Hello my loveliest family!!
So today has been super crazy & productive!! We had to deep deep clean our apartments for the new year, President's order, so Hermana Cluff & I after studies spent about 3 1/2 hours cleaning our little hearts out. And oh my goodness, did we clean the place! We usually clean it up all throughout the week and especially on Mondays but today we cleaned it more than I think it has ever been cleaned (I'm not kidding) and the place is sparkling!! I love it!! We also made it a good time. We listened to our wonderful church music while doing so and both agreed that cleaning is quite therapeutic. So it has been nice. However, I am just now getting the time to email!! So forgive me if this is all over the place, we still have some errands to run on our way to dinner!
Before anything else, HAPPY NEW YEAR my loved ones!!! Can you believe it is already 2015!? I sure can't. It still feels like yesterday to me when the year of 2014 began. I was with Hermana Piggott & I remember being so excited knowing I was going to be spending the entire year of 2015 here in California as a full-time missionary & servant of the Lord. This year is a little different ... I'm not exactly sure of all that is going to come my way this but I feel at peace & trust in the Lord. I know many many wonderful things lay up in store. And we are all aware of some very big events that will be taking place - me coming home from my mission & then the more exciting news ... us receiving a new beautiful addition to our family!!! BABY BARTH coming in July!!!! Now that I can publicly say something, I am still grinning from ear to ear whenever I think about the fact that Brad & Britt are going to be having a little baby!!!!!! I could not be more excited for them & for me to become an aunt!!!!!! Oh, I truly could not be more excited. Which was evident from the second I found out while we were Skyping and I started crying!!! Haha that was unexpected but receiving that news could not have been more exciting, special or tender for me. My family means more to me now than ever before because I know how sacred & special our families are and know I have the best family in the entire world!!! I am so blessed. Also, how beautiful it is to think of our dearest Heavenly Father sending down one of His precious spirit children to the earth. And Brad & Britt will have the privilege & responsibility of helping that little one make it back to their Heavenly home with our Father above. There is nothing more special or beautiful!! I am so so happy I will be home for that baby's birth too. The timing could not be more perfect & I again, am so so thrilled. Congratulations again Brad & Britt!!! You two are going to be the most incredible parents & I love you both so much!! (Ps. a letter is coming your way - look for it)
But again, in regards to the new year. I look forward to seeing what the Lord has in store for me & I know that all will happen according to His will and for my best. I do love the feeling of the beginning of a new year though. There is something very special about it. It feels almost refreshing & rejuvenating. I also love making new year resolutions (revolutions - as I used to say haha) and thinking of ways I can strive to be better. I also hope to continue doing many of the habits I have picked up on my mission. And continue to make goals. Oh, I love goals!! Haha I can truly say now that I have a testimony of goal setting. It is incredible. It is the way that we are able to recognize our progression & see all that we have accomplished or all that we have become in a structured amount of time. Elder Ballard even once said, "I am so thoroughly convinced that if we don't set goals in our life and learn how to master the techniques of living to reach our goals, we can reach a ripe old age and look back on our life only to see that we reached but a small part of our full potential. When one learns to master the principles of setting a goal, he will then be able to make a great difference in the results he attains in this life." I absolutely love that!! It is so true!! So anyways, I have made many goals & hope you all have too!! Here goes to the year 2015!!!!
Also, I hope you all had a lovely New Years Eve & New Year's Day!! I still think my favorite New Year's Eve, since I have been older, was when we spent it in Bear Lake. That was so much fun! It was so cozy, warm & I was with my favorite people. Well, this year was very nice as well. We had to be in our apartments by - President Marston's order - which is very understandable ... so we made our own little fun night. We made dinner, watched all kinds of church movies (Johnny Lingo, Joseph Smith movie, documentaries on President Monson & President Hinckley, John Tanner, etc.), wrote thank you cards, wrote in our journals, etc. which was all wonderful and we also just chatted, ate almost a whole tub of peppermint ice cream (woops) and got excited for the new year. President also asked for us to write down all the main events that occurred in our lives in 2014 & reflect over how the Lord has blessed us and placed His hand in our lives. So we did just that & that was very very humbling & heart warming for me ... for my list of events is extremely long. Oh, I cannot believe I have spent this past entire year as a full-time missionary!!!! I am the luckiest!! So again, it was wonderful for me to reflect more on all of the beautiful miracles I have witnessed in the past year and all of the life-changing & life-enhancing experiences that have taken place for me as well. So that was wonderful too & we had a great night. Oh, and we even stayed up till !! Woot woot! Haha we celebrated with a martinelli right when the clock struck 12 and all. It was lovely!
But okay, as for some updates!! First off, we are so busy right now & I love it!! We currently have sooo many progressing investigators - which is a miracle for us - and between our areas & now us taking over the Elder's area of all of Chico, we have sooo much work to do!! It truly is the best! We have the craziest & busiest week coming up as well. I cannot wait! And I even have exchanges this week & get to spend one day in Citrus Heights with my Hermana Hughes! I'm looking forward to spending some more time with her. But okay, as for some updates .....
Tristin: this is Mercedes's boyfriend. We were able to teach him again and he is super quiet but seems to have sincere interest. Mercedes said during our lesson with only her another day, "This may sound selfish but I really hope Tristin catches on to all of this as much as I did. I hope that he feels all that I did & do. We're hoping to see more progress in him!
Mercedes: we've been seeing her a ton more lately which has been wonderful! She is honestly incredible and there is something very special about her. She comes from rougher circumstances however, she has her head on her shoulders, is very bright, has great goals towards her future, has a very impressive way of thinking, etc. So we are very happy. I love her so much. Also, Elder Warmoth & I were talking about the incredible amount of progression we have seen in her since we started teaching her and even since her baptism. She is consistently changing & maturing so much. It's very impressive & wonderful to see!
Joseph: we went over to see Joseph & Salome the other night. They kept canceling on our lessons and we were finally able to solidify a time and go over there. Well, when we got there, little 9 year old Joseph came to the door, said his mom was with a baby they were babysitting and wouldn't be able to visit with us but that he could! So we went in and it was adorable. He had two chairs set up facing one chair. He was all prepared for our lesson. I'm not kidding when I say this boy is a man in a little boy's body. His behaviors and how he talks are peculiar for a boy his age. So we then proceeded and taught him the Plan of Salvation. It was awesome and he was so much fun to teach. He may only be 9 but he has an impressive way of thinking and is very smart. He asked a ton of questions even, would go over what we had explained in his own understanding and if he didn't understand something he would very politely say, "I'm sorry ... I didn't understand that completely. Will you please explain it again??" So cute!! So it was great and he loved learning that we were with Heavenly Father before we came to this earth and in his closing prayer he said, "Heavenly Father, please bless all of your children that you have sent down here to the earth from the pre-earth life ...." Haha he is adorable. We want to teach his mom again though so hopefully she will be joining us in our lesson to tonight!
Israel & Ismael: they are both doing awesome. They come to church every week, we have been regularly visiting with them and Bryan Arevalo comes to our lessons. They seem to really be changing & they will both say the closing prayers in our lessons now which was is a miracle. They are unable to get baptized anytime soon because of some legal consequences however, we are seeing them change their lives because of the Doctrine of Christ so we're very content with what we're doing.
Lorena: unfortunately, Lorena & Alfredo did not get married in December as planned. Her family was supposed to come from Mexico to be here for the wedding but some things happened within her family & plans changed. Therefore, they are still not married and we are unsure of when they will be. I tried to talk to her about simply getting married & celebrating with her family later ... but we'll see. She is still ready to be baptized, she's still reading her Book of Mormon every night & they are still praying as a family every night but there needs to be a greater desire of taking action. Which also includes more repentance, etc. We love them so much & are trying our best. I'll have more updates to come.
Clarisa: Clarisa is one of our new investigators we received when the Elders left. She has been investigating the church for over a year now, comes to church every single week, as well as young women's, etc. however she is unable to be baptized until she is 18. Her parents won't allow her to be baptized until then. However, good news! She is 18 in April!! So we are now preparing her more intently for that time to come. Unfortunately, the last few sets of missionaries hadn't been visiting her anymore, and we're thinking they assumed she had received all of the lessons, but although she has heard mostly all of them at church or in Young Women's, we're going to finish teaching everything to her and she will be more than prepared to enter into the water of baptism when the time comes.
Adriana: we had two wonderful lessons with her this past week. One was on the 10 commandments with an emphasis on keeping the Sabbath day holy ... & the other was on the Prophet, his Apostles, the leadership in the church, etc. and we watched the incredible talk by Elder Bednar, "Come and See." She loved it all so much and even got teary eyed at parts during the talk & our lesson. She knows this church is true. Also, she knows that baptism is her next step. So, please pray for her & the entire Campos family. They need the gospel & church in their lives! And they are soo prepared & amazing.
Contreras family: so we picked up this family from the Elders. There are 6 boys in this family! Ages ranging from 8-16. So anyways, we finally met them and they are amazing!! The second we met them they invited us in, all 6 boys (including a neighbor friend) sat around us and the 16 year old said, "So what are you going to be teaching us today??" All of these young boys were quietly waiting for us to teach them something about the gospel!! They all have been reading the Book of Mormon together too and I am so excited to teach them more!!! They were so attentive, sincere, sweet & awesome! What a miracle! Also, we met the mom & although she hadn't really listened to the lessons before when the Elders were teaching her boys, we got to know her a little bit and we're hoping to start teaching her too. If we get their mom, the whole family will be solid!! I am so excited about this family!! Keep them in your prayers too please!
Okay, well I wish I could tell you more about everyone we are teaching but those are some that came first to my mind. The work is on fire here though & I know many many miracles & baptisms lay up ahead! It's amazing!!! I love this work!! Also, one of our awesome members - Bryan Arevalo - is preparing to go on a mission & is on fire with missionary work. He is always wanting to come to lessons with us and he even went tracting with us the other day in Chico where we picked up a new investigator! Also, I realized that tracting comes second nature to me now haha and it's hilarious. I love it though & love trying all different approaches. It's fun to experiment & analyze the results we get to kinda see which approach works best. Missionary work is so much fun!! Honestly, it is the best!!
Also, last night I was able to talk to Any for a little bit, which made me so happy. She is always far too kind to me & makes me so happy! She is such an angel in my life. Also, Hermano y Hermana Oseguera from Yuba City called me last night as well and talking to them warmed my heart right up. I have met such saints on my mission & they all have such big places in my heart!! My heart is honestly about to overflow or explode because it is so so full. I love my mission. I love being a full-time missionary. I love doing the work of the Lord all day, every day. I love every single person I have met here in the California Roseville mission. I love every single person I have taught & am currently teaching. I love the gospel. I love my Heavenly Father. I love His Son, Jesus Christ & I love all of you!!! Have a wonderful week my loves!
And also, HAPPY HAPPY ANNIVERSARY mom & dad!!! 32 years!?! Ah, I am so happy!! I love you both so much and I know I say this every year but I couldn't be happier that you two fell in love. I hope you have a wonderful day & reflect on the cherished memories you both have shared over the past years. I love you!!