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!