week thirty: that’s a nice sound

Well howdy everyone! It was such a good week! Isn’t it always though…hahah. Just loving life over here.

I feel like every email I say “I don’t have a lot to write about this week” and then the email always ends up being super long…whoops. So I’ll do that again and we’ll see how long it ends up. I don’t have a lot to write about this week, so let’s get right into it.

Monday morning we got a text from a less active member in our ward. She and her husband are recent converts of 2 years and they have two little kids. Anyway, she texted us asking if we could bring someone to give her a priesthood blessing that evening. We didn’t know why, and we were pretty surprised, but of course we found someone. That evening we showed up and brought some elders with us to give her a blessing. We had no idea why she had asked, but she ended up telling us about some very hard things their family was going through. She felt hopeless and like she couldn’t get through, and told us that she felt like God left her alone. But even though she felt like He left her alone, she continued to pray through this hard time. They gave her a blessing, and then we stayed with her for a little while after that. She was definitely going to be needing some more visits throughout the week. Wednesday night we went back to see her and things were dramatically better. She was so happy and so thankful that things were starting to look up, she told us that she realized God hadn’t left her alone and that He had answered her prayers. Seeing the drastic difference it can make in our lives when we have faith in our Heavenly Father is incredible. Things can go from night to day as long as we have faith. We just need to trust in Him that everything will work out.

Thursday we were tracting and we ran into this man named Jose. Upfront he told us that he is atheist and doesn’t believe in anything really, but he still wanted to have a conversation with us. We were having a pretty respectful conversation with him for awhile, just explaining our beliefs, and it actually felt like we were getting somewhere. And right when we were starting to get somewhere with Jose, his son Joe pulled up in the driveway. The second he got out of the car he started bashing us and telling us that we don’t love people just because of some things that the church was involved with a long time ago. We were finally ending the conversation, and right before we left we asked if they knew anyone in their neighborhood who might be interested in our message. They actually responded and told us to go two houses down. So we did. We knocked two houses down and a man named Martin opened the door. He was soo kind! He let us teach him and he accepted a Book of Mormon. He said he would share it with his family and that we could come back in a couple of weeks. Right as we were about to leave, he thanked us for what we were doing and told us to continue sharing the gospel. What a tender mercy! It felt like such a waste of time talking to Jose and Joe, but if we hadn’t talked to them we might not have met Martin. The Lord’s timing is crazy sometimes.

Speaking of the Lord’s timing…Saturday we went to go try an investigator named Diana. We have been trying to find Diana for weeks. Everytime we knock on her door she’s not there and everytime we text or call her she doesn’t answer or respond. We were about to lose all hope but then we randomly decided to go see her. I kind of didn’t feel like seeing her right then because I felt like she just wasn’t going to be there again. But, we knocked. And she was there. πŸ™‚ At the beginning we read the first chapter of the Book of Mormon. I thought that was all we were going to read..but she kept going. We ended up reading 4 chapters with her. And she actually understood what we were reading! That seriously hardly ever happens! It’s so crazy to think that if we had let the adversary get to us and decided not to try her that day, we would’ve missed such an amazing opportunity to read with her. I’m so grateful that we were able to press forward despite opposition!

So I’ve started doing this thing where every night I right down one thing I learned that day, since I’ve realized how much I’ve learned so far on my mission. Yesterday, something I learned is that the sacrament is the best time to receive revelation. Recently I’ve been waiting for awhile for an answer to my prayers, and it took me until yesterday to finally recognize my answer. And it was during the sacrament! I’m so grateful that I know that now so that I can continue to seek revelation during that time. I would encourage all of you to seek revelation during the sacrament as well. Personal revelation is so cool. It’s so awesome that we can receive answers about big things and also about things that seem so small. Our Heavenly Father really does care about the details of our lives. I’m so grateful for that!

Well, I guess that did end up being pretty long. Maybe I just talk too much? Oh well. I hope you all have an amazing week. The gospel is true.

Love,

Sister Martinez
We drove into this random church parking lot to turn around and came across this sign…made me laugh.

Left one πŸ™‚

Huge tree in our area!

True that

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week twenty-nine: ya know what I’m sayin?

Wellll hello everyone! It was a great week in Anaheim! It’s getting
warmer (actually it’s always been warm) and there’s pretty purple
blossoms all over the trees (I wish I knew what they were called)! I
love being here.

I don’t feel like a whole lot happened this week because I wasn’t
feeling super well, but as usual, we had a lot of good experiences.
Here’s the low-down:

Tuesday we had zone conference, which is basically a half-day long
meeting where some missionaries from the mission all meet together and
listen to talks from the mission president and his wife, the
assistants to the president, and some others. I love these meetings so
much! I love being able to learn and grow and be edified with other
missionaries. This particular zone conference I learned a couple of
things. One of my favorite things a speaker said was, "we don’t always
see the fruits of our labors, but we are planting seeds everyday."
That is so true! Every day we talk to so many people and it can be
discouraging when they aren’t super interested, but even if they
aren’t right now, they might be in the future! And as nice as it would
be for them to get baptized right now, what’s important is that we’re
planting that seed for them to eventually take that step. These things
take time.

That evening we had a lesson with a part member family. The wife was
baptized almost a year ago and the husband is not a member. They are
so awesome, I love them! Anyway, the husband John, has been taught all
of the lessons he just isn’t ready for baptism. During our lesson
that night we read from the Book of Mormon with him and ended up
having this big discussion. He ended up telling us that he wants to be
forgiven and he wants to know God, he just doesn’t know how. It is so
interesting being a missionary, and getting deep down into these
personal things with people who we have just barely met. I love it. If
you are the same way, and you want to know God, get to know Him. He
knows you better than anyone else does and He wants you to have that
relationship with Him. You just have to open up. I hope that as we
continue to meet with John, we can help him to strengthen that
relationship with God.

Like I said, it was kind of an off week, so I don’t have a ton of
missionary experiences to talk about…but I wanted to let everyone
know about some fun facts about Anaheim/my area. Fun fact
#1….there’s no parking in Anaheim. Ever. Trying to go see someone?
Yeah good luck you won’t be able to find a place to park. We do a lot
of parking and then walking….it’s good for you, right? Fun fact #2
this city never sleeps! So many sirens, and just tons of noises. I
love it though. Fun fact #3 the ward I’m currently serving in is my
mission president’s ward…hahah it can be pretty interesting. We
literally see him all the time. And in this area we don’t have access
to our church building very much during the week so we go to the
mission home to use their bathroom a few times a week. It’s funny. I
love being around the Taggarts though, they’re the best!

Soo moving on…Sunday was an awesome day! So good. First we went to
church, and our sort-of investigator Angela came! And she brought her
two kids πŸ™‚ so she’s a sort of investigator because we haven’t
actually taught her but she’s come to church 3 times. The Sunday
before I got here she came to church with her boyfriend who is a
member of a ward in the Garden Grove stake. He brought her to our ward
since she lives in these boundaries. And the next week he brought her
again. And this week she came again, without him, and brought her
kids! So golden right?! She even makes comments during gospel
principles class and is just so awesome. The catch is, she’s extremely
busy and we haven’t been able to teach her yet…but she keeps coming
to church so..woohoo! Hopefully we can finally get to teach her soon!

Remember Sam? He’s the man I taught in Garden Grove who just randomly
showed up to church one day. Well after church on Sunday, he was
baptized!! Yayay!! It was such a special day and he was so happy. I’m
so happy for him. He’s awesome! It’s so wonderful to see people’s
lives change.

So after Sam’s baptism, we went to the missionary musical fireside in
Garden Grove. Right before I was transferred out of GG, they started
planning this fireside and I was in it. But then I got transferred!
Luckily though, I was able to still be in the fireside and make a
little trip back to garden grove for it. It was so awesome, we
basically taught the restoration through song. Singing about gospel
topics is my favorite form of sharing a testimony. The Spirit was so
strong and it was just awesome. And it was fun to see my friends in
garden grove again!

Wellll that’s about it for now. It was an awesome week. I love the
gospel. I love the Lord. I hope you all have an amazing week!

All my love,

Sister Martinez

Zone conference with my cute companions!

Sam’s baptism πŸ™‚

Garden grove πŸ’–

week twenty-eight: #jesus2016

Well heeeey everyone!! Literally such an amazing week. Love serving the Lord. Love this work. Wooo.

We made awesome contact with some people this week. We met a less active/part member family who wants us to start coming over, we had a lesson with an older man who’s mom was a member of the church but passed away when he was very little, and we got a lot of referrals. It’s interesting because you never know what the actual outcome is going to be with some of the people that you visit or the lessons that you teach, but you know that it’s all serving the same purpose of sharing the gospel.

Thursday we had a lesson with a woman named Diana. She met
missionaries about a month ago and requested a free bible. She also mentioned that she has been looking for a new church. So this week we were finally able to sit down and teach her the restoration. It went really well! And at the end, we extended a baptismal invitation to her and she accepted! Yay. She doesn’t have a date yet but we’re hoping that this next week she will.

So this week, our mission had something called “Power Week”. Basically that means that our goals for the week were the standards of excellence (a certain amount of lessons taught, people found, etc.) and we were to be exactly EXACTLY obedient. Which we always should be, but power week’s purpose is to show how many blessings can come when you are always doing what you’re supposed to. As a part of power week, our zone decided to do a different “challenge” for each day. For example, Wednesday was Book of Mormon day (hand out a Book of Mormon in every contact), Thursday was baptism day (extend a baptism invite in each contact), and Saturday, my personal favorite, was Nifty Fifty…aka make 50 contacts. It was such a great week and it was definitely awesome to see how obedience brings blessings.

Saturday, like I mentioned, was Nifty Fifty. That day, we also went on exchanges with our Sister Training Leaders. Sister Burns, who is now one of my STLs came here with Sister Burgess and I, and Sister Kieffer went to their area. It was such an amazing day! And it was really awesome to be able to teach with Sister Burns again. Love her. Anyway, this particular day of power week we kind of went all out. Literally we were willing to do anything (not literally but pretty much) to make 50 contacts. So all day we were just talking to every single person we saw. It was so amazing! We went to a couple different parks, walked up and down busy streets, and a couple of times even gave people pass-along cards from inside the car through the window. We even taught a lesson and gave someone a Book of Mormon through the window….hahaha don’t ask me how that even happened. It was so awesome. Probably about 50% of the people we met were Spanish speaking so I had to whip out my mediocre Spanish and explain who we were. It was so fun!! And now the Spanish missionaries have quite a few referrals from us. πŸ™‚

At the end of nifty fifty, we had talked to 56 people! It was so incredible. I don’t think I have ever felt so mindful of every single person we saw. I wonder if this is how our Heavenly Father feels. He literally knows each of us personally and cares about us so much. He is mindful of each of us. When we were walking around yesterday we only saw .00000000000001 of His children. Actually less. And we were mindful of each of them and the opportunity we needed to give them to learn more about Christ and His gospel. I’m grateful for the small glimpse that I am given daily to see people the way our Heavenly Father does.

He loves you. He loves me. He wants the best for all of us. He will take you as you are at this very moment and mold you into who He wants you to become. You just have to let Him. And don’t think that you can’t change, because you can. Thinking that you can’t change rejects the central message of the gospel of Jesus Christ. We can all change if we give ourselves to Him.

Have an amazing week!

All my love,

Sister Martinez 🌷
The end of our exchange. We used a counter to count how many people we talked to hahahaha

week twenty-seven: two’s a crowd but three’s a party

Greetings from Anaheim!! How is everyone doing?! It was such a good first week here in Anaheim. I love this area already! Also happy belated Mother’s Day! It was so so good to talk to my family πŸ™‚

This week was sooo crazy. Not sure how to explain all of it but basically Monday afternoon I came and joined Sister Burgess and Sister Burns (yes I’m moving into her last area) who had just been companions for two weeks due to an emergency transfer. We would be getting Sister Kieffer the next day. It was all a little complicated, but it was fun to be with Sister Burns just for the evening. The first night in the new area we had a lesson with a part member family. We watched this Mormon Message called Mountains to Climb.
(https://www.lds.org/media-library/video/2013-01-003-mountains-to-climb?lang=eng) I have a hard time watching this video without crying…seriously every time. The Spirit that comes is so strong. The family we showed it to has recently overcome a big trial and is still going through hardships because of it, and this video definitely gave them some comfort.

So that first night in my new apartment ended up being the last, the next day we were moving into a new apartment that’s actually in our area. Sister Burgess and I had to move all by ourselves to the new apartment. And the missionaries who lived in this apartment before us left most of their stuff there that we had to go through and clean up. It was a long day! Finally that afternoon we went to go pick up Sister Kieffer and we moved her in. We got settled in pretty quickly after that.

Wednesday morning we had a lesson bright and early at 8:15 with an investigator named Baltazar. Normally we don’t meet with people until after 10:00 am, but this is the only time Baltazar can meet because he’s been hiding from his wife that he’s meeting with missionaries and meets with us while she’s at physical therapy. It’s a hard situation. He wants to meet with us, but doesn’t want to tell his wife. Also, Baltazar speaks pretty good English but would definitely understand everything much better in Spanish. But he doesn’t want to meet with Spanish missionaries because he’s trying to get better at speaking English. So we met with him at McDonald’s and read from the Book of Mormon. It was really good! But it was hard because we know he can’t fully progress without Spanish missionaries. More on that later…

Interesting moment this week: helped clean out a hoarder’s home. Not fun when you’re arachnophobic.

Moving on….so Saturday we’re getting in the car after dinner and Baltazar calls. He said, “hey can we meet right now?” We were like…an investigator asking to meet? Of course. So we decided to invite the Spanish elders to come. First we all met at McDonald’s but the Spanish elders are also in a trio and it was just too much…so we ended up going to the church building. Once we got to the church building, there was such a stark difference from how it felt at McDonald’s. We sat down and the Spanish elders went into teaching him the restoration in Spanish. I can understand Spanish pretty well, and speak it pretty minimally, but seriously, I could understand this entire lesson. The spirit was sooo strong. I felt like they were teaching me. It’s so cool how even when you know the gospel is true, you can still feel the spirit reaffirming that to you over and over again. Hearing the First Vision being recited in Spanish was incredible. At the end, they invited Baltazar to be baptized. His initial reaction was telling them that he had already been baptized as a baby. After that, they went right back into explaining the priesthood and the importance of being baptized by someone holding the authority from God to do so. After they explained it, Baltazar had the most amazing response. He said, “ask me the question again.” And they did, and he accepted a baptismal date for May 29th. Literally the warmth that I felt was overwhelming. It’s so incredible how in each language, it’s all the same. The gospel is the same everywhere. And more incredible, was that neither of my companions can speak or understand Spanish very well and they both knew what was going on the entire lesson. It was so miraculous.

I’m so grateful for this gospel. So beyond grateful. I’m so grateful for each spiritual experience I have that confirms once again that this is the true gospel of Jesus Christ restored to the earth. You could take my word for it, or you could read from the Book of Mormon and pray about it. If you do that with real intent, I can promise that you will receive an answer. {so preach-y but I literally tell people this everyday, must mean it’s pretty important right?}

I hope you all have an amazing week!

Love,

Sister Martinez πŸ’•
Disneyland fireworks every night from our apartment!

My new companions!

I love them so much!!

week twenty-six: hasta la bye bye garden grove

Hi hi everyone! Wow such an amazing and sad and crazy and awesome week. Missions are such a roller coaster of emotions hahah but I love it. So here are some highlights…

Monday night we stopped by Sam’s (our investigator who is on date for baptism) house. Sam has a daughter who is a freshman in high school and he told us she might not be ready to take the lessons yet but she definitely has a lot of questions about the church. So the young women’s president in our ward and some of the young women had the idea to go visit Sam’s daughter, Rosie, and invite her to the Wednesday night activities! We went with them. It was just supposed to be a nice and friendly visit, nothing church-y or Jesus-y about it…just an invite to hang out with other girls her age. So we go and Sam is excited about it but Rosie is pretty upset….she started asking us some questions about things she’s probably read on anti-Mormon sites. Things like: “don’t you guys believe you’ll become Gods if you’re faithful to the religion?”, “if my dad drinks wine do you believe he’s going to hell?”, and asking why we aren’t allowed to swim….not true by the way. She just had a lot of questions, which is fine, but most of them were asked in a very rude way and she was pretty much bashing us. I felt bad for Sam, he wants this so badly but he just as badly wants support from his family. Hopefully Rosie can have her heart softened and have a better view of the church.

Other than that awkward visit with his daughter, we had a super awesome lesson with Sam this week. In this lesson we taught the Gospel of Jesus Christ, which covers the five main points of faith in Jesus Christ, repentance, baptism, the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end. It was so great! He understood all of it really well and is still really excited for his baptism. He keeps all of his commitments (reading the Book of Mormon, praying, coming to church) and is so prepared it’s insane. At church yesterday, a member in the ward asked Sam if they’ll be seeing him next week at church…Sam proceeded to say, “oh of course! I’ll be here next week, the week after that, and every week after that.” Does it get anymore golden than that?! We didn’t even look for him. He just fell into our hands. Such a tender mercy.

Saturday night is where the emotional roller coaster comes in. It started out with our stake’s musical revue called “Oh the Places You’ll Go” (a la Dr.Suess). It was so good and there were so many amazing musical numbers and musical theater just makes me so giddy. I was so happy the whole time. But midway during the musical, I started to get super nervous. Later that night was transfer calls, and I honestly wasn’t sure if I was leaving or staying or what was happening. I wanted to stay so badly for just one more transfer, mostly because I want to continue to see Sam progress and get baptized. But at the same time, I think I was finally ready to leave Garden Grove. Basically, I was going to be fine either way.

Then the time came! After the musical we had transfer calls….so nerve wracking. Well, I found out I am leaving Garden Grove…and going to….*drum roll* Anaheim! I will be serving in the Anaheim 1st ward in a TRIO! What what!!! Not gonna lie, at first I was super sad and in shock. But then I got super excited and now I’m totally comfortable with it. Although I still kind of feel like a baby bird leaving the nest for the first time. Garden Grove became my home! I love the ward, I love the people, and I’m so grateful that I was able to serve there for the first 6 months of my mission.

My last Sunday in Garden Grove was bittersweet. I was sitting in sacrament meeting just looking around at everyone and soaking it all in. I love everyone there so much. I don’t even know everyone but the love that I feel is so strong. I remember specifically when the plane landed in Orange County from SLC, I just felt this outpouring of love for the people here. It sounds a little crazy to love so many people that you don’t really know, but I really really do. But I know I will love the people in Anaheim as well and I’m so excited to serve there. I grew SO much in Garden Grove, it will forever hold a special place in my heart.

I know this gospel is true. I know that I’m doing the Lord’s work right now. I know Christ lives. I’m so grateful for all that I’ve learned and will continue to learn on my mission.

Have an amazing week!

Love,

Sister Martinez πŸ’•
My last Garden Grove zone picture!

District swag.

An example of people I love in this area. πŸ’•

Another example! ❀️ goodbye brother beserra

week twenty-five: sundaze

{this is from two Monday’s ago}

Hello hello! This week was a little different. We didn’t teach a ton or find a lot of people, but we had some really awesome experiences. Even the “off” weeks have really cool things that happen. I don’t have a lot to say but I’ll try to give you something to read. πŸ™‚

So Thursday we went to go see one of my favorite less active families. We see them all the time and I know they want to come to church they’re just really out of the habit and have some things going on in their lives that make it difficult. But regardless, they love our visits and I think when we leave, we feel as equally as uplifted as they do. This particular day we wanted to share a message with them about keeping the sabbath day holy. We showed them the video called “Sunday Sounds Different”.
(https://www.lds.org/media-library/video/2015-06-014-sunday-sounds-different?lang=eng) It’s a super simple video that basically just shows how everyday of the week is chaotic and busy but Sunday is different. πŸ™‚ they loved it and seem to want to make a better effort to keep the sabbath day holy.

Since I’ve been on my mission, my view of the sabbath day has changed tremendously! I used to always be stressed out on Sunday’s, doing homework and worrying about the upcoming week. But it’s taken me until now to realize how special Sunday’s are. It’s literally a whole day out of the week that is used to put all of our focus and attention on Christ. As a missionary, that’s pretty much everyday, but Sunday’s are different. That 10 minutes during sacrament meeting when we partake of the sacrament is probably the most peaceful moment of my whole week. It’s only 10 minutes! But I cherish it and I would encourage you to as well.

Well we had something suuuuper awesome happen this week!! So last week we had a random guy show up at church. Pretty much he’s interested and just decided to show up and see what it was all about. His name is Sam and he is so awesome. So basically, the elders met him first and taught him the restoration. But we found out he actually lives in our area, so we had a pass of lesson Saturday night with Sam and the elders. We taught him the plan of salvation and it was so amazing! At the beginning he said the opening prayer and thanked Heavenly Father for bringing him His sheep to guide him. My heart was singing! He truly recognizes who we are as missionaries and how important the message that we share is. I could say so many things about this lesson, but long story short, we invited him to be baptized and he accepted. He will be baptized in hopefully about a month or so! He is so excited and we are too. πŸ™‚ it’s so incredible to watch the gospel change people’s lives.

Sorry I’ve gotten so behind on my emails again….this was supposed to be sent two weeks ago so it’s a little out of date but I just want to make sure I keep a weekly log of my mission since I’m so bad at journaling.

This week was awesome because for awhile there it felt like not a whole lot was happening in our area…but now we are finally starting to see some of the fruits of our labors! And I’m so grateful. I’m grateful for this gospel and my call to serve at this time.

I hope you all have an amazing week!

All my love,

Sister Martinez 🌸
The Smiths aka my family away from my family πŸ’–