And the adventure begins! This is a record of my experiences as I serve as a missionary of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in the England Manchester Mission.
I am humbled to be so blessed to have this opportunity to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ every day for the next 18 months. Many trials await me in the form of slammed doors, pouring rain, and tons of homesickness, but with Jesus Christ I can overcome all of that and more.
Love you all!
FYI: This blog is being taken care of by Sister Martin's mom Sharon Martin - email@example.com. She is posting emails and pictures that I am sending to her each week.
A note from her mother: Erika returns home from her mission Thursday evening! She will be home on Friday evening (December 5th) from about 6:30 pm until whenever for anyone that wants to come by and visit with her. Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to write her, send her care packages, send her money and do other things to make these past 18 months go so well for her!
Before I start: Happy Belated American Thanksgiving to all
my American friends! I had a great 2nd thanksgiving dinner and ate way too much
turkey!! (the beauty of being a Canadian in the midst of so many American
missionaries! I got to have 2 dinners: 1 in October and 1 in November! Life is
I have never been so confused in my entire life! I can
hardly believe that this is the last email I will ever write as a full-time
sister missionary! I have absolutely loved this mission! It has been the
greatest gift God has ever given to me. I have never felt love this deep in my
entire life! I didn't know you could love a group of complete strangers so
I will always have a incredibly deep love and allegiance to
England! This country is beautiful and rich in it's history and culture. And
though some may comment that the humour of the English is weird, I have come to
love it :) ....maybe that means I am weird too ;)
I have become a tea drinker! (fruit tea of course.....just
in case all the molly mormons were about to rent their cardigans and throw
their casserole dishes on the floor in disgust) I love crumpets and tea cakes!
I adore English chocolate (and unfortunately it adores me too much as well!) I
love the old rickety buildings, the compact homes and narrow street ways! I
will miss the good, the bad, and the ugly that has been witnessed in the views
that I have beheld on the upper levels of literally hundreds of double decker
buses! I will desperately miss all the cheap and delicious bakeries that line
high street and I am even leaving the crazy 4-seasons weather on peaceful
terms: we had a talk and the wind/rain/snow/sun cycle and I have agreed to
disagree!) The country is beautifully sarcastic, wonderfully historic and the
people here have hearts of gold! Once you make friends with the English, they
will be a friend for life! I have been blessed with some brilliant friends!
Time to zap the PDA, cut the
cheesy rambling and tell you about my last week in the mission field! It sure
has been a crazy one!
E-M&M Strikes Again:
Everyone has been literally BEGGING me to write one more rap
before I go home! The only reason I hadn't responses to the fan requests was
because I had not received the inspiration to do so! I can't just write on a
whim: it needs to be inspired!
Well my stroke of inspiration came while we were locked up
in a Manchester bus for 2 hours! Normally the trip home from city centre only
takes us 15-20 minutes. Why were we on the bus for that long?!?! 2 words:
Curse you aqua scum!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Fact: Manchester United is one of the most exciting and
famous football clubs in the world.
Fact: The locals hate them because the world completely
shuts down whenever there is a football match! Traffic stops completely! The
streets are lined with rubbish and drunken men! It is very inconvenient for
those who actually live in Manchester! And unfortunately I have discovered this
So there I was, sick (I've been battling the flu....yay!),
tired, starving, and really needing to use the toilet (every mum's famous
roadtrip phrase haunted me as I sat on the stagnant bus: "I told you to go
before we left!!")
In anger at my full bladder, my growling stomach and my
unchanging position of imposition, inspiration came and I wrote a rap on the
Manchester United Rap:
Today is the day where my anger is ignited
Because this bus ain't moving due to Manchester United.
Football is so stupid, it makes this city nuts
I want it to be over so this bus can move its butt
Everyone is flaming drunk unable to walk straight
A riot just erupted and a man just killed his mate
I need to wee so bad and my bladders gonna burst
Being stuck in post game traffic really is the worst
Everyone is wearing red and screaming really loud
They won't be cheering anymore, when I punch them:
Men are walking everywhere in really girly scarves
It looks ironic as they walk into their manly bars
Explain to me why every match they get in nasty fights
Regardless of the final score the home team had that night
They must be daft to blow their cash on such dumb souvenirs
And pay a tenner for a tiny pint of nasty beer
My favourite part of every match is all the chavy ladies
They curse and swear more than the men and act like they
Football players make me laugh each time they fake a fall
Crying for their mommies so the ref will make bad calls
Red and yellow cards start to fly up all the place
It looks so wrong as grown men pull a whiny baby face
Regardless of my moaning, football ain't that bad
Its not the game but all the traffic that makes me so mad
So go United! Win em' all! I support your club!
As long as you can keep your crazy fans locked in the pub!
Lock Down In Man-Town!:
The most random moment of our week was probably getting
locked in our flat. Our house is one of those super old houses that they
redecorated to make it look new.....but the reality is that underneath the new
paint it is still super old.
The most recent thing (of many) to break in our home? Our
front door! The dead bolt would not move and we literally could not get out of
our home. Talk about claustrophobia!
So what do two sister missionaries do when they get locked
in a flat?! ...take selfies of course!
I am happy to report that our zone leaders eventually came
and unscrewed the door and helped us escape! So all is well in Zion (as
Feasting Upon The Words Of Christ:
We received the greatest gift yesterday. If you are a
scriptorian, you probably automatically thought I was referring to eternal life
(shout out to Doctrine and Covenants 14:7!) Not this time though!
We received a Bible cake!
"Brother Bob" (this is his nickname. He is so
famous he doesn't have to go by his surname! The best celebrities only have to
be referred by their 1st name. E.g. Beyonce, Christina, Justin, Oprah! See what
I mean?!) is a man in our ward who is the greatest member missionary of all
time. He is famous around our mission! Everyone wants to serve in Stretford so
they can work with Brother Bob!
He just had a birthday and they had the greatest cake ever
made for him. A Book of Mormon and Bible cake!! Late last night we were
surprised to get a knock on our door! It was our zone leaders holding a bible
cake! Brother Bob had given it to them and had them deliver it to us. It was
the 2nd cake leftover from the party and he wanted us to have it!
It is amazing! Pictures attached!
We were way too excited when we saw it (it's what happens
when you are a missionary and your whole life revolves around church and the
scriptures). We made many terrible puns, my favourite being that we were being
very obedient by literally "feasting upon the words of Christ" (2nd
I'm going to be a great-grandma!:
My mission family tree is growing again! This week my 3rd
grandchild and 1st great-grandchild are being born! (When you train a new
missionary, you say that they are your daughter...and so forth! You can work
out the rest).
So I leave my mission with 3 daughters, 3 granddaughters and
1 great-granddaughter! Those poor girls! They are a part of the weirdest family
ever! (Who can say that they have a rapping grandma?!?!)
Such an exciting and fun way to end the mission, knowing
that I made a difference for my companions as they have made a difference for
The secret to keeping the law of chastity:
We were doing an awkward role-play the other day in district
meeting where we were practicing teaching people on the street the law of
chastity using the missionary pamphlets we are giving as teaching tools.
From that I came up with a firm conclusion:
If you want your investigators to keep the law of chastity,
the solution is simple. Just show them the pictures in the pamphlet and they
will never want to have sex again!
The pictures are "gag me" cheesy! I cannot and do
not want to even describe them. Pictures like a woman walking with a bouquet of
flowers in her arms and a cardigan tied around her neck (apparently that is
what a good date looks like haha). A family playing crochet (who plays crochet
in the 21st?!?!).
I joke a lot! The law of chastity is actually a great thing
(keeps families protected and happy), but they need to update their pamphlets
so bad! Barf!!
The new Ben and Jerry's motto:
My companion and I have eaten a shameful amount of Ben and
Jerry's ice-cream this week. At the conclusion of the week, I concocted a new
motto for the companion based on our experiences.
Ben and Jerry's: "No bowl, no shame!"
Nothing better after a terrible day than downing a tub of
Ben and Jerry's and eating it straight out of the tub! Food therapy 101!
Favourite cheesy joke of the week:
What do you call a woman with one leg?
Likening the Holy Ghost to......a banana peel:
We are teaching a wonderful lady right now! We are teaching
her English as well as the gospel, so our lessons are sometimes interesting as
we try to find unique and memorable ways for her to learn gospel words that are
very new and cannot be found in a language dictionary.
I was trying to explain how the Holy Ghost can warn us. She
did not know the word warn. A hilarious moment we had had earlier that day
sparked a great analogy that I was able to use to explain the word to her.
That morning, Sister Once had fallen really badly. We were
just walking and BANG she was on the ground. I -of course- laughed my head off
(so did she) and we brushed her off and kept walking.
Warn: Sister Martin is walking down the street and
accidently slips on a banana peel (BAM! Picture me dropping to the floor as I
was teaching her this). Then Sister Once is going to walk the same street, so I
WARN her about the banana peel! "Look out! There is a banana peel! Do not
I managed to get Sister Once and the lady nearly in tears! I
may win for the most random and dramatic analogy ever to describe such a simple
The break-through secret to increased church
I was talking with our bishop and his family in the car and
they were asking me about what I would miss about England. The conversation- of
course- drifted to food! I told them how I was grateful we have Yorkshire
puddings back home so I would be fine there.
Then we came up with a breakthrough idea!
We should change the sacrament so they bless and pass around
Yorkshire pudding and custard instead of bread and water! Church attendance
No wonder we struggle so much in the UK to get people to
come to church! It was obvious all along! ;)
Her last Sunday!
My Departing Thoughts:
This hymn caught me off guard in church yesterday. We sang
it for the sacrament hymn and it moved me to tears as the words perfectly
described how I feel as I finish this full-time mission. I have changed the
words slightly to apply to me:
As Now We Take The Sacrament: Hymn 169 (verse 3)
As now (I) praise thy name with song,
The blessings of this day
Will linger in (my) thankful heart,
And silently (I) pray
For courage to accept thy will,
To listen and obey.
(I) love thee, Lord; (my) heart (is) full.
(I'll) walk thy chosen way.
I love the Lord so much! The Church of Jesus Christ of
Latter-Day Saints is the true church! Jesus Christ's gospel has been restored
and brought back to the earth again- the exact same gospel he taught and
established while he walked on the earth! I thank God everyday for the gospel!
It has blessed my life more than words can describe! The greatest sacrifices
bring the greatest blessings and I have truly learned this out here! I would never
have it any other way! :)
Love you all!
Hope the time goes quickly for you and slowly (ahh) for me!
Love Sister Martin :)
Pemberley (Actually Chatsworth House) - Mr Darcy's residence in Pride and Prejudice