Sunday, December 29, 2013

Following Christ Leads To Eternal Bliss

Hi Family and Friends!           (From email of 12-16-13)

We had another really great week here! Okay I just read the weekly email from President Jenkins, and I have the most exciting news to tell you!!! WE ARE HAVING A MEETING WITH ELDER JEFFREY R. HOLLAND!!!!!! Ahhhhhh I am SO excited! If I chose favorites, he would definitely be one of mine! :) On January 11th all the missionaries from the Mesa, Gilbert, and Scottsdale missions are coming together for a meeting with him! What a special opportunity!

We stayed very busy this week, so that was fun. On Tuesday we had a temple excursion. We went through a session with half of the mission and with President and Sister Jenkins. It was such a cool experience. It was so beautiful seeing all the missionaries greeting each other in the Celestial room. It really gave me a vision of what a joyful reunion it will be to see all of us reunited together in the Celestial kingdom. I absolutely love the temple. One of the things I am looking forward to after my mission is being able to attend the temple more frequently. We are so blessed here in Mesa though. How many missionaries get to go through the temple with half of their mission? Best mission in the world.

Mission Christmas Party
On Wednesday we had a Christmas party! And oh my it was so fun! Who knew missionaries had parties? I didn't. But it was such an enjoyable experience. We started off playing games (I guess there are some really rich members in the area so they were even giving money out to the people who won. It was kind of weird. But cool. I was so close to winning $20 haha). Then we had a yummy steak lunch, decorated cookies, did some awesome service projects, ate yummy dessert, listened to this cute family play hand bells. I don't know if you have ever heard of Reflections of Christ before? (If you haven't you should check it out. It's awesome pictures of representations of Christ's life, and there is a music album that goes along with it). But anyways, Freddy Ashby and Clyde Bonham, the people who made the Reflections of Christ, they also perform with Alex Boye, did a private concert for us. They are AMAZING. So beautiful. It brought such a strong spirit. It really made me miss being able to just play the piano and sing. But it was such a wonderful opportunity! We had all the mission gathered together to just celebrate and spend some Christmas time with our mission "family" here in Mesa. On Thursday we had a week 3 follow-up training meeting for the new missionaries. Hna Groll got her iPad so she's really excited about that. I hope I am doing a good job training her. I want her to be confident in her abilities and to feel more comfortable with the language. She's such a sweet person. I hope I get another transfer with her! 
Making Christmas cookies with Hna. Groll

Mexico keeps stealing our investigators!
We didn't have a ton of time in our area, but we were able to make our goal of 9 member present lessons this week! We are really working hard on getting a member out with us every hour. It is hard, but we are trying our best! The members are so sweet to us here. They are very busy so it is a big sacrifice for them. We contacted a member referral this week, and they were so prepared! Their names are Augusto and Laura. They are super receptive to the message, and said that they would get baptized if they receive an answer that it is true. They are a super cute couple probably in their 60s. But of course, they are leaving for Mexico for a month. Mexico always steals our investigators....

Planning a “white” Christmas
Marcos is all set for getting baptized on Saturday at 11 am! We are so excited for this! Even though we are loving the 75* weather (yes it warmed back up this week and we love it), we will still be able to have a "white" Christmas! He is really excited for his baptism too. His mom, Angela, came out to teach with us once this week and she did a great job! I think it really helped strengthen her testimony too. I don't know if you have ever heard of Herbalife or Herbalite or something like that but it is this weight loss program that's super popular in the Latino population. Anyways, Angela sells it so people always come to her house for their meals. We were over there, and her neighbor comes over for his meal and starts asking us a bunch of questions. He was asking really tough questions, and it was almost like bible-bashing but not. I was trying to be really humble in my responses and not cause contention. I think that he could actually have really good potential if he allowed us to share our message with him because we really do have such great answers to his questions! (He did chastise me pretty good though... I didn't have my Bible with me because I didn't have room in my purse and it can be heavy, but I had it on my iPad. Then he told me that Christ told us to take up our cross daily and that Christ's cross weighs a lot more than my Bible. So now, I am trying to always have my Bible with me haha). Angela also let us try her weight-loss aloe, tea, and shakes. They were pretty good! 

Manuel blessed the sacrament for the first time!
Saturdays are pretty hard because it seems like no one is home. But we have been doing this thing the past couple weeks were we bake cookies and give them to our investigators to invite them to church. We have had a hard time getting investigators to church, so we are trying to get creative. We are having lessons, but they always say they are too busy to come to church. I guess we need to do a better job at explaining the importance of it. Speaking of church, Manuel came to church again this week! Yay! And he blessed the sacrament for the first time! I was so proud of him! He is really trying to make a good effort to stay active in the church. We took him out teaching with us last night, and afterwards he called us. He said," thanks so much for taking me! I loved that so much! I love Mormons! I love the church! I love being able to share my testimony because it makes my faith so much stronger! Thank you so much!" (not exactly, but more or less haha). He did a great job too. We were just talking like get to know you, and he just brought up the gospel and how it has blessed him and shared such a powerful testimony. It was such a special experience for me. 
Hnas. Haynes and Groll at church

Potential Christmas plans
Can you believe Christmas is coming up so soon? I will be able to skype you! I will make a 15-20min phone call or skype to both dad's and mom's house. I am so excited to talk with you again! I miss you tons! We don't really know what our plans are yet, but a drunk man invited us over for Christmas eve and Christmas, so maybe we will do that. It was awesome. He gave us tamales. We met the whole family too. (don't worry, the elders had been teaching him and all his family were there and sober). His mom actually is a cook and janitor at juvi and she was telling me all about it. It was super interesting.  
I have really chubby cheeks in this picture.... But yes that is an entire cow's head. Yummy. (they love to eat cabeza, or head, here. Luckily I haven't had to try it yet!)
We have to get filtered water here because the tap is just so gross. So filling up our jugs.

Words of Christ lead to eternal bliss

But yes, that was more or less my week. It was a very good week! I absolutely love being here. I just can't believe how fast time is going. We only have a few more weeks of the transfer... Something I have really been thinking about this week is how I can become a better servant for the Lord and how I can more closely follow Christ and develop His attributes. Sometimes I feel like I am a long ways away from my goal. But I have been trying to really evaluate myself and see in what ways I need to change. I just want to be more obedient, more humble, more patient, more selfless, etc. (I need a lot of work in all of those areas! haha) But in my study this morning, I found a verse that I really liked. It is Alma 37:44-46. It is relating following the Liahona to how we follow Christ. It says, "For behold, it is as easy to give heed to the word of Christ, which will point to you a straight course to eternal bliss, as it was for our fathers to give heed to this compass, which would point unto them a straight course to the promised land. O my son, do not let us be slothful because of the easiness of the way... The way is prepared, and if we will look we may live forever." I know that as we diligently strive to study and live the words of Christ, that all will work out. We will have peace in this life, and we will be able to reach eternal bliss! (and who does not want to live in bliss forever??) I just love studying the scriptures and the words of the prophets every day. I always learn so much and am filled!

I love you all so much and I am so grateful for all of your love and support! Hope you have a great week getting ready for Christmas! 

What I see every night!
Temple Lights
More Temple Lights
Con mucho amor,

Hermana Haynes

Sunday, December 22, 2013

He Said All of The Mormons Are Happy

Hello again family and friends! (From email of 12-9-13)

We had such a great week this week! It was amazing! We haven't had much time in our area this week because of Christmas Lights, but we were able to get 8 member presents. Which is super good, even for not a Christmas Lights week. The zone leaders were freaking out they were so proud of our work! They even facetimed us to tell us good job! So we are hoping to have another awesome week like that this week! We had ZTMs this week and the zone leaders really are trying to push us to have a member with us every hour when we are out in the field, so we are trying to reach that goal, because miracles really do happen when we have the members with us! It is so nice to have someone to instantly fellowship them and give them a friendly face to see at church. So we are really happy with how that is turning out! We sent around a little signup sheet in RS yesterday to have the sisters sign up to go out with us and a few of them signed up! We also have been receiving lots of referrals from the Christmas Lights, so hopefully lots of new investigators coming up! (If we ever have time to contact them or can find them home!) But we are really excited. This area is so full of such great potential. We don't have a ton of progressing investigators right now, but we have a lot of people that have great potential!

They haven't been to church in years, but they want to come back.
We were able to meet Yuleni's husband Javier this week, and they both seem pretty interested. We taught him about the Restoration and he liked it. They weren't able to come to church though. We didn't have any investigators at church this week, but we did have some huge miracles! Manuel came to church this week! That made me so happy! And Adriana and Fredrico did too! They are less active members that we have been visiting for a couple of months. They haven't come to church in years, but have been wanting to come back, but have been nervous. They finally committed to doing it and they stayed for all three hours! And the Uribe Family, they didn't come to church because they had work, but they came to the Christmas Devotional last night! And one of their kids, Madia, she is 11 and wants to get baptized and has been reading the Book of Mormon every night for 2 weeks. Holy cow, right?? We just hope their parents get a little more excited about coming back to church. They weren't members for very long before they became less active, so they still have a lot to learn about the gospel. Their littlest girl, Paulita is so adorable. She always gives us these little paper stars and just says the cutest stuff. And the little boy Donato is adorable also. I love that family!

I spoke in church about less active members needing to feel the love of the members
Speaking of church, I gave another talk in Sacrament meeting yesterday. I was pumped because it was such an opposite topic. I spoke on Elder Uchtdorf's talk from General Conference, "Come, Join With Us" and was asked to put an emphasis on the reactivation of less active members. Such a great topic, right??? I told them how the less active members need to feel their love and support, and how we need to work together to show Christ like love to these people who need our friendship. I reviewed Elder Uchtdorf's talk about why people leave the church and how we can help them see things from a different perspective.  I also reminded them about Elder Ballard's commitment to inviting someone before Christmas. I hope it touched their hearts and will help them lose their fear to reach out to these awesome people. 

Working on Marcos' baptism date
Marcos is still on board to get baptized, but we aren't sure about what date though. We were going to do it on the 21st but the stake center is reserved, so we moved it to the 20th, but it turns out that's when the branch's Christmas party is. So we will have to figure that out. But we are super excited! Our goal is 2 baptisms this month, and we are really hoping to reach that. Really the only other person that could be baptized in December is Hecor (I don't know if I have told you about him...) He comes with his brother every week for months and we have been teaching him lately, but he just doesn't really have that great of a desire to have the gospel in his life. He just kind of sees all things of God as good so why not go to any church. We are really praying that his heart will be softened and that he will be able to feel the Spirit testify the truth to him. 

Meeting people from all over
Christmas Lights is such a great experience too. It has been COLD this week! Okay, laugh at me, but after being used to 120* weather, 45* feels freezing. I know it’s not that bad, but it feels cold - especially when you just stand there for 2 hours. But it is so great. They have different little nativity like stations or reflection pools or shepherd's camps, etc., and we are just stationed at one each night or we roam. We just talk to all that we can. We try and get referrals, invite people to learn more, and explain the importance of Christmas to us. We seriously get to meet the coolest people! The other day I met people from Kenya and it really made me miss Philip! Yesterday we met 2 sisters, Carla and Carlie. Carla is the only member in her family and I think is trying to get her sister introduced to the gospel. She is trying so hard to be active in the gospel and is so happy to be a part of it, but I guess her family is really against it. We had an awesome experience talking with her.

One night we were able to get 4 referrals! These Mexicans walked past and were like, “oh it’s the hermanas!” And so I asked them what ward they were in, and they were like, “no we aren't members!” So, of course I was like, "you aren't Mormons? Why not? You should be!" The one who knew that we were missionaries has a daughter that's a member, and he wasn't interested in learning more, but 2 of the people he was with were!

He couldn't even imagine peace
We also had another huge miracle with this guy named Ty. This member just came up to us with Ty and said that he just met Ty and it sounded like he wanted to make some changes in his life. Ty told us about how he has been in and out of jail, etc. and just really was done with all that and wanted to leave it all behind. He just walked past the temple lights and just knew that he needed the gospel in his life. He said all of the Mormons are happy and that we have so many churches in the area, and that he just wanted to be a part of it. When we told him he could find peace in his life, he said he couldn't even imagine that. We asked him if he had any questions for us, he just said that he wanted us to teach him and that he wanted to start reading the Book of Mormon. It was such a miracle. We have been able to meet so many cool people with so many backgrounds. We have been able to plant a lot of seeds as well. It is such a blessing to be able to serve here in this mission! 

This upcoming week is going to be super busy! We have a Temple Excursion tomorrow (don't really know what that means, but I think it may just be a temple session), a mission Christmas Activity on Wednesday, and a follow up training meeting for Hna Groll on Thursday, plus Christmas lights. So it will be a busy week! I think we have about 9 hours in our area this week... But we are going to work hard and I know that Heavenly Father will help us to make the limited time we do have as productive as possible. 

I love being Mexican!
I just have to let you know HOW HAPPY I AM. It is ridiculous. I can't even tell you. I am just so happy. I love my mission so much. I just feel overwhelmed by how blessed I am. God knows me so well, He knew exactly where I need to go. Seriously though, I get to talk with so many amazing people every single day. I get to learn and become part of such a fun culture. I love being Mexican. It's the best. (Totally started shopping at the Mexican grocery store even. It is awesome. I wish we had more Mexican grocery stores in Seattle.) Get to eat amazing new foods all the time. I have such a great companion. I get to speak Spanish. I GET TO SHARE THE GOSPEL. I get to change who I am and become more like Christ. I can't even begin to describe how much this mission has changed me. I am so grateful for it. I just have such a greater appreciation for everything and see the world in a different way. I am learning so many new things that will help me for the rest of my life. I just am really, really happy. But I do miss you tons! I know without a doubt that Jesus Christ is the head of this Church. I know that He listens to our prayers and if we have faith, we can accomplish all things with His help. He gives us the strength to do things that we can't do on our own. With Him, with faith, patience and diligence, nothing is impossible. I was reading Alma 32 this week about planting the seed of faith, and something that stuck out to me was how it really hit the points of faith, patience and diligence in being able to produce fruit from our seeds of faith. We have to hold strong and give our all to the Lord. I am trying so hard, but I know I have even more to give. I have so many faults and make so many mistakes, but I am trying to do better every day. I have a long ways to go, but I will get there someday! :)

I love you all and just feel so blessed to have the greatest family and friends. Thanks for all that you do for me and for all of your prayers. It really means the world to know that I have so many people praying for me every day. Know that I am praying for you too! And please pray that we will have more less active members and investigators come to church! That would be such a miracle! I LOVE YOU ALL SO MUCH!
Hna. Groll, Natalie and the tree.

Thanks for the package Mom!

We didn't have a star, so we decided to put up the true light of the world instead ) and yes, that is my skirt acting as the honorary tree skirt. Looks pretty good, huh

Con mucho amor,

Hermana Haynes

Sunday, December 15, 2013

How Faith In Jesus Christ Works

Hi Family!                     (From email of 12-2-13)

It is so nice to hear from you! Thanks for all being so good about writing me! I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving! It sounds like you all had a great time. I can't help to but to miss you a little bit more during the holiday season because the best part of the holidays is family. (especially because I have the best one). But I will be home for next Christmas! Want to know something really weird?? I actually go home a year from today...... I don't know how to feel about that... Just be sure to really enjoy the holidays for me this season!

We had a great Thanksgiving though! We actually had 2 dinners. We were invited over for the first dinner at 3, but it didn't really start until 4:30 actually because everyone got there late. So we helped get things ready and just kind of awkwardly stood around haha... And then we ran over to the other dinner at 5. We were STUFFED. The food was actually traditional American food. They did add sopa fria which is pasta salad with bananas and raisins and then a salsa. Nnot really sure what the salsa was for though. It was very fun though!
Elder Larson broke the spatula serving the pie. I don't remember why, but it was super funny in the moment!

Elers Larson and Elder Celis-Gomez, our district leader
 We weren't allowed to do anything on Thanksgiving unless we were invited to, so we had some extra studying hours that day. We also helped Sna. Silva do some more quincinera prep that morning and she made us breakfast. Haha she is such a firecracker it is awesome. She always has all sorts of crazy stories to tell us. Lupes's quincinera is going to be HUGE. I really want to go! 

 Family Night With the Silva Family
We seemed to have a lot of our teaching appointments cancel on us this week. It was also hard to find people home, which made for a bit of a slow week. But I guess that's what to expect during a holiday week. Last Monday we had another Noche de Hogar with the Silva family. It is really a miracle to be able to get the whole family to gather and learn about the gospel together so I am really happy that could happen. I just wish you could meet this family. They would make you laugh. Hno Silva is such a little smart alec haha. Whenever I ask him a question about the gospel he goes sorry I am busy right now, I can't hear you, etc. And he likes to sing and dance to the Beatles. He is like this 70 year old man and it is awesome. I love them.

A New Investigator
Oh we got this awesome new investigator this week! Her name is Helena. The elders said they stopped by once before and she seemed to have good potential, so we stopped by and started teaching her. She has a husband, and 2 kids but we haven't met her husband yet. She is really sweet, but a bit quiet. To be honest, I am not really sure why she let us start teaching her or why she is listening to the lessons, but she is and she is reading the Book of Mormon too! We taught the Restoration to her and she accepted it really well and then kept her commitment to read the introduction. She seems really open to the restored gospel too so I am really excited to see where this will go! I have a good feeling about it :) It just might be hard to get them to church because Sunday is the only day they both have off so they do all the errands that day. 

A Miracle for Marcus
On Saturday we had another miracle! Do you remember Marcus? The 10 year old boy we taught with Miguel? His mom, Angela is a member that is coming back to church. She didn't want him to get baptized until he was older, but she has changed her mind and decided to allow him. So we were able to set a baptismal date with him on Saturday! We set it for December 21st. So it is going to be such a great Christmas present. We asked him what it meant to him to be baptized and he said that it was a way to get closer to God and to be cleansed from all the bad things that we do. His mom was so impressed by his answer. It really meant a lot to her and showed her that he really did understand this decision that he was making to be baptized. I also gave him the kids version of the Book of Mormon on Saturday, and at church yesterday he told me he had already read 13 chapters! He is such a great kid. Him and Miguel are best friends now and Karen and Angela have become really good friends too. 
Getting ready for the lights to turn on!

Talking to Visitors at the Temple Christmas Lights
Christmas lights started on Friday and it has been such a great experience. We get to talk to soo many people every day! I think my favorite experience so far was yesterday we met a bunch of people from China. There was one couple who was there with their member friend. The member had moved from China a few years ago and had found the gospel, and really wanted us to share with them. She pulled us over and asked us to give them a little tour and teach them a little bit. So we got to take them around and teach them about the Christmas story and about why Christ is so important to us. It was such a neat experience. They were such nice, happy, friendly people. I had never taught anyone that doesn't know about Christ and it just made me so happy that I could teach these people something of such great importance. It just breaks my heart that they don't have the gospel in their lives! I hope that somehow they will be able to accept the gospel.

All the Spanish People Are So Friendly!
I also have been realizing just how much I love the Spanish people. They are so great. I think speaking Spanish is the absolute best. At Christmas lights, (almost) all the Spanish speakers are so friendly and are happy to talk to us. We have met people from all around the world - Guatemala (this awesome guy who actually agreed to have the missionaries call him!), Russia, China, Mexico, Venezuela, France (this probably 60 year old lady that wants Ben to write her in French hahaha She is a member). But yes, it is just a really great experience. It has been hard to find the balance between not being a pushy missionary versus just being a host/tour guide. We don't want to make people feel uncomfortable, but we want to fulfill our purpose also. So hopefully we will get better at that! But it was a great week! I can't believe how fast time is going! It is almost Christmas! Fun! 

How Faith In Christ Works
This week I have been thinking a lot about faith. Every time before Christ healed someone, he always asked them if they had faith to be healed. I am not sure why but that has been really interesting to me. How we have to believe that He can heal us or cleanse us. We have to show that to Him and be firm in our beliefs. I read this great talk today called, "Wilt Thou Be Healed" (Pres Jenkins has invited us to read a conference talk every day this transfer). I just love how much Christ has done for us and how he has no greater desire than to help us. This morning, as I was reading in Alma 31 I was really impressed by Alma's prayer of faith to help his brethren who were lost. He prayed with such faith and sincerity that it all came to pass. It made me realize how great of a power there is in a prayer of faith. How we really can bring miracles about with our faith. Faith truly is a power in our lives that we can use to bring about the will of God. It really made me want to grow my faith and especially be more sincere and diligent in supplicating to my Heavenly Father in faith.

I love you all so much and truly feel SO blessed to have you as my family! I wish you could all understand how much I love you! I hope you have a wonderful week! Know that you are always in my prayers! Stay safe, healthy, and happy! Also please keep me in your prayers.. I got a lovely cold and so pray for me to get healthy quick :) Gotta love being congeste, and my voice is dying. I think Hna Groll is scared that my voice will go out and she will have to teach all the lessons on her own haha. Also, I LOVE Hermana Groll. We get along so well, and we have very similar personality types. It is so fun working with her!
Hna. Groll and me waiting for  Temple Christmas Lights to come on!

Con amor,

Hermana Haynes

Sunday, December 8, 2013

He's Reading the Book of Mormon.

Hi  Family!!   (from email of 11-25-13)

Another week just flew right by. I can't believe how fast time is going... Almost my six month mark. Ahhh it breaks my heart. Miss you to death, but I never want to leave at the same time.... 

A new companion
We had transfers this week and I have such a wonderful new companion! She just got here from the Mexico MTC. Her name is Hermana Groll. She is from Preston, Idaho and just graduated from high school in May. She is super sweet and really fun to work with. This is her first time away from home so I feel like her mama. It's hard teaching someone a new language that I still don't know very well, but I know that God will bless us. He has blessed me so much with the language so that I would be able to train right away, and I am very grateful for that.
My new companion, Hna. Groll and my new hair cut.  Got it trimmed.
We get our investigators back! 
So with the area changes, we got back all the area that we gave away last transfer. It's a bit obnoxious giving and taking and sharing all the investigators again because it's hard to know exactly where they are in their progress, but God always has a reason for the things that He does. So we have Karen, Manuel, Angela/Marcos/Juana, Maria and Carlso and a bunch of other people back. It's super fun to be seeing them again. I had to say goodbye to Ana and Juan, so that was sad, but the Elders will take good care of them. It's always a bit hard to get back into the swing of things and know exactly where and how to be using our time, but we are trying our best. I really just want to be exactly where the Lord wants me to be and visiting exactly who He wants me to visit and saying exactly what He wants me to say, but sometimes it’s hard to know exactly what that is. But I just do my best and go forward with faith.

I feel like after making so many mistakes as a trainer last time around, I know how to do it much better this time. I feel bad for Hna Maughan who had to be my guinea pig... I really had no idea what I was doing haha. I still don't, but I know a little bit better. Hermana Groll is so great though. We get along very well. She really wants to work hard to I really appreciate it. President Jenkins pulled me aside and said that I was handpicked to be her trainer because I would be able to help her with her Spanish. I thought that was cool. I need to speak more Spanish in the apartment and things. I am getting into bad habits haha. 
Trainers and trainees
Me and the other trainers
He says he is Catholic
On Hermana Groll's first day, the Relief Society president, Hermana Santos asked us if we could accompany her. She made muffins and hand outs to deliver to all of the women that were on our progress records! It was such a great experience. It was so nice of her to spend her time helping these people. She went to a lesson with us with Tito and Carmen. It went well. I think there is some potential there with Tito, but as for now he says he is Catholic, but he listens to our message! I love the less active members because they ALWAYS live with someone that's not a member. We have found soooo many people to teach that way! We met some more less active members this week. Some of them seem pretty excited about coming back. Hopefully they can find the courage to do it soon. We hope to be able to teach the people that they live with as well. 

Their house burnt down 2 years ago
We had a great lesson with the Familia Uribe. They finally opened up to us! We taught the Restoration, and it went so well. They opened up and told us that their house burnt down 2 years ago and how hard that has been on them. At the end of the lesson, I asked Hna Uribe if she ever had an experience where she felt the Spirit. She then told us about when her nephew died, how hard it was, but she prayed and just could feel how strongly God loved her and was there for her. She, all the kids and, we cried during the story. It was a great Spirit there. Their Book of Mormons all burnt in the fire too, so they didn't have any. We gave each of them their own and they were really excited to read it! The little girl, Mia, kept giving us her stickers and little things she made with paper. It was so cute. They cancelled the cita we had with them yesterday, but we will be able to see them soon.

It rained this week! Like really rained! It was like we were living in Seattle for 3 days! I LOVED IT. It made me feel at home. It has really gotten cold this week. I will need those clothes soon Mom... especially with Christmas Lights starting soon! Christmas Lights start on Friday and I am so excited! We will be working it for 2 hours every day until January. So we really are not going to have much time in our area at all. It will be interesting to see how it works out, but God always finds a way to take care of things. 

We've never had a lesson with him, but he was reading the Book of Mormon!
I don't know if I ever told you about Enrique, I think I did. So look up that email. t was about 8:55 last night, and we decided to knock one last door before we went home. Enrique lives close by, and I just felt like we should go check up on him. So we did, and he answered! Not only that, but he has been reading the Book of Mormon! We never even had an official lesson with him, and no one has visited him for 6 weeks, but he has been reading! We never were able to set a firm appt with him before because he never knew his work schedule before, but we did this time! Tonight! I am super excited and really hoping it goes well. 
A family in our branch.
Sorry I feel like this email is kind of lame, but I don't really know what else to write. I miss you all so much! It is weird to be spending the holiday season away from you! We aren't really allowed to do anything on Thanksgiving unless people invite us to, so it will probably be a pretty low key day staying in the apartment. We do have invitations to a Thanksgiving dinner though, so that will be fun! I hope you all have a great Thanksgiving and know how grateful I am for all of you! 

Alma's Positivity
Something that I have been thinking about lately is how God has created individual plans for our lives. He has created the specific experiences that we need to teach us and help us to qualify for salvation. Everything happens for a reason and He is truly involved in the details. In my personal study today, I was reading Alma 26. I love Ammon's gratitude and example of positivity. Although they suffered so much, he did not dwell on that. He focused on the miracles that God gave him every day. He focused on the mercy and goodness of God and the love and relationships he was able to create. I know that because of Jesus Christ, we can always have hope. He overcame all, so that now we can overcome all as well. There is nothing that we have to face that we cannot come off conqueror. I am so grateful for that knowledge and the hope that it gives me to keep going forward with a smile on my face every single day. I love you all so much!
In the area where we work.
Con amor,

Hermana Haynes

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Strengthening Testimonies of Jesus Christ

Hi Family!!!       (From email of 11-18-13)

Another week done. Time just flies by and it breaks my heart! I can't believe this transfer is already ending. So... Transfer news!!! I am.... being switched to English work! Just kidding... I am staying in Liahona 3rd branch! YAY!!! Seriously I never want to leave this branch. Ever. It has been progressing so well lately. The members are making so many improvements and it’s so great to see. And guess what! I am training again! I am super excited! I am sad to have to leave Hna. Demille though. She will be serving in the Liahona 1st branch. I've lived with her my whole mission and she has grown to be one of my best friends so I am super sad for her to leave. I am super excited though. I love this area so much and I am really excited to train. It's always so fun to work with new missionaries because they are so excited to be out in the field and have such great enthusiasm for the work!

Lots of miracles!
So this week, we spent a lot of time passing out invitations to the turkey dinner and meeting with all of the less active members in the branch. We had a lot of miracles! I can't even tell you! I think I officially know probably about 90% of the people in the branch now. It feels so good to really know and love the members that I work with. They are the greatest people. I feel so blessed to be serving here. We found a lot of potentials while visiting the less active members because they almost all have part member families. Yesterday we went and met a less active sister for the first time (Carmen). Her husband(?) Tito sat in on the lesson and had lots of questions and wants to learn more! We set up a return appointment with them on Wednesday. I really just have such a passion for working with these less active members. I'm not sure why. It just feels really good to help those people who have already made covenants with the Lord. It feels really good to strengthen the branch in the way that it really needs strengthening right now. And when they have nonmember family living with them, it is killing 2 birds with one stone! Reactivating and teaching investigators! I just think of John and Karen and how well that worked out for them! The Uribe family has been a little harder to get a hold of, but we had 2 lessons with them this week. 

Softening hears and preparing for a quincinera.
Monday was a really, really great day. We had a noche de hogar with Lupe’s! It was a miracle! They all gathered together and listened to our lesson. Seriously, it is so hard to get them all in the same room, let alone to listen to us. But they did and there was a great spirit there. Lupe's mom, heart has really been softening lately. She has been very less active for a very long time and has not had much desire to go back. We have been going over a lot doing service with her to get things ready for Lupe's huge quincinera in March and ever since Lupe's baptism she has been starting to be a little more receptive to our messages. I know it will take lots of time and work, but I know that she will find her place again. She has such a good heart and the only thing she wants to do is be a good mom. She has just gotten a little lost along the way. She is hilarious though. She loves to make fun of our accents and imitate us haha.

 We sang together
After that, we went and visited the Uribe family and it went really well. Then after, we went to a member's house across the street that we thought were less active, but they aren't. The cute little grandma let us in with a big hug and immediately went to the kitchen and made yummy Mexican hot chocolate and cookies for us. The member we visited is the branch organist and he LOVES music. We told him we could sing, so we sang a song with them while he played the piano and he was so happy. His parents live with him and they are the cutest little mexican grandparents in the entire world. (Me: Soy soprano! Hna Maughan: Soy alto! Cute Grandpa: Soy David!) I just really liked that night so I thought I would tell you about it haha.

Fellow shipping and turkey dinner.
The Turkey Dinner went SOOO well! We had so many miracles! This cute little less active sister we invited showed up. She was so nervous because she didn't know anyone, so she waited for us to get there in the car, and when she walked in a sister in the branch welcomed her right away and fellowshipped her so well. We had a really good number of less active members and nonmembers there. Especially people that had hadn't come in a long time. It was great.

Afterwards, we packed up all the leftovers and delivered them to all of the members that didn't come. It was a really fun experience. One of the members of our branch presidency (Hno. Tolman) is so passionate about helping these less active members. He really ran the show and, unfortunately, was left with a big responsibility of handing out most of the dinners. I am so grateful for his dedicated service though. 

 Recognizing a dream and having a change of heart
Juan and Ana are doing SO well. I can't even tell you. Their whole family is progressing wonderfully. Even their kids are really interested. I was a bit worried for Ana because she hadn't been as into it as Juan, and she didn't really feel like she was getting answers to her prayers. But on Friday we had such a big miracle. We took them to the visitor's center, and there is just such a great Spirit at that place. We took them through a great exhibit about God's plan for families, took them to a little corner about prophets and listened to President Monson's testimony, then we ended at the Christus statue. When we sat down at the Christus, Adriana's face just changed. She told us that she had seen something that looked so much like the Christus with the background of the stars behind it in a dream that she remembers so clearly. When we listened to the presentation, you could just see on her face how strongly she was feeling the Spirit. Afterwards, when we talked about it, she wept and felt like she received an answer to her prayers. It was such a beautiful experience. The Spirit was so strong. They have already come to church for 4 weeks. We need to talk to them about marriage still, but I think they will accept it easily. We are trying to get them to agree to a baptismal date, but they think that they don't know enough. I know they will though, in the Lord's time. They are such a great family!

Another miracle!
Also on Friday we had another miracle! We have this investigator named Manolo who loves learning but always randomly goes to Mexico for long periods of time and we never know when he is coming back. He called us and said he and his girlfriend (Emilia) wanted to meet with us! Emilia and her family have been taking the lessons in Mexico and have a baptismal date set for December. Manolo just loves Emilia so much and is so excited to learn and get baptized because he wants to marry her in the temple for eternity! He said this would be the last weekend in Mexico, but if it is not, we will be able to teach him via Skype. I just hope that he really gains a testimony of the gospel, though, instead of rushing it for his girlfriend. We will make sure he is really keeping his commitments and truly developing a testimony.

They are changing the area boundaries again because we will only have 2 sets of missionaries in the branch again. I will be covering the north area and the elders the south, so I might lose both Ana & Juan's family and Manolo. I really don't know yet. I will get the map on Wednesday. It is a bit annoying transferring all these people back and forth all the time. I will probably be getting a lot of people back that I gave to the Elders last transfer. 

The Lord has everything planned to give us true and lasting happiness and joy.
I just want you to know how much I love the Lord. I have really been impressed lately with how perfect His plan is. He is so aware of every single one of His children, and has a plan for each one of our lives. If we trust Him, everything will work out. He is in the very little details of our lives. He has everything planned to give us true, lasting happiness and joy. I have been studying lately the missions of Alma and the sons of Mosiah in the Book of Alma, and I am just so impressed by them. All the success that they had was because of their dedication to the Lord. They trusted Him perfectly and worked so diligently. All that they ever wanted to do was to follow the guidance of the Spirit and serve and love the people around them. People were touched by their examples of sincere love and charity. I know that as we learn to love others like that, and as we learn to completely trust the Lord, He will direct our paths and make sure that all things work together for our good.

I love you all so much and feel so blessed to have such a supportive family as all of you! You are always in my prayers!


Hermana Haynes