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! 

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Another week down, yet again. I wish we had a full day to Pday, because then I could write everyone! And you know how I like writing letters, especially since I don't like doing them halfway. But let me jump into my week! It was a good week! I feel like I am getting better at this whole missionary thing. I still wonder what the secret is, but I think I know the secret. I am still hesitant to go and talk with everyone, but I am certainly opening my mouth more, and leading the door approaches. I am getting pretty good about knowing when people are lying to us. That will certainly be a skill I will use when I am older, with my kids! You were always really good about that Mom...  But it has been awesome. My thighs are never fully recovered. I can never drink enough water. The weather is really becoming more mild down here, and a few of the leaves are changing colors. I still sweat like a dog out here though, but I have to pay my dues right? We have some potential people we are hoping to drown, or baptize, which ever comes first ;) Since transfers are right around the corner, I still wonder if I will be relocated. I wonder if what I have done here is what I was supposed and now it is time to move on. I wish I could type more, but the Reader's Digest version will have to suffice, sorry :/

Last Monday, after we emailed... Let's see. We had dinner at the Stake Presidents house, and found out his wife's mom, who lives with them, is the lady that teased me about my hair. She was really sorry, but it was fine really. If there is anything I learned in my house, it was tough love. If your feelings got hurt, you got over it. We then had FHE at the Heinholds house. They really are awesome. We had a family over, recent converts but part member, from South Africa. The Pestana's. Their son, Claudio commited to be baptized on the 28th. I wish we knew him better, but then again, I want my first legit baptism to be one that I find and dunk!

Tuesday, was good. We got to teach Seminary for Sister Miller. We were up at 5:15 AM. I thought missionaries had it bad! I tried talking my companion into a small nap time, but clearly, that didn't happen. Maybe I need to be more persuasive. We taught on the Atonement, and I shared that song you sent me! It was good, but I feel like we could have improved of course. Perfectionist yet again... We had district meeting at Bishop Shell's house, and he is just the best. He even had muffins for us! He has the best mission stories.  Let me also say that the odometer is the greatest thing! I mark down the mileage in my journal. We met with a guy named Charles but he said he goes by Charles, Charlie, Char, Chaz, Chip, Chuck, etc. I think we will start using names he didn't say to see if he responds. 

Wednesday my goodness. It was tough. It poured. all. day. It was a work from the office kind of day! We didn't get out until 3:30, to hit some nearby houses. I forget how great my memory is. I memorized so much that day. I am so grateful for it! It was still raining, but my coat is incredible. Another observation I had was that there is so much roadkill out here. No, we aren't that hungry to take it home, but I wonder if that could be me someday... I hope I don't have to run over anything haha. That'd be intense! We had dinner at the Phillips house, and they are downright incredible too. They will take us to a big football rivalry game here! Hopefully we are still around for that! Everyone spoils us here. We met this guy afterwards, that bashed with us a bit too. Tag 'em and Bag 'em.

Thursday, I found out that there is a mission council and it will be only for leaders. So me and a newbie will be here in our area for the day... Freaky! I got this! But it was a good day! I got two packages! Thanks Mom! That was the best! We stopped by this black guys house and he whipped out this book on cults. And yes, there was a hearty portion on LDS people. We left pretty soon after. We had dinner at the West's house and they spoiled us too. Authentic southern BBQ. And it was divine. We played basketball with an investigator, then the following day, we got a text saying sports are only allowed on Pday... Bummer.

Friday, We had dinner at the Millers house. And they are awesome too. Seroiusly, we are there often. They are just the best people. They had this apple pie, and it was to die for! They said that their peach crisp is even better! I won't be here for peach season :(  After dinner we hit Bob Feeneys house, and I threw down. He said he will say the closing prayer next time and come to church! Hopefully we can get him in the water! 

Saturday was the baptism for Claudio and Autumn Heinhold., and it was awesome. We got to be witnesses! I did get an unofficial hug from Sister Heinhold. Such a great family and Claudio is so ready! We got to go to a pancake breakfast before hand for a fundraiser. ANother thing I have grown to love is Georgia Sunsets! They are astounding! Someday y'all will have to come out here! 

Sundays are great let me say! It is a day just to think about myself a little bit more. And it was fast Sunday too. Conference is right around the corner! I feel like a part of the ward here. They all tease me which is a sign that I fit in :)

That was my week though in a nutshell. I don't think I have time to really reply today... Know that I love you all so much! I am glad you still write me and really appreciate it. I have been there before, having to write Austin. But it really makes all of the difference! I wish I had more time to respond, but I love hearing what is happening in the 801. Please keep up the good work and keep climbing the mountain! I can't wait to hear from y'all again. Thanks for all that you do for me! Have one blessed up week fam! 

My thought: Sorrow looks back and worry looks around, but faith looks up.

Elder Barnes