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.

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

When bed bugs attack!

Possibly the craziest week of my mission! The struggles we have been experiencing have been really BUGGING me ;) know that cute little nursery rhyme about bed bugs?? ...............It is not just a cute little poem! IT IS REAL!!

Fact: There is such things as bed bugs! :(
Evidence: My bitten, bleeding, itchy blood-sucked scalp and neck :(

So I have had to sleep on an older, elder infested mattress and according to our fumigator, old, elder infested mattresses can be the home to BED BUGS (ewwww). Zoology lesson of the day: Bed bugs only come out at night so that is why you rarely actually see them. They bite your head and neck and suck your blood (essentially they have buffet on your noggin) and then once they are all full and happy, they crawl back into your warm, cozy mattress and go to BED as you are waking up confused and itchy! Thankfully they aren't like lice where they stay and reproduce in your head and spread around to everyone (eww eww eww), so I guess I can count my blessings in that way! But with fumigation happening, we have officially been kicked out of the flat for a week! The treatment is a slow working one, so if I sleep in our flat, I will become bug bait again. So we are staying in Chorley with the sister missionaries here and commuting on the bus into Wigan everyday until our house is bug free!

The end? ....I wish!
So before the bed bugs were discovered, our fridge/freezer broke and we lost all our food.....then a day later we discovered bed bugs....and then the day we were in the middle of all our chaos of moving house (tons of phone calls to landlords, mission, fumigators, repairmen etc.) our electricity suddenly broke (power down).

Lesson learned?? Just laugh! And then laugh some more! When life gives you bed bugs....just laugh!!! So life is good! We are alive (a little itchy) and happy! Missionary life is still great and terribly amusing!

Highlights begin now!
Bad missionary handbook rules:
So we realized that we have been breaking a major rule our whole missions. The handbook instructs us that we are not to participate in any swimming activities! Pretty sure I have been swimming in rain puddles for the last year!

Lame joke over. Now on to the rest!

Culture Shock: How Not to eat perogies!
Was on exchange and was informed that I was eating my perogies wrong! How do Eastern Europeans eat perogies?? ....With.....jam and fruit?! Woah! What?! We have been frying ours in oil and onion and bacon my whole life, with a giant dollop of sour cream on the side!

So I tried this out! Actually not bad at all! But extremely weird since I have been eating mine obesity style my whole life! I think I will keep trying it though because it was actually quite nice.

Scriptural Joke of the Week:
We had a mission talent show. I was sitting with my two favourite, silliest, sarcastic sisters from the MTC. The three of us were just full of bad jokes and heckling the whole time. Best quote of the night.

Sister G: I have no talent! This is why I just sit and laugh at those who do.

Me: You do have talents (said in a emphasized, fake, Molly mormon, teary-eyed voice), God AND President Preston said so!

Sister G: Well, where in Moroni 7 does it talk about the spiritual gift of being WEIRD because that is the only talent I'm pretty sure I have!

The list of names I have been called by random elders in the last week ever since I did my rap at the mission talent show:
I shall forevermore be known as:
- Slim Shady
- Wiz Khalifa
- Eminem
- 50 Cent
- The not ugly and gross version of Nicki Minaj
- Sista Hizzle Martin Mizzle Eh?!  (tons of missionaries are arguing on what my rapper name will be! If anyone back home has input/ideas, feel free! It is currently the heated topic of the EMM at the moment!)
-  and the list goes on

Best conversation of the week:
District Leader: "Well anyways, I've got to go and call the other sisters, goodnight slim shady!"
*Phone call ends*

5 seconds later the phone rang and it was our district leader again

-Me (confused): "Did you forget something?"
-District Leader (awkward): "Ummmm so I just freaked out because I called you slim shady and realized you might not even know who that is! That must have sounded really weird/awkward.....Do you know who slim shady is?"
-Me (entertained): "Duh! I played college ball! What baller doesn't know who slim shady is?!"

So I have officially received a phone call, where the caller's sole purpose in calling was to double check that I knew who Slim Shady was! Life never ceases to amaze and entertain me!
Ginger moment of the week:
One of my favourite sisters is a ginger and everybody loves her! She does NOT fit the classic stereotype that society has created about gingers! She is one of the happiest, loveliest, sweet sisters ever! Definitely not capable of having a temper! And no doubt she has a wonderful soul! I would kick anyone who dared to kick her!

So we were playing the umm and ahh game (a game where a person is assigned an extremely random topic-- e.g. elephant ears-- and has to talk about it for a minute straight without mumbling "ummm or ahhh"! It is really hard to do!). I gave her the topic of ginger racism! Her closing remarks of the topic were hilarious!

"And I would like to just finish by saying: Don't judge a ginger by it's colour!"

Amen amen amen!!!

My new dorky creation of the week: more miraculous than my (literal) epiphany light bulb:
So last transfer my thing was to pick up our old burnt out light bulb and hold it over my head every time I thought of something smart (or.....more often than not....really incredibly, shockingly dumb). But that idea has burned out! (har har! knee slap!)

My new annoying entertainment!?

Making paper trumpets and making royal announcements about everything!!

I threatened to use my trumpet to motivate Sister P to start talking to people on the bus. I said if she didn't do it on her own, that I would come on the bus with my trumpet and announce:

"Boooo booo boooooooooo Sister Pongi has come to convert you! Booo Booo Boooooo Baptism for youuuuu!!"

It worked. She is a great missionary and will turn into a bus contacting machine very soon :)

Pants on the ground:
Fact about missionary life! Your perspective on everything changes so much! Little things that never bothered you or that you never noticed suddenly are so obvious, annoying, or hilarious to you.

I was on exchange and my companion and I were walking behind a man who had his trousers soooooooooooo low to the ground. His pants were just hanging out! We are sister missionaries, therefore we are awkward, therefore we find things like this absolutely hilarious and horrifying all at once! I joked and pretended to dig through my handbag for a law of chastity pamphlet and use it to cover his offending underpants. Then I dared my companion to stop him and try and teach him the law of chastity (all about having self-respect and dressing to impress!). Well I got the both of us giggling pretty hard and then he turned around and totally caught us laughing at him. He kinda laughed (thank goodness) and then pulled up his trousers! Oh the memories!

As soon as he turned the corner, I could not help but reference the 1st song that came to my head the second I saw him:

"Pants on the ground, pants on the ground, looking like a FOOL with your pants on the ground!!"
- I've never really been an American Idol fan, but I'm grateful that I remembered one of it's classic auditions at the right moment! It made for great laughs!!

Well! The end! Finished! Over! That's it folks! Farewell!

That was my week! Though bug bitten and a bit tired, I am happy and healthy! Missionary work is the best! That is a fact!

Hope the time goes quickly for you and slowly for me!
Sister Martin, signing out!!

Monday, 19 May 2014

Once upon a time I had nothing to email about.....and I lived happily ever after? No way! More like my mum is going to kill me!

It has been a beautiful week! I have the nastiest foot tan ever (it is already looking darker and better than last years and it is only May!). We have knocked on what seems like 2 billion doors and talked to many both strange and wonderful! We have had some miracles! We have had some disappointments. We have had even more laughs! And even more blisters! Lots of weird/silly things have happened, but unfortunately they are not things I can really share (a bit too weird/silly to share......gotta keep the missionary work uplifting and dignified!).

So what is a girl to do when she has no epic mission stories to indulge you all in? Spiritual thought of course!

My favourite thought recently?! actually a video!

Wrong Roads by Elder Holland AND Patterns of Light (a 3 part message!) by Elder Bednar.

These apostles of the Lord put things so simply and beautifully! Faith is so important in the process of living our lives! How often do we feel like we are walking through the fog of life and instead of stepping forward and trusting, we freeze! How often do we allow the world to convince us that faith is for the weak? How often do we convince our own selves to not do righteous things! I have felt that recently! That nagging voice in my head that tells me that I shouldn't bother opening my mouth! That 100 people previously said no, so he/she will too! What is faith?!

Faith is stepping BOLDLY forward and trusting that if it is a good thing, if it is from God; that it will work out and one day turn into eternal, lasting, perfect blessings. And what if it doesn't?! Then we have found a wrong road (as Elder Holland explains). End of the world? Panic? Cry? Have a melt down? Absolutely not!! Jesus Christ suffered all and sacrificed everything so we could make corrections in our lives daily! So we could feel loved and lifted up when we feel the agony of defeat or failed hopes and dreams! So we could have an example to draw from when we are lifting our faces up from the dirty and dusty ground of hurt, fatigue and dissapointment and trying to muster up the strength to stand up and keep walking!

How often is your fear stopping you from doing what you know deep down you should be? Specifically in missionary work! Have you invited someone recently to learn of the blessings of the gospel of Jesus Christ? No?! Why on earth not?! We create fear in our own minds! I have learned this in this past year! Why am I scared to talk to that man on the bus? .....exactly! WHY? He isn't going to shoot me with a gun. He isn't going to pick me up and throw me off the bus (hopefully)! 90% of the time he will be a nice person and if he doesn't want to talk about Jesus Christ, worst case he will be happy to talk about football, the weather and family and friends. What did I gain from that? I met a new person! I grew in my faith! Courage! Resolve to follow the Lord's command! I learned something by interacting with another child of God! And I feel happy and have no conscience of guilt! No worries that I didn't do my part! Do we all feel that daily! Do you go to sleep at night and know that you did absolutely all you could! If not, where is thy faith?

James 2: 17-18, 24
17 Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.
18 Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.
24 Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.
Stand up! Change something today! Remove the weight that sits on your shoulders by doing HIS WORK with the hands he blessed you with! That home or visiting teaching list? That nagging guilt that tells you you are supposed to be sharing the blessings of the gospel with others! That small pang of dissapointment that you failed to say a prayer, to do a good deed, to open the scriptures. They can be eliminated! Set life's priorities with faith at the centre! God will compensate ALWAYS for the other things you sacrificed to do so. I have seen this! I feel it daily! This is how eternal life and the blessings of heaven are found in our day to day lives! Stand up and do something now (literally now! Go watch a mormon message! Read a verse of scripture! Send an uplifting text to someone! Just. Do. Something!). You have all the tools to do so! God literally can talk to you! Revelation is a power channel for change and daily miracles! Go out and discover that today!
I love you all! I pray that you will grow in faith! Be happy! Uplift others! Do good things! That is why we are here! To change, grow, and to lift up others and help them to do the same! I pray you see miracles as you do these things! I pray that people will be mindful of others! June is a month of invitation in England (not sure if it is everywhere else as well!). We are focussing on inviting people to come to church! I dare you to do it! Are you up for the challenge!? Do you trust that it will work out? Does a bit of fog scare you?! Take that step and you will quickly watch the fog of life burn off, as the beautiful strength of the God's sunlight penetrates and pushes away the distractions and doubts of our lives!

Until next week!
I hope the time goes quickly for you and slowly for me!

Xoxoxoxo Sister Martin!

English Rapper Outfit

Liverpool Beach

Butty Bar aka Sandwich Shop

Cozy car ride to stake conference - Tiny English cars equal feeling of being in a clown car!

Tracting in the English countryside

Monday, 12 May 2014

Toilet rolls, Tongan insults and the real truth about a classic church favourite!

What a week! We were so busy this week..............just kidding! To my delight (NOT) I was sick in bed all week. Any RM knows that if you had a gun to your head the gunman forced you to pick between death by monkeys (Toy Story anyone?!) or spending a week in the flat sick, that you would pick the ninja monkeys with absolutely no hesitation! No tv. An impressive selection of 5 cheesey, kill-me-now, EFY songs to listen to and no sign of human life makes sick days for missionaries extremely boring! Of course, when that much time is spent in the flat, there are bound to be some funny/delirious conversations and events to report so here we go :)

Toilet Roll Bowling and Kung Fu:
It's the latest craze that is capturing the nation! All the kids are doing it nowadays! Breath-taking! Adrenaline pumping! Indescribable fun for the whole family! IT IS......Toilet Roll (paper for my N. Americans) bowling!

So earlier in the week (before disgusting, inconsiderate germs invaded my body) we helped clean the chapel! The RS president found heaps of extra toilet rolls in a closet and sent us home with practically a 2 month supply of toilet rolls (SCORE! That is like Christmas in July.....or May.....for poor, penny-pinching missionaries!!)

Fact: I am crazy! My close friends and acquaintances know this very well and somehow love me despite this! Day 4 of being in the house was the day that I absolutely snapped and realized that we could create statues and pyramids using the toilet rolls. So off we went trying to create all kinds of strange, weird shapes and characters. I then had an epiphany!!! (I should have taken our burned out spare light bulb and put it over my head like I did last transfer...but I didn't want to get slapped! My bad jokes get boring to my companions after awhile??...shocker!) It is really fun to build a massive pyramid of toilet rolls, and then use another toilet roll to roll at the pyramid-- like a soft, fluffy game of bowling! So that is how we passed the time :)

Fact #2: It is really hard to get a strike when your bowling ball only weighs a few ounces and is soft and fluffy!

The end?! Not. A. Chance.

So then after I got bored of bowling, I started trying to see what else I could do with our toilet rolls..... Kung fu fighting!! (*light bulb) Obviously!

Fact #3: It is actually fun to throw toilet rolls at each other and see how many different ways you can go all kung fu on them! Kicking! Punching! Head Butting! Maybe I just discovered someone's next FHE activity? Cheap and fun for the whole family! ;)

Johnny Lingo Inspired Insults:
In my delirious sick state, I randomly starting asking Sis. P a bunch of questions about Tonga. And then (naturally) our conversation drifted to Johnny Lingo. We were both laughing and quoting the movie and agreed that our favourite classic line from the movie will always be:

"Muhana you ugly, get out of that tree!".

I love that, that quote seems to be everyone's favourite! No matter what country you are from!

We then started talking about insults we used give to each other as kids. I was telling her the different names English kids call each other. Examples:
- Stupid head
- Bum face
- Stinky pants
.....just to name a few.

I was asking her what Tongan kids call each other and she was telling me all the names that her history teacher used to call them. My favourite?
"You dumb coconut head!!"

I am so jealous that I did not know this insult as a child! I would of been queen of the playground with insults as deep as that! Hilarious island-style, childhood banter!! Love it!

Tongan Companions: Debunking one Hollywood created myth at a time:
After talking about Johnny Lingo, I suddenly had a burning question to ask Sis. P. The Other Side of Heaven was one of my favourite church-ish films that I watched growing up! Since it is based in Tonga, I had to settle something once and for all with Sis. P. My deep, life-changing question?

"Do Togans really belch at the dinner table to show appreciation for a meal? Is that not rude in Tonga?"


Sister P's response:
"Noooo way! If you burped at the table in Tonga, you would totally get slapped by your parents for being really rude!"

Maybe once upon a time burping was a tradition in Tonga(?), but don't be fooled by Hollywood now! If you burp at the table in Tonga, you will get whooped Togan style (if you have ever seen those massive Tongan rugby players, you'll be smart enough NEVER to put this truth to the test at a Tongan dinner table!)

Animal Noises:
Sign # 213 of sick insanity? When you find entertainment in trying to do impersonations of the strangest animals you can think of!

The animal that stumped us in our game of mindlessness stupidity?

What noise does a salmon make?

We couldn't figure it out! If anyone has any ideas, let me know :)

Well, that's it folks! Time flies as always and my email time is quickly fleeing! Hopefully I will be healthy and happy next week so that my weird stories can be about other people and not me for once!! (Fingers crossed.......says the people with the straight-jackets!)

Love you all! Never forget that!
Hope the time goes quickly for you and slowly for me :)

Xoxoxo Sister Martin

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Bird fights, church bells and badly timed background music!

Bank holiday= limited email time so I'll just jump right into it!

How to kill time during long district phone calls 101:
So we have a keyboard in our flat (the concept is that I can practice during Sis. P's language study so I can play on Sundays for the ward.....we'll see how well that goes considering that I'm rubbish at reading music) and our DL likes to talk a lot. He was struggling to find a scripture that he wanted to share and there was the longest awkward silence what did I do?  ....Started playing the jeopardy theme song on the keyboard....obviously!! Perfect song for awkward moments!

That awkward moment when.....
So we were teaching English to a lady on my exchange in Liverpool. There was a word scramble activity in her workbook. All the words were names of famous countries. We were doing fine until the very last one. We were going crazy! No one could figure it out! I can now tell you that it is extremely awkward when you are supposed to be the English teachers and neither of you can figure out the answer to a word scramble that is designed for a 7 year old.

Suddenly 10 minutes later I figured it out.....the word was?:


......duhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!! I haven't felt that dumb in a while! So ironic it hurts!!!

The most racist zone phone call of the year goes to..........LIVERPOOL ZONE:
Once a week we have a zone phone call where the zone leaders pick 5 random missionaries to ask a ridiculous question to. At the end we then get to ask them as many questions as we want. As you could probably guess, the questions get absolutely awkward and crazy! We have a Swedish zone leader (blonde hair, blue white and European as you can get) and a black zone leader from London. My favourite questions of the night:

Question posed to our English ZL: Are you related to Bill Cosby?

Question to a German sister: Would you rather be white and Swedish or black and British?

Question to English ZL: If you could change one thing about your companion what would it be?
Answer: I would make him black so we could have more in common!

Question to English ZL: If you had to pick 4 people in the mission to form a black acapella singing group, who would you pick and why?

Answer: Elder F because he likes jazz ..............hmmmmmmmmm (lots of thought and debating)

OH OH Sister Martin! Because she can rap like 50 cent!

My summary of my exchange in Liverpool:
A member was asking me what I thought of my exchange in Liverpool! I managed to carve it down into one summary power-statement:

The people were lovely, the accent was confusing and the weather was alright!

True story! Weirdest accent ever, but they are seriously the friendliest people I have met on my entire mission! If I ever moved back to England, I honestly could say that I would love to live near Liverpool, just because of the beaches and the nice people!

Weird things that missionaries ponder about:
Our deep thought of the week just before bedtime:
What would you do if your last name was elder and you went on a mission? Sister Elder?!

No one claimed that missionaries were the brightest lot in the world! And I prove this to be true everyday!
The simple pleasures of life:
What happens when you take all technology away from 20-something year olds?

We were in fits laughing the other day! Why? We were watching two birds fighting! No joke! It is the funniest thing ever! They were pecking each other and hopping around and making the most hilarious angry "squawking" noises ever! If you're ever having a bad day, just go to the beach and watch a bird fight!

Funny? Or depressing? I still can't decide which one....
Sis P and I walking to a tea appointment on Sunday. We walked by a church and there were tons of people outside it. Sis. P innocently commented:

"Oh wow! It's so nice to see that there are still people going to church!"

Me: ".....they're not going to's a wedding!"
I could tell by their dresses and all the alcohol glasses that they were coming out of a wedding and heading off to a reception. Poor Sis. P wasn't familiar enough with the culture to know that and honestly thought there was a packed church on a Sunday! We burst out in depressed laughter! True story: English people only show up to church for Christenings (baptisms), weddings and funerals. End of story!

Bus station highlight of the week:
In England, every Sat night and Sunday morning the church bells ring non-stop like crazy for 1-2 hours. The tradition is that the church bells are rung to call people to come to church. They were extra annoying/long and there was more than one church doing it at the same time the other day and a 80-something year old lady finally burst out at the bus stop:

"That's enough God, we hear you already!"

I semi-agree sadly enough! The bells drive you mad after a while!

Anyways, that's all the time I have this week folks! Bank holidays are lovely, but they mean shorter email time!

Love you all!

Hope the time goes quickly for you and slowly for me!
Sister Martin xoxo