Monday, June 29, 2015

Of Mountains and Men

This past week was pretty awesome. Here's a rundown of what happened!

Monday we spent the majority of the day up on Mount Magazine. I sent y'all the pictures. Really, that's the only thing of note there.

Tuesday was much more effective, as far as missionary work goes. Everything started off with a really good District meeting. Everybody was talkative, which helped make sure it just didn't turn into a lecture. Ever have a meeting where nobody talks? It's not any more fun for missionaries either. Luckily, the Morrilton-Danville District is freaking awesome, so we never have problems with boring meetings. They went on exchanges with the STL's that evening, but went against my loving advice to pull some pranks on them while the opportunity presented itself, deciding instead to be nice. Lol

We were able to talk with one of our neighbors, a retired history teacher named H***. She is pretty cool, and has talked with missionaries a little bit in the past. One of the things that peaked her interest the most initially was finding out what our actual church history was, because what is said in history books usually is far from the truth and just downright negative. So she went to the source, the Mormon Missionaries! She goes walking a lot in front of our apartment and it is there that she's talked with us in the past, but we were able to visit with her in her home, primarily talking about the purpose of the Book of Mormon and what it means to be or do something in Christ's name. It was a really good visit. 

Wednesday stated off rather weird, because we spent the first part of the day up at the Foster's helping them load bales of hay into their barn. Farmers of Everywhere, I salute youWe were only unloading 50 lb. bales, but after doing that for several hours (it was in the 90's that day) I was more than happy to call it quits for the day. We did enjoy a really good lunch with the Fosters before we left though, homemade hamburgers. After drinking what I'm sure is at least a gallon of water to replace what we had sweated out we headed for home. Once there it was a quick shower, a change of clothes, and then a much needed nap. We didn't even wake up that much earlier that morning, just 30 minutes, but I was completely wiped out after our farm-life activities. I set the alarm to go off at 2, enough time to sleep for a  little over an hour. About 3.40 Elder Thomas walks into the room to wake me up. I had somehow turned the alarm off without fully waking, and went back to bed for almost another two hours. It was nice, but I felt like a pile afterward. lol

We took a few minutes (by 'we' I mean 'I') to get changed into our "regular" clothes of a white shirt and tie. As a side note I think that is one of the most interesting things that change over time for missionaries, is the perception of what is normal. Clothes is just one example. Another is that if you don't get at least one door slammed shut during the week you start to wonder what you are doing wrong, because a totally peaceful week simply is bizarre. Anyway, we rearranged out plans for the rest of the day and then headed over to the Wockenfuss family for supper, a drive of about 20 minutes away. I always love driving out to their house, because the rolling hills make it almost too easy to believe that if you look close enough you could see hobbits running around. It is just that green and beautiful looking. I bought a pair of sunglasses designed for fishing, and one of the cool characteristics of the lenses is that it accentuates yellows and greens. Wearing those while driving in Arkansas is absolutely surreal. They made a really good meal of some sort of salad with cranberry juice. One of the daughters, Katie, is 27 and is a crazy awesome artist, both with pencils and with 3D stuff. There is something just awesome about being able to wield Loki's staff and wear Thor's crown, and then square off in mock combat against someone holding King Arthur's shield and the Sword of Gryffindor. #ThisIsAwesome

Thursday was really fun, because we spent nearly the entire day on bikes. All in all, I think we biked about 12 miles that day, and for all you professional bikers out there saying that that is weak-sauce I feel compelled to point out that the heat index was over 100, and we were in white shirts and ties, while carrying our shoulder bags. So yeah, I'll just give you all a run for your money when I get home. ;D Anywho, we started our trek over to the H***'s home for a short discussion on the Book Of Mormon and prayer. We left right around the same time our phone rang. It was G***, A***'s son, asking us to print a military form off for him so he can start receiving his post-service benefits. Since it is rather difficult to print things without a printer, we have been using the printer at the church to help him out. We get that taken care of, and then bike back to the center of town to go and visit a few more people before we stop and talk with G*** a little bit later. We drop off the form and then go back to the H*** home to eat supper with them. The Ward Mission Leader texts us asking where we were at and when we would get there right around 7.15, which really confused us because he wasn't scheduled to go teaching with us or anything that day. Then we remembered: weekly correlation meeting. The past two weeks' meeting had been cancelled for various reasons, so we totally spaced it. We taught a super-short lesson about how to keep the Sabbath Day holy, and then biked as quickly as we could towards the church. We were just approaching the church when we saw his car pull out of the driveway and turn up the road away from us.

By this point I was tired of biking. Really, the only reason we did it at all is because we needed to save the miles on our car and because Elder Thomas really really likes to bike still. I was that way at first, but then I realized just how much I enjoyed air conditioning. Yep, I've turned into my trainer. Regardless of how many miles we could save by biking back into town, there was a decently large hill right in our way that we had biked up twice already that day, and there wasn't a snowball's chance is Hades that I would be able to go up that stupid hill again for the third time. For the last little bit, a drive over to G*** and A***'s for a decent lesson, instead of a bike ride. It was a really good conversation, the majority of which G*** and I spent talking quietly amongst ourselves while A*** spoke with Elder Thomas. One thing more to mention here: another one of her kittens died that day, making all but one of a litter of seven that week. A*** was pretty shaken up about it, and I don't think I've ever seen someone care that much for any cat anywhere, particularly the kittens for a stray she had just taken in. The lone survivor: a solid black cat with one eye; he lost the other one to an infection, but the dude is still a trooper!

Friday was another surprisingly fun morning, because we had Round 2 of the hay bale stacking tournament! We got up at 5 to get a bit more of an early start on it because the last time was a scorcher. Once we got there we learned the real reason that they wanted to start extra early: there was one more trailer to unload than last time. I have to confess that I whimped out a bit towards the end. Usually when your vision goes a little blurry it means it's a good time to take a break. I also learned something cool and new about my companion, Elder Thomas while we were working. He had done this quite a bit back home, and was able to throw the bales around like they were nothing. By the end we were all sweating like stuck pigs, but he was able to go hard until the very end. The Fosters told us afterward why they were pushing to get them in so quickly, that we had finished stacking about $4000 dollars worth of hay, and that if it hadn't gotten under a roof before the storm hit later that day it all would have been ruined. So we were VERY glad to be able to help them. They said that they want to make it up to us, but honestly the super awesome breakfast Sister Foster made afterward made up for it no problem.

We were also able to see a woman named Z*** with Brother Stover, an older convert to the church. Z*** has been meeting with the missionaries for some time now, so she and Brother Stover were already acquainted. It was a really good lesson, and we are just praying that she will come to church with us one of these Sunday's.

Later that evening we went to go and see a less-active family who lives not far from us. They are having a really hard time financially, and their water got shut off. We showed up, saw what was going on, and drove back to our apartment with a bunch of their jugs and a cooler to fill up with water. We were lucky in that not too much of it spilled out on us while we were carrying it back to the car, and then later, out of the car. I feel kinda bad for them in that they are having such a difficult time, but they are missing out on a great source of peace and comfort by not attending church like they need to. The Lord can and does bless those who keep His commandments. Every blessing we can receive is based upon our doing something, whether that something is paying a full-tithe or simply believing in the name of Christ.

Saturday was busy, but honestly not what I was expecting, or what we had down in our plans. The majority of our appointments fell through, but we had Troy Parks with us the majority of the day, so that made things fun. Troy is working on submitting his paperwork so he can go and serve a mission too, so we like to take him with us as often as we possibly can. He showed up for studies that morning and we had a really good conversation between the three of us. It was also the last day we spent an extra hour on studies, as Elder Thomas is now no longer a "baby" missionary. He's upgraded from a tricycle to training wheels! Hurrah for Elder Thomas! After studies though, things just collapsed. Appointments fell through, things got rescheduled multiple times, it was just crazy. We had a really good dinner with Troy's mother though, some sort of pizza-like breadstick thing. Think of the chocolate swiss rolls that Hostess and Little Debbie make, but make it a lot bigger, not chocolate, and filled with cheese, ham, and pepperoni instead of that frosting stuff. It was super good.

That same evening we had an interview with President Wakolo at the Church building. It was really good to be able to sit down and talk with him again and to hear his advice about the area. There are some things he's asked me not to repeat, but what he said has made me very excited to be serving in this area right now. He also said that his favorite scripture comes from the Book of Mormon, 1 Nephi 19:9. It is a wonderful description of the Sacrifice Christ made for us, and a herald to how we should live our lives.

Sunday was extra awesome, because not only did A*** come to church, but her son, G***, did as well! He really has made incredible progress and I am looking forward to what the Lord has in store for him in the future. K*** and K*** also came, Sis. H***'s kids who are staying with her for the summer. We've been working with them for a few weeks now and hope to help them set a date to be baptized  this week. Also at church were two of Brad Park's old students, attending church for an assignment. They seemed pretty cool, and I hope to be able to see them again. We had potluck after church, and I loved the social aspect of it. Yes, the food was awesome, but I particularly enjoyed being able to sit and talk with people. A lot of the members were expecting this to be my last Sunday in Morrilton, so it was nice to speak with all of them just in case I was leaving. The Wockenfuss family went out of their way to be extra awesome. They live in a small community called Toad Suck, and they gave both myself and Elder Thomas an official Toad Suck shirt. One of the daughters, Katie, is very talented with artistic stuff and make a paper crown with different little pictures and such she drew onto it. I was really touched by how loving and just all around awesome this ward is.

We later were able to go and watch "Meet The Mormons" with the H*** family a little after the potluck. Elder Thomas was super tired and nodded off a couple of times which inspired me, being the noble type of person I am, to take a picture of it for him. He is very grateful; he just hasn't realized it yet. =D To wrap up the day we had dinner with Bishop, and then an appointment with a young couple and some friends who are staying with them. Both were excellent conversations, and you could really feel the Spirit of the Lord when the Gospel was being taught.

And that brings us to today! I hope you enjoyed the massive epistle! I was writing it a little bit in advance, so as the week went by I would just add a few more paragraphs to it. With that being said I recognize that most missionaries probably won't read this (too long) and if you are not immediate family or a very close friend, my hat comes off to you for sticking with it! Anyway, neither myself nor Elder Thomas are leaving. Honestly, it was a surprise to just about everyone. Most of the time the Trainer and the Trainee don't stay put together after the first 12 weeks, but then again President Wakolo is very good at doing what is normally unusual. It keeps things interesting! Transfers is this Wednesday, and although we aren't leaving, President Wakolo has asked that I play the piano for the meeting, so we get to go anyway!

Y'all are awesome, and I look forward to hearing from you again soon!

~Elder Jayden Barker

Monday, June 22, 2015

Your Purpose

This past week has been one of the more successful weeks I've had, and certainly the most fun. I guess the highlight of the whole week was seeing the Danville Spanish Sisters, the self-proclaimed "Dan-chicks", help someone be baptized a member of Christ's church yesterday! I was able to go over to Danville early on Saturday morning to interview this good brother for baptism (one of the responsibilities of a District Leader). He will be confirmed a member of the church next week and given the Gift of the Holy Ghost then. He is one of the most spiritually thirsty and ready individuals that I've been able to meet. I Just wish I could have been there in person!

We also have been working with a wonderful woman by the name of J***. She and her two daughters are just super cool, and the girls are just absolutely adorable! In a way they remind me a lot of Hannah and Abby, two of my younger cousins. We first began teaching J*** after the Sisters were pulled out of Morrilton, and at first she didn't seem all that interested, just one of those "Sure, you can stop by if you really want to" type deals. But as we have been talking with her and testifying of the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ the promises given in the Scriptures have been fullfilled. Her mind has been enlightened and her soul has begun to expand, as Alma 32 speaks of it. She and her daughters have been working to be baptized on July 4, so please keep them in your prayers! We last saw them yesterday with Brother Peterson, one of the greatest men in the Morrilton Ward, and the Spirit was so strong as we all testified of our Savior, Jesus Christ, to eachother. I truly am blessed to be in Morrilton right now.

On Thursday we had our District meeting, the first one of this transfer actually. The Zone Leaders  were also in attendance, ELder Wahl (I arrived in Arkansas with him, no I didn't know him before hand) and Elder Crane. I honestly didn't know what it was I needed to speak on until late the night before. I've got a small notebook next to my bed at home with a pen and a flashlight because oftentimes revelation from God comes and goes in a flash, and if you aren't ready to capture it, to remember it, then it will leave you. If you show you treasure His word though by writing it down when it comes then it will come more and more frequently. This has been my experience thus far. Anyway, I probably really annoyed Elder Thomas by my constant clicking of that flashlight as more and more new ideas poured into my head. The next morning I solidified my thoughts and was able to present a discussion based on 10 questions about ourself, the first question repeated as the final question making a total of 11 questions. The questions were all about how we see ourself, and hopefully seeing some ways that we can better ourself. Sadly I don't have the little notebook with me right now, but if you want the questions just ask and I will get them to you next week. Next we focused on the Missionary Purpose, perhaps the most oft-repeated sentence in all of missionary-dom:

Our Purpose is to Invite other to Come unto Christ, by Helping them receive the Restored Gospel, through Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and His Atonement, Repentance, Baptism, Receiving the Gift of the Holy Ghost, and Enduring to the End.

It is simple, so incredibly simple, but it literally sums up the entirety of what it is we do as missionaries. But in its simplicity I feel it is also one of the most overlooked sentences we know by heart, simply because of the fact that we do know it by heart. It was truly wonderful to be able to talk with other missionaries about what that purpose actually is, why  each word was used, and then very briefly to talk about some of the other things we just glaze over in our minds, such as the Sacrament Prayers, the Lord's qualifications for Baptism (D&C 20:37), and D&C 4. I was thinking about including the Mission Song, but I thought that that would have been a bit much. ;D

Following this I was able to go on an companion Exchange down to Conway for the day. It was a lot of fun, being able to teach an impromptu class on the Book of Mormon, play volleyball with a bunch of the youth, and wash the dishes of an inactive recent convert down there, but the highlight of it all was when we were outside sharing the Gospel. The other things were nice, but they weren't what our purpose was. While we were talking we had opportunity to talk with a man for Puerto Rico. At first he wasn't all that interested, telling us in somewhat broken English that he spoke Spanish. Elder Crane speaks no Spanish whatsoever (maybe 'hola') but I know just enough to fool someone for all of about 4 seconds that I know how to speak Spanish. I like to say I know just enough to get my self in trouble. As it turns out, my repeating our introductions in Spanish was exactly what this man needed to decided he wanted to talk more with us. He invited us into his home and showed us his Bible, and expressed how excited he was to have one and that he knew enough English to read it. We began teaching him and three of his kids that happened to be in the room at the time about the Restoration and how God has made a way for us to read even more of His word, found in the Book of Mormon. He was so excited to learn about it and insisted on having the missionaries come back the next day at 11 when he, his girlfriend, and all seven of their kids would be home. "Please come back," he repeated over and over again. "Please come back. We will be here. Please come back."

I testify that the Lord is preparing the Hearts and Minds of people all around us. Our purpose is to find those that He has prepared. I know that once we not only know that this is our purpose, but truly understand what it means, God will put people into our path for us to fellowship and help bring into the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ. Just as with writing answers to prayers though, these opportunities will come far more frequently when we show the Lord that we treasure such moments and are willing to act on them. Is it sometimes a bit of a hassle to pause at the end of the night to click on a flashlight and write down a thought God just put into your mind? Absolutely. But the reward, that gift of knowledge, is far worth it. With this I can bear witness that any and all efforts, indeed all sacrifices on our part to bring another to Christ is worth it. Love one another, and let us all return home again together.

~Elder Jayden Barker

Sent from my iPad

Monday, June 15, 2015

Humility Bites

This past week was both really good and really frustrating. Luckily, both are learning experiences, so it's all good!

The highlight by far was being able to go and see  Elder Erich W. Kopischke of he 70 when he came to address us. I can send you the notes if you are interested. Anywho, I was able to spend the entire day on Friday in Little Rock listening to him speak to us. As far as I know I was also the only one who was able to get a picture taken with him afterwards. Pretty lucky! I guess the biggest thing I learned was the value and importance of repentance, especially how it ties in with humility. If you are too prideful to repent, then you are too prideful to accept the Lord's help in your day to day life, because very rarely will He help you in exactly the way you think He will. Think about that principle when you read these verses from 1 Nephi chapter 7:

16 And it came to pass that when I, Nephi, had spoken these words unto my brethren, they were angry with me. And it came to pass that they did lay their hands upon me, for behold, they were exceedingly wroth, and they did bind me with cords, for they sought to take away my life, that they might leave me in the wilderness to be devoured by wild beasts.

17 But it came to pass that I prayed unto the Lord, saying: O Lord, according to my faith which is in thee, wilt thou deliver me from the hands of my brethren; yea, even give me strength that I may burst these bands with which I am bound.

18 And it came to pass that when I had said these words, behold, the bands were loosed from off my hands and feet, and I stood before my brethren, and I spake unto them again.
(underlines added)

Pretty cool, huh?

Anyway, I was able to relearn the principle of humility in every aspect these past few days. Nobody was able to come to church for a variety of reasons, from downright serious to downright silly. Just when I was getting please with "my" accomplishments, God will step in again and show me that it isn't my accomplishments at all, but His.

We also were able to go and see an inactive member of the church yesterday shortly after church. He called us up and asked us to come by (made our day!), but when we got there he was just wanting to talk about was how he was going to go back to his old church because the Bishop of the ward was 'unchristian'. His argument: bishop forgot to return a phone call. It was one off the most frustrating experiences to listen to a man so completely consumed with pride that he was willing to turn his back on his entire testimony all because of a simply pathetic wrong that had been done to him. All he could talk about was how badly he wanted vengeance upon Bishop, one of the nicest men I have ever met.

Earlier to this I was attacked by a dog, but at least this one made sense; she was just doing her best to protect her newborn (less than a week old) pups. I've got some nice bite marks I my hand and leg, but five minutes, some wipes, several band aids, and a little bit of super glue later I was good as new. That appointment turned out really well though, which made the whole experience worth it.

I'm not on a computer so I can't upload any pics, but I will hopefully get to do that later. Thanks for all your prayers and all you do to share the gospel.

Lots of love!
Elder Barker

Sent from my iPad

The whole mission. Early June, 2015

The entire Arkansas Little Rock Mission, English and Spanish speaking sisters, elders and senior couples, Mission Presidency, and Elder Zwick of the 70.  This was after they had gathered for training before they began to use iPads in the field.

June 8, 2015 "The Joys of Technology"

First off, I wanted to try the voice recognition thing on the iPad
just to see how well it works and see if I could use it to write an
email. Since I'm doing all of this so far just by talking to it, I'm
guessing it's doing pretty darn well. This past week is been really
really good.  We were able to go and see a great many people and have
members of the church with us as well. Our mission presidents can't
emphasize enough how important it is to go and have members and
investigators homes and less actives homes to help and again
progressing in the gospel of Jesus Christ. Elder Thomas and I have
been really taking the stuff for the past week and I've been doing all
that we can to have people with us when we go and visit people
especially nonmembers.  In part, because of our efforts that we've done
this past week we are very blessed to be able to have five people to
church, including a family that the sister missionaries here had found
some weeks ago. J*** and her two daughters were the ones who came in
addition to A***and A***. Just a sidenote, it's a minor miracle in
and of itself that A*** is able to come to church with us as often
as he does. He's working very long hours in the night sometimes not
getting back from work until about 7 o'clock in the morning. At times
it is a little bit discouraging to see him fall asleep during the
priesthood portion of the meeting, but honestly we're just glad that
he's there. AnyWho J*** and her two daughters  were able to come to church with us for the first
time and they thoroughly enjoyed it. We were
able to go over and talk with J*** again yesterday evening and just
ask her about any questions or concerns that she might have about the
church service. She had some concerns that were to be expected from
someone who would never come to church with us before but she did say
that she wanted to come with us again, and both of her daughters are
very eager and excited to go to church with us again. I think they
really enjoyed the primary class. We are going to go and see J***and
her family again this Saturday.

Later today we need to drive down to Conway to go and pick up Elder
Thomas'  bike. He was able to get it delivered to him by the Parks
family when they were just passing through his hometown, but it was
still a little bit messed up from a previous incident back home. We
dropped it off at a bike shop in Conway last week to begin the repairs
and we're hoping that it will be finished when we go down to pick it
up later today. At the very least we're going to see if we can beat
those in the zone leaders down in Conway in a game of basketball. One
of the zone leaders, Elder Wahl, actually came out with me from the
MTC to Arkansas. I also think it's interesting that one of the APs,
Elder Johnston, also came out with me.

For the remainder the day will be going shopping, probably finishing
up emailing if we don't get done right now, and maybe spending a
little bit of time over at A***'s. I'm just not quite sure yet. Elder
Thomas also wants to go and hit up the thrift stores here in Arkansas,
and I think that be interesting to do at the very least. I have not
yet been able to go and try shopping at thrift stores so far on my
mission, and if it's anything like the DI back in Utah I'm sure it's
going to be interesting.

This Friday, the 12th, we will have the opportunity to go down to
North Little Rock and hear Elder Kopischke speak to us as an entire
mission. I think it's cool that we will have been able to get together
as a mission multiple times in the space of less than a month. I've
been out now for for almost 3/4 of my mission, but these are the first
times we've been able to do this. It certainly helps out and being
able to go and see old companions that you haven't been able to see
you for a while, and also be able to see some on the other side of the
Mississippi River that I would otherwise not be able to see before
they go home.

It's rather bizarre being able to use an iPad for general proselyting
purposes now. I've got to admit though, there's a lot of uses to an
iPad, even if it is ridiculously locked down. even Google is blocked
on this iPad. But that's okay; we have still have access to all the
most important Mormon messages. Or Or all of the
church hymns. Or even email. Really, any thing that is able to be used
to help another progress in the Gospel of Jesus Christ we are not only
able to use but are encouraged to use as frequently as possible. Just
the other day we were able to talk with a recent convert and her
nonmember children about what it means to have faith and to build a
foundation on the Savior Jesus Christ. Toward the end of this lesson
Elder Thomas was inspired to share a Mormon message with them titled
The Refiners Fire. I would share here if I could, but unfortunately
email won't let me allow me to be able to send videos the long through
email. You can go and find it on though, and I would really
encourage you to do so.

Just to wrap up this email, Elder Thomas and I have been reading the
Savior's qualifications for baptism every morning as part of our
studies. His qualifications are found in D&C section 20 verse 37.
Doing so every single morning is helping us be able to keep our
 mind set on inviting others to come unto Christ specifically through building
faith and being baptized as a part of his church. I sincerely doubt we
would be as focused on helping or on inviting others to be baptized
had we not been doing so, and I also doubt that we would've had so
many people to church had we not done so. The missionaries in Conway
have had extraordinary success in doing the same things, as have had
the other members of the Morrilton district. I personally know that it
is through building a foundation on the true principles of Jesus
Christ's teachings that we can help others and help ourselves received
the most blessings that come from belief in his gospel. Without that
foundation of faith, repentance, baptism by immersion for the
remission of sins, receiving a gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on
of hands, and then enduring to the end, we would not be able to truly
partake of Christ salvation. It simply would not be possible.

I wish I could send home a great many pictures to everybody, but I
forgot the camera cable back home so all I can send you was the couple
things I've taken with this iPad. I hope everyone back home or
wherever else you may be right now is having an absolutely wonderful
day, and I look forward to hearing from you again next week!

– Elder Jayden Barker

This is a panoramic picture taken with the Ipad of an exceptionally long roll of paper the ward used for an activity.  When asked, what it was for, he replied, "I honestly don't know.  She just told us that she
needed paper and told us where it was and to go and get it. We said
"yes ma'am" and that was that. Haha"

Monday, June 1, 2015

Built Upon the Rock

I would like to start off with a thought first: the saying that if men build upon a "Firm foundation" then they will not fall away from the Gospel. Here in Arkansas we are seeing quite a few homes that simply were not built on a firm foundation, and now they have been destroyed, and even some of those that were firmly anchored simply didn't hold up because the hold those homes had on the foundation wasn't strong enough to withstand the tides of the world. With this in mind, where is our foundation, and how strong is our tie to it? Let us not be carried away and have our spiritual journey blocked much like our physical one was just yesterday:

This past week was good. Slow, but good. We have been able to go and see a bunch of the Sister's (missionaries) old people, and that's fun! The family we were going to go and see yesterday when we had to make an unexpected detour was one such family. Funny story: The Sisters had originally met them when the mother went online to request a free copy of the book of Mormon. The Sisters showed up and began sharing with them the message of the Restoration. Well.... it had been about 2 weeks between their last visit (this family lives way out there) and when they got pulled out. Two days ago we received a text on the phone from Church HQ saying this family wanted a copy of the Book of Mormon taken to them. After looking at the text message I recognized the name as someone the Sisters had been teaching. I guess this family got fed up with waiting for the Sisters to come back and took matters into their own hands! We are excited to start getting to know them for ourselves. Their son, T***, is really a cool guy. He and Elder Thomas hit it off talking about sports.

A*** IS OFF OF THE PATCHES!!!!! *Que fireworks* I really had not idea how to lead into that, so I just threw it out there. Yeah, We are stoked!

Also, President Wakolo just announced that we will be getting iPads Tomorrow! Yeah, this is getting cool. We had a training on it last week with Elder Zwick of the 70 (see pic below) but I didn't realize that we would actually be getting the devices within a week! Usually it takes a little while, but this time we get to have nice things rather quickly. =D

(I'm not sure who the other missionary is. Never met him before. HaHa!)

I'll leave it at that, so my comp has more time to email. Catch y'all later!

~Elder Barker

 A missionary's typical study desk

May 25, 2015 Want to stop smoking? Here's how.

So, true or false, is running out of money a good thing? In this case, yes it is! It is a wonderful, glorious, fantasticularistic thing! You see, cigarettes are expensive little buggers, and when you have no money, you can't buy them. A*** has been trying to stop smoking now for some time, and at right around the same time they were running a little bit low on funds and cigarettes, a bunch of nicotine patches came in to further help her stop smoking. So as of right now, she is done forever! *Dance of excitement*

The really frustrating part is that us missionaries have a program that can help a sincere person stop smoking entirely in 7 days. It doesn't take anything fancy, a little prayer (make that "a lot" of prayer), a few shots of grapefruit juice throughout the day, a swig of cinnamon mouthwash, and lots of vitamin C. All you've got to do is follow 15 steps exactly for 7 days, and that's it, you're free! No more cravings, no withdrawals, just the satisfaction that you no longer are tormented by an addiction that is only serving to kill you faster. Want to know more? Go to this website, fill out your info, and when the missionaries get into contact with you let them know you are interested in the 15-step Stop Smoking Program. They should be contacting you within 24 hours.

Anywho, back to A***. The whole reason she didn't want to do the Stop Smoking Program was because grapefruit juice is one of the ways it works. You see, she doesn't like the taste. (Well, yeah, that's kinda the point!) *sigh* It was slightly frustrating at times, because she is so incredibly ready to be baptized, but this is one of God's commandments that must be being followed before baptism. I am so incredibly happy though with this turn of good fortune.

Speeding right along, some of the people we've been seeing and the things we have been doing are: T***, A*** and G*** (her son), A*** W*** supper with A***, Eagle Scout project with J*** H***s Jr., cataloging carved bricks, Z*** D***, the N*** Family, escaping a really nasty storm by hiding out with a less-active family under their carport, and (later today) a Memorial Day luncheon with the P***/H***s family.

This past sunday was pretty sparesely populated, but over the pulpit President Hopkins, the 1st counselor in the Stake Presidency, chastised all of the members for not feeding and working with the missionaries more. He indirectly told all of them that if they had been doing more we still would have two sets of missionaries in Morrilton, instead of now just the one. I was squirming in my chair when he announced that because at one point or another everyone turned around and looked at us while he was speaking. It needed to be said though.

This upcoming Wednesday (day after tomorrow) we are having the first every Mission Conference in North Little Rock. All 184 missionaries will be in attendance to receive both a visit from a General Authority, in addition to training on using iPads for proselyting purposes. I am seriously stoked for it!

Anywho, that's all for now!

~Elder Barker