Monday, September 26, 2016

Peace, Be Still

This week started with an amazing council about having the faith to baptize. I know that I have already made the decision to be a great missionary but I wasn't sure if I actually had the faith to baptize people. I can now confidently say that have the faith to baptize. And I will baptize. The mission leadership council was on Tuesday and president started a group discussion by asking me a question. The fact is that it isn't legal to contact people on buses and trams in Geneva. We had one of our companionships ask president about it and he turned the question to us. So, I told them that it may be illegal to walk up to people and talk about the church, but it's not illegal to answer questions. So, I counseled them to just talk to them and be nice and answer any questions that they had. When I explained this to president, he said that that was great and he asked if I had ever considered a career in law. I told him no, because I have frankly never given it a second thought. He quickly told me that I should consider it. So, who knows.

On Wednesday, we were planning on asking 3 people to be baptized. For various reasons, we weren't able to ask anyone, but we saw an awesome miracle. We prayed on Tuesday night and asked where we needed to be. God revealed to us a time and a place. So, we went. We saw a woman and started walking to her. Only woman in the park really. It was a little bit of an awkward walk but we stood up straight and strode swiftly. Once we started talking to her, we quickly realized that we were there at the right place at the right time. Her name is isis and she is so smart and observant and learned. We taught her a lesson and she told us she would read the Book of Mormon, and actually planned to read it all in a couple weeks. We will have to see what comes of her because we will see her again this Wednesday. I also had the chance to give a baptismal interview to a man named mark. It was an amazing experience that I don't think that I will forget. The humility I that man taught me many things about myself.

We had a zone training on Thursday and tried to get everyone pumped. It worked pretty well and it is at times like those that I am very grateful for my experience in high school.

We met a lady that told us we were a cult because we think we have the truth. By her standards, she was also technically part of a cult. Oh well. We just dodged that blow and invited her to learn more about the message. After denying many loving attempts to share with her the message of the restored gospel, she had to leave. I can't really explain the sadness I have to see those that wander in darkness because they refuse to learn of the truth.

At marks baptism, elder Kelsey, elder Ramsey, and I sang nearer my god to thee. It's went pretty badly but I don't get embarrassed very easily so it's okay. The spirit was there anyway.

On Sunday, Geneva didn't allow cars to go through the center of the city. It was pretty awful.

John 8:2-11
early in the morning he came again into the temple, and all the people
came unto him; and he sat down, and taught them.

3 And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst,

4 They say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act.

5 Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou?

6 This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him. But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not.

7 So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.

8 And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground.

9 And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst.

10 When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee?

11 She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.

I thoroughly love these verses because of the understanding that I have of them. To understand more fully the lesson that Jesus was teaching, we must understand the context. By bringing him this woman taken in adultery, the scribes and the Pharisees were trying to catch Christ in his words. It is true that, in the law of Moses (the law followed by the Jews, given in the Old Testament) those who were adulterers were to be stoned. However, the city at this time was under Roman rule, and the Roman Empire prohibited this punishment. So, if Jesus agreed that she should be stoned, he would advocate a practice that wasn't popular and actually illegal. On the other hand, if he said she shouldn't be stoned, he would advocate the belittlement of the law given to Moses. Through his response, Jesus was able to teach us something much more than what the scribes and Pharisees were seeking. In inviting he without sin among them to cast the first stone, he taught us that we shan't judge, for we are no better than her. It goes even further, though. Jesus was the one without sin. By his invitation, he could have cast a stone. However, he lovingly invited this woman to 'go, and sin no more.' I think all of us at one point will find ourselves in the place of this woman: lost, rejected, unloved, confused. Thanks to this example, though, I am sure that anyone, no matter how far gone, can come back to who they truly are and claim their potential of who they truly can be as a son or a daughter of God.

That's all,
Elder Marshall Underwood


 Giant fork in Lausanne

Monday, September 19, 2016

Strike Out

This week started out pretty slow. We teach a lot of people on theroad but aren't really finding any
new investigators.

Let me tell you about Abdel. He took a Book of Mormon from me and then read a little and at our next meeting he told me that it was true. In another meeting, he indirectly claimed to be Jesus Christ. Needless to say, we aren't teaching him anymore, but it was a good experience.

We got to see another baptism in the Spanish ward again. It was really powerful.

If you have seen the Mormon message about the Swiss people (the husband of the couple really loves chocolate), they invite us over often. It's quite the game trying to sneak brother muller chocolate because his wife won't let him eat any. Also this week, I had the opportunity to give sister muller a blessing. It was so specific and powerful.

On Saturday night, the Spanish ward threw a party that was really fun, and a lot of investigators came.

On Sunday, some guy showed up at church saying that he wanted to know more. Miracle. We'll see where that goes!

That's all.

Elder Marshall Underwood

Side note:
We were walking out of the train station and a guy stopped us and asked us a question about Jesus. Elder Kelsey answered and he told us that we were wrong. Side note: a change has happened to me in Geneva that makes it so I'm basically not scared to say anything to anyone. So, I gently touched his shoulder and shifted myself next to him. I said "sir, we are not wrong. We are here to testify of Jesus Christ an......." He cut me off and said, "you remind me of someone. You know, the American actor that died young." Turns out that he was talking about James dean haha. I'll take it.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Can you smell that?

This week was a great week because it was the last week of Elder Keller. He decided to really work as hard as he cold so we did some good stuff. The week started with chocolate that literally blew my mind. Probably one of the best days of my life.

The week was scattered with moments of me getting really excited because it is fall and it is starting to smell like fall. It's one of my favorite things in the world so I kept asking elder Keller if he could smell fall in the air.

Here are some random good experiences that I had:

We walked into the park and the first couple people weren't having it at all. Then there was a man that stopped us and asked if we speak English. He then said, "oh, you are the elders, great!" It turns out that he got baptized a few weeks go in Kosovo and now he lives in Geneva. It was a great miracle to find him.

There were also two kids in the park that saw that I had a plaque on and smartly bragged that they knew my name. One of them walked up to get a closer look and said, "I recognize you. Your name is..... Jesus Christ?!" Needless to so, I quickly corrected that and told him who I was.

I started to talk to this lady and she said, "oh yeah you're talking about the Book of Mormon and blah blah blah." I said, "not the blah blah blah, but yes the Book of Mormon." She laughed and asked some good questions which was good because I've actually tried to talk to her before and she rejected me straight off.

A member took us to Chinese food.

On Saturday, basically everyone rejected us. It was really weird. That's okay though. With my new comp Elder Kelsey (from Orem) we will kill it.

Love you,
Elder Marshall Underwood

Monday, September 5, 2016

The Things We Lost in the Fire

This week was very interesting.

It started out with some great miracles. For example, teaching three lessons on a P-day which doesn't happen very often.

The next day, I was with elder Whitmer of an exchange and we had a really good time together. We taught some interesting people in the park. Including one guy that pulled out the "don't add or take away" line. At that moment, if you were there, you would have seen me pull out my scriptural bazooka and prepare to blow his mind into oblivion. Luckily I just calmly explained to him that he was dead wrong. He didn't really understand in the end, which was either proof of my outstanding inability to incorrectly explain an entirely elementary idea or of his outstanding inability to misunderstand a fundamental fact of the gospel. Contrary to the tone of this paragraph, we left him with a prayer and a smile. He was a cool guy that loves God. Sometimes I can't ask for more than that.

On Wednesday we had a conference. Elder Keller and I wrote a mix of the songs carry on and high on a mountain top. It went pretty well! It was fun because we had never done that kind of thing before. The conference went pretty well and we ate breakfast for lunch. We also got to play capture the flag and Elder Keller, I, and the assistants led our team to uncontested victory.

On Thursday I went to Gex so that I could start getting my titre de séjour (so that I can be legal in France for another year.) We had a couple investigators that cancelled our rdvs that day but we found some cool people in the park.

Then the week burned. We had 3 people on track to baptism. We currently have 0. One of them doesn't want anything to do with us, another wants to stay home instead of engaging in church, and the other one called one of our members and told her that he wanted to do naughty things with her. When I received this last news, I wanted to go over to this guys house and smack him silly. This man has a wife and children that he's basically willing to desert for a young woman. It was thoroughly surprising because I knew that this wasn't him. We went to his house and didn't mention in. We taught him a lesson about Enos and I called him to repentance. With tears in his eyes, he looked up at me and said that he wanted to follow God. Still crying, he said a closing prayer and led us to the door. We mentioned that we had heard about the situation and he recognized it as Satan trying to pull apart his life. It seemed to have gotten better but other news later in the week made it seem as if he wasn't so repentant. With the other guy that just didn't want to commit, we told him that he was in a war for his soul between Satan and God and that it was up to him to chose. We told him how to win and he basically rejected it. I'm not done with that guy. I love him too much to just watch him walk away from what saved his family.

The next day I got a text from a woman that said "I AM YOUR MOTHER THEY WILL TURN YOU INTO A WOMAN." She's crazy.

Still taught 20 lessons this week even though we basically got wrecked.

During church, i was thinking about the power of the priesthood and I thought of my dad. I asked myself why my dad never got mad even thought most of the time he had every reason to smack us silly. I have always been amazed at how he keeps calm and collected in the face of firecrackering emotions. Most would say that it is just his personality. I don't say that his calm disposition doesn't play a role in it, but I believe that there is something else that means more to him. He wants to have always that power of the priesthood that comes through being like the Saviour. He wants to follow his steps and become like him, thus accessing his same power. Thanks dad. I started to learn that lesson.

I had a beautiful week. I love it here.

Until next week,
Elder Marshall Underwood