Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Baptism for Marcella!

Hello loveliest family!!!

I don't even know where to begin with this email... I have soo much I want to say! This week has by far been one of my favorite weeks on my entire mission. I am sooo happy it's unbelievable!!! Haha this is the quote Hermana Piggott and I have been saying constantly this week, "OUR LIVES ARE TOO GOOD!!!" or "LIFE IS TOO GOOD!!!!" Hahaha we have just been the happiest kids. But okay, here goes!! Some details about my WONDERFUL week!!!!

1. Before anything else.... Marcella was BAPTIZED!!!! Last night and it was the most incredible, beautiful, spiritual and overall amazing baptism you could possibly imagine. I don't even know where to begin talking about it..... Marcella is just amazing. She truly has the light and spirit of Christ with her and is honestly one of the best people I know. She is ALWAYS smiling, laughing... is always soo positive.. wanting to learn more, etc. And she was SOO excited to be baptized and become a member of the church. We met with her a bunch this past week and every time we were together we had such a spiritual and amazing lesson. It has been soo amazing to see her testimony grow and already be SO strong. I just wish you could all meet her right now!!! She is truly such a beautiful person in every way possible and I love her with all of my heart. I already see her as one of my dearest friends and of course, sisters. I know that we will stay in touch for the rest of our lives!! Ahh I love her soo much!!!! But as for the actual baptism, it was AMAZING. Jackie, Sister Whitnack (our favorite human) put together two flower arrangements for us and gave us darling table cloths so we decorated everything very nice haha and Marcella loved it.. but oh my goodness and when we got her all ready and I first saw her in that white jumpsuit, my heart could not have felt more full or touched. I honestly got tears in my eyes when I first saw her. I have never seen her look more beautiful and she just had the biggest smile!!!! It was DARLING!!!!!! Then after we had everything set up and ready, we took some pictures (I'll send some) and the program begun!!! I'll have to send you a copy of the program but as for the main stuff... our opening hymn was "A Donde Me Mandes Ire Senor" (one of my favorites in Spanish) and then Hermana Piggott and I gave a talk on baptism together!!! We went through a list of reasons why we're baptized, etc. and then both bore our testimonies... well, it didn't take long before I started having tears run down my face. I couldn't hold them in the spirit hit me SO strongly and I felt sooo much love for this gospel and for darling Marcella. And she was of course sitting on the very front row, where I had previously been sitting next to her and while I was bearing my testimony I'd look at her and SHE had tears streaming down HER face!!!! Which made me shed even more. My heart was completely touched. Looking at this sweet daughter of God who was about to be baptized by the true authority of God and become completely pure and cleansed... there is nothing like it. And to see her with eyes full of tears as well, it was just something I'll never ever ever forget. So I bore my sincere and strong testimony, talked about incredible Marcella and had one of the most spiritual experiences I've ever had. Also, along with Marcella crying.... many other members in our branch were as well. Including Brother Orme. So my heart was completely completely full. But then Hermana Piggott bore her strong testimony and then all of us missionaries sang the YM/YW medley (like we did at Jesus's baptism... it's what Marcella wanted and whenever we sing it together the spirit is SO strong) .. so we all sang that which made me cry even more. Along with Marcella. Ahhhh just looking at her all gorgeous in her white suit with tears running down her face and smiling huge....... it was AMAZING!!!!!!!!!!!! But we all sang that, which brought everyone to more tears and then Wendy gave a talk on the Holy Ghost. Wendy is the friend of Marcella who introduced us to her, etc. hopefully you all remember me talking about her in previous emails... well, Wendy gave such a powerful and incredible talk on the Holy Ghost, which again.. brought us all to more tears. And then the baptism took place. I gave Marcella a huge a big hug before she got up to head to the font and she looked at me with a big smile and tears in her eyes. She then entered into the waters of baptized and was baptized!!!!!! I again, had more tears at this point and right after she was baptized she could not have looked more stunning or had a greater glow. Well then after that, we went back and helped her for a minute, hugged her and congratulated her and then Elder Tepox gave an incredible lesson on the Restoration (President Weston has asked us to teach the first lesson now during the time the person who was baptized is changing, etc.) ... so that was amazing and then one Marcella was back she bore her testimony. She said the sweetest and more sincere things. She talked about her gratitude for us missionaries, Wendy, the gospel, everything. Her testimony is SO STRONG already!!!! She talked about how happy she is that she is on the right path and how it has already changed her life, etc. I wish I had it recorded it was so perfect. But then we finished by singing "Tengo Gozo en mi Alma Hoy" (another one of my favorites sung in Spanish...) and then we celebrated!! Hermana Ceja made a Mexican dish called "pasole" (don't know how to spell it) ... and everyone was sooo excited about it. Apparently it's a Latino favorite and Hermana Ceja is the best cook.... it was soo good. Definitely cleansed our my senses hahahaha from the heat of it but it was delicious. And then Marcella asked for chocolate cookies (Mexicans LOVE chocolate chip cookies because they never make them) so we had tons of homemade cookies from the Ormes and Sister Lopez... and yeah! We all were just eating and happier than ever!!! Marcella had a permanent smile on her face the rest of the night and we all were just as giddy and happy as can be!!!! Now, we just cannot wait for her to be confirmed and receive the gift of the Holy Ghost!! Which will be next Sunday.... So she's not officially a member YET but soon enough!!!!!! Ahh I love Marcella soo much!! And when we were hugging goodbye she was like, "What am I going to do when you Sisters leave!?!" But we know we'll stay in touch forever. Ohhhhh LIFE IS TOO GOOD!!!!!!!!!! But and another miracle along with it is Yamara and Antonio came to the baptism!! Okay..... so updates on that......

2. Okay, so I remember talking about them previously... but on my Birthday we went over to their house and it was the first time we taught Yamara by herself.... well we taught her about Alma 32 and she ended up crying and telling us how she has a ton of faith, etc. and how she has been wanting to know for the longest time which church was true and has been waiting for an answer from God. And she once told her aunt, who's a Christian, that she didn't feel like she had received an answer from God yet and so her aunt told her she had no faith, that she didn't believe in God, etc. and that really hurt her feelings... well so anyways, we taught her how to pray, taught her how we receive answers from prayer, etc. and we of course, told her it is SO CLEAR that she truly does have tons of faith, believes in the Savior and God. It was so impressive how much faith she DOES have. Well so anyways, we had such a wonderful lesson with her... and then the next night we taught the entire family and it was amazing. We can never finish an entire lesson with them because they always have so many questions and want to talk about so much... which is good!! But we talked about baptism again with them and the mom has just started sitting in on lessons so she needs to learn more, Antonio just analyzes too much and we need to work with him more but Yamara and Esgar were very engaged with it and again, said they wanted to be baptized. However, this time Yamara said she really really wanted to and Esgar said he does but we weren't able to get in to it more with him... because the day before Yamara told us that what would keep her from baptism would be her parents not supporting her. Well, we asked them right then and there how they would feel about her being baptized. They said it's her decision and they would be fine with it. But THEN!! So the NEXT night, we had a fireside with Stanley G. Ellis, from the First Quorum of the Seventy, and Marcella was going to come with us but had an emergency and wasn't able to soo we last minute invited Yamara and she completely dropped what she was doing and came with us to Chico for the Fireside!! Don't worry... we drove with Brother Orme and Hermana Ceja, didn't take her on our own haha. But we got to hear from President Weston, Sister Weston and Elder Ellis and it was amazing!! Elder Ellis talked all about the Book of Mormon and anyways, we gave her her own copy there and she told us she was so excited to start reading it. She speaks both Spanish and English by the way.... but then afterwards everyone was coming up to her, meeting her, shaking her hand, etc. and she said, "You seem to be so close with everyone here!!" and we told her that we ourselves didn't know about 90% of them!! And she was amazed by that and kept saying how everyone was sooo nice and it really did feel like everyone was family. Well, we then had her meet President Weston!!! The absolute greatest. We had previously been telling her who he was and everything and when she went to shake his hand he said, "I am SO excited to meet you." And she immediately started crying!!! He kept shaking her hand and then Sister Weston gave her a hug and Yamara could just feel his spirit so strong and felt so loved, it brought her to tears!!! Yamara is only 12 by the way... I thought she was 14. She's mature. But so they talked to her for a little and it was soooo darling. It was amazing. Afterwards she said how she has just been super emotional about everything and we know it's because she's starting to feel the love of our Heavenly Father more in her life and is being touched more by the spirit. So amazing. But this whole experience made Yamara want to be baptized even more... she wants to be apart of it all. But so then the next time we went over to their house, Antonio told us that he wanted her to wait a YEAR before she gets baptized. He wants her to know for a FACT that it's what she wants. He doesn't want her to just be baptized to be baptized.... and she's so young that he just wants her to really know if this is the church she wants to be apart of. They aren't stuck on any specific church, light Catholic background.... but anyways, Yamara was in tears when he was telling us this and she kept trying to change his mind. We then talked to him more about it and were respectful to his thoughts of course but tried to explain a little more about what baptism entailed. It is a HUGE step of course but just one of the first. Well anyways, during this chat... the whole family sat in and Esgar was talking about himself being baptized but since he's 19 he can get baptized whenever he wants.... and while we were sitting there, Yamara passed me a note and on it she asked if she had to get her parents consent, said I'd only have to teach 153 days more which is 6 months and 3 days... before she could get baptized, oh yeah we got him to say that 6 months would be long enough.... and so she did the math (on the note she had all of her calculations and tally's trying to figure it out) and she asked if she could just get them to sign the paper and not come.... haha which would not be okay of course... but she just wants to be baptized sooo bad!! I kept the note too because it was the cutest thing ever. But Antonio and Lorenza just want to really see a change happen in Yamara and want to see her prove that this is what she really wants. So anyways, we have work to do with Antonio. BUT he said he'd come to church with her as much as she wants so they both came YESTERDAY!!! To all 3 hours, we had the Elders and other Brothers in our ward take care of Antonio and then we went to Young Womens with Yamara, etc. but anyways, it went well but I couldn't tell what Antonio was truly thinking. But then they both came to the baptism!!!! And it was SOOOO spiritual that I KNOW Antonio must have felt something.. and then afterwards when everyone was eating, he was chatting with everyone and made all these new friends. OH! And we found out Antonio's brother-in-law is Pedro Enriquez!!! A member in our branch!! So that's an awesome connection... but so that was awesome and they stayed till the end. Yamara then told us she is dyyyying to be baptized and keeps joking about the permission slip hahaha. BUT we asked Antonio as they were leaving what he thought about it all and he said he has a lot to think about!!!!!!!!!!! SOOOOOO end of story.... KEEP PRAYING FOR YAMARA!!!!!! And Antonio of course.... Esgar and Lorenza. I'll give more updates next week!!!!!!!!!!!! Sorry I have so much to say!!!!

3. My BIRTHDAY!!!!!!!!!! I am officially 21 and had THE BEST BIRTHDAY EVER!!!!!!!!! First off, last Monday we went to Oroville and got burgers at this way good burger place with the district and Jackie, then we had dinner with the Sanners and she knew my Birthday was the next day so she made apple pie and I blew out candles!! Dad, her pie was nothing compared to yours hahaha. But then we had a lesson with Marcella. Then on my BIRTHDAY!!!! I woke up and it was RAINING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! So that AUTOMATICALLY put me in the BEST mood hahaha it has only rained one other time here!!! So I was soo excited about that and then we went and did service at Children's Hope, President Paine's (Stake President) foster care place... so we did service until lunch but before that Sister Paine brought us muffins, etc. and then we had a District lunch and President Paine bought us all pizza and cheesecake for my Birthday and Elder Boyer and Elder Hyde brought Martinelli's haha so we celebrated!! And then we went and taught Yamara, taught Jesus and his dad.... they sang Happy Birthday to me too.. I have it on film and it's hilarious. And then we had my birthday dinner at the Orme's!!! And the night before, Sister Orme asked me what I wanted for my meal and I couldn't decide forever but then I told her yams or sweet potatoes, salad with poppyseed dressing, grilled chicken, broccoli and fruit!! And she made the BEST meal I've had here!!!! Sooo good, I'll send pictures haha. And then she asked what I wanted for dessert and I told her my favorite are carmelitas haha but then just said chocolate so she made a chocolate cake and then the NEXT night I got CARMELITAS in the mail from you mom!!!!!! Hahaha me and Hermana Piggott were dying because I had been talking about them so much with the Orme's, etc. But Marcella and Wendy joined us for dinner as well, they all sang me Happy Birthday, I blew our more candles (have this all on film too), Sister Orme gave me a present and then we taught Marcella. Well it was the best night of my life and we taught Marcella about tithing..... ended up being soooo spiritual and amazing. She is struggling big time right now financially with Estrella, being a singly mom, etc. so she was in tears when she was talking about it but she said she knows God will bless her so she's excited to pay her tithing. We all talked for sooo long and were all in tears at different points. It was SO spiritual. And while I was sitting there teaching her, hearing her testimony, bearing my testimony, etc. feeling the spirit so strong, listening to the rain pour outside.... I could not have been happier. And could not have spent my Birthday doing anything better. I was doing exactly what I wanted to be doing and again, could not have been happier. But then after that amazing lesson.... me and Hermana Piggott went back home and before we went to bed, I opened up all of my packages, presents, etc. and we had a little party. Hahahaha I'll have to send pictures but mom we were loving the party hats, blow horns, EVERYTHING!!!!!! And I love everything you sent!!! Thank you mom & dad, Brad & Britt and then I had a present from Jackie, Hermana Piggot (her mom sent me stuff) and then Scotty!!! I'll choose what I want from your options ASAP!!!! And then the next day I came home to the package of carmelitas from Barb and a package from the HALLER'S!!!!!! They sent me a darling backpack and the nicest card!!! Made me sooo happy!!!!!!!! I truly could not feel more blessed!!! And on my Birthday I could a letter from Grandma Barth and Shannon Haller. Then another day a card from G-Ma Call, DeAnn & Allison Walker, etc. Oh!! And we were supposed to go over to the Elizondo's (Antonio, Yamara, etc) after the Orme's on my Birthday but didn't have enough time so we went the next night and they had bought me a BIRTHDAY cake!!! So then that night after we taught them we had more cake and they did the Mexican tradition on me, told me to take a bite out of the cake and then Esgar smashed my face into it!!!!! My dream came true!!!! (I used to always want that to happen hahaha) and they sang Feliz Cumpleanos a ti to me and it was the best!!!! We were all having the best time and I felt like my Birthday was continuing on!!! Oh, and Yamara drew me a picture with my name all fancy too for my Birthday.... soo cute!!!! I LOVE THIS FAMILY!!!!!!!!!!!! And I could not have had a better Birthday or Birthday week soo THANK YOU EVERYONE for sending me things and your love!!!!!!! It means more than you know!!! Abigail, still waiting for your mysterious package hahaha. But it has been the best week ever!!!!!!!!!!!! And we had Zone Conference with Elder Ellis too this week which was amazing as well and I got sang Happy Birthday to, from a large group of missionaries haha. BEST BIRTHDAY AND BIRTHDAY WEEK EVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

4. THANKSGIVING IS THIS WEEK!!!! So with that, I want everyone to know how thankful I am for each and every one of you!!!!!!! And I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving!! 

Okay, well I have to go!!!! But I love you all soooo much!!! Keep praying for the people and families we are teaching right now and especially pray for YAMARA, ANTONIO, LORENZA and ESGAR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! That Yamara will be able to get baptized SOON and that we'll be able to convert and baptize the entire family as well. On Sunday during ward council, President Lopez had tears when we were talking about this family.... we need them in our branch soo badly!!!!! But okay, I love you all so much and thank you thank you thank you for everything again!!!!! I have the best family and friends in the entire world!!!!!! I talk about ALL of you ALL the time and feel sooo blessed every single day. I love my life and LOVE being a missionary. LIFE IS TOO GOOD.

Con mucho amor, Hermana Barth

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