Monday, January 23, 2017

So yeah this week was AWESOME

Only in Ohio!! P.S. The weather has been amazing, probably why I look so happy!
My trainer and friend Sis Blaser and I matched embarrassingly well!

Hi everyone! 

Depending on a member who may get us in... we might be going to the zoo today! So if this doesn't flow well and I don't email you back that's why. 

This week was one of the greatest weeks ever with so so many miracles!!! Here's the quick run down: (more details in the email.) S and M were at church. R is back in the picture. Someone called us asking to come to church and is now on date for baptism. Part member families! Role played in front of 3 zones.

S & M - they both came to church! A member in the ward gave M a dress so she could come. They were only able to stay for the first hour but the youth are working on M and she said she would stay all 3 next week. Yay! I think a few young men in the ward have an eye on her. We had a lesson this week and taught a lot of different things. Plan of salvation, missionary work, temples, etc. Theyre super busy so we can only meet once a week. And when we do, we cram a bunch in so they can learn everything they need to! They agreed to be baptized on February 11th. ITS HAPPENING!! They're so prepared for the gospel and just love and accept everything. M saw some anti stuff and asked us about it. She didn't have concerns but she just wanted to know! We resolved that and they were super awesome about it. Haha with the whole polygamy thing, S said she wouldn't mind that because she'd have an extra hand around the house! They're super good sports and just the best. Love them! We also found out that S is married and we met her husband. He's cool. 

R- she called us on Saturday to see how we were doing. She casually mentioned that her phone is having problems and needs help getting the voicemail fixed. We offered to come over and help and she was so excited. We invited her to church and she ended up coming! We were told about a comment that she made in relief society. She said she misses having us over and coming to church. We are going over again this week and will help her see that it's the spirit she missed. We have hopes that she will recognize the absence of it and desire to have it all the time.. by being baptized and receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost. Super excited that she reached out to us again. 

The B family (5 of them!)- we tracted an ENTIRE neighborhood. It took daaaaays. Basically nobody was interested. We met someone a few weeks ago that we didn't think had much potential said we'd try again just for the heck of it. We went back to the house and found out she was just a friend visiting. We asked to come in and share with the family that actually lives there. They let us right in! We got their whole family to join in on the lesson. Mom and Dad have 3 sons: 17, 15ish, 12. We taught the whole restoration and they loved it. Their family is super super SUPER catholic but they're excited to learn more. We had a lesson on Saturday and taught the plan of salvation. I was a little afraid to share the first vision because I wasn't sure how they'd react or if they'd tell us to leave. We shared anyway and they actually said it would be super cool if they knew that happened. We told them about the Book of Mormon as evidence and they were pumped. We went back Saturday and taught the plan of salvation and they loved it! The biggest problem right now is dad said he won't convert.. been a life long Catholic and is comfortable. He doesn't have a problem with meeting, reading, or praying though.. so we trust that it will eventually soften his heart :) they also have church the same time as us and they each have Sunday school responsibilities. Working on that. They're super cool though and we decided all the sons are going to serve missions some day. 

Sunday after church we saw a voicemail from a number we didn't know. This lady called and said some sisters gave her a card and invited her to church over the summer. She said she wanted to come to church and asked if she could. We told her it was at 9 am now and that she's welcome to come next week! We asked to meet her and had an awesome lesson last night. She moved here from China about 13 years ago. She is married and has 2 kids, 11 and 3. Her almost 12 year old daughter is so in tune with the spirit. We shared the first vision and she was in tears. The spirit was so strong and they both want to come to church. When the spirit was strong we extended baptism. Let's just say they are both on date for February 18th! We're having a chapel tour tonight and plan to meet with them often. They don't have much of a religious background so it is very humbling to teach them simply about God and his love for them. We are SO excited about them!! How often do people just call and want to come to church and get baptized?? I'll take it!

L's mom is an odd less active lady we've been serving. We went to see her last night but ended up talking with L. She's about our age and super duper cool. I want to be her friend. It'll start tonight because she asked us to start teaching her. We think she'll get baptized and reactive her mom!

On Friday we had zone conference! I guess it was kinda multi zone though because there were 3 zones there. I got to see a few good friends. It was fun. The conference was amazing. I particularly loved the training on faith. Just as President Hinckley once said, "This precious, marvelous gift of faith..this gift from God our eternal father is still the strength of this work and the quiet vibrancy of its message. Faith underlies it all. Faith is the substance of it all." I know that faith is SO important and that miracles come from faith. I am witnessing that here in "the hardest" and "very slow" area of Powell. Haha, this week alone definitely proves those misconceptions to be WRONG! Sister Flora and I were asked to come in front of everyone and role play teaching the restoration. Haha in front of THREE ZONES. It was a little frightening at first but then it wasn't even bad. Got lots of cool feedback. I love being a missionary!

I almost forgot!! One random guy we talked to was getting Christmas lights off his trees. The ground was super wet and the ladder kept sinking.. his solution? See the Picture. Haha super safe right?? We were talking for a bit and having an awesome discussion and shared Helaman 5:12 "And now, my sons, remember, remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall." He thought for a sec that we were calling him out for not having a solid foundation for his ladder!

Church is true guys. Have a good week!

Love, Sister Barnes

Monday, January 16, 2017

Rain, pajamas and momentum!

Hi everyone!!

The past few days have been pretty good! Not a ton happened so not a ton to say but oh well.

Wednesday evening we had a relief society activity that S. came to! Oh man she fits right in with all the awesome funny ladies. It was a pj party and we wanted to participate... look at our "mission appropriate" pjs in the picture.
They are slowly but surely progressing! S. came to church again and we were pumped. M. is still scared but it's okay we're working on her. She did go to a movie night that basically all the youth in the ward were at! Yay! We'll be setting a new for real baptismal date on Wednesday when we see them Super pumped about them still.

We had a note to follow up with this former investigator. We went and he was busy then but set a time for us to come back. When we went he had these papers with a list of 100 questions about the church and why it's not true. We took them and looked at a few of them and they're all just anti garbage. We told our district leader about them and he told us to destroy them.

So when I first got to Powell the bishop told me the work here was pretty slow. (I know, encouraging, right!?) Well about 3 months later we were in a post transfer meeting with him and he told us that he thinks the working is starting to get some momentum! We're thankful M. and S. are progressing and giving the ward hope.

This week it's been pretty warm (like 40 degrees) so we've been walking and biking a bit. One day we didn't really think and just went out on foot. A few miles away from home it started POURING rain. We were soaked. Luckily we had a member meeting us close by for a lesson. We hitched a ride with her and she let us use her dryer so we wouldn't be soaked all day. Thanks Sister Robinson. It has been fun to not absolutely freeze while we're out!!

Oh yeah basically everyone else dropped us this week! J. contacted us and expressed that she feels that her family should not take this path. We are trying to meet with her again to resolve her concerns but it seems like that may not happen. Bummer, but we'll find another family.

This week wasn't the most successful in terms of lessons and finding new people. I was getting frustrated that it was the same "we have a church," "not interested," etc. response at every single door we were knocking on. I've been praying and studying and earnestly seeking to figure out what to do to find people who are actually interested. I had a few ideas but they weren't working. I read a talk that encouraged me to pray and ask God what I needed to do/not do right now. I had been doing this every day but I decided to do it with real intent this time. Just as I was praying our district leader called us. I'm embarrassed to admit that I was SUPER annoyed that he'd call right in the middle of my prayer!! We talked for a bit about our week and miracles we've seen. I had the thought to ask him a specific question on how to help our area. After talking about some things, he encouraged us to clean up our area book by clearing out some of the records that were created for people who were only talked to for a second. I thought of the "what lack I yet" talk and remembered the story of someone who wasn't having luck in their dating lives and the answer to their question of "what lack I yet?" was that they needed to make their bed in the mornings. It seems like it's a simple thing that I haven't ever thought of but we know it'll be helpful to us to not see hundreds and hundreds of "former investigators" who were really just people who said they're not interested. It will give us more hope and allow us to rely more on the spirit rather than the theory that if we knock every door in Powell we'll find the person who's prepared for the gospel. I'm thankful for inspired leaders and little changes we can make to help the work continue to progress.

That's about it! Oh fun thing. So Sister Blaser (my trainer) and Sister Nelson (from Provo High basketball) are companions now and I totally called it. Wahoo love them both. Super duper excited for this transfer in Powell with my pal Sister Flora.

Much love, 
Sister Barnes

Friday, January 13, 2017

Blessings and miracles and miracles and blessings

Wow it's been a great week and a half. I don't even know where to begin..

S. and M.!! Last week on Monday we had a lesson scheduled with them. M. ended up having strep but we didn't want to give up that easily. We went to a member's house and had a lesson over facetime! It was kinda silly but it was great. We talked about the priesthood and prophets and stuff. M. requested a blessing. Thursday we went over with a few people from the ward to give her a blessing and it went great! Spirit was strong and they're starting to get their priorities figured out. Then Sunday..S. CAME TO CHURCH! Holy moly this was so exciting, it was the first time an investigator has been to church since I got to Powell... finally after two transfers it happened! Hallelujah! M. was still not feeling well and was pretty nervous, but S. said she is working on her to get her to come next week. S. had a great experience and felt the spirit so strong and cried during the whole testimony meeting. Yay! They will be coming to the relief society activity tonight and we will have another lesson tomorrow probably. Slowly but surely, they're progressing! They won't be ready for baptism on the 21st but we'll try to set a new date this week. Hoping for Feb 4th!

L!!!!!! So a few weeks ago we biked to this one LOONG street that's kinda been a joke that we talk about tracting all the time. We were there for quite a few hours and met J. She was headed out the door but she let us in for a second to hear what we had to say. She was fascinated by the restoration and asked us to come back a few days later. We went back for the return appointment and she was SO excited to see us.  She let us in and it seemed like she was a member already. She remembered that we shared something that stood out to her. As we taught the restoration, the spirit was so strong. She had many great questions that showed her understanding and desire to learn. She said she wants these things to be true and be baptized and come to church. She is SOLID. She said her family usually isn't interested in "people like us" but when we knocked and talked for a few minutes the first time, she felt the spirit so strongly and was prompted to listen to what we have to say. Such a tender mercy, I'm thankful for the spirit! She's out of town this week but will hopefully be at church this Sunday. Another cool tender mercy that ties in with J. We had dinner with a member last week and their daughter doesn't have any girls in her age group and feels kind of alone. We told them that we would find an 11 year old who can be her friend. At our return appointment with J, we found out her daughter is 11!!!. We told the family and they were so excited that their faith is helping! 

Okay this story is sick. So remember back in the middle of December when we biked a butt ton to save miles and stuff? Well it paid off. On Monday we got a text from this dude we met while we were biking. He was walking his parents dog and actually let us out of the gated community we were kinda stuck in. We introduced ourselves and he said we could call him Brother B. We talked for just a second and gave him our card. So Tuesday. A month minus a day later, B texts us. He said "Hi! I met you whole walking my parents dog before Christmas. I was wondering how long you'd be here? -B." we FREAKED OUT and responded saying hi and there will always be missionaries and asked what we could do for him. He said "My Christmas was great, thank you. I don't need anything, but I have an open mind and since you were riding bikes in the freezing weather I thought I'd might like to hear what you had to say?" THEN WE SET UP A LESSON AND HE CAME TO THE CHURCH AND IT WAS SO GREAT. He wants to know that this is true. He's going to read the Book of Mormon and come to church. Now the sad thing is he actually lives in Delaware so we had to refer him to the elders there.. tender mercy, we were in a trio for a few hours with one of the Delaware sisters while her companion was in a trainer meeting! She was able to meet him and get him the church address and everything he needed for Delaware. Sad that we had to refer him but so awesome that biking pays off. I want to bike everywhere now!!!!

So R. is this FUNNY FUNNY old man that I adore. Haha he's great. We met him tracting before Christmas and showed him the light the world video. He loves it and we were sure he'd want a return appointment. He ended up saying no and we were bummed. Last week we had a YW with us and we tried back. He was pumped to see us and let us in. We taught the restoration and he loved every part of it. He was so excited to have the Book of Mormon! At the end, we taught him how to pray. We told him he could ask Heavenly Father any question he wants. The things he asked in his prayer went like this: how much is it going to snow tomorrow? Is the Book of Mormon true? .. that's it! Haha it was so funny. We had a lesson with him last night and he did his "homework" of reading in the Book of Mormon. Oh yeah he showed us his "man cave" and it is the most OSU stuff I've seen in my life. Will take a picture next time! We taught the plan of salvation with some awesome members and he loved it. His wife recently passed away so this hit home for him. We asked questions throughout and at the end asked what questions he had. He sat for a second then said "what's me homework??" He loved he Book of Mormon and is just the coolest haha. Working on getting him to come to church. 

Some other missionaries tracted this guy. He was just a potential in our area Book so we followed up with him. He played pro soccer for REAL salt lake for 2 years and met with missionaries there!! He was busy at the time but we have a return appointment for tomorrow. Yay! I guess he plays for a team in Columbus now? Somebody look him up?

We've been making progress with quite a few less actives in the ward! One came to church last week that hasn't been in ages. We invite her every time we see her but we never knew she actually would come! She was there and it surprised us both haha. Another couple is awesome. They used to be pretty active but the wife got a weird disease thing that makes her really tired always. They stopped coming. We would meet with her every once in a while but her husband would never be there. We finally got him to come to a lesson and it was great. They're working in getting back to church! One more. We were going to challenge him to read he Book of Mormon, but right before we did he told us about a goal he set to read a chapter of the Book of Mormon daily. He bore his testimony of it and it was so awesome we didn't even know what to do!!

Friday I hit my 6 month mark!! Woot woot! I can't believe I've been a missionary for over six months. Feels good! Sad that I have less than a year left though.. time goes by real quick when you're having fun. 

Last week was COLD. idk how I'll survive this winter. I already caught a cold and have been dying. People we talk to before they shut the door in our face say "stay warm" and I'm like.. we will, maybe if you let us in your home we'd be warm!! Haha whatever, people are funny. We have enough hand warmers to heat an army so we're set.

There's this awesome member who joined a few years ago. We did service for her on Monday and helped clean out her basement. There was a bunch of dust and I sneezed at least 400 times in the 3 hours we were there. Haha. She is also super duper into biking and my bike was having troubles. I asked her to take a look at it and she replaced the breaks and has been going a major tune up. She's awesome and says it makes her feel like a hero :')

Life is good. I'm pumped about the work. Had interviews and loved it. Learning lots. Church is true. Joseph Smith was the prophet of the restoration. Thomas S Monson is God's prophet today. Powell is awesome and way fun still. I think I'll just stay the rest of my mission. Sister Flora is still my home girl and we're having loads of fun. I've been so blessed with companions my whole mission.

Yay just got transfer news and we're staying!!!!!!!!!!!! Wahoo!! Longest time in an area. 

Love you all.

Sister Barnes

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Happy New Year!

Yummiest ice cream!
Restoration Drive with Sister Hansen on exchanges
 Hi!! Yay fun busy speedy week!

I'll start with people.

-Our promising investigators- busy busy this past week so we couldn't see them at all and they didn't come to church. But we have a lesson tonight and will keep working toward baptism, probably the 28th now. Yay!

-The referral guy we texted and said we could stop by with cookies- cancelled and never responded again. We just left the cookies. Frustrating person haha. 
Um yeah that's about it but we met some cool people we have lessons with this week. Hopefully they go well. 

K fun and funny things!!

-Most funny things happened on exchanges. I was in Marysville with Sister Hansen! She's so cool. She came out with Sister Blaser and they're like bffs now. It was fun to talk about how much we love her. I'll probably just list out the cool things
  • we tracted a street named "Banjo"
  • we were talking to this dude in his yard for a while and a naked lady kept peeking through the curtains to see what we were doing
  • we were cleaning out this older guy's house who's a recent convert. he had stacks of old papers and magazines we were sorting and throwing a bunch of it out. he told us he was looking for a check that got lost. sister hansen was going through some stuff and accidentally ripped the check in half. it looked like an envelope with junk mail but it was a check. we laughed for like 20 minutes before she could tell him what happened. it ended up only being for $6 and he didn't care.
  • stopped by restoration drive.. every missionary's dream street
  • long story into a short story.....the car's bumper got a little detached.. all is well though 
  • we were trying a less active and it was dark and there was a crazy horizontal snow storm (like the wind was going NUTS and the snow was horizontal). the driveway was sketchy and long and through some woods. we went anyway but the LA moved. we showed a video to the guy who lives there and we were shaking uncontrollably it was so cold.
  • there was a potential who we were trying. she wasn't home but her 25 yr old daughter let us in. we were talking to her and her dad and they were pretty interested in the church. the dad had called his wife to tell her we were looking for her. she told him not to let us in the house and not to listen to what we say. he said he didn't care and wanted to hear anyway. the crazy lady ended up coming home and we got antied HARD. she was basically yelling and screaming at us. it was cool though cause her husband was like um lady you're crazy they just told me about it and I think it's true. we said a prayer with them and left. it was pretty funny, hopefully that guy comes to church.
  • we didn't want that to be our last experience so we went to downtown Marysville to find someone. nobody was out at all. a few people would run from their cars right to the inside of a pub. we basically ran after people to try to catch them. finally when we were headed back to the car some old people walked out of a pub. idk how sober they were but we showed them a video about Christ and they loved it. 
Um yeah so exchanges were the best and we had a blast and a half. The world would probably stop rotating if Sister Hansen and I were companions!

-OSU follow up training was this week! We got to go with all the other missionaries in their first transfer and trainers. We had lots of competitive things with different parts of PMG and random things to have memorized. It was so fun!!

-not so fun but I gave a talk on repentance yesterday! It was pretty good I guess. I don't really get nervous for talks any more.. and we got the topics a day before!

-we biked to district meeting! Why? Cause we can. And cause it takes about as long to drive as it does to bike. We found a cool short cut that gets us there in like 10 minutes.

THATS GOOD ENOUGH FOR THIS WEEK! Happy New Year to everyone. Transfers are next week so I'll be emailing on Wednesday! We're both most likely staying here in Powell!!!!! Super excited for that. I love it here and I love Sister Flora. We have so much fun together!! Hoping the likelihood of us staying happens.. but you never know! News to come next week. Love you all!

Sister Barnes