Wednesday, January 28, 2015


Hello my loveliest & most beautiful family in the world, 

      This week has been so wonderful!! I have been loving every moment, the members have been feeding us like crazy - honestly, we are getting fed dinner every night & fed lunch a bunch of days too haha I am still being stuffed with Mexican food ... the weather has been beyond beautiful, I have the most darling companion in the world, we are teaching soo many incredible people & overall life is treating me so well. I could not feel more blessed!! Here are some updates!!

      Monday. We had such a fun p-day last week! We emailed early and then went and played fútbol at a park in Chico with investigators, members & missionaries from our branch! It was soo much fun. Mexicans are incredible at soccer too however they are the sweetest so it was somewhat competitive but everyone had a complete blast and ahh I loved it so much. I even found myself getting quite into the game and I made several attempts at making a goal but the goalies were too good for my skills. Hahaha it was awesome though. I loved it! Then after the game, Hermana Cluff & I looked around at some shops in Chico and had a lovely day together. The weather is absolutely beautiful here, we're in the mid 70's now and I am loving it far too much!! My freckles are even showing up which is making me happy. I've missed them. Haha
      TuesdayTuesday was wonderful! First off, we had district meeting however, this district meeting was a bit different than usual. So ... before a missionary goes home, they always give a "departing testimony" at either the last zone conference or zone meeting they attend. So, because I am the only missionary leaving in my zone, my zone leaders forgot I would be giving my departing testimony and I admit, it crossed my mind at our last zone meeting but I didn't say anything haha so I didn't give one. Well, I still never said anything but then when we had our interviews with President, he brought it up. So anyways, President was a little upset that the ZL's forgot and he still wanted me to have a good audience to give my departing testimony to. So he then asked for me to give it at my next district meeting and to my surprise, the zone leaders, sister training leaders and Hmong Elders (who just came along for the fun & because I have served with them for a ton of my mission - Elder Lemon & Elder Kidd) showed up at our district meeting as well! Hahaha all to hear me bear my testimony. It really didn't need to be a big ordeal but they were all very kind to drive 30 minutes just to support me. Haha I actually kinda felt embarrassed when they all showed up but I did end up giving my departing testimony ... and it was definitely an experience I will never forget. Yes, it was sad ... and at first brought tears to my eyes ... but as I continued to share my testimony with my incredible district and other outstanding missionaries I have grown to love, I felt the spirit so strongly and felt such peace, gratitude & comfort come over me. Especially as I heard the words of my precious testimony escape my mouth. I am so so beyond grateful for the testimony I have gained while serving as a full-time missionary these past 17 (almost 18) months and nothing makes me happier than to know that no matter where I am, my testimony will be with me. I get to take my testimony home with me and that brings complete peace, joy & gratitude into my heart. It is a permanent part of me and the greatest gift I could have received on my mission. It is mind boggling for me to see how much my testimony has grown & been strengthen while on my mission as well. I never expected it to have grown as much as it has. Ohh the Lord has blessed me so much. But also at our district meeting, Hermana Cluff & I gave a short little focus on faith - which I will be briefly explaining more about in a little bit. But that was awesome and then after our district meeting we all went out to lunch and got Chinese! Pretty fun. After district meeting though we had a pretty normal day. We had a good amount of lessons, delicious dinner at the Whitaker's - Montse (Hermana Whitaker) makes the best & freshest Mexican food. I am trying to take notes!! Haha
      WednesdayWednesday our Zone Blitz!! This was only the second zone blitz I have had on my mission and I loved it! Instead of tracting this time though we were given 12 or so names of less-actives to contact for the Chico 4th ward and then we each had a service activity. Hermana Cluff ended up driving all around Chico for our 12 relief society/less-active women and then we, in my opinion, we're given the best service opportunity! We went and visited an elderly lady in a rest home. Her name was Nancy and she was the cutest thing. We also ended chatting with her & her adorable roommate, Barbara. Both of them were the sweetest and we all enjoyed one another's company very much. We chatted about all kinds of things - traveling, how they met their husbands, our families, etc. Also, cutest thing ... Nancy was talking about how she enjoys watching romance movies and Barbara (who's 94 and was married for 67 years) said, "I don't need to watch love stories, I lived mine." Okay, we were dying. Then a Sister said, "I want a marriage that will last 67 years!" and Sister Nateri (from Kiribati - an island in the middle of the ocean) whispered to me in her broken English and said, "I want a marriage that will last forever." Okay. So cute. Haha Sisters are the cheesiest. I love it. But anyways, that was a lot of fun and we had a wonderful day. The blitz was from 10 am to 9 pm too so it was an all day event but there's something super exciting about blitzing an area with tons of missionaries. Such a thrill!! Also, we sang the California Roseville Mission song and it's a rare occasion when we do (usually only at zone conferences & trainer/trainee) so I recorded it this time and will send it to you!!! I love our mission song. It was written by a Sister forever ago and it always takes me back to my very first day in the field when all of the trainers sang it to us trainees and I was the happiest person on the planet knowing I was finally about to start the real work & that Hermana Piggott was my trainer!! So it's a very nostalgic song. Also, it always reminds me of a President Weston and the last time we sang it with him, he was about to leave and everyone was a bit emotional. But so yes, that was a great day!! 
      ThursdayThursday was a pretty normal day ... we had service, a relief society activity and best of all, we had an incredible lesson with Marco!!! We taught him at a beautiful park again, it was a new one this time but still lovely ... and we taught him about temples, baptisms for the dead, family history, eternal marriage, etc. We taught him a ton and a lot of it was brand new information for him but it ended up being such an incredible lesson. Marco is amazing!!!! Honestly. He has progressed soooo much and impresses me more & more every time we teach him. First off, he understood everything we taught him about these subjects and although he had questions along the way, there were never any objections or doubts to what he taught and he found it all quite fascinating & intriguing. I even asked him at the end if he had a desire to enter into the temple one day and he said yes. I then asked him about being baptized and he said he has been contemplating over it a lot lately!!! He said at first his big drive to be baptized was his mother, because he knows how happy it would make her but he then said that he now knows he wouldn't just be baptized for her but for himself as well. Now that he realizes it is becoming something he truly desires for himself though, he wants to make sure he doesn't rush into it too fast ... he want to feel ready. He also said he knows he needs to read the Book of Mormon more. He has been keeping up with our reading commitments but he wants to read more on his own. He did also address that he's still a little nervous to fully read the Book of Mormon because he says if he doesn't feel different after reading it, he will be completely turned off to everything. However, we continue to tell him we have full confidence in the book and he knows he needs to read more. I am almost positive he will be baptized before he reads the entire Book of Mormon though. But I also know he would not be able to stop investigating the church unless he read the entire book and felt it weren't true. Which will not happen. So again, he will be baptized. It is now just a matter of when. Ahh I can hardly believe it!! It makes me soooo happy! He will be such a miracle baptism for me. He also kept telling us over & over how he wants us to know we are not wasting our time with him. He told us he is taking this all very serious and truly contemplating over all that we teach him all the time. He also kept emphasizing how we are the first missionaries he has ever listened too, he used to refuse to listen to other missionaries, and to now see where he is at ..... it is such a miracle!!!! I feel so so blessed & fortunate to have been one of the missionaries he opened up to & allowed to teach him for the first time after his parents & sister have been baptized for years. It is such a privilege. I know that Marco is a huge huge reason why I was called to serve here in the Hamilton City branch. I cannot wait to see when he gets baptized!! With his quick progression, I have a feeling it will be sooner than later! 
      FridaySaturday & Sunday. This past weekend we spent a ton, a ton of time contacting formers & tracting. We desperately need new investigators. Our other investigators are just kinda at a stand still - for example, at our lesson with Lorena this past week she told us how she still wants to be baptized but she's waiting for her family to be ready too - and anyways, we just really need new blood. So, we are trying our best to expand our pool & find new people!!! Luckily, like I mentioned earlier, the weather has been so so beautiful - actually, on Saturday while we were tracting it got pretty toasty, high 70's, and we both got tons of sun on our faces, I never thought I would be worrying about getting sun in January!!!! I am loving & soaking in the warm weather so so much though, it's perfect - so we have been more than happy to walk the streets of little Orland & tract. We haven't found too much success yet, a few solid potentials is all for now but we'll see!! I know there are tons of goldens surrounding us, we just have to find them!! Also, heartbreaking news. We found out this weekend, while visiting a part-member family, that a member in our branch may have a brain tumor. He was air lifted to a hospital in San Francisco and possibly will be getting surgery or algo así anytime now. Very very sad.
      Faith. So again, at district meeting Hermana Cluff & I did a combined focus on faith. Here's an idea of what we talked about & discussed .... As missionaries, our purpose is to, "invite others to come unto Christ, by helping them receive the restored gospel by faith in Jesus Christ, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost and enduring to the end." So, our purpose is first to help them come unto Christ by increasing their faith in Jesus Christ. Faith is everything and absolutely essential for one's spiritual progression. So, we help others increase their faith but to do so, we ourselves must also exercise & increase our faith in Jesus Christ. Hermana Cluff then talked about just that. How we, as full-time missionaries and members of the church, must exercise our faith consistently. We must first desire to increase our faith, we ask our Father in Heaven to help us receive greater faith, we act on the faith that we have and do things that require faith ... to be more specific for us full-time missionaries, we took a leap of faith to accept a call to serve in a foreign land, often speaking a foreign language ... we must have faith to open our mouths to everyone around us, to knock on complete strangers doors & ask them if we can share a message about the restored gospel of Jesus Christ, we must have faith in ourselves, faith that we can truly teach & preach the word of God, that we can truly preach the gospel of Jesus Christ in a foreign language, we must have faith in our messages, testimonies & in the Book of Mormon - making our promises & invitations solid & powerful - we must have faith that there truly are people waiting & ready for the messages that we have, we must have faith in our investigators, less-actives, recent converts & members, we must have faith that all will happen according to the Lord's will & His timing and we must have faith that as long as we are obedient, diligent & try are very best, we will constantly have the companionship of the Holy Ghost with us to lead, help & guide us and we will indeed be successful missionaries & tools in the Lord's hands. Then, once we ourselves are consistently striving to gain greater faith, our purpose (as mentioned above) is to help others do the same. I am here entirely to help others gain greater faith in Jesus Christ and alongside that, help them gain greater faith in themselves. I have been called to proclaim the restored gospel of Jesus Christ along with helping those I teach gain a greater idea of who they truly are and who & what their divine potential is. It's no surprise that the very first thing we mention when teaching the first lesson, The Restoration, is that God is our loving Heavenly Father and we are all His precious children. It is so crucial that the people we teach understand what their true identity is, that being a child of God and again, who & what they can become because of it. That truly is what changes people. There honestly is nothing more special than watching someone come to recognize who they truly are, that God literally knows who they are & loves them infinitely, that He has a specific plan just for them and that they have greater potential than they can possibly imagine. It's amazing. So again, our job as a full-time missionaries is to help others connect to heaven and know what they must do in order to reach this full potential. We help them know of the steps they must take, the ordinances they must partake in and we must help them learn how to better connect with heaven & their Heavenly Father through prayer (direct & personal communication) & scripture study (the word of God). These are some of the crucial tools that lead to one's conversion and help them understand the ways & will of the Lord. However, whether or not those we teach choose to act and follow the steps we present to them, it's ultimately their choice ... however, our responsibility is to clearly teach them & help them understand the way and then invite them to act. We are all Heavenly Father's children and we want all to become who they are destined to become and receive celestial glory. So, once we know we have shown them "the way" and invited them to make commitments and act, whether or not they choose to follow through, we can know we are being successful missionaries. And when we can recognize that the faith in those we teach is increasing, we can clearly see that we are being successful. That doesn't mean a baptism has to come as a result either. Of course, baptism is the first big step on the straight & narrow path but it truly becomes secondary. I absolutely love what Scotty once told me months & months ago, it has really stuck with me my entire mission and helped changed my perspective at times ... "Now, as I look back at all of the people I met and interacted with, I realize that the most important things that you can do is help people believe in themselves, help them be more united as a family and help them to love and respect their fellow man. Be the one who introduces the real love of Christ into their lives. Whether or not they follow through with getting baptized right now is secondary. Realize that everyone has their own timeline and sometimes the timing just isn’t right. BUT, you can be the one that they will always remember as the angelic girl who cared so much about helping them. That changes people."         
      The reason I wanted to talk about all of this in my email, is now that my time as a full-time missionary is coming to end, I have been pondering a lot over my entire mission and praying to Heavenly Father consistently to know if I have indeed been a successful missionary. If I have accomplished all that I was called here to do. If I have made my Father proud. I feel so so blessed, humbled & full of joy to feel as though I truly have. When I talked about faith with my district I realized two crucial things. While serving, I have exercised more faith than ever before in my life & I have seen countless miracles because of it. I have seen my faith grow immensely and on top of that, I have seen the faith in others grow miraculously as well. Yes, many of these wonderful souls whose faith I've seen increase have been baptized - which makes me thrilled beyond measure - but also, I now am able to clearly reflect back on all of the wonderful people I have taught & am currently teaching who have not been baptized yet, whose faith I have seen grow more than I ever thought were possible. I know that I have taught countless people about the restored gospel & about how they can reach their divine potential, I have invited them to make those steps & take the first step of baptism, I can confidently say that I have (as Scotty mentioned) helped numerous people better believe in themselves, be more united as a family and love & respect their fellow men. More importantly, I truly feel as though I have introduced the real love of Christ into soo many people's lives and helped them feel His love through my own deep love & care for them. I am not saying that I have been a perfect missionary in the slightest but looking back ... I know that all those I have taught really know how much I love & care for them and know how much I believe in them and only want the best for them. So with knowing that, even if many of these people never get baptized .... I know I have been a successful missionary. You have no idea how refreshing & wonderful it feels to say that. I feel at complete peace and my heart is full of joy & gratitude. 

      Okay, well I still have one more week in the beautiful field!!!! So I will say no more for now. I am so so excited I have many more days ahead of me though!! There is still a lot of work to do. We have a very busy week planned ahead and I am so excited for it!! I love being a full-time missionary!! The work is amazing, I love the Lord with all of my heart, the gospel is true and I love you all so much!!!!!

Con amor,

Hermana Barth

Ps. I am still sending one more email next week!! So this is not the last time you'll hear from me as Hermana Barth!! 

19 de Enero, 2015

Hello my beautiful loved ones!!   

      How are all of you!? I hope each of you have had a wonderful week!! This past week for me was crazy! We had a lot going on and it completely flew by. I actually am very confused as to how I am already writing this email again. But it was full of wonderful events and here are updates!! 

      - TuesdayTuesday was a normal day and an amazing one! We had 6 lessons and even tracted a little in Hamilton City which led us to two new investigators!! So that was a successful day & we felt quite content afterwards. Also, while we were tracting I felt so happy. I honestly get such a thrill out of tracting and always feel so satisfied while doing it. There truly is nothing like having the ability to knock on complete strangers doors to preach the beautiful gospel & share the good news. We are helping others learn how they can better prepare for the Second Coming of the Lord, make it back to our Father in heaven and live with their family in celestial glory!! Could there be anything greater, more special or exciting!?
      - WednesdayWednesday I had my departing interview with President Marston. President is a very personable man though & his interviews always go a lot longer than planned ... so although we arrived at the stake center in Chico on time for our interviews ... I didn't end up meeting with him for about 3 hours after my scheduled time. He kept having other missionaries go before me too because I am the only one leaving in my zone, my interview was going to be an hour long and I think he knew it would last even longer than an hour haha ... and he was right. We ended up having our interview for about an hour & a half. It was fun beforehand though because I was able to spend a lot of time with Sister Marston and also, I was finishing up my departing papers. The "trunky" papers according to most missionaries but I am not trunky in the slightest so I dislike that title. Anyways, reflecting back on my mission while writing those papers made me a little emotional and although I had been previously talking to Sister Marston about how I don't feel anything as of now in regards to going home because it doesn't feel real at all, one time President Marston came in to grab an Elder and he made a comment about me probably dreading our interview but that it will all be good and to just relax haha and after he walked out I got a little choked up finishing up my thoughts on the papers. Then as it was finally my turn, I had an incredible interview with President. I won't tell you all that he said or what we discussed, I'm sure I'll share with you a lot of it at a later time ... but he made me feel so so loved & special. He always does. President Marston & I really do have a very special relationship and he knows it as well. I can't quite explain it but it's unique & special. At the end of our interview he got emotional too saying he still has a lot he wants to say to me but that it would have to wait because it would be too hard for him to say anything right then and he wasn't ready to. It really got to me when he said that too and my eyes filled with tears. I told him I couldn't say anymore, in regards to how much I love & appreciate him, yet either because I still had plenty of time so when I asked him if that was the last time I would officially get to meet with him he said, "Nope. It does not have to be." And he said he would love to talk to me briefly again right before I leave. I then asked him if he would give me a blessing sometime before as well and he told me he would love to & be honored to and said he will give me one in his office the night we have our dinner & testimony meeting with all the departing missionaries (23 of us) at his house the night before we take off. So I greatly look forward to that. Even thinking about it made me tear up too. Also, right before he said the closing prayer, I gave him back his hankerchief - there was one point in the interview when I got more emotional & he handed me it - and he all of the sudden paused, his eyes filled with tears, and he told me something came into his mind. He continued to tell me about his grandmother named Madeline Emily and then his mother Madeline Emily and he told me how he inherited a little box of some of his grandmother's handkerchiefs and how he would like to send me one of them when the timing was right. Wow. I could not have felt more privileged in that moment. He is far too good to me and again, always makes me feel so special. Then to make my heart soften even more, during his prayer he got a little emotional and especially when he thanked Heavenly Father for putting us in one another's lives. It was so darling!! I love President Marston soo much!!! There was so so much we discussed during the interview though and I took notes on all I could remember afterwards so I'll share more with you later. It was amazing though. Oh! And he also asked if I would bring him a picture of our family the night we meet at his house. He is so sweet. I love him. Also, while I was being interviewed, Sister Marston & Hermana Cluff went and got us all sandwiches for lunch!! We are treated far too good!!
      - Thursday. So Wednesday night we drove to Yuba to meet up with Hermana Hughes & her greenie Hermana Oliver, Hermana Hughes & I were dying as we were leaving and driving around Yuba City together. Soo many memories were flooding into our minds. Yuba City = Hermana Hughes to me so it was quite nostalgic. Ah, I love her so much. But so then I got to spend Thursday in Citrus Heights with my baby Hughes!!! It was the best!!! Of course, it was amazing because I got to be with Hermana Hughes & we just chatted our brains out catching up and reminiscing on old times but also, I loved being able to spend a day in the Citrus Heights/Roseville/Antelope area. I have never served in the more southern Spanish areas - Lincoln & Citrus Heights areas - so that was very fun for me. I always have served up north and oh my goodness the areas are so so different. It's much fancier in the south and the cities are huge. Haha I am used to literally the ghetto, humble, small town, orchard, field worker areas ... which I absolutely love. But there is definitely a different feel. So that was very fun for me. We had some incredible lessons and two of the lessons we had an investigator & a less-active cried which was apparently unusual so it was clear we had very spirit filled lessons. Oh my goodness the people are amazing there and the members are fantastic. I can't lie and say I'm not a little sad I never had the chance to serve there but I know the Lord has placed me where I have been needed and now I have spent at least a day in all of the Spanish areas (there are 5 of them) so I feel content. Also, we stopped by the mission office which was a blast. That's one of the benefits of the areas down south. They get to visit the office more & see President much more, lucky dogs. But so again, it was such a fun day. I am so so happy I got to spend another full day with Hermana Hughes too. I really have missed her a lot and I loved being "companions" with her again. She is honestly an incredible missionary and I loved seeing how much she has grown since we served together when she was fresh in the field. She's amazing. Also, something that really got to me was on our drive to Gridley the next night ... we had an incredible chat, we seriously talked about everything, but what made my heart feel very happy was we spent a lot of time talking about training - since we're both currently training - and she started listing off things that she learned from me when I trained her, she even quoted things she remembered me telling her that have helped her thus far on her mission and she told me how I really did set the tone for her mission. It's crazy but we talked about how trainers really are so important and make such a difference in their greenies mission. Missionaries, most of the time, pick up many of their habits, ways of working & thinking from how their trainer was. Often they end up being missionaries very similar to the type of missionary their trainer was. So anyways, that made me feel really good and I loved seeing how she has continued doing many of the same things I did with her with her trainee. Although I was not a perfect trainer at all, it brought a lot of peace to my heart to know I've made a positive impact on her mission in some way. Also, it made me reflect on how blessed I was to get the absolute best trainer in the world!!!!!! My trainer, Hermana Piggott, has become my very best friend - as you all very well know - and I owe her the world for how much she impacted, influenced & blessed my mission. It's no wonder the Lord put us together for 5 transfers. Besides her, I will not have served with a companion for more than 2 transfers. Crazy!
      - FridayFriday was incredible!!! So, we first had a trainer/trainee meeting in Gridley!! That was a total blast. We got to spend some time with President & Sister Marston and also, I got to see all of the Spanish Hermanas!! Every companionship is training right now except for one - but they're the Gridley Hermanas so they came to say hello afterwards. But then, after the meeting we went out to lunch with all of the Hermanas and it was so much fun!! Haha there are just 10 of us in the entire mission so it's a lot of fun. Also, Hermana Harper - who's now serving in Gridley - told me something that touched my heart more than I can say. She told me about how they were teaching Yamara one day and they had her make a list of things she needed to do to become more like the Savior. Then, they told her instead to write down her biggest role model and then list off the characteristics of that person and the things she must do in order to become more like that person. Honestly, this almost brought me to tears when she told me but she said Yamara wrote down & told them that her biggest role model was me!!!! Could there be anything more sweet or darling than that!?! Ahh I love my little Yamara more than words. She honestly means the world to me and I truly feel like she is my little sister/best friend. I love her so so so much. I cannot wait for you all to meet her. She could not be more adorable and wonderful in every way. I could not feel more privileged or blessed to have been a tool in the Lord's hand to help that choice daughter of our Heavenly Father come closer unto Jesus Christ & be baptized. She is such a miracle & blessing in my life. But so that completely made my day. I couldn't stop smiling or get the warmest feeling out of my heart for the rest of the day. It also just felt so good to be back home in Gridley. A giant piece of my heart is left in that town. But then after lunch, Brother & Sister Orme picked us up and we headed to Sacramento to go to the temple!!!! First off, it was beyond wonderful & exciting for me to see and be with the Orme's again, I know I've said this a million times but they sincerely feel like my aunt & uncle, and then having my darling Hermana Cluff with me and us all going to the House of the Lord together ... I could not have been a happier soul!!!!!!!! I was honestly on cloud 9. The whole drive to Sacramento was a blast for me too because I was able to reminisce on all of my Gridley glory days and then get updates on all my loved ones. Everyone seems to be doing absolutely wonderful!! Which makes me beyond pleased. The converts & members in that little town are so solid. I love them all soo much!!! Then of course, the temple was incredible. Beyond beyond incredible. For some reason everything looked even more beautiful & felt even more special that day. It was amazing!!! I was in the temple with 3 of my absolute favorite people. How does live get better than that!? Also, I got to see a super new temple movie that I had never seen before! I am super excited to watch it again on my next temple trip on the 30th. But anyways, it was so wonderful and did my heart & spirit so much good. I honestly haven't felt so much peace in awhile. When I am in the temple I truly can feel the Lord's presence so so strongly, the Spirit touches me so strongly that I feel as though my body is completely warm & tingly all over and my heart is about to burst the entire time. I love it. Especially in the Celestial room when I am able to really really ponder, meditate & pray in such reverence, peace & beauty ... ahh it does the heart & soul so much good. I think I could spend hours in the Celestial room. To me, it really does feel as though the rest of the world stops when I am in there. Nothing else matters except that which is of eternal significance & importance and I truly do feel as though I get a glimpse of the Celestial Kingdom. It is incredible. I also had a special spiritual experience while I was in the Celestial room but I feel as though it's too personal to share at this time. Oh, I love the temple so much. Then, after the temple, the Orme's too us out to dinner and we went to a place close by called Cattlemans. I don't know if any of you have heard of this place but wow. It was super super nice and their food was outstanding. It was clear they had incredible meat too so Hermana Cluff & I both got their tri-tip steak. Oh my goodness I don't know if food has ever tasted better in my entire life. It was the most delicious steak I have ever had in my life!!! I'm not kidding it was so good and I even was able to take some of it home for lunch the next day. It was heaven!!!! So that was a blast and the Orme's spoiled us rotten. I love them so much!! They honestly are far too good to me. I really do feel like they are family to me though and they say I feel like their other daughter so we have a pretty special relationship. Ever since my first day in the field this family has had a special place in my heart. Haha I honest met Brother Orme & his son Drew, little Brother Orme haha my first day in the field and we'll all never forget it!!! I am so blessed to have them in my life!!! How fun is it for me too that I can come back and visit them all of the time and three of their kids families live in Utah so they visit there all the time as well. I seriously am the luckiest!!!!
      - SaturdaySaturday we had a few hours in Chico doing service with our zone. We loaded more medical supplies heading to Liberia! And I had a lot of fun, especially chatting with Sister Woods, from England. I don't know what it is about her either but she seriously treats me so good and we all of the sudden have become super super close. She is such a sweetheart and so much fun to be around. Haha she also gives some of the best hugs ever and I guess since I don't hug much anymore - besides female investigators & members - they seem even better. But boy does she hug me tight. And she also always kisses my cheek hahaha I'm used to the cheek kissing by now. Most of the Hispanic ladies do it as well. But so that was great. We then had weekly planning & a few other lessons. One including Mercedes and it was incredible!!! We taught her again about keeping the Sabbath Day holy and then I decorated her a jar with Piggott awhile back and we cut out strips of paper for her to write on and list out things she can do on Sundays. Well anyways, it ended up being an incredible lesson and especially when she offered the prayer at the end. Each of us - the Warmoth's, Hermana Cluff & I - were all almost in tears it was so heartfelt, sincere and sweet. She thanked Heavenly Father over and over for us and expressed to Him how much we have changed her & her life and how much she loves & appreciates us. It was the cutest prayer ever and honestly was so so sincere. That is one of my all time favorite things about converts is when they pray, it is clear they are truly speaking to Heavenly Father & expressing to Him all that is on their mind. It always sounds like an actual conversation that they're having with God and I love love love it. 
      - SundaySunday was pretty normal, Sacrament meeting was awesome - I'm still the chorister & loving it ... President Paulson from our mission presidency came to our branch, Hermana Cluff & I taught our primary class - I love our little niños so much ... and then also, to our great surprise ... Guess who completely surprised us and came to church!?!?! Manuela!!!!! Our gangster/teddy bear investigator Manuela G!!!! I have been teaching this woman since I first arrived her in Orland 7 months ago and she finally came to church!! And get this, she walked to church!!!! Is that amazing or what!?! We were completely shocked!!!!! And she said it felt very good to go too! We are so so so thrilled & happy!!! What a miracle! Also, we had other great lessons today including one with members. We had dinner with the Orozco's and then Sister Orozco asked us if we would start teaching her family the discussions every Sunday after we have dinner with them. They're members but she wants her kids to hear the discussions and anyways, we had an incredible Restoration lesson with them and we went some different routes on parts and it was different than I have ever taught that lesson before but I loved it!! The spirit was super strong and we all had a wonderful experience. 

      Well, that's about as detailed of a report & update as you could get. I included far more than you would even like to hear but it was an event filled week!! Ohh it was such a wonderful week. I love my mission more than words and am having the time of my life. I never want it to end!!!!! We have such a packed week coming up as well & I cannot wait! There really is no greater feeling then being super busy as a missionary. It makes me so happy and it is so much fun!!!!!!! Missions are the best thing in the world & I am truly the happiest!!!!!

Okay, well I love you all so much! Have a wonderful week!!

Con mucho amor,

Hermana Barth

there is sunshine in my soul today

Hello lovely family of mine!! 

      Today has been quite eventful thus far! This morning we had our usual morning - running & studies - and then we had a lesson with Manuella!! We haven't been able to catch her at home for a little while so when she called us telling us she was free, we rushed to the opportunity. Then we had lunch here in Chico at the Arevalo's ... we ate huge tortas!! Oh, they are so good. Except the meat for the sandwiches was called, "Pig cheese" ... interesting. Tasted great though! And then we went on a hike with Marco & his sister, who's a member & young woman from the branch!! The hike is called "Monkey face" because the rock you climb up to looks like a monkey face, clearly ... but it is here in Chico and was a ton of fun! The weather was absolutely perfect and we all had a very peaceful & great time together. So that was great! Then we came to the stake center to email and after emailing we're going out to dinner with the Willows Sisters & Orland Elders. On Saturday we helped this lady in the willows area who lives in the middle of an orchard, clean her house & orchard for about 5 hours so in return, she is taking us all out to dinner tonight! I am excited!! But as for some updates of the week & speaking of Marco ...   
      1. Update on Marco!! There is so much to say I honestly do not know where to even begin. Marco is amazing!!! Seriously. He is my absolute favorite to teach right now and we are just beyond happy with his progression & the changes we are continually witnessing take place in him and his heart. So for more information, we had two lessons with him this past week and both were incredible! Our first lesson was on following the Prophet - our living Prophet, Thomas S. Monson, Priesthood, the leadership & organization in the church, etc. and we showed him the conference talk "Come and See" given by Elder Bednar. He loved it all and it was such an amazing lesson! He had no doubts on anything we taught (which was surprising because in the past he seemed unsure about us having a living prophet) and he just was so receptive, respectful, nice and awesome. Haha funny story too. We always ask him to pray at the end of our lessons & he never has ... so after this lesson as soon as I turned to him and gave him "the look" he immediately said, "don't ask." Haha which we laughed about but it only took him a few seconds after he said it before he felt sooo bad and apologized over & over again for saying that. He said it totally came out wrong and he didn't mean to sound rude or disrespectful. Haha we just brushed it off too but he still felt so so bad. It was classic. But then before one of us said the closing prayer, he - on his own - promised me that he would say a prayer for one of our lessons before I leave. So that was good news!! Now for our next lesson. First off, we chose to have a deeper lesson on Prophets, Priesthood authority, revelation, etc. at our Tuesday lesson so that we could prepare him for our lesson on Thursday - that being on the latter-day revelations given to Joseph Smith in regards to The Word of Wisdom & Law of Chastity. And our promptings to do this ended up being spot on and perfect. So, on Thursday we met him at a beautiful park to have our lesson. We sat beneath all of these trees, next to a large river, the weather was perfect ... it was amazing!! But so us three sat down and naturally started chatting about things. We were just chatting about life, etc. and getting a good, natural discussion going. Honestly, it's the best because on top of Marco being on of our investigators, he really is starting to feel more & more like one of our friends. Which is a big blessing because he now is more comfortable with us, trusts us and really opens up to us. It's great!! But so as the conversation started going it naturally leaned towards the topics we were going to be teaching!! So as soon as the timing was seriously perfect, we said our opening prayer and started teaching the planned discussion. Well, as we started teaching the Word of Wisdom, we were both completely shocked at how he was reacting to it all. We quickly found out that he has never drank coffee or tea in his life, never done drugs, never smoked & has only socially drank a few times with his friends. However, he was so proud & happy to tell us he had never partaken of any of the other substances, besides alcohol, without even knowing it was a commandment not to and so he said he would have no problem not drinking alcohol either. He said he had only done so a few times but really didn't feel enticed or inclined to anymore. Could there be a greater miracle!?!?!? We got into such an amazing discussion about all of it too and all of his comments were spot on & so perfect. He is appearing to be a "dry" member the more we meet with him. He knows & agrees with pretty much everything now! Then as we led into the Law of Chastity, which he naturally briefly mentioned when we were talking about the Word of Wisdom too ... he again, whole heartedly agreed with all that we said & taught!!! He even brought up tattoos himself - told us how he had no desire to get one because he knows our bodies are creations from Heavenly Father & temples .... Is he golden or what!?! And although he has both his ears pierced, he completely respects bodies and sees them being as sacred as they truly are. Oh my goodness it was amazing!!!! We were able to cover all aspects of this commandment naturally & smoothly too and it truly could not have gone better. We even talked about dating & all that that entails and he has his head completely on straight with all of that as well! And, after we discussed everything, I invited him to live both commandments and when I said, "Will you ...." He without hesitation said, "yes, of course." He is soo great!!! Honestly. Hermana Cluff & I couldn't wipe the smiles off of our faces the entire time and we kept telling him how impressed we were with him. What made the lesson all the better too was again, it wasn't just two-on-one, us teaching him ... we were able to have a real discussion. We all made comments, told our personal insights, shared questions, answers, etc. ... I loved it soo much!! And he did as well. He even texted us that night and said, "Thank you guys for always being sweet & informative. I appreciate the teachings & I also enjoy the company. Our lesson at the park was really nice! Definitely a nice way to enjoy the day." ... "I get a lot out of our convos. Our convos are definitely refreshing, it's not everyday you get to talk to someone who understands you or has the same philosophy." We were so excited when he texted us these messages. He has changed soo much!!!!! Haha Hermana Cluff even started having tears run down her face as we were talking more about his lesson and how far he has come. It is such a big miracle. Wow. I know his parents are thrilled too because they have been members for years now and he has never shown any interest before or ever wanted to learn anything from the missionaries at all. I feel so blessed to have the opportunity to teach him. It's amazing. We're still on cloud 9 about it and I know he is going to be baptized!!! Now it is just a matter of when!!! Marco is the best!!! 
      2. We had a crazy crazy night the other night. We had a few lessons set up & they all canceled. Which was upsetting however first miracle - as we were walking away from one of the doors & I was feeling one of my purse pockets for a sticky note to write on to leave on the door, I discovered a little tiny envelope that said, "Hermanitas Barth y Cluff" ... we had no idea who it was from but as soon as we walked away & opened it, sparkles spilled out along with a little note that read, "Hermanitas! Muchas gracias por todos sus esfuerzos y sacrificios en esta área. Son muy agradecidas y un gran ejemplo a todos los que rodean. ¡Ánimo! Sus esfuerzos no son por vencido :) ... ¡Alma 26:27! Que tengan una maravillosa semana! Con cariño, anónimo." Someone anonymously wrote us that note & put it in my bag. I have no idea how it was possible, I always have my bag glued to my hip ... I am convinced it's from an angel, really though ... but what a tender mercy that was for us. We were still happy but a little frustrated of course by the cancellations and we ended up reading the note at the most perfect time. When we read Alma 26:27 we laughed a little bit, saying we sure hoped nobody thinks we are depressed!! Because we are the absolute farthest from that hahaha but in all honesty, sometimes people only see our "outward success" which often means, "baptisms" ... so that is when people really notice the work we're doing ... and although we both agreed that neither of us need people to pat us on the back, thank us & tell us we're incredible ... it is still very appreciated and nice when people thank us for our efforts. We work really really hard, are always striving to be better, find more people, etc. and are hard enough on ourselves when we may not see as much progression as we'd like so it again, was very much appreciated. Whoever gave us that little note, I greatly thank our Heavenly Father for their kindness & love. Also, after we had those cancellations ... it only took about 10 minutes before we knew why they had partly happened. We all of the sudden got a call from Mercedes who was sobbing on the phone, wanted to see & talk to us and wanted to get to the Warmoth's - the Senior Missionaries - house as soon as possible. I'll have to save this story for when I get home. It was absolutely nuts. Let's just say cops were involved however it was nothing that Mercedes did. Oh heartbreaking stuff. I have definitely had my fair share of wild experiences on my mission.
      3. So I have some crazy news. We have Spanish Elders again in Chico! The Elders who were serving in Auburn (where there is no Spanish branch or ward) are now taking over Chico. It's Elder Van Leeuwen & Elder Baba. Elder Baba just finished up being trained and he is awesome! He's Japanese, lived in Japan for 6 years and then moved to New York. So, he's completely fluent in both Japanese & English and working on Spanish! He's absolutely brilliant, only 18 and considering Stanford or Columbia for college (went to a Columbia High School) and picking up Spanish quite rapidly. They are both awesome missionaries though and so although we're actually sad to lose Chico, we were just starting to get the work going there, we're thrilled to have them here. Chico is so huge too so we need them. Also, it's time for some new blood in Orland - we really need to start finding new investigators, so we are thinking of doing a Spanish blitz in the next couple of weeks. Where us, the Elders, some young men from our branch who are preparing for missions, some sisters, and some Spanish speaking RM's from the Stake all tract an area one day to find new potentials & investigators. We want to start working in Hamilton City more so we want to do the blitz there. Anyways, Elder Van Leeuwen & I are trying to figure it out. I know we would see miracles from it.
      4. Speaking of blitz's, we have another zone blitz next week and this upcoming week we have a lot going on as well! We have interviews with President - I have my hour long departing interview ... don't want to talk about it - then we actually have exchanges this week, not last, and I will be spending Thursday in Citrus Heights with my baby Hermana Hughes ... then on Friday we have a trainer/trainee meeting in Gridley and afterwards Hermana Cluff & I are going to the temple with the Orme's!!! We have a ton coming up & all of it will be wonderful! 
      5. Dad, I hope you had the most wonderful Birthday!!! I'm sorry I wasn't able to record something for the video Abs put together, I heard too late & can't email besides Monday's but I hope you got my package and felt tons of love that day. You are the absolute best and I love you so so much! Otrá vez, ¡Feliz Cumpleaños a ti!

      Well, I love you all so very much and am so thankful for your love & goodness in my life. I have thought about each of you a lot this past week actually and every time I do, I can't help but feel so much in my heart. I know I always say this but sometimes my heart almost feels like it is going to overflow it is so full. I am the absolute luckiest. This morning while praying to our loving Heavenly Father I actually was almost brought to tears by feeling so much gratitude in my heart for all the loved ones in my life too. I can never count my blessings enough. They are endless. The Savior lives. I know it. I can feel Him in my life. Heavenly Father loves each & every one of us more than we can possibly imagine and I love you all so so very much!!

Con mucho amor,

Hermana Barth

Fun/funny/random facts:

    1. Hermana Cluff & I have had the worst case of the giggles lately. Oh my goodness we have the same brain & humor and think the same things are absolutely hilarious ... which means we completely feed off one another - so if she laughs about something, I cannot help but laugh as well - and sometimes it is not in our benefit. In some situations I have never had to use more self control in my life haha but anyways, I have some hilarious stories to share later. I love my Hermana Cluff soo much!!!! 
    2. The Mexican carts are coming back out because the weather is beautiful and I am becoming obsessed with the corn they have. Usually people get a corn on the cob that is smothered in mayonnaise, cheese & chili powder but I just get the hot corn covered lightly in the cheese .... oh my goodness it's incredible. Especially on cooler days. 
    3. I was leaving a message for Martina, a recent-convert, the other day and I ended the message by saying, "en el nombre de Jesu ....." Yes. We pray so much that it became natural for me to end my thought in the way I end a prayer. Don't worry, I re-recorded the message however Hermana Cluff couldn't stop laughing for the next 5 minutes. It's okay though, the other day she prayed for President Marston & his husband ... I had some good laughs with that one as well.
   4. The weather has been absolutely perfect here lately!! Seriously. Every day is full of warmth & sunshine. I love it!! And what makes me even happier ... every morning when we go running, the sun will be setting as the moon is still in the sky. It is beautiful!! Honestly, I can't wipe the smile off my face when I see the stunning sunrise first thing when I wake up. The colors are beautiful, the silhouette from the trees are defined & clear, the streets are quiet ... and while I am running I feel as though the whole rest of the world has stopped for a moment & I get to just ponder and feel at peace. I don't know how to explain it but running has become so therapeutic to me. It is oh so good for the soul.


Hello my loveliest family!! 

      So today has been super crazy & productive!! We had to deep deep clean our apartments for the new year, President's order, so Hermana Cluff & I after studies spent about 3 1/2 hours cleaning our little hearts out. And oh my goodness, did we clean the place! We usually clean it up all throughout the week and especially on Mondays but today we cleaned it more than I think it has ever been cleaned (I'm not kidding) and the place is sparkling!! I love it!! We also made it a good time. We listened to our wonderful church music while doing so and both agreed that cleaning is quite therapeutic. So it has been nice. However, I am just now getting the time to email!! So forgive me if this is all over the place, we still have some errands to run on our way to dinner!
      Before anything else, HAPPY NEW YEAR my loved ones!!! Can you believe it is already 2015!? I sure can't. It still feels like yesterday to me when the year of 2014 began. I was with Hermana Piggott & I remember being so excited knowing I was going to be spending the entire year of 2015 here in California as a full-time missionary & servant of the Lord. This year is a little different ... I'm not exactly sure of all that is going to come my way this but I feel at peace & trust in the Lord. I know many many wonderful things lay up in store. And we are all aware of some very big events that will be taking place - me coming home from my mission & then the more exciting news ... us receiving a new beautiful addition to our family!!! BABY BARTH coming in July!!!! Now that I can publicly say something, I am still grinning from ear to ear whenever I think about the fact that Brad & Britt are going to be having a little baby!!!!!! I could not be more excited for them & for me to become an aunt!!!!!! Oh, I truly could not be more excited. Which was evident from the second I found out while we were Skyping and I started crying!!! Haha that was unexpected but receiving that news could not have been more exciting, special or tender for me. My family means more to me now than ever before because I know how sacred & special our families are and know I have the best family in the entire world!!! I am so blessed. Also, how beautiful it is to think of our dearest Heavenly Father sending down one of His precious spirit children to the earth. And Brad & Britt will have the privilege & responsibility of helping that little one make it back to their Heavenly home with our Father above. There is nothing more special or beautiful!! I am so so happy I will be home for that baby's birth too. The timing could not be more perfect & I again, am so so thrilled. Congratulations again Brad & Britt!!! You two are going to be the most incredible parents & I love you both so much!! (Ps. a letter is coming your way - look for it)
      But again, in regards to the new year. I look forward to seeing what the Lord has in store for me & I know that all will happen according to His will and for my best. I do love the feeling of the beginning of a new year though. There is something very special about it. It feels almost refreshing & rejuvenating. I also love making new year resolutions (revolutions - as I used to say haha) and thinking of ways I can strive to be better. I also hope to continue doing many of the habits I have picked up on my mission. And continue to make goals. Oh, I love goals!! Haha I can truly say now that I have a testimony of goal setting. It is incredible. It is the way that we are able to recognize our progression & see all that we have accomplished or all that we have become in a structured amount of time. Elder Ballard even once said, "I am so thoroughly convinced that if we don't set goals in our life and learn how to master the techniques of living to reach our goals, we can reach a ripe old age and look back on our life only to see that we reached but a small part of our full potential. When one learns to master the principles of setting a goal, he will then be able to make a great difference in the results he attains in this life." I absolutely love that!! It is so true!! So anyways, I have made many goals & hope you all have too!! Here goes to the year 2015!!!! 
      Also, I hope you all had a lovely New Years Eve & New Year's Day!! I still think my favorite New Year's Eve, since I have been older, was when we spent it in Bear Lake. That was so much fun! It was so cozy, warm & I was with my favorite people. Well, this year was very nice as well. We had to be in our apartments by 6:30 - President Marston's order - which is very understandable ... so we made our own little fun night. We made dinner, watched all kinds of church movies (Johnny Lingo, Joseph Smith movie, documentaries on President Monson & President Hinckley, John Tanner, etc.), wrote thank you cards, wrote in our journals, etc. which was all wonderful and we also just chatted, ate almost a whole tub of peppermint ice cream (woops) and got excited for the new year. President also asked for us to write down all the main events that occurred in our lives in 2014 & reflect over how the Lord has blessed us and placed His hand in our lives. So we did just that & that was very very humbling & heart warming for me ... for my list of events is extremely long. Oh, I cannot believe I have spent this past entire year as a full-time missionary!!!! I am the luckiest!! So again, it was wonderful for me to reflect more on all of the beautiful miracles I have witnessed in the past year and all of the life-changing & life-enhancing experiences that have taken place for me as well. So that was wonderful too & we had a great night. Oh, and we even stayed up till midnight!! Woot woot! Haha we celebrated with a martinelli right when the clock struck 12 and all. It was lovely! 
      But okay, as for some updates!! First off, we are so busy right now & I love it!! We currently have sooo many progressing investigators - which is a miracle for us - and between our areas & now us taking over the Elder's area of all of Chico, we have sooo much work to do!! It truly is the best! We have the craziest & busiest week coming up as well. I cannot wait! And I even have exchanges this week & get to spend one day in Citrus Heights with my Hermana Hughes! I'm looking forward to spending some more time with her. But okay, as for some updates .....

      Eduardo: we had a wonderful lesson with him on Monday, we've kept in touch with him throughout the week, he is super nice and we have another lesson with him tomorrow which we're super excited about!!
      Tristin: this is Mercedes's boyfriend. We were able to teach him again and he is super quiet but seems to have sincere interest. Mercedes said during our lesson with only her another day, "This may sound selfish but I really hope Tristin catches on to all of this as much as I did. I hope that he feels all that I did & do. We're hoping to see more progress in him!
      Mercedes: we've been seeing her a ton more lately which has been wonderful! She is honestly incredible and there is something very special about her. She comes from rougher circumstances however, she has her head on her shoulders, is very bright, has great goals towards her future, has a very impressive way of thinking, etc. So we are very happy. I love her so much. Also, Elder Warmoth & I were talking about the incredible amount of progression we have seen in her since we started teaching her and even since her baptism. She is consistently changing & maturing so much. It's very impressive & wonderful to see!
      Joseph: we went over to see Joseph & Salome the other night. They kept canceling on our lessons and we were finally able to solidify a time and go over there. Well, when we got there, little 9 year old Joseph came to the door, said his mom was with a baby they were babysitting and wouldn't be able to visit with us but that he could! So we went in and it was adorable. He had two chairs set up facing one chair. He was all prepared for our lesson. I'm not kidding when I say this boy is a man in a little boy's body. His behaviors and how he talks are peculiar for a boy his age. So we then proceeded and taught him the Plan of Salvation. It was awesome and he was so much fun to teach. He may only be 9 but he has an impressive way of thinking and is very smart. He asked a ton of questions even, would go over what we had explained in his own understanding and if he didn't understand something he would very politely say, "I'm sorry ... I didn't understand that completely. Will you please explain it again??" So cute!! So it was great and he loved learning that we were with Heavenly Father before we came to this earth and in his closing prayer he said, "Heavenly Father, please bless all of your children that you have sent down here to the earth from the pre-earth life ...." Haha he is adorable. We want to teach his mom again though so hopefully she will be joining us in our lesson to tonight!
      Israel & Ismael: they are both doing awesome. They come to church every week, we have been regularly visiting with them and Bryan Arevalo comes to our lessons. They seem to really be changing & they will both say the closing prayers in our lessons now which was is a miracle. They are unable to get baptized anytime soon because of some legal consequences however, we are seeing them change their lives because of the Doctrine of Christ so we're very content with what we're doing.
      Lorena: unfortunately, Lorena & Alfredo did not get married in December as planned. Her family was supposed to come from Mexico to be here for the wedding but some things happened within her family & plans changed. Therefore, they are still not married and we are unsure of when they will be. I tried to talk to her about simply getting married & celebrating with her family later ... but we'll see. She is still ready to be baptized, she's still reading her Book of Mormon every night & they are still praying as a family every night but there needs to be a greater desire of taking action. Which also includes more repentance, etc. We love them so much & are trying our best. I'll have more updates to come.
      Clarisa: Clarisa is one of our new investigators we received when the Elders left. She has been investigating the church for over a year now, comes to church every single week, as well as young women's, etc. however she is unable to be baptized until she is 18. Her parents won't allow her to be baptized until then. However, good news! She is 18 in April!! So we are now preparing her more intently for that time to come. Unfortunately, the last few sets of missionaries hadn't been visiting her anymore, and we're thinking they assumed she had received all of the lessons, but although she has heard mostly all of them at church or in Young Women's, we're going to finish teaching everything to her and she will be more than prepared to enter into the water of baptism when the time comes.
      Adriana: we had two wonderful lessons with her this past week. One was on the 10 commandments with an emphasis on keeping the Sabbath day holy ... & the other was on the Prophet, his Apostles, the leadership in the church, etc. and we watched the incredible talk by Elder Bednar, "Come and See." She loved it all so much and even got teary eyed at parts during the talk & our lesson. She knows this church is true. Also, she knows that baptism is her next step. So, please pray for her & the entire Campos family. They need the gospel & church in their lives! And they are soo prepared & amazing.
      Contreras family: so we picked up this family from the Elders. There are 6 boys in this family! Ages ranging from 8-16. So anyways, we finally met them and they are amazing!! The second we met them they invited us in, all 6 boys (including a neighbor friend) sat around us and the 16 year old said, "So what are you going to be teaching us today??" All of these young boys were quietly waiting for us to teach them something about the gospel!! They all have been reading the Book of Mormon together too and I am so excited to teach them more!!! They were so attentive, sincere, sweet & awesome! What a miracle! Also, we met the mom & although she hadn't really listened to the lessons before when the Elders were teaching her boys, we got to know her a little bit and we're hoping to start teaching her too. If we get their mom, the whole family will be solid!! I am so excited about this family!! Keep them in your prayers too please!

      Okay, well I wish I could tell you more about everyone we are teaching but those are some that came first to my mind. The work is on fire here though & I know many many miracles & baptisms lay up ahead! It's amazing!!! I love this work!! Also, one of our awesome members - Bryan Arevalo - is preparing to go on a mission & is on fire with missionary work. He is always wanting to come to lessons with us and he even went tracting with us the other day in Chico where we picked up a new investigator! Also, I realized that tracting comes second nature to me now haha and it's hilarious. I love it though & love trying all different approaches. It's fun to experiment & analyze the results we get to kinda see which approach works best. Missionary work is so much fun!! Honestly, it is the best!!
      Also, last night I was able to talk to Any for a little bit, which made me so happy. She is always far too kind to me & makes me so happy! She is such an angel in my life. Also, Hermano y Hermana Oseguera from Yuba City called me last night as well and talking to them warmed my heart right up. I have met such saints on my mission & they all have such big places in my heart!! My heart is honestly about to overflow or explode because it is so so full. I love my mission. I love being a full-time missionary. I love doing the work of the Lord all day, every day. I love every single person I have met here in the California Roseville mission. I love every single person I have taught & am currently teaching. I love the gospel. I love my Heavenly Father. I love His Son, Jesus Christ & I love all of you!!! Have a wonderful week my loves!

Hermana Barth
And also, HAPPY HAPPY ANNIVERSARY mom & dad!!! 32 years!?! Ah, I am so happy!! I love you both so much and I know I say this every year but I couldn't be happier that you two fell in love. I hope you have a wonderful day tomorrow & reflect on the cherished memories you both have shared over the past years. I love you!! 


My beautiful family!! 

      I can hardly believe I was Skyping all of you just a few days ago!! Oh my goodness that was quite the Skype call. I loved seeing each of your faces soo much & I sincerely haven't been that emotional for my entire mission! Not even close actually. I just had so many emotions hit me all at once for some reason. Some that I didn't even know we're inside of me ... I'll talk more about that later. But I absolutely loved seeing all of you. My heart, again if it wasn't clear through the tears, was extremely full the entire time we were talking. I felt such a great amount of love for you, my family ... the Lord, my Heavenly Father and all those that have gained places in my heart here on my mission. Is it really possible for someone to feel so much love in their heart? I truly feel as though mine is going to burst sometimes. But although I briefly told you about my Christmas while we were chatting, I want to briefly tell you once again.
      Now, we all know I have such a love for Christmas and that every Christmas is and has been wonderful for me ... but I have to say, up until this point in my life, this was my most special, heart felt & favorite Christmas. There are many reasons for this but the main reason is simple & explanatory. I was completely focused on my SaviorJesus Christ. Every day this Christmas season, I have kept my thoughts focused on Christ. Every morning I have personally read about, studied & written in a journal about the Savior ... each day I have done a Christ-like challenge that was according to the advent calendar President & Sister Marston gave us and then I have written about my daily experience in my journal at night, and more specifically or what has impacted me the very most ... is every single day I have been wearing the Lord's name on my chest and been doing His work. I have been a full-time representative of Him and constantly been teaching about Him, His gospel, inviting others to come unto Him, etc. and alongside that, I have been trying my very very best to become more like Him. To obtain more of His characteristics & get to know Him better. Well, through all of this, I have never before in my life felt closer to my Savior or had Him more on my mind. Wow, what an affect that has had on me. I actually can't really put into words how great of an affect it has had on me. But in regards to Christmas Day. Well, first off ... we went caroling Christmas Eve which brought a great spirit into my heart, especially as we saw those we love smile & completely light up as we sang joyous hymns to them ... we then finished with hot cocoa at Elder & Sister Warmoth's alongside discussing many wonderful gospel topics, including the intervention of angels in our lives (it was an incredible discussion) and then when Hermana Cluff & I came back to our apartment, we read the Biblical accounts of Christ's birth which led me to falling asleep thinking about my dear Savior. Then came Christmas morning. We went on a lovely run (first time I have ever exercised on Christmas haha), had personal study (I studied the Savior more), we had companionship study which was amazing and to finish companionship study, we watched the Bible video "Nativity" and then bore our testimonies of the Savior to one another. To be honest, as a missionary I have learned to control my emotions quite nicely and while bearing my testimony I usually feel the spirit by simply being filled with happiness & peace, so I wasn't expecting my emotions to come as they did ... but as soon as I began talking, I truly began to weep. I have not done this in a very long time & this was the first time Hermana Cluff has actually seen me cry. I don't cry like that anymore. But bearing my deep testimony on Christmas morning, after my mind had already been soo consumed by Him, I couldn't help but weep as I truly reflected on the deep deep love, gratitude, adoration, admiration & appreciation I have for my Savior. I love Him. And what makes me even more sentimental is I know Him now ... & I am confident that He knows me. So that was so so so special to me and hearing Hermana Cluff's sweet & sincere testimony really touched me as well. We had our own beautiful little testimony. But after that we then opened our presents and I have never appreciated every little thing given to me more than I did then. Wow, everyone is far too nice & I appreciate all of your kindness soo much!! Also mom & dad, Hermana Cluff & I had such a fun time reading all of those scriptures attached to those millions of presents. We did very good at guessing what the gift was too!! If I may say so myself ... haha. But thank you thank you thank you for everything. I love you all SOOO much. And then after we opened all of our presents, we Skyped you, our lovely families!!!! Which was beyond beyond amazing and soo much fun for me. Haha it is also quite exhausting for us missionaries, emotionally, mentally, etc. but so so worth it. Thank you for making me so happy & feeling so loved!!! But then after our Skype sessions we got all cozy & watched Mr. Krueger's Christmas, along with some other classic church Christmas films, while writing thank you cards, etc. and it was wonderful!!! Haha I still had a lot of emotions inside of me though so something cute happened in Mr. Krueger's Christmas and I had tears. Ohh the emotions haha. But then after we did some things here at our home, we met the Elders at the church for something that was the cherry on top to my Christmas Day. At the beginning of December, President Marston told all of us missionaries to ponder over receiving a Priesthood blessing this Christmas season for Priesthood power is one of the greatest gifts God has given us, His children. So, we both decided that receiving a Priesthood blessing would be one of the best gifts we could be given for Christmas and we both felt Elder Nelson, our district leader, would be the best to receive one from. I have never received a blessing while being on my mission either so it kinda slipped my mind ... but both of us felt the desire for one on Christmas Day and it was so. I was a little nervous at first because I haven't gotten one in so long ... I had a lot of butterflies, but as soon as Elder Nelson laid his hands on my hands and began to speak, after he spoke only a few sentences, I knew God was speaking to me and the tears began to flow. Wow. That was one of the most beautiful blessings I have ever been given. Elder Nelson is soo spiritually in tune & it was all exactly what I needed to hear. Hermana Cluff is a sweetheart and wrote down a lot of my blessing too so I can always remember it but truly ... that was the greatest gift I was given. I am so so thankful for Priesthood power and for worthy men who hold it. We have God's power & authority on the earth today, could there be anything more exciting!? After the blessings we then went over to Elder & Sister Warmoth's and ate treats while playing bla anagrams. Haha we played with the two Senior missionary couples and it was a blast!! Then we went back home, made some pasta, listened to some more Christmas music & my heart was fuller than ever before. I had a beautiful Christmas. 
      In spite of it being the week of Christmas ... we ended up still getting quite a few lessons in and had a very successful week. For some highlights: We found one new investigator yesterday while tracting, Enrique, which we're pretty excited about ... we saw Marie Cruz & her husband (our new investigators) yesterday as well which was so so awesome. We started teaching them the Plan of Salvation & they ate it all up! They are soo nice to us and I love them so much! We had a lesson with Ismael & Israel and Israel prayed for us which was a huge deal!! And today we  actually had a lesson with Eduardo!! I know, it's p-day, but it was the only time we could see him for sure and we haven't met with him since we found him tracting so we had to make it happen!! It was such a good lesson too! We taught him the Restoration and he was so receptive to everything. He understood it all too and had so many questions & comments. It was great!!! Again, we found Eduardo tracting & through the "He is the gift" initiative, he's 22 and just the nicest. We are so excited to teach him more! Also, Sister Warmoth came with us and was a great help. But okay, for the biggest update & most exciting news ... I have to talk about Marco!!!
      So, earlier in the week we had a lesson with Marco at his house, his sister Amy, joined with us and it went super super well. But then, on Saturday we had a lesson set but he texted us earlier and told us to meet him for lunch! He ended up taking & treating us to Chili's!!! It was soo nice of him! And then after we ate, we went to a nearby park and had a lesson with him there. It was awesome! We taught him the 10 commandments with an emphasis on #4, keeping the Sabbath Day holy and it was the best lesson!!!! He was soo sincere, respectful & receptive the entire lesson and as we left the lesson Hermana Cluff & I both immediately said how he has changed sooo much. There is something so different about him and he is sincerely changing & progressing!!! It is incredible! He is just so so nice to us and we both can tell he really trusts us now. Which makes a huge difference and he is sincerely wanting to learn & come to know of truths for him self. Again, it is incredible! And to make it all even more amazing ... we have been inviting him to come to church every time we see him but he has never come and yesterday, HE CAME TO CHURCH!! Marco came to church!!! This is a miracle!! And his parents were completely shocked as well. They are both more than thrilled at the fact that he is meeting with us and his dad, Oscar, said he was shocked when Marco said he wanted to come to church with them as they were heading out that morning. Ahhhhh!!!!!! We were both soooo exciting and I almost broke Marco's hand when I shook it when I saw him. He came to church!!! I still cannot get over it. This is such a big miracle I cannot even tell you. His parents & sister have been members for years now and never been able to get him to come. And he came! And now that he has come once it is going to be so much easier for him to come again. Wow, I am still so happy!!!!!!! Haha many of the member were so excited to see him there as well and even Hermana Jaime, from the branch presidency, & Elder Warmoth texted us before church telling us he was there!! Best day ever!!!

      Well, those are some of my biggest updates for now. Didn't we have such a marvelous Christmas week!?! I truly could not have loved it more. The Savior truly blesses us soo so much as we have faith in Him. I have been thinking about faith a lot lately actually. Now, I know I will always be striving to have more faith and lack so so much ... but the other morning I was pondering over some things & discussing them with Hermana Cluff in companionship study and I all of the sudden had a thought come into my mind and I said to her, "I often wonder why I am someone who has such faith in Jesus Christ." When I said this I realized how truly blessed I am and I got watery eyes. Now again, I know I have soo much faith to gain, as we all do, but I all of the sudden was so humbled by the fact that I have as much faith as I do. Enough faith in my Savior to continually have a strong desire to follow His example, teachings & strive to obtain His characteristics. Enough faith to be serving a mission as a full-time representative and servant of Him for 18 months. Enough faith to teach people, complete strangers, of Him & His gospel every single day and invite them to come unto Him and be baptized. Enough faith to walk away from rejection or a door slammed in my face with a peaceful & grateful heart. Enough faith to get on my knees multiple times each day and pray in His name to my Father above. Enough faith to repent & continually seek forgiveness, improvement and change. I think sometimes it's easy to underestimate how much faith we truly do have. Of course, we must continually work towards increasing and expanding our faith but really ... when we look at it in a greater perspective, us members of the church truly have so much faith. And again, I often wonder, "Why me???" ... "Why do I have as much faith as I have?" ... "Why am I someone who doesn't have a hard time believing??" ... "Why am I so blessed??" Well, I can tell you it's nothing I have done to deserve it. I believe it is a beautiful gift from God to have such faith. Even if it truly be the size of a mustard seed. That's all it takes for our faith to be nourished, grow and lead us to obtaining eternal life. I have faith in Jesus Christ.

Have a wonderful week!! 

Con amor,

Hermana Barth