Monday, 1 July 2013
Yes it is true...Sister Martin hasn't showered in 3 weeks!!
Ok! Time for rapid fire emailing! I could go into a career as a typist after this mission (tender mercy of the Lord.......maybe that's a bit of a stretch!)
Yesterday was the BEST DAY EVER! We had an investigator come to church. We had just given up on him coming (there was about 3 mins until sacrament meeting started), and then suddenly he came in and sat down beside us literally 3 seconds before the Bishop stood up to start the meeting! I almost screamed I was so happy! His name is Remek- the Polish man that Sister Shchur volunteered me to teach him English. Turns out, teaching him English has been my favourite parts of the week! It's absolutely a riot! We love comparing Russian words, to Polish words, to English words. Example: pen in Russion and Polish are super long. So Remek says: adfjasdklfj Sister Shchur says: akjfbnrehaw and I went: pen. We were dying laughing at how unintelligent I sound in comparison to them :) Remek is incredible. He dove right into his Polish BOM and is reading quickly. He LOVED church and is so excited to come next week! Even though he barely understood the words, our choir happened to be singing 2 songs that day and he kept saying "beautiful, beautiful!". I'm one of the few women in a tiny choir. If anyone knows me well, they know that anything that involves me singing is not beautiful! Proof that the Spirit is strong enough to overcome anything! ;)
Kalid: Well, we lost Kalid! We were scheduled to teach him the second discussion and he was a no show. A little bit shocking, considering how excited he was during the 1st discussion. We stopped by a couple of days ago, talked to him and rebooked another appointment. No show for the second appointment. We left him a note to call us, and will just pray that whatever is going on will be resolved and he will one day contact missionaries again. It happens. It certainly won't be the last time it'll happen, so I'm just staying positive and plan to push myself 30,000x harder so that we can find those who are ready for the gospel.
We had a temple zone conference this week. It was wonderful. Our President did a mini demonstration with us that had a significant impact on me. He started listing off the names of zones within our mission and asked those who had served (or are serving) in those zones to stand as they were named. He then at the end asked "if anyone has ever served in the comfort zone, please stand up". Obviously no one did! It was a wonderful reminder that it's perfectly ok that I don't feel like I know what I'm doing 90% of the time. All that matters is that I'm working hard, being obedient, and that I strive every second to follow my Saviour and have the spirit with me!
So we met our first anti-mormon this week. Unfortunately for him, he messed with the wrong missionary! He was going on about how Joseph Smith was a criminal, fraud etc. blah blah blah and how we are crazy for worshipping him. BIG MISTAKE! He got a big ol can of testimony from me right then and there! My relationship with Jesus Christ is the one thing that anchors my entire testimony. It's the most important thing to me in my life, and that's the one thing that I can’t stand for people messing with. I bore my testimony of my Saviour, and how I do not worship Joseph Smith, but that I believe in Jesus as my Saviour. To be entirely honest, it was pretty intense. I never felt a fire like that in my before (I can't lie- I was pretty firm with him). Shocking moment: it actually shut him up completely! We ended up having a really nice conversation about Jesus Christ and his ministry, and shared our love and belief for him. This man will certainly never convert to the church (though...you never know), but I was grateful that the spirit was able to guide me through that moment!
Awkward moment of the week: We were visiting a less active lady this week and she asked us if missionaries ever fell in love on their missions and got married. Laughing, I politely explained that it does happen sometimes, but that as missionaries we do not focus on that (i.e. we don't come out to find a husband/wife). She then said: "I just ask because you seem like a really lovely girl. It would do one of our boys here good to have a girl like you". She then proceeded to tell me all about her son and show me pictures of him and express how she wants nothing more than for him to find a nice church girl and get married. She kept asking me if I thought he looked like a nice boy and asked me if I would go and meet him. Awkward!!! I was quite red in the face to say the least.
I have to write about Saturday night before I continue! This will be one of those epic return missionary stories that I'll tell so often that people will be sick of me! So our ward was asked to participate in a community Christian music festival at some community center. The idea was that different churches would come and sing hymns together. Nice idea! So we all arrive at this address we've been given, and we are in the sketchiest place I've ever seen. Like seriously! Graffiti everywhere, very rough looking characters hanging around, staring at us like we're crazy, barred up convenience stores and knocked over rubbish bins. And no one from this festival is anywhere to be found (the community center where it's supposed to be held is all locked up). Finally the man in charge shows up 20 mins after the whole thing was supposed to start. Sister Cleary (one of my favourite members here! She's an AMAZING cook and just as crazy as my family! She would fit right in with us!) said to him jokingly, "the only way you can make this up to me is by giving me chocolate. Chocolate fixes everything". Well, this man is from Africa and his English was pretty good, but not good enough to understand sarcasm apparently, because suddenly he turned up with a shopping bag with about 15 chocolate bars in it! He took her literally and went and bought us chocolate!!
So we get into the center and there's a bunch of chairs set up with tambourines, and a whole whack of instruments at the front. The "festival" starts and it's just us, and one black lady and her 3 children at the front. The pastor begins, as someone pounds away at the drums in the background. And he starts SCREAMING a sermon into the microphone at a million miles an hour (he could honestly have a career as an auctioneer). I mean like SCREAMING. He does this for about 30 mins (we were supposed to have sung almost 45 mins earlier). We have no idea what to do. People streamed in throughout that time. They were dancing around. People would randomly get up and sing as loud as they could into the mic in very off-key voices. The pastor was screaming gibberish (speaking in tongues). Members of the congregation were convulsing and screaming out Hallelujah! Amen! Praise the Lord!!! Over and over and over and over. And we were just sitting there like deer in headlights. Sister Cleary leaned over to me and said "on the bright side, we've got chocolate" and proceeded to dish out the chocolate bars. So we sat there, confused, uncomfortable, nibbling on our chocolate. My poor companion was so confused. She kept asking me: "Sister Martin, is he speaking English". It was so hard to explain to her what was going on with a straight face. My row of members decided to make the most of the whole thing and we shook our tambourines together and I used all my willpower not to burst out laughing. My companion looked stunned the whole time. It was the funniest thing I've ever experienced. The best part was when we finally got to go up and sing. The congregation looked like they were being put to death. They were so bored by us. No hallelujahs. No shrieking out AMEN! No off-key screaming into the mic. We then made a very quick exit after that, saying that we had to go. Us and the elders went to the Cleary's home after and ate the cake she had prepared for us after and laughed our heads off about the whole thing. I do have to note though, the members of that church were super nice and welcoming! I love them for that!
So I go on exchanges for 3 days this week to Stafford (if I remember correctly KRISTEN DELL should be excited about this). I know the sister I will be companions with very well already. Her name is Sister Mauirmikova (don't even bother trying to pronounce it. I've been practicing her name all the time for the last 2 weeks in preparation for exchanges and I finally can say it properly). She's from the Ukraine, but also speaks perfect Russian because her mom is from Russia. She has got a HUGE personality. Very loud. Very outspoken. She and l love joking around and teasing each other ALL the time. So Sister Shchur and I decided it would be epic for me to learn some snarky, sarcastic Russian phrases to say to her during exchanges- just to mess around with her and get a good, dramatic reaction from her! So Sister Shchur has taught me the following:
Yes my queen
You are what you eat
And a couple others!
Sister Shchur and I have been dying laughing as we imagine the reaction I will get when I use these on Sister M. It will be incredible!! My favourite phrases are be silent and yes my queen. During the Christian music festival, I leaned over to Sis. Shchur at one point and whispered as I pointed to the pastor "Be silent" (in Russian obviously). She almost peed her pants laughing! That same night, our district leader would not stop talking on the phone (it was already almost 10:00 and we were supposed to be all finished with things by 9:30)...he's just really enthusiastic! As she hung up the phone, she muttered "Be silent". I almost peed my pants. These Russian lessons have been so hilarious! We just laugh all day now.
On that note, my week with Sister Shchur has been wonderful. I finally found a sense of humour deep down in her. She's just so shy that it took awhile. I had so many return missionaries tell me that if you struggle with a companion, that you should find every opportunity possible to serve them. I did just that and the results were insane! We have bonded so much this week it has been wonderful. We literally laugh all day together, as we make stupid jokes (in English and in Russian)! I'm grateful for this lesson learned. It's still not easy (we are still two very different people), but it's great that we have become wonderful friends despite the trials of the day to day life.
So random note, but exciting announcement (many may know already) but this year missionaries will official be viral! Yup, we're getting the internet. Somewhat scary, but if used righteously, this could have an incredible impact on the work!
Oh! Another random note. I have the most EPIC foot tan ever! White toes and dark, dark brown feet. It looks so ugly it's hilarious. The members love teasing me about my feet when I go to take off my shoes during tea appointments!
So this is probably a "too much information" kind of moment, but our shower has been broken since we have arrived to Telford. Yup. We haven't had a shower in 3 weeks! We have been having to bathe by filling a mixing bowl with water, standing in the empty tub and dumping it repeatedly over our heads. Our landlord has not been responding to us. Totally lame. We are so frustrated; so what do you do when you're frustrated. You laugh of course! So I started making up imaginary phone messages that we really wanted to leave with her (not very nice ones). Then it turned into poems that we could leave on her voicemail. Here are the ones I came up with:
I smell like rubbish,
Yes I do!
Now fix my shower,
So I don't smell like poo!
I hate to smoulder
My investigators with odor
So please fix my shower
So my scent does not overpower
Things that would be brilliant:
Not having to bathe in deodorant
If cleanliness is next to Godliness, then this should be a sin.
Please fix my shower, so I can stop smelling like the bin!
Roses are red
Violets are blue
Please fix my shower!!!!
I smell like shoe!
Ohhhh dear....what a sad life us missionaries live, that poems about showers have become our entertainment ;) :)
Oh! You should all be proud of me! I have officially stopped saying me first name! I now am Sister Martin 100% of the time- no slipping up. Even in my head I am thinking in the name Sister Martin now! I think this officially means that I really am a missionary!
Anyways I shall wrap up this email! To sum up! WE HAVE BEEN BUSY! Not many investigators (grand total of one....I love Remek!) but we are just running around like crazy all day. Whitewashing two wards is difficult (I don't know if I mentioned last week that we got assigned to cover another ward last week). But so rewarding! I go to bed happy everyday! I love being a missionary! I love England with all my heart!!
Love Sister Martin