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.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Mia nossa

Dear Family,

This week we have been teaching a young man named Alisson. He is AMAZING (He is going to be baptized this Saturday!!). We wanted to integrate him into the ward so we asked the Young Men's presidente to go and visit him with us (he is one of the few members that lives in our area). We sat down and began teaching and I realized how intimidating it can be to teach with members. Alisson´s grandmother is a member of the church but she is less active and we are there to help her as well so teaching with her isn't scary. But when you are with someone that got back from the mission less than three years ago you feel like you need to do really well so that they trust in you and aren´t left feeling like they could have done better. But the lesson went really well and at the end said we taught well "Parabéns. Voces ensinam muito bem, viu" It made me happy. 

Conferencia de Zona was changed. This was my fourth zone conference as we have them every three months and this was the first time that things were changed up. Like the fact that every one had to prepare treinamento and it was by luck as to who would actually give the training. Thankfully it wasn´t us. But there was also a change in that Presidente didn´t talk a lot about the rules or the things we needed to be doing better. But he spent a long time talking about Presidente Gomes who will come in just three transfers. The transition for Presidente Gonzaga was really difficult so he is trying to easy the way and prepare us for all the changes that are bound to happen here in four months. 

This past few weeks I have been feeling a little antsy. A little unsettled or sad by the fact that in my time with Sister Chilson we still haven´t had a baptism. But then at the conference minha neta came up to me and asked if I remembered someone that I had been teaching in Village 2. I said of course. She was someone that had gone to church several times and we had been teaching her for the whole second transfer that I was there. But her husband never wanted to get married. SHE IS GOING TO GET MARRIED! Her wedding and baptism will happen in one month! and her three kids will be baptized as well! Then I thought about Danielle and Wellington and Vincente. People that I had helped teach that later went on to be baptized and it was good to remember that sometimes we don´t see the immediate fruits of our efforts but that doesn´t mean that our efforts are wasted! 

Then after having that revelation, we went and taught an old man that we had made a contact with. We taught and prayed and it was good but what he said as we were leaving was like an answer to my doubts. He told us that we were different. We bring love and peace into people's lives. That we were doing a marvelous work and we should never give up. I won´t lie. Just about cried. He was very sweet and sincere. I can´t ever stop just because it is hard or because I don´t see that I am succeeding. 

I love you all and I hope that every thing is all good with you all! And right now the post office is at strike again so sorry but birthday letters will be late again. Darn

Sister Martin

Braços. Sucessos. Batismos.

Dear family,

I hope you all had fun in Bridgton Abbey! 

This week has been a good normal week. This Friday we are going to have a Zone conference with about 60 missionaries. And they changed things up this time. The assistants said that all the sisters need to plan on giving training about Teaching- where you find and finding where you teach. And then there at the conference they will choose one companionship to give the training. There will be 8 duplas at my zone conference. So this week have been planning on that  but outside of that the week has been a normal one.

We frequently talk with people in the street and invite them to go to church and to learn more about our unique message. This week we made a contact with a woman selling churros and we ended up sitting on the sidewalk and teaching her right there. It wasn´t the most spiritual lesson we have taught it was still good and you could tell she was taking it all in. We marked her baptism and said we would return in the next day or two. I thought it was nothing special. We returned we asked if she had prayed about the things we had talked about. She said yes. That when she prayed she had felt relieved. She began crying a little bit and just mentioned that her life was a hard one. I can imagine that that feeling of relief and peace just meant the world to her. A moment of peace when she is surrounded by unhappiness and hardships as a single mom of two kids. I am so grateful for the power of prayer. We didn´t know how hard her life was or how much of an impact prayer could make in her life. I am so grateful that we had taken that chance to talk with her and invited her to pray so that she could feel that relief of speaking to our Heavenly Father.

I love you all!
Sister Martin

PS I know y'all don´t like short letters. Sorry! and I PROMISE that the next one will be longer!

More walking

Dear family,

Yes, we walk a lot but then people feed us so much that I wouldn´t say that I am in the best shape I have ever been. But I can walk for hours on end with a Book of Mormon and a water bottle better then I could before the mission. But generally I wear the same pair of shoes always. They are cmy (comfy?) and good for all the mud (it has been raining off and on this whole week). Haha but gaining weight is still an issue.

It is poorer in that there is grota. Oh gruta. The houses are smaller with just a concrete floor and closer together. There are a lot of interesting smells but they don´t bother me like they did at the beginning.

I do get comments about my Portuguese. People say that I speak well. Obviously I still have an accent but not one that shouts American. They just look at my eyes to know that I am American. (or German).

No one watches the Olympics here. As the Cupo do mundo is coming up everyone is watching the preliminaries and the qualifiers and so it is more about futbol than the Olympics which makes me sad. I LOVE the winter olympics. I think people here just can´t relate to snow. 

What is a baptismal challenge? Is that just a baptismal date? If so than yes. We should have a few baptisms yet this transfer!

This week was pretty good. We didn´t have really high numbers or anything but the lessons we did teach were more meaningful. This week we have been working a lot with Maria José. We knocked on her door and found out that she is a good friend to some members in our ward that just had never invited her to church because she is a stong member of another church. She invited us in and is the sweetest person. She has taken us under her wing. (She thinks we are lost foreigners who need M&Ms). We have taught about the Restoration and the Book of Mormon and the Plan of Salvation. And she just takes it all in and prays and feels good and it is amazing! The only sad part is that Sunday morning something happened in her family and she was unable to go to church. But next week for certain!

This week a girl in the ward was baptized by her dad. We helped out at the baptism. It was incredibly sweet. When converts are baptized they don´t receive the gift of the Holy Ghost until the next Sunday during Sacrament meeting. But she received just after her baptism and for some reason I got goose bumps. It just hit me how important. How essential the Spirit is in our lives. That he is our comforter. He shows us the way. Through him we can feel the love that our Heavenly Father has for us. An overwhelming love. I can´t imagine my life or this work without the help of the Spirit. I am so grateful for having been baptized and received the Holy Ghost. Dad thank you so much for being a worthy priesthood holder and that you were able to perform that ordinance for me and for so many more people.

I love you all! Have A great week and a happy Valentines Day!
Sister MArtin

PS Crazy about all the snow storms lá no Sul.

PPS I know the imagine Dragons! there are new two films? I am confused

Mid Transfer Changes

Dear Family whom I love,

Mom was that proper grammar? I am forgetting English. The other day some one asked what time it was in English. I said it wrong. Sister Eneida (a Brazilian that knows English) just laughed and laughed. 

ALYSSA HAPPY BIRTHDAY! Tomorrow I will be singing for you! 13! I can´t believe how old you are!
My baby (sister) is all grown up!

This week was pretty crazy. Tuesday we had a meeting with our WML and Bishop. We left with a new area. The limits of our area are completely different. Now to get to the start of our area from our house we walk about an hour. To get where we are working we walk an hour more. It is distant and a little hard to walk so far in the hot sun but COMPLETELY worth it. I am loving it. The people are so willing to hear our message. So a lot of time is spent walking every day but even with that we are teaching double amount of the lessons we were teaching before. 

With the new area comes a lot of blessings and opportunities and a lot of challenges to overcome as well. It is a poorer area and 2 hours walking distant from the church and doesn´t have a lot of members that live there. It is an area almost untouched by missionaries. It is so exciting! It is really amazing to teach someone from square one. A lot of people have a lot of preconceptions about the church but not where we are working now! Really people have to rely on prayer and faith to know if our message is true. 

So we are finding a lot of people willing to hear and now our challenge is to find people willing to act. I am truly blessed to know that we are not alone. That we don´t do this work just us two. We have the help of the Lord. We have the protection of the Lord. We can be guided by the Lord if we let ourselves be guided. Something so important for me.Something essential. 

I love you all and I hope you have a wonderful week filled with birthday cake!
Sister Martin

PS Today marks exactly 10 months on the mission. CRAZYNESS

Work, work, walk, work

Dear Family, 

It is a very good thing that I got those shoes last week. We worked our feet off this week. This week we ventured into the very end of our area. We have officially seen it all. I feel like this week we literally did EVERY thing we could possibly do. We put it all out there. There was not a single bit of energy that we didn´t use. So at the end of the day we always stumbled in exhausted. But it was worth it. Because even though we were physically and mentally dead we had a peace of mind knowing that we did all we could. 

That is the worst feeling in the world when you you are dead tired and things didn´t go right and you have a feeling or a thought that says you could have given a little bit more. You could have spoken to that one person on the side of the road. That you could have put in a little bit more. 

How we measure success here on the mission is by how dedicated we are to this work. Therefore you only feel satisfied when you know you have done your ALL even when your numbers aren´t showing that you are successful. 

This week I feel tired but happy and successful. 

Story time. We are still living in 6. On Sundays we are all rushing to get ready to go out and pick people up for church, It is a rush. Well the first person was taking a shower when the water stopped. Uh oh. That means four more people were needing to get ready and there wasn´t any water. We scrambled to find what ever source of water possible and to fill a bucket of water to "take a shower" It was pretty funny and a lot of perfume was involved. And the best part is that we had very special visitors at church. President of the mission, the stake president, and one of the 70. It was a "that would happen" moment.

I wanted to thank you all for your emails and your prayers and love and support. They mean so much to me. I love you all very much. I am so gratefull that families can be eternal. 

With love from a happily showered missionary (we got water again! woohoo!)
Sister Martin

Christmas Box finally arrived


I got your package today! It made me so happy! Rolos! it wasn´t Christmas until I ate a handful of rolos. I might have been dancing around the apartment today with happiness. And the shoes are perfect! thank you! and ALyssa I love the bracelet! It even matches what I am wearing today. Really perfect. It is times when I am giddy with joy and just thinking "Minha familia me ama!" over and over again that I still feel young.

This week we had interviews with President. And this time was different. The other times we had interviews with him they were pretty basic and nothing special. This time was more insightful (maybe because I was searching for something more). At one point he said that I have changed a lot on the mission (but not physically. He said I still look young which made me feel better after so many people thinking I have 23 or 24 years) and I think he should know. He also asked what were the big lessons that I wanted to learn on my mission. Between those two things I really got to thinking. What have I learned here? Am I improving? Am I getting closer to being the best I can be? Am I continuing to learn? President is pretty good at getting you to think and fix your own problems. 

Something that I have been trying to improve on for months now is how to work with members better. How I can help members have more faith. How I can be more bold. How to ask for help.  And I hadn´t really gotten anywhere. Until this week. And the moment I started putting more effort into working with members and being a little bit more bold we were blessed with more members offering to help as well. It is amazing how much we are blessed when we just do our part. We don´t even have to do our part perfectly and we still recieve blessings. It is evident that our Father in Heaven loves us and doesn´t get mad when we aren´t perfect. He is pleased with progress. This week we found more investigators to teach and we taught better because we had the help of various members. 

Transfers are this week for us. I am staying in my area and will continue training my second filha. This past transfer was the hardest up to this point in my mission. And its amazing that even though I am staying in the same place with the same companion, there is still this chance to start anew. To improve. To forget how hard it was and just remember the miracles that happened and go forward with faith and be even happier than ever. How cool is that? It is like repentance or when we are baptized or when we take the sacrament each week. Each one of these things gives us this chance to start over and do better and be happy! Last week I got an email from a friend that said "remember that happiness is a choice" A lesson I have learned many times and yet I needed to hear it one more time. And I am happier for it! 

I love you all very much. I thing I love you all more now than ever. Never before have I seen so many dysfunctional families or so much heartache in families. I really am grateful for you all and the strength that I recieve from your support and prayers. 

beijos e abraços 
Sister Martin