Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Santee - Week #77 - October 21, 2014

This is the Work that never ends!

Hola familia!

This week was so awesome! MILAGROS. Keep praying for the Gonzalez-Ambriz! They are so excited for their baptisms! These kids are going to change the world and already are. We've started doing missionary role-plays (practices) with them and they are already sharing the Gospel with their friends! 

My favorite quote from 10-year-old Arthur:

"The other day, I was talking to two of my friends, one of them was Catholic and the other one didn't have a church. I asked them if they've heard of Mormons and they told me that going to church wasn't cool. Then I started talking to them about God and then they changed their minds." 

What a great privilege we all have to invite and help people to "change their minds" and hearts by helping them understand how to access the Atonement of Jesus Christ. I love this Work with all my heart. The great part about it is that it is the Work that never ends! I love my Savior, I know His Atonement is real, and I know that He lives! His Gospel and Priesthood have been restored through a prophet Joseph Smith who translated the Book of Mormon so that we could be happy and return to live with Him, Heavenly Father, and our families for eternity! I love you!!

Hermana Barnes

Las fotos:
1) At the Mission President's fireside with the Leon Family, two of our recent converts from Ramona with their parents who are preparing for baptism! Their family is going to be together forever!
2) I love Hermana Fairbourn!
3) "I think I found one!" This is how we find new and prepared people to teach. They are everywhere if you just open your eyes and mouths! 

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Santee - Week #76 - October 14, 2014

AAHHHHHH!!! The field is WHITE. Part 2

Hola familia!
I have no time but are you ready for this?...
CHAYLA IS GETTING BAPTIZED WITH ARTHUR AND CASSANDRA (Lulu) ON OCT. 25!!!!! AHH!! Prayer is so real and powerful! After so many months, Chayla finally said, "I think I'm ready now. I want to get baptized!!" Mayra burst into tears when she heard Chayla say it. She was crying throughout her whole prayer of gratitude at the end of the lesson, which then in turn made us all cry. I love this family with all my heart. So many tears of joy. This family is one of the greatest change-of-heart miracles I've seen my whole mission. Don't stop your prayin'!
This week was so awesome but I'm out of time! I love missionary work! And I sure love you!! Please go be a blessing to someone else! Have a wonderful week!
Hermana Barnes

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Santee - Week #75 - October 7, 2014

AAHHHH!!!! The field is WHITE.

Hola familia!

I'm going to skip the chit-chat and tell you that...


Okay, here is the run-down story: Thursday night, Hermana Fairbourn and I felt really strongly after 6 months of trying to get the Gonzalez-Ambriz family with a baptismal date, that we should get at least Arthur on board to get baptized because he has literally been begging. After desperately praying in the car on the way to a last minute set up appointment, we were able to set him with a date! The spirit definitely guided that lesson. It was such a miracle!! We were hoping also that it might help motivate the others.
--THEN, just yesterday, we received a call that Lulu got permission from her dad to get baptized!!! After weeks of praying and fasting as a family, her dad said YES!!! We were screaming for joy at the news. It is hard to describe the extent of the miracle but, ahh man it was amazing! AHHH!! Sorry I'm screaming so much in this email. Miracles really do happen when you don't stop praying. Just don't stop praying, ever.

Also, Chayla, the oldest daughter, is so close to accepting a baptismal date! We have a lot of faith that she will. Also, Mayra told us last night that she is ready to get married and she is just waiting for Arturo to propose! She really wants him to get baptized so they can get sealed in the temple. This family is literally SO close, it's literally killing us! Haha it's so amazing to see so much progress!! Ahh! I love missionary work and the Atonement!

District miracle: After an inspired district meeting about the Book of Mormon, a member from the branch invited all of us to eat at an Asian Buffet for dinner. Our hostess take us to our table, asks what kind of missionaries we are, and then runs and grabs something. She then returns and slams down the Book of Mormon in Chinese on the table! She asks us if we could teach her all about the book. We taught her right there, using the things we learned in district meeting, and then she gave us all of her information, including facebook info and email address. We invited her to conference and she accepted. She is so excited to learn more from the Mandarin Chinese missionaries! How SWEET is that?! It was so cool to see our district all come together to help this one lil' lady.

Wasn't General Conference awesome? I loved so many talks, especially Elder Bednar's and the one General Authority who laid it down and told us not to make excuses and take responsibility for all our actions to increase spiritual confidence. I love it when people are bold. Conference was so perfect for so many of our investigators. I love how the Spirit works that way. Julian even came to conference in his white shirt and tie! Another miracle.

I've had a huge realization the past few months. Sometimes, God doesn't allow you to feel too confident in something or else you would become complacent and stunt your growth. I am so grateful for that. I don't think I've ever felt so inadequate in my life! It's a blessing. Just don't get discouraged if you're not constantly seeing progress in yourself. God will give you sneak peaks here and there, but just always strive to be better because every single good choice you make gets you closer to becoming like Christ whether you realize it or not.

I love you!!
Hermana Barnes

Las fotos:
1) The 4 sisters about to fall off a cliff.
2) Snake charmers on Potato chip rock. A super sweet hike our whole zone went on today for P-day. Bring on the soreness!
3) Les quiero a los Hermanos Lopez! These two are like everyone's grandparents in the branch. They take care of us. 

Santee - Week #74 - September 30, 2014

I'll just bap-a-tize myself!

Hola familia!
Another cool week!
We had exchanges in Chula Vista this week and I got to be a bike sister for a day! It was awesome! I was with a new missionary in training and it was cool to see her stop her bike at even the most inconvenient street contacts. She knows her purpose!
I'm sure you've heard about the new film, "Meet the Mormons" coming out next weekend. Well, all the missionaries in our mission got to watch it with our mission president! How weird is that?! I felt worldly for a minute, but it was really good! You should all check it out and see it next week. There are many invitations by General Authorities to invite everyone to go see it to show the world that Mormons are actually normal people! I think you'd all like it.
Update on the Gonzalez-Ambriz: We had a lesson with them the other night about the temple and eternal families, and here are some priceless quotes from the kids:
Arthur (10 yrs. old): "I love the temple because even though we just got to go inside the lobby, I felt like God was walking with me." Who is this kid?! 
Cassandra (8 yrs. old): "Mom, can I please just get baptized? I want to go inside the temple so bad!!" Cassandra is the one that has to get permission from her biological father before she can get baptized. Here is what she said, "Why do I have to get permission from dad if this is MY decision and this is something that I need and really want to do?"
Arthur again: "If dad won't bap-a-tize me, I will just bap-a-tize myself!"
Hahaha these kids are the most ready and prepared kids I have taught my whole mission. We are pretty much just waiting to hear back from the parents on both sides and they will most likely be able to be baptized soon! Please keep praying for this family! Your prayers are really making a difference!
Hermana Fairbourn and I have been seeing miracle after miracle and finding more and more people to teach. We met a girl named Areli who was a member-referral from Laura in our branch. The first thing she asked us before we could even say anything after we introduced ourselves was, "So I heard about general conference and it sounds so cool! Are you ladies going to the conference this weekend?" She is super solid and super excited to learn. Those referrals we get from members really are gifts wrapped up with a bow on top. I love you members.
I love you. One more thing. Keep reading in the Book of Mormon every day! Don't ever underestimate the power of that book and how much it can bring you closer to Christ. It is so true.
Hermana Barnes

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Santee - Week #73 - September 23, 2014

Miracles and Boxers

Hola familia!
We had a super cool week.
One of the big miracles we had was the Gonzalez-Ambriz family again. Every week they get closer and closer, even if it is only small baby steps. We were talking about setting goals and having a vision. We asked each family member what one of their goals was. Mayra, the mother, had been saying these past months that she wanted to get married in at least a year but when we asked her during this lesson she said, "Arturo (boyfriend) is holding me back from accomplishing a goal I have to be sealed in the temple. He just won't propose!" We were shocked. It was a miracle and we have been praying so hard that Arturo will change his heart and have a greater desire to get married and baptized. Keep on prayin'!
Julian is continuing to progress! We had a sweet visit with him last night and Uriel, a recently returned-missionary in the branch. Julian has had a hard time wrapping his mind around prayer and the Godhead. We showed him a powerful mormon message about finding God and then Uriel bore powerful testimony about his past experiences and Julian's heart totally changed! It was so cool to hear him say he has a greater desire to pray, read, and go to church. Uriel is the perfect friend for him. Missionaries really can't do this work without the members' help.
Funny miracle: We knocked on a random door yesterday and a big hispanic guy answered the door in his boxers! Haha! He was more embarrassed than we were but we were still able to teach him for a couple minutes and add him as a new investigator! He is also very interested! He told us he found a Book of Mormon and has been reading it! WHAT?! Miracle! Haha we walked away from that laughing our heads off. Only the prepared people will let you teach them in their boxers. Hahaha. 
Hermana Fairbourn and I have noticed that God is showing us every single tiny little weakness that we have. It's been hard but really cool at the same time (as weird as that sounds)! We have had to set a lot of goals and just go back to the basics with everything. We never thought we'd have to still work on some of these things towards the end of our missions but it has just shown us that God loves us enough to help us overcome even the smallest lil' things. I love this work.
I sure love you. I'm so grateful for you. Have a wonderful week!
Hermana Barnes
Las fotos:

1) Our zone at Zone Conference! I gave my first parting testimony... it was the most out-of-body experience I've had in a long time. I have at least 5 more of those to go.

2) Hermana Fairbourn, me, and some members at the mission president's fireside. The lady right next to me (Areli) and the guy right in front of me (Emelio) are two of our recent converts that we taught in Ramona! They are so solid!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Santee - Week #72 - September 16, 2014


Hola familia!
It's official, we just got the news that Hermana Fairbourn and I will be staying together here in Santee! We will both most likely finish here. We literally jumped for joy again. Wahoo!!!
This week was sweet.
--Went on exchanges down in Calexico again! I have so much respect for the missionaries serving down there in that heat every single day. It is literally a desert.
--Got to be part of the event staff and man a booth at a big emergency fair down in Jamul (country town 30 minutes away from Santee). We were the Spanish representatives. That Sunday, we got to go back down to Jamul to teach the young women there and answer their questions about missionary work. It is so cool to see the young women with that fire as they prepare to serve. I love it! Even if they don't end up serving a mission, the best thing any young woman can do is prepare themselves as if they were. We have been working closely with the ward down there to find the hispanic people down there. There was a lady that speaks Spanish that is interested in meeting with us this week!
--Went on exchanges in City Heights. All their appointments fell through, so the other sister and I spent a lot of the day street contacting in the hot 105 degree weather. Everyone has been saying that San Diego has never been this hot and that it's super abnormal. Second coming?
--Gonzalez-Ambriz are progressing poco a poco! We had a super awesome lesson with them at the temple again and they expressed that their family goal is to get sealed in the temple and they all want to get baptized. Keep praying that they will be able to overcome all their money issues. Also, please pray that Mayra's ex-husband will have a softened heart and allow one of the kids, Lulu, to get baptized. They are also praying really hard for that!
--Julian Arellano is progressing so well! He told us this week that he had never felt ready to learn when the missionaries would come to teach his dad the lessons before his dad's baptism, but that he finally felt ready when we met him at the restaurant. It's cool to see that many prepared people really do recognize when they are ready. Some don't quite know it until they find themselves accepting a baptismal date. Haha it's cool to see people change. It's the coolest thing in the world. Watching the Atonement change people in even the smallest degrees is a miracle to me.
I love you! Go change something!
Hermana Barnes
Las fotos:

1) Temple

2) Last p-day, the Gonzalez-Ambriz met us after our session at the temple and then we drove up to the most beautiful viewpoint in San Diego! You can see it all! I spy with my lil' eye... the temple!

3) Zone meeting. Hna. Fairbourn used her magic art skills and made us all bookmarks with our favorite Book of Mormon or Bible story. She's a saint.

4) You can't really tell, but that pizza is as bigger than both of us! Two party sized New York Giant pizzas can almost feed our zone full of Elders.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Santee - Week #71 - September 9, 2014

It's all inspired!

I hope you're enjoying the nice weather over there. It's been 105-110 degrees and humid this week here in the Santee-El Cajon area! The perfect, year-round 75-degree San Diego weather is only found in the movies!
Super cool miracle: The Gonzalez-Ambriz family told us that last week, they were really struggling with money and even paying their rent. They didn't know what was going to happen and whether they'd be able to make it to church. Then they said, "We decided to put our faith to the test and go to church." In tears, they told us that the very next day, they somehow received the perfect amount of money to pay the rent. Then they said, "We knew it was because you hermanas told us that we were going to be blessed if we showed our faith and went to church." It was so cool!! Our lil' hearts melted a lil' bit. Their faith is increasing so much. Pray that things work out and that they will be able to get married. If they don't get married, the kids will most likely still get baptized. It will happen! We are putting our faith to the test! Haha.
We have been adding some awesome new people to teach this week! We found a cute lil' family yesterday, and the mom, Christina, said to us, "I've been searching for a church to bring my family to. I want to bring my kids to your church." Well, c'mon then, let's go! I love families.
We had an awesome Mission Leadership Council up at the SDSU Institute buildling this week. We were instructed by two General Authorities, Elder Brent Nielson and Elder Saben. It was incredible. The Spirit in that room was out of this world. They talked a lot about what it means to be a good leader and the main idea was that good leaders ACT and are not acted upon. We can't wait until "they" do something because WE are the "they" that must act. It was super cool. Elder Nielson asked each one of us what we felt the mission did well and the challenges of the mission. It was a very inspired and powerful discussion as he pointed to each of us and I could definitely feel that these men were General Authorities. Everything about the church is inspired of God. If it wasn't, it wouldn't be so true.
Well, I love you. Be good!
Hermana Barnes
Las fotos:

1) Part of our zone at the USS Midway Museum last p-day! We are all wannabe fighter pilots. The Sister missionaries have to wear normal clothes to this museum because we climb up so many ladders to each of the different parts of the ship.

2) In front of the big military ship. If you turned this 60,000 ton ship sideways, it would be twice as tall as the tallest sky-scraper in San Diego. So sweet!