Thursday, May 15, 2014

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.

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