Wednesday, February 26, 2014


Dec 30, 2013

So this week was great of course- Christmas is always great! Especially talking to the fam. It was awesome! Thanks to all for the cards/emails and such :)

Christmas Eve was really special this year. We had dinner with the sweetest family, the Neumanns. The kids are grown up and the grandparents were there- the sweetest couple from Germany. I was obsessed with them!! We ate delicious Chicago style pizza, it was great.
My favorite part was the end of the night when we each went around and shared a scripture about Christ. I absolutely loved it because we really focused on not only the birth of Christ- but his whole life, ministry, and what he did. I felt the spirit so strong while really taking that special time to remember him and his different characteristics and what he means in our lives today. Brother Neumann's scriptures were in Mosiah 5, where it talks about the name of Jesus Christ, and how sacred it is, and how important it is and what it means to have his name written on our hearts. The spirit hit me really strong and I felt so grateful for the chance that I have right now- to actually wear his name each day and represent HIM. It reminds me of a quote that I read a while back that said 'Rejoice that you are counted worthy to be persecuted for his name's sake.' or something along those lines. Its true- no matter what hard things happen here, we still have MANY reasons to be happy and to be thankful- especially the fact that we are his representatives. I loved that so much and I felt his spirit there. He lives and he loves us!

Well, Christmas we had district meeting, Talked with the family and had Dinner with a family in the ward! It was great. 

The next couple days were, alright! We had more appointments fall through than almost any other week I've been here, but its ok! This week is going to be better! At least I really hope, its new years so we will have to spend some extra time inside :/ but it'll work out!

A cool thing that happened this week was that an investigator thanked us for showing up at his door in a follow up lesson- that doesn't happen too often so it was neat. I am so thankful for the spirit- I'm trying to follow it better and better and I still feel new at it but wow. Even just following those promptings is so rewarding!

I hope you all have a great new year and make some wonderful new years resolutions. (If I may suggest one: read the Book of Mormon! haha really though.)
anywhoo I love you!!!

<3 Hermana Barlow

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Christmas! and changes Dec 23

Dec 23, 2013
WOW it's almost been a week here in my new area. Its been pretty crazy and I'm not sure where to start so...
Tuesday was transfers! Super crazy as always. I got my new companion: Hermana Grant! Wow what a wonderful Hermana! She has been in the field for 5 weeks so I am finishing her training. She is from BC Canada and has almost got me saying "Eh?" haha she says it all the time its hilarious. But she's great. One thing I forgot to mention last week is that we are in a car share! meaning half the week we have no car :/. So it has been quite interesting and we've had some great adventures that you will hear about a bit later.
So a little more about my area- we cover 2 English wards as I said- so probably the best thing is that we get a lot of members to work with, and also they are AWESOME. They are so helpful and dedicated to missionary work and helping us out. Coming into the ward I imagined that there were going to be more spanish speakers that had been separated from the Rockford spanish branch and that had been coming here, but I was a bit wrong! There are probably.. 2 families and one single lady roughly? We have a lot of work to do! There are some other spanish speakers too but they've always gone to the english wards.  The hardest part is probably the fact that: in the Dekalb ward I have to translate in Sacrament and relief society (depending on who comes) and in the Sycamore ward I switch off every other week with a spanish speaker for Sacrament meeting and I have to translate in relief society. Yesterday was my first time doing it (only in relief society) for one poor lady and I am telling you... it was one of the most difficult things I have ever attempted to do!! Wow wow I can't even describe. It is so hard- and I just feel so bad for the lady I was translating for. eek please pray for me
So here is a cool story!  One day we were making calls to get rides for the next day when we weren't going to have a car. We called soo many people and all were going to be gone for the weekend before Christmas! We had no idea what to do! Then when we came home our sweet neighbor was talking to us and told us an inspiring story of how she has been a cancer survivor for 10 years. Then it dawned on us that she works right around the place we wanted to go the next day, so she said it was all right if she gave us a ride!  The next morning we got a ride with her into Dekalb. Buuttt, we didn't get dropped off exactly where we wanted to- we just told her a certain street, even though it was in the corner of the city! We saw an old lady member in an old people's home there and then left and started walking. The GPS said our next destination was about 3 miles away and we were walking about 3 miles per hour in the snow hahah so, it was fun. After like 10 minutes of walking, A lady in a black car pulled into the turn lane in the street and was like "hey get in I'll give you a ride!" and we were like uhhhh stranger danger but then she was like "I'm a Christian lady and I'm not gonna hurt you!" ha and so we thought about it a bit and felt fine about it so, we got in. She was like "wow the holy spirit just told me to stop and to go pick up those girls so I turned around and did!" so we got talking about her churches in the car and once we were at our destination we got her info and testified etc. So, that was cool! That day was really full of miracles too because each person we tried to see let us in and we were able to teach rather that be out in the cold all day so, that was cool. The Lord loves us and is blessing us so much!
Yesterday we had a 'specialized traning' where one of the senior missionaries dressed up as santa (hahahaha) (im so mad i didn't get a pic on my camera.. president Fenn has one on his maybe I will try to get it from him?) anywhoo we ate chili and later heard from president Fenn which is always great. He gave us each 3 scripture marking pencils and a new book of mormon from the supplies. We are having a special mission conference in April and he has invited us to start the book of mormon over today and  to mark the Red: The Atonement. Yellow: The Doctrine of Christ and Blue: Missionary work. I am excited to start this- for those of you who haven't tried it I suggest studying your scriptures looking for certain topics as you go through. It helps you read with a different perspective. President Fenn told a story yesterday that I thought was so interesting: When he was younger he had just finished the Book of Mormon again, and was reading Moroni's promise in ch 10. But instead of verse 4 sticking out to him that time, it was verse 3. "... if it be wisdom in God that ye should read them, that ye would remember HOW MERCIFUL the lord hath been unto the children of men, from the creation of Adam even down until the time that ye shall receive these things..." it really struck him that the Book of Mormon really causes us to remember how merciful the Lord has been to us. So he started reading it again- searching for all references to the mercy and grace of our savior, and he had finished it by the next week. Its amazing what we can learn from the Book of Mormon about how we can apply the atonement into our lives!
I know our Savior lives and that he sufferd for our hard times and our weeknesses as well. He is here with us in times of trouble if we let him in!
I love you and Merry Christmas!
Love, Hermana Barlow
The 12 days of Christmas
with Hermana Lopez

Area 1 photos!

Week 23 New area and new 'child' Dec 16

 Dec 16, 2013

HI! wow I have so much to tell, and of course I forgot my Journal at home so I will just remember things the best that I can.
But yeah the big news is: We got our transfer calls Saturday, and tomorrow I will be going to a new area and I will be finishing an Hermanas training- aka. she is my 'step-daughter' hahaha but wow!
My new area is the 'Sycamore and DeKalb... Spanish program?' not sure if it has a name. But listen to what we'll be doing! So about 3 transfers ago, this area was opened. Sycamore ward and DeKalb wards are english wards but don't worry I'm not being switched to the English program- but I will be working with a small Spanish group, helping and working to build it into a branch someday. For our Spanish people there we will have translation and then our own Spanish Sunday school meeting. WOW crazy right??? I will be going to sacrament in English and working with English people... its gonna be weird but I've heard its a really great area and program. Also I get to be with Hermana Grant and finish the last 7 weeks of her training so that'll be exciting- I'm excited to meet her.

Wow this is so bittersweet. I've heard from older missionaries that leaving your first area is the hardest and I believe it. Wow words can't describe how much I love this place and the people here and how much I have grown while being here. I've grown as a person and I've grown so so close to the Lord. It has truly been one of the biggest blessings of my life. I feel like I've done my best and that I've left this area better than I found it. A part of me will definitely be left here.
I will also miss my first 'baby' Hermana Lopez!! We finished the training program yesterday and it is pretty sad, we have gotten along so well and had such a great time working together. I love her!!! Listen to what is happening to her: so she is staying here, and one of the Hermana Training Leaders (thats like the sister version of assistants to the president kinda) Hermana Smith - got released from her assignment and will be coming here. She and Hna Lopez will train a new missionary! The crazy thing about it is that Hermana Smith started her mission here in this area and it was her favorite one :) the area is in wonderful hands.
cutest letter ever

Well I don't have too much time but some great things happened. Last week we got 3 member referrals and this week we got 3 again- that is like a miracle here. We are still following up with them but truly they are miracles! we got to go with one of the Members to meet 2 of them as well! I won't get to teach them ( :/ ) but it was a cool miracle to receive them.
Saturday we stopped by Gabriela's house. We taught the restoration and it went well! We invited her to be baptized and she agreed to prepare for a date in January! soo awesome. We are very excited about this family- next time we hope to be with all of them so they can all work for that goal and search for their answers together. Another miracle is that they already know some of our members and they LOVE THEM. So great things are happening! also her husband makes the popsicles for a popular mexican ice cream place and they are SO GOOD. she gave us one after the lesson (picture below)
Wednesday Dante answered our call and he was just about to leave to mexico. :((( ahh I hope and pray his testimony will stay firm. 
Saturday we got home and realized our house keys had fallen off of our key ring :(( so we were stranded for a little and it was also transfer calls night so it was no fun annoying president but we got to sleep at the other Hermanas and it was good. (picture below)
This week's zone conference was AMAZING as usual. I'm not joking when I say it changed my life!
 I received so much knowledge and revelation for myself as a missionary and for the work in our area. I also received a little revelation for myself as a person and my life!
I came to the meeting prepared to tell about the Book of Mormon scripture that changed my life, which is Moroni's Promise in Moroni 10:3-5. Simply preparing that talk and reflecting back on my experience with that promise helped me to realize a little more about one of my personal purposes here on Earth. The very first time I prayed to know that the Book of Mormon was true, I received a very strong witness from the Holy Ghost that I will never be able to deny. As I was thinking back on that experience, I realized that Heavenly Father gave me that witness for a reason- he knew I would stay true to it. I now more fully realize that one of my personal purposes in life is to always stand as a testimony for that Book, and this Gospel, and this church.
President Fenn knows, loves, cherishes and lives by the counsel given us in the Book of Mormon. In this meeting, as he was reciting and expounding these scriptures I realized that someday I want to be kind of up on his level. Who knows if I'll get there but I want to try. The Book of Mormon is meant to have a huge role in my life- and I have the BEST MISSION PRESIDENT IN THE WORLD (literally) to be an example of how I can do that. One of the biggest reasons I was sent here is to be a missionary under him.
So everyone.... LOVE the book of Mormon- REALIZE what we have!! its an amazing miracle! We have the fullness of the Gospel of our Savior Jesus Christ. our father in heaven loves us so so much.
<3 hna carli

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Week 22 ..."a little too perfect up until Thursday" Dec 9

 Dec 9, 2013
Family and Friends <3

I have very very little time today! We went bowling for a zone activity so we had to drive a far way and now we have about zero time! ahh.
1st of all, THANKS FOR THE PACKAGE MOMMMM wow wow the cutest christmas package you've ever seeeeen!

This week was sad and good! Most the time there is a little of both I think? It was a little too perfect up until Thursday!
We were able to meet with Dante every day leading up to his baptism, he was able to be ready by his scheduled interview last Thursday. It was so great seeing his testimony grow little by little, and to see how prepared he was as well. We were so happy!  He was excited, the members were excited and we were as well, but he talked to his wife early Thursday morning and she decided to change her mind about him joining the church. He called us and told us that he will have to postpone his baptism till after he goes to Mexico and brings her back (in 2 months). He still went to his baptismal interview and passed with 'flying colors'. We really hope he can stay strong for that long. We are pretty worried about it! We're bummed but its ok we are pressing forward. We were also excited because he was going to be (if I am correct) the 2nd baptism in our area this entire year. So, hey. He'll still get baptized right? February?? We have faith!!!

Tuesday we were able to go to an awesome training meeting where we heard from President Fenn which is always so enlightening! Afterwards we had a dinner appt with an Argentine family that is friends with Hermana Lopez' family! They made SUCH good food it was really great.
The Lord ALWAYS shows us so many tender mercies. One was sunday. One of our less actives (an Old man from Cuba) randomly decided to start coming to church again haha! and This week he decided to bring a friend! The sweetest 13 year old girl, also from Cuba. Wow she is such a special girl! I really really hope we get to work with her!
We always ask our members if they need help with anything, and lately the trend is 'help us build our christmas tree!'

Thankfully I learned another really significant thing for my life this week! I am learning little by little more about how I receive answers/ personal revelation. This is a big deal because that has often been a harder thing for me to do. I've found it to be similar to getting ideas for writing songs actually- when I was focused more on that (before my mission), ideas for songs would come to my head and I'd treat them like treasure and write them down immediately. I have found that many of the thoughts/ideas/ impressions I receive here are probably from the Lord! I have made a goal to write them down, listen more, and give the Lord more and more of my mind. The way the mission is set up as far as restrictions on family communication and media make so much more sense now. We need to be focused to give the Lord some room to give us important thoughts and impressions. so do it!! Give the Lord your mind and see what happens in your life. I am interested in what will happen :)
I love you all! I know I am here on a mission for a very very specific reason and that this mission is a crucial part in my life. I am so so thankful for all of your love and support.
love hermana CB

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Week 21...6 months old! Dec 2

Dec 2, 2013
Friends and Family,
for any of you who are confused, the 'week 21' counts for 21 weeks in the field. For some reason I haven't been counting the MTC.
Ok So yeah! It was a very great week. So so so much to be thankful for! 
I'll give you a few highlights.
So Dante is progressing very very well! He is on and ready for his baptism this saturday- it has been awesome hearing about his experiences in feeling changes in his heart since he has been meeting with us. After our lesson today he will have learned everything he needs for his baptismal interview. He has been keeping all the commitments and, yeah he is golden. We are still praying very very hard for him- and I'd like to ask all of  you to pray hard for him as well! He needs it. 
At one of the lessons this week, the members gave him a suit, shirt, and tie! He had it tailored to fit him and everyone at church was like 'WOW Dante!!' he was so happy haha :)

Thanksgiving was good! We went with an Argentine Family where half of the family goes to the English ward and half is less active. It was really fun I got to experience an Argentine-American thanksgiving haha.

Friday was my 6 MONTHS AS A MISSIONARY. Can you believe it? A 1/3 of my mission has past. wow wow its really crazy. It was a great "birthday" though! I we met a wonderful new family!! They are very prepared and we are ecstatic to begin working with them. They live in the same apartment complex as 4 other member families so, we are thrilled. I see great things for this family!
Well there were many other great things that happened but I will leave it there.
This week I learned a cool thing about the importance of learning. On Wednesday I was on exchanges, and that same day we had district meeting (which was an amazing meeting by the way.). Our district leader leaves after this transfer and was released from being and assistant 2 transfers ago. Also, the Assistants were there as  well. So basically I was surrounded by very very good and experienced missionaries. I learned that they are the leaders they are today, because they sought learning early on in their missions. They have learned and experienced so much that they are able to really help and lead us. Why don't I seek learning more than I do?? We are all going to take our knowledge with us to the next life. The time to learn- from the Lord, the Spirit, the scriptures, and each other is now!! I hope we can all seek spiritual learning in some way or another this week.
I love you all! Remember the Lord each day :)

Hermana Barlow
Hermana Lopez made me a 6 month birthday card!

Week 20! Thankful thankful Nov. 25

 Nov 25, 2013
Family and Friends,
It was a great week. This may or may not be a true statement: I am never complaining AGAIN. Wow sometimes it takes a good change of perspective to give me a nice kick and change my views to positive. I'm learning and working to just do that on my own now, but this week hearing about the storms in the Philippines really did that for me. I feel so stupid for EVER complaining about anything. The things that those people and those missionaries went through are incredible. I cannot even believe. I have EVERYTHING to be thankful for and its so sad to me that sometimes I overlook that! Good thing life is all about improvement, progressing and making new goals right? Mine is to be more thankful and keep working HARD no matter how hard its snowing or how many investigators drop. I have the gospel of Jesus Christ. what more would I need?  So thankful!!!!

Ok well lots of cool things happened this week.
I'll start with: Each missionary in our mission now has ipads! Its really awesome. We had a training meeting when we installed all the things and we learned some great stuff. My favorite part was when the guy from salt lake played an audio clip of something Elder Perry said in the Mission Presidents seminar this year. He compared the announcement that was made in June- (when I was in the MTC!!!)- "Hastening the Work of Salvation" to the first vision. That big!! The lord will hasten his work in it's time, and then the end will come (something like that.) How neat to be at the forefront of this.
So now we work on facebook each day on our ipads, we also have our Area Book on there and other cool things such as GOSPEL LIBRARY! haha I've never been too big a fan of digital scriptures but I've been liking it more and more. Its awesome for study- I love learning about the gospel and now I have tons of new resources. SUCH a blessing. Wow!
We were able to have a cool lesson through facebook with one of Hna Lopez' friends from home. really neat.But, since we are a part of the pilot program for facebook, we are all just kind of going for it and seeing what works best. We are praying hard to know how to hasten the work through this new tool- they haven't given us any specific instructions (besides rules obv.). They also gave us some ideas so, hey we'll keep trying.
side note: facebook has hashtags now?? ..
anyways, we have seen a lot of investigators progress and that is such a blessing! Reading the Book of Mormon is a really really huge deal. like I posted on facebook the other day, by small and simple things such as reading our scriptures and praying daily, GREAT THINGS like eternal life- are in store. Those small things keep us on the road to the greatest thing we can EVER imagine!
Funny story from saturday:

so Saturday was our Dia de Gracias (thanksgiving) party. We had plans to meet Dante there earlier and teach him before the party started. So we are there helping with some set up, when Dante and our other investigator Antonio showed up haha! After months and months of teaching Antonio, he finally showed up to the church! Was pretty cool. Dante is such a great investigator and is going to be a wonderful and serving member after he is baptized! Haha anyway,
that lesson went well even though it was strange teaching two separate investigators at the same time? Haha it was cool. We had some other investigators show up to the party as well and that was cool, but of course sometimes people like parties more than sacrament meeting unfortunately, and no one came for that :/ but thats ok.
This week we had another lesson with Maria, Melanie and Hermana Lozano. Hna Lozano is super super awesome, unfortunately the lesson didn't end up as good as we'd have wanted. 
Sunday Maria and Melanie fed us dinner though! It was so so sweet of them. It was really great food too! She's like professional. Before we were leaving Maria comes out with these crocheted things- they were these cool scarf things! She had spent hours making them for us. SO CUTE! awe what a sweet sweet thing I was just in awe and happy.
In the book of Mormon I have been reading in Mosiah lately. I love reading through while searching for attributes of Christ/ certain topics to highlight. It helps me learn about actual topics and how I can apply them in my life. I found a lot of great signs and examples of Patience, Humility, and Faith in these chapters. The people in these chapters have been demonstrating that. If any of you don't know what to do for your scripture study this week, try something like that!
I learned something about humility this week (hopefully I didn't already share it with you?) Well, basically I learned that its prideful to not inquire on the Lord with the choices we make. yeah, a lot of the times he won't give us an answer and will want us to choose for ourselves! But I believe to always be asking his opinion and intending to act on an answer if it comes shows a lot of Faith! Just some food for thought as we go through our lives this week making many decisions- some/many of which may have eternal consequences.
I love you all! Remember your Savior this thanksgiving. He is the reason we are able to be here and able to live for eternity with our families. Love you so so SO much.
con amor,
hermana barlow

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Week 19 "I think you're losing your brain." Nov 18

 Nov 18, 2013
Hi Family y Friends!

So much to say and so little time!
Monday was the first snowfall. We were like freaking out and buying hot chocolate and thermoses and stuff haha it was funny. Its warmed back up though. We had a great lesson with Vanessa- She has been reading and praying and progressing! Maybe this week I'll get a picture with her or something.
Tuesday was a great experience! I wrote about it to my mission president and this is what I said:
I am sure Hermana Lopez will tell you about it, but we had a really great experience in implementing what we learned from Elder Martino about finding the right 'Amulek'. So we have two investigators- Maria and Melanie (mother and daughter) and we have had a little bit of a hard time getting through to Maria the mother. For some reason, while thinking of what member/s we need to have meet her, we thought of a member named Hermana Lozano. So since I have been here, Hermana Lozano hasn't exactly wanted much to do with us- not sure why. We tried to visit with her a few times and things never worked out, and later on in my time here in this ward her mother died and so, things have been hard. So I didn't really know this member at all! But even without knowing her, we felt prompted to try very hard to visit with her and later bring her to a lesson with Maria. The first lesson with Hermana Lozano (in my 4+ months of being here) was really great. We felt like she had gained so much trust in us! The miracle really happened when she came with us to a lesson with Maria. Her testimony shone through and touched Maria- and we later found out that Maria had really found a sense of hope in life through Hermana Lozano's kindness and testimony as well. She was in a way 'astonished' like we read about in the story of Alma and Amulek. We need these members so much! We are seeing more and more progression in Maria and Melanie since that time. Very exciting!
So yeah. In Alma 10 (and the surrounding chapters) We learn about Alma- who we can compare to be the missionary- and Amulek we can compare to be the member or less active. When both testimonies were given, the people were astonished! We were able to see that same miracle in our missionary work this week. We hope to see more and more progression with them! I had never seen a member take an investigator under the wing like she had. And there is even MORE  awesome things to the story, but I don't have time to tell!
Wednesday We got to see Manuela again! She is awesome. She keeps praying for a change in her husband so that they can follow this path. She knows the book of Mormon is true!! Wow. Also she is a missionary ha she let her sister in law borrow her copy of the LdM so, good for her haha :)
So wednesday we were about to start a lesson and the phone meowed and I was talking with the lady and Hermana Lopez read it. Later she was like 'Hermana You have to read that." it was a text from the referral system. The text said a name and address,  just moved from Mesa, Arizona, has learned all of the missionary lessons and has already had her baptismal interview. Her daughter is a member and lives in chicago"  WHATTTT I was like whoa whoa whoa what a miracle! Its the miracle that we had been waiting for since our really hard week last week! BUTTT Sadly I've become a little negative and I said I wouldn't gett TOO excited yet. So we go to the GPS after the lesson and find out it is just over the border of our area :((( so we called the sisters in that area and told them. They felt bad but were very excited. BUTTTT they called us again the next day and said the boundaries had changed! So she is ours! we haven't been able to find her yet- we got lost and called her on the phone and she said she'd call us in a little bit after she is settled :( but still! Pretty cool!
So a really sweet lady we are teaching accepted a baptismal date this week! Her name is Antonella. after that lesson we got to meet with her whole family. They are great, pray for them and pray for us to find the right 'Amulek' for them like we found for Maria. It makes all the difference.
Below are a couple pictures from Nicole's farewell saturday night.
She asked me to sing 2 years- I think my ward is sick of hearing it! A couple people from the english wards told me they'd seen it on youtube so, thats pretty cool! But it was a great activity- Ana and Lucia came!! (veryyy less active. it was like a miracle kinda) and also--- Maria and Melanie came with Hermana Lozano! Was very very awesome. So thankful! 
Sunday was a little crazy- there was a tornado and flash flood warning! But it all worked out alright. An investigator that we've only taught once came to church! Her name is Maria Paula and she is so so so sweet. Sacrament was the primary program- (PERFECT) ahh the spirit was so so so strong. She stayed all 3 hours! She really liked it and wants to come next week :)
Dante also came but pobresito lost 40$ at church :( :( he cancelled our lesson after church and it was sad because we had an awesome lesson lined up at a members house after eating dinner with them :( I was so so bummed. I hope he is ok- he is sweet and called us the other day to have us explain who nefi and lehi are :) haha.
I bet you're wondering about my subject title to the email. I will tell you now. So sunday after church we ate dinner with the Esquivel. They are SUCH an awesome, cute, hardworking family. They've been in the church 2 years and Hermano is already an awesome Elders President (what's it called??) and Hermana is a Relief Society teacher. solid solid people. Anyway, they have the CUTEST 6/7 year old boy named Joseph. He is a hooooot. Below is a picture of him and a sign he made for his house. it says "no smocing. no fumando" these are some of the things he said over the course of the night:

(to me, very serious) : "Your hair looks like Dog's hair"
Me: Wow I have forgotten all of my jokes!!
Joseph: "I think you're losing your brain" (yes, maybe true)
Joseph: I heard coke has dead people in it
His mom: goes on to tell us that her sister told them that. they kind of believe it?
Joseph later on: " Oh Coca-cola. They probably get dead people and put their colas in it."
for those of you who don't know spanish,  "cola" means "butt" hahahah idk if these are even funny maybe you had to be there??? Idk
This week I made a little goal to actually share a little more of spiritual things I had learned during study/whatever this week so I'll try!
I loved in Mosiah 5 what we can learn about Covenants. After the people had repented, felt a remission of their sins, felt more joy than they ever had in their lives, they ALL wanted- the desire of their hearts- was to enter into a convenant with their God. How special are covenants! They are crazy important and wonderful blessings. I love how the Relief Society meeting was centered around them this fall. Wow wow- Think about your baptismal covenants more often PLEASE. Temple ones as well if that applies. They're gifts, we just have to do our part now :)
Last week President Fenn said something that really touched my heart/soul. Not gonna lie, its hard being a missionary! I've seen investigator after investigator drop drop drop. Person after person that I love so much and desire their salvation- choose no. My 6 months as a missionary comes this week, and-- yeah I don't want to be too negative. But sometimes I am very close to being discouraged and wondering why! President Fenn told us all (anonymously) about a missionary who is very discouraged and is probably in the most unfortunate circumstances of all. He tells us that baptisms are our goal, but it is NOT how we should ever ever measure our success. It is NOT how he judges whether someone is a good missionary or not. He said to us something to the effect of: "If you are struggling with this, all you need to worry about is whether or not your sacrifice is sufficient in his eyes."
Thats what this is- a sacrifice. This biggest sacrifice I've ever made! He invited us to ask our heavenly Father that question. And to keep humbly serving him with all our might, mind and strength. That is where the success comes from and that is what I came here to do! and I am doing it!
Sooo I'd just like to say that I love you all. I know with out a doubt that this Church is true and we DO have a Father in Heaven who loves us and he DOES speak to us. Through a living prophet, and to our own hearts. Have a good week and don't forget what is important!!!
Love you,
Hermana Carli

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Week 18 "Can we pray for you and your animals?" Nov. 11

Hi Friends and Family!

I decided to give a nice subject line for the email today. I will tell the story a bit later.
Fun Fact: I am currently watching it snow for the first time since I've been here. wooo hooo
Ok so it was an up and down week! I don't want to be negative but... mostly down unfortunately :/ but oh well. Its a new day and a new week right!
I'll just start from the beginning.
Monday we had an awesome lesson with Rafaella. She is so dang cute I want to be her friend in real life! She is 19 and came from Mexico 2 years ago. She speaks awesome english but we teach with her in spanish. When she speaks back its kinda like Spanglish haha I love it!! We called her later in the week and she said she had been reading and liking the book of Mormon. I really really hope to see great things with her! We have an appt with her tonight again.
Tuesday, not much happened. We had a lesson with Maria and Melanie. (Maria has no faith and Melanie is the cutest girl ever) And the good thing is Maria said she has been praying?? thats a big deal so, hey has hard as she seems maybe deep down she wants to change? Melanie is the sweetest though. I wish you all could hear her prayers! The most sincere I have ever heard. Pray for them, they need it!
Wednesday we had a Zone Training Meeting- centered in
wow so crazy and awesome! We will be spending an Hour a day teaching, finding, following up on appts and commitments, etc through facebook! I ended up switching accounts with my Mom so I could save my friends and everything on my own account. So for those of you who would like to add me on this account: you may, but just know I will only be using it for purposes in line with my calling as a missionary :)
My comp and I are able to prepare non-members I know from home (through facebook) (aka teach a couple lessons through facebook) to meet the missionaries where they live though, so as far as talking to people from home, things vary. But yeah! it is cool. I hope to see some opportunities to further the work here through it. We will be getting Ipads next week.
So Later on wednesday we had a feeling to visit one of our members- and we had planned to teach her about the book of mormon- just back to the basics. When we went there it was amazing! We had come at a time she needed us most, and our lesson was perfectly for her needs. The spirit really guides and heavenly Father really loves and knows his children.
Thursday we had another awesome active member lesson. There is this family in our area that I haven't had a lesson with or anything since I have been here. They scared me a little bit and weren't always the nicest! But we have really been trying to see them, and we finally did Thursday! It was great. The mom wants to feed us and go teaching with us again. We have re-gained their trust, and I thank the spirit again! Amazing stuff.
SO basically Friday and Saturday were like jokes almost. We walked SO MUCH and tried so many people and knocked so many doors... and friday we got in one non-members house, saturday we got in none! hah the only house I got to go in Saturday was a less-actives'. Well anywhoo here comes the story of my subject heading:
So we were walking down a street Saturday and we see a man on a roof blowing his leaves off. His daughter just came out of the house and we stopped to talked to her (they were white). So anywhoo we give our spill, and she showed some intrest! We talked with her about prayer, and she says she prays if any of her animals die. Makes sense right? its a hard time. She also said one of them had died that day! Prepared maybe?? anywhoo so my companion goes "So before we leave could we pray for you and your animals?" and she said yes. hahahah Im not sure why its so funny to me, idk its just a line you don't hear that often? ahhaha probably the highlight of that day not joking sadly
Another good thing that happened saturday (ok maybe this was the highlight) Cute Melanie called us and said that her, her niece, and her cousin, wanted to come to church again and she was asking for us to find them a ride :) so we got one all set up! they were real excited.
buttttt.... Sunday they couldn't go anymore :(  We tried to see if Luciana's family wanted to go but... I swear they are doing worse and worse. It breaks my heart!!
Sunday was a hard day, especially because it was one of my favorite people- hermana Lane's- last sunday in the ward since we both got here! She is getting transferred and I am staying one more. Ah its hard to see her go- I'm now the missionary that has been in this ward the longest! Still doesn't feel like I've been here that long. But yeah. It was really hard because no one was there in sacrament. But it got better once we went to sunday school and Dante was there. He is a really awesome and kind- heart-ed man. He loves church so much and that is awesome!
Hermanas Lane and Davies had a baptism after church and he was able to attend! We taught him after that and had a great lesson and moved his baptismal date further. He is progressing well :) Its a joy to work with him! Pray for him to keep progressing and getting answers, as well for his wife in mexico to be able to find the chapel there and learn from the missionaries.
My love for the book of Enos in the book of mormon grew this week.  Wow its crazy how at different times, the same scriptures can mean different things to you! I love the emphasis on faith that is put there. Verse 27 gave me a lot of comfort, especially when I was close to being discouraged this week. There are wonderful things waiting for those who faithfully follow our Lord and Savior! Don't ever forget him or forget the things he has prepared for you.
Los Quiero!!!
<3 La Hermana Barlow

Monday, February 17, 2014

Our mission has some cool news! November 4

Week 17? already?

time is flying fast! its almost the end of Hermana Lopez' first transfer! okkk so this week...
Last Tuesday we had a really cool meeting with 2 other zones and Elder Martino from the 70. needless to say it was wonderful and very enlightening.
our mission has some cool news! We have been chosen as one of the missions that will be starting internet proselyting! We will get trained on it this Wednesday and will receive IPADS next week I believe! This will be great- a lot of the Mexicans here are on facebook and such speaking with their other family members in Mexico. So yeah, cool stuff! It'll be a great opportunity to find and do work.
It was unfortunately pretty cold and rainy this week- and a lot of no shows to appointments and a lot of people that weren't home! So, not fun but you know we just keep pushing through.
Funny thing: Sometimes when we say prayers with certain people- they are mumbling while you are praying? Twice this week I was praying in a lesson and the person was mumbling and stuff ha I'm not judging but its just hard to not laugh sometimes.......
A special moment this week was with this really old, super super sweet lady named Maria. She said the sweetest, most heartfelt prayer and started crying during it. Awe her and her classic Mexican husband (sombrero and all) are returning to Michoacán this week. :(
So yeah. Happy Halloween this week!! Most the Hispanics here aren't big fans- some people here kept their kids out of school that day and stuff haha cute. But anyway THANKS MOM for the package! We loved it!
Friday we had a real great lesson with 2 new super cute investigators. Antonella (the mom) and Kiara (daughter)- the Dad and son weren't there, we hope to meet them soon! But yeah they are so special. They are also related to Guillermo y Julieta, and Maria and Melanie (the others that we are teaching) so basically we are teaching their whole fam! Its pretty cool. They're all just having a bit of a struggle keeping commitments. Its crazy that that's what it comes down to! Keeping those little commitments could lead you in a different direction for eternity.
aaannd yeah Luciana's family. ugh so sad!! They fell of date once again yesterday. Some of them are having a hard time keeping any commitments and its sad because some of them are keeping them! It breaks my heart a bit but we are gonna stop seeing them for a bit now. :( there is still hope for them though I think? I hope?
So anywho sunday was stressful as always! We were of course scrambling last minute to do some last minute reminding and inviting- we showed up at Luciana's- they were too busy :( we went to Melanie and Marias, and Maria was too busy but Melanie and her 2 nieces weren't! So we arranged for a ride to come real quick then headed off to church. Dante also called us and said he'd be missing sacrament meeting most likely (we were pretty bummed) but we were just praying and hoping for the best!
I played the hymns in sacrament (for the first time besides mtc!) and I was so happy to see Melanie, Amy, Ivanna come in and Dante a little later! Wow so awesome. Amy and Ivanna had a good time in primary and Melanie stayed with us. They had a good experience thankfully!
We had an awesome lesson with Dante after church as well. It was one of the most special lessons I've been in so far. We invited Hermana Arana- the bishops wife- to join us. We started out with following up on his reading/ listening to the BOM disc. He hadn't :/ so Hermana Arana just took the lesson away with all these amazing amazing inspired questions, testifying, and inviting him to really truly search for an answer from God that this is the true one! Wow it was special and it was exactly what he needed. She was a perfect example of teaching people and not lessons! He is still going to get baptized but probably in December.
Well. This is already a really long letter! But I'd just like to close by saying something about the importance of questions. Heavenly Father wants to reveal things to us about things that are true, and things we have to do in our lives. We just need to ask seek and knock. I'm still striving to do that better and better and I hope you will too!
Much love!!!!
<3 Meee

Sunday, February 16, 2014

I think it's 16... yeah semana 16 Oct 28

 Oct 28, 2013
Hola hola
its so hard for me to remember which week in the field it is... I think its 16... anyway...
yeah! Week 16! Time is really going by faster and faster its so crazy. We had a pretty good week this week!
Ok sooo... tuesday we had another Training Meeting for new missionaries and trainers. These always go from 9am to 4pm. Usually the President instructs along with the assistants, sister training leaders, etc. But this time only President and of Sister Fenn (for a little) instructed us.  But of  course I love learning from President so it was wonderful! 
Wednesday Hna Lopez had to get some tests done at the hospital for her stomach. She got put under/to sleep and it was SO funny when she was comming out of it hahah she kept asking the same questions over and over and also insisting that she wanted to go to district meeting. It was so funny! It took all day for her to recover. She has a big stomach ulcer poor girl :( :(
Before going into the Hospital I promised myself I'd talk to people in the waiting room and stuff. When I got in there it was HUGE and.. there were only like 2 others there. It was so awkward! So I prayed telling Heavenly Father that I was a chicken and to please send people to ask me what I do haha. (yeah what a chicken I am right? I think mostly I'm afraid of English Speakers. Hispanics are nicer.) anywhoo... so not too long after One of the reception/nurses came and asked me what we believe!! So I told her of course but she didn't want other missionaries over. And then in the recovery room another nurse told me she was looking for a church! So I was able to testify that this was THE one and I got her number and reffered her to the english missionaries where she lives. Just little cool things ya know..
We had a goal this week to REALLY focus on getting members out with us and to our lessons and we pulled it off! A member was out with us every day and it was awesome because we don't have very members in our area.
A funny thing happened friday. So we stopped in on Jesus- the old man with no teeth- and had a little lesson haha. He is HILAR. Towards the end of the lesson he goes "yeah, we are all brothers and sisters (meaning like, we are children of God). except her (pointing to me) she's not mexican" hahahahha i CRIED an old mexican just made racist comment toward me and it made my day hahahahh ahh good times. I didn't really tell the story very well.. just trust me it was real funny. He felt bad that he hurt my feelings so he apologized but I just was laughing and told him it was fine.

Saturday I was on exchanges with Hermana Alvarez!!

It was SO awesome to be with her. The last 2 transfers she was serving in my ward and she just barely was assigned to be a sister training leader and also trying to build a new spanish branch by bringing the spanish speakers to an English ward in our zone! Its way cool. Basically she is awesome and I love her, and I really learned so much. I have so much to learn and so much more to do and so much room to grow. Its crazy. I hope to be a missionary like her someday.
With her, we put Luciana and her kids back on date. We proposed the 23 of November, but they wanted the 16th so, hey! They agreed to prepare for that date and we were real excited. I mean, I still really am excited except for they didn't come to church like they told us they would :( They still have 2 sundays to come to still be baptized on the 16th so. Pray pray pray pray.

So sunday- we get to sacrament meeting bummed because no one was there. :(( but when we walked into sunday school, Dante was there! He said he came a bit late and sat in the back for sacrament meeting. So we were really happy! He stayed for the next two meetings and after church we were able to have our first lesson with him haha! It was a bit of a tough lesson for me. I'll just say sometimes Hermana Lopez and I feel like we are fighting/struggling with the members we bring to some lessons for a chance to speak. no bueno. but its amazing how the spirit speaks through all the chaos. Right after I finished testifying of the Book of Mormon, he said "oh I have no doubts in this book. When I read the first paragraph in the whole book, I felt in my heart that it was true." WOW. What a blessing and miracle. He also spoke about how of all the churches he has been to, he really feels that this is the true one. So basically, wow. He is preparing to be baptized on the 16th of November as well!
Wow I love the spirit and this gospel and.. everything. It was a really special miracle, especially after all of the challenges, door slams(or shuts... idk same thing), no shows, and struggles we faced this week.
Heavenly Father is aware of us all and has a plan for us all! I hope this week we can find a way to more diligently seek him and his help in our lives.
I love you all! Stay strong, keep praying! Grow your faith and get to know Christ a little more (aka read and study your scriptures.)
Hermana Barlow

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Semana 15 Oct 21

Oct 21, 2013
so hey some good things are happening! the first to report is a new investigator named Alessandra. She was a referral from the English Elders that work in our area (its so awesome because the are the Assistants to the President and one of them just got switched from Spanish to English... so referrals galore yaaaay!!) haha anywho, we went around contacting 5 referrals they gave us, and she was the first to tell us to come right in.  Was super exciting! Basically this woman is catholic but also so so spiritual and open to different ideas.  for a long time her husband was so closed off to all things religion, but has recently opened up (the Lord is preparing them!) It was really awesome, and she said that as she receives answers she will be baptized :) such an awesome person!
We had a pretty funny situation with a less active couple- one of them is a recent convert who quickly went less active- or inactive like 6 months ago right after his baptism. super sad! anywhoo... he doesn't like it when we come over. so his wife is nice and invited us to eat and he was surprised by us and didn't look too happy but was nice about it. also she made some mole that was 'a little spicy' (she said. un poquito picante yeah right)  which was actually very very spicy!! anywhoo. I wish I could tell the whole story but its a little long but also funny. oh yeah also it was his birthday hahahahhah the best part. hbd Pablo.
We had another lesson with Guillermo and Julieta- the couple we found last week that is really special! They are really kind and hope to see them progress even more!
another cool thing that has to do with them:
So we showed up @ their apartment to invite them to church but they were busy (lame) so we went upstairs to another apt where their family members live. We met the Mom of that family (Maria of course) for the first time and she let us right in. she then told us her life story basically. She has lost basically all of her faith and she is very very lost. Her whole family (including Guillermo y Julieta) are of the "apostolica' faith, but the seem to not be finding their answers there. We are now teaching this womans family, and hope to meet her other brother as well. Wow so crazy! I wish I could tell you a little about her life story- it involves her husband passing away and she not knowing and always has been wondering where he is/ what happens after we die. Crazy how we were led to this family. I hope and pray that the spirit will testify that the answers we have are true!
Sunday was a little sad but awesome at the same time- Luciana's family didn't come to church again :( ah so sad! Seriously breaks my heart. I want this for them so so much!!
It was awesome because of this:
So I'm not sure if you remember, but one day Hna Hungate and I knocked on a BRIGHT BLUE house because we knew it was Hispanic haha. We met Dante who was really interested. We had a return apt: it fell through because we didn't have a woman to go with us. We made another: same thing happened. So we just brought by a Book of Mormon one day and just basically said to start reading it ha and we will find a time to meet soon. So, sunday morning I had the thought to call him and invite him to church. He said he was coming but I didn't believe him ( hah sad I know. where is my faith?!?)
So we get to church and guess who is there: DANTE! An AWESOME member just fellowshipped him so so so well and he stayed for all three meetings and loved it. And we haven't even had one lesson with him! haha we are excited about him.
Wow sorry this letter is so long but I just have a few more awesome things to tell about Saturday. basically my life was changed!
So Saturday we had the privilege of hearing from Clayton and Christine Christensen in a missionary meeting as well as in a devotional that night.
OH THE THINGS I LEARNED. basically I have been forever inspired!
So Clayton Christensen Is a Harvard Business Professor, and he has written many best-selling business books. He has recently written a new book called "The Power of Everyday Missionaries" and wow. go read it members! Seriously. I mean he hardly talked about the book but I'm sure many of the things he shared with us are in it. he is a GENIUS.
I honestly wish I could write about everything I remembered. I will probably say more about it next week but for right now I will just say that it was awesome and to look him up or something if you can!

haha Well I have learned so much this week. We continually are trying to seek the spirit and find those who are ready for this gospel. The Lord is with us every step, he is with every single one of us, I know it! He loves us so much. The other day writing in my journal I began to write down some things that I have learned on the mission so far about myself and life and etc. just off the top of my head, and I just kept writing and writing and had to cut myself off! I have learned muchisisimo and I am forever thankful for that. Remember God's hand in your life, and that if you put him first, ALL THAT YOU NEED will follow. 
Thank you so much for your prayers.
Peace and blessins!!!
love Hermana Barlow

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Keep the faith and stay strong! Oct 16

 Oct 16, 2013
Ok hey fam and friends
soo today has been a crazy crazy day I wish I had more time to explain haha but sorry to all that I didn't reply to personal emails!
Ok so... this week... wow there is so much where do I even start!
We saw a lot of awesome days this week... and some days where we tried and tried and tried with very little who had time for us.
kinda cool story:
actually.. background for kinda cool story:
      ok so I was excited to write home about this story because at first it seemed all awesome and all that and had good applications to daily life and blah blah like that BUT of course. didn't work out the way we'd have liked.
ok here it is:
So, we went to go knocking at these apartments called kings cross. aka little mexico because EVERYONE there speaks Spanish. there are about 10 big buildings in this complex, so Hna Lopez and I decided to pray before choosing which one to knock in. We both felt impressed to go to one, so we did. So heres the thing about Hispanics. They don't usually straight up reject you or be mean, they will usually tell you to come back and then hide from you. soo anyway Before we went in, talked to a lady, rejected straight up. ok?? we go in... first two doors- also rejected straight up, next two: could tell they weren't interested and weren't very nice. 2nd to last door in the hallway: no one home. We looked at the very last door and I was seriously about to say- ok we chose the wrong building haha. but we knocked it anyway, and something awesome happened! This super super awesome lady answered and she said she just barely started being religious and stuff and she was just maybe the nicest person- she also told us to come back and was excited about it and stuff.
Basically this is kinda like life sometimes! We don't know why we are somewhere, things are not working out, you wonder where you went wrong, but when you've reached the end you look back and see the real reasons and why Heavenly Father gave you that situation.
I would love to say she is getting baptized/ progressing!! but she texted us the day of the appointment and told us she didn't want to confuse herself with a new belief style now that she's new to religion.
and thus we see how my story is kind of ruined haha oh well maybe we planted an absolutely essential seed in her life! who knows.
We also had a very cool experience with an investigator Silvia. A couple months ago she had basically had a dream of the temple! She told us it is the closest she has ever felt to God and the spirit. We were in awe as she explained the dream because it was the San Diego temple that we both went through for the first time!!! Ah we were so amazed. We didn't go in depth at all of course, but basically we let her know that she can go to that sacred and special place. We wanted it so bad for her and we did all we could. But of course, she is set in her ways and would rather not enter someday. :( ah so sad.
Also Ariana, luciana, and fam fell off date :( pray for them! I know they can make it I know it!! But we need your help and prayers.

Sweet Giovanna (left on her mission yesterday!) had her farewell after church sunday and asked me to sing 2 years again for it. the cultural hall was filled haha! They loved it, and so many had such nice things to say. ha but some said "Canto muy bonito pero no entendi nada" haha like...'I didn't understand any of it but good job' haha. It was really great and I love sharing that song.
We had a great zone training meeting as always. President Fenn gave a great lecture on Light- Dad would've loved it.
We focused a little bit on inspired questions and read a little from Alma 5. Amazing chapter full of inspired and inspiring questions. Go read please!!
I love you all! Keep the faith and stay strong! Don't let the little things distract from the wonderful things that God has prepared for those that love him (1 Cor 2:9)