When Sister Brenders asked me how I felt about E.T.'s, I thought she was referring to the little fictional alien that's always pointing his finger... You know, the movie Seth always quotes? haha! Well, it stands for Emergency Transfer. Not the best phrase around the mission, I'll tell you that.
Transfers (where you could be transferred to a new area with a new companion) happens every 6 weeks. When you first enter the mission field and are being trained, you almost always stay with your trainer for 12 weeks so you can complete the 12 week training program. Well, it's been about 8 weeks so far and our next transfer isn't coming up for another 4 weeks. BUT there was a sister up in Beaver waiting to get her visa to Russia...
So, first off, when we are not on shift at the Visitors' Center we can teach lessons to our investigators there, which is extremely helpful with all the great resources, theaters, and movies we have. After a wonderful lesson with a 20 year old boy named Aven there (who believed in Taoism until we introduced the idea of God. Making excellent progress.. Went to church for the first time this last Sunday!), our mission president appeared and pulled Sister Brenders and me aside to talk. Uh-oh! He told us that this sister in Beaver that's waiting to go to Russia just got her visa and had to leave immediately. He needed a sister to go up to Beaver. "Sister Brenders, you're going to Beaver." It felt like a reality TV show or something... So then I ask, "What's going to happen to me?" He replies, "Sister Martin, you're going to downtown St. George." AHHHH!! Leaving your trainer and greenie area unexpectedly with only 2 days to prepare was a little.... overwhelming. I had barely got the hang of the seven wards we were covering, the names of everyone, the leaders and investigators trust and friendship, etc etc. Sister Brenders and I were not ready to leave the beautiful Bloomington area, our faithful investigators, our inspiring leaders, or each other!! The other set of sisters who were covering the other half of the stake now cover the whole stake (14 wards) for the last 4 weeks of the transfer. It was REALLY hard saying goodbye to all of our investigators and members... but I know they will be in good hands and that the Lord is still watching over them.
So I am still serving in the Visitors' Center but I am also in the St. George Stake (it's a walking area - and I am so glad because the weather right now is absolutely gorgeous. And I could use a good tan...). I am now in a trio with Sister Pearson (from England) and Sister Morales (from Puebla, Mexico). It is a joy to be with two very sweet sisters like Sister Pearson and Sister Morales. Things are different, but I'm learning to adjust. It's not going to be easy to re-learn wards, names, streets, investigators, and so forth, but just from our first day together I know that the Lord knew that this is exactly what I needed! I already love the people in the St. George Stake and especially my two companions. Their optimism and genuine kindness is more than I could ask for :) Andddd the temple apartments that VC sisters stay in are teenytiny so I'm kind of living out of my suitcase... but that's okay! Because the church is still true! And the book is blue!
We taught a man last night named Jose. He has amazing faith and is on date for baptism pretty soon. He was telling us how people that he works with bash the church and try to convince him of all the reasons he shouldn't join. He has a very strong Spanish accent so sometimes he would just describe his feelings in Spanish. I thought that Sister Morales would translate for Sister Pearson and me but then Sister Pearson started speaking Spanish! Ahh! Between all the French and Spanish speakers, I feel like I got the short stick on this whole gift of tongues thing! But anyway, he kept on explaining how happy he feels when he reads the Book of Mormon every day and how he knows the the adversary is cracking down on him because he is making all the right decisions in life. He told us that he knows that how he reacts to this opposition in life will strengthen him and his testimony, He's awesome. And SO nice! His baptism was supposed to be pretty soon, but we had to break the news to him that he couldn't get baptized since he was still living with his ex-wife (they are now best friends). We felt really bad about saying this after he had just poured his heart out to us about how happy and excited he was for doing the right thing... We shared with him 1 Nephi 3:7 and told him how the Lord will provide a way for him to keep this law of chastity. I thought he might be really discouraged...but nope! He said he knew that was the right thing to do and that he will text us today and tell us how he will make the situation work! So. Awesome. The Lord will always provide us a way to keep every commandment He has given us. I know that for a fact. It just requires our faith and trust in Him!
One of our last lessons Sister Brenders and I taught was about the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. It's not the typical Preach My Gospel lesson, but this lady had a LOT of questions about it, so we studied it out and came back. Something that really struck out to me (don't ask me why I haven't realized it before) was JUDGEMENT DAY! Ahh... And why did judgement day all the sudden pop out at me? Because I realized that in reality, every day is a day of judgement. WE speak, think, and act according to celestial, terrestial, and telestial law. Our faith in Jesus Christ, as shown by our daily actions, determines which kingdom we will inherit. After this insight, Sister Brenders and I made the goal to make every day a CELESTIAL KINGDOM day! Not only that, but we are preparing our investigators for the Second Coming and judgement day! So something I have been thinking is, "Am I preparing these people to stand before the Lord at the judgement bar with a clear conscience and the feeling of confidence in standing in His presence?" Are WE preparing ourselves for this day? This day will come, no doubt about it. And THIS is the time we have to prepare for that day. Having the spirit is not part of the formula for preparation, it IS the formula. Preparations focused on earning the blessings of the spirit are essential to our day of judgement.
I love all of you! Remember, as mom always says, stand for TRUTH and RIGHTEOUSNESS!
Love, Sister Martin