week forty-seven: mazel tov on your baptism

Hola everyone!! It was an amazing week. It’s so clear to me that this is Heavenly Father’s work and that He leads us and guides us through everything that we do.

This week we started the new member lessons with Angela, while simultaneously teaching her 8 year old son Austin the lessons so that he understands some things about the gospel before he gets baptized. He’s getting baptized October 8th and I’m SO excited. In a priesthood blessing that Angela received a week before she got baptized, it said something about how, as the head of her household and her family, she will act as a leader in the gospel for them. Clearly, this is already happening since her son is getting baptized. And hopefully one day her other kids will be interested too 🙂

Wednesday we had our last official lesson with Rebecca before her baptism. We literally reviewed EVERYTHING and went over the baptismal interview questions. It has been so incredible to see her progress and see how far she has come since we first started teaching her. At the beginning she really couldn’t remember anything that we taught, but as the Spirit guided us and gave us more ideas of how to better teach her, she now recollects things much easier. I am so grateful I’ve been able to witness her make this change.

Friday we were able to meet with Lauren and Simaiya again! The last time we met, it was at the park and things were a little crazy with her kids running around everywhere. So this time we met at the park again, but we brought chalk with us to keep her kids busy while we also were drawing out the plan of salvation on the sidewalk as we taught! It was so awesome. They are still on track to getting baptized next month. Lauren has really been seeing the blessings she’s received as she’s learned about the restored gospel. This week she was finally approved for a 3 bedroom brand new apartment to live in. Up until this point she has been living in a homeless shelter with her 4 children, but ever since she has started coming to church things have really looked up for her. I know that Heavenly Father is watching out for her and that this gospel really does bless families. The second principle we teach right after God is our loving Heavenly Father, is that the gospel blesses the lives of families and individuals. I think it’s one of the first things we teach, because it’s so true. Everyone that we teach receives so many blessings from living the gospel.

Saturday was the big day, Rebecca’s baptism!! Seriously, Satan tries to get in the way of every baptism. This week, Rebecca called us telling us that she had been kicked out of the house she was living in and that she now had nowhere to go. But, she had decided that this wouldn’t stop her from being baptized. After she told us that, her landlord gave her 30 more days to find a place to live. An immediate blessing from choosing to still be baptized. So it happened, Rebecca was baptized and confirmed a member of the church! She is so happy. And I am so happy. Being able to be a part of someone changing their life is very humbling. This was a huge change for Rebecca. She has been Jewish her whole life, and her family is very devout. They weren’t very happy with her being baptized, but she knew that Heavenly Father was happy with her decision and that is most important. Hopefully one day her family will come around and be okay with it.

That evening was the first session of General Conference, the Women’s Session! It was so incredible. One of my favorite quotes was from Sister Stephens’ talk. At the end she said, "He would do anything to take this from you, in fact, He already has." That really hit me. He has already given everything for us, He has felt everything we have felt. Sometimes I need a reminder of that.

After the conference, we had a really cool experience. We went to go find a referral, but she wasn’t available, so we figured we would knock down her street. We knocked on the house directly next door, and the door was open. We knocked and the man sitting on the couch inside said "not today". So we walked away, and a second later a man came outside saying, "I think they’re here for me!" His name is Anthony, he came out and talked with us for awhile. He told us he is searching for the truth, and that all of the churches he had ever been to didn’t make sense and taught conflicting things. We later found out he is the brother and son of two of our less active members who we used to meet with weekly but now attend another church. How crazy?! We set a return appointment and left him with a reading assignment in the Book of Mormon. He really wants to know if it’s true. I can’t help but wonder, is this the way to get to his sister? Is this why we got the referral for his next door neighbor? I’m not sure of the exact reason, but I do know that Heavenly Father has a plan for each of His children and this is a part of Anthony’s plan and possibly his sister’s.

Sorry I talked a lot but it really was a wonderful week. I know this work is special. I know the gospel is true. I know that because I have read the Book of Mormon, and prayed about it, and I have received a witness from the Holy Ghost that it is true. And I’m so excited for General Conference this weekend, when we will have the honor and privilege of hearing from the living prophet of God, President Thomas S. Monson, his apostles, and other church leaders. I would encourage you all to watch, listen, or read. Think of a question that you’ve had for awhile, and watch General Conference. I can promise you, that in some way that question will be answered. Heavenly Father is so mindful of us and through the Spirit, He will lead the speakers of this General Conference to tell us the exact things we need to hear right now.

I hope you all have a wonderful week! Thank you for the constant support and love.

Love,

Sister Martinez ❤️

Us with Rebecca, Pres. Christensen who baptized her, and Sister Schuster, the first person to introduce her to the gospel 🙂

All of the Anaheim sisters after the women’s session 🌻🌸

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week forty-six: and it’s not even my birthday

Hello hello!! Don’t have a ton of time today, but first I want to thank everyone for all of the birthday wishes. I feel so loved! I’m so so grateful 🙂 20 going on 12 hahah.

This week was awesome. We taught Rebecca almost every single day. She is preparing to be baptized this coming Saturday. We’re so excited! It’s been a long road but I’m grateful for the opportunity that I have had to teach her and help her come closer to Christ. Seeing how happy she has been since she’s been learning more about the gospel makes ME happy. I know the gospel brings happiness. It’s the plan of happiness. This is the way, and there is none other way nor name given under heaven whereby men can be saved in the kingdom of God. (2 Nephi 31:21, bomb chapter in the BOM)

Saturday we went on exchanges. I was able to go on exchanges with Sister Burns in her area in Irvine. Such a good time! Love her love her. I’m so grateful for her example and all that I was able to learn in just one day of being with her again. And it was awesome because lots of things happened in our area with Sister Benn and Sister Logsdon. Yayyy

Today….is my birthday! 🎉 I’m so grateful for the friends I’ve made here in the mission. I hadn’t made any plans for today, but some of my friends surprised me with a little party and at our zone activity they surprised me with Dr.Pepper floats. #blessingsonblessings

This week there was a lot of growth, many prayers answered, and progression. I’m so grateful to be a missionary and to be serving the Lord. I know this is the true church of Jesus Christ restored to the earth once again. I would invite you all to find one way to come closer to Christ this week, whether it be reading your scriptures, being more diligent with daily prayer, or attending church. As we find things to do that will help us come closer to Him, I know that we will in fact come closer to Him. He loves us so much and wants us to have a relationship with Him.

I hope you all have a wonderful week! Thanks for all of your prayers and love.

All my love,

Sister Martinez ❤️

Hilar

Sister Benn made this for me. So sweet!

My surprise 😭

Ice cream floats 🍦

week forty-five: i want to get bathtized

Hi everyone! It was such an awesome week. My mission is flying by faster than I ever thought it would so I’m trying my best to make every second count. I have quite a bit to talk about so I’ll get right into the highlights of this week!

Wednesday we had a lesson with Rebecca, our investigator who is set to be baptized on the 24th. We taught her the plan of salvation and also reviewed a bit of what we’ve already talked about. We go over the same things a lot with her, but we really just want to make sure she understands the basics before she makes this big commitment. Later that day we went to go contact a referral. We went to his door, and after talking for a few minutes he invited us in…like when does that ever happen!! It was awesome. We taught him the whole restoration and he seemed really receptive to it. The lesson was great and everything was going well…then at the end he started to, well, rather than show interest in the message we shared, show interest in us. It’s so awkward being a sister missionary sometimes hahah. It’s safe to say we passed him to the elders.

Thursday we had another lesson with Rebecca. We went over the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We also gave her a “review” book that we made her! Sister Benn and I spent a couple of days putting together this book with different stories from the Old Testament Stories, New Testament Stories, and the Doctrine and Covenants Stories books. They’re awesome because they have pictures and explain things simply. We also put some review questions in the back of each lesson in the book, and made a chart of the Plan of Salvation! She was so grateful for it and I really hope it will help her as she continues to learn about the gospel.

As usual, on Friday we met with Caroline. But a change from the usual…..we set her on date for baptism!!! It isn’t until January, after she goes to visit her parents, but still. She is so excited, and we are too 🙂 it’s so awesome to see people you’ve been working with for so long actually progress.

Friday night we had a pass off lesson with Nick, the referral we taught last week. It was so awesome. It was us and the Assistants, and we taught him the Plan of Salvation. He loved it. He kept saying that his ultimate goal is eternal life, which is exactly the message we share. He is so prepared. After our lesson, our ward had an activity that we went to. It was a back to school, “Are you smarter than a fifth grader?” activity…and then after that portion they did, “Are you smarter than a missionary?” with gospel questions. It was super fun. And our recent convert, Angela, brought a friend with her! She is already such an awesome member missionary.

Saturday morning we had a lesson with our other investigator on date, Lauren. Lauren is superwoman. She has a lot of serious health problems, but on top of that she is a single mom of 4 kids, including twin 2 year olds. And she still finds time to meet with us and learn about the gospel. It’s so awesome. We went over the restoration again with her and her daughter, Simaiya, who is 9. They both really liked it, and Lauren told us that she feels like the church is where God needs her to be right now. She’s so great, and hopefully she and Simaiya will be baptized on October 8th!

Saturday afternoon we were able to go to the Newport Beach Temple for a temple grounds tour. The temple tour is something they do 5 times a year, and it’s an opportunity to invite investigators, recent converts, and less active members to come see the temple grounds and learn more about what happens in the temple. Angela, Brother Strong, and Austin came! It was so awesome. Austin enjoyed it and understands a lot about the gospel. At the end we asked him what made him decide to be baptized, and he said, “well I was bathtized in another church, so I want to be bathtized in this church.” So cute. He totally understands the difference, it’s awesome.

Overall, it was such a great week. I love the gospel so much. I love the peace it brings into my life, and I’m grateful to be able to watch it change the lives of others. I know it’s true. I know Jesus Christ is our Savior. I’m so grateful for Him, and for His Atonement. I would invite you all to reevaluate– find ways to apply the Atonement to your lives daily. I know you’ll be able to feel of His love daily as you do so!

I hope you all have an amazing week!

All my love,

Sister Martinez 💖
Said goodbye to Sister Burgess on Tuesday 😦

Gelato + indoor swing = happy Sister Martinez

The Plan of Salvation chart we made for Rebecca!

Temple Tour!

week forty-four: the atonement is radical

Hello people! Such a great week. The missionary work here is moving along so well and it rocks. I have a lot to talk about so I’ll just get right into it.

So long story short….there is a woman named Rebecca who was taught awhile ago by the sisters here, but they gave her a break to figure some things out because she was raised Jewish and she had a hard time letting go of that. She started coming back to church (she is good friends with a member) a couple months ago…and the elders started teaching her. Basically, since she’s a single woman, they passed her to us this past week and we are now teaching her. She really wants to be baptized, but due to her background she has a very hard time understanding many of the concepts of the gospel. So teaching goes very slowly. But she truly wants this, so we are working with her and hopefully she will be baptized in a few weeks. 🙂

Wednesday we went on another exchange with our Sister Training Leaders. I went to Fullerton with Sister Crowther. I love her! We had a super awesome day. We went to go teach the restoration to a less active member, and her husband ended up joining us. We thought he wasn’t a member, but it turns out his grandma was LDS and raised him in the church. They both really felt the spirit during the lesson and sincerely have the desire to come to know if the Book of Mormon is true for themselves. I love the light in people’s eyes when they recognize the spirit.

Friday we had another lesson with Caroline. It was so exciting because she told us she booked her trip to go visit her parents at Christmas, which means she can now ask for their blessing to be baptized. It’s finally going to happen, hopefully in January! Yay!! Also she said the closing prayer for the first time at the end of our lesson and it was so awesome. Love seeing people progress.

Friday was also super awesome because Angela went to do baptisms at the temple for the first time! Less than a week after being baptized. So so great. We didn’t go because the temple is out of our mission, but a member told us that while there Angela said, “it’s amazing because every time you hear the little swish of the water, a soul is being saved.” Oh my gosh ❤️ I love her. She also bore her testimony in sacrament meeting yesterday, and talked about the peace and clarity she has had this past week since being baptized. She is so awesome.

Saturday was a cool day. So basically a couple weeks back we received a referral from our elders of a random guy named Nick in our area that they found in their area book. We went to go try him when we first got him but no one was there. So we tried calling him last Sunday and he answered and told us he is struggling. We asked if we could meet with him because the message that we share will improve his life. He agreed so we set an appointment for the next evening. Basically, we set an appointment with him everyday this week but he ended up being busy every time so we had to reschedule. Saturday we were FINALLY able to actually meet with him. We taught him the restoration and he loved it. He said that it was perfect timing when we called because he has been looking for change recently, and he said he will be baptized when he comes to know that what we taught is true. Such an awesome lesson. After the lesson we found out he actually moved out of our area, but still lives in Anaheim. So we will have to have a pass off lesson with him and other elders this week, but I’m still so happy we were able to contact him and teach him. It was such a miracle.

I am so grateful for the gospel of Jesus Christ. I know that it’s true. I’m grateful to know about it, and to be able to share my knowledge of it with the people here. I know that it is truly the ONLY way we can return to our Heavenly Father. He wants us to come home, so we need to follow the path that he’s given us which will lead us there. I love the gospel. I hope I can strive to live it as long as I live.

I hope you all have an amazing week!

Love,

Sister Martinez 💖
Exchange with sister crowther feat. this huge buffalo head in a member’s home

This is “boyfriend”. He was left behind by a sister missionary a long time ago in a member’s home…..he receives visits from many sisters in our mission. He’s everyone’s boyfriend.

My zone!

#bestdistrict