week eighty: I grew up in California

Hi everyone! It was an amazing week. God is so so good.

On Tuesday we were in an apartment complex to go visit an investigator that we had an appointment with. Turns out he gave us the wrong address so we decided to go try a few other people in the same complex. Nobody that we tried was home, but then I remembered that a couple of months ago we were talking to a woman in that complex and we asked her if she knew anyone YSA aged. She said she did, but didn’t know the exact apartment number so kind of just made one up off the top of her head. We had never gone to try that “referral” but I remembered that I had written down the apartment number in my iPad. We had nothing to lose so we went to go try it. The person who answered was not who the woman described, but instead was a guy named Firas. He said he was part of the small percentage of Catholic people in the Middle East. He was born in Iraq and his native language is
Aramaic…how cool right?! Anyway, he said he hadn’t been to church in a long time, had recently moved in, and was open to new ideas and wanted to learn more. We were able to set a return appointment with him, it was so awesome! Heavenly Father truly leads us to those who are prepared.

A lot of this week was filled with different departure things. On Thursday morning, I was able to go to the Newport Beach temple for the last time on my mission with President and Sister Taggart. I love being in the house of the Lord. Friday night we had our departure dinner, and then Saturday morning I had my departure interview with President Taggart. They were all such sweet experiences that I’ll never forget.

This will be my last email. Tomorrow morning I fly home and finish my full-time mission. I cannot even begin to express my gratitute. My mission has been the hardest, but most incredible 18 months of my life so far. It has stretched me and helped me to grow in ways that nothing else could have. Honestly, I don’t really remember who I was or what I was like before my mission, but I know that I have changed and become the missionary who Heavenly Father has wanted me to become. It’s difficult to express in words just how much my mission means to me. I have truly come to know that Jesus Christ lives. I know it with all my heart. I know that Heavenly Father is so mindful of us, and has a specific and perfect plan for each of His children. I know that the gospel of Jesus Christ has been restored to the earth through the prophet Joseph Smith. He truly saw God the Father and Jesus Christ, and was able to translate the Book of Mormon by the power of God. The Book of Mormon has brought me closer to Jesus Christ. I’m so grateful for my Savior. It is only through the strength He has given me that I have been able to serve. I owe it all to Him. “I do not boast in my own strength, nor in my own wisdom; but behold, my joy is full, yea, my heart is brim with joy, and I will rejoice in my God. Yea, I know that I am nothing; as to my strength I am weak; therefore I will not boast of myself, but I will boast of my God, for in his strength I can do all things; yea, behold, many mighty miracles we have wrought in [California], for which we will praise his name forever.” (Alma 26:11-12)

I love you all. Thank you so much for your love, prayers, and support throughout this journey. See you soon!

Love,

Sister Martinez ❤

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week seventy-nine: we talk about people with Jesus Christ

Hello hello! It was a great week, but it always is when you’re serving the Lord. This past week I hit my 18 month mark of my mission. I have no idea how I’ve gotten to this point…I know it’s only been through the strength that the Lord has given me. We truly can do all things through Christ.

I don’t have much to share but the best part of this week was when I went on an exchange with Sister Wirig. She is deaf, but with her cochlear implant can hear about 30-40%. She is so awesome! She is an ASL missionary but came with me to the English program, so it was a little different but it was so fun. I know very minimal sign language, but somehow I was still able to interpret for her in most situations and we could communicate with each other. I’m so grateful for all of the exchanges I’ve been able to go on, there are so many incredible sisters and I love seeing their love and enthusiasm for the work.

On Tuesday we had Zone Conference. It was my last one which is super weird. This means that I had the opportunity to give my departing testimony. To be honest I don’t remember most of what I said, but I can tell you that I do remember how I felt. I’m so grateful for the gospel of Jesus Christ. I know it’s true. I’m so grateful to be a servant of the Lord, and to have this last week of my full time mission to continue to serve. Jesus Christ lives!! I know that He knows and loves each of you individually.

I hope you all have a wonderful week!

Love,

Sister Martinez 💕
Zone Conference!

week seventy-eight: penitent cucumber

Hi everyone! It was an amazing week! It was also super busy. We had MLC on Tuesday and then we had the opportunity to teach 3 zone trainings on Wednesday and Thursday. It was a lot but it was awesome. I’m going to miss all of the meetings we have as missionaries so much.

So for those who don’t know, we are given a certain amount of miles we can drive each month. We were about to run out of miles for the month, so on Tuesday and Wednesday after our meetings we spent the whole day walking. Normally this wouldn’t be too hard but our area is an entire stake which made it hard to go anywhere on foot. We had an a set appointment with this guy named Angel. After finally making it to his apartment complex, Angel told us he had to reschedule. We were kind of frustrated since we had walked all that way to see him, but then we met a girl named Aureli who lives in the same complex as him. We walked past her and starting talking with her. She ended up setting a return appointment with us and we’ll be meeting with her this week. Before we leave the car, we usually always pray and ask for Heavenly Father to place people in our path as we walk. I know that we had to walk all that way so that we could meet Aureli. Heavenly Father truly placed her in our path.

Thursday was such a cool day. After zone training, we headed to IVC (local college) for an appointment. While we were waiting for the person we were supposed to be teaching to show up, Sister Garcia and I were practicing our ASL and signing to each other on a grass area on campus. After a few minutes of signing, a woman named Rovena came up to us and started signing. It turns out she is hard of hearing and knows ASL. She ended up giving us her contact info and said she would be willing to meet with the ASL sisters. It was so amazing! If we hadn’t been signing, Rovena never would have come up to us, and she might not ever have had the chance to hear about the gospel. God’s timing is perfect.

After being at IVC, we had an appointment with our investigator Sam. A few weeks ago some of the family ward sisters in Irvine referred him to us but all they had was his phone number. We called him to invite him to church and he ended up coming on Easter! And then we finally met with him this week. He moved here a few years ago from Dubai. He is Druze, which is a very small religion that is some sort of cross between Islam and Christianity. But he is very open to learning. We taught him the restoration and he had lots of really awesome questions, and said he would be baptized if he came to know the things we taught are true. It was so great.

After Sam, we still had some time before dinner so we went to go stop by a potential named Mary. About a month and a half ago, we stopped by and met her dad Hossain. I think I wrote about it but a quick refresher, their family moved here from Iran so that they could practice Christianity, but Hossain said they hadn’t found the right sect yet. He said he would be going to Iran to visit family for a month, so we hadn’t been able to follow up with them yet. Well this time, Mary and her mom, Peggy, were there and they invited us in. We were able to teach them the restoration and it went so well! They speak pretty good English but Farsi is much better for them. They asked us to find a Persian congregation nearby for them (which we are still working on), so that they can join. 🙂 it was amazing.

This work is incredible. I love being a missionary more than words can express! Jesus Christ lives and His gospel is true. I know it.

I hope you all have an amazing week!

Love,

Sister Martinez 💘

1. last MLC
2. 💐
3. lunch with our pals in Anaheim