FYI: This blog is being taken care of by Sister Martin's mom Sharon Martin - She is posting emails and pictures that I am sending to her each week.

Monday, 19 August 2013

What doesn't kill you makes you stronger!!

So I'll just get the crazy/bad news out of the way now…

Remek's baptism was supposed to happen on Saturday. The font was filled, refreshments set out, programs printed, members had all arrived........and then 20 mins before it was supposed to start, I get a text message from Remek that only says: "sorry, I'm not ready. Remek". Then his phone was turned off. We had no clue where he was. What was wrong. Everyone was looking to me for answers. I had none. We had literally had an amazing lesson the night before with him (the spirit was strong, tears all around the room), and he has not expressed a single concern at any point. No crazy promptings from the spirit saying that something was off. So we sat around awkwardly forever, praying he would show up. He didn't. So we proceeded to bless the refreshments, stuff our faces in sorrow, and then go home. Heavenly Father has been holding me up this week. This week has been horrendous! I normally would have probably curled up into a ball on the floor and just cried. But I was blessed to have an incredible amount of comfort from the Holy Ghost that night. I stayed so calm it was scary. Everyone was coming up to me, asking so many questions: did Sis S and I neglect to pick up on a blatant concern that was there the whole time? If Sis S hadn't left, would this have happened? Where was Remek? blah blah blah etc. etc. I stayed soooo calm, it was strange. Heavenly Father truly does watch over us. Luckily Remek finally did reply to me. He did not go to church on Sunday which was so weird (he has attended for 2 months straight before this). We had a LONG meeting with him last night. I can't tell you what we talked about. Basically though, the poor man is WAY too hard on himself! He loves God and Jesus Christ SOOO much, and does not feel worthy to be a part of Christ's fold. He is probably the most faithful person I have ever met. He has the sweetest countenance of happiness around him. Our members LOVE him, because he makes everyone smile. I pray that we can work through his concerns. Sister S leaving did not help. He was devastated (we all cried together at impacted him that much), and it broke my heart to watch him feel so sad about our companionship being broken up so suddenly. I know he will be baptized one day-- maybe not while I'm still here in Telford-- but I have no doubt he will get there soon.

So.....I am pretty much a trainer. My new companion is only one transfer ahead of me, and she is still afraid of street contacting, tracting, making phone calls....pretty much taking any leadership role at all. So I'm working on helping her be able to approach people on the street (for every 5-7 people, she'll talk to one and I do the rest). I'm helping her feel more comfortable with teaching. She literally said to me that I am her second trainer..........who would have thought I would find myself in this position only 8/9 weeks into my mission. I'm grateful for the leadership and teaching positions I've had before my mission that I now know were preparing me for this moment of my mission! Most missionaries at this point in the mission are still not comfortable talking to people, teaching etc. I'm lucky that I got over my apprehensions by week 3/4 so that I can handle this huge jump in responsibility. I'm also lucky that Sis S let me take the lead so much during out time together, so that I'm comfortable with the daily routines of missionary work.  I'm under so much stress, as I've barely finished my training (YAY!!!!! I finished my training program 2 weeks early!!!) and now I'm leading out in a white-washing area! But I'm somehow keeping it together!!! Barely!! What doesn't kill you makes you stronger right?!

My stress levels have been extremely high this week, but I'm somehow hanging in there. I was reading Alma 26 this week, where Ammon is reflecting on how they had a point in their missions where they were so depressed that they wanted to quit. Even our superhero, Book of Mormon missionaries had times where they thought they couldn't do it! They prove to us that if we keep pressing forward that we will find success, because the Lord always blesses us when we endure faithfully.
 I'm just grateful that Heavenly Father has sustained me during this insane week! He has sent me angels to lift me up: Sister Cleary (who has been like my mother out here), my beautiful Stafford Sisters (I will sob the day I have to go home and be separated from these incredible women who I love to death!!), and our own mission president! I picked up the phone Monday night and it was the Stafford sisters....singing one of my favourite hymns- How Firm a Foundation. Sister M remembered me telling her that the last verse is my favourite and always makes me cry. It was exactly what I needed right then. I was literally about to fall apart and then they called me. Heavenly Father is so aware of me right now, I feel it so much this week in all the small moments where I have been encouraged and given hope! I feel blessed to be serving here amongst such righteous, young people! I have made the most incredible friends out here, and if I had the option I would be a missionary forever!

Sacrament meeting was amazing this week. Ironically enough (the night after our baptism flop) the elders, myself, and our ward mission leader all were assigned to give talks on the topic: "The work will go forth from this place". We laughed sadly after the baptism, as we drowned our sorrows in our leftover KFC that we were eating earlier while the font was draining, and realized how pathetically ironic it was that we would be giving those talks the following day!  But it was incredible. I had prayed hard about that talk and felt inspired to share a talk that was so bold that it shocked pulpit pounding bold! I normally would not be inclined to be that intense, or blunt....but I was.....I laughed so hard as after sacrament meeting our ward mission leader Brother Davey (he is incredible! Convert of about 8ish years. Wife and daughter not members! He is so faithful and enthusiastic!) said that he had originally wanted to do an intense, pulpit pounding talk too, but decided it wasn't a good idea....but then when he saw that myself and the elders had been inspired to do so, he said to himself "what the heck, I'm going in!" and went for it as well! So funny! Our congregation was in tears! The spirit was so strong. I feel that their hearts were changed in that meeting. I have so much respect for the elders I am serving with here! Their talks were amazing! Their faith is strong, and I pray for the greatest blessings to come their way. Such valiant young people here!

Highlight: after that meeting, the bishops daughter (7 years old)- who has taken quite the liking to me- came up to me and gave me a card. She had drawn a picture of me. It was adorable. All it said was, "To Sister Martin. From Sarah". It is now taped up on my wall with my other pictures! Those moments are what makes being a missionary so worth it! Brother Davey issued the best invitation I've ever heard: He has invited the ward to live one day like a missionary (i.e. to follow the missionary schedule). Families are lining up to book FHE's and tea appointments for us to tell them about our schedule and have us help them figure out how to make a modified one that will work for their "real lives". We are having FHE with the bishop's family soon: we will sit with the kids and make a schedule for them. Their parents are actually going to arrange for the kids to go to a tea appointment at their grandparents, and share a spiritual thought. They will do a service project. Some kind of missionary work, exercise. The whole deal! I'm so excited for this! SOOO MUCH FUN!!!!!!

Miracle: Working with a dear sister in our ward! We have been working relentlessly with her to build her faith. She has not been reading, praying, going to church. This week we had an amazing meeting with her. I felt inspired to commit her to read scriptures (even if it's 2-3 verses only) daily, AND call me and tell me what she learned that day. It has been working. I saw her later in the week and she said that she is "feeling the fire again". We've been talking relentlessly about how we need to APPLY principles to build our faith. She finally gets it! As soon as she started to read and pray again, almost instantly her hunger to learn more and follow the commandments just exploded! MIRACLES!!!!!! It took 9 weeks, but we finally had a breakthrough!

Awkward moment of the week: For tea appointments this week, I invited my companion to share her fav scripture so the ward can get to know her better. She chose 1 Nephi 3:7. At a tea appointment, during the spiritual thought she suggested that we sing the primary song Nephi's Courage with the young boy (3years old). His parents said he could march along to the song as we sang. As we were about to start, she says "Oh, I don't know the song. I meant that you can just sing it Sister Martin". Talk about throwing someone (who does NOT sing solos ever) under the bus. But the little boy was standing right in front of me, reading to march on the spot, looking up at me with the biggest, blue eyes......I could not say no. UGHHHHH! I sang it. So embarrassing! But if this little boy grows up to be a troublemaker, no one can say that I didn't do my part in teaching him the gospel! HAHA

MIRACLE: A veryyyyyyyyyyy less active 21 year old girl who we've been working with for a while has read up to 2nd Nephi!!! In like 2 weeks!! And she wants to go back to church (she actually desires to be able to serve a mission one day). She hasn't smoked in 4 days and hasn't drank in 2 weeks (she has some bad addictions...partying got her into trouble not long after her baptism). MIRACLESSS EVERYWHERE!!!!!! We have been faithfully coming to her home and doing scripture studies with her, and obviously it's paying off. Her non-member room-mate has also been reading the BOM and now is showing interest in letting us work with her as well!

 REPORT FOR GRANDMA MITCHELL! I'm sorry it took me so long to answer this request. My food intake in England. To be honest, it is not much different than home. We get fed a TON of roast dinners! Something different is that people tend to like having custard dishes (hot or cold custard) for pudding (in England, dessert is called pudding). I've been given nothing weird yet- all the food has been delicious. One thing I liked that is different is having mushy peas with fish and chips (very English thing to have!). I would have never guessed that dipping chips in mushy peas could be yummy! Something VERY English: whenever we go to peoples' homes, 99% of the time we get offered a drink (either squash, fruit tea, or fizzy drink). People here all have nice beverages stored away for when company comes. So I guess the whole "English people always offer you tea" stereotype is actually quite true. Maybe we're just rude in Canada, but I never noticed anyone doing that back home.

 Fun fact: ICE CREAM LAURIES IN ENGLAND ARE EVIL!!!! The ice-cream trucks in England are like on steroids!! The music is 20x louder than back home, and 20x more annoying. And rain or shine, the ice cream truck drives by our street at least once (if not multiple) times a day. It always seems to come by too, whenever we get the rare chance to take a break. I am plotting the murder of our ice-cream man!
 I have nothing else exciting to report. It's been a tough week, and a good chunk of our week was spent running around introducing Sister D to all the members. So sorry for the lack of miracles this week!!!! Here's hoping I keep my sanity during this next week. Tomorrow will be exciting; as I get to do the England church history tour with our zone and I will see all my friends from other areas.

I love you all and as I always say, I hope the time goes fast for you, and slow for me!!!!!

Sister Martin <3

No comments:

Post a Comment