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, 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 

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