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!


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

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

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

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

Diva Angel (July 3)

At Sloopy's
Happy 20th Birthday
Hello everyone!

Wow this week was awesome and full of miracles and funny things. Where to begin??

-S. came up to us in a building on campus while we were doing studies. He said that he had yelled at Sisters in the past but still feels bad about it. He asked us to forgive him. We taught him about forgiveness and the Atonement. We're going to teach him now. (Sister Deighton, he said it was you! He wanted me to tell you he is so sorry and ask for your forgiveness.)
-L. was sitting on the curb waiting for a bus. We talked to him (yes him, he has some gender issues right now but it'll work out) and he's super ready for the gospel. We've taught him the first 3 lessons and he came to church. Between our first and second lesson he read through 1 Nephi 14 and referenced verses while we were teaching. He love love loves the gospel and finally believes in God. He is so thankful that we stopped to talk to him and told us we would be high up in heaven for it. He told me that I would be a "diva angel" hahaha whatever that means!
-after district meeting we met up with the Daines and the assistants and went to Sloopy's, a diner on campus. There is a challenge that missionaries have been doing for years. It's 6 chocolate chip pancakes with peanut butter spread in between them. You eat them as fast as you can. I broke the Sister's record by getting 6:07. Haha ew. It was a fun thing to do for the Daines last full day!
-I took Sister Empey on an exchange! It's weird on campus because you do the same thing but switch companions for the day. I still saw Sister Andersen a lot! We had a lot of fun and she's an awesome missionary. We wanted to be more creative so we chalked the plan of salvation on this moving chalk board on campus. Met a lot of cool people doing it.
-C. was carrying a bunch of stuff for a display and we offered to help. He said "yes please!" So we helped and were able to teach a bunch. He said he heard Mormons were super happy and helpful and he said we proved both of those. He is actually looking for a church and is meeting with us this week. He is gold.
-we met the new mission president, President Stratford! He's so awesome. He wants to keep the attitude of obedience and hard work. He was one of Elder Ballard (quorum of the 12 apostles) APs on his mission. The Stratfords are so funny and awesome.
-Saturday was my birthday. It was a pretty regular day except we ate alot of junk when we got home.
-C. was coming downtown to get her hair done. She's from a nicer area and was sketched out when she saw homeless people on the corners. She told us that she was praying the whole way there that she'd find someone to walk her to her appointment. She "just happened" to park outside of the institute when "2 nice looking girls" walked out of it. She said she instantly knew that we were the answer to her prayers. We walked with her and she called us after to walk her back. Missionaries who cover her area will begin teaching their family soon.
-church was crazy! So we went to both wards because we had investigators at both. A cute Asian lady came to one and we taught her and put her on date after church. Sadly she's 32 so we will need to refer her to a family ward. L. was at the later ward and just raved about how awesome it was. We taught him during 3rd hour to avoid the priesthood vs relief society issue.. haha
πŸ˜… we also taught Sunday school.
-after church and studies we had about an hour and a half until we needed to be home for the night (we have 8pm dinners here because we live far away and it's kinda sketchy to be out past 8.) we were wandering around campus trying to find people. Nobody was out so I had the thought to walk home (looking back, it was definitely the spirit). We usually take a 20 minute bus ride. It was almost 3 1/2 miles but we decided to do it and street contact anyway. Half way home K. was standing outside a bar waiting for it to open. We talked and he is super interested. He said he lives across the street and didn't know why he didn't just go home to wait. Later he said that we were an answer to his prayers. Teaching him again tonight.

AND SO MUCH MORE! Campus is fun because you're just doing WORK from 10 am-8 pm. We get a half hour lunch and a half hour of companion study in there. We walk so much and are basically always talking to someone. It's a lot of exhausting fun!

This week I have to be a solo flier and go to MLC alone. I'm hitching a ride from some sisters but it'll be weird. We have interviews on Wednesday and exchanges on Thursday. It's going to be a busy busy awesome week. HAPPY FOURTH OF JULY! I love America

I LOVE BEING A MISSIONARY! I know God prepares people and crosses our paths. I'm thankful for the Spirit that guides us in all things. This is the church of Jesus Christ!

Love you all!
Sister Barnes

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Dreams Come True (June 26)

Area #4, with Sis Andersen

Hello family and friends!

I am going to start with a scripture. 

3 Nephi 10:11
And thus far were the scriptures fulfilled which had been spoken by the prophets.

But I'm going to modify it to apply to my mission.

And thus far were the [promises] fulfilled which had been spoken by [President Daines].

Now let me explain by going back to October when I was being trained by Sister Blaser. We had our regular interviews and I had an awesome experience with President Daines. President promised that me and Sister Blaser would baptize together. We thought it would be that transfer but our guy on date dropped us. Then we got doubled out. So before every transfer we'd email each other and wonder if this would be the transfer that we got put together again to baptize together. Last transfer was her final transfer and we weren't made companions. She was teaching this guy named Seth and she told me all about him. He was getting baptized the day after she was supposed to leave so she got special permission to extend a day to be there for his baptism. So. Thursday morning I got the news that I'd be transferred to OSU (I'll talk more about that later.) I went into Sister Blaser's old area where Seth would be getting baptized. Friday morning after the departing missionaries were dropped off at the airport we got a call from President Daines. He asked if we'd be okay with having a third companion for a little while. We said yeah! Then Sister Blaser came. We got to be in a trio for a day and a half and we got to... BAPTIZE TOGETHER! It was so special. 

Okay there is so much to talk about. I'll start with transfer news. So I'm serving on OSU campus in the YSA Ward. It's a ton of fun and just super awkward all the time. I'll be here all summer at least and maybe even through the end of my mission. My companion is Sister Andersen. She's from Idaho! She came out the same time as Sister Hall and Sister Flora. We are already having a blast and finding a ton of people! So basically we just have quick lessons with people at the institute and walk around campus trying to talk to everyone we can. It's fun and fast paced. We ride the bus from our apartment every morning and meet some odd people on it.

Seth just got baptized! Sister Blaser and Sister Andersen have been working with him for about a month and a half. He was just golden and loves the gospel. His testimony is so simple and strong. It was a super cool baptismal service. It took like 6 tries to get it right, but it was awesome. 

That's about all. This is the last week with President and Sister Daines. I'm excited to meet the Stratfords this week! We've got a bunch of lessons and things lined up. It should be a great week. 

Love you all!

Sister Barnes

Just Listen to the Spirit (June 22)

This week was awesome! No surprise baptisms or anything, but we had a good time.

Zone conference was Tuesday. It was our last one with the Daines. I love them so much and they will be dearly missed. I wrote a long thing in my journal about how much I love them, but I think I'll spare you from that. Just know that they've had the biggest influence on me and what I want for the future. President Stratford and his wife will arrive in a week! I'm beyond excited to meet them and see what they bring to the mission! We got to go to the temple and it was wonderful as always. I got some answers to questions and just felt really good about everything. We got a new car which is worthy to mention. It's a brand new 2017 Chevy Malibu. It had 51 miles on it when we got it. Haha probably the newest car I'll ever drive.

We had exchanges on Thursday and I was with Sister Monroe. She's in Powell and is doing awesome things there. We met some cool people! One was Jack. Jack helped design the San Diego temple. He had to take “Mormon classes" in SLC to learn about some of the architectural significances of the temple. Super cool. We're teaching him soon. He lives right by the church but never made the connection that it's a Mormon church.

Evidence of 2 Nephi 27:20 "I am able to do mine own work." Saturday we both got this prompting to text this lady who we've stopped by a few times to see. All the times have been bad times and we haven't been able to schedule a good one. So we thought of her and said we need to text her, but never did. it just slipped our minds right after it came. Sunday morning we walk into church and there she was and her son! She said the church had been on the back of her mind the past few months. She's been reading the Book of Mormon and wants to learn a lot more. So even though we were bums and didn't text her, she came to church!

Then Monday we decided to be way better about following promptings. It was dumping rain and we hadn't been to our apartment all day. We didn't have any rain gear and we felt like somebody needed us and would let us in. So we prayed and headed to see this one lady. On the way, we passed this street that another lady lives on. We had never met her, but we tried a lot of times. We thought it might've been a promoting so we decided to see her. We knocked a few times but nobody answered. We had her number so we called her. We left a voicemail saying who we were and that we wanted to meet her. We told her we stopped by but she wasn't home and we let her know a window was open so she could close it and protect her house from water damage. We hung up and went on to another person close by. On our way out of the neighborhood there was a cop in her driveway. We drive past and he followed us for a loooooooooong time. He didn't end up stopping us but we think we creeped this lady out and she called the cops on us haha oops. Maybe that wasn't a prompting. Maybe it was. Who knows!

Everyone is progressing well! Just know that everyone is awesome and the spirit is definitely touching hearts here.

I am happy. I love being a missionary. Heavenly Father is the best! Transfer calls will come sometime today. I'll email again when they do!

Love from Marysville,
Sister Barnes