Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Teaching in Chinese, a Repentance story and Dub Nation

Hi, 
This was a good week, Missionary wise and normal person wise. First of all, I haven't taught a single lesson to anyone the past 3 weeks who learned English as their first language haha. But that might change soon cause we got a referral, and the word used to describe him was "elect"! We'll meet him this week. Apparently he's been talkingto missionaries online for a few weeks. 

Also this Chinese lady who has been looking for a church to join randomly came to church last Sunday. She has a Mormon friend who suggested she come. Luckily we have 3 people who served missions in China or Taiwan so they help us teach her. It also gives me a chance to flex my Chinese skills.  我不是好在中国. But it will improve!

Also someone I taught down in Hollister got baptized recently! Her name is Vickie and she is super cool. We also taught her husband and he was gonna get baptized too, but was thrown in jail the morning of his baptism. What a bummer. He was at his daughter’s wedding earlier in the week and she wanted to smoke weed with daddy one last time and he complied. Well he felt so bad about it he repented and felt like he need to tell his parole officer, so he did. Got thrown in jail a couple hours before  he and his wife's baptisms. Oh 🐳.  But he's been asking for copies of the Book of Mormon to give to his cell mates and buddies so good for him, gold star for missionary work ⭐️.

Other than that we've officially started pick-up basketball at the church every week and it's super fun. My
favorite comment this past week was "I never thought I'd get tricked into a Mormon church in my whole life". #GotEm. That guy is gonna give me a fresh cut soon so obviously he's not too mad. Other than that I
adopted the Philippino missionary in the district as my son so that's pretty exciting – he’s a great missionary.

And, Warriors just won it all so this area is bumping. Least amount of basketball I've watched my whole life, but being in the winning team’s area is pretty neat. All the bars are selling drinks half off around town so that's a plus too  (that includes sodas as well!)  Gotta love Dub Nation.

Until next week.
Love ya,

Elder Barker

Elder Deeter, Elder Andrade and Elder Barker at the Bay on Pday


Last week's Pday

Monday, June 5, 2017

Making DL Meetings Fun, Guest of Honor and Pink Blazers

Hey ya'll,
This week was really jacked up cause we had to go to the mission office three times for different reasons between a new missionary in the district and training. Also Elder Deeter had 2 other meetings outside our area so we only had one normal proselytizing day, and that was in a trio so it's been a weird, but fun week.

I had my first district meeting and my goal is to not have a boring one and week 1 was a success. We played scripture games and took turns doing commercial breaks, i.e the old Mormon commercials. Other than that we really didn't do much. We did convince the new missionary that I know black magic because of this magic trick I do and I think he's scared of me now. 

I went to Lekka's (Tonga) graduation and then his grad party where I was privileged to be a "guest of honor" and it was lit. Today for p-day, we're going bowling.  Oh, the attached video shows what happens when you lose a game called "what are the odds." I can't think of anything else to say so bye.

Love,
Elder Barker
ps - we saw the pink jackets in the store and just had to try them on
Guest of honor at Lekka's graduation party

District Meeting Fun

Seeing the Snows, taking the 17 mile drive and DL

Sup,

This week was the last week of the transfer, it was aight. Our game
with the elders quorum got postponed until this Thursday (they're
scared) so that was a huge let down. Especially since Elder Finau in
our district got transferred and he was our PG. Oh well. Other than
that we went to Monterey today. Played a bunch of sports with the
Polynesian ward down there and also got to see Aunt Carisa, Uncle Kyle and Jared.
They
 took me out to lunch at this bomb Vietnamese restaurant. Then
Jared took us down 17 mile drive and showed us the courses and we
watched this scrub old lady putt from the tee box with her 7 iron (she
wasn't very good). Other than that it was a chill week. Met some cool
people got called as a DL and went to seminary graduation. Sorry for
not having anything interesting to talk about.

Love ya,
Elder Barker
Tonga Keti's seminary graduation


Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Great week and the Elder's Quorum challenge


Hey

''Twas a good week this week." We were able to find some new investigators who are pretty solid and they're actually coming to church which is always fun. Actually, this last week was probably the most successful missionary week I've had here in this area - we've been blessed.

We had a "Why I Believe" fireside where we have a bunch of recent converts from the area talk about their conversion so we invited a ton of people to that. I had suggested a few weeks ago that Andrew Gold speak at this event but the High Counselor over missionary shut me down quite rudely and said 3 weeks after Andrew's baptism would be too soon for him to have to speak at a stake fireside. Well President Mella met Andrew Gold and went ahead and invited him to speak at the fireside and Andrew accepted. 

At the fireside, Andrew gave by far the best talk. It was 20 minutes and afterwards there was literally a line to talk to him (no coment High Counselor). 

Also our Elders quorum won the stake basketball league. And so like any good missionary, I let them know that our zone team is better and we're the real champions of the stake. Naturally the old men responded with some weak trash talk and one thing led to another and now we have a game against them on Thursday. Our Zone vs. Eagle Park Elders quorum. I'll let you all know how bad we beat them next Monday.

Love ya,
Elder Barker
We joined people who were meditating for a solid 24 hours - didn't stay that long!
Julien Gold at the "Why I Believe" fireside where his dad spoke


Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Hi

This week went by pretty boring and uneventful but went by decently
fast. We're doing a lot of walking around trying to find another Gold
family so my feet kinda hurt ...no luck yet, but we'll keep trying. 

We had an awesome Cinco de Mayo dinner at the
Johnson house. Not my mission mom Juliette Johnson down in
Hollister (shout out Momma Johnson) but our Ward mission Leader Mark
Johnson. It's always fun eating at their house, then afterwards I
whooped the district in some air hockey. 

Nothing else happened other than me laughing at my Utah companion complaining about 
the humidity here lol. He just doesn't understand.

Love ya,
Elder Barker
Cinco de Mayo at the Johnson's

Monday, May 1, 2017

Mini Missionary, English Lessons and the Gold Family's Baptism

Hey ya'll,
So this week was super hectic. We tried to start our English class, had a baptism to plan and perform and still had to teach the Gold family like 2.5 lessons before they could be baptized. And....on Thursday we found out that we were getting a mini missionary. 

The Mini Missionary
Have to be honest, all I could think of was how awful it was the last time I had a mini for 2 weeks, but, this one turned out to be awesome. The mini was part of a weekend missionary program and was suppose to be with us from Friday to Sunday afternoon. Unfortunately we couldn't meet him on Friday cause of baptism stuff so we sent other missionaries to pick him up. We picked the mini up from the other missionaries on Saturday morning and went to Meredith Gold's softball game. The mini then helped us advertise our English class and we gave the mini an opportunity to live the missionary life by drinking 3 raw eggs.  Sunday the poor guy got a taste of 8 hours of church and he didn't stand a chance....got a picture of him and Deets both sleeeping. We got special permission for the mini to stay late on Sunday so he could attend the Gold's baptism, great way to end a mini mission.

The English Class
So, the English class....boy do we have a lot to learn about this stuff! Leading up to the first English class we spent at least 2 hours advertising and inviting people to attend. To prepare to teach, my comp and I visited others who had taught English classes and got ideas from them on things we should do. Then we made more signs, put them up the street leading to the church, and wait for it.... nobody showed up,  not even the people who said they'd come help smh. 

We're doing the same thing this week, not giving up on this cause Deets and I know these classes are really needed and will also help us get to know the community better. And, it may help me learn how to deal with the world fair I walk into every time I step out of my apartment. 

The Gold's Baptism
I mentioned that we needed to teach the Gold's 2.5 lessons this week so they could get baptized on Sunday like they wanted. For the life of us, we could not get ours and the Gold's schedules coordinated this week. Everyday they either had a game, a school event or Facebook thing (Andrew works there). One day we couldn't do it because the mom, Sharon, was helping run the Relief Society fund raiser for the refugees.

Friday we finally got them for 30 minutes and taught part of the first vision and restoration, tithing, Word of Wisdom and the law of chastity. You'll would've been super impressed. They were so excited to get baptized so we had to do what we had to do. And, they still needed their baptismal interview which happened at 4:30 and the baptism was at 5 freaking 30. If they didn't pass the interview it was gonna be super awkward. Oh yeah, and when they showed up, the baptism clothes didn't fit 2 of them, but when it was all said and done, it was the best baptism ever.

The baptisms were held at the Stake Center and the entire chapel was filled with people in the area and from the Ward. There were at least 200 people who watched this amazing family enter the waters of baptism. 

So this week was wild, but when I got in the water with Julian, the Gold's son, after watching his parents get baptized right before him, it was all so worth it. There is nothing like the feeling of baptizing someone into the gospel of Jesus Christ.

I hope you all had a great week as well.
Love ya,
Elder Barker

Andrew, Sharon, Julien and Meredith Gold

The Golds, Elder Gartside, Elder Deeter and Elder Barker

Elder Barker Elder Deeter and Julien Gold



Birthday Week


Hey

I'm finally 20! It was a fun first week with my new companion Elder Deeter. Deet's from a town outside of Ogden and he's a pretty good athelete so we get a long well. We've decided that we're going to start teaching an English class beginning this Thursday so we've been going to all the Asian and ethnic neighborhoods and that's been hilarious. Tellin people who don't speak English that they need to learn English, in English. But, we got a lot of people to agree to come so it'll be interesting, we estimated 9 different languages should be coming. 

It's been a good birthday week - way better than I thought it would be. My Hollister friend arranged for me to be taken to lunch up here and delivered an awesome cooler full of meat - man I've missed that! On Saturday, my birthday, we had so many sweets. I got 2 cakes before noon, and another at dinner. And, I had steak for the first time in 3 months at  dinner as well so it was pretty great. 

And, the best news - the Golds are getting baptized Sunday and I'm really excited for them. The parents and their son Julian will be getting baptized and confirmed the same day. Meredith is 7 so she'll be baptized next March.

Thanks to all who sent me birthday wishes - they were much appreciated...can't believe I'm this old!

Love ya,
Elder Barker
Birthday Cake at the Johnsons
With Julien Gold at his baseball game

Coordinated with Tonga Keti to get Garrett a birthday cake from us




Monday, April 17, 2017

Tie burning and a Facebook consult

Hey y'all 

This was my last week with G and it was good. Imma miss him but he's getting transferred to a cool area and I'm getting a new comp who I like so all is well. 

This week we hit G's 6 month mark on the mission so as tradition, we burnt a tie of his, but for some reason we could not get it to stay lit. I eventually found some roach killer in the custodians closet and that worked pretty well. We're all gonna get cancer from inhaling stuff meant to kill a bug that can survive a nuclear fallout, but we got his tie on fire so it was worth it. 

We've also started doing a lot of service at this horse ranch which is super awesome. One of my chores is walking the horse around the block and I always take the long way and look like a freaking royal prince riding my steed through the neighborhood. It really is a cool place to give service and I also get to learn a lot about horses.

I've really been blessed to be able to teach the Gold family and to see the excitement they have for the gospel. Friday we were able to eat breakfast with our soon-to-be convert Andrew Gold at Facebook. That place is like Disneyland. The food is all free and it's super bomb and has definitely been one of the better breakfasts I've had on my mission. He is planning on being baptized at the end of this month with his family, so most the talk at the table was him telling us how we should be using this modern technology to help with missionary work and how he wants to help us really badly, so it was a pretty nice convo.

Sunday we had Easter dinner at the Budges house (the one with the freaking slide in it) and they invited the Golds and it was a super fun night and a great way to celebrate Easter.

We did have a wild goose chase incident this week. A homeless man stole Elder Finau's ipad in Mountain View. We were able to track it down and found it way on the other side of Freemont.   And - check out the missing dog sign picture - don't see $3,500 rewards for missing anything in High Point!

Hope you all had a great Easter - I loved my Easter basket - thanks mom.
Love ya,
Elder Barker


Elder Gartside burning his tie at 6 months out

A bike crash, eating horse and a whole family is getting baptized!

Hey,
This week was kinda wild. I thought it was a good idea to try and only
use our bikes this week, not use the car at all. This way we would see
a lot more people and in turn we would talk to a lot more people. Well,
we started Tuesday and it was going super well. Then right before
dinner, I was just cruising down a side walk, without a care in the
world, not paying attention, and the handlebar clipped a pole. My front
wheel did a 180 and I did a front flip over the front of the bike. I
don't know if you've ever seen someone my size do a front flip, but
it's pretty impressive. Apparently behind me G thought it was
impressive too, cause he was watching me air borne and forgot how to
use his brakes and ran over my bike, making him wreck too. If it
wasn't bad enough, my favorite pair of slacks had holes in them. We
had to be at our dinner in 30 minutes and it was way out in Los Altos
hills. You may have never been there before, but from the name I think
you can tell it wasn't a fun bike ride after I just wrecked and my
back wheel was super bent and my rear brakes didn't work 😅.

Other than that the week was pretty chill. We had interviews with the Mellas
and that was good. They challenged every single area in the mission
to get at least one baptism in April or May. This won't be an
issue for us because we set a baptismal date with the Gold family for
the end of this month. 3 of them are being baptized and their youngest
daughter Meredith will be baptized when she turns 8. This family is awesome
and we are really stoked for them. To top it off, it's literally
the first convert baptism the Eagle Park Ward has ever had so it's
pretty cool...maybe some of the members will be cooler after that too. 

We did do some service at Camp Lehi - not the greatest weather conditions and
it involved a lot of clearing trees and brush. Most everyone stopped before we were
done, but mom, you'd be proud of me, I kept working even after they stopped.

Oh and I ate a horse this week....well, at least part of a horse.
That's all
Love ya,
Elder Barker

mmmmmm - Chick - fillet!


Eating horse

Monday, April 3, 2017

General Conference and a Taco Bell run

Hi

This week was super exciting because that cyst I had right before I left came back! It's not as big so no surgery is needed now. I got a blessing so I'm confident I'll be ok. This week we helped someone move and fa missionary in our apartment got an electric guitar as a gift from the move. 
Needless to say I have gotten little sleep since then. 

General conference was this weekend and that's always a super good weekend for missionaries. We not only get spiritually fed, but we get temporally fed well too. I ate in the biggest house I've ever been to in my life. It was in Los Altos Hills and was ridiculous. The pictures just don't do it justice.  The people who fed us were as nice as their house.

Mom, I know you always ask us what our favorite conference talk was and why, so...my favorite session of conference was the priesthood session but I think my favorite talk was Elder Nelson's and his discussion of the Atonement and the importance of recognizing that it was the Atonement of Jesus Christ, that it was more than an event, it was truly a sacrifice by Jesus Christ. Maybe I'll give you more information about other talks I like after I re-read them this week in my study time.

One night this week we got super hungry right before curfew so we biked to Taco Bell as a district and went through the drive through on our bikes. The window guy thought we were all high cause we were wearing sunglasses and it was dark outside. They actually tried to deny us service. We ended up convincing him
that we really had money and were really hungry and in a hurry so he finally did his job and took our order. 


Also the weather is back to being perfect everyday so I plan on taking a nap outside today which I'm really stoked for. Also it will be nice and warm when people ignore us on the streets now.

Hope you have a good week,
Elder Barker


House where we watched a session of Conference and had a great meal
Watching General Conference

The Gold Family

Taco Bell run

Monday, March 27, 2017

A slide!

Hey ya'll,
This week was one of the busier weeks I've had since Hollister which is good it means we have people to teach and people are hating us slightly less. I've also officially determined that this area is at least 40 years in the future from NC, there's no way around it. One day we'll catch up, but I hope it's not soon. I love the barbaric ways of normal civilization, it's nice.

We had zone conference this week and that was good. It only went an hour over this time instead of the normal 2 hours, so we almost made it to our appointments on time that night. I enjoy zone conferences here a lot because it is combined with the 2 zones next to us and that's where all except like 2 of my friends in the mission are, so I'll take a 8 hour meeting to see all of them. We talked a lot about humility, which I'm already a perfect master at, so it was an easy few hours...smh We also got new phones there and these are slightly less aggravating as the old ones, but they shortened every single contact into one word. So where before we had 50ish names that started with brother (I.e. Brother Jones, brother Johnson, etc) we now have 50ish "brothers" in our contacts. So that's been super exciting dealing with. 

Tho the most exciting thing that happened this week wasn't really a missionary thing but there's no way anything could top this. So we went to a member's house to eat dinner and teach a family of 4 (who's probably getting baptized so that justified my actions). They asked me to go downstairs and tell the 8 kids, all 14 or younger, to come get dessert, so I said ok. I asked where the stairs were and they said "just take the slide". Yea, the slide! They literally had a slide that went down to their basement. So I'm like flip yea let's do this. I go down this big blue spiral slide and come out on a mattress, next to an indoor basketball court that the 10 year olds are playing on. And obviously I can't say no to a couple kids challenging my skills. So we played 2 on 1 really quick to 11 and I killed them. It's was 11-0 in about 60 seconds. I felt a little bad, but they challenged my manhood and they said I couldn't go easy on them. Me and the 2 kids were talking trash to each other when G walked down the stairs and said we had to go up, and he was probably a little surprised at the scene he walked into. But yea that was the most exciting thing to happen to me in the past couple of weeks.

Also a little kid knocked G's iPad out of his hands and now he has to pay to fix his screen so apparently i bully kids in our ward, and the kids bully Elder Gartside. Interesting to say the least.

I can't think of anything else to talk about, I'll send some pictures later - we're going to Stanford with a friend from Hollister who's driving up to see us - sweet! I still miss the people in Hollister - probably always will.

Love ya'll,
Elder Barker
Stanford



Monday, March 20, 2017

New District Pet and Styling a Lava Lava

Hey ya'll,

This week was good. Today marks 8 months on my mission so I'm a third of the way there. So last week I had good BBQ for the first time my whole mission. The family was from Texas and Louisiana, so they have some county in em. They did Carolina style because they knew no one out here can handle a smoker. It wasn't as good as the east coast, but it was close enough to where I was honest this time when I said the pork was good (first time in my mission). 

Also I caught a salamander and so now we have a district pet. His name is Randle and it's probably the most exciting thing to happen to me the past two months. The issue is every single night this week when we got back to the apartment he had escaped and we'd have to find him. I don't know why he keeps trying to run away, his diet is leftover pizza milk and water so I'd trade places with him any day. I spoil him rotten. 

But on another note we had a referral that actually was interested. We've seen him twice and both times he couldn't talk because Mexican soccer was on and apparently that's more important than his salvation. But he said there wasn't anything he wanted to watch Tuesday night so we're gonna see him then. We're also excited to teach the family from Delaware we met at church last week - they're back from their vacation. Looks like this week will be another good one. 

Also the Tongan family that I've gotten close with is letting me use lava lava's whenever I want. And needless to say I look a lot better than my sisters in a dress. I'll end it on that note.

Love, 
Elder Barker
Randle - the District Pet

Elder Andrade with Randle

Modeling the lava-lava

Holi Festival in Mountain View

Received these great pictures from a member. Apparently the Elders had a dinner apt and after the dinner the family invited the Elders to join them at the Holi Festival. Garrett said the family didn't think the Elders would participate due to their clothes.....they were wrong!





Wednesday, March 8, 2017

5 Trunkiest Minutes of My Mission

Hey ya'll,

Overall, it was one of the slower weeks I've had in the mission, but it ended on a high.

Monday- P-day! 

Tuesday- We had a district meeting at a Chinese restaurant and had some bomb food! 

Wednesday - We did some awesome homeless service and spent the day with Elder Finau on exchanges.  

Thursday - We did service cutting down and moving some trees, and I found this dope soda place called Rocket Fizz that sells a ton of southern and eastern candy and soda. I was only there for like 5 minutes and I saw moon pies, sugar daddies, Stripes, Cheerwine Bubble Up, Nehi Boylan and so much. It was the trunkiest 5 minutes of my mission! 

Friday- We didn't do anything too exciting, but it was a good day.

Saturday - I demolished my ankle playing basketball! It was equivalent to a train running over it and then going in reverse, awful! 

Sunday- I hobbled through the church meetings and was introduced to a family of new investigators who are super solid. G and I are excited about the opportunity to teach this family of 4.

I know mom would like me to write more details, but I am who I am.
Love ya'll,
Elder Barker

Monday, February 27, 2017

Lots of Service Opportunities in Los Altos

Hey,
We continue to do a lot of service in this area which I've really enjoyed. There isn't as much teaching as there was in Hollister, but I'm learning to like this area and am meeting some pretty awesome people. Here's the run down from last week.

Monday- P-day!! Whoot whoot!! 

Tuesday- We had an good day - went on exchanges with our Zone Leader, Elder Parrett, and did some awesome missionary work (isn't that what we're suppose to be doing!)

Wednesday - We fed homeless people and visited a retirement home. We ran an amazing game of bingo for them which was actually kind of fun. Also Elder Gartside wanted a hair cut so I hooked him up...there's a reason no picture is included!

Thursday - I puked a lot, had interviews with President Mella and we've started just going to ball courts at the parks to find people to teach. I like this approach, especially since I got to play an additional 4 hours of ball this week.

Friday - We fed the homeless and the whole week we were with an awesome member. So it was chill day. 

Saturday - We opened our gym for the public and people actually came. It was exciting! That night we had real Louisiana food from a member. Look up Jeff Corolla gumbo recipe on Google and that's who we ate with. If you want to try the recipe, let me know first as Jeff said he changed the recipe a little from what is published.

Sunday - We had church today for 60 hours! OK, so that's a little exaggeration, but attending two full church meetings plus correlation meetings makes for a very long day!

It was a great week, other than being sick.
Love, 
Elder Barker
Got these two pictures last week....
Garrett with Chris Durden - a friend from Hollister he ran into at a fireside

Garrett with his ukelele

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Service and a Google bike ride

Hey ya'll,
This week was good. I'm still adjusting to the area, for example, 95% of the people here don't even wave or say hello....just not use to that. We also have a challenge of finding people at home because everyone here works so much....I know we'll figure it out though, at least we're able to get a couple of teaching opportunities each day in addition to lots of service. Here's some stuff that I did last week.

Monday - my exciting p-day activity was learning how to solve the rubix cube.

Tuesday - We had zone conference

Wednesday - Fed the homeless people and I came across what must be one of the dumbest names for a Vietnamese restaurant while out contacting.

Thursday - Did some shoveling in the rain and went to an awesome buffet with Brother Sydall

Friday - Fed the homeless people again and found a Google bike in a dumpster so I rode around on that bike for the rest of the day.

Saturday - We had a zone sports activity which I really don't like, mainly because I have to wake up 45 minutes earlier than normal and they play stupid games (sorry mom for saying stupid, but they are). Someone captured the moment (see picture below).

Sunday - Figured out that our Russian progressing investigators were just using us for English practice. But, on the brighter side, I set a PR for the rubix cube and of course, caught G sleepin' during church again...smh.

Love, Elder Barker

Elder Stutz and Elder Barker outside of Chick Filet

Riding the Google bike

A Vietnamese restaurant
Catching up on some sleep at the sports activity