Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Ba da ba ba ba, We're Lovin' it!
Another day to come to the Library and to "connect" with y'all! This week has been above average, but not outstanding! I am super nervous right now sitting here, because we got the calls for transfers.. We didn't think either of us would be moving, because we both have just gotten here. But, the Lord and His ways... I'll tell you what! If you want God to laugh, tell him your plans! But, drumroll............ Elder Moore will be leaving the Twin Oaks Ward to be a Zone Leader. As for me and our apartment, I will be staying. I have been asked to be the District Leader and also to train a new missionary. My. Plate. Is. Full. I'm excited but terrified at the same time. I'm having a Son!  I will most definitely need y'alls prayers this week! It also sounds like we might not be on MARTA anymore. Bittersweet as well. Now that I got that off my chest, let me tackle my week!
Monday, it rained and poured all day. It was absolutely frigid! We had a pizza party at a Member's home which was sweet! Casual dinners are the best! The Haslem's are legit! And yes, I was pinch free! Although, I don't think black people celebrate St. Patrick's. We could have had a pinching hay day on the bus! That is one way to bring up the Gospel! I can just see a convert getting up and saying, "It all started with a pinch!" Maybe next year folks!
Tuesday, we had many appointments lined up, and all of them fell through. I wish people were more accountable, and men of their words. They just keep folding like lawn chairs. We went to go see the Owen's family, an investigator family I mentioned last week, and met another Sister that is in need of the Gospel! So we have four of them that have agreed to be baptized! They might not be super ready for the Gospel, but they certainly stand in the most need! An investigator, Lawanda called us and said we need to pray for her and her nephew, because he was on the brink of death going into surgery. Uniting in prayer can change lives! Not sure how it works, but our faith affects so many others!
Wednesday, a quick miracle for all y'all, relating to our investigator Nieta. We hadn't seen her in a little while, but had been conversing via text. We felt the urge to go up and see her, even if she was working. She gladly spoke to us when we got there, even taking her lunch break to talk. We taught her the Restoration right then and there, and it made sense to her. She later asked what day the Sabbath was on. We explained the doctrine of Sabbath Worship, and that it was moved to Sunday to commemorate the resurrection of the Savior. She wanted some scriptures to back it up! We showed her the scriptures, and said, "I will show this to my boss, and I will never work another Sunday again!" Absolutely amazing! The boss declined, but she is already looking for other employment. She is amazing, and will be coming to church on her birthday, this Sunday! God is a god of miracles! The heavens are open and ready to pour out blessings and miracles on condition that we reach for His hand!
Thursday, we dawned the mobile moving service clothing, and helped a member move in. She has so much stuff! I can only imagine how miserable that will be, to pack up a whole house! I also saw the biggest church I have ever seen! It was gigantic! Larger than football stadiums! Eddy Long's New Birth church! I had to take photos of it! The great and abominable! The dude's house is a mansion, right across the street from the church. God is not someone who needs to be taken advantage over, or to make money on. They have their reward!
Friday we spent a good block of the day doing a baptismal interview for some of the Sister's investigator, James and Eiei. They are amazing though, probably going to be some of the first members from Burma. We dawned some working clothes again, and split some wood, like real manly men of God! It was actually fun though! I bet you could get pretty ripped! I could maybe pull off being a lumberjack! And thanks for feeding us again Mom! You're the best cook ever!
Saturday the Baptism went through! Which is amazing! I still need to get in the font! Hopefully soon! Before that, we were out and about, and all the people we went to go see, weren't home. This is where MARTA is a problem. Spending Two hours to find one person that isn't there. We were on the bus with a lady that was reading some Jehovah's Witness material, so we couldn't let her dwindle in further belief! We gave her some real truth! And she wants to have us back, and is also moving! More service!! We also went to see the Owen's family again, and we only got to see half of them! It is just another testament to me that raising a family in the Gospel is the only way to a happy and functional family! We didn't get home until 10:15 PM and had to be up at 5:30 AM. So we ran on 4 hours of sleep! All is well though!
Sunday was good, nothing too out of the unusual happened. We found out about what companionships were headed to transfers, but not who would be leaving. I think back to what Elder Porter, our ZL, said, "You will be here a while." Prophecy fulfilled! The theme about what the talks were on was gifts of God. Namely, the Sacrament and Atonement, Prophets, and our Faith! He is so loving, it is ri-freaking-diculous! We had dinner with another family, which was great! I really do love spending time with these people, because outside of Sunday, they are wicked busy with school and their own family. What did you all learn from Church?
We will be headed to the Zoo at 2:00 today, which should be most excellent! I guess I will have at least 6 more weeks to site see! I have to hit the Aquarium and Martin Luther King's place! But all is well!
So that is about all I got for you, anymore will cost you! As usual, I am at your Mercy! Let me know what I can do for y'all and I will do my best to do it! Thanks for all you do for me! I am ever so grateful for everyone! Thanks for the prayers and love! I am so well taken care of! Having another outstanding amazing blessed up week! Hold to the Rod! Fight the good fight! And walk in the light of His love! Keep it Holy! 

Elder Dallan Barnes
"Where does Hamburger come from?" - Us
"HAMSTERS!" - Young boy on the bus

Expect miracles today, and they'll come your way!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Mon 3/17/14 5:51 PM
Top o' the morning to ya! Glad to see another juicy letter from y'all this week! Hope you all are decked out in green, because pinching is never fun! Like ever! I wish you all a very sober and fun St Patrick's day!

My week was intriguing, as usual. Monday we played Capture the flag at Piedmont Park, next to downtown Atlanta. It was a lot of fun, but the same things came up that we used to bicker about when we were kids. Puppy guarding and the likes. We got some serious sun though, the back of my neck was a little bit red. So no, please don't tell me that I am sunburnt. We later went to go see the Coppock Family, and to check up on David and see how he was doing. We taught the Restoration using the Jenga tower, and it totally clicked with him about authority (since Priesthood Authority is the middle block on the bottom, you remove it, the whole tower comes down). We didn't end up getting home until 10:30 because MARTA is ridiculous most days. 

Tuesday we had exchanges with the Zone Leaders, and I went out to Chamblee. Which is a Spanish area. So I was lost all day to say the least. It was a taste of what it would be like for the first several months of serving while speaking another language. I kind of liked the idea of the challenge at least. My three years of Junior High Spanish didn't do me too much but I did pick up things here and there. Elder Porter would turn to me randomly and tell me to teach about a certain principle, then he would translate it. We spoke to some SWAT officers and asked them what the craziest thing they have ever seen was. "Naked People" was his answer. "I mean, it is fine that you are fighting, or stealing a bus, but when you do those naked.... that's crazy!" I wish we could have swapped stories, but I haven't even seen any naked people.

Wednesday we helped move the Stone Mountain Sisters, which took just about all day. We were supposed to get started at noon, but it got pushed back to 2:30. It was a lot of work, but it always feels good to dress down, and be of service to others. We also got to teach Gospel Study this week, which is at 7:00. We had almost no time to prepare it, but we prepared ourselves to give a lesson, and the Lord delivered. We used a few videos and a talk, then just facilitated a discussion. It was one of my better teaching moments!

Thursday we got to visit with a man Elder Moore and Elder Zemcick met on the bus during exchanges. His name is Al, and he is rock solid. He unfortunately lost a job, but more importantly, he "wants to know God." We asked him how he felt about baptism and he said "I'm ready" Almost! Of course we were grinning from ear to ear when we heard that!

Friday was just an odd day. We got a little lost close to downtown Atlanta. Saw some really odd things, and yes, I took some pictures! We also tried the some World Famous Corn Dogs. They were $5. Best corndog I have had, but overpriced. It is a weiner covered in cornbread after all. We also flipped our plans that we made the night before, and it was the Lord guiding us again. We hopped on the bus to take us where we needed to go, and the first lady we see on the bus asks if we are Mormons. She lets us know that she has been a member for 15 years, just moved from Macon a few weeks ago, and had been looking everywhere for us. It was amazing! Her name is Teri!

Saturday was a miracle day, let me share it. It involved the Holy Ghost, and the Lord lovingly changing our plans. Elder Moore, out of the blue Thursday remembered a referral that we had tried contacting with no luck. The message was deleted from the phone, so we frantically called to see who sent it. We finally tracked it down, had to call it at this point because it was straight from the Lord. We were planning to go see them late one evening, and the MARTA train we were going to hop on, left 5 seconds before we could get on. Five minutes later, fire trucks and police took over the station, apparently the train caught fire or something of the likes. A huge miracle right there! We call them after we are escorted out of the station, and they don't know their schedule, so we should call back in a few days. Saturday we had several appointments lined up for investigators with members, and every single one of them fell through. The Lord was nudging us to go see this referral, so we did! We made our way to their apartment, and they let us right in. There turns out that there are three families living there, The Mom, Latasha. Her two daughters Brittanie and Kadeja, and their kids too. They have been wanting to come back to church and Latasha had actually studied with the Church before. They all asked us for copies of the Book of Mormon, and accepted an invitation to be Baptized. They are amazing, and the Gospel can do so much for them! The Lord is too good!

Sunday was good as usual. It poured all day, which presented us the opportunity to serve the ward, namely, escorting people to the door with umbrellas. Our suits were absolutely soaked by the time it was said and one. We also ended up missing the Sacrament, but all for a good cause. I love being able to serve others, a lot like pushing cars in the snow. It is just the best! We had a "Linger Longer" Where everyone brings a dish of food, put it on the table, and feast! Definitely recommend it! The South is the best! We also spoke with a less active member, who is trying to return, on the phone. He told us that he is looking for a wife now. "I am on the hunt fella's. I am a wolf on the hunt, AROOOOO!" Made our night for sure! So unexpected, but that is what makes it that much more memorable!
So that was my week, it is still currently raining, and might not let up for a few days. Some may say I know as much as the weathermen.  St Patricks has been great so far. Well, we are kind of on our own today for Pday, but we will see what we can do. Some Members want to take us to Coke World, The Aquarium, or the Zoo soon. So that'll be sweet! Mom I do have on green, but we actually haven't gotten your package yet. They took it back to the post office, which sucks. If I wanted it delivered to the post office, I would have had it sent there. Oh well, we will pick it up after this. I am so down for some girl scout cookies. Transfers are coming up next week, just a reminder. Thanks for the pictures of the dogs. I miss Ginger and Sam a lot! I see boxers out here often, and I just have to pet them! I will make sure to be careful on St.Patty’s day, and we will be plenty safe. President Harding in a conference call, in his testimony, told us to look both ways before crossing the street. I chuckled a little!
So that is a rap pap pap! Thanks again for the email! Glad to hear all is well! I love you all so very much and appreciate all that is done in my behalf! Please let me know what I can do to better help y'all! Have another super mega blessed up week! Fight the good fight, stand firm in the faith. Be sober, be vigilant! Love you all!
Elder Dallan Barnes

Life is only understood backwards, but must be lived forwards. 

Monday, March 10, 2014

The Day is Mine!
It appears that y'all have come to prove something to me this week. That y'all are amazing! I get that reaffirmed every week! Thank you for the emails, I love being able to check up on what is happening West of the Mississippi! It started off as a little shaky of a week, but then finished with a bang! Namely, Elder Cook coming to visit us and the North Mission. He is one very inspired man! But let me get going with my week!
Monday we did hit up Stone Mountain, wandered around it, and eventually summited it! I will send some photos. It was so frigid, especially when we made it to the top. It must have been 30's with a wind chill. The hike isn't too exhausting, being only a mile or so. But it was fun to get out and go revisit the place! You will certainly have to come and check it out! I also picked something up for y'all that I will need to send. It was a bargain, but I think you will know what to do with it, especially come Lake Powell time. That is all the hint I will give you!
Tuesday, we had to move our Investigators Michelle and Timothy out of their home, to go live with her parents that live in the Brockett Ward. It was hard to see them go, because we were making such progress with them! They came to Church the previous Sunday after not coming in 10 years! Luckily the Lord has been mindful of her and she has been nearby missionaries her whole life. We later went to give a blessing to a Recent Convert named Micah. He is an absolute stud! He is 22, speaks 5 languages, and is wanting to serve a mission ASAP. He had been a little down in the ditches, so he felt that a blessing would pick his spirits up. They work on faith, and he is chalked full of it! He is the kind of convert I want to come back and visit! They are out there, I just need to find them!
Wednesday we got to attend the home of the Lord, and be counseled by the Leaders at Zone Training. It was enlightening as usual! The temple is just amazing too. Everything is so much more clear in there! Attend it often my people! In it there is peace that only can be found there!

Thursday was our flop day. We had 4 meetings set up, and all fell through. It was going to be cool, because we were teaching each lesson 1 through 4. Why can't people be more accountable, or at least people of their words. At least let us know that you can't come. It worked out fine, and we were able to find some more awesome people. One thing that I have noticed is how the Buses just lull you to sleep. It is getting worse too. I still hate earphones, definitely created by Satan to prevent the work of salvation. Thank you Mom for the Pizza! You are quite the chef!
Friday we had an impromptu leadership meeting by the Assistants to clarify some points, especially about planning and goal setting. Two life skills that I definitely want to have mastered when my time is up! If I can't master it on the mission, I likely won't ever master it. We met with a Less Active member, Brother Valvo, and he has been through a ton. He only has $3 to his name. But he is one stalwart man. It still amazes me to see what people can be tested and put through. It just goes to say that the heaviest burdens are placed upon those that can bear its weight. We had a meeting to finally meet with our top investigator Nieta. I mentioned her before, but we got to meet up with her at the church. Our bus never came after dinner, so we literally ran to the church. It was a few miles, at least that is what it felt like. Totally worth it! We asked her how she felt about the Book of Mormon, and she said she has already received her answer that it is true. Fill dat font! Super pumped for her!
Saturday was the big day with Elder Cook. It was so great! I wonder how many apostles I will get to see while serving! It seems like Georgia is a Hot spot for the Apostles! One thing that he mentioned was how the missionary selection process works. He said each member of the 12 gets a day ( I wonder who assigned me!), and the inspiration comes by three means. First is the mission president, that he will have the most profound influence on the missionary. Second, is the people and culture will be the place that has the most influence on them. Or the third was kind of a random feeling about a certain place, not knowing for sure what lies in wait for them. He also mentioned that they sometimes go back and reassign based on how the Spirit spoke with them. Elder Cook also testified that "He has heard the voice of the Savior." His closing remarks were that we are to never underestimate the power of our faith, a lot like the woman who touched the hem of the Savior's robe, faith alone can heal us and make us whole! He left an Apostolic blessing too, which was so catered to my heart, God is good!
Sunday was exceptionally great because it was ward conference. The Stake President walked in wearing a fedora! President Sullivan is super inspired. A few words from him I will share! "If we aren't bringing people to Christ, we are doing nothing at all."  It was a great meeting, we also spoke on testimony vs conversion, as well as being a good Shepherd. Let me share just one quick miracle. On the way home from church, we rode the MARTA train to get to our station. We made it there safely and spoke with a few people along the way, then waited for the Bus to come. It finally arrived, and the driver, Melinda hopped out, looked at us. I smiled, she looked away then looked back, then asked me,"Can you please pray for me?" Of course we could! She came back after using the restroom and I asked her what was going on in her life. She said that her marriage with her husband is in jeopardy, but what really is tearing her up, is that her 21 year old son's marriage is in an even worse spot. I just testified that the Restored Gospel can mend all wounds, and that her family can be happy and live forever. I showed her a picture of my family, and told her that she could have that too. She later called us that evening to set up a time to come visit her. The Gospel is so true! A smile goes a long ways, and it never ceases to amaze me that people know that they can come to us as representatives of Christ. God is so good, too good at times!

That is about my week brothers and sisters! Thanks again for the emails! It makes this a lot easier! I appreciate all the time and sacrifice you put forth! Please let me know if there is anything I can do for y'all! Keep being amazing, find a reason to smile (if you cannot find a reason, make one up!), fight the good fight, continue in faith! Have another super blessed up week and I will hear from y'all soon! Love all y'all!

Elder Dallan Barnes

"The Lord knows exactly how to use us as instruments, but are we willing to be used by His Hands?"

Monday, March 3, 2014

         Dinner party!!!!

March 3

To be or not to be... What a dumb question, that answer is always TO BE!
Another week has passed here in the great state of Georgia. The not so Hotlanta, as of late! Thank you all for the letter! Let me jump right on into my week! My time might be a little short because we will be hitting Stone Mountain.. In the Rain! Should make for quite the memory!

 Without further Adieu, Monday was A okay. We spoke with a Muslim man, of which was very passionate about his beliefs. Telling us that we are Muslim, whether we know it or not. Our Fathers and Grandfathers have deceived us. I would like to learn more about them Later on, but now, it is all about Christ! We were once again placed right next to someone who was prepared, she started asking about the Book of Mormon and told us she hates that her "mega church" puts on a show. We only spoke with here for less than a minute, but she should be pretty promising!

Tuesday, was fairly meager. I felt more like a burden or a plague going to some of these apartment complexes. People never make eye contact with us, let alone look at us. People heckle us from their porches. And then there are some, well a lot that think we are Jehovah's Witness. They've totally gotten us a bad rep. We didn't find many people that were promising, but we were out and about to say the very least, God rewards the obedient!

Wednesday we met an amazing lady named Nieta. She came as a referral from the Brockett Ward, and has been hard to get a visit with. She is working full time, even over time hours lately, at a Sears in Clarkston. We were able to teach her a little bit over the phone during the snow storms, and we have chatted here and there. We finally set aside the time to just go catch her at work, because what we have is urgent. She hadn't received a Book of Mormon, so that was our main goal. To teach her about it and testify of it's truth. She told us how bad she wants to come to church, and will be coming next Sunday. How she wants to raise her kids in the truth, and that the truth is worth fighting for. She has even run into opposition (go figure, Satan is always at work) from her Mother to "Be careful what you read, and rely on the Spirit." She is amazing, and I can see her getting on the path to eternal life and staying on it! She will be a very good addition to the Twin Oaks Ward. We are both super excited for her! God is so good, too good at times!

Thursday was a long and dreary day. The Lithonia Elders were moving apartments, and got a call two days before, so they needed help packing. We crashed there, and labored well into the night. I finally got to bed at 4:00 AM. To make things worse, their apartment was infested with Roaches. I was too tired to care, and was especially not looking forward to waking up soon. We did get the Pizzas though! Thank you so much Mom! They were just what we needed! It got devoured pretty quick, especially cause it fed 4 of us. I told all of them that they can say they love you now too! 

Friday blended into Thursday, with all the packing finally coming to fruition and getting them situated in their new apartment. Hopefully none of the roaches followed them. The tender mercy, was that despite the fatigue and exhaustion, I prayed for strength to make it through the day, and I did just that!

Saturday was my 200th day out, crazy stuff right there! It was not much of a celebration. Not too many people were interested that day. But, we did do some crazy tracting in some projects/apartments. Many of the windows were busted out, and people scampered inside because they think we are Police. Good things are to come in March, we can feel it!

Sunday was one of the more powerful Fast and Testimony meetings. It was the courage of one 9 year old boy that shook the whole congregation. So the boy and Dad went up to share testimony. The dad went first, then proceeded to sit down. The kid got up, stammered out a few quick words, then finally realized the task he had undertaken. Fear totally shot through him. He couldn't say a word, except after a few seconds, "Dad, I need you!" he uttered. The Dad didn't hesitate to come up, throw his arm around him and help him through what he was to say. I just felt that is exactly our relationship with Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. We often get ourselves in over our head, and there is no one at hand to save us. But as we cry out for help, God will not fail us nor forsake. He will come immediately, comfort us, then walk us through what we need to conquer. It happened to Peter when walking on water, where Christ immediately reached forth and grabbed Peter when he sank, it Happened to Christ in Gethsemane, when he cries out "Abba", (Daddy, if you will), and angels minister to him. I admire that Boys courage, and the lesson I learned that day. God is with each and everyone one of us, and there is absolutely nothing that can separate us from his Love. Don't be afraid to put yourself out there, or to push yourself to the limit, because there is always help. Needless to say, it rocked me to the core because I am in over my head when I really think about what the Lord expects of me. But I know with him, all things are possible!
Well that is all for today folks! Thanks again for the Letter, I love you all so very much, and are very near and dear to my heart! Keep fighting the good fight, and pressing onward in the faith! Let me know if there is absolutely anything I can do for any of you! Have another blessed up week!
Elder Dallan Barnes

Quote of the Week: "God made us in His own image, so I reckon he is a pretty handsome guy!"