Friday, September 19, 2014

My Grace is Sufficient for Thee

Hola mi familia!

     Can you believe it is already September?? I know I sure cannot.
Time is flying by far too fast and I feel as though I cannot keep up
with it!! Especially in the mission field, time flys by faster than I
ever imagined it could. I don't really like that fact but because of
it, I am truly trying to soak in every single moment I have here in
California as a full-time representative and missionary of the Lord.

     1. This week has been super successful and we've found three new
families!! Two of which we feel are golden.
- We found one family through a member referral: the mother's name is
Lorena and she's married with two little boys, Alexis & Eric. They
have taken the lessons before in the past with Elders, but with
transfers of Elders leaving, etc. they somehow fell under the radar
and stopped getting visits. Well, Rosa has been anxiously waiting for
us to teach her, as has her 10 year old son Alexis (he apparently all
week was asking when the sisters were coming to teach them) and she is
ready to act on what we teach her. She said she has been looking for a
church to take her family too and always seems to end up at our church
or with members from our church. While she said this she was smiling
though and said everyone she has met from our church are wonderful
people and when she has gone to our church she felt it was wonderful
as well. Alexis is best friends with little Isaac, a member in our
ward, as well and so he has loved coming to church too. Well, we then
taught them the Restoration again - they loved & understood it - and
then we invited them to find out for themselves if our church was true
and be baptized. Alexis immediately said yes to the baptismal
invitation but Rosa said she will do as we've asked, read from the
Book of Mormon, attend church & pray to Heavenly Father with a sincere
heart to know if it's true and then she will know her answer. That's
exactly what we want to hear!! So awesome. And her husband is in
Montana right now working in the fields over there, but fortunately he
will be home come October.
- We found another family through a missionary referral: the mother's
name is Rosa and she's married with 4 kids. We have only met with her
briefly but she is super nice, prepared, ready & excited to learn from
us ... her husband took lessons in the past but because it was all men
(him & the elders) she never sat down and really listened. So, she's
excited to see girl missionaries and wants to learn from us!! We
talked about a few things when we met but one particular subject that
stood out to me is she talked about how she wants to raise her
children on good principles. She said the world is scary and she knows
she can't be by her kids side at all times to protect them but if they
are at least raised on good principles, they will be much better off.
The gospel is exactly what she needs & is looking for. We are very
anxious & excited to teach her and her family.
- We found another family through former investigators. This family is
awesome and again, have taken lessons in the past. The mother's name
is Angelica and she's married with 4 kids as well. She has a good
friend from the church and she has always liked our church and the
members within. They've taken lessons before briefly but are
interested in learning again. They live across the street from a
Jehovah Witness church so they mentioned how they are always getting
pestered by the members there but they don't like that they keep
pushing them and they haven't felt comfortable in that church. So, we
know to be extra careful here and never come across as being pushy.
We're excited to teach them though so we'll see how it all goes!!
     2. Update on Maria. This is very sad. But so her mom, Ana, had a
little explosion the last time we were at their house and she told us
she loves us, loves when we visit but that she does not want us
teaching about our religion anymore. She is extremely stubborn and
simply does not want Maria to be baptized (we also have great evidence
that she perhaps talked to her priest). She was supposed to be leaving
for Washington to live with another daughter this month though, so
Maria told us to stop by after she left and that she still wanted to
proceed with being baptized on the 20th ... but we called the other
day and Ana told us she isn't leaving anymore. I don't have much else
to say about this at the moment, it bums me out so much, but we're
going to try to figure things out. It stinks how many people I have
taught and prepared for baptism on my mission and they end up not
being able to be baptized simply because someone else impedes and
won't allow them to. It makes me so sad.
     3. We're still teaching Mercedes and our plan is to get her on
date for baptism this week!! Everything is going wonderful there and
the only thing slowing down her progression is the fact that she is a
busy high school student and it's hard to find time have steady
lessons. But she is awesome and I know she will be baptized very soon.
Also, her entire family came to church yesterday, including her
non-member aunt & her kids. Don't worry, we set up a lesson with the
aunt for this Friday. We don't let any potentials slip through the
     4. We do lots & lots of service here in Orland and I absolutely
love it. We are still serving at the food pantry every Wednesday and
then these past couple of weeks we have been doing service in Chico
for an organization called, "Project S.A.V.E" - [recycles medical and
dental equipment and supplies received from professional
organizations, clinics, hospitals and individuals, which are then
shipped to hospitals and clinics in need around the world.] It's so
awesome and we have now loaded two huge trucks (including an ambulance
that was loaded into into a truck) full of these supplies and they
have now been shipped to Papa New Guinea & Nigeria. Awesome huh? We
have done it with our entire zone and I love it so much. Also, the
church is starting a new program amongst the missionaries called,
"Just Serve." I will talk more about it later but simply, it's going
to make it so that the missionaries will be able to go to the "Just
Serve" website - which will be church based - and find service
opportunities & projects that are taking place in their area that week
to do up to 10 hours of service each week. This is not going to be a
time for proselyting of course, and we will very likely be serving
with other church congregations & people but it will be a wonderful
time for us to serve others and the community. I am super excited for
it and it is starting very soon! We have a big service project this
weekend actually, to clean Bidwell park - supposedly one of the
biggest parks in the states - and I think it may be apart of the "Just
Serve" program. I love service!!! Really, service opportunities on the
mission are treasured. Every missionary is constantly seeking them out
and loves jumps to the opportunity to serve anyway they can.
     5. Fun fact. Ever since Hermana Lee left, the primary has been
needing a new pianist (she was currently given that job). I mentioned
to somebody that I used to play the piano and it spread like wildfire
haha. Soo they now want me to be the pianist for primary and I
honestly haven't played in years but I have been practicing at the
church whenever we happen to have a free moment there and
surprisingly, it all is coming back to me much quicker than I
expected! And I am loving it!!! I now crave to play and even if we're
at a members home and they have a piano - I'll sit down and try to
play a few hymns before we leave. I love it!! So, looks like I am the
branches new chorister & primary pianist. Who would've thought!? I am
replacing the musical Hermana Lee haha. Also, for the Elders baptism
yesterday, our trio - Hermana Briggs, Hermana Piggott and I, sang
"Grande Eres Tú" ... Hermana Piggott & I sang alto, while Hermana
Briggs was on soprano and it turned out very well! I was proud of us.
I am more involved with musical things on my mission than I ever
thought I would! It's great!! I'll take advantage of it while I can.
While I am serving with my little Spanish branch.

     I'd now like to talk about a few things I have thought a lot
about this past week. I have been thinking very deeply about the
nature of our Heavenly Father and Savior, Jesus Christ. Also, about
the plan God has for each and every one of us. The Plan of Salvation

     I would like to skip near the end of God's plan regarding the
Kingdoms of Glory. As we know, due to the justice & mercy and God,
after the Second Coming of Christ and the Resurrection ... we will
stand before the judgement seat of the Lord. We will then be judged
according to our works and the desires of our hearts. After we are
judged, we will live in a state of glory. Because everyone’s works and
desires vary, heaven includes different kingdoms, or degrees of glory.

 1. Telestial Kingdom: (comparable to the stars) "Those who continue
in their sins and do not repent." (I am not even going to go into
detail of this one because I feel one must try really hard to make it
 2. Terrestrial Kingdom: (comparable to the moon) "People who refuse
to accept the gospel of Jesus Christ but who live honorable lives."
 Now, I would like to talk a little more about this. Let's first take
note that this destination is still considered to be a Kingdom of
Glory. And also, that people who live honorable lives will dwell here.
With this knowledge, we know that the Terrestial Kingdom will be a
beautiful, glorious & very desirable place surrounded by incredible,
kind & lovely people. I would now like to refer to an analogy we heard
this week from a senior missionary describing this Kingdom. He told us
to imagine being sent to live in a giant, gorgeous and enchanting
castle in a beautiful land. Sounds quite enchanting doesn't it? I
think we would all be thrilled to go there. We would be surrounded by
indescribable beauty and kind, wonderful people. However, here there
happens to be a wall surrounding the land giving boundaries and limits
as to where those who dwell here, can go. At first, these walls &
boundaries probably would not seem to be a problem. I'm sure one could
very easily entertain & enjoy themselves with the luxuries that were
provided for them. But picture 100 years from then? 1,000 years? 1
million years? Forever??? Don't you think things would get old and you
would want to explore more?? That what at first seemed to be glorious
would Well let's now talk about the last Kingdom.
 3. Celestial Kingdom: (comparable to the sun) "Heavenly Father and
Jesus Christ reside in the celestial kingdom. If you live according to
the gospel of Jesus Christ and are cleansed from sin by the Atonement,
you will receive a place in this, the highest kingdom. You will live
in God’s presence and know complete joy."     Unlike the Telestial &
Terrestial Kingdoms, the Celestial Kingdom will have zero boundaries.
It's beauty & luxuries will be as the other kingdoms, and more,
however in this kingdom there will be continual exploring &
progressing to do. This is where exaltation is possible and limits
will not exist. With our perfectly resurrected bodies we will have
nothing to restrain our growth & capacity in gaining knowledge, giving
us the ability to eventually obtain full knowledge as our Father in
Heaven does & ultimately become as He is. As first stated in the
description, this is also where Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ
reside. Since "no unclean thing may dwell in the presence of God,"
this explains why all who reside here chose to "live according to the
gospel of Jesus Christ and [were] cleansed from sin by the Atonement."
Having our garments & spirits without sin or spot also then explains
why we would experience complete joy and feel worthy to live in God's

    Now, next thing. We know that we will be judged according to our
works and the person we've become during our mortal life & earthly
probation. This is how it will be known which Kingdom we should reside
in. I have spent a lot of time pondering over this during the course
of my life and especially during my time as a full-time missionary. We
know that God is a God of justice but we also know He is ever so
merciful & loving. With this knowledge, how many chances will we, as
God's children, truly get - to live with Him again? Well, first off,
we have knowledge of the Spirit World - a place of learning,
progression & preparation.  Here, those who were not given the
opportunity to learn of Jesus Christ or chose to reject Him, will have
the ability to accept Him, repent & change. This is beautiful
knowledge that we have, however, we much also remember that death will
not change our personality or desire to do good or evil. We must not
think we will change once we die and are in the Spirit World. "Ye
cannot say, when ye are brought to that awful crisis, that I will
repent, that I will return to my God. Nay, ye cannot say this; for
that same spirit which doth possess your bodies at the time that ye go
out of this life, that same spirit will have power to possess your
body in that eternal world." - Alma 34:34 ... This again proves why
the works we do here on the earth, during our time of probation, are
crucial & extremely important. "And now, as I said unto you before, as
ye have had so many witnesses, therefore, I beseech of you that ye do
not procrastinate the day of your repentance until the end; for after
this day of life, which is given us to prepare for eternity, behold,
if we do not improve our time while in this life, then cometh the
night of darkness wherein there can be no labor performed." - Alma
34:33 ... "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." - Alma 34:32 ... Then, when according to the
will of the Lord, when the time is right, He will make His Second
Coming on the earth, our bodies will be resurrected and we will stand
before Him at the judgement seat. As I mentioned before, we will be
judged according to our works, the desires of our hearts = the person
we've become.
     I'd now like to talk about this for a moment. If the same spirit
that possesses our bodies when we die, is the same spirit that will
possess our bodies in the eternal world, when we stand to be judged we
will have full recollection of all of our personal thoughts, desires,
works, deeds, etc. Alongside that, "we shall have a perfect knowledge
of all our guilt, and our uncleanness, and our nakedness; and the
righteous shall have a perfect knowledge of their enjoyment, and their
righteousness, being clothed with purity, yea, even with the robe of
- 2 Nephi 9:14 ... This then leads me to the assumption that we will
become more so our own judges, "for behold, they are their own judges,
whether to do good or do evil." - Alma 41:7 ... When we are brought
before our Maker & Creator, standing in pure nakedness, we will not be
able to hide anything. Our Heavenly Father and Savior, Jesus Christ
will know us perfectly and we will know exactly the kind of person we
are and where we deserve to go. I just cannot picture our loving
Heavenly Father pointing His finger at us, scorning us, telling us
we're horrible, pointing out all of our flaws and denying us the
ability to enter into His Kingdom. He desperately wants all of His
children to return to Him. "Behold, He sendeth an invitation unto all
men, for the arms of mercy are extended towards them." - Alma 5:33 ...
"I [the Lord] will be merciful unto them, ... for mine arm is
lengthened out all the day long." - 2 Nephi 28:32 ... Heavenly Father
will do all He can to have us in His presence again. As will our
loving and ever so merciful Savior, Jesus Christ. But in reality, we
will not desire to go to a place where we know we do not belong. We
simply will not feel comfortable there. And because our Father in
Heaven is a loving one, He makes it so that all of His children will
live in a place where they are comfortable. If one has full
recollection of their guilt, uncleanliness and unworthiness, they will
not feel one bit comfortable being in the presence of God. So through
their own agency & choice, they will not enter in and reside in the
Celestial Kingdom but feel comfortable being placed in the glory they
deserve. Crazy to think about right?? We have full, complete control
over where we go. I am positive it breaks Heavenly Father's heart to
know that many of His children will not be comfortable being in His
presence as well, but He knows everyone will go where they fit best. I
also assume that those in the Celestial Kingdom, possibly even
Heavenly Father and the Savior themselves, will visit those in the
lower kingdoms however, again, because of the boundaries set in the
lower kingdoms, they will not be able to visit those above.
     Now, I don't know about you but I know what this led to me
thinking ... I am not perfect. I make many mistakes. I fall short in
many areas & obtain several weaknesses. Will I feel comfortable in the
presence of my Almighty God?? I feel as though many of my weaknesses &
faults have been shown unto me, and I am continually trying to work on
them but still, often I feel as though the same weaknesses come back
or more are revealed unto me. I often feel very inadequate. How will I
ever feel worthy enough to stand before God comfortably and feel as
though I truly do deserve to live in the Celestial Kingdom?? I would
now like to share with you a story from the Bible that I feel applies.
In the New Testament we read a story about the Apostle Paul. Paul felt
slightly similar to how I feel. He was able to clearly recognize his
weaknesses and referred to one, which seemed to continually stick with
him, as a "thorn in the flesh." This "thorn" frustrated Him immensely
for he felt it was a setback in His eternal progression. He felt as
though it were what was keeping him from becoming more like the
Savior. He stated, "And lest I should be exalted above measure through
the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the
flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted
above measure." - 2 Corinthians 12:7 ... This recognition then led to
him faithfully asking the Lord three times if He could remove the
"thorn" from him. Of course, the Lord has all power and had the
ability to remove the thorn, however, in reply he lovingly and calmly
to said to Paul, "My grace is sufficient for thee."
How profound is that. "MY GRACE IS SUFFICIENT FOR THEE." The Savior's
grace is sufficient for us! Of course we are all going to be shown our
weaknesses. That is the way that we are able to make our weaknesses
strengths and become perfected. We are not perfect and God doesn't
expect us to be (right now). However, when we are humbled, recognize
our faults, repent, turn to the Lord and do all we can to be better
... The Savior's grace will be sufficient for us. He doesn't have to
take away all of our faults because in the end, He will make up for
all that we lack. He will save us. He will make us pure, clean, holy,
without spot and comfortable in His presence and the presence of our
Heavenly Father. It is through Him that we will be able to receive
eternal life & live in the highest Kingdom of Glory.
     Now, a way we can currently see how comfortable we would be in
God's presence we can ask ourselves this question. "Would I be
comfortable and at peace with myself in the presence of an Apostle or
the Prophet? Or if I were to be interviewed by them??" If not, we
surely would not be comfortable in the presence of the Lord and our
Heavenly Father. Therefore, we must act now. Seek after the Savior and
access His Atonement in our lives right now! Today! This is the time.
We must do all we can to get where we will feel comfortable and worthy
in the presence of our Maker. Where we will know the Celestial Kingdom
is where we deserve to go. We will feel peaceful, excited and happy to
return home.

     Well family, I hope to be able to dwell with each and every one
of you in the Celestial Kingdom. It's not going to be easy to get
there, I can tell you that ... but I know it's possible. With Jesus
Christ, everything is possible.

... and it doesn't hurt to have a loving, faithful & supportive family
helping you get there!!! I love you all so much!! Have a wonderful
week and know I am thinking of and praying for you always.

Con un corazón lleno de amor,

Hermana Barth

     Ps. So you are aware. Next Monday we are having a mission tour,
Brent H. Nelson - member of the Seventy - is visiting our mission, so
we will be having p-day on Wednesday instead. Entonces, hasta el
próximo Miércoles!!

Also, mom & dad ... blow Germany, Austria & Switzerland a kiss for
me!!!! Sing the Sound of Music songs in Salzburg during the tour for
me! Hopefully you get to sing alongside some Koreans & Australians
like dad & I did ... Have so much fun!!! Those are some of the most
beautiful places in the world. I cannot wait to hear all about it!!!

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