Friday, March 18, 2016

The way I was raised.

Elder Cuff recognized me from Frontier Scout Camp!

Hey y'all!
Man, this was quite the week! I don't know if I will be able to remember it all!
So, fishing last P-day was awesome, and when the day was over, we spent a good bit of the night trying to contact some less-active members in the Camden ward. It has been a challenge to get in contact with people here, because no one seems to like answering their door or phone when we has kinda sucked the last little while, because we have been trying so hard with not a whole lot of success in the teaching aspect of missionary work. What we have been successful in though, is a whole lot of service!
We went to the Habitat for Humanity place again this last week, and they had us preparing for a huge service project this next Monday, which will take up our whole p-day, but we will have WiFi there, so we will be able to hang out and email and just play games there while waiting for people to come drop off the Easter packages. No one else will be there for whatever reason, so they have kinda just left us in charge. It's a pretty sweet deal though.
We have been working hard this week with a member to move his mother in law out of her house and into the house/apartment that he built onto his own home. This week was a blast, because he had us come over and do like 4 hours of work with him, and he bought us dinner afterwards...that's the best, until April 1st when it gets gone...Oh well.
Anyway, it was Elder Connolly and I, and our District Leader Elder Thompson and Elder Larsen (his companion). Brother R took Elder Connolly and Elder Larsen with him to go drop a huge dresser and some furniture off at one of their relatives homes, and while they were off doing that, Elder Thompson and I were in charge of bringing stuff out of the outdoor basement, food storage mostly, but also some miscellaneous stuff that was down there too. Now, Elder Thompson is from Cannonville UT and knows exactly where Wayne County is. So, we spent the majority of the time talking about the best places to fish, and how sick it'll be to hang out after the mission. It was a blast. The basement was kinda weird; no one out here really has basements, so I was surprised to see this one. You walk out the back door, turn right and go down the concrete steps, and it is more like a cave than a basement...:P It is dark, damp, and has a gravel floor. Tall enough that we can stand up, but you have to duck under the pipes and AC/Heat hoses. We enjoyed our time there :) Brother R has us help him with the project once or twice a week. I love service!
Also, we had a day where we weren't going to be home because of service and our appointments, so we planned to eat out. Well, at both places, someone paid for our food! It was awesome :) Helped out a lot too!
Okay, highlight of the week! We had 4 lessons this week! It was about time too! We had a lesson with a non-member that knows missionaries pretty well, and knows quite a bit about the church, but he got a lot of his knowledge from anti-Mormon websites, which is kinda like trying to search Pinterest for ideas on how to gut a deer rather than learning first hand from someone with experience.
We taught him for about an hour, and it was a lot of answering questions he had, and listening to the way he believed what we believe, and helping him to understand the actual way that we believe. The whole time we were teaching, we were sitting outside of Chick-fil-a having dinner, and three different members stopped by to say hello. It was just kinda cool to have a nonmember see so many of us in one place, but not a church. Just a little testimony that there are lots of regular people in this church. I think he enjoyed it.
Our other lessons all happened on Sunday night. We were heading back from this little devotional we have at a member’s home once a month, and we asked the brother that was driving us if he would mind stopping by to see a less-active with us. Thankfully the guy we wanted to see was home, and we had a brief little lesson on the porch! Brother C even invited the less-active to have dinner with all of us one night this week! Perfect :)
When we got dropped off, we turned right around and biked across town to see another family we have wanted to see. We got stopped on the way by a man outside of McDonalds who waved us down. I had been riding a wheelie up the road (Because I can!) and he said "I just wanted to get your attention, because that cop over at Burger King was about to pull y'all over for doin a wheelie!" Haha he said "Just playin man."  He told us that he and his girlfriend had been kicked out of the hotel they'd been staying in since last November, and were a few dollars short on rent. We are used to people asking us for money, and we usually just explain that we don't have any and try to teach never really goes anywhere, except for maybe a prayer. Well, this guy started talking about how he'd talked with Bishop S that morning, who is the bishop of our ward, and he asked if we would talk with him for just a little bit before we left. We said a prayer, and taught about the blessings of coming to church, and how things just work out when we make the sacrifices and show God that his time is precious to us. We got their information, and we told them we would check back in a couple days, and to keep the faith. We are hoping they'll be sincere and weren't just looking for a handout...a lot of people are like the latter though, and it breaks our hearts when we think they have real intent, but are only after things of the world.
Well, by the time we got across town to see this other family, after our brief detour, it was 8:50...we were about 15 or so minutes from home if we biked hard, and should've probably gone back, but I felt inspired that we needed to see this family, and I am so happy we listened to the Spirit. We knocked on the door, pitch black outside, and we were pretty sure we were about to get yelled at and a door slammed in our faces...well, Sister R answered the door, and a huge smile grew on her face, and she said "Elders! Come in, please!" And she sat us right down, made her husband turn the TV off, and they were both paying us very close attention. It was awesome :) haha Her husband, B, isn't a member, and Sister R hasn't been to church for a while. We said a prayer with them, and started to share a scripture from Alma 5. We had a short little discussion, and then talked about coming back to church. I think the way I was raised has helped quite a bit, and the boldness/bluntness of my family, because I feel totally comfortable in saying something like "Now, what has been so important in your life that you've been unable to come to church in Sundays?" While making sure to listen to the spirit if they will handle it well. In this case, they did! She was excited to hear that someone wanted her back at church, and began to explain how miraculous it was that we came over when we did, because she had been telling her husband how she really needed to get back to church, but hadn't really heard from anyone lately...Then, we knocked on the door :) I love the spirit. We invited them to church, and committed them to come. We are hoping to reactivate her, and hopefully baptize her husband, but we need to test the waters a little bit more and see where he is spiritually so we can know where to begin.
The rest of the night was wonderful, we biked home, it was nice and cool finally, and in the small town that we're in, it is lighted enough that we don't have to worry about people not seeing us, and there are sidewalks the entire way!
Love it.
Well, that's my week, if I left anything out that y'all want to know about, let me know!
Love y'all!
-Elder Joel 'Sunshine' Barker!
Newest tie I made for one of the members here.
Thanks for sending me the fabric Grandma!

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