week fifty-two: oh cinnamon tree, oh cinnamon tree

Hi everyone!! Okay, so remember how last week I said that we struggled? Well, this week was absolutely incredible. Heavenly Father has been SO good to us. Just when we thought there wouldn’t be anymore miracles, they just continued to come. I am so grateful for all that I was able to witness this week. I have a lot to talk about so bear with me…

Monday night is when it all started. There’s a huge apartment complex in our area called "Cinnamon Tree". We went to go try some potential investigators from our areabook. No luck…so we prayed and asked Heavenly Father to lead us to people who were prepared. We started walking and literally it felt like angels were leading us to the exact apartments we needed to knock on. We were about to leave, but had a feeling we needed to knock on this one door. So we did! And we met a girl named Ana. She kept saying she wasn’t super interested, but she still listened. And as she listened…her eyes sparkled. Something I’ve noticed on my mission is that when you teach people about the gospel, and they feel the Spirit, their eyes sparkle. I don’t think Ana is ready right now, but I know that we planted a seed with her.

After Ana we felt like there was someone else we needed to find. We walked to the building next to hers and knocked on all the doors. No one was interested, but then we got to the last one. A man, named Juan, answered. He came outside and talked with us. (fun little fact: people who come outside to talk to you, rather than just talking to you from the door are prepared. I just know it.) He was saying that he wasn’t super interested and he was pretty set in his faith…but we gave him a restoration pamphlet and he promised to read it and give us a call if he felt something while reading it. When we were about to leave we asked him if he knew anyone who might be interested in our message. He went through and told us about all his neighbors and who might be interested. He pointed back at the building we had just met Ana at and said, "the older woman who lives upstairs might talk with you." So we go to knock on the door and a man who only speaks Spanish answers. We talked with him for a bit, he said he already had a Book of Mormon in Spanish, that he had read it and believes it is true because it’s about God. He didn’t seem super interested in learning more though. Then as we were about to walk away, a woman named Esperanza came to the door and said with a thick accent, "Come inside. I need to talk with you." We were a little hesitant because that just never happens and we thought she might bash us…but we went in. She told us to sit down and brought us water. Then she said in broken English, "I heard you say that you are Mormons. I need you to pray for my family." I said a prayer. Afterwards she began to tell us in Spanish that her husband was a member of the church and she went to church with him…she knows a lot about the church but she never got baptized. We asked her why and she said, "I need you to come back with Spanish speaking missionaries." What!!! So we set an appointment for a couple days later and said goodbye. Miracle!!

So we leave Esperanza and Miguel’s apartment, and we come down the stairs to see Juan sitting on the stairs by his apartment. He was just sitting there…and when he saw us he asked us how it went. Literally waited for us to see how it went. We shared with him the miracle and how it was truly meant to be that we met him and he led us to Esperanza. He was so happy. From there we shared even more with him about the restoration and his eyes sparkled (I’m telling you it’s a thing!!). At the end we said a prayer, and afterwards he just sat there pondering. He said he felt something. And that we could come back 🙂 miracle #2.

Wednesday came and it was time for the lesson with Esperanza and the Spanish elders!! We went and she happily answered the door. The elders taught an amazing restoration lesson in Spanish. The Spirit was SO strong. And we found out that the reason she had never gotten baptized, was because she had never prayed to know if the gospel was true. She said she now had the desire to pray about that. She said the closing prayer and it was so incredible. Something else that is so amazing to me is that the entire lesson was in Spanish and I understood every word. I know the Spirit helped me understand more than I normally would. That’s happened to me a lot on my mission and it’s been such a blessing!

Friday we went back to Cinnamon Tree….aka our new favorite place. We were trying to find some less active members and potentials but found no one. So we decided to do some more inspired tracting as we had earlier in the week. We were led to a building and knocked on a door. A man named Matthew, opened the door and came outside (hello prepared!!). We talked with him for almost 30 minutes. He at first told us he was very set in the Christian church that he currently attends…but he ended up asking us tons of questions about our personal testimonies. It was amazing. I know he felt the Spirit. By the end of it, he had gone from someone who seemed completely uninterested, to accepting a Book of Mormon and committing to read and pray about it. I think he sincerely wants to know if it’s true. Another miracle.

Later that night was our ward Halloween party. Oh my gosh it was amazing. Soo many people were there, and half of the people in attendance were non-member friends that members had invited. I love this ward so much!! So when we got there we decided to just sit at a random table with empty seats. And conveniently we sat with two non-member families who are the neighbors of a member we had already met. One of the families was the Flores family. The member they are the neighbors of told us about them the week before and told us to keep them in our prayers because they want to invite them to learn more about the gospel. So we had been praying for them all week, and then there we were sitting with them. We talked with them all night, and also talked about gospel topics. As we were speaking, the wife’s eyes were sparkling (once again, prepared). They told us they believe in God and Jesus Christ and that they don’t have a church to go to since they recently moved here. Ahh!! So anyway, it was good to establish a relationship with them. Then we had dinner with the members who invited them on Sunday and they told us that tonight they are planning on inviting the Flores family to take the lessons in their home!! Oh my gosh we are so excited. Praying it goes well. 🙂

Honestly, we thought there had been so many miracles already this week…and then Sunday came. After church we went back to Cinnamon Tree. I think it should be renamed "gold mine" hahaha. So many people there who are prepared and willing to listen. So we got there and Sister Paulson had to go to the bathroom, we were about to head to the church but we had this feeling we should use the bathroom at the library across the street instead. While I was sitting outside, a man and his two kids walked past. I wanted to give them a card, but he walked away too quickly so I just said hi and told him his kids were cute. When we left the library, we started talking to this young boy named Ricardo. He seemed very receptive, accepted a Book of Mormon, and said we could come by next week to teach his family. So that was cool….well, we were walking to our car, and I saw that guy with his two kids again. It was clear to me that one of the main reasons we talked to Ricardo was so that we would fill enough time until this guy walked past. We raced over to give him a card…and ended up talking with him for probably 20 minutes. In a nutshell…his name is Erik, he’s a single dad of two little kids, and he’s been searching for the truth. He told us that he’s been going to different Christian churches his whole life, and he knows the messages are good, but he doesn’t think they are the "right" church. We taught him the restoration and he told us he doesn’t doubt the truthfulness of it. He accepted a Book of Mormon, and told us he really wants to read it and pray about it. We set a return appointment with him. Before we said goodbye, we bore our testimonies of how much God loves him. Erik started to cry. He told us it was meant to be that we had met him. Ahhh I just love being a missionary.

There were so many other miracles that happened this week and this email is already super long so I can’t share them all, but you get the idea.

Well, this Friday marks one year of being on my mission. I don’t even know how to feel. This has been one of the hardest but also the best year of my life, I wouldn’t trade it for anything. After this week (as well as since being on my mission), I know I have become more converted to the gospel. I know without a doubt that it is true. I think one of the reasons I was supposed to serve a mission is so that I could learn how to truly live the gospel. I LOVE it. I want to strive to be like Jesus Christ everyday of my life. I know that is the only way we can receive true joy and return to live with our Father in Heaven once again. The gospel makes me giddy. I love it so much. I would invite you all to share it with anyone you may come in contact with, there are people out there who have been waiting for it their whole lives without even truly knowing. And if you don’t know a lot about it, look into it. I promise it won’t do any harm. 🙂

I hope you all have an incredible week!

Love,

Sister Martinez ❤️

We went on exchanges this week and forgot to take a picture so here is Sister Moon and I at district meeting!

Sister P 💋

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