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Monday, February 24, 2014

Oh my goodness!!!!!

[The beginning of Marie's email this week is out of context if you don't know that her cousin, Aaron Bardsley, just received his mission call to her mission and will be a spanish-speaking missionary like her.  Marie and Aaron have only met when they were quite young, and do not know each other now.  That is why she says she is sure she will get to meet him.  So, for 6 months the mission will have an Hermana Bardsley and an Elder Bardsley!]

Okay, first of all! That is sooooooooooo cool about Aaron! Tell him
congratulations from me and that he is coming to the coolest mission
ever! Since he is a Spanish speaking missionary I will almost
certainly get to meet him! Tell him that he is coming to the mission
that has no cars, has iPads, and the coolest mission president ever! Well
he will only get to be with president becerra for a month, but it will
be the president he comes in with. And president becerra is the
coooolest guy ever! I want to be him when I grow up! Hey if you guys
could get me his email I'd love to email him!

Man that is so exciting. He is definitely going to hear some very
strange things about me when people find out he is my cousin. You
could say I have a reputation for extremely obnoxious jokes that is
mission wide. He is probably not going to want to be my cousin haha.
Now at meetings if there is a spare moment president makes me get up
and tell a joke. At zone conference this last week I told the whale
joke. Pretty sure the whole mission hates me by now haha!

As for this week, it was pretty intense. The week or so before someone
gets baptized is always insane. With Aurora it started about two weeks
before she was to get baptized. I'm not going to go into a ton of
detail, sufficeth to say, priesthood blessings are amazing. After her
blessing she was like "si se puede" and decided that she thinks she
can make it and now she is on track to get baptized this Sunday again.
But she needs a lot of prayers. The devil is like clawing from every
angle. On top of everything else that has happened she is sick with
the flu and couldn't even come to church because she had a fever. It
has been crazy and we have just had to be constantly on our guard.

Well, I don't know what else to say. Pretty much the rest of our time
has been solely devoted to uploading our entire area books into our
iPads. Which is extraordinarily time consuming. But the church is
true. Baptism is that first covenant we make with god and the one that
allows him to pour out a ton of blessings upon us and to be free of
our past lives. It is super cool that we get to renew that every week
as we take the sacrament.

Con amor,
Hermana bardsley

Thursday, February 20, 2014

iPads. Enough said.

Not to make you all jealous, but I am sitting here in the church
talking into my iPad as it types what I'm saying to it. That's right,
we got iPads. It is kind of awkward though, because my companion is
also sitting across the room talking into Siri doing her emails. This
is crazy though, what missionary work is becoming. It is something
else. I never imagined when I left for my mission that I would be
using more technology on my mission than I was before I left. I am
still not sure how I feel about it. Here in the Arcadia mission we
have been one of the pilot missions for losing all their cars, the new
teaching method, Facebook, and iPads. I doubt that there is any other
mission in the world that is a pilot group group for so many things at
one time. The general authorities really trust President Becerra and
us. The hastening of the work is a crazy thing. This really is the
last big bang before the end and god is pulling out all his weapons,
but of course, so is satan.

This week was really awesome though! Aurora is on page hundred and 80
of the Book of Mormon; she just never stops reading it. It is amazing
to see the spirit work through her as she reads so much of the Book of
Mormon. And at our last lesson with her we thought we should teach
tithing because that is something a lot of people have a problem with,
especially a lot of these really poor people who do not make even
enough money to live on. So we taught tithing, and she was like "oh
that makes perfect sense! The first thing I do when I get my paycheck
is to set apart a little bit of money that I send my dad in Mexico. He
always tells me not to but I know that because I do that I always have
at least beans and tortillas to eat! And so I figure tithing is the
same if I always set apart that little bit of money I will always have
at least something to eat." People amaze me so much. It is crazy that
having never been religious she understands that concept so well. It
is obviously the spirit teaching her. But then at the end of the
lesson we decided to show her the Bible video of Jesus Christ getting
baptized. As she watched we could tell that it was impacting her a
lot. Then at the end she said she had felt something she had never
felt before, so we told her that will be her in the water in two weeks
getting dunked,  well that wasn't our exact words, but you get the
point, and she got really excited. I think that will be what will help
her to give up the last few things she needs to in order to get
baptized. Those Bible videos are so cool. Oh, and we showed it on our
iPads, of course.

Also! I don't know if you remember me talking about the family we were
teaching before, the Zunigas. Well we had dropped them about two
months ago, but deep down in my heart I always knew one day that they
would accept the gospel, they just needed a little time. Well, me and
Hermana Stohlton had been talking about going back there, but we
weren't sure when would be the right time. We tried a couple times a
couple weeks ago and they weren't home, so we figured it must not be
the right time yet. But one day when we were biking by where they live
I just kind of said a prayer to myself and said to god that the day
that we happen to run into them outside, since we bike past their house
 almost every day, I would know that it was the right time to go
back and teach them. So as we are biking past and we had biked a
little farther. About five minutes away both me and Hermana Stohlton
got the feeling like we should go visit a potential investigator who
lives a couple streets back. So we turned around and went back to the
street. Then when we were on the street there are a ton of people
outside, so we decided to get off our bikes and walk. Right after we
did that, we ran into the Zuniga family walking home from school. So
we set up a return appointment with them, and ever since then they
have been awesome. They are keeping all of their commitments. They are
reading from the Book of Mormon. And it looks like now they are ready
to progress! We are super excited because we were super sad when we
had to drop that family but it felt like the right thing to do at the
time. Some people need a slight separation from the missionaries to
realize the difference in their lives. We were finally able to teach
them the plan of salvation, which is my favorite lesson to teach to
families. It is amazing how much this plan really just makes sense. I
don't know why other people haven't come up with it. I guess that's
why we need prophets, but it seems like if people were just smart they
could come up with it. But it was so cool to see that understanding
enter their eyes. It is so new to people who have been Catholic or
really anything else their whole life.

And mom and dad, congratulations on your wedding anniversary. Although
both of your emails were slightly on the sappy side this week, and we
all know how I feel about sap. But it's okay I will forgive you. And
do you really think I am going to remember your advice about picking
an eternal companion? Come on, I am doing everything in my power to
forget everything about anything to do with finding eternal companion
right now. Boys have cooties. I am going to marry an iPad. Just
kidding, the truth is I don't really like them that much. It has been
quite an adjustment for me and my companion using these iPads. We were
probably the least excited missionaries in the mission to get iPads.

Well, have a grand old day. Share the gospel because it is true. With much love,
Hermana bardsley

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Chino week 15!!!!!!

So this week was AWESOMEEE!!!! As usual. But Aurora is progressing like CRAZY. On Thursday she told us that she wants to have the chance to read the whole Book of Mormon before she gets baptized (saying to us that she wants to wait a little longer to get baptized). But yea were just like... "yea?! That's awesome. So you are going to read the whole rest of the Book of Mormon in 26 days then since you are getting baptized on March 2! Wow Aurora that's going to be so cool! You better get reading!" She was a little taken aback because she was expecting us to push her baptismal date back haha. But we didn't. And that was Thursday. When we came back on Saturday she had read 30 pages between Thursday and Saturday. She's now on p. 100. It is funny because she is also a smoker, but she is not allowed to smoke in the house that she lives in. So when she wants to take a smoke she has to get up and out of the house. And she said that she is so into the Book of Mormon that now she is smoking less because she is always faced with the choice of putting down the book to go smoke, or reading more, and she never wants to put down the book so she just stays inside and keeps reading. It is funny. Because she's not quitting because we told her too, or even really because the spirit was making her feel guilty for smoking, but because she can't put down the Book of Mormon to leave the house to smoke haha.
Another cool thing, our borracho came to church! Haha! Yep! Juan came to church yesterday. Everyone loved him. Him and his colored Book of Mormon. It's crazy but he is actually starting to progress. He's still super borracho, but he is a little more mentally with us and I think it is because he has actually been reading/coloring a little bit of the Book of Mormon everyday. And his prayers have really progressed too. He always asks for help to stop in his prayers. He really wants to stop, and slowly all our effort with him is starting to take effect and he is getting that help from God.
Also I want to give a shout out to my home slice Sydnee Stevenson. She sent me a radical package to celebrate..... MY HALF BIRTHDAY. Totally made my week. It was full of all sorts of half birthday goodies. (Pretty much birthday stuff, only on every thing where it said "Happy Birthday" including the wrapping paper she had written in sharpie 1/2). I have some pretty knarly friends. The card also had a printed out picture of Jean Valjean to which she had glued a party hat and one of those noise maker things that you blow. She knows me well. The package also said on the outside that it was from Jean Valjean. The zone leaders were like.... "um... you got a package from Jean Valjean?" All the les mis fans present were super jealous. I knew, of course, right away who that was haha. Here's my les mis thought for the day (I know I am so sacreligious) "Take my hand, I'll lead you to salvation, take my love, for love is everlasting, but remember the truth which once was spokeeeen, to love another person is to see the face of God!!!! ........ dooo you hear the people sing, lost in the valley of the night, it is the music of a people who are climbing towards the light. For the wretched of the earth, there is a flame that never dies, even the darkest night will end and the sun will rise. We will live again in freedom in the garden of the Lord, we will walk behind the ploughshare we will put away the sword. The chain will be broken and all men will receive their reward." Pretty much, I'm thinking they should make an addendum to the Book of Mormon where they stick the les mis lyrics in there. But yea, it pretty much encompasses our entire purpose as missionaries right there in that chunk. "Taking peoples hands" and guiding them to the atonement so that their "chains can be broken"
But yea! Things are awesome here. The gospel is true. If it can change Juan it can change anyone. The atonement of Jesus Christ is the great equalizer. It doesn't matter where someone's at, it just matters where they want to go, and if they really put in the effort, because Christ payed for all of our sins and pains and sicknesses, whoever can become just as good and whole a person as someone who has been a member their whole life. The atonement puts us all on an equal playing field in this life, and THAT is pretty cool.
Hermana Bardsley

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Chino Week 14. Touchdowns and rain.

So, as you guessed mom, I don't really care about the superbowl, at all. However, it has been a nice technique to get into houses in the last 24 hours. I even got some free carne asada out of being from Seattle. So, I'm not complaining. People think that I'm crazy though that I'm from Seattle and I didn't watch the superbowl. It has been really weird these past few days though to see a whole bunch of people wearing Seahawks and Seattle stuff.
It also rained last night. Which I attribute to the Seahawks winning the superbowl. Although more likely it was because all of the members in Southern California had been asked to fast for rain yesterday because this area is in a super drought. And it isn't even summer yet. Apparently I hear in some areas they are just going to cut off water for periods. But yea, it rained. And it was pretty cool because it was like half hour after we finished our fast that all these clouds just randomly rolled in and it started raining. Which probably also roughly coincided with right around when the Seahawks won the superbowl. Either way it increases my faith in something good, Seattle, or the gospel, the two best things the world has to offer. I have yet to learn humility on my mission. I still think I am from the best place on earth, and by extension was born with a large portion of awesomeness.
So Juan, our borracho, is doing.... well... pretty similar haha. But since you asked, Daddy-oh, I'll give an update. He is just never even mentally there enough that he can even absorb a message. But we still go a couple times a week largely because the entire neighborhood loves us for visiting him. But it is pretty funny, we gave him a book of mormon and he saw our book of mormons and that they were like highlighted and marked and stuff. And so the next time we came back he had colored his book of mormon. But actually, like, colored it. Like every other line was a random color, and he had colored whole pages like that. He brought his Book of Mormon out with a box of crayons. It was hilarious. We nearly died trying to contain our laughter. But hey, that's progress at least! At least he is opening the Book of Mormon! Even if it is just to color it! I think he reads what he colors too. I think that's kind of how he keeps track of what he reads. He colors a section and then reads it haha. Poor guy. He just is so far gone it is like dealing with a 5 year old.
I don't know if I told you guys about this either when skyping or in a previous email, but they created this rule in the mission in December, I believe, that as a companionship we have to have at least 10 quality contacts a day (which means you have to testify and invite in the contact), and the first one has to be within the first ten minutes of leaving our apartment. Well, the second part of that one is super inspired, because it means that we end up teaching a lot of our neighbors. Which is just, super convenient. We can just look to see if their cars are home to know if we can go over. It is great. But yea we are teaching this family that just lives right downstairs from us right now and they are super cool. There are just some homes where the spirit can come super strong. I think it's based on their own dedication. Normally when we come into a home we have to tell the family to turn off the tv, and then we go and get all the kids out of their rooms to listen. So with this family we had set up an appointment when we met him a couple days before, and normally like with street contacts they don't even remember that they had set up an appointment. And so that's what we were expecting, but then we got there and as soon as we walked in they turned off the tv and the dad went and got all the kids and he had told them all before hand that we were coming and they all sat down at the table and the spirit was just SOOOO strong. In the ending prayer when he asked if these things were true and then we did the new teaching method thing where we just sat there for a minute or so in silence the spirit was like SUFFOCATING. In a good way of course. It was more like everyones hearts were about to explode. It's just soo true that as much effort as you put into something you get out of it and that's how it is with the gospel. This family had made the effort to be prepared to hear God's word and because of that the spirit could testify like crazy.
Well, Aurora is still doing well. She is still reading the Book of Mormon and going to church. Which is awesome. She will almost certainly get baptized on March 2 which is her baptismal date.
That's all, well, not really, but I am bored of typing. cheers my friends.
Hermana Bardsley