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!