Sunday, January 26, 2014

She Decided To Pray and Ask If The Book Of Mormon Was True.

Hola familia and friends! (1-20-14)

We had another great week here! Seriously time goes so fast I can't even remember what happens. Some days it feels like we are on the top of the world and nothing can bring us down, and then the next day it feels like we will need all sorts of miracles to have the success haha but that is mission life. Gotta love it! But no, this was a really great week and we have a lot of progressing investigators. I don't think I have ever taught so many prepared people at once. This area is booming! It's sad to think that I most likely only have a few weeks left here. I have become so attached to all these people and this little branch! 
Our branch president's little daughter. So cute!

How our investigators are doing
Okay so I am thinking maybe I will just give a little run down of how our investigators are doing? Maybe. Marni and Luis are doing well. We watched The Joseph smith movie with them at the Visitor’s CEnter and they really liked it. Then we taught them about the Atonement. We invited her to talk to her boss and change her work schedule, and she tried! He said no, but she already has another job lined up so she can not work Sundays! Such a miracle! So probably in about 2 weeks she will start coming to church and then probably 3 weeks after they can get baptized! In her prayer once she said, "we WILL become Mormon" haha it was so awesome. It's like she wanted to get baptized before she even talked to us.

Was Steve concerned about already having been baptized?
Steve is still doing super awesome. Seriously, the people we are working with are SO prepared! We were a bit worried because he seemed to be having issues with the Godhead and getting baptized again, so we fasted for him and we prepared a lesson to confront his doubts. When we taught the lesson, it was like he hadn't ever even worried about it at all. He accepted it all so easily. And we committed him to officially be baptized on the first of February! Then we realized that that's stake conference, so we aren't sure what to do about that... But he is getting baptized! Soon!

A Double Serving
His little mom, Marina is the greatest. She made us ceviche and oh man, that was so hard for me.... It is shrimp and octopus in tomato juice with a mix of vegetables.... I tried so hard to eat it but really couldn't. And I had already eaten and we needed to get home. So I told her that I loved it but was very full and could I please take it home and eat it tomorrow. And of course because I loved it so much she gave me more! It was really kind of her. Dad you will be so proud of me though, I did try a little bite of the octopus! It really didn't taste like too much actually.

He really wanted to be good, but didn’t know how
We are teaching this other guy named Rono and he is super great. His whole life he was pretty much a gangster and really into drugs and stuff. He was in jail for 6 years and just got out a few weeks ago. He wants to change SO So badly. He told us that he wants to be good so badly, he just doesn't know how. I told him about how we went on a hike and he was like - you see I have never even been hiking. I don't know how to do good things like that. But he is trying so hard to avoid those bad things. It is so cool when we teach him. The Spirit is always there so strong. I can just feel how much god loves him and wants him to have the gospel in his life. It really just strengthens my testimony that there's really nothing that we cannot overcome with the Atonement. Christ wants every single one of us to be able to be clean and free from the burden of sin. I know that Christ is our Savior and that we can be cleansed through Him. It feels so good to be able to testify of that to Rono. He really doesn't know anything about God or religion so we have to go slow. But he speaks English and I can't tell you how awesome it is to teach in English! Man that I can actually express myself and explain myself in an understandable way? Haha it's amazing.

Going to the temple open house
We got to go to the temple this week! It was awesome! It's really great. I love the strength and the eternal perspective that comes from going to the temple. I feel so blessed that we get to attend. At the same time it is hard living right next door and not being able to go more often! Oh we found out we are going to the Gilbert temple open house! We are going with the Silva family (like Lupe's family). Super excited! They are always such a riot so we will see how it goes!
I love the temple!

Manuel and work for the dead
We also talked with Manuel this week about family history work and he is so excited to get started and do baptisms for the dead! I can't wait for him. He didn't realize he could do it already, so he was pretty excited to find out. He has also decided that everyone time we come over he needs to make us a meal, which he is a really good cook but man once we already ate dinner and he had these plates prepared with so much food! We are trying to get a family from the branch to invite him and Lupita to the open house.

We had exchanges this week and that was a really great experience. Our leader this time was Hna Gastelum and she is actually from Mesa. It's always fun having a little variety like that and we get to learn more.

She prayed about the Book of Mormon
Marta is doing really great too! She said that after we left one day, she had friends call her and start saying bad things about her boyfriend. She was wondering why after she felt so happy after our lesson, why people were trying to make her upset. So she decided to pray and ask if the Book of Mormon is true. She said that she started reading it and just felt so peaceful. She got her answer and is so excited to learn more! She is always so happy when we come over!

What we struggle with
So, the thing we are struggling with is getting our investigators to church.  We are really working with so many great people that I really do believe will get baptized, but they can't until they come to church. We have been praying and fasting for it, talking about it in every lesson, explaining how church is, talking about the blessings of church, inviting them to sacrifice to attend church. We were hoping that we would have a good amount this week, but only Steve came. And he had to leave for Sacrament meeting. It was a bit of a bummer for me because now I probably won't be here to see these people get baptized. (All that matters is that they do get baptized though!) And it's a bummer that they aren't making that step. But I know this week will get better! Please pray that our investigators will attend church this week!  I love these people so much. 
Sunsets here are GORGEOUS!

How about rejection?
Ti asked to hear about the people who reject us. Haha we do get rejected, but not a ton. The thing is that we don't really do any tracting. We pretty much just work with investigators and less active members. Also, Mexicans absolutely hate to disappoint people to their face. That's a big part of their culture. Hardly anybody will say no to you (only very strong Catholics or JWs) but they won't commit to a return appointment. Or if they do, they don't answer the door. It's really funny. You will go there and knock and sometimes even wave to them through the window, and they will just pretend like they don't see you. Luckily people let us down politely most of the time.

Well, I am doing really well! I love the mission so much. I can't imagine what my life would be like without it. It's hard, but so so rewarding. I am learning so much and just trying to learn and better myself. I just want to be the most effective servant of The Lord that I can be. I love and miss you all so much. I am so grateful for your support and love. It really keeps me going!

Con amor,
Hermana Haynes
I still love pickles!
Every meeting that we have 10% of it is dedicated to after mission preparation. Sister Orr was teaching us tornado survival haha

Sunday, January 19, 2014

The Power of the Invitation To Be Baptized

Hi family and friends!      (Email of 1-13-14)

We had another set awesome week here in Mesa! The mission life is the best. Unfortunately Elder Holland had to cancel on us last minute, but we had Elder Jim Wright from the 6th quorum of the 70 come. He did a super great job and the spirit was so strong. He talked about how our missions are an opportunity to change and to become truly converted for the rest of our lives. It was very inspiring. Also, they decided that they would not have Mesa mission help with the temple open house, so we won't be helping out anymore, but that's okay! We can still go once if we bring an investigator/less active/recent convert. It will be such a great experience. Hopefully there are still some tickets available!

Committed to invite someone to be baptized every day!
So we really did have a great week. It was wonderful. We started off on Tuesday with a super inspiring zone training meeting. They talked about how now is the time to harvest, and that we need to focus more on harvesting instead of planting. They helped us come up with some ideas to get our investigators to church (that's something we have all been struggling with! They all work on Sundays!), helped us improve how we give commitments, etc. It was super great and gave us a lot of good ideas. They also committed us to invite someone to be baptized every day, and to invite people to be baptized at every first lesson. It totally inspired us and so we decided to invite everyone to be baptized that day!

The fist invitation
We started off with a lesson with Marta at the Visitors Center and we showed her Gods plan for families. I was just praying the whole time that it would touch her heart, and she left it crying. The Spirit was so strong. We then took her to a teaching room and talked about the purpose of this life and how we need to actively follow Christ. We invited her to be baptized on Feb 8th and she agreed! It was so wonderful! We are going to invite her 9 year old daughter tonight. Marta is really great and we are developing a great relationship with her. She has struggled a lot, but about 3 or 4 weeks ago she had a great spiritual experience! She doesn't know much about religion, but loves everything we teach her. She is learning the importance of her family and how she can have a personal relationship with God. It is so obvious how these changes are affecting her! She can't help but to show her happiness! It makes me so happy to see how happy she is! 

The second and third invitations!
Then we went to go contact a referral from the Christmas Lights, Luis and Marni. This is a great little family. We took Karen with us and taught the Restoration. Their 2 year old boy likes to scream a lot, but you could still feel the Spirit. We invited them to be baptized on the 8th as well and they said yes! Luis said at first that he was already baptized, and I started to get a little nervous thinking it would be hard to help him understand why this was so important. But the Spirit whispered to me that he just honestly did not understand the importance of the Priesthood power and that by explaining the importance of that authority it would help him. And it did! They are very great. Marni really doesn't know much about God at all, but really wants to learn. They had to move suddenly from their house this week, so we were able to help them with that. Last night we taught them all about the importance of scripture study and prayer. They are so prepared and really have great desires! Such a sweet family! We are going to watch the Joseph Smith movie with them tonight at the Visitors Center. I am super excited for that.

The forth invitation!
So yes Tuesday was AWESOME! It was such a miracle that we were able to set 3 baptismal dates in one day, Holy cow! We then went to visit Javier because our other appointment fell through. We hadn't seen him in a while but we were like why not, let's invite him to be baptized! And we did. And he said yes! I was so surprised! Like is this real life? Why haven't I been doing this all along?? He wouldn't agree to a date, but still! It was such a wonderful day! It really taught us the importance of faith. God is in charge of this work and as we faithfully trust in him and follow him, we will have power to do all things that He asks us to. We are trying to let go of any doubts and just fully hope and believe. We can see sooo many miracles here! We ARE seeing so many miracles here!

Other investigators progressing
We have 5 people on date to be baptized! (Except the familia Uribe has been avoiding us all week and didn't go to church, so we will have to set a new date for their daughter, Malia. But we were able to find them yesterday and set up an appointment for tomorrow! We aren't sure why they are avoiding us and hopefully we can figure that out...) Steve is progressing SO well. He has so much faith. He can really feel something different in the gospel. He just found a new job so he couldn't go to church yesterday, and he felt so horrible about it. So bad. It was so nice to see an investigator understand the importance of church like that and to enjoy it so much. He said he is going to talk with his boss though and get him to change his schedule. We taught him the word of wisdom and the law of chastity last night and it went super well. He was so sincere about it. He told us that these things are really hard to do, but that he is going to do it because he knows you can't be lukewarm in following God. He wants to be 100% committed to the Lord. He is progressing very well and is still on track to get baptized on the 25th. We are a little nervous because he makes it sound like he won't get baptized until he knows and understands everything, so we are hoping that he will be able to use his faith and take this big step in following Christ. His mom Marina is the sweetest thing ever. She is like my sweet little Mexican grandma. I love her so much! 

Another great investigator 
We also had a super great lesson with Tina about the gospel of Christ. I love her so much and really hope that she can find the faith and grow the faith to really follow The Lord. She is such a great girl and has so much potential! So we have a lot of great people we are teaching right now that could very well get baptized! I really believe that all of them will! Pretty much all of them have work on Sundays at this point, but we are praying that they will be able to change that. We are really going to focus on church attendance with them this week. If they can't start coming to church, we will have to move their baptismal dates. I just really do love these people so much. And I know that Heavenly Father loves them so much. I know that He is so happy that they are learning about His gospel and making efforts to follow Him. It brings me so much joy to see these people beginning to receive the blessings of the gospel in their lives. There is nothing better.

I do not want to let Heavenly Father down
God has given us so much. I know He is trusting us with His children. I absolutely do not want to let Him down. These people are so important and I want to do all that I can to help them. Sometimes I start to feel overwhelmed by my weaknesses and flaws and start to wonder if I have it in me. But then as I study and pray, the Spirit always reminds me that I cannot do it. I really cannot do it. But luckily, I don't have to. I need to rely on The Lord and on His strength. This is the Lords work and He knows the perfect way to do it. As I do my best to follow Him and to listen to the Spirit, it will all work out. I just want to do my best and do it the way God would have me. I am learning and growing and make more than my fair share of mistakes. But I know that He loves me and that He helps me. I am so grateful that I can trust in Him completely no matter what I may be going through. He never fails me. I am so grateful for his patience, forgiveness, love, mercy, power, and strength.

I love you all so much and really thank you for all the support. It means the world to me and really keeps me going. I couldn't do it without you! I am so happy to be here. This is such a sacred, life-changing experience. I miss you all so much and am praying that all is well!

Con amor,
Hermana Haynes 
We went on a hike this morning!
Don't worry I was my usual self and tripped and fell and scraped up my knee real bad. Same old me :)

First a member gave us $40 for dinner because she couldn't cook for us. So we got Thai food. Yum. Then someone secretly paid for our Thai food for us. Awesome.
So then we got IHOP this morning. Double yum. And we still have $20. Awesome. People here are toooo nice to us! And yes I am wearing the same sweater in both pictures. Let's just say sometimes it's too much work to get creative with outfit options. So I may just wear the same things.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

More Joy Sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ

Hi Family & Friends! (From Email of 1-6-14)

We had such a great week! It was so fun! The week goes by so fast, but then thinking back, it feels like those things happened so long ago. First of all, thanks Rachelle for the keyboard! I love it!

Temple Open House Guides
So Christmas lights finished up this week. (I can't believe that that was just this week!) It was a bitter sweet experience. It was so fun to work there, but so nice to have time in our area again. We have gotten some really good referrals from the lights too, so it is awesome. We just found out, though, that we are going to be able to work at the Gilbert Temple Open House! How awesome is that??? Before we were told, that if anything, we might go over there as a mission. But now, we get to work two 5-hour shifts. Oh man I am so, so excited. What a special opportunity that is! And on Saturday, apostle Jeffrey R. Holland is coming! I swear, it is always one thing after another. Seriously, I got sent to the best mission in the entire world. I don't know how I ever got so blessed. I have had so many special, once in a life time opportunities here. I love, love, love it. 

New Year’s Eve
So New Year's Eve was super fun. The Uribe family invited us over for a big dinner with them. That family just melts my heart. Love them. We ate a ton of food... Gorditas, tamales, pastel, champurrado, brownies. Had to end the year with a bang, right?? Then, we went and had our last shift at the lights! Hermana Maughan actually came back and saw the lights, so it was really fun to see her again. She seems to be doing really well. This man came and talked to us about how we are really preparing now for the Second Coming and how we are fighting the last fight. It has just really been hitting me lately how we are really in the last days. It is crazy to me that God chose us to be here at this important time. 
Hna. Groll and me at Temple Lights.  The stickers on our name tags that says Espanol are so that people will know we can speak with them in Spanish if they want.

Mission New Year’s Party
On Wednesday, we had a Mission New Year’s party! It was SO fun! Believe it or not, but the weather is absolutely perfect right now. We went outside and played kickball, human foosball, do you love your neighbor, sand volleyball, all sorts of fun stuff. It was so fun. And then each zone got assigned a scripture story and we had skits. And they gave us lunch and dinner. Haha President's challenge for the transfer is for our mission to lose 1,000 pounds because we are all getting fat. They had scales out where we weighed ourselves, and the next time we have zone conferences they are going to bring them out. Our goal is to lose 5 pounds by then. (soooo don't send me any food or anything please! unless its healthy!) That was on transfer day, so a bunch of missionaries had a party for their first day. Isn't that funny?

Prompted by the spirit
We weren't really supposed to go out and proselyte New Years Eve just because there were so many parties/drunk drivers out. We didn't know that though, and we had an appt. But when we got to the apartment buildings, we just both had a feeling that we shouldn't go out that night. It was weird. We prayed about it, and just felt like we needed to go back home. So we did. Don't know why, but you never doubt the Spirit, right? :) (don't worry, I am completely fine and safe haha!) But it was nice, we had some extra time to study and ponder and prayerfully set goals for the new year. 

How he felt when he prayed for the first time
We went out on Thursday and tried to contact the appt we missed on Wednesday (with Steve), but he wasn't home, so we went to a referral that lived right above him, Roberto. The referral said to visit him on Wednesdays, but we thought we would give it a try anyways. So it went awesome. Roberto was super interested in learning more. He speaks English well. We kind of briefly went over the Restoration with him, and he kept saying, "wow, that is so awesome." It turns out he works from 9-9 every day except Wednesdays, but he happened to get off early that day and was home. He even took that as a sign from God. We invited him to read the Book of Mormon, and he told us how he was really looking for more direction in his life right now and was hoping to find it in that book. We invited him to pray, but he didn't know how, so we taught him. He wasn't scared to try at all. After he prayed, we asked him how he felt. He said, (ok not exact quote, but close enough) "wow that was so cool. I feel lighter. I feel something really special. I don't know how to describe it. It's like I really just connected with God." Guys, it was SO great! And he wants to go to the open house! Just wish he had more time in his schedule! (he works at a Vietnamese restaurant Ti! He offered us free food haha)

Invitations to be baptized
On Friday, we had another lesson with the Uribe family. We taught the gospel of Jesus Christ. Then we invited the two kids, Malia and Donato, to be baptized. We gave them Book of Mormons probably about a month ago, and Malia is already almost done with Alma. She's only 10 years old. Can you even believe that? I don't really think anyone else in her family is even reading much. When we invited her to be baptized, she was SO excited and said yes right away. We set her up with a date for the 24th! Donato, who is 9, said he wants to learn more (like about the Book of Mormon, and when Jesus was born, etc hahahaha that kid cracks me up). His family told us though that really it’s because he is scared of water. We tried telling him that we can make the font less deep for him, etc but he didn't want to commit to anything. Pray for him that he can overcome that fear and understand how important it is! And pray for us so that we can know how to help him! They all came to church on Sunday (well except the dad and one girl), but with the time switch at church we now start with Sunday school, and they had to go pick their dad up from work in an hour or so, so they left. I was super bummed about that. But hopefully they will stay for all 3 hours next time. At least for Sacrament meeting.
Singing in front of the statue of the Christus at the Visitors Center.  I'm in the front on the right.

Please pray for our investigators
We decided that this transfer we really want to focus on Steve and on the Familia Uribe because they are so close! We weren't able to see Steve as much as we liked, but we had a lesson with him Saturday about the Restoration, and he came to church on Sunday. He is super prepared. He has a strong belief in God and already could recognize the Spirit in his life. The only thing that might hold him back is feeling like he doesn't know enough. So please keep him and the Familia Uribe in your prayers. We have a noche de hogar with the Familia Uribe and Presidente Lopez's family tonight, and a lesson with Steve, so we are super excited.

More miracles
We have contacted some referrals that seem pretty promising, so we are excited about that. This area has SO much potential. Seriously, we see miracles every single day. Yes, we do spend a lot of our time knocking doors that don't open, or that do open and aren't really interested in talking to us. But yes, we do get to help so many people and touch so many lives. There is so much good to be done! We had an awesome miracle yesterday! The husband of one of our new members has not been open to learning about the gospel. But yesterday we went over to visit them, and only found the husband, sitting in his truck. He said he just got off the phone with Mexico and was sad because he missed them.  He ended up really opening up to us. He told us about how he knows there is just something different about us. How we are so sure of ourselves and always do good things. He said when he goes to our church he really feels something different inside. He said he has been praying to know if it’s true, but just hasn't gotten an answer. We were able to really bare our testimonies to him about how this gospel was something for him. He is scared to leave behind the family tradition of his current church, but we told him that God just has more blessings that He wants to give him. We told him how the Spirit touches our hearts and how to recognize it. We invited him to read more from the Book of Mormon and to pray with a specific question. He told us that we could come back to share more of our message with him, and that he would allow his son to be baptized! It was so great. We will see how it goes!

One more picture at Temple Lights!  I loved serving here SO much!

The work is going great. There is so much to do! I know that The Lord is preparing people. He loves every single one of His children and wants them all to have it. That is something that I love about the gospel. It doesn't matter who we are, what our backgrounds are, or what we have been through - the gospel is literally for every single one of us. There's not a single person that we walk by on the street that doesn't need the gospel. One of my goals is to be bolder in sharing it, to really fulfill the magnitude of my responsibilities and calling as a representative of Jesus Christ. I know that we can work miracles with our faith. Part of our mission statement is that "we expect and facilitate daily miracles." The Lord will provide the way!

I love you all so much and miss you tons! Hope all is well with you! You are always in my prayers!

Con amor,

Hermana Haynes


Sunday, January 5, 2014

Teaching About Jesus Christ at Christmas

Feliz Navidad y Feliz Ano Nuevo!   (From email of12-29-13)

Hi Family and friends! Ahhhh it was SO great seeing you all and talking with you all on Christmas. What a blessing! I miss you all so much and it was so great to hear your voices and see your cute faces. Christmas already seems like a lifetime ago. So crazy. But thanks so much for all the gifts that you all gave me! I feel so spoiled! My teeth are already looking whiter Ben haha.
Christmas in the mission field!

Okay we had some great miracles this week! The Familia Uribe finally came to church on Sunday! YAY!!!! I love that family so much! They have 5 girls and 1 boy. The 2 youngest absolutely love and adore us. It is the cutest thing ever. They are always giving us toys and presents and cookies. We hadn't been able to have a lesson with them for a while, but we did on Friday night. We taught the Plan of Salvation and we did a little puzzle of it with them. The kids loved it. They have 3 girls that are Young Women’s age and the YW leaders are trying to reach out to them now too. (For some reason the girls’ records aren't in this branch so they didn't know about them). They invited us over tomorrow to celebrate the New Years with them, so we are really excited for that. Seriously though, this is the sweetest little family you would ever meet. It is great. They only came for Sacrament meeting, but that was a huge blessing! (The dad had to work, so they had to go pick him up after sacrament meeting.) 2 of the kids would be convert baptisms, so we hope to be able to set baptismal dates up with them soon! I want to help this family get sealed so badly. The Gilbert temple open house is opening in a few weeks, so we are hoping to be able to get their family to that! 

We also had another great miracle! The English elders gave us this investigator to work with that they had been teaching who had a baptismal date. His name is Steve. They gave him us because his mom, Marina, only speaks Spanish and seemed really interested in learning more. So we went over there, and it turns out Mrina is a less active member who we had been trying to find! (The elders had NO idea she was baptized! Haha, they were like "that's what you get for not knowing spanish!"). She is the SWEETEST little viejita abuelita you will ever meet. I absolutely adore her. She has gotten pretty sick, she has to do dialysis 3 times a week and it’s pretty hard for her. Steve just lost his job too, so things  are a bit hard for them right now. Marina wants to come back to church so badly though, and is so happy that her son is joining her! (She just got baptized a year ago and is the only member in her family). Steve really likes the gospel, and agreed to be baptized on the 25th of January! They both came to our cute little Spanish branch yesterday!

OH I FORGOT TRANSFER NEWS!!!!!! I AM STAYING HERE ANOTHER TRANSFER WITH HERMANA GROLL! YAY! I am sooooooo happy! That is 5 transfers here (maybe more?? :)) Seriously, I adore this place. We have SO much potential for the month of January, and it will be so great because Christmas lights are ending so we will have more time in the area. 
Yay!  I get to stay with Hna Groll for another transfer!

On Monday we made tamales and tortillas with the Familia Rojas (Lupe’s family). It was super fun. That family is always so crazy and it is a blast. I love it. Everyone makes tamales for Christmas, so people have been giving us some and they are super yummy! I just can't even express how much I love my mission and how much I love these people. They are so so great. We have been trying to teach a lot of people, continue working with the less active members and recent converts, and just trying to talk and share with EVERYONE. This area has soooo much potential! 
Making tamales for Christmas
Rollin out the toritillas!

This next week will be a great one. We have a New Year’s party on Wednesday! Just like how we had a Christmas one. We are having a New Years one for the whole mission! Okay, I know this is super annoying, but could someone get me a blue tooth keyboard thing that I could use for my ipad? They are so great. That way I can use my email time more effectively, and put my journal on the ipad. I went to target today to get one and it was $80, so I was like no way. But if you could find one cheaper online, I would so appreciate it and pay you back.  (Editor’s note, Rachelle sent one to her. :o)  )

Yesterday at the Christmas lights, this 14 year old girl gave us cookies haha because a few weeks ago she had us try these cumquats that grew on the temple grounds and they were disgusting. It was soo sweet of her to remember us and look for us. She brought her whole family to meet us too. We meet so many cool people at the Christmas lights, it is so fun. People are FASCINATING. Everyone has a different story and a different cool background. I learn so much from all of them and they help me shape my life and figure out who I want to be.

A lady who told us on her mission she never felt like she was fulfilling all that she could.

One of my favorite things to do is to ask the elderly people or the return missionaries for advice. They always have the greatest things to say. One sweet tender mercy was a lady who told us on her mission she never felt like she was fulfilling all that she could or that she was good enough, but she prayed about it and God told her one word, "enough". It really brought tears to my eyes. She just told us how she knew God thought our sacrifices and our efforts were enough, that He was pleased with us. That is really all that I want to do is to please Heavenly Father. I just want to serve Him and serve His children.

Also, a week or so ago we were walking in these apts and this man, Manolo, stopped us. He had gotten baptized in a different branch 6 months ago and just moved to our area. He was SO happy to see us! He recited all these scriptures that he had memorized, and finally came to our branch because he knew someone now! God is always placing people on our path. He knows EXACTLY where His children are.

Well, that is pretty much how the week went. Just keeping busy and trying to do my best. Learning more and more every day. I am just trying to cherish every single minute of this. I feel so blessed and privileged to be able to serve a mission. It is such a sacred opportunity. I know that this is the Lord's work and that sharing the gospel is the most important thing we could ever do! I love you all so much!

Con amor,
Hermana Haynes

A little more Christmas fun!

Marcos' Baptism.

¡Buenas tardes mi familia! (Email 12-23-13)

¿Están listos para la Navidad? Estoy muy animada para verles! Es muy pronto! Espero que todos tengan una hermosa Navidad!

This was a fun week! I can't remember too well what we did, but it was really good! Can you believe Christmas is just 2 days away? And then it's 2014? Man time flies by so fast. This week was a busy one as usual, but it was great! Marcos got baptized on Saturday and that was a great experience. He is such a sweetie. They invited a lot of their non member friends and family too, so that was great. We always teach the Restoration while they are changing, and some of them seemed pretty receptive! I just love the spirit that is always there at a baptism. You can just feel how happy Heavenly Father is with the decision that person is making. It really is the gateway to the path to eternal life! 

The Spirit was very sweet at Marcos' baptism


On Friday night we had the branch Christmas party and that was so fun. Mexicans have the yummiest Christmas drinks. Ponche y champurrado son muy ricos. It's like Mexican Apple cider and hot chocolate and it is way better than the American stuff. I love it though because even the church parties are Mexican style. They last til like midnight and they have piña tad and the Mexican music blasting and tamales and all the good stuff. It's so fun, they had  pisoli  and menudo which are there 2 favorite soups. I stay away from the menudo though because it has cow stomach in it and most people don't like it haha. But the party was so fun! The familia Uribe came so that was super good! And this less active Kim came too! We have been working a lot with them so we e super happy that they came! Kim's husband isn't a member, but we are trying to start teaching him. Kim asked if we could have a noche de hogar  on the plan of salvation so we are doing that tonight with presidente López's family. We are really happy about this opportunity.

We also had zone conference on Friday and that was really great. It was a very spiritual experience. The assistants gave this training on how to work better with the members (which is especially hard in Spanish work because the members just really don't have the same strength or numbers). The goal of the whole mission is to have a member out with is every single hour that we are out proselyting, even if we don't have appointments scheduled. We sent around a little signup sheet in relief society and told them about our goal and they seemed pretty excited about it , for the first week they actually signed up for every hour! So that was such a blessing! The assistants also showed us a good way to train our members that go out with us - like helping them know exactly what principles to share their testimonies about, teaching them to invite the investigators to church and offering them a ride, and praying for our investigators by name in their personal and family prayers. We also hope to be able to help the members reach out to our investigators and less active members on their own, without us there. Like stop by with cookies, invite them over for dinner, etc. if we can get to the point where we are able to successfully and consistently work with the members like this, we are going to see so many miracles! President talked about how Nephi built a boat and how he had to rely on The Lord to build it in exactly in the Lords way. The Lord knew exactly how it should turn out, what tools to use, what steps to take. President Jenkins said we are building a ship in our areas right now. It's not going to start out as a cruise ship, but we build it up piece by piece on the Lords way. We also got trained on a presentation that we will show the members friends before they take them through the Gilbert temple open house that is opening in a few weeks! President Jenkins is trying to work out a way for us to all be able to go over and check it out!

We have been receiving a lot of referrals from the Christmas lights so we have been trying to contact them all. It's a bit hard though to find them home, or they give us fake addresses. The elders in the English ward gave us one of their investigators this week that has a baptismal date. His name is mike and they gave him to us because his mom only speaks Spanish and was really interested in our message. Turns out his mom is actually a less active member from our branch that no one has been able to find because her address was wrong on the records. They are a great family so we are really excited to work with them. Their names are Steve and Marina. Marina is the sweetest old lady and it's really sad because she has to do dialysis 3 times a week and it's pretty hard on her. We also have been teaching Tina, and she is really great. She is a former and her boyfriend is a recent convert/less active. I really like her though and hope so badly to see them get married, baptized, and sealed. We actually have a pretty large teaching pool, but it's a bit hard because no one is really progressing right now. We are having a hard time getting our investigators to church, and it's hard to consistently have lessons with people because of the holiday schedules and our Christmas lights schedules. So this week we have a few people that we are going to try to focus on and really focus on helping them to keep the commitment to attend church this Sunday. January will be such a great month with all of these potential people to teach, more time in the area, and the craziness of the holiday season died down. (I really hope I am still here for January! Transfers are on New Year's Day so I will find out on Saturday !)
Hnas. Groll and Haynes near Temple Lights

Well, I am truly just loving every minute of my mission. I was talking with Sister Groll today about how people thank us for our service, and tell us that this is such hard work, etc. but really to me this is just pure joy. It doesn't even feel like work or a sacrifice at all because I enjoy it so much and feel so blessed. I wouldn't trade this opportunity for the world. I know I have such a long ways to go to become the person and missionary I want to be and The Lord wants me to be, but imam consistently making changes and striving to improve. I think that's one of the thongs that hit me the hardest at zone conference - the reality of change. I feel like that is something I have seen so much in myself and in others on my mission: change. I have changed in ways that I didn't even realize that I needed to before. The gospel has become so much more of a reality to me and I have been able to really root myself to it. These people that I meet, I just see their potential. We really are children of God and have infinite divine potential. Every single one of us can reach it, can change our nature, can receive forgiveness for our sins, can overcome our flaws, temptations, and weaknesses. And all of that is possible because of the love of our Heavenly Father and his son Jesus Christ. Christ loved us so much that He was willing to come to this fallen world as a little baby, so humble. He came for us to allow us to overcome all. And that is what Christmas is all about! I am so grateful for that kind of love and hope that is in our lives!

I love you all so much and hope you have a great Christmas! 

Con amor,
Hermana Haynes
 I love my wonderful district! We do weekly planning together and just make the gym our living room. It spices the missionary life up a little bit.

Skype details: here is my plan

Skype at dads: 12 pm; skype at moms: 12:25 
Let me know ASAP if that does or doesn't work. And of someone could look up my skype username ASAP too that would be awesome.