This has been a good week!
First off, I apologize for not writing something for the blog last week. It was a little crazy and there were a lot of things on my mind making it difficult to think very clearly...things will be better soon though. I am faithful, but things can be hard on a mission sometimes. All you can do is push through the the hard times and enjoy as much as you can out of the good times. :)
So, we did a lot of service this week; we actually spent all P-day doing service for the charity in Camden called United way. They did this big Easter Project where a bunch of companies would fill Easter packages for kids, people in Hospitals and all that, and we got to put them all together, send them off, then on Monday, we were there organizing them as people brought them back, then waiting for the school, hospital, or whoever the representative over the people who the packages were going to, would come and get them. Basically, every time we would bring groceries in for our Mommas, and we refused to make more than one trip so we would load as many Walmart sacks onto our arms as we possibly could, that was really just preparation for this service project. Haha It was a blast, actually.
Had a little scare at the end, because we left, they locked up, and I realized that neither me or Elder Connolly had the phone...we were still in the parking lot with the sisters though, so they called one of the managers who gives us all the projects, and she let us go get the key and unlock the building so we could get the phone...well, the sisters went and got the key, we went to the room, and we could not find it..we looked through everything. I just started thinking about some kid in a hospital getting a crappy little cell phone with a picture of Jesus as the background in his Easter basket because it must've fallen out of my shirt pocket...haha well, I said a prayer, and asked the sisters if they would mind checking their bags, and low and behold, one of them had stolen it. Funny thing, and it made us laugh.
We were there a good portion of the day Tuesday helping out again, and we actually had another guy ask us if we would be interested in helping him tear down one of the roofs on their back buildings, and re-doing it with him. We are stoked!
We helped Brother R, who is the one who lets us come over and do service with him and we have been helping him move his wife's mother into their guest home. Well, we called him up and asked if there was anything he needed done that we could help with, and we found out that he was clearing the debris and dead wood from the woods around his property, so we waited for him to pick us up,and we headed out. We got the Other Elders, Thompson and Larsen, involved too! It was a blast. We got to do work hard, I got to ride on the back of a tractor, my boots were completely green/yellow at one point because of all the pollen from the pine trees...haha I really really love getting to get dirty and work hard. He had this big fire pit made of brick and was surrounded by log stools that he needed us to move. While we were loading the brick into the bucket of the tractor and the burn pile in the background was crackling and you could smell the smoke, for just a second, I could close my eyes and it felt like I was in Fremont. It was a good time :) Fremont has always been and will always be my happy place.
OH, Something I knew would make Grandpa and Justin laugh was while we were working- I was walking around finding things that needed to be done, to make sure that we were helping instead of hindering his work, and he asked if I would start filling in the holes that were left from uprooting the dead trees and moving them into the woods farther away. Well, the holes weren't too big, so I started filling them with the surrounding dirt, and rocks. I asked Elder Connolly to bring me a rock to help fill the holes, and he was gone for a second or two, and brought back this fist-sized rock, and tossed it into the hole. As soon as it hit the ground, I said "doggone it Elder Connolly! When I say bring a rock, I mean a ROCK!" And I just hear Elder Thompson (from Cannonville Ut) laughing from the background, and said "Whatcha got right there's no bigger than a grapefruit." Made my entire day. (if this isn't playing in your head-click link)
We went out teaching with the second counselor of the Camden bishopric, and we were able to see a less-active member we have been trying to visit for a while, and we had a wonderful lesson in his home. It is hard to get ahold of people in this ward, so we are always happy when we get to have a real lesson. We taught about the atonement, and read in Matthew when The Savior went through it. The spirit just filled that little room, and this man, who is going through a lot in his life, just told us how hard it is to not be making the right decisions in life, and not feeling as close to God as he could be, and used to be. He wanted so badly to feel that again, and we bore testimony about how easy it really is to come back to Christ, you just need the real intent and desire..We explained how Jesus is always shown in paintings with his arms open, and how that is him welcoming us all back when we make our way..He loved hearing that..
We have heard a lot about the Atonement lately with it being Easter and all, and one of my favorite things to talk about kept coming up.
I think we as people take things way too seriously, and we are much too hard on ourselves, and Satan will help us think that we are "in too deep to return" but what I like to focus on, is the word "Father". God is our Father and that makes us his children. Well, I know I am his child and since it hasn't been a terrible long time since I was a little kid...and I remember when I had done something wrong, I was so so scared to tell my parents because I was sure they were gonna be mad at me and I would be in a ton of trouble...even if it was something so small that they wouldn't even care about...well, when I would tell them, usually the response I would get would be something like a smile and a hug, letting me know that things were okay and that they forgave me for whatever I had done. Well, I think God does that with us too. We are so afraid to repent sometimes because we feel like what we are struggling with (Whether we are actually overcoming it, or still struggling a lot) will be too much for God, and that we won't receive forgiveness, or something silly like that...and when we finally build up the courage to talk to our Father, what we get is a smile, a big hug, and an overwhelming feeling of his love wrapping us up and we can almost hear "It's okay, I forgive you."
I have never in my life heard a story of someone repenting, and having the reaction or feeling they get from God and The Spirit being sad, upsetting, binding, frustrating or anything like that...That isn't how God works y'all...Don't let Satan deceive you...That is why I love the way it is put in the scriptures, Malachi 3:10 for an example:
"10 Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it."
Notice that it says if I will not open the windows of heaven. It, to me, kinda sounds like, in lay man's words "Try me." Or "Just you see if I don't" haha
If you have doubts that you can't be forgiven, or that repenting just isn't worth it, just go look at your favorite picture of Jesus and imagine him saying "Try me." It works! We as people sometimes need to be called out.
We had a fun adventure Saturday night. It was about 7:30, and our plans had fallen through, so we were left with an empty night. I was kinda frustrated, so I prayed and asked for instructions on what to do and I got a couple ideas in my head. I called a bunch of people and tried to do some appointment setting up, but that didn't go very far. So, I found a less-active kinda near our apartment because it was about 8pm now, and we needed to get out of the apartment and do some more work! We headed out, and tried to find this sister. We got to her street, and there were a lot of people on the street walking and yelling and it kinda seemed like a party neighborhood and the Spirit told me that we didn't need to be there right then and to try later...well, I had been looking at the map and knew that the Wateree River wasn't far from us, so we went on an adventure to find it. We found the river, and a muddy trail that someone had carved out with a 4Wheel drive one night, and we followed it. It reminded me of all the times Sawyer and I would go out behind Bacchus Highway and play in the dirt with my truck. We found the train tracks, so we followed those for a while until we reached the point where it crosses the river and there were signs that said "Do not cross" and "Keep out" so we took pictures and headed back. While we were out there, we saw fireflies! The first time since last summer in Union! I loved it. Adventures always remind me of running around at camp with Quinney or Sawyer and just finding cool places. :)
I'll finish up with a story about our lesson in Elders Quorum (Thank you for auto correct, because I'd never be able to spell that word without it.)
It was a lesson on the atonement, and it was an object lesson.
Brother D was teaching, and asked for my help. He had me come to the front, and he pulled out his favorite candy, Andes Mints. He asked one of the guys in the front if he wanted one, and he said yes. Before he gave it to him, he turned to me and said "Elder Barker, would you do 10 push-ups so that Brother H can have this?" And I did. He waited until I was done, then handed him his candy and moved to the next person. He asked the same question and asked me to do 10 push-ups so he could have his candy. People caught on, so when he got to the third person, he asked if he would like an Andes mint and talked about how they were the best thing and his favorite, but the man knew I would have to do push-ups and said "No thank you." Brother D paused for a moment, turned to me, and said "Elder Barker, He does not want his piece. Would you do 10 push-ups for him anyway?" And I did. That is when it started to click in people's minds..The push-ups got harder and harder as I went on and somewhere around 70 or 80 it got very very difficult, it was hard to even do five. He finally got to the end and asked Elder Connolly if he wanted one. Elder Connolly looked at me right in the eyes and said yes, and I did 10 for him. When there were no more people, I got to take my seat.
We read scriptures about why the Savior did what he did, and the point was made that push-ups are hard, but the atonement was immensely harder...whether you want it or not, Jesus did it all for you so you could have eternal life..
The lesson was amazing, and the spirit was so strong in that room. He did an amazing job, and that is a lesson I will be keeping for later down the road.
Don't forget why we celebrate this Holiday Y'all...Painted Eggs are cool, but be sure to send up a prayer in humble thanks for what Christ did for every last one of us, whether we always appreciate it or not.
P-day plans? John 21:3
"Simon Peter saith unto them, I go a fishing."
Sent from my SunshinePad 🔆
I made beef jerky!
Not sure how to really do it, but my invention worked, it was excellent!
Momma, that's an alligator snapping turtle. It almost took my finger off. Haha
Snagged it by its leg, they are vermin, bishop killed it. He's gonna try to clean the shell and give it to me to keep for a mission souvenir.