Monday, February 29, 2016

 HAVE I MENTIONED THE CHURCH IS TRUE..?

KATIE
  
CONGRATS TO LAYTON FOR TAKING STATE!!! THIS IS THE BEST THING EVER! ..besides being on a mission ;) haha  But really that is too exciting!!!

Meanwhile back in Russellville..

Tuesday after district meeting we went out to eat at McCallisters. Turns out a less active in Conway is a manager there and recognized us. He ended up not only paying for our food but bought us cheesecake too. #blessed. 
 
RUSSELLVILLE DISTRICT MEETING
(EX ELDER MYERS FROM KAYSVILLE CAME TO VISIT)
We set 2 more dates this week. One guy- we taught him the restoration on his front porch, he accepted a date for March, came to church this Sunday and really liked it! And is already in Jacob in the BOM. Yay for him! And a gal- We taught Restoration, invited to baptism and it was so cool because the spirit was so thick, it was almost like the spirit said yes for her. In her face you could tell she was even surprised by her own answer. We've been able to apply a lot of what the AP's taught us last week and we've been lots better at introducing the spirit and helping them recognize it. It's been a huge help. 

We thought we lost the couple we’ve been teaching. We had a couple rough days, but they are back and we are picking up the lessons again with them. Hopefully things continue to pick up. 

To celebrate my ONE YEAR MARK my mom is a champ and my Christian CD came in ;) and during studies I received an answer to a question I had been searching for, for weeks. Happy one year to me!
 
SPANISH CONFERENCE CALLS

Saturday was insane. We got a last minute text Friday night that we would have interviews with President Saturday morning. They went really well. It’s always good to see President. I thought I would have a better idea afterwards if I have another transfer in Russellville or if I'm out, but I still think it could go either way. I would love another one here! We also knelt together as a district with President in prayer at the end of interviews and President prayed for each of us and our families individually. I love President. 

After interviews we got word that Daniela and Jaime were moving last minute and needed help. Luckily almost the whole branch showed up so it went fast but we did that until baptism time. We went straight to the church…that was locked. So people were showing up and we were locked out. We also forgot that the font was still running, so the font was a little overfilled. Something always stressful has to happen on baptism days, it's tradition. But once we all were in there it went awesome! BREANNA IS NOW BAPTIZED! The turnout was awesome, there was a lot of talk about temple being the next step for the Thompson family :) and it all went super smooth. Breanna looked so cute and she was so excited!
 
After baptism stuff we had to set up and get ready for a FHE/fireside with the branch. We got put in charge of it and put together some activities and things about family history. And then we had a fire outside and roasted s’mores and played a Mexico trivia game. Most of the branch are first generation converts so they have lots of family history work to do and we are trying to get them started. 
 
YSA ACTIVITY - PEOPLE ARE BRINGING NONMENBER FRIENDS AND IT'S BEEN AWESOME!

Saturday night- We crawled into bed and not 10 minutes later my teeth/tooth/gums??? Everything on my right side of my mouth started hurting. I took medicine, prayed, cried, prayed, got up and down. It was miserable. I'm not sure why but when I stood up and walked around it would feel better but after I laid back down it would hurt all over again. This went on until about 2:30 when finally, I fell asleep. Absolutely miserable. 4 hours of sleep I will never get back. :/

Sunday I was the youth speaker in English sacrament. I talked on increasing our understanding of the Atonement. I also shed a few tears telling everyone how much I love them and Russellville. I gained my testimony of the gospel here, with them. I feel like I was called to this mission specifically to be in Russellville. Not for a specific person, but just the area in general.
 Breanna was confirmed, yay! 

"Therefore, in the ordinances thereof, the power of godliness is manifest." 

During ordinances the spirit is SO STRONG. Breanna’s mom told us afterward that she was nervous to get confirmed in front of everyone but the second the priesthood out their hands on her head she felt super calm and happy. :)  And Jaime received his calling as Elders Quorum President, yay! 

Sunday night I decided I wanted to avoid tooth issues altogether and asked the elders for a blessing. As they laid their hands on my head and started to give me the blessing, I was expecting just a simple healing blessing. But after a long pause of silence it started going a different direction and I received guidance for the work that had nothing to do with my tooth. Things that I needed to hear. I came to realize I may have been given that tooth ache so I would have a reason to get the hands of the priesthood on my head. I slept lots better last night:) yee And God gave me the messages I need to receive. :) 

Have I mentioned the church is true..? 

I'm happy! The work is good! I miss y'all but I'm happy here :)  CTR

 Love y'all

Te quiero 

video

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

I HIT MY ONE YEAR MARK THIS WEEK!
I'M A GRANDMA NOW!!
THIS WAS OUR "CRAP IT'S ALREADY FRIDAY AND WE HAVEN'T TAKEN ANY PICTURES" !!!

We had 2 lessons this week in the Plumb's home with the new couple I've mentioned before . In the first lesson, we reviewed The Restoration and the importance of the Book of Mormon. Our 2nd lesson we taught the Plan of Salvation. They've started reading BOM on their own! I LOVE them! Little background...He is a track runner, super funny guy. She is a darling little red head, who speaks Spanish! And has a super southern accent, so spunky and sweet. And together they make the greatest couple ever. We stop by to read with them or just to check in and we've grown to love them so much. She has a 4 year old that came to one of the lesson with us as well. At the end of the lesson we all knelt in prayer, I peeked during it, and it was the HAPPIEST sight to see this family praying together.  We want this for them so much! Something awesome about the Plumbs is that they both are so bold. There is so much conviction behind their testimonies and they have helped us so so much. MEMBER MISSIONARIES ARE THE BEST KIND. ;) hint..hint..

We went on exchanges this week. I stayed in Russellville with Sister Mendicino. I meant to get a picture..I really failed at pictures this week. 

We helped Amber put together her nursery for baby Ellowyn! We are down to 1 month until baby is here! 
 
AMBER'S HOUSE HELPING WITH DECORATIONS

It has been over 70 degrees the last couple days and the humidity is already coming back! It's kinda fun that it isn't cold anymore. But it means that the gosh darn bugs are back. Scars on scars on scars. 

We are starting to teach Gerald's girlfriend! 

A highlight from one lesson we taught a couple this week: normally I don't bring up temples or sealings in the first lesson. It usually leads to lots of questions that are hard to answer without them having the basic knowledge of the Restoration. Normally we would bring up eternal families but wouldn't ever go into any more detail than that. So it was pretty clear that when I started talking about temples and being sealed with the priesthood that those thoughts did not come from my head! But turns out, that's what interested her the most. She loved the idea of getting married in temples! We showed them some pictures of temples and it's definitely what sparked her attention. That whole scripture on "your mouth will be filled" yes it's the coolest thing. It's happening all the time, but those experiences where I really recognize it are just the best! 

We had zone conference, Searcy, North Little Rock and Little Rock zones all were together. We received instruction from President, Sister Wakolo and the AP's. We came a little late so the last seats available were the ones front and center. Lately we all have been working on memorizing scripture references in both the Bible and BOM for all the doctrinal points. Then at meetings it's public humiliation time, and for each lesson one of us lucky souls gets to recite the scripture points in front of the entire world basically.  So as AP Cunningham was calling out people randomly to do the recitations I immediately knew being front and center I was going to be one of those lucky souls.  I got called up to do L4 -_- the longest one. Everyone gave me that smug "sucks to be you" grin. Haha so lame. Luckily I had the feeling that morning to study them so I came prepared. And now I'm clear for the rest of my mission probably. :) Never again. 

I could go on and on about all the good instruction, but that doesn't mean a whole lot to y'all. So I'll spare ya the deets. 

While teaching we use Galatians 5:22-23 a loooooot. Everyone has a little different version of what the spirit is (depending on religion) but I feel like this scripture effectively explains how we can feel the spirit. 

"But the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, long suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith.
Meekness, temperance..."
 
I've come to learn that the lack of a bad feelings is often how the spirit feels for me. Just being content and at peace with life. Nothing overwhelmingly awesome but nothing bad either. That's how I feel lately. Just at peace. I know that we have a Heavenly Father who knows me and loves me perfectly and that He isn't an untouchable being, but I can have a personal relationship with Him. I know He sent my Big Brother to take on my failures and struggles. I feel them carrying me through the days here and guiding the work. Some days I can't wrap my mind around how incredibly blessed I am to have been born in the gospel, and I know He has a plan for all of us, and being here serving this mission was certainly part of His plan for me. 

I wanted to end with this bomb scripture President closed with at Zone Conference

"For behold, I do not require at their hands to fight the battles of Zion, for, as I said in a former commandment, even so will I fulfill- I will fight your battles." 

Te quiero
Love y'all
  

PS. Lewis called and said her mom met one of my cousins? Who was it?? :) 

Monday, February 15, 2016

"HAVE FAITH, HAVE HOPE. 
LIVE LIKE HIS SON. 
HELP OTHERS ON YOUR WAY!"

Holy moly folks it's been a darn good week. God is so good. 

On Monday I was a bit rebuked for not recognizing miracles as much lately. So I prayed for help to recognize them and for more to happen this week. And boy did they come pouring down. I need to leave myself a little reminder so five years from now when I look back and read my blog I'll be able to remember--->GO READ YOUR JOURNAL FROM THIS WEEK TO REMEMBER EVERYTHING THAT HAPPENED.

First off, CONGRATS to CHAR CHAR on her engagement! As sad as it is that I won't be there for her wedding, she was repping her ARKANSAS SHIRT when he purposed. So it definitely makes up for me missing her wedding, ok not exactly but I still think that's awesome. The whole world is getting married meanwhile I'm just trying to wear outfits that match. hahaha the simple life of a missionary, can't beat it. :) 

So let's just dive in here...

We are finishing up lessons with one of our young investigators so she is prepared for her baptism on the 27th. Something we've been working on is helping her pray out loud because it makes her super nervous. We tried and tried to get her to say the opening prayer before our lesson but she didn't want to at all. We said it, taught the lesson and finished by getting her started in the Book of Mormon. We read 8 versus in 1 Nephi 1 and she looked up at us and said "Can I say the closing prayer??" We both were so shocked! She did it and then said another one later on that night. 8 versus of the Book of Mormon people, that's all it takes. :) 

On Friday night we had a conference call with the Spanish zone. It's hard to stay united as a zone because we all our spread out across the whole mission and we each have our own area zones so the zone leaders wanted to have a conference call to bring us all together. In the call we all were challenged to set 3 dates before the end of the week, giving us 2 days. They told us not to go in Sunday night without 3 dates. It made us super pumped and we definitely were up for the challenge. On Saturday we spent the day in Dardanelle spiritual harvesting. The Dardanelle elders gave us some areas we could try to find Spanish. Dardanelle is a gold mine! After a couple hours of knocking in a few areas we found around 8 new Spanish gators. 3 of which are FAMILIES. By the end of these couple hours we were all out of media. We had given away every Libro De Mormon, and Restoration pamphlets we had. It felt so good. Some of these families are just gold. However, we were kind of piles and did not set any dates. Which lead to a lot of stress dreams Saturday night because I knew we had 3 to set all on Sunday. 

So Sunday- Church went super well! Our young investigator was there and another investigator came! I don't remember if I ever talked about him, but on Christmas Eve we were in Dollar General and he approached us and asked us what church we were with. He seemed genuinely interested and we left him a card with our number. He told us he would call. Which lots of people say that and never do. So we thought it was cool but never thought much of it and hadn't heard from him since. So Sunday morning we had a missed call from a random number, after calling back we found out it was this man! And he wanted to come to church! AND HE CAME! Mac was in Spanish and I waited for him in English. I was in the hall in the middle of sacrament and he still hadn't come. I was mid prayer asking God to help him make it here and praying he didn't change his mind, and I looked up and there he was walking in! He really liked the service and afterward wanted a copy of the Book of Mormon. MIRACLES. 
We also got to teach the priests. Which was a first, I've never taught in priesthood before. We talked about the importance of our choices and going on missions. What made it even cooler was there are a total of two priests, one is a Stokes and one is a Barrera. Two families I adore and two boys I definitely want to see serve missions. 

So after church, our task was to set these 3 dates. We first went to a referral we got from the elders a while ago and nothing was really coming from it. We had the feeling to try again, so on Thursday we stopped by. When we arrived she was out front doing yard work. We started helping her out and talking and getting to know her a little bit. After about 45 minutes of this she told us to get in her car so we could all go get drinks. The instant trust missionaries get is insane. Haha so we all went to DQ and talked about the Book of Mormon over our smoothies :) haha That's never happened to me before. A complete stranger, not even an investigator yet just has us jump in her car and takes us out and buys us drinks! We weren't able to teach her much then,  but we went back Sunday and taught her the Restoration. It could not have gone any better. She was in tears, she feels a lot of confusion in her life and is really overwhelmed. The spirit was so strong and she accepted a baptismal date for March! YAY!!!

We had 2 hours until the end of the night and the Spanish ZLs sent us a reminder text that we couldn't go in until we had 3 dates. We joked that there was a good possibility of us sleeping outside. 

We had one last appointment to go to before we needed to go in to finish studies. We went to go contact a member referral. Brother Plumb is the best member missionary ever. He was in Krogers and saw a young couple he knew from work. He said the spirit told him to talk to them and gave them a Book of Mormon and has been stopping by ever since to follow up. We went by, taught Restoration and set 2 more dates for March! They are the best! And we left with the biggest smiles on our faces because God is just too good! :) Man it's the greatest feeling ever to teach the restoration over and over again and feel of that spirit and help people find out the church is true. It's the best. 

This week we've been studying lots about Moroni's challenge and promise in Moroni 10:3-5. Anyone who has served a mission is all too familiar with these verses. As we teach our investigators about the Restoration we finish by explaining that we are not here to persuade or convince them that our message is true, our purpose is to invite them to accept Moroni's challenge, we are there to help increase their desire to seek their own answers. We help them read The Book of Mormon and then ask God, who knows all, and to receive their own answer and gain their own testimony that their through own experiences, that what we are saying is true. I've also learned that Moronis' challenge is not just for first time readers. This is for all of us, everyday, after we read even just one verse, to get on our knees and plead with God with sincere hearts if that one verse we read is not true. And from personal experience I can say the spirit will testify again and again of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon to you by feelings given from the Holy Ghost. 

Moroni's challenge is also for those who once knew it was true and have forgotten. Sometimes I become frustrated because I have a hard time remembering spiritual experiences. I've come to learn that there is a reason for it! Because I forget, even things that happened last week, it makes me yearn for more. It requires me to keep working and striving for those kind of experiences every day. Because we work with members who have forgotten their testimony or maybe felt like they never really got the answer, we always suggest they TRY AGAIN  with sincere hearts and the intent to act upon their answer. Having the confirmation of the Book of Mormon is the most important piece of our testimony we can gain. From what I've seen those who have received this witness aren't likely to leave. 

I was guided to the conference talk "The Great Commandment" by Elder Holland, a talk I've referred to in my emails before. Go read it again:) I thought it connected well because like Peter, after having the knowledge of the gospel and working so closely with Christ, he was unsure how to go forward after death of the Savior, and funny enough, decided to just go fishing instead. As the resurrected Savior returned and called upon Peter, he asked him if he love Him 3 times. Peter claimed he did. Elder Holland paraphrased the Saviors response:
 "Then Peter, why are you here? Why are we back on this same shore, by these same nets, having this same conversation? Wasn’t it obvious then and isn’t it obvious now that if I want fish, I can get fish? What I need, Peter, are disciples"

Many of us like to go fishing. We aren't real sure how to move forward or may run into road blocks so "fishing" seems like the safe option. But the last thing we want to be found doing is sitting on the lake taking a nap when there is SO MUCH for us to be doing that result in a greater happiness than a few temporary fish dinners. I'm not a big fan of fish anyway ha. 

Our loyalty to the gospel won't budge if our testimony is centered on the evidence of the restored Gospel. PMG says "Reading, pondering and praying about the Book of Mormon are critical for an enduring conversion." I love the Book of Mormon.  President told his non member family before leaving for his mission "any positive change you see in me is because of my testimony of Book of Mormon"  I feel the exact same. The bible and Book of Mormon together is the fullness of the gospel of Jesus Christ. 

On a different note, I heard about the passing of Sadie Wells. Char told me about it through email on Tuesday. I was incredibly shocked; my head was kind of in the clouds all day. I can't claim to know Sadie very well, because I didn't. I had only hung out with her a small handful of times and our relationship didn't really go beyond Instagram friends. The biggest connection I had with Sadie is that we both are Sister Missionaries. I just simply want to testify that the veil is a little thinner with the calling of a missionary. I imagine the transition she made from the work she was doing here to the work she is doing now are quite similar. Sadie ended all of her emails quoting a primary song. I want to echo her testimony,

Have faith, have hope, Live like his son, help others on their way. 

Love y'all
Te quiero 

TATTOO VALENTINES

THANKS FOR THE MUSTACHES AMANDA!
WEEKLY WALMART TRIP

P-DAY AT THE CARNATHAN'S!

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

"Y'ALL" SHOULD TRY IT!

Hey fam!

Remember our latest investigator?? The one who supposed to get baptized yesterday?!? Yea, she dropped us. We went over and saw her every day. We showed her the font and had a good chapel lesson. She said she felt like she hadn't gotten 100% of an answer yet but knew that baptism was the right thing. There were a few things we didn't feel 100% about and so we were thinking about pushing it back a week to give her more time to prepare but then Thursday she text us and told us she got an answer and that she wasn't going to be baptized. We went over immediately to talk to her and she felt like God wanted her to learn about other churches but not to join them....I got emotional as we bore our final testimonies. We tried to overcome concerns but she wasn't budging. Her cute little 4 year old yelled to us as we left "I'll miss you girls!" We told her if she ever changes her mind to please call.

Okay so now rewind to last summer, comp inventory with Hermana Lewis. At the end of weekly planning we do this sometimes awkward thing called comp inventory where you pick out strengths that each other has and then give something they could work on. One week Lewis told me to try not to get so down when things go bad. Humbling moment for sure. Haha But remember she was always very good at that and since she'd brought it up with me it was something I worked on.

So now back to our investigator. We got back in the car and kind of just sat in silence for a minute. Normally at this point I'm feeling pretty frustrated and running back though my head everything we did wrong or things we should have done but instead I had a sense of peace that something better was coming or/and there was a reason behind why we were being dropped and that I didn't need to know why. As I'm realizing that I'm not frustrated I immediately went back to Hermana Lewis's advice and felt so grateful that she had called me out on it and that it was something I've improved on. So we shook that one off and got back to work.

Granted, a few days later when we called the entire ward to borrow a gosh dang ladder and NO ONE IN ARKANSAS OWNS LADDERS, I got a little frustrated. However, I'm getting better ;) Poco a poco people. Poco a poco

AARI
Y'all may have already seen pictures of Aari's baptism! She is 8 but her parents wanted her to have all the lessons before baptism. We've been over recently getting her ready. We've has a blast, she is a little fireball. For a minute she was sad to be getting baptized because she wanted us to keep coming over. Haha Her baptism went so well. Lot's of ward members came to support and she was so happy. The spirit is always so sweet at baptisms, and they keep getting sweeter because I love being with my Russellville family and hearing their testimonies, I love being a part of this ward family. Not that my Utah ward isn't amazing so don't get me wrong here, but when you are the minority outside of Utah, you have to stick together. I've mentioned in previous emails that because if the move ins we've been working to unite the ward better, which we still are working on, but all in all it's a very close knit ward. If y'all would move out here with me I would live here. :)

NOCHE DE DEPORTES
THE KITCHEN CREW
THE SMITHS SIGNED UP TO FEED US AND FORGOT IT WAS THE SUPER BOWL. SO WE GOT TO GO TO THE PARTY AT THE EASTMAN'S AND ATE ALL THE FOOTBALL FOOD AND HANG OUT IN THE KITCHEN WHERE WE COULDN'T SEE THE TV :) 
GO BRONCOS!
DON'T WORRY, WE WEREN'T WATCHING! ON OUR WAY OUT WE SNAPPED A PICTURE. (CUTE SISTER DAVIS! HAHA)

With the whole Y'all thing, I actually don't remember what I used to say before. "You all?" "You guys?" Seems like an awful lot of work to me. Try it--> Y'all . y'all wanna say a prayer? y'all wanna come to church? Y'all reading your scriptures? It's so much easier admit it. I don't have some crazy accent; it's just my normal Utah one. Y'all should try it.

Katie and actually quite a few members use "fixin to" a lot..like "I'm fixin to head to the store. "I swore I wouldn't use that one. It comes out every once in a great while. Normally I just use it when I'm imitating Katie. So I think the only thing southern about me is y'all and that I really love pickled okra.

We had our monthly zone meeting the week. Our focuses for the next 3 months are on effective studies and recognizing the spirit. So our leaders instructed on that. President and Sister Wakolo came, bless their hearts they look exhausted. Haha It's probably the most draining thing in the world to be in charge of 200 twenty year olds. I can't even imagine. We talked about better vessels for the spirit and president mentioned that he never listens to music no matter how far the car ride so that he has time to prepare for whatever he has next and ponder on things. So it's been something we've tested out. It definitely helps keep the right mind set. Another bid take away was as we start studies to not stop praying until I'm focused.  

ZONE PICTURE
(BACK FROM CHRISTMAS)
After returning home from zone meeting I was looking over our schedule and didn't feel good about it. I said a prayer and asked specifically for a name to pop in my head. Sister Carnathan's friend Amanda, who we taught over the summer, who also more or less dropped us, came to mind. So we headed that way. When we got there she didn't answer so we just left her a note and started knocking all of her neighbors. I wish I could report that we found a golden new investigator or something but we definitely didn't. We passed out tons of pass along cards and had a few conversations. We gave a bunch to construction workers that were out working too but nothing really came from anything. It was weird because we spent over an hour in this area and found nothing but it just felt like we were in the exact spot we were supposed to be in. And to seal the deal as we were leaving, Hermana Mac turned to me and said "I don't know why we needed to be in the area, but everything about it just felt right." So anywho, I guess the confirmation that we are following the spirit is always a good feeling.

Amber had her baby shower this weekend! Baby Ellowyn will be here in like a month now! Woohoo! I may need to have my first baby shower here so Sister Ashley can decorate for me. That woman is crafty. (She is the one married to Si Robertson't twin) Genevieve came! And all the ward friends and Ambers family. We couldn't stay long because we had a branch choir practice that I'll send a pic of. Haha Vero called a branch choir practice because she was annoyed that everyone was off pitch. During this practice, she taught them some songs they didn't know and the wanted to sing them the next day in Sacrament. So on Sunday I was in Spanish sacrament and Mac (aka the piano player) was in English. I lead the music without the piano (reminder: ALL of these songs are brand new to the branch). We managed to get through the opening song ok, and then the sacrament song came...it was a bit disastrous. I sang one song, Vero sang another, and everyone else made up their own. Hahahaha I was dying. We finished strong on the last one because President made sure it was one we all knew. Hahaha oh goodness I love it.


SPANISH CHOIR/HYMN PRACTICE
We have a few brand new Spanish gators but nothing too big to report on them yet. I love that we can switch back and forth from English to Spanish so well now. It used to be stressful, but I like it. Our list of potentials keeps growing so hopefully some good things will come from those.

One last quick little thought. Our stake Presidents wife, Sister Wing, spoke recently and from her talk I recorded in my notebook: "How do we get rid of darkness? In general, in my life or home, with investigator concerns? Where there is darkness, rather than focusing on it or trying to remove it, replace it with light instead."

Alma 19:6 "he knew that the dark veil of unbelief was being cast away from his mind, and the light which did light up his mind, which was the light of the glory of God, which was a marvelous light of his goodness--yea, this light had infused such joy into his soul, the cloud of darkness having been dispelled, and the the light of everlasting life was lit up in his soul,"

Thank you for the packages!!
IT'S A MIRACLE! CARSON SENT ME A PACKAGE!!!
Love y'all 
Te quiero ♥

Monday, February 1, 2016

I'M NOT IN PRISON :)
COCO TURNED 3 THIS WEEK!

For a minute there we didn't think January was ever going to end. Happy February!

This week’s happenings:

We got a call from the elders Monday night asking when we were going to give up the car...we completely spaced that it was our bike week. Surprise! But it worked out great because it was in the 60's all week and we biked around without jackets or anything. IT’S BEEN BEAUTIFUL
 
We got a text from the Elders this week that said "how do you make eyebrows grow back" haha turns out they went to get haircuts and instead of "trimming" his eyebrows they ended up shaving them almost completely off...hahahahh. They are now just the patchiest little things. hahaha

Ward Chili Cookoff Saturday night. Chili and cornbread is still my favorite so that worked out great. Even better though we had 5 investigators show up! 
 
LUNCH AT KATIE'S WITH SAM AND JOE!

All 3 of our dates right now were at church this week. Woohoo! The ward has been champs at welcoming them in and giving rides and such. 

One of them was our investigator that I've been mentioning recently.  Her biggest hold up was her husband wouldn't give her permission to be baptized. So we've been praying real hard that he would have a change of heart. At the beginning of the week when we went over to teach we asked her about it and she said that he gave her permission! YAY!  We've been teaching her for around 2 weeks now and she is already in 2 Nephi and studies from the gospel principals book. She is so humble and ready to learn. She and her kiddos stayed for all 3 hours again this week. They love it. We have her baptism scheduled for next Sunday. 

We were preparing for a lesson on obedience this week and I read through Thomas S. Monson's talk he gave in the last conference during the priesthood session on keeping the commandments. He said:

"God’s commandments are not given to frustrate us or to become obstacles to our happiness. Just the opposite is true. He who created us and who loves us perfectly knows just how we need to live our lives in order to obtain the greatest happiness possible. He has provided us with guidelines which, if we follow them, will see us safely through this often treacherous mortal journey. He understands that when we keep the commandments, our lives will be happier, more fulfilling, and less complicated. Our challenges and problems will be easier to bear, and we will receive His promised blessings."

When we teach commandments often people think it’s just insane that we don't drink coffee or won't work on Sundays. These things feel restricting and maybe even a bit ridiculous. We hear replies like "my one cup of coffee in the morning isn't going to send me to hell." Yea they are probably right, but it definitely is robbing them of happiness that can't be reached by disobedience. 


I started to create a list of blessings I've seen in my life because of simple obedience to the commandments. Here are a few:

-I'm not addicted to anything
-I'm not in prison :) 
-I'm healthy (minus the accessible amount of cornbread I ate on Saturday)
-I have full access to my agency, always.
-I have the spirit with me to help me make decisions and warn me of danger
-I know how I can be free of guilt from mistakes and how to start fresh each week 
-I know how to get answers from God to any question I have
etc etc etc

The commandments certainly aren't limiting me in anyway. "Just the opposite is true."

I hope all is well in Utah! I'm not too jealous of all the cold and snow I must admit :) 

Love y'all
Te quiero 

 HERMANA BARRERA KILLIN IT WITH THE BRAIDS!