Monday, January 25, 2016

Ma'am, do you know your neighbor?

This week I went on an exchange with a Zone Leader. They let us pick who would be going where, and after Elder Connolly and I prayed and talked with one another about it, we decided that it would be a good learning experience for him to stay in the area and run things for a little bit. I went to North Charleston, which has some of the most run down Ghettos I have ever seen. 
We had a missionary broadcast on Wednesday that talked a lot about the way that we are and should be doing missionary work. It was a great broadcast, but kind of repetitive as to what we have been learning the last couple of months. 

It was pretty cool to be on exchanges with one of our Zone Leaders, because I haven't been the biggest fan of them from recent events in the past that were fairly frustrating. I learned a lot on the exchange though. I was able to realize that I was probably being pretty critical with them because they are both just like me. They are just regular missionaries that have a whole lot more responsibilities that they have to worry about. It was nice to learn & understand that. 
We did some great work too; we had a couple member present lessons, and helped 2 of their investigators prepare for baptism. We went to the dentist in Mt. Pleasant, which is arguably one of the richest places I have ever been, and it is kind of far away. Driving there from Summerville is like driving to Provo from West Valley almost. I visited a dentist while I was there. The dentist is a very good man and he helped a lot. He found a place where I had a cavity and went ahead and numbed half my face and fixed it. Haha I love having my teeth fixed because they don't hurt anymore, but trying to eat Chick-fil-a after was more of a game of "Try not to bite your tongue off. 
When I got back to my area from exchanges, we got dropped off near the top of our area for an appointment that fell through, so we started walking back. I had feeling back in my face now, and it was pretty sore. We were fixin to just head home, but we would be passing by a former investigator I have wanted to see for a while, so we detoured to go see him. He wasn't home and we were starting down the street. I glanced at a house, and the thought came into my mind that we needed to knock at their house. I really didn't feel very well, so I shrugged it off and we just kept walking. That's when it came back into my mind and I realized that it was a spiritual prompting, and I was arguing with it. I made a promise to myself and to the Lord at the beginning of my mission that anytime I get a prompting, or think I have, and it inspires me to do good, I will follow it no matter what. 
We knocked, and a lady in her late 60's answered the door, and all I could say was something along the lines of a regular greeting, and ask "Ma'am, do you know your neighbor?" I think that took her by surprise a little, and now she was interested in why we would be asking that. We talked with her for a while about him, and she didn't know much about him other than his name. She asked us why we were trying to contact him, and we told her about what it is to be a missionary, and what we do. We ended up talking with her for about 40 minutes on her front porch, which didn't seem like it was going to happen considering it was getting dark and very cold. She was very interested in the fact that we talked about Prophets, and had a very strong opinion that we still need a prophet. We shared the restoration with her, the spirit was so strong while we talked, and I knew she could feel it. We invited her to be baptized on February 20th, and she accepted. She was a little nervous about it and quiet after we asked her, but she smiled after a short time and said yes. We were so excited to finally see success again after the trials we have been going through as a district and zone. We actually taught a lot of people that day, while we were walking home, we contacted a man who was walking the same way as we were, and taught him the better portion of the restoration. He gave us his name number and address and invited us to come by next week. Unfortunately, he lives out of our area so we will have to refer him to another set of missionaries. It is at this point where all we can do is pray for him and hope that things go well and that he'll accept the gospel. 
Things are really looking up these last few days, and I am hopeful that they will stay this way. 
Excited for this next week! Transfer calls are on Saturday, and I don't plan on going anywhere, at least that's what President told me ;) 
Love y'all!
-Elder Joel 'Sunshine' Barker

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