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.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Email from June 23, 2014

Hey Dad,
This was a good week and a really good week for this area numbers wise. So last Monday evening we went to a FHE, like we do every week, at an interesting member's home. A couple of new people were there, a woman who was baptized a few years ago but stopped coming and her husband a Messianic Jew (a Jew who believes Jesus is he Messiah). We had a good discussion about a lot of things. He was very friendly and wasn't contentious at all and seemed to be intrigued about the Book of Mormon and what it talks about. They should be there today:)
 Tuesday we saw a less active family — the Laytons, the Browns, and the Claytons, it's a confusing family tree. We went over the Plan of Salvation and they need to learn it because they didn't know why Jesus was important other than he was a good teacher. That house is crazy and stressful to teach in. Later that day while we were about to have dinner the Sisters called us and asked if we could come change their tire for them. So we got on the bus and went and helped them out. 
Thursday we interviews with President and it went well, apparently he made some cool comments to my companion about me though so that's awesome. 
Friday we had another lesson with the Layton/Brown family... That house is awful and it's full of kids with parents that don't know how to control them. We asked one of their kids if they would be nice and be quiet while we showed a video of Jesus and she said no and started yelling and jumping.
Saturday was better we went and played football in the morning, my athletic ability is very poor but I was able to hang with everyone and score some touchdowns so that's good. Later we went to a ward activity and our investigator Roni came with us. There was a lot of BBQ so it was great. Afterwards we had a lesson with our neighbor named Dante, he is 13. We talked about the Plan of Salvation and about baptism and he said that he wanted to be baptized in the past and I asked if he would (with his mothers permission) like to be baptized by August 10. He said a prayer at the end and I showed him how to pray because he was used to only saying wrote prayers. After he finished he said he feels like that's the day God wants him to be baptized on. It was a good lesson.
Sunday we had another lesson with Dante. We are going to read with him every night from he Book of Mormon. We read the intro and he had some cool questions. We'll see where that goes:) 

I'm glad everything is starting to settle. 
Elder Barker

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Josh's Email from 6/9/14

 Alloooohhhaaaa!! Yes I do remember when you weren't [such a bad sister- I hadn't written him in a couple weeks] haha but in your defense I did not always respond back because I didn't have time haha[.....]How's Nate
doing? Amanda? Mitch? I miss them a lot. I saw the pictures of youse guys (youse is the plural form of you which is used very frequently out in PA) on Facebook, you & Steve and Amanda & Mitch, they looked
really good:). 

I will say this, having iPads is cool and all but it makes emails very tiresome haha it's like I'm texting a really long message haha.

Nevertheless I shall make an account of my trials and tribulations yea
also of my triumphs this past week.

It came to pass in the first week of the 9th month of my mission, yea even in the 12 month of the reign of President Anderson, that our gas and hot water were shot off because of multiple gas leaks which shall
be turned back on tonight! And so I have been forced into bondage of cold showers in the morning, yea even freezing showers. We have also been waging war with those they call cockroaches and silverfish and as
massive as they are and as scary as they seem, our shoes are still stronger for the time being. I know that now yea even this very moment they are watching me waiting for an opportunity to strike but I care not, for I am Elder Barker and I will come at them with my might yea even my fury and I shall use many shoes to defeat them yea even my companion's shoes!

And it came to pass on the day of Wednes we had a lesson with Lynette and she is deaf and lo even her whole family is deaf and we had many things written down, yea, even full conversations! However, Elder Cooley knew bits and pieces of ASL and we were able to gain the understanding of her desire to learn more of the "Mormons" yea which is also the Church of God. And it came to pass after that we did travel to the town of fish, yea it is called Fish town, and we tarried at the Giordano's yea they even did feed us as our bodies did hunger and required sustenance. We were able to talk to their neighbors as they were present to view the monthly tradition of feeding a live rat to a boa, which was cool.

And it came to pass on the 5th day of the week, the day of Fri, that we traveled through much of the city and lo as many did try to talk to us with much contention in their heart, and some did try their luck to battle with us and lo their efforts were futile for we payed them no mind as they tried to tell us of our wrongs not knowing that our knowledge did greatly surpass that of theirs but the spirit of contention is not of God so we paid no attention to them. And it came to pass that one man rambled for the entire 25 minute bus ride despite us not responding or acknowledging his presence. Nevertheless we had successful lessons with others, one being a less active. I'm breaking character it's tough haha. We read with her from the book of Enos and showed her how powerful prayer is as long as we pray sincerely with real intent we will receive an answer. She also felt that because Christ suffered for our sins she should suffer too so she she can repay him. We helped her see that Christ doesn't want that, the devil wants us to think that because it will draw us further from repentance. We do feel pain when we sin though, we feel that sorrow from the Spirit leaving us and that sorrow should have us desire to repent so we can have the Spirit with us again because the greatestjoy comes from the times when the Spirit is with us always. Then we gave her friend, (not sure who she was) a blessing because she just looked like she was having a rough time health wise. 

That reminds me, this was pretty sad honestly; so on Thursday we got a call from a someone asking if we could visit her mom who just got in the ER. This person used to meet with the missionaries in the past and I guess her
mom did a little as well. So we went to the Temple ER and walked into her room and I've only been able to feel someone's faith once before on my mission and this was another one. As soon as we walked in there
I could feel her faith in God. It turns out that she had a bad fall and felt something pop inside her, and we talked with her a little, and Elder Cooley asked if we could give her a blessing, I gave her one. During the blessing I wanted to bless her with healing but every time I wanted to I felt like I shouldn't or I couldn't think. It made
me really sad because it made me think that maybe her time is coming to meet her Father again. Also it could be that someone in the past gave her a blessing of healing and that's why the Spirit was strong in
the room as well and she just needed a blessing of comfort, I don't know, but I do know that she is a wonderful woman who no matter happens has such genuine faith that  she will accept the Gospel in this life or the next. When I said amen, I saw that tears were streaming down her face and her words were, "praise The Lord" and then she talked about how her daughters need help. this woman was so Christlike, in her time of intense pain her thoughts were of helping those around her. Just for those few minutes that we were there she showed me a great example of Christ-like Love.

Saturday we had another lesson with Roni, she's from China, about the latter half of the Plan of Salvation. She was still a little confused about baptism and had some doubts, but she is sincere about learning
and that's what makes me happy. I hope she keeps progressing.  Sunday was interesting because that night we went to Mike & Dana's place. Mike is a less active who came to church yesterday:) and his girlfriend Dana is a very nice person but pretty rough around the edges, she has no filter and just refuses to come to church but Elder Cooley is determined she will come before he leaves. She wouldn't turn the tv off so during commercials we read from the Book of Mormon with her and then she'd turn it up when her show came on (it was a doughnut
cooking competition show...) apparently though that's the most gospel that's been discussed since Elder Cooley came so that's progress right? Haha I hope I'm not wasting time there but I don't think I am, even though the tv is very annoying and distracting but at least she will turn it down.. I hope everything is going well in Provo but it's not the best place to live, that's probably San Diego just saying. Tell the girls I love and miss them!

I love you guys!
Elder Barker

Ps my address is 3311 Kip Street Philadelphia, PA 19134

Email from 5/30/14

Hey Dad,

I hope you have a fun time on the cruise and don't get too burnt. 
So I am now in Philly, North Philly, according to most people the worst place in Philly haha so I love it! Our address 3311 Kip St. Philadelphia, PA 19134 feel free to look on google earth and see where we live haha. Our apartment isn't bad at all except we have a serious roach infestation (having an exterminator come tomorrow) and we also had a gas leak. The first thing I smelled when I walked in was gas and we finally called yesterday and we found out that we had 3 leaks in our basement so they turned our gas off which means no cooking or hot water so that's fun. 

I did see a post from Amber about the yearbook thing and I thought that was pretty hilarious haha oh and I heard that it was Spurs-Heat again this year. Being in Philly I still hear things haha. Oh one funny thing happened, we were at the church and helping clean up from an event and a couple missionaries and my comp told me to moon-walk real quick so I did and a member saw and was like, "was that a moon-walk?" And we had a short popping battle haha it was a lot fun
And that's a nice area to move from that would be good. Oh and question do I get the Camry when I come back? Haha

Philly is a lot different than my last couple areas but isn't too different than LA but still is a lot different. We use the bus and subway a lot so hopefully I can learn the routes fairly quickly. This week was kind of a blur and not much happened. We don't get too many lessons and most of our time is on the bus. Most travel times from one point to another take at least 30 minutes and people have been pretty flaky with keeping appointments so we will sometimes travel 45 minutes only for them to not be there and it can get a bit frustrating but I'm loving it here in the city. We don't get fed much and we walk a lot so I plan to lose some weight haha with that could you ask Steve what slacks are good for walking because suit pants aren't exactly great to be sweating in but the croft&barrow ones I have I wore in winter because they're a lot thicker. Oh also I have 2 of the 3 suit pants because the zipper on one of them is broken so I can't wear it. But there's lots of interesting things that happen here but I am so tired of seeing women and girls dressed with barely anything, it's terrible here and with summer coming i have no idea how it's gonna be. 

Anyway a great thing happened on Saturday, an investigator who immigrated from China in 2011/12 accepted an invitation to be baptized and before meeting the missionaries she was always told there was no God since she lived in China. Im excited to work with her some more:)

Well I don't really know what else to say this day has been hectic and crazy but I've been able to talk to a lot of people and lots of people come up to us but a lot of times it's to disagree with something but we handle it pretty well I think. Well I hope everyone is doing great and Abby says Congrats on getting married Dad! 
I love you Dad

Elder Barker

Josh's Email from 5/26/14

Hey Dad
First off Happy Birthday!! You're still a young grandpa just know that! I'm glad the wedding was good. The cruise sounds like it will be fun. Thank you so much for sending me an email even though it cost you $5. It means a lot that I was worth the $5 to use the internet haha. 
So I'm getting transferred... Not too happy about that but I was able to see a lot of success here and I'm happy for things that I've been out to see. I am looking forward to see where else I will be going where I'm needed. Also I need an insurance card from our insurance for this year to be on me and I don't have one so if you could send that to me that'd be great!
So this week was good on Wednesday we went to our recent convert, Sandra's home. She was having a hard day she takes care of her mom who has Alzheimer's and couldnt concentrate while reading the Book of Mormon so we dropped our plans for the lesson and taught the Plan of Salvation again. She didn't remember any of it which makes me believe that she might be starting to have it as well because she has forgotten things in the past that we've taught just the lesson before. There was a lot that she didn't know especially things about Adam and Eve. But going over life after death really helped her feel comforted because her mom is like 88 and just really in bad shape. But after our meeting she was smiling and said she felt a lot better:) later we ran into a man named Herod (aka buttons) on his porch. He was blasting some Juicy J and other rap. He had the oversized J's and the gold chain. He is a white guy in his late 60s. It was definitely interesting. We talked about the Restoration and we invited him to pray and he was uncomfortable at first so Elder Spackman prayed first to set an example and then we asked if Herod would pray as well for us. We bowed our heads and just stood there in silence for 5 minutes, and I know that because I checked the time before we did. After 5 minutes he said next time and went to walk inside. Later we went to do family history with another recent convert and Michael came with us. Michael was able to find a line to Adam and Eve actually.
On Thursday after district meeting we went up to Broomall, PA to Pep Boys to get our car checked out. Then afterwards we went back for our lesson and it went well. His name is Jeff and is very smart and knows the Bible pretty well but just refuses to pray about the Book of Mormon. I don't know why people don't want to. If they know God is God then they also know that He won't tell them something wrong. I just don't understand why people can't ask if the Book of Mormon is true or not. Jeff asked for evidence that it's true outside of praying. The member we had with us told him some things but tied it back to the fact that the only way we truly will know is through prayer. I simply told him that there is evidence out there that it's true and some that it is not true, but the power in the Book of Mormon is undeniable and we want him to experience it. Hopefully he does. 
My suit pants are taking a beating though, and they're they only ones that are comfortable because the other ones (croft&barrow cough cough) aren't comfortable haha especially for walking. I could really use a lava-lava for the summer haha.
Friday we had a full night planned for less active members from like 5:30-9 but then one appointments got cancelled and we went to one appointment with the Fletchers and we find out that the "less active" is fully active just is in the nursery and therefore has no contact with the outside world. It was good though haha. After we went to an inactive family, the Vitulis, and we were there for awhile they caught up a lot. We had a good lesson but sister Vituli was quite defensive about going to church though. I was able to tell her of personal experiences and it seemed to have softened her heart a bit. The Fletcher's said in the 20 years missionaries have been meeting with them that may have been one of the most spiritual meetings with them. That night we had transfer calls and I thought the DL was joking when he said I was leaving because I thought I was really going to stay, but I'm leaving.
Saturday we spent a lot of time helping a member with his garden and finished what he wanted to do in a quarter of the time he thought it was going to take. So he proceeded to tell of his conversion story, he was Catholic before. He talked about how the elders, though young, were able to answer questions that his old religion wasn't able to, such as where we came from and other stuff. We went out teaching with him and he just is quite condemning of people. We did a pretty good job of letting him not speak haha so it was good haha. 
Sunday morning we dropped by Jackie on our way out to tell her we will come by soon and she just started crying so we told her we will be back very soon. We brought sister Fletcher with us and she did so great with her and comforting her. Jackie is bipolar and was just very depressed. We shared a Mormon message that we planned to share before, "our true identity," and it was so great it was so powerful for her. She was beaming when we left, when we got there she wasn't going to come to church, but she came and fulfilled her new calling, Gospel Principles President. I'm going to miss teaching her, she has taught me a lot and seeing the change that she has had has been great! I have to say good bye to her today:/ 
I'm sad to go it has been a great area but I hope you are doing great:) 
Elder Barker

Ps I hope you know i was joking about the $5 thing haha