Monday, December 8, 2014

"Hello, hello, helloooo!"

This past week was a bit of a toughie. We saw huge blessings and were guided by the spirit so much, but the work involved seemed a bit higher than normal. AKA, Bring it on!

Monday we spent a good deal of time working on our Area Book. When a missionary begins teaching a person, their name, address, and a little bit about them is written down on a Teaching Record. This way a completely new missionary would be able to pick up (mostly) right where the previous missionary left off, should the original missionary and his companion both have to leave at the same time. What with the Pocahontas Sisters gone now it is more important than ever for us to keep all of the records up to date, because those are souls that are recorded about, and if the record is poorly written we will not be able to find them again,

Tuesday most everything fell through, but we were able to run into an inactive member of the church at Walmart. We were in there right at the end of the evening buying some medicine when we saw her. She was our check-out lady (whatever the term for that is). She's had all of one Sunday off in the past 7 years from work, and that's because someone died and she requested it off. So she hasn't been able to come much to church. It was really cool to see that even people who have been away from church for a really long time can still have their testimony, because the desire might be there, just not the capacity. Yes, they won't be having all of the blessing otherwise possible, but the Lord will still bless them for their faith in Him.

Wednesday we had the transfer meeting. Obviously Elder Holden and I aren't getting transferred any time soon, but President Wakolo wanted as many of the missionaries as possible to be there. So there we went! I was the pianist, and had a super awesome view of all of the missionaries in attendance from the front of the Chapel. Perks of having skillful fingers. This upcoming month we will be focusing as a mission on the Book of Mormon, similar to what we did three months ago. There are a great deal of churches out there that believe on the Holy Bible, and look at all the confusion that they now have. The Baptists don't agree with the Catholics, the JW's don't agree with the Pentacostals, and often times they don't agree within their own denomination! If God is no author of confusion, then why is this? Answer: Because they don't have the second witness to the Bible talked about in 2 Cor. 13:1. This second witness is the Book of Mormon, and if it is so important, than perhaps we should take a little bit of time focusing on it, yeah? We think so too. After Transfers we didn't have much time to see very many people, but we had a great lesson in the PMG class on the gifts of the Spirit and how it relates to missionary work.

A little side note here: I mentioned having to go and buy medicine on Tuesday. The reason for that is I was getting these really weird spot things on my back and side that I really didn't know what they were but wanted them gone. During the Transfer meeting I was able to talk with Sister Sims, the missionary medical nurse person/wizard. She checked it out and apparently I've got a fungus growing on me called Ring Worm. I blame the humidity here. I bought some cream stuff she recommended on Thursday to fix the problem. So yeah, take that Arkansas!

Thursday we spent all day up in Pocahontas trying mostly in vain to contact the Sisters' old investigators. They weren't home, or had randomly just up and moved. So yeah, that was fun. On the plus side we were able to go and eat supper with the branch mission leader, Brother Cates, and his family. After supper he went with us to go and see G*** and read with her and her family. The duck I sent a picture of? It was her son's. And the best part is he is reading the scriptures on his own! #Success! We also were able to give a blessing to an inactive recent convert who lives not far from her.

Friday I got sick, and it was one of the lamest things ever. I didn't really get out of bed until 4 except to grab a small bite to eat around noon, and Elder Holden got super bored. After that we played Monopoly 5 times in a row. It was a random spur-of-the-moment purchase on Monday, and boy, were we glad that we did!

Saturday was great. We saw a whole bunch of great people, but for the sake of time I will skip over it except to saw that it was awesome. Here's some highlights:

>Going to an investigators home for a discussion only to find that none of them are home, so you teach the random people in their house instead.
>Meeting a crop duster
>Finding out that one of your investigators has dementia.
Long story short, Awesomeness!!!!

Sunday was crazy. We were in charge of both Priesthood lesson and Gospel Principles. When we were praying about what to teach in P-Hood, we got the really weird prompting to teach on the Spirit World (See 1 Peter 3:19;4:6) in both classes. We just went with it and really studied up on it to make sure we would be prepared. Turns out that that was exactly what one of our investigators needed to hear and wanted to talk about when we went and visited with her. She'd had a daughter killed not long ago and was still very much grieving, but we were able to answer her questions and help console her. Crazy how that worked out, right? Not! #Miracles.

As I said, out of time, but know I love you all. Check out It's great! Share it!

Love y'all!

~Elder Barker

P.S.  The subject is a quote from my companion. Apparently it's from a movie. haha!

 Hehe: its a goat and a duck.  The things you pick up as a missionary!

Locked Down! (December 1, 2014)

So this past week has just been crazy. First off, the whole Missouri thing about the cop shooting a black young man had the whole mission on lockdown. Meaning that first night we had to be in an extra 4 hours early, and the next night we had to be inside with doors locked by 7, no exceptions. From what I've heard there are still riots and stuff going on in some of the bigger cities, like Memphis and Little Rock. The riots didn't affect us up here in Walnut Ridge any, but I honestly would have been surprised if they had. A small town of about 5 thousand people isn't exactly the hot spot for rioters.

I also learned something new in my Bible studies this past week. Did you know that there is a record somewhere that has the words of Enoch it in? Yeah, it's totally referenced to in Jude 1:14. Guess what we don't have in the Bible? That record! I'm just a bit bumbed out about that. I wouldn't mind reading the words of a guy who was so righteous that he and his entire city got translated straight into heaven. I'm sure he has some great pointers.

And as to thanksgiving, I'll just refer you to the following pics:
Inline image 1
I made both of these myself. The one on the left is an apple pie (made with assistance from the parental units), and the one on the right is a banana chocolate cream pie (made completely on my own! #accomplishments).

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We didn't have nearly enough food to feed us missionaries.

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The District.

Appart from simply eating with the other missionaries, I also was able to go and eat with the Branch Mission leader and also with the Branch President. Largely because trying to share messages about Christ don't ever work out on the Holidays, we just played board games with the Pocahontas Sisters and with some investigators that they brought along. It was pretty awesome, and my popular vote, if I were a type of vehicle I would be a segway. Not sure how I feel about that..... Hahaha!

We've also been able to talk a great deal with the C**** family They're pretty sweet, but weren't able to come to church yesterday. Something about being up till 6.30 in the morning taking care of screaming infants make you really tired? Not sure how that works, but apparently it's quite the problem! =D While we were driving around we also got a really good look at this crazy looking storm-front that moved in a few days ago. The pink in it and everything was totally legit, and it looked much cooler in real life:
Inline image 4I know, awesome, right!

I've got some really sad news though, which is mainly why I left it till the very end. About two years ago, in October, the Prophet announced that the age for missionaries has been lowered by one year for men and by two years for women. Because of this there was a huge surge of outgoing missionaries, both of men and of women. Now that it is two years later, all of the women who started their mission trip when that announcement was given now are going home. In this mission this means that we are losing 37 missionaries tomorrow, but are only getting 11 new ones in. Because of this many areas are shutting down, simply because we don't have enough missionaries to cover every location as we have in the past. One of these areas is the Pocahontas Sisters, so as of Wednesday the only missionaries in the Pocahontas Branch will be Elder Holden and myself. Neither of us are being transferred, but the work here will get a bit more difficult now that there are half as many of us working in this area. Sister Elder (I know, ironic name right!? She's heard all of the jokes) and Sister Sommers are leaving, and Sister Elder will be going home on Tuesday as one of the 37.

I don't have much else to mention, other than a suggestion for every single person that these emails get: With a large surge of missionaries going home it is time for everyone, full-time missionary, RM, or regular member of the church, to step up their game in sharing the Good News. It's more important than ever now to do all we can in spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ with the world, starting with our family and friends around us. The Lord is hastening His work, and He will bless us in our efforts to help Him in the work of salvation. 

Stay strong, brothers and sisters!

Elder Jayden Barker