Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Ramona - Week #26 - October 29, 2013

Consecrati​on, hope, love for loving people
Mi familia amada!
I loved this week. President Clayton's wife invited all of the missionaries to read, "Becoming a Consecrated Missionary" and then apply it. I invite all of you to read that talk, it's intense! And it doesn't just apply to missionaries, it applies to every member. Becoming consecrated is such a process, but is so possible. I've been setting small goals to help me get there. I've learned so much this past week to just enjoy every moment--every chance to love someone, every chance to learn something, every chance to serve someone, every difficult trial to overcome. Time is just going by too fast to take any moment for granted here. I don't even want to say this but it's already been 6 months... Dad stop praying for the time to fly! Haha.
I had to give a talk on hope in District Meeting the other day. Hope is such a deep word. Man, I love hope. Hope is what has gotten me and what gets me through everything. Having the opportunity to give people hope is one of those things that just melts my heart. I don't know if it's just part of wearing the plaque or if this part of me has been uncovered more on the mission, but my heart has been so sensitive to people--their feelings, their situations, everything. I'm so much more emotional, it's embarrassing! Haha. I feel like I've been able to love and understand people more in the way that Christ would. Yeah okay it's definitely not me. Haha but I don't want this gift to go away when I come home! I have a love for loving people. It's amazing how much God can expand our hearts as missionaries. I love this work.
3 of our investigators, Lupe, Estrella, and Oscar have a baptismal date for November 23! Pray that Satan leaves them alone. Haha I'll keep you updated on them. One of the members in our branch got his mission call to the Utah Salt Lake City West mission! Speaking Spanish! Wahoo! Everyone was totally making jokes that he'd get sent to Utah and it totally happened. Mwuahaha. Keep a look out for an Elder Cesar Chavez, he'll be coming in with a boom at the end of December! Shout out to Debbie Byrne who enters the MTC tomorrow! Wahoo!! Brazil is not going to know what hit them! Happy Halloween this week! Love you! 
Hermanita Barnes
1. Check out that sunset!! Ramona has some of the coolest sunsets in the world!
2. If this isn't a cowboy town, I don't know what is.


Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Ramona - Week #25 - October 22, 2013

I felt the 'influenza​' of the Holy Ghost yesterday.​..

Hola familia!
It's been a crazy week! Guess what? I got the 24 hour flu yesterday... no bueno. I definitely felt the 'influenza' of... something opposite of the Holy Ghost. I still felt the Holy Ghost though. Haha we had to stay in all day yesterday, it was the worst!! I wanted to go out and work especially because we had appointments, but I was forced to stay in by my district leader, the mission nurse, and the mission president. Haha I didn't win. It was probably best too because it got worse and I probably would've gotten everyone sick... that would've been bad. My advice: don't get sick on your mission! It's bad news. I'm good now, no worries parents.
My new companion is so wonderful!!! I love her so much. Her name is Hermana Contreras. She is a Mormon Batallion sister too! (Every Mormon Batallion sister gets the chance to be a full-proselyting sister for 2 transfers) So it's been a learning experience for her to not be serving at the Mormon Batallion. AND to be serving in Ramona! Haha she did NOT see that coming. She was born in Mexico, but grew up in LA. It'll be good to get some extra help on my Spanish :) She's so stinkin' cute though! And guess what?! She's shorter than me... SHORTER!! That happens once in a blue moon. She's been out almost a year and I am so excited to serve with her...  she rocks. It's also crazy because the first night I got here in San Diego I slept at the Mormon Batallion and it was in Hermana Contreras' apartment! It was meant to be that we'd be companions some day :) I wasn't expecting to get her as my companion now though because everyone had been telling me that I would be training but there haven't been any new Spanish-speaking sisters come in the past 3 transfers! So I guess I might train when there are Spanish-speaking sisters.
We've witnessed quite a few changes of heart in some of our investigators the past few days, it's been AMAZING!! One of our investigators, Isidro, that dropped us a couple weeks ago, basically told us the other day that he wants to keep learning. WHAT?! Sweet. That rocks. Also, Rita's husband who is very closed off and says stuff like, "I'm Catholic and I'm going to be Catholic until the day I die" told us the other day to pray for him and he might change his mind and join this church... WHAT?!?! Haha so funny/awesome. I love seeing miracles. Go look for miracles this week! They're everywhere!
Hermanita Barnes
1. My new companion! (I don't have any good pictures of the two of us yet... stay tuned)
2. We carved pumpkins last week on p-day!
3. Hermana Hughes, me and part of Pablo Rodriguez's family! She had to say good-bye :(
4. Hermana Hughes, me, and the ward mission leader and his wife (I missed the memo that we were smiling for the picture, apparently)
5. Me and part of the Mendez family



Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Ramona - Week #24 - October 15, 2013


What a maravillosa week! PABLO. GOT. BAPTIZED!!! Wahoo!!! It was such a beautiful and powerful baptism! Man, I didn't know it was possible to be this happy for another human being!! Haha I love Pablo so much. He is going to be a stellar member. He bore his testimony after he was baptized, and it seemed like he had already been a member for years. He has such a solid testimony. The picture doesn't show it very well, but he was beaming with joy that whole day (It's pretty rare to see a Hispanic person smiling in pictures) It was so touching to see the instant countenance change. This Gospel is true! I wish you all could have been there! Hermana Hughes and I got to sing/play a couple of special musical numbers too. His confirmation at church the next day was so powerful. One of the branch presidency members confirmed him and told us that the spirit was telling him that God has huge plans for Pablo. I believe it!
Well, we just got the news of transfers and... I'm staying in Ramona!!!! Yeehaw!! This is such a blessed little cowboy town. But, Hermana Hughes is leaving :( We're both so sad. We have grown to be the best of friends, basically hermanas (Wait, or were we already hermanas separated at birth? People ask us if we're twins 5 times a day). I'm sure going to miss her a whole ton. We've seen so many miracles together out here in Ramona and learned SO much from each other, it's insane. She has changed my life. But, it's all about the prepared souls, not the missionaries, and God needs us in different places for different people at different times.
Well, thanks for all the love and prayers for my investigators! If you're going to pray, pray for them :) Love you!
Hermanita Barnes 
1. Pablo's baptism!
2. Dysfunctional zone picture at zone meeting
3. Rockin' our raincoats in the biggest rain storm EVER in Ramona! We almost broke a mission rule by accidentally swimming in the streets, sheesh!

Monday, October 14, 2013

Ramona - Week #24 - October 14, 2013

Last weekend, a family, the Aquiars, from Bri's ward came up for General Conference.  They had dinner with us on their way back home.  I am so grateful for the Aquiars and families like them that take such great care of our missionaries. Hermano Aquiar today sent me these two videos.  If you miss Bri's piano and singing you will love these videos of two Spanish hymns her and Hermana Hughes are practicing for their upcoming baptisms.


O My Father

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Ramona - Week #23 - October 8, 2013

General Conference, exchange, Pablito!

Mi familia!
What a stellar week! General Conference always makes the week stellar, right? I absolutely LOVED conference this year! It's amazing how almost every meeting, whether it be Stake Conference, General Conference, firesides, or sacrament meetings, so many of the talks are centered on missionary work, specifically member missionary work now. AHHH!! So sweet. Is this as awesome to you guys at home as it is to us missionaries out in the field?! Man the Lord sure is hastening His work. A really cool theme I caught from conference this weekend is that every weakness, every trial, every commandment, everything that we receive from the Lord, is just another opportunity for the Lord to use His power to strengthen us and send us blessings. So don't allow the imperfections of life to weigh you down... just use your agency to become more perfect through Jesus Christ every day! 
Pablo had his baptismal interview last week and passed with flying colors! Wahoo! Keep praying for him! I'll keep you updated!
I went on an exchange with a sister serving in Santee and it was sweet! Our Spanish is probably on the same level and it was my first time taking over my area without Hna. Hughes so that was a little scary, but the Lord seriously works miracles with his imperfect children. We added 4 investigators and taught 7 lessons that day! My testimony of the fact that God is in the details of this work and in our lives increases every single day that I'm here. Man I love being a missionary. I can't say that enough.
Well, I sure do love you all. Tengan una maravillosa semana!
Hermana Barnes
Picture: Me on Hope street, the world famous mailbox street in Ramona! 

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Ramona - Week #22 - October 1, 2013

We almost left the mission this week! Oops...

I don't have much time to write today, so excuse my typing mistakes or confusing sentences. We are going to the Hospital to visit one of the members in our branch up in La Jolla. She just had major surgery on her stomach this week. She has cancer in her stomach so they had to remove most of her stomach... so sad. She is going through chemotherapy this week as well.  Along with that, their son who just put in his mission papers just broke his collar bone and has to get surgery next week! His mission will probably be delayed. :( They don't have insurance, so their whole life savings will be gone after next week. But they are such a strong family though! They have been through so much, and have kept strong in their faith in the Lord through it all. Anyway, a lot of miracles this week!
--Pablo, the one I talked about last time, miraculously came to church last Sunday! That means, he can get baptized next week!!! Wahoo! Please pray for him!
--We did a ton of service at a pumpkin patch in town... crazy fun! They let us take pumpkin home the size of me and my companion COMBINED!! We are going to carve it out and sleep inside. I'll send a couple pictures.
--Cool miracle of the week: A few days ago, the Spirit prompted us both that we should explore a part of our area that we had never worked before. (our area is pretty big, mostly wide open space for farming) So we started driving down this super long and windy road for what seemed like an hour. It was so beautiful though. There were so many times we wanted to turn back because of the far distance we had gone, but the Spirit kept saying, "No! Keep going!" So, we kept going and finally Hermana Hughes was like, "Stop! Pull over!" She didn't even know why she said it. So I pulled over in front of this old dairy farm... super random. We sat there for a few seconds, not really knowing what to do next, and all of a sudden, a Hispanic family walked out in front of our car... MIRACLE!! Haha it was crazy awesome!! We started talking to them and they told us to come back and also gave us 3 referrals! We have started teaching some of them and are seeing a lot of potential so far. So cool. We found out that these families are on the very edge of our area and the whole San Diego Mission!! Haha if we had gone any further, we would have been in the Carlsbad Mission. Coincidence? I think NOT!! Yeah, cool stuff.
Well, that's all folks, gotta go! Muchisimas gracias por todo lo que hacen. Les quiero tantisimo!!
Hermana Barnes