week three: GARDEN GROVE

Hello from California!!!

Oh my goodness I have SOOO much to write about I hope I can fit it all in here. It has been such a crazy and amazingly good week. I’m so happy to be a missionary 🙂

Okay so we left the MTC in the middle of the night on Tuesday. I was soo exhausted but so anxious to get to Anaheim 🙂 before boarding the plane I got to talk to my family and it was so amazing to hear their voices. (Love you all!) then we landed in California!! As soon as we landed, we ran into a couple elders who had been serving in our mission!! They were headed home. We were literally switching with them. So crazy. Then we went down to baggage claim and were greeted by president and sister Taggart. They are the sweetest people ever, I love them!! Then we got to the mission home and pretty much spent all day there, we napped, ate, and hung out. And at 4, our companions were coming to pick us up!! I think I was even more nervous than when I went into the MTC. But all my nerves were calmed when I met my companion, Sister Burns. Oh my goodness I love her! And I know we are basically the perfect companionship 🙂 she’s from Allen, TX, north of Dallas (aka 30 minutes from where kylie lives. Insane.), she’s a dancer (aka she had to choose between being a Dallas Cowboys cheerleader and going on a mission. I think she made a good choice :)), she’s 21 and has done three years of college, and we just get along so well and I just love her! This is only her 4th transfer and she’s an amazing trainer! She helps me get out of my comfort zone and has taught me so much. I’m so happy I get to be with her for three months!

So when I met sister Burns (at the mission home), she told me that we pretty much didn’t have a place to live…hahaha. The apartment she used to live in was now apparently for elders and they hadn’t found a place for us in our area yet. So we had to spend three nights at the mission home, which was hard because it’s about 30 minutes from our area but it was also soo awesome because we got to see President and Sister Taggart everyday and I love them, Pres. Taggart said he loved having our spirit and joy in his home. 🙂 Also, the mission home is really close to Disneyland so we could see/hear the fireworks every night which was fun. So our area is the Garden Grove 7th ward in the Garden Grove Stake. It’s so awesome. Our area is tiny but there’s still so many people left in it to teach! And we ended up moving back into the original apartment that Sister Burns was in before… Hahaha basically they couldn’t find a place for us so they just moved the elders somewhere else. But it all worked out! Our apartment is awesome and we already have a Christmas tree (someone had left it previously in the apartment) and the closet is huge (the best part). Our ward is super tiny. About 70 people come to church every week. We don’t even fill up the whole chapel hahah. We have a TON of elderly people in our ward as well as people with disabilities. We visit a lot of them throughout the week and they’re all so sweet. There’s not a lot of youth or primary kids. It’s an awesome ward though. And on Sunday there was a homecoming talk which was sooo weird to hear! But it was so good. Just reaffirmed every reason I’m here.

Alright I have a ton of random things to say so I’ll just do some highlights: -Wednesday during the day we had a lesson with a 13 year old boy named Shawn. His mom was baptized 8 years ago but she’s less active. But she urged her son to take the missionary lessons and is very encouraging about it. Well when we met that day, I invited him to be baptized on December 20th. And he said yes 🙂 it was so scary but the Spirit guided me that way and I’m so glad it happened!! Hopefully we can keep him committed to that date.
– Wednesday night was mutual for the YM/YW, and sis burns and I were at the church building for wifi. They were playing some sort of dancing game and were playing music, and all of a sudden I hear What Do You Mean come on by Justin Bieber…it was the first song I had heard in two weeks and it was the STRANGEST thing of my life. It felt weird to hear normal music but even funnier that it was Justin…my life.
-on Thursday I had my first dinner at a member’s home, it was with an elderly couple. They are so sweet. But maybe a little too sweet hahaha they fed us SO much I have not been that full in a long time I was honestly feeling sick afterward. But so grateful!
-I’m sick again 😦 it’s more of a cough and stuffy nose this time but it’s not fun. I’m getting better though. I don’t know why my immune system is freaking out! But I’m doing my best to get healthier quickly!!
-we went tracting (knocking on doors) my first night here and it was so scary but it felt so good to be doing the Lord’s work. and sister burns made me feel so much more comfortable.
-some fun tracting experiences: we were knocking one night and a man asked us if we were Jehovah’s Witnesses. hahahha sorry but no, read the tag! we met a lady named Marisol who said we were an answer to her prayers because she’s been trying to find a church for her friend who’s going through a rough time to go to, super awesome. Saturday was really interesting. we tracted a TON (we’re trying to find more people) and we knocked on a door and a lady answered and said she didn’t speak English only Spanish…i tried my best to explain who we were, etc. it was very broken Spanish on my end but she got the point and was very sweet. She told me that she has met some Spanish speaking elders before and that she is Catholic. She said we all believe in Jesus Christ but some of the other stuff is different. Aka she wasn’t interested but she was still very nice and I was so happy I could get the message across in Spanish. Gift of tongues or what?? Later that night, we knocked on a door, a woman came to the door, peeked behind the curtain and immediately said, “oh DEFINITELY no thanks.” Honestly it was hilarious. It’s so funny how rude some people are!
-okay so last thing.. Saturday morning we went to the grocery store because we had absolutely no food and I needed cough medicine. While we were in line to check out and about to put our stuff on the conveyor belt, this young guy who had been in line behind us for a few minutes suddenly said, “hey sisters, is it alright if I pay for your stuff?” Sister burns and I were in complete shock and almost started crying. We kept saying “are you sure are you sure!!” But he insisted. We talked while checking out he’s in the Huntington Beach YSA ward, and he served his mission in Richmond, VA (how crazy is that??). He was so so kind and it was so incredible. Such a tender mercy!!!

Well, it’s time for me to go! Sorry that was so much!! It’s so hard to compress all of my thoughts. I love hearing from all of you and I’m so happy to be able to email. This is the most important thing I’ve ever done. I’m sooo happy to be here serving God’s children. This gospel is true forever and always. I’m so grateful for my Savior, Jesus Christ and for his atoning sacrifice. And I know this is where He wants me to be right now.

I hope you all have an amazing week and Thanksgiving!!

Sending love and prayers from Garden Grove,

Sister Martinez 💕

PS since I have an iPad I can read emails throughout the week, I just won’t respond until P day on Monday.
Sister Burns and I 🙂

My first packages in the field!! Thanks mom and gima!!! ❤️

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week two: MTC

HIIII PEOPLE

I have SO much to talk about holy goodness. It has been such a long and super hard week but also such a fast and amazing week? Not sure how that works. Apparently that’s how it is on a mission, but anyway, I’ll try to keep this short-ish. Where to even start!

Okay so let’s start with last Tuesday! Oh my goodness Tuesday was good! We had devotional that night and Hugo Montoya of the Seventy came and spoke, remember his amazing talk from this past general conference?! I was so excited to hear from him!! He was soo good. One thing he said that I loved so much was, " This talk is not intended for a group of salesmen, your mission is not about how many people you baptize, you are a representative of Jesus Christ. You must do as he commands and share the gospel with all of God’s children." I loved that reminder. And afterwards I went and shook his hand and told him he did a good job in spanish. Which actually, I’ve been speaking lots of spanish to some missionaries and it has been so fun! There’s a girl on my floor from Spain and I have a really hard time understanding her and she speaks so little English but we can get through quick bathroom conversations 🙂 so that’s been so cool. Dad I think of you everytime I even say Hola to someone!

Wednesday was a pretty hard day I’m not gonna lie. I woke up at like 4am and was half asleep feeling super sick until my alarm went off. We had to wake up earlier than usual, so when my alarm went off at 6:00 I sat in bed feeling like I was going to throw up and then a few minutes later I did 😦 it was the worst. And I was extra freaking out because who the heck wants to be sick in the MTC?! So we skipped service and went to the Doctor. I was told I had a stomach viral infection? So I guess that’s what it was. The doctor gave me anti-nausea tabs and I completely lost my appetite for the next two days. It wasn’t fun. In the cafeteria I only drank sprite and ate bread and fruit which was such a bummer. I felt so bad for my companions because we had no one to do exchanges with since we are the only sisters in our zone, so we couldn’t really go to class all day that day. We only showed up to teach our investigators because that’s the most important thing 🙂 but my teachers and my companions were so patient with me and I am so grateful to them for that. Also, I am so grateful for my zone leaders. After we went to the doctor, they gave me a blessing and I’m certain it helped me so much. I was feeling better only a few days later! So I’m glad I’m feeling way better before I get to the field…TOMORROW!

So speaking of going to the field tomorrow, we had in-field orientation on Thursday. It was so much fun and made everything so much more real. Something that made everything so crazy was one of the trainers during orientation said that, "The Lord is already preparing specific people to receive you in every area you will serve throughout your mission." How incredible is that. I love the people in my mission so much already and I am so excited to serve them and help bring them closer to Christ.

On Saturday, I had the most incredible experience. We had our last lessons with our "investigators" (they’re our teachers, but they feel so real), Jordan and Greg. We’ve taught each of them 4-5 times during our time here at the MTC. Jordan is actually a real person, he is my teacher’s cousin and he just plays him as an investigator. So all of our prayers for him were actually legit which I think is pretty cool. And Greg is actually my teacher’s name (Greg Harper) and he played himself just as a nonmember. So our prayers for both of them actually meant something which I loved. Anyway, starting out, Jordan was atheist and had no interest in learning about God. He has a month old son and his girlfriend left him, his mom is a member of the church but he stopped going when he was a teenager and hasn’t believed in God since. By the end of our time with him, we had committed him to be baptized. And as we left our last lesson with him, he said that he couldn’t wait to tell his baby one day about the sisters who converted him and tell him all about our lessons whenever he complains to him about going to church. I don’t know why, and I know it wasn’t real, but I just cried. I was so so emotional. Can you imagine if the real Jordan had made that much progress? It is the most incredible feeling to be an instrument in the Lord’s hands, and knowing that we "brought" someone closer to Christ. Nothing beats that feeling.

I am so grateful to be here and to be serving my Lord and my God. I love this work so much. I am so grateful to be a missionary and to be an instrument in the Lord’s hands. I listened to a talk by Elder Holland last night that he gave in the MTC like 10 years ago, he said, "you are as close to being an apostle as a full time missionary than you ever will be in your entire life." How incredible is that?! I love being here and I am so grateful for all of the kind words and love I’ve felt from all of you. Let your light shine. Share the gospel. Invite others to come unto Christ. This is the most important thing any of us could be doing. I love and miss you all.

All my love,

Sister Martinez

My district with our teachers (they’re both on the right!)

week one: MTC

Oh my goodness HI EVERYONE!! How is everyone doing?! What’s been happening?!! It’s finally P day (preparation day)!! Also if you haven’t been a missionary before I’m sorry if some of this doesn’t make sense to you but I will try my best! wow wow wow where do I even start. My flight here was so good, I slept most of it. But when I wasn’t asleep honestly it was super hard. Saying goodbye was probably one of the hardest things I’ve ever done but I feel really good and stronger now. My face was sooo red and gross it was so embarrassing but hopefully no one was judging 🙂 When I landed I went down to baggage claim and there were a bunch of families waiting by the escalators for their missionaries to come home. It was so weird to basically be switching places with people! But I’m so grateful to be here. There were 3 other missionaries on my shuttle and when we arrived I was greeted by some super sweet sisters who showed me around and helped me out. My host sister’s companion is going to Anaheim too, but Spanish speaking!! Super awesome.

So I am in a trio, which is super awesome but can also be really challenging. I love them though. Sister Llana was born in the Philippines but she moved to Calgary, Canada when she was 8. She’s going to the New Jersey Morristown mission. Sister Thomas is from Georgetown, Texas (outside of Austin) and she’s going to the Idaho Boise mission. It’s pretty crazy that we are all going to different missions and are all companions but we work well together and love each other so it’s great. My district is super awesome too!! Everyone in my district is going to Boise, with the exception of Sister Llana, me, and one other Elder who is going to Anaheim as well! We are the only sisters in our district, as well as our zone…so we’re kind of like the token sisters hahaha. It’s crazy how close we have all gotten in just 6 days of being here. But it’s awesome because I don’t think any of us would’ve crossed paths in life if we weren’t serving missions, we are all so different. And we are all from different places. Elder Stringham is from Fort Hood, TX, Elder Romney is from Oceanside, CA, Elder Dodd is from Chicago, and Elder Carroll is from Pensacola, Florida. I think it’s pretty awesome that none of us are from Utah (no offense to anyone from Utah, there’s just sooo many people from Utah here). Oh also an Elder in my zone is from Leesburg!!! And he just got baptized 14 months ago which I think is so amazing. All the people I have met are so wonderful and we are all going to be great missionaries 🙂 I can’t believe it’s only been 6 days, it feels like it’s been weeks! Everyone says the days feel like weeks and the weeks feel like days and it is so true.
We started teaching within the first few hours of arriving. It was so scary but so so awesome. We taught in huge groups of people so it wasn’t too bad but we were still learning a lot. The last few days we’ve had classes for like 8 hours (we have breaks don’t worry) and they are so good! My teachers are Brother Harper (who served in the Baltimore mission!!!), Brother Sorenson (Kensie he’s from Lehi and he said he knows at least one of the Rasmussen’s 🙂 but he graduated a long time ago so he doesn’t know Jake), Sister Karratti, and Sister Gregerson. They are all so amazing and I have learned soo much from all of them. I have three investigators, Greg, Jordan, and Ivy we are meeting tonight. We have also done some member lessons (TRC) and we are doing more of those this week. This work is so awesome! At first teaching was so scary but if you rely on the Spirit and let it guide, everything will work out. That’s one of my favorite things I’ve learned. Oh I totally forgot!! Since my companions and I are the only sisters in our zone, we are now the Sister Training Leaders! So we will be welcoming and showing around all the new missionaries in our branch on wednesday. I’m so excited.
Also, in case anyone is wondering. I’ve been doing fine without social media (sometimes I wish I could look at instagram but it doesn’t really matter), I haven’t had Dr.Pepper since the morning I left and I’ve had no headaches because of it, and I’ve been going to sleep at 10:30 (ish) and waking up at 6:30 (sometimes 6:35…i’m trying) everyday so I think that’s a pretty big accomplishment for me. I’m pretty proud of myself.  The MTC is so awesome and I’m so happy to be here. I’ve seen Mirelle Iverson, Ashley Doll, Huntley Campbell, and also Brindlee Fullmer (from BYUH), it made me soo happy to see some familiar faces. Today we went to the temple and it was so amazing and I want you all to read Alma 17 because I think it’s my favorite chapter now and reading it made me feel the warm fuzzies.
Anyway, I have 7 minutes left to write so I’ll finish up. The spirit here is like nothing I’ve ever felt before and I love it so much. I have learned so much more about Christ and myself in the past 6 days than I have in my entire life. Our purpose as missionaries is the best thing ever: Inviting others to come unto Christ. I am so grateful to be doing that!!! Right now there is nothing more that I would rather be doing than spending the next 18 months devoted to that purpose.  I do miss you all a lot though, don’t worry 🙂 but the time is going to fly and I’m perfectly okay with leaving my family and friends for 18 months if it means other people can be able to spend eternity with their families and with our Father in Heaven. Also, Christ has literally given His life for me and the least I can do to even somewhat repay Him is serve a mission. And that’s only like .05% repaid 🙂 The church is true everyone. I’ve never felt stronger about that than right now. I thought my testimony was strong before, but now it is like 50x stronger. I love you all so much and miss you tons but I am so grateful for all of your support and love and prayers. I can definitely feel it all. Everyone have a good week and I’ll talk to you next week!!!
Love,
Sister Martinez (isn’t it so crazy that I go by that now?!)
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our second day in front of the world map
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the first day!!
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prettiest sister missionary out there, right?
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my zone!
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my district!
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a better pic of my companions and I!