Monday, May 27, 2013

May 27, 2013
Last Letter!


I know there are probably a million other things I could say or mission experiences I would love to tell you about, but the only thing coming to mind right now is my testimony, and I would love to share that with you.

On my mission, I really thought that I would come home with a very expanded testimony, finding truths I had never even thought about before, or learning things I could not even comprehend before I left.
But that hasn't been my experience.
I feel like the longer I have been out, the more I have realized how plain and simple the gospel really is. I haven't learned as many new things as I had previously imagined. Instead, the things that I have always known have become deeper and more cherished as I have shared them with others. I know Christ is MY Savior. He is the Savior to each of us individually. I feel like I know Him, and He has allowed me to serve alongside Him for these last 18 months. He has helped me discover the joy of forgetting myself and being completely caught up in the service of others. He has helped me feel a glimpse of His love that He has for all His children. He has opened my eyes to everyday miracles that can slowly and gradually change people as they recognize them. He has answered impossible prayers and carried me and those I have grown to love through insurmountable trials. I have seen the blessing of eternal families. I have seen the devastation of families broken by Satan. I can't even imagine my future without these experiences, which have shaped me and helped me to grow in ways I would never have thought possible. The Book of Mormon is God's word, a way to gain a personal relationship with our Savior. This is His church. We don't have to search and be lost in the dark. We have the way to happiness, and it is up to us to simply follow it.
I love you so much family!! I am so excited to see you all and be able to wrestle you to the ground! (you better watch out!) Wrenching my heart out of Ohio (especially Kirtland) is not going to be fun, but I am glad that I will be able to be around you again.

Love you!! ...see you Thursday? (CRAZY!!!)
Sister Mahrt

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

May 20, 2013
Kirtland, Cleveland and Toledo Zone Conferences

Happy Birthday BROOKIE!!!! I can't believe you are ten! You cute little Dr. Seuss girl :) What are you going to do for your birthday?

There were so many miracles this week! 
1) We tracted a street on Saturday that we had originally planned for Monday. We walked up to a couple who were sitting outside, and we were talking about family history. The conversation changed when the lady started talking about things, and EVERYTHING she was saying was highlighting themes and principles from the Book of Mormon! Scriptures and stories were flashing through my head like mad. I got so excited and told her how much she was in line with the Book of Mormon, shared some scriptures with her, then started explaining the introduction. Every question she asked led straight to the next paragraph!! By the end, she was SO excited to read the Book of Mormon - I don't think I have ever met anyone that was quite as enthusiastic about learning more. The amazing thing is that she didn't even live in that home- her family had been kicked out of their home and just came to live with their son's friend's mom that day, and were planning on leaving ASAP. If we had tracted that street a DAY earlier, she wouldn't have even been there! As we drove away and past where they were sitting, we saw her reading the Book of Mormon. I felt so full of gratitude that Heavenly Father has given us scripture that addresses all the problems and concerns we may have, and brings that spirit so we can receive personal revelation. It was such a neat experience!
2) Kenia's mom has been very antagonistic to the church. Yesterday at church we were talking to Kenia and she said she had had a heart to heart with her mom, and it turns out she has been acting out in jealousy since Kenia was getting so much attention, and she wants to come to church next Sunday! Tender mercy!
3) Our hermana's got their visas :( We are happy for them, but it will be so sad to have them go! We will be in a triple-up now with Sister Ahrendsen. Four companions in one transfer! This has been way too much fun! They will be leaving today, so we are a little short on time...

Love you, my little FAM FAM!! 

Sister Mahrt

May 13, 2013

This is us weekly planning in a park on the most gorgeous day in the history of Ohio. It was BEAUTIFUL! ...even if weekly planning did get extra long. The best part of this is that I was able to get a little bit of a tan. On one arm. And only a half of my forearm (see my 3/4 sleeves). It became the new hip fashion statement in Kirtland. 

Monday, May 6, 2013

May 6, 2013

I will talk to you next week!

Here are some pictures.

My three companions and the two that live with us in the Boynton home after a hard days work at the Garden Party on top of the diminished pile of mulch!

Las hermanas y yo ogranizing the area board and book!

Apr 29, 2013

Hi Family!
This has been a neat week. I feel like there has been so much to do, and it is all just beyond my grasp of getting it all done. The neat part is that I don't feel like I am in control, but because of that I can see how much He is doing. I have had 10 minutes to prepare for trainings and lessons, and they turn out so much better than if I would have had 10 hours because He is magnifying everything that is done. It is neat what the spirit has the ability to do and accomplish.

I'm still alive. Kirtand is intact. Everything's amazing.
Love you all!

Sister Mahrt

Monday, April 22, 2013

Quadruple up!!!!

Apr 22, 2013
Mom, I have stolen your name. I have now been called Momma Mahrt on a number of occasions, and it is so weird to be called by your name! We had to drive a van to church because there were so many of us (our quadruple up and the two other Shaker Heights North sisters) so we have even moved to the mini van stage of motherhood! And I am the little momma drivin' the mini van. Our little family keeps growing! 
I thought a triple up was fun- just imagine the possibilities with THREE companions! We can go on splits (two and two), we can be a triple up and leave one of us with another set of sisters (two triple-ups), or we can walk down streets with all four of us like a Mormon gang. So many options! It gets a little confusing when we try to explain who is companions with who (Sister Ellsworth and I are the Sister Training Leaders together, I am training Hermana Mowry and Sister Ellsworth is training Hermana Stone) but we all get along so well and it has been so much fun. Hermana Mowry and Hermana Stone are on their way to Argentina (Buenos Aires and Restistencia (sp?) ) so we get language study now!!! So fun! Sister Ellsworth and I were hoping to be able to learn a little bit of Espanol, but it turns out that we aren't a whole lot of help when we participate... (how do you say, "I need to go to the bathroom again?" or "Get that caffeinated beverage out of my face!") so we call a play date with the other visa waiters (Hermana Alicea and Hermana Johanson) and let them learn together. Sister Ellsworth is an angel (except for when she pranks you), Hermana Stone is a fiesty one (just kidding, she is just super good at giving the stink eye) and Hermana Mowry is our navigating pro (someone had to do it- the rest of us were challenged in the navigation skills area). They are all such good missionaries- I keep forgetting that they are straight out of the MTC! We even went tracting for four hours straight in gale force winds, and they didn't even complain! Love them. I already feel like I have been with them for a lot longer than a week.
Last night we had the Kirtland fireside. Sister Ellsworth and I are in charge of putting those together. It was Sister Ellsworth's first time conducting, and it was a little (a lot!) crazy. We had to set up the room last minute, find prayers right before it started, and then one of the recent converts we asked to bear her testimony didn't show up on time. Whew! Good thing we were in the front of the room- we had to look calm and collected, so we didn't have license to run around like mad women. Thankfully, it all worked out :) It always seems to do that somehow. Now I owe Sister Ellsworth a marshmallow for every day for this next transfer for throwing her into that mess! But she did SO well! Good thing she is a natural when it comes to conducting meetings, because she had ZERO time to practice!
Sandy set a baptisimal date! We are so excited! She has been ready to be baptized, she just hasn't wanted to be pushed to a date. But guess what? She is getting baptized on MAY 31st!!!! ONE DAY after I leave OHIO! I COULD NOT believe it! Don't get me wrong, I am so happy for her and her eternal salvation... but really?! Of all the days! ...but really, I am happy for her.
Love you little munchkins! 

Sister Mahrt

Monday, April 15, 2013

Apr 15, 2013
Stone Cut Without Hands

I remember being at the beginning of this week, looking at our to-do list, and thinking, "If we are able to pull this off, it will be a miracle"

Well folks, this must be God's work. It is amazing what can be done with His help!

This was one of those weeks where the exhaustion just hits you like a 4x4. Right between the eyes. We have been going full throttle, and I think this week it just caught up with us. It was actually pretty funny- we would muster up all our energy and act as normal and alive as possible during lessons, then once we got in the car we resumed our half dead state until we reached our next appoinment. We were so tired we couldn't evenpretend to be energetic! The fun thing is that we were still attempting to have fun and laugh even though we could barely speak properly and think straight. It feels so good to climb in your bed at the end of the night knowing you have given EVERYTHING! I am convinced that is one of the best feelings in the world.

Kenia and Ernest are BAPTIZED! I can't believe it! Have I told you about them? Kenia is a single mother (her husband left her) with 4 kids. The oldest (16 years old) is Ernest. Kenia had to be dunked 4 times because she is a fighter- she would go down and start kicking! We were really nervous that she would let that situation make her frustrated or annoyed, but she came out laughing, saying she probably had to be baptized four times to get rid of all the things she had done :) They are the most prepared people I have met so far on my mission! They bore their testimonies at their baptism on Saturday night, and they did SO well! They sound like they were born in the church. They have been going through so much opposition, more than anyone else I have ever taught, and it seems like they have miraculously channeled that opposition to help their faith sky rocket! It is neat to see that from an outsider's perspective- it really is all about perspective and attitude.

My companions are leaving me :( I am SO sad about it! Sister Crabtree came to us at a perfect time. We didn't know what President planned on doing when he left a visa waiter to be with her, but it all worked out so well, because we NEEDED her! There is no way we could have taught Kenia's family without her. Sister Hillman and Sister Crabtree are incredible, and I have learned so much from them! I don't know what President is thinking- you can't just get these amazing people to be my companions, and then decide to rip them away from you three weeks later! It isn't humane! Sister Crabtree will be going home, and Sister Hillman is being out-zone, so she will be far away. Not happy about it.

Ah, fam, I wish I could just pull you out here for ONE DAY so you could feel this! Missionary work is so exciting right now! I mean, it is always exciting, but it is so neat to see what is going on with the world right now. It feels like with all these new missionaries coming out, everything is gaining momentum. There are a bunch of changes happening! Guess what? Next transfer, I will be training a new training sister (obviously, since my companions are leaving me) but on top of that, we will each be training a new visa waiter! The trick with visa waiters is that they aren't called to sites, so they need to be full time in the area. So... my new companion and I will be the sisters in charge of sites, but we will never be able to be here together, because one of us will be a triple-up in the area, while the other joins a companionship at sites! (Does that make sense? Yeah, it doesn't make sense to me either, I am still trying to figure out how to do this!) It is going to be a fun challenge, and I am really excited about next transfer! Do you know what I realized the other day? You know how it took awhile for me to decide to go on a mission? I was trying to figure out what to do with my life, and it didn't seem like I was getting an answer either way, and it was frustrating. Well, what if I had gotten my answer sooner? I would have been out on a mission and back before all of this had taken place, and I would have missed this opportunity of a LIFETIME! I am loving it out here- missionary work is the best!

Love you family! I think of you and pray for you often! Keep being amazing!

Sister Mahrt

Dearest Sisters!
Here are the pictures from this transfer! May we always remember that we have been called to stand in holy places so that we can gather His elect and he can fulfill His work through our service. Thank you all for your testimonies and your example of what it means to be tools in His hands. We love you soooo much! 

Your Favorite TSADS!
Sisters Mahrt, Crabtree, and Hillman