Monday, December 22, 2014

Write Madeline for Christmas!

Even though Madeline is now in Manti, please still address all letters and packages to the same address; it is listed under the "Write Madeline" tab.  Feel free to send her a little note for Christmas!

Manti Temple
Mailing Address
Sister Madeline Beth Martin 
Utah St George Mission
881 South River Road
St. George, UT 84790

Please address all letters and packages with Madeline's full name.  This is what her Mission President requested since all mail is sent to one place.  


Merry Christmas from Manti

MERRY CHRISTMAS FROM MANTI! I still can't believe I'm up here. I feel slightly isolated but it's a good feeling. Before I was used to seeing tons of missionaries each and every day since there was a lot of us down in St. George. Plus I served in the VC that whole time. But this...this is the smallest town I have ever lived/served in. Only 3000 population and 80 non-members in Manti.  And oh my goodness it is just the cutest little town ever. It's already become home for me. I don't think I've ever gotten so many warm welcomes as I have here! Everyone says "Oh! We have a new one! Welcome to Manti!"

We go to this adorable little post office to pick up and send our mail. Everyone knows us there and even calls us if we get packages. This town sometimes makes me feel like I'm on one of those old small town 90's movies... does that make sense? Right now we are in the cutest little library! There are a total of 3 restaurants here and not a single signal light. Everyone knows everyone. If you moved here 5 years ago, you're considered new.

And talk about a GORGEOUS temple! We went to the temple on Saturday with one of our recent converts. He was doing baptisms and wanted us to be there with him. We were SO excited to go and see him and feel of the spirit that's there. Their baptistry is one of kind. It's so fun being in a temple that's so old! I can't believe that my whole mission I've never been more than 10 minutes away from a temple. We can even see it from our house!

Sister Lasalosi is awesome. She is honestly a hard worker and I mean that. She doesn't waste time. AND I LOVE THAT!! I love being with a companion who has such a strong desire to find, teach, and baptize. She is the sweetest Tongan I've ever met.

We live with the sweetest couple ever, their names are the Valentines. They live down a dirt road in Manti on a farm. She is the director of the family history center here and she is AWESOME! She reminds me SO much of Aunt Becky. You guys will love her. She is one of a kind and just totally down to earth. And her husband is secretly hilarious. They are in Arizona now for Christmas. I was so sad when they told us they were leaving for two weeks :( I feel like I am just always missing people! They are having us feed their ducks, chickens and cat and check on the cows and such. We thought we would be living in the apartemnt in the barn but we actually live in their basement :) And it's about 50 degrees down there. ...heh :)

In our district meeting this week, our district leader gave us atraining on the "Doing Good" section in Preach My Gospel. He committed us to pray for and seek service opportunities. We've included it in a lot of our prayers since then and holy guacamole. God has answered our prayers. We went to contact a non-member referral the day after that training. It was just a single woman and she was very stressed out; dirty house, needed to get things ready for leaving out of town for Christmas, emotional stresses, etc. We kind of walked in her home uninvited and put our coats down and told her to put us to work. We cleaned. And while we cleaned she told us her whole life story (score). She kept talking and talking and saying things like "I don't know why I'm telling you all of this!" And honestly I'm not sure why she did tell us all of it. It was all a little intense. Maybe it was because we were cleaning her house for her. Maybe it was because she grew up in St. Louis too (go figure!). Or maybe it was because we are representatives of Jesus Christ and she recognized that. Our listening and cleaning while she talked and talked helped us to know her needs. When it was time to go, we shared with her a message of Jesus Christ; a message of peace, and hope and comfort. We gave her a "He is the Gift" card/ I have never seen anyone so thrilled to watch that video as she was. She thanked us over and over again for cleaning, listening, and easing her burdens. That last one really touched me. She said we were angels and kept asking us how we knew to come over to her house at that exact time. She then invited us over to her house for some "religious discussion" the next week :)

There is more teaching here than any of my other areas. Which is totally ideal, don't get me wrong, but time is going by sooo fast. I don't quite like that aspect of it. I was talking to this greenie in our district meeting last week and he asked my companion and I how many months we have left (not very many months left...). He replied with "Lucky. I have two years left." I imagine that's probably how I felt as a greenie at first. It's crazy how much you can change in a year.

I love you all very much :)

Love, Sister Martin

I'll be in Manti for Christmas

I'M GOING TO MANTI!! 3 hours away. Tomorrow morning. It feels like a dream! It almost feels as if I'm leaving home all over again. I've lived in St. George for a year now. I've served in 4 stakes here. I've been in the Temple Visitors' Center this whole year. I've adjusted to the red rocks and the warmth...

It's such an interesting experience, transfers are. The only events I absolutely know on my mission are holidays, meetings, and General Conference. I never know where I'll be or who I'll be with for any of these though. BUT you know that wherever you are, that's where the Lord wants you to be. Transfers kind of remind me of this scripture in Proverbs 21:1. "The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will." So, I know the Lord wants me to be in Manti at Christmas with Sister Lasolosi! 

She is my new companion and she is also Tongan!! She comes straight from Tonga. I served in the VC with her for just a little - and oh my goodness she is just the sweetest sister ever. 

The majority of my companions have been French and Tongan... I love it. And I'm really going to miss Sister Liu! She has such a big heart and a rock solid testimony. Plus she is absolutely hilarious! We learned so much together... I'm really going to miss her. I'll miss caroling with her at every doorstep, speaking and singing with her in sacrament, making each other laugh at the door as we're knocking, having super spiritual experiences with our investigators, talking to everyone we see, having deep companionship studies, and most of all, I'll miss her famous coconut rice. Her and her new companion Sister Hansen (the sister I always do music arrangements with) are going to be perfect for Washington Fields. 

And oh my goodness I am going to miss Washington Fields so much.... This is just so weird! We've grown really close to our leaders here of the 11 wards, and especially our investigators. I know without a doubt I will stay in touch with Vincent and Kalii for a longgg long time. I'm trying so hard to not cry over all of it but it's going to be weird when I am thinking about who we're teaching 24/7 and then realizing I won't be able to see them for awhile.  I never quite anticipated this whole aspect of missionary work, having to leave those you love over and over again. I'm forever grateful for the friendships and memories I have here in St. George. And I know there is more awaiting me in Manti!

And I won't even go into missing the VC... but the good thing about that is I know it'll always be there!! We have the exhibit for "He is the Gift" set up in there along with all of our Christmas trees and decorations and nativity sets. Granted I've seen that video about 200 times, I never get sick of it! Watch it on :)

Thanks again for the letters, emails, and support :) I love you all :)

Love, Sister Martin

Sister Hansen, Elder Grover and I played a Christmas arrangement in our Zone Conference. We played "What Child is This." 

One of our Ward Mission Leaders and his awesome family. We were really close with them. The MacLellans :)

Monday, December 8, 2014


Some fall pics in front of our driveway. 

Playing some kickball with our missionaries :)

Trying to visit one of our investigators and while I was eating my apple the hoses were goin crazy. So we fed them.

Sis. Liu and me :) we have so much fun together :) And this is the shirt that Aunt Barbara got me!!!! 

We ate dinner with our investigator family (the Lusts's) last night which was SO fun. This is one of their cute kids. After our dinner of butternut squash soup they made us herbal tea and we talked about the gospel for a long time... good times. I will have to tell you more about them next week. They are awesome.

One of the people I met in the VC in the spring, Nate Hardison. He was very less-active. I taught him over the phone once a week for months. He is now preparing to receive the Melchizedek priesthood!! He came down from northern utah and said hi - it was so good to see him.  He is awesome, such a missionary! Now he goes out all the time with the missionaries! 

The Christmas trees in the VC before fully decorated. 

Sister Liu's old ward mission leader, Larry Lyman. And WE'RE RELATED!! I remember grandpa mentioning something about him. We three had a great time talking together at the family search library, where we do our emails. I guess his cousin Marilynn also works there!! 

One night we came into our apartment and we found this cute Christmas tree and stockings put up by our landlord!! SO nice! They have 3 little ids, 6 and under. The 6 year old is just like Seth and loves playing basketball. And they have a full out court pretty much... So today Sister Liu and I are going to shoot some hoops with them :)

And of course my beautiful Tongan queen companion, Sister Liu! Posing by the tree!! 

Monday, December 1, 2014

What matters most

Wow! I CANNOT believe it is already December!! And I cannot believe I am 20 yrs old! And I cannot believe how much food we've eaten this week! Thanksgiving was great - pretty similar to Thanksgiving at home.

Here's what we did: We went to a sisters apartment for breakfast at 7 am with all the other sisters in the VC. One sister tried making an omelette in the waffle maker... that was the extent of the attempts to make it a fancy meal. Mostly cereal. Then we played a game of kickball for a few hours with a lot of missionaries. I just love playing sports with all the elders and sisters because everyone is absolutely awful (except for my Tongan companion). We took a break from sports in the morning and got dressed and ready to attend our district meeting - a meeting comprised of three companionships in our district. Our district name is "Onidah." We actually were allowed to forgo the whole district meeting that day but our district leader decided we would have it anyway. Sister Liu and I had to do the training so I was having a twinkling of a feeling of hope that he would cancel it...

But little did I know this meeting would have a great impact on me.  It was a little distracting knowing that everyone else was still playing sports and eating and having fun. Some of the missionaries wanted to end the meeting early. We went through with our normal protocol, just as always, but this time I felt something different. As we were having a scripture study together I began to think again about what day it was. I began to think about all the things we COULD be doing. And I realized why I felt so different, in a good way, during this meeting.

We were in the right place, at the right time, with the right people, doing the right things. We do the important things no matter what. No matter the holiday, the activities, the distractions, the events, the circumstance. We do it. Sure, we were a little antsy to get out of there at first, but as time went by all of us realized our purpose in being there. We were all edified, inspired, and uplifted. At the end of the meeting us three companionships could agree that meeting was one of our favorite meetings.

The mission is really helping me to recognize how I need to pattern the rest of my life. I know that I am no where near understanding a lot of things right now, but what I do know is that I never regret making decisions that bring me closer to God.

I've began to realize how important the "Armor of God" really is. I love these verses in Ephesians 6:

11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

That Thanksgiving district meeting helped all of us to spiritually prepare ourselves. The Lord needs soldiers every day. When soldiers get up in the morning I'm sure they're not playing cards while the enemy is attacking. They're preparing themselves with armor and with courage. So that when the enemy attacks, they are "able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand." God doesn't skip a day off in giving us blessings, nor should we skip a day off in remembering Him though prayer and scripture. I have come to realize that we need those blessings more than we even realize.

After district meeting we had a huge thanksgiving feast with all the sisters and senior couples that serve in the VC. We had a talent show right after and Sister Hansen and I got to play a bassoon and viola duet :) Then we went to one of our ward mission leaders homes for ANOTHER dinner (yum). That night, our district went to one of our members homes in their home theater and watched "How to Train a Dragon" (one of the few on our approved list). It was SO GOOD! I loved it!

Friday was the lighting ceremony for the temple lights and holy cow were we packed full in the VC or what. It was crazy!! About 2000 people came through. I love having tons of people in there, but I also love when it's just a few because then we are able to teach more. We have all the Christmas trees up and decorations :) It's so pretty!

Thank you again for all the birthday wishes, cards, and gifts. I had a wonderful day :) Sister Liu and I caroled at a lot of doorsteps and found more new investigators than we have in the past month. It was a great day :) I love singing with her!

Hope you have a great week :)

Much love, Sister Martin

Happy Thanksgiving!

I am absolutely loving the weather down here right now. Not too hot, not too cold.... it's perfect. And the palm trees are all still green :) Yesterday Sister Liu and I felt like such wimps in our boots, tights, and coats when it's only like 60 degrees. We also spoke in 3 of our 11 wards sacrament meetings yesterday. There is ALWAYS good that comes from that. We received lots of positive feedback and many referrals. But I don't think I will ever schedule us to speak three time in a row again. 
This week we had a lot of great dinners in one of our wards. It's just so much fun when you can sit at a dinner table with a random family eating good food,getting to know each other, laughing, sharing missionary moments, talking about the gospel, etc. One couple we ate with this week was Marvin J. Ashton's son and his wife. He lives just a few streets over from us. (So does Elder Wade from the Seventy whom we eat with and the producer for the Piano Guys, and the Piano Guys studio... all in out little neighborhood. Crazy.) Brother Ashton is a returned mission president and you'll never guessed what he asked at dinner. He asked to see my planner. AHHH. I seriously felt like I was sitting in an interview with President Center. But him and his wife just asked a lot of questions about us and about the area. We had some things we were struggling with in the stake so we talked to THEM about it. And boy did him and his wife give us some of the best advice ever. They were so humble and caring with everything they said. You could tell they really wanted to help us. And you could tell they really understood missionary work. 
That whole day was just great actually. When I got in the area at first with Sister Calves we fasted and prayed a lot that we would be sent to people who were actually prepared to receive the restored gospel. And lo and behold all these people just showed up in our teaching pool!! Some of them even referred themselves on to receive missionaries. But one of our lessons that day was with out investigator Vincent. I think I talked about him a little bit a few weeks ago.. ANYWAY well so basically he really has the desire to get baptized and receive the priesthood and everything, but that first road block was him receiving confirmation that the Book of Mormon is true. And that's kind of what I explained last time - miracle. This next stumbling block is actually a problem we have faced recently with a lot of the people we are teaching and even members, and that is all the media that has been about Joseph Smith recently. A lot of those whom we are teaching have looked further into the subject on sites on the internet. Not exactly the route to go. Really quick, if you want spiritual knowledge and confirmation you do not turn to your neighbor or the internet of all places, you go to THE SOURCE. That source being God. Simple as that. 
Anyway, we talked to Vincent for awhile about the role of prophets on the earth. We knew the only way to help him get all this darkness and doubt out of his mind was by filling it with light and truth, with doctrine. We helped him understand the confirmation he already received about the Book of Mormon and how that confirms the reality of the Prophet Joseph Smith. We related all of this to his desire to leave Florida because of the lack of morals and values he felt were there. We told him that we are promised that as we heed to the prophets voice we will be provided with an anchor of eternal truth in a world of shifting values. That the confusion and strife of the world will not overwhelm us. We showed him a short clip of Elder Christofferson testifying of the prophet Joseph Smith and how we can know of ourselves. For me it was great! It helped to strengthen my conviction of the prophet even more! And I was hoping and praying that Vincent would feel the same. As soon as the clip was over we looked over at him and it was silent. He sat there still staring at the blank screen and then turned over to us and said, "It sounds like that man is telling the truth. All of that sounds very true to me. I love that!" And he continued to talk about how badly he wants to be the best disciple of Jesus Christ he can be. He read all of Joseph Smith History that night. He is just awesome.
Well, our baptismal date with him for the 29th this week has to be pushed back because we found out a few days ago that he smokes. We did the stop smoking program with him immediately and have had daily contact with him for awhile now. So on the 29th, when the program is finished, we will have a small celebration to celebrate the fact that he is no longer a smoker :) I'm so excited for him!!! 
Anyway, we've been playing volleyball down here with the other missionaries in St. George in the mornings and we play on p-day too. It's so much fun because we are all just completely awful at it but we still manage to get a pretty good game going! We might play a little bit today at the end of our p-day. Then we are going to Colorado City for exchanges :)
And THANK YOU so much everyone for the birthday wishes! That just made my week! I love you all!! :)
Much love, Sister Martin

Sister Liu and me :)
We went to our ward mission leaders home last night to coordinate and we made Italian creme sodas with him and his family! 
P.S. my hair is kinda growing out...