week twenty-four: cheeeeehoooo

Hi everyone!! Holy wow it’s been an awesome and crazy week. So many miracles, tender mercies, etc. I have so much to talk about so I’ll just get right to it.

I would call Tuesday, “Tender Mercy Tuesday.” There were multiple experiences we had that were a result of following the Spirit. For months we’ve been trying to find one of our recent converts, Ludwig. He was baptized about two weeks before I came out and he was doing well for awhile but he’s been going through a hard time and hasn’t been to church at all. We also haven’t been able to set up
appointments with him, and when we do they are always cancelled. So we were going to try just knocking on his door, but right before we were about to get out of the car to walk to his apartment, Sister Moore didn’t feel super well. We stayed in the car and rested for a few minutes. After sitting for a little while, she started to feel better and we were about to get out of the car…we look over and see Ludwig walking through his apartment complex towards us! What the heck!! We quickly got out of the car and quickly walked up to him. He told us it was the perfect time to meet. I literally hadn’t seen him in over two months. Gosh. If we hadn’t decided to sit in the car for a few minutes, we might not have been able to meet with him. And the cherry on top was that he came to church today after months of not coming. It was so cool.

A little bit later on Tuesday we were trying to find some people we had met tracting a couple months ago. We ended up not being able to find them, but as we were about to leave that neighborhood I remembered that there was a less active who lived in that same neighborhood who we had tried to find awhile back. So we decided to go knock on her door. The last time we tried to find her, we knocked and her front door was open but the screen door was closed. So you couldn’t see in but you could hear inside…and there were definitely people in the house walking around but nobody answered the door. We assumed she was ignoring us but figured it was worth another shot. We went this time and she immediately answered the door and let us in. We had such a great conversation with her and there seems to be a lot of hope for her coming back to church sometime in the future. That was a really awesome experience. Never ignore promptings!!

Wednesday we were able to have another lesson with Evan. This was a pretty big one…we decided that we were basically going to tell him that we can’t meet with him anymore unless he puts himself on date for baptism. Previously his dad always told us that they had decided Evan needed to wait a year to be baptized. But that’s coming pretty close and we just wanted to have something set. When we talked with them about it, they said all Evan needs to do is talk to his mom about it, and pray about a date to be baptized on. His dad even said it could be before the year mark! Yay!! So hopefully we will know soon about when Evan will be baptized. Not only that, but Evan also finally admitted that day that he has received an answer and he knows the church is true. It was such an amazing feeling! We’ve been working towards that for so long!

Thursday night we had a kind of scary experience. It was around 10pm and we were getting ready for bed, when we started hearing lots of yelling and screaming. Our apartment complex is set up into different two story buildings, so we are on the first floor of building three which faces building four. So through our window we can hear things from the building across from ours. I guess this couple in building four was fighting and things were getting pretty intense. We could literally hear every word. Basically some domestic violence starting happening so we decided to call 911. But we were pretty sure that someone who was standing on the balcony of the apartment where the yelling was coming from had seen us looking through our windows. So we got pretty nervous that they were going to know it was us who called 911…it was really scary. We ended up spending the night at another sister’s apartment and when we got back on Friday all was well…there hasn’t been a problem since then. Thank goodness!

Saturday we went on exchanges. I went to Orange with Sister Hathcock and Sister Moore stayed in our area with Sister Jacobs. Nothing too eventful happened on my exchange, but wow did cool things happen in our area! They went to the park in the center of our area to find people, and I guess there wasn’t really anyone there that day. But as they walked through the park they saw a woman named Alisha sitting down on a blanket reading the bible. They went up to her and asked, “if you knew that God had called a prophet today, would you listen?” She told them, “yes, please come sit.” They taught her the whole restoration and it went really well. At the end they invited her to be baptized and she accepted ๐Ÿ™‚ yay!! She’s super hopeful so we’re excited.

Later on Saturday the Samoan ward in our stake put on a luau. There were lots of performances and dancing and so much food. And so many missionaries in our zone had investigators come which was awesome!! But wow the whole night just made me miss Hawaii so much…it reminded me so much of the night show at the PCC. I miss da aina.

That’s about all I have..it was a super awesome week. This week something I kind of had an epiphany about was that I’m just so grateful that Christ’s gospel requires a church where we can all learn and grow together as His disciples. Reminds me of the talk from General conference in October 2015 called “Why The Church”
(https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2015/10/why-the-church?lang=eng). I know this is Christ’s true church on the earth today. I’m so grateful for it, and for Him.

I hope you all have an amazing week!

All my love,

Sister Martinez ๐Ÿ’•

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week twenty-three: holla

Hi everyone! How’s it going? Our week was a little shorter than normal, it’s always weird when P day is on a Tuesday. Kind of throws the whole week off. So the week basically started on Wednesday. Wednesday morning we went to volunteer at a blood drive. Always good to start the week off with service!

After the blood drive, we went to go read with Brother Beserra. I might have mentioned him before, but I’ve met with him pretty much every week of my mission so far. He has a mental disability and has the mind of a 10 year old, but he can mostly take care of himself. We go read either Book of Mormon Stories or Doctrine + Covenants Stories with him. His family were members but he wasn’t really raised in the church, and missionaries found him and he was baptized in 2010. He LOVES the gospel. It’s so awesome. And he needs the church! It’s his support system. With that being said, he has some very rude neighbors who feel the need to tell him all the time about how “wrong” the church is, how he should stop going to church and having us come over, and pretty much just bash the church in any way, shape, or form. He talks about it pretty much every time we see him, you can tell it really affects him. So we show up at his house on Wednesday and he hands us a thick brochure called “10 questions and answers about the Mormon church”…..aka hardcore anti-Mormon literature. One of his neighbors who is of a different Christian denomination gave it to him. Really? My heart about broke. It’s sad that people take the time to make these things, but it’s really sad this his neighbor felt the need to give him this pamphlet. He cried about it. What good does that do?! Gosh, I left his house with so much anger towards this woman. But I just had to keep in mind what the Lord said in His Sermon on the Mount, “Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.” (Matthew 5:43-44) I don’t know why things like this have to happen, or why people have to be so cruel, but I’m just grateful to know that even though there are some rough people out there, we are all God’s children and he loves and knows each of us personally. Just need to see people through His eyes. ๐Ÿ™‚

Wow Wednesday was such an awesome day! That night we were able to meet with Gabby, after almost 2 months of not seeing her family!! It was so great. With Gabby we were able to go more in depth about the Book of Mormon, sacrament meeting, about how the gospel blesses families, and a few other things. It was super awesome. She told us that she had taken some of the pamphlets we had given her in the past with her to work and that she would read them when she wanted to feel calm. She also committed to reading the introduction of the Book of Mormon and meeting with us again. Yay! We’re hoping to get their whole family to church pretty soon.

This week Sister Moore and I were kind of struggling a little bit money-wise. A couple weeks ago my personal debit card had some fraudulent activity on it and they haven’t sent me a new card yet so I haven’t had any of my personal money since then. At the beginning of the month, we weren’t super smart with our spending on our church cards, and realized that we were running pretty low. Another thing that added to this problem was that not a lot of members feed us super often, so our dinner calendar is pretty empty. Oh and also our fridge wasn’t very full. We were getting pretty nervous that we wouldn’t be able to make it through the end of the month with the money and food that we had left. The night that we figured this out, we went to go see a member who we’ve grown close with. We hadn’t mentioned anything about food or anything about this problem and before we leave they give us a gallon of milk, a jug of orange juice, and TONS of food. We felt bad accepting it, but it was so generous and we really did need it. I am so grateful for the support that we receive, and to know that the Lord provided when we were “in need”. When you are faithful, the Lord will always provide a way.

Funny moment from this week: we were in a lesson with a less active and for some reason they said something and I responded saying, “HOLLAAAA” hahaha what? I don’t know what’s gotten into me. ๐Ÿ™ƒ

This was kind of another week like last week…not a whole lot of lessons and quite a few appointments that fell through. But I know that as long as we are trying, we are doing the Lord’s will. I’m still hopeful that we will be able to find the people who are prepared in this area and that we will be able to help them progress!! I know this is the Lord’s work and as I feel like I always say, I am grateful to be a part of it. I’m grateful for my Savior, Jesus Christ, and that because of Him, my weaknesses can become strengths. I love this gospel. I love this church. I love the people in my life who support me and send their love from miles and miles away.

I hope you all have an amazing week!!

All my love,

Sister Martinez ๐Ÿ’–
Haters make me famous ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿผ

week twenty-two: yasssss

Well hello everyone! Can you believe it’s April?! Time seriously flies. Especially when you’re serving a mission. So weird. Yesterday marked 5 months of being out! I still feel like I’m the newest missionary here. But I’m not so I’ll just keep pretending I am.

It was another…interesting and different week here in Garden Grove. So many great things and so many not super great things. There were so many amazing spiritual experiences. But on the other hand, we weren’t able to teach hardly anyone. Sister Moore and I honestly worked so hard this week. We really gave it our all. And even with all of the effort that we put forth, nothing happened. We had multiple set appointments each day of the week, and every single one fell through. We also knocked on the door of pretty much every single person in our area book. Not exaggerating, EVERYONE was busy or not home. Everyone!! We were only able to teach a total of two lessons this week. Which is not a lot! I was so confused. Why did it feel like we weren’t receiving any success from our effort? I know that’s normal missionary work, but it was honestly pretty trying. It was kind of hard to understand why this week happened the way that it did. But to quote one of our investigators, Evan, “everything will happen in God’s own timing, and in His own way.” That is so true. I just need to put all of my trust in what God has in store, and I know that everything will work out.

A funny experience from this week: Saturday night we went to the grocery store right before going home for the night. We were just grabbing some food for the potluck we had with other missionaries in between conference sessions the next day. So the store was pretty empty, and the workers know us because we go all the time since it’s the only grocery store in our area. So anyway, we were grabbing some lettuce and cheese (that was what we were pitching in for the sandwiches) and they had music playing. Naturally, we started dancing up and down the aisles. Then over the loudspeaker they announce, “security, aisle 10.” Hahaha we were in aisle 10….we thought it was a serious thing and started running to the opposite side of the store. We thought we were going to be kicked out (obviously we weren’t). Then when we started checking out, the cashier said,” we were totally just messing with you, sisters.” Hahaha how embarrassing. We totally started running away because we actually thought we were in trouble for dancing in an empty aisle. Good times.

Since we had been working hard all week and not really been getting much out of it, general conference (which we were already super excited for) was even more exciting!! I was so ready to be on a spiritual high all weekend. And I was!! Gosh, general conference was so amazing! I seriously have never taken so many notes in my life. If you haven’t watched any of it, I would highly recommend it. It’s so crazy how so many of the talks just fit exactly what you’re going through or need answers to. Divine inspiration is so real. It’s pretty cool that we have leaders who were chosen to be here right now to give us the guidance that we need at this very time. Heavenly Father hasn’t left us alone. ๐Ÿ™‚

Anyway, if you don’t have time to watch 8 hours of conference, I would say just go watch or read Elder Holland’s talk. Incredible.
(https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2016/04/tomorrow-the-lord-will-do-wonders-among-you?lang=eng)

Today, we had the wonderful opportunity of going to the temple. This was especially special because last time Sister Burns and I got stuck in major traffic so we missed our session, so I haven’t been able to do one in 4 1/2 months!! It was as amazing as I remembered it. Going to the temple is always a special and spiritual experience. I’m grateful that in the crazy world we live in, we can find peace and solace in the House of the Lord.

Well, that’s about all I have for this week. My two pieces of advice would be: dance like nobody is watching and go watch general conference. But seriously. The gospel is true, everyone. I know it with all my heart. I’m so grateful for the knowledge and testimony that I have, and to know that they will only continue to grow.

I hope you all have an amazing week!!

All my love,

Sister Martinez โฃ
Sister Moore and I at the temple!

My district!

One of my favorite quotes from conference.

week twenty-one: hoppy easter

{from last week again, I swear I will finally get caught up}

Hi hi!! Hope everyone had a good week. Mine was interesting but also super awesome because it was Easter!! ๐Ÿฃ

To start off the week we went chalking again with the other sisters who are no longer in our district! Very sad but we had one last hurrah. Instead of drawing out the plan of salvation, this time we wrote out followhim.mormon.org (the link to the hallelujah video) with a cute design and had different life questions (why am I here?, what is the purpose of this life?, how can I be happier?, etc.) surrounding it and pointing to it. We put it on the basketball court because there’s always tons of people there everyday playing basketball. It was very noticeable! Nothing really happened with it that day but remember this for later.

Wednesday we had our usual appointment with Evan. Honestly I left that lesson feeling very frustrated. It’s hard sometimes when we feel like we’ve done everything we possibly can but nothing is changing. I’ve probably mentioned this before, but a couple months ago we found out that Evan still hadn’t received his answer about whether or not the Book of Mormon is true and whether or not Joseph Smith was a prophet…aka if the church is true. We’ve been working really hard with him, and it keeps feeling like we’re getting closer and closer to him recognizing his answer. This lesson didn’t go how I thought it would. We wanted to have an Easter related lesson, so we read 3 Nephi 11 with him, which is when Christ was resurrected. After reading, Evan had some concerns that we cleared up. Then, we asked him what he thought the difference was between our church, and the church he sometimes goes to with his grandparents (which kind of teaches conflicting doctrine and confuses Evan). He mentioned a lot of things, but never said the priesthood, even though he definitely knows that is the main difference. Then he basically taught US the whole
restoration. It was crazy. How was he teaching us the restoration and stating the whole thing as a fact, and still telling us he didn’t have an answer yet?! It was really frustrating. At the end, we knelt in prayer with him and he asked again to know if this is true. It’s really hard because watching him grow and learn, you can see that he really does believe it is true, he just hasn’t accepted his answer yet. Sometimes I forget that once we’ve done all we can, it’s no longer up to us. We just need to be the support as people figure things out for themselves. We know it’s true. Evan knows it’s true. We know that Evan knows it’s true. But Evan doesn’t know that. Something that gives me comfort though, is something that Evan actually talks about a lot. Everything happens in the Lord’s time and in His own way. So we just need to put all of our trust in Him. It’s so hard sometimes but I know things will all work out eventually. There’s still so much hope for Evan!

On another note, we had a really funny experience this week. Actually it wasn’t really funny, mostly awkward. But most experiences are awkward as a missionary so you just deal with it. Anyway, we were driving around our area and saw two guys playing basketball on the court that we had chalked at the day before. So we stopped and pulled over and went to go talk to them. We approached them and started making conversation. We asked them if they had seen our chalk drawings…they said they hadn’t. Even though they were so clearly there?! Anyway, they reluctantly said yes to watching the hallelujah video so we showed it to them. Then at the end we bore testimony about it and told them to show their friends…they said thanks..end of convo..that’s it..we thought. So after our awkward encounter we drive over to Taco Bell for a freeze, and as we’re pulling out of the drive thru, there are Vince and Andrew walking right past staring at us. I literally flew out of the parking lot. I don’t know why it was so awkward but they probably thought we were following them and wow it was so awkward I just can’t. Then the next day, we drove past them AGAIN. Wow they probably think we are such stalkers.

Saturday was the first session of General Conference, the Women’s session! Woot woot! It was sooo good. Sister Marriott’s talk was definitely my favorite. It’s so exciting that General Conference is upon us. I am so excited to hear from our leaders and the guidance that they have for us!

Sunday was Easter! Not only was it amazing to celebrate the
resurrection of our Savior, but some super awesome things happened. A less active family who I’ve been meeting with twice a week every week of my mission so far, FINALLY came to church!! My heart was singing just seeing them in the chapel! I really hope they can keep coming. Other than that tender mercy, it was simply just wonderful to reflect on the meaning of Christ’s resurrection. What a privilege it was to partake of the sacrament on Easter Sunday, and remember Christ’s body and blood which was shed for me, and for you, and for everyone who has ever lived and will ever live. I am so grateful for my Savior, Jesus Christ. I know this is His church on the earth today. He is at the head of it. He is the chief cornerstone of it. โ€œAnd now, after the many testimonies which have been given of him, this is the testimony, last of all, which we give of him: That he lives!”

I’m so grateful to be serving Him and doing His work. I hope you all can take a moment each day to remember Him and thank Him.

Have a wonderful week!

All my love,

Sister Martinez ๐Ÿ’•๐Ÿ’•
Some amazing members. Brother Michnowicz was baptized last year and is going through the temple in a few weeks!! So excited for him!

Found this on a less active’s door…interesting