Monday, January 4, 2016

We will not give up on our goal, we have faith!

This week started off a little rough but It’s okay, it taught me that I need to be more self-reliant. If there is something I want done, or if I want to go do something I need to just go do it. 
As I am writing this we are on the bus heading to downtown Charleston for a fun day!! Elder Connolly and I have been having a lot more fun together, and hopefully after the Holiday season, we will be able to get back into a real routine for missionary work. 
So, our district meeting was on Tuesday, and we talked about the goals we had set the week prior to baptize 3 people by the end of this transfer. Our mission has really been working on using the principal of Faith as a power in order to accomplish a task or goal. We were all really excited about it, but the steps are as follows:
"Miracles only occur when circumstances of a mortal perspective seem impossible" -President Turner
1) Desire
2) Prayer
3) Labor
4) Expect the Lord to act
5) Trial
So, we had our desire, and it was a specific goal to help these 3 people receive these blessings and be baptized. We have been keeping this goal and our other goals in our prayers and our fast, and then we get to working. We knock as many doors as we can, we talk with every person we see, and we ask for and contact referrals. All of us have the faith, and we have expected the Lord to act and to bless us in our efforts, but what we didn't expect was the trial to come so soon. We set the goal 2 weeks ago, and the trials came as soon as we left the building. We really haven't been able to teach that many people in the last two weeks and not very many people have been home. We keep working though, we will not give up on our goal, and we have faith that we will hit it! 

We spent a lot of our week biking, getting to know the parts of our area we had never been, and contacting former members and less active members. We both gave talks in Sacrament last Sunday, which was a lot of fun! Elder Connolly did very great, he's a very good teacher and very sincere. He surprises me every day. There weren't a whole lot of people at church because of the Holidays, and that made giving our talks even easier! The bad part though, was that no one was there to sign up on the meal calendar...we had one family sign up for Wednesday, the Fish's, and they took us out to this Italian bistro which was very good! They asked us if we'd been fed well this week, and when we told them not really, they told us they would be feeding us the next 3 days! It was great. We had lunch at a fish camp (any food joint centered on oysters, shrimp, scallops, or other fish) Thursday with Brother Fish, and then had dinner with them Friday night in their home. 

I think Friday was my favorite day this week. It was cold and really overcast and was supposed to be raining on us, and hard. We got to do some fun stuff that day though! The McLean children found out that I have a love for the best sport which is Ultimate Frisbee, and they have friends with the same passion! They set up a game and invited some non-members to come play. It was so much fun! Kind of short notice p, so we didn't have as big of a turnout as we had hoped for, but it was still pretty good. :) We are hoping to make this an every other or even an every week thing and spread the word to get non-members from all over there. 
When we finished, we went home, changed and we started what is about a 3 mile ride to the Fish's home, and it started to sprinkle on us a little bit. I said a prayer while riding and I remember asking for forgiveness for my poor attitude since I was sore and it was probably going to rain on us. I asked that we would get there safely and dry, then revelation hit and I said "unless Your way of helping my poor attitude is by soaking me to the bone, and helping me find the humor in it, then bring it!" Haha the night went better. 
We set up some awesome appointments, and Elder Connolly got to know what I meant when I told him that darkness in south caroling isn't normal darkness. It's "advanced...darkness" hah you need a good light in order to bike here at night. Good thing I have one!

We have some good hopes for teaching some people right now! There is a lady who has been a member for 20 or so years, but hasn't been active. We can't find her records either, but she has a non-member husband, and three girls that could all be baptized! She is very very nice to the missionaries, and wants us over; it is just really hard to catch her at home. We were slightly apprehensive about meeting her husband, but we went over anyway, and he was the only one home. He was very kind to us and asked us to try by another time when the entire family is home so they can all meet with us. Pretty much ideal for a missionary. :) 

I ate at a place called perfectly Frank's this week, I guess it has been on the food network and is supposedly super delicious. It very much was haha it is basically a menu full of every type of sandwich you can think of, with a hotdog or bratwurst under it. So good, mine was like a brat, bacon, onions and bbq sauce. Next time I think I'll try the pulled pork. :) 

Well, that is pretty much my week! Oh, and New Year’s. That also happened! We had to be in by 6 pm because of all the drunkards and reckless drivers and we spent pretty much the whole night cleaning out apartment. 

I made monkey bread and scones and we gave some to the Sisters that live across the complex from us, and since we 1) weren’t allowed to leave and 2) can't do fireworks, we threw pop-it's out the window. :) totally allowed haha 

We caught a bus today and headed down to Charleston and we had a blast! We got to the bus just on time and got down to Charleston with time to spare. Ate breakfast at a little coffee shop, talked with the owner for a little while, took the trolley to the aquarium, got to touch some sharks and stingrays, saw an albino alligator (way sick!) talked with a lady about the church for about 20 minutes, which was cool because this mornin’ I was telling Elder C about how often we end up teaching people even on P-days! I guess we were in the right place today because we talked with about 3 or 4 people about what we do. So much fun :) we went around the little shops, heard the song 'Jesus' by "Brand New" at a bike shop, ate lunch at Bubba Gump's (so good!) and got Ice cream at Ben and Jerry's. I think it was a pretty good day! We went back to the visitors’ center to get my bike, and then headed to the bus stop. We are now on the bus, headed back to Summerville. We just passed the Boeing factory. There are a lot of well-known name factories based out of South Carolina, like this morning we passed the Bosch factory. Way cool :) 
Alright, fun week ahead of us, pray us luck in finding those that will receive us! D&C 42:8
Love y'all! Thank you so much for the endless support and love. Please let me know what I can do for any of you. Love y'all from South Carolina!
-Elder Joel "Sunshine" Barker.

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