Monday, August 19, 2013

"Hey it's an adventure!" Aug 19

Friends and Fam,
Hi! so, first of all saturday was transfer calls anddd.... I'm staying haha! So, that's good.
This week went by the fastest so far I think.  By sunday I really felt that it had been a day! They're not kidding when they say the days are weeks and the weeks are days haha. So funny.
OK so we had an appointment with Luciana and her family monday and... no show again! :( ah so hard. Hard to not let other's choices break my heart a little haha!  The english sisters who work in Geneva gave us a referral that night as well, and we went to contact him.  Jose didn't live there, but a really sweet girl named Selma did!  Ah she is super special and is definitely going places.  There are so many things about her that I admire- one being that she prays every day to be able to be led to people who need help.  Also she believes that everything happens for a reason.  She wants to figure out the reason why we were sent to her house looking for a Jose that didn't live there. NOT A CONSEQUENCE YOU NEED THE GOSPEL haha we were able to return and teach the restoration and give her a copy of the Book of Mormon.  I hope (and pray) she prayes diligently to find the reason why we met her :)
We met a lot of potential investigators this week- aka we did a lot of knocking and a lot of finding.  Hey its an adventure!
There is the SWEETEST girl in our ward, she's my age named Giovanna and she is home waiting to go on her mission.  She came out with us thursday night and from lunch till dinner on saturday!  Poor girl got to see the reality of what most the days are like.  Thursday we had 4 appointments- all no shows.  Friday we had two tiring lessons with many hard questions and stubborn views, and a few more no shows. Haha poor Giovana... I just felt bad... but hey, doing your very best is what counts out here. Some days are just like that and wear. you. out.
also Viernes I got a very special package in the mail! THANK YOU SO MUCH mom and family. I seriously love it SO much. A voice recorder with special messages from home. Loved hearing from you all! You're the best!
Lots of no shows and totally exhausting days this week.  Praying for miracles! We need them.
Yesterday evening we had a zone activity at President Fenn's house.  I love learning from him.  We had a Q and A and I learned so much, but I love those valuable times when the spirit teaches you too. One of our questions was about his favorite scripture, and of course he has a lot depending on the topic, but he shared a special experience about 2 Nephi 4- the Psalm of Nephi.  I could just feel in my heart as he was talking that Heavenly Father SPOKE to him through that scripture and the spirit.  I could tell in my heart the deep deep love he had for what this experience with this scripture had done for his life.  It reminded me that I have had a couple of those experiences too!  I do have a love for the scriptures and the revelations that can come through them, but I know that
There is a difference between reading the scriptures to get the story or learn of a topic, and realizing something about yourself, about the nature of satan, Heavenly Father, and Jesus Christ. Amazing personal revelation and 'aha' moments can come if we want them! We can grow a relationshipwith Christ by learning about him through the holy ghost. I am striving for this!
Also this morning I read an awesome talk from Nov. 2012 conference from Elder Robert C. Gay: "What Shall a Man give in Exchange for His Soul?"
its amazing, because satan triumphs in the little things, the little justifications. The fact that people get tempted to just skip our appointments, or when any of us just decide to sleep in and not go to church that day. He loves when we do those little things that bring us away from Christ. We have to be careful for sure.  Go read that!!
Well sorry this letter was so long, I'm just learning so much and love sharing this knowledge with you! 
I love you all!!!
hna Barlow

These two cute kids were baptized on Sunday.  The elders taught and helped their family return to the church.

Friends and Fam! Aug 12

Friends and Fam!
This week went by so so very fast.  I am loving it here a lot!  I had a dream that I came home early for something medical and I was super sad in my dream. Not saying I don't miss you guys but... just sayin...
So Monday was a good night again! We went by to Ariana's house again and while teaching her and her brothers the restoration, their mom came in! My companion and I were nervous what she would say haha but she was super super nice, and even better, Ariana had already told her about us!  She was so great and explained that they were catholic by tradition and were baptized and did communions and everything, but that that didn't really mean that much to them.  She wanted herself and her kids to find the church they wanted and to stick with it.  Which is wonderful news! She was so open and kind and hilarious too.  We taught her the restoration as well and it all went very well.
Thursday we went with our ward mission leader Obispo Monarrez to teach them again and no one answered the door! Luckily we had a good back up down the street with a man named Emilio.  His wife is american and SUPER hilarious and nice, she likes to meet and learn and talk to us but she doesn't ever want to convert (she thinks hehe) But Emilio is a lot more interested in progressing.  He came to church this sunday! It was awesome.  Pray for him to continue progressing and searching for answers.
Saturday we were able to see Ariana and her family again! We taught the plan of salvation with Luciana (mom), Luis (brother) Ariana, Diego (bro) and Leo.  It was a really great lesson, super powerful- all thanks to the spirit. Luis, Ariana, Diego, and Leo committed to prepare to be baptized in september!  PRAY for them to continue to work for this.  and pray for their mom to have this desire.  They need it so much more than they know! We meet with them again tonight and we get to meet Luciano's boyfriend as well. Pray pray pray!
There is an english member here that we get to eat with every now and again named sister Mather. She is absolutely wonderful and I just love her and wanted to tell you all that haha.
We met many more people this week and invited invited invited. We got stood up many times, but we did our best!
Today I had an awesome personal study. I specifically prayed to be guided for our lessons tonight, what spiritual thought I wanted to send home (in this email),  and the things the Lord directed me to were pretty crazy!  In the Book of Mormon (I've been reading it through,) I'm in: Helaman 4 and 5, the part about repentance stuck out to me, and led me to King Benjamins address in Mosiah 4... where there are more great scriptures about repentance and forgiveness. I then went to the bible where I've been reading and today i was In Luke 14 (pretty sure, don't have my study notebook with me) I read about the lost sheep and the prodigal son. About forgiveness/ repentance as well! When just one sinner or one soul that is lost comes back there is REJOICING in heaven.  Then I went to where I've been reading in the D&C, (section 11) and it says 'say nothing but repentance to this generation'.  Then to end it all I had already planned to finish a wonderful talk by D. Todd Christofferson "The Divine Gift Of Repentance".  GO REAd it!
Repentance is a GIFT and in my personal study today I really felt guided to this topic.  I needed to hear it, those at our lessons tonight need to hear it, and you all as well!  Repentance is the only way we can be saved and only through our savior Jesus Christ.
I have a testimony that the Lord can guide us when we study!
well I hope all is well at home, I love you all SO much and I appreciate your prayers and love.
Love Hermana Barlow

Week 4 ( I think...) ! Aug 6

WELL I don't have much time today.. but yeah!
So about two weeks ago knocking doors we met a 17 year old girl named Ariana who is super cute.  She is super special and we knew it from the start! Last monday just after pday was done, we went to see her for our first official lesson. We didn't have too much time so we taught her about the Book of Mormon- but she prefered english and we didn't have one with us so, couldn't give her one right away (too bad..) but she committed to read it and pray and be baptized on a certain date as she comes to know these things are true! Ah I was so so so happy and I still am!
we went back for our return appointment... to teach the restoration and give her a book of mormon and teach her brothers too (yayy) andddd she wasn't there. :( so sad! she doesn't have a cell phone so, we haven't even talked to her since the monday she committed to be baptized. Hopefully we can have a lesson with her tonight! Ahh she needs it and is so prepared.
Staying in touch with people is a hard thing! Appointments fall through, people don't answer phones, its weird. who knew that would be a big setback in missionary work?
We had a 7 hour missionary training meeting this week which was long and pretty awesome. Our mission president is so great and basically has the scriptures all memorized. No lie! Its super cool and I always learn a lot.
I love that I get the chance to teach in both spanish and english.  Its gonna take me longer to really learn spanish, but its also nice to totally understand someone and really say what I want to say haha. But I love spanish too so its win win. I am getting better little by little, I wish it would all just hit me one day but i've accepted that thats not going to happen! 
I read a wonderful talk this morning from November 2011 conference by Quentin L. Cook (pretty sure...)  and I forgot the title (whoops!) but it had the word "song" in it haha. Go read it if you have a moment, its about trials. Very inspiring! I love sharing the gospel, especially when I get to share my testimony about and give away a copy of the Book of Mormon.  I felt like I did that a lot this week which just makes me so happy! I love that Book!!
well I'm running out of time, I love you all so much!
Love Hermana Barlow

MILAGROS!! July 29

Hola hola everyone!
So in the MTC I remember one day in Relief Society a lady gave us a few suggestions/ pieces of advice for the mission and I remember one was:
Expect Miracles!
So, some great miracles happened this week. The biggest yet!
So this week was great of course, one of our first lessons was with an old man named Jose. My companion and her last companion have taught him for a while now. He is funny and literally has no teeth :) hehe.  So he already has a testimony of the gospel... and he knows he needs to be baptized.... but.. he won't commit to a date? We're not sure whats up.  So in our lesson, we invite him to be baptized once again... and he says not yet.  Then he goes on to explain a dream he had recently: It was full on the spirit world, and people all dressed in white, and his grandpa telling him that he was the only hope for their family... so, OBVIOUSLY this is an amazing sign to be baptizedd that most people don't get! The sweet member who was present tried to explain that he needs to do the temple work/ baptisms for the dead for his ancestors, obv. But, he still said not yet. Haha it was a really amazing dream to hear about though.  He says he is expecting us to convince him to be baptized, and we aren't going to do that. So I hope he can learn that and come to his decision!
Tracting is always good when you get new investigators and return appointments, but a lot of the times we return and they decide not to be there! Ha its frustrating but what do you do. We met a few of those people and we hope that when we return next week we will actually get to share this message with them.
I ate a lot of meat one of the days this week.  Doin it because I love them and its hard- litterally too hard to say no. I have told like 1 or 2 families that I don't eat meat and since then they have been SO sweet about it but I just wish everyone could understand that they don't have to not eat meat with me haha... ah! so hard! but I love them so much
Friday was the day with the biggest miracles!!
We visited a less active (basically inactive...) member and her daughter again, and she was super awesome and open with us again. Our last meeting with her was super spiritual and this one was too. The change we saw was amazing.  This lady has a hard life and a hard situation, and I love seing her remember and build her testimony.  She was for sure on coming to church sunday and we could see that she meant it. Ah its amazing to see the way we acted on our promptings from the spirit and how that helped her change and come unto Christ.
Later that night, we went to a kind of less active family's house for a lesson with them and to help them with something they needed. We went in and they had amazing news for us! Earlier that day a lady- an old neighbor I guess- showed up at their house and knocked on their door and they talked for a bit.  They got on the subject of us (the hermanas) and she mentioned that she had met with hermanas in the past and was interested in seeing us again!!! So they gave her our number and invited her to come over later that night.  So we were obviously at this point like.... is this real life??? So then an there we call her and invite her to the house again.  So Romina came like 30 minutes later with a 16 year old girl named Nicole. Oh yeah and their last name is De Los Santana haha super awesome. Anywhoo, we had a way good convo and my companion felt so prompted to invite them to be baptized and they accepted a baptismal date! So amazing!! They said as they come to know these things are true, they really will be baptized.  WOW we were honestly like AMAZED at this miracle.  A literal miracle... things like that just do not happen that often at all. Our Father in heaven loves us very much. He really guides us when we are obedient and places people in our paths so long as we are patient and obedient.  It was amazing and we are so so excited to begin working with these wonderful ladies.
Sunday though... they said they were going to church but didn't. :/. ah we still have a lot of faith in them though. Jose did come to church though, so thats good.  Little by little he will come around I think.
I love my mission so much!! Such an amazing and trying experience that will help me for my entire life as long as I can remember the wonderful things I have learned.
I love you and am praying for you! Thank you for all your prayers!
Love Hermana Barlow

Familia y amigos, July 22

Ok another week here in the field... Everything is going by faster and faster which is bittersweet!
So here's a little update.
Rodrigo y Mateo (brothers 14, 11) committed to baptism this week! Now we need to help their Dad be on board though.... I have faith that it will happen.  Their older brother is on a mission and I really think that they will recieve a lot of blessings from that, including their Dad allow them to choose to be baptized. Ahh we're hoping and praying for a miracle! I guess thats what we do everyday haha.
We don't always feel super led when we tract, but the times that I have noticed the spirit's guidance I'm always astonished at what happens, even if its a simple but positive conversationwith rejection.  Peoples agency is huge and I love how we invite everyone to use it in righteous ways. Keep praying for us to be led to those who are prepared!
Thursday was my first exchange with Hermana Smith! We didn't have much time together because of some things but it was great learning from her.  On the way to her aptment in arlington heights on wed. night, I saw the city! Just for a little minute when we were driving on the freeway. Its so beautiful and I'm excited to go there someday!!
With Hna Smith we went to a trailer park where a potential investigator lived.  She was a way sweet lady but I could hardly understand her at all haha.  I guess she told some wild story about crossing the border and stuff but... yeah thats besides the point HAHA
That was a way cool lesson because she was talking more than half of the time, which is really how it should be.  We were able to figure out a lot of what she believed and what she needed.  Towards the end she said that she had tried to recieve answers from God in her prayers but that it had never really happened, and she doubted that it was possible. I hadn't talked the whole time but I understood that and I was like "tengo una experiencia con recibiendo una respuesta de dios!" or something really broken like that... and I told her my experienced and testified that I know its possible.  After that she said something I didn't understand.. and after the lesson I guess she had said that I recieved it because I was expecting it... and that it wasn't real... ha if I had understood that I would have testified even more, but oh well. She was nice and really open to ideas and I hope the Arrlington heights sisters can help her progress because shes great.
After splits, the sister that went with my comp told us of someone to go see that she had visited when she served in our area.  So I guess this guy's family is in Mexico and are all baptized and he has seen how happy they are and ordered a Book of Mormon online and SLC sent her (that sister) his info to go see him and for some reasons they didn't see him much.
He sounds so golden and ready to recieve the gospel right?
So anyway, we went out to his house.  he lives in one of the MOST beautiful neighborhoods I have ever ever seen.  Like.......... speachless. I'll take some pics next time we are out there.  we were so used to being apartment buildings and smaller houses so, we hadn't really seen this life yet.  I'm telling you, random beautiful lakes with fountains in the middle, green green fields, houses so huge and gorgeous and spaced apart way nicely... it was crazy. Anywho we go up to this one big house and ring it and a sweet little girl answered. She was talking to us like we were her bffs right off the bat and we had to tell her to get her parents like 3 times.
Its hard to explain the look on his face while talking to us... it wasn't like normal where people are confused or interested, it was like he really wanted to hear our message and make it a part of his life.  He said he wanted to learn and to have what his family in mexico had (pretty much) but that his wife is catholic and didn't want to hear of it.  He gave us his number and said we could still teach him in a couple weeks though.  ahhhhhh pray for a miracle for Juan y familia!
Another little story- my comp felt prompted to visit this former investigator named Daniel. He had only had a couple small lessons though so he never progressed very far. He is 16 so we could speak to him in english, and we had a way good and deep conversation with him. It was crazy how the spirit was giving me (and my comp too probably ) prompting after prompting. Ah we know what he needs in his life and we know how we can help him, now its up to his agency! He is really interested in the world and loves learning of possible theories of why we're here and who God is and all that.  He also faces a lot of struggles in his life. and at the same time, he barely knows who Jesus Christ is and what he did, and why he is so important now.  He really needs that and I feel it in my heart! While having this discussion and hearing of his life and struggles, scripture after scripture came to my mind.  We invited him to start/ to continue to search and study the scriptures. ahhh we hear that all the time! 'read your scriptures read your scriptures' but really, it can change us and direct us in CRUCIAL ways. pray for Daniel.
In my scripture reading since then I have found countless things that he needs to hear. Those books contain things we all need to hear! God is waiting for us to go recieve answers to our prayers through the scriptures
I see this vision for everyone we know here, even the active members. A vision of conversion and for eternal life. Its real and its true! I know God lives and loves us and wants all to come unto him no matter what.  This is no small work- its for salvation and eternity. I'm forever thankful for this opportunity to help others and grow myself!
read Mosiah 14- it hit me super hard as I circled each time it says 'our'.  Its so wonderful and heartbreaking at the same time.
quick shout out to all my fam in Bear Lake! I love you so much have a wonderful time but not too much fun without me! haha mucho amor