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

Monday, July 3, 2017

Otter Pops and Raspadas

What a week!

Monday we played some good basketball again.  It's always great!  We were able to go to family home evening again for YSA and set up some appointments. Had some food there too. Had our normal Monday night meeting, then hit home.

Tuesday we were able to do weekly planning before hitting up an exchange with the Plum Canyon Elders.  Elder Chappell and I had a really good knockout, where we were able to talk with some great people!  We had a little lesson with a member after, to help with her missionary efforts, and then dinner.  We had Kora, Dede, and Moonie, and they brought a friend too, named Star to dinner.  We taught Star the restoration of the Gospel, and when Kora testified of the Book of Mormon, Star asked, "You're a Mormon?"  and she said "yeah" and Star replied "No wonder you're so happy now!"  and wants to learn more and read the Book of Mormon.  The Gospel of Jesus Christ really truly does bring so much happiness into people's lives, as you apply it.

Wednesday we had a booth at the community college nearby.  It was so sick!  We brought a bunch of Otter Pops to hand out.  We wrote questions on some white boards, and had people answer them, and turned it into a Gospel conversation, but the Otter Pops were to get them near us!  It was great!

We were able to meet with a couple of people before hitting KO.  As we were knocking, there was a Hispanic lady who insisted on buying us 'raspadas'.  It's like a Mexican slushy.  Wherever you go here in this mission, there are people who walk around with little carts, (kind of like ice cream truck idea) and sell really good stuff.  She wasn't a member, but so kind to buy those.

Thursday was a really good day!  We were able to go down to the Temple in LA for the mission trip.  Elder Horito and I had the chance to ride down with the Haws, one of the senior couples.  They're so great!  The temple was great, as it always is.  You learn so much every time, and the Spirit is indescribable.  On our way home we stopped at North Hollywood Toyota.  Why?  Because the mission got 3 new cars this day.  And only 4 people in our car, so we were able to drive brand new cars home, from NoHo, by ourselves.  I put the first 24.3 miles on that car, and proud of it.  It sure is weird driving alone though...They took us out to eat at Habit Burger too, such great people!

Friday we were able to meet with a couple members to help them with their missionary efforts. That's the best kind of investigator, one referred by a friend that is a close friend.  While knocking we were able to find a really cool lady named Nancy.  She was so prepared!  We were able to do exchanges with Elder Johnson and Elder Sosa too.  I was with Elder Johnson and we found an area that hasn't been touched by missionaries, so we were able to knock that for some time!  It was great!  We also talked to a girl on the street who was waiting for Uber.  We shared the Book of Mormon with her, and got a return appointment.  She loved the Book of Mormon and the Plan of Salvation.

Saturday we were able to have a couple lessons in the morning, as well as some knocking.  We exchanged back, for me and Elder Horito to fill the font...There was a baptism too, and it was for someone who had been taught for some time, so there were a lot of missionaries there.  We had investigators there too.  Then we had a BBQ at a part member families home.  The YSA son was recently baptised, and plays college basketball, and the YSA sister likes us a lot, even though she's not a member.  Mainly because they're Polynesian, and so is Elder Horito.  Let me tell you though, it wasn't a BBQ I was expecting.  It was a Ploy BBQ with food I'd never seen.  It was way good though. We also got transfer calls.  Elder Horito is leaving, and so am I.  They're taking Elder's out of YSA. So sad, so much was just about to happen!

Sunday was good, as always.  We had Kora, Dede, Chantel, Eugiena, and Nalani'i all at church!  It was so good!  Said goodbye to the squads.  We knocked some doors and had dinner at the Merriweathers too, some bomb nachos!

I'm headed to the Wiley Canyon Ward, I hear a lot about it, and that it's the "best ward in the mission".  Obviously everyone doesn't know that whatever ward I'm in is the best in the mission. J/K, still working on my pride.

I love you all!

Elder Martin

"We should look to and have our focus firmly fixed upon the Savior at all times and in all places."  David A. Bednar