Saturday, April 9, 2016

April 10, 2016

People ask us how much time is left on our mission and we often don't give a straight answer, because we don't like thinking about it. We are enjoying every day even if it doesn't go the way we want. We always hope it goes the way the Lord wants. There is so much to do and so little time.  

We loved General Conference and the talk "To the Rescue". We have only been on one Rescue Night here and it was a great success! We were able to visit and touch the hearts of many new people who had been "lost". Two different families have been every week to church since that night! Just like Melvyn B. Arnold said in his talk about not having to do a lot of planning, organizing or talking about it, just go out and do it! Get some names and go! In one of the other wards, it is a set event every Wednesday night and even whole families participate! It doesn't even have to be a ward or leadership event, make it a family event and just go visit a less active member! 

We celebrated Craig's 68th birthday Monday by eating at one of the better Mexican places, Mexicali Fresh! Not much fanfare because he wanted it that way. We talked to a few of our kids and it was a good day. 

We had a scheduled FHE Monday evening though, that the Sisters turned into a surprise birthday party for Elder Martin! He was overwhelmed by the attention and treats! Cake and ice cream and pancakes with whipped cream! We ditched the planned lesson and played Book of Mormon Charades and really had a good time. His heart melted as we played "I love you because" and each told him why they love him. "I love Elder Martin because he is kind, brainy, knows a lot, is humble, has the Light of Christ, comes to teach us the Gospel, and smiles a lot"!  We love these families so much!

When we are out on our morning walk, we often see the Irvine's walking and holding hands.  They are another Senior couple living in our building and sadly, are going home after being here almost 2 years. They will really be missed because of all the good they do. This is they're third mission and they are great missionaries! 

This cactus is not in New Zealand, but is at our home in Scottsdale. I have to share it because it is so beautiful! It blooms several times a year and it reminds me of the delicate beauty that can come from a prickly cactus beast!

Sister Trull got some packets of chili mix in the mail and and invited us for a chili burrito lunch! She swears she's not much of a cook, but it was very good. We mostly enjoyed hanging with our little Texas "daughter" and her companion, Sister Tilini, for a little bit. Elder Martin gave them a lesson about the New Testament, while I did the dishes. Soon they were kicking us out so they could get back to work!  We like that attitude. 

This "Mona Lisa" picture is made out of "Jelly Belly" candies, as is the Power Ranger statue below. Interesting tidbits found at the Jelly Belly Store in Rotorua. You can buy anything Jelly Belly there, kind of like the M'nM store in Las Vegas. 

This was the start of an early morning Pday hike up Mangare Mountain with our Zone. Sister Selwa is so cute and stylish. I told her she would get hot in her zipped up sweatshirt and she never did. It stayed zipped the whole time. Sister Placido is her darling companion and we love being with them anytime! 

General Conference was last weekend in the U.S., but we watch it here a week late. No sight-seeing or beach-going because we spent our Saturday watching Conference at the Stake Center, and Sunday too! What powerful and inspiring talks by humble and spiritual men and women! They were all wonderful, but the crowning talk was definitely the last one given by Elder Holland! We were awed by his message, truly inspired wisdom and insight from a goodly man of God! 

I love where Elder Holland said "that the Lord blesses those who want to improve, who accept the need for commandments and try to keep them" and that the Savior is here to help us keep going. "He will help you get back up. He will help you repent, repair, fix whatever you need to fix, and keep going.
His divine love and unfailing help will be with us even when we struggle--no, will be with us especially when we struggle."

"If gospel standards seem high and the personal improvement needed in the days ahead seems out of reach, remember Joshua’s encouragement to his people when they faced a daunting future. “Sanctify yourselves,” he said, “for tomorrow the Lord will do wonders among you.”

May you be blessed in your lives as you try each day to keep the commandments, serve others, and love your families and your neighbors. Thank you for your prayers for the missionaries! We love you!

Elder and Sister Martin

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