Monday, February 17, 2014

Priviledged to have more time....

Well mom, its another transfer complete and Elder Helbig is going home. He has been a great companion! He is a very hard worker, and he is going hard until the end. He has been a great example to me on how to work hard your whole mission. But he has to leave and I have to get a new companion.  I will be in Augsburg for yet another transfer and I will be getting a new companion. His name is Elder Sponseller and he will be coming to work with me here in Augsburg. I am very excited to get to stay one more transfer in Augsburg because finally all the hard work that I have been doing in Augsburg is begining to pay off.

first, I just need to say that Iand my companions have worked so hard in Augsburg. We have worked to build the kingdom of God in this little ward in Augsburg, Germany. So many people have come and we have taught them, and many have gotten so close to being baptized like "R" or several others but all just could not make that commitment of baptism. As the transfers began to keep getting closer, I began to be really worried that I would not get at least one baptism here in the city of Augsburg. So, as these transfer calls came closer and closer, I began to be really nervous. I was not ready to leave Augsburg. I just needed one last transfer and I knew that I could get work done so long as I continued to work hard and have faith in the Lords time.

Last week I did not know here I would be going or if I would be staying, but regardless I was going to work as if it was my last week in Augsburg. I worked so hard on getting our two main investigators to a baptismal date. We met with "H", and we had a great lesson on baptism and also about confirmation. and at the end we committed him to baptism on the 15th of March and he accepted. I was so excited for him and that he was able to have that faith to do this. He has come to church every week and he has made so much progress. He is so ready for baptism.

Next we met with "J" again, and we have been working with him for weeks to help him understand the gospel of Jesus Christ, as well as about the atonement. Every appointment he began to be more and more receptive about the church, but more importantly he began to be more receptive to the spirit. This week I was in tears this lesson because I was pouring out all of my testimony to him and telling him with all the power that I had to tell him that he could be cleansed by the power of the atonement. I began to see tears roll down his cheeks. Then he said the best words that Elder Helbig and I could ever hear: "I must be baptized" he committed to be baptized on the 29th of March. I was so happy and was so thankful to my Heavenly Father this week for all of the blessings that Elder Helbig and I had received. I did not care if I left or stayed in Augsburg I was just thankful that I could see the progression in these two amazing people.

The call came on Saturday and I was told that I was staying in Augsburg. I was, and still am, very excited to stay one more transfer in Augsburg. There is still so much work to be done and I am happy to be apart of it here in Augsburg. 

I have learned so many things so far on my mission, and with Elder Helbig leaving it has shown me that the time flies faster than one would hope. It has shown me that I need to really keep staying focused on my work here in Augsburg and through out my mission. I have learned to love all of Gods children and to really know of Gods hand in all things. He is a God of miracles. Just when things get hard, every door has been slammed in your face, investigators have dropped you and nothing can seem to go right, He picks you up and tells you that through the Holy Ghost all will be fine. He tells you that this His work and He will not let you fail. Ever since I have left the MTC, I have come to believe in tender mercies. The Lord will give you spiritual and  uplifting moments to keep you going and to tell you that He is there for you. I know that I have not written about alot of hard moments on my mission to you, but there have been so many days were I wish I could go home and just go back to the comfort of my family and my friends. But then the Lord shows me His love for me and He helps me rise above it and overcome them. Sometimes with these tendermercies.

Mom, I can tell you with all of my heart that the Lord will answer your prayers as long as you stop to listen. We have to be willing to follow those answers. Please continue to pray to our Father in heaven and keep doing good. As long as you do this, good things will come to pass. Keep being strong and I will do the same. Everyday I am doing what the Lord will have me do, and working as hard as I can. I am just trying to do the best I can and I know that the lord has blessed me and our family because of it.

Keep going and keep working hard. I love you so much. More than words can describe. I will continue to be obedient as the Lord would expect nothing less from all of his missionaries. Until next week,
Your son, Elder Martinez

Monday, February 10, 2014

Shouting out to the World! A humbling reminder.

Shouting it out to the world!
I need to apologize for the two really short emails that I have written the last two weeks. As I sat in my bed that Monday night, I thought to myself how hard it is to wait a whole week and then just hear that I am still alive and that I can only write you a small email. I will try my very best to really tell you as much as I can about my week and all that happened and all that I did 
(as long as i can remember it). So let me tell you about my week:

On Monday I had one of the best p-days on my mission so far. a member came to us the Sunday before and asked us if we would like to go see a mountain and a waterfall. We had nothing planned so we accepted the invitation. On the way, we found out what mountain we were going to and that it was the tallest in Germany. Its called Sugspitze, and mom it was so much funand and was soooooo pretty. We took a cable car all the way to the top and we were on the top of Germany and you could see all of the pretty mountains. it was one of the best p-days that i have ever had. I will send you as many pictures as I can, but I will send more in the coming weeks. The whole time the member was just telling us that she was having so much fun and the sisters and Elder Helbig and I all look back on that day as one of the best P-days so far on our mission.

The next day we had to go to Munich for our zone training and we had a great time. A great time to learn from the zone leaders and also to learn from others and see how you can improve your work in your area. After, we met with another of our investigators and talked to him about the atonement and how it can apply to him. His name is "J" and he is from Nigeria. He wants to be baptized but he believes that he has to be completely perfect before and after in order to be baptized. We told him that no one is perfect. A person can not attain perfection in this life. It is impossible. We will make mistakes and continue to make mistakes everyday. We told him that through the atonement of Jesus Christ, and if you continue to follow your Heavenly Father with faith, and endure to the end you can live with him again. We had a great J/T and we told him that nobody is perfect and that so long as we repent daily and try to do better each day, we can feel the holy ghost in our life and be happy. It was a great appointment and he is making progress every time we meet and we hope that he can accept a baptismal date pretty soon.

On Thursday we had a zone conference. That is a conference that we have with President Miles and Sister Miles the AP´s and the whole zone. It lasts all day and we heard from President Miles and his wife, the AP´s, and this time we even had the Munich stake president. I had a great time and learned so much. The spirit was in such great abundance. We made an appointment for "R" to meet with President Miles after the conference. I have written alot about "R", and he is so close to reaching baptism. The last thing that he needed to do was talk to President Miles. He came to us and asked us if he could be baptized on the 18th of February and he promised us that he would be there on Thursday to meet with the president. Ralph talked to the president on the phone himself and set up the time. The zone conference ended and we waited and waited and he never came. As president apologized and told us that he could not wait any longer, I found that I had tears rolling down my cheek and I was so heart broken. He was so close, and yet he did not show up. President Miles patted me on the shoulder and simply said: "Don't worry Elder, we will get him". That night was a hard night for Elder Helbig and I, who also had tears. As we were on the train back to Augsburg, we both new that one day, maybe not with us, but one day Ralph will become a member.  With that knowledge, Elder Helbig and I was able to feel comfort and move on with the rest of the week. We have several investigators who are close to baptism. We are so thankful for all the He has given us, and also for the trials that we have in our work from time to time.

This Sunday, we got a new bishop and the old bishop was released after serving for about 7 years. The whole ward was wondering if they were going to call a new bishop, and if they did, who it was going to be. As they released the old bishop and announced the new one, everyone was excited and ready and accepted the change. It was funny to see all of it happen. It reminded me of our ward when we get a new bishop. The whole ward wonders and has their opinions. Its always someone that you don't expect, yet they seem perfect for the position. Sunday was alot of fun.

Yes mom, I did receive your awesome package and all of the valentine gifts and hearts that were in it. I loved it so much. As we sat there doing our studies in the morning, someone buzzed our apartment and my heart jumped. I was so happy to see a package from my family and all of my loved ones. I also got the package with the calendar in it. Thank you so much for the info on the calendar. It helps so much.

This week, just like every week, was a week of ups and downs. As we read in the 31st chapter of 2 Nephi, in the 20th and 21st verses:
"Wherefore, ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men. Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal Life.
And now, behold, my beloved brethren, this is the way; and there is none other way nor name given under heaven whereby man can be saved in the kingdom of God. And now, behold, this is the doctrine of Christ, and the only and true doctrine of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, which is one God, without end. Amen."

Mom and Dad, I know that all of us will have weeks that we will be tried and pushed to our limits and we feel that things may be too hard to handle. But when we have a steadfastness on the Lord, and keep moving forward and adapt and overcome, we shall have everlasting life. I love you so much and I hope that you all have a great week. Yes, we will be participating the regional broadcast for all of Eurpoe. Till next week,

Your Son, Elder Martinez

Monday, February 3, 2014

Germany is Full of Big Mountains

Well mom, this is going to be another week of a shorter email because a member is taking us to the biggest mountain in Germany. I don't have too much time to write a long email. I promise that next we are not doing anything on Pday, so I will have lots of time to write a long email and send pictures.

This week we were finally able to get in contact with our friend from Germany and he finally came to church. He told us that the reason why he was not answering our calls or coming to church was because he was trying to decide between our church and two other churches and he told us that every night he was praying to his Father in heaven and trying to get an answer. Then we got a ahold of him and he came to church yesterday. We met with him and he told us that he had received the answer that this was Gods church and that he needed to be baptized on the 18th of February. We are excited for him and we hope that he can correct a few things before that date so that he can become baptized. Miracles do happen and we are so excited for him and for the great faith he has and the will that he has to follow his Father in heaven.

We are also making progress with our other investigator that wants to be baptized. He does not see the importance of church but he finally came yesterday and he is slowly making progress. We hope that he can keep going and progress towards baptism as well.

Last week in Munich was very fun. Elder Helbig and I have become very good friends and my favorite companion. It will be very sad to tell him goodbye and send him home. I will send pictures of all of our adventures next week and let you know in more detail how everything went.

Mom, I love you so much and you are with me every step of the way. Till next week, Elder Martinez

Monday, January 27, 2014

Six months in the field!

To start off this week, I hit six months in the field! Menschens kinder! I cannot believe that it has gone that fast. It seems like just barely yesterday I stepped off the plane. Wow! Time flies when you work hard everyday. But that just means I have to make every day count because they will run out sooner then I want them to.
This week we had several of our investigators commit to baptismal dates. Each of them I do believe will be able to meet this date. The only thing is that Elder Helbig will be gone for all of them, and he is kind of sad about that because we both have been working really hard with all of them. He wants to be there but, there is nothing that he can do.
I would like to tell you about one of the appointments that were set up with a baptismal date. We were at church and each Sunday the missionaries teach an English class for all the members that cannot speak German. We had a couple of investigators at this lesson. One of them was the investigator I told you about last week. He is from Nigeria and we have been trying to get him a baptismal date for a couple of weeks now. We had two members at this lesson and the spirit was so strong in this class room. I was giving the lesson on the gospel of Jesus Christ and I could see in his eyes that he was feeling the spirit as well. The lesson ended and Elder Helbig and I were going to go and talk to him to see if we could commit him to a baptismal date when all of a sudden a member that was sitting next to him started to talk to him. This member, during the lesson, had bore his testimony on the power of the holy ghost and he just started to talk to the investigator after the lesson. He asked him if he felt the spirit and he said he did. Them he asked him if he would be to church on the 23rd of February and the investigator said he would. Then the member said "well that date is our ward conference and if you wanted to, you could be baptized after church that day?" The question took  Elder Helbig and I by surprise! But what the investigator said next surprised us the most. He said "Yes i want to do that". We were shocked a member had just committed one of our investigators to baptism. This one event strengthened my testimony about the power of members in this work. They are just as much a missionary as we are. They may not have a badge on there chest but they have it printed in ink on there hearts. He was so happy after that lesson. He asked us if we were ok with him doing that? We said of course. He told us that the holy ghost was telling him over and over to ask him to be baptized on that date. He told himself "no", but then the voice came back and he could not deny it.
Mom and Dad, you have so much power to be missionaries right from where you are. Be an example to all those around you and never miss an opportunity to spread the gospel especially when the holy ghost bares witness to you to do something. I love you both so much and I cant wait to hear more about dads friend and how he is doing. Keep working on him and get the missionary's involved when the time and the spirit is right. I love you both again. Tell Jessi "hi" from me and to keep doing good. I do have to go I have a train to catch.
You are with me always. Till next week,
Elder Martinez

Monday, January 20, 2014

Another week of "up and down" adventures

Hy Mom! I have received your package and I loved it so much. I loved all the stuff that I got in the mail. I  wear my slippers everyday when I get home from walking all over Germany. Elder Helbig and I are still enjoying the koolaid and we ate the mac and cheese the first night we got the package. We ate it with some pretzel and it was so good. It was one of the best meals of the week. Yes, the cheese was a very nice surprise, the only problem was finding just plain crackers, but we eventually did and I don't think cheddar has ever tasted so good. Thank you mom so much and for all that you sent me. I loved all of it.
Like I said in the heading of my email today, it has been a week of ups and downs. I will start with the downs. This week our investigator was not baptized. Problems came up and we have not been able to get in contact with him this whole week. We do not know if he does not want to talk to us or what but as far as today we have not met with him at all this week. For Elder Helbig and I, that was very hard to bare this week. He was so close and we had been working with him for so long and we just do not know what happened. We will not give up on him and we will keep trying to get ahold of him but all we can do is try to call him and always keep him in our prayers.
This has been a week of ups as well. Last Sunday we had a member bring a friend to church and we were able to talk to him and have a lesson with him this week as well. He is from Nigeria. He is one of the coolest people I have yet to meet on my mission. He is young, only about 21 or 22 and so Elder Helbig and I became friends with him in an instant we are meeting with him again.
Also, on Monday we got a call from a member in our ward about a man that called and said he wanted to be baptized. We called him and set up an appointment for Tuesday. We met with him and as he walked in the door of the church we noticed he was also carring a bag with him. We started to have our lesson and we found out that he had brought with him "baptismal clothes" which was a bathing suit and a towel. We had to explain to him that he could not be baptized that day and that there were several things that we needed to do before he could be baptized. It was a very interesting lesson for us. We were not able to set a baptismal date but we will meet with him again tomorrow and I am sure that we can do it.
Like I said, my week is a week of ups and downs. Sometimes it's hard and I have just enough faith to put one foot in front of the other. Others times I feel like I could baptize the whole city of Augsburg. The times of hardship are when I grow and when I put the most faith in the Lord and his timing. Like I said this week was hard not being able to baptize our investigator. But I know that I could not have worked any harder than I did with him. That did make loosing him all the more harder. But I know that it was not because of me, my friend is using his agency and there is nothing that we can do to change that. All we can do, like I said before, is to pray for him.
I am sorry that I am not able to attach any pictures because I left my camera at home. I will bring it next week and send you some pictures.To answer your question, I have been to alot of places in my area. We go to Munich regularly because of meetings and other things, but we also travel to Lauingen, Höchstädt, Dillingan almost every week. We have investigators there and we meet with them every week.
Well mom I do have to end this email for this week, but I hope that you have a great week and that you can stay safe and continue to do well. I love you so much! Give dad a big hug from me and tell him that I love him and all that he does for me. You walk with me always. The words that are going to describe this week: Adventures.
Till next week, your son, Elder Martinez

Monday, January 6, 2014

6 months have gone by and what a way to start a new year!

Today as I was reading your email and I saw the great pictures of dad asleep and of Logan. The realization really hit me that time is going by so fast and I am already a quarter done with my mission. Also the other thought came to me that time goes by so fast that I forget that things are also changing back at home and that people are also changing. I forget that all the time. This past six months has seemed to simply be a couple of weeks. My only hope is that people won’t change to much, especially my family. But that is something that I cannot control. I just got to keep doing what I am doing and I know that the Lord will make sure that everything is ok back at home. I know that He will do that as long as we follow the commandments and endure to the end.
I am sure that is not what the question on your mind is. I am more than sure that the question on your mind is am I staying or am I going. Well I won’t keep you waiting. I will be staying here in Augsburg for another transfer and I will be Elder Helbig’s last companion before he goes home. We are both super excited to really progress with all of our investigators and also keep building up the ward here in Augsburg.
We had great new years with some members of our ward and it will be one that I will never forget. We were at the same member that came with us to Oktoberfest. So Elder Helbig and I went in our lederhosen’s and the sisters went in our dirndl’s. When we arrived at the train station she was so happy and surprised that we wore them that the minute she got home she went and changed into her dirndl as well. It was so much fun to spend New Year’s with her family and also her grandkids. They are all in our ward and it was just a great time. We had amazing food and then played some games after. Then when it finally got to midnight all of a sudden every single church bell in Augsburg began to ring and fireworks began to light the sky. Every kind of firework is legal in Germany, so you had some big ones going off. They were going off all over the city. I will never forget this New Year’s, my first on my mission, in Germany. It was so cool.
Other than that, it was a pretty good week for us. We made some really good progress with our German friend who has committed to baptism. I do believe that he can be baptized next week. He is doing well and his faith is so strong that he just wants to follow his Heavenly Father. He will be interviewed this week and then baptized next week. I am so excited and a little nervous, but mostly excited.
Something else happened this week that was so cool that I am so blessed to have been able to be part of, and also to be the one that was able to teach him. We have a newly baptized member that was baptized about a week before I got to Augsburg. I have been teaching him and preparing him to get the priesthood ever since the first day I was in the field. Yesterday he was finally able to receive the Aaronic Priesthood. His a dear friend from Nigeria and he is one of the best people I have ever met in my life. To be able to see him grow and be able to receive the priesthood is amazing experience. The bishop set him apart, and Elder Helbig and I were able to join him in the circle. It was so amazing to see the smile on his face as we took our hands off his head and as he rose from the chair there. There was a total different light in him. It was one of the most memorable days so far on my mission.
The work is moving forward and I am excited to be able to spend another six weeks here in Augsburg. Keep staying strong and keep doing well, you and all the family are always with me. I love you all and until next week, Elder Martinez