Tuesday, January 16, 2018

A great week, and another ahead of us!

Hello everyone!  This is going to be a short one, and I apologize for that!  This was a real quick week!  On Tuesday we had interviews in our zone with President Henrie, which means lunch too.  We hit up Lucille's, which was way bomb!  It poured like crazy on Tuesday as well.

Lunch at Lucille's

On Wednesday we had a really good lesson with a part member family, on the power of the Book of Mormon.  As we walked out, we had some high school kids try to start a fight with us, and luckily I kept my temper down and walked off.  I don't think they realized how tall I was...reach is the most important thing in fights, right?  One kid tried coming at us, while the one who initiated it was then holding him back.  It was interesting.  We had some really good pupusas for dinner, as well.

Thursday we had district meeting, and then Elder Johnson and I were supposed to have a meeting, but it got cancelled, so we took the time to find places for the Book of Mormon Experiment.  (We're doing it again, and we're in charge of finding places.)  Hence, the picture in front of the movie theater, we're trying to do it outside the theater.

Friday and Saturday we had a couple lessons, with current investigators, that went really well.  They are progressing for now!  We've spent some time finding and knocking doors, as well.  Elder Johnson and I had some time to knock together too, it was great!

Sunday was a really good Sabbath!  Both blocks of church were really good!  Some really good talks were given.  We also had a random lady show up to church in the family ward, and she was accompanied by her friend who is a member, who happened to be from my last ward.  We were able to get the non member situated and the member shipped into the ward, which is great!

It's been a great week, and another great week ahead of us!  Looking forward to it!

I know the Gospel is true.  Pray and ask for yourself.  I love you all!

Elder Martin

Elder Johnson- doing the heavy lifting.

Gotta park close to do the door when it's raining.  

Gnawing on sugar cane

"The joy we feel has little to do with the circumstances of our lives and everything to do with the focus of our lives."  President Russell M. Nelson

Monday, January 8, 2018

Reflecting on the life and ministry of President Monson

Hello everyone!  It sure was a quick week this last week having preparation day last Tuesday, but it was a good one as well!  We were able to put in a lot of work!

On Wednesday we were able to have a really good MLC.  It started off talking about the life and ministry of President Monson.  What a great guy.  He emulated the Saviors life so well with all of his one on one ministering.

Elder Hale and Elder Martin

Elder Silva and Elder Martin

On Thursday we were able to have a good district meeting on planning and how to be more effective planners.  Afterwards, we went on an exchange with Elder Pidcock and Elder Honda.  I went with Elder Pidcock in the spanish work.  In the first 20 minutes of our exchange, we were able to find 3 new people to teach, who were ready to meet with missionaries.  It was awesome!  It goes to show the need to talk with everyone we cross paths with.

On Friday when we got back together, Elder Howell and I were able to meet with someone that Elder Pidcock and I found and were able to invite him to be baptized, where he accepted.  We were able to meet with him 3 times in 3 days, which is good.  Daily contact!  We also met with a referral we got a while ago and set a time to come back for the next day, when we met with her again, were able to invite and put her on date to be baptized as well.  Also, we saw 4 cop cars within 30 seconds, all with lights on, and 10 cops in 3 minutes total.  Thought I'd throw that in there.  I love this place.

On Sunday we had a really good testimony meeting that seemed to have the theme of President Monson's life, and it was great!  The Spirit was so strong!  I know he truly is a prophet of God, and President Nelson will be just as much of a Prophet as he, Joseph Smith, or Moses was.  If you don't feel the same way, pray about it.

Reflecting on President Monson's life, my most recent memory is from his latest conference address.  In April of 2017 his talk on the Book of Mormon.  I invite all of you to read it, and pay attention to the promised blessings.  I've seen them in my own life, and you can too!

I love you all!
Elder Martin

"I maintain that a strong testimony of our Savior, Jesus Christ, and of His gospel will help see us through to safety.  If you are not reading the Book of Mormon each day, please do so."  President Thomas S. Monson

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Happy New Year!

Elder Howell, Elder Martin, Elder Johnson, Elder Farrer

Hello everyone!  I hope you all had a very Merry Christmas and a good New Year!

These last couple weeks have been a giant blur, but have been really good.  We've been able to find a lot of cool people to teach and get to church.  I haven't written since the new transfer started 2 weeks ago, but our apartment is awesome!  I have the chance to work with Elder Johnson a lot, as he's the other zone leader.  We're really similar, so the way we want things run, it's pretty easy to work together.

The work in the YSA ward is progressing really well!  We've been able to find a lot of people and meet with them often.  One specifically we've been working with for a while (we ran into him in the streets) came to church with us this week.  We couldn't give him a ride in our mission car, but he also didn't want to ride with a member by himself, so we met him at McDonald's and rode with him and the member.  Gotta do what we gotta do to get people to church- that's where the conversion takes place!

We've done a couple exchanges where we've been able to see some miracles.  There are always miracles to be had when we work hard and in faith.  We got a really cool call from a member in Northern California for his nephew, and referred us to him.  We were able to teach him and invite him to be baptized, which he accepted when he comes to know the truth of these things.

We were also able to find a lady who is going through a hard time.  It made teaching the "Plan of Salvation" more meaningful, as she just lost her mom.  It's neat to see how the Plan of Salvation truly does answer the questions of the soul.  We were able to answer all of her questions as well as show her scriptures in the Book of Mormon where she said she "knows those scriptures are true."  Such a cool experience!

Yesterday, being the new year, we spent some time proselyting in the park, and talked to those at the courts, as usual.  We found a couple of cool kids that are coming to play basketball with us today at the church too.  One particular kid, when I asked if he's talked to missionaries before said "Yeah, I've talked to you.  In fact, you dunked on my friend once in those same clothes!"  Hahaha, it was a good little laugh.

I love the Gospel so much.  I hope and pray that each of us can do what we can to come closer to our Father in Heaven each and every day.  I know the Book of Mormon is true.

I love you all!

Elder Martin

Gotta get the new study chair home somehow.

The best sunsets.

Elder Martin and Elder Visser

Christmas breakfast at McDonald's.

"The Book of Mormon in combination with the Spirit of the Lord is the greatest single tool God has given us to convert the world."  David A. Bednar

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Christmas Skype

Our family had a wonderful time talking to Elder Martin on Christmas!  He is happy and doing well.  He loves his mission and serving the Lord.  He challenged us all to read the Book of Mormon everyday and we read Moroni 10:3-5 together as a family.  The Spirit was very strong.  We are so grateful for him and for his service and hard work.  Our next (and last) Skype is less than 5 months away, and then he will be coming home!  Can hardly wait!

"The story of Christmas is a story of Love."  Henry B. Eyring

Monday, December 18, 2017

Temple Trip

Hello everyone!  I hope you have all had a safe December so far.  All is well here in the Great California San Fernando Mission.  Not much happened on Monday, but Tuesday was good.  Who said you can't find new people to teach in YSA via knocking?  We did.  We met a girl from Madagascar that is here for school and she was really receptive to the message of the Restoration. 

On Wednesday we were able to meet with our buddy, Mel again.  He's still set for baptism at this point, but we will probably have to pass him to the family ward, because he can only make their sacrament time.  We found another kid during knockout on Wednesday, and he didn't believe in anything, but we talked about being able to have every mistake taken away from us- guilt and shame included, and he was ecstatic.  We taught him about the Atonement of Jesus Christ.  It's always so powerful to teach and testify of it.  We hit "In n Out" for dinner, and the cashier swiped his own card and said "Merry Christmas".  Such a good feeling.  It seems so simple, but it feels so nice to serve, and to be served.  I heard a simple quote:  "The spirit of Christmas, is the SPIRIT."  Isn't that true?

On Friday we were able to go to the temple on our semi annual mission trip.  It's always good to go and feel the Spirit and power of the temple in our lives.

Elder Nielsen, Elder Kerr, Elder Martin, Elder Nykamp, Elder Howell

Elder Clarke and Elder Martin

Saturday was a little rough.  We had 4 lessons fall through, even some that we had members ready to help.  We went to proselyte in the park and ran into kids playing ball, so naturally we stopped and played them.  Outcome?  Same as always.  (We happened to see Reggie Bullock run by, too.  If you want to, google him)  We got transfer calls as well.  We're both staying in YSA, and after one short transfer, I'm coming out of retirement and being a zone leader again.  Church is always good.  We had a lesson with our friend Luis as well at McDonald's.  (We didn't buy anything, it was Sunday.)  It went really well.  We read from 2nd Nephi with him and talked about it.

Unfortunately, Elder Hadley is leaving YSA, but Elder Johnson is coming in, and it's gonna be sick!

I hope you all have a very blessed, and safe Christmas.  I pray that we can all remember the meaning of Christmas, the Saviors birth.  It has been such a blessing in my life, and I know it has for many of you as well.

I love you all!

Elder Martin

Chillin' at the LA river

"But let us not forget that we are disciples and followers of Jesus Christ, the living Son of the living God.  To truly honor His coming into the world, we must do as He did and reach out in compassion and mercy to our fellowmen.  Let this become our Christmas tradition, no matter where we are- to be a little kinder, more forgiving, less judging, more grateful, and more generous in sharing our abundance with those in need."  President Dieter F. Uchtdorf

Thursday, December 14, 2017

The Book of Mormon Experiment

This week was awesome!  We go to take part in the Book of Mormon Experiment.  Let me explain a little more- this is an experiment that a professor from BYU did, and they went around the world- London, Cape Town, Chicago, Las Vegas, and Sydney Australia to do this.  Afterwards, if was shown to the mission presidents at the new mission president seminar in late June, and then President Henrie showed it to us.  He loved it and contacted the professor to see if we could get some booths to try it for ourselves.  His response was to hold off and now that we've held off, the time has come.  The church then decided to expand the experiment and they took it to three missions in the US.   The first was Athens Georgia, next was Honolulu, Hawaii, and lastly was the Great California San Fernando Mission.

On Tuesday we got to be the first to try it out.  We had a level 1 kit, which consisted of clipboards and markers, with all the pages from the Book of Mormon.  We would simply approach people, (incognito mode) and tell them we were doing a social experiment- to read a random page from religious text, and we invite them to highlight any reference to God or Jesus Christ on the page they read.  We ask a couple questions afterwards, and talk about it.  If they wanted, we took their picture and had their picture, their faith, where they're from, and their highlighted page posted to thebookofmormonexperiment.org.  It's neat to see the reactions of people when we tell them it's the Book of Mormon they just read.  The purpose of the experiment was for the people to see 1. That we believe in God and Jesus Christ, and are similar in many ways, but 2. so that individuals could have their own witness of the Book of Mormon, not someone else's opinion.  We were able to conduct the experiment for 3 hours at CSUN, and then 2 hours at Pierce College.  We went to a devotional that night as well, for the YSA to introduce it to them so they could participate as well.

There are level two kits as well, that have everything that level one does, plus two pop up signs, and then level three, is everything from level two, plus a big bulky thing that has spinning pictures of people and pages done from the past.

Wednesday we were able to do a level three at CSUN for 6 (!) hours.  It was crazy, but it was awesome!  Unfortunately on Thursday there were some fires that made the air quality bad and all the colleges shut down, so we weren't able to do it.

Friday, we were at CSUN again for a couple more hours.  Saturday was really cool as well.  We went to one of the bigger parks here in the mission, Balboa Park, and we did it with the youth from the stake.  It was cool to get them involved, and we had a level three there as well.  That was supposed to be the end of it, but we didn't want it to be, so since the church is leaving the kits here for our mission, we still had one with us, so wetook a level one kit, and took the Metro (bus) around the valley talking with people on the bus.  It was so much fun!  There were so many miracles as we did this throughout the mission!  1,376 people completed the experiment, and we had over 440 referrals here in our mission!

A couple of quick experiences I'll share are of two people.  The first was a lady, who after reading the page, said "I'm sad it ended so soon- I want to read more!"  The Book of Mormon speaks for itself.  Another was a kid named Xavier.  He was told in his Christian school to never pick that book up, but after reading a page on his own, he loved it.  He wanted to know more and set a time to meet with the missionaries.  My favorite part was to see the joy people had and felt after reading a page.  You'd be surprised how many people had something speak to them and their specific needs.  There are no coincidences.  These experiences were divinely set up.

I know the Book of Mormon is true.  Don't take my word for it.  Try it out yourself.

I love you all!

Elder Martin

"...I want it absolutely clear when I stand before the judgement bar of God I declared to the world, in the most straightforward language I could summon that the Book of Mormon is true, that it came forth the way Joseph said it came forth and was given to bring happiness and hope to the faithful in the travail of the latter days."  
Jeffrey R. Holland

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