Monday, September 23, 2013

                                                Life University Rugby....Put me in coach!!!
                            Georgia Rain+Rugby+blue tarp+missionary work = A good day!
Well hey there, funny seeing y'all here! Small world I suppose! Another week in the books! And just like last time I don't know where to start! I think the day by day thing was pretty convenient with my handy dandy journal nearby. So I think I will go right into that! Oh and I was able to hop back on for a quick second last Pday and printed off the email after you resent it! Thank you so much! Such a miracle in and of itself. Y'all are the best! Whatever I pay you right now, double it! ;) Our  work is starting to finally churn out some results. Hopefully it will start turning into the dunkathon! Get Dunked!! 

So after I emailed you, we had dinner at the Heinhold family (big Utah fans, it felt more homely) and Sister Heinhold offered to cut our hair! She did an awesome job, and she and her family are just overall incredible people. Their Second youngest, Autumn, is having her baptism this weekend and we will get to be the witnesses! It will be awesome! They are also inviting her friends and non member friends, so hopefully we can turn that into a good finding experience! That and I didn't get to bed until 12:45 that night... Why can't the south have siestas? :(

Tuesday was good as well. District meeting was good. It is still a little odd being with 2 sister companionships, and then just me and Elder Savage. But we manage. We role played a little, and they all mentioned that I am pretty enthusiastic when I approach people. Maybe that is just in comparison to my companion haha. He is definitely more serious and collected. We had our first bike incident, with one of us getting a flat tire. And I will narrow it down for you, it wasn't me. Luckily we were in the neighborhood of the Miller's. Super legit family! Their oldest daughter is serving in Sweden actually! But, we ran all around getting a new tire and tube. Which leads me to my first request, I could use like an emergency kit for bikes, that just kind of sit underneath the seat. I can't find anything around here, but it has tools, a tube, co2 cartridge, patches, chain replacements, etc. If I could get my hands on that, that would give me a little more peace of mind haha. But the biking is good. We went to this place called Moe's. It is a mexican restaurant, but it is no where near the level of Cafe Rio, or Beto's! It was still good though.

Wednesday, hump day. For the first time since I left for my mission, I got to bed on time! Freaky right? I also woke up not tired! It is a Christmas Miracle I tell you! Hopefully we can start getting to bed sooner! It was a super long bike day, but the weather has been quite merciful on us. It was cooler and cloud cover. Not as humid either. I dug it! Fall is right around the corner. Which I can't wait for that either! It'll be beautiful! Another first for both of us, was that we tracted out a whole street. Nothing too amazing happened, but I did 3/4 of the doors. We ran into a young red neck kid named Brady, and he was cleaning his car after goin muddin all night. He only had shorts on, and those were doing their best to cling to him! And, we didn't have a dinner appointment until the amazing Barnes family bailed us out! They are such awesome people really. We have to be related :) Miracles I tell you! After dinner we taught a lesson to Bob Feeney, a GT professor for electrical engineering. But he has been taught a lot. We read a chapter of the BOM with him, Alma 12.

Thursday always seem to be the slowest! Our weekly planning went way over time, so we didn't get out until 3:00. Then we had dinner at the Curby's house at 5:30. So not too much time to hit the streets! And they are awesome people too. There are just so many incredible members out here I tell you! They have a cute family too! Their youngest, Madi, kept telling Sister Curby to not take these cookies they bought back to the store. She kept saying it! It was cute haha. We got to play some basketball again, but our investigator couldn't make it and didn't tell us. We played anyways. It was a lot of fun! We will be playing this coming Tuesday too! We didn't get home until like 10:30 as well... 

Friday nothing too notable happened. We went to eat for Lunch with some potential investigators at a japanese restaurant. Then later on we had dinner with the Gebs/Wiblin family. And their kids are so much fun too! Kids just gravitate towards me, and I can't figure out why. I did get the package you sent Mom! I loved it! We had been out of candy for a few days now! I can't live without some snackage! I am going to put the odometer on today as well! I think I will be pretty disappointed with how far we really go haha. But it will be neat! I think my favorite candy corn might be the chocolate covered actually! I never thought about that! But they are pretty good. I love candy corn! How did you know?? :)

Saturday was my first Georgia Rain storm. And it poured. all. day. long. BUT! We managed to get to a rugby game!!! Life University is right around the corner actually. A lot of the members here either work there or go to school. They are a big Chiropractic institution. But, we were hoping to talk to a bunch of people, but the rain prevented us. It was like at nationals in Pittsburg that one year. But it poured all day! I loved the game though! Put me in coach! Maybe I will have to come to school out here after all.

Sunday Funday of course! Sacrament was good, and people appreciated my haircut haha. I think the ward likes teasing me! But I can handle it! I have a thought I will share towards the end of the email! AND, we got our first legit first lesson in! We taught a man named Allen Robinson. Long story short, he has been inactive Methodist for 6 years, and his wife wants him to go to any church! We won't see him until next week, but he seems really interested! We also got to stop in at a recent converts block party, which was awesome! Real music!! Real people!! We got to dress down too, so we weren't as intimidating. Then another miracle compliments of the Barnes's, they asked if we had a dinner appointment. And we didn't! Yet again, we have been fed by them! They are amazing I tell you what! It totally runs in the name! ;) We also got to stand in on conferring the priesthood on John Steele. It was a sweet moment. He is an awesome guy, with such a great story to tell. 

That just about wraps up my day! It is so awesome to hear from everyone. I don't know if I will be able to reply to all of it, because time is always so short here. But I love hearing what everyone is up to! Dad: I caught wind of the game. All of these Zoobs out here are pretty down. I revel in it >:) Will they schedule BYU for next year too? I keep hearing how crazy the NFL is right now. It sounds like it is anybody's to take. Maybe I can catch a superbowl while I am out here. Only if it is the Falcons I suppose!  I forgot to mention the roads out here are crazy! They don't believe in the grid system at all. So I think of the Californian's skit on SNL. I will perfect the accent and then it will be funny to give directions, because no one out here knows directions like North, South, East, West... But if you rattle off a road or lefts or rights, they get you haha. Interesting world I tell you! 
Mom I feel like our weeks are pretty crazy, for different reasons, but hang in there! I know you appreciate the photos, so I am more than willing to ask the members if they would send something! They all understand it out here! We never cook, and the members wont let me do the dishes. I will get to them eventually! 3 days to get a package? That is amazing! I really appreciate all of them you send to me!  Oh and that is awesome my friends stopped in! How are they doing? I got their Dear Elders, but I don't know the return address to send a letter too. I hope you directed them to my blog, because that will be probably the most complete thing to see. If you could get their address that would be awesome too. And Aunt Marie sent a huge box of otter pops, and it was oh so nice! We have so so many each day! Have an incredible week! I can't wait to hear from you again! You keep on smiling too! I wonder where I got my smile from anyways... :)  Y'all are always in my prayers!

I need to get rolling! Know that I am hanging in here! The transfer is winding down too! I am finally starting to see some success! We get to teach Seminary tomorrow too, at 6:30... But it will be good! Ya'll keep sticking it out back in Utah! I am so thrilled to hear from everyone every week! Have a blessed up week Fam!!

Love Elder Barnes

Thought: There are 5 L's to living like Christ ~ Love, Listen, Learn, Lift, & Lead. Do your best to strive for all of those! I know that it will make a difference! I love you all so much! 

Monday, September 16, 2013

Dear Family!
 I guess that I can just dive into my week. It was a good one, but we are still struggling to find people to teach. I feel like every door has to have been knocked around here. But, I brought my journal this time, so I can remember vaguely what happened. We have the same problem today, that the other computer is logged off, so this might be a little small again. I don't feel like I am taking enough pictures here either.... 

Tuesday: We ran into our first bible basher. Her name was Rosemary. She invited us in and told us she knew who we were. She then proceeded to tear us a new one. But we threw down!!! It didn't go anywhere though of course. She just kept saying that we don't believe in the same Jesus Christ. That we misrepresent him. That we are all saved by him and we don't need to do anything here. She would ask us questions, and then cut us off when we tried to answer them. I tuned out soon after it started. She will get another chance to hear the message. We are working with a young man named Keenan and he starts for a highschool out here in basketball. Yes, he is black haha. But he has game too! It was just a little ward ball type game after youth night. We did alright though. Keenan's Dad also came, and told us he is shopping for a church. Well let me tell you, I think we got what he is looking for haha :)

Wednesday: Nothing too crazy went down. We met this one less active who is pretty opinionated and crazy. He invited us back to come skin a squirrel and eat frog legs. I need to try them, because I am all for Southern Culture right now. And if I can't have it inside me, then I can't have it on the outside haha. We had dinner at the Barnes's. Crazy right! Super sweet family and they have a son serving in Ogden. I think they sent a photo to you Mom! 

Thursday: Biking galore, then meeting with the Bishop and our Stake High Councilman. We also had two team ups that day and got to do Splits, which was super nerve wracking being away from my companion, and still having to teach. All of the people we went to see didn't answer. The biking is getting more enjoyable though. It rained just a little too. So it cooled down just a touch, but it was still humid. My manly muscles are getting larger!! 

Friday: Friday the 13th!!! Did anything out of the ordinary happen out there in Utah?? Because out here is was extraordinarily great! We got to go to the temple! It was what I was needing so bad, to get my mind off of things. AND, I got the temple clothes on Thursday! Thanks for that package Mom! I couldn't help but tear up. I LOVE those songs! Elder Savage won't let me listen to the Hercules one, and the For Me Alone song is only okay on Pday. I love the lyrics you attached with it. I keep glancing at the "This is where I am meant to be" line. I am still trying to know that for myself, but it will come! The temple really was awesome, and it is beautiful. It is hidden by all the trees, like everything else around here haha. We then had zone training and our Stake President Owen, and High Councilman Miller were there. They both talked about me and Elder Savage. They are both awesome people. President Harding then came up to me to essentially say I needed a haircut and talked about how moving it was for us to share our testimonies with the ward on our first Sunday. He also keeps saying we need to chat. And, Uncle Jason was so right about these suits!!! I get compliments all the time, especially at Zone Conference. Looking dapper is where it is at ;) 

Saturday: My first baptism! Super Saturday. I eclipsed my first month of serving as well. We had to do a little bit of service in the morning, by loading up the food the ward collected for a food drive. After that though, I had myself another southern experience.We went to a biscuit shack called Stilesborough Biscuits. And when I say shack, I mean shack. Old run down, side of the road, chipping paint, but oh so delicious food. I had some Grits, a Chicken Biscuit and a cinnamon roll. Oh my lanta. It was divine! I don't feel like I have been eating real southern at all here, but that hit the spot. I have been eating though, and I found a scale the other day. I topped out at 212 fully dressed. I think the gravity is stronger here too. And, I think I am putting a decent amount of muscle weight on in the legs. But back to the Baptism. I think I already spoke about him, but John Steele was so ready. Older gentleman. Super funny and sarcastic, kind of reminds me of Grandpa Barnes, but younger. It was so amazing to hear him and see him make that covenant. I wish I had done more to help bring him to Christ, but I guess we are all on the same team. We had Bo Jangles for the after party dinner haha. John said "Nothing says Southern Baptism like fried chicken". On another note, I knocked my first doors. Most weren't interested, but one family could potentially be soon! It was super nerve wracking, but I made it through! Improving everyday! 

Sunday: Sunday was such a blur. We had to give a little thought in primary, run here, do this and that. It is still fun to come in and meet new people. The ward here is pretty awesome. There was this one older lady, and she saw me 4 times at church, and just chewed me out every time for my hair. At one point she told me I must have done it with an egg beater. Southern women aren't afraid to tell you their mind. But she could have been a little more gentle! I thought I had good hair :/ Don't worry though Mom, you cut my hair just right! Needless to say I will be getting a hair cut today from one of the ward members. I am a little nervous, cause I like my hair! But it is all part of the experience! We hit a few doors and ran into this crazy black guy named Wayne. He was crazy and ended every statement with "You know what I mean" haha. He was super nice though. He also had some good insights. It is crazy how spiritual the people down here are. On a random side note, I want to hear legit prayer talkers haha - Someone who talks while someone else is praying, usually saying amen, hallelujah, etc. Maybe that is a skill I can pick up on. With a sweet Southern Accent, it would just spice up our prayers >:)

Well that was my week in a nutshell. Hope all of yours was as interesting! Today we will be going back to Zaxby's for lunch and doing a little shopping. We have an appointment with someone at 2:00, I sure hope we can start teaching her! We are still trying to teach lessons! It is just hard. Why can't Pday be the whole day... I could use me a nap haha. 

The only thing that comes to mind that I need is my GPS. If you could have it updated with the most current maps that would be awesome. It is hard enough being on a bike, but making a wrong turn on a bike is much worse than in a car. I could use as much love from home as possible. I love hearing from y'all and getting packages! It really lights my days up! I could also use a rugby ball, people have been wanting to toss one lately. I am thankful for all your prayers! 

I wouldn't be a missionary if I didn't leave something spiritual or food for thought, so:
You can only listen with your ears, but you hear with your heart.

Make sure you are listening with your heart and that it is in the right place! (That thought came to me yesterday, copyright it!) I love you all so flipping much! Please be safe and continue to smile! I can't wait to hear from all of you! Have another blessed up week! Don't work too hard! 

The Elder Barnes

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

How is everyone back home?? It is so crazy to think I have been gone almost a whole month... Where did time go? The days feel like weeks, but the weeks feel like days.. most of the time. Thank you so much for shooting me a line! I know how it is some days, but I live to hear from y'all!
This week was went by quick. I really don't remember where to start. My mind has kind of gone blank. I wish I had my journal beside me so I could remember what exactly happened. Let me see if I can recall the days. Pretty much we don't have many people to teach right now and we are trying to get out and knock doors and dig into potential and former investigators. I can't remember specifics.. each day kind of turns into the same thing. Wake up, study, iron a shirt, eat breakfast, study more, eat lunch, head out on our bikes, ride heaps!
I really am interested in a bike odometer. The hills here are crazy. At the end of every downhill, there is an uphill. And no, they aren't equal and opposite! Newton was wrong. I can't tell you how many doors we have visited that people have such strong faith in Jesus Christ. They are so open when we come to the door, and we just get chatting to them about any and everything. They recognize we are His representatives. They always ask if we need a water. They usually pray with us and then for us. It is so frustrating because they don't realize they don't have the fullness of Christ's Gospel. Seriously, so many people. Why can't they just open the door and want us to teach them right then and there! Most other people aren't interested at all.
White washing is wicked hard, but it has been awesome to get to know the ward more. They are really awesome people and they will drop anything for us. I just wish they would let me repay them in some way, like doing the dishes or little things. They are pretty stubborn about us doing nothing, except eat their food. We make sure to leave a thought.  My first real thought was yesterday with a family we had already eaten with before. It went well though. I just wish we had more opportunities to teach. We have a little teaching pool right now. Wednesday we had our very first District Meeting. The sisters in the district are awesome! Without them we would be so lost. Lost in Lost Mountain. We have spent a ton of time riding around and meeting the ward members as well! There are some incredible people here. People keep telling me it has been a mild summer, but it is hot, not going to lie. Is it as bad as people said, I don't think so. But I really never dry out until we are back at the apartment.
Saturday was the best. I got two letters from Abby and an incredible package from my super incredible mom. Thank you so much. I had honestly been praying for mail! I wrote in my journal the day before. Prayers do get answered. I love the ties a lot too! I had to coax elder Savage into wearing his on Sunday. He even said the day before he needed more ties. Everyone at church loved them too! We go to the temple on Friday! So hopefully the clothes get here! Thanks for everything! I love the song you sent me too! Glad you found it! That was more than I could have ever asked for. Being without a car is hard really. We have to plan our trips a lot smarter. My legs are always sore, but eventually it will get easier. My bike's brakes don't work half the time, so going down these hills can be a little scary. We have ward members take us shopping thankfully!. Food is a good fit! From what I can tell there is a McDOnalds and a Chick Fil A. Not sure what else. I think my suits will survive!

Sunday was super awesome, and this ward always has the best insights. I ran into a scripture in 2nd Corinthians 12:9-10. Read it! Pretty much sums up my life right now! I just want to be great not just good! Know that I am doing well and that each day seems to get better. I am still struggling, but that means I am learning! Have one blessed up week my awesome family! I can't wait for next Pday to hear from y'all! I love you so very much and keep being incredible! Sometime soon I think the time will really start flying! 

Elder Dallan Barnes




Thursday, September 5, 2013

                                                  Not even sure what the heck this is?
                                                             Georgia is Hot..Hot..Hot!!!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Good Morning Y'all!
 How is everyone doing?? I really don't even know where to begin.. This last week was super long and quite the blur. The whole first day was crazy. Stepping off that plane was the most nerve wracking feeling, or even when they announced that we were making final departure. I couldn't sleep the whole flight because I was so anxious. I stepped off the plane and the humidity hit me like a wall. Not to mention that the Airport is huge. All 50 of us made it there. Half of them are waiting on visas which is unfortunate. There are so many missionaries here but I have to come to realize that there are 6.5 million people in Atlanta and the metro area. Given that Georgia is 8 million, that is quite a chunk of change. Seriously I don't even know where to start. Tuesday was such a long day and they threw so much information to us. Health, driving, Cleaning, apartments, etc. I was so super overwhelmed. Thankfully we didn't have to go and talk to people that first day! That was a load off of my mind. My MTC districts got to stay at the mission home that night, which was interesting. We all slept through our alarms and got up at 7:15. Not nearly enough rest to compensate for the hours I lost. My mission President is super tall and really serious about the work here. This will be a lot of work. He expects us to ask people to be baptized even on first contact. He can talk for ages too, but he is a good guy. He has a really mild and dry sense of humor it seems like. I didn't ever get to sit down with him and have an interview. There were just too many people here. Everything is so absolutely beautiful here. It is super green as I remembered. But driving these roads is awesome. Just trees lining them and draped above them is incredible. People love their golf carts here as well... At the high school, there are parking spots for Gold Carts. In Fayetteville where the mission home is, there is like 100 miles of Golf Cart trails... But not a golf course to be seen. 

Wednesday was judgement day really. Everything hinged on that. Area, driving situation, companion, everything. The meeting lasted forever. I didn't get my companion until very last. I was on pins and needles. Elder Savage is from Lovell Wyoming, but you probably already know that by now. He played TE and loves basketball. He has only been out 6 weeks, but was trained by Zone Leaders. So he was destined to be training soon. I understand how stressed he must be.  And no, he isn't related to Levi Savage. We are still trying to get ourselves going and finding a decent teaching pool to go after. We are in the Lost Mountain Ward which covers Marietta, Powder Springs, and Austell. It is absolutely beautiful. I am so blessed to be here. There are so many nice neighborhoods with stunning houses. We are on bikes by the way and one of the members is lending me theirs. Bless their hearts! It is super hilly here so I am likely to be loosing weight I feel like, or gaining muscle in my thighs! Maybe I can dunk soon! Show these people how to ball. The area is nice, but it is primarily middle and upper class people, so not too much diversity. Most people are religious and that is nice, but they don't see the value in our message. They think because they have accepted Jesus, they are saved. There are so many faiths around here. Catholics, Baptists, Methodists, Episcoplain (or something like that), the Mormons. And many more I haven't ran into. The road system here... ridiculous. I hate it. Sure everything has a name, but it doesn't make sense, like Utah. We have gotten lost many of times on our bikes. We rode to the church our second day, and it is so far away, not to mention it was 90's and high humidity. I am sweating like a dog out here. I even had to stash a rag to wipe my face and hair. I already have a tan line from my watch. I also hate the shoulder bag idea and it makes half of my body sore. I could go for a camelbak haha. 

A lot of what he have done is has been picking up tracks. We have dug through previous investigators, potential investigators, tracted around a little. We haven't taught too many lessons here, since we really have no one to teach. We do have on investigator, his name is Jon, older gentleman, and he is going to be baptized on the 14th. I don't feel like we did too much, but we have sat down with him a few times. He is so ready to be baptized. He has a hard time talking to us since we can't relate to him being older. It is true, but I can definitely relate to what we are talking about... that is why I am here. Elder Savage never had to knock doors his first 6 weeks, so we are both learning. Hopefully we will figure it all out, and start dunking people. The goal this month was to get two baptisms a companionship. Pray for us haha. I am afraid I will be in Elder Savage's spot in 6 weeks, training someone, leading a district, white washing... I need to learn now. 

What else has happened.. We have sat down with several ward members just trying to get to know everyone. We have two sets of sister missionaries also covering this ward, and they have dominated the Elders. I forgot to mention we live in a basement of a member. They might contact you to get a favorite recipe. They want us to cook one night. They are the Carnell's and they are really nice people. Last Sunday was fast Sunday and I felt prompted to share my testimony. Not only was I feeling like sharing it, but I also knew it was a good opportunity to introduce ourselves to the ward, and get dinner appointments! Missionary work has been nothing like what I expected. There is no such thing as coincidence. I know that for sure, hence I am in Georgia. I love y'all! The ward is really sweet and super helpful for us. I love the Southern Hospitality. I still have yet to try a peach or fried chicken, or any other assortment of Southern Delicacy. Someday... soon hopefully! 

Working yesterday was super draining. I might need an odometer for the bike just to see what we have conquered. Yesterday, we knocked many doors, but no one was super receptive. It rained all morning and I was afraid it would make the day longer, but thankfully it cooled everything down and provided shade. We ate at a members home which was awesome. Just the fact that people will have us over is such a blessing. The Wiblins is their names. Super awesome young family!

Well that has been my week in a nut shell, atleast what I can recall at this time. Total overload on what I have to say. I hope I get a chance to sit down and write people, because I could really use some mail. Have people send me a line, or get me their addresses. Seriously thanks for everything you do!

Good luck everyone with work and school! I know y'all will do awesome.I wish I had a chance to address everyone individually, but my time is running thin. I never get to bed on time here, so I am a little sleepy too. I love everyone of you and thanks for everything! Have one blessed up week!!

Elder Barnes
Current Mission Address
Elder Dallan Barnes
4300 Bristlecone Drive NW
Marietta, GA 30064