Monday, March 19, 2018

"He's Back"

Hello everyone!  It's been great getting some rain here in Cali, but we're warming up again!  I hope the weather is great wherever you are!  Had a pretty good week this week, full of teaching!

Monday we got to meet with Jimmy and Anne one last time before Elder Johnson left, and Tuesday before transfers, Jimmy took us to get food.  The rest of the day was busy!  We had lots to do, and it sure was exhausting, but we got it done.  My new companion is Elder Oswald, from Idaho Falls.  He and Elder Howell went to the same high school.

On Wednesday we went to visit one of our investigators in Calabasas and we spent a couple hours there knocking afterwards.  Those are some nice houses...we had good conversations, though no one was interested.  We had dinner with a member at Cheesecake Factory, which does some healing- haha.

Fancy house in Calabasas

Thursday we had district meeting and afterwards went on exchanges with some district leaders.  I went with Elder Bourda, who is from Mexico.  He's a good Elder, and we were able to have a good knockout and found a really cool lady (who didn't end up keeping her return appointment 😕)  We had a recent convert lesson with Andrea afterwards, and she is as solid as ever.  Such a good example!

Exchanges with Elder Bourda.

Elder Bourda and I did about 30 minutes of service for a lady who wanted to talk with us, but after we helped, she told us she wasn't interested.  Eventually, we exchanged back, and got to teach Qaseem the Plan of Salvation.  He understands it so well.  Elder Oswald and I had a really good knockout together.  We found a lady who was willing to listen to the whole Restoration and she saw how it could be relevant for her and her family, and a little bit after, we talked with another really cool guy.  Sometimes, when we knock on people's doors, they immediately ask where we're from to derail us and talk about that and then shut the door.  This guy did that, but we kind of turned it around on him, and he eventually opened up to us and we were able to testify how the Gospel will help him.  It was a good experience.  Later in the evening we met with our friend Ramin and had a good lesson with him.  We rest his baptismal date as well.  We read from the Book of Mormon with him which is one of the most powerful things.  I love reading it with investigators.

On Saturday we had a pretty empty day, so we planned in a lot of time to knock doors.  We did have Waffle Love for lunch too, and the workers said to me "He's back!"  I must be a regular...We talked to a lot of really good people.  We happened to cross paths with a couple of people from Iran, who are some of the most kind people I've ever met.  One in particular, wanted to give us a picture of Christ so badly.  I felt bad because she had painted it herself in 2000, back in Iran, but really wanted to gift it to us.  So kind.  There was a baptism in the zone , so we needed to make sure that everything was in line for that and that it happened correctly.  We had a lesson with Qaseem and were able to reset his baptismal date as well to help him be ready to make the commitment and covenant that baptism brings.

Sunday was really good.  We were the key note speakers in Woodland Hills sacrament meeting.  Just kidding, we spoke with a missionary who just got home.  It was kind of fun.  I didn't write anything down- I had an idea of what to talk on, but just spoke from the heart and mind.  It actually turned out really well-surprisingly, haha.  YSA ward went well as usual, also.  We were able to have 4 people at church, which is pretty good.  Things are going well here in the Canoga Park Zone.  I love it here!

I'm loving life.  Being a missionary is the best!  The Gospel is simple.  Faith, repentance, baptism, receiving the Holy Ghost, and Enduring to the End.  Live the Gospel as it has been outlined and you will be blessed.  I know it!

I love all of you!

Elder Martin

Private lake behind some houses we knocked.

"Every day of our lives...we are given opportunities to show love and kindness 
to those around us." President Thomas S. Monson

Monday, March 12, 2018

Look for the Spirit and recognize how God speaks to you. Then act.

Hey everybody!  I hope all is well and that you all had a great week!  This week we spent some time doing the Book of Mormon Experiment at CSUN and we were able to have some really good experiences, like usual.  One particular guy I talked to, had just walked out of his mid term test and looked like death, not gonna lie.  After doing the experiment and discussing the page he read, he looked ALIVE!  I mentioned that to him and he said, "Of course!  Any day you get to read the word of God it turns your day around!"  It's true!  Let the Book speak for itself.

Wednesday we had MLC, but it was a bit different.  We (zone leaders and STL) got our smart phones and that was what most of MLC was about.  We get to 'test drive' them, if you will, before they get rolled out to the rest of the mission. 

smart phone training

We had a lesson that night as well with one of our investigators.  This specific investigator will always re-teach everything back to us, to ensure he understands it.  He uses parables, essentially.  "For the Lord God giveth light unto the understanding; for he speaketh unto men according to their language, unto their understanding."  2 Nephi 31:3.

We had district meeting on Thursday, but not much more happened.  Except we got Waffle Love.

Friday was a really good day, though.  We were able to make a trip down to the Temple with Andrea to do temple baptisms.  It was a great experience.  The font in the LA Temple is beautiful!  The Spirit was there, in great abundance. 

Afterwards, you already know it, we hit Waffle Love.

Look closely- you can see temples.

Saturday was a day full of teaching.  We met with a couple different investigators and have been able to use our smart phones to pull videos up and such.  Such a great missionary tool!  We also got to have lunch with the Haws!

Sunday Jimmy and Anne were able to come to church in the Woodland Hills ward, which was awesome.  It was their first time there.  They got a lot of warm welcomes.  We had two friends come in the YSA ward, as well.  It was a good turn out for church.

We got transfer calls!  I'm staying put in the YSA and Woodland Hills.  I'm going to be with Elder Oswald, who is a stud from what I hear, so it'll be great!  Unfortunately, Elder Johnson and I are getting split, but he's going to my old area, Wiley Canyon.  To prepare for transfers, we had to move a lot of beds around the zone this morning.

Moving beds.

Afterwards got some more Waffle Love.  Makes for a good day.

The church is true.  Let it work in your life.  Then look for the feelings of the Spirit and recognize how God speaks with you.  Then act on it.  I love you all!

Elder Martin

"Get on your knees and pray, then get on your feet and work."  
President Gordon B. Hinckley

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

The Best Route is Usually Difficult and Requires Work

"The Atonement of Jesus Christ is like french fries sitting on a table- it's there for you if you want it.  You just have to get up to get them (or accept Christ's sacrifice and apply it.)"  -One of our investigators

Hello everybody!  What a great week here in Sunny (windy, rainy, cold) Southern California!  Lots of good, funny, and spiritual experiences here in the 818.  On Monday, we went to visit one of our investigators, and this guy answers the door, and tells us our friends isn't there.  But he tells us to walk and talk with him as he goes to get his mail- well, he leaves the front door open and we walk to his mailbox with him talking and trying to teach, then he interrupts us and tells us to follow again.  We walk to the back of his house and he looks through his mail, and mumbles something about putting it back.  So again, we walk back to the mailbox and he puts it back in there.  Elder Johnson finds another roommate to ask about our friend, while I'm still talking to this guy at the mailbox.  He tells me how he just came from Downtown LA and such, then he ponders and says "You know, I'm gonna go back to LA, peace man!"  and he turns and starts walking into the street, across one of the busiest roads in the valley, not even looking for traffic.  It was strange, that's for sure.  Then we realize, the bro never even shut his front door.  We were laughing for too long.  So, if you want anything to do in SoCal, people watching is one of them.

On Tuesday and Wednesday we were able to put on the Book of Mormon Experiment again at CSUN.  Man is that fun!  It's so cool to be able to testify of the Book of Mormon that often!  Our friend, Andrea even cam with us and was the most diligent at tracking people down and having them do it!  It was super cool to see the fire that she has because of the blessings that the Gospel has brought into her life.  She even brought her friends up to us and had us work with them as well!

Thursday was district meeting and a little bit more of the Book of Mormon Experiment.  We found another really cool girl while doing it!  These young people are so prepared for the Gospel!  Friday we were able to spend some time knocking doors and looking for people to find.  We've found a really cool kid who is 16 who is really prepared!  We'll teach him in the family ward, but man is he smart!  I was also able to conduct a baptismal interview.  It's always really cool to see people and hear their testimonies.

This is where the week was made!  We prepared in the morning to make sure Andrea's baptism was all ready, and sure enough it was. It was a great baptism as well.  I have never seen anyone so excited to be baptized and to make this covenant with our Heavenly Father.  It was one of the most spiritual events I've been able to witness.  When we left the church, she threw her hands in the air, and put one leg back and stated loudly "I'm hitched with God!"  She was and is so happy to have the Gospel in her life!

Sunday was a great day as well.  In the Woodland Hills ward, we had the chance to bless the sacrament.  It's not a chance we get a lot, so when we do, it's great!  I love doing that.  And for the young men at home, don't take that for granted, it's a great opportunity to serve in the ward.  Take it serious, and see what the prayers mean to you.  In the YSA ward, I also had the chance to confirm Andrea, which was cool as well.  It was testimony meeting, and one of our investigators got up and told about the time that we taught him about the Atonement of Jesus Christ, and then shared the analogy with the fries.  He said how sometimes there is an easy route in life, but it's not the best route.  The best route is usually difficult, and would require him to put in some work,  He said "It's time for me to take the fry."  He sat back down and said that he was ready to be baptized!  How crazy, right?  The Lord prepares a way for everyone.  Search, ponder, pray, to see what it is that He has in store for you.

The Gospel is true, my friends.  I love you all!

Elder Martin

"Because of Him every one of us has hope of a glorious future.  Because of Him, we can have clean slates, second chances, new beginnings.  Because of Him, everything is possible, because of Him, we will never die."  Sheri Dew

Monday, February 26, 2018

The Gospel of Jesus Christ is a Gospel of Change

This week was short because of Tuesday p-day last week, and also we were real busy, so it went quicker too.  On Tuesday we went and bowled with some members and our friend Andrea, because she had never been before.  It was some good fun.  Teaching some folks a lesson... : ) Just kidding.

We had a lesson with Andrea later that evening as well, and answered questions and prepped her for her baptismal interview later this week.

Wednesday and Thursday both went really quick because we had interviews with President on Wednesday, and that takes some time.  We had quite a bit of time to get out and knock some doors too, so that was good.  Same with Thursday.  Lots of time to knock and look for those people that the Lord is preparing.

On Friday we were able to meet with Andrea for a little bit and talk about her addiction...with General Conference talks.  She loves them, haha, it's great!  She had her baptismal interview as well, and of course, she passed.  Later on, we went to visit a referral and ran into him, on his driveway and were able to teach him a little bit.  As we were walking away, we ran into another guy that we just started talking to- after a minute, he started opening up to us, and we testified how the Gospel can help him in his life.  I know that no matter who you are, or what you're going through, the Gospel WILL help if you allow it.  Those were just two little miracles that the Lord placed in our path in the matter of minutes.  Shortly after, we were able to do exchanges with the assistants, and I went with Elder Hadley, but stayed and worked in the YSA/Woodland Hills.  We were able to knock for a couple of hours and find some really cool people who could use the Gospel and are willing to act on the invitations we'll leave with them.  To end the night, we were able to have a pass off lesson with some Sisters who were teaching a younger person and passed him to us for YSA.  We had a really good lesson- Elder Hadley and I taught real well together.  Must have been the common denominator of Elder Jensen as a companion. ; )

Elder Martin and Elder Hadley

On Saturday we had a really open day, so we went by and looked for part member families and worked around their homes.  A couple of them, just happened to live on the edge of the mission and it took some time driving there.  We were able to get some good pictures too.

View into LA (If you look closely, you can see the temple)

Later in the evening, we were able to get two investigators to come to the evening session of Stake Conference, and then had an ice cream bar at the Bishops after.  It's a good time for our friends to make other friends in the ward.

Sunday was ward conference in Woodland Hills, so we stayed for all 3 hours.  Man was the Spirit there in great abundance.  Such a great ward, such great speakers, and teachers.  Great leadership in the ward and stake.  I love the Canoga Park stake.  Our investigators were still able to go to stake conference in YSA (it's another stake that CP) so that was good.  The members have been taking great care of them!  We were able to go to the baptism of Marla, as well, who is a sister I was able to teach in my last area with Elder Howell.  It was a great baptism, and she bore a powerful testimony, sharing lots of scriptures from the Book of Mormon by memory, it was awesome.  Very spiritual day!

Because Jesus Christ atoned for us, the Gospel of Jesus Christ is a Gospel of change.  We can change and be better.  Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.  Proverbs 3:5

I love you all!
Elder Martin

I forgot to mention the part where I was most scared this week.  I was standing in the road and about a half mile down, I see 3 horses come around this corner.  1 is stray and 2 have riders on them.  I thought it was a leisurely 'jog', until I saw the lone horse run a bit faster, and the rider on another horse starting to yell at it, and whistling.  Also, he had a rope, ready to lasso that thing.  It was coming straight at me, too.  I got a little startled, not gonna lie.  The closer it got, the more it looked like it was running right at me.  So I jumped in the car just before it got to me- the horse just stood there, about 3-4 feet on the outside of the car.  It was cray cray.  So when I get asked if I've been chased by a dog on my mission, no.  Horse? yes.

Role playing at district meeting

Elder Visser, Elder Howell, Elder Johnson, Elder Martin

Mail run

Elder Martin and Elder Horrocks

"The Lord promises to direct our paths, but for Him to do that, we have to walk, trusting that He knows the way because He is the way." L. Whitney Clayton

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Waffle Love

Hello everyone!  This week was great!  I don't have too much time, but we had a great week!  We had a lot of lessons and had members with us at most all of them.  We spent quite a bit of time knocking some doors this week as well.

We had the chance to go to the LA Temple Visitors Center with our friend Andrea.  It was a really good time.  It was a beautiful day in LA, and the Spirit was there.  The sisters there taught what was needed.  I love the Spirit that is at the temple.

On our way back, our ward mission leader wanted to stop and get us food; we went to Waffle Love.  I had no idea that was a thing, and I guess it's huge in Utah.  We went back the next day too.  Too good.  It'll change your life,  Just like the Gospel.

The Spirit was really strong on Sunday at church, as well.  Andrea was really touched by the speakers in YSA, which was really cool.

The church is true, everyone.  Elder Maxwell said, that the only thing in which we can truly give to God that belongs to us, is our will.  God has given us so much.  Remember the things he's blessed YOU with, and give what you can.  Your will.

I love you all, have a great week!

Elder Martin

"The submission of one's will is really the only uniquely personal thing we have to place on God's alter.  The many other things we 'give' are actually the things He has already given or loaned to us."  Neal A. Maxwell

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

CPR- Church, Pray, Read

This week we had a couple of lessons with Andrea, who is getting baptized on March 3rd.  She is progressing really well and really fast.  She always texts us and asks for even more reading assignments-haha. It's funny because she already talks about her mission and things like that.  She was so prepared.  And she was found by the Book of Mormon experiment, where she read one random page of the Book of Mormon- she experienced it, and it touched her heart.  It's now changing her life and it can do the same for everyone.

Elder Johnson, Andrea, and Elder Martin

We had MLC on Wednesday, which is always good.  Afterwards, we had a lesson with another one of our investigators and so we met up with a member to go and pick up this investie and do a lesson at the church.  Lessons at the church are always so much better.  The Spirit is instantly there.

We had a lot of meetings this week.  Aside from MLC, we had district meeting and also a meeting with President Henrie and the Stake President of Canoga Park, so we could discuss the missionary efforts in the wards and stake.  It's so cool to be part of those meetings with those who have been called of God and have such big roles and responsibilities.  We had another lesson with a different investigator on Thursday evening and more on Friday.

Saturday was a good day of proselyting.  Got a lot of time to knock some doors and try and find people and get a hold of others.  We had some really good conversations with people.  On Sunday there were some really good talks in both Sacrament meetings we went to.  In Woodland Hills, one of the speakers was Mary Anne, who was baptized the last time I was in Woodland Hills.  It was super cool to see!  We had a lesson with a guy with some different perspectives, but it was good to learn from one another.  We had dinner in Hidden Hills...the community where all the celebrities live.  We saw The Weeknds house, Kim and Kanye's house and Drakes, as usual.  We saw two, all black Escalades, with blacked out windows, pull up and the gate open to Drakes, so we may have passed him...pretty sick.  Bout who cares, right?


The church is True.  The formula is simple.  We teach people about CPR.  CPR keeps you alive physically, right?  Spiritual CPR keeps your Spirit alive.  Church, Pray, and Read (Book of Mormon).  I promise if you do those things, your lives will be better.

I love you all!

Elder Colby Martin

California drivers...

Hanging with Luke

Elder Howell's birthday

"Counsel with the Lord in all thy doings and He will direct thee for good."  Alma 37:37