Hello darling family of mine!!
So I have some MARVELOUS news!! YAMARA IS GETTING BAPTIZED!!!!!!!!!! It's OFFICIAL. We have both of her parents permission and that is a MIRACLE. You honestly have noo idea!! Antonio just a couple of weeks ago said he wanted Yamara to wait an entire YEAR before she could be baptized and now he's letter her RIGHT AWAY!!!! AHHHHHH haha I am so excited I cannot even tell you!!!!
So let's see... where to begin... well so we went on exchanges this week and Sister Housley who just got transferred to Chico came to Gridley to be with me. Which meant I got to DRIVE haha and take over the area!! It was the best!!! First off, she's English so I had to do all of the Spanish talking and I loved that and then I was able to take her all around GRIDLEY!!!! It was sooo much fun and sister Housley is DARLING. She trained the last two transfers and I remember seeing her when I first got here... she trained the girl that was my companion my first night haha. Well anyways, I always thought she was soo cute and I got to have her as my companion for a night/day! I loved it. She slept overnight and then we got all of together. It was the best. And I learned a ton a ton from her. She's an incredible missionary I can already tell. She's super on top of things and has a wonderful spirit about her. She's also 5 ft and the cutest thing so I am sure everyone adores her. But yeah we ended up having the BEST day in Gridley and I gave her a good idea of the Spanish speaking world. We went to the Camps which is a mini Mexico, all Spanish... I even had her read in Spanish at our lessons which she actually was excited about.. I took her to dinner at Casa Lupe which has the BEST authentic Mexican food, it's a little market... and then we taught Yamara, Marcella (who couldn't stop talking about how amazing and special her baptism was, showed her all the pictures from it, etc. haha I loved it), we had service for Sister Hamblin who had us help her put up her Christmas tree and then she fed us lunch... I have to talk about Sister Hamblin sometime haha I don't know if I ever have but you'll all dieeeee. She's OBSESSED with missionaries. OBSESSED. And is getting super attached to Hermana Piggott and I.... hahaha I'll have to tell you later. But she feeds us whenever we need a meal and even if we didn't plan to eat she ALWAYS whips something out haha and she makes cinnamon rolls for every zone meeting, always is baking and giving us homemade bread... I'm not kidding.. we get homemade bread from her WEEKLY.. it's the best.. she's a saint but yeah.... she kills me. More about her later. Haha but yeah then we visited some less-actives, the Rodriguez's who gave us Mexican food and Sister Housley was LOVING it.. and anyways... she just got a really good feel for the area and she kept saying how FUN the Hispanic culture was and how she wished she were speaking Spanish, etc. Because really the culture we get to be surrounded by is SOO fun!!!!! But anyways... when we visited Yamara, Antonio sat in on the lesson for a little and when Yamara brought up baptism he said, "It's a surprise... a present for you." And Hermana Housley and I looked at each other.... and that was all he said. Well so anyways, it really got me thinking as to what he meant. I was hoping soo badly he wanted to surprise her as a Christmas present and tell her he's letting her be baptized..... well......
So then I told Hermana Piggott about this, she hoped the same thing and when we went over to Yamara's the next night... she burst open the door when we got there and looked happier than usual. She told us immediately to sit down because she had the BEST NEWS!!!!!!! But then she also kept saying, don't jump to conclusions.... don't jump to conclusions.... so we didn't know what to think and she kept beating around the bush (trying to throw us off) and then she said how when she came home from Caroling with the Young Women the night before... Antonio was out smoking (that dogggg... he knows he needs to quit but is just lacking in will power at the moment... we're working with him) but so she asked him what her surprise was... from what he said the night before and I guess he pretended to pull something out of his pocket to give to her so she said, "a cell phone!?" and then he said, "I am letting you be baptized." And she said she immediately started bawling and said, "THANK YOU THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!! THAT IS SOOOOO MUCH BETTER THAN A CELL PHONE!!!!!!!!!!!!" And she said she just couldn't stop crying, hugging and thanking him... ahhhhhh so cute!!!!!! I wish I could have witnessed that moment. But so then she told us and we all started screaming and hugging with excitement. I had watery eyes as well I was soooooo excited!!!!!!!!!!! It's a MIRACLE. And then Antonio came home and we started talking about it some more. He told us how he was letting her be baptized and how he not only is now letting her, but WANTS her to be. AMAZING!!!!!! But then.... Lorenza came home. The mom. And she apparently had no recollection of any of this. So Antonio had her come into the room to talk about it. Well, she wasn't feeling the same. She is Catholic and even though she's not super super religious with it, it's a tradition she has grown up with so she was wanting Yamara to stick to it as well. She kept asking Yamara, "what about your quincinera?? what about your quincinera??" no idea how to spell that but it's the huge party the Catholics throw for you when you turn 15.... well anyways, it's a ceremony thing too and her mom kept asking her about it thinking it would change her mind, reminding her how she had dreamed about it her entire life... etc. But Yamara just kept saying she didn't want it anymore, at all, and that all she wants now is to be baptized and to be a member of THIS church. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints... the true church. So anyways, Antonio got talking and was super defensive of Yamara being baptized, telling her it was her own choice, how she didn't want to be Catholic, how much happier she was with this religion, and he was just fighting for it soo bad... and since there marriage is not a healthy one.... they are pretty much just living in the same house... and don't get along... when Antonio was fighting for it, Lorenza was just getting more and more defensive and it ended up being an argument between the both of them. Which led to Yamara crying and just saying over and over, "All I want is to be BAPTIZED!!! In THIS church!!" And she kept saying how it's for her own good, for her to have a better future, for her to be the best person she can be.... etc. And anyways, Antonio had her go to her room for the remainder of the argument and Hermana Piggott and I sat there quietly... felt like I was intruding... but then Antonio told us how he wanted to make it a surprise for Yamara. Have her not know it's set and then have her show up at the baptism and have it all ready for her to be baptized... well so anyways, Lorenza was still fuming a little... and then we talked to him about it for a minute until Yamara came back. Then once she did, Lorenza told her it was between the both of them however, she wouldn't support her. This then made Yamara cry more because of course she wants her mother's support. So yeah... that ended that. But she kept saying she'll do anything it takes to be baptized... and we then realized that Lorenza really doesn't know much about the church.. at all.. because she's always gone when we teach. So we asked her if we could teach her and she said yes! So that was good.... So then that ended that night. Kinda a rollercoaster of emotions. And Yamara's prayer before we left was sooo cute. She said something along the lines of, "Please change my mom's heart so that she will let me be baptized and that I'll have her love and support.... please give her faith... thank you for softening my dad's heart and for him supporting me... I promise to keep reading your words as long as you give me strength..." etc. It was DARLING!!! And she was crying throughout all of it. It really hit me during her prayer as well that she HAS a relationship with our Heavenly Father. Just by how she said her prayer, I could tell so clearly. She REALLY talks to Him and pours out her heart to Him. She trusts Him and loves Him so much. I love it. It touched my heart so much. But yeah and then as we were leaving she just cried into Antonio's shoulder and we told her to keep praying and reading her Book of Mormon. Which she promised she would. Oh yeah, and we have been reading tons each day with her so I KNOW that is part of this miracle. But so THEN...... we taught Lorenzaand Yamara and Antonio sat in again and it went a little different than planned... we ended up teaching her our basic beliefs, about the Word of Wisdom.. Law of Chastity (it got to those subjects) and about tithing, fasting..... it went all different directions but she LOVED everything we were teaching and we could tell her heart was being softened. She turned to Yamara at one point and said, "Are you ready to obey these rules?? To change who you are and be better??" She told her if she was going to be baptized she would need to obey the church's rules, start really trying to be better... etc. And I was soo happy. But then as soon as Antonio started talking about all of it again, she got kinda defensive... but we could sense the change. Well so anyways, she was super nice to us... she really likes us a ton and always gives us huge hugs, etc. and then the next day Yamara told us at church, with a HUGE grin on her face, that she has SINCERE permission from her mom to be BAPTIZED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
!!!!!!!!!!! It wasn't a pity yes..... but a sincere one. THIS IS A MIRACLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !! You have NOOO IDEA!!!! And it's all because of our Lord, Jesus Christ, the Holy Ghost and EVERYONES PRAYERS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I know that this miracle has a lot to do with all the people praying for Yamara and her family. I can feel it. So THANK YOU to everyone who has been. It means more than you know. And then Yamara said she wants Brother Orme to baptize her!!!!!!!!!!! Soooo cute!! Everyone LOVES him I'm not kidding. He is the one who confirmed Marcella too and gave her the most beautiful blessing. Oh yeah, long story why she was confirmed ... because she wanted Brother Orme to do it and he was out of town, so anyways... that was AMAZING and she had tears streaming down her face the entire time. And is now an OFFICIAL member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints!!!! SOO EXCITING!!! She is soo happy too and is so happy to finally have the Holy Ghost. But so Brother Orme is super excited to baptize Yamara too and last night we took her over to the Orme's and we watched Mr. Krueger's Christmas, ate peppermint ice cream and then shared a little message. I loved it soo much. It's finally starting to feel like Christmas!! But yeah we are sooooo excited!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And we are not positive on a date yet because we don't know about the whole surprise deal... Antonio still won't give her a date yet because to us he tells us he wants it to be a surprise, so we'll see. But she said she has already been inviting everyone she talks to, all of her friends, etc. so we'll see!!! But I AM SOO HAPPY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And although she is only 12, I promise she is super mature for her age and seems about 14-15... looks older too. She's the BEST!!! I have no idea how Hermana Piggott and I have been able to teach such GOLDEN, amazing people!!!!! And also, the other night Antonio told us how he truly has been seeing a big change in Yamara, she is sooo happy all the time and he said she's a smart girl so he trusts her judgement. Which I completely agree on. I love it!!!! So that's my BIG NEWS!!!! We're not positive when it's going to be yet... could be this weekend or it could be in January but it's happening!!!!!! OH!!! And President Weston emailed Hermana Piggott and I last week and talked about Yamara and said he wants to COME to her baptism!!!!! So we just have to tell him when!!!! He has been a big part of her conversion as well and Yamara thinks he is just sooo amazing, said he just has "such an AMAZING and powerful presence about him." So when we told her he wants to come, she got tears in her eyes and could not have felt more excited and lucky. She is soooo excited. So anyways, I have no more time.... I have to write President Weston right now but I am soooo happy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And what better time to baptize this darling girl than around CHRISTMAS!!!! The day we celebrate our Savior's birth!!!!!!! AMAZING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !! I already can tell this is going to be SUCH a special Christmas.
And also!! We have a brand new district!!! Our District Leader is now Elder Snyder whom we love!!! He is SO awesome, soo nice, obedient, fun and is just going to do great things for Gridley and our district. I know we're going to have such an awesome transfer!!! And then we also go Elder Champagne, Elder Crockett (Spanish), and Sister Arthur!!! Sister Arthur is a Brazil visa waiter... she is going to Santos, Brazil... but she's awesome so we're excited to have her while we can.I also am going to try to learn some Portuguese from her if possible....... haha. But yeah and mom, Hermana Piggott and I got your advent calendars!!!! And we've been eating one every day!!! We love them!! We were just talking about wanting them too so it was PERFECT!!!! And then I got our CHRISTMAS card which made me sooooo happy!!!!! I carry it around in my scriptures and have been showing EVERYONE!!!!! I love bragging about my family. It's a problem. Haha but everyone loves it and thinks we have a gorgeous family. They really would point to everyone in the picture and say how pretty or good looking they were. Guapo y linda!!!!! Hahaha so thank you for that. Made me SOOO happy. And I needed a family picture!! So the wedding one is wonderful. Nice job Barb J.... finally a Christmas picture I like!!!! Hahahahaha just kidding. Oh and everyone kept commenting on my blonde hair in the picture.... haha it's all dark now and yeah. Hermana Piggott said I just look more, "granola" now hahaha. I am embracing my granola look!!!!! But yeah and then Hermana Piggott and I draped Christmas lights all around are room, put our beds together, and we're going to get a real little tree today. I cannot wait!!! I love Christmas!!!!! But okay, no time... have to go. I'll write more next week. I LOVE YOU ALL!!!!!!!!!!!!! Thank you so much for all your love and prayers!!!!! ADIOS!!!!!!!
Con mucho amor, Hermana Barth