Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Santee - Week #65 - July 29, 2014


Hola familia!
Wasn't I was just barely at the computer writing to you? Sheesh, the time is slipping right from under my fingers. AHHH!! Make it stop! My companion, Hermana Hess, goes home in exactly a week. I am going to miss her so much. These past three transfers we've had together have been crazy awesome. We have seen so many awesome miracles worked here in Santee.
People have been asking us this a lot lately (and then Hermana Hess gave a talk on it): "Why are missionaries so happy?" Because they have front row seats to the biggest miracle of all--Watching the Atonement change people. That's why I'm constantly excited and talking about the Gonzalez-Ambriz family. They are constantly changing and it is incredible. Watching people change, no matter how small the changes are, makes me so happy. The Atonement is real.
I love what Elder Solis' said in his general email: "When you're a missionary, you feel like Superman (or Superwoman) every single day. You have an unrestricted desire to find those who are suffering and who are praying to come closer to Christ. You literally wake up and think to yourself, "Whose life can I change today? Whose life can I change by providing them with loving service? Whose life can I change with my beautiful smile?"
There's that 'change' word again. Change brings happiness! Go make someone happy today! Love you!
Hermana Barnes
Las fotos:
1) We went back in time about 200 years at the Mormon Batallion! We finally got to take the Gonzalez-Ambriz (minus Arturo) and they LOVED it.
2) Just look at that temple.
3) Now take a look at that lil' miss sassy pants in the front. She reminds me so much of Madi. This is la familia Buenrostro, super solid members in the branch who have been members for less than a year. The mom, Berta, is on the left of me and is one of our progressing investigators. Keep praying for her!
4) District picture at the temple

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Santee - Week #64 - July 22, 2014

MontaƱas de exchanges, Music fiasco, Innocent children.

Hola familia!
Crazy week. We don't have much time because we are headed to the temple today! Wahoo! But I'll give you a quick glimpse of the week:
--We went on montaƱas de exchanges this week! It was awesome. I'm about to collapse. First one in City Heights, then one in Calexico in 115 degree weather, and then one here in Santee with another sister from City Heights. I love those sisters.
--It has been a week of musical numbers! Sister Hess and I did a special musical number at a baptism on Saturday, a special musical number in Sacrament meeting the next day, and then we did two musical numbers at the Mission President's Fireside that night. People are probably tired of us! Haha. I love music. It touches people's hearts with the Spirit in such a powerful way that many other things do not.
--The Gonzalez-Ambriz are reading the Book of Mormon together! One of the simple joys of missionary work is when you see a dysfunctional, non-member family gathered together around the dinner table reading the Book of Mormon together and actually enjoying it. Beautiful scene. 
--Another simple joy is the innocent questions of a 9-year-old. Here's a quick story: We were talking about avoiding temptations of Satan with the Gonzalez and lil' 9-year-old Arturo was like, "What age does Satan start having power over you?" And we asked him what he thought and he then turned to his 12-year-old sister, Shayla, and asked in a most innocent voice, "Shayla, when did I start becoming like you?" Hahaha. Shayla became slightly offended at the question as we all tried to keep our histerical laughter to a minimum. I love innocent children.
--Elena and Berta are progressing super well! They love church and are working through their doubts about baptism. Pray for them as well!
Keep being good! I love you!
Hermana Barnes
P.S. I'm doing a 40-day fast thing from writing anyone but family so if you don't hear from me, just know that I still love you.
Las Fotos:
1) Old Town on P-day with some missionary friends.
2) Mexico border. How easy do you think it would be to climb that 40-foot fence?
3) I love these Calexican sisters. We meet again. The sister on the left is Hermana Squire from my MTC district who's from American Fork near Pleasant Grove just 5 minutes away from us. She's the best!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Santee - Week #63 - July 15, 2014

World Cup, Interviews, Primary praise, purpose.

Hola familia!

Good news: The World Cup is OVER!! Which means people will finally start answering their doors! We've been trying to make our message more important than the World Cup, but we only succeeded half the time. Welcome to almost Mexico.

Interviews with President: It was the most different President's interview I've had. Because he is brand new, we basically had a mini Mission Leadership Council in our lil' interview as we talked about my input for transfers, which sisters should train and which sisters should become the next sister training leaders because two are leaving this transfer. He is getting input from the leadership in the mission because this upcoming transfer is going to be a big one. It has been neat to go from an experienced Mission President to a brand new one who has had to depend on the missionary leadership. Also, President Schmitt told me to tell my parents thanks for your sacrifice in sending your amazing daughter on a mission ;)

We were asked to help out in sharing time in Primary as "Special Guest Baptism Experts" on the "Good News Network Primary News report" haha. The kids LOVED it. We were celebrities for 15 minutes as they all shot up their hands to ask questions. I've realized that teachers and leaders have to get creative sometimes to compete with technology and facebook. We failed with the World Cup, but succeeded in Sharing Time. Ahhh yeah.

Cool miracle: We street contacted and added a solid guy named Fabian who then helped us find a referral who we ended up adding as well! 2 miracles in 10 minutes! 

Update on Gonzalez-Ambriz: They are still doing well. Mayra wasn't able to make it to church, but Arturo (the dad) brought the kids by himself for the first time on Sunday! Before, if Mayra wasn't able to make it, no one would come. So it's progress! Your prayers are still working!

Well, I sure love ya. I love the challenge made by your ward missionaries to pray about specific people on the ward directory for missionary and service opportunities. Our missionary purpose is to invite others to come unto Christ so whether people are members or non-members, we can always invite them to come more unto Christ. Thanks for your examples of Christ-like service. Les quiero mucho!

Hermana Barnes

Las fotos:
1) My district at the pier at Ocean Beach. Some of us weren't quite ready for the picture. Haha.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Santee - Week #62 - July 8, 2014

New Mission President has arrived! 

Happy late 4th of July! I hope you had a wonderful day. There weren't a lot of people home here on that day, and then all the missionaries had to be home before 7 p.m. to keep safe from the partying and drunk drivers on the road. It definitely didn't feel like a holiday, but it's all good. I'd say a great way to celebrate our freedom and our country is by sharing the Gospel!
Our new Mission President, President Schmitt, has arrived! We had a 'Meet the President' meeting with him and then we had Mission Leadership Council. Although he's brand new, he knows how to get things done. He is going to be great for the mission. He is very young, and his four kids with ages ranging from 6 yrs. to 14 yrs. will be staying the whole 3 years. They are an awesome family! He's a lawyer and his wife's a doctor (who also a Spanish-speaking mission in California). Can you imagine the future of their children? Sheesh.
Update on the Gonzalez-Ambriz: They're doing super well! Here's a cool miracle: Mayra (the mom) was supposed to work this past Sunday and was really bummed because she's been praying for ways to get Sundays off. Then she looked at the schedule again later on and someone had switched her days without telling her so that she could come to church! She was like, "Hermanas, it was a miracle!" She was so excited. How cool is that?! They keep praying that they will be able to have Sundays off and Heavenly Father keeps answering. Also, every week they are more and more open to marriage. At the beginning of this all, they basically said "NEVER" to marriage and now look how far they've come. Please pray that they will have the desire to get married sooner than later. They are so close! The kids are such good examples to them.
Sometimes, your investigators get deported to Mexico. Two of some of our really cool investigators just got deported! We were so sad. They are going to get in contact with the missionaries down there. It's a good thing the church is true wherever you are, right?
Sister Hess and I taught part of Zone Meeting again (meetings we have with the whole zone once a month) and we taught about effective planning and raising our faith and expectations. When we put our trust in God's timing and planning, we will realize that He already has miracles planned. We can't make our own miracles happen, so we might as well do everything God's way. When we skip an hour of studies in the morning because we want to go out and teach more peple, we're not doing things God's way. When we hesitate to pray because we want to put off receiving an answer we're afraid to receive, we're just putting off the miracles He already has planned. Doing things God's way and being exactly obedient brings the exact miracles you need. There's a lil' spiritual thought for the day haha. Love you!  
Hermana Barnes

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Santee - Week #61 - July 1, 2014

Be prepared to find the prepared!

Hola familia!
We had a cool spiritual prompting experience a few days ago. We had an awkward amount of time left before a branch activity, so we decided to say a quick prayer to know how to use the time wisely. The idea of "go find someone" popped into our minds but we didn't know where. We decided to start driving and all of a sudden another idea of, "try that family you met a couple weeks ago that wasn't interested" popped into our heads. So we pulled into their trailer park, knocked on their door, and they were completely open to learning from the missionaries! We were able to add them as new investigators. It was cool to see how Heavenly Father prepares people for specific times and He will guide you to them if you just ask with faith. Is it really that simple? Yesssss.
We were running around town for morning exercise yesterday, and we ran into the cutest lil' hispanic lady named Ortancia Morales. She was so excited to find out that we were missionaries and we were able to teach her a mini gospel lesson right there on the street in our workout clothes. Haha it was the coolest lesson. She told us she wants the missionaries to come teach her and her whole family! So cool. Whether it's 6:45 a.m. in your workout clothes, or prime proselyting time at 6:45 p.m., there are people to find. People are prepared these days people!
I love you!
Hermana Barnes
1) Saying goodbye to Elder Martin Solis at the branch activity. He's off to the MTC today. He's going to tear it up!