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 πŸ™‚

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 πŸ™‚ 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 πŸ™‚ 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. πŸ™‚ 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 πŸ™‚ 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 tractedΒ 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 πŸ’•

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 πŸ™‚

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

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