Monday, November 10, 2014

Overwhelmed with love

Dear loved ones,

My heart is so full right now! In the words of Ammon, "I cannot say the smallest part which I feel." I feel overwhelmed with love for my Heavenly Father, love for this great work, love for those we're serving, love for my angel companion I've had the privilege of serving with, love for all of you!!

Sister Calves has hit that 18 month mark and is going back home to Bretagne, France on Wednesday. Boy, am I going to miss her! With Sister Calves I felt like we had the perfect combination of laughter and hard work. I have never worked harder than I have this transfer with Sister Calves. Nor laughed as much as we did! She has instilled some great French work ethic in me.

My new companion will be Sister Sesilina Liu! She's from California and is Tongan. And she is CRAZY!!!! In every good way possible though. I served in the VC with her for awhile. I'm really excited for this next transfer :)

As I was studying this morning, I began to look back on the past six weeks of this transfer that I've been with Sister Calves. I began to see from a further out perspective all the miracles that we've witnessed and all the lives that have changed. Including ours.

While in our leadership meetings and zone meetings this week it dawned on me actually how much I just absolutely LOVE my mission! I love it! There is nothing more invigorating than sitting in those meetings and discussing with so many wonderful missionaries the ways we can improve as a mission and as servants of the Lord. The spirit is always incredibly strong when we're united with those who have the same purpose as us: bringing souls unto Christ. We wake up at 6:30 every morning in unity, we study the scriptures in unity, we plan in unity, we rescue in unity.

Something I've really been focusing on lately is patience in the work. As amazing as Alma 26 is, I never fully realized how this chapter is essentially all about the blessings of patience!! So here is a story of something we've had to have a little patience for:

Last week I think I mentioned a little bit about Vincent Lynch. He is in his 40's and has moved up here from Florida, where he was a lawyer for a number of years. He is an extremely spiritual man; he moved from Florida because he felt that he needed to escape the lack of morals and values that resided there. When he got here he had a tour with one of the sisters in the VC and requested to have the missionaries to come teach him more!

It's really amazing because he feels so strongly that he has had the administering of angels in his life before - witnesses that God is there and that He loves him. He expresses his desires to us about following the commandments more diligently and strengthening his relationship with God. You guys, he is absolutely amazing. Never have I met someone, even a member, who has such a strong love for God and is constantly striving to please Him. He is such an example to both of us - we learn SO much as we have our discussions together! And our Senior couple we work with here in the Fields are the PERFECT fellowshippers for him. He comes to church every Sunday for all three hours, he has the strongest desire to be baptized and receive the priesthood and my goodness I could just go on for hours about everything he does!

So what you're probably thinking is "when is his baptismal date?!" Well, that's what we have been struggling with. We invited him to baptism our first lesson, and he accepted! But he doesn't feel comfortable setting date yet. He knows he wants it to happen, but just not when. And this is because he feels he does not understand the Book of Mormon and he feels he has not received a confirmation that it is true. That is how awesome he is, that he recognizes the importance of gaining a testimony of the Book of Mormon before baptism! He read up to 1 Nephi 21 the first night and just could not understand any of it. He prays about it constantly. So as Sister Calves and I were preparing our lesson to read the Book of Mormon with him we were struggling with what we should read with him. I didn't understand at the moment WHY he just wasn't getting the Book of Mormon yet. We had read some with him before, explained the what why how and everything else! I knew that the Book of Mormon was exactly what he needed at this time in his life - I knew it contained all the answers and hope he was searching for. I wanted so badly for him to recognize how much this book could enrich his life. It was so hard for me to exercise my patience and just rely on the Lord. During the planning I felt frustrated and felt like I was going to cry. Which is never a good sign. In the middle of our planning I asked Sister Calves if we could just say another prayer to REALLY know what we should share with him. Shortly after we both decided on Mosiah 3.

Holy cow was that ever inspiration from the heavens. Vincent had tears in his eyes the whole time as we read Mosiah 3. The whole chapter is about Jesus Christ and what we need to do in order to come closer to him.The spirit was so strong the whole lesson. He closed with a beautiful prayer thanking Heavenly Father for sending his son, Jesus Christ, to the earth to set an example for him and to die for him. Everyone in the room had tears streaming down their cheeks at the end of the prayer. He read the whole book of Mosiah that night and came back for a lesson the next day talking non-stop about how much we loves Mosiah 3. He told us it was everything he needed and more at that moment. We did a fast with him this past Sunday for him to recognize an answer to all his prayers and a few other things. We are seeing him tomorrow - we are so excited.

What an answer to a prayer, many prayers, that was!  As Ammon so beautifully puts it: "Now have we not reason to rejoice? Yea, I say unto you, there never were men that had so great reason to rejoice as we, since the world began; yea, and my joy is carried away, even unto boasting in my God; for he has all power, all wisdom, and all understanding; he comprehendeth all things, and he is a merciful Being, even unto salvation, to those who will repent and believe on his name.

"Now if this is boasting, even so will I boast; for this is my life and my light, my joy and my salvation, and my redemption from everlasting wo. Yea, blessed is the name of my God, who has been mindful of this people... yea, I say, blessed be the name of my God, who has been mindful of us, wanderers in a strange land."

I know that God is not only mindful of Vincent and his individual needs, but each one of our needs. With enough prayer, faith and patience, miracles happen.

Love, Sister Martin

Me in Washington fields! Literally loads of beautiful fields. 

The "Onidah" district! We have so many senior couples, it's the best!! 

Cold rain storms in St. George!

Hot chocolate and biscoff cookies :)

Sister Calves and I in the tabernacle.

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