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.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Email to Amber 9/23/13

I sent a lot of things to dad but the mtc was crazy i still can't believe it was only 12 days because i swear that it was forever!! well the first week at least haha.  i was in information overload and it seems like it was a huge blur! it was BYU-Idaho again but with an even more strict dress code which i didn't think was possible!! haha it was good though.

 my zone that i was with was really cool we had a 6'8 british guy and when the new missionaries came we all begged him to say welcome to hogwarts to them and i said to go up to a ginger and say, "RON!!!!" ahhaha he didn't however:( so sad. i took a good amount pictures with my zone and district i just have to remember to bring my camera with me next week to send them.  

this town is pretty ghetto but not like gang bang ghetto just like drug ghetto. i was really looking forward to some "beat to teach" which is when you play basketball and if you win you teach them the restoration but there's no basketball here sadly plus its getting cold anyways. one of the APs  was doing a beat to teach in north philly a few month back and he told us that he heard a gun go off and then he heard the "whizz" of the bullet go past his ear and it hit the wall behind them!!!!:O i was sooo hoping to go there after that story! jk i am not stupid but i was hoping to go to the city but this is just my first area:) i see a lot of potential here and elder parker and i are going to uncover it! 

tell daisy that i loved her drawings and thank you for the pictures:) i miss everyone! oh btw! i was wearing my alterra shirt in the mtc and there was a guy there wearing the same one but more faded. he is 23 and is just leaving and said his older brother is team leader i forgot his name though!! he is going to eugene oregon i wanna say his name was holt but i think thats wrong. thanks for all the packages and tell everyone to keep the letters coming because elder parkers gf is sending him so much stuff i feel left out:( hahaha jk but in all seriousness i really appreciate the letters and packages that you and everyone has sent:) if you see aunt michelle tell here i say thank you for the candy:)

I love you guys
Elder Josh Barker

ps could you get jordans address for me and send it? i need to write him

Email from September 24, 2013 to Dad

hey Dad!
things here in Tamaqua, PA are going pretty well.  it's a pretty small town but there is definitely a lot of interesting things going on.  the branch here has about 45 people (total) but the active members are around 30. everyone in the branch though is awesome they all have great testimonies despite some of them having been excommunicated a few still come to church and love having the missionaries over.  the branch president is president milano and he is one of the most spiritually in-tune man i have ever met.  

my first night was interesting (i am going to be saying interesting a lot) we went to go see an investigator named Ed who recently had committed to being baptized in november and when we got there his neighbors house had burned down along with his... fortunately no one was hurt in the fire but his phone got lost in the fire and we have had no way of contacting him since.  the next day we went to go see a former investigator named michelle who has a pretty fascinating background. she is half white half cherokee and was raised on a native american reservation but was put in catholic school.  so she believes in jehovah but also in native american gods and goddesses like the sun god and mother earth. she believes and loves the book of mormon but is a huge smoker (i might be addicted already just from her house haha) and lives with her boyfriend. for years though she took in people off the street and helped them get back on their feet and never asked for anything. the day before we got there however multiple pipes had broken in her house and her basement had 3 1/2 ft of water. she needed a lot of help so my companion, the spanish speaking elders, and myself went the next day and helped prime her walls and will soon go back and help her paint the walls because we didn't have time since we had another appointment that same day.  

that night we went to another investigators house named michael who is an injured vet whose wife and kids left him. his wife still demands increasing payments to help with her medical bills but the VA says he can only pay her 800 a month but he is paying 1250 and she wants more. it is just a terrible situation and his drinking is his only escape he feels like.  he is a great guy who does as much volunteer work as he can do and absolutely believes in God and the book of mormon and that we are people called from God but he doesn't feel worthy of our time or Gods love as he puts it because of his drinking.  the lesson on the atonement that we taught him however was great and he felt the spirit and i was able to extend a baptismal invitation to him and he accepted! i just hope he doesn't get too down and keeps his commitments to reading the book of mormon and praying to our heavenly father for a desire to stop drinking. a scripture that is one of my personal favorites that i shared with him was D&C 122 verse 9 i believe (its the last verse in the section) and he felt the power from it as well.
we had another lesson with Zane an investigator, who recently got engaged to a member, about the entire plan of salvation and is getting baptized on the 12 of october!! their wedding date is set for january 18th so in a little over a year elder parker and i may be able to go to their temple sealing!! which would be awesome!

my companion (elder parker) is from utah and fresh out of high school. he has only been in the field for 6 weeks and is technically still in training too but he is my trainer, plus his companion before me apparently was very lazy and just did not want to be there so elder parker never learned much from him. so he is learning and teaching at the same time (normally missionaries are out for a minimum of 12 weeks to not be a golden/greenie. so we are both goldens. he went to Davis and started on their basketball and has a spot waiting for him on the utah state football team (sorry steve he hates BYU). he is a great teacher though and a really cool guy. 

how is nathan's basketball and school coming? can you forward my address to everyone? 223 center st, tamaqua, PA  18252. send letters to this because i won't get letters from the mission office until like a zone conference or a transfer.  

this town is full of problems the entire town smells like cigs because everyone is a heavy smoker 15 years old and up it seems like it really is so sad. the cops just drive by people doing drugs because there are more important matters like murder to attend to.

my day is pretty busy i wake up at 6:30 work out shower breakfast 
and then personal study at 8
companion study at 9 
then go out for a bit at 11
then be back around 1-1:30 for lunch and try and contact people and set up appointments. we never have much luck because people who make appointments rarely ever answer the door when we come. it is starting to get pretty cold out here, on saturday we went contacting and it was just pouring i think my pants might still be damp from it the mr mac coat was amazing though haha. 
then we come back between 8:30-9 and plan for the next day and set goals.

i am doing the best i can to work hard and be a good missionary. i love it and am very happy to be out here:)
oh and i found a place better than shaved ice its called ritas

Elder Josh Barker

ps could you send me a copy of jesus the christ? i really want to read that. and a scripture case? 
pss i really hope nathan's knee gets better and tell him to take his seminary hw seriously because i wish i did.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

9/11 Email

Hey Dad!

Thank you for encouraging me to go on a mission. It was hard going, but as soon as my first day at the MTC started, I knew I was in the right place.  The days are long and it feels like I have been here for weeks! But I know I am doing the right thing. Every day, the only free time I get to myself really are meals- other than that it's study, class, study, prayer, study, class, prayer, prayer, prayer- It's definitely an environment of its own. Satan is still trying to do anything he can to slow me down- even by simple distractions, so I don't concentrate on class, but I always am able to catch myself and get back to participating. 

Me and my companion (Elder Bateman from Wyoming) are teaching an investigator named Thrijae (3jay) (he is really an actor but it feels real). He is a volleyball player at Stanford and was really quiet and did not want us there, but as we taught him about Christ and the plan of happiness we, or the spirit was able to actually, were able to have him open up to us and he told us about the recent hardships that had been going on in his life, he had recently lost his father to cancer and we were able to teach him about eternal life and how missionary work still goes on in the next life.  

Tell Andrea thank you for the care package. I am actually wearing the laker shirt she sent me now haha. I am doing well, and feel like I am able to connect with a lot of different people that we teach because of the trials that I had to go through before coming here. I am not going to lie though, the first couple days I had a hard time trying to feel the spirit, and constantly prayed and studied on what I could do to be more receptive, and one night one of the sisters asked if I would give her a priesthood blessing. I was scared out of mind, and as Elder Roberts (he's a Marine, btw who is in my district) anointed her with oil, I had no idea what to say but as soon as I started to speak, words came to my mind, and I was able to give her a blessing. It was hard to hold back tears while I gave it, but it was really amazing! I also sang in the choir yesterday for devotional. We sang "Where Can I Turn for Peace" and it was really cool. I love that song you should look it up. We also had Brother Martino from the Seventy speak that day, which was cool as well. He talked about how, as missionaries, we also have to focus on the members helping us and trying to bring back less active members. His wife gave a short story about two shoes salesmen who went to Australia to sell shoes to the Aboriginal people there. One said, "There is no hope for business, as they do not wear shoes." The other said, "There is huge potential here as the people do not wear any shoes!" That is the attitude I am going to try and have throughout my mission.

Elder Josh Barker  

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Our first letter via snail mail! Arrived 9/10/13

Dear Family,

The first day was actually a lot better than I thought it would be. I am really looking forward to getting out into the field. There was a lot of going to and from places, and there are quite a bit of missionaries going out to Philly. Apparently, every companionship is getting iPhones/iPads for all the teaching tools. My class teacher was Jake's companion for a bit, too! Elder Vogt (vote) is his name. We did a lot of teaching things, like teaching "invesigators" and role plays, stuff like that. I DID have green vegetables! I am not going to gain weight while I'm out here! Day one was a good day. Tell Daisy and baby Emmy I love them.

Elder Josh Barker

PS: I forgot to tell you, my companions name is Eder Bateman from Wyoming.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Email from Friday, September 7, 2013

Here's a copy of Josh's email to our dad.  We received this Friday night (9/7/13).  He already sounds like a grown up!

Hey Dad! The first day we went right into MTC life it was busy, but it was good as well. I am praying more than I ever have before, as well as reading the scriptures.  It's very busy-every minute we are studying the gospel. The only times we are not are when we are sleeping or eating, and even then during meals we are going over lessons that we were taught, or how the lessons that we taught went.  I do not have much time on here. As soon as we are done, it is back to doctrinal study, I believe. I got the packages today, but have not opened them yet. Tell Amanda I said thank you for the cupcakes- they look delicious! They are feeding me quite well, and even though you all may laugh and not believe this, but each meal I am getting my fruits and veggies in! They feed us pretty well, but it is not exactly healthy just like everyone told me. But I am not going to get fat! I'm waking up 30 minutes early every morning to workout.  That reminds me, we had our first gym time today (we only get to be in the gym a couple times each week) and I was doing pretty good in basketball. I hit a few guys with the shammgod (ask nathan, he will know what it means), I did tweak my knee a bit, but it should be fine. I am doing well and trying to become a better servant of the Lord. I know I am in the right place. Keep the prayers coming! I am sure they will help me while on my mission. I love you all!

Elder Barker

P.S. my P-day is on Wednesday and I will have more time to tell you what is going on exactly then.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

And he's off!

We just sent Elder Barker into the MTC to start the best two years of his life so far!  
Here are some pictures:

 Daisy will be in Kindergarten when Uncle Josh gets back!  So crazy.

 Mitch and Amanda came all the way from Arizona to see Josh off.  

 We had about 2 minutes to say our good-byes at the curb.

 Blowing kisses good-bye to his nieces
 This was the welcoming committee.
 Return With Honor, Elder Barker!  You are going to be amazing!

 Please write to Elder Barker!  His address will always be updated near the top of this blog.