Monday, May 18, 2015

Glorious Surprises

​So, this past week was a very interesting one, and incredibly productive as well. But, surprise #1, I found this ​at, when I got curious about the internet connection here (it was pretty good):

Awesome, right? 

Anywho, the absolute highlight of the past week was this past Thursday. We had the fantastic opportunity to go and visit with S*** and S***, the aunt of another investigator we are seeing. We had first met them two weeks ago on Saturday, were able to go back later and go over how Christ called a prophet to restore His church, and then on Thursday we were able to return and speak with them about the Plan of Salvation. The best part is they loved all of it, and said how much it all made sense to them. S*** in particular said something that was very surprising to me, simply because I nearly never hear it very often. He said that as we were speaking or sharing the scriptures with him he instinctively knew about what it was we were about to say. We were able to testify that this is one of the ways that the Holy Spirit testifies to people of truth. When we lived with God, long before we were born, we knew about this earth and what it was we were getting ourselves into. We forgot all of this when we were born, however. The Prophet Isaiah calls this passing through "the veil". When we hear spiritual truth though, the Holy Spirit can and will speak to us in a noticeable way that what we are hearing is true and of God, and this is what S*** and S*** felt that night. Michael Cockrum, a return missionary living in the same town as them, bore powerful testimony about God's plan for us. It was one of the neatest experiences I have experienced in quite some time.

Surprise Number 3: We were able to go everywhere we wanted to! Somehow or another, we had enough miles to be able to visit all sorts of outlying towns and slightly-more-populated-than-others areas without worrying about going over. This included driving about 80 miles round-trip to go and have dinner with the K*** family yesterday evening. It felt really good to be able to visit places that probably haven't seen missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in many years, if at all.

Surprise Number 4: We are losing the Morrilton Sisters. Sister Tu'ifua is going home to her island paradise of Tonga tomorrow, and Sister Jones is being transferred. No Sister Missionaries are coming in to replace them. What makes this even more strange is they are STL's, or missionaries set apart to help train and uplift all of the Sisters in the surrounding area. Them leaving is a big deal. To make things even more strange, the Zone Leaders are changing locations as well. I've not seen things this shaken up, well, ever! On a seriously cool side, one of our current ZL's, Elder Johnston, is becoming an AP. Elder Johnston came out with me from the MTC. We didn't know eachother even slightly before we met on the airplane, but the rule still applies that if you come out with someone you instinctively have to be chummy with them. It's in the rule book (I wrote it there myself ;)!

One more fun thing that happened: I got to help vaccinate goats and sheep on the Foster Farm. Never thought I would be doing that!

~Elder Barker

The Moon. I thought it looked cool so I took a picture.

My new favorite kick! Unfortunately for my tastebuds and luckily for my health the nearest one is about a 25 minute drive away in Conway, so it doesn't happen very often. Haha! (Yes, Mom. I know I need a haircut.......)

The Sisters and Us. Things were interesting here.

Scriptural thought for the day: Alma 11:20 - The only difference between a hard-core jerk and a powerful missionary is the Spirit of the Lord.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

May 11, 2015- "Refocusing Sights"

First and foremost, it was good to be able to talk to all of the loved ones back home. Glad to know everything is going great. I honestly don't know what to say about this past week other than it went really well. We've been getting a bunch of referals from a bunch of different people, and we have had a bunch of success in talking to them.

We have also been able to go and visit a bunch of people in the nursing home lately. There are a bunch of very good and kind people there who really need human interaction from someone who is not wearing scrubs.

Again, this past week went really well, but I'm not so sure what else to say. So I will end it with this: thus far on mission I have been focusing on helping out missionaries in the long term, trying to help others with their work. I learned by the Spirit that it is time for me to start trying to help people join the church myself, not necessarily help others help others join the church. I have been able refocus on my purpose, and I am excited to start going again.

To those who are still serving full-time missions, keep up the work. We only have a limited time to do what the Lord has called us to do, and I know that He wants us to shine. Don't get discouraged, and keep pressing forward!

Elder Barker