My dearest and loveliest FAMILY & FRIENDS!!!!!!!!!!!
So before anything else.......
THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU
to everyone who emailed me today wishing me a Happy Birthday!!!!!! I got more emails than I could have ever imagined receiving and my heart is SO full. I don't even know how to express how grateful and blessed I feel right now. My heart could not be full of more happiness and love and I honestly have tears in my eyes because of how much it means to me. And the biggest smile on my face!!! AHHH THANK YOU EVERYONE!!!!!!!!! SOOO SOO much. I am completely aware of each and every one of you who emailed me something and I love you all more than you know. Really, you all mean the world to me!!!! I feel sooo beyond blessed right now!! You ALL have already made my Birthday sooo so special. I LOVE YOU ALL SO MUCH!!!!!!! And I am going to print out everyone's emails and read them again tomorrow too haha.
I AM SO HAPPY!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Thank you so much again!!! Sooo on top of being overjoyed from all of the wonderful emails I've received today, I am also sooo happy because
LIFE IS SO GOOD.
It is TOO good actually. I didn't know I could feel THIS happy and full of love. My mission could not be better and I could not be happier!!!! This past week has been ohhh so wonderful as well. Jesus is SOLID and went to Seminary all week with Oscar!!!!!! We couldn't be happier about that. Oscar is going to be such a rock for Jesus and he only became active himself not too long ago either.... so this all is sooo good for him as well. Ahhh I love them both so much and am so proud and impressed by each of them. Also, it is truly so visible to me that Jesus now has a different light/glow about him. He sincerely does!!!!! He now not only has the light of Christ but the gift of the Holy Ghost as well AND he is a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints!!!!!! You can see such a clear difference, it's crazy!!!! But I absolutely love it.
Jesus is continually changing, progressing and growing closer to the Savior and I couldn't be happier to witness it all happen. He is the cutest and feels like a little brother to me. I am sooo happy he has desired to take this path in life. It will bless him in more ways than he can ever imagine.... and then as for Marcella!!! My darling, golden investigator. She is impressing me more and more each day as well. She truly could NOT be more golden and is the exact investigator that every single missionary seeks and prays for constantly. Every time we teach her she is fully engaged, ready to learn and she just GETS it. Soo cute though.. we had her read Alma 32 on her own after we had read Ether 12 together and talked about faith and anyways.... when we talked about Alma 32 in our lesson, she saw how I had verses highlighted so she went and grabbed a colored pencil and started marking her favorite verses from the chapter as well. Sooo cute.
When we switch off reading she also pretty much has her nose touching the pages she reads so intently and even when it's not her turn to read she quietly reads out loud. Haha I LOVE IT!!!!!! She is the cutest!!!!!! And she really analyzes the verses as well and even teaches me tons from the. Her perspective on everything is perfect and she again, just GETS it. Better than I always expect her too as well. But she absolutely loved Alma 32 and after we talked about it we watched The Restoration video and she looooved that as well.
Pretty crazy too because we didn't know the video would flow as nicely as it did with what we had read.... but in the beginning of the video it talked about having a seed of faith that can grow into a tree, etc. So it was even more perfect!! But yeah she loved it soo much and one of her personal favorite verses in Alma 32 was verse 16..... it fits her PERFECTLY!!!!! You should all read it haha. But okay and her baptism is now going to be next Sunday on the 24th!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! AHHHHHH WE ARE SOOOOO EXCITED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And she is EVEN MORE excited. She talks about it constantly and yesterday at church was telling everyone that she was getting baptized in exactly a week. I wish you all could meet her right now because she is THE CUTEST and sooo strong in the gospel already.
Which reminds me... she broke up with her boyfriend Oscar. We bummed for a split second because we wanted to teach them together but we are still going to try to teach him and they're still on good terms. She just told us that she wants to be soo good, prepared and ready for her baptism and she told him that once she's baptized she's dedicating herself to the gospel. So her eyes have been opened and she wants to be the best she can be. Once she told us that we were so happy and proud of her. She is already making changes in her life to be a better Saint and daughter of God!!!!!!! Ohhh I love Marcella!!!! I cannot WAIT for her baptism. She is TRULY converted and it is just going to be so special. She has literally completely raised herself her whole life too and the fact that she is choosing to follow the Savior, be baptized and become a member of the church...... INCREDIBLE!!!!
She always tells us how much happier she has been since we've started teaching her too and just how now she feels so loved and full of hope. Oh my goodness, she is TOO perfect. Church with her yesterday was soo amazing too and she brought her little girl Estrella who couldn't be more precious. It was amazing. Our branch is awesome too and every single member came and shook her hand, talked with her, played with Estrella..... it couldn't have gone better. They would tell Marcella how nice it will be to get Estrella in the church too.... told her how blessed her life will be, etc. It was awesome. And we also took the first ever BRANCH photo outside after church which was pretty exciting. In the stake center every ward takes a photo about every 3-4 years.... well the branch has only been around for about a year but we took our first photo to go up in the stake center and us missionaries feel super lucky to be in it haha. And Marcella & Jesus are in it!!! Perfection.
But yeah, Marcella is amazing and counting down the days till next Sunday. Oh! And we also had her read 2 Nephi 31 ... all about baptism and she loved that sooo much too. Just kept talking about how excited she is to be baptized and she also talked about how important it is that we continue to live the commandments once we're baptized and do what the Lord tells us to, follow His ways, or else what's the point in being baptized!?! She said, if we're not going to do those things... what's the point!? So she then expressed how she's not just getting baptized to get baptized, to get wet, but to truly change her life and revolve it around the Savior. To follow His commandments and teachings.... to be a true member in La Iglesia de JesuCristo de los Santos de los Ultimos Dias. This is a perfect example of what I'm talking about.... how she just GETS it.
So I know she is going to be an incredible and strong member and I couldn't feel more blessed to be apart of her conversion. To be a tool in the Lord's hands with bringing her closer to Him. It's an amazing amazing thing. We get to teach her tonight too and I am so excited!!!!! Me and Hermana Piggott look forward to her lessons so much. They are just always soooo full of the spirit and so happy. I learn so much whenever we teach her as well and my testimony always grows and is strengthened. THIS CHURCH IS TRUE!!!! And I know it with ALL of my heart. But anyways, we have some other new potential investigators.... Vicenta, Carolina, Jesus's dad (he wants to be baptized but we're kinda waiting it out because of some issues from the past....), Francisca, Marvin... and our current investigators are... Beatriz, Sonia, Margarito, Neli, Reina, Raquel.. etc. but we have some new PROGRESSING investigators, Antonio (his wife, Lorenza, is a potential), and his son Esgar (his girlfriend Armenia is a potential) and his daughter Yamara. So we have been over to their house a ton this past week and we've only taught them the first two lessons but it's because we have been teaching them separately sometimes and they always have tons of comments, questions, etc. so the lessons go super long.
Well so anyways, yesterday we got the WHOLE family to sit in on our lesson and it was amazing!!!!!!!!!!!!!! They all were asking tons of questions and we just got into many different discussions, but all super good ones. And anyways, Antonio seems totally ready but I think he just has some problems he's trying to work through. He attends AA which is Alcoholic's Anonymous and we've seen him smoking.... but yesterday, in English (so that Antonio wouldn't understand), Esgar asked us if the "someone" he knows has an addiction, if we think the gospel will help them overcome it even when they feel like they've lost all hope... and we told him how the gospel helps with everything and at our stake center we even have an addiction recovery program. His face LIT up when he heard this and he said how it wasn't him that has the addictions but someone else... clearly his father. So that was cool he brought it up and wants help for his dad. We know Antonio wants help for himself as well. You can just feel it when we teach him and he truly does want to change and grow closer to God and Christ. He believes everything we teach him too and I always feel the spirit so strongly when we're in their home.
But yeah and Antonio kept bringing us food, first a sweet squash thing & milk and then sugary bread & hot chocolate..... we were getting like a 3 course meal!!!! Hahaha no but we had a chance to kinda talk to just Esgar and Yamara for a little and I knew I had to invite them to be baptized and I did and they both said YESSSSSS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! We talked a ton more about baptism, being a member in the church, etc. Yamara and Esgar both had tons of questions and what not... but they were all good and they both want to be baptized. They're both going to come to Marcella's baptism next week too and Yamara is super excited for it. She would get baptized tomorrow if she could haha. She said she really wants to be apart of the church and ahh she is the sweetest. Oh yeah, Yamara is about 14 too and Esgar is 19. Pretty awesome. And it's soo nice that we've been teaching their parents as well so that we can for sure get their permission for Yamara to be baptized.
We told them to keep praying about what we're teaching them and after last night, to really pray about baptism. Ohhh man there is SOOO much I could say about our lesson last night we had with them but I have no more time. So I need to end this but we're hoping to put them both on date tomorrow and work with Antonio and Lorenza to get them prepared for baptism as well. We are going to get this entire family to enter into the waters of baptism I know it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! They're AMAZING. And after our lesson last night me and Hermana Piggott, yet again, were pretty much screaming with excitement and happiness. We don't understand how we are witnessing sooo many miracles!!! It is TRULY a miracle in itself. When I first got here, people kept telling me that Gridley was struggling, lacking in success, etc. and it would really really bug me and I told myself I would never let that get to me...... because you hear of stories about that happening all the time.
But really, I KNEW we could turn it around with being completely obedient, trusting in the Lord, seeking after him for everything, putting ourselves in the Lord's hands always, having FAITH in God, the Lord, the people and ourselves.... and working our absolute hardest!!!!!!!! Because WITH GOD EVERYTHING IS POSSIBLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!! So me and Hermana Piggott are feeling very very blessed and happy right now and are continuing to witness miracles. It's incredible. The Lord is TRULY preparing His children, putting them in our path.... and hastening His work!!!!!!!!! The work is sincerely hastening people!!!!!
I LOVE THIS WORK!!!! THE WORK OF THE LORD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
And I could not feel more blessed to be a full-time missionary. But okay, I have to go but I'll give you more updates next weeek!!!! As of now, Marcella is getting baptized on SUNDAY, Esgar and Yamara should be getting on date for December 14th (which is after transfers so me and Hermana Piggott are crossing our fingers we will still be together!!!!) and we have several other people we're working with so pray for everyone!!!!!!!!!! This is going to be an amazing week and I cannot imagine starting my 21st year of life better. It's going to be a GOOD year I know it!!!!!!!!! And
THANK YOU SOOO MUCH AGAIN FOR ALL OF THE BIRTHDAY WISHES!!!!!!!!!!!
I know tomorrow is going to be such a special day and I feel sooo blessed!! Mom!!!! I got your 2 packages already and will be looking out for the 3rd one today!!! And I will anxiously be awaiting the one from Cynthia as well!!!! Which remind me, will you text her back and tell her I did get her email!! I just never have time to respond. I'll try to be better at writing handwritten letters back... I promise!!!!! I just never have any time!!!!! And I also got a letter from HERMANA HOWE!!!! Which made me soooo happy too. I could not feel more blessed. I have the absolute best family & friends in the world!!!!! But okay, I have to go. I am the absolute HAPPIEST & I LOVE YOU ALL!!!!!!!!
Con mucho mucho amor, Hermana Barth
Ps. Dad, isn't it crazy to think that last year today we were FLYING to GERMANY!!!! And on my Birthday arrived in Stuttgart!?! I cannot believe that was an entire year ago!!! Best Birthday I could have asked for!!!!! I still talk about that trip ALL the time. I could go on and on about it.... but really, I cannot believe that was an entire year ago!!! Time is FLYYYING byyyy!!!!! Okay love you!!