Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Confessions of a Chocoholic

So on March 1st the "No Sugar March" diet went into effect... implented my Sister Center (mission presidents wife) and other Visitors' Center sisters. Of course I wasn't exactly thrilled about this, but I thought I could give it a try.

Well, whaddya know, March 1st rolls around and Sister Brenders and I get up and get ready to exercise at 6:30am. And of course I need a little pick me up so I grabbed some dark chocolate.... but hey, at least I stayed with the plan for 6 hours and 30 minutes, right?! The more I think about it, the more I realize how attached I really am to chocolate. I love it :)

But ANYWAY! I just wanted to start off and say how grateful I am for my family, my ward family, my friends and those supporting me at home. Your letters mean so much to mean and I can feel your prayers every day. There is an unseen force holding me together and pushing me forward - And I know that is because of the prayers from you and the love from our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. I wouldn't want to be anywhere else right now :) Especially with this heavenly weather... It's been raining a lot recently and us mid-westerns out here are LOVING it!! Reminds us of home :)

It's so fun being companions with a french sister and serving with them too! They make crepes all the time and they are SO delicious!! It reminded me of you, Adam :) (try making them with coconut milk and almond milk instead of regular) I'm still waiting for them to make some french pastries...

In the stake we are serving in our stake president invited us to attend every missionary prep. Every time he asks us to participate in one way or another. There's about 100 people that attend... a lot of youth with a few leaders. Awesome, right?! All the bishops and ward mission leaders attend. The stake president also assigned two assistants to the president and split every one up into districts and assigned district leaders. How neat is that!! They are serious about mission prep and we love it!! In every sacrament meeting we attend, we hear our names mentioned in the prayers. I encourage all of you to pray for your missionaries by name at home and get to know them!! THIS is the time to gather the Lord's sheep and work TOGETHER!!

Sister Brenders and I with Julie Rogers.
One of her original paintings behind us of Christ's baptism! :)
We currently have an art exhibit in the Visitors' Center by a local artist from Kanaab, Julie Rogers. BEAUTIFUL art. The exhibit is called "Yesterday, Today, and Forever." It depicts certain gospel principles and doctrines that have been in effect ever since the beginning of time. It shows a picture of Christ and of the pioneers side by side to demonstrate the parallels. We give a  lot of tours in this room and the spirit is very strong.

We are teaching a "lost boy" (excommunicated boy from the FLDS church) named T-Ben (short for Teancum Benjamin) and he is currently staying with the mayor of St. George's family. We teach them every Monday night and this past Monday we took them on a tour of the paintings. It's really hard to get T-Ben to open up, but he opened up to all of these paintings. It's truly amazing and inspiring the testimonies that can be conveyed through the arts - whether it be uplifting music, soothing poetry or descriptive paintings. We got to have a personal tour by Julie and she told us that she decided at a young age that she would use her talent to build up the Lord's kingdom - and boy has she done that!! Hearts have been touched,  tears have been shed, and testimonies have been strengthened in this spirit filled room.

I know that the Lord's hand is present in our every day lives. Whether he reaches out to us through others talents or loved ones around us, His spirit is there. And He loves us. I know that we are given our small talents and gifts to help build up the Lord's kingdom, just like Julie Rogers demonstrated for us in the Visitors' Center. One of my favorite quotes about this is from President Gordon B. Hinckley:

"Though my work may be menial, though my contribution may be small, I can perform it with dignity and offer it with unselfishness. My talents may not be great, but I can use them to bless the lives of others. I can be one who does his work with pride in that which comes from hand and mind. I can be one who works with respect for my associates, for their opinions, for their beliefs, with appreciation for their problems and with a desire to help them should they stumble. I believe in the principle that I can make a difference in this world. It may be ever so small. But it will count for the greater good. The goodness of the world in which we live is the accumulated goodness of many small and seemingly inconsequential acts." 

Never underestimate the influence YOU can have on someone!! Each one of you has influenced me in my life one way or another, each on of you has helped me feel Heavenly Father's love. And for that, I am very grateful :)

Much love, Sister Martin

Brother and Sister Thompson were in my branch presidency at the MTC.
She is the mom in "God's plan for His Family" at the VC and in many other church movies!!
So I get to see her every day :) She bought a skirt for me and brought it down here!! 

Facials at a Relief Society activity
Sister Leota and I giving tours at Brigham Young's home :)
Those are almond trees!

Senior couples

Madeline hides in the other missionaries' cubbies to scare them ... haha!

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