The most important thing I learned from Elder Martino was the importance of members in missionary work. He told us that about 1/1000 people we talk to on the streets end up being baptized. While 2/3 people who are invited by their member friend and taught in a member's home are baptized. Why? Because of the spirit that is able to be present so much more abundantly in member's homes! It was very inspiring and really motivated me to get to know the members better in this new area so that they trust me to teach their friends.
He also bore his testimony of the Atonement which was one of the coolest experience I've had on my mission. His personal witness was so powerful and sure. As part of his testimony he also told the story of Agnes Caldwell, a 9 year old pioneer girl in a handcart company caught in the cold snow, with almost frost bitten frozen feet.
The rescue group that came for their group took all the old and unable to walk in the wagons and started towards Utah, while Agnes and other small kids ran alongside hoping to be offered a ride. All the kids eventually gave up until Agnes was the last one. The driver looked down at her and said "do you want a ride?" Still running she said yes and the man grabbed her hand and sped up the horses and made her run. She thought the man was terrible for doing this with the pain of every step of her frozen feet. After what seemed like miles to her the man stopped, picked her up, wrapped her in a blanket and put her in the wagon. She later realized that by making her run, the man had saved her feet and probably her life by helping her blood get flowing before she came in the wagon.
He compared this to the trials we face in life and how our all knowing Father allows us to go through trials not to punish us or torture us, but because that is what is best for our lives and will give us the strength to keep going on later.
I've pondered that a lot as I've met with many different kinds of people on my mission. One thing I have noticed is a universal trait of successful people is that they grow from hard things. A universal trait of less successful people is allowing their situation/circumstances to be an excuse not to grow. To take the easy way.
Elder Martino had us, during personal study the next day, write down in our journal attributes we wanted in our wife/marriage that we saw in President and Sister Jensen's marriage (they are the best couple of all time, general authorities and everyone comment all the time how great their marriage is). It made me think about marriage a little bit which was weird because that's an eternity away, but it made me mostly think about the type of people I want to surround myself with. President Jensen says he married someone smarter and more motivated that him, even though he's a rocket scientist for NASA and a genius, so that they would push each other to be better their whole lives. Those are the kind of people I wish to associate with as well.
This email has been a lot of just amazing spiritual things that I've personally learned this week so sorry if no one else feels this applies to them.. but it applies to us all because it's about Christ, but next week hopefully I will be able to report on Pierre Manirakiza being baptized and my new companion that I will get this Thursday!
Love you all!