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Tuesday, December 29, 2015

December 29, 2015

What a great week of Navidad! It was so great to see the family on Skype! Family is really what it's all about.
The week was full of fun events such as caroling, Christmas dinner with a less-active family, and a Christmas deviotional with all the missionaries from the whole Santiago East mission. There are some missionaries with incredible musical talents and we were able to hear some beautiful songs. It inspired me to really think more deeply about all that happened before Christ´s birth, as well as afterward. We were also able to share the Ha Nacido Un Salvador in many different homes this past week and it truly brings a beautiful spirit.

Rosita went to church! We're planning to go to the temple this weekend and do baptisms for the dead for her parents! We also met a family that are less-active members of the church and they have been wanting to get back to the iron rod. Their names are Leonel and Susana and their two sons Leon and Santiago. I don't think I've met a less-active family so desirous to go back to the church in my whole mission! We had a lesson with them yesterday and say that we'll see them in church on Sunday.

Spiritual Experience:
My companion and I were able to teach part of Zone Class yesterday. We talked about using our own individual talents and strengths to bring to pass the work of Salvation. It made me think of the process of calling missionaries. It's not a random raffle, but an inspired calling from God through the first presidency of His church. One day, I was talking with Presidente Morgan and he asked me what my nametag says. I started to say, "The Church of Jesus Christ of..." He cut me off and said, "They all say that. What else does it say?" I looked at it and said, "Hermana Martin." "Exactly. It doesn't say 'Generic Missionary.' Use the strengths that God has given to Hermana Martin."

On Christmas Eve, we ate dinner with a less-active family. The wife was setting the table and wanted a certain candle that was shaped like a reindeer to set in the middle. She says to her husband, "Carlos, go get me the reindeer decoration from the other room." Carlos went to look for it and came back with a reindeer decoration, but it was the wrong one. She's all, "No, it's not that one. Try again." He left again and brought another one that was wrong again. She's all, "Are you serious, Carlos? Try again." He left again and brought the wrong one again. Ingrid's all, "Oh my gosh how many reindeer decorations do we have?!" Haha we were laughing so hard. 

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

December 1, 2015

It's been of week of many small miracles! We just got word that I'll be staying here in Cordillera for at least six more weeks with Hermana Parra. I'm so happy! Hermana Parra and I couldn't be more opposite as far as backgrounds go, but we're very similar in personality and we became best friends so quickly! I'd finish the mission with her if I could! The more I learn about her the more I realize how amazing she is too. She lives in a tiny house without even a running-water shower and It turns out that her branch is literally just her family. Her dad is the bishop and they have church in their own house. Her brother is on a mission in Columbia which means that two out of the six members of their branch are on a mission. Good percentage, I'd say! Anyways, I just really love her and I love serving with her. She's fun and sincere.

We were able to do exchanges on Thursday, and I had a good experience getting to know Hermana Andersen from California. She actually reminded me that it was Thanksgiving. I had completely forgotten! On Saturday, we went to the temple to do a tour with Beatrice, a recent convert. It was a great experience and it made her excited to be able to do baptisms for the dead.

Franco was baptized on Sunday. His cousin, Alexis baptized him and it was just a really special day for their family. Even though he doesn't smile in pictures, he truly was happy. haha. He's a great influence on one of his other cousins, Marcello, who is currently less-active. I have faith that this will be a turning point for their family. They are all very special people.

Franco's Baptism
Spiritual Experience:
Hermana Parra and I have been focusing on teaching more simply. When we get stuck and don't know how to help someone, we've been trying to go back to ground zero and teach the basic truths of the gospel. We've seen so much progress since we've started to do this. For example, last night we were teaching a less-active member that we had no idea how to help her because she was like, "all churches lead to God" and such. We taught about the Restoration using the old video. Afterward, she totally changed. She remembered the testimony of the restored gospel that she has. President Uchdorf was inspired this past conference when he talked about the simplicity of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
I was on exchanges and we were passing by the house of an old lady that I had visited a while back. We decided to pass by and see how things were going with her. We get in there and she starts telling us the story of how she got to know the missionaries and such, and gets to a point where she's starts talking about "Hermana Martin." I said, "Me?" and she goes, "Yeah, she was north american like you guys..." Then I realized that she was talking about me and didn't know that I was the same person. I didn't know what to do haha so I just listened to her story and made sure not to mention my name for the rest of the appointment. haha

A family we teach with kids who are always wrestling.

A member we teach in his pet shop