Transfer calls were this morning, and to everyone's tremendous surprise E.Raiford is staying, as are the Pocahontas sisters. Raiford has been here for 6 months now and was feeling like he was going to leave, and Sister Macklite has been in this area for 9 months thus far, half of her mission, and everyone was certain that she was on her way out too! But nope, the good Lord has other ideas for us, which personally I'm OK with. Raiford has been the greatest companion over the past 7 months, and I'm more than OK with trooping it out a while longer with him. The District Leader, Elder Wahl, was in the MTC with me and is now training a new companion. I'm taking great pleasure in giving him grief about how he will be a future Assistant to the President, one of two missionaries who aid in overseeing the entire mission and its missionaries along with the Mission President.
The Preach my Gospel classes have drawn to a close, with 5 people there durring the last two meetings. A bit about the meetings, because I don't think I'm talked about them in great detail, is once a week on Wednesday evening. Elder Raiford and I would teach the members of the Church in this area for about one hour from a book titled Preach my Gospel. It is a manual of sorts that has all the basics about our church, study tips, ways to better recognize and feel the Holy Spirit, and ways to develop better Christlike attributes, and thus become more like the Saviour. Our aim was that by teaching the members both about and from this book they would be able to come closer to God, and then turn around and help others. As I said though, only 5 people showed up, two of them were members who recently returned from inactivity, two were converts, and the last was a missionary several years ago. With about 60 active members in this area we were hoping that more than 5 would show up, but we will take what we can get. We also understand that most of the members here are over 60 and live some distance away from the church, which would mean that they would have to drive home in the dark. However, Brother Ginn, the Elder's Quorum President, has asked us to do miniature versions of these classes once a month in Sunday School, a period of time after the Sacrament where we sit down and talk about God and a specific topic. We are very grateful for the second chance he gave us, and are hoping that the other Quorum leaders will ask us to do something similar for them.
Yesterday was by birthday, much to the surprise of basically everyone. This is because I didn't tell them in advance. I know, rude right? They thought so too. Shortly after discovering my deception Sister Macklite sang a rather remarkable birthday song compilation including just about every type of birthday song out there. It went on for a good 3 minutes, and I loved it. I'll have to learn it myself sometime, add it to my other song. Elder Raiford didn't even know I was turning 20 until a few days ago when I got a birthday package from Hermana Maw in New York. I suspect that the branch members and the other missionaries plan to get me back for my deceit; hopefully it will involve food. Also, President Wakolo came to speak in a Fireside (another name for a Revival) down in Paragould. It was really good. He spoke about making the best choices for our time in this life, because compared to the eternities before and after our mortal life it really isn't all that long at all. He also talked about how we are always drawing further away from God with each passing day because of "holes in our spiritual reservoir". By praying, reading the scriptures, doing service, attending church, etc, we can add more "water" to what we already have to help us through hard times, instead of letting our 'reservoir' get empty and dry just when we need it full of the Water of Life (aka Christ).
Love you all, keep reading those scriptures, and remember who you are, a divine Son or Daughter of our Heavenly Father!
Elder Jayden Barker
P.S. The title really has nothing to do with anything. I thought it was funny so I put it up there, because what else are subject lines for? Not spoilers right? ;D
P.S.S This just in, Sister Macklite is leaving. Just found out, sorry for the faulty info....Anyway, yeah! Stay awesome!