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, 27 October 2014

Purse and scrip is for wimps!

So it is only the 3rd day of this new transfer and I have already heard about 25 lame trunky jokes and have experienced the most crazy situation of my entire mission!!

Disclaimer before I begin:
Due to the psycho circumstances of the last 2 days, this email has to be short (I only have a small slot of time to email before I have to run off and deal with more stuff that cannot wait).

Disclaimer over.

We are in Stretford! 

You know you live in the heart of Manchester when... you live a 15 minute walk from Manchester United FC! Yup! My life now revolves around making sure we do not get caught in the middle of a football riot! Wow!!

Manchester is incredible!!! Million of people to talk to is a "dying" missionary's dream! All my areas have been so small and quiet so it is crazy to be experiencing something! We just spend all our time talking to people on the street! It is terrifying (since all my areas have been small with barely any opportunities to street contact) but exhilarating! 

 So we have literally been the definition of a missionary with no purse or scrip!

We arrived to our flat the first day with all our luggage everywhere, and to my shock we could not get into our flat!

Turns out the letting agent gave the mission office the wrong keys! The best part!? Transfers were on a Saturday-- and the agency is closed on weekends-- so we were suddenly homeless.

We ended up waiting a couple of hours before we were able to get rescued by some missionaries who had a car. We got taken over to stay with the Manchester YSA sisters until today. (This was fun, because Sis. Riley happens to be serving here-- we have been separated since I finished training her a year ago, so it was a strange full circle deja vu thing as my 1st and 3rd mission children were altogether in one flat). 

So I was given no map, area book, ward directory and our phone came from an area in a completely different area so we had no phone numbers for anybody in our area. Literally no "purse or scrip"! We finally just got all our supplies a couple of hours ago! I have been wandering around Manchester with my brand new companion- fresh out of the MTC- with no map! We have gotten lost about a billion times! It has been crazy! And certainly an adventure! I think things can only get better from here!

Despite all the stress though, I am just adoring Manchester! Where has this place been my entire mission?!?!?
My new companion:

Sister Sant is officially my last companion, AND my first ever Utah companion! She is lovely! Excited to work hard! It will be fun being able to train and help make the magic happen in this area! She is tall like me so it is funny to see how people react to us on the street! So far so good though!

The last note before I have to run (sorry everyone! Lame! I know!):

I was asked the other day a deep, life-changing question:

If you could whitewash into anywhere in the world, and with anyone, who would it be?

My first reply:
I would whitewash into Mexico with Nacho Libre!

Then our district decided together an even better scenario! I officially am going to whitewash into Gotham city with Batman and Robin (because I can say from experience that trio companionships are the best!)

Anyways! Off I run to deal with the chaos and craziness that is my life! :)

I love you all!

Hope the time goes quickly for you and slowly for me!

Sister Martin 

Monday, 20 October 2014

Selfies, Stretford and the normal silliness!

Before I type anything else! Transfer news:
....Duh Duh Duh!
I am leaving Chorley and will be whitewash training a brand new missionary in ......STRETFORD!

(For non-missionary friends. Whitewash means neither one of us has every been there before, so essentially we are both going into the area blind! Not knowing anything or anyone! It's just going to be us, a map and a lot of prayers and asking for directions!)

Stretford is literally in the heart of Manchester (for the googling purposes of my friends at home, places like Manchester Piccadilly and the Trafford Centre are where my area of care covers). All the places I have served have been tiny little market towns, so this will be unlike anything I've ever experienced before! So exciting! :)

Today I must start by saying how grateful I am for Scouser's! (UK to Canadian translation: Scouser= a Liverpudlian!) I had the BEST thanksgiving! There were no Carvery's in Chorley that we could get to by bus (to be honest, besides the temple, there literally is nothing else in Chorley), so we went to this incredibly posh restaurant on the outskirts of our small village. We came in and immediately the host apologized and said they were closed (it was their prep break between lunch and tea). We asked him if we knew anywhere else we could try and get a turkey dinner-- explaining that it was Canadian thanksgiving and I missed celebrating it last year. 

...He suddenly told us to wait and left us...

 A couple of minutes later he showed up with the head chef (clearly by his accent he was from Liverpool). The chef said normally they only do roast dinners on Sunday, but because it was my thanksgiving he would be happy to make us a special turkey dinner! 

And oh boy he did! 

It was the most posh thanksgiving I've ever had! The food was delicious and so well cooked! I was so thankful for that kind act! And I stand by the fact that Liverpudlians are the nicest people you will ever meet! 

Happy Thanksgiving to me indeed!!

Reverse the Racism!:

The day after thanksgiving my companion was analyzing the thanksgiving card that my mum had sent to me in the post. She started jokingly commenting about how racist the card was because it had the turkey dressed as a pilgrim and the pumpkin he was holding was dressed like an Indian. (She was mainly teasing me because we are so politically correct in Canada and I have occasionally gone on rants about how they are Aboriginal or First Nations people and NOT Indians...they are not from India).

I could not help but immediately respond: "Well.....awkward for you because the card was made in America!"

Earlier on in the day we had been laughing about how it was ironic that my Canadian thanksgiving card had been made in Ohio! So it was priceless when I turned the table on my companion! We had a great laugh :) 

The Atonement for Dummies:

No! This is not an instruction course! This is just a fact.

As usual, my companions and I were being weird as always. In the middle of one our ridiculous laughing sessions, I looked up (with tear-filled eyes) at the large picture of Jesus that was on our living room door. I made the mistake of thinking out-loud as I observed:

"I can imagine Jesus watching us right now! He would probably be like 'I can't believe I atoned for these three ding dongs!'"

Well I'm sure glad that despite how weird we are, Christ still loves us and laughs with (and also sometimes probably at) us! :) 

The Raging Obesity Epidemic!
No.I am not referring to the weight that us UK missionaries gain as we serve in the land of yorkshire puddings, custard and cream on everything, and the best chocolate known to man! 

I'm referring to Japan!.... ???

A member was teasing my American companions with the same old "American is so fat" jokes. They then told us that they recently read somewhere that surprisingly, Japan is reported to be the 4th most obese country in the world (I still won't believe that one until I see it!).

My companions burst out in disbelief and started babbling about how there's no way that this could be true.

The member's response was classic!:

"Common! I mean, look at Kung Fu Panda! Now he's a big lad! Enough said!"

True indeed! Enough said! 

If there can be obese animated Asian pandas, there could just as easily be obese Asian people. Though I'm still a little doubtful about that!

Questions of the Soul:

One of my companions was impressed and shocked to hear that we have HP sauce AND A1 sauce in Canada (truly the best of both worlds! We are a healthy mix of England and America!). 

She then wondered out loud:

"Which came first? The HP or the A1?"

My lame logic: 

1, If we were to alphabetize it, then the A1?

2. Wait! Just kidding! It's the queens sauce! The monarchy of England has been around WAY longer than America has! Therefore, the HP came first!

Commonwealth victory!

X's and O's:

Nope! No kisses and hugs here! I mean, common, I'm still a missionary here! Gotta keep things PG! ;)

I'm talking about the childhood game. 

So fun fact of the week: in England, they do not call it "x's and o's"

They call it crosses and knots :) 

Sister Cross and I were discussing how we like this name and then she suddenly burst out:

"OH OH!! I want to make a version of that game where all the crosses are pictures of me!!"

So now it's definitely safe to say that Sister Cross prefers the English version of X's and O's over the North American version!

Where Utah's Mormon Swear Words Come From:

Attention! Attention! 

I've made a discovery!
Utah members may thing their preschool swear words are original!

I am here today to smash this myth!

It is official: They come from England (like anything that is white and cheesy)

How do I know? 

The favourite outburst in Chorley is: "Flipping heck" (pronounced "flippin' eck!)

So next time your LDS friend burst out with "Flip!" or "Oh my heck", just take a moment to pay tribute to the queen! 

The New Method of Performing the Heimlich:

Well, before I start writing this I will include the commentary from the members that are with me as I'm writing this blog post.

I turned to one of them and asked "How on earth do you spell Heimlich?!"

Her response (caked in sarcasm and cheekiness): "H-i-n-d-l-i-c-k?"

Then the other member laughs and pipes in: "Noo! That's what you do when you want a raise at work!"

I've said it once and I'll say it again! I love the snarky UK humour!!

Andddddd we're back!

Yesterday an elderly sister in our ward (who-- fun fact-- is Marjorie Pay Hinckley's doppelganger!!) started choking during our Relief Society lesson. She was fine! It was just the awkward half choking (not choking enough that you are in distress, but enough that you keep awkwardly coughing non-stop for ten minutes).

All the sisters were fussing over her and running to get water, and to cut the tension another sister leans over to her and shouts out: "Excuse me, but could you please choke more quietly!?" We all were in fits laughing and it was perfectly timed as we were having a lesson on charity!


That awkward moment when....... get busted taking MTC selfies by a general authority!! 

Yup! Only would this happen to a missionary!
We were taking a couple of selfies in front of the MTC after church (since the first letter of our last names make the acronym MTC, we just HAD to get a picture in front of the MTC sign before we got transferred out).

Right as we were doing it, Elder Charles (of the 70) and his wife (who both had spoken in our ward that day) came up behind us and caught us. We proceeded to sheepishly explain why we were doing it and then stick our feet in our mouths!

They were great sports and just smiled and laughed and made a bit of small talk before they went into the MTC. 

Shut Your Pie Hole:

I was telling some members the other day about a weird experience I had had while serving in Wigan.

Their response:

"I'm not surprised at all! They're a bunch of pie eaters!"

It honestly sounded like one of those 5-year old playground insults you would use in school (e.g. you dumb-head, stupid face.......pie-eater!  ...?)

She then said: "Seriously! Wigan's favourite butty is 2 pieces of bread with a meat pie in the middle!" 

I wonder what people say about kooky Canadians. They're a bunch of syrup slurpers?!? 

Payback as sweet as maple syrup!:

For the first time in my entire mission, someone was ragging on my country, and not my American companions'. 


Don't ask me why, but a lady (we know well) starting bagging (*insert Canadian accent here*) on Canada the other day (because her friend had a bad experience with a Canadian....therefore all Canadians must be like that...right?!)

I didn't mind! It was kind of funny and I watch my American companions endure this mass labeling on a daily basis so I figured that if they have to deal with it daily, then I can survive the awkwardness of it just once! 

You know those moments where in hindsight you wish you had thought to respond in 20 different ways than you actually did?

Well that certainly happened to me, and it's not what you think (no, I didn't snap back at her!). I responded by just laughing and saying I'm sorry to hear her friend had such a hard time when she visited Canada.

I kicked myself later that night when in hindsight I wish I had said: "Well! Jesus was Canadian so take that!!"  **If you are confused, refer to my previous blog where I explain how I know that Jesus hung on the cross in Calgary and not Calvary** ;)

A New Catchphrase For The End of My Email?!?!:

No! Don't worry y'all! I think I'll keep my cheesy, standard catchphrase ("hope the time goes quickly for you and slowly for me!")....but this one made for healthy competition!
For when I have to say the heartbreaking goodbyes to my dear friends in the UK: "If I don't see you in the UK, I'll see you in the CK" (celestial kingdom!)

Spiritual Thought of the Week:

Today's thought is brought to you by Isaiah!


Don't run away! Come back! I promise it won't be too deep or confusing! 

Isaiah for dummies!

 Isaiah 60:22 A little one shall become a thousand, and a small one a strong nation: I the Lord will hasten it in his time.

So I have absolutely loved this scripture this week! This concept is so simple! With God our small efforts can be magnified and can result in great things!!

Now let me explain this in more detail with some analogies. For some reason I found 2 key analogies to this scripture and water:

Water has the potential to be so powerful in 2 different ways.... as does God and Satan

You can compare Satan to water that seeps into the tiniest cracks of a strong concrete foundation. All that is needed is one crack, and the liquid can seep in and destroy the entire home that is built on it. 

God can be compared to the currents of the ocean, with rip tides so powerful they can take a life in seconds. They can be used to generate energy. They are the home of so many beautiful creatures. Their useful purposes are endless. When many small drops of water combine together to form great bodies of water, a power that cannot be achieved by one drop alone is seen!

The following scripture explains this concept well:
1 Corinthians 3: 6-9
6 I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase.

 7 So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase.

 8 Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour.

 9 For we are labourers together with God: ye are God’s husbandry, ye are God’s building.

Each of us has small bits and pieces to offer. But without God we will only get so far on our own. As we become converted to the gospel, and then unite as children of God (spirit brothers and sisters) in the same cause, these united and combined efforts stretch far beyond our individual limitations!

Now taking my example of God's form of water and applying it to Corinthians. Think of irrigation channels! How do so many crops get watered at once! We connect our channels together, and then connect them to a great source of water! Thus, all the crops are continually nourished and thrive, with way less effort on our parts than would have been originally required if we had been nourishing the crops without the help of others. 

When we connect our channels (work together and united in the same righteous causes) and then use the well of Jacob (symbolically- John 4) as our source of water, these living waters of Christ, which overfloweth and never run out will provide greater power than ever seen before!

And when it is all said and done we will find ourselves proclaiming with joy!

Isaiah 52: 7 ¶How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth!

 8 Thy watchmen shall lift up the voice; with the voice together shall they sing: for they shall see eye to eye, when the Lord shall bring again Zion.

 9 ¶Break forth into joy, sing together, ye waste places of Jerusalem: for the Lord hath comforted his people, he hath redeemed Jerusalem.

 10 The Lord hath made bare his holy arm in the eyes of all the nations; and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God.

Pitching in and working together to make good happen is always worth the time and effort! Never let petty things stop us from connecting our "irrigation channels" and working together! It just is not worth it! This attitude will only limit us to the power of Satan (small drops of water that seep in) rather than enable us to tap into the powers and love of God (great mighty waters that empower all living things). There in no greater joy than serving God in his united causes! Go and do something good this week! Feel the joy of it!
Now that wasn't so bad was it?? :) 

Until next week

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

Monday, 13 October 2014

"Faithening My Strength" And Expanding My Waist!

Speaking of expanded waistlines: Happy Canadian Thanksgiving Eh!?!

Today is a beautiful day! Why? Because as soon as I finish writing this email, I am off to Preston to have a big, fat turkey dinner at the carvery with 4 of my favourite American sisters! :) My American friends have been very supportive of my desire to celebrate this year (who wouldn't be supportive?!! If it meant an extra turkey dinner than I would be game too! Lets be honest!). I didn't get Thanksgiving last year, so I was extra determined not to miss two in a row!! Bring on the stretchy skirts and full belly! 

Heads up: this email is a little short of experiences of my life. We have been sick with the flu all week so life has been a bit quiet and boring for us! 

Flash Mob: Babushka Style!:  
Before I start this story, my disclaimer comes from my favourite "I'm A Mormon profile"  (watch it! You will laugh and this will suddenly make sense!): "Hold on to your Babushka's!"....literally!

Our assistant ward mission leader is a wonderful man! But my favourite member of his family is not him! It is his 90-something year old mother-in-law (Nana) who lives with them! She says the most hilarious things and is the old lady I dream of being one day! She can say and do almost anything, just because she's old and can get away with it! My dream!

We were at their home for tea after church and the most hilarious thing happened. We were chatting in the lounge with Nana before tea until we got called to come into the dining room to come eat. In response to the dinner call, Nana-- who was lying reclined in her chair-- suddenly kicked her leg literally straight into the air, and by doing so, was completely flashing us all (she was still wearing a dress from church). Her son-in-law in shock, told her to put her leg down and stop flashing her granny knickers at us and her unashamed response:

"Sorry, I forgot I wasn't wearing trousers" (picture it being said in a frail, old lady voice)

She had obviously put her leg up to help herself build momentum to be able to sit up to get out of the chair. So there was a valid reason for the random 90-year flashing, but oh boy was it funny! 

I can't wait to be old so I can do anything I want and have nobody care! That is the true meaning of happiness!

Sister Cross is allergic to me:
Since yesterday Sis. C has been sneezing up and down the wazoo! It didn't start until I walked up to her yesterday morning to ask her a question and as soon as I was next to her she sneezed about 7 times in a row. She has been in sneezing fits since! So we have concluded that she is allergic to me! Poor her! What a tragedy to not be able to be near me all the time ;)

Random English Fact of the Week:
There are no crows in England. I think I have seen about 10 crows in the entire 16 months I've lived here! 

Spiritual Thought of the Day: How To Faithen Your Strength!
So anyone who watched conference I'm sure chuckled when that poor man got tongue-tied in his prayer and asked that we could have our "Strength Faithened" (instead of having our faith strengthened). So I thought, why not make a spiritual thought on that today!

But seriously! We so often focus and obsess on how to strengthen our faith, but how often do we reverse the process? Do we often enough seek to use our faith to increase our strength?

Well to understand how to "faithen our strength" I first need to explain the base of how we strengthen our faith-- because you cannot easily do the first until you have done the second. 

Followers of Christ on a daily basis do the small things to strengthen their faith: pray, searching the scriptures, repenting daily, keeping the commandments, serving those around them, learning at church etc etc etc. How do these things strengthen our faith?? Whats the big deal about it?!

Well-- to start-- all of these things are actions that require a risk-- the risk is that we are following Christ's example, even though we do not have perfect physical evidence that He is literally there. According to logic and common sense, we could easily be wrong and the Bible could be the world's most successful and sensational fiction ever written! The scriptures describe it well: “faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1)

Christ doesn't literally walk with me as he did in the times of the Bible. My choice to follow him is one of complete faith. I trust and have confidence in the written witnesses/testimonies in the scriptures of those who saw him for themselves. I hope that it is true. As I act on that trust and hope over a long period of time-- hoping that these testimonies are true-- eventually (change rarely happens overnight) I will see my heart changing. I will feel the spirit of God grow stronger within me. I will develop a deeper desire to do good to all my brothers and sisters. I will become more like Jesus Christ (his follower). 

That change in myself then becomes the evidence that he is real! The things that I hoped for (my hopes that these teachings of Christ will help me to be be a better overcome my struggles etc.) will turn into sure faith: My changed life becomes evidence that Christ's promises and teachings are real! He promises I can change, that my sins can be forgiven, that my weaknesses can be overcome through Him etc. I act on that promise and indeed I change. 

This is the cycle of faith.

So what about when we have diligently strengthened our faith! What a waste to just let it sit there! 

Too often, we forget to use that faith to help ourselves work through the bigger things! We get so caught up in the routine of doing the small daily things to build faith, that we forget to use this reservoir of faith in times of need! 

How do we use faith to strengthen ourselves?

We act! 

Now I just said that action was how we strengthened our faith, so what is the difference between strengthening our faith and using faith to increase our strength?

The answer is simple.

Daily faith building is not too strenuous or scary or difficult. A simple prayer, a few minutes of reading the scriptures, a small act of kindness for a friend here and there, and taking the sacrament on a Sunday. Normal, everyday things that are not too hard.

When we aim to use faith to increase spiritual strength, we are dealing with heavier loads. We do something that we didn't think we could ever do before! Maybe some serious self-reflection and goal setting will be involved. Major change is about to happen. You will be shocked how far your faith can carry you beyond your limitations! Whether you struggle with patience, have fears of reaching out to others due to shyness etc. Whatever it is, we do something that is one step out of our perceived range of ability. That built up faith will give us the needed stamina to push. 

Just like when you go to the gym! You lift 10 kg for weeks and weeks and eventually that weight is easier to carry. The same with faith. You build and build your faith, but eventually you will plateau. Your strength will stay at the same level. You will get no stronger until you use all that previous work to go to a new level (to increase your weight/load)! As you increase the load (step out of that comfort zone), the weight will be heavier and more uncomfortable at first, but you will be surprised that you are able to lift it!! Weeks earlier this would have not been possible! Your faith has caused you to become stronger! 

Elder Bednar's talk on spiritual traction is another version of what I have just talked about!  His analogy is simple, but teaches how we "faithen our strength!"

So moral of the story! If you faith has not been strengthened enough yet, go out and do the basics you currently aren't doing! Do you go to church? Do you pray daily? Read the scriptures everyday? Do you LIVE Christ's teachings? (not just believe them).

And if you faith has been strengthened and you are not struggling through trials, then you are ready to "Faithen Your Strength". Take that built up faith and CHANGE! Become stronger! Become better! Push yourself a bit! Pick a bigger thing that you haven't tackled yet! This is what life is all about! Your goal is that by the end of your life, you have experienced huge changes-- changes fueled by the small stuff! That is the beauty of the gospel!
I hope you all have a wonderful week! I love you all!

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

Monday, 6 October 2014

Llamas, pizza fails and the wardrobe!

Elderism 101:
There is never a dull moment when elders are about!

So in my opinion, district meeting could easily be renamed:  "day of nasty lunches". After every district meeting the missionaries always have lunch together and it is here that you can witness how pathetic a lunch can get. Because we have to rush out the door extra early to catch buses and travel to our meetings, and combine that with the fact that the only tools we have to cook with are a microwave and an oven (no plates, utensils, or anything in our chapel) lunches are always rushed and neglected on meeting days! 

Due to these circumstances, usually the only meal option is pizza, or PB &J sandwiches for lunch. 

Well, lunch for our elders unfortunately the regular lunch special "burned out" this week.

So the pizzas are cooking like normal, when suddenly the elders go to check the oven to see if they're done. Hard to tell, because you could not see through the glass panel in the oven door! The oven was so full of thick, yellow/green smoke that you could not see the pizzas! This elder then proceeds to turn off the oven and open the door-- instantly billows of yellow smoke filled the whole kitchen! We started freaking out:
1. Because we could barely breath
2. Because we were wondering if the oven was going to explode
3. Because we were scared the smoke alarms were going to get set off!
We must have looked hilarious! I'm running around opening every window and door in sight! The elders are standing on chairs and using random books and wash cloths to wave smoke away from the alarms!

And after all was said and done!

The elders still tried to eat the pizza! (They weren't going to waste a perfectly good pizza). It actually looked fine, but as soon as they bit into it they were gagging! Apparently concepts like smoked-salmon don't apply to pepperoni pizzas! 

The reason I moved to England:

People ask us all the time why on earth we chose to come to England (they view their own country different than we do! They think it is rubbish and cold here and can't imagine why anyone would voluntarily leave North America to live here.....definitely a grass is always greener concept because I think it's lovely here!). 

We finally came up with a good answer to use:

I fell into my wardrobe this morning and ended up here! Can you please to help how to get to Narnia from here!?!?! 

Confession: I am so tempted to try this line on my last week in England! I think it would be priceless! That plus my Diagon Alley ploy and I could go down in missionary history! 

How To Commute Sci-Fi Style:
We saw a giant van this week that had: "Van Solo" painted on the side of it. May the fuel be with you? 

The end!

English Translation of Classic Childhood Music:
So this week I realized that living in England has brought a new meaning to a classic song that we sang as kids!

Remember the song, "skip to my lou my darling!"

Think about it!........

We have been having good laughs this week since I realized how funny it is from the English perspective:  as we have been running between members homes trying to use their toilets when we are far away from home, we have had fun singing this song! It is now our potty time theme song! Skip to my LOO my darling! 

A not so spiritual, spiritual thought: 
My companion pointed out something so interesting this week that I just HAD to share!

Most church members are pretty familiar with the story where Ammon defends the Lamanite king's flocks of sheep and ends up gaining favour with the king by saving his flocks from the robbers. 

Sis. Cross pointed out that nowhere (that she has found) does it say that Ammon necessarily defended sheep! It just says that he defended the flocks. Yet, we almost always say sheep when we tell the story (an assumed stereotype!). 

With this new insight, we started joking and guessing what kind of animals he could have been defending. I then got really excited when I suddenly realized that it was possible that Ammon could have been defending flocks of llamas. It actually makes sense considering their geographical location! You would probably be more like to see flocks of llamas in the Mid-South American Continents than sheep!

So I stand by my belief that Ammon defended flocks of llamas!!! 

A more spiritual, spiritual thought:

I was reading Matthew 26: the chapter where Christ performs the atonement (prayed to Heavenly Father and felt all our sins and pains) in the garden of Gethsemane. 

I noticed that there is such a contrast between the disciples in the book of Matthew and in the Book of Mormon (3 Nephi 19: 17-36). Growing-up, I never understood why Christ wanted his disciples to stay awake while he went off alone in the garden-- they weren't sitting right next to him as he performed the atonement, so how could them forcing themselves to stay awake be of any help to Jesus? I knew there had to be a reason, I just couldn't figure out why!

It finally hit me today that he probably wanted to them to be using that time to pray for him! Maybe this has been an obvious point to many and I just managed to miss it, but for me that was such a huge insight! We aren't always capable of doing it all ourselves (to carry the crosses that are too great for our weak, mortal flesh) but we can always do something!! Prayer is one of those somethings! 

I was able to then connect that to what Elder Jeffrey R. Holland said in general conference yesterday (  when he talked about the woman (Mary) annointing Jesus with oil. The disciples told her off for wasting expensive oil that could have been used to bless the poor. But in turn Jesus replied to them:

Mark 14:6-8
6 And Jesus said, Let her alone; why trouble ye her? she hath wrought a good work on me.

 7 For ye have the poor with you always, and whensoever ye will ye may do them good: but me ye have not always.

 8 She hath done what she could: she is come aforehand to anoint my body to the burying.

She couldn't take away all of his burden from him. But she did all she could to help and comfort him! 

Her act of service in helping prepare him for his burial would have seemed like a small offering, but because it was her best it was appreciated and comforting to the Saviour, who I'm sure was beginning to feel the weight and fear and pain of what was about to come to pass. Now contrast this to 3 Nephi 19:17-36 (Book of Mormon) where Christ's disciples in that part of the world prayed without ceasing! The Lord was revealing to them what to pray for and they prayed for so long that their countenances because white like unto Christ (they were sanctified--made pure and clean and holy!) 

To put things in perspective, praying with this intensity wouldn't have been easy. They were still mortal, therefore they would have been tired! They also just went through all the destruction of their land (earthquakes, utter darkness for 3 days, fires etc etc etc.) Surely that would not have been physically or emotionally easy to go through! But they prayed with all their might! And these prayers brought joy and relief to Christ! He was so joyed to see their faith and love for their father in heaven! What excuses did the apostles in Matthew have to not be awake and praying? None that were any different from the excuses the Nephites (that I just described) could have had. 

So my conclusion from this insight? What on earth is stopping you or me from having that power in our lives!? What makes us any different from those disciples in the Americas! Nothing! I have the choice to sleep, or to stand up and align my will with God's! To take the time to pray with real meaning for others to be comforted, blessed, and helped. And to pray that I will be able to recognize opportunities to stand by my neighbours and help them and serve them! Prayer has more power than we realize! Clearly, otherwise I don't think it would have mattered so much to Christ that his disciples stay awake and pray for him while he suffered for us. 

This realization really blessed me this weekend! I hope it blesses you too!

I love you all!

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