Monday, December 23, 2013

Merry and Bright

Happy Christmas Family!
Christmas Online 
Did you forget the challenge from general conference?! You still have 2 days.
For you to please watch, this is so beautiful and moving, it really made me think about how Christ's miraculous life really did start in a manger.
Catholic High School
I really really love this season. The Spirit is so strong. I love my Savior and all He has done. My life is the way it is because of Him. I love being His missionary and getting to share His message.
This week we had a unique experience in getting to share that message. We were asked by a local Catholic high school world religions class to come answer questions. Sister Olsen and I were asked to help with this, so we went one morning to stand up in front of an all girls class. They presented their report and slideshow first (which only had a little false doctrine ;)) , the slideshow being titled "The Mormons", and then said they had some guests here to answer questions. They had soooo many! They asked why we were called Mormons, and I explained a little about the Book of Mormon, and how we got out nickname from a prophet who wrote in it, and I said I didn't mind being called that, he was a pretty cool guy :). They mostly asked about serving missions, but when they asked about crazy or scary experiences, we talked about the Holy Ghost, and that spurred more questions on what the Holy Ghost felt like. Afterwards, the girls in charge of us escorted us back to the office, and told us on the way that we were the most interesting and exciting religion that has presented to them :)
This week was also another wake up call to the reality of the Savior and the Plan of Salvation. One of the recent converts in East Bay ward passed away this week. He was just baptized last year in September, and transferred to our ward. We never got to teach him, he said he didn't want the lessons from us, he wasn't comfortable with sisters. However, now I know he was suffering from schizophrenia.This Sunday he took away his life (which is apparently common when people who suffer from this reach middle age). We attended the funeral on Saturday, where his completely nonmember, mostly Catholic, family was all there. They chose to have an LDS funeral in honor of his decision to be baptized. His parents were great in expressing how much the church helped him find peace and knowledge that God was there. He had said he wouldn't be able to keep going in life if he didn't know God existed. He was an all-American guy, a leader, played water polo and track for UCLA, so a lot of UCLA athletes were there, as well as his coach from high school. His girlfriend from East Bay ward was there as well. We stayed around and served there all day. We talked to some people and had great conversations. Offered missionaries, they kindy declined, but readily accepted our invite to learn more from or talk to missionaries on the streets when they see them. They said they liked the scriptures read from the Book of Mormon (Alma 7 and 40 were quoted frequently). I know this good brother is no longer suffering and that he will be made whole one day due to Jesus Christ. His girlfriend told me later she knew that the messages shared at his funeral were what he would have wanted his family to hear. I know hundreds heard the word of God and the Plan of Salvation and this will affect them all one day. Also, interesting I had to do a presentation on this particular affliction at BYU, the Lord really has prepared me in so many ways to better understand things and serve my mission here.
I am grateful that the Savior makes things more merry as we experience the joys of this mortal life, and also that He sheds brighter light on the harder times.
Merry Christmas! Talk to you in 2 days--face to face!
Much Love,
Sister Martin

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