Sunday, November 30, 2014

I Know This Is Christ's True Church On Earth Today

Hi Family and Friends!!!  (11-24-14 Email)

Can I just say we had the most amazing week ever??? Seriously, the very best. It was packed full of miracles and amazing lessons. Basically all of our investigators are progressing right now. And we were just running from lesson to lesson every day! We were so busy teaching. And teaching amazing people. So many blessings. I am so grateful for what Heavenly Father has given me. 

We taught the Quinterras every day this week I believe. They are seriously amazing people. So prepared and willing to learn. They love what they are learning and they feel of its goodness. They are reading and praying and teaching their children to pray. We are just working our way right through the lessons and they are understanding and accepting everything. The Spirit works so powerfully with them. We were praying and pondering about whether or not we should keep going for the date of the 29th with them, even though they couldn't go to church last week, so we talked to them about it, and they were like, Why not?? So we were so excited. But then... on Saturday we found out they weren't married! Such a bummer. (We had asked how long ago they got married when we first met them, and she answered, but apparently she was just saying how long they had been together). 

We have Ellen's wedding all set and ready to go, so we were wondering maybe there is a reason God is helping them to learn so quickly. There happens to be a wedding all set up, so we were planning on inviting them to be married then too. We took them to the Visitors Center last night and showed them God's Plan, but afterwards, the spirit just told us not to invite them. They will be ready soon, very soon. But a little more time will probably do them good - so they can be so strong and truly understanding everything when they make that commitment to be baptized. 

Their little kids are so cute, just love them and they love us. It was Valentino's birthday this week and we made cupcakes and had a little party with them. It was so fun. The kids loved it. Then, after the church and the lesson at the Visitors Center, they came to the charla fogonera at Liahona 3rd! They do those every month, where President Jenkins speaks, a few recent converts & the bishop/branch president & stake president all speaks. And the missionaries do musical numbers. So that was a great experience for them. And I was so happy that it was at L3. I got to see a bunch of my old people and take pictures with them and say goodbye. I really do love that little branch! It is growing though! So many new people I don't know!

Ellen is doing great as well. She is staying strong against the coffee! And we were able to meet with her basically everyday as well. One of the amazing members in our ward, Hna Gonzalez (the one that invites us over for every holiday) has put herself in charge of planning the wedding, (so grateful for that!) She had her interview this week, and passed! (thank goodness!) And her husband almost got his passport to be able to get the marriage licence. Crazy story with that... We were in the middle of a lesson with her when she gets this phone call and she gets so upset... We were so nervous. Apparently someone robbed Jose while he was on his way to the Mexican consolado (I don't know how to say that in english sorry. Consolate?) So she runs over to Phoenix with money, but the office closed by the time she got there. So so crazy. And the only reason why he needs a passport is because someone stole his ID a few years earlier. Are you serious! The devil does not want this baptism to happen. He is sending all things their way. But they recognize that and are staying strong. Elen opened up to us more about her past this week, and it is just amazing the person she is now and the ways she has been able to change. I can't even believe some of the things she has been through. The Atonement is real. So baptism and wedding coming up on Friday! 

Tuesday was Hna Brons's birthday and we had a lot of fun celebrating that. But I think the greatest gift she received was our lesson with Marcos. He invited some of his member friends and his priest quorum adviser and some of his american family to the lesson (we were only expecting one friend haha). But we had planned to teach him the gospel of Jesus Christ. (Can I just say it is the strangest thing to teach in English). Anyways, the lesson was just beautiful. Everyone was contributing and sharing their experiences and their testimony. The Spirit was so strong. At the end, we invited him to be baptized, and he stayed quiet for a few seconds, but then told us he wasn't sure - it all depended on the answer he received. At the end of the lesson though, once everyone had left, he pulled us to the side and told us that he felt like that session was the answer to his prayers and that he did feel like he should be baptized. He was so nervous to tell us, but you could just see the sincerity on his face. It was such a miracle. 

We also had other great lessons with Marta and with Linda. Oh and the Viera family! We had three lessons with them this week! They are great and are progressing well. Their little 10 year old daughter is golden - brings in the spirit so strong and feels the spirit so strongly. She really motivates her parents. We are also working a lot still with the recent converts - especially the Gomez and the Morales. Seriously just so many amazing people.

Oh we had our mission 5k race today! It was fun. I have been really trying to train for it haha. My goal was to do it in 30 mins, but I did it in 30.24. Pretty close! It was really fun to have everyone out there running and cheering. Well, I am so excited for this week to come. We have great plans! And Thanksgiving! And a wedding! And a baptism! And then Christmas lights start on Friday! And I will be working outside for them again! So many great things coming up. And so many great people! And great experiences!

I am so grateful for all that God has given me. He truly has given me so much. I am so happy. Serving others is truly the best. I have the best companion ever. We are truly best friends and sisters. I just love her. And the best area the best everything. I just feel so undeserving of all these blessings, but I am so grateful for them. We truly do have so many blessings when we take the time to count them! I know this gospel is the gospel of Jesus Christ and that this is His true church on the earth today. He is the head of it and is leading and guiding it. We are so blessed to have this in our lives! Love you so much! Have a great week!

Con amor,
Hermana Haynes

Christmas Lights starts Friday!

Sunday, November 23, 2014

I Want To Be 100% Committed To Jesus Christ

Hello family and friends!        (11-17-14 email)

Wow what a week. Life is crazy. So good. I don't know where to start haha my head is a little bit all over the place right now.

On Tuesday we had zone conference which lasted about the whole day until dinner time. It was really great though. We had good training on planning and online proselyting. President gave us a super inspiring training on the doctrine of Christ and making that our focus and our center - not only in our lessons, but in our whole lives. The assistants gave us a training on commitment that I really loved. You should read the talk, "The Word is Commitment" by Marvin J. Ashton Oct 1983. Such a good talk. I read it again this morning and just really helps me remember what really matters and what I am doing to become the type of person that I want to be.

Then on Wednesday we had a temple trip. My last time going to the mesa temple as a missionary. It was a really sweet experience. But sad as well. I love being there, especially to be in the celestial room surrounded by all the other missionaries that I know and love, knowing that we are united in something so great. Such an interesting part of my mission, coming to the end of it. All sorts of emotions, but then again I am a missionary and am loving it like I do every day!

But we had a really good week. Keeping ourselves busy. We had some good trials, but some amazing miracles as well. I feel like God almost gives us trials just so He can show us His power and let us see just exactly what He can accomplish when we trust in Him. He really has a perfect plan and has it all worked out. We just need to learn to better trust in Him and to not worry about things. Just do our best and it will work out. 

Well, we went back to visit Ricardo and he told us that he didn't like church and that he doesn't want to meet with us anymore. So he dropped us. I just shared a bold testimony with him because it was really sad to know what he was denying himself. One day he will be ready. We've been working with Ellen a lot this week too and have had some adventures with her. The first day that we met with her, we asked her how the wedding preparations were going, and they told us that they decided to move their wedding until Dec 20th. I honestly was shocked. Felt like someone stabbed me in the heart. I don't think Hna Brons and I could hide our disappointment and were quiet for a good few minutes. But we talked with them about it, and they just wanted more time to plan things. But when they found out that I was going home on Dec 2nd, Jose quickly decided that they wanted to do it on the 28th of Nov and made me promise I would come back in a year for their sealing. It was such a sweet thing to see that it was important to them that I was there. They are so ready for this. 

Ellen has so much faith. That same visit we heard her mention something about coffee... then the next time we went back to visit them we decided to review the Word of Wisdom with her. Turns out she has a coffee addiction! What?? How did we not know about this? Just needs her cup of coffee every morning to get her going. Well, we talked about it, and taught the doctrine of obedience and faith and the Atonement. She decided to give up coffee right there at the moment. We took her coffee home with us and threw it away. Please pray for her that she will be able to adjust quickly to not drinking it and will be able to stay strong and resist temptation. She has to not drink it for two weeks in order to be baptized. Besides that though, every thing is on track for the 28th with her. She is nervous to get married, but so excited. Jose is really excited too. When we go there, we can feel the spirit in their home. It is so amazing to see and hear about the changes that they have made and are making in their lives. Heavenly Father has been preparing Ellen for this moment for a long time. And it is almost here. Let's just all pray hard for her.

The Quinterra family is doing so great as well. Sopia just loves it and is willing to meet with us almost everyday. Her husband is super supportive as well, and loves to meet with us when he doesn't have work. Their little kids are so cute but so crazy. One of them absolutely loves it when we come over though. He says the prayer every time and sits their quietly throughout the whole lesson and always opens his Book of Mormon even though he can't read. All of his siblings just play though haha. But they are super receptive. We invited them to be baptized on the 29th, and they accepted without hesitation! We had the Phoenix temple dedication yesterday so there wasn't church. So to count church attendance we had to watch a conference talk with our investigators, but they have been busy for the past couple of days so we weren't able to watch it with them, so we will have to push it back. I think it is for the best though. They are a solid family, and we just need to take it at their pace instead of making them feel pushed. I know they will make it though. They are really seeking to know God better.

We also got a referral from the elders for a family, the Vieras. We have only met with them once so far, but they seem pretty promising as well. We also had good lessons with Linda and also with Marcos. They are starting to break down their walls and be more sincere and have more personal interest. Little by little. We are also working a lot with the recent converts in our area. We have quite a few, and it seems like all of them are really struggling right now. We are trying really hard to strengthen them and to help them feel the Spirit. They are all so great and want the best, but it is just a hard change to make. I know they can all do it though.

Well, that was our week. It is starting to get cold here. (Is it bad that I need a sweater at 75*?) Compared to the heat though, I would take the cold any day! I absolutely love being Hna Brons's companion. Love her to pieces. I am so grateful that God has put her in my life! It's her birthday tomorrow! Kind of
hard to plan a surprise for someone's birthday when you are with them 24/7 haha. Please pray for me during these next two weeks. That I may be able to stay focused on what matters most and work as hard as I can and love every moment. And that I may be able to always remember the things that I am learning and live them fully for the rest of my life. I want to be 100% committed to Jesus Christ and to living and sharing His gospel - when it is easy and when it is hard.  Both as a missionary, and as whatever else life has to offer me. I know there is nothing more important than that.

I love you so much and I am so thankful for your support. I really have the best family ever!

Con amor,
Hermana Haynes

Sunday, November 16, 2014

I Can't Do Anything Without Strength From Jesus Christ

Hi family and friends!!      Email of 11-10-14 

So good to hear from you this week! Time keeps speeding by it, it is crazy! We had a great week this week, so full of miracles. We kept really busy and had lots to do! This area is really starting to boom, and I am so grateful for the Lord's hand in all that is going on.

This week I had my last two exchanges, and they went well. I had one with Hna Taboada on Tuesday and Hna Mayorca on Friday. Hna Brons took care of the area really well, and had great miracles while I was away. She was able to set a baptismal date with Marta, so that was exciting!
Exchanges with Hna Taboada
We have had some good lessons with Ricardo this week as well. We found a less active sister, (Ariel), that lives right next to him, so we all go over to Ariel's house and sit outside and have the lessons together. Ricardo is reading, and seems like he wants to believe but still has some doubts. He's a pretty quiet guy so hard to know exactly what he's thinking. Before he was really scared to come to church, but this week we explained it well to him, and he agreed to come, and was ready to go on Sunday morning! He left pretty fast afterwards, but hopefully he enjoyed it.

I think one of our biggest miracles this week was a referral we got from our Ward mission leader for their neighbors, the Quinterras family, who came to the Halloween party. They are the sweetest little family. The mom, Sophia, is pregnant with their 6th child, and all their kids are under 8. The dad is Valentino. We did some how begin teaching on Tuesday and left them with a pamphlet on the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. When we came back on Thursday and Sophia had read the pamphlet twice and then read it to her husband. She understood it so well  and loved it and basically taught us the first lesson explaining what she learned. I was amazed. And she had read the intro to the Book of Mormon. They all came to church on Sunday and loved it, then last night they came and watched Joseph Smith, Prophet of the Restoration. we have another appointment tonight and are praying that they will be ready for baptism on the 29th. Such a huge miracle.

And then another huge miracle!  Ellen. Somehow everything is miraculously coming together and she will be getting married on Saturday!!! And then getting baptized on the 29th. I honestly do not know how all of that is coming together. She has been so ready for a long time, but we kept having obstacle after obstacle (ex., they randomly told us they were moving this week, and were supposed to have moved out of our area, but ended up moving right at the edge within our area). One by one God is helping us overcome the obstacles. It seemed impossible, but God has always reassured us that everything would come together. We have been praying so hard for her. And she is so, so excited. If everything goes perfectly, we will be able to have 4 baptisms on the 29th. Pray hard!! And pray that we will have the faith to make it happen - Elizabeth, the Pinedas, and Pablo. It's going to be a huge stretch, but if it's Gods will and if we do all that we can, I know it can happen.

I feel like lately I have been learning a lot about what it means to truly endure to the end. I am understanding that it doesn't mean just not quitting. It means keeping that vision and keeping that commitment no matter what comes your way. Always pushing yourself to increase your faith, to change and let go of your sins, to stay committed and work hard. I am trying to do my best, but I know I can't do anything without the strength from Jesus Christ. This is His work and He makes it possible. I am so grateful for the blessing and privilege I have to be His representative and His missionary. To share His gospel.

I love you so much and am so grateful for your prayers. We will need them a lot in the next coming weeks!

Have a great week!

Con amor,
Hermana Haynes

Getting ready for nursing! Removed Stitches for a recent convert.  It was fun haha!

Fun barbecue! 
This was our dinner the other day. cabeza de Barbacoa.  they cook a cow's head in the backyard then chop it ALL, including tongue, eyes, etc., and then put it in tacos. Not too bad...  Tasted a little fatty though.
Getting ready for Christmas lights at the temple!

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Seeing Everyone's Worth As A Child of God

 Hi family and friends!! (Email 11-3-14

So good to hear from all of you! I am glad you all enjoyed Your Halloween! We had a great week over here, pretty normal, but I am happy. Life is great. The people here are so wonderful. I really love them. I am in a great area. 

Today Hna Brons and I went walking down main street to the little shops (but most of them were closed haha) and it was really fun. The weather is finally normal again, but since we are so used to the heat, it is feeling rather cold to us haha. It's like 65-75 the past few days.

This week I didn't have much time in my area because I had two exchanges. I went to Valencia with Hna Embley for one night, and that exchange went well. Then I had one with Hna Greene but it was kind of funny since we are roommates and work in the same ward, it didn't really feel too different. I am so blessed that I have a great companion though because whenever I go on exchanges she covers the area really well. She had some great lessons with Linda, Marcos, and Ricardo while I was gone and I was really excited to hear about them. We just are trying to meet with them more often. Especially Linda, and Marcos can be kind of hard to set return appointments with. Ricardo is slowly starting to understand the restoration better and opening up a little more to it.
Me and Hna. Greene
President felt inspired this week to let all of the missionaries go to the phoenix temple open house as many times as they could before it ended with their investigators, so we were finally able to go to the temple with the Valdezes! It was SUCH  a great experience. It was so sweet. On the car ride down (about an hour drive) we sang hymns and primary songs with the kids and they just loved it. They all just fell in love with the temple and loved what they saw and what they felt. Ellen and Jose were both really excited about the sealing room. And on the way home, Ellen told us how blessed she has felt and how happy she has been since learning about the gospel. She is so ready to be baptized. And we found out super exciting news! It is very possible that they can get married sooner than we thought!! We have been praying hard for a miracle everyday that Ellen will be able to reach her goal of getting baptized on November 29th. We are thinking of fasting with them next week for it. We just have to figure out the legal things, and have a lot of faith. We have seen so many changes in her, and she is just so much happier. You can tell God is working in her heart. She is openly talking and working with her boss to make sure she will not be working on Sundays during church, and she is trying really hard to keep her commitments. And so are Jose and the kids. Such a sweet family. Poor little Jenny got lice so badly that she had to shave her head.... Broke my heart for her. But good thing she looks so cute in little hats. Ahhh that little girl just melts my heart haha. 
Phoenix Temple
So the temple open house took all Wednesday night, so that was another day not really in the area, and then Halloween we couldn't go out either, so it was a bit of a weird week. 

Halloween was good though! We had a normal weekly planning session during the day, then we went to Hna Gonzalez's for dinner, and it was so fun. She made pozole and sonoran hot dogs, and then Hna Escobar made all these cute little Halloween treats like apples and marshmallows to make teeth and oranges and celery to make pumpkins. Cute things like that. 

Halloween treats!
Then President gave us permission to do a session in the temple if we didn't have any neighborhood or ward parties, so we got to do a session. There was a pretty good bunch of missionaries there, and President and Sister Jenkins ended up coming too. I got to sit by Sis Jenkins during the session.

While I was in there I was just thinking about how cool it was how so many of us 18-25 year olds were choosing to spend our Halloween night vs how so many ways the world would tell people our age to spend it. Just that right there is a little testimony that this gospel is true!

Saturday night and Sunday morning was stake conference. We had a state-wide one broadcasted from Salt Lake. It was really good. Elder Christofferson and President Uchtdorf spoke, and their messages were exactly what I needed. It was so special to hear President Uchtdorf speak about his days in Arizona when he was doing his fighter pilot training and how he would always go to the Mesa temple and how much he loved that temple. And Sis McConkie talked about how she met her husband at ASU and got sealed in Mesa and they lived in a little apartment right by the temple so the temple light would light there house at night. It reminded me of my days in L3 when we literally lived right there at the temple. 

Mesa is such a special place. Such a rich church history here. I never knew that before my mission. This place is always going to hold a special place in my heart. I know that my call here was so inspired. God knows His children so well. I have been thinking a lot about what it means to be pure in heart and having good desires of heart. Pres Uchtdorf said that being pure in heart means to see and treat people for who they really are - like seeing everyone with their true worth as a child of God. Christ was always concerned about the individual. He could see past the skin and saw who they truly were and what they truly needed from Him to be strengthened. I want to be better at that. I want to feel sincere compassion and understanding for every person that I encounter. To look more outside myself and have a pure heart and pure desires to do good and serve and love my brothers and sisters. I know the gospel is what each of us need. It has all the answers to any question or problem we may have. I feel so blessed to have this in my life.

I love you all so much! I hope you have a great week! Thanks for all of your love and prayers.

Con amor,
Hermana Haynes

Playing with Halloween treats from home!

Sunday, November 2, 2014

God Is So In The Details!

Hi Family & Friends!!    (Email 10-27-14)

This was a really great week here in Liahona 4th! It is so fun being Hna Brons and I again; just like good old times. We are just best friends and work so well together. It is so cool to see how much we have changed and improved as missionaries compared to 7 months ago or so. Its nice because we are both better at being missionaries and the language, already know each other and how each other works, so we are just ready to go! We were able to do a lot this week. I was really happy.
Me and The Brons! Working together again.
On Monday we started teaching a new referral, Linda, from Colombia. We taught her about The Restoration and invited her to be baptized. She is really into the LDS Singles program and is a super confident lady, so fun. She came to church this week and really enjoyed it. Found her own ride (who is an older sister in our ward, not even sure how they know each other haha). But we are really excited to be working with her because she already knows a lot about the church and is seeking it out on her own. 

We also were able to teach Marcos again (the exchange student), and that went really well! He is going to church and mutual every week with one of his friends (to a different ward but that's ok because he can't get baptized anyways) and then is in seminary. He seems to be enjoying it too, but is more reserved/shy when we talk to him. He is pretty mature for his age and seems to want to know and understand for himself. 

Tomorrow we have appts with both of them and we will be on exchanges. The sister that is coming here just happens to be from Columbia! How perfect is that? God is so in the details.

We also were able to find Marta again! We taught her the Restoration as well and invited her to be baptized. On our return appointment, she wasn't home but her parents invited us in and we talked with them for awhile, got to know them and their background and were able to share a little bit about our beliefs with them. They are very nice and really want us to help their daughter, but want to ensure that their daughter is 100% interested and not just being polite. But the next day, two of their other daughters came to the ward Halloween party that we invited them too, so we were super happy about that!

We have been trying really hard this week to talk with everybody! Everyyybody. And we see miracles because of this. I don't know why I go through times on my mission when I get lazy or timid about doing it because it always brings great miracles. We were able to find a less active member that really wants to come back to church, and a great new investigator, Ricardo. We talked to him on the street and he invited us to his house right then saying he was trying to figure out which church was true. He is a very religious person and is sincerely trying to figure out what is right. We are trying our best to teach according to his needs and how he will best understand. He seems a bit skeptical, but its coming along. We invited him to be baptized on the 22nd if he receives his answer by that date. 

Things are really starting to pick up more here, and I am so grateful for that. Ellen started working though, so we didn't get to see them this whole week and they didn't come to church either :( And please pray for Lidia and her children; their situation is really bad and they could use all the prayers they can get.

On Friday we had the ward trunk or treat, and it was so fun. They asked us to be the judges for the chili cook off and that was fun haha. We got to try all sorts of types. And we had some less actives members come and some investigators as well, so we were excited. The people here are so great. I love them all so much. The Hispanic people have just stolen my heart haha. 

Oh, I remembered something! This weekend their was a native american festival in Pioneer Park, (a huge park in our area), and we went and contacted people in it. It was so fun haha hearing their music and awkwardly following people until they stopped walking. One little girl ran up to us and asked us for a Book of Mormon, so we were super excited until we talked to her mom who told us she just felt bad because she lost the copy her friend had given her haha. But we got a really good referral from it.  

But more or less, that was my week! I am so excited to hear that Baby Grant made it here safely! What a cute little baby. I cannot wait to meet him and Kensie. My sisters have such cute kids. It kills me. 

Anyways, I just want to let you all know that God has a plan. He knows us better than we understand and gives us exactly the things we need. He has a special way of being able to love each of us perfectly. I was reading Elder Scott's talk from this last conference and it really hit me how powerful prayer can be if we fully utilize it. Heavenly Father wants to hear from US - to really hear how we feel, what we think, what we are going through, however big or little it may be. So I want to get better at really opening up to Him.

I am so grateful for each one of you! Your support, love and prayers mean the world. The mission is the best thing that has ever happened to me.

Con amor, 
Hermana Haynes

Ward Halloween party!

Ward mission leader.  He's the best. Super fun too!
We had a lot of fun at the party!
Yep, I'm still finding puppies!