Monday, January 25, 2016

"Someone has been saying his prayers"

This week was a great week. Here are some things that I learned!

I will start on Wednesday night when we walked into the Garcia home. Something struck me about the home and I didn't know what it was. Elder Berry turned around to me and said "Does this house feel different to you?" I answered in the affirmative which led Elder Berry to say, "I think someone has been saying his prayers." Our lesson with Brother Garcia went amazingly and he told us that he had been saying his prayers every day and that he knows that God is helping him. We taught the plan of salvation and he was so amazed by it. He asked amazing questions and was so excited to know. He is an incredible human being that is really searching for the truth. This is what missionary work is all about.

Thursday was a series of late and delayed trains which led to me and Elder Berry being an hour and a half late to district meeting and then I finally got back into my ville at 8:10. I had a great conversation with this lady on the train. She asked questions such as "why is the Catholic church different than what is in the bible?" and "Why do people pay to be forgiven?" and "where do I go after this life? No one has ever told me." I tried to tell her that I just know all of those answers and I started to explain, but she didn't want to listen to me talk. So, I listened to her talk about her views on immigration.

Contacting this week was so hard. We have recently had a push to love people more when we contact them. Since I got to France, contacting has basically become a game. A game to contact as many people that I could without losing a conversation or getting denied. The best way to explain it is that these people have daggers that they throw at you when they deny you. When you close yourself off from the situation and you just talk to talk, the daggers don't hurt. But, when you open up yourself and really try to show them that you love them, their words cut you to your soul. This may sound a little dramatic but it's true. I tried so hard to love people this week and just got denied all week. Thus, this week turned into one of the hardest of my mission so far.

BUT, one day, I was really struggling and I was just trying not to complain to Elder Berry, Then, he started opening up to me and I realized that we both feel the same way! Knowing that someone else was feeling like I was really helped me and now Elder Berry and I are really ready to smack France with the Love of Christ.

This week, I had the opportunity to give a priesthood blessing. When I was asked to do it, my mind started racing to think about what I was going to say, but then I remembered that the spirit would give me all of the things I needed to. So, I just calmed myself and placed my hands on the head of the person I was blessing. I don't know how it works, but the words just come. I listen, they come. Then afterwards, I don't really remember what I said because those words weren't for me.

Well, I've learned a lot this week and I'm excited when I see my spiritual progression. I love the gospel and how it changes not only the lives, but the hearts of those that follow Christ.

Love a lot,

Elder Marshall Cluff Underwood

Missionaries in my district 

Monday, January 18, 2016

Au'ai-je fait?

This Monday was a great day for Elder Berry. He bought a nice new suit and let me tell you it is smokin. Right now, it is "soldes" which basically means that everything is on clearance. However, keep in mind that things are just stupid expensive in the first place so now they are just reasonably priced.

On Tuesday, I had the chance to do an exchange in Bordeaux. It was really fun and we taught a woman that is going to get baptized soon! She loves the gospel and thinks that everyone should learn about it. We also helped a guy build a kitchen. I love Bordeaux. However, the thing about Bordeaux is that you are always contacting people on buses or trams so it is a little bit different. BUT IT IS SO FUN. You can just talk to people about whatever you want and somehow, the gospel always comes up. One guy that I met complimented my French and then went on to explain that he is from England. He said it took him longer than a year to get to where I am. I told him it was because God helps me. He asked why I would want to give the credit to someone else and not to myself. I explained to him that I am here doing His work, so He is going to help me. And I know that is true.

Me and Elder Price in Bordeaux

The Bordeaux Zone

Wednesday I went back to Perigueux and I was just feeling so off. We taught the Garcias in the night time and I was just struggling so hard. However, the meeting with him was phenomenal. We were planning on asking him to be baptized, but Elder Berry didn't feel it so he turned to me at the first of the lsson and said not to invite him. Nevertheless, after talking about the plan of salvation, HE ASKED US "WHEN CAN I GET BAPTIZED?" It was just so amazing and I know that God leads this work. The happiness I see in Brother Garcia's eyes when he thinks about the gospel is undeniable.

Thursday was an exchange with Brive. I woke up feeling fine, but then I struggled so hard during the day. Elder MacArthur was with me and I felt really bad I hate giving up so I just kept on trucking, talking and teaching.

Friday we had zone training and that was really fun. We met a new missionary that came in. She took French for a long time in school, but then went to the MTC for 6 weeks. What a mistake - haha. Zone training was fun and we talked a lot about families and how to find families to teach!

Saturday, I ate breakfast and did not feel good. I called the nurse and explained how I had felt the past few days and she said to stay inside. That was the worst because we had 4 teaching appointments lined up for that day. Oh well. All I learned is that being sick is the worst, being sick as a missionary is ever more so. However, all is good now so that means that you don't get to worry! @mom

In church I gave my first talk. I was supposed to talk 10 minutes and I went about 20 or more. Oops.

A member's house he is building

Anyway. Beautiful week.

Elder Marshall Underwood

Monday, January 11, 2016

Two Worlds, One Family

My title this week is a representation of my relationship with Elder Berry. I feel like the events of this week will show you how close we have grown.

This Monday started with an amazing family home evening lesson. Elder Berry and I have been working really hard on becoming good teachers and we are now teaching in great unity. One of the members at family home evening told us that we are just beautiful young men and then basically committed us to always being active in the church. What she didn't know is that Elder Berry and I already made a pact to always stay active just because of all of the amazing experiences that we have had. Also, Monday, I had litchis. They are awesome.

On Tuesday, I got word from Elder Martinez in Pennsylvania that Ellen got baptized! Remember when I said a while back that there was a lady I invited to be baptized and she just wasn't healthy enough? Well, now she is baptized. The miracles that God can work are amazing because she couldn't even really leave her house a few month ago.

I am sure all those guys had to help her.

Also, I received the pictures and emails from the IB dinner. Congrats to all of my homies and thank you for taking pictures with cardboard me. On Tuesday at English class, I got to learn some really great French slang. Also, Tuesday was an exchange with Elder Tew. Nothing huge happened.

However, on Wednesday when I went to Angoulême to pick up Elder Berry, when we were on the way back, we ran into a guy to which we had taught the first lesson and then not talked to again because he said he wasn't interested! He told us that he was reading a little bit of the Book of Mormon! It was an insane miracle and we committed him to start it from the beginning. he is on a grand spiritual search and I know that he will find the truth when he is ready for it. Until then we just have to keep in contact. At the end of our conversation, I asked him if he knew what the spirit felt like and he said he didn't really know. I explained the different ways that God talks to us and he said that maybe our encounter on the train was a sign from God! I said "yeah, maybe it was" even though I wanted to say "HECK YEAH IT WAS AHHHHH." Our teaching in unity was awesome even though we were on a train.

That same day, we taught the Garcia family! Wooohoooo! It was amazing. The first thing he said when we sat down was "so I hear that you give a series of lessons in order to bring people closer to Christ. I want all of those." It was a great lesson. Also, the French kiss each others cheeks to greet each other. THe missionaries don't. But, one of his daughters caught me by surprise and so that happened. Then Elder Berry took one for the team too. Afterwards, I said "sorry I didn't see it coming" and he said, "I'm not going to let you go down alone. haha"

On Thursday, we went to Limoges. This was a bigger city and so I got to contact people on buses and stuff! It was the greatest! I met an old couple that was so stoic. They didn't laugh at any of my jokes. I asked if they have ever heard of the Mormons and then explained that "we are the handsome young men that contact people on buses." They didn't laugh. I then introduced them to my companion and said, "don't worry, he's nice too." and then they didn't laugh. Then I went on to tell them a joke about yachts and they didn't laugh. So, I transferred the conversation to their family and stuff like that. They were not interested in God. On another bus, this kid came up to us and siad "are you the Jehovas Witnesses?" I said, "No, are you?" (I was obviously trying to make a funny joke that Elder Berry would make) \but then the kid just said "yes!" Luckily his stop was next so my epic joke fail didn't create a cloud of intense awkward. During this exchange with Limoges, Elder Quinn and I invited someone to be baptized. he said yes and he is excited! Miracles! We later stopped by an investigators house and we didn't see her name on the door anymore. Out of nowhere, she walked by and said, "who are you looking for?" Elder Quinn said "you!" Then we walked her a couple of kilometers to her house! I don't know why she happened to walk by her old house at the exact time we were there. It's probably because the church is true. She has intense depression but after walking and talking with us about the gospel, she was smiling so widely! Miracles! This exchange night ended with a game of magic. This is a nerdy card game that Elder Berry introduced to me and it's a giant trap and it's just so fun. I like doing it with Elder Berry.

On Friday, Elder Berry and I were walking down the street talking about Josh Groban. Then, after about 5 seconds of silence, we both broke into "SOFT SUNDAY SOOOOUUUNDS." Let me tell you that we have been together for a long time. Also, I asked Elder Berry "where do you think _____ is at his spiritual progression." Again, after about 4 seconds of silence, we both held up our hands in the shape of a zero. Also, Elder Berry just remembers everything so he just knows everything about my life.

I cut all of my hair on Saturday. And we made an apple tart.

Sunday was Sunday. But I did eat the best fudge that I have ever had. Sorry mom.

Elder Marshall Underwood

Me and Frère Laban

A church - they are everywhere.

First public restroom use

Monday, January 4, 2016

Je reste pantois

I should start by telling you that Elder Berry and I will be in Périgueux for another transfer so you can go ahead and send all of those letters that you have written.

This last Monday was really fun. Elder Berry bought some shoes and he looks like a baller. We didn't have family home evening so we were stuck inside that whole curfew. Let me tell you that sitting in the apartment for 4.5 hours is the last thing that I wanted to do. We just sat inside and dreaded transfer calls. They come on Fridays.

We had a fun conversation while tracting.
Elder Berry: Ma'am, I love your house. It's beautiful.
Lady: Thank you, but I'm afraid that I don't need you.
Elder Berry: Oh, but it's okay because we need you.
Lady: You really are adorable, but it's too bad because I don't need you still.
That's it.

I am noticing a pattern that everyone thinks we are cute, but they don't want to talk about God.

Elder Berry said that before my mission, I looked like a dragon tamer.

The zone leaders did an exchange with us on Tuesday and then slept over. Hey, their train was at 4:45 in the morning so Elder Berry and I woke up early to make them breakfast. I was pretty tired and so I almost cut my finger off while preparing the peppers. It's okay though. I kinda just cut off the very tip. C'est pas grave.

 Look Kelsey - It's me and Elder Price at 4 am. (Cousin Kelsey Hawkes' friend - has a friend on a mission in Lyon France - that friend's friend is Elder Price)

Early train ride for the zone leaders

This same day (Wednesday), Elder Berry and I happened upon a giant abbey while tracting. It was huge and weird, but also really cool.

Transfer calls came. Our district changed. Now, we have Perigueux, Brive, Angoulême, Limoges and Poitiers. If you look at those cities, they are very far away from each other. It is like covering from Logan to Salt Lake. My mission is ginormous.

On Friday, these 6 drunk guys started harassing us from across the river. We explained to them that we aren't Jehovas witnesses. Then they loved us and they were really sorry for yelling at us. Quote from Elder Berry: "I love that because it is the same every time. I know that if I can just get the drunk amendment to know that I am not a Jehovah's Witness, they will love me." Later a guy contacted us from across the river again (about 50 yards away) and he said he wants to come to family home evening. Cool. Miracle in my book.

Pick up line from Elder Berry: "Eternity is a long time to be with the saggy old man if he is not awesome. I can be your saggy man."

CURFEW GOT LIFTED THIS SATURDAY YAYYYYYY!! That means we got to contact at dark. It was so fun and refreshing. Pictures are Perigueux at night.

Church was awesome. Those same two friends of a member came again. They love church. That night, we went to the family Grattepanches house. They are amazing. They made deer. I am just so blessed here. They invited over a less active family too and they had a great time.

I love it here. I'm not quite sure why Elder Berry and I are staying again in the same place, but I know that I'm going to find out.

Love always,
Elder Marshall Cluff Underwood

Classic Marshall