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, July 29, 2015


Hey Dad, 
Well this week was really great actually! On Tuesday we were able to sit down with a recent convert Tiseam and talk with him. He had basically told us over text that he was going to leave the church days earlier, but we were to sit with him and understand what's going on more, so that's good he's a good kid just doesn't entirely understand what his baptism meant.  
On Wednesday we had transfers and we picked up our new companion, I am in a trio now here in Stroudsburg. The new elder is Elder Martinez from San Bernardino. He has been out for 3 months and doesn't know that I go home next week, I told him that I've been out "a little over a year" haha. A lot of members have mentioned me "dying" or going home soon though so he might be catching on a bit. He probably will know when I start packing today. Oh gosh that is weird. That night however we were able to have a lesson with Jess & Rich at a members home and we went over Tithing and Fast Offerings. It seemed to go very well.  
Thursday night we got to go on splits! It's so easy now being in a trio. Elder Westmann and Brother Karren (who's awesome!) were able to go see a potential named Lisa and they had a good lesson about the restoration with her. Elder Martinez and I were able to go see Brother Waldron. His daughter was acting up quite a bit but we were able to bring it all back especially towards the end and the spirit was there as we spoke. It was really cool seeing again how we were able to tie everything in and discern what he needed at that time. 
On Friday I went to the DMV and I got a Pennsylvania Drivers License! They were able to get some things from California and now I have a license! The man said if I just got an ID then I'd have to start everything over to get a license in California, but since it had expired within 6 months it got renewed:) I'm happy haha it took awhile but we were able to talk to a lot of people that day.
Saturday was pretty stressful, we had a couple appointments fall through and an hour before our next appointment with a woman, the member who was supposed to go out with us backed out! So we were calling frantically, calling everyone we know to get someone to come out with us. Finally we found someone to come out with us. He spoke a lot, a lot, but there was good stuff in there that she needed to hear. Then towards the end of the night we were on a less-actives door talking to him and I see Barry pull up through his driveway and say hi to him and walk over and talk to him and we were able to set up an appointment for Sunday. He had been hoping to see us actually. 
Sunday, it was really hard to conceal the fact that I was leaving soon because all the members just kept asking, so when do you leave? The Spanish branch is actually throwing me a fair well potluck next Sunday haha I just found out. But we were able to get 4 new investigators on Sunday! The night ended with an African family. They are very humble people who love the Bible and love having us come over and talk about God. We were able to set up another appointment for this Friday and they want us to bring a Finding Faith in Christ DVD for them. That family is great! I'll miss them. I'll miss it here. I can't believe this is my 2nd to last email I send home, it still hasn't really hit me that I'm going home soon but that is exactly why I haven't told elder Martinez that I'm leaving so I don't have elders talking about when I die, I want to keep working. This will be a great week! I am looking forward to sprinting to the finish and doing my best to jumpstart this area a little bit more before I go the way of the Earth.
I love you Dad
Elder Barker


Hey Dad,

It's weird hearing about the plans you have for me when I'm home, especially getting a release interview. I don't really think about that haha.  
Anyway, this week was a little more slow and I didn't get to go to the temple on Friday. But on Tuesday we were able to see J again and we went over the Word of Wisdom and she had some concerns about coffee, she normally drank multiple cups a day. We went over it and she still was a little worried and asked if she could start after her baptism. We told no but that if she needs to we can push her date back a little. When we said that she said absolutely not I'll stop drinking coffee and smoking. We went over there on Saturday and went over it again, because we didn't focus on the blessings of following it enough the first time. We were on their deck and while we were out there it just started pouring out of nowhere and there was probably at least 3 flashes of lightning every minute it seemed. At the end we asked J to pray and commit to God to live the Word of Wisdom. As of yesterday she's only had one cup of coffee since Tuesday, and I think one cigarette. Unfortunately her husband is a heavy smoker. She really wants to be baptized though and it's so refreshing. It always seems like when someone progresses to baptism Satan just lets loose on everyone else and he's been doing that for sure.  
Anyway, so I was supposed to leave Thursday at 6:45 to go to the mission home for the temple on Friday, but I got a call from my mission president at like 1-2 telling me I'll be going on August 4th instead, so we had to quickly plan out things to do that night since, our appointment cancelled and we had anticipated not being here. Same goes for Friday. In retrospect I'm happy I didn't go then because now I get to go the day before I go home and I don't feel my mission is over haha. I'm so excited to go though.  
We got transfer calls on Friday, and I am staying in stroudsburg! There is going to be a third missionary here! I don't think I'm going to tell him how long I've been out and just surprise him when the time comes, like "yup I go home tomorrow" haha. I'm very happy to be staying it would have been harder to stay motivated somewhere else. Now I can continue to serve people I have genuinely come to love:) 
I hope you have a great week Dad
I love you!
Elder Barker 


Hey Dad,

So this week went great! We got to go to philly last week which was awesome it was so cool seeing a past area. Later that night Elder Pitt & Elder Morris came up to our area and doubled in, unfortunately they got there late which made us late to an appointment, but it went well. I went with Elder Morris, who came out with me, and he was super excited to go on exchanges with me he said he had been waiting for it the entire mission haha. They spent the night and in the morning Elder Morris and I contacted a couple people and so were Elder Westmann and Elder Pitt. 

Later on Tuesday we had a lesson with a new investigator named Monisha. She's been through a lot and is really looking for peace in her life. We talked about the gospel of Jesus Christ (through Christ we can be cleansed from sin, faith, repentance, baptism & the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end) and we invited her to be baptized. She said she wants to be baptized but wants to be sure that it's where God wants her to be baptized, and we told her that that is great and invited her to read in the Book of Mormon and pray about it. 

On Wednesday we went to go see L. to help them pack as they are moving this Wednesday. L. told us that R. did not want her to convert and she felt trapped a little because the bible says for wives to obey their husbands. I told her that we can't tell her what to do, but that I have truly come to love their family in the time I've known them and that they always have a home and a family here in this church no matter what decision they make. When I said that, tears came to her eyes and one of her children (who is autistic) asked why she was sad. I could tell that she, at the very least, has been pricked in her heart by the spirit in the time that she has spent with missionaries here, and she knows that there is something more to this church. She may not believe it to be the true church yet, but I do believe that she was quite hurt from her husband telling her that. 

Thursday, for district meeting we were able to have a great discussion on revelation through prayer. Dad maybe try and read chapter 4 in Preach my Gospel, it might be able to help. It helps me a lot and is something I will always need to learn more. I went on exchanges with the zone leaders and I went down to Nazareth. Elder Westmann was able to have a couple great lessons that we had set up. In Nazareth we didn't have too much set up other than some stop by's. We were able to to have some interesting conversations with some interesting people, haha I will miss those. We had dinner with at member's house, the husband actually played Volleyball at ASU as an OH so that was cool. We shared a thought from one of my favorite ensign articles. It's called, "The Atonement of Jesus Christ" by Elder Holland from March 2008. It's an amazing article especially the beginning. We read a small portion together and then discussed it, as I was able to bear testimony and hear others bear testimony of the atonement I could feel the spirit in the room so strongly and even their very hyper child calmed down and listened. Then afterwards we played ball and tore it up haha.

Friday we went to L. and R's home again to help load up their trailer. We got pictures with everyone and L. told us to pray for R. so that he may change his mind about not converting, and she also gave us her address so that the church in Michigan could get in touch with her. She is so great and I'm going to miss her family so much. She told us we're welcome if we're ever in Michigan so maybe Elder Rossell and I will go on a road trip in college haha jk.
Then on Saturday it was great, we had a lesson with J. We went over the restoration, and we asked her during the lesson if she believes that Joseph Smith was a true prophet of God, and she said she does because of the feeling she gets in her heart when she has prayed and when she reads in the Book of Mormon. It was such a spirit filled lesson and one reason I believe is because we held it in the church. I love the feeling I have when I go to church it's great. 

It was a great week and this Friday I get to go to the TEMPLE!!!!!!!!!! I have missed it so much and I am so happy I get to go to DC! It's so beautiful. It's been so long, I really want to go as much as I can when I'm home. I will send pictures of it next week:)

I love you Dad and I know it's difficult but there are so many promised blessings to you and to us, search them out. I know easier said than done, but God is with you always (D&C 122:9, John 14:18

I love you Dad.
Elder Barker

Ps. Did you get my card for Father's Day?


Hey Dad, 
So I'm currently in Philly visiting the temple site with a couple recent converts. Potentially the last time before its dedicated actually, wow that just hit me. I'm sorry for how hard it's been Dad, but don't worry about me, I'm used to change from the mission haha. I'll be fine. I'm glad Nathan was able to have a good experience at Dixie. That's awesome that both Carter and Ammon got called to Samoa! When do they leave? 
This week went well. On Tuesday, we saw J. again and unfortunately she has not been keeping her commitments so we read a little with her from Alma 7, which is what we left with her. She says she wants to be baptized but we are going to talk with her about why we leave her commitments. Tuesday morning however, a sister in the district called asking for a blessing. We headed over to a members home, the Villata's, because that's where they were going. She had received a call saying that the sister's grandmother had passed away, we were able to have a good talk and she asked me if I would give her a blessing. I don't think I've ever had words come more clearly to my mind than at that time. I was holding back tears as I spoke the words that Heavenly Father put in my mind, and I had the thought her grandmother was closer to her now than ever before. It was a great experience and I am very grateful for the spirit we were able to all feel in that home. 
Wednesday, we were able to go see an investigator named George with our Bishop since they're really good friends. We talked a lot about the questions he had from reading the Book of Mormon. It went really well actually and he knows it's true and he has a desire to be baptized he just needs to come to church and experience it for himself.  
Sorry I'm getting kinda carsick so this will be short. 
On Thursday I had my last zone training and it was all about inviting others to be baptized. It was awesome and really powerful! At the end they invited all the "dying" missionaries to give their dying testimonies and they invited me as well. It caught me by surprise because I didn't think they knew I was leaving early. Afterwards I got to go on exchanges with Elder Zolman in Lehighton. We had an good lesson with a woman named Karren. We went over the Restoration and her little grandkids were really cute and kept wanting us to play with them. She said that if she found the church to be true she would be baptized, she also loved the fact that we don't have any paid clergy. She seems to have a lot of potential. After that lesson we went to see a young woman named Becky. She had just gone through a very serious accident and escaped with just a couple of scratches. She's had a pretty traumatic life and we had a good discussion of who God is to her as well as Christ. Eventually after some silence, I started talking about the Holy Ghost and his role in our lives and invited her to be baptized so that she may have the Holy Ghost with her every moment so that she doesn't have to ever feel alone. She accepted and Elder Zolman invited her to pick a date to be baptized. She picked September 5th! The spirit was so strong as we just simply listened and let the spirit guide us I loved it. She apparently got up in church and bore her testimony this last Sunday!  
On Friday we met with Cecilia and I had no idea what to talk about with her, and as I got on my knees Friday morning to conclude my personal study session I told Heavenly Father that I had no idea what to do and the thought of the lesson with Becky came to mind and how we invited her to be baptized so that she may have the spirit with her more. My companion agreed to do that. So we went in with Brother Beebe and listened. I didn't know what to say so I prayed that I may have the words come to me as I just simply listened to her. She brought up many things which had been causing her to feel depressed and I had the thought to share President Monson's talk "I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee" one of my favorites. So we watched and there came a moment where I knew I needed to stop it, it was where he said that by making the gospel of Jesus Christ the center of our lives is how we endure. Cecilia said she has not been doing that. We talked more about it and I eventually invited her to be baptized, to which she accepted! She picked a date for September 26! I was so happy, because she seemed to have more hope at the end than she did at the beginning and that's what brings so much joy to this work, just simply seeing people have greater hope, faith, and love in their lives.  
I love this work and this gospel and I owe my life to God. I thank him so much for this amazing opportunity I have had. 
I love you Dad and don't worry, things will work out, and blessings are ready to come.
Elder Barker
The Medinas are going to Ecuador for a month and a half so that was the last time I'll see them on my mission:( 


Hey Dad, 
I am totally okay with Elder Coggins speaking the same day as me, if he is as well. It's not like a Homecoming Sunday becomes that RM's day and only his. It's still the Lord's Day. I think it would be great though to have us speak together.  
This week was a little slow honestly. Tuesday night after P-Day, we went out with a member, Brother Anderson and he had some people for us to try by but none of them were home. There was a crazy storm though which caused their whole community's power to go out.  
On Wednesday we went on exchanges and I stayed in Stroudsburg with Elder Harman. We did a lot of service for a member which took longer than I was anticipating and we were planning on doing some work out by where he lives because he lives about 30 minutes away. He then took us to lunch but it was ALL the way back to near where we live so we had to find some more things to do in the area before our dinner appointment. Afterwards we were back near our apartment and we saw a lot of people playing at the basketball courts next to us so I wanted to go play in our shirt and ties. As soon as we walked up this one guy (we were the only white guys there) just hounded us and said we're not welcome here and to take our beliefs somewhere else. I just ignored him and asked one of the guys playing if we could play with them and they all said yeah, kinda curious to see what was going to happen. They started a one on one line going, first to make it stays on. When it was my turn I beat the first guy easy so everyone on the other court stopped playing to come watch and when I beat the other guy, I actually almost made him fall, everyone started cheering haha. The third guy we went back and forth and I just got winded so I lost, but everyone on the sideline came up to me and just started talking. Then I heard my companion for the day still being yelled at by the first guy. So I went over to help and he was drunk and high and he kept calling Elder Harman all of these names and accusing us of being racist and slave owners for the reason of, and I quote, " 'cause y'all white!" It was really sad seeing the ignorance in this man. He then asked about my ancestry so I told him a couple European countries and then he interrupted, "so did everyone slave owner that lived!" There were some young women next to him that just kept apologizing and actually had some real questions about who we were and what our religion is. He tried interrupting and accused the Latter-day Saints of not helping out the slaves and I told him some church history of how we kept getting thrown out of homes in Missiouri, I said it in a tone that probably wasn't the best but eventually it just got to the point where we needed to leave. Everyone else though loved us so that was good. After that we were able to have a good follow up lesson with Jess, she's get baptized on August 2nd. She had not kept the commitment we had left her, but she had told her parents (who are catholic) that she was going to be baptized in the church and her parents were not happy at all about it. She was feeling very down after that so she prayed and asked God if He wanted her to be baptized and she got another overwhelming feeling when she said "Amen." It was great:) 
We also met with a woman named Cecilia and she's just feeling sad but we were able to have a great lesson about prayer with her. We plan on seeing her again this week. 
There's a lot of changes happening here in units but the work is still progressing! I love Stroudsburg.
I love you Dad.
Elder Barker

Wednesday, July 1, 2015


Hey Dad,
Happy Belated Fathers Day!!! Hopefully you get my card soon I unfortunately sent it a bit late. My pday got moved to today so that's why I couldn't email yesterday. That's pretty cool that Nate got to go to that, so is he getting the Camry or the Corolla? How much is he getting paid? So will I be giving 2 homecoming talks then? Or just at El Cerrito? As for school the only things I need to figure out are books and a job. Not to sure how to go on about for either one. I think I can just take care of books when I get there, if I remember correctly. As for the job, I just really don't want a cafeteria job or anything like that haha. My class schedule is kinda ridiculous at this point, my Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays are jam packed. Because of all the commotion that happened during registration it got even more complex. So Tuesday and Thursday will be mostly study and homework since I believe, I currently only have one class those days but hopefully I can change that soon. That's awesome that you're going out with the missionaries! When was the last time you did that? You'll have to let me know how it goes! 
This week was still a little slow in the beginning since Elder Westmann still wasn't feeling too great. On Monday however, last pday, we were able to go see Radu. It was the first time we had seen him since he came to church just a couple weeks prior. We talked about his experience with church and he said the variety of people threw him off a bit. Some people were farther on their spiritual journey than others and we tried explaining how church is a hospital for sinners and hopefully it helped. The spirit was very strong as we testified of church and he told us that he knows we are "holy men" because he can feel it but he just didn't get the same feeling from everyone else.. Unfortunately he did not come to church.
On Thursday we went to R and L's home to help R load up the van so he can take stuff to where they are moving to in Michigan. Elder Westmann couldn't lift so he gave us moral support haha. As soon as we got there though one of their kids, (who's special needs) just goes right up to Elder Westmann and pokes him hard right in the belly button — which is where they made an incision. It looked like it hurt a lot. It was good to be able to help them out though:) one of their kids, K, (he's not special needs but he's like 4) just calls me "Big Man." Every time he wanted me to chase him or play soccer he'd be like, "Hey Big Man!" Haha I love that kid.
On Friday we went to go see a super sweet elderly woman named Cecilia. I had originally met her in April or March. She's felt helpless ever since her husband unexpectedly died and so we shared the Plan of Happiness with her. She kept telling us during the lesson, "I never learned this in Catholic school!" Haha but she said it makes so much more sense. She had known a lot of Mormons when she lived in Vegas for a time and she said that she's never met so many sincere and nice individuals. At the end of the lesson she brought up baptism! She told us that she thought about joining the church when she was in Vegas. We are seeing her again this Friday and she should be coming to church this Sunday as well I really do want to just help her be happy and have her feel that God really does love her. 
Then yesterday we had a really good day. We went to a zone conference where Elder Kacher (of the 70) came and spoke to us. It was really great and at the end we sang the mission hymn (army of Helaman customized to the mission) and I realized that is very likely the last time I'll ever sing it as a missionary and as we sang, I ain't e'en gonna lie, I started crying I hadn't cried like that in a really long time. Afterwards, a couple that were Elder Westmann's neighbors from his last area took us out to lunch. They were really cool, they weren't members but they loved the elders. We had some really cool experiences contacting people afterwards, we were driving and we saw someone outside this one formers, named Vince, house and we had been trying to get in contact with him for weeks so we pull over and park. We walk back and as he sees us he got super happy and told us that he wants to get back to the church and meeting us. He still remembered the first elder he met, Elder Zolman who is in the district. That was really cool. At night though we called up a part member household and they told us to come over. The member, R, is allowing a couple, J and D, to stay with him for the time being. We had taught J and D the Plan of Salvation last time but they didn't remember too much so we read through the pamphlet. As we got to the Atonement we asked J who Christ is to her, and she gave us an answer that we could tell was more of what she was told rather than what she really felt. So we asked her how it made her feel (probably like 3 times) and she gave a simple answer, but it was from the heart and the spirit came into the home. We then read John 3:5 with her and explained to her about baptism and she told us she had wanted to be baptized in the church as she's talked about it with R. We watched the Bible video of Christ's baptism and extended to her a date for August 2 which she accepted. The spirit was there as we bore our testimonies and we invited her to pray right there with us to ask God if August 2nd was the date she should be baptized. As she said amen she just kinda leaned back in the couch and said, "Wow." She then explained that her heart started racing as she said Amen and she got emotional as she tried to explain how she felt and said, "I think I got my answer." She has some work to do but if she strives she can hit it. I'm so very grateful for the time I've had to serve and I would never trade it for anything, even for a NBA contract I wouldn't trade it. I say that as a joke but I really mean it as well, my time as a missionary has meant so much to me. Yes I would love to be an NBA player it's been my dream ever since I could dribble, but my mission has affected my life for good greater than anything else I could be doing. I have loved my mission!
I love you Dad and don't worry, it will all work out in the end.
Elder Barker


Hey Dad,
I know this is going to be tough in the upcoming time, and actually a sister in church got up to speak this Sunday and talked about an experience she had where her husband was in the military and they were living in Germany. She didn't speak the language and she barely ever saw her husband. She eventually found that she found solace and enjoyment in her scripture study? How has your scripture reading been going dad? I am very grateful that I have found that I can always rely on the scriptures to, at the very least, keep me going. I love those type of lessons where the spirit just absolutely takes over and influences everyone in the room. There's a promise given to those who are teaching actually in D&C 50:13-14,17-22. Those who teach and testify, as they feel the spirit, those whom are listening will feel it as well, even if they don't know it's the spirit they still feel it. I know that that woman felt the spirit in that class and it's because you as the teacher followed a prompting you received which allowed others to bear testimony as well. Thank you for sharing that.
I was able to get registered... It was so stressful. So this week was crazy because Wednesday night, my companion felt some pain in his stomach and when he woke up it was there and he was feeling sick overnight. So we go to urgent care Thursday morning and they tell him, it looks like you got appendicitis. So I'm not going to district meeting now and as the district leader I am supposed to lead the meeting and discussion, so I call up another elder, who is awesome just a spiritual giant really, and I ask him if he can take over. He accepts, super nervous because he had no preparation haha. Anyway, we run over to the ER and after a couple hours and a few tests they tell him, yup you got appendicitis so we're going to go into surgery now. Everything went well, it was really weird just sitting in the waiting room all alone... I just felt strange and out of place. I was going to try and talk to people but shortly after I got in there I was the only one. Everything went well though and we had to stay overnight at the hospital and I slept in a chair, a good one but still. I was pretty stressed out because I'm thinking, registration is the next day and I have no way of doing it here. A recent convert, Sara, was super nice and brought over her laptop so I could get on but that was at like 12, and registration opened at 8 am my time. But then the chemistry department didn't have me cleared so after an hour and a half, and my phone dying and scrambling to find a charger so I could get this whole thing settled. I was finally able to get a hold of them and get them to allow me to register (I didn't have a graduation plan set so I didn't have clearance, I guess a few science departments do that). So around1:30 I am finally able to register for classes, I was able to get most of the ones I wanted, my chem teacher didn't have great reviews but I'll just work hard and allow my love for science just over power that. 
Anyway Elder Westmann can't really drive under the medication he's on and my license is expired, and he can barely walk so we've been trapped in the apartment and I've been making phone calls basically. I still don't enjoy talking over the phone haha. 
My companion is doing well but he still has limited mobility and even though I hate being trapped inside I am grateful for the chance I have to do service for him. 
I hope you feel better and I invite you to read These 3 chapters in the boom this week: 2 Nephi 4, Helaman 5, and 3 Nephi 17. I feel you would really love them:)
I love you Dad!
Elder Barker

Ps. Could I get brother O'reily's email? I want to thank him for the mission prep class and all his help.


Hey Dad,
Okay so first, as far as flight times and everything you are going to have to call the mission for that. I have very limited knowledge of these things, normally the parents are told this stuff long before the missionary. I didn't ask Amanda to register I asked her to look up teacher ratings so I could know which teachers are better. I will have to look but if you could (or amber or Amanda) look up prerequisites for pharmacy schools (most of them are the same I believe). I might take a world class then since I'm already taking calculus and chem, I'll look later at them. Registration is this Friday so I'll be doing it then. 
Well this week went very well and I found out that I am staying here in Stroudsburg for another transfer so I'll be ending my mission here — unless they move me for just 10 days. 
On Tuesday, we went and saw Lisa and Ron and read a little bit from the Book of Mormon with them and answered some questions they had. One she brought up was view of the God head and the trinity. We gave her some scriptures from the New Testament that testify that they are 3 distinct beings — among which are the baptism of Jesus, stoning of Stephan, Christ pleading to the Father in Gethsemane and on the cross — so that she can read and pray about them and find out for herself what is truth. It went really well I feel and afterwards we went straight to another appointment which had been set up just 2 hours before. It was with a man named George and he has been meeting with the missionaries since February I believe and is really great friends with the new Bishop. He had some questions about things he had been reading so we helped explain them. He said he believes the Book of Mormon to be true, he's just not ready for baptism yet. 
On Wednesday we went on exchanges and we had some cool lessons there I was in Lehighton with Elder Harmon. We met with a investigator named Ben they're teaching who is an atheist, is really trying to find out whether or not there is a God. He told us that he recognizes a difference from praying and he loved both of our "conversion" stories and our experiences with the Scriptures. We then stopped by another man they are teaching named Paris and we shared with him the gospel of Jesus Christ and invited him to be baptized on July 6, he actually picked that date. We then met with a man named Jeff. He is Jewish and he was really cool, we talked a lot about the Old Testament (I am so happy that I've been studying that or else I wouldn't have been able to converse with him haha) he said he was impressed with my knowledge of the Torah. I was shocked by that because I feel I have an average knowledge of it. He made us homemade cotton candy which was pretty good.
The next day, Thursday, I was in Stroudsburg with Elder Zolman who's a boss! We got to talk to a few golden people on the street. We then had a frantic ride to a dinner appointment and then back to an appointment where we find out they were waiting for us and they even made us dinner! I was so full already. But I prayed I wouldn't throw up and I didn't haha, we had a really good discussion though with them about baptism and what is keeping them from committing even though they know it's true.
On Saturday we had some things fall through but we had an awesome lesson out of nowhere with a recent convert's granddaughter. She was raised Catholic but never felt that God was there when she went to church. Eventually it became a "does he exist?" type of feeling for her. We asked her some more questions which really made her think about her efforts in trying to have a relationship with God, and bore testimony that He lives and loves us. It was really powerful the spirit was there strong and I know that she felt it. She came to church the next day too! 
That was my week in a nutshell haha. I am excited to be staying here in Stroudsburg and for the growth that is waiting to happen:)
I love you Dad.
Elder Barker


Hey Dad,
I'm glad to hear you had a good birthday week, that's awesome that they all were able to coordinate that. I got the pictures of the girls and it seems like you had a fun time at the beach. Oh and what's with the cat? Haha
Well this week we had a lot of quality lessons with new investigators. On Monday Lisa had us over for dinner and that was really cool and we had a big water gun fight with her kids even though we were in our shirts and ties still haha. While driving home we decided to stop by to see a recent convert and we were able to see him for the first time in a couple weeks. He started a job so he's hard to get in touch with and I guess yesterday he was sick so he didn't come to church again. 
On Tuesday we had an FHE appointment with the Rolons but when we got there the wife asked if we could come the next day. So I left them the plate of cookies I made (I finally made cookies for the first time on my mission) and we went to a less actives house. We were with a member (Brother Anderson) and he knew this sister very well so we went and finally saw her for the first time since March. Afterwards we went back to the church and a sister in the ward wanted to introduce us to her friend who is from Romania. His name is Radu and he had been going through some tough times and he wanted a blessing. So we talked with him for a bit about the Plan of Salvation especially the Atonement. We then gave him a blessing which he asked me to perform. Afterwards he said he felt as if electricity was running through his body. We set up an appointment for a couple days later and gave him a Plan of Salvation pamphlet to read. So that was awesome!
Wednesday we got to meet with the Rolons. They actually had their friends over that had been asking questions about us. So we started teaching and answering questions they had. We started going into Plan of Salvation but it didn't feel right and then it just transitioned into the Restoration and ran much smoother from there. It was really great and they both asked for a Book of Mormon! 
Thursday we had another lesson with Radu and went over the Plan of Salvation. He read the whole thing and had great questions as well. We invited him to be baptized and he accepted. He said he knew the Plan of Salvation to be true. He said he and his 12 year old daughter would go to church.
Friday I went to Missionary Leadership Council, I left the apartment at 5:40 am and got back at 9:25 pm. Just one big meeting haha it was good seeing everyone though haha. 
Sunday we finally had ward council. It was really nice having. Anyway, Radu and his daughter came so that was great and they both seemed to really enjoy it:) after church we had a lesson with our WML Brother Jnbaptiste's friend Kyle. We went over the Plan of Salvation as well and it went really well and he wants "to be Mormon" haha.  It was a good week Dad:)
It's been amazing seeing the changes that people go through and how much happier they become as they bring God more into their lives. I am very happy that I have chosen to serve as a missionary.
I love you Dad
Elder Barker


Hey Dad,

Happy Birthday! Youve done such an amazing job magnifying your calling as a father, and though I am a little biased, you have raised us kids and have always strived to stress the gospel in our home and I thank you for that. That's awesome about Nate good for him, I still encourage him to use tutors up at college, I'm going to. I really do love my mission, I had a dream last night, or maybe it was a day dream while trying to get myself to workout where I was Philly again during a heatwave and I missed it. It was hot and I constantly had sweat dripping as we walked down the streets or rode the busses, but oh it was great and I will always remember these days. Oh and I lifted 257. I want to go for 300 by the time I get home. With that, my release date will be August 1st. It's basically whenever mom flies in in August. With the watch, I have no idea but I'll take it haha that's pretty weird. Nate already is going to become an Elder?! That's so crazy!!
This week was good we had some really good lessons. We met again with Lisa and talked about the Book of Mormon and read 3 Nephi 11. It helped her see that the Book of Mormon is about Christ. She came to church! Her and 10 of her adopted children! 7 of them had special needs and were all sweet. I love those kids so much they're really funny. We're actually going there tonight for Memorial Day. We picked up a new investigator as well named Mel. She has met with missionaries in the past a lot but hasn't since October. She has read the Book of Mormon 3 times! And has recently quit smoking and drinking coffee on her own because of the word of wisdom! She lives kinda far from the church but is willing to drive up there. She seems like a great woman and is already very close to baptism. I'm excited to work with her. We had another great lesson with a less active sister. It got scheduled out of nowhere but the spirit definitely help guide it and her home teacher, who came with us, did such an awesome job. She's making a lot of good decisions for herself and I'm happy for her. 
Things here in stroudsburg are going well:) we just started week 5 in the transfer.
I love you Dad.
Elder Barker


Hey Dad,
I have to say, I don't want my mission to end I really don't. Sure I am excited to see everyone again and everything, but I really have just loved my mission so much. This has been my life for nearly 2 years, the gospel has all I've really had to think about really. I don't want to lose that, you always hear about elders who go home and get back into old habits and I don't want that to happen. I want to stay who I've become, I feel like I still am the old me but I have a relationship with God now and I don't want it to diminish, only to grow. I look at the music I listened to all the time back home, that rappity hippidy hop, and I can't listen to it if I want to keep my mind set the same, I've recognized how much of a challenge that is going to be when I'm home. I want to still set aside an hour a day for my scriptures, I feel like I've grown to know each writer in them especially the Book of Mormon. In district meeting we talked about the importance of using the Book of Mormon, and in preparation I basically looked up all of the dying testimonies of the prophets. My favorite I have to say is Moroni's. I mapped out a few verses to sum it all up and here are the verses I put together: Mormon 8:2-4, 34-35 Moroni 10:29, 32-34. Moroni went through so much and saw everyone he knew throw their faith away and die until it was only him. He could have written on anything and he chose to write on faith, on hope, and on the Atonement of Christ. You find that with every writer; they all were willing to give their lives (and some did) for their testimony in God the Father and Jesus Christ. How has your scripture reading been going? Daily scripture reading has been such a great source of strength these past 20-21 months. I'm going to miss it out here, I really have grown to love a lot of people. I hope to go out with the missionaries as much as I can when I'm home. Are there elders there? I think going out with them if you can would really help. You will have so many spiritual experiences as you watch people grow closer to our Father. Whenever you can I would invite you to tell them you can go out. Members coming out is such a huge help. We met with this woman named Lisa for the first time (she had met with the other elders) and it went really well. A member who just moved in the ward (Greg K) came out with us and he's awesome he even offered to go tracking with us!! Who does that?! But we helped answer and address some questions and concerns she had and it led to us basically going over the latter part of the Plan of Salvation and she told us that it all made sense. We invited her to be baptized when she feels it's true and she said she would. She added that at times she has felt that this is the true church but sometimes just doubts creep in shortly after, Satan is good at that. I do believe that she will be baptized, she is an honest seeker and one of the most Christ like individuals I have ever met. 
I love this gospel and I am so grateful for the atonement and its enabling power. 
I love you Dad.
Elder Barker

Thursday, May 14, 2015


Hey Dad,
it was really great to see you all yesterday i was glad to be able to talk to everyone. I can't believe how big the girls are getting!  Utah would be nice and it would be great to have everyone closer. So if you do move up there i am completely behind you. 
This week went a lot better than last week for sure, last week we only got 4 lessons, this week we got 13 and we should continue to get more. On Saturday we just stopped by a whole lot of people we mapped out in the southern part of our area and dedicated the whole day to down there. We stopped by some inactive members that haven't been in contact with the church for years and one of them told us how just 2 weeks ago, his active family members (who he hasn't talked to in 15 years) stopped by and he just felt love and then out of nowhere we stop by and that he didn't want to run from the gospel anymore. Other people we stopped by also were very willing to have us over and they haven't been in contact with the church either in years. Later that night we were walking to another house and we stopped and talked to this guy who was just sitting on a chair on his porch and he told us to take a seat after a few minutes of talking. He was a really cool guy named Kyle and we talked about the Book of Mormon and cleared up some misconceptions he had and gave him a copy. Towards the end he asked us when we were going to be stopping by again, so hopefully we are able to see him again this week and talk more. 
The Santiago family, the man who said hi on skype yesterday. Was talking to me yesterday afterwards and he told me how much his family has grown stronger in the gospel since they started having us over for dinner weekly (Elder Mask and me) and having "Deep Dish" haha. Their oldest son, 15, never was sure about a mission but now he talks about it more and his Brother Santiago believes it is because of the Spirit that has been present when they have had us over and it really meant a lot to me to hear that. I definitely want to visit them again after I am home. They're oldest daughter, Zoila, is leaving for her mission in the Dominican Republic where she was born on the 20. It's weird to think that my mission is almost over, so i just don't think about it haha. I have seen Elders get trunky, and I don't wan that to happen. 
I have loved my mission so much thank you again for helping me decide from an early age to serve!
I love you Dad
Elder Barker

ps. be sure to have Nate email those videos of the dunk contest he won!!!!

Email from 5/4

Hey Dad,
A couple things first, could you give me the DMV number so I can call them and work it out like last time? This week was the first time I had driven for the first time since I was still being trained in Tamaqua and I have loved it. I decided a long time ago that when I am home one of the first things I need to learn is how to drive a stick. So maybe Steve or Mitch can show me how.
With the call next week, I'll just call after church. I don't have wifi in the apartment anymore since we moved so I might have to go to the church. I don't know if I'd want to impend on a member on Mother's Day so most likely it will be at church. Oh for college before I forget I am looking at some places my old comp sent me and I'll let you know. Here is what he's sent me: Mountain Lofts,The Towers, North Point, The Gates, & Windsor Manor. 
Baptizing someone in Spanish was really cool and super nerve racking, in a way it was talked about in my patriarchal blessing. I am really sad I won't be able to meet with them anymore. Those baptisms were the 5th and 6th on my mission but my first where I did the baptizing. If possible I'd really love to talk to Nate one on one whenever. When does Dixie st start? I'd really like just some time where we can hang out and talk when I'm home. No news on my release either President said he'll let me know.
This week was pretty stressful since we basically doubled in, or white washed the area. We don't  have any plans from the past elders so it was pretty slow this week. Thursday was District Meeting and the first one I've ever led. I didn't know what to plan on so on Tuesday I prayed and said I'm going to flip to a random page in PMG and I'm going to talk on that subject. So I did and flipped to finding people. So I started searching and so many things started to flood to my mind it was really cool. But I'm still nervous for having to do that again this week haha.
Someone in Spanish that we found came to church! That was really cool, a lot of Spanish people came up to me and gave me a hug, I guess they do miss me, I always thought I was just "the gringo" and I realized even more how much I miss them. 
We confirmed Tiseam (got baptized two weeks earlier) and as we were sitting in testimony meeting, I leaned over and challenged him to go up if I do. He got up after I did and bore just a simple and sincere testimony it was really powerful. Things are going to go better this week. I can feel it, just thinking of the week ahead I can feel the spirit and I am so excited:)
I love you Dad!
Elder Barkerd

Email from 4/27

Hey Dad
Okay so first off, I am staying and my companion and the other elders in
the English Ward are leaving. I am taking over two areas now and I was
called to be the district leader. This district is only going to have one
other companionship and its sisters (we call it a double date district, 2
elders + 2 sisters) so I'm not too fond of that but hey I'll do my best.
Also I need my license renewed ASAP! I kept forgetting to tell you the past
couple weeks but it expires on my birthday! So if you could renew it and
send the driving certificate to my address I would really appreciate it! Oh
and since I am staying go ahead and send the package to my address.
So now on to the long stressful and amazing week!
Well we had 2 baptisms and confirmations!! We went to the Freddy & Adrian's
on Monday night and at the end of the lesson Adrian (the son) asked Elder
Mask if he would baptize him and Freddy (the dad) asked if I would. I was
terrified because it would be in Spanish. I read the prayer in Spanish over
and over again. My heart was pounding on Saturday haha. Adrian was so
excited the whole time especially when it came time to baptize him. As I
got in the water with Freddy my heart was still pounding but I said the
words right and everything went well. He afterwards said how he felt
different than he's ever felt before, he said he felt so humble.
On Sunday we went over to the Santiago family for our weekly session of
"Deep Dish." It's hard to explain but it's named after me haha, basically
we just start on simple gospel truths and dive into them. It's really fun
and it's always so spiritual, they never want us to leave.
I have to be honest I am so so nervous for this upcoming transfer
especially since I don't know if I'll still be in the Spanish branch or
I love you Dad
Elder Barker

Email from 4/20/2015

Dear Dad,
I am currently on my way down to Philly so I am not going to have much time to email so I'm typing this in the car. 
This week was very long and stressful filled with lots of tracting which, as far as I know, didn't accomplish anything. 
Monday was very stressful because we had to drive down to Broomall and pick up our car and then drive back to our dinner appointment where we were super late (we got there at 7:30). We got a call from a Spanish member at like 5:30 asking if we were coming over for dinner that night and they made food already. So we got there at like 8:40 and just grabbed food and left. They never even signed up and they were like, "how did you not see us sign up?" It was a stressful day. 
Tuesday, we tracted a lot for the sisters. We had a lesson with the the Medinas though and we invited Adrian to be baptized on April 25th and he accepted!!! He is so happy to get baptized he has wanted to for such a long time. We are meeting with them today to finalize everything for it. We invited his dad but he wasn't sure but he asked us to pray for him so that he would want to be baptized. Oh on Sunday we spoke with him and he told us that with all the sincerity of his heart he wants to be baptized on the 25th. 
I am so excited for them! There is a youth temple trip on May 2nd that Adrian will be able to go to and hopefully elder mask and I get to as well! This is what happens when members introduce their friends to the missionaries. We have been working so hard trying to find people to teach and I am exhausted but members are starting to bring others to church and it is such a blessing. Tracting can be pretty hard. Member missionary work is the most powerful tool in missionary work. I love this area but it is definitely one of the more stressful areas. I find out on Friday if I'll be transferred so I'll let you know next week. With baptisms and people preparing to go to the temple (possibly New York) I would love to stay. 
I hope everything is going well and I will send another email in response to yours when I'm able to download it
I love you Dad
Elder Barker

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Email from 4/12/15

Hey Dad, 
So I am typing in the car because we have to drive to Broomall (2 hours one way I might have to) soon to pick up the car that my last companion beat up. Didn't even get to do laundry so we'll have to use time tomorrow. Since I get carsick I'm not sure how long this will be. 
Anyway, so was Nathan's last game bad? Did you get footage of his good game or dunk contest that I can have?  
Answers: my mailing address is 51 N 2nd st. apt 310 Stroudsburg, PA 18360. Transfer calls are on April 24 though so I'm not sure if I'll be here or not after the 27th. So you can send it to the mission home or wait until I know where I'll be.  
With college, President has given me permission to look into that so you don't have to worry about it I already knew that registration was in June. I don't know if I'm going to be rooming with anyone in September from my mission as most of them are going in winter and/or are engaged and might be married by then. It might just be like the first time and see what roommates I get. 

This week was good we got 14 lessons (an area high) and got tracting time in (yayyy🎉). We made a lot of progress though with a lot of people. We met with Freddy, Monica, and Adrian a few times and they are starting to progress as a family which is great to see because there have been some moments of contention there. Adrian told us that he wants to be baptized and his parents said that that's okay. I don't know if I told you last week but Monica (the wife) is a member! She was baptized at 15 in Ecuador and never went back. There is a youth temple trip May 2nd and Adrian really wants to go so we want to get him there with some names.  
All of the lessons were in Spanish however but I was to feel the spirit in them. It's so interesting, I've never had a full conversation with these people, but I love them so much and I want them to get closer to their Father so bad. I'll miss this area whenever I leave. Well I am starting to feel sick, I'm sorry I know it's short. This will send whenever I get wifi. I love you Dad.
Elder Barker

Ps can I have bishop coggins email as well as president aragons?

Email from 4/6/2015

Well I just accidentally deleted the whole email I typed up so I'm gonna have to make this quick. Real quick- did Nate get my card? This week we had zone conference and we talked about being a full purpose missionary.  General Conference was really great I loved President Uchtdorf's talks (as always). Elder Oaks kinda threw down on teenage me, but he's right, we can't just coast through the gospel and expect to live a
 good faithful temple worthy life. I have realized that more and more on my mission.

Anyway, i was really sad to see how President Packer was doing. It was a really good talk but there were so many things I only caught because of subtitles. I wouldn't be surprised if that was his last conference but I hope he gets better. President Monson also looked like he was starting to age a lot. Also he spoke very little this conference and
didn't even close the conference. I hope he's doing okay. What was with the boos? President Uchtdorf handled it like a boss though. I really enjoyed the Sunday morning session that was my favorite I think. The themes I got though (I have to get going) were family, honoring and magnifying our priesthood, and honoring the sabbath. I am so grateful to be able to have modern prophets and apostles to help guide us today. Their words always make me reflect on what I can do better and habits I need to develop now. It's weird that that was the last one I will watch on the mission.

 Well I love you Dad.
 Elder Barker

Monday, April 13, 2015


This week was crazy! I am so tired we taught 13 lessons (not much but it's the most this area has taught since being opened. I do feel bad because the majority of lessons are in Spanish and so its all Elder Mask pretty much. Anyway so on Monday, I almost dunked (gosh I have fallen so far), we went to the Santiago family for dinner after P-Day and that family is crazy! It's so chaotic but so much fun they are a great family 
On Tuesday we were able to teach a new investigator named Julio. He was born Catholic but he is not really sure what he believes. He really dislikes the fact that he didn't get to choose to be baptized catholic, instead his parents "forced it on" him when he was a baby as he said. He believes that he doesn't receive help from God, he believes he has everything he has because of himself. It was a Spanglish lesson and so I didn't get all of it, but he was very nice and honest about what he believes so that was good. 
Later that day we saw the Freddy and Adrian. Even though they are Spanish speaking (well Adrian can speak English) I still feel so much love for this family. I remember on Tuesday the week before, I don't remember if I told you this or not, I had a prompting the whole time that I needed to bear my testimony of the Book of Mormon to this family. I tried paying attention to understand more and I could tell that they were coming with more and more doubts about the Book of Mormon and it got close to the end of the lesson and the spirit then told me that I would deeply regret not sharing my testimony, I then had a quick picture in my head of them dropping us. I then lean over to Elder Mask and asked if he would translate for me so I can speak. I then bore testimony of how the Book of Mormon has blessed me and my family, how in the darkest and lowest times it has brought me to light, how it has shown me God's love and that it can strengthen their family as well. Fast forward to this last Tuesday and and he told us that "it's time for me to stop waiting and ask God" (in Spanish) whether or not the Book of Mormon is true. It was a good end to the lesson. 
Then right after that we saw a less active sister named Carmen. She is this sweet Hispanic woman who loves the missionaries. We read with her from the Book of Mormon (2 Nefi 33). I read as well (in Spanish since that's relatively easy to do) and she was so impressed and thinks I can speak Spanish now all of a sudden haha. She kept saying, in Spanish, "Wow you learned very quickly! Very good" haha.  
On Wednesday we had an English lesson!! It was with the Otis family, they're members that recently moved from New York City. We had a good lesson with them about FHE. They hadn't done it in about a year. They have a puppy German Shepard and I might get one, it'd be one of the few dogs I'd be okay with having. And she came to church this Sunday! It was great seeing her and her kids. 
Thursday we didn't have any lessons but we had 2 dinners back to back, OH MY GOSH, haha. And members, especially Hispanic members, always pile more on your plate, a lot more haha. So I was already full when we went to the second dinner. Anyway yeah haha
Friday gosh, we went to a less actives family home for dinner and they want us over a lot. So this Friday it's happening again! 
Saturday was a good day. We saw Freddy and Adrian again and as soon as I saw Freddy you could tell that he had finally prayed to know if the Book of Mormon was true. He was happy and so excited to see us. Long story short we invited them to be baptized on April 26. It was a really great week even though I'm exhausted every single night. Elder Mask and I are starting to turn this area around and it's great to see.  
I've been meaning to write something and I've completely forgotten the past few weeks. I want to challenge you, Nathan, Amanda, Mitch, Amber, and Steve to all finish the Book of Mormon (wherever you may be in it) by the time I come home from the mission. I want to finish the Old Testament and the Book of Mormon by that time. It's 4-5 months and I am completely confident that you all can do that. 
With me going home, it's not up to me it's up the presidency of the 70. 
I love you Dad
Elder Barker

Sent from my iPad

Email from 3/23/15

Hey Dad, 
Okay so first, [regarding Josh's plans for school] i still plan on going to fall, winter just came into my mind a couple times so I thought I'd ask, I wouldn't want to be sitting around so I still want to go to Fall. It's something I've been very prayerful about. 
Well I have a new companion now and his name is Elder Mask from Gilbert! He is friends from another elder in the district from Gilbert named Elder Rossell. We are doing work! The majority of lessons are still in Spanish but at the end of each night I feel like I had earned my pillow. I am so exhausted every day but it's great I feel great every day. Still don't know a whole that goes on in lessons but it's all good haha. I'm looking forward to this transfer:)  
I love you Dad!
Elder Barker

Monday, March 23, 2015


Hey Dad,

Well first off I am staying and my companion, the one who speaks spanish in this spanish area, is leaving. Not really sure what's going to happen and i wrote president after hearing the news and he wrote back telling me to not worry that he is not going to leave me hanging out to dry. :)  We all think that an elder who served here some months ago is coming back to die [finish his mission] here. He knows the area and from what I have heard is a good elder so I am hoping for that. This week, we had lesson, it was in spanish...  It went well. Each individual of the family is progressing differently in the gospel. Adrian, the 12 year old son, is the driving force in the family for the gospel. He goes to church with a notebook and scriptures each week and writes down things that catch his attention. Freddy, the dad, believes it is true but not from a spiritual standpoint yet, it's more of this makes a lot more sense than everything else. Monica, the mom, is agnostic despite having had powerful spiritual moments with the missionaries but she did come to church with Adrian and her mom so that was pretty cool. 

Not really much else to note except that my spanish is getting better because of a free app called duolingo. it's really good and i actually understand what's going on now around me. I love it and will use it after my mission as well. 

Well, for college i've been thinking a lot and Winter has come to mind a lot. I've talked to a few returned missionaries past couple of weeks and i have gotten mixed responses on how soon i should go back to school. some have said that they wished they had a month or so to just transition i guess you could say, and others have said they liked going to work after a couple weeks. and i really don't know what will be best for me. i am going to pray a lot about it, the plan is still September and the registration is in June so there's no rush for the time being.
But what do you think? I really need some fatherly advice. 

You are always in my prayers.
I love you Dad
Elder Barker


Well this week was better! We were able to have some very good lessons, (in Spanish haha but the spirit was there). Unfortunately on Tuesday my back started having spasms again. I was just standing and all of sudden it hit me. I'm feeling better now it's just sore, but it took me 2-3 minutes to put on one sock in the beginning and getting in and out of the car was horrible. Tuesday though we got new iPad mini 2s. So even though it was super uncomfortable to sit for 3 hours because of my back that was cool at least and they have 32 G instead of 16 so now I can download all the gospel library things I want haha. Did you get an email talking about having to buy it though? They told us that if we go home after August 23 that we have to buy it. I'd rather not because having a computer would help me so much more in college, but if I got a keyboard to go with the iPad then that wouldn't be too bad.  
On Monday though we were able to have a lesson in English! It felt so great haha but I felt rusty as well. His name is Arlington and we were able to teach him the Restoration of the gospel. He has been studying with the Jehovah's Witnesses for some years now and so he had some questions since this is different than what he's been learning. He accepted a Book of Mormon and that its great to have a possibility of having even more of the word of God. He lives just a couple blocks outside of our English area though so we gave him to the other elders and they have an appointment today with him.  
On Saturday we went on a mini exchange with the other elders and I was able to go to a lesson that I really loved. We met with a sister who is facing disciplinary council soon. She has come to really humble herself and see this as her way back to the church and talked about how no matter what happens she knows the church is true and will still go and work her way back to the temple. I felt the spirit so strong and it was really an answer to the prayer that I had the night before. I've had many strong spiritual experiences with Spanish events but it's hard on a daily basis, at least for me, and so I prayed to be able to feel the spirit as I had in every other area and that lesson was just what I needed.  
This is week 6 and I find out whether or not I'm staying on Friday. I don't know what's going to happen I just hope that if I stay my companion stays because I don't want to have to introduce people when I don't speak the language. I'll keep you posted on what happens though
I hope everything is going well.
I love you Dad.

Elder Barker