Monday, August 30, 2010

August 30, 2010.

Happy Fall (almost) Everyone!
The leaves have started to change a little bit here and I hope I am still in North Bay to see all of the beautiful colors. The hills are rolling with trees and I can only imagine how amazing it will be. There are only two weeks left of this transfer and it seems so strange that I will most likely get a new companion in a couple weeks. I will be sad to leave Sis. Lavatai, but I'm excited to learn from a new sister missionary. We all have so much to teach each other.
I had District Meeting on Tuesday and it was great. The AP's (Assistants to the President) showed up and it was fun to work with them. We talked about the importance of Sacrament Meeting and the invitation to church for our investigators. We ate at King's Buffet afterward and it was delicious chinese food. That night we met with Jenn and taught her everything she needed to know before leaving for school in Ottawa. She will be back in three weeks for her BAPTISM on September 25!!!! I am SO happy for her. She has an amazing testimony and the sweetest spirit. She is beautiful. I really hope I don't get transferred because I want to be at her baptism. We taught her about many of the commandments. I am so grateful for the commandments. Helaman 14:30-31 show us that obedience makes us free!!! Verse 31 says: "[Christ] hath given unto you that ye might know good from evil, and He hath given unto you that ye might choose life or death; and ye can do good, and be restored unto that which is good, or have that which is good restored unto you; or ye can do evil, and have that which is evil restored unto you." YOU determine your destiny. If you want to have eternal joy and live with Heavenly Father again, then do what He asks and obey the commandments. They are a guide to get back to our eternal home.
At District Meeting, each companionship promised to reach the goal of teaching 20 lessons during the week. Our zone has really been struggling with this lately. By the time Friday arrived, Sis. Lavatai and I realized that we needed a miracle day in order to reach this goal. We prayed that we could teach six lessons that day, including members, our investigators, and people we met on the street. The Lord blessed us SO much and we were able to teach SEVEN lessons! It truly was a miracle. We taught four lessons to people we had never met before and were able to share our testimonies with them. I want you all to know that Father is mindful of us! He does answer our prayers, even if it is not in the way that we expect. I love prayers!
Sister Lavatai and I taught the combined Priesthood/Relief Society lesson in church yesterday. It was all about missionary work and how it is a commandment for everyone to do it. A general authority once said that "Members are full-time finders and missionaries are full-time teachers." We do not do missionary work to increase the numbers in the church. We do it because it is the only way for those individuals to receive salvation. We know the truth and it is our duty to share it! How grateful I am to be part of God's kingdom on the earth today. I KNOW it is true. I wouldn't be here for 18 LONG months if I didn't know that. If you do not know or feel you are lost, read the Book of Mormon with a sincere heart. It leads everyone to Christ as our Savior. It teaches about the Atonement, which is the only reason we are even here on this earth. Pray each day to know your purpose and to feel of God's love for you. I can promise you that as you do this, you will have the Spirit poured out upon you and will receive the blessings that God so desires to give you.
I love you all. Thank you for your influence on me. You are all amazing! Have a wonderful week!!!
Sister Barton :)
P.S. Next week is Labor Day on Monday, so I will most likely be e-mailing on Tuesday :)

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

August 23, 2010.

Dearest Friends and Family :)
Aloha! How is everyone? I hope you are all doing really well and enjoying life. It is so fun to hear from family and others what has been going on this summer. I never thought my love for each of you would increase so much as we have been apart. My week was much different than any other, mostly because Sister Lavatai and I have been sick for much of it. She got sick starting Thursday night and all day Friday, so I just read the Ensign, scriptures, rested, etc. Then Saturday I got super sick. I tried to tell myself I could keep tracting and push myself, but eventually, I told Sister Lavatai I needed to go home. That began over two hours of extreme stomach pain in bed. At one point I wanted to go to the hospital, but I just prayed and prayed. The Jenner family, who live below me, came up around 6:30 pm and Brother Jenner gave me a blessing. The power of prayer is real and the priesthood power truly is the power of God. I began to feel a little bit better after the blessing and lots of prayers. It was just a stomach bug of some kind. Sister Lavatai and I were both able to go to church yesterday, but the rest of the day we remained at home, resting (except for teaching Nancy). It's funny how I can still feel tired after a weekend full of sleeping! It will be nice to begin doing missionary work again!!!
We are still working with Jenn to set a solid baptismal date. It will be sometime next month, probably the 25th, but it is yet to be determined. Nancy's date will probably have to be pushed back to sometime in October because she hasn't been able to come to church yet. Sister Lavatai and I met a lady named Kelly on Wednesday. We went back to her house Thursday to teach her. We were about halfway through with teaching her about the Restoration of the Gospel when she said that her mom had her baptized into the "mormon church" when she was little. It was so random. She said that she has no recollection of her baptism and just found out about it two years ago (she is now a mom with four kids). She doesn't know anything about the Church and doesn't even really know the nature of God. Sister Lavatai and I are going to try and find her records and continue teaching her. It's a strange situation. She has a daughter that is 12 and really into religions. She is trying to find one likes. Lucky her...we know the one! Each day I am here, I am more and more grateful for the knowledge that in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we have the truth! It is God's kingdom on the earth again and we have evidence through the Book of Mormon. Anyone who reads it and sincerely prays about it with real intent (meaning they intend to act on the answer they receive), will know that it is true. It is the ONLY way! The plan of salvation is perfect.
Well, sorry if my e-mails are scattered and random haha. That's just how it goes with a time limit. I hope you are all enjoying life and showing gratitude for the beautiful earth we live on! I love you all and am excited to hear from you and talk to you soon!!!
Sister Barton

Monday, August 16, 2010

August 16, 2010.

Weekend of Miracles!!!!

Hello friends and family! How are you all? I miss you very much and hope you are all doing well. Just like in my last e-mail where I said there were many miracles on Thursday, there were just as many the rest of the weekend. Friday afternoon, Sister Lavatai and I taught our investigator Nancy. We commited her to baptism on September 4th!!!!!! It was HUGE! She is so sincere in her prayers and has a deep desire to grow closer to God. We taught her on Saturday about the Law of Chastity (she lives with her boyfriend of 11 years) and she commited to live it. She was also very excited to come to church. Well, yesterday morning it was quite stressful because almost everyone in the ward was out of town, so it was hard to find someone to pick Nancy up. We finally found a ward member who could go get her, and the girl who opened the door said that Nancy wasn't feeling well. By the way she was described, the girl at the door WAS Nancy. When people say on a mission you have your highest high's and lowest low's, this is what they mean. It was heart breaking that Nancy didn't come to church and didn't answer our phone calls. Sister Lavatai and I are teaching her tonight, so we will see what happened. Maybe she just got scared, especially since someone she didn't know was picking her up.

Saturday night I met someone tracting and had an amazing experience. Sister Lavatai and I had gone to drop by some potential investigators' homes after dinner but nobody answered. We started tracting a street and met a man named Mike. He was in his driveway. At first it seemed quite contentious because he didn't understand why we need the Book of Mormon if we have the Bible. We began to teach about priesthood authority and the restoration of many plain and precious truths that were lost after Christ died. This was probably one of the most memorable experiences so far on my mission, because I could see the change in Mike as we talked. His whole countenance changed. I know that he started to feel the Spirit and know that what we were saying was true. He asked questions and we had answers. He started to have a smile on his face that wouldn't go away. We gave him a Book of Mormon, the Restoration pamphlet, said a prayer with him, and set up an appointment for this week. My chest burned for about an hour after our visit. To see and feel someone's heart soften right before me was a miracle. It was a feeling I will never forget.

Yesterday Sister Lavatai and I drove out to Jenn's family cottage to have dinner with her and her mom. That is something unique to Ontario, or maybe Canada, I'm not sure. People have cottages and just stop working for a portion of the summer to go on vacation. Jenn's cottage is on the shore of Trout Lake. It was amazing! They have a dock with boats and canoes. Her grandparents' house is just up the hill next to her cottage. We ate a yummy dinner and then Sister Lavatai and I were able to sing a couple of hymns to Jenn, her mom, and her grandparents. It was great to spend some time in nature and be around all of God's beautiful creations. When we were saying goodbye to Jenn's grandparents, we hugged her grandma. Her grandpa hugged Sister Lavatai, then turned to me and told me he was giving me a "Good ol' Presbyterian hug." We were laughing so hard. How could we say no? Before we would have had the chance to tell him we can only shake his hand, he had us in a hug. It was really funny!

It's only Monday and I already have a busy week ahead! Being a missionary is exhausting! I think I am still tired from traveling back from Leadership Conference and getting back late. Feeling the Spirit is just tiring sometimes haha. But it is worth it. I am so grateful that I know my Father in Heaven loves me. He loves ALL of you and wants you to communicate to Him. I pray that you will all have a great week and know how much I love you!!!

Sister Barton

Friday, August 13, 2010

August 13, 2010.

My dearest friends and family!!!!
What a wonderful week and a half it has been since I last wrote. My mission is changed. My life is changed! Okay, I will give a few updates or stories I have. One super funny thing happened on August 4th. Sister Lavatai and I were walking down the street, and a man stopped his van in the middle of the street, turned his emergency lights on, and got out of his van. I thought maybe he was coming to tell us we dropped something. He came storming over and said "What Gospel are you preaching?" and Sister Lavatai said "The Gospel of Jesus Christ" with a big smile on her face. Then he said "You're not handing out Book of Mormons are you?" and I smiled big and said, holding mine up "Yeah, we have one right here :)" Then he said "The Book of Mormon is garbage!" Sister Lavatai told him he didn't need to get out of his van to tell us that and he said that he did and that we should be reading the Bible. He stormed back off to his car and I said "We do read the Bible :)" It was SO funny! We have been laughing about it for days. It just shows you that this is the true church. If it wasn't, Satan wouldn't work so hard to destroy it (he's never going to win, so I don't even know why he tries!). But just the fact that a guy would stop in the middle of the road to tell us that was unbelievable.
There were two days this week when it started pouring rain in the middle of tracting. I had an umbrella both times, but it didn't really help. I felt like Heavenly Father answered my prayer to help me be positive because normally, if I got soaking wet and my shoes were wet, I would not be happy. But honestly, I was laughing and smiling and I thought it was really fun. I hope I can be like that all the time when I encounter difficult situations.
Pierrette was BAPTIZED!!!!!!!!! Wahoo!!!! It was so wonderful. She was baptized on Saturday and received the Holy Ghost on Sunday. Sister Lavatai and I spent Saturday morning cleaning the font. There were huge spiders all over it. I took a video of us killing them with a broom, and I was laughing my head off. Only on a mission...:) It was great. The baptismal service went really well and Pierrette's two non-member sons came! It was so good to have them there. The confirmation on Sunday was so touching. Pierrette and I were both crying. The Spirit was strong. She is so happy. I was reminded of the importance of the Holy Ghost and how much joy He brings. I could not live my life without Him, not even for a day.
Leadership Conference was AMAZING!!!! It was lifechanging! Sister Lavatai and I drove down to Brampton (about 4 hours away) on Sunday night and came home Wednesday night. We got to stay with the Brampton sisters, Sister Olsen (INCREDIBLE missionary!) and Sister Brandley (one of my MTC companions). It was so great to be with them. I have a testimony that President Brower is called of God. When he enters the room, I am flooded with the Spirit. He is pure and the most charitable man I know. I will never forget his kindness and example to me. He puts everyone else before himself and has so much respect for Sister Brower. This conference was the first leadership conference ever. It is a new revelation from the First Presidency to hold the conference and it truly was inspired. We were taught from on High for three days and each night we went out in Brampton to apply the things that we learned. My companion was Sister Olsen each night. Monday night there was a baptism! I was able to play "Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing" on a VIOLIN! It was incredible to play the violin. It has been so long, and to have the opportunity to play it for a baptism is something I will never forget. Tuesday night was a miracle night. I tried to follow and learn from Sister Olsen and I learned so much! We taught three people on the street, gave them Book of Mormons, and commited two of them to baptism. The Spirit was our constant companion. One of the main points we learned from leadership conference is that our role is to Find, Teach, and Baptize!!!! Baptism by the proper priesthood authority is the gate into Heaven and back to live with our Heavenly Father forever. We MUST have the ordinance or we cannot have eternal joy. Aside from learning how to be a much better missionary, I had a lot of fun at the conference meeting missionaries. It was all of the District Leaders, Zone Leaders, Trainers, and 10 of the 12 sisters. I made a lot of friends and I learned something from each person. Leadership conference will be every two months and President is still debating on whether or not to invite the sisters to come every time. I definitely think we will be going to the next one.
Yesterday was my first day working back in North Bay after the conference and it was also a day full of miracles. We had an appointment with a member and she wasn't home, so we tracted a street by her house. On the last door we knocked on, we were able to teach a girl named Ally about the Restoration, give her a Book of Mormon, and invite her to church. She had so much faith and I am excited to teach her again. Sister Lavatai and I also experience miracles as we taught our investigator Jenn. Jenn had told us last week that she will be baptized before the end of the year. Sister Lavatai and I prayed about her being baptized on September 11th and told her we knew she would be ready. We will fast for her this Sunday. Sister Lavatai bore a powerful testimony that as Jenn puts her trust in the Lord, He will work everything out. Jenn wants the support of her mother the most, which is wonderful. We know that as she puts her trust in the Lord and takes this step of faith, she will receive countless blessings and the strength she needs. I am SO excited for her to pray about the date. More to come on that later! We are excited to teach Nancy again today and will be committing her to baptism. Heavenly Father is preparing His children to hear the Word and to come unto Him and I will be forever grateful that I can be a part of it. I know that as you give your burdens to the Lord, He will carry you. D&C 84:88 ...Angels will surround you to bear you up!!!! I know that is true. Heavenly Father loves each one of you and desires to bless you as you come unto Him. I love you all as well and am grateful for your prayers and your examples to me. Have an amazing week and look for missionary opportunities!!!
Sister Barton

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

August 3, 2010.

Happy August!!!!

How is everyone? I finished my first transfer in the mission field!!! Wahoo :) Sister Lavatai and I were ecstatic when we didn't get a transfer call! We will both be staying in North Bay for another transfer! Okay, here are a few highlights of my week :)

I spent last P-day sewing a prayer pillow. My knees got callouses on them from praying on our hardwood floors and everytime I prayed I was in pain. I decided to put my crafty talents to work and team up with Sister Jenner Jr. to sew a pillow that I could kneel on when I pray. Brother Jenner makes fun of me almost everyday for it, but I don't care. I love to pray and I love my pillow! The best part about it is that I can take the cover off of it and wash it! :)

I had "supper" at a member's house out in the middle of nowhere. Before we ate, Sister Lavatai and I got bowls and went out to the long driveway to pick wild raspberries. They were so tiny and delicious! It was super fun, except for the part where the electric fence shocked me and I almost threw my whole bowl of raspberries in the air! On the way home, we saw something in the middle of the road, so we slowed down. As we approached it, we thought "Oh, it's a Beaver." To our surprise, we looked closer to find it was a HUGE turtle walking across the dirt road! I swear it was an endangered dinosaur turtle or something. It had a huge long tail with spikes on it like a stegosaurus. It was amazing. We didn't have our cameras (we learned our lesson to always have our cameras) so we tried to take a picture with our phone. It was so great.

We got FOUR new investigators this week!!! We met Nancy and Marshall on the street and made an appointment. We taught them and they were very receptive. Marshall says he's a Jehovah's Witness, but I don't think he is. Maybe he grew up that way, but doesn't practice or something. I grew a love for Nancy the moment I met her. I'm excited to go back and teach them about the Plan of Salvation. Later in the week we contacted Marley and Charles. We taught them a couple days later and it was great. They are 17 and 18 years old and were excited to read the Book of Mormon. Pierrette gets baptized on SATURDAY!!!!! I am SO happy for her. Sister Lavatai and I taught her last night about the gift of the Holy Ghost, which she will receive on Sunday. She is an amazing woman and I can't wait to e-mail all about her baptism next week.

I had an experience that was much different than any I've had before. Sister L. and I were walking down the street and a man yelled "Sisters!" We turned around and he walked across the street to us. His name was Sam. We could tell right away that his main purpose was to argue with us. We started talking about certain doctrines and he told us he wouldn't listen if we used the Book of Mormon. His theories were confusing and he didn't understand the Bible, even though he thought he knew it. He didn't believe we were spirits before we came to this earth and he thought it was blasphemy that we can become like God. He called the fall of Adam and Eve a "fail." We tried to teach plainly and testified. At one point, I testified for over a minute straight. I could feel the Spirit speaking through me. I was given the words to say and they came out with much power. I testified that our Heavenly Father loves us and we can most certianly become as He is. That is the purpose of this life! The fall of Adam and Eve was necessary and without it, we would not be here and there would be no progression. This was an experience where Satan tried to shake my testimony, and instead, I found it only became stronger. When we are built upon the Rock, who is Christ, we have a sure foundation. We cannot and will not fall! I know that as we come to learn more about the Gospel of Jesus Christ and his marvelous Atonement, we will come to realize the elect, amazing children of God that we are! We are all divine. Turn to the Lord. Pray often and sincerely. I am so grateful for this life to prepare to meet my God again. I love Him :) I love YOU! Have a fantastic week and know that I am praying for you!

Oh, right....WAY EXCITING NEWS!!!!! I just got an e-mail from my mission president saying that Sister Lavatai and I have been invited to the Leadership Training Conference in Brampton NEXT WEEK!!!!! AHHH!!!! We are SO excited. That means we will drive down to Brampton (4 hours) and stay for three days having one-on-one training with the Mission President. We will work all over Brampton applying what we learn each day. I am SO excited.

Sister Barton :)