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