Arizona, Week 9 – Baptisms, sisters, and a special request for your prayers for Sister Homer’s mother…

(Mesa area with Sister Shannon Homer)

I’m out of time! Happens every week now. But I’m so happy. The Flores family sisters got baptized this week and it was beautiful. Tons of people came to support them and I just love them so much. We also sang “As Sisters in Zion” together and it was really cute cause we’re all girls and they really do feel like my sisters. Speaking of sisters, Hermana Homer and I already feel like sisters. We have the most special bond. We love each other so much and I know we will be friends forever and ever and ever. This is going to be the best transfer ever. We are so happy and the Spirit is so strong.

Hermana Homer and Hermana Berbert with the wonderful Flores family daughters

Hermana Homer and Hermana Berbert with the wonderful Flores family daughters

With that said, there was also something really tough that happened this week during just our first week together. And I share this with the utmost reverence and I hope I can do it effectively in a public blog post. My purpose in sharing what happened this week, although it is really personal, is to ask for your prayers on behalf of my companion. President Toone brought us to his home this week and told Hermana Homer that her mother has been diagnosed with cancer. How much time she has left is unknown. There are special arrangements so Hermana Homer can speak to her family whenever she needs to during this hard time, but she has decided full-heartedly to stay out on the mission even though there is a possibility that her Mom could die. What a wonderful missionary and example she is to me. Please keep her mother in your prayers and we in the Tempe, Arizona mission will also all unite in prayer for Hermana Homer and her entire family.

Welcome missionaries!

Welcome missionaries!

I love you all. By the way, the Work of Salvation Broadcast Anniversary is coming up. We are watching it today and I invite you to all watch it again too. It’s so amazing! [Available at https://www.lds.org/training/wwlt/2013/hastening/special-broadcast?lang=eng]

Love,
Hermana Berbert

Beautiful sisters!

Beautiful sisters!

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Arizona, Week 8 – Transfers, the excitement of missionary work, and upcoming baptisms…

(Mesa area with Sister Tatiana Haar)

I really feel like words aren’t sufficient to explain all the miracles in my life right now. I say the same thing every week. This whole transfer has been AMAZING. I can’t believe it’s already over. I only have two left…. )= So Hermana Haar is leaving and I’m staying here in Mesa. I’m happy I’m staying because we have a huge group of people progressing and I love them all so much. Plus this ward is unbelievable. This zone is awesome, it’s the biggest zone in the whole mission. I love working with all the sisters and seeing all their areas and learning from them.

On Wednesday I’ll get my new companion so I’ll let you know about her next week. Missionary work is as exciting as it’s ever been. God is pouring out the blessings. We have found so many prepared people. There were 11 investigators at church yesterday, not to mention a bunch of less active families that are coming back. And lots of baptisms coming up! I feel like there are so many people to take care of that I’m always afraid I’ll forget someone! I made the goal to take a bunch of pictures of them all this week and put them on my wall so I can always think about them and not forget anybody.

The Flores family is getting baptized this weekend! The three cute sisters and their brother (recent convert) will perform the baptism! So excited! Then Carlos is hopefully next weekend so keep him in your prayers! Isidro came to church finally! It was a miracle! We had one car to take him, a truck to take his electric scooter thing, and we came in our car to help him feel comfortable. So there was this mini parade of all the people helping him get to church. His wife said she wants to come too next week. I LOVE BEING A MISSIONARY!

Love,
Hermana Berbert

Arizona, Week 7 – Mother’s Day, respect, and helping investigators reach their goals…

(Mesa area with Sister Tatiana Haar)

Happy Mother’s Day! I have an incredible absolutely amazing exemplar mother and it was so nice to talk to her yesterday. I loved seeing my family and they all are so grown-up looking! haha. Except Mom and Dad look the same, beautiful and handsome as always. The time was too short to talk about much, but it was nice just to see everyone’s faces and hear their actual voices. I LOVE YOU ALL! =D

This week I learned a lot about respect. The Family Proclamation says that “successful marriages and families are established and maintained on….respect,” and it mentions other principles too, but this week I learned mostly about the respect one. I feel I usually treat people with respect when I first meet them just because it’s polite, but then the more I get to know them, it’s easy to forget and be really casual around them. Really the people we love the most are the ones we should respect the most and if we treat strangers better than our own family, there’s something wrong with that. It’s so important not just to ESTABLISH a relationship with respect, but then MAINTAIN it with respect too. It applies to everything: from a marriage to a companionship, to even our personal relationship with God. If I never lose the respect of the first day with a companion, I’ll get along with her really well the whole time we are together. So, I invite you all to examine the relationships in your life and remember the respect you had “the first time.” Have you maintained that same level of respect? Are your dates with your wife as respectful as they were when she was your girlfriend? If anything there should be more respect with time, not less. What about the first time you really prayed and bore your soul to God? Are you still praying like that to Him often? Never lose the respect of the first time. I don’t know if I translated that very well to English, but it’s what I learned.

And don’t think that I’m going through a hard time with my companion or anything, I’m writing this because we actually get along really well. I’m learning a lot being with her. It’s just something we were thinking about this week.

So the investigators are progressing really well. I love them so much and this ward is AMAZING still. J, B, and A are three sisters that we’ve been teaching. They get baptized in a couple more weeks and are so cute. They remind me of my sisters. We also found a guy named C that is so prepared this week. He accepted baptism on Sunday and I have never seen somebody so excited and happy to accept a date before. His eyes were just shining with gratitude and in the closing prayer he just kept expressing how blessed he felt. He also has to get married cause he has a pregnant girlfriend, but he is totally excited about that too. We are teaching a guy named I who is struggling with poverty and really serious physical health problems. He can barely walk outside to talk to us sometimes. He wants to get baptized but never comes to church. He says that it’s for his health problems but we still don’t know if he is just being lazy or if he really physically can’t go. So we’ll see what happens with poor I. We found a bunch of cool people this week, but those are the ones who will most likely get baptized this month.

Something that has really helped me change my teaching style is focusing on the needs of my investigators. I do not enjoy teaching people who don’t have a personal desire to learn or try to convince them to change. It’s not a fun feeling so I try to avoid it. One of the best ways I’ve found to help people be self-motivated to change and do their commitments is teaching to their needs. We take whatever small interest they might have shown in us or the church and focus in on it. We ask, “Why did you let us in? What motivates you to keep listening to the missionaries? Do you have the goal to be baptized? Is your goal to seal your family in the temple? Did you just want some questions answered? What do you want for your family? What hopes do you have for your future?” When we probe around and find a goal or a motivation and it comes from THEM first and not us, it changes everything. Suddenly we are there to SERVE them instead of CONVINCE them. We are helping them reach THEIR goals instead of OUR goals. They motivate themselves to learn more and keep meeting with us.

I love you all! Have a fantastic week. Remember to show respect to the people you love most and especially your MOM! LOVE YOU MOM!!!

Hermana Berbert