Monday, September 30, 2013

I'm Expecting!

Hiii all sooo there is a kind of joke in the mission that when you have a trainee they are your "baby" and the trainer is the mom/dad. ha sooo Im gonna be a Mom tomorrow!
woohoo well really I'm so nervous. There is a chance that she will know more spanish than me- but if not this is all gonna be interesting. I can tell that I am going to need more faith, trust, patience, just EVERYTHING than I have EVER had in my life so far. Its truly amazing being a part of this generation of missionaries- but at the same time, because of the big rush of sisters, us sisters are having to train right away. So, idk. Heavenly Father must trust us a lot. Pray for me please please!
So this week, two of our investigators have been reading so much in the LDM! We loooove when that happens- and its so awesome that when they do, they have good experiences.
so Manuela- she said she has barely had time to read- only a little. We asked where she was and she said 2ND NEPHI 9 whaaaat??? We were like.. hermana... that is a lotttt. Ha oh she is so cute. It breaks my heart that we might have to drop her soon because her husband won't let her come to church or progress or anything :(
and Antonio- we were in our 3rd lesson with him and he just casually shares a scripture that he likes and gives us a nice summary of the beginning of 1st Nephi WHAT ok its soooo cool when people simply choose to progress and find the truthfulness of these things! Hopefully he will come to church soon.
Luciana, Ariana, Luis, and Leo came to church yesterday! They are so cute, I love them. Keep praying for them. They are progressing little by little.
also- funny story.
so one of our investigators who is suuuuper old lives with his sister, who is a pastora in another church. Ha she is super nice and has slowly warmed up to the missionaries, but has never let us in her house. but this time she did! and what do we see? The biggest Jesus shrine I think I have evvver seen. It was amazing the situation was absolutely hilarious I wish everyone could just understand haha.
Welll I am learning so so so much everyday and I think that Is about to sky rocket. I love this opportunity to serve. right about now Joshua 1:9 ( my fave scripture) is my anchor because... its taking all I have not to be super scared about everything! I love this work and I know that my Heavenly Father is with me every day and that he loves us!
Hermana Barlow

Sunday, September 29, 2013

A BRIGHT blue house was screaming our name

Hey hey hey!!
So it was a good week :)
A few weeks ago when we were finishing up studies in the church after District Meeting, a hispanic woman named Maria walked in and said she was a member who just moved into our area!  So this week we were able to have a couple lessons with her family- her husband and two of her kids have not been baptized yet, so we were so excited to be able to start working with them! Such a miracle she happened to come to the chappell when we were there. Anywhoo, Her husband is super open as well as her cute kids, and they are so nice and willing to have us over.  Their only issue.... of course.... like most others... is coming to church on sunday. They come to tuesday activities.. but keep going to Chicago on the weekends! Not cool! Ha no but they are great and we hope to see them progress.
Luciana and her kids are still doing pretty well. I love them so much! Hopefully I will be able to attatch a picture of Leo and I- if I had a little brother I'd hope it'd be him haha! They still have desires to change but aren't really taking action. I'm scared for them, they are still not very good about coming to church either :( ahh pray pray pray, they fell off of their baptismal date yesterday :/ but not for long.
    - another miracle with them is- the 3rd to oldest kid named Jeronimo (who only believes in science.....) said a real prayer with us this week! progress! hahah
We had my last training meeting (at a trainee...) :/ but of course it was wonderful. I got to see Hermana Jones! Love her!!! I love hearing from our leaders- I learned soo much I can't even explain.

Another Lady we are teaching's name is Manuela. The first time we met with her and her mom in law, her mom in law was super nice but explained how she will never switch from catholic.  Manuela was baptized in another christian church in Mexico and loves the bible, but didn't believe there was anything but the bible. I was impressed to ask her about the Book of Mormon, and she showed a little interest. A few lessons later- and she really likes the Book of Mormon and believes it is true!! Her problem is- her husband doesn't want anything but catholic. She has tried to show him the Book of Mormon and everything :( but she is willing to pray and continue to read and do what she can to see a miracle in him. If this miracle does happen, they will be baptized! (im almost positive.....) She is super super sweet.
Also, Antonio is back on date to be baptized. He is a golden investigator for sure- he is even willing to ride his bike all the way to the church (which is way too far...). But when members really have gone for him he hasn't been there! Besides that he is so ready and SO very much in need of the gospel. Really nice man.
Another small miracle: We saw a BRIGHT blue house... screaming our name haha so we knocked it and we have a really solid potential there named Dante. Great things are happening!
We get transfer calls this saturday, and needless to say I am SO very scared. There is a very good chance I will be training- whatever the outcome PLEASE pray for me! Ah especially for the gift of tongues.
We also had a very inspiring stake conference. I got to watch the saturday session in english yay! haha but really, I'm not even a youth leader and I was inspired about what I need to do in the future when I am a youth leader. Important stuff...
Ah I finished the Book of Mormon again (in english) this morning!! ITS STILL TRUE!! haha wow I love love love that book and know I will be reading it continually throughout my whole life. I know that we will be closer to God through this book more than any book. It is the keystone, the evidence, and probably the biggest rock of my faith. I absolutely love it. READ IT!
I am on a constant search for improvement right now.  I know through study and faith and obedience these things will come. I'd love to invite you all- especially my family, to read "Lord I believe" by Elder Holland, and wright down the things you do know, and fan the flame of the faith you already have.
The church is true! amazing things are happening!! I love you all so very much
Hermana Barlow

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Mini car accident...

Hola Fam and Friends!
ok so this week was a little longer than normal but there were some very great things that happened!
So last monday we had a lesson with Ariana, Luis, Diego, Leo and Jeronimo.  They accepted a baptismal date for october 12 and we are PRAYING so much that this will happen! Please pray! another wonderful thing that happened: Ariana said SHE WANTS TO SERVE A MISSION! Super crazy and awesome! We were on cloud 9 for a good 2 days after hearing that haha. We love their family so much and know they are super special. They were all for sure set on going to church sunday- and when we went to wake them up, Luciana, Diego and Leo were home, but not Ariana and Luis. I guess they went with their friends in Aurora :( :( we were super super bummed- that is their biggest obstacle in becoming ready for baptism.
BUT Luciana, Diego and Leo still came so that is super good!! We were still happy.
Mini Car accident:
Ok so this is a funny story... we were driving next to this apartment building in the parking lot, and out of this weird driving tunnel thing comes a young boy on his bike and he SLAMS into the side of our car!!! I about had a HEART ATTACK it was so scary. Luckily I wasn't driving too fast and, the kid was totally fine. Our side rear view mirror was broken though... but it ended up being totally fine haha now we have a shiny new mirror on 'Brady' (the name of our car)

I got a super super cute package from my mom! the Cutest scrapbook thingy with notes from my Fam y extended family members. Thank you thank you thank you! It made my day when I got it! and probably the next day too hahah.
Also, wednesday the 2nd counselor asked me to sing in sacrament on sunday! such late notice, but luckily Hermana Lane was able to sing with me. We sang 'We'll bring the world his truth" (in spanish of course) and with a few run throughs of practice, we pulled it off haha everyone had great things to say!
This week I have had a huge desire to set real good goals, and I'm finally getting around to it. My belief in the importance of goals is growing and growing and I want to keep this strong belief and desire for the rest of my life. I invite you all to make goals!
Also I suggest reading Mosiah 4- especially searching for themes of Christ/Atonement, repentance, and joy (or any other things or topics you can think of). Its a great chapter and there is so much to learn.
I love you all so so so much
<3 Hermana Barlow

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

"There are times that are hard as hard as hard..."

Week 9 ahh-
Wow thats crazy I just finished week 9! Today is my 2 month aniversary in the field! Woo thats crazy. It feels like its come so fast but also has felt like a long time? Not sure!
WELL so it was a pretty good week! Tons of ups and downs for sure. But a lot more good experiences for my life.
So, we had another lesson with Luciana and Fam this week and we were able to meet Sadie- Ariana's new friend from school who is a miracle!  Ok so this girl is AWESOME. She was baptized... like idk a couple years ago? And wasn't really active at all after her baptism. She was still living the worldly life and not really the commandments either, up until this summer when she went to girls camp. Girls Camp changed her life and now she has the STRONGEST testimony, she shares it with everyone, she is such a good influence for their family. What a blessing! She also speaks spanish and might start coming to the spanish ward too :) So really cool. The lesson she came to was Chastity, Word of Wisdom, and Following the prophet.  Potentially could've been an awkward lesson... but totally wasn't.  Sadie has such a strong testimony about the law of chastity and the word of wisdom, and was able to testify that her life as a follower of Christ/ keeper of the commandments was SO much easier and happier. It was great because not too many members have lived both lives and is able to testify of that.
PRAY PRAY for them, their biggest thing is coming to church.  This will be so hard for their family :(( and it is crucial.
So we finally were able to have a lesson with Antonio, and he had read the WHOLE Restoration Pamphlet... that is SO rare that people do that! He is really great and wants to follow a good path, and he keeps saying he'll come to church but.. hasn't shown yet so. ahh he will eventually.
There are times that are hard as hard as hard.  But I know they either change me for the better or they are obstacles that need to be endured. With Christ nothing is impossible and I know that, he knows every single thing we go through.
you'll be happy to hear this story: dun dun dun DUN i sang TWO YEARS at our ward fiesta this last saturday! Haha so the Obispo calls us that morning and says "so... we need more performers. and I heard hermana Barlow has some singing talents. will she play or do something?" and of course my job here is to help him out.. and if thats what he needs me to do... I'll do it of course! I was like "well... I only know songs in English..." and he said that is fine and that Music is the Language of the world SO  I did it.  I announced " Esta Cancion es en ingles..." (crowd goes 'awwwweee') but oh well! Most speak english anyway haha. it went really well. It was such a fun ward party though! Each organization did a little dance, and the obra missional sang a nice hymn hahah. It was SOOOO fun.
I learned a lot this week, about so many things and especially me as a diciple of Jesus Christ. It is important that we know Christ, not just know about him.  "Waiting on the Road to Damascus" by Elder Uchtdorf helped me know how I can better do that.  When we study his life, learn his teachings every day, little by little become like him, say the things he'd say, do the things he would do, etc. we will find that we have come to know him and have his name written on our hearts. This is what I want, especially for when the time comes for me to meet him.
Enos 1
hermana barlow

Semana Ocho


So last monday we met a really cool new investigator named Antonio. He wants to follow the path of God now and he thinks that we are the way. Uhm yes that is correct. So yeah I hope things go well with him in the future!
The BEST lesson this week was with Ariana, Luis, Leo and Diego (and kind of Jeronimo...). It was so spiritual.  They have been having some really hard problems in their lives and they let us know about a couple of them. It was amazing because we went in there planning to talk about obedience, the 10 commandments, and keeping the sabbath day holy.  And after hearing about some of their problems, it set the stage perfectly (and the spirit was prompting us) to begin teaching about obedience.  Obviously, they need a lot of help from our Heavenly Father, and there are special and specific ways to get that! They are called the commandments, or as I like to call them 'ways to receive more blessings and help from our Father in Heaven'. A longer name... but still true.  Because of their apparent need and desire for help from God, they desired to know what these commandments were so they could receive these blessings.  The spirit was so strong!
ANOTHER little miracle with this same family:
we (us and cute Giovanna, a member) went back a couple days later, and Luciana, Ariana and one of Ariana's friends had JUST left to go on a walk. So we just had a mini lesson with Luis and Leo. We first see them and they said, "we know someone from your church!" and turns out, Ariana met a new friend at school who is a member of the English ward. SUCH A BLESSING. Honestly, since we first started meeting with Ariana, I hoped and prayed for her to have some new good influences in her lives. I saw right off the bat that that is what she needed, and heavenly father has blessed her with cute Sadie to be an example and a good righteous friend.  Ahhh so awesome.
Unfortunately, they didn't come to church and fell off of their baptismal date. we were SO SO bummed. ahh sad day. BUTTTTT we invited them to the Labor Day activity AND THEY ALL CAME!!! this was HUGE. They were able to have fun, meet members, tour the church for the first time, and just see it all.  They are coming to another activity saturday and to church sunday I hope hope hope and pray! so that was awesome and they had a great experience.  Ah I love them al so so so much.
I read a really inspiring talk/article by Elder David A Bednar this week called "Learn to Love Learning".  WOW. I feel like here on the mission I have Learned to love learning! Ah line upon line, precept upon precept I am learning new pure truths about my life, and the world around us and I love it. After my mission I am going to do all that I can to keep this up- so that by the end of my life I will know with all my heart, so many things, and those things we will take with us to this next life. Gospel learning is Faith and Testimony strengthening. More important than words can describe!
The mission is trial after trial but I feel myself getting stronger and more and more converted. I love it so much and I love you!!!!
Hermana Barlow

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Hola hola!

Hola hola!
ok so first of all I saw in my last email that I said 'consequences' instead of 'coincidences' so... I'm just gonna blame it on spanish even though thats probably not the root of the problem??
ok so I mean, I don't have a whole lot to say about this week! But yeah the good thing is we did get to see Emilio and Carrie as well as Luciana, Luis, Ariana Etc. I know last week we were bummed because they are the ones who are progressing!  Luciana's kids still want to be baptized, I just hope and pray that they see that coming to church is just as important- without coming to church you can't be baptized! It may take a miracle for real, but we're hoping.  Emilio also is open to the idea of baptism (even though 'he was already baptized') but wants to learn more.
Also Selma is super cute, got to teach her the Plan this week, we really really hope to see her progress!
This week we learned a little bit (from people telling us) what life is like in the ghetto- ah so heartbreaking.  Its different to see what it looks like from the outside and hear about whats going on from someone who knows about it more from the inside. This gospel, this church, this way of life is an escape from all of that.  I often can't believe how blessed I've been not only to live the life I live, but to have the knowledge that I have and to have made the choices I've made.  Blessings really are predicated on obedience and keeping the commandments really does = happiness (at least in the long term.) But the unfortunate thing is that I can't just let someone read Mosiah 2:41 and expect them to have the same knowledge that I have- it takes experience, it takes trying it out for yourself. Is that so hard? I guess sometimes yeah unfortunately.
We're knockin a lot of doors, planting a lot of seeds, praying for a lot of miracles and trying our best to be our best! I'm happy!
love you all so much
Love Hermana Barlow