Yes, that is french. Why? Because more than half of the sisters in the Visitors' Center speak french! My companion is from Leon, France and the other sisters I'm close with are from Canada and speak french. Needless to say, I've gotten to put to use some of my french... since that's all anyone speaks around here! But there is also a sister from Germany, Columbia, France, London, and some remote island in the Philippines which I cannot remember... Anyway, I LOVE IT HERE!! I love all of the sisters I'm serving with, especially my companion!
Oh where to start, where to start... There is so much I want to say and so little time! For starters, I went to the beautiful St. George Temple this morning. Let me give you an idea of what it's like where I am: You have the temple, then the visitors' center right next to that, and then across the street is where all the VC sisters live! So every morning my companion and I run around the grounds of the temple. It's still cold and dark outside, but guess what? There are still people going through the temple in the early am. And lots of them. Such dedication! I couldn't ask for a more beautiful run in the morning.
So as I was saying before (sorry, I get side tracked easily...), I went to the temple this morning with my companion and a few other sisters. The inside is SO BEAUTIFUL and the spirit was so strong. I feel so lucky to have the gorgeous view of the temple from my apartment and from the VC every day.
About the VC, it is pretty big! My favorite thing about serving there is talking with all the cute kids that come in. Teaching them, singing primary songs with them, and telling then of the love that their Heavenly Father has for them. I get tears in my eyes every day from the inspiring words they say and the sweet spirit that they bring with them. Makes me miss little Seth more and more, especially when kids come in and go straight to the Chinese Book of Mormon in our Book of Mormon display!
One of my favorite events so far has happened in the VC. We were taking four sisters (ages 4-12) on a tour and showed them the video "God's Plan for His Family" This is the one where you move from room to room, and it really focuses on how families can be together forever and how the temple makes that possible. During the very last segment, it shows the family working together, praying and reading together, resolving issues together, and serving together. The oldest sister would read all the words like love, diligence, patience, charity, that would come up on the screen. It was so sweet. So of course I started to get a little weepy. I just love families, sisters, and the temple and it was so apparent that these sweet little girls felt the same way!
Did I already tell you guys that I served on temple square one evening before I left the MTC? LOVED IT! But it was slightly overwhelming because there are two VC's and I didn't know where anything was and there was about 10,000 people (literally) on temple square that night and people kept asking us questions and my companion couldn't speak English very well because she was from the Philippines andddd...yeah. But I still had fun! I'm glad I'm serving on a smaller campus though ;)
So when we first got here, Sister Center (mission president's wife) greeted us and said, "Welcome to the 30 lb mission!"
Well, sadly, she's totally right... the area we're serving in is pretty nice and everyone feeds us like it's thanksgiving. I mean don't get me wrong, it's great food, I love all of it! But I'm just going to have to up my exercises in the morning. Especially when members bring us Cafe Rio to the VC weekly. And our elders bake us cookies weekly. But you know what, I love food. And I love all the generous and hospitable people here. And they are all so enthusiastic about missionary work. So I think the Lord will provide a way and means for me to not look like a manatee upon my arrival home.
So I better wrap this up, there's just so much I want to say! But in closing, I've learned a LOT about exact obedience this week. My companion is extremely obedient, and for that I am very thankful. My first night here I was running on three hours of sleep and all I wanted was to take a shower, write in my journal, and go to bed. But we only had 5 minutes left till lights out, 10:30. So I was just going to go to bed a little later. But then Sister Brenders said something that kind of shocked me. She said, "Sister Martin, we have to go to bed at 10:30. So you may want to choose what is more important in the eternal perspective of things..." And of course my initial reaction was to shower so I wouldn't scare off our investigators. But then after a little pondering, I realized journal writing may be more important ;)
You know what they say: Obedience brings blessings, but exact obedience brings miracles. And you want to hear a miracle?! We have a baptism this Saturday! Yay! I have found that our exact obedience has led to many little miracles this past week. I have also found that if we ALMOST keep the commandments, we will ALMOST receive blessings. As simple as that. I know that when we are obedient, it shows our love and respect for our Heavenly Father and He in return wants to bless us more than we can even handle! He loves each of us SO much and is just waiting to pour blessings down upon us.
As we say in the VC, the church is true and the book is blue :)
Love you all! Thank you for your continued support and letters! I promise I'll get back to each of you, it just may take awhile :)
Much love, Sister Martin
P.S. I'm serving in the Sun River and Bloomington Stakes :)
|Madeline's companion at the|
Salt Lake Temple Visitor's Center
with Sister Torino
|Madeline's zone at the MTC|
|Elders from London going to Sweden|
|In front of the St. George Temple|
|Madeline gets to drive a big red truck ...|
which is literally the scariest thing I have ever seen since
Madeline's not exactly known for her driving skills ...