Monday, June 30, 2014

Success is "just around the riverbend"

June 23, 2014

Ladies and gents, I am officially out of Cabot. Yessir, I am almost out of the state of Arkansas, and am now far enough away from Little Rock that I am now considered a missionary on the 'other side'. My new home is the Pocahontas, Arkansas branch!  Heck yeah, it's awesome. Just a bit of random trivia about me, Pocahontas, as in the person, is one of my ancestors. Yep, the wonders of family history. Anywho, I am living in a super small town called Walnut Ridge roughly 30 miles to the south of Pocahontas.
My new companion is Elder Raiford. He's been out for a little over 18 months, but isn't trunky yet. Thank heaven for that! He's 6'3", light brown hair, loves Risk, and is so much like me it's a little scary at times. We are already doing wonders in this area, and the next foreseeable future is going to be awesome.
For instance, I'm no longer living in an apartment building. Because it is such a small town we have a small house that we get to stay in, complete with a front lawn and everything. We also get to experience all of the joys of de-bugging the place because missionaries have only lived there for the past 3 months. Apparently there was a bit of a battle with carpenter ants of some sort and a wave of brown recluses just before I showed up. The only evidence of that is a couple of horror stories and an unusually high stockpile of Raid bug killer. No crazy creepy-crawlies inside the house yet, but we are on the watch for them and are ready when the 'Empire strikes back'.
It is rather strange, going from an area with a very high population and (I have since learned) an unusually high number of people who want to talk to us, to an area with very few people (we made front-page news in the local newspaper a few months back) and an even smaller number of people who want to talk to us. The majority of people here have no idea what it is us missionaries are out to do, or even who it is we represent. The majority of people here have never even heard of a Mormon before and mistakenly think us to be Jehovah Witness missionaries. This is quite the double-edged sword: on one hand people down here haven't heard of any of the false information and outright lies that are told about the Church (ie. we have multiple wives, worship "John Smith",have horns growing out of our head, and are all going to Hell), of which I am very grateful; however, the JW missionaries down here are also quite aggressive in their proselyting, and so people are even more leary about talking with us than what I consider to be normal because they think we are one and the same. Sorry guys, we are not JW's. We just both look really good in white shirts and ties.
There's a guy we found recently by the name of B***. I'm pretty sure that's not how it's spelled, but it's the closest to how it's pronounced. He's walked away from God until fairly recently and has been trying to get his life back together. He saw a bunch of the Mormon Ads on TV and has wanted to talk with us for a while because the ads caught his fancy, but he doesn't trust the media in just about everything. Guess who ran into his father a few days latter? Yep, the missionaries! He has a bunch of really awesome questions and has some really good ideas about, well, everything really. We are going back to talk with him again tomorrow.
So, I had a bunch of pictures to send to you, but I am no longer using a church computer. Instead I get to be in the local public library, on a computer that is probably older than myself. Just kidding, it's probably not that old, but it doens't like my camera all that much. I'll work around it next time, but in the main time just picture my glorious face rednecking it in Arkansas.
Love you all! Keep staying awesome!
Elder Jayden Barker

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