Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Miracle after Miracle!

¡¡Mi querida familia!!

     Hello my most beautiful beloved ones?? Soo I have to start off
kidding. I didn't know it could be possible to feel so much happiness
at once. I am on the most spiritual & happy high and I can't not help
but feel butterflies and pure joy build up inside of me. The mission
is absolutely wonderful and I could not feel more blessed. I have
never felt as though I have had more to thank my Father in Heaven for
either. He is pouring out blessings upon me and I feel as if I barely
have enough room to receive it all!!!!! So here goes, it has only been
a few days and I still have soo much to say!!

     1. MARIA WAS BAPTIZED!!!!!!!! Ella está un miembro nuevo de la
Iglesia de JesuCristo de los Santos de los Últimos Días!!!!!
YAYYYYYYYY!!!!!! I want to scream it from the rooftops!!!! MARIA WAS
BAPTIZED!!!!!!! It's a MIRACLE!!!!!! I have been dreaming of this
happening ever since I first arrived here in Orland and met the
adorable Hermana. I love her so much!! I cannot wait for you all to
meet her one day. She is honestly the sweetest, cutest, friendliest,
happiest, most loving, thoughtful, selfless person in the world. I
love my Maria del Carmen!!! And her baptism was incredible!! I wish
you all could have been there soo badly. My dream would be to have my
family at the baptisms I have on my mission. But it was so beautiful.
Ohh it was so lovely. We had two wonderful talks/testimonies given by
Hermana Meyers (relief society president) and Hermano Arevallo and
then since there were 13 missionaries there (Elders had taught her in
the past, missionaries from the area came with investigators, Hermana
Lee came with Hermana Hughes, etc.) we them all join us in singing a
musical number and we sang "Más Cerca Dios de Ti." Oh my goodness, the
spirit was bien fuerte while we were singing that it brought tears to
my eyes and sent chills up my body. It was a beautiful and very
special feeling. These experiences are priceless and so precious to
me!!!! But then we had the beautiful baptism and it couldn't have been
better. Maria was baptized by Elder Van Leuween, an Elder who taught
her in the past and she has never looked more stunning than she did at
this time. Hearing the sacred words spoken during the ordinance and
witnessing her be washed completely clean from head to toe, there is
nothing more incredible. In this moment the whole outside world
completely stopped for me and I truly would not have wanted to be
anywhere else. She looked so perfect in all white too and when she
came up out of the water she had the biggest smile on her face. She
has been waiting for this moment for so long!! I am so happy for
her!!! Then as she was getting changed, we opened the microphone up
for anyone who wanted to share their testimony. Since I was announcing
this, I then took the opportunity myself to bear my testimony. It was
a very special moment for me and my testimony was strengthened as I
shared it with los demás. Hermana Whitaker & Hermano Pedroza (from
Yuba City!!) then shared their testimonies afterwards and they were
both soo powerful and sweet. We then got to hear Maria bear her
testimony and words cannot describe how wonderful it was to hear her
do so. She bore such strong testimony of the church she now knows to
be true and said how she was stubborn in the past when Elders would
stop by and was shy about everything but as soon as she met us
sisters, she let go of all of that and knew she was ready to be
baptized!! Amazing! Also, the other day when we were teaching her she
said the cutest things to us. She told us how proud of us she was,
spending our time teaching the gospel and trying to help people grow
closer to God and she thanked us over & over again for being so
patient with her. She expressed how she knew we had to exercise much
patience with her situation (her mother, etc.) however, we never
stopped visiting her, making her feel loved, and continued to invite
her to church, etc. And now look where she is. Because of that, she
has been baptized and entered in through the gate that puts her on the
straight & narrow path, leading to eternal life. She is becoming a
candidate for the celestial kingdom. Oh, it makes me so happy! She
expressed how grateful she is for that as well and then said, "I love
you Hermanas TOO much." I love my Maria!!!!!! Also, it was her
Birthday yesterday so that made it even more special!! We made sure
everyone sang her Happy Birthday while we were eating the desserts the
relief society brought, along with Birthday cake, and then after the
baptism was over ... we went over to her house, just us 3 and
celebrated a tiny bit more with her.  She told us out of all of her
Birthdays, this was her favorite one and I can promise you ... it was
such a beautiful day!!! And of course, to top it all off and make
everything official ... yesterday Maria was confirmed and is a brand
new member of the church and Hamilton City branch! Also, the more
important part - she now finally has the wonderful gift of the Holy
Ghost and could not deserve it more. I am so happy for her.

     2. The Campos family. Ohh my goodness I do not even know where to
begin with them! I love them soo much!! It's crazy. I feel as though I
have known them for years & years & years and I already am completely
comfortable with them and hold them soo close to my heart. I have so
many updates on them, I do not even know where to begin!! Well, we had
a few lessons with them last week (Lorena says we are welcome over to
teach them as often as we want ... this is a major clue of someone
being prepared for baptism, everyone I have seen be baptized has said
the same thing. Interesting .... ) and they were beyond perfect &
wonderful. Well, I guess I already told you about the lesson we had
finishing up the gospel of Jesus Christ since I just wrote on
Wednesday, but since then we taught them the Word of Wisdom, Law of
Chastity (both of these lessons were a breeze for them) Lorena has
already told us that her & her husband don't smoke, drink, etc. and
her kids already know how horrible those things are and ask their mom
why so many people do them. So cute!! At the end of this lesson little
5 year old Eric wanted to say the closing kneeling prayer too so he
did just that with his older brothers help. Again, this was one of the
most tender & sweet experiences I have ever had. Us missionaries
kneeling with the three of them whom we love so very much, and seeing
each of them fold their arms, bow their heads and then hearing little
Eric repeat the tender words his older brother was saying to our
Heavenly Father in prayer. There are no words to describe how heart
warming it was. I couldn't swipe the smile off my face and my heart
was so happy. It is so easy to feel the spirit strongly around
Heavenly Father's little children. They are soo sweet, humble,
innocent, believing and full of Christ's light & love. I am so excited
to see my own little darlings learn about the gospel and pray. But
then next lesson we taught them the 10 commandments (we taught the
little ones the hand signals for each one in order for them to
remember them - sooo cute. And when we tested them after we went
through each one, if they got it right Alex started it where we would
all clap for the person ... hahaha it was so much fun!!! When little
Eric got it and we all started clapping for him he was grinning from
ear to ear, they are adorable!) and then the Restoration again (I'll
explain why in a momento). But so both of those lessons were
incredible and I have to tell you a couple of things that made my
heart melt. First off, when we had our lesson on Thursday Lorena told
us when we first got there how Alexis loved the video we showed them
of Christ being baptized soo much that he was telling everyone about
it! Haha and then he chimed in saying, "casi todo la familia!" ...
"almost all of the family!" - including his dad, grandparents, etc. So
cute!!!! And then he said with the biggest smile on his face and
pretty much bouncing out of his seat on the couch, I'll never every
forget it, "I just want to be baptized right now! I cannot wait!" Is
that not the cutest thing?? He is SO excited to be baptized. He also
said how he loves how we are baptized. With the hand & arm positions,
etc. Who notices that and especially a little boy!? Also, before our
lesson on Saturday, when I called Lorena to tell her we were coming
she said, "Eric misses you Hermanas. Yesterday he kept asking, where
are the Hermanas?? Where are the Hermanas??" ahhhh my heart stopped
when she told me that. He is the most adorable little guy in the
world!! I love him so much. But so we had those wonderful lessons and
then they came to Maria's baptism!! Which made us soo excited. They
wanted to see an actual baptism be performed and Alex loved every
second of it. Then to make it even better, they came to church on
Sunday! Lorena looked so beautiful, she is stunning, and then the
little boys looked so cleaned up & adorable. I honestly cannot get
over how much I love this family!!!!! So church was amazing. Since I
play the piano in primary too, I got to see Alex & Eric in primary ...
They loved it! They both were participating and we sang the hello song
to them (had to learn how to play that on the spot) along with singing
the Happy Birthday song to Alex & another Alexis. So fun!!! I love
being in primary. It is soo precious to see the little ones learning
how they are a child of God, how families are forever, etc. I love
it!! Then Hermana Briggs said Lorena loved relief society so that made
me very happy! After church she seemed very very happy and
comfortable. But okay ... so then for the next best news! If you can
even believe it, it gets even better!!!!! So, today is Alexis's
Birthday and Lorena invited us to go over to their house last night to
have a little celebration for him. We told her we'd bring the cake so
yesterday during lunch we made the coolest tie dye cake (Hermana
Brigg's sister sent her the kit) and we went over there after dinner.
Well, when we got there Lorena's parents were there. We knew her dad
had been eager to meet us so we were very excited to meet them as
well. Well, as soon as we walked in her parents rushed over to us and
told us how excited they were to meet us. Haha and the cutest thing,
Eric & Alex were soo excited to see us too and Lorena's dad, José,
told us how much the boys love us. Haha and then Alex said to us,
"yeah, it feels like every minute I run outside and look to see if you
have come yet!" HE IS SO CUTE!!!!!! And then José said that Eric kept
telling him about how he needed to meet his 3 Hermanas and he kept
saying that we were all, "tan bonita" ... "very pretty." Hahaha and he
would say, "verdad, Eric??" ... "true, Eric??" and Eric would just
smile and shake his head. HE'S FIVE!!!!! Haha and then we asked him if
he had any "novias" .. "girlfriends," he nodded yes and then we asked
how many and he held up 3 fingers. Hahahaha I love him so much!!!!!!
But yeah so that was darling. José then continued to tell us much
about him & their family and then said how he has been wanting to meet
us and how him & his wife are ready to learn from us. He has had quite
the tragic life, pobrecito, and said how they were raised in the
Catholic Church but they don't know a whole lot about God, Jesus
Christ, religion, etc. however, they are ready to learn. It's time. He
even said it was an emergency. So he told us to teach his daughter &
grandchildren and then head on over to their house to teach them!!!! I
don't think there could be a greater miracle!!!!!!! Lorena's parents
are ready and eager to learn about the gospel from us!!!!!! Ahhhh I
was sooo excited I couldn't handle it! And we all sat down and José
was ready to listen & learn right then & there!! We had already
planned to show the family the video of the Restoration too, because
Alex LOVES Joseph Smith and has wanted to learn more about him, but so
we taught the lesson of the Restoration up until the story of Joseph
Smith and then watched it with everyone! Haha their DVD player wasn't
set up to the tv in the living room though so Lorena had us all go
into her bedroom to watch it. Since her husband is gone they moved one
of the boys beds into there too though, so that she wouldn't be alone
at night and so we all sat on the bed and watched the Restoration!!!
Haha it was the cutest thing. And also, when Lorena told us how she
didn't want to feel alone at night, Eric said, "but you are not alone,
God is with you." I know, he continues to get cuter & cuter. Everyone
was glued to the screen throughout the entire video too and José
expressed during it how José Smith was feeling how he feels. He said,
"this is us, this is us! But now we have found our church. Because of
the Hermanas." WHAT!?!? He expressed how he had found his church!!!!
Ahhhhhh I seriously still cannot get over it all. He told us how he
knows we were sent to them as well and how this is no coincidence. Oh,
it seriously is TOO perfect. So we cannot WAIT to get teaching them
more!! Also, it was soo fun to see Lorena stepping it up and now being
the one to talk about the church and express her feelings on it. She
told her parents how everyone at our church is soo nice, at the end of
the video when Joseph baptizes her father too Lorena turned to her
parents and said, "this is how they are baptized!" So anyways. It was
absolutely perfect and the whole night was a dream!! After the video
too we went and all sang Happy Birthday to Alex and he blew out the
candles to his cake. Then, it was soo cute, to make things EVEN better
... after her parents left, Alfredo - their dad & Lorena's husband
called (again, he is in Montana working till next week) and Lorena
wanted us to say hi!!! So she put him on speaker phone and we talked
to him for a minute. He was sooo nice!!! He asked how we were doing
and told us he is excited to meet us, etc. IS THIS REAL LIFE!?!?!? How
are we teaching THE most adorable, perfect & golden family!!! Well
something that really hit me last night was how Heavenly Father truly
does guide us missionaries to those who are golden & prepared to
accept the gospel. We as missionaries, just need to be worthy & able
to follow the promptings we receive from the Holy Ghost to find them.
This is again why it is soo important to always be obedient & on
purpose. We have to show The Lord that He can trust us and that we
will follow the promptings we receive. All those that I have seen be
baptized while on my mission have been sooo unbelievably prepared too
and it is clear we were completely led to them because of it. How
incredible is that??? So, we are again soo excited to keep teaching
this family and soon enough, see them all dress in white and be
baptized. It will be a glorious, heavenly day. Oh, and the parents
wants us to try teaching their rebellious daughter, as they all said,
haha so we'll see how that goes. I love this family!!!!!

     The mission is the best thing in the world and I am truly having
the time of my life. I honestly couldn't be happier and life is truly,
TOO GOOD. I couldn't love the people I am teaching more, I feel as
though I have known each of them forever and I know I was sent
specifically here to the California Roseville Mission for many many
reasons. This is MY mission. These are MY people. And I am the Lord's
servant. It's incredible and I feel so much gratitude in my heart.
Serving my mission is honestly the best decision I have ever made in
my entire life and I already cannot imagine my life without it. It has
completely shaped the person I am and the person I want to become.


I love you all so much!!!

Con un corazón lleno de felicidad y amor,

Hermana Barth

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