Thursday, November 17, 2011

She Returns!

Welcome Home Brooke!

        On Friday May 27, 2011 Brooke returned home to Salt lake from Puerto Rico.  There to greet her were our parents, grandma and grandpa Franklin, me (Abby), our sister Erin, and Brooke's friend Jake Garfield.  The only person not there to meet her at the gate was our sister Rachel, who was in Washington D.C. interning for Senator Hatch for the summer.

After 21 months, all four girls together again for the first time in August.

Brooke, we're glad to have you home and hope you enjoy this book of memories from your mission!

With love,


Christmas 2011

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

One More Week...going strong!

Hey everyone,

So it's weird to think that this is one of the last emails I will be writing from Puerto Rico. I assume they will be giving me email time on Wednesday when I arrive at the mission office, they usually do but maybe not. It's crazy to think my time here in Puerto Rico is coming to an end. It hasn't really hit me yet as far as the work goes. I'm sure it will hit me thursday morning when I am on the way to the airport. I'm excited to see all of you but it's sad to realize my time here is coming to an end. But anyway... One more week going strong.

This week has been pretty hard, lots of rain here too. Tons of rain! Today is the first time the sun has come out in about 8 days. It gets pretty old trying to find things to do when there is no one in the streets to talk to but we are working hard and I know we'll start finding more families. We found quite a few cool families this week so we'll see how that goes, but we saw the biggest miracle on Sunday. That's what it is, really, nothing short of a miracle because there is this family that has been less active for years. The ward told us to go look for them. The husband is a former bishop. The elders have passed by many times and they never open the door. The husband hides from them and the only time they've let us in, he didn't come out of the back room. The mom and daughter and the two grandkids are super cool and they let us in but from the beginning they were reluctant. They were reluctant to give us their phone number and don't want any of the members to have it. So we just stopped by once and that Sunday as we were just staing sacrament meeting I looked out the glass window that shows the foyer and I saw them walking in; Daughter, Mom and DAD! Wow, I was shocked. Hermana Castillo started to cry. The look on the elder's faces were priceless. I really don't know what it was that motivated them to come after all these years, especially the father who has been so not receptive to anyone. Wow, that was so great to see, even though the investigators are few I feel like things are going to get better here.

Love you all a ton. Have a great week!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Hi everyone,

It was so fun to talk to all of you on Sunday! Although I missed talking to Rach. But I'm reading her blog posts that Mom copies into the email so at least I am able to read a little about all the awesome experiences she's having in DC. Well I wish I had more to report this week not much has happened since Sunday. We had an amazing zone conference monday, as always the spirit was so strong. We talked about how we have been working so hard making so many changes here in the mission but we haven't really seen so many fruits of our labors yet. But they shared a scripture with us to help us know that now is the time of the harvest, the time for Puerto Rico to start progressing. But I really liked it and I can apply it to my personal life. 2 Nephi 27:23 "For behold, I am God; and I am a God of miracles; and I will show unto the worlds that I am the same yesterday, today, and forever; and I work not among the children of men save it be according to their faith". God is a God of miracles he never changes but sometimes he is just waiting for us to have enough faith so that he can do is work.

Tell everyone hi for me, I can't wait to see everyone. Here are some pictures from when we went on the bike ride last p-day.

oops sorry I can't load the pictures up. they don't work. I have a question... did you ever get my package? did you like candy I sent? do you want more? Do you want me to bring anything home for you guys?

Oh this is a shot out for Steph and Katie, I have been getting your letters I'm excited to see you. I get home the 26th and I speak on the 5th. I'll try and write you when I get time.

Love you all a ton.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

The work goes on.

Hey everyone! Thanks for all your emails. Wow, sounds like everyone is doing really fun things. I was seriously in awe to read Rachel's blog. I am still in shock that she's doing all that. Just imagine her hanging out with Senator Hatch and all those important people in the white house. Its surreal to read all that. Maybe because its because I am so far away and haven't really been hearing about this for so long. Good luck with all that Rach I'm sure you are doing amazing out there.

Well things here have been good. We are working hard trying to find new families. We are working with one awesome family. They are new but I'm just know that they'll be able to progress. The husband has been an investigator off and on for two years. The wife always hid when the missionaries came over. The elder's gave us the reference and asked us to stop by and at first she seemed reluctant but we got talking with her and she really opened up to us and we have had some amazing lessons with her. She told us that it seemed like God had to send her sisters so that she would listen. She doesn't realize yet that what she is feeling is the spirit but she has told us that when we left her house she just felt a peace her 8 year old who is pretty spoiled and off the wall was super well behaved and she just feels a lot happier. They are super awesome and I am excited to work with them more.

It's been tough trying to balance working there and trying to not abandon Juncos where we are still working with other investigators. There is so much potential there, many people could have baptism dates, they've been attending church but for one reason or another they aren't progressing and as much as we try we just haven't seen any progress in teaching them. That's been extremely hard, and a trial for my patience but maybe its just not their time yet.

Other than that things are good. I am excited to talk to you on Sunday. I have the option to do Skype. But it will probably be about 3:00 my time. I hope you are home at that time. I think what I will do is sunday morning at church borrow a phone from a member and with my phone card call you and we'll make plans. Love you a ton.

These are just some pictures for fun. We have the blessing of living with a sister from Mexico, even though she isn't in this photo, but we are the beneficiaries of some really good fun. One day we had a really stressful day in the mission, sometimes the only way to cope is just take a breather and go get some ice cream. haha.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Holy Week and a Luau

Thanks for your emails. I hope you all have a fun time in the Grand Canyon. Send me pictures. I can't believe you are done with school. I bet that's a relief. Rach when you get to DC you have to tell me all about it. I want to hear. I know I won't be able to see you 'til august but at least write and tell me how it's going.
Well this week was pretty good; we are getting to know the area better and the members. It was really hard with Semana Santa. None of our investigators let us teach them. Here everything shuts down for Holy Week. For them friday is the day when everyone goes to church because it is the day that Jesus Christ was crucified. Sunday isn't that important. I'm really glad that we focus more on the resurrection. Jesus Christ lives. It's a happy day. Well the best part of the week was the conference that we went to as a mission. Wow, so great. Friday we had a concert and fireside for less actives, recent converts and investigators. It was amazing! We all sang, they showed some really good videos about the life of christ, the mormon message videos and President Alvarado and his counselor spoke. It was a really spiritual experience. Amerfis drove all the way up from Juncos to see it and brought a friend. Wow she's so excited about sharing the gospel with everyone.  It's great. Well the next day we woke up and did service cleaning the parking lot of a stadium in Trujillo Alto, picking up garbage raking leaves etc. We got to wear these really cute yellow Mormon Helping Hands vests. Then we did another flash mob, singing 4 songs in the food court at Plaza las Americas which is the biggest mall in the Carribean. It turned out well but I don't think most of the people thought it was that cool.  We got a better reaction with the Christmas carols at Christmas time, but it was fun all the same . But the best part of the whole weekend was the luau that President threw us. Yeah, our president is the best. He threw a big luau that was super authentic. There are some members that are Hawaiian that were visiting and they threw it for us. It was complete with cooking the pig in the giant pit. We had poi, which is as gross as I remember it being when I tasted it at the PCC in Hawaii. President even let them put on dances. One of the sisters worked as a dancer at the PCC so they let her hula dance and the Polynesian elders did the haka and even the fire dance. It was awesome!  I'm still in shock that president let them do it but the weeknd was fun and still super spiritual. We had one of the best testimony meetings ever.

We had an amazing experience with some investigators in Juncos, Jorge and Rosa. He was not progressing as much as she was and he has tons of great questions but never asks in prayer and doesn't like to read. But we had a really great lesson with them last Wednesday and we finished with prayer and although he didn't want to, we were able to get him to finish the lesson with a kneeling prayer. The spirit was so strong and he started to cry so hard that he couldn't control himself.  He sort of threw himself into the couch because he was so emotional and his wife had to finish the prayer.  The spirit was so strong. But sadly because of Semana Santa and Rosa's crazy work schedule we haven't been able to teach them since wednesday. But I am excited for them. I know that they will start progressing now that he is progressing more.

Other than that. the work was slow last week because everyone was on vacation for Holy Week. But I know it will pick up again.

Tell everyone hi for me. Have a great week!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

New Area, New companion, New adventures

Hey Family,

Well its been a pretty crazy week. As I said, we are still living in Juncos but are working in Humacao. There are no missionaries in Juncos. We are still visiting a few investigators, recent converts and less actives for a few hours a week we work there and we are only going to work there if the members give us references. That was hard. Two members have already cried over the phone when they called us on the phone because they heard that they had taken us out. That was hard for me because I occasionally see them because we still live there and we have a few investigators. So the first week has been crazy. We had a few references given to us from the elders but other than that we are starting from scratch here. Its been a lot of work but we are slowly getting new investigators.

My companion is great. She has been out 13 months and she has been working in San Juan were the work is going really well.  She's a hard worker and really on fire, so its been good to work with her. She's pretty crazy and we laugh a lot. Poor thing's had a pretty hard week. Saturday afternoon she got bit by a dog. Well she moved her leg before it could bite her too bad; it ended up scratching her pretty bad though. We were a few doors down from a less active that the elders wanted us to look up and when we got there we started talking to her and we asked her for some stuff to clean it off, disenfect it and she said, "Of course! come on in! Actually the bishop and a ton of members are here." We walked in the house and in the backyard was a ton of members of the ward celebrating a birthday party. So it didn't turn out so bad.  The bishop's wife who is a nurse checked her out, made sure she was okay and we got food and some cake and met a ton of members which was a plus since we're new in the area. Then if that wasn't enough, yesterday we were filling up gas in the car.  The sensor on the tank which automatically turns off when the tank is full was broken and it didn't turn off.  It overflowed and she got gas all over her skirt. So we've had some exciting last few days.

Yesterday we found an amazing family. We were feeling a little frustrated trying to figure out where to go to be able to teach and find new investigators. We had a list of the young single adults that Elder and Hermana Lassus gave us and we had been meaning to go look for those that lived in our area. I felt a strong impression after praying that we needed to go to these apartments and find this one less active member. So we went and they had moved but there was a family that lives there. I felt the spirit instantly from the moment I met them and I just knew that the wife was going to let us in to teach and she did. We talked about the family and wow, this is an amazing family; really united, husband sounds great, hard working spends time with his kids just a really great family. We have an appointment to go back and teach them on sunday and I am really excited.

I felt like I should share something that I learned a few months ago when Elder Vinas, the area president, came to visit our mission. He talked about the scripture in Juan that says "this is life eternal to come to know God" he talked about coming to know the nature of God. That as we come to understand the nature of God we will have more faith in him, we will have a better relationship with him and understand better his plan and our place in it. He talked a lot about helping investigators coming to know God but also how we first have to come to know God ourselves. I wanted to share some scriptures with you. Alma 26:35. Even though Alma had lots of trials he rejoiced as he came to know God. Think about all the trials Alma had to go through especially as a missionary, including being cast out, spit upon, he and Amulek had to watch many members be burned by fire, yet he rejoiced because he had come to know God, that he has all wisdom, power and understanding, that God comprendeth all things.

He shared with us, 1 Nephi 10:18-19. As we diligently search for him, we will come to know God, and understand his plan. Elder Vinas told us to ask ourselves several questions: What have I learned about the character of God? About myself? How have you changed in your mission (or in other people's case, in the last few months, year, etc)?

We reviewed at a zone conference what we learned as we studied about the character of God. I really learned a lot those few weeks. At the conference we made a list of all the characteristics of God then we had to our favorite and pick a scripture that talked about the character of God and explain what it had to do with the characteristic that we had chosen. Well I picked two scriptures 1 Nephi 9:6 and 1Nephi 11: 17. Read them there awesome! This is mostly what I shared:

God is all knowing and wise. We need to confide in him and it will all work out. In my second area, Toa Alta I had some really hard transfers. After two transfers of spending more time in the apartment than outside because of a sick companion, I was tired and ready to work and get back to normal. The next few transfers we worked and worked and saw no progress. I was tired and ready for a change. I felt like there was nothing left to do in that area. I didn't know why I was still there, and what it was that Heavenly Father wanted me to do. I was ready for President to take me out of there and just start anew. There were days when we didn't have a single appointment planned, the planner was a blank page. Then, my best convert, the one that is the most active and on fire to this day, Nicole, found us. She came to us, and then when she was prepared for baptism president closed the area. The whole time I didn't have enough faith that God had a reason for me to still be there. The whole time he was trying my faith. My favorite scripture on the mission is D&C 123:15-17. When we do all we can, and we are "of good cheer" then we need to "be still and wait for the arm of God to be revealed". I have been trying to learn to do this on the mission. I am still in this process. But I am trying to confide in my Heavenly Father more. He knows. He knows what's best for us. He'll guide us but we have to have faith in him. I could share many examples of this on the mission. He knows. He has a plan, he loves us and he knows what's best because he is all knowing and wise and loving. We just have to trust in him. That's were faith comes in. Something that has always been a little hard for me. But I'm getting better.

The bishop of Humacao also shared this with us on sunday. he asked, Do you know God? everyone sat there thinking and I said I'm still working on it. He said good answer. We are all working on it.

Anyway I just felt that I needed to share that. Love you all a ton. Hope you have a great week.

P.S.  We haven't heard anything yet about details about Mother's day. But I imagine like always we just have to find a time that works for both of us. I'll let you know when it gets closer.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Moving without Moving

Well I moved areas without moving. I know weird huh? We still live in Juncos but we know longer work in Juncos; we are going to be working in Humacao which is about 15 miles away.  It's another ward. We have two new sisters living with us and me and my new companion are going to be working in Humacoa and the other two in caguas but we are sharing an apartment in Juncos which is in the middle. Basically they just are taking advantage of having an apartment in Juncos and using it as a middle point. It is really sad becuase we won't be working in Juncos anymore but at least before I go I can maybe ask president permission to visit people on p-day before I go home so it could be worse. They switched up every single sister in the mission. Lots went home and everyone changed. It was sad.  It would have been cool to work with Hermana Beltran to the end but... my new companion is Puerto Rican. Her name is Hermana Castillo. She is pretty cool.  I don't know her very well because she was in the east mission before. She's been out about a year. 4 companions in 4 transfers. Lots of changes but... that's happening all over the mission cause so many sisters are going home. It's good though. I'm learning a lot from my companions. But anyway, it will be an interesting transfer opening a new area there.

It was so sad saying goodbye to people, especially Amerfis and her daughters. Wow, its so hard when you get to love people so much and then have to save goodbye and they don't really understand how the whole transfer thing works.  It's hard for them to say goodbye. I was so close to tears so many times, I love this ward so much. But...

So today's been a good day. I got to see a lot of sisters before they went home including Hermana Rodriguez which was really great. I got to hear all about my old areas. Wow! So many miracles have happened. People that I used to teach, that got baptized later.  Many people have come back to church. It made me really happy. Nicole is going strong, still saving to go on the mission.  Several of the young women and young men I taught in Toa Baja are still going strong even though they don't have permission to get baptized yet. So things are good. Hermana Estrada told me a less active woman that I met in Walmart over three months ago and started talking to is now active and two people have been baptized because of it. I remember that day. I heard a woman say to another person "look there's an elder" haha , really i'm a sister! but I didn't say that. I just started talking to her and asked if she had met elders before. Turned out she was less active for many years. Well, now three months later she is active and two people have been baptized since because of her. All these things just go to show that Heavenly Father puts us in the right place at the right time. And after putting in so much work even when we leave our areas the work keeps moving forward.  Maybe you won't see the fruits of your work in that moment or six or nine months later or maybe years but even the small efforts we put in will one day pay off.

Good luck on finals everyone. I can't believe you are already finishing up. Keep going strong. Keep going to the temple. I'm excited to come back and be able to go. Maybe I'll start going tuesday mornings when mom and dad are working. Thanks for your emails. Sorry this is short I have to go because of transfers we are short on time and we have lots of errands we have to run. Love you all a ton.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Conference Week

Hey Everyone,

Thanks for the emails. Hope everyone had a good week. Good luck with school which I am sure is starting to wind down.

Well its been a great week! A really hard week but going to conference made it all worth it. Wow, we worked so hard to be able to go and let me tell you, we really saw some miracles. We had to complete our foundation (140 contacts and 20 lessons) to be able to go but we had to do it by friday night. But they also told us that even though we had interviews and saturday and sunday was conference that we would still be expected to have our family foundation (140 families contacted and 20 family lessons) by sunday night. Well let me just say that on a normal week we have never been able to complete that goal. Its really hard because we live in the countryside and there just aren't that many people like in the city. So we knew that we would have permission to go to conference but if we went and enjoyed conference saturday but didn't have our goals on sunday then that would be bad. So we didn't know what to do. But we decided that we would pray really hard and then just work really hard, that the Lord would bless us. So we woke up early friday did our studies early and were out the door by 9:30. We decided to go to Las Piedras but on our way our we saw a supermarket where normally not that many people go, that day it was FULL of families. Then we went to Las Piedras. We went taught two lessons in the morning and then we went to an elementary school where we have talked to many people before but that day, there were a ton of Moms watching their kids on the playground during recess (they do that here becuase there isn't much playground supervision) I've never seen so many people at that school, me and my companion split up and started talking to people. In about 30 or 45 min we were able to not only talk to many people I was able to teach 3 lessons to families. I kept looking over my shoulder wondering when my companion was going to come join me and to my surprise she was still talking to people which was weird because I was taking so long.  Well when we finally met up together she had taught 4 family lessons! 7 in total and it was only 1 o'clock. Well long story short, we almost completed all the contacts and lessons we had to have for the entire week and we had almost completed them before saturday.

Anyway, It was a great day. Heavenly Father really prepared a way for us to be able to be in conference. When we are obedient and we work the hardest we can he will provide a way.

We had a lot more success later on including two less active member lessons with two ward members that accompanied us. The best part of the day is when we went to teach a less active family. There are two grandparents, their son and grandson who is 19. The 19 year old is returning to church but the dad and grandparents aren't very strong. The son had an accident a few years back and he has a lot of problems with his health. He wanted a blessing. The member who was with us invited the grandpa and son of the man to participate in the blessing. I imagine it was years since they've done that or if they ever have. Well the 19 year old never has. It was so amazing to feel the spirit as those two men participated in giving a blessing as the 19 year old who was a little rebelous before and who is turning his life around was able to learn how to give his father a blessing. It was a really amazing experience.

Wow, conference was amazing! I learned so much and felt the spirit so strong. Some of my favorite talks included, President Uchtdorf's about the road to Damascus, the one about Testimony by Elder/President Cecil O. Samuelson (which I have to say was a little weird because I felt like I was back at BYU for a moment hahaha) and of course I loved President Monson's. Well I really liked all of them, cause they were all great. So many of them I just thought, "if only that less active or investigator that needs to hear this was here right now".

The latest news is that right now my poor companion is pretty miserable becuase she fell off her bike. Did I tell you that we are using bikes now? I don't think so. We still have cars but everyone in the mission got bikes too. So we are using them as much as we can. Its not too bad except that we arrive at people's houses pretty gross and sweaty especially with the helmets that we wear. But its good exercise and we talk with more people. But anyway, poor thing has a leg that's pretty swollen and bruised and so we are back to the car for a few days til she gets better.

Well, love you all tons! Have a great week.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

New P-day

Hey Everyone,

Sorry that I didn't write yesterday. We had interviews with President and they changed P-day to Thursday.

Wow, I'm sorry to hear about the avalanche. That's crazy and really sad. Be careful Erin when you go skiing! Rach! I can't believe I won't see you 'til august. That's really sad. But oh well, right what's a few months after a year and a half right? At least we'll be able to talk. Well, things here are a little hard still. We're working harder than ever but not much success. We teach but we are having a hard time finding people who want to commit to let us come back. Its also a little harder in the countryside because there just aren't that many people around during the day they all go to the metro areas to work. But we are working extremely hard. We had interviews with President yesterday and it was good to talk to him. He told me, "Hermana Barker you have 8 weeks left". And I was like "I know". He has to close 3 areas for sisters because 5 sisters are going home this transfer and none are coming. We don't know if he will close Juncos or not still. But it would make me so sad but I think I knew it was coming for awhile now. I've only been there for a two transfers but I really love this place. I love the people. I told him that I was working the hardest that I could and that I wanted to go out stron; that it doesn't matter if I don't have any more baptisms, I'm just going to give all I have. So we'll see what happens. I know that whatever happens it will be the best for the mission.

Well, he thanked me for my hard work and told us to just keep working hard. We got back to our area about 2:00 and we went to work. I don't know what it was but we had the most amazing day yesterday. 7 lessons! And it wasn't even a full day of work. Not all of them were great but I really felt like we were able to find people to listen to us and even when they weren't interested in having us come back I know we planted some seeds. We have to meet our goals this week so that we can go to Saturday's sessions of General Conference. So we are working really hard so that we can go.

I'm sad because my old companion Hermana Rodriguez (I was 6 months with her) is really sick. She is going to go home early. President told me yesterday. I probably won't be able to see her before she goes, which is sad.

Well not much else to report. Tell everyone hi for me!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Reflections on Family

Hey Everyone,

Thanks for the emails. Things here are good. But I'll be honest its been a pretty hard week. We have very little people to teach right now. We are trying to find families and we are working harder than ever trying to find people but with not too much success. I'm really learning to be patient and put my trust in the Lord these last few weeks. We had a in-field training meeting last week and one of the APs asked who had a picture of their family with them. He had one elder hold it and told him to look at all their faces. He said "Do you miss them? Do you love them? Now think about how much you love them and that you would do anything for them to accept the gospel or stay strong in the gospel. He told us that when we teach people or find people that they are our brothers and sisters and we have to look at them or try and teach them as if they were our own family and show that much love for them. If we do that the spirit will always be there. Well I have been trying to do that, to try and think if it was you guys standing in front of me, what I wouldn't do to help you feel the spirit and accept the gospel. Well I have to say it makes it has helped me take things more seriously and it has helped the spirit be strong, but it also makes it so much harder when they reject you! But I am trying to love these people and see them like God sees them but no one really wants to listen to us lately. Everyone has their agency. All I can do is do my best and I know that Heavenly Father will put people in our path.

It has been a humbling experience to be with my companion. I am learning patience but I am learning a lot from her too. Wow, I have a lot of respect for her for why she is on a mission. She has a million reasons why she could have not come or why she could have gone home but she's here. She's dealt with a lot of really hard things in her life, really hard things. I think the things I have learned most on my mission is really how extremely blessed I have been. I have always known I have been blessed. I have a great family, I live in the states, grown up in Utah with the church, great friends and family that have always been great examples for me. I've had the opportunity to get a good education, I've never had to worry about what I am going to eat. I don't know how I've been so blessed. God has millions and millions of children, how did I get so lucky to be born into the gospel and live where I live with the family I have? I don't know. The least I can do is try and give back right? it makes me sad to see so many people around me that need the blessings of the gospel but they don't think they need it.

Well I know that this week will get better; wish I had more good stories to tell. Not much new has been going on here. Tell everyone hi for me. Tell Grandma and Grandpa hi, I wrote a letter for them and I don't know what happened to it. It was already to be sent. I'll write another one. They sent me some pictures from their cruise. One with Grandma and a monkey on her head and another with Grandpa in the water with a stingray. I was with my companion and two other sisters at the time and they thought it was the coolest thing ever. They couldn't believe that they were doing such crazy things at their age. Our grandparents are pretty awesome!

Well, love you all!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

FHE and the investigator

Hey everyone,

Thanks for the emails. I did get the package finally thanks so much. Well this week has been pretty good. Well, its been hard too, I won't lie. We don't have a lot of investigators right now and we aren't finding a lot. I love my companion but its hard too sometimes to always be in charge of the area and have to do the majority of the teaching. I'm not training because she's been out for awhile now but she's never really learned how to teach she's always really depended on her companions. Its good for me, I am learning how to be patient and I'm on my knees a lot hoping to receive direction of where to go and what to do.

It's been a fun week because we have been spending more time working with the sisters in Caguas. President wants us to work with them to build up Caguas and Juncos, so two days a week we are working with them. They are really fun sisters. One of the best parts is that one of them is Mexican and she makes amazing food.

We've been really out of the loop about what's going on in Japan but members and people on the street tell us what's going on. I can't believe that all that is happening. I am in complete shock. Its a really good thing that we can't watch the news because I can't imagine how hard it would be to see all of that on TV.

Well we don't have that many progressing investigators right now, sadly, but we had sort of a crazy experience this week. This guy is a friend of a less active member and has become friends with some other members through her. She started talking to him about the church and he's really interested and he goes to an FHE that they do for older non-married people in the ward. Well we taught one lesson and it was good, but he didn't really have the desire to pray and ask God if the message was true. So that was our goal for the next lesson. Well we set an appointment for the next week and the member that was accompanying us got excited about it and wanted to invite other people and do FHE. We were hoping to have it be a smaller group, more focused on him, and helping him to feel the spirit and pray about the Book of Mormon but she had already gotten excited about it so we said yes. We prepared a lesson to play a game to review the first lesson which is the restoration and it was crazy; too many people there, talking all at once and the worst part was that some of the members are not the members I would normally choose to come.   Super nice, but for example, one mentioned that she didn't have to pray to know it was true, that at first she didn't even want to get baptized, she just did it because she felt pressured. Not exactly what you want your investigators to hear. Another person present mentioned that they didn't really have a desire to go to the celestial kingdom or even go to the temple, just that if they were happy in this life and a good person, they knew they would be blessed.  This person was also less active. So we were trying to salvage the lesson and bring the spirit to commit him to pray and the best part was that as we tried to testify and bring the spirit back, he sat there and listened to us teach him about prayer and commit him to pray.  All though the other three people present were talking all around him, he sat there and listened to us and committed to pray and ask with a direct question if it was true. So that was really nice. It just goes to show that when people are ready to hear they'll feel the spirit and have the desire to act.

Well wish I had more to tell. We are working hard to try and find families to teach. I know they are here we just have to find them.

FHE with Sisters Barker and Palmer.

The District.
Have a great week everyone. Love you all a ton.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Hard work, hard week

Hey Everyone,

Thanks for all your emails and for the pics. Sounds like its been a fun weekend and everyone has been really busy. Haven't gotten the garretts popcorn yet but i'm excited for it. So its been a pretty good week, but I'm not going to lie its been a hard week. I really like my new companion she's awesome but its been a sort of draining week for me, not going to lie. I am definately training I feel like. She is very dependent on me for everything and even though she has been out for quite awhile now she still doesn't know the lessons. I have been trying to help her learn the lessons becuase she hasn't ever learned them and her other companions have just done everything for her because it is a lot easier to do it for them than to help them learn. It also doesn't help that she has had some really, really hard things happening in her mission and things at home aren't too good right now so she's really down a lot of the time. I would be too. So I am just trying to keep my patience and just learn to love her. I would appreciate your prayers, it can be sort of draining to always have to be the teacher, motivater, planner, decision maker etc. By the way, she would love some mail. She doesn't get any. Just a nice card or something would be nice her name is Hermana Beltran.

It's been a fun experience working with the sisters from Caguas. It's nice to have sisters around again its been awhile since we've been the only sisters in the area for awhile. Even though they are pretty new on the mission I am learning a lot from them. They are both two great missionaries.

We are still on the search for new families. But we had a really great experience on sunday. It was fast sunday which are always the best. I have been praying so hard for our area and for several families in specific. Well sunday I saw something that we have been praying for sooo long. Remember the family that got baptized about 3 weeks ago, well the two girls did, the mom is a reactivated member. Well the mom has been living with the dad of her four year old girl and she has been praying so hard for him because she wants him to listen. She wants to get married because she knows that she is breaking the commandments. Well when Hna Palmer and Hna Curl first started going over there he wanted nothing to do with them. He hated the church, he fought with Amerfis to not have them come over, but she stayed strong and said this is my house too. He little by little has been nicer, started shaking our hand as we came in, and lately he sort of comes in the kitchen or sits at the table and listens a little, pretending to do something but I know he is listening. Well sunday morning just as sacrament meeting is about to start I see them walking in and Jonathon is with them. I was at the point of tears! He had sworn that he would never have anything to do with the Mormons! Amerfis told me that he woke up that morning and said "hold on, I am going to hop in the shower and then I am going with you." Wow, it couldn't have been a better day to come too. The teacher in Principles of the Gospel, taught so amazingly and shared an experience that was exactly what Jonathon needed to here. The spirit was so strong, it had to have been because she was definately prompted to share the experience she did. Wow! I'm still in shock, so I guess we'll see how things go.

Well anyway, things are good. Love you all!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Happy Birthday! The gift of a new companion.

So hello to everyone. Haven't really done anything yet maybe if we have time I'll go find a way to celebrate. My biggest gift is a new companion, Hermana Beltrain, a cute little 80 pound sister who is... wait for it... also from El Salvador. Haha I think every sister they send from there will be my companion at some point. I love it. She seems really cool. She's been out for about 6 months. She just came from Bayamon. It was so good to talk to her on the way home as she told me about the ward there and the people. It was definately one of the best birthday presents I've ever had to here her tell me that people are still going strong, that Emma has a calling as a counselor in Young Womens and that other less active members have come back.

I got quite the little surprise today as we were at the mission office and I was dropping off Sister Palmer and picking up my new companion.  We were just about to leave and President says that he wants to meet with me in his office. It made me nervous, I was like... what could this be about? Well he has a plan for the Caguas area that he has assigned me to help head up. He is really trying to build up the area. He just sent two more sisters there and he is making a plan where we are going to go on tradeoffs two days a week, one full day us working in their area and then they come here to work. Since all three of them are new missionaries he has assigned me to trade off with each of them and train them on the Preach My Gospel fundamentals of teaching and to work on finding families in Juncos and Caguas twice a week. I'm really excited, its going to be a really good transfer. I just was really surprised.  I feel ike I've been failing at a lot of aspects of the work lately but its always a little nerve racking and nice at the same time to have President show confidence in me. He looked me in the eyes and said., "I have confidence in you Hermana Barker. We are going to see great things happen".

This week has been hard. Always when we have a great week, the next week is so hard. It seems like all obstacles possible get in the way of our investigators just when they start progressing. Several were sick in the hospital, one was in Vieques on vacation and then in Bayamon. But little by little the work is progressing and we are finding more people. It was a hard week for Hermana Palmer, since she was going home. Everyone was so sad to see her leave, she's been in the ward for ten months. She really was a great missionary who really loved the people and she has made such an impact here. So many people have come back to church and she's really helped the ward progress. I've never seen so many people cry when a missionary went home. I hope that someday I can make an impact on people in such a way.

Hope everyone is doing well. I'm jealous about skiing and snowkiting; I would love to go. You'll have to send me photos. Was there wind this year? Hey this is a shout out to Steph Brinton, oops, I mean Parker. Haha that's still weird for me. Tell Sam congrats on his mission call. Russia will be really cool. Tell everyone hi for me when you go to grandma and grandpa's.

Love you all a ton!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Just follow the recipe, for reading the BOM not the other recipes

So things here are really good. I forgot my camera cord! I was going to send some pictures. Airet and Arihelys got baptized on Saturday which was so great.

 Like always it was stressful. Something always happens with baptisms. I was just waiting for something to happen because everything was going way too smoothly... haha. Well we got to the church to fill up the font and we swept it out and were just about to fill it up when we realized that the key we had opened the doors to get into the font from the back but not the ones in the front that allow people to see. The lock, which normally can be opened from the inside, was inaccessible because there was a big glass/plastic peice covering the font so no one falls in but you can still see. Well the glass was so close to the door that we couldn't just unlock it with our hands because our hands didn't fit between the glass and the door. The only person who had a key to unlock it was on vacation for the long weekend on the other side of the island. So after about an hour of fiddling around we finally got the door open with a contraption made out of a coat hanger. haha but everything turned out well.

Its been a really great week.  We've been finding a lot of new people. So I'm excited for this next transfer. We are working with some really great less active members. Its ironic that the two less active members we are most excited about are actually more like investigators.  We keep finding people that were baptized over 20 years ago and don't remember anything but they are showing more progress than anyone else.  It just goes to show that some people are prepared and when they humble themselves they will be able to progress.

We had an amazing zone conference this last week on the Book of Mormon. President and the leaders here in Puerto Rico are worried because the members don't read the Book of Mormon as much as they should and we as missionaries need to use it more in our teachings. The San Juan stake is doing something called Club 100 where they are having members read the Book of Mormon for 100 seconds for 100 days. I know that sounds like nothing but the members don't even do that right now.  It's to get them in the habit of reading. Well President and his wife are having us read the Book of Mormon for 100 minutes a day for 100 days. The idea is that whenever we have a minute whereever we go we have a Book of Mormon and we read it when we get a chance. So if people ask us what we are reading we can give them away and also so that we can become experts on the Book of Mormon so that we will be better at being able to pull out whatever verse in whatever teaching situation without having to plan before hand or look up the verse in the topical guide or even being marked in red pencil. Its been really great to read the Book of Mormon that much. Its been hard but I'm reading it in the morning, in studies, at lunch, and at dinner. So to any of you who have lots of time and want to try it even if you don't have 100 minutes a day try reading it it will help you too.

Well we had a really good laugh this week about some things. One morning I started looking at some recipe books that my companion had, that her mom had sent. Turns out they were some old ward cookbooks and some family ones made at a family reunion basically the ones her mom didn't mind parting with for a year and a half. well I thought you might enjoy these. These are some of my favorites:

Crunchy Carrot Balls
beat cream cheese, cheddar chees and honey together. Stir in shredded carrots. Chill. Roll in grape nuts and parsely.
Sorry but that's just weird. But maybe not as weird as Tex-Mex Wontons.

This is one of my favorites... Florida Congealed Salad. Doesn't that sound good.
1 can evaporated milk
1 c. mayonnaise
2 cans crushed pineapple
1 c. chopped pecans
1 c. grated american cheese (Velveeta is Good)
2 small pkg. lime or orange jello
2 c. hot water.
sorry but who puts mayo and velveeta with jello?

Jello Cucumber Salad. This one sounds some what normal right? Not that I love cucumber with Jello but...
1 large pkg. lime jello
1 cup cottage cheese
1/2 c. mayo
1 1/2 c. boiling water
1 chopped onion (as desired) (as desired? who desires raw onion in a fruit salad?!)
set jello when partially thickened, beat and add mayo. add rest of ingredients and set until firm.

One more...
Cottage cheese and pineapple jello salad (to me this sounded better than the rest but just wait...)
1 pkg. lime jello
1 c. boiling water
1 can crushed pinneapple
1/4 c. chopped nuts (as desired)
1 tsp. horseradish (???????!!!!!!!!!)
1/2 c. mayo or whipping cream
1 c. cottage cheese

Well anyway maybe you don't think these are funny but we had a good laugh.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Happy Valentines Day

Thanks for all the emails this week. I'm glad you all had a fun Valentines day. Happy Birthday to Erin and to Dad tommorrow. You should fed-ex me some German Chocolate cake. Congrats Rach on getting the internship offer; Dad told me. That's so awesome. What kind of stuff are you going to be doing? By the way are you getting my emails? (haha; if she's not she won't be able to answer that question. Someone do me a favor and ask her for me, thanks) I haven't been getting emails from Rach, so if you are sending them they aren't getting here. I'm glad things are going well at the new office Dad hope things are too crazy for you this year with tax season. I'm glad you still loving your temple assignment and that the temples open again. Wow, I wish we had a temple here... one day... that's what we're working for.

This week's been really good. We are all set to go for the baptism Saturday for Airet and Arihelys. Wow, they are so awesome and their mom, Amerfis who is less active, is progressing so much. The step dad who hates the church has been opening up a little. We had an Family Home Evening at their house the other night and he even came in and sat on a chair and listened a little. Wow, that was a miracle. He really bonded with a member which is great. The members are trying so hard to befriend them. Bruni is going strong. She came to church again Sunday and is so excited about it. The work has been slow as far as finding new investigators but it's been picking up. Things are better with my companion. I'm just trying to help her hold out strong; just two more weeks left for her so we'll see what happens in two weeks. Several sisters are going home and there aren't anymore coming for awhile so President is going to have to close some areas. We are praying hard that he doesn't close our area, its been slow but it has so much potential and its making progress.

As of right now I am signed up for classes in Provo. So... guess I'll have to find somewhere to live for summer term but that should be a peice of cake.Everyone is trying to sell contracts. By the way Rach, if you are looking at contracts for next year I would really like to not have a full year contract because summer 2012 I will be doing an internship somewhere for accounting.  I would rather not sign a contract that I have to find a buyer for. Just a note.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Small Things

Hey Everyone!

Thanks for the emails. Thanks so much Mom for figuring out the BYU stuff. I am so appreciative. I am registered for the classes I need for summer. Well sort of; there is a slight conflict but at least I got the business law class I needed. Thanks. They also sent me a message that my scholarship is going to be applied for Fall/Winter so things are good. I'll just wait to hear from the accounting program for the rest of the stuff. Thanks so much!

So things have been a lot better here. We still don't have a ton of investigators yet but the ward is showing a lot of progress and we are working with them to help them share the gospel with their friends and I know that we'll see some results. Things are going better with my companion too. We are really good friends, but she hasn't been as trunky lastely, its been hard for her she's just burnt out. She's been in the same area for ten months and the work has been hard but things are getting better. We had some really awesome experiences this week. We had an less active member come to church for the first time in over twenty years. She is basically more like an investigator because she doesn't remember anything. But we invited her and she said that maybe she would come but we thought that it was a for sure no. But she woke up sunday and felt really strongly that she should come. She ignored it and again she felt like she should come so she decided to get ready and found a map my companion had drawn for her months ago and she showed up. Even though the work's been slow we see small little miracles all the time. You really have to get excited about the little successes that you have. My companion and I were talking about that this week. How it's funny that we get so excited about little things but we do. We put so much of our energy into helping these people that even the smallest progress makes us so happy. We were laughing because it may sound silly but we were so excited that Bruni (the less active) made comments and participated in relief society and gospel principles. That may seem like a small thing but its so great to see that someone we thought would never come back to church not only came but she enjoyed it, she was making comments and participating in the lesson. Amerfis who is really shy made a friend this week, a recent convert. They were laughing and talking and they planned for Amerfis to do Limari's nails this week. We were like - they're friends! haha we are learning to get excited about the small things, like when parents get excited about their babies first words.

Well anyway I have to go; we are going to go to Humacao with a member who is going to take us around to see some things. But tell everyone hi for me. Tell grandma and grandpa I got their letter and I'll write soon. Tell the relief society thanks for their letter. Tell everyone hi for me! Oh and this is a shout out to Steph... I get your emails everyweek.  Tthanks so much.  I'm sorry I can't write back right away but a long letter is coming your way! Love you tons.

Love you all! Happy Birthday to Dad and Erin! And Happy Valentine's day to everyone too! Birthday cards and late Christmas will be being sent soon. Oh and mom thanks for the clothes. Love the skirt, shoes are too narrow in the toe box so I'll have to send them back. But I have to get the return thing printed off the internet but I can't get on Zappos website. Could you print it out and send it in a normal letter maybe? No rush, they have a 365 day return policy. Weird huh? Love ya!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

I sang, but nothing came out.

Hey Everyone, so its been a pretty crazy week. Things here have been pretty good but pretty stressful too. I'm trying to help my companion keep from getting trunky. I love her she's so fun but she's already burned out from working in the same area for almost 9 months. To give you an idea, I am the 6th companion she has had in this area. But this last week was better. President raised our goals for the week, so we had to work extremely hard. So things are better.

Had a super embarrassing moment this week. Ha ha. So the bishop asked us if we could sing for Ward Conference. Here, usually the only people that can perform musical numbers are the missionaries because no one really knows how to read music. So we accepted. I have had a lot more practice singing on the mission and I have sung in lots of baptismal services and in church activities with my companions so I felt like it wouldn't be that big of a deal. Well, we arranged a song where I would start off singing alone then my companion, then we would harmonize. Well a ton of people came to ward conference. I mean a ton. We had practiced a ton and everything seemed good but when I got up to the pulpit and started to sing; nothing came out! I tried to hit a somewhat high note (which was honestly not that high); nothing but a scratchy voice. I got through the song my companion started off tune and we somewhat salvaged it. Remind me that if I ever want to sing in public again that I'm not a soloist. Ha ha. I'm still laughing about it. It was pretty bad. Oh well.

Well things have been looking up. We are teaching a family, the mom is a less active member and the two daughters are not baptized.  The 8 year old wants to be baptized but the 13 year old wasn't so sure about it. She's been praying about it and this Monday we came and she told us that she had received an answer to her prayer. She had dreamed the night before that she got baptized and that I was there smiling, Hermana Palmer and her mom were crying. So they'll both be getting baptized on the 19th so we're pretty excited. Other than that we have a lot of work to do to find people to teach.

Well, have to go. I have spent lots of time dealing with classes and registration and stuff. Sorry that i couldn't write much love you all a ton!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


Hey Everyone! So I just got transferred. I'm in Juncos. I am still not even exactly sure where that is on the map. Haha. It's on the east side of the mission. My first time venturing to what was formerly the east mission. Once again I am in campo or country. My companion is named Hermana Palmer, she's from Arizona. She's tall and blond and she has only one transfer before she is going home. It was a huge surprise that I was getting transferred. I thought for sure that I would stay in Adjuntas since I just had one transfer there and since Hermana Angel has been there so long. But we got the call last night so I threw everything in the suitcases and here I am. It's super weird but I am excited to see what this next transfer will bring.

Erin! Wow, 3 writing awards. I am so excited for you. Really, as I read the emails from you and mom and I was super excited I can't wait to read your stories. After working so hard this last semester and with being so sick, you deserve it. I'm really excited for you. Sounds like everything is going well at home. Hope everything works out, Dad, with the new office. Rach, thanks for the short email. haha. I hope you had a great birthday. What did you do? How's the new semester going at BYU. Wow, I can't believe the time is going by so fast. Tell everyone hi for me. I got a letter from Jennie Lloyd. You'll have to tell everyone their family hi for me and all the cousins too. It's weird to see the christmas cards, everyone is so grownup.

This last week has been super stressful, crazy and great. First, Juan will be getting baptized this friday. Wow, that was an adventure. At first we were a little stressed because I didn't not feel comfortable teaching someone that fast. I've never liked or wanted to be the kind of missionary that teaches and baptizes someone so quickly that they really don't have a testimony and they go inactive afterwards. It's still quite funny that a member that isn't even from our ward extended a baptism date for us and we didn't even know! Trust me we spent a lot of time, thinking and praying. Praying so much to know what to do. But we went ahead and taught him almost every day for the last week and a half. We moved the baptism date a few days later but we feel good about it. He really is ready. He knows everything and he is living all the commandments. He has prayed and he knows it's true after years of being interested about the church and reading about it he knows that its true. Members had already invited him to stop drinking coffee and when we taught him for the first time he had already stopped. He just knows that its true, he's prayed about it and knows that this is what he wants to do. And since he's been to church already a lot he has the support of the members. It's been quite the humbling experience for me to say, okay it's true, maybe he really is ready. Miguel and Natalie got married thurdsay. Wow, it was really stressful and great. But now there are problems with the paperwork. The process here is super crazy. They are missing some birthdates of his children and a few signatures of the witnesses. Including one of our members spending three hours in the office trying to figure it out and if they don't get it all worked out the blood tests will expire and they'll have to start the process over again! So we are praying really hard that it all works out so they can get the paperwork turned in and can have their baptism interview tomorrow. If not it will have to cancelled again. I'm sure none of that makes sense, sorry. But if you could keep Miguel and Natalie in your prayers that would be great. I hope it works out. It was sad to leave just before they were all getting baptized but I'm glad that Hermana Angel will get to stay. She's been working with them for so long, so I'm glad she'll get to be there to finally see them get baptized.

Well I guess we'll see how this new area is. President is starting a new thing where the elders are not allowed to teach single woman. So we are going to be covering the entire stake, teaching whatever investigators that the elders have that are single women or single moms. It will be interesting teaching many investigators all over the place that don't go to our ward. We will be covering very large areas including working in our own area. I'm really excited to work with Sister Palmer. I've always thought it would be really fun to be her companion. Even last night, Hermana Angel asked me who I would like to be my new companion and I said Hermana Palmer and look here I am. So we'll see how this new transfer works out.

Just so you know, I'm feeling a lot better. I think the thyroid medication is working because I don't notice anymore and I don't even notice me back or my neck hurting anymore. Every once in awhile they feel tight or I'll wake up and feel a little sore but really I forget it even happened. So don't worry about me. Life is good! Love you all a ton. Tell everyone hi for me.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Whooaaaa......slow down

Hey Everyone!

Thanks for the emails.

I appologize for not being able to write last week. You might remember the similar problem last year. Puerto Rico has so many holidays in January and February. But I'm glad you got my letter so it was a little short becuase everything was closed for 3 kings day p-day was a little stressful and I wasn't able to write as much as I would like.

Wow, it's so crazy that it's been so cold lately! Well I guess January is always cold but... It's actually warming up here at least this week. Thanks for the worrying about sending clothes and shoes, but don't stress too much whatever you send will be great and really I don't want a ton because by the time it gets here I'll only have a few months left. So yes, it's official I will be coming home May 26th! President wasn't able to make arrangements to come home on the transfer to give me one more week to prepare before school starts. That's cool that Sam Skanchy came home. Tell their family high for me. Oh by the way tell grandma thanks for the christmas package. I did get it. I feel so bad I just don't have time to write letters very often but I will write her one today. But tell her thank you from me and from my companion.

Sounds like things have been crazy at home with the weather and dad having to move offices. Well it has been equally crazy here. Wow! What a week. I don't even know where to start. First, we have a couple that we are teaching that has had a baptism date since November. Becuase of many complications it has been moved several times. Well they have to get married first but the process here is very complicated and they don't really understand how it works and sadly neither do we. Basically they have to get a medical exam and blood tests and they have to go pick up these forms and then take it back to get a marriage license and they have a limited time to do it. Well they were going to get married on Christmas but we couldn't find someone who had a marriage license. Then they were going to do it on the first but they didn't go get the blood tests done until the day before and it takes a week for the results to come back so we cancelled the wedding. Well finally the results came back for the blood tests so he calls the relief society president and said I have the paper. So she called us and we made arrangements for a branch president to come and marry them and then he calls one day before the wedding and said that he was at the demographic registers office to get the marriage license and they were closed for the holidays. Turns out the relief society president thought that he had the marriage papers but he just had the results for the blood work. So once again, no wedding. So we changed it for this saturday. Well we got a phone call yesterday saying that they have to do everything before friday becuase they had a certain amount of time to do all this and since its been so long they have to be married by friday or they have to start the process all over again! So we had to move the wedding to thursday morning and we have about a three hour window that the branch president can drive out there and marry them, turn in the paperwork and then drive an hour and a half away to get to work on time. Wow, talk about stress. This morning we got a phone call telling us that we have to be in Ponce at 6:30 in the morning for an all day training meeting! Talk about stress. But I know that it will all work out.

So another funny story. Well as I said last time we have been struggling with investigators. We really have. But this week we have seen some small miracles. We've been trying to work with the members encouraging them to pray for missionary opportunities and we have received quite a few references and new families to teach which is great. Well we have been praying and fasting so that we can find people to teach. Well answers to prayers come quickly and in the most unexpected ways. Really, really unexpected. We have an investigator who has been coming to church every once in a while with his girlfriend that is less active. He was taught by the sisters only once before I got there and then went on vacation for a long time. They didn't even teach him a lesson they mostly just answered some questions. He has read every pamphlet the church has from front to back and is reading the Book of Mormon. But we could never seem to get  hold of him to teach. Well he showed up at church the week before last and this sunday. So we were excited because we were hoping to finally be able to teach him. Well while we are in a meeting on sunday, the ward mission leader announces that Juan will be getting baptized next monday. We were talking to other people and before we know it the whole branch is congratulating us and we were totally lost. We were like "what? how? when was this decided?". Turns out that after priesthood a high councilmen from another ward asked him when we was getting baptized and Juan just picked his own baptism date. The man had never even met him before and he extended a baptism date right then and there. Monday at 4:00. 8 days from then. We were in complete shock, because he hadn't received any lessons, we barely know him. It's been a little difficult because we've received a little bit of pressure from the leaders to teach him quickly so that he can be baptized that day but from the beginning I was really uneasy about it. We've been praying about it becuase really we want to do the right thing. But we went ahead and planned how it would be possible to prepare him for baptism in one week. We thought, well after praying and fasting maybe this is the answer to our prayers, maybe he really is ready, but these last three days we have felt that he really isn't ready. We want to make sure that he knows the doctrine and is actually living all the commandments and has a strong testimony. I don't want the people I teach to be inactive in a few months or years. It happens way too often here and I really want him to stay strong in the gospel. So we'll see what happens, we are going to teach him tonight and see then we will move the baptism date to the end of January. Wow, we were praying for investigators we never thought that suddenly we would have to teach someone to be baptized in a few days. haha.

Well that's whats been going on here. Lots of things to plan; lots of stress. Haha...from some really slow days to too much to do all at once. But that's the mission. Hope things are going well at home.

Love you all a ton.