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, April 9, 2014

Email from 4/7/2014

Hey dad,

Wow that's weird about the water I hope the damage wasn't too serious. Did it affect anything else? Wiring? I hope everything is okay. [Our dad's house had a leak in a pipe that caused some damage, but yay for insurance! All is well now.]

I'm happy that you've decided to do go out with the missionaries. It is something I wish I did when I was priest, not because it would have helped me prepare (it would have though) but also the elders would have been so grateful. When we have a member go with us it is such a huge help because it provides the investigator to view someone as "real" and not someone who is always dressed up nice. 

So telling you about my week will be easy because we had a total of 3 lessons... We have done lots of service for people though and I continue to tell myself it is not about the numbers.

Tuesday we finally got to meet with Mikey who had a baptismal date for the 12th. He told us that he was moving the next day and that's why he hadn't been able to meet us because he was saying goodbye to everyone. He told us that he wants to meet with the missionaries where he is moving to and wants to be baptized on the 12th still. He moved to York, PA which he told us was near Philly but we later found out it's out of our mission so we don't know the missionaries in that area. I'm going to miss Mikey, he was such a great kid. He is slightly autistic so I don't think he needs baptism but the joy that the Gospel brought to his face was so great! I love that kid and I hope those missionaries got our referral. 

After that Elder Taylor and I were a bit bummed out and it was lunch time and we both really wanted pizza. Lil Cs had burned down months ago so that wasn't span option so we decided on Dominoes. We go there and the guy behind the counter was a really cool guy and we asked where he was from and he told us that he grew up in northern NJ and really missed the city because he could see NYC from his window. I told him that I was from SoCal and I really missed the city to and going to the beach and LA and then Elder Taylor says, "this is a city to me" haha. The guy behind the counter told us about how he lived and worked in Wilmington, DL (the most dangerous/violent small city in America). Elder taylor had served there for a bit actually and we started talking about our missions. He had heard of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints before and we talked a bit about God. He was Muslim and we talked about the Old Testament and how we believe in the same God. He pointed out the fact that through mistranslations, things were changed and lost in the Bible. So we talked about Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon and asked if he would have a desire to read it. He said yes so we went to our car and grabbed a copy and gave it to him. Then as we were eating our pizza we got a call asking if we could help out at a sisters home. We go there and we had to help with her plumbing so we got in a couple of over jumpsuit things- I forgot the name - and crawled under her trailer. Elder Taylor did everything I pretty much just handed him stuff but I have no idea what to do. You, Steve, and Mitch will have to teach some stuff when I'm home. It smelled horrible down there.

Wednesday we finally finished that tent! We got it up on 10 1/2 feet and it was a monster. That tent weighed over 1000 lbs and we were lifting and squatting it so someone else could put a 10.5' pole underneath it. It took a few hours but it's all set up. Then we helped the Spanish elders move to a new apartment. I was pretty wiped out but the Sister Fletcher grilled us a good dinner. They're great people. 

I loved conference and I wish I had my notes with me to go a bit more in depth but for both Saturday sessions we watched them at Jamie & Nicole's home and it was fun:) they liked "going to church" in your pjs haha. Conference seemed to have a general theme (on Saturday and Priesthod a bit as well) to have courage and stand firm in your beliefs and morals even if it means taking a dive in social status. It reminded me of something that happened to me in I believe 6th grade. I was invited to a dodgeball tournament at crossroads church by some friends at school. I don't remember if we won or not but I'm sure we did haha. Afterwards the pastor gave a scriptural thought and read a passage in a "modern English"  Bible about all believers in Christ will saved and go to heaven. So as long as you're Christian you are okay no matter what you do. He then listed off religions that will go to hell, among them were "Mormons" and I immediately raised my hand and said, "I'm Mormon" but I didn't say it loud enough for he didn't hear me. I remember thinking of all the points of doctrine I could bring up to stop him from saying how no matter how good of a person you are, if you don't say that you believe in Christ than you are going to hell. The opposite also seems to be among the norm in society now as well, they seem to believe that no matter how unChrist-like you are, if you say you accept Jesus you are automatically going to be with God in heaven. As a missionary I have come across many people telling me that I try to earn my way to heaven and other things, they say this because they recognize as Mormons as being nice but in reality by being the best people we can do as Christ directs, "IF ye love me, keep my commandments." It is not by publicly saying we accept Jesus as our Savior that we show our love for Him as many people think, but by following the commandments he has laid out, the two most important being, "love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength" and the other being, "Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself" (Mark 12:30-31). As we show our love for those around us we show our love for Christ. By simple and subtle acts of kindness we can receive the greatest blessings in this and the next life. By showing that love that our beloved prophet, Thomas S. Monson, spoke of we show our love and devotion to our Savior Jesus Christ. This is nothing new that the Mormons "invented" it is what Jesus Christ told us those many years ago. "If he love me, keep my commandments." There is no commandment that had been given that is impossible to keep, even when Christ said, "Be ye perfect, even as your Father in Heaven is perfect" it can be attained, it includes eternal progression but that progression towards perfection begins now in this life. I realize now that I got carried away a bit but I hope it all makes sense as it does in my mind. I love this Church and I am so grateful for the opportunity we have to listen to living prophets! It provides so much comfort and strength to me because I know God loves me and you enough to call prophets again and help guide us. Just like the song the choir sang before President Monson spoke, "A Child's Prayer" He is listening and hears all of His children's prayers. I love you Dad!

Hope you are doing well
Elder Barker

Ps I really hope it didn't seem like I was jumping around too much haha if I had my notes it would've been smoother

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