Sunday, February 16, 2014

How Much God Knows And Loves His Children

Hi family!                         (Email 2-9-14)

Okay soooo I have some news for you... Transfer news! Are you ready for this?? You might be as shocked as I was! I am.... Training again! Haha so that is 3 times in a row! There's only one new sister this transfer so I already know who she will be. Her name is Hermana Brons and she is from New Zealand. Isn't that cool! I am excited to meet her on Wednesday! But.... I am leaving Liahona 3rd. My heart is broken! But I am trying to remind myself that instead of being sad that I have to leave, I need to be grateful that I was able to stay here for so long. I am being transferred to the Arboleda ward and I am whitewash training! (Whitewashing is when new missionaries are taking over the area, so nobody knows the investigators, members, area, etc). The whole ward is being whitewashed actually and my new roommates are going to start serving there too. I am going to live and serve with Hna Orr and Hna Garcia and I am super happy about that because I already know and love them! Hna Garcia is my roommate right now and Hna Orr was in the MTC with me. So we will be able to figure things out together. To be completely honest, I have absolutely no idea how to do this. I feel like Nephi when he said he was lead by the Spirit, not knowing the things beforehand that he should do. Which is great though, because being guided by the spirit is something I have really been trying to learn so what a great opportunity! Training has all sorts of challenges on its own when you do know the area, so this is going to be quite an adventure! I don't even know where to start... Like really I have no idea what to do on Wednesday after we leave transfer meeting haha... Please pray for me! But I am really excited! I know I am going to learn a lot! It's going to be really fun. Heavenly Father always knows how to challenge me and help me grow, so I am excited to see what is in store for me!

It's funny. Saturday morning we were at a stake correlation breakfast and we were all so anxious about transfer news, so we were going around saying our predictions. We were trying to think who would train the new sister and someone jokingly said, “Oh Sister Haynes is going to do it again!” And then I was like no way I couldn't do that! They said ok who is in favor of sister Haynes whitewash training say I. And they all did, but everyone was just joking. But.... It happened! Haha I thought that was super funny. It's going to definitely be something new for me and I know I am going to learn so much. I really hope that I can help this new sister and that we will be able to harvest! I know The Lord always qualifies those whom He calls, so I am just going to go forward with faith and try really hard to learn how to recognize and trust in the Spirit. I'm not going to be living in the ghetto anymore so that's going to be really weird. I have really come to love it! 

But oh I am so sad to be leaving this branch. I have given my whole heart to this place for the last 7 months and it is so hard to just walk away from it. Yesterday we had fast and testimony meeting (because we had stake conf the week before) and at the end Hno. Tolman from the branch presidency texted us and was like Hna. Haynes are you going to get up here or are we going to have to invite you. I got right up and started crying before I was even up there. It was just so hard knowing it was the last Sunday that I would be there as a missionary with these people that I love so much and I have tried so hard to serve. I gave my last testimony and told them how grateful I was and how much I loved them. Afterwards, they all came up to me and gave me hugs and handshakes and said their goodbyes. It was the hardest thing. It touched my heart how tight they hugged and the tears that they shed too. They all made me promise that I would come back and visit. Hno Tolman said that it was rare to find a hardworking, dedicated missionary and they were thankful for my service. It really, really touched my heart. I am so grateful for their love! These people have changed me forever. I have never loved people like this before. As you focus all your energy on serving and loving and helping others, you come to love people in a really powerful way. It is really hard to say goodbye. But I know The Lord has great things in store for me! And for these people!

I am sad to leave Hna Groll too! She is the best. I have seriously never met such a happy, positive person before. It has been so wonderful seeing her change and grow and really become a great missionary over these past 3 months. I am so proud of her. She has really, really made such great progress! And she is such a great friend too. Love her so much! Her new companion is really great and I know they are going to take great care of this branch. 

Okay so what happened this week.... That is always the hardest question haha. The English referral, Kimberly, called at the beginning of the week and said that she had a death in the family and was having a really hard time with it. We offered for her to receive a blessing of comfort and she happily accepted it! We took that awesome member, Sis Reed, and her husband. Seriously, they were prepared by God to help this woman. They relate to her and understand her and can help her in ways that just amaze me. We left that lesson and I started crying because it was just such a testimony to me of how much God knows and loves His children by the way He prepared these people to help each other. I can't even describe it. They were able to help her with so many of her concerns and really testify of the ARP program and she is excited to go. I love missionary work! I love seeing the people work in people's hearts! 

We also were able to meet with Rono more! Man he is the coolest person ever to teach. I just feel the Spirit so strong when we teach Him. We went over a few basic principles of the plan of salvation with him. I was able to teach him about how we lived with God before this life and how we chose to follow Christ before we ever came to earth. It just blew his mind. He thought it was the coolest thing ever. It made me see how much I take my gospel knowledge for granted. So many people have no idea where they are going in life, and I can't imagine how hard it must be to live without that direction. It is such a blessing that we have a knowledge of God’s plan for us. He had some questions about Joseph Smith so we were able to watch Joseph Smith, Prophet of the Restoration at the Visitor’s Center with him last night. 

I wish I had more time to write so I could tell you about everything we do! And I wish we had more time to write in our journal too so that I could at least put it in there. We really do see miracles every single day. It is amazing. I am so eternally grateful for my mission. It is the best decision I ever made. It has changed me in so many ways - ways that I didn't even imagine. And I still have a long ways to go! 

I love you SOO much and I really appreciate your prayers! (I might need extra this week!) You are always in mine too!

Con amor,

Hermana Haynes
A member from the English ward got us a valentines gift when we went to eat dinner with her! 

Happy Valentine's Day from Hna's Groll & Haynes!
Sorry I kind of am lame on pictures this week!

Patience and Little Miracles

(Apologies from the editor that this was posted out of order!)

Hi family!   (Email 1-27) 

Another great week but an interesting one! It was a bit of a slow week for us, but that's okay! We had a hard time finding our investigators at home. Marni and Luis randomly moved out of the state, so we were a bit worried about what happened to them until we found that out. Steve also got this new job and is working ALL the time! We were only able to see him once this week, last night. Unfortunately he doesn't have Sundays off anymore, but yesterday we taught the 10 commandments and really put emphasis on keeping the Sabbath day holy. He will not be able to be baptized this week anymore, but hopefully he will be able to soon! And hopefully we will be able to see him more often this week!

But yes, it seemed like everyone was hiding from us this week. It was drastic compared to the last couple of weeks where we were teaching a ton! Sister Groll was a great example to me of being positive and faithful. Although we weren't seeing the results we wanted to see, we worked as hard as we could and tried to visit and plan as well as we could! Yesterday, during personal study, I read the story about the Nephites waiting for the sign of Christ's birth in 3 Nephi. I learned a lot from it. Although they were persecuted so hard and it seemed like the signs would never come, although they were threatened to be killed for their beliefs, they did not give up their hope or their faith. They stuck true to what they knew and trusted completely in God. It helped me realize that I needed to have more faith and hope in my life too. Although things might not be happening exactly how I want them to, I know that God is in charge of the work. He is our Father and has a perfect plan for each one of us. His plans are different than ours, but they are better. I just need to trust that He will not let me waste my time. If nothing else, I am learning and getting stronger. He blesses us in different ways. He is in charge of this work and it is important to Him. I just need to trust in Him and do all that I can to serve him.

Besides,we really did see miracles this week! Although it was a little bit of a rough week, I got a great testimony of enduring to the end! By Saturday night we had only 2 member presents (lessons taught with a member present), but Sunday just loaded us with miracles! Those investigators coming to church was a HUGE miracle and we were randomly able to get 3 member presents that day! 

Especially yesterday! Rono came to church even though we didn't see him all week! And a member picked up Marta's kids and they were able to come too! It was great! And Manuel, Karen, and Terry all got callings yesterday! All 3 of them were called to serve in young men's or young women's! I was SO happy! Manuel was super excited and told me that it is really going to encourage him to stay active in the church. I think they are all going to go do baptisms for the dead soon and going to the open house for Gilbert! We are going to the open house tomorrow with the Uribes and I am super excited! I have never been to one before!

Also, I don't know if you remember Lena. We had an AWESOME Restoration lesson with her and then the next day she went to Mexico. Well, she finally came back and we found her again! She is the sweetest little thing! We are excited to start teaching her more! When we went to her house, her grandson Luke was there and the next day we found him standing outside his apartments. He asked if we remembered him (we talk to sooo many people it's hard to remember them all, but they always remember us! My motto "fake it til you make it"). Anyway, we were able to share a brief message on the restoration and set up a return appointment with him! It is crazy how perfect the Lords timing is. 

Another interesting thing that happened this week is that we got a referral for the English ward! That was something new for me. Apparently she has requested sisters instead of elders. We are the sisters closest to her. We met her for the first time yesterday. Her name is Kimberly, and boy does she has been through a lot! We basically spent an hour yesterday with her and she just told us all the things that were weighing her down. She was raised as a Jehovah's Witness and right now is really trying to find God. She is taking classes from the JWs (not really interested, but her sister asked her to) and from us. She has a great member friend that referred her. She has a little bit of Native American blood (she thinks) and is very intrigued by them. She LOVED that we believe Christ came to the Americas and that we are so focused on families. I think the coolest thing about teaching her was when she asked if her past would be a problem for her in the Mormon church. Immediately all 3 of us (us and the AWESOME member that came out with us) said no. Truly with Christ, our past is never a problem. We were able to testify that no matter what we have done or been through, all can be made right through Christ. Her broken soul can be healed through His Atonement. It felt so good to be able to testify that to her. I am excited to see where things go with her. It is definitely going to bring some interesting stories I know!

Also the quinceaƱera was awesome. I seriously have always wanted to go to one.

Time is going by so fast and I can't believe it. I want it to slow down! I feel like I am still brand new, but I am getting closer and closer to the half way point. It needs to sloooowww down! I am pretty sure I only have a few weeks left in this branch, which is so sad to me! I just want to make the absolute most out of this time. I love all of it, the good and the bad. It is teaching me so much! I can't imagine my life without the mission. This is the best decision I have ever made. I love you all so muchamuch and can't begin to express what your support means to me! 

Con mucho amor,
Hermana Haynes

Monday, February 10, 2014

Temple of Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints

Hi All, 

ABC news did a program called Inside the Gilbert Temple.  This is the new temple that Natalie has talked so much about.  The program is very well done and not only shows the beauty of the building, but also explains what Mormons do in temples and why they are sacred.  I am including the link to the program.  It lasts about 10 minutes.  I hope you enjoy it!

With love,  The Editor (Natalie's mom)

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Learning to Teach By The Spirit

Hi Family! (From email of 2-2-2014

Another week is over. It is just so, so crazy how fast time flies by. I can't even keep track of it anymore! But this was a really good week. I feel like I am learning so much personally. So during my personal study this week, I realized that I need to apologize to all of you! (I don't remember how I started thinking of that, but it’s true I do!) I just want to say sorry for all the things that have let you down or disappointed you or made you worry about me! I know I made a lot of mistakes and I am sorry!

So I hear we won the Super Bowl! Yay! Haha I am so excited about that! I love Seattle! It was awesome I got to talk to more people because I would just bring out Seattle. This week was a really good week, but to be honest I can't remember much what happened... 

On Tuesday we went to the Gilbert Temple open house with the Familia Uribe. Anyways, holy cow I have never seen anything so beautiful in my entire life. It is the most beautiful temple I have ever seen. The spirit there was so great. I had the biggest smile on my face the whole time. The whole family we went with felt the spirit too. They were blown away. They said the higher and higher they got, the closer and closer they felt to God. It is such a miracle. Their hearts are starting to be softened. I was nervous that it wouldn't be a powerful experience for them, but we just kept praying it would touch their hearts and it definitely did. 

Hna. Groll & Natalie at the Gilbert Temple Open House

Another miracle! After our lesson with Steve on Sunday about keeping the Sabbath day holy, we came back on Wednesday and he had found a new job where he doesn't have to work Sundays and he has more time to meet with us! Such a miracle! Thanks for praying for him! We weren't really able to meet with him much though, but hopefully we can meet with him more this week and set up a baptismal date with him! He is so ready! He could do it this weekend if he agreed to it and felt ready. Since this is my last week here (most likely), I selfishly hope he will agree to this weekend, but we will see what happens! As long as he is able to come into Gods fold through this sacred covenant, that's all that matters. He is a very faithful guy.

We taught Marta the law of chastity this week. The lesson went well, but unfortunately her son was crying the whole time so it was hard to concentrate or feel the spirit very strong. She is so faithful though. I love her so much. We encouraged her to pray about it and ask God what was important to Him and what he wanted her to do. I pray that she had the confirmation from God that it's what she needs to do.

On Saturday Karen was asked to bare her testimony at stake conference. She did such a great job. I started crying as she spoke. It was just so inspiring to hear the strength of her testimony, what the gospel has done in her life, and how important it is to her. She is truly converted. I just feel so overwhelmingly blessed to be able to have played a part in it. 

We are trying to find more people to teach right now and really looking for the prepared. We are trying to talk to everyone. God is putting prepared people on our path! I realized last night,that I am just so blessed to be able to serve. Just anyone I can help in the littlest way is such a huge blessing. Because of the mantel of my calling, I am able to help people and it is the best! Just yesterday we had a simple conversation with someone and she said that she loved the aurora we brought and that we made her night. I just love to be able to be a tool in God's hands to bless His children. I have realized lately that I am a bit of a whiner/complainer but I am so blessed! Luckily I seriously have the most chipper/positive companion you could ever imagine and she's been a great example. She is helping me to become more positive and look for the bright side of things first! She is also a great example to me of patience, which is something else I am trying to work on. Life is just so much happier and brighter when you love your life following Christ example. No matter what situations you go through, it is better, more enjoyable, and happier as you face life full of hope, faith and patience for the future. I know that God loves me and that all that happens in my life is part of His plan. I just need to do my best and trust in him. His perfect plan will unfold in my life, and He will make all my efforts worth it. I just have to do my best to serve and. Follow him and use the Atonement to overcome my weaknesses and sins.

I am trying to get better at teaching by the Spirit as well. Each person that we teach has personal needs and problems we are going through, and I don't know what they are. I know that our message is true and that it will help them, but I don't know how to help them see that. After having taught the message of the restoration, unfortunately I found myself kind of starting to present it in a routine. So I am really trying to listen to the investigator and to the Spirit to know better what to say and how to help them. We were teaching a new investigator the other day and she was listening but didn't seem too involved or interested. So I just asked God what she needed to hear to help her see the importance of our message. It hit me that she needed to know that this would be something that would bless her family. As I started testifying of how the gospel blesses families, tears came to her eyes. The Spirit really touched her heart. She began telling us how she grew up without religion and did not want that for her kids. She seemed so much more interested in our message and more eager to read the Book of Mormon. I pray that I can continue developing this skill because it really makes all the difference. I know that the message I have to share is SO important and every single person needs it. I just have to follow Gods guidance to help other people see that.
It is so crazy to me that this is probably my last week here in Liahona 3rd Ward. So bittersweet. I love this place so much. I love the people so much. But it will be great to start a new adventure too! I just am so grateful for all the people here who have touched my life and I hope and pray that I have/will continue to make a positive impact in this area. I just want to do the lords work the very best that I can. 

Oh and I have started to get a cold... Not too bad but hopefully it goes away soon! I love you and miss you all so much! I am so grateful for your support and really couldn't do it all without you! Thanks for loving me and encouraging me and for helping me my whole life long, love you tons,

Com mucho amor,
Hermana Haynes

Gilbert Temple Open House