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.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Email from 7/28/14

Hey Dad,
Wow I can't believe Bishop has been released, he was a really good bishop and I've realized how great of one he was even more being on my mission with working with other Bishops. How was Bishop McKee? Was he shocked? Especially since being in the bishopric haha. Who are his counselors? The house seems really cool and the elders here were all like, "soo in a year we're going to show up at your place..." Haha but I'm supportive of it it's not a big change, but does that mean we'll be in Norco now? No bueno haha kidding. 
So my week wasn't as stressful as last week but we were both still pretty drained from hitting our lesson goal last week. 
On Thursday we got a call from an old referral that we had tried to get in contact with. His name is Derreck and he lives in a men's homeless shelter and we set up a time to visit him. Later in the day we went to an appointment with someone named Susan. She is just stretched very thin and feels she should church on the back burner. I've never been a situation like that but I hope and pray that if I do come to a point where my life is full of stress that I rely even more heavily on God because that's the only way I'd be able to get through it in one piece.
Then Saturday, like a lot of days lately, it was pouring rain but still played football in the morning i got soaked. We then got to go to our appointment with Derreck Wallace and he is just this very big, very ripped, humble man that seems to be trying to change his life for the better. We were able to go through the message of the Restoration of the Gospel and he accepted to be baptized if he finds it to be true! He really seems to have a sincere desire to find the path God wants him to take. Then later we were walking and a woman stopped us and it turns out her husband died in January and she is still very broken about it. We talked to her the little that we could get in about the Plan of Salvation and Gods plan for the families. We are going to be seeing her tonight actually and I sent her the talk from President Monson, "I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee." 
Well I have to leave in a couple of minutes now but I hope you are doing well!
Elder Barker

Email from 7/21/14

Hey Dad,
Sorry this may be another short one I don't have much time, we got to the church to use wifi and then everyone wanted to go play basketball at a park (there were some guys there and after the first game asked if I played college ball haha).
Anyway, I am excited about the house I know this is stressful but no matter where it is I'll be happy with it so don't worry about me. Just be prayerful and allow your mind to relax so the spirit can be heard by you — I know it's easier said than done but try to. 
So this week we passed a mark that our Zone leaders didn't think we could hit. We told them we'd get 30 lessons this week and they said to aim lower. So we got 31 instead. This week has been so stressful though, we feel satan really didn't want us to hit that mark especially since in the recent pass this area was only getting 1/3 of that. I was so exhausted last night. To top it all off, as you know, my wallet got stolen along with my name tag. Which is really annoying and will cost me money to get a new card and then I had to use $40 from my birthday money to get new bus passes, luckily I had saved some. I was really annoyed. But Sunday night as we were going home after our lesson I just said to my comp "we got it" haha. 
This past week started with thunderstorms like crazy, streets were flooded from the rain and lightning was flashing all over us. The highlight of the week though was on Sunday seeing a former less active member we've worked with pass the sacrament and speak in sacrament meeting. It was so great and he talked about his conversion story (he was Catholic before), it was amazing. I love those moments so much.
I'm sorry I can't tell more of the week:( but I hope you are all doing well and I pray for you every day.
I love you
Elder Barker

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Email from 7/14/14

Hey Dad,
So thank you for putting the money in my account.  And no I won't be transferred at least for another 5 weeks.

The house you're looking at sounds pretty cool where is it at? UVSC? Where's that? Do you mean UVU? I would love to go where Nate plays at I would go to all his home games after his mission. Speaking of for college I honestly do not want to go back to Idaho.
Oh so did no one see my statement that I almost got shot? Does no one care about my physical well being? I'm sad:( haha
In all seriousness though we had a good week relatively calm week. We were able to get 24 lessons (my mission high) so that was really cool considering two transfers ago this area was only getting 9 lessons a week. We had a really great lesson with our investigator from China, Roni, and she told us that she believes the Book of Mormon to be true and feels very peaceful when she reads it. We passed her off to the Assistants though because they are over the YSA ward in the stake and she is in her 20s. I'm pretty sad that we not be able to teach that much if at all any more but I'm sure being with more people her age will help out a lot. 
Yesterday we had a dinner appointment with a sister in the ward and bishop came with us. She lives in the middle of center city and it has such a great view of the city I will send pictures. We shared a spiritual thought with her and elder Cooley said I was in charge of it so we watched a favorite Mormon message of mine called Our True Identity, It is by President Utchdorf and is one of my favorites.  I loved the spirit that was in the room as I bore my testimony about our true identity as children of a Heavenly Father and it was one of my favorite spiritual thoughts I've been apart of so far on my mission. 
Sorry this isn't too detailed about my week:/
But I hope you are doing well,
I love you,
Elder Barker

Email from 7/7/14

Hey Dad,
So I will start off with saying that I almost got shot... But more of that later
My 4th was pretty cool didn't get to see any firework shows since they all started when we had to be in bed:/ but we did get to go out and see some cool stuff. Philly definitely goes all out for the 4th. Kensington (the district that we live in) did go crazy with fireworks though. People were lighting the big ones off in the middle of the streets, even the main streets, yeah I didn't like that and apparently a lot of people got their hands on sticks of dynamite and set those off too! Those were really loud. I do hope the Lakers get someone good haha here in Philly I hear sports talk all the time and it's kind of a ice-breaker since people are shocked that this white dude in a shirt and tie knows basketball haha.
The mission is going well our area has the best numbers of the zone which is surprising because it's not like our area is amazing and you would think that being in the middle of Philly it'd be easy to teach a bunch of people but people really don't like talking to us haha. But hey our area is progressing and that's what is important, not our numbers. So for the garments the site is blocked on our iPads so I can't go to the store. If you could order me some that would work and just send them to the mission office maybe? I would just need a couple more pairs of cotton/poly boxer briefs and cotton/poly rounded shirts. Unless Steve thinks something else might suit better for hot and humid weather. And the pants yeah i desperately need some because my suit pants are becoming lighter and lighter than my suit jackets. There's just only one place where I could buy good ones and it's far (well for public transportation it is). And I can't really afford to dry clean haha. Yeah I have had good companions there's only been one that just really bugged me but I was only with him for 1 transfer so I was able to just swallow my pride and go on, something I have had to do my whole life with all those pesky arguments that Nate and I had haha. That's crazy that Rachael is almost done! I feel like we all just barely left.

So this week was interesting, it had good things and things that are bad. So on Wednesday the only thing that happened was that there was a really big thunderstorm that night and on the way home I just stood by the bus stop and watched the lightning. My comp took cover under an awning because it was raining a bit. It was so cool I felt like a little kid seeing all the flashes of lighting and feeling the thunder shake me haha. East coast thunderstorms are awesome, it's the only thing it has over the West Coast. When the bus dropped us off it was a waterfall of rain! We got soaked and we had no umbrella I'll send a picture of how drenched I was haha. I'll send a picture. 
Then Thursday we met with a less active household, the Layton/Clayton/Browns, and taught them the 10 commandments it went well. After, we went to the Book of Mormon class that we hold every Thursday and another storm hit, not as bad but still. The class went really well we read Mosiah 4 and it is one of my favorite chapters there are so many awesome things in that chapter:) 
Friday we had a ward breakfast at the church and it was a lot of fun and since there are lot of students In the ward we talked about college and someone told me that if I stay at any BYU and try to transfer well it would be very difficult for any of my credits to transfer even at a Utah school and that it would be harder to get into pharmacy programs with a bachelors from a BYU. I have a lot of time but I don't want to make that decision last minute. Maybe others could shed more light but that's what this member said. 
Saturday, we went to go play football and as we were waiting for the bus, well this guy came up to us asking for change as many people do. I told him that I had nothing but he didn't believe it since we were waiting for the bus and pestered some more and my companion then said that we have passes that we just swipe and they guy said to let him see. My companion unfortunately did and held it for him to see and the man took it from his hand and proceeded to walk away and I, being bigger than him already, grabbed him pretty firmly and told him that that wasn't his to take. Well this guy then proceeded to put his hand in waist and said, "you think I'm playing?" It didn't look like he had a gun but I wasn't going to chance it. Elder Cooley then started explaining how we are missionaries and pleaded for his pass back. The man gave him his pass back and started asking questions about what we do. He said he would come to church on Sunday (he didn't). But he started saying how respected that I stood up for my companion and that I was like a bigger brother haha. He said that he got a little scared when I grabbed him. It was awkward because the whole time this guy is talking to us trying to be friendly, I still have adrenaline going through me thinking this guy just threatened to shoot me what the heck haha. So yeah if we tour my mission we won't visit Kensington. But then we got to football and told everyone what happened and they all thought it was funny that we committed the guy to come to church haha. Football was fun though but when we finished my back was a little tight and well now I have back spasms. I had it my senior year during volleyball and it was pretty painful but this is so much worse. The nurse should call me today sometime.
Also on Saturday we met with Roni Ho from China. We talked about the Gospel of Christ with an emphasis on the gift of the Holy Ghost and how it has helped us. It went well and she said she will get baptized when she feels it's true. She's hard to read though, I feel usually I'm pretty good at reading people but not with her. I hope and pray she will come to know the truthfulness and divinity of this church.
That was basically my week, I hope you are all doing well.
Elder Barker

Email from 6/30/14

Hey Dad,
So I am currently writing this in a laundromat and they have the tv show Maury and it's pretty annoying but the people on it are just like everyone here in North Philly haha. However I will try and write of my week. Nothing exciting or pressing happened except for a couple of small moments
On Wednesday, we were able to meet our investigator from China, Roni, and we went over the Plan of Salvation again with the Durhams — brother Durham served his mission around China and can speak Mandarin — and we talked about the Plan of Salvation again with her. She was able to understand a lot more and seemed to enjoy it.
Thursday we went out with a RM who served here a couple years ago. Simi Moala from Tonga. It was great he gave us some tips on what helped him in the area (he served in our area for 11 months) and he knew people that we were meeting with as well. It was a lot of fun and he's gonna come play football with us on Saturday as well as the APs and one of them was a LB at the University of Hawaii. It shall be fun.
Saturday we played football and it was a lot of fun I had a lot of touchdowns and a couple of pick-sixes so if you saw me on ESPN that's why haha. I got pretty beat up from it though and walking was a bit hard for the rest of the day haha but it was a lot of fun.
Sunday was a good day. Roni was able to come to church and that was just so awesome seeing her there I was 
so happy, so far one of the best things as a missionary is seeing someone you've been working with come to church. There was also a couple of less active families we've been working with that came as well I was so happy! 
On a separate note I'm going to be in the birthplace of the country for 4th of July! That's pretty cool I'm excited:) 
I love you!
Elder Barker