Sunday, June 22, 2014

God Always Fulfills His promises

Hi family!           (Email 6-16-14) 

Another great week here in Mesa, Arizona, but let’s be honest, when is it not a great week? I really have the best job in the whole world. Hmm we had all sorts of stuff this week. But all of it was kind of the same, just a bunch of different little experiences. I don't know what to share.

We did A LOT of contacting this week. Lots of doors that we knocked on and everything. Need to find new investigators. (and we found 6! Yay!) After a couple of not so successful days of it, I started to go a little crazy, but don't worry I got it figured out. Haha just had to strengthen my faith a little bit. But now I am trying to grow it stronger and stronger. We were praying for guidance on what more we could do to help this area progress, and then on Saturday we got a call from our sister training leaders asking if we could fast together and then do a blitz together on Sunday evening! (A blitz is when you have 2 companionships together in the one area and just go contact like crazy.) So that was a huge answer to our prayers.

So we did it yesterday, and it went super well. I went with Hna Coy and we took the south, and then Hna Cude and Hna Hurd took the north. We just contacted some potential and former, investigators and asked everyone outside where their Spanish speaking neighbors live, etc.

Hna Coy is super great. I learn so much from her. She is really good at contacting people, so it was good to learn from her. I am a bit awkward at it haha. But I learned a lot from her techniques and super positive, faithful attitude, so now I can do even better at it! I was really grateful for them. There really is so much potential here in this area.

Yesterday we also had a first lesson with an investigator named Gloria, and it went so well. We had been trying to have a lesson with her for a while, but she's hard to find home. We finally found her, and were able to teach the Restoration to her. She basically said she already knows it is true! (I am convinced that the whole world knows the church is true, they are just in denial to themselves). So yes, that's our blitz story. It was fun. I actually really enjoyed it. And now we are going to rock this next transfer.

Speaking of next transfer... TRANSFER NEWS! haha ok are you ready? I am leaving Arboleda. And so is Hermana Hurd. But we are staying companions! We are going to go white wash an area in Liahona 1st ward together! Back to the land of the Mexicans! Yay! I AM SO EXCITED! It
is always bittersweet though, because it does mean that I have to say goodbye to all of these wonderful people here. I will miss the ward members (by the way, there were like 5 less active members at church on Sunday!! so made my day!) and the investigators and will really miss seeing these people progress. I am excited to be staying with Hna Hurd. I feel like we have more good to do together.

So Wednesday is transfers, so just like 1.5 more days here. It is going to be a great transfer. I want to apply all the really important things that I have learned here, and be the very best missionary that I can be. I just want to be a tool in God's hands so badly. I feel like here in Arboleda, it has been a time of great personal growth. God has taught me a lot of really important things. It hasn't been the easiest process, but it was great. You just have to love every single minute of it!

Ok I don't have a lot of time because I have to pack and clean the entire place, so I will just say a few random things we did: 

- watched a less active member rock her karaoke Christian songs with the music blasting. She          loved it. And so did we.
- went to Amanda's kid’s birthday party. It was a bit awkward because no one really wanted to talk to us except Amanda and they were almost all drinking and watching the World Cup.... But it was the only time we could see Amanda this week haha.
- sweated. sweated a little more. and sweated even a little bit more.
- taught lots of lessons! Yay!
- had an awesome training meeting that was all about being bold by an elder in our zone who is going home this week who used to be an assistant, so he really knows his stuff. I learned SO much. We watched some demos and did a lot of practices about things like being devastated when people don't keep their commitments to read, teaching the first vision, working with unmotivated members, inviting people to be baptized. I learned all about how boldness is not just something
you turn on when you think you need it, but it is a personality trait that we should be displaying all the time. We have the power and authority from God to be declaring this wonderful message!
- Natalia finally started reading! And she read a lot! It was such a miracle. She felt guided to a certain part of the Book of Mormon, where she read something that really helped strengthen her testimony.
- taught Lupita and Jime about repentance with Obispo Hidalgo. It went really well and they seemed to really understand it.

Well that's about it for this week. I have just been so impressed lately with God and the fact that He literally has a plan for every single one of our lives. I see it in my own life and in my investigators lives all the time, and it always amazes me. I can only see such a small little part, but He sees so much more and is always preparing us for the next thing to come. I am learning to trust Him more; to walk more by faith instead of by sight. I know that as we stay faithful and diligent, good things will come. God always fulfills His promises to us. Never doubt Him, and always live worthy to receive the blessings that He wants to give us.

I love you all so much and I am SO grateful for all you do for me!

Con amor,
Hermana Haynes
Ok, so Hna. Hurd doesn't take photos and I don't either, (I awlays stole them from my other companions), so this morning we took some random photos so I would have something to send to you.

But my goal for next transfer is at least one photo per day!

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Faith To Accept God's Will No Matter What

Hi family how are you! (from email of 6-9-14)

Can't believe another week is going by. Time is just flying. We were busy this weekend a lot of stuff done. It was really good. I don't even know where to start. I guess I will start with Monday. 

We got a referral last week for this couple that the English missionaries had contacted so we decided to visit them, and we brought a couple from our ward with us too. Their names are Rosa and Pedro. As we started off the lesson they were nice but didn't seem too interested. But by the time we finished teaching the restoration the spirit was there very strongly and you could tell they had a desire to learn. The members were able to give really great testimonies and to touch their hearts. We haven't been able to have another lesson with them yet, but we stopped by and they seemed excited to see us. The members stop by on Saturday night and invited them to come to church. We have a lesson with them tomorrow, I'm really excited. It's so great to see how God can really touch His children's heart through the spirit.

We also have a fun family home evening with the family that the bishop asked us to visit. It was really enjoyable.

Tuesday we had a lesson with Katharina and it was good as well. Her son is going through a lot of hard things. It's hard to meet with her often because she works all the time, but she really wants to learn and already considers herself part of the church. She said she's trying to work with her boss to get more time off of work especially Sundays so that she can be more involved in church and start progressing towards baptism. Lately, she has really been putting forth the effort and we are excited to see her keep moving forward.

We also have a lesson with Amanda and it was good. She has some really interesting ideas that are hard to know how to respond to, but we're trying our best to work with her. She's really touched my heart and I want to help her so badly to come closer to Christ. We wanted to have a lesson focused on recognizing the voice of the spirit, but she seemed to keep pulling the topic off to one of her theories. My heart just hurts because I know how badly she's looking for the truth. I felt bad that she was so close, but yet so far, so I offered a prayer in my heart pleading for help to know what we could say to help her find the truth. I don't know how, but we were able to take control of the lesson again and apply the topic to her in a way that helped her. We went back later in the week and also taught her about who Christ really is and about the importance of the atonement in our lives. We sang a hymn and the spirit was really strong. She's one that will take time but I know she'll get there eventually.

We have also done a lot of service this week for Hna Arnez, a less active sister in our ward, who was hit by a drunk driver and was injured pretty badly by him. She has asked for some help so we were able to help her clean her room and clean out her fridge. It was so great to be able to make a difference in her home. She's so sweet and we love being with her. 

My zone
We also had the temple excursion and it was so great! I absolutely love the temple! I could spend all my time there if I could. Just the love and peace you feel there are indescribable. There's nothing like being in the celestial room with so many missionaries there; such a powerful thing. I got to be there with Hna. Groll and Hna. Brons Those two sisters are just so special to me. I love my baby girls haha! 

We also have a great zone training meeting on Wednesday and I learned a lot. It's crazy how the Spirit of the Lord can teach you exactly what you need to hear no matter what the topic is. It seems like the things they talked about were meant for me. I'll have to include some of my notes that I took. The missionaries in this mission are wonderful. Well at least the Spanish ones. I don't really know the English ones, but I am sure they are great too ha ha.

We've been praying and thinking a lot about Lupita and Jime. Just trying to figure out the best way we can help them. We want them to have a strong testimony of the restoration so that has been our main focus this week. We taught them with some fun cartoons and pictures that we drew and had a great member family there who did a good job fellowshipping and shared really personal experiences and testimonies that helped them. But it just seemed just like they were starting to get a bit cold and lose a little bit of interest. So we're thinking a lot about it and what we might have done wrong and about what was impeding them. Jime hasn't been reading much from the book of Mormon. We also thought that they are feeling pretty pressured into baptism and the commitments. We were scared that they were being scared off, especially since they did not come to church yesterday. So we decided we needed to be humble and start things off fresh with them. So we stopped by last night and were just really loving and asked for forgiveness if we had made them feel pressured or unloved in anyway.  We told them that all we wanted to do was to help them come unto Christ, and that we were here to help them and love them in anyway that we could. Jime was sleeping so we couldn't talk with him, but Lupita was really great and explained how they have been feeling. I guess her husband got a new job this week that has early and long hours all day and in the hot sun. When he comes home from work he spends the rest of the day working on his own house finishing the insulation. He has just been exhausted without a single day of rest. So that is why they have not been very concentrated on the lessons and the Gospel lately because he literally has no energy. That's why they couldn't come to church either. She said that he will be done with the house in two weeks and that he hopefully won't have work on Sundays anymore.  She said that they will try their best these next two weeks, but that they will really be able to put in more time and attention in two weeks.

It was so great to hear that they still want to move forward, and that we are all on the same page. I really love that family so much! They make me so happy!

We also found a few more people this week that seem to have potential. I am so excited to work with them. One man we found on the street basically told us that he knows that the church is true and wants to be a part of it, but his wife is very strong in a different religion and doesn't want him to learn. We told him to pray about what to do in this situation because he didn't know. Apparently he mows the lawn at the temple for his job and has been able to learn a little bit and feels in his heart that he should be there. We are praying for him! Seriously, God is preparing His children!

I wish I could begin to explain all the things that I am learning every day. It's like I'm taking a full college course by the spirit every day this week. I don't know why, but I really learned a lot this week; a lot about faith and about God's will and about humility and all sorts of things. It's so great to understand more and more how I can come closer to Christ. One thing that I studied this week that I especially enjoyed is called "that we might not shrink" by Elder Bednar. That We Might Not Shrink  You should all read it, it is great! It's all about how we need to have faith that God can do anything, but also have the faith to accept Gods will no matter what it is, even if it is so different from our own. That's something that has been really sticking out to me lately; how God has a detailed plan for each of our lives for us to grow and progress. But at the same time, He will never take away our agency. He doesn't want to force us back home even if it may break His heart to see us straying from the path back.

Well, I love you so much! Thanks for all you do! Seriously the best family ever!

Con amor,
Hermana Haynes  

Noche de hogar! With some members. (Haha didn't know it was going to be a carne asana too, but hey even better.)

District lunch! Elder Hendersons grandma sent him money so he took us all out for pizza. 
Needed a little break in language study haha so thought I would take a picture.
Hna. Hurd y mi

Sunday, June 8, 2014

We Teach - How To Recognize The Holy Ghost And Receive AnswersTto Prayers

Hi family!  (Email 6-2-14)

Another week is done. I can't believe how fast time goes. It's June already, and I will be hitting my year mark this week, (June 5th). Crazy to think I have been out here for that long already. It's just flown right by. Think about all that has happened this year! What a wonderful year it has been :)

This week was a bit of ups and downs, but so much learning experiences, and much more ups than downs! There was really only one down, but it will all be alright. Jime and Lupita decided to postpone their baptism. They still want to do it, just need more time and want to finish this commitment they have to be godparents in the Catholic Church. So hopefully soon! We were working hard to prepare them for this Saturday. They have been taught everything, had the program all ready to go, even had their interview done. Jime has really been having a hard time committing to baptism though, and he just didn't feel ready for it. At first, I wanted it to happen so badly this week, I was praying and trying to push it. But then it dawned on me, that I needed to listen to what Jime was saying to me. That I wanted him to have the desire and the firmness in his decision so that he could keep those covenants for his whole life. It's always important to remember that God has a plan, that lots of times it’s not YOUR plan, but His plan is always better. So when we officially decided to postpone the baptism, I felt really peaceful and really hopeful about it.

I also realized that I need to improve my teaching abilities, and am learning how I can improve. I am grateful for this experience because I really am learning a lot from it. I know it will work out. They are still excited about it, still came to church yesterday and everything. Hopefully this will help the members step up the game a little bit and work harder for this family. We have seen it already with some of them!

We had exchanges on Thursday with Hermana Coy and we went to her area. It was really great. We went to her district meeting and learned a lot there (got 2 district meetings this week haha! good thing they are always super great). She is a great teacher too, and we learned some great techniques from her. I want to really help all the investigators have a firm foundation in their testimony of the Restoration before I move on to other gospel doctrines/principles. Because if they have a firm testimony that this is the true church on the earth, then they can accept everything else so much easier. I also want to listen, observe, and discern more - really teach according to people's needs. 

On Saturday we spent a couple hours contacting in the 107* sun. Haha it was fun though. People offer us water so we get to talk more to them. We really need to find some new investigators that are prepared and going to progress, so we decided we were going to talk to literally every single person that we saw until dinner time. They all live so close, and all speak Spanish, so it was great. We found a family that just moved from Mexico and are just about to move into the trailer park and had never talked with missionaries before. We found someone who took a semester of seminary in high school, a bunch of other people. So hopefully there is potential with some of those people! We had a mission wide fast yesterday for finding opportunities and finding successes, so hopefully we see some great things this month!
Working in the Sun. So much sun!
We did lots of service this week too, I think I washed more dishes this week than I have in a very long time. I love it though. There were a few hermanas in our ward that got in a bad car accident this week, so we wanted to help them, and dishes is the least that we could do. 

That's pretty much it for this week. I feel like this is kind of short, so sorry about that! Next week we have a temple excursion, so President Jenkins will be there and we will have a little meeting in the chapel before so I am really excited for that. And we will have ZTM (zone testimony meeting). 

I am trying to think if there is any other random things I can tell you about my life, but I can't really think of any. Haha ok well, about the respados (Mexican snowcones), I said earlier in the day that I wanted to try one, and then we had them later that day. Tender mercy, haha maybe?
We were going to have a noche de hogar, but instead they made us respados, Mexican snow cones. (So much better than American ones.) Hopefully we can do the NdH next week!

Mom this will make you happy, there are canals all throughout the city, and we run along them every morning, and there are always bunnies out there by them! Haha so I always get excited for that. We keep finding cockroaches in our apartment. Only 3 so far, and Hna Hurd always kills them for me. But my bathroom got infested with ants, but we had some raid, so they all died. Thank goodness for raid. Ummm... well I think that's it. A little bit of variety?

It's so reassuring to know that we have the truth in our lives, and that we always know how to receive the guidance that we need. That's something we have been trying to focus on with the people that we teach - how to recognize the Holy Ghost and receive answers to prayers. I know that we can find answers to every single thing that we need. It all matters to Him. Maybe we can't find it out exactly when we want to, but God loves us and He has the best in mind for us. Never doubt that! I am trying to learn to trust in Him and rely on Him more and more.

I love you all so much! Hope you have a great week!

Con amor,
Hermana Haynes 

Got super close to running out of gas, haha, but we made it!
Hna. hurds new friend noviembre

Sunday, June 1, 2014

There Are So Many Churches! Which One Is The True One?

Hi family!(Email 5-26-14)

I can't believe how much can happen in a week. I looked back at my journal and it seems like the things that happened at the beginning of last week happened a month ago. But we had a super great week. We are working hard and trying to grow our faith and exercise as much of it as we can. God is great!

Remember last week how I said I wanted to work on having faith even when it seemed like things weren't going to work out? Well, God definitely gave me experiences to develop that ability this week. Haha sometimes I think God has a sense of humor. Anyways, we had an awesome noche de hogar with the bishop and familia Lopez last Monday, and then Tuesday Lupita told us that she didn't think her husband would want to get baptized for a while because of various reasons. Then later Miguel told us he wasn't ready either. I started getting a little bummed/discouraged, but remembered my goal and changed my attitude right away. I started praying really hard for all of them, planning as best I could, teaching by the Spirit. Doing all that was in my power. We had a couple good lessons with them, and things started changing.’ By the end, we asked Jime if he would be getting baptized on the 31st, and he told us that he thinks its a big step of faith, then we asked him if he had the faith necessary to do it, and he said YES!

So many miracles with them this week. Lupita is too cute. She woke up early Sunday morning and bought dresses for church (uhhhh maybe we should re-teach keep the Sabbath day holy??? good thing we are teaching the 10 commandments today!) At church she was telling everyone she was getting baptized. So next Saturday at 2pm!

Lupita has been reading diligently everyday and she is so ready. Jime has been working crazy amounts at his job and on his house trying to put on insulation on the outside to protect it from the heat, so he hasn't been able to read as much. But he said he was going to everyday this week. On Saturday morning, 5 or so hermanos came over and helped him work on the house. I was so grateful for that. It’s so nice to see members reaching out to them.
Some hermanos came over and helped Jime work on his house.

Miguel, however, has started to avoid us. Apparently he isn't too excited about a couple of the commandments, but we are not giving up on him. I am not sure he will make it for the 31st, but I know he will soon! (we hadn't even taught Paula tithing yet, and she was talking about how it was dumb that he didn't want to pay it. She was like "its only 10%, that's not very much. God will give him back way more than what he has to pay. SO MUCH FAITH.) I love this family so much. I am SO happy for them. I have literally been able to witness the gospel change this family. The love and spirit is in their home now, and before it wasn't like that. I am so excited for them and their journey. Just wish I could hold their baby girl... kills me every time. Haha Jime calls us "las tias". (Editor’s note: Unfortunately, because of potential liability, missionarie are not allow to hold children.)

We also worked a lot with Natliea this week, and had some more very powerful lessons with her. We watched the Restoration at the Visitor’s Center with her family, and taught some other things. God is working so hard on her. She is having powerful dreams too, where it is obvious that her family beyond the veil has accepted the gospel and are just waiting for her to receive it as well. I love her so much. We were working so hard for her to come to church this week, but unfortunately she didn't. We had a big discussion with her yesterday, and I realized that the real problem is that she is having a serious battle with depression. Until she can overcome her depression, I don't know how well she will be able to keep her commitments. We invited her to read "Like a Broken Vessel" by Elder Holland that talks about depression, so hopefully that helps. Just praying hard for her and her family.

Well, last Sunday we got a text from Katharina saying that Juan was in a bad situation and came super close to dying and that they wanted help from us again! So we are teaching them again! We were able to teach them 3 times this week, and Katharina came to church yesterday. Then Juan's best friend passed away 2 days ago. God is working hard to prepare his heart. Juan is a great kid and has SO much potential, he is just making the stupidest decisions, and I think it's breaking everyone's heart. We read Alma 36 with him and talked about Alma the younger's transformation/the atonement, then we taught the gospel of Jesus Christ and invited them to be baptized and to really make changes in their lives, they said yes! I just really hope that they stick with that decision. Kathrina works a crazy amount, but so far it seems like she really wants to make changes to help her son. She is so great. Juan didn't come to church unfortunately, but yesterday we stopped by and taught the plan of salvation. The elders are teaching a different one of Katharina's kids in a different ward, so that's great. 

We finally were able to contact this wonderful lady, Marta, that we have been trying to for a while. We taught her the restoration, and it went so well. It was great, when we were teaching the apostasy, she was like, "there's so many churches! Which one is the true one?" Haha we were like, well you know you aren't the first one to ask that question. There once was a boy named Jose Smith..." I was surprised that the lesson even went through because we tried so many times before, but Hna Hurd kept reminding me to have faith and believe that the best will happen. We are learning that there just isn't room for doubts at all. Doubts in anyone or anything. It's hard. It's like a mental work out every day. And with that hope, we have to do all that we can on our part. Then we can rest assured that whatever God wants to happen will.

Zone conference on Friday was SO amazing! Really great. My favorite part was a talk by Elder Boone, one of the assistants. He talked about consecration. It was so powerful and passionate. He talked about how our missions should change who we are for the rest of our lives, that it should really mean everything to us. President Jenkins also announced 5 new initiatives for our mission (family history, community service, focusing on Hispanics, using the VC to teach, ward counsels). We also had someone from the 70 come and teach us about how to hold effective ward counsels. Working with the members is a struggle in Spanish work. It's something that has always been hard for me, but I decided that I am going to overcome this obstacle! Hna Hurd and I have set some goals to better work with them. 

Well, that's about it for the week. This next week we have exchanges and will be preparing for the baptism! We are also going to work on finding some new investigators. I know The Lord has good things in store. I love you all so much! Thanks for all the love and support it means the world to me!

Con amor,
Hermana Haynes

Ps happy memorial day.

There Is Greater Peace In Their House With The Gospel Of Jesus Christ

Hi family! (Email 5-19-14)

How are you all doing? Time is just flying by. We had another great week. Trying to work hard and stay busy!

So Lupita, Jime, and Miguel are progressing really well. We invited Jimwto be baptized with the rest of his family on the 31st, and he is really praying about it and trying to be sure. He has some questions, but he is reading and praying. They couldn't come to church because their son got sick and they had to take him to the emergency room. But we are teaching them every day, and loving it. They say that they have seen much more peace in their house since we have started coming, and I can agree with that. I have seen lots of little changes in them, and the environment feels different in their home. They are taking it all seriously, which is great. Miguel can be a little hard to find home, so we are trying to put more emphasis on him. We taught the word of wisdom this week, and the night before we taught it he asked us if he would still be able to drink after he got baptized, and was a little worried about it. But when we came back the next day he had given his beers to his friend, and by the end of the lesson they all committed to live it! They thought it was super funny when I started looking through their cupboards for their coffee. Haha I just love them so much. We are just praying hard, trying to plan really well, and trying to teach them as well as we can and get members involved so that they can be baptized on the 31st. We are praying and fasting hard for them. 

Natilia Ramirez called us on Thursday saying that her husband stopped drinking and wanted help to get over his addiction. He wanted to meet with the bishop, so we set that up and Thursday night they met with him. They told us they would all go to church, but once again they didn't. It's a bit frustrating because church is the only thing holding them back from being baptized. Then last night, we had an amazing powerful lesson! Seriously, I felt like Alma and Amulek. Or more like Elder Holland. We asked Natlia what her goals were to help her family, and her member son was like they need to get baptized already!

We asked Natalia why she doesn't go to church and she talked about how she feels a bit of depression and she doesn't have much motivation. We started asking her what blessings she would get from church and listing all of them off. Then I told her that the greatest one was that she would be able to be sealed to her family for time and all eternity. I asked her if she was willing to risk that. We talked about how the devil really does not want her to go to church, but that she's in charge. At the end of the day, it's her choice and she will choose who leads her. We talked about how she had a wall that she needs to get over, and sister Hurd asked her if she was going to break down this wall and get over it, and she said yes she will sooner or later eventually get over it. I looked her straight in the face and I said, "Natalia, are you a quitter?" She started crying and said passionately that she is not a quitter. She said she is breaking down this wall right now. We showed her a plan that we made of how she could get baptized in 3 weeks. We invited her and her daughter Conchita to be baptized on June 14th. We asked if they were committed to following this plan and really breaking down the wall to make this goal. We all kneeled down and told God of this commitment that they made and asked for His help to reach it. I wish you could have seen it. It was just pure emotion. Really this description doesn't even begin to describe it. Hermana Hurd and I were so in tune and the spirit was just guiding us. I have always wanted to teach with power and authority, and I felt like last night I truly accomplished it. She just needed to be shaken a little bit and needed help to repent. We left that message just amazed. The Spirit was so strong, and you could just feel how hard God is fighting for this family. Pray hard for them please. This is going to take a lot of faith.

We have a prospective of 5 baptisms to happen this transfer, and my goal is to not lose my faith. I have noticed that I have a problem with enduring to the end/patience. I get really excited when we have powerful lessons with investigators, but as soon as signs of trouble arise, I start to lose my hope and vision for what will happen. So my goal is just to keep the faith no matter what happens along the path. I need to endure to the end and not give up on anyone. Maybe things won't go according to my timing, but I need to trust God and work as hard as I can and as effectively as I can for every person. We are really going to be focusing on the Ramirez family and Lupita's family. 

Sad news though. Pretty sure Paula has dropped us. She has avoided us all week. Won't open the door or answer the phone. It's sad just because I love her and her family so much. But it's ok because she is scared right now. I know one day she will be ready for it. And there's still a chance that maybe her week was just crazy with court. 

We are trying to work hard and find new people to teach as well. The members are avoiding us a bit for the noches de hogar, so we haven't been able to set any up yet, but hopefully soon. There are seriously miracles every single day. God is working with each and every person. We are all precious to Him and He wants every single one of us back with Him. We can't lose that vision! 

This next week is zone conference, so I am excited for that. Ahhhh I just love being a missionary! It is truly the best thing that has ever happened to me. I can't even remember who I was a year ago. I have learned and changed so much, and I am so grateful for how these experiences are teaching. Still so much more to learn, do, experience, and overcome. But I am loving this journey so much.

And missing you so much too! I have the best family in the world! I love you all and hope you have a great week!

Con amor,
Hermana Haynes