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, August 21, 2014

Email from 8/19/14

Hey Dad, 
Hey Dad so I am sending you an email today because for some reason my email stopped working after I sent one to Nate and so I hope he got that one as well and I hope this goes through because it still won't upload anything. Thanks for the address I will send president it as well as soon as the move is official. If I send a letter today will I still be okay to send it to our old address still?  So BYUI doesn't start til the 15th? I may do that but I still have a year so I don't need to stress about it. I wouldn't mind working for the time before school but it would be hard to find work I'm sure. I definitely would like to have my days planned out haha. Some of us elders have talked about rooming together at school and we joke about having weekly planning with our classes and dates and having "finding activities" haha it would be a lot of fun.  
So my week has been pretty crazy we got transfer calls and Elder Cooley and I will be staying another 6 weeks so I will be "killing" him. This will be my 3rd transfer with him.  An Elder who opened a Spanish area here though, √Člder Hardy, got transferred and we were pretty surprised since he just got here.  
This week we were able to meet with the Layton/Brown house hold again and one of the family members there who isn't LDS said she would like to be baptized along with her 8 year old son (her 11 year old son is baptized) on September 29! Unfortunately we found out that their neighbors kids have head lice so we won't go over there until the coast is clear.  
Another thing that was cool was that another person we are teaching, Susan, stuck up for us and the Book of Mormon when her husband and 16 year old daughter started bashing against the Word of Wisdom. Her daughter just wants an excuse to drink. But Susan stuck up and said how we need to have faith and we will come to know that Joseph Smith was and is a prophet and that the Word of Wisdom is of God. It was frustrating because of the contention, but it was great to see that Susan really does have a testimony. We are going to go to the temple site here in Philly for a lesson this weekend.  
Another awesome experience was one day Elder Cooley and I were going to the church to use Facebook and as I'm walking out of the subway I realize my comp isn't with me but I realized that he was talking to someone coming up the steps. He invited him to talk inside our church since it was just across the street. The mans name was Terrence and his initial question was, "Why do people attack us if we are followers of Jesus Christ?" It turned into an hour discussion and he seems to be a very Christ like individual who is always giving and he basically wanted to know how do I not give money to people who beg on the street and still follow Christ? It was a question I had to think about more and more because he wouldn't fully accept us saying to point them to places that can help. But I told him that it is not required of a man to run faster than he has strength and we cannot stretch ourselves too thin. Elder Cooley then gave him a short stack of pass-along cards with the Risen Lord on the front and said he could give these to them because the Gospel will help them so much more than a dollar will. He accepted gladly and seemed excited to do it. He was such a cool guy- he was an African refugee who came to America 16 years ago. Sadly he didn't live in our area so we gave him to the other elders in a different ward.  
A bad thing that happened though was we had a lesson with Chris S and we brought a member of the bishopric with us. We gave him some background and told him that we feel he may have a history with drugs but that he told us he has never done anything and his only problem is smoking. Well the member multiple times throughout the lesson talked about how Chris needed to stay strong off of drugs and get away from those dealers. It was horrible we controlled the best we could and ended the lesson of the Plan of Salvation short. Our next lesson with Chris we read with him in Leviticus where he was reading because that's what he wanted to do which was chapter 20. You should look up  the chapter heading... very "interesting" chapter. Elder Cooley and I tried to tie it back into the Book of Mormon which we used Alma 39. After the lesson though he told us to not be disappointed if he doesn't make it church. I'm afraid he is dropping us and I'm sure it's because of the lesson before and how uncomfortable it made him. I was really excited for the lesson I love teaching the Plan of Salvation it's my favorite but it did not go the way it should. I have hope for him still though.  
Other than that though my week was pretty good I need to look into getting a license though because I have no ID. 

I hope you are all doing well!
Elder Barker

Sent from my iPad

Monday, August 11, 2014

Email from 8/14/14

Hey Dad,
First off I did get the wallet and the ATM card thank you so much:) thank you for the address as well I will let my mission president know. And it would pretty cool to get my PT license and work at Dan's pharmacy it would be a great way to familiarize myself more with the field and they make a decent living especially for a college student. I hope I enjoy being a pharmacist because it's all I have pretty much (ideas wise) but the paycheck will help a bit haha. So I did ask my mission president about going home 1 transfer early and he said he wants me to serve a full 24 months but if I do that I will miss the Fall semester of BYU-I and have to go in April or I go home without you coming out here and I go to school right when I get home. I don't really want to do the second part I feel it would add so much more stress trying to transition. 
So Tommy is home huh? Wow did Jeramy Jones ever go back out? How's he doing? 
It's a bit strange that I won't go back to Corona since I was born and raised there but really it's okay and I'm excited for the change and it's not that far away anyway. Hang in there Dad it seems like things will normalize very soon. 
So I shall commence of recounting my journeys of this last week.
On Tuesday we were able to meet with Chris Smallwood again and we talked about the Restoration and really focused on how the authority to run Christ's church was brought back through Joseph Smith. We also talked about the word of wisdom he seemed to really like it.  He said he would quit coffee for sure but that he would need some more time on the cigarettes but that he does want to quit. 
On Wednesday, we went to to the Giordano's and we watched I will not fail thee nor forsake thee by Thomas s Monson. It's one of my favorite talks of all time. Susan felt the spirit and loved it and kept looking at her husband Paul who says he didn't hear anything new but we all felt that he could feel the spirit especially during one of the last stories of his talk. Susan was in tears and I just hope that Paul's heart will be softened. 
Thursday we had our district meeting and weekly planning and after we had dinner with a new family in the ward named the Diehls. They live right next to the temple it is really cool. Sister Diehl's parents are here visiting till November they are converts from Hong Kong.
  Friday was zone conference. It was great and really helped me figure out what could help better this area. After we had exchanges with the zone leaders. I was with elder Stubbs who had served in Bayview before I did. We were able to meet with Chris again and we talked about the first part of the plan of salvation which is where did we come from for this life. He seemed to really enjoy it and he says it made sense. 
Saturday we got a call from someone asking if we could go give a sister in the ward a blessing so we went with a member who was able to drive us there. Her name is Sister Anton and she is nearly blind, she also found out her older sister has brain and lung cancer, so we gave her a blessing of comfort and she asked me to do it but before we did we sang a hymn called "Abide with me." As I gave her a blessing I started to tear up, but only a little, and when I did I could feel her starting to cry as well. After she thanked me and I hope it was able to help her. 
Michael Dean (from Bayview) came and picked Elder Stubbs and I up and took us out to dinner I'll send some pictures. We then went to the talent show a couple wards were having and some of us missionaries did synchronized swimming haha it was hilarious! The final act was going to be late though so everyone was asking me to stall and get up and dance but we couldn't find music that was missionary appropriate. I'm glad we didn't though because the act was a dance act and the guy was amazing!! One of the best I've ever seen so it would've been bad since he could blow me out of the water! 
The cockroaches are getting really bad though they ate hole through a cereal bag! We need to get out of this place I hate these bugs so much!!
Chris unfortunately did not come to church :/ it gets tiring sometimes hoping people will actually do what they say they will and come to church but I keep praying they do. 
I'm so grateful, however, to be serving here in the best mission in the world, Philadelphia, PA. I've been able to experience so many things that have helped me grow more. Thank you for always encouraging me to go on my mission!
Elder Barker

Sent from my iPad

Email from 8/4/14

Hey Dad, 
Yes i did get the pants thank you so much they are very comfortable and were much needed. so do you have the address for the house? i'll have to know when you move because i need to tell President that my address and ward (possibly stake) is changing. I am excited to see all the new changes when after my mission but i know i'm where i need to be right now. I'll get the card this Thursday we are having our zone conference then and so they bring mail from the mission home so as long as it says Elder Josh Barker instead of just Elder Barker i should get it because there are two Barkers now but soon just me. The Elders around me are all older than me and are now having to think about college and i think i might want to go back to Idaho at least for my Associates and then go to BYU (or wherever Nate plays) or a school with a good program to help me get into Pharmacy school. if i do that though (BYU-I) i will need to come home a transfer early and i might ask president about it in my letter but what do you think i should do? 
Well this week was confusing haha. Monday we were supposed to finally have a dinner appointment and it was with our Elders Quorum President and we were going to bring a less-active with us but he kept having to put off coming little by little because of traffic until it got to the point where we had to call it off so the member just dropped food off at the church in the fridge. Tuesday we had a lesson with a woman named Rosita, and i feel so bad for her because she lost her boyfriend that she was living with in January and she is just broken over it. I think our lesson about the Plan of Salvation helped and she recognized that there may be a reason that after all her prayers for help we came into contact with her but she says she barely has any faith and is trying to hold onto that. I felt pretty tired after that lesson because i bore testimony as much as possible about how i know the plan of salvation is true and how families can be together forever.  
Skipping ahead to Saturday, we were able to meet with Chris Smallwood, who we met a couple weeks ago. We talked about the Gospel of Christ (faith, repentance, baptism & receiving the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end) and how important having the authority to baptize was and how it has to be by immersion not just sprinkling. It went really well and he told us what he had read in the Book of Mormon and he accepted baptism for September 14. He said he didn't have any bus fare so I still had my weekly pass and I recently had gotten my month pass for August so I gave him my weekly since it expired after Sunday so he could get to church, it meant we had to walk the rest of the night but it wasn't a big deal.  
Sunday he was able to come the last 5-10 minutes of sacrament. I was happy that he came even though he was late and he stayed for Sunday school and priesthood so that was awesome and he participated! He says he likes what he's seen and he plans on staying around. He's a good guy just has had problems with drugs in the past but he's staying clean. 

That about sums up my week, hopefully we move apartments soon, we checked out a place on Wednesday and it is really nice and it a better part of our area.  
I hope you are doing well,
Elder Barker
Ps. I don't really have good access with Walmart or any store like that could I possibly get a wallet? Or I could get a fake Gucci one haha kidding