Sunday, April 27, 2014

Small Miracles and Christ's Love

Hola familia y amigos! (Email 4-21-14) 

Hope you had a great Easter! Thanks for all the Easter packages/Easter & birthday wishes. It seriously has made it all the better. It always makes my day to get something in the mail! I really, really appreciate it! 

Our Easter was really great! Well, church was at least! We miraculously got 6 investigators at church this week. Seriously, it was such a great miracle. One is a recent convert's mom,that we have been trying to teach for a while now, but can never find her home because she works so much. She hadn't ever been to church before, but she came this week!

The best, though, was that Jime and Lupita came. We have been working a lot with them this week, so we were so happy that they came. Their little 3 yr old son, Alejandro came too. They said they really liked, it and the members were really welcoming to them. I was so grateful for that.

We also sang a duet in sacrament meeting "Asombro Me Da," or I stand all amazed. Hna. Brons isn't much of a singer so she was pretty nervous, but it went well. We also got to teach eehives for a little bit and explain why the Book of Mormon is so important to us. By the end of church, Hna. Brons said she wasn't feeling too well, so we came home and she spent the rest of the day throwing up. I felt so bad for her. She seems to be doing much better today though. So I just studied for a billion hours yesterday and went a bit stir crazy haha. We have exchanges tonight, so hopefully she's 100% cured because we are going to our leader’s area. 

But yes, Lupita y Jime are doing great. We taught them like 4 times this week. We don't teach very many principles at once. So this week we just focused on teaching a few principles of the restoration lesson throughout the week. Every time we went we had wanted to invite them to be baptized, but it just never seemed to feel right. So by Saturday when we were in the lesson, I just felt like if we didn't do it then, then we never would. Hna Brons hadn't asked anyone to be baptized yet and she's been pretty nervous about it, so we had been practicing it all week so she would feel comfortable. Haha during the lesson I had to mouth to her, invite them to be baptized! Then, extend a date! She did it though, and she did a great job! Lupita said yes and committed to the 17th of May. Jime was already baptized in the Catholic Church so doesn't understand why he needs to get baptized again. Once he understands, I think he will accept it.

They came to the Easter pageant with us on Thursday too, so that was great. It was a huge miracle that the Easter pageant all came together too. It started at 8:00, and Hna. Brons and I got there at 7:00 and it was seriously PACKED. No parking spots or seats anywhere. But I decided to just park at the house where I used to live and hope it was ok (and it was!), and we just started walking around looking for seats and these sisters from a different mission asked if we needed some because they had 4 extras. That was exactly what we needed, and they said they just had a feeling they needed to save it for someone. We were able to get Spanish translation headsets, find our investigators in the huge crowd, then find our seats again in the dark, nonchalantly grab the anti Mormon pamphlet that our investigators had picked up from some protestors, and enjoy the show. Haha it was a really great experience. The spirit was so strong. It was just a beautiful depiction of Christ's life.

Paula.... I don't know. We are hoping and praying that her baptism comes together for this Sunday. That's the goal. She hasn't been to church for 3 weeks in a row. Her niece is staying with her right now, and her niece does not like us. She won't open the door for us and always hangs up on us, so Paula is really not having much support from her family. Depending on the day, her daughter absolutely hates us, or wants to be our best friend. It's been hard to have a nice lesson where the spirit can be felt. But we are trying hard and praying hard. We just want their family to have the peace that the gospel brings so badly. I know it can and will happen if it God’s timing. We just are trying to figure out the best way to help this family. Please keep them in your prayers!

We were able to teach Amanda this week, and help her clean her house, so that was really fun. We are really trying to get her to come to church because she hasn't yet. We had a couple other lessons with some people that seem promising, just their schedules are so busy. We also were able to teach a couple less active families, so that was great. 

Ok want to hear a kind of cool/crazy story? I officially am not a fan of dogs. Every time we walk through the trailer park we are so on edge because they always come out of nowhere and start barking at us so loudly. Normally, they are all bark and no bite so I just ignore them and approach the houses anyways. So we had a referral type thing that we were going to check out and they had a gate in front of their trailer, but no signs of dogs so we just decided to keep going. We opened the gate and started walking to the door, and two huge dogs come charging towards us out the doggy door. They were big and they were mad. They really looked like they could kill us. So I get so scared I just drop my books and run to the gate. I was trying so hard to open it, but I was so panicked I didn't realize that the handle was on the other side. Hna. Brons had to push me out of the way and open it haha. But I think the coolest part was that about halfway down the ramp, the dogs just kind of stopped unnaturally. I really think that we had angels protecting us. It wasn't until we had the gate closed behind us that they started running at us again. It was just really cool to see The Lord watching out for us and His hand protecting us. Don't worry it wasn't a big deal it all happened really fast, I just thought it was a cool experience. Let's just say we are always a little bit more on edge around the dogs haha.

But this week has been a great week for me to reflect on the Atonement of Christ. I am so grateful for all that He has done for me. I am thankful for this time I am having on my mission to get to know Him better. He really is the only sure foundation that we can build on. He sacrificed everything for us so that He could help us overcome all. We are so undeserving of His love and grace, but He is always there willing and ready to give us love and help. I know that this is His one true church here upon the earth. I know that He leads it. I know that He is intimately aware of every single one of us and He love each of us. I feel it is such a privilege I have to be able to represent Him and His church.

I love you all so much! Have a great week!

we went to Panda Express with a senior couple Hna Brons knows from New Zealand that are serving in Phoenix. I am such a klutz and dropped the entire tray before I even sat down... Haha, if only that wasn't surprising of me.
My first time trying alambre. It was pretty good! Who knows how to spell it though... (Editor's note: a popular Mexican dish consisting of grilled beef topped with chopped bacon, bell peppers, onions, cheese, salsa and avocado.[1][2] It is usually served with freshly made corn or flour tortillas.

I observed Paula making her chocoflan and it is so good so I wrote a little recipe haha. Have fun trying to make it! Someone perfect it and then make it for me when I come home. (Also find some Mexicans and you can sell it to them. She sells hers for $25 each!)

4 eggs
1 can evaporated milk
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 bar Philadelphia cheese
Mix all those ingredients in a blender

Put dulce de leche Carmel sauce on the top of a round cake pan. Spread out every along the top. Then spray sides with anti stick spray.

Make chocolate cake mix.

Mix both the flan and the cake in the pan.

Put oven to 350. Cover the pan in aluminum foil. Poke holes in the aluminum foil. Put the round cake pan in a pan that has water so it can boil in the oven. Put in over for 1 hr and 45 mins. Let it cool.

I observed Paula making her chocoflan and it is so good so I wrote a little recipe haha. Have fun trying to make it! Someone perfect it and then make it for me when I come home. (Also find some Mexicans and you can sell it to them. She sells hers for $25 each!)

Sunday, April 20, 2014

She Knows the Gospel Of Christ Will Bring Her A Strong Family

Hello family and Friends! (Email 4-14-14)

Sounds like you all had a great week! Yay that is so good to hear! We did too! If I can only remember what happened though is the real question....

The heat started this week. It is officially summer here in Mesa, Arizona. Say hello to sweat, dehydration, acne, and all other lovely things for the next 5 months of my life. You may ask what happened to spring, which would be a very good question. But I am coming to learn that there is no such thing as spring or fall, ok not even winter in Mesa. Just summer. Eternal summer. Haha but I love it of course. My goal is to not complain about the heat for the whole summer, so we will see how that goes! But I actually kind of like it in a weird way, just because it makes me feel more like a missionary. It makes me feel like I have to work harder and give more of myself and really work for all these people that I am trying to help. I don't think a mission should be too comfortable. It’s supposed to be work and trials, so I am excited for what is ahead. 

We found a couple new families this week, so we are excited about that. One of them is the Familia Ramirez. The dad is a less active member that only speaks Spanish, the son got baptized a few months ago, and the mom and daughter both want to get baptized. The English missionaries have been working with them for a while, but things have kind of stopped progressing (the mom has sleep problems and hasn't been able to come to church), so they are thinking maybe if we can get the dad reactivated, that will help the whole family. We haven't really taught them yet, because they are super expressive and love to tell stories. It is funny to talk with them. They have a really strong testimony of the gospel, especially of the Book of Mormon. So hopefully we will be able to unite all the family and help them progress towards making covenants through baptism.

We also had our first lesson with that family we did the service for before in the trailer park, Jime and Lupita. Her brother, Miguel, wants to learn too, but he wasn't there for the lesson. They are SUPER prepared. Alexandra was telling us about how the world would be such a better place if everyone was Mormon. She always talks to us about how good it is that we are going to marry Mormon boys because then we will have strong families. I guess a lot of Jime's friends drink and she really doesn't want him to go that way. She wants to have a strong, happy family and she can see that the gospel will bring her that. She’s already asking questions about baptism and things like that and we haven't really taught anything more than how to begin teaching points and explained the Book of Mormon. They said they were going to come to church yesterday, but didn't so that was a bummer. But we have an appointment with them tonight and a member that is going to get along so well with them is coming. We are going to teach the restoration and invite them to be baptized so be praying for us around 6pm tonight! :) Miguel knows a bit more and has gone to church at Valencia, and the other sisters say that he wants to get baptized too, so we are excited to start teaching him. What great blessings, right?

We had the Easter Pageant on Saturday and that was really fun. Have I told you about the Rojas family? They have the 2 teenage boys that are obsessed with? Haha, well they are great. Pretty much no religious background. They came to the Easter pageant with us! They came super early though so we entertain them for like 5 hours. We started off with a convivio/party in the park where all the Spanish wards came and we had dinner there and talked. Then we walked over to the Visitor’s Center and watched the show. It is beautiful. I couldn't watch too much because their little 5 year old daughter was literally asking me questions and talking to me the entire time haha. It's just this live show that has a bunch of actors and dancers that displays the entire life of Christ. I got to see Manuel, Karen and her family, and a bunch of other people from Liahona 3! And I saw my old investigator Marta and Consuela! They ran right up to me and hugged me so tight! And guess what! Consuela got baptized on Saturday! Yay!

We also did service and got to organize and clean out the Vega’s pantry haha. It was really fun actually. They are the best family and are always so willing to help us at a moment’s notice.

We taught Paula the law of chastity this week. She accepted it well. Mina is going through a depression though with everything going on with her dad and has decided not to get baptized with her mother. Please pray for her and this whole family. They are going through a hard time. Last night we visited Paula and went through the baptismal interview questions with her. She is pretty ready. She had been drinking coffee a little though, which bummed me out a little. But we stressed the importance of living it, especially these last 2 weeks before her baptism. We talked about the importance of the covenants that we make at baptism and just really tried to help her understand the importance of this step she is making in her life. I just feel like something is missing or not quite right, but I can't quite put my finger on it yet. Please pray for them. And pray for us that we might know how to best help them. 

We are really enjoying every minutes. Some days are hard of course, but the hard times make the good times that much sweeter. I have absolutely loved being able to study the Atonement lately and learning more about my Savior. I am coming to understand that there is really nothing that we cannot overcome through Christ. If we humble ourselves and have faith in Him, truly anything is possible. He set the perfect example for us and we need to strive every day of our lives to emulate Him.

I love you all so much, and I love my Savior! I hope you all have a great Easter and that you are truly able to feel the Saviors love as you contemplate the importance of His sacrifice for us. Have a great week! I love you!

Con amor,
Hermana Haynes

Easter Pageant

Cool Cactus!
Me and Hna. Brons
We had a zone Easter egg hunt today.  It was so much fun!

The Spirit Witnessed To Me As I Shared My Testimony of The Book of Mormon

Hi family and Friends!  (Email 4-7-14)

Sorry this email is a bit late and is going to have to be a bit short as well. Today we went over to Apache Junction and went to an old mining ghost town. These members took us and another companionship and just took us around for the day and bought us everything. It was super fun and cool to see everything! We get so spoiled here! But because of that, I don't have much time to email!

This week went very well though! We were able to teach and find a bit more and help the less active members. There are a bunch of less active members in this ward and we are trying to work more with them. Paula has decided to move her baptismal date to the 27th, but we are going to encourage her to move it to the 26th so that she won't have to wait a week to get confirmed.

We also had a great lesson with Amanda again. We went over and helped her cook dinner, clean her house, and then we had a lesson. It was a great evening! She always has lots of good questions and has sincerely been studying things out in her mind her whole life long. We expressed our desires to meet with her more frequently, and she agreed if we would come over in the mornings! Yes!

We also had a first lesson with a new investigator named Tina. I think I talked about her before? But she had chairs outside all set up for us and was waiting for us. We taught the Restoration and it went very well. One of my favorite parts was just how strong I could feel the Spirit while I shared with her my testimony of the Book of Mormon and how important it is to me. I told her how it has changed my life and taught me and guided me so much. And the Spirit just strongly testified to me that every word that I was saying was true. It was a really great experience. We also did more service for that family that moved into the trailer park. We got to paint their walls in their house! It was fun!

Holy cow, how great was conference??? I LOVED it. We went to our stake center on Saturday morning, but for some reason they didn't play it there, so we didn't know where to go. So we went back home, shoved our beds together, and watched it in our apartment on my little ipad screen haha. It was nice and cozy. And we just decided to leave our beds like that for now haha. But really, it was so inspiring. I learned something from every single talk. Some that I especially enjoyed were Elder Uchtdorfs, Elder Bednars, Pres Monson, ok all of them! I don't think I have ever heard such an inspiring conference before, covering so many different topics. I am just itching to start reading and studying them again! And what about Elder Ballard’s invitation? Gonna start writing me about what you are learning in preach my gospel?? :)

This week is the Easter pageant and I am so excited for it! We are going to have a great week! I love you all so much and am so grateful for your love and prayers! Have a great week!

Con amor,
Hermana Haynes

"Alycia's having a girl face" (Natalie's sister had an ultra sound and found out she is having a girl.)

Setting up for the Easter Pageant

Visit To Apache Junction

Monday, April 7, 2014

The Atonement of Jesus Christ

From the Editor (Hna. Haynes' mom),

One of the blogs posted last night includes a list of articles and scriptures about the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Natalie's mission president put this list together and asked the missionaries to study one reference per day in preparation for Easter.  Natalie has invited us to study along with her.  We are starting the reading a little behind so will not finish before Easter, but I also invite you to join us in studying the atonement of Jesus Christ.  I have added links to the first few materials below, and will continue to add more throughout the next few days. All articles can be found at: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints

The Atonement of Jesus Christ

Sunday, April 6, 2014

We Asked Her To Pray To Know If Heavently Father's Plan Of Salvation Is True

Hi family and Friends! (Email of 3-31-14)

Another week has gone by! Can you believe it? Time just is the weirdest thing. Well, this week was good! A bit slow, but good. It was hard to find people home for some reason, so we weren't able to teach as much as I would have liked. Hermana Brons has been having really back headaches and things lately that seemed to be getting worse at the beginning of the week so that was pretty hard for her to work through. So we decided we’d better take her to the doctor. Turns out she has TMJ problems too! So she got a blessing, they are making her a nightgaurd, and have her jacked up on ibuprofen. It seems to be helping a lot.

The first couple days of the week were pretty rough for her, but it was so good to see her just push forward with faith. That was a good example to me. The members here bless us so much. We are so spoiled. Sister Brons doesn't have any insurance because they don't have insurance in NZ and was really worried about the medical costs. However, the doctor was a member and didn't charge anything. Also, we were completely out of money for the past 2 weeks, and last night some English members sent us home with a bag of food, a member gave us $10 for groceries, and now a different member owns a carwash and they wash our car for free. I feel so blessed. The members here are so strong. I love when we have dinner with the English members, it helps me see how I want to be as a wife and mother. They are all so kind and loving. 

Last night our dinner appt had to cancel, so the dinner coordinator for the English ward told us to come over and we helped make dinner and baked cookies with her kids. She has a friend that speaks Spanish so we went and dropped the cookies off at her house and we are going to invite her to the Pastorela. I mean Easter pageant haha. Unfortunately her friend wasn't home, but we are going to have to go back that means! 

Paula is doing well still. She went to church at Valencia this week which was a bummer because this was the last Sunday before her baptism with general conference next week. I just am not quite sure she understands the whole ward boundaries thing. But she is progressing well and her daughter is all excited to be baptized again, so that was a huge blessing! 

We were able to teach Amanda again on Friday, and that was a great experience. I always just leave feeling the spirit so strongly when we teach her. We taught the plan of salvation, and it all made such good sense to her. It was like the spirit was bringing these eternal truths back to her remembrance. We asked her to pray to know if the plan of salvation was true, and she said she didn't need to because she already knew it was. Everything she says just brings so many scriptures to my mind to share because the spirit has already taught her so many truths because she has been searching. As of right now though, she is only interested in us coming over once a week and isn't interested in attending church. But hopefully we can work on that :) I just have such a special feeling about that family.

We had transfer meeting on Wednesday so we are officially covering the whole ward! It's nice to have some more area. The trailer park is really fun. It's a great place to go contacting. Lots of less active members and potential contacts live there. Actually an investigator family is moving from Valencia into the trailer park Mesa Grande so on Saturday we went and helped them clean out their new trailer for a few hours. I love doing service projects, haha, to be able to do something hands on. It was really fun to help! Haha they are painting the inside bright green. The family seems really interested too, so after they move in we will start teaching them. Yay! I feel like we have so many people to help, but nobody that wants to progress. It can be a bit hard, but nothing I can't handle with God! :) It's hard to distinguish if it's me not doing enough or if it's just how things go sometimes, or if it's just people’s use of agency. Probably a bit of all 3. There's always more that we can do, right? I just got to keep going with faith and hope.

This morning I was reading D&C 12-15 and it was just such a good reminder of the importance of this work. "And now, behold, I say unto you, that the thing which will be of the most worth unto you will be to declare repentance unto this people, that you may bring souls unto me, that you may rest with them in the kingdom of my Father. Amen." (D&C 15:6) God has given me stewardship over this area, and I don't want to miss a single soul. I just want to share the love and blessings that Heavenly Father has given me so badly. 

The General Women's meeting was so great on Saturday. I am SO excited for conference. Seriously I have been looking forward to it forever! April is going to be a great month. There are so many fun things that we have coming ahead, and I am really excited! (But of course we all knew April was the best month already - got to start my birthday countdown haha). 

I feel like as I learn to work with other people, I am learning so much about myself. I am learning to see myself how other people do and to know things that I never realized before. It is a really interesting experience haha. I am learning how to communicate better and just so many important skills. I just really want to take this time to tackle some weaknesses that I have and become a better person, because what better time than on your mission, right? So that's the goal. Hermana Brons and I are really focusing on two goals that we have: speaking more Spanish with each other, and teaching in better unity. 

Haha this email was kind of a bit all over the place. Sorry about that. Just want you to know that I am doing well and I am happy! The mission is challenging every single day, but I am grateful for that because I am learning so much. I miss you all more than you know and I love you all SO much! Have a great week and a happy April!

Con amor,

Hermana Haynes
 P-day at batting cages. My first time ever! I wasn't the best, but it was fun! And I had frozen yogurt for the first time in 10 months. It was heaven!
Adventures last p-day
P-day pizza

Saying goodbye to roomies
Making food

And the first dust storm of the year. It's starting early so that means it's going to be a hot summer.... Gonna die.

She Has Been Searching For The Truth And For Spiritual Progression

Hi family and Family!  (Email of 3-24-14)

Ok so I know some of you are dying to hear about transfer news so we will start off with that. This is seriously the fastest transfer of my life. I can’t even believe it's ending. Sooooo.... Hermana Brons and I are staying together! And we are staying in Arboleda! Yay! Super excited about that.

They did end up closing the north area, so the other sisters are leaving and we are going to be covering the entire ward by ourselves. I have never had a ward to myself before, so it is going to be a different experience, but it’s going to be good. As of right now, they don't really have any investigators in the north part except for 2 daughters of 2 different recent converts, and they haven't really been progressing. There is this awesome trailer park called Mesa Grande that is just like little Mexico. They had been trying to find people outside of there without much luck though. Most all the members are up north. We are really excited about it, and hope we can live up to the trust that Heavenly Father is showing in us.

We have a goal to meet all of the members in the ward by the end of the week. Last night we spent 3 hours trying to meet all of the members at Mesa Grande, but most weren't home. We did meet one less active member, Hna y Hno Costa, and spent a long time with them. They are members of about 3 years and are being hit from every single side with trial after trial. Hna Vargas just feels overwhelmed and pretty hopeless. She still believes fully in the church but is feeling embarrassed/to depressed to go back. I fell in love with her already though and I am really excited to start helping this couple. I want to get more involved with the reactivation efforts in this ward. It is such a rewarding thing to invest in.

Paula is still doing very well. We taught her tithing this week, and it went well. She is really really tight on money, and really wants to pay her tithing but isn't sure she will be able to. We are going to go over it again with the RS pres this week. She is still really excited about the 12th and is telling everyone!

I think I said last week how we got a referral from a former investigator, Amanda. Well, we had 2 lessons with Aanda this week, and they went so well. She has 5 kids and a husband, and we just fell in love with their family immediately. They just are so great. I feel like lately God is just giving me a strong instant love for the people and I just desire so badly for them to have the gospel. Amanda has been searching for the truth and for spiritual progression for a long time. She really fulfills the scripture of being kept from the truth because she knows not where to find it. She has a lot of questions, and actually fulfilled the commitment we left her of reading the intro! We haven't been able to teach her husband or kids yet, but we have talked with them and they are really so great. Ahhhh I just love them. The only thing is that they are really busy and only want to meet on Fridays, but we are just going to stop by more often anyways. I just want to see this family go to the temple so badly. On Friday she said a closing prayer for us and said help us to find answer to our questions so that we may be able to bring an entire family to your side. I decided that the best way to celebrate my birthday is going to be by having a baptism, so we are praying for this family to be baptized on the 26th. It's going to take a lot of work and miracles, but it can happen if that's Gods timing! 

We have still been trying to find more people to teach, and we see miracles every day. I wish I could describe all the people we get to talk to and all the little miracles that God puts on our path. I did tell one guy I would write home about him though, so here it goes. We were contacting former investigators/members that are nowhere to be found and people in Valencing Crossing and we come across two guys drinking in the back of their truck and started talking to them. (Don't worry. Not a big deal there's lot of them in Mesa.) It was just a weird/funny situation. They both seemed to be like less active members that denied that they were members. One of them was like pretending to be nice but at the same time trying to get us to fight with him about like anti Mormon topics. The other one was telling him to be nice to us and also about nuns. That's all.

Yesterday we had a big miracle! We were sitting in gospel principles (the first hour) when all of a sudden Juan y Katharina walked in! My heart stopped! They finally came!!! Juan has said he would come to church every single week, but never did. Saturday we went to his house and had a real DTR with him - asked him to be straight out with us if he was interested in learning, if he wanted us to keep coming to really keep his commitments if he says he will, and how we need to start having actual lessons with him. It went surprisingly well. He told us that he really did want to learn and was going to start putting more effort into it. (I don't know if I ever told you but he is Katharina’s son). At sacrament meeting he was sitting next to his mom and we saw him crying. And then after sacrament I asked when we could come visit them again, and Juan was like; tomorrow - mom you don't work tomorrow! But she does work (she works ALL the time like 13hr days. She could really progress so well if she didn't have to work so much). But he said that's ok that we should still come and teach him. He was really excited and persistent about it. It was such a miracle to see. He just has a lot of bad influences in his life, but I think he has that desire to change.

Well, that was pretty much my week this week. I am hoping covering the whole ward goes well and that we are able to combine the areas nicely and evenly. I am really going to miss my roomies though. But it will be nice to have an apartment to ourselves.

I love you all so much. I miss you tons. To close, I just want to say something I learned as I have been studying about the atonement. The more we come closer to Christ, the more He helps us to see the weaknesses we have and areas in which we need to improve because the only way we can progress in life is facing those weaknesses head on and tackling them. The spirit is here to help us in the repentance process and to comfort us. We are here to emulate our Savior. What greater way is there to appreciate him than to emulate him? I feel like my mission is a year and a half to repent - to try each day to be better and better. "How merciful when our yesterdays no longer hold our tomorrows hostage." We really can change, every single one of us. We can be whoever we decide to be. And let's all decide to be great, shall we? :)

Con amor,

Hermana Haynes
President Jenkins made us is awesome little booklet full of talks and articles about he atonement that we are reading for a month before Easter! You can read along with us if you want!(Here is the link to the first article.  I will add other links later The Atonement: Our Greatest Hope )
Zone conference with Pres. and Sis. Jenkins 
District meeting
Haha this is what we look like when we write emails.
Normally I am cleaner than this but I threw my skirt on the floor because I wanted to wear pants finally. Only get a few hours a week in sweats.
Our apartment. (Notice Natalie taking a picture in the mirror.)
Study desks.