Monday, August 22, 2016

Blessings on BLESSINGS!

Our district. We couldn't get a good smiling picture so we did this instead. And no, that's not my hand on Elder Hansen's shoulder......

Hello family, friends, and anyone else,

Another week has gone by already, what?! I honestly can't believe how fast time is flying by. People say the first few months on your mission go by suuuuper slow then the rest flies by. Well... If this is slow and it gets even faster, this will be over in no time! I really hope that's not the case though because I'm loving it and making the most out of every day- actually out of every situation!

This week was awesome. Our transfer goal was to work more with members. The bishop asked for us and the elders to strive to meet with every member of the ward before the transfer ends. This has been a big goal and I'm sad to admit that we didn't put into perspective how many people we needed to see the first few weeks, but we're picking up the pace and seeing BLESSINGS! I feel like we've been gaining the trust of the members and have been getting random referrals out of nowhere- we often don't even have to ask!! We're also getting members to do more work on their own. We've been discussing their "family mission plan" and setting short term goals that they can do soon. Even if it's as simple as praying for someone to reach out to. The members are awesome and super receptive to the idea, they're great. I'm excited to report on their experiences.. Of course we'll be following up! We're missionaries and that's what we do.

Miracles are everywhere. Sister Blaser and I budgeted for 4 Monday's this month... Not 5. So we're slightly short on MSF (I call it he missionary survival fund hahaha) but we're working with what we have and trusting in the Lord. As soon as we realized this, we've had people signing up to feed us and randomly calling us inviting us over for dinner. A less active lady we occasionally visit sent us home with a container full of soup that will last for a while. Isn't it amazing? The Lord provides when we're doing His work!! We didn't even have to beg for food. Everyone we've told this tender mercy to have told us to call if we ever even just get hungry and don't feel like making food. People are the best!!!!!!!!

Next miracle! So, we went on exchanges this week and it was AWESOME I love exchanges already. I was companions with Sister Lonnecker for a day. We did a lot of tracting which was new for me, we don't do a lot of that in Athens. We were also on bikes which as fun and normal for me. This was her first time riding her bike the whole year she's been on her mission, I can't believe it! It was way fun though. I told her about some fun ways to bike contact. When we tied up the bikes to do some tracting, we didn't think much of anything happening to them. When we got back and were riding away, Sister Lonnecker said "hey, how does my tire look?" And I said "" because the tire get detached from the rest of the wheel. We took it to the side of the road and took a look (neither of us know much about bikes, but I said a quick prayer to know what to do.) we texted the other sisters and said "sos bike" I instantly thought of friends and my dad back home that told me a little about how bikes work over the years. I saw that the tube was too big for the wheel and had been folded over by a previous owner. We ended up taking the air out of and readjusting the tube and making sure it doesn't bulge out any more, shoving the tire back into the wheel frame (no idea what that's called but it's the metal part of the wheel and it kind of acts like a frame), and pumping the tube back up while holding the tire part in place and not out of place. We got it fixed in just a few minutes and were on our way. We sent another text to the other sisters and said "jk I'm a straight g(for genius)" lol we're hilarious. But I know there's no way we would've figured that out without the simple guidance from Heavenly Father!

I've been working really hard on asking inspired questions during lessons. I've had some success that led to great conversation! First, one of our investigators was having a hard time understanding why our church is the only true church. He was talking about his life and everything going on when the spirit prompted me to ask him if he's happy. So I did! It was a simple question that opened him up and we were able to better discern his needs. It was awesome! Another experience with this was on exchanges. We were teaching a less active girl who was not opening up at all. I was inspired to ask the simple question if she'd ever gone to the temple. She immediately opened up and we were able to find some concerns and help address them. It was awesome! The Lord works in simple and inspired ways.

I had a really cool study on humility this week. I've had the goal for a little while to increase my confidence when I'm talking to people. Our District Leader, Elder Peterson, challenged us to do the activity on page 123 of Preach My Gospel. I did it on humility and found some really cool things that are going to help me a lot! I realized I don't necessarily have to increase my confidence in myself, I can increase my faith and confidence in the Lord and I'll just be able to get out of the way of His work progressing. I realized I can increase my humility by getting rid of my pride. The Spirit made the things very clear that I'm being prideful about. And I also received some insights on how I can get rid of those prideful thoughts and behaviors. They are super simple things that will get me closer to Christ. I'm excited to continue to exercise faith and do what it says in Jacob 2:26 "O that he would rid you from this iniquity and abomination. And, O that ye would listen unto the word of his commands, and let not this pride of your hearts destroy your souls!"

I love Athens, Sister Blaser, the ward members, the less actives we're meeting with, the investigators that are teaching me so much, the funny people we talk to on the street, and basically everything. The only exception is the vicious mosquitos. But hey, no area can be perfect so Athens needs some sort of fault! The college students are coming back to start school tomorrow! We're excited to hit that place up here pretty soon when things settle down. Good luck to everyone who recently started school or are starting real soon!! I can't say I'm jealous at all.

I'm emailing SO early today because we have a mission activity somewhere pretty far away. I'm so excited! It sounds like it'll be tons of fun.

I love the work!! Thanks to everyone for all the awesome support.

Sister Barnes

PS invite the missionaries in your area over for dinner or bring them lunch/snacks. They will love you and you'll be blessed. I promise ;).

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