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! 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! 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.Love,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:(