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

Monday, April 8, 2013

Apr 8, 2013

Promised Blessings

Hey family!
General Conference was amazing, wasn't it? I felt like I had so many of my questions directly answered. It is neat how that happens.
The family we were teaching was able to come to the church for conference, and it was neat to see her reaction. After the session, we asked the mom what she thought, and she just kept saying, "Wow... this really is a worldwide church, isn't it? I just didn't realize it was so big... wow!" I never realized how amazing it is that this truly is Christ's church filling the Earth. I mean, the church is in almost all the countries of the WORLD! How incredible is that? It is neat re-learning things through the people we teach.
For the Sunday afternoon session, we were called out on tour. It was neat that I was chosen for the tour, because it just so happened that they were all couples from the YSA bishopric in Queen Creek (there aren't that many people from AZ that come to Kirtland) and also, one of them was my long lost great cousin once removed!!! OK, I am actually not sure of our relation to her, but she is related to Heber C. Kimball through Alice Ann Gheen!! As soon as we made the connection, she grabbed me up in a hug and we got a bunch of pictures together. Kind of like a Disneyland celebrity! It was pretty cool. We talked a lot to them, and they gave me the info to their YSA ward, and told me to call and come to church in Queen Creek sometime. It was so fun! I love how inspired tours are- and it is amazing how many connections you can have with people once you get talking to them.
Almost out of time, but I have a cool story to share! This week we were teaching Kenia the Word of Wisdom. Before we got into the lesson, she was telling us about how her week went, and how she had experienced a ton of blessings that week. I listened to it in amazement, and then flipped open the pamphlet to where it talks about the blessings of keeping the word of Wisdom. I had studied it that morning, and EVERY SINGLE blessing she had mentioned was specifically described in that section. I had her read it line by line, and she was freaking out because she was so amazed how well all the blessings lined up with her week. It turns out that she 'just so happened' to be living the Word of Wisdom all along! She had alcohol, coffee, drugs, etc, before, but she had just felt they they weren't right and she shouldn't have them. ISN'T THAT AMAZING?! The Lord is preparing people to receive the Gospel!! It helped me have more confidence in the commandments of God and the promised blessings that come with them. It gave me a whole new perspective in having faith, trust and relying on Him.
I love you family!!
Sister Mahrt

Apr 1, 2013

Triple-ups are the BEST!

SUCH a good week! Lets see if I can get the main points in...

  • Last Monday we drove the sister who got her visa to go to Tawain to the mission home. Had dinner with President Vellinga and his family. He asked us to go on exchanges as much as possible while Sister Crabtree is still here (she leaves on April 16th). We got our new companion!
  • We made a goal to go on exchanges with all the Kirtland sisters. All. 30. of. them.
  • Tuesday- Sister Hillman on exchanges, so Sister Crabtree and I go to sites and try to do training sister stuff. It is a miracle sites didn't burn down :) Sites has been pretty crazy this week because of spring breaks. Half way through the day, we exchanged with a sick sister and her companion.
  • Wednesday- Monster planning session. Right after district meeting. Planning for upcoming firesides, training meetings, mission council... oh yeah, and our area. We stumbled out of our house looking like zombies :) It wasn't a pretty sight
  • Thursday- Sister Crabtree goes on exchanges and sites and Sister Hillman and I head out to our area. Eat lunch on the curb of a city. Not the best smelling place- I gagged down my sandwich and almost lost it a few times. Found some really nice people! When we were on one doorstep, the man thought we were policewoman and said, "Oh no, what did I do this time?!" Guess we should reconsider wearing our black coats on the same day. Crazy lesson in a library. Sister Hillman is super talented. She taught the Plan of Salvation while flipping the 2 year old over her head every 1.5 minutes (he kept climbing on her back and crawl over her head). Babysitting as a missionary = madness. My comp inventory goal = learning to master multi-tasking like The Hillman.
  • Training Meeting at the Morley Farm. President interviews. Exchanges- Sister Crabtree and Sister Hillman exchanged at sites with different sisters, and I went into Chardon's area with SISTER PALMER! (Remember her? The missionary I trained! aka my baby) It was so much fun to be with her! It helped me remember what an amazing missionary she is. We saw a ton of miracles. One of my favorites that day was going to dinner at Quiznos. We found it in the GPS, but when we got to Middlefield (amish country! They were all over the place! It was so fun!) we couldn't find Quiznos anywhere! We finally gave up and went to a nearby Subway. It just so happened that the lady behind the counter was a woman Sister Palmer had tracted into three months ago, who they hadn't been able to get a hold of! They were both excited to see each other, and Subway friend said she wanted to meet with Sister Palmer. Heavenly Father knows exactly where we need to be and when, and He can make it happen. Even if it means taking a Quiznos out of Middlefield.
  • Saturday- switched back to our companions in the morning. The first day all three of us were together! We were asked by the primary president to bring a movie to entertain the primary while the adults hid Easter eggs around the church building. Well, turns out missionaries have a pretty pathetic arsenal of children's movies, so we ended up practicing an Easter Egg presentation that focused on Christ, and brought Lamb of God as a back up. When we got there, the primary president said it would probably better to have a movie on to engage the kids, so we put in the Lamb of God, went to the back and prayed in the back of the gym that the kids wouldn't be scarred for life. That movie is brutal for kids! Then the hunt- mass chaos. Went to a park and taught Kenia and her family. Our new method- Divide and Conquer. Teaching them together is not an option, so we each end up taking a person and teaching them individually while one sister keeps the children at bay without getting too close to them (it feels like we are the monsters on Monsters Inc- when we are around them we do everything in our power to stay away from them) Every spare minute we used finding, and every time, we found people interested in learning more! Realized we hadn't packed lunch despite Sister Crabtree sending subtle hints all morning that we needed to pack more food, so we got kids meals at Wendy's. By the end of the day we were SO exhausted from running around and laughing that I almost feel asleep getting on the top bunk of the bunk bed!
  • Sunday- asked to teach Gospel Principles last minute. All our investigators came to church! One in a bright blue leather suit. ...ok, we'll take it! The seniors at sites spoil us- we pretty much ate our weight in Easter desserts. All the Kirtland Sisters are going to get diabetes. No big deal. Had some amazingly prepared people come onto chat and on the phones (I think I have come desensitized to how many amazing people come to us through the internet and the phones- they are amazing tools!) Made an Easter Egg hunt for the Kirtland sisters at sites- that was SO much fun! Who knew how competitive full grown adult woman could be? I will see if I can get Sister Hillman's pictures from that :)
And now we are at today! Sorry, this is probably TMI, but since I have been skimping you recently, I figured I would give you a more detailed explanation of missionary life :)
I love you all! Thank you so much for your emails!! I love hearing from you and glad you are all doing well! Keep me updated
Sister Mahrt

                            From the fireside, Megan's friend from EFY.  Small world!