Thursday, December 14, 2017

The Final Weekly (Dec 13)

Hello everyone! 

This week was incredible! I can not believe my mission will be over and I’ll be home in a few days. I’ve had a few people ask which area/part of my mission/companion was my favorite. Since is hard to choose favorites, I wanted to share why I loved each area!

Athens with Sister Blaser! Being trained here by Sister Blaser was the best. The bottom corner of the mission down in the Appalachia. The rolling hills. The green trees that we got to see change in the fall. Biking millions of miles on the bike path. Rednecks, hippies, farmers, druggies, and everything in between. Ohio University, one of the highest ranked party schools in all of Ohio. The tiny ward that was barely not a branch. All our tender mercies and funny moments. Athens has a special place in my heart. 

Powell with Sister Bohner for her last transfer, then training Sister Flora! One of richest areas in the mission. Middle of winter. The freezing rain! Christmas treats from every member because they loved us. All the kind people in their giant homes. The matching lights on everyone’s trees. Experiencing miracles even in a “hard area.” Biking in the snow just for fun.

Marysville with Sister Hansen then Sister Hall! Marysville is the town of miracles. I spent all three transfers here in awe at God’s preparations that he had done here. Spring time. When it started to warm up. The battles with the Bible Baptist Church. Country and farm land and run down in town. Mill valley with a member on every street. Honda! Everyone there worked at Honda. Laughing every second of every day with Sister Hansen. Meeting my best friend and soul sister, Sister Hall. President Daines told us we were companions before this, in the pre earth life. 

OSU with Sister Andersen, Sister Johnson, Sister Edmunds, and Sister Harisay. This place is a whole different mission. Oh man I loved it here. 8:00 dinners. Saturday night football games means Saturday night weekly Planning. Parties starting Thursday nights. Riding the COTA!! Being able to always be talking to someone. Relating to people my age. The Dabbs. Finding miracles in the dumping rain and humid heat with Sister Andersen. Being with Sister Johnson for her last transfer. The trio! Follow up training Sister Edmunds after I took her on a crazy exchange a few weeks before. Being with Sister Harisay who helped us not be too crazy! So many incredible friends made there.

Riverside finishing Sister Herrera’s training. Being in the ward with people I know. Fulfilling my dream of a bike area. Biking in the snow and horrible wind. Finding a ton of new investigators and leaving with a stacked area book. Living next to “little Provo” where half the ward lives. Being with a million young married couples and getting life advice from them.


This week I had the wonderful opportunity to go to the temple twice. Once with the other missionaries who are leaving this week, and the other time to be Bianca’s escort. It was so amazing both times. I love Bianca and I’m so proud of the progress she’s made since I met her last year :). 

I am so thankful for the time I got to serve in The Great OCM. This place is very special to me and my memories are dear. I have loved getting to know my Savior by feeling the love He has for people, reading the Book of Mormon, studying His life, understanding the plan which He’s central to, feeling His spirit guide and protect me, and spending countless hours on my knees in prayer. 

God is real. Jesus Christ is our Savior. The Book of Mormon is true. This is the church of Jesus Christ. The experiences I had on my mission are priceless. I would not trade it for the world. Deciding to serve and accept my call was he best decision I have ever made. If you’re considering going on a mission, do it. It will change your life. It changed mine. 

I’m scared to come home but I trust that God has a plan. I’ll see you all soon! If you’re a missionary, I’d love to keep hearing from you! Send me your weekly emails at Email me personally too, I will email back! If you know what a 74 update is, watch for that soon. 

I love you all! Thanks for your love and support that carried me through my mission. I could literally feel your prayers. 

Thank you. 


Sister Barnes. 

Helping a random man put up his lights. We rode by and had an awkward 15extra minutes before dinner. He said yes when we offered to help. 
the whole gang 
We wrote light the world in the snow
Steve came to church and he’s my favorite human. A small child took this HQ pic
The Gulkers
We were far from home and didn’t want to bike up a billion hills. We caught the bus and I almost cried to be on a COTA again. 
Our district caroled at a nursing home. 
No hands on this cool bridge over the freeway
Ohio or Snowhio?

Monday, December 11, 2017

#LightTheWorld (Dec 6)

Hello everyone!

We had a good week. We had a lot of fun starting up the #LightTheWorld initiative. I love Christmas, I love that everyone loves Christmas, and I love that people love us during Christmas! We've been trying to be good at posting stuff on Facebook for the initiative, check out my page to see some of the stuff we've done!

Something that was really fun was being able to see some of my friends from Powell! Sister Hunter and Sister Rappleye took us to lunch on Thursday at the north market, a huge indoor market place with food from all over the world! It was really fun to catch up, I love them!

Everyone has been super awesome lately. I'll tell you about our progressing investigators:

J. is doing awesome. He's the guy we met in the middle of a rain storm. At first he was just wanting us to come to tell him what we believe, now he is starting to make changes in his life! He loves the Book of Mormon and is still perfectly prepared. His fellowship is doing awesome at inviting him to church, Book of Mormon classes, and activities.

S. is young man we met last weekend. His dad was a potential who we were trying. He wasn't there, his wife wasn't interested, and she was about to close the door. Then she said, "wait, my 16 year old son might want to talk to you!" Then she ran to the back of the house and said, "S., want to talk to the Mormons?" And he said, "YEAH!" And we taught him the restoration on the doorstep. We had another lesson on Monday and he's great. He had a lot of historical questions from his friend who he talked to. (I think his "friend"'s name is 'the internet', haha). We answered those, read some from the Book of Mormon with him, and he is so excited! We need some young men in the ward so he's perfect.

St. is a sweet almost retired man who is so open to the gospel. We went back for our return appointment and before we could even begin, he said he read the pamphlet, that he is way excited to talk to us, and that he plans on coming to church this Sunday. He's a champ! We have a church tour with him tomorrow.

A. is the 10 year old in the part member family. We had a great fun lesson with them last night about obedience. We played a card game with no rules and simon says. Teaching kids is fun. His little brother is starting to get into the lessons too!

Our referral from the assistants is doing great. She has been doing missionary work for us and was excited to tell us that her friend, who she talked to about the Book of Mormon, found a 99 cent copy in a thrift store. We have a chapel tour with her tonight :).

Wow, that was just our progressing investigators! I want to you about a few more miracle people:

S&C are in the gold mine of an apartment complex. There are so many prepared people there, and it's never been knocked! We spend a few hours every week going door to door to find people. We started a fun game to keep things interesting. Almost everyone has a door mat that has some sort of saying,  "hello!" "Welcome" "home" or other random things. We take turns being the one to take lead, and whoever's turn it is, has to say what's on the door mat as the first thing we say. It was my turn and we were at a door that had a mat that said "love, it's all you need." We were laughing at it and thinking about how awkward it would be to say right when the open the door. First knock, nothing. Second knock, nothing. We were about to walk away and I was happy I didn't have to say "love, it's all you need" to a stranger. Right then, they opened the door! I said something dumb probably (I don't remember what) but it worked out well because we all laughed, they let us in, and they were extremely interested in the Book of Mormon and in coming to church! Yay!

K. was a self referral. We finally met him a few days ago and asked how he heard about the church. He said he has friends who are Mormon and he wanted to know more. So he went to, chatted with missionaries online, and requested us to come visit him and bring a Book of Mormon! He is awesome

Things are going great! The cold weather is coming right in time for us to be back on bikes..yay! The member who was fixing my bike got it all in shape for the last week of my mission haha.

This week and next have some fun things in the plans! We get to go to the temple with my friend Bianca from Powell and OSU. I get to be her escort :'). I have my departing interview on Monday, departing temple trip on Tuesday, then packing all pday, transfers Thursday, and home Friday.. ah. I'm starting to get nervous but i just feel like it's another transfer that I'll be getting moved to a new area.

I love being a missionary! Don't forget to #LightTheWorld.


Sister Barnes

The north market
The district by the cute nativity by the temple
This was on someone's house.
The scariest frosty I've ever seen

Friday, December 1, 2017

I hope I didn't give your dog a concussion (Nov 29)

Hello everyone!

It was a good week.

I'll start with my shining moment. We were talking to this guy as he propped open his door. We were having a super awesome discussion until his tiny little wiener dog ran out. He was like ah crap, he is going to run away! So I grabbed him to be the hero. All was great. Until I started to put the dog back inside. It was an awkward angle to put the dog through the screen door and into the regular door. I ended up accidentally banging the dog's head against the door frame. It made the loudest "BANG" sound I've ever heard. Hahahaha it was so incredibly embarrassing and I felt so bad. The dude said the dog was fine, I sure hope so! Nothing like first impressions with the Mormons, right?

Thanksgiving was fun, holidays are special on a mission. This year we all got permission to participate in a turkey bowl (football) for up to 2 hours. We played with 2 wards and a bunch of missionaries, it was SO FUN! We had district meeting afterwards. Later in the day we had thanksgiving dinner with the newly called bishop and his family! I thought I'd make it another thanksgiving without having to talk about dating. ... I was wrong! They had some extended family over from a near by ward and the first thing they talked to me about was going home to BYU and them wanting me to meet their son
😕 it was super awkward but oh well! I still love their family!

We went to the Catholic mass with an investigator. It was kinda scary but it was cool. She came to church with us afterwards. She was amazed at how much we learned and how much interaction there was and how happy everyone was. Go figure?

I wanted to share a cool experience this week that is a testimony that angels are around us. We were biking on a pretty dark and fast road. We were going uphill and it was around a big curve. There wasn't a bike lane so we were on the edge of the road along the white line. Everything was fine until the cars stopped coming and it was dark. Our skimpy bike lights weren't enough to see the road. I was in front and my front tire went off the road and onto the gravel on the side. There was probably a 6 inch height difference from the road to the gravel. I regained control of my bike for a second, but when I turned to get back onto the road, my tire wouldn't go up. I ended up losing balance and fell off my bike onto the busy one lane road. Sister Herrera was close behind and by the time she saw what was happening, it was too late. She ran into me and rolled over me and my bike. We layed in the road for like .02 seconds when a car came from around the corner. I grabbed Sister Herrera and shoved her off the road, then I yelled, "our bikes!" and we were able to grab them and pull them off the road right in time. The bike I was borrowing (mine is at a member's getting the brakes worked on) got a little damaged and I had to carry it up the rest of the hill to a light where we could work on it. Thankfully we were able to fix everything on our own and it works good as new. The only physical damage was done to my tights (RIP) and a relatively small bruise and scrape on my knee. God was watching out for us in so many ways! Don't worry mom, we only have one more week of biking.

We have had some cool things happen because of Facebook!

We had a referral from the Assistants. We contacted her last week and taught part of the restoration. She asked so many awesome questions and is super ready for the gospel! She asked things like, "how do I pray?" "Where do I get a Book of Mormon? We looked at a second hand book store and couldn't find it, do we need to order it online?" "Does your church do baptisms?" And so on. After our lesson, she posted this on Facebook: "Ahhh such a cool experience with my lady missionaries." It's been about a week and so far she's had only positive reactions to it!

Then another.

There was a lady we met a few weeks ago who we had a nice discussion with. She wasn't interested but was really nice. Fast forward to yesterday : we were following up with a potential and ended up meeting a former instead. These two ladies are friends and the one had seen that the other posted something really kind about our visit on Facebook. It softened her heart and prepared her for us to come today and start teaching her again!

Don't you love when people do online proselyting for you? This is what Facebook is supposed to do!

In my setting apart, there were a lot of really cool promises. I looked through notes from it the other week and saw that almost all of them have been fulfilled! In fact, there was only one that I wasn't sure of happening so far. The notes said something like this: "as you go about, you will have many others on the other side who will accompany you in the work. Recognize that you are working with them. You are the mouth piece, and they provide a source of power." I prayed that I would be able to have an experience where I can recognize this. A week or two later, we were looking for an apartment number that we could not find anywhere. We saw a guy walking around outside and asked if he knew where it was. He was just visiting his daughter so he didn't have a clue, but he called her out from inside to show us where it was. She was super nice and helpful! We got talking about her faith and she said they're working on it. Her mom came out and brought her a jacket because it was cold. Her mom looked at me and asked the daughter who I looked like. She said she was trying to figure it out. Then her mom said I looked like Monica, her sister who passed away 2 years ago. They were almost in tears as they stared at me for a kind of awkward minute or so. I could feel the power that came from the other side, it was amazing. We talked about the plan of salvation and where her sister is. They loved it and have actually been working on their faith. We will be back! I love that God fulfills ALL His promises.

I love being a missionary and being in Ohio! Today we got to go to COSI (center of science and industry) with one of my all time favorite member families from Marysville, the Cottles! It was a super cool science museum!

My weeks left are few, mark your calendars for my homecoming talk!
Sunday December 17th at 9:00 am
1122 Grand Ave, Provo, UT

Sister Barnes


(And if you knew Elder and Sister Dabb from campus, their homecoming
talk is at 1:00 on December 31st at 1282 W 1875 N, Farmington, UT,
spread the word!)

His was our our thanksgiving meal!
The district
All the missionaries who played in the turkey bowls
Thanksgiving dinner!
The temple
St Andrews
Basic mission pic
I lifted a car (thanks to some levers and stuff)

"Your Apartment is Flooding" (Nov 22)

Hello Everyone!

This week was great. I loved the zone conference we had with Elder Dyches from the Seventy! I learned so much. I feel like I'll never become the kind of missionary I want to be, there is always something to improve on! I am excited to keep working hard the last few weeks of my mission.

This week missionary work wise was fantastic. We met some really cool people! I'll update you on a few people. J is the coolest guy ever. We met him one of my first days here. He has so many great questions! We had a lesson with him on Sunday and he is one of he most prepared people I've ever met. Yesterday we sent a text to follow up on his reading and he said he's read a bunch and was preparing to read again that evening! He's the best. We also met with a part member less active family. Within two visits we were able to find out why she's less active and got her permission to start teaching her and her SEVEN kids about the church. Two of them have been baptized, two of them are over 8 and haven't been baptized, and all seven of them have a burning desire to come to church. They are so cute. A few of them wanted to pretend to be missionaries. They borrowed my name tag and I got a picture with them.

We found this awesome apartment complex. We were driving out of our apartments one day and spotted a few buildings pretty close to us. We checked it out and they are gold. The street doesn't even exist on a map yet and they have never been touched by missionaries! People who live there are mostly students who recently graduated from OSU. I was so happy to be around college aged kids again I almost cried. There is a ton of potential in there, and we've already started teaching a few people there!

On Saturday we raked leaves with the ward. It was fun and we got a cool "light the world" video to get ready for the initiative! We had a prompting to keep the rakes in the car. That night we were driving home for dinner and saw an old man struggling to rake his leaves. We quickly pulled off on the next street and ran over, rake in hand, ready to work! We asked if we could help as we were already starting to take. He was so thankful and he and his wife were so impressed. We will be stopping by again soon.

One of the weirdest days ever was Monday. Some Elders called us saying they had a weird favor. They used to be teaching this one lady who called them asking if she could join them for a day. She earned herself some community service hours and wanted to help the missionaries! Since she's a girl and they're Elders, they can't have a girl with them all day. So they called us. Not sure why us, there are several sisters way closer to their area. Oh well. So we were like okay cool this will be an adventure. So we get ahold of her and she meets up with us a little later. She was just super weird and seemed pretty off. We had a companionship study where she ended up telling us why she was in prison. We went to contact some potentials and she would look through people's windows to see if they were home. When people would talk to us, she would abruptly cut in and ask, "would you mind providing your contact information so we can get ahold of you that way?" And people would just stop talking to us haha. She had good intentions so it was hard, but it was just weird. After very single interaction with anyone she would correct things we did or said and tried to tell us a better way to do missionary work. We were like oh k thanks. We were riding in her car and there were people honking at us all day. I didn't think much of it until some lady pulled up and made us roll the window down. She said the brake lights were out and we were going to get ourselves killed. She just said k thanks then explained to us that the humidity in Ohio got in them so you just can't see the lights, but that they work perfectly fine. Comforting, huh?! Both Sister Herrera and I had an uneasy feeling about keeping her with us until 9 that night, so we came up with a plan. While she was talking to someone in a nursing home, we stepped aside and called our district leader. We explained that we were in a situation that we needed them to call at a specific time to bail us out. So they did. They told us our apartment was flooding and we needed to get back immediately and it would probably take the rest of the day to clean up. We apologized to this lady and asked her to take us home right then. So the Elders bailed us out and we're never going to spend the day with a criminal again. What an experience

I've been trying not to think about going home too often, but the other day I was reflecting on my mission and how great it's been. I was remembering back to before I left and how inadequate I felt. I was also remembering how it never really "hit me" that I was going on a mission. Not when I started my papers, not when I got my call, not when I got set apart, not when I got to the MTC, not when I got to Ohio, not when I got to my first area, and still not even now. It was weird for me to look around and see people freaking out like, "oh my gosh! We're missionaries! I feel so great!" And I was there not feeling very different at all. I wondered if something was wrong with me or if I wasn't worthy or supposed to be here. I never really doubted that, but I just didn't feel anything new. Then this week I FINALLY realized it. The reason why it never "hit me" that I was a missionary was because I didn't change into a completely new person. Putting on a name tag wasn't putting on a costume to be someone I'm not. Being Sister Barnes doesn't mean I'm not Emily. The main difference is my purpose and what I'm striving to do. There are spiritual things and other aspects of my life that have been effected by this. I am still me, but a more refined and better me. Why? Because I'm living the gospel for the first real time ever. I am beginning to understand the plan of salvation which causes me to have a desire to fully obey all of the commandments. I have "no more disposition to do evil, but to do good continually." I am happy because I'm living the gospel. I have the spirit more abundantly with me. And you know what's cool? It never has to dull, slow down, or go away. My mission will not be the spiritual peak of my life. It's the start of a life long journey that I am on. I love being a missionary. I'll miss being called and set apart to be inviting and helping people come unto Christ full time, but the good news is it won't just stop! It'll just be in different ways. I'm nervous but starting to get excited to see how that all plays out.

Life is good! I'm excited for thanksgiving this week. We have had so many people offer to have us over, it's wonderful! We were also given a turkey and it's currently cooking in the oven. We got stuff for a huge thanksgiving feast which we'll enjoy together later today. Happy thanksgiving! Be thankful!

Sister Barnes

We got Ohio hats
Zone conference
Part of my posterity... I trained sister flora who trained sister Mayhew who trained sister Herrera who I'm follow up training, and sister Mayhew is follow up training sister Jensen. Just missing my other baby Sister Edmunds who I follow up trained last transfer!

Monday, November 20, 2017

Frosty Tights (Nov 16)

Hello Everyone!

Sorry I said pday would be Monday, there were some scheduling conflicts and it's actually today! We will be meeting Elder Dyches at a zone conference tomorrow.

We had a great week. We were on bikes and it was quite the fun! It was kind of a hassle getting rides for lots of things, but thankfully it all worked out! While on bikes, we just kinda freeze and travel time takes forever, but it's fun! One night it was raining and it wasn't super cold at first. We just took our light rain jackets. It ended up getting super cold super fast and I had a layer of frost on my tights. The rain had splashed so much that they were wet, then it froze! Haha I definitely have a cold now. 

We had a cool lesson with a guy. He was a referral from some members who are in dental school with him. We gave him a chapel tour and he was asking questions as if he was planning on getting baptized soon. We have another lesson with him on Saturday!

We had a cool contact a few days ago. We knocked on this door and a lady opened up right away. She looked at us and asked, "Mormons?" And we happily said, "yeah!" Then surprisingly, she said, "then come on in!" She's a new investigator now. She's struggling with some recent life things but said "I am very open to Mormon beliefs now." God has a hand in His work! We're excited to see where she goes.

Who remembers my bus driver friend? Well we've still been teaching him over Facebook messenger and he has been making a ton of progress! He's also the most kind and generous guy ever and bought us some goodies from Costco and a turkey for thanksgiving! Haha we are super excited to cook it next week.

Things have been fun. We've been using our biking travel time to memorize D&C 4, the mission song, and other fun things. My favorite night was when it was really cold and really rainy and we were biking down this huge busy road. We were singing the mission song at the top of our lungs and were filled with joy! It was a blast. I never thought I'd be so happy in such a situation haha.

Love you all,

Sister Barnes

Pedicures for Sister Hall's bday last week
What we look like... haha and we wonder why people don't like talking to us
Upper Arlington!
Rollin through the hoods
When it's cold but you have to wear a helmet

Last stop: Riverside (Nov 8)

Hello Everyone!!

My last transfer will be in Riverside! It covers part of the town called Upper Arlington. It's super close to campus and the temple and stuff, it's awesome!! After 9 months I have been released as a sister training leader and I'm follow up training Sister Herrera! She's from Caldwell, Idaho. She is AWESOME! She has such a positive attitude and is so willing to do whatever God asks. So. Sister Herrera was first trained by Sister Mayhew. Sister Mayhew was trained by Sister Flora. Sister Flora was trained by..ME! So, with the "family trees" with training/mom's/grandmas/etc. Sister Herrera was my great granddaughter and now she's my daughter! So our family line is a little messed up but hey, they kept us in the family.

I am very excited and know that it's very inspired for me to be in Riverside with Sister Herrera in the district we're in. I'll explain a few reasons why.

SISTER GARLICK! She's the girl I knew from her mission in Nauvoo and at BYU. Guess what Ward she's in? Riverside! She lives in the apartments right next to ours. We decided God knows we need each other on our missions!

One of my sister training leaders is one of my favorite companion/missionary/friend/person of all time. Sister Hall! We were blessed to go on an exchange on Monday and it was so good. She is such an amazing missionary and we worked super hard together and it brought back so many of our good memories from Marysville. Wow, it was just great. I literally cried tears of joy when we started the exchange!

I always begged President Daines to put me in a biking area. Well, he never did, but he must've told God or something.. cause I'm here now! I'm seriously so excited to be biking half the time!! It makes everything more fun. We have what's called a car share. We have a car one week and the Elders have it the other. I'm so excited haha

We're starting to pick up the work a lot! It's been pretty slow the last few months. We've already found several new investigators and helped get a part member family to church that Sisters have been trying to get for a while!

That's about all for this week! I miss campus and it's been a weird adjustment going back to a real area haha. It's been fun though. Next week we have a general authority coming to do a mission tour so our pday will be on Monday next week. All the other weeks it will be on Wednesday!

Love you all!

Sister Barnes


Bye trio :(
Giant leaves and my third baby/great grandbaby

Friday, November 3, 2017

Keepin it real (Nov 1)

Hello Everyone!!!!

Tomorrow marks the first day of my last transfer. It will also be my first day in a new area. I'm being six week shafted for the final weeks of my mission! I can't believe it, I'm going to miss campus so much.

The past week and a half have been incredible. There were like 100000000 highlights so I'll share short bits of just a few of them.

We had MLC and learned more about the sacrament. We also all got President Stratford tshirts. It was fun to see lots of my good pals :)

I took Sister Skeen on an exchange. This is her first transfer and she is amazing. We gave a guy a card and were explaining what was on it. He was looking at the card, not where he was going, and got like 4 inches away from ramming his face into a giant screw on a pole. Haha it was funny.

We met lots of athletes this week. A football player is a new investigator. A soccer player stayed close while a creepy man was talking to us. The soccer player is a freshman and is going to come to church whenever he doesn't have an away game.

OSU played Penn state and had a major comeback and won by one. We didn't watch of course but just imagine how crazy the whole campus was. Before he game started we helped this guy carry a bunch of stuff. We got to walk right by the stadium through all the tailgating. It was incredible.

It snowed. I almost cried.

We met a crazy man named ice cream on the bus. He said his name was ice cream, different flavors for different neighbors. All eyes on cream! He gave us folded up papers and said he wanted us to have them. They're pictures of himself haha.

J. agreed to read the Book of Mormon every day for a month. As incentive, a recent convert promised to ask a girl out from the ward if she does it. I love YSA wards.
Our friendly bus driver took us to dinner again. He was asking about his cousin who is now a member. He asked if we have the wear the "keep it real" rings. We were like huh?? He meant CTR rings. I like the idea of a  KIR ring lol.

L. has been progressing amazingly well. I am going to miss her so much! She has quickly become one of my best friends. She came to church and loved it. We've been teaching her at least twice a week since we met.

K. is great. She has had questions her whole life about random stuff. She never has had them answered. She brought them to us and we've been able to answer some! I just love her! She's planning a trip for Summer 2019 when Sister Edmunds and I will be in Utah.

P. kinda tried to drop us. We invited him to dinners and church and everything and he still came. He loves the church. He can't get away!

Short and sweet but it's all I have time for. I'll know where I'm going tomorrow and I'll email next week! Remember, pday is always on Wednesday now! Cheers to my last transfer!

Remember God loves you!

Love, Sister Barnes

The final district pic
It's cold out. We use foot warmers for our hands
When we got to go by the stadium on game day

ROTC Brutus