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!
Sister Martin


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

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 by email. It was so cool to see the family all together even in a photo and oushi que estranha mas otimo! 

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 we 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 didn't 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. I 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

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