Monday, December 28, 2015

December 28, 2015

Dear Family and Friends,

It was really great to talk to the family this past week! Everyone looks great and I'm glad to see that everyone had a great Christmas!

So Christmas Eve we went over to the 2nd counselor in the bishopric's house and spent the evening with them! It was a pretty awesome night because in his basement, he had a ping pong table! Elder Larson and I played a little bit and he is pretty good, but no match for Elder Barazoto! :) haha! We also sang Christmas songs and after that they gave us Christmas stockings! They are so nice! The stockings were full of all the missionary essentials: Candy, cough drops, dish soap, and a bunch of other random stuff! It was awesome! Haha!

We were able to meet with a few people this week, but with the holidays going on, that's basically the most significant thing of the week! Haha this week we plan on seeing a bunch of people and hopefully we will see tons of success now that the bulk of the holidays are over! Love and miss you all tons! Have a great week!

Elder Barazoto
Christmas Stockings!

Elder Larson!

Ping Pong!

Monday, December 21, 2015

December 21, 2015

Dear Family and Friends,

This week has been a pretty great week! So Friday was a particularly awesome day because it snowed!! They call it furies out here and all that means is it snowed so lightly that as soon as it hit the ground it just became water, but it still snowed! Haha Elder Larson who is from Utah and used to massive blizzards was probably so sick of me because all I would talk about was the snow! Ha!

Anyways so something pretty cool happened to us last Wednesday night and Thursday morning. On Wednesday night we visited one of our investigators and read the Book of Mormon with them. They are pretty knowledgeable about the Bible and they are having a hard time accepting the Book of Mormon as God's word and Joseph Smith to be a prophet. As we read in 3 Nephi about the Savior's visit to the Americas, they brought up a concern that if the Savior appeared to the Americas then that would have to have been the Second Coming. Elder Larson and I were kinda stumped by that question so the next morning we spent a ton of time studying to try and figure out the answer. We prayed specifically for help in finding the answer and we most definitely did! We studied the New Testament when Christ appears to Mary and also to Thomas, one of his apostles and concluded that he appeared to Thomas as the same resurrected and glorified being as he appeared to the people in the Americas! So that means that if he already appeared to Thomas as the risen Christ, then that means that he could appear to not only the Americas, but also Joseph Smith! I don't know if all that made any sense, but just know that it was an awesome revelatory experience and my testimony is stronger because of it! I love how questions and curiosity lead to stronger testimonies and more powerful conviction! As long as we don't let questions shake our testimony, God will show us the answer! Joseph Smith is a prime example of this!

Well this was a pretty short week so I will have more next week for sure! I hope everyone has an awesome Christmas and remembers the true meaning of it! Have a great week!

Elder Barazoto
Christmas decorations!

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

December 16, 2015

Dear Family and Friends!

This week has been a pretty awesome one! Lots of success and lots of really great lessons! So last Tuesday we had specialized training over in Princeton, Virginia and it was an awesome meeting! President Salisbury talked a lot about different ways that we can improve our own lives and learn how to set inspired goals! I learned so much! We also did a pretty interesting activity... Haha so President gathered us all together in the church gym and had two elders hold up a metal bar. Then he asked me to come and hang from the bar as long as I could while he read from 1 Nephi 8 about the tree of life. I held on as long as I could, but eventually I couldn't hold on any longer and I fell... Haha he related the object lesson to the difference between "clinging" to the iron rod, and "holding fast" to the iron rod. We all need to "hold fast" to the rod and not just "cling"! It is not enough to merely just cling and hold on as long as we can because eventually we will fall. Of course we must rely on the Atonement, but we have to do our best to hold fast to the rod! It was a pretty interesting experience, but one that I wont forget in a long time! Ha!

On Wednesday night, we went to go and see one of our investigators named Matthew. He has been so prepared by the Lord it is insane, but when we stopped by that night I couldn't believe who we met at his home! We had no idea, but his girlfriend is a member of the church in the next county over in Floyd! There aren't as many members around here so this was such an amazing "coincidence"! Plus she has been getting him to read from the Book or Mormon and doing what we committed him to do! I was so happy to see a good influence in his life and I know that she will make a huge impact on his progression in the gospel! I love how the Lord prepares people to receive the gospel!

So we ran into one of our investigators just now and we talked for a little bit too long and now we are out of time! Haha sorry to cut it short, but know that I love you all very much and I am doing great! Have a great week!

Elder Barazoto

Monday, December 7, 2015

December 7, 2015

Dear Family and Friends,

Lots has happened this week some good and some not so good haha, but I will just go over the highlights!

Last Monday, Elder Larson and I had a pretty interesting experience. We had tracted into a newly married couple a few weeks ago and we decided to go and see him that night. He is an engineer here in town somewhere so naturally we connected pretty well haha but he was happy to see us again and he let us right in! We chatted for a bit and then we sat down to talk about the gospel! He seemed a little hesitant about it, but he seemed okay with us teaching him. As we taught, he listened intently and understood everything that we taught him which was pretty awesome, but when we invited him to read and pray about the Book of Mormon he declined! I was honestly pretty surprised because the lesson that we had with him was very spiritual and I know he felt it! We persisted that take it and said that he would have literally nothing to lose if he just took it and read from it, but he still resisted! Finally we gave up and left. There were no hard feelings at all, in fact he sincerely thanked us for coming by and he said that he really enjoyed it! After the lesson, Elder Larson and I couldn't help but feel totally content with the lesson, which is weird because it didn't end the way that it should have! We came to the conclusion that it was not yet his time to accept the gospel. We felt content because we did exactly what we were supposed to do which is plant a seed that can be harvested down the road. I don't know how long it will take, but I know that eventually he will accept the gospel and then Elder Larson and I can know that we were apart of his conversion! Kind of a weird experience but it was pretty spiritual to me!

Thursday, we had an awesome lesson with a family that we tracted into last week! We taught them the Restoration and I asked them what it would mean to them if they knew that their family could be together forever. The husband said that family is the most important thing to him and that an eternal family would be the ultimate goal! It was an awesome lesson and they asked so many good questions and they totally agreed with everything we taught! It felt like a perfect lesson, and I was so grateful for that! This gospel blesses families so much and I know that it can bless this family so much! I pray that I will do my part to help them accept the gospel and be baptized! I have a feeling that they will! Haha :)

Friday was our Ward Christmas Party and that was a blast! There were a lot of less-actives there and getting to interact with them was so crucial! These kinds of activities are so awesome because they help people either become familiar with the church building, or help them remember the spirit that they felt when they were there! It was a lot of fun and the food was of course delicious! Then on Saturday, the town of Hillsville did a Christmas Parade so Elder Larson and I set up a booth to help people become more familiar with the church! It was a great success and we were able to pick up a lot of potential investigators! Plus the parade was super awesome! There were tons of hilarious floats and it was just a lot of fun! :)

Sunday was a pretty awesome day for me. During fast and testimony meeting, there were so many great testimonies from our ward! It was one of the most spiritual fast and testimony meetings that I have ever been in! I am so thankful the ward that I am serving in and for the amazing people that I get to work with! They are all so converted to the Gospel of Jesus Christ! Also they announced that we will be getting a new bishop in 2 weeks! So crazy! Haha then of course we watched the Christmas devotional! We watched it at Mark's (our investigator preparing for baptism) house and it was so great! It was such a blessing to hear from our church leaders and I always love hearing from them!

Well, looking back at this week, we were able to accomplished so many amazing things! This work is truly such a blessing and I love doing it! I know that Jesus Christ is my Savior and I know the He stands at the head of this church! True happiness comings from following His example! Always remember that! I love you all and have a great week! :)

Elder Barazoto

Monday, November 30, 2015

November 30, 2015

Dear Family and Friends,

Well this week has been a pretty interesting week! Lots of fun things to talk about! Haha so we have been working very closely with our investigators who are getting baptized in the coming weeks! Mark has been having a bad week this week so we haven't been able to see him until last night! He has been having a lot of pain in his hands and feet so we gave him a priesthood blessing and he said that it helped him! I could tell that after the blessing he was feeling better so that was awesome! I am so grateful for the power of the priesthood! It is amazing to think that I hold the same priesthood that Jesus Christ holds and used to perform so many amazing miracles! 
We were also able to see Brittany who is also on date and preparing for baptism! Her desire continues to increase and she is not only excited for her baptism, but also to go to the temple and be sealed to her family! I love her drive and motivation because growing closer to the Savior does not stop at baptism! It merely begins! The temple is something that our mission has been putting a huge emphasis on because new members who work towards and enter the temple stay active! I love all that has been going on here in little Hillsville, Virginia! Haha 

Thanksgiving on Thursday was super great! There was a member in our ward that put on a neighborhood breakfast gathering in the morning so we went to that and it was super awesome! A lot of their neighbors are non-members so we got to sit down with them and become acquainted with them! They all already attend their own churches and everything but thats ok! Haha so in the evening we went to another members home and ate dinner with them. There was so much food, I was stuffed! Then as we were leaving, they gave us three plates of food and desserts! Haha! It was pretty insane! 

So Sunday was a pretty interesting day as usual ha! Before church started, we were talking to our ward mission leader about the people that we are working with and how we can help them progress in the gospel and as we were talking, the second counselor in the bishopric comes up to me and Elder Larson and tells us that someone on the program isn't going to be able to make it to give her talk and so he needed us to speak in place of her! I'd be lying if i didn't say that I was pretty nervous! Ha! But we only had to speak for 5 minutes each so it was nothing super major. I spoke about the importance of the Savior and Elder Larson spoke about the character of Christ.I think it went alright! I was actually pretty surprised at how fast I threw it together too! The mission most certainly helps you to be able to think on your feet! Ha! Plus I used all scripture masteries so dont overlook those because they are very helpful! :)

Well this week has been a great one! Lots of food and memorable experiences! Because Thanksgiving was this week, I will share a few things that I am thankful for. I am so grateful for my Savior. I know He lives and I know He loves each and every one of us! I am so grateful for my mission too! I have learned so much and I cant wait for all that I will learn! The mission is difficult at times, but it is absolutely worth it! And I am so grateful for all of you! I love you all very much and I appreciate all the support that you give me! I love and miss you all very much! Have a great week!

Elder Barazoto

Monday, November 23, 2015

November 23, 2015

Dear Family and Friends,

This week was very eventful! We have certainly seen the blessings of working hard and being obedient! One thing in particular that we have been blessed with this week is finding new people to teach! We were walking downtown trying to talk to people that were outside and we weren't seeing very much success so we decided to start trackting this one street that we hadn't given much thought to. We were a few houses down the street when we knocked on a door, introduced ourselves and they let us right in with no questions asked! It was unexpected but we weren't complaining! Haha! We had a great lesson with them and they seem very excited for us to teach them more! I see so much potential in them, it's amazing! I know that the Lord is providing and leading us to people for us to teach!

So Friday was a pretty funny day for us. We had planned to have a Bible Study in Galax at the public library and we did everything we could to get as many people there as possible so we could hopefully find even more people to teach! After all our efforts, we have 3 people there and 2 of them were members... Haha! It was saddening, but the Bible Study was awesome and it actually turned into a teaching appointment for the non-member that was there so it all worked out! We made the best out of that situation and it turned out really awesome! Ha! 

Well this has been an awesome week for me and Elder Larson and I look forward for the success that we will have in the coming weeks! Thank you all for your prayers and support! I love you all and I hope that you have a great Thanksgiving! 

Elder Barazoto

Monday, November 16, 2015

November 16, 2015

Dear Family and Friends!

What a great week! We have been able find so much success as we exercise faith in the Lord! I love it!
Monday was one of those days where it felt like the day was just a complete mess, but by the end it was really amazing! So we tried to see a bunch of people but none of them were home at the time, so we decided that we would walk around town and see if anyone was outside that we could talk to. We told each other that we were going to meet 2 people and share the gospel with them. As we were walking downtown, Elder Larson says lets knock on this door so we do and before we could really say anything the man invited us in! I was so surprised and so happy! His wife was there and we had a really great discussion about the Book or Mormon and invited them to read it! It was such an amazing miracle because we were able to talk to the 2 people that we wanted to! I know that it was because of our faith that we were able to find them! So awesome! 

So this past week we had a zone conference in Roanoke and an area seventy was there! His name is Elder Kopischke and he is so awesome! He is from Germany and we were able learned so much from him! So before the conference, he asked that we come with questions that we wanted answered and all of the questions that I brought were answered during the meeting by the Spirit! It was such an amazing experience and I know that this is applicable to any church meeting! I know that if you right down questions and bring them to church, they will be answered! That is a promise and it really works! 

We were also able to go see Brittany who is getting baptized in a few weeks! She is getting more and more excited and she should be! Baptism is such an amazing ordinance and because of it we can become closer to God! I cant wait for her to partake of this amazing and sacred ordinance!! 

This week was an awesome week and one thing that I noticed is how the Lord is preparing people for us to teach. He puts thoughts and ideas into our minds that lead us to do that things that He needs us to do! As we did this, we were able to be led to the people that need to hear the gospel! I love my mission and I love all that I am learning! Knowledge is Christ-like attribute and I am so happy because I love to learn! Ha! My mission has been such a blessing to me and I wouldn't trade it for anything! I know this church is true and I know my Savior lives! Talk to ya'll next week! :)

Elder Barazoto

Monday, November 9, 2015

November 9, 2015

Dear Family and Friends! 

Wow! What an amazing week! So much to talk about! So Thursday was transfers and we woke up pretty early so that we could be in Charleston on time for the transfer meeting. We drove to this place in West Virginia called Princeton where 2 seventeen passenger vans and a big Uhaul truck picked us up to take us up to Charleston! Its called the "Transfer Train" and it was such a blast! There were so many missionaries on the train, there was never a dull moment on the trip to Charleston! Ha! When we got to Charleston I got to see so many missionaries that I knew it felt like a family reunion or something! It was a lot of fun! So my new companion is Elder Larson and he is from Eagle Mountain, Utah! He is a really awesome missionary and we work very well together! When we got home we unpacked a little and went straight to work. Unfortunately all our plans fell through, which happens way too often in missionary work haha but we were still able to teach a part member family which went very well! The non-member husband has not seemed very interested in the past, but he was totally engaged and he accepted the invitation to take the discussions! So awesome! 

We were able to teach a lot of people this week and it was such a blessing! We went to see one of our top investigators and he is doing really awesome! He has been committed to baptism on December 5th and he is getting more and more excited for it! I cant wait to be able to see him partake of baptism and see all of the amazing blessings that will come to him as he becomes apart of this amazing gospel!

So yesterday was probably the most interesting day of the week ha! At church, one of our investigator's sons was sitting next to me. He was being kinda loud and disruptive but that is to be expected of a 6 year old haha. He was going through my scripture case and found my scripture markers and he got so excited because he thought they were crayons! He took them out and started to color the program for the rest of sacrament meeting and by the end, the whole program was basically covered in colors and my scripture markers were basically ruined! Haha! It was pretty fun and I wish that I could have gotten a picture because it was a real piece of art! Haha

After church we were able to go and visit a family in the ward that has an investigator living with them. It was probably one of the most spiritual experiences of my mission. So most of the family doesn't speak English so we brought the elders quorum president to translate for us. When we first got there, it was really loud and noisy and I was thinking that this just isn't going to work out but I knew that we need to stay and teach this lesson to this family! As soon as we said the opening prayer, everyone quieted down and we were able to teach without any distractions! It was awesome! But that isn't even the coolest part! So we were teaching the Restoration and when we taught the First Vision in English, the Spirit filled the whole room and it was awesome! Then Brother Nielson, the elders quorum president, translated for us and when he recited the First Vision in Spanish, I felt the Spirit even stronger! It was an amazing lesson and I know that everyone there felt what I felt! It reaffirmed to me the truthfulness of this gospel and the things we teach! I know that Joseph Smith saw God the Father and Jesus Christ! I know that he restored the priesthood to the earth and I know that he translated the Book of Mormon and it IS the word of God! I know these things of myself and I want everyone else to feel of the peace, comfort, and joy that comes from knowing these things too! I love my mission so much! 

I love you all very much and have a great week!

Elder Barazoto
Family tree

Family tree part 2

Elder Larson and I

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

November 4, 2015

Dear Family and Friends!

What an awesome week here in Hillsville! Tons has happened this week and most of it has been very unexpected so get ready for some craziness! Haha so for Halloween the ward put on a trunk or treat/chili cook off and it was a blast! Members from the ward brought their homemade chili and for some reason the ward decided that the missionaries needed to be the judges for all the chili's! They had different prizes for the different chili's like the spiciest chili or the sweetest chili or beaniest chili! Ha! Some of them were insanely spicy, I was dying! Haha but it was still a lot of fun!

So this week Elder Sawyer and I have been trying to figure out different ideas that we can try to find more people to teach and we decided that a Bible study was something that people in this area would enjoy and hopefully turn into a way to get more people interested in the gospel! So we reserved a spare room in the local library and we had a Bible study last Friday! Only one person came and he was already an investigator, but thats ok! Haha we will get more people next time! We actually were able to visit with that same investigator whose name is Mark the next day and set him on date to be baptized next month! Wahoo! He said that he knows that he needs to be baptized so naturally we are super excited for him! We can't wait! :)

Sunday was a pretty awesome day too! After church our Elders quorum president came up to us and asked if he could come out with us to a few lessons. As we were talking, we decided that it would be even more effective for us to go on exchanges with the Elders quorum presidency! So I went with Brother Warr who is the 1st counselor and Elder Sawyer went with Brother Nielson who is the President! Brother Warr and I saw a few families and it was way awesome teaching with him! He hasnt been home from his mission long so it was almost like teaching with a returned missionary! He definitely taught me a lot and I am grateful for that!

Alright so since this week is transfers week, here comes the transfer news... Elder Sawyer is leaving... It was a blast working with him but now it is time for someone new to come to Hillsville! I actually got a call from President Salisbury on Monday and he informed me that I will be getting a brand new missionary! Crazy responsibility, but I know that the Lord will help me as I continue to work hard and stay obedient! I love this gospel and I love my Savior! I miss all of you very much but I also enjoy missionary work very much! There is nowhere that I would rather be! I love you all and have a great week!

Elder Barazoto

Sorry for not taking very many pictures this week! I will have a bunch next week, I promise!

Monday, October 26, 2015

October 26, 2015

Dear Family and Friends!

Another great week here in Hillsville, Virginia! This week went by so fast! It is so true when people say that the mission goes by fast! I dont feel like I have been out as long as I have! Thankfully I still have a lot of awesome and miraculous experiences ahead of me! :) 

So on Wednesday, we went to go and visit these 2 families that we are teaching. They have a great desire to be taught and we were able to set them on date for baptism next month! We are so excited for them and I cant wait to see them get baptized! It is going to be awesome! They have expressed interest in being sealed as a family in the temple so this is just the first step in the right direction!
 
Then on Friday we had interviews with President Salisbury which is basically just one on one time where we get to talk about different things! I have been looking forward to it for weeks and the 15 minutes we get seemed to pass it a matter of seconds! Haha it is kinda frustrating because you want to ask all these questions, but there just isn't enough time! With what time we did have though, President helped me to think about my work as a missionary and how I can improve it and become the best missionary that I can be! Mission Presidents are so awesome! They always know what to say and do!

So yesterday was pretty crazy, but also pretty awesome! Haha we brought someone from our ward out with us because we wanted to go see some Spanish families in our area and he was going to translate for us! We visited this less-active family and I did my best to communicate in Spanish with them, but I guess 2 years of high school Spanish didnt make me as fluent as I would have liked! Haha! They actually have a non-member friend who is living with them at the moment and it was awesome because he starting to talk to him about his religious background and everything and he seems pretty interested in what we were teaching! He was talking about how all the churches he went to contradicted each other and it was all so confusing! We testified of the Book of Mormon and how it helps us to understand what the Bible teaches and he said that he will read it! It was such a great experience! I finally know what it is like to try and teach someone who only speaks Spanish and wow is it difficult! Ha! Anyways I am running out of time but I know that this gospel is true and I know that it can and will bless all our lives so much! Continue to choose the right because that is where true happiness comes from! I love you all and have an amazing week! :)

Elder Barazoto

No pictures this week! Sorry!

Monday, October 19, 2015

October 19, 2015

Dear Family and Friends!

What an awesome week! The work here in Hillsville is moving along really well! Our investigators are progressing and we are continuing to find more people to teach! 

So we have a part-member family that we are working with, and we had a pretty interesting experience regarding them this week. So this family lives with their parents and they have relatives that live next door. So when the relatives found out that Brittany and Robbie had been meeting with us and were preparing to be baptized, they wanted to take the discussions too!! So we met with them and wow was it awesome! One of the first questions that they asked was how they can be sealed as a family!! It was amazing! I know that Heavenly Father is preparing and placing people in our path for us to teach! We will be teaching them all together now and I cant wait see all of their progression! It is going to awesome! :)

So funny story time... Haha! This week we went on exchanges and Elder Sawyer went with the district leader in Wytheville and Elder Vest came to Hillsville. On the morning of our exchange, I wanted to be nice and make pancakes for us. I made sure that I got ready earlier so I would have time to make them too! So as I was starting to make the pancakes and everything, I realized that we did not have nearly as much pancake mix as I had thought... So rather than scratching the whole idea I was determined to make it work! So I just added some flour, water, vegetable oil and other things to the mix and prayed that it would work out! By the end of my free style cooking experience, I had made three pancakes... Haha! I gave them to Elder Vest and he said they were good but he was probably just being nice! Haha anyways that was pretty goofy and embarrassing on my part, but the rest of the week was really great! I know that this gospel is true and I know the Book of Mormon is the word of God! I love you all and I love this work! Have a great week! :)

Elder Barazoto
Awesome view!

Friday, October 16, 2015

October 12, 2015

Dear Family and Friends!

What an awesome week! It doesnt seem like it has been a week yet but time flies when you're having fun right?! Haha

So this week we went to see the part-member family that I mentioned last week who is doing really well. They are so awesome! We get along really well and they are both progressing really well! They ask great questions and I love seeing how happy the gospel makes them! So the wife who is not a member is Brittany and we have been focusing on her and during the lesson we committed her to baptism! November 28th is the day and I am SO excited! Its going to be amazing! 

So a couple days after that, we decided to see a potential who we have not been able to contact in a few weeks. He and his family have been really busy and we were finally able to contact him this week somehow! We were so lucky that we were in the right place at the right time! I know that Heavenly Father has a plan and is helping us talk to the people that need and are ready for the gospel! He seems very interested so that is very exciting! 

Yesterday was probably one of the more interesting days of the week though. We were in a place in our area called Galax which is about a 30 minute drive from our apartment because we had a dinner appointment with a family in the ward named the Kohls. As we were socializing around the dinner table, Brother Kohl starts telling these insane stories! He worked for the American embassy in Guatemala when President Hinkley was prophet and when President Hickley, President Packard, and President Faust came to dedicate the temple there, he was the one that was their escort! Crazy right?! He got to know them all pretty well and he has some pretty awesome stories to tell! I loved it! 

Well that's all for this week! I love you all and I love this work that I am apart of! I know it's true and it has blessed my life in so many ways I cant describe! Have a great week everyone! :)

Elder Barazoto
​Hillsville, Virginia!

​Makin pancake! Haha!

Monday, October 5, 2015

October 5, 2015

Dear Family and Friends,

Wow the weeks are starting to fly by! Its seems like I was just emailing yesterday! crazy how time works in the mission field! Ha!
So this week was full of really great experiences so here are a few!

On Wednesday we went to go see a part-member family (the husband is a less active member and the wife is not a member). They have been coming to church a little bit so it was pretty evident that they were interested in the church which is awesome! We went and visited with them with our ward mission leader and taught them the restoration and the lesson was a little shaky but it didnt matter because the spirit was definitely there! After the lesson, Brittany told us that she had some questions that she had been praying about and we answered them without even knowing it! It was so cool! It wasnt a perfect lesson as far as what we taught but it was perfect because she felt the spirit testify to her that what we were saying was true and now they are progressing towards baptism! I know that the spirit is very real and it is the single most important element to this work! Without it, that lesson would not have gone the way that it did!

Thursday was a particularly special day for me because I finished the Book of Mormon again! I have grown to love the Book of Mormon so much! I know it is true and it has blessed my life so much! I have always been familiar with the scriptures but as I constantly search and study them I have grown to love them! I was never very good at reading the scriptures every night growing up, but now it is something that I look forward to! I love the Book of Mormon and every time I read it, I learn something new and it is just so enjoyable!

General Conference this weekend was so great! Being on a mission has made me cherish every spiritual nourishment I can get and boy was that a feast! Haha I learned so much, but Ill share one small thing that I learned. It was in the talk given by Sister Neill F Marriott. She taught us that if we put our trust in the Savior, it will all work out. This is such a true principle! I know that everything that happens to us is for a reason. We may not know all those reasons, but we can be assured that the reasons are heaven sent! Trust the Savior! He loves and wants what is best for all of us! I loved General Conference and I cant wait for it to come again! I love my mission and I love teaching the gospel! Thank you for all the support and love! I love you all!

Elder Barazoto

Monday, September 28, 2015

September 28, 2015

Awesome week! It has been raining for three days straight and I dont think that I am used to that yet! Ha! I dont think that I have used an umbrella this much in my whole life! Arizona doesnt get rain like Virginia does! Ha!
 
As far as missionary work goes, we had some awesome lesson this week! One was with this family that is progressing very well! The father has been investigating the church for about a year and a half now and we were able to teach him and his whole family too! Ashley is his wife's name and she recently is coming to terms that God is real. Her mother recently passed away as well so we taught her the Plan of Salvation and it was so amazing! The spirit was SO strong and we all felt it! It was awesome! The whole family is so loving and the gospel will bless their lives so much! I know it!

The next day, we drove to a place called Cana, Virginia to follow up with someone who requested a Bible from Mormon.org. We talked to them a little bit and they invited us in to learn more about what we believe. We talked about the Restoration and they enjoyed it! Most of the people out here go to church somewhere and it can be pretty difficult to get people to listen to you sometimes! They are mostly set in their ways or comfortable with the church that they are at which is really sad! I know that this is the only true church on the earth and it can benefit them so much! I hope that they recognize this too because it is absolutely true! 

Missionary work definitely has its ups and downs, but the "ups" always make up for any "downs"! When someone believes what you teach or accepts the gospel in any way, it makes every trial or disappointment totally worth it! I know that I say that all the time, but I just love it! The happiness that comes from sharing the gospel is amazing. I want to feel it all the time! I love my Savior and because I love him I will serve him! I love missionary work! :)

Elder Barazoto

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

September 23, 2015

Sorry for the late email! Transfers week!

Hello Family and Friends! 
This was a pretty great week and I could really feel myself becoming a better missionary through some pretty amazing experiences! But before I get to the good stuff, Ill fill you all in on the struggles of serving a mission in the United States haha! So most of our mission has cars and on Thusday we had to drive to Roanoke to install this little black box in our cars that monitors our driving... If we go 3 mph over the speed limit, it will say, "check your speed" and if we dont slow down fast enough it will send a message to the mission president that we were speeding! When we were leaving Roanoke to go home, I completely forgot about it and it yelled at me to slow down because I was going too fast in the parking lot haha! but enough of these "First World" missionary problems and on to the good stuff!

So on Tuesday, we saw our top investigator and he is doing great! He is progressing really well and I hope that he continues to progress! On Friday, the Elders Quorum had a big bbq and he and his family came! They had a blast and now the wife who we haven't really be able to talk to yet wants to come to church! Elder Sawyer and I were so excited! We hope to be able to teach there whole family if things continue to go this well! Ward activities are so great!

Another really cool experience that happened this week was on Saturday, we decided to go try and contact a potential investigator who keeps avoiding us, but we went to go see her anyways. As we were walking over there, we passed by this weird looking super rundown trailer. There were dogs outside that were barking at us and stuff, but that is pretty normal in Virginia haha. We passed the house like it was any other house on that street but I felt very strongly that we need to go back and knock on that door. Elder Sawyer told me that the person that lived there is a former investigator and wasn't very nice to the previous missionaries, but we went anyways. The dogs barked at us all the way up to the door but I didn't care because I knew that we needed to see this person. An older woman answered the door and we invited her to learn more about the gospel and she said yes! It was an amazing experience and I am so happy that I listened to the promptings of the Holy Ghost and turned around instead of just shrugging it off! I know that Heavenly Father is the one that directs this work and I am just an instrument. It is my responsibility as a missionary to listen to the spirit and allow awesome experiences like that to happen! I know that God is very real and he is influencing our lives whether we know it or not! I have felt the spirit more and stronger than I ever have in my life and it is truly amazing! The gospel is for everyone and it can help us with anything! I love it! True happiness comes from living the gospel. Always remember that!

Thank you so much for all the support and love! I love you all and be sure to choose the right! :)

Elder Barazoto
​Me swinging around the club! I miss golfing!


​Elder George and Halterman! They were in my MTC district. Love them!

Monday, September 14, 2015

Sepember 14, 2015

Dear Family and Friends!

This week was pretty great! Wednesday we had a lesson with one of our investigators named Jim. He has been investigating the church for a while and for some reason wont commit to a date to be baptized. We taught him about the Book of Mormon and also why our church is different from other churches and we helped him to understand why we are asking him to do all these things. As we were talking to him and things were starting to make sense to him, we asked him if he was now willing to be baptized. He thought for a minute and told us that he knows its all true but he does not want to change his life... It was pretty frustration as a missionary to hear that but people still have their agency! We actually met with him again yesterday and basically told him that he needs to pray and make a decision on what he whats to do, so we hope and pray that he will make the right decision! 
So on Thursday, Elder Sawyer set up an appointment to see an optometrist that is in our ward. He is actually the former bishop so he is super nice to the missionaries. His office is actually right below our apartment too haha. So we went through all the test and one of the assistants is actually a less-active that we are working with and we talked all about the different eye instruments and how they work and stuff! It was super cool and I loved learning all about that kind of stuff! 
Then on Friday and Saturday we did a companion exchange with the district leader and that was a blast! I went with Elder Boyd and Elder Boyd's companion who is Elder Vest went with Elder Sawyer. Elder Boyd is pretty new to the area so we did a lot of trackting. I really enjoy trackting but sometimes it can be pretty difficult! We found a little ripstick and so I had to try it out to see if I could still do it! Ha! 
Sunday we went with a return missionary in our ward to go see a less active family. Ill be honest, it can be pretty intimidating to teach with a return missionary who is pretty awesome at missionary work but it was great! He is really awesome and he wants to come out with us a lot more so that will be fun!

I continue to be amazed at how amazing this gospel is. I learn everyday and I know there is so much that I need to learn! I love reading from the Book or Mormon and learning from it. I know that it is true! It has changed my life and I know that it can bless yours too! Continue to be righteous and do the things that you know are right! I love you all so much and thank you for all the support!

Elder Barazoto

No pictures this week, Sorry!

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

September 8, 2015

Sorry for the late email! Everything was closed yesterday because it was Labor Day!

Wow what a crazy week! So much has happened!

So Tuesday and Wednesday we didnt get very much done because I was packing for the transfer, but Wednesday night the whole Charleston Zone was invited to a baseball game! I never thought that I would be attending a baseball game on my mission so that was a pretty interesting experience! President asked that each companionship bring someone to the game whether it be an investigator or a recent convert because they were going to have a devotional before the game. They called it "Mormon Night" and it was a lot of fun! There were so many missionaries there it was nuts! So after the game, Elder Spinks and his new companion left and I was put in a threesome with the Assistants! I spent all dayThursday doing missionary work with them and it was such a blast! We had so much fun together and they are awesome missionaries. I was only with them for about a day and a half but I learned so much from them. Friday morning, we woke up early and headed to Virginia. The drive to Virginia was incredible. There was so much green and tons of hills and just beautiful landscape. It was awesome! We got to the zone meeting where I met my new companion, Elder Sawyer. Elder Sawyer is from Ogden, Utah and he is pretty awesome. He is so loving and he has already taught me a lot! 

So in Hillsville around Labor Day, they have this MASSIVE flea market. It covered the main street in town and trying to get around was a total nightmare. We were able to go and see an investigator named Jim though. He is a retired cop and we basically stopped by and invited him to church. It was really interesting trying to get him to commit to come to church because he has back problems, but as we were talking to him he finally promised that he would come! It was a pretty awesome experience and I know that it was the spirit telling him that he needed to go to church! 

Monday we met up with some elders in our district and we went fishing. I didnt catch anything but I know that will eventually! Haha I'm starting to think that fishing is a mission wide P-day activity. We've gone fishing almost every P-day now! Ha! Well that's all for this week! I am so excited for the rest of this transfer and I can't wait for all the work that I will get to do here in Virginia! I know that this church is true and I know that the Savior lives! I love you all! 

Elder Barazoto
​I probably should have rolled down the window before I took this picture but this is just a house that I thought was really cool in Marietta.

​This is another house that I thought was really cool! It reminds me of a barbie house!

​Baseball Game!

​Relaxin at the baseball game!

​This was the score of the game when we left, but we later found out that the West Virginia Power won! Woohoo!

​Funny license plate that I found in Charleston. The owner of the vehicle was actually walking over when I was taking this picture haha it was awkward!

​President Salisbury's board of missionaries

​Presidents office!

​Me and Elder Halterman! We roomed together at the MTC!

Elder Sawyer! 

​The Assistants! Love them!

​me and Elder Sawyer

​Flea market! So crazy!

​New room!

Add caption

​Our room is on the other side of the wall to the left so our apartment is pretty little!

Monday, August 31, 2015

August 31,2015

Wow this week was a crazy week! So on Wednesday we did an exchange with our district leader which was a lot of fun. His name is Elder Clawson and he is from California. He knows a lot about cars and that is mostly what we talked about haha. He had a job at Subaru before his mission and he was teaching me all about engines and how they work and stuff. He even taught me about NOS and how it works ha. Friday and Saturday we did service literally all day. Friday we went to someone in our ward who is about 95% blind and can really only see movement. We did some yard work for him and helped to make his yard look nice.  He has a super nice Stingray Corvette that just sits in his garage because he cant drive it. He also own 2 new dodge challengers that are pretty awesome. Then we went to another members house in our ward to help him pull out his engine that was blown up. There were three holes in the bottom of the engine so that's what we suspect was wrong with it haha.

Sunday was the most interesting day of the week. So we woke up at the normal time and get ready for meeting like every other Sunday. We had good meetings and had an awesome sacrament meeting as usual. I am actually growing to love church more and more. I took church for granted too often back home. Church is amazing because it allows us to feel the spirit and learn more about the gospel. Take advantage of church because learning now is better than learning the same thing later on down the road. But anyways after church we found out that we were supposed to go to a priesthood session down in Charleston so we got a ride with someone from the ward. On our way to Charleston we got a phone call from President Salisbury out of nowhere. Getting a random call for the mission president can be nerve racking and I looked at Elder Spinks with a nervous look on my face before I finally answered it. He told me that I needed to be emergency transferred to Virginia and that I am leaving this Wednesday. I was so surprised I couldn't believe what I was hearing. I had never heard of a missionary getting transferred in the middle of the transfer so it was pretty unusual news. So I am going to be leaving Williamstown, West Virginia and heading to a place called Hillsville, Virginia. I don't know very many details other than I am supposed to be there. I may not know why I am getting moved so quickly, but I do know that Heavenly Father knows me perfectly and He knows that I need to be there instead of where I am at right now. I am sad to leaving Williamstown and all the people that we have been teaching, but I am excited to see whats in store for me in Virginia. I love you all and thank you so much for the support and love you have for me! Talk to ya next week!

Elder Barazoto
​Cool shop in Harmar, Ohio. It is owned by someone in the ward and she makes log cabin quilts. They are really cool.

Another picture of the inside of that Basilica. It reminds me of something from Italy.

​This is the inside of that Catholic Basilica that I sent a few weeks ago. It was pretty cool, but not as cool as the temple!

​Ceiling of the Catholic Basilica