Wednesday, December 16, 2009

oh the weather outside is frightful...

it's not snow it's not snow it's not snow---it is merely a lot A LOT A LOT of rain. Wow, it has been in the 80's this whole week, which sounds delightful, but it isn't because it doesn't feel like Christmas and i am sweating like a pig, and my clothes are getting boring because it is the same season all year round. but, then again, if you drive really fast with the windows rolled down, listening to Christmas music, it almost feels like winter--almost.

hey, thanks for all of the great packages this week. i got one from kansas! i only opened one of the pressies--the CD's, because i knew it was at least one CD, but then i was shocked to find 5!!!! oh, it has made my week, and many more weeks to come. Thank you! The other one i am saving for Christmas. I also got one from Provo. Thank you, it is also waiting for Christmas. And yes, there is a TJ Max kless than 2 miles away, which i just learned yesterday. Mom--you would be so proud. there were so many cheap skirts at TJ Max, but i did not buy them because i have to wait until after Christmas, like you made me promise to do. I also got a package from Hanford. Come to find out, my companions and roommates love pistachios, and we will just sit there, planning for the next day, passing the bag around and a little cup which we have dubbed the spittoon. So many great things. i don't know if that package from Mom and Dad is here yet, but the mission office is in my area, so we might just have to make some stops and find out if it has arriaved.

transfers are this week. I am staying in the area, and the two sisters areas are combining again. right now, at this very moment, we have over 10 progressing investigators. and also, three new members, since Sunday. we will be very busy. my companion is sister Miller. i don't know if i have talked about her before, but she came into the mission the transfer after me. she was trained by my trainer in my training area, if you recall i was just switched to the other area in Hialeah. she and i then moved to hollywood together. the poor thing has had me as a roommate since her mission started and so for her, she has never not been around me, if thatmakes sense. we are both pretty young in themission, but we are going to have a great transfer. she and i have become good friends, which was shocking to me because she is one of those ditzy, cute girls who flirts with everyone and that normally drives me nuts. but she has a heart of gold. plus, i think one of the elders from Hialeah, Elder Bacon, who is so awesome and one of my best friends ever is coming to hollywood this transfer. it is like my little dream team. i am so nervous to be senior companion. this last transfer i wasn't senior comp, but i had to do a lot of the leading because my companions are kinda young and they needed some kind of guidance. i just silently took lead, while letting them know that they were in charge. but now i really am going to be senior companion and i am scared!!! oh well, we have already talked about it, since President told me this was going to happen in PPI's on Tuesday. I have some ideas that i think will work, and i know that we will work together to strengthen, support, and uplift each other, along with the ward and our newly expanded area. it is going to be new and different.

oh--sarah, that memory card isn't working, so i will send it with the christmas package that is being sent later today. Oh, i am sending two packages home. one is of stuff i don't need anymore and one is a christmas package, so keep an eye out for it all. oh, and i don't know if i told you enough times, but you can call the mission office (954)462-6959, when kacey gets her call and then they will forward the news on to me. oh, and what was grandma's Christmas card all about? i didn't get it.

Something cool i want to remember always and that i want to share with you.
Sunday we had 2 baptisms in the Northeast. It was really cool. One experience really taught me a lot about the Spirit and how essential it is to our life here on earth. One of our investigators, who was supposed to get baptized came into the chapel with a dark cloud hovering over his head. He exclaimed that he could not get baptized and then listed a few of the most lame excuses ever as to why he could not get batized. Then one of the members said that it was ok not to get baptized yet because the missionaries were probably just pressuring him anyway. Sister Deloya left, taking the member with her…we weren’t very happy with him, he was destroying our work and efforts. Then Sister Schulthies and I sat down with Mateo, the investigator, and shared a couple of thoughts with him. His demeanor did not change. So, we sat there for awhile, listening to his lame excuses until a thought hit me.
“If Jesus Christ were here right now, at a baptismal service for Mateo, what would He say to you specifically?”
“Pues (his favorite word)…I would just sit there and listen.”
“No, what woul he say to you?”
“I don’t know. Something magnificent.”
“He would say this…’Behold, I am Jesus Christ, whom the prophets testified shall come into the world. And behold, I am the light and the life of the world. Arise and come forth unto me, that ye may thrust your hands into my side, and also that ye may feel the prints of the nails in my hands and in my feet, that ye may know that I am the God of Israel, and the God of the whole earth, and have been slain for the sins of the world.’ Notice how this doesn’t say all who are perfect He just extends the offer to all. And then Jesus did something else, after everyone had the opportunity to witness for themselves…something before He even started teaching them. Jesus gave the power to baptize right away. Baptism is essential, that is why Jesus taught it right away.”
His demeanor lightned a little bit, but he didn’t fully believe it. Then a thought came to my head, and I know it was the Spirit because it was too good to be from Hna Barros. I was told to open to Doctrine and Covenants 4. I asked if he wanted to ‘embark in the aservice of God?’”
Will “you serve him with all your heart? Might? Mind? Strength?”
He answered yes to all of them with a nod of quiet assurance.
“Therefore, if ye have desires to serve God ye are acalled to the work.’ Do you have the desire?”
“Then, right here Jesus says you are called to the work. Not if you are perfect, not if you know everything, but if you have the desire. You have that desire Mateo. Now let’s go and get this baptism started.”
Mateo got baptized that night. Now, I don’t tell this story to bring glory to myself, because I would never have thought to use this scripture in such a way, it was so brilliant it had to be from the Spirit and I know that the Psirit wass the ture converter in that moment, I was just an instrument in the Lord’s hands. I learned a very valuable lesson, though. I want to be worthy to have that inspiration come when I need it, not for myself, but for others. I want to cultivate this Spiritual gift so that when I am a mom I can utilize it when teaching my children. I want it as a visiting teacher, a member missionary, as a wife, as a Daughter of God. I want to be an instrument in the Lord’s hands, this is a desire of my heart.

the other man who got baptized was the man i talked about last week, that we found playing basketball one night. His name is sergio. He is such a cool guy. Anyway, the night before his baptism we went to see him and fill out his baptismal record. when we were done we told him that we have transfers this next week and that Hna. Felton and Hna. Deloya were leaving. eh said that it didn't matter because he knows the church is true and he will always go to church. he then told us that we can come back in a year (which i plan on doing) and we can ask for Sergio and he will be there, still going to church because it is the truth. SOLID GOLD. what a pleasure it is to serve with these people. i only hope and pray that i will see him after this life and get to talk to him. there are only a few people i want to really sit down with in the celestial kingdom and ask them how their life went after we parted ways, and Sergio is one of them.

also, since i have been talking about the dream team and the celestial kingdom, i plan on going to the lecture circuit, or maybe even sponsoring the lecture circuit put on by Isaiah, James E. Talmage and Nephi and maybe John the Beloved. I would love to sit in a large auditorium and hear what they have to say about everything. my personal study has been 2nd Nephi (isaiah) Jesus the christ, james E., and Revelations. All of these things blow my mind. So, i think i am going to start petitioning a lecture circuit in the Spirit World. Whose with me?!?!?!?

anyway, that is enough. i got the matters of business done. I got to bear my testimony and then share the spirit with you all, and then i got a bit of blasphemy out as well. i guess i should've stopped when i was ahead, but i have never done that before, why start now.

love you all soooooo much!! take care and...can't wait to talk to you all shortly. Don't have too much fun without me. and if you play pinnochle, please bid into the 300's once in awhile.

love love love

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

I find it kinda funny, I find it kinda sad...


Whoever can guess this song know the song i suppose. This song kinda matches my mood for the last little bit. Let me explain.

It has been a VERY difficult week for me. The Lord is trying me and I have been found weak. I am so prideful, so willing to forget the things that the Lord has provided and I get soooooooooo frustrated with people. Why can't they just let their hearts be open for a milisecond and feel the Spirit? Or, why can I feel it, but they can't--which goes back to my first question. Just open your heart!!! Man, oh man, it’s been rough. I have just felt like a failure these last few days. But, the work moves forward. I can either jump on the bandwagon or be left behind sitting and moaning. Sometimes, though, I want to just sit and moan and mourn my loses. This life is rough sometimes. This week I have had to deal with a lot. One person dropped us because they erroneously believe that joining this church will cause their family to grow farther apart, instead of closer together—well, thanks for giving it a try. And I smashed my stupid finger in the car door—it wasn’t bad just super annoying. Then our stupid wrecked car had to go to the insurance people—which means it is never coming back in my mission, and we got an old, ghetto car. The CD player completely died with ALL six of the CD’s inside. Supid, ghetto car. It mad me so mad. Plus, when you smash your finger in the stupid door and you are getting dropped faster than a bad habit (which never has made sense because no one wants to drop a bad habit, or they do, they just are too lazy, so the proverbial saying is pretty false) all you really want to do is listen to music. We got so frustrated yesterday that we went and found a park and just went on the swings. A waste of time—I think not, it saved me from smashing more of my fingers on purpose! People are so aggrivating!! Just shutup and listen!!
I guess that isn’t how Christ did it—more like Satan. So, this is why I am a failure.

We have two, possibly 4 baptisms this Sunday from our little area. There is Sergio, a really cool guy, with such a sad life story. He was married in Mexico to this woman. They had two children, and then she went crazy. They got divorced, but will not allow him to visit his own children. It was very sad and hard for him. Then, as an attempt to restart his life, he remarried. His second wife had one child and then died. That child is being taken care of by his grandpa, who is dying. Then he got remarried and that woman cheated on him. I don’t get it. He is such a sweet man who just tries to do his best, but he just keeps getting the short end of the happiness stick. Asnyway, Sergio asked us last night if we think that he is ready for baptism. We went over the baptism questions and then part of Mosiah 18. The Spirit was really strong. And he now knows that he is ready. He has felt the Spirit, come to church and is growing a solid testimony. It is so cool to see changes in one life. We found him playing basketball. I saw this Latin playing basketball all by himself with a half-broken net. I thought it was such a strange sight, so as my companions were talking to someone(I really wasn’t needed), i thought i would go and see what this man was up to, 5 feet away. I asked if i could see the ball, went to the free-throw line and MIRACULOUSLY made three baskets in a row. he was shocked that there was a blonde girl in his neighborhood who could do that, I was pretty shocked too. we set up an appointment and the rest is baptismal history (if all goes well, which it should). From him we found a couple of other really solid people who now have bap dates.

Also, the two Guatemalan brothers i talked about last week might be getting baptized this Sunday. If not, then on the 23rd, for sure!! There is a lot of work to be done, so we just move forward. I think we are completely booked until either Thrusday or Friday. we just keep finding, and then dropping, or being dropped, or progressing. It is an exciting time to be in Hollywood.

Anyway—it has been fun-ish. Man oh man, this last week has really been awful. I hope to get out of this funk soon.


Love love love,

Hermana barros

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

How Firm a Foundation

I have learned a lot of things this week. There were a lot of learning curves thrown at me this week. It is so funny how the Lord works in our lives, especially in the missionary life where relying on the Lord is a must. I have noticed that in this arena, the missionary arena, we have to look for the Lord’s hands in our lives or we might mistake some of the most beautiful moments for something less brilliant. I really love going through the day and seeing the tender mercies of the Lord. And one thing I have learned is that the Lord is soooooooooo good. He is so smart. I mean, some of the things He does to get everything done is so cool. I just have to be in the right place at the right time. So, here are some of my special experiences…
On Saturday we went “fierce Finding” with our ward. The turn-out wasn’t that great, but there were some very evident miracles. The first person we talked to was a young man from Guatemala on a bike. We have gotten really good at handing pass-along cards out while someone is riding on their bikes around us. We tried out our new found skill on this young man. He stopped and asked us to pray for him and he seemed really interested. It was cool, so we set up a time we could meet the following day.

Then, on Sunday, we get a call from this same young man, saying that he wants to come to church; could we get him a ride? We hurriedly found someone and he and his brother came. His brother had been severely electrocuted a year ago, just getting out of the hospital two weeks ago. Because they are illegal, they did not get any compensation for his accident. This poor man and his brother. They asked for a blessing. President, the Spirit was so strong. When the blessing was over I dared not open my eyes because I just knew that this man was going to be whole. The faith of those two men, and the Spirit in that room, I was fortunate to be there. We went to the appointment we had set up on Saturday. We taught a quick lesson and then said a prayer. Once again the Spirit just overwhelmed me. I knew, and I know now that this young man, Jeranimo, is a very special son of God, and that He is mindful of this little Guatemalan man. That our meeting was not an accident or merely chance, but a large tender mercy. The Lord is aware of us. He knows us. He loves us, and he cries when we cry, and Smiles when we smile, and is soooooo good to us. I am grateful for this opportunity to share this message with everyone I meet, even those who pass by on their bikes.

And dear Family, we are seeing miracles here. We have been working so hard and yet we run into these giant brick walls and I get so frustrated. What am I doing wrong? What is my problem? Things like that that Satan puts in our mind to keep us down. But, the Lord showed me that our efforts were not in vain. The work is moving forward, I just can’t see it all the time. Yesterday, the North area (both companionships of sisters. Ok explanation—the area I am in now is a temporary area. Next transfer we are dissolving one of our areas and making it into one solid area. That means that this transfer we are supposed to work really hard and get things done so that next transfer it will just BOOOOOM) Ok, back to our regularly scheduled program. Yesterday we had a total of 11 investigators at Sacrament Meeting (the poor elders only had two between the two companionships). And we have a few more solid families that didn’t have enough time to prepare for this Sunday, but have promised us the following Sunday. We’ll see. We have a lot of dates coming up in December. Oh man, Hollywood is going to have a white Christmas full of baptisms. Our goal is 13 on the 13th. I just know it is possible, we just have to work hard. And whoever inherits this area, the two North sisters’ areas here, is going to be one lucky companionship. Is it going to be me? I don’t know. Whatever happens is cool, I just hope that whoever is here knows how lucky they really are to be getting some of the choicest associates out there.

Anyway, have a great week,

Hna Barros

PS—had a Cuban and Mexican Thanksgiving. I got to eat Mexican hot-dogs, yes, for Thanksgiving. And the Cubans, what funny people, had turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, Cuban rice and beans (which are to die for) Cuban sweet potatoes, which are a lot like yucca—very starchy and not so sweet, but pretty tasty, and then Flan with chocolate ice-cream. So funny and fun. I’ll send pictures sometime. I need a cool little usb adapter that I can put my memory card into so I can directly upload and then send my pictures to you with. Christmas maybe?

Any way—love love love

Friday, November 20, 2009


We've been bugging Michayla about what she wants for Christmas, so she sent us this. Mom thinks we should coordinate, so reader beware!!! Someone has already claimed the gift of a bag....

ok, another miracle. those CD's i asked for, one of my roommates had them all so i am going to make copies of them, so you don't have to worry about those. but i would love the following--
1. Jospeh Smith, the prophet of the Restoration soundtrack. someone said it wasn't out yet, but it is on my wish list.
2. Gladiator Soundtrack
3. Some of the music on my computer, the soudtracks from Finding Neverland, The New World, Road to Perdition...just the stuff i have on my computer
4. I need a new bag, the one i am using now i got in the free bin at the MTC and it is rapidly falling apart. I need a good, smallish, pack. maybe i could just buy one of my own, now that i have money, because i am pretty picky.
5. i do need scripture covers, individual for each BOM or Bible in englsh and spanish because mine are also rapidly falling apart.
6. i can't think of anything else

the weather is perfect. sometimes i wear a cardigan, but not very often. it is perfect, perfect. we get cold if it gets into the sixties. i still don't waer nylons--no need.

thanksgiving we are going to a slew of member's homes, kinda like the gilmore girls who have so many thanksgivings. it is giong to be a treat. we can eat with membres, but only if they have a non-member present after the hour of five. it is so that we can use our prime pros time effectivly. members know that and don't know anyone, so they make us food and send it home to us. we have been eating a lot of hondurean food (i am a honduras magnet--where ever i go there is a new family from honduras. i love them!!!!) on sat we have two appointments--someone is taking us out to lunch, and someone is feeding us dinner--miraculously enough i am still losing weight, evryone keeps telling me that and my skirts are getting smaller.

what does brandon want?

anyway--time's up.

love love love

Monday, November 9, 2009

strawberry fields forever...

or at least summer forever here in FL

It is odd not to start off with "another great week in Hialeah" but it has been another great week. There are a lot of things on my mind as i sit down to write, so i hope they all get out in an organized fashion. Like president said in PPI's, yes this is a very different look for me. I am now in a little place called Hollywood, right outside of Ft. lauderdale, which is funny because my area covers downtown Ft. lauderdale and the coast and the ghetto and...everything. There is so much to see. One day we got lost and then all of a sudden we were on the side of a big canal, full of these $1,000,000 yachts and penthouses/townhouses. No big deal. It was like we were in a whole new world. But because of it, there is a lot of differences too. More money equals less likelihood to listen. Some of these ghetto apartments, full of drunk latins, cost 1,000 dollars a month, and they only have one bedroom and one bath, and they are roach infested (and the roaches here are HUGEEEEEEE!!).

I am also in a three-some. i am with sister felton, a girl from las Vegas who takes the bull by the horns and does her thing. she is only a transfer ahead of me, so it is like two greenies leadng the blind. her spanish is not the greatest, which means that i a relied on for a lot of things. The second of my two companions is Sister Deloya, a sister from Temple Square. She is here for two transfers. She is originally from Mexico, which means her Spanish is good, but she teaches like a Temple Square Sister. She doesn't know how to get to the point or how to end a lesson and move on. This is mainly because she is used to giving tours and dealing with anti's. When people don't have the spirit it is impossible to teach. so you plant a seed and leave. she doesn't know how to do that and it gets frustrating for me. A three-some requires different diplomatic and leadership tactics that we all get to learn about and deal with this transfer. also, because we have so many sisters, they kinda made up an area for me and my two compaions. We split Hollywood Hills North down the middle, we took the "drier" side of the two halves, mainly because Sister Martinez, my old companion, showed me how to find in any situation, so I thought it would be nice to try that out. It has been a little rough, and soooooo different. I have learned a lot already. I am also learning how to deal with two very different companions. The Lord is truly humbling me. I just wish the humbling process was a little less painful sometimes. But, the key to getting over this is to work harder. So, that's what we do, we get out of the car and go contacting in some of the coolest places, and in some of the ghetto-est places, while being safe of course. Then we find someone completely unexpected and the mission feels like a success because i found one of God's children. like yesterday, i saw this girl that was smioking and gardening. she was acting like she was a retired old lady, but she was only 20. i was intrigued and decided to stop. That is one of the joys of being a missionary. when you see someone odd or intriguing you can go up and talk to them and see what they are like. it is harder to do thisas a regular person. anyway i went to go talk to this lady, Rachel, and found out that she has a three-year-old boy. she is about 4'10'' with died black hair and pale as can be. her son, jason is so cute. anyway, she asked if we were Jehovah's Witnesses (we get that lot).
"No, we're not."
"Good, because they don't know how to listen. they just preach and preach and then when they start condeming me, i get really annopyed, but they don't leave because they don't know how to listen."
"no, we're not Jehovah's Witnesses" we then talked to her about her life, well, she told of how she got pregnant and was always willing to find a church, but none of them stood out to her. perfect, because we've got something you might like. She speaks English, so we'll have to pass her off to the english elders (who happen to be the AP's. cool story, one of them had a dream about finding a woman named Rachel. When we told them about her, they got really excited to teach her. It is cool how things like that happen).

this apartment is very different, a lot of different personalities. The ward is also very different, and at times it feels competitive in the worst ways. I feel like the missionaries here need to become unified and all on the same page. We need to remember that we are not here to be in a popularity contest, to see how many, or which of the members are our friends. we need to include everyone and we also need to look beyond ourselves and just serve. I am still trying to figure out what kind of missionary i am, and the process of refining that is a difficult, uphill battle. It is hard to find the balance between loving and lifting someone up and standing on your soap box chastising others. so, i just sit back and think about what Jesus would do. he was so good at everything, i just wish i could be more like our Father in Heaven and remember how to love and serve.

in other words, the Lord has given me quite a few challenges this transfer and i feel slightly overwhelmed, like my talents aren't needed (which is ridiculous, i know). People look to me to see what i will do, how i will react, how i feel about things, and honestly, i am just me. i am a 23 year old girl who is trying to figure all of this stuff out too. i feel really burdened, like i am not quite up for the challenge that i face. but, that is whining. i am done now.

i know that i am blessed to be here, in the best mission in the world. i know that this is an inspired transfer. i just wish i knew what i could do to help others more effectively and how to say the words the lord would have me say. so, now that that is all said, i just want you to know that i will do my very best, and if it is not my best, i will try harder. i promised 18 months to the Lord, and if that means doing really hard, seemingly impossible things, i will do them and i will succeed.

this weekend is sister's conference. an RM sister missionary, married to Shawn Bradley of the NBA is going to speak to us. It will be really good. i'm looking forward to it. i'll tell you more about it next week.

i just thought that that was so cool to hear about kacey's tuition experience. it didn't hit me til now how blessed and grateful i really am for that. and now as i write about it i feel this overwhelming power of love from my Heavenly Father. I don't need to worry about things out of my hands, i just need to be my very best, work hard, and very best. So, He does answer prayers. And He does love me. he knows his missioaries. he knows us as a family and he wants us to return to live with him one day. let us do our very best to live worthy of that. i love you all and need you all with me for forever. let us do our very best to live worthy of the celestial kingdom together. i want to have barbeques up there because our mansions will be next door and i want to be missionaries there too. so work hard, marry good people (which the two boys have already done). i love you all soo much. i really do. mom, go to the templ this week for me. i wish i could go, i mean i am aguiring all this knowledge now, i wish i could go to the temple and learn more and receive that personal revelation. so, would yuo go for me this week? i know it will bless yur life, and i know that i will feel close to you this week. i kinda need that now. i am so weak, i just need you to go to the temple and think of me, ok?

Have a great week,
and i love love love you all,
Hermana Barros

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

come one, come all!!!

to the feast of fools--

This has been a very sad and frustrating week, and though this e-mail is short, i am sending some pictures with it and there will be a lot of mail going out in the next two weeks--i promise.

This week has been very frustrating for me. I have learned a lot of things, so when i train i will teach the things that need to be taught and teach the new mission culture. i read beware of pride this last week and i have been thinking about it a lot. if you read the book of mormon looking just for the word pride, you will find that the Lord is very mindful of our natures to slip into pride and thinking only of ourselves. I have seen the negative effects of pride this last week and so i now know to BEWARE of pride. companions and roommates can teach a lot of things, that is one of the great adventures of going on a mission. but i am excited to move out and experience something new. get a breath of fresh air.

hermana martinez is a great companion. i am really lucky to have been trained (for my last training transfer) by her. she has taught me a lot of things that i think will make my mission something grand. i can't wait to get out and try some of these new things out with my new area and companion(s). hermana martinez has been building me this last few weeks, telling me that i am moving on so that i can help other missionaries learn things and help them grow. that i need to go somewhere else and be an influence for good somewhere else. it makes me sad to leave hialeah and such a wonderful companion, but in know that she will be ready to train a new missionary. she is ready to run with hialeah. and i have a feeling the hialeah ward will soon be splitting. on sunday i noticed while playing piano for sacrament meeting that there was no room for anyone else. and if we grow, which we will because hna martinez and i finally figured out how to use our members (something i am going to utilize in a new place) and the work has exploded for us. and if someone is dropped, or they drop us, it is sad, but then we feel like it is totally fine, we can spend time with those who are ready to be baptized now. yesterday we taught a member referral who is solid. he has come to church a couple of times and is so eager to learn. a lot of our investigators are ready and hungering to learn. that is exciting. also, we got a new ward mission leader who is a return missionary (a Preach My Gospel missionary) who knows what it is like to be a missionary and understands our purpose. this ward is going to explode. it is going to explode. maybe i can help other places explode. my goal for next transfer is to get a baptism (at least) a week. i know i can do it. i have fasted and prayed for it, i know that it is possible and that i can do it if my eye is single to the glory of God.

ok, i might send those pitcures again because i don't know if it is working.

oh, thanks for those lydia pictures--soo cute. she is getting so big and animated! i miss my little friend. and payton--what a goofball! BRandon, get good grades.

love hna barros

oh, p.s. I ate cuban pizza yesterday--best pizza ever. and Materva and Ironbeer--two Cuban soft drinks are soooo good. Why do i have to develop such a love for cuba as i leave?

so, some info on these pictures. some are from halloween--we had a baptism ono halloween too! his name is saul from bolivia. then there is one with a family. this family is my favorite ever. their little boy, who is also in a picture with me, i nicknamed michael jackson becacuse he is a four year old who dances just like the deceased pop star. he and i are BFF's and he only responds to the name michael (or so his mom says). i really am going to miss them, but that is how it goes.

love you
m b

Monday, October 26, 2009

new new new email!!!

could you tell everyone that my address has changed...i went to my old account and i noticed a lot of emails from people. new address

Yo ho yo ho a pirate's life for me!!

well, a missionary's life for me

to start i wanted to give you a quote from president's weekly email to us all--

I bring you the love, admiration and congratulations of your ongoing success from Elder Bednar of the quorum of the Twelve Apostles. Sister Hale and I had the opportunity to meet with him this last week in Orlando. He was upbeat, positive and most enthusiastic about your efforts and all that you are accomplishing. Truly you are bringing the “infusion of enthusiasm” of which President Hinckley spoke!"

it is cool to hear from the apostles that our efforts are being closely monitored by the brethern and that our success means more than just numbers, it means a new temple and perhaps Cuba being opened. we have a lot to do. but, i have learned that the impossible is not and it is so doable to really hard, insurmountable tasks that the Lord asks of us.
We had PPI's last week. i love PPI's. why did nobody ever tell me about them. it is so cool to be one on one with the president. he asked me how my two companionships have been. he gave me two different companions, one right after the other. i learn things from both of them, things that i want to improve upon and things that i really like about myself. he said good. he said that by doing those things i was becoming the best sister barros. he then told me that my next companion is going to be very different than the first two. ok, great. i think i am the sister who gets along with everyone and makes a companionship work and so i am put with those who no one wants to be with, or who have a bad rap--i hope so anyway. i don't want to be one of those annoying companions who no one likes. i don't want to leave a foul taste in anyone's mouth.
he then came out and said that i was moving. i was going to a place where there are hardly any cubans and lots of mexicans and guatemalans--he said some other things that lead me to think that i am going to go to a certain place up in the north. i told mom, just so that you know my train of thought, i'm 89% sure of my next place, and i am really excited. i will get to see the beach all the time, i will be leaving the ghetto of hialeah (which is sad. i love the people here. they are crazy funny and wierd) and i will be seeing more white people--wierd. people always stare at me because i am a white girl in hialeah. i didn't understand it at first, but i got it now. i even stare when i see a white guy walking around. i wonder how he got so lost to be here. but this new place i am going to is really touristy and it will be a lot of fun. plus, i think donald trump's house (at least one of them) will be in my new area. but we'll see. transfers are next week. i really will miss hialeah. but, i signed up for this mission, which means i will do good with anything that coes my way.

we have one baptism on saturday, which means we doubled this areas baptisms in one transfer. we also have another 6-8 people with very real and solid dates coming up in the beginning of november. it is so much fun being a missionary.

lots of love to all of you all over the world!
michayla barros


some pictures for your enjoyment...
one is a picture of hermana martinez and elder Bacon, my companion and an elder in our district who entered the MTC at the same time as me, making caramel apples at the fall fest last week. it was such a success--the pie eating contest was the best thing i have ever seen in my life. it felt a little like i was the mom of the birthday boy who was five, i don't liuke big productions like that, but everyone had fun and will remember it always, that's all a proud mama could ask for.
one is of my companion and i with our pumpkin in the pumpkin carving contest. i am dressed very brightly because for my costume i was an old cuban grandma. Sister martinez wore all black and i wrapped her up in fake spiderwebs. everyone dressed up, it was a lot of fun to just hang out with friends.
another picture is of our zone at ZDM last week. The faces on everyone totally shows their personalities. I love elders. they keep life interesting. the Lord knew what He was doing when he decided top send 19 year old boys out to preach the gospel. they have a different way of looking at things, they feel unstoppable and confident, and they have so much energy. i love these little elders here. they are like my little brothers and friends.
ok, and a few are of me and my companion in our mumus. i bought one so that i could be a cuban grandma, but i found out that it is waaaaaay comfy so i wear it to bed. well, companion decided that she wanted one as well. this last week we were on a scavenger hunt looking for a mumu that she liked. now we do our nightly planning in our mumus before we go to bed. they are so comfy. old grandmas get things so right sometimes.
oh, and the collage. we have an investigator getting baptized on saturday. well, he has this picture of the miami heat dancers in his room which we really really hate. (his dad just died and he has been having a hard time living alone and working two jobs, so one day we went and cleaned his house while he was at work. we saw the picture and knew something had to be done. he also had a thing of vodka--bad news. so i put a picture of Jesus on it with his hand outstretched and then i wrote "do not drink!" it looks like jesus is putting his hand out to tell saul to not partake. it was so comical for me, and he said that he threw it away because of it. job done) ok, so i decided to make him something to put in the place of the women, so i made a collage of jesus and the temples. he loves it and now it sits above his head board. job number 2, accomplished.

ok, now on to the real letter
love you

Friday, October 23, 2009

the job's a game!! (p.s., the pictures are reversed)

some more pictures for you--

the first two are of our cuban bread. for $1.25 we can buy a big loaf of bread that is longer than my whole arm that is better than french bread. these are the ingrdients on the label, in this order
1. water
2. Flour
3. Lard (this is the key--tasty stuff lard)
4. yeast
5. salt

yes, that is it, and it is so gooooooooood. we buy it at the bakery so it is nice and fluffy and warm and makes our car smell like a bakery. i wish i could send you some, it is that good.

the next one is a dollar discount store, which has many many cousins all over the place. and they al have signs in such horrendous spanglish. it keeps it interesting. once there was a sign that said "sandwishes". i though i took a picture of it, but i can't find it now.

the one with the dogs--this is around the place where we turned left and found that family. ok, look at the sign. it says beware of the dog. there are a few things wrong with that sign. first, there is more than one dog there. second, they are not doing anything but staring at us. plus, they are not even a foot tall. not very intimidating. i just that it was so comical and that you might enjoy it as much as i did.

oh, and lastly, they name their busses. i thought you would like to see what i mean.

anyway. Florida always provides something new to look and and laugh about. i have met some of the craziest people ever! and i have walked in some of the oddest places too-but it is all good. i'm a missionary. if i didn't meet weird people it wouldn't be the same.

oh, and dad-i use a blanket every night. we have to keep our air on and the highest it can go is 75 degrees so that we don't get mold. it gets very cold at night. but, oddly, it has been chilly outside (well, for the past two days) it has been getting into the sixties. so, when we walk into our apartment it feels warm, which is odd. plus, we need a sweater to keep warm in the eveningins (the past two evenings). it won't last forever, it is too good to be true.

love you both tons and tons. if you want, send the pictures and everything else to my fan club throughout the US.


With every job that's done there is an element of fun

This week has been fantastic! We had another baptism, another Hondureano, Victor Escobar. He is a sweet 19 year old who is related to the other men that got baptized the last week and who were confirmed just yesterday. It is so much fun to see the Lord's had in other's lives as they move forward with faith and start changing their lives for the good. Victor is such a sweet guy, and maybe he will one day serve a mission, we'll have to wait and see. He would be a great missionary. I love Honduras. Everywhere we go we find another person from Honduras. We go out to find someone in some random part we have never been before and boom! there is someone from Honduras that we just taught about the Restoration right there on the street. Hna. Martinez and I feel like Honduras magnets. last night we went to see a woman named Sullapa (weirdest name ever) and i thought she was from Cuba. We contacted her a week ago, but she didn't have time for us. We kept going back to her house, but she was never home. Last night, Hna Martinez gets this feeling to go see Sullapa. Ok, we go and do. We give everyone three chances, or three door stop bys. This was her third. We get there, i am fully expecting an unanswered door. We knock and wait. A face pops out of the window, and then pops in again. This is usually the sign that we are being "ignored." But we still wait (the light was perfect for shadow puppets, it was 8:35 pm, almost time to quit, and it had been a long day). We wait for a while, and then the door opens to Sullapa. She was sleeping but she let us in and told us her life was kinda difficult right now. So we taught her the Gospel of Jesus Christ, with a focus on Faith and repentance. She soaked it all up. She believed what we said. We left her with a commitment to read and pray. We are going back on Wednesday to teach her and her husband. It taught me a lot. You just never know. Oh yeah, we found out that she is from Honduras, Olancha, where everyone is from. When we asked her where she was from she said Honduras. My companion asked if she was from Olancha--she looked at us surprised, and said yes! She thought we were a Godsend. we just are that good.

Sister Martinez has taught me a lot about faith. We both discussed that we have problems with faith, so we decided to have a faith goal. Our zone wanted to get 50 new investigators, so we were going to get 25 of those 50. We decided that if we set that goal, trying to help the other companionships in our zone reach that goal, with the Lord's help we would be able to see the fruits of the labors of our faith. We worked really hard and ended up getting 24 new investigators. We ended up teaching 39 total lessons, with 5 AMT's. It is phenomenal to see that if you focus in one area and are efficient in that one area that the rest of the areas also increase. This week our faith goal is setting 15 baptismal dates because our zone goal is 35. I don't know how we are going to do this, but the Lord has shown me that if we can get 25 new investigators, starting on Thrusday with only 6, then 15 baptismal dates is totally doable. Plus, we have all these new investigators who need dates, so, we are just going to have to work hard with those we have. It has been interesting also, because when we would go to visit a potential or a new investigator, if those certain people did not end up being intersted, the Lord would place others in our path who were interested.

There is this one set of streets that i have always wanted to go on because it looks so cool on our area map. so one day we decided we would go contacting down that street, just to appease my curiousity.So we go, no one is down any of those streets. we see a bunch of kids playing on the street (finally) but i feel like we should keep going, turn left actually. So, we do that. We turn left. We run into this 16 year old kid who is pretty cool. Then his dad comes out to talk with us. He is golden!!! He tells us about his beliefs--he is LDS he just doesn't know it yet. Tonight we are having an FHE with his family because he loves his family and wants them to be together to hear this (good) and he also invited his siter-in-law and some other in-laws because they should hear it too (great!). So, by turning left we ran into an entire family who wants to hear our message. That took a lot of faith, because to the right we could see people, to the left there was nothing. but, when listening to the Spirit we found someone who was ready. The Lord knows what's up.

And the Lord also taught us that we need to rely on the little promptings of the Spirit. If you feel like you should turn left, though that doesn't seem logical, turn left. If you only have 20 minutes left in the day, but you feel like you should stop by someone's house, who is never home EVER, you stop by and then teach them the thing they need to hear from God at that moment. It is so much fun, and so humbling, to be the Lord's instruments. It is amazing to think that He trusts me, little old 23 year old me, with such important tasks, like listening to the Spirit so that I might give comfort to one of His children. I am humbled to be here now, among so many choice associates, in and out of the church. My heart is bursting as the Lord answers my prayers and helps me do seemingly impossible things. He has helped me with my Spanish, He is helping me with my faith. He is allowing me to have this opportunity now to serve Him full-time. I am blessed.

THis week we are going to have a scavenger hunt--we are looking for a couple of things and throughout the week we are going to find them, a scavenger hunt for some new black shoes from a five dollar shoe store (these things are so cool. they have name brand shoes for 5 dollars or less. i don't know how legal these shoes are, but we don't ask questions. plus, its not like we are in a dark alley, they have a store and everything. i just love that they are so cheap!) We are looking for a map of Honduras so we can see where Olancha is and where we want to go when we have the chance, in the future, to go to Honduras. I have to go to Honduras, I just have to. they have the sweetest people there and we have baptized half of the country already). We have a couple of other things we want to remember our companionship by.
We are having a fall festival today too as a zone--the ZL's put my companion and i in charge of P-day activities. so today we are carving pumpkins, dressing in costumes, eating caramel apples, having a pie eating contest and all that. i will send pictures for you all next week.

I love these emails because they trully give me the opportunity to reflect on my week, verbalize my thoughts. I write in my journal, but they seem to be more about the daily things, and they too are spiritual. But writing these letters, for someone else to read, is different, a good different.

Love love love y

Tenga buen dia y una grande semana-
Hermana Barros

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

I believe I can fly....

hey you guuuuys,

this week has been outrageous, and the Lord really does love us. A lot of time has been taken out of our proselyting time but because of the importance of these other things (zone conf. and the likes) we have been able to redouble our efforts in all other aspects. It has been cool. Our numbers are almost the same as normal weeks if not a little higher than last week, well, our member present lessons have been knida weak, but that is going to change here pretty quickly. It is interesting that the Lord helps us out. One thing we have been working really hard on is trying to get more new investigators. So i, under the influence of the Spirit, because it was too smart to be just me, asked one of our recent converts if he had any family in the area. he did, so we got their information. we went to see them and found five new investigators and taught five people about the restoration in a half an hour. WOW!! I wish that would happen more often. So now i think i am going to ask everyone if they have any family nearby or just anything to get new referrals because it is easier to find someone who has a connection to the gospel and teach them than finding our own people to teach, which is not always fruitful.

Sister Martinez is teaching me alot, things i don't even think she is trying to teach me. I just have learned how to be a better me, though that is hard sometimes. But, in zone conf. i learned that the Spirit works with me in different ways than i thought. I do not need big outbursts of emotions or the chills, i just need the confidence the Spirit brings, which is good for me so then i can move forward. That is important informtion for me to know. she is a little rough around the edges, but one thing i learned is just because she is alsways on the defense doesn't mean i need to be as well. i just need to love her at all times. most of the time we get along really well, but sometimes she drives me up the wall and that is when i go to bed early and hope and pray 'that the sun'll come out tomorrow.'

the really big news--we had two baptisms yesterday; Wilson and Ovidio. After their baptism they shared their testimonies with everyone. We haven't been working with them that long, but they are solid. ONe of them bore their testimony on Joseph Smith and his role as a prophet who restored the gospel of Jesus Christ. The other bore his testimony that he had never felt happier in all of his life. Great!!! That is what you want to hear after every baptism. It is so amazing to see lives change. We have a pretty cool job.
One of their friends, Victor, was supposed to be baptized, but saturday afternoon came around and he decided it was too soon for him. it was a little heart-breaking because when that is said then you never know what is going to happen. sister martinez and i bore testimony about the correctness of this decision, and then left it at that, telling him the only way he would feel ready was through reading and praying. he came to the baptism and afterwards i turned to him and told him that the next one it would be him. he smiled and said, yes, i know, i'm getting baptized next sunday, i already told hna. martinez. so, in less than one day he received his answer. that is cool. that is the converting power of the spirit. we are excited to see his life change and join his friends among the members of this church.

some cool facts about the templ that i learned during zone conf. we are probably going to get a 2-40 sized temple, or two endowment rooms that seat fourty, it is mid-sized. one thing that president said was that the heavens were opened that weekend for us and "our will aligned with the will of the father's" that day. that was cool to hear. also, he said that 20 minutes before the sat. afternoon session Pres. Eyring called to congratulate us on getting a temple. Pres. Eyring also said that the Lord is watching Ft. Lauderdale and He knows our mission and the missionaries there and He is blessing our efforts here. I know that we hear that a lot, that the Lord loves His missionaries, but when a prophet says that the lord loves you as a distinct group, that is some strong power. Also, pres. said that it was pretty cool because Pres. Eyring started crying when he was on the phone, and Pres. Hale cries all the time, so here were two grown men crying, twenty minutes before conference. the cool thing is, a prophet was calling us 20 min. before conf. he could have done a myriad of other things, yet he was calling us, little old South Florida to talk about a temple. now our prayers have turned to those in the development process so that the site and the political work can get done in a mannerly time. prayers are always needed and prayers are always answered.

another cool fact is that our mission is #1 in the world when it comes to doubling our baptisms from last year. so, last month we got 61 baptisms for the month as a mission. last year we only had 30 or so. we are doubling our baptisms. and we are going to do it again. with the temple will come even more success. how fun!!

i think that is it for now.

love love love-
hermana barros

ps-kacey, you have a birthday card sitting here in FL but there is no address for you so it is going to sit here until i get a letter from you. Tori, you too are under condemnation because you have been in school long enough to be able to write me a little note. you two better watch your backs for a lack of blessings from FL.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Monday, October 5, 2009

Put your shoulder to the wheel, push aloooong

MIs Familias across the nation,

This has been an exciting weekend for me. First, the Temple. Wow!! What a cool experience, right? I couldn't believe it. We fasted as a mission last sunday for this announcement and we have been praying mightily that we might receivev a temple. i didn't think it was possible, but we prayed as a zone sat. morning and then i felt this strong surge of power, telling me that anything is possible for the Lord, who am I to limit Him. So, I learned that lesson. and i do have to say, i have never wanted to call home more than at that moment to talk to mom and dad and say--see, the Lord really does listen and answer MY prayers. He knows me!! But, I did not, you already knew, and if not, the Lord will let you know what you needed to know, and plus, i am writing it to you now in an email (kinda like that story of the girl who knew that her brother's trap wouldn't work because after she prrayed she went and smashed it to peices.).

This weekend Hialeah West, my old area, got a baptism. It was so exciting! It was the first baptism i have been to where i helped teach the recent convert, Rafael Castillo. He is an ex JW who finally gave into the spirit and followed the example of Jesus Christ to be baptized. What a cool experiencec to see someone get baptized that felt the Spirit with you at the same moments, if that makes sense. I have discoverd the greatest feeling in the world, watching one of your progressing investigators become a recent convert. I think at that moment, when i felt that sweet and simple love, that God allowed me to feel what He feels for every one of His children. Our Heavenly Father is so merciful to allow me to have these sweet experiences "while in my youth."

This weekend coming up is going to be fantastic. We have a few baptisms scheduled for some Hondureans. Victor, Ovidio and Wilson are getting baptized on Sunday. These men are so faithful. Ovidio and Wilson came to three sessions of conference, and when i asked what they learned from it, they said that they learned "muchas cosas." I think that they loved hearing from the prophet's mouth. Ovidio even said that he loved "If ye love me, keep my commandments." IT just made sense to him. We took advantage of this sweet spirit to teach him about the Word of Wisdom, which he gladly accepted, though he really loves his cafe. These men are solid and of pure gold. I am so lucky to teach them, and i know the Spirit is there because we are both edified. I learn something new everytime we teach them.
we are also hoping that Saul, an investigator that we've had from the beginning of last transfer will also be baptized this sunday as well. But we will have to see, he is struggling a little bit in his personal life and because of this, going to see him has become difficult. but, he is good. I just have to have faith in the Lord's plan for all of His children.

The weekend after this one will also resulti n several baptisms. we are teaching all the time, with people who are solid. they come from investigator referrals. Those are the best, because then they have their own little built-in support system. It is amazing to see that planning happens throughout the day as more and more people want us to come back and help them prepare for baptism.

my new companion, sister martinez, is so much like Kacey, it is scary. It is as if Kacey has been preparing me my whole life for the six weeks of transfer. Martinez is hotheaded, stubborn, only has one way of seeing things, her way, and she doesn't mind tellingyou what she thinks, no matter the consequences (kinda like Kacey, but don't be offended. Martinez is a fantastic missionary, and a great companion, i just need some time away from her before she kills me or i kill her. i would like to imagine that that is kinda like a marriage--it's good, but not all the time, you always need some space). The new girl is super eager to do anything, and she does a lot of things that are not exactly kosher, but her trainer, my old trainer, doesn't tell her what's up. if this next transfer happens the way i think it will, she will be my companion, and i might have to clean up the mess her trunky trainer is creating. trunkiness stinks!! I pray that i never get trunky, EVER!! those missionaries just suck the life out of me. She isn't tht trunky, but she always is crying because she is going home, or talking about home, or...whatever. that is the end of my venting.

Mom--i got the package and your letter this week. note--if you send it UPS the office can't forward it to me, so it sits in the officeuntil there is a zone conference or someone from up north goes down south to my area. the best way to get it to me is through the USPS. Also, letters only take about five days to get to me, not too bad. i know it isn't as fast as we would like, but you would be surprised at how often those letters get to me at the very moment i need their messages. Ps--those of you who haven't written to me are not getting birthday cards-you know who you are. thanks for the flower press. my companion laughed at me, but she doesn't know the power that little press has, and the miraculous things i can now create-mwahahaha.
i was wondering if you could e-mail me dad's e-mail address. i thought i was sending him stuff, buti am getting no response to my personal email;s i am sending him. i need it fast!
this is a good work, it is fun, challenging, exhausting, but good and fun. It is amazing what the Lord trusts us with, but it is also so cool to see how He molds and refines us,, in order to move His work forward. I just feel so lucky to be here at this time to "put my shoulder to the wheel. the Lord has need for willing hands" and my heart is willing. It is amazing to see that when we are willing and trust in the Lord, miracles happen, not because of anything i do, other than my obedience, but because of the converting power of the Spirit.

Can't wait til Zone Conference this friday, it's going to be good. I was wondering if the return missionaries would write me a note of what they feel is the most important thing they learned whiel on the missions and some advice for me. i would love that so much because i love you so much and i would treasure and value your experience and wisdom (did i butter you up enough?)
the church is true. The book of Mormon truly is the word of God. I love that I get to testify of this everyday. Teaching people is the best thing ever, especially when you are teaching so much that you are never tracting--good news! Love you all.

Hermana Barros

Let it be or Letter B

The work is truly progressing. Yesterday we had two confirmations, one from our area and then one from the elder's. This week we have one batism scheduled, Saul, from Bolivia. He is ready for baptism, his heart is pure. I have only met with him a couple of times, but he is pretty cool. then on October 11th, something amazing happens, we have five baptisms scheduled. They are all men from Honduras. This is a fun story. A few transfers ago, Sister Green and Sister Martinez baptized a cool man, Antonio, from Honduras. His son moved in with him, and Antonio told him that he could only live there if he took the missionary discussions. That was the man who just got confirmed yesterday, Franklin. These two amazing men have since invited one or two of their friends to come to church/baptism, Wilson and Ever. When we get ahold of them and then teach them, these new investigators invite their friends, Victor and Arturo, all of whom accept the gospel and baptismal dates after the first lesson. They are like a clown car full of ready Hodureans each inviting someone of their own, Joaquin, Jose and Manuel. It is perfect, they find, we teach and baptize. they are solid. It is so much fun to be a part of this miraculous work. These men are so much fun. Ok, then my trainer and I contacted a man from Honduras about a month ago, Ovidio. When we went to teaach him we found out that he lives in the same little complex as the other men and that he is roommates with Arturo. Apparently honduras is ready to be baptized. They just are so cool. Yesterday in Elder's Quorum, we were invited for a special missionary focus exercise. we came in and found that the quorum was divided by missionary areas. Hna Martinez's and my area were full of two recent converts and five investigators. Our efforts almost doubled the size of our Elder's quorum. It is so much fun to see them progress. Then, we went and visited some of them after church and one of them, who i doubted a little bit, was really really excited to be baptized and the other just kept talking about how our church is different and how he likes it so much. he loves the church. His name is Wilson, he looks just like, and he even sounds like, Morgan Freeman. He dresses like a cowboy. he is so cool, so willing to give up his much loved coffee because, "if i pray, then Jesus will help me" Solid testimony! I love Honduras!!! and i love Baleadas--a Honduraen food that is like a very very good quesadilla. I wish i could go to Honduras. That is now on my to-do list. I think that these men are ready beause they will go back to Honduras one daya and share the gospel with their families there and because there is a temple being built in their country. miraculous things happen when a temple is being built.

Hermana Martinez is a great companion. She lets me figure things out on my own and she just is great! She is a little rough around the edges, says things just like they are, and she always speaks her mind, which is good for me becauswe it is causing me to have thick skin. She also lets me say what i need to say when i need to say it, and the Spanish just comes. I thought that this transfer was going to be just like it became (did that make sense), so i have been worried a bit about Hna. Martinez, but she and i have learned to get along and find success. We met all of our goals, and even over-exceeded them this week. We don't know how that was done, because we were far behind on Thursday night, but then the Lord stepped in, because we didn't know what to do on our own, and then the goals got done. He loves us so much, and because we are His servants and we are on His errand, he steps in and provides. That is cool to see. I'm glad that i get to stay here in Hialeah. I just got to know the members, so it is great to be here for a while longer and work with them. Some were sad that i am no longer the missionary in their area, which is sweet to hear, but they'll be okay. I'll miss them too, but i'm still here. This is just a step, or a baby step, to how it will feel when i leave the area for good. But, that won't be for a bit. If i am correct about next transfer, like i was this transfer, i willbe staying here, but going back to my old area and finish training my trainer's greenie. She is full of energy, and very different than me, kinda annoying, but she is trying her hardest. So, if that is to be, then, let it be-eeeee. I might be here in Hialeah til after Christmas, which is just fine by me, at least right now anyway. Talking about the members, though they are hard to get to do things, i think that with time, and the energy of the missionaries here and our efforts and energy, Hialeah Ward will get back into action and work harder to find friends/family who are ready to hear and accept the gospel. this will increase as we get a temple here too, just like Honduras.

This is a fun fun time to be here, i'm glad to have this sweet opportunity to share my testimony and invite all to come to Christ and be baptized. Hialeah is a great place, and with the members help, we will be able to see tremendous success. The Lord blesses our lives in ways that seem impossible, but with our hearts and our efforts in the right place, He provides. I know that now more than ever before in my life. The Lord is good to me to let me have this experience, to serve Him and HIs children for this brief time, in a wonderful (and hot) place like South Florida.
Ok, I guess you get a testimony today, but since I share it with everyone I meet, why not you too?!!?

Love love love you all...
Tara and Sarah, thank you so much for the letters and pictures. They go with me everywhere, and they are a great resource to contacting others. Those two little ones are growing up sooooo fast and your lives are moving forward. The Lord loves you, I see it in your letters and in the little blessings you tell me about. You are two very special women, the boys were smart to marry you two, plus the babies are so much cuter than normal Barroses. Keep going, you can do it!!! And you will find that the hard things now will produce some of the sweetest fruits later. And sometimes we have to wait for the best thing to come, though a lot of good things are passing in front of our eyes and they look really good, the best will come and then you will see the Lord's hand and how His timinng is perfect. I wish i could talk to you two on the phone, but that will have to wait until Christams, if you even are at Madera for Christmas. You're great!! Keep being awesome!
Kacey, you had better write me a letter or I will disown you--not lying. Do or die.
Tori, school is great, hard, but great. keep having fun, don't let kacey take over too much, and have fun when the snow hits, in about...3 weeks. gotta love the 'burg.
Kit--BE GOOD. being good does not mean submitting to someone else's will, it just means that you have self control. Self control is good, it is the reason we are here on this earth, and the perfect example of self-control is Jesus. He had it pretty hard, and people were really really mean to him, but he was always in control of himself. You can do it too, if you ask for divine help through the atonement.
joe--I love you. You had better write to me soon or you won't get any letters from me or my kids when you go out and serve a mission. no, i will, but i would love to hear from you. You are a great boy! Keep trying hard, and be good. help others be good too, which sometimes means just keeping your mouth shut and letting them do what they want. you don't have to join them, agree with them, or anything but just keep ing your mouth shut.
Dustin and Brandon--you are my best friends, besides your wives and mom. you are amazing, and i am so lucky to have big brothers. keep going and doing your best. there is one thing that i have learned out here and that is the lord blesses His missionaries, before, during and after their missions. so, if you live worthy of blessings, or even miracles, you will receive blessings and miracles.
Dad--you are so awesome. Do good, and breathe deeply (as in, don't be too stressed out). You're a good dad and a wonderful man. Rely on that, along with the atonement and you will be blessed. you bless others with your wonderful love and personality. I am so glad that i have a dad like you, who always encouraged me to do everything i wanted to, or didn't want to do, but which was good for me--like this mission thing.
and Mom--i'll write you a little e-mail right now. so, don't feel jipped.

love you all. if you don't get any personal mail it is because i am so busy and sometimes a nap once a week is more important than writing a pathetic little note. i love you all, but there is just no time.

love love love
Hermana Barros

Friday, September 25, 2009

Ch ch ch ch changes!!

So, this week...what a week. I have learned to no longer say that a day or a week was hard because that seems to be common. They are all hard, and they are all happy, and they all have something wonderful in them. So, no more saying that it is hard, it is just a given. But one thing my dad says to me all the time is that hard is not bad, it is just hard. Ok, I can do hard things!Noemi and her son Lester are getting baptized this Sunday. We were hoping to have her husband baptized at the same time, but that will just have to wait for awhile. We taught her about tithing, and I was afraid to do it because their family is so poor. but, Satan, though he plants these littles dounts and fears in my mind, it is evidence thata it is probably something i should do, so we taught them about tithing. The next day, as Noemi was thinking and pondering about tithing and the effects of giving up 10 percent of her hard earned income up, the Lord showed her a miraculous witness of paying her tithing. She learned that she just has to have faith in the Lord because He will provide. It was such a treat to meet and teach this family. I am going to miss this tomorrow and the next transfer, but at least I'm still in Hialeah so I'll get to see their baptism and their progression with the gift of the Holy Ghost. in 3 Nephi and also in the New testament i have learned of the importance of the Gift of the holy Ghost--let me expound. When Christ visited the Americas He did three very important things from the beginning of his ministry.
1. He testified of Himself as the Savior. He then let all who were present to feel His wounds--to gain a witness for themselves.
2. then He called someone up to receive the authority, or preisthood, to baptize in His name.
3. He commanded the people to be baptized and then they would be able to receive the gift of the Holy Ghost and then would they be prepared to learn all that He had to say to them. In the New Testament John the Baptist came first to baptize and be a witness of the Christ. Then Christ came and baptized with the Spirit and then he would teach. Ok, the lesson that this teaches me is thus: we can only go so far, only learn so much without the gift of the Holy Ghost. I always knew that we could only progress so far without baptism because it is a special ordinance that opens the gate to the temple, our ultimate goal. But, we can only learn so much without the spirit. that is why Jesus had everyone be baptized and recieve the gift because without it, the people would not have gotten eerything, they would not have been able to progress as much as they did. that is why we, as missionaries, must invite all to be baptized within one or two lessons. yes, that is our goal in this mission, and i have seen that those who are trully willing to listen to this invitation, and are ready to be baptized accept this invitation from day one. we do not have to hide baptism under our chairs for three or four lessons and then boom! surprise trhem with it. no, it needs to be done now so that their knowledge and understanding can increase far more than without it.Omar was not baptized this week. He had a rough week. He has severe depression issues which we've known about since day one. But, this week they became very apparent to us. he tried to kill himself and now he is in a crisis center. It is really hard to watch him struggle in such a place. He has had prayers answered, he has seen the hand of the Lord in his life, and then this happens. He asked his dad to ask us to come and visit him, which we did because he is trully a special kid, a son of God and he really just needs friends right now. It has been hard on Hna. Halversen and I to deal with this because it is such a stark place, and Omar is in a dark place in his life. I just keep wondering what Jesus would do if He was sitting next to Omar in such a place. that is when i feel inadequate, because i am not the Savior, i just invite him to heal Omar's heart, which is my job i suppose. I just wish i could do moer--the inner mother coming out, i suppose. It was hard!! My companion and i cried a lot this week. ROUGH!! it doesn't help that she and i are the exact same person, so though we know how to help the other, we can't because we're feeling the exact same thing.Yesterday the Lord showed me my potential. I finally feel like i have the ability to do great things and that not only is that my potential, but it is a very real thing--in fact i am commanded to be powerful and to make big changes here in hialeah. I am ready to move forward, not looking at my inadequecies, but to find those who need my message. oh, which takes me to my title. transfers are tomorrow, that is why i am writing this today, because on transfer weeks we proselyte on mondays (PROS MONDAY!) i am staying here in Hialeah, just switching companions with Hna. Martinez, one of the other sisters who has been here for a bit, and my trainer is training again. we kinda knew this was going to happen. i think i am going to be here in Hialeah for awhile. and i think i am going to train way before i am ready, but the Lord knows all things, and plus this is a young mission. next transfer we are losing one spanish sister, my trainer, and we are gaining four new ones. which means i will no longer be one of the young'uns but old and experienced because half of the girls are leaving and coming in november and december. i mean, in december we are losing one, we're losing one tomorrow. YIKES, i'm stoppong this thought process now!! i can't handle thinking about training. i can't even speak the language yet!! The Lord is good to me,, though, He lets me figure this stuff out on my own. He then helps me progress leaps and bounds beyond what i ever would have thought was possible. the work is good, hard and good.

love love love

hna. barros

ps, i miss lydia and payton soooo much. those pictures go with me everywhere nd i show them to everyone!! Lydia is so expressive, it just kills me. and payton, i wish i could just hear his little manly voice of impatience! I hope law school is going well, that dustin can find a job soon, and that tori is having a blast in the 'burg and that kacey is still going on a mission (read "the challenging and testifying missionary") and i hope that dad is still sane and not so stressed out of his mind. and i hope that Kit cleans up her mouth and realizes that she is an awesome person. and i hope joe is having a great time knocking into people with his football gear on, and i hope that pookey is not crazy lonely, and that the cats are just plain crazy still, and i hope that mom is happy even though she is so busy!!!

Friday, September 11, 2009

And the whole world has to answer right now, who's bad?

Ok, so the reason for the title is thus: There is this little kid named Emmanuel who is four. He is about two feet tall and he is just the funniest thing ever. Anyway he dances just like Michael Jackson, and that is his nickname. We had FHE with his family, mom, dad, grandma, old woman neighbor, two older brothers (Andres, 13 and Alex, 9 (I teach him piano lessons)) and older brother's friend and the non-member tennent and then the two missionaries, and for the activity he danced for us. Now, imagine a little latino boy, two feet tall, with all the spunk in the world, dancing to Beat It and Bad, just like Michael jackson. It was the best FHE ever. The mom apologized for the craziness of the family. I said it brough me back to my home, and therefore there was nothing better in the whole world. when emman, that is his nickname, finished dancing for me, he sat down beside me. he then whispered that Step Up Two was his favorite movie. i told him it was mine too and then we proceeded to have a discussion about the coolest dance moves ever and then he did the moon walk. it was the best day ever. plus, i got to listen to something with a beat and not feel too guilty about it. This family is my favorite family. They are so amazing and fun. They just moved in from Utah and they are so cool. We are trying to build good relations with the members so that they will give us referrals or go out on exchanges with us or anything because without the members we do not get as much done. We need the members. So, i have adopted a few families for my own. there is a family full of teenage girls that i have bonded with-jenifer, ashly, and alison. Fun little girls who love to make fun of my spanish, which i recognize is very comical.

some of my investigators...

1. Omar Columga is getting baptized on Sunday! Yay! He is the first person I ever taught in the mission and he is getting baptized. He tried to drop us a few times, but I feel like I was supposed to be the missionary to teach him because we seem to have a lot of the same type of trials. So, he not only could never drop us, but he is getting baptized!!! He is such a sweet kid. He even said that he wants to go on a mission. My jaw dropped when I heard that because all I could remember was our few appointments where he said that he didn't want to be Mormon. He went to the single's branch and loved it, saying that everyone was very nice and he really liked it. On Sunday he reminded me that he really really wanted to still go on a mission and go to the temple. Ok, we can do that! What a special treat to witness this young man's 180 degree turn around. His prayers are specific, he receives definate answers to his prayers from the Spirit, witnessing that what we are telling him is true, and he really can not wait to serve the Lord. COOL!!!

funny story. Well, i took an investigator to the single's branch, (in miami beach!!! the chapel is right on the water overlooking yachts and the cool downtown buildings and everything, i will send pictures, i have to because it was unbelievable!) on a fast and testimony meeting-dangerous. but it was so entertaining. there was this mentally handicapped guy, who is 40 or so, who was a walk-in last week but as he was walking up the stairs and got hurt pretty bad. some of the members of the single's branch gave him a blessing and so he came to church on sunday. he got up to bear his testimony and told of his blessing. he pulled on his eye and said that his black eye was gone "my lip got cut, and it is still cut, but it doesn't hurt that much. and today i went to another church, the Calvary Chapel and I had some Cuban coffee. it hurt my stomach and i got really dizzy. I'm glad that is over!" it was really funny because no one knew who he was. Then in sunday school he sat in the front row. we were talking about the martyrdom of the prophet and he simply asked "who is that? Because i don't know anything and these two missionaries are going to come by my house and tell me everything and i want to know now." someone told him about Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon. he then esponded "Wow, i can't wait to read this book. i'm on fire!" then, as the lesson continued, someone said that they love the book of mormon because it answers all of their questions. His hand flew up and he asked "excuse me, but how does this book do that?" when the question was answered, he responded "Oh, this is a good book, i can't wait to be baptized! but, my mom said that once i am a mormon i can't go to any other church, can i go to other churches?" the teacher said that you always have your free agency but he would only want to come to our church because it was the only true church. "How is it true? and how do you know?" the teacher told him it is the same church that Christ established when he was one the earth. "That's amazing!!!" omar turned to me and he is getting baptized on sunday!!!!

2. The Rivas family accepted a date as a family last week, but did not show up to church. We have tried to get a hold of them and visit them, but we can not get into contact with them. It is so disheartening to see this in such a young and special family, I don't know what's going on in their lives, but they need to come to church and partake fully of the blessings that baptism and the Atonement offer all of us.

3. We were teaching this man named Alberto. He came to a ward FHE and loved the people. But, when we went to visit him on Saturday he gave us the drop talk! I couldn't believe it. He was progressing, he had a baptisimal date and he was set to go, but then all of sudden he was telling us that he doesn't trust us and that he is looking for the truth. It broke my heart because THIS CHURCH IS THE TRUE CHURCH!!! but, the Spirit was not their in that session because of what he was saying, and he was kinda rude to our member present. Maybe one day I will know what is really going on in his life, but for now I am really confused and sad that he rejected the truth that he so despeartely is searching for.

4. We met this other family, the Expositos, they are pretty promising, but they lead very busy lives, so it might be hard to teach them. But I know they felt the Spirit when we taught them about the First Vision and the need for a Restoration.

5. Our investigator pool is looking a little dry. We have been going through all of our contacted people and checked up on them, trying to find those escogidos, but rejection is becoming the common thing in our searching. That's ok, we're looking for those who are ready to listen to our message and change. the others who reject us, vehemently even, are having seeds planted. Sometimes it is hard to see so much rejection. But, as Omar said it, "If this is the true Church why are there not more members? Or why do so many people hate Mormons?" The answer that I gave him was that because it is true, Satan fights really hard. That doesn't stop us, it just shows that we have to work harder. He liked that answer, and he still wants to go on a mission. And I don't blame him. Though there are doors slammed, or angry, hateful words spoken towards us, there is no better job or calling in all the world! The Lord has allowed me to see the joy in the work though the fruits of our labor are not always evident.

Ok, those are my thoughts, there are a lot of them.
Love love love
Hermana Barros

ps, the pictures, if you get them are as follows. A picture of Sister cCane and I with omar right outside of the chapel on our fun adventure to Miami beach to go to a single's ward as missionaries. fun times. ok, funny fact--sister crane and i were in the same ward at BYUI and we know a lot of the same people. she is sooooo fun and i love having her here for a few weeks because sister Fiala is doing a mission tour and sister crane is filling in for her. we have had so much fun. like eating crepes at a cool little crepe shop here in town. the picture is of my and my companion eating our crepes full of meat and chees. we did it in honor of proslelyting monday (because it was a holiday we had p-day today instead of yesterday). then there is another picture of...Omar standing in front of the chapel showing you how close the chapel really was to the water. mostly this is a bragging picture because, i mean, WOW!

i love you all so much. the letters you send are wonderful. mom, i am not mad in the slightest about the amount of mail. it is just great to get anything. oh, my PPI. President hale is so amazing. He is like Bishop Perkins. He comes out and says what he is thinking, and sometimes it comes out wrong in some opinions, but mostly, it is the right thing to say. he said some really cool things, but my favorite thing was that he told me that he was very glad i came on a mission. he said that he doesn't just say that to anyone, and not to every sister (though he loves and favors the sisters more than anyone else, it's a wide spread rumor that persident favors the sisters, and at zone conference he said, yes i do, now get over it!) but he said that he and i are going to be great friends and that we will get a lot done and that i will be training a lot sooner than i think. ok, president, bring it on.

ok, love love love

You had the grace to hold yourself while those around you crawled...

Exerpts from my letter to President Hale

Fierce Finding was very exciting. It was fun to go around different parts of Hialeah and contact, with the member’s help, as many people as we could. It was tons of fun, and doing a singing program with a short message in between really invited the Spirit into the homes or doorsteps of those who we had a chance to talk to. Then, we had a movie night out on the lawn in front of the chapel. We showed “The Testaments” with a projector and everyone sat on blankets or chairs eating popcorn and watching the movie. Every one of our progressing investigators was there with their families. It was really great! They put forth an effort, and when one of your investigators does that, there is a special desire to get them to do more and more until they are being baptized and then going to the temple as a family. One of our investigators, Omar, has been giving us a pretty difficult time trying to get him to go to anything. He came to the movie night, with lots and lots of questions about the Book of Mormon. His questions were sincere and I was blessed enough to be able to answer them sufficiently to satisfy his curiosity. I think he has a friend who is anti-Mormon, but Omar is slowly figuring this whole thing out. Last night we invited him to go to an FHE with another family tonight and before I could finish telling him what it was, he said he would go. He didn’t even know what he was committing to, but he made the commitment. Next step is church. We’re thinking that the Single’s Branch would be good for him. So we’ll see how this week goes for Omar.

One thing I learned is that we need to find the people who are willing to make the commitments and change their lives now. This is hard to do, dropping investigators, but some just want us to preach so that they can feel good, but they really don’t want to change. Yesterday Sister Halversen showed me the power of being bold. We have been teaching this family for a while but they just aren’t progressing. Finally I told them that baptism in our church was special and different because The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was the only true church in the world. They stopped me and said that they didn’t know that they could believe that. I told him that if he prayed, with a sincere desire to change, then he would get an answer. It was so amazing to testify and to be bold. We were not beating around the bush. I felt that I needed to tell them that without baptism in Christ’s church, then they would not be able to receive the blessings of the priesthood in their home, or go to the temple to become a forever family. I think they got the message that this is not a church full of spectators, but full of those who get off the bench and play the game. It was a very cool experience for me.

Items of business:
1. my address in FL is as follows:
Hermana Michayla Barros
7951 SW 6th St. Ste 110
Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33324

this is the mission office, but all the mail gets to me. this will be easier because no matter where i get transferred i get the mail. also, Kacey, if you are the one in charge of forwarding this, please make sure Tara and Sarah are getting it. Tara mentioned not getting it, so if you could remedy that, i would love you forever, though i already do.

2. i need my piano music, churchy stuff, sent to me. President and Sister Hale have asked that i get all of my music sent so that i could share my talent with everyone. plus, i would just love having it with me. So, i think kacey has some, and the family has some. could you collect it all and then send that to my address? Also, tori, i put you in charge of making me a CD. are you still doindg that? I just need a few fun CDs of church music and soundtracks and anything uplifting because we only get to listen to CDs and MOTAB is getting old.

3. did you get my pictures from the last email? If not, i need to know so that i can send you hard copies in the mail.

4. mail takes about a week for me to get, so, if you need to know anything fast, it will at least take a week. but really, i can't imagine anything that you'd need to hear about from me really quickly, unless someone is pregnant, getting married, or getting their mission call, which means i would just have to wait for snail mail anyway, or you could email me and i'll check it monday. you can send little emails if you want, just nothing too big or time concuming because i only get an hour to email you, president, and anything else i need to get done on the internet (approved sites only, of course)

5. someone asked what we do to prepare for hurricanes. we do the following:
a. we buy lots of canned food and jugs of water every p-day so that we can store it. when a hurricane hits, we have an evacuation plan, but sometimes we just need to stay inside, so we, little by little, buy supplies that we can live off of until we can go outside or until we are moved out.
b. we never lte our gas in our car go lower than half way so that we have enough gas to get us to a safe place, or up to the mission home, or wherever we need to be. this is the rainy season, and it does rain everyday, but nothing like i imagined. it is kinda weak sauce some days. sometimes i feel like we need to swim from our car to the apt. because it is so crazy outside. but we've never been in danger of anything. plus, if you are obedient, you shall not fear.
missionary work is hard (this is not a hurricane thing, it is just some of my thoughts)!!! asome people just use as as "the feel good police" as i call it. they have us come over and preach the good word of God to them, and then they do nothing to change it. then they say something like, i have jesus in my heart, yet they are unwilling to do anything about it. so, what does it mean to have jesus in your heart? to me, it means walking the stright and narrow path, repenting, or getting back on the path when we fall, and helping others on their way. it is not just saying that Jesus is with me. notpe, for to be able to say that means you have to do something about it. so, my encouragement to you all is to get in the game and help others on their way. which means not yelling at seminary teachers, or sitting idly by, wasting time, waiting for someone else to do something good. take the first step. that got a little pulpit pounding, but, you know it is coming from me, and i'm just telling you things that i just barely figured out for myself.
love you ao very much. grateful to have you forever because eternity would be pretty boring without my peeps!

love love love

hermana barros