Sunday, May 25, 2014

God Loves Her And Has a Plan For Her Life

Hi family!                (Email from 5-12-14)

It was SO good to see you yesterday! A bit weird though haha, it’s been so long! I miss you all so much though. But I feel like as I have been away, I have grown to love you all even more, now I don't take you all so for granted anymore. But by the time I graduate BYU everyone better be living in Seattle again... You all look beautiful! 

So this week has been so great. So, so great. Thanks for all the prayers for me, I have really felt them this week! I can't believe we just had transfers less than a week ago, it feels like I have already been with Hermana Hurd for a few weeks now. I loved training so much, I wouldn't have traded that opportunity for the world and I came to love those sisters sooo much. Not training is a completely different experience, and it is really great too. I feel like we can get so much work done together, and it is the best feeling. Hermana Hurd is really great. It’s funny we have very different personalities/interests, but we get along really well and work well together, so what more can I ask for? 

So this week, has really been full of miracles. Where to start? Wow I just looked through my journal to read what happened, and it feels like what I wrote happened a month ago haha. Well, Tuesday we took Lupita and Jime to the Visitor’s Center and watched God's Plan for the Family with them. We have reallllly been trying to push with them how the gospel blesses families to help them have a vision of how important their family is and have more unity amongst them, and I am already starting to see changes. We pretty much visit them every single day. Lupita is hilarious. She is always telling us things like, “no one is ever going to treat you as well as I treat you.” She gets upset if we don't eat with her too haha so I am trying to come up with tactics because a girl can only eat so much... I have got her down that I will not drink soda though haha. Anyways, they are progressing really well. They talk a lot and sometimes get distracted in lessons, so it takes us a little more time to teach them, but we were also able to teach them the Plan of Salvation. And yesterday, we taught her brother Miguel the Restoration.

It's funny we were really hoping that we would be able to teach him without his sister there because they seem to distract each other, and we prayed that we would be able to teach the lesson and keep him focused, and Lupita stayed in the kitchen to cook (she already got that lesson). Miguel told us that he wanted to be baptized, so we invited him for the 31st. He said yes! Well, actually he said as long as it is before noon because that's when he will have to go to work, so we told him we could do that for him. Lupita is working towards that date too. Jime is thinking about it a little more, but Lupitaa said she asked him and it seemed like he wanted to, so we are going to invite him for the 31st this week. They are just the  cutest little family. Jime is working on the house right now so we weren't sure if they would come to church, and when I called them Sunday morning they said hopefully for Sacrament meeting (which I thought would probably mean no), but we reminded them that church is an important part of preparing for their baptism, and at 11:30 we found them waiting in the foyer for sacrament! This week we are going to really try and get some more members involved, especially some hermanos to help with the house. Pray for them! Lupita and Miguel both say that they feel the spirit strong at church and they feel the spirit testifying that it's true. 

On Wednesday we had a lesson with Amanda. We have been trying so hard to get members with us to her, but hadn't been able to come because they are always earlier in the day when people are working. We really wanted Hna Raymundo to come so we thought we would call and give it a chance, and she happened to get off early that day! I have seriously never seen an investigator and member hit it off so well. They were like instant best friends laughing and talking about kids, and Hna Raymundo gave such a powerful sincere testimony and told her to sincerely seek for herself. It was such a powerful lesson. Then on Saturday we went over the Sabbath day. amanda feels like church isn't necessary and that she shouldn't come until she is certain it is true, so we are trying to help her understand why church is important and that she will receive revelation while she's there, but she still wasn't up for it this week. Hopefully next week. I wish I could just show you how great her and her family is. I just have a vision of them getting sealed in the temple. I know it will happen one day. She really wants to know if it's true, so she is sincerely praying, and hopefully will put in more effort to read this week.

We met with the Ramirez family, and started going over the plan of salvation, but ended up as the importance of church. Natalia doesn't like to commit, but talked about the importance of committing and trying your best to do it. By the end she committed, but didn't end up coming. She did come to the party though, so that was great! We had about an hour until it started to find her a ride, so we called EVERYONE, and no one answered or couldn't, so we decided to pray and ask for help. Literally the first person we called after we prayed said yes. God is wonderful. 

We had an appointment with someone, but they ended up not being home, but I looked down the street and this family was out in their yard. I realized that it was a family in our potentials list that Hna Brons and I had tried to contact but could never find them home. Each time we were there we had a good feeling about that home. We decided to walk by and just yelled buenos tardes to them and asked them how they were and what their names were, and then they invited us to come sit and talk in their yard. It was these cute little old couple with 4 of the grandchildren. Literally the sweetest family ever. They treated us like they had known us their whole lives. I guess they used to meet with missionaries in Mexico, so we were able to give them a Book of Mormon again and set up a return appointment. I really hope things go well with them!

We also had an appointment with Paula, and Hna Zavala, the RS Pres came. We showed a little Mormon message, then out of no where the member asks," por qué estás desanimada? El evangelio te ayudará. Bautizate!" And just was super bold telling her to get baptized, and that the devil was giving her all these trials, but that the gospel was what would help her. It was super bold, but I feel it was exactly what was needed to be said. Paula is not one of many words, but I really hope it touches her heart. She has her court this Wednesday so pray that goes well for her. 

Yesterday the bishop gave us the names of 5 families in the ward he wants us to work with. He wants us to have 3 notches de hogar with each family, to have them give the lessons and to have them invite a specific family that we think will be good for them to come. He wants to strengthen the members and help them set goals and have the spirit more in their homes. So we are excited to start working on this.

This week has just been great. I have been so happy. We have seen lots of success, and our numbers improved drastically. I just feel so humbled and so blessed. I see Gods hand in my life every single day. So many miracles I couldn't begin to say them all if I wanted. It's just really hit me this week how much good is in the world if you open your eyes and look for it. Maybe it's not mountains moving, earth quaking differences happening, but so many little things coming together, changing, improving. I love all of these people so much, and feel like God puts the very best people on my path. I never knew I could love so many people so much and so quickly. It's like as soon as I meet someone I see what their life would look like with the gospel in it, and I want them to have it so badly. We were teaching this little lady whose husband passed away and she is just so sad about it. I started getting sad that she didn't have the gospel and it didn't seem like she was ready to accept it, so I asked God why she didn't have the comfort of the knowledge of the gospel. I got a very reassuring feeling that this little lady was His daughter. That He loved her very much, and that He had a plan for her life. He knew the experiences that she needed to have to prepare her for the gospel. One day everyone will have a chance.

I love you all so much and I am so grateful for each and every one of you!

Con amor,
Hermana Haynes

Ward Mother's Day & Cinco de Mayo Party

Wouldn't be a party without a pinata!
I had to sneak a picture of my favorite little boy in the ward hitting the pinata.  He's SO cute!
We were talking with Marta and found out she does hair. We told her we wanted to learn so she told us to sit on the ground, she pulled out all her supplies and started doing our hair.
We love her and our awesome hair styles!

First companion pictures with Hna. Hurd.

I miss Hna. Brons already!
I miss Hna. Brons already!  Who's coming to New Zealand with me to visit her?

Mexican sushi
And real sushi. And yes, I actually tried sushi for the first time today.

Have to say Mexican sushi wins by a long-shot!

Sunday, May 18, 2014

We Progress best And Are Happiest When We Focus On Other People

Hi Familia and friends! 5-5-14 Email
I know I threw everybody off by sending pictures this morning and then not emailing. Haha, sorry about that. They decided not to give us transfer news until this morning to help us focus on our areas better (and kill us with anxiety) so we were waiting for that, and as soon as we got it we went to a dual zone transfer birthday party with all the Spanish missionaries. It was super fun - brincabrinca, piñata, Sonoran hot dogs and piñas. But we got transfer news this morning and we were pretty surprised! We were pretty sure I would leave and Hna Brons would stay, but it's opposite! She will be leaving, and I will be staying.

My new companion is Hna Hurd. She is from Allen, TX too! (That is where Alycia’s, Natalie’s sister’s, husband is from.) I always ask her if she knows any Braithwaites but she doesn't. She's been out for a few transfers less than me, and is super great. I am excited to have a companion that knows the language and already has lots of experience because we will just be able to get to the work like crazy! I am super sad to say goodbye to Hna Brons though. We have really grown to love each other a lot. Transfers are always a great learning experience, and I am excited to see what is in store. 

This week... It was great. I am learning so much. We are continuing to work with Amanda and it's going well. We taught her the gospel of Jesus Christ this week, and she really liked it. She just needs to get to church. Really though that family has soooo much potential.

We have been visiting Lupita and Jime a lot, and at first this week it was a bit awkward because they were fighting a lot and criticizing each other, but we kept sharing messages about the importance of family/charity, etc and by the end of the week they were sharing why they decided to get married, etc so that was a really good change to see. They like to chat a lot and are convinced they have to make a meal for us every time we come over haha and love to show us all their old pictures. So the doctrine is coming bit by bit, but we are hoping to help them understand more.

And Paula, we are still working with her, trying to figure out what her needs are and how we can help. I know she will get baptized, but when people are so close the adversary works really hard. She hasn't come to church lately, but we are praying that she will. Last night we had dinner with the Raymundos and invited them to come visit Paula with us, so we all took a walk to her house and visited with the whole family. That was really nice to help her feel more love and support. We are teaching other people too, but those are the most progressing right now. We are always trying to find more and help the ones that we already have. We did lots of little heart attacks for the people we are teaching this week, so that was fun. I think it always means a lot to them too. 

We got to go to the temple this week, and it was super great. There is no other place like the temple! The spirit and peace there is just so special! It was the coolest experience being in the celestial room surrounded by so many people that I love - surrounded by all my friends and all my fellow servants in the work. I realized that that is a rare opportunity. Something I have to cherish! 

So this week was a bit of a struggle for me, but a great learning experience. I was just feeling pretty inadequate and like I wasn't doing a good enough job. It was starting to discourage me a little bit. Sometimes it's hard feeling like you are trying so hard, but you are just going in circles and not seeing your investigators or less active members progress in the way you want. But I was just praying to be strong and to know what to do, and just trying to always do my best. I did a lot of pondering on how I was feeling and how I could fix it throughout the week.

On fast Sunday though, things really clicked into place and I was able to change my perspective. We were doing our personal study in the car after stake correlation and before church started and Hna Brons just looked at me and told me to smile and to smile like I really meant it. It really hit me hard. I just looked outside and saw how sunny and beautiful it was and realized there is so much to be happy for. Then at church, thinking it might be my last Sunday, I started thinking about all the members in that ward and how much they all meant to me and how much I have grown to love them. And an Hermana shared her testimony, and it really hit me. She talked about how selfishness is the greatest enemy to our personal progress. How we progress best and are happiest when we focus on other people. All these things just came together, and helped me refocus on what is important. All that really matters is that I truly love all these people around me and do all that I can to show them that. I need to go out of my way to show these people the love that Christ would. I need to stop worrying about myself and just get lost in the work. I need to be happy with the huge amount of blessings God has given me, instead of being upset about what I don't have. I am really happy I get to stay in this area and continue trying to help it progress, and continue trying to progress myself along with it.

This transfer, I really want to make it all count. I want to just work so hard and give every single ounce that I have to the work. I especially want to work with the members, because I feel like that is a key thing that we have been struggling with. And that's probably what our investigators need most right now. I know we are going to work hard and see good things. 

I am so excited to see you next Sunday! We are going to do our skyping on Sunday evening at 6pm, and probably just on the same account as we did last time. (Could someone send me my username haha?) I don't know if I will be able to have access to a computer (most likely will not), so I don't know if we will be able to do the group video call, but hopefully we can work it out. But I have 40 mins to talk, so will probably do 20 and 20. I will start at moms around 6, and then dads around 6:20. May cut it short and skype Alycia for a few mins if we can't get the group chat to work.

Well, just want you to know how much I love you. Every prayer that you do for me and the investigators counts. Sometimes it is such a great motivation for me knowing that there's so many people around the world praying for the missionaries. It means a lot. I love you so much and I am so excited to see you! Have a great week!

Con amor,
Hermana Haynes
 My District At The Temple

Some of my favorite sisters! Hna weber y Hna Garcia are going home tomorrow. Super sad about that.

Selfies at the temple. 

I will miss Hna. Brons

Sunday, May 4, 2014

The Gospel of Christ Is What Will Help Her Overcome Problems

(Email 4-28-14)
Buenas tardes familia! Como estan? Todo bien? 

We had  a great, busy week this week! I don't know if I am going to be able to fit it all into one email, but I will try and summarize it the best I can. It’s so crazy, after I live through a day, it feels like it happened a life time ago. I have to read my journal to even remember what we did.

Monday Hna Brons was still sick, so we stayed home and I just studied. 

Tuesday we went and helped at the Resek's to get ready for the ward sock hop. The sock hop was the young women's fundraiser to raise money for girl’s camp, and they asked us to help out with it. Hna Resek had a bit of a crazy week, so we went over and painted a black and white checkered dance floor. It was fun. Then that night we went to the Visitor’s Center with Jime and Lupita and watched “Joseph Smith, Prophet of the Restoration,” film with them. This family is so great. They showed up 10 minutes early to the appointment! Seriously, normally we have to like pull the investigators by the ear to get them to go anywhere with us or to even be home for appointments, but they are so willing to do everything! Lupita is only 22 and loves to talk to us. They like learning, so that’s good. We are trying to go pretty simply with them. They really liked the movie, but came up with some kind of interesting ideas about why Joseph Smith's children all died and about the scene when the devil tries to stop him before the First Vision, but we tried to clarify it. One thing that's hard about them is that they don't really understand that we believe different things than the Catholic Church. She is always telling me that Mary is Mexican, but then I always say back that she lived in Jerusalem with Jesus haha. She always wants to feed us too! It’s wonderful, but we always have to explain that we aren't hungry/already had dinner, etc., but Sunday she was like, “you have said no too many times, you are coming over for lunch today.” So she gave us a giant bowl of pesoli (no idea how to spell that...) she is super. I think if we can just clearly explain the differences and why, she will accept it well. They also came to a baptism with us on Saturday, and that was great. They really liked it. And they all came to church (and her brother Miguel), and we are having a noche de hogar with them and the Reynas tonight! Yay!

On Thursday we had exchanges with Hna. Luna in her area and that went really well. I always learn so much from exchanges. I came back from it though just feeling like lately I had lost some faith/and vision of who I was as a missionary, and hadn't been putting in as much as I could. So I decided I needed to repent. And that's what I have been doing. Since then I have really been trying hard to put in my absolute 100% into the work. I just don't want to risk letting any of a God’s children miss their opportunity. So I am trying hard to study and plan really well, to really discern needs, to ask inspired questions, to be bold, to open my mouth with everyone, to teach when I find/find when I teach. There's always more we can do. Faith is taking the steps forward showing God you want to work, and that's when He can bless you and enlighten you. We have seen lots of miracles since then too. We are both just trying hard to be better. Last night we took the greatest little member out with us, but we didn't have anyone to teach, but we didn't want to let our time with her go to waste. We said a prayer that we would be able to teach someone with her, and were able to have two powerful lessons in the one hour we had with her - when it looked like all of our plans had fallen through. She was so bold too, and just shared a strong testimony of how the gospel was true and how they could know it. It was such a great night. 

My birthday was seriously so great. Way better than I ever imagined! Thanks so much for all the love, gifts, presents. It was so great. I felt so spoiled. And God blessed us so much that day. We were able to teach a lot of great lessons and help a lot of people, and that was just the greatest feeling. There’s nothing better than truly being able to serve someone and help them feel loved. I even saw a fireworks show that night! We taught someone that night outside at a little table, and fireworks started going off!

On Thursday we asked our ward mission leader to check on Paula and see about her baptism plans because we hadn't been able to get a hold of her. He texted us saying that she said she had a problem and couldn't get baptized. That was a little heart breaking. We went over on Friday and Renee wouldn't let us in. But we just waited until Paula was free, and then she let us in. She just looked so weighed down. I guess more stuff happened with her ex-husband. She just cried, and we just hugged her. She is trying so hard to be strong for her children. We are trying to help her understand that the gospel is what will help her overcome these problems, instead of just being something to have when her problems are done. We are really trying to stress the importance of studying the Book of Mormon and the blessings that come from that.

We are trying to help her increase her faith to come to church again because she feels like she can't come because of her problems. Please pray for her. We are just trying hard to follow the spirit to know her needs and how to best help. 

This week I decided to start doing something that the elder from the 70 said he did on his mission - read 10 pages of the Book of Mormon a day. I have been doing it for about 4 days so far, but I absolutely love it. I am learning so, so much, finding so much guidance and answers. It is really strengthening my testimony of the Book of Mormon. There is just something so special about that book, and it helps you and fills you so much. It takes pretty much my entire study time, but it really is enlightening me. I love it.

We find out transfer news on Saturday! There's a good chance that I will be leaving, but we will see. You never know what to expect.

I love you all so much and I hope you all know how much I love my Savior and His gospel. Never take for granted the knowledge that we have and never miss an opportunity to share it. It changes eternities. There is nothing more important than this. 

See you all in 2 weeks on skype! I will let you know more details next week! 

Con amor,Hermana Haynes

My Birthday!
I'm 20!!!!

Hnas. Weber and Garcia tried to sneak up and decorate my door for my birthday, but we walked up at the same time.  They are the sweetest.
I have the best companion! Haha she decorated the door and I was standing right in front of it and didn't notice.

Manuel made me lunch for my birthday! Chile rellenos yummmm!

Coloring Eggs

This Was Hna. Brons' first time to dye Easter eggs.  They don't do it in New Zealand.

 Ward Sock Hop

Selfie with the companion