Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Merry Christmas!

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas! This last week leading up to Christmas has been fun. We had a mission Christmas party on Friday that included a talent show. I actually participated in the talent show, however, I don't think we'll be asked to do it again (see video).

On Wednesday Elder Hack had to do some training in San Jose, so Elder Jones and I went to the mall. We met this nice lady and she insisted on buying us some Japanese food which was pretty legit (oh mom, I also bought a jacket at the mall so you don't need to send me one). 

Thank you to everyone who sent me presents, cards or wrote me a note - they all really meant a lot to me and helped make my Christmas.  We're still teaching a lot of lessons and the couple of people who have made a baptism commitment are progressing great. I know January will be a great month even though I will most likely be transferred from Hollister on the 24th. I've been very blessed to serve here these last 5 months and don't like to think about leaving.

I'm going to Santa Cruz again today for p-day, so that'll be cool. It was also super awesome skyping my family last night.

Love ya'll,
Elder Barker
Elder Jones and Elder Barker getting treated to lunch at the mall by a wonderful sister

Monday, December 12, 2016

A HOT Week!

Hey y'all. This week was good. We were able to teach 27 lessons, not including members, so we're staying busy which is always a good thing. The highlight of the week was getting to hear Elder Bednar and Elder Cook speak - it was really awesome. The things I remember most about Elder Bednar's talk are 1) The gift of revelation through the spirit is super real, not only for us but also our investigators, 2) Often the "culture" of the Church can impede one's progress in the gospel and 3) "The mind and the heart can only understand what the rear end can endure".  After Elder Bednar's talk I got to go to the temple and ran into my Uncle Kyle, Aunt Carisa and cousin Jared which was very cool. We didn't get to go in the temple because it was closed, but Uncle Kyle took us out to dinner in Chinatown which was awesome.

Transfers are this Tuesday  and my 3 of best friends in the zone are getting transferred - I'll really miss them. I'll be in Hollister for another 6 weeks then I'll be gone as well. 

So there's a member family, who I've gotten real close with - the Holdaways. They don't hold back on the heat when it comes to hot sauces. The dad, the 12 year old son, and I are always trying the new stuff the dad brings home. This week he brought in this really good stuff that contained Carolina reapers, habeneros, and jalapeƱos. We normally handle everything pretty well that he brings home, but this week we each took a spoonful of this  stuff and it felt like " edited by Kim!" in my mouth. I can do some really hot things, but this lit me up. The son ended up not eating the spoonful afterall, but the dad and I were sweating so much. I hadn't sweated that hard since hell week at VMI! Our chest was burning for at least 20 minutes. The hot sauce flavor was sooooo good, but I won't be eating any more spoonfuls of this stuff. I'll get a picture to send later. 

Two weeks ago we "got to" sing in a missionary choir at the 32nd Annual Morgan Hill Interfaith Community Christmas Concert. My mom has some pictures from that that she can include.  I don't know when I'll be able to call yet on Christmas, but I'll let you know. On the 23rd, the Hollister Ward goes to San Jose and has this big event that includes breakfast and lunch and a talent show - should be fun.

Hope everyone is doing well.
Love ya'll,
Elder Barker

Kyle Snow and Elder Barker at the Oakland Temple

Jared, Elder Hack, Elder Barker, Kyle and Carisa Snow

32nd Annual Morgan Hill Interfaith Community Christmas Concert

Monday, November 28, 2016

Hanging Out with Some Cool Dudes

Hey ya'll,

Hope you all had a great Thanksgiving. To carry on tradition, I made a pecan pie - it actually tasted good. We had a Turkey Bowl in Gilroy which was fun, then ate and then walked the streets contacting people. We met two Hell's Angels and they are super cool. They tuned my bike-up and let us chill in their garage for a little....we may or may not have also tried on their vests. It was a good day.

We continue to be blessed with finding great people. Remember that mom I told you about last time, the one with the sick kid, well, we're stoked as she has already set a baptism date. We also have one set with a great guy named Roberto - again, stoked!

Hope you all have a good week.
Love y'all,
Elder Barker

Turkey Bowl with the District in Gilroy

Monday, November 21, 2016

Power of Priesthood Blessings

Hey ya'll,
This week was good, the area is starting to look  up.  Probably the neatest thing that happened this week involved a 5 year old boy who had the nastiest pink eye I'd ever seen. He probably had something more than pink eye because he hadn't eaten any solid food in 3 days either. We were asked to give him a blessing.  I must admit, I was almost afraid to touch him because I thought I'd get super sick, but I quickly got over that. So we gave him a blessing and immediately after the blessing he asked for food and started eating cheese and crackers. When the kid woke up the next day, he was completely healed. No physical signs of the pink eye and he said that he felt like he had never been sick.  That was cool, but that wasn't all. Three days later I got a text from the kid's dad (the dad has been inactive since he got off his mission) and he said "my wife wants to take the discussions and get baptized. Can you guys come over tomorrow night to start it?" So we are super stoked. The power of priesthood blessings is awesome!

We're very blessed to have a good teaching pool right now. We have a family of investigators who have committed to be baptized and we're working on scheduling that date. We also have like 7 investigators who are consistently keeping commitments and progressing. Other than that it was a chill week. 

 Hope you all have a great Thanksgiving!

Elder Barker
ps - Hack got called out from the podium for falling asleep during sacrament meeting by the speaker! (see picture)
Elder Hack caught sleeping in Church

Monday, November 7, 2016

Hey y'all

This week has been wild with my new comp that I'm training plus I got the mini missionary. 

My new comp is Elder Hack and he's really cool. Football and power lifter from Texas so we get along well. The Mini missionary's name is Jared and he's from Salinas. He will be with us until next Tuesday. It's weird to already be training, plus the mentoring thing with the mini, but things are going well so far, just stressful. 

We met a lot of new people this week because my goal for the first week or two after Methvin left is to replenish the teaching pool. We have a ton of appointments this week so we'll stay busy - it will be a good week!

Not much else to talk about. 
See ya.
Love, Elder Barker
Elder Barker and his new companion - Elder Hack from Lytle, Texas

Elder Reid, Elder Jones, Elder Barker and Elder Hack

Elder Jones, Elder Methvin and Elder Barker - Halloween night

The Elders with Juliette Johnson's family on Halloween

Trick or Treating with the Johnson kids - people thought the Elder's were wearing costumes! :-)

Enjoying lunch after helping an investigator move furniture - Elder Barker, Elder Hack and Jared the mini-missionary

Monday, October 31, 2016

New Opportunity and More Trucks...

Hey y'all

This week was crazy busy with it being Methvin's last week. Imma miss Elder Methvin - he's been great. Our baptism wedding didn't pan out, but we still got a lot done last week.

Someone that I helped teach a few times on exchanges got baptized! That was exciting, Hector is a great guy. It was great seeing him and the fact that he considered me one of the missionaries who was part of his conversion meant a lot to me. Other than that we found some more trucks to add to the list, an International and a Mack (see pics). 

Oh also I got called to be a trainer for a new missionary. I'll get to meet him Thursday. It's weird training a missionary when I just finished my own training but oh šŸ³. I also am getting a mini missionary for 2 weeks starting Tuesday when Methvin leaves. A mini missionary is basically a kid who doesn't know if he wants to serve a mission or not so he's gonna try it out for 2 weeks. The mini missionary will be my only companion for 2 days, so he'll definitely get a taste of missionary work haha. 

Hollister is about to be the greenest area of all time. I'm in my third transfer as of Tuesday, my new comp will be in his first transfer, and we'll have a mini missionary who doesn't even know what a transfer is. My goal is to give the mini missionary a baptism opportunity. Don't know if that's possible, but I will do my best and with the Lord's help, you never know.

Love y'all,
Elder Barker
Hector's Baptism

Another picture from Santa Cruz's P-day a few weeks back

Another truck....

and ANOTHER truck....

Monday, October 24, 2016

Methvin Tie Cutting and More Great Food!

This week has been pretty stressful. Will and Brandy's baptism date was pushed
back to this Saturday so we are putting a lot of focus on them. We've
been having daily contact with them and so many other things. I
actually bought them a cake on their anniversary - a flipping cake!
We brought it to them and they weren't home so it melted. Now
there's a melted/frozen cake sitting in our freezer that we still need to
take to them. I didn't know it was possible to put so much work in for
one couple of investigators. Close to 10 hours a week, but they are definitely worth it.

Other than that Itried fondue for the first time this week at the Bruicks!! It was soooo good. 
We put oil in the fondue pot and stuck pices of chicken, steak, shrimp,
scallop, and potatoes on little sticks and fried them. I was in heaven and slept the best
sleep of my whole mission that night. 
Whenever I eat at the Bruicks house I always
leave super happy. 

The next day I had another BBQ with the Johnsons and had beef
deer and the really good cheesy potatoes so food wise it's been the
best weekend of my mission by far. 

Elder Methvin goes home a week from Tuesday so at district meeting this week I "killed him."
Whenever a 
missionary goes home, his last comp cuts their tie in half
with this machete knife we have. Because it's Mathvins last week, we're really
pushing hard so he can go out with a bang. When he leaves there's
a chance I could be training. Methvin is saying this so we'll see
how in tune he is with the spirit. 

The Primary program was Sunday so that is always good. We taught Gospel
Principles after sac meeting but only 4 
elderly sisters were in the class so we just sat
in a circle and 
talked about "back in there day". It was interesting because they
were even older than my mom it was crazy! 

We got to wrestle Mark and the other elders Friday so that's always fun. I got Banks stuck pretty
good and that was great cause Banks can literally bench the gym so I felt like he-man. Mark
thought it was amusing so he video taped a snip.

Today we went hiking which was cool. The pic of two Elders (Joyner and Adams) and me was
 cause we are all from the south.

Well, that's it. Love you all!
Elder Barker
Cutting Elder Methvin's tie before he goes home next week
Tie cutting  

P-day Hike

Elders from the south - Joyer, Barker and Adams

Elder Barker wrestling Elder Banks

Monday, October 17, 2016

Short and Sweet plus a Polar Bear

Hey y'all

This week was a long week. We had a baptism for this past Saturday but he went and talked to his Catholic priest about it and surprisingly he dropped the date. Oh well, hopefully we'll be able to stay in touch with him. 

We have a wedding-baptism on Saturday for Will and Brandy so that's exciting. Not much else went on this last week other than teaching, although, we didn't teach as much as we are use to. I did see a cool polar bear sign while we were moving a lady so I took a picture. Don't know what else to say...
Love ya,
Elder Barker
Saw this cool polar bear when we were helping a lady move

Garrett said that trucks are a good conversation starter, plus, "they're just cool"

Monday, October 10, 2016

Teaching a lot, a rattlesnake and Santa Cruz!

Hey y'all,
This week was fun and we taught a lot of lessons. I'm pumped about two of our investigators, Will and Brandy, who are planning on having their wedding and baptisms on the same day later this month. I'm hoping everything goes as planned. A lot of things have to fall into place between now and then to make this happen.

I got to go on exchanges with Elder Banks in Morgan Hill - it was great working with him again. Other than that this week was just filled with teaching which is a good thing. I did kill a rattlesnake (see proof picture)and a tarantula so that was new and fun. 

We went to Santa Cruz today for p-day and it was beautiful! We also went to the San Juan Mission museum (see picture). 

That's all see ya, 
Love Elder Barker
Enjoying a big black dog at the Dicksons

Fought the battle and won!

San Juan Mission Museum

Santa Cruz

Santa Cruz

Santa Cruz panoramic

Elder Banks and someone else with Elder Barker at Santa Cruz

Santa Cruz

Elder Barker found another semi to sit in

Our Zone

Monday, October 3, 2016

Baptism, Monterey and Learning to Lasso!

Hey y'all,

This was my favorite week in the mission so far cause I got to participate in my first baptism out here!! Her name is Madison and Elder Methvin and I contacted into her 5 weeks ago. She's the first member in her family and was a dream investigator - gave up word of wisdom issues as soon as we asked her to. She's already asking for a calling in the ward. She said everything we taught her seemed "familiar" to her.

Conference was great. I learned a lot about the
 importance of sacrament meeting and missionary work. My favorite talk was Elder Uchtdorf's about not losing excitement for the gospel and the Plan of Salvation.

I also am learning how to rope and am picking it up pretty quick. It's a super awesome missionary hobby, because it's real cheap and you can do it anywhere (see video).

Also I went to Monterey and had a fun time for p-day today. Had this really good seafood on the beach, visited the aquarium and walked around. Monterey is beautiful, but it turns out you can't even drive by Pebble Beach without paying so that was pretty sad.

And... Tennessee keeps winning so the blessings continue to flow from serving a mission. and I got a cool shirt....mom, you won't like it. 

Love y'all,

Elder Barker

Elder Methvin, Elder Barker and Madison Machado

Elder Methvin, Elder Barker, Madson and ?

Madison Machado's Baptism Program
Hollister Zone Conference end of September 2016

Garrett learned how to lasso and he has a video to prove it!

The shirt mom won't like

Monday, September 26, 2016

Ipad and UT...

So this week was awesome, and I think y'all know why... TENNESSEE BEAT FLORIDA FOR THE FIRST TIME IN 11 YEARS! HECK YES!! I literally freaked out when I saw that. I might or might not have gone through a house and happened to watch the highlights and might've accidentally told them to rewind it so I could see it again. 

Also i got my Ipad which is awesome. It makes missionary work easier cause I don't have to carry so much stuff around, I just carry the Ipad. I can also watch conference talks just about whenever I want. Other than that it's been a slow week. I don't know what else to talk about other than I've been singing Rocky Top all weekend. 

Oh, I do have a bet with Elder Methvin. There are these massive burritos in Gilroy, and the bet is to see if I can eat 2 of them (Elder Methvin couldn't even finish one). If I do, Methvin will give me a predetermined cash amount. If I lose, he gets Katie. It's not really a bet because I know I'll be able to eat the two burritos so Katie is safe. I'll send pictures of the eating contest when it happens. 

Good news - Madison's baptism is this Saturday. Madison is really excited and so are Methvin and I.

See y'all,
Elder Barker
Must have killed Garrett to not watch this whole game - only those who know him will understand!

Garrett in a semi truck....why? Who knows?

Monday, September 19, 2016

The New Bike!


So this week was really good, i don't have much to write tho. I had to buy a freaking bike because the one the mission gave me was awful as it randomly changed gears on me and the rear brakes didn't work. I bought the cheapest bike at the store, but it still cost a lot.  I just don't think there are many things in my life that I like that are worth as much as the bike cost!

Also Bryna, someone from the ward who has helped us out a lot with teaching investigators, left for college. That kinda sucks, but her family threw this big going-away BBQ with the best food I've had on my mission so far, no contest.

We have 3 baptismal dates and are teaching I don't even know how many people, so we are constantly busy. Transfers are tomorrow and it's crazy to think I've already been out here for that long - time is flying. The best news about transfers finally rolling around is that I get my Ipad this week! Life is going to be so much easier once I get that. I feel like a neanderthal not having technology attached to me constantly. I dont understand how my parents lived in the primitive world before Apple - hah!

I can't believe I'm missing the Tennessee Florida game this Saturday. I'm a pretty obedient missionary, but I might be eating lunch at a restaurant that might possibly have a few tv's in there. I heard the Titans won so they are already more promising than they were last year. Sorry I don't have more to say this week and I only have one picture - sorry mom.

Love y'all
Elder Barker
Elder Barker's new bike