Sunday, October 20, 2013

New Experiences Sharing The Gospel of Jesus Christ

Hi Family and Friends!                    (Week 19 From 10-16-13 email)

Natalie’s Gospel Minute
Something that I have been thinking about a lot this week is the Atonement, and the Sacrament. I just want you all to know that I know that Jesus Christ is my Savior. I know that He took upon Himself all of my pains and all of my sins. And because of that, I have a way to be clean. I know that Heavenly Father loves us. He always wants the best for us. All He does, He does to help us. To benefit us. To fight for us to come back home to Him. I know that He listens to our prayers. I know that when we pray with faith, with real intent, that we can see miracles in our lives. I know that the Atonement heals. I know that God has power to heal us from everything - physical pain and suffering, spiritual pain from sin, from abuse, from hard times, from just being down. I know that as we try to replace negativity in our lives, with the light of Christ, that we can find joy. Only through Christ can we find peace. I know that Christ loves me, because He, a perfect pure person who never knew the pains of sin, was willing to endure the pain for all of my stupid things that I do because He loves me. He wants me to have a way to be truly happy. I know that we can trust our Heavenly Father no matter what, and that we need to be humble and honest with Him and with ourselves. I love them both so much!

Making The Most of A Lot of Changes.
This week has been a week full of changes. Haha what an adventure. Although we didn't transfer, our area boundaries changed. The new elders took the majority of our area. Now we have this teeny tiny area and were left with only one investigator, Lupe. So this week we had to say goodbye to all of our investigators and our progress. I think that is one of the hardest parts of being a missionary. Making such strong, special relationships with the people you teach, but you have to be ready to hand them over to other people and say goodbye at a moment's notice. You never know when people or missionaries will move, or random changes will be made. It is hard to be so close to them, but not be able to visit them! Especially Karen and her family. It was hard to say goodbye to them. But it was so good - at church they were the first family there all dressed up and ready to go yesterday! The elders are really good though and are taking good care of our investigators, thank goodness.

So now we are left in this area that's really super super super small, and we have nobody to teach. It’s such an adventure haha. Lupe has been in Mexico all week, so we really had nobody. On Tuesday and Wednesday we spent HOURS organizing our area book, printing off screen shots of our teaching records on our iPads, etc getting everything ready for the elders in their new area. We gave them like 4 inches thick of records, and were left with maybe about half an inch.... No potentials, no one.... So we have been having fun with it. I hope I don't sound like I'm down about it, because I'm really not. I think it is such a great adventure. It's a lot different than what I'm used to. I've never had to really look for investigators like this before. But it's so great. We've been meeting a bunch of new people and improving a lot as missionaries.

Experiencing Missionary Work In a New Way
We just read through our entire area book (which only took us like an hour to do haha) and organized them into groups. We have just been going by and trying to talk to as many people as we can. Lots of people don't live there anymore or aren't home, so we talk to their families, their neighbors, whoever is outside, EVERYONE. We just need people to teach! We need something to do haha. We have met a lot of great people and set up a few return appointments. Nothing looks too promising yet, but you can't expect to build a strong teaching pool in only a few days. We tried calling every member in our area to set up appointments with them and ask for referrals. We have about 4 active families in our area, and about 15 total in our areas. Most families are less active, or may don’t even live there anymore. We have been trying to visit them at their houses, call them. We went to one of the strong member's houses yesterday, taught a little lesson about the Restoration, and they gave us 2 referrals! It was a miracle! We're super excited to check them out.
Even though there have been a lot of changes, I still
LOVE the baby animals!

Angela's family named the female puppies Haynes and Maughan.
A Surprising Find
Oh super cool story! We knocked on a former investigator's neighbor's door, and this family opened. We started talking to them, and they just kind of walked away and left us at the door, but then their little grandma walked up and started explaining why they couldn't talk right now, etc. So we said sorry and we would come back another day, but then to our surprise, she was like,"No I would love to hear a message about Jesus Christ!" She brought us outside, and we just started talking to her. She is the cutest little thing. She is a great-grandma, had 13 children who all turned out really well. Her name is Lena. We taught her about the Restoration, and she just absolutely loved it. She said everything made so much sense. When we recited the First Vision, she told us she got goose bumps. When we told her about the Book of Mormon, she said that her Dad always had that book, he always said how good it was and that she should read it, and that she could remember him talking about Jose Smith. She said that she hadn't seen a Book of Mormon since he died. She was so excited about all of it! Seriously I have never had a first lesson go that well. The Spirit was so strong, and it just felt so good to share such a sacred message with someone who loved it and appreciated it so much - someone who was so responsive to the Spirit. Of course, she left the next morning for Mexico and Texas and isn't coming back until December... Haha that's okay though. Her grandkids really liked us and we are going to go back and visit them. It was so cute. She said the closing prayer and ended it, "In the name of Jesus Christ and Joseph Smith, Amen." It was so sweet. I mean, we didn't really know how to explain that we don't pray to Joseph Smith, but we thought it was really great that she already had that much love for him. 

Finding People Who Are Ready to Progress – Not Just Being Nice
We have a few people that seemed pretty interested to learn more, but each time we've gone back when they've told us to, they haven't been home, they've been showering, or the teenager’s parents are gone. So we will keep trying and keep searching. It is kind of cool to be able to experience such a different side of missionary work. With Spanish work, it is super easy to find new investigators because pretty much anyone will talk to you and they hate to disappoint, so they will always say yes, almost always accept commitments, but then they stop answering the door when you come back, don't actually keep any commitments, tell you to come when they know they won't be there, etc. So it's really easy to find new investigators, but hard to find ones that are prepared and that want to progress. But we are praying hard and doing all that we can. Finding with faith! And just really having fun with it. I love being able to meet and talk to so many different people. After Sis Demille's bike gets fixed, Sis Maughan is going to use that and we are going to try biking around our area to be able to talk to more people.

It's finally starting to feel like Fall here! Well, I mean if fall means that 80* feels cool to you. It's so weird. Sometimes I need to wear a sweater but its 70* outside. And now my hands even get freezing cold when its 70*. I never understood it before, but now I do haha. And it gets dark a lot earlier. Pretty much at 6:30. Which is a bit annoying, because not many people want to open their door to random strangers when it's dark outside, but that's okay. 

Looks Like The Baptism Is Still On!
Lope came home yesterday, and we talked with her. She still wants to get baptized on the 26th! Yay! It's still tentative because she hasn't been able to keep the commitment of reading the Book of Mormon and praying yet, but yesterday she sounded pretty changed and that she had a greater desire to do it. Really hoping that she can follow through with it. She is such a fun girl. She's gone to Young Women's for 3 years so she knows a lot about the gospel and has felt the Spirit a lot through all of their lessons and activities. It's just hard for her because her family environment is a bit crazy. But they are all great people. They are so fun.

Well, that's all that I can think of really for this week... It's been super good. Please pray for us to find :)

Real Intent vs. Real Intent To ACT
One last thing - something I have been thinking about lately is the phrase "real intent". So often I always just thought of it as a real intent to know, to find to grow closer to Christ. But lately I have liked to add, "real intent to act." Pray with a real intent to act on the things that you ask for (real intent to try to make changes in your life) and on the answers that God gives you. Study the scriptures with a real intent to learn and to change from what you learn. It just adds so much more to the little things that we do. I just want you all to know how much I love this gospel and how grateful I am to all of you who have helped me learn the importance of it and have given me a great environment to grow my testimony and faith in Christ.

I love you all and I am so grateful for you love and commitment to supporting me! You are all the best! Miss you tons!
Con amor,

Hermana Haynes

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