Monday, May 30, 2016

May 30, 2016

Dear Family and Friends!

Amazing week! Debbie French got baptized! We had her baptismal service on Saturday and it was so amazing! See her make this big step in her life was so rewarding I cant explain it! She was honestly so excited and see her that happy was awesome! Funny story also, so we went to go visit her the day before her baptism and her mother calls out to her to come out of the back room for a lesson and she walks out all giddy, and confident in herself and yells "LESS THAN 24 HOURS BOYS!" Ha! It was probably one of the funniest/ happiest moments on my mission! The gospel has changed her so much and she is so happy!

Well not too much tops that experience ha! But we did have some other pretty neat experiences during the week! we had an exchange with the Elders in Timberlake so Elder Taylor (From Gilbert) and Elder McClune (Tate's Friend)! I went with Elder McClune to Timberlake and we had a blast! We decided to try a different method of tracting rather than just picking a random place to tract so we picked 10 random streets on the map of our whole area. Then we both took a sticky note and each chose 3 streets from the original 10 without looking at each others paper. Then when we looked at each others sticky notes, we had almost the exact same street names! It was obviously the Spirit guiding us and we went to go tract one of the streets called Arrowhead! We weren't finding a lot of success on that street until we ran into a guy who was outside on his front porch. We introduced ourselves and just starting talking to him when we invited us to sit down and talk to him more about the church! We were of course super happy about that and our lesson with him went really well! He accepted it all and took the challenge to read and pray about the Book of Mormon! It was super cool because we were in a part of the area that hasn't been worked very much and probably wouldn't have seen missionaries very frequently if the Spirit hadn't guided us there! It was cool to see how the Lord works and how he helps us to find those that are ready to receive the truths that we enjoy! I know that it was not a coincidence! We call Arrowhead the golden street now because Elder Taylor and McClune have found 2 other new investigators on that street already! Haha!

Thats all the highlights for this week! It really is a joy to serve here in Virginia! I know that this church is true!

Elder Barazoto

PS I have pictures this week! Yay!!

Monday, May 23, 2016

May 23, 2016

Dear Family and Friends!

We had a super great week! Mainly because Sister Debbie French is getting ready to get baptized next Saturday! HURRAY!!! We had her baptismal interview 2 days ago and passed it with flying colors! She is probably one of the most prepared investigators for baptism I have ever met! She cant wait and even better than that is she is also looking forward to going to the temple! She is such a powerhouse! Ha! Yesterday at church, she was honestly so excited and was talking to everyone about it and was inviting everyone to come to her baptism! It was great! I love seeing her so excited to make this special covenant and I love seeing how the gospel has already brought a mighty change of heart in her life! Its going to be amazing!

Another person that Elder Maloy and I have been focusing on this week is Charlie! So Charlie was a referral from the YSA Elders who found him out on his porch! He told them that he wanted us to come by and teach him and also that he was reading his Book of Mormon that he already had! It was honestly such a golden referral! Our first lesson with him was amazing, he told us he knew the Book of Mormon was true and he asked us if he could come to church which has never happened to me on my mission before! It was so awesome!! Then we got a pretty strange call from him a day or 2 later about how he wasn't going to be able to come to church and that he didn't want to learn anymore... It was super sad, but we thankfully we able to set up another visit with him to see what had happened. At that visit he told us that a preacher from another church said all these bad things about us and the Book of Mormon and so that was why he didn't was to meet anymore so we just asked him to do one last thing before we would let him go and that was to ask God if what we were sharing was true. Last Saturday we went back to follow-up on that visit and what he told us was that he got an answer that it was all true, but he was still bothered by what the preacher had said. We read Moroni 7:13 with him and boldly taught him that we dont have to be afraid of what other people tell us, because God will never lead us astray! The Spirit was intense and he felt it because after that he was himself again! It was one of the most powerful testimony builders to me that I have experienced on my mission! I am so eternally grateful for the restored gospel of Jesus Christ and I know it is true! I love working with and teaching people about it because it brings me joy to testify of it! I love it!

Thank you all for being a support to me and helping me a lot in ways you could never imagine! I am honestly so blessed! :)

Elder Barazoto

Monday, May 16, 2016

May 16, 2016

Dear Family and Friends!

We had a super great week this week! We were pretty insanely busy with exchanges and Zone Conference but it has really been great! We went on 3 overnight exchanges this week so Elder Maloy and I havent really been working a whole lot together, but we definitely saw some awesome miracles in the process! Our first exchanges was on Monday and Tuesday and I went with an Elder that I served around in my first area, Elder Tan! He is awesome and we of course had a ton of fun remembering our experiences back in Williamstown, WV! Then we had another exchange from Wednesday to Thursday over in Lewisburg, West Virginia were I got to interview someone for baptism! I love doing these interviews because seeing people who are converted enter in at the gate of baptism is such an amazing thing to witness! Another really cool thing is I also interviewed her younger sister for baptism as well! That family is doing SO well and the gospel is truly working miracles for them! I love it!! Then immediately following the exchange, we had Zone Conference down in Lexington! President Salisbury taught us all so well and he really helped me see what I can improve on! He focused a lot on living up to our potential and how we can be a more effective mission! I remember coming away from that meeting being SO grateful for inspired leaders and ready to go to work! I know that President Salisbury is called of God to help and direct me in my efforts! It is so amazing! Following Zone Conference we had our 3rd exchange of the week! This time it was with the Assistants! Both assistants stayed in our area and we got so much done! That was pretty much the bulk of what we did this week and it was honestly so much fun!

The investigators that we are working the closest with is of course Debbie French! She was having a pretty rough week this week, but is so determined to get baptized, I love it! She currently has some health challenges that makes it a little hard for her to be able to progress fast so please pray for her that she will have the strength to do all that she needs to do this week! Can you all do that for me and her? Thank you! :)

We are also working with another family who we found recently and they are really starting to see and understand that we arent a scary cult! So that is HUGE! Ha! Pray for them as well, they are the Harris family! :) Thank you! Well that is all that has been going on this week for us! I truly love what I am doing and know that there is so more fulfilling work than this one! I know this church is true!

I love you all and have a great week!

Elder Barazoto

Monday, May 9, 2016

May 9, 2016

Dear Family and Friends!

Another great week here in Buena Vista! I really enjoy it here, I have learned and grown so much while I've been here, it's amazing!

So with zone meeting this week, we did a lot of preparations for that and it went really well! I conducted it again and I wasn't nearly as nervous as I was before! I feel that I am a much more calm and collected teacher now! It was great! :) After zone meeting we had an exchange with some Elders over in Lynchburg! It was on that exchange that I learn some pretty neat lessons! Its amazing how we go on exchanges to teach and help, but I end up learning and growing myself as a result! Our last lesson of that night seemed to be the most impactful to me, because of how this family we taught was affected! So we show up at their house to teach them there, but we just decided to ask them if they would be willing to follow us to the church building to have a lesson and a church tour! We walked around the church, explained what we do in all the rooms and the whole time this family is amazed and is loving it! After the tour we taught them a lesson about the sacrament and how it can bless our lives and that was amazing and they definitely felt the Spirit! We didn't even have to commitment them to come to church after that because they told us they would be coming! It was a simple experience, but it was profound to me. It helped me to realize how powerful the Spirit is and how it motivates us to do what is right! It prompted us to invited them to a church tour and prompted them to come to church! So cool! I know that I have felt that as I have served and it is amazing! 

Well there not much else to report on other than I am doing great and loving my mission! I can feel myself coming closer to my Savior and I know He lives! I know this is work is to change lives and I love being apart of it! It makes me so happy! Ha! Love you all!
Elder Barazoto

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

May 2, 2016

Dear Family and Friends!

What a crazy, awesome week! So with transfers going on this week, we have been doing a lot of preparing and executing transfers! We had some missionaries, while waiting on their new companions, stay with Elder Maloy and I in Buena Vista and it was a lot of fun! Elder Maloy went with one and I went with the other and we "blitzed" our area for half the day! I was with an Elder name Elder Mena and he is so awesome! He came out a transfer after me and he is pretty solid! We first were able to teach this one lady who was taught by missionaries in the past and is so prepared for the gospel! She knows the Book of Mormon is true, she just has a few thing we need to figure out how to resolve and she will be so golden! Her grandma is already a member of the church that is somewhat less active right now, but we want to work with them both and help them both progress together! It should be awesome!

Another highlight of the week was on Saturday! We went and did service at a part-member family's house! They have a super cool looking home just outside the town and they also own a decent sized amount of land! They needed help with their garden and it was a really neat experience! The dad is not currently a member, but as we worked hard with him in the garden and we started to create a relationship with him that will help us bring him into the gospel! He has been to church a bunch of times, I think he just needs a little more of a desire to get baptized! But it was super fun doing some good manual labor and getting my hands dirty! It reminded me a lot of the ranch and how much I enjoyed seeing the results of my labors! I will always remember Grandpa teaching me that you dont have to enjoy work, but find satisfaction in doing the hard things! That has proven to be such a great lesson to me especially on my mission because there are A LOT of hard things on the mission, but when we find true joy and satisfaction in the work and have a good attitude about everything, the hard things are as hard especially as we rely on Christ and His merciful Atonement! It's amazing!

I have learned so much on my mission and feel like a completely different person. I think I probably look exactly the same, but I feel pretty different! Haha! I love serving and I know that this IS the greatest and most fulfilling work I can be apart of! This work is true and Jesus Christ has restored His gospel for which I am so grateful for! Teaching people and then seeing them grow in the gospel is the most amazing thing and I couldn't trade it for anything! I love you all and hope you all have a great week!

Elder Barazoto