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

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