Monday, July 7, 2014

The best decision I ever made.

Dear Family.

The best decision I ever made was to come out and work full time for my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and my God. A full 18 months. Words will never be able to convey the depth of how I feel. Sometimes I wonder- why does God love me so much? Why does God care so much about me that He has worked with me so tediously, painstakingly, patiently, specifically, and line by line all in an effort to help me to become? I have found that the more I invest in Him and show Him how much I care about becoming the woman and being and soul He wants me to be, the more He invests in me and helps me to accomplish that deep, deep desire. It means I get more challenges, go through harder things- it means he starts requiring more of me and giving me more responsibilities- the tests get a little harder, the pain a little deeper, the pressure a little hotter, the tasks a bit more trying, exhausting and direct - but all the while it keeps me closer to Him because it's like we're working together to accomplish the thing I know I asked Him for in the first place- so I can't complain. I can only yoke myself to home, rely on him and press on hand in hand with Him. To go through such experiences is not possible to do without Him - it would be too hard- but with Him it is absolutely possible and the growth is absolutely real. my heart is absolutely changed. and my character is chiseled. My sense of self absolutely purer. I have the eyes to see things as they really are, the understanding to discern the lies and wiles of the adversary from the truths and assurances from God. My patience and lover for others is bolstered- I can better see them as He does. My desires are not what they were- though some of the noble desires I had before still remain with deepened resolve to accomplish them. I know that things will happen in God's time, in His way, and that opposition is necessary for our growth. I have learned to accept things I previously struggled to, and I have felt increased peace and ability to do more good for others as I have done so, and above all I have learned to trust God and live for Him. I have learned you don't have to be perfect to be pure - its in the striving and the cleaving unto Him and the Spirit that sanctification comes- and I am at full fulfillment, peace and feeling wholly calm and collected. How great is my God! I will never doubt my God! I will never get over How He has worked with me, and let me work for others, and literally as i lost myself in striving to help others to draw closer to Him and fulfill their full potential, it I He pulled in closer to Him, along with those I had the privilege and honor to teach. I am absolutely in awe of Him and His love.
I bore my testimony for the last time as a full time missionary of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints. so surreal. I didn't cry- I just felt at peace and fulfilled. I spoke what I knew was true. but I will never forget what it felt like to say the words, "it's been a privilege to serve you for the past 7 months, and it has been a privilege to serve my Heavenly Father for 18 months." I was overcome with emotion at saying that- but not to the eye, just internally. I thought- no one knows all I have experienced but God- then I felt very near to Him in that moment. There were many goodbyes, and tears, some were very hard for me to part with- jessica being one of them- seeing them cry touched my heart. Saying goodbye to the sisters I have worked with and done exchanges with was also very hard- particularly those I have served with for months and truly seen them grow. I will forever be invested in them and their growth. Because who you sacrifice for and serve, you love. We had our last lesson with Marsha- it was very tearful on her part. I will never forget what she told me. She said, "Sister Bertoldo- I want to thank you for listening to me. and understanding me. because of how you listened, i knew and felt you understood me, and that made me feel more comfortable to explore the gospel, and ask the hard questions when i would normally shut down" she started crying then said, "I want you to know that because you have listened and understood I have come closer to christ and to God." I will never forget that. it struck me when she said that, because that is literally our purpose, we state it every morning,"to invite others to come unto Christ"- I thought of all the weeks of teaching her, all the lessons, preparation, prayers and efforts that had gone into teaching her and really trying to discern her needs and allow the spirit to teach her (I know He is who really teaches not me) and all I could feel welling in my heart is that ALL OF IT WAS WORTH IT. We taught Shanon the full Plan of Salvation, which has been a goal of mine for months. It went great- the spirit was there. I feel I have done my part with her teaching, and that feels so good. I love you all. I look forward to hugging every single one of you.
All My love,
Sister Bertoldo

I forget to tell you about the 4th of July! We went to this huge festival at Tom Brown park so that we could contact people and hand out pass along cards, Book of Mormons, and talk about Family History work! it was EXHAUSTING! We contacted for 2 hours! but it was so much fun- we met so many cool people and planted a lot of seeds that will sprout and grow later. I loved it. It was a good way to go. missionary work at its finest. 

"I know of no easy formula for success. Persist, Persist, Persist. Work, Work, Work! Fulfill the promises you make to yourself." -Heber J. Grant

Dearest family-
So 10 days left to my mission...10 days!!! That is insane- its been hard to say goodbye to people. I have truly met people and made relationships and bonds with people, I can't bare to part with!! goodbyes are hard. But i will tell you what- missionary work is a joy to do and i feel an added measure of passion in teaching people i know i will only see one more time. I am being quite bold and its awesome! boldness is truth spoken with love- i feel the need to be bold knowing i am leaving so soon. I love teaching like this! not that I haven't other times on my mission- i have- but there is definitely an added measure of boldness when people know these are my parting words and testimony. Very emotional. inspiring, draining, intense, but beautiful. and above all else- spiritual.
Well- we had a breathrough lesson with Marsha! we watched the full length restoration- i have never felt the spirit stronger watching that film- it really hit me while watching that film just how much my testimony of the restoration has been deepened because of my understanding of it through teaching and studying it so frequently over the course of 18 months. wow. I testified to marsha about how faith in Joseph smith ismt what we are focused on- its about gaining a testimony that the FULNESS OF CHRIST'S GOSPEL HAS BEEN RESTORED! and that Joseph smith was the tool God worked through to do this great work- THAT is what she needs to pray about- she got the chills and was covered in goosebumps- the spirit was really testifying to her! i was crying- so was the member friend we had there with us- it was beautiful. she felt it. I feel she will be baptized. Teaching all starts with believing in where people can be- it all starts with a vision, love, and then you proceed with faith and the spirit. that is how people come unto christ- the spirit.
ALSO! members language of love here is food- people have been taking us out to eat EVERY NIGHT to the NICEST FANCIEST restaurants!! its insane- seriously- every night from here until i go home is booked with fancy dinner appointments from members! and they aren't cheap! its really touching! and we dont even ask for it! people just wanna take us out before i go home and they all want to have a "special parting meal" its seriously so sweet-but yeah- its a lot of food lol and its DANG GOOD so i am just enjoying it. We went to this one restaurant saturday night that had vegan egyptian food and they brought us out these fancy drinks made from juiced flowers and spices- it was amazing! and healthy- so i was in heaven- i have never had egyptian food before- only in tallahasse!! so eclectic and cultural- its a lot like indian food.
Cora is progressing well- already doing missionary work! and Jackie got baptized! she is someone i have taught several times on exchanges so we are close. Also our investigator jolene, she is an older woman- in her 70's- she was playing the piano when we came over so i started singing while she played all her favorite baptist hymns and i loved it! so did she! she was so happy to have someone to play for it was precious- i told her i loved doing this with my grandma and that really touched her- i am almost never happier than when i am singing, especially when singing of our Savior and Heavenly Father. Pure joy for me, pure joy. I plan on pursuing singing more seriously when i return home. The spirit has impressed upon me that is important for my life and to share with others. It fills me with indescribable joy to sing for others and for God!
We have another MLC this week! my last one- crazy. crazy crazy. I cannot wait to see you all and run into your arms- but I am anxiously engaged in my work here until that time. We found a new investigator named hillary! she is a baggage lady at the airport and always sees missionaries there. she said she can sense a light about them- we taught her the restoration- i loved teaching that to her- i felt full of god's power and light! i will never stop being a missionary. I love you all!!!
Much love <3
Sis. Brooke Bertoldo

Jackie's baptism!

Pointing to my beloved Gulf Breeze on the Florida map

"No one has learned the meaning of living until he has surrendered his ego to service. Patience is obedience prolonged." - Maxwell

Dear family-
I have decided that every week on the mission is like a mini life- every week is truly a marathon of ups and downs and by sunday when i am reflecting back on the week I can hardly believe all that has transpired only to have another week before me.
A lot happened this week- there were some stressful times- our apartment got flooded at 6:30 am this wedsnesday- the kitchen the carpets- all of it! and no one could come and fix it until 8:30! so that was rough dealing with that...and a few other things. But there is no need to dwell on those things- many wonderful things happened as well. Its seems like after the really hard days when opposition is just thick and ever present- i come home depleted and exhausted, and plead with the Lord for strength or forgiveness or comfort and better success the next day if its His will- but then there are those days that just feel like miracles- full of beautiful tender mercies where the hand of the Lord is evident and I come home full of peace, and joy and deep gratitude and awe at the Lord. And those always seem to outweigh the trials no matter how bad they are- so that is why at the end of the week I have nothing but good things to say- its not bc its always easy or bc only good things ever happen- quite the opposite actually- its just bc the good is so good it is impossible and wrong to dwell on the bad!
So- this week cora was baptized! she is amazing- I am so proud and amazed by her- such a faithful woman. her baptism was very small and spiritual no one in her family would come- but did this dampen her gratitude and spirits? no! all the people she loved most and who were dearest to her came from our ward. They even brought her thoughtful gifts which she is not accustomed to receiving. I sang "when I am baptized" for her directly to her, and she cried and cried.She was baptized with one smooth go and was absolutely glowing after! she then bore her testimony which was beautiful and powerful and pure- she cried and said- 'I will never miss a day- and i will never miss a sunday. I will never look back. I love my sisters who taught me. they are my family. I love them. This day is the beginning of my mission on earth." oh it was beautiful. Our investigator Violet came and she cried a lot and felt the spirit. She has still not fully committed to July 5th as her baptism date but she still studies and meets with us and keeps committments she is just getting a LOT of opposition- so keep praying for her. thank you for your prayers on her behalf! I know she will make it. The same with Marsha- she needs prayers she struggles with doubts bc of past beliefs and pre existing notions difficult for her to purge herself of- but she is trying. we had a break through lesson with her sunday! We talked about the Gospel of Jesus Christ as taught from the BOM and I explained how both personal revelation and proper priesthood authority are needed in  order to have the fulness and the two keep each other in check so to speak- we are expected to seek out our own answers after being taught by the words of our inspired prophets and apostles who have been given sacred priesthood keys- both are needed. she also had questions about repentance- i likened repentance to you dad. I told her that i knew you and mom love me unconditionally- but only bc i know just how much you love, i want to make you proud. so when i do something i know would disappoint you, i WANT to say sorry, not bc you wont love me if i dont, but bc i love you enough to come to you and apolagize, and then that is when you can pick me up dust me off and tell me you love me too and then i can move on without further guilt. that is repentance. when i put it to her like that she just looked at me and smiled- she got it- "so repentance isnt a bad thing..." she got it. anyways continued prayers for her!
Sunday our investigator shanon came to church for the first time! she loved it. i was so happy to see her! she is the one who lives at our complex next door. Cora's confirmation was beautiful it talked a lot about missionary work and how she will bring many of her friends to be baptized. i cried bc i know it is true. I cannot believe I am leaving in 2 weeks.
I hope ya'll had fun in new hampshire..i was thinking of you. 
Love sister Bertoldo

Cora's baptism

"A patient willingness to defer dividends is a hallmark of individual maturity." Neal A. Maxwell

Dearest family-
Dad...Happy Father's day!  I got your letter. I love you so much. The more knowledge God teaches me and the closer i come to Christ, the more i learn just how wise and Christlike you are. i mean it. Other than the gospel and the scriptures you and mom have been the greatest stabilizing rocks of my life.
This week- Cora is STEADFAST AND ON TRACK for her baptism this saturday. she even brought her husband to church this sunday! she reads the scriptures and conference talks faithfully and when we asked her how she has come to gain a testimnoy of the scriptures and of the prophet Thomas S. Monson she said, " everytime I read their words and the books you give me to read, my room fills with light. That's how i know they are true." wow. I was blown away by that response!!!!!!!! then as she was saying the closing prayer after we finished reviewing her baptismal interview questions in her prayer she said, "I feel you here." then she was silent for some time, then immediately after feeling the spirit, with deep emotion she said, "father forgive me!" and started weeping- the spirit flooded the room- she cried on then said, "father I know you forgive me. I know you know I want to be baptized. i feel you. and I feel your forgiveness and love." She then struggled in the spirit for a while before closing. I am in awe of her faith and sincerity in repenting so whole heartedly. I was overcome. I knew we had just witnessed a woman going before her father in complete penitence and then received the miracle of forgiveness- and we witnessed it before our eyes. After she just wept and wept, with joy and relief, you could feel it. this woman has been through VERY hard dark things in her life- so to feel the Spirit sweeping away her guilt and healing her- i will never forget that. She is so ready for baptism. As i hugged her she clung to me and cried on my shoulder and said, "thank you. thank you for teaching me. Thank you." I will never forget that. i told her how proud and inspired i was by her- and proud i knew Her Heavenly father was.
there is something i want to share with you guys- i have been studying Neal A. Maxwell's talk entitled "Patience". In it he says, "Patience is willingness to watch the unfolding process of God with a sense of wonder and awe rather than pacing up and down within the cell of our circumstance." that used to be me. I used to be resltess and impatient and anxious for the next thing, and for the fulfillment of my desires, and for the next phase of my life to come. but now? can i tell you- when i read that it hit me that now? I know longer feel that. In fact, now i fell EXACTLY what he describes as a willingness to watch the unfolding purposes of God with a sense of wonder and awe. I fell COMPLETE PEACE. that is a MIRACLE. that is a change in my very NATURE. but i do- i feel complete peace- my mission has been perfectly and painstakingly designed to help me cultivate this attribute of patience i so badly lacked before. this caused me to reflect- what caused this change in me? trust in God and learning to sumbit. humility. love for others. those are all the small lessons I have learned that added together have bred this new attribute of patience to be part of my nature. Every time we endure discomfort and suffering well, being motivated by a higher purpose to bless others rather than to gratify our own needs- everytime i have done this on my mission- set aside my own comfort for someone else's- my capacity to endure suffering without becoming anxious and frustrated has grown a little bit- and over and over again I have seen how God answers prayers and has a purpose to all things, even if they take awhile to unfold- so i have learned over the course of these 18 months and my 21 years on earth to truly trust the Lord. true faith must be tried and tried and tried again! then it is true faith if it still stands. "Patience permits us to detoxify our disappointments. How much we can take often determines how much we can GIVE." it is a miracle. he has changed me. he has changed my very nature, and truly, through His longsuffering towards me and christ's perfect love for me, some of my greatest weaknesses have been transformed into some of my greatest strengths! I am in AWE of God's workings with us as His children. Trust, humilty and love are all predecessors of patience- truly patience is faith at its finest, and a heavely attribute. I know I still have much to learn. But i am at peace. I am not in a hurry for the "next phase" or for my "blessings to be received and desires fulfilled." God is PERFECTLY aware of our needs- blessings wil come in their own due time when he sees fit. our job is to do well the task set closest to us, and to watch in wonder and awe as His purposes are fulfilled.

Had my last zone training which was great- I loved it. loved teaching. Many things have happened in the work but for the sake of time i will stop there. Please keep praying for cora, violet and marsha! I love you all cant wait to see you soon!
Much love <3
Sister Bertoldo

Sister Chandler

All the sisters in my zone

Had to try grits for the first time before leaving the south...didn't like them!

Me and companion Sis. Holmoe

Beloved Cora

Southern estate

Me and Sis. Smith!

"The pursuit of easy things makes men weak." Bruce R. McConkie

Dear Family-

This week i had my last MLC! it was a 2 day retreat at the mission home. We had a bonfire and i got to throw the football with President before the meeting- great memory :) my finger actually got jammed from it! haha he is stronger than he knows! but its going down was pretty bad. but worth it. This week was intense. (they always are!)
first off- our investigator cora! i am so proud of her- we taught her the law of chastity this week and WOW. She really internalized it and took it to heart- she stayed up all night reading the pamphlet we gave her and read every scripture listed. she is determined to repent and live it because she is DETERMINED to be baptized. I am so proud of her. She meets with us faithfully 3 times a week. she comes to church each week. the best part was after our last lesson she volunteered to say the opening prayer. Now- when we met her 5 weeks ago she was praying for the first time with us- and i remember it reduced her to tears. well, this prayer she gave? incredible.I could literally hear and feel the difference in her prayer, and could and hear and feel that she was closer to God than she was 5 weeks ago based on the way she prayed this time compared to her previous prayers. This is what its all about!!!!!!!!! baptism yes- but helping people draw closer to Christ to Heavenly Father. It touched my heart so deeply. I am so proud of her. i have been praying so fervently for her. I love her so much. She is getting baptized on the 21st.

Now for Violet. Our investigator Violet is a miracle. I am so humbled at the people God has entrusted and led me to here at the end of my mission. Truly- it is nothing but a blessing and a privilege. we taught her twice this week as well- we taught her the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the POS. when we taught her the plan she cried bc it literally answered all the questions of her soul. she was feverishly taking notes of what we said! she is amazing! Then at the end we extended her baptismal date that we have been praying about- july 5th. and when we extended that- the spirit just flooded the room and she went stock still- for a moment i was almost worried bc she got so stiff and said nothing- then tears started streaming from her face and she said,"July 5th? I can't believe you picked July 5th.." everyone started feeling uneasy- but i got this awesome feeling- this feeling that July 5th is a powerfully significant day for her for some reason unbeknownst to us- and the fact that we picked it shows that it was from the Spirit bc He knows her and this is a beautiful tender mercy from the Lord! i felt it was a good thing she reacted like that. she then smiled and wrote down the date and cried and said she would tell us another time of why that date was so significant. it was a really CHOICE experience.  She really is amazing. Soooo prepared! all humbling.I pray for her and cora every single day- pray for them that they will be strengthened and protected from the adversary!
     We had some tough times- but even those feel especially sacred to me here at the end of my mission- we got shouted at and told to "move it" by a woman once we told her we were members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints- but it was interesting bc it really didnt upset me at all- it made me sad of course that she had been falsely indoctrinated and wouldn't receive our message- but i got this very distinct feeling that those were words and encounters that Christ experienced as well as other prophets, missionaries, and servants of the Lord and I felt near to Him and those before me. 
    We had a really amazing experience with a woman named Francis- she had heard a lot of falsehoods of the church on tv- and started very defensively and attacked us even- but she said something that caught my ear- she said, "I am looking for the truth I don't want lies and a church of man! I have been through too much for more lies." the second she said that i took heart and felt very strong and empowered with the Spirit! I felt deep compassion for her. she was a truth seeker! I looked her dead in the eyes and said, "Then Francis you have come to the right place." I pointe out the name of our church- showing that we are Christ's church, not man's. I explained to her that anything we ever teach her pr tell her we advise her to not take our word for, but to ask god, the source of all truth, if what we say is true, or if what we say is lies. I told her i know she already has a relationship with God, and I know she is truth seeker, so I know He will reveal truth to her as she sincerely seeks it. Then her entire affect changed. she was calm- at ease...we then dove into the BOM and explained everything about it- how it relates to the Bible- how it came to be- why its called what it is- she was astounded- "that's it?!" she said- "That makes perfect sense!" she couldn't believe the lies that had been spun from the BOM- and how there was such a perfectly logical truth and answer to everything. we read how the Bible prophesies of the Bom- by the end she said, "I must read this book. or else I will never know if it's another testament of Christ or not." it was SO COOL!!!!!!!! That is one of my favorite parts about missionary work!!!!!!!!!! seeing people have a change of heart! that is one less soul who believes lies about the church, and about the BOM and one more soul who will begin to gain more understanding and knowledge of the truth!!!!!!! We gave her a list of scriptures top read. She asked us to pray for her family and opened up about some of the trials they were experiencing- we parted dear friends, bound by a spiritual experience because of the power of the Spirit contained in the BOM! it was a choice experience. many other things happened this week- but for the sake of time i will stop there. I love you all so much.
Love Sister Bertoldo
ps. found a turtle outside our apartment this week!

Friday, June 6, 2014

"First I obey, then I understand." - Marjorie Hinckley

Dear family-
This quote means a lot to me. it summarizes my mission beautifully. what an attitude to cultivate- i adore Sis. Hinckley's humble, faithful, trusting approach in how she lived her life- obeying even before having full understanding- and then seen after taking action, seeing the wisdom of her heavenly father and why He asks and directs as He does. It is our job to obey Him, not question Him or bemoan so called "fate" or responsibilities- but to approach all realities or responsibilities/rules with the attitude of assurance that God would never ask something of us that will not ultimately be for our God and lead to become the people we need to be. We must trust in His love and His wisdom no matter the call- acting even without full understanding at times- trusting that understanding and blessings will ensue. this is the attitude i have strived to possess- this is the trust that i have come to cultivate after many patient lessons from my Heavenly father. I can truly say I have learned to trust the Lord and I have a firm resolve to obey Him in all things, whatever he may direct or ask- because i know He is taking care of me, and i know that additional knowledge and understanding WILL COME just as it has in the past.
This week was intense- i have a new companion! Her name is sister Holmoe! Her dad is the athletic director at BYU i knew her name sounded familiar! the cool part is I knew she was going to be my companion- i told everyine that bc i just had a feeling- and then it came true! I love her!!!!  we get along great, she is loving, and we run every morning 2 miles! Right before she got here we set a baptismal date with our investigator cora for June 14th
       We had 3 investigators at church this week- cora, phil, and evelyn. I havent gotten to tell you about Evelyn yet. amazing. evelyn is a woman we met and started teaching last week. she contacted us- bc she has been away from the church for 20+ years, her name was removed from the church- but she wants to be rebaptized. this is amazing! many things have happened in her life leading to this point- but she said it hit her like a ton of bricks while she was sitting in her church last week, she said, "this isnt it. I miss the priesthood. I miss the fulness." her heart is very tender right now and sensitive- but what a beautiful privilege and sacred experience it is to reteach this woman, and see her testimony be restored to her- she wants to be baptized as soon as possible. we meet with her 3 times a week! she even came to church this sunday (despite many fears) for the first time in 20 years and it could not have gone better! she was so afraid, but afterwards she cried and said, "heavenly father took care of me- that could not have been better" and she cried and cried. she has read 20 chapters of Nephi in the course of only  2 days. incredible. I will never forget in her closing prayer after our lesson last night she cried and said, "thank you God, for my missionaries." I love when people say it like that, "my missionaries" it touches my heart bc you know and can feel in that moment that they will never forget you! Just as I will never forget them. it touched my heart and meant a lot to me. everything does now especially, with only 6 weeks left. I feel a surge of emotion well up in my heart every time I testify of the BOM knowing that my time to do so as a set apart missionary is short. My mind is more centered on my mission than ever before. I feel the desire to show God my devotion to the end, bc i know it is a reflection of my love for Him and His children, and my mission has been more beautiful, and He has made more of me and taught me more than i ever DREAMED and CONCEIVED possible!!!! and i even had high expectations- and oh how He has surpassed what i ever thought possible in the people He has led me to, the lessons He has taught me with such care and effort, all the opportunities He has given, and what He has allowed me to become. I am in AWE. I desire nothing but to serve Him faithfully to the end and throughout my life. My heart is overcome and I can barely feel the fatigue I am so overcome with the spirit. 

We met a boy named Victor with a sweet Spanish family who speak a little English- we taught him about the BOM and he said over and over again, "Wow I cant believe this! oh!" and he would put his hand on his heart and say, "please, can i keep this?" i have never met a 15 yr old boy like that before. He is so sincere- just hidden in this little trailer in the woods- but HE IS KNOWN TO GOD. The desires of his heart are known to God! and that is why He led us straight to his door! also- a little boy in our ward, the oaks- they took us out to dinner and at the end the little boy said he wanted to ask me something- i said sure, and he said, "will you speak at my baptism?" i was so touched! it really meant a lot to me! his parents said they would be sure to do it before i left. oh- that really touched my heart. we also got to teach 2 teenage girls about virtue and the law of chastity- they were riveted and the spirit was very strong. I will never tire of testifying and teaching of the iportance of virtue to girls in todays world and how to be strong. We committed them to make a list of standards they would not break no matter who might ask them to.
 I am very grateful to My Father in Heaven- I know if I just rely on Him all things will be as they should. I love you :)
Love sister Bertoldo

"How Great Thou Art"

Dear Family-
What a week!!!!!!!!! oh my gosh. ok so first off Rex got baptized!! it was amazing- started off stressful with planning but it all came together and was well attended and he was so full of JOY. the spirit was SO STRONG- the first counselor of our mission presidency was there for it and he said after having an interview with rex that he is one of the most, "well prepared for baptism" that he has ever had the privilege of meeting :) funny thing though! the font was having some technical difficulties so by the time it was time for him to be baptized it was drained halfway! so he had to get baptized laying down instead of standing! i was dying- but it turned out fine.  He was confirmed this sunday and it was a beautiful blessing. He is one of the most exciting amazing conversions of my mission to witness. truly- amazing.
then- this week oh my gosh- we met violet.
let me tell you about Violet. She is ELECT- we come out on missions searching for people like her- and in the last 6 weeks of my mission- God leads us to Violet. incredible. this woman is the most prepared person i have ever met on my mission and in my life. both me and my comp cried afterwards we were so overwhelmed with gratitude. She was a referral from a ward member who is her coworker. he has already given her a BOM and a D&C and she has been reading them! she is full of the light of christ!!!!!!!!! she GLOWS! her smile- my gosh, she glows. she is a special daughter of god. you can feel it. all her life she has noticed the church because of the mormon messages on family she saw all growing up- she said she always wondered why we cared so much about the family and she loved it. she said she has always wanted to know, and as we taught her, she took notes- she is truly the most sincere person i have ever met. you can feel it. as we were explaining, reading, and testifying of the Book of Mormon she was absolutely feeling the spirit- then we showed her a mormon message of the BOM and tears started streaming down her face. she has 4 kids, recently got divorced, and more than anything wants her family to be united and strong. We read 2 ne 25:23, 26 talking about how the gospel blesses families- we invited her to church this sunday. she came! she came. i prayed the night before specifically that she would hear messages specifically for her at church the next day. well all the sacrament meeting talks were on how the priesthood blesses families. I will never forget-after 2nd hour (our lesson was on the atonement) she suddenly broke down in tears. she was quiet- but she was sitting by me- and i could feel it! i could feel and see that the spirit was testifying to her of truth right before my eyes- it overwhelmed me and filled me with joy that i also  began to cry. i have never seen that or felt that so directly before- the spirit just witnessing to her- i went to hug her and she just cried on me more. she told me through her tears, "i feel something..i feel something." but she never could get it out what she felt- i told her she was feeling the spirit. then i didnt talk anymore either bc i could feel that the Spirit was still talking. I will never forget that. 

Then right after cora's lesson we get a call from Cierra telling us that her cousing Quinton just called her (the one who came to church last sunday) saying that he wants to be baptized and become a member of the church. he said he can't get the feeling he felt at church out of his mind and wants to be baptized.
Our new investigator Cora also came to church. we gave her a church tour this week to help her feel more comfortable. she has been through a lot of heartache and abuse, and overcome a lot of terrible things- she came to church yesterday as well and loved it. relief society as well.  Our investigator Alton also came to church! he too will be baptized soon. After so much work, care, prayer, study, persistence and patience- the lord is truly pouring out his spirit abundantly on us, leading us to elect- and MIRACLES ARE ENSUING! it is overwhelming! in the most beautiful amazing way. I am full of gratitude. These people are precious. 

We also got to meet with wei- from China. We had quite a language barrier- but somehow we were able to communicate and teach the most important aspects of the God head and Book of Mormon. It was a very hot day, yet all i could think was how much God loved this woman- teaching her was a joy despite the language barrier and heat. oh what a privilege missionary work is!!!!!!! what a privilege! I loved teaching wei about her savior Jesus Christ- we even brought her a chinese BOM and she was overjoyed! we are seeing her again next week. so yes- this was quite a week- my new companion is sister Holmoe for my last 6 weeks. i am excited to meet her!  the crazy part is- i knew it was going to be her. i just had a feeling :) God is good. i am going to sprint!! Love you all. so yes- to sum up my feelings of this week, it is truly, "how great Thou art."

Much Love

sister Bertoldo