Monday, February 1, 2016

"He who the Lord calls, He enables."

Hey y'all, this has been a pretty good week. We went on an awesome exchange on Wednesday with our district leader. Elder Connolly went to their area, and I stayed in ours with Elder Penman, who is from Alaska, and one of my favorite missionaries. We had a blast and got work done. We had a lesson with our new investigator L, and she has been a little discouraged about it all. She isn't too sure about being baptized, and is scared to come to church. She told us she more wanted to learn about what we believe rather than convert. We hear this all the time, but it doesn't mean we ever like hearing it. We shifted our focus with her to just stopping by a couple times a week and reading the Book of Mormon with her. We are hoping that if we just take it slow and really focus on the Book of Mormon being true and revealed scripture. The spirit will help her to know for herself what she needs to do. Pray for her, she would be such a great addition to the Ward, and knowing her story, the Gospel would bless her life so much.

We picked up another investigator this week as well, her name is N. She is going through some things in her life, and is now a single mother taking care of her 3 kids. She is really close friends with a member family, and actually lives next door to them, so it makes it really easy and ideal to have members in the lessons we have with her. We got her name as a referral about 3 or 4 months ago, and have just been waiting for the OK to go contact her. The time was right, she had been prepared and there was an opportunity to do service with her. We ended up rearranging her house for her. We moved furniture out that she didn't want anymore, brought a huge projector TV down the stairs. N had a lot of questions as to why we did what we do, why we don't watch TV or date or anything like that, and it lead into a discussion about modern revelation coming from a modern day prophet. She really liked that we believe in having a prophet on the earth, and the way God will give him the revelation that will strengthen the family and help protect us from the world. We are so excited to teach her about eternal families, we really think she'll just soak it up when the Spirit tells her it is all true. We invited her to come to church, and she committed for next week! We already have a member lined up to pick her and her kids up and bring them. So awesome! It makes me so excited when something like this happens, it gives me hope when I am lacking.

On Thursday, we drove up to Sumter to listen to Elder Brent H. Nielson speak to us. It was a really good Zone Conference and we learned a lot about how we can improve our missionary work. A lot of it was the same as what we have been learning for the last while, but some of it was new to us, and made a lot of sense as to how it will work and help us to do better work. There was a point where we got to ask him questions and have him answer them in hopes to help us with our work, and I was first to ask a question. I asked how we as a mission and as individuals, could use prayer and our faith as a power to help President Monson fulfill his calling as Prophet for the world, as well as deal with all the trials the world and his health are giving him. I could hardly make it through the question before I was in tears. Part of my testimony of having a prophet on the earth today is the spirit I feel when speaking of him. Elder Nielson gave me a smile, and for a minute it kinda felt like it was just him and Me in the room. He talked about President Monson with the greatest of respect, and told me something that will stick with me: "He who the Lord calls, He enables." He talked about how President Monson is having health issues, but also about how he will be cared for, and how he is in the Lord's hands. The whole thing was hard to take, because it felt like the spirit was helping prepare me for when he was very comforting though, hearing from someone who sees our Prophet on a weekly or even daily basis, speak of him as if he were a friend. He told me he would tell President Monson that there is a missionary in South Carolina who is worried about and praying for him, when he sees him on Thursday. It was a really good conference. It is about a 2 hour drive to Sumter, and we had to split my companionship the night before so there would be enough seats for everyone. Elder Connolly went with Elder Jackson and all them, and I went with the Summerville 2nd and Walterboro Elders. They played freeze out in their apartment the night prior since it was all of us, Elder Nyborg had set up a hammock and needed the windows open, and Elder Fullmer turned the ac to 50 degrees (as low as it will allow, and turned it to auto. Since the window was open, the ac turned off when it got below 50, and we were all frozen. I, however, slept great, and felt like I was back at camp. Haha

Elder Connolly and I hung out with the Mt. Pleasant Elders today, so we got a ride to the bus and rode to Charleston, grabbed some hot chocolate, then caught another bus to Mt. Pleasant. We got to hang out with them and some youth that I knew from serving around Elder Bowles, and we went to Fort Moultrie. It was pretty cool, and was full of all these underground tunnels that we got to explore. It was really fun.
We also attempted to go shark tooth hunting, where you go to certain spots where they have used beach sand as road base for off road trails, and there are shark teeth around it, but it was so overgrown that we couldn't find any, we also will probably be eaten up by chiggers tomorrow morning. Fun p-day anyway. We caught the bus back to Charleston, and waited for the number 3 which takes us back to Summerville, but the lady drove right past us. Hah we ended up waiting about 35 mines for the next one. No biggie, just slightly annoying and means we have to adjust our schedule a little bit.
One thing that was really cool, and a blessing, was that we had some pretty cool bus drivers. One guy had been talking to us about our church before he'd picked anyone else up, and asked us "how many wives y'all got?" We laughed and I told him none. But we explained how we aren't polygamists, and he cut up with us a little. We ended up missing our stop, even though we let him know we wanted off, so he actually turned the bus around, told the other passengers we were from out of town and needed to catch our ride, and then ignored the Snide remarks that came from them. We gave him a tip for his kindness. The lady that drove us back made sure we got there on time, and we ended up seeing her again after the first bus had driven past us. She radioed to the next one to make sure they stopped for us. So cool. :) Everyone talks to everyone; there are no strangers, only really close friends you didn't know you knew. It is really really fun to be a part of.
We got transfer calls today, Elder Connolly and I are staying together (just like President told me) and everyone else is leaving. Hah, we are losing 6 people from our district, including Elder Neilson and Jackson, who are both being transferred. Elder Lincoln is going home to Utah haha and Elder Jackson, no one expected was leaving. We'll miss our old district; I hope things turn out for the best.
Well, I'm gonna get this ready to send off, and we have a bus to catch.
Love y'all!
-Elder Joel 'Sunshine' Barker.

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