Even though Sister Barclay has only been in the mission field since December 3rd, we have been missing that girl like crazy! So you can imagine our excitement when she let my parents know that she'd be Skype video calling us around 3:00pm MST.
My parents, Steph, Erin, and Grace were huddled in the kitchen around my dad's smartphone ALREADY on the call when I hurried in the door with Aurora, shortly followed by Becca, Alex, and Grandpa Smith. Oh, were we excited to see our missionary, Sister Barclay!
She looked and sounded so good and SO excited about teaching the gospel in Louisiana. We asked her loads of questions about the mission and mission life, and when we asked about her companion, Sister Davis, Sister Barclay didn't just answer... she called her companion over to the camera so we could meet her!
We found out that Sister Davis is from Oregon and she has been on her mission for three months. We were able to chat with the two of them for a bit of time and they told us of their bike troubles, some people they were working with, and the kindness and love they've received from the ward members in their area.
Apparently the area they are in now, Metairie, is filled with canals. Lots of water! Which also means, lots of U-turns to get anywhere. The roads are funny and as a result, their bike tires have popped. While they're in the process of fixing their bikes, they rely on the ward members for rides to appointments or other meetings. They seem to be loving the work and loving the people.
It was great for us to meet Sister Davis and, especially great to see how well she connects with Sister Barclay. We had fun laughing with the two of them AND they both 'oohed' and 'ahhed' over the sight of our Christmas snow!
Soon we were back to talking with Sister Barclay alone and we updated her a bit on home life and she asked us loads of questions. We were lucky to be able to talk for just over an hour so each of us had a chance to chat with our lovely sister.
Before we had to let her go, she shared her beautiful, growing testimony of the gospel with us. You can hear in her voice and see in her eyes as she speaks that she truly loves what she is doing and where she is. She said she feels like the Lord knew she needed to be in Louisiana. The people there needed her, her mission needed her, and she needed them. She is so strong and such an example to us. Listening to her testimony made all of us want to strengthen our spiritual selves.
My dad asked her what we can do to help her be a better missionary and what we can do to grow closer to our Father in Heaven, as she has done in the past few weeks. She said that together, we can pray for the missionaries. Not just the missionaries in her mission, but the missionaries in our own ward areas and all over the world. She said missionary work is hard, but that her testimony of prayer has grown significantly as she has put it to the test over these last few weeks in the mission field. She said she KNOWS prayers are answered.
As for what we can do to grow closer to our Father in Heaven, she said to attend the temple! Before leaving on her mission, Sister Barclay loved attending the temple, and now that she's had the opportunity to attend with her mission family while in the MTC, she has developed an even more profound love for the temple. She said, if you have a recommend, to attend often, and if you don't quite yet, then work towards the temple ALWAYS!
We love our missionary and are happy to share of her stories, her growth, and her progress while she's away. She is such an inspiration to our family and hopefully to all of you!
We hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas and we'll catch you Monday!
As Sister Barclay says, "We love all y'all and each y'all!"
P.S. She said to tell everyone THANK YOU for the letters! They have come just when she needed them. Keep them coming!