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, 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

Pictures

Yes, it has been a long time since I posted for Diana.  That tells you what my summer has been like!  But I am getting caught up now.

From the Missionary Training Center (MTC):
Favorite picture from the MTC-Diana and her college roommate Francesca Bruno.  They left on missions a week apart.



Here are some pictures of Diana's apartment in Maceio, Brazil:


view from the kitchen
She says,  "Nossa casa! que linda!  Seriously it is really nice.

Just arrived



Diana and her companion Sister Moraes