Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Hey family!!!

What a week!! So first things first....I'm not getting transferred!! Cardston is my home for another 6 weeks :) Sister Estrada is leaving which is sad and it will be weird knowing my next companion is my companion for only 6 weeks but I'm ready for a the adventure!

So this week was super good, it had a lot of ups and downs but I guess that's just how things go on a mission. Last Monday we went up to Waterton and hiked Bertha Lake.....let me tell you about Bertha Lake......it was so hard!! 3 weeks ago we hiked Bertha Falls and it was a lovely little hike but the second half up to the lake is straight switch backs that wanted to kill us!! Oh my goodness...I don't suggest hiking when you previously just sprained your ankle and you can't breath out of your nose because of a stupid cold. We invited one of our friends from YSA and he probably regretted coming with us because we had to stop every 10 seconds hahahaha oh well. It was worth it because it was soooooooo pretty when we got to the top. Later that night I had an interesting experience that was kind of sad but I wanna fill you in on my life so I'm going to let ya know, I was talking to a friend of mine here in Cardston that's not a member and he brought up a ton of questions that I didn't know how to answer when usually I do and he pretty much told me to question everything that I've believed my whole life. I tried so hard to answer his questions and to bring the spirit back but it just wasn't working so we left. That night I honestly couldn't stop thinking about some of the things he said and it was just horrible! So I just said the most sincere prayer that I've said in a long time asking Heavenly Father to confirm to me that what I'm doing is right. The next day when we were getting ready in the morning Sister Estrada turned on a conference talk to listen to and immediately I felt the spirit listening to an apostles voice. I was filled with the spirit as I was reminded that I was called to serve this mission and that I was assigned by the prophet to do this mission. The church is true, it really really is. It was a good experience for me to strengthen the testimony I already have.

Nothing too extraordinary happened on Tuesday, I guess it was pretty normal. We had district mtg and then went and met with some potentials. We also had some good less-active lessons that night. We met with this one potential family who is awesome!! They have so many things that are preparing them for the gospel and they don't even realize it. It just makes me excited to see every stage of the work. People just starting to be prepared in small and simple ways, people starting to take the lessons, people preparing for baptism, people getting baptized and so forth. The hastening of the work is such a real thing and I honestly just get so excited thinking about it.

Wednesday was good, we went to the doctors and he said I have strep....crazy eh? (I don't really think I had strep but oh well) But I'm feeling better, the sad thing is I got Sister O'Dell sick.......that's what happens when we all live together. We had a good lesson later that day with a ysa girl that we've been teaching and she opened up to us and told us how much we've been helping her. She told us that she's felt the spirit as we've come over and taught and that's something she hasn't felt in a long time. She said that she's regaining that testimony that she once had. Hearing something like that makes everything worth it. Honestly I can have the worst week ever and hear something like that and feel so happy about life. Also we had a little miracle that night!! We got a referral and went over and got a new investigator! This lady is the sweetest girl ever!! She's been super hesitant about meeting with missionaries in the past but we just connected super quickly and connected with her husband as well. Later that night we went over to a part-member family and had a really good lesson as well. I just feel like we've been soooo blessed here in Cardston. We've created some really good relationships with the people here and are seeing so many miracles.

On Thursday there was a huge power outage for all of Cardston and it was the funniest thing ever because we were planning on having lunch and a lesson with a ysa member and as he was cooking us lunch the power went out so he went and built a fire and cooked the chicken over the fire and it was seriously the best lunch ever. And the best lesson ever, we talked a lot about courage and facing adversity. I'm just grateful I'm on a mission right now because being a young single adult is so hard in this world! I don't know how I would do it without the gospel. We taught Jody for the last time Thursday night and she passed her baptismal interview with flying colors. I'm so grateful to know Jody, she's made more changes than anyone I know for her to be ready for her baptism. The gospel has brought such a light to her life and its been so amazing to see.

On Friday we had a cleaning check and we tried to take care of Sister O'Dell.....remember how I'm the worst and got her sick??! So sad. But after we got her feeling better we had some really great lessons in the West Stake and then went and stopped by to see our investigator. We weren't planning on teaching anything because we were just stopping by quickly but than we started talking and she asked for a lesson! I loved hearing her say that, just knowing she wants to learn more. We taught about eternal families and temples. She's also been reading Joseph Smith History and was loving it! So I have a confession I've never even read all of Joseph Smith History and she read all of it! So that's my goal for the next week is to read it. We had another lesson with our new investigator that night and invited her to be baptized, she said she'll have to get a for sure answer but she's definitely thinking about it.

We got everything ready for Jody's baptism Saturday morning and then had her baptism. She was 40 minutes late hahahaha but we weren't stressin. She's always told us that she has the spirit of a turtle inside her hahaha. But honestly it was such a good baptism, I spoke on the Holy Ghost and that went good as well. I've never seen Jody so happy. Then we went to a YSA activity and then went by our investigators that night and saw some other potential people. I'm so blessed to be such good friends with all these people. They have changed my life for the better :) We had to drop some investigators this week which was sad but I knew it was going to happen eventually, they're just not ready right now and that okay.

Sunday was good :) 2 of our investigators came to church and I was so proud of them!! Jody was also confirmed a member of the church and received such a powerful blessing. I just love this gospel so much and I know its going to continue to go forth. I don't have a lot of time left so I'm sorry my sunday is not that detailed. But I love you all so much! You're the best family ever and I'm so blessed to have you in my life. I love being a missionary and I just want you all to know I'm going to work so hard the next 6 weeks. Have a great week!!

Sister M.

Hiking Buddies! 

Bertha Lake 

Jody's Baptism 

friends for life. Sister Estrada, Sister O'Dell, McKenna, and Sister Martin :)

Monday, July 21, 2014

I don't know about you, but I'm feeling 22!

Hey family and friends!!

I'm one year older! and hopefully one year wiser......anyways my birthday was awesome and we'll get to that later in the email.

So last week was super good:) like always. On Monday we didn't do much for p-day but it was nice and relaxing. We just hung out with people here in Cardston and got things done around our apartment. We did get to go out to Aetna and have a campfire with one of our friends for dinner. So fun! Then played some baseball with his little brother, it was such a fun family home evening. I just love the people here so much.

On Tuesday we got to go out to lunch with our YSA branch mission leader, he's also the best. Then had district meeting and after district meeting we helped our district leader out at a baptism they had. Sister Estrada, Sister O'Dell and I all taught a lesson on the restoration and I think it went really well. Our teaching is improving with the 3 of us, even though it was super hard to adjust at the beginning. Then we had a less-active lesson after the baptism on some of the commandments. The more I study and learn about the commandments the more I love them. They really are given to us out of love, they are for our protection and our happiness. Obedience is so important and I realize that more and more on my mission. Then after dinner we went out to Aetna again and had a little miracle. We stopped by a referral and when she answered the door she was so happy to see us! She asked us if we were from the church and then let us right in. Her daughter went to girls camp with her friends and had a super good time so now her mom has lots of questions about the church. She said she has lots of questions for us and was super happy we came by. We taught her a very brief lesson on the restoration and she said she wants us to come back and teach her family. SO COOOOOOL.  She's such a good Christian woman and just kept saying all she wants is to make it to heaven. Then we headed over to institute and had an awesome lesson on trials and then had correlation with our ward mission leaders. We had too many people we had to meet with so we had to go on splits. We're always so busy that we're never together anymore.

On Wednesday we worked at the visitor center and had some super good experiences again. Now that its warming up and its the middle of the summer the visitor center is getting more and more busy. Everyone just stops by because they're headed to Waterton and there's really no other places to see in Cardston hahaha. Its cool because a lot of the time the non-members that come in don't even realize that there are temples all around the world and a lot of the time there's a temple where they come from. So it makes them super excited to go see the temple that's by there home. Then we headed out to Mountain View to go visit our little family from Hungary.....the only problem is they don't understand missionary schedules and want us to stay all day. You can only imagine my anxiety of talking to this family and being super late for our next appointment. They told us that next time we come back they don't want us to have any appointments and just to stay for the whole day hahahaha too bad we don't have any empty days! We're trying to figure out when we can go over for dinner and then hopefully have a lesson with them. So after we left their house we had to hury back to Aetna for an appointment and I just hate being late so much but luckily the person was super understanding and we had a super good lesson. Then headed quickly to dinner and had to eat super quickly to make it to our next lesson. We had a lesson with Jody and she's doing so good!! She told us that she hadn't had any coffee for 6 days and I was so so so happy! She's so ready for her baptism. Then me and Sister O'Dell and Sister Estrada went on splits and had to be solo with some other members. Its good because we cover a lot more appointments but sometimes bad because the members get nervous and then I end up being the only one teaching, that's ok though because the members are doing super good here in Cardston.

Thrusday was good we did some weekly planning, had our district finding activity and then had a lesson with one of our investigators, her husband who is less-active sat in which was super helpful and really good for him as well. We taught lesson 3 which is the gospel of Jesus Christ. Her husband even mentioned how relearning all of this has really helped him remember why he joined the church in the first place. Hopefully both of them can help each other as they're trying to draw closer to Christ. Then that night we headed to Magrath for exchanges and I stayed in Magrath with Sister Gonzalez. She misses Cardston so much but is doing really good in Magrath.

The next day was so fun! Really I wish you could spend an hour with Sister Gonzalez she is hilarious! We also had some really good lessons. We taught their investigator who is from China and had such a good lesson with her. She told us how her biggest hope is that the people of China will someday be able to hear the gospel. It was the sweetest thing I've ever heard. Chinese people are so sweet and humble, I love them. We taught her about the temple and she just got so excited saying that she wants her family to be together forever. She really wants to be baptized but is trying to overcome some word of wisdom problems. When I was in Magrath Sister Estrada and Sister O'Dell and Sister Johnson had a good exchange as well and found a Muslim man who wants to learn more about Christianity so that will be fun teaching him, we have another appointment with him this week! So hopefully that goes well.

Saturday I was sick all day.  The End.

On Sunday I woke up feeling extremely better, still sick but better. I opened all my presents from my amazing family so thank you!! Thank you to Aunt Lyn, Grandma and Grandpa, Aunt Dorsa and my famfam. I love you all!! Me and Sister Estrada spoke in the Aetna ward and then went to YSA and then went and spoke in Kainai and both talks went well. Then we went to 6th ward and then met up with Sister O'Dell who was on splits over in the West Stake. We then had the best birthday dinner ever with my YSA friends. I'm serious when I say I've been so blessed my entire life to meet the best people in the world. They made a really yummy Ukrainian meal with perogies and borsche and potato pancakes so yummy!! And then the best chocolate cake in the world!! The best part was everyone went around the table and said something they liked about me. It was the sweetest thing in the world. I'm just so blessed! Also the assistants called that night and sang Happy Birthday:) Elder Engstrom and Elder Lloyd are the best assistants ever. I just felt so much love from everyone and it made up for the day before being so horrible. I saw lots of blessings the past week and it just makes me love missionary work more and more. It truly is the best!

Well I love you family!! I can't believe I'm 22!! So old......haha just kidding! Thanks for all that you do for me! I love you all so much!! Have a great week!

Love Sister M. 

Sister Martin and Katherine in Magrath! 

Birthday Dinner!

Monday, July 14, 2014

a beautiful Canadian summer.

Hello family and friends!

How is everything going?? How is life?? Fill me in :)

This week was wonderful. I feel extremely blessed to be serving a mission and I feel like every single day I feel more and more love from my Heavenly Father.

Last Monday we went up to Waterton and hiked Bertha Falls, such a beautiful hike. I can't describe how big of a blessing it is to escape into the mountains and see so many beautiful things. It gets me so excited for the upcoming week. Our whole district went and it was so fun. Waterton always ends with a big scoop of ice cream and skipping rocks on the lake. Then we headed back into Cardston and a lady invited our whole district to dinner. So fun! We then went to FHE and spent some time with YSA. Then we were invited to go to a campfire and sing songs with a family that just moved here from England.  They have come to church a few times and they're just a super cute family! They've never made smores before so we made some yummy smores and got to know them a little bit better. Hopefully we can start teaching them soon! They have some super awesome experiences at church and the members here are doing so well at friendshipping them. Members can make a world of a difference for people investigating the church and luckily Cardston has some pretty awesome members.

On Tuesday we went out to Glenwood and had Zone Training Mtg where me and Sister Estrada did some training on working with members and the importance of church attendance. Our mission has been doing super good lately but we're falling behind in having investigators come to church. Church is so so important! Its how we can tell that our investigators are truly progressing. Afterwords we came back into Cardston and tried to contact some people and then after dinner we went on splits so Sister Estrada and Sister O'Dell could go to ESL and then I could go to institute because we had a non-member going who doesn't want to "investigate" and take the lessons but wants to know more, anyways it was super good because we went over Elder Scotts talk from conference and he really enjoyed the talk.

Wednesday was also super good. We spent the morning in the temple visitor center and had some awesome experiences!! It was so busy that morning and we had lots of people to talk to. One family came in from Idaho and was waiting for the grandparents to come out of the temple. I could tell that the family was probably less-active and that the kids didn't know much about the temple. I took them outside and talked to them for a little bit. They were asking some really great questions and the spirit was so strong. The father turned to me and with tears in his eyes he said "I feel so close to Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ right now." It was a very special moment where his kids were able to witness the spirit touching their fathers heart. I proceeded to talk to him about how the temple truly is the Lords house and that he wants nothing more than for us to enter the temple. Hopefully they remember that special experience at the temple. Then we got invited to go eat lunch with a non-member family from Hungary! Lets just think....why in the world do people from Croatia...England...and Hungary just come to tiny little Cardston??! Obviously they need the gospel in their lives! Anyways we just got to meet the family and enjoy lunch with them. The little kids played a game with me and tried to teach me some Hungarian hahahaha so funny. There's a reason I got called to an English speaking mission. Then we had a really good lesson with one of our less-active YSA girls. I feel like I'm just teaching my best friend and its awesome. We also taught an investigator in the west stake that night and got her on date to be baptized on August 2. She's only 12 but such a sweet girl. Her mom has recently been coming back to church, the mom is so supportive but I think its going to be hard with her dad. Hopefully things go well though.

On Thursday we had a super awesome lesson with our investigator Jody. I've seen SO many changes in her and its all coming from the Spirit. She's such a great lady and I feel so blessed to teach her and know her. We're almost done teaching her everything and I hope that she'll continue to have a desire to be baptized on the 26th. She truly understands how important covenants are and the commitment of baptism. Sometimes I worry that investigators don't understand that but I'm not worried about her at all. We later drove to Raymond to go on exchanges with the sisters there. Sister Connor came to Cardston with me and Sister O'Dell and Sister Estrada stayed in Raymond with Sister Barton. We left to get home on time and right when we got to Cardston Sister Estrada called us and told us they got in a super bad hail storm. Their whole back windshield was shattered and turned into a gaping whole. I felt so bad for them because they wouldn't be able to truly enjoy exchanges the next day.

On the other hand we had a super good exchange on Friday. We got a lot done and it was really good. We had some lessons in the morning and then we were invited to the Chinook Lodge for lunch. That's where we go and sing to the old people sometimes. They wanted us over for lunch to show their appreciation towards us and then they gave us roses! How cute is that?!? I ended up just giving my rose to one of the old ladies and she was thrilled, its funny how something so simple can just make someones day. Then we had a lesson later with that same YSA girl and she asked some super awesome questions. She's super smart and her questions make me think a lot. We talked a lot about agency and overall it was a really good lesson. 

On Saturday we went and helped Manny and Lisa clean out an old barn. Like a really really old barn...it used to be an old dairy. Lots of hard work but it was good, it reminded me of playing in Grandma and Grandpa Martin's old barns. brought back some good memories :) Then we all rushed home and got cleaned up and then went to the church to set up for the baptism. Manny's baptism went SO well. I was so proud of him. He honestly has been so prepared and I know that he's going to do great things in this life.

On Sunday Manny received the Holy Ghost and then was invited to bear his testimony in church. I think that made it all worth it to hear him up in front of everyone saying that he's found the true church and that he feels complete. It was just a super good day. Then we went to YSA where the air conditioning of the building was broke so we only had sacrament mtg. even though personally I didn't think it was too hot but Canadians don't know how to handle any heat. So after church I was talking to the non-member boy who came to institute and we just has a super good gospel discussion. He would ask me questions and then immediately the spirit would tell me where to go in the Book of Mormon and the Bible. I felt like all my studying in the mission finally payed off. I've recently have found a new love for the bible where before I didn't really know much but everything I've been studying helped me answer his questions and I think it made him think a lot. Jody came to the Kainai branch and I've been so happy with how the branch is just loving and supporting her. Then we went to some more church because that's what we do here in Cardston and then went to dinner. After dinner we had to opportunity to go to Waterton to go to some more church! They have a sacrament every sunday at 8pm and mostly YSA go who live in Waterton. It was a really good mtg and then on our way home we saw a bear :) that's the second bear I've seen on my mission. I love Canada.

Pretty much things are going extremely well. I hope you all have a great week and just remember how much Heavenly Father has blessed you!

Also forgot to mention some awkward and funny moments
That awkward moment when some guy asks your investigator if he could pass the sacrament and your investigator gladly accepts the invitation.
That awkward moment when the whole town of Cardston is under attack by killer mosquitos. Seriously its a problem. I might get west nile.......
That awkward moment members want to take you to lunch but the only place to eat in Cardston is Dairy Queen so you eat there like a thousand times. #missionaryproblems
That awkward moment when one of the elders decides to sing America the Beautiful at the old folks home and all the old people sing Oh Canada. #godblessamericaandcanada

anyways I love you all!!

Sister M.

Hiking Bertha Falls 

"I heart Canada" 

 Sister Martin and Sister Estrada hiking!

"Me and Margaet :) she's the cute little girl from Hungary."

Manny's baptism! 

a bear in Waterton.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Oki Napi

So apparently oki napi means "hello my friends" in the Blackfoot language, pretty cool eh??
So this week was CRAZY!! so fun though. Lets see Monday was a pretty regular P-day we got permission to go to Lethbridge which was nice because the groceries are wayyyy less expensive than here in Cardston and we got to do some shopping. Sometimes its nice to just escape these small towns. We had FHE that night with the YSA and I know I've said it a thousand times but I just love the YSA so much. They've truly become some of my best friends.

Tuesday was Canada Day!!! OH CANADA. The members we live with had a little get together in the morning and that was fun to be with them and their family members and then we got invited to go to lunch in Waterton with some other sweet members. It was such a pretty day outside. We then got back and taught a lesson to our investigator. This particular investigator isn't progressing as fast as some of our others but when we asked her where her desire was she said that she really wants to keep learning and that she feels the spirit everytime we come over. We want her to try and understand that the spirit she's feeling is an answer that what we're teaching is correct. She's such an awesome lady and the gospel would bless her and her husbands lives SO much. Then Cardston had a huge party at the park and so we got to go and see lots of people there. We're super good friends with this non-member boy who's YSA age and we got to hang out with him and watch a powwow and have a super fun time celebrating Canada Day. We were planning on leaving at 9:00 and then the non-member boy asked if we could stay longer and I told him that we're allowed to be out until 9:30 if we're teaching a lesson. He agreed to a lesson! Ha so funny. So we taught about agency and then had to leave before fireworks. It doesn't get dark here until 10:45 so we were sad that we missed the fireworks but oh well we got to teach a lesson and spend time with some awesome people.

Wednesday was kind of crazy so I'm not going to explain everything because its too long and not that necessary but we had an emergency transfer and so we were planning on taking a sister up to the mission home. We just didn't know if one of us was going to get transferred or not. President called us Wednesday morning and told us that we would have Sister O'Dell from the West Stake joining or companionship and that we would be covering 2 stakes! So crazy. So we headed up to Calgary while Sister O'Dell and Sister Gonzalez packed and then dropped the other sister off at the mission home and headed straight back to Cardston. Loooooong day of driving. Then we had to try and figure out how we were going to fit 3 beds in our bedroom and an extra desk but we got it all figured out. Its definitely different having a tri-companionship, its hard to figure out how to teach with being unified but its also been super fun. We'll all be together until the next transfer which is on July 30th.

Thursday was our weekly planning day which took way longer than usual trying to plan for 2 stakes! I think we're over 15 units of wards and branches. So crazy but so fun! We had district mtg later that day and it was definitely sad not having Sister Gonzalez with us. She's such a fun sister and Cardston is definitely missing her. Later that night we had dinner with a less-active YSA and then went on splits. We have so many appointments right now that we're going to probably have to go on splits all the time to cover everything.

On Friday we headed back up to Calgary for our Mission Leadership Council. also Happy Birthday America!! We all sang the Star Spangled Banner to celebrate. We had a super good MLC and I felt like we got a lot accomplished. We had a super good training from President on obedience. I think Sister O'Dell really enjoyed it as well. She's only been out for 4 months and hopefully we're not overwhelming her with everything but it seems like she's having fun. We then headed back to Cardston and again it was a super long drive. Driving means nothing to me after driving back and forth between long fields of wheat. Also all the canola fields are turning yellow and its the prettiest thing ever! I LOVE CANADA & AMERICA.

Saturday was good. We tried to contact some referrals but no one was home! People just don't know what they're missing out on. Silly people thinking they don't need the gospel. Sister O'Dell and I did some street contacting when Sister Estrada was on splits and we met this super awesome guy that's just backpacking through Canada. We talked to him about the Book of Mormon and then told him to go visit the Visitors Center at the Temple and so he told us he would go. After we left, Sister O'Dell made the cutest comment she told me that ever since she got put with me and Sister Estrada that she's finally feeling like a real missionary. So cute. Then we taught our investigator Manny and he's so so so so prepared. In the scriptures it says "“for mine elect hear my voice and harden not their hearts” He's totally one of those elect people that its talking about. Then that night we had a big YSA activity and went out on someone's land and had a bonfire and people shot guns...obviously not us because that's not allowed but its definitely on my things to do list for when I get home. It was a super fun night though.

Sunday was CRAZY! We had Sister O'Dell go on splits to cover wards in the West Stake and then me and Sister Estrada went to the Aetna ward and then went to our YSA branch and then we had to go on splits so she could stay at YSA and I went back to Aetna to help in a Relief Society Lesson then me and Sister Estrada got back together to help in Young Womens and then went to gospel principles and then headed to the Kainai Branch and our investigator there bore her testimony again! Best feeling ever. Also this 11 year old boy came up to us at church and told us he wants to be baptized, his parents are being reactivated and he's been coming to church for awhile now. We'll be teaching him on Thursday. We taught Manny again and finished all the lessons with him. He'll be getting baptized this upcoming Saturday :) I'm SO excited for him. Then we went an met up with some less-active members and had a really good lesson. Met a Muslim guy and invited him to come to YSA. We also got a phone call that there's another family who wants to know about the church.

After I found out on Wednesday that I was staying here in Cardston I went and said a prayer of gratitude and told Heavenly Father that I was going to work harder than ever because I was so grateful to be staying in Cardston. Now the 3 of us Sisters are seeing miracle after miracle and I just know Heavenly Father is blessing us. The hastening of the work is real, there are so many people being prepared right now. I love it!!

I hope you all have a great week!! Love you all!

Sister M.

Mounties!  Happy Canada Day!


"I want a pet turtle.  Thank you!" 

Sister Martin and Sister Harris matching on the 4th of July! 

"My baby! Sister Blommaert!" 

"And our new companion is Sister O'Dell! We love her!!"