Sunday, November 30, 2014

Rosie's mailing address

It is coming up on the Christmas season and I wanted to give you Rosie's address so that it would be handy if you were inclined to send her something. I know that she would love to get cards or whatever from people back home.

The best address to use for mailing anything to her is:

Hermana Rosemary Julia Baratta Romero
Mision El Salvador San Salvador Este
Apartado Postal #3362
San Salvador, El Salvador
Centro America


Saturday, November 22, 2014

11-17-14 We need love, not likes.

To my dear family
and friends (or whoever reads these letters!)

What a great week! We learned a lot in our zone conference Friday, and stake conference Saturday/Sunday. It was incredible. An area 70 [regional leader] came to visit because they reorganized the stake presidency. His name is Elder Alonso. He was an incredible speaker. After the Saturday session and the Sunday session in which he spoke, we came home saying that we felt like we needed to repent right that very moment.

Favorite line, which he said about social media: "We need love, not likes." It made me realize that the computer is a big waste of time and that it's more important talking face to face with people (and talking to those we love that are distant).

I wanted to share an analogy I heard a few months ago. There was a man, that God commanded to go to a mountain and push a huge rock with all his might. This rock was so big that he couldn't make it budge. Every morning, bright and early, he set out to push the rock and didn't go home until the sun set. After a few months of such labors, the man began to complain saying, "Why did you send me to push this rock? I'm never going to move it!" God responded, "I didn't send you to move the rock, only to push it with all your might."

What the man gained wasn't moving the rock, it was the strength he gained in struggling with all his might. We have so much to gain in striving to achieve hard and even impossible tasks. For me the mission has been a hard experience. Actually, I think if you ask anyone, it's hard. (One investigator put it this way: If it were easy, everyone would do it). But it has been an experience of incredible growth. I am grateful for every moment of it, even the hard ones.

Like my companion said to me this week, we wanted more faith, so we were given more trials. Every experience, bad or good, happy or disappointing, work together in God's great plan for our benefit. May you be granted the perspective to recognize how you can learn and grow in every moment and may we all be guided on the path of happiness and eternal salvation.

Love you all!
Hermana Romero (Baratta)

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

11-10-14 It sure is fun writing home in a cyber

...because they're always playing reggaeton or American music. Either way it's distracting! But it's all good, we're back to having an hour plus of computer time so I can't complain here. :)

This week hmm was pretty special. Haha that's what my companion and I say to each other when the people reject us and/or aren't in their homes. It's pretty hard to teach the Gospel and find people that want to repent and be baptized if you don't have anyone to teach. But in spite of the work being pretty special (I feel like I'm just gtting a little taste of what missionary work is like in the States), we've found some incredible new investigators this week.

-we spent like 3 hours trying to contact people, and we couldn't find ANYONE to teach. So we just kept knocking doors etc. in faith, and one misdirection led us to a super awesome lady who had had member neighbors before but had never listened to missionaries. Turns out she's been passing for trials in her life and really needs the Gospel in her life. Then we went to look for another reference, and in the path found another family. I love being a missionary because I see sooo many little miracles like this. I've really been learning to be more grateful.
-Idalia, who accepted a baptismal date in the first lesson, and told us that she'd had a lot of problems in her life but now was looking to put everything in order and to have a closer relationship with God. The next day, we visited her again, and she said she was already seeing the blessings in her life.

Other good news: we had an excellent meeting with the bishop, stake president and several other leaders of the ward this week. We read D&C 109:22* together and talked about the importance of everyone working hard and doing what corresponds to them. The stake president gave a comparison of a bunch of doesn't matter how much energy you put into the system, if they're not lined up right, it's never going to run well. I love this because, sometimes I just want to work super hard, but it's important to work effectively and as a team. I think these ideas are going to help the ward a lot.

Today we made baleadas, a Hondurenean dish SO GOOD they taste like Indian naan. I think I've pretty much mastered it to bring home and make for yall.

Wow this letter is really long. And I forgot to include a funny story (there's always a ton of those. Here's a short one: We showed up early for a lesson appointment, and the investigator said, "Ustedes quieren ir al cielo ya" ("You want to go to heaven already").)

Hermana Romero

*v. 22 And we ask thee, Holy Father, that thy servants may go forth from this house armed with thy power, and that thy name may be upon them, and thy glory be round about them, and thine angelshave charge over them;

Monday, November 3, 2014

11-3-14 Back in Monte Cristo

Dear fam sauce

Sooo we had transfers this week, and I returned to my second area! Well, not exactly. I'm in the same ward, but working the other half of the area because the ward is divided between two companionships of sisters. It's a bit like Belmont (in the sense that the people here are pretty well off and there's a lot of "all set" Catholics), but in spite of that, we've been able to find people that are willing to listen to our message. And hopefully, as we work with the members, we'll be able to help them come to church and to the waters of baptism.

I'm with Hermana O, from Honduras. She is so awesome - a hard worker, really focused, hilarious, really converted and obedient (I love obedient companions. They are the best, because we can just focus on the work and not on the rules!). God knows exactly where we need to be and with whom.

My trainer, Hermana I just finished her mission this past week. She's from Pennsylvania, so I'll be able to see her after the mission. Yay!

I don't have anything else super huge to share this week. Much love to all!
Hermana Romero

Photos: Hermanas from my zone (the zone with the most hermanas in the mission. Soo excited!)

Hermana Romero with her trainer - Hermana I
who just went home to Pennsylvania last week

Hermana Romero with her new companion,
Hermana O

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

10-27-14 Happy Halloween!

Did you know that in Central America they don't celebrate Halloween because of superstitions about witches? Last year, the little primary kids dressed up in costumes for the ward activity of the week and some lady got really offended, saying "What kind of Christians are you that you celebrate this pagan holiday?" Oops... Good thing she doesn't live in the States!

It's been such a good week. I feel like every week has challenges, but this week, I just feel grateful for all our blessings. We're always working on finding prepared people and not wasting time on people that aren't ready to accept the Gospel/who don't want to change their lives/who don't want to investigate. There's a reason we use the word "investigators" when talking about the people we teach...because those that really want to find out for themselves (aka investigate the church) are those that we want to focus on. And this past week, we've found a lot of such people.

Another blessing. We're always struggling to help investigators come to church, and this week was no exception. But as we left the house, in spite of the fact, that we only had one confirmed to go to church, I felt an assurance that there would be more. Imagine my surprise when we passed by the house of our investigator, and she wasn't even there! But the Lord works in many ways, and it turns out, one of her neighbors, who we had invited earlier in the week, was in that very moment getting ready to go to church with us! We went and knocked on his door, and there he was, ready to go! (in the end, the investigator ended up going to church with her member all worked out well!)

Yesterday, I had a wonderful spiritual experience during the sacrament. This past general conference, there was a focus on how we can better take advantage of this weekly ordinance, and I love an experience Cheryl A Esplin shared about a woman who tried to do a self-evaluation every week during the sacrament: that, by focusing on her sins and repenting, "she began to feel gloomy and pessimistic. She could see that she was making the same errors over and over again, week to week. But then she had a distinct impression that she was neglecting a big part of the Atonement—Christ’s enabling power. She was forgetting all the times the Savior helped her be who she needed to be and serve beyond her own capacity."

I know that Jesus' Atonement has allowed me to "find strength beyond [my] own" (Hymn 220). I have felt this many times this week. God loves us so much that he gives us experiences that will help us grow, and he has also given us the Atonement so that when we ask for help, it is abundantly given us. May we all in this week use this marvelous gift. Let's not, as I sometimes have done, get bogged down in our own errors or feelings of inadequacy, but rather remember that weak things can be made strong through the grace of Jesus Christ.

Have a wonderful week! I love you all!
Hermana Romero

10-20-14 Earthquake!

Hey family!

Mom and Dad have probably already informed you but we had a mild earthquake (7.4) here in El Salvador last Monday. I went and stood in a doorframe because that was the only earthquake safety I could remember in the moment (although now I know that you're supposed to leave the house), and nothing was damaged or severely affected.

As far as missionary work, in some ways it was sort of a bummer week (we had a couple days of finding people that weren't super positive, and only one investigator showed up to church!)...but it's been helping me trust in God more, that He'll help us recognize where to go and who to teach and what to say. I've been asking myself every day, what I can do better, and then trying to do that.

And the other good thing is I've been learning to recognize the little blessings and miracles of every day! Yesterday, we were able to find two families that said if they recieve an answer they'll be baptized. Saturday, in spite of having to cancel all our plans last minute and run over to the chapel for a baptism, we were able to teach a ton of lessons. Little things like that testify to me that God cares about me, and that this is his work.

Other blessing of the week has been working more effectively with members. I wrote to my mission president this week about how many wonderful people we've found that want to know the Gospel, and how we two missionaries can't do all the work alone...we've got to work with the members! There's always been some challenges with that in this ward, but in my personal prayers and scripture study, I feel like I've been coming to some conclusions about what specifically we can do. What a great blessing personal revelation is! Sometimes it's hard to believe that God worries about what we worry about and that we're capable of recieving advice from him, but I know that it's possible every day of our lives. And I know that letting God take the wheel (metaphorically speaking) means we'll be able to make better choices that we'd make without him.

Love you all to bits and pieces!
Hermana Romero

10-13-14 Definitely the best baptism - Melissa

Dear family!

This week, Melissa got baptized! Thanks to the mercies of God, everything turned out well. She had planned her baptism for 11 in the morning, and despite our best efforts to invite ward members and investigators, no one, and I mean, NO ONE could come! Only her neighbor who was going to baptize her, the neighbor's girlfriend, and Melissa's two brothers.

Melissa and her two brothers, with neighbor [white clothes] & Elder
We were praying so hard that people could come and support her and help her feel welcome, because four people is a pretty sad baptismal service.

Through several small miracles (another ward had young women activities in the morning and stayed for the baptism, some other missionaries showed up, the youth of our ward were in a seminary activity and their teacher gave them permission to stay for a few minutes), we were able to fill up all the chairs and fill up a little memory book with testimonies and congratulations from those present. It was definitely the best baptism I've attended in my time in this ward. I love that God answers prayers (even if it's not the way we expect).

On another note, I think the thing I love most about being a missionary is helping people understand the Atonement of Jesus Christ. I was thinking about this yesterday in Sacrament favorite hymn says "In the quiet heart is hidden sorrows that the eye can't see". I think we all have wounds or sorrows or worries in our hearts that we probably don't tell anyone about. I have seen people who have suffered a LOT in their lives, and I have seen that the love of Jesus Christ heals their souls. In spite of all the things that frustrate me, I know it's worth it when I see other people change their lives for the better. I know that I still have a long way to go personally, but I'm grateful that I've had this chance to learn how much I can depend on God. Matthew 11:28-30. Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek andlowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

Until next week, I love you tons, and I'm always hoping/praying the best for you!
Hermana Romero