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

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