Monday, April 25, 2011

April 20, 2011 -I'll Go Where You Want Me To Go

Hey everyone! How is everything going? Everything is going great. My district has been doing a lot better this last week. They still slack off in some areas, but it has been a BIG improvement! They are even doing better at getting up on time.

The zone is awesome! There are only 4 districts in our zone. One district that is about to leave are going to California. Then there is my district. The District below us are going to Chile and Honduras. Then there is the new district and some are going to Argentina. I think one of the Hermanas is going to the Visitors Center in LA. Everyone in our Zone is going Spanish speaking.

This past week Elder Orchard and I have taught 2 really awesome lessons to our progressive investigator, Alison. She knows the church is true but she is still stuck on the Catholic church. She keeps bringing up these doubts and questions, but we do an outstanding job at answering the things. The Spirit was there too. It was awesome! We also taught Hermano Anderson as himself. He was having a hard time so he wanted us to teach him. It was great!

Well, last night was amazing! We finally got a member of the Twelve to speak in Devo. It was Richard G. Scott. When he entered, we all stood up in silence until he sat down. Just like when the Prophet enters for General Conference. Right when he entered you could feel his power. Then when he spoke, the power grew. He said many good things. He said that we should not doubt the Lord and what he can make out of us. He also said that the Holy Ghost will not prompt us to do something that we cannot do. I really liked this. But the thing that hit me the most was him talking about doing mission calls.

Elder Scott said that he most likely made quite a few of the mission calls for the missionaries that were there. He explained that when he would make a call he would have a peaceful feeling. Then sometimes he would be uncomfortable with it, but after he would move back to it and change the call, he had that peace. He also told us that he doesn't make the mission calls. The Lord does. The Lord send us tothe places where we are needed.

Earlier I was having a hard time with the Spanish and I was wondering why I couldn't go English speaking. I thought that if I went to an English mission I would be more useful. I could help more people come unto Christ. But when I heard this, my heart was softened and I was so happy for my call to Chihuahua Mexico! This Devo was amazing and I know it touched every missionary in my district and zone.

After the devo we went back to class for our district meeting. We just sat and talked about the things that touched us during the devo. It was awesome! My whole district was crying and of course, I was too! Hermano Evans was with us for our meeting. When we were done he asked what he could do for us. He always likes to talk and has awesome true stories to share. So he told us his famous septic tank story.

So here it is...The Septic Tank Story.
When Hermano Evans was 18, his dad told him to add some pipe to the septic tank. (I guess it was overflowing nasty stuff). So he was digging at times when he didn't want to be working. It was summer and he would soon be attending BYU. Time went by and soon it was time to head off to college. He didn't finish the job. When he returned back to his dorm one day he was told that he needed to head home right then. His dad was in an airplane and they haven't heard anything about it. The plane was lost. Finally they found the airplane and it had crashed and there were no survivors. The plane was struck by lightning and lost all the dials and controls so they had to fly by sight. They ended up crashing while trying to go around the storm. Hermano Evans could only think about that dumb septic tank and how he didn't finish the job. He then compared his story to Heavenly Father and Jesus christ. Christ was sent here to do His Father's will. Even though he didn't want to do it, he still endured and completed the task. Jesus Christ got to hear from His Father that He was proud of him and that he endured. Then he related this to us as missionaries. We have been called for this job. We need to finish the job, just like the septic tank, even though we may not want to do it.

I know that Chihuahua Mexico is the place for me! I am so happy and excited to be going there! I am so glad that I was blessed to be able to hear these great talks and stories. (there are still more to come!) :)
I love you tons and I miss you a lot!
Elder Barnes

Thursday, April 21, 2011

April 20, 2011

Dear family,
The food is still good. Not anything like home cooked meals. In fact can you send one more package please. Could you send some peanut butter rice crispy treats. A LOT OF IT too. please. I love the candy that you and Jill send. Its pretty much all gone. I do like the food here, but its starting to get really old. I really wish I could go to Bajio right now. I usually get a wrap here at the mtc. Its like subway but a burrito. They put things that you want on it and then they put some sauces that you want. I always get the Jamican jerk sauce. It is very good but it is very spicy.
Today and last night I have been fasting so I am really hungry right now. I get to end my fast in a few minutes :) but I really would like some PEANUT BUTTER rice crispy treats. and maybe some cookies and reeses again. can never have enough of that. but thank you so much for that candy that you did send me. its so good.
Oh you could also send some of my old ties that I didnt bring? You never can have enough of those.
I have had amazing lessons this week. Elder Richard G. Scott came and spoke to us last night and it was amazing!!! Apostles speak amazing at general conference but it is way different here when they speak. The spirit was so strong! I think it was one of the experiences where the spirit was so stong. I will write you another letter of the things that he said and of the things that I have learned. We also had an amazing district meeting last night. These meetings are about the Devo last night so the spirit was strong there also. In that meeting my whole district was crying. I will tell you why in the letter. the stories and stuff.
In gym I like to play four square. In the video that you saw it looked like it wasnt fun but it is really intense.
I have seen two of michelles x boyfriends here. One I went bridge jumping with in Horseshoe Bend. It has just been cool to see people. Oh I see John Roylance almost every day. Yes Josh did leave to Japan on Monday. we dont know if we are leaving on time but i think we will. We get travel plans in two weeks.
I can get pictures. Jordan sent some about that bike thing that he broke.
the new district is awesome. There are 5 elders and 4 sisters. One elder and one sister are siblings. that would be weird!!!
My district is doing good now. everyone is doing better on goals and being more on time. I will write more in the letter but i need to go.
I hope to see a package soon!!!!!:):):) haha thank you so much.
I love you guys and I miss you so much!!!!
Elder Barnes

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

April 13 - A Long Letter

Hi! I am doing awesome of course! I am loving being the Zone Leader!

Today is p-day and our new district is here. I have seen a few of them and they seem like they are going to be awesome. Hopefully they work hard and do what they know is right. I love my district but they just don't have that knowledge of why they are here. Following the rules, being on time and getting up with a good attitude is sometimes hard for them. I just hope that this new district doesn't follow their example because it is just sad. Plus it will cause more work for me as their zone leader.

So how are Jeff & Amy? And Max with the broken leg? I haven't heard anything from them.

Well this week has been going great. We are now teaching all lessons in Spanish. It is a little hard, but it is fun. We have these progressive investigators to teach every week. These investigators are fake. Its just Hermana Forsyth playing as Allison, which is a person that she taught on her mission. She plays the part so well that it almost feels like I am teaching a real Allison. Our other investigator is in the TRC place. We just sign up on the computer with some teacher and play as an investigator. Our investigator is Danny. We have only taught him once, but it went really well. Allison is a little further along. We have taught her 3 or 4 times.

Oh, my teachers started this game for our district. We have 5 cards for the morning, afternoon and night. So 15 for one whole day. We have to speak only in Spanish. If we get caught saying a word or phrase in English we have to give away one of our cards. If we get below 10 cards we don't get any mail for 2 days! It is so much fun! It is challenging and sometimes you just get excited and start speaking in English. I never realized how much I say about the things that are in my head. So that is fun, but the other half of the district doesn't take it seriously. I have caught them a few times, but they deny it.

The days here a very alike. The days are really long and the weeks are fast! The nights go by too fast also. I am learning SO much here! My testimony has grown alot!

I know that the Book of Mormon is another testament of Jesucristo. I know that Joseph Smith translated it through the power of God. I know that it is there for us and it will answer questions that we have.
Well I miss you tons and I love you so much!
Love, Elder Barnes

Thursday, April 14, 2011

April 13, 2011 - A short email

Familia, Hey I got your package!!! It is so nice to have a package full of candy. Thank you so much. I really appreciate it. Everything is going great here. Today I did intiatories in the temple. It was a long wait, but it was nice to do that. Oh today we get a new district. I cant wait to see them and introduce them to the MTC. Everything here is going great! We started to speak Spanish all day but there are some places and times we get to speak English. Its a fun game that our teachers are having us do. My Spanish is improving because of it. Well I will write you a long letter. I need to go though. I guess I will ttyl. Again, thank you so much for the package. I miss you and love you tons!!!!!! LOVE Elder Barnes

Friday, April 8, 2011

April 6, 2011 - Responsibilities of a Zone Leader

Dear Family, I am so excited to be a zone leader! I know it will be great. I am still shocked that they asked us to be the Zone leaders because we are just meeting the halfway mark. Yes, the Branch Presidency makes the decision and they said that all of them came with the same answer. Which is awesome to hear. Zone leaders have to do a lot of stuff. We go to a lot of meetings with other zone leaders and also meetings with the branch presidency. We also call the branch president every night updating him on anything new. We don't have to call if him or any of his counselors come by the residence hall that night. We also show the new elders around on Thursday nights and talk with them on Wednesday nights. This will get us out of class for like a hour which is really sad because I learn so much in class.

Yes I did get the dearelder letter. Those are somewhat nice because I get the letter the day of and I get to read it that night or when I get the chance. I just feel badly because I can't reply right then. (Side note - is a great way to email Jaron. It is free, he gets it that day and it doesn't take up his short email time) Elder Orchard gets a dear elder almost everyday from his mom and I think that is a little crazy. He is the first missionary out of the kids in his family and he is also the oldest child. He is 20 and turns 21 in August. He is a great guy and we get along really well. Oh and he is tall!!! 6'6"!

I would love candy and chips and salsa. I would like anything really. MORE TIES!!! I love ties. There is especially never enough on a mission. (Mother's note - He is obsessed with ties!) I don't think there is anything that I really need though. Thanks for emailing. I miss you and I love you so much.
Elder Barnes

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

April 2, 2011 - A Temple in Meridian!

Dear Family,
I am doing AWESOME! So I watched General Conference and how cool is that they announced a Temple in Meridian? I knew we would get another temple. This first session was really good.
My teacher taught a great lesson yesterday. Hermana Forsyth shared a scripture about becoming fat in our soul by feasting upon the words of Christ. She brought up how being anorexic, bulimic or a picky eater and calorie counting for the soul is bad. We need to FEAST upon the words of Christ and become fat in our soul. It was an amazing lesson!
Some of the Elders in our District seem to be having a hard time being positive and working with all of their might. Hermona Anderson took Elder Orchard and I out and said that we were awesome missionaries and that he could see that we know why we are here.
Good news!!! My companion was released as District Leader and Elder Robie takes over this Wednesday. But, the AWESOME part is that Elder Orchard and I are now the new Zone Leaders! We are going to be Zone leaders for like 5 weeks! Its weird that they didn't choose someone from the district in front of us. (but they are kind of quiet).
The current Zone Leaders are leaving Wednesday and that is when we take over until we leave.
Well I need to get back to Conference. Thanks for the letters and candy. :)
Love, Elder Barnes a.k.a New Zone Leader

Monday, April 4, 2011

March 30, 2011 - Fast Sunday @ the MTC

Hey everyone, Well first don't feel bad about the time I have on the computer. I LOVE to hear from the family and to hear what is going on. That is so cool that Mom, Jenessa and Lexi went to Janaes. I havent heard anything from Janae at all :( How is she doing? That is so cool that they have piglets. I would love to see a picture some time. It is crazy that my third week is gone and that I am starting my fourth. The days go by so slow, but the weeks go by so fast. Its weird. Also the days are so long and the nights go by so fast. It doesnt seem like I am getting that much sleep. But I am not that tired during the day. One Elder in my district is always tired and sleeping. Oh mom you were wondering what Fast Sunday was like in the MTC. Well we study from 7 to 10 and then we have a two hour missionary conference meeting. After that we have our Sacrament meeting at 12:30. Oh and they dont serve food for breakfast and lunch on Fast Sunday. The Branch Pres. asked every missionary to get up and bear their testimony in Spanish. 24 out of 28 did. I was one of the 24 of course. It was so cool to bear my testimony in Spanish. Spanish is hard at times but it is coming to me. After our Sacrament meeting we go for our usual temple walk. We just go and walk to the temple and chill for awhile and then we head back. Sundays are great here because they are very relaxing and a day to chill...but today is always the best.
Yesterday was cool because we got to go to the TRC and teach a volunteer but i will tell you about that later in a letter because my time is short. It is so cool to go to the TRC. Well I also look forward to your emails and letters.(Yes the people that write me will get a letter back). It is so cool to get letters. I also really liked the candy i got from Jill but that was gone really fast. Well it is so nice to hear from everyone and I hope everything is going great!!! Everything here in the MTC is great. I am learning a lot of Spanish but also a lot of the gospel. It is crazy!!! I love the teachers. They know so much. Well I gotta go. I miss you and love you tons! Elder Barnes