Saturday, May 24, 2014

cactus tacos

 Hola hola ok so some exciting things happened this week like a lot of great member work, some funny times, eating one of my favorite plants, good weather, bad weather, bikes, baptismal invites etc. the good stuff.

No one on date to be baptized yet but that's to be continued. We saw some really great miracles this week. We received 5 referrals - 1 from an investigator and 4 from members, Which is amazing! 3 of them a member introduced us to them in person and we hope to have lessons with them and the member in the coming week. The other we taught with the member there, which was great until the member unexpectedly pulls out her copy of The teachings from Spencer W Kimball and asked my companion to read something she had read that morning. She made my companion read 4 whole pages and I was like whoa this isn't relief society Hahahah. I was dying inside ha I am obviously not the best at taking control of situations, especially when members are involved. Then when my companion refused to read the whole chapter, the member bore her testimony and exhorted her friend to read it. Which isn't totally awful but, not ideal at first! We taught about and invited her to read the Book of Mormon of course, but we aren't sure if she is confused about these books she has received. It was pretty funny.

 Alexander has such a fire burning in him to do missionary work. We went to an appointment with his neighbors and they stood us up. He told us about how it doesn't just make him sad when people reject us, it makes him mad. He told us "they have no idea what they are turning down!" He took us over to one of his friends apartment (a family) to meet them and hopefully teach them. He told us to wait at the bottom of the stairs because they live on the top floor. We hear him knock and say "Hi can I introduce you to 2 people who are a great blessing in my life?" And of course they said yes. Then he hollered down to us "Hermanas! Pueden subir!!" Or "Hnas you can come up!" Hahahah it was a hilarious moment just climbing and climbing all the stairs I was laughing. It was great, zoe and emilio are awesome people! They were actually already former investigators so according to the numbers we report they aren't 2 of the 5 referrals this week but in my eyes they definitely are member referrals because their door has opened again because of alexander's desire to share the Gospel. As a recent convert he is seeing more and more of the amazing blessings that the restored Gospel have to offer and he wants to share it so much!

 On Sunday we went to dinner, they were barbecuing and I ate some grilled cactus. For those of you who know me, you know that I love cacti so it was pretty cool eating one, even though I do not want to eat it again. Obviously they have no spikes on them. It was a good experience.

 amalia texted us this week and told us she will probably separate with her husband/boyfriend, which is sad, I want them to be married and have an eternal family :( thankfully she still wants to meet with us through this stress, she just wasn't able to see us this week or come to church. We will see what happens this week. Pray for her!

 We prayed and worked all week to help people attend church. Of course! It seems to be our struggle so far this transfer. Saturday night specifically I was praying that our investigators would come to church, even if we could just have one there. It seems that people lately just avoid going to church so much- they tell us they're free at 11am Sunday for us to come by but when we say "perfect, so you can come to church with us at that exact time!", They tell us every excuse they can think of...
But my prayers were answered. In sacrament meeting, one of our great members brought a friend she met in the grocery store this week. He recently moved from Arizona, and before he moved he met the missionaries and went to church once there. It is such a miracle that the missionaries found him there, and he ran into and happened to talk to our member within 2 weeks of moving here. We will be meeting with him this week, he is very excited to learn about Joseph Smith. His name is Jamie, pray for him! He is so legit. I know that Heavenly Father brings to pass the things we need in our lives, just when we need them. I found out later on that Hermana Lewis had prayed the night before for the exact same thing- at least one investigator at church.

 Right now I am reading about Alma and amulek in the Book of Mormon. I love them! Their teachings are mind blowing. They blew the peoples minds at the time, and they were blowing my mind this morning! The judgement day is very real. Very very real. Our guilt will be so real that we will want mountains to crush us to hide us from his presence (alma 12:14) and The Lord is so merciful, he gave us this life as a preparatory state. A time to prepare for the Judgement day. I love what it says about the importance of this life, but also the necessity of death. Death is a part of all of this.

 President Fenn sent out a harvester this week about the doctrine of death that you should read (family). I know these things are real and that the Book of Mormon is true! Love you all, make good choices por favor!

 LOVE Hermana Barlow

 Ps. Fun story: we were teaching the restoration to this 16 year old kid who is hilarious and right after the first vision we have a silent moment, just picture it all spiritual, and he goes, looking at the picture in the pamphlet, "is Jesus the one on the right... Or the left?" Hahaha he is so great

Sunday, May 18, 2014

IHOP really!?

 This is a dove that belongs to a member, it's name is Paloma.
They put creepy dolls around in areas they don't want her to go... 
 Paloma is afraid of them and will stay away.


This week was great especially skyping with the greatest people in the
world! Shoutout to the best Mom in the world.

Tuesday we saw some cool miracles and mercies in disguise. we were on
our bikes on our way to this place that's pretty far away, and before
we got too far Hermana Lewis noticed that my tire was flat :( so the
best option was to take it back to the apartment and go on foot.
from there we decided to go somewhere closer, and we decided to go to
the apartments where alexander lives. He was sitting outside his apartment
when we got there so we got to talk to him for a bit, then we went on
to knock doors in other buildings. A little bit later we get a call
from alexander and he says "Hermanas are you able to come back? I am here
with my neighbor and she'd like to say a prayer or something with
you." Hah or something like that. So of course we go and we meet his
neighbor and her 16 year old son and they tell us how her son had a
seizure the day before and alexander kept saying "I know the message
the Hermanas have can help you, it helped me! Go ahead Hermanas tell
them" haha he is so great- such a great example of a member
missionary! So they said that was fine and we taught the restoration.
They are super awesome people and we have already gone back and have
an appointment tonight. She even admitted that a lot of religions come
to her door and she has never let any of them in, which just shows the
power that members have in helping others receive the restored gospel!
Their hearts really do soften so... As members we should always always
make missionary work a big priority. It was a cool miracle that my
bike tire went out to help that all happen!

So after last week's huge disappointments of investigators not coming
to church, we worked hard to help them see the importance and overcome
their fears so they'd come this week. This started with us studying
more and gaining more of a testimony of the commandment to Keep the
Sabbath day holy.

We set up a church tour with amalia, and that morning we were planning
the lesson during companionship study. It was sort of a revelatory
experience for me. In my personal study as I was studying about the
sabbath day, I had a thought that we should teach her the Gospel of
Jesus Christ also. The gospel of Jesus Christ is so simple, but also
so real and crucially important! I really realized and gained so much
further knowledge about the importance of keeping the sabbath day holy
and it's role in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. A day set apart for us to
worship God was a part of the plan since the beginning. In the whole
grand purpose and plan of God, keeping the sabbath day holy is a
crucial part! The church tour went so so well and the spirit was
strong. I've never felt such a testimony for keeping the Sabbath day
holy then I have while trying to help her learn it and keep it.

We also had another lesson with a less active who works on Sunday and
doesn't want to quit her job. We taught the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Part of following Christ is keeping his commandments. She tried to
tell us that sometimes your circumstances keep you from keeping them-
which I guess, it definitely depends. But I strongly feel that we will
be judged according to how hard we fight to keep them. "25 And we will
prove them herewith, to see if they will do all things whatsoever the
Lord their God shall command them; (Abraham 3:25)" Judged on How hard
we fight to get a job that allows us to go to church and take the
sacrament, or whatever it may be for each individual. So my companion
boldly and lovingly invited her to start searching for a way to come
to church, even if that means searching for a new job. We made sure to
express our love and I really hope she prays about and does it. My
testimony was definitely strengthened.

So Sunday rolls around and we go to amalia's and she says she is gonna
get some food on the way to church and let us know when she is there.
They were all ready and everything so we were like yessss!! So
excited!! So during the meeting we ask if she is close. She said they
are eating. We ask if she's almost done and she says they just barely
got to IHOP. IHOP REALLY?!? IHOP!!!!! Long story short she never
showed up. I was more than mad and more than sad. I just had to tell
myself that I was doing a good thing in the first place in helping
people come to church and unto Christ and all that. Don't worry, this
week we are trying EVEN harder. She is worth it and she will come.

So that's that! I also read an extremely good talk this week that blew
my mind that is called "to be born again" by Elder Theodore m. Burton.
Go read that everyone!

I love you all!!

Hermana Barlow

Ps. Random story: One night we were walking home this back way by a

canal, and there was a goose in the way. So Hna Lewis runs at it to
make it go away and it came at her hissing, so she backed off. We
spent the next 5 minutes deciding how we were going to get around it.
Don't worry we eventually did. Geese are mean.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Happy 5 de Mayo


So I asked a Mexican what he does in Mexico on 5 de mayo and he said
nada which means nothing. So idk happy 5 de mayo anyway

So this week was pretty good! Always ups and downs of course but
overall it was good. I love this area and these people so much and I'm
working the hardest and trying to work harder for them.

Transfers went well. I love Hermana Simmons and it was weird being
here without her! But I love Hermana Lewis too. She is a really really
great missionary and I have already learned a lot from her. She is
super diligent and just overall awesome. I discovered the gym in our
apartment complex this week so, she's helping me do good things haha.

Transfer meeting was really great, President Fenn talked more about
Joseph Smith and shared some things he was going to share at the
mission conference but didn't. He promised us that when we teach
that Joseph Smith was a prophet, we will have the spirit. There were a
couple times this week that I found that to be true. There is
incredible power in the message of the restoration.

One of these experiences was in our first lesson with 2 new
investigators. They started out at the door where the mom says "sorry
we already have our church" or something like that. We invited them to
just listen to us a little bit so they could see the difference of our
church and they were like fine fine and let us in. So we are going
through the first few points and a couple times before we get to
Joseph Smith she interrupts and says wow we believe in that too and
that too and this is basically the same as what we believe... And we
had to just be like hold on hold on wait for it wait for it. So we
shared the first vision and Joseph Smith's story, and things just got
quiet. She then realized oh. Wow. This is different. the spirit was
there, and they agreed to pray about Joseph Smith. It's crazy how I
feel when I share about Joseph Smith and the restoration, it's hard
for me to describe. But it's something I want to continue to do my
whole life because I know it brings the spirit.

Another time was in the street when a couple who were baptists
continued to interrupt us as we were leading into talking about Joseph
Smith (helping them understand the need for a restoration and giving
them background). But once we told about Joseph Smith it was just kind
of an oh...That is different.. Moment for them. They did not want to
hear more about him. I was happy to declare my testimony that he was a
Prophet of God.

My testimony of the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ was strengthened
greatly yesterday. So amalia and isabel were on date to be
baptized on the 24th of May- and to be baptized then, they had to go
to church yesterday and the next two Sundays. So we worked so hard all
week to keep in daily contact with them, to visit them, to call them
and remind them, and we prayed our hearts out for them. Especially
amalia. Because last Monday night she told us that she and her
"husband" got a marriage license! What a miracle- she is
willing to get married in order to get baptized. We were so excited
and still are! But as we waited outside the church yesterday in the
spot That she was expecting us, she didn't come. Maite didn't come,
Isabel didn't come, Joaquin didn't come either. Some members
went to pick up this other investigator family too and they weren't

During the sacrament I was just thinking about them and about this
message and this Gospel. That's when I really really felt my testimony
grow. I felt even more about how deeply I know these things are true
and how deeply I want them to know it too. What on earth is better
than this? What message is there that is greater than this one? God
speaks through a living prophet. The authority of God is on the earth.
Why am I so lucky to be chosen to live it and know it and share it.
Why don't they see that? Why isn't it easier to help them understand.
And of course the quote from Jeffery r. holland came to my mind.

"I am convinced that missionary work is not easy because salvation is
not a cheap experience. Salvation never was easy. We are The Church of
Jesus Christ, this is the truth, and He is our Great Eternal Head. How
could we believe it would be easy for us when it was never, ever easy
for Him?"  (Missionary Work and the Atonement)

so, we carry on. It's not going to be easy and it's going to require
more and more sacrifice to have the spirit. Please pray for these
people. I believe in miracles. We will see them here this transfer!

I hope you all have a chance this week to really ponder about what you
know to be true. It'll be a revelatory experience.

Love you so much!

Hermana Barlow

Ps. Read 2 nephi 26. I love how the Book of Mormon shows Gods mercy!

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Transfers, un gato, and i'm a grandma!

Hi family!

Well today is crazy because we have a lot to do and no car so I won't
have very much time to email and I won't be able to say all I want in
this email either.

So yeah! All week we knew Hna Simmons was leaving and she has always
had this fear of serving in the Peoria stake because it is so far, and
just kind of sounds like the armpit of the mission even though we have
no armpit here- says President Fenn. 

Jokingly all week I was
saying "so next week when you are in Peoria..." Anyway she eventually
accepted the fact that she was going there. 

So we get our transfer
call and the assistant to the President goes "any guesses?" And I go..
Yeah Hermana Simmons is going to Peoria! and he goes "that's actually
right....." Hah so Hermana Simmons actually is excited to go down
there with Hna Figueroa. 

My companion will be Hermana Lewis!
Hermana Lewis came in the same transfer as Hermana Lopez and my mtc
companion Hna jones trained her!  The last 2 transfers she has been
with Hermana Lopez. So she has been with two of my companions already
which is great. This is the first transfer that I actually know my
companion before, more than "hi how are you good bye" which is cool. I
am excited! But also nervous because EVERYONE knows that Hermana Lewis
is all about running and working out. She loves loves it! All sisters
in the mission have a video of her doing workouts so we can all do
them. My kind of working out is some nice stretches and simple yoga.
Needless to say I am scared for what I may have to do at 6:30am cada

And the thing I am most excited about is that I am a grandma! Aka
Hermana Lopez will be training this transfer! I am excited about it
because I know Hna Lopez is going to be amazing. I don't think I know
a more obedient, diligent and dedicated missionary. So proud!

Ok so, what even happened this week. The great thing was that Amalia
had read! She is solid. In our lesson she read over the Baptismal
interview questions and was like "I have to get married don't I" haha
so the cat is out of the bag but it went well. She's making progress
except for it truly will be a miracle to see her at church this
Sunday. It's going to happen! Isabel too. We are seeing her today
do please pray that her and Amalia will come to church this next

Joaquin is frustrating to work with but mostly because he is
having a lot of problems with the people he shares an apartment with. He
says he really is going to move out. Keep praying for him. THIS is his
month! His transfer!

Tuesday we saw some miracles in disguise. A cool guy named Mateo
cancelled our appt so we were sad of course. But then Maite- who has
been to church several times over the past year and is 18 and dating a
member- texted us and said the only time during the whole day we could
see her was when Marco's appt was! So we taught about baptism and she
is now praying about a baptismal date. She is also so so close!

FUNNY STORY...That night another cita (appt) fell through but it was a miracle
because it allowed us to find a woman to go with us to a potential
new investigators house to teach him for the first time. It was a
miracle the member got home from work and came straight with us,
such an angel! But anyway we get with this guy Tomas and it's a 

cat named Travieso which means tricky or trouble or mischevious and it
is a silly cat.
so Hna Simmons teaches
Tomas how we pray and that we close our eyes for respect to God and
so he closes his eyes and all in respect, and then Hermana Simmons
starts to pray. As soon as she starts, the cat jumps on her lap and
sticks his head in her bag. I peek to look and she is trying to get
the cat out of her bag while praying. So I start to help her and I
push the cat out (she is still praying by the way) the cat gets
out and has her pack of gum in its mouth. So I just snatch it out of
its mouth Hahahah and look over to Tomas and he is just still there
with closed eyes in respect and I am just at the point of BURSTING out
laughing and she ends the prayer so we can laugh hahaha to this day I
don't think Tomas even knew what went on during that prayer hahaha.
Tomas seemed strange at first but later into the lesson we find that
he is passing through the biggest trial of his life right now. He was
fighting back the tears so much and so we were able to share about the
atonement and he said he was interested in this. I am thankful for
Jesus Christ and for the Book of Mormon that teaches us about his
atonement so that we can get through our trials in this life. I hope
we can keep teaching Tomas!

ALSO we had an amazing zone conference this week. President Fenn gets
there and it's his turn to instruct and he tells us that his Dad
passed away that morning, and that teaching of the doctrine of the
plan of salvation and what happens when we die was going to help him a
lot. So of course it was absolutely amazing and I learned more and
felt more about the Plan of Salvation than ever before. It was amazing
and I wish I had more time to tell more. ALSO I am going to send you
all the harvester from president Fenn this week (if I can) about the
atonement. It is mind blowing!!
We all had to go with a talk prepared and OF COURSE I randomly got
chosen. I hadn't really thought through it that much either but it
went ok. It was in front of 4 different zones, aka a lot of great
missionaries. I'm just happy it is over! I talked about the atonement
from Alma 33 because that really stuck out to me last time reading the
Book of Mormon.

Well that's all I have time for now unfortunately but I love you all!

Love Hermana Barlow

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Voldemort! and bicicletas!!

Querida Familia!

Ok this week was pretty good! Saw some great miracles.

First, here is a funny story about Joaquin's kids (of course, what's new)
So last Sunday i was about to play the sacrament hymn and Joaquin
still hadn't come. Then I was playing it and we were in the 3rd
verse and I was all focussed you know and then I hear this "DAH! DAh!
DAH!" And I feel some movement on the piano bench and I'm like what
the... And I look to my right and the little 4 yr old is doing big stomps
and hitting the piano bench while yelling "DAH DAH DAH .." Hahahhaha I
died for a second and kept playing the piano while the elders sitting
by the sacrament calmed him down hahahaja it was great! Never a dull
moment with them.

Also you are probably wondering why I put the word "voldemort" in the
title. Let me tell you. So we were teaching these brand new
investigators who I really like. Then their son comes home from sports
practice and I say " hi how are you, what's your name" and I am NOT
joking he says "Voldemort".... :0 ! I almost could not hold in my
laughter and excitement Hahahah! After the lesson we were freaking out
because both Hna Simmons and I love Harry Potter. I never thought I'd
see the day where I met someonewho-must-not-be-named.

One of the days we did a special fast for a miracle. Specifically a
miracle baptism before the transfer is over. I will let you know how
that goes! The good news so far is that both amalia, and Isabel
have accepted baptismal dates!

I loved the lesson with amalia. We followed up on her commitments,
and she hadn't read, but she had prayed about what she'd been taught.
We kind of moved on in the lesson and read with her (that's what we do
when they don't read) and towards the end I was getting this prompting
to follow up more thoroughly about her prayer. So I did and I said
"what did you feel/learn when you prayed?" And she says "I received
more knowledge about baptism" which was so so cool because we have
obviously talked about it and invited her softly but it wasn't
something we specifically emphasized or invited her to pray about. So
then she asks how you prepare for baptism and we told her and we set a
date!! Super cool how the spirit works through us to bring others
closer to Christ and salvation.

Isabel's lesson was cool too, she is just awesome. She also wanted
more details about how to prepare for baptism which shows that she is
taking it more seriously.

Joaquin was the only one at church on Easter.
He called us last night to ask us questions
about what we learned about in Sunday School (organization of the
priesthood- I don't even really understand that very well!) and we got
talking about baptism and he said "I know I need to be baptized" and
then he gave us some concerns about it and we addressed them and he is
so close! We gave him some dates and he agreed to pray about them!!
YAY THAT IS MY DREAM! Please pray for him!!

Even though we don't use Facebook TOO much, it is really cool being an
internet proselyting missionary, at least it was this week. I love the
#becauseofhim / #graciasael thing the church is doing. I love the
Easter videos and how they're trying to flood the Gospel in the
internet too! It helped me think of all the things we have because of
Jesus Christ. Because of him I am here on a mission and I am happy and
I have a lot of hope for the future. He gave me a new start and he is
there in every moment! I hope all of you took some time to remember
what you have because of Him!

I love you all! Be good!

Hermana Barlow