Sunday, October 19, 2014

We were SHOWERED with miracles! :)

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

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

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

Ok now to the really good stories:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Please pray for these people! 

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


Hermana Barlow

Monday, October 13, 2014

meet los mormones


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Love you so much!

Hna Barlow