Monday, December 23, 2013

     UPS Santa made a delivery.....looks exactly like the printer back home???

Dec 23
Oh come let us adore him!
By him, I mean me. I guess I am a bit of a big deal. No not really, that is a little conceited. But Christ is the Reason for the Season! Thanks again for a splendid Email! And, to make matters better, I will get to see the whole family come Wednesday! So help me if y'all moved... or adopted an asian kid... Surprise! You have another sibling. Needless to say, I am excited to see everyone! Glad to hear everyone is soaking up the Christmas Break. I just happen to be out here working, no biggie. I wouldn't have it any other way! I can sleep when I am dead, or something like that.. Which is kind of a lie, considering work will happen in the Spirit World. I will catch up eventually! But let me tackle my week!
Monday was superb, I found out that Santa uses UPS for the larger packages. I guess everyone is cutting back now, or maybe the reindeer are getting older.  I am super spoiled though! I love it! I haven't opened any present, with the exception of the 12 Day Presents. We also love the Christmas Apparel you have sent! That night we were able to go Christmas Caroling with a family in the ward. The Cheney's. It was a lot of fun, something that we didn't quite do back in Utah. But hey, that's alright!
Tuesday was alright. Not too much happening. We met with several people, and some of them have turned out to be promising. However, most people don't want to visit until after the holidays. I will be honest, I'd say the same thing. Family and traditions would be more important. But, we lay in wait, to strike when the opportunity presents itself to dunk them! I will say it is really cool to see when people make the connections of Apostasy and the need for a restoration. Or how people in the America's needed the Gospel too.
Wednesday seemed to be the same story, visits with some people, talking to everyone. Knocking doors, chasing down people in a car, jumping out to talk to them, you know, the usual. I can tell you one thing though, y'all need to try some real southern BBQ. I will learn how to perfect it! We had it at the West's house again, and he has one several awards in the state of Georgia. I'll have to have him teach me the ways! We were also able to visit with Allen and Janet again. It bites because we hadn't seen them in a little while. They are truly awesome people. Janet seems content with where she is at, but she is so thrilled to see Allen getting back into church. We get to see them tonight, and she will baking goodies for us!
Thursdays seem to be the longest. No one likes to visit on Thursdays. Or maybe it has been the torrential onslaught of rain lately. Either way, we make due with what we have. I am glad to say we passed our cleaning inspection again. Which leads me to ask, is my room still even intact?? Are you saying that I was the problem it got dirty? I don't know about that... Our appointments with Kai have been dropped because she was heading to Michigan for the Holidays. But she is still awesome! I hope she is taking advantage of the Holy Ghost!
Friday we got to work at the Family history Center. I was able to figure my music situation out. The library computers don't let you run anything from a hard drive. But all is well for now! We did some more tracting and met a Family that is from El Salvador! They seem pretty promising, but we will likely have to pass them on to the Spanish Elders. That'd be an adventure! Some day I will learn spanish I think. More things to add to my list of things to accomplish. We also had dinner with a part member Nigerian family.  But, my companions didn't pull their weight. They had an abundance of food for us all. They even asked my companions why they don't eat very much. But we were able to talk about Christ after dinner, and I still am just excited to know that there are good people everywhere!

Saturday was rainy again. And we had several appointments. And we had our Ward Mission Leaders Son with us (he is a priest) for the day. All of the appointments fell through, of course. Nobody seemed to be home, of course. I think the best thing that happened that day was we got Martin's for breakfast. They make a mean biscuit! We met a handful of awesome people, and probably the miracle of the week was this guy sitting in his car (unbeknownst to me) as we approached his house door. Elder Thurgood pointed it out and was nervous as to what to do. Yes, missionaries revel in awkwardness, which leads me to believe the Spirit loves awkward too. But I just pressed forward and waved to him outside his car door. He was sitting in his car thinking about what he needs to do about his family. If religion is the way to go, and was contemplating giving up on the bible. Then we showed him the Book of Mormon and he was thrilled. We even invited him to be baptized! He said yes, but wouldn't set a date. It is funny the Lord's timing, we unintentionally skipped his home when we started tracting the neighborhood. But I felt inspired to go back. Mysterious are the ways of God!  I also did get some packages from Grandma B and The Adams! I am way too spoiled, really. What did I ever do to deserve all of this?
Sundays are just amazing as usual. Nothing too out of the norm happened. We were invited to teach the High Priests about Preach My Gospel. It went over alright, sometimes I wish we had more time to prepare for such things. I suppose preparation comes through studies each morning. We were also able to stuff all of the Ward Christmas Letters! The sisters here in Lost Mountain are struggling a little as well. Must be the time of the year. We had dinner at the Krogh's house! Hope you got the picture of us doing the dishes! Yes, I instigated it! And yes, I enjoyed it! I love when people allow me to serve them! We will be spending Christmas Eve with the Krogh's. They are a musically gifted family! They almost had a record label back in the day. We also swung by our Ward Mission Leader's house and they had a gift for us and some Fondue (or however you spell it, I am an American! None of this Frenchy stuff). The gift was Orange sticks! I guess people out here think they are gross. They know not what they are missing out on. Maybe it is just a Utah thing! It is good to be loved. God is good!
That was my week! I am glad y'alls was pretty dandy too! I am sad to report that there will be no Zaxby's today. But hunger will find a way! I think we maybe will just fast today in preparation for the Holiday feasting that will take place!
Well, I am ecstatic to speak to and see all of you come Wednesday! As for the time, we are shooting for around 12:00 to 12:30 our time. Would 10:00 be too early? Interfere with the post Krimma Nap? I hope all is well and I love you all so much! That is one thing I am most grateful for, and incredible family. I see so many of them around here, and totally value mine! Keep being amazing! I hope you continue to have a blessed Christmas Holiday Season! Enjoy the White Elephant game at Grandma's and the Movie before it! Enjoy the Nerf War and Pajamas too! I am looking forward to opening mine! And enjoy the times! I totally miss being away from home for the Holidays, but I am so blessed to be in the Lost Mountain ward, closest thing to home! I have been in Georgia almost 4 months! Unbelievable!  I love you all so much, and I cannot say it enough! Keep fighting the good fight! Stay strong and I will see you shortly! Have Blessed up week!
Merry Christmas!
Elder Dallan Barnes
My thought, is just an epitome of the South. A guy dressed in the Burger King Costume, carrying a cross. On the Cross it said "Christ Died, so you could have it your way." Christ did die for us, but more importantly, he lives!

Monday, December 16, 2013

                              Atlanta snow!!

                      Looks like Dallan got a new companion....handsome group!

                Some snow from Alpine Utah

Dearly Beloved Family,
First things first. I had the grandest epiphany this past week. I was fixing myself a bowl of cereal and a glass of chocolate milk. Then it hit me! You add the cereal first THEN the milk. So, one must add the chocolate syrup first before the milk. I knew it all along that I was doing it the right way. If you say otherwise ye are hypocrites ;) When I get home, y'all better be mixing the milk the right way, okay? How this relates to the Gospel... Well, I leave that one up to all of you. But namely, there is just one way to return back to Heavenly Father, so there must needs be just one way to make Chocolate milk. My week has been good and wow oh wow, am I jealous of the Ginger Bread houses. And that sweater! Is it comfortable at all? Did you steal if from a Hobo Jace? Does it smell like old people?? When is the Candy Cook off this year? Someone best be making that chex mix! It wouldn't be the same without it! Let me tackle my week quickly! It was blessed up for sure!
Wrapping up on Monday, we hit my First Goodwill. Disappointed to say the least. We found it by complete inspiration, so we figured there was something in there specifically for us. Maybe we didn't look too hard. We also hit a Ross and TJ. I felt a little torn inside not buying a single thing. We ate at Stevie B's for Lunch again and I put down 15 pieces of Pizza. Dad if you ever come out here, we are going to settle this, Mister 2 pieces of French Toast. I think the Heinhold's sent you the video of us singing Silent night! Hope you liked it, we spent FHE there.
Tuesday we had exchanges again with out Zone Leaders. Elder Schenck came with me and Thurgood. It was really a productive day. We met some really interesting people. Some guy came out to meet us in a robe and all he had was socks on. He confessed he was just on the throne. And you better believe his hands were wet.. Yum! I am also learning the skill of prayer talking. I can't wait to share my talent with you all. The greatest things that happened were one we had a baptismal interview with Kai. She is so ready, and she was indeed baptized. We also got to push this elderly man out of a mud hole. Then taught him the Gospel. He was super interested.
Wednesday was another miracle day. We actually had our lunch paid for at a little hole in the wall BBQ place calle Johnny's. They sell guns too, so you know it is good. We don't know if it was a member or a non member. Either way, there are amazing people out here for sure. We met with a guy who really tried to shake our faith. He wasn't too educated, and was convinced slavery was a conspiracy and that Negro People actually inhabited America before. He also kept telling us to Overstand, not understand things. All he wants is a sign. I am convinced he wouldn't believe it if he found it. We also met with Steve and Amy again. They are such a riot. They ordered Pizza for us even. Amy actually threw a baby shower for a member of the church out here. Oh, and I got the "snow package" A little disappointed there wasn't real snow, but I'll take what I can get! Thanks Mom! We finally set up the tree and everything!
Thursday... Hmm, I can't recall too much going on to be honest. Let me tell you though, it got a little frigid. Namely, it was 36 Degrees. And I made the mistake of leaving my coat. Good thing I don't mind the cold so much. We had one more visit with Kai to check in before the Baptism. Rock solid still!
Friday, we had Zone Conferences. It was all about Christmas and giving gifts, namely us giving the gift of the Gospel. What is the greatest gift y'all have received? The conference was a spiritually packed day! I also got to sit down with President for the first time... 4 months into the mission. It was good, maybe I was expecting more but oh well. He is pretty inspired. I also wish he would have told me what would be happening here in the ward. I hope I am staying another transfer. We met with a Nigerian Family, the Okezies. They are super awesome too. Nigerian Hospitality is top notch. They want to feed us this Friday now. Another set of good Christian people.
Saturday, was the Baptism, but first we went a finding. We knocked many doors, and had a priest out with us. It was good. All of our plans fell through so we just hit the streets. We were guided to many people, probably because the Lord wants these Priest aged young men to have a good taste of missionary work. The best miracle was we saw this Uhaul truck ( I dub the operation, U haul, I haul, We all haul) and dropped in to see if they needed help. Their first response was "If you aren't here to help, you turn right around." Thankfully, we were and they were in luck. We moved several couches and they had said just a few mintues before, they had started struggling moving things. There was 4 women there. They were convinced God sent us. Well yes, yes indeed! Kai was baptized and it was amazing! She is so prepared! It is awesome to hear her share her testimony with us. Baptism is a beautiful thing!
Sunday was great, I always look forward to Sundays. It is funny how just about everything changes on the mission. Scripture Study, Sundays, etc. Kai actually asked if I could confirm her and give her the Holy Ghost. I was a little shocked she asked me of all of us and her LDS friends, but I was so touched. Not going to lie, I was a little nervous. And to make things a little more odd, she was late to Sacrament. She made it though! I was shaking while giving her the blessing. It is so amazing to be able to help others and to give her one of the greatest gifts God has trusted us with! I can't wait to Baptize and Confirm someone! Hopefully soon according to my faith and obedience.

Well that is my crazy week! Glad y'alls was superb as well! Can't wait to hear from everyone soon and thank you so much for keeping me in prayers and writing me! It is so awesome to see a full inbox of emails! Let me know if there is anything I can do for anyone of you! Keep being the amazing family I know all y'all to be! Have another blessed up week and we will hear from you soon!
Elder Dallan Barnes
Coincidences are God's way of performing Miracles anonymously.
December 9th

What's good, what's good my peeps? What brings you to this electronic trough? Another week in the books. What a week. It has been rainy and dreary almost this whole week. One day, at random, it popped up to Mid 70's. I thought Utah weather was bipolar, and Georgia weather is pretty bad too. Maybe the most reasonable conclusion is that Mother Nature is Bipolar. It also looks like y'all have been getting bombarded with snow! That is amazing! I would love to go hit some slopes, or have a snowball fight, or something. That is one thing that this area could use... Snow! But It is so awesome to come back each Monday to an email from y'all! Seriously the best thing ever. I am so spoiled! Let me blaze through my week!
Monday, we ate out at Zaxby's again of course. What is the status on them coming to Utah? Are they there yet? You best look into it! It is some mighty fine chicken! It will be my comfort food when I get back! We had a few lessons, one with a young man who was raised a member but has been in and out of prison, but is back on track, and on the right train! His girlfriend isn't a member but they are incredible people. They are supposedly being taught by the YSA Sisters, but he wants us to teach them. A bit of a pickle some would say. I don't want to poach though, although that has been the MO for my many months here. Sisters have it easy. I wouldn't want it any other way, what did we ever learn when it was easy? 
Tuesday was super miracle packed. Quick request from all of you, tell me your favorite story of Christ, in honor of this Holiday season! It could be a parable he gave, or a miracle he performed, etc. I know mine has probably been Christ Walking on Water and inviting Peter to come out to him. But, as for the miracles, we got a call from a random number to come to a hospital and give a blessing. This lady that called was innactive from Mississippi, and her boyfriend had a seizure on a skateboard, crashed and busted himself up pretty good. It was a real sweet experience to offer our Lord's help and it was awesome that people know where to reach out to for help. I hadn't ever been in a hospital for something like that. We had an appointment with a lady we found, and she is wanting to really read the Book of Mormon and be baptized soon. Her name is Edyth, and her intentions are good! We later that evening had a visit with another lady we found named Rhonda, and we just spoke about Christ and all the tender mercies we receive. She will be coming to church next week! We also ate at Stevie B's. Pizza buffets are where it is at! They had this good strawberry cheesecake pizza.
Wednesday a lot of people just fell into our hands in the forms of referrals. We were hoping to see Krista, but she came down with the flu. We got a text to visit a young man Named Quienard, his girlfriend just got baptized and he is seriously looking into it! He has the funniest laugh I tell you what. African Americans have some pretty good laughs to be honest. He is convinced we are celebate for life... We also got a text to see a young man named Dew. He is from Liberia and investigated the Church in Texas. He really wants to find truth and be baptized. He is a 7th Day Adventist, so we'll see what we can do there. The gift of tongues is real when it comes to understanding others. We also visited with our Baptismal candidate for Saturday, her name is Kai. She has been smoke free for 3 weeks now and off coffee! She is super awesome and super ready! People are most certainly prepared! I also learned how to shine shoes! I am growing up afterall!
Thursday we had a leadership meeting in Peach Tree City! It was really super neat to see everything that happens behind the scene. President can also have more fun around the leaders. I was able to see Elder Savage and Vandersloot there. They both seem to be doing well! We also got coaxed into doing a musical number for Zone Conference this week. It totally poured today this day too. We had to pull off the road because we couldn't see. Here are a couple insights from that day. The crowning indicator of Love, is loyalty. If you don't do things out of love, there isn't much point in doing them at all.
Friday, everything seemed to fall through. We did get to work in the family history center, and I looked into my tree. Someone should tackle Grandpa Barnes's side! Everything else of mine is really well filled out! I had to show my companions that Levi Savage was my ancestor. I also found out we are Swedish from Grandma Barnes's side. We had dinner at Mama Barnes's home which is always incredible. I don't feel like I see them nearly enough after being moved. 
Saturday was super awesome. We had three solid appointments with Dew, Kai, and Allen. We prepped Kai for Baptism for the following week, and Allen we had a super bold lesson, and had him pray about the message. He says he feels so good and have rekindled his spiritual side. It was super neat, because I actually led the discussion too. All of our appointments are moving towards baptism. We also had the night of Nativity, where the stake center was decked out in Christmas cheer! So many Nativities from all over the place! It was super awesome! We also had several Non Members come out to visit too. We got to clean the church in the morning which was alright. We were up at 5:00 getting ready. It was a long but rewarding day for sure. We had a priest come out with us all day. His name is Flint Moore. The Moore's are the most Southern People in the ward. I also think my companions think I am a social butterfly. Compared to them, Yes! I love the ward and chat with everyone. 
Sunday is always the best. It feels like family out here! Kai was able to make it out to church which was awesome. She didn't quite make it for Sacrament, but the ward is definitely taking their arms around her. We didn't have any others at church was disappointing, but we will continue to press onward. We had a awesome dinner with a new family, the Drakes. They are super awesome!  Sister Drake commented on my prowess with kids. They have two young ones. The thought hit me, everyone seems to ask me about if I have younger siblings or neices and nephews, maybe I need to do something with kids. Pediatric something... I don't know. I do love kids though! The Christmas Devotional was awesome though! Did y'all tune into it? I also really need to get better about staying focused on my journaling. I don't get to bed until midnight most nights. We are usually just shooting the breeze for a while. It is good, and I love the comradery. But I do value my sleep! Is there anyway to train the body to function on minimal sleep?
Today should be splendid! We will try to hit up a Ross or Goodwill today. Maybe look at some pens at Office Depot. Maybe get a set of slacks. You know, missionary things! No Zaxby's today unfortunately! But, It is shaping up to be a good week! 

Well wow, that is just about all I have to say! That and all y'all are amazing! Just keep bringing in the Christmas cheer and continuing to smile! And find someone to serve this Christmas season! I am going to take a Christmas ornament off the gift tree here! If that is the very least I can do, that will make me feel so much better! Thanks again for all you do and wish only the most blessed up week for y'all! Take care and I eagerly await next weeks email! Love you all! 
Elder Dallan Barnes
If God can bring you to it, He'll see you through it!
We may not know all the answers at the time when we need them, but be confident that God has provided all that we need to take the next step in faith
Dec 2nd

Well here we meet again after a frivolous week of feasting and shopping! I can only say that we partook of the feasts! Multiple ones at that. I am glad to know that no one slipped into a turkey induced coma, although I could see some of y'all getting close! The winds of change have been gusting here as you have caught wind of that from your confidential sources. It seems like you have eyes on me everywhere I go. Yes, things really got shaken out here. But as for me, I can trust in my foundation. I have two new companions, and a car. I have two people trying to keep me in line. I guess I am the trouble maker. I can't hold down a companion for more than a transfer...  Their names are Elder Wilson, and Elder Thurgood. Wilson is 20 and from Denver Colorado having been out 7.5 months and Thurgood from is 19  from Farmington Utah and has served for 6 months. Relatively fresh missionaries, but they are hitting their strides! They are both good guys and we can most certainly have fun here, but also get down to the work! We joke often actually, kind of a beautiful thing being in the car. You can't do that so much on the bike, unfortunately. It is funny to think these two were competition for me and Vandersloot in the ward. Now we have joined forces! The tri-panionship! Let me say that the living situation is a little messy currently. I am in between places. They put me down where the Elders were living in the South part of the area, where there is really only room for two. Half my stuff is at the Carnell's still because they plan on putting us back up there! It is much more logical because all of the members are up there, it feels like home (I have missed it dearly), and there is room for four missionaries. At this time, I am not sure what the final verdict is. They still haven't pulled the trigger yet as to what is happening. So in response to your question Mom, I don't quite know where to send stuff. I know we can trust the Carnell's if we need to head up there for mail. It won't be as immediate as I want, but we will find ourselves up there often. I am super curious as to what will happen come transfers. If I will stay here and get another companion, or train, or I don't know. It is crazy to think about. All I do know is that we won't be together come January 1st. Anywho, let me dive into my unique week (rhyming it up).
Monday was super awesome at first! It was Vandy's birthday, and he is quite the pen and pencil guru. I hadn't used that 0.3 Pencil you gave me, and I knew that would be something that he would like. So that is what I gave him for his Birthday. Now he always gets to remember me when he writes stuff. Sinister, I know! We took it pretty easy that day. He had a handful of gifts to open, which was neat. We stopped into the Heinhold's and had a small birthday bash, I hope you got the photos! And for the best birthday present, he got a phone call from President Harding, extending him an invitation to come to Peach Tree City and work in the office for the remainder of his mission. As long as he is serving, I am happy! But, that really rocked the boat. I just sat there kind of numb for a bit, thinking of what was to happen. But I am so blessed to still be here in Lost Mountain. I would have been devastated to find out I was headed elsewhere too.
We didn't know until the morning, so the night was spent packing. We did though hit Ross earlier in the day and found out that Ross isn't as fun when you are a missionary. We still need to hit a Goodwill soon!
Tuesday was the swap-a-roo. Vandy just packed all morning and what not, we got some photos with the Carnell's, etc. It was so crazy. I found out I would be in a trio that morning. The Carnell's even put forth this huge sales pitch to keep us in their basement. We were fighting valiantly to reclaim our territory. But, we are still just waiting to hear from them about what will happen. I had met my companions briefly at church, but we clicked pretty early on. It rained all Tuesday and was just a gloomy day all around. It was sad to see my companion go, but it must be for the best. Coincidence isn't something I believe in! I got a whole mess of ties from him though! Not sure if I will keep all of them, but I don't have to worry about that now. We met with a less active named Deena and gave her a blessing. I just so wish I could do more to help some of these people. Being a missionary is emoitionally draining. I hope when I get home, I am grounded firm enough that the Adversary cannot shake me.
Wednesday it actually snowed. Not a Utah snow storm, but maybe a small skiff. It was really frigid. The high was around 35 and the low in the teens. It was crazy! We almost got a white Thanksgiving. Who would have ever thunk! Luckily I was not on a bike, cause that would have been down right miserable. Let alone the roads iced over. We met this Family who the father looks like Jesus. They have an awesome story, their house burned down and he survived stage 4 cancer. Walking miracle right? They are pretty strong in their faith, but we could so build on theirs! It is so awesome being here in the South, where you can talk about Christ with everyone and they almost all believe. It was a good work day, hadn't had one of those in a little while. Knocking doors and taking names! The life of the soldier missionary.
Thursday, happy Turkey day! It was oh so happy. We got to do the Turkey bowl, which was awesome, my first one ever. It was in the 20's when we started, but it thawed out quick. It was a good turnout with around 40 people or so. It honestly felt like I wasn't on a mission, like it was normal life for a moment. I loved it! We had Thanksgiving Lunch at the Phillip's home. I hope you appreciated the call, I know I did! The Phillip's are an incredible family, I tell you what. They remind me of us! And I know, my hair has changed, but that doesn't change who I am ;) I am glad you called back too! I got a snippet of your voice and got a little teary, I'll be honest. It was different being away from home, but it was the closest I could be to home. I am so spoiled in this ward! We played Apples to Apples and just kicked back for a little. So relieving! We then had a dinner at Bishop Shell's home where they invited a whole slew of family. Something you will realize if you live out here, is that family connections are really prevalent. There were so many people there and we got to play some pool and foosball! We later headed over to the Heinholds for Thanksgiving Dessert and a game of Balderdash. I really need this day. Just totally refreshed! We slept well to say the least!
Friday, was an odd day. We spent a good portion of it with Brother Carnell. We put up the Christmas decorations, then when out to a teaching appointment, then came back for a post thanksgiving feast. It seemed like the feast they didn't have. It was just the two of them for Thanksgiving. I felt a little bad because that is one Holiday that shouldn't be celebrated alone. They spoiled us and I acquired some Cheerwine and this drink called Boiled Custard. It is alot like Eggnog, but just as tastey. It is a southern thing. And you know me, if it is Southern, I am on it! I got your package Mom and it was awesome, just what I needed to kick off the Holiday season!
Saturday, we had a monster day planned. Especially since a priest aged young man would come out with us on a "Mini Mission" and spend the day getting the missionary experience! His name was Andrew Frese and he was awesome. The day fell apart unfortunately, but that is the experience. We knocked several doors, had many laughs, and even had ice cream! It was a good experience I think for him! We will be doing this every Saturday for the next month or so!
Sunday was awesome because I get to see and mingle with the ward. I just love being a part of it. I didn't share my testimony, but things got crazy. The bread got forgotten and we did it at the end of the service. Krista made it to Church for the first time since I had been here. She even made me some Muddy Buddies. She is incredible! The Gospel can totally help her. She seems to be struggling, I even got a hug from her (hugs aren't against the rules, I have found out). We will be seeing her tonight though! Allen was sick and couldn't make it out which was disappointing. We also heard from an investigator that we fell out of touch with that has a baptismal date. Her name is Kai! Super excited to have her grow closer with God! I don't know, I just love Sundays! All the smiles, handshakes, hugs, and laughs. I love being able to associate with such incredible people. I get teased regularly! My hair is really a topic of discussion, which is so humorous to me. We had some serious heart to heart bro time as well.
We will be going to Zaxby's as usual with Brother Collins, and maybe hit a goodwill today. But that is my week! I am so blessed to have you as my valiant email writing family! You take care of me too well! I love hearing about your week!
Elder Dallan Barnes
Doubt your doubts, before you doubt your fears!

Monday, November 25, 2013

          Looks like a Party....Happy Birthday Elder Barnes & Elder Vandersloot!
           This is the exercise plan for all that Birthday Cake!

                         Happy Happy Birthday Elder Barnes!!!
So funny story, I saw that quote about changing the sails the other day and figured I would make it my thought... Scrap that idea. But anywho, I am back in the comfort of our apartment emailing. It feels like a dream having a speedy computer! First off, Thank you so much for the birthday wishes and presents. Birthday on the mission is something different for sure. We kind of took it easy for the day, which was nice. I opened one present early, just like we usually did it back at home. Then opened the rest after dinner! All the presents were awesome! I love the ties, sweater, cologne, peachie-o's, everything! It definitely made for a special day! I am so super blessed to have any incredible family! I cannot even begin to imagine what it would be like without all of the support and prayers behind me. Behind every great missionary, is a great family! So let me dive into my week! It definitely wasn't the most productive of weeks. It really bites when it gets dark so early. There is not a chance I will be on my bike in the dark on these roads. We saw some awesome people again this week though, but not too many people were looking for the Gospel.
It was really sweet on Tuesday at our last district meeting because Bishop Shell and his wife made us a mean breakfast and then afterwards the Sisters in the District got us some birthday cupcakes, candles, hats, etc. It was super thoughtful of all of them. Sheesh, I still can't believe I will be almost 24 when I am home. We also saw Steve and Amy again. They were super anxious about us getting transferred, so luckily, neither of us got the axe. They fed us enchillada soup and tacos. We also went with Steve to help out with his Church's paintball course by making these bamboo barricades. It was a lot of fun to be a man for a moment, building stuff and what not. They are just awesome. They are LDS and they don't even know it ;) We also went out on splits to double our work load, with the Elder's Quorum Presidency. It has been a while since I had gone out on a split. It was a lot more comfortable this time, seeing how I have been out longer. Me and Brother Phillips went and saw three less actives. The Phillips are so amazing! They remind me of my family :) Just down to earth, fun to be around. They are going to have us over for Thanksgiving too! The biggest surprise was Mama Barnes's Cinnamon rolls that evening. That was so super thoughtful! And they were dang tasty! 
Wednesday, Birthday! Wow, it finally crept up on me! It has almost been 3 months out here in Georgia. Where has time gone?? I got a package from Abby and her mom which was chalked full of Southern Apparel! I think my southern conversion is almost complete! I got 6 ties, what a loot! I wonder how many I will come home with? I also got a card from The Lees, Abby, Abby's Mom, Grandma and Grandpa C and a letter from Jessica. It feels good to know you are loved. Thanks again for all those out there that help make this mission thing so much easier. I am so stinking spoiled, and I am not sure what I did to deserve it! I got plenty of Happy Birthdays from the ward too. The Miller's had us over for dinner and spoiled us some more. We got our favorite desserts, cheesecake and german chocolate cake. We also got to see this movie that Brother Miller was in. It is called Defiance, and it was filmed by a missionary while he was serving there. It was so funny! I will most definitely get a copy of it! 
Thursday I indeed had a dandy surprise. I was curious what it could have been, since you didn't know about transfers until Monday. I figured you just overnighted it just in case or something! But, all of our appointments fell through that evening, and we were in the apartment making some calls and trying to stay busy. Sister Carnell came down asking if anyone had come by for her. Then we heard foot steps upstairs, and then a familiar voice! Sister Carnell scurried upstairs knowing the intentions of the assailant. We heard some wheels squeal on the way up the stairs, and he was gone, like a rainbow in the dark. Thanks for the loot Uncle Jason!! I have so much gatorade and cheesecake to down. Not to mention the apples too! Just what every missionary needs-- variety!
Friday was not very productive. It was rainy and gloomy. I don't like going out on days like that. It just feels like a downer, and it gets darker sooner too. We were driven inside to make calls and stay busy again. Oh, and I have been wearing a new tie every day! Thanks again for all those :) We got to see Bob again, and read some more Book of Mormon Passages. It is only a matter of time. He is just kind of dipping his toes in the font if you know what I mean. Someone just needs to say the prayer and push him in! 
Saturday, our big appointment with Allen and Janet dropped. But he willing committed to coming to church the following day. So that was the best we could get. We were hoping to bike down and see him, since our biking miles have gone down lately. We were able to go out in the evening with President Clark (2nd Counselor in the Stake Presidency) and visit some less actives. This ward is just so blessed! There are such amazing people. I know I rave about them a lot, but it is the truth! We also managed to base out to the Hercules song you sent me! We also might have gotten some Christmas music in there too!
Sundays are always the best. I look forward to seeing the ward so much. We finally met the new missionaries, and they are alright! I think we will get along just fine! They want to go to Ross and Goodwill today at some point! Elder Wilson, had to get evacuated out of a place called Rockmart, because some missionaries got held up at sword point, by a drunk guy. Really? He was drunk.. Come on man! We got to teach Elders Quorum on how to teach the new member lessons from PMG. Teaching people to teach, go figure. Allen did follow through and make it out to church. A disabled kid that is highly functioning, asked Allen when he was getting baptized. Haha, when he is ready is what he responded. Sister Barnes swung us by this Cinnamon Roll cake and it was divine! The Carnell's also had us up for lunch, and they chatted about you Mom. Yes, I am spoiled! I love it though! We didn't have a team up that evening so we hunkered down and watched the Testaments on the couch in our blankets with popcorn. Missionary life! 
That is just about it! Another blessed week in Georgia! Thanks again for the weekly email! It means the world to me and to know all is well out there in the 801, just the way I left it! I am sad I missed Grandma's Thanksgiving! That was always the bomb! But I am sure all will be well by the time I get back! Well, I hope you have another amazing week! And I cannot wait to hear about it soon! Like maybe next week if y'all don't mind! And, I am soo soooo Thankful for my family! I hope you get a moment to think to thank! This time of the year is awesome, isn't it! Happy Thanksgiving everyone! Also make sure to get out there and get some good deals on Black Friday. Who knows, maybe I will have to do some cyber monday shopping ;) I must be taking off, but thanks again for everything, I cannot say it enough! All y'all are the best! I love you all so very much!
Elder Dallan Barnes
If you don't invest very much, then defeat doesn't hurt much at all, nor is winning very exciting!

Monday, November 11, 2013


                                                       Fall Leaves In Atlanta Georgia

Happy fall all y'all (Yes, I just went there)
First off! Happy Veteran's day. AND Happy Anniversary to the bestest parents ever! 24 years wow. Y'all are getting old... That is an incredible thing. Thank you so much for harboring such an amazing environment for us to thrive! I am so glad to be part of this family! Like I sometimes say, we put the fun in disfunctional ;) Hope you have an amazing day!
I have a dream, in fact I have had many dreams. Most probably aren't too important though. I have been dreaming of home a little bit this week actually, maybe that is because this is my favorite month. This month is graced with Thanksgiving, Veteran's day, My Birthday, and the late great Black Friday (which is slowly becoming black Thursday too...). It is just a time to think and thank. I am so thankful for the letter this week! I love hearing from y'all weekly. I am so super blessed to have an incredible family! I mean it when I say it! This would be so much more difficult without such stalwart support group behind me!
So quickly, my week, get yo popcorn ready!
As for Tuesday, the biggest thing that we did was meet with Steve and Amy our investigators. The ones we have sword battles with! They are reading the Book of Mormon pretty rigorously! They have a few questions here and there about the Restoration and what not, but that all can be solved if they pray about that blue book! I think Amy is much more open to it, because we found out she isn't too comfortable at the churches they attend. They are super fun to be with though. They call our meetings "hang outs". Tomatoe tomato.. We also gave Allen a church tour which was awesome! First one I have ever been a part of. He was impressed with how big it was and the spirit that is in it. We will hopefully be getting him to church this Sunday! 
Wednesday we actually had our cleaning check. First time that we have had that since I have been here. We passed with flying colors. Thanks Mom for helping me to know how to clean up! Saturday chores did work on me to some extent! At least, when I did do them. You probably won't believe this, but my stuff is organized and clean. And it stays that way! We helped the Miller's move some stuff at their house. Their home is going to be done here soon enough! They bring us over baked goodies all the time. We also had dinner at the Phillip's house. And they are just the funniest people, a super sweet family. Somehow everywhere we go, my hair becomes the topic of discussion. I will take what I can get! For the closing prayer, they asked the youngest, Lindsey to call on someone. Then Sister Phillips told her that she couldn't pick the Elders (so she wouldn't pick me. Sister Phillips says she has a crush on me, it is funny, but don't worry she is in elementary school.
Thursday, we met with our Recent Convert, John again. We just read a chapter of the Book of Mormon with him and answered his questions about the Gathering of Israel. That is a topic I really want to look more into. I don't know nearly as much as I should. We also had dinner at Bishop Shell's home. He is such a goof! I love their family too. He played Satan in the play they did for the Youth Standards night this week. Yes, our Bishop is Satan. Can't say that very often!
Friday, the overwhelming majority of the day was spent at the Temple. It had been too long since we got to go. I just love the peace that can be found there. It is such a blessing to have the temple so close by and to also attend it. I want to start doing Family History work so I can do ordinances for my ancestors! We also had Zone Conference, which was good. They were just stressing obedience and the need to get out and talk with everyone. We need to Expect miracles to happen. It is all my choice on how things work out. I am not a product of my situation, but a product of my decisions. We got to visit with Bob again, after being caught in Atlanta Traffic coming from the Temple. I thought I-15 traffic was bad... Bob is doing good though. His biggest hang up is how his family will react. He has been kind of secretive about our meetings. The Lord will provide a way I am sure! 
Saturday, we got to go out with the most Southern Member in the ward. Brother Moore. It was so sweet to hear him rattle of that southern accent. I want that so so bad! I have been disappointed with the lack of that here. I need to go to the nether regions of the mission to get that! Fingers crossed! Or I could settle for a black accent. Here we come ATL! Hotlanta! We worked on the recent move in list to see if these people are interested in coming back to church. Brother Moore even gave us some of his smoked rabbit and smoked deer. It was pretty darn good! Add that to the list of my Southern Experiences!
Sunday is always super fun to get the whole ward together. There is just a certain element of family that is present in this ward. It wasn't the most productive Sunday in terms of working with non members, but it is always awesome to strengthen the members here. I just hope I am making a difference! The Cheney's had us over for dinner with the Sisters. Breakfast for Dinner. She called to invite us and I said, Breakfast is always good, it is hard to mess up. Supposedly everything that could have gone wrong did. But it tasted great! A testament to the validity of that Statement! Sister Buttle lives with them and she mentioned how I looked more like a dork before I dressed up on Halloween than when I was dressed up. She is a sweet heart. She even gave me a hug. There are just some rock solid people out here, let me tell you what. 
Not most effective of weeks, but the work continues onward. I am learning so much, and my love for the scriptures is growing daily! There is some good stuff in there! Not to mention, I have them marked up now! Thanks for the stickers. I hope you all have an awesome week ahead of you! Remember to always look up, because the body naturally follows where the eyes go. Once again, I am so super grateful to hear from y'all. It makes me so happy to know that all is well on the home front! Let  me know if there is anything I can do out here in the South! A member said the other day to me "Put some South in your mouth!" I don't know if he was talking about an accent or food. Or both? I like the sounds of it! I got to jet! Have one super blessed up week! Love y'all!
Stay Classy,
Elder Dallan Barnes
When I let go of who I am, I become what God wants me to be. 

Thursday, November 7, 2013

                         Happy Halloween from the great state of Georgia!!!

                          On top of Mount Kennesaw......Beautiful!!!

Happy Daylights Savings!!
Yes, that is most certainly a Holiday to me, especially being on the mission. It was more so a Holiday than Halloween haha. It is weird that it gets dark at 6:00 now. Which means we have 3 hours of work in the dark on bikes... Don't even trip chocolate chip! We will get it sorted out so we are with a member each evening! I don't feel comfortable with being out in the dark on these roads. Heck, I am barely comfortable in the daylight. But anyways, let us cut into the nitty gritty. I am super blessed to find another email from y'all in my inbox. I am so spoiled! My family is the greatest! Hope you all had a solid Halloween! You pull of the Ron Burgundy and Veronica Corningstone too well. Kind of creepy. I'm not even mad, I'm impressed, that's amazing! 
Monday, A sweet angel of a lady offered to buy all of our groceries! I held onto the receipt for sentimental value! It was so sweet of her. We had already paid for them, but she took us to return them and she'd pay for all of them. The South is a beautiful place! We also got to check out a ward Members coin collection. I held this gold dollar the size of a dime that was worth $1500. It was from the 1800's. We also did pumpkin carving and I will attach some photos! The Glow sticks didn't work too well unfortunately. And we didn't get a chance to put candles in them. But it was fun regardless! We had an appointment with our investigator named Krista. She made us her Key Lime Pie! It was oh so good! She is I think 23 and so ready to be baptized. We are just waiting on her to figure out her living situation. But she is awesome!
Tuesday was our big ward Trunk or Treat. Which was awesome! I totally forgot my camera in my other bag... But we dressed up as nerdy missionaries (yeah, it was as much of a stretch as possible). Like super parted hair, glasses with tape, hiked up slacks, orange and black ties. I so wish we got a photo. They had a Pie and Chili cook off and we were the judges for the Chili. We have some mean cooks here obviously. Like award winning status. We had our investigators Steve and Amy there and they had a good time! Heck, I even got to assist with making Sister Miller's Chili! My hand still smells like onions... dat ain't right bro! Also, Sister Buttle, the old lady that joshed me about my hair had a total laughing fit when I showed her my hair at the Trunk or Treat! It lasted 3 minutes... This ward, they are something else!
Wednesday... We went out to eat with some investigators to a place called Heirloom Market BBQ. It is just this hole in the wall restaurant with some dang good BBQ! I got this smoked turkey, and wow. We ended up eating it at their Church. I felt uneasy going into a Baptist Church, but there were some awesome people inside. 
Thursdays just always seem to be the slowest. We did have Halloween, but usually for missionaries, they want us in by 6:00 or so. Nope, not this mission anymore. They wanted us out working. Trick or Treat? Trick, read this fools! (Hands Book of Mormon). We did have a set up appointment with our Recent Convert John and his wife. We had a hot dog bar and some scripture trivia against the Sisters. We dominated. 35 to 19. It was weird the whole day since I only saw maybe two people trick or treating. And it sounds like it wasn't too fruitful back in Alpine. What's that about... Times are changing or something. 
Friday... Everything that was set up, fell through. We had a dinner appointment and team up, fell through. We scheduled another one for dinner and a team up, fell through. And our one appointment with Bob dropped as well because he was out with family. It was rainy so we were also restricted to our apartment too. I went a mad cleaning stint. My comp still hasn't unpacked. I thought I was a bit of a slob, but I do alright. I guess everything is relative, as even the late Einstein would say. We found out we are having a cleaning check this week, so our ship needs to be in top shape! 
Saturday was an awesome day! We helped a new family move into the ward and the Phillip's family took us to iHop. They are so awesome. Just super down to earth, funny, a lot like my family! We got to go see Steve and Amy again, and they insisted on feeding us. They fed us some shrimp, fries, and a casserole with broccoli and cheese! It was so super nice of them, and they have the funnest kids. Kyle is 5 and Archer is 2. Why is it kids gravitate to me? Amy always thanks me for being so nice to Kyle. He is a little bit slower than the other kids. We talked about the Book Of Mormon and she has read almost halfway through Mosiah. She says that always bothered her how revelation would somehow cease after Christ died, granted that God doesn't change. Hook, line, and sinker (in the words of her Husband Steve). Awesome people! We got to visit with Allen and Janet as well! Got Allen on date again, for the 30th of this month. He is so mesmerized that the Book of Mormon talks about the same things as the Bible, despite being on separate continents. We will be taking him on a church tour this week. He has offered to feed us and to drop by any time! We get the man hugs along with the handshake! 
Sunday was superb. Day lights savings! I have been having some weird dreams lately, which makes things interesting. It was fast Sunday of course. My companion was eager to get up there. So I went up too. I only had a few minutes because time was running short, but I got up there and probably cracked more jokes than bore a testimony. I really just wanted to thank them for everything. My companion has a feeling that I will be transferred this upcoming one. He has just two transfers left and thinks they want him to train. I am finishing my training. I pray I am still here! It would be the best ever! We had dinner at the Sugden's home and they have the cutest kids! I just can't get over this ward! They are so amazing. We went out and saw a less active and helped him to build more faith, because he is lacking it. He has some interesting ideas, but is over thinking it. He has 8 kids though. Because of DLS time, the darkness crept up on us. It got dark at 6, and we didn't have a team up. So we wandered the neighborhood. This place is giant! We didn't really see anyone, but it was a fun walk!
That was my week! I am glad y'alls isn't too out of the ordinary! Keep doing the do! I also have been fighting this cold/sore throat. But it won't stop me! Just Know I am praying for y'all. Remember to think to thank! I love this time of the year! Let me know what I can do to change! Sorry about the questions things. I am just so short on time. We spend 15 minutes writing our Mission President. I can field questions! Thanks for all the updates on the football. If it isn't UGA or Falcons, most people don't know. Keep me in the Loop. And the chiefs... undefeated.... say what???! I best be running, but please have one super blessed up week!
Elder Dallan Barnes
Wisdom is knowing the right path to take. Integrity is taking it.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Gourmet chili mac!
                                                        What a handsome team!!!
HEY! FAT FACE!! YEAH YOU!!! Stay classy. 
Yes, I had to go there. I really haven't had many opportunities to share that profound message from the legend, Ron Burgundy. I know that his voice can make a grown lion purr, so I figured maybe I should try that one at the door or maybe while on bikes. What say you? They mentioned that we need to be creative with finding, and just maybe the one person I use that on, happens to be an Anchorman fan. I'll pray about it! When does the second one come out again? Needless to say, our apartment smells of rich mahoghany and we have many leather bound books. I wish ;) Well, I think we chewed the fat enough right there (somewhat of a southern saying, sounds terrible). But yes, my week has been awesome and I will certainly give you the pleasure of taking it all in. It goes down smooth every time! 
So the remainder of Monday was pretty decent. I tried taking a nap but it was so unfulfilling, disappointing for sure. I hope that I can nap when I get home, because there is nothing like a Sunday Afternoon Nap in the Fall! We also bought a little journal to give one of our investigators, her name is Krista and she is probably around my age, and we left our testimonies in the front of it for her birthday. It is just so crazy to see what a small gesture can do for someone. She is definitely been through some stormy seas, but she is so ready! She said she will be baptized in December because she will need to get her housing situation sorted out! 
Tuesday was pretty solid as well. It wasn't the most productive for finding, but you got to have less effective days to feel the full force of the super effective ones. In district meeting I had the blessing of teaching everyone how to relate every single concern back to the Prophet Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon. It was such a simple principle that no matter what it is, it boils down to if the Book of Mormon is the Word of God. I had everyone role play and respond to objections I have seen here. Let me tell you, the Baptists take the cake on that, always objecting! But it is good, because at the end of this refiners fire, I will be so well versed in the Gospel. But it is truly such a beautiful place because everyone does have faith, and it is so easy to talk about Christ.
Wednesday, hump day. We had two awesome lessons with Krista and also with Allen and Janet. My companion is just so seasoned at this point. It almost seems clinical the way he teaches. I am picking up on it and I have my chance to jump in here and there. I wish we traded off a little more so I don't have to say the Pity Prayer as I call it, the closing prayer because I didn't say as much. We'll keep working on continuity and unity the more we teach. I just hate cutting people off when they pause or ask a question. I was thinking about it though, and I am not cutting people off if it is the Spirit that is leading me. Bam, personal revelation. Can I get an AMEN! We had for lunch Chili Mac.... Mac 'n Cheese mixed with a can of chili. It wasn't half bad, definitely a luxury food for college students. It was like a heart attack in a bowl haha. So.much.sodium. On our way out of the apartment a lady flagged us down on this major road as we were riding by. Such a miracle! She had just been kicked out of her house and was lost on these narrow roads. She wasn't too stable either. At least she had a phone, but we talked to her and walked her to the closest intersection. I talked to her friend that would pick her up and guided her to our location. They were so grateful when they showed up, they teared up and hugged me. It pushed back our day, but sometimes we are the angels, and God leads us to them. The Lord's timing is so crazy! We stopped by our awesome investigators Steve and Amy, and had a foam sword battle, then talked about the war chapters in the Book of Mormon. We went to Subway and this worker just started talking to me about where we work... Well, let me explain >:)  We got her number left her a blue book! We met with Justin, our Recent Convert, and he is struggling a little too. I just want everyone to be happy and strong. I love helping people continue to build faith. Oh and Krista promised us that she will make us a Key Lime Pie! Southern Hospitality, I tell you what. It is a beautiful thing.
Thursday...  I realized I got my days mixed up and kind of mashed Wednesday and Thursday together, soo... I don;t have the time to mend that. Let me tie some loose ends. We had a baptismal interview for a lady the sisters are working with (she lives across the street from us, tell me how that works. Frustrating to say the least). She is awesome though, super prepared. She was baptized just the other day actually! I also glued in my scripture marking key, which totally builds off of your study guide Austin. My Scriptures are going to be a relic when I am home! Come to think of it, I wish I had more time to write about all the awesome people we eat dinner with. That letter would take just as long... There are some truly amazing people out here. Y'all should come visit ;)  
Friday I spent so much time studying. I am so glad we have that time in the morning to study. It makes all of the difference. I found a couple talks in an older Ensign that I love. I hope I get a copy of this past Conference's talks. We spent the majority of the day trying to find. Most people weren't home or weren't interested. At night, the Carnell's brought us down Hot Chocolate! That was so awesome! I need to buy some now! Sarah Pestana, a Recent Convert also called us to order us a Pizza! Score! We also had an evening lesson with Bob again, and it was so awesome. The Barnes's (the other ones in the ward haha.) came with us. We had him focus that the answer he is looking for he might have been overlooking. Still small voice, right? 
We even got to bed Early Friday night! Crazy things I tell you. I still woke up a little tired to be honest. We were up at the usual time, but we had a special Fireside with Elder Oaks, in Tucker. It was about an hour away, but we rode with some elders, so it was a good time. I met with all the Bros from the district again. They are doing awesome! We had both Atlanta Missions crammed into the building. 550 Missionaries. Two missions. I think I ended up in the right mission, as if I had any say in the matter haha. But, we got to hear from Elder Oaks for 40 minutes or so. He had no real talk prepared, but jumped around ideas that he felt prompted to share. He is truly inspired. He mentioned how the goals you set should be for you to accomplish, not goals you set for others. If your goals include others, they are inadequate. It boils down to the idea of what can I do? Not what others can do for me. He also mentioned that "My Mission" when people mention that, they are wrong. It is the Lord's mission, not ours. And once we accept that, we become missionaries. You aren't a missionary by doing missionary things. It was awesome. I wish we could have all day with him! And, we got to shake his hand and snap a photo as a mission. I met another fellow Utah fan out here. It was so refreshing to say the least! We had the Baptism for Nicole, and I don't think anyone got pictures. We got to be Witnesses again though! Someday I will get in that font and dunk someone! 
Sunday, probably one of my favorite days beside Pday of course. I had my first vivid dream about investigators and people I needed to talk to and call. I couldn't remember for the life of me who though... Church was awesome though. I love the people here. It was the primary program which was super cute as always. Not too heavy on the doctrine of course, but it was refreshing. I loved when they sang A Child's Prayer. Love that song. Easily one of my favorites. So yes, we went to ward Choir again. There are some great singers here! One of which sang with Gladys Knight (however you spell it, she is way out of my era, maybe some old people like some people I know, could clarify). Me and Vandersloot were the only men there haha. I don't think I have that great of a voice, nor do I have any music background or practice. It is funny how people mention the change I have been through since I got here. Some say I was quiet and have totally opened up, others say that they are surprised to remember this is my first area. I want to be the very best, like no one ever was. To catch them is my real test, to train them in my cause! Yes, we had a lengthy discussion about Pokemon on our way to Elder Oaks. Random thought I had! But, we got to cook with the deLeon family and eat it. We also got to roam around with Brother deLeon and see some people. The Carnell's invited us up with their fireplace going to have some cookies and milk. It felt like winter or something, just hanging around the fire on the couch, sipping on milk. Can we do that when I get home?
Well that is my week! And I am glad to see y'alls was just as awesome! Remember to always look for miracles as well as be the miracle for someone else! The weather is really turning here and the leaves are finally changing! I may need a sweater here soon! Hopefully I can snap some good photos! I wish I could have been there for the Halloween party, but I will raincheck two years time. I will show you the real Ron Burgundy! Hope it doesn't snow this year on Halloween and make sure to torture Jace with a scary movie like you did to me (Arachnaphobia...) I would love to see everyone's costumes too! Let me know if there is anything I can do out here in the South! I love hearing from everyone and I greatly appreciate it! It makes things that much more special! Keep hanging in there and fighting the Good Fight! Thanksgiving is right around the corner! Have another blessed up week! 
Elder Dallan Barnes
Thought:  Pray as if it all depends on God. Act as if it all depends on you.

Monday, October 21, 2013

                    Catching up with Brothers from the MTC

              Dallan is a professional ironer....he just can't help ironing everything!!!

 Ever since the "silly" pillow divider on the couch with the sister missionaries... Dallan has made it his mission to tease them relentlessly....good luck ladies! Dallan calls this his Armand it!
        Missionary Ninjas......with foam numchucks! thanks mom
Sampson?! Is that you?? Bark twice if you're in Alpine!! My oh my. Another week in the books! I totally spaced last week that I eclipsed my two months being out. I can't say it has felt like it has been that long. Or maybe I mentioned it has been two months before.. My mind is going crazy. I need to write things down to remember them since there is so much to remember. But yes it has been a superb week! And this coming week will be awesome too! We get to see Elder Oaks on Saturday. He has a rocking first name, just saying. It'd be a little better with an A instead of an I. But yeah, awesome week. At times it didn't seem too productive but people have been calling us. Crazy! I heard that UGA lost again, which is saddening. I know there are people in the Ward that won't come to church if they lose. Football down here is for reals! I heard Utah lost as well. So disappointing. All of these BYU fans have to let me know about it. But let me dive into my week! 
Nothing really conspired for Last Pday. We were going to do Kennesaw Mountain, but it was closed with this whole government shutdown mumbo jumbo. Glad to hear it is sort of back? Will there even be a government for us when I get back? Hopefully.. But, I got this idea for a sick picture. I will be on top of the mountain holding up my Book Of Mormon, with my tie blowing in the wind, facing Atlanta! Armand has a picture similar to what I have going on in my head. I have to get to the top of these mountains (hills....) to scope it out! 
Tuesday was our biggest documented biking day. It equated to a total of 23.3 miles! Monster day! My legs were so hammered after that! The bulk of our ride was to the Stake Center. It is like 6.9 miles away. We had to meet down there for district meeting, which was good! The Zone Leaders are interesting. They are big into military things, so their whole lesson was about a military scenario they read in a book. It is easy to talk about things you are passionate about! We met so many people after that! One guy that was a referral works as an EMT and the other day, a patient refused help and said that God would do what needed to happen. It shook Justin's faith, and how much he needs. We will be meeting with him again! And we just jammed all over here!
Wednesday was super good too! I have this new scripture marking system going on and it is brilliant. Elder Vandersloot showed me the concept, and I am so excited to build on it! Hopefully I am a Scripture Hero! (I just sing in my mind JUKE BOX HERO, its an older rock song). This day got soaked up by a doctors appointment Elder Vandersloot had to go to in Atlanta.  I did rattle off some letters since it was 40 min drive! I hope I hear back from Jake, do you know how he is doing? We just got to work after we got home and saw several people. People that I have only seen once since I got here. Miracle timing I tell you! That timing also got us to visit with Allen, our progressing investigator, 5 minutes before he was heading to Home Depot. The Bingham's (a super legit family, from Connecticut) took us to Steak and Shake, and I had this awesome S'mores shake. It was dandy! We also got ourselves a little trim before Zone Training Meeting at the Heinhold's. They are so awesome too! I think they sent some photos too! Are you friends with Sister Heinhold yet? :) 
Thursday was Zone Training meeting! And it was so awesome because multiple zones were there, since Elder Evans was here for two days. I got to see so many of my boys from the MTC! A blessing indeed! Elder Meservey is doing awesome! I miss that kid! It was just so awesome to chat with him about life! It is crazy how we only knew eachother for 12 days, and we are great friends. Elder Evans was super loving, but also tore us up a bit. He stressed how crucial the book of mormon is. I think I take it for granted sometimes. We got a call from two investigators, out of the blue that evening as well. It was awesome! Answers to prayers and our obedience!
Friday was an interesting day. One investigator that called us to see him, invited us over to help build these foam/pvc weapons for his paintball game. They have only 5 shots, and they also wield weapons to beat each other with. It was awesome to watch his videos. He has a goPro to film it. He is like 6'8", EMT/Firefighter and has the deepest and most burly voice ever. He took us out to eat as well. His wife was ecstatic to meet us! It was a fun morning for sure! He wants us to come out and play in the game, we might have to accept! We Had dinner at the Barnes's house, Mama Barnes as I refer to her now. They are just so incredible! This ward is awesome. It is sad to think that other wards I will serve in wont be as sweet as this! We get fed every night just about. I even got a hug from her! She's my Mom away from home!  We taught Bob again and we are getting him there, and he is getting more comfortable with opening up! 
Saturday is a special day, its the day you get ready for everyday really. The biggest Miracle was this younger woman named Krista, came to us and she poured out her soul. She is in such a hard spot, and this might be her chance to escape it. She wants to be baptized so bad! We had the privilege of blessing her! I am so excited to start teaching her! It is crazy to see all of these people on the surface level and how happy they appear, but deep down there is stuff eating at all of them. I love just being here to comfort and talk to them! I just keep seeing it over and over. I am convinced there is no perfect family out there! 
Sunday, funday! I love Sundays! I love being in the ward and of the ward ;) I just get to talk to so many people! It is awesome to just get to know them and feel the spirit and love that resides in the church! I got to ordain Justin to the office of a Priest, which was an incredible experience! I love using the Priesthood. It is something I definitely took advantage of at home. Pretty much everyone we talked to wanted to feed us. I think they like us! Which is a good thing! I would be okay staying here a while :) And now that leads us to Pday! Let me just say I have been getting to bed on time so much! It is such a blessing! 
That is my week in a nutshell! I am excited for this week upcoming, and hope y'alls will be awesome too! I am so blessed with the most incredible family ever! It is awesome to know that each Monday I get to wake up and here from them! Keep fighting the good fight! I love you all so very much! Let me know if there is anything I can do on my end out here in Georgia! It is cooling down, especially in the mornings. It must have been in the High 30's! Anywho, have one blessed up week and I look forward to hearing from y'all soon! 
Elder Barnes
P.S. Humility isn't thinking less of yourself, it is thinking less for yourself. Be humble brochahos! :) 

Monday, October 14, 2013

                                         Saying goodbye to Elder Savage
                                         Saying hello to Elder Vandersloot
                       The Elders look so brave Fighting the Ferocious Halloween spider mom sent!
                                        (It's nice to see Dallan is working on his arachnophobia!)
Ah, you don't say. You again! Well, it is nice yet again to have another awesome day of preparation. I always get stressed because I never have enough time to do what I want. I need to be extra speedy today, the Sisters are coming to email at the house. I guess this Columbus guy was kind of important, such that they shut down the library's. How is Columbus day? Anything fun on the Agenda? And when is Day lights saving! That is a holiday for sure. An extra hour of sleep sounds dandy!! But let me dive into my week! Thanks again for writing me and I really am so super grateful for y'all slaving away every Sunday afternoon! It makes all of the difference over here! And yes, I am from the future! A whole 2 hours ;) But it counts! 
Last Pday was mighty. After I hopped off, we got fed Zaxby's by Brother Collins. Then, the Phillips took us to get sushi, for our second lunch. Yes, I tried it! It wasn't half bad really. Much better than Oysters! To conclude our evening, we were fed BBQ at the West's house. And dang oh dang. I could eat that all the time! He has won awards for his beans and ribs. I was so full at the end of the day. We also had homemade ice cream there too! Our baptism, John Steele was over and his wife was actually a Catholic nun. She worked in the Vatican translating scrolls for a few years.
Tuesday was kind of odd. It was love hate really. We kind of took the victory tour around the ward and saw some members for Elder Savage. They get to keep me.... It could be worse. The Bishop fed us this mean breakfast for district meeting. We also had a testimony meeting at the conclusion. It was pretty spiritual for sure. We had a service project for a lady named Nancy. Her husband passed away a little while ago, and her house and yard have gone to shambles. She was really impressed by us serving missions and also serving her with a smile. Service with a smile.... I have heard that somewhere. SW 4 LIFE! :)  We also stopped by our investigator's house, Charles, and threw down the restoration. He kept saying there is something special about me and a glow. He said, God told him that I would be back to teach him more. Fill dat font 4 realz tho!! We will be seeing him tomorrow. Fingers crossed. We packed all night, and got to bed at 2. Somber moment again.
Wednesday was transfer meeting! We were up at 5 to finalize everything and get out the door. The meeting is 1.5 hours away. Yes, I snoozed the whole time! I felt so out of place at the meeting. I only saw two people I knew from the MTC there. 160 missionaries out of 220 or so were there. I did get my new companion, and he is just as mighty. His name is Elder Vandersloot. Yes, I know, A mouthful. I still get the L and T mixed up sometimes. He will be 25 in November, has a twin brother, been out 19.5 months. Was just a Zone Leader in Conyers. Super genuine guy. We are pretty similar, yet different at the same time. He does like looking good, so we agree on that front! I really like him and he is super wise! I think we will be doing some good things here. We got home and unpacked, and off we went! 
Thursday was our first full day and we are still just getting along. He is just the sweetest. He reminds me of Zach. Puns and all haha. We ended our night with a "warm fuzzy", as he calls them. We just complimented each other. It was nice though! Nothing too amazing happened until the evening. We had dinner at the Holmes house, and they fed us homemade Pecan Pie. I was so impressed. I could live here.. only if I rode a bike 24/7. We caught a family we have been trying to see for a while now. We are actually going to be meeting with them again to help them with their basement. 
Friday was awesome. We hit the streets again, and boy did we see miracles. We were fasting too. A fast without water is a mighty one when on bikes! We got 3 new investigators, a referral, and this one man who just about slammed the door on us called us up the other day to come help him with his non-profit organization that helps troubled teens. He mentioned something about paintball. Count. Me. In. We also had an awesome meeting with Bob. We took the other Brother Barnes with us and they just hit if off. Bob totally opened up about what is holding him back... Family. A blessing and a curse sometimes. We will keep working on him! He knows it is true but is afraid of the repercussions. 
Saturday we had Stake Conference and Elder Evans of the 70 came. He is a mighty man indeed. We got in an also taught Allen another lesson. He is reading away at the Book of Mormon, and keeps saying it is all familiar and makes sense. I just gave a water down version of the Gospel of Christ. That was our original goal, but the Spirit directed us elsewhere. We will keep working with him and maybe get him in white ;)
Sunday was Stake Conference again. This stake is awesome, and this ward is the heart of it. I love being a part of this ward. I feel so at home and just can talk to anyone. They trust me for sure. It is so awesome being a part of something bigger than yourself. It reminds me of the Canyon Crest ward. It felt like home. I hadn't seen many of them in two weeks! We are so spoiled in this ward. The Wood family fed us BBQ as well. I am telling you, it goes down smooth every time! Utah BBQ isn't even the same.
That was my week. I know there are things I missed. But that should hold y'all down for another week! Drink it up haha. We will be going to Kennesaw Mountain Battlefield today for a hike! It should be scenic and fun! I am doing well, and it is so so awesome to hear again from you. I print off the email every week to come back to! I pray everything will continue to go superb back in Utah! Everything is going well here. I got a call from the higher ups I need a haircut. They said that it looks so good that it is distracting... I guess I be lookin too fly for these cats. Haircut soon! We will eat with the Barnes's so you can get a pic :) 
Any who, I have to jet. I need to slap some photos on here and shoot Abby a line or two! I love you all so very much and just keep being amazing. Let me know if there is anything I can do for y'all! Have a blessed up week!
Elder Dallan Barnes
My thought: Christ is fully invested in us, so the question is, are we fully invested in him?

Thursday, October 10, 2013

                                         Gorgeous.........You too Dallan!!!
                   Mom sent a miracle.....Zingers have made the sweetest comeback ever!
                                Notice the pillow divider....Dallan found this very amusing!

So we meet again! Thank you for the email and the photos! How did I ever get so blessed to have such an incredible family! Seems like all is well in your neck of the woods (although, being here in Georgia now, I wouldn't call it much of the woods out there), but you get what I am trying to say, hopefully. Snow this early, wow! We will be lucky to see snow at all here. I am going to miss it. I miss the cold, in all honesty. I miss the dryness. Although, not having to use lotion or chapstick is kind of neat. I am glad y'all got to relax for conference. Let me tell you that being in a shirt and tie at the stake center is no where near as comfortable as sweats and a shirt on the couch, eating your amazing Cheese Quiche! I hope everyone got as much as I did out of it! In all honesty, it was really weird seeing Utah. Like, that is my home, in real time! Just one of the random thoughts I had as it started. But, let me dive into my week!

Tuesday was a solid day. We helped a recent convert clean up her brothers basement. She is from Portugal but grew up in South Africa. We found out that they owned 3 Lamborghini's and 2 Ferrari's at one point. They were in the construction business and that tanked as we know... SO he consolidated to one of each. The Lambo was in the shop, so we settled on the Ferrari. How sick would that be to tract with that! We would be teaching lessons left and right! But she was so grateful. I love helping so much, honestly. I want to leave this place better than when I came into it. Just the feeling you get for helping afterwards, just makes it all worth it. The Zone Leaders were supposed to have a Blitz with us, but they had service too going on. So we didn't get together until 4:00. Then me and Elder Sandoval ran to a few houses, but no one answered. Kind of freaky being away from my comp, but refreshing to see different missionaries in action. I had my first Waffle House experience too. Those Hashbrowns are top to the notch!! We also found out that we cannot play basketball any other day besides Pday. Which sucks big time. It was a great finding tool, since we are both ath-a-letes. Yes, three syllables ;) That's how people say it round here, out in the sticks! 

Wednesday it usually a bit rough, since we have to plan the whole day out, and not have any meetings. We saw a few less actives and dropped by this one ladies house. Her name is Tena and she is going through some tough stuff. We did our blessing approach, and our prayer had her in tears. I hope we can help her in some way, because she needs it! We successfully used the bathroom trick too. Got in, Elder Savage really had to go by the way, and I chatted. It is funny seeing people open up to you. Yes, we are normal. We had dinner at the Johnson's home, and had some southern style gumbo! It was pretty darn tastey! We also had FHE and played Scriptionary. It was way fun! And yes, we won. If you ain't first, your last! 

Thursday was a freaky day. Elder Savage was going to be gone all day essentially at a mission council, and another greenie was going to be on an exchange here. My time to take the reigns, and I did just that! Elder Morales was funny. He is waiting to get to Brazil, but it was fun to have a refresher/change up. We had so many appointments, and they went pretty well. Our last one, I even got bold enough and invited my first person to Baptism after teaching the Plan of Salvation. He accepted! Fill dat font yo! The Lord was with me that day, I tell you what. That was both of our first times teaching that lesson. We will follow up this week sometime! We also got to eat at the Phillip's house and they are just awesome. They even invited their nonmember friends. They like us and trust us I suppose! 

Friday... Hmm... We ended up having to do our Weekly planning that day. So not too much went down. We had an appointment with Brother Feeney. He read the entire book of Moroni, said the Book of Mormon is the word of God, but still won't pray... Tough cookie. I don't know what he needs, but we will find it, and we kill it. We have a certain set of skills that make us angels for people like him. ;) Liam Neeson starring in a new film, Baptized. 

Saturday was absorbed by conference. Which was awesome as I said! We also had a baptism in between conference sessions. His name is Justin. Mid twenties, black young man. Elder Savage had to baptize him twice. I was a witness and it was touching. It is so crazy seeing people come out of that water, changed. That is what all of this is about. Change.

Sunday was the same story, a great one at that. We got fed breakfast here at the Carnell's. Enchilladas at the Wallaces, and Pork Chops at the Roberts. We also got the memo that one of us will be transferred. I wish conference never ended. It was so awesome!

Monday (today, if you were wondering!) we got the final judgement... Drum roll! I will be staying and Elder Savage will be a Zone Leader elsewhere.

That just about wraps up my week. Random tid bit, we didn't get to bed before midnight this whole week.. Sucks to suck. I could totally use a nap, but cannot afford the time to do so. I won't be able to respond to everyone's message. Thanks again for emailing me! I really look forward each week to hearing from y'all. That is what I love hearing, is how things are back in Sunny Alpine Utah. I wish the best for everyone this coming week! Keep sticking to it and climbing the mountain. I know you will be blessed for your efforts! I love you all so very much! Have one super blessed up, post conference high, week!

My thought: In order to be made whole, one must be broken first.
We are all broken to some extent. Or we are mended, then break elsewhere. The more we are broken, the more opportunity that our Savior has to heal us. We have weaknesses so we know where to turn. Turn Upward!