Sunday, October 26, 2014

Book Of Mormon Powerful Tool For Coming Closer To God

Hello family! (10-20-14 Email)

How are you all? I am glad to hear that you are all having such a nice time in Texas. It sounds like everything is going great! I hope you all enjoy the time you get to have together and that you travel safely!

This week was good! We kept pretty busy with a bunch of random things to do. On Tuesday we had a district meeting and I gave a training on the importance of using the Book of Mormon while teaching. It was a great reminder to me and was a great testimony builder for me as I prepared and shared it. The Book of Mormon really is such a powerful tool to help ourselves and others to come closer to God. It was a really inspiring district meeting!

We have been meeting lots of people on the streets and things like that, but it seems like we can never find them again for a follow-up appointment. Hopefully this week things change around for us in that. They seem so great when we meet them, but then we find out that they gave us a fake name/phone number/address or all three fake. Haha it has been happening surprisingly a lot this transfer. Or else they just hide from us and turn off the lights and pretend they aren't home. Haha that's okay though, sifting the wheat from the tares! I just am ready to get to work though with some people who are actually ready and prepared to receive and act on the message.

We are doing good work with the Valdez's though. They are progressing nicely, and I think started working on the divorce this week! They are doing pretty good about reading the Book of Mormon, especially Ellen, and she really sees the blessings from it and is excited about what she is learning. We were a bit disappointed though when they called us on Friday morning and cancelled the temple trip we had planned for weeks and taught them about. So we started calling any sort of investigator/less active/ recent convert we could think of until we found someone that could go with us that night. We were able to find someone last minute! It was a miracle. 

At dinner that night all of our district thought we had great plans but they were all about to fall through, but one by one they were fixed and we all had miracles! It was great. So we went to the temple with Andrew (RC/LA) and his brother Brian (RC of a few years) and this cute lady in our ward who wanted to come with us, Hna R. It was such a great experience! It was so fun to be able to go farther out of the mission and see much more of Arizona. (I hadn't seen skyscrapers or city traffic for over a year! It was crazy! And we got to see the state fair all lit up and all sorts of stuff haha little things that get missionaries excited). 

The temple was absolutely beautiful. Much smaller than the Gilbert temple and a little less extravagant, but still beautiful. There were lots of people there and it felt so special to be inside. The baptistery was gorgeous and the paintings were amazing. I like some of the new features they are putting in the new temples.

So we got transfer news on Saturday! We are losing Hna Taboada from our companionship :( but she will still be in the same ward/our roommate! Hna Leon is leaving, so she will take Hna Leon's place with Hna Greene. So me and Hna Brons will stay here! That will be 4 transfers together! It's hard to believe that this is my last transfer. This transfer has gone by so fast. This week has been a big goodbye for Hna Leon and it's sad to say goodbye to her and everyone else. And it's so weird to think that it will be me in 6 weeks. I'm not ready for that... But I just want to do all that I can with the time I have left. I want to work hard and be the best missionary that I can! I know the Lord has miracles in store! I am so happy that I am a missionary! Nothing in the world makes me happier!

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

Con Amor,
Hermana Haynes

Temple open house booties!

The district

And more puppies!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Making A Difference Every Single Day

Hi family!       (10-13-14 Email)

We had a good week over here in Liahona 4th! At the beginning of the week we had a good talk about some things we could do better and try differently, and as we have been implementing it we have been seeing success. All week transfer long our areabook app hasn't been working, so this week we have gone back to the old school paper planners haha my first time using them on my mission besides the MTC. It's kind of nice because it is a lot faster and more accurate, but hard to make sure all 3 of us have the same things written down.  

On Monday night we had a great Noche de Hogar with the Valdez family, Ellen and Jose (Jenny's family), and then Jose's sister & her family (Lorraine) and Jared's cousin (Sean) who are all less active came as well. It went sooo good! We talked all about faith in Christ and building a strong foundation in Him. They all set family goals to strengthen their faith in Christ, and they have been doing good! Ellen's goal was to teach the gospel to her children and they have been reading the Book of Mormon and praying everyday as a family since then and absolutely loving it! And learning so much! 

Gustavo's goal was to come to church again, and he did come on Sunday! We need to do more follow-up with Lorraine though. 

This week we are going to the Phoenix temple open house with all of them, and I am really looking forward to that. We also set a tentative baptismal date with Ellen for Nov 29th! She really wants to get baptized, but we have to wait for them to be able to get married first. Overall though, they are doing super good and I am so happy.

On Tuesday we had ZTM and that was good. All the Spanish missionaries are dying (finishing their missions and going home) though... (The tradition is to say your testimony at your last ZTM). We had 6 going home from our zone this transfer (its Hna Leons last week :( so crazy... Then we had interviews with President Jenkins and car inspections. Our car gave us a little bit of trouble this week... Friday we had to go get the tires rotated and then on Saturday morning the battery completely died so we had to go and get the whole battery replaced. Apparently the arizona heat causes a lot of corrosion. So that was a little bit of an adventure I guess. Oh and we had a little training on how to use family history as a finding tool and got to watch Meet the Mormons afterwards. Such a good movie! I loved it.

We also worked more with Audrey Gonzales this week, she is the daughter-in-law of some members here. She is the sweetest thing. She is a teenage mom, 18 now, but has really been able to get her life together and is doing great. She's been meeting with missionaries on and off for a while, and we have been trying to casually meet with her more. She told us that she really is interested. She knows it is all true, but is scared to commit to it I think. But she loves having us come over. I really hope we can help her see how strong her testimony already is.

And then we got a member referral for this lady named Lidia who is suffering from really bad depression and health problems. The poor lady is in a really bad state and it breaks my heart. She is pretty desperate for help, but the problem is that she is looking to us to help her medically more than spiritually. As missionaries there is nothing we can do to help her medically besides get members to help her, which they already are. I really wish we could help her more and just take away her problems because it is affecting her and her children. Please keep her in your prayers. We are going to have to re-establish what our role is as missionaries and what help we can offer, and see if she would like to continue meeting with us. I just don't know if she is in a state where she can learn right now because her health is so bad.

I am so happy to be a missionary. It really is the best thing. I learn so much every day and every day I am trying to be a little better. Some days go better than others, but in the end I am learning that what makes me the happiest is being able to love and help other people. The less I think about myself, the happier I become. It is the best feeling to know that you have an important purpose and that you are making a difference in someone's life every single day. I want to be able to feel like that every day.

I love you so much and I am grateful for all you do! Have a great week!

Con amor,
Hermana Haynes
Making empanadas

The first time for my companions to celebrate Halloween

My companions freak out whenever they see
Halloween decorations!

Happy Halloween!
I bought these cheap pens that keep exploding on me without me realizing it!

Sunday, October 12, 2014

We Are Blessed To Be Lead By A Living Prophet

Hi Family and friends!! (10-6-14 Email)            

Another week flew by. So crazy this whole time thing. I hope you are all doing good! And I hope the baby blessing goes well on Sunday and that everyone has a safe, enjoyable trip! Give Kensie lots of love from me! 

This week was good for us. Things are moving pretty slowly right now, and I am not quite sure why. We have lots of potential, but it seems like we find these really great investigators, and then we can't find them again. We've been talking about it lately and are trying to evaluate everything we are doing - any changes we can make, different things we can try, new ideas. We have some good ideas, so hopefully we can see more progress this week. I just want to do the very best that I can and do the most work. I am trying to keep my head 100% in the work and have more faith and expect greater things. 

Haha it's been a weird 3 weeks here so far (not bad don't worry haha they have just felt different), but its really helping me learn! We are doing so great though and are finding more every day. Hopefully we can do more follow-up with those people we've found previously. There's good things that are happening everyday, and little by little we are making more and more progress!

We decided we need to work more with the members, so we are trying to meet all the members in our area. I have loved doing that! We found some less active members that haven't been visited by missionaries in years, and all sorts of different types of families! My favorite so far is the Vela family. They are members of a few years and are so cute and funny haha. They still have only a basic knowledge of the gospel and really want us to help them to learn more. 

They have a 9 year old daughter, Alicia, that we are going to help prepare for baptism! I love them so much already Haha. Their mom wasn't sure about baptism and wasn't sure if her daughter would want to, but then we talked to the daughter about it and taught her why we do it, and she was excited about it, just made sure she wouldn't have to be under the water for too long haha.

On Thursday we got to go to the temple, and I loved that. It is always so great to be there. And then on Friday we had MLC, which is always the most inspiring meeting. President Jenkin's taught us all what he learned when he was in a meeting with Elder Cook, and it really helped open my eyes and helped me understand what I can be doing better/more. And then Conference was absolutely amazing! It was amazing how many questions it answered for me and gave me so much guidance. We are so blessed to be led by living prophets! It seemed like a lot of the talks were about things we have been learning in MLC or other meetings lately/focuses of our mission. 

I loved Elder Lynn G. Robbin's talk - he came to our MLC in August and talked to us about the "Loser's List" 
- things we do to self-justify and take away our responsibility. He also talked to us about "what way do we face?" I especially loved Saturday's sessions. And it was so cool to see people speaking in Spanish at General Conference! I can't even say which talk was my favorite because I honestly loved so many of them.

On Wednesday we get to watch Meet The Mormons. Are you going to go watch it this week too? :) Invite all your friends! 

I love you all so much! Thanks for all your love and support! You are the best! Being a missionary is the best! I love it so much! 

Con amor,
Hermana Haynes

I Really Felt The Spirit As I Prayed

Hello again family!  (9-29-14 Email)

Time is just going by crazy fast. I can't even believe it. We had a good week this week. We have been focusing a lot on finding this week, and it is starting to really pay off. We have seen great blessings!

I went on two exchanges this week, so I felt like I didn't have a ton of time in the area, but thank goodness I have two companions to cover for me! My exchanges went really well. I had the first one with Hna Luna and Hna Embley, and then the next one with Sis T and Sis Grow. All four of those sisters are solid. They are dedicated and hard working, so the exchanges went really well. They don't even need me haha they know what they are doing, but I just hope I was able to uplift them and inspire them at least with some new ideas. I really love them all and I learned a lot from them and their happy dispositions! I hope I can find good ways to serve them. 

We got a few referals this week, so that was nice! One of them is for a 15 year old boy named Marco. He is an exchange student from Nicaragua  and is living with a member family! He is enrolled in seminary and is really enjoying it, and already came to church this week. He seems pretty interested, but we are just hoping that he doesn't feel obligated to learn because of the family he is staying with. But I think he is sincere, well as sincere as a 15 year old boy can be. He came to the Visitor's Center last night to watch  Joseph Smith, Prophet of the Restoration and liked it. So it will be fun working with him! One of his "brothers" went on a spanish mission so he is always there with him. The only catch is with the program he is on, he cannot be baptized while he is here in america, but hopefully we can prepare him for when he goes home and then he can share it with his family!

The General Women's Conference was so great! Ellen and Jenny came, so we were happy! There was a huge rain storm with flooding streets right before it so it was a little bit of an adventure getting there haha. I loved what Pres Uchtdorf said in his talk, Live the Gospel Joyfully . Especially about how there is nothing we do to get blessings - God is constantly pouring them down upon us, we only put up an "umbrella" at times by our doubts, sins, disobedience, etc.

Anyway, after the conference we had a few hours without any plans, and honestly I did not have much hope for the night. I thought it was going to be a few hours of driving around and knocking doors. But then the Spirit told me I needed to change my thinking. So I decided to start my fast, and in addition pray that I might have faith to expect great things for the night and to believe that we would find good people. I really felt the spirit as I prayed. Then right after that, I pulled out the map to figure out how to get to the next house we were going to, and while I was searching, a street popped out at me -  a street that I had looked for earlier in the day but could not find anywhere so I assumed it must not be in our area. So we decided to stop by the other house on the way to where we were going. As soon as we got there, the mom invited us in right away, as if she had already met us before. Her name is Sabrina. And she and her family are SO prepared! Especially her 12 year old daughter, Natalia. She had met with the missionaries in the 90's and still remembers how much she loved it. She talked about how she was searching for something to better guide her family, etc. Seriously so gooood. I cannot wait! It was a huge miracle and a huge answer to prayers. The FIRST house we knocked on after I prayed. It is so obvious that God wants to bless us. And that He hears our prayers. Even the simple ones. 

Church went super good yesterday Ellen came and felt so much more comfortable this week. And so did Audrey, an investigator who married a member, and we are teaching her. (part of the Gonzales family - a huge family in the ward that we work with a lot.) And then the Gonzales' came to Joseph Smith, Prophet of the Restoration, last night too. We are trying to teach their daughter's boyfriend so he came. But he lives just barely outside of the ward boundaries... but basically lives at their house and would go to church with them. Anyways. 

Right when we walked out of the movie, guess who I saw? MANUEL! Such an answer to an unsaid prayer.  I had been worried about him and I haven't had a way to contact him. So I was able to give him a little encouragement. I was really grateful for that. 

Oh and today President Jenkins told us that we will be able to go to the Pheonix temple open house! Can you believe that? Two open houses in one mission? How blessed am I? It opens Oct 10th!! And we get to watch the move, "Meet The Mormons ," haha I am so excited for that. You better be talking to everyone about that!!!! Put it on FB and make it big and everything. 

Well, this week I was asked to give a talk on charity in District meeting, so I have been studying it a lot for the past two weeks. I have learned so much. I especially enjoyed studying the talk, "The Merciful Shall Obtain Mercy," by Pres Uchtdorf. It just taught me a lot about having a pure love for people and always giving people the benefit of the doubt. Wish I had time to explain more, because I seriously learned a lot! Moroni 7 is always good as well!

Love you so much! You are the best! Hope you have a great week!

Con amor,
Hermana Haynes
Exchanges with a mini van!

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Praying Was Helping Her A Lot

Hi family & friends!!!  (9-22-14 Eamil)

How are you? Can you believe another week has gone by... A bunch of us went on a big hike this morning, and that was really fun! I hadn't been hiking in a long time. It was a good work out with a beautiful view! Lots of cactus haha. Gotta love Arizona. 

We had a good week this week. Trying to build the area little by little. This area has baptized a lot, but now all the investigators are baptized, so we have a lot of Recent converts to work with, but few investigators. So our focuses right now are retention and finding. We are helping  work on their family history work because on Thursday we are all going to the family History Center and on Saturday all the recent converts are going to the temple to do baptisms for the dead! They are excited and it is fun to help them prepare for that.

Speaking of baptisms... I had two this week!!! First, on Friday, one of our investigators, Jenny got baptized. She is the sweetest little 8 year old girl. Her mom is not a member yet, but wants to get baptized and her two older brothers got baptized a few weeks ago before she turned 8. We didn't think it was going to be a convert baptism, but as we were filling out the baptismal record we found out that her less active father is actually her stepfather, so neither of her parents are members. It was a nice little surprise! She is seriously the cutest little thing. Her mom, Ellen, just needs to get divorced and then married, and then she will be ready! She has a few things she is working through, but seems to really take hold  of the gospel.

The other baptism was Andre in Liahona 1! He got baptized last night! He was SOOO happy. His dream finally coming true. I was so happy to witness that and be a little part of it. It is the most rewarding, enriching experience, helping people receive the light of the gospel. I was really happy to be able to go, especially because I almost couldn't. Since it's not my ward, we needed an investigator to be able to go, but we didn't have anyone that could. We were praying that we would be able to find someone that could come. At church, we received a referral from a 15 year old girl who got baptized a few months ago. One of her friends, Marta, has been going through a rough time and she has been teaching her to pray. So after church we met her and shared a little message with her and she received it really well. She actually seems really prepared. God is really important to her and she says praying has helped her a lot. She loves going to church, but her ex-boyfriend goes to the same one as her, so she hasn't been going lately. But we invited her to the baptismal service for that night, and she came! Both while we were with her and at the baptismal service, she kept saying "I feel so relieved". I tried to help her recognize that that was the spirit giving her peace. She even cried a little  bit at the service. I am so excited to work with her more! Her family seems like they might have potential as well! (also, do you remember the english lady at taught at L3 who was really struggling with alcoholism? She got baptized on saturday too!!)

Well, I know that that is already a pretty good week and I should probably just end right there. But something else great happened too. I met Elder Russell M Nelson!!! I got to shake his hand. If I could say anything about him, I would say he is the most loving man I have ever met. I am not sure what it is about him but I think all 500 of us missionaries were able to feel personally loved and connected to him. His eyes just showed it so clearly. He came and two members of the 70 came for a mission conference combined with the Scottsdale mission. He is 90 years old but would never guess it. So full of energy and strong  and cracking jokes and very down to earth and sincere with us. He did a little Q&A session and talked about several important things. I will have to show you my notes one day. It was just amazing. 

I had a really enjoyable time leading up to it as I read a bunch of his talks and looked for some of his favorite key principles and also as I heard him talk about those as well. He told us what he "saw" in us as a prophet, seer, and revelator and helped us understand the potential we have and the plans that God has for us, especially the importance of our families in God's plan. And he left us with an apostolic blessing. It was such a special, sacred experience. 

I know God hears and answers my prayers. I know He gives us trials for a reason. Everything hard we have to go through is Him shaping us into the people we need to be. I am trying really hard to focus on loving people more and loving people better. I want to be able to love each person the way that Christ does. And I am so grateful for what Christ did for us and what he offers us because of His love. I would be nowhere without it!

I love you all so much and I am so grateful for your love and support! It means the world! Have a great week!

Con amor,
Hermana Haynes
My new district with our Young Mens Leader.  It was his birthday so we made him a cake!