Sunday, September 10, 2017

School is Back! (Aug 28)








Hello Everyone!

This was another good week! SCHOOL IS BACK! It is so so so fun to have SO many students around ALL THE TIME!!!

The mission activity was so fun. We played tug-of-war and lots of frisbee and sports and relay races and stuff. The sisters in our zone won the tug of war so I'm super pumped about that. I couldn't lift my arms for like 3 days but it was totally worth it. One of the things that made me happy is that S. is doing great! He had a super crazy first week of classes, but he was about to make to one of the Sisters' investigators baptism! After the baptism everyone was writing notes to the new member to congratulate her and bear their testimonies. The Sisters showed us what he wrote, "Hi M., congratulations on being baptized. I am a convert who is looking to be baptized and if yours is anything like mine, I will be very happy. I am so proud of you and I hope to become your brother in Christ soon enough!" AHH! That says it good enough! Sadly he wasn't able to make it to church because of some family things. The earliest he can be baptized is the 16th. Buuut that's the day of stake conference. So it may have to be the first week of next transfer. Or maybe during the week before transfers so it can happen before Sister Johnson leaves. We will see! He's great and I adore him.

God prompts us in weird ways. One day we were walking down 12th (the street the institute is on) and all the beer cans and red solo cup garbage stood out to me a lot more than normal. I had a small prompting to get some trash bags and pick it up. So we did. About 2 minutes into picking stuff up, a guy walked up and asked if he could help. We said sure! So he grabbed some supplies and we had a good time cleaning up the street and talking about religion. We were able to get his contact info and he wants to get involved with service projects associated with the church. He has a whole fraternity of friends who want to help with service! We're now working with the ward to get a service project set up. So we spent a while picking up trash but it found us someone cool.

Thursday I got to go on my fourth exchange with Sister Hansen. I've been her STL for 4 of her 5 transfers. It's the best. On the exchange, we experienced a lot of miracles. One of the biggest miracles was with a girl named T. She is a student and is so prepared. She said that her front door's open to religion and is just waiting for something to walk in. She doesn't know what it is that she's waiting for, but she knows that she's waiting for something. She has looked around at a lot of different churches and has not found one that she is able to feel is right. We were able to sit down with her on campus for a few minutes and talk with her. She is awesome!

President Stratford and the assistants FaceTimed the MLC to tell some exciting news. We have MLC this week and we're getting more info then so I'll tell you next week. Also we will be going to the temple next week for a (very belated) year mark trip for me. Pday will be on Wednesday.

Until then,
Sister Barnes





Pics
OSU district at the mission activity
The Elders' investigator Corrin came chalking with us
The District
Gretchen bought us ice cream
Exchanges and my fave bus driver Simon (pronounced sha-moan)
Hilary Hodson! Family friend from Nauvoo. I found out she moved here
and was working on campus so we tracked her down
😊
Dada Empanada with Carey

Bananas from Heaven (Aug 23)









Hello everyone!

This week was so crazy and awesome!!

Tender mercies are real. So on Monday right after pday, guess who was on the bus?! It was so fun to see him and his changing heart. He is still struggling with deciding what to do for the transition, but he loves the marble cliff sisters and the ward there too. Then later that night we realized we forgot to eat dinner with the pday craziness. Right as we were talking about it we saw 2 perfect bananas on this ledge by a pretty busy building on campus. We sat down and worked on some stuff and watched to see if anyone was going to take them. We felt like it was manna from heaven so we snagged them and enjoyed a nice little snack.

Wednesday we had interviews with President Stratford. He told me some awesome and encouraging and humbling things. It's so cool to see God work through him.

Thursday I had exchanges with Sister Empey! We had a fun experience that morning. We persistently offered service for a few students who were moving in. Finally they let us help and it was fun.  We carried huge heavy boxes up a few flights of stairs. It was super hot and we were super sweaty but all the students involved said they would come to church sometime. It was great! We also helped a member organize her dorm room. There was no AC or fan and it was at least 100 degrees with 99% humidity in there. Haha we were dying and she almost passed out. But it was fun! That morning we got stuck in a contact on the bus and barely missed our regular stop. We stood up to wait for the next on and the driver kept slamming his brakes and it was a super bumpy ride. I almost fell over like 4 times. Then I was pushing the back door open to get out and I fell out of the bus. Haha pretty embarrassing but oh well
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Other random things
So many men are creepy. 

Bring a member and their dog contacting is the secret to getting people to talk to you. 
S. is doing great. We taught him the word of wisdom and the law of chastity in lessons this week. He is getting more and more excited for his baptism in a few weeks. He came to church and loved it! He stayed all 3 hours and soaked it all in.

Last night was way way fun. There was the involvement fair where thousands of new students come to get involved in clubs and other activities. There were booths set up and a billion people walking around everywhere. We got a bunch of members and coordinated with the ward mission leader to go on splits. So, we had 12 sets of missionaries out contacting for 2-3 hours. It was a blast!!! Just in our companionship alone, we got 85 contacts, 7 new investigators, and a ton of potentials. I love new freshmen! I got to be with Bianca, who I met when I was in Powell! She was an awesome companion for a few hours.

One last thing that made me so happy I almost cried (which is kind of a big deal because I don't cry very much). So back when I was in Marysville we got special permission to teach a 9 year old LA's daughter to prep her for baptism in a week's time (who remembers that?). It was crazy but it was awesome. The older sister was recently reactivated and is in the YSA Ward. We got pretty close with her in Marysville and helped her understand basic, basic things about the gospel. Just yesterday she told me that she has decided to serve a mission and has started her papers! She said I was a key influence in helping her decide. I LOVE IT! The church is true.

I love the gospel! I love being a missionary!! Mostly, I love Jesus Christ! I have been memorizing The Living Christ to have it help me get rid of distracting thoughts. One night there was a giant party on campus and they were blasting music. Good music that I liked at home. It was impossible to avoid but it was possible to not listen to. I recited the living Christ out loud several times to make my mind not pay attention to the blasting music. I probably looked like a crazy woman but I kept the spirit with me and didn't listen. It can be hard sometimes being so close to worldly things. But it's a great way to build self control and show my true desire to be obedient and consecrated. Satan is tricky but I'm not letting him win!

There was SO MUCH MORE but I'm short on time and desire to write haha. We have a mission activity today which will be way fun. Then school starts tomorrow for OSU so everyone is here and we are just going crazy talking to everyone. It's terrifying but I love it. I love serving on campus!

Just happened to be a miracle! (Aug 14)

Sister Barnes and Sis Johnson

Sister Barnes' former coworker from Provo City
It was a great few days! Transfers happened. I'm still on campus and President Stratford is setting me up to stay a while (likely the rest of my mission 😁). My new companion is Sister Natalie Johnson from Salem, Oregon. This is her last transfer! She is way cool. She went to cosmetology school before her mission and will be going to BYU for the Winter semester! We already are having a ton of fun. I'm still the STL on campus and now we have another set of sisters here! It will make things busy and exciting.

We met some really cool people with a ton of potential. I'll share one of the coolest stories. J. was walking right outside the church building. He is new to Columbus and "just happens" to live down the street from the church. He "just happened" to grow up around a lot of members in Sacramento. He went to a few years of school in San Diego and "just happened" to work right next to the temple. On his way to school here, he took a stop in SLC and looked at temple square. A few days later, he "just happened" to meet us. We gave him a chapel tour on the spot and he became a new investigator. He came to church 2 days later and is just awesome. He was kind of confusing at the end and said he liked church a lot but wants to go and check out some other ones before he decides to get baptized here. We're going to keep in touch and hopefully see him soon.

There were lots of other random funny things that happened but I can't really remember them.. sorry! On Friday night like an hour before we went home it started to dump rain. We didn't have any rain gear and got completely soaked. It was kind of funny.

This morning we have a rules meeting with President and Sister Stratford and some other people at the institute. Then we are going to be having a district activity! Playing volleyball and frisbee. Yay!

Love you all!

Sister Barnes

Sunday, August 20, 2017

I Love OSU (Aug 6th)

Enter the apartment, prepared...
The district in scarlet and gray ... go OSU!
The zoo on p-day
A cool wall..
Sis Stratford with the Sister Training Leaders
Hello everyone!

This week was a giant MIRACLE. So many incredibly awesome things happened. Our district had a huge focus on finding new investigators. It was super motivating and got us out working hard. As a district we were able to find over 50 new investigators.. just last week!

Tuesday I got to go to MLC! Oh man, it was good. We talked about goal setting and planning and how to be accountable. We also did some fun role plays on how to find new people. We also counseled on a lot of things. One that I'm most excited about is temple attendance! We get to go on our 6 month mark, year mark, and day before we go home. Yay!

Tuesday night after MLC we had a very spirit guided experience. We got home and found our bedroom mirror on the ground and shattered. It was in a position that was not at all natural for it to have fallen from the wall. We tried to figure it out and had the prompting to leave the apartment. We called our district leader but he didn't answer, then called the zone leaders. We were in the hallway of our apartment building. They instructed us to go to the Sisters upstairs and pray with them. Pray to know if it is safe to return to our apartment all together and check every closet and corner for a possible person there. We all felt comfortable to go down together. We were a little nervous so we equipped ourselves with frying pans and knives and checked every nook and cranny in the apartment and didn't find anything else out of place. We then were instructed to pray to know that we were safe. We all individually thought about the dedication that took place exactly 4 weeks prior. We knew our apartment was a safe place and we had nothing to worry about. The sisters went back upstairs and we continued on with our night. (Still have no clue how the mirror fell and shattered the way it did... I guess it will remain a mystery! But we know that we are safe of any harm from things that are seen and unseen around us.)

Wednesday was a major miracle day, I'll share one of the many highlights. We were walking down the street from the institute and ran into a couple who had just gotten pizza. It was a super awkward contact but we asked if they wanted to come check out the church for 10 mins. They looked at each other and said, "sure! We have time!" We ended up finding out that they have recently been talking about starting to go to a church. They became new investigators and were supposed to come to church.

Here's something funny. We were teaching an investigator who's here for a month or two straight from China. We were teaching about baptism and he said he wouldn't feel comfortable with it. We asked why and he said, "I don't want to be standing next to someone when I'm naked." Hm we had no clue where he got that idea but we cleared it up and helped him understand. Hahaha I'm glad we have jumpsuits instead of birthday suits...
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Sunday we cool. So we walk in and two girls were standing there talking to the Elders. One says, yeah, these are the sisters I met! (I did not recognize her to save my life.. hah). She told the elders that we talked to her for like one minute before she got on her bus and invited her to church. We didn't even get her contact info or anything... but she came and brought her friend! We got their contact info and will be teaching them soon :'). We also had a church swap with some investigators. They came to church with us this morning and we went with them this evening. It was an Evangelical Christian church. It was more of a concert than church.. but hey! Confirmed the truthfulness of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints!  (Hey it was a good concert though not gonna lie).

Other random things. Someone was speeding down high street and threw a handful of coins at us. Luckily none hit us. A recent convert said I'm human cocaine. Why? Because I'm just always up and smiling and happy. We always give a recent convert a hard time for jaywalking. In a prayer in his lesson he said, "Heavenly Father, I repent for jaywalking." I couldn't stop laughing. He is awesome. We were talking about eternal marriage and his commitment was to ask a girl out on a date. I love YSA wards. We were searching for a less active and had to knock on some doors. That was weird. We got donuts this week and the worker put the one I wanted in a bag then shrugged his shoulders and put another one in. He gave it to me for free :) We contacted a huge tall buff guy and he said he has been here for 3 days. I asked if he was a new freshman and he said he was a grad student. Haha whoops
😬 One of the bishops took us to Piada, my favorite place out here. Some lady on the street asked if I was Princess Kate. When she realized I wasn't she said I look just like her? One investigator was praying about baptism and whether or not to keep meeting with us. She went on a de-stress run to think about it and ran into the Powell Elders. She said they said some random things that answered her prayers. She is still meeting with us and is on date for September 9th. We finished the new member lessons with all three of our recent converts!

Oh yeah! This is awesome! So remember when I was in Powell and we worked our tails off and found less success than we desired? Well, they just had a baptism! There is a couple that lives in the same apartment complex we did. They have been watching the sisters for a long time trying to figure out what we do without actually talking to us. They looked up a lot of stuff about the church and just showed up one day saying they want to get baptized. I ran into a member from the Powell Ward last week and she told me about this and said that I would've been one of the sisters they watched. Wahoo! Hah they probably saw me biking in the snow and lots of random embarrassing things. People are always watching, watch out!

Sister Barnes

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Welcome to Zion!

On Wednesdays we wear pink
The District




Anna got baptized!



Hello friends and family! 

There was so much that happened this week. So many random little things that I don't know how to put it into an email... hm...

I.- after his "spiritual crisis" on Monday he decided to come to FHE to chill out. It was a Pioneer dinner for Pioneer Day! That was fun. He always just makes us laugh! Tuesday he called us and we were scared to death, but he told us that he sat with the Elders on the bus and was thankful for that tender mercy. Wednesday we had our hand off lesson with the other Sisters. It went so well. He got a priesthood blessing and is doing awesome. We talked to the sisters last night and they had a good lesson with him this week. He's still having a hard time with stuff, so keep him in your prayers!

J. - one of my first district meetings here we had a training on how to contact groups of people. This is awfully terrifying which is why it was practiced. A few weeks ago we talked to this one group of J. and her friends. None of them were super interested but J. said she'd meet up with us again just to get a Book of Mormon and bounce. She texted us the night before and said she read the pamphlet and got curious about some things and was wondering if we could sit down and talk. We said of course! We taught her last week and she looooved it. We taught her again this week and she loved it again! She came to church and participated in all 3 hours. She is so cool. Also the only girl in our entire teaching pool.. haha I don't know why girls usually never like talking to us.

S (recent convert) - he's doing so great. We're almost done with his new member lessons. We taught him about missionary work this week and role played giving away pass along cards. He's already given one to a coworker. 

Dinner- there were a lot of notable dinner appointments this week. A member took us to her family's house in Lewis Center. It was so weird to be in an actual home and eat real food. A recent convert took us and another member to Jimmy Johns. It was fun. A member of the bishopric took the whole district to this Chinese place. Holy cow it was good. 

Part of a date- okay this story is hilarious. So a member, texted us Thursday night. She said that she was on a bad date close to campus and asked us to save her. Why was it a bad date? They went bowling and when they were paying he said, "can you pay for yourself? You have a job, right?" Haha then she was just done. They were driving to the next location and she ran a red light to get a head start away from him. Where did she go? The institute! We luckily were there so we let her in. She made up some random thing about how we were practicing the lessons on her. He's not a member so I got a good idea. I told her she should tell him to come so we could teach him! He told her that he was not at all interested in the church, but he was interested in her, so he'd sacrifice to spend another little while with her tonight. HAHA boom. Member referral. So he showed up and it was just so awkward. We taught him the restoration and it definitely felt like we were part of a super awkward date. Despite the weird situation, the spirit was very strong and he accepted the challenge to read and pray about the Book of Mormon. He may even come to church sometime! Haha this will be a funny conversion story. 

A. FROM MARYSVILLE- Sister Hall emailed me last week and told me that A. was getting baptized! She was the lady who referred herself, said the plan of salvation sounded familiar, and quit smoking a week before we taught the word of wisdom. She was diagnosed with cancer when we started meeting with her so her progress slowed down. But, SHE GOT BAPTIZED! And we got permission from President to go. It was amazing!! I got to see a lot of my good Marysville friends, it was great. 

And a lot more. It rained. It was hot. Went on exchanges with Sister Hansen. Talked to a cool guy member who's visiting from Congo. He's writing a book and will be a general authority someday. Got hit on by some drunk guys. Found some really cool people. Our phone got possessed. 

Next week is transfer week! I will be emailing next Wednesday. We have MLC tomorrow. It will be a good week!

Love, Sister Barnes

Sunday, July 30, 2017

A Book of Power (July 24)

At Zone Conference
Matching nightgowns and skirts, we had to take a picture...
Hot chocolate in July... when you get wet and go inside cold air conditioning...
Riverside sisters
Happy Pioneer Day!

HELLO


First of all happy Pioneer Day and shoutout to like all my ancestors who were pioneers. 
Okay so this week was the best ever. I'll share a few of the hugest miracles.


A little back story on this one. We were sitting in the union doing tasks a few weeks ago and S. came up to us. He said he had yelled at sisters about a year ago and still feels bad about it. He asked us to forgive him. We talked about forgiveness and how he can be fully healed through Christ. He said he didn't believe in God anymore. We got his contact info to set up another time to share more. We taught him the restoration and showed the 5 minute Joseph Smith video. Afterwards he said, "I won't lie, I was moved." He has been reading and praying since. We taught him the plan of salvation next and he was so happy that he won't be burning in hell as he was taught by his family. We put him on date for August 26th. Next lesson he was smiling ear to ear. We asked why he's so happy and he thought for a sec then said, "I don't know how to phrase this.... but I think I'm warming up to your God." He loves knowing about God and how we know he truly is. He has been reading and praying and loves the Book of Mormon. This powerful book has made him not an atheist. He now sees the contrast in his life with having faith vs not having faith. We talked about repentance and he totally got it. He loves that he can be free from guilt, which is why he came up to us in the first place. We talked about baptism and showed the bible video of Christ's baptism. He said, "all I could think about is that could be me." He's pumped for his baptism on August 26th. He is so happy because he has faith in God now. YES!!!


Who remembers L, with the gender issues? I'll tell his story here. So we were walking down High street my first week here. I said, "I really need to not judge people." Then a few minutes later we met him. At first we saw a girl sitting on the sidewalk that looked really sad. When she turned around we realized she is actually a he. He said hay he was at a point in his life where he knew God wasn't there but he was willing to try one more time. We taught him a lot and he came to church regularly. We worked super close with the mission and stake presidents on what to do. He has such a strong testimony of the Book of Mormon and he knows that God loves him. We found out he's just barely too old to be in the YSA Ward so we had to refer him. We were told that we need to talk about the gender issue before we have a hand off lesson. So yesterday during third hour we did. It was a powerful lesson. We read part of the family proclamation together. The part that was hardest for him was where it says, "Gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose." We talked about the plan of salvation and he realized for himself that God doesn't make mistakes and he was created as a man for a reason. The sin that he didn't realize was a sin hit him hard. It was a very emotional lesson. His faith is SO strong and he decided that he needed to do what God would have him do. De-transition. He talked about how he was searching for happiness and thought he could find it as a woman but realized it was an earthly fix for a deeper problem. He really just needed a relationship with God. He has started repenting and will meet with his doctor soon to get back on track. Luckily he didn't do anything completely irreversible, but it will be a process. He is going to go shopping and meet with his stylist to get his hair and look back to a man. His faith is incredible. We asked how he had the strength to do it and he said it was because of the Book of Mormon. This book is a book of POWER! At the end of the lesson we were taking some selfies to remember him before we hand him off to sisters in a family ward. I put it on video and captured some of the sweetest most heart felt words of a testimony that I've ever heard. He is already having a hard time and could use some prayers. He'll be getting a priesthood blessing on Wednesday when we hand him off. I love this guy so much. He is a precious precious child of God! I'm excited to hear about his progress as he gets his life back in line. 


I LOVE THE BOOK OF MORMON. Holy moly. It truly is a book of power. It can and DOES change lives. I want to share part of President Monson's most recent conference talk: 


We live in a time of great trouble and wickedness. What will protect us from the sin and evil so prevalent in the world today? I maintain that a strong testimony of our Savior, Jesus Christ, and of His gospel will help see us through to safety. If you are not reading the Book of Mormon each day, please do so. If you will read it prayerfully and with a sincere desire to know the truth, the Holy Ghost will manifest its truth to you. If it is true--and I solemnly testify that it is--then Joseph Smith was a prophet who saw God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ.
Because the Book of Mormon is true, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the Lord’s Church on the earth, and the holy priesthood of God has been restored for the benefit and blessing of His children.
If you do not have a firm testimony of these things, do that which is necessary to obtain one. It is essential for you to have your own testimony in these difficult times, for the testimonies of others will carry you only so far. However, once obtained, a testimony needs to be kept vital and alive through continued obedience to the commandments of God and through daily prayer and scripture study.


And I want to re extend that invitation to everyone who is still reading (probably just mom at this point haha). Read from the Book of Mormon. Every day. You will know that Jesus Christ is real, that Joseph Smith was called to be the prophet of the restoration, and that Jesus Christ's church is on earth today. I know that this book is true. I have been blessed to watch it change lives. Let it change yours!


Okay we also had zone conference this week and it was great. I'll share a few memorable quotes. 
"Two people can do anything, as long as one of them is God."
"Satan and Christ have one thing in common, they both want us to be just like them."
"No work, no food." -Sister Stratford
(President Stratford talking about our mission song...) "If that song doesn't fire you up to be a great missionary, you must be dead!"
(An Elder on campus) "Sometimes there are more squirrels than people."


Just a few more highlights
-Round two of exchanges this transfer starting with Sister Empey! We taught some awesome lessons to some awesome people who I wish I had time to write about. Maybe next week when we meet with them again. 
-It's been rainy and humid and hot all week. Haha it's been fun.
-I got contacted by a Jehovah's Witness at the bus stop. When they saw our tags they felt super awkward. I took their pamphlet but they wouldn't take ours. Booo. 
-Vice President Pence was on campus in the Union for some meeting. There were more cops than I've ever seen. There were bike cops, motorcycle cops, walking cops, car cops, and even horse cops!  Wow! There were protesters all over and High street was closed. We had to walk a while and wait for 2 hours for a bus that never came. The Riverside Sisters ended up bailing us out and driving us home. Hallelujah to them. 


Best week ever! The Book of Mormon is true. That's all!


Love you all!

Sister Barnes


The Rains Came Down and the Floods Came Up… (July 17)

Not somewhere tropical, just outside the architecture building
P-day ... skipping rocks and climbing things
The district in the legendary van
Brutus the Buckeye! We didn't know what to do when he put his arms around us!
Buckeye donuts
Hello!

There was a ton that happened this week. We're on the bus and I forgot my journal at home so I'll do my best to remember it all.

The biggest thing this week has been the weather. It rained and rained and rained some more. The days it didn't rain it was blazing hot and super humid. I loved every second of all of it! Cool story. So we were walking through the oval (big grass area on campus) while it was coming down hard. We walked past this tour group and I said "good luck staying dry" and right then the rain just STOPPED and it stayed stopped for a minute or two. Everyone looked at me like
😱 and I'm confident they'll all get baptized some day. But yeah a few trees fell down on campus and the streets turned into rivers. We almost had to swim to get across the street (haha not really but it's as close to swimming as we'll get on our missions.)

Coolest person we met this week is super super cool. He is a med student and knows some members in his class. He is super interested and we're meeting with him this week. We met him after like nobody would stop and talk and he's basically just perfectly prepared.

Coolest lesson this week was with S. He's the guy who came up to us in a building and apologized for yelling at previous sisters. We taught him the restoration and shared part of the Joseph Smith restoration video. Afterwards he said, "I'm not going to lie, I was moved." He was an atheist about a week ago. Now he is starting to believe in God. The spirit does amazing things!

Most awkward thing this week was when we were talking to this guy. We had an awesome discussion and were getting his number. We always call the number on the spot to make sure it's real. He gave us a bad number that said it was out of service. He was like "huh? Weird. My personal phone is in my car, that's the number I gave you." So we tried again. Still didn't work. Then he got embarrassed and was like "oh wait, my phone is right here. What's your number? I'll just call you." Then he did and it was a way different number. But we got it and I think the spirit confounded him.

Funniest comment from L. this week. After church we were talking to him and some Elders. We were talking about keeping the sabbath day holy (that's what the lesson was on) and someone said something that was not keeping the sabbath holy and L yelled "apostasy!!" Haha he is around us and loves the gospel too much
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Everyone else is good. I love campus! I love the gospel! I started reading Jesus the Christ and have a goal to finish before I go home. I just need to read about 2 chapters each week! Basically Jesus Christ is the best and I love him. Missions are the next best because we're doing it all for Him!

That's all!

Love, Sister Barnes

The Standard of Truth (July 10)

Outside for 1 minute...


View from the 11th floor of the Library
Hello!

This week has been so busy and so awesome! I've had to prepare for so many trainings and talks for meetings and church. During my preparations and was bored and created this.. I think it describes our daily encounters on campus:

The Standard of Truth has been erected; No unhallowed hand can stop OSU from converting; atheists may rage, immodesty may combine, flakey people may assemble, and humidity may defame; but the truth of god will go forth boldly, nobly, and independent, till it has penetrated every fraternity, visited every sorority, swept every oval, and sounded in every ear, till the purposes of God shall be accomplished, and the Great Jehovah shall say "the work is done."

So where do I start???

MLC was awesome. It was weird to not have a companion and just float around between companionships. It was so different with President Stratford but it was great! First thing that was different: after the opening prayer President said he wants everyone to be comfortable and invited the Elders to take off their suit coats. Everyone was like
😳 really?! So that was crazy. Then there were some trainings done by us and we talked about how we want the mission to continue to be awesome. At the end, President told us that his first impression was that this mission is very obedient and diligent. The first warning that he received is that because of our obedience and diligence, Satan is ANGRY and is going to do everything he can to interfere with the work. He told us that we need to be extra cautious and be sure to never ever leave our companions. He said that if Satan gets one second he is going to attack. Then he went on and gave the elders an assignment to dedicate every apartment "as soon as physically possible." He said to cast out any unclean spirit and be sure they can be safe places for us to go to. The spirit was SO incredibly strong and we all had a renewed desire to be uncompromisingly obedient no matter what.

So that night we got back and the zone leaders and the district leader and his companion took us and the other set of sisters back to our apartments. It was WEIRD to have 4 companionships in our apartment.. especially elders! Ahh I definitely panicked for a sec. Once they started the dedicatory prayer the spirit was so strong. It was a really really cool experience. After the dedications I was able to lead a discussion with the sisters to talk about what happened. We are so thankful for the priesthood and the spirit we were able to feel.

So that was our Fourth of July. Freedom from unclean spirits in our apartments πŸ™‚
πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ I'm glad we could do that because everyone who was outside was drunk. We had some pretty funny contacts but it wasn't very productive. Parties everywhere!

Then Wednesday morning we went to the New Albany building and had interviews with President Stratford and district meeting. My interview was super cool. So before the mission president transition, President Daines asked us to prepare a "transition goal" to accomplish so the new mission president would be able to come in without any problems. My goal was trust. I wanted to make sure President Daines left knowing he could trust me. I wanted to trust Heavenly Father to know that he really is inspired with who he calls. Then I wanted President Stratford to come in and I wanted to be able to trust him and his keys and have his trust in return. So. Right after the opening prayer in the interview he said that I was one of the missionaries that he knew he could trust with anything. He went on about that for a little bit and I was just in shock, that was my goal! He told me that because he trusts me he will be sending a lot of challenges my way.. SOS. But yeah he is awesome. District meeting was good too!

Thursday I got to go on exchanges with Sister Hansen! We've been in the same district for 3 transfers in a row now. It's been fun to serve along her side. Nothing super awesome happened but we had some awesome contacts and just talked to everyone about how happy the gospel can make you. It was cool.

Friday was awesome. We got to go to the temple! A member drove us. It was her second time going to the temple since her baptism. It was SO cool! I saw lots of people from other areas there and it was fun. S.  loved the temple and is excited to go back!

So yeah this week was great. It was very very rainy and not a ton of people were out, but we still saw miracles! Everyone is doing good and we met some more awesome people. One was a referral from some guys we met. They said they've been busy but they have a friend that wants to meet with us. This friend is perfectly prepared. We also met with an awesome Indian guy who is on date to be baptized in August.

This week should be another good one! We finally have some finding time and have a lot of cool lessons set up. LOVE YOU ALL!

Sister Barnes