Sunday, March 23, 2014

I Know That God Tests And Tries Us In The Ways That Help Us Grow

Hi family and friends!! (Email 3-17-14)

Do you know what's crazy? This is the last week of the transfer already. It's transfer planning this week. I feel like I JUST got to Arboleda! I don't know how that happened! Well, we had a really great week this week. It's awesome, each week we are getting better and better and our area is progressing more and more. It was hard the first couple of weeks, but I know that God tests and tries us in the ways we need to best grow. We still have a lot more progress to make, but I am so happy with the direction things are going! We were able to find 10 new investigators this week! Isn't that awesome? And we found some promising potential investigators! Our teaching pool is really starting to grow! Yay! Now we need to focus on helping this investigators that we do have to start progressing towards baptism. 

On Monday night, we went to Paula's house and were able to set a baptismal date for her and one of her old daughters! It is going to be on April 12th. They are so, so excited for it. It was funny we were talking at the beginning of the lesson (already planning on extending a date) and she starts telling us who she is going to have baptize her, etc. We were like, ok she is definitely ready. She came to church again this week and really enjoyed it. We are hoping to get her older daughter on board too, but she is pretty confused about what to do. She did go to mutual this week though! We also taught Paula the word of wisdom on this weekend. Seriously I have never met someone with so much faith before! She accepted it so well. She does drink a cup of coffee every morning though because she has to wake up at 4am for work, but she committed to live The Word of Wisdon, and is going to try as hard as she can to let go of coffee. She was so positive about it too! She was like, well at least I will save $12 more a month! I offered that we would do something hard with her too so that she doesn't have to feel like she is doing it alone. So Hna Brons and I are waking up at 6 every morning and are running 15 minutes at least. I have just fallen in love with this family. Paula is going through some really tough trials and she is so strong, faithful, and positive. Just really trying to provide her children with the best that she can. She is an awesome cook too, haha she doesn't let us leave her apartment empty handed.
Hna. Brons and me.

I went on exchanges this week with Hna Ricks and that was super fun. She is such an awesome missionary. She is such a great example of talking with everyone. She literally talks with every single person that she sees. Even if we are driving she rolls down the window and starts talking to them. And she does it in such a natural, welcoming way. We found a new person who seems to have a lot of potential that way! He was standing in his driveway and she was like, pull over and roll down the window. I got this one. We totally taught him and he said a prayer with us not even getting out of the car.

Got locked out after exchanges so of course we had to take pictures while we waited.
 We went and did service for an Hermana in our ward and it was so fun! We picked her fruit trees for her! And then she gave us the fruit... So she somehow changed it to be her doing service for us! She has been really stressed out though lately so I am glad we could help relieve some stress.

Totally climbed up into all those trees.  We have so many grapefruit in our house!
We had a lesson with a new investigator Esteban, and it went really well. Hna Brons and Ricks found him when they were on exchanges. He seemed to sincerely ponder everything and the spirit was there strong. He had to reschedule the return appt but hopefully we can see him soon. We also were able to teach Carmen’s teenage daughter for the first time this week, and it went really well. She is so sweet and really timid. Then she came and played volleyball with us and some members a few days later! We are thinking that Carmen's faith and desire might grow as she can see the gospel bless and strengthen her daughter’s life. 

We were also able to find this awesome new family! We were trying to contact some former investigators, but theses people live there now. And you will never guess what! The mom is the sister to one of the members from Liahona third Branch! When I went over to this member’s house for thanksgiving dinner I met this family! Isn't that so crazy! She was talking about how she has some family that are members and I asked what their names are and we just put the pieces together! I just adore that family so I am really excited to be able to teach their sister’s family now.

On Friday we had zone conference and it was good. We talked about a bunch of different topics, a lot about going back to the basics and teaching pure doctrine. Also about how we can help increase people’s faith and help them to repent to lead them to take the step of baptism. Hermana Brons and I gave a training in receiving revelation through prayer. President Jenkins said the Spanish zones are the cream of the crop in the mission!

Last night we had a member missionary fireside where recent converts, the mission president, the bishop, and the stake president spoke in the Arboleda ward. Not too many people came, but it was still a good experience. I organized a musical number and my district sang the EFY medley in Spanish. It was really cool! And guess who showed up!!! Manuel and his kids! And presidente Lopez and Hno Lagunas all from L3! Ahhhh I was sooo so happy! It was so good to see them all again. They sound like the branch is doing really well and growing! Averaging 90-100 people at sacrament now because of people moving in and less active members coming back. It made me so happy to hear! 

Well, that was my week! It was really good! We are just really going to work on helping our investigators start progressing and really become converted this week. We really want them to have spiritual experiences on their own. There is a good chance they are going to close the other sisters’ area in the north next transfer and we will be covering the whole ward by ourselves, but we will find out on Saturday. 

Something I have been thinking a lot about lately is faith. I think so often we under use the power of faith in our lives. I always think that I have faith because I don't doubt any principles of the gospel, but faith is expressed in many other ways as well. I need to have faith that God is preparing and involved in the life of every person that I see. Faith to overcome our weaknesses and faults. Faith to love and give of myself. Faith to accomplish anything through Christ! Something else that I read this morning that I really liked was "perfect love casteth out all fear."

I love and miss you all so much! Happy St Patrick’s day! You are the best!

Con amor,
Hermana Haynes 
My package from New Zealand finally came! (Ok I wish it was mine).
Spaghetti on toast. A New Zealand Classic of course.
Gypsy the dog doing service with the district again.
Our winco adventure! That's a lot of candy!

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Learning To Trust In Heavenly Father More Each Day

Hi family and Friends!!   (Email of 3-10-14)

It’s so good to hear from you all! Sounds like things are going great for all of you and that you are having a great week! We are too! Each week the work is picking up more and more and we feel like the pace is picking up! I am so grateful for that. It hasn't been perfect getting started in this new area, but it is definitely moving more and more in the right direction every week, and that's really all we can ask for. I feel very blessed. But this week was really great!

So Monday we started off with a noche de hogar with Paula! Man, I just love her and her kids so much. They are super prepared. We went with our ward mission leader's family because they live right across the street and have kids about the same age. We taught the 10 commandments and played a fun charade game with it, and the kids really liked it. They seemed to hit it off really well. Haha funniest thing, when we were introducing ourselves we all had to say what we like to do, and Manuelito, (her 5yr old son) said, "me gusta buscar vacas". We were like uhhhh okay. hahaha I guess he likes to look for cows in his spare time? His family in Mexico lives on a farm. (Now that I think about it I don't think I have seen a cow since I have been here... weird. I did see a turkey though the other day!)

We had a bunch of meetings this week. Tuesday we had district meeting and a 3 week technology training when Sis Brons got her ipad! Then that night we went and taught Carmen About faith and what it means to have faith - how we can show it. She just has a hard time grasping what we are saying, so it's hard to figure out how to help her. Then we went and taught Lisa afterwards. Lisa has a son that's a member. Her son is the only member in his family and just got back from his mission. She already believes everything and loves the church, but has a lot of fears that are holding her back from being baptized. There's another woman we are working with, Victoria who has a 18 year old son who is the only member in his family too that we've been trying to work with. I don't know why but I really have such a strong desire to help these two women accept the gospel. I want so badly for these kids just about my age to have their family united in the gospel, to have their family have these blessings in their lives. I just can't imagine how much these people are dying for their mothers to accept the gospel. It really makes me want to help them! I am just praying that they will be more receptive to it. They are both really nice and always let us in, haha but a lot of times they like to just talk and not listen. But we are working on that! We have been trying to share the family proclamation with both of them to help them understand how the gospel can bless their family.

Anyway, we were going over the Family Proc with Lisa and just as we were finishing up some missionaries from another religion showed up haha. They came in and looked pretty uncomfortable that we were there, but we just asked if we could end in a prayer with them. They didn't really want too... I just prayed that they would enjoy reading the Bible and would learn together. haha it was a bit of a funny/awkward experience.

Wednesday we got to go to the temple, and I was so grateful for that. The Spirit in the temple is incomparable to anything else. I love it so much. Sometimes I start to get overwhelmed/hard on myself/stressed, but the temple just fills you with peace. It's so wonderful. I left the temple with so much hope for this area! And the rest of that day was full of miracles!
So last week our key indicators were absolutely horrible and I felt pretty bad about that. We were able to improve SO much this week! On Wednesday alone, we got 2 member presents, set a baptismal date, and found a new investigator! A day full of blessings! We were finally able to contact Rosa and that went really well. She already has a strong testimony of everything, she just works 13 hour days so it is really, really hard to find her. We went over the restoration with her, and were able to set a baptismal date with her for April 5th! This is like her 3rd date though, and she has work every other Sunday, so it is going to take a lot of work and faith to help her to reach that goal. I really hope everything can come together for her.

We were then able to contact this referral we got for a 16 year old boy named Jorge. He really has no religious background at all - doesn't even know who God is. He is really open to learning though. We will just have to teach him slowly to help him understand. His younger siblings like to come out and talk with us too! We are hoping to meet his mom soon, but she stays in the house mostly.

That night we had another lesson with Paula and a sister from the ward came. Her older daughter who is a little bit more reserved is really starting to warm up to us. Paula came to church yesterday to Arboleda ward for the first time, and it was such an answer to prayers. I was worried about the switch for her into this ward, but the members did such a great job fellowshipping her. They just took her right in! We have another lesson with them tonight and are going to extend them a baptismal date for April 12th. I really hope it goes well! This family is just so special to us, and they are so prepared! They are going through a lot of hard things right now, but are finding comfort through their faith.

Friday we had a week 3 training meeting with Pres Jenkins and it was so good. I always learn so much from him! I really learned a lot about forgetting myself and going to work. I realized that I have been really selfish lately - focusing on my own needs and wants and concerns, looking for faults in others instead of their good qualities, etc. President said the sooner we learn that our missions are not about ourselves, the better our missions will be. That whoever loses himself in The Lords work ends up finding himself. I just realized that I needed to be more charitable. I needed to love more and sacrifice more of myself in order to bless others lives more. It's funny because nobody ever wants to sacrifice anything. It sounds so painful and unenjoyable, but really it is the sacrifice that makes us happy. It makes us more dedicated to the gospel and makes us grow more in love for others and for God. As we sacrifice with a willing heart, we really don't feel the pain, we just see the blessings. 

On Saturday we had exchanges! We did them one on one this transfer, so Hna Brons stayed here with our sister training leader Sis. Ricks and I went to her area with her companion Hna. Luna. It was so much fun! I loved it! We got to do a lot of fun things like clean this sweet old lady's house, help her investigator set up for her son’s birthday party etc. I learned a lot from Hna Luna. She's a great example. I really like how simply she can teach and the way she powerfully talks with everyone she sees, centered on her purpose. She has a strong testimony.

On Sunday we went to ward council and it was great. The ward mission leader and the stake high council man Hno Reyna presented the new ward mission plan! Almost the entire ward council was based on missionary work! Hno Reyna has such a passion for missionary work and is really looking to revolutionize how the work is done in this ward. He has great leadership skills and a lot of faith. Right now we are preparing ideas and seeking revelation to know how we can excite and encourage the members to sacrifice their comfort to get involved in the work of The Lord. There is nothing more important than the work of salvation! We are having a meeting Thursday to discuss ideas. 

That was pretty much my week! It was wonderful! Today we had a fun pday! We went to Winco and Five Guys with some English sisters. Winco is officially the most amazing grocery store in the entire world. I am obsessed. You must all go. Especially you, Rachelle, because you will die of happiness. It's like a Mormon mom’s dream. 

The mission is full of challenges every day, but I am learning to overcome them. I am learning what it really means to have faith. I am learning to do hard things and to trust more in my Heavenly Father. His plan is perfect and He always knows what He is doing. I just want to be the best servant I can be! I love you and miss you all so much! Thanks for everything!

Con amor,
Hermana Haynes
District tradition of backyard tacos! 
Rescue visit with some ward missionaries!
Awkward moment when you can't get into your car...
Another selfie with Hna. Brons!

Sunday, March 9, 2014

God's Goal Is To Help Us Become Like Him

Hi family and Friends!!!       (From email of 3-3-2014)

How are you all doing? I hope well! Can you believe it is already March? I have been with Hermana Brons for three weeks already. Almost a month..? Crazy. (And yes, this week is my 9 month mark. Even crazier.) We had a great week this week! 

Okay I have a hard time remembering what we did this week, so I am going to write what I can remember, but it will be out of order. Saturday was a rainstorm! It was amazing! It rained almost ALL day long! It was so wonderful. It really hadn't rained in MONTHS. So I felt back at home. It was funny everyone shut themselves out in their houses and were shocked that we were going outside. But it was so fun.

It was the Gilbert Temple Cultural Celebration on Saturday and they didn't cancel it even with the rain, so the 12,000 kids stood out in the rain and did their dancing. How awesome is that? We only got to watch about 30mins of it because none of our investigators showed up, but it was cool to see. It was pretty cheesy though, but cute. Then Sunday was the temple dedication! It was so beautiful. We went to two sessions, just because we could and we like to hear them speak. I had never seen the corner stone ceremony before, and that was really cool. President Monson and a lot of other important people (and 4 little kids they invited up) got to put the (I don't know the word... mud-type stuff?) to seal the cornerstone. It was a cool little tradition that I didn't know they did.

President Monson seems to be getting older, but when he is speaking he is just as put together as ever. It was a really spiritual experience and it is just such a blessing that we have another temple in the world! Can you believe that the Mesa and Gilbert temples are only about 30 minutes apart from each other? We get to go to the temple on Wednesday, and I am so excited.

This week is going to be busy because we have lots of meetings! It's week 3 of sister Brons's training so we have a technology meeting where she gets her iPad and a follow-up training meeting, plus district meeting, and the temple, so we will be busy! 

Last night we had just parked in front of an investigator's house when we were walking in we heard this weird whistling noise. So I took a look at our tire, and sure enough there was a screw in it. We had to drive over to Elder Owen, the car coordinator, and he had to change our tire for us. Haha okay that is a lame story, but there isn't too much variety in the life of a missionary. Oh! And yesterday I finally had to try menudo.... (la sopa con la pansa de la vaca or the soup that has cow stomach in it). Not only did it have cow stomach, but it had A LOT of cow stomach. I prayed so hard that I would enjoy it and be able to eat it. The hermana knew we probably wouldn't like it, but gave us a big bowl of it. We started eating it, and tried our best to enjoy it, but that can be hard to pretend so far because both of us were just trying to avoid the meat haha. So she offered us something else because I guess none of the missionaries really like it. But I did try it! It was not enjoyable, but wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. And it just looks so weird. But dad, I thought you would be proud of me! I have tried octopus and cow stomach so far!

It's funny. This week it seemed like some days went super well and everyone was exactly where we needed them to be and our lessons came through and everything, and then the next day we would spend all days knocking doors and no one would be home. But I was happy with it! The good days make the bad days worth it, right? We can't expect every day to go exactly how we want :) But we were able to meet with Paula (the sister who had been being taught in her friend’s ward, but whom we are teaching now) more this week! I love her so much. She really is so great. She is going through some really hard things right now, but she is so humble, hopeful, and cheerful about it. She doesn't dwell on the things going wrong, but just really tries to look for the positive in life. It is such an example to me. It's been a bit awkward because the sisters that were teaching her, didn't tell her that they were going to stop and that she needed to go to the ward that she's assigned too, so I don't think she really understands why we are coming over, but she is always lets us in with a smile! She has been really well fellowshipped in the other ward and one of her best friends goes there (Paulaa doesn't have a car and this friend always picks her up), so we aren't sure the best way to help her transition to the Arboleda ward. But we have noche de hogar set up with our ward mission leader's family tonight and they have kids that line up almost exactly, so we are really excited about that, to get her started to be fellowshipped in this ward! She has 2 daughters and 1 little son. One of her daughters is having a hard time with all the stuff going on in their family and is being told some negative things about the church from her dad, but she seems to be starting to warm up to us. The other one, who is 10, just absolutely blew me away. We were reading 2 Nephi 31 with Paula, and her daughter Renee decided to stay and read with us instead of watching a movie with her sister. Renee is so prepared. It was just such a testimony to me that children really do feel the Holy Ghost and that God is really working even in the little children to bring them to the gospel. Her comments on the verses we were reading were so deep and she was commenting more than any of us. Any time we asked a question, she was the first to answer and had such a profound response. She basically explained the plan of salvation to us and testified of how she knows all these things are true because she can feel it in her heart. Wow it was amazing. Really, they are just so prepared. I am so grateful to be able to work with them. Please pray though that they will be able to transition well to the Arboleda ward. I am so grateful though that her friend and the members of the other ward have done so much to get her involved in the church because she has a great foundation set. 

We had another lesson with Carmen and we focused it on the Book of Mormon. For some reason she has a really hard time accepting the Book of Mormon. We read 2 Nephi 29 with her that talks all about how God loves us and gives us more of His word. We bore our testimonies on the Book of Mormon and told her the only way she will know if it is true is if she reads it and sincerely desires and prays to know it is true. She hasn't been keeping those commitments yet, but hopefully she will start too. She says she might move any day though, so who knows what will happen. We tried to have another lesson with Gracie, but she was busy. We did help her cook though! That was fun. 

There's also this high school aged boy in this ward who got baptized last spring and is the only member in his family. We have been trying to work with his mom though, but it has been an adventure haha. She was explaining to us all the changes she has seen in her son since he has found the church. It sounds like he has changed a lot. I hope someday it will click in her mind that these miraculous changes happened because he learned true doctrine. She is super nice. We gave her a Family Proclamation and are looking forward to reviewing it with her. I really want to help this family. I am not sure why, but I really want to see this family unite in the gospel. There is nothing better than being able to help families prepare for eternities together!

We also found a few new families that had talked with missionaries in the past, that said we could stop by and share more with them. It sounds like they had really good experiences in the past, so hopefully it goes well! They just sound pretty busy. But God is blessing us! The work in this area is progressing, and it is so great to see that. It might not be progressing at quite the speed we would want to, but that's okay. We have faith and are doing all that we know how. I know this week will be even better.

Something that I found really interesting and inspiring from reading President Jenkins weekly letter and our mission newsletter, was about opposition. The Book of Mormon teaches us that there has to be opposition in all things. God's goal is to help us become like Him, and that is not an easy process. It involves trials, difficulties, correction, rebukes. It is not an easy process, but we should not expect it to be. It is through this opposition that we grow. It is funny how we all want to become better people and become more like God, but so often we resist the process that helps us to get there. It is just those really uncomfortable growing pains I guess. We all need them though. They are signs from our Heavenly Father who shows us that He loves us enough that He wants to help us evolve, change, improve, learn, and grow. He knows exactly the experiences that we need. We have to be humble about it though and allow Him to work with us. We have to heed His suggestions, and make the necessary changes. It is a hard process. It takes time. It takes a lot of falling and getting back up. But it moves us forward, and helps us to receive the blessings that we really want in life. 

I love you all and am so grateful for all of your love and support. Sorry I am not very good at writing you all. I really do want to write you, but if you only knew how fast the 8 hours of P-Day went, you would understand. We hardly have a spare minute. Haha before my mission I thought P-Day was like a day off or a break from the mission, but nope. No days off and no breaks. But that's okay, I like it like that! (Parley P. Pratt served a mission for over 25 years, and said we need to rest when we have all eternity to do that!) :)

I love you all so much. I love my mission so much. Life is great. God is great. The church is true! The Book of Mormon is true! It changes lives. It changes ETERNITIES! That's what this is all about - preparing for eternity!

Con amor,

Hermana Haynes
We love being wet and soggy.
Hermana Brons always takes selfies while we drive but I am always driving so I always look crazy. But sometimes when we stop I smile

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Praying And Fasting To Find People To Teach About Christ And Then Seeing Small Miracles

Hi Family and Friends!                     (from email of 2-24-14)

It is so great to hear from you! Thanks for all the valentine's packages/letters/goodies that have come! It is so nice to get special surprises like that! I loved it so much! You are all the best! 

Ok this week... Let's see! This area is super, super different from what I am used to. I am still trying to figure out the best way to do it, but we are figuring it out! We were able to have a few more lessons with some of our investigators, and they went much much better this week! Our investigators that are progressing the most as of yet are Carmen and Juana. They are both super sweet, and I love working with them. Anna has a hard time understanding the message, but she really wants it to be true. She is going through some trials right now, but is hoping that this is the answer she is looking for. Unfortunately her work schedule changed and she couldn't come to church this week, but hopefully we will meet with her today. Juana is a sweetheart too. She has lived with members for 20 years, and has a very strong Christian background. She loves learning more about Christ and the gospel. Sometimes it is hard for her to understand/accept the differences in the religions, but she has sincere desires to do what is right. And she came to church this week! We were really happy and surprised about that. 
This is a REALLY big cactus!  I think cactus are so cool!
We spent a lot of time this week contacting people because we really need to grow our teaching pool. We went through our potential and former investigators lists and have been trying our best to contact those who appear to have some good potential. A lot of them had moved or weren't home, or the kids were home alone, but we still have some potential there!

We did have one really big miracle there though. It was awesome. There was one former investigator, Monica, that we had a subtle feeling that needed to visit, but we could not find the apartment complex anywhere. We assumed that it was a bad address or the complex had been torn down. We were driving around though trying to contact someone else, and I looked up, and the apartment complex was right there in front of us randomly, like God had just put it right there in front of us. We found the apartment we were looking for, and got out. There was a mom and her kid standing outside of it. We went up and said hi, and she did not seem surprised to see us at all, and she invited us in! We were a little confused, but happy, and we just went with it. She went on to tell us that she has been reading the Book of Mormon, and pulls out some pamphlets she's been studying, and we were even more shocked! I guess she has some good friends that are members in the next-door Spanish ward. She had been attending that ward for 3 weeks, and the sisters there had started teaching her! Super random, huh? We just fell in love with her right away and had a really spiritual experience meeting with her.

She is going through some really hard trials right now, especially her divorce, and she told us how increasing her faith has helped her so much. We talked with the sisters in the Valencia ward, and they said they weren't quite sure what to do about her because she doesn't live in their area, but has been attending that ward. They felt like our happening to run into her was a way God played out His plan and that He wanted her to go to the ward she is lives in. We are going to try and set up a kind of a transition-type appointment with her, and then we are going to start teaching her! She has 2 teenage daughters, and at least 1 of them is really interested too. Sounds like their goal is to be baptized in March! Yay! It was such a miracle. I am so excited. She is a really special person!

We really need to find people to teach. We are praying and fasting, and just trying to keep our faith high and strong. I know God is preparing His children here, but we just need to find them! There are a lot more English speakers here, so it is harder to find the Spanish people to work with, though we are finding some people that seem to have some good potential. (Oh and about Roger, unfortunately the English sisters called and I guess they had already set up an appointment to teach him, so they are going to continue with him. Oh well. As long as he learns, that's all that matters!) Haha we even tried tracting for a little bit this week... It was weird... and not very successful. We did meet this non-member family though who has a daughter out serving a mission in Ecuador right now! But unfortunately they weren't interested. Not by tracting we found another lady who loves the missionaries and who has been meeting with them for 12 years. She has one daughter that is a member and just got home from her mission. She believes EVERYTHING too, but just has some real reservations about being baptized. We are hoping we can work more with her and help her overcome those fears. She is a super great person.

These past few days, we decided we really needed to get to know the members better, so that has kind of been our focus. We have been so impressed with all of the members that we have met so far! They are so wonderful here! Of course there are some who are going through hard trials and are struggling, but they are so strong and loving. They just accept us right away as part of the family! I love them so much already. Yesterday we met with the Familia Reyna, and Hno Reyna is the high councilman in charge of the missionary work in the Arboleda ward. He said that we arrived in the ward in a time of change, and that this week they are going to launch a new ward mission plan more focused on helping us with our work. They want to get the members and auxiliaries more involved in the progress of the people that we are visiting, whether they be investigators, part member families, less active members, etc. I am so excited for that. He and his family have an awesome story and are really passionate about missionary work. I am really excited to work with them! I always thought I was really good at remembering names and faces, but yesterday at church I could not recognize anyone's faces! It was so weird! Haha it is coming though! A lot of people we have to meet! 

Training is going well! It always takes some time to figure out how your companion is and what makes them tick, but I really like Hna Brons. She is a really fun girl. I just hope I can help her in all the transitions going on in her life right now, and help her feel confident in her skills as a missionary. I need to get better about speaking Spanish more with my companions. I have always kind of slacked on that, but I need to get better at it. My roommates are trying to help me remember to speak it more, so that helps. 

Oh I remember something else we did this week! Someone in our district's investigator needed help with yard work, so the whole district got together and did yard work for her! It was so fun! It was so nice to get outside and do something active all together. Her next door neighbor had a giant turkey in his backyard too. It was crazy. And then she made us waffles haha. And then she got baptized on Saturday! And Thursday night we got to play volleyball with some of the youth and their nonmember friends in the ward. It was really fun! I guess the missionaries would put it on every week before. It was really fun, but we will see if it will be a productive use of time for us. I would feel bad if we had to stop going because they need us for the key to the building... We will see. 
We loved getting to work outside, even if it was doing yard work. 
Time is going so fast and I can't believe it. This week just flew by! I just want to do all that I can to serve the Lord. I know that I fail in a lot of ways, but I am trying to improve. I really appreciate all of your love, support, and prayers though. I love knowing that I have all my family and friends cheering me on! You really are the best! Hope you all have a great week this week! 

Con amor,

Hermana Haynes

The kids here are so sweet!  Being with them always makes me happy!

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Searching For People To Share The Good News About Jesus Christ With

Hi Family!!!!!        (From email of 2-17-14) 

Ahhhhhhhhhh! What a week it has been haha. I love it. It's been an adventure. So Arboleda ward. It's awesome! It is so different from Liahona 3rd. There is so much more organization and leadership, so that's awesome. It's like more city/less neighborhoods. There's not as many Mexicans and it’s not the ghetto... So I feel really out weird haha. I really fell in love with that ghetto. Now we have to search more for the Spanish-speaking people but that's okay. We live in these nice apartments, and there's a gym! Yay! And I have a brand new jeep so that is fun too! Hmmm... Where do I start?? I guess at the beginning?

So Monday and Tuesday (seems like a lifetime ago!) we went around visiting our appointments and saying goodbye to everyone. Man, it was hard saying goodbye. Super hard. Especially saying bye to Manuel and his family! I just fell so in love with that branch. They were so sweet to me too. I can't wait to take you all back to meet them one day!

I also didn't realize how much I missed Hna Groll until we ran into her today at the car wash and I almost started crying haha. Such a cheeseball. But she is super great though and I miss her constant happiness! It is weird how you are literally with someone 24/7 for 3 months straight and then one day not! But she is taking great care of that area!

Then Wednesday! Transfer day! My new companion is so great. She is super cute! She is from New Zealand, and yes she has an awesome accent. And she is Mauri so she is teaching me so much cool stuff. But sometimes I can't understand her haha. (one example: she was saying "I need to learn better prayers" but what I heard was "bitter press" and I was so confused!) We have a lot of fun together though. I make fun of her accent and she makes fun of my dumb American ways (like when I ask her if they take a boat to go visit Australia). I really like her a lot! She likes to giggle and have fun. I told her that I am going to come and live with her for a year because it sounds so great.
My new companion, Hna. Brons.  She's from New Zealand!

 After transfer meeting, we just went around and got moved in and grocery shopping, etc. We had no idea where our area was, didn't have any maps, Spanish supplies, or anything. I felt like I was just running around like a crazy person haha, but it was a lot of fun. It took us 30 mins to find our dinner appointment that was only like 5 minutes away. But luckily we got an iphone again a few days later so now we have GPS again! And I am learning our way around really fast, so that's good.

Our area is really not that big though. That first night we were able to meet with the bishop of the ward. His name is Obispo Hidalgo, and he is super great. We had dinner with his wife yesterday and she is adorable. They have 4 young kids and are from la Ciudad de Mexico. It was crazy, in our meeting with him he told us all about the vision for the ward/ward mission plan type thing, and gave us a list of people he wanted to visit. I was shocked by how organized and prepared he was haha. He really wants us to focus on helping the members become strong and have spiritual experiences within their homes to become truly converted. He also has a big focus on the youth and helping the priests prepare for missions. 

Since then, we have been going around trying to meet the members and the investigators that we have. Most of the members live in the north area, and we work in the south. There's this one trailer park that a huge part of the ward lives in up in the north part. We have one apartment complex called Valencia Crossing that so far we have spent most of our time in. We have already made friends with this guy named Mark who is always outside smoking. I think he thinks we are crazy because I say hi to him everyday multiple times a day haha. It's awesome.

We don't have a super big teaching pool right now, but we definitely have some people with great potential! Unfortunately, we haven't been able to make contact with our investigator that is closest to baptism yet, Katharine. We did briefly meet her son Juan though. Our first lesson that we taught in the area was with Maria (we are teaching like 5 marias right now soooo...). It's kind of hard teaching because we have no idea how much people actually understand and who they are, what they are like, etc so it's been a little rough start teaching-wise. We haven't really had that great of lessons so far, but I know it will get better this week. It's also hard because Hna Brons doesn't really know much Spanish so she has no idea what is going on, so it is hard for her. But it is always like that at the beginning with greenies. It always takes them a couple weeks to feel comfortable teaching.

We have another investigator who doesn't really understand the message yet, but she came to church yesterday! She is going through a rough time economically, but she seems receptive to the message. We will teach her again tonight. Last night, we also had a "lesson" with our investigator, Gracie (she's 9) and her mom, Anna. We thought that her mom wasn't that interested, but yesterday when we talked with her she said she knows Joseph Smith is a prophet. We invited her to be baptized and she said yes! It is hard for me to tell sometimes though how much people actually understand the message though and the significance of it. I don't know if she just said that because she has heard missionaries say that to her several times, or if she has actually had a spiritual confirmation telling her the truth. I am excited to see where progress goes with that though. Gracie is adorable and really loves coming to church. 

We decided we really want to increase our teaching pool, so we went through our potential investigator list and decided on some we wanted to contact. Most of them were in those apartments, and we spent a few hours knocking doors. Most people weren't home or had moved. But we went to a different neighborhood and contacted one, and such a big miracle happened! This 17 year old boy came out, Roger. He said that he hasn't felt the same peace in his life since when he talked with the missionaries before. He said he is about to enter manhood and is looking for a foundation to build the rest of his life on. He said he really wants to know what is the truth and is looking to do what is right for him spiritually. His mom is a strong catholic and is not excited that he is interested in learning, but he said that he needs to do what he knows is right for himself. There are tons of members here, so he has a bunch of Mormon friends and his cousins are LDS too. He said he was planning on going to mutual this Wednesday! And we set up an appointment with him for tomorrow! Ah we were soooo happy! It was such a miracle! He seems super prepared and we are so excited to teach him.

Also that night, we had only 10 more minutes til we had to be home, so we decided to contact this random name I found in the former's list. She had moved, but the guy that lived there said he has family in Mexico that are LDS and that he would want to come to church with us sometime! He even asked for the building's address and said he would probably be able to come next week. We have an appointment with him tomorrow too! 

I really feel like I don't know what I am doing, but it has been really fun. I probably sounded a bit dramatic last week, haha, but I was a bit nervous. It is going well! Definitely ups and downs, but I am enjoying it. It is nice to have something brand new and to try new things and meet new people. I am really happy to be working in this area. I really hope I can help Hna Brons learn and grow and become a powerful missionary too. 

This week I have been thinking a lot about faith and the power that having faith is in our lives. When we truly have that trust in God and firmly believe in Him, we see so many miracles. We just cannot doubt Him, and we need to do all that we can to serve Him. Luckily He is patient and merciful with our mistakes and our shortcomings, and still blesses us despite how our best efforts still aren't enough. I know I am weak and that I am making a lot of mistakes, but I just want to do my best to serve Him. I just want to help bring precious souls unto Him. I know that there is nothing more important than this work. It's the work of salvation!

Well, I think that's about all for this week! Hope you all had a great Valentine's day! I love you all so much! Thanks for the extra prayers this week! Keep them coming please! :) 

Con amor,

Hermana Haynes

We got to go to the open house again because president took all the new missionaries to go see it!

My lovely companion and roomies!

Practicing our pukana faces. Enjoying mauri culture