Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Happy Now and Forever-After

The week ended!! Through all the trouble and wrestling we got the baptism. The baptism was definately the highlight of the week. We did it 8 at night after a birthday party and an elders quoram activity which even though was a hassle, it turned out to help. We ended up having alot of support of less-actives and even a couple investigators. The mom showed up from work and it went great! The bishop baptized him and it went better then I expected. The only thing that didnt work out was a certain leader who is always supposed to help us and didnt and then when the baptism came he claimed to have done it all himself, but hey, he can say it was him all he wants, every other person knows who it was that visited them. Tuesday we found an innactive member that was pretty interesting. She doesnt go because she cant walk or do anything basically. Cool little fact about her, she raised a puma. She had pictures with it as well as many missionaries. She raised it and had it in her house for 14 years. It never bit anybody but scared the pee out of lots of people. To say the least she never got robbed. I thought that was freakin awesome. I think i might have to raise a large cat in my house one day. The rest of the week was pretty normal. Saturday morning we had a service project. An interesting one we were asked to help with. They wanted to move an old car that had been in this spot for 7 years. The tires were half way stuck in mud and very hard to get out. My comp still cant do a whole lot of lifting so it was one of us...I am definately not that strong but with a 4 by 4 i could lift a corner of the car at a time so he could put something beneath. In the end once we lifted it we still couldnt move it. That will be for another day when we have more help. This is the last week of the transfer and we will see what happens. We also heard that we missionaries will get to participate in the re-dedication of the temple here on September 9. I am pretty excited for that along with the month prior the temple is open to all public and we have many people excited to go. Hopefully this can be a big tool for us. Something that came up a couple times this week i have been thinking about. Last night in the street a man stopped us. All of his friends were drunk and he was on his way. We started to talk to him and he asked us a question that hit me. ¨What do you have besides a white shirt a tie that I dont have? I have a son, house, car, and motorcycle. The only thing i dnt have is a woman. Is the problem me? What is it that you have that i dont?¨ i thought about it alot and really weird but I had a dream last night. It was nothing special except 2 sides of what my life could be like. On one side its alright, i have everything in the world i could want, and on the other side, I dont have everything material wise but i have a healthy family that has everything they need and we are happy, happy ever-after. The world paints happily ever-after as a dream for little kids, but we as latter-day saints should know that it is real and any person can have it. It takes work, determination, and putting off certain desires or wishes, but it brings much more joy. For me i think I already have happily for now and ever-after. Love, Elder Martino

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Interesting!

Well we definately started the week off interesting. Monday night I had the most uncomfortable lesson in my mission so far. The mom(not biological but since they were one or two years old) is innactive and the two daughters are 14 and 16 but also go to church. She is upset that they lie and disrespect her and her husband all the time. The husband was in the next room listening and the other room was 4 teenage boys playing videogames. Well she starts yelling and the 16 year old is crying(the mom was saying some really hurtful stuff) and the 14 year old is off in her own little world. The mom expected the daughters to be perfect because they went to church and if not they shouldnt go to church. Well we tried our best without hurting anybody to help them. I ended up hearing the Chaco version of the boy who cried wolf from my companion which was interesting...I also tried to let the mom know that her daughters were good girls. I ended up telling her that they are much better then what i was and it takes alot of patience from a parent to deal with that. Those years are hard but the parents always need to be there to back there kids up. Quick side note. I am teaching a new member family right now how to do family history work, while learning myself, and teaching english to him and his family. Well the intersting thing is trying to teach something i dont know much about and that the dude looks and acts exactly like Chris Rock.. Other then that we have had alot of rain and been doin some fun service projects and meeting lots of new people. This week we had alot of success which was great. Yesterday in church is the main thing that has hit me this week. In Elders Class we are studying the book of George Albert Smith and i want to share a story out of it. Prayer allows us to talk to our Heavenly Father as though He were present. It is a wonderful blessing that we enjoy in these times of stress and uncertainty to feel sure of divine guidance, to have absolute faith in a personal God who is interested in us and who hears and answers our prayers.4 A number of years ago … I heard of [a] nine-year-old boy, an orphan, who was hurried off to the hospital, where examination indicated that he had to be operated upon without delay. He had been living with friends who had given him a home. His father and mother, (when they were alive) had taught him to pray; thus, when he came to the hospital, the thing he wanted was to have the Lord help him. The doctors had decided to hold a consultation. When he was wheeled into the operating room, he looked around and saw the nurses and the doctors who had consulted on his case. He knew that it was serious, and he said to one of them, as they were preparing to give him the anesthetic: “Doctor, before you begin to operate, won’t you please pray for me?” The doctor, with seeming embarrassment, offered his excuses and said, “I can’t pray for you.” Then the boy asked the other doctors, with the same result. Finally, something very remarkable happened; this little fellow said, “If you can’t pray for me, will you please wait while I pray for myself?” They removed the sheet, and he knelt on the operating table, bowed his head and said, “Heavenly Father, I am only an orphan boy. I am awful sick. Won’t you please make me well? Bless these men who are going to operate that they will do it right. If you will make me well, I will try to grow up to be a good man. Thank you, Heavenly Father, for making me well.” When he got through praying, he lay down. The doctors’ and the nurses’ eyes were filled with tears. Then he said, “I am ready.” The operation was performed. The little fellow was taken back to his room, and in a few days they took him from the hospital, well on the way to complete recovery. Some days after that, a man who had heard of the incident went to the office of one of the surgeons and said, “Tell me about the operation you performed a few days ago—the operation on a little boy.” The surgeon said, “I have operated on several little boys.” The man added, “This little boy wanted someone to pray for him.” The doctor said very seriously, “There was such a case, but I don’t know but that it is too sacred a thing for me to talk about.” The man said, “Doctor, if you will tell me, I will treat it with respect; I would like to hear it.” Then the doctor told the story about as I have retold it here, and added: “I have operated on hundreds of people, men and women who thought they had faith to be healed; but never until I stood over that little boy have I felt the presence of God as I felt it then. That boy opened the windows of heaven and talked to his Heavenly Father as one would talk to another face to face. I want to say to you that I am a better man for having had this experience of standing and hearing a little boy talk to his Father in heaven as if he were present.”5 [See suggestion 2 on page 100.] Let us so live that every night when we kneel to pray and every morning when we bow before the Lord in thanksgiving, there will be in us the power to open the heavens so that God will hear and answer our prayers that we will know that we are approved of Him.6 If the faith of a nine year old boy without a family who is facing a serious surgery is that strong, why cant I and why cant you have this same unshakeable faith in our daily lives. Prayer is our only personal communication with our father. He wants to help us and listen to our problems and he will. The question is if we will let him and recognize wqhat he does for us. Love, Elder Martino

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Finally a Baptism!

This week flew by but it was good and we finally got a baptism. We had the opportunity to do exchanges with my district leader which was good and we found and taught some good people. On wednesday we found this old lady named Nancy who is great. She seems like a great woman that is excited to listen and learn. She did tell us how when she was 15 she had a vision. She had seen a giant brain that talked to her and told her many things about God. This got me thinking a little. She defiantely isnt the only person here who talks about having visions or dreams so its not too out of the normal, although a giant brain is new to me. We started to talk afterwards and i came to three conclusions. One, is that there is some crazy drugs in the water here. Two, is satan is known to appear great at times and teach twisted truths. If someone sees a vision they immediately think it is of god and Satan uses that to his advantage. We need to make sure that everything is absolute truths from God. The third is that anybody can recive a vision or see things and it can be from God. Going along with that story later that day we were clapping a house and a completely wasted man started to yell at us in broken english to come over to him. Before the woman could come to the door he had come over to us and kept her from leaving which made her stay inside. I did learn a couple things. First, he is one of the only billionaires in argentina and obama gave him and his wife a watch for that. Second is that he wants to have a kid in Miami so it can speak two languages. Never would have guessed he was so rich with a ciggarette in one hand and a box of wine in the other... the good news is saturday we had a great baptism that turned out different then i expected but we got her dunked which was good. Her name is Anna Maria and she is one of the sweetest old woman i know. She is mother of none but aunt to all. Everytime we met her she made me think of my two grandmothers that i still have living. Very special women with power to influence many people. She loves the church and loves feeling so loved by everyone. The beautiful thing is that that is our church. Our church is to strengthen one another so that we can as a group reach our goal to live in heaven with eachother and God. What would heaven be if we were alone? Very rarely in life can we find true happiness that solely involves ourselves. At least for me, true happiness comes at times and occasions that dont solely involve me. Life you always say dad, pleasure is much different than happiness. Pleasure is a lonely feeling of short term contentment that is followed by more loneliness. Happiness on the other hand is a feeling to be shared that brings true joy. Most always it is followed by a smile which spreads like wildfire to whoever is around you. Just this morning I was talking with the lady who manages our apartment. Many people here think that we in the states are a very cold hearted people that mind our own business. Sad to say but it is true for the most part, but it is true all around the world. Whats different is us. We ourselves, member of the church or not, are the ones that make differences. Every word we say or every action we do can change ours and someone elses life forever. The question is will it be for the better or will we tear people down. We'll pass people in the street with our heads down focusing on our own problems or will we look up with a smile on our face greeting people as we walk by. Every single one of us has the same goal whether we know it or not, and every single one of us has our own challenges, and every single one of us has the duty to help one another. Not one of us can reach heaven without helping others reach heaven. After all, what would heaven be without our friends and family. Sorry for the rambling but i was thinking about this topic alot this week. Love, Elder Martino

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Quick Week

Well it was a quick week. The cold is coming in and i love it. Every one here says that everyone gets fat in the winter so im getting ready. Just to make sure, if i come back a butterball are people still going to like me? We had a couple days this week when the work was very slow and the walking never ended. The good thing is we have gained the trust of many many members including the bishop(paso a paso). I had great success with less active members along with great food which helped! This week we get to go cook ├▒okis for a less active family who came to church for the first time in a while. This weekend coming up is exciting. So many things that are going to happen. We have a baptism on Saturday which of course is 5 de Mayo and of course we are going to celebrate mexican style! Sunday we have ward conference and the members are helping us to get many people there. We have over 600 members with about 100 active...Our goal is to have many more present. I have one member here who is known through the missionaries as never liking an elder. Well, the other day we wanted to study Jesus the Christ with us. Let me just say that when i read that book in English i feel like im reading in a different language. Spanish made it that much harder but almost easier to understand. Turns out that he likes me. I have no clue what i did but we sat and just studied part of a chapter and it went very well. Last night as well we had a noche de hogar with a couple. Turns out they had just had a fight and she wouldnt come out but whatever. We were reading and talking and the guy ended up saying that he feels as if I were his counselor in heaven before this life...Not sure what he meant by that but, cool. They always say in your mission you find people who knew you before this life... This week all in all was a struggle. I wont say why but in every prayer i said(including the many extra prayers) i was asking for the lord to give me patience. The days we were long and my comp and I just didnt agree on certain things. Turns out God just doesnt all of the sudden make me like Job. Once again it comes peace by peace and alot of work. I did alot of reading and studying as well. It is amazing what help it is when you just forget about yourself. Forget about what i want, what i think is a better idea, what i need, or what i would do. If i start to think how can i help this person, what does it hurt if we do this, what does this person need, or how can i make this person happier. If my goal is to make others happy, i will be happy myself. Love, Elder Martino