Monday, August 10, 2015

Aug 10,
The Story Doesn't End Here,
It just keeps going, going, and going! In fact, this is the greatest story of my life, as I have told people the greatest story ever told! It is not simply a story but it is truth! Georgia’s on my mind and heart! This week has been a solid one for the books! Let me give the details!
Speaking of miracles, one of the larger ones, was a referral we were given by a member in the ward. Our recent convert had the home teachers over to give their children a blessing for the upcoming school year. A friend of the members walked in, learned about blessings, and requested one for herself and her daughter. They came to church this week! They loved it all and told us that they would be coming back this next week! When the members are the full time finders, the work explodes! We are excited to keep up with this family and see them in white three times, every time!
Another miracle we witnessed was getting back in contact with the Donat family! They have been MIA for the last little while. Last time we spoke with them they told us they found another church, or rather, returned to a former church. They had another bad experience with them (go figure… the Book of Mormon says it best: turning “like a dog to his vomit”). They happened to have just been thinking about us when we knocked on the door. They welcomed us right back in and will be coming to church on Sunday! I have a feeling that they are going to be ready this time! 
We connected with our good friend, Allen! We had an awesome lesson as we related Alma 36 to him and his life! He put himself in the verses and expressed how he had felt very similar feelings. He desires to have that change of heart that Alma had. There is power in the Book of Mormon! He will be coming to church Sunday with his girlfriend! 
We had a dynamite lesson with Lamoine! Brother Townsend came teaching with us. He was the member we had been praying for in order to help Lamoine. Bro. Townsend is formerly baptist and an intellectual. He reasoned so well with Lamoine and got the wheels turning! When the dust settled, I was floored by the Spirit that had been there! Needless to say, Lamoine will be delving into the Book of Mormon this week! 
We didn't have any unexpected transfers, that’s a miracle right there, considering our track record! No one got killed or maimed. Otter pops are the secret to sweating in the South!   
Surreal. It’s the only word that can seem to do some level justice on how I feel at this time. In Jacob’s closing remarks, he recounts his time and life then expresses, “Our lives passed away like as it were unto us a dream.” (Jacob 7:26) I echo these same words! The time here in Georgia has passed away as if it were a dream. I’m still waiting for someone to pinch me, because it can’t be over! I know for a certain that God loves us and is at the helm of our lives! My being here is direct evidence of that! I needed to be here  at this time, with the companions I have served with, in the areas I have been, and to meet the brothers and sisters I have had the privilege of getting to know! I have thrusted in the sickle with my might and I do indeed say that the field is white already to harvest and that desire is what qualifies us for His work! It has been time well invested and I am ever so grateful to have had this opportunity, I wouldn't give it back for the world! I have seen the Lord’s hand in this work! I have great reason to rejoice! Jesus Christ Lives!

Here’s a poem that may depict what a mission has done to me!

As I stared out the window
The tears still in my eyes,
I saw the vision of those I love
As we said our last goodbyes.

The ride was long and trying
As two questions plagued my mind,
“Do I want the life that’s up ahead,
Or the one I left behind?”

Two years is such a long, long time
For going door to door.
In my reflecting I thought to myself,
“There really must be more.”

I dragged myself down off the plane
And started smiling at the beach,
When a man turned me the other way
Saying, “Elder, go find and teach.”

I sit reflecting once again
As this day is my last.
Please Lord, this isn't fair,
The time goes by so fast.

And I stare out the window
The tears still in my eyes,
I see the Elders and friends I love
As we've just said our last goodbyes.

The ride was long and trying
As two questions plagued my mind,
“Do I want the life that’s up ahead,
Or the one I left behind?”
I do want the life up ahead and I am eternally grateful for the life I will be leaving behind. In the great words of my good friend, Bruce Wayne, Either you die a hero, or you live long enough to see yourself the villain! Or I would submit you just finish your mission and return home! It has been real, it has been fun, and it has been real fun! Thanks for all the letters, prayers, encouragement, and love! It has been felt and received every day! I couldn’t do it without y’all! Fight the good fight of faith! Have a blessed up week! Smile extra big! I will see you all soon! Love you all so much! 

Elder Dallan Barnes

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