Friday, September 19, 2014

The House of the Lord

My loveliest & most beautiful family,

¿¡Cómo están!? Before anything else, I just have to say that I am in
complete HEAVEN and truly could not be a happier person. I am
constantly on cloud 9 and just feel as though my life couldn't get any
better. This week has been AMAZING and for more ways than one. I don't
even know where to begin it has been soo incredible. I love life & my
mission sooo much!!! I AM THE HAPPIEST PERSON ALIVE!!!!!! And I am soo
sorry I am sending this email so late. We had a half p-day so we were
out proselyting until 3 and then I tried to write it all out earlier
and then I was going to try to send pictures later, I was going to buy
an adaptor at Walmart, but they didn't have it and then our journey to
Costco was an adventure (we got lost in Chico) and anyways, I am
sending it right now!! So no pictures this week ... I'm sorry mom!! I
will send some next week for sure!! I have lots I want to send. But
okay, so let's see .....

    1. Being companions with Hermana Piggott again is a DREAM come
true and I am loving it far too much!!!! Honestly, it is the best
thing in the world and I am just constantly so happy serving with her.
She is truly my best best friend and with that, I am literally serving
my mission with my best friend by my side, AGAIN. Who is that lucky!?!
How am I this lucky!?!? Being companions with her while serving my
mission just goes together perfectly. It just feels RIGHT. Ohhh it is
too amazing and far too much fun I tell you. I have missed this girl
more than I can say and I just could not be more thrilled to be doing
the work of The Lord with her again!!! I STILL cannot believe it's
happening. It is simply, TOO GOOD (as we always say). We are
constantly laughing our heads off and just the happiest missionaries
you'll ever see. It's almost scary how similar we are as well. Haha so
many people tell us we are the same person and I am recognizing it soo
much now. I wish I could tell you how many times she does or says
something that is exactly me!! We have morphed into one another, it's
hilarious. We're probably the strangest, nerdiest & giddiest
missionaries ... but I couldn't love it more. Also, Hermana Piggott is
such a hard working, focused, dedicated, spiritually guided, humble,
loving, obedient & all-around incredible missionary so truly, I
couldn't be more thrilled. She is such an amazing example to me and
has been since day one. I love my mama Piggott!! Also, of course
Hermana Briggs is still the most darling Hermana alive and we are the
happiest trio. I couldn't ask for anything better!!!! We miss Hermana
Lee too but I know she is in good hands with baby Hughes in Yuba!!
Also, speaking of companions ... I got to talk to Hermana Richards on
the phone for a little the other day and it made me sooo happy. I love
her soo much and miss her tons as well. We were discussing all sorts
of things, regarding our temple trip - Gridley tragedy, etc. - but
then all of the sudden she said, "I need some Hermana Barth in my
life!" and then said how all she wants is for us both to go back to
our tiniest town of Gridley right now (there are currently only 2 sets
of Elders right now & the branch has been struggling because of
it....) so anyways, she said that and it made my heart very warm. She
is so darling and dear to me. Also, I would love serving with her
again in Gridley!!!! Ohhh I love Hermana Richards. She is one of the
best people I know. I admire & look up to her so so much. Also, one of
my very best friends. Honestly, I consider every single one of my
companions one of my very very best friends. I am convinced I am the
most blessed missionary there is.
    2. I had one of the most spiritual experiences of my entire life
on Saturday. I don't even know where to begin because I have so much
to say. I had the great blessing, opportunity & privilege to
experience the endowment of both Idalia & Oscar Rodriguez in the
Sacramento Temple and then witness the sealing of their beautiful
family afterwards. Words cannot describe how incredible, special,
sacred & spiritual this experience was for me and all that were apart
of it. First off, we got to go to the temple with about 25 members
from my family & branch in Gridley. It was amazing!!!! Hermana
Piggott, Hermana Briggs & I (Hermana Richards ended up being super
sick and was unable to come - made me soo sad) drove down with Brother
Orme & Sister Lopez which was soo much fun. We drove right through the
city of Sacramento and it was crazy!! I haven't seen tall buildings or
anything like it in over a year now! It felt so strange haha. But
Sacramento seems awesome and we loved being able to see it all. We
then met up with tons of the members of our branch when we got there
and everyone was thrilled we came. It was soo much fun. They all were
even more thrilled & happy when they found out Hermana Piggott & I are
companions again too and then many of them kept saying how it wasn't
fair we were all together in Orland and that we needed to be sent back
to Gridley. President Lopez was dead serious too, saying he wanted to
call President Marston and address the need for Sisters (they actually
truly do need them - or new Elders ... the current ones are slacking
big time) however, we know we are serving in Orland for a reason and
have much work & strengthening to do here!! But we then continued on
inside the temple and I was so so so happy. The second we saw sweet
Idalia too is a moment I will never ever forget. She didn't know we
were coming and as soon as she saw us and we both gave her huge hugs,
she looked at us and had tears immediately start streaming down her
face. I cannot describe the amount of love I felt for her in my heart
at this moment and I felt the spirit of The Lord so so strongly. While
standing there looking at Idalia all dressed in white, I realized she
had never looked more beautiful. She looked soo peaceful and full of
the light of Christ that it was honestly radiating off of her. In this
moment, I also recognized more than ever before how we are all truly
daughters of our Heavenly Father and sisters eternally. It was
incredible. She also then told us how she is pregnant!! Which brought
even more tears & happiness. How amazing. The session was then
incredible and the sealing even more beautiful. I wish I could go into
details but it truly was one of the most touching & spiritual
experiences I have ever had. Also, when we saw Idalia & Oscar again,
right before their sealing ... Oscar started to cry and thanked us
over & over again for coming. It was so tender to me. They were both
holding hands and just all smiles & tears, I love them soo much!! The
sealing of their whole family was then so incredible and I decided it
made up for all the sealings I have been missing of my loved ones at
home. There is nowhere else I would have rather beenthen in the
temple, the House of The Lord, witnessing what I did, at that time. It
was as if the outside world completely stopped or simply didn't matter
& I was getting a profound glimpse of what Heaven is like. I have
never felt more grateful for the knowledge that I have of my Father in
Heaven, Savior, Jesus Christ, His gospel and God's plan for each and
every one of us. His plan of Salvation - the plan of TRUE happiness. I
know that our families truly can be together forever and in the
presence of our Heavenly Father & Maker again one day, experiencing
complete joy. I greatly look forward towards that day and will do all
I can do receive such a reward. The gospel is all that matters my
dearest family & I know it to be true with all of my heart. So again,
everything that happened inside the temple was extremely sacred,
beautiful & spiritual and I felt as though my spirit was being filled
to the brim. It was amazing. Then afterwards, we all took tons of
pictures and had a lunch on the temple grounds. It was so much fun.
Being at the temple with Hermana Piggott with so many of our Gridley
branch members ... Could it get any better than that!?! What a dream
come true!! Yet again!!!! Also, everything inside the temple was in
Spanish so I was even happier. I felt much more comfortable with my
Spanish skills this time around then when I went to the Mexico City
temple at the beginning of my mission ... haha so that made me happy
as well. I love the temple!!!!!
    3. Also, when we got back to Gridley, we had dinner at the Orme's,
just us Hermanas & the Orme's, my favorite family, and then visited
Hermana Ceja right before we took off. Just the day before, we found
out her daughter passed away after a gallbladder surgery. The whole
situation is heart wrenching and I knew her daughter a little bit, but
we are extremely close to Hermana Ceja so seeing her was something
very important to us. Hermana Richards even got permission from
President Marston to drive down from her current area - Citrus Heights
- to see her. Ohh it killed me. Hermana Ceja is the most energetic,
happy going, optimistic, strong and amazing woman I know - she was the
ROCK of the Spanish branch - and when we saw her she just looked
completely weak and oh, it killed me. The second I saw her and she
spoke to us a little but while she was so weak and tears filled her
eyes, I couldn't hold back my own tears and I just held her in my arms
while we both let the tears flow out. It was truly heart breaking and
extremely hard for me and Hermana Piggott to see. We tried to comfort
her though and she impressed me so much. She kept going on and on
about nuestro Padre Celestial, Su plan para nosotros, y las muchas
bendiciones que ella tiene ... about our Heavenly Father, His plan for
us, and the many many blessings she has. She even started quietly
singing, "Cuenta tus bendiciones" ... "Count your many blessings" and
that really touched me. She is soo strong, faithful & full of hope.
She is such an amazing example to me and I love her so so so much.
Breaks my heart she is experiencing such a hard trial right now in her
life but I am praying a big miracle will come out of it. For example:
none of her kids are active so we're hoping this will soften their
hearts and bring them back. Life is fragile, my loved ones. That's why
we must hold on tight to what we know to be true!!!! We must keep the
Savior as our rock and continue to build our foundation on Him.

"And now, my sons, remember, remember that it is upon the rock of our
Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your
foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds,
yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his
mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to
drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the
rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation
whereon if men build they cannot fall." - Helaman 5:12

    4. Yesterday I had the craziest day at church!! Haha it describes
the life of us missionaries in the branches so perfectly. So, first
off, we were singing our first hymn in Sacrament meeting and Hermana
Lee used to be the chorister but she left. So as we began to sing, a
member of the Branch Presidency stood up to leave, but didn't know how
- which led to him laughing and some added soft chuckles from the
congregation so then he looked at me and I offered to finish for him.
I have officially become the new branch chorister hahaha. Then, little
did I know what was coming next. Hermano Jaime, first counselor in the
presidency stood up and said how some people were going to speak on
miracles they have experienced that have helped strengthen their
testimony. Well, he then announced that he was going to share an
experience and that HERMANA BARTH was going to follow afterwards. Haha
that was a big surprise to me! He then gave me a big smile and the
branch President looked at me too with a sly smile, I gave them a
goofy face and then smiled as well. Haha so I then proceeded to speak
to my little branch and spoke of the big miracle of Any & Maria that I
experienced in Gridley with Hermana Richards. This was the first time
I have had to give a talk in Spanish without any type of notes and
telling stories is even more of a thrill hahaha so it was an
adventure. Luckily, the Holy Ghost quickly took over and helped me
speak and say what I wanted to. I was able to speak smoothly and from
the heart, which was a blessing. I also felt the spirit very strong
myself and was touched thinking back on this special miracle of mis
angelitas. It was pretty fun!! Also, then after sacrament meeting us
Hermanas got asked to teach Relief Society. So it was a day full of
surprises!! Of course, teaching is second nature to us now so that was
nothing. Also, pretty awesome miracle that came from this. We had a
nonmember in the class and we taught about member missionary work.
Well, we had the woman "practice teach" like us missionaries always
do, and two of the ladies ended up practice teaching on Patricia, the
nonmember, and then it turned into a REAL lesson!! So amazing! They
taught her about the Book of Mormon and we set up a lesson with her
for next Sunday after church (she lives far far away). How amazing!!
    5. Today we had to take a half p-day because of our temple trip
and it ended up being so good! First off, we went tracting and right
away we found an amazing woman. She's a young mother named Luz and she
has a little 2 year old boy named Julian. Well anyways, we tracted
into her and she was cleaning her house so we were unable to go in
right then but we talked to her for a little outside and she said she
would love for us to come back to teach her more. After we set up the
appointment too we again mentioned how our messages will bless her and
her family. We brought up how we believe families can be together and
asked her if that's what she wanted. She then said it was and not much
after said, "Sisters, I am soo scared to die" and started to cry. She
then continued to cry and told us how scared she is of death and the
thought of leaving her little baby boy too son. She immediately opened
up to us even more too and told us all about her family, their
struggles, etc. Well anyways, this was completely unexpected but we
continued to talk about how we have a perfect message that will
address her concerns & fears. We brought up the Plan of Salvation and
then due to lack of time, left her with a Plan of Salvation packet. We
invited her to read it before our next visit and she readily agreed
to. She also mentioned how excited she is to learn more from us and
learn why we feel at such peace with the thought of death, etc. I am
so excited to teach her on Wednesday!! What a miracle!! Also, today is
the 9 month mark for Manuela being sober so we bought her lunch from
Subway, had lunch with her and then taught her the Word of Wisdom &
temples. It was an amazing lesson and we are so proud of our Manuela
    6. Fun fact!! We died both Ana and Maria's hair the other day.
Haha I love how I have died so many peoples hair on my mission now. We
get to learn how to do all sorts of things!! Also, we LIVE off of
watermelon these days and I couldn't be happier. Haha we get these
HUGE watermelons from a fruit stand nearby and eat it all in only a
couple of days. The watermelons here are incredible!!! Abigail, you
would be in HEAVEN!!!!!

    Okay folks. That's all I have for today!! Haha, I know. I write
novels. They are my compiled journal entries for the week so I feel as
though they are more so for me to look back on in the future. I
apologize now if I bore you to death with them haha. Anyways, I am so
happy to hear all is well at home!!! I love you all more than you can
possibly imagine and want each of you to know I am thinking of &
praying for you always.


  Con mucho amor y un gran abrazo,


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