Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Ramona - Week #17 - August 27, 2013

Do I really have to turn 20?

Loved this week. First, we had MTE's (Missionary Training Experience) where we focused on asking for referrals, getting people to pray in the moment, using the Book of Mormon, and street contacting. So for a whole day, we had a sister trainer on an exchange with us and we did all those things hard core all day! Hard to explain but I only have like 10 more minutes on email so I'll leave it at that. It was SUPER awesome though.
Marisol and her family are getting baptized on Satuday!!! AHH!!! I am so incredibly excited and happy for this family. So many miracles have happened with this family and I wish I had time to just tell you everything. Please pray for them though because Satan is really shooting some fiery darts their way... it's driving us nuts! On Sunday, Marisol was super sick, and she still came to church with her husband and all the kids. Solid!
Last night, we had the coolest two hours. We taught 4 lessons and added 5 new investigators! All in two hours. It was super cool. And we prayed with two people who were swimming in a pool... It could've been weird, but these people were totally receptive and are now new investigators. So cool. We also had a special training for all Spanish-speaking missionaries yesterday. It was super cool and we learned more about how to be polite and strengthen trust between us as the missionaries and the hispanic community. Guess what the number one key is to building the most trust? FOOD!! Of course. So far I've done a pretty dang good job at building trust then. God has given me the gift of an expandable stomach. Haha get ready to see me 20 lbs heavier in a year and two months ;)
Well, I don't have anymore time, but I love you all! Tengan un buena semana!! Next time you hear from me I won't be a teenager anymore :( ...well, only technically ;)
Mucho amor,
Hermana Barnes
Picture: Me, Hermana Hughes, and the coolest AP's ever!

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Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Ramona - Week #16 - August 20, 2013

Hola mi familia!
This week is Senior Week! It's week 11 in my training (there are 12 weeks total) and I am basically the "senior companion" this week. So I take the lead on all planning and teaching opportunities... agh! Scary. My companion is basically acting as a little greeny. Oh that little greeny, I love her so much.
Guess what? I got to go on an exchange with my MTC companion the other day! What are the odds of that? Like a one percent chance. Can you imagine both of us, little greeny trainees, running around the streets of Poway? It was awesome though! That definitely got us out of our comfort zones being on our own. The Lord definitely blessed us though. I understood and was able to speak in Spanish a lot better than usual! And she was too.  It was a pretty big test of our faith.
MIRACLES are continuing to happen with our investigators!! Pablo, one of our investigators that usually has to work every Sunday, came to church on Sunday!! His baptismal date is September 28 and he is probably the most prepared person to get baptized I have ever met. Wow. He has so much faith and is making so many changes in his life, it's incredible. Marisol and her family came to church on Sunday again and their baptismal date is August 31! (what better way to celebrate my birthday than with a baptism?!) They've  been to church 4 times, but now the husband just needs to come one more time so they can get baptized. Please pray for them!
The other day at a lesson with this same family, Marisol and Jose were telling us that before we found them and started teaching them, they were about to separate and get a divorce. And ever since we started teaching them, they said their relationship has gotten stronger and their whole family is more united. We were all in tears! It was incredible! That was just another testimony to me that the Gospel really does work miracles in families if you live it. We all know that. So... LIVE THE GOSPEL.
Hermana Barnes 

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Ramona - Week #15 - August 13, 2013

BEANS, bears, battle star galatica!

First of all, you're not going to believe this...  I'M STARTING TO ENJOY BEANS... I NEVER THOUGHT THIS WOULD HAPPEN.  EVER. The first month or so being out here, I had gotten very creative in avoiding eating beans as much as possible, using my napkin or extra chips to hide the evidence that I didn't finish my beans, sometimes my companion would even help me out and finish them when no one was looking. Finally, I gave in and decided I would eat all of the beans on my plate no matter how excruciatingly painful it was. I even prayed that I would enjoy them... (I already know I'm pathetic) And guess what?! My prayer was answered!!! I can now say I can stand beans. It's a miracle. I don't know if you really understand the real extent of this miracle, but just know that God is quick to succor his missionaries. Hahaha.
Second of all... I got spanked by a 98 year old woman this week... the people are sassy out here! I love them.
So, Marisol and her family are still progressing very well.  We had to move their baptism to next Saturday because of different things that have come up (dang Satan) but I know they will get baptized. They are so prepared! We had an FHE with them last night at a members house and it was such a success! They even said at the end, "Next time, we want to have the FHE at our house and we'll invite people!" It was super cool. This family is incredible. I say that every week. Even the little 10 year old girl, Valerie, has been marking in her scriptures and has been reading to her little brothers out of the Book of Mormon. She probably has the strongest testimony out of all of them. She said that all of the good changes in her home have been because of the Holy Ghost. Siiip!
We had another President's Musical Fireside on Sunday. These things are so popular in this mission, the whole place was packed with members, missionaries, and investigators. We sang in the choir again but our investigators didn't come this time because it was in English.  But Hermana Hughes and I are still planning to do a special musical number for the next one with another Sister who is 6'3" and played on the U 0f U volleyball team. She's one of the sister training leaders and one of our best friends. Can you imagine that trio? Haha but Hermana Hughes and I have been praying for ways to use our talents to serve and now we 4 special musical numbers coming up! President's fireside, Marisol's family's baptism, one of the members of the branch presidency wrote a song and wants me to write music for it and perform it (haha I love Mexican people), and then the missionaries have to sing a song in sacrament meeting next week. What an answer to a pray that was! Pray for opportunities to use your talents and they will come!
Les quiero tanto!
Hermana Barnes

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Ramona - Week #14 - August 6, 2013

Shook Elder Ballard's hand this week!

Hola mi familia bonita!
This week was AWESOME!! First of all... ELDER BALLARD CAME!!! And it was amazing. I even got to shake his hand! Oh man. I wish I would have brought all my notes from the meeting with me to share with you, but I didn't. But WOW. He is definitely an apostle of God. The theme of the mission conference was basically "Do more, because your Father sent you" (3 Nephi 27:13) All of the missionaries in San Diego have been on fire since he came. He challenged every missionary to contact at least 10 new people a day, so 20 per companionship. That's a lot! But Hermana Hughes and I have been doing it. We have been talking and walking (and chasing people down) so much this week. It's been awesome. We're dead tired all the time but it's so great at the same time. Our hard work is truly paying off.
So we had zone meeting yesterday that re-emphasized everything Elder Ballard said about doing more and contacting 20 people daily. After the meeting, my district went to Wendy's and all of us as companionships basically contacted every single person there! Haha it was so cool. That's what I call immediate application.
We have 6 baptisms planned for this month now! And 4 of those are happening on August 17 (11 days... eek!!) Marisol and her family are so ready to be baptized. We ate dinner at their house a few days ago, and they told us that they've been praying and reading the Book of Mormon every day, and that God has answered their prayers, that they know they need to get baptized. It was such a powerful night. I wish you could watch this family's progression and conversion like I am, it's incredible. They have changed so much the past 5 weeks. Es muy bonito!
Pablo, one of our investigators that has a baptismal date for August 31, came with us on an awesome hike today! For P-day today, my district hiked a mountain called Mount Woodson. It was beautiful and super fun/steep/mildly dangerous. My legs are on fire! Pablo isn't in the picture I sent because you can't see anyone in the picture with him in it. But I will send a picture of him at his baptism :)
Well I gotta go, but I love you all! Thank you so much for your love and prayers! Les quiero tantisimo!
Con mucho amor,
Hermana Barnes
P.S. Here is the address to send everything to throughout my whole mission:
Hermana Brianna Barnes
California San Diego Mission
7404 Armstrong Place
San Diego, CA 92111

Mount Woodson