Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Everybody's working for the Holidays!
Happy Memorial Day! I hope you all had some solid time off and enjoyed some R&R time with family! We had some of that, with many of my black familia out here! It was great! But yes, Tuesday Pday, kind of strange, but we'll make due! Let me tackle the week and I'll see how y'alls panned out!
Monday, we ended up playing some sports (if you could call it that) with the other Elders in the Zone. It was a game called Chuck Norris Tennis Balls of Death. I'm not sure the etymology of the name nor the origin. Except one thing I do know, Chuck Norris touched MC Hammer. And that's enough for me. There's two people on the stage chucking tennis balls, to hit people and get them out. The other people are sneaking around trying to get the flag, and take it to the other side of the gym. We set up tables as barricades, and to make things interesting, we had the lights out. It was kind of fun, reminded me of Paintballing. I miss that for sure. We talked with some people towards the close of the night.
Tuesday was District Meeting Day again, and that went well. I am becoming more apt to getting less sleep, which might be a bonus. We met some interesting people as usual. People's beliefs about God just astound me! And that is why we need the Priesthood, to govern the Body of Christ. Without it, ideas have crept in. We met with our investigator, Patience, and read an Isaiah Chapter with her out of the Book of Mormon. We totally had the Spirit of Revelation, and it was amazing. Our thoughts must have truly been the Savior's thoughts. Elder Skouson actually read that chapter that morning, and got nothing out of it. We also met with the Smejkal family the Atheist/Agnostic Part Member Family, and we invited them to read and pray. Alma 32 and to pray about it. The Spirit has been working with them too! He related the Telestial Kingdom to the "Downtown Holiday Inn with all the Crack Whores." Yeah, something like that! That became the joke of the night. We're so thrilled for them, to see their faith growing, little by little. 
Wednesday we were on the hunt for a Less Active, named Jose, and we found ourselves in a white neighborhood. And by virtue, no one wanted to hear from us. When we left, the first non-Caucasian we found, wanted to have us back over in a few days. She must have been the real reason we needed to be there. We had Gospel Study as usual, and afterwards I got to do 3 Baptismal Interviews. I do really enjoy doing them! My faith grows so much. It was for the Children of the Wynn family, whom I interviewed a few weeks back. I got clever, and I called it, Wynn-terviews. Their kids are amazing, like absolutely. I wish I had as much faith as them when I was their age. It was a good time, and I am so blessed that I can connect with younger people. That is a spiritual gift! Karlee must have it too with all of the BabySitting she has done.
Thursday was a long day, but we made 91 calls! And contacted a few referrals. One of them is rock solid, from Germany, and looking for a church home. We had a 30 minute conversation with Alicia, and are pumped to see her soon! Like on Wednesday! She's also a professional singer, so maybe I can get some voice coaching as well! I could make lion's purr with my voice, with her help! 
Friday was spent moving one family out, the Ludlow's. It was an amazing thing we showed up, because we were just about the only help they got. And let me first just say, I cannot stand when people stand around. To make things worse, people that stand in the way while standing around. I was a little frustrated, but just kept my mind focused. It was in the 90's and 95% humidity, so we were sweating it up! We got it all taken care of in 3 hours, up and down 3 flights of stairs countless times, but we did it. We had dinner at the Embley's home, and they are just so amazing! I cannot get over them, and to make our day even better, we made it up to the Atkins to teach Patience again! Members are the best! I wish they could be more involved. 
Saturday we helped with another move, the Hoyt family. Thankfully there was a much better turnout for that one. We were at it for an hour and a half, and off we went. The best part of the day was the Baptism of the Wynn Kids, and a girl named Abby. The Father received the priesthood and got to baptize his kids! All I could think, is that is what it is all about. Families. Finding and binding them. They are quite the addition to the ward! Ronnie Jr, the 9 year old, sought me out to say," Just the man I was looking for. I really want you to confirm me tomorrow." It was pretty touching actually, that I could have a 30 minute interview with him, and that me of all people, he wanted to confirm him. God is so good, and he works through us to make sure our needs are met. We met some more crazies, a guy was convinced that the 2nd Coming was a space ship we will all fly around the Universe in. He also told us (he is black, by the way)," If heaven is full of black people, I don't want to be there." Too much of a good thing is bad, I guess. We also taught a lesbian couple, that was neato! I am not ashamed of the Gospel! 
Sunday was super long, but amazing. I have been really quite sick lately, and am not sure if it is allergies or what, but it was so hard getting up, not to mention we get up earlier on Sunday. But I made due, and just did what I was supposed to. I was blessed accordingly, because God always delivers. I got to confirm Ronnie, and I had the chills and was shaking a bit. Through Ordinances, Godliness is most certainly manifest. We had an investigator come, Adrian, that is pretty legit. We have called him almost every other day, and he appreciates that. Patience made it as well. I had no reason to complain. We later sat down with the Stowell family, who are about as legit as they come, and discussed the work here, and how it can be better. They just get it! We talked to Nieta at church for a little (such a miracle she made it, and she gets to go to the temple today too!), and on the phone later for about 40 minutes. She's about as legit as they come too! 

We were a little disappointed as we went to the city square of Decatur on Memorial Day. It was almost like a ghost town. It was the indicator that we needed to get to people's homes! So we did just that. We visited with a few Less Actives, and found around their homes. But it wasn't until it really started raining that we found those that the Lord had prepared. We were lead to go see a lady we found the day before, and there was also a Less Active that needed to be found. That area was calling us there! It was a little ways out of the way with MARTA, but we felt inspired. We even had our dinner appointment cancel on us (which usually is the least bit a miracle), but it allowed us more time to find, teach, testify, and bless! We were able to find 10 New Investigators, a good chunk of them families. We blessed 11 People with the 4 hours we spent, in the down pour. It was truly amazing! And to put a cap on the day, we were challenged by a Reverend of another Church. This is the truth! That kind of opposition only would come because this is truth. 
And that is about that, we will be going to Stone Mountain with the Partridge Family today for Pday, so that should be a blast!
That's that! Thanks for another weekly check in! Thanks for all that y'all do! Please let me know what I can do for anyone of y'all! Have an amazingly blessed up week! Love you all so much!
Elder Dallan Barnes

What does a watermelon and a sweet pea have in common? 20 minutes.

Monday, May 19, 2014

May 19th
Dearest Beloved Family,
What's good in the not so hood? I think have fully realized how not sketchy Utah is. It truly is Zion (most of the members who aren't from there would disagree!) Maybe if there was more to do there that would make it better! And if it had trees and greenery! My week has been splendid, and I am excited to hear about y'alls! It could be better, but such is life. We continually met crazier and crazier people. So let me jump right on in to it.
Monday we had a lazy Pday finally, and to be honest, it felt like such a waste. I napped for much longer than I had hoped, and I didn't feel rested one bit. Three hour nap. I have a fear that I won't like naps when I get home. Of which, I will have a problem with. So yeah, nothing too major happened that day. We taught a family, the Shivers Family (All I can think about when I hear that name, is the song on Muppet Treasure Island, Shiver my timber, shiver my soul.... What a classic!) about the Plan of Salvation. They have committed to be baptized on June 14th so we are excited to help get them there! There are four of them, which would be just the best.
Tuesday, I had to put together another District Meeting, which was a little more difficult. Revelation still happens though! We were in the middle of the meeting, talking about miracles, then I hear a little bell from the back door opening. I don't usually leave it unlocked, but this time I did. A lady named Annie came in and was in shambles, and needed some love. There was not a better place to stumble upon. It was hard to top that! People are truly being prepared. We got to have dinner at the DaSilva's family's home, and I had some really good chicken, it wasn't fried, but his wife is from Macon. Finger lickin' good! We got to teach the Smejkal family again (he has been Less active awhile and has adopted Atheist Beliefs, his wife being Agnostic too) and it seems like things are ticking. It is just a matter of time. It was a miracle we made it on time. We were bus hopping like Pro's. The Lord had to have timed them for us.
Wednesday we ended up having to teach Gospel Study, on Following the Prophet. I felt like it went really well, it is amazing what some planning can do for you.
Thursday, planning day as usual. We had several appointments set up, that didn't quite pan out. To make things worse we had Brother Roylance out with us. We improvised, and went to find a Less Active. A naked man in just a towel angrily told us that he just got out of the shower (Thanks Sherlock, Or maybe Georgians lounge around naked in their homes... That must be why they don't answer their doors). We found out the person we were looking for does live there. I asked the man at the door what his relationship to him was, and what he heard was "What is your relationship with him?" then proceeded to tell us he wasn't gay. We ended up spending a moment with the Roylance family working on their family mission plan, and they are amazing to say the least.
Friday was another strange day. We met a Hobo Pimp, that every other word he said, was "Pimp" or "Pimpin'". Apparently The Trinity is a Pimp, said the 3 toothed man. It was overall just a strange conversation. I felt a bit of prejudice too, a couple of people yelled loudly out there window to "Get the **** out of our Neighborhood!" People wouldn't even stand by us at the bus stop. We met a Catholic Muslim man from Somalia, who told us he hates all the Jews and if he killed them, they would go to a better place (Good thing we are Christian). One man started rapping for us, and nothing rhymed. But he was trying, bless his heart! It was Christian Rap too. We met with our investigator named Patience, and she is doing so well! She cannot get baptized until she moves out, but we set a goal with her for baptism. July 12th! To have a Job and be out. She has been taught it all, so it is just a matter of time.
Saturday, we met a couple of other interesting children, them being first a Less Active Member who needed a blessing at the VA Hospital. He is from Alabama, and he could use some friends/company. He told us that he had a dream that Jesus Christ came down and told him he wouldn't die until he had a mate. He then told us," I So I am on the Hunt!" We taught a lady named Danita and her family, that we were led to last Saturday, and hopefully she will let us help her move. She loved what we had to say, even if her shirt said, "Pretty women turn head. Me and my B******, we break necks." No neck Breaking here brochacho. We linked up with a Less Active that sat by us last Monday at the Library. He is wanting so bad to come back to church, and he even has a son out on a mission. I did get the package, thanks so much Mom! And a letter from Abby! It had been a little while since I got mail, and to make things even better, you cooked for us Mom! Thanks for the Pizza too!

Sunday was a good and long day. It rained all day, and we also had a Linger Longer again. Nieta stooped in with her kids. I had missed them so much too! She is looking to switch jobs here soon, and I am most certain the Lord will lead her to where she needs to be. The Stake Presidency stooped in for a while so everyone was on their best. Things are rolling here in the Twin Oaks Ward. Much more so than when I got here in February. We helped another family with their family mission plan, the Embley's. They are amazing too. Them and the Roylance's. I had the blessing as well to give another baptismal interview for a young woman named Abbi. The other elders have been working with her, and she is ready to go. They said she was pretty shy, but I did not catch any of that. My people skills I must have gotten from my parents!
So that's about it. We will be doing a sports day with the other Elders in the Zone, and just keep it simple. That is about all I got! Thanks again for the sweet email! glad to hear all is well back at the Barn! (get it, Barn... Barnes!) Y'all are doing amazing, because you are amazing! Keep it up and continue to fight the good fight! Let me know what I can do for anyone of y'all! Thanks for all you do! Have another blessed up week, and we will 'connect' next Monday! Love you all!

Elder Dallan Barnes
"You want to know why my hands are so rough? Booty Slappin'" - Our Hobo Pimp Friend, Twynn. (Made sure to not shake his hand again..)

"Don't worry, babies bounce." Bro. Roylance, when his son slipped off the couch. I am sure that is what you said when you dropped me. 

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Atlanta Aquarium......totally amazing!!!

May 12th
Happy Mother's Day (once again!),
Well, yesterday was okay.
I still want to fire off an email about my week and the adventures which were had! Firstly, it was so great to chat with y'all! It was so strange that anticipation had lead up to this point for 5 months, then it happened, and then it was gone. It'll be 7 months until I get a chance to see y'all again! The time went by so fast, but I hope that holds y'all down for a while. To be frank, I am not sure it would have been as much fun without Skype, and you wouldn't have a Christmas Card, Mom! But thanks for making my day, seriously, it was the best!
Monday, we hit up the Aquarium and it was legit! I will have to send some photos! I felt like such a kid again. Totally recommend it of all the things we have done in Atlanta, Stone Mountain as a second choice! You better believe I touched everything I could! Sting Rays, Manta Rays, Hammer Head Sharks, Anemones, Shrimp, Crabs, Star Fish, etc. My hand smelt like fish sticks before it was all said and done! We may have to do Coke World next, and definitely the Martin Luther King Historic District. So much to do, and not enough time/pdays to do it all. We taught the Sampey  Family and had Alligator like I mentioned! It seriously does taste like chicken. Putting more South in my Mouth (I found out that it was Cajun, not Southern... people and there pride in food).
Tuesday was a solid day, with members at many of our appointments, and we also got fed so that was a bonus! It was the best Mexican I have had in a very long time... Like 9 months or so. We rediscovered why we like to talk with Black People. Every White person we spoke with was Atheist or some other odd belief. Black People though, so full of soul!
Wednesday, we had this crazy homeless man try to school us on the Bible. All he knew was Exodus 20:3. Everything we mentioned he tried to take it there. His mind was fried, and he started to sing us a few songs. Not sure if he made them up or what, but after both of them, he asked/told us, "That's a good song." It was hard not to laugh. Then he proceeded to tell us that Obama was the Messiah. Sure, something like that.. I got to do two baptismal interviews which was another bonus. They're the best, because you get a first hand testimony meeting with these people that will be baptized. Ronnie and Sharrone are super solid, and the Sisters did a good job teaching them. They have 10 kids. Two handfuls. Not sure how they do it.
Thursday was dominated by the three P's. Planning, Proselyting, and Packing. It was an exhausting day, but it was fulfilling. We got to give a blessing to our investigator who reached out to us to be baptized. He finally realized that marijuana is bad for you, he said he felt like he was almost dead when he tried to see how high he could get. Sometimes we have to play with fire to realize it can hurt. Or just like touching the crepe maker (I learned that one quick... The thin pancakes are so worth it!).

Friday was the big move day, and we made sure it was the smoothest. The Housing Coordinator said that it was the quickest she had done yet! Hurrah to being thorough. It only took a few hours to pack it up, move up the street, and unload it all. Our apartment is a smaller, but has a much better feel, and is nicer. The gym is going to be the best part! I'll hopefully continue to lose some weight while I am out here. It was tiring, but it was worth it all. We are still getting adjusted and what not, but all is well! We found some crazy things in the apartment before we left. Missionaries are slobs. We had a lesson in the Atkins home with an investigator named Patience. They fed us Mellow Mushroom Pizza, and it was so dang good! We had one called the Holy Shitaki. I hope they make it out to Utah like Zaxby's has. The lesson was great, and we are trying to use the Book Of Mormon more and the stories in them. I want these people to have a passion for it, as much as I do.
Saturday was superb as usual. The baptism went well, which is always a joyous event. We did start our day off with running to the station, running back because Elder Skouson left his MARTA card, then running back to catch the train, to which we missed it by thirty seconds. It could be worse I guess. That is exactly why we exercise in the morning! After the baptism of Ronnie and Sharonne, we were dropped off to see the Shivers Family (investigators that want to be baptized as a family soon), to teach them a diddy or two. We had some extra time, and decided to hit some doors. I felt urged to go knock on this one door, and with that inspiration, we soon found out why. A lady named Denita walked out and said, "Of course He would send you now." We were an answer to prayers, and we prayed with her. Finding her made the day even more worth it. The Shiver's were awesome though, and set a date for the 24th, but didn't make it to Sacrament. We'll see them tonight though to reassess a date.

Sunday was most excellent as well! I already touched on the call, but the whole service was awesome. Sister Allen is just the best, and continued to serve us many times throughout the day, even on her special day. I'm glad you all got to meet them! They're so legit! To legit to quit! We also ordered some Cheesecake from the Young Women, and it has been too long since I got a good one of those. I think the last one would have been on my Birthday with the Miller's. Any who, it was amazing to chat with you all! The Allen's fed us as well afterwards, so don't want to see them leave.
That's about all I got for everyone! Thanks for putting up with me, and also being the same amazing people I knew when I departed. Nine Months into it in a few days! Thanks for standing beside me and bearing me up when needed! I know the Lord is taking care of you while I am out here sweating it up in Georgia. Just keep it up and continue to find happiness. It is out there for sure! Keep doing and being amazing and I eagerly await checking-in in a week's time. Let me know what I can do to help! Have a blessed up week, defend the faith!

Elder Dallan Barnes
P.S. Here are a few quotes I heard from people: "Michael Vick is doing the same thing he was doing when he was playing for the Falcons, Nothing" Random man on Marta
"It's just not right to do wrong." Sharonne

"I don't know what it is, when y'all came up to me, my heart felt so much peace and joy." - Lady at the Aquarium.

Monday, May 5, 2014

       Happy Cinco De Mayo from Atlanta!

May 5th,

Eyyy Holmes! Happy Cinco De Mayo Mang!
It has been a pretty great Cinco De Mayo, minus the fact that there aren't many hispanic people around this neck of the woods! We are about the closest thing we got. And yes, we are getting pretty tan... from the Sleeve down and the Collar Up. It's a pretty attractive look might I add! Thank you for the email! Let me jump into my week, well, first, I will not be transferred and neither will Elder Skouson. We dodged the transfer bullet. We will remain here in Decatur Georgia for at least another six weeks! Good things are to come! Stay tuned!
Pday panned out to be alright last week, we went to Piedmont again for some Volleyball and what not. It was good to get out at least! Nothing too notable happened outside of that. Well, I did get a package with those dinner ideas! And we will be gathering the ingredients today to make us some pizza's and Alfredo Chicken Casserole! Thanks Mom, your the best ever!
I think you might have heard, but Tuesday through Thursday we had Tornado and Serious Storm warnings, which totally didn't pan out. It was kind of lame, all the hype then nothing. But yes, we are still alive, thank the Heavens! I actually orchestrated my first exchange, which went really well! Elder Weaver came to Decatur with me, and I will say that he seemed really out of place. It is certainly something to get used to, being the only white people on the train/bus. I find it funny when I see another white person hop on, I ask myself, "Dude, what're you doing here?" Then I realize that I'm white too, but not really! There is something in the water that helps that conversion move quicker. We were able to talk to some fairly crazy people so Elder Weaver got a taste of what we run into on the daily. The word of the Day, we got from some California Kid named Kado, the word is "Lick". As in, "That's so lick bro!" Yeah, we use that one for spite now! GET OUT OF HERE DEVIN!!! We got to give the Sacrament to Sister Jackson again which was another neat experience. She will be headed back home to Alabama soon.

Wednesday we got to go to an Assisted living center for some service. A member's children are musically gifted, and they put on a concert for the inmates. We got to push the people around and visit with them. We will be having a Bible Study put together soon! I felt a little out of place though, but it was good because everyone needs the Gospel. We later got in contact with a referral named Marcus, and he is so down to get baptized! He called us to have us come by, and he was wanting to know what it takes to become a member of the church. He is getting back on his feet though. He's separated, looking for a job, but going to college for Welding. We're pumped for him!
Thursday, the typical weekly planning day, aka, a lot of time in the apartment. We got out, met some crazy people, then made our way to our dinner appointment. We had it at the Atkins family, and they are amazing as well! Being with them, I felt the most comfortable in a long while. It was good to have some laughs and talk about missionary work. It can be fun, you know!

Friday we spent our time at the Temple! It really is the best ever! The peace there is just like Jesus Christ mentions in John 14:27, peace that this world cannot attain. I am not sure how missionaries go a whole mission without going. We are so spoiled here. We had a great Zone Training Meeting as well. It is always good to be instructed from our leaders. We have some more tools to further hasten the work, which we are excited to put into action.
Saturday was by far one of the longest days I have had while serving. Everything fell through, which has happened frequently, but no one wanted to speak with us. After our amazing experiences at the Temple, Satan was working hardest I am sure. It wasn't until the end of the day that we were led to a family that wanted to hear about the Gospel. And at the end of the day, that is all that matters, if it be we find just one soul, it makes the day totally worth is. It is amazing what prayer can do for us! We look forward to working with the Harrison family soon!

Sunday was great! We were on our usual pins and needles regarding transfer calls, which didn't happen. I wasn't very nervous about them to be honest. I don't see myself staying too much longer here for some reason, but we will see what the Lord has in mind. We had to help someone teach primary, which turned into just me teaching primary, which was frustrating to say the least. Hung out to dry. But we recovered and also met a man named Tyrese. He was out cold during Sacrament meeting. We thought he was dead, totally motionless. He smelled of alcohol, so we will have to check back and see what if the alcohol is helping him to come closer to Christ. We had a great discussion with the Ward Leaders about missionary work, and they are so on board! Things are truly changing! We met with some awesome families and taught Marcus a full Restoration Lesson, with a member there. Having members out is so powerful. He still wants to be baptized. He is so humble and knowledgeable as well. Hopefully we will see him in white in the coming weeks!
Today, we are hoping to make it to the aquarium. Many pictures will be taken, no worries Mom! Outside of that, nothing too much will be going on. Oh, we will be teaching Nieta (she actually just texted us two scriptures of the day! Legit!) and The Sampey Family. It will be a pretty solid P-night!
That's about all I got for everyone. Thank you again for the email and the uplifting news! All seems to be splendid back at home! Y'all keep being amazing and let me know if there is anything I can do for you! Have a blessed up week, and enjoy it! We are meant to be happy! Love you all so very much!

Elder Dallan Barnes

When Opposition is Highest, Miracles are Nighest!