My name is Diana Martin and I am a not so secret agent for the Lord in beautiful Maceio, Brazil. I am serving as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for 18 months.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Christ is my Savior

November 11

Dear Family,

The first days of this week were amazing. We were able to get so much accomplished. One day (I think it was Wednesday) we had a moment when everything fell through after a half hour of getting out and working. And times like that it is so easy to let that get me down and not excited about working or about sharing the gospel. It is easy to question. But in that moment I had a thought that really hit home for some reason more than ever before. Christ IS my Savior. No matter what hardship happens in the world or this work or to me or to the world. Christ was, is, and always will be our Savior. His sacrifice covers absolutely everything. Every sin and sadness and guilt that we can ever have. He makes the difference in all of our lives. And I was blessed with this incredible happiness after that thought. Christ is the Savior! Who could not be happy knowing that? I couldn´t stop smiling and I just wanted to never stop working. Everyone needs to know about this marvelous truth! In that moment I loved where I was even if where I was was in the street and not inside teaching those that we had planned for. What a simple thought led to so much happiness. 

And we were blessed accordingly. When everything falls through we get to batendo portas. (knock on doors) And usually we spend some time doing that. But this week we would knock on a door, be invited in, and teach right away. It was amazing. We ended up finding  one woman who has member friends, who is feeling lonely, is looking for a church, and was so open to hearing our message. In the end she accepted baptism! What is even more amazing is that Sunday she actually came to church! and brought her son! A real miracle! (especially since we hadn't talked to her since the first lesson and we couldn't go and walk with her to church - I will explain why in a little bit). Imagine what would have happened if we let walking in the hot sun with out definite opportunities to teach get us down. When we remain happy and excited and ready to work we are truly blessed! In the mission field, in life, wherever, we are blessed by Christ. 

Well, Friday Sister Barratt woke up with a high fever, nausea, and feeling like someone had broken her leg. After a day of nothing changing or improving we got ourselves to the hospital on Saturday. Sister Barratt got an infection in her foot through calluses that she got from her shoes. We were told that she couldn´t walk for three days. Well now she is a lot better but it was the strangest thing to spend so much time inside and it is so good that is much improved but it was hard (I think more for her) to not be able to contact our pesquisadores (investigators). Hence the miracle of our investigator going to church!

I love you all and hope you have an amazing week!
Love 
Sister Martin

Craziness

November 4

Dear wonderful and loving Family,
This computer is a little less than working so I have to write fast before it shuts down again.
This week was crazy with transfers (I am now the oldest in the house mission wise by four months. I feel old. Age wise so one year). We have a new sister from Peru. We also had a lot of rain, celebrating Halloween (snickers and m&ms were the only American candy we could find), and working hard despite the fact that Sister Barratt got sick. We had record number of lessons and batismal marcadas with week but the hard part is keeping people interested. People here are very open. For instance, we knocked at one house, she let us in, we talked and taught and she was so nice and gave us these hand made crafts (see photo) but that was it. The openness of the people here never ceases to amaze me. They are so kind and so willing to let people into their house that I can´t really get angry or frustrated if they don´t want to change or learn more. Especially in the rain. People go out of their way to help other people when the streets are filled with rushing water. It is inspiring to watch.
But miracles do happen. Prayers and fasting do work. This week Tiago was our miracle. He had already gone to church a couple of times with a menos (less) active member and when we tried to teach him in the past at the house of the MA it never worked out. This week he went to church alone and we decided to try again and this time to talk with him in his house. After church he was talking to the Bishop and mentioned that he wants to be baptized. Miracle 1. He told us where he lives in relation to the MA and I thought I knew where he lives. Later we were walking to find another person two hours before when we marked with Tiago. He came out of a house and said this is where he lived. A good 10 minutes away from where I thought he lived Miracle 2. We were able to return to his house and talk with him and his mom, who likes us and is happy for her son even if she is catholic and he wants to be baptized in another church. Miracle 3.
I love you all and I love hearing from you and I am so happy that all are healthy and well.
Com carinho e amor,
Sister Martin

Photos of fun times and food

November 4

Sister Barratt and Sister Martin

Pajama party
Goodies

Halloween candy

Put your shoulder to the wheel


October 28

Dear wonderful family,

This month in our ward we have the theme hymn of Nossa lei é trabalhar or in other words Put your shoulder to the wheel. It is actually very different in Portuguese but the message is the same that we need to work hard and give it our all. I like this.

This week started a little rough because I was a little bit sick but now I am all good. I was able to get a blessing after our district meeting Tuesday that helped a lot. It was only a bit strange that it was two Elders that gave it to me and not dad. I´m pretty sure that was the first that I received not from dad. Oh by the way:  HAPPY BIRTHDAY DAD! 


For all the sickness, this week was very interesting. It was full of promising investigators and disappointments. I still can´t really understand when people want the gospel. They want to follow Christ. They want eternal families. They feel the spirit, yet they don't want to act. Or they deliberately turn away. It is hard because you want people to have all the happiness possible but you can´t make people act. We can only invite. We invite with love because we know that joy and peace that the gospel can bring to peoples' lives. 

Then there is the complete joy when you invite some one to change. To come unto Christ. And they accept. And they begin to pray and feel of the Holy Ghost and they feel good. 

We had a week full of these two types of experiences. Great joy and sadness when someone turns away but what is important is that we try. With that effort that we put in, we can stil find joy and comfort internally through Christ. When we give it our all in what ever situation in life we will gain more satistfaction and personal peace.

I love you all and I hope things are going well!
Sister Martin

Members and Missionaries


October 21

Dear family,

I hope now you are all in good health. Thank you all for sending photos de email. It was so cool to see the family all together even in a photo and oushi que estranha mas otimo! (~I tried google translate for this phrase and it didn't make sense~Kimi)

This week as been good. We found out last Sunday that this Sunday (well yesterday) we were going to have a devotional planned and run by us missionaries about members and missionary work. It went well but it is always a little hard because right now that is all that is talked about. Members working with the missionaries and how important their role is in this work. Because the number of missionaries is growing rapidly we need more work to do. That is provided by the members. We talked about how important they are and we did practices with them. It was cool and I hope they liked it. 

We also had splits this week with the sister training leaders. It is always good to spend a day in another area with a new companion. Always gives us perspective on what I need to do better. It is just hard because of traffic and and getting there in the other area

Sorry for the shortness of this email but I am running out of time! (I looked at pictures too long) 

I love you all!
Sister Martin




My family from the mission

Oh My Lanta!

Dear family,

Sorry about the email mix up last week. The meeting was changed to Tuesday because it was hard for the sisters in Sergipe to get here in time. So the meeting with Sister Gonzaga was amazing. We got there a bit late (got to love the bus and traffic) but awe showed up to an amazing breakfast with all the sisters there already. I loved getting to see Sister Moraes and Sister Barra. It made me happy and the good food helped as well. After eating we received special training from the Sister training leaders from Sergipe and from Alagoas, and Sister and Presidente Gonzaga. It was great but it was a little hard because Sister Gonzaga talked a lot about families and marriage and just about every sister cried (Americans are a little more cold hearted so only some of the Americans cried). Then we got to eat subway and ice cream and then we scrapbooked which doesn´t have a translation but still is scrapbook in Portuguese. then we did a group exercise thing. a gift exchange (something we made with our own hands. some of the sisters were super creative) and a short testimony meeting. It really was an amazing meeting. The only things sad about this day was all the time on the bus (it is a good thing I am not claustrophobic) and that we didnt really get to work. I learned a lot and got a photo with my entire mission family so I was very happy. 

Other than this special meeting with Sister Gonzaga and interviews with presidente, my week was normal. Well except for the fact that it rained a lot Friday. As it is now summer here, rain is almost unheard of. My area is also all llama (unfortunately not the animal. llama=mud) so getting from place to place was kind of like getting through a maze. It was fun but for the first time I was actually truly cold. I think I am already a nordestina (Northeasterner). Talvez. (Perhaps.)

Recently I have been studying a lot about Cristo (Christ), grace, and the love He really does have for us. It is amazing when you think about He has paid the price for us. When we do good works we aren´t paying Him back, that is impossible. But when we are changed by His grace and when we show our love and appreciation by following His example, He is happy and we can feel a love, a peace, a joy that is hard to describe. One of the best things as a missionary is to speak of Christ and his atonement. To watch people realize that they aren´t alone. They can change. They can be free of sin and guilt. To see them feel of Christ's love. 

I love you all and hope every thing continues to go well. 
Sister Martin

Conference and the blessings of a mission

October 7
Dear wonderful family,
Sorry, this keyboard is really bad and I hope you can understand what I type.
Maine sounds wonderful. Was it cool there? It feels like a time warp here because of the different seasons at different times. It is getting hotter but it isn't unbearable but it just doesn't feel like October. I fiz 6 meses (made 6 months) this week and it was just about the craziest thing ever. Time is going by so fast. I have less than a year on the mission.
Things are good with Sister Barratt. She is improving fast with Portuguese mas ainda é (is still) difficult sometimes because we can't express all that we want to. Limitations are hard. Our area is amazing. The people are so warm and welcoming.
We were able to watch all four sessions of conference but this meant that we stayed in the stake center for long periods of time, from 1 to 7 Saturday and Sunday which doesn´t leave much time to work because we had to stay in the church in between sessions because the stake center is a bit distante de nossa (distant from our) area. Watching in Portuguese was interesting. iI understood just about all of it, well when I paid a lot of attention. It isnt easy but completely worth it. I think Saturday's talks were amazing. I can't really remember them now but look forward greatly to reading these talks in the Ensign. Listening in Portuguese was only sad because I love the voices of the profeta and apostles. I was able to hear just a little bit in English before the voice over of Portuguese kicked in and it was enough. I loved the motab as well. Hearing them sing is the same in America or Brazil. It was awesome.
I love you all so much and have a great week!
Love much,
Sister Martin
ps. Reminder sobre photos. I need one from when I was  kid and one of the whole family from before the mission! thank you!!!

Just keep swimming, keep on swimming, swimming, swimming


September 30


Dear Family,
Before I forget! 1. I need photos sent to me via email; one from when I was a criança (child) so less than 5 years? and a photo from my teenage years. They are making a video of pictures of all of us for Christmas. 2. Next Monday I won't be able to email because all the sisters are going to have a special meeting with Sister Gonzaga. I will email Tuesday. 3. Unfortunately Correiros está em greve. The mail office is at strike. I can´t mail letters. I am sorry for those of you who have birthdays coming up. HAPPY BIRTHDAY ERICA. WOOHOO!
This week was interesting. In some ways it was harder than last week and in others it was a lot easier. Now I know more or less where things are and I know the people a little better but it was a little hard because I expected this week to be a great improvement. And we did improve and we are getting along better and Sister Barratt´s Portuguese is improving but... it is also hard because it didn´t improve like I wanted. So what did I learn? Trust in the Lord and patience. Those lessons are hard to learn. But really the week was great because I learned. Sister Barratt learned. And we have great prospects for the next week.
My brain is a little bit more tired than usual (I still need to focus a lot to understand when people speak to not misunderstand) and I can´t remember ....
Anyway. I love you and I hope that everything continues to improve and that you have a great time watching conference!
Sister Martin



Our chapel which is a lot bigger than the last




Diana's new companion and the other sisters in the apartment











I found a boat with my name.


a foto com minha mãe


A photo with all the new trainers






Sunday, September 29, 2013

The Lord knows what we need

Dear Family,

Transfers are always crazy but this one more than ever before. Tuesday we showed up in Farol onde tem transferencias (where we have transfers). And President spoke and Sister Gonzaga spoke and the entire time I just wanted to find out if I was training or not. They finally got around to announcing the different duplas (companionships) which they do by area. They started with Sergipe and so by the time the got to Pajuçara I was really anxious. But they got to my zone and district. And said in Pajuçara Sister Smith Senior e Treinadora. Eu: WHAT. Presidente I think a mistake was made. I was told Sunday that I will stay in Pajuçara. Nope. Now I am in Cidade Universitario, a bairro in Maceio. It is a little bit more ghetto but I love this area already. The ward is bigger and the members are amazing. Our LO (leader da Obra) is amazing. But obviously the moment I found out I was actually going to a new area I got nervous because I will train in an area that I don´t know. But it turned out ok and I didnt have much time to worry because I need to go and pack my bags (which people usually do pday) and then pick up minha filha (my daughter-I think it means the junior companion). It was exactly like when I got my visa just one day before I left for Brazil. I didn´t have time to worry. I think the Lord knows that I can´t have a lot of time to worry about things.

Now about minha filha. This transfer was unique. Only two Elders arrived and 5 Sisters. 3 Americans, 1 Hispanic, 1 Brasileira. Well. I am training an Americana. Her name is Sister Barratt (photos to come next week. I have a lot to send). She is twenty and studied at BYU before the mission. She is from Dallas,Texas and tall and blonde. Needless to say we call a lot of attention to ourselves. I think more her than me. Her Portuguese is good for so short a time but I am still teaching almost sozinha (alone). This week I know the Lord as strengthened me to be able to understand and speak Portuguese better because I need to. This week was cool because after conversing with a member, He asked where we were from. When I said we were both Americans he looked surprised. He thought I was Brazilian. Made my day. 

I know live in a house(that is PINK) with 3 other sisters. I am the oldest one in the house. It is strange to go from being really young in comparison to my companions to now being the oldest (the other two sisters are both 19 and Brazilan thank goodness because they help us with our Portuguese and know where members live so we can eat. Que Benção! (What a blessing!) The other duple is training as well. The other sister has 6 months on the mission as well. We now have over 30 sisters in the mission.

This week was full of blessings. It was hard with all the traveling and showing up in an unknown area and working right away. This week we estavamos fazendo contatos na rua (were making contacts in the street) when it started to rain. When we left the house earlier the sky didn´t have a cloud so we didn´t have umbrellas. Well we finished talking to this elderly couple and started to walk away. We didn´t get very far when the man stopped us and gave us a big umbrella for us to use. The people really are extremely nice and giving. There is always a smile to be found and a helping hand near by. It warms my heart. 

I  love you all very much and hope that every day you can see how Heavenly Father blesses our lives. The blessings are numberless. We just have to try to see them. I know that you all are busy and live is crazy but just continue!
 Com muito amor,
Sister Martin

Transfers?! Already?!

Dear wonderful and crazily busy family,

It is normal for missionaries here to remain in an area for two transfers. Three is a long time but not super unusual. 4 transfers is 6 months and A LONG time and kind of rare. Well guess who is staying in their first area for at least four transfers? this sister! I was shocked when I heard. I thought for sure I will be transfered. No one stays in this area that long. I was a little sad at first because I was looking forward to change and experiencing a new area but I am happy because we are working with more people and teaching more and our ward is getting a little more organized in its missionary efforts. But here is the thing. 6 more sisters are arriving tomorrow. Vou treinar? Não sei mas é possível. (I train? I do not know but it is possible. - Thank you Google translate.) Crazy. This transfer went by really fast. I am having trouble keeping up with how fast the time is going! Next week I will send info sobre nova companheira (about new companion).

This week was good. We have been trackting a lot and working with a couple references from members. While tracting we found a man who seemed to have interest in receiving lessons. We asked if we could share a message with him and he said yes. Unfortunately he was home alone. At this point most people say "oh another day" and then lay low and hope we forget. But not Gilton. He said there was a small park near by. This park turned out to be a bench facing the beach. It was a beautiful setting to talk about the gospel and wasn´t a distraction at all. It was amazing. 

We also had an emergency ward counsel just about missionary work. It was great to see every organization president in the ward working together to this end. To strengthen the ward. To get every family involved. Missionary work is done primarily by members and is so much more effective when the missionaries work side by side with members. Miracles happen.

I love you all and hope all is well. Have a great week!

Sister Martin

Villa dos Pescadores

Dear Family,

Do you ever have an experience where you see something and it is like a shock to your system? This one experience can change your perspective about life (as long as you remember but us frail humans tend to forget lessons that we learn - hence the principle of repetition). Tuesday we went to the villa dos pescadores or Fishermen's village. We had a list of recent converts/less actives that live there and we wanted to visit them and a recent convert works there. We heard it was a little dangerous there at night so we went right after lunch. As we were walking there we passed through one of the oldest parts of the city. The part that was obviously inhabited first by Euroupeans. There was a couple of big buildings with cool statues and cool architecture and lamp posts that were really decorated. 

Then we crossed the street.

The Villa is literally house after house made up of random pieces of wood. They are small open shacks on mud paths that are almost on the water. They have almost nothing. But their happiness was apparent. It was a lesson in humility and gratefulness. I walked away feeling incredibly blessed and incredibly selfish. I have been given so much by wonderful parents here on earth and by a wonderful Father in Heaven. I have every reason possibly to just be beaming with joy. 

That was one lesson learned this week. Of course there are others. Each week I learn a bounty of things that I often "learned" a week or two before. 

I love you all very much and I am so grateful for your letters and emails and the little details I learn from each. I am glad that everyone is healthy and well if not a little busy. 

Com muito amor
Sister Martin 

Why weepest thou?



Helllo!

Right now we have 5 American sisters and the rest are hispanic (Argentina and Chile mostly) or native. It is different with Elders. The percentage of Americans with Elders is much larger. 

This week we had Zone Conference. We have zone conference every three months and this was my second one here. Oshi! where has the time gone? I feel like every month passes by faster than the one before. I can´t believe it is already September. But I am also really excited! General Conference is coming up! (I can´t remember ever being this excited for conference). Anyway Zone Conference is great and we really learn a lot. The focus was how to work better with members. That really is the best way to do missionary work but that means that it isn´t very easy. 

This week we had problems with power. On Wednesday apparently a big part of the northeast was without power. The whole city was without power. The streetlights here don´t have back ups so it was VERY dark but we kept on going. I now know that I can make brownies in the dark! Who needs to see to bake? (Actually I do. The brownies turned out a little interesting). Thursday as we were showing and getting ready we lost power again but only for a 30 minutes and then Friday during the conference we lost power again. I made me think about all those times we lost power in Alabama and how we would have candles everywhere and that one time that we had a race to see who could blow out more candles and wax ended up all over someones face (aka Erica haha). I think now it is all settled and we won´t lose power again for awhile. 

There have been a lot of small changes that have been happening as well. We can´t use sandals any more for instance. (My feet miss my sandals but now I will get to have a cool picture with shoes with holes in the bottoms!) Another thing that changed is now we are to have personal study and companion study  on P-day. The full two hours. This means we have less time to do other things but really is a blessing. I feel like today I learned a lot. In John 20 Mary finds the tomb empty. Two times she is asked "Woman, why weepest thou?" I love this question. I can just imagine a gentle voice asking this with real curiousity. Why are you sad? Don´t you know that Christ lives? That He has overcome the world? How wonderful is this question for us now? When we are sad or have difficulties, why should we weep when we know that through Christ we can have eternal happiness. 

I am so grateful for my Savior and that through Him we can find peace in our lives now and for eternity. Life is hard and stressful and we will have sadness in our lives but this never changes the fact that we have a Father in Heaven that loves us and will always give us aid when we do our part. 

I love you all 
Sister Martin

And they went forth in fasting and prayer

Hello busy and wonderful Family,

Sometimes it is hard to believe how much y'all do in one semana. Your week sounded crazy but amazing and full of happiness.

My week started out interesting. Last Monday we went to Jatiuca and had lunch with the sisters there (it is a short walk and they are in our district). Well, when we got there they said they saw a rato (aka a mouse) in their house. Shudder. After we ate the mouse darted across the kitchen and hid under the trashcan. So naturally I stood on top of a chair filming with my companion and Sister Barra tried to kill it with a broom and a squigee. In the end they were successful but the video is really funny. There is a lot of dramatic screaming and me laughing in the background because I am safe on a chair. I will try to get the photos. Really I wish you could have been there. Very funny. 

On Thursday we had lunch assigned with a member but he switched days with another member who works at Hiper the Brazilian walmart. We arrived there and she was in a meeting. After an hour she came out and gave us 20 reais and said to go to a place near by. So we went there and begin getting our food (it was self-service) and there was a worker at the end of the line. When I get there she asks me if I speak English. She spoke in English. I was shocked into replying yes. My amazing increased as she said that she was American and could tell I was too (before I even said anything). The truly amazing part happened when I asked where she is from "South Boston" again a shocked reply from me of Me too! "Well actually I am from and hour south of Boston. Raynham" I was floored. I then tried to talk about the church in English and failed completely. but I got her number and went my way to eat in astonishment. I met someone in a relatively small city in Brazil that is from a town ten minutes away from my home. Crazy right? I also learned why I was called to a foreign speaking mission. English is hard. 

Well, though we had good experiences this week, this week was hard. A little harder then most. We are struggling to find new investigators. We are working with members, less actives, recent converts, and we are "batei portas"ing.(knocking on doors) And we still only had 1 new investigator. So we fasted. We started Saturday and worked. Sunday we went to houses to walk with people to church. They weren´t there. So we went onward to church, maybe a little discouraged (four weeks in a row without an investigator at church is unheard of and hard to accept). But then the miracle started. As we were walking to the chapel I saw someone walk past us that looked familiar but couldn´t place her. We sat down for relief society and in came the same girl with a member. 5 minutes later another member walked in with an investigator that lives really far from us. 5 minutes after that a woman walked in. She had a desire to learn more about the church and came alone. After Relief Society we had sunday school and saw a recent convert that had brought a friend to church. I was overwhelmed. Prayer and fasting together really are powerful and our Heavenly Father answers prayers. 

I know y'all are busy and life is crazy but I want you to know that where ever you are and whatever you are feeling, Heavenly Father knows you. He knows where you are and hears your prayers. He is reaching out to us and wanting to help us. When we reach out to Him, we receive great blessings. Sometimes they are hard to recognize or come later then we want. But they do come. Always. 

I love you and I am so grateful for your love and support. 
Com um grande amor,
Sister Martin


Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Working Hard or hardly working

August 19, 2013

Dear Family,

My recent baptisms. Wemmerson has already recieved the gift of the Holy Ghost and the priesthood and a calling. He has already talked about serving a mission with his girlfriend, who wants to serve a mission and is the strongest member missionary I have ever met. Marcelo is amazing but as he travels a lot (kind of like y'all, teehee) it is harder to know how he is progressing. 

After our baptisms, all of our investigators now are women with families. Which is perfect. Sister Moraes was perfect with the teenagers and Sister Baldomir is really good with emphasizing com the women. 

Reactivation is harder. The only lists we have for less active members are VERY old. The people on this list have been inactive for 15, 20 years. It is a lot harder to bring people back to the gospel the longer they have been inactive but we are trying. And the members here are really good about helping out and visiting less active members. 

This week we had a zone meeting. I knew that last week Elder Gauchay from my district in the MTC had finally arrived here in Maceió but it was a wonderful surprise to see him there at the zone meeting. It was like seeing someone from home even though technically I know him through the mission but I knew him before Maceió so thats the difference. It was also weird in an awesome way to hear Mother Martin again. This week we also had divisão and this time I went to the area of the sister training leaders, Benedito Bentes. It is VERY different from my area even though it is in the same city and I got to see Sister Huffaker, another recent American visa person. And it was the same feeling.   

Sometimes we need to relearn lessons. It is easy to trust in the Lord when things are easy but it is more important when things are hard. Saturday was rough. Appointment after appointment fell through and we were praying but it was getting harder to stay confident in the Lord and faithful. There is that fine line between disappointment in not teaching and helping people and losing confidence in the Lord. But we prayed and tried and Sunday we were blessed all the more. This instance our prayers were answered just one day after but often times we have to wait even longer. But it is always worth the wait. 

I love you and hope that you all can rest soon after all the travels and the craziness of life!
Sister Martin 

Transfers



August 12, 2013

Dear Family,

Transfers were a bit crazy. They pull all the missionaries that are being transferred and their companions together in one meeting. President gives a short message mensagem. He talked a little bit about Facebook and text messaging and how we will begin preparing for these advances (obviously still a long ways off). Then the assistants begin to announce the pairings by zone. The big shock was now we have two sets of Sister Training Leaders one dupla in Alagoas e the other in Sergipe (the two states that make up my mission). Sister Moraes is now Sister Training Leader! I miss my mom but it is cool that with so few months on the mission she is already helping so many. The other big shock was that the two new sisters ended training early to train other sisters. Thats what happens when you recieve 8 sisters and two of the seniors get moved to leaders. 

My companion now is Sister Baldomir. She is awesome, 24, and from Brasilia.   She is bem mais calma and reserved than Sister Moraes. It is cool to see how another missionary works. Now I can take what I like about them both and use it to become a better missionary. It has been a little difficult this week because we really started over and from the beginning with no investigators and since I know the area I did almost all of the planning and decision making even though I am techincally junior companion. But it was good. I feel like I learned a lot this week and relied even more on the spirit. And for the first time people turned to talk to me before my companion. Yay for people knowing me! 

Does Elder Marquez have a friend serving in Maceio agora? Because last conference an Elder said that his best friend was serving in Boston MA but I don´t remember then name he said. 

This week our shower head was fixed and for the first time in three months I took a warm shower. It was GLORIOUS. It is strange because you would think since it is so hot you would only want to take cold showers but I say unto you nay. Don´t take advantage of your warm showers. 

I love you all and I know that a lot of things are going on but I´m so glad that you always remember to write me! I love reading about the happenings there. 

Love,
Sister Martin


Last photo com minha mãe. Isn´t Maceió beautiful? I think so 

This one shows our personalities a bit better

Batismos e Milagres

August 5, 2013

Dear Family,

This week was amazing! So many miracles and happy moments. I love that the happiness always overcomes the unfortunate parts of life. Don´t you? For intstance, this week we hit a new low in almost all of our numbers, numbers of lessons, investigators, batismal marcads and what not but that doesn´t have importance. Why? Because two wonderful people were baptized! 

This week was hard for numbers because on (1)Wednesday we had a 2 zone combined meeting with President during our normal proselitismo time. But it was an amazing meeting and I learned a lot about my self. We watched clips of a talk that Elder Bednar gave where he talks about change, improvement, and seeking the spirit. What we do now isn´t good enough for where we want to go in the future. Don´t get to thinking I am good enough as is.  We can always improve! and it is wonderful because we always have help to improve! It is remarkable as well because one time President Eyring said to Elder Bednar "If you haven´t been rebuked by the Spirit recently you need to improve your prayers" Crazy to think an apostle needs to do that because if he does how much more do we? (Sorry about my geek-out about how awesome this meeting was). (2) We had two baptisms and well, they take work. For example, on Thursday we cleaned the chapel and made a cake and filled the font for the first baptism of Marcelo. Saturday we got together with the young women in our ward to learn a special hymn for Wemerson´s baptism and more, (3) This week was just sparce.

But now, more about Marcelo and Wemerson. They are both 22 and have member girlfriends of which one was baptized 2 years ago and the other 4 months ago. And they both already have the temple as their goal. They are our miracles of the transfer (milagres da transferência). Marcelo doesn´t actually live in Maceió but he works here during the week so teaching him was hard. We only taught him about three times but he read all of Gospel Principles and Our Heritage and some of the Book of Mormon all before we started teaching. To say he was prepared would be an understantment. His baptism was small but wonderful.

Wemerson´s baptism was a litttle crazy because at the last minute we found out he doesn´t actually live in our area but the area of the elders. A lot of changes had to be made and it was crazy but his baptism was really touching. When he was baptized the presence of the spirit was so strong and he is so strong in his faith. It is amazing. And then afterwards he officially asked Larissa to be his girlfriend and well, it was really cute. 

Last night we found out about transfers. Sister Moraes is being transfered and Eu estou ficando. Almost all of the other sisters are being transferred as well. We find out Tuesday what will happen! I am a little nervous and excited and oh my goodness. I´m done with treinamento. crazy. 

I love you all!
Sister Martin

P.S. Oh! I also made cookies for Wemerson´s baptism! They were a hit! But I will tell you it is not easy to make a double batch of cookies when you don´t have a mixer. On the bright side, I think my right arm has a lot more definition. woohoo!





We can all make a difference

July 29, 2013

FAMILY!

Yay Krystal! You will LOVE Brazil! And there are some awesome Elders that I know that are in Port Alegre Sul. AH I am so excited! 

This week was good. We have this one investigator who actually reminds a lot of Alyssa. She is 11 but looks 8 but is incredibly smart and has curly frizzy hair and is very intelligent. We asked her to read a chapter of the Book of Mormon and two days later when we asked if she read she said "A little" This is normal. People rarely actually read everything but then she went on to talk about which chapters she read. Yup multiple. Then when we taught about the plan of salvation, we ended up having a philosiphical discussion about temples, spirits, captialism, and more. She is amazing. 

Our time here has been a little different. We haven't had any baptisms and when we come close our pesquisadores stop. Monday we were talking to Osvauldo (our ward mission leader) about how we could strengthen the ward and our recent converts (not actually ours but we think of them as ours) and he made a comment about how we are working well and how without us he didn´t think that all the teenage recent converts would still be strong. He said we had strengthened this ward as well. It was a blessing to hear this. It might not show in our number of baptisms but we are helping people come unto Christ. In PMG it talks about how no effort is wasted and how we show God´s love for others when we talk about the gospel or help them in any way. It is the same for member missionaries and people in general. We all can make a difference.

Lesson Learned this week: The Lord always blesses us and answers our prayers even when it is a different answer then we were expecting and at a different time than we wanted it. 

I love you all and hope your busy crazy summer continues to go well 
Sister Martin

Skateboarding on the mish

July 22, 2013



We learn important things on the mission. Like how to skateboard. I´m a little better than Sister Moraes. Unfortunately we don´t have much time to practice.

(Notice her sandal tan!)





We went to a pizzaria on our pday with all our recent converts and a of couple investigators. This is Larissa. I love this girl and she has a pizza mustache.

Beach pics

July 22, 2013



Dear loving family, 

It sounds like it is very hot there. It is probably cooler here right now. But yay pool! That is exciting that you get to share it with Jenna and Chris and baby girl! and Landon. He is important too. How big are they now? 

Yeah, companion study is in Portuguese which is good because we teach in Portuguese. However personal study is in English (except for PME I read that in Portuguese). The language of the scriptures is very hard to understand so I study the Book of Mormon in Portuguese during language study. It is interesting how different things stand out when you read them in a different language. 

This week has been interesting to say the least. Monday after emailing, I got to "go to the beach" with 8 other sisters. We only have 20 sisters in the mission so half of us were all together taking pictures close to the beach (we can´t touch sand because then that is actually the beach) and shopping at this place near the beach which is all booths with people selling handmade crafts and what not. Then after we went to Nicole´s, a pizzaria, with our recent converts and it was awesome. Basically Monday was a great day. 

This week we had interviews with President.  So after lunch on Thursday we walked to the mission office. Sister Gonzaga takes good care of us and when we arrived we got juice and oreo like cookies. The day got even better when I got letters and my package! Wohoo! I was so excited. Thank you so much! (The only thing mission was photos! Even just one picture of the family in a letter would be good. please?) Talking with President is always good. He is very calm and genuinely cares about the missionaries. Talking to him is definitely beneficial. 

This week was hard but it is amazing because when times are the hardest we are closer to Heavenly Father. We search out the Holy Ghost more. We are more receptive to answers (if we are open). We learn. We grow. Sunday was incredible because a member gave a talk that helped me so much. She talked a lot about gratitude and how it is important to focus on gratitude when things are rough, when it is hard to be thankful. How true is this in life? It is easy to be happy when things are good. It is easy to be grateful when things are good. It is easy to choose the right when there isn´t much opposition. But I know that when we are happy and grateful and choose the right when things are very rough and difficult we are blessed with so much more. 

I love you all
Sister Martin


More pictures:
Sister Moraes and I were tired and missed having a couch so we created one for our weekly planning session.



Half of the sisters in my mission together, close to the beach and happy.


The sisters again with the beach. Right now Sister Gonzaga is putting together a slide show of our pictures for the mission. When she saw this picture with us and the beach she said absolutely not (we did have permission to be there but apparently the whole mission doesn´t need to know we went there) This picture is actually in my area the others all had to travel to get to the beach. 

The beach!

Brownies e sorvete.  oh yeah.

My district and a birthday party.







Life is beautiful

July 15, 2013
Dear Family,

Your time in Utah sounds amazing but I imagine now you are quite tired and glad to be home. After a long day in the field returning to our house here is the best.

I feel pretty comfortable teaching the first lesson in Portuguese as it is the one we do the most. Portuguese is getting better and I am understanding more but at times it is still difficult. With time I hope to sound more like a Brazilian. My accent agora is decidedly American.

The work this week was hard. This week almost all of our investigators either dropped us or we had to drop them due to the fact that they were never em casa, sempre gave excuses or lies as to why we could teach right then, or "moved" It was really sad. Some of them we had been teaching for weeks and they were .. I´m not sure exactly how to explain it but it is always hard to watch people turn away from the Gospel and away from the Holy Ghost.

However, this week has been amazing concerning one investigator, Márcio. He can´t read, lives alone, and has issues with drugs. We started teaching him two weeks ago but this week we taught the Word of Wisdom and the Book of Mormon. He has problems with every part of the word of wisdom but when we taught about it the love God has for him was palpable and he has this real desire to change. He has committed to giving up all the drinking and smoking and drugs cold turkey and he is doing it. Then on Sunday he was going to go to church with a member that lives on the same street. Sunday morning he walks up to the church alone saying the member had over slept and he wanted to come but he can´t read so he just asked person after person until he eventually got there. Investigators NEVER come alone so it was so heartwarming to see this man work so hard to come to church. He is amazing. And this week we are commencing teaching him how to read!

While this work is hard and sweaty (we walk alot when all of our appointments fall through), it is beyond worth it when you see one man who has everything going against him beginning to change, to grow, to feel the Holy Ghost. It is beyond worth it when you see someone overcome great challenges to come to know Christ. What are several miles of walking compared to this?

This week we had a reference for some one that lives across the street from the beach. Well since we normally don´t go that way, we got lost... but oh goodness is was beautiful. (I also tried to find an American tourist and do a street contact in English but to no avail) 

Remember. Life is beautiful. Enjoy it.

I love you all very much and hope your summer is going amazingly! 
Sister Martin

It is all because of faith



July 8, 2013

I love you,
I always end with "I love you" but I decided that it is important and should be first. I love you all! I am so grateful for my wonderful family.
Monday I got brownies and ice cream for my birthday (don´t worry I got a picture and y'all can instagram it for me) and it was delicious. Then on Tuesday I was blessed with the perfect weather it was cloudy and windy but didn´t rain; it was awesome and then I got to eat mashed potatoes. Then we got to teach. We had a good day and taught a lot of people. Liliane told us about how much she feels the spirit when we teach here (the best gift of all). Basically Tuesday was awesome. Wednesday it POURED. It is funny because people always say rain is good for missionary work because people have to let you in. I´m not sure why but on the days when it rains really hard no one is every at home and usually we don´t teach which is unfortunate but Wednesday night we had an activity at the church and sense a lot of people were with out power they were at the church and we had cake and it was great. (Here when the power goes out there aren´t any street lights either so it is really dark. It was cool).
Friday we had mission tour. Elder Torgan of the seventy talked with us. I found out on Thursday that he was Brazilian and thus would be speaking in Portuguese. Well, I was determined that I would understand what was said because normally I don´t understand when someone just talks for many hours.  I wanted to understand very much and as I have been studying about faith I know that through faith anything can happen. I prayed hard and had faith but I knew I needed to concentrate. I understood almost every single word that was said during that four hour meeting. It is all because of faith. And prayer. It was truly a miracle. I was exhausted afterward but it was beyond worth it. I feel like I learned so much and I am so blessed and I know that my prayers are always heard.
I hope your time in Utah continues to be amazing! Say hi to all the family for me and I can´t wait to hear where Krystal will serve a mission.
I love you!
Sister Martin

Birthday week

July 1, 2013
Dear Family,

Sister Sherrard, thank you for your letters! They were great and made me laugh. I have got one on the way for you. I promise.

We actually live above a member. So it is her garage that you see in the picture. We can only enter through the door next to the garage. And it is Sister Moraes with the Banadana. Surprisingly I am still one of the youngest people here. We have three 19 year olds and me who is twenty but most sisters are 23 or 24. 

P-day is about cleaning and shopping and sending letters and it seems like our p-days ALWAYS go really fast. 

We have a cell phone but we can´t text from it. And I don´t think we will get to use facebook and we don´t use computers at the church. During the week it isn´t usually very hard to get a hold of people. The weekends are alot harder. 

Seminary, at least in Ala Pajuçara, is taught by the ward mission leader Tuesday through Friday at 7 at night. The only ones that go are our recent converts. 

This week was a little crazy with transfers and people in and out of our house but it was great. Weekends have been really hard for working (Brazil played again against Spain- by the sounds of the fireworks I think we won! woohoo!) so we were determined to work really hard during the week and meet our goals early. What a blessing this was. We met every goal we set and we had some great lessons. When we are determined to work the Lord will always help us. When we slack of or are whimsical about our efforts - I´m not sure

ah! ã - a squiggle! I just figured out how to get it! That is exciting and will help when I write president. Anyway....

This week was ward conference in our ala. The stake president was there and he gave a great talk and lesson in Priesthood/Relief Society; It was funny because he reminded me of Dad a little. He told one story about when he was a teenager and wanted to get an earring and when he asked his dad  if he could get one. His dad responded "If you get one, outside of this house you are not my son" (or something to that affect) He didn´t get an earring because he would rather be identified as the son of his father. I love this for two reasons. 1- all of our recent converts are teenage boys with earrings. I hope they learned something. 2- How true should this story be for every one of us. We strive to live good lives and to keep the commanments and act according to the will of the Lord that that we can Always be seen as a child of God. We really are all children of God and He loves us more than we can every understand but when we are identified as his children we can understand that love just a little better. 

Thank you for the Happy Birthdays! Happy Independence day! Thank you in advance for the package! (I laughed at the religious stickers. The people in the office will be really confused).

Love, 
Sister Martin

Missionary Broadcast

June 24, 2013
Dear wonderful and loving Family,

Yes I saw the broadcast yesterday. Unfortunately it was in Portuguese. Sundays are the hardest days for understanding portuguese. I think it is because I don´t do much talking but just sit and don´t teach and people talk to me for hours. My brain usually hurts by the end of Sunday. Thank goodness for Mondays! The broadcast sounds like it was amazing. I have no idea how my mission will change though. 

I understand a whole lot more now but there are still a lot I don´t understand. That will change with time. One step at a time! This week was a little hard for teaching. Wednesday we had diviçao com the sister training leaders. Sister Zamboni (who leaves today for home) and I stayed in Pajuçara and Sister Moraes was in Benidito. Travel time was hard. And this saturday was Sao Joao(I don´t know where the a squiggle is) and Sao Paulo played against Italy so no one was home. The lessons we did teach were great. Since we are both new to the area we pretty much started with no investigators. Right now we are teaching some really promising and amazing people. Edvania and Liliane are great. The hardest part is just getting people to go to church. Retention is still hard. We work a lot with our recent converts and quite a few actually go to seminary and integreçao.

Sao Joao is a really interesting holiday. People dress up as hillbillies and eat corn, corn bread, and other corn related foods. The decorations are all cowboy-esque and it is really funnny. This Saturday we had a party at the church and the whole ward was there and it was great to see everyone dressed up. 

Saturday morning we got a call from the Elders in Ala Canada (the ward that shares our building) and they had a baptism but didn´t think many people were going to go and asked us to go. We show up and there are the elders one other preisthood holder and three nine year old kids. They are outside the church filling buckets with water from the hose. The water in the chapel was not on. We started helping right away but pretty soon it became obvious that this was not going to work because that baptismal font was just too big and we couldn´t get enough water. Then the beach became an option and I got really excited but then they just ended up going to a different ward. It was a pretty exciting morning and it was amazing to see the three kids working hard to get enough water to be baptized. The Elders however were pretty stressed.

This week is transfers. First transfer no campo! Our house is the closest sister lodging to the mission office so we have sisters staying in our casa fairly reagularly. Tuesday to Wednesday we had to sisters and Tonight we will have 3 (because of transfers). It is weird because my district will change and I forgot that things chrange alot and won´t always be working with the same people. 

I love you all very much and I am glad to hear about the blessing of Mary Claire. Remember. Member missionaries can do more than full time missionaries can!

Love,
Sister Martin