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.

Thursday, 28 November 2013

hello from cold, beautiful, historic......................................CLIFFHANGER

I AM IN CARLISLE!!!!!! For those not familiar with EMM geography, I am literally in the most North area of the entire mission. My last area was pretty much at the bottom of the mission. So in one day I have literally crossed the entire length of the mission! It's pretty much on the border of Scotland and England. It is GORGEOUS here!!!!!! There are castles and old buildings, and incredible shopping and great places to eat everywhere! There is certainly a strong Scottish influence in the accent here! Basically I will be able to have all the cliche English missionary experiences that everyone hopes to have out here!  This seems like a place for missionaries to get spoiled sick! 

There is a small branch here! Lots of potential for some great missionary work to be done! My new companion is Sis. Burridge--- from Australia as well haha!!! Her and Sis. Riley were in the MTC together, so when we heard the news Sis. Riley thought is was hilarious!! Apparently these laid-back Aussies are good for this uptight, perfectionist, workaholic Canadian :) Sis. Riley left Telford as well, so they will now have 2 sets of elders. It was so sad to say goodbye to her, as she has become one of my best friends over the course of these last 3 months!

Ok, enough blabbering...time for my last bit of Telford highlights before I begin this new adventure in Carlisle.

We learned a new second language........parsletongue:
So the temperature has certainly dropped in the last couple weeks! Brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr. Sis. Riley has never really been in a climate cold enough where she can see her breath, so she found it quite funny to try and make silly shapes with her breath. Like the dork I am, I quite profoundly pointed out that the noises being emitted from her mouth as she was doing this sounded like parsletongue. Well you can picture the rest of that evening. Walking around in the freezing, trying to speak in parsletongue (kind of like Dory in Finding Nemo translated normal sentences into different dialects of whale). Can you really blame us? We are in England! Some bad Harry Potter jokes are bound to happen every once in awhile!

Sis. Riley's 1st snow....flake:
The other week the temp dropped low enough that we had some rain mixed with the odd snowflake here and there. I was calmly sitting and studying my scriptures, when suddenly I look up and Sis. R was squeeling and screaming and jumping up and down with a giant grin on her face. I turn around and there were like 4 snowflakes falling from the sky....that was it. But she was so excited (she has never seen snow before) and began to bundle up and prepare to go outside and play in the snow. Life truly has a different perspective through the eyes of a foreign companion. I love it!!!!

General Authority Interview:
No big deal, but we got interviewed by a member of the quorum of the 70!! Elder Tiexera (pretty sure I spelled it wrong) picked 2 companionships out of 2 zones to interview. He picked us and a set of elders!!!!! OH MY GOODNESS!!!! He was so kind and easy to talk to!! It wasn't really an interview, more than just a wonderful discussion about life and the mission. We literally sat down, and he says we can ask him any question we want. Once in a lifetime experience much?!?!?!?!?!?! It was mind-blowing! The things he said to us and shared with us were so profound. It was like he knew exactly what we were going through personally and in our area as well. The advice was perfect for that moment in time. He gave me the most beautiful advice/insights on the virtue of patience (I had simply asked him what his favourite Christ-like attribute was. He didn't tell me his favourite, but told me what one he thought was most important right now.....fancy that! Patience has been the attribute that I have been studying, focusing on, developing and struggling with on this mission!!!!). He talked about trials and how to get through them. He gave us advice on missionary work and gave us some new things to try!!!! One of the most spiritual experiences of my life and one that I will never forget!

Helium Balloon:
So I have never tried the whole sucking helium out of a balloon and talking in a squeeky annoying voice thing. I've always been too scared to try (I just picture me reacting badly to the helium and my throat closing and me dropping dead............yeah I know I'm weird!). As we were packing up our stuff, Sis. R didn't know what to do with her old birthday balloon. I admitted that I've never done the helium thing and with that she insisted we do it! Picture this: Me+ Helium Balloon+ quoting lines from the district (missionary training videos that we watch 2 billion times over on the mission......RM's will appreciate this). The smallest things in life truly please missionaries!!!

Random Sis. Riley Quotes of the Week:
1. We were talking about our weight and how fat we've gotten on the mission. Then out of no where:
Sis R: "Why do they call it skinny's not like you get skinnier from it. Maybe it's because only skinny people should do it...the other alternative is not very pretty. On of my friends back home used to say that 'I don't skinny dip...I chunky dunk'"

2. A lady was walking down the street with a pram (baby carriage). As she passed us, Sis. R exclaims:
"There is no baby in the pram! That is so weird! Maybe that lady is crazy! Wait! I shouldn't of said that! Maybe she is grieving over a deceased child and is in denial" 

3. We were at a members home. They have the most scary, psycho kitten ever! It attacks everything and everyone! It's hilarious!!! We were sitting in the members living room. Suddenly the kitten flew out from under the couch. Out of nowhere Sis. R jumps up and in the perfect Steve Irwine voice:

"Crickey!!! WHAT's THAT!!!!!!!!! This animal is veryyyyy dangerous, but I have had years of experience, so I'm gonna go and catch it!" She then pounces on the cat and snatches it up and begins to play with it!!! Nothing more perfect than an actual Aussie quoting the Crocodile Hunter! It's just not the same when we N. Americans do it (we try.....but!!).

 There are truly never dull moments in the mission field.

Fun Fact:
Rice Krispies in Australia are called rice bubbles! When I learned this I then asked Sis. R: "What do you call rice krispy squares then?! Rice bubble squares/! A square and a bubble (circle shape) clearly do not make sense in the same sentence!". To my shock, she said she's never had one!!!! SHAME SHAME SHAME!!! If transfers weren't right around the corner, I would have made her some!!!!!! Do the world a favour, and go and find the nearest Aussie and give them a rice krispy square!!!!!

I'm now a babe magnet:
So poor Remek was devastated to find out that sisters were leaving Telford. He kept asking what happens to me when I come home. Being as cheeky as she is, Sis Riley says "She has to go home and find a really attractive husband!" I rolled my eyes (the thought of going home to face all the marriage pressure makes me want to cry) and quickly changed the topic. Well, at the end of the appointment, right as I'm about to leave Remek suddenly calls for me to wait. He runs to his room, and lo and behold he returns with a babe magnet. It is literally a keychain, with a magnet on it that says "babe magnet" on it (one of those cheap gag gifts you can get at a pound store). Then in his broken English he says: "This to help you find beautiful husband in Canada". Well looks like I'm all set for when I get home (NOT!). Gotta love Remek! Truly a funny man!

I discovered what Sis. Riley does NOT want for Christmas:
I had random Christmas songs in my head the other day. I was quietly singing "I want a hippopotamus for Christmas". Sis. Riley gave me the silliest look, and burst out laughing. She has never heard that song before! They don't have it in Australia!!! She thought it was ridiculous and super annoying, so of course I made sure to sing it in the most loud, annoying voice (with a great emphasis on my N. American accent) possible! Good thing she loves me, otherwise I think she would have fired me as her companion right there :)

Anyways, that is all for now! I haven't even been here for 1 day, so there isn't much to say yet! This area is gorgeous!!! My companion is a barrel (not Beryl ;) ) of laughs, is almost as tall as me and is even more Aussie than Sis. Riley!!! Life is good because I still have a source to get Tim Tams and Milo from! Change is happening and it is beautiful! Can't wait to see what trials and growth await me here!!!

Until next week! Hope the time goes quickly for you and slowly for me!
<3 Sister Martin

Monday, 18 November 2013

Before I start! TRANSFERS ARE NEXT WEEK, SO PDAY WILL BE ON WEDNESDAY 27 or THURS 28 next week!!!!! Start tossing in predictions for where you think I'll go (will I stay or go?!?!?!?!?!)

Like always, this week has been packed full of silly moments!

Happy Birthday Mate:
So Sis. R's bday was this week!!! I went ALL out in planning for it!! I snuck out of bed the night before her bday and heart attacked our whole flat and then did a heart wall of "22 reasons why I love you!". It looked great and was a fun surprise for her to wake up to. The highlight of her bday....I was sneaky (lots of secret texting when she was in the shower etc) and plotted with a member to order her some Australian goodies that she has been craving badly! So she was shocked when she received for 4 tins of Milo (it's a chocolate/malt drink that she LOVES), and a few packs of Tim Tams. The ward missionaries were excellent in helping out too and she got flowers, other random gifts, and a total of 4 CAKES throughout the day from different people. Great day! Sis R is truly the best and deserved it!

Awkward RS Moment:
For some reason our ward was practically deserted yesterday! We only had about 6-7 woman in RS, so I felt like I had to sing a little louder than usual for the opening hymn (our ward struggles with enthusiastic singing on a normal day, so you can imagine how much quieter our small motley crew would have been yesterday). Well, I've been struggling with a cold the last while, and on top of that I don't have the strongest soprano voice (I usually sing alto....but felt I should try and support our small group with a weak--but willing-- soprano part). 2 words: Voice Crack........2 more words: Red face!!!! My voice cracked sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooiiiiiiiiiiiooooooooooooo bad right on the first note!!!! So pretty much my desire to help sing counteracted itself, because instead of singing Sis R and I spent the whole hymn stifling tears and laughter. Oh well. It's the thought that counts right?!

Bad pun of the week;
So I was telling Sis R about how intense I thought something was. Her reply: intense? camping?!!  

Barrel or Beryl?:
So we taught an 87 year old lady last night at a tea appointment. She is so old and can barely hear or see and is one of those older ladies that has no filter and no shame. You can probably imagine all the crazy weird things that happened over the course of our appointment. 

Beryl Moments:
1. I confessed to Sis. R that when I say this lady's name, all I picture is a giant barrel (like the ones you store stuff in), because I cannot pronounce her name the way the English do (when I say barrel and beryl, it sounds the same). She found this hilarious and we were in fits laughing every time someone said her name that night (just picturing this old lady wearing a barrel.....we truly are terrible people!).

2. Penny toilet: Beryl walks back into the living room after going to the toilet and declares with frustration that the toilet doesn't work. She then asks (no kidding at all...absolutely serious) if it is a penny toilet and goes to get her purse to find a pence to spare. Once again, Sis. R and I had to duck under the table to hide our immature laughing fits.

3. Titanic: Someone mentioned the Titanic and Beryl's response? Isn't that a new battleship they recently made? Once again she was dead serious. And once again, Sis R and I were ducked under the table hiding more tears of laughter.

4. Beryl's nifty American watch: Because she can barely see, she got a free watch that verbally tells you the time. This watch has an almost painfully strong American accent. She had forgotten that I was Canadian (therefore I have an N. American accent) and started going on about how she hates her watch because it sounds so stupid. And then went on to do an impression of her wasn't even real worlds...she was just moaning and making silly noises out of her mouth like she was possessed (apparently that was her impression of an American). While she was doing this she was plugging her nose. In all fairness, the watch was pretty American, but I have no idea what she was doing. And once again...Sis R and I was under the table hiding fits of laughter (we debated just sitting under the table and eating our tea there for the rest of the night....would of saved us the constant trips of descending down there to have our inappropriately timed fits of laughter).

My Companion Beats Me:
So last night I was peacefully sitting on the couch, reading the scriptures. I was super immersed in what I was reading when suddenly I get nailed in the head really hard with a small, hard object. Sis R had quietly entered the room and had intended to just toss a chocolate on the couch next to me. Turns out she has terrible aim and pummelled me right on the forehead with it! It hit me so hard that I got a small goose-egg!! Funniest part was seeing her face when the chocolate made contact with my head (she felt so bad and was dancing around making the silliest/apologetic face) and seeing her face when I declared that I got a goose-egg (she has never heard that term in her entire life and thinks it's the weirdest/silliest name ever!).

Quote of the week:
The work has been super slow out here! No major progress with anyone and no significantly crazy miracles to share. But I came across this quote that I thought was worth sharing :)

"Disciples of Christ throughout all ages of the world have been distinguished by their compassion...In the end, the number of prayers we say may contribute to our happiness, but the number of prayers we answer may be of even greater importance. Let us open our eyes and see the heavy hearts, notice the loneliness and despair; let us feel the silent prayers of others around us and let us be an instrument in the hands of the Lord to answer those prayers." -- Pres. Uchtdorf

What a wonderful quote! As we serve those around us and strive to answer prayers, we then get answers to our own prayers! I've learned this so much as I've worked with companions, investigators etc. The more you love and serve others, the more you learn about our Saviour, the easier it is to endure trials, and the more personal insights/growth you experience.

Side note: Vicky (that nice lady we were hoping to work with) dropped us. It happened quick (Satan fights so hard sometimes). Sad but it happens. Hopefully as this door closes, another one will open!!! They always do :)

Love you all! Sorry for the lack of miracles! Sis R and I feel that this is going to be a good week, so be excited for my next email!!!! Pray for your local missionaries! They need all the help they can get! They love you and work so, so hard!!!!

Hope the time goes quickly for you and slowly for me

xoxo Sister Martin 
Sister R in their apartment - yes it is pretty swanky!!

Sister Martin, Sister Riley and Sister Barney

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Miracles and madness!

My catch phrase to describe this week: Miracles and madness! But lets be honest! This catch phrase could apply to my whole mission!! :)

So we met with Vicky the day after the baptism! We had FHE with her two little girls (cute as buttons), plus the Perkins family (the family who invited her to the baptism) and their 3 little girls (cute as buttons times infinity!!). It was incredible!!! We ended up teaching for probably 3 hours after FHE! We taught Vicky the word of wisdom, watched a conference talk, shared testimonies, talked a lot about the BOM etc. She was so accepting of everything we taught! She is so prepared! We are so excited to teach her again!!!!!!! They live really far away from us (30 min car ride) so unfortunately progressing is much slower, simply because we can't see her very often!!! But I pray I can see her progress before I leave Telford (whenever that happens!).

Exchanges in China (a.k.a) Wrexham!
So I was in Wales and England on exchange this week!!! And had the most relaxing exchange of my life! Our current sister training leaders are both Chinese speaking, therefore most of their investigators are Chinese and speak little to no English! So all the appointments except one were in Chinese! So my whole exchange was spent playing with the Chinese children of these investigators, so they would not distract their moms during the lesson! Basically I was a glorified Chinese baby-sitter! But it was loads of fun! Fun fact: it's so much harder to work with kids when you don't speak their language! Mute babysitting is a very unique experience!! Cutest thing was a lesson where there was a little boy named Ian. Ian is very autistic and was causing havoc during the lesson (throwing chairs, screaming etc.). This was a very important and serious lesson and my companion was already extremely nervous about teaching it on her own. I suddenly remembered that I had a Canadian loonie in my wallet and pulled it out and gave it to him. He was quiet for the rest of the lesson. He loved it! He kept staring at it and just feeling the different texture of the coin! It ended up being a little miracle for the lesson, because it allowed my companion to be able to teach and be understood with no distracting! The small blessings are sometimes the most precious.

Whipped Cream Party Trick:
So anyone who knows my family well knows that we do the dumbest trick with spray whipped cream! We stick a giant dollop on our wrist, and then swing our arm in the air, and smack the arm with our other hand-- thus launching the whipped cream high in the sky catapult style-- and then catch it in our mouth!! It's stupidly simple, and simply stupid ;) Well I saw a can of whipped cream on the table at tea, with one of the funnest/silliest families in our ward (home with 4 very energetic boys and parents with a great sense of humour). I instantly became the most popular person of the night, and certainly started a fun trend in their home! They loved it and it made for good laughs and people tried it, and failed-- leaving their faces and shirts covered in whipped cream failures!

Another highlight of the tea appointment was our string of offensive/silly Irish and Welsh jokes!! Pretty much the whole tea appointment was a long string of the family members insulting each other and telling terrible jokes! One of my favourites of the night: 3 boys from another family in the ward were over for tea as well; their parents are both from Wales, but the kids grew up here. The 12 yr old boy threw a pretty clever/offensive Irishman quip to Bro Pointer (who was driving the car). Bro. Pointer (an Irishman) replied: sorry Joe, I can't understand a word you are saying, I don't speak sheep. All I hear is Baaaaaaa Baaaaa Baaaaaaaa when you talk. And when your cousins from New Zealand talk all I hear is Baaaaaa Baaaaa Baaaaaa (said in a hilarious accent). You probably have to live here to get this humour!! There is nothing in Wales but sheep (so the joke goes) so there are lots of offensive jokes that insult the Welsh accent using sheep impressions/references. Another favourite joke of the night was their woman in the kitchen jokes (they told about 50 during tea): What do you do if a woman is running at you with a knive? Get a loaf of bread and peanut butter. She'll start making you a sandwich! Funniest appointment ever!

Random Sister Riley Quote:
As we were walking one day, she was thoughtfully analyzing her mittens. She suddenly goes: "Maybe the reason they invented mittens was so people can't tell if your flipping them the middle finger, because otherwise they really aren't a very functional design at all". I love random moments on the mission.

Accent wars:
Sister Riley was animatedly telling me how I pronounce words wrong. Specifically: tomato and aluminum. I won the war. It's simple. To win an accent war with an English or Australian person, just have them say tomato, and then ask them how they say potato. Bazinga. Then ask them to spell aluminum and pronounce it exactly how it is spelled. Bazinga. Then take any word that ends with "er" and ask them to pronounce the letters properly (like they would when they are doing basic grade 1 phonics). Bazinga. I love accent wars, especially when I win!

Sweet, sweet revenge:
Last week Sister Riley made my life miserable after finding out (because of Guy Fawkes night) that I'm scared of fireworks! Well life handed me a beautiful opportunity for revenge. Sister Riley's fear? Chalk. She cannot touch chalk. It makes her gag. So we were at the Perkin's home (friends with investigator Vicky) and were playing charades with their little girls. Sister Riley had one of the girls be a firework--- so cheeky. Well later in the night as we were sitting at the table, the mom suddenly pulled the tablecloth off of the table and handed the girls a jar of chalk. Turns out the girls regularly draw with chalk on the kitchen table. So I told the girls that Sister Riley loves drawing pictures and that they should get her to draw a picture of pretty fireworks. Hilarious! The girls were begging her to draw for them. Revenge is sweet!

Can I get an amen?
Random silly moment in Sunday school yesterday. Our investigator class was cancelled so we were in regular Sunday school. The lesson topic was on missionary work (YAY!). Near the end of the lesson the teacher made a comment about how it is pointless to do missionary work if we aren't helping fellowship and strengthen those who do join the church. Because we have struggled to get any help from the ward in supporting our recent converts and investigators, I sarcastically muttered to Sister Riley "Amen Brotha!" then she quipped back "can I get an aaaamen?!". Just as she said that, the whole Sunday school class echos Amen. The lesson had ended right as she said that. We were in hysterical laughing fits from that!

Goodbye Remek:
Sad week. we officially passed Remek over to the elders this week. We will still go by to see him occasionally, but will not be his regular teachers anymore. He stopped progressing back in September (he still comes to church every week, but just won't take that step to baptism. He is becoming an eternal investigator) and we have absolutely nothing left to teach him. He has been getting way too comfortable with us, and views us as friends to socialize with, more than missionaries who teach the gospel. So we prayed and decided to pass him to the elders. Elders are often more bold than sisters, so maybe they can be more firm with him and give him the push he would need. The elders will have different stories and experiences to share as well, so we hope maybe they can give him something he needs. It was a little emotional for me, since Remek was the first person I ever found and taught on my mission. It felt like sending my baby out into the world for the first time. So strange! Changes are officially beginning for me!

Random Fact:
So I just noticed that the logo above the website has a missionary badge that says: Elder Martin. This badge is also in preach my gospel. My last name is officially better than everybody else's!! :)

That is the extent of my week! We are still struggling, but trying to have faith that in the midst of the madness that has been going on that we can find people to teach! And through everything we always manage to laugh at EVERYTHING, and I am certainly so grateful for this!!! What a blessing it is to be involved in the Lord's work! What a beautiful work this is! I love being a missionary!!! There truly is nothing better!!!!

Hope the time goes quickly for you and slowly for me :)

<3 Sister Martin 

Monday, 4 November 2013

Miracles are Back

MIRACLES ARE BACK!!!! I'm healthy again! I'm kicking trials out of my way right, left and center! I feel ggggggggggggggreat (cue the Nutri-grain commercial quotes!) I LOVE being a missionary (but when do I not love being a missionary?).

I'll get the random silly bits (as always, there's plenty of those to share) and then I'll get to the good stuff..... MIRACLES!: the bath:
Fun fact. If you're really bored and freezing to death on the bus at 9:10 at night and you feel like you are going to die from fatigue, here is a fun way to help the time pass. Randomly open your hymn book to ANY page, read the title, and then add "in the bath" at the end of the song title. You could do this with any song really, but because we missionaries are so nifty and are privileged to listen to spirit boosting music (MOTAB anyone?), we stick to the hymn book :) Try it at a really boring point in sacrament meeting one day and let the stifled giggles fly!

Kids Say the Darnest Things:
Cutest tea appointment moment the other day. The Terry's- an older couple in our ward- have the cutest granddaughters. They are not members of the church, but the Terry's have them over every time the missionaries come for tea, and they always bring the girls to church (grandparents of the year award anyone?!). Megan- the cutest 5 year old you'll ever meet- in the middle of a conversation at the dinner table suddenly starts going "Excuse me. Sister Martin. I like you a lot but you talk really funny. Why do you talk so strange?". Adorable!! I got to tell her all about the long plane ride to England, and how people speak a little different back home. CUTE!!

Companions Say the Darnest Things:
My mom is the best! And she sent me a nice card to cheer me up (seeing a mailbox with a letter in it was like early Christmas! Almost wet myself with excitement!). This card had some glitter glued on the front. The next day I had glitter on random parts of my face. It was bugging Sister Riley to see my shiny Vampire face (lame Twilight joke.....sorry for those who love those books but I just can't help but slightly mock) and she burst out "Ughhhhhhhhhh glitter!! It's the herpes of stationary. No matter what you do you cannot get rid of it". Totally inappropriate missionary comment, but me (having a sick sense of humour) died laughing!

It's raining it's pouring:
So it's been WET and even more COLD!!!!! Not fun, but that's what I signed up for I guess :) We had to do a few hours of knocking doors in the pouring rain (like the hardest rain I've ever seen in my life........all 5 of my layers were soaked through within the 1st ten minutes). We had a blast though! Lots of silly jokes. Lots of door slams. Loads of fun! One particular home was hilarious. So we ring answer.....knock one more answer... we proceed to hike down the long driveway, when I look over my shoulder and I see an old lady (with the classic purse lipped English scowl that I've come to love) peeking at us through the curtains (fancy that?! She was hiding from the Mormons.....that NEVER happens (a sarcasm font would be so appropriate right here)). I grinned at her, and realizing she was busted she instantly shuts the curtains with a scowl. I take a few steps; look back again and again there she is peeking at me. I grin again and even more embarrassed she dashes from the window. As we looped around the street and were coming past again I looked and guess what?! There she was again! I waved at her and her face was priceless! So busted! I know that I'm so cheeky for doing that, but I could not help it! Too tempting!!

Anyone who knows me well knows 2 things:
1. I'm a huge baby
2. Therefore, I'm super scared of fireworks
Well Guy Faukes night is tomorrow. For my N. American beautiful people, I could define Guy Faukes as simply this: Once upon a time a bad man had plotted to blow up the parliament buildings and he got caught and the parliament buildings were saved (yay!). Now people use this event as an excuse to celebrate their freedom/safety by drinking themselves sillier than usual, have crazy bonfires and lighting fireworks off nonstop the weeks before and after this day.

Wellllll this means that we are out at night knocking doors and street contacting in the midst of firework explosions. Sister Riley finds it hilarious that I'm so scared of them. My jacket has a giant hood, and this hood gives me no peripheral vision, so her favourite thing to do now is to jump up beside me, grab me and scream "Bam! I'm a firework!". Not ok! Can't wait til this madness is over haha

Tim Tam Slams!!
Yes! You heard me! Sister Riley got a bday package full of Aussie goodness! They do this thing called Tim Tam slams, where you make hot chocolate, bite off both ends of a Tim Tam and drink the hot chocolate through it. The Tim Tam melts and tastes like HEAVEN!!!! New addiction has begun!!!!!!!!!!!!! I love Australia!!!!!! Plus I got to have a koala bear to hang from a dashboard of a future car, and Australia pencils and stickers! Bazinga!!!!!!!

We are starting something big! Our ward has struggled with unity and we have found a good starting place to work on it. SSSS (single/struggling sister scripture study). We have lots of part-member families, lots of single moms etc. In the middle of a lesson I was prompted to ask a single sister if she felt a weekly scripture study would help her. She freaked out. She said that had answered a huge prayer. She offered up her house for it. She suggested a whole whack of sisters she thought would benefit from it. People are getting so excited for it! I can't wait for the miracles to come forth from this!

Just call us the local English coffee/tea saleswomen.....awkward!!!!
So one of our recent converts had an Aunt from America come visit. This aunt is all into hippy-dippy, organic remedy drinks that are supposed to cure every disease on planet earth and also create world peace (can someone please create a sarcasm font for me?!). She sells these types of drinks for some company and brought boxes of samples and product for the recent convert to sell. Our recent convert was all excited (she's going to help sell the product) and was trying to shove our pockets full of coffee and tea samples to give to people we meet. The aunt told us "I know people at churches love coffee. I know you all don't drink it, but someone at your church still might want some" AHHHHHHHHH BEEP BEEP RED ALERT! So awkward. Luckily this recent convert is completely keeping the word of wisdom, except she didn't quite get the concept that helping other members break the word of wisdom is not a good thing. Ooops. Guess what lesson we'll be reviewing in the near future?! The joys of being a missionary.

Halloween in England is lame!!!!
Let's get one thing clear before I proceed. I still LOVE England to bits and pieces! They have won my heart here! BUT I was mucho disappointed by Halloween! They deserve a whole whack of tricks for the lack of treats they've got here! England has some of the best chocolate ever, so it brings tears to my eyes that they don't get to appreciate it Halloween style. I saw maybe 3 trick or treaters and only 3-4 houses were handing out candy- apparently that is normal everywhere in our area! We spent the evening in the our onesies! We just bought 2 chocolate bars, because the end of the month means there's no grocery money left to spend. Love England, but I will look forward to Halloween back in Canada in 2 years!

Sister Martin Stuff-Ups:
So apparently I was incapable of speaking this week. Sister Riley compiled a list of her favourite Sister Martin word stuff-ups for the week:
1. I'm sorry I'm such a stress cake= I'm sorry I'm such a stress case
2. This body is NOT meant for garments = This body is NOT meant for leggings
3. We're going to be in a free-some! = We're going to be in a three-some!

Speaking of Free-Somes....
It is true! We were almost in a 3-some companionship. We got a phone call on Halloween from President. He said a sister was going home early and her companion Sister Leslie (who we have both been on exchange with and LOVE TO DEATH-- she was our sister training leader for the last 2 transfers) was going to join our companionship (mainly to help reduce the load on me so I could focus on dropping my stress levels). We were sooooo excited! We talked to her on the phone and she was going crazy from excitement. Then the next morning President called and said never mind. Turns out he had a suddenly "situation" come up and he needed to put her somewhere else to help deal with it. So close but yet so far!!

Remek got the 3rd degree last night:
So we brought Remek to the home of a member couple who he has become good friends with. The Twiddy's are one of my favourite couples in this ward! They are so nice to us and have been great friends to Remek! They are also both converts so they relate well to him! Sister Twiddy is determined to make Remek practice his England and she gave him the 3rd degree last night! So many questions....mostly about dating life hahahaha Remek's face was so red! She was asking him when he was going to find a nice lady to settle down with. She is now determined to set Remek up with someone in our ward (I must admit, this Sister is amazing and it wouldn't be a terrible match at all) and now has decided to play Cupid. Oh dear! We'll see how this goes haha.

Allegory of the Olive Tree....President Preston style:
We have the funniest mission president ever! I love him so much! I had an interview with him this week and he was giving me a hard time about my stress levels. He didn't know what to do with me and was laughing at the circumstances. He was trying to remember a scripture and it was bothering him so bad that he couldn't remember where it was. Luckily I knew he was quoting Jacob 5 and he dove into translating the chapter into a Sister Martin version: What more could I have done for my vineyard? NOTHING. You have done everything and more and more and more and almost killed yourself trying to do some more on top of that. Sometimes you just need to stop, and sit down under the olive tree and relax and enjoy the view.   

And that I have done. I feel amazing! I'm back to 100%. We are seeing miracles again! I was able to get to the root of my issues and Telford better look out because an update version of me (who does destressing activities daily and takes an hour break everyday) is being set loose! It feels good to have energy again and to be excited for the work.



Up to this point we haven't really had the members help us with missionary work. No referrals. No fellowshippers. Almost nothing. We've literally been doing it all on our own (door knocking and street contacting).

Last month a sister pulled us aside and said that as we bore our testimonies in sacrament meeting that she felt prompted that we were the right people to help her with her friend Vicky-- who she has been having some good gospel conversations with lately. We discussed ideas with her and she decided she would invite Vicky to attend the baptism of her 8 year old daughter Talitha. The family also decided together to invite a handful of nonmember friends to the baptism too (nonmembers recognize that a baptism is a big deal...even if they are not religious themselves.....lots of people are invited to attend Church of England Christenings for babies out here, so it wasn't terribly weird to invite people to the baptism). They purposely catered the baptism so it was very missionary friendly: the 1st talk addressed faith, repentance and baptism. The 2nd talk was about the Holy Ghost and enduring to the end (so they covered the whole Preach my Gospel lesson on the Gospel of Jesus Christ!!!). Talitha picked her favourite mormon messages and Bible videos for the people to watch while she was changing. They had ANYONE who was a mother or a daughter in the room come up and sing When I am Baptized (the primary song)......they mentioned it to the non-members ahead of time so even the non-members happily joined in and sang! 

Vicky came and felt the spirit so strongly!!!! She said it almost made her cry. She said she felt the spirit when Talitha was baptized and when we were talking with her. She had so many questions after the baptism and we taught her on the spot for 35ish minutes. She wanted to meet again to be taught right away! We are seeing her tonight-- we will have a FHE with her, her 2 daughters, and this member family! Another non-member woman who they invited to the baptism is also interested! She felt the spirit as well- the husband bore his testimony to her and he said she was in tears. She now wants to start getting involved in church activities and I feel confident we will be teaching her soon as well! Heavenly Father has blessed us with such a miracle in the midst of so many trials! It shows how one simple invitation leads to such great miracles. And it was 20 billion times easier than when we knock doors! Vicky was so receptive! It was very natural!

Miracle #2: Richard came to church and loved it! We had a breakthrough lesson with him on Tuesday. We shared some personal experiences that really helped him feel the spirit and realize that he is capable of receiving answers to prayers and having faith! He really felt the spirit in testimony meeting yesterday and is excited for our next lesson and to attend church again. Finally some progress!!

I feel like we'll start seeing more baptisms again soon in the next 2 months!!!!!! The miracles are starting to roll in!!!!! We have a goal of 18 Baptisms in the Newcastle zone for the month of November! The highest number ever baptized in a month in this zone is 5! We are being pushed to call down the powers of heaven and start to steamroll this work forward. The Lord's armies are now in place in this mission (the last big group that entered the mission is in their last 3 weeks of training...the groups for the next while are really small so we will finally start having experienced missionaries getting established out here), and it's time to charge! We pray the members will join us. It looks like some just might!

I love this work!!!!!! Looks like there's a 99% chance I leave Telford at the end of the month (President basically told me he plans to transfer me unless he gets some crazy prompting to keep me). I'm going to make the most of these last weeks here! Pray for the work! It truly is marvelous!!!

Love you all! Hope the time goes quickly for you and slowly for me :)

Sister Martin