Thursday, March 30, 2017

Time is flying!

Hello everyone! Time is flying.  I guess they say "time flies when you're having fun!" Right?

On Monday, after we emailed we went to Wingstop and had a lot of wings, which we followed with some basketball.  Not good.  Neither of us felt good.  And for dinner, we had ribs at a member's home.  It was just too much food to handle.  Neither of us felt good at all.

Tuesday was pretty sick.  Our zone had interviews with President Henrie.  So what do zone leaders and sister training leaders do the whole time while everyone else in the zone has their interviews?  Sit there with Sister Henrie and talk.  It sure was time consuming, but fun at the same time.  We got to go to lunch with them as well.  We went to some Mexican restaurant that was pretty good.  We were there first thing in the morning, 8:30, and weren't out of there until about 5:30.  We had a lesson with Tabitha again, which is always so smooth.  She has such a strong testimony.

Wednesday I don't even remember what happened, but I'm sure it was good.

Thursday we had a district meeting.  It went really well, and afterwards we had exchanges.  I got to go with Elder Cardinal, while Elder Clark went with Elder Mekhaeil.  I got to go back and work in West Hills for the day.  It was neat.  Knockout was fun, and talked with some people, got bashed by others, and proved some wrong.  When it came time for dinner, guess who we were eating with?  That family that had us over when I was in West Hills, who played Scrabble in the other room with their friends, while we had a Costco pizza in the other...yeah.  That family.  They took us out to Hook Burger, and asked my name and said "It's nice to meet you." BREH. Then said "The last missionaries always just asked for Costco pizza" okay, come one. Really?  We never asked for a pizza or to sit in the other room while you played Scrabble with your friends.  It was chill though.  Eventually we got to meet with some investigators in West Hills, and meet the new ones there.  Had a short lesson with one guy.

Friday we exchanged back and Elder Clark and I got back to work.  Again, I can't remember what we did, besides one of the missionaries from our ward came home yesterday, and the family had us over for dinner.

Saturday was really neat.  We got to go to a baptism.  It was someone that Elder Clark and Elder Horito found a while ago, but wasYSA aged, so he was taught by YSA and baptized there as well. Elder Clark and Elder Horito were the witnesses though, so I got to go, and so did Elder Silva.  It was a really cool baptism.  While the convert was changing back into non wet clothes, there was a musical number, but it ended too soon, so the YSA sisters came back and asked us (Horito, Clark, Silva, and myself) to teach the Restoration.  It was all impromptu, but we all went down the line, going off what the others said.  It was really neat considering we planned none of it.  It was very spiritual!  It was so awesome!  We had a few people come up and ask if we planned and practiced it ,but we're like "Nah, the Spirit took over."  So crazy! We were able to meet with a former investigator who seems pretty interested in getting back into lessons and such.  He's a sick guy.  He's a rapper, and he's featured on some stuff with some pretty cool people. The guy he's working with now, just won a Grammy with Beyonce,  He showed us some of his tracks...and holy cow, it's sick!

Elders Clark, Martin, Silva, Horito

Sunday was really good.  Church was awesome because it was a recently returned missionaries homecoming.  I was asked right before sacrament to give the opening prayer, so that was that.  There is a first for everything, right?  The homecoming talk was really cool.  It was all about "change".  It was something that he shared from his mission, but is so applicable to anyone.  It was really cool.  We had a lesson with one of our new investigators, and he committed to baptism as well, June 24!  It's a ways out, but who cares?  As long as he's ready by then, sweet!

Monday wasn't p-day, because of Caesar Chavez day, or something.  Who knows.  We got to do a lot of proselyting.  The day went by so quick, but we talked to some good people and picked up some solid potentials.  We came home for dinner, but neither of us were hungry, so we went to the courts at our complex.  There were 4 african americans playing and when we asked to play, full dress clothes, they laughed.  Their laughing quit pretty quick after we beat them 3 games in a row, by a lengthy margin.  We weren't able to share any doctrine with them, but talked about whol we are, and what we do. We put a good image of missionaries in their minds, we think.  They asked for our phone number to call us next time, but we won't play unless we have a missionary purpose behind it.  But we'll see how that goes.  Day 300!

It's been a great week, and I'm really looking forward to General Conference this week, as should you!  We get the privilege to hear from our Prophet and apostles on the earth today.  I hope and pray that you would all take advantage of this opportunity.  If anything, like in Alma 32:27 "But behold, if ye will awake and arouse your faculties, even to an experiment upon my words, and exercise a particle of faith"- all I can say, is just to try.

I love you all, I miss you all!  Have an awesome week, and general conference weekend!

Elder Martin

??? Snack, anyone???

"What a marvelous privilege it is to hear God's messages for each of us during general conference!  Let us prepare well for this great blessing of divine guidance delivered by His chosen servants.  For this is no ordinary blessing."  
President Dieter F. Uchtdorf

Monday, March 20, 2017

Scenic Ocean Destination...failure

Hello everyone!  It's been a slower week, but it was good!  I hope you all had an awesome week!

On Monday when it was time for our zone activity, we drove to the "scenic ocean destination", to the top of the hill in our area, to see the ocean...and it failed.  We could only see clouds...bummer.

We had dinner with our stake president and his family.  It sure was good.  They took us out to eat at Stonefire...if you haven't heard of it, look it up.  It's delicious.  We came back to have a lesson with Pandian.  So the thing is, he's going back to India on Saturday the 18th, but there is a visa waiting missionary in our mission, going to his area in India.  So we brought him down to help teach and become friends so there is a familiar face in India.  It went well.  Eventually we had to leave to make it to our meeting on time, but Elder Horito (brought the visa waiter down) and this missionary finished what they were doing with Pandian.

Tuesday we had some weed'n'teach with Mary Anne again and she's doing well.  Everytime we go, she basically teaches us.  It's amazing!  We had weekly planning.  We treated ourselves with some fruit from the little fruit stands on some corner.  Sure is good.  We had knockout and dinner with the Rivas couple...he's 87 and still going strong.  Took us to Habit Burger and then Yogurt Land.  We're so spoiled.  We had another really good lesson with Tabitha, and she too, is really ready!  We finished the night with some referrals and potential investigators.

Wednesday was the day.  The day some people weren't looking forward to.  We did a zone all day knockout.  We met in the morning and started off the all day knockout with a zone prayer, and a scripture before hitting the doors for the day.  We felt this was right to do, considering a lot of us are in finding mode.  We finished at 6 pm, but we found no new investigators.  You'd think it'd be tough, right?  We got a text at 6:12 from a referral, that a member has a friend and her whole family to teach, but need a Portuguese translator for her family.  Coincidentally enough, like 15 people in our ward went to Brazil on their mission, and speak Portuguese.  It's just cool to see that when we put our time in, with good intentions, we're going to be blessed regardless.  Whether it came from knocking for hours on end, or just a referral.  It works with anything in life as well.

Thursday we left bright and early at 7:15 to be in North Hollywood by 8:30 for zone conference.  It doesn't normally take that long, but in the morning rush hour, it did.  We had a good zone conference that lasted some time.  We got to knockout for just the last half hour or so.  We had a great dinner too.

Friday we met with Mary Anne again.  She is so prepared for baptism.  I say this every week, but she continues to amaze me with how much she knows.  Plus, I found out this week, she's 80!  Doesn't even look 65 though!  We had lunch with some members of our zone at In 'n' Out and then had knockout.  Didn't have too much success, but it's always good.  We had dinner at some deli that a member took us to, but since I hadn't eaten much yesterday, or this morning, I had 3 burgers at In 'n' Out, so I just got a little meal at this deli, and it wasn't deli food.  Sorry to disappoint.  Pandian also came to us tonight, and told us he is not "reaching India tomorrow, extended to August 26", which is crazy.  I've still got my Indian friend here!

Saturday there was a baptism that was in our ward for a recently turned 8 year old.  We had two investigators there, so that was cool.  Afterwards, with permission of our mission president, we went to this families home with all their friends and talked with all of their non-member friends.  No one that we found to work with in our area, but there was in the Studio City area, so that was cool.  At the baptism we handed out copies of the Book of Mormon and pamphlets to people and they gladly accepted them.  It was cool.  There was a magician there too, he was pretty sick.  He performs at the Magic Castle in Hollywood, and did some tricks to me and Elder Clark, blew my mind.

Sunday we had church.  It was really cool.  5 girls from  Notre Dame High School were doing a project for their world religion class, and chose "Mormonism".  They came to church to find out more, and at the end of it, two of them were actually interested in having the missionaries come teach them.  (Not in our area.)  So it was neat that that happened.  The rest of the day was good as well. Talked with some cool people and had a good dinner.

Today, nothing notable yet, but we're going to WingStop in a little bit, cause cheaper wings on Monday's.  It'll be a good day.  Too sad to see FGCU  got eliminated from the tourney. ; )

I would invite you all to read and learn from two talks:
The first one is "Remeber Lot's wife"  by Elder Holland, at a BYU devotional.
The other is "Come Follow Me, by practicing Christian Love and Service" by Elder Hales.  One excerpt I want to share from the latter of the two:  "If you are suffering deeply, with others or alone, I urge you to let the Savior be your caregiver.  Lean on His ample arm.  Accept His assurance."  "I will not leave you comfortless:  I will come to you," He promises.

I love you and miss you all!

Elder Martin

"And when we have learned what we need to learn and have brought with us the best that we have experienced , 
then we look ahead, we remember that faith is always pointed toward the future."  Elder Jeffrey R. Holland

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Sunny California

Hello everyone, this week in sunny California, it has been that, exactly.  The weather is already hot, and feels like summer already, no bueno.

Monday we had our normal P-day, before coming home to have a lesson with Pandian and Mr. Singh, who live in our complex.  They're both such great guys.  These Indian people are so humble and down to earth, and are so accepting of help to learn not only English, but the Gospel of Jesus Christ as well.  If anything, planting the seed for now is nice.  We had dinner with a member of the Stake Presidency, and talked with him about his calling and such.  Had some great steak too!  Eventually we had our normal meeting with the district leaders and sister training leaders, and it went well.

Tuesday was kicked off with weekly planning, as usual.  We had a lesson planned with Mary Anne, who is the one Elder Clark and I knocked into on exchanges that one time, before we were ever companions, but she said she was behind with some stuff, and needed some weeding done.  So we did some weed'n'teach, if you will.  She is so ready for baptism, and I am so not ready for the sun.  I already got sunburned.  We had to go help the sister training leaders move some stuff around, then it was time for knockout.  No time for lunch.  I feel like that's the only addition to being a zone leader, no lunch.  I had a stale hot dog bun for the road before knocking some doors.  Talked to some interesting people, that's for sure.  A member gave us some money for dinner since we had no plans. We went to Buffalo Wild Wings, but the wait was too long, so we went to Chick fil A.  Lets just say we got two 30 nugget platters, and it was awesome.  We had a lesson with Tabitha, and she too is ready for baptism.  She got some anti stuff from her sister and wanted to know more, simply to prove her sister wrong!  She's so prepared!

Wednesday we had some studies to prepare for a meeting.  The meeting was MLC, or mission leadership counsel, where all the zone leaders, sister training leaders, assistants, and President and Sister Henrie gather, and train, and counsel.  We had to make out way up to Santa Clarita by 12, and the meeting started at 1.  It ended around 6, and we got home around 7,  It was a long day, and I can't remember what we did after.  I do remember, however, since Elder Clark and I have been naming every semi on the road, we decided to take the truck route on the way to Santa Clarita...never again...

Thursday we had to put together a training that we were giving that day.  It was a zone meeting, rather than just district meeting.  It was a good couple of hours as well, and the lovely assistants showed up, so I got to see Elder Jensen and Elder Neilson again.  We had a good knockout before heading to dinner.  We had huge T-bone steaks that were the size of our plate.  The thing was, we didn't have much time to eat, because half an hour later, we had a meeting with the stake president and President Henrie.  We discussed the things we could do to better help the work in the Canoga Park Stake.  Afterwards, we went and visited some investigators that have seemed to drop off, and had no luck.

Friday we went and helped Mary Anne out again, first thing in the morning.  Did some more weed'n'teach.  When we finished there, we went to lunch with one of the members of our zone and just talked.  When the time came to knock, we hit a pretty good street.  The YSA sisters were knocking in our area as well, and found a couple of potential investigators for us, so we'll follow up with them here soon...again.  This family that is in the Tongan ward in LA, but live in our boundaries (if they attended the English ward) took us out to eat, and we got to choose.  You betcha, we chose McDonalds!  Sure was good!

Saturday we didn't have hardly anything on our schedule, so when we left our apartment, we just went and knocked first thing in the morning. and boy are people more receptive and kind then.  No new investigators, but some pretty cool potentials came from it.  When we finished the street we were on, we were walking back up to our car, and saw some other missionaries from another church, haha, and they were double dipping all the people...sorry, not sorry! haha We talked to one of them, and traded them for a Restoration pamphlet.  We eventually came home and had lunch, which consisted of ice cream and Pepsi.  We wend and did some park proselyting, and watched some kids film some movie for school, but they weren't interested in the Gospel.  However, they did know some kids from the last ward I served in, and said that those youth had talked with them about the church in the past, which was neat.  Youth can have a big impact!  We found some part member families , and the non member of one family invited us back and wants us over for dinner. another wants us to teach their daughter, so those are successful pools.  We were home for the last half hour or so, and were supposed to have another English class with our Indian friends, however neither have a phone to tell us they couldn't do it today.  So since we were at the apartment, we walked around to find someone. We ended up playing ball with some people at our complex and beating them twice, then introducing the Gospel to them.  They invited us back to play ball with them more often, so we'll do that if there is progression in the Gospel with them.

Sunday was good.  We asked the Sunday school teacher at the beginning of the week, if we could teach on something specific to meet the needs of our investigator who would be there, he got back to us and told us we could do it because he wouldn't be there.  So we quickly put something together, and then our investigator left after sacrament meeting, so no point in getting out of order in Sunday school, so we just winged the next lesson.  Then, of course, our investigator walked back in...oh well.  It went well and there was a good spirit.  After church we had ward coordination and discussed our teaching pool and such, and then hit the streets knocking.  We came home for dinner at the end, and day light savings hit us hard.  We fell asleep during dinner, which was much needed.  Then our appointment cancelled, and we were nearly out of gas, so we just walked around the huge mall, all the streets around it, and talked to everyone we could.  It was a good use of our time.

Today we're going to hit some sick scenic drive that at the top you can see the ocean, so that's on the agenda, as well as eating dinner with the Stake President.

I love you and miss you all!  Remember, because of the great Plan of Happiness, which is centered on the Atonement of Jesus Christ, we can be forgiven of every little mistake we've made, but more importantly, know that someone else has already felt every bit of pain and can succor you in times of need.  Turn to our Savior in these times.  "Men are that they might have joy."  -that's the way to have joy.  Turn to Christ.

"If you're not happy in life, you're being selfish."  Gordon B. Hinckley

Elder Martin

"By and large, I have come to see that if we COMPLAIN about life, it is because we are thinking only of ourselves."  
President Gordon B. Hinckley

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Woodland Hills

Hey everyone!  The weather is getting better here in sunny southern California.  It's actually starting to live up to its name again!  First week and responsibilities as a zone leader have been real good.  I love it!

Monday we finished our p-day activities and hit up some families that I'll miss in West Hills.  The Rodriquez family  took us out to eat at Lucille's BBQ and it was real good.  Got some ribs and brisket.  We hit up the Jeffords family afterwards, and said goodbye to them.  Their kids were in their footie pajamas, and expected me to do the same, so I did.  You'll do weird things when you have a good relationship with people, ya feel?  To end the night, I took my stuff across the parking to my new apartment, considering I'm not going far.  West Hills was blast, but I look forward to Woodland Hills!

Tuesday was transfer day!  I had to inspect some apartments real quick and make sure new missionaries came into clean apartments, then we headed to transfers.  Hit up McDonald's on the way and pigged out!  Transfers are generally a mess, just a ton of missionaries in one parking lot.  It was cool though, a random kid pulled in and asked what it was all about and Elder Hamilton was next to me, so I grabbed him and we taught a little in the parking lot during the exchanges, it was pretty cool. Afterwards, we had to drop some people's stuff off at their apartments.  We were going to our last stop, when suddenly our car wouldn't start.  Not good.  Long story short, we just took the battery out, took another missionaries car, and went and bought another one, and then it started fine.  (After charging, jumping attempts, and getting the approval of the guy in charge of cars.)  We ending up having to go to our dinner appointment late, sitting down for 15 minutes, and leaving to get to our lesson.  The lesson was with Tabitha.  She's awesome and so ready to be baptized! Got some final things to teach, but it'll  be good!

Transfer day

Wednesday we had weekly planning, and then hit up Elder Curnutt's birthday at 5 Guys, which was so sick.  There were so many missionaries there.  We ran some errands afterwards, but they were good.  Elder Clark and I have some real good conversations too.  I introduced him to my interest in semi trucks and taught him the brands too. Hahaha.  We ended up talking like hicks.  Lasted for a real long time.  We're trying to stop, it's become a habit. Haha.  We had a lesson with a lady named Marry Anne as well.  Let me tell you a little background on Marry Anne.  My first transfer in West Hills, I was on exchanges with Elder Clark, before we ever even thought about being companions, and we were knocking, and knocked into her.  It was neat that it was kind of full circle.  She remembered me too.  We had knockout after, and saw a guy pushing a truck on one of the busiest streets, so we decided to help.  Holy cow, I thought I was going to die afterwards.  It was worse than any football conditioning I've been apart of.  We pushed for some time to get to a gas station.  If felt good to help someone out.  We had english class with our good Indian friends named Pandian and Mr. Singh. (The one that came knocking early one morning, when I was on exchanges with Elder Horito.)  They are great, I love those guys.

Elder Clark, Pandian, Mr. Singh, Elder Martin

Pandian hanging out with Elder Martin

Thursday we had another class with Pandian and Mr. Singh.  More gospel related this time.  We had correlation with our new ward mission leader, then hit up district meeting.  It is nice not stressing over having to prepare for that anymore.  We went to Elder Curnutt's district meeting, and President Henrie showed up.  It was a good meeting too.  We needed to get into a certain complex, but it wouldn't open, so we climbed in...that's always fun.  We had a good K.O. too.  We had to run to Van Nuys as well and grab some stuff for a mall booth on Saturday, but we also went and helped Sister Acevedo.  (The family we helped install the basketball court.) She needed some heavy stuff moved. She has her own salon, and was getting rid of old chairs, so we took them for our study chairs...those things are heavy!  For dinner we BBQ'd some meat that we had bought the other day...not the best at that.

New study chairs

Umm...this is where they climbed into a complex??! What?  That doesn't look suspicious at all.

Friday we did some service at the maternity home again, then had lunch and companion study.  We did have to go to Valencia to the mission office too, to get some stuff and drop off some stuff.  Pretty sure we named every semi on the way.  We had another good knock out and found some pretty good potentials.  We eventually had dinner at Red Lobster...I bet you can guess what I got.  One of the two things on the menu that was not seafood!

Companion coats?

Saturday we got to go set up the mall booth, but they didn't have the stuff for us, like they were supposed to, and we had confirmed before.  But they were behind, so we had to hustle and get that set up for the other companionships coming later on to have a good experience.  Had another good knockout, and then dinner at yet another BBQ place.  Boy am I getting fed well.

Sunday we had ward council in the morning, and had a good meaningful meeting.  Sometimes it seems pointless when no discussion happens.  But this one was good.  Had a good fast Sunday, with 3 investigators at church.  Mr Singh, who speaks very little English, got up and bore his testimony.  It was really cool.  We had knockout, and went to a part member family.  We ended up picking up the non-members as investigators, and he's going to ask for Sunday's off from work.  It'll be great!  We had dinner at our Bishops, and visited various families in the ward to inspire them to do missionary work.  Those went well too.

It was a great first week as a zone leader, and in Woodland Hills. Elder Clark sure is great!  Have a great week everyone!

I love you and miss you all!

Elder Martin

From the top of the Woodland Hills area

Nine month mark

Oh, California...

" Diligently doing the things that matter most will lead us to the Savior of the world." 
President Dieter F. Uchtdorf