Sunday, November 10, 2013

The Gospel of Jesus Christ Changing Lives.

(From email of 11-4-2013)
Buenos dias familia y amigos!                                     

Como estan?? Espero que todo este bien con ustedes.Tuvimos una semana buena otra vez! No es una sopresa :) Just thought I would start off with a little espanol today. Haha but hi! How are you!

We all got iPad Minis.
We had another good week. I really have the hardest time remembering what we do with our time... We have SO many things that we do each week, sometimes it feels like we don't have any time in the field. We have an hour of personal study, companion study, language study, 12 weeks program for Hna Maughan, facebook, lunch, and 1.5 hrs to update records into our area book on our iPads everyday before we get out into the field. Plus district meetings, etc. These are all super important things though to help progress the work. This week the entire mission got iPad Minis! We already had them, but they are going to give us new ones soon with iOS7. So all the missionaries were pretty excited about that! They said soon the mission president, stake president, bishops, etc will all have access to our area books and planners. Isn't that so great? We are going to be able to work with the leadership so much more.

Last week we found a whole less active family that no one knew!
This week we really started working more focused on the less actives and recent converts. We decided we needed to filter through our investigators and only focus on the ones that are really going to progress (pretty much just Juan and Ana, and a few others - they are doing GREAT by the way!), and then focus all other time on the branch. We saw a lot of blessings doing that this week too. Last night we found a whole less active family that no one in the branch knew! The Uribe family! They got baptized 3 years ago and have 6 children. 2 of them are old enough to be baptized but aren't so we are really going to work with them! Hopefully prepare their children for baptism and prepare them for a temple sealing - eternal families! They are such a great family already and were really kind to us. I am so excited to work more with them.

The Relief Society and Priesthood are having a competition to unite the branch.
Yesterday we had this big meeting with the branch with all the leadership of the branch. We got together and the branch presidency talked about the statistics of the church - we have 1/3 people coming to Sacrament, etc. They talked about how General Conference focused so much on the rescue and how that really needs to be the focus of our ward. They talked about all the activities we have coming up before the end of the year and how we need to be focusing on reaching out to others and inviting and fellowshipping them. Then we went through every single person on the branch records - if anyone knew who they were, if anyone knew if their addresses and phone numbers were correct, if they actually were in the branch boundaries, etc... It was SOOOO great! They really want to get the records accurate so they can know who we actually have to work with. We knew a lot about the members and where they live and had a lot of new phone numbers, so we were able to help a TON. It is really nice to know that that information will not be lost now after we are transferred out of this area. It is so great to see the branch catching the vision of needing to help these people here in the branch. These past couple weeks they have really been focusing on Visiting and Home teaching. They have a competition between priesthood and RS that whoever gets higher percentages on their visits, the other auxiliary has to make them a dinner! (awesome idea from Hna Maughan!) A lot of them don't even know how to do their visits, so we are trying to work with the RS presidency to see how we can help teach people how to do that. They are trying to get everyone in the branch contacted soon, because on Nov 16th we are having a branch Thanksgiving dinner, and they are going to drop off a dinner for everyone who is less active! What a great idea! It makes me so excited to see us all uniting our efforts to really reach out to those who are in need. I just want all of these people to have the joy and blessings of living the gospel. I just want them to be happy and to be close to Christ! I know that this branch can really become strong. It will take a lot of work, sacrifice, time, and dedication, but it has SUCH great potential!

Manuel already sharing with others.
We took Manuel out to help us teach some lessons with us this week, and it was so great! He was just so excited about the gospel and all the blessings that it brought into his life. It was really cool, we took him to visit a less active family, and the dad from the less active family got super excited to help teach Manuel this new member, and just was bearing his testimony and teaching Manuel. The Spirit there was so great. We shared a powerful message about the Book of Mormon and how it is a protection in our lives. It was such a great lesson. The mother was crying by the end. And then, the next day... They came back to church! The dad said that his vacation from church was over! Yay! Haha at the end of our lesson, the dad told us to open our bags, and he poured in his kids halloween candy. It was so funny. Now we got a little bit of trick or treating too! Speaking of Halloween, we went to an English ward member's house and she had such a cute little Halloween dinner set up! We had green spaghetti and all this kind of stuff and she called it all kinds of cute names! We made some treats during lunch and dropped them off at the missionaries in our district, and then we spent the rest of the night at home studying. We weren't able to proselyte that day. 
We made little ghosts of each of the missionaries in our district to go with the Halloween treats!

Juan and Ana are reading the Book of Mormon.
Ana and Juan are doing really well! They came to the Visitor’s Center and watched the Joseph Smith movie and really liked it. We read 3 Nephi 11 with them this week,  and that was really powerful. They also came to all 3 hours of church yesterday, and 2/3 of their kids actually went to their classes! Ana is pretty quiet, but seems pretty interested. Juan is REALLY interested though. He always is so full of questions, but asks them out of sincere desire to know more, not out of a desire to deny it or confound us. He is really reading the Book of Mormon. Ana has been reading a little bit, and they have both been praying to find out if it is true. Ana said she has had a few dreams about the Book of Mormon too. They both said that they think it is true, but aren't 100% sure yet. They have such great potential. They are a really, really great family. At church yesterday the lesson was on the Law of Chastity. We haven't talked to them about that yet and they aren't married, so hopefully that went okay for them. Ana's 17 year old brother, Pablo has been learning too and seems pretty interested! He didn't go to church though. They have 5 kids and the 3 youngest are learning and liking it, but the 2 older boys always hide in their rooms and don't talk to us. 

Karen and John are actually getting married and baptized on this next Saturday. I think we should be able to go to it if we can find investigators to come! Karen asked me to speak at her baptism too, but I don't know if that is still happening or not. It would be better if a member did it. I am so happy for them though! They are such a changed family and will be such strength to this branch! 

Learning a lot from having two companions and going to the temple!
Being a trio is an adventure as always. It is really fun, but definitely a learning experience. I have been learning so much about how to have good relationships with people. This is great marriage prep! Hahaha. 

We get to go to the temple on Thursday! I am super excited! We also have a meeting on Wednesday for all the non-VC sisters because we are going to be helping outside at Christmas lights! Yay! I am so excited! On P-Days some of us sisters are have a choir practice because one day we are going to be doing the musical number for Christmas lights. I am excited! Speaking of that, Mom at some point in time (before Thanksgiving probably) if you could send me my peacoats and nice jackets/sweaters that would be nice. It is really starting to cool down and I think that if we are working outside at night for Christmas lights, I will probably be getting pretty cold. Maybe toss in a few pair of gloves? No rush on this though! 

Random side note, but I had dinner at a guy from my BYU ward's house this week! (Dallin Schnepf for all my BYU friends). Such a small world! 

Ways to grow my charity.
Well, I think that's all I got for you this week. I just want to end with the scripture in Matt 22:36-39. "Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself." I have really been thinking about that lately. I have been trying to find ways that I can grow my charity and to increase my desire and ability to give selfless service. Sometimes I feel like I get so centered in my own world. But I am here to bless other's lives. I am here to help others and to strengthen and support them. That is why we are all here. I know that as we do that - as we really focus on other people more than ourselves, then we will be happier. It can be hard sometimes, but that is how true happiness comes. I also like to think about Christ and His example. He was so quick to forgive and so slow to offend. He gave so freely of Himself in every opportunity that He could. I want to be more like Him and I want to know Him better. I have been really trying to learn more about His life and to develop more faith in Him as my Savior and center my life more on Him specifically.

Well I love you all so much! And I miss you tons, especially as we are in this holiday season! But I would never trade this time for the world. I am so grateful to be here. I am so grateful for this opportunity to learn, grow, love, and serve. I hope you all have a great week!

Con mucho amor,

Hermana Natalie Haynes

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