Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Chula Vista - Week #35 - Dec 31, 2013

Feliz Navidad y Año Nuevo!!

Semana loca! I loved talking to you lovely people on Christmas!! It was fun to hear about all the good changes happening, including hearing the changes of puberty from some of you, sheesh! Blew my mind! Haha Christmas here was wonderful. After we talked to you, we all went to our bishop's house and opened the packages from our families. Then we went to a Veteran's hospital and sang to the residents. It was probably one of the most touching experiences I have ever had to see their faces light up as we sang the Christmas hymns. There is so much power in music, especially on Christmas to people who don't have many loved ones near by. All of us missionaries scattered and talked to the residents one on one for a little while after that. So much love in that hospital on Christmas.

After that, we visited a few of our investigators who didn't have family around.  I have never felt the true spirit of Christmas so strong in my life. This Christmas was a Christmas I will never forget. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE Christmas with the family. But a Christmas as a missionary is such a unique, spiritual experience to be able to totally forget about yourself and serve others.

We've got a few investigators on baptismal date right now. The Sanchez are going through a rough patch so their baptism will be postponed for a little while. But please, please, PLEASE pray for them, that they'll be able to overcome the temptations and obstacles that Satan keeps putting in their way. Also pray for Manuel! He is super solid and so excited and ready for his baptism on Jan. 11. Siga fuerte Manuel, siga fuerte!

All of the missionaries taught the 5th Sunday lesson to the entire ward on Sunday, super cool! We talked all about doing member missionary work, and after the meeting, several of the members came up to us and asked when we can go visit their friends with them. YEEEAAHH!! That's what I call instant application!

I hope you all have a wonderful New Years! What are your goals for this year? All of the missionaries have to be in by 7:00 p.m. tonight to ring in the new year by doing a long study assignment given by President Clayton... Wahoo!! I'll try not to party too crazy! Feliz Año Nuevo! Love you!

Hermana Barnes

1) My district and a little girl that played the piano for us at the Veteran's hospital! (this picture is from my artsy district leader's camera, hence the black and white)

2) Manuel! Coolest Cuban ever!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Chula Vista - Week #33 - Dec 17, 2013

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas... or should I say springtime...

Hola familia!
More miracles! They just keep coming!! I love missionary work. I wish I could just tell you everything. So the Sanchez family are progressing so well, it's insane. They act like they're already members, it's so cool. They've come to church every week along with all the activities and they're even feeding us tonight. We had a lesson with them last night and they asked us, "Can you sisters come over every day? We really want be as prepared as possible for our baptism because it's coming up!" We were planning on telling them that we needed to come over every day anyway but they were just one step ahead of us. So solid.
Manual is another one of our super solid investigators. We had a lesson with him last night as well and the first things he said to us was, "Hermanas, I read the chapter you assigned me, and then I loved it so much that I read the next chapter. Then I read it again."  What?! Haha I have never witnessed such prepared people in my life! We invited him to a baptismal date and he prayed about it right on the spot and then accepted it. He is so awesome, he's this super intelligent 54-year-old Cuban guy that has traveled all over the world! His family lives back in Cuba. But this guy knows how to dance! We had our ward Christmas party this past Saturday, and he came and showed everyone down! It was so cool! I'l try to send a video. But he told us that right when he walked in the church building and saw the painting of Jesus Christ, he thought to himself, "This is my place!!" Haha so prepared. So solid.
Randon stuff this week:
--I got to go on exchanges with Hermana Hughes last week!! It was quite the reunion! It was cool to see each other's progress since we were companions two transfers ago. We saw a lot of cool miracles with her investigators. Loving investigators and everyone is the most important and most effective way to be a missionary. Hands down.
--We went Christmas caroling to some of the members' non-member friends last night and it was so powerful! So many of them cried! Spreading the gospel through music around Christmas is the best!!
--The weather has been so perfect lately! Last week it felt like Utah but this week it feels more like Spring or Summer. Try not to get too much frostbite up and Utah and I'll try not to get too sunburnt down here in Chula!
During this week, I want you all to imagine yourselves being present at the birth of Jesus Christ. What gift would you have given him? What would you give him this Christmas? My amazing companion asked this question to a less-active family in our ward and they committed to coming to church one time before the year is over as their gift to Jesus Christ. So cool and powerful! So I just want you to think about what you want to give Him for Christmas this year. Maybe more time? More service to others? Jesus Christ lives! I love you all!
Hermana Barnes
1) My awesome companion and I.
1) My awesome district at the ward Christmas party!
2) Some people leftover after the dancing showdown (no missionaries allowed). Manual is the tall guy in blue in the back'

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Chula Vista - Week #32 - Dec 10, 2013

There can be miracles when you believe!!

WHAT. A. WEEK. Oh man! I don't even know where to start. Things are getting lit on fire down here in Chula Vista!!! Even though it is much colder than you all think... sometimes it feels like good ol' Utah. So we had been struggling the last couple weeks to find new solid investigators so we started praying very specifically that we would find the people that God had prepared to receive the Gospel at this time. Ready for this? 
Miracle #1: We contacted the Sanchez family last week and they are so solid!! They came to church on Sunday and participated in all the classes. They accepted a baptismal date last night for Dec. 28!! Wahoo!!
Miracle #2: The Casto Family are friends of a member in the ward, and they've come to church twice and they participate in all the classes as well. I totally thought they were members at first. Wait for it...
Miracle #3: The Enrique family. We contacted Alberto Enrique and this is basically how the conversation went:
Alberto: "Is there a way I can get a Book of Mormon?"
Us: "Yes, Alberto, yes there is."
Alberto: "Okay great, I need to learn more. Can you hermanas teach me what I need to know?"
Us: "Yes, Alberto. Yes we can." 
Alberto: "Perfect. Also, I need to go to church. Do you have a church nearby that I can come to?"
Us: "Yes, Alberto, yes!!"
Ahh!! WHAT?!?! We have an appointment with him tomorrow and I am stoked! Haha I've got a lot of hope for this family.
Miracle #4: Manual! Oh man, basically the same scenario as Miracle #3. Where are all these prepared souls coming from?! Prayer is so real, people. Coolest week EVER!!
Love you all! Que tengan una buena semana!
Hermana Barnes
1) Mi componera Hermana McBride y yo
2) Our ugly sweater family district photo on p-day!
3) We got to take some investigators to see the temple lights! So beautiful and spiritual! I'll send more pictures later


Thursday, December 5, 2013

Chula Vista - Week #31 - Dec 3, 2013

Lupe and Estreya's baptism!!, Guess where I got transferre​d..., Thanksgivi​ng, and other great stuff

Hola familia!
Lupe and Estreya got baptized on Saturday!! Happiest day ever!! They were both so happy. Just watching Lupe's face when her daughter was getting baptized was priceless. I love the happiness the Gospel brings to families. It's been so amazing to see them grow. Whenever Estreya gets in trouble, she reads from the Book of Mormon. That is her punishment but... she told us she secretly enjoys reading it so maybe Lupe should change punishments and take The Book of Mormon away from her instead... Haha.
I'm in... Chula Vista baby!! Wahoo!! It is 100% different from Ramona but I love it! I'm serving in the exact area that "The District" was filmed, how cool is that? We are even teaching one of the investigators from The District, Ofelia! She's the lady the sister missionaries were teaching and gave a church tour to. You'll have to watch it. She's so awesome! She's been investigating the church for a couple years and has been dropped and picked up again and again over the years. She has so much potential but has problems commiting because of her husband, it's tough. But she is going to get baptized this transfer, I can feel it :) My new companion's name is Hermana McBride, she rocks! She's from Holiday, Utah and has been out a little longer than I have. We graduated the same year. The area we're serving in is super cool, one part of our area is super duper rich and the other part is super duper poor. We're 10 minutes from the border and the ocean. There are so many awesome/crazy people here it's great!
It sounds like Thanksgiving was wonderful for you all! I hope you ate a lot of extra turkey and pie for me! I know you're all wondering what Thanksgiving was like for me so here you go. We ate at a member's house, The Gallegos, for Thanksgiving. It was great. Definitely not normal, but still good. We had fettucine alfredo, little bit of turkey, potato salad, and Flan... haha too good. Gotta love Mexican Thanksgivings! I was surprised we didn't have tacos. Maybe for Christmas with the Tamales. That night, my district went and Christmas-caroled to the people waiting in line for black Friday at the mall and gave out millions of pass-along cards and tried to teach the Gospel! It was actually pretty successful.
Well, I sure had a lot of gratitude on Thanksgiving for you guys and the fact that we have the Gospel. I love you all so much and I hope you have a wonderful week full of miracles!
D&C 78:19
Hermana Barnes
1. Lupe and Estreya's baptism! Cutest mother and a daughter ever.
2. Thanksgiving at the Gallegos! Hermana McBride was pretty hungry
3: I wish I could take you all to meet this investigator, Maria. She's from Spain and she is the most insane lady I have ever met! I love her so much! Just imagine the craziest, funniest, sweetest, oldest Spaniard grandma that you would see in the movies and that's Maria. Please remind me to tell you stories about her when I get home.