Tuesday, May 28, 2013

MTC - Week #4 - May 28, 2013

Week 4 down??
Hola familia!
I'm already done with week 4? Month 1? What?! I only have one more p-day after this at the MTC!  The concept of time at the MTC, and probably on a mission in general, is totally warped.  It's crazy.  Anyway, this week was absolutely wonderful.  It sounds like it was a good week for everyone else as well.  Thanks for the package with everything I needed! You are gems.
Well, I did sealings at the temple for the first time this week (p-day last week) and it was such a beautiful experience. The temple is the most beautiful place in the world! I absolutely love it.  The next day a General Authority, Elder Stephen Allen, came in to observe my class and that was way cool.  He is the managing director of the missionary department so he had a lot of good things to say. And it turned out that he was the Sunday Devotional speaker this week as well! So it was really cool to meet and shake his hand one day and then listen and watch him speak to the whole MTC a few days later! He is a powerful speaker. He had prepared a lot of different things to show us a speak to us about, but then he had a strong impression that he shouldn't share anything he prepared, so his whole talk was just him going off of the spirit and it was awesome because it was exactly what we all needed to hear. Man, I love General Authorities.  They are all spiritual GIANTS.  It was also good to have the spirit really strong so we could be prepared to watch President Monson's wife's funeral. My heart goes out to the Prophet and his family. Don't forget to keep him and his family in your prayers! 
My companion, Hermana Nielsen, and I are rocking it here at the MTC! Haha, we have committed 3 investigators to baptism this week! That's 3 more than I anticipated for this week so that was super exciting. And let me tell you, it was not easy at all.  Sheesh, some investigators have a lot to sacrifice in order to get baptized.  We definitely couldn't do anything without the spirit though... I'm learning that more and more every day.  When I don't have the spirit, I definitely can't speak and understand Spanish as well. It's neat but really weird to have such a strong contrast.  Something really cool that one of my teachers said was that all of the trials and experiences we've gone through before our mission prepared us to teach the exact people we are going to teach in San Diego or whatever mission we are sent to.  The experiences that we've had prepared us to be able to relate to the people and help very specific people.  Our trials were not for nothing, they were to help us grow and be prepared to bring others to Christ as Christ's angels.  How cool is that?! I feel like I get spiritually inspired every 5 minutes here at the MTC.  This is such a special place. 
Another thing I've learned this month? Exact obedience is to success. Literally. I'm sure you've heard the quote, "Obedience brings blessings. Exact obedience brings miracles." It's so true.  Even if I go to bed one minute late, it makes a huge difference the next day. Being exactly obedient is being Christ like when it all comes down to it.  And it's actually more fun than not being exactly obedient because it's a challenge.  Some mornings, me and my companion and the other hermanas in my district find ourselves sprinting to our classroom or sprinting to the light switch at night right before 10:30 so that we are exactly on time. If people saw us they would probably think we were freaks, but we made it a goal to be exactly obedient so... challenge accepted. :)
So our musical number in Sacrament Meeting on Sunday went really well! We conquered our fears!  We sang, "Nearer My God to Thee" and we sang part of it acapella.  I know you all have kept telling me that I need to sing more and share my talents so I finally listened to you.  Haha it was good though, I don't know why I was so scared before. I'm singing in sacrament meeting again with my whole district this time in two more Sundays since it will be our last Sunday here. Can you believe that?! I can't. Two weeks from today I will be in SAN DIEGO!! WAHOO!!  I will miss my district and my zone a lot though.  Did I ever mention that we are Branch 1 District A? I don't know if you'll understand how crazy it is until you realize that there are hundreds of districts and almost 100 branches, and out of all of those we are district 1A!! Pretty cool I thought.  Sign?... probably not. Haha.  
Well, I love you all dearly and I will continue to pray for you every day! I hope you have an awesome week this week.  Love you!!  Nos vemos!
Cone amor de CCM,
Hermana Barnes 
 Do you recognize anyone? :) Me, Hermana Jensen, and Hermana Leishman! 
Me and my companion are super fuerte


Me and all the awesome hermanas in my zone! 

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

MTC - Week #3 - May 21, 2013

3 down, 3 to go!

Hola mi familia bonita y amigos bonitos!
Wow, this week has FLOWN by! So many things happened in such a short time.  First of all, thank you so much for all the packages this week!! You guys are the best!! I loved the package with the lotions and all of the cards from the kids.  And you were right, Carter's was my favorite ;) I don't have the Woods' email address or home address, but please tell them I LOVED the cupcakes they sent! They were divine. Tell them thank you so much for me.  Kelsi Jensen also sent me some delicious chocolate popcorn and she's actually reporting to the MTC tomorrow so I will see her pretty soon!  But yeah, I probably gained like 10 pounds from all the love I received in the mail this week.  Thank you again, I seriously appreciate it so much! 
Let's see... oh yeah! Russell M. Nelson spoke at the devotional this week, it was so wonderful!! The first thing he said was, "I bring greetings from the Prophet, Thomas S. Monson, to each and every one of you missionaries." I got major chills when he said that. We were truly in the presence of an apostle of God.  He talked a little bit about missionary work and it made me that much more excited to get out to the field!  I still absolutely love it at the MTC though, much more than I thought I would.  Every day is a new learning experience and I feel my testimony growing way more than I expected.  It's so awesome! Another lady that came and spoke said something that really hit me... "You need to answer 'yes' to your mission call every day when you wake up. It's a new commitment that you continually need to put forth your best effort in every day." Something to think about that applies to all members, not just full-time missionaries.
Let's see, I got called as the Music Coordinator in my branch which I was super excited about. I've been playing the piano every week for sacrament meeting, it's the best. I also get to play the piano for all the musical numbers.  This coming Sunday, my companion and I are singing a duet for the special musical number in sacrament meeting.  This will be the closest both my companion and I have come to singing a solo in front of everyone but we're actually really excited! We are going to sing part of the song in Spanish so we'll see how it goes. We haven't decided exactly which song yet, but it'll be good for us to both conquer our fears. And no dad, you can't come ;)  Oh I've loved seeing the Mansfields every Sunday, they are so wonderful.  It's crazy how many people I see that I know!  I see Sister Hannah Lutz, Sister Rachel Leishman, Sister Kindia Du Plessis, and a bunch of other friends from BYU like 5 times a day! It's great! And I used to see Sister Justina Quezada every day because her classroom was right down the hall from mine but she left to Arcadia California this week. I'll send some pictures of some of the people I've been seeing.
Hermana Nielsen and I taught our second investigator for the first time this week and... we committed him to baptism already!! Wahoo! It was such a neat experience.  We still have a lot to teach him, but we fulfilled our purpose by inviting him! It's weird how much a fake investigator can really come to life and become so real.  We pray for our two investigators every day and each time we pray for them our love increases.  I can't wait to see what it'll be like to have real investigators out in the field.  The Spanish language is really starting to come.  It's amazing to see how much progress I've made these past three weeks.  I definitely couldn't do this without the Lord on my side though... for real.  One of the members of the MTC presidency said at the beginning, "If you focus on learning the language of the Spirit first, the rest of the language will come." So in reality, speaking Spanish is the last priority here at the MTC.  It's so awesome to see how much the spirit helps you speak the language. We just need to keep focusing on what's most important, truly understanding the doctrines.  The Spirit is the best teacher EVER.
Well, I still love my companion and my district... and my zone! The oldest district left this morning and it was so hard to say good-bye. It's crazy how close you can get to people in such a short amount of time. We are with them pretty much all day every day, but I haven't gotten sick of them yet! Haha. I hope you are all still doing well. It sounds like it from what I hear! Congratulations on finding a house! It's beautiful too, sheesh! I want to see more pictures! Physical pictures are great because then I actually have time to look at them since we don't have much time on email. But I love hearing about how you're all doing! I love you and pray for you every day.  I know that this is the Lord's work and I am so blessed to have this opportunity to serve Him.  Well I love you all so much!  Tell Madi that I love her more than a chocolate ocean.  Have an absolutely marvelous week!
Con amor de CCM,
Hermana Barnes



Tuesday, May 14, 2013

MTC - Week #2 - May 14, 2013

Hola familia y amigos!
Como estas?!  It's hard to believe that I've already been here for two weeks.  I am still really enjoying my time at the MTC.  The Spirit I have felt here is INCREDIBLE. I can't even express in words how it feels to be here. But I love it!!  I don't even know where to start... Oh yeah, so for Relief Society this week, Janice Kapp Perry came and spoke to us and it was so awesome!! She's the one who wrote a ton of primary songs and hymns. (I Love to See the Temple, Love is Spoken Here, Child's Prayer, As Sisters in Zion, I'm Trying to Be Like Jesus, etc.)  The whole relief society (all sister missionaries at the MTC) stood up and sang a lot of her songs together, and literally not one sister was left in that room without tears in her eyes. It was extremely powerful, especially when we sang a new verse to "As Sisters in Zion" that she wrote about missionary work. If you get the chance, look up the words to the new verse in that song.
Aside from the spiritual high I've gotten this week, I've also had to learn a lot of patience. Sometimes it would be nice to be fluent in Spanish... actually all of the time. I took advantage of the time I was able to speak English... haha. But my Spanish really is coming slowly.  I'm actually surprised at how much I can speak the language already... I still have many mountains of Spanish to learn though, don't get too excited. Spanish is so fun though! Especially when the Spirit helps you out, so pretty much in every lesson that me and my companion teach.  We have two "investigators" right now that we are teaching, one from Chile and one from Dominican Republic (our investigators are our teachers who are acting like one of their investigators from their own missions). The Spirit is such a cool thing. My testimony grows stronger EVERY DAY.
Anyway, I still love my companion and the other Hermanas in my district. They're all super awesome!! I'll send some pictures with this email so you can see. We are inseparable (by choice and by obedience ;) But in all seriousness, we have way too much fun together.  We've been playing a lot of volleyball AND beach volleyball during gym time with our zone. Gym time is the BEST!!!! It keeps us all sane.  Haha well a ton has happened this week but for some reason I can't remember everything so you'll have to stay in tune until next week!! I  LOVE YOU ALL SO MUCH!!! THANK YOU FOR EVERYTHING!!
Hermana Barnes
P.S. Don't forget about DearElder! It's way easier than writing letters and better than email (look it up on google, it's the greatest invention) Love you!


Tuesday, May 7, 2013

MTC - First Letter - May 7, 2013

Hola family!
First let me just say...  I LOVE BEING A MISSIONARY!! It is so wonderful. It is definitely not easy at all, but I can already feel my testimony and love for the Gospel growing every day that I'm here.  My companion's name is Hermana Nielsen and she is SO awesome!  I'm pretty sure I have the best companion ever... seriously. We both tell each other every day how blessed we are to have each other. We get along really well and we are both going to San Diego! So I have a feeling we were meant to be good friends for life.  We both love playing sports and being active, so that's been a lot of fun during gym time especially.  She is from Payson and she is the girlfriend of Elder Tarin's roommate and soccer teammate, Peter, from college! It's such a small Mormon world.  Anyway, it's been a great week so far and I have already learned so much.
So, me and Hermana Nielsen have already taught 3 lessons in Spanish!!  Probably the coolest experience I've ever had with the Spirit.  Both of us hardly know any Spanish, but we decided to just take our scriptures and nothing else into the lessons and have faith that we would be able to teach and understand our "investigator."And we did! It was quite the experience.  We have both left the lessons in tears because of the Spirit we felt, even though we didn't really know exactly what we were saying or what our investigator, Fransisco, was saying. We got him to commit to read the Book of Mormon and to pray out loud.  When he prayed, the spirit was incredibly strong and we all felt it.  The MTC is such a special place. I love it here.  In general, the language it starting to come slowly.  At least I can say I can pray and bear my testimony in Spanish!  I'm learning more and more every day.
Let's see, what else.  It's true what people say, that the days feel like weeks and the weeks feel like a day because I can't believe it's already been almost a week.  I feel like I had so many things to say and now I can't remember because there have been so many different things that have happened!  The food is actually not bad so far. I mean, it's only been a week but I don't think I will get sick of it for at least another week. Haha.  My teacher, Hermano Zenger, is absolutely incredible.  He served a mission in Puerto Rico and is going to BYU.  He brings the spirit every day, even if we're just learning about verbs and conjugations, it's really cool.  He is hilarious and my whole district has learned so much from him already.
Well, I hope all is going well.  It sounds like it from the emails and letters.  Thank you all!  DearElder is probably better than email at this point because we don't have much time on email but we have a lot of time to write letters. So feel free to use DearElder instead of email for at least the next 5 weeks or so.  I love you all and I am so grateful for all of the support.  I am doing really well and I am loving every minute of being a missionary.  I love this Gospel and I am so excited to keep learning and growing so that I can better serve those in San Diego.  Thanks again for your love! Have a great week!!
Con amor de MTC,
Hermana Barnes

MTC - First Picture - May 5, 2013

My in-laws, the Mansfields are serving in an MTC branch presidency. 
Look who they ran into on Sunday. :)
Bri's companion, Sister Nielsen, Bri and Sister Mansfield  

Sister Barnes - May 1, 2013

The setting apart.

The Good-byes across the street at the Provo Temple
Hermana Barnes

There she goes!