Monday, September 28, 2015

Two steps forward, another step back.

The past week has been a crazy blur. I am more tired now than ever, so
I will probably keep this a bit shorter than I've written some of my
other letters. #OldMissionaryProbs

We spent a good chunk of time making some Plan of Salvation cutouts to
help in teaching an illiterate man. We still haven't been able to use
them yet, but hopefully that will change soon. After this picture was
taken I rounded out the corners to make it look nice and smooth, and
then a good member of the Ward volunteered to laminate them for us! We
were super grateful, because our idea was to use packing tape.

Typically speaking, actual laminate is better for laminating things than tape. Revelation #1

We also had a super awesome teaching opportunity given to us in the form of free hotdogs. Yes, miracles happen even through processed pork products. We were heading back to our apartment on Thursday when we saw a guy on the sidewalk holding a large sign that said "Free Hotdogs" in front of a city park. We were biking in that general direction and as we drew closer he called out to us inviting us to stop. I needed no further encouragement to get free food! We detoured and parked our bicycles next to a few street bikes, Harley's and the like. I only had time to take my helmet off when we were swarmed by the owners of the bikes and several of their friends, each of them commending us for doing "Jesus's work". One of them asked if he could pray for us. After the prayer we walked over to get our food and were again swarmed by people, again thanking us and pushing strange copies of the N.T. into our hands. 

While we were there we ran into several interesting people. One was a Methodist preacher woman who, after asking if we were the Mormons, encouraged us to work harder. Another two people we met were converts to the gospel, temporarily living down here from Kentucky. They were baptized back in 2009, but hadn't been to church in years. They were sad to hear about the passing of two of the apostles, but said that if we could get a ride they would love to go to church with us this upcoming Sunday. 

As the day continued on we had opportunity to talk with a man who was recently out of a drug rehab program. He turned his life all around and is now doing all he can to help others and bring them to Christ the same way he was. It reminds me a lot like B*** from back when I was serving in Walnut Ridge. Same back story almost. Anyway, he got to having a makeshift sermon there at the park with the myself and Elder Price adding things every now and then. It was interesting to see how simplicity can inspire thought so much more than long sentences with dramatized eloquence. It only took a sentence or two from us to cause himto pause for a  second to think on what we said. Simplicity is awesome.

We also were able to go all over the place a few days ago trying to contact referrals. We probably spent more time outside of Jonesboro than we did inside of it. Most of the people were either not interested, or not home. It was nice to be able to just hit the road and have a gospel discussion with a member of the church. In-depth studies on Agency and Priestcraft are rare. We were in Hickory Ridge, Lake City, Harrisburg, and Marked Tree. All in all about 4 hours in a car. Totally worth it! We also had a super solid lesson with one of those people. The spirit was felt very strongly, and we have a return appointment for later this week. Brother Schnider already said he would be able to go with us to the appointment. Even cooler, I got to serve with him back in Cabot, almost a year and a half ago. He and his family somehow knew I was coming and couldn't wait to meet me here! Haha

In my studies lately I've been reading on and thinking on the principle of Consecration. Our Heavenly Father has much greater plans in mind for us than what we could possibly come up with on our own. This means we need to give up all of our desires, and not just the unrighteous or the worldly ones. It is the idea of giving everything we have to the Lord, and this is the way we can find the most happiness. I heard it said by a married couple of the church once that her loyalty was to the Lord first, and to her husband second. In like kind his Loyalty was to the Lord, and to his wife second. Does this mean that they aren't absolutely devoted to eachother? Absolutely not; they have one of the strongest relationships I've seen out here. But because they gave everything to the Lord first, everything else that they needed was added unto them.

I am about out of ideas, so I will close with this. By surrendering the fight with God, we will win the world and all that it has to offer.

~Elder Jayden Barker
"Don't forget to read!" 

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