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