Monday, October 26, 2015

Short and Simple

One of the things we have been focusing on a lot in our lessons and meetings is simplifying what we say. In honor of that I will do my best to keep this a bit shorter than normal! (It's not just because we have a lesson at 4 and we still need to clean our apartment and get groceries... no, nothing like that... ;)

Picking up where I left off last week, Thursday was bizzare and nothing really went as we had planned for it to go. After we deconstructed the wooden pallets with style - and perhaps more force and bigger tools than strictly necessary - we tried to find a few people to teach. This only resulted in having an old woman chew us out saying she didn't want to hear about a "Mormon Jesus" (because apparently that's a thing). Later we broke our fast by eating supper with a recent convert, T***. She made some killer chicken, and I ate far more than I probably should have. Later we played basketball at the church. One of young men here brought a whole bunch of his friends from school and several instructors with him, resulting in about 30 people there to play. It was the birthday of one of his instructors, so said young man bought a cake for him. We ate it, right after we shoved a small piece of it into his face.

Friday I got sick and we stayed indoors. yay.........not

Saturday was spent running around trying to teach people the Gospel without great success. We were able to share with a few new people, including a woman named T***, though, and that was nice. After pumping up our bikes again we headed off. Later it got a bit colder and I was finally able to break out the jacket and gloves again. We also ate a truly autumn-style dinner of biscuits, stew, and apple cider, wrapping it up with some icecream that tastes just like pumpkin-spice eggnog. Life was good that evening!

Sunday B*** came to church! It was awesome and she really enjoyed it. We also got to meet a less-active, BK*. After a little bit we started walking to see who we could find, running into a hispanic family that spoke zero english. Elder Price speaks zero spanish, leaving it up to me. I was able to say just enough to be able see if they were interested in hearing our message and then sending the address on to the Spanish Elders. 

I find it remarkable the number of times I've had to speak Spanish on my mission, mainly the past few months. I might as well just go Spanish, because we've sent over a dozen names of interested people to the other Elders. I know next to nothing really, but the Lord is using what I've got and is supplementing it with words that I didn't even know I still remembered. It is remarkable. 

Monday we had a few small miracles occur. After eating supper we hitched a ride with the Spanish Elders, who were planning to work and area just a few miles from our apartment. We got out of their car about 8pm. Our intent was to simply walk back to our apartment and talk to whoever might happen to be outside on the way. On our way back we were prompted to knock on a particular door, which we obeyed. Please keep in mind two things that make this a miracle: 1- It is after dark, and 2- nobody answers their door after the sun goes down. Not only did the woman answer the door, but she was willing to talk, perhaps because she had talked with missionaries about 8 years previously. We left her with a copy of the Book of Mormon, which she said she would look into. She also asked us to come by again today at about 4. We continued walking and ran into some other less-actives we are working with just walking the streets. We were invited inside and were able to teach again about what the Book of Mormon is and how it can strengthen our faith in Christ. Randomly the Elders from Mountain Home, AR (outside of our mission) called about some information on a referral we had sent about a month previously, and we had a great conversation there. One of them knew a missionary in this mission, and I was able to pass on a message for him. It was really cool.

Tuesday was District meeting with a focus on teaching in unity. Every time someone said "switch" the person speaking had to immediatly stop and let the other guy talk. It was fun, particularly when, since we were doing so well, the people we were 'teaching' started saying "switch" every 5 seconds, sometimes in the middle of a scripture referrence! It was crazy

Wednesday I got to split wood. It was great. I'd send the video, but it's kinda big. Sorry peeps! WE also got to teach D*** about prayer. It was solid! Dinner with the Dinsmore's.

Thursday we helped Sister Casteel with some stuff in her yard, cleaning up some large limbs that broke off of a massive tree next to her house. Can anyone say "health hazard?" I got to use a large ax again. It made my day. #SimplePleasures

Friday we had the privilege of teaching the E*** family again, this time about the Word of Wisdom. It went for a very long time, but was good. WE were also able to see S*** and B*** and help them get more ready for coming to church in the future. That morning I also crashed hard-core. I took an hour nap right after studies to help me focus on the rest of the day. Three-and-a-half hours later I woke up. This is getting crazy; I've not been this tired my whole mission!

Saturday not a whole lot happened other than trying to help various investigators we have not do stupid things and go to jail. We also had to help another part-member family realize that just because one person wants to go to church and the other doesn't is not a good grounds for divorce! *sigh* The work goes on! (We helped get both things cleared up btw...)

Sunday we found another Hispanic man who had recently moved in, and again sent him over to the Spanish Elders. He lives right next to another one of our investigators, so maybe they'll be able to fellowship each other into the church! I love it when that happens! We had two people to church, D*J*and his brother. We wrapped up the day with dinner at the Chandler's, an awesome family with 8 kids, all of whom have names that start with the letter 'K'. It was oodles of fun! Lastly all three sets of Elders got to help teach the youth at a missionary-themed fireside. Elder Price and I taught on how we can tie just about every conversation and question back to our belief in Christ and the Book of Mormon. It was awesome!

All in all, things are going well. I am happy and loving it here in Jonesboro. This is Elder Hamblin's last Pday with the rest of us, and we will be sad to see him go. Elder Price and I want to compose a "Trunky Song" to sing to him just before he heads for the Mission Home. I know he will enjoy it.

I also realize that this email isn't nearly as short as I had thought it would be. Perhaps next time I will type more of it up in advance! Lol.

Life is good! God loves us! This is His work! Remember who you are and that you are wonderful in God's eyes!

~Elder Barker

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