Monday, 30 November 2015

The Spirit of Thanksgiving

Hey everyone!

 This week was amazing as usual! Where do I start??

So on Tuesday we had a mission Webex and it was really cool because President and Sister Miller and the AP's and everyone in the mission office just shared the things that they're grateful for in the spirit of Thanksgiving! It was really sweet :) I love Thanksgiving. I love sharing my gratitude for all we have! I have SO much to be thankful for :) Something that I'm particularly thankful for right now is my mission and all the wonderful miracles I've seen these past 16 months. I've grown and changed so much and come closer to my Savior and I will be forever grateful for this opportunity I have to serve a mission :)

Something else awesome about this week is that we had some awesome lessons with our digital investigator, Michelle! She is just amazing. She loves reading the Book of Mormon with us! She didn't go to church on Sunday and she told us why. She told us that life has been crazy lately because she and her husband are getting ready to Ireland. Yes, all of my Brazilian digital investigators move to Ireland! And get this...she's moving in January! What are the chances?? Myself and Sister Saito KNOW that Heavenly Father led us to her for a reason. She is so ready to receive this gospel. We have a lesson with her tomorrow :) We're SO excited! 

On Thursday we had Thanksgiving and it was amazing! We actually had dinner at a South African family's home so there were no Americans present. It was just a bunch of foreign people celebrating Thanksgiving! It was awesome!

Our penguin knows what's up. #swiggityswag

Me with our penguin!
On Friday I went on exchanges to Worcester (Wustah). It was awesome! It's so ghetto! I love ghetto areas! It was cool to be there, but I missed my child and I was glad to get back to Marlborough and be with Sister Saito again!

Saturday was SUCH an amazing day! We went to the temple with our recent convert Rayana :) She got the work done for her grandfather. It was so special for her and for everyone! The spirit was so strong there and she was SO happy!

Sunday was amazing as usual. We actually found out that the pilot thing that the Boston Stake is doing won't be that different after all! They're not changing the time any more /.. it'll be the same. But we're still working on making the Sabbath more of a delight! It'll be awesome :)

Ask me if we're busy in December ...
Also, I had a really great end to my day yesterday. I called Roxanne from Norwich because yesterday was the year mark of her baptism! It was AMAZING to talk to her. She is the sweetest person! It made me so happy to talk to her again. It's been so long, but she is doing so well and she's still as strong as ever :) 

Things are going so great here and I'm happier than ever! I LOVE being a missionary! I LOVE the gospel, and I love all of you!

I hope you all have an amazing week!

Sister Rebekah Barrett

Monday, 23 November 2015

Miracles! Miracles Everywhere!

Hey everyone!!

Gosh, this week has been amazing! So many amazing things happened!

So on Tuesday we went to see one of our investigators, Gilka. Guess where she's from??? Yes that's right..Brazil! Well, when we went there her son, Tarcio was there and he had A TON of questions for us! Great questions! When we bore our testimonies to him about how the gospel of Jesus Christ can change his life he straight up told us that he really wants to make changes in his life. He said he wants to serve others, go to church etc. He has come to the right people! We took that opportunity to teach him and testify to him about Jesus Christ. He loved it and we're meeting with him again! He's our new investigator!

On Wednesday we went to see our recent Convert, Rayana (also from Brazil). We helped her to find a family name to take to the Temple so she can do baptisms. The Recent Convert Temple Trip is this coming Saturday and we REALLY want her to have her own family name to bring. We searched, and searched and searched! Brazilian family history is ROUGH! I thought doing Irish family history was hard. Apparently not. BUT we found a name! I have a testimony of It is AMAZING! Rayana has her own family name to take to the Temple this Saturday and she is SO excited! ALSO, she got her Patriarchal blessing yesterday! She is just on a spiritual high! I love Rayana! Even though we have limited communication because my Portuguese is rough and she struggles with English, I just really feel the spirit when I'm around her, and I'm so excited about her progression in the gospel! :)

Speaking of family history...after doing that family history stuff for Rayana I became more excited about it and I've been doing some of my own! Wow, it's exciting! I absolutely LOVE it! I feel closer and closer to my family who have gone before me as I find out more and more about them. 

This week I also learned how to pray in Portuguese! I can say a very simple prayer. I know I'll get better with time. It's coming along! :)

Sister Saito and I with Emily! She is such a sweetheart!
On Thursday, one of our members, Maria brought us out for dinner! We went to the Cheesecake Factory! Oh my goodness it was heaven! Also, she brought her friend who's not a member! It was awesome! We were able to tell her all about what we do, and she is just the sweetest lady! She kept saying that what we do is incredible! We REALLY want to start teaching her! She's amazing :)

This week we also found a new digital investigator (also from Brazil)! This woman is incredible! Her name is Michelle. We met her on Tuesday and we talked to her about who we are and what our purpose is as missionaries. We also bore our testimonies to her about Jesus Christ and His Atonement. She loved it! She told us that she wants to read the Book of Mormon so we got her address, called the local missionaries and got them to go by and give her a Book of Mormon and start teaching her. Well, they did! They taught her the Restoration. So when we had another Skype lesson with her on Friday we followed up with that, read 2 Nephi 31 with her and then we invited her to be baptized! Well...she said 'not yet.' But that's not "no". We're Skyping her again tomorrow. We invited her to go to her local church on Sunday. She lives right around the corner from the church. Also, she had another lesson with the local missionaries on Saturday so we'll find out how that went! Gosh, all of this happened in a week! I'm telling you, this woman is so prepared!

On Saturday we had a really special experience. So our Zone Leaders told us that they've been in contact with a lot of people from Greenfield lately because Keith, our recent convert is in the hospital in Worcester, where they're serving. They visit him a lot and they told us that we can visit him too because he's our recent convert! So on Saturday we took that opportunity and we went to Worcester to see Keith! He just had heart surgery, but he's doing really well! So we went in and Keith saw us and he said "Ahh hello little Sisters!!" He talked to us as though we never left. But he's SO different now! He has progressed SO much! He talked to us about how the Worcester Elders have been teaching him about the priesthood. They've been preparing him so that when he's better her can be ordained. He's really excited about it. He told us he can't wait to go back to Greenfield, wear his suit and bless and pass the sacrament! Bless his soul! He also talked about how he knows that the trial with his health is helping him to become stronger. He said that God is really helping him through this. Also, while we were there, the Caputos showed up! It was a Greenfield party in the hospital! Before we left, Keith said a prayer thanking Heavenly Father for sending us to him. When we left we were just glowing with happiness. Keith is doing so great and it was incredible to be there with him.

KEITH! This is the best picture we could get. It was an awkward angle.
Yesterday in church was also amazing. All the talks were on gratitude because this week is Thanksgiving!! I'm so excited! This is going to be another great week :)

I love this gospel so much! It brings me so much happiness! I love being a missionary! It is the greatest blessing!

I love you all! I hope you all have an amazing week!

Love always,
Sister Rebekah Barrett

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

A Week of Miracles

Hey everyone!

This week has been amazing! I LOVE Marlborough!

We have seen so many miracles this week! It's incredible!

On Tuesday Morning we went to do service for this old man who's not a member of the church. One of the members of our ward knows him and told him that we could do service for him. So we went over there and raked the leaves in his yard. It was a lot of work so we brought the Framingham Elders along too. At one point we were all working hard, raking the leaves, and the man came out (his name is Joe) and he started talking to all of us about how his wife died in February and he is still having a really hard time with it. It was so sad. He said "she wasn't just my wife, she was my best friend". It was heartbreaking. But the four of us took that opportunity to teach him the Plan of Salvation. We helped him to understand and know that he can be with her again and they can be together forever. He was so grateful! He said "that's beautiful!" It was amazing. Also, the Elders gave him a blessing. Afterwards, Joe said that he could feel the warmth of the spirit filling him as they laid their hands on his head. It was such an incredible experience. It was a huge miracle of our week!

On Wednesday, our miracle of the day was AMAZING! We stopped by to see this inactive family. It's a Dad and four kids. His wife also died this year and we wanted to stop by and see if he needed help with anything and if he'd like some Home Teachers to come over. Well, he wasn't there, but the nanny and all the kids were. We talked to their nanny and she is so sweet! Her name is Lisa. She told us that she wasn't brought up with religion but she's been going to a church for years and she loves Jesus Christ. We told her what we do as missionaries and asked her if she'd like to learn more about the gospel. She said "absolutely!". She told us that even though she's been going to her church, she doesn't know if it's the right church. She said that whatever church she joins she will be 100% committed to it. She said "I don't just want to go to church. I want to LIVE my religion!' We were like "YES!!". Also, we gave her a Book of Mormon and invited her to read 3 Nephi 11. She said that she would, and she said that she wanted to read more to be prepared for when we come back! It was incredible!

Then on Thursday our miracle of the day was also amazing! We went to see a less active woman, Michelle. She invited us in and we got to know her a little bit. Then we asked her what her spiritual goals are so we could see where she's at and how we can help her. She told us that she wants to get into a habit of reading her scriptures every day because she's not doing that right now. We suggested that we could come over and read with her once a week to get her into the habit of it. So she agreed to that, and she was really grateful that we came :) We're really excited to work with her more. We were so glad that we stopped by to see her. We know that the Lord led us there.

This week we found a caterpillar in our car, so Sister Saito put him into a water bottle. We hate bugs!

The caterpillar himself.

On Friday we had an awesome Zone meeting! It was crazy though. I've never seen so many individuals at a Zone meting before. This Zone is HUGE! There were 30 missionaries in that room! It was slightly overwhelming but it was a fantastic Zone Meeting! 

This weekend was amazing! Saturday was such a great day! I'm getting a hang of this Portuguese thing...well kinda. I can bear my testimony, introduce myself and talk about food. That's all I need! Right?
Speaking of food...Saturday was rough with the food. We had a breakfast appointment, a lunch appointment, another lunch appointment and a dinner appointment. Then at our appointment after our dinner appointment, the family tried to give us food and I was like "nooooooooo!". I felt ill. I have eaten more food in the past 2 days than I did the past 6 months! And all we eat here is rice!!!! Not complaining though. I LOVE rice! 

A Brazilian soda called Guarana! It's so good!

Sunday was such an amazing day. I love this ward so much. The people here are the sweetest! We had the Primary Program and it was SO cute! The kids did such an amazing job :) Then we went to the Portuguese Sunday school and I didn't really know what was going on, and then we went to the English Relief Society. It was so great!  We had a lesson on missionary work and it was amazing. At the end, one of the Brazilian Sisters walked in and handed us an envelope. We opened it and it had notes from all the Relief society Sisters in the Portuguese group telling us how much they love and appreciate us and how grateful they are for the work we do. Myself and Sister Saito just cried! It was SO sweet!

The sky after church yesterday! Church finishes at 4pm here.
Also, we found out something awesome yesterday! The Boston Stake is piloting a new Sabbath day observance program starting in January. So what's happening is, they're cutting down the time of church from 3 hours to 2 hrs and 15 minutes. Sacrament meeting will be 45 minutes and each class will be 35 minutes with 10 minutes of break time in between. Sacrament meeting will be totally different. We're not going to have announcements in Sacrament meeting..they'll just be on the program. It'll be opening hymn, opening prayer, youth speaker for 5 minutes, adult speaker for 15 minutes and then sacrament hymn and administering of the sacrament is at the very end. After the sacrament there'll be a closing prayer and that's it. It's TOTALLY different! Also, there will be no meetings throughout the Stake on Sundays after church. No choir, no firesides, nothing. They want people to be able to go home and spend time with their families after church. This is all coming about because Elder Holland challenged our Stake President to find out what they need to do as a Stake to improve their Sabbath Day observance. So this is what's happening! I'm excited to see what it'll be like!

I love you all! I hope you've all had an equally amazing week! :)

Just a quick selfie!
Love always,
Sister Rebekah Barrett

Monday, 9 November 2015

Forces Reunite!

"Hey everyone!

Wow this week was CRAZY!! So many changes!!!

My last few days in Avon were so good, but so sad. I said all my goodbyes to everyone. We were running around trying to visit EVERYONE before I left. One of my last teaching appointments there was with this inactive woman, Iris. Bless her soul. She has so many health problems and she is struggling a lot. She told us that we were sent to her from Heavenly Father at a really crucial time in her life. She was so grateful that we could be there for her. I was so grateful that we could be there too! It was an amazing experience. She's a sweetheart.

Saying goodbye to Sister Salazar

and saying goodbye to Laurie!
 On Wednesday we went to Transfer meeting. I LOVE Transfer meeting!! EVERYONE and their dog was there! All three of my companions who are still in the mission were there, EVERYONE from Greenfield was there! It was amazing! And all of the departing testimonies from the departing missionaries were fantastic :)

Then I got to go home to Marlborough with my firstborn in the wilderness, Sister Saito! It has been amazing being back with her. She is SO great! I'm so glad we get to be companions again! 

We had an amazing lesson on Thursday. It was our first lesson since we've been back together. Wow, Sister Saito is an incredible missionary! Such an amazing teacher! This lesson was in English so I was able to participate (thank goodness). While she was teaching it reminded me of when we were companions back in Greenfield and we had interviews with President Packard one day. When I was in my interview, we were talking about how great Sister Saito is and he just said "That woman has the spirit with her!". I can testify of that!! The spirit was SO strong as we taught about the restoration of the gospel and as we testified of Jesus Christ. I LOVE being a missionary!!

My first dinner appointment in Marlborough was fabulous. We went to a Brazilian family's house and they had cooked this wonderful meal. Their dog, Pepsi, kept trying to jump up on me the whole time. At one point, I was sitting at the table and the dog had it's two front paws up on my lap. Then the dog proceeded to cough, and it coughed up some chicken onto my skirt. Sister Saito was like "Welcome to Marlborough!' and it was so funny that I couldn't even be disgusted about it. All I could do was laugh! So that was a lovely experience..

Speaking Portuguese has been crazy! I don't really speak. I just sit there and nod and smile. I'm understanding a lot more than I did before, but speaking it is different. I know I'll get better and better each day with the Lord's help. I know I'm here for a reason!

These past few days have been so great. Church was amazing yesterday. The ward is incredible. The people here are so friendly and welcoming. They love the missionaries. That's always a good thing :) I'm so excited to be here!

Eu amo ser um missionaria!!

I love you all!

I hope you all have an amazing week!

Sister Rebekah Barrett"

If you would like to write to Sister Barrett in her new area, you can contact myself or Maria on Facebook for the details, or you can send it to the mission home, the address for which is on the side of the page. Also for anyone wishing to send Sister Barrett something for Christmas, the final posting date for standard post parcels (through An Post) is December 7th. Thank you so much for all your continued love and support!

Monday, 2 November 2015

Eu nao falo Portugues?

Hey everyone!!

Okay so big news of the week...I'm getting transferred to a new area for my last 3 months! I'm going to Marlborough, Massachusetts! It's in the Boston Stake! I am SO excited!! But wait...there's more...

Marlborough is a Portuguese area. I am now in the Portuguese program and I'll be learning Portuguese over the next 3 months! I'm actually SO excited!!! This is a CRAZY new challenge but I'm ready to learn!!

Plus I have an amazing new companion that will teach me the ways of the Portuguese program. Well...she's not really a new companion. She's an old companion. Yes, I get my Brazilian baby back! Sister Saito is my new companion!! I have SO much to learn from her! I'm so excited to be companions with her again!!!

So this is my INSANE news of the week!!!!

As for the rest of the week...

On Tuesday we went on exchanges with the Glastonbury Sisters. I went to Glastonbury with Sister Meireles (She's from Minas Gerais, Brazil...ALL THE BRAZILIANS!). We set off on our way to Glastonbury and when we were just past Hartford City, I realised that I had our phone.. We had to turn around and drive ALL the way back to Avon to give Sister Egan and Sister Lind the phone. I can't count the amount of times I've done that. Somehow I ALWAYS end up bringing the phone with me on exchanges! Haha but the exchange was really good. I learn a lot from Sister Meireles. We had the opportunity to Skype our digital investigator, Beatriz. She is also from Brazil! So Sister Meireles got to teach her all about the Book of Mormon and we got her information so we can contact the missionaries there to get her a hard copy of the Book of Mormon. It was really exciting!

Then on Saturday, Sister Egan and I Skyped her and we taught her the Plan of Salvation. We told her that I was going to a new area with a new companion and she was so sad that Sister Egan wouldn't be there. But I'm sure she'll be grateful when she realises that soon I'll be able to speak to her in her own language! 

So then on Wednesday we had interviews with President Miller. While everyone was going in and out of their interviews, the Zone Leaders and STL's did some great training with our District. Once again, I love our District. We all got to share why we decided to come on a mission and it was really amazing to hear everyone's reasons. I feel honoured to have the opportunity to serve around such incredible missionaries.

On Thursday we had a really good lesson with Mikele. We just read the Book of Mormon with her and helped her to understand and feel the peace that comes from reading the Book of Mormon daily. I'm really sad that I won't be teaching her anymore but I know that Sister Egan and Sister Zickella (yes that's my MTC companion, Sister Zickella) will really be able to help her.

Saturday night was super boring! As you know, we have an early curfew on Halloween. It was painful. Sister Egan took a nap and I wrote in my journal...and that was our Halloween.

Sunday was so sad! It's hard saying goodbye to everyone, but I'll always treasure the time that I spent here in Avon. I'm going to miss all the people and I'm going to miss Sister Egan. But I've learned so much here, and now it's time for me to go back to my Brazilian baby and learn how to teach people in Portuguese! #letsgooooooooo

Saying goodbye to the Callado family! I love them!

The Armisteds. They're hilarious!

I love you all SO much! I hope you all have an incredible week!

Sister Rebekah Barrett