Monday, July 27, 2009


Just to start off I want to say that this week has been very positive and has really been the most enjoyable week of my mission. I am sorry however about letters. Although this week has been very enjoyable it has been extremely busy. This is probably why I love it so much. But I will try my best to get back to you. We have had several small thunderstorms and a little rain. It has been very humid the past few days which has made it really muggy and hot. But the clouds have been extremely beautiful and large. I love it. The people have been in great moods and have been very funny this week. In particular members. There have been some Rosenberger’s this week. I think if I remember last week I did say what Rosenberger’s are. They are the weird people from Rosenberg. Yesterday for example there were two people who cut me off on the road which nearly caused an accident. Then there were scary people crossing the street and walking down the middle of the road. Also a guy in his car just sitting there in the middle of the road like he wants to turn but never does. Some of them are very odd. But I love it down here. The people are generally really nice even though a little weird.

So this week we have been teaching a couple and they continue to progress. They are so attentive and follow every commitment. We taught them that they need to get married and they accepted easily. She started to cry and it was really sweet. They are going to be baptized a day after their wedding. I normally wouldn’t share so much about an investigator’s stuff but I love them so much. For their wedding the Zeribeniez and the Smiths are going to help them plan and arrange things. Their wedding is in the beginning of September. I am so excited for them. They are going to have it at the stake center and are planning on a lot of people being there. It is so great to see them progress further and further into the gospel. We talk to people all of the time and tell them if they read the scriptures, go to church, and pray to ask if it is true then they will get their answer and it will bless their lives. People generally do not do one of these steps consistently or at all. All we are trying to say is that if you do these things that you will get that answer to your prayer if it is true. The difference about this couple is that they listen, ask questions, go through with commitments, read, go to church, and pray. I am reminded of Alma 32 which talks about if you would “but experiment upon my words and give even a particle of faith, yea, even if you have no more than a desire to believe, then let this desire work in you until you can give place for but a portion of my words.” That is all it takes.

Anyway there is that great news. We had Zone conference this week and let me just say that it was amazing. President Saylin is a very righteous and good man. He talked to us primarily about our purpose as missionaries. He asked us. Some said to baptize, others said to let them know there is a prophet, the Book of Mormon, the restored gospel, Jesus Christ. While these are all true that is not our purpose. We are out here to bring others to exaltation. Baptism is the gate that enters into the path to exaltation but it is not our purpose. We talked about this and how we can help others get there. I felt the spirit very strongly and it was a wonderful discussion. I loved zone conference.

This week on Thursday was Elders Voeks, Olsen, and Cambell’s 18 month mark. Elder Cambell wasn’t able to but we got together and talked for a while. Usually missionaries do something on their 18 month mark but we couldn’t find anything to do. So Elder Voeks and I went to the church building because we saw the Bishop’s car there. We went in and their family was cleaning. We talked to them for a while and they are really cool. Their family is a very genuinely good family. The Bishop is really funny and is respectfully upfront about things. He is a very loving and kind man. Their family reminds me of the Saylins. They are all worthy of an authority position but neither of them ever thought that they would have one. They took us out to DQ after they finished cleaning. It was a really enjoyable day.


So the Zeribelnie’s (who will now go by Z’s) are the fellow shippers to the couple I talked about. They are going to have the couple in their home for the lessons and such. They are also the ones who took the couple to the mission home fireside. Anyway so we have been trying to work out a time that the couple could have a lesson at the Z’s. After church Sister Z walks up and asks if we want to come over for pizza on Monday. We say sure of course. Brother Z then walks up and Elder Voeks starts talking with him about how the couple is going to get a ride to their house. We get a phone call later on from Sister Z the first time and brother Z the second time. They talk to us about how pizza costs a lot and they are not sure. They also sounded like we were pressuring them. We went to dinner shortly after at the Carpenter’s. Little side note the Carpenter’s are some of the coolest people ever. I would be their friend at home if I was a little older. Anyways they tell us that the Z’s talked to them to mention Monday night. As it turns out the Z’s were just inviting Elder Voeks and I not the couple as well. So they thought we were just putting that on them. Elder Voeks and I felt so bad. We called the Z’s and I could hear them on the phone laughing pretty hard. Luckily there is no hard feelings for Elder Voeks and I being nimrods.

I love yall and I hope that you have a great week. I haven’t been typing very fast this week so I apologize.


Elder Devon Joel Marr

Friday, July 24, 2009

Workin hard or hardly workin

This week has been absolutely wonderful. The work is going wonderfully. We started teaching this couple that the Spanish missionaries refered to us. The Spanish missionaries were knocking and it was getting later. They wanted to knock on one more door so they looked in this trailer park. They felt prompted to knock on one of the trailers a few down. They knocked and a woman answered the door. She knew that her husband wouldn’t want to hear from them but asked him anyway. But he let them in. The missionaries talked to them and in their conversation in was brought up that the man has a herniated disk and is in chronic pain. He told the Elders that he had been getting very little to no sleep the past three nights and prayed every night for help. Then the next day the missionaries knock on his door. This happened last week and we have talked to him several times since then. He has been at church the past two weeks suffering through his pain to find out why God sent the missionaries to help him.
They are doing wonderfully. We are also teaching some others that are really progressing fast. Cathy is doing wonderful. She is planning on being baptized this Saturday which would be amazing. She is one of the sweetest ladies ever and I am going to stay in contact with her because she is marvelous. The work goes great.

Life has been really great in general. I have laughed harder this week as a whole than any time I can remember. For instance last night we went to the mission home for a fireside that you bring your investigators to. There were no seats for the missionaries so about 30 of us went upstairs. Scott, the thirteen year old Saylin boy, sat down and talked with a group of us. He is hilarious. We all got laughing so much. I was sad that there wasn’t a seat to listen to the meeting but I still had fun. Afterward Cathy told us that she loved it. I didn’t hear any of it but I heard from someone that listened to it that a bishop gave his conversion story. He went to President Monson years ago and told him that he would join the church if he could prove it to him. President Monson bore his testimony. Then the man joined the church. Cathy loved the spiritual stories and told us that she loves the reverence and peaceful spirit in our church.
It was great being at the mission home seeing a lot of other missionaries as well. I talked to Elder Jones (my MTC companion) for a little bit. He is doing really well. He is in the city as opposed to one of the suburbs. I don’t see him much but he loves it. One of the best things about the mission is that people who you never would be friends with you can be close to. You all have the same desires and are doing similar things all day. The amount of love you feel on your mission is awesome. Everyone is very friendly and fun. I cannot think of anyone who has come off to me as a fake or as an unfriendly person. The missionaries here aren’t jokers all the time though.
So on Saturday we had a pretty good storm. It got real windy, rained hard, and had lots of thunder and lightning. Seeing the lightning in the clouds to me is even cooler than seeing it strike the ground. The amount of sky that you can see makes it even cooler. If Elder Voeks and I are driving some were during a thunderstorm we can usually see the storm over downtown Houston easily from where we are 15-20 miles away. When a storm comes you see this huge blanket come at you and it just seems powerful when he see it coming in. Then when the storm hits it gets dark and the sky gets real dark. Then wherever you are looks completely different. I love the storms here.
This coming up week looks very good. We have some great things lined up. Sadly today however we are not doing anything with our district or zone. So hopefully I can get some letters written.
I love you all and I hope that you have a wonderful week. If you would like you can send me emails. I know letters cost money and emails can be much faster.

Elder Devon Joel Marr

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The Saylins and Life Here

Today I am going to jump right into it. The Saylins are great. President Saylin is a very righteous and loving man. He is intelligent and humble which is great to see. Our new mission motto is “stay the course.” He also promised us that he would not make any changes in areas or transfers or any decisions like that unless Heavenly Father tells him to. He shared a special experience of when he and his wife were called into the office of President Eyring. He spoke with them for about an hour then when the conversation started to die off he said to Brother and Sister Saylin that he is waiting. They wondered what for and asked him. He said that he was waiting for the spirit to extend the call to them. He waited for a few more moments then like he does he started weeping and pointed at Brother Saylin and extended the call to serve a 3 year mission as mission president in a Spanish mission. President Saylin accepted. Then he turned to Sister Saylin and extended the call to her, to be President Saylin’s companion. I find it very cool that he extended both calls to each other separately.

When at the MTC President and Sister Saylin along with a few other new mission presidents had one last meeting. On the stand were; President Monson, Eyring, Uchdorf, eleven of the twelve apostles, the presiding bishopric, and some of the seventy who are over missions. He said that it was one of his favorite life experiences and that he was a little taken back by the fact that he was in front of those with the highest of God’s authority all at once.

They have five kids. Youngest to oldest; Cloe, Sophie, Seth, Keith, Scott, and Kate. Cloe is three and Kate is 14 and the rest are in between. They all spoke and are such cool kids. Cloe’s nickname is Ned. Which is a little weird but really funny. The Saylins have a great sense of humor. They are so loving and such real people. In my opinion they are what every family should look to for an example of a LDS family.

I had a great birthday this week. It was fun even though we didn’t do anything real special. I love the gifts that I have received and the love that I have felt from everyone. I really cannot believe that I am 20. Also I can’t believe that Jared is 18!! WOW time flies. The speed of time on my mission is so much faster than at home.

This week was really good but I am going to talk about general life here in Rosenberg. My apartment is not the best. We have roaches and such. We live about 30 yards from the church though. This is a little weird because we live in a semi ghetto neighborhood. The thing about our area is most the people we talk to are unemployed. Now although I wish that some people were able to understand the things we talk to them about better the people here are far more humble then in other areas of the mission. I rarely have bad experiences with people that I talk to. Our area has a pretty ghetto area, to middle class, to upper middle class. All races and all types of living. It seems like if you lived a mile from where we live your life would be different. It feels like you are in a different town depending what street you are on. Also I will speak a little bit about what I call Rosenbergers.

Rosenbergers are the people of Rosenberg. The people here are much different than even other areas in the mission. I feel like I am living in a novel and that the people here are all characters. The ward for example. The members of this ward are so loving and really have most things together. I love how different our ward is and how many characters we have. I have heard from several families in this ward that it has characters so it is not just me. The way I heard it best described is remember in the first Star Wars movie when they walk into the cantina and there are all of those different aliens and stuff. But if all the aliens had faith and love for God. That is what the ward is like. I am not meaning to be rude at all but it is the best way that I can describe it. I would do anything for anyone in this ward because of how great they are but people definitely have their own personalities.

Here is a rundown of our regular day. Wake up at 6:30. Take a shower. Get dressed. Study, for me that is Book of Mormon right now Elder Voeks is studying D&C. Then we pray to start companion study. We then have companion study usually we role play talking to people and talk about how we can best help our investigators and how to find new ones. After that we have companion study we get our stuff together, pray, and head out. We have planned the night before were we are going to go and the appointments we have with investigators and such. We go and talk to our investigators. Usually a few appointments fall through and we knock or try people who do not go anywhere during the day. Now all of this is the normal routine. However many times we have been led to go places or talk to certain people because of revelation. Before my mission I never really understood this truth. I rationalize a lot but the amount of “coincidences” I experience cannot just be coincidences. Anyways we work until about 1:00. Then we take a lunch but if we have an appointment then we take our lunch early. We usually try not to eat unhealthy but lately we have been getting at least a drink at Sonic frequently. Then we head back out. Driving from place to place Elder Voeks and I usually have very deep conversations. Elder Voeks was meant to be my companion. Him and I will be friends or maybe even just stay in contact for our whole lives. We get along great and we rarely are mad at each other. We then do the same thing usually with more success then earlier in the morning. The Brazos Elders usually call us and need a ride somewhere during the day which almost always works with were we are going and is at a good time. We do this until about 5:00. Then we go to dinner at a member’s house. The members always feed us and we are very close with the members. I haven’t had an unbearable dinner yet. I now like rice, tomatoes, peppers, and watermelon. I have been sucking it up and eating it and I have found it enjoyable. I also eat bananas more often. After dinner it is about 6:00 and we head out to appointments. This is generally the most effective time of day because everyone even those who work start to get home. We usually head in at around 9:00 but the past few nights 9:20 because of longer lessons and such. Then we talk. Depending on how fast we plan one of us might take a shower. I come into the apartment, grab my nerf gun, and head to were the roaches usually hang out and kill as many as I can. I don’t shoot those darts at people so don’t worry. Then we usually talk while writing in our journals. Then we go to bed. We haven’t been attempting to sleep until about 11:00-11:30 lately because we start having very spiritual conversations were we share insights and stories from our lives. I have never felt the spirit so frequently as on my mission. It is the greatest experience. Especially if you are doing all that you can do. Then I wake up the next day and do it again. But no day is the same as the last. At least for Elder Voeks and I it isn’t.

I love you all and have a great week.


Elder Devon J. Marr

Monday, July 6, 2009


I have spent 50 minutes on an email making it really long and really good. I went to push the minimize button to see how much time I had left and closed the window to it. I will try to cover all I can in letters. I am sending my pictures home today but the picture places have had computer problems and I can't find a case for my memory card.

We met the Saylins. I will talk about that in letters. We had a huge thunderstorm that was AWESOME!!! I have been waiting for one for a long time. It rained really hard as well. We had some great lessons this week and alot more people that we work with show up to church which really helped them out. Elder Voeks is staying in the mission despite some medical problems. We are working hard and doing better than ever. We have two new missionaries we do stuff with. Elder Mcgraff and Sister Hamlin. They are hard workers and they are really fun. For the 4th of July we went to the fairgrounds to watch the fireworks which was really cool. We were lucky and got a really good spot. I love the Saylins and I had written about 7 huge paragraphs telling story's and other good stuff so I am sorry. Bye

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

A Fun week

Just to get this out there first letters take about 2 days and packages take about 5-6 days. Although it is a little inconsistent. I do get mail faster than when I was in the MTC. Which is a little strange. I have had some problems with my camera but I am going to send home a cd of all my pictures TODAY. Also we had transfers and I am going to be here another 6 weeks.

It has been hot!!! it has been 104 the majority of pros. time. It has been down to 94 during the day but I think that was only for a little while. Still not a drop of rain. So luckily it hasn't been too humid but it has been hot. Our car tells us how hot it is in the car when you first get in then it tells you how how it is outside. When I got in the car yesterday before I turned the A/C on it was 115. I feel sorry for the bike Elders who have to be out in the sun all day.

So funny story. The Espiratues are our mission doctors I might have already said that. They took us out to dinner and it was a blast. They told us many things about their lives and their family and they were great company. So funny. Here is one of the storys they told to us.

A few years ago they took two Elders out for dinner. They wanted to order virgin dakaris I think and they were laughing about it because before they joined the church they loved more fancy drinks. So the waitress thought that they were joking about it and ordered the real thing. The Espiratue's got virgin but not the Elders. These Elders have never tasted alcohol in their life. They had two huge glasses of it. One of the Elders who is usually pretty quite was getting a little tipsy. The Espiratues found out and they felt so bad. The missionaries called their mission president and he just laughed.

Elder Taufa left this week. A little sad. He worked hard his whole mission and he is excited to take the next steps in his life. He will do great out in New Zealand. I look forward to hearing from him. I took pictures before he left so you will know what he looks like.

We had a going away party for President and Sister Allred. They had no idea. The whole mission showed up. They were having transfer meeting and the rest of the mission was in the gym. There was a presentation with a slide show of them and the mission gave them huge scriptures with everyone's testimony in them. Also the Chinese Elders gave them a really cool painted Chinese character of their last name. There were some people who sang and it was amazing. Also two zones did the haka(the Tongan dance thing?) it was intense. It was just alot of fun and I got to meet lots of the missionaries. President and Sister Allred were very touched by the whole thing. She is such a sweet lady she was crying and you could tell it really meant alot to them. The mission said their goodbyes. President and Sister Saylin along with their family arrive tomorrow. I look forward to meeting them.

We went to the temple on Wednesday. The mission president gave us special permission to go with Jeff who joined the church about a year ago. It was wonderful. Right before I started having problems with my camera I got alot of pictures of the temple. It is smaller but very cool. It was a great experience.

Rosenberg is a different world. The poeple are diverse. Some areas are more country, Some more fancy, and some more ghetto. There are some areas here that are not good to go at night. It is a very different place down here. The people are very welcoming however. I have never seen more churches or more people who believe in God so strongly. The majority of people here are really conservitive as well. A big shift from Washington. Our ward is very different. The people are all from different lives. Some of the people I meet don't seem like they would exist. They seem too much like characters from a book. It is really different.

The biggest help that this mission has found in the members. Unified wards and members who are willing to find people or let the missionaries teach their friends has helped the worl so much more. The amount of people you teach who get baptized is pretty low. With members who refer people to you 1/3 of them get baptized. I have never heard either of member's friends disowning them or distancing themselves because they were taught by the missionaries. I am sure it has happened but I haven't heard of it. They have helped so much. I like too that they don't shove it in peoples faces. It is a good ward and a good area. The members work to help and the people are truly nice people. I am not saying this rant to tell anyone what to do just what this ward has done for us.

Well it would take ages to tell everything. I only get about an hour each day to do this. I love you all so much. I will send a cd with my pictures TODAY. We have time today because unlike most P-days we are not doing anything with our zone. Have a great week and send me pictures if you get the chance.


Elder Devon J. Marr