Monday, August 10, 2015

Aug 10,
The Story Doesn't End Here,
It just keeps going, going, and going! In fact, this is the greatest story of my life, as I have told people the greatest story ever told! It is not simply a story but it is truth! Georgia’s on my mind and heart! This week has been a solid one for the books! Let me give the details!
Speaking of miracles, one of the larger ones, was a referral we were given by a member in the ward. Our recent convert had the home teachers over to give their children a blessing for the upcoming school year. A friend of the members walked in, learned about blessings, and requested one for herself and her daughter. They came to church this week! They loved it all and told us that they would be coming back this next week! When the members are the full time finders, the work explodes! We are excited to keep up with this family and see them in white three times, every time!
Another miracle we witnessed was getting back in contact with the Donat family! They have been MIA for the last little while. Last time we spoke with them they told us they found another church, or rather, returned to a former church. They had another bad experience with them (go figure… the Book of Mormon says it best: turning “like a dog to his vomit”). They happened to have just been thinking about us when we knocked on the door. They welcomed us right back in and will be coming to church on Sunday! I have a feeling that they are going to be ready this time! 
We connected with our good friend, Allen! We had an awesome lesson as we related Alma 36 to him and his life! He put himself in the verses and expressed how he had felt very similar feelings. He desires to have that change of heart that Alma had. There is power in the Book of Mormon! He will be coming to church Sunday with his girlfriend! 
We had a dynamite lesson with Lamoine! Brother Townsend came teaching with us. He was the member we had been praying for in order to help Lamoine. Bro. Townsend is formerly baptist and an intellectual. He reasoned so well with Lamoine and got the wheels turning! When the dust settled, I was floored by the Spirit that had been there! Needless to say, Lamoine will be delving into the Book of Mormon this week! 
We didn't have any unexpected transfers, that’s a miracle right there, considering our track record! No one got killed or maimed. Otter pops are the secret to sweating in the South!   
Surreal. It’s the only word that can seem to do some level justice on how I feel at this time. In Jacob’s closing remarks, he recounts his time and life then expresses, “Our lives passed away like as it were unto us a dream.” (Jacob 7:26) I echo these same words! The time here in Georgia has passed away as if it were a dream. I’m still waiting for someone to pinch me, because it can’t be over! I know for a certain that God loves us and is at the helm of our lives! My being here is direct evidence of that! I needed to be here  at this time, with the companions I have served with, in the areas I have been, and to meet the brothers and sisters I have had the privilege of getting to know! I have thrusted in the sickle with my might and I do indeed say that the field is white already to harvest and that desire is what qualifies us for His work! It has been time well invested and I am ever so grateful to have had this opportunity, I wouldn't give it back for the world! I have seen the Lord’s hand in this work! I have great reason to rejoice! Jesus Christ Lives!

Here’s a poem that may depict what a mission has done to me!

As I stared out the window
The tears still in my eyes,
I saw the vision of those I love
As we said our last goodbyes.

The ride was long and trying
As two questions plagued my mind,
“Do I want the life that’s up ahead,
Or the one I left behind?”

Two years is such a long, long time
For going door to door.
In my reflecting I thought to myself,
“There really must be more.”

I dragged myself down off the plane
And started smiling at the beach,
When a man turned me the other way
Saying, “Elder, go find and teach.”

I sit reflecting once again
As this day is my last.
Please Lord, this isn't fair,
The time goes by so fast.

And I stare out the window
The tears still in my eyes,
I see the Elders and friends I love
As we've just said our last goodbyes.

The ride was long and trying
As two questions plagued my mind,
“Do I want the life that’s up ahead,
Or the one I left behind?”
I do want the life up ahead and I am eternally grateful for the life I will be leaving behind. In the great words of my good friend, Bruce Wayne, Either you die a hero, or you live long enough to see yourself the villain! Or I would submit you just finish your mission and return home! It has been real, it has been fun, and it has been real fun! Thanks for all the letters, prayers, encouragement, and love! It has been felt and received every day! I couldn’t do it without y’all! Fight the good fight of faith! Have a blessed up week! Smile extra big! I will see you all soon! Love you all so much! 

Elder Dallan Barnes

Monday, August 3, 2015

Aug 3,
Hey Y’all!
Someday’s you are the bug, other days you are the windshield. This week, we were both! However, whether flying free or splattered on tempered glass, there is not a better place to be! Miracles have been abounding, even day by day! Let me allow you to be the bug on our wall, not windshield (I wouldn’t wish that on anyone), for this past week!
One miracle from this past week stems from our amazing Bishop. We saw him Wednesday at the church and informed us that we have a unique service opportunity. Namely, moving someone into the ward! It was just us three and our Bishop moving this lady and her family. She is a recent convert of nine months from Colorado. None of her family is members, yet! She has a husband, and five children! They came to church too! The ward welcomed them with open arms. It is amazing what a little service and a lot of love can do to people’s hearts. We will be moving forward with the teaching and hopefully this family is a slam dunk! We saw them in white!
 We got to see our investigator Chanelle a couple times this week! We found out that her son’s fever stem from a liver problem. We taught her about priesthood blessings and asked her if she would like us to give her son Carter one. She accepted and we performed a blessing. We came by the next day, he was healed, no fever, jumping around playing with the neighbor kids. She explained to us that every time we come by, even from the first time, what we have shared has been just what she needed that day! She is on date to be baptized later this month! The Priesthood has been restored, to give blessings, and the Gift of the Holy Ghost! 
Chanelle’s neighbor, Kiesha, we are also teaching. We dropped by before a baptism on Saturday and invited them over. They came to the baptism. Kiesha brought all three of her kids, her friend and her friend’s kids. They were so moved by the ordinance. KaiKai, her oldest son asked me if I could baptize him next. The faith of children is appalling! We really need to be childlike! He also asked me if Jesus was our Uncle. Sort of… but not really! We got some work to do! 
There is this family we have knocked on their door thirty times since I have been here. But for the first time they answered. They are an awesome family! The Juarez! The mom loves the church and was a week out from getting baptized. Also her teenage son was in the same boat. Things got cancelled, work got busy, and here we are now. They lived up in Cartersville which was a fun connection we had. They committed to come to church and begin working back towards baptism. It is amazing to be in the right place at the right time! They weren’t in our plans but we felt inspired to go there yesterday night. Simply amazing!
The Temple was amazing this week! That is for sure where Heaven meets Earth!
That is about all I have for y’all today! This next week is fixing to be a good one! Hope y’alls is as well! Love you all so very much! Keep fighting the good fight of faith, keep the course, endure well, and have a blessed up week!

Elder Dallan Barnes 

“You know you got a true friend when you can throw poop at him & he doesn’t kill you. A wise monkey told me that once.” Elder Hanson
July 27th
Why oh Why July??
August is pretty much sniffing the behind of July, where in the world is time going? Which one of you is sitting on the remote control of life? Get off the fast forward button! It sufficeth me to say that this week was one of the most unorthodox, out of the norm, unusual weeks. I hope y’alls was fine and dandy! Let me give the play by play!  
Conyers is keeping us on our toes. This week’s development, happening on Wednesday, was losing a companion and gaining another. We lost Elder Lamb to Covington, he got a companion! So we no longer need to cover the Covington Ward. Our new companion’s name is Elder Hocker. He served in Kennesaw Mountain right after I left that area. He has been out six months and is from Virginia. The Lord made a change order, and when He orders, we deliver. He will be with us for the rest of the transfer, at least, that’s what we think. Stay tuned! I have learned so much from him though! God is good! It was crazy because we ended up having to wait a day for Elder Lamb to get his companion, so we were in a Quadpanionship! It is about as rare as a four leaf clover. You best believe we owned every street and door. Not really, we divided and conquered! Crazy times!
We had mission council down in Fayetteville on Friday. We had an awesome meeting! It is always good to see familiar faces and those I love! On our way back, however, we had dinner with a member. After the meal, we discovered that someone hit our car. Not a note or word was left. Hit and Run… a good policy in baseball, but not driving. We filed a report and everything. The car works great but the back corner is pretty mangled. Maybe I will lose some weight via bike. We’ll see!
We got in contact with an investigator of ours we hadn’t seen in many weeks, Allen. He explained to us that he almost didn’t come to the door because he hadn’t read the chapter we left him. He explained so much of the hard life he has been on, losing his parents and grandparents before the age of 15. He wants to change! We read Alma 32 and you could see the light growing and glowing in his eyes. He told Elder Hocker he sounded like Morgan Freeman. He committed us to go on a trip to Florida, all expenses paid, with him.
We had our Pioneer Day Party here in Conyers. Apparently the pioneers stopped in Conyers Georgia, of all the places… It was amazing really! We invited and invited all week long. We ended up having 10 non members there! The Ward took them right under their wings too! There was a pie eating contest, watermelon eating contest, a slip and slide, sack races, frog races, and baseball—all the essential pioneer activities! It was a lot of fun to say the least! It is amazing what the Pioneer’s did for us! They acted out of so much faith!
That’s all for today folks! Please keep being amazing! Fight the good fight! Have a blessed up week! Travel Safe! Smile! Love all y’all so much! I will hear from y’all soon!
Elder Dallan Barnes 

“If you a brotha, always be dat. Stay Brothers in Christ!” Allen

Saturday, July 25, 2015

July 20
Happy Pioneer Day!
That day is coming up right quick! I don’t know how the Pioneer’s did it! I am thankful the Lord didn’t take them on a detour to Georgia, because that would have been miserable! Humidity, mosquitoes, fried food, oh my! They may have just ended up here, that seems to be what happens. People in Georgia stay in Georgia! I must admit Utah is the place, and the right one at that! As a missionary though, it is the best place to be, hands down! God is in the soil and the hearts of the people! Here’s the week in a peanut shell (Georgia is big on those!): 
The miracle of the week was to be privileged to see Marcus Clark baptized! It was a miraculous event! We filled the primary room with people supporting Marcus in this decision of his! It was crunch time this week in getting him ready for baptism. We had a few lessons to teach and just a few days to make it happen. We devised a memory matching game involving all of the Commandments and Laws & Ordinances. To up the ante, we obtained everyone’s favorite candy. On each card we had scripture references to the Book of Mormon to teach the principles from! It was a creative and fun way to teach Marcus! This is where we saw the power of the Book of Mormon this week! It teaches the doctrine so simply that children can understand it! That is the beauty of the Gospel! At its core, it is breathtakingly simple! It also struck me that this very baptism was similar to when me and Austin were taught by the missionaries. I am thankful the Lord gave me the chance to help pay it forward! Marcus is the man! 
Last Monday, we may or may not have fallen into a deep slumber, with intentions only for a power nap. A member in the ward calls it an “Efficiency Interlude.” That sounds more professional. We laid down and woke up three hours later. I feel indifferent about it! There is always too much to do than sleep!
We met a man who invited us to study Genesis chapter 1 and 2 and contemplate how Marijuana is essential to salvation. No thanks! Modern revelation trumps that Old Testament Stuff! 
We are having a bit of a scare with Philicia and her family, the ones from the Virgin Islands. We dropped by the other day and the youngest daughter came to the door and was uncomfortable. She proceeded to tell us that her Mom told her to tell us that we shouldn’t come back any more. The reason being we were rude to her younger son.  We are perplexed because we had only spoken to him one time. We are still hoping and praying that this is our family that is ready for the Gospel!
We found another family of five! The Garcia’s! We were totally led to them! On first contact they were a little unhappy, but upon praying with them, they totally opened up! All of their kids are baptismal age! They kept thanking us for praying with their family! They are super excited to come to church here this coming Sunday! There are so many people that are searching for that ray of hope, that happily ever after! We have it!  
That is about all she wrote! Thanks for all that you do for me! I really hope and pray this is the best week ever! Better than any previous! Keep fighting the good fight! Keep the faith! Enjoy to the End! Have a blessed up week and I will hear from you real soon! Love you all so much!
Elder Dallan Barnes 
“What’s your favorite Holiday?” Elder Hanson asked a child the other day, the kid responded: “BATMAN!!”

“Baptism is an event of eternal consequence.” Bishop Nolden