Sunday, March 23, 2014

[12/16/2013] Week 41: The Car Fast

Hey, y'all!

This week was a little rough as far as teaching and general missionary work goes. But somehow it blew by anyway. Can you believe week four of the transfer is over already? I know, it just blows my mind too.

I'll do my best to share the core meat of my experiences from week to week.

One of the biggest things was probably zone meeting on Wednesday. I was pretty nervous about it, since it was the first one I've helped teach, but it went wonderfully. Elder Lovell had an awesome idea from Preach My Gospel, page 194 (first bullet under "District Meetings and Zone Conferences) where we invited investigators and less-active members and even a recent convert to come and be taught by the missionaries in the zone (Because, let's face it: role-playing teaching situations gets old after a while. At least, it's fun to switch things up.). We trained on using the scriptures to teach doctrine. It went really well. Except that one of our less-active members, Adell, with whom we have been working quite a bit, ran away. Like, she ran away from the church in Ferndale even though she lives in Blaine, which is twenty minutes North of where we were. And we spent a few hours looking for her after zone meeting because it was a cold and snowy day and we were worried about her. In her defense, she gets High Anxiety (TM) about driving on icy roads (I know, I stooped to Dad's level there) and she was already on edge about her kids' dad being in the hospital after a serious car accident and subsequent brain damage -- but that's another issue with which we have dealt since I got here. She truly is an awesome lady and is doing her very best to press forward. And she's making great progress. And don't worry, she turned up in Blaine just fine. But we still don't know how she got back...

We backed into a fence post the other day (Friday the 13th, can you believe it?). Damaging the mission vehicles is actually a big no-no. But at least we only cracked the bumper a bit. There were like four other companionships that really wrecked their cars this week. Including another set of zone leaders! So I don't feel as bad. But I don't have driving privileges for a month, since I was the one driving. My companion, Elder Lovell, will be doing all the driving. And on Thursday, President Bonham is implementing a "car fast". The whole mission is going to abstain from driving so we can learn to appreciate our cars a little more as tools to help us do the Lord's great work. Here's the funny thing: we have a meeting down in Ferndale on Thursday with President Bonham and President Pringle (Bellingham Stake president) as well as with the Bellingham zone leaders. The other zone leaders that wrecked their car were - you guessed it - the Bellingham zone leaders! Good one, President! :p Elder Lovell and I will be biking to Ferndale. It's gonna be intense.

The highlight of my week was probably Wednesday evening. The Lunas had us over for dinner as well as three (turned out to be two) nonmembers -- Pete, Brother Luna's father-in-law, a longtime family friend, JT, and JT's friend Jorje. JT was friends with the Lunas' son, Mitch, from a young age, but they had been out of touch for a while -- until they ran into each other at a convenience store. Brother Luna was prompted by the Holy Ghost to invite JT to dinner (as he knew we'd be over that evening anyway), so he did it. I tell you, it don't get much more prepared. JT has four kids whom he doesn't get to see often, as his wife hasn't ever been very nice, so they had to split. This guy feels guilty for buying a measly beanie, for that money "could have gone to [his] children". All he wants is to do the best he can for them. As of late, he has been praying for guidance and wisdom, and then he is presented with the Church. "If this is the Lord's way of giving me guidance," he says, "I'm gonna listen. I'm gonna take it and run with it." We taught an awesome first lesson at the dinner table, with intermittent help from the Lunas and even Jorje, who turned out to have been raised in the Church and long inactive, testified of the good spiritual experiences he had as a youth.The Spirit was absolutely present, and JT definitely wants to read and hear more. This, folks, is exactly how member missionary work is supposed to look. Too bad JT lives in Bellingham. So we'll have to hand him off, but it's another soul with the chance to hear the restored gospel!

On Saturday evening, we had dinner with the Poll family. Brother and Sister Poll stopped us on the street early this week and invited us to join them for dinner whenever possible, telling us they had just moved in. Well, we went over and boy, was it a party. Davie, 19, is super geeky (in a funny way) and eerily reminiscent of a Brandon I knew long ago... Andrew, 16, is jittery, highly respectful, and has a twin, Blake, in a juvenile correction center down in Seattle. These three have a different mom than the rest. Jamie and Wendy, 7 and 8, are Irish twins, and may as well be twins. Sarah, 5-almost-6, is full of energy and demands every second of your attention. Actually, they're all full of energy and, with the exception of Davie, demand your attention constantly. My head was spinning the whole time we were there. Brother Poll, a convert from New Zealand, fought in Somalia and actually saw one of the Black Hawks go down. The Poll family had missionaries over regularly in New York, and are not entirely active due to mental/emotional outbursts from Blake and Andrew in Sacrament meeting. In lieu of it all, I love this family already!

I was really happy to hear from Seth about his huge success in wrestling this week. Really happy. I'm telling you, the further you go down the Martin line of high school careers, the better it gets (Not intended to be a knock on Brandon). Margo will probably be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize by the time she graduates.

I was also extremely ecstatic to hear of Christian's decision to serve a mission. I think that is so awesome. I was telling him that I realized this week that it's not really about serving the Lord (though it is, in a roundabout sort of way). It's about serving Heavenly Father's children (for clarification, please see Mosiah 2:17). They need this gospel. They're not going to get it until we deliver it to them. They won't be able to accept it until we invite the Spirit into their lives and they decide to act for themselves to discover its truthfulness. It goes back to Lehi's dream, really (1 Nephi 8). We love this fruit. But we've already got access to it. The children of God need us to show them the path, invite them to take hold of the iron rod, and encourage them to press forward and partake of the fruit.

Anyway, I'm super happy.

I'm staying warm for the most part. But if you have any ideas for keeping my wimpy toes thawed, I'll take your suggestions in the suggestion box.

[] <--- (suggestion box)

For that fancy Christmas package you mentioned, I have but one request. I think. Could you send me another C.R. Gibson journal? I'm kind of neurotic in that I want all of my mission to be recorded on the same journal. I just happened to receive one at the hand of one of my old zone leaders, so I'm good for about another month. But I could use another. A brown one, please. I know you got it at WalMart, but if you don't find it there, you can look for it on The UPC sticker on the back reads "MJ80-9328". And underneath, it just reads "Journal". Sorry I'm picky.

I love y'all!

Elder Martin

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