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.

Monday, September 1, 2014

August 25th

Thanks for the email update! Glad everything with the cruise went well and you all had a great time. I anxiously await pictures!

MOM!!!! You are supposed to skate on the ice, not fall!!! (mom fell ice skating and gave herself a concussion)  Oh man  :(    Wish I was there to bring you Panda and make you smile. I hope my pictures can do that for you. I've had an amazing week!

With the letters, we are trying to figure it out. 8 letters have now gotten returned. I am tempted to have you just put up my actual address. That may be the best thing to do right now, if you could put it on FB!

I'm glad you got the pictures from H'ma Burrola! She didn't have a '1' candle so I got to be 20 again ;) super fun.
I waited until my birthday and opened the birthday package :) absolutely loved it!!! And dad, at first (with your email last week) I figured you meant the Old Testament books were your idea. Then I saw the Yankees shirt...oh my lanta I love it! Wear it like every day haha. And the white shirt you picked out is perfect!! And the airy material makes it okay to wear even now :) you are all the best! Miss you so much!

I had some elders ask me about my necklace. "Hey! Sister Passey has the same one!" Haha! Glad she is wearing it!

Your birthday video was the best!!! I may or may not have cried....not telling.

ANYWAYS!!! D'Angelo's baptism was this past week!!!! He asked me to give the prayer and H'ma Ramos and I gave a talk as well!!  I can't even begin to tell you how it felt. I love that family so much! Angel and her now husband will be getting baptized in September :) I will add more details in your letter.  Promise!

We had another day of miracles this past week!!! We went to see Chino at 1 and we had an amazing lesson! We taught the Restoration and he also told us a summary of "The Testimony of Joseph Smith"! He is praying right now about a baptismal date for September 20!!!! At the end, he told us he was worried he was going to miss us because he had something come up and he has to be somewhere at 2 (which is when the appointment was). We brushed it off, but when we got in the car to see what we had at 2 it was Chino. We had just checked it!!! Both of us, we had Chino at 1! (Or so we thought!) God helps us to forget sometimes ;) Then that night, we were on the steps of Israel's apartment waiting for him to come back from an open house for Dominique's school. While there, some boys needed us to move to get up the stairs. We then asked if one of them was Jorque, who we've been trying to see for weeks (Elder Ferguson contacted him). It was David's brother. H'ma Ramos went to get a phone call and I contacted him and Jorque! We were then invited inside, shared the message of The Book of Mormon with them and their mom Miriam, and we are seeing them on Tuesday!!!!
With good comes bad. We will be dropping Andres this Saturday (the man from Africa). Turns out he was interested in me, not the message. He is dad's age. Also an English pass off was also just wanting to keep seeing 'the sisters' and yea....frustrating. Going to try and look more homely from now on.
Things are great here :) I shall send pictures and more stories in my letters. Love you all! And I miss you so much!!!!!!!

Hermana Martin

Sierra at her birthday "party" given by Sister Burrola

Probably Sierra's favorite gift in her birthday box!

D'Angelo's baptism

Sierra with D'Angelo