Monday, April 22, 2013

The Power of Service

Hello Family,
I had exchanges this week with Sister Croft, one of our Sister Trainers. Due to so many sisters going on missions now, the Church is officially giving leadership titles to some sisters. They will not be District or Zone Leaders, that is still for the elders. But so we have an opportunity to go on exchanges and learn from experienced missionaries as well, we have companionships of Sister Trainers. Technically our mission has already had this because we are a mission with so many sisters, we had special permission. There have been one set of Sister Trainers for the Visitor Center sisters, and one set for the Full Proseylting sisters. Now we are getting so many new sisters we will be getting an additional set of Full Pros ones. Exciting news for the missionary world! Anyways, Sister Croft and I had a great time in Walnut Creek, she said I was doing great! And Sister Goff did well in San Mateo with Sister Camarillo, I was very proud of her and her first exchange!
We are working really closely with two investigators to hopefully get baptized in May. They are soooo close, and the adversary is pushing so hard against them, its very frustrating. But we had some great lessons on Recognizing The Spirit this week that will hopefully help. We are also trying really hard to get up a new teaching pool, so we are getting a lot of potentials, but then return appointments are so hard to keep solid for them. Any advice from you returned missionaries out there? Also prayers are always helpful, trust me I feel them!
On Saturday we had the special opportunity to work with Mormon Helping Hands on the Fred Finch Youth Center. It really was a blast! A bunch of missionaries and members in yellow shirts pulling weeds that were probably like 50 years old! It was so fun bonding with the other sister missionaries especially Hermana Ferguson and Hermana Cash (from Texas EFY!) as we pulled out giant bulbs that just got bigger and bigger, and cut down ugly bushes. There was painting and weeding mostly, and on this next weekend we get to help mulch and plant. The youth center houses children in Oakland, but they only have one part time groundskeeper, it was really sad. Who better than a bunch of Mormons to come clean it up for free?! We had such nice weather and there was lots of food for the volunteers, just a really fun day! I will post some pictures.
This week I really felt the power of service. I literally forgot about everything else for few hours as I just enjoyed working and serving these people. It reminded me that whenever I am down on myself or stressed about my life, I need to just get out there and serve someone else (which yes, Mom always taught growing up). Not only so most of the time you see others have problems too, but it's in fact a real chance to feel your Heavenly Father's love for not only His other children, but for you too. So many people these days question if there really is a God; well when you genuinely serve someone else, I know you can feel the answer. Also, I don't know how many people can say they spend their free time visiting widows, doing someone elses yard, etc except home and visiting teachers. This really is Christ's church on the earth today.
Go out and serve somebody this week, it will build not only your testimony, but your conversion!! Promise! I REALLY LOVE YOU ALL!!!
Sister Martin

Monday, April 15, 2013


Hi Family,
1)at Emma's Garden Party, the pretty set up for the stories of the presidents of relief society. I thought it was beautiful.
2)Sister Goff and I at the Garden Party
3) Norman spoke at "Why I Believe" fireside finally! He did a great job, and mentioned Elder Watson, one of the elders who first helped teach him, in his talk. Luckily Elder Watson was there and he has been so excited Norman chose to be baptized in Walnut Creek. Elder Watson is from Australia, and sounds like it too! So even though his old companion and my old companion were gone, we still both took a picture with him to show that you never know when the fruits of your labor come!
This week we had some great things happen. First, we are helping prepare for the big Mormon Helping Hands project this weekend. The Relief Society was asked to make quilts for the youth that will be staying at the home we are building on Saturday. Mom just so you know, I am still terrible with a needle in my hand, and I hope the parts I worked on don't fall apart!But I tried.
Relief Society celebrated it's anniversary on Saturday. It was called "Emma's Garden Party", and it was so well put together, it looked like they hired a wedding reception crew! But no, we just have extremely talented, driven, and Pinteresty ladies here. It was beautiful all set up in the church building's little courtyard, complete with a mini production one of the counselor's made. She found the script somewhere online, but there were sisters who each represented one of the Relief Society presidents of the past. It was actually very touching, I felt the Spirit a lot as they talked about the sisters during old war times, and some of the hard things others experienced. What courage they had to endure, and how much we have to learn from them! Zaya and Augie came and even brought some food to contribute, so it was a great day!
Interesting how much gardens play a of eden, garden of gethsemane, 1st vision was in a grove of trees, but close enough...
We found a new investigator this week. We found him as we were just walking down the street. In our lesson with him he mentioned how he had been exploring religions and he loved how he felt when he went to church. He said he felt a difference when he did not go, and wanted to know why and how he can have that feeling again. The Lord has really prepared him to hopefully now drink from living waters.
We have been praying for Priyali to be baptized, and she knows everything is true, but is hesitant about the actual ordinance of baptism. We took Mandy and Norman into her lesson, and they both contributed so much to her concern. Norman spoke about how he came to decide to be baptized, and Mandy mentioned that she said there is a reason we got a body. It's pretty significant that we came to earth to get one, and we are showing God that we will follow Him by a physical act. Together our spirit and body are entering into that covenant, so yes it is significant to have an ordinance. We also talked about how your baptism day is a day you will always remember, so you have an more of an obligation to honor it; instead of just saying one day you would follow Christ. Anyways, it was such a good lesson, and I learned a lot from the Spirit through our members.
Well, I am still looking forward to all your thoughts on Conference and your testimonies. That is amazing the Angleton area is getting a church building finally! We must be growing?
Love you all!!!
Sister Martin
P.S. I am very sad to say my camera fell out of my bag onto some rocks this week, and now my screen is all shattered. I am grateful it still takes pictures, but does anyone know where I can get this fixed? Or is there nothing I can do?

Monday, April 8, 2013

Happy Conference!

Dear Family,
I loved conference! As always. I feel like I could sit there for 8 more hours and keep taking it all in! So this week our zone asked us to focus on inviting all contacts to listen to a prophets voice. Thanks to Becky and her package, I made cute little conference handouts for our investigators and then also put together a flier to have the information of what times and where to watch it for nonmembers we met on the streets.
One guy we talked to while walking to an appointment with an investigator, was very interested and ended up asking if our church does any service, because he would love to help! We have a return appointment with him this weekend. Then we also ran into him again yesterday and he cheerfully walked up to us and we chatted and he made sure that we were still coming by this week! We also hope to get him involved in the Mormon Helping Hands project coming up.
We also met another very prepared lady, she works as a stewardess and was coming home after a long flight. But she was very nice as we walked with her from the parking lot to her apartment. We stayed outside her apartment though, and had probably another 20 minute conversation. It turns out she lost a very close friend a few years ago, and has been struggling with how to deal with the grief. As I testified to her of the peace the gospel brings, she looked at me very intently and asked how becaue that is something she has been searching for. We talked a bit about the Atonement, but will go back to teach her lessons hopefully this week.
As for conference:
Elaine S. Dalton: I loved that she reminded us to be virtuous. Do not let the world's morals (or lack thereof) influence us so much we forget what the Lord has asked us, His children, to be like. We must remember who and whose we are, and stand as a witness. What would the world be like if virtue was of worth and highly prized? It would solve so many problems.
Elder Ballard: I loved the tomato plant story, and what stuck out to me was to be careful not to neglect what is needed to help up grow. Do not turn away from the divine light.
Elder Cook: World peace vs. personal peace. What gives us peace is the doctrine of Christ :faith, repentace, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end. We get a good conscience from repentance and living righteously, which gives us real peace.
Stanley G. Ellis: We are not spiritual orphans! Also, instead of asking what can the ward do for me/who has the best ward, we need to think about what ward needs us. What can we bring to the table? Remember that the Lord's ways are higher than our ways.
Elder Bednar: Law of Chastity impacts so many other things.Do not think of the temporary attitudes of the world- remember the Lord's law! Learning to control ourselves makes us more Christlike. Christ overcomes anything of the natural man.
Elder Nelson and Anderson: Missionary work! AKA Missionary FUN! More importantly, member missionary fun! Catch the wave! Please help fill the missionaries calendars! Just talk to friends, be a friend, and then invite them to learn more and add more truth to their life. Even if they reject you, you have the Lord's approval of trying, and you will get desire to try again and again. Also, use internet to share the gospel! Every member a media-nary!
Elder Perry: One of my favorite talks. Obedience to law is liberty. Society routinely dismisses 6 of the 10 commandments: other gods, idols, using His name in vain, Sabbath Day, sexual sins, and coveting. These are moral absolutes and we need to remember that wickedness never was happiness! Obedience brings blessings, disobedience brings sorrow. We need to acknowledge ALL the commandments trust in His promises.
President Monson: Reminded us that prophets have always said obedience is necessary for salvation. Obedience is our true test in this life.
Elder Holland: Of course, another great talk. I loved this one because I have always wanted someone to expound on the story of the man that says 'Lord, I believe!...Help thou my unbelief'. We need to have the integrity to stick to the faith we have, no matter the size of the faith. Don't pretend faith you don't have. Examine, understand, and resolve. Everyone is here to walk by faith, when doubt comes, do not be afraid to ask for help, He will strengthen us. Even if you can't say you 'know' something, believe/hope for/desire to!
Elder Oaks: 'As a disciple of Christ, I had no other choice'...speaking about forgiveness. the commitment we all made at baptism to follow Him, and when he says to forgive others, and we do, we are being his disciples and keeping that covenant.
Christoffel Golden Jr: The nature of the godhead. The heart of the gospel is the Father and the Son, which was confirmed in Joseph Smith's fist vision. It proved God exists, He knows us, we are made in His image, and He continues to show interest in us and reveal Himself. These things have happened before, and they are happening now.
Well, I must go, but know that I know we have living prophet and apostles today on the earth, and they speak the words of the Savior, and those words are for the whole world! I am excited to share that with those who don't know. LOVE YOU ALL!
Sister Martin

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Training and Easter

Hi Family!

So this past Wednesday I went to pick up my new companion. It was there I had to talk up Walnut Creek and then president announced who I would be training. I am now companions with Sister Goff, a tall blonde 20 yr old from Oklahoma! She is very excited to be a missionary, ready to work, and we get along great! I was/am very blessed so far with companions.
I was extremely nervous to be senior companion and driver in my area, especially because our first night was foggy and I got a little lost. Then the next day every single thing I had planned for her first day fell through, so we just knocked on doors and did some street contacting downtown. I was very proud of her though, she kept a great attitude and said this is what happens! She had gone out a lot with sister missionaries before her mission, and experienced a lot of falling through and knocking doors. The first people who opened the door for us was a white Muslim couple who were very nice, then a crazy old man who had elders teach him once. Then the next day we had back to back teaching appointments, where I had Sister Goff invite Annette to be baptized with a date. It was successful, and we are helping her prepare for April 28! Pray that works out! It has been a long time coming, but Annette is ready now.

Easter was fantastic! Saturday we attended The Lamb of God oratorio/performance in Oakland with some members and recent converts. It was great, I really want to the soundtrack. Sister Goff and I were asked to speak on Sunday on the Resurrection.  It was pretty cool they announced us by saying they had two special witnesses of Jesus Christ speak to everyone today.I spoke about having Christ in our life so we can look forward with faith and not fear. We can do this by always having Him on our minds, or "always remember Him" like in sacrament (I got these thoughts from a talk by Elder Christofferson). I shared Alma 11: 40, 42-43, and of course bore testimony how this applied in my life with my family being forever. Then we had Easter lunch, Easter dinner, and Easter dessert at members homes. I was so full! One of the meals felt like Martha Stewart quality, so fancy with little bunny shaped rolls. I already miss Easter.

Well I must go, but know that I love you all, have a wonderful spring week, and the gospel is true! And we get to hear from a living prophet this next weekend!!! We will be inviting everyone we meet to watch this. Send me your thoughts about it for next week!

Sister Martin

1) at the trainer meeting with sister olsen and sister campbell. excited for 12 weeks program again!
2) sister goff and i with president and sister meredith
3)we are all related! grandmas, moms, daughters, aunts, etc.

 (more pictures)
making ho-shore mongolian night after lamb of god performance in oakland
fancy Easter dinner at the stewarts
Hermana Cash made it to the mission field!! yay EFY buddies!