Monday, January 30, 2017

Good-bye Hollister, hello Mountain View and self driving cars

Last week was good other than leaving Hollister which I'm going to miss. I arrived in my new area, Mountain View, Tuesday. I live in Mountain View and cover all of that city plus Los Altos and Eagle Park. The area is not as big as Hollister, but has like 5 times the amount of people. Everyone here has so much money. They all have post grad degrees from places like Duke MIT and Harvard. There are a lot of really young (and rich) families. I see cars that literally drive themselves everyday. You just type in an address and the car does the rest, it's ridiculous, (btw, missionaries don't have these kind of cars). And everyone else who actually steers their cars, have vehicles that cost more than my life. Not sure I like this type place but I know I'll get used to it and will learn to love the people. 

The work here is a lot less than in Hollister. I support both the Los Altos and Eagle Park Wards. There are a few people I can see getting baptized soon so hopefully I'll have some bright spots. We definitely need to work on building the teaching pool.  My new companion is Elder Gartside. He is from Maryland and fell asleep in church....getting to be a tradition with my companions.

The best part of the week was going back to Hollister last Saturday to participate in two baptisms , Jose and Kristina. It's hard to express the joy that was in the room that day. I've been very blessed to be a part of their conversions and to see two families who are now progressing to the temple. I got to eat with the Johnsons and Momma Johnson hooked me up with some food to take back to Mountain View - she is awesome!

Hope you all have a good week.
Love ya'll,
Elder Barker
Jose and Debbie Fernandez, their family and Elder Hack

Kristina, her husband, Elder Hack plus two

Elder Gartside asleep....maybe he was just closing his eyes

Monday, January 23, 2017

Helping people dig out of the Hollister flood, baptisms! and getting transfered

We have two baptism dates for this upcoming Saturday - Jose Fernandez and Kristina Elliott which is awesome. We didn't teach as much this week because we were helping families dig out of the flood that happened in Hollister - it was really bad.

Here's what I did last week....

Monday: P-Day! Wrote my mom a wonderful, long email....trying mom!

Tuesday: We did service all day for Hollister flood and landslide victims. I felt so bad for this one family we were helping dig out of the mud...we found their dead goats, pieces of their car and other things. There are still families that cannot return home and probably won't be able to any time soon.

Wednesday: We did more service for the flood and landslide victims before we had to go to San Jose for a "driving defensively" course. In the entire mission, there's only 3 "reckless drivers", and they're all in Hollister (we won't name names, Elders Hack, Azuara, and I would be upset if we did). So we had to go through a drivers safety course for over 3 hours.

Thursday: We did something productive and Momma Johnson cooked us tacos.....going to miss Momma Johnson and her family when I'm transferred!

Friday: We did awesome service and I had a play date with Elder Parker at Bass Pro Shop while our comps got some training.

Saturday: Today we went to a wedding! Jose got married so he can be baptized this coming Saturday. We are stoked for him! We found Jose when Brother Hughes (awesome Ward Mission Leader) and I were going through the less active list to see if we could speak with any of them.  Jose's wife was on this list (has been less active for 20 years) and she agreed to speak with us. Long story short, we began teaching her husband Jose and now he's getting baptized. They are a great couple and I'm so excited for them.

I found out that Tuesday I'm heading to the Los Altos and Eagle Park Wards, in Los Altos. Currently we teach an average of 7xs more lessons in Hollister than they do in Los Altos so we have our work cut out for us. It's definitely not Hollister, and I will most likely be reminded of that the whole time I'm there smh, but I'm sure I'll learn to love the area/people there as well.

Sunday: We went to church and said bye to a few families. I'm really going to miss the awesome people in Hollister and will always be grateful for all they did to help me get off to a good start on my mission.

Love ya,
Elder Barker
Jose and Debbie Fernandez' wedding day
Nordstoms and Sydall family - great people in Hollister!
Holdaway Family - more great Hollister people

Mudslide in Hollister - can you see Garrett?

Aftermath of Hollister flood

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Stopped by the Police again!

Hey ya'll,

Been another great's some of the stuff I did.

Monday- we went to Gilroy and later ate salmon at the Johnson's.

Tuesday- we got rained on and had an apartment inspection. We got rid of lots of stuff. We also went on splits.

Wednesday- very interesting day, I got pulled over for apparently being an aggressive driver. Totally false by the way, at the time I was being an excellent driver. The main reason I was pulled over was that the bike rack was blocking the license plate so I sawed it off. It was awesome! And, btw, didn't get a ticket.

Thursday- we had a zone conference. It's always good to meet with President Mella and other missionaries I don't see often. We also went on exchanges with a Vietnamese elder and ate Vietnamese food to help him feel more at home, just a little less communist. I did get to ride in a Hellcat (very fast car) with a Marriott! He told us that "it rains Marriott money in Morgan Hill". Maybe some day I'll get to figure out what that means.

Friday- I ate Asian buffet with the childhood BFF of Jim McMahon.

Saturday- Elder Hack bought a new bike at a very sketchy yard sale. He is super stoked to have a bike again! We ate chicken at the Elliot's and had whitetail at the Johnson' the food here in Hollister!

Sunday- we went to church! 

I find out Saturday where I'm going for transfers on the 24th....will be interesting.
Love ya,
Elder Barker

Proof of the Hellcat ride

That is the policeman in the background

Just doing what the policeman told me to do

Successfully removed the bike rack

Helping Juliette Johnson try out a new product that she sells :-)

Monday, January 9, 2017

Tom Sawyer, a missing bike and a new baby!

Hey ya'll, 

Yea so the huge flash flood rain storm everyone was talking about sucked. It was literally just like the weekly rain in Carolina. Everyone is a pansy out here about weather. Hits 90 with no humidity and it's too hot. Hits 50 and it's too cold. So the rain didn't effect me much at all. In other news, think I'm going to find someone to do my weekly emails for me so mom will be happy week in and week out. Think I'll just do "Tom Sawyer" it my whole mission. Someone else writes emails while I sit there. The Holy Ghost converts people while I just sit there. And, I get credit for both- it' will be awesome!

Here's what happened last week...

Monday - we had an awesome time gettin' pedicures. Elder Hack was hiding behind his iPad with an uncomfortable expression on his face as it was the first time he had ever had one. He said it was weird and his feet are now soft. I, as always, had an awesome time and thanked the lady many times. It was legit!

Tuesday - It was windy, cold, and rainy. I was not feeling well and had a headache. It was a rough day so I went to see mission momma, #mommaJohnson, and get some medicine. But, the work needs to go on, so I then went on splits which is always a blessing.

Wednesday - we did service for a 97 year old man by planting a palm tree in a cardboard box. We ate at Kong Fu Panda, or Panda Bear as King Cash calls it, or Panda Express as everyone else calls it.

Thursday - we did something very productive but I can't remember.

Friday - we played volleyball at the church in the evening.

Saturday - Elder Hack got his bike stolen! He's gonna have to borrow one from the mission and he's not too happy about it. His bike was right next to mine and they only took his ! We think it's because my bike is Shrek sized and his was fun sized.

Sunday-we went to church and one of our investigators had a baby (not at church.)

That's it - love ya'll,
Elder Barker

Monday, January 2, 2017

Happy New Year!

Dear everybody,

My mom is forcing me against my will to write something semi long - I'm just not good at emails, but I'll try...I'll break it down into days so it looks longer than it really is.....I didn't include all the lessons we taught, that's a given.

This week was good, but then again, most of my weeks are good. I'm really learning to love the people I serve which makes it easier to have a good week.

Tuesday - just another day at the office. We talked to both of the people have scheduled for baptism. Jose (Jan 28) and Kristina (feb 4).  Kristina (wife of the less active I've told you about) is really excited to be baptized, so excited that when we met to meet with her to plan her baptism, she already had it done! Kristina and her family went to Utah over Christmas and while they were there they visited BYU. They told me they saw this cool picture of Cosmo on the stairs (see pic). Well they were talkin about how awesome it was and come to find out, that it's the picture  my sister Julia put on the staircase when she was working there. So now they think our family is cool.

I actually will be doing the baptism for Jose. I'll be transferred before both those dates, but I'll be able to come down for both of them so it's an excuse to come back to Hollister and leave whatever forsaken area I'll be transferred to.....ok, I need to be more positive about my next area, I just love Hollister that much.

Wednesday - we had Zone Conference in Monterey so nothing happened as far as lessons being taught. It's always good to hear from President Mella and get more energized about the work.

Thursday - idk I'm sure something Christlike

Friday - went to the temple with some recent converts. The Oakland temple is really beautiful and it's always a cool experience to visit.

Saturday - New Year's Eve was fun. We went to Chris's (a recent convert who I was able to help teach) house, had a bonfire and had fun setting stuff on fire. Mom - don't worry, it was all legit. Chris says he's gong to come visit NC when I get home which will be cool.

Sunday - Now that our church time has changed to 12:30, it'll be easier to get investigators to come,  but harder to teach lessons on Sundays. We had a New Year's day barbecue that night and it was super fun.

Pictures - 
1 - Cash and me....Cash is a real cool kid
2 and 3 - New Year's Eve bonfire
4 - Picture of Cosmo that Julia did
5 - Us at the Oakland Temple
6 and 7 - Taking care of the feet on P-day - it was awesome!

Hope everyone has a great new year. I look forward to seeing what 2017 brings here on the mission.
Love ya'll,
Elder Barker
Cash and Elder Barker
New Year's Eve bonfire at Chris'

Elder Hack, Chris and me
Kristina's family and others at the Cosmo stairs at BYU