Josh's current address is 51 N 2nd St. Apt 310 Stroudsburg, PA 18360. Packages and letters will be safer going to the mission home. The mission home address is 721 Paxon Hollow Road Ste. B, Broomall, PA 19008. Keep in mind that there will be a delay because it take some time to get packages and letters from the mission home to Josh.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015


Hey Dad, 
Well this week was really great actually! On Tuesday we were able to sit down with a recent convert Tiseam and talk with him. He had basically told us over text that he was going to leave the church days earlier, but we were to sit with him and understand what's going on more, so that's good he's a good kid just doesn't entirely understand what his baptism meant.  
On Wednesday we had transfers and we picked up our new companion, I am in a trio now here in Stroudsburg. The new elder is Elder Martinez from San Bernardino. He has been out for 3 months and doesn't know that I go home next week, I told him that I've been out "a little over a year" haha. A lot of members have mentioned me "dying" or going home soon though so he might be catching on a bit. He probably will know when I start packing today. Oh gosh that is weird. That night however we were able to have a lesson with Jess & Rich at a members home and we went over Tithing and Fast Offerings. It seemed to go very well.  
Thursday night we got to go on splits! It's so easy now being in a trio. Elder Westmann and Brother Karren (who's awesome!) were able to go see a potential named Lisa and they had a good lesson about the restoration with her. Elder Martinez and I were able to go see Brother Waldron. His daughter was acting up quite a bit but we were able to bring it all back especially towards the end and the spirit was there as we spoke. It was really cool seeing again how we were able to tie everything in and discern what he needed at that time. 
On Friday I went to the DMV and I got a Pennsylvania Drivers License! They were able to get some things from California and now I have a license! The man said if I just got an ID then I'd have to start everything over to get a license in California, but since it had expired within 6 months it got renewed:) I'm happy haha it took awhile but we were able to talk to a lot of people that day.
Saturday was pretty stressful, we had a couple appointments fall through and an hour before our next appointment with a woman, the member who was supposed to go out with us backed out! So we were calling frantically, calling everyone we know to get someone to come out with us. Finally we found someone to come out with us. He spoke a lot, a lot, but there was good stuff in there that she needed to hear. Then towards the end of the night we were on a less-actives door talking to him and I see Barry pull up through his driveway and say hi to him and walk over and talk to him and we were able to set up an appointment for Sunday. He had been hoping to see us actually. 
Sunday, it was really hard to conceal the fact that I was leaving soon because all the members just kept asking, so when do you leave? The Spanish branch is actually throwing me a fair well potluck next Sunday haha I just found out. But we were able to get 4 new investigators on Sunday! The night ended with an African family. They are very humble people who love the Bible and love having us come over and talk about God. We were able to set up another appointment for this Friday and they want us to bring a Finding Faith in Christ DVD for them. That family is great! I'll miss them. I'll miss it here. I can't believe this is my 2nd to last email I send home, it still hasn't really hit me that I'm going home soon but that is exactly why I haven't told elder Martinez that I'm leaving so I don't have elders talking about when I die, I want to keep working. This will be a great week! I am looking forward to sprinting to the finish and doing my best to jumpstart this area a little bit more before I go the way of the Earth.
I love you Dad
Elder Barker


Hey Dad,

It's weird hearing about the plans you have for me when I'm home, especially getting a release interview. I don't really think about that haha.  
Anyway, this week was a little more slow and I didn't get to go to the temple on Friday. But on Tuesday we were able to see J again and we went over the Word of Wisdom and she had some concerns about coffee, she normally drank multiple cups a day. We went over it and she still was a little worried and asked if she could start after her baptism. We told no but that if she needs to we can push her date back a little. When we said that she said absolutely not I'll stop drinking coffee and smoking. We went over there on Saturday and went over it again, because we didn't focus on the blessings of following it enough the first time. We were on their deck and while we were out there it just started pouring out of nowhere and there was probably at least 3 flashes of lightning every minute it seemed. At the end we asked J to pray and commit to God to live the Word of Wisdom. As of yesterday she's only had one cup of coffee since Tuesday, and I think one cigarette. Unfortunately her husband is a heavy smoker. She really wants to be baptized though and it's so refreshing. It always seems like when someone progresses to baptism Satan just lets loose on everyone else and he's been doing that for sure.  
Anyway, so I was supposed to leave Thursday at 6:45 to go to the mission home for the temple on Friday, but I got a call from my mission president at like 1-2 telling me I'll be going on August 4th instead, so we had to quickly plan out things to do that night since, our appointment cancelled and we had anticipated not being here. Same goes for Friday. In retrospect I'm happy I didn't go then because now I get to go the day before I go home and I don't feel my mission is over haha. I'm so excited to go though.  
We got transfer calls on Friday, and I am staying in stroudsburg! There is going to be a third missionary here! I don't think I'm going to tell him how long I've been out and just surprise him when the time comes, like "yup I go home tomorrow" haha. I'm very happy to be staying it would have been harder to stay motivated somewhere else. Now I can continue to serve people I have genuinely come to love:) 
I hope you have a great week Dad
I love you!
Elder Barker 


Hey Dad,

So this week went great! We got to go to philly last week which was awesome it was so cool seeing a past area. Later that night Elder Pitt & Elder Morris came up to our area and doubled in, unfortunately they got there late which made us late to an appointment, but it went well. I went with Elder Morris, who came out with me, and he was super excited to go on exchanges with me he said he had been waiting for it the entire mission haha. They spent the night and in the morning Elder Morris and I contacted a couple people and so were Elder Westmann and Elder Pitt. 

Later on Tuesday we had a lesson with a new investigator named Monisha. She's been through a lot and is really looking for peace in her life. We talked about the gospel of Jesus Christ (through Christ we can be cleansed from sin, faith, repentance, baptism & the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end) and we invited her to be baptized. She said she wants to be baptized but wants to be sure that it's where God wants her to be baptized, and we told her that that is great and invited her to read in the Book of Mormon and pray about it. 

On Wednesday we went to go see L. to help them pack as they are moving this Wednesday. L. told us that R. did not want her to convert and she felt trapped a little because the bible says for wives to obey their husbands. I told her that we can't tell her what to do, but that I have truly come to love their family in the time I've known them and that they always have a home and a family here in this church no matter what decision they make. When I said that, tears came to her eyes and one of her children (who is autistic) asked why she was sad. I could tell that she, at the very least, has been pricked in her heart by the spirit in the time that she has spent with missionaries here, and she knows that there is something more to this church. She may not believe it to be the true church yet, but I do believe that she was quite hurt from her husband telling her that. 

Thursday, for district meeting we were able to have a great discussion on revelation through prayer. Dad maybe try and read chapter 4 in Preach my Gospel, it might be able to help. It helps me a lot and is something I will always need to learn more. I went on exchanges with the zone leaders and I went down to Nazareth. Elder Westmann was able to have a couple great lessons that we had set up. In Nazareth we didn't have too much set up other than some stop by's. We were able to to have some interesting conversations with some interesting people, haha I will miss those. We had dinner with at member's house, the husband actually played Volleyball at ASU as an OH so that was cool. We shared a thought from one of my favorite ensign articles. It's called, "The Atonement of Jesus Christ" by Elder Holland from March 2008. It's an amazing article especially the beginning. We read a small portion together and then discussed it, as I was able to bear testimony and hear others bear testimony of the atonement I could feel the spirit in the room so strongly and even their very hyper child calmed down and listened. Then afterwards we played ball and tore it up haha.

Friday we went to L. and R's home again to help load up their trailer. We got pictures with everyone and L. told us to pray for R. so that he may change his mind about not converting, and she also gave us her address so that the church in Michigan could get in touch with her. She is so great and I'm going to miss her family so much. She told us we're welcome if we're ever in Michigan so maybe Elder Rossell and I will go on a road trip in college haha jk.
Then on Saturday it was great, we had a lesson with J. We went over the restoration, and we asked her during the lesson if she believes that Joseph Smith was a true prophet of God, and she said she does because of the feeling she gets in her heart when she has prayed and when she reads in the Book of Mormon. It was such a spirit filled lesson and one reason I believe is because we held it in the church. I love the feeling I have when I go to church it's great. 

It was a great week and this Friday I get to go to the TEMPLE!!!!!!!!!! I have missed it so much and I am so happy I get to go to DC! It's so beautiful. It's been so long, I really want to go as much as I can when I'm home. I will send pictures of it next week:)

I love you Dad and I know it's difficult but there are so many promised blessings to you and to us, search them out. I know easier said than done, but God is with you always (D&C 122:9, John 14:18

I love you Dad.
Elder Barker

Ps. Did you get my card for Father's Day?


Hey Dad, 
So I'm currently in Philly visiting the temple site with a couple recent converts. Potentially the last time before its dedicated actually, wow that just hit me. I'm sorry for how hard it's been Dad, but don't worry about me, I'm used to change from the mission haha. I'll be fine. I'm glad Nathan was able to have a good experience at Dixie. That's awesome that both Carter and Ammon got called to Samoa! When do they leave? 
This week went well. On Tuesday, we saw J. again and unfortunately she has not been keeping her commitments so we read a little with her from Alma 7, which is what we left with her. She says she wants to be baptized but we are going to talk with her about why we leave her commitments. Tuesday morning however, a sister in the district called asking for a blessing. We headed over to a members home, the Villata's, because that's where they were going. She had received a call saying that the sister's grandmother had passed away, we were able to have a good talk and she asked me if I would give her a blessing. I don't think I've ever had words come more clearly to my mind than at that time. I was holding back tears as I spoke the words that Heavenly Father put in my mind, and I had the thought her grandmother was closer to her now than ever before. It was a great experience and I am very grateful for the spirit we were able to all feel in that home. 
Wednesday, we were able to go see an investigator named George with our Bishop since they're really good friends. We talked a lot about the questions he had from reading the Book of Mormon. It went really well actually and he knows it's true and he has a desire to be baptized he just needs to come to church and experience it for himself.  
Sorry I'm getting kinda carsick so this will be short. 
On Thursday I had my last zone training and it was all about inviting others to be baptized. It was awesome and really powerful! At the end they invited all the "dying" missionaries to give their dying testimonies and they invited me as well. It caught me by surprise because I didn't think they knew I was leaving early. Afterwards I got to go on exchanges with Elder Zolman in Lehighton. We had an good lesson with a woman named Karren. We went over the Restoration and her little grandkids were really cute and kept wanting us to play with them. She said that if she found the church to be true she would be baptized, she also loved the fact that we don't have any paid clergy. She seems to have a lot of potential. After that lesson we went to see a young woman named Becky. She had just gone through a very serious accident and escaped with just a couple of scratches. She's had a pretty traumatic life and we had a good discussion of who God is to her as well as Christ. Eventually after some silence, I started talking about the Holy Ghost and his role in our lives and invited her to be baptized so that she may have the Holy Ghost with her every moment so that she doesn't have to ever feel alone. She accepted and Elder Zolman invited her to pick a date to be baptized. She picked September 5th! The spirit was so strong as we just simply listened and let the spirit guide us I loved it. She apparently got up in church and bore her testimony this last Sunday!  
On Friday we met with Cecilia and I had no idea what to talk about with her, and as I got on my knees Friday morning to conclude my personal study session I told Heavenly Father that I had no idea what to do and the thought of the lesson with Becky came to mind and how we invited her to be baptized so that she may have the spirit with her more. My companion agreed to do that. So we went in with Brother Beebe and listened. I didn't know what to say so I prayed that I may have the words come to me as I just simply listened to her. She brought up many things which had been causing her to feel depressed and I had the thought to share President Monson's talk "I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee" one of my favorites. So we watched and there came a moment where I knew I needed to stop it, it was where he said that by making the gospel of Jesus Christ the center of our lives is how we endure. Cecilia said she has not been doing that. We talked more about it and I eventually invited her to be baptized, to which she accepted! She picked a date for September 26! I was so happy, because she seemed to have more hope at the end than she did at the beginning and that's what brings so much joy to this work, just simply seeing people have greater hope, faith, and love in their lives.  
I love this work and this gospel and I owe my life to God. I thank him so much for this amazing opportunity I have had. 
I love you Dad and don't worry, things will work out, and blessings are ready to come.
Elder Barker
The Medinas are going to Ecuador for a month and a half so that was the last time I'll see them on my mission:( 


Hey Dad, 
I am totally okay with Elder Coggins speaking the same day as me, if he is as well. It's not like a Homecoming Sunday becomes that RM's day and only his. It's still the Lord's Day. I think it would be great though to have us speak together.  
This week was a little slow honestly. Tuesday night after P-Day, we went out with a member, Brother Anderson and he had some people for us to try by but none of them were home. There was a crazy storm though which caused their whole community's power to go out.  
On Wednesday we went on exchanges and I stayed in Stroudsburg with Elder Harman. We did a lot of service for a member which took longer than I was anticipating and we were planning on doing some work out by where he lives because he lives about 30 minutes away. He then took us to lunch but it was ALL the way back to near where we live so we had to find some more things to do in the area before our dinner appointment. Afterwards we were back near our apartment and we saw a lot of people playing at the basketball courts next to us so I wanted to go play in our shirt and ties. As soon as we walked up this one guy (we were the only white guys there) just hounded us and said we're not welcome here and to take our beliefs somewhere else. I just ignored him and asked one of the guys playing if we could play with them and they all said yeah, kinda curious to see what was going to happen. They started a one on one line going, first to make it stays on. When it was my turn I beat the first guy easy so everyone on the other court stopped playing to come watch and when I beat the other guy, I actually almost made him fall, everyone started cheering haha. The third guy we went back and forth and I just got winded so I lost, but everyone on the sideline came up to me and just started talking. Then I heard my companion for the day still being yelled at by the first guy. So I went over to help and he was drunk and high and he kept calling Elder Harman all of these names and accusing us of being racist and slave owners for the reason of, and I quote, " 'cause y'all white!" It was really sad seeing the ignorance in this man. He then asked about my ancestry so I told him a couple European countries and then he interrupted, "so did everyone slave owner that lived!" There were some young women next to him that just kept apologizing and actually had some real questions about who we were and what our religion is. He tried interrupting and accused the Latter-day Saints of not helping out the slaves and I told him some church history of how we kept getting thrown out of homes in Missiouri, I said it in a tone that probably wasn't the best but eventually it just got to the point where we needed to leave. Everyone else though loved us so that was good. After that we were able to have a good follow up lesson with Jess, she's get baptized on August 2nd. She had not kept the commitment we had left her, but she had told her parents (who are catholic) that she was going to be baptized in the church and her parents were not happy at all about it. She was feeling very down after that so she prayed and asked God if He wanted her to be baptized and she got another overwhelming feeling when she said "Amen." It was great:) 
We also met with a woman named Cecilia and she's just feeling sad but we were able to have a great lesson about prayer with her. We plan on seeing her again this week. 
There's a lot of changes happening here in units but the work is still progressing! I love Stroudsburg.
I love you Dad.
Elder Barker

Wednesday, July 1, 2015


Hey Dad,
Happy Belated Fathers Day!!! Hopefully you get my card soon I unfortunately sent it a bit late. My pday got moved to today so that's why I couldn't email yesterday. That's pretty cool that Nate got to go to that, so is he getting the Camry or the Corolla? How much is he getting paid? So will I be giving 2 homecoming talks then? Or just at El Cerrito? As for school the only things I need to figure out are books and a job. Not to sure how to go on about for either one. I think I can just take care of books when I get there, if I remember correctly. As for the job, I just really don't want a cafeteria job or anything like that haha. My class schedule is kinda ridiculous at this point, my Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays are jam packed. Because of all the commotion that happened during registration it got even more complex. So Tuesday and Thursday will be mostly study and homework since I believe, I currently only have one class those days but hopefully I can change that soon. That's awesome that you're going out with the missionaries! When was the last time you did that? You'll have to let me know how it goes! 
This week was still a little slow in the beginning since Elder Westmann still wasn't feeling too great. On Monday however, last pday, we were able to go see Radu. It was the first time we had seen him since he came to church just a couple weeks prior. We talked about his experience with church and he said the variety of people threw him off a bit. Some people were farther on their spiritual journey than others and we tried explaining how church is a hospital for sinners and hopefully it helped. The spirit was very strong as we testified of church and he told us that he knows we are "holy men" because he can feel it but he just didn't get the same feeling from everyone else.. Unfortunately he did not come to church.
On Thursday we went to R and L's home to help R load up the van so he can take stuff to where they are moving to in Michigan. Elder Westmann couldn't lift so he gave us moral support haha. As soon as we got there though one of their kids, (who's special needs) just goes right up to Elder Westmann and pokes him hard right in the belly button — which is where they made an incision. It looked like it hurt a lot. It was good to be able to help them out though:) one of their kids, K, (he's not special needs but he's like 4) just calls me "Big Man." Every time he wanted me to chase him or play soccer he'd be like, "Hey Big Man!" Haha I love that kid.
On Friday we went to go see a super sweet elderly woman named Cecilia. I had originally met her in April or March. She's felt helpless ever since her husband unexpectedly died and so we shared the Plan of Happiness with her. She kept telling us during the lesson, "I never learned this in Catholic school!" Haha but she said it makes so much more sense. She had known a lot of Mormons when she lived in Vegas for a time and she said that she's never met so many sincere and nice individuals. At the end of the lesson she brought up baptism! She told us that she thought about joining the church when she was in Vegas. We are seeing her again this Friday and she should be coming to church this Sunday as well I really do want to just help her be happy and have her feel that God really does love her. 
Then yesterday we had a really good day. We went to a zone conference where Elder Kacher (of the 70) came and spoke to us. It was really great and at the end we sang the mission hymn (army of Helaman customized to the mission) and I realized that is very likely the last time I'll ever sing it as a missionary and as we sang, I ain't e'en gonna lie, I started crying I hadn't cried like that in a really long time. Afterwards, a couple that were Elder Westmann's neighbors from his last area took us out to lunch. They were really cool, they weren't members but they loved the elders. We had some really cool experiences contacting people afterwards, we were driving and we saw someone outside this one formers, named Vince, house and we had been trying to get in contact with him for weeks so we pull over and park. We walk back and as he sees us he got super happy and told us that he wants to get back to the church and meeting us. He still remembered the first elder he met, Elder Zolman who is in the district. That was really cool. At night though we called up a part member household and they told us to come over. The member, R, is allowing a couple, J and D, to stay with him for the time being. We had taught J and D the Plan of Salvation last time but they didn't remember too much so we read through the pamphlet. As we got to the Atonement we asked J who Christ is to her, and she gave us an answer that we could tell was more of what she was told rather than what she really felt. So we asked her how it made her feel (probably like 3 times) and she gave a simple answer, but it was from the heart and the spirit came into the home. We then read John 3:5 with her and explained to her about baptism and she told us she had wanted to be baptized in the church as she's talked about it with R. We watched the Bible video of Christ's baptism and extended to her a date for August 2 which she accepted. The spirit was there as we bore our testimonies and we invited her to pray right there with us to ask God if August 2nd was the date she should be baptized. As she said amen she just kinda leaned back in the couch and said, "Wow." She then explained that her heart started racing as she said Amen and she got emotional as she tried to explain how she felt and said, "I think I got my answer." She has some work to do but if she strives she can hit it. I'm so very grateful for the time I've had to serve and I would never trade it for anything, even for a NBA contract I wouldn't trade it. I say that as a joke but I really mean it as well, my time as a missionary has meant so much to me. Yes I would love to be an NBA player it's been my dream ever since I could dribble, but my mission has affected my life for good greater than anything else I could be doing. I have loved my mission!
I love you Dad and don't worry, it will all work out in the end.
Elder Barker


Hey Dad,
I know this is going to be tough in the upcoming time, and actually a sister in church got up to speak this Sunday and talked about an experience she had where her husband was in the military and they were living in Germany. She didn't speak the language and she barely ever saw her husband. She eventually found that she found solace and enjoyment in her scripture study? How has your scripture reading been going dad? I am very grateful that I have found that I can always rely on the scriptures to, at the very least, keep me going. I love those type of lessons where the spirit just absolutely takes over and influences everyone in the room. There's a promise given to those who are teaching actually in D&C 50:13-14,17-22. Those who teach and testify, as they feel the spirit, those whom are listening will feel it as well, even if they don't know it's the spirit they still feel it. I know that that woman felt the spirit in that class and it's because you as the teacher followed a prompting you received which allowed others to bear testimony as well. Thank you for sharing that.
I was able to get registered... It was so stressful. So this week was crazy because Wednesday night, my companion felt some pain in his stomach and when he woke up it was there and he was feeling sick overnight. So we go to urgent care Thursday morning and they tell him, it looks like you got appendicitis. So I'm not going to district meeting now and as the district leader I am supposed to lead the meeting and discussion, so I call up another elder, who is awesome just a spiritual giant really, and I ask him if he can take over. He accepts, super nervous because he had no preparation haha. Anyway, we run over to the ER and after a couple hours and a few tests they tell him, yup you got appendicitis so we're going to go into surgery now. Everything went well, it was really weird just sitting in the waiting room all alone... I just felt strange and out of place. I was going to try and talk to people but shortly after I got in there I was the only one. Everything went well though and we had to stay overnight at the hospital and I slept in a chair, a good one but still. I was pretty stressed out because I'm thinking, registration is the next day and I have no way of doing it here. A recent convert, Sara, was super nice and brought over her laptop so I could get on but that was at like 12, and registration opened at 8 am my time. But then the chemistry department didn't have me cleared so after an hour and a half, and my phone dying and scrambling to find a charger so I could get this whole thing settled. I was finally able to get a hold of them and get them to allow me to register (I didn't have a graduation plan set so I didn't have clearance, I guess a few science departments do that). So around1:30 I am finally able to register for classes, I was able to get most of the ones I wanted, my chem teacher didn't have great reviews but I'll just work hard and allow my love for science just over power that. 
Anyway Elder Westmann can't really drive under the medication he's on and my license is expired, and he can barely walk so we've been trapped in the apartment and I've been making phone calls basically. I still don't enjoy talking over the phone haha. 
My companion is doing well but he still has limited mobility and even though I hate being trapped inside I am grateful for the chance I have to do service for him. 
I hope you feel better and I invite you to read These 3 chapters in the boom this week: 2 Nephi 4, Helaman 5, and 3 Nephi 17. I feel you would really love them:)
I love you Dad!
Elder Barker

Ps. Could I get brother O'reily's email? I want to thank him for the mission prep class and all his help.