Tuesday, November 18, 2014

go big and then go home

                                                         This is how cold it is here now

Mis queridos❤️❤️

It was a crazy week. Not really in the way that last week was, but it was crazy because I gave my departing testimony in zone meeting. You NEVER think that day will come. It was so weird. It was sad and I now know how all those other missionaries felt. It's just like... How did I get here already? But it went well. I said mostly what I wanted to say. I have grown a lot on my mission, in ways that I don't really recognize right now because I have been learning/ changing in a line upon line process. It's like a plant growing kind of- I don't see every small change but I'm definitely better than I was.
My mission has been the peak of my existence so far! 1 week left and it's definitely going to count. We named this coming week 'go big and then go home' during weekly planning so, hence the title. Pray that we will see miracles please!

I was able to go on an exchange with Hermana Lopez down in Joliet last week. It was so great to be with her again!! She is awesome and I learned a lot from her. I love teaching with her! We taught a sweet lady from Guatemala who is staying with her family who are members. She is so close to accepting it all. We taught the plan of salvation- the spirit was really strong. I really know that she has heard this plan before this life, and I know that in that lesson she felt the spirit confirming its true!
We also taught another Lady the restoration which is always powerful! She let us come back because she saw we were young and she wanted to know how her kids could have a love of God like we do. My answer is for sure the Book of Mormon. I wouldn't be even close to the same person I am today if I hadn't read the Book of Mormon!

Sunday I was so excited because Mariana and her kids were going to go to church. Work off forever on Sunday's, they were all set right? Well I can tell you that the biggest struggle of my mission has been getting my investigators to church! (Which is funny because that's what we instructed on in zone meeting this week, :/ ) so anyway their cousins came in town.... Not even a good excuse. We were so mad!! Anyway it was pretty sad... So later that night we call, and Mariana's daughter Sara answered. She is super sweet! We asked if she was coming next week and she said she didn't think so because she now doesn't want to- she went to the other Ward because she has friends there and she doesn't in this one. I was just sad and I felt that nothing was going our way! But luckily we were able to go teach them right after we talked to her on the phone. I was super sad on the way over there because this family seemed kind of like our last hope at the moment, it's hard to find as solid of investigators as them. But I just really prayed that we would be able to help them understand the importance, and God answered our prayer. The lesson was one of the most amazing lessons we've had in a long long time. (Ask me next week to tell you more in depth) but basically we taught the atonement and obedience from the Book of Mormon. Hermana Johnson and I both thought of the same un-expected scripture (mosiah 2:20-22) at the same time and Sara had to go to her room to get a highlighter because it really hit her hard!
By the end she said "I want to go to church."
"Why" "because He died for us"
it was really great and it clicked with them 100%. Mariana said for sure she will be at church and if the kids are back in time from their dads they will come too. Please pray that they'll come! I love them!

I have seen the Book of Mormon change lives just like it changed Sara's a little bit last night. I love the Book of Mormon, I love the spirit, I love Jesus Christ and the atonement and I love being a missionary so so much. This next week will be amazing!

Hermana Barlow

Thursday, November 13, 2014

la familia es de Dios


Hi so today fuimos al templo so I didn't write yesterday and also I don't have much time today, which is too bad but I'll do my best. It was a good week- good things and not so good things but así es la vida so I'm just happy to be here giving my all no matter what happens.

So I'll start with the not so good- so Amelia... She was doing pretty well until she started talking to her ex- boyfriend and he took her to his church and they told her some dumb and un-true things about our church and now she wants to keep going to that one and she thinks we've been lying to her :(. We tried to go and explain but she wouldn't really hear it. So that was a bummer of course. It just helped me realize that it's not all about me! This is my mission but I'm not here to have everything work perfectly my way. I'm here to do the Lord's will and to do it His way.

Good things are, we had a GREAT lesson with Mariana, Sara, and Emma (the ones who moved from Chicago and have learned a lot already) and we brought a member which was perfect. The only thing holding them back is coming to church, because she works Sunday's and needs the money as a single mom.  I can't even imagine how hard that situation is but, gotta keep the commandments. So we taught the doctrine of Christ and we were really bold! The spirit was strong and she committed they'd be at church. Bad news is that they didn't come. Good news is that yesterday we went to visit and she said they'll be there this Sunday... And....... She talked to her boss and he was super understanding and she has all Sunday's off now!!! That is a miracle, mostly that she had the faith to do that. That is so huge and we were so so so excited. Please keep praying for them. This family is special. I was so thankful for that.

We went on two exchanges this week, I stayed here while Hermana Johnson went to Beloit, Wisconsin, and later in the week we both went down to Bloomington/Normal which was super fun! We rode the bus and talked to cool people on it. One man said "I'll tell you my testimony. I opened my eyes before I came out of my mother's womb, I talked to God and he told me I'd be rich." (Being totally serious) so that's cool. It's actually a pretty big city considering how far out there it is. I wish I could've taken more pictures it was really great. Our GPS took us on the "historic Route 66" on the way down there so that was funny. We walked a lot in the cold, sought the spirit and we were led to this awesome Hispanic family that let us right in. So that was a huge blessing!

Wish I could tell you more stories and such but that'll suffice for now. We had the privilege to hear from President Fenn at 2 meetings we also instructed at this week. In both he talked about eternal families. As I've probably mentioned, that is a new huge focus for our mission. We are now supposed to be looking for as many opportunities as possible to teach about how our families can be eternal. President Fenn taught us about the Abrahamic Covenant again and how much it really does talk about eternal families in preach my gospel. It was really powerful and it has been really great teaching about eternal families, a new spark seems to light up in our investigators when we focus on the end from the beginning with them. I absolutely love the doctrine of eternal families, it really is the most important, it's central to the restoration of Gospel.
I love Alma 7, I read that this week. It lays the doctrine of Christ out really clear, especially how we can have eternal life. The atonement is amazing!

I love you all!!
Hermana Barlow

Saturday, November 8, 2014

"Well, we're actually not nuns..."

Holaaa Saludos de Chicago                                                                                                  November 3, 2014

   It has been a good week. We went on 2 exchanges, the first with Hermana Simmons! She is wonderful I love her. It was great being back with her! The next day Hermana Sharp came with me here and it went well. She's a cowgirl and we went to dinner with a member family- a cowboy and a Puerto Rican haha one of the quotes of the night was "what's your favorite kind of cow?" Haha love it.

   We had mission leadership council, Hna Johnson and I taught, it went pretty well. Later President Fenn taught us about Eternal Families and it was amazing. We are putting a new focus on teaching our investigators about how their families can be together forever. He taught us some deep doctrine about it (not really what we'd actually share with investigators) but it was really powerful, because eternal families are what it's all about. It's really hard to describe what I learned and felt but I just know that that is the main purpose of this life. To prepare ourselves to live with God, and our families, for eternity one day. There isn't anything more important. There is a bright hope that comes from that, a hope that everyone needs.
  Saturday we were able to teach the restoration 3 times in a row to brand new people. Each time we shared the first vision, they really felt something. The 2nd and 3rd time they either said "I felt something different when you told that story" and "I just got chills". The spirit really does testify of Joseph Smith and the first vision. Just as much to them as to me. I know what we teach is true.

  We went by to see the Fernandez family but they weren't there :( we were pretty bummed. We were getting into the car when a lady who's house we were parked in front of came out and was waving at us and I thought "oh no she's gonna tell us not to park here anymore..." But instead she said "are you the Jehovah's witnesses orrrr...."  -___-  ha so we answered her and she said " oh well I see that you come by here a lot and I see that you're very diligent and I just wanted to know what you were doing or what you teach."
She was very happy when we said that we could come in and teach her a little bit. It was really awesome to see that people truly are watching us. All of us as members of the church. The spirit is able to work with them, and our good efforts are never wasted. So that was really special for me.

I love this Gospel and I love being a missionary. 3 weeks---- pray for miracles!!

Hermana Barlow

Friday, November 7, 2014

"Creo que Dios las guió aquí." Oct. 27

Querida Familia-

thought I'd start with some random funny/great quotes people said this week:

~*companion coughs while walking in the dark* random black man voice: Eeeebola.
watch out fo dat Ebola.
~at the door: "yeah, I think I can ditch my church for yours this week"
~at the door w/mom and son: "Look son! God sent you two angels!!" son:
"Who wants to get married? :)" uhhhhhhh -__-
~ "Jesucristo, espiritu santo and ME!" -Amelia
~ "I think that God lead you to me today"

I am thankful to my Heavenly Father to tell you today that: it was
another really great week!  The Lord has been blessing us over and
over again. I am appreciating more than ever all the mercies we see
and the Lord’s hand in our area. I love being a missionary so much!

The exchanges for this transfer started again! They were really great.
The first one was with La Hermana Frisbie and she came here with me.
We taught three really great lessons and talked to a lot of people!
The first lesson was really great. We were going around these
apartments trying to find a referral. We were in a building about to go
down the stairs and then we were like, why not let's just knock this
door right here. So a lady answered who was on the phone and at first
she was like "I'm about to leave sorry" and we were like are you
sure?? what about saturday do you have 15 minutes then?? And she was
like "ay muchachas what do I do with you." then she said hold on,
finished her phone call, and came back and said we could come in! So we
taught her a short version of the restoration and found out she was
having a lot of struggles and trials right now. The best part was when
we all knelt down and we were really persistent about having her say
the prayer. She said the most heartfelt prayer I had ever heard. It
was like 5 minutes long and she was crying and the spirit was just so
so strong. I could really feel God's love for her. After the prayer
she told us "I think God sent you to me today."

Right after that we found the referral we were looking for and we
taught them! They have learned almost all the lessons, have strong
testimonies of the Book of Mormon and they want to be baptized. Her
problem is just getting work off sundays. We talked about how making
that permanent is key so that they can come to church. Please pray for
Mariana and her kids. They are so great and so close, they're
definitely a gift from God!

Remember the family Hermana Cadd and I taught like, 2 or 3 weeks ago?
We finally met with the Mom and I think all of them have been reading
the Book of Mormon and she said that she really feels the spirit when
she reads it and really wants to come to church. She said some
comments about her kids and how they really liked it too and they are
feeling the spirit while reading it as well. So thats exciting :)

Sad thing is, Camila kind of dropped us this week. She is facing
opposition from her husband about having us over. We were super sad :(

I went on an exchange with Hermana Robinson! She is from Southern
California and is awesome!! We have at least one mutual friend hah. We
taught 3 lessons in her area as well, and the coolest thing happened
in each of them- in the exact same moment in each of the lessons, we'd
both pull out our scriptures, and then I'd be like (for example):
"mosiah?" "yeah" "2?" "41?" "yeah....." so that happened with 3
different scriptures where we both had the impression to share the
same scripture ha that has never happened to me before. Too bad we
won't be companions could you imagine????

While I was gone, Hna Johnson and Morby taught Amelia with Bishop! She
said it went really well and that she received an answer about the
Book of Mormon. The greatest news is that SHE CAME TO CHURCH! That was
truly the biggest blessing because no one really goes ANYWHERE unless
they come to church. She really loved it and she is excited for her
baptism. It will take a miracle for her to be prepared by her date but
that's ok we are showing all the faith we can and expecting miracles.
But we still need your prayers. Especially that she will be able to
quit smoking.

So I am stilll learning a lot about covenants in the Book of Mormon. I
love in Mosiah 18- " a covenant to serve him until you are dead..."
Those people in that chapter as well as those in Mosiah 21 were
righteous, had changed their ways, and wanted to follow Christ. So of
course they wanted to enter into a covenant to make it official. I
love the covenants I've made. making them and keeping them make all
the difference in our lives.

Love you!!
Hermana Barlow


Sunday, November 2, 2014

"Esta es me gran pregunta: QUIEN ES NEFI?!" Oct. 20

Quote: "This is my great question: WHO IS NEPHI?"                                                              

Hi family!

It was another great week thankfully, thanks so much for all of your prayers! We worked so so hard, saw some good progression and I am so happy! Hermana Cadd went home and I miss her a lot but I will see her again soon!! Tuesday night at the departing devotional at President's was amazing. Most powerful one yet- many of the leaders I've had went home. The mission is a very powerful thing, can't take it for granted! 

So Hermana Johnson and I have been working very hard and finding a lot of people! Talking to everyone.... One of the nights it was getting dark and a lot of things were falling through. And that's the hardest because it isn't my favorite thing to knock doors in the dark. But I randomly remembered this lady in a locked apartment building. We buzzed a few times, no answer, then the buzzer that unlocks the door went off for a tiny second and we missed it! So we did the awkward thing and kept buzzing because we knew they were there and we finally were buzzed in! We went up and didn't find the same lady, but we ended up teaching the babysitter who was there! Her name was Florencia and she was awesome. We went back and taught her at her house later in the week and she is really great. She committed to come to church but cancelled the last minute. Moral of the story is follow your promptings and do the awkward thing but don't be awkward about it!

We taught Camila again! This time we brought an awesome bi-lingual member. Camila had read and LOVED the Book of Mormon. She said she felt the spirit when she asked God about it and we tried to help her realize what that means for her life. She promised to come to church but later in the week she called us saying that her husband (a musician) was called by someone in Chicago because it was their birthday and they wanted him to go and sing the Mañanitas which is the birthday song. -__- and she had to drive him. So we were wayyy bummed about that.

We also taught Amelia again! At first we were real nervous because her phone kept going to voicemail but we just showed up and her boyfriend was there with some friends about to play poker. Amelia was there too... they invited us in and we sat down with her about to teach her when we invited the poker crew to come learn about the Book of Mormon real quick hahaha so they were like.... Yeah... sure. So we taught a quick Book of Mormon lesson and they were great. Her boyfriend was sad (and us too) when Amelia said she had work AGAIN Sunday because he wanted to come to church too. So yeah she didn't come to church yet :( but she did say "I'm so excited for November 22nd, I've got it engrained in my mind!" Haha so please please keep praying for her, that she can quit smoking and get married or move out. :/ those are my biggest worries.

A funny thing was that we taught a very nice, hilarious Guatemalan man. Only Hermana Cadd will truly understand what I'm about to explain hahaha. he is so funny. He is older and loves the bible and we've been in contact with him forever just inviting him to things but he can't always make it. He talks a million miles an hour and always forgets/ can't say my name. Finally he was able to make it to an 8 year old's baptism this week. Afterwards we grabbed one of our sweet members to have a lesson with him in another room. When I get home, just ask me to tell this story in person because I can't do it justice in the email! But he had a whole long list of questions but we told him we didn't have time for all of them so he narrowed it down to three: who is Joseph Smith? Who is Mormon? And who is Nephi? It was so funny. Obviously those are the easiest questions but it was such an ordeal because he won't really let you answer hahaha but it went better than I had anticipated.

Some things he said,
 (he said this all completely serious): "what caught my eye when I first met the Hermanas was the color of that book."
"THIS is my GREAT QUESTION: WHO IS NEPHI??" Hahaha it was so funny.
And he was constantly talking about Hermana Cadd and how she left us :)

 It was a wonderful week and I've left out some other great things that have happened but over all it was very spiritual and I am seeing the mercies of the Lord right and left. I'm obsessed with the Book of Mormon-- I read king Benjamin's address this week. Mosiah 5 taught me so much about covenants, being born again and what we need to do to be received into heaven. I love covenants so much! I invite you all to go read that chapter, it's for sure one of my favorites. I could say a lot about it but... I'll just stick with: I am so thankful for the covenants that I have personally made with God. I love them. I love personal revelation, I know it's a real thing- especially through the Book of Mormon.

I love you all so much and I know that this church is true.

Hermana Barlow

Sunday, October 19, 2014

We were SHOWERED with miracles! :)

WOW WOW WOW I have a lot to tell! I am in awe at the miracles we saw this week. I don't know why or how but we have been really really blessed, let me explain.

So first of all, we had a visit from a member of the 70 this week, Elder Robert C. Gay. It was wonderful! All of us were so inspired. The way he teaches is really amazing but very impactful. He uses his life experiences to illustrate gospel principles and even to respond to questions. He told of a story when he was a young missionary in Spain, and the whole mission was hardly even baptizing. They came together as a zone to receive revelation from God about what to do. They received guidance that they should build street boards, which was illegal at the time. They did it, saw amazing success, and the law was later changed because of them. It helped me know that each area is different and only the Lord knows what we need to do to have success so we need to seek revelation in everything!

We also went on two exchanges, one with Hna Grant here with me! It was awesome to be with her again! I love her! The other in Aurora with Hermana Morby which was also great.

Ok now to the really good stories:

Dog n' Suds vs the "warriors of God"
Ok so this starts last week. Two Saturdays ago our zone leaders gave us a challenge. They said if you have someone on date by the end of next week we will give you each a candy bar. If you don't, you have to drink a drink. The drink is called the dog n' suds. They wouldn't tell us what the drink was like so we pictured it as a soapy hot dog. So we accepted the challenge and made a great plan to invite EVERYONE to be baptized on a specific date.
So as I explained last week we didn't really have any investigators besides Jose. So we have dropped almost everyone we were working with. So I started praying a lot that either Jose would accept a date or that we would be lead to someone who was prepared to accept one.

By Friday, despite inviting lots of people, no one had accepted yet. We were excited to teach Jose that night because he has been progressing well and we were going to put him on date. But last minute, they cancelled :( we were so bummed. So we go to a former investigator's house and she wasn't interested, but we just felt we needed to be there. So after she turned us away we were standing by the building and Hna Cadd started making a call when a lady came out of an apartment to smoke. So I wave to her and she says "hey girls! Whatcha doing?" So we go over and explain and she says "Jesus? I love Jesus" so we asked her if she's heard of us or our church and she says " Mormon? Sounds weird" (hahah I won't be able to tell this correct or in depth in email so when I get home, ask me to tell the story to you) but anyway turns out she's Puerta Rican from Chicago and speaks Spanish. Puerta Ricans are usually really animated and outgoing people and she definitely was- plus she was drinking a huge monster too haha. So she was really funny. She lets us in and we start teaching and she goes " oh you call them missionaries? I call them warriors of God" haha she loved the restoration, in the middle she gave us a tour of her one bedroom apartment (hahaha I promise she wasn't drunk!) and she loved the First Vision. Then we brought in baptism. She goes "I've always wanted to be baptized but do you really have to get in the water?" So we explained why and about the spirit and she was like ok ok! And Hna Cadd goes " so Amelia we are having a baptismal service..." And she interrupts "Yes!!" Haha and hna Cadd continúes "on November 22 will you prepare for that date?" And she goes "yes yes I don't think I have to work but even if I do I will get it off. I will put it in my calendar right now" hahah so we went out of that lesson just sooooo excited. It was a straight up answered prayer and I was so so thankful! PRAY FOR Amelia!! Please please please

But the miracles didn't stop there! I will tell you the other ones (but I don't have time to tell them as in-depth.)

When I was in Aurora, Hna Cadd was lead to a young 17 yr old Mexican girl's house and she said to come back Saturday. So we go Saturday and we expect the family to not be as interested as she was because.... It's usually that way but, no... we went and she, her parents and her older brother were there ready to listen. That lesson was so powerful, the spirit was so so strong. I'm not sure what happened to me but when it came time to give my testimony of the Book of Mormon, I gave the most powerful testimony I think I have ever given of the Book of Mormon. It was all the spirit. As I was finishing the Mom said "we will read it." Words can't explain what it was like. They said yes to being baptized and the rest of the family almost accepted a date but the mom goes "whoa whoa we need to investigate more first!" But wow what an amazing experience. PRAY FOR THE FAMILIA FERNANDEZ PLEASE!

We thought we had received enough but yesterday we went to follow up with a potential investigator who lived kind of out of the way, but we felt she was important to go to. We didn't find her, but her daughter answered the door. As we talked to her and taught her we just saw her open up more and more. There on the doorstep we taught the whole restoration. She said that she would be baptized after she feels that it is true. She is a seeker of truth and she promised to read the Book of Mormon and pray about it- I didn't have any English ones with me so I let her borrow my tiny copy that I love. So I really trust her to read it. She says she is for sure coming to church next week. Pray for Melissa please! 

It was an amazing three days of miracles and I was like wow Heavenly Father is really blessing Hermana Cadd in her last weekend of her mission! But it didn't even stop there..

Today we decided to set an appointment with a referral we have received from other missionaries this week. We set the appointment by phone and took an hour out of our Pday to go teach her. She was really really awesome and I love her! She loves God so much and has been very prepared, she has a friend who goes to a different branch near here. We taught her the restoration and the spirit was so strong. We invited her to be baptized and she at first said that her grandpa had already baptized her in the river, but Hermana Cadd answered her concern perfectly, explaining about the Holy Ghost, then invited her again for November 22nd and she said yes. She is coming to church this Sunday and is excited. Pray for Camila!!

I really don't know why the Lord decided to put these amazing people in our lives but they are each answers to prayers. I know he loves me and I know he loves us all. Don't ever underestimate the love He has or the power of prayer, personal growth, daily repentance, or personal revelation. I know the Lord is the one who is hastening this work, and sometimes we just need to get out of the way. Put our own concerns and desires aside and purely be instruments. I know He lives and I know this is His true church.

Please pray for these people! 

Ps. Hermana Cadd is going home in two days! She Is absolutely amazing and I have loved loved being her companion. I love her, she is one exceptional person!
My last companion of my mission will be Hermana Johnson.  She is also amazing and I'm excited to work with her. My last transfer will be a great one :)


Hermana Barlow

Monday, October 13, 2014

meet los mormones


Hii so lots of good things happened this week!                                                                           October 6, 2014

Monday we finally found Violeta again! I love her so much. We heard from her sister in law that her baby was sick, but we didn't realize how bad it was, poor Violeta was crying to us, she's going through a big trial right now because her baby emily hardly sleeps, gets dangerous fevers and they are in the hospital several times a week. Super sad, we shared about the atonement and hope to keep teaching her and we've been praying a lot that emily will heal.

Tuesday we saw Meet the Mormons! The missionaries got a special preview. It was very good I recommend it to everyone, it'll have you laughing and crying! Later that day I went on an exchange down to Joliet with Hermana Brown! She is super sweet and an awesome missionary. We had a funny experience when we went to an appointment the next morning. They lived in a house, we knocked and a tiny little girl answered but all she was wearing were frozen (the movie) panties hahaha so we asked her to go get her mom so she ran, and came back without a mom. Then she was just talking to us in her own language hah we couldn't understand a thing. So this time I offered a sticker if she came back with her mom so she went away and came back without her mom :/. So this time I wrote a note saying 'we're here at the door!' Hahah and then the girl delivered it and the mom finally came hahah it was funny. The lesson was pretty intense! I have been putting a focus on being more bold lately, and we definitely were in this lesson. We made the restoration very clear, and her heart really changed while learning about the Book of Mormon. However, she was still resistant in the end. But it was cool because we felt really good coming out of that lesson. We had followed all of our promptings and done what we could.

That evening I was back with Hermana Cadd and we ate a Guatemalan dinner with Paulina and Jose. They are great but I didn't feel as good coming out of that appointment. It all went well up until the part where the lesson ended before either of us invited him to be baptized :( I really don't know what happened but the lesson just ended before I could, and I just felt awful after! Always follow your promptings! I was happy though, that I don't normally feel like that after lessons so I must be doing something right most of the time. But yeah I've repented for that and please please pray for Jose! Pray that he will choose and prepare for a date to be baptized.

Thursday was funny because the car coordinator surprised us with a new car haha it was super sweet- all the office people were excited to see our reactions. It's a 2015 Toyota Corolla and it's really nice! There's a backing camera but we still have to back each other out hah. So that was exciting. That night we taught the plan of salvation to Lucas and Carolina and it was probably the most spiritual experience of the week. The spirit was so strong and I just felt it guiding my words as I testified that there is absolutely nothing in this world that is too hard for us to handle or go through with the Atonement. From my life experience so far, I know that's true.

Friday we had mission leadership council and it was really good, I'm not joking when I say that we almost covered every gospel topic relating to missionary work under the sun. I wrote 10.5 pages of notes so I could tell you a lot of things I learned, but I specifically loved when President Fenn gave a doctrinal discussion about Alma 5. I love on page 220 when he is talking about pride and envy, etc. President taught that our downfall is often when it becomes "all about you" which is true. Don't EVER let it become all about you.

Conference was really amazing- Saturday especially just blew me away. I thought it was amazing. I loved all of the talks, especially Elder Christofferson, Elder Klebingat and Sister Esplin.

Sunday we had our Spanish group watch the first session at the church, then go to Bishops for lunch. It was awesome! So many people came and a couple Aurora families came including the Aranas! I love them so much! It was a great success and Jose y Paulina went to the broadcast in the morning. They're doing really well with coming to church! Now we just need to find more solid investigators. I would really count Jose as our only investigator right now. The others are just being flakes so please pray that we can find new investigators and put someone on date for baptism this week. It's Hna Cadd's last week!
Sunday afternoon we watched conference with Carolina and our recent convert Lucas! It was really great. I love how happy and excited about the gospel they are. It was a really special experience and Alex loved his first General Conference. Later President Fenn had the Naperville zone over for dinner and a Q&A with him which was great, he makes me want to be a gospel scholar.

Well I love being a missionary and I'm grateful for each day I get to declare the truth! My invitation to myself and everyone is to not forget the gospel messages we have received this conference, but that we continually study them.

Love you so much!

Hna Barlow

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Hermana Cadd took a vacation

Hi Familia!                                                                                  September 29, 2014 
It’s been a good but crazy week- probably one of the craziest weeks
of my mission! It was very very busy. We had some sort of meeting or
activity almost every day. But it was good of course. Last Monday we
had two Hermanas come in who are from southern California. They both
started their missions in Mexico, went home for medical reasons, and
have now been re-assigned to the best mission in the world! We had an
awesome discussion about Obedience with them, the assistants, and the
other sister training leaders and it was just a really special moment
for me to realize that the obedience I have shown in my mission so far
has helped me be happy along the way and happy now as I start to look
back on the service I’ve given. So don’t forget about obedience, it
really does bring blessings.

We trained at the new missionary training meeting, and then
Hermana Cadd went on a vacation to Rockford! Hermana Jacobsen was with
me first, she is a new missionary and she is super fun and excited
about life. Wednesday morning we had an awesome opportunity- we and a
bunch of the missionaries in the Naperville zone were able to give a
church tour to a huge class of 70 high school kids studying world
religions. It was really spiritual and I loved answering their
questions and seeing all of the diversity. It was a special

The next day I was with Hermana Miller. She is awesome I love her! We
were able to teach the Santos family and it was a very spiritual
lesson, again about the atonement. I know that the atonement is real
and that it will change us if we allow it to. Please pray for the
Santos family that they can have the faith to do what is necessary to
see those changes in their lives. I would say that overall this week,
my testimony of the Atonement has been strengthened the most.

The next day I was with Hermana Taylor who started her mission in
Guadalajara Mexico, went home for knee problems, and now is serving
here. She loves it
here and I loved learning from her. She has such a desire to do her
very best! Our little Spanish group tried to put on a "Spanish Movie
Night" which, we did but the turn out was really small haha. We
watched the testaments. One of our less actives Martina was there and
she loved it. She has been reading the Book of Mormon and she was
crying after the movie telling us about the spirit she has been
feeling through it and how she really knows the church is true. There
is power in the Book of Mormon.

Saturday was of course, the General Women’s Broadcast! I loved seeing
all of my Aurora members! That was so special for me. I love them so
so much. A very cool thing happened there as well! So around two weeks
ago, Hermana Hungate messaged me on facebook telling me that she felt
that our old investigator Mia was ready for the Gospel now. She
asked me to send the Hermanas there to see. So at the broadcast I
remembered to tell them about her. About a half an hour later Hermana
Cadd and I were at a table with some Spanish speaking members I didn’t
recognize from the Aurora ward. We were getting to know them a little
bit, and one said she was from Batavia. I was really confused because
I for sure knew all of the members in Batavia! She must have recently
moved in. So I told her I used to serve there, and she said that she
remembered me. So I was so embarrassed haha I asked her for her name
again and she said “I’m Mia” and my face was priceless…. IT WAS
MIA! Wow she looked different and it had been a long time, it was so
crazy! A member had invited her there and it was the first invitation
that she accepted to come in over a year (I think). So that was a
really cool miracle, I introduced her to the Hermanas and hopefully
they will teach her again. I really loved that and I really know that
Heavenly Father loves her a lot.

So it's been a great week. We hope to find new, solid investigators
this week and to see miracles! Enjoy General conference and get the
most that you can out of it!

Love, Hermana Barlow

Monday, September 29, 2014

El Libro de mormon!! Sept 22

Warning- this email is long :/
Well, I could put a lot of things as my email subject title because a lot happened this week! 

Some ideas I had were: 
'tree zoo' because we went there last Monday. It's actually called an arboretum... it was really fun and beautiful. There are forests, groves and lakes with trees from all over the world. We kind of went at the wrong time because the leaves are barely starting to change color this week but Hna Cadd wanted to go before she goes home in a few weeks.

Another was 'airport adventures'- later in the week we took an Hermana to the airport because she was being medically released. We will miss her mucho and I hope she gets better ASAP! The airport was funny because it is HUGE; it really is bigger than most the cities I have served in on my mission. We were running all over the place trying to figure it out, but finally we got it. It was a funny adventure.

Also I thought of putting 'we listen to slayer.' Because we knocked a door this week and an American man came and said he wasn't interested but I gave him a card and testified of the Book of Mormon and he just goes "we listen to slayer".. Haha  we were walking away thinking....... Ok... Hahahah!

Another funny story: we taught a man outside his house and his little daughter was there. We pointed to the picture of Jesus and asked her who it was and she goes... 'Uh.... Guadalupe?' -___-

Something else I saw this week was that miracles are wrought after the trial of our faith. As missionaries, we go out and we show our faith. We open our mouths, we teach, we invite, we're bold! These are all definitely acts of faith. I'm finding that there are always ways to have more faith and show more faith.

    - One example included having faith that the Holy Ghost will guide our words.  Hermana Cadd and I went back with Jimena who we taught last week. She started to say "sorry, I just want to study one thing at a time, I've already started with the Jehovah's witnesses", blah blah etc. We both felt that we should keep the conversation going a little bit. So we kept talking, understanding her concerns, and just as I was writing our number down on a pamphlet for her, she asked kind of out of the blue "what do you believe about death?" It was really cool. I then knew the main reason we felt particularly strong about continuing the conversation. We shared a Book of Mormon scripture, we shared about temples, and in the end she wasn't saying 'don't come back anymore', she was saying that she would pray about it. The spirit while talking with her was so strong and very peaceful. We are going to follow up with her this week so pray for her please!

    - Another example includes having the faith that the Lord will guide us. Friday afternoon we went to visit a potential, but they weren't home. So our options were, go stop by another potential, or knock a few doors on that street. That street was special because a few weeks earlier Hna Cadd and I had both separately felt that we needed to find someone on that street. It's also not a street where a lot of Hispanics live. It was pretty weird because in that moment I didn't necessarily want to knock doors there but we both felt it was right. So it was a good moment of pushing past what I wanted and what the Lord wanted (sometimes that's a part of faith as well). So we go to a house and there is a Hispanic lady washing her car windows in the garage. At first she didn't really want to talk to us, but I said something like "we are representatives of Jesus Christ and we share a message that will bless your life and strengthen your family" and then she just starts telling us that she knows God lives and that he loves her... then she was just sobbing telling us these two stories of when he saved her life. We taught her the restoration, recited first vision, and invited her to be baptized there in her garage. She says she doesn't know yet but she was receptive and happily took a Book of Mormon and we are going back this week. She is really special and I know the Lord led us to her. Pray for alexa!

I love love this scripture. I know it's true for us today as well.

-40 And it did work for them according to their faith in God; therefore, if they had faith to believe that God could cause that those spindles should point the way they should go, behold, it was done; therefore they had this miracle, and also many other miracles wrought by the power of God, day by day.
Alma 37:40

And of course.... Our mission conference: the coming forth of the Book of Mormon. Yesterday, September 21st is the anniversary of when the angel Moroni appeared to Joseph Smith. So of course we had to celebrate that. I loved seeing all my compañeras too!
It was amazing! One of the most spiritual meetings we have ever had. President and Sister Fenn both told detailed stories of the coming forth of the Book of Mormon. President Fenn also went deeper into the doctrine of why the Book of Mormon is essential for the preparation of the world for the second coming. I wish I could tell you everything but I don't have time :(. I love the Book of Mormon. I had the opportunity to give my testimony in front of the whole mission. I told about how I first read the Book of Mormon because my dad told me I could get a cell phone, but that even though my intentions were strange, it was the best thing that I have ever done. It truly is and I know without a doubt that Moroni's promise is real! So shoutout and thanks to Dad for making me read the Book of Mormon before getting a new cell phone when I was 13. Perhaps the best moment was when we stood to sing "praise to the man" and President Fenn begins to sob as he looks out at all of us. I could tell that he loves us all so much. Of course I was tearful along with most everyone around me. It was very very special. I know I've said it a million times but I love my Mission President!! 

Really quick other random things that happened: I went on an exchange to Aurora and saw a lot of members and that was super exciting! I love them! Hna Cadd and I taught at the zone meeting about Finding people to teach and it went really well, the spirit really helped us. Also I got a haircut, nothing too crazy.
But also pray for us because we will be doing 3 exchanges all back to back this week so, it'll be loco!! Also tonight we have 3 Hermanas coming in who went home from their missions in other countries and were reassigned here so we will be teaching them as well.

I love you all!! Never stop reading the Book of Mormon!

Hermana Barlow

Sunday, September 28, 2014

el frío... Sept 15

Saludos                                             September 15, 2014

Hola familia! Some good things happened this week. It randomly got
really cold the past couple days which is weird.. So we are hoping the
temperature will rise this week.

We really focussed on the
less-actives and we saw some fruits from it! We also went on an
exchange with the Hermanas in Aurora. Hermana Bitter (who is my
grandchild aka. Hermana Lopez trained her) came with me here in
Wheaton! We taught Lucas, Carolina and her son. Their home teacher Brother
King(who is a seminary teacher) came with and he showed a good video
about Wilford Woodruff's conversion. It was a seminary video so of
course it was cheesy but it was really good and helped me remember how
precious the restored gospel really is. Lucas loved it and now he is
excited to look up all the videos and learn more about church history
so it was great!
  Hermana Bitter and I were in this huge apartment complex knocking
doors and following up on potential investigators when a specific lady
came to my mind. We went to see her and she let us in and we taught
her! It was really great I hope we keep teaching her. She said she
would be baptized when she knows it's true but she won't accept a date
yet. So pray for Jimena, that was a little miracle that we caught her
at the right time.
  Later in the week we saw a similar little miracle, we were in
another area and we planned to knock and follow up with potentials
again. We talked to a few people, and we were leaving to go to another
building when I had the impression to look at our plans because there
was someone there that we missed. At the same time I was opening up my
iPad, Hermana Cadd asked "who was that girl in building 37?" And it
was the same lady! So at the same time we got the same impression.
This lady Abigail seemed pretty promising the first time we visited but
she didn't keep her last return appointment.  I knew as we were
going there that something good was going to happen! At first the
cousin she lived with told us that Abigail was sleeping, but as we
continued to talk to her, Abigail came out and invited us in! We
promised her it wouldn't take long so we didn't teach much but, the
spirit was strong. I really feel that we were led there for a reason
and I also hope that she can begin to progress.
  Other good news is that 4 of our less actives came to church- 2 of
them haven't been in years, and the other 2 stayed all three hours
which they haven't done in a long long time. So we are thankful to The
Lord for that! Our little Spanish group was pretty big yesterday we
were all excited.
  I've been studying a lot about conversion because that is what I am
specifically looking for in the Book of Mormon right now. I'm making a
list of the steps/elements/results of conversion and my list continues
to grow and grow. One talk I read was "Converted Unto The Lord" by
Elder Bednar.
Talking of the converted people in Alma 23 he said:
"Do you and I still possess weapons of rebellion that keep us from
becoming converted unto the Lord?"
Whatever keeps us from being dedicated and putting the Lord on #1 in
our priority list, we need to burry deep in the earth... Sadly there
are a lot of those kinds of things out there.

I also loved this scripture:
2 Nephi 10:24
"24 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, reconcile yourselves to the will
of God, and not to the will of the devil and the flesh; and remember,
after ye are reconciled unto God, that it is only in and through the
grace of God that ye are saved."

We reconcile ourselves and align our lives with His will when we take
the steps to be
born again and be truly converted. Then grace will save us. I love
that it all ties back to the atonement. I also love the fact that God
loves us so much that he gave us our agency, and a way to apply that
atonement in our lives. I love sharing that way with others and giving
them the chance to follow it. I love the gospel and I see it's
perfection more and more each time I share it and see people live it.
I hope we can all make the sacrifices necessary to be more converted
this week!

I love you!
Hermana Barlow