Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Hola From TX!!

Hola mi Familia,
It was so good to hear from you!!! I love getting your letters and hearing all the funny stories from home. Thanks for you letter Kristan Anderson... so good to hear from you and all the updates about my friends!! ha ha.. i can't believe everyone is getting married as soon as i left.. it's like they didn't want me at the weddings.. j/k! That is awesome about Kara's boards.. congrats Kara.. you are so smart!! now here come your little boy!! can't wait for you both you're going to be amazign parents.. how did your trip go? Matt and Charlene... found a house yet?? I love that jules is starting her terrible twos.. keep telling me all the fun stories about getting locked in the basement. Good luck Bradley B. on your training.. dad's said your trainign to be a Papa John's managers but i'm hoping it is still for Jimmy Johns... ha ha... Miny and Tales life sounds really really lovely for ya'll and like everythign is working out PERFECTLY!!! Mom and dad you're life sounds quiet as usual but like you're doing some traveling and not being completely alone will everyone stopping by all the time!! I'm happy that you are forwarding these e-mails to aunt kay!! i don't have tons of time to write letters but i'm gonna try to write her a little something within the next couple weeks.. but make sure she knows i love her!! THanks for your letter Janene.. they always make my dad reading your poems or hearing
updates from your family!! Thanks!! Thanks for all the support from everyone.. i really do love you all and miss you so much. Mom forwarded me a letter this week from a letter that got sent to our home and it was so funny... Mom did you know what that letter was even!! It was from one of mindy's old mission companions named Kimberly Inglish.. or something... she sent me a letter she found that she somehow had from Mindy's mission... So i got a letter from Mindy on her mission.. to me while on my mission... Kinda ironic but cool! The letter was from when she was in Franca with a really hairy companion and I was laughing the whole time because I could finally realy relate!! Well this week was a lot of hard work. We did a lot of tracting.. knocking on doors which is really hard because our area is SO mixed and alot of other areas in Texas aren't. and since we are only allowed to teach in espanol we give a lot of referrals to the English Elders. This is definitely the "Buckle" of the Bible Belt... everyone either has their church or doesn't really want a church so I'm not gonna lie it has been difficult finding people to listen but we just keep trucking along.. or i guess i could say knocking along! We get fed every day by the members here which they are great but they make us eat so much.. we don't want to offend them... one day this week it was raining really hard so i had wrapped all my scriptures up in plastic bags so they wouldn't get wet.. so at dinner with a member we were soooo full and she was in the other room so i took my scriptures out of one of the bags and put like 5 tomales in the bag and hid them in my back pack.. my companion was laughing so hard but i just couldn't eat anymore. It is so weird here because whenever we go to a members to eat they NEVER eat with us.. they always serve the whole time so it's hard to get to know all the members.. and we were talking to a lady after dinner one night and she had just fed 6 missionaries and found out her husband has been out of work for two months and they have like no money.. they are such generous people and have such faith i am constantly amazed! On Thursday we had the opportunity to have interviews and training with President Smith and Sister Smith. He is so funny I can't even explain it. He did our training on DONUTS.. ha ha says every town in Texas is not a town with out a donut shop, Sonic Drive through and a dollar store. He talked about how fattening and tempting donuts are and how they never fill you up and you always have to eat like a dozen to even attempt to feel full and you never are.. He said the donut is like the world..it will never fill you and always leave you wanting more. During my interview with President he was so nice and we talked about how amzing my trainer is and how she is my strength and her smile always pushes me forward even into uncomfortable situations... and he said well learn all you can because someday soon you will be that for another missionary.. He has such confidence in me.. i hope I can live up to what he thinks I can be... Then Sister SMith gave me a hug when we were leaving and said, "We are so happy we got you!! Sorry I didn't call you this week to see how you were doing but i knew you would be doing perfectly fine!!" THey are just such sweet people that radiate their love and all you can do is laugh when you're around them!! I really love them already... Well my spanish comes more and more everyday but I still can't say close to as much as a I want to!! Please pray for me and for this area that we can start finding more success and people to listen to us! Thanks for all your support and love!! Miss you all... and HAPPY MEMORIAL DAY!!!
con amor-
Hermama Katie Barber

Tuesday, May 19, 2009


Hola mi familia,
como estan? Well this week has definitely been an adventure of a lifetime... one I will never forget in a million years. I flew into Dallas on Monday and it was so fun talking to mom and dad on the phone... hearing your voices made me miss you even more! Well as we looked at the window over Dallas as we were landing I had a peaceful
feeling as I looked at the COMPLETELY flat ground and all the green that i was suppose to be here... my home away from home for 16 more months... we walked out of the terminal into the baggage claim and there was my mission president President Barry Smith and his sweet wife with the AP's Elder Erickson and Elder Ford waiting to help us with our bags... Sister Smith ran up to us and gave us the biggest hugs and later in the testimony meeting said she had never got such enthusiatic and excited hugs before!! After that me and Hermana Christensen rode with President and Sister S mith to the mission office adn sincer there were only four of us that came in.. they said they had never had such a small group of missionaries come in before.. we had our orientation and lunch at the mission office. After the orientation we headed over to the mission home to write letters, get interviewed by President and the AP's, take pictures, have dinner, and had a quaint little testimony meeting. Then at six o'clock two sisters came and picked me and Hermana Christensen up to go out on two appointments with them that night. I actually wasnt' as overwhelmed with the language as I thoguht I would be, but didn't really say anything either! ha ha... but I was really really impressed by one of the sisters we went out with named Hermana Brundage who spoke spanish so well and used her PERSONALITY in spanish.... in my journal that night i wrote about how i want to be as powerful and loving as she is while also being able to speak spanish.. she was just so cute! Well that dropped us off that night and Hermana Christensen and I just hung out with Sister Smith and there 17 year old daughter Garnet then slept at the mission home which is really nice. My mission president and his wife are GREAT!! they are hilarious, down to earth, but you still knwo they mean business.. They are exactly the personality I needed. I am not exactly sure what he did.. but all I know is he sold his PLANE to come be a mission president so I don't think they are bad off! ha ha.. but really they are great and I love them already. The next day we got to sleep in till 7 and I was so grateful then we went to transfer meeting and had to sit on the stand waiting to see who our traniner was. I wasn't very nervous because I thought it was goign to be Sister Shulte the one I told you about in my last e-mail and Sister Smith had said how amazing she was so I wasn't too nervous... but then they called Hermana Christensen's name and announced her trainer as Hermana Shulte.. .I was completely confused!! Then I got the best surprise ever! They called my name then Hermana Brundage!!! I was so excited! her name is Jessice Brundage from Idaho Falls, she leaves at the end of this transfer and she is amazing... but i was still confused because she had told me the night before at our appointments that she
was gettign transfered out of Carolton... well you probably guessed it... We got double transfered.... I am whitewashing an area for my first area.. and I am the first person Hermana Brundage has ever trained. I am serving in Irving,TX in the Dallas Zone. It is on the border of the Fortworth mission and right outside of Dallas the city. My area i calld Shady Grove. We were both pretty anxious and nervous then we got into the appartment and saw that the Elder left us like NO investigators... and when we called the ones they did leave us... the investigators either didn't remember who the elders were or completely avoided a time to meet with us!! So pretty much we had no investigators. So we started by meeting all the members and after hearing fun stories from them we realized that the Elders president pulled out probably weren't the most obedient missionaries! So this week has been hard...to say the least... we are two missionaries that have no clue where we are, I don't speak spanish, and we had NO investigators, and knew no one!! Sound FUN?? ha ha.. it has been!! We have worked really hard, laughed alot, prayed our guts out, and put our complete trust in God! We started by contacting all the members, part-members, and less-active families which helped us get some references. My first member referral was from Claudia Moran and we went to the appartment of the referral and it was of a little chinese lady who wouldn't even open the appartment door for us!! ha ha.. no the right referral... We met a great partmember family named the Illades.. Reina the wife is not a member and we went by and met her then that night the relief Society president called us and she she wanted to feed us the next day. So we asked her if I couldn't come teach her the lessons to practice my spanish since i feel so comfortable with her and she said YES... she cross your fingers. I am in an all spanish area. Most of the areas in the mission you do both english and spanish work but i am consumed by spanish here. We actually have the
only spanish ward in the mission instead of just a branch. There are four other spanish elders in the ward with us so all six of us go to dinner at the members almost ever night together... I've had some yummy homemade tomalies (?) and tacos... Alot of the members here in Shady Grove are from Mexico or there are tons from El Salvador... we ate with a lady from Argentina last night... so I get a really wide range! They are so sweet and sometimes laugh at my spanish but I can take it! So
this week has been sun up to sun down exhaustion from working, praying, fasting, trying to find people that are interested in the gospel since we had no one to start with. It is so amazing how the Lord listened to our prayers and his hand is so in this work! We were contacting in an apartment complex this week and a man came out and waved us down... told us he was a worker at the complex and also a member.. he told us where all the hispanics lived! We had a guy cross the street the other day and just start talking to us! ha ha.. it is crazy how the Lord places people in our paths. On Saturday it was pouring rain here but we had planned another day full of tracting with some lessons at night... we threw on our raincoats, and put our hair in pony tails and got ready to go... we went to the apartment complex we were going to tract at and the first door we knocked on was Josefina's and she let us in and we taught her and her daughter the first lesson... they understood it all and were like GOLDEN investigators.. we will see how that works out this week.. Later that night we taught the cutest family that we got from a Media referral.. they saw the commercial for the Lamb of God and we brought it to her and taught her and her husband.. her name is Keydy (Katie) and Alex.. please pray for them we have another lesson with them on Wednesday. The biggest coincedince was that we made these little goodie bag things for the members with our phone numbers and asking for their help and we went and visited all of them. President Smith is really big on the missionaries making way good relationships and gaining the trustof the members so they can help us a little bit. Well we went to go seea member family and we were in the parking lot praying in our car andboth me and my companion peeked during the prayer and saw a young manstanding at the car right next to us. We got out and he was scraping asticker off his car and we offered him our help... he didn't want the
help but he was stuck so we took the opportunity to teach him... Hisname is Anothoy.. he is in his 20's and knows he needs to change hislife and is looking for God. Well we got an appointment for him tonightand then asked for his address and phone number.. he lives in appartment2025... wierd thing is his address is the exact address of the memberfamily we were suppose to be visiting but Anthony said he had beenliving there for 1 1/2 years and our ward directory is from a month ago.TheLord's hand truly is in this work and I see miracles everyday as wework hard and put our trust in him. So we started Tuesday with noinvestigators and after an exhausting week we have 8 investigators...two of which being families! Please pray for them... I think myspiritual highlight of the week was on Wednesday during our first lessonand I offered my first prayer in front of an investigator in spanish. I was so nervous, but afterwards my companion leaned over to me and said she felt the spirit the strongest during the lesson when I was offering that simple prayer in broken spanish. My spanish has come leaps and bounds though because i am constantly having to speak it and contact in it! I am doing good at the door approaches and last night I taught the first and second principles in the first lesson in complete spanish to a lady named Araseli! I was so happy and pray I get better ever day... I understand a lot but still look at people with blank stares or turn to my companion for translation but I know it will come!! Oh ya funny story!! so my Hermana Brundage and I were knocking doors for an hour or and we were so worn out that everythign was funny... so we were standing at this door and I turned to her and said, "Maybe they
will let us in if they think we are mental challenged cause they will feel bad for us..." So we started making funny faces and then i turn to my right only to see the person in the house looking at us through her blinds... needless to say... she didn't answer the door!! ha ha...It is so funny because the people like peek through the windows and think we can't see them and they don't come to the door but we just keep knocking... then they finally come and eventually slam the door in our faces but hey at least we tried right!! If i thought the MTC was a humbling experience I was so wrong... this has been one of the hardest weeks of my life, the most exhausting but i have worked harder than i ever have in my life, prayed most then i have ever prayed, and laughed longer than i have ever laughed!! Hermana Brundage is my strength and the best trainer ever.. we have so much fun but work so hard! I am so
thankful that President Smith and my Heavenly Father trusted me enough to put me in this area and in such circumstance because I have grown more than I could have even imagined was possible in a week... in my spanish, testimony, and who I am!!! I know this church is true with ever fiber of my being and if I only find one other person in Texas that accepts that and changes their life because of it it will be worth it... I'm gonna knock every door (probably literally) in this town of Irving (well in my area... shady grove north) until I find them!! Please pray for me and my amazing companion Hermana Brundage... we could use all the prayers we can get! I am so happy though.. honestly this decision to serve was the best i ever made! LOVE YOU!!!
con amor (with love)-
Hermana Katie Barber

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Last Email In The MTC!!

Hola Familia... como esta?? Well here is the last letter from my nine week stay in the MTC... i leave on Monday May 11th. I have to check into the travel office at 5 AM.. then we drive up to the airport.. check in and our flight leaves at 8:30 to DALLAS TEXAS!!! I don't know how long I will have to call but i'm guessing i will be calling by 7 i hope.. because i will have to board the flight at like 8!! so around then which should be before mom goes to work! Melissa's phone card she sent me should be plenty!! THANKS MELISSA!! you're the best!! I am the travel leader of four of us.. my companion Hermana Christensen and then two elders that came in three weeks ago going to dallas engligh. I am getting REALLY nervous... kinda excited. I just have to keep reminding myself that who the Lord calls he also qualifies! I am picking up spanish but the more i learn the more I realize i have TONS more to learn... but it will come. I'm excited to get out there and teach the people!! The MTC has been an amazing experience.. one I will always love and cherish.. I will never want to eat this food ever again in my life but I have learned so much here. I will miss my district when we leave on Monday. We at first thought that Hermana Christensen were going to leave on Mondy the 11th and the rest of our district wasn't leaving til the 12th but our flight plans changed and we all get to leave together. That is going to be the hardest part is saying goodbye to my MTC Family... we have done this all together.. work together, laughed together, struggled together, served together, and most importantly leared what true christ like love is together. I will forever have a place in my heart for Elder Dan Mosman, Elder Alma Benjamin King, Elder Brick Cory Petty, Elder Lance Ole Einerson, Hermana Kari Lyn Christensen, and Hermana Lachelle Crandell... I have learned more from these six people than i ever thought it was possible to learn from a group of people- i have learned love, patience, service, true diligence. It is going to be rough to leave but there are tons of people in Dallas ready to fill the void in my heart!! I CANT WAIT!! This week has been a good week just kinda filled with getting ready to go.. getting all my pictures devoloped, things bought, bags packed, trying to ready and study as much as possible. We got a new teacher this week and my girl teacher Hermana Evans got changed... They change teachers around after semesters are over... Well my new teachers name is Hermano anderson and he subbed for us once a couple weeks ago.. well funny story.. There was a random elder that came up to me in the MTC
like three weeks ago and was like hey are you going to Dallas Texas spanish and i was like SI... and he said oh my sister is going to be your trainer.. i asked him how he knew and he said that his sister wrote him and told him that President Smith (my mission president in Texas) told her she was training a new sister that looks like Lindsay Lohan.. so that must be me.. OF COURSE!! WOW!! well her name is sister Shulte.. Well Hermano Anderson found out that I was going to DAllas Texas and preceeds to tell us that he was going to marry a girl but she decided to go on a mission instead.. and guess who it was.. SISTER SHULTE!!. i told him my story and instantly.. he hated me!! YEP!! fun huh?? But i think he air is almost clear now considering i didn't do ANYTHING!! .. just a really really small world huh? Well that story was kinda pointless but here is a not so pointless story for you.. Last night I heard from another apostle.. can you believe it.. two months and i have heard from three apostles.. SUPER LUCKY!! Elder Ballard and his radiant wife came and spoke to us last night. The first think i noticed was when we were singing the opening song of called to serve and i watched him sing and it hit me.. here i am serving for only 16 months.. think how long he was truely called to serve. My measely amount of time means nothing. Well Elder Ballard talked to us about DESIRES.. that we must have a pure desire to serve God and that will be our motivation to find, teach and baptize as many people as we can while we are in the field. He siad they have done tons of studies as a church and the #1 factor for an investigator getting baptizeds is how they feel when they are in the presence of the missionary. You as missionaries are more important than the doctrince at the beginning.. it's what they feel not what they know in the beginning!! wow what a responsibility..Well even if i can't speak spanish maybe they can feel my spirit and just jump in the water.. that is what i'm counting on right now!! HA HA... he also said that we have to be the best teachers that the church has ever sent out. He said the world is immersed in sound bits, internet, texting, blogging and not slowing down long enough to think of who they are, where they came from, or even care about where they are going. We, as missionaries have to be able to penetrate all the clutter and pierce their hearts with that DESIRE to know the lords will for them in their lives. Another fun thing that he told us is that when ever he talks to ministers they always ask him how our church gets their youth to serve missions and asks how much they have to pay us.. when they find out we come voluntarily and pay our own way some how they are astonished... he said you wouldn't be here unless you knew it was true. He then left with us an blessing that we woudl have kindled in our hearts a deep, burning desire to find, teach adn baptize. He blessed us with health, strength, wisdom (know what is going on around us), increase in the gift of decerment and the Holy Ghost become our constand companions. At the very end he said, " In your next letter home tell your parents that you on behalf of the First Presidency and the Quorem of the Twelve.. So thanks mom and dad... thanks for letting me come and be here having this amazing experience i can't believe i have already been here for 9 weeks and only have 16 months left till i come home!! WIERD!!!! Matt and Charlene.. where are you moving to? I am going to come home and not even know where to find you.. Mike and Kara on the other hand i know exactly where to find you.. Mike will still have 20 years left of School!! ha ha!! I am so excited for stewart.. he is coming so soon and CONGRATS on graduating Kara.. Mindy and Tales.. I love you! And Brad please bring me my suit case... por favor!! GRACIAS!! thanks for your letter Lesseth.. and about swine fever.. I will be very careful.. they have banned us from even shaking hands in the MTC..so not only can we
not hug we can not shake hands.. plus we wash our hands every chance we get plus there are hand santitizers all over we use.. so hopefully i'll stay healthy but it would be just my luck since I have caught everything else!! Well i love you all and i can't wait to talk to you mom and dad in FIVE DAYS!! you are the best family!! And i love you my sweet friends also!! Write me!! I love hearing about all of your lives!
Con amor- Hermana Katie Barber