Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas to ALL!!

Merry Christmas Family!

I love you all. I hope you have a wonderful Christmas filled with gratitude for the Savior and the peace we have because of Him. 

This week we got to do a zone service activity, where we worked with Salvation Army and some other community members. We were in a large warehouse and there were mounds of toys. We got a paper that had a family on it. The children's names and ages and wishes for Christmas were listed on there. We had huge garbage bags and a paper with names and we got to shop for them! We got to pick what toys they got for Christmas! They told us not to be stingey, so we stuffed big toys, little toys, stuffed animals, etc plus every family got a games and coloring books. Then when we filled that bag, we got another family! The whole warehouse got filled there were so many needy families. I saw a a really funny book in the pile that never got picked, and it was called Why Cats Paint haha, its was the cutest thing, but no one wanted it sadly. But it was THE funnest service project!

I also tried cactus flower icecream and octopus this week. Neither was very good :( The icecream was after the project, we went to downtown Oakland in the Mexican area, and our car battery actually died and we were stranded for a little while, but dont worry we are safe! The chinese sisters helped us out. Just another mission story. The octopus was from a Tongan family in our ward, they made us island delicacies. It was not the calamarie we had in Boston, but it was so sick, it squeaked in my mnouth as soon as I bit it! Ugh that did it for me. Rubbery, nasty thing. 

I am performing in the vc and we see over 1000 people every night!

Well I will talk to you TOMORROW! I am using a members house at 12:00 here, so maybe 2:00 texas time? be signed on to skype!

love you,
sister martin

Monday, December 17, 2012

Book of Mormon

Hello Family,
This week in the Visitor's Center, I met an older lady who was from Ethiopia! She spoke only Amheric and was a Coptic Chrsitian (which I remember writing a paper about coptics in high school). She was soooo excited though that we had a Book of Mormon in Amheric, and she kept saying thankyou and touching me and Sister Hewett like she was so grateful. It was really cool, and its awesome that the Book of Mormon has been translated now into over 100 languages, and people can feel the Spirit of it when we explain what it is and that it is a gift.
Lucia got baptized yesterday! She is a holistic chiropractor that was a referral from another ward's member. She was great, there was a huge turn out and she is already well into all the singles activites! She is really fun to teach, and has crazy good comprehension with the Book of Mormon.
I have the chance to watch a G-rated movie with my zone on New Year's Eve. We are asked to ask our families what is a new G-rated/non romantic comedy movie that has come out recently?
We met an amazing lady this week who just walked into church one Sunday! We had a lesson with her and she wants to get baptized! I will update more on her later.
Zone conference was amazing! We got tons of presents from member who just wanted to do something for missionaries! I got toilet paper, a blanket, toothpaste, and a Handel's messiah CD! And candy! It was really fun, we all got to steal from the other missionaries and we alwasy cheered when someone got toilet paper or else the other hot gift--watches. Then the stake relief society fed us a christmas ham dinner and we felt soooo spoiled! It was really fun.
I will be working in the VC every night this week. And performing on Christmas Eve and Day.
I hope you are all excited for Christmas. Stay warm and remember our Savior and everything he has sacraficed for us so we can have joy. So lets be joyful! Every day!
Love you!
Sister Martin

Monday, December 10, 2012

The Field is White!


This week has been incredible and full of miracles. First of all, Zaya is now a member! We took her to the Visitor's Center/temple and she was so happy and told us that was her next goal!

 Another investigator, Lucia, is getting baptized on Sunday! I will tell her story next week. THEN we had been wanting Lacie, another investigator, to have a baptismal date. But she was still praying to know for sure, etc and we didn't know what to do everytime she said she had been praying but no answer. She came to Zaya's baptism and everything. We fasted for her last Sunday, and on Tuesday we were texting her when we could meet up. We wanted to meet up to give her a lesson on just taking a leap of faith and just getting baptized because she knows its good. But all the sudden we got another text from her, I look over and my companion sets the phone down and puts her head in her hands. I immediately thought the worst (which is what I learned missionaries do haha) and thought we had lost Lacie. but no! Lacie texted us saying, "I decided yesterday I'd like to get baptized on the 29th". My companion and I started jumping and screaming we were so excited. And her husband is worthy now to baptize her! They are the cutest couple and we are sooo happy for them!! What did I tell you about Walnut Creek? It is truly on fire, full of prepared people! D&C 31:4 says "...You shall begin to preach from this time forth, yea, to reap in the field which white, already to be burned." You notice it doesn't say harvest. During the harvesting process, the burning comes after to purify and put nutrients back into the soil. We are here to help burn the area! We talked to some great people during our "Christmas" tracting, where we hand out Joy to the World pass a long cards on the street or talk about Chrsitmas Temple Hill events. As we help those already found, finding our own, and just working hard, we are seeing so many miracles, and harvest just doesn't seem like quite strong enough a word. So I have been very busy!

The Visitor's Center has been crazy. We have a live Nativity outside which I have been itching to see, and free concerts every night, so its been busy. When I am on "outside tour", we always joke we feel like Salt Lake Temple Square sisters. I go around asking people if they have been to the VC, or I might refer them to if they are not members as well. But I like it, because we get to walk around in all the lights and everything. I love Christmas time as a missionary! Everyone seems to be more open to talking about Jesus Christ. Also we get to perform ourselves! On Chrstmas and Christmas Eve, we are singing as a sister missionary choir.

I have my first zone conference tomorrow. I heard we are getting christmas goodies. Also, I get to either call you or skype you on Christmas! I will be sending out Christmas cards soon.

Well I hope all is well at home. Please send more cute christmas family pics. I love you all.

Sister Martin

1)zaya's baptism
2)mom, you sent the wrong boots. this is what the rain looks like here outside my front door. the boots you sent would get soaked. becky has matching ones of the ones i need, ask her
3)our district leader gave us each a "snowball" to have a 'snowball fight", since there is no snow here in california. we put our name tags on them

1)Tank, the cat. He was huge and soft and loved me! I wanted to keep him.
2) Us with Lucia at the temple. She is getting baptized on Sunday. This is also what I look like when I am on "outside tour" at the temple.
3) mom and dad will be happy to know, I actually did meet Elder Flemming this week. He was at the Visitor's Center and came up next to us and asked what I thought about El Paso. His parents sent him a picture of me so he recognized me. I made sure to get a picture so you can see the proof. He is also about 2 whole feet taller than me.
4)a crazy decorated house just down the street from our house. we got to see his window displays too, which included a lot of villages, which made me think of mom!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012


Hello Family!
I am so mad I forgot my cord this week, because I have a picture of MY FIRST BAPTISM!! Our Mongolian investigator Zaya got baptized on Saturday, and confirmed on Sunday. I played the piano for it, but that left no time to take pictures with her in white, I am so sad. But I did get one after, with her hair wet, holding her little girl in front of Jesus getting baptized painting. The service was great. Her husband came with her two girls and sat in the front row. We had other investigators come as well. After the service, Zaya just looked at me and said "I feel so happy!" I wanted to cry (I know, I am such a girl missionary) at that simple statement. Zaya speaks little English but her whole story was the mongolian sister missionaries before us found them, Zaya's mom (who was just visiting from Mongolia) taking their trash out one day. They talked about Jesus Christ and she was interested in hearing more about following Him. They taught one lesson to Zaya and her husband, and then Sister Hewett and I got transferred in. We have been working with Zaya slowly, getting help once a week from another missionary who speaks mongolian (from mongolia) to clarify gospel terms. Zaya is taking English classes, but obviously community colleges don't explain most of the things we teach her. But she kept telling us she wanted to get baptized and follow Jesus Christ. When she told me of her happiness at her baptism, and I could see her glowing with it, I was reminded just how simple the gospel of Jesus Christ really is. What wonderful hope, light, and restored knowledge and authority we have. It reminded me of my baptism; whole I don't remember much, I remember I couldn't stop smiling all day. As we follow Jesus Christ, and feel His spirit, we make changes in our life.
I have been reading in "Our Search For Happiness" by Elder Ballard in the missionary reference library and there was a part about how missionaries were teaching a man, he was a bit of a dirty man, into drugs, etc. But he found the elders on the street and asked what they were selling. They said they weren't selling anything, what they had they were giving away. He said he would take it. Every time the missionaries came to teach the man had showered and trimmed his beard, cleaned his house, dumped out his booze, applied for jobs,etc. The missionaries didn't even ever invite him to do anything, he just did it on his own as they talked about Christ. I thought of Zaya and how the Spirit really is the universal language and causes us to change and better ourselves naturally as we let Him into our lives. This is a major reason we ask everyone to read the Book of Mormon personally, every day. It allows the Spirit (especially the spirit of the Restoration) into our hearts and we change. We can try and try to get more temple marriages, less actives back to church, etc but really as they read the Book of Mormon daily, these things will naturally happen. There is so much power that comes from reading the Book of Mormon. I've been blessed to see it in my life, now I have to focus on helping others do the same.
I loved the Christmas Devotional! We got to eat dinner and watch it with a member family. I actually stayed awake the whole time. I thought of Pres Uchtdorf and how I need to show more love for those who give me things, Pres Eyring I thought of the question "what will be in my treasure box in heaven? memories of what was important? or things that wasted time?", and with Pres Monson-woah, his story of visiting his primary president when she was in her 90's was amazing. I thought what a grateful person Pres Monson is. He didn't care that the others were scoffing at him saying it was no use, she didn't talk to anyone. It made me ask myself how much do I actually lose myself and show that kind of care to others?
Sunday we had a special combined 3rd hour where we showed a part of "the district", missionary training videos we use of actual missionaries getting followed by camera men. We watch a segment of a recent convert sharing the gospel with her friends and they turned out to be super prepared and ready to be baptized! Then the missionary purpose flashed across the screen (PMG P1) and lots of the ward was crying. Then we talked about turning comments and questions from friends into invitations. We talked about Christmas tools. By the way, visit and link things to your facebooks. Share videos, ecards, free motab, bible apps, etc. or your friends can request a christmas message from the missionaries. Everyone was told to think of 3 families and then we gave them kits full of pamphlets, cards, etc.We already have members telling us they immediately thought of people!
I must go, I LOVE YOU! Walnut Creek is on fire!
Love, Sister Martin