Monday, August 29, 2016

August 29, 2016

Hello everyone! 

Woah, it's been a pretty crazy week! I have been in Clarksburg, West Virginia now for a couple days and I really love it! :)

Thursday was transfer day and it felt so long! I woke up at 3 am and I rode in a huge enterprise truck to Charleston! We call it the "train" but the mission has a couple of big 17 passenger vans that drive to and from Charleston to pick up and drop off missionaries. So on the way to Charleston we had multiple stops where we saw other missionaries that I knew and that was really fun connecting with them again! I felt a little stressed because I was kind of directing everything and trying to make sure everyone was where they were supposed to be. It was good though! Then we rode a different bus to Clarksburg and got there at about 4 o'clock! We got to work and were able to teach a couple people before the day was over which was great! I was pretty drained from traveling all day and was ready to go to bed that night! Ha! 

So my new companion is Elder Palmer and he grew up in Arizona, but moved to Perry, Utah before his mission. Its pretty sweet having a companion that has lived in Arizona! He is super awesome. He is pretty athletic and played sports throughout high school. He is absolutely hilarious and we get along really great! I am super excited for this transfer because we are going to accomplish so much! I have only been here a couple days and based on all the great this going on, we will probably be seeing some baptisms really soon!!

Sunday was a little different because in Buena Vista there is only 1 set in the ward, but in Clarksburg we have 3 sets in the ward! So we had a TON of investigators at church which was super cool! The ward here is really great, its smaller than what I am used to but it's still really strong!

Well that's mostly it for this week! I am loving it here in Clarksburg and I am especially love being a missionary! It is so amazing! The church is true!

Elder Barazoto
Elder Palmer and I!

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

August 24, 2016

Hello everyone! Another crazy week in Buena Vista! Mostly because I had to tell everyone that I am getting transfered... :( Its pretty sad, I have LOVED serving in Buena Vista and I have grown so much from the experiences I have had here! Tomorrow morning I will wake up at around 3 a.m. so I can be in Charleston, WV for the transfer meeting! Then they will ship me to my new area, Clarksburg, West Virginia! Its near the top of West Virginia pretty close to Pennsylvania and Maryland. This has been the hardest area to leave, but there will be some pretty neat experiences in Clarksburg I am excited for! :) 

So we have been saying a lot of goodbyes, but we still have been able to accomplish so much! Saturday was awesome because we had a baptism! Asa John was baptized, confirmed, and ordained a deacon all in about 2 hours! Ha! It was really cool and I am super happy for him! Then on Sunday we had an awesome turn out! A bunch of the families we are working with came to church! It was awesome and it was a really rewarding last Sunday in Buena Vista! 

Yesterday was probably the best day of the week though! Brittney who we have been working with for a while now came to a church tour!!! It has been pretty hard helping her come to church so the fact that she came to look around the church yesterday was a HUGE step! It was a really awesome experience and the Spirit was really strong! She hopefully will now feel much more comfortable with coming to church on Sunday! It may not seem like a big deal, but the progress she has made from when Elder Maloy and I first started teaching her is amazing! I feel that the most amazing thing about missionary work is seeing that progress in people! It adds another witness to me that this is the true church on the earth because I know that with my lack of abilities and talents, there is no way I could have helped these people live happier lives if this wasn't God's divine work! I know this work is true!

Sorry for the shorter email, but I have a bunch of pictures this week! :)

Elder Barazoto

This is my Ward Mission Leader Brother Turman!

This is the Stake President and his family! We do a lot of work with him as a zone leader!

Kenny, one of our awesome investigators! He is hilarious! Ha!

This is Buck and Sue! Buck played minor league baseball in Idaho and is good friends with Charlie Manuel! They are awesome!

Randy, another awesome investigator!

This is a member family, the Grawrocks! They are one of my favorites!

The Porters, are a newer married couple in the middle and on the far left is a recent convert who they fellowshipped and I even helped teach! I have mentioned her story before, they are awesome!

The Garrets! A family that we are working with! They are really fun!

Brittney and her 2 kids (Far right) at the church tour yesterday!

Monday, August 15, 2016

August 15, 2016

Hi everyone! This has been a super awesome week! We had some really neat experiences happen that makes me so grateful to be serving in Buena Vista! So because we have an unusually large amount of members in this area, we do a lot of member work and we saw some great results from our efforts! There's this family in particular that we have been visiting every week to teach them from Preach My Gospel about missionary skills! One of their sons has been wanting to share the gospel with his friend so a couple weeks ago, we had a game night at their house and we taught a lesson afterwards! We didn't think too much about it until the family brought this non-member friend to church yesterday! After church, he came up to me and Elder Christensen and said, "I was wondering if in a couple of weeks I could maybe get baptized?" I was shocked!! We of course told him yes and we will be working with him more this week! I share that story because it makes me SO grateful for member missionaries who know the blessings of sharing the gospel with their friends! It hastens the Lord's work more than anything! I want to challenge everyone to look for one opportunity to share the gospel with one of your friends! Pray that the Lord with strengthen and guide you to who you need to reach out to because He will! :)

We also had a pretty sweet tender mercy fall into our laps this week! We're having another baptism!! His name is Asa and he is really great! He is actually the son of two very active members of the church, but he has autism so the bishop wanted to postpone his baptism till he was more ready! So we got a text on Tuesday night from the bishop telling us that he is now ready! He still needs all the missionary lessons so we have been scrambling to teach them all to him because he's getting baptized this Saturday! Its been pretty crazy, but we are super excited for him! 

Well, thats mostly it for this week! Next week we have transfers so we find out if anyone is getting transfered on Saturday! I'm a little nervous because I've been here for a good while and I really don't want to get transfered! Ha! I love you all and I hope you have a great week! :)

Elder Barazoto

Monday, August 8, 2016

August 8, 2016

Dear Family and Friends!

Wow, its been a really great week! We had MLC and zone meeting this week and those were both super great! Elder Christensen and I have some really great stories to tell this week! :) So I've mentioned before that we are teaching a Georgian Orthodox Bishop and that is just crazy in itself but this week it got even crazier!! He's already been to church once but this week one of his kids got sick Sunday morning, yet he still came to church! It was a perfect and even valid excuse for him to not come to church, but he left his wife with him and came to church anyways! It was pretty amazing to see and he even committed to come next week and bring his whole family! I think he really enjoys church and its pretty interesting to see how his views and beliefs have been changing since he's been coming to church! 

Then we had another pretty neat experience following church! So Elder Christensen and I had been struggling to find new people to teach and we really wanted to teach more people! So all day Sunday we were doing our best to talk to as many people as we could, but no one seemed to want to listen to us... It was a little rough until the perfect idea came into my head! We needed to take a second and say a special prayer to be led to someone new that we could teach! So we parked our car and I offered a prayer and immediately felt and knew what we needed to do! We started walking down a street we had already been many times and saw someone outside and went to talk to them! It was an older lady and a high school student who knew members and loved the church! We were able to teach them just before the day ended and they seem pretty promising! It was an amazing miracle and another experience to treasure from my mission! I have lots of those and I expect to have a lot more! It's honestly really amazing because as a missionary you can literally call down the powers of heaven to assist you in this work for the salvation of souls! I have learned that Heavenly Father will grant us according to our pure desires and true faith! It is such a blessing to be serving the Lord, and its humbling that he would allow me to wear and represent His name and church every single day! I love you all and appreciate all your love and support! I hope you have a great week!

Elder Barazoto
Here is the Orthodox Bishop! We call him Bishop Joe!

Monday, August 1, 2016

August 1, 2016

Happy P-day everyone! So this has been a really awesome week! We've been able to see so many little miracles in the work, and I love it! So this week, some of our investigators have been having a hard time, but we are working really hard with them and trying to help them feel the gospel is true! Its hard work, but seeing people accept the gospel is totally worth every effort! We also were able to have some really fun exchanges with some of the Elders in our zone which are always a blast! 

One pretty interesting thing this week was when we found out that someone we taught here in Buena Vista is getting baptized! Except she lives in Staunton, Virginia which is out of the mission boundaries so she's getting baptized there this Saturday! I've mentioned her before a couple weeks ago, but she is totally on fire now! She was considering moving to Buena Vista and she was introduced to the church by members in BV so we taught her for a little bit, but she decided to get baptized in Staunton which is ok because all that matters is that she's getting baptized! It's super awesome to see her progress and she is SO excited! 

Another pretty awesome experience this week was actually during my studies. I had decided that I wanted a stronger testimony of how the Book of Mormon can bring peace to us. So I dedicated as much time as I could during my personal studies to just reading the Book of Mormon and applying everything to my life and evaluating how it brought a peaceful feeling. Over the course of the week, I truly felt the presence of the Holy Ghost bring peace and comfort to myself! It was really amazing and is now one part of my testimony of the Book of Mormon that I treasure! I always knew it was true and had a testimony of its truthfulness, but now my testimony is that much stronger! I can humbly testify that I know the Book of Mormon is true AND DOES bring us peace, joy and comfort as we read and study it. I can promise that anyone who reads and ponders the message of the Book of Mormon will feel of our Heavenly Father's love and desire to come closer to our Savior, Jesus Christ! I am so grateful for the gospel and I am grateful for a Heavenly Father loves us despite all our weaknesses! I love my mission and it has helped me to come to know these things! Its the best!

Well I hope everyone is doing well and hope you all have a great week! Love you all!

Elder Barazoto
​Me and Elder Christensen!

​This is Summer who is getting baptized in Staunton this Saturday! Hurray!