Tuesday, July 29, 2014

"Send us out into the desert, seeking thy wandering sheep"

Dear loved ones,

For clarification, dog-town is  town full of trailer parks. Or so I am told. Hopefully that makes more sense now :)

I am starting to adjust to the hot weather. I kind of enjoy it now. Pretty sure this is a blessing from God, seeing as how the hot weather has destroyed many of my belongings when I leave them in the car... But you know me, always FREEZING where ever I am so it's nice being a little toasty at times.

Speaking of toasty, one of investigators (who previously had a baptism date set... but not anymore because her less-active husband is a little controlling) has been having a hard week. She is really an amazing woman. She has overcome a LOT in her life. She hasn't been responding to any of our texts or calls or answering the door so we were really worried about her. We've been praying for opportunities to get in touch with her again and find ways to serve her. Well, one night we went once more to knock on her door and she was HOME!! Right when we walked in we saw she was doing dishes and cleaning her kitchen so we just scooted right up next to her and started up a conversation over the sink while helping her wash and clean. Her son burned pancakes all over this frying pan so she had the water on extreme hot and her trailer doesn't have a AC so needless to say we were all sweating up a storm.

We then started to clean her family room and such and she slowly began to be more open about the things that were holding her back and weighing her down. We finally began to realize what the whole iceberg of her problems were at the end of cleaning. We offered to come back the next morning to pull her weeds at the end of our conversation.

So when we got there with some tools the next morning she was at work but her husband came out. I was a little nervous at first because he was calling us a lot of names and making fun of us because we came to pull weeds in the heat of the day around noon. Then he was criticizing our pulling weeds techniques. 

Embarrassing. So I told him to come off the porch and show us how to pull his weeds (aka mini cacti...fun weeds to pull!) He ended up talking to us the whole time and by the end of it we had committed him to coming to church with his wife the next morning! I firmly believe that when you want to win someone's heart over and get their attention, you serve them! I am so grateful the Lord blessed us with that opportunity. Even though it still might take some time for hearts to soften, I know that these experiences were a miracle and that there are more to come.

When we serve in the VC we have some homeless people that come in regularly - nothing scary, they are very kind and reverent when they come. I love talking with them and hearing their testimonies of when they have seen God's hand in their lives throughout their different journeys. The other day while driving in Washington (which is about 7 miles or so away from the VC), we saw like four of the regulars who come in walking with their backpacks on the side of the road throughout the day! Sister Pearson suddenly started singing, "Out in the desert they wander, hungry and helpless and cold. Out to the rescue we hasten, bringing them back to the fold!" HOW TRUE is that!! Which brings me to my favorite verse of that hymn:

"Green are the pastures inviting;
Sweet are the waters and still.
Lord, we will answer thee gladly,
'Yes, blessed Master, we will!
Make us thy true under-shepherds;
Give us a love that is deep.
Send us out into the desert,
Seeking thy wandering sheep.' "

I remember when we sang this in the Rising Generation :) I love this hymn. I know that there are those in the world who are hungering for truth and thirsting for light. I know that Jesus Christ is the life, the light  and the way. And that it is our job to help bring those of his sheep who are wondering back to the fold.

As President Hunter once said, "A great indicator of one's personal conversion is the desire to share the gospel with others." By praying for opportunities to serve and becoming more familiar with Jesus Christ and his life I have felt this desire come.

I love my Savior with all my heart and am grateful to be involved in such a remarkable era of missionary work. And I am thoroughly grateful for each one of you :) I strive to be worthy of each one of your prayers and I can feel increased strength and courage and desire given to me each day to endure  the heat and find those wandering sheep :)

Much love, Sister Martin

Some of my favorite families in St. George!

Gavin (our recent convert) and his cute fellowshipper, Grace. 

I love these people!

Sister Brenders on her last night here! My mama! She trained me! 
All the sisters and mom - she trained all of us, so she is our mom, and we are all sisters!
All of her decedents :) I love my sisters! They are my best friends! 

Some beautiful views of the temple and the sky. I love the weather down here - especially desert storms!!! 

One of our recent converts at her baptism - she is Navajo. There is a Navajo branch down here too. We've taught lots of them. Really neat!! She is one who is truly converted.

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