Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Santee - Week #56 - May 27, 2014

MTE Season

Adventure week. It's MTE season. AHH! MTE stands for Missionary Training Exchange/Experience. Meaning: Each zone or a group of zones at a time get a jam-packed training from the mission president in the morning and then they go and apply it like crazy for the next 24 hours with a coach, making each companionship a trio. The AP's, Zone Leaders, and Sister Training Leaders are the coaches for all the zone's MTE's. So Sister Hess and I went on loads of exchanges this week! The coolest thing about MTE's is that you see TONS of miracles because everyone is focused on working super hard to apply all the principles learned.

--Got to be a coach down in Ramona!! We saw miracles for dayzzz. A few pictures attached.

--Coaching in City Heights: Went street contacting like crazy for a few hours in Downtown San Diego on Friday to promote the Real Book of Mormon. The Book of Mormon musical is coming to San Diego so there are a lot of promotions going on with our mission and the Carlsbad Mission to promote the real Book of Mormon. It's way neat to see the church take the high road.

--Didn't get a ton of time to work in our area this week due to all the MTE exchanges, but it has been really awesome to see that Heavenly Father still took care of our investigators and our area. We were able to get one of our investigators, Lyanne, with a baptismal date! Please pray for her. She has two little kids and is struggling. Her circumstances make it really hard for her to get to church but she has the faith that things will work out if she does what Heavenly Father needs her to do.
Well, I don't have much time to email today, but I hope you all had a wonderful Memorial Day weekend! I have been so grateful to the soliders who fought for our freedom, especially the freedom to be a missionary and just to live the Gospel in general. We are so blessed. Always remember that.
Love you!! 

Hermana Barnes
1) MTE in Ramona with Hermanas Pendleton and Gallagher. LOVE these hermanas. Hna. Gallagher felt a little left out because she's a foot taller than me and Hna. Pendleton... haha. Welcome to beautiful Bandy Canyon, cowboy town. I am still in love with this place.

2) Finally got a picture with the famous Ramona sign!

3) The first two hermanitas gueritas (little white blonde sisters) reunited for a minute! Hermana Hughes and I both got to be coaches down in Ramona. Hermana Aguiar is hilarious.

4) Crazy cool district. The coolest.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Santee - Week #55 - May 20, 2014

Hola familia!
I decided that bullet-point formatted emails are the way to go. None of this extra flowery fluffy stuff. So. Here we go.
--Miracle #1: We went to go contact a Spanish referral the other day. The woman opened the door and kindly invited us in because of the heat. Right as she shut the door, she immediately started slamming us down and telling us that everything we believed in was wrong and that the Book of Mormon was false and all this crazy stuff. She was COMPLETELY anti-Mormon. You could see Satan in her eyes, it was insanely real. We felt like we were on the front line of a battle with the adversary. We calmly testified and got out of there as fast as possible. It's those moments where you realize how strong your testimony and love for the Book of Mormon really is and how much you've been changed on your mission. As we walked away, we both turned to each other and said, "Well, my testimony of the Book of Mormon just SKY-ROCKETED, thank you very much."  Later that day, we had the most powerful lesson about the Book of Mormon to the Gonzalez family who has had a hard time believing in the Book of Mormon. Because we had that experience with the Anti-Mormon lady earlier that day, we were prepared with our geared-up testimonies to be able to speak with the power of the spirit and touch their hearts. It was SO COOL. I love being able to see the detailed preparations Heavenly Fathers places perfectly in our paths every single day.
--Miracle #2: We had a lesson with a member in the branch, Hermana Genesta, who hasn't ever given us a referral before. We sat down and Sister Hess asked her, "If you were a full-time missionary, what would be your favorite thing to teach to everyone?" Then she went off about her conversion story and talked about how she would love to tell everyone how happy she is because of the Gospel. We told her she could share that with anyone and helped her understand the importance of even just inviting, not necessarily teaching. Then she said, "Hermanas, I think I'm going to call my friend and invite her to church now." It was so cool! First referral! A lot of members are afraid to do missionary work because they feel like they need to know everything and do everything the full-time missionaries do. But even just a simple invitation can change someone's world.
--Miracle #3: On Sunday, we did a special musical number in the Mission President's fireside down in Chula Vista. Sister Hess and Elder Dingman sang, with me at the piano. (The words to "There is a Green Hill Far Away" with the music of "If You Could Hie to Kolob" with some different medley mash-ups). A companionship of missionaries serving in Logan Heights brought their investigator to the fireside, and right after the musical number we performed, that investigator turned to the missionaries and said they felt the spirit so strong and that they wanted to be baptized! WHAT?! NO WAY!!! Ladies and gentlemen, THAT is why we have Mission President Firesides. THAT is what music can do. The Spirit is real!  

I love you mucho! Cuidense mucho!

Hermana Barnes
1) Went on an exchange in Calexico again for MTE's (Missionary Training Experience/Exchange) with Sister Jones and Sister Squire! I love those crazy cool sisters. Amazing missionaries right there.

2) Part of the Silva Family in Calexico (Sister Hess' favorite family when she served there).

3) President Clayton doing an object lesson with his Anesthesiology equipment at MTE's. It was probably the coolest object lesson I've ever seen.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Santee - Week #54 - May 13, 2014

Drop and find boys, drop and find.

Hola familia!

It was so good to talk to you all on Mother's Day! Even if it was only a short amount of time, it was great. Is it just me, or is every single person's voice getting lower as time goes on? How low can it go? Sheesh!
Crazy week this week:

--I got to go back to RAMONA this week!!!! We went on exchanges. LOVED it! I had some crazy flashbacks while we were there, but it was super fun to see all the awesome work that has been done since I left. The members are still on fire!
 --Right after the exchange, Sister Hess and I had to rush back and teach part of Zone Meeting again. It went well!
--Then the next day, we went on another exchange in City Heights. I LOVED it as well! It was so fun and different to work in the city for a day because I'm used to small towns like Ramona and Santee. There are people EVERYWHERE so it was fun to meet so many on the streets. It takes all kinds of people to make a world... that's for sure. One of my favorite parts of missionary work is just meeting so many diverse people every day. San Diego is a melting pot. Everyone has their own story, and if you just ask, they usually tell you. I love this culture.

Keep praying for our area and our investigators. We have been dropping a lot of investigators lately and are looking forward to a miraculous-finding week this week. Before my mission, I thought "dropping investigators" was a rare, sad occasion. But in order to find and focus on the most prepared, you need to drop and find, drop and find. If you always prayerfully drop investigators, they will have another opportunity when they're ready to progress, whether it be in this life or in the Spirit World. Heavenly Father prepared all the work we're doing looooong before we got here. So all is well!

The Gonzalez are still doing well, they have been out of town though. They also need your prayers.
I can't believe it's already been a transfer being with Sister Hess with this cool calling. Time is flying by way too fast. I say that every week. A few of the things I've gained a greater testimony of this transfer:

--The mission is just preparing you to be a missionary for the rest of eternity.

--The mission is helping you learn how to really love people.

--Many missionaries fear going home because they're afraid they won't be as close to the spirit as they were on their missions. It's false! If you expect your relationships with Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost to be even stronger after your mission, they can be! We have the choice.

I love you! Keep praying for those missionary opportunities!

Hermana Barnes
Potato rock mountains. Welcome back to Ramona!

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Santee - Week #53 - May 6, 2014

ELDER BALLARD is comin' to town!

Hola familia!

Elder Ballard came to town!!! Did you watch the CES fireside? It was broadcast from San Diego, from the very church building we have most of our meetings! Super cool! Yesterday, we had a special Mission Conference where he spoke to all of the missionaries again, just like last year. It was AMAAAAZIIING. You could definitely feel the power and presence of an Apostle in the room. The biggest theme of the conference was, "Get over yourself, give your will to God's, and be happy!" It was such a powerful conference. It was the best Cinco de Mayo I've ever had. Some of my favorite quotes from the conference:

--"You're never happier than you are grateful." It's true!

--"In the spirit world, all of us members of the church are going to be doing missionary work. So why are we waiting 'til we die to do the work? LET'S JUST DO IT NOW AND BE GOOD AT IT!" Amen. Go Elder Ballard.

A lil' something I'll never forget: I was asked to play the piano for the conference. Do you know what this means? I got to play the piano for an Apostle of God!! I was humbled a lil' bit. Siblings: Don't quit piano!

Super awesome miracle: The Gonzalez family came to church AGAIN!!! They had even been out of town for the weekend and drove straight to church from their drive home. That's a new level of dedication I didn't know they had. SO COOL!!

One of the most touching moments of my mission: We had a lesson with their family just a few days before, and the 9-year-old son, Arturo, said, "Every time I pray, it feels like Heavenly Father is sitting next to me, and then I just smile." Then he turned to his dad, basically pleading, "Dad, can I please just get baptized?" How PRECIOUS is this little boy?! Haha that is what I call real desire. What he said sounds like something we need to help every investigator to want to say, or at least to feel. Little children are such good examples. We really do need to become as little children.

Oh snap, I almost forgot I'll be calling on Sunday for Mother's Day! Talk to you then! Happy Mother's Day on Sunday to all you wonderful mothers out there! Love you!!!

Hermana Barnes

1) Me, Sister Hess, and the coolest AP's in town at Mission Leadership Council
2) I ate a whole half of a chocolate molten lava cake from Chili's on my year mark! The year mark is a sad day, so chocolate was the answer.
3) I may or may not be a foot taller than Hermana Santillan... cutest lil' lady on the planet.
4) Birthday celebration at the Gonzalez!