Saturday, March 29, 2014

la Mañanita y tres leches Mar 24


I'm not a teenager anymore so I guess that is good!

We had a really great birthday. We had plans to go to the most
dedicated and amazing member's house- Hermana Padilla's, (from el
Salvador)for dinner. Earlier our plans fell through except for that we
taught alexander with Hermana Thalia (from Ecuador). We got to her
house and it was decorated so cute!!
She had made lemonade with
cute straws and it was just adorable! I love her! Later, alexander,
Thalia's family and another man in our area came too and we didn't
know they were coming! Haha actually we guessed it. But yeah it was
super fun. They sang us the Spanish birthday song which is a long song
called "la mañanita" ha I was LOVING IT! We ate some tres leches cake
that alexander bought for us and then he said "ok let's all tell
the Hermanas what we like about them!" So we got a nice shower of 
compliments from our favorite people.
They gave us presents and wow we were just spoiled spoiled!
I LOVE these people they are the best ever!

Thanks so much for the
packages and the cards family! I felt very spoiled and loved, 

I love you all!!

I don't really feel like I have too much more to update. It was a
harder week, even though we had around the same amt of lessons taught
it felt like we taught less and I'm not sure why! I went on an
exchange with Hermana Swain (who, by the way, used to dance at the
dance club where Cassidy Riggs dances a few years back) and she is
super awesome! We saw some miracles with some member referrals and I
am super excited about that. Our teaching pool is slowly but surely
including more member referrals which is a HUGE blessing. Yesterday no
one was home and my companion had to use the bathroom and so we
randomly showed up at a less actives house who hasn't let us in since
January. As we were waiting to be buzzed into the apartment building,
a man who was with a lady and some kids opened the door for us. Turns
out we were going to the same place- he is actually the brother of
that less active and I don't think he had even been in contact with
the church at all for several years. His sister wasn't home but we
went in with him and his girlfriend and we started to talk about
his story and teaching them, and he ended up saying he wants to start
coming back to church and his girlfriend (not a member, from Honduras)
said yes to hearing the lessons from us! Super super great.

Tonight Juana said her family could come to an activity in the
church so we are hoping and praying they will go!! Valentin and Elena
have been too busy to see us and they fell of date yesterday:(
But Joaquin came to church again with his niños and they were hilarious.
I gave a talk which went alright. First talk given during my mission-
first time speaking in Spanish to a lot of people! i played the piano
while the missionaries sang a musical number and Joaquin's 5 yr old boy
tried to go up when we were going up hahah. At the end I led the
music and his 6 yr old boy came up after the first verse
it was just too funny. Probably the craziest sacrament
meeting I have participated in. But YAY he is progressing so well and
is starting to know the members. :D

This week I was reading in the talk "the 4th missionary" by Ryan g.
Cordbridge and it is really great for everyone even if you aren't a
missionary. He says "everything that you have to give to The Lord, has
it's origin in him, except one thing: your will. He does not have your
heart, nor your mind, unless you give them to him. It is the only gift
you have to offer that He does not already have. So when you give
yourself, you truly give Him everything."

So. That's what we need to do! Give our will up. Not only give up our
sins but give up ANY unrighteous desire. Easy right! Haha but really.
Sanctification is possible and it should be our goal!

I love you all and despite the hard days, I LOVE being a missionary!!

Love, Hermana Barlow.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Nuestro Cumpleaños Mar 17

Friends and familia

My title says; OUR birthday because it's mine AND My companions
birthday tomorrow! She is turning 21 and I'm turning 20 so it's gonna
be pretty great.

I bought this shirt for a birthday present for myself. It's super cute huh!

Also we are not getting transferred... so I am for the
first time since my training: not a trainer! I am happy about it.

Ya know, it was a pretty good week. I can't remember a ton of what
happened as usual but hey..

We had a church tour with Joaquin- last week he fell off date
because he didn't come. :( but the church tour went really well.

We talked about baptism by the baptismal font and before we went in the
Church, we invited him to really listen to the spirit.
We went in and I am not joking, we stood in silence for FIVE
MINUTES. I was like... Who is gonna be the first to break it.. Not me.
During the silence I had a cool moment where I was just feeling how
grateful I am to have grown up in this church. The spirit was really
strong, there is something special about the chapel when no one else
is there. So eventually he broke the silence and said he felt the

It was awesome when he came to Sacrament meeting yesterday 
I really think he liked it. 
He is the one with the 2 little boys who are adorable, hilarious,
and pretty rowdy so it was an adventure keeping them quiet in
sacrament. Funny things they said:
5 year old: you're going to go play the piano again? (I'm the ward
pianist by the way... Before I came they sang acapella) I will go up
there with you! (Haha yeah right)
4 year old: (looking at four year old girl behind us) "she is pretty"
ha her parents heard and laughed.
5year old: (after playing the piano in the beginning I have Alexander 

our recent convert come sit by us and Joaquin.) Upon sitting down.. 
5 year old says to my companion: "is this your boyfriend?" Hahahahhah
And the list goes on. I love them to death and I think they were good
and enjoyed primary.

Also this week our bishop and his wife threw a little party for our
birthday and for another hermana missionary in our ward who's
birthday is today. It was so cute! I will send some pictures. They are
so kind, they gave us each a cute cardigan.  these sweet
Honduran Ladies gave us each a lotion from Victoria's Secret. Spoiled!
Haha all the missionaries in our ward came and it was fun.

One day we gave service in an old people care center and we just
visited this old lady. She was so cute and funny. She told us all
about the cat she used to have. She was so happy we were there.. she
said "I love you. Now I have two more friends" hahah we were cracking
up it was great.

I've been reading in 3 nephi this week and I love to see and learn the
things the savior taught and what he did. He showed so much love, and
the truth is one day each of us will meet him too. It's a reality! So
we better be ready. I know that he really did appear to those here in
the American continent!

Have a wonderful week and don't forget that he really is there!

Love you!
Hermana Barlow

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Siempre hay milagros Mar 10


WOW this week was crazy full of miracles. I know I say that just about
every week, but for real this time! We taught so many people who are
so desperately in need of the gospel. I know everyone needs it, but I
guess these people this week, we could see a little more of the

Here are the top 3:

Miracle 1:
we have been trying to see Joaquin and we had been planning to
invite him to be baptized on a specific date. But OF COURSE the
adversary knew what we were up to. Everything was getting in the way!
Finally after 3 failed attempts of seeing him (for a few different
reasons) Thursday we had an appointment with him, and an hour before
the woman who was supposed to come with us fell through (it's a rule
that we have to have another woman with us when we are with any men.).
AH NOT AGAIN we thought. We immediately started calling everyone. No
answer. Can't go. Part of me said just try tomorrow but I just didn't
feel like we should stop trying just then. Finally one lady said "I
can't go but call Hermana rayo." So, Hna rayo is not in our area and
we didn't know her but hey, we had nothing to lose! We called her and
said "do you have time to come to a lesson right now." And she was
like yep! Just let me get dressed! And also she didn't have a car.
Luckily we are doing a different car share right now so we had the car.
We drove 15 minutes there to get her and 15 back to Joaquin's. As
we were waiting for him to buzz us into the building we were just
praying and praying and waiting and then...... Buzzzzzzzzz! We
looked at each other with the best/happiest/excited look! We went in
and Hna Rayo helped keep his kids occupied while we taught. He ended
up accepting a baptismal date that night!! We were just like ohhhh
myyyyy goooodddnessss we have witnessed a miracle. It was super great.
Also he has been feeling the spirit when he reads the Book of Mormon.
He is one of those who we can tell that the gospel is going to fill a
huge hole in his heart. We love him! And his 5 year old still asks us
if we have boyfriends and if there are toys at church each time we go

Miracle 2:
Valentin and Elena! Ok so this is an older couple who have been separated
for a while but are trying to mend their marriage and get back
together. They've never been taught, Most times when we have gone they
haven't been home. We weren't even planning it but we just decided to
go there Wednesday. We went and they both were home! We went in and
taught a tiny bit and got a return appt. we returned Friday and taught
the restoration. They were really attentive and I really think they
felt the spirit. I really did feel the spirit's guidance in that
lesson. They were telling us about their religious background and
basically they are now humble to learn  and find out for themselves,
whereas before they weren't. Amazing how the Lord leads us to those
who are ready. Anyways, in the end we invited them to be baptized on
April 12th. They were willing to prepare! In the closing prayer, Elena
said it. She took a long long pause after saying a few sentences and
it was special. They are ready for a change and they are ready to be
closer to God. Love them so much!!

Miracle 3:
Last week we went to find a less active but she had moved, so we met a
different couple. They said we could come back another day. We went
back and had our first lesson with them this week. We didn't how to begin
teaching and the woman expressed right away that she was seeking more
peace in this life. The man expressed that he didn't have much of a
religious background and didn't pray as much as his wife, but they
expressed interest to learn more. They have one 13 year old son who
was at a movie with his friends who they were texting and checking in
on during our time there. We could tell they loved him so much. So we
taught the restoration and the spirit was very strong. They said
they'll be baptized when they know it's true and committed to read and
pray about the Book of Mormon. The most special part about the whole
lesson was when we knelt down and invited the Man to say the closing
prayer. He was nervous and we encouraged him, and then he began to
pray, and said a few sentences, only asking for his son. Then he
paused, for a whole long minute of silence that felt like forever! The
spirit was radiating, I really hope they felt what I felt. Then he
said amen, we thanked him and I said "wow we can tell you love your
son so much." And then the man went on to quietly tell us something
that we could tell was so personal for them- their son had been
bullied various times and has tried to commit suicide twice. 13 years
old. They said that with therapy things are getting better. The woman
had tears in her eyes. My heart just broke, and I really felt like a
representative of Christ- I felt so much love, and I could tell they
already trusted us. Hermana Simmons and I testified of the power of
the atonement. the power of our message and the Book of Mormon
will help them with these specific trials. I was in awe at how out of
all of the people that could've been in that less-active's old
apartment, it was them. we were led to them at the right time. I
am forever thankful for the tender mercy that my mission is to me. I
know Heavenly Father knows our trials and sends help in the way we
need it.

The truth: if you do the Lords work + trust in him = you WILL see
miracles and be blessed more than you could ever imagine.

P.s. Dear parents:  next week is your 20 years of being parents!


Monday, March 17, 2014

hay juguetes de dios Mar 3

 so I'm getting a bit tired of writing home haha idk why! So don't
expect to be impressed by anything haha.

 funny story (translated to English) these crazy children who's dad
we teach, were totaly disrupting our lesson big time but they were
cute. We were talking about what they will see at church and one asked
me "are there toys at church?" I said "no just teachers and songs and
learning about God!" And he said "hay juguetes de Dios? (are there
toys of God?)" I laughed...He is 5 and also told me he has a

Tuesday we had a great great new missionary training meeting. We
learned a lot about obedience, teaching, focus, raising our vision,
etc. he talked about how it is a sin to compare ourselves to others,
we should only compare ourselves to ourselves and measure our progress
that way. He said "none of us are born again in an instant. It is by
degrees" I loved while he was taking about obedience he said "Why do I
want you to be obedient? Because I know it is the only road to
happiness" this goes for normal non-mission life to! Obeying the
commandments is the ONLY way to true happiness. True!!
Also a missionary asked a question about how,we can focus our minds.
President gave us some places to start:
1. Our prayers. Intensity is more important than duration
2. While taking the sacrament- a time to evaluate our standing before God.
3. In lessons
4. During personal study.

I hope to master these areas of focus not only for my mission but for
my life. I invite you all to do the same, our thoughts precede our
actions and lives!
I left that meeting with such a desire to improve.

We were able to go on exchanges and I learned a lot from the best, Hermana Davies! 
It's crazy how the sisters in San Diego told me to look out for her because
her sister served in SD too. Love her! We taught a nice family and I
felt the spirit so strong while testifying of Joseph Smith. It was
such a tender mercy because I had prayed the day before to really feel
and recognize the spirit testifying through me. So... The Lord loves
me and answers my prayers!

While I was away from my area my comp and the other Hermana had a huge
miracle! They met a Honduran lady who knows one of the less active
members in the other Hermanas area... so crazy that on the one day we
were on exchanges they met her! They taught her the restoration. The
next morning she invited us over for lunch! So sweet! So we went,

she is SO GREAT! She accepted a baptismal date and we are
very excited. Her name is Juana.

ALSO Alexander got confirmed yesterday!! He also bore his testimony, it
was amazing amazing. He is so great. He also gave us two shout outs
with our names and all hah it was so great. Love him!!

So yeah! I'm doing well and I have to go but I love you I hope you all
make good choices this week!

Love, Hermana Barlow

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Miracles! Feb 24

Hola familia-

It was a pretty crazy but very very wonderful week. A crazy crazy
thing is.... This February 29th is my halfway mark! But it's awkward

because February 29th won't be occurring so............. 2 year
extension? Haha just kidding but I can't believe it.. Don't want to
believe it either! It's gone too fast.

But yes as many of you have heard, THERE WAS A BAPTISM!!
Definitely one of the top- if not the very top greatest events in my
mission! It was crazy to see the little ways the adversary would get
in the way but everything went through so amazingly. During the week
we had last minute lessons, the baptismal interview, and the baptismal
record to fill out. We had to meet with alexander and have a lesson but we
didn't have a car and had woman members cancel... just so many things got
in the way! But it was meant to happen and He had settled it in his
heart that he needed to be baptized.

His interview went well (they told us) and so we were just left to
figure everything out- and it was probably the biggest struggle! Plans
were dropping, rides were dropping, The hardest things were getting us
a ride to the baptism, and him a ride to his own baptism. Super
stressful! After calling just about every member, things came together

From Saturday morning and on through the baptism things went
amazingly well. The elders were filling the font, our ward mission
leader made the program, the lady who was playing the piano for our
musical number was there early to practice with us, alexander was there
early and ready, we got pictures and he was ready to go! A great

So some things came up and I was unable to finish! Sorry and I love you!

...the next day:

We got permission to finish up the emails tonight so here is the rest
of what I was going to say:

It was such a great baptismal service. The talks went perfect and our
song (how great thou art) went well. He gave his testimony at the end
and it was just great. Wow he is a miracle and I just can't wait to
see what The Lord has in store for him. The day after the baptism we
brought him a card and a little hymn book just for congratulations and
he thanked us again for teaching him and told us we will be
friends forever and he told us that he is excited to move forward in
the church and endure to the end! Not lying, best investigator on
earth I think! Needless to say my joy is very close to full!

Sunday we had a lesson with two new investigators, it was cool and
also funny. The man is a headquarter referral- he was given a pass
along card a while ago and he called the number and requested a video
and Book of Mormon so... He is pretty great! There is a lady named
Carla that lives there too who is from Brazil- on the phone the man,
Javier, told us that Carla wasn't interested so we didn't expect her to
be there. So we brought our member Nati who is super super awesome.
While teaching Javier, Carla came in with her bible and joined! I am not
sure if she was speaking Portuguese, Spanish with a heavy accent or
sportugish but I could understand her fairly well! The sweetest thing
was that at the end of the lesson Nati gave her copy of the Book of
Mormon (that had a cute cover on it) to Carla. Carla was really really
touched and we think she might actually read it because of that! We
saw their friendship kind of begin and it was really cute. We are
excited to start working with them!

Right now I am in Alma 49 for president Fenn's challenge. I love how
marking the scriptures that way causes me to think and ponder more
about it! I love all the loving instruction Alma gives to his sons,
especially corianton the sinner. I found a quote that I like that goes
a along with it "this early intervention by his father became a
turning point for corianton. He repented and served faithfully
hereafter." -Larry r Lawrence, courageous parenting.
This time reading through I really gained a love and appreciation for
Alma. He could not NOT do the work of The Lord. When he "died" /
disappeared forever I was pretty sad, may have almost cried! It's fine
though. He felt the change that was brought through Christ and never
looked back, I hope we can all be more like him, one of my heroes!

I love you so much! Have a great great week.

Hermana Barlow

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

dia de amor y amistad

Hi family!

So this week my letter will not be deleting I'm making sure of that!
Haha but yeah so today we WENT TO THE TEMPLE!!! It was amazing I loved
it but also that means I don't have much time to email so sorry if I
don't reply to other emails today. Also that's the reason why we
switched p-day to today.

So this past week was great! We had the car and a lot of great things
happened. The main miracle is Alexander he is doing GREAT and
basically ready for his baptism this Saturday!! Just needs his interview
and he'll be set. Words can't express how excited we are and how
blessed we feel to know him and to be teaching him. Our lessons were
all wonderful. it's like... we are all teaching each other. It's like the
scripture in DyC 50 we really are edified and rejoice together. Our
latest lesson he took a second at the end to thank us for finding him
and teaching him. He is so great please pray for him! He has a VERY
bright future and I can't wait to see what is in store! I am So so so
thankful for this opportunity.

This week we don't have the car and we still need to see him a lot so
we are going to be working very hard and praying a lot a lot! Thank
you for all of your prayers.

Valentines day I got some wonderful packages and letters thanks so
much Mom, Nana, and Grandma Annie!! Loveeee you. Also our ward had an
activity where the young women were selling flowers and chocolate and
2 of the single men members in our area bought us some hahah that's
what the picture is of.

So yesterday I kind of fell in love with Alma 33! I've always loved
Alma 32 but wow I really love how Alma really defines for us what he
means by "the word" (like in alma 32:28 where he compares the word
unto a seed). I read in a footnote to John 1:14(ish) that "the Word"
is Jesus Christ- because all the words are fulfilled through him. The
scriptures that testify of him are what we shouldd plant in our
hearts. Then alma quotes Zenos who gives a beautiful testimony of
Christ. Kind of obsessed!

Also there is an awesome Book of Mormon video on about Alma
and Korihor. From alma 30. Family- read alma 30 together and then
watch the movie for FHE next week you'll love it! All things denote
there is a God!

ALSO President Fenn instructed us this week on prayer. WOW ok so
basically I don't have time to tell you about all of it but I am now
really really working on making my prayers focussed and making sure
they reached higher than the ceilings. Because let be honest sometimes
we get tired or distracted and that's a SIN hahahha no but really it's
great. And later I read in the bible dictionary that "prayer is a form
of work". Prayer is a powerful thing!! Don't forget to pray!

I love you all and I could not be any more grateful for everyone in my life!

Love Hna carli

Monday, March 10, 2014

A MILLION things to tell you... Feb 10

Hola familia!
 WOW do I have A MILLION things to tell you... I prob won't be able to tell you everything but this may or may not be a novel!
 OK so Monday, last day in the Sycamore/Dekalb Spanish area we visited Regina's family. Miss them! Cute Olivia gave us stuffed Animals. it was adorable

 email 2:
 Sorry everyone this was my first time sending my email from my iPad (that's basically our only option here) and I wrote a NOVEL and I have no idea how it all got erased!  I am so sad :(

 Well. Now I am all sad because it took me forever to write and now you won't get all the details. Ahh dang they were such good details too!!

 So I have a new compañera hermana simmons! She is great and beautiful and hardworking and obedient and awesome! I'm excited to be working with her.
 Our area is bordering the Chicago mission. We have great members and we're lucky to be in a Spanish ward!
 The biggest miracle is a man named alexander! A week before I came they found alexander and he came to church before they even taught him! He loved it. We taught him later in the week while he was eating dinner in a market in a grocery store. He is so generous and loves that we are serving God and wanted to feed us like the members do. He knows the bible so well and has such great faith! At the end of the lesson he was asking questions about baptism and he says "when is the soonest I can be baptized?" So amazing! Our faces were priceless! Such a miracle. He agreed to see us almost every day and prepare for the 22nd of February to be baptized. He asked for the soonest day and that was it! Please pray for him he is so great and ready. He already has a growing testimony and is finding and acting on answers to prayers. He is amazing

 Then (in my original email) I went on to tell about a funny story where a Jehovah's Witness lady gave us a ride and when we taught alexander in a hair salon and stuff. Then I shared a scripture I found and my testimony about our purpose on earth! It was really great but hey. This'll have to do!

 Love you all!
 Hermana barlow

Saturday, March 8, 2014

I'm having a HUGE deja vu- Feb 3

Well,  some big changes are happening! Actually its a HUGE deja vu- basically the same thing that happened last transfers.
look: so last transfer Hna Lopez finished her training and then I was called to go to a new area to finish the last 6 weeks of hermana grant's training while Hna Lopez stayed with the released Hermana Training Leader (who is on her last transfer), in a trio with a new missionary.
NOW... Hermana Grant just finished her training yesterday and I am going to a new area to finish training Hermana Simmons and Hermana Grant will stay with another released Hermana Training Leader (on her last transfer) in trio with a new missionary. Deja vu I know!  So I am yet to leave the 12 week training program haha.
We were SO shocked when we found out because I have only been in this area 7 weeks. That is nothing!! I really really love this area- it has been so great serving here. I miss everyone here already but I guess leaving places and people I love is what I signed up for right? The country is so gorgeous! But now I am back to the city. My new area is in Arlington Heights...back to a Spanish ward woohoo! I've heard great things about it so, It'll be great.

I got this in a fortune cookie last week...

Ok here is a cool story that I feel like I have already told you- but... idk.
A week before I left my last area while with Hermana Lopez, we were visiting some Potential investigators in an apartment building. Before leaving the building Hermana Lopez stopped walking and was looking at a door. She said 'should we knock it?' and i was like 'meh.' because I was kind of sick of knocking but then I re-thought it and said 'ok why not.' so an indian man answered and we told him who we were and testified of the restoration and the book of mormon. He told us english missionaries could come back to teach him. We referred him to the Assistants who are english in that area... and guess what!? He and his Mom get baptized this week!!! Very very cool miracle.

This week was pretty good!
The highlights are: We had our first lesson with a man named Miguel and we were able to tell him about how we were led to him! (I told about him in my last email- in the second paragraph, the one where I kept dropping my pen). But anywhoo he is a great great guy. He asked if he could buy a copy of the Book of Mormon when we taught him about it haha. It was so great. I'm excited for the Hermanas to continue to teach him.
Also as I've said before, I love Regina's family! We had a great lesson with her and her youngest daughter Olivia- Olivia had kept the commitments we invited her to do! Regina was telling us that she and Olivia LOVE learning from us and really want to come to church but the rest of the family isn't too excited about it. We were able to read in the Book of Mormon to answer some of her questions and it was really great.  I will miss them a lot!
Another miracle was- as we were walking up to regina's house that day, their neighbor (who we taught twice but haven't been able to find since) came out and started talking to us! He apologized for his busy-ness and gave us a time that we could come back. Super cool- he seems really ready.
We also had a lesson with Eduardo and he came to church! we are excited about that.
Thursday we had a Womens Conference with all the sisters in the whole mission! It was so great. The sister training leaders instructed us and were wonderful, and Sister Fenn told us this amazing story about her (great-great?) grandmother, Mary Fielding Smith, who was Hyrum Smith's wife, and the incredible sacrifices she made and how generations were born into the church because of what she did. It was so great! Also I was basically forced (aka President Fenn asked me to and I couldn't say no) to sing a solo for everyone. I didn't do super great but I did ok. I sang 'I Stand All Amazed'. It must not have been too bad because several sisters were telling me that President Fenn was crying I guess? Afterwards he came up to me with the music in hand and said many nice compliments to me and also 'I am going to make a copy of this because it is a beautiful arrangement. I may have to have you sing this at my funeral in a few years, this is actually the song I want sung at my funeral" so that was nice... I think he was kidding but then he said it again in front of everyone ha I just hope he lives a lot longer than a few more years! but it was cool. Great day!
So yeah. I have grown so so much here in this area! I have learned a lot and, I don't know just grown closer to the Lord overall. I know our lives turn out better when we turn our will over to him, I'm surely not perfect at doing that but I have seen the benefits in little ways Remember him and your blessings this week and always remember I love you!
<3 Hermana Barlow

Thursday, March 6, 2014

WOW did the week go by fast! Jan 27

So.. main things are..

Last week we called all the investigators in the phone. We got an appointment set up with a girl who was in the phone as Catalina (PNI) which means potential new investigator. So we went to the appointment and she was there! We went in and met her two kids and taught the restoration. She was actually participating- she was so surprised about Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon, she was like "wow I didn't know about that!!!" and we were like yeah that's why we're here! It was great. They seem like they will truly search for an answer. We hope to see more progress with them!

So one of the days our appointment fell through so we were stopping by some other investigators that we have on the street and while leaving one of the doors where no one was home I had the impression to try a lady named Mia that we only met once that didn't seem interested at all. So we go to her house and we are knocking and waiting when a man comes walking on the street behind us and we began talking to him and turns out he lived there to! He offered to go look for Mia but he didn't find her so he came back down. We told him our quick restoration message and about what we did and he was interested and so kind! Embarrassingly enough during the course of this encounter I was trying to write info in my notebook/ on a pass along card while wearing gloves and I dropped my pen in the snow 5 times! He picked it up each time it was quite embarrassing!! but we're excited about him.

Friday we were so excited to do a church tour with Regina's family! We went during the day and they said they had laundry to do and they told us 6:30 would be better but around 6 they told us they had too much to do to go. But they still said we could go to their house and teach them! So we were happy about that. We got the girls an English book of Mormon and they committed to come to church this sunday and they're going to ask for work off and all. So we are hoping and praying for that!! So excited!

So Gael is progressing real well, in a lesson this week we invited him to pray about baptism and confirmation and have a specific date in mind. Then there on the spot he suggested that he'd pray about the 15th of February! That was big because we weren't sure if he was taking everything too seriously. so please pray that he will receive and answer and follow it!

another great thing was Gael came to church but also Eduardo! It was his first time ever. It was the four of us on the back row with our translation headphones on while a member translated. It was so great we were so happy!! We then taught sunday school (and both of them participated a lot!) as well as relief society which also went well.

This week during weekly planning we were praying to set a goal for February baptisms. I felt so strongly to set 3 as a goal and so did Hermana Grant! Wow I've set many goals while out here but none have felt so much like a promise as this one has! So we will be doing everything in our power to follow the spirit in reaching this goal. He has some great plans I know it!

Another great thing during weekly planning was that we were making plans to find new investigators. We looked at a list of spanish names we had found in the phonebook and we each decided to separate and prayerfully come up with 4 that we felt like we needed to visit in the next week. 3/4 of each of our lists were the same! It was really great so we are excited to see what happens with these people when we meet them this week haha.

This week my understanding of Faith has grown so much! I wish I could really explain it but its a bit too hard to put in words. While watching the restoration video with Regina's family I learned about faith while watching Joseph Smith the morning of the first vision. He got up all early and walked all the way out there, truly believing and expecting to receive a real, actual, noticeable answer. What if he was like oh well idk what to expect/ too lazy/ God has never answered me before/ excuses/ etc.?? would not have been good! God will actually answer us!!! We just have to live according, believe, and expect it.

I love you all!!!
Love Hermana Barlow

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

A bed bug scare...eek! Jan 20

Hi! This was a very interesting week...

Ha ok so last Monday we had a great lesson with Regina, she is super great. We were a little sad and nervous though because she had told us that she didn't know if her husband would be open to hearing from us too. I have seen a lot of spouses who don't approve of religions other than Catholic while here on the mission and it is pretty sad! and I didn't want to see that again especially with Barbara because she is so great.
buttttt.... on Friday we had a lesson with the WHOLE FAMILY! It was so wonderful. Her husband is nice and not as open as her but he was definitely interested a little. The girls are teenagers and kind of too cool for us but they will come around. The lesson went well and they are great.

Tuesday we had a wonderful New Missionary Training meeting on tuesday- I love those meetings so much! It'll probably be my last one for a while at least, there is only one Hermana coming in next transfer so the odds of me training again are slim slim. We went on exchanges after that. At one of the houses a cute little one year old girl went by the door and put my boots on during dinner haha.

Thursday was a STRUGGLE a sweet couple found a couch for us for 5 dollars at goodwill... so that was moved in wednesday night. Hermana Lunt who I went on exchanges with warned us of the signs of bedbugs- she said that in one of her past apartments they got a couch in and in just 2 days the bedbugs had SPREAD. so she gave us some warning signs. so anywhoo we look at the bottom of the couch and we see some fuzzballs- she said that this is what their egg sacs look like. so we began to freak out a bit. we vacuumed up a lot of the couch and then shoved it in a corner. the next day our neighbor below us comes out of her apartment while we were going down the stairs to leave and YELLS at us for a good 5 minutes about how we are horrible and loud and that she had called to complained about us and the vacuuming. Even though we always keep the noise curfew. So we had an angry neighbor and possible bedbugs- we were not happy campers! but we talked to our landlord and he said not to worry about it thankfully! Later that day the couch was out as well. So all chaos had been settled, but we still had weekly planning to do. so it was quite a day!

The biggest miracle of the week was probably Regina's family. Please pray for them.
Eduardo said he will come to church this sunday too so please pray for him!

Yesterday in sunday school (in a ward where no spanish speakers showed up) we listened to the talk "His Grace is Sufficient" by Brad Wilcox. WOW is it good. and if you listen to the recording, he is pretty funny too. But WOw I just wanted to share one favorite quote that really inspired me: "The Scriptures make it clear that no unclean thing can dwell with God, but no unchanged thing will even want to." 
so I read that yesterday, and today while reading the Book of Mormon I found:

 18 But I say unto you, O man, whosoever doeth this the same hath great cause to repent; and except he repenteth of that which he hath done he perisheth forever, and hath no interest in the kingdom of God.

Wow. The Atonement covered everything. So why are we still required to do all that we can do? Because it prepares us to live with God. We need to be changed by  grace to live with him and want to. Wow please read this talk! It helped me have a new perspective. 

I love you all- keep exercising and increasing your faith.
Love you!
Hermana Barlow

ps. one day it snowed the most beautiful snowflakes ever! There has to be a God because all of them are different and little and gorgeous :) 

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Survived the -40 degree windchill! Jan 13


Hi everyone!
The week passed pretty fast! We survived the -40 wind chill monday and we still went out and fought through it tuesday- it was better, the actual temperature was around 0 or a little below but it was probably in the teens with windchill! We had a member come out with us half the day and another for the other half. Unfortunately no one was home/ had time for us haha!

One thing we did when it was frostbite weather was 'phone book finding' haha not to be creepy but we went through the phone book and found the hispanic names. The first day we went out contacting these people, we just took the 10 or so names and tried them but they didn't work out/ weren't home. The next day we went to a different city... but first we each prayed about which ones we needed to visit then came together to see which ones we had in common- we came up with a more inspired list. Wow this list truly was inspired- a miracle has happened at each one we have visited so far.

First person we tried, a lady answered and let us right in. We gave her a brief explanation of who we are and what our message is and she invited us to sit down and share a bit more. Her name is Regina. We met her three daughters who are adorable. We then had this wonderful spiritual lesson! Her 10 year old daughter stayed and listened but the other sisters were hiding behind their cell phones. But WOW I love them so much! Regina is so wonderful and when we went to our return appointment, she had read from the introduction up until 1 Nephi 3. Crazy! We were so excited. We are excited to work with her!
The second house wasn't a hispanic person, but a white man. He was the first white adult that I have knocked into on my mission so far that was actually interested in what we had to say! He had read the whole Bible before. We shared the restoration with him and the miracle came when I was able to remember the first vision in english! He said he does believe that God could call a prophet again like he did in the Bible. So that was cool and we are referring him to the Elders.
The other houses we knocked on we did find hispanics and they said to return another day but still! There is much power in being guided by the Spirit.
Translating went a little bit better this week! Either the people spoke slower or Heavenly Father blessed and helped me even more. Either way I know he is helping me and I'm thankful for that.

Another small miracle is that my comp dropped our cell phone in a puddle for about an hour and we thought it was a gonner! after spending all night in the rice it just wasn't working right. It turned on but was almost impossible to use. Later that day though we went to show some people how badly it had been destroyed, we turned it on and it was PERFECTLY fine. Wow it was truly a miracle and now it works perfectly!? Pretty cool.

Each week I find A MILLION scriptures that I love (basically) and I just started Jacob and I love it. So wonderfully written, after I finish a chapter I'm excited to go read it again ha. This morning I read Alma 37 when Alma is giving some great advice and commands to his son Helaman. I especially love at the end vs 41-47 when he compares the Liahona that lead Lehi's family, to the words  of Christ. The words of Christ will 'if we follow their course, carry us beyond this vale of sorrow into a far better land of promise'. The Liahona didn't work when they were slothful and didn't exercise their faith- only when they diligently worked for it. We need to do likewise!!

I love you all and I know that each day of our lives it is crucial to Choose Christ in every choice we make. I love you so so much!

Love, Hermana Barlow

Monday, March 3, 2014

A very special miracle happened! Jan. 6

 Jan 6
Familia and friends.

I imagine you all may or may not be at the edge of your seats, so I will tell you the news of the great miracle that we were blessed with! We had a miracle baptism!! Yay!! Our awesome, amazing and wonderful investigator Ivan showed his faith to the Lord and, well I'll just tell you his story.

Background in a nutshell: So Ivan has been investigating the church for about a year. His girlfriend in mexico is a member and last year he got in contact with the english elders and he first learned a bit from them, then from the missionaries in mexico, then from the last set of Hermanas that were here. He has had desires to be baptized for a while but for a few different reasons he hasn't, the main one being that he always wanted his family to be there.

So he was supposed to go down to mexico and get baptized and stay there for a while in December, but he wasn't able to go because of his work here. We had a lesson with him and encouraged him to really pray about whether he should be baptized here or in mexico. We didn't push him either way but we discussed how if we ask with real intent, being willing to act on the answer that God gives us, he will truly answer and guide us. Ivan has an amazing amount of faith and we knew that he would follow what God wanted for him!

So last monday night we got a call from him and he said that he really wanted to start this new year out really good with God. He said he was feeling really strongly that he had to be baptized on January 1! He wondered if his family could watch it on skype- and the answer from salt lake is no. they can watch the program, but not the ordinance over skype. So he was really bummed about that but he said 'ok let me talk to my family and i will get back to you.' we got a call back and he said he felt really strong and happy about being baptized on the 1st- which was two days later!! So we got him an interview, and pulled together a last minute baptism! 

with only basically 1 day notice, the 2 elders and 2 other hermanas that have taught him were able to get rides from their areas to come to the baptism. Members took time out of their new years day to come to the baptism and WOW there were so many miraculous things about that day.  Everything truly went PERFECTLY even though it was so last minute. The lord was truly helping us and blessing us in every way. It was a miracle! After the baptism we asked him how he felt- and he said he was so happy. It was so so hard for him not to have his family there, but he said he thought of Abraham and Issac, and how abraham was willing to sacrifice all for the will of the Father, and in his own way Ivan also sacrificed for the Lord. I am honored to be a small part of this miracle and to know this wonderful and faithful man!

Well I could say much more but that is all about the baptism for now. This week was probably one of the best on my mission! Not only was that one of the biggest miracles I have seen, but we saw SEVERAL others one after another on Saturday. It may be safe to say that my joy was full! We brought this awesome awesome member out with us on saturday- and we saw miracle after miracle. Almost each person we tried ended up letting us in. We were able to invite 4 different people to be baptized- 3 said yes when they know it is true and one accepted a date. I felt the hand of the Lord leading and guiding us and I'm not sure what it was or why but that day was also an absolute miracle. The Lord is there when we are at our lowest and He is there when things are better than we can ever imagine. Words can't describe how close to him I feel and I want this for EVERYONE! these things are true. He knows us and he hears us- don't forget it!

Love you all SO MUCH! Have a great week and good luck with your new years resolutions.

<3 Hermana Barlow.

One thing I forgot to tell you about... One day this week we knocked on a door and their dog answered. LITERALLY! It was HILAR haha