Monday, February 29, 2016

February 29, 2016

Dear Family and Friends,

Well, we have officially moved to Galax, Virginia! We spent a few day last week packing up our apartment in Hillsville and moving to Galax! It is pretty awesome that we got the entire move done in only about 2 days! The apartment that we moved into is actually pretty nice and I feel kind of bad living in it! Ha! The location is perfect though because we live right on Main Street and are pretty central to a lot of people that we are working with! This move has already been a blessing and I cant wait to see all the things that Heavenly Father has in store for us as we continue to work hard and be obedient!

This past week, we found a pretty awesome new investigator last week whose name is Michael. He recently moved from Massachusetts and is amazed at how nice the people are here. Michael and I get along pretty well because he is super into math! Ha! He has been going to school for about 14 years or so and is way smart! I really enjoyed visiting with him and recalling some of the things I learned at school back home! Hopefully we will see him progress in the gospel too! Ha!

We have also been working hard to help another one of our investigator, Lenny, progress towards baptism. We had an awesome lesson with him on Saturday and he seems to really be enjoying the gospel! He asked how he can know if these things are all true and made us give him a homework assignment so he could hold himself accountable to reading and praying! I love to see how people want to know the gospel is true! As we bear sincere testimony and promise them specific blessings, they want it to be true as well! I hope that he does his "homework assignment" because I know that if anyone reads the Book of Mormon and asks if it is true, they will know that it is indeed true! I know this independent of anyone else and hope the people that I am privileged to teach receive that answer too! 

Lots of other things happened this week, but that is just a few of the highlights! I often think about how much my mission is a blessing to me. I am so grateful for it and am grateful for a loving Heavenly Father. I have felt more frequently and more powerfully His Spirit as I have been a missionary. I KNOW that Joseph Smith was the prophet of the Restoration. I KNOW the Book of Mormon is true! We all need to study and pray so that we can all become more converted to the Lord and His Gospel. I cannot deny the things I know and hope everyone feels and experiences the comforting knowledge of the gospel too! I love you all and truly appreciate all of your love and support!

Elder Barazoto

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

February 22, 2016

Dear family and friends,

Another week here in Hillsville! It has been a pretty busy week, but that has been great!

Friday was the biggest anticipation for me because of district meeting, I was pretty nervous for it but I think it turned out pretty well! Following district meeting, we went on exchanges! Elder Boyd and I worked in Wytheville and we had a great time! We spent most of the day seeing former investigators and we did a lot of driving! I was pretty interesting to see all the beautiful scenery out there! I have been serving in Hillsville for a while now so serving in Wytheville for a bit was a pretty awesome experience! Elder Boyd is a really awesome missionary, he goes home in a few weeks, but plans to come right back and live in Wytheville! Pretty cool!

Saturday we exchanged back and later that night had a great lesson with one of our investigators! His name is Lenny and he is really good friends with some members in our ward! After our lesson the members took us out to dinner to a Mexican restaurant called Rio Grande! I was surprised at how good it was too! This family is actually from Puerto Rico so they basically knew everyone that worked there! Ha! I love that family so much!

Another pretty cool thing that has been going on over the past week or two is our living situation. We cover a pretty large area in the mission and Hillsville's population compared to Galax, a city in our area, is about 6 or 7 times less so we decided that we should move and live in Galax rather than Hillsville! Plus there are way more members of the ward in Galax! A bunch of other reasons went into our decision to move but that would take a while to explain haha. So we talked to the mission office and they told us to go find an apartment! On Thursday we spent a good while apartment hunting! It was pretty fun actually and near the end of the night, we met up with a realtor to look at an apartment in a perfect location! That apartment that we found is pretty nice and we took pictures and sent them to President Salisbury and he approved it this morning actually! The mission and realty company worked out a contact and everything and we should be moved in there in a few days! Its pretty short notice so we have to get our current apartment all packed up pretty quick! Ha! It should be a lot of fun and definitely a learning experience! I do know that moving to Galax is that right thing to do and that the work will be accelerated because of it! It is pretty exciting!

Well that is all for this week, I love you all very much and am so grateful for the support that I have! Have a great week! :)

Elder Barazoto 

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

February 16, 2016

Dear Family and Friends!

Pretty great week here in Hillsville, Virginia! A lot of really awesome things have happened this week which Elder Larson and I are very grateful for!

Tuesday we had Zone Conference and wow was that awesome! The assistants did a lot of the teaching and I learned and was reminded of so much! I never thought that I could enjoy sitting in a hard chair for about 7 hours until my mission! I love learning! Ha!

Wednesday was pretty brutal as far as the weather but we had a very successful day! The wind was blowing pretty hard and I think someone was saying that it was probably around 10 degree with the wind shield! Ha! We were so blessed to have picked up a new investigator that day and we have been working pretty closely with him since! He is so awesome and I can see him and his family accepting the gospel! I love how the Lord blesses us when we endure well! The cold isn't so bad when we get to go bless peoples lives! :)

Thursday we had another pretty neat experience! So we had a dinner appointment with a member in our ward and after the dinner the dad, Brother Wheatley who is actually the former bishop, came out to teach with us! It was a bummer because all of our appointments fell through so as we were deciding where to go, we kind of jokingly asked if he knew anyone that we could go visit, and he said you know what, there is! I was shocked but so excited! Ha! He took us to a friend of his and the friend invited us right in and we were able to teach them! They received the lesson very well and it was all because our appointments fell through! The Lord works in mysterious ways and He knew that those people were not the people we needed to visit that night! It also testifies that members are truly the key to missionary work! Missionaries can tract all day but true effectiveness comes when members bring the missionaries to the people they know who are ready to hear the gospel! No greater joy comes from this great work so become apart of it and help the missionaries out! :)

Saturday, we had another amazing experience that actually includes Brother Wheatley again! Ha! So Brother Wheatley is the landlord for our apartment complex (we live right above his optometrist office) and he told us that we should go visit our neighbor so we did! It felt kind of weird knocking on the door right next to our apartment, but I am so glad that we did! He invited us right in and we were able to teach him! He enjoyed the Restoration very much and even said that he had been praying for someone to bring him something that he could understand and he believes that this might be it! So awesome! We will be seeing him again this week so I am so excited to see how he has been doing! Experiences like these help me to realize that the Lord truly is preparing so many people that are ready to hear the gospel! We have the privilege to go find them!

I am extremely grateful for my mission! I have learned and felt so many wonderful things and I can truly testify that I know that the church is true! My mission has helped me in so many ways and I wouldn't trade it for anything! I love you all and hope all is well!

Elder Barazoto
​Best P-day activity! Ha!

Monday, February 8, 2016

February 8, 2016

Dear Family and Friends!

Wow it is so crazy to hear that Maddy is home! I cant even imagine what that is like! Too weird! Ha!

Most of the interesting things that happen this week were towards the end of it! Starting with last Friday, we taught a Baptist Pastor! Ha! He had approached us a while back and wanted to learn more about "Mormons" so of course we happily agreed to teach him! I honestly didn't think that it would happen, but we passed by his house the other day and decided to knock on his door and he invited us in! It was probably one of the most interesting experiences of my mission too! He asked us a lot of different questions about what we believed and we answered them. He even asked us how we knew and came to believe all the things that we taught him! He is a sincere seeker of truth and we invited him to read the Book of Mormon to find out if all we taught him is true! I don't think I was expecting it to go that well, but it was pretty cool that it did! Haha! I know that if he reads the Book of Mormon and prays and asks if it is true, he will find out that it is indeed true! It would be pretty sweet to baptize a pastor on my mission! Ha! :)

Saturday was a really great day as well, we went to go teach one of our investigators, Jessica. She is living in a house full of members right now so she has a lot of good influences which is awesome! This is the family that speaks almost only Spanish so we watched the Restoration DVD in Spanish! It still amazes me that even in a different language I can still feel the Spirit so strong and know that Joseph Smith was a prophet! She is progressing very well and hopefully will be baptized soon! I love it!

Sunday, we went to visit a part-member family that has been investigating for many years and hasn't gotten very far... The mothers main concern is that she doesn't want to leave behind her religion that she grew up in so she isn't motivated to read the Book of Mormon. As we visited with her for a few minutes, she brought up that concern and also that she is afraid that she will find out that the Book of Mormon it is true! I felt a subtle prompting to explain that being baptized is not changing faith in Christ, but enhancing or strengthening it because this is His restored church. I could tell that it was making more sense to her and it was really cool to see! I know that she will eventually accept the gospel as she reads the Book of Mormon! I am so grateful for the promptings of the Spirit and for the wonderful people that I get to serve!

This was a pretty rewarding week and I am so grateful for all the support that I have! I love you all and hope that you have a fantastic week! :)

Elder Barazoto
Can you find me?

Monday, February 1, 2016

February 1, 2016

Dear Family and Friends!

This has been a short but great week! It seemed like weeks go by so fast!! 
So Saturday morning, we had decided to go tracting and while we were tracting, we got a call from our elders quorum president that the Spanish family we have been working with to get back to church is having a wedding! The oldest son Guillermo who is 20 got married to his girlfriend Jessica who is actually an investigator that we have been working with! We made room in our schedule to go to the wedding and it was pretty great! The wedding was in English but there was a translator so it made things pretty interesting haha. After the ceremony, Jessica's dad who is a preacher preached a sermon about marriage. I have never listened to or being to a service from another church so it was pretty strange... Most of what he was saying was true but it totally lacked the Spirit! I am just so grateful for the restored gospel of Jesus Christ and know that it is truly His church on the earth! The plain and precious truth that we have are honestly something that we take for granted! People need what we have, so go out and share it with them! You will be blessed! :)

Yesterday was another pretty cool day! Church was cancelled last week because of the snow and being back in the church building was such a blessing! It seemed like a normal church meeting, but I felt the Spirit so strong and so frequently! Probably more than I ever have at church before! It was an amazing experience and it strengthened my testimony even more that the church is true! It seems like almost everything you do and everything you experience as a missionary testifies that the church is undoubtedly true! Ha! So after church, the missionaries in our district had a fireside at their church and President and Sister Salisbury were going to be there! It was a pretty good distance away and our original ride had to take care of a few things so he couldn't come... We were calling everyone in the ward, but no one was going to be able to make it... We finally called Guillermo and Jessica and asked to see if they were going and they said yes! We were able to get a ride with them and it was a wonderful event! It was especially good for Jessica, I think that going to the fireside and hearing President Salisbury speak about baptism and the Holy Ghost will definitely help her as she progresses toward baptism! I am so grateful for the Savior and know that He was instrumental in making all the pieces come together to make that happen!

I know that the Book of Mormon is true. I know that Joseph Smith is the prophet of the restoration. Jesus is the Christ and He stands at the head of the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints! This is my pure testimony and nothing will ever cause me to not know these amazing truths! I love you all and hope you have a great week! :)

Elder Barazoto