Monday, 29 April 2013


Hey all,
We've had a really good week with lots of miracles to share! So, I hope as I share these you can catch the vision of how the Lord is preparing people to come unto Him :) We've definitely seen it this week...
The first miracle I want to share is about a guy called Billy from Texas. Billy's a younger guy who had some seizures and ended up in the hospital in Richmond. Well, someone (we still don't know who) called us and asked if we could visit with him on Sunday night and give him a copy of the Book of Mormon... not a hard thing for three Elders to do! When we visited, he was heavily sedated and said 'what are you doing here? I'm Muslim and don't know Mormons' ha! A little confused, we asked if we could do anything for him; his only request was to have some Bojangles (a southern fried chicken chain here in the States).
So, the next day, we come with our Bojangles in hand and try to cheer him up! He was a lot more awake this time and told us that he'd met with missionaries at home and would love to 'discuss the truth' with us until he was discharged in a few days! And discuss we did - we felt prompted to share the Restoration and talk about baptism and he shared that, weeks before the seizures, he had been investigating the church and had prayed to know if he should be baptized... he'd got an affirmative answer but REALLY didn't want to follow through with it. He shared that having so much time to reflect upon things had helped him realize that God was in the 'coincidences' of life, including our visits. There was such a sweet spirit as we bore testimony that 'whom the Lord calls, He qualifies' and share the blessings that had come into our lives as a result of that covenant!
Billy returned home on Saturday and, even though we'll probably never meet again, I'm grateful for his example of doing what is right even if it's hard to do!
Jacob is THE MAN - we've been teaching him since my first day in Chippenham and we just love him to pieces! He's a very smart guy and has a strong desire to follow God! However, he's been struggling to understand priesthood authority and this has held him back with baptism!
Well, yesterday, we had a SWEET lesson with him and he's going to be baptized on May 12th! We taught him how we came to know that the priesthood has been restored and it was powerful, especially when we drew out the line of authority the Catholics and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints both claim! I have definitely had my testimony strengthened of the Apostasy whilst serving as a missionary - and I love the message of hope we share: that God has not forgotten us, His children! Watch this space... Jacob's a great guy! :)
We had the Midlothian Stake Conference this weekend and it was awesome... we had Elder Jack Gerard of the Seventy visit with us. The adult session was really cool (it focused on family) and then, before the other session on Sunday morning, Elder Gerard requested that we organize a 'recent convert' meeting with those that had recently joined the church in the stake! We were lucky enough to go and it was such a great experience! There are so many wonderful people in this area and it was amazing to hear their individual stories - to hear how God had directed the to the truth! I loved it! It was definitely one of the highlights of my mission and I hope to have other opportunities to meet such amazing and inspiring people :)
Anyway, that is me! It's been a good week - we're seeing success and I love it! For a while, things got pretty tough for me but I really immersed myself in the Book of Mormon and found this gem! It's in 1 Nephi 20:10...
'For, behold, I have refined thee, I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction' <3 This scripture has given me perspective and hope in those lonely or discouraging or challenging times... I know it can do the same for you if you really ponder the teachings contained within :)

Monday, 15 April 2013


Miracle time...
So, I went on an exchange this week with one of my MTC roommates (Elder Todd Fish... yes, we know it sounds like cod fish) in an area of Richmond called Manchester and had a really cool experience. Their area's been struggling a little bit recently and they've been tracting (aka. door to door) for weeks on end now so we decided prayerfully look through the area book and visit some former investigators. We chose some names and went to work...
Well, we try the first few people in our list and, of course, they're not at home! It's getting close to lunch but we decide to visit one more house 'just in case'. So, off we go and knock on the door, only to have a five year old answer the door in his 'Avengers' pants... not an everyday occurrence ha! He calls after his mum and we ask her if the people we were looking for still live there. She replies, 'nope, they're not here.... but, I'm a mormon'!
It turns out that she'd moved into the area two weeks ago and had been waiting to go to church after conference! That's the first miracle! Miracle two is that we felt inspired to ask how she was doing (not a courtesy 'how are you?' but out of genuine interest) and she just broke down... it turns out her mum had been rushed to hospital late the previous night and she was in despair - how could she deal with this on top of everything else?! Looking at this total stranger, Elder Fish and I were just filled with love as we realized God had sent us there to comfort this wonderful lady - we shared D&C 84:88 (thanks to Charlotte Warner for that one) and said a prayer. It's always amazing to see the change that occurs in the faces of those that feel the Spirit... her tears still stained her cheeks but, rather than a sign of despair, they displayed her renewed hope that 'everything would be okay'... that God hadn't sent angels with wings to 'bear her up' but two angels with funny accents and black tags that day!
As we were walking away, she told us that her partner was not a member but was VERY open to the church... could the missionaries come back and teach their family?! Isn't it amazing how everything falls into place sometimes? I know that is because of a loving Father who has the plan already in place! That day, we both received an answer and became answers to the prayers of His children!
I love my job ha! Thanks for your love and support... the work is good and I'm loving the growth in those we work with! Remember, the purpose of the Gospel is to 'transform common creatures into celestial citizens'... be changed!

Wednesday, 10 April 2013


Another week in the mission field and wow, has this been a quick one! It seems like God isn't just hastening His work... He's also hastening all sense of time for us missionaries!
I wanted to share a few things with you all...
Firstly, I had a little 'accident' I think you'll enjoy! I decided to save some money and give myself a little haircut... simple right? I trimmed it down to a 5 and it seemed to be great... well, until I went to trim a little bit more, forgetting to put the guard back on... NOT SMART HA! I've got some pictures that my mum can add but end result was a total shave to the skin on the back and sides and a 1 on top... a military haircut :/ Anyone that's seen my hairline knows why this might be a little 'amusing' to everyone else ha! And they said missionaries can't have fun!
I also had a really cool experience whilst on an exchange in the rural area of Buckingham. Part of the reason I was there was to interview a 9 year old girl for her baptism this past weekend (which went ahead!) - now, whilst visiting with their family, it became apparent that her parents had some concerns that hadn't really been addressed and so we shared our testimonies of the Book of Mormon and the Atonement. It was during that time that I felt a distinct prompting to ask the mother when the last time she had a priesthood blessing was; she replied that it had been eight years! I invited her to exercises her faith and expect comfort at the hands of the servants of God and, in a wonderful display of humility, she obliged. Words cannot express the power we felt in that room as we laid her hands upon her head and, in the name of Jesus Christ, placed very specific and personal blessings and promises upon this woman! It wasn't long until we were in tears as the Holy Ghost witnessed the truth of the things we had felt prompted to share...
I share this because it was yet another encounter in my life that strengthened my faith in the priesthood of God. I know and bear my witness that the 'power' given to the apostles of Christ has been restored and that it is God's plan to bestow that privilege upon any and all of His children that desire to serve their fellow beings!
However, we are only found worthy of that promise according to our integrity. That has been a theme firm pressed on my mind this week - the concept that one can do what is right despite opposition. I have had my integrity tested and have found strength in the Atonement - the light from which the purest form of empowerment emanates. Our integrity is the foundational element of our character and our constant remembrance of it will allow God to shape and build us into the people He intends us to be!
I'm proud to be a missionary; I love my calling! It really isn't easy (they never tell you that part ha!) but I'm almost glad it isn't... the soreness after a work out is evidence that we are growing (an analogy more appropriate since Elder Dayton became my companion... I'm gonna be stacked). I plead for you to continue, to 'press forward'... 'eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him' (1 Corinthians 2:9) and I am only beginning to see the blessings the Lord is preparing me to receive. Keep it up... it's worth it!
Love Elder Pelham


My dear friends,
How is everything going in your life? How has your week been? I'm sorry I skipped the blog last week - there really is no rest for the wicked and, right now, we're going 100mph every minute of every day!
That being said, I felt prompted to share some specific experiences this week... I'm hoping that you can identify a doctrine or principle that you can apply into your own life and that, as well as feeling a little more updated on my adventures, you'll feel the Holy Ghost testify of the truths I want to express... no pressure huh?!
So, this has been my third week in my new area (Chippenham YSA Ward). Now, I don't know if I shared this before but, for this assignment, me and my two great companions (Elder Dayton and Elder Drew) cover a whole stake with our main purpose on working with people between the ages 18-30! This is DEFINITELY a change from Poquoson, where we worked with families with young kids and covered a mere fraction of this area now! This has meant I've had to do a lot of adapting which, as you all know, takes some stretching... for example, I got fed every day in Poquoson; Chippenham... let's just say I'm using my limited cooking skills a lot more (and that's if we can grab time to make anything more ambitious than cereal). It's also meant that the issues we encounter differ from back in Poquoson - we meet a lot of different people, especially at the VCU campus!
These changes, combined with some 'custom thunderstorms of opposition' (that term was coined by one of my best friends, Elder Burke), have made this week pretty challenging. We were blessed to teach 14 lessons this week (which is miraculous in this area) as well as attending a four hour meeting with President Perry, holding a zone meeting for the 38 missionaries in our stewardship (which included training), uplifting and sustaining some companionships that have been struggling, trying to organize a musical fireside to help promote the church in Richmond, trying to find time to study, helping Jasmine and Jacob prepare for their baptisms, work in unity with the three sister missionaries in our ward, build ward trust... oh, and make sure we're not all dying of exhaustion ha! Elder Drew commented on how we probably work harder and give more of ourselves to this work than most adults to their jobs ha :) So, to say I felt a little stretched would describe this week well...
Now please don't think I'm moaning ha! I love being a missionary and I'm grateful to have been given the responsibilities God had entrusted me with. However, isn't it human tendency to get lost in the day to day details and feel completely and utterly overwhelmed? I felt I needed to express the intensity of our calling in order for gravity of the miracles we've witnessed to be portrayed with justice!
The main miracle is the very thing we commemorated this week... the miracle of the Atonement of Jesus Christ! It is a beautiful concept that, simply because He loves me, He suffered to cleanse me of my sins and wrongdoings as well as enable me to bear the burdens my mortal sojourn would inevitably bring. I testify that there is power in that message; that the Atonement of Christ is real and is available to all that seek His comfort and understanding.
That Atonement allowed my wonderful companions and I to soften the hearts of a group of recent converts, an investigator and the bishop and his wife last night after we ate an Easter meal together. As we taught the message of the Restoration - that the authority to perform the ordinances, such as baptism, necessary to access the Atonement had been reestablished today - we were able to feel the Holy Ghost testify of the reality of our Saviour! Now, some may say that's our job but, for the first time in a while, I was in the same position as those we taught... I needed to feel the peace I had been promised! That, if I continued in diligence and obedience through a trying week, I would feel the enabling power in my life - my friends, I felt it last night! I know that I can do what the Lord requires of me but only if I am willing to let Him strengthen and steady me! Life IS hard - it was designed to challenge and stretch us in it's very nature - but we can still find peace in the midst of the storm!
I love you all - I pray for you and feel your prayers in my day to day life! Keep working hard... when the time is right, you'll know that you are engaged in the cause of truth!


Hey y'all,
So, this week has been transfers... that was a different experience! It was tough to say goodbye to Poquoson; I feel it's the place I grew from a boy to a man and those homes are the place where I found myself! There's a lot of people I love there and have become like family to me... I was blessed to see everyone I really needed to though and be able to share one last time with them! Can you remember how disappointed I was with Virginia?! Not anymore ha! Hopefully, we can all come out here some time... that way, you can love them all as much as I do! And I can't forget the missionaries down there... keep praying for them!

However, I'm so happy to be here in the Chippenham YSA Ward! I'm serving with Elder Dayton and Elder Drew (there was a last minute 'revealation' and a change of plans) and I love them already - they've both been out for over a year and their experience definitely makes me feel more comfortable! We're all very focused and have a desire to work until we drop... which is actually how the last four days have been ha! I just love them already :)
Yesterday was our first time at church and it's a different experience without screaming children ha! It will take a little time to get used to it I think but there's a lot of good people here... in fact, even though I've only been here for a week, I know most of the ward by name already! You know me... never been shy (just ask the librarian who gave me this card... I love talking to people!). We've also got some AMAZING investigators... in our first lesson together, we set this guy Jacob to a baptism date on the 27th April! He's a really cool guy... an artist who loves to have intelligent conversation :) It was cool to see how the Spirit helped the lesson flow, especially as it was the first time we all taught together!

We also tract very differently here... we did a lemonade stand for 4 hours on Saturday afternoon and I loved it! I don't think I've ever tracted so hard in my mission... I just wanted to talk to everyone! And the cool thing was that I could still be me - I think Dad would have been proud of some of my 'cheeky' comments ('you look thirsty after that bike ride... let me grab you a glass! I'll even pour it for you'). I'm excited to be stretched and adapt to a different type of missionary work! Although I know my purpose is the same as it was in Poquoson :)

Maybe the best thing about it is the truck though... I LOVE IT HA! I've been driving a lot these past few days and for long amount of times! It surprised me how quickly it all came back and yes, I'm being safe! It's just a stupid guy thing... I'll try and get a picture soon!

Last thing: our address is 11506 Clintwood Terrace, Midlothian, Virginia, 23112 :) I look forward to all the packages and letters ;)
Thanks for the support,
Love Elder Pelham


Hey everyone,
I don't have much time unfortunately but I wanted to share with you Kavin's baptism this past Saturday! So, one of the coolest things about it was that, when Kavin prayed to know when to be baptized, he chose the 9th March which gave us a month to get ready for him to make that covenant with God.
Well, as some of you may know, that is my cousin Josh's birthday (he turned 21) but it was also his mission farewell before he leaves to the Preston MTC on the 13th March! That has been one of the few things I've actually had difficulty with missing out on whilst on my mission but a perfect Father in Heaven knew that the only place better than home (supporting my cousin) was to be 'at the waters of Mormon' with my good friend Kavin, helping him on the path 'home'. Indeed, the coolest thing was knowing that, in a small way, that baptism was a celebration of the very cause that Josh has decided to commit himself to over the next two years!
The service itself was beautiful - two of the sister missionaries and I sung 'Amazing Grace' and the Spirit was very tangible as we considered how reliant we are upon the Saviour's Atonement. And then, we watched Elder Ovard baptize Kavin... wow, it was powerful! Kavin came out of the water with the biggest smile... you could see how much it meant to him! When they came back, Kavin sat with Barbara and Seth (two others who I've been blessed to work with) and to watch them there as a family almost brought me to tears! It was just a perfect a moment; a perfect visual for the purpose of the gospel of Jesus Christ... to eternally unite families! I feel so blessed to be a part of this wonderful story - to have made friends to the point it's going to be hard to leave them! But I know they'll be fine as they take the path way together as a family now :)
So, transfer news: I'm leaving Poquoson after seven and a half months! I am going to miss this place... it's become like home to me and I love the people here! I will ALWAYS remember Poquoson and will visit after the mission! I feel like these streets are the place where I went from a boy to a man! I know the work will be great here :) I have now been assigned to serve in the Midlothian YSA branch and serve as a zone leader up there - it's going to be a strecthing but rewarding experience! I'll let you know more on the next week! Just keep us in your prayers please!
Love you all :)


Hello everybody,
How has your week been?! These has been one of the best weeks of my mission with some crazy miracles that I wanted to share with you all :)
Now, I'm real sorry that I've skipped my blog for a few weeks over the last transfer or so... we have been hectic and rushed off our feet, even on our preparation days (not a bad problem to have though!), and I've actually been out of Poquoson on exchanges for the most part over these last two weeks. However, it's also given me a great opportunity to work in different ways and learn from the great missionaries in the Virginia Richmond Mission!
One of the sweetest things I've seen is the story of a girl called Jocelyn. Elder Burke (if you look back on my blogs, you'll hear his name A LOT - he's my main man!), Elder Perrault and I were working in the singles branch and decided to hand out some hot chocolate on a nearby college campus. As we were doing this, this young girl came up and started talking to us about how she dated an LDS guy who served a mission in Paris (that's a surprisingly common experience... EVERY girl wants a Mormon after all). Well, she left and then, about half an hour later, came back with mugs for us and helped us hand out hot chocolate! We talked about the Church and she expressed interest in learning more.
Well, I've been SUPER BLESSED to be able to teach her the first three lessons, even though I'm technically not in her area ha! Each time, the Spirit has been really strong and we've been able to help her understand more about the Restoration and the Plan of Salvation! One of the craziest things is how close you grow to those you teach as a missionary... you grow to love and care for them and really desire for them to feel the same joy you do! And that's what seems to have been happening with Jocelyn so far... we're excited as she's working towards a baptism date at the end of March! Watch this space :)
In fact, I was able to spend four days with Elder Burke whilst Elder Ovard was in Richmond and I absolutely loved it - we worked SOOO hard and barely had any time to eat or sleep! There is a fulfillment that comes from serving God and your fellow men and, this week in particular, I felt very grateful that I can do this 24/7! For example, we were prompted to drop by a ward member (who I absolutely adore... she's an amazing lady) the other day and came at the right time to give her a priesthood blessing - it was a very powerful experience for me as I felt Heavenly Father give me direct guidance as to the words that would bring this dear sister comfort! It's becoming a lot more natural for me to discern that 'still small voice' and I have become very reliant upon it's constant companionship... it's a lot like oxygen; even though you need it to survive, you don't recognize it until a) there's a lack of it or b) you sit back and pay attention. I have felt the Spirit on a few occasions comfort and guide me in those rare quiet moments, testifying to me that this work is true!
Heavenly Father also taught me an important lesson this past week... 'being busy doesn't always equate to being purposeful' ha! My mum commented last week about how much my life has changed over these last seven months (yes, it's really going that quick... can someone invent a way of slowing down time?!) and I wrote back about all the things I'm doing and how busy I felt... does that sound familiar to anyone? President Uchtdorf describes this tendency as 'wearing business as a badge of pride' and I think I may have missed the mark... well, this week has still been busy but I've tried really hard to prioritise the things that I engage in according to how it helps to accomplish my purpose and I've really felt a difference; I don't feel as tired and have been able to feel the Holy Ghost a lot more! So, there's my invitation to all the busy people out there... remember to 'be still and know that I am God' (a great place to do that is the temple!) and don't get confused as to why we are here!
Well my friends, I love you all dearly! I took a few moments this week to read over past letters and the notes you wrote in my farewell book and my heart was touched... please know that you are still very much a part of my life! I'm grateful for this opportunity to serve the Lord with 'ALL my heart, mind, might and strength' for these two years and am super excited to share this expereince with my wonderful cousin <3 I understand you are busy but drop me a line with some info about your life sometime... I might not reply but it'll keep my prayers for you and your families current :) May God bless you and bless His work,
Elder Marcus Pelham



Hey everybody,

I wanted to start by sharing my study this morning with you all... Today, I felt prompted to study adversity. You see, this week has been HARD! Not just for me but for everyone... you know, those weeks where, no matter what happens, you feel like you're slogging uphill! Well, that's been this week ha! And I was asking Heavenly Father why we have to encounter opposition and here's what I got...

'We are not earthly beings having a spiritual experience; we are spiritual beings having an earthly experience'

Adversity is there not just to help us grow but it's there to help us recognize our growth. We are ALL children of God and have been blessed with unique gifts or personality traits from our Father. Often, the purpose of adversity isn't to grow those qualities we feel we lack but to help us discover that we had them within us all along.
Let me share an example: we had a sister missionary (Sister Banner) who, in her 'pre-mission life' (it seems FOREVER ago by the way...) was a life guard. Before she could get her certification, she had to swim 500m in a certain time, which was all good apart from the fact that she'd never swum that far before ha! So, she worked so hard for weeks on end to break that barrier but, each time, she was just a little bit short... she just needed that extra 10 seconds or another 50m...
So, she goes to her test and is totally breaking down! She said she felt totally incapable of passing the test but she knew that, if she wanted the opportunity to get the job she wanted, she had to at least try. Well, you know the ending... sure enough, she passed with flying colours and the rest was happily ever after (well, until she came on a mission ha!).
What's the moral of the story? Without the opposition, we would never truly understand our own capabilities. We could never appreciate just how infinite our eternal potential is if we never had 'earthly experiences' that show us that we are 'spiritual beings'. Remember, 'out of the lowest depths, there is a path to the highest heights'.... the steps on that path - no matter how much we try and avoid it - are trials.
I have felt incredibly blessed this week to be able to share that with the missionaries around me: (I know this won't make sense but I want to remember these experiences...) standing in an abandoned car park whilst it's snowing for two hours; sitting in a car and crying with your best friend for an hour and then deciding to suck it up anyway; priesthood blessings after district meeting! I have seen the Lord use me as an instrument to soften the blows of the Adversary this week and am grateful that He sent me my own angels to 'bear me up' (D&C 84:88). Here's your challenge... be someone's answer to prayer this week and 'lift up the hands that hang'. I promise that if you pray to recognize the opportunities to serve that they'll come... that's the prayer in my heart 24/7... 'Father, what more can I do?'. THAT'S WHY I AM SO HAPPY... because, even in my imperfection, I can be made useful in God's hands :D
So, one miracle and then I have to go (I'm speaking Spanish with Elder Perrault today) - I was with a brand new missionary called Elder Geddes this past week and we tried to see a whole list of people with no luck. Well, rather than taking a break, we decided to do something called 'spirit-tract' (eg. we walk around and wait til a particular house sticks out and then we knock it) in the apartment complex right by our apartment. So, off we go and this building (it was number 212... yes, I still remember musical references ha!) and we see this lady all by herself smoking on her porch. We start to talk to her and she obviously wasn't interested... two young boys in suits :/ Well, we felt prompted to ask about where she's from ect and then I asked if we could give a pamphlet... well, I went to get the Restoration one and, without thinking, put it back into my bag and got out the Plan of Salvation pamphlet. We gave it to her and, our of nowhere, she just started crying and opening up about how her mother is dying of cancer... it was very humbling and the Spirit was very strong! It was a blessing to 'mourn with those that mourn', even a perfect stranger! I pray that Karen will have peace whispered to her soul and that she can gain a witness of the Plan of Salvation!
I love you all - keep praying for us! Adios amigos... Te amo

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