Monday, October 13, 2014

9 month mark

2: The little critter.... Sometimes it's a little slow in the Visitors' Center so we have to come up with some creative things to make good use of our time... :) this is in our exhibit "God's Plan for His Family"
3: The map in our apartment of our area - the 11 wards are color coded. And I'm pointing at where we live!

This is where I lived when I was serving in the Washington stake - we lived in the basement of this members home who I am in the picture with. I just absolutely love them to death! CUTEST kids ever!! This is the view of the back of the house and you can see where we would go in to the basement.

We give tours in Brigham Young's home from time to time. One of my favorite things to do :) Here's the parlor room, his actual chair, and a picture of the twelve apostles then! Guess who's one of them?! :) Our great great great great grandpa! 

2 of my favorite families when I was serving in the Washington stake.

I had a really special experience with the family that has 3 kids - the Nay family. We baptized the two oldest kids and the mom is becoming active again. This is a family I will never forget! The time we spent together changed both of our lives forever.

The boy and the grandparents Sister Archambault and I are with is another family that is near and dear to my heart. The boy, Colby Covington, wanted to be baptized for the longest time. I had the privilege of being there from the beginning to giving him his after baptism lessons. His grandparents (the Fifes) adopted him. His story is an amazing one that I will for sure have to tell you when I am able to speak - I'm not very good at explaining things via email. But the Sunday clothes occasion was because we invited 10 yr old Colby to bear his testimony at our recent convert fireside. The meeting is a very special one because of the strong spirit that is there from all these recent converts from all over St. George bearing their testimonies. It's a wonderful occasion to bring investigators or less-actives to. Colby bore a beautiful testimony of his conversion - he was by far the youngest one I've ever seen go up there! He was so brave! During the fireside 3 other missionaries and I sang the tune of "Abide with me Tis Eventide" (my fave song) to the lyrics of "Go Forth with Faith"

1. Go forth with faith to tell the world
Of Jesus Christ, the Lord.
Bear witness he is God's own Son;
Proclaim his wondrous word.
Go forth with hope and courage strong
To spread the word abroad
That people of all nations
Are children of our God.

2. Go forth with love to tell the world
The joy of families--
That we may be with those we love
Thru all eternity.
Go forth to serve and do your best
With no thought of reward;
Then you shall know the boundless joy
Of serving Christ, the Lord.

3. Go forth with pow'r to tell the world
The gospel is restored,
That all may gain eternal life
Thru Jesus Christ, the Lord.
Go forth to preach his glorious truths
Of peace, of joy, and love,
That all who heed his holy word
May praise the Lord above. 

My favorite phrase is the one in bold. I can remember so clearly the great spirit I felt while singing this beautiful melody with such a sacred text in the chapel with these other diligent missionaries. I remember looking out on the congregation and seeing Colby and his sweet grandparents. I remember thinking about how excited they all were when Colby was baptized because now they can be sealed in the temple together. There is no more rewarding joy than that that comes going "forth with love to tell the world the joy of families" and seeing them unite together. What a special event that was and an extremely strong spirit that was present that I will never forget.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Never too lost

Bonjour mes tendres amours!!!!

I just love being companions with another sister from France!! Sister Calves is my third companion that speaks french :) She is always talking about her home in Bretagne, France. She lives by the ocean in a picturesque little village and has great things to say about all the people there. When we're in the VC I always see her praying for a french bus to come! One time she told me that she was having a rough week and was really just missing the people at home as well as her culture and everything. She said that she prayed to Heavenly Father and asked him to send a bus full of french from her town - and he sure did. A bus load of french from Bretagne! The french people that come in just adore her. As does everyone else! She has the thickest most beautiful french accent I've ever heard!! I love being her companion and her enthusiasm for just about everything she does. I don't think I've ever laughed so hard and so often with a companion as I do with her! We have some great times together. She leaves to go home at the end of this transfer so I'm praying that time doesn't fly like it usually does!

Washington Fields is amazing. We cover the whole Washington Fields stake - 11 wards. It's quite opposite from Washington, where I was before. Washington is a pretty humble area. Washington Fields is filled with doctors and more doctors. The two stakes are right next to each other so we pass through my old area in Washington a lot. Which is a little difficult and heart breaking at times because as we pass the homes I remember the miracles, the things I learned, the people who we were really close with and it's hard to not be able to visit them and continue teaching their families! BUT - in a sense it's good because it helps remind me of all the things I learned there and how I need to continue applying those things in Washington Fields.

For conference we watched the Saturday morning session at a less-actives home (and the talks then were exactly what we wanted them to's great how that works!) and then we were going to watch the afternoon session in our Live At Home Senior Couple's house with one of our investigators but he never showed up... so we just watched with the sweet couple that we work with in the stake! For Sunday morning we watched it in one of our ward mission leaders homes and had one of our investigators, Danielle, come. Our ward mission leader and his family made us quiche, homemade cinnamon rolls, and tons of fruit. I was in heaven. And last night we had a family home evening with the same family and Danielle and they made us homemade Cafe Rio and Sister Calves made her famous french crepes and they provided all the toppings. It was...amazing. And to top it off we spent the whole lesson talking about the Holy Ghost and how we recognize it and Danielle was SUPER open in talking about how much she felt the spirit during conference and how much the gospel has already blessed her life. The spirit was strong there as we all shared different experiences we've had with the influence of the Holy Ghost in our lives.

General Conference for a missionary is the equivalent of Christmas morning!!  I loved how the conference ended with the talk of Elder Bednar about basically WHY we share the gospel. I think it was not only great for those whom we are teaching to hear that message but also for missionaries and members to be reminded of WHY they are doing this great work.

It reminded me that I am not a missionary just because I want to preach the gospel, just because I want to baptize people, just because I want to serve, and DEFINITELY not because I want to earn brownie points in heaven!

I am a missionary because I have felt for myself of the miraculous healing and strengthening power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ in my very own life. I have felt of Christ's redeeming love and have witnessed the change His sacrifice has made in my life.

And my little heart can't stand to think that there are others out there just like me who are in great need of this healing balm.

That is simply why we are here as missionaries. Not to hand out Books of Mormon and increase the numbers of the church, but to help those around us come to the knowledge of the change, the relief, and the peace that comes through obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. We are to help others come to a knowledge that they are never too far, never to distant, never too lost to feel of the redeeming love that comes from our dear Savior.

With much love, Sister Martin

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

By small means great things are brought to pass

I will be serving in Washington Fields with Sister Calves! She is from Serent, France :) And I absolutely love her to death. I've served with her in the VC ever since I first got here. She is the french tour bus queen! We will be living on a casida in our area and will still be working in the VC half the day.  Here is some of what I wrote President:

Well I am very excited for my call to serve with Sister Calves in Washington Fields and to serve many sisters as well!! A bit unexpected, but I know great things are in store. This is the first time that I'll have a companion who's shorter than me!! Yahoo!

We'll be a short companionship, but the scripture in Alma 37:6 gives me great hope. That by small and simple means, great things are brought to pass :)

I'm thrilled to see the miracles and growth that will occur this transfer. It's hard to leave Washington - I have learned SO much and I feel I have grown SO much while being there. It's been amazing to see the changes and the progress in the stake. It took 9 months for me to finally grasp what the Lord has sent me out here to do: to learn how to love our brothers and sisters. Don't get me wrong, I am still learning a whole lot on that subject - I don't think I'll ever fully master it in this life. But it has helped me to find so much more meaning through out not only these past few transfers, not only through this mission, but through my mortal existence. I feel the people we taught, the members we worked with, the leaders we we coordinated with, the companions I served with have all contributed to helping me learn this great lesson from Heavenly Father.

When I think of my experience in Washington I think of Mosiah 18 when Alma and his people gathered in the place of Mormon to organize the Church of Christ. In verse 30 it reads:

"And now it came to pass that all this was done in [Washington], yea, by the [desert] of [Washington], in the [stake] that was near the [desert] of [Washington]; yea, the place of [Washington], the [desert] of [Washington], the [stake] of [Washington], how beautiful are they to the eyes of them who there came to the knowledge of their Redeemer; yea, and how blessed are they, for they shall sing to his praise forever.

Well I guess you could use the original word "waters" considering how many floods we've had over here.... But I love this verse so much because not only do I feel that I have come to the knowledge of my Redeemer here, but I have seen many others as well. And no matter how many red rocks and tumbleweeds and gusts of blowing red dust there is over here it will always be beautiful in my eyes for the experiences I have had here.

So that is what I wrote President. I will seriously miss Washington - but my sweet old companion, Sister Morales, will be taking my place. She is the most loving person I have ever met so it is an answer to many of prayers!! These wonderful people need to be taken care of by someone who LOVES them!

P.S. this is a pic of my last district. Was it any coincidence that it was named the "waters of Mormon" district? :)