Wednesday, December 28, 2016

December 28, 2016

Awesome week! Most of the news this week is what is happening for transfers, it's pretty crazy and I was not expecting what is going to happen!! So President Salisbury called me Monday and released me as a zone leader. I was reflecting on my experience serving in this capacity and it has been such a huge blessing to me. I feel so privileged that God, the creator of the entire universe, has entrusted me with the sacred responsibility to look after a few of His missionaries! What a blessing! So after that, President then asked me to serve as a district leader again!! I was pretty excited because I didn't think I would ever get to be a district leader again! With the knowledge that I have gained since the last time I was a district leader, it makes me really excited to continue to serve other missionaries, but on a more personal level! YAY! :)

All this was pretty great news, but it doesn't even end there! My new area is going to be Marietta, Ohio!! No one probably remembers this, but my very first area on my mission was Williamstown, WV and Williamstown is literally right next to Marietta! So I am going back to the first ward I have ever served in on my mission! I am so stoked! My time in Williamstown honestly feels like 1000 years ago so I am really excited to serve there again as a much more experienced missionary! Also, another pretty crazy thing is I will be in a tri-panionship!! And one of the missionaries I am going with is someone I served around in Buena Vista!! Most of this is probably seems pretty insignificant to everyone, but it all just makes me super happy :)

Well, I am super sad to leave Clarksburg and Elder Clark, but I know that God has work for me to do in Marietta and I am just super excited to bring people to the joyous truths of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. I love testifying of the Book of Mormon as convincing evidence of this Restoration. For me, it has impacted me in amazing ways. When I read it, I feel the Holy Ghost inspiring me to be a better person and also missionary. Every time I read the Book of Mormon I KNOW that it is much more than just a book. It is the word of God and it testifies to us all that God loves us more than we can comprehend and He will always guide us to greater joy and happiness if we follow Him and His chosen prophets. The church is just so true and good :) I hope everyone had a great Christmas and have a great new year! I love you all very much! Be good! :)

Elder Barazoto

Monday, December 19, 2016

December 19, 2016

Hello Family and Friends! 
Well this has been a great week! Lots of things are happening that we are pretty stoke about! I am just so amazed at how many people the Lord is preparing to hear about the restored gospel of Jesus Christ! So this week Elder Clark and I went to go visit a part-member family that we have been working a lot with. We had this lesson set up a while in advance and when we found out that they weren't home when we came by we were pretty sad and also confused... The son's girlfriend actually answered the door and so we decided to try and make the best of the situation and get to know her a little bit. She ended up inviting us in and we were able to teach her! It was awesome! She is super nice and will probably be coming to church with the member family this weekend! We are really excited about her so we will see what happens! :)

We also taught another preacher this week! It's always a different experience every time we met one and this one was pretty interesting. We sat around his table and he just asked us a bunch of different questions about the church. Unfortunately a lot of the questions were most likely from an anti-Mormon website, but we were able to clear up a lot of his questions! The nice thing about teaching preachers is that they are usually pretty humble and so we were able to commit him to join the church if he came to know the Book of Mormon was true! He said he has lots of questions for us to answer for him so we will mostly teach him again hopefully this week. I have heard about preachers getting baptized because missionaries answered all their questions so I'll be crossing my fingers and praying he recognizes the truth! 

Well Elder Clark and I are having tons of fun and we are super for Christmas! We have a couple of appointments on Christmas so we are being taken care of. It is such a great time of year to remember and testify to others of the birth and mission of the Savior. His birth and ministry are truly reasons to rejoice! May you all have a great week and a Merry Christmas! Love you all!

Elder Barazoto

Also, please don't laugh at the pictures this week! I realize that I am the least photogenic person on the planet... Ha! These pictures are a pretty accurate representation of Elder Clark and I's companionship ​

Monday, December 12, 2016

December 12, 2016

Happy P-day! It still amazes me how short the weeks feel! Its also pretty crazy that Christmas is in two weeks! I love the holidays and I hope everyone is enjoying this Christmas season as well! The Savior and what he has done for all of us is something we definitely need to celebrate.

Did I mention last week that I was going to speak in church? Well yesterday I spoke in sacrament meeting and it well pretty well I think! It was actually the first planned talk I have had to give on my mission! One time I was asked to speak about an hour before church started, but I think I like knowing at least a week in advance that I'm speaking :) haha! I spoke about Elder Oak's talk that he gave in the most recent general conference. It was pretty fun talking about what members need to do to be better member missionaries! I can tell that I feel a lot more comfortable talking in church than before my mission.

This week we were also able to have some sweet lessons with a couple different people! So we are working with an awesome part-member family. The daughter is a non-member and she sometimes seems a little closed off at times. Missionaries in the past were almost able to get her to baptism, but she hasn't been very close since I've been here. But we had a lesson with her this week and we were talking about the Kingdoms of Glory and I feel that we needed to just change our focus to baptism and how it helps us. I just ask her if she felt that she needs to get baptized and she said yes! We were also able to get her to talk about what holding her back and clear up the confusion she had! Elder Clark and I feel that she is making great steps towards baptism hopefully in the near future! It's pretty exciting!

Another cool thing is we were finally able to make contact with a long time investigator again this week and he is super fired up about baptism as well! He was even making progress to quit chewing tobacco in the time we haven't been meeting with him! Super cool and super prepared! :)

Well that's mostly it for this week! The weather has been pretty cold these past couple days so that's been kinda unfortunate, but I'm not as cold as I was last year so that's good! Elder Clark and I are having tons of fun and we are getting along really well! Life is pretty good! I love you all and I hope you have a great week! 

Elder Barazoto

Monday, December 5, 2016

December 5, 2016

Pretty sweet week! We did a couple of exchanges this week and those are always a lot of fun! One was with the Elders in downtown Clarksburg. We did a lot of tracting and decided to go to this apartment complex where a bunch of people lived. There we ran into a less-active member who we thought moved away! It turns out she is staying in Clarksburg! We were pretty happy about that because teaching her is absolutely hilarious! She is probably one of my favorite people to visit in this area. She was only baptized about a year ago so everything is still a little bit new to her, but she is doing pretty good! Hopefully we can get her coming back to church soon! The other exchange we had this week was with an Elder named Elder Richard. He has been out for almost 6 months and he was trained by Elder Larson! I dont know if you all remember Elder Larson, but I trained Elder Larson when I was serving in Hillsville! So because I trained Elder Larson, he is my son and because Elder Larson trained Elder Richard, he is my grandson! Ha! We had a lot of fun, and we found a pretty sweet potential investigators while tracting! Then that night we had a super sweet lesson with another less-active member in our area. He was having a hard time accepting the Book of Mormon as scripture and Joseph Smith as a prophet, but we just kept telling him to read and pray about it! Missionaries have been visiting him since before I've been here and he just started to listen to the Book of Mormon a few weeks ago! So when we went to visit him a couple days ago, he told us about what happened to him as he was listen to the Book of Mormon this week. He told us that everything just kind of clicked and he just recognized that the people in the book are real and it was truly God's word! It was amazing!! Experiences like that dont happen very often so it was really special to be able to witness it especially from someone who we are teaching! I love those kinds of experiences because they just reaffirm my testimony over and over again! The church is true! Haha

So some other things that happened this week was we had our zone meeting! It was Elder Clark's first time conducting a zone meeting and he was a little nervous, but it went pretty well! One thing that we talked about was being a consecrated missionary and the blessings that come from being consecrated. It was great! Then yesterday night before the First Presidency Christmas Devotional, our stake put on a huge Christmas fireside! A bunch of people performed and it was just really great! Elder Clark served in this stake before he came with me so he got to say hi to a bunch of people he knew. He was pretty excited about that. Ha!

Well thats mostly it for this week! Our top investigator didn't come to church this week so we need to push back his baptismal date... :( but hopefully he and his family will shape up and he can get baptized soon! I am doing well and loving my mission! Love you all, and have a great week! :)