Tuesday, April 29, 2014

                   Easter Egg hunt on top of Stone Mountain!

                    Nieta's Baptism!!!

April 28, 2014

Good Morning from the South!
Another week in one MARTA bus and right out the other! It was an amazing week, and from what I can gather, it seems like y'alls was a-okay as well! We have seen some amazing things come to pass. God is so good! Let me jump into the week!
So to wrap up Monday, it was great! I wish we had a car and that only me and my companion hid the eggs. The other Elders didn't pick up anything except they were trying to find the Golden egg, and that's it. But, it was super busy and super hot on the stone. The Sisters and the Senior Couple had a good time, and we made it to the top, snapped some photos, and unfortunately, my camera died. Sis. Allen should have some photos though! We also got pretty tan, which is a bonus.
Tuesday, you should have seen how tired everyone was at district meeting. It was kind of like after being a few days to Lake Powell, Sunburnt a little, and nodding off. I think everyone could have gone for a nap, not this time unfortunately. We set some district goals, and everyone was game to go out and achieve them. Namely, we wanted to measure how many times we asked "Who do you know?" Trying to get more referrals. We wanted to do 10 a day, for 6 days, grand total 240. We got 245! And we got the investigators and referrals to back them up! We also faced some serious opposition, a lady we call, devil lady! We had just finished teaching Nieta (she's golden!!) and were on our way back. We were chatting casually with some people, and she came up, and said (literally, exact quote): "Don't buy any of this crap these morons are telling you. You will go to hell with them. Joseph Smith was a fraud nor was he nailed to that Cross." Then walked away. All I said, "Thank you." The only reason there is that kind of opposition, is because it is true.
Wednesday we actually witnessed a prescription drug trade. The dude was pretty blatant about it. We also stumbled into a Muslim community. Not sure what to tell them. At least they are super friendly! We got to do some impromptu service, and helped take care of trees and limbs that had been cut down. Usually they don't let us help, but we were persistent! The leaves had thorns, so we suffered a little, but it was worth it. Adrian and his wife are super interested in learning more and are wanting to be baptized. We will get back and get them a date to the font! Nieta got her baptismal interview, and she passed easy peasy! We also invited some random stranger on the street to come to Bible Study, and she came! All we are asked to do, is invite!
Thursday, was weekly planning as usual, and we wrapped that up with an exchange with our Zone Leaders. Elder Skouson was the MARTA master, and I went up to Dunwoody. The work is the same wherever you go. It was nice to get a change of scenery though! We just did a bunch of finding. We got yelled at, which hadn't happened to me in a while. I love it though, it just makes me realize how true this is. We tried a tricky move in Walmart. One person acts like they are trying on pants at the dressing room, the other man is the point man, finding the person to talk to. I was that guy, and the first person I talked to grew up next to a Mormon Church in Nigeria, always had questions, and needs a church home to go to. Ask and ye shall receive, true story!
Friday, we exchanged back. And found ourselves literally running for every bus. Full board sprint. It made it exhilarating! And, to make things sweeter, we made it to our appointment on time! We met with the Sampey family, Sis Sampey is a Member, but not her Husband. She really wants him to get baptized so they can be sealed together. She is returning because they have a kid now, and family comes first. They have another on the way. I knew I could relate a little to their situation. He has a calling, comes to church even when his wife can't. Always has lived the commandments. He's too good not to be a member. We also had another encounter with satan lady. Same time, same station. She acted like she might have seen us before. I even caught her drawing on the benches. I tried to be civil and friendly, but she wasn't having none of it. 
Saturday was baptism day!!! We were also able to clean the church before hand. We studied there, and cleaned up. We were there from 9 to 7. Long day, but totally worth it! Nieta was baptized by Elder Skouson, and it was amazing! Her whole family came out to support her as well. We had enough refreshments to feed them all, and it was the most attended baptism in many years here. It is awesome what some planning can do for you. The Spirit was super strong, and her family who were trying to convince her not to join, are interested in learning more. Another one for the Mormon's!  Thank you for the Pizza too, it was such a relief to come home and await a good meal :)
Sunday was great as well. Nieta was confirmed in Sacrament, gave us a little scare by being late. But she made it! We also had 4 other investigators come, and we filled the chapel and the over flow completely. Things are turning here! And I am glad to be a part of it. We went home, changed, and headed out to find more people. It wasn't supposed to rain, but that was a lie! It totally dumped, like in Pittsburgh in the Rugby National Championship. We almost found ourselves in the thick of it, but we sprinted to the closest home, and Troy let us right in! I love good Christian People. I admire the South! He wasn't too interested, but he loved talking about Jesus Christ at least. Once it cleared up, we made our way, quickly to the Roylance's home. Sweet name, right? They had us over for dinner, and they are amazing! I wish everyone was more able to help. Going to Med School with a family is probably enough to juggle on its own.
Today, I think we will be headed to Piedmont park to play some kickball with the Zone. Still looking for that Lazy Pday soon! It should be fun though!
And that is about all I have for y'all! Keep being amazing though! I am so super spoiled, too blessed I feel at times. I wish everyone the most amazing week ever, and that success will abound. Good luck with finals, to those that are taking them. Be safe, be strong, be of a good courage! Fight the good fight! Have another blessed up week! Let me know what I can do for y'all! I am more than eager to help, in what ways I can! Love you all so much!!
Elder Dallan Barnes

We overcome, so we can become.

Monday, April 21, 2014

       Missionary Retail Therapy......the underground Mall

 Easter package from the Phillip's Family.....love them!!!

      The Easter Bunny brought new Ties.....very sharp!

April 21

Happy Easter!!

I hope everyone had an amazing Easter, and was filled with Eggs, Chocolate, and Love! I heard someone shot the Easter Bunny though... Is that true? We also had a krazy come up to us and explain that Easter wasn't about Jesus Christ. He said there is some the word Easter is Aramic, and it translates back to some ancient pagan God that symbolized Fertility, hence the bunnies and eggs. Sort of compelling, but I did what all missionaries would do in that situation. Asked him to be baptized! He was a little out there for sure. But, we know for certain what the day represents and I hope everyone had a chance to reflect and ponder on what He has done personally for you!
As pertaining to my week, it flew by. I would say like a dream, but I am not having those either. But it was good, we got our weekly fix of krazies, and fairly promising people as well too. We went to downtown last Monday, checked out Underground Atlanta and Centennial Olympic Park! It has a splash pad in the shape of the olympic rings, and the goal was to make it to the other side without getting shot. I failed, miserably, Didn't make it to the second ring! Luckily I was in my rain jacket and had black pants on, but my pride was a little injured. Underground was the most interesting mall I have been in. Didn't buy anything, but I was expecting it to be so much more hood! Oh well, such is life!
Tuesday we had the opportunity to get the Sacrament to a member who is having Chemo therapy and a Bone Marrow Transplant. It was a really touching experience, because she mentioned how much her spirits had been lifted by just visiting with us. She is from Montgomery, Alabama, and will be there for a month. Her hospital room was chalked full of LDS Literature! Hopefully she has spoken to some people about the Gospel. It also dropped into the 30's. Frigid!
Wednesday we had the opportunity to visit with Nieta again, this time at her work. We walked through several of the Commandments, and she is ready to rock! We also had dinner at the Senior couple's home. They are amazing too! They could get along so well with Grandma and Grandpa C! They are like spitting image of them. It always feels like home when we get to be with them!
Thursday was A okay! We didn't get out too much, because of studies and planning. But we were able to go see Al our investigator. He will be getting a job soon! His interview is today, so he will finally have the money to make it to church. He keeps telling us he is ready to be baptized! Which he is! The desire is there, and he reads the Holy Bible and Book of Mormon every day and night, praying as well.
Friday we traveled down to Fayetteville for a New Missionary Training. It was good to spend some time with the Leaders as usual. There were only 9 sets of missionaries, and I knew a good handful of them. I still feel inadequate at times, and that the weight of the area is all on me. It is all part of the learning experience I suppose. We Traveled home, and were hoping to meet with Nieta again, but she had to cancel. So we ended up moving some things for the Yancey Family, and giving the Sisters a blessing. They had been feeling ill. I do love exercising the Priesthood! The best part of the day, was that the Phillip's came to town! It had been way way to long! I miss them! I really can't say enough about them either! This ward needs more people like them! It has certainly been the happiest I have been since getting here! I was seriously so Giddy! We tried this place called Farm Burger. I had this Pork Burger with Goat Cheese and some other things. It was a pretty legit burger! Then, they mentioned that there was a Krispy Kreme right down the road, and we scooted on down there. We got to see them make all the doughnuts, and it was a travesty to see how many they toss. It hit the spot! I just love them so much! They said they are going to come see y'all this summer, so keep and eye out! They also sent an Easter Package! So thoughtful of them!
Saturday was a miracle day. We were just finding investigator after investigator. I wish all days would run like that! We found 5 that day, and all accepted to be baptized. I love the South, and I love that they love the Savior! You can talk about God with anyone, and I sincerely hope that is something I take with me when I leave. People were even talking to us, and it was raining the whole time. Lastly, we met with Nieta at Chick Fil A, and we wrapped up the rest of the commandments. She is so ready, she even texted us that she knows something great is right around the corner! Her Spirit can sense it! She had some surprises for us when we sat down. M&M's, she told us she was a man (she was just joking thankfully.), that she had made it to 2nd Nephi 7, and that she would say the opening and closing prayer, and lastly she Told us her and our prayers had been answered, and she has Friday, Saturday, and Sunday off! She's amazing! She is praying about who she would like to baptize and confirm her, we are pumped for her!
Sunday was the typical great day. Sacrament meeting went well, and we actually didn't have any meetings before hand, so we got to sleep in to 6:30AM. Usually we are up at 5:30 on Sundays. We also got to study as well! What a spirit packed day. A couple of Member signed up to have us over, but we had already made arrangements to be at the Allen's home. It was really sweet to see that they were thinking of us though! We did a lot of tracting as well to pray and bless many people. In addition to that, we also went and had a baptismal interview (my first) for a kid the Sisters have been teaching. Kevin is 9 years old and he was pretty spot on with his answers. They didn't teach him the Law of Chastity, and they didn't tell me that. So I gave him a very very watered down collision course on it. Treat women with respect and don't touch other's private parts. Dinner with the Allen's was the best, and I am glad we got to spend Easter in Good Company! Felt like home again. They're the best, I certainly do love them too.
That is about all I have for you all! We have to make it to Stone Mountain, Climb it, and then hide eggs as we come down, then climb it again! Hopefully not too many people will be there stealing our eggs! And we better find them all or else I could be charged with littering on a  National Monument ;) Living on the edge! Thank you all for everything you do for me! Let me know what I can do to better help you all! Have a blessed up week! Fight the good Fight! Love you all!
Elder Dallan Barnes

People in the South Love Jesus, they love him so much that they don't quite know what to do with him! Thankfully we do :)

Monday, April 14, 2014

April 14th
Dearest Familia!
Another week in the book of life down! Thanks for the email! This week has been pretty great! I think that the weather change also brings the crazies out, cause we have spoken to a few of them. It is possible to say that everyone could use someone to talk to! Glad I get to talk to y'all every Monday! So let me jump into the week-holio!
Monday turned out to be an alright day, we hit Cici's because we love getting our money's worth! We made sure it wasn't a competition though, to eat until we are filled. We wandered a little around Atlanta/Decatur but nothing to great came of it. I think for today we are going to check out Underground Atlanta, the Olympic Park, and a few other places in downtown, should be neato!
Tuesday we met as a Zone, which we are small in number but strong in spirit. We are the smallest Zone in the Atlanta Mission, only have 12 companionships. Everything that was taught about was from the mission council we had the week before at the temple, so it was all about the Family! Hope you caught me attempting to wink Mom, I was trying so hard, and often! We had a sweet moment to compliment our companions and to also bear testimony at the end, it was quite uplifting! I guess a lot of people got a bit trunky from it, but if anything, I felt more motivated to go out and not let you all down! We met a "rapper" and a "gangbanger". That is how they described themselves, and they let us know of a few of their past decisions. We sat down with Nieta as well to address some anti-mormon literature that someone had given her. She saw right through the lies!
Wednesday we had the opportunity to go help Brother Yancey clean up his cemetery for a few hours. It was quite a bit of fun and they told us that there have been two murders commited there and the bodies have not been found. So we went detective mode! Me and Elder Skouson were actually able to find a few unmarked/lost headstones. Maybe when we go back we can crack the case! We also had to teach Gospel Study on the Restoration. It went really well from what we felt. Nieta made it though so that is what made it totally worth it! I also spent some serious time talking to Elder Meservey at night! He had some referrals for us, but we totally got sidetracked and shot the breeze! We are both in a similar boat, and that was comforting to hear! I miss the kid!
Thursday, that day is dominated by weekly planning. With our additional hour of study, and Elder Skouson studying Portuguese for an hour, and lunch after that, we don't get to planning until 1 and get done until 4:30. It is great to discuss the needs of some of our investigators. We had to get to the Cairn's home for dinner, so we went up there, tracted some and then we had a good meal! We helped move some dressers of there is where I ripped my pants, then went to help a less active lady move a tv of hers. It was a full day of service, but it was so touching to see a home teacher fulfilling his calling, especially when they were leaving for Florida at 5 AM the next day. We didn't get home until 10:00, aka another long night with minimal sleep.
Friday we were able to go and visit the Coppock family and teach about the plan of salvation. It is neat to see these member have their fire rekindled. It was probably the most efficient Plan of Salvation Lesson I have taught, quick and powerful! We traveled down into 5 Points Station, the heart of Atlanta, and we actually saw some pimps!!! Cane, Hat, colorful suits, the works! I was a little uneasy being the only white people there, and also in white shirts. They are still friendly though! And they need what we have! We don't need what they have unfortunately! Nieta actually called us to make sure she was still good to be baptized on the 26th! Absolutely she is! We have a few things left to teach her, but she is absolutely amazing! She even brought her five year old daughter to Church and she wants to attend next Sunday! We continue to pray for her and fast as well, she is struggling to get work off consistently on Sunday. We are hoping the Lord will either open a new door for her or to soften the hearts of her managers.
Saturday we were all over the place, talking to some interesting people along the way, as usual! One lady was convinced that she saw the moon transform into Jesus Christ. So that is who the man on the moon is... We were able to meet with Nieta at her work, and she even took her lunch break to listen to us! Who does that... We also invited her to dinner with the Mcnett family. They signed up to have us over, and we figured why not bring a friend!
Sunday was the most astounding sacrament meeting. Rebuking from the organist! She was offended because people don't listen to her prelude music We had a couple of other interesting testimonies come up, and we needed to salvage the meeting! Elder Skouson went up and gave a sincere testimony, which was awesome! We had dinner at the Mcnetts and an amazing lesson on the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the Word of Wisdom. She is so in tune with the spirit! We contacted a referrals grandson and he told us that he was looking to be baptized again, knowing now what he is doing! He pretty much invited himself, so we will be seeing him soon!
And that is about all I got, Glad to see y'all have had a fairly legit week! What is everyone's Easter Plans? I won't be there to win the Golden Egg (like usual)!

Well it is that time again, to sign off and check back in next Monday! Thanks again for the letters and emails! Y'all truly are the best! And you mean the world to me! Please keep it up, cause you are doing stuff right! I hope everyone has an exceptional week, filled with thought of the Savior and His triumph on Easter Sunday! I look forward to hearing from everyone soon! Stay safe, fight the good fight! Have a blessed up week! Let me know what I can do for y'all! Love you all so much!
Elder Dallan Barnes

Have the Attitude of Gratitude!

Monday, April 7, 2014

   Dallan  with his new companion Elder Skousen  from Michigan. He is waiting for his visa to get into Brazil

            Look what we found................FIRE!!!!!

April 7, 2014

What a feast!!
That my friends, was a General Conference! I don't know if it am just enjoying it so much because I am serving a mission or that it really was outstanding! I like to think it is one, then the other. I hope y'all were able to get heaps out of it and that the answers to your questions were found through the voice of the Apostles! What was your favorite talk, what was your favorite quote? What a week! I'm once again glad to see a full inbox, and am grateful for all that y'all do! Too blessed!
How was everyone's April Fools? Mine wasn't very great. I spent all night and morning preparing for my first District Meeting, It felt like doing a school project. Just got to get it done, despite how little sleep I got. It rounded out to be three hours, but it went really well! And the Lord provided, kept me awake and strong! I am so spoiled to have an amazing district full of top notch missionaries! It makes everything so much easier, and a lot more fun as well! We met some real Crazies, some Hippie/Nomad and then his buddy a Hobo came and started talking about Jesus Christ. This name tag attracts them somehow... Opposites maybe? We tried to also find a man named Ratbo Lebow. What...a...name! Our search wasn't super fruitful.
Wednesday we manage to find a few more crazies. One guy asked our thoughts on the Roman Catholic Church. He said he is against them, solely because of the phrase "Roman Cat". Apparently that means something. We also spent a good chunk of the day being the leaf raking unit for the Ward. It was a lot, but thankfully the weather is turning a little! It got into the 80's, which is a little toasty. Kind of not looking forward to summer. I could only imagine how swampy it will be on the buses. We went to go speak with  one investigator Al, and all of the young kids come and hang out with us. We caught a lizard, random I know.
Thursday we spent the day in the House of the Lord, which was so what I was needing. Such peace and comfort that can only be found there! I've had a lot on my mind lately, and a bit weighed down. I manage to find some scriptures about Enoch, Moses, and Joshua and how their first response to the Lord was, "Why me?" I'll be honest, I have asked that question the previous week. But in all the cases, the Lord answered," Go; I will be with thee". It was good to see a lot of my previous companions too, I have had such a blessing of having great ones surround me, to bear me up, and help me grow! We got to meet with Nieta again, and she is officially moved to Decatur, temporarily with her Mom. It'll make teaching her a little easier too! She has such great questions for us and at times teaches herself. No doubt will she be baptized! It is just a matter of getting new employment now.
Friday we compensated for Thursday and did our weekly planning. General Conference Eve!! Which seems to always take forever, but it is worth it. We were able to get out and Teach a lady named Consweyla, who came as a referral. She is in her 40's, has 8 kids, 5 at home, in a wheel chair, goes to dialysis 3 times a week, and is hitting a rough patch. She was all ears when we taught her, and she wants to find God more in her life, and also know the Bible more. We can do that, with a Book of Mormon too! We felt inspired to talk about the "Other Sheep" in John and 3rd Nephi, turns out that is right where she was studying that morning! In a way, all of us here in America are still the Other Sheep, and it truly is a privilege to help those here in Decatur realize that! I also got a package from Steve! It is so great to hear from him! Made my day! I'm also hoping to get some super large fore arms, compliments of him! I really do have the greatest friends ever! The Lord is so mindful of us and our situations, each individually.
Saturday came so soon, and it went even faster. So many good talks! Elder Holland rocked the world right of the get go, and it got better from there! It amazes me how fast two hours can go if you are engaged in with the Spirit. There was so much to be learned! We were able to go to dinner before Priesthood Session to Golden Corral. It hit the spot, but it was kind of regretted afterwards. Needless to say, I still need a soft serve ice cream machine in my home when I get one!
Sunday was a similar situation, Spirit overload!! A member of the other ward was able to put together sandwiches for us during lunch time! We totally spaced lunch, but I always roll around with snackage! It was sad to see conference adjourn, and my second one is down. Only have two more to go. We also had dinner at the Cairns home, and they are the best. They'll be feeding us on Thursday as well. Funny story, but they are legit!
That is wrap my people! Please have another amazing week! Keep up the good fight! Y'all are the best! I love you all so very much! Please let me know what I can do to better serve y'all! Have a blessed up one!
Elder Dallan Barnes

Love is the very Essence of the Gospel

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

March 31
Hotlanta? Where art thou??
What a week! It has been frigid yet again, in the 30's. But this week could very well get to the 80's! The days seemed to go by super fast and the week seemed fairly slow! But I am hanging in there, and persisting! Satan is sitting there asking, "Why must you persist, Elder Barnes?" To which I reply, "Because I choose to!" It has been a fabulous week though. Stress has been on the higher end, understandably. I have gotten the least amount of sleep I have gotten in a week on the mission. But I do know that God blesses those that are asked to sacrifice! So let me tackle the week!
Monday we did infact hit the Zoo! It was a blast! It has been a while since I have been to any zoo. We also were hoping to try the Chicken and Waffles by Gladys Knight, but we settled for the Varsity. Their ordering system is super funny, it reminded me of In-n-Out. Old school burger drive thru. We commenced the packing, and that was just about our whole day.

Tuesday, was another errand type day. We were all over the place! We met with Nieta again, and she is amazing!! She got a job offer from another company to work for that would not make her work on Sundays! And the pay is better! The Lord always provides!
Wednesday was the big transfer day. Super overwhelming, and I wasn't sure if it fully hit me yet what was about to change! Training and District Leader. I did receive my companion though, his name is Elder Skouson! He is from Michigan, and is waiting on a visa to get to Brazil. We get along very well, and have more similarities than differences! He loves sports, food, and missionary work! He is eager to work, and Atlanta was actually where he wanted to go when he put in his mission papers. What a coincidence! He has been to 2 years of college so he is a learned man too. We got to hear Brother Miller (from Lost Mountain) speak at transfer meeting. I miss them! But he mentioned that one missionary can change a ward! We'll see what we can do here in Twin Oaks. We did a little tracting, and he got the MARTA experience on day one. He was just as floored as I was, but we'll get over it!
Thursday was a miracle day!  After we had finished our weekly planning, We went out full of faith and traveled out and about to our appointments. We were running short on time, and contemplated whether we should visit this one referral we had jotted down, named Elsie. We decided to follow these plans, and the Lord delivered! We went there, and Elsie wasn't home, but her Mom and Husband were, and they let us right in! We sat down and started connecting with them, and tied it to the Restoration. The lesson went super well, and we invited Margie (the Mom) and Sherod (the Husband) to baptism, and they eagerly accepted! They invited us back the next day to come and teach Elsie too! Now all three are on date! When we plan by the Spirit, we are entitled to the Lord's hand to lead us through it! Oh, one more miracle! We had given out three copies of the Book of Mormon that same day, and had one left, and 15 minutes until we needed to be home. We had one copy left, and I asked Elder Skouson if we could place it. He timidly nodded, no. I hopped right up, and looked around the station for that one person. The Lord's placement put a lady right in front of us, who was wearing a Michigan Sweater. Elder Skouson connected right with her, she even asked us for the Book of Mormon! The train came 30 seconds later, but we were able to get her contact info! God is a God of Miracles!
Friday we had that other appointment with Sharod, Elsie, and Margie. I forgot one point to mention, and that is that they had just gotten a car this past week, and promised the Lord that when they got a car, they would go to church. They haven't been in 2 years. They were planning to go to their old Church, but the Lord put us there at the right time! Elder Skouson doesn't have any dietary restrictions, so the Pizza was absolutely perfect! Thank you again Mom! We are so spoiled!
Saturday, all of our plans fell through, so Elder Skouson got the other side of missionary work! It was a little disheartening, but we worked hard, and could still lay down at night knowing we did well. We met some great people along the way! We also had a baptism, which was supposed to be at 7:30, but got pushed to 9. It went way too late. It didn't go as well as it should have, but hey, the ordinance got taken care of! Another one for the Mormons! We didn't get home until way late, 10:20...
It was possibly they best Sunday I have had here. It felt good, and we even had to teach Gospel Principles. The lesson was on scriptures so it wasn't anything too major. Sacrament ran 30 minutes late so we only taught for 15 minutes. We made due with what we had! The biggest news was that Nieta made it to church even on her Birthday! She invited us to go bowling, but we unfortunately declined. Maybe if it were on a Monday! She loved church though, and she will be coming out to see General Conference!
So that is my week! I have a feeling that I have another one ahead! And so do y'all! And I hope it is the most amazing week yet! Thank you again for the love, emails, letters, prayers, etc. I do greatly appreciate everything that is done in my behalf! I'm not entirely sure what we are up to today, but we will find something fun to do in the ATL! Have an amazing day, and week! We will converse in about a week! Love you all heaps! Stand firm in the faith! Have a blessed up week!

Elder Dallan Barnes

~What we speak more of, we see more of