Hello my lovely family!!
1. Yes. I have hit my 6 month mark and no, I don't want to talk about it. However, I STILL HAVE ONE MORE YEAR AS A FULL-TIME MISSIONARY!!!! And THAT is something to celebrate.
2. My Spanish is where I wanted it to be at 6 months! I understand about 95% of everything being said these days and I am still learning more and more each day!!!!!!
3. Yesterday we had dinner with President Payne's family and some of our investigators... Erin & her family.. And Sister Payne was translating my Spanish for President when I was sharing our message... Never had my words be translated into ENGLISH before... Pretty cool.
4. We invited Lorenza to be baptized and she said, "POSSIBLY" which is a HUGE step... Keep praying for her. She knows, she just needs to take a leap of faith and ACT.
5. I got a package from both Jess & Brad... I am so spoiled!!!!! Thank YOU you two.
6. One night Hermana Piggott and I DYED Lorenza's hair for her hahaha we went over to teach her and she needed help so we did that as some nice service, still have some brown dye on my fingy.
7. We ate the SCARIEST soup the other night at the Rodriguez's. It was Idalia's FAVORITE and it was the scariest!!!!! It had straight up COW STOMACH, hoof, and TONGUE in it!!! Tons of pieces of all that in it!! Worst flavor and before I started eating I thought I was going to hurl. The tongue looked like a LITERAL tongue, taste buds and all, and when I took a bit it felt and tasted EXACTLY like how you'd imagine it to if you were to cut off your own tongue and start chewing it. I guess I can now say I've had 2 tongues in my mouth at once!!! Ahhhhh. I can't explain how terrible it was. And COW STOMACH!!! Menudo or something??? Ralph, I have to ask what the name of the meal was again. See if you've had it. Yikes. Haha and Hermana Richards was dyyyyying too. The second we were alone in the room for a minute, we both immediately pulled out napkins and started piling on the tongue, stomach, and hoof. And then the rest... We had to EAT. AHHHHHHHH. IT WAS SOOOO BAD!!!!! I would even try to swallow it HOLE. AHHHH hahahaha. Oh, and I even tried to load on the hot sauce but the texture was what KILLED ME. ABBY YOU WOULD HAVE DIED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Hahahaha OHHH man.......... Fun fun times, kinda haha. I know dad, it's part of the experience haha.
8. MIRACLE!!!!!! California is in a huge drought, so last Sunday the church in the entire state of California supposedly, fasted for rain... We need it soo bad here for the crops, orchards, etc. so we fasted and this ENTIRE past week has been ALL RAIN!!!!!! Not a BLUE sky in SIGHT all week, just pure RAIN CLOUDS!!!! So it has poured and poured and FASTING IS TRUE!!!!!!!!! HEAVENLY FATHER ANSWERED OUR PRAYERS AND FASTING WORKS!!!!!!! Hahaha I LOVE IT!!!!!!!!!!! I have been the happiest kid all week because of the rain haha I love it so much.
How is everyone?? From what I've read in my emails it sounds like everyone is doing very well. I heard some very heart breaking news though. Regarding Rory and his newly discovered cancer. This news made my stomach drop and truly breaks my heart but I am so happy everyone is staying positive and full of hope. Please give the Hackett's my love and let them know that I will be praying for them constantly and keeping them in my thoughts. I am sure all they are in need of right now as well is love so I am so happy, my dear family, that you are able to give them that. And also, please give the Gardiner's my love regarding this because it is, of course, Maria's father-in-law. Oh it hurts my heart.
Something this automatically makes me think of is the love I know our Heavenly Father and Savior, Jesus Christ have for them. The love they have for all of us. I know I cannot fully comprehend how much love they have for each and everyone of us but how lucky are we to be able to feel and witness it in our every day lives. I know that I feel my Heavenly Father and Savior's love for me constantly. This love is what gets me through each day. It's what comforts me, inspires me, wakes me up every morning atsharp with a smile on my face and a feeling of gratitude in my heart, it's what gives me strong & unshakeable faith, hope of and in all things, patience in myself, others & this work.. is what gives me peace in my heart, a desire to be better, a desire to constantly change & become perfected, the desire and yearn to grow closer to Him, to share His love with all those around me, to serve others, work my hardest every single day wearing the Savior's name on my chest, it's what lifts me up when I am feeling the slightest bit discouraged, what helps me truly love and accept others, have the desire to obedient and diligent.... etc. The love of God is everything to me.
In the scriptures we read a lot about the pure love of Christ. Imagine that... Christ's love for us is completely pure. When I think of the word pure I think of several other things. I think of baptism... how when one is baptized they are completely pure and cleansed of sin... They are clean, without spot, blemish. I think about how in order to live in God's presence we must be pure and perfect, even as He is. I think of the Savior and our Father in Heaven, how they are completely pure and perfect. I think of the temple.. White, pure, peaceful. You get where I am going with this. The word pure is an example of cleanliness and perfection. With Christ having a pure love for us, He has a PERFECT and completely flawless love for us. It is hard to exactly fathom this but he truly loves us PERFECTLY. Each and every one of us.
He loves us so much that when He was on the earth He lived a perfect life so that we could have a perfect example to follow. So that we could live this life in happiness and have the ability to live in the presence of our loving Heavenly Father again one day. He loves us so much that He accepted the role as our Savior and Redeemer. To save us and redeem us from all of our sins, weaknesses, mistakes, shortcomings, problems, temptations, sicknesses, sorrows, etc. He suffered so terribly in the Garden of Getsemani for us, His fellow brothers and sisters, so that He could know how we felt, relate to us, save us and change us. As was said by Elder Holland in a powerful conference talk (I suggest you all watching the Mormon Message titled: None Were with Him) .... "this perfect Son who had never spoken ill nor done wrong nor touched an unclean thing had to know how the rest of humankind, us, all of us, would feel." ... "For His Atonement to be infinite and eternal, He had to feel what it was like to die not only physically but spiritually, to sense what it was like to have the divine Spirit withdraw, leaving one feeling totally, abjectly, hopelessly alone." The Savior who is PERFECT suffered all of this, even bled from every pore, because He loves us THAT much. He took upon himself the sins of the world.. All who have once lived, are living and will live in this life.. because He simple LOVES us! He then allowed himself to be spit upon, mocked, tortured, and eventually crucified.. So that again, we could be forgiven, cleansed and perfected through Him. As was said by Elder Holland, "Because Jesus walked such a long, lonely path, utterly alone, we do not have to do so." The Savior is by our side at all times with open arms. Already loving us infinitely and ready to comfort us as long as we seek after Him. So again, why did the Savior do all of this??? BECAUSE HE LOVES US. Why did our God, our Heavenly Father send His only begotten Son to the earth to perform such an act?? BECAUSE HE LOVES US. Our Father in Heaven and Savior of the world obtain that PERFECT and PURE love. Don't you think to show even just the slightest bit of our gratitude and love back we should
FOLLOW THE SAVIOR, ACCEPT HIS LOVE, ACCEPT HIS INFINITE ATONEMENT
and do all we possibly can to be the best we can be, follows His commandments, love God with all of our heart, might, mind and strength LITERALLY and serve Him?! Big reasons why we are here on this earth is TO repent, SEEK after our Savior and His mercy and love not only God, our Savior but all of God's children?? And with that, not only serve God but all of our brothers and sisters???
As is said in Moroni But charity is the pure love of Christ, and it endureth forever; and whoso is found possessed of it at the last day, it shall be well with him., "
So, with Valentine's Day coming up this week... May we all try even harder to obtain that pure love of Christ in our hearts. May we look for every way possible to serve and love those around us. It's the least we can do after the love God and our Savior have for us. And may we love ALL those around us.
As is said in Matthew 22:37-39 ... "Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself."
We must love everyone. Even those who are harder to love. If these are God's first two commandments they must be of great importance right?? And we have to remember that Heavenly Father loves ALL of His children, all of us with our imperfections, faults, etc. So we must do the same. How could we not?? We must try our hardest every single day to show our Heavenly Father our love by following & keeping His commandments, following His ways, growing closer to Him, seeking after Him, serving Him and all those around us and trying to become perfected in Him through the Savior's sacrifice.
I know that everyday as I focus on the pure love of Christ, my heart is overflowing with love for all those around me and all those I know. When focusing on this I am never thinking about what I don't like about other people, never focusing on their weaknesses, etc. I am not criticizing others but feeling such a great amount of love for them. I love this and I love nothing more than meeting people, loving them so much and getting a small taste of how God must love them. We must always try to see and love others as God and our Savior love and see them. I LOVE love!!!!
And not just in the romantic, cheesy way like you all assume I do................. Hahahaha
Ohhhhh I truly love everyone sooo so much. My heart is so full even just thinking of everyone in my life. But especially those that are closest and dearest to me, I love you all so much and you all have the biggest places in my heart. I LOVE YOU.
HAPPY HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY!!!!!!!!!!! How could there be a better Holiday then one all about LOVE!?!?
Con mucho amor, Hermana Barth
Okay, no time left. MORE UPDATES LATER!!!!! I love you all!! Oh and mom, I always forget to respond to this.... I keep in touch with Marissa & Cassidi!! It's so fun to be serving missions at the same time. But okay, ADIOS!!!!!!!