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

Friday, September 29, 2017

I will go, I will do

Hey everyone!  Hope all is going well.  Here in the Valencia Zone, things are going great!

We played volleyball as a zone on Monday, but the good stuff didn't really start out until later in the week.  On Wednesday, some Sisters in our zone had one of their converts being baptized, so we got the joy of filling the font for them.  We did a mini exchange, so Elder Kerr and I went and did it, and knocked for a little bit.  Just like old times, me and him knocking.  Later that night we stopped by a recent move in, in our complex that was referred to us by a member, and we were able to teach him and pick him up as a new investigator.  Member missionaries are where it's at!  We were able to make contact with a part member family as well, that we'll be working with.

We were able to do a lot of finding this week.  We have spent more time knocking, just searching for those with real intent.  We came across this guy while he was leaving for the store, and we were able to talk with him.  We hit him with some inspired questions that made him think, yet would change a lot for him if these things are true.  We have a return appointment with him this week.

We also have seen some fruits from our labors.  We talked to a big body builder the other day in the parking lot, with a German Shepherd and Golden Retriever, turns out he was an inactive member, with a non member wife.  We were able to go back and talk with him and his wife, it was a good lesson.  Though he hasn't been to church for years, he just finished the Book of Mormon again, and was able to really testify to his wife.  It sure was cool!

On Sunday it was the primary program and there were some really good songs that were sung.  It's always great to hear the little innocent kids and their testimonies.  One of my all time favorite songs they sung; I will go, I will do.

We got transfers news, and I'm staying in Wiley Canyon.  This will be my 3rd transfer here, which will be the longest I'll have been in an area.  Elder Nykamp is staying as well, which is great!

I hope you all have a great week, and have a chance to watch General Conference this weekend. Please keep all those involved in natural disasters in your prayers.

I love you and miss you all!
Elder Martin

Scariest door I've knocked.

Cool scenery

1-800- Rusty Pipe

Elder Kerr, Josh Mai (recent convert that Elder Kerr and I taught) me

"I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandment unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth."  1 Nephi 3:7

Monday, September 18, 2017

The Book of Mormon changes lives.

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

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

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

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

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

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

I hope you all have a great week!

I love you all!

Elder Martin

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

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

Monday, September 11, 2017

Testifying of the power of the Book of Mormon

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I miss you all!
Elder Martin

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

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Heaven has come to the neighborhood

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Elder Horrocks and Elder Martin

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

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

Dinner at Juan's

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

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

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

"View of Heaven"

Working on self control?!

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

I love you all!  Have a great week!

Elder Martin

Fires, fires, everywhere

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