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.