Monday, October 24, 2016

Transferred to Powell

Sister Barnes and Sister Bohner
Pumpkin carving zone activity
Hey everyone!

Not a ton has happened since last time I emailed, except transfers! First, I will update you about Athens. We got doubled out because elders were getting double in, we were the last Athens sisters.

We spent our last day in Athens visiting lots of members and people that we know. It was sad to say goodbye to everybody there. But I was very excited to see what God had in store for the people of Athens and for me!

I have been transferred to Powell! The mission president, President Daines, and his family are in the ward. It is kind of weird to be so close to everything. The big Columbus Zoo is in our area. Everyone here is so rich. There are no more trailer homes.. Haha. Everyone is probably billionaires and all have mansions. The area takes like 10-15 minutes to get from one end to the other. It's tiny tiny compared to Athens!! The tech elders are in the ward too haha. Our apartment is way nice, we even get wifi. We are so spoiled here it's awesome :)

My new companion is Sister Bohner. She's from a super small town in Nevada called Yerington. She is 22! This is her last transfer. She is so cool. Super gorgeous and a really hard worker. We already get along so well and have awesome unity! Adjusting to the new companionship has been pretty easy! She was also trained in Athens so we get to connect with a lot of the memories we have from there. I have been BLESSED with my companions so far. I'm so thankful for Sister Laidlaw, Sister Blaser, and now Sister Bohner!

Now the people in Powell! They really love dinner. No matter what time in the evening, 6-9, they are ALWAYS just sitting down for dinner ;). Haha. But yeah, everyone is super duper busy and are super involved with their kids and work and basically everything rich people do? The smallest house I've seen here is basically a mansion in Athens haha.

The really only investigator we have is a lady in her early 60s and within the past 3 years has become almost completely blind. She first reached out to the sisters about six months ago when her basement flooded and she needed help. The sisters have been doing service with her and have taught her all of the lessons a few times. She is still progressing towards baptism but is afraid to make that step. I'm excited to keep working with her and see what miracles we can bring.

There are a bunch of less actives here. We have been asked by the ward to reach out to them, so that's what we've been doing! One of the biggest miracles happened a few days ago with Brother Goodson. He was super involved in the church earlier in his life but over time decided the church wasn't true. Super tough story. From what I have heard, he has had a very tough past with the church and missionaries and members trying to talk with him. Somehow God's timing was perfect and we were able to have a good discussion with him and find out some of his concerns. We also got to schedule an appointment to try to talk about the gospel more and help him regain the testimony that he once had. We are super excited to see the progress we can make there too!!

Well, that's all for this week! I love you all. Thanks for all the prayers, love, and support! 
-Sister Barnes 

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Once an Athens sister, always an Athens sister

Fruit called hedge apples - only good for ruining lawn mowers

Trees! The whole leaf filled county is beautiful like this

 Hello everyone!

This week was awesome. So much happened, I don't even know where to start. Hm I'll just make a list of a few of the funniest and coolest stories that happened:

-Monday we went to our ward mission leader's farm and helped his daughter slaughter a goat. She is the coolest person ever. It was super cool and I was stoked about it all! We were involved in the whole process... Pasture to freezer! They use it for food. 

-Tuesday at 5 am we milked cows for a potential investigator. It took 3.5 hours to milk 98 cows! They have some cool machinery. No need to call me Sister Barnes... I'm Sister Farms now! Lol

-Last week we went to this random town called Doanville. Everyone knows everyone there and we did a different referral at each house and we basically went around an entire block. There was this one lady there. She was super drunk and just hilarious. She seemed interested so we decided to go back. She had read the pamphlet we left her with and remembered everything we told her before! She was drinking again the second visit but she loved having a conversation about God. Hopefully it sticks! We found out we're birthday buddies so we took a pic together haha. She told Sister Blaser that she has the prettiest smile. Then she looked at me and said "and you're pretty cool too" haha yes thanks

-There is a less active we've been working with that has been making a ton of progress! He hasn't been to church in decades. When I first got here, we challenged him to read the Book of Mormon again. He accepted with the condition that he would write down every concern he had and we'd discuss them when he finished! He finished within a few days but never pulled out his list of concerns. We've started teaching the lessons and the fire he had a looong time ago is starting to be rekindled! He loves his family so we thought it could be a fun idea to get him to do family history. We got him into it HARD! He blames us for his newest "addiction". Getting him involved at the church was awesome. He said he would be coming to church this coming Sunday!

-The leaves keep changing more and more! It's so so pretty down here. 

-Transfer news. Sadly both sister Blaser and I will be leaving Athens. We're getting doubled out. It's not what we expected at all. I'm so sad to leave this place. I am excited to see where God would have me go! Because of this change, I don't have a lot of time to email today. We have to pack, clean, make our rounds to say bye to a few people, and get everything ready for whoever is coming here next. I'll miss all the members, less actives, leaders, investigators, and everyone else I've met here. The people are wonderful!  God bless Athens.
That's all for now. Until next week!

Xoxo Sister Barnes

Monday, October 10, 2016

Happy Columbus Day from the Great Ohio Columbus Mission!!

Awkward district.. On Wednesdays we wear pink!! (I love my district we are all hilarious)
We got our flu shots!
Nightmare on......
Our guitar friend!

From our hike!
 Hi family and friends!
This week was great but it's been full of highs and lows. Mostly highs though!! I'll start with the bad news... M. decided he doesn't want to meet with us anymore. He expressed appreciation for our "nursing back to spiritual health" but he said he has been helped enough and now just wants to go back to being a baptist. We were really sad, but we know he will come around eventually. Whether it's here or in the spirit world. A member that has been an awesome fellowshipper for him has suggested that we call him in a month or so to see if he is still spiritually progressing. If he's not, we will help him recognize the influence the church has on his life. It's always sad losing someone solid, but it's okay. God opened a lot of doors...

So I guess I've never really tried fasting super whole heartedly, so I decided to try it out to see the results. One of the things I fasted for was to be able to find people who are prepared to receive the restored gospel and be willing and ready to make and keep commitments. We started our fast after lunch for convenience purposes and got to work. We went to Chauncey, a small town about 2 miles from our apartments. We drive through it pretty often, but we haven't ever stopped in to meet anyone. From what we could see, it was a ghetto little place that is just run down and full of hicks. During our weekly planning the week before, we were praying to see who we could ask for referrals. We thought of a fairly recent convert and decided to go see him. He was the reason we decided to go to Chauncey in the first place. As soon as we parked, we talked to a couple who was interested in learning more. We instantly found that Chauncey is actually super cute and full of fun happy families :):):). When we visited the recent convert, he gave us a few referrals and even introduced us to one of them. Almost each of these people we were able to teach were touched by the spirit and invited us back to teach more. We followed our plans and went to tract on a random street in Chauncey. There is a family there who is also so prepared for the gospel. We're excited! The last thing in Chauncey was following up with a former investigator. This guy had moved, but his brother was here. His brother wasn't particularly interested, but he gave us a few referrals around him to contact! We talked with them and both the super cool old guy and the cute young family were excited to hear about the gospel and set up a return appointment to hear more. We have six return appointments in Chauncey for next Saturday, we are so excited! Every person we taught a quick lesson to was willing to let us come back to share more, So thankful God responded to our fast and blessed us immediately. I'm excited to see how all of the return appointments go next week!

W. (the guy that watched general conference) is still awesome!! So this week I was looking through the notes mom took during my setting apart and saw some cool things I wanted to more fully activate. One of these things was to not hesitate to call down blessings from heaven. I had that in mind and went on through the day... We had a lesson with W. later that night that was so powerful. We taught him about God and His nature. He was mind blown that there was a being that loved HIM so much. We talked about prayer, which he had never heard of, and he was able to say a prayer with us. The spirit was so strong and he was stoked about a God and the church. After the lesson, Sister Blaser complimented something that I said to him. I guess there was a super specific promise I gave him regarding his schooling and success as he continues to put forth effort to learn about God and the gospel. I don't remember saying this or anything like it. I know God was using me as a mouthpiece to promise blessings to him! Since then, I've been making an effort to promise specific and sincere blessings to people and it's been really cool. W. came to church yesterday and is planning to go to institute on campus this week! Yay! We will also have probably two lessons with him this week. 

We got to be on campus for a few hours on Tuesday! We met a bunch of cool people that still haven't texted us back... Haha campus missionary life. But we did meet this cool guy who loves music. His fave song to play is hallelujah so we asked him to play it for us. So he did! It was awesome and we had a cool conversation about God and talents. We also are starting to see some people we already know on campus. It's a test to try to remember their names without them realizing you forgot it haha.. But it's been fun. One dude is in a photo class and every time he sees us he asks to take pics of us to use for his class. Who knows what he does with them, but we make sure he can see our name tags so he kinda spreads the gospel that way. We're not sure how interested he is, but we are praying to find him again to share more about what we do and hopefully get him baptized and stuff ;).

That's about it for highlights on investigators this week. Now on to more happenings! Tuesday we had interviews with President Daines! Him and Sister Daines came to our apartments and we had the interviews in our extra room. It was kinda funny cause I was just in socks and we were in the apartment, but it was such a cool experience. President Daines is so inspired and knows exactly how to help me and the people in Athens!
Wednesday we walked with a man to family history night. He doesn't have a car and didn't come last time, so we decided to walk with him. He hasn't been to church in probably centuries (hahah) and he says this is as close as he's getting to the church for now. But he went to family history and love love loved it. He says he will come every week!! He's opening back up to the gospel :)

There's a lady in our ward who has pneumonia (actually we know like 6 people who have pneumonia in The Plains, what's up with that?!). We offered to help out with anything and she asked us to mow her lawn. Hahahahahahahahaha we did it Friday night in the dark (literally the only time we had time). We had to use a flashlight. Now the funniest part... Her house is on a HILL. Like maybe even a cliff. Jk not that bad but it was seriously insanely steep. Her and her husband (he's in a wheelchair so he can't do it either) just sat on their porch and laughed the whole time. We put on quite the show!! For people who have been to Nauvoo, it was even steeper than the pageant stage. Lol image shoving an old old huge lawn mower across and up this massive hill.. Haha fun times. 

We just went hiking for pday! Haha "hiking". There's a pretty trail called the ridges that goes to radar hill. We've heard tons about how cool and kinda tough it is. We got up to the top in 15 mins... But it was super pretty up top! Pictures will be included. I miss mountains, but this is as close as I will get for 18 months.. So I'll take it!!

Well, it's definitely fall in Ohio! leaves keep changing and it's getting colder. I already had to whip out my tights lol. Our apartment has been freezing and we checked the thermostat and it was 63 degrees! COLD. we had to turn on the heat today :'(. Humid cold is going to kill me. But apparently there's not much, if any, snow until like January. Then there's only ever like 2 inches around. So that's a relief. But it'll just be cold :(. We usually run in the mornings, and the last few days I've been able to see my breath. Pray I don't turn into a Popsicle soon.

Love you all!!
Sister Barnes

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Pawpaws and Rain

This is the mushy fruit pawpaws

Family and friends!
I love Athens so much. I'd be down to stay my whole mission! Idk if it's just a southeastern Ohio fall thing, but like 7pm-10 am are starting to always be FOGGY. Like, we can't see anything on the other side of our parking lot foggy. It's pretty cool, I wonder how long it'll last. It's also been starting to cool off a lot. we have to wear tights and jackets to stay cozy. I'm terrified for winter everyone says it's supposed to be brutal this year. 

I just realized I haven't talked a ton about what Athens is like. Let me tell you. So the city Athens is basically a college campus and the random neighborhoods and stores and woods that surround it. There are so many streets going every direction it's pretty nuts. I miss the Utah grid system haha. The students in Athens are so random. Imagine the super hippy earthy vegan people and make that everyone. There's the occasional super artsy or super nerdy people. Then of course the sorority and fraternity members! Haha it's a blast and a half. The locals are all like the students, just grown ups. And everyone has like 10 dogs and cats. We live in The Plains, a pretty small town about 10 minutes from Athens. There's basically nothing but woods between us and Athens. The Plains has 2 stop lights in the whole town, both on the only busy street in town, which is actually more of a highway that also leads to Athens. The Plains has a few random neighborhoods with decent sized houses and the rest are old falling apart houses or mobile homes. Very not what I'm used to haha. The people here are about like Athens, just more hillbilly hippy than straight woods hippy. We occasionally go to Chauncy, Buchtel, and Nelsonville. They're all major druggy hick towns. Haha the people there even say it. It's a blast. So basically we have all the random types of Appalachian people you could think of... Yay, I love it!!

Okay wahoo now for the events of the week!!
M. is obeying and living the word of wisdom. He kind of had a tough time last Sunday, but he started keeping his goals on Monday then by Tuesday he was not smoking any cigarettes. He has been using nicotine patches but took them off yesterday and wasn't even feeling the urge to smoke very much. We call him every night to check on his progress! We applaud him for his efforts and remind him of the blessings of keeping the commandments. We teach him regularly and have members at all of his lessons, it's extra powerful and he makes buddies! He has a very strong Baptist background and is having a kind of hard time adjusting to the calmness of our church.... He's used to the fire and brimstone type of preachers haha. He said General conference was kinda dry and lukewarm.... Lol but he says that he will adjust. He has had some concerns brought up throughout the week, but we have been able to direct him to God and the scriptures to help. He has been thinking a lot about his baptism on October 15 and is looking forward to it!! He says he's a little bit nervous and jittery but he thinks he's also excited. We know that we are so excited for him and that he will be ready by that date. We have a few more lessons to teach, but we will get them in! We love our backwoods redneck investigator!

We had an awesome zone training meeting! We are studying faith this month and focusing on diligent faith. We have been using the line from the women's session "fourth floor last door" for everything. We went less active hunting on Friday. There are a ton of less active members in our area book, so we wanted to find them and try to remind them of the love and joy they felt when they used to attend church. It was kinda cold and rainy. Of all the places we went, either nobody answered, the less active said they don't want to be called members of the church, or they moved and new people moved in and wouldn't let us say a thing. We were walking up a steep street to the last lady on our list for the evening. We found the house and found out she had moved. The girl that moved in is awesome. We got to teach her then and have a return appointment for next week. We're thankful we stuck it out and made it to the "fourth floor, last door."
There's this strange fruit that only grows in the southeastern Ohio area. It's called a pawpaw. You can see from the picture, the outside looks like a potato and the inside looks like mush. It is mush. It tastes kinda like a banana/mango but super tart and bitter and just not good. I recommend only trying pawpaws to say you've tried pawpaws haha. 

Here is a picture of our church building! We spent a lot of time here this week because of conference. We watched all the sessions in here! We had another investigator come to conference! He is a way awesome OU student. He recently moved here from China and has almost no knowledge of God. We are truly humbled to be able to teach him more about our loving Heavenly Father and his son, Jesus Christ. He loved the talk by President Nelson on joy! 

That's all for this week! I hope everyone is doing well at home! Congrats to Justin and Rachel for having their baby Lucy Grace Barnes... I'm an aunt! Thanks for the love and support. I feel the power of your prayers and pray for you every day! Love you all. 
Sister Barnes