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!