Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Diligence Wins Everytime!

Dearest Family,
P-Day Miracles
First, I wish I could have written you last Monday night instead of afternoon. Because we had an awesome story after. So we had the Walnut Creek sisters in our car, as the elders had theirs. We all got done with the hike in Oakland and had to face traffic on the way back. We had to go to Martinez to meet the elders cause they had left their bikes at a member's home. We are almost there when the elders call us and tell us they are still in Oakland because of an accident. That would mean there was 10 minutes lef tin P-day, 30 minutes til they got there, we are all in hiking clothes in a different area. I really prayed to know what to do, what would be the most obedient thing. We decided to just take the sisters home, but as we were leaving the parking lot of the grocery store we pulled into, we saw a family standing outside with a sign that said "need a job. please help." I felt so moved by this family, which had a husband, wife, and a small baby wrapped in her arms, I pulled over to the gas station across from them. I told the sisters we were giong to be a miracle for that family. We proceeded to go into the gas station to buy random food and juice. As we were checking out, we talked to a man in line and the cashier. We got BOTH of their information, and one even asked for a Bible, so we gave him a Book of Mormon, and said missionaries could deliver the Bible later. They were amazing contacts. Then we walked across the street to the family. They were from Romania, spoke very little English. We gave them the food and talked to them about the gospel, and gave them Book of Mormon. We said we wanted to meet with them with a friend (a man in our ward who served his mission in Romania) who spoke Romanian. Within that 30 minutes, we had like 3 miracles. Diligence of proselyting at 6 for the win! Even if we were in "normal" clothes, we couldn't help that. I was just reminded how powerful members can be...dressed in normal clothes all the time...at gas stations a lot...just saying. YOU CAN DO IT!
Also this week was interesting as I was SICK! Ironically, Becky just asked me in her email if I got caught in the nasty weather here, with the rain and a ton of wind. Well, yes, literally caught in it. I was on exchanges and we were knocking on doors and contacting in the rain. I did take a rain jacket and umbrella, but sometimes you just get caught in downpours. My boots have holes in them, so it got through to my feet all day. Anyways, with the weather change and general horrendous allergies here, and who know what else, I had major sinus pain and a cold, I had to call the mission nurse and she was afraid of it turning into sinusitis, so she told me to STAY HOME for a few days and rest. That was painful, I have never had to do that on the mission (minus the MTC). But we were still able to teach one of our lessons over the phone, I organized a lot of papers and binders, and read almost all of "Our Heritage" in the missionary library. Amazing what just reading about church history does to inspire your testimony. So with NyQuil and naps, I feel much better now. It was exactly what was needed. This East Bay business must be stressful, that sleep felt way too good!
This week I have pondered a lot about specific prayer. Our zone had a training on it and also I re-read Elder Gifford Neilson's talk from Conference. He asked us to pray for some pretty specific things. There is a lot of power when we remember that God wants to "give us good gifts": Luke 11 teaches
And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.10 For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.11 If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent?12 Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion?13 If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give athe Holy Spirit to them that ask him?
So let us be specific in asking for good things. Call upon that power of heaven. Because who are we? Children of God.
Happy Thanksgiving and Happy Birthday this week to Mom and Heather!
Lots of Love,
Sister Martin

Monday, November 18, 2013

Remember the Alamo!

Hola Familia,
This week I did a special exchange with Sister Olsen and her companion so that Sister Evans and Sister Kwan, our companions could have their very own exchange with a STL, instead of just being stuck with us all the time haha. It was great! I got to go to Alamo... Where I have never faced such rejection in my life!!! There is literally nothing but residences there, so its all talking to rich white people in their yards. We were offering a lot of service, but once we mentioned the word "missionaries" it was like jekyll and hyde. I was very proud that Sister Kwan was very diligent. I liked the exchange, but was happy to go back to East Bay for sure.
It's interesting, because the moral of the story is, MEMBERS ARE THE KEY! If you haven't caught on yet. Because the town RIGHT next to Alamo is baptizing families like crazy. Why? Because the members are finding them, and the ward mission leader literally fills their calendar for them. So while members continue to catch on, we fill our own calendars, but the areas that have figured this out are seeing the fruits.
This week was also an AMAZING leadership training. It was two days long, with all the district and zone leaders, and the sister training leaders.
I had to give a training on "dynamic leadership" with a cool science experiment. We had breakout sessions, large discussions, food, etc. It was a spiritual feast! I came away with so many more tools that I applied right away to my exchanges, and it made it 10 million times better! I learned how asking inspired questions and all the skills of teaching investigators applies well to the sisters I am over. Not that that was news, but it was good to see examples of how that is. We needed this training, because there are now more missionaries who have been out 6 months or less than older missionaries in our mission. There are district leaders who are in their 3rd transfer. We have so many new missionaries, we have to make sure we bring them up right :)
Thanksgiving is soon!!! We are teaching our ward FHE lesson tonight on gratitude, followed by a Thanksgiving dinner. We invited Brad and Alvaro to come. We are listening to Christmas music and getting ready to prepare a Christmas message in our finding efforts! The weather is getting colder and we are going hiking again today for zone activity.

Well this week is a challenge to you all to write me about how you gained a testimony of paying tithing or living word of wisdom.

Much love,
Sister Martin

Monday, November 11, 2013

High(er) Expectations

Hello Family!
Here is Annette's Baptism in Walnut Creek! She has been learning from missionaries forever! I taught her almost the whole time I was there! AND GUESS WHO BAPTIZED HER? NORMAN!!
Here is Alvaro's Baptism. He is really shy, so just ignore that is may or may not look like a mug shot...haha. We promise he was really happy. His mom was happy too, we even had her say the opening prayer...IN SPANISH!

Well, I am sure the apartment maintenance loves having two sister missionaries with thick hair live there...we had to call them to pull this out of the shower drain! Sick.

Well I like this new thing I discovered on email about inserting the pictures instead of just attaching them. Hopefully it works. 
Well at Mission Leadership Council, President Meredith just got back from a 3 day long training from Elder Ballard! We discussed a lot of ways to improve and teaching shortly and powerfully. We talked about high expectations. How much of the scriptures have absolutely MIRACULOUS things happen, parting the Red Sea, surviving a den of lions, not to mention all the Savior's miracles and miracles in the Book of Mormon. What did it take to have these? FAITH and KNOWING WHO YOU REALLY ARE. Not just a prophet or a missionary, but a child of God, which means you have divine in you. But how do we build that faith in ourselves and others? The emphasis in this training was on having spiritual experiences and then also sharing and hearing testimonies. We discussed bearing testimony frequently, and promising specific blessings, especially as we have seen them in our life. As we share this with others, it helps them build the cinderblock foundation of their testimonies'.
We have also been talking about becoming more consecrated missionaries. The law of consecration is a celestial law. It not about just changing behavior, but changing your whole nature. 
We had a miracle of one of our less actives coming to church this week. We needed a female for our investigator. Noone in our ward seemed to be able to come when it got down to 2 hours before the lesson. We finally resorted to calling a less active we hadn't seen. She agreed! Despite our investigator falling through at the last minute possible, we taught her instead (it was on the Plan of Salvation) and she cried and said how much she needed the lesson and needed to come to church. It was amazing, and we KNEW that was what the Lord needed to happen that night. 

LOVE YOU ALL!!! Hug a cat and invite someone to church.
Sister Martin

******Her pics didn't come through for this portion of the email...sorry everyone. Hopefully she'll resend them next week ********

Guess who I got to hang out with for Mission Leadership Council? SISTER OLSEN! And SISTER COOPER! They just got called as new Sister Training Leaders.Love them. It was a blast. 
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This is what we really feel like after Mission Leadership Council. It is looong. And stressful. 
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Happy Haunted House Cleaning time! As missionaries, we were locked in from 6-9 pm on Halloween, not allowed to proselyte, so instead we are supposed to deep clean. Here we are with the caramel apples we made with the caramel Mom sent. We also have a coloring sheet and a cleaning checklist ready for the night. Forget trick or treating, purging out old mission stuff is very rewarding!
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For example, I finally let go of my old running shoes. We run a lot on the mission, and you can tell where I hit my stride haha, they are diagonal. I have new beautiful ones from Target I am loving. 

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Monday, November 4, 2013


Hello Family,
If the Lord can hasten His work in a mid-singles ward, then family wards have NOTHING to ever complain about again!
We have another investigator with a baptismal date. That is a miracle! His name is Brad. We found him in a park dressed in baggy black and a box of cigarettes in his hand, over his ears, etc. At first we had just been hit on by a drunk man and he had overheard so we debated whether it was too awkward of an image to talk to him. But I thought, "talk with EVERYONE" and so I did. (I have learned not to tell the Lord who is ready to hear it and who is not). He was awesome, told us he was looking for change, gave his info. We tried so hard to get a return appt, but over the next few weeks he kept not showing up, not answering etc. BUT THEN this Saturday night he called us at 6:30 saying he was on his way home from Bart and asked if we were still doing the church thing. We were like we are now! So in an hour and a half we managed to take Annette and an awesome priesthood fellowshipper and it was amazing! He said the day after he talked to us he got a job offer. He then not only accepted baptism, but a date! For this month! He has been through so much, with his girlfriend died last year, he has been to jail, etc. Anyways, we were so excited for him, he was nodding his head during Joseph Smith's experience saying "yeah I feel like that guy"! Annette, funny story, was like "are you sure you want to be baptized that soon? It's a big decision.I took like 2 years." But surprisingly that did not deter him, he said "well if we are going to meet 2-3 times a week, I think I can do that".
Alvaro's confirmation went well. His nonmember mom and uncle came again, and we even had someone come help translate for them in gospel principles! Also we have another nonmember who keeps visiting us every week at church. We are trying to see if we can meet with him. We are also starting a temple prep class for those in the ward who should go through or who haven't been in a while. Also we are talking to the ward about starting a Book of Mormon class taught by us (not on Sundays, but another night of the week). So the ward is picking up on catching the vision of helping other's along in their conversion.
We also heard back from our old investigator Celeste. I had an impression to call her, even though we had tried several times that week. She answered and we had a great conversation. She is in a rough spot right now so she can't meet with us, but said we can call and text her scriptures, because her land lords threw out her Book of Mormon we gave her. Such opposition these days.I don't doubt Elder Hales saying that the persecution will be like unto the early saints.
Season Change
Well its November, the leaves are changing here. I have worn my boots and tights a few times. But it is still pretty sunny for the most part. It gets cold at night and the early morning, but pretty warm in the afternoons. It will change soon. On Saturday for service I helped put up the Christmas lights with other singles wards at the Oakland temple! That was so cool, I have always wanted to help with temple grounds.
I will attach pictures next week of the baptisms and caramel apples we made :) I LOVE YOU ALL! Have a great week, share a gospel principle with someone.
Sister Martin