Mailing Address

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

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