Monday, June 24, 2013

Week 1 of East Bay

Hello Familia,
Wednesday I picked up my new companera, Sister Mitchell!  She is 20 years old, very tan, from Arizona. I am really blessed to have her for this new area, she is a real go-getter! She is already pre-trained.
We love our new apartment and our new car! We feel spoiled. Although, it has been the craziest trying to learn so many new areas! I keep going up and down the same streets trying to figure out where I am, while my poor companion looks through binders and binders of maps. Basically, I pray to even get where I need to every hour. So far, the Lord has answered every prayer. I have seen so many mini miracles, just dealing with driving alone! He really is watching over me so much.
Sunday we got to meet most of the ward. Sure enough, it was as expected. Older, single people who are all pretty upset they are getting "kicked out"'s kind of sad actually. But its not growing at all there and the Lord sees time for change. So we are helping visit these members to get their testimony fired up again and get them excited for the change instead of bitter (in some cases, leaving the church). However, we still had a big miracle. One of the newly called ward missionaries brought their nonmember friend to church! AND we talked with her and got a return appointment set up.  We have someone to teach this week!!!! It will be a drive to get out there, but hopefully everything goes well enough for more lessons, her coming to church, and maybe even Peter's baptism! Another miracle was one lady we visited in the ward, she said she was pretty upset at the ward change, but after we visited she was feeling much better and said she even wanted to bear positive testimony at their last testimony meeting! Yay!  Also, the ward feeds us a lot, we have had a few dinners, but also they give us groceries! That has been such a blessing. We also had some sisters sign up for splits with us this week. Even though this is not going to be a ward in two weeks, we are making sure we go out with a bang! We are still here to serve these people.
Did anyone see the broadcast on Sunday?! I hope you did, it was historic! Basically, several of the apostles addressed not only mission presidents, but any member. It was a re-call for member missionary work. They told stories of how the work is dramatically changing. First, that some ward had little success, missionaries teaching maybe 4 or 5 member present lessons a week. Then they changed their attitudes and every member got involved, and now the missionaries teach over 20 member present lessons a week! There are so many miracles we miss out on when the members don't help the work. So that leads to the second point. They said it is NOT very fruitful when the missionaries do all the finding. They said the days are past when knocking doors really worked. So over the next few months, missions will allow us to use facebook! Crazy huh? I am not sure how exactly, but basically if we have open time during the day, instead of knocking, we go online to facebook and blogs, and friend our investigators and keep in touch that way. We will be doing that in the church buildings, so that the buildings are open to anyone who wants a tour! Cool right?!
Well, I love you all, the gospel is true, no matter where you go!
Hermana Martin

Monday, June 17, 2013


Hello Family,
I know Mom and Dad already told some of you, but we got transfer calls this week. I actually knew a little early what was going to happen, but that's another story.
I am being transferred, my first one on the mission haha. I'm not going far though, my apartment will be in Concord, BUT my area is really a bunch of areas. I will be helping to open up the new East Bay Mid-Singles Ward, which covers over 4 stakes! So a lot of driving, oh nooooo! California drivers still scare me haha. Also, if anyone wants to send me new music or something for the car, that would be nice! But it will be fun too, I will be training again for the third time now. We are getting a brand new apartment, and Sister Peel (Marianne's aunt) called me and was telling me how new everything was and I have to set up everything even the microwave. I was already told its also only a temporary apartment, next transfer we will be moved to Martinez, which is closer to where the chapel is. I am still reporting to the same stake/zone and even the same district. Now our district will have 3 sets of sisters and 1 set of elders, and only me and the elders (Watanawongworakula and Fleming) are staying, we will have 5 new sisters. There are 30 new missionaries coming in this transfer, at least 32 the next. 5 new areas opened this transfer and 7 the next and 7 the next! It's crazy over here! So it is actually common that Walnut Creek will be getting shotgunned/whitewashed again (Sister Fiefia is going to Union City Tongan program and training!) as many areas are right now. And it's mostly sisters doing the shotgunning. I think they said by the end of summer half the mission will be sisters! Which means like over 100 sisters here I think. It's hard to keep up anymore! But both my daughters, Sister Goff and Sister Fiefia, are training this transfer which already makes me a grandma! :) There is even a sister who has to train after being here only four weeks!
So I really have no idea what I am doing as of right now. I won't be in my new area until Wednesday night when I pick up the new companion. I was only told about 50 of these 28-45 year olds are actively going to church, but there are hundreds of names. I will be tracking down these people. And finding I think will be very different than a set area/ family ward. I think it will mostly have to be referrals? I'm a little nervous about that. This ward is currently the singles ward, but most people in it are probably 50 and above. They are getting put into family wards in the next 3 weeks, and the stake president feels this middle aged group needs attention, as that is where most singles go inactive, so they are creating this new ward. Our elders had the singles ward before, so there is somewhat of an areabook, but really I will be working super close with the bishop (whose daughter was actually a good friend of mine at BYU, great family).
We also saw a wonderful miracle this week. We were on our way home pumped from a zone meeting we had just gotten out of, and we got talking about how Sister Fiefia needs to still invite someone to be baptized as her training suggests. For some reason, we haven't had that opportunity this transfer. I told her "lets just have faith and ask someone on the street today!" But then we felt prompted to visit Stephanie, a lady I met 2 transfers ago with Sister Goff. She was really interested to learn and find peace from our message but is extremley hard to get a hold of due to her type of job. We knocked and she was actually home and so excited to see us! We knew we were going to be late for our dinner appointment, because we didn't expect to actually get to teach her, but she said lets go outside to the park bench and talk. We proceeded to talk about her life, and she has been feeling so stressed lately she said she had been praying so hard she had fallen asleep right before we knocked on her door! We taught the restoration, gave her a BOM, and Sister Fiefia was able to invite her to be baptized, and she said YES! She even said she notices how happy we are, and she wants that, especially because she wants to start a family, as she is engaged right now. Stephanie is a very special prepared person. She even remembers seeing elders teach her neighbors before. Just everything she shared I could tell how much the Lord is really preparing her to accept this right now.
Also, our bishop met with a part member family I have been dying to teach, but they always cancel on us. He said though, that he got the husband to agree to take the lessons! So even though I won't personally be teaching these people, I am so happy to have left the area in good hands with some good people to teach.
Also, Peter has been changing so much! Zaya says he wants to be with his family more. He is liking church more and more, and has been coming consistently now! He is set for baptism June 29, so since I am still in the same district, I think I can go if I bring an investigator.
So pray I have a mid single investigator by June 29! Pray for me as a shotgun train, in a new area, with no idea what I am doing! Haha. But, my bishop shared with us in Ether 2 about how even though we might be wandering in the wilderness, let the Lord guide us, have faith in Him. I think that will be the main theme of this next transfer! Someone mentioned in the new trainer meeting, "There are only two kinds of days on the mission. Good days and learning days!"
Well I really really love you all so much, whenever others ask me about my family and I talk about you, they say how fantastic my family sounds! I know no family is perfect, but I'm so grateful God has blessed me with each of you.
Lots of Love,
Sister Martin

Monday, June 10, 2013

Some updates

Hi Family,

So mostly my letter this week is the pictures I sent you. They are a bit overdue, but at least within this last transfer.

Otherwise, this week we really took time to track down some former investigators from the area book. Sure enough, we found someone interested in reconnecting, and then an interested neighbor of someone else. So we had some little miacles this week of finding new investigators. I have put off going through the former investigator files because many were old, and the sisters here in the past never actually taught them that much if really at all; basically some sketchy information. But I knew they needed to be updated, so I just did it anyways. Tracking down these people in over 100 degree weather has been interesting. Especially for poor Sister Fiefia, she was NOT used to the heat, and does NOT like it. I ve a testimony that constantly trying to find in new ways really works. As I have tried old ways it has not worked for this transfer for some reason, but at the time they were new they were awesome.

Anyways, new missionary training meeting for Sister Fiefia was fun. I got to sit by Sister Olsen, my MTC companion. And during our role play/practice, one of the new elders was teaching me, and he was sweating he was so nervous! It is always fun to see old faces as well as the excitement and testimonies of all these new missionaries! Every training I go to literally gets bigger and bigger and the next one will be the biggest so far. I also don't know if I mentioned, but a Sister Smith from EFY is here! She is called to Brazil, but due to visas, we have a bunch of missionaries temporarily here. Texas EFY reunion happening here with me, Hermana Cash, and Sister Smith! It's been fun seeing them here. We were all counselors together last summer, and I was the only one with my call at the time, and after they both had put papers in.

Well I need to go, love you!
-Sister Martin

Picture 1) Priyali's Baptism with Bishop Oyler, my two daughters Sister Fiefia and Sister Goff, Priyali, me, and Sister Pope (Sis Goff's new comapnion)
Picture 2) At the zoo with my district on my birthday! I am "22"! I also broke my watch squeezing into that turtle...
Picture 3) At the bear exhibit- S.Fiefia, me, S.Oa, S. Anderson, and E. Fleming
Picture 4) After Zone Conference, with S. Oslwald a new missionary and Sis Erdenebataar again!
Picture 5) The truck I got to drive for a few days. Elder Bailey, the senior missionary in charge of vehicles still brags and tells everyone I got to drive it, all the missionaries are jealous! My little piece of Texas.

Picture 6) My district in matching yellow. Sister's Anderson, Oa, Fiefia, and me. Then Elder Watanawongworakula (yes, that is seriously his name, its the longest name in the mission) and Elder Fleming.

Monday, June 3, 2013

But there was one among them

Dear Family,
Ross and Lacie had their baby girl blessed this Sunday. They are such a cool couple, they have tons of friends, many of whom joined us at church! It was fast and testimony meeting, and we had some interesting testimonies, and my companion asked if I wanted to go up. We agreed we should both go, and we closed the meeting testifying about raising families in today's world of shifting values with the gospel of Jesus Christ (which was perfect, because we have a monthly theme in our ward that the bishopric chooses, and June is 'preaching the gospel in our home' based from talks in conference).
That afternoon, we went to their luncheon. As soon as we walked in, one of their friends said how much he loved what we had to say in church. He said something really hit home with him. We talked a little more, and he mentioned how he loves Walnut Creek and is thinking about moving his family here, because he loves the set up that Ross and Lacie have, said it looks like a good place for family. This guy was so awesome! Then before we left, we gave him a card with and our number and told him to call us if he had questions and we talked to Ross about getting them in their home to teach more. Then we talked to his wife a little later, and she said "thanks for your testimony today. Something you said about the world changing values I think really struck my husband." We were so happy when we left that luncheon! I came home to do personal study, and happened to read the account of Abinidi in the Book of Mormon, and how even though he died probably thinking he didn't get through to anyone, verse 2 of Mosiah 17 says "But there was one among them whose name was Alma... And he was a young man, and he believed the words which Abinidi had spoken." Then as some of you know, Alma repents, then preaches the gospel and soon over 200 are baptized, later that number doubles. I just get chills reading the line"but there was one among them". And its so true, you never know who is listening, who is prepared, etc. The power of one influence is incredible. I thought about how many nonmembers were in church, and there was at least one among them who liked what they heard and felt. We were meant to share those testimonies!
One of our dear sisters we visit is in her 90's and has many health problems. We love visiting her though, and she is always smiling and letting us sing her hymns. It was sad news we received this week that she fell and broke her hip. Her less active daughter called us and said she had asked her mother if she wanted the missionaries, because the doctors said she might not make it out of surgery. She said yes she wanted to see us and others who make her happy. We informed the Relief Society President, and when we got there that afternoon, there was her visiting teacher, her hometeacher, and about 3 other priesthood brethren from the ward, who stopped by to give a blessing before the ward campout this weekend. What an amazing unit of love and support a ward can give! Her less active daughter was impressed as we all gathered around to sing How Great Thou Art, it was a full choir! Then we shared a scripture and said a prayer, and she was smiling and holding our hands the whole time. Turns out she is actually doing great! Came out of the surgery well. She is such a fighter. I just hope that this also gives us an opportunity to talk to her daughter as well.
Well, keep Walnut Creek and the sister missionaries here in your prayers, that we can have new investigators. You are in mine, I love you all!
Sister Martin