Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Leaving Bayamon

Hey Everyone,
Thanks for the emails this week and for updating me on my friends around the world. Its always good to hear from people. Sounds like you are all doing really good. Mom, your email/blog always makes me really hungry and wish that I had the time to try out some of your recipes they look really good. Unfortunately there is very little time and we don't have an oven right now but keep sending me stuff maybe one day on a p-day I can try them out. Sounds like things are going good at home. Erin, I was laughing for like 5 minutes when I read your story about trying out your new road bike. Haha. Sounds like you are able to have a lot more free time. What are your plans for picking up Rachel in England? Where are you all going? I want to hear all about where you are going and if you happen to go to any places that I went to a few years ago. Sounds like it will be a really fun trip. So exciting!

I am being transfered tomorrow. I don't know where yet or who my companion will be because we are having a transfer meeting tomorrow and they are going to tell us everything. I am really sad to leave Bayamon. It is a really great ward. I am going to miss the people here a lot. Its my first area and wow, believe it or not I have been here a little more than 4 months. Its sad to leave everyone especially when you know you probably won't see them again :( But at the same time I know that it is time to go and I've been here long enough that people start to recognize me, there are some people that we have contacted three maybe four times. I'll let you know next week where I end up.

Well this week was pretty good. A lot of our investigators we weren't able to visit this week at all, everyone seems to be sick or something came up. So we had a lot of time to find people, which is always pretty good and lots of time visiting less active members which is also really good too, because we have a lot of those here in Puerto Rico. A few days this week weren't the best because I was having a hard time with my asthma, I wasn't dying but I did notice I was having a hard time. Don't worry Mom, I'm fine now. I found out later that apparantly when the weather is hot and there isn't very much rain the hot air rises leaving space for winds from the sahara dessert in Africa to blow in bringing with them sand and dust. I know weird huh? So that mixed with a cold was why I was having a hard time. The worst was that I lost my voice for a few days and let me tell you it is really hard to be a missionary without a voice. My poor companion had to knock/yell doors by herself and teach most of our lessons by herself too because I couldn't really talk. Well a little bit but not much. I'm pretty sure that everyone we talked to thought that I can't speak Spanish because I just had to stand there awkwardly. I wanted to talk to people so bad but its not the most effective when they don't understand you too well between the raspy voice and a gringa accent. But we tried to stay inside as much as possible and on sunday I asked the elders to give me a blessing. Wow, I am so thankful for priesthood blessings. But I'm doing fine now and ready to go this next transfer. A little sad but excited too for my new area and a new companion.

I am sending some pictures, sorry I haven't sent very many lately. One of them is up on a mountain where a less active member lives. Yes believe it or not Puerto Rico has mountains and you can see all the way out to the ocean. Another one is us making Tortillas like they do in El Salvador (not like mexican style) they are a lot thicker and made of corn.

Another one is us in the Bayamon church and us with some members, the relief society president and her husband.

Anyway I have to go. Sorry there isn't much else to report. Love you all. No worries I am doing fine. I'll let you all know how things go and where I end up.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Hey Family!!!

Hey Family!!!

Yes, no worries yesterday was a Puerto Rican holiday. They have more holidays here than anyother country in the world, at least that is what Emma told us, she said that not only do they celebrate mother's day and father's day but they have holidays "hasta los bisabuelos, los perritos y los perritos de los vecinos" in other words there is a holiday for everything here. Which means that you might be getting a lot of emails on tuesday instead of monday. Thanks for all your emails. I love hearing about everything that is going on at home.

This week has been pretty good. We have been teaching Alvin still and although he has been to church for almost 2 months now he still doesn't want to set a baptism date. But we are working on it. We taught him the word of wisdom this week and I'm pretty sure we almost gave the man a heartattack. He said that he would start trying to keep the word of wisdom we are going to stop by his house and see how he is doing. We haven't been able to teach Odalis and her family this week because we haven't been able to set a time with them they are all super busy, but we are hoping to go back and see them this week because we still have to answer all of their questions about the plan of salvation. We have some pretty cool new investigators that we have found. After almost an entire transfer of not very many people to teach we are starting to get some pretty cool investigators. I am exciting to see some of them progress hopefully I'm still around, I guess we'll see because transfers are coming up this next week. We had a really awesome lesson with Maria and Benjamin this week. They are the couple that lives really really far that are references from a member in the Toa Baja ward. We are only able to visit them once a week because Maria always has medical appointments during the week and we don't get out there often because they live so far about five kilometers from the East Mission. But they are really awesome. Maria has so many good questions about Joseph Smith and the restauration, she is someone that really wants to learn and is willing to find out for herself if these things are true. We taught the first half of the plan of salvation and wow, the spirit was really strong. I know that they are going to get baptized, once Maria is finished with this round of Chemotherapy. Wow, they just amaze me.

By the way if you could keep in your prayers our neighbors and landlords, Jesus Ramos Rey, he is starting Chemotherapy today. They could use your prayers. Thanks.

Not much else is new here, we have been working as normal, still trying to visit a lot of less active members because our ward has a lot of less active members. We've been dying of heat here, its been in the high 90s all week long, we've been dying. Haha I don't think I'm going to make it until July. Thank goodness for 70+ spf sunblock, lots of water and gatorade. The good thing about Puerto Ricans is even though most of them have no interest in listening to our message they are always willing to give you juice or something to drink. In fact if you don't accept juice, soda pop or galletas (sorry cookies)they get very offended. Its good when you are knocking but bad when you have 5 or 6 lessons and every single person expects you to drink a glass of koolaide or 7up and you know me I don't usually drink much else than water. They are always willing to help you. If you are contacting and you tell them you are missionaries and want to share a message with them they are super busy but if you ask "where is calle 20?" them and they'll yell up the street to their neighbors and ask them and pretty soon five people are trying to help you find the street.

Well not much else is new here, life is good. Love you all a ton.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Hey Family

Hey Everyone,

I started laughing pretty hard when mom told me about the gopher problem in the yard and dad using a metal detector to find them. In fact my companion and I used the story in a lesson with a family in our ward. There is an article in the March Liahona that talks about monkey traps that they use in Brazil. It's called "Don't get caught in a Cambuca" or something like that. We said that we had to be careful of the traps that satans sets for us to get caught in. Ways that we can avoid these traps is listening to the spirit, praying daily etc. Then we compared them to the gophers and told them that they had to be more like the intelligent gophers that know how to the avoid the traps and less like the monkeys in Brazil. Anyway hope you got the traps back without having to dig up the whole yard to find them.

This week has been a lot better here in Bayamon. Although we still have been knocking a lot and have only 1 new investigator, we've realized that maybe Heavenly Father has something else in mind for us here in Bayamon this transfer. We have been spending a lot more time contacting inactive members because our ward has so many. We have had some really great lessons with them and they have all been very excited to see us. Most of them have practically no contact with the church, because some have been active for close to ten years. Some of them have been inactive so long that most of the members don't know them. Some of them have even been through the temple. Our plan is to start bringing members to teach the menos activos, so that we can get the ward members more involved and they can get to know the menos activos. Although we are not sure what happened that caused these members to go inactive we know that they still have strong testimonies and have great memories of the church.

We also had two amazing lessons with some investigators this week that we are very excited about. We have a family that we found a few weeks ago that we taught the first lesson to. We were going to watch the DVD of the restauration with them but their DVD player wasn't working. We started to teach the second lesson and it was amazing. Odalis, the mother had told us before that her father had died about a year ago. She started asking us so many questions, like where is her Dad and what is it like there? Does he remember her? Will they see him again? When we die will we remember our life here on earth? We weren't able to answer her questions but we left her with several chapters of the Book of Mormon to read and told her not to worry that we would return and finish teaching the Plan of Salvation and that we would address all of her questions. It was a really great lesson. Her daughter-in-law who is a less active member who grew up in Provo, UT was there listening too and I know that she felt the spirit too. Her son who is always there but never really sits down and listens, started to listen and ask questions as well like does he know that I am his grandson. The spirit was very strong. We are very excited to go back and finish teaching them Lesson 2. As I was studying today I was searching for the answers to her questions in The Book of Mormon and in Preach My Gospel, I was so excited at the things that I found. The Book of Mormon truly does answer the questions of the soul, as Preach My Gospel calls them. I am extremely grateful for the Plan of Salvation and the hope that it brings to our lives.

Another lesson that was very good was with a couple named Maria and Benjamin. They are references from members in another ward in our stake but the sisters gave them to us once they realized that they within our boundaries. They live in Naranjito very far away almost 45 minutes to drive out there and because Maria is going through Chemotherapy we haven't been able to teach them in several weeks. But we were finally able to go and teach them and we did a review of the restauration and talked about The Book of Mormon. The spirit was very strong as Maria told us that she knew that the book was true and we talked about Joseph Smith. Its so sad to see the trial that they are going through right now but it is so great to see the joy and the hope that they have on their faces when we talk about the gospel. As she prayed at the end of the lesson and thanked Heavenly Father for the peace that the Book of Mormon and our message has brought to her, wow! It is so cool to see the way the gospel can help people and bring them the peace and the joy that they are looking for. Even though its been a pretty slow couple of weeks and we don't have very many investigators we are very excited about those that we do have. So things are looking much better in Bayamon. I've been feeling a little down after almost an entire transfer without many new people to teach but I've learned that its not about how many people you find but the individual people that you teach and the way the Book of Mormon and the doctrines of the Restauration and the Plan of Salvation can change people for the better. We are truly blessed to know these things!

Hermana Barker

Monday, March 8, 2010

March 8, 2009

Hi Family,

Hope everything is going well back home. Thanks for the emails Mom and Dad. Sounds like things are going good wow, thanks for doing all the temple names it sounds like you are almost done. You are going a lot. Guess Dad will have to start doing some more research and keep finding more people. Hope things are good at home and in spring city. I laughed when I got your email when I pictured dad chasing giant rodents around the yard as they are pulling the traps down into their little homes. Good luck with that! Haha. Thanks for all the birthday gifts too! They were perfect. My birthday was pretty uneventful, just like a normal day but I opened the box that you sent that morning before we started our studies. Thanks so much for everything especially the music and the cds it gets pretty old listening to the same cds in the car all the time and now we have new ones and hours and hours of general conference. Thanks!

Well I'll be honest, its been another hard week. We barely taught at all. Lots of knocking and not a single lesson. Especially now that we are starting to knock many of the same areas again, people recognize me and say you came by here the other day, of course it was usually about two months ago but we are praying really hard that we will find more people to teach because the work is pretty slow. But it's not all that bad, we have a good family that we are working with a mom and two daughters. They are reading and praying and have really good questions, even the daughters who are 15 and 17 are really interested. We are pretty excited about this family, its just a matter of finding a time when they will all be home to teach them because they all have very different work schedules. But we are pretty excited to teach them about the plan of salvation because the first lesson that we taught them the week before the mom, Odalis, began to cry when we testified about families and she told us that her father had passed away about a year before. The idea of eternal families is very different for a lot of people and wow the spirit was so strong and since that first moment she is always on the edge of her chair listening intently. We tried to set a baptism date with Alvin but he was like "we'll see". So we are going to have to slow a little bit and make sure that we are helping him with his questions and his doubts. I know that he can get baptism he's been to church 4 times. Wow, if only we could get our other investigators to do that. But he doesn't seem to be certain on his testimony yet. But he is a really great investigator I think it will just take him more time. He's the kind of guy that really likes to think things through. We invited him to pray about it. We are going to go back tomorrow and see how it went. But he came to church again this week and there was a baptism right afterwards so we stayed and watched. We weren't able to talk to him in much detail to see how he liked it but I'm sure it was a good experience the spirit was very strong.

Thanks for also sending my Emily's messages. I figured that she was probably okay because she is so far south and the earthquakes are so far north but its always good to read about how things are going for my other friends out in the mission field. Its been interesting to see the reaction towards the earthquake in Chile. Many people here whether at church on the street are talking about. Many people on the street ask us if we believe that these are the last days. They are scared that something like this will happen to Puerto Rico. Many people mentioned it in their testimonies on sunday. But I'm seeing how those in our church have lot more hope. If we are prepared we won't fear. I am realizing how important it is to listen the prophet when they tell us to prepare for things like this. We had a mini wake up call when we were without water for almost a week. But even though things are happening around the world, Chile, Haiti, the scriptures promise if you are prepared you shall not fear. These things help remind us how importnat it is to live the commandments and listen to the prophet and other leaders of the church. Anyway, those are just some random thoughts.

Well thats about it, hope things are going well for all of you back home. Keep me updated on whats going on at home, that goes for family and friends if you happen to be reading this via blog. Love you all!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Happy Birthday!

Happy 22nd Birthday Brooke! She would love to hear from you all!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Another week, but the water's back

Hey Family,

Thanks for all the emails. Sounds like you had a fun at the snow kiting tournament and hope it has been fun watching the Olympics. Abby wrote me about the earthquake in Chili, but we really havent heard anything except there was one. I know I will probably find out a little more before next week but where was it? I have three friends serving missions in Chile right now I'm sure they'll be okay still though its really scary. I was so excited to hear the good news Ab. Congratulations. I'm sure you will have a good time living in Helaman Halls. It's a lot closer than Wyview you'll like it more I think. Hang in there, senior yea because more fun towards the end but trust me I know the feeling I felt the same way. But just enjoy it while it lasts. Mom and Rach thanks for sending your blog. I can't ever see the pictures but its still fun to read things and just see a little about what you are up to. Thanks. Sounds like you have had a fun time just hanging out in Spring City all of you and just relaxing. I'm really jealous while all of you are freezing I'm roasting alive. 20 degrees sounds pretty good when you are walking around in 94 degrees and covered in sweat. I'm not sure I will be able to make it until July here. Wow its hot. Send me some of that snow if you can :) Thanks for all the Birthday Wishes. I haven't opened up the package yet as requested but I am excited.

Water came back on thursday but was coming out brown for about a day now we are back to normal. We were able to go to the mission home and wash our clothes and shower. I just have to say I have so much respect for my friends that didn't have running water on your missions.

Well this week, I'm not going to lie was pretty hard. We had practically no lessons the entire week. Most of our investigators are not progressing because they keep cancelling their appointments. Alvin, is a pretty good investigator but we haven't been able to teach him this week, but he came to church again on sunday. I do believe he will get baptized it might just take awhile becuase he's hard to get a hold of becuase he lives sort of far and doesn't have a telephone. But we are going to try and set a baptism date this week. Other than that we have been knocking a lot. All day sunday from the time we got out of church to seven o'clock we knocked or walked around doing street contacts while trying to find less active members and a church headquarter reference. Its hard because my companion doesn't know the area, the members or the investigators and i have to try and come up with things to do when the plans fall through, which was like everyday. But I just know that there are people that are out there that are ready to listen to the gospel, we just have to find them. I know they're out there. So we keep plugging away. Thanks for all the emails. Its so fun to hear from you all. Even though you always say that not much is going on its the small things that are so fun to read about.

Love you all.