the best seasoning in the world
Dear Family and Friends,
After a long journey through the valley of the shadow of death (psalm 23), I have come off as a conqueror of trial. My new companion is Elder Marcus Kade Barker, and he is literally the single most amazing companion/person/missionary/friend ever. I kid you not, we have been together for 5 days and miracle after miracle has happened. I trust and love Elder Barker so very much and I can see where this transfer is going to go already, it will be a great one. Oakdale is picking up fast now.
Here is me and Sister Worthington, a good friend of mine
The branch now loves us and thinks we are awesome and energizing in our companionship, the Hastings also love us and are so excited we have both been put here, and believe we may change the whole area of Oakdale into "The" place to be. It was hard getting here, and now I can't help a whole lot because I don't know that much about the area, but some miracles have happened left and right as we are going around doing the best we can and working hard to sync with the branch and the senior couple.
We cleaned and organized the whole apartment and that instantly brought a spirit of peace into the apartment. We then went through the area book to find some former investigators that were from old records of like 5 years or more ago and we went to the closest ones in Oakdale. We ended up knocking on a door and meeting someone who had met with the missionaries before but was not the people we were looking for at all! A nice black couple let us into their home, and we had a first lesson with them, a quick overview of our beliefs and introducing the Book of Mormon. It was so amazing! I just didn't know what to do after it was over.
the district (technically leesville but its totally stile oakdale district)
from left to right: elder and sister hastings, me and sis. abercrombie. elder hepworth and sis thornly (going to usu cause shes awesome), elder toone and sis richardson, elder gillen elder smith and elder ryans(in the army and our district leader), and sis neely from the MTC and the bibles are a senior couple who are on fort polk as military relations, elder smith tranied by ryan, and toone by gillen, richardsen by neely and thornly neely was trained by thornly and abercombie is trained by thornly and neely. YEAH SOO FUN WEEE
The next day we met another family that the Hastings had fellowshipped up in the little town of Pitkin, and they are very active Baptists, but loved us, and they all do professional rodeo roping, and even the little 3 year old can snag things...it was very impressive, to say the least. What was even more awesome about that is that the Hastings hadn't ever really expressed our beliefs or talked about the Book of Mormon or anything like that just yet, so I and Elder Barker felt so obligated to share a scripture from Alma to them. Sure enough they loved it and said we explained it together with perfect unity and clarity. I was filled with even more joy and love, I thought I might be full when it comes to my dear companion.
The greatest most significant miracle (besides the companionship and friendship we share so deeply) was that of the day Friday. I actually remember the day this happened so that tells you how lovely it was. Elder Barker, being as amazing and diligent as usual, has lots of places from old records to go check up on, and this one was relatively close to our home, so we decided to stop by towards around 515 or so right before it got dark. We were looking again for one man and ended up knocking on the wrong door (but the same building so it was the same number) We met a man, but no ordinary one, a Christian minister named brother James Walker. A nice black man who doesn't believe in organized religion and is merely a minister in whatever church he believes God needs him in (kinda like Alma the older or John the baptist in my opinion). We talk to him at the door and eventually he is so interested and loves our message about Christ that he invites us for a discussion. He was so open, so powerful, so convicted, a man who knows his Savior. We discussed and had no bashing whatsoever. Every man in that meeting was uplifted, edified, and utterly changed. He has studied so much that the truth he does have comes in congruence with lots of our doctrine which we pointed out. Elder Barker and I bore witness together, I felt as Alma and Amulek, he was unable to speak against our truth and that he had never met elders with as much conviction and testimony as we had. We prayed in thanks for that moment, and again we proved our companionship was very inspired, and I am so very happy to have a partner I can trust so very much who knows my heart and I his and our eyes are single to Jesus Christ.
Brother James accepted a restoration pamphlet and a Book of Mormon and admitted to us if there was a true church to associate with Jesus Christ that he would have to be compelled to follow and that he truly would read the book and study it and pray about it. He said we could call and come over at any given time to visit him and he said to be ready to answer questions and have another lesson. This man is great hope for our little branch, and I have never come out of a lesson as powerful and with so many tears of pure joy than I did. Elder Barker and I are brothers indeed, and we will return soon to see if God has given James further light. He surely gave me further light and lifted me up. We ended with soft and reverent prayer and more hope for all the children of God.
God bless you all, and remember the miracle of forgiveness, remember the atonement in your lives, remember to share with all the soul and heart you can muster the gospel that we have. It is the hope of this world and is the strait and narrow gait by which we must pass to gain eternal life. In the name of Jesus Christ amen.
Love you all more than I can explain. I love all men more than I can explain sometimes, but it is a gift from my Father I know it.
abitas root beer is dang good
-Elder Joshua Dean Rush
This is a sentence from his letter to me "so that this blog should be "The Great Elder Barker" literally miracles since my brother got here (he was trained by elder larkin too and I met him in denham springs zone a little, thus he is my brother)"