Monday, November 23, 2015

November 23rd - The Last....Email

I hope you enjoyed my reference to Ice Age haha. Wow, I really thought that this day would NEVER come and that I would get to be a missionary forever. Sadly, we don't always get what we want. When we got transfer calls this past Friday, Elder Malcarne told me that they reconsidered my request to extend that that I would get to stay a few extra weeks! I was the happiest person on earth!! And then I realized that it was a joke....broke my heart. He should feel bad haha. 

Well it has been a crazy/weird week trying to get everything done. I have been packing little by little but the past few days I've tried to get more serious about it. They are pretty much done now. Yet I feel like I just packed to move to another area, except for the fact that I keep weighing them to try and keep them under 50 lbs haha. I'm leaving like 4 boxes of things in the Bushman's shed...they are the best haha. I have so much stuff!!!! Good grief. Can't believe I've been lugging all this stuff around the mission. 

Saturday, Kambryn was baptized. It was such a special baptism!! Kambryn was so pretty in her white dress. It was the same one that she wore earlier this year when her family was sealed in the temple. I got to play the piano at her baptism which was also really special :)  A lot of people came! One of their old missionaries even flew down from Utah for the baptism. This family is just amazing, I can't wait for you to meet them :)  It was so hard saying goodbye to them last night. 

On Sunday, Elder Driaza and I did a special musical number in 1st Ward and Winchester Branch. 4 of the Allred's were already doing a musical number in our ward (2nd ward) but that was super cool to hear them play! We played Redeemer by Paul Cardall.  I borrowed Josh Allred's viola.  There was no sheet music for instruments so I had to figure out what notes to play by listening to the recording. Needless to say, it was a lot of work but it turned out really great! It was a fun way to end my final Sunday. We ended up being at church for 8 hours and had to leave for the final hour because I had the worst migraine EVER. Oh it was horrible. Dr. Bushman takes good care of me though, he forced me to go home (which I really REALLY didn't want to do my last Sunday) but I was really in bad shape. The Bushman's are amazing. I want to be just like them one day. They are excited to meet you all! I rested at home for about an hour and a half and then went back to work and finished up my last night as a missionary.

Wow, is this really it? Is it the end now? I keep thinking I have another week or two. When Elder and Sister Malm came last August to the mission, something she said really stood out to me. "Love every day of your mission, because one day it will be your last and you will be praying for one day more." I had been on the mission for less than 3 months and I thought that she was crazy. When my last day came, I thought that I would be ready to wrap up and go back home to my family. While I am excited to see you all on Wednesday, I have wished for only 1 day more. I've loved being a missionary with all my heart. Becoming Hermana Martin and letting the Lord shape me and change me has been the best thing that has ever happened to me. I think back and can't believe that I thought that I didn't need to come on a mission, that I honestly believed that going to school was more important. Although I am excited to start my Senior year at Utah State in January.

I want to end my final email with my testimony, that I know that our Savior lives. I have come to know Him in such a different way as I've joined Him in His work and His glory to bring our brothers and sisters back to Him. From El Dorado, to St. David, El Rio, all the way down to Willcox I have seen His hand every single day in the work. He really is SO aware of every single one of us. I love Him and I am grateful that He has given us the opportunity to change. I needed to change more than I even knew. He has helped me to become the person that I am today. I hope that the things that He has taught me on my mission will in turn help me to continue to be an instrument in His hands to bless the lives of other people. 
I know that this church was restored through the prophet Joseph Smith. I have SEEN amazing changes in the people I've been able to meet as they apply the Gospel of Jesus Christ in their lives. I love El Libro de Mormon and I'm grateful that I was able to again finish it today before ending my mission. I also was able to finish Doctrina y Convenios and Personal Progress this past week. I have such a love for the scriptures. They really are roadmaps for our lives.

I want to end with thanking you all for the help you've given me. I really couldn't have gotten through this without all of your help. Now I get to thank you in person for that amazing help that you have given me. I am going to stop now before I cry again, Ah!! To quote Dr. Bushman last night, "Women are so emotional."  Dang straight, haha. He gave me a great blessing last night which is helping me to feel better about having to leave the mission. I know that everything will be okay. It is just still really hard at the same time.

Love you so much, see you on Wednesday!! Wow, that was really weird. Let's pretend I didn't just write that haha. See you soon :) Love you with all my heart. 

This is Hermana Martin, signing out.

Practicing for the baptism

The last signature on the quilt


Wednesday, November 18, 2015

November 16th - Crazy weekend in my lovely town of Willcox!

Friday the 13th did bring its bad luck but now that we survived the weekend we can laugh about it. We got a call from our vehicle coordinator saying that she would be there in about 2 hours to inspect our vehicle. Well, we were about to leave for service so we quickly did a clean-up since we cleaned it Monday and went to get a car wash. We got to service at the Rex Allen Museum right on time! Then we got a call from Hermano Cuevas saying that some things got messed up for talks on Sunday and he asked us to speak. Oh man, and we were still working on our talks for the English ward because we were asked a few weeks ago to speak. THEN later in the day, 1st Ward Relief Society (no, we do not cover their ward) asked if we could come and TEACH their lesson on Missionary Work. 2 talks, 1 Relief Society lesson, and then we also were asked to come and teach in Young Women's. Needless to say that it was a CRAZY weekend but all went so well! Brother Bushman, Melissa and Tiffany spoke with us in the English Ward and it went so well! They were such troopers to help us out.

So once upon a time I caught up on journaling this past week for the first time since September!! Little wins :D But I have really been so good at journaling and letter writing. I hope to keep up on writing a journal when I get home. Mind you, I doubt I will do it every single day.

I had my last exchanges this past week and I was with Sister Harrington. She came out in the mission with me but because she is English, she doesn't go home until January. After exchanges we had interviews with President. I didn't talk to him for very long because he said he'll save it for our final interview. He did ask Hermana Evans, "Does she even know that she is going home?" Haha that made me laugh.

But really though, everyone keeps asking, "So when do you go home again?" "How do you feel?" "Are you just so excited?!" I feel like I have a band-aid being slowly ripped off. It reminds me of how I felt when I was first coming on the mission. I just wanted it to be ripped off quickly yet at the same time I didn't want it to come. It is killing me the idea of leaving, but I know that there is nothing that I can do to keep it from happening. So, I am enjoying every minute. Yet at the same time, I am very excited to see you all again next week. It doesn't feel real, and I don't believe it will until that plane lands and I see your faces, but I wanted you all to know that I am looking forward to seeing you again. The support that you've given me over the past year and a half has made a world of difference and I love you so much for that. 

Well, I'll send off one more email next week! Love you all like crazy. I'm running to the finish line and I am at a dead sprint. Talk to you soon!

Hermana Martin

Lots of random pictures with families (and missionaries) this week!

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

November 9th - Hicimos tortillas!!

Hey! I always leave the big email for last. You would think after this long I would have learned to get this done first. Oh well! You learn the hard way I guess.

I am actually kind of grateful for P Day today, I plan on sleeping haha. I just spent this weekend battling a horrible migraine which was no fun. It was cool though because I haven't had one like this since my first transfer when I just prayed that I would not let this interfere with my work. It has been cool to see that God has answered that prayer. I got to lay down for like 20 minutes on Sunday while we talked with the Bushmans.  The Bushmans are the best. I can't wait for you to meet them.

We had Zone Conference this past week up in Safford with our Zone and the New Mexico Zone. I got to see Hermana Garcia! We took pictures since it was the last time that I'll see her for a while. It was sad saying goodbye to a couple of people. The conference was really good though. I played the piano and also got called up randomly to give a 5 minute talk on Christ-like Attributes. I talked about Faith, which is my attribute for this tranfer. I remember being called up to do something like it for one of my first zone conferences and just freaking out. Shaking, not being able to put my words together. It was cool for me to see the difference, in that I have a lot more confidence in myself in speaking. It still is a little scary but I now have learned to trust in the Lord and just go for it! On the way back to Willcox with the Passey's, I made one final attempt...."Hey President, can I extend?" He looked at me, trying to tell if I was SERIOUSLY joking, then looked back at the road and said, "No." Dang it.... can't blame me for trying. 

So we've been teaching the lessons to K. Douglas because she is getting baptized at the end of the month. She is 8 and her family has been members of the church for a while, but it has been cool for us to get to teach her just like her parents were taught a few years ago by missionaries. I remember when I told missionaries that I was going to Willcox, EVERYONE mentioned the Bushmans and the Douglases. They are amazing :) can't wait for you to meet them. They remind me of home. 

So mom, I am finally mejicana!! Hermana Tapia is the best and taught us how to make tortillas this past week!  It was super fun! I can't wait to show you when I get home :)  Also she said that when we come through, we have to stop by and she is going to make us tamales :) you will love her mom!

This was our last weekend playing at the Nursing home :(  All of our favorite residents have moved out because they are closing it. Breaks my heart to have to say goodbye. Gladys and Emma have been such a joy to be around. I will miss them like crazy.

So Thomas (former Elder Petrungaro) was down visiting this past weekend. SUPER weird seeing a former missionary, haha. Just a reminder that I also don't have that long until I'm in their shoes.

Well time to go!! Love you!!!!!!!!
Hermana Martin

Saying goodbye to people at Zone Conference

Making tortillas with Hma. Tapia

Final nursing home game night

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

November 2nd - Mercedes was baptized on Saturday!

It has been a crazy, awesome week! I am going to talk about the best part first. Mercedes's baptism on Saturday was so special. A lot of members in the ward came to support her. She kept saying that she couldn't believe that the day was finally here. She was just glowing!! After she was baptized, Hermana Evans and I just hugged her. I am so proud of her and the decision that she made.

At her baptism, I spoke on baptism and Melissa spoke on the Holy Ghost! She did such an amazing job! She is already a missionary :) I bore my testimony in both the Spanish branch and the English ward since it would be my last time as a full time missionary. Melissa went up after me. I had almost cried both times when I went up, but then when Melissa went up I just lost it. Between Merc's baptism and Melissa being so amazing, I am just cried out haha. All done.

Saturday was also Halloween. We went to the big Halloween party. I wore, on top on my missionary clothes, a nurse's cape from the 1950's that Tiffany Rios's mom let me borrow. Hermana Evans borrowed a hawaiian dress which could still have been worn as a missionary. Everyone really liked it. We were the judges of the chili cook off. I don't want to have chili again for a while haha, but it was really good! These people know how to make good chili.

Let's many things. The nursing home here is closing in December which breaks our hearts. Many are going to be transferred over to the 2 nursing homes in Benson. This upcoming week will be our last time playing Yahtzee and Dominoes with all our favorite ladies. 

We had exchanges this past week and I went to Pomerene with Sister Walter. I went on exchanges with her in January down in Sierra Vista and I also did exchanges in Pomerene this past January. Major deja vu haha. We had a good time. The highlight of the day was seeing Amy and her daughter Hailee. I taught them both when I was in St. David. Hailee was baptized in January and her mom is marrying a recent convert in the Pomerene ward and they are going to Utah for their honeymoon to pick a temple to be sealed in next year. Makes me so happy to see how much they have grown since I saw them last in February. 

Oh Wednesday, I spoke at Young Women's in Excellence at the church. The young men were there as well and there was a big carnival. I spoke first and talked about how doing Personal Progress helped me to grow and what I've learned doing it this time around. I have nearly finished and likely will before I come home! I have a lot of work to do though! 

That may be it....yea I'll leave it at that haha. Love you like crazy! Know that I am doing great and am loving every minute of the work. We are working hard and seeing miracles every day!

Hermana Martin

Having fun on exchanges in Pomerene

Pumpkin carving - Sierra's is the cactus one on the right


Mercedes' baptism

Hma. Evans & Hma. Martin - Companions for 3 more weeks!

Monday, October 26, 2015

October 26th - Working hard in Willcox!

Hello! This is your Willcox Sister Missionary checking in! Well this has been a week. I felt so ready last week to just get to work and see so many miracles BUT it was actually a really slow week and I was feeling sort of frustrated at the end. Mind you we still had over 20 lessons and have a lot of potentials, but I just didn't feel like we were able to do all that I had wanted. Then I remembered that Sister Malm told us last year to enjoy even the bad days, "because one day it will be your last, and you will be praying for one day more." A good or a bad day.

We started this week with Melissa serving a mini mission with us. She had a good time! I think haha. I sure hope that we didn't scare her away from serving a mission ;)  She said it is a lot more stressful and crazy than she thought. I remember thinking the same exactly thing haha.

On Wednesday we celebrated Elder Driaza's birthday. I made stir fry and Hermana Evans and Melissa made cheesecake. Elder McWilliams bought a pinata. Needless to say, he had a pretty great birthday haha.
Let's see....Oh!! Yes, I am more than happy to have gotten rid of the boot. It was a relief to hear that all was well and that I would get to finish my mission. I had felt like such a failure when I heard that I might need to go home early to get a pin put in. BUT I am ready to keep going strong :)  Feeling super blessed!

So Mercedes is getting baptized on Saturday!! She had her interview on Sunday but then Lisa (her mom) called and said that they weren't coming and that Mercedes didn't want to get baptized anymore. Hermana Evans was on the phone and was just freaking out! She asked why and then Lisa said, "Because we are pulling in right now." Oh man it was SO funny. They got us good. Merc passed her interview with flying colors and is so excited for Saturday!

Side notes for some pictures, we carved pumpkins with the Miller family last night and had a great time! Junior wanted me to carve him a Jurassic World one and then he painted it. We had a lot of fun! Another picture is of the elders pranking us and spraying us down with super-soakers that Elder McWilliams' mom sent him. We have fun haha!

So to end, this morning I was able to finish "Jesus the Christ." I remember trying to finish reading that book on several occasions before the mission and always just feeling unable to understand it. I have learned so much about my Savior and have been able to better understand the New Testament. I wanted to share 2 things that I was able to apply and use from "Jesus the Christ":

This is part of an email that I sent to a friend of mine on her mission when she was going through a hard time: There are some days when you just want to call your mom, or better yet go and see her; I'll be honest, it never completely goes away. I was reading in Jesus the Christ and I found something that I just love which helped me. In Chapter 21, it talks about Jesus Christ sending his apostles out to teach the word of God. "The duties of their special ministry were to supersede the love for kindred; they must be willing to leave father, mother, son, or daughter, whatever the sacrifice..." I feel that that very much still applies to us today, We must be willing to give up those things for a greater cause. You are doing just that :) Keep it up! You're doing great!

Another part is in Chapter 33 when James E. Talmage talks about the Atonement of Jesus Christ: "Christ's agony in the garden is unfathomable by the finite mind, both as to intensity and cause. The thought that He suffered through fear of death is untenable. Death to Him was preliminary to resurrection and triumphal return to the Father from whom He had come, and to a state of glory even beyond what He had before possessed; and, moreover, it was within His power to lay down His life voluntarily. He struggled and groaned under a burden such as no other being who has lived on earth might even conceive as possible. It was not physical pain, nor mental anguish alone, that caused Him to suffer such torture as to produce an extrusion of blood from every pore; but a spiritual agony of soul such as only God was capable of experiencing. No other man, however great his powers of physical or mental endurance, could have suffered so; for his human organism would have succumbed, and syncope would have produced unconsciousness and welcome oblivion. In that hour of anguish Christ met and overcame all the horrors that Satan, the prince of this world could inflict."  This really brought into light a better understanding of what exactly my Savior went through for all of us, but specifically for me. It helped me to better understand how great and unfathomable the gift of repentance really is in our lives. I'm grateful that this book was able to help me to come to that knowledge and better understanding. I don't feel though that I will ever REALLY understand.
Alright I'm calling it there! That just made my email super long haha my bad. Love you all so much and I will talk to you soon!!

Hermana Martin

Super-soaker fight with the Elders

Melissa serving a mini-mission with the Hermanas

Elder Driaza's birthday (above and below)

Carving pumpkins with the Miller family (above and below)

Some humor from Sierra!

Monday, October 19, 2015

October 19th - Another exciting week in Willcox!!

We've had a busy week, especially with x-rays and cat scans on the foot. Yeah, that has been annoying. But we were still able to have 27 lessons!

This week was the ground breaking for the Tucson Arizona Temple. President Uchtdorf was there and President and Sister Passey were on the stand with them. I will try to find some pictures online. It was super cool though and they started construction today. I can't wait to see it when it is all done!

Mercedes is doing so great! She is being baptized on Halloween. That will be such a cool experience for her and it will be on a day that she can remember forever! She had a great time at church yesterday and will be participating in the Primary Program next week. She said she already has her part down :) Lisa has been such a great support and help for Mercedes. Lisa came with us last night to a FHE that we had with Justin and Jocelyn Allred. Josh (Senior) taught the lesson and did so great! He will be a great missionary next year. 
Shelby Davis also came to church this past Sunday and to Mutual on Wednesday. She has been progressing so much and it is all thanks to Emma McBride. She has really taken her under her wing and we can see such a difference in Shelby. 

I will end with one really cool experience from this past week! Hermana Evans and I both followed a prompting to go and see a family and were able to share a conference talk with them. It turned out to answer a trial that they were going through that very day with their kids and it was just the coolest experience ever! I am so happy that even though we are blind to the needs of the people here that Heavenly Father truly answers their prayers. Matthew 6:8

Melissa is going to serve a mini mission with us for a few days this week! The Bushman's were so sweet and bought her a set of scriptures so she will get to break them in this week as a missionary!! So excited for her!! It will be fun. 

I am so grateful for all the work that is going on here in Willcox. I hope that we will be able to continue to see miracles every day. Love you all so much, talk to you next week!!

Hermana Martin

Hermana Martin and Hermana Evans

The DeBaun family decorated Sierra's boot for her.   :)

Monday, October 12, 2015

October 12th - Another transfer in Willcox!!!

Hello my amazing family! And I guess the few people who also read this on my blog haha. Not sure anyone even looks here anymore! But if you are still reading, I salute you.

Well, I guess first things first. Yes I broke my foot again. It has almost been a year since the last time, so I was due haha. I broke it playing basketball but then helped a family move for nearly 6 hours and just went on my merry way. When we came home, Sister Bushman pointed out that I was limping. I was aware that it hurt, but wasn't going to do anything about it. Well she had Dr. Bushman check it out and he said it was broken. I had x-rays the next day and they told me it wasn't broken. Dr. Bushman asked for the x-rays and then pointed to my 4th metatarsal. Wow, the break was so obvious. So now I get the boot again. And apparently, according to another opinion, I should be on crutches. We shall see. I am not about to give up my mobility. I am still driving haha, left foot! I have gotten a lot of practice with driving this way. It is so natural.

Well, transfer calls were on Saturday morning and I get to stay here to finish my mission!!     I am so happy that I don't have to go and do a one transfer and done somewhere else, that I get to finish strong here. 3 areas :) 13 companions jaja, I did not want #14. Can't wait to see what this last transfer will hold!
We went to the temple this morning with the Spanish branch. It was so much fun! I got to see Hermanas Garcia and Hubert! And Elders Oviedo and Elton! They came from New Mexico for Spanish day at the temple. Hermana Nandino took us up, she is so sweet!

So one quick miracle for the week! I did not save a lot of time for this email. Again. Next week I just really need to write this thing first. Well, we found a member here by accident and were able to go and visit with her. She recently moved into town.  We went to her house and saw that she didn't have any furniture. They were sleeping on the floor and it absolutely broke my heart.  I couldn't sleep well that night. I just prayed that somehow we would be able to find at least a bed for her. The following morning, we received the heartbreaking news that one of the less active members that I have been working with since getting here passed away. Her daughter asked us to come and help her box up her house (see broken foot story). Well we were doing that forever with our amazing elders here who came to help. At the end she asked if there was a place that they could go and drop off all the furniture that they didn't want to take with them. Hey!! Can anyone say 'answer to prayers'?! So we were able to get them a kind size bed with all the bedding for it, couch, glass table and chairs, TV, TV stand, a lamp for the living room (doesn't have light), and other blankets. It was such an amazing miracle that I will never forget!

Well I am gonna leave it at that! Love you like crazy! Talk to you again next week!!

"The field is white already to harvest"
Sierra took this picture at the Gila Valley temple this morning.

Emailing in her boot today.

Hermana Evans and Hermana Martin

You always gotta love a good "Elf" reference!
Especially one as true as this right now - Ha ha!

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

October 5th - Conference weekend!

Hello my wonderful family!!

It has been another great week here in Willcox! We had over 30 lessons again and we are nearly done with putting all the former investigator information in the iPads. That has been quite the challenge haha. But we are almost there! This is the last week of the transfers. I can't tell what will happen. I only have one more transfer and President Passey's email wasn't terribly comforting. If I get transferred out for my last, I do not know what I will do.

Maria and her family are all doing fantastic! They walked to the church for conference because their car had a flat tire. She did that with a 1 year old and an 8 and 9 year old. She is amazing and her faith is such an example to me. We do split lessons with her, where we have a Spanish member and one of us teach Maria and her mom while the other teaches the girls with an English member. It has been good for all of them! I watched Conference with them in Spanish while Evans watched it with a member in English. So fun!

Rex Allen Days was this past week which made it nearly impossible to find anyone. But it was fun! We went by the carnival between sessions. Hermana Evans and I got matching bracelets, foot long corn dogs, fries, and I also got a few things for you guys :) I need to bring you back something haha!! So that was good to find a few things. We met some members from Phoenix and had a great time talking with them. They were so inspiring and make me want to make these last few weeks in the mission my best!!!!

Conference was wonderful as usual! Minus the fact that the time for sisters to serve didn't change....I was honestly praying so bad for that. That was my last chance. I just knew that Elder Gary E. Stevenson would be called. He has always been one of my favorites and he was my only guess. I felt so inspired from conference and I am also excited to start "Ponderizing"!  My first one that I have chosen is Mosiah 16:9 He is the light and the life of the world; yea, a light that is endless, that can never be darkened; yea, and also a life which is endless, that there can be no more death.   I am excited! Wish I had started this at the beginning of my mission.

So excited that Melissa wants to move up to Utah! That will make going home a little less difficult, I will just take her with me haha! But she is doing fantastic :) she will be a great missionary.

Great to hear from you! Miss you like crazy!!!!

Hermana Marti­n

Footlong corndogs at Rex Allen Days

Matching bracelets

Helping Virginia decorate

Cute companions!

Thursday, October 1, 2015

September 28th - Brother McBride fake arrested us at dinner last night

Hello my wonderful family!!

Well I just spoke to you all on Saturday so I don't have too much more to say haha. That was one of the best days of my life :)  seeing all of your wonderful faces and having the opportunity to share my love of missionary work with the soon to be Hermana Marti­n la segunda. I can't wait to begin to hear about all of her wonderful experiences on the mission. I will miss her but it is so worth it. 

We were able to watch Elder Scott's funeral this morning. I am glad that he is back with his wonderful wife. I can't imagine the pain of being separated from her for 20 years. One of my favorite Mormon Messages has always been "Expressions of Love" and it is even that much more special now.

Since my first week here I have been wanting so bad to hit over 30 lessons. FINALLY that was able to happen this past week with 34 lessons!! 18 of which were with investigators and we still had 10 hours of service! We found 4 new investigators, one of which is married to a member and she is fantastic. She keeps all of her commitments and we are just so excited for her!

Melissa has been coming out with us like crazy and we went with her to the Women's Conference down in Benson on Saturday. I am glad you got to meet her and Sister Evans on the Skype call :) it made it that much more special.

The Women's Conference was amazing! What made it super special was that I got to see so many people from my old area!! It was a big reunion! Hermana Mayberry, Loretta Howie, Sister Merrill, and so many others! It made me so happy. Loretta told me that not soon after I left, she was finally able to quit smoking after 50 years and thanks to the missionaries that was possible. She is so amazing :) I also got to see the Stirlings. Jeff was baptized 2 weeks after I left the area. St. David was a short part of my mission, but still very special.

Maria and her family are doing amazing!! They came to Women's Conference and loved it! They also came to all 3 hours of church. She kept participating during the classes. Because of the Primary Program we were combined with English so I translated the whole meeting for them. I can't remember the last time I was so tired haha! But that was good practice for me. We may move their date up a week if they keep progressing so well!

Last night, after our dinner appointment, we had Brother McBride arrest us. Sister Evans’ idea, don't ask me haha. I let Graham (4) put the handcuffs on me which was actually fun haha. Pictures to come!

Okay my fingers hurt. I am not a fan of emailing on the iPads but the computers at the library aren't working today. Love you all and miss you so much! Talk to you later!!

Hermana Mart­in 

Picture Sierra took while Skyping her family last Saturday.  She was given
special permission to Skype home to say goodbye to her sister Laurel who left for
her mission on Sep. 30.  They will not see each other for nearly 3 years!  :(

Sierra giving Laurel advice 
(while both are wearing their matching "Hermana Martin" nametags)

Sierra being "arrested"

Sierra and Hermana Evans in the police car

Visiting with old friends while attending the General Women's meeting: 

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

September 21st - My Double Temple Trip Week!

Things have been going so well here and I couldn't be more excited about the work. I hope that President lets me finish my mission here. That would be the best! Things are going well with Hermana Evans and we are working super hard to try and get the area going strong! We started teaching English class this past Wednesday. I hope this will help us to get more investigators and less actives coming to church. 

On Tuesday we went with our Zone to the Gila Valley Temple and it was so wonderful! It is always such a great experience to be in the temple. Sister Thomas and I had a good talk outside, because she and I will be doing a session again in a short while when we go home. It is slightly comforting to see that I'm not along in this struggle with coming home. I just keep praying for the days to slow down but they never do. 

Mercedes is still doing super well. She was in Douglas this past weekend but we will be seeing her again tonight!

Okay!! Lopez family update! We took them to the church to do a tour this past Friday. On Thursday, Maria accepted a baptismal date for the 24th of October. Her 2 girls did as well, as did her mother! She has been sitting in on the lessons but did not seem to show any interest. Turns out she also wants to be a member of the church! Maria loves the church and loves how family oriented it is. She cried in the chapel and told us that she has never felt this way before. I am so happy for her! She told her brother (super Catholic) this past week that she is meeting with us and being baptized and he said he is going to disown her. She said she didn't care and she hopes that one day, he will come to church with her.  She and her family came to the branch activity on Saturday and had a great time! Her daughter got sick but her other one came to church on Sunday and had a great time. Hope the whole family can come next week!

We dropped a few investigators this past week and we are really working on finding those that the Lord has prepared. We are trying to develop more faith in the work that we do here in Willcox. 

Saturday :) it was one of the best days ever!! Thank you again so much for getting all those names for us to go to the temple. I haven't done baptisms in a year and a half and it was super special to go again. The reason for that was because Melissa came and did it for her first time, only 2 short weeks since she herself was baptized a member of the church. She did the work for some of my ancestors and also that of her great-great-great-great grandmother! There was such a special spirit in there and Melissa absolutely loved it. Carol was also there and we just got to enjoy the special spirit of the temple. She said she wants to go back very soon. 

Melissa also brought her 3 younger step-siblings to church on Sunday and they had a great time! They want to come again :) I hope that they will be able to come! Melissa is so strong and such a great example, not only them but also to us. The Preach My Gospel I ordered for her finally came this past week and she is already marking it up so much haha. She is amazing. 

Well I still have a TON of emails to respond to so I'm calling it there. Enjoy your last week with Laurel :)    I could not be more proud of her and her decision to go on a mission. I wish I could be there on Sunday at her farewell but I know she will do a great job. So happy that there will soon be 2 Hermana Martins in the mission field. Give her a huge hug for me! Love you!!!!

Hermana Martin

Group picture at the temple

Sisters picture (with an Elders photobomb)

Cute companions!

Sierra and Melissa at the temple

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

September 14th - Another great week here in Willcox!

Hello hello! Things are still going well here in Willcox! I don't have a lot to report on this week and I don't have a ton of time either. Using the iPad last week to email super slowed me down and I have a TON of emails that I need to respond to today!

Last P Day was great! We watched church movies and caught up on journaling. Last night I finished my most recent journal ( took a little less than 3 months ) so now I'll be starting my last one today! Can't even believe that. Maybe if I write a TON I can squeeze in one more haha.

On Wednesday we went up to the Gila Valley for Zone Meeting. Sister Bushman took us up again. She is the best! It is like living with your parents and they are just so beyond sweet. Can't wait for you to meet them. We were able to pay her back only a little this morning by digging up her drain and cleaning it out because roots had grown inside of it and were clogging the pipes. We had a good time! She called the elders and asked them to come do it. We were offended that she felt the need to ask the elders so we went and did it ;) haha!

Quick story from P Day. I was craving Honeycomb cereal and we did our shopping in Safford because they have a Walmart. Well I couldn't find any Honeycomb and I was heartbroken. Hermana Evans told me that I was blind and that she could find it. I told her I'd give her a dollar if she could find my Honeycomb. The picture attached shows what happened haha.

Melissa is doing fantastic as always!! She got her temple recommend on Sunday and we are planning on going up to the temple this upcoming Saturday so she can do baptisms for the first time! I am so excited for her :)  She got me a super beyond cute koala necklace this past week! This is why you don't tell people your favorite animal haha. But she is so cute :) Love her! Everyone in the ward has been so great with fellowshipping her, especially the Douglas family and the Bushmans. I am so happy to be here :)

So we've had great success with the Spanish branch this past week! We were able to have a lesson with L.C. who hasn't let missionaries in for who knows how long. She really likes us, especially when she found out that Zac was my cousin haha! (Sierra's step-cousin served in Tucson 2 or so years ago).  Also Hermana T. came to church on Sunday with her husband and her 3 youngest kids! That is the first time that has happened since I got here! We were so excited!

To finish out, I need to tell you about the Lopez family :)  We asked a less active that we were visiting before for referrals. She said her neighbor across the way didn't speak any English but was super nice. So we stopped by! We only have talked to her for brief moments because she was always busy. I honestly thought she was simply avoiding us, but now I know otherwise. She has a mom with terminal cancer who lives with her and who is also on dialysis and she is always running out helping her. Her father died in April of cancer as well. She has 3 girls, including twin 9 year-olds. We saw her twice this past week. The first time on Friday, we taught the Restoration and she told us that she knows all this is true and she wants to be baptized. I honestly feel like I have done nothing as a missionary. 
Maria, Melissa, and so many others have not been searched out, they have been put right in our path. I am so grateful that I get to be here to see the Lord do His work! This blessing has brought me so much joy.

Love you so much! Miss you like crazy and I hope that you have a great week!!

Hermana Martin

Here is how the cereal search story turned out!

Digging out Sister Bushman's drain.

We sent Sierra a family picture from our recent trip to San Francisco.
She sent me back this doctored photo with the title:
So the family is all back together again now!  Ha ha.

Sierra and her companion Hermana Evans