Monday, October 28, 2013

East Bay Love

Alvaro's baptism was amazing! The day before we took him to the Visitor's Center to watch the Testaments, it was so powerful and amazing. If you havent seen that movie, the first hour is pretty painful and awkward, but its all worth it for the last 5 minutes!!!!
Then we had a large portion of our ward come support him. His family came, the elders who first taught him got to come, and Bishop even spoke a little Spanish. Everything went well, the priesthood welcomed him and gave him a beautiful new quad set of scriptures. He loves the scriptures so I know he will eat those up! Our first baptism in this historical ward! It was stressful getting a font booked, but through fasting, prayer, and others help, we made it happen. Not a bad problem to deal with honestly!
A talk given at his baptism mentioned something interesting. He said when we get the gift of the Holy Ghost, the words used are "recieve the Holy Ghost". This means we need to work on and be worthy to welcome that invitation to us to receive Him.
Sorry its short this week, love you! Happy Halloween! Happy Birthday Dad! I sent you a card tellin gyou how amazing you are.
Sister Martin

Monday, October 21, 2013

Boots and Baptism

Hello Family,
I am staying in East Bay Midsingles another transfer. Nothing changed.
We were handed an investigator with a baptismal date this week. Turns out his baptismal date is THIS SUNDAY. So Crazy, but we are planning it. His name is Alvaro and he has an amazing testimony about Jesus Christ. He has given up so much addiction in his life. He loves our ward, so he wanted to be baptized here, so the Richmond Spanish elders passed him off to us. We are going to ward FHE with him tonight, studying about the life of President Monson, should be fun.
GUESS WHO ELSE GOT BAPTIZED?! Annette from Walnut Creek. I have officially hung around long enought to see every fruit from those I taught there. She has investigated for over a year now. I went through everything with her. But through a crazy story she thought the new Walnut Creek sisters had set a baptismal date with her (turns out it was a dinner haha) but she had secretly given up smoking to work towards that date. Also she had some Jehovah's Witnesses come to her door, and she started testifying and telling them that she knew what was right and true! It clicked with her somehow! What a blessing for her daughter who was just baptized over a year ago, to see her mom finally enter the waters! I got to go to the baptism cause it was still in my district and we took Alvaro. I will send pictures probably next week.
Well we also randomly called this less active guy who was referred to us by another set of sisters. We invited him to go to the midsingles barn dance activity. It didn't sound like he could go, but apparently he did and told EVERYONE that the sisters told him to go. He kept looking for us all night (we didn't go obviously) haha, but SO MANY people at church talked about him, including Bishop, said how much fun he had, how social he was. We are curious to actually meet him ourselves, we are hoping he comes to church soon. But also our bishop's family went to go buy boots for the activity, and talked to the guy at the boots store about the church. They just asked him at the end if he would like missionaries to talk to him and he said YES and gave them his card. Amazing what the power of opening our mouths and inviting those around us, does, whether they are members or not!
Love you,
Sister Martin

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Inner City

Hello Family,
My week was interesting. I GOT TO DO EXCHANGES IN INNER CITY OAKLAND. Scary. President put one set of sisters there for this first time ever this transfer, and I had to be the Sister Trainer Leader for them. So I went twice. The elders there(who are the assistants to the president) need a lot of help, so they call the sisters a lot to go to their area (they try to give the sisters safer places, but still...) and we visited this miraculous less active wanting to come back to church. But she lives in a neighborhood where she has seen multiple shootings, morning, afternoon, and night.It was in a super ghetto house, and she told us she looked out her window once to see a man bleeding from his head, dead. So sad the world and crime and secret combinations. So my eyes continually are opened to the sheltered life I lived beofre. And this lady was in a mess. She was married to a guy who almost killed her, but now he is out of the country and she doesnt know how to get a hold of him so she can divorce him. She also has a child, a boyfriend, and broke her hand and when she went in to get it treated, got a pregnancy test that came back positive. But she cried to us in her living room when I asked her why she wanted to come back. She felt a prompting to go the visitor's center a week before. She has also thought a lot about her grandma who has passed recently. Just amazing stories of the spirit prompting her. Oakland is such fertile ground for prepared people. However, that means the ward has its own challenges. It's basically run by stake service members, the ward is full of a lot of poor, mostly single people with a lot of problems, no cars, etc. The sisters said there are not very many families at all.

In East Bay I was trying to to talk with everyone, and this girl even looked mid-single. We set a return appointment, and met her this week. As the lesson started she had some great questions about the Atonement and how we viewed Christ. But soon her friend showed up (they always bring a friend) with her bible and we knew exactly what was happening. It was really funny and sad at the same time, when she pulled out Revelations I said "we know what that says!!" Haha, they weren't sure what to do after that, and didn't even really try. I just gave the schpeel about we could actually give you a lot of answers for that, but really can only invite you to read the Book of Mormon and pray for yourself, ONLY if you are willing and sincere about learning more. They were not, but gave us material from themselves about what the real, or yet "a Christian's definition of gospel" is. Also, when they asked us about our view of heaven and hell, it was so funny to hear them try nicely to tell us that we were going to hell.
On a happier spiritual note, I gave a zone training this week on small and simple things, how they make us great missionaries (and people). It made me study the word "simple" in the scriptures. I really liked Doctrine and Covenants1:23 "That the fulness of my gospel might be proclaimed by the weak and the simple unto the ends of the world..." The Lord works through simple servants. I know this to be true, I have seen it!
I will send another email with pictures from Fenton's Creamery (in Oakland, the one they sit in at the end of the movie "Up". However I do not reccomend eating these things by yourself) and a cool street corner we found after some service in Oakland.
Sister Martin

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

You Guessed It, Conference!

Ok, you guessed it, I will give you my favorite recaps of conference...
Edward Dube
Besides the awesome accent, the quote "never look back! look at what we still have to do!" "Stop being caught up in personal aspirations, and be interested in the common goal of bringing to pass the immortality and eternal life of man."
Elder Bednar
Windows letting in light, hence light is shed on our life when we pay tithing. Gaining subtle peace and assurance in our life is more prevalant than temporal blessings. Law of tithing is so simple, and yet it WORKS.
President Uchtdorf
10 hours of conference, 3 hours of church, seminary. family history, youth camps, tithing, fasting, etc.-why would anyone want to join such a church?! We see assignments as opportunities to fulfill covenants.God is perfect, but he works through us imperfect people, He knew we needed the responsibilty to grow.
"There is room for you here."
Elder Christofferson
"There are enough women in the world who are tough, we need women who are tender."
"Strive to be a disciple without apology."
S.Gifford Nielson
It doesn't matter the game plan, just score a touchdown! The exclamation points in the scriptures are about sharing the gospel! Specifically pray, pray for the investigators and missionaries in your ward by name, and invite someone to an activity in or out of the home.
I also loved his TV voice haha. And the fact he is from Texas. And played for BYU.
Elder Holland
"If the bitter cup does not pass, drink it."
In the context of those who know those who suffer from depression, be aware and be charitable because "charity never faileth"
Wow. He went where no general authority has gone before.
Elder Ballard
Top two fears of members in sharing the gospel, 1)fear and 2) misunderstanding. The power of asking and relying on the Lord will help us in this.
Elder Oaks
"Land laws cannot make moral what God has said is immoral."
Elder Scott
"The Lord sees weaknesses different than rebellion." He shows mercy on weaknesses, but we must repent of rebellion.
Elder Andersen
"Women have good opinions, if you just ask!....After all, they are your mothers." "A priesthood holder might open the drapes to the sunlight, but he does not own the sun or the light." He addressed so many great things about the role of men and women.
David M. McKonkie
Basically what missionaries are taught. It's more important to be worthy of the Spirit, than to have the manual memorized. Must study as well. We quote here a lot "the Spirit can not draw from an empty well."
And of course, President Monson, "Tonight, I will write in my journal, 'this has been one of the most inspiring conferences." SO TRUE! There were so many diverse topics, I loved it!
My thoughts- the world is becoming more and more gray, which makes the gospel more and more black and white. Some don't like that, and feel we have to conform to the gray. The Lord is clear, and "whether by my own mouth, or by the mouth of my servants, it is the same." We had the privilege of watching one session with some other sisters and their investigator. He was probably in his late 30's, and he was only able to watch a few of the Sunday morning talks, but he loved it! He said it was better than the pamphlets the sisters gave him :). He said it is so true "to hear the way the world is going". I thought, isn't that what prophets have always done? What Lehi did when he said Jerusalem would be destroyed? What Noah did when he said the earth would flood? We are being warned of today's spiritual dangers.
I love conference, I know the words they speak are truly from the Lord and I feel strengthened when I listen to them. I have already made plans to apply specific counsel in my own life, I invite you to do the same. THE CHURCH IS TRUE!!
Much Love,
Sister Martin

Four of us sisters watching conference at a members home! :)