Sunday, August 31, 2014

Everything Is Possible With Christ

(8-11-14 Email)
Hello again family and friends! Its Monday again!

I hope everyone is doing well. Getting ready for school to start, keeping up with work, getting ready for Baby K to be born, moving, missionary work. Lots of stuff going on in our family! Always praying for you all!

Hmmmm well we had a good week this week. A little slower than normal, but that's okay. It was still great. We are trying to do more contacting and finding more people to teach. And I realized that the heat was starting to wear me out, and going from hot to cold in and out of the car was tiring me, haha, so we have just been walking lately. We will just park our car in a neighborhood and just walk everywhere for an hour or two. I really like it. We can talk to more people on the streets and gives me more energy. But I do get really sweaty, so that's just lovely.

While we were doing that, we saw a lady coming out of her apartment in a hurry, so we just asked her if we could come visit her the next day. So they were actually home and let us in when we came back! Their names are Alexa and Pablo. And they are 100% pure Mayan from a little pueblito in Guatemala! They taught us a few Mayan phrases and everything. So we were super excited to teach them about the Book of Mormon and give it to them. It is literally written for them from their ancestors. It was just the coolest feeling knowing that we were able to help God fulfill ancient promises in the Book Of Mormon, and to help fulfill ancient prophecies. They were nice, not superrrrr receptive, but I think there is potential there. I am just really hoping and praying that they will read it and feel the spirit of that special book.

We had another lesson with Elana Gonzoles this week! We came back and she had actually read the chapter that we gave her, and understood it and had good questions. So we were super happy. The things that stood out to her from it was that Christ gave the apostles power to baptize and that he baptized people standing up in water. So that was super great. We taught her the Plan of Salvation The Plan of Salvation and it went really well. Her two youngest kids are always fighting for her attention, but she is so good at listening attentively and asking questions, so you can tell she is honestly interested. I am excited for her. Her husband always hides from us though... and her mom came in during our lesson and looked a bit upset that we were there, but we can work with that haha.

I think the biggest miracle of the week though was the lesson we had with Gina and Vanessa. Gina said that after watching Joesph Smith, Prophet of the Restoration,Joseph Smith, Prophet of The Restoration she had been thinking about it everyday, and praying about it, that she couldn't get it off her mind. We were able to explain to her that the spirit was testifying to her that it was true. She is finally starting to grow that personal desire for this and understanding the importance of The Restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ!!! The Restoration of The Gospel Yay! And Vanessa is talking to her boyfriend about living the law of chastity! Trying so hard to be obedient. It's amazing. We taught them the Word of Wisdom this week, and Gina already lives it perfectly. Vanessa stopped drinking as soon as we met with them, but coffee was a bit of a surprise for her. They are so prepared though. So ready. We just need to get them to church. It kills me that they aren't coming. Vanessa is really trying to get to church, and I don't think Gina's husband will let her come on her own. It will happen. 

They both agreed to be baptized though! Vanessa,like a firm commitment, like for sure. And Gina was a bit more suave. still though, so huge. The goal was the 30th, but I don't know if they will have enough church attendance by then.

Anna Rojas and her family have been a bit hard to teach this week, haha, but what else is knew. We helped her make tamales the other day and that was fun. She isn't going to make it for the 16th, but hopefully by the end of the month. Just really want to help her understand and feel this in her heart, and have the faith to live it. 
Making tamales with the Rojas family.

We also got a referral for a lady, Anita, this week. We taught her and committed her for baptism on the first lesson. But lately she seems to be avoiding us... It's possible she might just be in it for the welfare, but we are hoping for the best. The poor lady's husband was kidnapped 2 years ago in Mexico, and she really needs help. We will see what happens!

Well, that was pretty much my week. It was great. We are working hard, but trying to push ourselves to work even harder. Please pray that our investigators will have the faith to keep their commitments and that we will be able to find the people that God is preparing to receive the gospel. I know that Christ's church and gospel truly were restored. And I want so badly to share that happiness and the guidance it has brought into my life! Always remember that everything is possible with Christ! We just need to have the faith to live the way He asks us too!

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

Con amor,
Hermana Haynes
An interesting Arizona bug.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Ok, Little Tidbit From Pres Jenkins Email

We have some wonderful upcoming events taking place in the mission. August 25-26, Elder Gregory A. Schwitzer of the Seventy will spend two days in our mission doing a mission tour. This will include one conference each day for half of the mission at a time. You might want to become familiar with Elder Schwitzer and prepare for this opportunity to learn from a General Authority. On September 20 the Mesa and Scottsdale missions will meet together in a two hour special conference with one of the Twelve Apostles. He has requested the opportunity to shake each of your hands prior to the meeting.

AHHHHH! I am going to meet Elder Nielson!!! CAN'T BELIEVE MY LIFE!

I Know That Christ's Gospel Is Perfect

Hola familia y amigos !! (8-4-14 Email)

I know I say this all the time, but I really mean it this week: this was the fastest week of my life, I swear. Haha its like someone has pressed fast forward and forgot to press play again. It was a good week. Pretty normal. But I enjoyed it!

We haven't been able to find Fabio all week, so that is a bummer. Apparently he works from like 3am-6pm everyday, so as soon as he is home he sleeps. And there are like 6 people that live with him and they all share 1 cell phone, so he never has it really. But we have met some of his roommates and shared a bit with them, so hopefully there's potential there! We are really trying to find some more people to teach, so we have been trying hard to talk with everyone and do good, effective contacts with people. Sometimes it is hard to make it personal towards people when you talk to a bunch of people in a day, but we are trying hard to make them led by the Spirit. We did find a great new family this week, the Gonzales. Their 11 year old daughter seems especially interested, and I think that they might have some great potential.

Anna is doing great! She came to the ward Noche de hogar with all the kids and she liked it. And the two oldest boys went to mutual. She came to church yesterday too! The members are doing a good job of reaching out to her as well. Still trying to ensure that her desires are sincere, and I think the more and more she learns, the more sincere they are getting. We tried to have a lesson where we just taught the kids in English... failure. Haha we tried so hard, with activities, balloon demonstrations, everything. But they would not hold still or listen or anything. All they wanted to do was hit each other haha. So little by little for the children...
The Ramirez family has their family from Mexico here that they haven't seen for 14 years, so I don't think we are really going to see them for the next 2 weeks...

But Gina and Vanessa are doing great! We taught them about temples, eternal families, and chastity. Monday was Vanessa's birthday so we made her a cake and celebrated with her. It's kind of funny teaching her because she is my age and I feel like I could be good friends with her in real life. So it is funny to be a missionary teaching her. But I love it. 

We had a big miracle with them this week. We wanted to strengthen their testimony on the Restoration, so we invited them to watch Joseph Smith, Prophet of the Restoration at the Visitor's Center. And they came, and it was so great! AND they brought their dad! Vanessa was crying throughout the movie, and at the end you could see that Gina was really growing interest for herself now as we talked to her after the movie. And their dad really liked it as well and said he wanted to start learning! Vanessa is still having to work on Sundays, which breaks my heart. But I am thinking at least it is giving them more time to progress together as a family. I was so happy after that movie!

So far what I have noticed about being an Sister Training Leader is that it means a bunch more meetings haha. But its great because that means I get to learn a lot! We went to transfer meeting plus a few other meetings after that. At transfer meeting President Jenkins told us a family history story that he just found out: apparently his great-great grandpa (or something) that he is named after is one of the original founders of Mesa, AZ and he had no idea! Isn't that crazy? And then on Friday I had my first MLC. It was super long, but really great. I learned a lot, and I can definitely see how these things will help me serve in the church for the rest of my life. We learned about a bunch of different things, but especially what it means to be a leader and how to be the most effective leader. And the importance of councils within the church and how to hold a proper council. Then we counseled about a variety of topics, including mission culture, etc. President explained to us about his vision for the mission and some other topics as well. I have to figure out what I want to do for the sisters I am over because we aren't doing overnight exchanges this transfer, so I have to figure out another way to train them. But I don't know them really at all,so I am not sure what would be most beneficial for them. I think I might meet up with them for a little bit this week to get to know them and see where they are at. They are super sweet and I am excited to get to know them better.

Want to know something really cool that I am excited for? On the 16th we are having an MLC with Elder Lynn G. Robbins, from the presidency of the 70. How cool is that?? So we will get a pretty personal meeting with a general authority! I am going to learn soooo much!

Well, that was pretty much all for this week. Just want to let you all know that I know without a doubt that the gospel of Christ is perfect. I want to be a better disciple of Christ. We must live the things that we know. I want my life to reflect His teachings. I know that God loves us. And because He loves us He has restored Christ's church to the earth. And I know that we have a prophet that leads us today! WE ARE SO BLESSED! :)

I love you! Have a great week!

Con amor,
Hermana Haynes

Sunday, August 10, 2014

You Can Pray To God In Your Mind

Hola familia! (7-28-14 Email)

Holy cow this week was just amazing. Seriously, God is so great. He is really working with His children here in this area, and it is such a humbling blessing to be able to be apart of it. Ok to start off though, Transfer news!!! (Can you believe it's transfers already?) I am staying in Liahona 1 with Hna Hurd for another transfer! So she will be my first companion that I will have 3 transfers with. Which I am excited about because we teach and work very well together. But I did get a call Saturday morning from Sister Jenkins asking me if I would accept the assignment to be a sister training leader! I am super excited for that! I don't really know how to do that, but I am sure God will guide me as I seek it. They are doing it all a little different this transfer, no overnight exchanges. And I am over English speaking sisters instead of Spanish. I don't know anything about English work, so I hope I will be able to help them. I will be a part of the mission leadership council and everything now, so I will get more trainings from Pres Jenkins & the AP and everything so I am really excited to learn from them! I hope I will be able to help strengthen our mission.

Ok, I just have to say Vanessa is the most prepared person I have ever taught in my whole mission I believe. She has in-depth studied every single chapter we have ever given her (with a study journal and everything). She just soaks in everything that she is learning and loves it. We were only able to meet with her twice this week, but they both went really well. We taught the 10 commandments/Sabbath day, and she is really working on getting Sundays off so she can come to church. I think next Sunday should be the last one she has to work because the back to school sales will be over (one more week til school starts here. crazy huh?)

So I was thinking about it, and I realized that we had never told Victoria that she could pray in her mind. So during one of the lessons I asked her if she knew that, and she didn't! I felt soo bad haha.  She had been waiting up late for every one to go to bed so she could say her prayers alone or say them at work during her break. She has even been reading the Book of Mormon at work and isn't embarrassed when people ask her about it. 

When we were scheduling our next appointment she said that Monday is her birthday, so of course I was expecting that she would be busy, but she said that she would for sure have the day off so we should come then! Gina is little by little building her interest, and Vanessa is really motivating her to read the Book of Mormon. I hope that she feels a greater desire to learn and read for herself though.

And after two weeks of struggling to get investigators at church, you are never going to believe what happened yesterday! WE HAD EIGHT INVESTIGATORS AT CHURCH! Does that even happen in real life? Apparently it does! I was so so happy! Alexia and Sophia Ramirez came, Marcos (part member family we are working with), Martha, and Anna with 5 of her children (2 of them aren't baptismal age, so if you count them, that's ten!) Her kids were not super excited to be there at first, but by the end I think they enjoyed it. She has one son, Adam that reminds me so much of Seth haha I love it. I always tell him that. I was super happy. God is so great.

Speaking of Anna, she is doing well. We gave her a calendar this week of when we will meet/what we will teach so that she will be able to make her goal of the 16th of August. It can be hard to teach her though because all the kids can be distracting. It worries me a little because she needs to develop a personal testimony of all the things that we are teaching. She also has a lot of responsibilities with all of her children, so please keep her in your prayers.

And another huge miracle we had this week! On Friday night it was 8:50 pm and we were out contacting former investigators for the last hour of the day. We knocked on this door and this man came out named Fabio and he introduced himself to us right away. After talking to him briefly I had the strongest impression that he needed to be baptized. He started talking about how he went to the Visitor's Center a lot a few years ago. I mentioned that there was such a good spirit there, and obviously the spirit was telling Hna Hurd the same thing because she started talking about how after you are baptized you receive the gift of the Holy Ghost and always feel like that. So literally after talking to the man for about 5 minutes outside his house, we invited him to be baptized!

After agreeing right away, Hna Hurd extended the date of Aug 23 and he accepted that right away as well! I guess he was being taught 3 years ago and was almost baptized but moved suddenly and lost contact with the missionaries. It was the most amazing experience. The spirit was so strong. We just walked away asking ourselves if that really just happened. Lately we have really been able to feel ourselves being guided by the spirit. Some times I will feel I need to say something, and then the next thing I know the words I am thinking of are coming out of Hna Hurds mouth. God is SO great!

So on Saturday night we had a lesson with Fabio, and honestly it went perfectly. The members that came shared beautiful testimonies, and he really understood that he needs to know if the message of the restoration is true. He said a beautiful closing prayer that was so sincere. Unfortunately on his walk to church on Sunday something happened and he wasn't able to make it, but I am sure he will be there next Sunday! Such a huge miracle!

Well, that's just a little taste of my week for you! There are so many good things going on here and I feel so blessed and humbled to be a part of it. I know without a doubt that God knows each and every one of us and is preparing us for the beautiful futures He has prepared for us. I see that everyday in the people we find, the people we teach, in myself, and in you! No matter what, we can trust in Him. Even when it makes absolutely no sense to us! I love Him so much!

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

Con amor,
Hermana Haynes 
Goofing of with the missionaries.
Got to see some of my L3 friends.


And to finally meet baby Natalie!

God Sees The Big Picture

Buenas tardes familia! (7-21-14 Email)

Seriously, another great week. I am just so happy, and loving every minute. Sometimes it's like I am living a dream haha. We stayed busy this week; teaching lots of people and trying to find even more. Just really trying to help people progress!
On Tuesday we had interviews with Pres & Sis Jenkins. That's always a great experience. They are so good about sharing their love and confidence in you. I feel so blessed to have them here! Sis Jenkins told me that I am a good "foot soldier" for The Lord. Besides that, it was a pretty normal week. Just kept busy! Sooo I will just give you a little update on some investigators then.

Vanessa: She is AMAZING. Really, I wish you could all be there to teach her. She just soaks it in. I have never taught someone so prepared before. She is reading the Book Of Mormon and loving it, she is trying to pray every day. And her testimony in Christ and in the gospel is really growing. She has kept every commitment that we've given her so far and read every chapter that we've asked. The last lesson we taught about how praying every morning and night and reading the scriptures daily are commandments, and she said she would do it, and in her closing prayer asked to remember it. And when we asked her how reading the scriptures everyday would bless her life, she said that it already is because she feels so much more connected to God and is finding answers.

We invited her to be baptized in August, and she is praying about it. We haven't taught her Word of Wisdom yet, but she told us that she stopped drinking since the first day we met her, and that we showed up the exact day that she started really doubting her beliefs. Isn't it crazy how God works? The only hard part is she works at a shoe store and it's really crazy right now with the back to school sales, so she hasn't been able to come to church for the past two weeks, but she's already trying to get it off I think, and tonight we are teaching the 10 commandments/Sabbath day observance, so hopefully that helps. Please pray for her! Her mom Gina is there for all the lessons as well, and is reading the Book or Mormon, but actively goes to the catholic church so is having a hard time seeing why she needs this church instead. She doesn't quite understand the magnitude of the restoration. So please pray for her as well. This week, Vanessa’s dad came out for the first time, and so we met him and he told us back in 2000 they went to church for about a year. He said that year he changed completely and came really close to being baptized, but got offended so stopped going. But he said he would think about it again.

Then there's the good old Ramirez family. I love them. But I'm not quite sure what to do to help them progress. They all have different work schedules and seem to think that they all need to progress together, do it altogether. Which of course would be ideal, but someone needs to commit a little more and be brave enough to do it on their own, to be the example to everyone else. They haven't been coming to church lately and don't really have any good excuses, even though they texted us an hour before yesterday and said they would be there. But we had a couple lessons with them this week, and they went really well. The spirit is always there and you can tell that they are learning. I feel like they are part of my family though, and I want them to have these blessings so badly. We are just trying to figure out how to best help them. I think they are going through some trials right now, but are pretty private about it. Please pray for them too :)

Then we taught Anna this week, and she accepted right away the baptismal date of August 16th. The poor lady is a single mother of 9 and seems to really have her hands full and is just barely getting by. She really wants the best for her children though and can recognize that there is something different about this church, and that it will teach her children how to take the right roads in life. She is a sweetheart.

We are teaching some other great people as well, but those are probably who we are focusing on most right now. Hopefully some others will start progressing more and some of these potential investigators will have good interests.

Hmmm what else this week... We are teaching a few less actives members pretty consistently, and one of them invited us to her baby shower on Saturday, so that was fun. Then, on Saturday we also cleaned the chapel. And did secret service as a district pulling weeds for this awesome family in our ward, the Islas, at 8pm in the dark haha. They were supposed to be camping, but had come home early and unfortunately they caught us and came out and helped us. It was fun though.  No one really came to church again out of our investigators... But next week they will all be there!

I have been thinking a lot lately about my teaching skills and have been trying to really understand what makes a good teacher and what best helps the people we are teaching, and have been trying to develop those more. I just feel like God has given us great people to teach right now and I want to do absolutely all that I can on my part to help them. Hna Hurd and I are a great team together. We honestly work well together in every aspect. I feel really blessed. She's a great companion.

Lately I have been thinking a lot about the importance of having the Spirit with us. The goal is to have Him be the real teacher, and not us. I am noticing that He guides us and leads us and helps us way more than I realized. God always knows where we are needed and what we need to say, and as we have the faith to follow Him, and the desire to serve Him, He will help us. Things might not make sense to us, but God sees the big picture and has a plan. From our little efforts, He can bring great miracles!

I love you all so much! Have a great week!
Con amor,

Hermana Haynes
Sometimes AZ is amazing.

Hanging out with Obipo Quinteros.  He used to live in Seattle so he was showing me pictures of the city.

Baby shower for an hermana who is due the day before Alycia!

Hno. Moreno mad us salmon this week and..... I LOVED it!  What's happening to me?

Sonoran hotdogs with Hno Cardenas.

Our ward loves us!
Me and Hna Hurd working.
This little guy is everywhere., and this  is what the ground looks like everywhere, haha, so brown!

Sunday, August 3, 2014

God Has Given Us So Much Potential!

Buenos dias familia & amigos!  (7-14-14 email)

Can you believe another week has gone by? It’s crazy how fast time goes. We had another good week over here! Nothing too crazy, pretty normal, but overall good. Monsoon season is starting so that is fun. Yesterday we got stuck in a little bit of a rain storm, and I really enjoyed that because we haven't really had rain here since the beginning of March. And we are having lightning almost every night. So it’s really fun.

We had a bunch of lessons this week, so that was good. We found a good bunch of new investigators, so we will see how interested they really are. Some of them seem more like they want to teach us all of the religious knowledge that they have, rather than learning about the Restoration of the gospel. So... we will see where it goes. Haha we had a couple of interesting lessons this week. But we taught the Ramirez family a couple times and had dinner with them once, so that was good. We are sending them a scripture a day and I think that's helping them.

We are also teaching this guy named Raul, we always take Hna Lujan out with us to teach him and she does a great job. He is a funny guy and you can tell he has a gentle spirit, things weighing him down. So little by little we are helping him move forward. And we had one lesson with Vanessa and Gina. We brought some great members! It was a mother and daughter their same ages, and they got along super well. Just hit it off. We talked about the plan of salvation, and Vanessa expressed to them how confused she is about religion. They just bore their testimonies of the truth of the gospel and how they can find out for themselves. Vanessa has read every single chapter that we've given her, and asked us for more chapters that talk about Jesus Christ. She is so great, and sincerely looking for the truth. Her mom is reading and there for the lessons, but not quite as interested. Gina already believes in her religion and in Christ, so she doesn't feel like she needs this quite as much. But poco a poco!

Hmmm what else did we do this week? We were expecting about 10 investigators to come to church yesterday, we were super excited. Buuuut, nobody came haha. That's okay, it goes like that sometimes. 

The Elders gave us this referral for a lady that honked them down on the street and requested missionaries to come by, her name is Anna. Then the next day they texted us another referral for a family that they used to visit (Celia and Reynoldo). We called Anna and set something up with her, and then we stopped by Cecilia's house. Cecilia was super nice and let us in, and then her friend came out and introduced herself saying she was going to go to our church for the first time this next week, and that missionaries were going to start visiting her. We asked her if she happened to be Maria, and she said yes! Haha, it was so crazy we found 2 different referrals at the same house. Anna basically told us she wants herself and all her children to get baptized. And they said they were going to come to church together, but something happened so they couldn't. I am excited to start teaching them both.

Our zone leaders are doing specialized trainings with 2 companionships at a time on things we feel we need to work on. So Tuesday was our turn. We practiced having powerful door contacts, and it was super helpful. (BTW one of my zone leaders right now is Sis Barr's nephew. such a small world.) They had some great ideas and we were able to practice with them and they helped us see how we could do better. Then later that day, they called us and asked if they could look through our area book and how we organized it and everything. So we met up and they started looking through it, and really liked how we organized it. The zone leaders asked us to set up guidelines and do a presentation on ZTM to standardize how we use the area book throughout the Spanish zones. So that was fun. And the other presentation at ZTM was the same practice we did about door contacts haha so it felt a little bit like a repeat, but it was still good to get more practice.

After ZTM we all went to this really fun BBQ place. I love Spanish work because there are not many of us, so all of us missionaries are like a family. We all love being together and we have a lot of fun.
Zone BBQ
The members in our ward are so awesome. They love the missionaries, and are very willing to come out with us and teach. The entire ward council is focused on helping us with our investigators.

There is this one member who does boxing, and this morning he took our whole district to his gym and we got to box. It was super fun, and a good work out haha. We did a little work out, then we practiced, then we got to get in the ring and box our companions and one other sister.

This week I read a talk by Elder Uchtdorf called "Of Regrets and Resolutions", and I really enjoyed it. It talked a lot about living life to its fullest. God has given us so much potential. We can be SO happy if we let ourselves. We are weak, but God is strong and has promised to help us if we seek it. Life is a beautiful journey that we are meant to enjoy. The more fully we live the gospel, the more true happiness we can obtain. I am so grateful that Heavenly Father loves us enough that He gave us a manual on how to live a good life. I am so grateful that He loves us enough to send His Son to allow us to overcome anything that might hold us back - spiritually or physically. I am so grateful that He loves me enough to give me you as my family!

Love you! Have a great week!

Con amor,
Hermana Haynes

It Rained and I was so happy!

Free Slurpee Day at 7-11!
This hermano takes all of the missionaries in our ward to lunch each week.