Hola mi querida familia! So how are you all my darlings??? Okay before anything else, my cutest cousin Benjamin Robert is ENGAGED!!!!!!!! Ahhhhhh!!!! I am dying!!!! I knew it was coming.... from all of the updates I have been getting and ever since he emailed me and said the CUTEST things about her, he truly said the most darling things and I could tell right off the bat that he was completely smitten and couldn't adore her more.. I knew she was the one... Haha. But still, knowing that it is official!! I am soo excited for him!!!! And she seems SOO darling!! She is very beautiful and if Ben chose her to be his wife, she has got to be someone very special. I always would say whoever gets to marry him is the absolute luckiest and looks like he is just as lucky. I love it. I have to admit that I am pretty sad I am missing that wedding.... But I couldn't be happier for them and I am now just so excited to meet her when I return home! When I get back Ben will be a married man! And she will officially be my new cousin and a member of the Barth Transylvanian Legacy. Haha I love it! So many people have been getting engaged and married though... It's crazy! Haha I said this to my companion and she started singing the Beatles song, "la la la la life goes on." Haha could not be more true. But as for updates on the mission... things are wonderful here in Yuba City!! I honestly love this place more and more each day and we are continually seeing more success. I have some specific people I want to talk about today too.... So first off.... 1. Alex. Alex is a new investigator we have. He is a 17 year old boy we found one day while trying to contact a referral from Elder Mosely & Elder Murray. We ran into Alex's mom and she seemed really awesome and said we could come back so we did but she wasn't home and we found Alex. Well then we shared a message with him and he was super interested and told us to come back. So again, we did... And we taught him the Restoration. His mom was asleep or she would have joined but it went soo perfectly. He soaked in every little thing we said and had such sincere and inspired questions & comments. It was amazing. Reminded me of little Jesus!! But the lesson went perfect and I invited him to be baptized at the end. He said he wants to get an answer from God first but that he will pray and read from the Book of Mormon. He is so excited to get reading the Book of Mormon too because he cannot believe there is another book of God compatible to the Bible! Then, next lesson with him... He said he read and prayed... We discussed what he read and he said while he prayed he felt "soo good." We then acknowledged that good feeling being the Holy Ghost and then we only had time to teach him a little so we taught him the first half of the Plan of Salvation. Wow, he loved it so much and was wide-eyed throughout all of it. He had again, the best answers, comments & questions and while we were talking about our purpose on the earth, I had him read Alma 34:32, "For behold, this life is the time for men to prepare to meet God... yea, behold the day of this life is the day for men to perform their labors." And afterwards I asked him what he personally felt would help him prepare to meet God, right now, and he said without hesitation.... "Be baptized." What!?! THE PERFECT ANSWER. Well so then Hermana Hughes invited him to be baptized again and asked him to prepare for a date to be baptized...June 22nd... and he said he would definitely continue to think and pray about it. Which we know he will. Also, next best thing and indicating that he really did pray.... After our first lesson we invited him to pray for us but he said he would like to feel more comfortable first, so we agreed and right then just taught him how... But after our second lesson we asked if we could pray while kneeling and if he would say it and he said, of course. And he said the most darling, heartfelt prayer ever!!!!! He thanked Heavenly Father for having us teach him, prayed to know if the Book of Mormon is true and even said, "please help me to know more of how I can prepare to meet you (God)." Sooo cute!!! I love it! So anyways, he is still 17 and would have to get permission to be baptized, he is 18 in August... But our goal is to teach his family anyways so we still have a little ways to go! But things are looking great! Alex is such a sweetheart. He's a cute, football player with the softest, sweetest heart. I cannot wait to update you more on him! Graduation is this week though and he is graduating so we may not see him as much as we would like. But ojalá que podamos enseñarle más y más cada semana y prepararle por el Bautismo muy pronto. El es muy listo. Also, during this lesson it hit me how I truly am in the best mission in the world for me. We got to teach him in English and there is just something so powerful about being able to teach in your native tongue. However, without being a Spanish missionary we wouldn't be teaching him..... So it really is the best of both worlds. I get to teach all of the time in Spanish, which is so much fun and always brings the spirit, and then also in my native tongue which also brings such a powerful spirit. Ahhh it's amazing. I truly know this mission was perfectly picked out for me. I feel so lucky. 2. We have 4 new investigators! Another golden referral from Elder Mosely and Elder Murray. So long story short the Elders gave us the wrong house address for their referral but we walked around the neighborhood and after a good while we decided to try the closest option to the house they told us. Well, we barely knocked and the mom answered. She immediately had us come in, sit down, she offered us water, milk, juice, etc. and then called her husband to come and also sit down. So he did. And then her two kids sat down with us as well. So us 6 were all sitting at their dining room table and they were ready for our message. So the family's last name is Fung and this is why... The dad is Asian however he speaks both Spanish and English, his name is even Pedro... And then the mom, named Candy, is purely Mexican but she speaks some English and then they have two kids.. Ashley who is this gorgeous 14 year old and Sebastian who is the smartest little 11 year old. Well so we ended up teaching them the Restoration in Spanglish.... Haha went back and forth with English & Spanish so everyone could understand in their dominant language... And it was amazing!!!!! They all asked sooo many questions and when we had questions for them, they all would individually answer and ohh they were so great. Best thing. When we asked Sebastian what he understood from the definition of an Apostasy he said, "It is when God's authority is taken from the earth because His children rejected Him and his Prophets. To me... it's like if kids don't obey their parents then they are grounded and their permission and authority to do things is taken as well." Whaaaat!? A little 11 year old came up with that??? Incredible. And anyways... religious background on them... the mother has grown up Catholic and thinks she's super Catholic but we can tell she isn't as much as she says she is... Then the dad grew up Catholic as well but in College was Buddhist?? Well anyways, they are both a little lost and we can tell are searching for something more. They are super interested in the Book of Mormon too and want to read and pray about it so we will see!!! I have tons more I could say about everything discussed and said but we are super excited about them. Also, at the end of the lesson we asked Pedro if he would say the closing prayer and after we taught him how, we didn't know if he would and he did!!! While we were all kneeling as well. And he said such an amazing prayer!!! Thanking Heavenly Father for sending us to their home and then asking to understand the Book of Mormon and all that we are teaching better and asking for his family to gain more knowledge from us Sisters, etc. It was perfect! And for everyone to see the head of the home humbly kneel down and pray... So powerful. We are soo excited about them. The Elders found them tracting too and we have been praying sooo hard to find a family to teach so it was such a miracle!!!!!!!!!!!! We are soooo thrilled. More updates to come on the Fung family ASAP!!!!! 3. We are teaching some of the most amazing less-actives right now too and two of our less-actives came to church yesterday!!!!!!!!!!! Sooo exciting!!!!!! Nothing better than seeing those who already have experienced the blessing of baptism, the gift of the Holy Ghost and the gospel in general, step back into church. I can imagine it feels like coming home to them. Each of them have their own personal reasons for being less-active too but I think many of them just need to feel more love. So we try our best to show them as much love as possible, which is super easy and comes naturally, and then they are able to feel God's love more which leads to them wanting to come back to church. Ohhh it made us sooo so happy! Also, we have the cutest other people we're teaching and I wish I had more time to tell you about each and every one of them! One day!!!!!! Okay and then something else I want to share with you that really hit me the other day. So while we were teaching the Fung family, I could feel the spirit soo strong. First off, there is such a different feeling present when we teach those who have sincere desires to learn & hear our messages.... But so the spirit was so strong and then we got to the first vision and talked about Priesthood Authority and the Book of Mormon. Well after I talked about the Book of Mormon for a little I bore my testimony of it and wow. I have never felt my testimony of the Book of Mormon be more bold, sincere or personally powerful in my entire life. If I had to tell you one thing right now that I am so grateful for that I have gained from my mission, it is the testimony I have gained of the Book of Mormon. Family... Friends... I cannot even begin to express to you how I feel about this book. I can sincerely say it has changed me and has changed my life. I was talking to Hermana Hughes about this the other day and before my mission I had a testimony of the Book of Mormon being true, I did... I never doubted it's truthfulness.... But looking back, my testimony wasn't that strong. I had read and studied the Book of Mormon (mainly from my Book of Mormon class at BYU) but I hadn't REALLY gained a full testimony of its truth and goodness. It wasn't really affecting me and my thoughts, decisions and actions all that much. In fact, I know if in the past I would have had the testimony I have now I wouldn't have made some of the some mistakes I have. I can honestly say that while being set apart as a full-time missionary I have a different power, authority & gift with me. Partly that being my ability to understand the Book of Mormon and really, truly, sincerely receive personal revelation and inspiration from each verse I read. So when I read it in 3 weeks with Hermana Piggott, I felt my testimony increase a great amount, and then when I read it in 85 days under President Weston's mission challenge..... I felt like I gained a complete love for the book and my now paperback copy I marked up for that challenge has become one of my most prized possessions.... But I am reading it again in Spanish and then I also started it again in English and am trying to go extremely slow intently studying each verse I read and wow. Every day it is changing me and my life!!!!! I am learning more than I ever thought would be possible and I have never felt such power from reading ever before!!!!! Every morning I get soooo excited to have personal study so that I can take some time intently studying and pondering over the verses I read and I am receiving revelation & inspiration in ways I cannot even explain!!!! Every time I read I feel the Holy Ghost sooo strongly (which is another gift the mission has helped me recognize more) and I just feel so many fruits of the spirit. Peace, love, joy, comfort, hope... everything. I LOVE THE BOOK OF MORMON!!!!!! I can remember people saying that it has the answer to every little thing, every question, life problem... etc. and is just the true source of happiness and knowledge and I remember not FULLY understanding how. But now, I cannot learn or feel more from reading this book and I KNOW WITH ALL OF MY HEART THAT IT IS TRUE. Before my mission I don't think I could really say I knew it had changed my life or that I had the strongest testimony of it.... But now I can say it HAS changed my life, the person I am and want to become and I DO have such a strong testimony of its goodness and truthfulness. This book is my absolute favorite book in the entire world and I know it is of God. I KNOW that it is through this book we can truly find all of the answers to life's questions and learn how to live better, happier lives now and receive eternal happiness, complete joy, in the life to come and be in the presence of our Heavenly Maker and loving Father again one day. THE BOOK OF MORMON IS TRUE. And I have never wanted to make that more known to people than I do right now. Ohhh how thankful I am for the testimony I have in me. I was thinking about it and although it makes me sooo sad thinking about leaving my mission and it coming to an end one day, a day which is still far far away, I will get to bring home with me what is most dear and precious to me. The Book of Mormon and MY personal testimony of my Father above, my Savior, Jesus Christ and His ever so perfect gospel. I have gained the best gift and blessing any one can receive on this earth.... a testimony. Also, people may continue to not be interested in the message we carry as missionaries, they may tell me what I believe is not true or that the Book or Mormon is not true, reject what we teach, etc. But nobody can ever deny the fact that I have a testimony of the Book of Mormon and of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. In the words of one of my biggest heroes, Joseph Smith... (in a different tense) "I know it, I know that God knows it and I cannot deny it." That is all that matters. So family. My advice to you. READ YOUR BOOK OF MORMON EVERY DAY. And if you're not, in the words of my first fake investigator and CCM teacher, Ruby/Hermana Doxey... "REPENT AND CHANGE." Haha READ EVERY SINGLE DAY. And see how it changes your life. Test it out. God is waiting to bless you because of it. Also, will EACH of you please send me your favorite scripture with a little background on why it is your favorite??? And if you can't pick just one (which I don't blame you) will you please pick one you love and tell me why???? I would love & appreciate that so much. Think about this week and whenever it comes to you, email me!!!!!!!!!!! My mission is changing me in more ways than I can say and I already am beyond beyond thankful for the time I have had serving my Lord. I love every moment here and soak in as much as I can, every single day. There truly is nothing greater than the work I am doing. I am also learning sooo much each day from my studies, from teaching and also from other people. Last night after a lesson we had, Hermana Hughes and I discussed how we really learn SO much from those we come in contact with, build relationships with and teach. I know my purpose as a missionary is to help others come unto Christ but in reality, they are helping me soo much in coming unto Him. In growing closer to Him and my Father in Heaven and reaching my full potential. I love this gospel with all of my heart and it means everything to me. Along with my precious mission. I COULD NOT BE HAPPIER. THE CHURCH IS TRUE my dearest family & friends. Never forget that Heavenly Father loves you and that I love you more than you'll ever know. Con amor, Hermana Barth RANDOM FACTS. 1. There are still many orchards here in Yuba and along with that, fruit stands everywhere. So the other day we bought a huge thing of freshly picked strawberries and I am not kidding when I say they are the most delicious strawberries I have ever eaten. Abby, you would be in HEAVEN! Yesterday we saw that they have mangoes now too so I am going to have to get myself some of those possibly today... and cherries, etc. AMAZING! I absolutely love Northern California. 2. It is SO hot here. It's over 100 degrees almost every day. Crazy story... the other day these two men gave us cans of Pepsi. Neither of us like Pepsi but the hombre Francisco insisted we took them so we did, then we (not being smart) left them in our car... Well so it was 104 degrees outside and when we came back to our car, one of the cans completely EXPLODED and there was Pepsi, honestly EVERYWHERE in our car. Yes, in our brand new sparkling clean car. So we had to scrub it down like nuts in the blazing heat of the day and then we had to go straight to a lesson (already dripping in sweat haha) where there was no air conditioning and she fed us a delicious meal that was loaded with chili... and I added chili peppers and Tapatio to it myself (I am the weirdest spicy person these days) but so I was eating heat while sweating in the heat.... in this moment I don't think I had ever felt more physically hot in my life. I was burning inside & out. Hahaha oh it was crazy. It is going to be one HOT summer!!!! However, the temperature at night here is absolutely perfect. Lately Hermana Hughes and I have been parking our car somewhere when the temperature goes down and then we will just walk around, to our appointments, to visit people, etc. It's amazing.