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.

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