Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Well P-day got moved to today (Wednesday) due to a temple trip that we
went on today. I'll send some pictures. We got to go to the Portland
temple and that made my day since that's where my parents were
married. It was beautiful and I didn't want to leave because it was so
peaceful. This week has been good but it has been long so I'm not sure
how much I remember and I don't have my journal to help me.

Monday we went on exchanges with 2nd Ward Elders and it was way fun.
Elder Gage from Springville and I had so much fun and taught some
great lessons. Elder Gage is so fun and a stellar missionary. He knows
tons of doctrinal stuff and I learn stuff from him every time we get
together. Something I thought was cool is that he writes super
detailed stuff in his journal. He can turn to any day and know
basically exactly what happened and everything. He writes like 4 whole
pages so he takes a while to get done. Anyway we had a great exchange
and taught some good lessons. The rest of the week we had more
cancellations than ever before in my whole mission! The only people we
met with were George and Joe. So we made a route of all our former and
potential investigators and now we are back to that good old Areabook
Cleanout. We haven't had tons of success with it yet but at least we
are trimming down the list.

Sunday church was super awesome. There were some great talks from the
high councilmen and it was way edifying. Sunday night we went to see
Shauna and Troy and it turns out they won't be able to get married
anytime soon. I can't talk a ton about it because it's their business
but things got pretty heavy because Shauna told us she doesn't get why
she even needs marriage for baptism. We tried to resolve her concerns
but she just kept going back to how she got burned in her last
marriage. In the end though she kind of accepted it and we came to an
understanding. Monday and Tuesday we contacted more people and tried
to have appointments with people. Tuesday night we went and saw Shauna
and she was a nervous wreck because she had lost some super important
documents. We shared a message about trials and by the time we got
done she had really calmed down a lot and felt the spirit. We drove to
Springfield and slept with the 2nd Ward elders last night and then got
in the transfer van this morning and headed for Portland. After the
temple we stopped by Deseret book and that was cool.

I sure love the gospel! What a great time to be a missionary. I'm
super excited for general conference and Easter. I'm a disciple of
Jesus Christ and have been called of him to preach his gospel to his
children, I am so grateful for this opportunity and I look forward to
more opportunities to serve.

Elder S. Jackson Martin
Oregon Eugene Mission
Oakridge Branch

Monday, March 14, 2016

This week has been pretty long and a lot of appointments fell through.Tuesday we had a lesson with our investigators Joe and Brandon. Also we did some hardcore tracting and had no success. Wednesday we went ham trying to find all of the people that we haven't been able to contact recently and we were able to get a lot of things set up and get a couple lessons in. The next day we taught some lessons with our investigator Brody and a recent convert Tanya. We also got to see George and teach him a lesson. It's always good to see George and he has been doing great since his baptism. We had interviews with President Russell and that was way awesome. It's always good to sit down with the Mission President and talk with him. Friday we basically did finding all day because things fell through all night and nothing worked out so we sat down and made a route to conserve miles and contact all our potentials so that's what we did every time we didn't have a lesson. Saturday we met with our Branch Mission Leader in his home to discuss the investigators we had. Our Branch mission leader is a really nice guy but he's kind of  super less active. His sister was there and she is very much not my most favorite person because she treats Brother Thompson like dirt because of his beliefs and she always tells us how stupid we are. I just about had enough Saturday because she kept talking about how churches are evil and miracles don't really happen. I was about ready to go full on Joseph Smith in jail status on her but Brother Thompson told her to leave us alone. Besides that we taught a couple lessons and did some more Potentials work. Sunday was super awesome because for one thing I love the Sabbath! for another thing George got confirmed which was so great! I LOVE George. Another thing that was awesome was it was the Relief Society’s turn to speak in church so not only was that awesome but we taught the Relief Society lesson during third hour about Joseph Smith. It was really great and the ladies in the branch are super awesome and had such a special spirit. That night we had a lesson with Shauna and she said she really liked the lesson we had and is super excited to be baptized the 26. GUESS WHAT! JOE CAME TO CHURCH! That was so great! he was 30 minutes late because he thought it was 9:30but it was really 10:30 hahahaha.
So yeah on top of all that last night we got a new investigator which was great. Her name is Rebecca and she is way interested in the church. So great. Well hey love you all. sorry if this email is kind of crappy we are in springfield today so we are partying with the zone. I'm loving my mission and I'm so grateful to serve!

Elder S. Jackson Martin
Oregon Eugene Mission

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Well this past week has been pretty dang good! Tuesday we had a great
lesson with our investigator Joe. Joe is a 70 year old guy who is such
a golden investigator. When we started lessons with Joe he didn't
understand why there was a need to be baptized and didn't want to come
to church because he was busy. The cool thing about Joe was that he
put forth his best effort to learn if it was true. He has really bad
eyesight and couldn't even read the Book of Mormon without a
magnifying glass. Eventually we got him a large print and continued to
teach him. Joe has kept all his reading commitments and we had out him
on date for baptism a few weeks back but he still struggled with
coming to church because he helps his son wash busses on Sunday's.
Finally this last Tuesday he said that no matter what he would make it
to church. Stake conference was this week and since it was all the way
up in Eugene he said he couldn't make it but he would make it the next
Sunday. He says that he will make it no matter what so hopefully he
keeps his promise. We also had a lesson with Shauna and Troy and
Shauna was super sick. But we sat down and had a good lesson and it
was good to finally sit down with them.

Wednesday Elder Johnson had a District Leader training so I was in
Springfield for most of the day with Elder Morris. We did service with
the Zone leaders and then went to lunch in this one store a member
owns. She fixed us awesome burritos, that was fun. Then we went and
taught a lesson to an inactive member who I guess had called them the
night before at midnight wanting them to come over. When we got there
we waited at the door and when it opened I had to strain my neck to
see the guy's face. He was 6'9" and about 290 pounds, he was huge!!!
We sat down and learned that he had been baptized when he was playing
college basketball and had fell away from the church but wanted to get
back into it. He had a wife and kids that he loved dearly and wanted
to be able to baptize his children. The whole time he had tears in his
eyes. It was crazy to see such a tough guy crying. It was super cool
to meet him and I hope everything goes okay for him.

The next day we had a lot of appointments fall through but went out
finding. We went to see Jodie and find out if she was ready to take
the lessons. She told us she wasn't ready yet but not to give up on
her. We started tracting around there and were able to get a couple
potentials. That night we went and saw George and made sure he was all
ready for baptism and found out he had fallen off his Log truck and
busted his ankle! He said that it meant he wasn't supposed to get
baptized and we both panicked momentarily until he said he was
kidding. They fed us some yummy dinner and we were able to sit down
and talk about the commitment he was making. It was a good time.

Friday we had ZTM (zone training meeting) which was pretty good. The
Zone Leaders and Sister Training Leaders had some great material to go
over. There's been a rumor going around the mission that we would lose
our iPads because they cause too many problems. The zone leaders
tricked us pretty good and told us all to hand in our iPads but it was
just a joke. They went on to say that we are very lucky to have iPads
so we need to be more responsible. The iPad is a wonderful tool and
I'm so grateful to have one but I've got mad respect for missionaries
who do without them. After ZTM we went and saw Joe again and had a
good lesson. Then had a dinner with Bill and Tina Allen. They are some
great members in the ward and Bill is the one that actually baptized
George since they're such good friends. After that we went and saw
Shauna and Troy again and taught a lesson. Shauna was getting so sick
that she asked for a blessing. I got to seal the anointing which is
such a special experience. Troy had tears in his eyes and told us he
wished he could've stood in for it. It would be so rough to be an
excommunicated member trying to make your way back.

Saturday!! We had the baptism!!! I attached some pictures, I wish I
would have gotten a picture of his whole family. He has the cutest
kids!  On our way to the baptism we were driving and there was an
annoying truck behind us going awfully fast. At the first opportunity
the truck passed us and we saw all of George's kids making faces at us
haha. We were glad he was so eager to get there. The baptism was great
and he had so much family there that we barley had enough space for
them all. I gave a talk on the Holy Ghost and it went pretty well.
After the baptism was over our branch mission leader took us to an all
you can eat Chinese buffet. There was some pretty good food there
especially the sushi. After we got done in Eugene we headed back to
Oakridge and taught Silvia a lesson. It was good to meet with Silvia
and see her progressing so well after baptism.

Yesterday was stake conference and President and Sister Russell spoke.
It's alway good to hear from the mission president himself! I sure do
love those two. Unfortunately none of our investigators made it but it
is a long drive to Eugene so we weren't too hard on them. When we got
back to Oakridge we went out tracting some more and had a couple
potentials but they didn't seem very solid but they might surprise us.
Then that night we tried to get in contact with some slippery
investigators. While we were walking a lady came out and was like, "I
know you're helpful young men, do you know anyone that could help get
my kitten out of a tree?" We called the first person we thought of
with a tall latter and he showed up within 3 minutes. We went to the
tree and he tried to get up there but his 24 foot latter was still 10
feet too short. How the kitten even got up the tree we have no idea.
We tried to coax it down a safe path but it seemed to scared to get
all the way down. Unfortunately we were not much of heroes because it
was still stuck but the lady thanked us anyway. She wasn't much
interested in the gospel but it was good to help people. We said a
prayer that the cat would find its way down and we got word this
morning that it all worked out okay and it got out of the tree.

Well we are looking forward to a great week. President is doing
interviews this week so that's exciting. Also next week for p day we
might be going to Springfield which is exciting since we will be able
to hang out with the other missionaries. On boy it's been a great 6
months so far and I'm looking forward to the next 18! It's so good to
be a missionary and to be on the Lord's errand. Love y'all!

Elder S. Jackson Martin
Oregon Eugene Mission
Oakridge Branch

Jackson trying to see how fast he is....

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Well team this week has sure been a good one. We didn't teach as many
lessons as we may have liked but holy cow the miracles we saw!!!!!
Yesterday at church we were a little disappointed because only one
investigator named Dan was at church when it started. I don't know
what it is but sometimes getting investigators to church is really
hard. Then out of nowhere George and his whole family walked in five
minutes late and then right after them came 2 investigators that we
hadn't even been able to contact in a while! We were so blown away! We
thought that was awesome and then a lady named Jodie walked in.
Earlier in the week we had been tracting and knocked on a door and a
lady named Jodie answered the door  and told us that her Grandpa used
to be the Branch President and she almost got baptized when she was
younger but got offended by some church member. When we talked to her
she was friendly but told us she was hesitant to come back and take
the lessons. Elder Johnson and I said "As authorized representatives
of the Lord Jesus Christ we apologize on behalf of the church and
would like for you to come to church on Sunday." She said she would
think about it but no promises. When we saw her walk into church we
were so blown away! The coolest part was that she got a ride from a
member! BOOM fellowship!!! So that's 5 at sacrament meeting! We were
so happy but more importantly so were they.

George will be getting baptized Saturday! We had his interview and he
passed with flying colors. George asked me yesterday if I would give a
talk… that'll be interesting but I'm happy to do that for George. He
is such an awesome guy and we feel like he will be a strong asset to
the Branch. I'll send y'all pictures!

Randomly on Friday I started getting sharp pain in my ribs. Every time
I'd breath outward or laugh it would hurt worse. That wasn't okay
because people kept making me laugh. I called the mission nurse and
she said I probably have some enflamed ribs or something and so now
every six hours I have to pop Ibuprofen and apply heat to my ribs. It
hurts a lot less now but it was scaring me pretty bad earlier. Also on
Friday Elder Johnson taught another good district meeting. They
changed the districts so now we have 4 companionships in our district
instead of three. Since it's a set of elders we get to do more
exchanges! Yay! We got to know all the new members of the zone Friday
which was fun. Elder Gage is a new 2nd Ward Elder and it turns out
that Elder Holman was his last companion. I was so glad to hear that
because I love Elder Holman. He's one of the best Missionaries the OEM
has to offer. So yep.

This week has been good, we are so excited to keep working hard.
Thanks for all your prayers and support! I love you all!!!

Elder S. Jackson Martin
Oregon Eugene Mission
Oakridge Branch