Tuesday, December 16, 2014

may your days be merry and bright

My loveliest & most beautiful family in the world!!

      How are each of you!? Ohh I have been thinking about each & every one of you a lot this morning. You'll soon understand why ... and I have almost been brought to tears a couple of times while doing so. I love each & every one of you so so much and even just thinking about you warms my heart right up! But we have had a very wonderful & eventful week here in Northern California so here is an update!!

      - First thing. Did any of you by chance hear about the "Western Soaker" that was supposed to hit us?? Well a gigantic rainstorm was supposed to happen and oh my goodness were we prepared. President Marston emailed us making sure we all were prepared with flashlights, food, etc. because we had many warnings of flash floods & 60 mph winds. We even had our Zone Meeting & weekly planning times change for safety & traveling reasons. It was crazy!! It didn't end up being a big as it was supposed to be though, which was exactly what I expected .... However, all throughout the night the rain was indeed dumping down and the wind was pretty intense. We ended up getting about 18 inches of water and it still ended up being the biggest rainstorm these parts have seen in the last 10 years. So it was still big & exciting. I wanted it to be even crazier but I was happy with what happened. Also, it has been continually raining since then so I am still on cloud 9! The weather has made some things a little more difficult - such as tracting & OYMing for the "He is the gift" initiative but we still make things possible. So as for my next exciting news ....

      - We received 4 new investigators this week through tracting & doing the "He is the gift" initiative!! I am beyond thrilled!! I haven't tracted very much here in this area but I knew it was what we needed to do to get the word out more and contact more people, so we have done it more lately and have been seeing great success because of it!! First off. Something I have been pondering over a lot this past little while has been "personal revelation" and knowing I am following the "promptings of the Spirit." I think about these two principles a lot and sometimes stress over knowing if I am receiving & following them as much as I should be. For they both are crucial & key in missionary work. How can we do the Lord's work without receiving direct guidance, revelation and promptings from Him?? In regards to where we should go, who we should teach & what we should teach them? Well, we can't. It's simply not possible. So anyways, I have been praying very very intently to Heavenly Father lately to help know I am doing all I am supposed to & the way I am supposed to and from some of the experiences I have had this week, my prayers have been greatly answered and I have been assured that I am doing the very best I can. 

      - First off, in MLC last week we talked a lot about the importance in involving the Lord in every aspect of the work. We talked about how we must plan efficiently, effectively and with the Spirit and make sure to fill Christ in on what our plans are. Therefore, He will be aware of what we are doing & where we will be and can can place those who are prepared for us in our path. It actually reminds me of something Michael said to me not too long ago while he was still on His mission ... "There are golden people everywhere. I love the concept of working together with the Lord. Making a goal with Him & your companion & letting Him know you will do anything to accomplish it. When He sees that you are desperate to find the goldens and will do anything, He trusts in you more and knows that if He puts them in your path you will open your mouth." Well that's exactly what I have been doing and we have been seeing big miracles because of it!!

      - 1st Miracle. The other night when we were planning, we planned to visit & teach a member & his non-member wife but for back up plans I had a strong feeling to have us go tracting. There are a good amount of people we can visit here if lessons fall through but I had a strong impression we'd need to tract so I stuck with it and made it our plan. I also made sure to include that information in my prayers. Well, the next day came and Eleanor & Hermano Ramirez were not home. So, of course, I got a little excited at the thought that we would be tracting (even though my companion didn't feel the same - she still isn't the biggest fan of it) haha and off we were!! Tocando las puertas!! Also, I said a very very intent prayer before we started and I pretty much pleaded with Heavenly Father to lead us to someone who was prepared. So, then after knocking on a few doors & experiencing some unpleasant occurances (no big deal - one man answered his door and told us to leave Orland immediately because everyone is bad here and there are cannibals! He said people ate his children & now he is being held hostage .... it was sad but yes, there are some unexpected surprises that occur while tracting complete strangers homes haha) I saw these two little Hispanic kids run into an apartment and I knew we had to knock their door. So, we did. This little boy ran to the door due to his mother's request, asked us who we were, we told him "las misioneras" and as soon as he yelled that to his mom, she was at the door welcoming us in. Then as soon as we walked inside, she immediately turned off the tv and set up two chairs for us to sit on. And then her and her little boy, Joseph who's 9 & her granddaughter who was around 6 ... Sat down & were completely ready for us to start teaching them! So we shared them the "He is the gift" video, went into more depth on the beautiful message & invitation it brings and then gave them both a Book of Mormon. Joseph was thrilled he got his own copy!! Also, when I asked Joseph how he felt he could better accept or embrace Jesus Christ, he immediately said through prayer and then when I asked him why prayer was important he said, "So that we can show God that we believe in His Son and we can have His spirit with us more to help us make good decisions." Wow! What a profound answer from a 9 year old. I was blown away. But anyways, background on them ... Salome, the mom, and Joseph are the one ones who live there - it's just the two of them, so cute - and Salome doesn't have much religious background or knowledge but Joseph does. He attends a Christian church right now and he is golden!! I'm not even kidding this little boy is incredible. So anyways, we had an awesome lesson with them and it was a complete miracle we found them. Also, we had another lesson with them last night!! And this was another testimony builder to me that I am truly trying my best to follow the promptings of the spirit. We had a set lesson with them at 4 but when we got there, they weren't home. I was pretty bummed at first but I knew we had to try them again later that night. So after dinner, we had a couple of options as to where we could go but I had the strong impression to try to see Salome & Joseph again and so we did just that. Well ... to my pleasant surprise, they were home and Salome again, had us come in immediately and set things up for another lesson. She also apologized for not being home at 4 and said how she felt really bad when she saw our note and knew we had missed them. They got home late from a nativity practice Joseph was in at one of the church's. Well anyways, they were both eager to hear our message - especially little Joseph, he was beaming from ear to ear and at the edge of his little seat - and we shared with them the most incredible & beautiful message of the Restoration of the church of Jesus Christ. Wow, what a powerful & spiritual lesson it was. I am being completely serious when I say it was the best I have ever taught that lesson in Spanish. And I have taught it hundreds of times. I have never been able to talk more fluently and I never once thought about what to say or how to say it but just spoke completely from my heart and by the spirit. It was incredible!! Also, Hermana Cluff did amazing, her Spanish is fantastic, and it was the first time she has recited the First Vision in a lesson and she nailed it!! She said it perfectly (we quote it every morning in comp. study) and with such power, sincerity & conviction. The Holy Ghost was so strong during that lesson and I know they felt it as well. They both loved the story of Joseph Smith too and said they will continue to study & pray about all that we've taught them. Soo we have another lesson with them tomorrow and I cannot wait!!!! I am so so excited!!! Salome & Joseph are the cutest!! Tracting does have success I tell you!

      - Also, yesterday after Salome & Joseph weren't at first home, I felt again a strong impression for us to go tracting. So, we did. It started to rain a little bit on us too but it was so so worth it because we found two new investigators!! Maricella & Natalia. Natalia invited us in and we had a lesson with her inside - which was awesome - and then it turns out I have met Maricella before at the Campos's house! She came to their house the night we had a little fiesta and made tamales!! So that was a miracle in itself. She is good friends with Adriana & Oliva!!!! Incredible!! They are both the sweetest ladies and I am so excited to teach them more!

      - Dinner fasts! Okay so this past week we had what we call "dinner fasts" where we don't eat with members unless a less-active, investigator, recent convert, etc. is present as well. Well, Tuesday's dinner was awesome because we tried to get Lorena's family to come eat with us at the Whitaker's but they had friends from Mexico in town so they couldn't and so we ended up getting Mercedes & Ana to come which was a miracle because Mercedes has been super busy lately so we haven't seen her as much as we'd like to. Then the next night we went out with Elder & Sister Warmoth, Mercedes, Ana & Tristin ...Saturday we had our Branch Fiesta de Navidad - where tons of less-actives, recent converts and then Adriana, Waleska, Ismael & Israel (our investigators) came and then yesterday something totally unplanned & unexpected happened. Before church I had the thought come into my head to contact Sister Orozco. They aren't in the branch but her husband is Hispanic, a high councilmen for our stake and anyways... I have eaten dinner with them before and lately whenever I see Sister Orozco she has tried to schedule a dinner with us but we haven't been able to make it work. So I randomly decided to text her and tell her our schedule was super open for the week. Well, we ended up having dinner with them last night and to our surprise, Zeena their 18 year old daughter, brought her non-member friend!! It was super casual and not really set up but her friend is not a member and even went to church with her yesterday!! So during dinner she asked us all kinds of questions, was so so sweet and then we shared the "He is the gift" video & message at the end and it was perfect! It ended up being a super spiritual message & Hermana Cluff topped it off by sharing her sweet, sincere and heart felt testimony of the Savior. We were all overwhelmed with the spirit and Zikiri, Zeena's friend, was wide-eyed and so into the whole thing and at the end even, when we passed around cards, said she was so excited to show her mom the video. She's Hispanic too by the way which is why we are so excited and she is 18. So awesome! So that was a huge miracle!!! Yesterday was full of so many miracles!!!!!

      - Marco! So we had an incredible lesson with Marco this past week! We read 2 Nephi 31 with him and taught him the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It was by far the best lesson we have had with him thus far and he wasn't trying to drill us with questions like normal!! The only thing he tried to question us lots on was the Sacrament but as soon as he saw that we were explaining it very clearly from the scriptures, he chuckled and apologized and said he was just trying to give us a hard time because he feels like people normally just believe & eat up everything we say. Which is not true ... but so anyways, that was it and for the rest of the lesson he was very attentive, respectful and seemed to fully accept & understand all that we were teaching. We read tons straight from the scriptures too so I know that helped a whole lot. Also, the spirit can testify very strongly of complete truth, which is exactly what the scriptures are ... so I know his heart was touched that way. Then Amy, his 17 year old sister, gave a very emotional & heart felt testimony of the gift of the Holy Ghost so again, I know his heart was touched. At the end of the lesson we then gave him a light baptismal invitation, which he readily accepted - agreeing that baptism is the next step he must take - but as soon as I talked to him about making goals & tried to set a baptismal date with him, he wasn't as accepting. He just feels he needs more time and needs to come to church again before any date is set, which we feel content with, so that's where we left it. Unfortunately he didn't come to church yesterday though which was a bummer but we're definitely seeing tons of progress which makes me super happy!!!

      - Last lesson I want to tell you about. On Saturday we had an amazing amazing lesson with Martina, a recent-convert. She wanted help with the talk she was giving on Sunday about "agency" and anyways, we discussed soo much and then yesterday, in her talk she explained a ton of things just as I had explained them to her and even used some of the scriptures I shared with her, which made me so happy. She spoke with such passion & love and I was almost blown away by how incredible her talk was. And it was the first one she has ever given!! Ah, so cute. Also, the sweetest thing. Her husband, whom I adore, Jorge, spoke as well and the one time in his talk when he started getting super emotional & all choked up, was at the end when he started talking about us Sister missionaries!!! He expressed his great appreciation for us coming over and teaching them and he even explained how often he will come home from work completely exhausted and just down but when we're there when he gets home, he said our lessons always uplift him so much and leave him feeling rejuvenated & renewed and ready to go again. My heart was overflowing as he was saying this and I felt such a great amount of love for him and their family. I love them so so much and they continue to uplift & change me so much as well. I cannot even begin to express the amount of gratitude I have for the people I have met and have the privilege of teaching on my mission. I am so so blessed.

      - Last but not least ... We had our a Branch Christmas fiesta on Saturday and it was amazing! We had lots of great food, over 100 people came, again - including tons of less-actives, recent converts and investigators and ALSO, my sweetest angels Any & Maria came up from Gridley as well!! After Hermana a Richards & I left Gridley, Elder Hernandez & Elder Tepox continued teaching them and Elder Hernandez got really close to them and because he is going home tomorrow, he invited them to come!! So they did and it made me the happiest!! I seriously love them so much and have missed them so much as well. And those death hugs from little Maria, I miss them so much! So that was so much fun for me. Any was pretty sad I didn't visit them when I was just in Gridley though ... which I feel really bad about. She said, "I heard that our missionary was in town and didn't come see us!" Tugged at my heart a little bit but I promised her I will visit them next time I am there for an exchange. So all is well. And also, we had a Hispanic Santa or "Papa Noel" this year!! It was Hermano Orozco and it was awesome. Haha I love Hispanic Santas. Oh and all of us missionaries with the youth sang Silent Night before the Nativity started so that was pretty special as well. I love my Spanish Branch's!!!!!!
      Okay, well I am sorry I just filled you in on so much .... I always have SOOO much to say and don't feel as though I am even able to share half of it!! But I hope you are able to see a glimpse of all of the miracles & wonderful things that are happening around these parts. There is so much!! I love being a missionary!!!!!!!! And especially around Christmas time, there is nothing better!!! Christmas has never felt more magical.
      And now for the next part of the email ........ So during personal study this morning I was studying Christ-like attributes and realized how many attributes you, my dearest family, obtain. I then started writing some of them down and ended up writing little things that I love about each of you. I'm sorry I didn't have a whole lot of time to put down all that I feel but I still want to share with you all a tiny bit of how highly I think of each of you & love you. 

Why I love my family so.

Mom - I love your sweet & tender spirit. You always seem to be in tune with the Spirit and have a heart made of pure gold. These qualities also make you radiate and I want you to know you are one of the most beautiful people I know. You are absolutely flawless & someone who is just as beautiful in the inside as you are on the outside. You truly obtain the Christ-like quality of humility too and are one of the most selfless people I know of. I wish I could even begin to thank you for all that you've done for me in my life and for how you have diligently, willingly & lovingly served each of us - dad & your children - our whole entire lives. An example of your humble & charitable heart also shows in how you truly sympathize with others. You don't just listen to how they're feeling but you feel it as well. An example of this for me is when I came home after saying goodbye to Michael (cheesy example I know) and while I hugged you and cried, you cried with me as well. That meant so much to me and it didn't matter what the situation was but the fact that you truly felt what I was feeling ... I'll never forget it. I am spoiled rotten to have you as my mom and my appreciation for you is beyond what you'll ever know. You also are one of the most loved people I know. Every single person who meets you instantly loves you & wants to be your very best friend. You have a gift at making people feel comfortable, loved & special. I love you my Mama B.

Dad - I love your quiet dignity & strong spirit. I can honestly say there is no man I respect or love more than you. You obtain all of the attributes I want in my future husband and I admire you more than you know. You are also one of the most charitable, humble & selfless people I know of. You are always thinking of others & how you can better serve them. I will never forget the night of Mom's surprise Birthday party when we took a quick trip to McDonald's and you paid for the car behind us. That experience has always stuck with me and is just one example of your charitable heart. I also know how you are at Christmas time ... you're the best Christmas elf - example of the Savior - I know of. You also don't serve others to receive praise or gain but simply because it's the kind of person you are. I am so thankful for your example in my life and for the influence you have been to me. There are countless times when I share with people something you've taught me or shown me through your example. Thank you so much for also providing the spirit of the Priesthood into our home and teaching our family how to be better disciples of our Savior, Jesus Christ. For that, I will be eternally grateful. I love you my darling dad.

Brad - If only you knew how much I brag about you. I could not be more impressed with the person you are and the person you're continually becoming. You always seem to have your life balanced & in order and you are hands down one of the most well-rounded, intelligent & logical people I know of. However, you are also one of the most loving, generous & witty people I know of as well. You make me feel so so loved & important and are someone who has always believed in me. You always make me feel like I can take on the world & help me see that I can truly be as successful as I want to be. I am so thankful for your quiet confidence as well and for the high standard of excellence you've provided for me. I hope to continue to make you proud and I appreciate how much focus you put on helping me achieve my life goals. I also am so thankful for how much you love being with our family and how you always take time to be with us & plan fun things for us to do together. You embrace our family traditions and help us all be more united. You also always will drop what you're doing to help one of us. I'll never forget the night before my Farewell talk when I lost my talk - was a wreck - and you were immediately at the house helping me feel better & re-organize my thoughts. Although I am only your little sister, I also always feel like I am a priority to you and that means more than anything. I love you my Brodle McMuffin.

Britt - I feel so blessed to have you as my sister-in-law. You know this more than anyone else but ever since you and Brad started dating I have loved & admired you. I think I wanted you two to get married more than anyone. Haha and actually, I even admired you from a far long before the both of you dated. I'll never forget when I was super young & saw your Senior picture in the year book (I knew you as Shally's older sister) and I immediately went into the bathroom afterwards & tried to copy your cool hairstyle. Now you can get a better idea of why I was so thrilled when you and Brad started dating. You have been an example to me from day one! But truly, there are so many qualities I admire about you. You are someone who has a very caring, loving & sensitive spirit and you truly do care so deeply for people. I have always been impressed by how easily you love people and how you immediately become concerned for their needs & well-being. You also are always so bubbly, fun & energetic which makes being around you such a delight. Thank you for being such a wonderful addition to the Barth family and being such an amazing wife to my brother. It always makes me so happy hearing how much you love, admire & respect him and I think you two compliment one another perfectly. I love you britt doggg. 

Scotty - My darling Scooter. I have always had a very soft spot in my heart for you. You are someone who has a heart of gold, like mom, and are also one of the most loving, friendly & sweet people I know of. You have a great gift at making everyone feel comfortable, loved & cared about as well and I don't know if I know of anyone who has more friends than you. You're someone who everyone can instantly get along with, it doesn't matter who the person is, and everyone loves you. I often think about the type of missionary you were as well and I'll never forget seeing the Brazilians cry & cry as you said your goodbyes to them. I have tried my best to help those I've taught & interacted with on my mission feel as loved as you made those incredible people feel. Ohh I just always feel such a warm feeling in my heart when I'm with you and you make me feel very very special as well. I always feel flattered when people tell me we look alike or seem alike because you are someone I admire in many ways. You just have a very warm & sincere nature and I can't fully express how happy you make me. I love how you also always support me in whatever I am doing and make me feel confident & good about the decisions I make. You're someone who I know will make me feel good no matter what and I cherish our friendship so much. I love you Scooter.

Abigail - My other half. Like we always say, "best friends doesn't even begin to cut it."I don't even know how to begin to tell you how much I love & admire you. I also brag about you constantly, an obsessive amount really ... and don't think it would be possible for me to admire or look up to you more. You are my biggest role model and I cannot think of anyone more stunning, charitable, thoughtful, classy, giving, talented, loving and overall amazing. How did I get so lucky to have the most perfect sister in the world? It is so clear to me that Heavenly Father knew we had to be sisters and I thank Him every single day for that. Oh, I am so blessed to have you in my life and I cannot even fathom what my life would be like without you in it. You have helped me, in countless ways, become the person I am today. You've shaped me into being a better daughter of God and an overall better person. I truly owe so much to you because I have consistently tried to mimic you my entire life and I am so blessed to again, have such an amazing example to follow. You are one of the most Christ-like people I know and everything about you is perfect, inside & out. Truly, I don't know if there is anyone who goes more out of their way for people and makes people feel like gold. Ohh I love you so much. Also, clear example of how you truly are my other half. Yours & Ralph's weddings was one of the happiest days of MY life. I truly don't think I have ever witnessed something more sacred or beautiful than when you two, my best friends, got sealed in the temple - the House of the Lord - and I felt pure joy in my heart for the entire rest of the day as well. Reasoning for why I cried myself when you & dad danced to "edel veiss" and when you & Ralph had your first dance to "moon river." I was so happy for the both of you that I cried!!!!! Now that's saying something. I love you so much my Georg (gayyyorg) VanTrapp. Thank you for being my #1 fan.

Ralph - Ralphonzo. The cutest, sweetest & best brother-in-law I could ever ask for. I look up to you so much. I also am being completely sincere when I say I have rooted for you from day one, before you & Abby ever even dated, and deep down I knew you'd be the one who would steal my sister's heart!! I hope you understand how much I must love you too to approve of you being my Abigail's husband. She means more to me than anything so I would only allow the best of the best to marry, love & take care of her. Well, you passed the test with flying colors and I couldn't think of a better man for her or a better addition to our family. You have felt like a brother to me long before you two even got married too and I am so happy I not only see you as family but as one of my best friends. You have always been overly sweet to me and made me feel so loved. You always would include me in yours & Abby's activities and were totally fine with us being three muskateers. I'll never forget all the times you two would invite me to go to movies, etc. with just the both of you. Oh, you are the best. I love you Ralphy.

      I truly mean it when I say I love you all with all of my heart. Please never forget it and know that I am praying for & thinking of each & every one of you, specifically & personally ... every single day. I LOVE MY FAMILY. I love our Savior, Jesus Christ and I love celebrating His life & Gift.

      Have a wonderful week my lovelies!! May your days be merry & bright. 

Con amor, 

Hermana Barth 

Lovely Days

¡Mi querida familia!

      Oh, I have so many things I want to tell you. Even with my novel emails, I never seem to be able to say all that I want or tell you all that I wish to. So so much happens each day in the mission world and I could talk for hours on end about all that I am experiencing, learning and loving. But one day in the future when I can sit down and talk to each of you face to face will have to do. Also, I am emailing late today because we came up here to Paradise (we're still here actually) with our zone & went on an incredibly beautiful hike! It was actually a little scary at times because we walked along this path that was super steep and high up, I'll have to send pictures next week but it was so so beautiful. Up here in Paradise we're a lot more north so it's super green, lush & there are pine trees everywhere!!!! I am obsessed. You don't see any palm trees this north and it's more of an Oregon feel but I love it!!! There was a huge waterfall on the hike too and also, I was with the British Sister, Sister Woods for a lot of the time - she is hilarious - and at one point she got scared and wanted to hold my hand while we were walking down a steep part, so we were holding hands and then she completely slipped!! Which meant I slipped, and we both completely fell down & slid down the mountain!!!! It was the funniest thing I have ever experienced. I was laughing so hard and our entire zone watched it in aw. Oh my goodness. We got very muddy from it as well but it made the hike even more adventurous! Also, it started raining on our way back. I was in pure heaven!!!!!! Okay but for some updates!!

      1. First off, speaking of getting muddy ... I have to tell you about the most hilarious thing that happened to us last Monday evening. So, every Monday night we have dinner at our Branch President's home in Chico. Well, I am still not the absolute best with directions, especially in Chico (I am slowly getting better) and I struggle even more when it's pitch black outside so anywho, we were driving to dinner and I accidentally took a wrong turn which led us into the church's property of orchards. Well, usually the right turn takes us through orchards as well but we kept on driving and after not too long, I knew we were lost & not heading in the right direction. I tried to find my way around the best I could but at night, all of the orchards look identical and so after quite awhile of driving I realized we had gone way too far and I decided to put aside my pride hahaha and pull over to call someone for directions. Well, the second I pulled over right next to the trees, I slid a little bit and knew I had hit pure mud. It has been raining pretty much every single day here so the orchard mud is nice & thick. Okay, so when I realized we were in mud, I started trying to drive forward, then backward, then forward again, etc. and I am sure you can guess what happened next. Yes, we got completely stuck in the mud!!!!!!! Haha and my going back & forth only sunk us down deeper. Well, so then I thought I would be strong enough to push the car out (hahaha that is a joke in itself) and I hopped out of the car in my little church flats, had Hermana Cluff at the wheel and I started to push away. Yeah, it didn't take long before I realized I wasn't making an ounce of a difference and all that came as a result of my efforts  were thick mud/clay covered shoes!!! Hahaha you'd think this would cause frustration too but I actually was laughing my head off. I then called the Orland Elders and again, could barely tell them what had happened because I was laughing so hard. Picture this: two Sister missionaries, in skirts & church flats, in the middle of a pitch black orchard, with their car that is stuck in the mud. Even better, picture me trying to push the car!! Haha it was hilarious. So the Elders immediately came to our rescue (luckily I had glanced at what street we had turned on) and they rolled up their pant legs, took off their socks & shoes and pushed, pushed & pushed our car some more until it was finally back on dry ground!!! It was a miracle!!! And that was our fun Monday night adventure. Also, our Branch President told the whole branch the story yesterday during Sacrament Meeting. Haha he used it as a metaphor for life. He talked about how sometimes in life we take wrong turns, darkness comes over us & we get lost, we think we can find our way back but then we get stuck, we realize we can't do it on our own & with our own strength and we realize we have to ask for help. We have to humble ourselves and rely on the only one who can truly come to our rescue & put us back on the safe path, that being Jesus Christ. It is a pretty good metaphor actually! But so anyways, that was the first adventure of our week!
      2. Speaking of rain. Again, it has been raining almost every single day here (yes, I have been in heaven) and some days it pours!!!!! Especially this past Wednesday it did. We finished our District Meeting at the church and the second I took a step outside, I was completely drenched. We all were wearing our Christmas sweaters too, wanting to take a final District picture in them and we ended up taking them in the pouring rain!!! It was so much fun! And then during lunch, us & the sisters literally ran around in the rain, ran through puddles and sang Christmas songs while doing so. I think I am getting more goobery every single day. But it's far too fun and so I am fine with it! 
      3. On Thursday there was an MLC (missionary leadership counsel) meeting and usually it is just the Sister Training Leaders & Zone Leaders that go but for some reason President Marston invited me to go as well. So I went down to Gridley on Thursday for that! It ended up being 7 hours long but I absolutely loved it. First off, I loved seeing missionaries I have served with that are serving in all parts of our mission and then the entire conference alone was incredible. We had Brother Mike Hemingway (head of Church proselyting) and Brother Troy Davis (Technology Head – Missionary Department) join with us as well and all that they addressed and taught us was again, so incredible & exciting. I learned so so much throughout the meeting and left feelings (as I always do after meetings like that) very uplifted, exciting and determined to be the most successful missionary I can possibly be!!! This gospel means everything to me. Absolutely everything and I sincerely want to share it with the world!!!!!! Ohh I need my mission to last a lot longer than it is going to. I still have far too much to do!!!!!!! But again, it was a very spiritual, inspiring and powerful meeting and I loved being in the room with all of the leaders of my mission. They are all excellent missionaries. It also was, of course, such a pleasure & joy to visit with President & Sister Marston as well. I love them both so much!
      4. Fortunately for me, I got to spend another day in Gridley this past week! I had exchanges on Saturday and got to spend the day in my most favorite little town with Hermana Harper (Hermana Brigg's greenie). It was, of course, soo much fun! I absolutely love that place and especially around Christmas time!! There are lamp posts with wreaths everywhere, trees covered in lights, and aw, it just brings back so many fond memories and I love it!! But so in the morning we went on a beautiful run through some orchards around the town and next to the canal. It was incredible. It was slightly raining, there was mist & fog in the air which looked so mystical and pretty through the orchard trees and I honest felt as though my soul was being fed. I was on cloud 9!! Purely amazing. Then, we had a little counsel meeting with President Lopez & the Elders at the Lopez's house and we discussed their progress record and then had breakfast. Including Sister Lopez's homemade bread, heaven. We then had 4 hours of studies (12 week training) and headed out for the day. Our first visit, of course, was Yamara. Oh my goodness the second that girl opened the door I couldn't help but get the biggest grin on my face and hug her to death. I miss her soo much!!! We were both just so happy to see each other too & I couldn't get over how beautiful & grown up she looked. I love my little Yamary!! Oh, I truly love her more than words. But we chatted with her for a little, Antonio made us his famous "choco-mil" and then we shared a wonderful lesson with just Yamara. I asked her how everything was and then felt impressed to really focused on the importance of reading from the Book of Mormon daily. We talked about how it truly is our "iron rod" and how we must cling to it and hold on to it with all of our might, meaning we must not go a day without reading from it, to stay on the straight & narrow path and to safely & happily make it back to our Father in Heaven. I loved teaching her again, it did my heart a lot of good, and what touched my heart even more was when I bore testimony of the Book of Mormon. I shared with her my deep love, gratitude, appreciation and admiration for the Book of Mormon and said how through reading it every single day, I have come to truly recognize myself as a daughter of God & feel His love more than I could in any other way. I then told her it will be the exact same for her. I told her that through diligently reading & praying we come to know our Father in Heaven & Savior, Jesus Christ more and feel of their infinite love so so much. While I was sharing all of this, she then had tears start rolling down her cheeks and began to cry!!! The spirit was soo strong and I had to choke back my own tears as well. However, as soon as we both were crying or on the verge too, I looked at her, our eyes locked and while she had tears still running down her face I said to her, "You are one of Heavenly Father's choice daughters. He loves you so much. Jesus Christ loves you so much. And I love you so much." She then looked at me, wiping away her tears and said with a little smile on her face, "this is why I have missed you so much." My heart completely broke. It was the most tender, sweet & special moment for me. I sincerely feel as though Yamara is my little sister & angel. Words cannot begin to describe how much I love her & how much she means to me. She knows it too. So this was an experience I will never forget and it again, did my heart so much good. Also, her one year baptism anniversary mark is coming up in less than a month! Can you even believe it!?! I am so proud of my Yamara. Also, Lorenza has still been consistently going to church with Yamara and apparently the entire family - including Esgar & Antonio - have been going frequently together lately as well. This entire family will be baptized one day. No doubt in my mind. Speaking of ... Antonio was so excited I was in Gridley that as soon as Lorenza got home from work, he took us all out to dinner! We ate at ABC Chinese (Gridley classic) and it was soo much fun. We ate more than anyone should ever possibly eat and just enjoyed one another's presence so much. Haha we chatted about a lot of stuff too but I knew I would eventually get serious on them and see where their spiritual progression was. Well, as soon as I got my fortune cookie which read, "Now is a good time to finish up old tasks" I knew without a doubt that it was time for me to get the discussion going. So I did just that. They told me how they have been attending church regularly, Lorenza told me how she has still been reading the Book of Mormon and then right then & there I again, invited her to be baptized and she agreed to being baptized, she said she knows it is what she needs to do & knows it's the best thing for her to do ... but as I tried to set a date with her, she couldn't do it. I even tried to get her to agree to January 4th, the same day Yamara was baptized but she said it doesn't matter to her what day she gets baptized on, she just isn't ready to set a date yet. Ahh, that Lorenza. She is a difficult one. She said she believes it all to be true but now she is just waiting for a strong impression to come upon her where she has as strong of a desire to be baptized as Yamara did. She told Hermana Harper Yamara's conversion story of gradually listening to us, meeting President Weston and then wanting to be baptized so badly that she didn't care about anything else. Including the Quinceañera she had dreamed about since she was a little girl. All she wanted in the world was to be baptized. Lorenza wants to feel that same way. So anyways, we discussed tons & tons with her and I'll have to tell you more of the details one day. But she knows it's true and that it is what she needs to do, she is just still waiting for some reason. It's quite frustrating actually but I know it will happen in the Lord's own time. Also, Antonio looked at me very seriously and told me he knows he will be baptized too. He said he just doesn't know exactly when yet but that it will happen and he reminded me of his dream when he was in Washington and how meeting Hermana Piggott & I was no coincidence and then he also said he will tell us his conversion story at his baptism. Those two need to get baptized ASAP. They are so ready!!! And I will continue to give you updates on them until it happens. Ohh the Elizondo's. Mi familia Mexicana. Also, they kept asking me when I think I will be getting married because they want to plan a trip to Utah for it. Haha as if I have the slightest clue!! I told them there's a possibly I won't be married for 5 years and they were convinced that won't be the case but said they will still come then even if it is. Also, I have decided - and known this for awhile now - that Yamara will be one of my bridesmaids at my future wedding. Whenever it happens. Even if it's in 5 years haha. Can you imagine anything more darling!?! She really is one of my best friends!!!! 
      5. I also got to see Jesús for a little bit and that made me so so happy too. Hermana Brigg's told me to make sure we visited him because she overheard him say on Sunday how he really missed Hermana Piggott & I. Soo cute!! So we visited him and it was amazing. I'm not kidding when I say that boy looks better & happier every single time I see him. He was literally glowing and just all smiles when we were visiting with him!! He is so cute! Also, I asked him how he was and so sincerely he told me he was doing great & very happy. He also told me how he is still going to seminary, which was very apparent by the answers & comments he had during our little lesson, and he is still going to church every single Sunday. He hit his year mark of being baptized on November 9th and he has been to church every single Sunday since then! Can you even believe it!? He is so so solid. Also, he is now blessing the Sacrament and aw, just growing up before my eyes. Really though. He looks so much older, more mature and just happier in every way. He glows and it makes my heart happier than I can express. Also, we shared the "He is the gift" video with him, which he loved, and afterwards we committed him to reading from the Book of Mormon every single day and to "sharing the gift" with his friends at school. So cute! He even said with a smile on his face, "Okay, so I could do something like this .... I could say to a friend, "hey, what are you excited about this Christmas season?" ... "Well, I am excited because we are celebrating Jesus Christ and he is the true gift & meaning of Christmas." And then he would give them a pass-along card and invite them to watch the video, etc. Haha as he finished his own "practice teach" with us he got the biggest smile on his face too and said, "something like that?" And then we both gave him high fives. Ohh my goodness. He is amazing!!!! When he got baptized so quickly & being the only member in his family, there were many adults who worried he would fade or stop coming ... but that could not be farther from the truth. He is now a worthy Priesthood holder, he baptized his own father and he is doing his own missionary work. I love my little Jesús!!!!! He is such a miracle. Seeing him made me so so happy.
      6. Now as for updates on Orland!!! The work is still hastening like crazy here. Our district alone has 10 people currently on date, which is so awesome, and Hermana Cluff & I currently have 9 progressing investigators!! Which is amazing. We are thrilled. We have been having a lot more member presents lately too, which has helped a ton, and I just feel as though so many big miracles are heading our way. I love it! I don't have any huge updates on anyone but everyone is doing great and Hermana Brigg's & Cluff on exchanges almost got Ismael & Israel on date for baptism which was super exciting!! Everyone is amazing and especially the Campos family. They are so awesome, so close to baptism and especially Lorena, she is completely solid. We had Hermana Whitaker with us at her last lesson and she told Hermana Whitaker how she again, knows everything we teach her is true and she is taking the desire she has to be baptized very seriously. Oh, she is so so awesome. Also, we found a new investigator this past week from tracting and doing the "He is the gift" initiative! His name is Eduardo, he's 22 and so awesome. More updates to come on him later. I know we are going to see so much success from this initiative, I can feel it ... right now we are just trying to find more time to share it because we have been so busy going from appointment to appointment. Which is the absolute best problem to have but anyways ... more updates to come!!! 
      Well, that's all that I can think of as of now to update you all on. I know, I go into far too much detail of what I tell you but I just love writing!! And I love writing exactly how things went. It's hard for me to sum them up. Especially because these emails have become somewhat of my journal entries. Lo siento. But I hope all is well at home!! I am excited to hear about all of the Christmas festivities that are taking place. Have you already listened to the Children's choir downtown? Isn't it usually at the beginning of the month? Oh, I love Christmas time so so much. And this year I am loving it even more so than usual because I am making it entirely Christ-centered. How it should be. Every day for personal study I am still reading from the Book of Mormon - oh I forgot to tell you! I just finished reading the Book of Mormon in English again & I just finished reading it in Spanish as well! Super exciting - but and I am also, for my new study journal I just started, intently studying & writing about the scriptures we get each day from an advent calendar President & Sister Marston gave us, which is always centered on Christ, and then after doing the challenge it gives us for the day, writing a journal entry on my experience with that at the end of each day. It has been incredible so far and I already feel my knowledge of and relationship with my Savior increasing so much. I LOVE MY SAVIOR WITH ALL OF MY HEART. Also, I absolutely loved the First Presidency's Christmas Devotional last night and had to hold back tears the entire time. It was so so beautiful and I had chills going up & down my body the entire time as well. I just love my Savior more than I can & will ever be able to explain and I am so so happy we get to celebrate Him so much this time of the year. I LOVE HIM.
      Also, something I heard at church yesterday from Hermano Arevalo has really stuck with me. In Sunday school he talked about how right now we are celebrating Christ's birth. With that being said, gifts are a natural part of celebrating Birthdays, correct?? So it makes sense as to why gift giving & receiving is a big part of Christmas. However, sometimes it appears as though the world focuses more on giving one another gifts and not Christ gifts. If we truly are celebrating HIM & HIS birthday, shouldn't our biggest & main priority be to give HIM something? To give Him a precious, beautiful & thoughtful gift. Well, with that being said ... I would invite each of you to really think about what you want to give Jesus Christ this Christmas. Whether it be more of your time, attention, love, will, obedience, diligence, etc. Really ponder over this and decide what gift you feel you would personally like to give to the Savior & Redeemer of the world. The One who bought you with His blood and made it possible for you to receive the greatest & most glorious gift of all: eternal life. 
      I know that Jesus is the Christ. He is my Lord, my Redeemer, the Captain of my Salvation and the Rescuer of my soul.

      I love you all so much my dearest family. Know you are in my prayers & that I wish you the merriest & loveliest week! 

Con amor, 

      Hermana Barth 

Ps. I hope you all remember to write out your testimonies of the Savior for me!! It truly is all I want for Christmas!! Mom & dad ... if you are the only ones who read my emails these days, will you please remind everyone to do that!? Okay, well I love you all so much!!! 

Dia De Las Gracias!


     Oh my goodness this past week has been INCREÍBLE!!! We seriously
witnessed soo many miracles and I am soo happy!! I have so much to
say, as always ... but really it has been such an amazing week!! First
off, I absolutely adore my companion, she seriously could not be more
darling & we get along PERFECTLY - how have I been so unbelievably
blessed in the companion department?? Heavenly Father has put me with
all of my best friends! Sure, we didn't technically know each other
before the mission but I am positive we were best friends in the
Spirit World & probably discussed how we would do the work of The Lord
together on the earth. I just feel such a connection with each of the
Hermanas I have been companions with. They are all literally Heaven
sent and a perfect match for me. After each perfect companion I have
gotten too I have wondered when the crazy, lazy or hard companion was
coming my way - I was sure I would get at least one of them because
most missionaries do right?? - but now I can officially say that that
has not been the case for me in the slightest. I have only gotten best
friends as my companions. SINCERELY. I am the absolute luckiest!! So
anyways, Hermana Cluff & I are a perfect duo and having the time of
our lives together. I absolutely love witnessing her first experiences
in the mission field as well and just helping her set the tone for her
mission experience. Haha I am pretty sure she thinks I am the giddiest
human alive because I always get soooo excited talking about the work,
the people we're teaching and just life in general. I am a happy kid &
absolutely love life. That's all there is to it. But I love it and can
already tell she is catching on to the joy of the mission! I am so
happy!! Ps. For an example of how incredible she is. Today she passed
a kidney stone and now she is currently in the process of passing
more. She has passed kidney stones since she was 12 and she passed 22
in one week in the MTC!!! And you would have no idea. She has been in
bed pretty much all of today, besides studies, but she hasn't
complained once and says she is used to the pain. Is that crazy or
what!?! I am beyond impressed. She is such a champ and so strong. I
love her so much!! And anyways, we just have seen so many miracles
this past week and I am going to tell you a little about what has
happened ....

     1. Marcos. We had two wonderful lessons with him this past week.
We finished el Plan de Salvación and then taught him La Restauración.
Both lessons ended up going wonderful however, he definitely loved
drilling us with questions and testing our knowledge. During our
Restoration lesson he asked question after question (don't get me
wrong - we love questions) but fortunately we were able to satisfy his
concerns & wonders. I also referred back to the Book of Mormon very
often and kept testifying to him that the way he can know if our
messages are true or not truly come from having a testimony of the
Book of Mormon. So I invited him multiple times to read from the Book
of Mormon and do as is said in Moroni's promise ... Moroni 10:3-5. He,
fortunately, agreed to and then quickly got quite serious on us. As I
was expressing to him how he needs to not only read from the Book of
Mormon and ask our Heavenly Father if the messages the book contains &
we teach are true, but do so with a sincere heart, real intent, having
faith in Christ ... he turned to me and said, "Look ... I am taking
this serious & doing it sincerely. You are the first missionaries I
have ever listened to & invited back to teach me. However, if I do as
you say and read this entire book, pray to God and feel the same ... I
am going to be very disappointed & upset." Wow. It was intense. That
was then when Hermana Cluff was able to bear strong testimony that we
are confident he will receive in answer if he does as is asked. It is
a promise from God and God does not lie. Soo ... we are really looking
forward to teaching him more and now know he is taking it dead dog
serious!!! (Hermana Cluff makes fun of me for saying dead dog before a
lot of things - now that I think about it, that is a horrible saying.
Especially after what I witnessed with Hermana Hughes!! Ahhh!)
     2. This past week we had lots of lessons with the Campos family!!
We even put Lorena & Alexis back on date for January 3rd!! The day
before Yamara was baptized last year!! So they are still fully on
board but we haven't been able to teach Alfredo with them yet, he's
always working, and Lorena wants to be baptized with her whole family
so we're trying to get them fully on board as well but they still feel
as though they just need to learn lots more. Which is completely true.
They do. As of now they don't have the greatest foundation. But I have
great faith that we will get them all on date & baptized very soon!!
Please keep them in your prayers!!!
     3. On Friday we had our first Zone Conference with President
Marston!! It ended up being 9 hours long but was incredible!!! The
main focus was on the power of prayer and I learned so so much. Oh, I
loved it so much. Also, I was the chorister for the conference which
made me laugh. I am the chorister for my Branch's sacrament meeting, I
will be the chorister for our branch primary program that's happening
next week - we literally run the whole thing, I feel like a mom haha -
President had me be the chorister for the Trainer/Trainee meeting and
then I have been the chorister for the last Zone Meetings & now Zone
Conference. Is this a sign for my future??? Guess we will see!!! Haha
so classic. But anyways, it was overall so great and I loved spending
the day with President & Sister Marston and my zone. The spirit was so
strong throughout the conference and I left feeling so inspired,
uplifted and blessed. Also, at the end, as a companionship we got a
little darling Christmas tree from the Marston's! And as a mission we
are going to have a Christmas tree decorating competition. Haha I am
so excited!! Sister Woods from Manchester, England thinks she's going
to cream the rest of us but we'll have to see about that .... I cannot
believe Christmas is coming up so soon! I am so excited!! Not for time
to fly by but I just love  the Christmas season and feel as though
this December is going to be exceptionally special & memorable.
     4. Miracle # 1 ... so the night after Zone Conference we decided
to go out to Corning to visit Martina (a recent-convert). We planned
the lesson just for her but when we got there, her husband Jorge
joined us as well. Well, this was the beginning of the miracle. Jorge
had recently told someone that he wasn't going to come back to church
because of some things that had happened (long story) & our Branch
President was really concerned about it ... so when he joined us we
were very excited and I immediately changed the lesson plan. I felt
inspired to show them both the Mormon Message "El Señor aligera
nuestras cargas" ... and then the discussion took off from there. We
ended up discussing the Savior, Jesus Christ & His Atonement very
deeply and then we talked about preparing to be comfortable in the
presence of Him & God right now, talked about our purpose on the earth
as children of God & disciples of Jesus Christ, about the three
Kingdoms of Glory, etc. ANYWAYS, we were all getting so excited and
pumped up during the lesson, along with feeling the spirit so strongly
and recognizing the great significance of life, the Plan of Salvation
and the Atonement, etc. and at the end, they both got emotional and
expressed their great gratitude for our visit, the lesson we had and
the new perspective they were both able to receive from all that we
discussed. Jorge kept talking about how important him going to church
was too and with a big smile on his face and tear filled eyes he said,
"Gracias por la gana y ánimo que me da para seguir adelante con
fortaleza." Then, miraculously he came yesterday to church with the
entire family!!! WHAT A MIRACLE!!!!!!!
     5. Miracle #2 ... On Saturday we had a day of EXACTNESS. Or in
other words, a "day of exact obedience." Our entire mission promised
President Marston that on Nov. 22nd we would all be EXACTLY obedient.
With everything. We even had to text President when we woke up, text
our District Leader when we left our house for the day and text
President Marston at the end of the night to report if we had been
exactly obedient or not. If we hadn't been, we were to not even text
him. Well, fortunately for Hermana Cluff & I, we had a day of
literally EXACT obedience and what made it even better was that it
felt like a normal day for us. I can often be hard on myself too
wondering what more I can do to be more fully consecrated & exactly
obedient but seeing how completely normal everything felt brought a
lot of confidence & peace into my heart. However, what we tried to be
better & truly exact with was being prompt and completely time
conscientious. Well, because of this we saw a miracle!!!!! When we got
back from Willows, since we had been so exact on time, we ended up
having a little amount of time to spare before dinner. Easily, we
could have decided to just start dinner earlier and go to our next
lesson earlier than planned however I had the feeling to go to a
less-actives. Well, we found her home (which is unusual) and ended up
having a nice long chat with her. We shared a message on the Savior
and then she led into giving us a referral of a friend of hers and
then telling us about her new job. She now has a new job that has
Sundays off (which is a miracle in itself) and then she also said she
has 6 open spots at the job (sorting almonds) for anyone who needed a
job. Well, we have many Sisters in our branch who are in desperate
need of a job so this was incredible. Also, we immediately thought of
Ana, another less-active ... the one we taught last week, who hadn't
been able to come to church for a very long time because she was
working on Sundays. She told us however that she no longer has that
job and is ready & really wanting to come back to church so she was
desperately looking for a new job where she had Sundays off. With
tears in her eyes she asked us to please pray for her to find this
job. Well, we had been praying all week and we found it!!!!!!!!! We
told Mayra this too and she said Ana automatically has the job and can
start working Dec. 1st. What a MIRACLE!!!!!! We could hardly wait to
tell Ana. Then, yesterday we made chile rellenó her house and as soon
as we told her the news she was sincerely jumping up and down and
expressing her great appreciation to our Heavenly Father. She
immediately filled the application out and let's just say the rest of
the night we were all the happiest. Also, our chile rellenos were
superb!!! I will make them for you all when I get home.
     6. Miracle #3 ... Last night, after Ana's, our appointment with
Manuela fell through. It was getting late and it's often hard to know
who to visit at that time of the night if we don't have a set
appointment so I tried really hard to think outside of the box and
think of someone we have visited later at night before. Automatically
an investigator Hermana Briggs, Hermana Piggott & I tracted into came
to my mind. Adelicia. I hadn't seen her for over a transfer now but I
had a strong feeling to go visit her. So - with the desire to never
postpone a prompting - we did just that. As soon as we knocked on the
door, her little boy answered and got extremely excited to see us. I
always have stickers for the little ones so, of course, he wanted a
sticker and then started screaming with excitement for his mom to come
to the door. He kept saying, "Venga! Venga Mommy! Las hermanas están
aquí!" As soon as Adelicia came to the door, her face completely lit
up as well and she immediately invited us in. In the past she was
always very sweet & kind to us but last night was definitely
different. She was honestly all smiles and seemed soo eager to hear
what we had to say. We then sat down, learned how she is doing these
days and then led into a lesson on the blessings we receive from our
loving Heavenly Father and the blessing of our Savior, Jesus Christ in
our lives. Overall the lesson was incredible and she was SO much more
interested than ever before and was asking us all kinds of questions
and expressing her thoughts, unlike before as well. She then, after I
had her read a verse from the Book of Mormon, grabbed my arm and told
me how she has been wanting to read the Book of Mormon but has for
some reason had fear too. She said she knows it's Satan making her
feel that way but she truly has a very strong desire to know the word
of God and the teachings of Jesus Christ. I then tried to get familiar
with her religious background again and she doesn't really have one.
That is when she expressed to us that she wants to learn about it ALL
... she wants to hear ALL of the messages that we have. She wants to
know for herself and gain a testimony for herself. IT IS A
MIRACLE!!!!!!!!! We then read Moroni 10:3-5 with her too and she
absolutely loved it. We dissected every part of Moroni's promise and
she said she will do what is asked. Ahhhh I am sooo excited!!! She was
so different than before and I know she has been prepared by The Lord
during the time we haven't been visiting her. SUCH A MIRACLE!!!! We
are teaching her again tomorrow and I cannot wait!! More to come. Pray
for her please, she is sooo sweet, sincere  & incredible!!!!
     7. Last but not least, I want to thank everyone again ... my
beautiful, lovely and soo wonderful family & friends, for all of the
sweetest Birthday notes, thoughts, wishes and for those who sent me
packages, gifts!!!!! I received a Birthday package or two in the mail
every single day last week and even received emails on my actual
Birthday so my heart was completely overflowing on November 19th. I
cannot even express to you how much I appreciate it all. I promise
nobody who has done something for me has gone unnoticed or
unappreciated. I love you all soo much!!! Also, I had the best
Birthday ever!!!! I love Birthdays on the mission! And here is an idea
of how my day went. First off it was POURING rain all day long! HAPPY
BIRTHDAY TO ME!!!! We went on our usual morning run and I got to run
in the pouring rain!!!! Haha you all can imagine how happy I was. I
was just running, singing primary songs to myself and smiling away.
Incredible. Also, it rained last year on my Birthday too so I like
this pattern I'm seeing. We then had 4 hours of incredible studying. I
LOVE STUDIES!!! Seriously, so much. Let's hope that rolls over for me
studying for school too! I have a feeling it may. But anyways, then we
went and had lunch at a darling diner in town with our District. And
listen to this ... a mystery person saw us all there and paid for
us!!!!! So we got free lunch from a Saint. Then to make it more
exciting, a less-active came in and Sister Parks & I paid it forward.
That alone made me smile for the rest of the day. We then had a
wonderful lesson with Lorena, Alexis & Eric ... put them back on date,
we had service for a couple of hours at the food pantry, visited a
couple of other people quickly, had a delicious Birthday dinner at the
Whitaker - Hermana Whitaker is the BEST Mexican cook - she made us
homemade tacos and then chocolate cake (haha I still love my
chocolate) ... and then we went over to the Campos and they had
balloons, a gift and a full on tres leche cake for me. I love them soo
much!!! So that was a blast. They sang to me, Adriana smashed my face
in the cake ... this was my 3rd time receiving a traditional face cake
smash hahaha and it was overall soo much fun!!! We then of course
ended with a quick lesson/spiritual thought and I was one happy
Hermana. I had an incredible day!!!! All of the gifts and cards I
received made me get choked up as well and I could tell my emotions
were about to get the best of me. Ps. I received BOTH grandmas
Birthday cards on my actual Birthday!! Baby miracle for me. And then
as I was getting ready for bed, I got a couple of final emails. At
this point my heart again, was completely overflowing, and I then saw
I had an email from Scotty. Well Scooter ... I want you to know that
your letter did the trick. I couldn't get past the first few lines
which said, "It amazes me how fast time flies and I can't believe that
you are 22 years old and 15 months into your mission. I am absolutely
mind-blown. There are so many things I want to tell you about, but
first and foremost: I love you and I miss you so much." before I had
immediate tears running down my face. Then, as I kept reading ... the
tears kept coming and before I knew it, I was fully crying. I think it
took me a solid 15 minutes or so to read his entire email too because
my emotions were getting the best of me. I felt soo so much in my
heart and in that moment realized how MUCH love I feel in my little
heart from & for others. It was honestly overwhelming but in the best
way possible. On my mission I have never cried like that either so it
felt a little foreign to me, I usually only shed soft tears from
feeling the spirit ... but I will never forget it. So Scotty, thank
you so much for sending me such a darling letter. It made me CRY!!!!
On top of the sweet sweet thoughts from everyone else. I am so so
blessed. I also then received an email from Michael right before I
went to sleep and at this point, I couldn't handle the gratitude for
my loved ones so I went to sleep, "counting my blessings instead of

     Ahora, yo quiero compartir un poco de la gratitud que siento en
mi corazón. Estoy muy agradecida por muchísimas cosas en mi vida.
Estoy muy agradecida por primero, el conocimiento que yo tengo que
tenemos un amoroso Padre Celestial. Se que en realidad, Dios es
nuestro Padre en los cielos y que El tiene un gran plan para mi y
todos nosotros, Sus preciosos hijos. Se qué su Hijo Unigénito es el
centro de Su plan y que mediante Jesucristo podemos seguir el plan de
Dios con gozo, fortaleza y confianza. Si seguimos Su plan y nuestro
Salvador, Jesucristo, vamos a recibir más paz, esperanza, fuerza y
felicidad en esta vida y en la vida que viene. Vamos a recibir la vida
eternal y tener el privilegio para vivir en Su presencia con nuestras
hermosas familias para siempre. Estoy muy agradecida por el Evangelio
de Jesucristo y por todas cosas que Cristo ha hecho para mi y todas
personas. Estoy muy agradecida por su sacrificio, amor y misericordia
porque sí aceptamos Su Expiación, podemos dejar nuestra culpa,
errores, debilidades, etc. ... recibir una remisión y perdón por
nuestros pecados y llegar a ser mejor y más perfecto cada día. Día por
día. Estoy muy agradecida por los mandamientos que El nos da y por Su
ejemplo. Estoy muy agradecida por Su Iglesia, nuestro Profeta viviente
Thomas S. Monson, por todos de los Apóstoles y líderes de la Iglesia y
por la obra misional. Por la oportunidad y privilegio que tengo ser
una misionera y hacer la obra del Señor todos los días. Estoy muy
agradecida por my salud, conocimiento y potencial. Estoy muy
agradecida por mi familia y su apoyo y infinito amor en mi vida. Doy
gracias por todos ellos y todos de mis amigos y cada persona que ha
ayudado a cambiar mi vida. En total, estoy muy muy agradecida por el
don de la vida y otra vez por mi Padre Celestial y Señor, Jescristo.
Doy gracias por todos de ustedes y espero que todos ustedes nunca
olvide eso.


Con mucho amor,

Hermana Barth



      Oh my goodness where to begin! It has been one very eventful
week to say in the least. I have soo much I want to tell you all and I
do not even know where to begin!!

      1. First off, I am again so sorry for emailing so late on
Monday. I ended up having a very prolonged & crazy p-day. 5 hours of
my day were spent in the mission office with all of the departing
missionaries, we had to drive our companions to the mission office and
then I was with Hermana Lee for the rest of the night up until Hermana
Piggott & I slept over with the Citrus Heights Hermanas, our babies -
Hermana Hughes & Hermana Melchor. Then early the next morning I had to
say goodbye to my very best friend. Ohh, it was so sad for me to say
goodbye to her. Haha Hermana Lee & I actually ended up staying with
all the departing missionaries, including Hermana Piggott & Hermana
Richards, our mamas, up until they drove off too. We were dreading the
goodbye and I already miss them so much!! It definitely hit me the
most the next morning though when I woke up and realized Hermana
Piggott was no longer my companion & then I got a lovely little email
from her. Wow, I actually now cannot believe I was just with her
earlier this week. It already feels like it has been so long!! Time on
the mission is beyond strange I tell you. But so anyways, Hermana
Piggott is officially home!! Ahh so crazy! I am soo happy to hear mom,
dad, Abby, Ralph & g-ma were able to attend her homecoming too. You
have no idea how much that means to me!!!! Is she not the most darling
thing you've ever seen!? I miss my Hermana Piggott so much!!!! Haha I
am glad Abby mentioned how we talk alike too, we truly morphed into
one another. It's so weird not having her right by side doing the work
also but she is my forever best friend so I will see her when the time
comes. Haha and yes family, she does know everything about each of
you. What do you expect after me being with her 24/7 for 7 1/2
months??? Don't worry though, I am obsessed with each of you so she
only knows the best of things.
      2. Now for the next event. I then got to spend all of Tuesday in
Lincoln with Hermana Toledo (Rodriguez) and it was a total blast!! We
seriously had soo much fun together. We visited tons of the members, I
got to explore the Lincoln/Rocklin area which I have heard soo much
about and then we even had a spontaneous dinner at a members house
where we ate grasshoppers!! Haha it was crazy! When I first saw them
all piled in a baggy I thought to myself that there was no way I could
eat one but then I thought again and realized possibly never again in
my life would I have the opportunity to try one so I got Hermana
Toledo to do it with me and I ate my very first toasted
grasshopper!!!! Haha I have it on film too so I will send it to you
but the worst part about it was I kinda liked it!! It just tasted like
a salty sunflower seed or something and so after my first one ... I
popped in another! Hahaha who have I become!? Eating grasshoppers like
candy haha. But so again, we had a ton of fun together. I loved having
some alone time with Hermana Toledo and unlike exchanges we have had
in the past, this day it literally felt like we were companions. I
absolutely loved it. We were both super anxious to meet our new
companions too and she is an incredible missionary. I also feel as
though she has changed a ton since I last served around her so that
was fun to see. Something very sweet too was at the end of the night,
I slept over at her apartment, she talked about how recently she has
felt like the spirit hasn't been with her or involved in the work for
her as much but that throughout our day together, she felt the spirit
strongly with her again ... and as she was telling me this she got all
choked up and started getting emotional. It touched me so much and
made me so happy. I love Hermana Toledo!!! Also, something super
awesome. That night the Lincoln Sisters, the ones who live with the
Hermanas, told us to meet them at a house in Rocklin for a surprise.
Well, we ended up meeting them at a very nice home (nicest home I have
seen in a very long time) and we were both confused as to what was
going on. Well, as soon as we arrived and knocked on the door of the
home with the sisters, a mom answered the door and said, "Is this what
I think it is?" Asked to see our name tags, moved my hair off of mine
and exclaimed .... "HERMANA BARTH!!" and continued to give me the
biggest hug. Haha I was even more confused at this point due to the
fact that I was sure I had never met this darling lady in my life.
Well, turns out her & her husband are the parents of Hermana Kelsey
Barney, the cutest Hermana I became friends with in the CCM!!! Her
room was right next to mine, we could hear each other sing in the
shower even because our bathrooms were connected haha ... and anyways,
she had told me how her home was in the Roseville Mission and how I
needed to meet her family but I had totally forgotten about it since I
have never served that South in the mission and I had never had the
chance to meet them up until this point! But fortunately her mom had
remembered me from her daughters emails and asked the sisters if they
knew who I was. And luckily they remembered as well and set the whole
deal up. Well anyways, Hermana Barney is serving in Provo and I just
had the best time chatting with her parents about the CCM and serving
in the Hispanic culture, etc. They were eating it up all so much and
at the end when Hermana Toledo said a prayer in Spanish, her mom
started crying! It was so darling! And they also took pictures with us
to send Hermana Barney. What a small world!!!! I am sooo happy I got
to meet them! Especially because I will never serve in that area. Best
surprise ever!!!! Also, their daughter is beautiful and the cutest
person ever. I hope we're friends after the mission.
      3. MY NEW COMPANION!!!!! Updates on my new companion. So, her
name is Hermana Cluff, Courtney Cluff, from Washington (St. George),
Utah and she is the most darling girl ever!! She just turned 19 so
she's truly a baby, she's a beautiful blonde, full of so much energy &
enthusiasm, has such a strong & sincere testimony of the gospel along
with unshakeable faith, overall she is just soo much fun and we get
along perfectly!!!! We're a ton of like and were immediate friends the
second we met. We already joke about how once we were assigned to be
companions we just clicked instantly. What's even crazier too is on
Monday when I saw the two pictures of the incoming Hermanas, the
second I saw her pictures I knew she was my companion. And what makes
my prompting even more official was Hermana Toledo said the exact same
thing when she saw the picture of hers, Hermana Moore. Before we went
to bed on Tuesday night Hermana Toledo & I talked about it as well and
said how we were both confident who are companions were going to be.
We both were absolutely positive and agreed it would not have felt
right if we were assigned otherwise. I have been praying consistently
for my companion though ever since I knew I was training so I know the
Holy Ghost prompted me as to who she was before I was even assigned.
And apparently President Marston felt the same way because Hermana
Cluff said the second she walked in for her interview with him he
said, "I already know who your trainer is." Haha but I truly could not
be more blessed or feel more excited to have her as my companion.
Again, she is absolutely darling and we couldn't get along better!!
She likes to talk just as much as me too haha so I already know tons
about her. I AM THE ABSOLUTE LUCKIEST!!!!!!! Ohhhh I love her so
much!!! It's so fun to get a young, new spirit here in the mission
too, I remember feeling the same way when Hermana Hughes arrived,
although I have now also realized how stinkin old I am. But anyways, I
am confident we are going to witness soo many miracles together
because we already have! Seriously, the work has already been picking
up since she has arrived. Every day we have had more planned to do
than we have time so we have been busy just the way I like it!!! I am
soo happy!!! Also, fun fact. Since she's from St. George, she knows
Sister Shaefer!!! Our very own Janine!!! She said she would go visit
the Sisters at the Visitors Center all the time before her mission.
Isn't that awesome!? It made me so happy. I need to send Janine
something. It's such a small world!!!
      4. We have again, seen so many miracles this past week and one
includes our new investigator I told you about from last week, Marco.
We had another lesson with him this past week and although he was
anxiously awaiting a miraculous answer or explanation for the big
concern/question he had, I knew how we needed to address the concern
and that was by teaching him more doctrine and helping him establish a
firm foundation and testimony. So, we ended up teaching him the first
half of the Plan of Salvation, since we taught him the first half last
time, and it went perfectly!! All of his beliefs match up perfectly
with ours and he truly is so open & believing to all we teach (thus
far). He thoroughly enjoyed hearing this lesson and after we finished
teaching, he asked again what I had studied about his concern, us
becoming Gods, etc. and from that point on the Holy Ghost truly took
over the lesson. Somehow & some way, we were able to address his
concern and satisfy him with our testimonies and simple beliefs. To be
honest I cannot even full remember all that we said, the words came to
our mouths in the time that we needed them to as is promised in D&C
100:5-6, "Therefore, verily I say unto you, lift up your voices unto
this people; speak the thoughts that I shall put into your hearts, and
you shall not be confounded before men; For it shall be given you in
the very hour, yea, in the very moment, what ye shall say." And one
way we were able to explain it is we told him how Heavenly Father is
perfect and our one & only God, Jesus Christ is perfect too however
Heavenly Father is still His God and all of the glory still goes to
Him and then how we are commanded by the Savior to become like Him "Be
ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is
perfect." - Matthew 5:48 .... Well anyways, he understood all that we
were saying and we have another set lesson with him for tomorrow! I
cannot wait! Also, we had soo many other great lessons this week
including lots with less-actives we haven't been able to see much
since I arrived in Orland. We even had a branch Thanksgiving dinner on
Saturday night and a less-active I had never met with (we didn't have
her information) came and then she came to church the next day as well
and then we were able to have a lesson with her last night!! It was
incredible!! And now she is going to teach us how to make chile
rellenos next Sunday and she said she is ready to start consistently
coming back to church. It's a miracle!!!!!!
      5. Okay, now last but not least. THANK YOU THANK YOU you soo so
much everyone who emailed me and wished me a Happy Birthday!!! My
heart is completely filled with gratitude and I love you all so so
much. I am always so humbled by all those that remember my Birthday
and take the time to send me a quick, sweet & thoughtful note. To be
honest I haven't thought about my Birthday at all until pretty much
yesterday. With Hermana Piggott leaving, transfers & training ... I
have completely forgotten about it. But now I am turning 22 in a
couple of days and life is continuing to fly by!!!!!! I can hardly
believe it. I have no idea how I am this old. It's mind boggling
really! But looking back I have had the absolute best year being 21,
definitely my absolute favorite & most special year thus far in my
life and I am now so excited to see what life will bring to me while I
am 22. Life is wonderful & I am confident many wonderful things lay up

      Well, I love you all sooo so much. Your thoughts, prayers & love
mean more to me than I can even express. I am praying for each of you
every single day and hope you have a wonderful week.

I LOVE YOU ALL & thanks again for everything!!!!!!!

      Con mucho amor,