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