Monday, March 18, 2013

[3/18/2013] Week 1 in the Field

My first real P-day! Ah! Haha, I keep totally forgetting to bring my camera to send pictures home, so it'll have to wait until next week.

My companion is super awesome. His name is Elder Deakin, and he goes home in June. So basically he'll train me for two transfers and then he's out the door. He's extremely trunky, but he won't exactly admit it. I don't let it get to me. By "super awesome", I mean really nerdy, but in an awesome way. He loves playing Magic: The Gathering (which I know something about thanks to Matt Gibson and my Yu-Gi-Oh days) and Dungeons and Dragons. I think both activities will be consuming a good amount of today as soon as we're done grocery shopping (I know; I have my own list and everything. I'm such an adult!). He's really, really funny and witty, too with his geeky self. 

My first area is the Shoultes Ward in the Marysville Stake. Our apartment is at the intersection of 47th and 84th in Marysville, WA. I found out that because they're forming new missions in WA that are taking geography from the south part of Seattle, they're going to take some of the southern areas of the Everett mission and give it to the Seattle mission - all current missionaries included -  to make up the difference. Marysville will be staying in the Everett mission, and since the change takes place in July, there's a pretty good chance that I'll be staying in this mission. There will also be a change in mission presidents at that time.

Being only in my first week, I think I've already done just about everything shy of baptizing. I have already aided in giving a blessing, done crazy service in freezing rain, spoken in sacrament meeting, been forced to eat way more than I thought possible, and even invited someone to be baptized (he agreed, depending upon truthfulness). 

Which brings me to our most serious investigator at the moment, Farlan Dubarry (cool name, huh?). Seth would love this guy! He's 87 and is a WWII veteran. His grandmother gave him a Book of Mormon over sixty years ago, and he still has it in great condition! His mother was inactive so he never got baptized, but he has always felt like the Church was his heritage. His Catholic wife died in December, so now he's taking the opportunity to learn more. We taught him the first lesson last Thursday, and the Spirit was super strong. He agreed to continue reading the Book of Mormon, pray about it, and attend church. He stayed all three hours! I'm so excited! 

Funny story of the week:

We went to visit a member, Kathy, whose home had been attacked by an "acquaintance" of her son.

Check out the cool heart burned into the mattress!

We gave the aforementioned victim a blessing. The home smells profusely of cigarette smoke, and when we returned home, our suits, ties, socks, and backpacks and their contents all reeked of smoke. Even our underclothing had been affected! Elder Deakin proceeded to pull a Book of Mormon from his backpack to inspect it. Miraculously, it was odorless, to which he exclaimed, "The Book of Mormon is impervious to evil!" 

That kind of humor is the kind he constantly employs. Such a character.

Anyway, the members here are awesome. They all seem to work really closely with the missionaries in sharing the gospel. I haven't gone tracting yet! 

I'm having a lot of fun, but I feel like I could still work harder. There is always room for improvement.

Margo, I love you! Keep working hard to improve your musical skills and to earn good grades in school. It will be worth it. 

Seth, I love you dos! There are so many interesting people here that I think you could sit and talk to all day. Keep working hard to recover and to do well in school. Again, it will all be worth it on graduation day. I'm praying for you daily. Keep striving to develop a relationship with Heavenly Father and you will receive blessings. You will recognize His hand in your life on a daily basis.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

[3/11/2013] Leaving the MTC

My mission is...HERE!
Man, I´m so glad to hear that Seth is getting better. I have been praying for him earnestly. I have had this feeling all along like everything would be ok, and that this would be an opportunity for him to strengthen his testimony and develop a closer relationship with God. Just like you said about the blessing!

And that´s not exactly how Elder Valora´s story went. But that´s ok. He got the gist of it. By the way, Elder Valora is famous! Look up Mormon Messages called "The Mormon Mustang" and "Spiritual Vertigo".

Speaking of famous people, Elder Ries and Elder Christensen from The District both work here at the MTC and I see them regularly! It´s kinda cool.

I really love the weather here. It´s so nice! I have regular nosebleeds though. I have also noticed myself inheriting Ute speak every now and then. :o

Christian told me in a letter he would be surprising y'all. Teehee! That's so cool about the timing of it. Man, the Lord is awesome. I find myself learning new things every day and being converted by the Spirit every day.

We fly out tomorrow morning at 8:30, so I have to be up by 4. I'm so excited to get to the field! Last night, we ran into an elder who used to live in Everett, so he was telling us a little bit about what to expect.
I finally got my first letter from Leanne. What a day-maker! I say finally, because it feels like a month I've been here.

Dad, my blogspot was made with my gmail account, which is the same as my G+. I donno what's going on. Just do your best! I'll try to get some pictures sent home a little later.

Did my BYU mission deferment form get sent out?

Funny story of the week:

A group of new elders heading to DC arrived this week. One of them is a really skinny guy, named Elder Porter, from Idaho Falls, who seems to have a mild form of palsy in the right side. He's also really good at rapping freestyle! This morning, we were doing laundry, and he had a rap battle with another big, Hispanic elder from the Cypress area, and Elder Porter tore him up!  Being from the H-town and all, I helped supply the beat against the nearest dryer. Before long, everyone in the laundry room (about 30 people) were intently watching as this elder busted flows about the Nephites and Joseph Smith's First Vision and even tracting. So funny!

This week, I really strengthened my testimony of the Book of Mormon. Our district was having a testimony meeting and one of the sisters said something about exercising faith in Christ. So I opened to Alma 32, which I've read many times, and began again. Having had doubts about my testimony and its conviction (I know, Satan's doing)  I was so powerfully reassured that it was a process, and I would continue to grow as a follower of Christ and that I was right on track with Heavenly Father.

This is an amazing work, and I can't wait to get to the field! So awesome! I love you all thiiiiiis much!

-Elder Martin

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

[3/4/2013] P-Day at the MTC
Provo Temple nestled in the mountains of Utah

Yes, it's my P-Day. We went to the Provo Temple this morning. So awesome! So was the Salt Lake Temple!
My companion, Elder Hansen and I
Have y'all gotten my letter yet? You can just send any mail to me by addressing it to the Provo MTC (I don't know exactly the address, but you can Google it, I'm sure) and then to Elder Cole Martin, PO Box #40. You can do that my whole mission, and they'll forward it to me. So you can put that address on my blog and Facebook, too.

Elder McNeil (right) and I
Man, I've been here barely five days, and it seriously feels like two weeks! We do SO much every day. The Spirit is always strong, especially during devotionals and firesides. The Provo Temple president talked to us last night about why we receive endowments before embarking on missions. It's because that's where we literally take upon us His name, where as Sacrament, we only indicate that we are willing to do so. We watched a 2006 devotional  last night given by Elder Holland called "Missions are Forever". I have NEVER been more inspired to go to work for the Lord and to give it all I've got.

Elder Valora (right) and I
I have learned a lot already, especially about the scriptures. We're doing this cool exercise called "progressing investigator" where we meet with an "investigator" a few  times a week after having prepared lessons specifically for them. It's pretty cool, and super real, even though the brother who plays him is also our teacher!

My companion is pretty cool. The other elders in our room are also awesome. So dang funny! We have already had great times.

By the way, I was called to be our District Leader. It's a little more than I expected, but I'm getting along just fine!

I don't think I need anything as of yet. I seem to be getting along just fine with everything I packed. I might could use a hoody, though. Maybe I'll just buy a BYU one before I leave. We fly out to the mission field on March 12.
I met a sister today doing laundry who is headed to the Texas Houston Mission, which I think is where we live. I told her to look for the Martin family in the Katy Stake. I've already forgotten her name.

Funny story of the week:

As DL, I have to take aside the senior companions once per week and interview them to see how things are going in there companionship. I was doing so one evening with one elder from the room next to us, while the other elders in my room got ready for bed. I finished the interview, and went back to my room. The door was locked (it does so automatically when it closes). I knocked once. Twice. Three times. Peered under the door. Dark. So I went into the shower area, and saw my companion's towel hanging over the stall.
"Elder Hansen?"
"Who else is in here?"
"I donno."
"Is Elder Valora in here?"
"No, I'm not!"
"Yes, he is."
"Is Elder McNeil also in here?"
(Clearly, they are all present.)
"Do any of you elders have a key to the room?"
So I had to run to another building, grab a key from Elder Hansen's scriptures in our classroom, and run back while the rest of them stood in the hallway and waited in their towels.

I'm not feeling too homesick or anything. I have great friends here. I love you all!

-Elder Martin