Monday, September 29, 2014

[9/29/2014] Week 82: Miracles in the Street

Hey, howdy!

This week was full of miracles!

On Saturday night, Elder Foster and I planned to tract on Wetmore Avenue in North Everett. When it came time to do so, Elder Foster said, "I thought we had planned to go to East Marine View Drive because that's where we saw a ton of YSA's walking around." I thought on this, and we decided to go ahead and tract East Marine View; it felt right. Well, right when we parked our car and got out, we came to a group of four young single adults who were walking together. It was about 8:15pm, which, this time of year in Washington, means it was really dark. As though the six of us had rehearsed it, we said hello and they lined up in an arc for Elder Foster and I stand before them -- almost Dan Jones-style (PMG, pg 1, minus the soapbox) -- and teach them about the Restoration. We were filled with so much energy and fervor as we unfolded the wonderful news that God had called a prophet. Two of them, Damien and Tyrell, brothers, expressed electric interest and affirmed that they wanted to attend church the next day. Come Sunday morning, Elder Foster and I were skeptical -- I guess it seemed too good to be true --, but we called to follow up anyway, and they told us they were still on board. They came to church, were attentive and participatory the whole time, learned a ton in every class, and even expressed a desire to be baptized. It was incredible how the ward did such a great job fellowshipping and nurturing with the good word. They'll be coming to family home evening tonight and church next week.

The Church is fixing to roll out a new website here in Washington called "". I'm really excited to see how will affect the work here in the mission. In other missions, missionaries have reported five times more contact with nonmembers, which is a pretty attractive statistic! It'll also be exciting to have the opportunity to serve more people, since, normally, our offers to help take out the trash or whatever are usually

Elder Foster and I are really, really doing well. I would really love to serve with him for another transfer since we only got five weeks together. I think he's stressing a lot about whether he'll know the area well enough by the end of this transfer. We're really seeing a lot of great things together, and I think another six weeks would do a lot of good. But I understand that Heavenly Father may have more growth for me elsewhere.

Elder Martin
Silver Lake ward

Monday, September 22, 2014

[9/22/2014] Week 81: Door attack!

Well, I don't know what to tell y'all.

Seriously. I don't know what to say. All the weeks are the same. We just do the work. We get blessed. We repeat.

Occasionally, we go to meetings and give instruction.

I am very fortunate to have a companion that really understands the scriptures very well, so I am proud to say that I officially understand Jacob 5. Blew my mind.

Personal revelation is a lot of fun.

What's even more fun is when you and your companion receive revelation at the same time for the same cause.

This week, we called a young man, Alex, who, though he was baptized two years ago, hasn't been to church in about six months. He invited us to come right (I use the word "right" lightly, as it was about a 30-minute drive from our church building) over the next day, saying he had some questions for us about the Book of Mormon. We prepared to resolve anti-Mormon concerns that he may have heard attending the local Lutheran college here in Everett. In fact, he did have a concern that was anti-esque: he was concerned that we believe in a record of supposed ancient American inhabitants when there is little to no archaeological evidence of such a civilization. However, we asked some inspired questions to first get a feel for how and why he decided to join the Church in the first place. We learned that when he first met the bishop of the Silver Lake ward, he could sense the authority he had been given from God. He reasoned that this authority had to have been given to him from somewhere, and concluded that if the bishop has real authority, so must the living prophet, which meant that Joseph Smith must have been given the same authority in the early days of the Restoration. We taught straight out of Preach My Gospel, chapter 5 about how the Book of Mormon is the keystone of our religion. The prophetic calling of Joseph Smith is inseparably connected with the veracity of the Book of Mormon, and vice versa. We testified of this truth, and the Spirit of God filled our hearts. Alex responded, enlightened, "I had never thought of it that way. Makes sense. I'll be at church tomorrow." And he was!

Let us not take for granted the simple truths that are so clearly from God. Though we've heard them all our lives, there are others not of or not active in our faith who still seek the full light and truth of what Heavenly Father has to offer us through His restored gospel. Don't assume they don't want to hear it!

I love y'all!

Elder Martin

Door attack!
Some members came in the middle of the night and attacked our door. Kinda nice. Hahaha.
Elder Martin, the hipster

Monday, September 15, 2014

[9/15/2014] Week 80: Abdul

Hey, howdy!

This week was so awesome!!

Elder Foster and I are companions!
My new companion is Elder Foster from Rigby, Idaho. I don't remember if I have previously made mention of him, but he and I were actually in the same MTC district! We've never served anywhere near each other until now. But man, have we had a total blast this week! He is super funny, and super, super obedient and hard working. I love serving with this guy so much!

We found three new investigators this week, which has been the most in a while. I will just tell you about one, named Abdul.

After church yesterday, we had a lesson set up with James (another of our new investigators) for 4:30pm, but he wasn't there. So we tried some other potentials along West Casino Road, and we found none of them home. As we were driving up and down West Casino, I had the distinct impression to go and see Alhaji, a recent convert from Sierra Leone, who hadn't been at church that afternoon (the YSA ward doesn't start until 1:30pm). So we stopped by Alhaji's house, and Alhaji wasn't home! But! The door was answered by Abdul, Alhaji's nephew, who just moved here from Sierra Leone last week. He attended a church only occasionally there, and told us that if he were to attend a church here, it would be with Alhaji and and Alhaji's mother. We started to teach him the Restoration out of the pamphlet, and only made it a few minutes before he invited us in to sit down and share more. He described the feelings he's had when he has prayed in the past: Heavenly Father seems to be there with him, all around him. When we invited him to pray and ask if Joseph Smith was a prophet, he responded by saying, "I have always known that is true." We asked if he had attended our church in Africa or been baptized there, to which he responded that he hadn't. He said, "It is just how I am. There are things I know to be true and things that will never be true. I know that this is true." We invited him to be baptized, and he agreed! Abdul, 18, was studying sociology at a university in Africa because he has ideas and goals for improving the standard of living in his community. He looks forward to attending the local community college here.

I'll tell you what, when you work hard, are obedient, and exercise great faith, Heavenly Father gives you prepared people. I'm very grateful for the miracle Heavenly Father blessed us with yesterday.

I love y'all!

Elder Martin

Monday, September 8, 2014

[9/8/2014] Week 79: Emma is baptized!

Emma's Baptism
Well, shoot.

This was the end of my third transfer with Elder Haupu. We both learned and grew a lot, having finally figured out how to get along and stay along. Emma Torve was baptized last weekend, but I didn't have time to tell you about it. She's the investigator that Elder Haupu and I taught for about three months, and then handed to the sisters in the Silver Lake ward because Emma's mom thought she was only being baptized because she was infatuated with elders. But what her mom doesn't know is that Emma has read through about three-quarters of the Book of Mormon by now and has a brazen testimony of its truthfulness.
Emma Torve
That young lady faced a lot of trial and opposition from even the closest members of her family, but she knows what is right. Man, she is just like a pioneer from early Church history. Now, she's a ward missionary, and she even helped us teach an investigator, Mario, who lives across the street from her.

Speaking of, Mario has continued to make progress, and really, really tried to come to church yesterday, but his dad nixed that with a last-minute order to help install new stereos in the family car. It seems as though his parents are more opposed to Mario's decision to be baptized than they are letting on. After all, they raised him Catholic. He feels our message is true and he enjoys reading the Book of Mormon, but at this point, he doesn't recognize the need to do what is right in the face of opposition. He'd rather stay where he is comfortable.

We reached out to Bonnie again this week, and she finally responded, and she even came to church yesterday! However, she complained the whole time that it was boring, and blah, blah, blah. If she would agree to meet with us, she would learn more about the gospel, would understand what is being taught, and would learn to love church! But she's really busy getting ready for the new semester and whatnot.

We're teaching another young man named Aaron. Once the star quarterback of the local high school and on his way to greatness, his life has been ravaged by idleness and addiction. Every time we teach him, he asks about how he ought to go about being baptized, but as one might guess, he has an issue with commitment. We were able, however, to knock on his door at 1pm yesterday, get him dressed and walk with him to church for sacrament meeting at 1:30. Every one of the testimonies given seemed geared right at him, and he knew it. The Spirit testified to his heart that it was true. But it seemed too much for him. He walked back home after the first hour. I asked him how he felt about the meeting, and his response, "I feel dirty..." was telling as to the true role of the Holy Ghost in conversion. Brother Donaldson of the Missionary Department of the Church taught when he visited our mission that when people come to church for the first time, they ought to feel terrible. This is because they look around at all of these people who seem to be perfect and they feel the Holy Ghost prompting them that they need to change.

So we're working with a lot people who have immense potential to be changed and do a lot of good for others, but don't seem to have enough interest or commitment to progress. Right now, I'm just trying to pray for more charity for these people and for more faith in Jesus Christ.

Josh, a young man who is returning
to activity in the Church.
Well, we got transfer calls this morning, and Elder Haupu is leaving. After eighteen weeks, they're tearing us apart. And he's training too! So that'll be good. He's a great guy with an awesome testimony. He always knew just what to say in contacts when I got caught up. He's certainly a "Preach My Gospel" missionary, and I'm going to miss him.

Please pray for my new companion and I to have a great start to an awesome transfer!

That's heart-breaking to hear about Roland. I remember he was always the go-to guy for anything maintenance-related. That is an immense trial to endure, but I think he can do it. Elder Haupu trained a missionary from Utah named Elder Bahr who was born with clubbed feet. He had many, many corrective surgeries throughout his life, but missionary work is a lot of walking, so he faced a lot of pain and suffering. Eventually, he had his right foot removed, and he ended his mission after three months, but his story and testimony are very inspiring. That kid works hard with the right perspective. His name is Ryan Bahr; maybe he's on Facebook or Blogspot or something.


Tuesday, September 2, 2014

[9/1/2014] Week 78: Rush

Hey, I don't have any time today. The family history center wasn't open until just recently.

Know that I'm safe and well. I'm so excited to hear about how all of you are doing.

Go read 2nd Nephi 26, and think about how Nephi's visions of the First Coming of Christ and its antecedent events are applicable for our looking forward to the Second Coming.

I love you all!

Elder Cole Martin