Monday, February 27, 2017

From Rags to Riches

Words to describe my new area Watford: Awesome, lovely, amazing, wonderful, fun, praiseworthy, of good report. I.LOVE. IT. So my flat in Sittingbourne was pretty ghetto but man if you guys could only see the flat here in Watford!! We live right in the town centre on the 8th floor of a posh flat. We have a balcony that looks out over all of Watford! I feel like I'm living in a hotel! It's soooooo nice. My companion is Sister Sarah Benson and she is COOL. She was adopted from China when she was 1 and was raised in Cottonwood Heights, Utah. I love her a ton. We are in the same ward as the zone leaders, Elder Williams and Elder Parkin and they drive us around everywhere! They're also both super hilarious so that's a plus. I'm living the life out here. Another reason why I love it here so much is because Harry Potter World is nearby and you can just feel the magic in the air, and there is a bus modelled from the movie that drives around, I see it everyday. No one except my dad knows how big of a Harry Potter nerd I am, so I'll just fess up to it right now, no one loves Harry Potter more than Sister Barnes. I truly believe that is why the Lord called me here. I belong here.
The majority of the people we teach are all African men. (Just a tad bit different from the English people in Sittingbourne). The ward is awesome! There are a lot of people from Brazil, Portugal, and everywhere in Africa, so the accents are a little different. I went from "Sistah Bahhhhns" to "Sister Bah-nez", they all look at my name tag and get that out of it. Some of our investigators/recent converts came to church and I don't know what's really going on yet since I've only been here for a few days, but I swear there were like 5 African guys all named Joseph. One of them is planning on building a temple in Kenya, one of them asked when I get home from my mission because he wants to marry an "ex-missionary" and he wants it to be me, and another Joseph pedalled to church on his red bicycle. These Joseph's though. We were able to see a cute 8 year old boy get baptised and sang a musical number for it! I really love everyone I've met so far and feel like I just belong here! I truly cannot even describe or express how much I love Watford!
I was able to meet a very special recent convert that has gone through a lot in her life and has been in and out of the hospital. She loves sister missionaries but everyone told me that it takes her a long time to warm up to the new ones, Sister Benson told me to be prepared to feel really awkward the first time we went over to her house. But we went over and I just completely bonded with this recent convert. She was like, "This is so weird, I love you already. It usually takes me weeks!" It was so cool. She even let me sit on the couch with her and told us some of her struggles and let me comfort her. I felt like I was really following in the footsteps of Christ. I love being able to connect with people out here! It is so special to me!
Fun story, the other night we had dinner with a Portuguese family. The dad had just had an operation on his leg and he couldn't really walk, so he came and sat down by me at the table. This family has two absolutely crazy boys and they were running around and this loud mom was screaming at them in Portuguese and the boys started telling this super bizarre story to Sister Benson. The dad looks at me and says, "Sometimes. . . I feel like my kids are aliens from another world. . ."  It killed me. It absolutely killed me. They are the cutest family!
The work is going so well and through all of the struggles I feel like I have finally gotten the hang of missionary work and things are getting a little easier to bare. I was reading a talk by Thomas S. Monson called "Finishers Wanted" and wanted to share this poem that he quoted that I absolutely love, it really has been inspiring to me❤️

"Stick to your task 'til it sticks to you;
Beginners are many, but enders are few.
Honor, power, place and praise
Will always come to the one who stays.

"Stick to your task 'til it sticks to you;
Bend at it, sweat at it, smile at it, too;
For out of the bend and the sweat and the smile
Will come life's victories after a while."

Have a brilliant Week!!
Sister Bah-nez 

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Kissed By an Angel

Hope everyone had a week filled with love! I seriously love
Valentine's Day so very much!(mostly because it's my mom's birthday
and I thought of her all week long) AND GET THIS: Sister Cobabe and
Sister Barnes still managed to get kissed on Valentine's Day. Walking
down High street, we saw a very weird but very sweet old man we talk
to a lot named Patrick. He ran up to us smiling like a maniac, grabbed
us both into a huge bear hug and then kissed me right on the face.
Twice. What a life I live.
We were able to speak at a fireside at the chapel on Friday night with
the YSA in G1 and G2 which means that there were literally 10 people
there. We all loved it though! The spirit was so strong.
We saw a lot of miracles this week. Nothing very grand happened in
little old Sittingbourne but the Lord is quietly working wonders in
this area. And I loved every moment of this week. We have an
investigator who stopped coming to church and didn't want to meet with
us very much, but a couple weeks ago she just walked into church.
She's been coming every week and is just getting so prepared. She
texted us after church and told us that she wishes there were more
Sunday's in a week! She is seriously amazing. It was a huge testament
to see an investigator stray for a little while and then come straight
back because she knows it's all true. We also met a lot of really
amazing people on High Street, just like we always do. They are
This is transfers week, and we had a dinner appointment with Bishop
the other night. Bishop Bartling has a super British sense of humour
and is always throwing out cheeky jokes. Unlike when I first got out
in the field, the entire time I was doing it straight back to him and
he loved it! Everyone was laughing so hard and I thought, "yeah I'm
getting transferred. I'm too comfortable here."
THEREFORE, yes, I am getting transferred. I leave tomorrow for
Watford. It is an area right outside of London and I don't know much
about it except that it is wayyyy more populated than this area and
I've heard there are many Muslims and people from Nigeria there. It's
gonna be a whole new ballpark. My new companion will be Sister Benson!
I didn't think it would be so hard to leave my first area but
throughout the day I've had to say goodbye to so many people I care
about. All of the members and recent converts who have really turned
into my family, and my dear Sister Cobabe! Sittingbourne will always
have a very special place in my heart, but I'm so excited to do the
the Lord's work in Watford!❣
Also for my last p-day here I dragged Sister Cobabe to come adventure
with me in the outskirts of one of the towns we cover, Rainham. We
were right next to the sea port and we walked over a hill and there
was an old washed up ship. It was so cool. There is so much history
here and it brings me such joy.
Keep it real my friends
Sister Barnes

Monday, February 13, 2017

Under The Sea

Another one bites the dust! Our investigator R was baptised yesterday
and so it was the best day of my life all over again! He has been an
investigator I've been working with since day one of being in the
field and he will always have a special place in my heart! He is so
amazing! I think the best feeling in the world is watching an investigator you taught be baptised.

I know that it's a small act but
seeing them come out of the water with the BIGGEST smile on their face
and just radiating the spirit has honestly been the highlight of my
life. There is nothing better! And the ward was so happy and all came
together to celebrate. Not to be dramatic, but days like yesterday are
seriously just what I live for❤️
It was a super wet week, and me and Sister Cobabe took a trip to the
Isle of Sheppey. . . We were on the beach and it was windy and rain
was coming at us horizontally. . . I sometimes feel like I'm just
living under the ocean it's so wet here at times! We had a great week!
Sister Cobabe is the funnest companion in the world! Things are going
great in England!
Have a Happy Valentines Day!!
Sistah Bahhhns ❤️❤️❤️

Monday, February 6, 2017

A Pigeon in the Pocket

This week was great! We had exchanges with the STL's in Ilford, right
outside of London. I got to be with Sister Daines and she is so crazy
and fun. They joke around and call it Ilford-Stan because there are so
many people from the Middle East that live there. And also lots of
people from Nigeria. We taught this really cool Nigerian guy in
Starbucks and it was super fun to teach with Sister Daines! I also was
able to partake of Portuguese food later on that night. And even later
on, Sister Cobabe and I taught one of the STL's investigators in the
chapel while they were in a meeting! It was the funnest day ever, so
different from the English charm of Sittingbourne but still so fun!
We also had zone training meeting at the Gillingham chapel and so we
didn't have to travel as far for it. It was super amazing! The
Canterbury zone exceeded our baptismal goal and set a RECORD that we
haven't had in years!! The Lord has been too good to us! And yesterday
our investigator, R, passed his baptismal interview and we are so
happy for him! Also E got confirmed!! The converts never cease in the
England London Mission❤️
Last night me and Sister Cobabe were on High Street and we stopped
this farm man who told us all about how much he loves animals,
apparently we didn't believe him enough because he then proceeded to
take a live pigeon out of his pocket. I guess it had been wounded and
he was carrying it around all day so that he could nurse it back to
health. He held it out in front of us and we were staring into the
eyes of this pigeon for about 20 seconds. Then the man tucked it back
up in his pocket and walked away. I tell you that just so you can get
a glimpse of the comedy that is my life.
I think it rained every day this week and my hair is at a level of
frizz that can only be rivaled by that of Hermione Granger:) We
battle the elements sometimes. Today we had a zone p-day in the
Cathedral in Canterbury and it was BEAUTIFUL! We had a fun time
playing football as well. And ate some Mexican food made by the
All is well in jolly old England!
Sister Barnes