Monday, July 28, 2014

July, 28
My goodness, it is so good to hear from y’all yet again!  I am too spoiled! It seems like the week has been pretty superb out there! Let me have you digest some of mine (chew before swallowing… It might be a choking hazard for children under the age of 8)

Up #1: We got our transfer news. Elder Rawlings and I will be remaining together in the Twin Oaks Ward, but we will be receiving a new missionary on Wednesday! Trio Training, the Tripanionship, the Trinity – Three in One, The Triple Double, Trifecta, or some might say, the Three Stooges. It is going to be such an exciting experience. We already had so much going on, but the Lord’s sees it fit to stretch us some more! Six more weeks in the grand land of Decatur! Not a place I would rather be! The work is going so well here!
Down #1: We did some service for a member (raking leaves), and as we were doing that, unbeknownst to us, we raked an anthill. Those things bite hard. Mauled by ants, sounds like something you would see in a horror movie… or a really lame Indiana Jones. I think we are both extremely glad that neither of us were allergic, but we live to fight another day!

Up #2: Our Investigator Couple, Rick and Tiny, are totally going to be getting Baptized! They aren’t married quite yet, but they are ready to take the next step! We prayed to find a family that would receive us a few weeks ago, we found and started teaching them a week ago, and now they are marking their own baptismal date on their large office calendar. A serious amount of miracles went into the developing of their faith, but I must say the members are true disciples. A member topped off their gas tank so they could make it to the Church and the Employment Center. The ward took them under their wing, and we had the most powerful lesson I have yet to have on the mission. Everyone was in one way or another, in tears. We had two member families with us. We truly do have a front row seat to the greatest miracle of all, seeing the Atonement change people’s lives! They will be married soon, have already encountered opposition to the church. It has to be true!

Up #3: We were blessed with another incredible lesson with our Investigator, Jericka. It was just us and her at a park table, but she summoned the power of Heaven, no jokes. She usually says the closing prayers, but this time she felt urged to say the opening prayer. It was warm outside and cloudy as well, but as she went for the prayer, as she was praying about God’s love for her, and the guidance he has given her, the sun totally came out. She was so moved to the point of tears, as were Elder Rawlings and I. It was the kindest tender mercy, to have Him let us know he was approving of what we were doing.

 Well that is about a rap! Thanks for everything! The prayers, email, thoughts, everything! I really do appreciate it! Let me know what I can do for you! I hope to hear from you all soon! Have a super blessed up week!
Elder Dallan Barnes
“She’s the Scottie to my Enterprise.” Rick
“We are going to be there at church! Even if we have to Flintstone the Car and push it there, we’ll be there.” Rick

“When we put God first, all other things fall into their proper place, or drop out of our lives.” Ezra Taft Benson

Monday, July 21, 2014

July 21, 2014

Happy Pioneer Day! 
What do y'all have planned? Hopefully you make the most of it! People out here have been confused that we celebrate that as a holiday, how sad is that? Needless to say, I am very grateful for my pioneer heritage! Glad to see everyone is still alive and well, that's a load off my mind :)  Let me just preface this week by saying it was the most fruitful, faith and miracle filled one that I have had since coming out. Miracles are in response to faith, not a precursor to it!
Up #1: We had a "No-Walk Wednesday" where we ran every where we went (so thankful I am not on MARTA anymore, we practically ran every where anyways) to a street we prayed about the night before. The name: Bacon St! How easy would it be to talk about Bacon then relate it to the restoration? We thought it would be super easy! We made it there, started running, saw an open door in the Apartment complex (luckily it led to a hallway, that'd be a little awkward if it was an apartment..) and went up the stairs, got stared at by a lady from  Burma, who didn't know a lick of English, she knocked on her neighbor's door, and out came a lady named Kai San. She is a Christian Refugee from Burma, her father is a pastor back there, and she wants to come close to Christ and find a Church home. Her English is is pretyt darn good for only being here a few years, but she told us she wanted to be baptized, and then to teach all of her neighbors (all Christian Refugees as well). We are hoping and praying to start a Burmese Branch (there is a Vietnamese one near by). 

Down #1: We went on exchange on Friday, and I went up to the Dunwwody Area for the Day. Let me just say, the Church is so true, and it will always be opposed. With that being said, the very first door we knocked, me and a newer missionary, was a lady who was butt naked. The door was the only article of clothing she had on, if you could call it even that. The more we spoke, the more she showed. My eyes were laser focused on her eyes. She then proceeded to cuss us out, dropping a colorful arrangement of four letter words that you probably shouldn't say in front of your Mom, or Grandma. She went on a tangent about Christopher Columbus, and how she was offended as a Christian with us knocking on her door. What she was doing naked at 2:30 in the afternoon, I know not, nor do I seek to find out. 
Up #2: We labored very diligently in getting members to come out and teach with us! We didn't quite hit the standard, but our efforts came to fruition at Sacrament Meeting. We had 8 People there! All of which are progressing towards baptism. It has been a dry July, but it will be a wet August here in the Twin Oaks Ward! The most amazing one was that, a random lady named Kia, just got home from Basic Training, and attended church out there, and felt like she needed to try it out when she got home. The Lord is preparing many people! It was one of the most stressful Sundays I have had, for all of the right reasons.

Up #3: Our most progressing investigator, Jericka, set a new date for the 9th of August, and I know she will be baptized on that day! She was testifying to us how her live has changed so much since she started reading, praying, and attending church. She is going to school soon, is getting a job, and is happier than I have ever seen her. She has teared up a few times in lessons, and what I can say is that the power of the Atonement changes lives, and I am so blessed to have a front row seat to see it in action! There is no place I'd ever want to be right now, than in Georgia! God is in the soil! 
My time is running short, so that is about all that I have time for! 
That's about a rap here, Thanks for all that you do for me, have a most excellent Pioneer Day! Let me Know what I can do to help you! Make it a blessed up week! Love you all so much! See you in 7.... days :)

Elder Dallan Barnes

Charity never feareth - 1st John 4:16
"I date by faith, not by sight." The true motto behind blind dates

"I'm going to have to give some things up in Heaven, it'll be great to skydive without a parachute, or fly really high, but I'll have to be a vegan." A member's young son in Deacons Quorum.

Monday, July 14, 2014

July 14
Mirror, Mirror on the Wall. Who's the Tannest of them All?
Lake Powell was bomb! I am so glad I got to go! The food was top notch, the company even better! Those pictures are hysterical, by the way! I got such a kick out of them! I think I may need to go a little more blonde by the time I get home if I want to even compete with that guy! Is he planning on coming next year too? I am so glad to hear you all had a safe and eventful journey to the land of plenty. Plenty of fun of course! Georgia is grand though! Not a place I'd rather be! This week in Decatur, Georgia:
Up #1: One small miracle for y'all that came just yesterday. Earlier in the week, we sat down with an Investigator's son, named Floyd, who is 19. He expressed to us how his life is in turmoil, and all that he wants is to live "the normal life". We testified of the Book of Mormon and it's divinity, and that he could receive what he was looking for through obedience. As we met with him yesterday, he said, "Every time I think or Look at the Book of Mormon, I feel complete Happiness." His demeanor has changed, he got a Job interview, he is changing his friend group, and wants to be baptized. The Book of Mormon is true!
Up #2: Planning works, and yes Mom, I am now using gift cards and lists... You win! You are always right! We were so blessed this week from finding, to getting members out to teach with us, to every little tender mercy. In particular, we achieved the Standard for Member Present Lessons, which is 20 per week. I have yet to accomplish that in my service, but I know that when we expect it to happen, pray for it to happen, then work diligently so it will happen, God will guarantee it, because he probably wants it even more than we do.
Down #1: We sat down with a lady that I had spoken with only on the phone, back in February. We helped her and built her faith, she would even call us to get our opinion, or to have us pray with her to lift her spirits. She was going through a lot at the time and she needed us. You may be wondering why this is a down, well, we lost her number, got in contact with her through the other missionaries, and we got to sit down with her yesterday. She is so nice, just like we experienced on the phone, but she is not open, at all, to change. It was so disheartening to see someone who was so prepared, turn away what we were offering, namely, the only way back to Heavenly Father. I am not sure how much we will be visiting with her, but there needs to be some softening, like butter in the microwave almost! It is sad to see so many people dwindle in unbelief.
Up #3: Our Recent Convert, Nieta! She has so much faith and is so ready to roll! She had to work this past Sunday, but after much contemplation, she texted us that she is done with having to work Sundays. That she will trust in the Lord that he will provide her a way to be provided for! The faith of the people in the South truly amazes me. God is Priority here, and he should be numero uno! She arrived at church with her Daughter. It is impossible to not be happy around her!
Down #2: Our amazing Less Active Member, Bro. Priest, fell off the radar. We called the home he was staying at, and he totally disappeared. He doesn't live there any more, left no forwarding or contact information. It worries me sick. I hope and pray that he is okay, and that he will show up soon! We are going to do everything in our power to make sure that he is doing okay. The world is just small enough, but at the same time, it is just large enough.
Up #4: We had President and Sister Harding come to our ward to speak just yesterday, and they are incredible people! So loving, so full of faith, and they even attended the Linger Longer (Post Church Meal/Get together). They inspire me to do better! He'll be a General Authority! I have gotten to know them a lot more, and they are the same wherever they go! I am so blessed to be called to the Georgia Atlanta Mission! Certainly, the best mission in the world!
That's the biggest stories in the world of Elder Barnes! I love you all so much, thanks for all that you do! I greatly appreciate everything! Let me know what I can do better, or do for you! Have another blessed up week! Hear from y'all soon!

Elder Dallan Barnes
"Anyone can baptize anyone, take John the Baptist for Example." Satan (in the form of a man we spoke with)
"Does God have a Dog?" 5 Year old kid.

"You only got one shot at today, let's make it count."

Sunday, July 13, 2014

July 7th
America da Beautiful
Another week for the the books! The freedoms we enjoy are top notch, off the chain (as some of my people would say out here). We really are blessed, and I am so blessed to have another bunch of emails to read! I don't think it could have gotten any better! Thanks for taking the time for me! I am spoiled, beyond imagination! I am going to tie my letter into the 4th of July, and speak about four freedoms I have truly appreciated this past week (with some experiences of course!)
To be quite honest, the South is the best! God is in the soil here! Apparently osmosis worked so that God is in people's souls here too! Every day, everywhere, you can talk about Him. Crazy or not, hearing about Jesus Christ builds faith, and it is such a privilege and an honor to be here! The Freedom to worship the way we please is what allows this, and for that I am grateful for all those that paved the way for religious freedom! This is most certainly a promised land. We were out and about, walking and talking, and we were actually out with a family (The Powell's, Abby's roomate's Brother and wife) and we had some things fall through, but we were led to a lady named Penny, who was looking for a church home, and took us to go speak with her husband and kids. They were so ready to hear what we had to say. I just testified of true happiness, which leads me to my next freedom, the freedom to choose.
Agency is everything! I am so glad we followed Jesus Christ and embarked on this Journey! We have been endowed with the power to choose (I think of Indiana Jones, where he has to choose the Holy Grail, luckily we aren't that blind in decisions). Being happy is a choice, and we can be happy in every circumstance, especially with the Gospel. We ran into another family, and they have just about nothing, besides each other. They are currently on welfare, but don't have a car, or jobs of any sort. But despite all that, all 5 kids are incredibly happy with what they have. It is sad to see how families are being torn apart, but I know I am making a difference, when the kids get so giddy to see us. Suffer the children to come to Him, which we all fit into that category.
True Happiness comes from obedience to God, and that is only possible through Jesus Christ. He is the way, the light, and the life! Because of Him, we can be freed from the woes of sin and death. Surely, there cannot be a more precious freedom, which was prepared from day one! We are so blessed to truly represent him here in Decatur. Another family we had been working with, we felt inspired to drop by their home after an appointment. He answered the door, super angry and frustrated ( a little drunk too... not a good combo by the way...). We were a little taken back, but we asked what we could do to help him, despite is urge for us to leave. He took a few deep breaths behind the door, then said that he was okay. Elder Rawlings complimented him on his shoes, and went in for a handshake before leaving, and this man took his hand so firmly, and pulled close to my companion, holding him, and crying on his shoulder. It was so powerful, because neither of us had ever felt what it was like to physically represent Jesus Christ. He then explained that we came at the right (*&(*%& time, that God would send us now. The Lord's timing and placement, I will never doubt!
The Last Freedom, is definitely the freedom to eat! People in the South love their food! And I don't got a problem with that! They also feast on the Bread of Life, and the Words of Christ. It is quite the one two punch! I love food, and that is that! I am quite jealous that y'all are headed to Lake Powell, the land of milk and honey (of sorts), the promised land! Be safe and enjoy the water! One invitation, to do something you haven't done before! Make it an adventure, make it unique! Eat Hard, Play Hard, and if the temperature permits, Nap Hard!  
Well, I love you all so very much, and am so grateful for you! Let me know if there is anything I can do for y'all! Have a blessed up week in the Holy Land! Fight the good fight of faith!

Elder Dallan Barnes

"Life is all about how you handle Plan B's."

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Good Morning from the Bible Belt!
Well, I don't think there is a belt big enough to fit around it, so maybe suspenders would be better to keep the South's pants up, just a thought. I am so glad to hear from everyone once again, God is good! He is too good to me by giving me such an amazing family and friends! I think I am going to mix up the email just a bit, tell me if you like what I got spinning. But I want to maybe do instead of Days necessarily, 4 Ups from the week, and 2 Downs. So here goes nothing!
Up #1: Me and my companion are getting along even greater now! We have talked through some things, but we can joke, have some fun, testify, invite, you name it. President Harding is truly inspired and despite me and Elder Rawlings differences (we have more similiarities than differences), I can say I truly do love him. He is such a hard worker, and it is all out of love. He has definitely helped me recognize more of my potential, and I am so thrilled to work in the trenches of Decatur with him!
Up #2: We had the Traveling Assistants come to our area and we blitzed it! I went with Elder Porter (our old Zone Leader), and we did work! We invited 8 People to be baptized, found 5 New Investigators, three more individuals who have expressed Desires to be baptized! People were just coming out of hte wood work, I kid you not! I have such a firm testimony of planning, and prayer! Put them together, and voila, miracles! One small miracle of the many, we were driving by, and saw this guy walking his son in a stroller, so we had to stop! That is a family right there! We pulled over, jumped out, prayed with him, and taught the Restoration right there. He then explained how he was engaged, has 2 kids, looking for another job, and wants to unite his family. Our boy Dwayne is going to get dunked soon!
Down #1: GasDat. Let me explain, we tracted into this 19 Year Old young man, and he was all for him and 'his girl' getting married, and how he would be the father to his future children, that he never had, and that you rarely see here in Dekalb County. Noble and Righteous Desires for sure. Then we found out how he would afford it, not dealing drugs, but buying marijuana, throwing parties where he would charge people to get into. The name of the Marijuana Party.... GasDat. He was so proud of the idea, but we let him know that that is not okay, at all! It is sad that individuals even consider that an option.
Up #3: Overall, we had the most successful week I have yet to have in my mission. Mainly because we planned it, but we were also enabled because of the car. We ended up with 15 Member Present Lessons, 23 New Investigators, 2 Investigators at Sacrament Meeting, 9 Families on Date to be Baptized. We are fixing to get some people in the water right quick! I have the firmest knowledge that God is involved in the details of our lives! If something matters so much to you, it matters to Him!
Down #2: We were finding in this neighborhood that we have Investigators in, and were going to see them. We hit one house, then the police showed up, not so kindly asking what we were doing and if the person we were speaking with was being bothered. He then sought to escort us out, but we had appointments. We asked if he wanted to hear about the Restoration, unfortunately declined. You miss 100% of the shots you don't take!

Up #4: We had President Harding come to Decatur for his Quarterly Interviews. He is truly a man of God! He knows so much about me, without having much of an opportunity to get to know me. He was quoting my Patriarchal Blessing and Setting Apart Blessing too. The Spirit works in mysterious ways! I asked him how do we know that we are meeting God's expectations for us. He said, "Trust completely in the Lord, Be Strictly Obedient, Work your Tail off, and pray always to enlist the help of heaven, I gurantee if you do these things, you will fulfill all expectations." That was just what I needed to hear, because I feel so incompetent sometimes. Those feelings ought to be expected as I embark on a whole new segment of missionary service. Faith will make everyone whole.
Up #5: The members out here are astounding! We had dinners almost every night! The Atkin's baked us a cookie dough cheesecake because I had mentioned it a while back! It was heaven sent! The Roylance's, The Cairn's, The Powell's, Brother Priest all had us over. I can't thank them enough! I still am on the downhill for weight loss, which is good and dandy with me! I also got some love in the form of a package! And Pizza! Thanks Mom! Those Giant Otter pops are to die for!. 
That is about all that I have for everyone of you! Thanks for all that you do! I am excited to hear what happens this next week and the adventures you will be on! I really appreciate the Letter, and for everything else you do! Love you all so much! Let me know if or what I can do to assist y'all! Have a blessed up week! Fight the good fight! Keep the Faith!

Elder Dallan Barnes
"Can you see Dead People?" - Me (asking a young kid)
"Nope, but I saw a Dead Rat!" - Young Kid (response)
"This is going to go fast, so let's have fun." President Harding
"The Lord doesn't need polished people. He needs you!" Sis. Allen