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

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