Tuesday, August 26, 2014

A fullness of joy

I am SO incredibly happy right now!! I'm not even sure how to quite explain it... It just feels as if I have no worries, pains, or anything else holding me back. It's a freeing feeling! I've been thinking a lot about why all the sudden I feel like this  - it's not that I wasn't happy before, I definitely was, but I just feel this exceeding joy! Which I guess is why I came out here in the first place... Just as it says in the scripture on my mission plaque!

Yea, and from that time even until now, I have labored without ceasing, that I might bring souls unto repentance; that I might bring them to taste of the exceeding joy of which I did taste; that they might also be born of God, and be filled with the Holy Ghost.  (Alma 36:24)

I think what has helped me with this is really trying to narrow down on where I stand in my relationship with God. A lot of "soul searching" I guess you would say. Looking at the big picture and not just the day to day perspective. I've learned so much out here and it's a little scary to think that I still have SO much more to learn and do. But when I look at it in the sense that there are great things in store along the way, that there are MIRACLES along the path, it makes everything so much more bearable and exciting. I try to wake up each and every day expecting great miracles.

When I'm able to wake up with that perspective I've realized that I go to bed reflecting on the miracles, be they large or small, that have happened throughout the day. I am able to reflect on God's love more and I feel that that leads me to being even more dependent on Him.

Yesterday in the VC Sister Archambault (whom I absolutely LOVE being with) and I had quite an interesting experience with a man that came in. We were both reading at the back desk since it was pretty slow in there and all the sudden this man comes in and rushes to the other side of the desk and pounds his fist down and exclaims "I want to be baptized! How can I get baptized?!"

Uhhh... we both look at one another.. look back at him... look at each other again... (he looked a little homeless and smelled heavily of cigarettes with coffee in hand). "Oh wonderful!! We would love to help you with that! How did you come to this decision?"

He then began to tell us of his whole life long story. He experienced many miracles himself and had been studying the Book of Mormon for about a year or so. He practically had the whole Bible memorized and a good part of the Book of Mormon and even some of the Doctrine & Covenants... He was basically teaching us!

We asked him what suddenly prompted him to come in that day, right then. He told us that he had studied the Articles of Faith all night and prayed and prayed over them because he had trouble accepting some things. He told us he received a confirming answer and that's why he knows he's finally ready. He had already watched every little video in the VC, read every plaque, etc. We quickly sent the referral to the elders in his area and began teaching him the missionary discussions while using the resources in the VC. But he already knew every single lesson... all about the priesthood, the temple, etc.

But he still was holding a cup of coffee in his hand. So we sat down in a circle and read the 89th section of Doctrine & Covenants. It was amazing to see the change in his face while reading and helping him understand the privilege we have of knowing how to make our bodies and spirits strong and healthy. He was a bit hesitant at first to give up coffee and tobacco, but we assured him he could do it. he committed to giving it up completely.

He told us to write our names down on a piece of paper so he could always be reminded of the experience he had there when tempted to use tobacco or drink coffee. We asked him to offer a prayer for us at the end. The spirit was so strong! It was amazing how willing this man was to submit to the will of God. It was amazing to sit their with my companion and the scriptures open testifying of our Savior and His love. When he walked out the door we watched him throw his coffee in the trash can.

I wish I could share all the experiences in the VC and in our area that we have every day... there are miracles constantly.

I know that when we leave our homes in the morning pleading with our Father in Heaven for the opportunity to share our testimony with those we encounter, He will surely give us it!! This scripture has given me much hope and strength in doing so:

But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear. (1 Peter 3:15)

I love all of you immensely!!

Love, Sister Martin

Monday, August 18, 2014

Same area, new companion!

Greetings family and friends!!

This week was TRANSFER week - eek! It is a bittersweet time :) I am thankfully still in WASHINGTON! I love it here! It feel like total home. Maybe that's because I am actually living in the area instead of in the VC apartments... I don't know. But I still love it and everyone here.

My new companion is Sister Archambault! She is from Winnipeg, Canada...eh! I was in the MTC with her for a short while. She was in there for nine weeks because her call was french speaking for the VC! So yes I will have another french speaking companion. And no I do not have the gift of tongues so I will not come home speaking french or spanish....I will only be able to greet you and direct you to the bathroom in about five different languages (thanks to all the bus loads of foreigners we get in the VC wanting our clean restrooms!)

Anyway, I am extremely excited for this transfer! I have thoroughly enjoyed my last transfer with Sister Pearson. I have learned a LOT from her. She has changed a lot since the last time I was with her (back in the trio) - in all good ways of course! It was fun being companions and seeing the changes for good in one another. We were able to benefit from one anothers gifts and talents. She has helped me not only to become a better missionary, but a better friend. And for that I am truly grateful. I am thrilled to be companions with Sister Archambault - I know that I have a lot to learn from her too!!

I will write a lot more next week!! :)

One of my favorite scriptures of my whole mission so far: Jacob 3:1-2 :

1 But behold, I, Jacob, would speak unto you that are pure in heart. Look unto God with firmness of mind, and pray unto him with exceeding faith, and he will console you in your afflictions, and he will plead your cause, and send down justice upon those who seek your destruction.

 2 O all ye that are pure in heart, lift up your heads and receive the pleasing word of God, and feast upon his love; for ye may, if your minds are firm, forever.

Much love, Sister Martin

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Loads of pictures!

Itty bitty kitties are reading the scriptures!! :) 

Temple cookies!!

We met this man that came in the VC who is an RM as well as a chocolatier... some of the chocolate he sells (in this pic) is the #1 leading fine chocolate in the world. He gave us lots of samples :)) Needless to say that P-day was a fun one!

We've been having some CRAZY thunderstorms lately! And the sky has been just AWESOME! Here is the stake center right in front of the temple where a tree was struck by lightening.. sad

Me and my french twin, Sister Sordes :) I went on exchanges with her for a day and we had such a fun time together - we learned so much from each other. 

EVERYONE has HUGE gardens here!! I love it! After every dinner appointment we have they'll take us out to their backyard and pick loads of vegetables and fruits for us!  I have officially decided that when I grow up I will have a huge garden. You can count on it :)

Petting the sheep! We walked out of a lesson and these sheep sounded like human beings ... it was really weird. There are so many animals here in Washington! we run this 2 mile road every morning that is SO beautiful! full of horses, red mountains, lambs, green fields, pink skies, pretty smells... i love it.  We have a rooster that crows every morning and it sounds like someone is squeezing it's neck when it crows... or like it's about to toss it's cookies... I think the rooster is close to it's end. 

Cute little Anniyah at her baptism :) 

What Sister Pearson made me for my Seventh month mark! Can you believe it!! 
(We can because we think the same things!)