Monday, November 25, 2013

More good things happen, and a change in companions

Let me start in response to all the events that happened to all of you this week:
Mom, your last email about the family, and all the events that happened, made me realize that things happen and I really don’t even notice it. I knew from last week’s email that Jessi was giving her farewell talk, and so was Hampton. I knew that all the family was getting together, but that was all that I knew and had remembered from what you told me. Yesterday I was in abendmahlsversammlung and the thought just came to me that Jessi is giving her farewell talk today. It was 10:30 in the morning and you were all still asleep, but at that moment, I said a little prayer and I knew that that day was going to be a good one for her and for all the family. Then my day and  the work went on. I had members to talk to investigators to set up appointments with for this coming week. Then reading all the emails from home this week, reminded all that happened. Where before, one of my biggest concerns was that, how in the world could I miss out on all the fun things that happen at home? All the family events and get togethers? It really made me scared. But this week reminded me that, though I do miss all of my family and I do care what happens at home. I have work to do here, and yesterday was a testimony to me, or even a little sign from my Heavenly Father, that I have my mind and heart in the right place. I had completely forgotten about Jessica’s farewell until that Sunday, and I prayed for her and  peace came to me and I knew that she would do great. Then with that peace, I didn’t need to think of it anymore. It was in the Lords hands and I had work that needed to get done. I know that the lord will always bring to remembrance what is needed to be said or done, only when we are doing what is needed to be done.
Your last email did make me really miss good old American Thanksgiving. All that great food. Oh man, America, how I miss you sometimes.
To give you a start on the great week that I had, I will start with the beginning…transfers. Let me tell you about what they are, I may have done that before but I will explain it again. Every six weeks we have what is called a transfer where, missionaries move from area to area all over the mission and other important changes take place. This is the start of my third transfer. Last time nothing changed because I was still being trained, but now that I am no longer being trained, Elder Evans and I were possibly in for a change. Drum roll please.................................................. I will be staying in Augsburg and Elder Evans will be transferred to Esslingen. I will be getting a new companion on Thursday. His name is Elder Helbig, and he only has two transfers left before he goes home. So Elder Helbig and I will be able to really get some work done. I am so excited for this next transfer. I will probably be in Augsburg for a little while longer, I am guessing another 12 weeks, but you really never know when it comes to transfers. You go where the president feels you need to be.
The same day we got our transfer calls, is the same day that the best thing of the week happened. I do mean the best thing of the week. We had an appointment with three investigators and they are all from Nigeria. I believe I told you about them last week. We had an appointment with them for Thursday and Elder Evans and I both felt that it would be a good time to extend a baptismal date for them. So the lesson went really well and the spirit, you could see, was working in their hearts. Ii extended the baptismal date to one of them, to prepare to be baptized by the proper authority on Dec. 28. and she told us that she will follow Jesus Christ and be baptized. it was so hard not to jump out of my seat for joy. The spirit was so strong and I know she knows that this gospel is true. When the appointment was over, the newly baptized friend of theirs who helped joint teach, simply said to us. "wow, man!" that’s all we could say to. “Wow, Man.  Elder Evans and I,  when we got back into Augsburg, had celebratory McDonalds  (my first time eating there since being on my mission) never before had McDonalds tasted so good.
This week we also had a baptism within our district. We had it in our church building because our church building is the only one in our district with a font. The rest usually do it in lakes or rivers. but the weather is too cold for that, so we did it in Augsburg. it was a small baptism, only about ten people there mostly missionaries, and the branch president from the area he was from. The amazing thing was what happened to a particular person that we invited to the baptism. We invited an investigator  to the baptism. He is a great investigator and we have been working with him for about three weeks now. Meeting with him about twice a week. he is progressing and doing great but he just can’t see how this gospel can work for him. He came and it was his first time coming to the church building. That’s another problem he has is coming to church. we gave him a tour and he seemed really happy. but then we got to the actual baptism. and the ordinance was done and I looked back and his face was one that I will never forget. I knew he knew that he had to be baptized. but to put a cherry on the top of this already awesome experience, the person who was baptized gave his great testimony. Our friend was just drawn into it. The spirit was so strong in that chapel. I looked at him and he had tears rolling down his cheeks. Mom, this man is the strongest German I have ever met, and he was crying. the Lord took his hard German heart and softened it down for him to know without a doubt that this is what he needed to do. We asked him after how he felt and if he wanted to talk, and he simply told us, that he needed to go, but he has something to tell us when we meet on Monday. Today. I am so excited to meet him and talk to him today.
Well, I have written alot and my fingers are actually getting tired from all of this typing. I love you so much and I can’t wait to hear about the day Jessi leaves for the MTC in a couple of weeks. I know the moment she puts on that Black Badge, she will change.
There is one thing that I need to ask from you, can you give me a list of all of the family birthdays. Everyone. From cousins to aunts and uncles. I want to make sure that I write them and don’t forget their birthdays even though I am out here in Germany.

I do have to go, I love you and until next week,
Elder Martinez

Monday, November 18, 2013

Setting goals:

This week it has been the most rewarding week of my mission so far. Let me start from the very beginning like I usually do and I will explain why this has been a very good week.
This week we had zone training meeting and there we get together with all the missionary’s in the M√ľnchen zone and we go over all kinds of important things. We go over new rules that have changed and or have been instated by the president and also go over several other things that help and benefit the missionary work.
This time something else was discussed that has not been discussed in a very long time. As a mission, we have a goal that we will baptize 290 people this year. As of right now we still have about 180 to go. I know, as a whole mission, if we prayed and had the faith and worked as hard as we could, we would reach our goal by the end of the year. We only have a month and half.

After Zone training meeting, Elder Evans and I had a different desire and looked at our goal for this year. We both felt that as long as we worked our hardest and did what we could in Augsburg to reach this goal that blessings would come and that miracles would happen. So we worked hard. We talked to more people. Worked harder with the members and the investigators that we had so that we could find more people to teach and to find more people who the Lord has prepared to receive the gospel.

On Thursday this week, we had a lesson with a newly baptized member. We have met with him several times, and we asked after every lesson if he had any friends that could use this message of the restored gospel in their lives. Everytime he would say no. We get to the lesson and before we had the chance to sit down, he tells us of three of his friends that he has invited to church this Sunday. We were shocked and ecstatic! Through talking with him, we were able to get him to introduce us to them this Saturday. He was more than willing to be there and introduce us to them. We got to the appointment on Saturday and never before had a lesson gone so well. They had all seen missionary’s where they were from and they had been looking for the same black badge they had seen back at home. At first they were a little confused because ours were not the same they had seen back at home. They had seen the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in English and they did not recognize it in German. When we explained it to them, they were all so excited and happy. We had a great first lesson, and they all came to church the next day. and they are all so happy and excited to learn more and to follow there Heavenly Father.

I know that miracles happen. When you work your hardest and you show your faith by doing and by walking in faith, the Lord will always provide for us. I know this to be true.
This week has been the busiest week of our mission. We have had more lessons with progressing investigators than ever before in our companionship. We also made so much progress with the investigators that we already had, and also with the members in our ward. We hope that by the end of this week, we can have four baptism dates. Never before have I worked so hard and tried to reach a goal so hard…ever in my life. But as I work hard, the more I feel the Lords love and hand in all things. I love my mission and my area, Augsburg is going to explode with people looking for this gospel.
On to answering your questions, all of our Russian investigators have hit stand stills and most have stopped investigating. All though we still have contact with them, but they just don’t want to investigate anymore. We always have to remember that all of Gods children have their agency and they have every right to use it. it’s hard for us as missionaries because we know this gospel will bless them but they, in the end, will choose.
My German is coming along, every week I understand more and more, it’s just that most of the time people talk so fast and I can’t get all the words that they say. Just like me with English, I just talk so fast that people that are new to the language will never understand. It’s the same with me and German. But people in the ward are starting to realize this and they are talking a little bit slower. They still talk really fast. Especially people that we contact on the street. They talk so fast. But I am getting better and I can understand more and more the more I study and practice by simply talking.
Christmas and skype, we won’t use face time because we don’t have any access to it. So we will be skyping, so you will need to get one. We will be spending Christmas Eve and Christmas day with members and that is when we will have the time to use skype. We will probably do it on Christmas Eve. I will give you more information the more that I know but for now just set up an account and get familiar with it. I will let you know how I will be reaching you that day.
Transfers are next week, but I will more than likely not be transferred. Still you never know. I will probably leave after Christmas. So don’t worry too much about my address changing, it will probably stay the same. I have everything that I need. I don’t need anything for a while. Just worry about Jessi. That’s all that you need to worry about right now.
Well mom, it’s another week and another email sent and done, keep telling Gma and Gpa that I love them and keep telling Maddox and all the family that I love them and that I miss them. I still haven’t heard from Mikey, so keep getting on him. Good luck this week with Jessi and her getting ready to leave. I will be thinking about her this Sunday.
I love you and miss you so much, but I have lots of work to do, till next week,
Elder Martinez

Monday, November 11, 2013

Neushwanstein Castle, lederhosen, and investigators - the beauties of Germany

Today we went to the Neuschwanstein. The castle that the Cinderella Castle in Disneyland was made after. It was sooo beautiful. There was just a little bit of snow on the ground and that was covering the castle and it made for one of the coolest things that I have seen in my entire life. Just the fact that I went there with all of my district it made for a really cool experience. I had alot of fun and I was so happy that I could experience all of this while being a missionary. I don’t think that I would have wanted it any other way. Expect I would have loved to have all of you there.
For business for the week, yes mom I did get your Halloween box. I loved the card it did make Elder Evans and I laugh pretty hard. Those are always nice to get. A little bit of America every once in a while is a nice reminder of home. I also did get Gmas pillow case. The minute that I got it, I put it on my pillow. Now everynight before I go to bed, I think and remember to pray for her and for gpa and all of my family. Thank you soo much! I will be sending a letter to you in this coming week to Gma and Gpa.
This week was a really good week for finding potentials and working with less actives in our ward. We had alot of lessons with less actives and that is always great to see them remember why they joined the church. Most of them I have high hopes that they will come back to church and become active again.
We have several progressing investigators and one that we hope that we can get him a baptism date and progress him to that point. We have several others that are progressing but are still a ways from having an actual date of baptism.
My email this week I know is relatively short. Because of going to the castle we just don’t have alot of time. I hope that all the pictures were cool and made you miss me so much. I hope they make you cry. haha no just kidding, even though they probably did.
For some ideas on what to tell the ward, please tell them to help and find there missionaries and help them with missionary work. We all have friends that are not members. Don’t be afraid to talk to them. Be a friend and talk to them about this church. Be a missionary and help with joint teaches with the missionaries. Investigators are so much more likely to progress when the testimony of a member in the ward is also there. We are all missionaries and we all have an obligation to build the kingdom of God. Pray for the opportunity’s to find people to spread the gospel to. Simply: miracles happen when you simply pray for them.
Give the ward all my love and respect. Tell them that I am doing great out here in the best mission in the world. Tell my ward friends hello for me, and tell them they are more than welcome to write me.
I love you mom, and keep doing well. Keep having fun with Jessi. Yes she will be gone before you know it. But she will be back even faster.

Till next week, your son forever,
Elder Martinez (Poo)

Monday, November 4, 2013

Lederhosen, pretzels, Linkin Park, and blessings in the simplest things


Pretzel and weiswurst
This picture tells the story

I learned this week that blessings come from the strangest places and people.....when you simply pray for them.
We have an investigator and he is quit a character. He is about 55 years old, he smokes like a chimney, he is a manic depressant, and he cannot see how this gospel can bless him. Needless to say he is a very hard investigator to work with. I first met him my third day in the field and I was so scared of him. Simply because of the way he looks and acts. He is a very sad person and you can see it just from looking at him. I know he does not sound very nice but he is the most gentle person that you will ever meet, and he can see that he needs this gospel, he just can’t figure out how the gospel applies to him. He does do one thing very well, he can see how this is the true gospel and how everyone needs to have it in his or her life. We get a referral from him about every week. Most of the time, they don’t go anywhere nor they don’t even meet with us. This week we got another from him and needless to say we went into the appointment that he set up for us a little skeptical. This man was so nice and ready for the gospel. Right there in that lesson he became a new investigator and his friend walked in and also wanted to hear the lesson as well. Blessings do come from the strangest places and people. You just need to pray for them and seek them. This event is really what we needed this week.
I was finally able to get my lederhosen this week and I love it so much. Elder evens has one and we wore them as we at pretzel and weiswurst. That drink that I am drinking in the picture is called Lift. The best drink in the world. It is carbonated apple juice and it is soooo good. I have it atleast once a week. It is my Mtndew of Dautchland. Except it has no caffeine in it.
To answer the questions of your last email we do have fast food, but all we have is McDonalds and Burger King, and lots of pizza but not your pizza hut, or other chains they are all homemade and so much better. We don’t have it too often but they are so good when we do.
This coming p-day we will be doing something so cool. There is a castle here in Germany called Neuschwanstein. Disney used it as there model for the Cinderella castle. I will have the opportunity to see it in my lederhosen. The whole district will go and all will be wearing there lederhosens and or drindles. It will be alot of fun.
The work keeps moving forward and the days keep flying by so fast, sometimes you lose track of what day it is and you have to take five minutes before you go to bed and just look back at what you have done. But not too long because there is more work to be done.
I love and miss you all, till next week, Elder Martinez
P.S. the picture of me next to the Linkin park poster is of me being sad because there new album is out and I can’t listen to it. Oh well, maybe in 20 months.
Lederhosen and Lift