Monday, September 23, 2013

[9/23/2013] Week 28: I've Heard That Somewhere Before...

Dear y'all,

I must say that this week was much improved from last. We got to teach quite a bit, and even found a new investigator!

On Tuesday, we found out that there would be no district meeting outline for this week. So I decided that I really wanted to seek inspiration and determine what the Lord had in mind for our district. I really felt the Spirit as I sought revelation and followed His subtle promptings. Based on that, I decided our high-strung district needed an opportunity to unwind and look at the positives of being a missionary. So we went through "Hearing the Voice of the Lord in the Doctrine and Covenants" in this month's Ensign, and discussed thoughts and feelings about missionary life related to each of the subsections of the article. Then, we all told our favorite mission experiences and related them to those thoughts. I tell you, the Spirit ended up being so strong during that district meeting. I really felt the district grow together and bond as we each opened up and rejoiced in the Work of the Lord. Then we had root beer floats afterward!

Tia and Baby Bunnies
Tuesday night, we had Tiffany and her daughter Tia (both investigators) over to the Nolls' house (Ward Mission Leader) for the first half of the plan of salvation and dinner. It went really well, especially since Sister Noll has plenty of experience teaching children Tia's age. We have another appointment set for tomorrow night.

On Thursday, I attended a leadership meeting, and, though somewhat bussiness-y, it was just what I needed. I don't really even know why. I just felt such a witness of the Spirit that this really is His work, and that He needs us, especially as leaders, to give Him our all. Afterwards, I felt sort of guilty for moping at the end of last week. I received an especially strong witness during the closing hymn, "Brightly Beams Our Father's Mercy", that we are spiritual lifeguards sent to rescue those who are desperately seeking our help. All I wanna do is go find 'em and help 'em!

Directly after Thursday's meeting, we stopped at Giovanni's house and found him outside working on his truck with his neighbor, Johnathan. One thing led to another, and before we knew it, we were sitting in Giovanni's living room teaching Johnathan about the Book of Mormon. We set up another lesson for the next day, during which we taught him the Restoration, and we now have another appointment this coming Friday.

On Friday, I conducted exchanges with Elder Larson, of Thomas Lake, and we had a great time. He came to Seattle Hill, because we had three teaching appointments set up for Friday, and I figured he needed the teaching experience. We definitely had a blast, and he definitely needed it. I sense that he is struggling with self-esteem or something and, of course I want to help him understand he's a great missionary, but I don't know how to go about that appropriately.

Elder O'Rullian and I have spent a lot of time and energy with Brother Noll, who was recently called as our Ward Mission Leader, in helping him get acquainted with all that his new calling entails. We've been focusing on how to kick-start the ward mission and revolutionize the face of missionary work in the Seattle Hill Ward, starting with the members. We definitely need to figure out how to train them in sharing the gospel naturally and comfortably as well as determine the best way to interact and coordinate with the ward council. It's really been exhilarating to take this new approach and make progress in getting things set up for the Lord to do His stuff!

We got to see John, the wealthy man I mentioned in my letter a few weeks ago, that I met on exchanges with Elder Black. He is still super awesome, in case you were worried about that. We have an appointment set up for this coming Friday afternoon. But one thing he said really struck me. He asked us what charity events we knew about in the area that revolve around helping families at Christmas and Thanksgiving. His words were, "I feel like that's my calling in life -- to help people." Now that sounds to me a lot like a particular chapter out of "The Power of Everyday Missionaries"! Do you have any ideas that are connected with the Church/gospel? Our bishop suggested contributing to the Humanitarian Aid fund, but I think John was looking for something a little more involved in the local community.

Though we had a few people commit to attending church yesterday, none of them made it. But it still ended up being a good Sunday! I felt prompted to knock on a particular door as we were driving down the street, so we did, and a man named Chris answered the door. In his 70s or so, he is an avid Christian and Bible student. But I don't think he's part of any particular congregation. Anyway, we talked for a long time on his porch about the Book of Mormon, the Great Apostasy, and the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ through the Prophet Joseph Smith. For a while, he was set on the Bible and the idea that there are many prophets called of God. Interestingly enough, he professed a lot of the doctrines unique to the Mormon church (such as our views on infant baptism, the Spirit World, and the Second Coming). but he couldn't quite remember where he had read them. Eventually, he decided there was "no harm in reading the Book of Mormon and praying." We'll check back with him shortly!

I can't believe Taylor already got his mission call! That's so crazy! Anyone else up 'n coming? Say, Steve Cline? Keep me posted!

I think that's about it for my week. Definitely a good one! I hope y'all's was superb as well!

I love y'all!

Elder Martin

The pictures attached are of Tia (investigator) and me holding her brand new baby bunnies!

The other is a super sweet model T or something or other driving through our area.

Sweet T!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

[9/16/2013] Week 27: Rough Week

You know, it's been kind of a rough week. Everything we had set up fell through. It's hard to have been in an area for nine weeks now and not have anything happening yet. I mean, there's a little bit here and there, and I've had some really awesome experiences. It's like I have these cool experiences of following the Spirit or teaching boldly that really brighten my outlook and help get me through the week, but nothing is really happening as far as real growth. We set things up and they fall through. So we do our best to make up for it, but people are just not home or don't answer their phones or whatever. And the days keep marching by. There's only so much you can do, I guess. Nobody seems to have a real desire to learn and progress. I can remember President Wilson testifying so surely that there are ten progressing investigators in every area of the mission. Of course, the question is: How do you find them? I can't seem to figure it out. Maybe we just need to revamp our efforts entirely. But what direction do I take? How can I be sure to do it right? Like I said, I get to have these super cool experiences every now and then, but it seems like they never amount to anything long-lasting. I'm usually more positive, but this transfer is winding down, and I don't want to end another six weeks feeling like I haven't had an impact on the area. I guess I'm feeling a bit of urgency to get things done, but I can't seem to make it happen. Obviously, others' agency is out of my control.

Don't get me wrong, this week had its ups, too.

For one, Elder O'Rullian and I still get along really great. We have a similar sense of humor, so that's helped brighten things a lot.

One of the more interesting experiences happened on exchanges with Elder Gasser (it's always on exchanges!). We went to visit a less-active in a neighborhood that I'm not as familiar with, and when we didn't find them home, we decided to explore around a bit. We embarked on our adventure and shortly came to a cul-de-sac. I asked Elder Gasser, "Alright, which door are we gonna knock?" He pointed to one on the right, and my response was, "Really, because I was going to say the one on the left." He replied, "We'll knock 'em both and see who's more inspired!" So we tried his first, and were met with three teen-aged young men of Arab descent. Though home alone, they invited us right in and we got to talking about Islam, Mormonism, and the similarities therein. Periodically, the middle brother's cell phone would ring, he would take it in the other room, and then he would return. As we were bringing our lesson to a close, the home phone rang, the middle brother answered it, and then handed the phone to me. "It's my dad," he said. Ah, stink. "Hello?" I said. "Who is this? Who is in my house?" he inquired. I told him our names and stated that we were missionaries of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. "I don't know who you are, but you are strangers in my house with my kids. You need to get out now, please. I will be home in five minutes. Please get out now and wait for me outside." Elder Gasser and I complied immediately. When their father arrived home, he had his children go inside. He was very respectful in explaining to us his thought process and his will concerning his children. We discovered that he had come very close to calling the police and having law enforcement officials greet us outside. But he decided against it and drove home as quickly as he could. It was clear we had given him a good scare. And he had every right to react the way he did. Anyway, he asked us not to return because he needs to teach them a lesson about allowing strangers into the house. Otherwise, he said, they are allowed to attend whatever religious group they please as it is their own lives. For the record, the oldest, though seventeen, looked to be in his mid-twenties. And we were sure to ask before entering if their house rules permitted our entry.

We never knocked the other door.
My twin Christian and friend with freshly killed chickens

Most of the rest of the week was comprised of fallen through appointments and marginally successful street-contacting. We did well at cleaning out some potentials who finally admitted they weren't really interested. We did have a good visit with the Robinson's and made progress there. We talked a lot about the Sacrament and showed the video on where Elder Uchtdorf compares us as members of the Church to the guy on a cruise, and he makes the point that we're sometimes living below our means. Anyway, we kind of got to the core of their concerns with the Sacrament, and we'll just suffice it to say that they are definitely working on it. They definitely have the Sacrament in mind and are working towards taking it, but they don't want to talk to the bishop about their concerns, as "it's none of his business." Hm.

I really do want to see more success as a missionary. I mean, I know the success lies in the invitation, or rather, my commitment to find, teach, and baptize. But it's hard to feel successful when you don't see that commitment come to fruition the way you'd like.

I don't want this to sound like a big whining session. But I guess it already does. I'm just letting you know how it's going for me. But what advice do you have? I just want to feel like I'm being an effective missionary. I must say, missionary work is a lot more fun when you're finding, teaching, and baptizing.

I really like to hear that about Walker. I'm really glad y'all are being there for him and for the Elders as solid member fellowship. That's really helpful. We need a lot of member help these days, and I'm glad to hear that my family on the other end is at the head of it, especially with two RM's on board. It's easy to understand why the Elders are excited to get him on date, but I agree that we need not kid ourselves when it comes to being prepared for baptism. His conversion will mean a lot more and will in turn serve as a motivator for him to stay strong in coming years if we let him take the time now to make it a true conversion.

Dad, I think we take our family for granted. Having been away from home for six months and having worked with far more dysfunctional families than ours, I have a greater appreciation for the Martin family clan, and feel I will be extra motivated to contribute more when I'm home. That's probably at least one good reason the mission experience is so valuable. Thanks for sharing your insight from church. It's important to remember that I am merely the vessel for the truth and light God wants for all his children. I am only the tool He uses to sift out the prepared from the unprepared. Thus, I need to be as well-oiled and functional as possible!

About the music, I actually found out that according to President Bonham, we're allowed to listen to Christian rock, "as long as it doesn't teach false doctrine." Haha, I love that guy. He's so awesome. But I am definitely looking forward to classical music. I love Dvorak, and I love horn concertos. It would be most beneficial, actually, if you could send the CD's because I can listen to them in the car as we travel. That is, if you're not going to miss them. I have PLENTY of Mo-Tab. And as far as Christian rock, there's the one album I've been wanting, called "Hymn". It's by a Christian band, whose name I cannot recall, but they do a bunch of covers of traditional hymns and the album is free (or was). Anyway, ask Josh Willis. He'll know what I'm talking about because he's the one that told me about it! And if there's any other inspirational Christian rock that you like, feel free to throw it in there. "Hello Hurricane" and album by Switchfoot is another one I seem to remember being pretty Christian-themed. And also really good.

Essentially, just do whatever you can, and I will be very grateful for whatever I get. Thanks so much!

I am definitely praying for little Liam.

Thanks for all y'all's prayers. I need 'em!

I love you all!

Elder Martin

Liam, Cancer Warrior (ATRT)

[9/9/2013] Week 26: Six Months!

You know what's awesome? Old people. It dawned on me this week during a discussion with Brother Robinson that he is a valuable resource. Here's a guy whos' spent eighty-three years on this earth. That's a lot of life and experience under his belt. While I've only got nineteen, I can draw on his life story to sort of get the gist of what I can expect in the coming years. He's done it already! What's ahead doesn't have to be a daunting, dark abyss for me; I've got people who have already lived it all! It's like a secret weapon; a cheat code to knowing what's in store!

On Tuesday, we went out and set up three different teaching appointments for Wednesday. On Wednesday, every one of them fell through. That's the life of a missionary! Know why I'm not upset about it? Because instead of moping, we hit it hard and contacted other people on the streets and in the area book and found some pretty solid potential investigators.

I don't know if y'all know this, but contacting people is sometimes really discouraging. People tell you how wrong you are and how they've already been saved and how faith isn't a feeling, it's fact and blah, blah, blah. Sometimes it's really hard to keep going. You feel like no one will listen, no one will change, no one will accept you. But you know what? You don't have to do it alone. That's one thing I've really been learning over the past month or so. You can ask Heavenly Father to give you courage and strength and confidence and, above all, faith. He'll give 'em to you. And when you use 'em, he blesses you even more. With people to teach!

So on Friday, we taught Josh and Justin Copenhaver again. They're the 8-year-old twins who struggle with learning and retaining information. The lesson started off really, really rocky. It was really hard to keep them attentive and engaged. I seriously stopped in the middle of the lesson and didn't say anything for several seconds so I could listen to the Spirit. At that moment, I noticed a spiral notebook in the center of the table around which we were gathered. I whipped out my pen, and began to explain the Godhead and prayer by drawing it all out in caricatures on an empty sheet of paper. Immediately, their eyes brightened and they were reciting all the fundamentals of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost right back at us. It was awesome!

Also, we learned on Tuesday that Tami, our most solid investigator, has decided to rejoin the Catholic faith. It was kind of a heart-breaker, but I know she felt the Spirit and she knows the Book of Mormon is true. My hope is that she'll come back around one day. Maybe even one day this transfer... ;)

I noticed on Saturday that it has been a year since I started work at G&A with President Allen. Man, time is a crazy thing.

On Saturday, I conducted exchanges with Thomas Lake and spend the day in my area with Elder Black, who just got here a few weeks ago. That kid is a goof. He writes super hilarious songs about missionary life and sets them to well-known tunes. One of them was titled "I Can't Wait to be AP" set to the familiar Lion King tune, "I Can't Wait to Be King". On Saturday afternoon, we rushed around trying to invite as many people as possible to Cottage Meeting on Sunday night. We went to invite Brother Lothyan, a less-active member, but he wasn't home. A few doors down from Brother Lothyan, we spotted a guy shooting hoops out front of his house. Keep in mind, this is a super wealthy neighborhood. More times than not, wealthy people don't like to talk to you. So it took a little bit of faith-mustering to go over and talk to him when I felt like we had better things to do. But I did anyway, and it was worth it! We introduced ourselves to John, who is 32, has a serious heart condition, grew up in poor and destitute circumstances, makes great money now, barely finished high school and never finished college, but does mortgaging for Wells Fargo, and lost both his parents by the age of 21, but has a great family of his own now. He is really blessed in a lot of ways. He's really grateful for his material possessions, but he knows only his family will make him truly happy. He had had an especially rough week,  and he noted it was no coincidence we decided to come and talk to him. He confessed Christ when he was 13 and has since been an avid disciple. We taught him about how our missionary service works and he admired our early-founded faith. We testified of principles taught in 1 Nephi 3:7, Alma 32, and Mosiah 4, left him with a Book of Mormon and a commission to read and pray, and he said we could come back next Saturday! Just goes to show that you cannot predict and you should not judge. We are all children of God!

This weekend was Stake Conference. On Sunday morning we enjoyed a broadcast from Salt Lake to the states of Washington and Alaska. Included in the speakers were Elders Hales and Perry. The latter's brother lives in our stake somewhere.

Yesterday, after church, Elder O'Rullian and I had the privilege to perform baby blessings for a less-active family we're teaching. That was awesome. It was truly a tender experience to hold the body of one newly departed from the gates of heaven, to present her before her Father in Heaven, and to exercise the Melchizedek priesthood in naming and blessing her.

Last night, we attended Cottage Meeting and helped to set up and take down chairs and whatnot. As such, we arrived home pretty late last night. Everyone else in our complex had already gotten home for the evening and there was not a single place to park, with the exception of three-quarters of a spot next to an overreaching SUV and a nook next to a dumpster in the very back which wasn't technically [or legally] a parking spot. We counseled together and decided on the latter option, for fear of fresh scrapes and dings after the owner of the SUV left for work in the morning. We decided we'd get up and out the door right at 6:30 to move the car to a more suitable, more legal spot. Well, we did just that, and as we descended the stairs to the parking lot this morning, we were faced with a tow truck just pulling into the complex. Someone had called us in. The big green shark slowly made its way over each speed bump and proceeded in the direction of the dumpster next to which we parked. I freaked. Elder O'Rullian freaked. We were going to lose our car and President was going to kill us. I started to jog back towards the car to see if I could meet the tow guy there and talk him out of taking what wasn't even ours. My alarm grew and grew simultaneously with the pace at which I ran. I busted into a full-out sprint, surpassed the lurking tow truck, hopped in the car, started it, whipped out of the nook, and drove slowly past the tow truck, waving sheepishly at the tow guy. He waved back, looking slightly perturbed. Whew. We were safe. As we rounded the parking lot looking for another spot, we found the tow truck parked next to another car with its hood up and connected to it by a couple of jumper cables. It was a false alarm. We freaked out for nothing! Great way to start a p-day.

I love y'all!

Elder Martin

[9/2/2013] Week 25: Casey and Cody and Christian

They say that the first week of the transfer always goes slow, but this week was a flash!

Me & Elder O'Rullian
Elder O'Rullian and I get along really well. I am really grateful for the opportunity to work with him. There is a lot that he's teaching me that he learned from working in his last area. He's also a pretty big goofball, so we do well! He has alopecia ariata, but he is super positive about it. I must admit, I wasn't as charitable in my heart as I should have been when I first saw him, but now we're best buds, and I hardly notice! He's a crazy hard worker, and has a great outlook on missionary work.

This week wasn't super successful as far as numbers go. We're doing a lot of Area Book cleaning, trying to contact potentials and formers. I'll relate a few of the highlight experiences from the week:

While planning for Tuesday evening, the Spirit told me to visit a less-active part-member-family called the Copenhavers. I was hesitant because they're never awake, not home, etc. and I've never even spoken with anyone besides the young children. But I complied with the prompting and acted on it, and we caught Sister Copenhaver home and awake, were let in, shared a message, and set up a return appointment to begin teaching her twin sons, Joshua and Justin, who are unbaptized children of record. When we returned on Friday, they were again all home, we taught a simplified and visual lesson on the Restoration, using a Rubik's cube, and set up another return appointment. Sister Copenhaver knows she should be attending church, and wants to return; she just needed a couple of missionaries to nudge her forward!

Last night, as Elder O'Rullian and I sat down to begin our daily planning session, I realized I had left my planner out in the car. As we descended the stairs to the parking lot, we encountered two young men by the names of Cody, 15, and Casey, 19. Cody had a skateboard and I mentioned that I used to skate. We talked shortly about that, but it was quickly evident that Casey was not only heavily intoxicated, but in extreme emotional agony. Partially communicating with Casey through Cody, we discovered that he was struggling with molestation, addiction, intense guilt, lack of self worth, and a myriad of other dispiriting trials. We taught and testified fervently and with a level of serenity the gospel of Jesus Christ. We ensured him that he can become a person he is proud of by abiding by the teachings of Jesus Christ. By applying the principles of faith, repentance, baptism, and confirmation, he could overcome all that he was currently facing. He expressed that all he wanted was freedom from his addiction and guilt, to lead a normal life, to find a wife and have kids. We said a prayer with Casey and Cody and taught Cody a one-minute lesson on the Restoration. They both agreed to meet with missionaries, and we've sent the referrals on their way.

This is the email I just sent to Christian:

"So when I received the news of your decision not to serve a mission, I was way thrown off. It was surreal at first. We Martin Brothers Four were always going to serve missions. I was really looking forward to having you in the field at the same time as me and being able to swap mission stories in the future. So when I received the news of your decision not to serve a mission, I knew immediately that you were going to need my support in this. The news I received was that you had prayerfully decided not to serve a mission. If that was the case, I needed to know that this really was His will for you. So I did a lot of praying. A lot. And I fasted for you on Sunday. And this is what came to me during sacrament meeting: the whole purpose of serving a mission is to invite others to come unto Christ. And that is totally doable without a black nametag. Granted, you won't have the same awesome spiritual experiences, but often people are more willing to talk with regular Joe's about religion than with shirts and ties. If you really commit yourself to living the gospel and sharing it with everyone, I don't see any difference. In fact, I'd be interested to see what kind of success you can have in that route. But I mean, you've really got to make it part of who you are.

I say, if you make this decision, the best way to keep yourself from having to regret it in the future is to be a missionary anyway. Just do it without the nametag. 

I love you, dude. Stay classy.


I know it may not be what you expected, but it's what I felt as a result of lots of prayer and fasting.

I'm very happy to hear how things are going at home. It's cool that Brandon's assimilating back into normal life and that y'all have had an opportunity to celebrate his homecoming with family!

Pops, I was wondering: did you ever send that classical music? It'd be much appreciated, especially now that I'm in a car area. I also found out we're allowed to listen to Christian rock "as long as it doesn't teach false doctrine", says President Bonham. What a jokester, that guy. So whatever you've got, please send it. I love me some horn concertos.

Oh! I forgot to mention! We played golf last p-day. Like nine real holes at a real golf course. It was awesome! I think I'm gonna get into when I get home. So I can get good. And shmooze with rich people. Just kidding.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

[08/26/2013] Week 24: District Leading and Motivating

In my email last week, I mentioned that I was determined to make it a good week, both in my relations with Elder Julius, and as far as working hard in general. I am happy to report that in both respects, it was a great week!

We found two new investigators in Mateo, an unbaptized child of record, the son of a less active who is returning to activity with fire, and in Noah, a seventeen-year-old who wants to learn more about all faiths. We have had contact with a number of other potential investigators and have committed them to read the Book of Mormon.

Stroller Cat
I'm not sure how, but I've received a greater desire and motivation to do the work over this past week. I think it had something to do with trying to see people as sons and daughters of God who need a knowledge of His plan for them, but I was also praying really hard to have an increase in zeal. Maybe it's kind of like praying for charity (Moroni 7:48). All I know is that it worked. As I've had a motivation to go out and work hard, I find more satisfaction in the day I put in, and so I seek that satisfaction the next day. I guess that's kind of selfish-sounding. But I like to know at the end of the day that I was an honorable servant of the Lord.

One of my favorite aspects of being a missionary is learning to follow the promptings of the Spirit. On Saturday, Elder Wells and I went to visit a less-active, Brother Lothyan, that we hadn't seen in several weeks. We actually caught him home, but he was very sick. So we went to visit an active member around the corner who just had surgery. We parked in front of his house, got out, and before taking three steps away from the car, I stopped. I received a clear prompting that we needed to visit one of our new investigators, Sister Sowell, in another neighborhood down the street. I stood considering this prompting for about ten seconds, and then I told Elder Wells, "Nope. We're not going to see Brother Quayle. We're going somewhere else." So we hopped back in, drove to Sister Sowell's house, and caught her on the porch. We shared with her a short message about the cleansing and uplifting power of the Atonement and repentance. We discovered that it was the anniversary of her marriage to her late husband, and she was getting ready to go to dinner with her children to celebrate his memory. We had planned on seeing Sister Sowell after visiting a few others first, but had we done so, we would have missed her. Because of the promptings of the Holy Ghost, we were able to provide her with a spiritual boost on what must have been a disheartening day.

Sometimes, the best things happen at 8:40pm, right before heading in. This week, we decided to knock on the door of a less active lady named Heidi Bennett. We had tried her home several times before and only caught her dad or her daughter home. But when we knocked late at night, Sister Bennett answered. In an instant, she was pouring out her whole story and all her emotions about the past year and the struggles her family has faced. Her son is struggling with addiction, her daughter seems to be stalwart, and her ex-husband now has custody of both. She doesn't get along well with her father and works on Sundays because she needs the money. She concluded by asking us to put the names of her and her children on the prayer roll at the Temple and to include them in our personal prayers.

Another night, around 8:40pm, we street contacted a guy named Matt who was pushing his cat named Zahnn around in a stroller. Zahnn had done ten miles that day. Apparently, this is a common thing in the Seattle area. Matt has a friend he met through World of Warcraft who is a Mormon.

That was cool too.

Sunroof Deer Head
The other attached picture is of a stuffed deer head hanging in a guy's sunroof. Apparently, that's a fad here too.

Elder Larson continues to struggle with his area. He expressed to me last night that he has this attitude of "enduring" until he gets called somewhere else. He knows that isn't the right idea. Having also come from an area where got to teach more, I know how he feels. I'm trying to help him work through it in the same way I have. I told him the piece of advice President Bonham gave me about seeing others as Heavenly Father does, and I think that helped. He also committed to think more about the Savior and His atoning sacrifice during the in-between time (riding bikes, door-to-door, making lunch, etc.) of missionary work.

I had a lot of opportunity to work with Elder Wells this week, as Elder Larson was sick with a nasty head cold for a few days. So we exchanged--Elder Julius' knee was out of commission, too--and Elder Wells and I spent Friday and Saturday covering both areas (good thing we've been careful with our miles all month!). We got to do a good amount of teaching in my area, (including Noah, whom Elders Wells and Larson originally found) which was really good for Elder Wells. He expressed both days that "it's days like those that make it easy to be a missionary." I think it was a much-needed morale boost for a young missionary in a tough area.

Well, Brandon is home now. I'm glad he was welcomed warmly. It's weird being the only Elder Martin in the field. Maybe I'll get to receive all his strength and awesomeness now!

I can't believe he has an iPad. The guy that comes back from Ghana is the first one in the Martin family to purchase a tablet! Sheez.

That French kid [Audren, a young man from Marseille who was vacationing in the US] looks like he and Seth could be good buddies. With the Hollister shirt and the shorty white shorts. Match made in heaven right there.

Transfer calls should come any minute now. This transfer, I learned: how to be bold, how to be a district leader, how to do missionary work in a car area, how to better follow the Spirit, how to bite my tongue to diffuse senseless contentious debates, and how to do handstands. I also learned that the arrow on the dash next to the little gas pump indicates what side your gas cap is on and that you can stick a key fob under your chin - key pointing up - to make the signal travel farther.

Just got transfer calls. Elder Julius is leaving, as are Elder Wells and Sister Jones. The whole district may be found at transfers tomorrow. Which means I can hopefully run into Sister Van Leuven at the mission office. Yay!

Did the elder from London happen to be an Elder Taylor Torbit?

Thanks for the advice, Dad. I will see how that works out. Also, any advice Brandon has to offer is much appreciated!


Elder Martin