Tuesday, August 25, 2015

August 24th - Finally finished writing this beast...sheesh

Hello hello! I do not know how it is Monday already. This is the last week of the transfer too! We are getting calls this Saturday to see what to expect for next transfer! Since we have both been here for 2 transfers I really am unsure what is going to happen. 
On Tuesday, we and the elders here were picked up in Willcox by the Assistants and the Passeys to go to the Zone Conference in the Gila Valley which was with our zone and the New Mexico Zone. I played the Arizona Tuscon Mission song for the conference haha, I haven't played it since last October. The Conference was great and I learned a lot. I really am working on making sure that the Atonement is brought up in every lesson. Great trainings, and then from there we went on exchanges! I stayed in the Gila Valley with Sister Thomas who will be my airport buddy when we come home haha. Right before leaving I realized I still had the keys to the truck. I ran them to the elders and told them to give them to the sisters in Willcox, once they realized that they didn't have them (because I am super hilarious). This is a critical part of the story that will be coming later.
We had great exchanges and there I met their 16 year old investigator Sheryl whom they had talked about in a Zone training a few weeks ago. At the beginning I just asked her question after question. Eventually we were able to learn that her father died when she was 7 and it had hurt her relationship with God and she didn't feel like she was receiving answers to her prayers when she asked about her dad. We were in the chapel for the lesson and I played "Families Can Be Together Forever" on the piano and she was so touched. We ended up having an AMAZING lesson with her and she really wants to be baptized :) 
We had a fun 2 days of exchanges. Between finding a scorpion under my desk, getting our trunky calls together (which made us both want to cry) (she is talking about the phone call with her travel info for coming home in November)and just teaching a lot of lessons we had a good time!
So we headed down Wednesday afternoon to exchange back and the sisters were there at the meeting spot but Hermana Whetton had brought them. I was confused but then was told that the other sister had forgotten her Tiwi card and so she couldn't use the car SO the past few days they had been needing to get rides from members. Sister Kiesling, Sister Rios, Sister Jocelyn Allred, and now Hermana Whetton. Wow, they had been through quite the adventure.
Hermana Whetton took us home and when we pulled in, Hermana Garcia said, "no tengo las llaves" (I don't have the keys). Going back to my story from earlier, I thought this was payback for my joke played on them about the keys. I told her "very funny" and such but then....I realized she was serious. Our keys were with the other sister back up in the Gila Valley. Yep....SO we called Sister Cadaret who was supposed to come with us to an appointment in 10 minutes and asked her to come pick us up! She was such a life saver that evening. The sisters weren't answering so we just went to work haha. They eventually did answer and Hermana Whetton went up AGAIN and got our keys for us. I have no words to describe my gratitude for all the amazing members here that helped the other sisters out and me too when we were in a tight spot. We are very very blessed missionaries to be among such great people We saw 2 families with Sister Cadaret before we went with her to her house because she also was making dinner for us that night! She then also took us to the church to get our keys from Hermana Whetton and then took us to our home. So so grateful for all the help. Glad we survived that day!
The car fun continued when on Thursday the elders called to see if we had jumper cables. We didn't but we found someone that did. We went to their rescue but the cables didn't do anything. Then the elders remembered that they had been going with the gas light on for quite some time now. Yep! We went and got them some gas and that fixed the problem! Bless their hearts. That is all I can say.
Well the next four days after Wednesday I don't really have much to report on. Hermana Garcia was sick and we spent the majority of the time at home. On Saturday we spent pretty much the whole day there. It was honestly a pretty rough day on Saturday(Saturday also happened to be Sierra's birthday.)  We had a whole day filled with lessons and I had to call and cancel them just like Thursday and Friday. I got to spend my birthday watching Ephraim's Rescue and 17 Miracles, updating the area book, making phone calls, reading, and just being here haha. My goal for my birthday had been to find 3 new investigators. Next year! But the best part of the week happened on Saturday! Melissa told us that she knows that she needs to get baptized and she has decided to get baptized on the 5th of September!! Melissa is amazing! She has so much faith and a desire to follow the Lord. I know that it is no coincidence that sisters came here to Willcox right now in order to meet her :) Sister Garcia was sick yesterday and Melissa picked me up and was my companion and we went to have the lesson we set up with the Douglas's to talk about her interview and then went to 2 other homes haha. She is already a missionary :) 
On Sunday we had 4 investigators at church! 2 we found this past week. Liz and Shelby are so fantastic! I saw Liz drawing last Monday at a park and I felt strongly that we needed to go talk to her. Organized me thought, "We will be late for our appointment." Thankfully missionary me yelled from where we are, "Hey! How are you!?" Haha she is great and we are teaching her and her little sister. Her mom is a less active and it has been such a miracle that we have found them.
The other investigator that came was Kelly. We showed her "The Restoration" this past week and she loved it. She said she really needs a change in her life and she know it is no coincidence that we are here right now. She is really sweet and thanks to Josh Collins she had a ride to Church! He has also picked up Virginia for church. He was baptized earlier this year. Such a great missionary! 
Okay I need to stop writing! But I can't stop talking about this place. No one else is going to get emails this week haha oh man. Thank you so much for the birthday package :) I loved it! I waited until Saturday even though it was super hard. Sister Garcia made me...also the members took SUCH good care of me! Seriously I am so beyond spoiled. I want to spend all my birthdays as a missionary haha they make you feel so special. If only they knew how ordinary I am haha. They are the ones that are so amazing and make life such a joy.
Love you so much :) miss you like crazy!! Talk to you soon! 

Sierra with some of the "Golden" items from her birthday box.
Saturday was her "Golden" birthday because she turned 22 on the 22nd.

Scorpion she found under her desk.  Awesome!  Not!

Sierra on splits with Hermana Thomas.

Hermana Garcia and Sierra 
(must be P-day; Sierra is decked out in her Yankees gear.)

Beautiful Arizona sunset

Thursday, August 20, 2015

August 17th - Follow Weird Promptings!

Hello my beautiful family! Love you all like crazy. It has been an awesome week here and I just am loving it here in Willcox. This has been a week full of miracles and I couldn't be more grateful.

I'm going to start with my favorite miracle that happened on Thursday. We had dinner with Carole and her niece Melissa (our investigator). We decided to teach her about the Word of Wisdom and the Law of Chastity all in the same night (because we are crazy). We did and she was just so accepting! She said it wouldn't be a problem. We were about to leave when she said, "Wait, I want you to be here for this!" We then followed her to the kitchen. She opened the fridge and I thought, oh my gosh! She is going to dump out her iced tea! Instead she pulled out a cardboard box. Inside was wine that she had just bought last week. Through tears we all laughed as she poured it all down the drain. Melissa is amazing! Her faith makes me want to be better! She is such a strength to us and I feel so blessed to have met her. Can't wait to see all that Melissa achieves in this life :) this girl is on top of things!

On Tuesday night we had dinner with the Wyatt family. Chinese food :D  Pretty much made my life. Caden left on his mission Wednesday morning. We got to be there when President Nolan came and set him apart. It was super special, and it meant a lot to me to be there because I won't get to be there for when Laurel is set apart. I'm not crying (which means she is )  ...ah, it kills me to miss out on this special time in her life but I will definitely be there in spirit for all the excitement. I am so excited for her and know that she will be the best Hermana Martin ever!

We started helping out at the food pantry this last week, it is a lot of fun! We are going there every Wednesday. Between that, volunteering at the Rex Allen Museum on Friday and playing games at the nursing home on Saturday we were able to get 8 hours of service! Yet still had time for 26 lessons. Been a busy week for sure but amazing as well!

While in an appointment with Jeff and Melanie on Thursday, I felt this very strong prompting to ask him for a referral. I decided to wait until the end. Well, you know my brain; we left and I was already going down the stairs when a voice said to me, "Did you forget something?" I ran back and asked him if he knew anyone we could visit or who needed a message about Jesus Christ. He then gave us his sister's address and upon finding her we found out she had been baptized 4 years ago and really needed to talk to us. From this referral though we have found 2 missing less actives, 3 investigators and a few potentials because of being in that area. This truly is the Lord's work.

2 more quick miracles. We went to speak at a baptism for First Ward and I also got to lead the music. Well turns out the boy is Anna's son! One of our less actives that went MIA recently. We were able to reconnect with her and we are going to go and see her today! Last miracle is funny. So while driving along the road, I saw a man carrying a boy chasing after a hat (it was really windy yesterday). I then slammed on the brakes and backed the car up. The man was already to his hat, but I just knew we needed to talk to him. Hermana Garcia thought I was crazy haha. We talked for a bit and then got out of the car. Jesus is the nicest guy and really wants to meet with us! He works for some members up in Bowie on the Pecan Orchard. We are seeing him Wednesday :) following promptings this week has brought us much success.

Love you so much! Great to talk to you :) Hasta luego!

Hermana Martin

Melissa pouring her wine down the drain.
This show of faith definitely impressed Sierra.

Picture sent to Sierra by one of her cousins.

I shared with Sister Bushman my favorite quote and she had her
daughter Holly make this for me for my birthday!! 
She is so cute and thoughtful!!!

Monday, August 10, 2015

August 10th - Another great week here in Willcox!

Okay I'm writing fast. Somehow in my head I had already written and then it just hit me that I hadn't yet! Fail, I know. We'll see how I do!

We had a great week! We've been getting up at 5 am to do exercising at the church at 5:30 with Sister Romney, Chaffey and Hermana Tapia. It has been a lot of fun and I really can feel the difference! I am trying to lose the wonderful 7 lbs that have become my testimony of the amazing food here.
On Tuesday the elders called and asked us to come and help a family move. We showed up and a short time later they had to leave for a meeting and then never came back. We helped them move for nearly 5 hours but they gave us money for food aftewards so it was so worth it!  Haha!!

Jeff and Melanie are doing great! were able to find Melanie a job with a member of the Spanish branch at the orchards. On Saturday they came over to dinner with the Romney family. They had a great time and so did their girls! They both came to church on Sunday.

Melissa also came to church for her first time :)  On Saturday we showed her around the church with Sister Bushman. We ended in the chapel and I played "I Am a Child of God" on the organ. I picked the organ up like 2 weeks ago and have really enjoyed it! We then went back to the house for lunch that Hermana Garcia and I did. I love Melissa so much :) I feel like she and I just get a long. I can't wait for you all to meet her in December.
On Sunday we had 9 less actives at church and 3 investigators. It was awesome! Hermana Garcia and I had to split up so she could sit with Virginia and I sat with Jeff and Melanie. Tiffany Rios and her mom came for Elder Caden Wyatt's farewell. He has done so much missionary work with us and we'll be sad to lose him. Brazil is super lucky though! We'll be at his place on Tuesday for dinner and we'll be there when he gets set apart.
We went on splits on Saturday. Sister Jocelyn Allred came with me and we visited 2 less actives and Hermana Garcia went to San Simone with Hermana Whetton. They found a less active family that Brother Bushman contacted and also a new investigator.

Okay that is all! Gotta go! And sorry I didn't take a single picture this past week. 26 lessons though :P I've been busy haha.

Love you! Talk to you next week!

Hermana Martin

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

August 3rd - "First Female LDS Missionaries in Willcox in more than 15 years"

Hello my amazing family :)

I'm glad to hear that you were already able to see the article that was put in the Range News here about the missionaries here in Willcox! Sister Bushman came up with the idea and then she and Brother Bushman talked to Ainslee who works there and she said it was okay! I wrote the article and we roped the elders to come with us there for the picture haha. It is funny to hear all the members tell us that they saw the article. If they all saw it, then how many others did?   :)   Really hope we are able to open some doors because of this fun finding idea! Now I can say I'm a published writer ;) only kidding haha, but this really was a fun experience for the missionaries here.

When I got Grandma's letter last week and she told me that Gage was getting baptized on the 1st I was so happy for him :) love all my cousins. Can't wait to see pictures and hear all about it. I hope that he got the letter that I wrote for him on time!

Sunday was awesome :)  One of our investigator families came to church! This was for English. They had a good time and the Romney family invited them to dinner on Saturday with us! Everyone was so welcoming to them. We have a great ward here.
Hermana Tapia gave the class in Relief Society! At one point we were talking about visiting teachers and she brought up how her rescuers were the sister missionaries :)  She also talked about it in sacrament meeting. Oh I just cried, both times. I love her so much and she has such a beautiful testimony. I cannot wait to see all that she accomplishes! She is such a strength to her family and the branch.

I was able to meet one of my cousin Zac's friends this past week. Her name is Iza! She came to the Spanish branch today and gave her testimony for the first time in Spanish. She is moving up to Tucson to where El Dorado is at. She wants to go to the Singles Ward but I told her if she wants, there is an AMAZING Spanish branch there! Shout out to El Dorado! Miss you!!!

Mom I got your package!! You are the best :)  The stamps, sweets and makeup are much appreciated haha! Now I can send letters! Oh...but first I'll need to write them. Haha, but on the bright side I’m just a few days shy of catching up completely on my journaling! Yea I failed really bad the past few weeks, but we have a challenge as a District to write every day so that has given me great motivation. 

Love you all like crazy!! Miss you  :D  Talk to you soon!!

Hermana Martin

PS Do you know where the phrase "Return with Honor" comes from? Sister Stuart (who recently returned home) showed me where! Ensign, July 1994:

Robert learned an important principle while serving in the air force.  Each unit in the squadron had a motto that had been chosen to inspire the pilots in their efforts. Our unit motto (displayed on the side of our aircraft) was ˜Return with Honor,” says Elder Hales.  This motto was a constant reminder to us of our determination to return to our home base with honor after we had expended all of our efforts to successfully complete every aspect of our mission. This motto has served as a reminder of the importance of honesty and integrity in his personal and professional life.  As a father, he put his arms around each of his two sons before they left to serve their missions—Stephen to England and David to Germany--and whispered, “Return with honor.”  He still refers to this motto today.

Holding a member's baby chicks.

The article that Sierra wrote for the local paper in Willcox!
(There's a link to the article online on an earlier post on Sierra's page)

One of Sierra's favorite quotes of the week

Looking cool driving through the desert