Friday, September 19, 2014


My wonderful & beautiful family!!

WARNING: this email is extremely long (longer than normal I mean -
which is hard to beat). It has been a very very crazy, long week and I
have sooo much to say! Also, I have been writing all of these
throughout the week (they have been my journal entries) so I apologize
again for the details & length. Also, I would have looked over these
and shortened them but I have had zero time today and we got home
late!!!! We have been all over the place today. You'll understand
after #8 ... and then after we took care of all of that, the Warmoth's
- the Senior missionaries - took us to this ancient covered bridge in
Chico, which covers a gorgeous river and then they treated us to Red
Lobster! Wow!! Fanciest dinner I have had in a long time! It was
incredible. We were in Heaven. Oh, and we had service at the pantry
today so more of our p-day was tonight. Anyways, here goes to my

1. Maria - So. The craziest thing happened. Remember how I said her
mom, Ana, told us she wasn't going to Washington to live with her
other daughter anymore?? Well, that ended up being a lie. We decided
we needed to continue visiting Maria nonetheless ... even if her mom
wouldn't allow us to speak of our beliefs, etc. So we gave them a
little bit of breathing room and then went over on Thursday to stop by
and say hello. Well, as soon as we got there Maria was very happy to
see us and invited us in. We all recognized Ana was nowhere to be
found and then Maria continued to tell us that she had left for
Washington!! Ana completely lied to us! That woman. But so then we
started asking Maria how she was feeling about everything now that her
mom was gone. At first she was a little hesitant because of all the
rejection she has received from her mom but as she got talking &
talking ... she started little by little realizing more & more how
ridiculous the whole situation was and what she truly needs to do. She
was telling us how her mom & siblings profess to be Catholic but don't
do anything about it. They don't practice their religion (never go to
church, read the Bible, pray, live their lives according to what is
preached, etc.) so in the end they are hypocrites. Haha she even said,
"¡es un chiste!" ... "it's a joke!" I then followed to say, "pues,
sabemos que muchas personas les gustan las tradiciones de la iglesia
Católica" ... "well, we know that many people like the traditions of
the Catholic Church" and she said, "mija, la única tradición que
siguen es cuando no comen carne por algunos días. Y van a la iglesia
tal vez sólo un día por año!" ... "my daughter (that's what many of
them address us as), the only tradition they follow is when they don't
eat meat for a few days. And they go to church only once a year!" So
anyways, she was realizing that Ana doesn't even practice her religion
so really she has no right to tell Maria she shouldn't join another
religion where she wants to practice what is taught, live the gospel
of Jesus Christ and change her life accordingly. She also brought up
how she is an adult, can make her own decisions, and has known the
church is true for a long time now so it's time for her to be
baptized. We then had her read Matthew 10:34-38 which reads ....
"Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send
peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his
father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law
against her mother in law. And a man’s foes shall be they of his own
household. He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy
of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy
of me. And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is
not worthy of me." Throughout her reading she would frequently say
things such as, "ohh wow, ohh mijas, ohhh wow!!" and then afterwards
Hermana Piggott asked, "What do you think about these verses?" and
Maria immediately & urgently exclaimed, "I am going to follow Christ's
church!!!" Haha she had no hesitation & no doubt come over her. It hit
her stronger than ever before, what she was to do. I loved it!!! After
we talked about this for awhile as well, she told us she would call
her mom that night and tell her she was getting baptized, no matter
what. I was so proud of her!! She was soo so happy & excited too. So,
she ended up calling her mom and it's official, Maria is getting
baptized!! We originally had her on date for the 20th too, which is
also her Birthday, and she still wants that to be the day so.... in
just a few days Maria del Carmen will reach her dream and be
baptized!!!!!!! I AM SO EXCITED!!!!! This has been quite the roller
coaster and fight to get her to this point but she, personally, has
been ready for a long time and couldn't feel more prepared, excited or
ready. She is incredible and we went over the baptismal interview
questions the other day and she answered each of them PERFECTLY. She
is so darling! Seriously. One of the most humble, sweet, happy,
loving, sweet spirited ladies I have ever met in my entire life. I
could not be more excited for her!!!!!!! We are going to have the most
joyous celebration on Saturday! MARIA IS FINALLY GETTING
BAPTIZED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Our fervent praying & fasting are bringing
miracles! Also, cutest thing. Maria always says to us, "hermanas I
love you sooo much" and tells us how whenever we are around us she
just feels sooo happy, peaceful and good. I sure am going to miss the
extra light we obtain as full-time missionaries.

2. Lorena & Alex - Oh my goodness. Words cannot describe how much I
love this family. We are still yet to meet the dad because he won't be
returning from Montana until the beginning of October but ahhh Lorena,
Alex & little Eric ... I love them so much. And listen to this!!! We
were teaching Lorena (the mom), Alex (her almost 10 year old son and
Eric (her 5 year old son) the other day Gospel of Jesus Christ. The
entire lesson was incredible and all along I knew we needed to invite
Lorena & Alex to be baptized again and put them on date this time. So,
as soon as we hit the step & principle of baptism, after some
explaining - we did just that. We put them on date for October 26th!!
I know it's a little ways away but we want to teach the dad when he
gets home, he is excited to meet us (took lessons from Elders in the
past), and it will come sooner than we think. So incredible though!
Lorena & Alex accepted the invitation so readily and the only think
making Lorena a tiny bit hesitant is she thinks she still has much
repenting to do. However not for anything big. She just feels like she
struggles at forgiving people and used the example of having old
friends message her and she'll message them back but only does it
because she knows she needs to, not because she wants to. So she feels
bad about it. Haha ohhh she is so golden. Her struggles are teeny tiny
and she is so solid. I love it too because she has said how she wants
to be baptized for all of the right reasons - because she wants to
fully follow our Savior, Jesus Christ - and doesn't want to just be
baptized right away because we invited her to. She wants to as soon as
she feels it completely in her heart. She is amazing though and has
been praying & reading the Book of Mormon EVERY single night with her
kids before bed. Honestly, they are soo awesome. We had a lesson with
them yesterday by the way and it was too good to be true. Both Eric &
Alex were so attentive during our lesson, Alex asked tons of amazing
questions that just warmed my heart up so much - he's only 9 years old
however his desire to learn about the gospel is more than many adults
I know ... kids are so humble, teachable & innocent, I love it! - and
after our lesson, we all kneeled and Alex said the closing prayer. It
was the cutest thing in the world. Also, as we started praying I took
a tiny peek (guilty) and I have never seen a more heart warming
picture. Lorena and her two darling boys kneeling, with their arms
crossed, eyes closed & heads bowed and Lorena gently rubbing Alex's
back as he started to say the sweetest prayer I have ever heard. Joy &
the spirit completely filled me!!!!!! That is a picture and moment I
will never ever forget. I wouldn't trade it for anything in the world.
But so this family is incredible and I cannot wait to see them in all
white getting baptized!!!!! October 26th my friends!!!!!!!!!!

3. Amparo & Cecilia - I don't even know where to fully begin with
these two. They are a continuous mystery to me. I say this because
they have been taught for awhile now and they are golden however for
some reason, not golden. When we teach them it is soo clear how
strongly they feel the spirit, they love when we teach them, they have
both been to baptisms, they always have the perfect responses, seem
extremely sincere, etc. however they have never come to church and I
just can't quite put my finger on what is missing. So anyways, after
we gave them the amazing chapel tour a little while ago ... they still
didn't come to church and we decided to give them a little space.
Well, just this past week we decided it was time they were visited
again. So, since they are best friends and always together. We ended
up having a lesson with the both of them at Cecilia's and Hermana
Whitaker joined us as well. So, we were having a lesson on the
Doctrine of Christ (read 2 Nephi 31) and then we lead it into the Holy
Ghost. They both agreed to have the first 2 steps down in the gospel
of Jesus Christ - 1. Faith in Jesus Christ & 2. Repentance - so we
asked what kept them from pressing forward and getting baptized.
Amparo said it was because of her husband more so and Cecilia said she
doesn't know if she has received her answer from the Holy Ghost or
maybe she hasn't recognized it. So, we taught tons about how we can
recognize promptings & answers from the Holy Ghost and Hermana
Whitaker was incredible. She would got super touched & teary while
sharing her personal testimony and then she started to crack the whip
and get things serious. Which was exactly what I wanted so we were on
the same page. She asked these questions, "how do you feel when the
sisters are here teaching you?" They responded, "very good." "How do
you feel when you read from the Book of Mormon??" They said, "very
peaceful & content." "How do you feel when you pray about these
things?" They said, "same thing ... peaceful and good." And then she
asked, "and how did you feel at the baptisms you've attended??" And
they said, "same thing, happy, peaceful & good." Hermana Whitaker then
continued to tell them they have clearly received their answers and
multiple times, in multiple ways. It is now time for them to ACT. So
after this, I took the initiative and invited them to be baptized
again, this time with a baptismal date. I asked them if we could make
the goal to have them baptized on October 26th. I told them that from
now until this day we will do all we can to help them prepare to be
baptized but that they will need to act on what we ask them to do. I
told them this is the time for them to test it all out and truly find
out if what we are teaching is true or now and if they need to be
baptized or not. They both had tears in their eyes, it was sooo
evident how strongly they felt the presence of the Holy Ghost and they
agreed to my invitation. So, as of now we have Amparo & Cecilia on
date for October 26th too!!!!!! I don't fully know what will happen
there but we're trying our very best to make progress with them. There
is a ton more to say about that lesson too but it was very spiritual
and I loved feeling the Holy Ghost work through me so strongly. There
is nothing more rewarding than recognizing when you're being an
instrument in The Lord's hands.

4. Mercedes - We are seeing sooo much progression with Mercedes and I
couldn't be happier about it!! We have been having the greatest
lessons with her and I am so happy. Last lesson we had we taught her
the Restoration and it went perfectly. We taught it all up until
Joseph Smith and then watched the Restoration video so that she could
visualize the scene more clearly. Afterwards, she had some more
questions and then stated how, "it all makes sense!" I really loved
that comment from her. "It all makes sense." The gospel DOES make
sense. It makes PERFECT sense. Everything about it. And do you want to
know why?? Because it's TRUTH. Truth makes sense. I love it so much!!
The church is true!!!!!! But we also then invited her to be baptized.
She expressed how she keeps going back and forth between wanting to be
baptized really bad, to having some fear & doubts, but after we talked
some more, she came to the realization that she really does want to be
baptized. We were unable to get her on date unfortunately. Hermana
Piggott and I both received inspiration to put her on date for October
11th but there were 6 of us there, including the Senior missionaries -
the Warmoth's - and Mercedes so literally, we were unable to extend
the invitations at an appropriate time because of the ongoing talking
of others. It's okay though. We'll get her on date this week!! I love
Mercedes!! Also, so cute. Elder Warmoth said that on the drive home,
Mercedes expressed how good us Hermanas make her feel and how she
wants to be a missionary someday just like us so that she can make
people like her feel good too. She also said how she doesn't have any
older siblings and she likes how it feels as though we are her older
sisters. I love it. She is the best!!

5. We had our Language Training Meeting last week for all the language
missionaries - Hmong & Spanish speaking - and it was pretty crazy.
First off, I forgot how tiny us Spanish missionaries are here. We have
about 80 Sisters in our mission and only 9 of us are Spanish speaking
and then there are not very many Spanish Elders either. We're a
definite minority but I absolutely love it! I am also shocked by the
lack of, because everywhere I have served it has been packed with
Hispanics. There are so many here!!! But it's pretty fun being such a
small knit group. We all know each other super well especially us
Hermanas haha. We have all been companions with one another and we're
just a small group of best friends. I love it!! I have been companions
with 5 out of my 8 options! So fun. I love love loved seeing Hermana
Richards, Hermana Hughes & Hermana Lee again and it was almost
overbearing how much love I felt for them and how happy it made me to
see each of them. I have truly had the most incredible missionaries in
the world. I still don't have a clue how I got so lucky. The whole
meeting was super cool though and we were able to discuss a ton and
how to better the work among the Hispanic culture. We talked about
lots & lots and also heard some pretty cool news. Starting in October,
us Spanish missionaries will be doing exchanges across the whole
mission. For example: I could be serving further up north (Orland) and
go on an exchange further down south (Citrus Heights - Roseville).
This way, we can explore more of the mission and more companions. For
us, the zone boundaries will not exist. Pretty exciting if you ask me!
But yeah. Then after the meeting my companionship, the two Gridley
Elder companionships and President Marston had our own little meeting.
We had to discuss the Gridley situation and grit that all sorted out.
President told us he will be sending sisters back down there next
transfer but we needed to figure out how to handle the situation as of
now. Well anyways, we got it all sorted out but then President started
bluntly telling us some of his ideas for next transfer and then
started asking everyone where they wanted to serve, especially those
who are leaving soon, who they wanted to be companions with and he
said he has nothing against "inspired revelation." It was the
craziest, most unexpected thing and the feeling in the room was
indescribable. I have a story about his experience and one I had
afterwards I'd like to share with you too but I'll save it for later.
President Marston is just completely opposite with President Weston on
stuff like this, that's why we were all shocked (President Weston had
transfers organized 18 weeks ahead of time and would never discuss his
thoughts on them with any missionaries) however President Marston is
all about having us involved and knowing what WE feel is good. He
likes to hear our personal feedback and thoughts. It's crazy. I didn't
know how to handle having that responsibility placed upon me. But it
means a lot to us to know he trusts our opinions & the personal
revelation/inspiration we receive on such matters. Oh, there's too
much to say!!! But all is well and the mission is wonderful. Haha I'll
have to tell you all that happened one day in the future.

6. On Monday (that's why we're having p-day today) we had our Zone
Conference with the visiting General Authority, Brent H. Nelson. Wow,
it was beyond beyond amazing. I am not kidding when I say that
throughout the entire conference I felt as though my mind was being
spiritually expanded, inspired & uplifted beyond it's limits and I
didn't know how to fully handle all the personal revelation I was
receiving. I was constantly taking notes and soaking in every single
little thing I learned. The spirit was "slapping me in the face" as
Hermana Piggott described it, and I felt as though I were floating on
clouds leaving the conference. The church is sooo unbelievably true my
family. I can testify that to you with all of my heart. All of it. And
I promise, I will never ever ever ever deny that. My testimony is
firm, sincere and unshakeable. I KNOW THIS CHURCH IS TRUE. I would
love to go into all that I learned too but if I started writing I
truly will not be able to stop. I will share all the notes I took with
you one day. I would love nothing more!! Haha when we went to dinner
at our branch president's house afterward though, I ended up having a
headache (which never happens) and I seriously felt as though it were
because I had gained so much knowledge. My brain couldn't handle it
all!!!! Hahaha it's a real thing. As is the gospel. It's REAL and it's
time to take it serious. Brother Nelson is an amazing man though, as
is his wife, and I actually had the privilege of sitting, literally,
right next to & across from them, at a lunch table, so we talked lots
and they are very wonderful people. Haha I secretly hope I marry
someone who gets to tour missions like that one day. I would love
nothing more than to visit missionaries & missions all around the
world with my future husband. The mission is the best world to be
associated with!!! Also! Dad, the best thing happened. At the end of
the meeting, the most darling Sister missionary, Sister Parrett came
up to me. She was actually sitting on the same bench as me. She said,
"You are Hermana Barth! Is your dad in the Stake Presidency of a YSA
Stake in Salt Lake City??" I readily said yes with a big smile on my
face, asking her if she knew you and she said, with a very big smile
on her face as well, "Yes I do! He interviewed me for my mission and
was at my setting apart!! I love President Barth, your dad, so much!!
And he told me to tell you that he loves you!" Oh my goodness. My face
completely lit up and tears came to my eyes. I cannot tell you happy
it made me to hear that and my heart was oh so full and happy. We then
talked for a few minutes longer and I was sooo happy. It meant so much
to me to hear that from her and she is sooo cute!!!! I am so happy we
ran into one another! And I just looked back at old emails and found
when you brought her up in an email to me. So crazy!! I love it. Haha
when she said how much she loves you I thought to myself, "Yep! That's
my dad!" I love you so much dad!!!!!!!!!!!!

7. Now to the bad news. First set of bad news. My camera got stolen.
Yes yes I know. My horrible, terrible, extremely bad luck with
electronics continues. I truly do not understand how I am so cursed
with these things. But this is what happened. We were doing service at
the food pantry where we do service every week. I always check the
people who come in, look up their ID and make sure they get the amount
of food they need for themselves and their families. Well, I had my
purse partly hidden under the table I was sitting it. Hermana Briggs
was doing it with me alongside another lady who volunteers there.
Well, nothing crazy happened but then after we left I realized my
camera was no longer in my bag. We immediately went back to the
pantry, looked around everywhere, looked high & low in the car and my
camera was still nowhere to be found. I was sick inside. Especially at
the thought that I usually always have all 4 of my memory cards inside
my camera case. And alongside that, to make it even worse, I always
have Michael's memory card of pictures & videos he sent to me from
Brazil in there as well. So, I had us rush back to our apartment to
see if I had taken the memory cards out by chance. I was soo sick to
my stomach. Realizing there was a great possibility ALL of my mission
pictures, videos & memories were gone. Including some of Elder
Haller's as well. I was in quite the panic if you can only imagine.
As was Hermana Piggott because all of her Gridley memories were on my
memory card as well. Well, as for the miracle of the story ... that
morning I had for some reason taken my memory cards out of the case
and put them on my nightstand. The thought came over me to put them
back in my case too, just in case Hermana Richards or Hughes would
want to look at old picture or something (I don't know) but for SOME
REASON I decided against it and left them on my nightstand. Leaving
only my brand new memory card I just recently bought in the camera. My
memories were SAVED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Ohhh I cannot even tell you how
happy & relieved I was. If I would have lost all of that, oh I cannot
even talk about it. I would have been more than devastated. So, that's
the miracle of the story and I was talking to Brother Orme about it
when we went to Gridley the next day and he helped a lot by saying a
camera is replaceable but the pictures & memories are not. Also, he
said, "let's hope whoever stole your camera really needs the money."
Such a positive way too look at the situation. I hope whoever took it
from me needs the money a whole lot more than I do. And we went to the
pantry again today and everyone has a great suspicion who stole it.
There was one specific lady who came in with a search dog. She sat
right in front of me and kept leaning over, petting her dog and
fiddling around below. So, the ladies at the pantry assume she must
have slipped out my camera from my bag. So sad. But, what do you do??
Again, I am just so happy I still have all of my memories.

8. Next horrible/crazy story!! And this is why we have had such a
crazy day today. So, last night we were going out to dinner with the
Whitaker's. Hermana Piggott & I (Hermana Briggs is an STL and was in
Rocklin for another training Conference) were just waiting for them to
get there in the parking lot of the restaurant, we were actually just
discussing some sweet spiritual things when all of the sudden we
completely jolted forward and got rammed into. Yes, this guy
completely backed up into our car. And I will tell you one thing, he
was not going slow. We got nailed and it was the craziest thing.
Luckily neither of us got super hurt, however our necks are sore &
I've had a headache all day so that's being taken care of. Elder
Gilbert & Elder Vanleet made sure we went to a medical center
immediately (that took up a bunch of our time today, dealing with the
medical insurance, etc.) and we have an appointment first thing in the
morning. Haha it actually took a whole lot of our time today, dealing
with the medical business and Hermana Piggott & I kept saying we would
be just fine and didn't need to be checked but Elder Gilbert, the
driving coordinator, said we needed to get checked immediately to be
safe and Sister Vanleet from the office said, "you're big girls...
OBEY" haha. So we did just that. But so again for the story, these two
younger guys hit us and our car got hit pretty bad. Maybe I'll send a
picture ... but anyways, due to our lack of experience involving car
accidents and not owning the car, it took us a little more time to
work everything out - also, the fact that the Conference was going on
(meaning the mission presidency & AP's were unable to answer their
phones) and the mission office was closed at this time, didn't help
our situation - but we got all of the kids information down and the
insurance all figured out. So so crazy. I'll keep you updated on what
happens with that. All I know is the mission repairs damages
immediately because they do not like us to drive around cars that are
not well kept and show we are representatives of The Lord. Oh, this
week is a crazy one!! Haha last time Hermana Briggs left us for the
day as well, Hermana Piggott & I came outside and realized someone had
tried to break into our car. There were dirty fingerprints &
handprints all around our windows, door handles, trunk, half of the
trunk was dirty and scratched and yeah ... we don't seem to have the
best luck with cars. We think they got into our trunk too but maybe
when they saw tons of Book or Mormons, pamphlets & cards with Christ's
picture on them, they were smacked in the face with guilt and decided
to let us be. Who knows. Also, the housing coordinator, Elder Falls,
saw the pictures we took from that experience and wants us to search
for new apartments we can move into. He doesn't feel comfortable with
us living there anymore. Hahaha the mission is full of crazy
adventures & surprises I tell you!!!!!! But all of the mission leaders
& coordinators take very very good care of us.

9. Also, I had my first Sunday playing the piano for Primary!! I
practiced before it started and felt pretty comfortable but then as
soon as I started playing for the kids, they sang much faster than I
expected and haha let's just say ... I have more practicing to do. But
I feel as though I love playing the piano more than I ever have before
and I am excited for the day when I can spend much of my Sunday
playing hymns! Mom, we should get out piano at home tuned. I am
excited to play again. Also, Brad - how is your piano playing going???
I am excited to hear your newly acquired skill when I get home!

Well anyways, that's more than any of you would like to hear. But
everything is going wonderful here in Orland!!! The church is true and
I love you all so much!!!

Con mucho amor,

Hermana Barth

Ps. Mom & dad ... I am so excited you made it safely to Germany!! And
right now you are in the most darling & quaint little town of
Rothenburg. I love that town sooo much!!! I hope you take the tour
from that night watchman. He is hilarious! Also, how cool that you had
a layover in Dublin, Ireland. That's where Connor Haller is serving
right now!!!!! So exciting. I want to visit Ireland one day. But
anyways, you two ... have a wonderful wonderful time and I am so
excited to hear all about the adventures you have!!!! Feel free to
send some chocolate my way! Haha ... Auf Wiedersehen und Ich liebe