Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Hey Family!

How is everything going?? I hope you all had fun in Colorado. Tell Grandma I love her!

So this past week was good, we're still working super hard on finding people to teach here in Cardston and its still been a little difficult but I know we wouldn't be here if there weren't people for us to help bring closer to Christ.

On Monday we went to FHE with the YSA and had a picture scavenger hunt, so fun! Me and Sister Estrada were determined to win and lost to the Elders team by 20 sad! But oh well.....I think I'm starting to not be so awkward in the YSA branch so that's a positive! Hahaha Then we had correlation with one of our Ward Mission Leaders and it was awesome! I don't know if you've seen some of the Hastening the Work of Salvation videos but I felt like I was in one of them! Its just so nice when you have a ward mission leader that sees the vision of missionary work in the ward. There's a lot of good things happening right now and hopefully we see some fruit come from it.

The next day we had district meeting and I'm just super blessed to be serving around the people that I am, I learn so much from all of them. We then had a huge list of people to see so me and Sister Estrada just tackled the list.....too bad most of the people weren't home but we did set up an appointment with a non-member that we're going to see later today so hopefully that goes well! We also had our ESL class that night. SOOOOOO FUN! We had 4 Croatians and 1 from the Dominican and 1 from Spain and 1 from Brazil. Remember how its my dream to go to Croatia???! Well these people are awesome! And they started teaching me some Croatian! Anyways who knew there would be so much diversity here in Cardston. It helps me pretend I'm back in Calgary haha

Wednesday was an okay kind of day. We met lots of potentials but other than that 3 of our appointments fell through....sad face. I just get so upset when we almost have someone to teach and then it falls through. BUT we did find out some exciting news. We get to start helping in the Cardston Visitors Center at the Temple! Don't get too excited because the Visitors Center here is tiny but it will be cool for the summer since tons of people come from all over the world to go to Waterton and they have to come through Cardston and lots of non-members stop to see the temple. It will be cool to then be able to help with missionary work all over the world.

Thursday we went over and helped at the Seminary building and role-played with the students on how to give a Book of Mormon away and how to share the gospel with their friends it was super fun! Then we went out on splits that night with some of the members and got to meet more members in one of the wards. We're still trying to figure out how to be over a whole Stake but I think we're finally getting the hang of it.

Friday we had exchanges with the Raymond sisters and I went to Raymond with Sister Connor. She's a super awesome sister from Las Vegas and the whole time I was just thinking it would be so much fun to serve with her! We had a couple of lessons and taught really well together. We had one lesson and it was the saddest thing everrrr. The guy was talking to us and said "there is no true church on this earth and I know that to be true." IT BROKE MY HEART TO HEAR THAT. We just bore our testimonies on Christ and the Book of Mormon and then left. He just wanted to argue with us and there is no point staying in that situation when you can't feel the spirit.

We had an awesome Saturday though. We went and did yard work for a lady in Raymond who's not a member but has come to church a lot. We mowed her lawn and trimmed her trees and she was so grateful for all the help and said she was excited to come back to church. We also taught their recent convert who just amazed me with all the knowledge she has of the gospel. We can't reach our full potential without the gospel of Jesus Christ and it was so neat to look at this girl who just joined the church and realizing how much her Heavenly Father loves her. That night when we got back into Cardston are dinner appointment fell through but then the Croatians invited us over for Croatian pancakes! Tender Mercy! All of them are Catholic and we had some really good discussions about the gospel, some of them are more interested than others but all of them are really good people.

Yesterday we went to the 7th ward, YSA branch the Kaiani Branch and 4th ward. All of them had really good testimony meetings. Actually the really cool part is there is a lady in the Kaiani branch who called us and wants to be taught and she came to church on Sunday. She then asked us if she was allowed to bare her testimony! She got up and bore her testimony and it was awesome! The spirit was so strong. She's so ready for the gospel and we haven't even taught her yet. So that was super exciting!

Well family I love you lots. We are so blessed to have the gospel so pray this week for someone you can share it with, even if the person is an active member, we can always bring someone closer to Christ. Have a great week!

Sister M.

 A random Buddhist church in Raymond!


Monday, May 19, 2014

Hey family!

So it was such a fun week! We did so much service. Literally soooooooooooooo much service! I loved it. Its a great way to meet people and get to know them better.

Last week for P-day we got to go to Waterton and it was so beautiful! I just love being back in the mountains. We saw tons and tons of mountain goats, I was hoping to see a bear but sadly no luck. Maybe next time! Since Waterton is in our zone I want to go as much as possible! Every Monday night we do FHE with the YSA branch and last Monday night we had a bonfire and roasted marshmellows. Can I please just tell you how awkward I am now since I'm a missionary. SO AWKWARD. I didn't even know how to act at FHE with all these people my age hahaha by the end I was fine but I was just thinking that covering a YSA branch is good for me to help me adjust hahaha oh boy.

Tuesday we had district meeting and then went and did service for TerryLyn. That was so fun! TerryLyn was someone I worked with up in Calgary a year ago and now she's in Carston and I'm in Cardston! So fun! She's doing so good. It was so rewarding to see the difference in her from last year to now. We did a ton of yard work with our whole district and it was awesome. Then we walked all over Cardston.....literally this town is tiny. We met some really awesome less-active people and tried to go contact a referral. Sadly the referral wasn't home but we did meet a lady who we started talking to and she mentioned how she wants to speak better English.....the cool thing about that is we do a ESL class every Tuesday night and told her she should come! In our ESL class we have a couple of people from Croatia (I have no idea how Croatians make it to Cardston but good for them!) and a couple of people from South America. Then we went to institute that night which was also super fun. Since we're covering a whole stake we try and go to as many things as possible to meet as many people as possible and I love it because then I get to learn cool new things at institute as well!

Wednesday was the best day everrrrrr. Guess what we got to go do? Our whole district was invited out to go and help with branding! Yup branding cows. Me and Sister Estrada were in charge of vaccinating them, I got to vaccinated 150 cows. The Elders helped tackle the calves down and we went and shot the needle into their armpit and the poor little guys got castrated as well. What an interesting thing to watch. ewww. Anyways I loved just being out of town with all these horses and cows it was the best. I also ate a rocky mountain oyster. Don't judge....just accept the fact that I ate one and all the little boys who were helping with the roping thought I was the coolest sister missionary ever. Sister Gonzalez was getting way into it as well, she was helping with cutting the ears and I was so proud of her! She's from Montreal and is such a city girl and just turned into a little cowgirl it was awesome!

On Thursday again the Elders called us and told us that they had some service for us to do. Yay! After that we had a lesson set up with a family and I was so excited because I really really really want to find new investigators and sadly they weren't home :( I JUST WANT TO TEACH PEOPLE OKAY. Ha there is my little vent. I need to be patient I know I know. Things will pick up soon I can just feel it :) We did talk to this man though who was selling vacuums and then he asked us what missionaries do and we started telling him and had a really cool experience. He told us that 30 years ago when his parents and him moved to Edmonton that they had missionaries coming to their house and he can remember that from being a little boy! He said he remembers that they were great young men who their family got really close to but for some reason they stopped coming. He then told us that we're the first missionaries that he's run into since then and that he feels the same happiness around us as he did the Elders. SO COOL. First off it made me realize that I can impact someone's life for a very long time and I might never realize it. Secondly Heavenly Father has a plan for all His children. The guy is from Calgary so we got his info and hopefully he'll be able to meet with the missionaries! He was a super open person and took a Book of Mormon and was excited to start reading it. So even though I probably won't be able to see him again I'm hoping we helped him draw one step closer to Christ. We had dinner that night with the members we live with and they are just the cutest little old couple ever! They are the best. We were late for dinner because we were talking to the Vacuum guy and had to literally run across town..... which doesn't sound bad but Cardston is built on hills. Just picture me and Sister Estrada running up a hill for dinner because we're 15 minutes late. #awkwardsistermissionaryproblems Good thing the Terry's were okay with us being late. Ever since coming on my mission I hate hate hate being late to things.

On Friday we drove to Glenwood to do some service for a non-member that moved in. We helped her paint the walls in her house and she was so so grateful. It was a good contact. She opened up to us about her dad passing away recently and that's why she moved to make a new start. I told her that as missionaries we teach people how they can be with their families forever and asked her if we could teach her that and she said that when she gets the inside of her house done that we could! I was very grateful for that. We ate dinner at a cute little place called Cobblestone for dinner and I actually sent you a postcard of the place so you should be getting that soon :)

On Saturday we got a text from a recent convert of a couple of weeks telling us that she's not going to be Mormon anymore.....what the heck??! That was a shock and it was hard for me and Sister Estrada because we're both new and don't know her very well. But we set up an appointment and had a really good lesson with her. She's just been having a lot of challenges and thought it would be easiest to just quit. We asked her to remember all the blessings she's seen that's come from the gospel and reminder that Heavenly Father loves her and is aware of her. She said she wouldn't give up just yet and ended up coming church on Sunday :) Also we met this awesome Native lady who's been inactive and helped her with her dishes since she just broke her wrist. We also helped her with her driveway but then we had to leave so we wouldn't be late for dinner. I was really hoping we could of had a lesson with her but then we had to leave. At dinner I realized I had left my watch at her house and so after dinner we stopped by so I could grab it and then asked if we could share a message with her and she just started crying. She said she was so happy when we were over at her house helping earlier and that we reminded her of the spirit that she had always felt when she served a mission, She said she just wanted us to come back and when she saw my watch she was so happy in knowing we had to come back we had a really good lesson on missionary work and she said she has goals of coming back to church. It was such a spiritual lesson.

Sunday was good as well! We went to 4 wards again and we got to speak out in Hillspring. I think my talk went well and the people out in Hillspring are such good people. We also went to mission prep that night and a lot of the kids preparing for their missions asked us a bunch of questions and told us what their concerns and fears are. All I have to say is we're going to have some really awesome missionaries out in the field. Heavenly Father has been preparing His children for a long time and we are so blessed to live at this time. It made me think of how special my little brother Sam is. He's going to be such a good missionary.

We are very blessed to have this gospel!

I love you all!
Sister M.

Some of the cows Sarah vaccinated! 


The sister missionaries branding cows!
So I know I just talked to you yesterday but I'll fill in the rest of the world. I'm in Cardston! Yup Cardston Alberta...and I'm serving with...........Sister old MTC companion. HOW CRAZY IS THAT? Ha so I'm still a Sister Training Leader, I totally thought I wasn't when I found out I was getting transferred but we just opened a new STL area in Cardston and I'm over an entire Stake. The East Stake to be exact and I feel like I'm in Utah and I see the temple every single day and its the most beautiful thing in the world.

So yeah its been crazy. When I found I was staying in the south I was kind of disappointed to be honest but I know that's its going to be awesome. The assistants texted me Tuesday and told me I was still a Sister Training Leader and I was like WHATTTTTT. That's over half of my mission but oh well its the best so all is good. I was sad to leave Taber...SO SAD. The people there are the best thing in this mission. Bye bye Taber I'll be back again someday. 

Soooooooo then I went to transfer station and found out that the new STL area would be in Cardston and the other STL area that I could go to was in Crowsnest Pass....both seemed good so I was up for whatever. Then I found out that Sister Estrada was my comp and I was just thinking this is the greatest thing ever. Since I already knew her we got to completely skip the whole "This is super awkward because I don't know you and now I have to live with you 24/7 stage" Also since we are both new to the area we both had to load our cars with our suitcases and boy was that just the worst thing ever....SO MUCH STUFF. Don't be alarmed if I start mailing things your way haha I literally don't know where everything came  from but its just not okay hahaha. Anyways we got into Cardston and I'm just so happy to see some mountains now haha. We can go up to Waterton and go hiking on P-days when it gets warm! (If it ever gets warm.......that's another story though) So I live with members...first time on my mission! Its about time hahaha all the other sisters get so upset when they find out I've never lived with members before. We live in the basement of their house and its pretty nice so I'm happy about that as well.

Then I just felt super over my head about everything, we went to a relief society activity that night in for the Aetna ward and that was fun, I learned more about quilting...just working on my future momma skills ha and then we met with one of our ward mission leaders. I have a feeling that's the only thing that's going to save us is working with our ward mission leaders all the time. There's just no way we're going to be able to meet all the members. The stake is working really hard in having the missionaries go to all the members homes. And this particular ward (4th ward) part of it is in Montana....go America! That's a fun fact though. We also have a YSA branch which I'm super excited about and the Kaiani Branch out on the Blood Reserve.

The next day (Thursday) was hilarious. We woke up and decided to go for a walk and watch the sunrise and when we got home we were locked out! The member accidently locked the door and we had no phone or keys. So we tried all the doors, the members left super early in the morning and then we resorted to a window where I helped lift Sister Estrada up and pushed her through a window so we could get back inside. Good way to start the day. Then we went and had our District Finding Activity and we went Member Tracting hahaha pretty much just tracting into members its good for us because it helps us get to know everyone. We had a super good lesson with a less-active member though and we had no idea she was less-active (her neighbors told us later) I was on exchanges with Sister Gonzalez when we were doing it and we were super happy with the success that we had. Then we went to Seminary and the seminary students asked us a bunch of questions and got to know us better. I guess we'll be going there once a week and sharing something from PMG and helping them prepare for missions.

Friday we drove to Spring Coulee for Zone Training Mtg. Sister Estrada and I did a training on adjusting our teaching and lessons to our different investigators. I learned a lot and I'm super excited to get to know the missionaries in my new zone. Later my whole district went and sang at an assisted living home and I even played the piano for a little bit! You should be proud of me :) My piano skills are definitely not the best but they've improved on the mission. We had dinner with a super neat lady that night who loves loves loves family history work. On my mission I've really grown to appreciate family history work and have made it a goal to get more into it when I get home. Everything in the gospel fits together perfectly, I love it!
Saturday I woke up with pink eye....remember how I got this a year ago?? Its the worst thing to have as a missionary because everyone wants to shake my hand and then I just want to say "Look at my gross leaky red eye! You don't want this!" Ha but its starting to feel better so I'm happy about that. Then we drove out to Hillspring and had a lesson with a recent convert of 2 weeks. She's so cool! Its fun to come in and be able to help her continue to progress in the gospel. Hillspring is just a cute little village and its mostly members as well. We did get into a non-member house and got to know a cute older lady. She told us we can come back and brush her horses :) What a fun service! We did share a little message about mothers for mothers day and she loved the scriptures we shared. She asked if she could find those scriptures in her bible but we explained that we were using the Book of Mormon and so then we got to transition into the Restoration a little bit so that was cool. We were in Hillspring for most of the day visiting members. When we drove back into Cardston we had some members pick us up for dinner because they live on a farm way way way out of town. I just love farms :) I'm learning lots about farming out here in Alberta.

Sunday we had correlation with one of our Ward Mission leaders at 8 then 7th ward at 9:00 and then YSA branch at 10:30 and then 4th ward at 1:00 and then 6th ward at 2:30 it was the longest day ever! We then had dinner with a family who lives by the Canada/Montana border, I was so close to America! We went and saw the little monument they have of the Mormon Pioneers who crossed right there to come to Cardston. The members we ate with were so so nice. I just love nice people. And then I got to Skype you!! It was the best :) I love you lots!

I'm excited to be serving here in Cardston and I'm excited to find new investigators! Pray for the people of Cardston! Love you all! We get to go to Waterton today with the members we live with so that should be fun :) It will be even better when all the snow is melted. Have a great week!

Sister M.

Sarah's favorite little girl, Ava, from Taber. 

Goodbye Taber! 

Goodbye Taber!  

The Cardston temple :) 

Sister Martin and her new companion Sister Estrada! 

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Transfer Week!

Hello family! 

Its nice to know grandpas funeral went well. Sister Zuidhof showed me pictures from the funeral and it looked nice. I wish I could have seen all the cousins I hope the whole family knows I love them lots and lots!

So guess what its transfers and guess what?!? I'm being transferred! Its so sad! I just cried during sacrament on Sunday because I just had this feeling I would be leaving. I love Taber so much and I think I needed to be here more for me than for anyone else, I've learned SO much. I'm staying somewhere in the South so no Calgary for me :( kind of makes me sad but I know that Heavenly Father is putting me in my next area for a reason. I'll let you know later on this week. President has given us permission to email you later this week if we're being transferred to figure out mothers day phone calls! Can't believe I'll be seeing all your cute faces in a couple of days! 

So this week was good. (Every week is good as a missionary) So we did some service on Tuesday for on of my favorite ladies in the 3rd ward. She has taught me so much. We helped her pack some things since her family is moving..luckily they're staying here in Taber. We then taught our investigator Mardy about Family History work and he LOVED it. He loves the fact that it connects to the temple. He is so excited to take names to the temple....he just needs to be baptized! Thats one thing I'm sad about. I'm going to miss some really special people's baptisms. I'm confident in saying that 3 or 4 of the people we're working with will be getting baptized in the next little while. They're all so close, I'm happy in knowing I did my part to help them draw closer to Christ. 

On Wednesday I went to the dentist and you should all be proud in knowing I have no cavities! Thats the biggest miracle in itself since people just love shoving desserts down our throats hahaha but really they feed us good here in Canada. But I'm happy that my teeth are nice and clean haha anyways we had a good lesson with Krystal, I loved sitting there as Sister Mortensen was speaking and seeing how much she's changed in the last 4 months. She's so much happier than when we first met her and the gospel has just done wonders for her and her family. The gospel is for everyone and I've really come to learn that out here on my mission. We went and had a couple of good lessons and then taught our investigator Matt that night. He told us that he just soaks everything in like a sponge which he does. He's awesome. There's just some awesome people in this world who have no concerns. 

On Thursday we went to the food bank and it was sweet! They were really needing some help and everyones attitude towards missionaries have changed there. We then went and helped some old ladies with their garden. It was so nice outside I loved just soaking in the sun! These ladies are hilarious as well. They are the ones we met walking home from conference and helped them carry in their groceries. We then did weekly planning..........I HAVE A STORY FOR YOU ABOUT THIS ONE! please remind me when I come home...or skype this week hahaha SO funny. Anyways that night we taught mission prep and it was super fun! I love being a sub for mission prep. Its just crazy that I'm not in that stage anymore! It makes me so sad. 

Talking about being sad...we went to Calgary on Friday for MLC and I was just so sad! It finally hit me that I only have 4 months left! I was just crying the whole time hahaha lots of tears this past week. There are 4 sisters that are now STL's and I used to be their STL and then I looked over and saw Sister Estrada my MTC comp and got emotional thinking how the MTC was so long ago and then I looked over and saw Sister Doty and remembered all those good times and then saw Sister Blommaert and cried more thinking of when I was training her in Calgary. So many good missionaries and memories. I got up and bore my testimony on revelation and the priesthood, knowing we were all called to the Canada Calgary Mission for a reason. We're all assigned to our areas for a reason and have our companion for a reason. I've learned that the only bad companion you can have is one you don't learn from. Friday night the Stirling sisters came over Sister Olpin and Sister Shumway and they stayed the night so we could blitz Taber the next day. Those are 2 sisters that I'm going to really miss. 

On Saturday we woke up and headed to the little village of Grassy Lake and went tracting hahahah me and Sister Shumway went to one side of the street and Sister Mortensen and Sister Olpin went to the other side of the street. So I just have the most awkward story everrrrrr. In Grassy there are a lot of Mennonites and just to remind you most of these people speak german and have a completely different culture then we do so its always a fun time in Grassy. Me and Sister Shumway knocked on a house and I swear they told us to come on in. That would be the first mistake. The second mistake is that most people in Canada don't use their front doors and only use their side doors. So I proceeded to open their door and it seemed to not be opening so then I pushed harder and pretty much broke their door down...literally I think I broke the door. The other side was duck taped and had furniture blocking the door it so then I quickly shut the door and me and Sister Shumway sat on the porch, just waiting for the Mennonite lady to come and yell at us but then no one came.....I know they saw us open the door. So then we just awkwardly walked away. I would not be surprised if they called the police on us! haha hilarious. Then we taught some lessons and then the sisters left and we went out to Barnwell for dinner. They had us and the Barnwell Elders. Elder MacDuff and Elder Pitts. It was super fun because we ate dinner with some families that used to be less-active and have now been coming back to church. I've seen a lot of progress with less-active members here in Taber. 

Sunday I was just super emotional thinking I would be leaving this cute little town. The best part of the day was when our investigator Mardy bore his testimony. It was so powerful and the whole congregation was crying. He got up and bore his testimony on the restoration and how we're all here because of one simple prayer given by a 14 year old boy. He also gave me and Sister Mortensen a shout out so that just made my day. 

I've been super blessed to be serving here in Taber. Its been the best. I love my mission and its been the best thing I've ever done. I love you all and can't wait to talk to you Sunday!

Sister Martin

Sister McDade and Sister Martin at MLC's. 

Sister Shumway and Sister Martin tracting in Grassy