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, 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 there 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! 

Love,
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 staid 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 wiat 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 dit 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 watier 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). Everthing 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 she 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 dawn that I had infact heard this before! Yup he had already to this story to us in Mass! 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 

We´re half way there and living on a prayer

Dear family,

Welp. We are already half way through this transfer. Crazy. On mother´s day are yall free 6 oclock my time for SKYPE. I am pumped. 

This week I went on splits as a leader for the first time. It was pretty nerve wracking at the start. I had a lot of worries about not knowing which bus to take to get home and finding all of our apointments and knowing the area. But it all went well. All the other times I had done divisão it was me being evaluated and trying to do my best. It was interesting because this time I was focused on seeing. Seeing how I could help and seeing what she does well. It was a very cool experience with a lot of prayer and help from the Lord because I am still so new here on the mission and only with the Lords help can I be better and help others at the same time. 

In a week and a half we will have the leadership council whichhappens the first tuesday of every month. All of the sister training leaders and zone leaders meet in Farol and we plan trainings and stuff like that. Afterwards there will be a zone meeting where Sister Sierras and I have to give  a training based on what we learned during the councel.  

This week was way cool as we went to São Cristovão for the first time. São cristovão is a near by town that is part of our area - about 40 minutes by bus. IT is way cute and the oldest town in Sergipe. There are 7 big historical catholic churches in two blocks and has a very european feel. The moment we got there I wanted to be a tourist and go to the museums and take pictures and it was a jolting feeling. But soon I got over that. Looked at the beauty and thought about how cool it would be to have a chapel there! So we got to work! 

But the real miracle this week was with Andréa. We were teaching something basic and short (but no dad I haven´t heard about this new lesson thing from the church. We are kinda behind the times here) and asked her to give the closing prayer. In the prayer she mentioned something thanking God that her husband listened and supported her. After she said amen I pounced "Does that mean he agreed to get married?!" YES IT DOES! For the first time in years he agreed! And she said she was planning on getting baptized and to do that she needed to get married! Really there has been such a big change in her since we began teaching her. But the enemy is working as well. For the next two sundays she will need to work. But she is staying strong!

That was my week in a nutshell. This next week should be a great one and a busy one! I hope all is well with you all and I am looking forward to skype time!
Love
Sister Martin

Sergipe!

Dear Family,

I arrived in  Sergipe! It was a little odd to leave Maceio as it has been my home. My place for over a year. So transfers happen Tuesday morning and I found out that I would be heading out to Sergipe to be companions with Sister Sierras (First brazilian companion in over 7 months! woohoo!) who got here in the field the same time as me. And the big shock is that we are sister traning leaders. Which means we take care of the sisters in our area. We get there numbers and we go on splits with them and work with their leaders to help thm out.  

After finding out about transfers, all those going to Sergipe got on a private tour bus to travel for about 6 hours to show up in Aracaju, the captial of Sergipe. The drive was beautiful. And so relaxing and nothing like the buses that we take to get anywhere within the city. We passed some beautiful mountains and valleys and basically it was amazing. eventually we got to a chapel in Aracaju and all of our companions were waiting there for us. Sister Sierras is from São Paulo, 20 years old, and is one of 8. Thankfully she already has one transfer in our area (yes! for time on the mission some one already knows the area!) And our area is called Eduardo Gomes. It is very big but I am liking it a lot so far. 

This week we got to teach some amazing people. One of them is Andréa. Whose life has not been an easy one. Due to a variety of circumstance she takes alot of meds and spends most of the time sleeping. She also lives in rather complicated circumstances but through it all she is so open. She has a lot of desire to learn more about Christ and understand about the Bible and go to church but she as never felt good at any of the churches she had visited. We talked about about prayer and how she is a child of God and very speacial. It is amazing to see how she is happier after such a short time and how she is working so hard even though she has memory problems and sleeping problems due to the meds. She even went to chruch with us and did her best to stay awake. It was great.

Easter Sunday was a normal sunday. Here they normally celebrate by eating a big lunch with family and eating chocolate eggs. They didn´t even really talk about easter in church. But it was very cool to go out teaching because talking about Christ on easter sunday was something even more special.

I love you all. I am so proud of you Garrett! My goodness already blessing the sacrament. I must be old. I remember when you turned 12 and passed the sacrament for the first time. 

Com amor e carinho
Sister Martin

Transfers sadness

Dear Family,

After more than four months here in Antares, I am being transfered. Normally I get a little antsy and want to leave. And I am very excited to see where I will go (because apparently I am going to Sergipe. I am going to leave the city of Maceio!) but I will miss this ward and my companion. It is amazing here. Everything is in an uproar because almost all of the 53 sisters were transfered. WHAT. I think my first area is closing for sisters and going to Elders. Sad

This week was amazing. There are some people that it is an absolute pleasure to teach. This week we have been teaching Márcia. She is 22 has a daughter of 4 and is 7 months pregnant and lives alone. And has such an amazing spirit of willingnes to learn. Willingness to read to pray to ask the Lord. When we taught about the Book of Mormon she almost cried because she was so grateful that we had given her something that was just hers and no one elses, and when we returned she had actually done the reading and had marked the pages! Underlined what she liked and circled words she didn´t understand. It was amazing. The first time. Her biggest doubt was wanting to know what the word exhort means. Love. 

One night we came home at 9. It was late and we were tired and we came home to an impeccably clean house. We clean every pday but with a small apartment and four people that just come in to sleep and study it gets a little messy and we have to sweep everyday but it was EXTRA clean which was suspicious for a thursday night. Our washing machine actually drains into a sink that is in the "washing room" aka the end of the kitchen. Well a towel fell into the sink and stopped up the drain. And when the washer was draining water it spilled out of the sink onto the floor into the main room and bathroom and out of our apartment and down the stairs. Our house mates came home and started panicking a bit but reallly we were so lucky that the water didn´t enter into where we all keep our luggage. It is actually pretty funny and it got the house real clean! It is also a blessing that the apartment is all tile!

I love you all! Happy EAster! Feliz Pascoa! 
Sister Martin

Oh and about fast and testimonies here. They are awesome. In Anters in particular. Everyone gets up and talks for just a minute or two. They all share their testimony and how much the gospel blesses their lives and i love it. I dont fear bringing people or investigators to fast and testimony meeting here

What a week

Dear family,

So much awesomeness! Thank you so much for the valentines box and quess what! I got the dress that we thought was stolen! It was amazing because on the one year mark we had a zone meeting and there waiting for me was the two packages and a gift from my house mates and basically I felt a lot of love. It was awesome spiriuallty with the training of the zone leaders and amazing because of gifts. those are good. 

This weekend was general conference right? It was great. The fourth session was a little hard at the end because my brain was exhousted from trying to concentrate so hard to understand every word and I got a little antsy but it was really good. 

I had gone into the sessions with some questions. One of them being: Why do people chose do to what is wrong or turn away from the truth when they have gotten an answer. I dont remember who said it but one of the speakers said that when people know the consequences and still chose to do the wong it is like Cain. And they do it becuase they love Satan more than God. It struck me. It is very strong wording but made sense. This week was another hard week with many investigators choosing another way. But all I can do is try to help them devolpe love for our Heavenly Father. 

Like mom, I also really liked the talk about the snow and needing weight to progress. Cargas e fardos. Maybe we don´t like them but they are necessary. I can´t imagine being about to continue day after day trying to do my best if I had never experienced hard ships before. I would just give up! THen like another speaker said we need to be grateful in what every circumstances we are in. So even though don´t particularly enjoy hardships I am gateful for the help and strength and knowledge I have gotten through them. 

OH! The other really cool think that happened to explain the picture. We visited a member at home. This family helps us a LOT in every think we do. Well we got there and they had little presentes for us. We opened them up and there was a personalized hand towel for each of us. With our names and the brazil flag. It was so cute! and it is touching because most of the time we are just foreigners that pass through their wards for a short periood of time but to some we really create friendships and it is the best.

I love you!
Sister Martin

I forgot the biggest news of all! my mission presidente was called as one of the are 70! Elder Presidente Gonzaga! It was awesome! Missão Brasil Maceió! Melhor missão do mundo!!


My one year mark gift from the house mates that I got during the zone meeting

We live at the very end of the apartment complex. Some times it seems like it will never end

Mudanças

Dear family,

This week also brought a lot of changes. Tuesday we got into our apartment and spent the day cleaning. We got a fridge and beds. But the apartment is actually rather small so it was crazy! But then it got even crazier as Wednesday all of our stuff arrived. My goodness! there was stuff everywhere! 

The new apartment has two rooms. One where we keep all of our bags and clothes and one where we four sleep. And there is airconditioning the room where we sleep! Its basically amazing. The kitchen is just a walkway with a sink so it is a little tight when we have lunch in casa and all of us are in there trying to cook at the same time. 

We are still living about an hour's walk away from our area but it is a little closer. It is good because we can walk but it is a little hard because it seems like so little time is left for working. 

This week we have been working a lot with a less active we found tracting and her nonmember daughter. They are amazing. Thursday we went to go teach and Duda still hadn´t done the reading we had left with her. So we challenged her to read it in the next three hours and pray to know if it (the Book of Mormon) was true. We said we would return in three hours. When we returned she was practically jumping up and down to open the door for us. She was exploding with exictment. "I read it. I read it." "it is true!" Basically it made my day. She was so happy to have recieved an answer. An answer from the Lord!

Then came Sunday. The first hour started and Duda and Gloria hadn't showed up. Saddness. Then as we were walking to Sunday school an irmã stopped us and told us that a woman had entered with her daughter and had gone to the sacrament room and was attending sacrament meeting with the other ward! Such happiness! we almost skipped there to pull them out and take them to the different classes. 

Com muito amor e carinho. 
Really. I love you guys.
Sister Martin

P.S.  I don´t think I told you but I have nightmares sometimes. Of you (She means Dave). I arrive at the airport and you are trying to take my name tag and call me by my first name. It is awful.

NOOOOO

Dear Family,

I am freaking out a little bit because I just recieved an email from the mission office with my itinerary  TO GO HOME. My heart is beating fast. I will leave here mid day the 23rd of Setembro and get there midday the 24th. It is so soon! But calma. Ainda tenho quase 6 meses. Muito tempo né? não? AH.

Well I will try to set that aside and write an email for you all about this week. But now my mind is drawing a blank. 

We started the week with a district meeting. This week counted as the last week for the month of March. (we make goals for every month). So the whole district meeting was about reaching our goals, personal goals, district goals, and the zone´s goals. Our zone leaders were also there. So we left pumped up and ready to get out and work and conquuer the world. Or at least Antares. 

I don´t think we have ever worked so hard. Mentally and physically. This was one of the hardest weeks of my mission. Why? Because it was the hardest I had ever worked to accomplish a goal. And yet it wasn´t in my power to make sure that this goal was met. We litterally did every thing in our power. And at the end of the day people still have their free will to choose whether they will be at home at the time we mark with them or not. They can choose to hear us out or not. They can choose whether to follow the answers they receive or not. So in the end, we didn´t meet our goals. And at first it was devastating. With fasting and prayer and physically working hard, the week was exhausting and we gave our all. So why didn't we see results?

It is easy to think the Lord didn´t hear our prayers. Or didn´t answer them. Or that maybe our best wasn´t enough. But I don't think it was any of that. It doesn´t matter how many times we fast. God will not take away the free agency of anyone. And I can feel good knowing I did every little thing possible.. We didn´t leave any stone unturned. So I feel that the Lord accepted my work. He accepted my "offering" (See Moses I don´t know what chpater but the story about Cain and Abel). 

This is a constant lesson to learn. 

But this week we also found time to have fun. Saturday there was a ward activity and we went because that was our lunch, we had investigators there, and later there was a mutual where we taught the youth how to make a contact. (Mutual here is on saturday and only happens about once a month or when the leaders want to have one). We were well fed, got to play water balloon volleyball (Sister Cadillo and I won. We only played because the other women of SocSoc didn´t want to play and the woman in charge was really wanting to have people participate. We need to do our part right?) and teaching the youth was really fun. 

Any way times up 
I love you all and hope that this week you see sun and warmth (you can have a bit of my sun if you want) Happy Birthday and happy Conference!

Com amor e carinho 
Sister Martin

Aaaaaaaand is gone

Dear Family,

HAPPY BIRTHDAY EMMA! 9 years old! impossible! Already?!

Don´t worry I am eating enough. When we are teaching in the afternoon almost always someone offers us something to eat or juice or something. 

This week FLEW by I still am having trouble believing this semana has already ended. 

Tuesday was a little crazy because of rain and traffic and a baptism interview. WE got a new district leader with the transfer and he got very lost on his way to our area to do the baptismal interview. after five ours and four omnibus we finally get him to Eduarda. Alisson´s cousin. SHE PASSED

On wednesday time also flew as Du (eduarda) was baptized wednesday. I also get anxious and a little nervous. Hoping that ever thing will go just right. She was baptized and confirmed on wednesday as this week end we had stake conference and didn´t have time for secramente meeting and waiting a week and a half is a long time. The baptism went well and her family was there to support her! It was so great. I love seeing the change and the happiness that comes with choosing to follow Christ´s example. And she is just cute. 

Thursday we had a zone meeting. The zone leaders showed a video to get us animated to get out and work. Waht they showed was a clip from that southern christain football movie that we have. I loved it and got me amped up to get out and work and to not think about what I think I can do but just go out and work and do my best and see what I am capable to do with the Lord´s help.

Friday I got a call from the mission office asking me what airport I wanted to land in when I go home. AH! WHERE IS MY MISSION GOING? I am old. we now have 53 sisters in the mission and there are only 6 older than me in mission age. 

Saturday and sunday we had the stake conference. So basically we spent the week running to do everything we needed to do. It was awesome. 

I love you all and hope all is well!
Com muito amor!
Paz e bençãos
Sister Martin





Nossa mia nossa

Dear Family,

Hi! I love you all! HAPPY BIRTHDAY JENNA

This week was crazy! So much stuff happened and this week flew by!

Tuesday morning brought the transfer meeting and a lot of taxis and a lot of luggage. But we finally got there. When I arrived I was asked if I had packed my bags. I responded no because I was staying in my area. Well I had been misinformed because I was going to be moving houses while staying in the same area so I should have packed my bags. I think that is just my luck as this is the second time that has happened.  Oh well. Then as I was talking to presidente he told me that I wasnt training and that I would like my companion. I instantly got nervous and began anilizing all the sisters trying to guess who would be my companion. And I got to thinking. Oh no. I wont have the twelve week program any more. What am I going to do without the 12 week program? (Its pretty funny now).  Any my new companion is Sister Cadillo de Argentina! She has 8 months on the mission and is exactly one month younger than I am. She is short and very pretty and amazing. I love her! 

So yup I moved. What happened is that we had been sharing an apartamento with the two sisters from Ala Feitosa. But now there are 4 sisters for that ward and that apartment cannot hold 8 sisters so me and my companion were moved to live with tthe trio in Jardim Alagoas. (so only living in 5 and not 6. a little better!) We are now living in Farol and even farther from our area but we walk less and take the bus more. I am living with Sister Almeida again and my neta (The sister that Sister Barratt trained) and Sister Ferreira. I Love sister Almeida as well and our house is very tranquillo. It is very good. 

You asked about carnival and I found out that Carnival is actually Maudi Gras. Who knew? And it ended and now there are peop´le im Maceió again. 

I think you asked what I eat. das manhas I eat a banana with granola and yogurt and for lunch is beans and rice and noodles again now that Sister Chilson left. At night is usually an apple and some crackers. But amazingly all the walking doesn´t help you lose weight. That would be against sister missionary logic. 

I love you all! Happiness!

Sister Martin

Baptsim (is that how it is spelled in English?) and Carnival

Dear Family,

This week has been crazy! There was the rush of last minute splits with the sister trainers, the biggest hooliday that happens here in  brazil, the end of the transfer and most importnat BATISMO.

As it is carnival weekend everything is closed. We were searching for a lanhouse to use for email and there is just nothing open but then we heard of one up one street away from the beach back in my first area sooo greetings from Pajuçara!

Alisson was baptized this week and it was a miracle from the start to finish. EVERYONE is traveling this week because of Carnival. And we had been running every where trying to get things ready for his batismo. To have someone to do the batismo and to be witnesses and to speak and people to just be there in general. Everyone that we talked to said they were going to be gone. Traveling. We talked to our Bishop and he said that it would all work out. Saturday night came and a miracle happened! There were so many members there! more than have come to any other batismo meu. On the weekend of a major holiday! I love this ward so much. They are amazing to the max. But another miracle is that All of Alisson´s family went even though he was the only one getting baptized and therefore one of the only members (only his grandmother is a member)

Last night we found out about transfers. Of the 6 of us in the apartment - 3 were transfered including Sister Chilson (who is now done with training). I am staying in this area. I am happy and thought that would happen due to the fact that Sister Chilson has been having hip pains due to all the walking. But what is crazy is that there is a big chance that we will be living in 8 soon because 6 more sisters are coming tomorrow! oh no! This week our new apartment really should be available for us to use! Here is for hoping!

Why are you going to Arizona in April? When was that planned?

Our new president will get here in the middle of the world cup and when I have only two transfers left here on the mission. It will be difficult with all the changes and everything will be happening so fast. Time will just fly by. Time is already flying by. I feel so new here in the mission and then I realize I´ve already been out for 11 months! 

Love you all and hope all is well 
Sister Martin

Photos to come next week. I forgot my camera and cord