Monday, September 18, 2017

The Book of Mormon changes lives.

I apologize in advance for the short email.  This week had it's ups and downs, but the weather is cooling down to the low 80's, which feels amazing!  We were able to have a lesson with our baptismal date, Alec, and his mom joined in as well, and we were able to put her on date for baptism for the same day.  We had a member there with us as well, which always makes the lessons go much better.

We had our last lesson with Robert, before we officially pass him off to the sisters in the area that he actually lives in.  He came to church in our ward this week too, as well as Xanthe, and Robert wants to move his baptismal date up!  He's so prepared.  The Book of Mormon changes the lives of people!

We recognize now that after these people are baptized, we're not going to have many people to teach, so we're getting rid of the problem before it happens.  We spent a lot of time finding this week, and we'll continue doing that.

We had interviews with President Henrie this week as well, and they were good, as usual.  Always learn some good things from him.  As always, we got to go out to lunch with he, and Sister Henrie, so we chose Stonefire.

We had a mall booth again, that same night, but not too much success this week.

Transfers are coming up quick!  Next week already, time sure does fly by!

I hope you all have a great week!

I love you all!

Elder Martin

A picture taken by a member with a Polaroid with expired film.

"Behold I am a disciple of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.  I have been called of him to declare his word among his people, that they might have everlasting life." 
 Mormon (3 Nephi 5:13)

Monday, September 11, 2017

Testifying of the power of the Book of Mormon

This week was a bit of a shorter one.  We spent a lot of time out of our area, so not as much was able to be done.  We had P-day on Tuesday, so we had a couple of hours at the end of the day was all.

Wednesday we had MLC, mission leadership council, which was a couple of hours, and so Elder Kerr and I were there, while our trainee's worked together.

We got back together right before dinner, so we didn't have much time then either.

Thursday was a good one.  We had a good district meeting about companionship unity.  We did some role plays to help with teaching skills.  We had a little bit to contact these two referral we had gottne, and then we were able to knock some doors for a little bit.  We also got the chance to go down to Studio City for a lesson.  Our investigator, Robert, lives down there, and we had permission to go down and do a lesson with him at the church in Studio City.  It was a really cool experience.  It was cool for Elder Nykamp to see a little different side of the mission.  Robert is praying now about when he should be baptized.  We had two dates in mind for him, and he's praying about which one is right for him, and he absolutely loves the Book of Mormon!  Can you imagine?  Someone going from Agnostic to feeling connected to God through the Book of Mormon?  No matter where your relationship with God stands, you can have the same results as you sincerely read and pray about the Book of Mormon.  That is probably one of my favorite parts of the mission: Testifying of the power of the Book of Mormon!

Friday we had a good day of proselyting.  We weren't able to find anyone new to teach, but planted some seeds.  We had a mall booth set up again, which is always (mostly) fun and a good experience.

Saturday we had another good, full day to tract.  We were able to teach and put someone on date for baptism, which we're excited for!  We talked with a lot of people as well, but no one added to the teaching pool.  We had the privilege of having dinner with the good ol' Aubrey family from back in the day in Saugus.  It was some good company.  I also heard that some team, named the Utes, won a game.  Someone may need to correct me there, I'm not sure.

Sunday was an overall good day.  More proselyting, talking with people.  We have a couple of return appointments this week.  We've got some good things rolling here in Wiley Canyon!

I miss you all!
Elder Martin

"The Book of Mormon will change your life."  Henry B. Eyring

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Heaven has come to the neighborhood

Hey everyone!  This week was a weird one, that's for sure!  There were two days this week where it was over 100 degrees, plus a fire, with rain as well.  Talk about bipolar weather!  It's been up to about 112 while we've been knocking doors as well, and swimming pools have never looked so appealing.

On Tuesday we were able to do weekly planning, and also stop by some people and knock.  A lot of those investigators we've found over the last couple weeks weeded themselves out.  That's what knockout is for though.  We were able to have a lesson with Robert and Xante again, and check their progress.  Xante is having a little bit tougher time now feeling the Spirit, but Robert is really progressing so well!  He was agnostic when we started teaching, but now says baptism is right for him.  This is a text thread from this week, it's both awesome and humorous:

"Hey, I prayed about the chapter.  I'm starting to feel more connected to the Book of Mormon."

"That's awesome to hear!  That's definitely God speaking with you, letting you know that 1. God is there, and 2. that what you're reading is true and really is His word, and this is the way to return to Him someday."

"Thanks!  Also had something interesting happen today.  I was work and I walked past someone's table and I saw they had a backpack sitting on the floor and it had BYU embroidered on it.  It seems like that might be a sign."

I guess that's one positive thing involving BYU, right?

Wednesday just involved a whole bunch of knocking.  We were able to find one solid potential, that already has been to church with a friend.

Thursday we had district meeting, which was good.  Afterwards, we were able to do an exchange with the Spanish elders in our zone.  I was with Elder Horrocks in Wiley Canyon.  He actually went to Viewmont, and played football there.  We get along great, for someone who went to that school. ; )
We were able to have a really good knockout.  Around 8:30, our appointments fell through, so we went to our complex, (over 500 apartments) and just walked around contacting everyone.  We met a really cool guy named Chris, who wants us to come back!

Elder Horrocks and Elder Martin

Friday morning Elder Horrocks and I were able to go out and knock for a couple hours in the morning.  We exchanged back and Elder Nykamp and I were able to have a good knockout and talk to some people who truly were prepared for the Gospel.  One specifically wasn't interested in us coming back, but we were able to plant the seed.  He was pretty ornery at first, but his heart was softened.  His time will come.

Saturday we spent a lot of time in the morning, again in the streets and on the doorsteps.  We knocked into a former investigator who is interested again and wants us to come back by.  We have as appointment with him today (Tuesday).  We were also invited by one of our investigators to come to dinner at his house.  He said he had a lot of family coming over and wants us to come.  He is a Hispanic guy, but wants to be taught and go to church in English, but his whole family was also Hispanic.  Probably close to 50 people there, with some guys with a grill making street tacos.  It was so delicious!  Our pool of people to talk to was limited because my Spanish is also limited, but we were able to talk to the few English speaking family members.

Dinner at Juan's

Sunday was really good.  We had our little meeting with President Henrie and the stake presidency, to help correlate how we can better help the members get involved with the missionary work.  It's so cool to see the love that stake leaders have for those in their stake and wards.  We had church, which was great and then some door knocking.  We were also asked to give a little training at the stake MTC (mission, temple courses).  It was a cool experience with the youth preparing for missions, to share and train on the importance of obedience.

Monday was Labor Day and not too many people were home.  We knocked mostly, and then had a big BBQ with the Patterson family in our ward.  They have 3 of their kids and their families in our ward, or the ward next to us, so it was good and big.

Today has been great so far!  There is a store near us that just opened.  It's the "Nike Clearance Store"- not just any Nike outlet.  But everything is so cheap.  It's basically last year's everything, for super cheap!  Looks like a good time for my self control to be tested.

"View of Heaven"

Working on self control?!

One funny experience from the week:  When we were at Juan's house for dinner with his whole family, who only spoke Spanish or very broken English, they kept asking if we wanted more.  I politely declined letting thme know I was full.  Hispanics always feed way too much!  (It's a good problem though.)  I told Elder Nykamp, next time someone asked, to say- while pointing at his food, "Quiero Mas."  Then the Hispanics were pointing where to get more food!  It was hilarious!

I love you all!  Have a great week!

Elder Martin

Fires, fires, everywhere

"We do not strive for conversion to the Church, but to Christ and His Gospel."  D. Todd Christofferson

Monday, August 28, 2017

The Gospel is something that brings only JOY!

Hey Ya'll.  Thought summer was over?  You thought wrong!  It's supposed to be near 110 this week...JOY!  Hopefully where you are it's a little better!  This week was great!

Monday night we had our normal meeting- it wasn't so normal this time.  Being split Zone leaders/trainers, Elder Kerr and I went to the meeting, and put our two trainee's together for the rest of the night!  They hadn't even been in the mission a week, hahah!  It was good for them though!

Not much happened on Tuesday, but on Wednesday we were able to have zone conference.  They are always great.  We had a really good training on church attendance, how to make it more effective throughout the week.  Side note, in our mission, we have what's called the "miracle hotline" and when we see miracles throughout the week, we text them to Sister Henrie and she puts them on a mass email so we all see these miracles.  Well during this training, we were aked to put a #PerfectlyPlannedParty on there, to see how many miracles came from this church attendance efficiency.

Thursday we had a really good full day of proselyting!  It went well, but it was best near the end of the day.  We had a lesson with Xante and her friend Robert.  We brought a member that fit perfectly, and the lesson went so well.  We asked the member, beforehand, to invite them to church, and she did.  They both accepted, so it was awesome!

Friday we had the new missionary training follow-up meeting thing, so we spent a couple of hours there.  Even though it's my third time going, I still learned something new again!  We were able to do another booth at the mall.  We were able to talk with a lot of really cool people.  We were able to snag this guy named Dezzy, and teach him a bit.  We invited him to flip anywhere in the Book of Mormon and allow it to speak for itself and see what stood out- he just happened to land on 3 Nephi 27.  We were able to keep teaching him, and eventually got a return appointment.  He said that if he could find out that Christ's one true church is back today, it'd be a miracle for his family!  So cool!  He doesn't live in our area, so we'll pass him off, but still such a cool experience.  You really can share the Gospel anywhere- someone's doorstep, or in a loud mall, they can still feel the Spirit.

Saturday was good too, not too much to talk about though.

Sunday, however, was awesome!  We were able to have Xante and Robert at church today for their first time!  It is always so cool to see someone experience this!  The members swamped them and helped them feel welcome and sat with them too!  It was also really cool to see the joy of Elder Nykamp.  Him seeing people make these commitments and coming to church after working hard getting them there- it pays off.  The Gospel is something that brings only JOY!

I'll give you some food for thought-

1) Look up Admiral McRaven- "Make your bed" commencement speech.
2) A quote from President Ezra Taft Benson, referring to the Book of Mormon- "There is a power in the book which will begin to flow into your lives the moment you begin a SERIOUS STUDY of the book.  You will find greater power to resist temptation.  You will find the power to avoid deception. You will find the power to stay on the strait and narrow path."

I know that to be true, I've seen it in my own life.  It is contingent upon you, and your serious study of the Book of Mormon, BUT that is a promise from a prophet of God.

I love and sorta miss you all!

Elder Martin

"The Book of Mormon will change your life...A young man or woman who knows and loves the Book of Mormon, who has read it several times, who has an abiding testimony of its truthfulness, and who applies its teachings will be able to stand against the wiles of the devil and that youth will be a mighty tool in the hands of the Lord."  
President Ezra Taft Benson

Monday, August 21, 2017

The Church is true. Just ask God.

I can't determine whether this week went by fast, or slow.  It was a good one though, nonetheless.

Monday we had a lesson with Xante, she was the one that called us after getting a pamphlet with our number on it, and wanted us to come back.  Xante had a friend there too, and we were able to teach both of them, and both are on date for baptism now.  The Lord is always preparing people!  We also had a ward picnic to end the summer, and that was good to talk with the ward a lot.  With us living next to the assistants, the departing missionaries were around us a lot, so Elders Clark and  Jensen stayed in our room their last night, reminiscing on the mission.

Tuesday we gotta say bye to the homies that were headed home.

Good bye Elder Clark and Elder Jensen

Then got the apartment clean and ready for the new elders coming in, and went and set up for transfers.  We had our new trainer meeting, so that was good, and then met our new companions.

Trainers meeting

Meeting Elder Nykamp

I'm with Elder Nykamp, from Holliday Utah.  My trainer, and my first trainee went to Skyline High, and Elder Nykamp went to Olympus, so there's some sort of rivalry there.

We were able to get right to work!  We had a good first knockout together, and Elder Nykamp is already in the swing of things, talking to people!  It's great!  We also had a lesson with Brother Patterson at his home, with a friend of his.  So it was neat for Elder Nykamp to experience teaching a lesson his first day, in a members home!

Wednesday we got our weekly planning done, which took a bit longer than usual, but it went well. We had another good knockout.  Not too much happened today though.

Thursday we had district meeting and were, able to recommit to be more diligent and always keeping our purpose as missionaries in mind.  We had a good role play, that we were able to apply right away after district meeting.  We had a lesson with one of our baptismal dates, but he doesn't have a desire and won't keep commitments, so unfortunately, we need to drop him.  We had a good rest of the day though, with some solid contacts!

Friday we were out knocking early, around 10 a.m.  We knocked for an hour and only had one person answer, but after teaching them about the Restoration, she asked for a pamphlet to talk over with her husband, and then we're coming back this Thursday!  No matter the time of day, it's always time to accept the Gospel.  We got stopped at a sobriety checkpoint too, and the cops saw us and said "Here comes trouble!"  and they shined their lights and only saw copies of the Book of Mormon and laughed and let us go.  It was worth a good little chuckle.


Saturday was a bit rough.  All of our appointments fell through, but it was all good, we are still up on our feet, moving the work forward!

Sunday was good.  We had such a good sacrament meeting on Temples.  Sunday school and Priesthood were good too.  It's always such a blessing to partake of the Sacrament, and start the week off on a good step.  It you allow it, you can have the Spirit to be with you more abundantly throughout the week, as you always remember Christ and his atoning sacrifice and keep His commandments.  That's such a blessing in my life!  We were able to meet Juan, one of our investigators, and reteach the Restoration and it's importance.

Cool little miracle, last week, Elder Hale and I talked to a lady in her car, sitting at the stop sign.  We taught the Restoration and gave her a pamphlet, and she mentioned how it wasn't a coincidence that we talked to her.  Sunday, we went to her house and followed up with her, to see if she had read yet, and she mentioned how God sending us to her door, was again, not a coincidence.  We were able to pray with her, and with tears coming out of her eyes, she committed to reading and praying that night!  How cool?  Miracle are everywhere!  They are wrought by our Faith.  I encourage you all to look for the miracles in your life as well!  I know you'll be able to see them.  The Church is true.  Just ask God.

I love you and miss you all!

Elder Martin

Mall booth

"These are your days- to stand strong as disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ."  
Neil L. Andersen

Monday, August 14, 2017

The Lord is always in the details and willing to help, if we put forth the effort.

Hello everyone!  This week the miracles started on Tuesday!  We went on exchanges with some Elders in our zone.  I stayed in Wiley Canyon and Elder Smith (Canadian) came with me.  We were able to teach a lot of people.  We felt to go by one particular investigator, but he wasn't home, but his little brother, who is 22 was.  We taught his brother and he was so receptive.  He prayed for the first time in his life in front of us.  It was so neat!  Such a cool experience and opportunity to help someone make that connection with Heavenly Father.  He is now praying whether he should be baptized soon.

Wednesday we had mission leadership council again.  Being that the building that holds MLC is our, we had to set up.  Beforehand, we decided to drop by an investigator that was on the way.  He wasn't home, so we just spent 20 minutes of so around the area and knocked a couple doors.  We knocked into a guy named Marcos.  We taught him the Restoration, but he was under the influence, however he accepted a return appointment.  He was a good guy though.  MLC was good, learned some good things!

We were paying attention to MLC, I promise!

Elder Clark- goes home this week. 😢😢

😭😭😭 Elder Jensen- goes home this week.  😭😭😭

Elder Nielson- goes home this week. 😢😢

We filled the font again for another baptism afterwards, too.  The zone is killing it lately!

Thursday we had another lesson with Matthew, one of our baptismal dates, and he's still good to be baptized soon, if he gets to church.  We had district meeting afterwards.  The last one of the transfer! We had a really good knockout, but nothing huge came from it.  Talked to a cool girl name Xante who wasn't too religious, but listened to us.  We left her with a pamphlet with our name and number on it just in case.

Friday we went to our return appointment with Marcos, and he kept it!  He was there waiting for us. That's something cool about the mission.  It solidifies the principle of not judging others.  He was under the influence when we set the return appointment, but still kept it, and read the pamphlet.  It's our privilege to go back.  We never know if they actually are ready.  Turns out, Marcos had a lot of questions, and when we invited him to be baptized, he was so excited and accepted without hesitation.  It's so awesome to see people want to change.  At the end of the lesson, he said "You're going to keep coming over and helping me, right?"  So cool to see the humility of someone who wants to come closer to Christ.

Saturday we didn't do too much.  We did have a BBQ with one of our investigators, so that was really cool.  He had us come over and he cooked us some good meat!

BBQ with investigator Bob

We also got transfer calls: Elder Hale is leaving and I'm staying.  I received a text from President Henrie that said "Elder Martin, call me."  He told me that I'm not only staying a zone leader, but that I'm training a new missionary too.  Last time a zone leader trained a new missionary at the same time, was two years.  Now there are 4 of us in the mission doing it.

Sunday was church.  Sacrament meeting was so good!  There were two Elders giving their farewell talks that leave this week.  They were both so good.  They had a lot of their non-member friends there as well.  We were able to talk to a couple of friends of these kids.

After church

Both families were hosting an open house later in the night for everyone to come to, so we went, again to talk and meet all the non-members.  We had a couple of really good conversations with some people.

At open house

While at one of the open houses, we get a call.  It was the girl Xante from knockout the other day. She said she read the pamphlet, and asked that we come back and teach her more, specifically about the Book of Mormon! The Lord is always in the details and willing to help if we put forth the effort. We also had a member text us saying that he just reconnected with an old friend, and set up an appointment for us to teach them in his (the member) home.  This new missionary is gonna be jumping in quick!

So far today, we've had a screw in our tire, so spent some time at Firestone, but decided to walk to the mission office instead of waiting.  We talked with a guy on the way named Miguel.  His car broke down so he had walked to AutoZone and got a new battery and was walking back, and we were able to teach him the Restoration and teach about the importance of the Book of Mormon.  When we got to the office, we ran in and got him a pamphlet in Espanol, and El Libro De Mormon.  We also got to witness Elder Nielson getting picked up by his family at the mission office.  Such a good missionary!

It's gonna be a great week with a new missionary!

I love you and miss you all!

Elder Martin

Overlooking Valencia

Brother MaCleod

Brother MaCleod  drew me in under 3 minutes...pretty crazy.

View from a member's back porch.

Elder Haws hates pictures, but we love Elder Haws

Elder Martin, Jeremy Reeves (priest in the ward), Elder Hale

"My brothers and sisters, the Lord's purposes are often accomplished as we pay heed to the guidance of the Spirit.  I believe that the more we act upon the inspiration and impressions which come to us, the more the Lord will entrust us to His errands."  President Thomas S. Monson