Monday, March 30, 2015

Matthew 19:29

I am so happy you loved my letter! I find it so much easier to tell you everything that is going on in a letter because I don't really have a time limit to write, and it is more private, so my head is so much clearer. I love writing you letters too! I think I am going to start writing Kyle and Shani and Kenny and Mesa and all those people that I don't have their addresses, and just send the letters home and maybe y'all could get them where they need to go? :) 

I am so happy that Sister Widdison was willing to send that picture to you! She went to Syracuse High school, so she knows where hunter is, and roughly where we live! She and her husband are so cool. He is our Ward mission leader, and is awesome. They are actually headed out to Utah in May, and I was totally thinking that we should set it up so Y'all can go get lunch or something! Then you should come visit me and take me out to lunch. :) Haha, that would be so cool! 

I can't believe all the miracles that are happening back home right now! God really is working hard on our family and in our ward! 
This week has been really fun! We had to clean out our whole apartment and make sure there was nothing on the ground because we had a company come in and clean our carpets. Our apartment is spotless! :) 

We are getting B ready for baptism, and we are just so excited for her!  Elder O. will be baptizing her, and I will be doing a font side confirmation. We are getting everything put together, and she is so elect. All of her friends are beginning to stop talking to her because she is getting baptized, and her boyfriend broke up with her as well.  We went over last night and she just cried and cried. I showed her the scripture in Matthew you sent me, Matthew 19:29 and we prayed with her about it, then she asked us for a blessing. By the time we left, she was just overwhelmed with how excited she was for this weekend! We are so excited!

This week, we are going to be exploring the parts of our new area we haven't been, and we are going to kneel down with our map, and pray to find out where we need to go and who we need to go see. We both know there is someone waiting to hear what we have to say. :) 

We are also going to go have a bike rack installed on our car this week so we can drive far out and bike around. It is a much better use of our miles. :) 

We did a lot of service this week too, we helped lift some way heavy logs into the back of a truck so we can come back this week and chop them up for an older lady's fire place.
I will send pictures! 

Love y'all!!!

This is baby C he belongs to B who is getting Baptized this week.
He is adorable!

The guy we were helping had a really cool toy! 

This week's critter pictures...

Monday, March 23, 2015

We got a car!

This has been a crazy week! I just sent you an 8 page letter this morning in good detail about it all!
 I am going in on Wednesday to have my filling re-done. They adjusted it on (whatever day I went in last) and told me to see if that helps, and didn't charge me. Then, when it hadn't gotten any better, he said that he would first like to re-do the filling to save some money and maybe that will fix it, and if that doesn't, then we do a root canal. 
Today for p-day, Elder O and I are going to go up to Nephi's books by the temple, and use that as an excuse to surprise the Clows! :) 

This week has been so good! We have a new Investigator named R******, I don't know If I wrote about him last week, but he is so cool! He is loving everything we are teaching, and is just loving the Book Of Mormon! We are so excited for him! 
B***** is doing well also, she will be baptized on the 4th, and we are just counting down the days until then! 
We actually Saw J******* (Paulette's niece) and her husband on Saturday and they are doing great! 
We will go see them again this week :) 

We got a car when the sisters left, and we are so happy about that. We were both ready to just tackle our area on bikes, but now that we have driven 45 minutes to the other end of our area, we are very grateful that we have it. We are waiting for a hitch to come in the mail so we can go have the hitch and a bike rack put on.Then we can drive to our farther areas and bike around to save our miles, and keep ourselves fit. :) But really, our area is huge now. It would have taken us about 4 hours to bike to some of the people we have to go see this week. 
We are working right now on putting all of our records and all of the sisters records together, as well as working on getting a new map so we have all the members, investigators and potentials marked. We are just having a blast! It has been somewhat rainy and cold the last couple days, so I have been getting good use of all the sweaters you sent! Thank you again for all of those! We are very excited for conference weekend, because we will get to enjoy conference, short sleeves, and a baptism! What more could we want??! 
Um, what else has happened...I got a guitar yesterday! Our Ward Mission leader gave it to me as long as I promised to teach him how to play a little! Isn't that cool!!! In the letter I sent you, I asked if you would send me some taps for Peter Mayer and any other church related music, as well as whatever else is on guitar! I am hoping to use it while I am out during meetings and stuff for musical numbers :) I already learned 'If ye could high to Kolob' so that's fun! 
My ankle is doing a little better now that we aren't biking so much, but I still have trouble every once and a while. I am keeping up on exercise and all that, but it still bugs me. I will just keep going though! I am restarting my reading in the Book Of Mormon, and I am excited because God is helping me understand it so much more now! 
Love Y'all!

Elder Barker with his Momma and Papa Clow!
Sister Clow made sure the boys were properly fed.

Elders Barker & Olmstead at the Clows'

Just in case any of us were worried that we wouldn't get a picture of an animal this week....
Bam! a picture of "a toad in hand" right at the last minute!
 That's our Joel!

We also got one of him playing with The Clows' adorable dogs.)

Monday, March 16, 2015

Elder Kopischke

Hi family!
The Lord is protecting me and blessing me with so much!
This week has been so good! We had a Great Zone Conference on Wednesday with Elder Kopischke and he had a lot of new teaching tools for us, and a lot of new ways to find people and seek referrals from members! He told us to think of 3 or 4 questions we wanted answered, and promised us that we would have our answers by the end of the meeting. I wrote down 5, and the spirit answered one of them right away. I was overcome with this amazing feeling of peace, and I started to cry. I looked around, and saw that I was in a room full of missionaries. All these wonderful people were feeling the same thing as me, and a lot of them were crying too. Not a word was said that brought it on, it was just the feeling of the spirit testifying to our hearts. I loved it :) Sometimes, it was hard to understand him because German is his first language, but we all got a lot out of it. :) 

We had an awesome lesson this week with our investigator B*****, we were teaching her the Plan of Salvation, and it was the first time I actually got to sit down and be in a lesson with her. She has A LOT of questions about everything, but she is getting it so fast! During the lesson, baptism got brought up a lot, in my mind at least, and we touched on it a couple of times. Her biggest thing is that she wants to find out if this church is for her. If it is right. I love that, because she isn't worried about all the little details, she said she just wants to see how the spirit feels in the church. We invited her to come this Sunday and she accepted, and we told her we would find her a ride. At the end of our lesson, I felt like God wouldn't have let me move from my seat until I asked her, so I listened to the prompting, and invited her to be baptized if she got her answer that this was the true church. She got so excited and said yes. :) I am so thrilled for her!!! She came to church yesterday, and it was such a good experience. We had a man in our ward, Brother A, go get her, and he got to know her really well. She felt totally comfortable walking in now that she had a friend. She then came and sat with us, and was really scared that 1) people would look down on her since she is a young single mother, and 2) that her baby would be disruptive. I am so glad that people in our church are so friendly. No one looked down on her, and I think she was really surprised by that because she had had a bad experience at another church when she first had baby C*****. Also, her baby was a tiny bit loud at times, mostly blowing raspberries, and being adorable, but for once, I am so thankful that there are very badly behaved little kids who scream and cry and have to be taken into the hallway, because it helped make her feel welcome. :) So maybe that's why I was how I was as a baby! I was just a blessing for someone else!! ;) haha

Elder O. and I taught the Gospel Principals class about the Holy Ghost, and it was the biggest class since I have been in the ward. Figures it would be the one time we teach. It went really well though, because B***** had questions, and everyone weighed in and helped her understand. By the end of church, she was talking like she had been a member for years, and she kept saying how excited she was to be baptized and keep coming back!!! :) 

Oh, another thing, Sister Parker and Sister LeFever are leaving our district and are going to go serve in Hopkins! Super awesome because they are both great missionaries and I know they'll take good care of the Clows' and Ciprianos' and all the other people I love down there :) So, Elder O. and I get the rest of their area, plus what we already have. So now our already big for biking area has just tripled in size!!!! Hopefully they give us a car :P We mostly eat at home, I have been making a lot of fruit smoothies and ham and cheese sandwiches! We do get fed every couple of days though. With the sisters gone, we might get fed more now though!!!Great week! Excited to see what the Lord has in store for the next one! 

Have a great week!
-Elder Joel, Sunshine, Odie, Barker.

I got to see Lincoln and Elder Farnsworth, Hawkes, Roetkur, and SPECK!!!!

 I got to see Lincoln!!! :)
All of the sudden, it is spring.
These are called Bradford Pears, and they are everywhere.
Look this opossum is pretending to be asleep ;)
I wanted to cut off the tail and send it home! but I didn't :) 
The "Champion" shirts.
 ~The little things above Elder Olmstead's head are NOT gum, they are glow in the dark stars.
I asked. ~ Cyndi

Monday, March 9, 2015

"Roadstar burger challenge!"

So good! I'm so full!
We went to American Roadside Burgers and did their "Roadstar burger challenge".
All of us got a t-shirt!

American Roadside Burgers 

(Juice running all the way down that boy's arm)
I am so happy! All the members out here are so nice to me! 
I got a box Wednesday night FULL of sweaters, and I was so confused because my name was the only name on there, and it didn't say who they were from, that was Wednesday. Then, yesterday, the Ciprianos’ brought me another package from you, that said it would be a week and a half before I got the other box! haha 

So, story of the Allreds': We were biking through a part of our area later at night, and it was pretty dark. We were making our last couple of stops before heading in for the night. We were stopping at a less-active's house named G*** H****** (Not even thinking about having talked to Paulette at all) and we knocked on the door just as the neighbor got home. She came over and told us that they were out of town and introduced herself. She was her Daughter. She asked us where we were from, explained that her Momma was the only member, and how she has cousins in Utah that are members. She asked us "Do yall know that Allreds'?" I said yeah! Figuring that it is a popular name and that there was no way she would know that same one's as me. But she said, "Like Paulette?" And that threw me back. I told her that I grew up down the street from them, and how you and she serve in primary together! Isn't that crazy?? She invited us in and told me she was going to put a picture on her Facebook, and I knew you would see it and know within like, 20 minutes. :) So I was happy because I knew you'd be happy! Isn't that cool?? God works in the weirdest ways!!! We are so excited to go back and see them as soon as they get back into town, but now we know J******* as well, and can stop in and see her and her husband on occasion too! 

It's so nice that God is working on the family that I love so much, I was worried about them when I left, and I haven't missed a night of prayer without asking for yall to be protected and guided. I love hearing about all the blessings God is giving yall because of something so simple as serving a mission. 

I hope I haven't been spending too much money, I am still waiting for my missionary card to come in, which it this week, and I have loved getting little things here and there that I need, and knowing that y'all will see where I am :)

This week we are working on exact obedience as a zone. We are finding little things we do throughout the day that might not be in exact accordance with what we are inspired to do, and we are cutting them out, and praying that we will find success by giving those things up. 

The weather here hasn't been as bad as the crazy blizzard y'all had, but hasn't been too pleasant to bike through. It has been cold, foggy, misty and rainy. But we are still working as hard as we can and are just doing whatever we can to make sure we don't allow our spirits to be down even for a second! 

We have some lessons coming up with our main investigators this week, so please remember us in your prayers! we are working as hard as we can to help these people come to Christ. We also have a recent convert who hasn't been at church because she is ready to have a baby...any second now :) So we are excited to see her back, and are trying to talk to her sister and see if she would be interested in meeting with us as well :) 
Thanks for the care packages by the way!!! I got all 3 in 2 days!!!

Love y'all!

Yeah, Our apartment is on a lake!!!
Bishops meeting before Sister E went home.
 Bobo the biggest coolest Chow Chow I've ever seen!
Paulette's niece!

Monday, March 2, 2015

So focused on the work.

Elder Barker with The Ciprianos'
The Ciprianos' have helped so much with the way I have felt the last week. They delivered your letter with my blessing in it at just the right time. I needed that so badly and I don't know how you knew that's what I needed, but it helped so greatly! I have been listening to the heed of my mission president and praying for the strength to focus all I can on the work and have been able to get out of feeling homesick all the time, which is so nice. It still hits me sometimes, but I am able to calm myself and get back to work fairly quick. 
I know it is His helping hand. :) I am so focused on the work Momma bear :)
I think it is so funny that you have already talked to Elder Olmstead's momma, 
I was telling him THIS MORNING that I would bet him money that you had already contacted her, and he was like, "Nah, I bet not" But I know you too well. :) 

No transfers for us, both of us are staying for now. YAY!

YES! I'm so excited for Sawyer! I wish that I could go to Roots High too! I'm so jealous! That will be so good for both of them, and I am excited to come help out when I'm home! Dr. C said I'll have a job ;) 

We ate dinner with Mary, (Ciprianos Daughter) and her husband Nick, and the whole Cipriano family were there! It was so cool! I got to give Charles his Pat McManus book! 

We have had some crazy weather, everything from frozen fog, rain turning to hail, snow, crazy rain, and random rivers/mists. We usually end up soaked one way or another :) But we are still having fun.  I am a biking missionary, and will be until I get transferred to a car area. Which is never a guarantee, but the zone leaders have a car, so we get rides to church, email, Walmart and stuff like that with them. The members drive us every once and a while.

Elder O and I are working really hard right now in our finding efforts, because we don't have a lot going on in this area right now. We have spent and planned a lot of our time knocking streets that he hasn't been on in the six months he's been here, and we've found some pretty cool people that we have return appointments to go see this week, and we are excited :) We were knocking a street and ran into two of the funniest women I have met, and they talked to us because one of them was working on her '84 Chevy Blazer, and I talked trucks with her for a minute. We talked to her and her friend for about 20 minutes, and they invited us back, so, pray for us and we will see where that takes us! Her name is A***** :)
I love being in Windsor lake, and since I didn't get transferred, I'll be here another month and a half at least! So you'll know where I am!
Thank you for caring about me so much, It's almost an overwhelming the feeling of love I get coming from the family, and specifically you momma, thank you. I have to go now, I love you so much!!
Love y'all!!!

Woke up the other day, and...snow.
And yes, Alec, that is our neighbors FRS

A little note from Sister Arrington :)

Super man and Batman's chariot :)
Elder Olmstead and I found a hand-cart kit in our apartment. 
So, we used my gorilla glue and built it over the course of the week.  

Papa Olmstead

Elder Barker and Cipriano's son, Preston.