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