Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day!!

We had a great week but Christmas hit Texas the week of Valentine's Day. We had record snow this week in Texas and had so much fun tracting in the snow, mud,and slush...ha ha my shoes are still drying!! Hermana Kleinman and I made a snowman with some of the Elders this week and it was a Missionary snowman with a tie, tag, suit coat, and even a Book of Mormon and the funnest part is that while we were making it some of our investigators, David and Dagoberto, walked by and helped us.
Monday night we had an appointment with the Bustos family where the dad wasn't present because he was sleeping but we watched the Restoration DVD, while drinking hot chocolate and animal crackers...they said they felt really good about everything and we had a BLAST with them. They are cutest family ever and I'm super excited to teach them more. We also got to teach Manuela which is always a highlight of my week.. she is so amazing and prepared.. she is already past Mosiah in the Book of Mormon.. and we got to start teaching her 8 year old son who she wants to get baptized. Teaching kids is always an adventure. We taught him the 10 commandmants using hand motions and thought he wasn't paying attention at all but surprised us by being abled to tell us them all when we asked him!!! I don't think he'll be ready to be baptized with his mom in a little over a week but we're going to try..
Tuesday we had an awesome lesson with this lady named Sandra who really wants to come to our church. She has a five week old baby and she told us that she told her baby this week, "We are going to go to the church of the hermanitas... I know what they're saying is true." (doesn't sound the same translated into english but she was super excited) but her husband decided that she can't go to church if it's not a catholic church so now we have an appointment to meet her husband... wish us luck!
That night we took our investigator Juan Garcia to a special fireside with Elder Evans fromt the seventy.. it was only for missionaries, recent converts, investigators and less-actives so it was pretty much amazing. He really hit hard the importance of the church the differences..and one of the funnest parts was that i got to see the Harkness family...they all said how much they miss me and I them..but they are still on to get baptized on the 21st so I'm excited to go back for that!
Wednesday we had our zone conference with Elder Evans which was very enlightening.. we did a bunch of role plays and he gave us tons of new challenges.. He also talked to us on a topic that is quite odd to talk to missionaries about but about marriage...He told us that one of the main reasons we were set to our mission was to learn and become close to our mission president and his wife. He said in the pre-exsistence we promised to serve together and that we had kept that promise. He then had us make a list on a board of the things we think about when we hear Presdient Smith or Sister Smith..they were two seperate lists... then he challenged us to find those characteristics in our future spouse or develop those in ourselves. It was a cool training and something to think about. I love my mission president and sister smith they truely are amazing and I'm grateful for the opportunity to get to know them!
Thursday was snowing really bad so at 7 pm we were told to go home for the night and stop driving but before that we went to teach Manuela and her husband actually sat down and talked to us which is a lot of improvement and she told us her daughter is meeting with the missionaries in Irving!!
Friday we taught alot of lessons trying to make up for canceled appointments on Thursday but my favorite lessons were with the Dominguez family who were less active when i got her but have gone to church three times now and her friends Elizabeth and her daughters Stephany and Ashley. We made Valentine's cupcakes with them then followed up on Elizabeth's reading... we committed her to come to church too!! She really is so darling and it has been such a blessing because Hermana Dominguez knows she has to be an example...We then got to teach a man named Antolin who is a very strong catholic but we asked about his reading and praying and he told us he has always KNOWN that the catholic church is the true church but now he is confused... good sign :)!! We then got to teach the Bustos again and this time their dad was there... we read with them out of the Book of Mormon and commited them to come to church after a long discussion with Alejandra, the mom, that a skirt will not make her look fat!! got to love girls!! They didn't end up calling..actually called to left us a message yesterday with a loud ambulance siren in the background so i couldn't understand but they confirmed out appointment for tonight so I hope everything is alright!
Saturday I got to go back to Carrollton on splits and Hermana Kleinman stayed her to go to all our appointments only for a couple hours though. Sophia Gomez got baptized and it was so awesome. Her mom and grandma who are completely less active were there and after the baptism her mom pulled me aside.. i've been teaching them since before October, and she just gave me a huge hug and thanked me for never giving up on her family. And promised to start bringing all her kids to church and change her life. I pray she really does it this time!! I talked to Sophia's sister Melissa at the baptism too and asked her when she was finally gonna go through with it and she said hopefully Feb.21st or March 7th!! Plus I got to see the Harkness family and Miguel who are all going through with their baptisms this coming sunday!! I can't wait!!! Carrollton will always have a huge part of my heart!!
Sunday we had 5 people at church... Juan came to the english ward in the morning because he had work during the spanish branch time but David, Emilio, Elizabeth and her daughters came to our branch. Elizabeth actually has five women that are her friends from the ward already and fit right in.. she told us her little daughter Ashley woke her up in them morning really early and asked her if it was time to go to church yet!! ha ha and she's super excited to come next week too.. With all the friends Elizabeth has in the ward it was really interesting that it took the less-active to invite her to take the lessons... there really are people all around us ready to hear the gospel or that need to hear the gospel we just have to have the courage to share our testimonies and invite them!!
I love this work and I'm loving Plano too!! thanks for all your prayers and love!!!
love your guts,
Hermana Katie Barber

Monday, February 1, 2010

PREACHING in the rain is WAY better than SINGING!!

My AMAZING companion Hermana Kleinman and I had an awesome week and a BLAST doing it!! So President Smith changed some of our key indicators this week so we now have a key indicator for contacts.. we have to get 20 contacts a day and if we do we get 2 points! A girl from the english ward asked us what we got for our pints at the end of the week like a brownie or what.. it was then that i realized.. absolutely nothing but then in that same second I realized we receive miracles, blessings, joy that is undescribable!! Man do i love my mission! So Monday after P-day and dinner it was around 6 and we had ZERO contacts for the day so off we went to an apartment complex to meet some fine people.. we were walking around trying to decide where we wanted to knock when i passed
an apartment with tons of paper crosses taped up in the window and on the door... Hermana Kleinman said before she knew what i was doing i was knocking on the door. A man openned the door and as soon as he saw the word Jesucristo on my name tag started handing me free jell-o and water bottles.. little did we know but he was the "tienda" for the complex and sold jell-o, sodas, phone cards to the whole complex... So as i begin to contact the Jell-O man Hermana Kleinman starts contacting all of his neighbors coming to buy things. Isn't it amazing how God places us in situation to accomplish all our goals!! Well I started explaining the Book of Mormon to Mr. Jell-o and he proceeds to tell me to take it to someone in the prision who really needs it then grabs a stack of five bibles and while pounding on them tells me that this is all the truth he needs.. little did he know that he was holding all the proof of the apostasy in his hands and the very reason why he really needs the Book of Mormon. He didn't want to listen to us but as one of his customers walked away he yelled at him to come and back and told him to REPENT and listen to us!! ha ha then the customer looked at him confused and said, "But i go to your church!!" Mr. Jell-o proceeded to tell him it didn't matter and he should listen to us because we brought the word of God! I walked away laughing SOOOOO hard and amazed once again at the Lord's hand in the work and at the Lord's sense of humor!!
Tuesday we had district meeting.. my zone is not as close here but it will be good to learn from new people. We ended up knocking alot but met some great new people who we scheduled appointments for later in the week. We were finally able to contact that one investigator that was already here when i got here.. his name is Juan and he is studying to be a preacher for the Church of Christ... the whole time they have been teaching him he only allows them to over come his doubts by using the Bible and not the Book of Mormon. So we had a very bold lesson with him about the fruits of the Book of Mormon and that we are there to teach him things he doesn't know and that the glory of the restoration is that we are able to find clarifications that we can't find in the Bible. We committed him to pray to know that the restoration really happened and if he doesn't allow us to use the Book of Mormon in our next appointment we are going to have to drop him which is sad because Hna. Kleinman and I both know he has received his answer already that these things are true he is just too afraid to change... why are some people content in their ignorance?
Wednesday we had another great day and taught another man that was very knowledgable in the Bible but he would just throw in pointless scriptures from the Bible that didn't even fit with anything we were teaching him in the first lesson.. so at one point I was just sick of it... and I think I shocked Hna. Kleinman a little bit because he went
to agrue with me and i held up my hand and told him... NO ITS MY TURN TO TALK.. ha ha.. I proceeded to tell him I knew he was intelligent and had a lot of faith but that we were here to add to his knowledge and help him come closer to God and Jesus Christ.. I taught him about the Book of Mormon without a peep out of him.. then I bore a simple, sincere testimony of prayer and the truth of these things. He then asked when we could come back!! We also had a lesson that night with an eternal investigator who is also taking lessons with the Jehovah Witnesses... and we had a break through.. she told us she knew that Joseph Smith was a true profeta and that Book of Mormon is the word of God... but then her little daughter who was 9 said she wanted to get baptized.. WHEN
SHE'S THIRTY!!!... we were thinking months.. not YEARS but at least they know they need to get baptized right?
Thursday it was raining like CATS AND DOGS.... and we barely had time to plan because we had so many appointments planned with people we had just knocked into.... some of them punched so we ended up knocking doors in the rain for a couple hours.. then we taught a couple new investigators Laura and Guermo which will probably go somewhere then we had a lesson with MANUELA!! We followed up on her prayer and reading and she told us she knew it was true but that she had only read a little bit.. she showed us where she had read to and she read the entire introduction plus up to 1 Nephi 5.. and she had it all marked up in red pen. She loved the Plan of Salvation lesson and was so excited to come to church on Sunday. That night we had a youth from the english ward come out with us.. it was still raining really hard and we needed a couple more contacts for the day so we knocked an apartment complex in the rain and the best part was that the parking lots were like lakes so we walked through water up past our ankles.. it only took three days for our shoes to dry out.. but we had a BLAST!! People would open their doors and thought we were absolutely crazy but would let us in even just to get our of the rain and cold but then we got to share a message with them!! Preaching in the rain is WAY better than singing!!
Friday we ate with the cutest family in the branch, The Angeles.. then taught a less active then did some service from Sister Kerr who we live with. At night we got to teach a less active Hermana Dominguez who came to church on Sunday and her friend was actually there too and we got a return appointment with her this week!! Another week highlight happened on Friday night.. there was a door contact that Hermana Richardson and Hermana Kleinman had made months back with a lady named Pamola..She's about our age with two little kids and a husband and she always made excuses why we couldn't come back.. so last week i talked her into meeting with us so when we showed up on Friday she was looking for an excuse to make us go away but we got in and actually taught her a first lesson.... it was amazing!! At the end of the lesson she just looked at us and said,"I'm gonna tell you the truth (all we could think was OH NO here it comes!!)... I REALLY love what you're teaching me.. But I'm hispanic... I'm CATHOLIC.. how can I just change?" We committed her to take the lessons, soft committed her to baptism and to pray to know it
was true. She made a solid appointment with us for this coming week and even told us her cell phone number that she supposedly didn't have before.. ha ha.. It 's amazing how this gospel changes people right before your eyes! After that appointment, it was probably the coldest night I've felt in Texas so far, so we of course decided to knocked doors :).. it was around eight.. we were tired, and FREEZING... couldn't feel our feet but we knocked this one door and I will never forget when it opened... This 15 year old boy stood there but he had a light in his eyes that you NEVER see knocking doors and I had a distinct impression that he needs to serve a mission! He let us in and we had the opportunity to teach his family a little about the Book of Mormon.. they were all very sincere to know and we made a return appointment with them tonight.. Familia Bustos. I very anxious and nervous to teach them because I know what Heavenly Father wants fo them!! Please pray for this family!
Saturday was a nother freezing day.. we had tons of canceled appointment but at night we went to teach a lady named Maria Salazar who we thought was just going to be another punched appointment but she let us in.. we taught her a first... she's so prepared. And she collects pigs (just like you right mindy?? ha ha!!!) and cows and she gave me and Hermana Kleinman two piggy banks.. my first one was cream with brown spots and flowers all over it and lucky pennies glued to the outside... SUPER ugly.. ha ha but my other one is pink and says With God Nothing is Impossible!! They are awesome!
This Sunday was WAY better and I got to know the members better since I wasn't super sick... They are all way strong and over 80% of this branch are recent converts from this year.. so they are super good fellowshippers. Manuela came to church with her 8 year old son Luis even though they were super sick... everyone was super nice to them and she just kept telling us how she was going to bring her daughter and
granddaugther the next week. We were so happy!! After church and dinner around 6:30PM we still had to get one new investigator for the week to meet our companionship goal of 12 new investigators this week. So we headed off to an appointment where the people we had the appointment with weren't their but we contacted the person that answered the door and he let us in.. We taught them a first lesson and they were super excited to know and read.. so not only did we get one investigator.. we got FOUR!! God always blesses us with more than we even think is possible as long as we are diligent and obedient!
Hermana Kleinman and I had a great week and we're super excited for the week to come to get all our new investigators to progress and get to church!! Thanks so much for all your prayers, love and support!! I love TEXAS!!! and guess what I'm fluent in Spanglish... aren't you so proud!! :)!!!!
con amor y gratitud,
Hermana Katie Barber