home on Friday and had Thanksgiving with a member family. They made pecan pie. It's nothing compared to Grandma's pecan pie though! But, they made a pumpkin pie from scratch and that was incredible. You don't see pumpkin in a can here.

Saturday was a fun day because we did some service. She gave us persimmons and I had no clue what they were, but now I love them!

Sunday was stake conference and we got to listen to the Browns speak. Sœur Brown is just the cutest and she told a story about her granddaughter. President Brown explained that the missionaries had a curfew now and he challenged the members to invite us into their homes during the nighttime hours. After the meeting, a family came directly to us and invited us over. At their house, we ate well. Duck is breathtakingly good when done by a pro. But that's not the important part. We taught a little lesson with the new Christmas video and then I testified of Christ. When I was testifying, I saw the surprise on their faces. It is needful to know that I was in this same situation about a month ago and with the same people. When I finished, one of them said, "How long have you been in France?" And I said a month and a half. They then went on to congratulate me on my progress and I felt really good.

In every ville, there is always a little Christmas village thing. Picture below. It is a really cool place, but we don't really get to just go hang out in it.

Anyway, other than that, the work is going well and the members are really on our side. We have found a couple people and have come a really long way. We didn't get to meet with the Garcia family this last week. That was not good. We should be able to meet with them this week.

Agen Cathedral

Until next time,
Elder Marshall Underwood

Monday, November 23, 2015

Referrals from ducks

Friends and Family,

I would like to apologize on behalf of all other missionaries that have told you that their mission is the best... Because they lied. In the words of Elder Berry, referring to the France, Lyon Mission, "My mission takes every other mission, throws it on the ground, and body-slams it with awesome."

This week was so beautiful. Earlier in the week, we saw this weird browser app download on our iPads and we decided to open it. It took us to the missionary portal and then suggested that we look at the new referral page. We went on there and saw an old referral that we had already contacted, but there was also another! So, I went to the bathroom and Elder Berry called the guy. I could hear them talking a little bit, and it sounded good, but I didn't know. When I came out of the bathroom, Elder Berry threw his arms in the air and we gave each other a huge hug. This was a golden referral, and here's how it happened.

We have a member named Frère Canard (yes, Brother Duck) and he takes his kids to a boxing dojo. There is another family that goes there too that was really looking for God in their life. They used to be Catholic, but they didn't feel that it was bringing the spirituality that they needed. They investigated with the Jehovah's Witnesses and quickly decided that they did not have answers to all of their questions. He then felt like he needed to talk to Frère Canard. He said that he didn't know why, but when Frère Canard explained his beliefs, he felt really good and he knew that it was what he needed to do in order to strengthen his family and his faith in Christ. So, he got on and requested a missionary visit! We taught his family the restoration of the gospel and he ate it up. He loved everything that we said and the spirit was so strong. We asked the member that came with us to explain the Book of Mormon. he went into really grand details that I was afraid would push him away, but he loved it and only wanted  to know more!

I know that we found this family because we have been really focusing on member missionary work. To give you some numbers, this transfer, I have talked with 235 people just on the street about the gospel and non of them became investigators. However, when people see the example of members in their life, they can feel the power of God. I love the gospel.

Other that that, Elder Berry and I had time to set up our Christmas tree (thanks mom) and I also made a planner cover. The videos included are explained within them, and I think that you will enjoy to see the progress of my language skills!

Have a beautiful week my people!

Elder Marshall Underwood

Envoyé de mon iPad

Monday, November 16, 2015

The Mist

It has been a beautiful foggy week here in the south of France.

We began the week with a fire family home evening lesson. We went around in a circle and told everyone to say 5 things that they are thankful for. My companion and I started, so we just banked on setting the norm that everyone is thankful for Jesus Christ. Naturally, everyone followed in saying Jesus Christ. Then, we went into the hall and grabbed the big picture of Jesus Christ from the wall and then had everyone tell him they are thankful for him. Half in attendance cried. it was a beautiful experience and a great FHE lesson that I encourage you to have.

After family home evening, I found out that my church shoes also work for sprinting home at 8:55 at night because French people love to eat for a long time.

My companion and I made a goal this week to call every old investigator and potential investigator for whom we had numbers and pass by those that did not have numbers. This is basically an impossible task, but we got really close! Elder Berry came up with the idea to take our papers to a park so that one of us could call while the other one contacted people walking by. This was really successful and I know that we were blessed for doing all that we could do!

We also both set ten goals for the week: 5 companionship goals and 5 personal goals. The big one for both of us was not cracking our knuckles. Currently, we have both been clean for three days so it is going really well.

On Wednesday, we made cookies... But they got burned. It's ok though because "Mario" is a professional pastry maker. It was actually pretty humiliating handing him the plate of badly made cookies. But, it made him mile so no worries.

We had the privilege of going on an exchange with our zone leaders this week. They are both really great guys and Elder Sanders (right) and I basically had to sprint to all the rendezvous that we had! They slept over at our house and then when we woke up, the first thing that I heard was Elder Berry say, "hhwwwwhhhaaaatttt?!" Elder Garside then started reading the text that recounted to events of the previous night in Paris and advised us to stay in our apartments. It was short lived though, we got another text at nine that said not to worry about it. As for the whole situation, I am safe. The elders in big cities have some restrictions but the work is the same here where I am. Perigueux is pretty safe. So, don't worry.

This beautiful week ended with a primary program. Let's just say that tears were shed. I love to see the faith of the children. There is nothing more beautiful.

Elder Marshall Underwood

PS The unmentioned picture is from a train station in Mussidan. The sunsets here are fantastic.

PSS ATTENTION EVERYONE! I got the box with all of your letters and I could not be happier! What a surprise! I have savored reading all the letters. I am overwhelmed with being able to write you all back personally. I was so surprised to see all the love shown to me in your letters. Thank you so much for doing that for me. I am glad to know that you all love and pray for me because I love and pray for all of you a lot. So, once again, THANK YOU SO MUCH! Much love, Elder Marshall Cluff Underwood

Monday, November 9, 2015

Pear eh geuh


The subject line of my email is a rough pronunciation for the city in which I am serving.

If I have not mentioned it before, my companion and I whitewashed this area and there wasn't much going on. So, we contact a lot of people and try to fix rendez-vous, but the work hasn't been going forward too much. We have met some cool people and found some investigators, but it is still really slow here.

Because of this, my companion and I were praying about what we needed to do in order to find those that are ready to hear the gospel. But, when we started out week, we still had no clue.

We did have one really cool experience early in the week. We were working a little in Centreville (downtown) before we went out to another ville for a RDV (rendez-vous). We both had the name of this guy come to our head. We met this guy on one of the first days after being totally lead by the spirit right to his front door. He told us to come back in a couple weeks. So, we knew exactly who we needed to go see. We were around the police station when we started working. We walked down what we thought was his street and then realized that it wasn't. Elder Berry had an image come into his head of a rond-point (round-about) with 5 streets and there was a government buiding on one of the corners. This was all we had to work with and we went for it.

We raced through the streets trying out every street we knew that was similar. On the way, we taught a lesson to a girl on the street, and met two other prople who wanted to learn from us! Nevertheless, we did not feel accomplished. Then, all of the sudden, I saw an image pop into my head that the rond-point had a fountain in the middle and there was a pharmacy on one of the corners. When we put the two images together, all we knew is that we walk past this rond-point like every single day. Again, we set off. After a while, we knew exactly where we needed to go. So, we raced there and finally knew that we were where we needed to be. And... We found ourselves situated next to the Police Station... right where we started our journey. We felt so dumb, but I think that God knew that there were people out there to find before we went to see the guy. To say the least, the spirit of God works in mysterious ways, and I am simply a servant!

Cool France Street

Other than that, we had zone conference this week. We went there praying that we could find an answer to how we are supposed to find people. All of the missionaries were instructed to bring their area books (Elder Berry and I forgot ours... classic haha). However, the conference started and we found that all we were going to talk about is how to use our planners fully and how to use the information in the area book. The day before the conference, Elder Berry and I decided to color code our planners and they look really pretty, so we were totally prepared for the lecture on planners. However, as the assistants were talking about the area books, something cool happened. President cut one of the assistants off ans said, "I had a thought come to me in the middle of the night last night, and I didn't know why." He continued to expain that he knew he was supposed to share it now, because someone needed to hear it. "The thought was, 'It's right under your nose.'" THERE IT WAS. Of course! It is right under our nose. We had been spending so much time trying to contact people and didn't realize that there are potential investigators in the area book that are totally ready! I know that our mission president is called of God, and that God hears our prayers.

Ponderize: "If we are no better tomorrow that we were today, we are not very useful." David O. McKay. I love this because missionary work is so based on goals. This week, Elder Berry and I have a goal to contact everyone in the area book. That thing is a monster, but we will slay it.

Family and Friends, I love you. And if you are reading this, I would give you a suggestion of reading material for this next week that I found beautiful this week:
Becoming a Somebody - John H. Vandenberg
What is a Friend - Marvin J Ashton
Perfection Pending - Russell M. Nelson

Until next time,

Elder Marshall Cluff Underwood
Les Missionaires
2 rue de l'arc
24000 Périgueux

Elder Berry and I - food


A great gift from the one and only Zoe Wadge - Utah HOME t-shirt

Monday, November 2, 2015

Sit vis vobiscum

The time has come,

As a missionary, time is different. Each day feels like a normal day or even a long day, but then all of the sudden it has been 2.5 months and I feel like I ahven't even been gone. Time needs to seriously chill because I don't want to leave.

This week started out with a sweet FHE lesson about the commandments, the spirit, and the prophet.

Elder Berry got a package with the hot wheels cars in it. We do FHE for the single adults.

On Tuesday, Elder Berry and I made an apple tart.

The man to whom we gave it said that he ate the whole thing and then licked his fingers.

Boots are a big thing here in France and I am trying to convince myself that I can pull them off when I go home.

I got some huge eclaires down in Brive.

Ponderize 1 Nephi 1:3 "And I know that the record which I make is true; and I make it with mine own hand; and I make it according to my knowledge."

Funny story: EB=Elder Berry EU=Elder Underwood
Lady walks by and we both take notice of her outfit.
EU: I'm sorry but that white on cream combination was not working out.
EB: yeah. That's almost as bad as eggshell on cream. It's not the 90's anymore, you can't just do whatever you want!

Cool Story:
My branch threw a sweet Halloween party and everyone was there having a fête in the chapel. It was so fun and everyone had a great time. I took some pictures of the party. Elder Berry and I were the only ones in costumes - we traded name tags. The sound system made the ground shake. There's something that you won't find in Utah! (Notice in the pictures - comparing to the pic from FHE - the pulpit - they moved the chairs out of the way in what looks like the chapel.)

On the bus one day, this guy from a couple of rows up came back and said, 'do you talk about God?"
So, of course, we said yes and he began to unload his questions on us. We answered them but he wasn't believing our words. So we introduced him to e Book of Mormon and showed him a chapter that would answer his questions. So, he read it and he said he understood. It was a great experience that showed to me the power of the Book of Mormon. We started to get his number and then he said, "wait this is my stop." Instead, we just gave him a card and he ran off the bus. Unfortunate. But at least he got his questions answered.

Family and friends. I love you. I'm proud to be a missionary for my Savior.

Love Elder Underwood

Service SAturday