Monday, December 9, 2013

#ChristmasDevo and Alamo

Dear Family,

First, I thought it was hilarious that during the 1st presidency Christmas devotional, in the corner was a little twitter sign, "#ChristmasDevo" --so hip church! Hashtag the gospel!!!!

#Alamoisamazing. #Ilovemycompanion
This week has been THE craziest!! Every day is an adventure with Sister Olsen. We are constantly laughing and having a blast, but yet we are stoked to be together and work hard and turn around Alamo! Our first day, we had to take care of one of our sisters we are over in my new zone. She was training, and had to wait to pick up her new companion, so it felt like a giant trio slumber party! And we saw miracles on the first day! The first man we walked up to at his garbage can let us in his house with his wife. She said they have never let in missionaries all these years until now. Then we visited some members, and I don't know what people are talking about, but this ward is doing amazing with missionary work! One of the couples in our ward told us about how they just got a mission call to Hong Kong, only to be personally called from Elder Oak's office a few weeks later!! Then they had a video conference with President Uchtdorf!! They are now being called to serve as a mission president and wife!! They will be so amazing! So President Uchtdorf told them"You only need to know 3 things. Preach My Gospel. Preach My Gospel. and Preach My Gospel." when she shared that with us, it just reminded us how amazing that book is. So anyways, they are having us teach them the lessons to help them prepare! They are so cute, they have all the PMG videos, pamphlets, etc sitting around in their house. AND this means they are praying VERY diligently to have missionary experiences. The sister said she had to go to the bank for the first time in 10 years (I will discuss the richness of this place later), where she ran into an old neighbor from like 22 years ago!! After saying her name, which she completely remembered, they caught up on each others lives. Turns out the neighbor had JUST lost her husband, and was now mad at God. Our member testified about the Plan of Salvation, and when the neighbor didn't want to believe her, up comes ANOTHER MEMBER in the parking lot. She came over, and our member told her what was happening, and the other member just looked at the nonmember and said "It is absolutely true." BY THE MOUTH OF 2 WITNESSES! How cool is that?! Reminded me why we go in companionships. Anyways, so now our futuremissionpresidentwife went over to her house later with chocolate offering chocolates and a hug. They talked some more and then our member invited her to our fancy relief society dinner. She accepted the invite and totally came. We were there, and just got to know her a little. Eventually, she is going to invite her to meet with us!

Sooo speaking of rich, this place is loaded! We are the richest part of the mission. The member I was talking about earlier who said she hadn't been to the bank in 10 years, is so funny and just says"my husband is my ATM. Whenever I want money I just take it from him." I think I have been in like 20 mansions since I got here. One time was for our relief society dinner. It was the men serving us in matching cumberbuns (sp?) and bow ties, with a full blown meal on porcelain plates with wine glasses.  We even had the men chauffeuring and parking everyone's cars. However rich though, they did good in bringing nonmembers, which was the idea. In our last ward, a sister commented how she went out with a rich guy once, partially to use as an opportunity to share the gospel, because quote "missionaries can't get to that door". So profound! We are going to be working really closely with the members here. We will work as hard as we can to find as well, but we know the miracles will come through the members. Even if on Sunday, literally 95%of relief society has gray or white hair. They can share the gospel too! :) Also, I love older people, they are hilarious, which made Sunday so funny. You know our ward is old, when they have an electrical wheelchair lift on the stand in sacrament. And I had to use a microphone to even make a comment in Relief Society. I love it here :) Also, please pray for our investigator, even though there are old people here, we are teaching my first teenager on my mission. She is 14, and the only nonmember in her family. But her family is less active.

Also, Sister Olsen and I had to be on bikes for a day! The elders had to borrow our car to go to Oakland, and so we said "ok we need your bikes then, we have appointments." So we took them. So. Painful. Here is Sister Olsen's version/account of that day for you:

"It's been SO cold here!!!! I'm freezing my buns off!!! Last thursday was the coldest day of the year!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And guess what we got to do all day..............................WE WERE ON BIKE!!!!!!!! AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! I hated every second of it! haha just kidding! It actually was REALLY fun and it was REALLY FUNNY to watch sister martin struggle on the bike because she's so short!! hahaha we were in our fancy fur coats with tights on and our nice shoes...riding elders bikes. I kept looking back at her and each time I did I almost crashed because I was laughing so hard. I bet we looked RIDICULOUS!! hahaha it was the funniest day of my mission! The elders had to borrow our car to go to Oakland and so we were like okay sure! Give us your bikes and they couldn't believe we wanted to ride bikes! We were like "Well, we have places to go, people to visit! We have appointments all day! We aren't walking!" haha half way through the day I repented and said a prayer for all the missionaries on bike. I take being in car for granted. I now have a new respect for elders and sisters on bike. "

I think that is enough said. Except she was kind enough to not mention when I fell off trying to contact a sweet Asian couple on the street. Haha. Thank goodness our members gave us rides in the evening. Alamo is also super hilly. And riding a bike is so dangerous!We of course had Mission Leadership Council the next day, which was a bunch of sitting for hours!!

We call our car the Jaredite boat. It is a Chevy Malibu, therefore, tight like unto a dish. Horrible turning radius. We miss our Corolla. But we are grateful to not be on bikes!
Sister Olsen and I are also giving a training! AT ZONE CONFERENCE! This is one of the biggest training opportunities, and one of the assistants specifically told me they counseled with President who needed to give the training, and they picked us for our conference! Thankfully we don't have to do it al 3 days, just our own zone conference. We were given the topic of "asking inspired questions". We are so excited, and already have an object lesson planned.This is also the funnest zone conference of the year! We get to do missionary Christmas things, like a white elephant exchange, and our mission president's wife is reading us a Christmas story, and we have a bunch of Chirstmas special musical numbers. We have been soooo busy with meetings and trainings, we are excited to get into more proselyting time together and exchanges this week. I have been feeling so much anxiety about how fast this part of my mission will go. I am so happy, and I don't want to stop being a missionary!

Sister Martin

We are so excited and happy to be together again!! Especially for the holidays :)
1. We were in a trio for a day...funnest night ever!
2. we love bikes:)..hahaha
3. Santa already loves us!!!! :)

More pictures for those of you who can appreciate more pictures of me...:
1)This first pic is at our first district meeting together. We ate these things called "Dropeys" ? Our district leader brought them to us. They are basically licorice with salt. Suuuuper nasty.
2)We have too much fun. This was our first official companion picture.

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