Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Week 10 - Week 8 in Rock Springs, Wyoming

So far, I've had a great time with Elder Kirsi.  First off, we have 2 people on date to be baptized, James on the 25th of Oct, and Debbie on the 1st of Nov.James is probably the most golden investigator I've ever seen. He's so eager to learn, it's amazing! We've been blessed with a ton of investigators that will either be baptized this transfer or next transfer. My goal is to have someone on date for every single week next transfer at least. That way, the missionaries coming into Rock Springs will see at least 6 people on date, and be incredibly motivated because of it. And then if they work towards putting people on date for next transfer, then our area will be baptizing every week! As long as we continue finding new people, this area will be extremely blessed throughout the mission.
This week was a blessing week. Elder Kirsi and I got to give like 4-5 blessings, and all of them were very spiritual. We got to meet and give a blessing to a man with ALS, which was an amazing experience, he's thinking about learning about the gospel, but we're waiting to hear from him. We also gave a blessing of healing to a man suffering from cancer, and the next day, he wasn't in pain anymore. We were also able to give a blessing to a single mom with 2 kids who knew nothing about the gospel that moved her to tears. I think the Lord's trying to increase my faith in the power of the priesthood. It sure is working.
Our recent convert, Justino, lives in an apartment building, and we've become really close with everyone in there. The single mother, Carrie, lives there along with many other potential investigators. Everyone in there is like family to each other. I think that after we baptize Carrie and her two kids, the apartment will explode with investigators.
Something that our zone has been struggling with is getting people to attend church. I have never had more than 3 investigators at church, but yesterday we were planning for 9 people to be there! Sadly, 6 were out because of sickness, and 1 overslept, so we only had 2.. Luckily, since this week is general conference, Satan can't really stop them from coming. :) I'm hoping for 11 people to 'come to church' this week!
Before I forget...again... Elder Jensen and I, the Sunday before he left, sang in church. We sang 'Brightly Beams our Father's Mercy'. It wasn't anything amazing, but we could both carry a turn, so we did fine. We even sang parts at one point. Elder Kirsi and I bore our testimonies every sacrament meeting we were at yesterday, which was something I was not used to at all,l but the words came really easy. As a missionary, I hope I'll be able to speak in sacrament meeting soon, which is something I never thought I would ever say.
I was also able to go on exchanges with the Zone Leaders again, this time with Elder Berry. He's a convert of 4 years, and the humble, optimistic view he had on missionary work is something I'll never forget. I wasn't able to spend very much time with him in Evenston, which I guess was a good thing, because Elder Kirsi, who didn't know the area at all, had it hard enough for the short time he was running it while I was away.
Well, that's about it, keep in touch, I love you all!
- Elder Martineau

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Week 9 - Week 7 in Rock Springs, Wyoming

Week 9!
Alright, so, this has been my first week with my new companion, and we've been able to see a lot of success so far, even though Monday and Tuesday were 'dead days' (where, due to transfers, we couldn't teach) so our goals were a little out of reach, but we were able to make the most of it.
I'm am now with Elder Kirsi. (pictures later today, hopefully) He's from Finland, and has the exact same personality as me, which is great. We work very well together already, while it took Jensen and I a little bit longer to bond. We have someone on date to be baptized, James Kline, a golden! We have him set for the 25 of October, but it may be sooner than that, who knows. We have a lot of solid new investigators that have come from our obsession with finding, we can do better of course, but it's good to see progress! This transfer will be full of baptisms, hopefully.
It's funny, because all of the young missionaries are staying, and getting different trainers, in our district 5 out of 8 people are less then 3 months old. and 3 of the babies are in charge of their area, me included. It was stressful at first, being the one in charge, but it's not so bad anymore. We were able to clean the apartment, and we found some white boards that we're going to use to hold all kinds of information.
One of the problems we had at first was that we would go too long on our lessons. Like way over. That was mostly because we were still trying to get a feel for how the other teaches. The real test for this was when we had 4 back-to-back lessons on Thursday. One at 5, 6, 7, and 8. All of these lessons were really key, and we were worried it wasn't going to work out, but we taught much better. Every lesson was 40 minutes, and we were able to teach every single one. We got 2 new investigators out of it, and we were able to put James (the 7:00 one) on date, like I said before. Short lessons are more powerful, I've discovered.
We've been running around this week trying to get everything situated, and so we haven't had too much time to proselyte (besides lessons) but that's just because it's out first week together. This Sunday we had a temple re-dedication, another reason we really couldn't go out too much, but it was very neat to attend.
Expect to hear about a whole bunch of people on date to be baptized next Monday, we have big plans for this week :)
Love you all,
Elder Martineau

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Week 8 - Week 6 in Rock Springs,Wyoming (WITH PICTURES)

Week 8:

Hard to believe I've been out for 8 weeks now. It doesn't feel like any time has past at all! 2 of the Elders I know are going home, Elder Paige (the one that was serving in Ukraine) and Elder Beard (the one I went on transfers with). I'm going to miss them both. 

I got to read 'My Search for Happiness' last Tuesday. (It's not very long of a book) It's really good, and I would recommend it to pretty much anybody. It teaches the first 2 lessons that we teach, just in much more detail. 

This week, the main event, besides transfers, which I'll get to soon haha, was an exchange with Elder Tagg, who came down from Pinedale. I love him, but our personalities were exact opposites. And neither of us were allowed to drive yet. So we walked. For about 5 hours. Which was fun. Until someone was off work that could drive us around to appointments. Luckily we only had to walk around once during the exchange. (So I don't sound like a wimp, we live like 12 miles from the church building.)

To explain mine and Tagg's relationship, here are some of our conversations. 

"Yo M-dog, what would you do if I threw this egg at you?"

"Hey Martin, would you be mad if I drank all your milk?"
"Yea, probably."
"How mad?"

Guess which one was me. Haha

But really, he was a great teacher, and I learned quite a bit from him. 

The baptism of Justino Co happened on Saturday. He's from Guinia, Africa, studied Philosophy for 5 years, and speaks 7 languages. He was so solid that he switched his work schedule from day shifts to night shifts so that we could teach him, and so he could go to church. Makes me think I could do a lot more to show my appreciation for the gospel. Pictures are being put up now. 

I've set a goal for the number of baptisms I want to have before my mission ends. I won't say it, because I really don't know if it's high or low, but there is a very big importance in setting goals to strive towards, in every aspect of our lives. So 1 down, and many more to come. :)

We've really been blessed with tons of new investigators these past two weeks, Jensen and I have really focused on finding new people, and our work really has paid off.

And now, the moment you guys have been sitting on the edges of your seats for (I doubt it but anyways)

Elder Jensen will be training a new person somewhere else, and I will be staying in Rock Springs. 

I don't know who my new companion will be, I'll find out when we go down to Salt Lake tomorrow, but he'll be finishing my training, and staying with me in Rock Springs. I know I didn't like it at first, but this place is really starting to grow on me. I love all the people here :)

I'm grateful for all the kind words and letters that have been sent my way. I still look forward to them every day. 

With love, 

Elder Gunner Martineau

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Week 7 - Week 5 in Rock Springs, Wyoming

Hey everyone! Sadly, I lost my cable to upload pictures, but I'm looking for it, if I can't find it before Wednesday, I'll send my SD card home so my family can upload them. I know I said that I would have them today, but I'm sorry.
One week left in the transfer! The great news is that Jensen and I had almost double the lessons this week than any other week. We set a goal to find one new prepared family each day, and that's brought great results. We have a guy from Africa on date to be baptized on Saturday. He's super sincere, and I have no doubt he'll stick to it. We have so many other people close, but since everyone's working, it's hard to catch people at home.
The fact that we cover a YSA College Branch is amazing. Well, before school not at all, but during the year.. *whistles* It just started, and we have people offering to take us places and giving us referrals left and right. It's because most of them are return missionaries who understand the work. The guy we're baptizing is going to be in the college branch.
A quick thank-you to Brother Robson for giving me my black binder. He'll know what I'm talking about, but it's full of amazing stuff from talks, to jokes, to quotes.. It's really motivated me, and helped me set some goals for baptisms, and the kind of person I want to be when I come back. I'll be adding to it, and then passing it on to another.
There's a less-active family that I really love called the Marcettis. They have a little boy who's going to have a birthday. For a gift, we wrapped up a Book of Mormon, and placed $1 bills in different places with our favorite scriptures highlighted. We thought it would be pretty funny when he opened up his present and found that it was just a Book of Mormon, maybe he won't open it up until much later. haha
We've started asking for dinner appointments to bring non-member friends to them, with varying success. We've gotten investigators out of it, but we've also got nutcases. One of them, when we asked if he went to church, said he was the minister of the church of the Penguin. (He had also been to the church of Bob, and some Satanic church >.>) He had started the church to evade paying taxes, he would make a charitable donation, and then get payed as the pastor.... Which is totally illegal. You could tell he didn't think much of religion.
New request. Ties. And the music one still applies, but I have like 5 good ties, and it makes my sad. Ugly ties are accepted as well; the uglier the better.
As always, I love getting mail, and cherish every letter sent. Love you all!
- Elder Martineau

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Week 5 & 6 - Weeks 3 & 4 in Rock Springs, Wyoming

Sorry about the lack of an E-mail last week, we were playing Basketball, and one of the Elders came down on his ankle wrong and sprained it, so we had to leave early. This just means that I get to send a longer E-mail! (With no pictures sadly because I keep forgetting my camera, next time I promise)

So. I need some music. Elder Jensen has a lot, but I've heard it all. If you want, you could either E-mail me mp3 files, or maybe send up a CD. The only rule is that it has to be uplifting, and not romantic. 

Something cool I got to do was bless a house, like I didn't even know that was a thing until a little bit ago. I didn't actually bless it, the family did, but it was still a pretty cool experience. I've also got to give a couple of Priesthood blessings, and it definitely does not get easier. 

We got to go to Zone Conference and got taught by a member of the 70, Elder Clarke. He said a lot of really good stuff, and I was able to take a lot from it. Our zone had been struggling with obedience a little bit, but he sure stamped that out. It really is important that people trust you. 'People don't care about how much you know, until they know how much you care.'

We got to go through the Salt Lake Temple afterwards, and (for those who have been through the temple) it was a live session. I didn't even know that they did that. The rooms inside were absolutely beautiful. 

Tracting is fun. No, not really. Especially since it's been raining nonstop since I got here, like every single day. We have found some people who might have been interested, but it's really hard to have people open up to you when you're on their porch. Their guards are always up. 

I've gone on exchanges twice, once up in Pinedale, and once in Evingston. I was able to learn a lot from each, about the importance of a schedule, and how to deal with a companion who's quieter than me. The second one was definitely an experience. We also, up in Pinedale, got to go... logging? You know, because people need wood up there to burn and stuff. Cause it gets cold. It would have been much more fun without the rain which, when combined with the wind, was coming down sideways. 

I'm almost out of time, but lately I've been working on Faith, and how to improve mine. I think I've found enough information to write like a hour-long talk.. But the biggest thing that stuck out to me was that Fear is the opposite of Faith. So lately I've been working on overcoming my fears as a missionary, which some decent success. I only really have difficultly with giving Priesthood blessings, the words never come easily. 

I appreciate all of the letters and E-mail I've been getting lately. It means a lot to see how much you all care. I've got some pretty awesome recipes, everything from PB&J to Ramen to Enchiladas. I always look forward to hearing from you all.

With love, 

Elder Gunner Martineau