Mailing Address

Elder Marc Austin Skiles
8013 NE 115th Way
Kirkland, WA 98034

Monday, December 19, 2011

eMail of December 19, 2011

Feliz Natal Family!

Everything is great here. We had a Christmas Mission Conference which was fun. Igor got confirmed on Sunday. Thanks for the picture of the house dad. It looks spectacular. I really think it was time for great grandma to go as well. It's hard enough to be away from your family much less not remember them. I´m sure she remembers everyone now where she is. I´m glad to hear everything is great where you are.

Any kind of call we make here we use the cell phone that we have. For skype we can do at 6:00 which is 1:00 your time. I will have one hour. Christmas here is great. I´m really enjoying singing all the Christmas songs at our apartment. I´m not sure if it annoys my companion or not, but I like it. I just found out that most things here are closed on Sunday. It's because of the strong christian background here. It's kinda cool. We might go to the Zoo today. I´m pretty excited about that.

Tell Patriarch Adams thanks for me. Enjoy each others company during Christmas. We really are lucky to have such a strong family and to have all of the things we have for this Christmas time of year. I love you all and will be thinking about you during Chrsitmas. Feliz Natal!

Elder Skiles

Monday, December 12, 2011

eMail of December 12, 2011

Hey family,

I´m glad to hear things are going well. Things are great here. I got to play piano for a Christmas thing, which was fun. I played one song, my companion played all the other ones, he's much better sight-reader than me.

We also had a baptism. His name is Igor. He is 10. He was a fantastic investigator. Very intelligent. He read everything we told him to, understood everything we taught him, and even knew how to pray before we taught him. The sister who teaches primary said he told the whole story of Joseph Smith by heart in class. I hope he continues strong.

It's starting to rain a lot here which is great because it's just like home. I´m really enjoying listening to Christmas music all the time and singing Christmas music in the apartment and such. It really is a wonderful time of year. I love you all and I´m glad all is going well. I miss you a lot, but this is where I´m supposed to be. See yah all in a couple years. Merry Christmas. Feliz natal!

Monday, December 5, 2011

eMail of December 5, 2011

Hello everyone.

I'm so excited for David and Amanda! I really like Amanda too. Why are we so lucky when it comes to family? It's really a blessing. Sorry about your toe Caleb. That bites. And dad's back. I have been thinking about all you guys doing Christmas Things. I have some Christmas music so I´ll start listening to it. Tell Mac I´ll be thinking about her and her surgery. I´m glad things are going well for all you.

Things are great here too. We had 4 investigators come to church this week. That was really exciting. As for the food here. I like it a lot. Always there is rice, beens, and one or two kinds of meat. I love it. At home I have eggs and bread and I found some peanut butter in one of the grocery stores. The language is coming, but its still hard to understand people. Í´ll just keep plugging away though.

I´m so excited for David and Amanda. I´ll have to figure out how to say engaged in Portuguese. Thanks for the present mom. It looks great on the door. With the calling home thing. I think it will be through Skype actually. I´ll have more details later. I love you all! Merry Christmas!

Monday, November 28, 2011

eMail of November 28, 2011

Hey family,
Things are going great here. We baptized Bianca on Friday. That was pretty exciting, especially because its my first. Still working hard. The language is coming very well. Still learning loads of stuff. My companion is great. Very patient and very humble and very helpful. Its just the two of us in our apartment. This is kind of good because it means I can only speak portuguese all day every day. The apartment is great. It has a bathroom, two bedrooms, a main room, and a kitchen. It even has its own washing machine. I´ll take pictures of it and send them next pday.

The members feed us lunch (the main meal in Brazil) pretty much every day. There's this less-active member named Edson. He's really great. He loves having us over for food and we go to his house sometimes so he can help me study portuguese. He used to be a teacher. Now he's just doing nothing living in his fairly large (for Brazil) house with a pool and everything, living off his dad's fortune which got passed to him after his dad died. He served a mission in Rio de Janeiro, loves the missionaries and feeds us all the time and drives us places on pday, pays tithing, has nothing to do, has a testimony, and doesn't go to church. It kind of confuses me, but we got him to go to church last Sunday and I think he really enjoyed it.

Teaching is getting better and better. An apostle said that teaching by the Spirit means teaching with understanding. This is difficult when you can´t understand what people are saying. That means it's really really important that I learn the language and even more important that I follow the Spirit when teaching.

Thanks for all your prayers. I miss you all very much, but this is only motivating when I am focused on the work. I love you all. Keep the emails coming. See yah in a couple years!

Elder Skiles

Monday, November 21, 2011

eMail of November 21, 2011 (from Cuiaba, Mato Grosso)

Hey family! It's me from the field. Thanks so much for all you emails. I love reading them. I´m so glad everything is going well with all you guys. Everything is fantastic here.

My companion is Elder Violato. He speaks only a little English, but he's very good. He's very patient as I learn the language and try to understand what is going on when we talk to people. I'm coming along with the language, but it's still diffucult to understand what people say. I´m getting better every day though.

It's a good thing mom that we prepared for the heat. It is very, very hot here. My area is in the city of Cuiabá. It's called Coxipó (cosheepo). It's about a quarter of the city for just me and my companion. I have a picture, but I´m not sure how I can send pictures yet. We have been doing a lot of reactivation of less active members. We have a few new investigators as well. We brought two families to church yesterday, which was great. They got to hear Elder Bednar speak for stake conference. He also spoke to us missionaries on Friday. It was fantastic.

One of the biggest problems they have here is marriage. You obviously have to be married to your wife to be baptized, but no one gets married legally here. They just live together and have kids. Most of the time they are completely loyal, but marriage costs money and there is really no benefit to it besides heavenly blessings of unity.

The first day I got here I was really scared. But as I stopped thinking about myself and decided to just think about the work and the people we were teaching, I have started to really enjoy it here. We get to travel around and talk to people about the gospel and invite them to be baptized. It really is the greatest work. As we taught in some of the poorer areas I also realized how much I have. Just to have a clean house with a real floor and enough food and clean water is such a blessing. I'm starting to realize how relying on the will of the Lord can make you happy.

I think I might start sweating Coca-Cola. They drink so much Coca-Cola here and they give us so much of it at every house we go to. I love the food here too. There is a type of fruit called pinque that if you just bite into like a normal fruit, it will stab into your mouth. You have to scrape off the outside with your teeth. My companion warned me about it before so I know what to do. It's really good. All their juice and fruit is really good here.

Thanks everyone so much for you emails and prayers. I´ll be thinking about all of you guys as Thanksgiving and Christmas come up. I love all of you.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

eMail of November 8, 2011

Hello Family!

I´m so excited about all the stuff you guys have going on at home. I love hearing about it. That's an interesting situation with the lights. I´m sure dad will be able to figure something out. It's true what you said dad about the mission rules even now. Some people tell you "don't be too strict on the rules", but you're always told "exact obedience". I think I´ll just do what I´m told to avoid confusion. Some things are hard tho. There is a rule, for example, that you can only take pictures on p-day in the MTC. But my roommates, who were awesome, were leaving; so, we took pictures together last night. I guess I need to try to do better.

I´m super excited for the field! I´m taking a plane there on Tuesday. On Monday, we got to go proselyting around the MTC. It was a little hard because pretty much everyone and their dog has been contacted around here. But we did find people and placed a few copies of The Book of Mormon.

Next week we will get to go somewhere else out in the city. Today we ate at a barbeque place with our professors. It was sooooo goood. So much meat! I'm stuffed right now. It was the best meat though I've probably ever had. I got to try chicken hearts. They were pretty good. I´m so excited to go out into the field right now. A lot of people are getting really tired of the MTC, but I´m still having fun so I´ll just take it as it comes.

I know so much that the gospel is true. Every day. I got to go to the temple today for the last time in 22 months. It's pretty sad. It was a great experience though. The temple is everything I´m realizing. The goal of the temple and missionary work is the same. To bring families together for eternity. I love this gospel and I know it's true. And thankfully. spreading the gospel is nothing like my sales job. What a relief. I love all you guys! My next email to you will be in the field! Thanks for being the best family. I love you all!

Marc Skiles

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

eMail of November 1, 2011

Hey family! Things are going really great here. I have just two more weeks here at the MTC. No, I have not seen Cameron. But maybe I will. Yeah I did hear Elder Ballard speak the day before I left. It was a really great one about listening to the Spirit. I've gotten one "Dear Elder" from you mom. Which reminds me. Just so you guys know. It takes forever for mail to get hear. About a week or more. So, now you can probably start sending anything to my mission home nothing to the MTC.

Also mom, on this paper I was supposed to send you it says don't send anything by Fedex, DHL, UPS, etc. It says the best way to send any packages is priority mail international which is like 12.00 for up to 4 lbs. takes about 3-4 weeks. Anything quicker is more expensive(express mail international flat-rate). Anything you send should be safe, but electronics apparently cost a fortune to send. So yeah. That will apply to my whole mission, so just in case, now you know.

I´m so excited to be an uncle. I think about it all the time. I can´t wait. That's great that Halloween went well for all of you! There is no Halloween here. unless you count people knocking on our door and my companion giving them candy. All of the sudden there are a ton of American missionaries here and much fewer Brazilians. Before it was mostly Brazilians, but now the Americans far out number the Brazilians. Something I just found out is that it's possible that I won't be allowed to play soccer in the field. I wonder why. I guess I´ll find out pretty soon. It's good that you are all busy with stuff. Busy is always good. How is school going for everyone? Is Brent done or in the middle of mid terms right now? How is all the sports/music/drama going for everyone? I love you all. Thanks for being the best family ever!

Elder Marc Skiles

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

eMail of October 25, 2011

Hey family,

Thing are going great here. First of all, the mail system is different here. Use dear elder [] or you have to write exactly the adress that I wrote to you guys [see above address]. Just don't send any packages cuz that is a different story. I was supposed to send you the paper that explains everything, but I think I put in the wrong one. Once I get to the mission field you will be able to do anything and the package system is safe here. I can't remember exactly what to do, but it's written down so I will mail it to you later.

Actually, church is in English. We just say the opening and closing prayers and sing the hyms in Portuguese. Everything else is English. The biggest difference here is there are only about 250 missionaries here as opposed to over 2,000 in the Provo MTC. It's very small. We do get to go out into a small part of the city on p-days [preparation days]; and, next week, we will get to place Books of Mormon somewhere in the city.

I´m learning Portuguese much much quicker here because there are so many Brazilian [missionaries] to talk to. They are all so willing to help us with Portuguese and to correct us. It's great. The MTC (CTM) here is one tall building and a gym. It's right in the middle of Sao Paulo. We live on the top floor so we have a fantastic view from our window of the city. A couple nights I have sat at the window with one of my Brazillian roommates and named things that we see from the window in Portuguese and English. All the Brazilian [missionaries] here are trying to learn English so we help them out with that. One Brazilian elder wanted the verb card I had to learn English with; so I made kind of an English equivalent for him. He left today.

We got to go to the temple today. That was great. The food is fantastic. So good. Especially their desserts. We always sit by Brazilian [missionaries] as much as possible to get practice speaking during meals. A bunch of the Brazilian [missionaries] call me Justin Bieber or Elder Bieber. It's pretty funny. They know most of the popular music from America.

It's so humbling when I have to ask them to slow down so much to understand them. They don't mind it, but it makes me want to work harder to learn the language. I have two companions. Elder Stotts who was in my ward at BYU. and Elder Herrera who was in my district in Provo and got his visa the same time as me.

The flight here went well. Met a lot of nice people on the planes. That's so great that Byron received the priesthood. It's always amazing and motivating to me to hear all of the stories about people turning thier lives around like that. It just testifies so much of the power of the atonement.

I wish I could see Nathaniel and Evan do their speach thing. But... I wish to be here more... sorry. :) I´m sure it will be great. It's not hot at all here. Just warm. Probably high 70´s. Sao Paulo I guess is pretty temperate. All the Brazilians say it's really hot in Cuiabá--really hot and really dry. Sounds fun! I love hearing from you guys so keep the letters and emails coming. It's so great to hear from home. I don't have any time left so I love you all and thank you so much for your prayers.

Elder Marc Skiles

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

eMail of October 18, 2011

Thanks for all your emails. I am so proud of you guys (Caleb, Nathaniel, and Janai) for all the great things you are doing spiritually and other things. They will all make you guys better people. I did see Brent, but I didn't realize who it was till he was about 50 yards from me. It made me feel really happy to see him though.

Yesterday the fire alarm went off while I was getting a haircut. My companion and I had to go out to the field with my hair half cut. It was pretty amusing to everyone. I'm kind of sad to leave here. But excited for Brazil. Sorry about getting a cold Carlene and Brent. That bites. That's great that you are helping Mac mom. She needs it. The package did make it to me yesterday so we are all good with that. My email is kind of choppy, sorry. I don't have much time.

There is an Elder in our district with heart problems that may make it so he cannot go to Brazil. Keep him in your prayers please. I really liked your poem Caleb. It was very good. You have so many talents Caleb. Every time we go to the temple I see little babies and toddlers. It makes me think of my future niece and I want to play with them so bad. I can't though, obviously.

I've never been happier all the time in my life as I am now. The Lord's plan truly is the plan of happiness. I don't even feel that nervous about going to Brazil because I know all of you guys love me and the Lord loves me and will give me whatever trials I need.

Continue to try and be virtuous Nathaniel. It is a wonderful Christlike attribute you are striving for and the atonement of Christ will help you accomplish that. I'm all packed and ready to go on an extremely long flight. I'm so excited. One Elder in my district is also leaving on the same flight so that makes things much easier.

One thing I will miss here is foursquare for gym. Brent and David are probably thinking "oh, your one of those guys". It is pretty funny how intense foursquare can get. It's a lot of fun. Especially since now people laugh and joke around wereas when I first got here it was just sort of this silent tension and the occasional passive aggressive comment about cheep shots and bad calls. It has become pretty fun and lax now. I wonder who thought to put a foursquare court in a gym used by 19 and 20 year olds. They were genuises. I like playing soccer though which will be good for Brazil. Thats all they play.

Anyway, I love you all and very much appreciate your emails and letters. Those are much hoped for things for missionaries. (not sure that was good english). I love you all. I pray for you. Thanks for your prayers. My next email to you all will be from Brazil!

Elder Skiles

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Status Update

Elder Marc Skiles has received his visa to Brazil. He will be leaving the MTC in Provo Utah on Wednesday, October 19 for Sao Paolo Brazil to continue his training in the MTC in Sao Paolo.

Thank you to everyone who has mentioned Elder Skiles in your prayers that he might get his visa soon.

My daughter Janai and I had an opportunity to talk to Elder Skiles on the telephone today where he announced the receipt of his visa. He is doing very well and is very excited about getting his visa. But, he is also sad that only one other missionary in his district received his visa; the others will continue to receive their training in Provo.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

eMail of October 11, 2011

Hey Family,

I'm so glad things are going so well for you guys. I'm so pround of you Nathaniel for trying to make that change to be more virtuous. Being willing to change (being humble) is probably the most important attribute we can have. It enables us to become like Christ. I'm so exited that Ivan is going on a mission to Brazil. The converts here [at the MTC] have such strong testimonies because they know what the conversion process is like for investigators.

Things are still going very well. We had a tremendous learning experience in our district this week. There was this practical joke that some of the kids [missionaries] were playing by turning the head of the water fountain so that people would squirt themselves. Someone brought it up in our district meeting that it was a bit of a distraction. We talked about it for a bit and our district leader asked that no one do it anymore. Some of the kids [missionaries] started to argue back that people should learn to control their focus and the district leader should not be so iron fisted and cannot make rules. Some refused to follow the rule. I was pretty upset about it because I felt we needed to do whatever the district leader said no matter what because he is our leader and I felt they were being very disrespectful of his calling. We talked to our professor about it and we had a long talk about leadership and focusing on the missionary purpose and such. I learned that I should not be so outspoken about my opinion when the issue should be between the District Leader and the people who had the problem and no one else. I should have not gotten involved. It was a great learning experience. It seemed I was the only one to side with the district leader even in the end though. He thanked me for it and that made me feel good. I learned a lot about leadership and how things like that should and should not be handled from that experience.

Things with my companion are great. The most important thing is that we are honest and open with how we feel about things and that makes our relationship and effectiveness so much stronger. We have a timer of exactly 30 min to read all the emails and respond. When time runs out, the program shuts down and we can't send our email so thats why I only write one to all of you and it is kind of short.

I am learning so much here. One of my favorite scriptures now is Alma chaper 17 (i think) about Ammon. There is soooooo much symbolism in that story for missionary work. The servants are the members, the flocks are investigators, Ammon is the missionary, and the water is the gospel. The scattering Lamanites are temptations and addictions. It's so powerful when you think of it that way. That kind of symbolism is all over the place in the scriptures.

I pray for you guys all the time. I am so exited to be an uncle as well. I tell people all the time. I'm learning to sew because my blue slacks ripped the same way the gray ones did. It should be fun. I just want you guys to know that I know that this is Christ's true gospel on the earth. I know without a doubt that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God and the Book of Mormon is true. It's so wonderful to know that because Christ atoned for our sins, we can truly change the desires of our hearts and become clean and new people if we just show our trust and faith in Him. This is the doctrine of Christ and I can't wait to share it with the people of Brazil.

I love you all. It bring me great courage to know that my family is still my family in the Lord. Just like the scripture says. Thanks for your prayers! I love you all.

Elder Marc Skiles

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

eMail of October 4, 2011

Hey Family

First of all. Mom, don't worry about my having a stomach ache. It's not a big deal. I made a goal to stop making negative comments about the food and my stomach pains and as soon as I did my stomach ache went away. The Lord teaches us through our trials. No matter how trivial or small they are. I really really appreciated all of your letters. Getting mail is the best. Tell Rob and Laura thank you so much for the letters. They made me feel so happy.

Conference was fantastic of course. We all go into this big auditorium to watch it on huge projectors. It's pretty great. Very powerful talks as you know. It's fantastic that you guys were thinking of questions during conference. Thinking of questions before conference or before personal scripture study or when we pray is one of the best ways to receive guidance from the Spirit. One of my questions was how can I be more open to receiving revelation from the Spirit. It's funny that that was just like dad's question. They talked a lot about personal revelation.

One of the goals that my companion and I have been struggling with is calling each other 'Elder'. It's very difficult because we have always called each other by our first names since we were 14. We are getting better, but it's kind of funny that we are having such a hard time with that.

I never see Amanda. I try to peek in sometimes, but I can never see her [at the MTC Cafeteria]. Maybe I will leave a note on my tray one day. I'm so excited about being an Uncle. When I was watching conference that one sister (can't remember her name :( ) [Elaine Dalton] talked about raising girls and I thought: Carlene and Brent are going to have a girl, aren't they. haha. It came true. That was a great talk, but it made me want to be a dad. Not exactly my purpose right now, but I am preparing for that.

I learn so much here it's ridiculous. My teachers are fantastic. Just as soon as I think I might finally have this teaching thing down, there is something else that I find out is extremely important that we missed. This is how Heavenly Father teaches. Line upon line. My professor told us a story about how a sister missionary was teaching him. The sister missionary started to bear her testimony, but because she didn't really know the language, what she said didn't make any sense at all. My professor said that he felt the Spirit so powerfully when she spoke that even though he did not understand what she said, when they asked him to be baptized he said he would. He said to us: They could have asked me to do anything and I would have done it because that girl's testimony was so strong even though it made no sense. That really taught me how important teaching with the Spirit is. Not that I don't need to learn the language, but that while teaching I need to focus on the language of the Spirit and not the language of Portuguese.

I am so happy to be here and I am so thankful for your prayers. I love you all so much. Nathaniel and Caleb, keep strengthening your testimonies. You are great examples to me. Prepare to serve a mission and study at least a little scripture every day. I love you all! You're the best family a missionary could ask for.

Elder Marc Skiles

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

eMail of September 27, 2011

Hello Family,

Thank you so much for the letters you sent me! Letters are great to get. I can only write on preparation day so niether letters nor email are faster, but if you have questions its better to email because I usually can't remember them by time I get to a computer. Thanks so much for the blonde brownies. They are so good. The food here is good and there is a lot of it, but its hard on the stomach. I've pretty much accepted the fact that I'm gunna have a stomach ache for my time at the MTC. That's alright tho. The blessings outway the trials by far. I have two teachers. Irmao (Brother) Sorenson and Irmao Torgan. Irmao Sorenson served his mission in Portugal so he doesn't know Brazillian very well, but he is really funny and very helpful. He talks in English sometimes to help us out. Irmao Torgan is much more shy and reserved, but he is a native Brazilian so his Portuguese is very good and he knows what the common ways of speaking are. They are both great teachers. Portuguese is like slurred Spanish that sounds like French. It sounds really cool tho. Its not really immmersion. Church and other meetings and stuff are all in English. Normally church would be in Portuguese, but we have a mixed ward with English, Portuguese and Tai. The meetings are so good. So much spiritualness all the time. It's pretty exhausting. I'm starting to sleep a lot better now. I don't wake up during the night anymore. So much Portugese running through my head, it was a little hard to sleep, but I sleep very well now and I wake up refreshed. I know that this is the true church. Its true that a testimony is gained in the bearing of it. I bear my testimony about a million times a day here. I know without a doubt that the Book of Mormon is true. That is the most important thing that you guys can do is study the Book of Mormon to gain a testimony every day. I love you all so much. The blessing that the stake pres. gave me has been a blessing. I think about home sometimes, but I'm so busy that I never feel homesick. I only have 2 minuets before the computer logs me out so. I love you all! thanks so much for your prayers. They are felt here.

Elder Marc Skiles

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

eMail Dated September 20, 2011

Dear family,

The MTC has been great! Its like trying to drink out of a fire hose, but Heavenly Father gives you a big mouth. I never thought I could learn so much in such a short time. My email and laundry and temple and prep day is Tuesday. I get mail faster than email. Its great that you all do Drama and Scouts and Piano, and Trumpet and Violin. Those things will prepare you for the mission field and for life. I've changed so much already its crazy. I'm glad things are going well with all of you. Sorry about the triops. Its fun while it lasts right? Our schedule is really all over the place. We usually have two 3 hour blocks of language class. Some of those are devoted to our fake investigator. Last time we taught him, the lesson wasn't going so well because we were struggling with the language and trying to make sentences fit and we weren't teaching with the Spirit. At the end, I decided to bear my testimony. I felt the Spirit so strong. I have no idea how I made those words string together to make sentences. The words just came to me. There is no way I could have brought out the things I said on my own. We are truly learning two languages here. Portuguese and the language of the Spirit. Spanish is helping me and hurting me. It helps me understand the concepts of Portuguese, but I keep using Spanish pronunciation. Portuguese pronunciation is very difficult. The other day we talked to some Elders who are learning Hmong. At least I don't have to learn that. It has 8 tones. Extremely difficult to pronounce. Guess who my companion is! Elder Josh Underwood! He really is a great companion. He has changed so much. He is very kind. He's always opening doors for me and taking out my tray or changing my laundry while I'm sitting at the computer writing this email. He's a great companion. We both have a lot to learn, but we will make it there. That's really funny that the crossing guard thought you guys (Brent and Carlene) were my parents. I feel so happy here. Everything for my success is provided. I just need to learn to trust in the Lord and work my hardest. He will do the rest. I love you all! Thanks for your prayers and your love. They are very much felt here.

Elder Marc Skiles

P.S. My electronic Visa application came through which means my visa is SUPPOSE to come in two weeks, but some people had that months ago and still don't have visas so no guarantees.

[Note: Let us all keep praying that Elder Skiles and his fellow missionaries receive their visas in a timely basis. Bryan]

Sunday, September 11, 2011

On Wednesday, September 14, 2011, Elder Skiles will be reporting at the Missionary Training Center in Provo, Utah. He is scheduled to arrive in Cuiaba, Brazil to begin his proselyting duties after two months of training in Provo. He plans to return home in September 2013. After which, he plans to return to Brigham Young University in January 2014 to continue his studies.

Elder Skiles does not have his Brazilian visa yet. For those that wish to, please join us in praying that he will have the visa in time to go to Brazil in November. Thank you.

For those who wish to send a letter or a package to Elder Skiles, here is his MTC mailing address:

Elder Marc Austin Skiles
MTC Mailbox # 355
BRA-CUI 1115
2005 N 900 E
Provo, UT 84604-1793

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