This has been an interesting week. I am in Marshall, Missouri now. It is a crazy small town. I love it. We actually have a really big ward boundary that includes a few little towns. We do have a walmart and a couple restaurants. Then some athletic store. That is about it. I die laughing at how small this place is. I always wanted to go to a really small place to serve, so my wish is granted. My companion is Elder Decker. He is pretty cool. This past Saturday there were 3 baptisms. One was a child of record, but the other 2 were convert baptisms. They are a cool part-member family. We are going to start working on the father who recently has become a little more interested with his kids being baptized. So apparently Marshall has a ton of hispanic people. I noticed that real quick and didn't understand what would bring a large spanish community to Marshall, of all places. Anyways, I am going to be rather busy working in this area (my companion is english speaking) and working with the many spanish people in our branch who don't come to church, some in part bc of the language barrier. I was sent in this area to help build up this area to be ready for a spanish branch by March. I also realized that I don' know spanish very well. My first sunday was pretty neat, and overwhelming at the same time. The building is a branch building (didn't know they had them) so it is super small w/o a gym. I think the chapel doubles as a cultural hall bc there are no pews, only chairs. Kinda strange. There are like 5 young women, 1 priest, 1 deacon, and an elder planning on going on a mission here soon. I almost died laughing when I heard how big the youth were. The primary is like 7 or so, including nursery. Pretty much everyone is related. I went into the spanish gospel doctrine class to pick up my spanish. Not as well as I had planned. There are like 6 or so active spanish people. One is a nonmember who's wife is, but he told us the other day he wants to be baptized so we are going to start working with him. He is like more active then many of the members themselves! I love their family. So in the spanish class, they were talking way fast and I understood the first 15 mins really good, then after that I had a tough time listening and translating in my head what they were saying. Pretty tough. Then in Elders Quorum, the 2nd counselor in the branch presidency asked me in front of the priesthood group how my spanish was.......I just looked over to the spanish members there and one of them said in his spanish accent "ehhh, fair." So it is not too bad according to them!!!! Score! Well my plan to take a couple weeks to get my spanish back up before doing a whole lot, failed. The branch president caught me after church and wants me to start translating sacrament meeting to the spanish members starting this coming sunday! I am not sure if I am ready or not but the members are really nice to me and patient with my poor spanish. There were a couple spanish members too who said they could help me out and switch on and off on translating. That makes me feel a little better. There is only like 5 or so spanish families who don't understand any english at all, the others can at least understand and a few are bilingual. That really helps a lot. I have been studying a lot in spanish and hope that I can get things picked up before too long and can help reactivate the spanish members in the branch and baptize a few more spanish people. Spanish are really good on giving referrals and are even more excited to hear the gospel in their own language. Most in this area just go to the local spanish catholic church whether they are catholic or not, but it will be huge if we can get a spanish branch and help encourage the spanish members to bring their friends to help build up the area and help them learn even more about Jesus Christ. So I am pretty excited about this area. I hope I can stay here for awhile.
Hope everyone is doing well. Love you all.
hey this is the pic from the baptism on Saturday. I don't really count it bc I inherited it, but still a cool experience. We are now working with the father who is next to my companion.
I forgot to tell ya. Just to show how small Marshall is, the main attraction here is a memorial garden for Jim the Wonder Dog. Yeah......it is some dog in the 1920s who could understand several languages, obey any command in any language, and predict the future(?)......gotta love marshall.