Tuesday, January 27, 2015

January 26th - Week 2 in St. David

Well, not a whole lot! And I've been responding to a lot of emails so I'll make this short and sweet. PS my momma is going home next week!!! Yea, Hermana Ramos finishes her mission :(   She sent her last email to me as a missionary. So sad. Love her so much and I learned so much from her. Super sad.

We went down to Sierra Vista for Sports this past week and...I may or may not have kicked an elder in the head. Backing up. So we were playing Ghost in the Graveyard. Someone hides and if you find them you need to hurry and run back to home base yelling "Ghost in the Graveyard!!" Well I was scared of opening the door to leave the home base so I may have kicked it open. And hit Elder Erikson in the face who may have been hiding behind the door.  (On a side note - Elder Erikson happens to be our home teacher Dan Ingersoll's grandson!  Nice!)  The next day his forehead had a huge goose egg. I'm dangerous. Enough said. I felt horrid! Never going to Sierra Vista sports ever again haha!

I did exchanges with Sister Walter on Tuesday and it was a lot of fun! She and I get along great. We went to see some less actives and a grandma was there from Mexico. AKA Spanish!!! I got to teach her the Restoration, she has un Libro de Mormon (Book of Mormon) and wants to learn more! Spanish win! Sister Walter and I also went out to Panda (They had a Panda there and I couldn't resist) and my fortune cookie said I was fat. Please put the picture on my blog mom for proof haha!!!  (Except she didn't send that picture - maybe next week.)

PS - Down in Sierra Vista you can see Mexico :) can't touch it, but I can see it!
We taught seminary on Wednesday about......(Drum Roll)....Missionary work!! Imagine that! And we are teaching Mutual this week on, yea you got it, missionary work. Should be fun! I've realized that my favorite people ever to work with are the youth. Hands down. I've been really trying to do that here. I even have a young woman who is opening up to me after several years of missionaries. She and I are already really close :) she is great.

So I was at church from 7:30 until 4 on Sunday. 2 ward councils and 2 wards. Oh man, that was a new experience. Now I understand better how dad feels. Poor guy.

I had a freak out moment yesterday!  On Sunday(Jan. 25th) there was a missionary farewell and homecoming and I came to the realization that it was exactly 8 months  since I had given my farewell talk (May 25th) and at the same time exactly 10 months until I go home (Nov. 25th). It was a weird, sick, horrifying moment for me. Yea, can't even describe it. Not cool! From this point forward I'm just saying to everyone that I still have a year left haha.

We went hiking this morning Chiracaqua (Chiricahua) National Park (Monument) this morning and it was so beautiful! Pictures to come :) and I'm out of time! Okay, love you all and I hope to hear from you all soon!!

Hermana Martin

Exchanges with Sister Walter

Hiking in Chiricahua Nat. Monument - looks like Arizona's version of
Balanced Rock in Arches NP.

Scenery in Chiricahua NM

Sierra and Hermana Blackford 

Monday, January 19, 2015

January 19th - First week in St. David

Hello hello.

I have been spending this week going through culture shock. Yes, being in an English area does that to you! I thought about writing this email in Spanish because I take every opportunity to try to keep my Spanish up. Then I remembered that my dear friends from El Dorado (hopefully haha) still read my blog and I don't want them judging my poor Spanish ;) and so this is in English still. There actually is no longer a Spanish group here because they all went less active. We are teaching everyone we can in Spanish. 4 lessons this past week; not bad for an English area.

So like I've said, I'm in St. David, population 2,000. HUGE change. I also cover Tombstone which is a tourist attraction really but there are a handful of members out there that we go see twice a week. Then the rest of the time we are in St. David. We work mostly with less actives. We don't really have an investigator pool right now but with 70% of the town being members, and really spread out as well, there isn't really an effective way to find except for through the members. The members love the missionaries and we are very well taken care of here. 

We went to the Gila Valley Temple on Saturday! The St. David Zone had already gone to the temple when I got transferred here. President let me choose to either go this upcoming week with my old zone or go on Saturday to a Spanish session. Love my old zone, but I jumped on the opportunity to do a Spanish session, and I'm so glad I did! Walking in, I heard some people talking in Spanish behind us. I turned and I just could not believe my eyes! They called out to me and I just started running! 4 hermanas de El Dorado (4 sisters from El Dorado) :D   Hermana Duarte, Hermana Garcia, Hermana Ruiz y su hija (and her daughter) Rebecca :D Estuve tan feliz! No pude creer mi ojos (I was so happy!  I couldn't believe my eyes)  :) Fue tan especial (It was so special). Loved the temple and then after, these dear sisters took us out to Chinese Food. It was such a tender mercy and an answer to my prayers. I have had a hard time leaving my home there in El Dorado. Less than 5 days after, He gave me a little piece of home :) 

Well, I think that about does it! I am meeting some pretty amazing people here in this area. I love the many people I am getting to meet and I hope that I can help this area to grow.

Hermana Martin

Sierra with the 4 El Dorado Branch sisters she ran into at the Gila Valley Temple

Sierra is in a rural desert area now!

"This is where I hang out every night!"   :)

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

January 12th - Leaving El Dorado and going to St. David

I have never been so emotionally drained in my life. And I thought the MTC was bad!!! Leaving El Dorado has been one of the hardest things I have had to do in my life. I am sitting at the Mission Home right now while my new companion, Hermana Blackford, gets an interview. She is a Sister Training Leader. Her companion just went home this morning and I am taking her spot. Only trio in the mission field so instead of putting me in another Spanish Branch like we expected I am going out to St. David to serve in 2 English wards. St. David is 70% Mormon so I'll get to feel like I'm back in Utah :P   Weird. Hermana Blackford is also a Spanish sister so that will be nice to have someone to practice with! And there isn't a Spanish branch out there or group so I'll be teaching some Spanish still :) excited for that! I can't wait to see the adventures that lay ahead.

My time with Hermana Sutherland and Hermana Hubert, although very short, was very special to me :) I love them both so much and I know they will both take care of El Dorado for me. Over 6 months, 6 different companions, and countless memories, I can't believe still that I've left there. It really was my home and I have loved my time serving there.
This past week has stayed busy and I thankfully was able to see just about everybody. Usually people have the Monday before transfers to do that so we tried really hard to get everyone in before I left.  Seeing Hermana Maciell yesterday morning and playing viola for her one more time was so precious. I just love her with all my heart and I hope that I come back to the Tucson area soon so I can go visit her. I'll send pictures of all the people that I was able to go see before I left. I can't even begin to list them all haha. I seriously have a new family here! It is so crazy!

Yesterday at church, Samantha and I played "Joseph Smith's First Prayer". It was so awesome that she and I were able to get that together before she left :) It was so amazing that I was able to be her companion for a week and all the times she and I got to teach together. She is going to continue to be an example to the girls there and I can't wait to see where she gets her mission call to :)

Oh man, where do I begin talking about the amazing members I just had to leave behind! Saturday I said goodbye to Maria Garsia. We've made plans for in the future for her to teach me how to make tamales :P   Super excited for that. Also I did Personal Progress for the last time with Alexa and Paulina Hernandez. I love them both so much! I've loved my time with those two! I can't wait to see all the amazing things they do in the future :) I also went and said goodbye to Yhovany and Cindy. I hope their reading in the Book of Mormon together will continue to strengthen them :) I also went and said goodbye to Israel and his family :) they are doing well and I am glad that he will be going to the English Ward to be with Ricky. I also got to say goodbye to la familia Larese y President y Hermana Gomez. It was a really busy Saturday but really awesome :) we also went to the baptism of Jade Romero. Super strong spirit there :) they are an amazing family.

Sunday after my last dinner with the Romero family, I went and said goodbye to the Pineda family. Mel and Z (their girls) weren't there :( but I'm still glad I was able to go by and say goodbye to them! Then I went and said goodbye to the Minch family. Best Ward Mission Leader ever! Seriously he was so awesome. I hope I have others just like him. His family is so adorable! Miss them already. I then went and said goodbye to the Medinas. I can't say more than that. I was such a wreck! Oh my goodness. They just adopted me when I came in and I always felt like I was home with them. I just cried and cried and I couldn't say goodbye. It was beyond hard!

I then went and had my last scripture study with Sonia. Since she came to General Conference last October, she has only missed church 3 times! She has been teaching the Sunbeams every Sunday for the past 2 months. I love her so much! She came over this morning with pancakes saying I needed to eat. Made me cry it was so rough! Don't even know how I can leave these wonderful people.

Well I better leave it at that, but here we go to area #2! I'm excited for a new adventure. Love you all and miss you! Talk to you soon!

Hermana Martin

Saying goodbye to the trio with Hma. Sutherland and Hma. Hubert

Hmas. Sutherland and Hubert signing Sierra's quilt

Sierra's new companion, Hermana Blackford

A view of Sierra's new area, St. David

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

January 5th - Happy 2015!!!

Yea, can't believe that it is a new year! I have no idea where 2014 went. I am praying that this time will slow down a bit. I don't like how fast time is flying! PS I forgot my planner so I'm going to try and remember everything that happened this past week!

First and foremost, Yhovany was baptized on Saturday! (See Giovanni earlier in the emails, yea I didn't know how to spell his name correctly until the baptism, how embarrassing!!! Tengo tanta verguenza por eso). He has such a strong spirit!  Seeing him at the baptism just brought me to tears. He pulled me aside before his baptism and told me I had been an answer to his prayers and we were just both crying. Oh I am so happy for him. I will always remember the amazing people I've seen come to baptism over the past 6 months. Oh and guess what, Samantha (Sierra's one-week temporary companion) brought 4 of her friends from work to the baptism!!! 4!!!!!! The elders gave them a church tour and 2 are reading the Book of Mormon and want to learn more. Talk about a prepared missionary right?! :D   She turns in her papers in February!!!!!

Almost forgot!! Day #2 of Hermana Hubert being here, she pulled a me! Like daughter like mother. Thankfully hers was only a sprain. She used my crutches the first 2 days and then just walked it out. She is running now haha!!!!

New Year’s Day we had mission unity with all the missionaries! We got to play cards (which isn't allowed except for today!) and a 30 minute Egyptian Rat Screw game with 5 Crowns cards was won by yours truly! Oh man it was intense, but awesome :P

We woke up New Year’s Day to snow!!!! Yea, talk about awesome!! I just ran out and laid in it haha! Every few years it shows up. I prayed for snow and God just proved that he loves me most :D It was gone in an hour or two but hey, so worth it!

We've been doing Personal Progress with the Young Women and I've almost passed off Virtue and Individual Worth!  I've loved doing it with them! Challenging Paulina and Alexa Hernandez to bear their testimonies with us, a beyond powerful FHE with the Navarros :) Yadhira is such an amazing young woman, and we have FHE with the Barredo's tonight from Ana Sofia :D Been super fun! 

Let's is awesome! Hermana Hubert and I get along so well! Plus Hermana Sutherland is just the perfect example of a Sister Missionary for both of us :) we've been an awesome trio! I'll be sad to leave next Monday :( President will be calling us later this week to give us details on everything. AKA I still don't know where I'm going. He said I won't go far so I probably will be staying in the Spanish Zone which would be awesome. So either Sonora, El Rio, or Los Reales. Vamos a ver. (We'll see)

Well....I think that about does it! I know there is something else but I don't have my planner so it makes it difficult to remember everything. Love you all so much! I'll send baptism pictures next week. Hermana Sutherland's camera is in the apartment with the pictures :( next week!

Hermana Martin

Oops!  More injuries.

New Year's Day snow!!!!!!

Thursday, January 1, 2015

December 29th - My Awesome Christmas Week!!!

So awesome talking to all of you! Skyping would have been great but I kind of liked hiding on my end of the phone. Glad you enjoyed talking as much as I did :) Christmas was a lot of fun talking to you all! I miss you all like crazy. I was hoping to see pictures on here from Christmas!! FAIL!! New rule. I don't send pictures if I don't receive pictures from you. If I have to come home to not recognizing people then you will have to have the same with me ;) just saying haha! Love you.  I hate admitting that hearing Bryant's voice brought me to tears. He sounds like dad and it was just a hard reminder of what I'm missing. I loved hearing about everyone's adventures though :) so awesome!

We've spent the Christmas season playing violin and viola for different members and investigators. It has been really fun bringing the joy of Christmas to others :)  We even played in Sacrament Meeting yesterday!  I'm not going to talk about how we did haha. We definitely needed more practice time. That is all.

Giovanni came to church alone on Sunday because Cindy (his wife/member) was sick. So awesome to see how dedicated he is! Interview is tomorrow and baptism on Saturday :) I can't think of a better way to leave my first area. El Dorado has been nothing short of home the past 6 months. I wish I could be here my whole mission but sadly that won't be possible. We don't know when or where I'll be going. I have at least a week but probably not much more than that.

We went to the airport today to pick up Hermana Hubert! She is from Alpine, UT :)  Straight from the snow to Tucson. She says it is hot here. I'm still cold. I think I may be in trouble next year haha! She is so awesome! She served 1 transfer in Peru and then got super sick and had to come home. After a semester of recovery at BYU she is now getting to party it up here! Her dad was President Passey's 2nd to last companion on his mission. Small world! We went out to lunch with them and then did training in our apartment! So glad it was clean. He also liked my President Uchtdorf shirt haha!

This week we are doing Personal Progress with every Young Woman in the branch. We've been really focusing on them lately and how we can help them to grow in their testimonies and help (hopefully all of them) to serve missions one day. I love working with them and it has been such a testimony to me on how Personal Progress has helped me to be where I am now. Love it! Almost done with 2 of my Values ;) check it!

Well, I'll leave it at that! Love you all so much! Hope you had a great week, and I shall talk to you next year! ;)

Hermana Martin 

Sierra's Christmas morning

Apparently it does get cold in Arizona!

Hermana Sutherland, Hermana Hubert, and Sierra - in a trio again!  (for a week anyway)