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 August 2014

Sushi, yogi and nocturnal company!

New transfers bring new energy! We have some exciting things on the horizon here in Chorley 2 and I'm so excited for the coming weeks! Lots of member work! Lots of family history! And lots of activities! Let the work begin!

Hanging with Hedgehogs!
After a late night of packing Sis. M and I finally kneeled down to finish off the night with companion prayer. Because of the humidity we have been keeping the bedroom doors open while we pray to cool off the room before we go to bed. In the middle of my prayer we could suddenly hear some funny rustling noises. Me-- being the biggest chicken on the planet-- was scared it was a heard of rampaging mice (my friends know how scared of mice I am) or the boogie man or something. Sis. M-- being the brave one-- with no hesitation sticks her head outside and suddenly interrupts the prayer and yells for me to come and look! 

Lo and behold, there sat two cute little hedgehogs! I've never seen one in my life (pretty sure we don't have them back home) so that was fun! We then spent the next 20+ mins taking pictures with them and trying to feed them milk and cheerios! Life of a missionary right?! The simplest things entertain and please us! These are the moments that you miss out on when you are glued to a smart phone or tv! 

Fiji: Cartoon Version:
Mission life sometimes results in some awkward/hilarious cultural clashes and mishaps! That was certainly the case the other day!

There were 6 of us sleeping over in Manchester the night before transfer meeting! In one of the companionships was an American and a Fijian. The Fijian sister had taught her companion the Fijian alphabet, which sounds really unique and has a funny/catchy rhythm to it. The American sister was semi-teasing her companion about this alphabet as she was yelling out the alphabet to us. 

(I don't exactly remember what the alphabet was but here is my version of what she shouted out):

Suddenly another American sister (who was across the room and not part of our conversation) leaves her conversation and suddenly turns and with excitement asks: "Oh! Isn't that from Yogi Bear??".

Us being the sensitive, politically correct, dignified sister missionaries that we are.......

Burst into tears laughing! 

Luckily the Fijian sister has one of the best senses of humour ever and was such a good sport about it! If you can't laugh at yourself, who can you laugh at?! That is pretty much my life motto! :) 

When in doubt, scripture it out!
So I have nothing else exciting to report, so a spiritual thought for you to ponder this week!

Do we let our downfalls define us or refine us?!

I was studying lots about Peter this week! Just to put it out there, the New Testament is the bees knees and if you haven't opened it up lately......YOU SHOULD! 

I was thinking about poor Peter and how he so often gets criticized for his weaker moments (his walking on water FAIL, denying Christ 3 times etc. etc.). 

I was thinking a lot about this and discovered something that was profound to me: 

In John 21, Peter and his friends (a handful of Christ's disciples) are fishing and are striking out bad! No luck! Sorry folks, no sushi today! Suddenly a stranger on the shore tells them to cast their nets into the water again and John immediately recognizes that it is Jesus Christ and tells this to Peter. Immediately upon receiving this news, Peter responds as follows: 

 7 Therefore that disciple whom Jesus loved saith unto Peter, It is the Lord. Now when Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he girt his fisher’s coat unto him, (for he was naked,) and did cast himself into the sea.

I was looking at this story in a different light and discovered some interesting parallels here that we can apply to ourselves:

Rewind back and lets remember how Peter tried to walk on the water! How well did that go?.....not so well! He started drowning and had to have Jesus rescue him. 

Now think about it! Did Peter really have that much to fear then? He was standing right next to the boat (easy enough to climb back in) and Jesus was right next to him to help him if it was needed, yet Peter freaked out and started drowning. (Matthew 14: 22-33). He let his environment and circumstances be a source of fear; he let these things prevent him from seeing and trusting the Saviour who literally stood right beside him....

Now think of this second experience. Have you ever thought it strange that Peter was so scared of drowning the 1st time, yet this time around he fearlessly throws himself into the ocean to swim to his Saviour. In theory I could possibly suggest that he should have been much more afraid this time- the Saviour was much further away and it was a long swim (does that sound like how we feel about life sometimes? It's a long haul where we sometimes feel distant from the love of our older brother)

Do we let our trials and fears define us or refine us?? .......This is starting to sound like a slightly different version of my rant the other week about surviving or thriving eh??! ;)

What was the difference between these 2 experiences! Why was he fearless the second time?!

1. Peter had his eyes set on the Saviour! He was aiming to get to his Saviour, versus his first experience where he was just walking for the sake of walking! When we have the Saviour/our eternal end goal in sight and are aiming to come towards him, we will always have the help and faith needed to "just keep on swimming" (shout-out to Finding Nemo!) 

2. He had most likely LEARNED from his previous experience! 

Matt 14:31 And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him [Peter], and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?

Peter learned the hard way that faith will make the difference between swimming or sinking (literally!). This time around he wasn't going to mess this up! He was eager and ready to meet his Lord! He was desiring to do his work ("feed my sheep"!!!). He wasn't worried about anything else, because he trusted that the Lord would provide and compensate for the rest! Christ can take all of our personal weights from us so we can be buoyant! He will not sink with him on our side!

Matthew 6:25- 30 are my favourite verses of scripture this week to tie this thought all together:

25 Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?

 26 Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?

 27 Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?

 28 And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin:

 29 And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.

 30 Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?

Does a flower in the ground ("consider the lilies") sit and wonder: "Oh no! Where is my next meal going to come from?" NO! That is silly! The sun will keep shining, the rain will keep pouring- because God blesses for these things to happen and we have faith that he will continue to do so-- and therefore that flower will keep living!

Does an animal have a little planner or to-do list of how it will obtain shelter or food?! Nope! Symbolically it lives in faith! Just trusts that it's needs will be provided!

We have a lot we can learn from this! If we stop worrying about the things that:

A. We can't control....and
B. Don't matter in the eternal perspective (ask yourself: "Does this pertain to/ will it affect my eternal salvation?"....9 times out of 10 the answer will probably be no). 

Then we can live in FAITH! We will not drown! We will not run out of food (or sushi....yum!) Jesus Christ will lift our burdens from us and as our example will help us to learn from the hard times and downfalls we have! 

With Christ on our side, we can be like Peter and learn from life! It's ok to drown sometimes! We aren't perfect (surprise newsflash!!!!)! What is important is that we learn from our mistakes and lack of faith and do it better next time! Do not let fear stop you from doing what is right (from coming closer to Jesus Christ)! Let your experiences refine you and build your faith!! 

I love you all! I pray you will have a wonderful week full of as many missionary experiences as you pray for! I pray that that number will be great! And more building!

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

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