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

Monday, August 7, 2017

God loves all of us, and wants what is best for us

Hey everyone!  I hope you have all had a great summer!  School starts up here again this week, so more people should be back in town and around for some Gospel discussions!  This week we were able to teach a lot of people.  We went by a family of investigators, and they had their niece/cousin/granddaughter from the Philippines, and we were able to teach her and pass her off as a referral to her missionaries at home!  This particular family is really cool.  We're teaching the dad, kinda, he doesn't have too much intent, but the 11 y/o son, and grandparents are super interested!  We were able to knock a lot of doors again this week.  You've gotta do what you've gotta do to find those with real intent, the ones that have been prepared!  We had interviews with President Henrie again this week, so naturally, we got to chill with Sister Henrie while the rest of the zone had their interviews.  We got to go to lunch with them too, we went to Bucca Di Beppo!  Sure was good!

Saturday there was a baptism in our zone, so as part of our responsibility, we had to fill the font, which takes a couple of hours.  A member called and had pizza delivered to us, which was nice of them.  When the delivery guy got here, he said "Next time, don't say the east or west parking lot, it's too confusing."  Uhhhh.  That's California education for you, I guess...

We had a meeting at 7 am on Sunday with the stake presidency and President Henrie, so we had to get up sooner that normal, plus it was fast Sunday, so it was a little long, but it was good.  Testimony meeting is always good.  It's such a blessing that we have the ability to fast.  To show the Lord that we are willing to sacrifice so little, to be blessed so much!  I know that as we show the Lord that we are willing to align our will with His, he will bless us.  It may seem difficult to align our will with His, but after doing so, you'll see it wasn't too hard after all.  God loves all of us, and wants what is best for all of us.  He just asks that we follow His Son.

Sorry the email is short this week.

I hope you all have the best week!  I love you all!

Elder Martin

"If you don't have a shooting sleeve on while you're making fruit punch, you're doing it wrong..."

"If that were a missionary, that'd be an extra large print quad #we'renotsoliciting"

"Through God's compassion and love, we will all receive more than we deserve, 
more than we can ever earn, and more than we can ever hope for." 
Dale G. Renlund

Monday, July 31, 2017

back2back2back exchanges

What's good errbody?  Things are going great here in the California, San Fernando Mission!  This week flew by!  Another month down!  Time flies when you're having fun.

On Monday we were able to go to the ward picnic party.  It was a Pioneer Day party, but it was a BBQ, so we invited a lot of people.  We had a couple investigators show up, so that was really good, to get them situated with some members.  It was some good food, and good fun.

Tuesday we had weekly planning, and then right after, started an exchange with the Valencia ward Elders.  I was able to go with my mijo-Elder Kerr!  We biked all around in Valencia, and talked with a lot of good people.  We had a really good exchange, and it was good to be with him again.

Elder Martin and Elder Kerr

Wednesday, we worked in the morning, and when the time came, we exchanged back- then we immediately exchanged with the Spanish Elders.  I was with Elder Albertson, and we knocked for a good 3 hours before heading to dinner.  We ate with a strictly Spanish speaking family.  It can be akward sometimes- just eating their food but not saying a thing.  But we were able to go and teach English class to some non-members.  It's always a good way to get them comfortable with us as missionaries, and the church,

Thursday we exchanged back again, had district meeting, which was really good.  We were trained on teaching to commitments.  So whatever commitment is for someone, make sure we teach it throughout the lesson, rather than just at the end when we invite them.  We were able to put it to practice, as we were on yet another exchange, this time with the assistants. We were able to teach baptism throughout the lesson, so when we invited people to baptism, it wasn't completely foreign.  I was able to be with Elder Call again, who is such a good missionary!  We taught so many people, it was great!

Friday we exchanged back.  It was kind of a sigh of relief, 3 days without being in your area, or with your companion, really throws a curve ball at you.  It was good to settle down, though.  We also got to teach a couple of lessons together, so that was good.  We've been blessed with so many people to teach here in the last couple of weeks.  Hard work pays off!  Where much is given, much is expected!

Saturday was pretty open for finding new people.  We utilized it, that's for sure.  We were invited by someone in our ward, to attend a wake.  Some memorial thing, for a lady who lost her husband a couple of months ago.  We were able to talk with a lot of non members, and they really enjoyed our company.  It was basically an old person cocktail party...

Sunday was really good.  We had 2 investigators show up to church.  Sacrament was great.  There is a kid who is just about to leave for his mission, and he did so well.  It was great!  The Spirit was so strong!  We had combined third hour, at it was a great lesson.  Not on food storage this time, thankfully.  After church we went out, knocked some doors again.  Gotta do what you gotta do.  We were able to meet with some member and help them with their missionary efforts.  We met with some of the young men.  They are starting out by bringing their friend to the church today, to play ball. Talking with these young men, though, and their missionary efforts, really hit me.  It helped me realize how much I wish I shared the Gospel with my friends at home- The opportunities I could have, but didn't.  Don't have the same regret.  Share the Gospel with EVERYONE!

So far today we've got our shopping done, and been able to teach one of our investigators.

I hope you have the best week!

P.S. Happy Anniversary to my parents, come Wednesday!  I love you both!

Elder Martin

"My only phobia is words not spelled correctly, and the color of this car."  Elder Martin

"Discipleship is a journey...By patiently walking in the path of discipleship, we demonstrate to ourselves the measure of our faith and our willingness to accept God's will rather than ours."  President Dieter F. Uchtdorf

Monday, July 24, 2017

It's all about your commitment to Christ

Hello everyone!  I don't have too much time this week to write, but I hope all is going well for all of you!  We were able to go out and knock a lot of doors again!  Sure is getting better and better each door!  We've been able to find a couple more investigators again, too!

One investigator that we met last week, named Aaron, is really progressing well.  He lives in our complex, so it's convenient to keep in contact with him.  In fact, we have a lot of investigators in our complex.  11 of them.  We've knocked all 500+ apartments in our complex in the last 3 weeks.  Pretty soon, this will be a ward of it's own.

I'm loving the mission!  It sure is hard at times.  But we know there is a spectrum- as hard as it gets, it will be more rewarding than it was hard!  Everything is like that in life!

I love the chance I have, set apart, to study the words of Christ every morning.  It is such a blessing to have the scriptures in our lives.  I would encourage you all to take a little more time, to study the scriptures.  You can only get closer to our loving Heavenly Father, and Savior Jesus Christ.  It's all about your commitment to Christ.  I KNOW this will be the result for you as well, as I've seen it happen to me.

I love you all!  Have a great week!

Elder Martin

"When the focus of our lives is on Jesus Christ and His gospel, we can feel joy regardless of  what is happening- or not happening - in our lives."  
Russell M. Nelson

Monday, July 17, 2017

As we pray for opportunities, the Lord will place people in your path

Hello everyone!  I hope your week was as good as ours, here in the Wiley Canyon ward, in the Great California San Fernando Mission!  Our week was wonderful!  The Lord trusted us, and blessed us with 9 new investigators to teach this week!

Monday and Tuesday was the normal Monday and Tuesday- basketball on Monday, weekly planning on Tuesday.

Wednesday is where it really catches fire!  We had zone conference with our zone, and the Santa Clarita and North Hollywood zones.  I had the cool chance to conduct the meeting.  We had a lot of great trainings.  President and Sister Henrie trained us on using the Book of Mormon better in our teaching.  There was an experiment that was filmed, and shown to us, how the church went to 4 of the biggest cities in the world, and had people open up anywhere in the Book of Mormon, and they highlighted anywhere it mentioned Jesus Christ or our Heavenly Father.  EVERY page has something.  It's definitely another testament of Jesus Christ.  The assistants also gave a training on talking with everyone.  They did a little skit that really put things into perspective.  In this skit, they showed a guy who had just prayed for guidance in his life, and then when the missionaries saw him throughout the day, they just blew by him and all they said was "hello".  We really need to talk to everyone because we don't now who might have been praying for direction and truth in their life.

Setting up for Zone conference

Not even an hour after our conference, we were knocking doors.  The last door we knocked on before heading to an appointment, we met a lady named Lily.  She was a little apprehensive at first, but opened up as we taught.  When we got to the First Vision, we asked how she felt.  (This is generally a point where a lot of people feel the Spirit.)  She started crying, and said she was overwhelmed with peace.  She told us she moved up here recently, and didn't know why, but had been praying for that direction in her life.  As we continued to teach, we invited her to be baptized and she accepted.  Such a neat experience.  The Lord answers prayers!

Thursday another similar experience happened.  We saw a guy sitting in his work truck, so we waved towards him and he rolled the window down.  As we taught, he told us he left religion for various reasons, but still believes in God.  He basically taught us the great apostasy, so it led perfectly with the First Vision.  He said, "I know this is true, I know this happened to Joseph Smith."  We gave him a Book of Mormon, and he was so appreciative!  He told us the struggles he's going through and that he's only had water for the last 2-3 day, nothing else, because he has no money.  (He was so sincere, not a sketchy experience, especially after he told us the things he's going through.)  We told him we had a cold soda in the car as we had came from lunch, so we ran up to our car, drove back down, and gave that and two gift cards for food, to him.  As we came back down, he was already reading the Book of Mormon.  He said that it was the best thing that happened to him.  He showed us where he was reading and how it applies.  He accepted the invitation to be baptized, as well.  However, he lives in LA, so we sent it in as a referral, but nonetheless, a great experience. As we were leaving, we saw a member pull into her neighborhood.  We called and asked her to go over to this guy (we told the whole story) and that he would be reading the Book of Mormon.  She texted us 15 minutes later, telling us she got there just in time before he and his boss left, but she was able to give him some granola bars, and water, and her testimony of the Book of Mormon.  This particular guy also told us that he had been praying for directions in his life.  I KNOW, that as we pray for these particular opportunities, that the Lord will place people into your path.  Open up, talk with everyone and share the Gospel.  You never know who has been praying for direction in their life, and YOU can be the one to help!  The Lord uses some of His children to bless the lives of His others.  You too, can feel this great joy of sharing the Gospel.

Friday we were able to go on an exchange with Elder Kerr and Elder Wynne.  I was with Elder Wynne in the Valencia ward.  We were biking all around that place!  It was good.

Night cruisin' with Elder Wynne

Saturday we were getting a new car at the office.  Apparently, so were a lot of the missionaries.  We had to wait when we got there, for some guy to install the Tiwi system in the car, so one of the office couple's said we could all go to lunch.  None of us had a car though.  Bertha!  That's the mission van used when people come/go in the mission.  15 passenger van that I got to drive all these missionaries to lunch.  It sure was fun!  Of course we went to Wendy's.

Driving Bertha to lunch

Sunday was great again.  Another good Sunday.  Church is so great when there is a lot of participation.  And clearly, with the big ward we have, there is plenty of participation.  Sunday school was on sacrifice.  We use that word, but we don't give much for the blessing that we get in return, if you think about it.  Always remember though, Our Savior, Jesus Christ and his ultimate sacrifice.

I know the Lord answers prayers.  Not only mine, but everyone in the world.  Anyone who asks with faith in Christ, with intent to act on the answers received, God will answer.  I hope you all remember to pray every day!  It's such a blessing we have to be able to communicate with a loving Father in Heaven.

I love you all!  Have a great week!

P.S. Happy belated birthday Dad!

Elder Martin

The area is on fire!  Literally.

Well placed pass along card

"There are times when the Lord reveals to us things that are intended only for us.  Nevertheless, in many, many cases He entrusts a testimony of the truth to those who will share it with others.  This has been the case with every prophet since the days of Adam.  Even more, the Lord expects the members of His Church to "open their mouths at all times, declaring His gospel with the sound of rejoicing." President Dieter F. Uchtdorf

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

The Lord will always provide

Hello everyone!  I hope you all had a great week, and enjoyed our freedom extra good!  This week was a hard working one, but a high rewarding one as well!

On Monday we played some ball, as usual.  We said goodbye to some members who really helped us out in the YSA ward and also met with the Merriweather sisters one last time.

Tuesday was transfer day!  We got all of our stuff packed up, and I took all my stuff to my new apartment, since I'll be so close, I could do that.  We also had one last lesson together.  We brought Brock Jensen with us, and met with Eugenia, who has a baptismal date for the end of this month.  It was a really good lesson, she basically taught us.

Brock Jensen and Elder Martin

We went straight to transfers right after, and I got my new companion, Elder Hale.

We got to stop by a member family and a person who is living with them, who is an investigator, for a quick minute, and they gave us some burgers.  After that, we had a really good first knockout together.  We knocked into a really cool lady, who was shut off at first.  We started testifying of the Gospel, and she mentioned that she has Mormon friends.  Eventually, we found out that her sons close friend just passed away in a car crash the day before, and we were able to talk with the son, as well.  We testified of the Plan of Salvation, and they were both getting emotional, and then said a prayer with them, and they were so grateful!  Turns out, they're really good friends with some members too, in our ward.  The member in our ward texted us saying that those that we knocked into, texted them saying how grateful they were for us, and that we came at the perfect time.  God IS IN THE DETAILS!

Wednesday we didn't meet with anyone in particular.  We have been doing a lot of knocking to get this area on fires!  We didn't have a dinner with anyone either, but as stopped by two members home, they both fed us.  Even when we don't have a dinner, we get 2!  I love this ward!

Thursday we had district meeting, and a lot of knocking again.  Anything to find people to teach!

Friday we had mission leadership council again, so we spent a lot of time there, but afterwards, we got back to knocking doors.  We had dinner with a family at a place called Yamato, look it up.  Sure was good!  We had a lesson with a guy named Moses.  He's from the Philippines, and we took a member with us, who is also from the Philippines.  He also fed us...not good.  We were so full.  But we had a good spiritual lesson with them on the Restoration, and picked up two of them as investigators.

Saturday was more knocking.  We would visit a potential investigator, or former investigator, and then knock around them for an hour or so, and then on to the next one.  We met with a potential who is really interested in learning now.  We also picked up another lady through knocking, named Kam. She was so excited about learning about the Gospel.

On Sunday, I walked into church to a warm welcome.  It was great!  The ward is huge!  It is bigger than my home ward in insane!  It's so good though!  We visited some part member families and were able to pick up the husband and son of a member, to teach!

It's so cool to see that we put in all the effort to find these people, showing the Lord our faith, in 110 degree weather, and he provides.  Sometimes it is the way we expected, but mostly, it's not.  The Lord will always provide!

I love you all!  Have a great week!

Elder Martin

With Elder Sosa on his last night in the mission

Elder Hale

"It's by giving our whole hearts to the Master 
and keeping the commandments that we come to know Him."  
President Henry B. Eyring