Monday, September 14, 2009

Somebody has WAY too much faith in me!!

hola familia y amigos,
well this week has definitely been a whirlwind of events and emotions... This letter is really going to be exciting.. Brad and Matt you better read the entire thing!! I am glad everyone in the family sounds really blessed and doing amazing.. I pray for y'all everynight!!
Well I started my week last week with the greatest surprise ever!! I was buying groceries at Kroger and found GRATERS ICE CREAM!!! I of course bought a pint and ate it in memory of Matt and Charlene! ha ha.. Monday night we had dinner and FHE with the First Counselor in the sunbeck spanish branch.. he is from Argentina and she went on her mission to Argentina..they met on their mission and are so adorable! We then headed up to Coppell for our lesson with Teresa and she wasnt' there again.. I'm super sad about that situation but i'm still going to be persistant... she knows its true, but needs money so bad right now that she can't concentrate on anything else. But we were blessed an able to teach another family in Coppell a mom named Carina, daughter Biri and two twin boys named Chris and Christian... the little boys are so shy and never talk to anyone but I got them to talk to me thanks for CANDY.. thanks for teaching me to bribe kids with candy mindy!! :)!! On Tuesday I made it safely to district meeting without getting a ticket from officer Tran.. the assistants ended up coming to our district meeting the one week that the Elders talked me and Hermana Richardson in singing a duet... great! We sang I Need Thee Every Hour in spanish and english and it turned out really pretty.. that hymn is like my theme song now from the mission. We went and helped at the bishop's storehouse again so I got to see Elder Moala and then we were walking out and President and Sister Smith were walking in to interview the senior couples so I got to see them too.. which is always fun! We then had an appointment with Angel and Darwin scheduled and they weren't there so we went to contact a referral that we had in the area... we knocked on the door and asked for Robert and the lady just looked at us really strange and said no one by that name lived there so we tried to teach her instead.. after bearing testimony she just looked at us and said.. one minute.. shut the door then came back and let us in to teach her and her kids and her cousin that lived there named ROBERTO!!! she lied to us.. ha ha but at the end of the lesson when we were leaving she told us we are always welcome back and her homes was ours too.. she is a sweetheart.. then as we were walking to out other appointment we ran into angel taking out the trash... when God wants you to learn the gospel you can't hide from him or us.. even by not answering the door! ha ha.. We then had a lesson with Blanca and for the first time her husband Fernando and he actually invited us back and scheduled the appointment with us so it was amazing.
That night we had dinner with a recent convert and less active family and we taught them the five steps of the gospel focusing on enduring the end... we shared 2 Nephi 31:17-21 with them and asked them to find an aspect of their lives they could change to follow the lord more fully!..they gave sister richardson and I a nice compliment by saying when we were teaching it was almost like one voice they didn't even notice when someone switched teaching... that is what companionship strive for.. we finallly have it and we are getting switched.. kinda stinks.. but the funny part was they all committed to work on something then while i was driving away i looked in my rearview mirror and saw the women on the porch smoking.. i'm guessing that is not the thing she decided to change.. it's so sad. Well our appointments for the night fell through but we visited other less actives and actually got one of the boys to agree to come back to church if his mom bought him new church clothes.. we talked to him mom and she told us the last set she bought him he cut up.. ha ha we asked him why and he said he didn't liek them.. guess he has never heard of returning..I love watching people be filled with the spirit again and gain that desire to return and feel the love of Christ and their heavenly Father for them.
Wednesday I was really nervous because we had an appointment with the lady we had helped moved from the week before. She was member referral but everytime we talked to her she seemed very devote to her church.. so we went to the appointment and asked her if she found out who gave us her name and address and she told us it was her chiropracter. She then started going off on how much she loved him and his family.. i just kept having this impression over and over ask her if she noticed anything differnt in him and his family than other families.. so I did and she stopped paused and said that she did... that he is so blessed by the lord and his family is so well behaved and have the best relationships and she would always go to him for advice. I then bore testimony that he didn't just send us as missionaries to help her move but also to help her have that same gift in the life of her family... she expressed doubts she had with ehr chruch and then agreed to take the lessons and just said she was looking for hope!... it was a really cool experience how the Lord will give you a way to reach everyones heart if you are just willing to listen to the promptings of the spirit and then say what he needs you to say. That night we had a lesson with a recent convert family the Aguilars that are preparing to get sealed in the temple at the end of this year.. this gospel really changes lives!!
On Thursday we had dinner with the Garibaldi familia like every Thursday.. they are like my family here in Carrollton.. i Love going to their house.. after dinner we taught the Gonzales family and we asked him if he had prayed abou getting baptized.. he told us he knows he will be baptized and soon and then he gave the most sincere thanks to us for how much we had influenced and changed his family.. he even got teary eyed.. there is no where I would rather be! His daughter Claudia closed with the sweetest prayer and in it said, "Jesus I sure hope you love us.." I just wanted to reach out and hug and her and tell her how much he loves her.. i feel it everytime i teach them. There are so many people out there longing for the love of their Savior, I am so happy I get to help some of them find it! We then had a lesson with a man named Jose Hernandez who is in a part member family and watched the Restoration video with him and he said he knew it was true and wants to learn more so he can get baptized...
Friday was officially my 6 month mark.. can you believe it? Time is FLYING!!! On Friday Joseph Esters called during our spanish study and said he had some time which he NEVER has time so we dropped everything and went and taught him.... he is so sad that the "dynamic duo" is slipting up.. ha ha We challenged him again to get baptized and he said that he had told his sister a couple years ago he felt like he needed to get rebaptized but he never told her in which church then he started laughing... he actually lives with his girlfriend Brandy who is realy sick and he told us that she started anti-ing him the other day and all he did was look at her and said, "Don't talk about something you don't know or don't understand... if you don't like it you can leave my house." ha ha.. he knows its true and I can't wait for him to baptized.. He also told sister Richardson and I thanks for never giving up on him and that he knew God sent the two of us to him because God knew he would need some persistant and bold missionaries! We taught Paola Martinez after Joseph and her husband Darwin was there so we invited him in on the lesson.. we taught the second lesson then he ended up asking so many questions that we taught him the first too! I pray they act on their faith because there is no doubt in my mind that god wants this family to have this message and gospel in their lives right now. At night we taught an english less active family and one of the little girls started crying because her brother knew the answer and she didn't.. she actually looked at her parents while crying and told them she wanted to go to church so she could learn about Jesus... I will always teach my children of the Savior, take them to church.. they need it especially in this world that grows worse and worse every day!
Saturday we had a Blitz that wasn't organized at all and spent the entire afternoon tracting in the rain.. SUPER FUN :)!!! and we also got to "talk" with a Jehovah Witness missionary... that really was fun! We contacted referrals in Lewisville all day and ended up getting four new investigators... had dinner with Familia Escalante and during dinner I was teasing their son Roberto about having a girlfriend (and he doesn't) but their mom said... "He can't have a girlfriend until after his mission.." and they aren't even members yet!! They want to get baptized so bad!! please pray her divorce goes through soon and Betty and Vidal can get married and the family can be baptized!! Well after dinner we went to see Sister Redo because she just got out of the hospital.. the doctors found a huge growth on her liver that they have now identified as melanoma and the doctors are baffled because they thought african american's couldnt' get skin cancer but I guess it went in through her eyes or something like that.. please pray for her.. Well while we were sitting visiting with her our investigator Jose called us and we usually don't answer during an appointment but we wanted to see if he was coming to church.. well we then spent the next hour and a half trying to talk him out of committing suicide.. it was a scary/crazy experience as we ran around town trying to get his wife to talk to him and other family members and then we finally turned it over to the branch president of the spanish ward.. the craziest thing was that he showed up at church the next day!!! But at least he is alive... So after all of that we finally get home that night literally exhausted, drenching wet, and then we get TRANSFER CALLS... Hermana Richardson talks to them first and finds out she is leaving and training a new missionary then I get to talk to Elder Erickson, the AP, (remember this is only the end of my third transfer as a spanish missionary, I have been learning spanish for six months, and honestly... not that confident in it yet!!) He tells me that I am staying in Carrollton and TRAINING... then he preceeds to tell me that the other set of missionaries in the sunbeck branch with me are getting double transfered out and that I am taking over their area and will be only doing spanish work that my english ward is getting it's own set of english elders.... I am training and taking over ALL the work in the WHOLE branch....I don't think I have ever in my entire life felt so inadequate...I was finally feeling comfortable in my ablities in spanish and then he throws me into deep water to see if I can swim.. but really I think he always has to do it to me to remind me that I can't do this work without his help... I'm excited for the challenge and I know I am going to grow so close to my Savior through this experience.. probably while getting some good bruises on my knees!! I just hope I can be as good of a trainer that Hermana Brundage was for me.. If i ever needed your prayers and support before it would be NOW.. especially during this next six weeks... Part of me doesn't think I can do this but with the Lord I guess everything is possible right?? and I guess my spanish is going to have to come REALLY fast!! PRAY FOR ME!!!
Well today we had a real treat because we had the opportunity for half of the Dallas Mission and half of the Fortworth mission to meet together and listen to Elder M.Russell Ballard and Elder Costa in the Presidency of the Seventy and their wives. I was on the third row of the chapel and the spirit was so completely strong.. Elder Costa talked about always teaching and being guided by the spirit.. sister Costa told us to thank our parents for teaching us amazing things!! Elder Ballard was so funny.. at the beginning he had us stand up and said he would have us do "Head, Shoulder, Knees and Toes" but him and Sister Ballard wouldn't be able to make it up from touching their knees.. he was so funny, whitty and smart..He talked alot about teaching skills, praying and expecting miracles, and reading the scriptures daily. He also bore an amazing testimony abou the power of the atonement he said that him the apostles in his words, "are a bunch of old men, but we're pretty cool." He then talked aboutsometimes when his age would take a toll on him and his work and he really thought he was so exhausted he could do no more... then he said he thinks of the Atonement of the savior, him suffering in the Garden on the cross for him and his glorious ressurrection and that instantly he is healed.. that he has the energy he needs. When we are focused on the Savior and use his Atonement we are putting Savior exactly where he wants to be in our life ... he wants to be our source of power and strength. We then got to have a Question and Answer session with him.. it was amazing. There is no doubt in my mind that we have apostles of the Lord and a prophet leading and guiding us today.. President Monson talks directly with God and if we follow ALL of their counsel we can gain the greatest reward EVER... Eternal life with our families.. I love you family and miss you everyday but I know I am exactly where I am needed right now!!
Tonight i get to go pick up the new sisters and take them out for their first night in Texas (and I'll see Elder Metcalf who sounds like he is doing wonderful!!) then tomorrow I'll perminantly get my "greenie".. wish me luck.. but i'm gonna need a lot more than luck!! I love you all.. y'all have a blessed day!! (people really say that down here!! it's great!!)
con amor- Hermana Barber

Saturday, September 5, 2009