Monday, July 29, 2013

Atonement of Christ/Faith Is a Principal of Action, (First Investigator)

(Here is part of Natalie's email from last Monday.  I will post more of the story later this week.)

Okay so there's someone I want to tell you about. His name is Manuel. We found him on my very first night here. We were riding our bikes, and we always just say hi to everyone we ride past. He was walking by and we said hi, and he asked us if we were preaching. We said yes, and got off our bikes to talk to him. He said that he already knew the Book of Mormon was true, and basically that this is God's church. HOLY COW, right??? We talked to him for over half an hour just standing right there on the corner of the sidewalk. The thing with him is that he does not feel he has lead a very pure life and feels a lot of shame about that, and I don't think that he feels he can change. We talked to him a lot about repentance and how we can use the Atonement of Jesus Christ to receive forgiveness and become clean again. He is so prepared! The thing with Manuel too is that I am given the gift of tongues when I talk to him! I can understand what he says, and I can talk back to him! I don't know if its because I feel more comfortable because I know his whole story (vs other investigators who have been working with the missionaries for a long while), but I can really talk with him! We asked him to read Alma 36. He would text us almost everyday telling us to have a good day. We met with him again last night. We were going to go to a mission president fireside, but we ended up at the wrong building somehow, so we just talked with him outside the church building. He hadn't read Alma 36, so we read it together and talked about it a lot. We answered a lot of his questions and told him about a lot of the blessings of the gospel. We talked about how we can have eternal families on the earth and how we have a prophet here on the earth. He seriously loves ALL of it and I can tell he believes all of it. The only thing is he always says that he isn't a good person and that he's done and still does a lot of bad things, but he's trying to change and get better. He also says that his family would be really upset with him if he left the Catholic church. But that lesson went so great and we set up another lesson to talk with him on Tuesday. But this morning, we got a text from him saying thanks so much for our time and that it was such a pleasure to know us, but that he's decided he doesn't want to learn anymore and waste our time. AHHHHHHHH!!! NOOOOOO!!!!!! We aren't quite sure what to do, but we are hoping to be able to talk to him and find out exactly what his needs/concerns are. Pray for him! It's just hard because I know that this gospel would give him and his family SO much happiness and joy. It would change everything for him, and he already knows its true. We kept telling him that faith is a principle of action and he needs to follow what he knows is right. He said he would read and pray last night, so hopefully we can get this figured out.

I LOVE Being a Missionary!

Hola Familia!!!!

How are you all? Hope all is going well! So I am here in Mesa and I am absolutely loving it. I am serving in the Mesa Stake, Liahona 3 branch (It used to be a ward, but yesterday they split it into 2 branches). I live RIGHT outside the temple. Like one house down from it. The temple is SO gorgeous.   
So my companion's name is Hna. Leon. She is seriously the greatest. She is from Utah but her parents are from Mexico, so her Spanish is really good (thank goodness!) She is a Visitor's Center (VC) sister, but right now she is full-field since she is with me. So actually she has only been out for one transfer. Can you believe that? She's been out for 6 weeks only and now she is training me! She is soooo great though We are having a lot of fun trying to figure this out together :). We live in a little house right behind a member's house and 2 other sisters live with us - Sister Demille and Sister Mayorca.
So guess what? Haha we don't have a car and we are riding bikes! Its really not that bad. Its kinda fun. And I've only fallen off once so far hahaha! (last night... embarassing). The heat really isn't bad. The only bad thing is that we are ALWAYS sweaty and have helmet hair, so we never look nice. (The sweat is giving me some lovely acne too...) And I am always thirsty. You can't drink the tap water here because it tastes HORRIBLE (worse than Utah x10000) and some say that it can make you sick. But its nice because people always offer us some at their houses. 
It was like a monsoon outside! Pouring rain! So we got to ride our bikes through the pouring rain and of course run through a few puddles too.
Okay... Spanish is hard. People talk fast and use words that I don't know. Normally I can at least understand what the conversation is about. I am trying my best to contribute! People usually know at least a little English too if I really need help. But it’s really going pretty well! People tell me I speak really well for how long I've been out. There's just SO many people to meet and keep track of and lots of things to remember and keep organized. Hna Leon and I have really been trying to organize and get things in order so that we can use our time efficiently. There's A LOT of work to do here. About 2/3 of the branch is inactive I think (but I guess a lot of people moved back to Mexico but there records are still here). We have a few investigators right now. I haven't gotten to know them super well yet. Most of them feel more comfortable talking to Hna Leon because they know her and she knows Spanish ha ha but I'm trying to be outgoing, friendly, and helpful.

This week we also worked with a few recent converts. Rene, Omar, and Carolina. They are all sooo sweet and so faithful! It is really cool to see their strength. There's so much that they still don't understand about the gospel, but they feel so blessed to have this in their lives and they know that it is the truth. They all have a lot of hard things going on in their lives right now, but they are striving their best to follow God.
Rene, in gray, and Omar, orange, & niece and nephew!  I kept having to ask if they were just really excited about the gospel or if they were just laughing at my Spanish I'm pretty sure it was the Spanish!
This is at the Naumann's house. They are basically like our grandparents. They are so great. They help a lot with investigators and all the missionary work. They are stake missionaries. But with the ward split, we lost them to the other ward :( They literally just live right across the streeet! But anyways, they breed dogs, so they have 2 week old pupppies right now! I died!

Us with Sister Naumann! She is the sweetest!
God is really sustaining me in this work. He gives me all that I need. I see His hand in my life every single day. I LOVE being a missionary. There's nothing else I would rather be doing right now. Even though we are hot, sweaty, thirsty, exhausted, we are SO happy! We are soooo blessed! I love these people here so much. 

Okay well, I think that's all. It's been such a great week and I love this work so much. I know that this is the work of God and I just pray that I can do all that He wants me to do. Remember to pray and study diligently - it really makes all the difference! I really know this is God's gospel. I really, really know that. The people here have SO many questions, and it just breaks my heart that I have had this knowledge my whole life, and these people want to know, but they just never knew where to look. Don't take this gospel for granted! We are sooooo blessed! (Share it with everyone :) ). 

Love you all and I'm always praying for you! Stay happy and stay strong! 

Con amor,
Hermana Haynes

Sunday, July 21, 2013


This is from an email Natalie sent a couple of weeks ago.

"This week I've been thinking a lot about faith and what it really means to have faith. I think it's a lot deeper and a lot harder than we really think.  Faith is believing something, having a hope for something, without seeing it.  But it is also a principle of power and action.  I realized this week that my faith has a LOT of room for improvement. I just want to have such strong faith and such a strong belief/knowledge of this gospel, that I can truly testify to people that I really know this is true.  That I really know this can change their lives.

 As I have been thinking about faith lately, I have found that a way for me to grow in these areas is to ask questions. Just think about how much faith it takes to ask a question in a prayer. That means you have faith that there's someone there listening to your prayers, that you have faith that the God you believe is listening to your prayers, and actually cares about you and your question. This means you have faith that somehow and someway that God will find a way to guide you and answer your questions. Let me just tell you, answers are there. It’s scary and hard, but answers are there.

As I have been reading and studying the scriptures, truly with a prayer and question in my heart, having faith that I will receive, I have received So much. Personal study time is my favorite part of the day.  It's the time of day when God talks to me and when God teaches me.  I absolutely cherish that time. I've been asking a lot of questions lately, (I wouldn't be surprised if God is starting to get annoyed with how many :), but they are being answered.  Not all of them have been, but I have faith that they will.

Sister Sheri Dew was our speaker in Relief Society, something she said that sunk in was that we need to be sure to ask questions in the right environment. Don't ask questions with the idea that your testimony is wrong and you won't get answers, but ask questions in an environment of faith - believing that you will get answers and that you will just be able to understand more and understand better.
 Hna. Wright told me this week something that has really hit both of us. She said something along the lines, "If we feel we are not capable of doing this, that means we aren't trusting in God. Our confidence needs to be in God and His capabilities, and not our own."'
Lots of times, I feel weak. I don't feel like I'm enough to do this job at hand. But as I continue growing my faith, and as I learn how to rely on God and truly trust in Him, its okay if I am weak. Its okay because I don't have to rely on my own capabilities and my own knowledge. If I try my best, God has promised that He will make up the rest. I am learning to have faith in that promise."

Off To Mesa!

Natalie headed off to Mesa on Tuesday morning.  She was able to call us from the airport while she waited to catch her flight.  She had told us that she hoped she could call us, and that if she did she would call between 5:00 - 7:00 a.m.  She also warned that she only had a limited number of minutes on her calling card, so we were all set to make sure we didn't miss her call.

Well the best intentions........   Almost!

I slept that night with my cell phone next to the bed, charged and ready to go.  The day before I made sure I knew how to patch in additional callers so she could talk to other family members too. I was pretty much awake waiting for her call at 5:00 when much to my dismay at 5:46 I noticed a missed call when my phone hadn't even rung!  A moment later, the house phone rang.  I eagerly picked it up.  No one was there!  I was so worried I had missed her, but then she called again.  But no connection! Yet again, a call and no one is on the other end!  I was sure I'd missed her by then, and was starting to tear up.  But once more, the house phone rang, and this time she was there!

Her first words were, "I'm using quarters so I only have 3.5 minutes."  Fortunately, she still had enough time on her calling card to make one more call.  She called me back on my cell phone and I then called family members on the house phone to tell them I would be calling back on my cell and patching them in.  (I have never been so nervous about dropping a call in my life!)  We ended up with 6 lines on the call.  It was great!  We were all so happy to talk to her.  I do have to admit that after 4 lines it was a bit difficult to carry on a conversation and the connection suffered, but we still loved it!

Turns out the speaker on the first phone she called from wasn't working.  She could hear me, but I couldn't hear her.  Fortunately, she figured that out and was able to find a new phone before she ran out of minutes!  We all decided that a great service project for people in Salt Lake would be to go to the airport and lend their cell phones to missionaries flying out!  I guess there were 30 missionaries on Natalie's flight alone.  That's a lot of pay phones to go around!

We haven't heard anything from her since then, and I sure can't wait for her next P-day (preparation day for missionaries when they do their shopping, laundry and WRITE LETTERS AND EMAILS!!!!!), whenever that will be.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

How The Spirit Works In My Life

Okay spiritual thought of the week: Quoted from Elder Maxwell, "The Lord never uses a floodlight when a flashlight is sufficient." I love that. I've been really trying to learn how the Spirit works in my life and how I receive answers to my prayers and guidance from God. I feel like so often I expect it to be some huge, life changing answer, but that's not how God works. He teaches us gently and quietly through the Holy Ghost. If we aren't really listening and paying attention, it’s so easy to miss it. I know that God always answers our prayers, but not always in the ways or time that we want it to. God gives us what we need, but not always what we want. He knows everything though and is just waiting to help us. We just need to trust in Him and give Him all the faith we have. Act on what we know and try to live your life in harmony with the gospel. It’s so easy to be deceived or distracted, but that's why we need to study the scriptures every single day. That gives us protection and guidance. God's hand is in every aspect of our lives, whether we know it or not. Please try to build a relationship with Him. Please talk to Him. Let Him help you with whatever you need. It really makes all the difference! I am so grateful that I know who God is and that I am learning more to trust in Him and to have faith every day that I am here.
Sisters Haynes and Wright

I Leave For Mesa!

¡Hola Familia!

How are you all doing?? I hope well! Thanks for all the letters I've gotten this week! It was sooo good to hear from some new voices this week! (Thanks so much Callie, Nancy, Aunt Michelle/Jacob (and Erin but a few weeks ago)). Its so nice to have love and support from friends and family! Sorry this P-Day is so crazy, so I have like zero time to write back anyone.

Okay... I LEAVE FOR MESA ON TUESDAY!!!!!!!! I got my travel plans last Friday. I seriously just cannot wait! I just want to get out there and do all that I can to help these people. I just want to love them, serve them, and help them learn how to find real happiness in their lives through Jesus Christ. I just have such a desire to go and do this work because I understand how important this is. I'm going to be helping people really change their lives and really find happiness. Is there anything better? I'm just so excited!!

So want to know why this P-Day is so crazy? Okay I will tell you. It's actually super cool. My district had a service assignment of cleaning the temple!!!! How cool is that? Super cool, I know. So all of the hermanas in my district were in charge of cleaning a chandelier in a sealing room. Those chandeliers are SO beautiful. We took off each crystal one by one, washed each one individually, then hung them back up very carefully. The six of us did this for 3.5 hours, and we didn't even finish one chandelier, and they told us that we worked really fast. Do you know how many chandeliers are in a temple? TONS!
It was really powerful to know how much work goes into making the temples perfect. But also knowing that we only make the temples perfect because they are the home of God.
On our way back from the temple, there were 2 protesters outside of the MTC. It was really weird. I think they are the same ones we saw outside of General Conference in April. But anyways, this guy had this big cross and we were waiting to cross the street so he started talking to us. He asked if we loved Jesus and made us say, "I love Jesus" all together as a group. He was preaching to us about how Jesus is the only one who has power to forgive sins, that we need to love and worship Jesus, that we need to get on our knees and pray and ask for forgiveness of our sins. I was really confused by why he was telling us this because he seemed to think that he was going to somehow change our minds or change our religion, but I don't think that he realized that we believe those things too and that we implement them every day of our lives.

Look who I ran into at the MTC.  Lance my FHE brother from BYU!

Hmmm what else happened this week? Oh... so teaching Pat and Frank has been super interesting hahaha. One of the first times we taught them was sooo bad.... We had the worst case of the giggles ever. All 4 of us. Elder Toolson and Elder Bentson are just goofy and who they are acting as are a little bit extreme so its been fun. I felt bad that we laughed so much (especially since we were being evaluated by a teacher that we didn’t know) but we just couldn’t stop! We said like 5 opening prayers and even had to leave the room and come back. Finally we just had to talk through our laughs and go on with the lesson and eventually we got into the swing of things. Each lesson after that has gotten better and better. Last night we taught them and it went so well! The Spirit was strong and we were able to invite both of the to be baptized. It is a really good feeling to know that you are teaching the things God wants His children to have in their lives and that you are actually helping lives to improve and people to find peace.

Elders Fry & Martin, me and Sis. Wright

 Fun with Ring Pops! 
Sis.s Wright and Haynes with their candy!
 Natalie's district love trinkets from home!
I am really sad to be leaving my district and my teachers here. After literally spending 24/7 together for 6 weeks, we've all gotten to be very close friends. They feel like my family away from home. Luckily a lot of them go to BYU, so I will be able to meet up with them in a few years. Its just cool to think that in a few days we will all be spread out around the world doing the Lord's work. I heard something once that has always kind of stuck with me. It goes something like that every person you meet makes up a part of who you are. I feel so blessed to have these people help shape my life and help make me into a better person. Also, that all of you, both friends and family, to help shape me into a better person and teach me so many things throughout all of my life. Thanks so much for all of your love and support!

The 4th of July was really fun! We had P-Day that day, then we had a broadcast thing where we sang patriotic songs and watched 17 miracles. Then we got to watch the fireworks that went off! It was really fun. 
Our zone's service project is to put away all the bleachers, chairs, mats, stage, etc  after every MTC devotional, which is actually a lot to do and we don’t start it until late at night, so we always have to go to bed late. So we did that service after the fireworks, and went to bed so late. I don't think we have caught up on sleep yet. And I will just lose more when I leave for the airport so early! But obedience seriously brings blessings. I've been trying very hard to follow the sleeping schedule of 10:30 - 6:30. It isn’t even a choice when I will go to bed or get out of bed because I have just decided to keep that rule (well, all of the rules - trying my best at least!). But I've never really been tired here. In the mornings I'm a little sleepy and every once in a while throughout the day, but it’s really not bad at all. Just not even a problem. Its so great.

Well I hope you all are doing well! So crazy that the next time you here from me, I will be in Mesa! Speaking of that, I have no idea when you will get the next email from me. Know that you are always in my prayers! I love you all so much, and I hope life is treating you very well. Remember "happiness is a way to travel, not a destination." (something like that...). Choose to be happy! I love you and miss you all so much!

Friday, July 12, 2013

Letter From Her Mission President

We received a letter from Pres. Jenkins, Natalie's mission president in the mail yesterday.  He and his wife are new missanaries too.  They were in the MTC with Natalie, and I believe became acting mission president in Mesa on July 1st.  I thought you might enjoy learning a little more about the Mesa mission from the President.  Don't worry, I'll take care of the bragging! (See the letter ;o) )

Important! Mailing Instructions!

Good advice from Pres. Jenkins on sending mail to Natalie.  The full details are below.  
The most important points:   
  • Send things to the Mission Home,
  • Use US Postal Service so the mission home can quickly forward things to Natalie's correct current address.

The easiest way to send packages: 
  • Use priority mail as mentioned in the letter.  However, priority padded envelopes work great and only cost $5.70 to ship. (You can probably fit a medium priority sized box in one.)  
  • Go online to and you can purchase postage and print it at home; then just put the package in your mailbox.
  • You can also order the padded envelopes, (they are not always stocked at the post office), for free online under shipping supplies. It takes about a week or two for them to be delivered. (I have a supply too if you don't want to wait!)


Sunday, July 7, 2013

Little Abuelitas!

 I think my favorite teaching moment this week was at TRC yesterday. We taught the sweetest little grandma ever! Oh she just melted my heart! She has over 20 great grandchildren and she served a mission in Uruguay when she was young. After her first husband passed away, she served a mission in Mexico. This lady is probably in her 80s and she has awesome Spanish! She just shined with joy of the gospel. It was so easy to have the Spirit with us when we were talking to her. Even though she has so much life experience and knows so much, she really looked to us to teach her. She made me feel like we have something valuable and important to say, even though she is so much more experienced than us. She was just so loving and happy. We could just tell how important the gospel is to her. Ah she was the best! I love little abuelitas! 

Now that I've been here for a month (CAN YOU EVEN BELIEVE THAT?), I got this schedule down haha. Lots of studying time, lots of class, lots of teaching. All the days seem to blend into one. They go so fast, but they go so slowly. It's just so weird to think I am going to be leaving this place soon. I'm going to be going out and doing real work. I'm sad to leave my district after literally spending 24/7 with them for the last four weeks. But I can't wait to get out there in the field and start doing the work! (Editor's note: Yup, looks to me like this district is ready to move on to the next thing.)
Because we are almost done teaching our teachers, we started being "investigators" for the other missionaries in our district. We are teaching Elder Bentson and Elder Toolson. I just absolutely cannot take them seriously! I laughed for the first 5 minutes of teaching them I swear haha it was so bad. To begin with, they are just very charismatic and hard to take seriously, but the characters (we were supposed to think of one of our good friends who we know well who we think could use the gospel in their lives - but I think they missed that memo) are sooo ridiculous. One is Frank MacDonald and an alcoholic redneck, and the other is Pat Finkbinder who is this super rich orthodontist that just loves money. It will definitely be very interesting & fun to teach them more. I already accidentally just told Pat that money doesn't matter and I think he got pretty offended by that sooooo... yeah we will see how it goes!

Also, I GOT INTO THE NURSING PROGRAM! LIke how its at the end of my email?? That's because I don't really think about it too much.... Don't get me wrong I am supperrrrr excited! This is something I've been dreaming of for a long time! (another lesson - hard work pays off! work hard, okay) I am here to do God's work right now, and I am trying to focus my all on it. In 17 months though, I'm sure I won't be talking about much else :) Thanks for always supporting me and cheering me on and listening to me endlessly worry about my grades and classes while I've been working on this! I'm really excited to get started and see what happens!

"Without a vision, the people perish"

I've never really been one to sit down and set goals and think about what I want to accomplish, but I've really been learning the importance of that lately. "Without a vision, the people perish." I need to sit down and write out the vision I have for my mission, and set specific goals for how to achieve that. Goals are also a way for us to show faith to God. It shows that we want to improve and work hard and do good work!

I just have been realizing this week, as time is quickly running out at the MTC, that this is MY mission. It's going to be how I want it to be. If I have a great vision, great goals, and high expectations for my mission, it can happen. If I give it my all and completely rely on God, I won't regret a minute of what I do here.
On Tuesday night, our district sat down together and set some goals. We've started to get a bit distracted from what we're actually here to do, and we really needed to re-orient ourselves. I absolutely love our goals and I'm super excited about them! Yesterday was our first day trying to live them, and it seriously made SO MUCH difference already! We spoke sooooo much Spanish yesterday, and it was fun and not even hard! Our study times were used much more effectively! Ah just go and set some goals - ones that are specific so you can know if you are actually achieving them or not. They are great. Okay sorry for that rant.....
Another week has flown right by! Just one more P-Day here! Can you believe it?? I leave on the 16th of July, but I don't have my official travel plans yet. Thanks again for all the letters (and the package Ben!)! You are all the sweetest!