week fifty-one: what covenants?

Hello everyone! This was probably one of the weirdest weeks of my mission. Placentia is vastly different from both Garden Grove and Anaheim. It’s a much wealthier area and it’s very difficult to find people to teach. Buuut I will tell you about the week we had!

So Monday was transfers, Sister Paulson and I moved into our new apartment. Then that evening we had dinner and met the first members either of us had ever met from the ward. It was good! The members here seem really awesome. After dinner we went to go clean our apartment and unpack.

Well, we ended up spending the next three days cleaning and organizing our apartment. And our car. Both hadn’t been cleaned in awhile and honestly we just couldn’t feel the Spirit in either of them. Which is so essential. How are we going to find those who are ready to hear the gospel in this area if we can’t feel the Spirit in our apartment? We won’t! So we got everything to be perfect and then Thursday we had our apartment re-dedicated by our zone leaders and district leader. The Spirit was abundant after that. I am so grateful for the priesthood.

Well in between all of our organizing and cleaning, we were able to go do service on Wednesday at a nursing home. We helped them decorate for Halloween and then I was able to give a woman named Linda a manicure. Linda is deaf, so I had a hard time communicating with her. But she was so sweet and I loved being able to try to sign with her. All the old people were so cute. I loved them.

Thursday was so great. Instead of having district meeting like we normally do, we had a Mission tour/Zone Conference, and Elder Carl B. Cook of the Seventy (who spoke this past General Conference!!) came. It was soo amazing. We spent all day becoming edified and being uplifted with our fellow missionaries. I learned so much. One thing we spent a lot of time talking about was the difference between a "natural man" and a "saint". A natural man is prideful, selfish, and impatient. A saint is humble, charitable, and patient. A natural man solely cares about their own will, but a saint is willing to submit to God’s will. I want to be a saint, and put off the natural man.

Something else Elder Cook focused a lot on was joy. Often we talk about the five main principles of the gospel of Jesus Christ as faith, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end. But what if we changed "endure to the end" to "enJOY to the end". Life can be hard but it does not constantly have to be something that we feel we have the endure or just get through. We need to enjoy life! And I know with all my heart that the main way we can enjoy our lives is by living the gospel of Jesus Christ.

This weekend was the Placentia Stake conference. We had the adult session on Saturday night, and Sister Burns and I were able to sing at it. So funny/embarrassing story….hahah the meeting was about to start and I had no idea when we were going to be singing, I thought it might be later on in the meeting. But Sister Paulson and I really had to go to the bathroom, so we quickly went and then literally ran back to the chapel. Right when we got to the door of the chapel, everyone was silent and I saw Sister Burns starting to slowly stand up across the chapel….hahaha apparently it was time to sing. Nobody told me we were singing right after the opening prayer!!! So I walked straight up to the pulpit and just started singing like it was nothing. Such an awkward moment. I couldn’t even handle. Then Sister Burns told me that they had been waiting for me for about a minute. I can’t. Oh well. At least we made it through the song… πŸ™‚

In a nutshell, we struggled this week. We weren’t able to teach any lessons and we haven’t found anybody who is interested. This area has been desolate for a long time. We don’t really know what to do, but we have faith that there is someone here who has been prepared by Heavenly Father to hear about the gospel. And we are going to find them!! We’ve met a few members, and some seem super on board to assist us in this great work. We’re nervous, we’re excited, and we feel a little lost…but I know everything will work out. There has to be a reason that we are here in this area right now.

I love the gospel. It is so true. It continues to bless my life beyond measure. I know the gospel will bless your life if you strive to live it. πŸ™‚

I hope you all have a wonderful week!

So much love,

Sister Martinez πŸ’•

PS I promise I’ll take pictures this week 😬

week fifty: it’s the mormonz

Hello hello lovely people!! Wow oh wow it’s been a rollercoaster of a week. But I could say it over and over again, being a missionary is the best thing in the whole world.

So our week started off a little crazy. We were getting a car wash and then got gas at the end of P-day, and then we were headed to go contact a referral. As soon as we pull away from the gas pump, we notice that our car is off kilter and we have a flat tire. We get out to check and the rim had completely popped off. Hahah great…so much for contacting that referral. It was a pretty crazy night, we were yelled at by a man who had offered to help us but we said politely said no, and we spent the rest of the night at Pepboys. A little crazy. But I’m so grateful we were able to get a new tire.

Tuesday we had President Interviews. It’s always a delight to visit with President Taggart. I’m so grateful to have him as a mission president! He really emphasized President Nelson’s talk from general Conference. I love the quote, "Saints can be happy under every circumstance. We can feel joy even while having a bad day, a bad week, or even a bad year! My dear brothers and sisters, the joy we feel has little to do with the circumstances of our lives and everything to do with the focus of our lives." It’s so true. When our focus is on the gospel, we can always have joy.

Sunday was so awesome. Before church, Angela was able to get her Patriarchal Blessing. It’s just amazing to see her moving along the covenant path. She was beaming and just on such a spiritual high after her blessing, it was awesome. Then in sacrament meeting, she gave her first talk!! And it was so amazing. She spoke about the scriptures and what they mean to her, and the importance of having both the Bible and the Book of Mormon. She has such a solid testimony of the restored gospel and its inspiring to me.

Well, transfers happened this week! My time in Anaheim has come to a close. I am whitewashing (when both missionaries coming in are new to the area) the Placentia Ward with Sister Paulson. I’ve served around Sister Paulson in both Garden Grove, and Anaheim. She is from Orem, Utah and is an incredible missionary, I am so excited to be serving with her. Also it is her last transfer, so I am going to try to learn as much from her as I can with our 6 weeks together. I am so grateful for the 6 months that I had to serve in the Anaheim 1st Ward. There was so much growth and progression, with me and with the ward. I left the area and the ward exactly the way I had hoped to. I love the people there and I will miss them dearly, but I’m ready for this next chapter of my mission!

The gospel is so true. I hope you all have a wonderful week!

All my love,

Sister Martinez

Flat tire fun

Mouth cookies

Anaheim zone!

My district!

Saying goodbye to Angela!

week forty-nine: humna humna humna

Hi everyone! It was a short week because of the temple last week, but it was short and sweet. πŸ™‚

Thursday I went on another exchange with Sister Burns. It was such an amazing day! We saw so many miracles. I could go on and on but I will just talk about one. For the past couple of months we’ve been planning on seeing a potential named Heidi, but for some reason we never get to it. Well this day we finally made it over there. As we pulled up, we parked in front of a man, named Abraham, who was washing his car in his driveway. We waved just to say hi, but he thought we were signaling for him to come over. So he came up to our car window and asked if we needed to tell him something…of course we told him we’d love to talk with him! We ended up talking with him, through the car window, about how some people only act like Christians on Sundays and then are different the rest of the week, and a little bit about the restoration. At the end we said a prayer with him, and afterwards he was silent for about 5 seconds. He sincerely thanked us for the prayer. I know he felt the Spirit! He told us we could come back whenever to share more with him. πŸ™‚ so that was miracle number one….number two: we went to go knock on the potential we were originally trying to find. A man named Joel answered the door and introduced himself. He was in a rush to leave, but since Heidi wasn’t there we asked if he would be interested in learning more. He said yes and that he’s actually been looking for a change in his life….he gave us his number and wants to make time to meet with us. Sometimes I just can’t get over how prepared people are. I feel like I say this every week, but it’s so true! Seeds have been planted and they are starting to bloom!

Saturday was so awesome. It was Austin’s baptism!! It was so incredible to see the fruits of a seed that was planted four years ago when Angela’s coworker (who is a member) told her about the Church. Austin and his family were so happy, and so were we. The next day in Fast and Testimony meeting, Austin got up and bore his testimony. In front of everyone! He talked about how he saw his mom get baptized, so he asked God if he should get baptized and God told him yes. The sweetest testimony. Later, Angela got up as well. It’s just so incredible to see people grow in the gospel. Even as recent converts, their testimonies strengthen mine.

Later on in the meeting, a member whose daughter is currently at BYU Hawaii went up and bore her testimony. She mentioned that her daughter has just decided to serve a mission. That led to a lot of reflection for me. It was about two years ago, at this same time in October, that I was at BYU Hawaii and I decided to serve a mission. Just that one decision has changed my life forever. Serving a mission is the most incredible thing I’ve ever done! I am eternally grateful for this opportunity. Something that has been so incredible on my mission is the overwhelming feeling of love that I have for everyone around me. I have felt a glimpse of the love that Heavenly Father has for us. It is amazing. I know this is His work. I know that the Spirit leads and guides my every step. I have felt it. I’m so grateful for this gospel and for the love that I feel from my Heavenly Father.

Welll…transfers are next week. And I have the feeling that this will be my last week in the Anaheim 1st ward. I love this area. So much growth and progression, with the people here as well as with myself. If I leave, I will definitely miss it. But I will be happy with wherever the Lord needs me πŸ™‚ stay tuned!

I hope you all have a wonderful week!

Love,

Sister Martinez 🌸

Austin in his whities!

Austin with his "future missionary" tag πŸ™‚

week forty-eight: bacon is a celestial flavor

Hi people!! How is everyone doing? I hope well. Life is beautiful and we have so much to be grateful for πŸ™‚ our P-day is today because we were able to go to the temple! I’m so grateful to be in a mission where we have the opportunity to go to the temple every 3 months. It was a great day! I feel like I have so much to talk about so I’m just gonna jump right in.

Tuesday we had a cool experience. So basically there’s this younger less active family that we used to meet with weekly, they’re super awesome…then we lost contact for like 4 months. Well Tuesday morning, the wife calls us and asks if we’re going to stop by anytime soon. We’ve been trying them for months but they’re never home when we try, but of course we said we would gladly stop by and made an appointment for that afternoon. We were able to meet with them and reteach them the restoration and it was so wonderful to see how excited they became again about the gospel. I think sometimes when we don’t spiritually feed ourselves for awhile or we just get into the routine of church things, we don’t get as excited about the gospel anymore. But as soon as we’re reminded of how incredible it is and how merciful Christ is, that light flips on again. Anyway, they reeeallly want to come back to church and they know they need this in their lives. I’m excited to see them on Sunday. πŸ™‚

Thursday we went to go try a potential investigator named Mary who we’ve been trying pretty much the whole time I’ve been in Anaheim. Well, everytime we go, she’s not home and her husband and cute little son answer the door and tell us she’s busy and to come back another time. Super friendly guy. So this time we go, and he basically said that right now they are really busy but that they really want to be taught by us as a family (ahh!!), and he had kept our card with our number on it from awhile ago, so he said he would give us a call when they’re ready and have more time. Aka when they’re more prepared for the gospel. Ahh. It’s just so incredible that Heavenly Father prepares people everywhere!!

So basically this weekend was the best weekend ever….why? GENERAL CONFERENCE. I am so grateful that we were able to hear from President Monson, a living prophet of God, and the apostles. I think it’s so amazing that Heavenly Father really does know what we need to hear, and that those things are said during conference. I don’t think I can pick a favorite talk, I genuinely got something out of every single one. It if I had to narrow it down to my three faves of the moment….Pres. Uchtdorf (the plan of salvation is so incredible), Elder Yamashita (I want to be ambitious for Christ), and Elder Oaks (everyone share the gospel!!). Go read those talks. Or all of the talks. Either way I promise you’ll get something out of it.

Yesterday was such an awesome day. We started the day with service at Mary’s Kitchen, always a good time. But apparently someone had donated like 50 bouquets of flowers, and when we were leaving they said we could take as many as we wanted…so we took about 12 and made plans to bring them to some of our investigators and other members (less actives, recent converts, people who help us a lot). So we wrote this quote on a note with each of the bouquets:

"Sisters, don’t give up. Seek God with all your heart. Exercise faith. Walk in righteousness.
God is real.
He lives.
He loves you.
He knows you.
He understands you.
He knows the silent pleadings of your heart. He has not abandoned you. He will not forsake you.
Live in faith, dear sisters, and ‘the Lord [our] God [will] increase you a thousand times and bless you as he has promised!’"
-Dieter F. Uchtdorf’s talk from the General women’s session

Seeing the reactions of everyone we delivered them to was priceless. And some of the thank you texts we received were heartwarming. The primary president in our ward told us that it was exactly what she needed that day and that it was the perfect reminder that Heavenly Father knows her and loves her. It just shows that Heavenly Father is so mindful of His children. He knows what we need and I’m grateful for the times when I’m able to be a vessel of His love for others.

Well….yesterday was 11 months in the mission for me. Almost a year. I can’t even believe it. So many mixed feelings, I’m grateful for the time that I’ve had here but the majority of what I feel is sad that it will be over before I know it 😦 sometimes I wish I could live the mission life forever. But I know that even when my mission comes to an end, the blessings will continue throughout the rest of my life. I am so full of gratitude for this gospel. I know my Heavenly Father loves me and knows me personally, and He knows and loves you all as well. Never lose sight of who you are, a child of a loving Father in Heaven. πŸ™‚

I hope you all have a wonderful week!

All my love,

Sister Martinez 🌻

Can you spot the Book of Mormon?

Scottie the pig.

A member bought us Indian food πŸ˜‹

The abundance of flowers

Missionary or florist?

The temple today!!

The girl working at Deseret Book gave us BYU creamery ice cream πŸ’™