Monday, August 26, 2013

One great Baptism

Dear Family

                 It has been a nice week up here in Devils Lake! This week we had to figure out Mina's baptism, and let me tell you it was rather chaotic at times! At the beginning of the week she didn't know her work schedule so her baptism was up in the air for Friday or Saturday. And she told us she wouldn't know for sure until Tuesday! But she eventually figured it out and told us she wanted it on Friday! So we had to emergency call the District Leader out here from Grand Forks to come and interview her super fast! But Mina was baptized on August 23rd by her husband Darryl Johnson. They were married last year on August 28th at the church here in Devils Lake. Darryl is in his 70's, and has been a member for quite some time! He is 70 years old and still gets up on ladders for his painting career in the summer, and gets on snowy roofs to shovel the snow off in the winters for his winter career. But he is a great friend of mine here in the Lake Region Branch! The baptism went well me and Elder Garfield had the musical number again, and we sung "When I am baptized" or in other words "I like to look for rainbows". It was a touching moment for me, because that same song was sung at my baptism by Aunt Marry Ann. I am not sure if my version was quite as pretty as hers but the Branch sure does love their "singing missionaries". We had two investigators at the baptism this week! We had Layel, and Linda Reese. Linda really enjoyed the baptism, and everyone really fellowshipped her well while she was there! I am not to sure if Layel enjoyed the baptism as much, but we are still working with him. This week me and Elder Garfield wanted to eat healthier so we can increase our fitness level. Well of course after making that plan we received night after night dinner appointments. We had dinner with our landlord Jeremy, and his wife Wendy who is from the Philippines. And they fed us a Phillipino meal on Tuesday, that was very good! We went over to Brother and Sister Story's from the branch and we had a fruit dip dinner on Wednesday that was really good! We then went out with Brother and Sister Marshall from the branch to Pizza Ranch on Thursday. Which when we fly back after my mission we might want to stop by Pizza Ranch! And then two nights later on Saturday we had a dinner with Emmy (who is a member) and Layel our investigator. And tonight we are going back out to Oberon with the Perisho's for dinner tonight! You definitely do not have to worry about not eating well here. Our fridge is so full of food I am half considering sending it home to you guys. But we are thankful for those who give us food in the branch they really are amazing people! 

                I love being out on the mission! The spirit can be really strong out here! It seems that every week I am spiritually growing and maturing. I really love the Ensign magazine, and its kind of funny because at home I didn't ever really care to read much out of it. But now that I am a missionary the Ensign is probably the only magazine on Earth that is worth reading (besides those other church magazines). I really love the August Ensign they just sent out, and I definitely loved Henry B. Eyring's message of giving thanks in our prayers. I would definitely invite you to read more from those magazines. I read the story this morning in the back of the Ensign of the mother duck losing her babies in a storm drain. That was actually a pretty powerful lesson. I also liked the article about the ten dollars. I really enjoyed hearing that story about Ruger, and I hope he isn't getting to fat! It sounds like he has grown a lot and I hope he is becoming more obedient, and not chewing things! This week we had a lesson that really seemed to be a spiritual drain. We came back and we had that pit in our stomach of the absence of the Holy Ghost. And my companion shared with me a wonderful scripture that I never knew existed. It is D&C 6:34 it reads "Therefore fear not, little flock; do good; let Earth and Hell combine against you, for if ye are built upon my rock, they cannot prevail." When I heard that me and my companion thought of those here in Devils Lake who are in the Lake Region Branch. We have around fifty members in our branch, and of course some are less active. It showed me how we are just a "little flock" out here. But then it made me think of the world where there are only fourteen million Latter Day Saints in a world of seven billion people. We are what the Lord calls "little flock" but in that scripture it gives us a wonderful promise. If we are built on the Lords Rock let Hell and Earth combine, and they will not prevail. I know that it can be overwhelming to think about how small we really are compared to the rest of the world. But we have the great power of the priesthood of God on our side, and nothing will ever stop the work or the progression of God, and his church. I love you all and I pray for you all! I hope you can all be strong in a world that seems to grow in wickedness as the days go on. But as that scripture says fear not. I know that I am still working to be built on the rock of the savior, and I hope we can all try and be built on his rock. I love you, and I pray for you all. I definitely miss you but it's crazy that I have been out two months today! I hope you all have a great week and I have enjoyed your letters!

Love Elder Barber 

Monday, August 19, 2013

His trainer and his first area Devils Lake

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A few pictures of leaving, the MTC, and Devils Lake.

One Transfer Down

                    It has been a great week up here in Devils Lake! This week we have actually had some pretty good success. We have been teaching pretty consistently and the work is coming along! I was touched to read Jodie's letter about Grandma, I too know that Grandma was with her through those hard times! I did receive Moms long email and I loved hearing about the new baby and her trip down to Dallas. I did receive the package this week and I received the Credit Card as well as the thank you notes. The thank you notes might take a little while to write to everyone, but slowly and surely they will get to everyone! I did love the Duck Dynasty Band-Aids that Blake sent, and the Davis Darts pajamas those are pretty legit! I loved to read Dad's letter and it sounds to me as though Kaysville is changing. I really cannot stress enough how beautiful Devils Lake is on the morning jogs! This morning I was out on the trail around Ruger Park, and there was a thick morning mist out and every morning when the sun comes over the horizon it is red. It is impossible not to feel the spirit when you are surrounded by that kind of beauty. I don't know if I included in my last letter about Donnada she is now on date for September 21st and she is pushing towards baptism confidently, so I am really excited about that! Donnada has a great interest in our temples. We explained to her last visit how long the Salt Lake Temple took to build and she asked us very enthusiastically "have you seen it"? And to me that was a real humbling experience when I told her that not only have I seen it I have been in it. And it really showed me how much I took the Salt Lake Temple for granted. I grew up seeing the Salt Lake Temple quite frequently, but you have people not only here but probably all over the world who just wish to see it. So I really hope that Donnada can go see the Salt Lake Temple soon, and mostly I hope she can go inside it!

                  We have had plenty of dinner appointments this week with branch members. This week we got to go over to the Marshall's and have dinner. We get to go over there weekly for an amazing dinner. They live right on the shore of Devils Lake, and last time we had some fresh fried Wallai Fish. Devils Lake has some really good Wallai! Luckily for us Sister Marshall is a hair stylist and cut our hair last time we were over there! They are definitely a wonderful family to be around! On Thursday we drove fifty miles North to Cando, North Dakota. Unfortunately we didn't have much luck with appointments out there! But we did have lunch with the Mitchell Family, and also the Branch President had us over for dinner! On Friday the 15th we went to Fargo, North Dakota for a zone training meeting! It was really fun to see some Elders from the MTC, and get to know some Elders and sisters all across our zone! Our zone has a goal for ten baptisms for each month! Which is pretty crazy, but with great faith, hard work, and the Lords help I believe we can do it! On Saturday the 17th we went over to talk to ward members at the primary party they were having. After the party was over me and my companion always like to sing to hymns on the automatic player, and the branch presidents wife then figured out that we could sing. Long story short on Sunday the 18th they assigned us to sing "I'm trying to be like Jesus" with Sister Story in the ward. It actually went over a whole lot better then I thought it would! But then later my companion told the district leader about that, and he told us they are looking for a special music number in the Quin-Zone meeting. So my companion told them I could do a solo at the Quin-Zone meeting in front of a visiting General Authority. Yeah I am still debating if I want to do that or not! I hope all is going well at home, and in all of your lives! I hope Dad's new job is coming along well. And I have loved hearing from Uncle Mark! I am definitely going to try and write him today! I hope the dog is doing well, I was missing him a lot this week. Our Land Lords have a dog in their backyard his name is "Trump" he is a black lab. He is getting warmed up to me finally after six weeks. My companion will still be my companion until our twelve weeks together is up. He has train me for a required twelve weeks. But that is okay because we actually get along pretty good! The morning workouts are coming a long better with running, and I add a push-up a day I am now at forty one push-ups! The Lord has been watching over me, and I am loving the spirit out here in Devils Lake. I still miss you all and I think of Dad every time I see an RJ in Grand Forks or Fargo. I love you all, and I enjoyed the family picture I got and the pictures of the baby! Tomorrow on Tuesday the 20th I will have been out fifty days!  

Love, Elder Barber

Monday, August 12, 2013

A better week on the mission

        Hello family! It was a much better week on the mission! And I love the letters that I got from you all! It was incredible to see the pictures of Jodie and her new baby Jane! I hope that she is doing well, I wish that I could come and see her! But I am certain that you are all giving her great love! This week I had a great experience of going on a companionship exchange down to Grand Forks, ND. I got to be companions with Elder Salmon who went to Layton High, and I think he lived up in East Layton somewhere. We got to teach the great people of Grand Forks, and they were all really nice people. We got to go to dinner in East Grand, Minnesota with the Musgrove family! I really enjoyed my time in Grand Forks! Except when it came time for bed at night, the local speedway had their race that starts every Friday at nine. So of course I got to go to bed to the wonderful sound of NASCAR. But other than that we had a great time there. But of course we drove back to Devils Lake the next day, and it was right back to the work here! This week we were really successful with investigators at sacrament meeting. We set a district goal of 12 investigators at sacrament meeting (which is really high for our district) and we had five alone come to the Lake Region Branch! The Lord has blessed us greatly out here in Devils Lake! This week we have Donnada on date and we are helping her prepare for the 21st of September as her baptismal date! We also have Mina Johnson preparing for her baptismal date coming up on Sunday, August 25th. We have been really blessed! I am learning a lot out here! I am now practicing my teaching skills and Preach My Gospel verbage! Well there is a line here at the Library that is kicking me off so I have to cut this short! I love you all and I can't wait to hear from you next week.

Elder Barber

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Happy go take it easy

Dear Family,
           Hello family another week has gone by and we are officially in August! The weeks on a mission really do fly by! I just love coming to the Library every Monday to read everybody's letters they send to me! Well this week was kind of a slow and really hard week. We had pretty high teaching goals and we barely got any lessons in. Me and my companion are very humbled by the numbers on our key indicators this week, and we need to find ways to improve the work in this area. Another reason why this week was really hard was because of the tragedy of Elder Bennett. Elder Bennett arrived at the MTC the same day as me, and I got the wonderful opportunity of becoming a close friend to him. Elder Bennett had a heart condition and we had many scares with him in the MTC, he was a Native from Arizona, and he said the reason the Lord has called me to this mission is to serve those on other reservations. His famous quote was "from reservation to reservation" he was very diligent and no matter what he knew he had to press forward and do the Lords work. It was fast Sunday in the MTC and his blood sugar got low and his heart started acting up, I had to call the paramedics of the MTC to help him. Luckily our President was a doctor and assisted him to fly to Rapid City the next day. Elder Bennett was called to serve in Casper, Wyoming. But on August 3rd around 10:00 P.M I got a call from a district leader explaining to me that Elder Bennett had passed away after going into cardiac arrest on his mission. It was definitely a hard day for me to hear a close friend from the MTC had passed away. But Elder Bennett was a great example to me of bravery, he gave all he had to the Lord and served him to his last minute. I can only imagine the loving and warm welcome the Savior had for this wonderful Elder on the other side. I enjoyed Dads letter about seasons and Elder Bennett is definitely entering into a different season (life), but he is doing missionary work somewhere else now. My thoughts and prayers have gone out to his mother and father these past days for their loss.
         Every day I live in this town I find something interesting about it everyday. Me and my companion were walking at this park on the West side of town when this homeless person shouts at us "Messengers of Light". This definitely caught our attention and so we walked up to this man to talk to him. He told us about how he was a part of the Revivalist Church here in town and showed us his T-Shirt that had the words "Revivalist" on it. He then told us "If I had to choose what this shirt said I would have put Thrive to Revive on it" (I think he meant strive to revive). After talking to him for like ten minutes we asked him what his name was (this is where it gets interesting) He told us "Well because I am so close to animals I think Toby would be a good name, but some of my friends call me Simple John, or I guess you could call me Happy go Take it Easy" it definitely gave me a good laugh. So we don't know what this guys name is but I hope to run into our good friend "Happy go Take it Easy" soon. This week I did end up buying a brand new bike in Grand Forks, so I have spent money lately on my card. Also today I think I am going to purchase a hoodie and some sweats the morning runs are getting kind of chilly. I absolutely love running here in the mornings the orange sun is always on the horizon with the morning mist everywhere and it is breathtaking to say the least. I love Devils Lake and I have realized how much I will miss this place when I eventually have to leave it. It definitely is a great little Mayberry town where everybody knows one another. Don't worry mom we usually have to much food in our apartment, and the members are very generous here with Lunch and Dinners. 

       Yesterday we had Mina and Donnada at church. It was really great to see her there, Donnada is definitely an amazing investigator who loves the Gospel, and loves Jesus Christ. I hope everything is okay in Kaysville I wanted to share this article I picked up at District Meeting I repeat this to myself every morning in personal study time. It's called "The Fellowship of the Unashamed" I hope you can print these off and give this to my priest quorum because it is amazing, and increases my faith everyday. I would encourage you all to read it and ponder its words, they have definitely changed my life!

"The  Fellowship of the Unashamed" 
I am part of the fellowship of the unashamed. The dye has been cast. I have stepped over the line.
The decision has been made. I am a disciple of Jesus Christ. I won't look back, let up, slow down,
or be still. My past is redeemed, my present makes sense & my future is secure. I'm finished and done
with low living, small planning, smooth knees, color-less dreams, tamed visions, worldly talking, cheap
giving, and dwarfed goals. I no longer need pre-eminence, positions, promotions, plaudists, or popularity.
I don't have to be right, first, recognized, praised, regarded, or rewarded. I now live by faith, lean on his
presence, walk with patience, am uplifted by prayer and labor with power. My face is set, my gait is fast,
my goal is heaven. My road is narrow, my way is rough, my companions are few, my guide is reliable, my
mission is clear. I cannot be bought, compromised, detoured,lured away, divided, or delayed. I will not flinch
in the face of sacrifice, hesitate in the presence of the adversity, negotiate at the table of the enemy, ponder
at the pool of popularity, or meander in maze of mediocrity. I won't give up, shut up, or let up until I have stayed
up, stored up and paid up for the cause of Christ. I must go till he comes, give till I drop, preach till all know, and 
work till he stops me. And when he returns for his own, he will have no problem recognizing me, My banner will be clear!  

I love this powerful article and I have really enjoyed reading it. I hope you all are doing well and I pray for you all every day. The mission is stressful and hard. But I know that God hears and answers our prayers, and we are guided by the Holy Ghost. I would encourage you to all help the missionaries find referrals. We depend on the members now more then ever. The progression of this great work is on EVERYONE'S shoulders. We must all remember the words to a great hymn "We are all enlisted til the conflict is over" I hope that every saint becomes a missionary with hastening of this work. I love you all and can't wait to hear from you next week.

Love, Elder Barber