Tuesday, December 8, 2015
Sister Barton is coming home! We could not be more excited! Please join us for her homecoming on December 27 at 9:00. The chapel is located at: 2985 East Creek Road (8115 South) Cottonwood Heights, Utah **Please note this is a different chapel as her farewell. Hope to see you all there!
There were about a million pits and peaks this week. The peaks outweigh the pits so I'm just going to talk about those!! Every second was spent doing something or running somewhere. There was no time to breathe! It all started with another 3 day exchange! This time with sister Stebar and smith! Sister smith loves to cook and sister Stebar loves to do hair and make up. They were appalled that I don't know how to do any of these things so they attempted to teach me...it was rough. I survived though! Luke's baptism was on Wednesday. He was glowing! His girlfriend, Alex, gave a talk about conversion. In her talk she talked about how taking the missionary lessons has strengthen her just as much. When Luke bore his testimony he talked a lot about being accepted for the first time. He grew up with a really rough family. The ward is pretty much the first family he has ever had. Before his confirmation he couldn't sit down because of how excited and nervous he was. I've loved watching him grow. Jicell a baptism required a road trip!! A group from the ward drove all the way up to casa grande. Jicell literally leaped out of the water. It was a little mermaid moments. She couldn't stop crying or giggling. I've never seen someone so happy in my entire life! He grandmother and mom haven't shown any interest in the church until her confirmation. We have been fasting and praying for Jicell's family for a while. Our prayers were answered. Jicell's grandma wants to start coming to church! MLC was also this week. President and Sister Passey nailed it. Again! Sister Passey gave a training about teaching the role of Jesus Christ. The spirit was really strong as we talked about john 10:10 "The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly." We talked about scriptures that support this verse. How Christ gives us life and light in abundance. You could have cut the spirit with a butter knife. I was in heaven! Another peak of the week was getting to see my Arizona parents!! The Beals drove all the way to Tucson just for lunch! Their visit was exactly what I needed! Seeing them couldn't have happened at a better moment. They helped calm so many fears and worries. They have stuck with me my whole mission! I couldn't be more grateful for all of their love and support. Everyone keeps telling me I'm going home....it hasn't really hit me yet. Probably because there is still work to do and I'm not stopping until I get to the airport. Serving a mission is the best decision I have ever made. I've been in a panic the last few weeks because I don't feel ready to go home. I'm not a spitting image of what I want to be yet. A wise return missionary friend reminded me that my progress doesn't stop here! This new change will help me progress just as much if not more. It's finals week at the u of a so everyone is pretty much leaving next week as well. I've had to say goodbye to some friend and there will be lots more this week. I can't believe I have one week so ware this name tag out! I love being a missionary with all my heart. I bore my testimony on Sunday about how all the Lord has ever asked us to do is be obedient, work hard, and trust that he is going to bless us. I think sometimes we make it too complicated. I love my heavenly father and my savior. I love the Arizona Tucson Mission. The book of mormon is true. Joseph smith was a prophet. The priesthood authority is back on the earth. God loves us so much! It's that simple. Thanks for all the love!! I'll email you guys next Monday! You da bomb! Don't do anything fun until I see you! Somebodies gotta keep me busy when I get back... -Sister Barton
Monday, November 23, 2015
Transfers calls were a little unexpected. I thought Sister Desautels and I would be together for a little bit longer...we kind of are but not really. I have been asked to be "an exchange missionary". That means I will technically keep all of my stuff at my apartment but I won't be there very often. We will be in a trio but I won't be spending very much time with them. President Passey has asked that I spend 90% of my time on exchanges with the Sisters in North, West, South, and central Tucson. Exchanges will be like 3 days long and I will pretty much be area hoping all transfer long. I have no clue how it's going to work. He didn't really give me a whole lot of instructions. I'm just supposed to figure it out and pray really hard. Staying in my area would be too simple I guess. I'm grateful for the opportunity to help train these sisters on a more personal level. Everything went really well this week! We are begging Jicell to slow down so that we won't run out of things to teach her! We started her up on personal progress this week and begged her to take her time doing it. She took the book and went to town! That night she called us freaking out about how much cute stuff pinterest and blogs have on personal progress. She is getting 5 other converts in the ward started. The bishop has now decided to call someone to be a personal progress teacher! Now what are we supposed to teach her!?!?! Luke set a date with us for December 2nd! Ever since he set the date that boy has gone a whole other level of on fire! Whatever he was holding back before is gone and he is ready to move forward! He couldn't stop smiling all week long. Thanksgiving couldn't come at a better time. Thanksgiving is just reminding me how important it is to slow down and remember to be grateful for what I've been given. I'm grateful for our investigators. I'm grateful for the friends that I have made here. I'm grateful for trials. They are necessary to grow. They help us to become better. I couldn't be more grateful for my mission. Thank you for everything. I love you so much! Mom- I hope you have the greatest birthday of all time. You deserve it! I can't even begin to express how grateful I am to have the greatest best friend of all time. Happy Thanksgiving! It's the best holiday of them all! All our ward members are going home for the holidays so this next week should be an interesting one.... -Sister Barton
Sometimes I wish I could take a video of my week and send it home. That would make life so much easier. I don't remember what happened Monday through Thursday....but the best stuff started happening on Thursday so I'll start there. Exchanges!! This time I went up to Marana (north of Tucson) with sister hunt. She has been out for a grand total of 4 weeks so she was completely freaking out the whole day about having to make the decisions. It was fun to get lost a couple of times and to figure out how to help her be confident in lessons and in planning. She is a super shy still so it was pretty much a day of me teaching strangers. By the end of the day she was bearing her testimony at the end of lessons!! Small steps! She is a hard worker so we got a lot done! At the end of the night we went to ward coordination meeting and I got to help plan the missionary work part of the ward Christmas party! Being back in a family ward was weird but a ton of fun. My favorite part of exchanges is always reuniting with Sister Desautels. By the time we get home we both are ready to pass out! It's the best. Friday was a pit and a peak kind of a day. I received an email from a really good friend in New Mexico. She was baptized a few years ago and recently got married in the temple. Her email broke my heart as she told me things she is struggling with. It made me just wanna run to New Mexico and give that girl a hug and big bucket of ice cream. I asked the sisters over there to visit her so hopefully they can help her out. Friday night i got to Skype Ramon's baptism!!! We got to talk a little bit before his baptism. He was beaming!! I am so proud of him! Getting to see a lot of my New Mexico friends was heaven! Being able to see Ramon choose joy and enter the waters of baptism was a huge blessing. I was a little jealous that I couldn't be there during his baptism then I thought about how blessed I am to be able to have been part of his conversion and now be in Tucson for my current investigators. I wouldn't want it any other way. I know I'm where I need to be. Saturday was the top of the cake! Last Monday a less active woman from Rincon emailed me. She heard rumors that I was in Tucson and insisted that we meet up. We ended up meeting for breakfast Saturday morning. As soon as she walked into the cafe she spilled all the beans! I worked with her family for about 6 months. She was slow to make progress but we kept feeling the need to continue to see them. When I left the area the sisters didn't visit her anymore. Sister Youngblood started her story with explaining the hard time she has been having with her 11 year old son getting suspended. She was furious. As she drove to pick him up from school she said the first prayer she had said in months. Peace came over her as she picked him up and drove him home. For no reason at all she started planning a fhe lesson. (Never done FHE before) she announced to her family that FHE is officially mandatory. The next day she called the sisters. They are currently preparing her two kids for baptism. Sister Youngblood is living the word of wisdom for the first time since her baptism. The best part is....THEY WENT TO TO CHURCH FOR THE FIRST TIME IN 10 YEARS!! In one week this woman has completely changed her life and her families life. I couldn't stop smiling the rest of the day!! When we said goodbye, Sister Youngblood gave me the best compliment I've ever received. She told Sister Desautels that I wasn't her missionary. I am her sister. At the beginning of my mission I wanted so badly to be somebody's missionary. I don't care about that anymore. I would much rather be somebody's sister or somebody's friend. She was an answer to so many prayers. Saturday night I got to Skype Kenny's baptism in New Mexico. Remember him?? Once again, he was glowing and happy. Kenny has changed so much since we started working with him. Getting to talk to him and watching him bear his testimony after his baptism was priceless. You could tell he was scared to death to talk in front of everyone but it was impossible to not feel the spirit as he said what he believes. This email is getting super long so I'll stick with those stories. The biggest lesson learned this week was how perfect god's timing is. I think the hardest part of my mission has been accepting gods timing. I'm not the most patient of people and I like to have a plan. I would have loved to be there to go to church with the Youngblood family or to have said the opening prayer at the baptisms in New Mexico. But that's not where God wants me to be. He wants me right here at the u of a. I looked up right as I finished that sentence to find that Jicell had walked into the study room and started studying right in front of me. I know I needed to be here for her. I know I'm where God wants me to be. He has a plan that is so much better than my own. Thank you for all you do! I love you. -Sister Barton
There are very few times on my mission where I can distinctly remember feeling the spirit completely leave the room. Those are the lessons where me and my companion go speechless and just sit there waiting to figure out which one is going to close the lesson as fast as possible. This week we went over to finally meet a recent convert in the ward. She was baptized about 2 weeks before I got here. Nobody has seen her since her confirmation....no Bueno. We walked into her humble abode and due to the surroundings, we knew the spirit couldn't help us get through the lesson. It was the most awkward half hour of my life. After the lesson Sister Desautels and I were reflecting on what we could have done to help the situation. We talked about how we choose how much the spirit can influence us. Another recent convert that we've gotten really close to is tom. Tom was able to baptize his friend this week. Tom has been a member of the church for 2 months. He was glowing as he told us how proud he is to have the power to baptize Rudy. He has also found over 130 names to take to the temple in the last month. He is doing the new member lessons with he mindset of learning how to answer his friends questions about the gospel not his own. This guy is too perfect! It's crazy how big of a difference these two recent converts have used the power they've been recently given. We choose how much power we have. It's been hard to watch the first recent convert struggle to understand the potential that she could have if she just had the spirit with her and learned how to listen to that spirit. It's the same for all of us! We had an awesome miracle this week. Since we are in ysa our area is huge. It's from central Tucson all the way down to the boarder of Mexico. On Wednesday we had a pretty open schedule so we decided to go on a little trip south. The very first house we tried was a less active girl that nobody knows anything about. Her little sisters let us in!! (Miracle) when Sumy saw us at the door she burst into tears. We stood there awkwardly until she calmed down and explained that right when she heard the doorbell ring she had just finished the first prayer she had said in years. She had prayed for help to know what Heavenly Father wanted her to do. I LOVE THE SPIRIT!! It was a little tender mercy to know that we were right where we needed to be at just the right time. This week had some overwhelming and frustrating moments but so many tender mercies. It's the new joke that Jicell is our visiting teacher because she brings us treats to the lesson and then she pretty much teaches us when we tell her the topic. Best visiting teacher I've ever had!! Luke showed up to church wearing a tie with the temple on it this week. He finally got to stay all three hours and loved going to priesthood meeting. He works at a bagel shop and brings us all the left over bagels. Then he found out our obsession with pumpkin!! It's gone a little out of control from there! We also went on exchanges this week. This time I left the area and went with Sister Afemata. Everyone loves her just for the fact that is from Hawaii and then because of how fantastic she is. I learned a lot from her. The best part about being an slt is getting to learn from these sisters. I don't really know what else so say so goodbye! I love you all! Congrats Kenzie on the ring. I think all my friends are officially married or on a mission. Pictures 1. My main gals!! 2 of them are fresh rms the other 2 are future missionaries. I love them to death!
Times to repent. Last week I made this area sound like a breeze. False! We are still working as hard as we can. I was pretty humbled. This week was mid-terms which means every student in Tucson was glued to their laptops and not so much to their Book of Mormons. My first few days with Sister Desautels were super rough just because everyone was canceling on us. As the week went on we were able to actually teach people again! I'm not a fan of mid-terms -___-. We had a surprise MLC on Friday!! Lynn G. Robbins came and gave us a training about responsibility and accountability. It was pretty heavy and intense but I learned a lot. He talked about how every time we make an excuse for something not getting done, we lose control of the situation. There is no such thing as a valid excuse. The next day I read about when Mormon walks away from being the Nephites captain then 3 chapters later he repents and comes back. Same goes for us. There is never a good excuse to walk away from a responsibility god has given us. That includes no excuses to ever turn down a prompting! Like I said- it was pretty heavy!! At the end he read a few verses about how the salvation of souls is on our shoulders. We were all spiritually exhausted by the end of the 5 hour training!!! On a lighter note, the temple groundbreaking was this week!!! Tucson is finally getting a temple!!! I'm so stoked!! Elder Uchtdorf came and gave a talk about breaking ground in our own hearts and preparing ourselves for the temple. He also invited everyone to get baptized today so that they could go inside when the temple is ready. There were a ton of government people and religious leaders! Elder Uchtdorf is my favorite! The temple dedication helped me recharge and get pumped to work even harder than I've been working. I gotta give the next couple of months my all! One of the greatest parts of the week was the stake bbq. The ysa members were in charge of manning all the kids booths. Somehow we got signed up to help with the cotton candy. We were excited to help! A ton of students brought their friends and we were able to get some solid potentials (free food works every time). The only problem of the night was the wind....cotton candy and wind don't mix. Within a half hour we were all COVERED in sugar and loving every second of it. Jicell and Amorah were volunteering at the face painting and laughing at us while we were turning into blue and pink clouds of cotton. It was an amazing week full of miracles. I'm already starting to see how much Heavenly Father is willing to bless me not just during but after my mission. I feel so blessed to be serving at the u of a. These people are teaching me so much. They are some of the sassiest, most hilarious, ambitious, and inspiring friends I've been blessed to meet. There is nowhere else I'd rather be than serving these crazy young single adults!! Thank you for all the prayers and thoughts! I love you all from Tucson to New Mexico, to California, to France, to Toronto, to Japan, to SLC to Logan and back times 100,000,000. Pondering scripture: Mormon 8:12 -Sister Barton Ps. We taught Luke about fasting this week. When he was a Buddhist munk he hand to fast EVERYDAY!! We are talking breakfast only! He took the once a month idea pretty well.
I think I hit my head and went to heaven. Once I was told that serving in a Tucson ysa ward is like summer vacation. I didn't understand that until this week. This can't be real life!! Everything is too perfect. Warning...I've possibly found my future roommates at U of A. There is a group of girls here that I've gotten pretty close to. Amorah is my main gal. She's actually from Layton but she's going to school here and studying exactly what I want to study. She's preparing for a mission and has spent a ton of time with us this week. Amorah is probably exactly what I want to be when I grow up. I love her so much. 2 of her best friends are recently returned missionaries. They both have kept missionary work as a huge focus since coming home. They have been answers to my prayers. The greatest miracle was Jicell! One of our investigators met Jicell in a chemistry class. They found out they both are investigating the church and Leah asked if she could hook Jicell up with missionaries. We met Jicell on Thursday. I feel like I've know this girl for way longer than 4 days! Her boyfriend introduced her to the church last winter. She's been going to church for months, has somehow been taking institute without anyone noticing, has read 1 Nephi, watched conference, studies out of the ensign, and knows the church is true. We taught her the restoration and plan of salvation this weekend. During the lessons we ask her questions to try to figure out how much she really knows. When we ask questions like- "What do you know about the priesthood?" She answers in jaw dropping ways like, "well there's Melchizedek and Aaronic.....I don't know what that means though." She talks like a Mormon she just has no clue what any of it means! She's soaking everything up like a sponge. That doesn't happen!! Nobody knows how she's gone this long without ever having met a missionary. After our first lesson to got out her phone she showed us how her screensaver is the picture that elder Uchtdorf talked about in his talk at the women's conference. It reminds her "to be more like Jesus Christ everyday." Funny story: The vehicle coordinator in our mission is strict. She demanded that we get our car checked so we drove to southern Tucson (ghetto) and handed over our keys. The dealerships waiting room had a tv so we decided to go to a nearby park to do our weekly planning. As soon as we got there we realized this park is home to many many people. Every 10 minutes or so, a new homeless person would ask us who we were, if we could help them be saved, give us an unexpected "respectful friendship side-hug", then walk away to take a nap leaving us stunned. After an hour or so a man delivered a huge box of bread to the table we were sitting at. I guess the table we were at was the "park's kitchen table". oops. I wish you all could have seen the priceless look on our faces every time a new toothless stranger gave us a side hug. Missionary bubbles are SO real. We left shortly after that laughing all the way home. This week wasn't perfect enough so Heavenly Father had to put a cherry on top. We had achieved/exceeded our weekly goals except for finding one more investigator. We walked into relief society and noticed our new freshman friend flagging us down as casually as possible. We sat next to her to find she had brought a friend from her dorm. Her friend was pretty confused about what everyone was talking about but she said she loved coming today and would be back next week. As soon as relief society was over we explained what we do as missionaries and set up an appointment to teach her about the restored gospel!! We could hardly believe it. That made 7 investigators at church!!! I'm sad to announce I'll be taking over the area after today. Sister Adams will be going to Sahuarita and I'll be here to man the fort. 2 weeks in this area to learn from Sister Adams wasn't enough. I honestly feel like Heavenly Father trusts me way more than I trust in myself. I love taking over areas but I'm sad to see her go. I'm grateful for all that Sister Adams has taught me. I don't think I've stopped laughing since I got here. She truly shines. Between running from appointment to appointment and getting lost almost everywhere we go, I'm so happy and loving my Tucson life. I feel so blessed to be a part of this great work! This area is unlike every other that I've served in. U of A students make great missionaries. This area is proof that when members are involved the sky is the limit. We all have a part to play. Thank you for all you guys do for me! Your prayers are very much felt! I love you :) sorry this email is all over the place. Ponderizing this week: D&C 59:8-9 Feel free to pray for: Luke, Jicell, Charlie, Leah, Lea, Matthew, and Mary. :) -Sister Barton Amorah :) I love her even if she makes us take selfies.