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, September 17, 2014

I Feel My Savior's Love

Dear Family,

It is a little hard to believe that we are in mid September already. Its been a bit hard adjusting to the fact that time is passing. My body is still telling my that it is June. Maybe I just don´t want to believe.

I´m scared too mom! I get cold in weather in the 70´s! But I am also pretty excited because it is so nice to curl up in blankets. It's better to be in the heat during the mission because we don't get lazy wanting to stay in our beds curled up. It's hot so we throw off the covers and get to work!

This week I had to learn once again some important lessons. The first being the harsh consequences of sin, even if the sin be a small one. This week we were doing divisões with some sisters. I went to go and stay in their area and house. And while no major rules or commandments were being broken it was easy to see that one of the four people in the house was not "serving with all [her] heart mind and strength" Small things like staying in bed for 30 minutes longer. Not starting personal study until almost 9 and etc... And in general an attitude far from willing. This affects the attitude and efficiency of the whole house. When we think that our actions only influence ourselves we are so sorely mistaken. Seeing this in others makes me more aware of my own actions. How am I acting? My actions are helping or hurting others? Helps take the mind of what is best for me and what is best for the group. But at the same time it was hard to see how the others were suffering. It made me think of what Elder Holland said during his mission tour to São Paulo. That he is tired of seeing sin. I feel the same and I see so much less than he does. Just imagine. 
The second would be that I have a limited view and God knows it all. I don´t know and can´t decide who will accept our message and act upon it. God knows. So it is better to trust in Him than  in me and my own capacities. 

This week we had a ward conference. And it was great. The first two hours were normal, except for the fact that there were so many people from the stake there. But sacrament meeting was really special. The part a little funny was when we sustained Bispo Fonseca as Bispo. He is about to have 10 years as bispo and he was so sure that he would be released this conference. But at least he has mais 6 meses! But the part that really tuouched my heart was the choir. A 10 year old boy that is very small for his age took part. And for the last hymn they sang I Feel my Savior's Love. Riclecio, the boy, sang the first verse alone. Without piano even. And it touched everyone's heart. I have never seen so many people with tears in their eyes. He sang so heartfelt-fully and with such conviction that His Heavenly Father And Savior love him that we all felt that same love for us. It was amazing. I never cease to be amazed by the power of music.
After church all the members were talking about how I only have one more week. Some already saying goodbye. It's a little scary but I am more calm now about going home than I was about two weeks ago. Now I just have to hit the pavement and work! ...And plan my 30 minute talk for church Sunday.

I love you all and I am excited to see you soon.
Sister Martin

Fotos da Conferencia E. Gomes


Dear family,

I love you all and I am so happy! Why? Who needs a reason? Life is wonderful isn´t it? 

This week we felt the start of summer. We passed two days in almost unbearable heat without wind. but then it returned to rain and have a lot of wind. I am now sitting at the computer using a cardigan. I feel cold. uh oh; 

This week was pretty crazy mesma with the mission tour with Elder Aidukitis. The zone leaders and sister training leaders went an hour early to talk with him before the rest of the zone joined in. So we started out with 6 duplas and Elder Aidukitis. It was a bit odd being so close to and speaking so personally with someone you usually see on a big screen speaking English to the world during general conference. But man he is cool. He talked a lot (and rather firmly) about being better missionaries. Heavenly Father is happy with our work but not satisfied. We can do so much more. He talked about planning. How we need to DOMINATE the skill of goal setting. Not just master but DOMINATE. Shows how important it is right? Some rules were changed and other things were reinforced. The hardest thing to change actually is devotional every morning. Now we just wake up and begin our day without the hymn and scriptural thought. It feels like being back in high school when I went to school without going to seminary first. 

We visited two recent converts or less actives in a two day span. Both of these women fell ill right in front of us. It was the first time in my life that I really wanted to be an elder or at least have the priesthood so that i could give a blessing of health to those that I love and see suffering. All the more important to have the priesthood in my home! 

Saturday we had the opportunity to have lunch with a member that lives in São Cristóvão on a farm. It was so cool! We got to see the cows and chickens and climb on top of a hill that looked over the countryside. It was really pretty. Photos soon to come a videos to see. (When I say soon I mean in algumas semanas)

I love you all and hope you have a fantastical semana!
Sister Martin!

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Setembro?! Já?

Dear Family,

It is hard to believe that September is already starting. Every week seems to pass faster and faster now. It is starting to really worry me. But I am happy and ready to work even harder than ever these last few weeks. This week we will get a boost from our mission tour with Elder Aidukitis (I don´t remember how to spell his name). 

This week was pretty emotionally draining with two exchanges, three baptismal interviews and many problems with families not wanting their loved ones to get baptized. And even though things didn´t turn out the way we had planned this week and getting sad about that - I was really reassured this week about the inner peace that comes from Christ. So I was able to get better focusing on doing my part and trust in Christ. 

The best is when investigators go to church of their own free will without us even calling for them. About a month ago we had gotten a reference from our zone leader and we went and taught a great man and marked his baptism but he was always working and hard to find at home. So we passed about two weeks without visiting him or trying. Then one day we passed his wife in the street and told us to return sometime during the week after 6. So we decided to try one more time. We knocked on their door and miraculously he was home. He let us in, said that he had sunday off from work but that he would be going to his church. He seemed pretty mole (I don´t know what mole is in English...lazy?..not willing to act) so we decided to leave a shorted message with him (3rd). At first the lesson started a bit rough with a lot of noise going on but soon the Spirit entered and changed everything. At the end of the lesson He said that he had been touched by the Holy Ghost and that he would be going to our church the next day. Miracle. The next day we tried to call him but his phone was turned off so we just walked to church and we found him there! He had gotten there a good half hour before church started. Amazing.

I hope all is well and I am looking forward to hugging you all

Sister Martin

Excitement and Determination

Dear Family,

I love y´all. Just wanted to let you know.

I got my birthday package! Thank you so much! Loved it. 

This transfer seems to be pretty crazy. The first day together, Sister Bento and I planned out all of the divisões (splits or exchanges) that we would be doing for the transfer. But many things are happening unplanned! There are sisters that are having health problems and others that are trying to move to another house then there is a mission tour coming up, leadership council, zone meeting, maybe a zone conference... Basically it has been hard to plan but it has also been a great transfer so far and there is still a lot to go!

This week we got to teach three amazing girls/woman. We found Barbara and Vitoria who are cousins when we were in their house teaching the first lesson to their grandma who was a contact we had made in the street. The responded so well to our mensagem. It was amazing! And pretty funny. When we returned the second time they were practically jumping up and down with excitement just to see us. It is the best feeling ever. They are actually reading the Book of Mormon and praying every night and came to church alone without us going and pícking them up. Barbara is younger and not shy but gets very embarrassed when it comes to things about the gospel. She knows at the end of the lesson one of them will give the closing prayer as the dupla with the name tag always starts. When she realized that it would be her giving the closing prayer she spent the entire lesson worrying about what she would say and was so antsy to do it right. It was funny and heartwarming. 

The other amazing miracle was Glaciane. She was a reference from a member of the ward but the member had just given the address and said to go without giving much information about Glaciane. We showed up thinking she was a normal person who had never heard about the gospel before. We were wrong. She is an amazing woman living alone with her 6 year old daughter. She works like crazy to give her daughter what she needs and she was almost baptized about 2 years ago when something happened and she ended up not being baptized and moved to another bairro. We walked in and one of the first things she says is that she wanted to get baptized.  well we taught the first lesson and she accepted and had such a sweet spirit about her. Even her 6 year old daughter sat and listened. Two days later we returned. After we had left she talked with her boy friend who had come to visit and asked if he was still going to marry her so she could get baptized. He said no. And so did she. She told us that absolutely nothing would stop her from getting baptized again. Her strength and determination blew me away. 

Well I hope you all have a greatly fantastic week and see miracles all around you.

Sister Martin

Tuesday, August 19, 2014


Dear Family, 

Happy Birthday Mom and Happy Anniversary Mom and Dad! 

My new companion is Sister Bento. She is from São Paulo and is 21 and has 10 months on the mission. She is awesome. My new housemate is Sister Barros. She is from Cabo Verde!

About mission presidents. With President Gonzaga people generally didn't stay more than 3 transfers in one area. The new rule is 6 to 8 months. A lot more time! It showed in transfers when almost no one was moved. And they just have a different way in dealing with things. Not a bad different. Só different. What is funny is that Sister Gomes is becoming more like Sister Gonzaga. A little bit more stressed and a lot more emphasis on health. 

The work is good. But it is getting harder in São Crisóvão. We are working more in Eduardo Gomes now. There is this one couple that is amazing. Erica and Antonio. They have four children with the ages 5,4,3, and 6 months. But they are amazing. I think they will be going to the forum to begin the marriage process this week! I am excited! 

Do y'all know the story about a seminary class and donuts? Where one young man needed to do push ups for the other classmates have the chance to accept or not a donut from the teacher? How it is like Christ and he suffered a price for everyone one of us whether we wanted to accept his gift or not? Well it is absolutely amazing so if you don´t know it maybe you could look it up. But last night we planned and had a devotional about missionary work. We decided to make the theme be more about loving and serving. We did the story. We had a young man come up and he had to do push up for every member there to accept or not a sweet that we had taken. The members responded really well. And I don´t know about them but I learned a lot. When we talk to others our testimony is strengthened and as we were talking about the sacrifice of Christ and how he suffered out of love for us. Giving us the chance to accept his grace or not. Helped me realize even more how amazing He really is. How important it is to love our neighbor and be willing to sacrifice our time and effort to share the gospel whether they chose to accept it or no. 

I love you all and hope you have a great week!
Sister Martin

The last first day of transfers

Dear Family, 
Today is the first day of my last transfer. I am freaking out a bit because I thought that my time here would never end and I am being proven wrong. I will be staying here in Eduardo Gomes and I am really happy about that but Sister Smith was transferred. Will be interesting to see who will be the next companion. 

This week we traveled to Maceió for leadership counsel. And we are beginning to see a real difference in the two mission presidents but It is amazing to see how  much the mission really needs Presidente Gomes.  Tuesday he called us to the side and told us we would be separated and put in different situations so that we could help more sisters. The shock came this morning when we heard that only 5 of the 50 sisters were transferred. We will see what happens. 

Sorry the email is short. I didn´t have any questions to answer.  I love you all and wish you a great week.

Love Sister Martin

Change of plans

Dear Family,

This is the seventh week of the transfer and I don´t believe we are at the end of this transfer. Time really flew by. I was worried that the seven week transfer would be long and drag a bit but it didn´t; I wish it had! Time is passing too fast for my liking!

This week there was a change of plans. We had planned on going on splits with this one companionship in our zone but due to health problems, it didn´t take place. It was sad not being able to help out but it got even worse on Friday. We got a call Friday morning from our zone leader saying that presidente was heading to the stake center and wanted to meet with us and the zone leaders. Immediately. We started to get a bit worried because he didn´t say why. And something like this had never happened before. So we didn´t know what to think. But what we weren´t expecting was presidente sitting us down and saying that one of our sisters was going home because of health problems. She is new to the mission and would be ending training this week if she had stayed. When we asked if she would stay the week until transfers, presidente said no. She would be going home the next day. He had us call them up to come and talk with presidente. We stayed while he talked with her and let her know the harsh news. She cried, we comforted (or tried). It was a shock when she said Tomorrow I leave and Sunday I will already be in my home ward. It was a shock to my heart and  I felt cold at the thought. Just imagine. Something ending so soon when you thought you had all the time in the world. 

This makes me think a lot about repentance. This week we taught and thought a lot about repentance and how urgent it really is. We never know when this life will end and we never know what will happen in our lives. So we need to be ready. So there isn´t "oh, next week I will get baptized" " I will change tomorrow" No. It doesn´t work that way. We have to take advantage of the time we have because we don't know when it will end. We don´t know when our mission will end and when we will go home. 

This Sunday was fast and testimony. I love the first Sunday of the month. We started our jejum on saturday for a specific investigator. Sunday came and at the start there was not a single investigator at church and we got a little sad and when to our classes. The teacher in relief society mentioned a quote that I liked a lot. She said that "quando deixamos a fazer nossa responsabilidade, alguem sofre" Basically. When we don´t do what we should, someone suffers. Maybe our investigator didn´t come to church but if we didn´t try to help her, certainly she would suffer. If we didn´t do our part to teach, those here in Eduardo Gomes. Suffer. Interesting right? Soon after showed up a family we had begun teaching this week. A mom, dad, and four children. We didn´t expect that. But I love how we can be praying and fasting for one thing and that doesn´t happen. But God gives us something Better.

I love you all and hope you have a great week!

Sister Martin

PS I hope this was long enough. I ran out of time a bit. 

Love. It's all about love.

Dear Family,

This week was a lesson in love and service.

Today I was studying Presidente Monson´s talk on Love being the Essence of the Gospel. It talks about our need to love and serve our neighbor. If we don´t love those in our redor how can we truly love God? And he told a story about a flight with 150 that went hours out of their way to pick up a severely injured child to take him to a hospital. The people in the plane lost hours of time, a lot of connections and important appointments. But no one complained. In the end the actually pulled together money to give to the boy and his family. I got goose bumps. Because it is easy to love and to be charitable when things are easy. When things are going your way. But just imagine. Spending an entire day on an airplane when it should only be about an hour or two. Am  I willing to stay calm? Am I willing to not get impatient in that circumstance? Do I love and serve even when things are hard or taking a long time?

This week was full of worries. Worries about our investigators and our sisters that we take care of. It was a test of this love. It was a test of my desire to really serve. We spent a lot of time thinking and praying to know the best way to help those that we are responsible for. 

I love you all and hope the best for you all with your responsibilities and new homes and averything that is going on. My prayers are with you!

Sister Martin

P.S. haha i wanted to warn you that that video would probably make it to facebook. It was during lunch and there was a bunch of youth from the ward there and they wanted to hear a song in English!

It's cold?

Dear Family,

This week I felt cold. I didn´t think that was possible here in Brasil. But this week it rained bastante and a strong wind accompanied the rain. So I actually got cold and pulled out a cardigan to get warm and used my Christmas toe socks while in casa. 

I feel like I learned a lot this week, spiritually and not spiritual stuff too. I left my area Tuesday night to head over to Atalia for divisões. Atalia is on the edge of the city bordering the ocean. It is a richer part of the city. I stayed there with one of my old housemates, Sister Castro. I love getting to see new houses and new areas. It makes you really grateful for where you are. I feel like I learn more from the sisters than the learn from me. I got a real appreciation for the Sabbath day as we taught a woman who firmly believes in the Dia do Senhor being Saturday. She wasn´t even willing to hear our message about the plan of salvation that our Heavenly Father made for us because she was so worried about Saturdays. It was sad. Later in the week we began teaching a mother of two. She received us very well and we began talking about the Restoration. It was an amazing lesson and I felt the Spirit there testifying. Then at the end of the lesson she rejected us completely (while politely) saying she wouldn't want to pray. Sometimes the Spirit talks to us. Tells us what is true and we don´t want to hear. Sometimes it is so strong that it is like he takes us by our hair and bangs our head against the wall yelling "Its true you idiot!" (maybe without the idiot part) but even after all that we still don´t want to act or change because it is hard. Makes me think. Am I sufficiently humble to change and move according to the whispers of the Holy Ghost?

But I also learned how to make truffles this week! It was so exciting! I am thinking that I should begin to sell these things. Brigadeiro, torta leite, trufas. Not here while on the mission but man these things are so good. They are especially good with a filling of brigadeiro.

Anyway, I hope all is well and all house moving is going over well. I love you!
Sister Martin


Dear Family,

It was a bit hard to really work this week. The week started with traveling to Maceio for a leadership counsel and getting back late Tuesday night. When we got to the bus terminal we entered the office to pay for our tickets. The Brasil vs Germany game was playing and within the five minutes that I was in the office Germany got three goals. There was a lot of yelling. But it was all good afterward. Brasil was even happy that Germany won the cup over all. People were applauding for Sister Smith and I yesterday (because we are Germans of course)

Then Thursday we spent the day having interviews with Presidente and Saturday and Sunday were consumed with soccer.  But we did what we could with the time that we had. 

This week we were talking with one of the young women of the ward and she said that she had a reference for us. She took us to his house. And who was there? A 94 year old man with a severe smoking problem. I will be honest, I was shocked a bit. But we sat down and began to talk about the gospel. He doesn´t come from a super religious background and as he is 94 he had trouble understanding us (Thank goodness Bruna was there to help). He was very receptive to our message and readily accepted to pray and at least try to go to church. He has a strong desire to quit smoking but didn´t believe it would be possible. We encouraged him to start smoking a little less every day. We returned a few days after and he was already down to smoking just 5 cigarros por dia. It was amazing. 

Do yall remember Andréa. This week she was called to be the second counselor in the relief society. It was a shock but so cool! My cheeks were hurting from smiling so much.  I love seeing the progress! The other day she had us help her sign up to get the Liahona for a year. 

With the new mission presidente came the new focus of the temple and really doing family history work. Its getting me antsy to work on geneology as here we can only encourage others to work on their family work. Now I am not here to work on me or my family. I am here to strengthen others. Help others come unto Christ. I just hope that this deisre to work on family history work stays with me (It is new. Before I never had a desire to work on the family tree). 

I love you all and hope that this week is great! I hope summer is going well!

Sister Martin

Wait, how old are you?

Dear family, 

This week was amazing. Wednesday was the best, It might have been the best birthday I have ever had. The started with a healthy breakfast of pancakes with brigadeiro on top. Then as we were walking to lunch my housemates began walking really fast then stopping and talking with random people on the street who then stopped and said "happy birthday" to me. I felt like I was in a movie! Everyone stopping to talk with me to wish me a happy birthday. Até this one random woman came out from a salon and gave me a hug saying parabens; I laughed. Lunch was amazing with Ednaene and Bruna. They planned a surprise with Nilza, with bishop's wife. I had no idea but they surprised me with a cake, a small party, and Brasil flipflops. I felt the love! Then we made our way to São Cristóvão where the bus broke down and we began walking. We owe it to our gained weight after so much cake. At night my housemates surprised me again with a really good trifle cake. I ate very well this day!  I love my house mates. They are the best. 

Tuesday was crazy as we met our new presidente. It was odd. It just felt like someone was missing. But I think he will be good for the mission. The best part was the closing prayer where the elder thanked for meeting the new Presidente Gonzaga (he didn´t even realize that he had said the wrong name).  The new presidente's name is Gomes. Hard transition.

Friday was the Brasil game and Independence day. Brasil won! And of course after the game there was a bunch of fireworks going off in every direction and so to celebrate the 4th of July, my two American housemates and I began singing the Star Spangled Banner while looking at the fireworks. It was patriotic. The only thing missing was the hamburgers. 

But Sunday was the best of all. Ernando got the preisthood and Barbara bore her testimony about their conversion story. Just about cried for pride and happiness. Seeing recent convert progress and changing is the best thing in the world. 

I love you all and hope you have a wonderful summer!

With love,

Sister Martin


Dear Family,

I also don´t believe that I am turning 22 this week. It doesn´t seem possible. Didn´t I turn 21 last week? Time flies!

We aren´t allowed to watch the world cup at all. So during Brasil games we are to return home and stay there until the fireworks start or when we think it is safe. For instance if Brasil and Germany continue and they play against each other. I think I will stay inside for a while. But we still get to work a lot! the problem is that the month of June has a lot of holidays as well.

So my new companion. You will never guess who it is. Sister Smith, aka my first companion from the MTC. It was so funny because it was so easy to transition into the new companionship. Usually it takes a week or so to get really accustomed to how the other teaches and their personality and everything but this time is was pretty easy. The funny part was remembering how hard it was to teach our "investigators" in the MTC 15 months ago and how normal it is now. We can see big changes in one another! We also have a new house mate. So now it is three Americans and one Brasilian. The ward didn´t believe it (I was the first American sister in this area in a year and a half and now there are three)

After last Sunday´s adventure to São Cristóvão, Miracles are beginning to come forth! We only go about two times per week and since this week was transfers we didn´t have the chance to go until Friday. And it was amazing; We went from lesson to lesson teaching with members and teaching references from members. People that were really looking for something in their lives. it was perfect. We are trying to do our best there to help the ward in its goal to open up a branch there soon!

Sunday during Sacrament meeting Bishop got up to make the announcements. He then said that I was invited to come and sit up and the stand and that all those giving a talk should always sit up on the stand. I, confused as I gave a talk last week, slowly got up and walked to the front to sit. I turned to Bishop and asked what topic I should talk about. The first counselor then looked at me and asked when was the last time I had talked. I said last week. Bishop looked embarrassed and said I could return to my seat. I was silently laughing as I returned to my seat and the bishop got up again and said that I had been called to see if I was will and ready to give a talk in whatever moment. I had passed the test and then lectured the members to be the same. In reality he had just forgotten that I talked last week.

Tomorrow we will see our new presidente. We called him last night to say welcome and everything but it was very odd. Presidente Gonzaga prepared us to accept whatever change the new presidente made without complaining. Then last night we got a call saying that the meeting was moved to 8 o'clock am.  Meaning we would need to leave 6:30. His first change. The first thing we all did was cry out because of the injustice of it all. Welp. I think we need to learn to accept the changes better.... But I am excited to see what will happen!

Love you all and hope you have a great 4th of July!

Sister Martin

One of the seven big Catholic churches in São Cristóvão

I think I found the biggest World Cup fan . . .
and so I gave him a Book of Mormon

The Start of Something New

Dear Family,

Today starts a new transfer. I will stay here in Eduardo Gomes and I will stay here for at least 7 more weeks as this transfer is 7 weeks. I will find out who is my new companion tomorrow. Excited!

Tuesday was the Brazil vs Mexico game and the farewell here in Sergipe of Presidente Gonzaga. It was sad knowing that I would never see Presidente e Sister Gonzaga again as a missionary but I am happy because they will be in Utah every April for General Conference. Woohoo! But the game. Oh my goodness. It was crazy. We were at home waiting for the sounds of fireworks to show that Brasil was winning as it was almost certain that Brasil would win. A bunch of fireworks and bombs went off at the start of the game and then there was silence. An hour passed and we began hearing a lot of yells. Angry yells. We all thought that Brasil was losing. But we found out afterwards that it was just tied 0-0. Here the world cup is huge. Everyone is watching every game. There is this one house where he painted the entire front for the cup! (picture to come next week)

This week we got to teach Flavio and Edjane. The son and "daughter - in -law" (they aren´t officially married--yet) of members that got baptized two years ago. They have gone to church off and on for some time now. I found their teaching record that was made two years ago. Anyway we were teaching the plan of salvation for them and then afterwards invited them to get married and baptized on a specific date. This time was different. Flavio almost jumped off the couch and said mark it down. I will! We were shocked by how sure he was! Then he wasnt on to tell us that the date we marked is a date that is very special to him. It is the anniversary of the death of his brother that led the family to get baptized in the church. We marked the dating without knowing of its importance. It was amazing and really showed me how much the Lord is actually doing this work and we are just instruments. 

Friday was the ward´s party for São João. São João is a holiday celebrating the harvest and is celebrated by eating a lot of corn related food and dancing. My goodness it was crazy! There was a live band playing forró and the whole ward came out to dance and eat. While us missionaries can´t dance I loved being able to be a part of the party. We just stayed back serving the food but it still felt like we were part of all the craziness because literally everyone was dancing. Young, old, everyone. It was so exciting. And our recent converts all went and really liked it!

Sunday was also amazing. We started church with relief society studing the general conference talk "Acompanhamento" which would be "Following up" in English I think. It was a great lesson about how members are such a big help in mission work when they invite others to know more about the church and then actually go with them and acompanhar (It was hard to think of what words to use for this, easier in Portuguese). Barbara was there in the lesson. She raised her hand and began relating how important it was for her to be taught about the gospel. She said that every time we came and visited her and taught a lesson she felt edified and uplifted. She felt like love had been brought into her home. So why would she not want to share this same happiness? I felt so happy in that moment! She is amazing and helping so many others have that same experience.  

After church about 20 of us from the ward got together and we all went to São Cristóvão to "fazer proselitismo" Missionary work! the ward is very excited because they are planning on opening up a branch out there in São Cristóão but there needs to be more members and priesthood holders there for this to happen. So we all went out and visited less actives and visited Barbara and Alamir´s neighbors and it was amazing. The ward working together to bring blessings to São Cristó~vao. Really united those that went and got us more excited about the branch. I can tell that many more miracles are going to happen soon here!

I love you all and thank you for your support and love!
Sister Martin


Dear Family,

Are y´all enjoying the World Cup? It's awesome! This week started the craziness right? I don´t know about there but here it really is craziness. The month of June is also São Joõa with is celebrated with fireworks and bonfires in the street and drinking so the two combined has been big! Next week I will send a photo of this crazy house. The owner painted the front for the Cup! Its cool. So during a Brazil game (and maybe during Germany) we have to stay inside our house. But Thursday we still got to follow the game. Every time there was a goal made hundreds of fireworks went of and you could hear everyone yelling GOALLLL so naturally we joined in as well. The yelling, not the fireworks. It was fun even though we were in casa. We sat waiting for the fireworks and talked and ate popcorn with brigadeiro (something that is very very tasty. I will make it for you at home). 

But some other exciting things happened this week was well. 

Aline was baptized Saturday! She is nineteen and also from São Cristóvão. She has been coming to church with Barbara and Almir for about a month now. It was great! and It is amazing how much speakers at a baptism are inspired to say the things that the investigator needs to hear. The Spirit was definitely there at that baptism!

This week I really studied about the Atonement in relation to love are charity. Just imagine the love for each one of required to do something so painful and completely self-less like the atonement. I started with trying to understand love. which in its most perfect and elevated for is Charity. and without charity we can not have eternal life. and it was only through charity and love for us that Christ had the strength and will to endure. To suffer for each one of us. To not give up. I am so grateful for Christ our Savior. For the perfect example of love and charity that he gave us. 

I love you all and am sorry that this email is short but next week will be better!
com carinho e amor
Sister MArtin

World cup and Weddings

Busy, crazy week

Dear Family,

This was officially the busiest and craziest week of my mission up til now.

Last week started with a bus ride to Maceió for leadership counsel. (funny story about catching the bus. To get on the charter bus you have to have identification. Well we got to the bus station and iter had forgotten hers. And we had 50 minutes til the bus left for Maceio. We hoped on a regular bus to get to our area and had the other sisters wait at the bus stop to pas the identification so that we didn´t have to get off the bus. And by the time they passed it it was already 6. then the bus started going the wrong way! 6:10. By this point I was really nervous and began praying that we would make the bus. So we got off the bus we were on and ran to the next bus stop and the moment we got there a special taxi passed (a taxi that basically works like a bus) and we got on. He flew. But then he topped on the side of the highway and told us to run up the curving exit and we would be there at the bus terminal. Man we ran. But we got there the moment it was about to leave! Craziness) We got there late and early the next morning the meeting started. Then the bus ride back took another 5 hours. So we had Wednesday to work.

Thursday we spent the day running around with our District Leader to have the baptismal interviews. Two in São Critóvão and one in Eduardo Gomes. In between the interviews there was a lot of planning that went on for the two weddings to happen the next day. with worries about dresses not fitting and hair and time to do it all. 

Friday morning we left with Andréa and Everton to go to their wedding at the catório. The judge showed up two hours late! so the wedding started at midday. And it was the weirdest thing. He began talking about abuse and prostitution and how it is all the parents fault and that there was a 12 year old that suffered bullying... all while everyone was standing. It was odd. After 30 minutes of lecture he went one by one of the 10 couple there asking if they accepted the other as their spouse. And it ended. But Andréa and Everton got married! That's what matters right?

We rushed to lunch from there and from lunch to the church to decorate for Barbara´s and Almir´s wedding. In an hour and a half we got all the tables and decorations set just right then rushed to get the bride and her daughter ready. Sister Sierras has already worked and grown up in a beauty salon so she knows how to do makeup and hair and nails and it was her that did everything for the bride. By the time everyone was ready it was already 8. An hour after the wedding was supposed to start. Man weddings are stressful. I am thinking that by the time I get married I am just going to run away and get married. Is that ok?

But the wedding was beautiful. Almir and Barbara were very happy and even cried so it was worth it. Saturday brought the baptisms of Almir, Barbara, and Andrea. Their happine of wedding continued. I loved being able to see them leave the baptimal fount with big smiles on their faces. Saying that they were feeling so light. Worth all the crazines!

Well This week starts the World Cup. Should be wild. 

I hope all went well and this next week will bring more tranquility for you all!
Com amor e carinho
Sister Martin

Sou Purificado

Dear Family,

The best moment of the week was when Any and Ernandes were baptized. Hands down. There is such a big difference in watching individuals changing their lives and being baptized and seeing a FAMILY changing together. Seeing the happiness that is there. Knowing that one day they will go to the temple and they will be an eternal family. Aí I love it. They were baptized this Saturday and they showed up looking like members already with a skirt and shirt and shirt and tie combination. Even their son came with a nice shirt and a tag saying Future Missionary. It was amazing. We sang a hymn and a member gave a short talk. They were already feeling the Spirit by this point as Ernandes shed a few tears. A man who has cried once in 14 years. Then came the actual baptism and I broke a small rule and held their one and a half year old crying son while they were baptized. Any was first. As she left the baptismal font she was jumping with happiness and feelings of cleanliness. Then came Ernandes. He left the water and just stood at the top of the stairs dripping and looking down. Then he said "Sou purificado" I am purified. He looked a little over whelmed by the feeling. I just about cried knowing how sweet that feeling is. That feeling of being pure and clean and so close to our Heavenly Father. I can´t imagine anything better. 

This week was also another Zone conference, where I perceived that I am the oldest (in mission age) in my zone. But it was a great day filled with trainings and learning how to be a better missionary. Liked it. 

Other than that it was a pretty normal week. I love you all and will send word next week about how the two weddings and baptisms went this week!

I love you all and hope you have a greatly fantastic week!
Sister Martin

Orla, coffee, and fake braces

Dear family,

Thats pretty crazy that Garrett is all grown up and flying by himself. I feel old. Haha, to me he is still a little boy!

I love the idea of spending Halloween in Nantucket! it really is beautiful! That plane is pretty crazy though. Was it scary?

My next transfer won´t happen until the end of June. But I have a feeling that I will actually spend the rest of my mission here in Eduardo Gomes. 

This week was great! For P-day a member took us to the ORLA in Atalia (maybe you could look it up on google. Google should have information about the ORLA). There were six sisters and three members showing us around the touristy part of Aracaju (which is the capital of Sergipe). Atalia is a neighborhood of Aracaju. which is close to the beach. My goodness it was beautiful there! and so different from the beachy areas of Maceio. In Maceio there was always a lot of people and a lot of movimento and things like that. But the Orla was competely calm while being beautiful and very family friendly. We got to take a lot of pictures and enjoy a day that was surprisingly cool (not cool just not burning hot). 

We have been teaching a couple for quite some time now. Their names are Any and Ernando. They are amazing with a one year old son. Very open to hearing us. But a million things have been happening so that they are never at home. Tons and tons of distractions and sicknesses and school and work. It's been hard. Many times we have tried to mark lessons with members but something always happened. They weren´t at home or the members couldn´t come last minute. We´ve been trying to mark their baptisms and they have been hesitant. This week it ALL changed. Members are miracle workers! Thursday we finally had the chance to teach with two members. and we didn´t get to teach the lesson we had planned but the members ended up just bearing their testimonies and everything they said just clicked with Any and Ernando. and we challenged them one more time afterwards for baptism and Any about yelled I will! It was amazing! Then the next day we were turned and taught about the word of wisdom. When we mentioned that we don´t drink coffee Any at first reacted very negatively and my heart turned to ice. It was scary but we continued teaching and talking about the blessings that come with following the Lord´s commandments and they eventually and tentatively accepted. The problem is that Ernando works at night as a security gaurd and usually drinks a lot of coffee to stay awake. Well, Sunday morning came and only Any was at church but she came with great news. She had sent Ernando off to work with a huge thing of coffee and it returned full! He hadn´t drunk a single drop of coffee because he didn´t even have the desire to drink it. Ai eles são tão bons! Excitement!!

Crazy sighting of the week. We are teaching this 12 year old niece of a less active member. And yesterday for the first time i noticed that her braces weren´t braces at all! every month or two she super glues small fake jewels to her teeth to make it look like she has braces. She has been doing this for 6 months already. Crazy right?

I love you all and hope you have a great Memorial day!

Sister Martin


Monday, May 19, 2014

I´m gettin´ married in the mornin´.... or in 15 to 20 days

Dear Family.

This transfer is normal with six weeks. And it is the last one of Presidente Gonzaga. Sadness!

How is Mary Claire´s finger?

This week was cool. My first wedding! Well we made the first step in helping Andréa get married. Our investigator had planned on going to the cartorio (the place where you go to sign the paper and pay money and in about 20 days you are legally married) on the 15th. We visited her on the 13th and she still didn´t have enough money ready to pay for the marriage paper. We taught about faith and the importance of keeping the commandments and the blessings that come and then offered to help. Well two days later she called us saying she got the money! Isn´t it cool how miracles happen? My companion and I were witnesses of her marriage. It was cool. I was the first foreigner to be a witness there. 

This week two more couples that we are teaching will be making their way to the cartório as well. So many weddings! It is amazing to see people who have little money and have already been living together for 12 years or 22 years really make that step. To go out of their way to be married by law when that is seen as so unnecessary here. But they do it because they know it is important to our Heavenly Father. We have been teaching a lot about the Plan of Salvation and the importance of families.I love it because it helps me remember that we are all children of  our Heavenly Father. That he gave us families for our happiness. That our family can be together for eternity. I am very grateful for you all and that God gave me you as a family! 

Church yesterday was big. We got there and found spots to sit for us and our investigators in Relief society (here sacrament is last). Then we had to return home to get something important that we had left by accident. When we returned, the relief society room was packed! People were sitting in the door way and spilling out to the hall. A first! There were so many people visiting, and less actives returning and new members it was amazing. 

I love you all and hope for a great week for you all!

Sister Martin

stories untold

Dear family,

It was great having the chance to talk with you all! Happy Birthday Andrea and Happy Mothers day mom!

Here are some stories from the week that I didn´t have the chance to talk about. Also, I am unable to send photos.

This week I sinned. My companion and I left our area, zone, and stake and visited a member in an Elder´s area. It was actually pretty scary. So part of our area is called São Cristóvão which is another city and 40 minutes by bus. we went there this week after a zone meeting (which was full of water balloons. Unexpectedly my companion and I got caught and soaked in water). Well this day everything went against our plans. So we ended up needing money for three bus fares and eating lunch close to the stake center where we have zone meetings. And we didn't return to our apartment as planned to get more money and leave things like PME in casa. This became a problem as we got on a bus to return to our city, using the last of our money. After 10 minutes it became apparent that it was the wrong bus. After an hour and a half (we stayed on the bus because we didn't have money to pay to get on to another and we were hoping that the bus would go to a terminal where we can get on another bus without paying) we got to the center of the city and the last bus stop was one outside of the bus terminal. So we were stuck in the middle of Aracaju with out money and a good hour bus ride from our area. But we were in the past area of Sister Sierras which had recently become an area for elders and she knew of a member that lived near by. We walked there and asked for bus fare. It was pretty embarrassing having to ask. But to be sure it was an adventure. Crazy day. 

Last night we heard about transfers. I will be staying here with my companion. I am excited for everything that is to come! 

Sister Martin

Baby, It will rain, rain, rain, rain

Dear wonderful marvelous family. 

Hi. Sometimes writing to you all is really fun and exciting and its cool. Today is one of those days.

Skype will be the same as Christmas. One hour. and 5 here and 4 there is good?

This week was AMAZING and crazily filled with a lot of things to do. The week literally flew by.

Monday started exchanges with our housemates. I stayed in my area with Sister Agreda and we traveled to São Cristóvão de novo. It was an adventure as she had never gone and it was my second time going but we caught all the right busses and made it there safely and just a bit wet. But we got there and had the opportunity to teach with members. mark a wedding, and a baptism. good rainy day. Then rushed back to Eduardo Gomes to talk with Thairanne who has been nervous about getting baptized but when we showed up she said she was excited and couldn´t wait for Saturday! Sometimes miracles happen and I don´t know why or what changed but man I am grateful. 

Wednesday the day was spent in the stake center waiting to have interviews with Presidente. And I got a package! Thank you Southcoast youth! It was perfect. Loved it.

Thursday I cried from laughing. Por que? Porque we went to Thairanne´s house before lunch to take her to a singles activity at the ward because Thursday was a national holiday here in Brasil (why I don´t remember) and as we were waiting as she finished getting ready a parakeet flew and landed on Sister Sierras head. And I rushed to take pictures. Then I noticed a wet spot on her shirt. The bird had peed on her head. Oh goodness I laughed. Poor thing went to wash her hair (but she was laughing as well so its all good). But more adventures continued as we made our way to S.C. again in the rain. The city is situated about 40 minutes by bus from the capital of Aracaju (of which Eduardo Gomes is a bairro) and it is just one street. Very country. On the way to the bus terminal to start splits with other sister the passed over a lot of puddles. At one point little fountains of water were spewing up into the bus from the floor. It was exciting.

Friday I spent the day with Sister Chilson again! This time as a leader and it was great to see how much she has grown in two transfers! really it is a lot. 

Saturday was the baptism of Thairanne! She was baptized jsut before the Saturday sessions of stake conference. We had almost all the sisters from the stake there to sing for her including Sister Gonzaga. And this is a zone of sisters (12). Everything went perfectly and we all moved into the meeting with Elder Costa of the first quroum of the 70 and Elder/Presdient Gonzaga of the 7th quroum. It was amazing. Elder Costa is an amzing missionary and he a great speaker. 

Funny story about Elder Costa. Yesterday he began telling a story about the people of Manus when he was a mission presidente there and how much they sacrificed to go to the temple. As he was telling the story I thought it all seemed very familiar. Then he talked about a family that had sold every thing to make the almost 8 day journey to the temple. And it dawned that I had in fact heard this before! Yup he had already to this story to us in Massahusetts! Heard it for a second time just this time in Portuguese. 

Well I hope everyone has a good week! Love you and can´t wait until Sunday!
Sister Martin