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?