Monday, January 11, 2016


Let's blitz through the week, shall we?

Monday was our awesome PDay. We got to spend time as a district playing Bang again and giving impromptu speech at the church building on topics that the other missionaries would assign. I got to try and give an inspirational/spiritual discourse on flamingoes. To make things even better we had someone in the background playing on the piano to make things sound even more epic. It was nice to get to just be goofy for a bit and laugh. Later that night we had supper with the Rougeau family eating hamburgers. It was super good. Afterward we went to try and visit a man named D*** and his family. It turns out they weren't even home, but we saw some of the other people we were teaching outside at the time, so we were able to go inside their home and visit with them instead! It was an awesome lesson, one where the Spirit completely directed us as to what we needed to say. The end result was him saying that he wanted to prepare for baptism! We are really excited to be working with this family.

Tuesday we were blessed with the opportunity to see J*** and his family again and talk more on finding answers to our prayers and on the principle of repentance. The question was asked by N*** "If I'm not living the Word of Wisdom does that make me a bad person?" Our answer was that it doesn't make her a bad person, but that living the Word of Wisdom is simply a commandment that the Lord needs and wants her to start living. Every person has sins and problems that they are working through, and because her biggest one right now is the Word of Wisdom does not make her any less valued or loved in the eyes of our Heavenly Father. We will be directly addressing what the Word of Wisdom is with J*** at a slightly later time. He already knows a lot about it, but we will be teaching it to him later. 

At the end of that night we got to go on splits with some of the members of the Ward up here. I went with Bro. Brent Rougeau to visit with Q***and a few others and correct many of the false teaching that their preacher has been feeding them about us. It was a fun lesson, especially because Bro. Rougeau really got into it. One thing that was surprising to me is that these good people belong to one of the largest baptist churches in Jonesboro, but for all it's size they teach their members that it is impossible for us to become joint-heirs of heaven with Christ and that it is impossible for us to ever become like God. Our thought was "then what is the point of existence? For us to just accept Christ and then stand around in a big circle singing glories for the rest of eternity? What sort of narcissistic god do you worship that he created us, his children, for the sole purpose for us to tell him how absolutely wonderful he is? The God I worship wants me to grow stronger and more like Him so I can be eternally happy, not live through this life so I can turn out to be a mindless heavenly robot with vocal chords." It made me so happy that I have an understanding of how the Plan of Salvation actually works, and that I'm not left to be confused about what the purpose of life actually is. Elder Smith had some success going teaching with J*** M*** also.

Wednesday we had our Zone meeting, where I gave my departing testimony. It was a surreal moment for me, since I had seen so many of my other zone members and friends stand up to give theirs, but it never actually occurred to me that it would some how happen to me!  Clearly I was to be the magical exception to the rule, the one who never went home, right? Yeah, didn't happen that way. Haha. Elder Schoenfeld, Sister Tester (missionary I served around when I was in Morrilton) and I all gave our testimonies. Elder Schoenfeld told me that Elder Lewis recorded it, so hopefully I can get a hold of it. Later that day we had a solid lesson with L*** right before Young Men's and also right after, because we are just that much cooler than playing football in the gym. Elder Smith was helping out over in the Family History Center after P*** and R*** showed up. It was a solid evening.

Thursday I got to be on exchanges with Elder Ceron. It was pretty solid and we got to teach lots of lessons that night..... All of which were in Spanish and I didn't really understand a whole lot. It did manage to contribute a little but when what I can do is put next to a native Mexican like Elder Ceron it doesn't do a whole lot. I'll keep working on it though.

Friday was fun because we got to essentially babysit Elder Schoenfeld while he was recovering from food poisoning from the night before. Just a bit of advice: Never eat the shrimp from a $10 Chinese Buffett when even the locals will avoid that restaurant, especially when the shrimp tastes old and kinda funky. It is also a good idea not to go and get a second plate of said shrimp. The words of my companion described his condition nicely, but alas they are not polite enough to put in an email to send over the interwebs. Let's just say it wasn't pretty and I left my bathroom fan on all day to try and get rid of the smell. We did get to eat two suppers that night though, one at the M***'s and another when we had a lesson with A*** over at the Church with the Julia Rougeau family (they brought pizza). We talked a lot about repentance and what it meant. The end goal is to help prepare A*** to go to the temple in a few months to do baptisms. 

Saturday it rained a whole lot and not a whole lot happened. We did some of our planning, and got to go to a jazz concert to support L*** in his performance (it was super awesome btw. The kid really knows how to play!), but that's about it. Sorry, kids!

Sunday really only got interesting after church. Bro. Schelin wasn't there because he was feeling really sick, so the correlation meeting after church was conducted be Elder Schoenfeld. Later we had lunch at the Spanish Elders' apartment before heading off to our appointments. F*** was going to drop us off at our apartment and we were on the road to go there and get our bikes when the bishop texted asking if we could fill the font for a baptism that was taking place that night for one of the member's kids. We figured our day was already kinda shot so we hung out at the church and made sure the water was nice and warm for them. While we were there we did a lot of work on the Area book, cleaning up records and adding information that we had neglected to add/that the app had randomly deleted. Afterward the other English Elders joined us for supper at our apartment. Elder Smith made chili dogs. Pretty good stuff. We had a great lesson with F*** over at A***'s that night also, again on faith and repentance, this time more for the benefit of R*** and P***. 

Then the crazy stuff happened. Our phone had been on silent since we had helped out with the baptism, because apparently it is considered rude to use personal electronic devices during spiritual moments like baptisms. Well, once we got out of the lesson with A*** we checked the phone and saw all sorts of missed calls and texts and such. One of the people we had been teaching, a man who had a baptismal date at one point, was in critical condition at the hospital with kidney failure and about 5 liters of fluid just in and around his right lung. One of the nurses said that he had become septic. According to the nurse we talked to in the SICU that means that pretty much his entire body had become infected. Anyway, his member daughter and the bishop's wife were both trying to get a hold of us to ask us to go and give him a blessing, so off we went well after we were supposed to be in our apartment. To make a long story short we get there, declaring ourselves to be ministers for the LDS church there to administer a blessing, and it was remarkable how they jumped to help make it happen, even after visiting hours were over.

I think that's just about everything. If you would like to know more about the week or have any questions please let me know! I love hearing from everyone!

~Elder Barker

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