week nineteen: knock on wood

{this is from last week, and was meant to be sent Monday, March 14}

Hola everyone! It was an interesting week here in Garden Grove. Don’t really feel like I taught very much but certainly had some great experiences. This week was a little crazy because we had a lot of different meetings and whatnot. So let’s just get right to the highlights!

Friday we had a special training meeting with a member of the seventy, Elder Hamula. We got an email a few weeks ago about this special training and everyone was freaking out about what it could be about. Could’ve been a number of things, obedience, repentance, etc. It wasn’t what any of us were expecting, but it was soo good. I seriously feel like as a missionary there haven’t been very many meetings where I don’t leave super inspired. One of the main things he talked about was Christlike attributes, and how Christ is at the center of the work that we do. He said so many great things, but one thing I loved was that each week when we take the sacrament, we reaffirm the acceptance of our mission call. When we take the sacrament, we promise that we are willing to take upon ourselves the name of Christ. What does it mean to take upon yourself the name of Christ? 1. Agree to become like Him, to take upon yourself His identity, his traits, his attributes. 2. You are willing to do His work the way He wants it done. 3. You are willing to submit yourself to His authority and all those He has appointed. That is a pretty big promise to make. And something as simple as eating a little piece of bread and taking a sip of water, actually means so much. Honestly I’ve never realized how important and sacred the sacrament is until my mission. The promise that we make, those three things that we are saying we will do, can be hard to be willing to keep especially if we don’t fully understand the atonement. I certainly don’t fully understand the atonement yet, and I don’t think I ever will in this life. But as I take the sacrament each week, I walk through Gethsemane with Christ and just try to imagine what that must have felt like for Him. And suddenly, I’m a lot more willing to take upon myself His name.

After the meeting with Elder Hamula, we had a lesson with our new progressing investigator, Maddie. We actually got into her house this time which is always exciting as a missionary. Teaching at the door can be so awkward. We sat down with her and talked more about the Book of Mormon and what our purpose is as missionaries. We invited her to learn more, and take the rest of the lessons, and she said yes. 🙂 so that’s really exciting. You can definitely tell that she feels the Spirit in our lessons and I’m so excited for her to eventually understand what that means.

On Thursday Sister Moore and I were at 7/11 grabbing a big gulp as we typically do, and we walked outside and saw Shawn (my recent convert who was baptized in January) and his mom getting gas. I haven’t seen Shawn in sooo long! With the ward boundaries changing, and our area being split in half, he was technically in the Elder’s area. So when we got our new area we decided they could start meeting with him, but they never were able to, so we had just decided we were going to take him back and start teaching him again. Well, before we could even contact him, we run into them at the gas station. And find out…that he was on his way to temple baptisms. What?! My heart was going crazy! I hadn’t even seen Shawn in about a month, and then we randomly run into him on his way to his first temple trip. It was honestly so cool. This might sound a little crazy, but I really feel like we went to that 7/11 right at that specific time for a reason.

This weekend was Stake Conference for the Garden Grove stake. A member of the seventy, Elder Nash, was there to speak so that was cool. Saturday night they had an adult session, and it was so good. He is awesome! The biggest thing I learned was from things he both said and did. After each speaker before and after him he would walk up at the end and ask the congregation, “what did you learn?” Then after a few answers he would ask, “how are you going to apply what you learned?” It was really cool. Then when he spoke, he said, “come to a meeting with the intent to learn and leave with the intention of acting upon what you’ve learned.” Man, if I went to every meeting with that attitude, I would never be bored again in my life! Super good advice.

The next day was the Sunday session of Stake conference and we had an amazing experience. The night before, Elder Nash asked us if we had any investigators coming to stake conference. We told him we had one that would probably be coming, and he told us to bring him up to meet him afterwards. We thought it was nice of him but didn’t really think anything of it. Then at stake conference, Evan (our 14 year old investigator who has to wait a year to be baptized) AND his dad ended up showing up! It was so awesome. When we brought Evan and his dad up to meet Elder Nash afterwards, Elder Nash bore the most amazing testimony to them. You could tell Evan and his dad both felt the spirit. It was so cool…to have a special witness of Christ testifying of the truthfulness of this gospel to one of our
investigators. Very grateful for that moment. I definitely think it helped Evan realize that he knows the gospel is true, which is something that he feels like he hasn’t gotten an answer about the last few months.

Well, I wasn’t expecting to write so much about a week that didn’t feel very successful. But apparently the Spirit thought otherwise. I’m so grateful for the things I learn each day as a missionary. I’m so grateful for my ever growing testimony of this gospel. I know this is the true restored church that Christ established while he was on the earth, and I’m so happy to be able to share that with all who I meet.

I hope you all have an incredible week!

Love,

Sister Martinez 💕

Went on a hike in Orange with my district today!

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