Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Happy in Mexico!

"Somos hoy llamados al servicio, a dar testimonio de Jesus. Vamos a un mundo en tinieblas para proclamar la luz. PRESTOS, todos prestos, cantaremos en union... LISTOS, siempre listos, entonemos la cancion... TODOS cantaremos nuestro alegre son triunfal.. Dios nos da poder, luchemos en la casa CELESTIAL!!!" - Called to Serve hymn in Español. Oh my goodness it is my absolute favorite hymn to sing here in the CCM. Singing with my District, or even better, all of the missionaries here.. there's nothing better. The spirit is always so strong and powerful. Just picture an auditorium full of missionaries singing Called to Serve in Español!! It is soo darling I can hardly stand it! We sing it altogether every SundayTuesday night at the devotionals and every single time, without fail, it gives me chills, puts a huge smile on my face overwhelms me with el Espiritu Santo.. the Holy Spirit. I feel so blessed and happy to be a missionary. I can't express it enough. This work makes me soo unbelievably happy. I LOVE BEING A MISSIONARY!!!!

¡MI FAMILIA! ¿Como le va? How is everyone!? Ohh I miss you all soo much!! I can't believe I have been out an entire MONTH today!! Well according to the day of the week... but in just 3 days it will have truly been a month since I've seen you all. Can you even believe it!? I honestly feel like I was just hugging and waving goodbye to you all at the airport. Ohh my goodness it blows my mind. Starting today I only have 2 more weeks here en el CCM!!! So crazy. I have many mixed emotions about it too. I am, of course, soo so excited to get out into the real field and get to work teaching real investigators, those saints waiting for the Gospel and for me to teach them, or more so help them come to the knowledge of the truth, etc. but I am also going to be super sad to leave this place. I am honestly in heaven here. I absolutely love the CCM and everything about it. I love the beautiful Mexico campus, I am obsessed with my District, I couldn't love mi compañera or teachers more, I have become so close and such good friends with so many other Hermanas and Elders here... and most importantly, I love being able to study and learn more about the Gospel of Jesus Christ all day every day. There is nothing better!! Honestly. I love growing more and more and being able to study constantly sobre el Evangelio y la idioma de Español ... about the Gospel and Spanish language. It is the best thing I could possibly be doing right now and I can't picture myself doing anything else or focusing on anything else at this time in my life. It's perfect. But yeah so I will definitely miss this place however, I know the field has soo much more waiting for me. I am still so sheltered and haven't experienced the real deal yet!! Crazy!! Ahhhh I can't wait.

 But back to my District. I truly am going to miss them all so much. They're my little family and we've truly become so so close and the best of friends. We were talking about it last night but we really have such a special and unique relationship/friendship with one another. We've really become close on a more spiritual level and just in circumstances you don't get anywhere else. We get to see the most humbled and vulnerable sides of one another and really bond through our similar hardships, goals, etc. It's amazing if you think about it. We're all here to be representivos de nuestro Salvador, JesuCristo and to bring all those we can unto Christ. We all have the same purpose and we all love nuestro Padre Celestial, Salvador y este Evangelio sooo much that we're not only willing... but wanting to give up 18 months to 2 years to completely devote ourselves to serving Thee. Oh it is so humbling and sweet. I love it so much. But so we're all super close and I'll miss them like crazy. However, I'll definitely miss mi compañera the most. Ohh I cannot even think about it!! I am going to miss Hermana Howe more than words. She is the most darling girl ever and has made my CCM experience golden. Ella es mi favorita Hermana en el mundo y es ahora uno de me mejor amigas y el amor de mi vida. Haha she is my favorite Hermana in the world and is now one of my best friends and the love of my life... Hahaha ohhh she is seriously the best. I love her so much!! I can't believe we have to say goodbye in two weeks!!! We have been together, literally, constantly for a month now... hip to hip.. and I am so sad we're not going to the same mission. We both are. And we're pretty much going to different states because she's going to be in Southern Cali and I'm as Northern as you can get. I'll pretty much be serving in Oregon. But I know I'll for sure see her once we're both home. She's from Pleasant Grove and I'll be at BYU so I know we'll keep in touch. We've both already promised eachother invites to our weddings too so that's good. Haha but yeah no reason to think about that yet. Have to keep a half glass full perspective in mind. I still have two more weeks with her!!!! Makes me so happy. But we had to say goodbye to District C these past couple of days and that was hard!!! District C was in our Branch and their classroom was across the hall from us so we all got super close. I love those missionaries so much. Especially Hermana Winters and Hermana De La Vega... I know I've brought them up before but they were me and Hermana Howe's closest amigas and I love them both soo much. Hermana Winters is now in El Salvador and Hermana De La Vega in Kentucky. I'm going to miss them tons, already do, but I am so excited for them to start their missions!! They're the cutest. But okay then let's seee..... here are some quick random funny things I wrote down to tell you guys.....

1. I forgot to mention this last email but we've had THREE earthquakes here soo far... haha I love it and wish they were more intense but Hermana Wandell still freaks out when the alarm goes off. Last earthquake we could see some poles and what not shake too so that was kinda fun. Haha

2. We have continued to have THE craziest rainstorms every single night. Oh my goodness they're crazy!!! They usually start up around dinner or right afterwards during language study and then go all night long. I love it!!! I was already obsessed with the rain (Emilie Katharine Barth is... in love with the rain) hahaha familia or siblings, you better get that haha. But I love it even more here. It just completely down pours and makes me so happy. I love being in class learning about the Gospel, Español, studying my scriptures etc. and hearing the rain just come down outside. It makes me feel soo peaceful and cozy. Haha that's how Hermana Howe described it last night, "Ooh I just feel so cozy!!" haha but we embrace it so much. And yesterday we were having our language class outside with Hermano Arevalo when it started to sprinkle and then seconds later it started POURING!!! It comes soo fast. But now we are all so used to it we know when to expect it. Me and Hermana Howe still keep forgetting our umbrellas though so unless we borrow an Elder's, we pretty much get wet every night. 

But ohh best experience the other night. Better one when I slipped and biffed it, ripped my skirt and cut up my elbow though... haha. Actually they were both amazing rain stories haha. But so just a couple of days ago we were heading back to our classroom after dinner and it was pouring soo hard. So, of course, we all got soaked. And then when we got to our classroom since we were all already soaked, we decided to embrace the rain a little more. Our entire District went outside and played around in the rain for a minute. And me, Hermana Howe, Elder Delos Reyes and Elder Pace went puddle jumping!!!! So the drain system on this campus is horrible and the pavement isn't flat so when it rains there are rivers and puddles of water everywhere. Well there happened to be a big puddle near our classroom and so we all would run and jump in it and it was such a blast. Haha I was seriously so happy. We were all just soaking wet and jumping around.... pure joy. Haha best puddle jumping and playing in the rain I've ever experienced!!! But don't worry, we didn't play around for too long and then we went into class and got to work!!! All drenched and some people shivering. But it could not have been more worth it. And our schedule just changed so now we have gym in the morning (we used to have it at night right before bed... prime) and TALL (language computer program) at night before we head back to our casas so we pretty much run through the rain from our classroom to the TALL building and then to our casa every night. It's amazing. There haven't been anymore slipping accidents though, luckily. Haha but yeah that is a taste of the rainy weather for you!! Oh and throughout the day it's usually just the perfect temperature. Never gets real hot... much different than I expected but it's perfect.

3. The food has improved SO much since we first got here. It's pretty ridiculous actually. We're just part of the 5th generation of missionaries here en el CCM en Mexico and we've already seen so many changes!! They now have peanut butter, nutella, and loaves of wheat and white bread!! What!? I would have killed for that in the beginning. And they have HEALTHY cereals. These bran ones instead of just fruit loops, cocoa crispies, and frosted flakes.. however, they still have those of course haha. But yeah and they have gotten tons more fruit options instead of just melon, they have made the salads better, etc. It's crazy!!! And they even have organic rice milk now instead of just creamy whole milk. I know it sounds gross but it's a nice change since I drank skim milk at home. I've gotten used to the whole milk deal though surprisingly... and I really do enjoy the food here. I am so used to it that I like it lots!! Oh and they had popscicles the other day.... amazing!!!! Haha

4. Tons more missionaries are here as well. At first we only had about 130 Hermanas and now there are tons more. Which makes it way fun yet more hectic. For meals the lines are a ton longer but that's okay for us Hermanas because we get to butt all the Elders. I think I told you that last week?? They have to be obedient and let us go first in line so we never have to wait.... still makes me feel pretty dumb actually. But all of the Elders are the sweetest. Oh, and Hermana Hoj, Annie Hoj, is here!!! She is DARLING and I love seeing her around. And then I still get excited when I see Hermana Garbett. Andon Sunday night at the movie... (Best thing ever, every Sunday night we get to watch a movie and we all get soo excited. It's like we're all in a theater, with the lights on of course, haha and watching the premiere of a new movie.. we get that excited. And we all joke that it's a date night with our compañeros. And everyone will have tons of treats, etc. it's the BEST!! Last week we got to watch the Testaments too and you would have thought it was the premiere of a new Batman or something. Classic..) But anyways, this past Sunday before the movie started I chatted with Hermana Garbett a ton and she's just so cute. Love her so much. Oh, and back to there being a ton more missionaries... on Sunday Hermana Pratt told us in Relief Society that she believes we've almost hit 800 missionaries!! Crazy!!

5. Funny story about the Latino Elders here. Well first off, this past week I've been chatting tons more with the Latino Elders and Hermanas.. they're the cutest!! But okay back to my story, so I was at dinner and walked past a table full of Latino Elders. Well anyways, as I walked by I heard some of them whispering and saw them looking at me and then I heard an HERMANA BARTH!!! So I walked over to them and this Elder in Broken Spanish told me I looked like his ex-girlfriend Fernanda. Haha and then once I responded in Español we finished our convo in Spanish and some other Elders joined in and they kept saying how I looked like this girl. Soo funny. And then whenever I saw any of those Elders after that they would talk about it some more. Way funny how I've never been told I looked like anyone really and now here in Mexico I am told I look like a Latina honeyyy hahaha. Kills me!! But yeah those Elders just left on Sunday. Oh yeah and it was hilarious because they were all taking pictures in front of the sign after church and they all wanted pictures with me and Hermana Howe... "the blonde American girls" haha so great. I took a few pictures on my camera as well so I'll have to send them over. But anyways, that was way funny. Oh yeah and Elder Brand, Connor Haller's friend, told me the other night that I look like his girlfriend at home. So I have two look alikes now!!! Haha
5. Real quick funny random thing.... this out of control Hermana, who just left last week, came up to me one day and told me I could be an Avatar because I have alien eyes. Haha she is the most blunt, loud person ever and it made me laugh soo hard. I am going to miss hearing her loud voice across the cafeteria and hearing her yell, Hermana Barth!!! Haha but yeah I thought that was so funny because I've been called asian eyes, arabian eyes, almond eyes, and rabbit eyes... but never alien eyes!! It's a new one and I'll take it!!

6. Okay and for my last random funny story... so sometimes late at night before we head to our casas, my District gets super hyper. And anyways, one night we all had had too much sugar (Hermana Howe got a package stuffed with candy.... enough to share with the whole CCM) haha so we all had so much energy. And we had been singing some hymns way boldly and loud when all of the sudden Elder Angell pulled his pants up way high, started dancing and walking all weird and started singing, "Girl.... you know you want me....." and we all BURST out laughing!!! Okay Elder Angell. I can't remember if I mentioned him yet in another email but he's this tall, lanky, red head with glasses, who is the best person you'll ever meet. He thinks he's socially awkward and Hermano Hopoate actually makes him meet 7 new people a week... but we're the best of buds and I love him to death. Haha he seriously is the best!!! And he's a walking Spanish dictionary. He got a 34 on the ACT and has a full ride to Georgia Tech so anyways... he's a genius. But when he started dancing and singing like a goooon we all totally lost it. Don't worry, we just play around when it's necessary. We were about to head home and were wrapping up the night. That's something I love about my District though is we definitely know when to get to work and take everything serious but we also know when to laugh and have fun. We keep everything light hearted and that makes this all so much better. Ahhh I love my District soo much!!!!

But yeah those are all the funny things from the week I can remember... but on a more spiritual note, I am truly soo happy to be a missionary and to be here. I couldn't feel more blessed and know that I am supposed to be doing this work, at this time in my life. I honestly cannot imagine myself doing anything else right now... I love it so much!! Oh and I had a very wonderful experience happen to me this past Sunday. So it was Fast Sunday. We started our fast on Saturday and skipped dinner that night and breakfast the next morning. Well anyways, before we started fasting we began with a District prayer and then said our own personal prayers. Well I prayed and fasted for many many things but one thing I particularly fasted for was for mi Español to improve and for me to feel like I could fully express myself and my heart in el idioma de Español. So on Sunday during Sacrament meeting we had a testimony meeting. It was soo so special and anyways, the second I sat down I knew I was going to have to bear mine. So, after hearing some missionaries bear theirs... I did just that. I bore my testimony to our branch and it was one of the most spiritual experiences I have ever had. Before I went up there I was praying I'd be able to speak from my heart and be able to say all I wanted to in Español and well.... my prayers were answered and I know that because I was fasting for this, el Espiritu Santo the Holy Spirit was with me and helped me. I was able to say a very long testimony and not worry about the language one bit. As soon as I began I started sharing everything that came to my heart and the Holy Ghost took care of the rest. Las palabras de Español came to me soo nicely and I never once had to pause to think of what I wanted to say in Spanish. I honestly just expressed all that I wanted too and it was so amazing!!! It really hit me that we just need to have faith in el don de languas, the gift of tongues and the Spirit will help us!!! So anyways, I was completely overwhelmed with the spirit when I was bearing my testimony and it was such an amazing experience. And just looking out and seeing the faces of the missionaries I adore so much... I loved it so much.

So anyways, I am learning more and more each week and could not be happier. Our lessons have been so much better too!! Gilberto and Benjamin, our "investigators" are doing excellent and we're challenging them both to baptism tomorrow!! Woot woot!! Oh yeah which reminds me, so Gilberto is our teacher Hermano Arevelo and the other day during TRC me and Hermana Howe got to teach him but as himself. Wow, it was such a cool experience. He told us about his real life and about the real challenges he's facing. He told us how his mom died when he was only 16 years old, how he's had to work a ton to help his dad support their family and hasn't been able to do much schooling, how he is really trying to learn English because in order to keep his job here at the CCM he has to learn it and also he wants to take online classes from BYU Idaho and has to pass an English test in November to be able to do so... so anyways, he told us how he is struggling a lot and to be honest... he really doesn't know much English at all. But it was comforting to know that even our teacher is facing somewhat of the same desafeos, challenges, as us. It was so darling too because so we just chatted with him for awhile, shared some scriptures and then Hermana Howe bore her testimony. She was struggling finding the Spanish words to use though and then she just broke down into tears.... It was the most precious thing. And it was absolutely perfect for the lesson because it was clear evidence that we're all going through that same struggle of learning a whole new language and by the end, all of our eyes were filled with tears. Wow. It was such an awesome lesson and we all felt the spirit so strongly.

I know that our Savior, Jesus Christ knows of our struggles and he wants us to succeed so he will be with us every step of the way. We just have to seek him, have faith and humble ourselves. Those are things I am working on every single day. But yeah so that was an awesome experience we had. Hermana Howe has been talking soo much more in our lessons though and I couldn't be happier about it. We've both been setting major goals each week and accomplishing them. So we're seeing more progress and feeling tons more comfortable speaking Spanish. We speak a ton though so it's great. And in our leadership meeting on Sunday our Branch President told us we need to be good examples of only speaking Spanish so we're working on it. Also, our district made the goal of having Wednesdays be pure Spanish. Inside and outside of class. We call it, "No Ingles Miercoles" haha. It's soo helpful though and if we ever don't know a word we now just immediately look it up in our dictionaries. It's super helpful!! Oh yeah, and sad news... we just found out Hermana Doxey and Hermano Hopoate aren't going to be our teachers anymore so we're just having Hermano Arevalo and Hermano Muñoz. Our two native Spanish speaking teachers. I'm going to miss those other two a ton but it will be fun having these two and really not being able to speak ANY English in class. Especially with Hermano Arevalo.
But anyways, I have to run.. however, I love you all sooo so much and am thinking about you constantly!!!! And I am so sorry I didn't respond to everything last week. That's sooo awesome Janine is now on her mission and that you all got to see her for a little while she was in SLC!!!! Ohhh I love my German cousin so much. She's going to be such an awesome missionary and mom, I'll send her a little email asap!!! Oh, and barb j... that curling iron is miss Madison Doutre's. So make sure to give that back to her. I have the one you got me here!!! But anyways, my mind is all over the place but it's time for lunch so I have to go!!! I love you all sooo much and if you feel so inclined, mail me letters to my California address!!!! That would be so fun to get something when I arrive in just a couple of weeks. Also mama, I have a ton of random things I would love for you to send me.... including PICTURES, etc. So I'll possibly send you a list next week?? Haha okay well I have to go. But I love you all SOO much!!!! Have a wonderful week! ¡¡ADIOS!!
Con mucho mucho amor, Hermana Barth

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