My dearest and loveliest family!!!!!!!!!!
Ahhhhh I don't even know where to begin!! I am sooooo happy right now. I cannot even express to you the happiness that I feel at this very moment. It is overwhelming!! My heart feels sooo full. I have so much to say too!! And of course I have no clue where to begin but thank you everyone who faithfully writes me!!!! It means more than you know. I have my solids and then today I was able to hear from the Haller's which made me soo happy and Scotty!! Andresa wrote me a couple of weeks ago!! She is darling and it made me soo so happy. How awesome is it for you to know that those you brought unto the gospel in Brazil on your mission are now soo solid and she wants to go on a mission!! I love it so much! You should feel soo good. You made such an impact and influence on all those you taught. They will never forget you! And Andresa said she'll never forget when our family visited Brazil..... I love it and hope to make the same impact on the people here in California.
But okay, I am going to do bullet points for everything else........
1. MY BIGGEST AND MOST EXCITING ANNOUNCEMENT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
JESUS IS GETTING BAPTIZED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
(Okay that looks a little off if you don't pronounce Jesus how you're supposed to...) but we committed him to baptism on Saturday and he will be getting baptized!!!!!!!!!!! AHHHHH BEST THING EVER!!!! And this will officially be my FIRST baptism as a missionary!!!!!!!!! AHHHH I am so excited haha. The reason I am even more so excited too is because it's a SOLID baptismal date set. Not just one that may fall through.... Jesus is GOLDEN and has the desire all himself!! Ohhh I wish I could tell you every little detail... but so we went over to his house on Saturday and set up an appointment with him for an hour later. We then went and got Oscar, who is the only youth member in our ward and his same age... I think I told you this last week but they share lessons so they're friends, anyways we wanted him to be at the lesson so we got him to come and he got all dressed up for it (sooo cute) and then oh yeah!!! So last week at church Jesus told us how he just felt a little dumb for not having church clothes, so we talked to Brother Orme and he said he'd buy him a white shirt and tie... well he gave us the money for it and me and Hermana Piggott went and got Jesus a white shirt and darling red and navy blue striped tie... so cute. And anyways, we gave them to him on Saturday!! And ahhhh best thing ever. It warmed my heart up so much. So we gave him the shirt and tie and his face LIT up!! He was sooo excited. And then the shirt looked a little big but then he put it on and it fit him PERFECTLY!!! Which made him sooo happy. As he was putting it on he was like, "Noo way!! It fits!! It fits perfectly!!! I think it's a sign from God!!" and then Brother Quist came to pick him up and helped him tie on the tie..... He looked so handsome and could not stop smiling!! He then ran inside and threw on some tan pants and his shirt was just hanging past his pants but he felt like a million bucks. He has never owned anything like it he said and he couldn't wait to wear it to church and fit in with everyone else!! Oscar was so excited for him too and we were all just beaming. And Laticia was soooo excited too. She may be a little different but I love her so much. And she was in tears over how handsome her son looked and how grateful she was that we got him the shirt and tie. It was amazing. We took a picture too that I'll have to attach to this... such an amazing moment. And then we went over to the stake center to have our lesson and he wore the shirt and tie!!!!! I loved it!! But okay... then we had the most spiritual lesson with him on the Plan of Salvation. He has been taught the Restoration before, when his mom was taught and remembered everything... about Joseph Smith, etc. so we taught him the Plan of Salvation and ohh my goodness. You should have seen his eyes light up and widen after everything we'd say! He was sooo engaged and loved every little part of it!! It was the cutest. And he wants all of it soo bad, so after we taught the lesson and we all bore our testimonies on what we taught, including darling Oscar.... we asked him to baptized and he said YESSS!!!! And then he has to come to church 3 times before so we asked him about and he said YESS!!!!! And his face again was completely lit up and we were all just full of happiness and the spirit. Amazing!! Haha and it was soo cute because he asked afterwards, "Will I still be able to play video games??" (he's a gamer haha) and we laughed and said YESS!! And he was like okay I just wanted to make sure because I want to be worthy!! AHHHHHH SOOOO CUTE!!!!!!! And sooo amazing.
Ever since we have been meeting with him he has been so much happier and his whole presence has changed. I'm not kidding. When we first met him he was super down, sad, depressed... and now he is soo happy and has all this hope in life. I love it!! We are drawing him closer to the Savior and ya know what's even better.... it has nothing to do with us!! Me or Hermana Piggott. It all has to do with the Lord and our Heavenly Father!!! And the Holy Ghost. They're all doing the work and we're just helping by being the Lord's servants...... Ohhhh man. I love it so much. Oh and we had him say his FIRST prayer at the end of the lesson and it was the best thing!! He was super nervous about it at first and then said the sweetest things. It was simple yet so profound. He expressed his gratitude for the Savior, us missionaries and asked to be better and help with preparing to be baptized. AMAZING!!!! Haha oh and when the lesson ended I all of the sudden got a text from the Gridley 1st Elders saying, "!!!! SOO EXCITING!!! GOOD JOB!!" and I was like whaaaat??? Haha they overheard us when walking past and listened to the last part.... hahana and Elder Hererra said he was so excited he was surprised we didn't hear him from the hallway. Such creepers but we were all so excited. And then a ward was having a fall dinner so they invited us to it and me and Hermana Piggott already had dinner plans with Jose, our ward mission leader, but Brother Quist ate with Oscar and Jesus and everyone was shaking Jesus's hands which made him light up and then Brother Orme saw the clothes and was so excited and then we told him Jesus is getting baptized and he lit up and said, "Well then it looks like we'll have to get that boy another tie!!" Haha best thing. Jesus's family doesn't have much so the littlest things mean so much to him. And the members here are sooo generous and nice!!! And Brother Orme's the BEST. Gridley would not be the same without him. He does soo much for the church and for the branch.... I love the Orme's. But anyways, then Sunday rolled around and Jesus came!!!! And he came to ALL THREE HOURS with Oscar!!! Sooo exciting. And he LOVED it. They go to the English YM/YW so they had a ton of fun there. And he was just proudly wearing his new white church shirt and tie.... so cute. And then he's coming to FHE tonight. We're having a branch FHE at Brother Orme's and so Jesus will come with the Rodriguez family. And then we're going to try to get Nelly to come too however, Jaime just lest for Mexico.... we'll work on her. Oh which reminds me, everyone is SHOCKED we've been able to teach Nelly. Apparently nobody was ever able to reach her... for years. And now she's opening up to us. It's seriously a miracle!! We have to work and work with her...... she'll keep opening up and accepting the message. But yeah so we have that tonight which will be a ton of fun, the members in our little branch are the best!!! And it's always SUCH a party with them hahaha. I love all the Brothers and Sisters in it. And they're soo cute to us missionaries.
Jesus and Oscar are going to go to mutual together on Wednesday. Which Oscar hasn't gone a ton because he felt a little left out being the only one from the Spanish Branch but now the two have each other.... and they speak English so they'll have a blast. I am so happy!!!! But yeah and everyone was shaking Jesus's hand after church again and he was just looving it!! So fun. And then last night we visited him again at his house to give him his own Book of Mormon and he was just so happy to see us, as was Laticia and his mood is just sooo uplifted all the time! And Laticia said she's seen a big change in him and he said whenever he feels down at all he just looks at the tie we gave him and he feels so much better. He said church has changed everything for him. And he even said when his little sister Maria hits him or something, when he used to get mad at her, he now just smiles and realizes she's a little girl. He really is so cute to her though.... But yeah, it's amazing!! And then we introduced him to the Book of Mormon and he thought the book looked soo nice and new, handmade even haha and he was like, "I will never put this on the floor!! And I will treat it with respect!!" And he was soo excited to get reading it. He started to read even the testimony of Joseph Smith and was pumped. Ohhhh I love it!! And then we gave them some cake, the Elders gave us from members and they were sooo grateful for it and then we got Laticia's permission for us to teach and baptize him, she was soo excited to sign the permission slip and said how grateful she was that we are teaching him and then we still need big Jesus's signature, he wasn't there... but he loves when we come over and what not and loves God, so he'll be more than happy to sign it too. BEST THING!!!
And then after the little lesson on the Book of Mormon we asked him to say our closing prayer and he did!!! He got a little nervous again but then said the sweetest prayer. And in it he asked to know that baptism is the thing he should do and everything and afterwards he said, I know it is but I just want to see what other answers God will give me. I love it! And after the prayer Laticia was crying because she has never heard him pray and it made her so happy. She even said she wanted to go write down his prayer so she could always remember it and then we invited them to pray together..... I hope they do. And we kinda dropped Laticia but now that we're teaching Jesus she is being influenced by us again and when we were leaving she said she may come to church again. She just has some issues because of some bad experiences... with her husband and what not, I think I mentioned that before... so she's scared of a lot of things but I have faith she'll come around. But anyways, Jesus is getting baptized in just a couple of weeks and it is going to be amazing!!! I can't wait to keep teaching him till then too. I am so happy!!!!!!!!!! Me and Hermana Piggott feel ohhh so blessed too. However, ALL of our glory goes to God and the Lord. This is their work and their miracle. Oh, and Jesus asked what age boys can go on missions.... I can just see it now!! Him serving his very own mission one day!!! Ahhh I am so happy. Okay, I'm done haha I just keep rambling but I have to finish this email up. But I'll keep you updated on him next week!!
2. Okay, and then along with church yesterday... I spoke in sacrament meeting!!! Yep, my first time speaking in Spanish in church. Haha I had to write out my entire talk beforehand but the spirit ended up helping me out a ton and I was able to say exactly what I wanted to. And when I bore my testimony at the end the spirit hit me so strong and tears came to my eyes. Looking out and seeing members in my branch crying too didn't help.... the spirit was so strong and the spirit in the entire meeting was soooo strong and powerful. I loved it!! Also, a sister who's 23 from the branch just got home from her mission and had her homecoming talk after me!! She's sooo cute and we'll have her come to lessons with us all the time. Her name is Nubia and she's darling!!! But yeah so that was exciting!!!!! Oh and it was pretty cool because I quoted the first verse from "A Donde Me Mandes Ire" (I'll Go Where You Want Me to Go) in my talk and it was the hymn we all sang right after I spoke!!!
Pretty ironic if you ask me haha.
3. HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!!!! Abs and Brad told me a little about the family Halloween party and it sounded AMAZING!!! Frodles as Elvis and Barb J as his HOUND DOGGG!?! I am dyyyyying. And Brodles told me him and Britt went as Frodles and Barb J...... still dying. I have the best family in the WORLD!!! SEND ME PICTURES!!!!!!!!! Hahaha I am laughing so hard to myself trying to picture these costumes. Ps. back to Elvis for a second.... did you know he took the discussions??? Haha he's probably converted now up in heaven!! Woot woot!!
4. HAPPY HAPPY BIRTHDAY BRITT!!!!! I sent you a little Birthday package last week so I HOPE you get it today!!!! I am thinking about you and hope you have a wonderful day! Brad told me what he's getting you soooo I wanna hear what you think after you get the surprise!! You two are the cutest and I love you both so much. Brad, spoil her ROTTEN today ya hear me?? She doesn't deserve anything less!! But I love you Britt and I really hope you have such a special day!!!!!
5. Abs I got your Halloween package!!! I got it when I came back from my first exchange, woot woot, haha and I love it soo much!! You're the best sissy in the WORLD!!!!!!!!!!!
6. Mom and dad I am so happy you met the Smith's!! Hahaha they are a KICK!!! I met them when we were watching General Conference at the stake center and she told me they were driving to Utah and wanted to give our family kiwis, pomegranites, etc. And I kinda forgot to get back to her and then Elder Boyer told me to call her so I did and she said she called you and that you were going to meet up with her to give her some stuff for me and she would give you the fruit?? Sounds like it all worked out. She was sooo excited to do that haha she's the best. They kill me. Haha you got some delicious fruit straight from Gridley!!! We are so lucky and get to have fresh fruit from the orchards ALL THE TIME!! The Latino's just give us bags of fruit daily.... love it. And it made me so happy when Sister Smith called me back and said she talked to you on the phone.... you didn't feel as far away!!! Brother and Sister Adams, who I live with, were in Utah this weekend too but I didn't have you meet up with them, unfortunately haha.
7. Oh yeah so I had my first exchange!! I went up to Chico & Paradise for a night/day with Sister Lyman (the sister training leader) and Sister Perkins... we were in a trio. Well anyways, it was a ton of fun!! We visited with some awesome people and the area was beautiful!! Just tons of big tall trees, pine trees, so you had that forest feel and the houses would be set back in the trees like cabins.... way cool. But one house we went into reaked of stale cigarette smoke.... I was dying for the first part of the lesson but then I got over it, kinda haha. The English deal with that a ton apparently. But it was a lot of fun and it was fun teaching in pure English haha. I could really go into things!!! And the Sisters I was with were super nice. We had one super spiritual lesson... But anyways, I missed Hermana Piggott too and was so excited to get back to Gridley with her. This is my home!!!
8. Which reminds me, we had transfers!! My first set of transfers. Crazy. We all thought a ton was going to change but the only thing that did was our District Leader!! It is now Elder Boyer, the CRAZIEST Elder in our District soo we'll see how that goes...... he was joking last week during District Meeting lunch and said, "If I get made District Leader we'll have P-DAY EVES!!! And no more District Meetings!! Also, if you sleep in past 11 it will be breaking the rules!!" Hahaha he kills me. No, I think it will be good for him to shape up and have a leadership position. But I'll miss having Elder Call as the District Leader and he's kinda sad about it... he was the best. But my District is still together!! The family remains!! Hahaha
But okay, I have to go but I love you all sooooo much and am so thankful for your love and support!!!!! Have a wonderful week and know I am thinking of and praying for you always!!!! I LOVE YOU ALL!!!!! And THE CHURCH IS TRUE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Con mucho mucho amor, Hermana Barth