Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Feb 24

Looks like meat is back on the menu boys!
Another week another blessing! I love email time, gives me a chance to realize how amazing my family and friends really are! I am downright spoiled, more than I deserve. I just wish to thank you all so much for everything and convey my love. Love is the bond of perfection. It was an peculiar week for a peculiar set of missionaries here in Decatur (I still wonder what that is named from). Odd is the new normal I suppose. But God is good!
Monday we ran the town as I mentioned before! Not sure if we will be doing the same today because the other Elders car was rear ended. So it is in the shop and we are left to our lonesome. I could go for a nap to be honest! I haven't slept much at all this week, but there really is no rest for the righteous. I still have a feeling that naps will be required in heaven. Think of how much better the world would be if they had a nap then woke up to Cookies and milk!
Tuesday we were able to help a Single Sister here in the area, Sister Franks. She needed help hanging blinds and curtains. I guess we are both the LDS moving service and the handymen. Blessings! We also got together and divided up the ward roster in an effort to get the ward rolling here. I think the ward has 150 active members and 600 Inactive. Quite a mountain to climb! We also met an investigator named Michelle and her two kids, Timothy and Penelope. We had a good dinner, but she is struggling really bad. She has quite the story about her divorce, messy as could be. We are just building her faith in God right now, because she couldn't see how a loving God would allow what she went through. Elder Moore said this was the first time the meeting didn't end in tears and screaming. We played a few board games and slid the Gospel in where we could. But, she is an amazing woman, and her kids are awesome too. She might be moving which sucks!
Wednesday we had Interviews with President Harding, which was good. I guess I see him about every 3 months. He is a very inspired man! I haven't spoken with him much, but he was telling all sorts of things about me that he knew. The ward puts on a bible study each Wednesday which was neat! I wish the church back in Utah would do something like that. One thing I really really love about members out here, is that they truly want to be there. I feel like it can be just a requirement in Utah, as in it is expected.
Thursday we were all over service. We helped a member's Mom, she is 92 still driving, still working, and still chipper! We raked and cleaned her front yard. I think the leaves would be one of the biggest reasons why I couldn't live in Georgia. Raking by hand is quite the task. But we got it done and filled 36 huge brown bags full of leaves. That was just her front yard too. It took 2 hours and all the missionaries to do it. We then went to the Relief Society President's home and helped put away her Christmas decorations. She has over 400 Black Santa's. I didn't get to see them all, and I didn't have a camera to capture it, but it was astounding. I wonder if his Elf's are black too?
Friday was a frustrating day on Marta. Everything was late or didn't show up. But it all paid off! We had a lesson with a lady named Meloney near Stone Mountain. It was an incredible lesson and she wants her and her boyfriend to be baptized. We only had 35 minutes before the next bus, so we kept the Restoration short and powerful. However, we still missed the bus. BUT, unbeknownst to us, the bus was just 10 minutes late, so we made it in the nick of time, a miracle in itself. AND, the first lady we see on the bus, asks if we are Mormons and that she met with them in Sacramento where she just moved from. The Lord's placement and timing is impecable! We also talked to a crazy that knows the Book of Mormon is true, but is thinking that he needs to find the secret combination to fulfill the prophecy. It some how includes Gabriel, Michael, Raphael, and Jehovah.  An Intriguing day for sure!
Saturday the Sisters had a baptism that was not planned to well. The interview was a few hours before! Thankfully she was super solid, and even reached out to the missionaries 3 times before they made it over there. We also convinced the Sisters that a man came into the church and stole their bags and coats. We merely just hid them, and told them all of this in a text, that we saw the guy walking away and that something didn't look right. We were actually hiding in another room, so we heard them read it, then storm into the room with their bags, scream, then run out to go find the supposed burglar. The senior couple was walking in the door just at that moment, so they thought it was them. It was a pretty well played prank, and I was certainly surprised they bit on it, namely that the doors were all locked at the church. Another catastrophic thing happened, Supercross! So on Marta there was more White people than black people. It was certainly segregated though. When will we fully move on from that?
Sunday was good, I feel odd because the ward doesn't reach out very much, but that doesn't stop me. The talks were awesome, all 3 about black history month and the church. We also got a lesson on Passions. I don't know if I am very passionate about many things. What constitutes a passion or a hobby? It was a good day overall though, I really do love Sundays. I also wonder if we are breaking the Sabbath by riding MARTA. I got the courage and decided to try cutting my own hair with just clippers. It didn't turn out half bad for a first time! It is a little short so there won't be any way to part it for a bit. I don't have any pictures right now, but I will get some!

I guess that is all for today folks! Please let me know if there is anything I can do! Thanks again for the email and taking time for me! Keep fighting the fight of faith and being the good soldier of Christ! Have another blessed up week and I look forward to hearing from you all soon! Love you all so much!

Elder Dallan Barnes
Be strong and of a good courage.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

               Happy Valentines Day!!!

               Down town Atlanta......what a handsome city boy:)
            Not sure what we are looking at but what ever it is....Dallan's interpretation is impressive!!!

     Saying Good bye to Elder Wilson!
     Dallan stuck in his new home for a few days because of all that white stuff!
Wed Feb 19,

Crazy Turn of Events....
So, I was hoping to get in and email on Monday, but President's day derailed that. So no, I am not dead, not being held hostage, still breathing and still loving Georgia. I am not entirely sure what you know about what has happened, but it has been a real mad house. The last minute transfer, to where I am now. First things first, I am in Decatur Georgia (right outside Atlanta), AND I am on MARTA ( Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority) Public transit baby! Let me just say, we are almost always the only white people on the Train. But it is pretty fun being a nomad, or a vagabond of sorts. Plenty of people to talk to as well! It's a thrill of sorts! Let me tackle my week, not sure how in depth this one will be because time is limited today (Someone ruined emailing from Members computers for the rest of us...)
Monday and Tuesday was nuts. Packed all my stuff and I still had to leave stuff behind. We found out Tuesday morning that we needed to be packed and ready by 12 and at the church. It was supposed to be my visiting day, but that got blown out of the water. They moved transfers to get ahead of the ice storm, which was crazy to say the least. It was super hard to leave, like leaving home again. So sudden, but I hope I will be back! It would be crazy to finish out the mission there. On the van to my new area, I rode with Meservey, which was sweet to see him, but the exit before we got to the building, our tire shredded on the freeway. I am not sure if you saw the youtube video, maybe it is on the mission facebook page. How do you feel about me learning the harmonica too? But, I met my new companion and I am in the Twin Oaks ward, which is huge! 5 sets of missionaries, and a lot of work to be done. My companion is Elder Moore, he came from the North Mission and knows Vandersloot very well! So it is pretty sweet! He has been here in this area for only 6 weeks, but he has been 18 months out. We are going to do work! We hunkered down for the night for the ice storm. A lot of bro time!
Wednesday we were apartment locked because MARTA didn't run for the next few days. But we did get out and walk as much as we could and called like a frillion people. It was closer to 120, but you catch my drift! We had several phone lessons, just trying to remain productive. It was dumping snow and rain though, it was crazy! The weatherman was right again, and President had us get as much water as possible just in case our Power went out, thankfully it didn't. When we got out, it was pandemonium all over. It wasn't even snowing, it was little BB's of frozen rain, most interesting thing ever. I also figured out a reason why I was here. So Brother Collins that took us out to Zaxby's, his Less Active Daughter lives right down the road from us and her son isn't baptized. It was so crazy how we discovered the relationship. We'll be working with him now! So amazing, all the little ties!
Thursday, Locked up again...
Friday I had my first MARTA Experience, which was eye opening. But it was fun, an experience indeed. We just talk with everyone though, the bus and trains are kind of fun, but I have made sure to keep hand sanitizer close by! We also walked the streets and met some interesting people too. Some guy professed that he was out drinking and talking to Joseph Smith. Totally the real deal. Cocaine is a heck of a drug. What we ended up doing was meeting some of the members out here. Not quite as strong as Lost Mountain, but there are still several amazing people. I don't think anything will amount to Lost Mountain, but that's just fine! I was so blessed so serve there. I think I am here to strengthen the ward as well, to build it up so every ward can be a Lost Mountain. I am still bummed I didn't get to say goodbye to many people.. We met a Recent Convert and her non member Husband, and he was saying some of the craziest English. Like, Inskructor... Skress... Dum Slum... Gangsta... Miskrakes... fruskrated. I was so giddy to hear it! That is the accent I need ;) But, we got him on date after much talk about Sports. And Happy Valentine's too! Hope it was magical!
Saturday was a similar story, just meeting members and investigators. It is so crazy how prepared people are, when you just open your mouth and talk with them. It doesn't even have to be about the Gospel. Just being friendly. Everyone we talk to loves Jesus, so that is just the best!
Sunday was a pretty warm reception, the ward seems very pleasant! And there is a lot of diversity, which is a bonus. Starting over is tricky! But, it is all part of the learning experience! Nothing too crazy happened Sunday, but it was nice to feel the Spirit. I got to say the Closing prayer for Sacrament, first time ever.
Monday, we went and did a little sight seeing. Turner Field, the Olympic Park, Downtown, the World Trade Center, Marriot Hotel, a store called Suit City (greatest store ever, missionary cloud 9). I might be picking up a black suit soon, we will see. 2 suits for $150, and they are good looking suit. There is a whole wall like 100 feet long devoted to ties. I also feel the urge to learn how to cut my own hair, we will see how that goes!
Tuesday, I would have gotten back to you, but we were packed with appointments. Another solid day of missionary work!
That is just about all I have to say about my Week. A whole new world has been opened to my eyes. Wish I had more time to respond to all y'alls questions, but we are on a limited email schedule.. Next week will be more extensive! We got appointments to jet to. But I love you all so very much and appreciate all that you do, especially the email! It is always a comfort to know that I have someone behind me at all times! Let me know if there is anything I can do for you! There might be some actual ATL stuff headed your way, since I am in the thick of it now! I guess I am a hoodrat from here on out. Keep being amazing and fighting the good fight! Have another blessed up week!
Yo Eldah
(Elder Dallan Barnes, see what I did there? ;])

Monday, February 10, 2014

Feb 10,

Well, after being totally blindsided, I come to you a broken and miserable man.
So, not sure if you got the word, but I am getting transferred, after being told we weren't. Ouch town, population, us. But the week was good, let me jump into it!
Monday we hit Goodwill and I got a 1976 BoM. Light blue cover with Angel Moroni on it. It was worth the $2. Eternal Joy and Happiness, what a bargain! We also ate with the most Southern Family in the ward, the Moore's. Southern people are pretty proud of their traditions. And it is impossible to break into their social strata. But I commend them on their strict adherence to their roots! I wish I had some South in me. Maybe Grandpa Barnes has family history from Georgia or the South. We had chili, and we think it might have had squirrel or rabbit in it. It tasted alright though!
Tuesday wasn't much of a missionary day. We had Zone Training in Douglasville at 2:30, and it went until 6:30. We hit up Stevi B's beforehand with the other Elders. 23 pieces, not too shabby. We had a dinner appointment that day, so I took it easy. I have to break the 30 barrier! There was a lot of good things mentioned at ZTM and it was really about the Doctrine of Christ and how it empowers everything we do, forever. And how we need to strive to hit the Key Indicators set before us. We also got to sit down and visit with Maria shortly, she is doing well, and certainly not avoiding us. It is really hard teaching in her home with her 4 kids. They could really use a father figure. But we just read from the BoM. She is working like 14 hours a day now. From 9:00 PM, to 1:00PM. Unbelievable.
Wednesday, we had a sign seeking moment. I opened up to a scripture randomly in Isaiah, and it was talking about darkness and shadows. The 'o' in shadow was filled in. So, like from Muppet Treasure Island, I yelled, "THE BLACK SPOT!!!" Then we looked at what time it was, and it was 11:34, which on digital clocks, looked at updside down, spells hEll. Our appointment with the Bristol's didn't work out, because the Merryman's went to go see the Saratov Approach. Have y'all seen it? It is supposedly pretty good! Maybe it is a movie for when I get back, because it is about missionaries getting taken hostage.
Thursday we had our cleaning check, and the Senior couple said we clean better than the Sisters! Right on! A+! Really what I am trying to say is that I was trying to see how bad I could make my room, to see if I could clean it. Or maybe I am just a little lazy. Probably the latter. We had an awesome dinner at the Krogh's home, then an lesson at Rob Johnson's with Allen. We went back to the basics. Read the intro and the testimony of the witnesses, then showed Elder Holland's Testimony of the Book of Mormon. We had Rob and Allen a little teary. It was one of the best lessons I have been able to participate in.
Friday we have the FHC, and I reworked my iPod just in case I was getting transferred. Also got some videos from Elder Wilson that we have been recording lately. We also listened to more of Elder Holland, and what a gift he has for speaking. Someday I wish I could speak like that. We also listened to a song "The Prayers of the Children" Such a beautfiul song! We also did a little finding, and I was a little nervous at first and just like that, the person opened the door and my mouth was filled. I guess I am just a natural when I rely on the Lord. Two awesome new Investigators! One of them, we had stopped the car, and felt inspired to visit the one with a green truck. We were about to get out, but we noticed some old man, watching us having a smoke with his pitbull out. We hesitated a little, but I just said we got to do this! So we did, and we met a lady named Jeena. She has never been baptized and hates how there are so many churches and that the bible has been tampered with. We were grinning afterwards! I also got a letter from Armand which was super fun! We also had the opportunity to visit with the Okezie's again for dinner and a lesson! We commited them to coming to church! Glory has been wanting to, but Obe has been dragging his feet. But it was so good! We were so pumped!
Saturday, we had the busiest day planned out. 6 appointments! Only 1 went through. We also had a priest out with us for some of it who has Asburgers. We hope he had a good experience. We met with Brandi at Kai's home with Rob Johnson, and had an amazing lesson on the Plan of Salvation. Converts get exctied to be on the other side of the lesson. Brandi is going to get dunked! We also finally got to have Steak Conference with the Sears! It was so worth that wait. I love being over in their home! Our question for them, since they love that for our message to share, was embarassing moments. It was super funny, but then we wrapped it up with Romans 1:16, about not being ashamed of the Gospel. It was a very good thing that we did Steak Conference, little did we know that there would not be another opportunity!
Sunday, started of rocking! We got Obe, Glory, Brandi and her daughter to church! We were so thrilled. I don't know why it is so hard to get people to church, but when you do, it is like you are on top of the world. It is probably easier to marry people than get them to church. Granted our gators left after Sacrament, but their was enough spirit to touch anyone! We loved it! To make matters better, we were going to be staying another transfer. I also found out that members that cannot remember our names, refer to me as the big, athletic, smiley one. Smiling goes a long ways!! We had another dinner at the Krogh's which was awesome as usual! We love being there! They played the "guess your first name" game. Then it turned into Middle name, and Brother Krogh guessed both of our middle names, with no hint, on the first try. It was freaky! It was as if we just became family at that point. After an amazing day, we got home to a miserable text that we would need a ride to transfer meeting. Totally blow a hole in our hot air balloon. Sucks to suck. I guess there was some last minute change that needed to take place. We got word today, and I will be leaving, not sure where or with who, but I feel like I am getting ripped away from home.
So today will be a packing day and there will be some serious Ice storms coming tomorrow, so I hope I can see everyone to thank them and say see you soon! I know I will tear up at a few homes.

Well that is my scatter brained week in a nutshell! I will let you all know all the dirt come next week about where I am, who I am with, what we are doing, and what our favorite chick flick. Thanks for writing me and I am glad to hear all is still well! Hopefully you have another amazing week ahead and always continue to smile! Oh, and Happy Valentine's! I hope it is a lovely day! Thanks for all that you do for me, it means the world to me! I love you all so much, and we will chat real soon! Let me know if there is anything I can do for anyone! Have a blessed up week!
Elder Barnes
The purpose of the Gospel is to make bad men good, good men better, and to change human nature. 

Friday, February 7, 2014

February 3

I have one question for you... WHY WAS I NOT IN THAT MOVIE??
Another week for the record books, and I am sure you have been following a little of what has been happening out here. If not I will inform you. First and foremost, I am alive (hence the email). It was an amazing week! So let me decleat it, if I may!
Monday was awesome as usual. P day never really does do it for me, I could go for a whole day. We were able to make it to Rob and Shay Johnson's for FHE, and they had Courtney over for a meal beforehand. We were hoping Maria was going to make it, but she got called into work. We taught the Plan of Salvation and Courtney is eating it up. He has heard it before which was awesome, the only problem is that he still needs to figure out his living situation. We will most likely (unfortunately) have to hand him to other Elders. It bites! It Feeds! It's bringing me to my knees.
Tuesday. Snowpocalypse. We had caught wind while we were shopping on Monday that some snow was coming, and we also heard from Bishop while we were at their home that evening. The last couple times we heard snow was on the way, it was a fluke. This time it delivered! We had a bomb district meeting and we listened to Jeffrey R. Holland's MTC Talk "Feed My Sheep". It is a life changer, especially for Missionaries. But afterwards, we went outside and found oodles of noodles of snow. Best day every. We did it all, snow ball fight, snow angels, didn't quite do a snowman however. If there was a mountain, I would have skied on two copies of the Book of Mormon if needs be. It seemed like the world was ending to everyone out here. People were going 5 miles an hour, when in Utah it would have been a pretty regular day. I filmed it all, so don't worry! We also went to go check out a Grocery store to see if all the bread, milk, and water was gone. Sad to say that it was still there... But we were driving home and saw this one lady stalled out on some snow and a gentleman pushing her. We felt inspired, so we pulled over in a parking lot, prayed, and sprinted over to the car. We got her over that hill, not sure what happened after that, but after a series of high fives all around, we turned around and saw a Cameraman from the Channel 11 News team filming us, and then he motioned us over for an interview. Of course I had to say "I LOVE YOU MOM!" Our one chance at the lime light! We didn't make it on TV unfortunately, there are apparently sadder stories going on that are more important. President Harding wanted us to head back to our apartments as quick as possible and hunker down. We felt the urge to get out and push cars. We threw on sweatpants underneath our slacks, and rocked the Nike's, and we set out. We pushed cars for 4 hours! Most fun I have ever had! We got to be the Tender Mercy that day for so many people. Many had to abandon cars and walk home, it was the craziest thing. We were sprinting everywhere waiting for people to start slipping! We retired home and slept a good nights sleep! I didn't think a few inches could shut a whole city down. Most of the people out here blame it on the lack of equipment as a substitute to their lack of driving prowess. Understandable, but C'mon Man! Own up to your faults. Sounded like a bunch of BYU fans if you know what I mean.
Wednesday, felt like a ghost town. Most people didn't answer doors. No one was driving. It felt so eery. We weren't allowed to use cars so we went out on foot and made calls all day. We were a little saddened that we couldn't help more people, but we did what we could with what we had.
Thursday we were carless again, and thankfully more people answered the door. We spoke to an Atheist, and they are the most pesimistic people ever. No hope at all. It's a sad way to lead a life. We also found several other good people. We had a goal to invite 2 people to baptism and to get 2 new Investigators. So we were at 2 New Gators and 1 Baptism invite, so what do you do, you pray and act! The next and last door, because it was already dark, we met a young man named Darell. He was all tatted up, and the house looked super janky. But he was a sweet guy, with 3 kids and struggling hard right now. The Gospel won't make it easier by any stretch, but it will give you hope that the dawn will break!
Friday we were finally allowed to hit the cars. We got to work the Family History Center again, and no one showed up. It turned into a browse day. Came across some good talks and messages. There is such a wealth of knowledge on that website. We were at it again, knocking doors and talking with everyone, found some really sweet people. I am also pretty good a discerning lies. One lady acted like she was on the phone when she answered the door. Worst Acting Job Ever award goes to her. We had dinner at the Okezie's again and they are so close to coming to church! We'll get them there soon! We also found out from them that Oreo's and Milk make you fart. So, that isn't a good date idea!
Saturday we had 6 appointments, and 3 went through. 50%, we could bat the majors, or shoot free throws in the NBA (if you are Shaq). Our day started rock solid. We had Rob Johnson out again, and we were able to get a lady named Brandi on Date. She actually visited the church two weeks ago but couldn't find us because she went at 9:00 instead of 12:30. She said God led us to her the first day we met her because she was needing a prayer. Everything made sense to her and she is so full of faith. Another lady we visited was Cheri, and she wouldn't quite commit to a date, but she definitely wants the Gospel. She has her own struggles right now, but when you lean on the Lord, he will always deliver. He can't not deliver, or else he would cease to be God. After that, our next 3 appointments fell through. Allen was busy with a work conference call. Maria had to work the previous night so she was sleeping. Another gentleman named Mac wasn't home. But we were able to visit a Recent Convert, Alessandra, nearby. She is amazing too! I wish I could see some of these people before they found the Gospel. We met two very wicked men. On different doors, but they came after our first amazing appointments. Satan was trying to over throw us. We got cursed at and threatened to have the police called on us. Another door was this very crude redneck, we called him Bat Crap Crazy old man. He was talking about Wild Women, etc. And how he doesn't care about the Superbowl, he just wants to get drunk. As if you really needed a reason to get drunk my friend. The spirit was definitely not there. So we pressed onward! Had an awesome dinner at the Wiblin's and called it a day!
Sunday was awesome. I even got up to share my story about pushing cars and bearing testimony on how Christ runs to us in our time of need. It feels awesome to share what you know! Y'all should try it! It really isn't that scary. We were hoping to have 6 gators at church, but only 2 pulled through. Tyson, the 8 year old we are teaching was waving at us while we were on the stage. And Allen made it as well! He is like one foot in the font, one foot on dry ground. We had an amazing Dinner at the Sears again, and unfortunately, Brother Sears had a meeting to go to, so we didn't have our Super Bowl Steak Conference. We had Lasagna instead but it was amazing! Steak Conference will happen next Sunday! An amazing family!
So there is that my friend-holios, take it or leave it! 

Through much weeping, wailing, and gnashing of teeth, we were not able to watch the superbowl. But we were getting text updates from The Barnes's. It sounded like a real flop, and Seattle wiped the floor with the Broncos. That is the beauty of the game, any given day. Defense wins championships though! Peyton doesn't seem to show up in big games, compared to his brother Ely. I might have uttered, "GO SEAHAWKS" at one point. I did get the Superbowl package which was awesome! Thanks for all you do! Mom I am glad Mama Barnes keeps you in the Loop! Sounds like you would have never known about the Winter Death Storm. And say what?? Seahawks were the better team? Your fanhood is in question! No sandwich, bummer. I loved taking the leftovers to school! It probably was the bad omen not having it! I agree though, there is nothing good about a Fry Fest. No one walks away feeling good, physically or mentally.
And that is just about a wrap! Thank you all for the very uplifting, inspirational, and edifying messages. I am on a spiritual cloud 9! Just joking, I love the letters, it is nice to know all is well back at the Plantation. I am glad everyone is still thriving! Keep up the good work soldiers, and Continue Fighting the Good fight! Let me know if there is anything I can do for you! Have another blessed up week!
Elder Dallan Barnes
Practice makes perfect, so be careful what you practice.