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

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