finishing your mission

18 months. 24 months. 3, 6, 9 months. However long you served, we all come home at some point. (although I don't know much about coming home early, therefore don't have much advice for you. just know that for whatever reason you went home, I am grateful for your service. the church is grateful for your service. the Lord is grateful for you and your service.) Everyone has their own experiences with returning home from a mission. For some its easy…for some its hard.

I can't say I've had a unique experience with coming home. As the end of my mission quickly approached, it didn't feel real. I kept pretending it wasn't going to happen. And then the last transfer came. The last month. The last week. And finally, the last day. Next thing I knew I was on a plane headed home and would shortly be seeing my family and friends who I had missed so dearly for 18 months. I didn't want to come home. I longed to hug my mom and dad and tell them all about my experiences, but a huge selfish part of me wanted to stay. Missions are hard. Actually, my mission was the hardest thing I've ever done. But coming home was harder. I was going to miss being a missionary. I was going to miss the constant Spirit. I was going to miss being sheltered and not having to pay attention to the news, media, and pop culture. I was going to miss teaching. I was going to miss pretty much all of it.

Before I came home (using MyPlan, a great course for missionaries to do in the last transfer of their mission), I tried to loosely plan how I would be spending my days as a recently returned missionary. I thought I had it all together. Part of my plan was to have scripture study every morning for 30 minutes, and for an hour on Sundays. Another part was to attend the temple every two weeks. To be perfectly honest, I have not been following through with those plans. I thought it would be easy to make time. I thought, "I served a mission. I know how to set goals and make plans. I know that I can eliminate all distractions and keep the commandments as closely as possible." Much easier said than done. My scripture study and temple attendance are far from perfect. But something I've noticed is that I need to stop having extremely high expectations for myself. Sure, it would be great if I could say that I woke up early every morning and had a solid 30 minutes of scripture study, and that the temple workers know me by name because I come so often. But that is just not where I am right now. My whole mission, I taught people that they just needed to try, they just needed to do their best. Why don't I have that same expectation for myself? As missionaries we were not normal people. We were set to a much higher standard. We followed a rigorous daily schedule. We were on the Lord's errand. At home, we are still set to a higher standard, however, we are no longer set-apart missionaries. We do not have the same schedule and we have to do normal-people things. We were not expected to be perfect as missionaries and we are not expected to be perfect at home either.

"Start where you are. Sometimes we feel discouraged because we are not 'more' of something–more spiritual, respected, intelligent, healthy, rich, friendly, or capable. Naturally, there is nothing wrong with wanting to improve. God created us to grow and progress. But remember, our weaknesses can help us to be humble and turn us to Christ, who will 'make weak things become strong.' Satan, on the other hand, uses our weaknesses to the point that we are discouraged from even trying. I learned in my life that we don't need to be 'more' of anything to start to become the person God intended us to become. God will take you as you are at this very moment and begin to work with you. All you need is a willing heart, a desire to believe, and trust in the Lord." -President Dieter F. Uchtdorf (It Works Wonderfully!, October 2015)

I shared this quote many times on my mission. I would testify of God's love, and tell people that this applies to them personally. And it does. But I have to constantly remind myself that it applies to me personally, too. Just because I was a missionary doesn't change the fact that I will always have to continue to progress and improve. It doesn't mean there's going to be all highs and no lows. It's all a part of the journey.

It's been a little over two months since I came home. Sometimes I still introduce myself as "Sister Martinez". Sometimes I still think that I forgot to wear my name tag. And yes, I still carry my name tag with me everywhere. Returning from your mission is not easy, but I find comfort in knowing that I found happiness on my mission and I can find happiness at home.

The Lord loves His missionaries, but He loves all of His children. Each of us. Individually, and perfectly. Never forget the simple truths you testified of daily as a missionary.


week eighty: I grew up in California

Hi everyone! It was an amazing week. God is so so good.

On Tuesday we were in an apartment complex to go visit an investigator that we had an appointment with. Turns out he gave us the wrong address so we decided to go try a few other people in the same complex. Nobody that we tried was home, but then I remembered that a couple of months ago we were talking to a woman in that complex and we asked her if she knew anyone YSA aged. She said she did, but didn’t know the exact apartment number so kind of just made one up off the top of her head. We had never gone to try that “referral” but I remembered that I had written down the apartment number in my iPad. We had nothing to lose so we went to go try it. The person who answered was not who the woman described, but instead was a guy named Firas. He said he was part of the small percentage of Catholic people in the Middle East. He was born in Iraq and his native language is
Aramaic…how cool right?! Anyway, he said he hadn’t been to church in a long time, had recently moved in, and was open to new ideas and wanted to learn more. We were able to set a return appointment with him, it was so awesome! Heavenly Father truly leads us to those who are prepared.

A lot of this week was filled with different departure things. On Thursday morning, I was able to go to the Newport Beach temple for the last time on my mission with President and Sister Taggart. I love being in the house of the Lord. Friday night we had our departure dinner, and then Saturday morning I had my departure interview with President Taggart. They were all such sweet experiences that I’ll never forget.

This will be my last email. Tomorrow morning I fly home and finish my full-time mission. I cannot even begin to express my gratitute. My mission has been the hardest, but most incredible 18 months of my life so far. It has stretched me and helped me to grow in ways that nothing else could have. Honestly, I don’t really remember who I was or what I was like before my mission, but I know that I have changed and become the missionary who Heavenly Father has wanted me to become. It’s difficult to express in words just how much my mission means to me. I have truly come to know that Jesus Christ lives. I know it with all my heart. I know that Heavenly Father is so mindful of us, and has a specific and perfect plan for each of His children. I know that the gospel of Jesus Christ has been restored to the earth through the prophet Joseph Smith. He truly saw God the Father and Jesus Christ, and was able to translate the Book of Mormon by the power of God. The Book of Mormon has brought me closer to Jesus Christ. I’m so grateful for my Savior. It is only through the strength He has given me that I have been able to serve. I owe it all to Him. “I do not boast in my own strength, nor in my own wisdom; but behold, my joy is full, yea, my heart is brim with joy, and I will rejoice in my God. Yea, I know that I am nothing; as to my strength I am weak; therefore I will not boast of myself, but I will boast of my God, for in his strength I can do all things; yea, behold, many mighty miracles we have wrought in [California], for which we will praise his name forever.” (Alma 26:11-12)

I love you all. Thank you so much for your love, prayers, and support throughout this journey. See you soon!


Sister Martinez ❤

week seventy-nine: we talk about people with Jesus Christ

Hello hello! It was a great week, but it always is when you’re serving the Lord. This past week I hit my 18 month mark of my mission. I have no idea how I’ve gotten to this point…I know it’s only been through the strength that the Lord has given me. We truly can do all things through Christ.

I don’t have much to share but the best part of this week was when I went on an exchange with Sister Wirig. She is deaf, but with her cochlear implant can hear about 30-40%. She is so awesome! She is an ASL missionary but came with me to the English program, so it was a little different but it was so fun. I know very minimal sign language, but somehow I was still able to interpret for her in most situations and we could communicate with each other. I’m so grateful for all of the exchanges I’ve been able to go on, there are so many incredible sisters and I love seeing their love and enthusiasm for the work.

On Tuesday we had Zone Conference. It was my last one which is super weird. This means that I had the opportunity to give my departing testimony. To be honest I don’t remember most of what I said, but I can tell you that I do remember how I felt. I’m so grateful for the gospel of Jesus Christ. I know it’s true. I’m so grateful to be a servant of the Lord, and to have this last week of my full time mission to continue to serve. Jesus Christ lives!! I know that He knows and loves each of you individually.

I hope you all have a wonderful week!


Sister Martinez 💕
Zone Conference!

week seventy-eight: penitent cucumber

Hi everyone! It was an amazing week! It was also super busy. We had MLC on Tuesday and then we had the opportunity to teach 3 zone trainings on Wednesday and Thursday. It was a lot but it was awesome. I’m going to miss all of the meetings we have as missionaries so much.

So for those who don’t know, we are given a certain amount of miles we can drive each month. We were about to run out of miles for the month, so on Tuesday and Wednesday after our meetings we spent the whole day walking. Normally this wouldn’t be too hard but our area is an entire stake which made it hard to go anywhere on foot. We had an a set appointment with this guy named Angel. After finally making it to his apartment complex, Angel told us he had to reschedule. We were kind of frustrated since we had walked all that way to see him, but then we met a girl named Aureli who lives in the same complex as him. We walked past her and starting talking with her. She ended up setting a return appointment with us and we’ll be meeting with her this week. Before we leave the car, we usually always pray and ask for Heavenly Father to place people in our path as we walk. I know that we had to walk all that way so that we could meet Aureli. Heavenly Father truly placed her in our path.

Thursday was such a cool day. After zone training, we headed to IVC (local college) for an appointment. While we were waiting for the person we were supposed to be teaching to show up, Sister Garcia and I were practicing our ASL and signing to each other on a grass area on campus. After a few minutes of signing, a woman named Rovena came up to us and started signing. It turns out she is hard of hearing and knows ASL. She ended up giving us her contact info and said she would be willing to meet with the ASL sisters. It was so amazing! If we hadn’t been signing, Rovena never would have come up to us, and she might not ever have had the chance to hear about the gospel. God’s timing is perfect.

After being at IVC, we had an appointment with our investigator Sam. A few weeks ago some of the family ward sisters in Irvine referred him to us but all they had was his phone number. We called him to invite him to church and he ended up coming on Easter! And then we finally met with him this week. He moved here a few years ago from Dubai. He is Druze, which is a very small religion that is some sort of cross between Islam and Christianity. But he is very open to learning. We taught him the restoration and he had lots of really awesome questions, and said he would be baptized if he came to know the things we taught are true. It was so great.

After Sam, we still had some time before dinner so we went to go stop by a potential named Mary. About a month and a half ago, we stopped by and met her dad Hossain. I think I wrote about it but a quick refresher, their family moved here from Iran so that they could practice Christianity, but Hossain said they hadn’t found the right sect yet. He said he would be going to Iran to visit family for a month, so we hadn’t been able to follow up with them yet. Well this time, Mary and her mom, Peggy, were there and they invited us in. We were able to teach them the restoration and it went so well! They speak pretty good English but Farsi is much better for them. They asked us to find a Persian congregation nearby for them (which we are still working on), so that they can join. 🙂 it was amazing.

This work is incredible. I love being a missionary more than words can express! Jesus Christ lives and His gospel is true. I know it.

I hope you all have an amazing week!


Sister Martinez 💘

1. last MLC
2. 💐
3. lunch with our pals in Anaheim

week seventy-seven: who do you know who recently had a dog?

Hola hola! It was a wonderful week. This transfer is seriously flying by and it’s scaring me but I’m here right now so we’ll just focus on that. 🙂

I went on some awesome exchanges this week. The first one was with Sister Oliekan who is one of our ASL sisters! It was so great. She’s completely fearless so we talked with a ton of people! One of the highlights of the day was when we ran into a woman walking around her neighborhood. She was from Thailand and didn’t know a lot of English. I was able to use some of the few Thai phrases that Sister Sainan taught me to communicate with her! It was so cool. She told us her husband doesn’t like visitors, but she was going to give the passalong card we gave her to her daughter who speaks more English. Planting seeds on the daily.

The second exchange I went on was with Sister Bendixsen. We also had an awesome day of talking with lots and lots of people! Sometimes I walk away from contacts freaking out because of how awkward it was, but then I remember that I was just trying to bring them closer to Jesus Christ and it’s all worth it. We met this guy named Omar (he’s a YSA, hallelujah) who was super open to learning and set a return appointment with us. That was the miracle of the day. Also I awkwardly approached him while he was getting into his car. I thrive in awkward situations.

Sunday night we had a cool experience. About a month ago we met this guy named Anthony who accepted a baptismal date, but we haven’t been able to sit down and teach him since. We were going to go stop by, and while walking to get to his apartment we saw a guy sitting on a bench across the way. It was dark outside so we didn’t approach him but we agreed we would on the way back if he was still there. We stopped by Anthony’s apartment and he wasn’t there, so we walked back. We walked closer to the bench this time and realized it was Anthony who was sitting there!! We ended up teaching him right there and it was awesome. It’s so amazing how that worked out. We couldn’t find a parking spot and ended up having to park really far away…and if we hadn’t parked far away we wouldn’t have walked past Anthony and seen him that first time. But we did and the timing was perfect because the Lord knew we needed to see him.

I love being a missionary so much. I know I say this so much but I really do. For P-day today we went to a mall and I just really prefer being in my mission bubble over being in the world. I just wish that everyone had the gospel. The world would have so much more peace and happiness. If you’re looking for more peace and greater happiness I would 10/10 recommend the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. I know it’s true!

I hope you all have a wonderful week!

All my love,

Sister Martinez ❤

1. the lake in Irvine 🌊
2. Yep
3. Got to see Sister Burgess!!
4. Exchanges with Sister Bendixsen 🙂

week seventy-six: the BoM squad

Hello hello! It’s been a busy but awesome week….I feel like I’ve said that almost every week of my mission. We had President
interviews, exchanges, car troubles…but it was still a good week! I hope everyone had a wonderful Easter!

On Wednesday we went on exchanges and I went to Anaheim 4 with Sister DeAdder. It was a great day! Last transfer when I went on exchanges there with Sister Benn, we met and taught this guy named Miguel. Well..when I went back this time, I found out they had put Miguel on date
for baptism!! It was so cool. I love being able to work in different areas even if it’s just for the day.

A couple weeks ago while Sister Garcia was backing me out of a parking space, she started talking to this boy named Angel and got his phone number. We ended up meeting with him this week! He was really receptive and accepted baptism! He’s only 16, so we’ll have to pass him off to the family ward missionaries, but it was still so awesome to find him and teach him. We found a ton of new people this week, but only two of them were YSA’s 😦 we’re kind of having a hard time finding people to teach who are young or single…BUT I have faith that there is someone who’s a YSA in our area who is prepared to receive the gospel

I feel like I don’t have much to say this week so I’ll just say what’s most important. I know with all my heart that Jesus Christ lives. His gospel has been restored to the earth..and nothing brings me more joy! I can’t even imagine my life without the knowledge of my Savior. If you’re searching for: purpose, a sense of belonging, security, peace, eternal life, truth, or a strengthened family….you can find that in Jesus Christ’s restored church. I know that’s true.

Love you all! I hope you have a wonderful week!


Sister Martinez 🌸

week seventy-five: mormons can’t swim?!

Hello everyone! It was a great week in Irvine 🙂 not too much to report on but I’ll share a couple cool things.

A couple weeks ago President Taggart emailed us asking if we would be willing to speak in some Theology classes at a Lutheran high school in the area. So on Tuesday, we went! We spoke and did a Q&A session with 3 different class periods of seniors. It was sooo awesome. Basically we started out teaching the restoration and then answered questions the whole rest of the time. Other than one guy asking his teacher if as a Lutheran church they believed we were going to be saved (awkward), it was all really respectful. We were also asked a bunch of funny questions:
– I heard Mormons can’t swim, is that true?
– Do you believe you’re going to get your own planet one day? – Have you ever had coffee?
– What is your opinion of Book of Mormon the Musical?
– Can you date on your missions? (haha)

It was hilarious, but also I do feel like we cleared up a lot of things for the students and helped them to understand more about the church.

We were walking around an apartment complex one day and talked with this dad and his son. The son, Anthony, told us that he used to meet with missionaries but it had been awhile. They gave us their address and said we could come back and see them. The next day, some sisters from one of the family wards sent us a bunch of referrals who are YSA’s that they found in their areabook. One of them was Anthony, who we had just street contacted into the day before. It’s so cool how the Spirit guides us to the right places at the right times.

We had an awesome lesson with our investigator on date, Emily, this week! She brought her boyfriend, Angel, who we recently found out is a less active member, and he is interested in learning again. And then, they both came to church on Sunday!! It’s awesome when people actually progress. 🙂

Every week when I sit down to write my weekly email, I am just filled with gratitude. The Lord shows us miracles every week and always strengthens my testimony. Every week, and everyday for that matter, I am brought closer to Jesus Christ. I know that He lives! And sometimes I feel repetitive when I say that but it’s because I am so fervent in my testimony of Him and His gospel. I’m so grateful to be a missionary, and to have the privilege of bearing His name.

I hope you all have a wonderful week!


Sister Martinez 💕

1. That moment when you run into one of your bffs from BYU Hawaii!!!! 2. 🌸

week seventy-four: “quit snorting or we’ll throw you on the grill”

Hi everyone! It was a wonderful and crazy busy week. Lots of meetings but all good things. 🙂 we kind of had cool things happen everyday so here ya go.

Monday night we met with a guy named Anthony who we met recently. We were able to teach him the restoration and he accepted a baptismal date! Wooo!! We might not be able to keep teaching him because he splits his time between Fullerton and Irvine…but I’m grateful that we found him and that he has the desire to be baptized.

Tuesday we had MLC. We mostly talked about talking with everyone, working with members, and finding people to teach. It was sooo good. I have such a strong testimony of talking with everyone. One of my favorite parts of missionary work is street contacting. It’s so awesome to just be able to go up to people and testify of Christ. Once we received the training, we were able to go give the same trainings to our zone and the Anaheim zone. Good times.

We had an awesome lesson with our investigator Emily this week. She’s on date to be baptized at the end of the month and she’s doing great! We originally were planning on teaching her about the gospel of Jesus Christ, but once we talked about how Christ cleanses us from sin, she asked how you know if something is a sin. We basically told her about all the commandments. I was nervous that afterwards she would tell us she didn’t want to have so many restrictions, but instead she told us she was so grateful we were there to teach her about the gospel and tell her what is right from wrong. She wasn’t raised with any religion or anything, so she didn’t know what she should and shouldn’t do in life. I’m so grateful that she recognized that the commandments are loving instructions from our Heavenly Father because they truly are. They are a blessing.

This weekend was amazing because GENERAL CONFERENCE. I was just in awe the whole time. A couple of weeks ago I started praying about what questions I needed to ask going into conference, and there were some I didn’t even know I had. Well, all of my questions were answered in some way. Heavenly Father truly is so mindful of us. He knows what we need when we need it.

We hadn’t been able to find any new investigators all week, until Sunday night. We were getting to the awkward time of 8:30pm when you feel weird about knocking on people’s doors, but you do it anyway. We went to go find a former investigator and ended up meeting his roommate, Nester, instead. This week, the new Easter video “Prince of Peace” came out (go watch it on and we were able to share it with Nester. It touched his heart and he set a return appointment with us. Miracles on miracles

With this new Easter initiative, I’ve thought a lot about how Jesus Christ is my Prince of Peace. It is truly only through Him that I have found continual peace. I know that He lives.

I hope you all have an amazing week!


Sister Martinez 💕

1. MLC
2. exchanges with Sister Whiting!
3. Invading Anaheim’s zone picture

week seventy-three: greetings from your fave mexican couple

Hello hello! It was an awesome week! I don’t have a lot of time but I’ll share a few things.

Wednesday was so awesome. I went on exchanges with Sister Hutchinson in the Anaheim 1st ward aka one of my past areas. Ahhh it was so nostalgic. It was like a blast from the past the whole day. But it was great. We talked with so many people on the street, probably one of my favorite things to do as a missionary. We also got to teach and see some of the same people I taught when I was there which was so cool.

Thursday morning we had a lesson with our investigator Emily. We were able to move her baptismal date for the end of April and she is so excited. She’s now in Alma and loves the Book of Mormon. She’s super golden. Also one of the best parts of the week was when she came to church on Sunday! She had been before with previous sisters but this was the first time she came since she’s been taught again. She loved it and wants to go to all the activities and get super involved. It’s awesome!

As a mission we’ve been doing a Jesus Christ topical guide study. We’re basically studying everything about Him. It’s been awesome because I’ve definitely felt my love and adoration for Him increase. This week my study was focused on Jesus Christ as my advocate. I loved in Hebrews 7:25, “He ever liveth to make intercession for them.” Intercession is the act of intervening on behalf of another. He lives to intervene on my behalf, and to plead on my behalf. He always roots for me even when I don’t root for myself. He stands up for me and always sees the good in me. But it’s not just me. It’s every single person who has ever lived and who ever will live. He is your advocate. He lives for you. I know that Jesus Christ lives. That truth is confirmed to me daily. I hope you are all able to recognize His hand in your life.

Have a wonderful week!


Sister Martinez 💘

1. We got a brand new car and we’re obsessed with it
2. Ran into Sister Harrison today!!! ❤
3. Downtown Disney

week seventy-two: same

Hi everyone! It was a great week. Sister Garcia and I are both sick which has not been fun…but we still did lots of awesome stuff.

On Tuesday we went on exchanges, I went to Anaheim with Sister Benn. Ahh I missed Anaheim! It was a great day. We met some people with lots of potential and saw miracles. We were walking down the street and saw this woman crying on the sidewalk. Sister Benn felt like we needed to go pray with her. So we did, and testified of Heavenly Father’s love for her. She was so grateful and said it wasn’t a coincidence that we ran into her. I know that Heavenly Father is so mindful of every single one of His children.

God’s timing is so perfect. We had two miracles happen this week that are perfect examples of this. Friday night we were waiting in our car to meet up with some other sisters for a pass off lesson. I saw this guy across the street just walking around and we decided to go talk to him. His name was Emmanuel and he ended up being super interested and set up a return appointment with us! Our pass off lesson ended up falling through, but if we hadn’t been there we never would’ve met Emmanuel. We haven’t been finding a lot of new investigators lately so this was huge.

Saturday we went on another exchange, I stayed in our area with Sister Utley. We had an appointment with our investigator Nathan, but he never confirmed with us so we showed up anyways. We knocked and waited and nobody came to the door so we left….after driving for about a minute I felt like we needed to check the phone. We checked it and Nathan had texted us asking if that was us who knocked, and asked if we could come back to pray with him. We went back and prayed with him and committed him to read a specific chapter from the Book of Mormon that applies to what he’s going through right now. I’m so grateful for the Holy Ghost because if I hadn’t been prompted to check the phone we wouldn’t have been able to see Nathan and help him that day.

Later on in our exchange, we also had something else really cool happen. We have been trying this potential named Mary the whole time I’ve been here and she’s never home or available. Well this time we knocked on the door and her dad, Hossain, answered and immediately invited us in. He told us to sit down and to tell him about our religion, and what makes us different from other Christians. He proceeded to tell us that he and his family left Iran so that they could practice Christianity, but they haven’t found the right sect yet. WHAT. He and his family are super prepared. We’re going back soon to give them a Book of Mormon in Persian. 🙂

I’m so grateful for the gospel. I know it’s true.

I hope you all have a wonderful week!


Sister Martinez 💕

2 + 3. At “The Eternal Family” institute class on Thursday night we had wedding cake and Martinelli’s to toast to eternal marriage hahaha