Tuesday, December 5, 2017

The Book is blue, the church it true

I've got some news!  I'm now going to be referred to as "Colby" and not "Elder Martin".  I'm not going to be wearing a shirt and tie, nor a name tag- and no, I'm not going home.  Our mission is going to be part of the Book of Mormon Experiment that the church is doing.  They're rolling this experiment out in 3 or 4 missions, and we're one of them.  So we are going to be looking like normal members hosting this experiment.  It'll be awesome!  There will definitely be more details next week afterwards, and I'll let you all know, but man am I excited!

This week was really good!  On Monday, we went and had our p-day, but at the end, we hit the Korean BBQ with our good friend Luke.  Afterwards, we had a lesson with a part member family in our YSA ward.

Kogiya with Luke- he made me try cow tongue and squid.

On Tuesday we had interviews with President Henrie, which are always good.  This time around, I didn't stick around the whole time and go to lunch with him, but it was still a good interview.  My mission has been such a blessing in my life!  We were able to meet with our good friend Mel, as well, and put him on date for baptism, which is great!  He has such a desire to follow Christ!

On Wednesday, we spent a lot of time at CSUN and did a little booth there again.  There was a particular person that was pretty cool to talk to.  This kid was skating by, after class, and I tried talking to him, and he lost his board.  So I chased his board down and got it for him, so when he felt inclined to talk- shared the Restoration with him and set a return appointment.  His name was Jaime, and he's a real good kid.  We had dinner at a recent converts house in the family ward, and he smoked some tri-tip, top sirloin, and chicken for us- HOLY GOODNESS.

We had district meeting on Thursday and made a quick run to Pierce College, as well to check to see if we can do booths there.  It's a pretty cool campus.  I'm gonna come here after my mission, okay mom? 

Pierce College

We also ran into a guy named Luis and he was just listening to music, but we were able to stop him and share a little.  We were able to meet with him again on Sunday after church and he was prepared.  He's a super good guy.  He wants to come closer to God.  We'll be meeting with him regularly from now on.

Friday we had 3 lessons.  They all went super well.  One with Doug, one with Mike, and one with Jaime.  Jaime said "where can I get a Book of Mormon?" right as we met up with him again.  How cool?  I also hit my official 18 month mark...time sure does fly.

Saturday and Sunday were good.  We had a ward party on Saturday and took some good pictures.  On SUnday we had church and Jaime came.  He loved it too!  I love seeing the Gospel change people's lives!  The Book is blue, the church is true.

I love you all!


YSA Christmas party

"The happiest people I know are those who lose themselves in the service of others."  
President Gordon B. Hinkley

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

You can have what you want, or you can have something better.

This week was good! We were able to find a couple new investigators and we are teaching a lot!  On Tuesday, we started teaching Macy Gray's son.  He's a really cool, down to earth kind of guy.  He's so humble and wants to come closer to God.  He allowed me to take a picture with his mom's Grammy...(don't worry, we're there to teach him like we would anyone else.)  We had a really good lesson with another of our investigators and put him on date for baptism.  They are both in the YSA ward.

On Thursday we had district meeting pretty early.  It was a good district meeting, and then afterwards were able to meet with some people named Steve and Karen, for a couple minutes, before heading to knock a couple of doors, and stopping by some part member families, and eventually going to Thanksgiving dinner!  We ate at the Tribbles. He is the counselor in the YSA ward.   It was your typical Thanksgiving dinner.  It was really good.

We also met with another investigator right before church and showed him around, and had a good lesson in the chapel before hand.  We've got a lot of good things brewing up here in Northridge!  We have the Book of Mormon experiment coming too, in December, the 5th thru the 10th.

Sorry me email was a little bit shorter this week, but I'll leave you with a word from my buddy Jeffrey R. Holland.  "You can have what you want, or you can have something better."  The thing that is better definitely is God's plan and will.  He will allow us to have what's better if we WANT- but we have to do our part.  The Gospel changes lives.  I know.  I've seen it.

I love you all!

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

Monday, November 20, 2017

Happy Thanksgiving

Hey everyone!  Sorry for the shorter email this week, but it was a good one!  Monday was p-day, as always, then we spent some time with the YSA for FHE.

Tuesday we had a couple of lessons and were able to do our weekly planning and really get these two wards under our feet, so we know something about them.

On Wednesday, we decided to stop by a part member family for YSA- the brother was recently baptized but struggles coming out to things, so we stopped by and met with him and his sister who isn't a member and talked about the importance of coming to church and taking the Sacrament each week.  It truly is such a blessing to take the Sacrament.

Thursday we had zone conference.  We had a lot of really good training, especially those, again about the Sacrament.  We also had the new Christmas initiative introduced to us- like last year, it's the "#LightTheWorld" theme.  It'll be good.  Look out for it the day after Thanksgiving.

Zone Conference

 After zone conference we got a text from a former investigator saying he was ready to be baptized, and then, quickly after that we got a call from an older lady, out of state mentioning she had a friend she was talking with and wants us to teach her friend.  So we called the friend and set up a time to meet with her and share the Restored Gospel, and she wants to come to church!  Miracles, right?!  Dinner, not so much of a miracle.  We had, what the member called it, a "squash fest".  Everything at dinner was made out of squash...don't ever do that to missionaries.

Friday, we had a lesson in the morning with one of our investigators...he was quite interesting.  At the end of the lesson he asked if he could learn here or go to where he should go, by where he lives, which is in the other mission...turns out he met with the missionaries in the other mission too.  But the rest of the day was really good.  We spent 6 hours at CSUN, doing a booth and talking with all the kids at the school.  It was great!

Saturday was a good working day, and Sunday was a day full of sitting.  6 hours of church, being that we're in two wards.  But it's ok, they were all 6 good hours.  Some great things!  We had someone at church in the family ward that was able to talk to the bishop for some time and meet a lot of the members.  We didn't have anyone show up to YSA though, except someone brought their boyfriend and we were able to meet with him and set up a time to teach him, it'll be so good!  We also had the YSA Face to Face that was broadcast from Utah State.  If you can get the chance, I would invite all of you to check it out.  There is some good counsel from Elder Ballard and Elder Oaks!

Watching the Face to Face broadcast

I hope you all have a wonderful week.  I'm very grateful.  I'm grateful for all of you in my life, as well as the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  I'm very grateful for His Atoning sacrifice so we can all live with God again.  I love you all!  Have a great, safe, happy holiday!

Elder Martin

"Sincerely giving thanks not only helps us recognize our blessings 
but it also unlocks the doors of Heaven and helps us feel God's love."  
President Thomas S. Monson

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