Sunday, February 8, 2015

Letter 51: Moises

Beautiful mother of mine!

Hey mom! You`re now New yorkers, that`s pretty exciting. Hahah i`m glad that your trip was fun and a great experience. Everytime I think about New York I think about when Trevor took me and we went to see the sacred grove and the hill cumorah. New York sure is an awesome place! It`d be sweet to experience the city too though. One day we`ll go! :)

Things are going pretty great here! This week we have worked really hard and we had a miracle happen on Saturday. So this whole transfer we have been looking and trying to find someone who can be baptized. Well after many attempts and people that ended up not working out so well we decided to go by an investigator that we had stopped teaching. His name is Moises and we stopped teaching him because he was ready to be baptized and we taught that lesson he told us he would never pay his tithing and that he didn`t care if God punished him. Well we had the impression to go by his house again (now about a month or so later), and he was completly changed. We entered into his house and right there on the table the scriptures were opened and marked. He had been reading almost the whole time we were gone. So long story short he told us that he understood that tithing was necesarry and that he was willing to pay it. He told us that he wanted to be baptized and that he wants to leave everything bad behind and start his new life. He told us how when he saw us at his door the impression came to him ¨this is your last chance..¨. We had been fasting that day and it was a direct answer to our prayers. We shared with him the scripture Mosiah 18: 8-11 and committed him to be baptized this coming Saturday. We left his house and I just felt like thanking God in a prayer so we found a quiet place that we could pray and just thanked Heavenly Father for having helped us out. It was awesome! Moises attended church yesterday and has his baptismal interview tomorrow. Pretty crazy right? And as to yoru question, yes, I have been focusing a lot more on the little things too and in reality it`s easy, it just takes a little more care and attention. I feel like it has helped though and I like that feeling. So this week has been a good one and we are excited for this Saturday! My companion and I still get along just fine. Every now and then we have little arguments but we always resolve them pretty quickly. We have different opinions on several things but we don`t let it impide our work. 

I`m glad your testimony meeting went so well because ours was one of those meetings not so great. We heard like 8 testimonies because every one took a ton of time explaining life stories instead of actually bearing their testimonies. But oh well, can`t win them all. I totally understand what that woman said though. I have seen it time after time on my mission how us members judge when we really should follow the Savior`s example of love and understanding. I`m guilty of it myself as a missionary sometimes. We just have to always take a step back and think and try to understand.

Well I think that`s my report for the week haha :) I love hearing from you and just being able to talk with you. The support you provide for me has been such a help during all of my mission. I love you mom and thank my Heavenly Father for you and the family everyday. Keep up the good work and have a fantastic week! Can you believe we are already in February??? Time is flying by. Love you!

Elder Barton

Letter 50: Dump Truck

Oh hey my favorite mom,

Hello! Oh woww this week has been crazzzy! Seriously I feel like sometimes I`m in a different country..oh wait. So basically this week a huge dump trunk dumped like literally a ton of trash of the side of the road and just so happened to dump in on top of a water pipe...turned out it was the main water pipe to about half the city. We didn`t have water for about three days! Hahah it was a good thing we had reserve water. The city ended up putting water stations all over the place and sending trucks fills with water around. You should have seen the people, it was ridiculous! I felt like I was in a mini apocalyps because when the water truck came by people ran and some fought to get water. We helped a less active member who can`t leave her house because her legs don`t work to get water with her 13 year old son. Crazy story right?

I agree time is pretty much flying by. I can`t beleive January is almost gone. We have transfers in two weeks, every transfer goes by faster and faster. That`s pretty weird though that the winter has been so mild, that means that next winter when i`m home it`s going to be not so mild (i hope). I just read through first Nephi two a week or so ago and it`s true. Laman and Lemuel had every oportunity to do things right and have a great life but they chose to harden their hearts and NOT listen. I think that is the difference between someone who is genuinely happy and someone who uses the world for happiness. We ALL have weaknesses, so did Nephi, but those who LISTEN to God and try to put in practice the Gospel and His teachings (even though they may fail), are those that feel like God is pleased with them. Like you said though it all comes down to gratitude, regaurdless of the situation. :)

Ah yeah! A package! I think after that pair of pants i`ll be good on pants for my whole mission. Also don`t worry about getting more shirts for now, I think those that I have will last. There are a few places here too that I can find some shirts. Beef Jerkey is the best, feel free to put whatever treats you wanna put, my companion is a fanatic of ¨gringo stuff¨ as he puts it. Oh hey and if you could, one of those tide stain remover pens again. Mine is almost out and has saved me so many times haha. NOw that i`m in a bigger city there a lot more places to eat and to shop, but we only go to the city part on Mondays. In my area there is harldy anything.

Sounds like your New York Trip is going to be great! And i`m sure Bridger is excited to stay home alone with Jeremy. Hahah yeah, good idea, you`ll have to call him. I only saw the New York temple from the outside but it was beautiful. I think one day we all (the whole family), need to do a session together and be in the Celestial room. Can you imagine? That would be the best.

Well basically we have been teaching several people, investigators and less actives. Honestly it`s been great when it comes to teaching, we have had some pretty productive and spiritual lessons but when the time comes to fulfill their commitments...not so great. Again we had commited several people to go to church and no one went. Sadly with our investigator Joseph we are thinking we might have to stop teaching him for a while and focus our attention on other people who are going to progress. We`ll see what happens though, we need to talk to about it first. Other than that we have been talking to a ton of people in the streets and knocking doors. We have had some success but a little slow right now. I had an interchange withmy zone leader and it was the best! He goes home in 2 weeks but when we were talking and everything I really saw the type of missionary I want to be when it`s my turn to go home. But this week we are going to work really hard and pray that we have success! Well mom, I love you Thiiiisssssss much! I hope you have a great week and enjoy New York! Thanks for your email. :)

Love Elder Barton

Letter 49: Interviews with President!

Hola Madre,

Hey mom, I`m doing pretty dandy this week! I feel a lot more used to my new area and basically like everything is normal again. There are really good members here and some...not so good as well haha. Some members are just so prideful it`s ridiculous but it`s all good there are more good than bad. Right now we are teaching a couple of people that want to get baptized they just have trouble doing the things that are required for baptism. We are teaching a 13 year old named Joseph, a 35year old named Juan, and a 15 year old named Martin. It sure has been interesting so far. I think all in all they need to understand that it`s great that they desire to be baptized but it requires effort as well. It`s not just a pretty experience they are going to have, it`s a promise they are going to make for life. So we are going to be focusing a lot more on that with them this week. Other than that we have been tracting a lot and visiting less active members. I like my area and the people here, I could do without the fleas but....I can`t really change that. The good thing is I cleaned the pension really well, washed the blankets, and sprayed insectiside and now there aren`t that many fleas. For these 2 weeks i`ve been here our hot water hasn`t worked so i`ve been heating up water and ¨showering¨ with that. Today a guy comes to fix that so we can shower normally haha. 

We have interviews with President TOMORROW! He will be coming to our pensions to inspect with the assistents and everything so needless to say we will be cleaning again today and making sure everything is ship shape. I`ll be sure to talk to him tomorrow and let him know about schooling and all. I`m looking forward to be able to talk with him and recieve more counsel and inspiration. My companion right now is district leader and he arrived one transfer before me. He`s actually pretty nervous for the interviews because he thinks President is going to get angry at him for not fulfilling and promise he made or something. That should be interesting. Other than that though not to much happened last week. Right now we are working so that this district can become a stake. They sent the solicitud to Salt Lake and we are waiting for the answer to see if we make it or not. In the meantime we are working a lot with the members so that they pay their tithing and that the less actives go to church! That`s awesome that you are now in a visiting teaching position that can make a difference. I know and have seen in my mission that the visits make a world of a difference. The hardest things here for the members are to do their visits and pay tithing. It`s like constant thing that we are reminding them to do. I know that you`ll be able to make a difference even if you don`t see the results right away. 

Well, all in all sounds like things are going great at home :) Everyone busy at work and doing there thing. I like your goal to go to the temple regularly. When I get home I will definitely go with you all the time! I miss you guys but I see that my time is less everyday here in the mission. I`m trying to take advantage of every day. I love you so much. I know that sometimes it`s hard being so far apart but I know that Heavenly Father has bless the family so incredibly much. What you said about how the missionaries come home changed if they worked hard is true. I hope that when I get home you can see that change in me. I don`t mean that my personality is going to be totally new but that I`ve been able to learn, grow, and become a genuinely better person. Thanks mom for all you do. Have a great week and enjoy the temple!!

Love, Elder Barton

Letter 48: Transfer

Dear mom,

Hey! Well you heard correctly, I was transfered on Wednesday. I`m now in the zone Valparaiso Oeste in an area called Quebrada Verde. I like it so far, the members are pretty great from what I can tell so far. Yesterday I was able to know several of them and see more or low how the branch is functioning. My new companion is from Argentina and is named Elder Correa. We get along pretty well,he kind of reminds me of a mix between Seth and Daniel Ockey hahah. He`s a little weird though...he randomly moons me in the pension. All in all it seems like it`s going to be a good transfer. This area though has so many DOGS!! And I have a bunch of flea bites, so i`m going to have to go buy a bunch of bug spray and start a flea massacre.

Well as the new year has arrived i`ve been thinking of goals and things that I can change to do better. As i`ve been thinking the things that come to mind is to really live the two greatest commandments. Love God above all else and love my neighbor as myself. There are a few other things I want to do but all in all I think that they all revolve around these two. My new companion is good, he is a hard worker and wants to do things well. I feel like these transfers were a little extra inspired for some reason, I guess we`ll find out in another month or so. 

Leaving my old area was a little hard but it was time. Of course is hard to say goodbye to everyone and all but it`s always good to have a change and recharge the batteries so to speak. OH and you`ll never guess what! Elder Holmes, the elder that finished training me is now Elder Canales´s companion and is finishing to train him hahah. I actually feel pretty good about how things ended with Elder Canales, we ended the last couple weeks on really good terms and I felt that we were both able to progress a lot. ALejandro and Lorena continue with their baptismal and marriage date for March. I`m sure they`ll send me pictures when it happenes. I feel geniunely good about the work I did there and I can see the areas where I need to do better and I plan to apply it in this new area.

I know, talking to you guys was amazing! I loved it. I`m glad you`re all doing so good and not to mention Trevor was able to be there. I like your goals as well. I know for a fact that i`m going to take advantage of the temple when I get home. It`s so weird not being able to go. You`ll have to share with me from time to time the stuff you are learning in the BOM andI will too. We started reading it again on the 1st. 

The pants that you sent me are a little to long but there is someone here that can hem them. A couple of shirts would be nice, maybe just like 2 long sleeve and 2 short sleeve.Hahah gel would be awesome! (i`m almost out). I know it`s crazy how fast time is passing by, it makes me want to give all I have even more in the mission. It looks like we are going to have interviews next week and i`ll be able to talk with President then. We`ll see what happens. But all in all I feel optomistic. There are a couple of things that kind of get me down from time to time (more than anything personal weaknesses or stuff like that), but I know that I just have to keep working on those things and doing better. I love you so much mom, thanks for ALL you do! You`re the best mom in the world, just so you know. I hope you have a great week and you enjoy the new year

Elder Barton

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Letter 47: Last Thanksgiving

Dear mom,

Man I'm so hungry now after seeing the pictures of chuck-a-rama and everything haha seriously! I miss the cousins and all too haha but it`s all good, next year. I always hated the endings of holidays when everyone went back to the same old. Being together with the family and the cousins was always the best. Then again...I was never the one preparing all of the food and all haha so I`d imagine you`re a little relieved now! Haha to be honest I didn`t even realize Thanksgiving had passed by until was just another normal day. :)

I wasn`t able to read dad`s response but I read it today and it`s true. The update with my companion is the today we have interviews with President Kahnlein. We write him a weekly letter every week and he ended up calling me on Thursday and asking me what was going on with my companion, so I told him. He told me that he had put this Elder with me because he knew it was going to be difficult. He also said that he trusted me completly and that he wanted to interview my companion and I. So that`s what we will be doing today! Basically it`s been one of the harder weeks of my mission, oh man. I know that deep down he has good desires to serve but he just isn`t prepared. He comes from a small town in the Amazon and has some challenges with social skills. This week i`ve seen that he is always either very serious or laughs at everything. It makes it difficult to teach to work but that`s what i`m going to have to work on this change is to help him. My leaders know and i`ll see what president says but it`s just something I have to pass for. It`s interesting because we talked yesterday in church about crisis or trials and how they are what help us to grow. Really it depends on how we react, we have to rely upon the Lord but I know that he expects us to use our mind as well and do works. This would be the example of a mini ¨crisis¨, but my goal is to keep going and hopefully help my companion. 

I really like that qoute. It`s amazing how much can change with attitude or with a kind action or word. Sometimes we don`t even realize how much we have helped someone. It`s like you say, the day to day determines who we will become. I`ve found the the bigger events or the ¨once in a whiles¨ really don`t change who we are inside. Our choices on how to act everyday will determine who we become. President Monson said ¨A journey of a thousand miles begins with one step, watch your step¨. We should always be aware of what we`re doing. Sometimes it`s so hard to let the saviour into our lives completely and it`s because we don`t trust or we have trouble giving up worldly things but I know that the more we let Him in our life the happier we become. Sacrifice will ALWAYS bring a blessing. I`ll try to stay positive and grateful I promise, i hope that you can do the same. Know that you and the family are in my prayers and that I love you all! I know i`ve said it before but I really do have the best family, (and you have the best son ever, me) haha but seriously, I miss you all. Thanks for all you do mom, enjoy the rest after a busy Thanksgiving!

Love, Elder Barton

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Post 46: Trainer

Dear mom!

Oh how good it is to hear from you. Honestly sometimes I just need to hear from you and the family to feel a bit better. So the transfers came and.............I didn`t get transfered! Elder Huertas ended up getting transfered can you believe that?? Hahah By the end of this transfer I`ll have been here for 6 months. So my new companion is Elder Canales from Peru and I`m training him. He just got here and this is his first area. To be honest when I got the call I was pretty dang excited and a little nervous too. But....complications appeared out of the nowhere haha as always. When you think about a new missionary you think of someone who is ready to go to work and be obedient, well that`s not the case with my new companion. Gahhhh why?? My first son is so hard already -Sighh-. It`s weird because every single day i`ve had to tell him to get up over and over, he arrives to studies late everyday, doesn`t want to help plan, doesn`t like to stay focused in studies etc. I think you get the point. I`ve tried to be all nice and use please and everything and then I went to being more serious and firm but his reaction is the same for everything he just kind of laughs and basically says stuff like ¨no elder hahah it`s okay....or Elder don`t be a ruler/square (someone who is ¨overly¨ obedient) etc. Needless to say it drives me insane and were not even a week into the transfer. So THAT`s the bad news but the good news is that...hmm what  is the good news? Our investigators are progressing slowly but surly. Elder Morales my DL stayed too, so hopefully he can help me out a bit as well. Anyway that`s kind of the update of the situation in the mission. I MISS ELDER HUERTAS! Elder Huertas and I got along so well. But what`s done is done I just have to accept it and do my best. It`s the hardest thing to try and teach someone or be the example for someone who doesn`t want to listen. I`ll keep you updated on how it all goes.

Wow Thanksgiving already!..You`ll have to save me some apple pie. Seriously I`m getting pretty hungry just thinking about all the thanksgiving food. That`s awesome that Steve and his family are going to go up there though, that means...CHUCKARAMA! Two thanksgivings are always better than one. But all in all sounds like things are going really well there. Work is busy and the family is all doing great. Trevor arrived at this base and all. Plus the most important thing is that it`s Nichole`s and Bridger`s birthdays!! Give them a hug from me. :)

I can`t believe all of them are already returning home? I didn`t even realize either that so many left right around the same time. I`m really excited to talk with you guys next month too, it`s going to be the best! It`s lame that Trevor won`t be there though (or will he?). But for real i`m going to have to practice my English a little bit before with the other Gringo elder in my district. I have been with latinos since MARCH. I don`t know whats up haha, Nichole asked me if I was the only Gringo in my mission. You`re right though, even though right now is pretty hard I need to be grateful and keep working. Yesterday during church it was awesome because I felt really down because of all that is happening and the lesson that was given in priesthood helped so much. They talked about faith in Jesus Christ, works, and tribulations. Just keep me in your prayers please, I`m going to need a lot of patience and faith to keep working hard and truly trying to help my companion.

I love you so much! Miss you a ton as always but I know you`re in good hands as well as the family. Thanks for all you do and enjoy Thanksgiving! I`ll be sure to get the things I need. Thanks mom!

Love Elder Barton

Monday, November 17, 2014

Post 45: Benjamin's Baptism


So sounds like your trip to Georgia went really well and that the weather cooperated. I loved to see those pictures! Haha especially of Bridger dressed up his army get-up. You all looked so snazzy too in the pictures, I come from an attractive family, just sayin. I`m jealous you got to visit that museum seeing as how I love history. I feel like learning about the wars we have had and the sacrifices that were made really make me appreciate our country more. Sounds like the best part of all is that Trevor is home with you guys right now. You should just have a Thanksgiving feast early before he goes, haha I agree that`s lame he leaves right before thanksgiving but it`s true, we have no control over that. Take advantage of your time with him!

Well as you know transfers are a week from Wednesday on the 19th. I honestly have no idea what will happen but it`s probable that I'll be heading out. What I`m hoping...I don`t know, I love it here and I love the people I`ve come to know. This area has had so many trials and things that have happened but through it all my companion and I have overcome them and stayed strong I feel really good about that. I`m hoping that I stay, but it`s like that whole thing with Trevor, I have no control haha. 

Yesterday Benjamin got baptized and it was an interesting experience that`s for sure! So we arrived at the church an hour early to start the baptismal font and the church was FILTHY! No one had cleaned it on Saturday so we went to work cleaning everything and I had a feeling to call Benjamin so I called him and he was in a pretty bad mood. He lives by a building that is a place for dances and they had been playing music all night long and he hadn`t slept. Long story short he wasn`t very happy and we went to his house to see what we could do. On the way we were really doubting ourselves like if we should go through with the baptism and everything. Everything seemed to be going wrong and Benjamin didn`t seem so excited for his baptism. So we stopped an prayed basically asking for guidance and saying that we were going to try and go through with the baptism but if it wasn`t supposed to be then let us know. We arrived at his house and got everything ready and as we walked with him back to the church we listened. He was able to vent to us and we started to ask him how he felt about his baptism and all. We ended up arriving at church about 15 minutes late. During the sacrament my companion and I were able to both receive the answer ¨yes¨ to go through with the baptism. During the course of the classes Benjamin`s attitude changed completely and he said that he was so sure of what he was doing and he knew it was right. Right before his service his mom and aunt showed up (beforehand he had said they didn`t want to come seeing as how they were catholic). They arrived and you could see that Benjamin was happy that they had come. After he was baptized he was able to have a few minutes to talk in front of everyone about his experience. He said that he had never felt anything like what he had felt in the church and that was ready to make any sacrifice necessary to continue. His mom and aunt were able to feel the spirit as well and we gave his mom a book of Mormon. All in all it turned out to be a wonderful day. :) There is always SOMETHING that happens before a baptism like the last trial before the blessing. Alejandro and Lorena attended his baptism and loved it too. We were able to visit with them yesterday and during this past week and they want to get married and baptized. It`s amazing because they have felt in their hearts that it`s true and now without us even having to say anything or motivate them to do things they just do them. We went to their house this past week and  sat down and we had planned to talk about temple marriage and before we said anything they both said ¨okay, lets talk about marriage!¨...hahah my companion and I just looked at each other like...yeah! 
So things are going well here in San Franscisco de Limache. The members are starting to help more and more and I feel happy. I know that there are still a lot of things I can do better and that I need to learn but I feel really blessed to have the Spirit in my life always guiding me. In this moment God doesn`t expect any of his children to be perfect, he just expects us to keep going, to keep trying. I think that`s why so many people get discouraged, it`s easy to focus on all of our faults and weaknesses. But it`s like we talked about weeks ago, if we only focus on those things that`s what our life will be. We should focus more on the love of our Father in Heaven and the power of his son`s sacrifice for us. With them everything is possible.

Well to answer some of your questions...they don`t decorate a lot here for Christmas (it kills me!), and it`s super hot during Christmas so I don`t ever actually feel like it`s Christmas time haha. I`m feeling healthy for the most part. Something weird happens with my vision. Sometimes there is a black dot there but it only appears when I moved my eyes from one side to the other and the dot appears and fades away....soooo I have no idea what that means? Plus I found a brown fleck in the blue of my eye..don`t know if that`s related or if I just never noticed it.  My tooth is fine but one of my molars has been hurting a bit. One of the most interesting things I have ate lately is a whole artichoke...leaves and all. I thought they were joking but nope. You dip the leaves in limon juice and then eat the heart too, that was pretty weird. Oh how I miss your food!  

I love you so much! Thanks for the email and for the pictures, I love to see them. Have a great week with Trev!