Friday, December 26, 2014

December 22nd - Christmas is almost here!!!

We've been busy at work and have been loving it here in El Dorado. As always, I don't know when I'll be leaving. It might be before the new year or after. It will be any time after next Monday or even next Monday. I am really hoping I find out soon. This past Sunday I felt it very strongly that my time here was coming to an end. I don't want it to but I really hope that my 6 months serving in El Dorado made a difference. I will never ever forget my new family here.
You would all be so proud.  It has been a very music filled week! This morning for our Mission Conference Christmas Devotional we were invited (Sutherland and I) to play "In the Bleak Midwinter" with President and Sister Passey! Talk about pressure! I said I would only play if we found a viola. We found a viola. Dang it haha! Just kidding, I am really excited to try new things here and to find a better me. It was so beautiful! I loved playing a viola again! We also played prelude (piano, violin, viola, and bass) for 15 minutes before the meeting started. All on the spot and it turned out so pretty! We have the instruments for a bit more time so we are going to go out caroling-orchestra style. Really excited!
We took a less active of a few years to the church this past Thursday. She even came with her friend who was at her house who isn't a member. We went into the chapel and there was such a strong peace. It was amazing. After several minutes in silence, I went up and played "Asombre me da" ("I Stand All Amazed") which is her favorite song. Hermana Sutherland sang and hummed on and off and I played a few other hymns. It was so powerful and she said that that night she received her answer that she needs to come back to church. Music is something so powerful that I didn't fully appreciate before the mission. I love how the spirit can invite the spirit so quickly.
Please keep Hermana Maciell in your prayers. Her health isn't doing so well and she's fallen a few times the past little bit. She got out of the hospital today so I'm really excited to go see her this evening. We are going to play for her too :)
I love our little Christmas tree! Having the lights on in the evening makes it feel so much more like Christmas :) thank you so so much for adding that detail into our Christmas. We both love it so much!
I'll leave it at that! Lots of emails to respond to. Love you all so much! Can't believe I'm calling you in a few days. Expect it some time in the morning. It shall be a surprise ;) haha love you!!

Hermana Martin

Sierra and Hermana Sutherland

Nativity at St Joseph's Hospital 

Zona del Sur (South Zone)

December 15th - 3 companions in 1 week, 2 baptisms, and a whole lot of fun!!!

I don't know how to have enough time to talk about this awesome week. I'm just going to start and see how far I get!!  Hermana Erickson left Tuesday morning for Panama :(   and it is really sad that she is not here anymore. I have had such a fun week with Samantha though!! She is ready now to go on a mission!  She has been such a help to those we teach and has taught me so much! She has such a fire! She wanted to break my old record of 31 lessons. We got 34 :) nothing short of amazing!

My new companion is Hermana Sutherland!! She is a Sister Training Leader! We are also getting Hermana Hubert on the 29th who served for 6 months in Peru then got sick. Shortly after she comes in, I'll be leaving because President has another area where he said he needs me to go but he doesn't want to leave the area without a good support system so I'm breaking Hermana Sutherland into the area first. 2 more weeks in the best place on earth :( 
I am still beyond sad thinking about leaving.

The baptisms this past week were amazing!! Maria Garsia and Paulina are such examples to me :) their faith has strengthened me and I could not be happier :) they are both so strong and I can't wait to see how much their example will bless those whom they know and will know.

At the Christmas party this past Friday we had 4 investigators come. It was amazing to see how great our members were at fellowshipping and helping to include everyone that came! 
I am literally in the most amazing branch in the whole world :)   Just saying.

Giovanni has a baptismal date for 3 de enero (January 3rd). He is just soaking in everything we tell him. Loved seeing him at church and his desire to know more about Maria and Paulina receiving the Holy Ghost. :)

Keep Israel in your prayers. He was having a heart attack and has bronchitis and is still in the hospital. We are seeing him tomorrow.

That is all I have time to write about!  I can write for hours about my amazing time here as a missionary :) the church is true!! Love the work!

Hermana Martin

Maria Garsia at her baptism

Paulina's baptism

Sierra with her "one week" companion Samantha Padilla.

Sierra's new companion Hermana Sutherland

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

December 8th - Hermana Erickson leaves for Panama Tomorrow!! :(

Yea, we are all happy that she finally gets to go to her mission, it is just sad that it is before the end of transfers. There are no other trios in the mission so, as you've already found out family, Samantha is going to be my companion! She just started her mission papers and actually had been praying last week for patience in waiting for when she is 19 to leave on her mission. I guess the Lord really loves her and gave her an opportunity to be a real missionary for a week :D   We are going to have so much fun!  We had interviews with President Passey on Sunday and he said that since Samantha is a member, I have to drive. He knows I can drive with my left foot.  He just said, "I don't want to know. All I'm saying is be safe and you are the driver."  Wahoo!!

We had our Spanish Mission Conference this past Wednesday. It is something President is starting to help the Spanish Missionaries to be better at using Spanish! Brilliant! At the beginning he asked 3 people to bear their testimony in Spanish. Elder Joj (from Guatemala-aka speaks Spanish), Me (yay), and Sister Passey. I thought I was safe because of crutches. Nope!  It was such a wonderful experience though and I got many compliments on my Spanish :D  not doing so bad!

This week will be BUSY!! 3 baptisms, packing up Hermana Erickson, seeing my foot surgeon again, etc. Oh man, keep me in your prayers!  And in your letters!   I now know how Hma Ramos felt with me. Greenies get so much mail and packages haha! Spoiled ;) I will miss Hma Erickson and our many wonderful adventures. Panama is really lucky!

Christmas Devotional was awesome! Minus Elder Christofferson's talk.  I just cried my eyes out! That was such an amazing story of a loving stake :)   Also President Eyring mentioning the sister missionaries made me think of you because I knew you were thinking of me. Yea, kind of roundabout way but I miss you so much :) especially during the Holiday Season. It is hard! But I am so glad I am here serving :)

Have a fantastic week!! Love you all so much!!

Hermana Martin

Hma. Erickson, Sister Burrola, and Sierra

Sierra with the Romero girls

Monday, December 1, 2014

December 1st - My 84 degree Thanksgiving!

Yes! 84 here for Turkey Day! Didn't feel like Thanksgiving at all, just a day with lots of super amazing food! We ate with the Larese Family in the afternoon and later with the Pineda Family. SO glad that Thanksgiving isn't year round. That was our worst day for finding people EVER! Haha but now things are back to normal!

This week will be busy to prepare for next week. We have 3 baptisms next week! Yea! All the hard work and all the dates somehow compiled all into next week and it will be super busy! Especially because (rumor has it) Hermana Erickson will be in Panama by the 11th. Not sure what that means for us for next week. I'm praying super hard that we aren't white washed. I really want to stay here in El Dorado for a transfer more. 

Paulina and Maria Garsia both had their interviews on Wednesday night :) I was so excited for both of them! They are so wonderful and I can't wait for their baptisms next week!

I forgot my planner where I wrote little notes of all the things I need to talk about....6 month mark! Martinez Family was out of town so I didn't get to go use their firepit to burn a shirt. I may do it belated ;) haha!

I got your package this past week!!! Oh man, I love my mission clothes, but having a little bit of home was SO nice! My USU sweats have made me so beyond happy! And all the bacon stuff...haha!! We've really gotten a kick out of it! Hermana Erickson asked, "What's up with your family and bacon and oreos?" And I responded, "Oh, it isn't them. It's just me!" Haha!!! Yea, I'm pretty special.

Keep sending your prayers our way that we will have a smooth week with the baptisms coming up! We are doing so great and seeing so many miracles :) 4 investigators at church on Sunday and 8 baptismal dates. Love the work! Church is true!!!                                                       
Hermana Martin

Hermana Maciell trying Pixie Stix for the first time.  95 years old!  First time for everything!!

Gift from Isabel Garcia (a member). It is made from fish scales!! From a fish down in Columbia (where she is from!) So cool right?! 

Thanksgiving with the Lareses.

Friday, November 28, 2014

November 24th - My awesome week!!! Yes I broke my foot, BUT......

Yes I may have broken my foot and sprained my ankle, BUT it has still been a crazy awesome week!!!

We are seeing our new family of 6 tonight!! They are the cutest family every and we are so excited to give them a baptismal date! 

Giovanni came to church and he actually got emotional yesterday while watching The Restoration. He is really excited to get baptized the week before Christmas :) we can't think of a better Christmas present for him. His wife is a member and her family is all very excited that after several missionaries he is finally ready to take this step in his life! 

Maria Garcia came back from Mexico today so we're seeing her tonight! Her baptism is in 2 weeks :D   Getting so excited for her! She said she is so ready to get baptized haha!

Paulina has been sick a lot lately and wasn't able to come to church yesterday :( her baptism will be next week after her 3rd time at church. We have been watching Joseph Smith: Prophet of the Restoration with her. She absolutely loves it!

Other than that, it has been a busy, normal, and extremely awesome week! On Monday after I fell, I was on the floor just shaking and praying (in really fast Spanish apparently) just begging to not go home. I was so scared that this was it for me and all my nightmares about my foot hurting my ability to serve were coming true. I know that He is looking out for me and obviously I'm still needed here or it would have been worse. So thankful I get to stay here and see miracles every day! Happy Thanksgiving everyone!! So grateful for being a missionary!!!

Hermana Martin

Filling out paperwork at the hospital

Such pretty colors!

Boot decorating provided by investigator's children

Yellow companion unity - Accidental !  :) 

Sierra's version of "highlighting" in D&C 4.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

November 17th - My Amazing Week! Best week ever!!!

Yes, I do mean every word of that! It has been the best 4 days ever since we last talked. We made goals as a companionship and we decided that we were going to use our greenie fire together to make this the strongest area in the mission!

Thursday- 8 lessons!!! We are seeing so many people with members and we even found a less active whom no missionary has seen in who knows how many months!

Friday- 7 lessons!! Waking up early to fit in more lessons is the best :) gives the day so much purpose!!

Sunday was the Temple Dedication yet we still had 7 lessons. 11 members present this week and 5 new investigators. We have been inviting EVERYONE to get baptized haha. I love being bold.

On Thursday night, we had an extra hour so I told Hma. Erickson we'll both pray and try to figure out who we need to see. We came up with the same 2 names.
1-Potentials who weren't home but we contacted an RM outside who is returning to activity who is going to start teaching with us.
2-Potential who we have been trying to find for 2 months. Found her and we are seeing her and her 5 teenagers tomorrow!

God is answering our prayers and we are staying so hard at work. 31 lessons this past week, and the goals for this week is 40!!! Wish us luck! Haha yes we are crazy!!

Hermana Martin

PS on Thursday I followed a prompting to see a less active. She had prayed because she is in a rough patch and God comforted her and said He would send the missionaries. Guess who then showed up on her front porch :) we're seeing her this week as well! Love El Dorado!!!

Sierra being Sierra with Hermana Erickson!

The President Uchtdorf shirt mentioned in last week's e-mail that hangs
 in her kitchen to remind them to stop snacking.  Ha ha!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

November 12th - Hello hello!!

We didn't hear from Sierra until Wednesday this week.  Monday was transfers and Tuesday was Veteran’s Day so the library was closed.

This has been a crazy busy week and I've been loving every single minute of it! Never getting a break but I like it that way! We've seen a lot of miracles with us working so hard and I'm so grateful that I'm in a place where I can expect miracles.

We had 5 investigators at church this past week. Yea, I couldn't believe it either! The members bore the most amazing testimonies for them and told them how they came to know the church was true. Best. Branch. Ever!!! Israel also got the priesthood this past Sunday. I am so happy here. My prayers were answered and I've been given another transfer in El Dorado. We were thinking I might get transferred but thankfully that wasn't the case.

Hermana Mags is home in Utah right now. Really weird to think about!! So grateful for her support and advice and I will always treasure the help that she has given me. I love her so much and we are both missing her like crazy. We are a duo now and we are still expecting miracles and loving Tucson!!

I finished the Book of Mormon this morning :) such a special experience and I am currently working on it in English. I love my personal studies and love how they've changed over the past few months.

Still in the 80’s in Tucson. Wahoo!! No arthritis for me! I am pretty special I might say haha. Love my calling here.

That is about it! Really late email haha but with Veterans Day and Transfers it just worked this way. Hope to hear from you all soon!!

Hermana Martin

A funny story from her letter earlier this week (translated from Spanish):
On Saturday, we had the Festival of Hope.  It is for homeless people.  We were helping with the clothing.  At the end, after 4 hours on our feet, we cleaned up.  Hma. Magallanes found a green shirt that said, "Stop It" and it had President Uchtdorf's face on it.  So funny!  Now, it is hanging in our kitchen to help us stop snacking.  It's not working.     
P.S.- I need more Oreos.

Another experience from her letter:  
(on exchanges with Hermana Gregory)  I kept bugging her all day that we should go see a less active.  No, I didn't just do this to get out of knocking.  Eventually we sat down and looked at the ward list.  Last page - La familia Wood (the Wood family).  She had never heard that name, so we went!  We knocked and a girl about our age opened, smiled, and hurried and stepped out closing the door behind her (parents are hard-core Baptists).  She is starting to see an RM.  She went and saw the Phoenix and Mesa temples, is reading the Book of Mormon, and watched a video on this past week on Joseph Smith.  She said she cried, feeling like he was in the exact same situation as her.  She has been trying to figure out how to find missionaries.  Enter us :)   Amber will soon begin taking the lessons from the English elders in her area.  It was a reminder to me that in the moment, we may not be able to see the promptings of the Holy Ghost, but after we can if we listened.  Amber said she knows God loves her because we showed up.  I made a comment at the end, "See you at your baptism!"  and she said, "Perfect!  See you there!"   This is why I'm a missionary.  I love what I do.  Who else gets to do this for a year and a half!   Love love love love.

The trio!



                                                                             Heaven's Angels!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

November 3 - My Awesome, Crazy Fast week!

Oh man, I don't even know what to say. I feel like I blinked and P Day is here again so...nothing to tell! Just kidding,  haha.

Well, we have good weeks and bad weeks right? Paulina disappeared again. Keep her in your prayers, we are trying so hard to help her progress. Also we are finally getting to see Luis and Alicia tonight so that is such a blessing! Maria and Alice are still doing great :) we are seeing them tonight as well.

(Recent convert's) husband left her last weekend and stole (her son's) birthday money, (her other son's) clothes (her special needs, blind son), tv, other stuff, and has since returned to take more. She now has the police involved and he can't come in now. I am so upset and yet so proud of (her). She is staying so strong in the church and such a good mother for her children. PS when the elders called us on Monday to tell us what happened and that she needed me there, they were getting mugged while on the phone call. Don't worry! They are okay, they just had scriptures and the drunk people weren't interested. Yay Tucson.

We had Stake Conference yesterday which was a Broadcast from SLC. Made me all think of you!! But we got to hear from President Uchtdorf (who apparently lived in Arizona for several years), Elder Christofferson, and others. Mini  General Conference anyone? So awesome!

We helped with the Trunk-or-Treat on Halloween at the church. Really fun :) everyone had an awesome time!

Well that's about it! Keep my investigators in your prayers please. We will be working hard every day to find them. Love you all like crazy!! Bye!!

Hermana Martin

PS My companions have started a "Harry Potter Anonymous" and are trying to stop 'geeking out.'  I'm the weird one in the companionship who has never seen them,  Ha ha :P oh well!

Halloween fun with some members.

I have no idea what this picture is from - she didn't give me an explanation!  Ha ha.

Friday, October 31, 2014

October 27th - My Week!!!

Hello hello!! Another beautiful week has come and gone in Tucson. I woke up this morning thinking it was Friday. I'm still unsure how Monday got here so fast. Crazy!! Tomorrow is my 5 months mark and I still truly feel like I'm a brand new missionary. Yet I'm getting to be an old one! How disgusting.

Paulina came to church yesterday and her baptism is next week :) we are so excited for her and can't wait for her baptism! I'm doing a piano piece with the little sister of her friends in the ward. Really excited for that too! Surprisingly haha! Piano still scares me. I played for Zone Conference this past week and it actually went really well!  Learned the Arizona Tucson Mission Song in less than 24 hours. So stressful! Haha

Veronica is also progressing toward baptism. We have begun teaching Maria's daughter and we thought it would be a wonderful idea to give them a co-baptismal date so we will be doing that this next week! This way Maria can feel really comfortable for her baptism and she can do it with her daughter :)

I think I've talked about Tony before...I hope so! He is friends with Brother Long (Israel's friend) and he lost both his legs because of diabetes. His whole legs :( he lost the 1st 2 weeks ago and the other this past week. We've been visiting him and he is the cutest man ever. He calls us his 3 angels sent from God and he absolutely lightens up my day. His faith and trust in God is unlike anyone I've ever seen. He wants to get baptized after he recovers :) 

Helped change my first tire this past week for a member! The elders taught us. Yep. That's all.

We've started something called Homeless Contacting. We are going to give out granola bars, water bottles, and maybe a sweet or two in a bag with a pass along card and we hope to brighten people's days! We had a great experience where we got to help this woman named Randi. She is so sweet and I'm grateful we got to help her.

Things are great here! We have the temple dedication in Phoenix here soon. 

Hermana Martin

The trio with Hermana Maciel.

"Clergy parking.  I felt like a boss!"

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

October 20th - Hello Family!!

Hey!!   So to explain the video; (Sierra had a member shoot a video of her and 4 other sister missionaries singing "Happy Birthday" to me and send it to my phone.)  I don't know why, but all week I was thinking about mom's birthday and what I could do. I don't know, just really wishing I could give her something to show her how much I love her for all the support she gives me. Well, we were dropping off Sam after she came to a lesson with us and I asked if we could send my mom a birthday video. Everyone got so excited!! I hope it made you smile mom :) I loved knowing in only a few moments you would be seeing that video.

Lots of stuff this week. Where to start?!

Alicia and Luis accepted a baptismal date for November 14th but recently have been too busy to see us. It is hard but we are just praying that we can see them soon. 

On the bright side, all my prayers for Paulina and constantly sending her messages came around! She texted me and said, "Hey Hermana Martin, you should come see me." Well, we did this past weekend. She is ready now. She asked, "When can I get baptized." Oh my gosh!! We're seeing her on Tuesday :D to plan a date!

Also, Veronica texted us last night, "I was just talking with Israel and Brother Long about being baptized on 11/15 and they think it is a good idea what do you gals think?" WHAT THE?!?? Haha we freaked! I am so excited for everyone progressing here! 

Maria is still full speed ahead for November 8th :) 

Israel went to the temple this past weekend and loved it. He is currently preparing to get the Priesthood :) I simply cannot wait for that day!

Things are awesome :) miss you all like crazy. Have an awesome week!! 

Hermana Martin 

Doing some improv yard work.

At a ward Halloween party with some investigators

The trio!

Monday, October 13, 2014

October 13th - My week!!! :D

Oh man. Sometimes I feel like P Days just sneak up on me. Then other days I feel like some weeks are so eventful and awesome that they just keep going and going! We figured out that today is my 1/4th way mark. Really super strange. I don't like it.

My week! We went and saw Israel in the hospital on Wednesday. He had a stroke :( he is doing a lot better now. He was able to make it to the Stake BBQ on Saturday though so it was awesome! He is going with the men of the ward to the Phoenix Temple open house this Saturday!!

Other attenders at the BBQ: Maria and Sonia and also Angel+Family!!
Maria has a baptismal date for November 8th!!! She went to church for the first time yesterday. When we went and saw her later that afternoon she told us that she knows that it is all true!! Everything we've taught her! It has been a 180. Now she is asking us questions. Making comments. Going back over scriptures we read together. It is amazing :) could not be happier.

Sonia came to church on Sunday as well!! Conference really changed her whole life around. She also bought tickets to go see the open house for the Phoenix Temple!! 
Angel has a temple recommend and should be going there in the near future :) super excited for her. I love seeing her so much and the whole family. They are all so strong!

I love that you didn't include this in your letter, but I can't help myself.....BYU LOST TO USU AT HOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I had a member who just joined our branch this past week tell me who just moved here from Logan. Heck yea!!! GO AGGIES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

We went to eat at the Medina's this past week and we got dared to eat a Chili Serrano. Oh. My. Lanta. I can't even tell you...only Hermana Erickson and I did it and I was praying for death. Hurt so bad!!! But! The surprise at the end with this tradition is that whoever does it get $20. Wahoo!!! We won't starve!! ;)

Went knocking this past week. Samantha and I split up and we saw so many miracles!! In an hour and a half we talked to 20 people: 7 potentials for us and 2 for the English elders!! Absolutely amazing!
Also, went to go try a less active (wasn't there :( ) and while leaving I saw a man inside his house painting. I've been trying to be more bold lately :P so I yelled at him! Well, now we are going over to help him paint today and to teach his wife and him!! Then after we are seeing Luis and Alicia :) we are giving them a baptismal date. Wish us luck!
Also, I was thinking about Paulina all morning :( I shot her another text and she responded 5 minutes later! We are seeing her on Wednesday :D

So much!!! I'll stop there. I'm super happy :) love what I'm doing!!! Praying for even more miracles this week!!

Hermana Martin

Stake BBQ - Sierra with Angel and her kids.

Sierra and Hermana Dickson with Israel and his son and caregiver.

Eating a chile serrano!

Her reward!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

October 6th - : Hey!! Awesome Conference Weekend!!

I figured ya'll would be at the cabin during conference! My mind turned to you at the end of the closing prayer for the first session of conference when he prayed for the missionaries and for their families. Miss you all like crazy. At the same time, can't believe how fast 4 months has flown. How is it October?!
Hermana Magallanes is a strong missionary. I'm working way harder than I did the last 2 transfers. It is really nice though :) 
Where to start!!! Probably the beginning...
Maria has a baptismal date!!! She is about 70 and is on dialysis and just the sweetest lady. This past Wednesday she accepted a baptismal date and will be baptized November 1st! She was in the hospital this past weekend so she couldn't make it to Conference. Last night, after she was released, Hermano Medina and Hermano Minch came over and gave her a blessing. It was amazing!! Can't wait for her to keep learning!
Israel came to the first session of Conference. He was going to have to umpire a softball game but one of the teams had 5 LDS girls who all decided to go to Conference instead. Because of their faith and example they answered my prayers so that he could come to a session of Conference. Young Women of the church are certainly rising up!
We watched Conference in English but slipped out to watch the first talk in Spanish ever in General Conference. You should have seen our members' faces watching Conference in their native language. They we beaming!! Definitely an experience I will always remember :)
The last session of Conference as we were heading inside, I saw a face that (apparently, don't remember this) made me jump up and down like a 5 year old on Christmas and start running. Our neighbor Sonia, who has been inactive since high school, who hasn't seen a Conference since then, who we talk to almost every night about church, who we had invited to Conference (who I did not think would come) was standing there smiling at me. I ran to her and gave her the biggest hug I may have given in my life. She said she's never seen ANYONE that excited to see her in her life. She had watched the first session at home and she said, "President Eyring was talking to everyone, but I truly felt like he was talking only to me." We are now going to start doing scripture study with her. Our consistent inviting has brought her to feel the spirit for the first time in nearly a decade.
Last night, while planning for today, we got a text from Luis. We contacted him nearly 2 weeks ago and have since been unable to find him at home. He texted us last night and asked when we could come. He even gave us the code for the apartment complex where he lives. Absolutely a miracle :) we will be seeing him and his family tomorrow.

Could not be happier!! All is well here :) I hope to hear from everyone soon!!

Hermana Martin

Sierra and other sister missionaries at the General Women's Broadcast

"Remember the puppies? (Aug. 11 post)  They're not puppies any more!!!!!"

Thursday, October 2, 2014

September 30th - Curve Ball!!!

That is exactly what this past weekend has felt like. I knew that transfers were coming and I was really sad about that. When we were on our way home from Women’s Conference, we got the call. Hermana Ramos would be going to Sahuarita, English-speaking. My turn...ready to find out who is my 'dad'. So I was told I would be in a trio. Cool!!   Another trio :D   How much fun right?! I found out Hermana Magallanes (my former Sister Training Leader) would be coming in for her last transfer!!!   Then I was told something that made my heart race and I didn't know how to react. I was going to be training. I can't even believe it. I am at 4 months?!  President told Hermana Magallanes I was very mature and definitely ready for this. I feel so unqualified. But maybe that is how the Lord intended it haha!!   In the 12 week program it says to be ready at the end and use it as if you would train after the 12 weeks. It is so far and between I never ever would have guessed that would be me.  The next youngest missionary training has 9 months in the mission. I feel so lost and freaking out. But, I am going forward and realizing that God knows so much more than me. Hermana Erickson is the best :D we already are so excited for this transfer ahead! She is a Visa waiter for Panama so she won't be here for terribly long, but I am so touched that I get to help her get on the right foot for the rest of her mission!!

Angel was baptized this past week!!!   She cried happy tears for the first time in her life. As I sat in church, watching her get confirmed, with D'Angelo (Angel's son, Sierra's first baptism) sitting up there, to pass the Sacrament, I felt this overwhelming peace come to me with the stress of knowing I would be training. All will be okay :)    And now I am so happy. Can't wait for the next 2 transfers!!

We found a family this past week!! While on exchanges, I followed a prompting to say yes to going to lunch with a sister (even though we were broke, sorry had to use my card haha). When going to pick her up, we contacted a man named Luis working outside. He was very interested and gave us his house number and told us his work schedule!! We went by and he wasn't there but his wife said that he had already talked to her about it and said to come back. So stoked!!! :D

Really happy for Conference this weekend!! Wish I could go but I can't wait to watch it with Israel and others for the first time in their lives.  :D
Have a great week!!

Hermana Martin

Sierra and Hermana Ramos with Angel, holding the flowers they got her for her baptism.

Sierra's trainer and first companion in the field, Hermana Ramos, signing Sierra's mission quilt after transfers on Monday. 

Sierra with her new companions - a happy trio!  
Hermana Erickson, who Sierra is now training while she waits for her VISA to Panama;
and Hermana Magallanes, who is on the last transfer of her mission, and was Sierra's Sister Training Leader previously.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

September 22 - My awesome week!!!

I miss you all so much, but I could not be happier here. The fact that I will be at 4 months next week just blows my mind. Has it felt like that long for you? And it makes me heart happy that you all earnestly wait for my letters :) I am diligent with letter writing to you because I feel it is the only way I can express my ever growing love for you all while I'm here. I can't believe it has gotten stronger since I left.

So on Monday, we went to Pinnacle Peak with the Pineda Family. Steak house!!  Yeah, we are spoiled, but they love us haha. It was so good!! And the inside smelled like a cabin. Then I thought of all of you going to the cabin and I was super duper jealous haha. Cabin fever!!!

Sam (Samantha is a girl Sierra is teaching piano to) learned "Praise to the Man" this past week so we will keep practicing it with "Joseph Smith's First Prayer" then we are going to do a rendition of it in church some time in October probably. Should be a lot of fun!!! :D

Veronica (Israel's caregiver) had us come over earlier this week and she said she is ready to start taking the lessons!! She said don't pressure her to be baptized. She wants it, but it will take time. I'm so happy for her that she is starting to let God into her life. Keep her in your prayers!

The Gila Valley Temple was such a wonderful experience this past week!! It had been nearly 3 months since I had last been so I really loved to go there. Pictures to come! PS when you have 3 sisters and 9 elders in a mission van together. Oh man, memories happen haha!

We had an awesome experience this past week! We had 2 hours without appointments and we went finding crazy. We talked to a man named Geraldo who, when we put his name in the phone, was already in there!! But we don't have a teaching record for him. He said he's talked to missionaries before and he wants to give it another go. We then found Tina, a recovering addict. We then tried to see David and Jorge and on the way I saw him leaving in a car with his brother to work. So, I did what I do, and chased them down. We are seeing them on Tuesday. Absolute miracle! We also ran into Shantinell, who we found last week and she told us the elders have been seeing her and she was going to church!! So awesome!!

We saw Maria again this week. We went over on Sunday to pick her up and she was all dressed up and so ready to go! But her daughter never came back from work and she had her 9 month old grandson, Mateo, and no carseat. She was heartbroken. We will plan better next week.

Angel's baptism is this week. Still waiting to figure out if it is Thursday or Saturday. We worked out with her this morning, trying to help her find a hobby. Super fun!
Well, all is well in Zion!! Hope to hear from everyone soon!!

Hermana Martin
Alma 5:49

Sierra, Hermana Ramos, and the Pineda kids at Pinnacle Peak Steakhouse

Sierra and Hermana Ramos at the Gila Valley Arizona temple

Gila Valley temple

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

September 15th - My week in a nutshell!

Hello my awesome family!!!

Okay! I've failed at writing emails lately. I don't know if you ever use my letters to update my blog so I'm going to try to make my emails awesome. Ha ha.  

THE PICTURES OF THE BABIES!!! I STARTED CRYING!!! (I sent her pictures of Hilary Sanders Grant's twins - Hilary is from our ward- with an updated one of William since his heart transplant) I'm sending them to my MTC District. We all have been praying for those babies and Hilary since you told me. They will be beyond excited to see that!!

Okay! First things first. Baptism!!!!!! (Their investigator Israel was baptized on Saturday). Oh my gosh it was amazing! I can't even begin to tell you. He was the happiest guy. I found out that he has actually had baptismal dates in the past and had bailed out until now. He said he wished he had done this a lot sooner. On Sunday, I was leading music, so I got to see his glowing face all during church. Made me so happy :) He told us yesterday how much he loved us and appreciated us. Our patience with him, especially with the stroke problems, with understanding, were all the reasons that he was able to make it here.

Paulina has kept dropping our lessons and because she didn't come to church on Sunday we'll have to move the baptism. Her boyfriend is against her being baptized. We are figuring he has a big part to do with this. We are keeping her in our prayers.

Miracle time!!!  Okay, so I've been working on my faith lately. Faith in myself, and faith that there are people here being prepared to hear the message (Alma 16:16-17). I've been finding myself banking on backup plans instead of having faith. We went to go see a potential investigator for the first time this past week named Guadalupe. I was already looking ahead to backup plans before getting to her house. Yet, we got there and she let us in. Her daughter Diana came in asking her mom for math help. So guess what I did :) math tutor! Square root stuff, super fun. Well! At the end she got up to leave but I invited her to stay. I finished the lesson that Hermana Ramos had started with Guadalupe. At the end, she invited them to come to Mutual (which was in 10 minutes). If I didn't see it I wouldn't believe it...they followed us to the church building and all three (mom, daughter and son (Javier))went to mutual!! Then on Sunday, we invited them but Javier had a game, but Diana said she is coming to Mutual again and she is bringing a friend this time. We also have an appointment to see them on Wednesday. Can't believe it.

Also, we went to see Ramon, who has been seeing missionaries for who knows how long. I went in seeing this as a waste of time, since we had already dropped him but Hermana Ramos kept saying she wanted to keep trying. Well, we got to the lesson and I kept feeling the spirit so strong. I almost started fighting it, thinking what was the point? I think I told the first vision, and I could not stop my tears. I then bore my testimony. This whole time, his eyes didn't leave mine. His whole countenance changed. He felt the spirit for the first time in his life. And now I will never see anyone as lost or unable to feel the spirit.

So saw D'Angelo at church on Sunday!! (He was baptized a few weeks ago.)  He is doing so awesome! We are going to go start working out with Angel because she needs a hobby and something to do since quitting cigarettes. They are looking at a baptismal date in 2 or 3 weeks :)

My week!! Really long and I hope you enjoyed it!! Write soon!!!

Your Missionary

Sierra and Hermana Ramos at Israel's baptism.   Sept. 13th

Sierra with Hermano Medina

Monday, September 8, 2014

September 8th

Wow!!!  Look at you all partying hard haha!! Been going around like crazy! Jealous about the Eagles concert. That must have been super awesome. And I like the idea of blaming ya'll for me being sick. I wasn't doing well that weekend but I didn't take care of it and it got bad. It was a rough week. On Saturday I couldn't talk at all except if I whispered. Pretty entertaining. My voice is pretty much back thank heavens! I kind of need that ;) 

Thank you for all the topics!! (Craig sends Sierra notes on different topics he is studying in his scriptures).  I'll be printing those out today :) missionary heaven!!! So I got mom's letter on Saturday (the day I didn't have my voice). The elders were standing outside to get some papers, when I read the part about Hilary (a young lady from our ward whose baby just got his heart transplant) and made a very raspy but enthusiastic scream! I loved the update you also gave me today! My companions from the MTC have been praying for her since they got out to their missions as well. The elders were involved too. I can't wait to email them today to give them the good news!!

Oh man, my week! Sorry...not too many things to update ya'll on. Israel's baptism is on Saturday :) I still can't believe it is actually here! We made it to his house on Saturday night and right after we arrived they called 911. They thought he was having a heart attack. He is doing well now. He has been having a lot of heart problems. Praying that all will be well for his baptism on Saturday.

So I have been playing the piano in Primary the past couple of weeks and I also actually played in Sacrament Meeting this past week. The only other person in the branch who can play couldn't be there this past week and she has also been wanting to go to Relief Society. 
I have the world's funniest story to tell you. I was playing the piano in Primary and they said they wanted to sing "Once there was a Snowman". I was confused, they still sing that here is Tucson?! Weird. Okay! SO I played it and at the end the kids were on the ground. Then they yelled, "Verse 2!" Huh...? I start playing (the kids are still on the ground). "Once there was a cactus, cactus, cactus, Once there was a cactus, small small small small! In the sun he grew and grew and grew and in the sun he grew, tall tall tall!!" I was laughing so hard I could barely play haha!!!!!!!!! Only in Arizona. Made my day!!

I've been told this is our last week of rain, then we'll hardly see it until next year. has rained almost every day this week. Going to miss it.

Write soon!!!
Hermana Martin

Friday, September 5, 2014

September 2nd

Hello hello!! Yea, didn't even think about the fact that I wouldn't be online on Monday. (Labor Day)  And today we just came when we found the time so...I'm online now! Sorry we don't get to chat this week. Next week for sure :) and wow...I hit 100 days on Thursday? Weird...I'm so happy here :) Hermana Burrola (who sent the birthday pics of Sierra last week) showed me the email you sent her! She was practically bouncing off the wall when she saw that you know Spanish! She told me the first 4 months are the worst and then it isn't so bad. Well I'm starting my 4th month ;) then you can stop missing me haha!

Oh man...where to start. Donated blood last week! Super fun. Elder Malm from the Seventy came down and spoke with us. Amazing conference! I sent you a letter with notes about it, I hope you enjoyed it (if you've gotten it yet). And then we went to a fireside that night with the Martinez Family and Karen. Super fun!

Israel gets baptized in 2 weeks!!! Can't believe it! More good news :) we gave 2 more baptismal dates this past week!! Chino and Paulina! We are giving Chino to the English elders because he said he feels (as an American) he should stick with English. Bummer, but still awesome for him! And Paulina will be baptized September 27th :)

Oh man, we have 3 crazy adventures this past week
1) Our neighbor whose apartment was broken into literally a minute after we left (about 2 weeks ago) was found dead in her apartment this past weekend. We got the news yesterday though that it was actually either an overdose or suicide. They didn't kill her. Whoever 'they' are.
2) A neighbor of Israel's was shot in the middle of the afternoon. They got the license plate number and are trying to find them. This happened on Sunday. Crazy.
3) (An investigator) crashed hard on Friday night. She ended up leaving her house super drunk on Saturday morning. Her mom called us crying asking us to help her find (the investigator). We actually ended up finding her. Well, there is the more in the letter. Long story short, it took 2 hours to convince her to come home with us. In that time we followed her to some scary apartments (I prayed and felt it was okay don't worry). But she at one point told us she was done living as a crazy person and ran into the street in front of a car. Your intelligent daughter went after her. I pulled her back onto the sidewalk in time, the whole time she was cursing me and fighting me off. Now she is home safe and has been getting more help. Keep her in your prayers.

Well that is about it!! Love you bunches!! Hope to hear from you soon!!

My birthday cake :) that we made late...but it still tasted awesome!

Me donating blood. I did the double red or whatever so it took like an hour and I got stuff pumped back into me. So gross!!!

 It is so pretty here right?!   Love palm trees.