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.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Made it to Brazil!

Diana was all set to go to Saint George, Utah on Wednesday May 15th.  On Tuesday, she was called in to the travel office at the MTC and told that her visa had come through!  She was one of only 4 out of her district of 100 missionaries to get her visa.  She traveled alone to Brazil and arrived safely on May 16th.  Her Dad and I got to speak to her for 45 minutes each while she was at the airport.  It was a wonderful phone call and she sounded so happy and upbeat!

I am in Brazil. If I ever forget that I just try to say something and then realize I can´t haha. Basically I have a constant "that´s not the language they taught me in the MTC" moment. I don´t understand anyone unless they speak so incredibly slow and only say three words and even then it is iffy. When ever I speak people look at me and smile and nod encouragingly. I like it and it makes me giggle. 

This week has been crazy from packing for St. George and then finding out that I´m going to Brazil and then traveling for 30 hours by myself and not knowing what to do to meeting my mission president (he is awesome!) to teaching Brazilians to baptism. 

Oh yeah Baptism. Jackson was baptized on Saturday! Of course I didn´t do much in the process but it was still awesome. I had no idea that baptisms were so common here. My mom and trainer, Sister Moraes has been on the mission for 6 months and has helped baptize 25 people. I was blown away but it happens. Since I can´t understand, I have´t done much conversing with investigators. Mostly just bearing my testimony which is awesome but short. Yesterday I actually got to help teach a new investigator named Marcelo. It was incredible and after one lesson he said he would be baptized.

I am in the actual city of Maceio. It is full of color, people, and bad smells. I love it. We are packed in pretty tight but our area is pretty big. It is called Pajuçara. The ward is decent sized but very different. Life here is different and amazing. The food is great. We get fed by members for lunch every day and it is always a lot of food.

I am very fortunate as well. Our apartment has air conditioning in the room we sleep in. Apparently it is the only one in the mission. It is amazing. I am good and well despite the fact that I look diseased because I am red and splotchy from bug bites. The missionaries here have a lot of loyalty for their mission. Maceio is the best mission in the world and we even have our own song. It is cool.

So basically, things are hard. It is difficult but that is ok because Heavenly Father put me here and He helps me through it. It is ok because seeing someone hear about the gospel and change their lives and influence the lives around them brings so much joy that the rest doesn´t matter. When I put my trust in the Lord, things aren´t easier necessarily, but I am so much more capable to handle life and be joyful. 

I love you all and hope all is well. 

People can´t pronounce my name. It is funny. Sister mar.... are you latina? haha

Friday, May 10, 2013

Reassignment (temporary) and a missed phone call

Lesley spotted Sister Martin (aka Diana) outside the Provo temple

May 10

Minha Familia para sempre (My forever family),
This has been one crazy week. It has been one giant roller coaster. There was a huge scare that I would not get re-assigned with the rest of my district and would have to stay in the MTC for another week or two without them. Thank goodness that didn't happen! Close call though. I was the last to get my re-assignment and I was very nervous until I got it. As you know, I got re-assigned to the St. George Utah mission! It is a massive mission that covers half of Utah and a part of Arizona and has two temples in it. I will be speaking English and I have no idea how long I will be serving there. It will be hard to keep up my Portuguese when I will be studying it by myself and not really speaking it but I will try. I am just so excited to get out and serve!! One other girl from my district is also going to St. George. Everyone else is going to  Tallahassee, Santa Rosa, San Bernadino, and Roseville (I told him to look out for some Mullens)! I'm a little sad we are all splitting up. My district feels almost like family now. I'm sorry I didn't call your cell phones. I only had one five minute call and Alyssa answered the home phone. I will call from the airport probably around 7 am Provo time! I will start with your cell mom! I love you and Happy Mothers Day!
Besides all the visa and re-assignment drama, this week has been amazing. On Wednesday, my district got to be hosts for all the new missionaries coming in! It was so cool to see all the new incoming missionaries and help them get settled in, despite the pouring rain. Seeing how nervous and new they were just reminded me how much I have changed and grown and learned in the past month and a half. It really is extraordinary. I teach 40 minute lessons in Portuguese without notes. It doesn't seem miraculous until I think about where I was 5 weeks ago. Oh! Last week we got to teach an entire family for TRC. The mom was from Portugal and the rest learn Portuguese from her so It was a little hard to understand them because they talk fast and pronounce things so differently but it was a great experience. It reminded me of why I came out, well one reason, to strengthen families! They were great.
Do you remember the shoes I brought? They kinda had a weird design with holes on the top? They make for interesting shoe tan lines... haha
Yesterday we had an all day "In-field" training day. We spent all day with the missionaries that are going out into the field next week going through an intense this is what to expect out there learning experience type thing. For y'all that watched the District with me, remember that one elder that was blonde named Elder Christenson? Yeah He was my teacher yesterday! It is so funny because here at the MTC we ALL know who he is and he is like a celebrity. A missionary celebrity. He was a great teacher. He gave great advice and was really funny.
On Sunday, Chad Lewis, a former BYU and then NFL football player came to talk to us. He said something that really struck me. He said "It is ok to cry. Just don't give up" The mission is hard and we (I) want to be cheerful and happy but sometimes it is beyond hard to keep that smile on my face. So I learned it is ok to cry or have an unhappy moment. Have that cry or that mini tantrum then get right back out there and keep doing your best. It reminded me of the talk "Come what May and love it" (Thank you, Chris Mullen - those talks have been amazing. Half my district is getting copies of "His Grace is Sufficient because they loved it so much). You have the rough times but It will be ok. There will always be something to learn and love from that experience.
I love you all very much.

Sister Martin

Pictures from the Cooks.  They were dropping off Christina for her mission and saw Diana:

They said that when they yelled her name, she saw them and ran over to the car, said a few sentences in Portuguese, and then ran back.  I'm so happy that they saw her and took these  pictures!

May 3

Hello my dear and wonderful family,
Thank you Mullens! You really made my day. My district loved the cookies and the bread is a life saver. It is amazing. Congrats Andrea! Finally Graduated (even though you've been done for a while).
Dad, you asked where we get these investigators. Our "investigators" are actually our teachers but we treat them as if they are real investigators. It is amazing how real the situations are when you want them to be. However, when we have TRC we get to teach real members and sometimes real Brazilians. That is amazing.
This Sunday in Relief Society they announced that there were 1258 Sisters here. It is incredible to sit altogether and be an army of Sisters. It never stops blowing my mind. But then again every now and then I think to my self "I'm on a mission" and my mind explodes each time. I'm on a mission!
In my district I have become known as Mother Martin. Which makes me giggle (with quiet dignity befitting a missionary of course). Apparently I am very motherly, but maybe it just seems that way because my district is almost all Elders and they need help sometimes. With sewing or getting stains out (I might have already gone through one a half tide to go pens) or with needing lotion (its not masculine to own their own).
Christina came in on Wednesday! It sounds like the Cooks told you that they saw me but it was awesome! Wednesday was a crazy day. It started out not so good. We, as a district, tried to do a SYL day meaning we were only going to speak Portuguese. Well I think we were cranky because we hadn't gotten our P-day like normal the day before and we all realized how hard it is to communicate in Portuguese. It felt like trying to push through a brick wall. Not good. But then we got to teach our investigator, Solande. As soon as the lesson started, Portuguese just flowed and it became so easy to talk. I'm not sure if it is because I just know way more vocabulary when it comes to the Gospel or if the Spirit just helps me that much. Either way it was amazing. After the lesson it was just as hard. But we pushed forward. Then one of my companions needed to go to the BYU Health Center. Up to this point I had been looking every where for Christina but hadn't seen her. Well we were leaving the MTC fence when I heard someone yell "Diana!" and it was the Cooks! What a blessing! I haven't seen Christina since but it made me so happy and the timing was amazing! I hope to see her again soon. Any way around 3, the entire SYL thing fell apart and we spoke English. But each day we try to spend at least several hours speaking only Portuguese. It's interesting.
This week we had our last lesson with Brother Paulich. He is the teacher that we have had from the very beginning and was the one that greeted us on the first day. As a class, we had gotten really close to him and I think he felt sentimental towards us because we are his last district. For the last two hours of his last lesson, He had one person sit in the middle and the rest of the district would take a minute and say what we admire or like about the person in the middle. It was an amazing experience. Not only did I feel so much better about myself, but I came out realizing how much good is in each and every person in my district. Each one is amazing. It also reaffirmed to me how they are all children of God and are special and loved. It is amazing.
Our Heavenly Father loves you. He wants you to be happy. He put you here to SUCCEED.
I love you all.
Sister Martin


With Sister Robin Grigg (a friend from Massachusetts)

Pointing out their missions