Monday, December 26, 2011

week 24

The Ward Christmas Eve party was really fun, we just sang Christmas carols and then had treats after.  I had to eat mince pies which were absolutely disgusting.  On Christmas Day we went over to a family's house right after church and we hung out with them and had some snacks.   He is the elders quorum president and he is awesome!  We were driving to his house because he took us, and we pulled over because some guy was lying on the ground with his bike. so we jumped out of the car and ran over.  It was windy and I felt like I was in a cop movie in my suit and stuff, I felt like I was in Burn Notice.  After that we went to another home.  She is the nicest lady EVER!    We went to eat, and there were like 10 people there, so it was a regular old party.  We came home and I just fell asleep at around 8:00, I was soooo tired.  Today(Boxing Day) was a full p-day so we just did some shopping and emailed and went to a lunch appointment.  Then we went to the arboretum and played some footy (football).  It was really fun!  I had a fun time just kicking it around.  
 The building we meet in looks like ours just a little bit smaller, actually alot smalller haha.  My mission president, President and Sister Ogden are the best!  I love them sooo much and they leave in July, so when I'm out about a year I'll get a new mission president.  I will be really sad because I will miss them.  I'm still in Walsall and I have been here for about 2 transfers and I'll be here for a while.  I'm excited for the future.  There are a lot of good things ahead. 
Pictures from the mission Christmas party December 23 at the mission home:

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Happy Christmas

Editor's Note:  Missionaries are allowed to call home twice a year, on Christmas and Mother's Day.  To cut down on cost, international missionaries are allowed to skype.  We were able to see and talk to Michael this morning!  And through a couple of technological glitches, we found that he looks wonderful and sounds great!  He is happy!
Happy Christmas everyone!

Monday, December 19, 2011

week 23


My new companion is pretty funny and cool, I'm excited for this transfer.  He has served in Cardiff Wales, Harborne Birmingham, Aberystwyth Wales,  and Wooster Cheltenham.  He goes home in February,  I'm not sure what date but that month. 
I can't figure out the Christmas message!  The only letter I got was the "i" haha because of the velcro--there were two dots hahaha  it is hard. 
As for our Christmas plans:
  • Thursday about half the mission will be meeting in the bullring (a giant mall) at 6:30pm.  We will find a nice place and sing Christmas carols all night.  I'm really excited for that. 
  • Friday, we have the Christmas party at the mission home.  That will  be soooo fun!!
  • Christmas Eve (Saturday) we have a ward party so that will be really fun. 
  • Christmas Day (Sunday) we have a 1 hour Sacrament service in the morning and then we are going to a family's house for lunch, the Pullen family.  Then we head over to Sue and Wanda's and we spend the rest of the night with them.  We eat, play games, skype!!, have fun. 
  • Boxing Day (Monday) we are going over to the Smith's and playing some futbol with the kids at the park and we have lunch with this lady Evelyn.  Then shopping for sweet deals because everything is like 90% off on Boxing Day haha not really but there are some really good deals. 
That's our weekend!  It is going to be absolutely crazy and jam packed! 
It is freezing cold here hahaha and it hasn't snowed yet. Everything is just iced over.  We were biking last night and we pulled into this street and both me and Elder Steed slipped and slid on the ice hahahaha it was sooo funny.  No one got injured because we were biking really slow and kinda screwing around but it was hilarious haha. 
Views from the flat of one of our investigators. he is in a tower flat on the 15th floor, it is amazing!

Monday, December 12, 2011

week 22

(Editor's Note:  It had taken some time for Michael to get the mailing tube I had sent to him with his Christmas poster inside--by the way, thanks to all those who participated in Project 25!)   I did get the mailing tube finally! I'm still trying to decode the message, i have no idea--I'm gonna sit down today and try to do it.  Funny story about the parcel.  So it was late one night, like 9:30, and we got a knock on the door.  I'm just like, "what is this?"  I look out the peephole and it's some random guy holding a mailing tube haha.  So I open the door and he's like, "hey the postman was downstairs, so I thought I'd bring this to you so you could have it now."  I was like, "thank you sooo much!"  Then we saw him a couple days later and we started chatting with him and we gave him a card and stuff, he is really cool!  He said he might be interested in learning more about our church!
Michael and Elder Steed

My new companion is Elder Steed.  He is way cool!  He has been out 21 months.  So I'm sure I will kill him, (that means to be his last companion).  We are going to work hard to try and find a family to teach this season.  He is really short haha, and not just because Elder Siegel was really tall.   He is from St. George Utah.  

I haven't gotten lost that much, actually I'm kind of surprised!  I'm finding my way around fairly well!  Hahaha if I hit Scotland I'll be sure to take a picture first, then Ill ring up president!
Our investigators seem to be doing well and we have found loads of new investigators as well, so that is really cool!  I'm just excited for this transfer, I feel that we are going to have a lot of success. 
Michael's Christmas tree
Well I kind of hoped there would be snow but there isn't any snow yet and probably wont be any :(  There are lights everywhere and a tree set up in town centre. Nothing compared to the tree in San Francisco hahaha, but it is trying to be.  Everyone seems happier and we are singing carols to people on the street.  Last night we stopped this lady and we said, "hey, we are singing Christmas carols to people tonight, what is your favorite""  She said, "Silent Night".  So we sang  Silent Night to her and she started singing with us as well.  She wasn't interested in the church but you could see she was happier and that is cool!  We made her night a little better, and gave her a good impression of the missionaries.  

Michael's district

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

week 21

We just got back from transfers.  Oh man last transfer just flew by!!  Elder Siegel got transferred :(  Im really sad because I love him!!  We were talking, and missionary work is really, really hard.  You love a companion and you get split up, you love an area and you leave.  The Lord tests your patience and diligence.  My new companion is Elder Steed.  I went from serving with the tallest companion in the mission to the shortest lol.  I don't know him well but I hope we can be best friends because that makes it so much easier. 
The mission is being all shuffled around.  President Ogden leaves in just about 6 months and we will get a new Mission President, so he is preparing the mission and there are a lot of weird changes. Our district got split in half and Elder Siegel is actually my district leader.  He is also serving in his greenie area!  Which is so cool. 
We are teaching a lot of really cool people and the ward is the best!  I'm really excited for what can happen this transfer.  I'm a little worried I have to lead the way and be in charge because I "know the area" but the problem is I'm directionally challenged, you know that.  So I'm scared I will get lost all the time.  The Lord is testing me I know it. 
I want to leave you with my testimony and a challenge.  The Book of Mormon is true.  It changes lives.  It is amazing.  It is the word of God and it is powerful.  This church is true.  Jesus Christ is my Saviour and Redeemer.  I would like to challenge you and all the readers of the blog to recommit yourself to the gospel, especially during this Christmas season.  Remember what this time is really about--The Saviour Jesus Christ.  Be more like him this season.  Help those in need,  the poor the weary, the lonely.  Stand up and do good. and think of this song...
have i done any good in the world today, 
have i helped anyone in need,
have i cheered up the sad, and made someone feel glad,
if not i have failed indeed.
This song made me realized I don't do enough.  Get up, get out, and help those who need it.  I promise that as you do you will gain the pure love of Christ and your life will be changed.  You will have charity and love for all that cross your path and your desire to help will increase along with your love for the Saviour. 

Monday, November 28, 2011

week 20

Our turkey bowl was the best!  I had so much fun hanging out with the other missionaries. 

Michael and the Zone Leader, Elder Zindel

The Christmas season is the best and I'm surrounded by the Walsall ward who love me and I love them.  I love this area so much.  The ward is great, the people are great, and my companion is great.  Every day he pushes me to be a little better.  I love him for that. 

Michael and Elder Seigel
We are working hard and are looking to find a family to teach this season.  A mother and father and children!  It will be great. 

Michael working hard and getting ready for exchanges with his 5 pound bag (cost 5 pounds, not weighs 5 pounds :))
We have been working really hard and were blessed with 3 new investigators.  It was a good week and we were blessed by the Lord for our efforts.  I gave a talk in church on Sunday about the miracle of forgiveness and repentance.  The Lord really does love all of his children.  There is always a way back onto the path no matter how far you might have strayed and it is so important to remember that. 
I have a challenge for all the readers of the blog:  
During this Christmas season look for unplanned opportunities for service.  Perform that act of service in a way of love.  Don't look for credit or do the service for recognition.  Do it because that is what the Saviour would have done.  I promise that as you do this you will feel the pure love of Christ in your life.  You will be blessed from the Lord and you will grow so much! 
I love being on a mission.  It will be one of the hardest things I do in my whole life guaranteed-- but it will be the most rewarding.  To really receive the blessings of the Lord we must make a sacrifice and humble ourselves so He can lift us up.  I love all of you and hope you have a wonderful holiday!

Monday, November 21, 2011

week 19

Merry Christmas!!  It is Christmas season here because Thanksgiving doesn't exist here--it really is a shame. 
Thanks for the Thanksgiving parcel I love it!  Hahah funny story we have dinner appointments every night this week except..........drum roll.........Thursday hahahaha it was kind of funny lol. 
I'm excited, we are putting up our Christmas tree soon so I will send pictures.  It's just a cheap artificial one we found in the wardrobe.  It's pretty cool though.
In Walsall it's starting to get foggy and snow is expected soon.  Its getting pretty nippy and it's not that cold it's just humid and wet so it tears right through you.  You layer up because it's freazing, hop on your bike, bike to your destination, and take all your layers off because you're sweating like crazy, and then you repeat the same thing over and over lol.
Our investigators are having hurdles, they both missed their dates.  It makes me sad when I see these people change from the gospel and then they can't move forward with what they want. 
We are tracting and finding a lot and we have found some new people, hopefully they stay interested.  We have loads and loads of potentials and we are just focusing on how to make them investigators. 
We are working hard and having fun.  The transfer is almost over, we are starting week 4 right now!  Crazy how fast it has gone! 
We are going to the turkey bowl right now.  It's zone p-day and we play American flag football so that will be really fun.  I will be sure to take loads of pictures and send them next week. 
P.S. sorry no pictures this week but there will be LOADS next week to make up for it I promise :)
Michael's english sounding words of the week:  post, parcel, nippy, wardrobe

Monday, November 14, 2011

week 18

A couple of weeks ago we e-mailed from the bullring, which is this huge mall.  And so we found a Mac store and e-mailed from there.  The Mac store was the only place we could email.  We left all the laptops on and left a pass along card on each keyboard hahaha. 

I'm excited for great things to come!  Walsall, which is like dead center in Brom.   Our two investigators with dates are having a hard time.  One has some hurdles of addictions he has to overcome and the other is completely ready but his wife won't let him.  We are just helping them overcome these challenges and letting them make their own decisions.  We love them and just want what is best for them.

We are finding like crazy in Walsall!  The Stake President said that if every door is knocked in 3 years then we would see miracles.  So we are tracting about 3 streets a week to try and accomplish that.  We have loads of potential investigators and we just need to get them progressing.  We work really hard and try to have fun while doing it to keep ourselves happy.

The ward is really small but everyone is so nice!  I love them all.  We were at a members house last night playing scrabble and having dinner!

The weather has been suprisingly warm!  No snow yet, which everyone says is weird so it should be coming soon.

Monday, November 7, 2011

week 17

Man today will be good because I desperately needed a p-day to just stay home and do absolutly nothing.  But . . . we are going to the church after email to play basketball with the Zone Leaders so that should be fun.     

Michael at 5'8" and Elder Seigel at 6'8"

Michael and Elder Seigel jammin'

So I'm now in Walsall!  My new area for probably quite a while. I'm excited because the ward is great and we get fed a lot, we actually have DAs every night this week except for Wednesday!  Elder Siegel is awesome and he is a way hard worker.    We are teaching two investigators with a date.  Both are really cool and both have hurdles they have to jump.  It's frustrating, but we are working with them to get through this. So we are just praying and waiting.  We are working hard and having fun while doing it!  We got a referral the other day from the bishop for this lady who has been coming to church and I thought she was a member but she isn't.  So we are going to start teaching her and she told us, "I want to be baptised, I just have to be taught first." lol   There was a baby blessing in church the other day and there was basically an after party at the family's house hahaha it was awesome food and cake.  He is the Elders' quorum president and he is awesome!  The work here is crazy and really fun, I'm excited for the future here in Walsall.
Michael's pumpkin
Michael and Halloween pumpkin
It is officially winter.  We just got our first frost so it will only get much worse; and we had a warm fall, so winter will most likely stink.  We had Halloween!  We carved pumpkins and put them on the railing of our balcony, then it rained haha--sad times for the pumpkins.  I was cleaning the flat and guess what I found!  An artificial christmas tree!! With lights and decorations and everything--even a star!!  Its awesome!  I was so excited. 
I have gotten letters!  Thank you so much!  I love you and miss you!

Monday, October 31, 2011

week 16

Happy Halloween!  They do celebrate Halloween here, but not as big as back home.  We have to go in at 7:00 tonight to be safe.  Guy Fawkes day is this weekend and it is crazy.  Guy went into parliament and try to blow it up with explosives.  He was caught and burned at the stake.  So to celebrate, everyone makes really big bonfires and launches off fireworks.  Its like a British 4th of July!

It was hard leaving Swindon.  I loved the people and the area.  It was a great area.  But new adventures are ahead.  I'm in Walsall which is right in Brum.  It's smaller than Swindon but 10x crazier because it is a city. Our flat is really nice, it's quite big and we have a balcony.  It is right on the canal so we see the canal boats a lot and we walk up that a lot.   

Elder Seigel (my companion) has been out about 17 months.  He is from Alpine Utah and he is 6 ft 8 in tall. He is really funny but also really serious at times.  He has been in Walsall about 5 transfers so about 7 months.  And I will probably be here that long as well.  He is very serious at being a missionary but he has his moments of being funny.  

We have 2 investigators with a date and possibly more to come.  The ward has about 60 members and I have had a DA (dinner appointment) every night I have been here.  We tract a lot but the reason is because the Stake President said if the Litchfield stake knocks every door in 3 years we will see miraculous blessings. So that's what we are doing. The ward is great the people are great and I know I will be here for a while so I'm excited for that. 

I have a saying that I live by now, it is my saying that gets me going and stay working hard.
Pray as though everything depended on the LORD, and work as though everything depended on YOU.
I love being on a mission.  In no way is it easy, you experience the highest highs and the lowest lows. It is a great experience.  I never really noticed, but the gospel really does change lives and I have seen it in my own life and in the lives of people we teach.  It brings true happiness if you do all you can to live it.  It is an amazing blessing that we have in our lives.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

week 15

Alright where to begin.  I'll start with transfers.  I got the call and I got moved out of swindon:(  I'm sad but I'm moving on to someone who I'm prepared for.  Transfer meeting was amazing and President Ogden is just so good!  I love him! 
So I got transfered to Walsall, which is pretty close to Birmingham.    Man we moved in to the flat and boy is it nice!  Our flat is really, really nice and it is in the middle of town so everything is pretty close to us.  I'm so excited about it.
My new companion is Elder Siegel and he is awesome!  He is funny and really really tall lol.  He seems like a hard worker and he trained Elder Harper who is in my group. 
I'm excited for what is to come!  I'm excited for this transfer and for all the things we can accomplish.  I can't wait to get out and meet all the people in Walsall and work hard.  I feel this transfer we will be able to have loads of success so I'm happy.
I'm glad I made the decision to come on a mission.  I wont lie, there are days where I'm like why did I do this, I should have stayed home.  But the blessings I receive every day are amazing.  You meet so many people and they become brothers to you.  When I left Swindon it was really hard to say goodbye to some people.  You really do learn to love the people and they become like family to you. 
This is our new address to our flat:
Elder Michael Barton
45 One Gallery Square
Its a little bit easier than the other one (haha shorter).
Sorry I don't have much to talk about because I don't know anything but I'm really excited for this transfer.  We have a Dinner Appointment tonight so I'm pretty excited for that as well.

Monday, October 17, 2011

week 14

I get to send emails from the computer at the library.  The library is pretty big. (This next part is especially for his mom :))  You would love it.  There are loads and loads of books.  Lots of computers and little children.  
I'm having a contest for bike names.  Please come up with wicked awesome names!   Here's some information about my bike to help you out.  I don't have a picture of my bike close up, but its a mountain bike.  It is black and grey, really ghetto looking, like a thug bike.  It is a boy bike and its personality is rough and tough with a slight side of "I wish I looked better" lol.    That is about it.  Elder Dahl did the same competition and his brother came up with a golden name!  His bike's name is Bilbo Baggins McGagger hahahaha so funny. Its absolutely brilliant!! 
We are getting fed better.  We had a DA with the Wheelers.  He is actually from Turlock and he has a brother who lives in Stockton!  So that was really cool.  

Michael and Elder Lyman

Michael and Elder Muir

Michael and Elder Stoddard
During personal study I usually read a little of Preach My Gospel and then some Book of Mormon.  Sometimes I will read a little in the Ensign.  For companionship study we study what we did in personal study.  Read the white missionary handbook, a chapter in the Book of Mormon,  and then do role plays practicing how we will teach lessons for that day. 
We are teaching this lady from Nigeria.  We are still teaching our mother and daughter investigators.  We weren't able to meet with them for a while because they were so busy, but we were finally able to see them Saturday and we are seeing them tonight as well. 
Transfers are next Wednesday! Insane!  So my next comunication won't be until Wednesday or possibly Thursday.  Then I can let you know if im staying in Swindon or moving on.  I'm excited and nervous all at the same time.  It will be good though.  Life is good here.  We are working hard, playing hard and having fun.  
New words Michael used in his letter this week that made him sound very English:  fret, well good, lad. 

Monday, October 10, 2011

week 13

Michael on a Ram

It is officially winter/fall.  It is windy and cold haha.  We were biking home from the church on Sunday and it was so windy I had to exert effort to get down a hill that is usually really easy.  We got home and I was absolutly shattered!  
I'm really excited because Zone Conference is on Wednesday and it should be really good to hear from President Ogden and the Assistants.  I'm excited for that! 

I love Swindon and don't want to leave, and who knows maybe I will stay here!  Transfers are in 2 weeks so we will find out soon.  I'm coming up on my 3 month mark.  Its crazy time has flown by but seems like it is going slow too haha crazy how it works. We have 4 dinner appointments this week!  The ward is getting more involved and I'm excited about that.  We have 2 investigators and 5 potential investigators.  We are just trying to make contact and get them to progress toward baptism. 
We are working hard with our two investigators to get them to church.  We are working and finding like crazy.  We have potentially 8 people we will be teaching in the next week so I'm excited for that!  It will be a good week!  

The Swindon Elders

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

week 12

Mission Football was yesterday.  There are two Mission Football's.  One in the North Zone and one in the South.  I'm in the south zone so we met up in Cardiff, Wales and played at a local field.  There were three teams.  Team Cardiff, Team Myrther- Tydvill, and us Team Cheltenham.  There were three games and then a final for the best two teams to duke it out for the championship.  We played Cardiff first and won 3-1.  We then played Myrther- Tydvill straight away with no break and lost 2-1 :(  Its ok because then we got a break and played in the finals and WON!!  CHELTENHAM CHAMPIONS!!!  In the final match I got the ball and broke away on a fast break and almost scored but then I got tackled hahaha.  It was really fun and I loved just hanging out with other missionaries and having a good time. 
Michael and Elder Lyman
Michael and Elder Tonga


Cardiff Castle
We were able to watch General Conference.  I'm pretty sure the only one we watched live was the Sunday Morning session, but we watched it at night haha.  The Provo Temple--Thats so cool!!  We watched one session at a member's house and the rest at the stake centre on Sunday.  We were there from 9 til 7--long day. 
Here in Swindon it's been crazy busy these last couple of weeks.  I mean it's October!! We were able to see our new convert last night and he is going back to America to secure everything.  He said when he comes back he hopes to have the Priesthood and to have been to the temple to do baptisms for the dead.  He is awesome and a really good guy.  Even though he got baptised in America it was the best thing for him. When he got baptised the ward was notified 1 hour before and tons of people showed up and he enjoyed it and felt loved. We are working with 2 other way cool investigators. I love them, and they are determined to find out if this is true and for them. 
We were able to do service for a lady in the ward.  All the lawn mowers in England are electric....
and small hahaha
We are working a lot with the members to get referrals and gain the trust of the members.  We feel that it is really working and making a little difference.  We are working hard and staying busy.

Monday, September 26, 2011

week 11

I have mission football (soccer) practice today, so I don't have much time to write.  It will be fun being with all the elders!  We have mission football next week. 
Our investigators are doing well.  Some are very interested and committed to know if this is true.  We are visiting with a lot of members and building the trust of the ward as well, so that's really cool .  We are trying to get the members excited and more involved in missionary work. We just hope as we show them we are serious they will want to be as well. 
We go to Cheltenham to watch conference.  We will sleep over at the Cheltenham elders' flat and conference is Saturday night and Sunday.  The time change makes it weird. The only one we see live is the Sunday night one.  Its all jumbled around and I'm not even too sure, but at least we get to watch it. 
I don't know if I'll be transferred this time.  Transfers are on the 26th of October.  Usually greenies stay with their trainers for 2 transfers.  It could go either way because next transfer will be Elder Dahl's 4th in Swindon, so honestly I have no idea.  Our District Leader thinks I will get moved, but President decides so who knows.  So if you want to send mail make sure to send it so it arrives here before the 26th--just in case!
We are working hard and staying busy!

Monday, September 19, 2011

week 10

This week was long because it was transfer week.  I didn't think I would get moved just yet, and I didn't so I'll be here for another 6 weeks.  We have a new elder, he is new to Swindon but he has been out 18 months.  He's our new district leader and his name is Elder Stoddard.  
Our investigator who we committed to baptism, got baptized . . . in Long Beach, California :(  All that matters is that he got baptized (and that he is bringing us back oreos haha just kidding).  He is a way cool guy.  I'm so proud that he made this step in his life.  He texted us after his baptism and he said it was the best decision he has ever made and he is excited and happy.  That made us happy, so we celebrated by getting a battered Mars Bar.  What is it?  A Milky Way candy bar, battered.  The first time I had one I smelt it and I'm pretty sure my heart stopped, but they are really good.  

It isn't summer anymore. Fall has officially hit.  Its clear blue skies but freezing!!  I don't even know how thats possible.  From inside the flat it looks like a hot summer day and you step outside and you turn right around and grab a jacket.  I have a feeling it is going to be a cold winter.   
We are starting to get a couple more dinner appointments,  but the ward feels instead of feeding us they just give us bags of cookies.  PLEASE FEED THE MISSIONARIES IN THE MODESTO 1ST WARD EVERY DAY!!!!!  We manage though, we have rice and chicken almost everyday for every meal and we throw burgers in sometimes.  I'm not too sure but I think I've gained weight.  I would weigh myself but no one has a scale in England, so I'm on the search for a scale. 
Town is way fun!  There are a lot of shops.  Primark, Subway, ASDA, which is like Walmart.  Madalans, which is a really cool place (cool clothes but well good suits).  
We are teaching loads of people, about 7 people or so.  Some are Less Active Members or Recent Converts.  We are teaching a woman and her daughter who are amazing!! I love them and they seem interested, they just have a lot of questions.  We are working on getting them to church on Sunday.  
Were staying busy and working hard! 

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

week 9 (transfer week)

On top of the world!

Sorry I didn't write Monday.  It is transfers this week and so on transfer weeks our P-day is moved to Wednesday.  So here I am!!
Transfers are today and 13 new missionaries enter which means a couple things:
1.  I made it through my 1st transfer!
2.  We're not the newest missionaries anymore!!
Our district is getting all moved around so we should be expecting some new faces at the next district meeting.  Should be way good. 
Man oh man!  Made it through my first transfer!! Crazy I've been out 2 months today!  We are working hard and teaching people.  Our investigator is still in America, so we dont know when or even where he will get baptized.  We are going to go crazy!!  We're teaching some other people and some are progressing and some are not unfortunately. 
It is fall in England and the leaves are dropping along with the temperature.  Right now it's 13 degrees so I don't even know if that's cold or not because im horrible with the conversion stuff lol!
Out of the mission in Oxford!

As a mission we were blessed to hear from Elder David A. Bednar of the twelve.  Elder Bednar was AMAZING!!  He is inspired and called of God.   He came in and we all went up and each of us got to shake his hand.  He said,  "If we know who we are and we know our purpose for being out here, we don't need numbers or events to justify our mission."  It's so true though---numbers don't matter one bit.  If you are out here working like crazy and you do all you can, then you were successful.  He had some great stories and insights, and he bore his testimony and I'm pretty sure the whole room was filled with the spirit and everyone had tears in their eyes.  It was an amazing weekend.  Starting the new transfer and setting goals so we can be successful but happy and also have fun.  I know this gospel is true.  If it weren't there wouldn't be 150 19-21 year old boys out here teaching and preaching.  This gospel brings happiness to all those who embrace it in their lives.  I know that being out here on a mission will change my life in more ways than I can imagine.  You feel it everyday and you know what you're doing is right.  I was talking with my companion and we said if you believe in the very basics, the rest will come.  Have faith in the small things, bear testimony and then your faith will grow in the big things.  I love this gospel and I love this work.  I love being a missionary!
And for my primary friend:  What do I love about missionary work?   I love meeting new people, teaching people about Jesus Christ, and sharing my testimony with others. 
Thanks for all the letters and cards and pictures you send me. 
(Michael is at the same address for at least 6 more weeks)
Elder Michael Barton
59 Helmsdale
Green Meadow
Swindon SN25 1RA

Monday, September 5, 2011

week 8

Here I am in Swindon, almost through my first transfer!  Crazy to think.  Next transfer we are getting 13 new missionaries!! Thats an insane amount of missionaries. 
We're teaching our golden investigator, and he is moving to L.A :(  sad times for us.  He wants to get baptized with the people that first introduced him to the church.  I'm fine as long as he stays strong and gets baptized.  But then he called yesterday and said he might just get baptized in Swindon because it would be easier. He gets back from LA in a couple of days and he said he would let us know where it will happen when he returns.  This guy is awesome!! He called us up and was like hey I'm gonna bring you back something, what do you want?  We were like uhhhhhhh whatever you feel is good.  He was like okay I'll bring back some double stuffed oreos hahahahaha it was awesome"
Other than that investigator, we are teaching a woman and her daughter.  They are awesome and have been taught by a long line of missionaries, they have questions and concerns but I feel that they have been prepared by the Lord.  They are interested, they just want answers to their questions, which sometimes is hard.  
We have done some GQ'ing (Street Contacting) and we met a couplpe of potential investigators that we are going to meet.  We are focusing on expanding our teaching pool.  Its a good goal that I know we can reach if we just trust in the Lord and put our heart into it.  
Oh yea guess what?  My bike seat cushion got knicked(stolen) by some Chavs(gangsters) ahhh!!!!  We were in Park North, super ghetto place, and some chavs came up to us and started talking and i got distracted and forgot to put it in my bag and they knicked it when we left.  ahhhh!!! oh well lol
T-Minus 5 days until David A. Bednar comes to Birmingham! I'm so excited!  We each get to shake his hand.  I'm gonna take a picture and send it home because it will be awesome!!!  I cannot wait for Saturday!
Lower Lights District

We had a trainer trainee meeting a couple of days ago.  That was cool i got to see some of my MTC buddies and hang for about an hour.  It was a fun time seeing them and seeing how much everybody has grown in these 4 weeks out. 
I love being a missionary.  Sharing the gospel and watching people accept it and grow is an amazing thing.  I wouldn't trade this for anything in the world because it is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to serve a mission as a 19 year old.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Week 7

I've been in Swindon for about three weeks and I'm pretty sure I'm directionally challenged because I have no idea where I'm going, I kinda just follow Elder Dahl around like a lost dog.  But, I'm starting to get a little better. 

The view of the road from the top of a double decker bus
(because I ride them now haha)

The weather here is LOVELY!!  can you hear the sarcasm?  of course not.  It is the most bipolar weather ever!  It rains, then it's sunny, then it pours, then overcast, and so on. Ugh its gonna take some getting used to.      

View of a street corner

View from Penn Hill

We went to church on Sunday and the sound system was broken, so we did the whole sacrament meeting with no sound!  To top it all off we brought an investigator to church--we couldnt hear anything at all.  I'm serious, NOTHING!! After Sacrament Meeting we joked around with him, and asked him what his favourite talk was, he liked that.  We were biking around Saturday night and I got asked if I could be a backup speaker in case one of the speakers fell through.  My first thought was, "does this happen often?".  Of course I hesitantly said yes.  And its not like at home where you have all day to prepare a talk.  I'm a missionary, so I have about 30 minutes of free time and that consists of going to bed early, so I wrote my talk in 5 minutes, never thought that would be possible! 

We are working hard and teaching an investigator who is progressing at the speed of light.  This guy loves what we teach.  He reads, prays and desires to learn more.  We committed him to baptism on September 17 and he accepted!!  He is reading and praying and waiting for an answer.  I love him-- he is a joy to teach and  to be around.  Tonight we are going over to an investigator's house and having family home evening!  That will be way fun.  I'm excited for that.  Missionary work is so fun! You have the funniest moments and meet the craziest people, but I love it.  I know this gospel is true!

Monday, August 22, 2011

week 6

Things here in Swindon are going great!  We have three dinner appointments this week and we had one Sunday as well!! I am excited.  We are teaching a lot of people and our goal is to get an investigator with a baptism date this week. Well everyday we ride around and see some potential investigators, former investigators, and less active members.  We went tracting and got 2 return appointments but 1 already fell through.  We're working hard and just trying to reach our goal. 
Today we have flat check, we cleaned our flat sooo good! It is way clean haha.  The cleanest flat gets the clean flat award at the end of transfers so we are working to get that!  We will win, I know it, our flat is spotless.  haha
We are working everyday really hard and seeing people.  I'm tired almost all the time haha but I get used to it pretty fast.  All I can say is when I get home I'm gonna be ripped because we workout and bike so much haha. 
We had district meeting on Wednesday and we had Sister Ogden's paninnis for lunch and they were amazing!!
Other than that no exciting news this week.  Just a normal week. 

Monday, August 15, 2011

Week 5

 As for here in Swindon, England. The rioting hasn't hit Swindon hard at all. Tiny little riot one night so we stayed in our flat that night.  Nothing to worry about at all. I went on exchanges with DL(District Leader) Price and that was well...scary (haha).  He is a really good missionary and he talks to everyone he sees.  I got out alive though so everything is all good.  Halfway through the day my bike chain snapped, haha joys of missionary work! My fault since the bike was cheap (lol). It's alive again though, the store fixed it for FREE!!  Amazing word to hear.  About my bike--My bike is good. PLEASE SEND MY BIKE CUSHION. My butt hurts 24/7 when I ride that dang thing.  Bought it for £79.  Fetching steal.  We bike so much here lol.  Everytime I think of a bike my thighs automatically hurt.  Funny stuff--we were at district meeting and we got all this stuff we had to take home so I strapped up and put it all on haha.  Gear, a dvd player, a fire exstinguisher, first aid kit, area book, and all my stuff.  Then we had to bike home,which is about 3 or 4 miles haha YES!!  
It is my 1 month anniversary though! I've been on a mission for 1 month and it has gone by slow, but at the same time really fast!!  Crazy to think about.  We did some tracting yesterday, which I learned don't tract on a Sunday because no one wants to be bothered and so they just don't answer, and if they do they are pretty angry lol.  Oh well brush it off! As for investigators we are working with 4 potentials.  They are all way cool and excited to learn more about the gospel. Keep them in your prayers.  I witnessed another baptism Friday.  It was amazing, a 16 year old girl who absolutely loves this gospel.  She is amazing and the spirit was so strong at that baptism.  Oh guess who is coming to our mission to speak to us in September?  DAVID A. BEDNAR!!!  I'm so excited! An apostle of the Lord is coming to talk with us! How amazing is that.  I'm so excited I can't even explain.   
Missionary work is hard, I'm not gonna lie.  Its tiring and draining.  I come home everyday knackered(tired).  But we keep pushing foward and we will find those who are prepared to hear what we have to share.  I was telling Elder Dahl yesterday that when they don't listen it makes me feel sad.  We are acting in the name of Jesus Christ so they aren't rejecting us, they are rejecting Him.  But you brush it off and find those few ready to receive.  I love this work.  Its draining and its fun.  Everyday wondering who will we find.  I love this church.  We were talking with someone and they asked us, "why do you do this?".  I said, "that is a good question.  Im 19 years old, I could be in college, hanging out with mates and enjoying life, but I have given two years to help you.  I have happiness through the gospel of Jesus Christ and I want you to have the same thing because I know it can make you so much happier."
Michael's address to his flat:
Elder Michael Barton
59 Helmsdale
Green Meadow
Swindon SN25 1RA

Thursday, August 11, 2011

MTC pictures

If you're interested, our friend Kathy Walker sent a link to these pictures taken while Michael was in the MTC.


Monday, August 8, 2011

week 4!

This week has been weird because of transfers! 
  • Thursday we got settled and got all my stuff like my bike and groceries. 
  • Friday we did service and prepared for a baptism then we were at that all night. 
  • Saturday we were in Warwick(war-ick) all day for a wedding/baptism of Elder Dahl's old investigators. 
    Michael and Warwick Castle
  • Sunday we were at church and meetings all day.
  • Today is pday so were gonna go shopping and stuff. 
There are Swindon A elders and Swindon B elders.  Me and Elder Dahl are Swindon B elders and Elder Price and Reed are Swindon A, so we see them a lot and at church.  Its cool to see other elders all the time, doesn't make you feel all alone.  We haven't done much tracting or even teaching and our numbers show, but me and Elder Dahl are feeling really positive about this week.  We already have 4 appointments set and we're gonna visit some referrals.   We also have three potentials for baptism so that should be great!  We have a 10/10/10/10 vision.  Talk to a person within the first 10 minutes----talk to at least 10 people a day----hand out 10 Books of Mormon a week----have at least 10 appointments a week.  That will keep us nice and busy so I'm excited.  I pray all the time to be happy and have fun, and it is working so I know I'm getting answers to my prayers.  It's hard, but I have a quote that says you only grow when you're out of your comfort zone.  So I'm growing a lot!!      
There are so many little people in our ward that it is crazy loud in there.  The Bishop and Ward Mission leader seem cool.  The ward mission leader is from Hungary. I haven't had much interaction with the members, but they seem nice.  We haven't had one Dinner Appointment.  I'm praying next week we will get some.  We live off pizza and cereal.  But last night I made rice and pasta.  Pretty dang good. 
The people are awesome everyone is like "hey alright mate" which means hey how ya doing.  You answer
"alright mate".  And when you leave you say "alright cheers mate" which is alright thanks see ya.
Its so cool.  I love the language and want an accent!
We bike...a lot hahaha.  We bike on the street; and here if you bike you're like a car, so we bike as close to the curb as we can and cars just go around us--its crazy (I promise I'm safe).  We bike uphill, downhill, in the mud, everywhere.  Im getting more used to it but I was sore at first haha. Its cold!  It rained so hard yesterday and I was soaked. So today we're going to buy me waterproof trousers (like rain gear for golf lol).  My jacket works though!  The city is small but big.  Its a classy little English town but it has its big parts to it at the same time.  Its really awesome though--I love it.