Monday, November 28, 2011

November 28, 2011.

Greetings to all!!!
I can hardly believe that this is my last e-mail as a missionary! It seems as if I was just home packing up my stuff to come here and now I get to pack to go home. There isn't much time to think about it now because we found out this morning that Cataraqui is closing and we have to get the apartment ready to be vacant for a while. Sister Braithwaite is opening Guelph with Sister Yi (my mission baby!). That will be way fun. There are eight new sisters coming so most of the sisters in the mission will have been out for a transfer or less! The Lord's work moves forward! I am going to Belleville tomorrow evening and working there all day Wednesday with Sister Brandley (MTC companion) before we drive to the mission home. I think we are staying at a hotel Wednesday and Thursday nights. There are many people going home with me so that will be fun to see all of them.
We met with Barbara last week and had a good lesson about the Atonement. She said she was coming to church and then didn't come, so we're not sure what happened yet. We need to call her. Now she will have to be passed off to the Elders who now cover both of the branches in Kingston. I also have bittersweet news about Danielle. The bitter part is that we are not teaching her anymore. BUT the Spirit confirmed to me during her lesson that it was not time for her to be baptized. She has an amazing family and they are so strong. She feels that because it is only her going to church right now, it is putting space between she and her family. At first, I almost cried and I thought to myself "It is always the right time because it's the right Church." But as I sat there, I eventually felt the confirmation of the Spirit saying that everything would be okay and that she is just preparing to accept the fulness of the Gospel at some future time. She still believes that this is the true Church and will continue reading the Book of Mormon. We are going to her house tomorrow and I am so excited. I am grateful for modern-day technology that will allow us to stay in contact with each other. I love her.
So it was a rough week as far as eating goes. We not only had meal appointments everyday, there were TWO evenings when we ended up having to eat two dinners. The first was on American Thanksgiving. We were supposed to go to the branch president's house at 12:30 pm, but then he changed it to 4:00 pm. We also had a dinner at 6:00 pm but we didn't want to cancel one, so we geared ourselves up, ate a small lunch, and tried to eat a small amount. THEN on Saturday, we were in the farthest away area from our house and called a member to ask if we could drop by. We showed up 15 minutes later and there was a full meal prepared. It was 5:00 pm and we had a meal appointment at 6:30 pm. Oh boy. I was a long drive home for Sister Braithwaite and me.
I finished the Book of Mormon and also gave a small talk in Sacrament this week. I love this Gospel. It is the only way to truly progress in this life. It is the REASON for life. I'm grateful for the opportunities that our loving Heavenly Father gives us to grow. He definitely puts us through the refiner's fire at times, but it is all worth it. I know that the priesthood has been restored to the earth. It is God's power on the earth today and when used in righteousness, it heals both body and spirit. I will end with a scripture that has great meaning for me at this time and will forever in my life:
3 Nephi 5:13
"Behold, I am a disciple of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. I have been called of Him to declare His word among His people, that they might have everlasting life."
My work and calling does not end here. We ALL have a great work to do, hallelujah for that. Have a fantastic week and I am SO EXCITED to see many of you soon! I LOVE YOU ALL!
Sister Barton
P.S. I did have pictures but then I accidentally deleted the draft that I put them on :( Sad. Guess you'll just have to see them next week!

Monday, November 21, 2011

November 21, 2011.

Hello Family and Friends!!!
I don't have time to make up a fancy title, so there you go :) This week was great and one of the highlights is that Danielle came to church for the first time!!!!! Yay! She came by herself and stayed for all three meetings. It just happened to be the annual primary program during Sacrament Meeting, so that was fun. And Sister Braithwaite and I taught the Relief Society lesson on the Millennium, which was fun. I think Danielle enjoyed it overall, but we did hit a little bump when on the phone last night she expressed to us some of her feelings about church. I think she was just expecting to feel the same way she does in our fun, spiritual lessons at her house. There were definitely moments like that at church, but I think it would have been nice to prepare her for the fact that church is just a little more of a serious environment. We will meet with her again on Friday and will hopefully be able to resolve her concerns. The most important thing is that she gains a testimony of the truthfulness of the restoration of the gospel through the Book of Mormon and prayer. If she knows that this truly is Christ's Church, then it won't matter what is said or what the people are like at church (although it is important that the members of the Church strive to stand as examples of Christ). So hopefully things are still looking up there! I sang in the Kingston Branch's Sacrament Meeting yesterday as well, so it was a very busy Sunday!
We have a meeting tonight with a potential investigator named Barbara who we met tracting a couple of weeks ago. She seems pretty promising, so I am looking forward to that.
Well, this may seem short, but time is short as well! I hope you all have a fantastic week and enjoy THANKSGIVING!!! Oh yeah, I almost forgot about that! Well, we got invited for dinner by the branch president since he is American, so that will be fun. I am so GRATEFUL for each of you in my life! I feel so blessed.
I love you!
Sister Barton

Monday, November 14, 2011

November 14, 2011.

Hello Hello!
It is surprisingly warm up here in moose-land (by the way, I have never seen a moose here) and has been all month. Hopefully I will be able to escape the snow, although I will probably go right to it in Utah. Which brings me to my first item of business :).....Although I would never want to stop letters coming, I just want to let everyone know that it's probably best not to write any more letters (not that I'm going anywhere...), but if you want to, you can still e-mail. I just don't want to chance anything getting left here.
This week was incredible. First of all, we had dinner appointments nearly every day, which is always great ;). On Friday, the Kingston and Cataraqui branches had a Santa's Workshop Relief Society night where we all made Christmas crafts. Sister Braithwaite and I had fun making the craft we signed up for and visiting with many of the members. It is exciting to start feeling the Christmas spirit. The best part of the week was Saturday night when we met with our investigator Danielle. We were able to bring the perfect member for Danielle to fellowship, which was an answer to many prayers. I was determined that no matter what happened in the lesson, we weren't leaving until we had extended an invitation to be baptized on a specific date. Although we left the lesson a little late, we committed Danielle to be baptized on January 8th!!!!!!!! She is so amazing and I learn so much from her. She knows that what we say is true because she feels the Spirit. She says how she loves that we really mean what we say. After leaving her house, my heart was so full I didn't even know what to do with myself. I felt the true, pure joy of missionary work. I actually had the burning feeling in my heart of the Spirit for so long that I couldn't sleep all night! I am grateful for the miracles that come about when we are simply doing the Lord's work in the Lord's way. Teaching the gospel of Jesus Christ has been one of the great lights of my life.
Our zone did a study this week from the Book of Mormon on the different tactics that Satan uses to lead others astray. It was really neat to read a different chapter each day (Alma 1, Alma 30, Alma 31, Alma 47, 2 Nephi 28) and to recognize the ways that Satan worked back in the ancient times and the way he continues to work today. While we do want to focus on what is good and light, it is important to recognize the ways of the adversary so when temptation comes into our lives, we will be able to overcome it. We have the power and we are strong enough with Christ by our side to fight off any evil that comes our way.
That's about it for today. We are in search of more souls to bring unto Christ! We've had some good conversations with people at their doors, and some not so good hehe. But we push on to spread forth the truth. It's a glorious battle we are all in, especially since we all know who will conquer :) Have a wonderful week!!!!!
I love you all!
Sister Barton :)

Monday, November 7, 2011

November 7, 2011.

Where has the time gone?
I mean that as in my e-mailing time and also the month! I'll quickly update on the highlights of the week. The best part of the week was getting a NEW investigator named Danielle!!!! We tracted into her two weeks ago and she is amazing! She is the happiest, most fun, funny person. She is very happily married and has two beautiful boys. She says that she loves Jesus and has felt the Spirit as we have been to her house twice to teach her. Her husband isn't interested right now. We have had two great lessons and have been able to teach by the Spirit. Not only have we developed a teaching relationship, but we have become great friends. I know we will continue to be friends even when I am gone (not that I am leaving or anything...). I think the main struggles right now will be getting her to come to church and setting her with a baptismal date. She wants to be baptized, but I don't know if she realizes that we want to set a date with her. We were going to at the end of our lesson yesterday, but right before we would have said it, her best friend came over and the timing just didn't work out. We are seeing Danielle again on Saturday. I love to see her embrace the gospel. She is already making many changes in the way that she prays and in reading the Book of Mormon. She has been very prepared in her life as she recognizes little things like how when she gets to bed too late, she feels that it's not good (Word of Wisdom), and many other ways that the Spirit has taught her. I love her.
We had many other lessons with members that went really well and I am getting to know the branch more. It is a wonderful branch and I wouldn't mind living somewhere like this. There are so many ways to serve those in and out of the Church. I bore my testimony yesterday in Sacrament meeting. (Side note: You wouldn't think I'd be nervous to do so after nearly 18 months, but my heart was pounding and I had to talk myself into it hahaha). I bore testimony of Relief Society and how I know that it truly was inspired of God and organized under the Priesthood. I have started the new Relief Society manual "Daughters in My Kingdom" this week and it has been amazing to read. I haven't had too much of an opportunity to be involved in Relief Society so far in my life, but I am SO excited to embrace it and do all that I can to serve. I also know that Visiting Teaching is an inspired program and I pray that I will never miss a month of visiting or reaching out to those I am blessed to serve.
That's about it for this week. It hasn't been too cold here and there are still beautiful fall leaves on many trees. I have been collecting some leaves and it has been a good reminder of how much Heavenly Father loves us to create such beauty for us to live in. I really know that He answers our smallest prayers and never forgets about them. This might be a silly story, but it illustrates this point. A couple weeks ago, while taking out my earrings, I dropped my earring back. These are real black pearl earrings that have a gold, very small back. I searched for over a week. I moved dressers, tried using a magnet, and used a flashlight and didn't have any luck. I prayed with faith that Heavenly Father would help me find it. Although my prayer wasn't answered right away, I somehow had this assurance that all would be well (I know, it doesn't seem like a big deal...just a little earring back, but it was important to me, and therefore to Father). While getting ready for church yesterday and not doing anything different than my normal routine, I stepped on something sharp and lifted my foot up to find my lost earring back. I knelt in prayer and tears filled my eyes as I thanked my Heavenly Father for caring about something so small and not forgetting my simple prayer to find it. He loves us. We can be so much more with Him in our lives!
Have a fantastic week and know that I love you all! Thank you for all that you do. Be strong and of good courage! :) We have reason to rejoice no matter what life brings!
Sister Barton :)

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

October 31, 2011.

Happy Halloween!!!!
What a great day to be a missionary hehe. The day was started off with a zone meeting in Belleville where Sister Braithwaite and I wore our cute witch costumes (of course we didn't wear the hats for the meeting!).

We have to be in by 6:00 tonight so we are busy, busy today. It doesn't seem that there is much to update from the week. We aren't really teaching Mike at the moment because he is struggling to quit smoking and to have the desire to quit. He seems to want to contact us when he is interested, which is what he told us, but at the same time he feels like we have ditched him. I don't know what he wants us to do. We still invited him to church, and although he declined, he did ask for a chapter he should read in the Book of Mormon. We'll see what happens with him in the next few weeks. We had a great lesson with a member about the Holy Ghost. I am so grateful for the Holy Ghost and the guidance Heavenly Father gives me each day. Often times I think He would give me more direction if I would but seek it from Him. I forget to do that sometimes!
Much of our week was consumed in getting ready for the branch Halloween party. A lot of the load was put on one member in the branch, so we gave her assistance in brainstorming ideas. Sister Braithwaite and I made a game called "Freaky Fishing" where kids could "fish" for candy and odd items. We decorated a cute board and put Halloween pictures on it (pumpkins, Frankensteins, witch hats, ghosts, dry leaves), found some sticks outside (we're missionaries...we can't buy real fishing poles!), tied strings and clothes pegs to them, and the kids "fished" away. It was fun. I actually spent much of the night in the haunted house we made out of the young women's room. It was really cute. I was a witch and I think I was a little too scary for some of the kids because they wouldn't feel the "guts" and "eyeballs" on the table next to me (gummy worms in a little water and grapes with the skins peeled off). It was fun.
Church was great yesterday. I sang in Sacrament Meeting and felt so good after. Heavenly Father has blessed EACH of us with talents, whether we think they are great or small, and the more we work at improving them, the more help we receive. I am so grateful for good music, which has changed my whole life. I don't know who or where I would be without it. We taught Gospel Principles and did a lesson on Missionary Work. We didn't prepare because we were told we were teaching when we got to church, but the lesson went really well. We stood up and decided we would just read the manual together, but it was amazing how the Spirit worked through us to guide the lesson with little use of the manual. I hope I can continue to teach throughout my life.
I love you all and hope you are having a great week. You mean so much to me. Keep being the best "you's" you can be :)
Sister Barton

Monday, October 24, 2011

October 24, 2011.

Happy Autumn!
I am finally in an area where it feels like fall around me. It is beautiful here in Kingston. Now that I know more about my area, I can write it. I am in the city of Kingston, but I serve in the Cataraqui (pronounced Cat-uh-rock-way) Branch, thus my area is called Cataraqui. My companion is Sister Braithwaite, who is originally from England but has been in Vancouver, BC since 2005.

One of the highlights of the week was when I recorded our voicemail in an english accent, which I can do because everyone else will just think it's Sister Braithwaite. It was fun :) Oh, random story. Sister Braithwaite and I were sitting at our desks writing in our journals last week and she asked me where my dad is from. I said that he grew up in Seattle, WA. Then she asked me if my cousin is Stephanie Potter!?!?!?! I was in complete shock on how she even knew that!!! Then she proceeded to tell me that when my Grandma and Grandpa Barton lived in England, she was in the same ward as them in Lincolnshire! Then when the Potters went to visit, Sister Braithwaite hung out with Stephanie and they are friends on Facebook hahaha. What a small world! So that is a fun connection.
We are teaching a young single adult named Mike and he has a baptismal date for November 20th. The main concern right now is that he is trying to quit smoking. He has done it before for two years, but since he has been smoking since he was very young, it is a hard thing to do on his own. So he is going to start going to the addictions recovery class at the church. I've only taught him once, so there aren't many details I know about him. One of his best friends was baptized months ago and Mike attended the baptism.

The district (as in stake, not missionary district) had a hoedown on Saturday night and it was so much fun. The whole gym was decorated really cute and we had good food. Then it was fun to watch many of the members and some non-members square dance. Most of the people in attendance dressed up. Sister Braithwaite did the best we could with costumes and wore matching sort-of-plaid scarves :)

Neal A. Maxwell said: "Consecration is the only surrender that is also a victory." I know that this is true. The Lord doesn't even ask us to live the Law of Consecration at this time, but there is still much required of us. We must put our lives in the eternal perspective in order to realize that true treasures can only be attained by giving our all to God. His blessings are sure if we will but follow Him and His Son, Jesus Christ. I am so grateful that He has shown us the way, the sure way. It is a blessing to have His guidance in my life. May we each strive to give more of ourselves and sacrifice what must be sacrificed in order to be a disciple of the Lord. Have an amazing week!!!! Thank you for all that you do.

Love you all!
Sister Barton :)

Monday, October 17, 2011

October 17, 2011.

It's a season of change!!!
Well, it looks like I didn't escape transfer calls last night. Sister Hodgkin and I suspected a call coming, but of course we were in denial. We were on the phone with some Elders when we saw "President Brower" was calling. I got really excited, then realized that we just hadn't changed the name in the phone hahaha. It was of course President Scott and he was calling to inform us that Sister Hodgkin would be staying in Toronto and training, while I am going to Cateroqui (Kingston)!!!! I hear it's one of the most beautiful areas of the mission and is the farthest east area. My new companion will be Sister Braithwaite from England. She has been on her mission for almost a year now and I have met her a few times. I am sad to leave Toronto and Sister Hodgkin, but I know that Cateroqui is where I am supposed to be for this final season.
I realilzed that one of our main purposes this transfer was to be able to help less-active members come back to the church. I experienced the sweet joy of watching a sister come this Sunday who had not been in years. We visited her for the first time on Wednesday and came to find out that she even served a mission years ago! She had been less active for years, although she never doubted the church. She just did not have the desire to come. We had a very spiritual lesson and I was either crying or I was just so sick that amidst my yawns and tissues, tears kept coming out. Anyway, it was so amazing to see this sweet sister come back to the true church. She was glowing. The sisters are going to visit her this week as well.

Saturday was one of the craziest days of my mission!!!!! I won't tell all of the details until I return home, but it was definitely an experience. Haha. Sister Hodgkin and I went to meet a member referral for the first time at her house. Well, we never met her because of the events that occured, the Spirit strongly telling us to leave, and then watching an arrest. (Did I mention I'm glad to go back to the country?:D) We were pretty shaken up after the whole experience (sorry there aren't many details and it seems'll just have to wait until later), which made it easier to notice all of the other funny little things of the day. The feelings of warning from the Holy Ghost are PROOF that there is a God. No big bang or science could create such a feeling right at the heart. Some call it intuition, but when we humble ourselves, we will realize that it is not our own power that gives comfort, warnings, and direction. All of that comes from the power that created the very universe, which power is of God Himself. I will be forever grateful for the promptings of the Spirit and for the knowledge that Heavenly Father knows where His sister missionaries are and will make sure to protect them!

It's going to be a great week. Thank you all so much for all of your support and love! I love you all very much and pray that you see the joy in each day :)
Sister Barton :)