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, 28 July 2014

Acronyms, owls and odd facts about England!

It's official! I'm finally getting my 1st North American companion! I'm staying in Chorley and will be serving with Sis. Cross from somewhere in America (don't know where yet!). Chorley 2 ward is great so I am thrilled that I stayed :)

Short email time so I will get straight to the silliness! 

The Language of the Mission:
So the other day I was writing in my planner and realized how many acronyms you learn in the mission. I decided to see how many I've learned. Brace yourself......


Uhh! What!?

Yup! I have learned 38 acronyms that I use on a regular basis:
PI, FI, I, I (with square around it), C (square), F (circled), F (squared), AP, ZL DL, STL, BOM, POS, GJC, L (square), HTBT, ATML, ZM, DM, LS, PS, CS, WP, CF, FH, RC, LA, AM, MP, Rest., T (circled), R (circled), X + (triangle), Cb, BC, SC, CPR, WF.

So I guess I really was wrong when I thought I wouldn't have to learn a language on my mission! ;) Who woulda thought?!

Molly Mormon Quote of the Week!
Companion to me: "Oh no! I lost my 'epistling' tools!"

This is a clinical sign of scripture overdose! If this symptom is present, go consult with your local physician and have him prescribe you a dose of reality and sanity! You know you read the scriptures too much when...

Symptoms and Signs:
My companion and I were reading our missionary handbooks and discovered something hilarious. The 1st page of the handbook has a little section where you can put your name, contact info, health info etc. On the section where it says:

"I have: 
- Diabetes
- Epilepsy
- Other"

After other we both (at some point previously in our missions) had written:
"I am crazy!"
"Insane, exhausted ....etc. etc."

Anyone who has served a mission knows that this is absolutely true! 

Elder Potter?

Every good English tea time involves a lengthy conversation about Harry Potter. That is a fact!

We were having a nerd-fest with a family during tea and came up with the best Harry Potter meets mission jokes! We joked about how we would describe moving to England in relation to Harry Potter stereotypes/facts and came up with the following conclusions:

- England is great, but I just can't get used to the owls bringing my post everyday.
- Dementors can be likened unto Satan
- It is so annoying when Tesco is all out of butterbeer!
- Professor McGonagall keeps following us around while we are tracting!
- The books lied! When I opened my ensign magazine, the pictures didn't move! They said that the only moving pictures are in the cinema! What a rip-off!
- We ride the knight bus. The zone leaders ride a Number 3000 and the assistants ride a firebolt!
- Freddos= chocolate frogs!

My favourite English insult of the week:
Member when finding out that we had done something cheeky to her:

"You plunker!"

Apparently it is not the nicest insult, but I think it sounds so catchy! I may use it when I go home!

Real English Facts of the Week:
I was pondering on the differences between home and here. I have been here so long that it is normal for me now and I was trying to remember what makes England different. I thought it would be fun to share a few:

- Margarine doesn't spread!
Ya, that's right, the margarine here is rubbish! Only the really expensive, posh margarine will spread (as smooth as butter lolololol) on your toast! The rest just awkwardly clumps, and when you try to spread it, it rips up your toast! Lame sauce!

- Flashing your highbeams is not a sign of road rage:
Because the roads are so narrow here, very very often only 1 direction of traffic can go down a road at a time. So you can imagine that when two cars coming from opposite directions are approaching, that you have an interesting situation (face-off anybody?).

English drivers are brilliant though (way more skilled than we are! They can drive and park in the tiniest places! It's impressive and terrifying all at the same time!) and just flash their high beams at each other all the time to tell other people to go on through! The only time you see high beams back home is when someone is road raging hard!

- Wedding Apparel: Go Big or Go Home:
People dress so different for weddings here. The ladies wear ginormous hats, and often very bright colours! Go google English weddings! It's easy to pick out a wedding right away because you'll see masses of big hats outside of a church!

-Peanut Butter....and really everything.....only comes in small quantities:
You know those GIANT Kraft, family sized peanut butter jars? Well they don't exist here! A regular jar of peanut butter would probably last about 3 minutes in a North American home. 

Milk: the largest size here is probably half the size of the giant jugs back home. 

etc etc. 

In other words: We North Americans are PIGS! 

-Bread bags can't be resealed:
You know those nifty tab things that we used to close our bread bags? ....they don't have them here!! Bread bags are just closed with a little sticker thingy, that once you open it, it is impossible to reclose! So next time you open a bag of bread, appreciate that little tabby thingy that you take for granted everyday! 

All in all, I still adore England! I just find it fun to notice the small differences in everyday life!! 

The Bonus of Serving On the MTC Grounds:
....It puts your mission into perspective! 

We were driving out of the car park when we saw a group of MTC missionaries outside. Sis. M suddenly rolls down the car window and yells at them: "Woohoo!! Haha I'm done my mission!! Have fun!". 

...We had just gotten out of her last day of church on her mission! 

When you are around greenies all the time, you realize that 4 more months really isn't that long and you find yourself getting a burst of energy and confidence to keep working :) 

Anyways, I'm out of time (transfer madness means our day will be spent cleaning and packing), so I will finish here! 

I hope the time goes quickly for you and slowly for me,

Sister. Martin

Monday, 21 July 2014

The sun is shining and I am keeping my butt prints out of the sand!

What a summer!!!! Hellooooooooooo suntan! Another week flies by with stories to go with it! I really am in the most wonderful ward ever! The members here are so supportive and take such good care of us! There is nothing better than serving under the shadow of the beautiful temple in Chorley!! :) 

Moos or Booze?
We had a district lunch the other week. As I have proven in past emails, when you sit down for a meal with a bunch of elders you are guaranteed to hear the "darnedest things" (shout out to Bill Cosby!)

One of our elders lived somewhere in Asia for a portion of his childhood. For some reason we were having a conversation about meat (so spiritual right?!) and he told us about how in Japan they raise cows drinking alcohol and the meat from these cows is an insanely expensive delicacy! 

I decided that I could strike it rich in Japan by opening a restaurant that features what I declare to be: THE HANGOVER BURGER! 

Experts on a Grave Subject!:
Location: District Meeting

Topic: Exciting changes in the future of our mission (i.e. Ipads mixed with family history)

The above information translated into the language of district leader: "Ok everybody! I want you to be SO excited! We are getting ipads soon, so as of NOW, we are going to be preparing to become experts on dead people!"

Some say tomato, some say tomaaaaato......some say family history, so say dead people??? Whatever works, right?

Silly Scripture of the day: 
Alma 60:6 ;) 

It's a common missionary joke that this scripture can be used by old missionaries who never get letters or emails from home! I can now testify that this is true! 

You know it's really hot when.......
We had a sisters meeting last week where we talked about health and nutrition. It was in the beautiful, brand-new Manchester YSA building (a 6 floor building in the middle of the city!). 
Fact: 70ish sister missionaries, all crammed into the small room of the top story of the YSA building on a humid, hot July day, all simultaneously doing aerobic dance equals.......


Before the meeting started, all the sister were moaning about how hot they were. Me- trying to be optimistic- piped in: "It's not that bad! We can endure it!"

Just as I said this, a group of Tongans and Aussies walked in the room and 2 of them at the same time yelled out

"It's so hot! I'm gonna die! This sucks!"

Ok! At that moment I immediately decided that honestly was the best policy and I revoked my previous, miss optimism comment!

You know it's really hot when the Aussies and Togans are complaining about the heat!! 

End of story!

Please Sir, can I have some more?;
We have wonderful new Utah missionary in our district!... And had so much fun messing with him a little bit during our district lunch!

We had a pitcher of water for the whole table. As he went to pour the last bit of water into his glass, one of the elders bursts out: "Hey! Don't do that before asking if anyone else wants some!!"

We all immediately caught on to where he was headed with this.

We then all played along:

"Ya! Seriously! You gotta be careful man! They don't do refills in England! Even on water!"

It is a common complaint among the N. Americans here that England doesn't have free refills on pop! So we had so much fun as we were able to convince this elder for a couple of seconds that this applied to water as well! No refills! Sorry! ;)

England can be stingy on their drinks...but not that stingy thank goodness :) 

Companion Unity 101:
We  had the most hilarious insight the other day! One of the elders in our district is a former assistant to the president. Him and his previous companion (who is still currently an assistant) are the ultimate bromance! They were a great companionship and incredibly unified! They still love each other and every once in awhile we see the assistants driving through Chorley because the elders were having a little bromance reunion. 

I realized something epic! So our elder here in Chorley is white, and his former companion is black, so they were like a human ying-yang! So beautiful! We I've decided I want to start calling them Elder Ying and Yang now! How epic is that symbolism?! :) 

You Know You've Been A Missionary For Too Long When....:
Sister M is still in touch with some elders who served in her home branch in Ukraine. While they were on their missions, they wrote a rap about crepes! 

We have been playing it on replay for the past week (it is hilarious). The other night I had a pathetic epiphany about myself: 

"I can't believe I've hit the point where I'm dancing to a song about crepes! This is so sad!"

This is how you know that you have officially been listening to way too much EFY music! If a song about crepes is appealing, you know the MOTAB has gone too far! 

Deep Doctrine:
We were teaching a family home evening to a large group of families last week. We were obviously discussing missionary work and someone asked why we keep talking about missionary work so much! A YSA gave the best answer I have ever heard:

"It's obvious! It's because we are dumb and we don't just simply listen and do it! They keep asking us and we keep procrastinating so they will keep bothering us until we just have some faith and do it so we can experience some blessings.

The scriptures (John 21: 15-17) even teach us this. Look at when Jesus was talking to Simon Peter! He asked him to show his love by feeding his lambs! Did you ever notice though that the second and third time Jesus asks this, that he asks Peter to feed his SHEEP, not his Lambs.

The reason for the word change is because it took Peter so long to respond to Jesus' request the first time that by the time he actually understood it and did it, the lambs had grown up into adult sheep!"

Tender Mercy:
This is actually a serious story! I wanted to share this little miracle about prayer. 

So I lost my glasses the other week. I was freaking out about it and literally could not find them anywhere. The thought of spending money on new glasses really stressed me out. After a lot of panicking and searching, I suddenly remember a basic gospel principle that is so simple that primary children learn it frequently in Sunday school! 

I couldn't believe that I had forgotten something so basic that I have been taught to do since I was 3! I got on my knees and offered a simple (probably child-like) prayer to my Heavenly Father, asking to have help to find my glasses.

Literally 10 minutes later the assistants called and said they had found my glasses in the car! The Lord answers prayers! Let us never forget to do the simple, basic things that we know are right! They will build our faith and deepen our link with God! It was a simple, but a beautiful answer to a prayer! He really does love us and listens to us.

Now time to ruin the spiritually mood again......

Why on earth were my glasses in the assistants car may you ask?

Sheepish confession time!

Sis. M and I may or may not have stolen their car at our last multi-zone meeting! ;)

We have been joking about stealing our zone leaders car forever (they live just down the street from us, and they sometimes rub it in our face that they don't have to use the rubbish Chorley bus system)! They are so protective of their car! We have been trying and failing to steal their car at every meeting this transfer so we could take a picture of us in their car and then wait for them to figure out that we are missing and have them come outside to find us in the car and find them locked out... (unfortunately they have been keeping their keys in their trouser pockets so we haven't been able to do it).

Well turns out stealing an assistant's car is way easier than stealing a zone leaders car. Our assistant was chatting to some elders outside the building with his keys in his hand.

Fact: men don't multi-task

We casually just walked past him, took the keys out of his hand, said thanks and walked off towards the car. He was so distracted talking that he automatically responded: "you're welcome" and kept talking. We were half-way down the car park before he realized what he had just done! When he finally caught on, we then broke into a sprint and dove into the car and locked up! We had some fun taking pics and watching him freak out and dance around as we turned on the car and pretended to start driving. 

We would have actually driven it around the car park a few times, except..... we had no missionary to back us up (gotta love missionary rules!). I opened the window a crack and asked the assistant if he would be so kind as to watch us while we backed up the car. To my shock, he said no ;) 

So during all that fun, I dropped my glasses in their car. 
The end :) 

Butt Prints in the Sand: 
I was introduced to this poem this week! I loved it! If you haven't read the poem Footprints in the Sand, go read that before you read this one. Footprints in the sand is a famous poem and very beautiful and inspirational, but me-- being the silly, sarcastic sister that I am-- can almost relate to this poem even more!

One night I had a wondrous dream,
One set of footprints there was seen,
The footprints of my precious Lord,
But mine were not along the shore.
But then some stranger prints appeared,
And I asked the Lord "What have we here?"
Those prints are large and round and neat,
"But Lord, they are too big for feet."
"My child," He said in sombre tones, 
"For miles I carried you alone.
I challenged you to walk in faith,
but you refused and made me wait.
You disobeyed,
you would not grow,
The walk of faith, 
you would not show,
so I got tired,
I got fed up, 
and there I dropped you on your butt."
"Because in life there comes a time,
When one must fight,
and one must climb,
When one must rise and take a stand,
Or leave their butt prints in the sand."

Don't leave your butt prints in the sand! Get off your butt and go "do something more than dream of your mansions above!" :) 

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

Monday, 14 July 2014

Are you surviving or thriving?!

Another quiet week! Which means that instead of goofy jokes, I will blow your mind with some spiritual insights of my week! This has been a time of deep spiritual growth for me! I am so grateful for the things I have been learning from the members here, and from the studies of the scriptures!

Where the word POSH really came from: this is not spiritual at all! But really interesting! 

So a church member asked us if we knew what posh meant! ....No idea! But now I can say I have been educated!!!

Back in the day, it was not fashionable to have tanned skin! It showed that you were poor/working class people and therefore laboured outside everyday in the hot sun. So rich people stayed away from the sun as much a possible so they could sport their porcelain complexions! 

Because of this, every time rich people traveled on ships, they would stay on the port side during the outward journey and the starboard side when coming home. (All to avoid being on the side of the ship where the sun would shine most).

Port Out, Starboard Home



There is your random English history lesson of the day! 
You. Are. Welcome!

Side Note: We had a baptism!!
Friday was a beautiful sunny day and what was even more beautiful than the sun was being able to return to Wigan and witness the baptism of one of the  investigators we taught there! 

Are You Surviving or Thriving?
This has been my favourite quote of the week!!!

What a question we can ask ourselves! Are we comfortable where we are or are we really pushing to progress! Do we treat every moment of our lives as an opportunity to learn?! Do we find ourselves IN our comfort zones more than OUT of them?! Are we changing? Or does time continually fly and we find ourselves the same person we were a year ago?!

This life is all about progression! Life is meant to be a bit uncomfortable sometimes! I am learning this! It is hard to be uncomfortable, but it is even harder to deal with the regrets of opportunities that were lost due to fear! There is a reason that we often say that our faith needs to outweigh our fears! Faith is ACTING on our beliefs so if our faith is strong enough, all of the above questions can be answered with confidence and conviction!

Where does thriving start?! With the basics as always! Do you learn something new when you study the scriptures or read a church talk!? Do you feel the Holy Ghost buzzing in you as you dive into the words of God?! Or are you half-asleep, drooling on your pillow as you read the same verse of scripture 12 times over at midnight because you "have to" read your scriptures every day?

Are you surviving or thriving?

Are you excited for your callings because of the new ideas and revelations you have received to help you magnify them?! Do you experience that satisfactory exhaustion at the end of most days, knowing that you did all you could to serve?! Or do you drag yourself from one moment of the desperate bare minimum to another, still feeling tired, but in this circumstance feeling no long-term satisfaction and having barely made a dent in the wall of self-change! 

Are you surviving or thriving?

D&C 136: 31-33
31 My people must be tried in all things, that they may be prepared to receive the glory that I have for them, even the glory of Zion; and he that will not bear chastisement is not worthy of my kingdom.
 32 Let him that is ignorant learn wisdom by humbling himself and calling upon the Lord his God, that his eyes may be opened that he may see, and his ears opened that he may hear;
 33 For my Spirit is sent forth into the world to enlighten the humble and contrite, and to the condemnation of the ungodly.
Lets be humble! Lets look deep in the mirror and really ask ourselves if there is more we can do. The bare minimum is not enough for those who really want to change themselves and change others! The bare minimum will not be enough to secure the highest blessings of heaven! Those blessings from from those who consecrate themselves! Those who really do change and can say that they have become like Christ! Where in the scriptures do you find accounts of Christ performing the occasionally miracle between one of his twenty coffee breaks?! You don't! Simple as that! Pick something to work on this week! Change! Serve someone besides yourself this week!

THRIVE! Don't just survive!!!!!

D&C 128:22!
 22 Brethren, shall we not go on in so great a cause? Go forward and not backward. Courage, brethren; and on, on to the victory! Let your hearts rejoice, and be exceedingly glad. Let the earth break forth into singing. Let the dead speak forth anthems of eternal praise to the King Immanuel, who hath ordained, before the world was, that which would enable us to redeem them out of their prison; for the prisoners shall go free.

I love you all! Go forward! Not Backward!

I hope the time goes quickly for you and slowly for me!
Xoxoxo Sister Martin 

President and Sister Preston at the end of their mission.

Sister Fix-It

Back at the Missionary Training Center


The "Haunted House"

Escaping the Haunted House...
The beautiful countryside


Stealing the AP's car

Monday, 7 July 2014

Haunted houses and home improvement!

Hi all!

So another quiet week in Chorley! It is a quiet and very small area so unfortunately this may result in some boring emails in the next while (when your area is only 2 streets in size, not much exciting happens). We are starting to work a lot with the members here so that is exciting! It is an incredible ward and we are hoping that once the missionary spirit spreads among the members that we will see some change and progress!

Baby highlight reel starts..........NOW!:

Indecent December!:
So Sis M and I were talking the other day about how much we sometimes miss wearing trousers. I joked that the day I get released I am going to jump into my blue jeans and will probably sit like a boy (legs open and sprawled 12 feet in front of me) 24/7 for a month straight! I realized that I could make this an official event. Instead of casual Fridays, it will be Indecent December (the month I come home)! If you are judging, just picture having to live in a skirt for 18 months straight! Just admit it! If you were me, you would do the same thing! :) 

Raps about crepes:
Sis. M informed me that a pair of elders back home wrote a Russian rap about crepes once! Inspiration?! Maybe?! Hmmm! Challenge: Send me your most random and ridiculous rap ideas, I will write a rap about the idea that makes me laugh the most and send home for you to enjoy! 


Tracting Haunted Houses: 

So we were tracting (in the pouring typical English style) when we came across the craziest house ever. There was this ivy, archway/alleyway that led to this home. It looked like a snapshot from the 1800's or something. An old, dusty classic English car parked in an outdoor garage. There was a one-eyed cat hissing and spitting beside the front door. Sis. M and I knocked on it. I almost died. I am convinced that I heard all these weird whoosing noises after we knocked (Ghosts in the house!?? Bleck!). I looked up into the window. There were a bunch of candles lit and random skull heads everywhere! After we had been officially creeped out, and had taken turns grabbing each other from behind and scaring each other to death, I declared that I had no desire to try and find, teach and baptise SATAN in his holiday house, and we booked it out of there!! 

Home improvement:
Fact! If you ever have to assemble a ridiculously complicated carpet cleaner, it is a lot more fun and enjoyable to do so while doing a "Tim the Tool Man Taylor" impression! Tim Allen for the win! We had to spend an hour putting together this beefed up carpet cleaner to use in our old flat. So I had heaps of fun grunting and putting on my thickest American accent as I   pretended to have my own home improvement show! I kept explaining each part to Sis M (that doo-hicky and this doo-dad etc etc) using weird symbolism and analogies! I have concluded that having a home improvement show would be so fun!! Future career?!! (....or maybe I should stick with rapping?!).

Quote of the week (kids say the darnest things!):

Child: Look! Its the sister missionaries and the mister missionaries!!

Haha! So much better than elders! I much prefer mister missionaries now!

Well that is all for this week! I hope everyone continues to enjoy the sunshine (it has been beautiful tan-lines being the evidence of this). Nothing makes you feel better about yourself than being a North American in England! You are one beautiful tan in the midst of a stampeded of paled, sunburn-ness! I love my Brits though! They are the funniest people alive and have won my heart! 

Keep smiling! Know that I love you!! Never forget to go and do a good deed for your local missionaries! It will make their year! :) 

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