Monday, March 22, 2010

a heart full of love

Hello from Hollywood Hills,

What a week, what a week!! One thing that training has been doing for me is showing me my weaknesses. It is like there is a big neon sign pointing in my direction and then magnified for the whole world to see. I just pray that Hna. Hebdon learns from all of it, the good and the bad, and is a better missionary than I am…which is totally possible. She has so much potential, so much love to give, it will not be hard for her to be a successful missionary. She is teaching me so much about everything, especially about being humble. It is interesting how the Lord is so willing to humble His people. He will have a humble people. Kacey, pray for your trainer because it is not an easy job. everyone thinks your trainer knows everything, and don't be fooled, she knows more than you do, but she doesn't know everything and that is difficult to live with, especially since someone is relying on her for everything. training is difficult, but so worth it. the learning curve goes up dramatically when training is happening.

One thing that has been weighing down on my mind for the past little bit is how to get this ward to be a center of strength. President Monson, and also our Regional President has told Mission Presidents to put their missionaries in cneters of strength, or in wards where the members are using their missionaries. this ward is highly underusing their missionaries, unless you count piano playing as a vital role in missionary work, which i don't. They have some solid missionaries who know how to get baptism, who know how to get large numbers and accomplish large, seemingly insurmountable tasks, but here, for some reason, we have been working and running, with our whole hearts, into the same brick wall, members who just don't get it. We know that we need to work with our members. It has been shown to us time and time again that this is the direction we need to take, that the way to get this ward back into working order, without having a collapse like we are seeing now, we must work with our members. But it has been difficult because they have such false notions of what a missionary is. If nothing else, I have learned that obedience is essential, not only for you, but for those who come after you. Obedience is not just a cute slogan, but a way of life that leads to salvation and true happiness, for more than just you in the here and now. It has been so frustrating to work against those false notions, and even more difficult to love those who have come before. I am still learning that one, I suppose.

Bishop is such a loving man, so revelatory, but no one respects him. This ward is full of all manner of –ites with the auxiliary leaders taking charge of their groups and moving forward, without even the consideration of what the other auxiliaries are doing. As a small little misionera, this task is daunting, the task to unify, solidify, so that the next set of missionaries to come in will not have such a difficult uphill climb. I wish sometimes he would just get up to the pulpit and rebuke the members, call them to repentance, and then actually follow up with them. but, alas, not going to happen anytime soon. I love a good challenge, and I don’t mind priming the pump, but sometimes I would like to see the fruits of my exhaustible labors. The answer is simple, keep priming, keep praying, keep standing outside of the Bishop’s office until he lets us into PEC, keep AMT’ing, keep going, don’t stop, keep loving them and helping them realize their potential. I guess that is what personal revelation is for, find out what else I need to do, personally and as a companionship, to get this ward to start flourishing. It has the potential, I know it does because I felt it the first day I was in here. I love these people, because I have been serving with them for so long and we have grown together. I love this gospel because it is true. I love the Book of Mormon and my studies in it because now, as a fruit of serving a mission, I have my testimony engraved on my heart, it is a part of me. I know that God loves me and is helping me out over here, I just need to rely on that a little bit more, turn the revelation volume up a bit more and get back to priming the pump. If there is any advice or any suggestions you have, I would love to hear them.

‘Til next time,

with a heart full of love,

love love love

Hna. Barros

hey you

My letter to president--didn't have time for more. but mom has pictures--have fun

Hey President,

Another, unprecedented week here in Hollywood Hills. I know you said that I would be training, but I think you are highly mistaken, because she is fantastic and I believe that she is training me!!!! When we talked about improvements or what she expects out of this transfer, and her whole mission, so that I could help her lay a solid foundation, she surprised me by saying some of the same things I want out of my mission. We both want to work with the Spirit. It is so cool working with someone who wants to work with the Spirit. She is so loving as well…what a sweet, inspiring and loving companion I have. I’m so lucky!! And she is doing fantastically. Her Spanish is not too shabby either, and her comprehension level is pretty high. She is so sharp!! I feel so blessed to be her companion, she is so good, so good. Though again I say, I don’t really feel like I am training her. I am more like showing her the hows and whats of missionary work, like this is the area book, and this is a progress record. She has got everything else. So cool!!! So COOL!!

Enough exclamation marks. We are both excited to go to Zone conference. We have been preparing ourselves for it as a companionship. We are coming to have our plate be filled and truly feast on the Lord’s word. Missionary work is exciting and challenging and fun. I can’t believe that I have been called to serve a mission here in the greatest mission ever, no quotation marks needed, among the greatest missionaries ever.

As for Hollywood Hills, I have had many thoughts relating to this area. The members need to become more involved and there needs to be no disconnect between the members and the missionaries, because in all honesty, missionaries are members too, just with a special calling to proselyte more. Hna. Hebdon and I are going to work really hard to get to know all of our members and get this ward in to gear. It is high time, and with a new fresh outlook on the work, this ward is in for a real treat. Member work is key. So we’ll keep you updated on all of that as time goes on.

That’s it for now,

Have a great week

Hermana Barros

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

takin' care of business, it's okay

This week has been so busy and it is only going to get busier... But I love being busy as a missionary. If you're not busy then you have to knock some doors, and that is never much fun because your rejection level just grew exponentially.

First, yesterday we did those fun unifying games that we did in Zone Conference with our auxiliary leaders, who hardly showed up, the bums!!! But those who did show up got the point and now want us to do it with everyone. It started a fire within them, which is what we wanted in the first place. But it was good. The are some good changes in the ward that we are seeing. That is a good feeling to know that that is all getting back into to order. I have really gone to love this ward. it was hard at first, really hard because of this missionary who came before me and kinda coddled the members in a fake form of unity. then the ward just collapsed, like Zarahemla right before Christ came again, or actually, more like the Nephites at the end of the Book of Mormon, the secret combinations were their downfall. this ward's downfall is gossip. With all of the terrmotos in the world right now you would think that the members would wake up and stop the gossipping and spend their time getting their food storage all in order, but no. they are too busy about what "what's her face" said or did and look at what she is wearing. i think that members of the church have two great problems that prevent us from creating Zion within our wards/units. the first one is complacency. Not all is well in Zion. we get fat and lazy and we start to purr--satan is good. he knows our weaknesses and mostly our lazinesses. do not be lukewarm or you will be like that scripture in Revelation, God will spew us out of His mouth those that are lukewarm. The second is the things we put directly in our view that are just complete and utter time wasters. we waste so much of our time, our greatest resource, in the vain attempt to secure for ourselves those things which moth and rust doth corrupt. stop wasting your time people!!! WoW!! I am a bit on the pulpit pounding side of things. just look at the pictures i sent, that will show you my lighter side. oh, and who is soo excited for General Conference in less than a month?!?!?! ME ME ME!!! It is going to be good.

Autn:reference -

Doctrine and Covenants 84:88 I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my Spirit shall be in your hearts, and mine angels round about you, to bear you up.

Tonight we have a baptism, Julisa. She was not very excited to be baptized, especially with a second interview “looming” over her head. But…after her time with President Acevedo, she was jumping off the wall, saying “he approved me to get baptized!” So, tonight we are going to have a great baptismal service. Elder Wardle is going to sing for the musical number. I didn’t know he could sing, I don’t think he knew he could sing either, but now we all know, the secret is out, and of course, I am going to utilize his little hidden talent.

Also, on Thursday we have another baptism. This is a guy who is less active, trying to come back into the church, and in his efforts they have discovered that his records do not exist. So, without a service, we are going to have another baptism on Thursday. My new companion and I will be teaching a lot in the first few days of her mission, which is what I wanted to have for her. I wanted her to be able to get out and teach the people as soon as possible because that is what I wanted when I got out into the field. I wanted to go and teach and talk to people and be a missionary. So, tomorrow, after some music practice, we are going out and teaching a whole lot of lessons. It is going to be a great day. I am soooooo excited! I am so ready for this, or so I think. I know that I might run into things that will test and try me, but I have learned some survival skills that will help me out through those little bumps and bruises. Nothing much else is happening. I am going to miss Sister Miller—it has been 6 months, poor thing doesn’t even kno0w her mission without me, but times come and go, and we’ll see each other later.

love love love love love

Hna. Barros

some items of business.

1. Tori--the EFY CD from 2009, i don't know what it is called, but it is so good. anyway, number 10 is my favorite. could you look it up and tell me who the singer is. i need to know his name. he sounds like a little more countrified version of damien rice. and, if you want to help a sister out, could you look up if he has any CD's out and then buy it for me and then send it to me???? please please please. i have wnated his CD for forever and now is my chance. please help me out!!

2. The ppictures are for your entertainment. When a sister turns 9 on the mission, or halfway, they take a pregnancy picture. here is acouple of them from my photo shoot. also, in the mission, when you train they call the trainee your "daughter" and you the "mom". ironically, i become a "mom" exactly when i turn 9. when i found this little bit of information out, from my companion, i laughed and laughed. anyway, enjoy. also, there are some pictures of the people i love the most here in Hollywood.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Someone Somewhere

Dear Readers,

Another week in Hollywood Hills. What a fun week it has been. I have seen so many miracles and my testimony has truly been strengthened as I have been more receptive to the spiritual promptings that I receive, and then act on them in a bold and loving manner. This change has been so great; I have seen a need to work more with the members which means that I actually have to get to know the members. And then, after a relationship has been created, BOOM!! The work moves so much more quickly. I have found that a really spiritual A(ctive)M(ember)T(raining) is the grease that moves the wheel of missionary work. It is so much easier to teach a member referral than to teach one of your own investigators. I wish I would’ve known that sooner, way sooner. But I guess it is better to know it now than in my second to last day. Hna. Miller and I have been working like we have never worked before and it feels good. Plus we are gaining member trust. I love the people here!! I love the work, and I love love love working with Latinos! Except when they offer you food that looks like nothing normal or like anything you have ever eaten before. Then, as you eat it, you find out that part of it is not edible but you can’t spit it out and so you have to chew and chew, drink some soda, which helps break it down, let it sit in your mouth until it is somewhat edible, then swallow before you have too much time to think about what you are really eating. Yes, this experience happened to me on Saturday night. What an experience. At least I am not in Bolivia or India. Mostly normal food here with some exotic flavors that I have learned to love!!! Cuban food—oh man. Best food ever! I can’t wait to bring some of you back here to see some of the sights, to taste the flavors and to meet some of the best people ever! Mom asked me about picking me up after the mission and that got me to thinking, plus I had an experience yesterday that emphasized the need for me to come back and see all of these people again. I want to come back not as a missionary so that I can hug everyone (some men included) that have helped me during my sweet time here in Florida. But, enough trunky talk. I am getting old, but I am not old enough to be talking like this.

We have a baptism coming up this week, one of the Elders’ old investigators. We are ALL excited to see Julisa get baptized. One thing that we have started to do is talk more about our investigators among ourselves as missionaries so that we can support and lend a hand when needed. This includes Hna. Miller and I AMT’ing a certain family who we know could be a great influence in the lives of one of the Elders’ investigators. The work is so much easier—duh!—when we all work together! I don’t know why it took us this long to figure it out, perhaps because we have all found success in other areas and then we come together with OUR OWN ideas without the ability to tweek it accordingly to fit the needs of our NEW ward. Whatever it was that changed us and our outlooks, I am grateful for it because missionary work is so much more enjoyable when you have a support system behind you and when that system grows larger and larger as more and more members become converted

Personal Notes:

Kacey, how amazing was the temple? How did you feel, with your sleeves all funky and everything? And how can you not wait to go back again and again! And how about less than a month till you get to the MTC and only two transfers until you get out into the field? And start praying for your trainer now. I am going to be a trainer in a week and man am I praying for my trainee. I hae actually known that I was going to train this transfer for a while now and I have been praying for my trainee this whole time, praying that she is happy, healthy, excited, and ready to work and deal with the new lifestyle. Yes, it is a completely new lifestyle. WOW!!! What a change and what a roller coaster you are in for, which they call your first transfer. You will be so exhausted every night, especially with the time change. My time change was nothing and it still kicked my rear. And the information overload that you are going to face—what did they say? What did I say? Was that right? Was that false doctrine because I conjugated a verb incorrectly? But, enjoy it. Love it, embrace it. It is hard, but it is so much fun because you have never ever lived closer to the Spirit and you have never born your testimony like you are going to do to the French. That is one thing that I love the most—bearing testimony frequently and often and having the Spirit testify to ME that what I am saying is true. People are ridiculous. Yes, very ridiculous. Their excuses are stupid. I love it when someone says something about me being a fool or whatever about the Book of Mormon and I could find almost that exact excuse in the Book of Mormon that a prophet prophesied about. Their stupidity is prophesied in the Book of Mormon. It truly was written for our days. It was written for everyone, it was written for missionaries and for the French, and for the humble and for everyone. Use the Book as the rich resource that it is and the Spirit for the guide that He can be if we live worthy to be conduits for His testifying power. It is going to be hard but oh soooooooo fun. Embrace it, love it, and write it down to treasure forever. I love. There is a packie in the mail coming to you this week. It has special instructions. Follow them with exactness.

Bishop Perkins: I love that men so much. He has been the best mentor I could’ve ever asked for. He is an inspired man who has helped me through the hardest times of my life. He says it how it is and he loves with such a pure love. I am so grateful for him. He is invited to my wedding, most definitely. He is one of my greatest friends, strongest supporters, and one of the best examples I have ever met. He will do splendidly in his new calling. I am only slightly jealous and sad, for selfish reasons, that he won’t be Bishop anymore when I get back and have to date again!! Yikes—dating, the real world. NOOOOOOO!!! . Anyway, I think that is all that I have for today. Have a good week. I love you all so very much.

Love love love love love love love love love love love love love love

Hna. Michayla Barros

Follow the yellow brick road...

Another great week in Hollywood Hills SOUTH!!! Yep, we have finally settled in, our plans are made, we have started meeting with the members and that relationship has been formed. Sometimes I feel like it is a precarious relationship, both sides waiting nervously for the other to either produce something or to botch it big time. What a fun, scary, thrilling, nerve-wracking time. Sometimes, as a missionary I feel like an underpaid, overworked baby-sitter. No, really. We have to make sure that people actually know what their calling is and then see if they do it, especially when it comes to our investigators/recent converts/inactives. Boys, do you remember that feeling. Walking into PEC or Ward correlation, just praying that an auxiliary leader actually remembered their assignment and that they actually did it? Or that stomach wrenching feeling right before Sacrament meeting, with a giant prayer in your heart, that one of the 50 or so people you invited to church actually made it. Or right after the Sacrament, when all of the late people flood in, hoping that one of your people will stumble in, looking completely lost until they see your face and their faces just light up. OH MAN, Sunday is the refiner’s fire, the day of judgment. If the final judgment is at all like a Sunday for a missionary, then I will have to use the bathroom before I get in line. It is just so nerve-wracking and exhausting. Then, to make matters worse, you don’t even get the traditional, and oh so needed, Sunday nap. In other words, it was a rough day yesterday. I find life as a missionary to be a highly humorous one because it is not reality, but more like a spiritual life on steroids.

Hna. Miller and I feel like we have three weeks to get this place moving, get the kinks worked out so if one of us has to leave, the other feels nice and tidy and ready to go. A large task, since really we only have 2 weeks to do it all in, but it is kinda fun at the same time. There is nothing better than starting over with a companion you know really well in a ward that already knows us. To say the least, we have been crazy busy and loving it. We have become more like sisters, hna. Miller and I. She and I even fight out loud. But then, after a nap and some food, we come together apologetically and move on. This happened yesterday actually. We were out contacting and there was some miscommunication. Someone said something to offend the other, the other got really mad and raised her voice. Then the first said something cutting. Then we both stopped. Looked at each other and said “This is where I am coming from.” The other responded, “Ok, this is what I was thinking.” Then we found a solution and actually found a couple of new people to work with. It was the craziest thing. Two months ago we would’ve given up and said nothing to each other for the rest of the day. I guess I am growing up and learning how to love people. I just hope that I can keep this temperament and use it when I get married because, let me tell you, if marriage is anything like having a companion, anything like it, than I am learning a lot of things about myself and how to work with someone, even when they might be dancing on your last nerve.

We really REALLY want to work with the members and start getting them self-sufficient. So, we are meeting every one of them, active or not. We really don’t know names, sadly, so this has been quite an adventure. That is our new phrase “I guess it is going to be an adventure!!” We say it whenever a wrong turn has been had, an address does not exist, or if someone hung up on us. Or, if a street needs to contacted on, but we have no stinkin’ idea where or why!! Most of the members are quite happy about the change, well…mostly the Relief Society. One mom even told us that she is so excited to have the missionaries come over and not be the only woman in the house. She then offered to hold an FHE this week with a couple of her friends because she thinks it would be fun. As long as there is a non-member there and we get to teach a little something something, ok. Then there a couple of inactives that are just thrilled that someone would call them up after so many years. We have seen so many tender mercies here, and though our numbers are a little on the small side, we feel peaceful and calm, knowing that we are doing the best we can with the resources we have. Plus, it was cool to actually know the Elder’s investigators because they used to be ours. Now the ward feels more like “ours” instead of yours and mine. Or, in other words, a little more like Zion. We still have challenges, this change has not magically fixed everything. But it feels like a good positive shake up for the ward and the missionaries.

There are so many more trailer parks in our new area. Some are pretty ghetto. Some are pretty normal and then some of them look like Trump lives in them. Those are usually the snow birds from Canada. There is one trailer park, it is huge, full of French speakers. They all drive really nice cars. Their trailers are pristine and beautiful. We even comment on how nice they look and if we would rather live in this one or that one. Then we stop ourselves and remember that it is a trailer park still. It is the funniest, most ironic things ever.

Talking about irony—I’ve got a great story. The other day my companion and I were having the worst day ever and we forgot to pack a lunch, so we decided to eat our feelings and eat something greasy. That all equated to McDonald’s (we both grew up a little more on the poor side, so going to McDonald’s as kids was quite a treat. We were looking for a treat at this time…). After we got our food and after everything was blessed we anxiously bit into our first greasy bite of a Big Mac meal. The McDonald’s we were in had two TV’s that would play the news. As we were eating this is what we heard from a CNN reporter:

“Bill Clinton was admitted into the hospital today after complaining of severe chest pains. As we all know, Clinton did not have the best eating habits. While in the Whitehouse he would jog to McDonald’s and then eat French fries, a Big Mac and a milkshake…”

We didn’t hear the rest, that was enough to ruin our treat. Well, not really. We just died laughing because when do you sit in a restaurant listening to negative information about that restaurant? Oh the irony!!

Hey, mom. We were teaching a man named Max in our old area. Ever since we met him I wanted to tell you about him, but I have forgotten until now. His name was Max, and we taught him. Then one day I asked what his last name was. “Medina.”

“Hey, it’s Max. Maaaaax Medina.” I said this to my companion then I had to explain where it came from. Now, whenever we talk about him we always say Maaaaax Medina. Funny.

Anyway. This letter wasn’t so serious, just a little more humorous. That is how our week has been. Ironic and humorous. I hope you enjoyed.

Love love love love love

Hermana Barros

PS—I got some great pictures—thanks!! And Brandon and Sarah. Thank you for the e-mail. I loved it. I sent you a post-card, but…when I put it into the irretrievable mailbox slot, I realized I didn’t fill the entire address out. So, there is the thought. I hope it counts. My little face fell as I realized, without the ability to fix my mistake, that I had made a huge error. Oh, and there is a picture attatched to this e-mail, just for little mr. Payton.

Love love love,

O sea, les amo--me

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Last One

Hey Family,

We have had a crazy busy week this week, crazy busy. It all starts out with a phone call from President Monday night at about 6 pm. He called and asked me to get out of earshot of my companion so that we could communicate “without an audience.” So he and I had a twenty minute chat about everything, everything. Kinda like a PPI but more intense. We then found out three days later that we were being moved to another area within the ward, but closer to the chapel and closer to the members. So, two days later we found that the Elders and we were switching apartments. Yes, we are now whitewashing an area and we just moved into an elder’s apartment. So many changes in so little time. It is going to be nice getting back to proselyte time again. The move was good. But moving into this apartment just once again proves to me that there is a vast difference between girls and boys and how grateful I am that I am a girl. It is just a cleaner, nicer smelling world. But the change is going to be so good. We have been running as fast as possible, but the problem was that we were on a tread mill, not exactly getting us too far. Now that we are out in the open we are going to take off and see progress. Sister Miller and I have started a list of things that we are so excited for. I have decided to give you a few of our highlights, and then maybe one or two of my own personal “I’m so excited for”.

1. We are soooooo excited to work with the members!!! We cannot even begin to express our happiness to work with the members. We have dreams of actually getting the standard of excellence when it comes to member work and we cannot wait to work with the Young Women in the Ward. We know that this special age group needs some strengthening in this ward and we are here to help!!!

2. We are excited to live so close in our area for various reasons. Getting to the church is a snap, riding bikes around our area will be a BLAST!!! Being out and among the people is something that Sister Miller and I have never experienced because we have always had such large areas. That is no longer a burden. We are charting undiscovered territory and we are excited to go out and work in full force, especially with our Senior Companion. It will be hard, but we can do hard things. We have in the past and we will keep doing hard things until the Master comes and says “Well done, thou good and faithful servants!”

3. We’re soooooo excited to try new things!!! This is uncharted territory, but we are ready to blaze the trail for others. It reminds me of that story President Monson relates about the bridge maker who builds these bridges so that others may get over a little easier. I think that that is what we are about to be doing, and I think that this is an essential aspect to creating Zion.

4. We are so excited to work with Bishop Ayaviri. He really respects and loves sisters, and there is nothing better than working with someone who has high expectations of you because he knows that you can do it. He is a very Christ-like man, a very revelatory man, and it is a privilege to get to work with him a little more.

5. Now…I’m so excited to try some new things out, to get to know new people and see a change. I have grown to love this ward and now that I actually get to work with more of them, I am thrilled to see what good things are going to come out of Hollywood Hills. I know, because I have received little bits of peace and comfort throughout the last few days that this is going to be the best thing ever. Hollywood Hills will be a safe haven and a delightful place for missionaries to come home to, this has always been my goal, now it seems likely to be achieved.

6. This one is more of a wish, a desire of my heart if you will. President, I think I am ready to train. I want to train. I haven’t felt that way ever, EVER!! But, the realization came to me this week that I could totally train and it is a desire of my heart. So, there…I’ll leave that in your hands.

7. I am so excited that my headaches are lessening. Yes, they are still there, but they are lessening. Now that I know how to manage myself and my time so that my body works and functions properly, it actually works and functions properly! Crazy!!

Anyway, ran out of time. The girl sitting next to me is genuinely interested in the Church and so for the last 20-30 minutes I have been talking to her about prophets and the restoration. I have got a good job!! I am a pretty lucky girl to be out here teaching the people.

Love love love love love

Hna. Barros

PS--Lydia has hair!!!!! What the...?!?!?

oh, and Kacey, that picture of you and mom, i had to take a sceond look because i trhought it was a picture of me. Weird. Sorry.

Monday, February 8, 2010

I can see clearly now the rain is gone...

February 8, 2010


This is the first time in such a long time that I have nothing to say. I am sitting here in front of my computer, at Nova Southeastern University, in a little computer lab on the bottom floor of the library, looking at the pictures of my companion’s niece and I have nothing to say. Absolutely nothing. How weird. i didn’t get a lot of mail this past week. I did get my birthday pressie from Brandon and Sarah. Thank you so much. I haven’t eaten there since before my mission. Actually, I have only eaten at McDonald’s only once since going on my mission, and that one time it made me sick.

Umm…the headaches. I finally went to the doctor’s office. That was an experience I’ll never forget. It was like walking into the world from living in a temple for a month or so because in the waiting room they were playing a rated PG-13 movie, culture shock. The music in the background of the movie was a little on the ghetto side, something I am not used to. It was so weird. I was like, send me back to the Latin ghetto, and give me some more accordions. It was a weird weird feeling. But I got to see a nurse practitioner and a doctor. They prescribed me some head stuff and told me it was tension related and that I needed some alone time every day. I wanted to ask them if they knew what I did everyday and that I always have to be within sight and sound of my companion, but I didn’t. They probably would have thought that I was a complete fool or completely crazy for living the lifestyle that I live. They just think that missionaries are sight-seers who go out and teach the good word every once and a while. WRONG!! So, I am taking the medicine and I find time to myself, even if it is a quick little nap here or there in the car or in my bed or on the couch. And I have gotten pretty straight up with my companion. If she annoys me, I let her know and the funny thing is that she listens to me. I asked her why and she said it is because she loves me so much and that she wants to make me happy. Weird.

Hey, did any of you watch the Super Bowl? I’m pretty sure Dustin did. Well, that was filmed about 40 minutes away from me. And man was traffic bad! But it was kind of fun to see all of the different types of people and hear the hype about everything. We even got invited to go to a few Super Bowl parties, my favorite invite was from a man was smoking a cigar and drinking directly from his Jack Daniels. His name was Disco, from Haiti. It was very generous. But now I know, with a surety, that I could never ever take anyone seriously if they start out their pick-up line with “Hey there pretty ladiessshhh. You look so nisssh and professssssional. You should come over to my party tomorrow. I’m the cook!” Bad line, my Islander friend. A major thumbs down.

So, some other funny things that happened this week. Last night we went to teach someone about tithing and offerings. We usually ask this man to pray, which is funny because he prays for everything, “bless the animals in the fields and also the animals in the houses that there will be water enough for them, whether from the rain or from the house. And please don’t send us a trial so that we have to remember Thee, we remember Thee.” When it was time to pray my companion started it off, so we could avoid his prayer. Sometimes she prays for a very, very long time, but not as long as Felly. As she is praying I hear this shuffling coming towards us from the street. This is not too terribly odd because Felly lives with a bunch of people who come and go. But the shuffling was coming right towards us, bee-lining it towards us. I got a little scared, so I opened my eyes and this man was walking towards us. Then he turns towards Felly and holds out his hand and mumbles something in English (Felly only speaks Spanish). Felly reaches into his pocket and pulls out some change, outs it into the hand of the man. They give each other high-fives, then the man gives my companion a high five and then he shuffles away. Apparently this man stops by Felly’s house a lot because Felly gives him money. There are dos locos that Felly helps out whenever they come by. That warmed my heart a little bit. My companion then finished her prayer. It was a sweet moment. Weird, but sweet. It also made me a little sad for those dos locos who have nothing and have to beg for money for food from the humble of the humble.

We taught this gangster last week, Felito. He is pretty hard-core. We tried to go and see him awhile ago but he was in prison, so we had to wait til he got out—don’t worry, though. He turned himself in, so he is not completely dangerous. And he was once in love with a girl named Betty because he has her name tattooed on his neck, right next to the NY Yankees insignia. Anyway…we taught him about the Book of Mormon and then left him the first two chapters. We stopped by 3 days later to see how it was going. He said it was a little confusing, but he had only read one chapter. We told him that was okay because as he got more into the book it would start making sense. He said ok, but he didn’t look like he believed us. So I asked him to go and get his book and we would explain a little bit more about the book. He pulled it out. He had read all of 1st Nephi, thinking that that was the first chapter. Ummm…so, when we finished explaining it to him we asked if we could back the next day and teach him about Joseph Smith. But we left him some homework, to read a little bit more and then pray about it. He said that he would read the second chapter and the first chapter once more because he wanted to understand it all. OK. That’s cool. Then we stopped by yesterday to talk with his mom (Felito is 21). She had been reading the Book too and she told her Pastor about it. He told her that she shouldn’t read the book because it would confuse her. She said that she was going to read it all because she liked reading it and she knew it was a book about God and shouldn’t we read books about God? The answer, YES! This also happened to another one of our investigators who we thought was going to drop us. She said that she could never change and that she has her Bible, why would she need anything more. We left her 2 Nephi 29-31. When we stopped by the last time before her trip to Mexico this week, she had a grin on her face. She said that she had read it and that she was thinking that she had her Bible, why did she need anything else, then she read the part in the book where it talks about people like her and then she said that she felt guilty about her thought process. She said that she knew that the Book of Mormon was the word of God. Now that she is going to Mexico for the week, to spend time with her very Catholic Mom, she said she is scared, but she knows what she is going to tell her mom. Mom, you might not like this book, but it is the word of God and I am going to read it. She also liked the part about Christ’s baptism and how it makes sense to not baptize babies. It was so cool. Baby Steps.

The church is true. The book of Mormon changes lives. Kacey start reading the Book and get to know its pages, its doctrine, get to know the words of the Savior because those words, that book changes lives. It is the thing that converts people because it invites the Spirit into their lives and into their hearts and then they are willing to make the changes necessary in their lives. What a cool job I have. What a blessing we all have to have the church in our lives. Love everyone and read the Book of Mormon. ITS TRUE!!!

Love love love,

Hna. Barros

Thursday, February 4, 2010

I've tried so hard and got so far

Hey friends,

Another week in Hollywood Hills…sometimes I wonder what I signed myself up for when I signed on to go on a mission, but it always seems to be worth it in hindsight. These last two months have ended up being the most difficult time in my life up to this point. I have been tested on every front, emotionally, mentally, spiritually…the list could go on and on. By the beginning of last week, when transfers were announced and there was not going to be any changes, I got really really discouraged. I didn’t know where to go, where to turn, and I didn’t know if I could do it all over again. The Lord just seems to be stretching and pulling me like salt water taffy on those machines and it seemed like the time was finally going to come when I just fell apart. I spent a lot of time and a lot of tears on my knees asking for anything to come, any sort of peace or any sort of something besides darkness. Then, when I thought I couldn’t take any more, it got harder. My prayers were not being answered; I was failing as a missionary and as a companion. I was done.

Then I decided to get a blessing. What a relief that was. I am so terribly grateful that the Lord uses 19-21 year-old missionaries to officiate in the priesthood, especially for a little 24 year-old misionera. The Lord spoke right to my heart and said the things I needed to hear. The Lord promised me some pretty tender blessings if I endured it well and that I will come off conqueror. He also told me that this time is essential for my eternal progression. The Lord even said that He knew He was pushing me to the outer borders of my capacities, of every one of my capacities but I need to learn this now so that I can do other, harder things later. But most of all he wanted me to know that He is smiling down on me. When they say that missions are hard, they are not kidding. But when they say that their missions play a large role in everything else they do in their lives, they are also not kidding. And that is what eternity is, progression, better get used to it now.

My headaches are still there, but I do have moments of relief every now and then. I went and saw Chris Brown—what a cool woman!!! She zoned my feet. For those of you who don’t know what this is, what she did was do certain motions/massages to certain parts of my feet to relieve the pain. Every part of you foot has an accompanying part to you body. The curvature of you inside of your foot matches exactly the curvature of your spine. Every little bumb/muscle/everything is related to another part of your body. So, by adjusting your feet and messing with your feet in a very precise and scientific way, you can adjust that part of the body. It sounds very metaphysical and off the wall, but I believe it. It is pretty cool. And if a part of your foot hurts when she does her thing, then that part of your body is not exactly healthy. So, when she was doing it she told me I have a very healthy body. She didn’t feel any tumors. The only thing that she felt that was off (I thought the shoulders because, I am a missionary) was my thyroid, but she said it was fixable. She worked on my feet and didn’t think that what she did could necessarily help with the headaches. We are going to give it a few more tries, see if it takes me a little bit to get working, but she doesn’t think it will really help. I think there are a few more options out there for me because there are a lot of reasons that a person gets headaches. They include allergies, which would require a doctor’s visit, or even my eye prescription is old and I need to update that. So, along with Chris’ feet help, I am going to see if any doctor can help. It will get better, it has to, and the Lord promised me that it would. I just have to keep playing the guessing game for now. So, do not fear, I am being taken care of. That is one of the cool things about being sent to a state-side mission, you have the luxury of good doctors within a reasonable distance to you.

Sister Miller, my companion, and I are complete opposites. It has proven very difficult for me, very difficult. Because not only are we different, we also think that we are right and so issues arise. But I have come to learn that I just need to love and respect her for who she is and what her talents are. That is difficult as well, but the speed bumps (or speed humps as they call them in Florida) are fewer are farther between. We both are dedicated to the work and we push through our difficulties and get stuff done.

The elder’s in our unit/district have also been very frustratingly frustrating. They are very solid, but I sometimes feel like the sisters get pushed to the side. Plus the ward’s idea of a sister missionary is very different than my idea of a sister missionary so, again, we just get pushed to the side. We have value too. But I learned a valuable lesson. Just because there are not very many General presidencies with women in them does not necessarily mean that the women in the Church are any less. Or just because they only talk once in a great while and not for long, does not mean that what they have to say is less valuable. No, it just means that when I do get the chance to speak I have to choose my words very wisely. So, I must be an Elaine S. Dalton. Her words are to the point and powerful. And she testifies and sustains the priesthood. That is a part of her power. Ok, I can do the same thing. I just need to give these 19-21 year-olds the benefit of the doubt.

So, Hollywood Hills feels like settling the Arizona desert and it needed a change, a big change. Changes like this one do not come overnight. I just have to remember that and move forward. I think that is my motto. Remember who you are and move forward. There is no need to dwell in the past or wallow in the mud of self-doubt. No, pick yourself and move forward, and like we learned yesterday, keep praying because you probably don’t have the whole answer anyway. When I leave here, Hollywood Hills will be different, it will be a little bit more like Zion. And then, someday soon, it will experience tremendous success. I guess I don’t necessarily have to see that success to know that I helped prime that pump.

I have one matter of business that I would like to discuss. There is a package coming, I don’t know when, but it is coming. It has birthday pressies in it for Dustin and Joe. All I ask for in return is a qhole bunch of pictures of those babies and of all y’all. The last group of pictures I got was from at least 3 months ago. Could you help a sister out and send some more please. Also…oh, I forgot what else I was going to say. Which is good because it is time to say goodbye.

Love love love love love—Hermana Barros

oh, i remembered--we should pray and fast for all the members of our family who are not active members of the church and get a copy of the Book of Mormon ready to send to them, when the time is right. Just a thought, but think about it, okay?

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

blackbird singing in the dead of night

Hey you guuuys…

Another transfer in Hollywood is coming my way. I have asked myself the question so many times, why me? Why Hollywood? What am I supposed to learn? Heavenly Father has yet to answer my question, but I keep asking and one day, probably in five years as a young mom, Heavenly Father will let me know exactly why I was put in Hollywood Hills at this time with my companion. I have been having more and more frustrating days, but it will get better. Everyone in the unit feels that a light is coming, o sea, a relief from all of this frustration. I haven’t gotten that confirmation yet, but maybe I am blessed with the Spiritual gift of believing in the testimony of others, at least for now. All I know is that with the priming we have been doing, success is inevitable, one day or another.

The other Sunday one of the sister missionary’s parents came to visit our ward before they left on their cruise. I have been having a hard following this sister because her way of doing everything is so different than my way and the ward just loved her. Trying to fix a broken ward, especially one where the ideals of what a sister missionary is has been skewed has been so difficult. Her little spirit has been following me around and I wonder when her memory will ever fade away or just die from their memories. Then her parents come into town and take over and then there are little parties, for the few and select, to hang out and talk about how amazing this missionary is. I usually want to puke. But, I have come to the firm realization that this is not high school, though it sometimes feels like it, and I just have to keep swimming.

Progress is being made, I just know it because I feel the Spirit, and I wouldn’t be anywhere else, I just wish I could buck up and take a couple of more punches. I just get tired of the no success thing. I do feel a little punch drunk. (This statement always confused me because does it refer to the punch served at the party has been spiked. Or does it mean that I have taken too many punches to the head in the boxing ring and now I am a little off, like that movie with Cary Grant and the crazy guy who once was a great boxer? Oh well, I am sticking with the latter if the two). I feel a little out of whack, what do I do now? This area is sitting quietly, doing nothing, not even purring, and I have tried all of my tricks. And, not that I have written that, I kinda feel like I just got my answer. I should have listened to it yesterday, but I think I finally understand it now. I have worked so hard and I have tried everything I have known. I have tried to do all of this with revelation, but it just is not coming. Then, last night as I lost it because I JUST DON”T KNOW WHAT TO DO in this area which I am going to be in until I figure it out came suddenly. The Lord said this to me “For behold, I do not require at their hands to fight the battles of Zion; for, as I said in a former commandment, even so will I fulfil—I will afight your battles.”

OH. Ok.

Then I remember this experience. Yesterday we taught a Jehovah’s Witness man. Wow, what an experience. By the end of the lesson, which was full of the Spirit testifying, to me at least, the man accepted a Book of Mormon. He then told us, matter-of-factly that he “was not promising to accept the book, {he} was only promising to read it.” I then added that he missed a part of our invitation. I asked if he would pray about it too. “Yes, I will also promise to pray about it.” Ok, then I reminded him to read it with an open heart, or else he would be wasting his time. He got the hint and then told us he would call us when he had finished the whole book. Then his wife turned to us and said that she would love to see us on Saturday if at all possible. It was quite the lesson. We have been teaching a lot more of these lessons full of the Spirit. That has been fun to watch. Go with the Spirit because the Lord is going to be fighting my battles, I don’t need to worry about it, I just need to go and do!

Ok, well this has been quite a cathartic letter for me.

My birthday was so so good. I am sending you pictures of it. The members/investigators did so much to make me feel loved. I did feel loved. Now I am going to go aout and buy some new shoes. And then take a guilt free nap because a nap is something that prepares me for my next week of fighting the good fight.

Thank you so much for everything. Mom—I love the cases. I even like the material.

Love love love love love love love love love love love love

Hna Barros

a picture says... something...

ok, so some explanations--

i had four different cakes. for latins it is customary to have the birthday girl take a bite directly out of the cake, so there are a few of those shots. then there is a picture of my companion and i with yennifer, our cuban investigator/best friend ever. then there is one of yennifer and i saying queso--it doesn't really work, the translation that is. then there is a pisture of me in front of a birthday sign, a picture of me with juanita, a less active not living the law of chastity very frustrating, but very loving woman, and then there is a picture of my aprtment partying it up!!!

hope you like it!

love you,


Thursday, January 21, 2010

What a wonderful world

So, I didn’t get a letter off to you, Kacey, or anyone else for that matter, so I think I will continue on with the things I learned so far in my short time on the mission. These are the things I wish someone would’ve told me before, but I think I wouldn’t have understood until I got here and got out and about the world among the people.

3. Learn to love the scriptures. You probably think you do love the scriptures, especially the Book of Mormon, but let me tell you, you have no idea what it means to love the Book of Mormon until you testify of it every day. One of my favorite lessons we teach is to families, especially recent convert families who have gone inactive or missing in the last 6 months, is just the first verse in the Book of Mormon. The first verse says so much. It talks about the central role of the family, it talks about prophets and the need to have guidance from on high, and it also talks about the need to seek our own personal revelation. It is incredible to think about how Nephi wrote a seemingly little introduction to his words that has such veracity to our days. The Book of Mormon is so true, and if one professes to be Christian than they should not be afraid to open another testament of Jesus Christ and just give it a try. I am reading a blue copy of the Book of Mormon and highlighting all of the references to Jesus Christ and His names and what not all in red. Let me tell you, the Book looks like a severely embarrassed child with the chicken pox it is dripping with so many references to Christ. The Book is sooooooo true. So true!!! I know it to be true. Get to know it now, write it in the fleshy tablets of your heart.

4. Christ-like attributes are not just fun little things that we should try to work on, but a commandment. And if we truly want to be joint-heirs with Christ, we’d better be prepared to be like him and offer up a sacrifice like Abraham was asked to offer. Also, charity is number one. If we truly have charity in all that we do, then everything becomes a little easier. Repentance becomes more frequent and the commandments no longer are a burden, but a huge blessing.

As I get to this point in my letter, I have decided that perhaps you need to know what is going on right now in Ft. Lauderdale. It has been a very difficult transfer. I was sent into a very “sick” ward with some very wrong ideas about missionary work and how a missionary should act. (5. Be exactly obedient. It doesn’t just affect you, but everyone around you and those who will follow after you. Be obedient!!!!) So we have been trying to work as hard as possible to get the ward back on track. Complacency is such a strong way that Satan destroys the elect. It has been very difficult, but we are finally (FINALLY) seeing results. But our numbers have been really low. I was getting really worried and was thinking that I should just be transferred because I have not been doing something right. WRONG—the good things with the richest rewards take time. I finally saw that. We walked into another chapel last night, to teach a lesson to a member referral from the English ward, but the referral only speaks Spanish, and we felt the Spirit was soooo strong, almost like the temple. We came to the realization that what we want to accomplish in Hollywood Hills Ward is totally possible because the ward who meets in that chapel from last night was in our boat just 5 months ago. It just takes time. Change does not occur overnight. Great things are possible, and they are coming, we just have to wait and prime the pump.

How wonderful is the work of the Lord. Going on a mission is not a sacrifice, but a wonderful opportunity to learn how to be a better member of a family and a ward and a better daughter of God. It is so funny. No matter what we offer to the Lord He still gives us blessings. We will always be indebted to Him because He is always willing and ready to bless us. Sometimes it doesn’t feel that way. Sometimes it feels like we are being left alone. Oh no, those are the times when we have to look a little bit harder, or a little bit deeper within ourselves to see the true miracles going on or taking place. That is when the Lord is gearing up, getting ready to show His power. It is like Isaiah said, quoting Christ—brilliant because then Christ quotes Isaiah, one eternal round kind of thing—“They may forget, yet I will not forget thee, O house of Israel.” He never forgets us because He has graven us upon the palms of His hands. His arms of mercy are extended towards us always. I know that. I can’t believe that I actually thought I would be ok without a mission. I can’t believe a lot of things, but I know that mission has caused me to awake and shake off the dust. The Lord is merciful and loving and kind and great and perfect and…the list is endless. But I just want you to know that I love you all. I love my God, and how grateful I am to be here now as a special witness, and selfishly, to gain these priceless experiences. Be good, all of you, so we can be a forever family in every sense of the word.

Love love love,


Ps—sorry for the lecture, but it is my testimony, and that is the best gift I have to offer.

Pps—I gave a talk on Sunday in Spanish. I felt good about it. The Spanish wasn’t the best but the spirit was there, that’s all you really need in a talk anyway. But, I thought you would like to know that.

Love love love,


Monday, January 11, 2010

Come what may

i will love you, until the end of time--

So, though this letter is for you all, I really want to direct it to Kacey, since I know exactly what she is going through and I know what is about to come. I want so badly to call her up and just talk heart to heart, sister to sister, missionary to missionary about everything, but since I can’t, I will tell you the things in this letter that I would tell her on the phone. But, be assured, I will try to get a real, honest to goodness letter out to you as well. But, time flies on p-days, no joke.

1. Companions are hard sometimes. Just love them. Let them into your heart and into your life. One of the best ways to have a good companionship is to give your companion the benefit of the doubt. Do not assume the worst. And most of all, love her. Learn all about her, learn about why she has a testimony, share with her your fears, your joys, you family, your passions, everything you can. The more vulnerable you are, the better you will feel as a companionship, more equally yoked. But also, don’t let her walk all over you. You have equal stewardship over every single one of your areas, don’t let her take over. Be equally yoked. And some of your companions will be stupid and ridiculous or just weird—deal with it. Come what may and love it, especially because you will probably get a new one in 6 weeks (that is one of the reasons why the mission is better than marriage0.

2. IT GETS HARD. Really hard, but that doesn’t matter. Just keep swimming. Just keep praying. Just keep loving. Love is everything. And when you love the children of God, He loves you. He really does.

I ran out of time. There will be a letter in the mail.

Just know this, I know that this is the true and living church of Jesus Christ. It is perfect, and there is a living prophet on the face of the earth right now. You can be ministered to by angels—live worthy of it. Jesus is the Christ, the messiah, the redeemer of the World.

Love the temple and go often. That is one of the things that I miss the most. I miss learning from on high in that sacred place. I plan on being a regular attender, once a week baby, for the rest of my life. Go often with mom. That was and still is one of my most treasured experiences. Love those around you, serve all you see, and remember to always look for the good. People are crazy—love them for it.

Love you so much. I am so proud to have a little sister who had a desire to serve a mission, long before I did and now gets to go out and serve while I am out too. It is worth it. I can’t imagine living a life without these experiences.

Ok—gotta go.

Love love love


if you're going through hell, keep on going

WOW!!! Hollywood. WOW!!! The work gets so daunting sometimes. And sometimes I feel like I am not doing my best or doing what is right because I can’t see the fruits of my labor. Then I have to step back and think about the last time I felt the Spirit, which usually isn’t too long ago. That is the best remedy for that negative way of thinking. And then the Lord sends some sweet little tender mercy, just for my companionship that tells us that “All is well!” So, I pick myself, dust myself off and go back to work, showing Satan that he will not win today. We are working so hard to convert the members. Bishop Ayaviri is so in on this, it is so cool to see how revelation and the priesthood keys work in our lives. Sister miller and I have also been AMT’ing the ward mission leader and missionaries. It is a little on the rough side, but I think they are finally getting what we are trying to teach them. Two quick tender mercies I have seen this week, the buds of fruit I might venture to even call it.

1—We went over to a ward missionary’s house to AMT them on making Sacrament meeting an integral part of our investigator’s lives. Before we even started our message, the hermana stopped us and told us that she needs to go out with us on Tuesday night because we need to go visit one of her neighbors who has yet to hear the gospel. OK—sounds good. Then, we AMT’ed them. The Spirit was so strong. I have learned that our key indicator numbers don’t always mean everything. I have not worked so hard in a transfer with so little numbers. But the Spirit is so strong, I know that we are doing what we are supposed to be doing. WE just keep swimming swimming swimming…then we keep swimming some more. He put me here for a wise purpose, with some of the greatest missionaries ever, I just have to keep going. They never really tell you how hard it really is going to be out in the mission field. But it is hard, and sometimes you really don’t want to get out of bed—but you do and then you see some pretty cool blessings! The Lord is so good.

2—We were out driving last night to our next appointment and I saw this very well dressed man in one of the most ghetto parts of our area. I was shocked and kept looking to see who it was, because it was so terribly odd. Then I realized that it was our ward mission leader going out and visiting one of our investigators who has a baptismal date. He was all alone, but he was out trying his best. He truly is trying his best. And that is one of the biggest lessons I learned this last week. Recognize when someone is trying their best. We are not all on the same level, but we are all trying. When someone is trying their absolute best, that is worth so much more than perfection. Did that make sense? I guess I learned that I need to love people for who they are strengths and weaknesses and then go from there.

Anyway, sorry it is short, hopefully the pictures make up for the rest.

Have a great week!!

Love love love love love

Hermana Barros

Picture time!

picture time--ok, so there are some pictures of the nasty pig that the cuban family was cutting up and preparing for chirstmas. i thought you would enjoy it. Then there is a picture with just me and an elder. ok, stroy time...this elder's name is Elder Hirschi. he was one of my EFY kids. he tells everyone that, so eveyone thinks i am anciant on the mission. so, in response to his propaganda, i tell everyone that he hasn't changed much since he was in high school. but, i do remember that he was one of my favorites because he is so down to earth and so stinkin' funny. then there is a picture of hna martinez and i with elder keeler, the one with the glasses (the one that wanted to sit next me at christmas conference) and elder bacon, who is now my disctrict leader. he, hna miller and i where in hialeah together, now we are in hollywood together. its kinda fun. when he becomes AP, i am going to take over the world.

ok, then there is a picture of me with a member, who we have nicknamed "elder" torsac. he makes us food for after our ZDM's and DDM's. he is a cool old man who just happens to own the most ghetto suits. so, of course i needed a picture. and then there is one of Oswaldo, a recent convert. this kid is crazt and funny. this is a pictue of us reading each other's minds, which he thinks i really can do. anyway--disfruten!!

love, me

We built this city

Hello there my dear loved ones,

It has been another great week in Hollywood. Things have been really difficult for me lately, but the work continues to progress. In the midst of these difficulties I have found an inner strength that I didn’t know existed. I have found that I can do really hard things, seemingly impossible things, and it feels great! Hollywood Hills Ward has had a lot of misinformation placed in them throughout the months/years about what a missionary is supposed to be or what they are supposed to do. One missionary’s motto is “be best friends with the members because most of your investigators will fall.” WHAT!!! Talk about no faith at all in the Atonement. Some of the missionaries worked really hard to be in the in crowd in the ward so that they knew all of the gossip going on. Or some knew how to work the system so that they hang out with the members more. As Elder Oaks says “No more hanging out!!”It is hard breaking those false preconceptions and notions and to remind them of their responsibilities as members of Christ’s true church. Of course they don’t want a missionary in their ward who won’t drop everything so that they can hang out with you. Of course they don’t want to work hard.

It is a tremendous task with very little external successes, but we know that with our efforts here and now, some missionary somewhere will reap tremendous success in the way of baptisms and retention will never be a problem for them. But, getting to that point is arduous and slow moving. One experience that really pinpoints this inner change happened on Saturday night. This last week we have been really working with our ward mission leader, trying to get him to catch the vision of true Christ-like missionary work. He caught on, like a moth to the flame, but apparently he got too close to the flame because he burned out really quickly and told us that he didn’t have time to find rides for our many investigators. I parked the car (my companion was on the phone as I was driving, and when he said this she looked at me, with the blankest stare, and asked what she should say to him). So I parked the car, took the phone, and walked outside pacing around the car. I think I even punded the outside of the car a bit. I was sooooooooooooo frustrated with that little man from Columbia. So I told him what I thought. Now, for those of you who don’t know me, I really don’t let loose on people very often. Oh, but I did. Another side note, don’t criticize Hna. Barros’ missionary skills, especially when she has a headache the size of the Grand Canyon because she will not just lay there, oh no no no!! It was a very liberating experience for me. Then, one of our investigators (who I was inspired to call after that) told us that she had just made empanadas and we should come over and eat them. This same investigator had dropped us the day before, but I guess not. We talked about the temple a little bit more and then she just up and said that she wanted to be married in the temple. Perfect, you need to be baptized first. She said that she also wanted to do her family history. What a tender mercy. The night before I had cried when I thought that she had dropped us, but really she just had to work a few things out first. The Lord is so mindful of us all.

My companion is amazing. She helps me with everything, and since we are so young we both lift and carry the other throughout everything. We are equally yoked, something that feels amazing. We even drive around in our car “discussing the doctrines of the kingdom” because we do not have time to waste on frivolous/worldly things. We seek revelation and repent diligently, for that truly is a sign of a diligent servant, and that is what we want to become.

The work is progressing, we are actually teaching a lot of families, which I absolutely love, they just require a little bit more time, something I am not used to, but am finding it enjoyable when compared to teaching single men, especially as sister missionaries—blah, and sometimes a huge waste of time, double blah.

And we have been teaching a lot of Cubans. I love Cubans. Everyone needs to meet and become friend with at least one Cuban. There is nothing better. It is funny when people think I am from Cuba because I am so pale with a “Hispanic” apallido. They always ask me where I am from. Cuba? No, just Portugal and Europe. They then ask the age old question, how would you say your name in an American accent. My answer –BEATS ME.

It was so great talking to you all. I hope the babies love their dolphins. And that mom puts that flamingo up in her car; hanging on the rearview mirror (it is to remind you of all of our conversations in the car as I tried parking at BYU. Happy New Year!! We are going to a Cuban’s New Year, which will prove to be interesting because, let’s be honest, if anyone knows how to party, it is a Cuban. We even get to help clean and dress the dead pig—yum. Good times are coming.

Have a great week,

And love love love love you

Hna. Barros

be [my] guest, be my guest, put our service to the test!

as most of you know, last week was transfers. i stayed in my area but also had another area merge into mine. so, where there was once two companionships, there now is only one. What a great week we have had here in Hollywood!!! there have been a lot of changes in this barrio. there used to be 9 missionaries here, only three of them stayed and three new ones came in. one of the ap's came and is jr. companion to our new District leader, Elder Bacon. Elder Bacon and I served in Hialeah 2 transfers ago. He and i are the same mission age. he and i are great freidns. he really respects me for who i am and what kind of missionary i am and he is so stinkin' hilarious. he and elder isom, the old AP are revelatory giants. they try so hard to always receive direction from the Lord. They have also inspired me to do the same. I have been given a great companion. In the last 5 days we have had some truly revelatory experiences. I don't know why i was chosen to be here among the noble and great ones, but i am so glad i am. but, not only are they great and so inspired, i feel like i am one of them and that i truly do belong among these giants. so, i guess i just answered my own question. i am here so that i can learn and grow and i can help others. This group here,!!! noble and great. AND we are all on the same page!! we have been talking about things and then someone will say something and i will say YES, i've wanted to do that from day one here in Hollywood. YES!!! we all want to change things around, wake up this flojo barrio, and we are all willing to work to see it it happen. our first change was to get rid of dinner appointments. here is the reasoning behind it. We are not allowed to eat in a members' home without an investigator. well, those latin mamas who just want to feed the poor missionaries as their service to the missionary effort have started making us food and then giving it to usin plasticos. drives us nuts because we have to dr0op everything to go and pick up the food that they probably couldn't afford anyway. i don't...the food thing was getting way out of hand. plus the missionaries before have tried to be buddy-buddy witht the members, but let's be honest...that does not build trust. trust comes when a missionary works hard and has Christ like love and a true desire to serve the Lord. the members have gotten lazy and we need to wake them up. this has done it. this whole experience has opened my eyes. i worth is not based on how many people in the ward love me, or if i am in the popular crowd or not, or if i know everything that is going on in the ward. NOO!!! My purpose is to invite others to come unto Christ, member or non member alike. I don't have time to waste on getting in weith the in crowd. please, i am not in high school. so, this week we have had to painstakingly dismantle the unrighteous traditions of the missionaries from the past. it has been rough. some members are so mad at us, we even made one member cry (not because of the food thing only, but because she isn't even living some of the basic commandments). Please, all who are within the sound of my voice--keep the commandments. Wickedness never was happiness!! NEVER!!! oh, and the law of Chastity is called a law for a very good, brilliant perfect reason. it keeps you from destroying yourself.

I love my companion. She is so strong. She tries so hard to listen to the Spirit and say the things that need to be said to those who we are teaching. and then she says it. she is so bold, i just sometimes sit and listen to her teach and think that one day i might be half as bold as her. then she will turn to me, after the lesson, and say that she loved how i taught with the Spirit. I didn't even know, but when she says that, it all makes sense. it is so wonderful to work with the Spirit and to say the things Christ would say. We don't have time to beat around the bush. we have been roommates ever since she entered the mission field, since septemeber. now we are companions. because we have had so much time together we don't have to play the stupid get-to-know you game that every companionship needs to play befopre truly becoing successful. we just get to move forward.

We have been studying the scriptures int he car, discussing the doctrines of the gospel as we have any spare time. we have learned so much. we will learn something in our companionship study, then when we get together as a unit, someone from another companionship will pull out a scripture, saying that they learned that principle/doctrine today and then share the same exact thing we had studied too. I love revelation like that. and then, when you taste of the fruit of revelation then you don't know how you ever lived without it, nor do you want to live without it. and we MUST be diligent!!! which i have come to believe is repenting constantly and making sure that your life is truly in line with the Father's and make corrections as soon as possible and whenever possible. so, that is our companionship goal, to be diligent in all things, all things. all things.

we just had lunch with our unit. and we all just sat around discussing the things that we need to do to have faith, repent...all those things that are essential to our eternal well being. it was such a great conversation, especially with baleadas (the food from the goods via honduras). at one point i just felt this imense love for everyone sitting at the table. then one of the elders stated "i love you all so much! Everyone is so willing to work hard and work with the Spirit. That is what true unity is." He said eveything that i was feeling right then too. it was so cool. my heart has truly been changed and i feel love for so many people. itis so overwhelming, especially when they slam the door in my face or make fun of me, but i really do love so many people.

oh, we had Christmas Conf. this last weekend. I was put in charge of the music. i was so glad it was over. it was too stressful for me. but, after the conference we got this really cool meal and every missionary was there. anyway, i say next to elder ball from my MTC district. then all of my favorite people came and sat down at the same table. it was so amazing. i felt so much love. one elder even pushed his way in between an elder and myself because he wanted to talk to me and see how my new area was going. it was so cool. that is what the celestial kingdom is going to be like. after a long hard job we'll all get to rest for a bit and see and talk with all of those we work alongside and those we have truly come to love. so, for christmas, i want to invite us all to be worthy to sit at my Celestial kingdom table because i love you all so much and there is no other family i would rather be with and eat dinner and discuss the mysteries of the universe (which won't be mysteries anymore) than those who have the last name BARROS, for the time being. whoever else gets this email, you too are cordially invited.

with that, i sign out.

merry christmas-

talk to you later

love love love love love love love love love


oh, so the song choice is dedicated to my celestial kingdom dinner party and also to dustin--a big shout out to no longer being at the OG. put that service to the test suckahs!!!

love ya