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