Tuesday, November 14, 2017

The thing to come after this life is eternal JOY

Hey everyone!  I hope everything is going well for everyone!  Life is unfair sometimes and seems really difficult.  I would just like to briefly share what I did at my farewell- when you are going through a trial of faith, we need to do the very things that helped us build our faith in the first place, but we have to immerse ourselves in those things.  We need to exercise faith in the Savior Jesus Christ and in His Atonement. We NEED to pray.  Read and ponder thescriptures, repent, keep the commandments, and serve others.  As we serve others, we're also often times the means by which their prayers are answered.  You never know the impact you can have by serving them.

We had a good week, this week.  On Monday we were able to get the crew together one last time and spend some time together.  Elders Clarke, Ballard, Nykamp, Kerr, Nielsen, and I all went to get some Korean BBQ and boy was that good.  We hit the lanes afterwards and bowled some games.  It was some good fun!  I stopped by the Smith family to say my"byes" to the ward.

Korean BBQ

Brother Smith and Elder Martin

Tuesday was transfer day and we had to set up all sorts of stuff for that.  Later on another Elder and I went to knock some doors while we waited for the new missionaries to to come in, and when the time came, we met our new companions.  I'm with Elder Howell, who is from Idaho Falls. #Mijo3. When we got back to our area, it was pretty late.  We stopped by the institute, because YSA life- and met some members and got our dinner there- haha.  We got back and started to unpack our stuff, it was good.

Elder Howell and Elder Martin

Wednesday and Thursday we did the things we needed to, to get things in the area under our feet, since we're both brand new to it.  We have had a couple of lessons with some people these two days and Friday as well.  We've spent a lot of time in people's homes teaching them the Gospel, which is great for Elder Howell!  His first couple tastes of the mission being in homes teaching investigators.  We've spent some time finding as well and have found a couple of new investigators too.

Saturday we had  a good long day of stopping by people to meet them and we've found some times to meet with people!  Things in this area are looking up! and we're excited!

Sunday was good.  We're covering two wards, so we spent Sunday in two wards.  In the family ward, it was the primary program, and the primary here is tiny, so it went real quick, and all the kids had multiple parts-haha.  It was good though.  There is always a good Spirit when the kids are singing those songs about Christ.  The YSA ward was good too!  After church we had a lesson with one of our investigators, named Jason and talked with him about forgiveness of sins and happiness.  Afterwards, we stopped in on a part member family and are going to teach the son and wife of this member.  I was able to testify of the Plan of Salvation on multiple occasions, which was awesome.  I have found, the more you share your testimony, the stronger it grows.

The thing to come after this life is eternal joy. And then shall it come to pass, that the spirits of those who are righteous are received into a state of happiness, which is called paradise, a state of rest, a state of peace, where they shall rest from all their troubles and from all care, and sorrow. Alma 40:12

The joy of the Gospel is knowing the plan that God has outlined for us.  I know God lives.  I know He loves us and sent His Son into the world to perform the Atonement for us.  With the Atonement of Jesus Christ, it allows us to be reconciled to God both physically and spiritually.  Spiritually so we can repent and be forgiven of our sins, and physically because he died and was resurrected.  Because of that, we too, can all be resurrected.  I love the joy the Gospel brings.  Like Elder Jeffrey R. Holland says,"if you need at this time, lean on and rely on me and my testimony of Jesus Christ and His Atonement."

I love you all!

#1077 #1241

Elder Martin

"I testify of the great gift which is our Father's plan for us. It is the one perfect plan to peace and happiness, both here and in the world to come." 
President Thomas S. Monson

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Book of Mormon Experiment

Haircuts #Missionarystyle

This week had a lot of down times, but in the working moments, it was really good!  On Monday it was preparation day, as usual.  We carved pumpkins and then got to go and find some new people and then dinner with our bishop.

Tuesday was Halloween and we did what we could to work.  We had to be in early though.  So at 5 o'clock, two zones got together and we had pizza and watched Meet the Mormons at one of the churches.  Then we had to be in our apartments at 7 for the rest of the night.

Wednesday we had MLC and had a good discussion as always.  Thursday was district meeting and then we spent the rest of the day finding!  Knocking doors and talking with those on the streets.

Friday, however, we were able to have a full day to work!  Right near the end of knockout, we knocked a door and no one answered.  As we were walking to the next house, someone came out of the garage.  His name was Lance.  Turns out his sister is a member in Utah and has talked to him about the church many times.  We had a really long conversation and it ended with him getting his quad (Bible, Book of Mormon, D & C, Pearl of Great Price) and having us mark multiple chapters for him in the Book of Mormon to read to help guide his family closer to God.  He really wants to become a member and receive the blessings and is willing to do what it takes.  His wife, however, doesn't believe in Christ, so that is his only hangup for now.  This guy is so prepared!

On Saturday, we did a mini exchange and I was with Elder Kerr.  We had a couple lessons, one with Vince and Megan that went really well and set some expectations there, but also a very sincere commitment on her end.  We also got a text from Juan saying he wants to meet, so we got there as soon as we could.  We had a really good lesson and were able to put him on date for baptism.  As individuals or family come to understand the Gospel of Jesus Christ, there is no doubt people want to follow Him by being baptized and living His Gospel.  We were able to have a good knockout afterward too.  We found a new investigator named Claira!  It also happened to be the day of transfer calls!

I was told I was leaving to a car area.  Wiley Canyon sure did treat me well!  I got a call from President Henrie a little while later releasing me as a zone leader with "great lamenting" and am going to be a trainer for the third time!  He's placing me in a place where we're doing a big social experiment that has to do with the Book of Mormon.  At the new mission president seminar in July, they showed a video (and then it got relayed to us to see) where a BYU professor and crew did a booth in 4 of the biggest cities in the world.  They let people flip open anywhere in the book and see how it speaks to them.  Our mission president got ahold of the professor and now will be having him and the crew come to our mission for this experiment and placed me here to help with the experiment when they come!  I'll be in a YSA for the second time, but will be in the valley!  Cal State Northridge, here I come!

I've spent some time packing, and today we're going bowling with some of the squad, then getting Korean BBQ!  I'll send pics of it next week!

I love you all!
Elder Martin

The ol' hand in the water trick. (it didn't work)

I got Elder Nielsen to wear the tie I've never had the guts to wear. #HomecomingTie

This is our good friend Dana.

"If you listen for the voice of the Father, He will lead you on a course that will allow you to experience the pure love of Christ."  Dieter F. Uchtdorf

Monday, October 30, 2017

Another amazing week

Hey everyone!  This week has been awesome!  The weather was hotter to begin the week, like up in the 90's again, but has since dropped, which is great!

On Monday we were able to play some good pickup basketball with the Elders in our zone.  We have a new one too, named Elder Erickson who just got here from the Madagascar mission.  After our activity, we had a really good lesson with someone named Lily, and her husband.  You may remember her from July-ish.  She was a miracle find that Elder Hale and I had, and we were able to get in contact with her again and meet in their home.  It was awesome, and the Spirit really did testify to her of these things.  She asked all about our missions to begin, and asked; "How can you sacrifice so much to come out here for two years, and I can't sacrifice one hour on Sunday to go to church?"  It was such a good experience!

Tuesday we had the usual.  Weekly planning.  At the end of the day, however, we were able to find a really prepared lady named Meta, in the parking lot at our complex and talked with her for about 30 minutes, and then to finish the night off, Elder Kerr and I were able to go to the other side of the valley, back to Saugus, to see the Mai-Reynoza family.  It was so great to see them!

On Wednesday we were able to do some exchanges with some Elders in our zone.  I went with Elder Smith and Elder Erickson in the Seco Canyon Ward.  We were able to have some good contacts, and also biked around a lot.  Thursday morning we contacted some more people and were able to have district meeting and also exchange back.

Elder Martin on exchanges with Elder Smith and Elder Erickson

Elder Nykamp and I were able to meet with Vince and Megan and we read over 1 Nephi chapter 8.  Lehi's dream- per Vince's request.  It went really well too!

Friday we had another exchange, this time it was with Elder Clarke and Elder Ballard.  I was with Elder Clarke in Wiley Canyon.  We were able to find 2 new investigators while we were together and put another person on a date for baptism.  He's a really bold missionary that I learned a ton from!

Elder Martin and Elder Clarke

We were able to exchange back on Saturday after some more knocking, and then our ward had a chili cook off and trunk or treat.  Some guy made a chili with a Ghost pepper, a Scorpion pepper, and the Carolina Reaper.  It was hot, to say the least.

Sunday two missionaries reported back from their missions in our ward.  It was cool to see.  One came home from Trujillo Peru, and the other from OKC, Oklahoma.  They shared experiences similar to ones that I have, or might face in my mission, but saw how they handled the situation.  It's always good to learn from everyone.  The lessons were on family history too, and we watched a video with some of the Apostles sharing stuff about family history, and promised some pretty cool blessings in doing family history.  I'd advise all of you to get involved!

A cool little side note, thought, thing.

"The nearer a person approaches the Lord, the great power will be manifest by the Adversary to prevent the accomplishment of his purpose."  Joseph Smith as quoted in "Life of Heber C. Kimball"

"Follow through; stopping at third base adds no more to the score than striking out."

Part of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is "Enduring to the End."  Do everything you can to continually come closer to the Savior.  Just know, the adversary is going to work just as hard on you.  But God WILL help you.  Have faith that He will.

I love you all!

Elder Martin

Elder Martin and Elder Clarke,  waiting for their companions in the Old Navy fitting rooms.

When your companion breaks someones decorations... Haha- not really broken, just knocked it down. 

"Our lives must be centered with exactness in Christ if we are to find true joy
 and peace in this life."  Richard J. Maynes

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Are we not all beggars?

I think the Dodgers must have won or something and headed to the Super Bowl!  It's been crazy here, and I can only imagine how much more crazy it'll get!  This week was a good one though!  We had a caramel apple bar on Monday for our zone activity and everyone loved it, thanks mom.

Tuesday we had our normal weekly planning, but later on, had a lesson with Vince and Megan in a member home, so it was awesome!  The Spirit is always so strong!  On Wednesday nothing particularly crazy or awesome happened.

Thursday we had district meeting, and it was a good one.  We talked about the doctrine of Christ and did some role plays on inviting people to baptism.  It was really good.  Afterwards, we had an exchange and I went with Elder Christensen, a new missionary, in his area.  Oh, and he's a Spanish missionary.  He's gotta learn by fire, right?  I certainly don't know Spanish.  We had a really good exchange and were able to teach a lot of people and find new investigators.  We invited someone to baptism too, and they accepted, it was awesome.

Elder Christensen and Elder Martin

Friday we were able to exchange back and do some good knocking and such.  We also had a mall booth set up and saw President and Sister Henrie there...they were having a date night and were in normal clothes...it was kind of like seeing your school teacher outside of school, you know?

Saturday was great!  We were able to do some proselyting in the morning and picked up a new investigator that way.  He also accepted a soft baptismal date, meaning he would, if he came to know it was true, but not a huge commitment yet.  No date in mind.  We also had two baptisms in the zone, so we had the chance to fill the font again.  At the end of the night, we decided to stop by a potential, we weren't able to contact with her, but we did talk with her mom and put her mom on a date for baptism.  It was awesome.  When you teach with the Spirit, and the Spirit testifies to these people, they cannot deny the truthfulness of these things and they see the need for baptism by proper authority.

Sunday was really good as well.  We had church and the speakers all did a really good job!  We did a little exchange after church- Elder Kerr and I hadn't had a lot of time to talk about the zone, being split-zone leaders, so we went together and did what we needed to, and also put in the work!  We found two more new investigators and put both of them on a date for baptism as well!  The Lord truly does prepare people and places others in our path.  Remember, President Spencer W. Kimball said, "God does hear us and watch over us, but it is usually through another person that he meets our needs."

I love this work!  I love the Gospel.  I invite all of you to look up "Words of the Prophet: Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, Are we not all beggars?"  and read Mosiah chapter 4 with it.

I love you all!

Elder Martin

"For behold, are we not all beggars?  Do we not all depend upon the same Being, even God, 
for all the substance which we have, for both food and raiment, and for gold, 
and for silver,  and for all the riches which we have of every kind?" 
 Mosiah 4:19

Monday, October 16, 2017

Still "Sunny California"

New investigator, Helga.

Hello everyone!  Hopefully, all is going well so far at the beginning of this holiday season.  It's still "sunny California" here, still hitting the 90's.  This week we happened to be out of our own area quite a bit, but still got some things done.  We had a short little lesson with our investigator Juan this week.  We were able to answer some questions he had, all through teaching the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  On Tuesday we had MLC with all the zone leaders and sister training leaders, and so we didn't get too much time in our area aside from a little bit of knockout.

Wednesday we had our weekly planning session and were able to plan for all of our investigators and the things we can do to overcome their obstacles.  We had a couple lessons in the evening as well and had a really good one with Vince and Megan.  Vince is the one we talked to in the parking lot one day and turns out he's a member, but his wife wasn't, so we've been teaching them.  We've seen her heart softened as she's read the Book of Mormon.  I've loved seeing this change in people throughout my mission.

Thursday was district meeting and Friday was interviews.  Those are both great learning opportunities to see what we can improve on and become better advocates for the Lord in his work!

Saturday we did an exchange with the Assistants.  I was with Elder Smith, in their area, and we were able to find and teach all day!  It was awesome!  We saw miracle upon miracle and were able to find a couple of new people to teach and also put 2 individual on a date for baptism.  It was a long, hard working day, but so worth it, as it always is.  We truly can find joy in the service of the Lord!

Elder Smith, after the hard working day.

Sunday was a great day!  We had stake conference and there was a visiting general authority for the Church.  Elder Adilso De Paula Parrella came and spoke.  (He also spoke in General Conference a couple weeks ago.)  We were able to get VInce and Megan there as well.  We had members all set up to come and fellowship and sit with them and everything.  Not only that, we introduced them to Elder Parrella and he encouraged them to act on their feelings from the meeting.  It was such a cool experience, I won't forget!

We've got some good things rolling here in the Wiley Canyon Ward and in the Valencia Zone!

I hope all is going well for you, wherever you are.

I love you all!

Elder Martin

The view from the balcony.

"The Lord will reward and richly bless you as you humbly and prayerfully serve him.  More happiness awaits you than you have ever experienced as you labor among
 His children."  Preach My Gospel

Monday, October 9, 2017

Naked...and afraid.

Hello everyone!  This week was a great one!  One thing I love about being a missionary is the constant Spirit that is around us.  It's wonderful.  This week was filled with Spirit driven moments and experiences I'm not going to forget.

We had zone conference on Wednesday, which was really good.  Right now in our mission, we have had 50 new missionaries over the last 2 transfers, so that is 100 trainer/trainees of the 130 missionaries in our mission- so zone conference was on some of the basics of our mission and our mission culture.  There were a lot of really good things talked about and reminders.  It's great too, because we do role play, and as you apply them, you really learn so much about what works, and what doesn't.  We were shown a video of Elder Bednar, and man, was that great!  Such a strong Spirit!  And we got flu shots while we were there, too.  I didn't even cry.

Zone conference

Role playing at zone conference

Thursday and Friday were some really good working days.  Doing what we can to find more people that have been or are being prepared by God to receive the fullness of Christ's gospel.  We were able to have a lesson with the two people that we're teaching that are on date for baptism too, and really helped them and cleared some things up for them as well.

Saturday was a really great day!  There were two baptisms in our zone, so we were in charge of filling the font. Then the time came, and we got to travel down to good ol' Woodland Hills to see Tabatha get baptized.  Tabatha is one that I had the chance to help teach while I was there.  It was good to see the other missionaries who had taught her as well, as well as the great ward that it is.  Elder Horito and I had the chance to be the witnesses for it, while Brother Shorey, the member that introduced her to the Gospel, baptized her.  Right after the ordinance, we had to scadattle out of there.  We then had to drive to Burbank for the baptism of our good friend Robert, who is the one that we taught up here in Wiley Canyon , but eventually passed off to other missionaries.  It was a great turnout for the baptism.  I had the wonderful opportunity to perform the ordinance for Robert, and when we got out of the font, he turned to me and said. "I feel that burning in my heart that everyone talks about."  It was so awesome to hear that!  He bore his testimony afterwards as well, and told his conversion story , how he came in contact with us, and then whipped of the Book of Mormon and testified of it!  What I felt was something similar to what a proud parent would of their kids.  It was so cool to see him go from agnostic to having faith and a testimony of Jesus Christ and the plan that God has for each of us.  I know the Book of Mormon can do the same for anyone who pursue's the course of reading it, pondering it's message, and then asking God if it's true.  IT WILL CHANGE YOUR LIFE.

Baptism of Tabatha

Baptism of Robert

Sunday was good, church was good as usual.  After church, we did an exchange.  I went with Elder Kerr's trainee, Elder Neilsen, and we were in the Valencia area.  We had a good knockout, until...we knocked a door that we both had a bad feeling about.  No one answered after 2-3 knocks, and as we were leaving, Elder Neilsen was almost to the gate when I hear the door open, and I turned around to introduce us, and it was a naked man.  Buck naked. He chased us off his property, yelling some very inappropriate things.  I didn't know what to think after, and Elder Neilson was scared for his life, I'm pretty sure.  What an interesting door...we had a good rest of exchange though.

So far today, we've got everything done that we've needed to.  We had a little bit of extra time, and after a lot of begging we went to take a picture in front of Magic Mountain, which is the Six Flags park out here, for Elder Nykamp and Neilson.  Little did we know, the road leading up to it, was just like Dodger stadium...the street turns right into the parking lot, where we were to pay $25.  Boy was it weird to explain to the lady that we needed to turn around.  Things are well though, so that's good.

We've got a busy week ahead of us this week, but busy is good right?

I love you all!

Elder Martin

Elder Martin and Elder Neilsen

Adding a 'Book' to the community library

Doodling while filling the font

" 'You could have give me diamonds or rubies, but nothing is more precious to me than this additional knowledge about the Lord Jesus Christ.'  How precious is the Book of Mormon to you?  If you were offered diamonds or rubies or the Book of Mormon, which would you choose?  Honestly, which is of greater worth to you? "  Russell M. Nelson

Monday, October 2, 2017

A great conference weekend

Hey everyone!  I hope you all had a great week and conference weekend!

Monday consisted of eyebrows being plucked, a pizza party, and basketball.  Typical, right?

Tuesday we had transfers, and Elder Kerr and I were able to give a training to the missionaries who were going to be training brand new missionaries.  It went well, and then we dealt with the drama of transfers and getting everyone in and out.

The group of trainers we trained.

Elder Martin and Elder Wade

We were able to find a couple of new investigators this week!  On Thursday as we went past, a former investigator happened to be outside, so we quickly pulled over and went and met with him for a little bit.  We have a return appointment with him this week!  The other, was on Friday.  We were right at the tail end of knockout, 5:50 or so, when we knocked on Johnny's door.  He was so prepared for the Gospel.  He mentioned all the hard things he had gone through recently, but later mentioned his struggle keeping his faith.  We shared the message of the Restoration with him and asked what it would mean for him if it were true.  He thought about it for a second, and then answered how big of difference it'd be for him and his family.  We are going back to visit him this week after he reads the pamphlet again that we left, and prays.

A couple of weeks ago, we had a couple minutes left before the end of the night, so we walked around our complex and talked with everyone.  We came across this guy, who turns out to be a member, but hasn't been for 10 or so years.  He said we could come over and teach his wife who is a non member- so we were able to be there again this weekend and teach her more about the Book of Mormon.  As we were reminded from conference, it is the most important thing there is.  "A priceless gift from God" as Elder Tad R. Callister put it.

I'd like to add a couple quotes and things that stuck out.

Dieter F. Uchtdorf
We will have unimaginable progress as we serve God and others.
"God will use you, IF you're willing."

Bonnie L. Oscarson
Why save the world when we neglect our neighbors.

Russell M. Nelson- read this whole talk (Saturday afternoon)

Dale G. Renlund- read this whole talk (Priesthood session)

David F. Evans
Obedience + daily scripture study + daily prayer= Alive testimony

Richard J. Maynes
"Trust is built on integrity"

Donald L. Hallstrom
"What constitutes a miracle?  A beneficial event brought about by divine power that we can't understand."
He gave the example of being a child of God is a miracle.

Henry B. Eyring- read this whole talk (Sunday morning)

Tad R. Callister- read this whole talk on the Book of Mormon (Sunday afternoon)

Ian S. Ardern (my home boy!)
"Where we turn for answers requires great care!"

Jose L. Alonso
"Love without service is like faith without works- it's dead."

Robert D. Hales (passed away, but short message was delivered via Elder Andersen)
"Our faith prepares us to be in the presence of God."

I encourage all of you to review general conference, and look and pray about the things taught and what they mean to you.

I love you all!

Elder Colby Martin

The crew at conference

Sunrise from our balcony

"My dear brothers and sisters, I promise that as you prayerfully study the Book of Mormon every day, you will make better decisions- every day.  I promise that as you ponder what you study, the windows of heaven will open,and you will receive answers to your own questions and direction for your own life."  Russell M. Nelson