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, 1 December 2014

Too much turkey, too much traffic, and the tale of a torn and trunky sister missionary!!

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 great!). 

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 much! 

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:

Manchester United!

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 first hand!

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 bus!

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: "POW!"

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 have rabies

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!

(The End)

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 always)! :) 

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 Nephi 31:20).

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 me! 

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 fall!"

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 word :) 

The break-through secret to increased church attendance: 
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 would sky-rocket!!!!

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

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