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Monday, July 22, 2013

Montebello Week 4! FIRST BAPTISM!!! July 22, 2013

I don't know if I ever told you guys about what the area I live in is like. So I thought I should do that a little bit so you can picture me fording rivers and hacking down jungle with my machete in all my glory.

So my zone is the East Los Angeles stake/zone. So it is the poorest zone in the mission. We cover a pretty large part of the city of Los Angeles, and since we cover the whole stake for the YSA ward we get to go over there into the really poor areas even though there aren't technically sisters there. It's interesting though because a lot of it you wouldn't think was really really poor unless you take a second look. A lot of the city of Montebello is the pretty small 60's cookie cutter houses. So like, not wealthy, but not SUPER poor either. But then you realize that the house is divided into three parts, each with a family living in them, one family renting out the garage, and usually one old person living in the shed in the tiny shed in the backyard. Addresses get really confusing around here because there's a ton of invented ones with fractions and stuff... like 102 1/2 M. And sometimes you think an address doesn't exist but that is really because you need to go to the shed in the backyard of some random house to find it. Inside there's like a bed, and a refrigerator, and that is where the person lives. I saw that kind of poverty in Mexico for sure, but it something you forget exists in the United States. 

So ANYWAYS. This week was probably the BEST OF THEM ALL!!! Arath got baptized yesterday! And it was quite an event. His baptism was starting right after the church services, at noon. So at 11 we went in to fill the baptismal font. We came back after like 10 minutes to see how it was filling up. To our dismay, there was no cold water at the church. You probably think I mean hot, but no, the only water that would come out of any sink or the baptismal font was scalding hot. The thermometer on the font was reading like 160 degrees. Plus it was filling up super slowly. So we rounded up the elders and for the next hour were filling up huge trash cans of water from a hose spigot outside on the exact opposite end of the church and carting them through the church and into the primary room (where all the kids including Arath were having primary) and dumping it into the font. Arath was just watching us like "what in the world is going on". It was pretty funny.

But in the end, we had enough water in there that they were able to kneel and perform the baptism. And it also wasn't SO scalding hot that they were able to bear it haha. It was pretty funny. 

The baptism though was amazing. Arath bore his testimony afterwards and said that the second he went under the water he just felt this huge happiness that took away all the anger in his heart and he started crying. The best part was the day before when we had been teaching him his last lesson before his baptism I said to his 17 year old brother "So, Kevin, tomorrow will you pray and ask to feel the spirit at your brother's baptism and if you do, will you let us teach you?" And, well, he did, so now we are going to start teaching him! And he is really excited even though he tries to hide it because he's a 17 year old boy. Now we just have to get the dad. This family is just SO amazing. 

Our miracle investigator Oscar is also doing great. He changed shifts at work with someone yesterday to go to church. And he got to see Arath's baptism. AND it was his birthday, so we made him a cake and had all the YSA people sing to him and eat cake with him. And afterwards he almost started crying and he told us that no one had ever celebrated his birthday before, even his family, because he was so poor in Mexico. I think he was a little overwhelmed with all that in one day haha but I know it is something he will want to be part of. This kid is going to get baptized. He loves Joseph Smith. We had an interesting problem with him this week where we had to tell him he needed to stop flirting with us haha (he's 20) and is just one of those people who flirts with everyone, and then he was really embarrassed and said he didn't want to be taught anymore. But then after a few days he was like "okay I give in because I really just need to know what happens at the end of the story with Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery" haha. He reads EVERYTHING we give him. I love investigators like that.

Oh and we had 6 investigators at church!!!! IT WAS SUCH A MIRACLE!

One last awesome thing that happened this week. We have one of those eternal investigators, who has been taught for like 3 years, her name is Myrna. And she is kind of like very... earthy. Like if she danced she would dance modern. And she always has some weird concern that stops her from progressing like she doesn't understand why the lamanites had darker skin because she thinks that propogates racism and stuff haha. And so we were over there, and we just felt like we should give her a baptismal date. So I invited her to be baptized and gave her a date and she accepted and the spirit was super strong. But it was really exciting because it was the first person who I have personally invited who accepted!! So that was really cool. All the previous missionaries of Los Robles are like "No way! Myrna has a baptismal date??!!!" because like EVERYONE has taught her haha. 

But yea, the church is true!!! Keep it real! I can't send pictures sorry, I tried, but the files on my camera are so big that it doesn't even let me send one, so I will just have to send my SD card home sometime. 


Hermana Bardsley

Monday, July 15, 2013

July 15th, 2013

So this week was AWESOME. So first this was my favorite miracle. There is this girl Rachel who is 8 who the missionaries have been teaching forever. Her dad is a less active, he hasn't really been to church in like 5 years, but he is a former missionary, and so he wants Rachel to get baptized and knows the church is true and everything. But he is beating himself up super bad about something he has done and so he doesn't want to go to church and so she can't go to church and thus she can't get baptized. But him and his daughter have the cutest most loving relationship ever, they act more like best friends than father and daughter. So anyways, on Saturday we called to see if we could come over to see Rachel and he said yes.  So then we put in Finding Faith in Christ and then just bore our testimonies over and over again about how God loves him even more than he (the dad) loves Rachel, and how Christ came to heal not only physical infirmities, but all the pains in our hearts as well, and how once he goes through the repentance process he will feel so much joy. We knew that his daughter would be what would ultimately motivate him to make the changes he needs to. And then we committed them both to come to church the next day and for him to go to the bishop. And guess what, THEY DID. After Sacrament Meeting he went out to his car though when she went to primary, so we went out there and reminded him that he had committed to talk to the bishop and that it was for his daughter and he came in and did it. And then he even stayed for Priesthood afterward. Man guys, Christ's atonement has so much healing power. It is going to be the best day of my mission when he baptizes his little girl. 

Okay, to answer dad's question, the sweet little boy Arath is getting baptized next Sunday! So that is super exciting. That whole family is just so amazing, the mom, Maria de Carmen, who can't get baptized yet because of her husband whose in Mexico who she hasn't seen in 23 years is like the most amazing woman ever. She has more faith than like ANYONE I KNOW. She is so funny, she finds everything on her ipad, and by the time we come to teach her she has already read everything and every scripture to do with it and every scripture those footnotes reference and knows exactly what we are going to say haha. She does that for all the sunday school lessons as well. And her daughter, Ana, who is a recent convert is doing family history to get ready to go to the temple and do baptisms. And her mom has been helping her. But anyways, Maria de Carmen had a dream about an ancestor she had never met who came to her and told her her name and basically that she wanted to get baptized! And then she did the family history on that side and found that person! This woman is just incredible. We are going to start taking her on lessons even though she is technically not a member yet. The whole family is soooo special. 

Man, there were so many miracles this week. I just don't have room for them all. Here was a cool one. Last week during sacrament meeting I was sitting there and I just kept thinking about this neighborhood we had walked by the other day. And so last Monday after p-day we just went and walked through that neighborhood and talked to EVERY ONE. And we were feeling good when were getting back to our car, we had taught like two lessons, given away a book of Mormon to a woman who was super excited about reading it, and all and all seen a bazillion miracles. But we had prayed for a new investigator and we didn't have that yet. And so we contacted one last person who was right next to our car and he was super excited and said how much he has been looking for the right way to get closer to Jesus Christ. Well, we gave him a pamphlet, and by two hours later he had read the whole thing and texted us and asked us when we can meet and teach him more. He is 20 and his name is Oscar. He just came from Mexico 3 months ago so he doesn't speak any English. Anyways, we have taught him twice since then and he reads everything and loves everything. Last time we gave him a book of mormon and the next morning he texted us saying he loved Joseph Smith's story about how he got the Book of Mormon that's in the beginning ya know and where can he read a more complete and expanded story about Joseph Smith and his life. This guy is just SO AWESOME. 

Oh, also, we are in a threesome again!!! We have a new hermana from Guatemala, her name is Hermana Lopez. She is pretty funny. She speaks english just well enough that a lot of funny things can happen haha. Today we were leaving target and she saw the "'gift cards" on our way out and she thought that they were free, like a gift to her for shopping, so she picked one out that she liked and started walking out haha. Then we had to explain to her that those aren't gifts for her but you have to pay for those. 

One more funny story that I just found out yesterday. So the first week I was here there was a training meeting for all the newbies. And there was a part where the mission president's wife talked to us and all our trainers went in a room with President Becerra. And everyone was like asking questions about how to help problems they had with their trainees. And apparently Hermana Duran said to him "She just has so much energy! I can't keep up! but it's awesome!" haha and then he said "kind of like a puppy?" and she said "yea". and then you know what president said? He said "You just have to put her on a leash, but don't kill her enthusiasm while you're at it". Put ME ON A LEASH??!!! I'm going to have a talk with this man. They better make a titanium leash because I'm pretty strong. Haha. President Becerra is awesome though, he is a super inspired man. But a LEASH??? REALLY?  

Oh.... And I crashed a car. Oops ;) Trial of faith before the miracles right? Sorry about that, it probably means my insurance will go up. The driving here is super confusing. I'm not going to drive anymore though hopefully because now I'm scared haha. It wasn't too bad, it's just the other person hit us at an angle from behind which ripped our bumper off but barely dented his car. 

But seriously, it is crazy out here. So many miracles, but also you can see the forces of opposition working against us constantly. Like Carmen de Maria, she actually found her long lost husband on facebook, but he doesn't want to get divorced! It was an arranged marriage, they lived together for 9 days, they both have kids with someone else who they are living with now, and they haven't seen each other in 23 years.

Well, cheers my fam! Say hi to Cheryl for me. And also Tiffany and her boyfriend if they are at church again!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

July 9, 2013

Hey guys  guess what??!! MIRACLES DO HAPPEN. Do you know why?! I actually love going to Church. WHEN HAS THAT EVER HAPPENED??!! And we have to go to 5 hours of church because we are over two wards too. But man, church is the best, especially sacrament meeting. Taking the sacrament is awesome. I just want to let e'erybody out there know, that if you ever want to receive inspiration, repent, use the atonement, and then take the sacrament. IT IS THE BEST. GUYS, Jesus died for our sins so that we can be clean! But seriously, that is when I receive like all my inspiration and answers to my prayers.

So this week our 10 year old investigator with the baptismal date whose the son of the amazing woman who can't get baptized yet because she needs to divorce her long lost husband in Mexico, had a very sad moment. His bunny died. And yea, that is kind of funny, but he was super sad. It was his first pet. Well, anyways, I have been gettin pretty killa at drawing but really the only thing I draw is the pictures on the front of the pamphlets because I don't have anything else to draw. A bunch of kids ask for my drawings but I only give them to them if they go to church haha. So anyways the picture on the front of the restoration pamphlet is Jesus holding a little lamb, and so I drew that for him only I put a bunny in his arms instead of the lamb. And we wrote some comforting scriptures on it and told him that we know that Jesus and God love him and his bunny, and he started crying and gave me a big hug. It was really cute. 

So this week was pretty traumatic... WE LOST OUR THIRDSOME!!!! It was so sad... Hermana Hazelton didn't even get her visa to Peru yet, but one of the English sisters had to go home and so they stole Hermana Hazelton Thursday morning to be in an English ward. It has been rough, now we have to have just as much faith with only two people instead of three to make miracles! She was super sad that she had to leave us, we were the dream team. Oh and she loved the Vocal Point CD a ton, she would just listen to it over and over again, so I gave that to her. The only thing is I also loved that CD. So maybe for my birthday you could get me a new one. I think it was titled "Lead Thou Me On". Also on that note, if any of you have desires growing within you to join an accapella group, do it. And then sing the version of Nearer My God to Thee that is on that CD. It is quite possibly THE MOST LEGIT accapella version of anything I have ever heard. It was our get pumped song. Until I gave the CD away. 

But anyways, besides that this week has been pretty swell! We had this one day that just had like WAY TOO MANY MIRACLES FOR ONE DAY. We taught 7 lessons that day. The coolest thing was we went to the local community college to their "free speech" area to do some contacting and we ended up teaching the whole plan of salvation to this girl who was sitting eating lunch and we have a return appointment with her. AND THEN, these boys came up to us and asked us if we wanted to join their bible study group. So we did. We gave them all cards, one of them wanted a BOM [Book of Mormon] so we gave him one and he was just intently reading it for the rest of the bible study. And then that night one of the girls we had given a card actually texted us about some family history stuff! They all had a bunch of questions too but we said we would tell them next time haha so they invited us back and we are going next week! 

Oh and did I mention we are over two wards? We are also over the YSA [Young Single Adult] ward Los Robles. So that is kind of stressful because there is just so much we are supposed to do and are area covers the whole stake [like a diocese] for Los Robles so we spend a lot of time driving around the city which is unfortunate.

And dad, our whole stake is technically Spanish. But as far as teaching goes it is about half spanish half english. Usually the Los Robles people prefer English because they are young and most of them grew up here, so even though they speak Spanish they prefer English. A lot of the time it ends up being spanglish teaching it is pretty funny. Like in Sunday school yesterday half the people had english scriptures and half had spanish and we were reading a chapter so like every other verse was in spanish and every other in english. haha. It is funny though because nobody knows what to do with me because I already speak spanish... Like in the 12 week new missionary training thing we are supposed to have an hour of language study every morning... but... like... my trainer doesn't know if we should follow that just to be obedient or like... not and have time to do more missionary work...

Oh did I mention to you guys yet that all mail just goes to the mission home and then our zone leaders pick it up and give it to us? So yea, just send it to the Duarte one you already have.

But yea, the mission is the best, I am so happy out here guys! I need to talk to president and ask him if I can extend it... I already feel like I am running out of time...


Hermana Bardsley

Monday, July 1, 2013

1st of July, Two Thousand and Thirteen

THIS FIRST WEEK HAS BEEN AWESOMEEE!!!! So I am in a trio, it is me, hermana hazelton, and our trainer hermana duran and we are in the Montebello ward. Hermana Hazelton is just waiting for her visa to Peru and has been here for six weeks. This area has not been doing super hot and so hermana hazelton was a little discouraged about the area because she has been here for the past six weeks since she came from the MTC and I think her prior companions may have just not been focusing on the right things so they weren't having a ton of success. They were good people and not doing anything wrong, they just needed a blast of energy I think. But, this last week we have worked miracles guys! The thing is, you can't let anyone tell you what your mission is going to be. All of us were sent to where we were sent because there are people here prepared to receive the gospel, and so if you come in determined to teach a ton, you can do it. No matter where you are, it just depends on your attitude. There are people EVERYWHERE. And well, I am here to bring people unto Christ. And if you are working hard and obedient and just have a great attitude, it's possible anywhere.

But so yea, both my companions think I'm crazy, because I LOVE CONTACTING. I LOVE KNOCKING ON DOORS AND TALKING TO PEOPLE IN THE STREETS. It is my favorite thing. The first day I got here we had like half hour of time before we had to be home and they were just getting in the car to go home and I was like, why don't we just knock on some doors? And both of them looked at me like I was crazy. And they said, "we don't do that, we only knock with a name". Literally neither of them had like EVER just knocked doors. I was like.... WHAAATTT??? Honestly I just wanted to feel like a legit missionary because every legit missionary story always involves knocking doors, and so I was like well right now we don't have almost any investigators... so we have to find new ones somehow! So we knocked some doors! And it was awesome. We found a guy. And yea now we talk to everyone and we have found SO MANY PEOPLE because of it. But both my companions are like "I have never talked to this many people in my life". Sometimes I'll just be like, "guys, stop the car, I want to talk to that person" haha.

We also had an AMAZING experience with a family this last week. The daughter who is 24 I believe was baptized like 2 months ago, and the mom is completely ready to get baptized as well. She goes to church every week, the only thing holding her back is that she can't until she gets a divorce with this guy she hasn't talked to or seen in 23 years. So they've talked to a lawyer and stuff and it's going to take at least 7 months. Which kind of sucks. But she also has two sons, one is 10 and the other is 17. Neither of the sons were particularly interested, but on Thursday we went over and talked just to the 10 year old, Arath. Anyways, everything was going really well, and he was commenting on how good he felt and stuff. And so at the end we committed him to be baptized. Then he was like "I want my brother to hear what you guys are talking about". So he went upstairs and got his 17 year brother who really could care less about the church. And then we asked him to give the closing prayer, and by the end he was sobbing. And he said that he just felt so happy inside and that he was so proud of himself for saying his first prayer. And then, (this is the best part), we asked if him if there was anyone else he knew who he would like us to share this message with. And he said (with his brother sitting right there), "I just really want my brother Kevin to also feel this happiness that I feel inside right now, I want him to have it too" amidst sobbing. What a special ten year old. Way to be an example. 

But yea, we have seen so many miracles this week. It's amazing. You just have to have faith that they will happen and they do. So have faith guys. I have loved every day so far. Even when we don't get into a single person's house to teach, because we still have good conversations with people every day whether it is on the street or in a house, and because of that they are one step closer.

Oh, but yes  mom, it is really really quite hot. Haha. And we don't have air conditioning in our apartment, so no I can't really sleep well yet haha. I slept well one night, and it was great. The rest I haven't really. But that's life. haha. Soon I'll just get so tired that I'll be able to sleep no matter what. My companions say they don't want to see me when I get enough sleep because I already have so much energy haha. 

Oh and also, Lily Rybarczyk wrote me! The first day I got to Arcadia I had a star wars post card from her, so that was AWESOME! totally made my day. That's all.



Hermana Bardsley

June 24th, Two Thousand and Thirteen

So I did email you guys last monday, but I didn't know that it hadn't gotten to you guys for whatever reason until today when I checked my email and I had a "delivery status notification failure" email. So here's my email copied and pasted from last week: 

I am with everyone from the fast track for spanish. And they are not ALL 18, just most of them haha ;). And yea we always teach Claudio when we have class with hermano Ramsey. We are giving him our last lesson today. Half of our district headed out early this morning (like 3am), and the other half including me heads out tomorrow morning in the range of 2:30am to 4:30am. I have to report to the travel office at 4:30am tomorrow morning. yuck. 
And yea I was at the broadcast! The entire MTC was. Everyone that they showed on the cameras the entire time were missionaries. The other people were sitting in front of the pulpit and they never showed any of them on the camera sweeps. It was a pretty big deal. They gave us all a super strict dress code and checked our outfits beforehand. Besides the choir (which is over half the MTC haha) we all had to wear dark solid colors, no patterns or jewelery that also met a whole bunch of other guidelines. Also something thats pretty cool is the entire quorom of the twelve minus one, the entire first presidency, and the prophet have been at the MTC the entire weekend for the Mission President training seminar. I didn't see any of them except at the broadcast but...... THEY WERE HERE!!! We all felt the effects of it because we've all had to eat sack lunches for every meal for the past 4 days because they have the whole lunch room and area surrounding blocked off and guarded and stuff because of the mission president seminar there and all the prophet and apostles being there and stuff.
Anywho.... guess who I ran into this week??!!!! SIR ADAM LEE!!!!!!!! TOTALLY WAS THE BEST THING EVER. He was setting up chairs at the chapel over by wyview where we had a seminar. I took a picture with him. Someday i'll get around to sending it. Also this morning I ran into Durban's roommate in the temple, so that was really exciting. He was one of my best friends in the ward. I also ran into one of the physical science teachers haha, we were in the same session in the temple this morning. It's weird seeing someone you know is a black hole physicist in the temple haha.
Oh so did I mention last week that like every girl in my district is in love with our teachers? It's pretty funny. How attractive they are definitely keeps us awake in class haha. So, really, it's a good thing. One of the girls, hermana Tapia, took hermano ramsey's pen so that after her mission she will have to find him and return it to him. And probably trade it for a ring. Haha. I don't know though because Hermano Ramsey is roommates and best friends with one of my friends from my study abroad, so I got the ins ;). Even though... I'm not actually interested in him like that haha, but still haha.
OH ALSO!!! THANKS FOR ALL THE LETTERS AND PACKAGES MOM!!!!!!! I felt so popular. The Mexican candy is awesome. I also got a package of homemade cookies from Sydnee which was AWESOME!!! my district and i just finished them off last night at our "district award night". My award was "most passionate and most likely to find Atlantis" haha. 
So anyways, SPIRITUAL TIME!!!! THE GOSPEL IS TRUE!!!! Guys, I am so excited to change real people's lives starting in ONE DAY! The atonement is real. Don't ever doubt it. Missionary work is awesome. Invite everyone to come unto Christ. Be member missionaries. I'm not in the field yet, but I can already tell that that way is SO MUCH more effective in general than the whole knocking on doors thing. Oh and the whole "we can use facebook" thing? We thought there was going to be some big announcement about missionary work, but we already knew that. The missionaries in Salt Lake already use ipads and facebook and stuff. But anyways, I'm not sure if I said this last week, but seriously, what other organization besides a true one could get thousands of teenagers to pay thousands of dollars to go out and spend two years just trying to help other people be happy. Anyone who doubts the church and missionary work just needs to realize that. Because I have not met a single missionary yet who is not out here because of there love and desire to help other people. It is inspiring.
Oh and for my plack you can put, "To love another person is to see the face of God". Thanks for the Les Mis idea dad ;) haha.
Well, this is it from the MTC! Cheers my fam. Its been awesome. I've learned a ton. My district is awesome. Each one of them has something mind blowingly awesome to share with the world
Keep it real,
Hermana Bardsley