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

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

September 7th - Melissa's Baptism week!

Hello hello! I will try and make this a long email but I have to use my iPad so we shall see. It takes is Labor Day and the library is closed. Oh well, we will give this a shot!

Monday night, Sisters Hubert, Beatty, Barton and Reed had a sleepover because of transfers. It was a lot of fun haha. Yay for the Bushmans having a house that can fit all of us!

Hermana Evans came in on the transfer van around 10 but Hermana Garcia did not leave until about 1 when the sisters came back. I had a great time with Hermana Garcia.  In the end Hermana Garcia and I ended up learning so much from each other :) I do miss her and I hope she is doing well out in New Mexico.

Hermana Evans and I have been on fire! We worked crazy hard! On Tuesday alone, even with it being transfer day, we had 6 lessons and 4 were with investigators with members present. And that was only our first day haha. We are on fire. We found a new family. La familia Romero. The daughter is a little younger than me and has a 2 year old and is really interested.
So as you already know, Saturday was the big day! Melissa was baptized at 2 by Brother Bushman. It was such a special day! She had a lot of family come and a lot of members came to support her too. I am so grateful for such a strong Ward here that is just beyond wonderful. It was a very special day, as was Sunday when Garrett Douglas confirmed her :) I will never forget this weekend.

Some other fun things happened on Sunday! First of all, I got to see Hermano Medina!! He came down with Presidente Burrola to do some things on his ranch. It just was so great to talk with him again and spend time with him :)  When we come and visit in December we will be with him and his family like every single day haha. Also the pianist couldn't come so I was asked to play. Just for fun, I played the organ! First time ever and it didn't go so bad! Mom, I would love for you to teach me after the mission :) please and thank you!  Last of all, Mercedes came to church for all 3 hours and accepted a new date for Oct 10th!
Also, Sunday marked 6 years since my accident. Can you believe it has been that long? It was great to remember how blessed I am to still be here and for the hand of the Lord in my life. I know he takes care of each and every one of us. So grateful for all he gives me :) life really is so wonderful.

This morning we went out to Apple Annie's with the Bushmans. Lots of fun. Oh and earlier this week I helped Dr. Bushman kill a snake that got into the house. It ended up being a King snake....I felt bad. But it was in the house, it shoulda known better.

Well that is all! Survived the iPad haha. Great talking to you today, glad you all had fun in San Francisco....without me....anyways, love ya!  Haha.  Have a safe flight home!

Hermana Martin

Sister missionary sleepover!

Melissa's baptism!

Killing a king snake

Sierra loves running into old friends, like Bro. Medina, from her previous areas.

Sierra is hoping to prove she is taller than her "little" brother still 
(but she's not - he caught up to her while she's been gone!)

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

August 31st - Hermana Garcia is heading to New Mexico

We both figured that Hermana Garcia would be leaving. We got the call while leaving Melissa's home on Saturday evening. Elder O'Sheia called and said that Hermana Garcia would be heading out to New Mexico with Hermana Hubert, who I trained back in El Dorado in January for a while. I then got the news that Hermana Evans would be coming here from El Dorado and she was trained there by Hermana Hubert, meaning she is my granddaughter, haha! I am excited to see what this transfer brings. I have big plans for this area to continue to grow!

Let's see, my week. Monday we took it easy since Hermana Garcia still wasn't 100%. From there we went to work! We had 29 lessons this week with 19 being with investigators (12 members present). We have been working like mad this week, especially trying to make up for last week. 

I don't want to write a novel like I did last week haha. I left a lot of emails unanswered. So, Highlights!

I need to start of course with Melissa :)  She passed her baptismal interview this week and has just been doing fantastic! She is beyond excited for Saturday. She has not been getting great support from many family members and yet she keeps pushing forward and I just wish I could be as amazing as her. She and I had a great talk this morning :) she is doing superb. I don't really need to say much more than that haha!  For Melissa's baptism, we were able to get in contact with Thomas (formerly- Elder Petrungaro) who is currently living near Phoenix and he will be coming down to sing at her baptism! That will be a fun treat for those at the baptism and especially for Melissa. Making that day even more spiritual, if that is possible!

Cynthia and Nena came to church yesterday with their kids! It was Nena's first time to church in over 3 years. She said she just felt right at home and that she had forgotten what that felt like. We are seeing them again on Tuesday. They left church just glowing.
Do you remember Liz and Shelby from last week? Well they were in Benson this weekend and couldn't come to church, but we went over and saw their mom on Thursday. She hasn't been to church in who knows how long and really didn't want to. I felt inspired to show her the Mormon Message "The Refiner's Fire." At the end, I just told her that she needed to come to church to get that strengthening power of the Lord. The spirit in that room was unbelievable and in the end she said she would come for Sacrament Meeting. It was wonderful to sit with her in church and have Melissa on the other side of me :)  These people are making so many changes in their lives and I couldn't be happier.
We woke up Sunday morning to a note from Sister Bushman saying that Brother Bushman (Sierra lives in their home and loves them like family!) had been flown on to Tuscon by helicopter around 2:45 in the morning. He had blood clots and ended up having a heart attack. We have been very worried about him but some elders in Tucson were able to go up and give him a blessing yesterday and he will be able to come home today!
Let's see...other than that I don't think that I have anything to say! Haha! Things are good here and we're expecting another great week coming up! Talk to you again next week!!

Hermana Martin

Rex Allen Museum

Gladys and Emma - "Our Saturday night game buddies!"