Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Rear-ended by another car...but we're OK

Thanks for the emails. Sounds like its going to be an exciting week. Good luck at BYU, AB. You are going to love it! Write me and tell me all about orientation and your first week. Rach, where are you living this year and with who? Erin, that's so awesome to hear about the story for LDS Living. I'm glad you got the offer and you were able to have time enough to prepare for the article. It's crazy to think that another school year is starting. So weird, I would be starting year number 5 and would have already done an internship probably. Wow, I can't believe how different my life would be right now if I wasn't on a mission. No regrets. The mission is awesome.

Well sorry I wasn't able to write last week barely at all. No worries, after the car accident we are doing okay. Still a little sore in the neck and in my back but i'm good. It could have been much worse so I'm glad we are okay. I'm not going to lie it's been a few rough weeks. There have definately been some highs and lows. But I have learned a lot and have had some really amazing experiences. Last weekend we had the amazing experience to have Elder Vinas who the area 70 over the carribean visit Puerto Rico. He was present for our stake conference and a zone conference that we had on monday. Wow, amazing! The spirit was really strong and I learned a lot. It was a hard weekend for me. I was feeling really down because we haven't seen progress with some of our investigators and we have lost contact with some of them as well. I was feeling down because Jose hasn't been coming to church and madeline moved to the states with her uncle and we've lost contact with her. I have no idea where she lives and I don't think she knows where the church is we've been trying to find out but with no luck yet. I was feeling really down but it was an amazing experience to see members from the Bayamon ward on sunday. I was able to see Emma! Wow, it was so great to see her. She looks so happy. She's going through some really hard things right now but it's amazing to see the difference in her countenance. She is already planning to go to the temple when she passes the year mark of her baptism. Her daughter is not a member but came to Salt Lake on a business trip and visited temple square. They are planning on going next summer, when I'll be home! I also saw another family who got baptized a year ago in June. They are moved to Tampa Florida next week and are going to be sealed in the temple. The wife gave me this huge hug and wouldn't let go. She was so happy. Her story is amazing and after all the trials she has gone through she deserves to have the blessing of being sealed in the temple with her family. Monday came and during our zone conference President shared with us that he had been in the recent convert meeting that they had with all the recent converts in the last two years. They had this meeting with Elder Vinas sunday morning. He shared with us, and looked right at me, and told us how Emma had born her testimony of how she has changed since she came in contact with the missionaries and how she felt that as a woman she had no value but how coming to know the gospel her life has changed completely. I lost it, I was crying really hard. It's really hard sometimes as a missionary, to see so many people not accept the gospel and to see the things that so many people struggle with. But it makes it all worth it when you hear about the difference that is made in the life of even just one person. Anyway, I just thought I would share that with you. Even though being on a mission is really hard sometimes, there is nothing better in the world.

We've had a few hard weeks but heavenly father has really blessed us and we have been able to come in contact with a few amazing people. One is named Nicole, she is 17 and she found out about the church through a friend on facebook. This friend talked about the church with her through facebook, sent her videos and she has been looking at the church website and trying to find out more about it. She looked up the address of the church and showed up on friday to the mission office and talked with a member of our ward that works in the seminary and institute office. She referred Nicole to us and we taught her the first lesson saturday morning. She is amazing! She has a lot of good questions and she is excited to learn. She came to church sunday and loved it. She had some really good questions too.

We found another really amazing family whose names are Josue and Charlene, they have two little boys. We had a really great first lesson with them and they were going to come to church on sunday we called them afterwards to find out what happened and Josue said that his wife didn't feel comfortable because she didn't have a shirt with sleeves. We are really excited about them.

Anyway good luck this week with starting school, and with your story Erin, and I'm excited that you are working in the temple, Mom and Dad. I know you will have some amazing experiences there. Tell everyone hi for me!

Hermana Barker

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Car Accident

Hey I won't be able to write very much today. I'm sorry this keeps happening. But this is why. Last night as we were driving we were stopped in some traffic and a girl ran into us from behind. We called the police and they came and we called the people in the office who were supposed to call and at first we just felt a little whiplash It didn't seem that bad the airbags didn't come out or anything and the car was dented from behind and in front from the car that she pushed us into. The Alvarados were in St. Kits and weren't reachable until late. They told us to go the next morning to this place called ACAA where they would check us from head to toe and work with the insurance and everything. But this morning I woke up and felt much worse my back hurt and Hermana Rodriguez has some neck and shoulder pain from the whiplash. Well the doctor they sent us to is closed all day until now. So we are going to leave and go right and have everything checked out. I am fine don't worry. I'm sure its just whiplash. But please pray for me so that we can feel better. I didn't want to worry you but I figured that I should tell you so that you would know. I love you all I'll write more later. But this day has been crazy and we don't have time. I'm sure if you have questions you can call the mission office and they'll be able to explain how i'm feeling. I'm sorry to scare you. But I knew that I should let you know.

Love you all! I'll write a big long letter next week I promise!!!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Summertime in Puerto Rico-9 months in

Hey Everyone,

Well, it is officially summertime in Puerto Rico.  Haha, I don't think I have ever sweated so much in my life. Well, that's life.  I can't even imagine what 50 degrees in foggy San Francisco would feel like.  It's weird to even think about putting a jacket on.  Sounds like you had a lot of fun on your trip.  I'm jealous you went to see Wicked; I've always wanted to see it.  That's awesome.  Wow, it's crazy to think how fast time flies. Abby will be a college student in two weeks.  Weird but I'm so excited for you.  Erin, I'm praying for you so that you will be able to get everything done that you need to and that it will turn out well.  I know it will.

So I am still here in Toa Baja. Transfer #4!  Wow, I've been here in the Toa Baja Stake all 9 months.  But that's okay because I love my companion and I am really excited for another transfer with her.  She is amazing and we have a lot of fun together.  Well this week has been pretty great.  I don't know if I told you about Maria.  If I did sorry I'll repeat myself.  So we have to go back to the beginning of my mission to explain this story.  When I got here my first day and we opened the area of Bayamon the Elders told us we had several investigators with baptism dates one of them was named Maria Colon.  She lived in Naranjito and a member showed us where her house was the first week but she only pointed it out quickly as we drove by.  We tried to call her and get a hold of her for weeks.  We called, left messages, we went by where we thought her house was but it turned out it wasn't her house.  We searched every house that was white with two levels along that entire highway and we could never find where she lived or if she lived there she was never home.  Eventually after weeks we decided that she must not be interested or she would have returned our calls.  But I remember being so determined, we have to find her.  Let's just check this one more house. My trainer humored me and we looked for a long time but I just felt like we really needed to find her.  We worked a lot in that area, until we found out that it was actually part of Toa Baja ward and not our area, the elders had gotten confused with the boundaries and told us wrong that's what happens in areas that are pretty rural.

Well you can imagine my surprise when we received a phone call from another set of sister missionaries and they told us that they had received a call from a woman named Maria Colon that lived in Naranjito and we had an appointment saturday.  Well it turns out that it was her.  She had had a whole bunch of family problems and that's when she lost contact with the missionaries but she ran into some elders that had taught her earlier that were serving in another part of the island and that's when she decided to call the old phone number she had and got in touch with the other sisters.  Well it turns out that she had known elders for a long time when she lived in the Caparra ward.  Her nephew that used to live with her was baptized a little more than a year ago.  She loves the missionaries, loves the Book of Mormon has read it all the way through.  She has a really strong testimony of Joseph Smith.  She has gone through a lot of really hard things these last 9 months but she found a way to bring the gospel back in her life and she is now preparing to be baptized on September 4th.  It's so crazy to think that I am now teaching this woman that we spent so much time looking for 9 months ago.   Anyway, I am still in shock that she was able to reconnect with us.  Tturns out she lives about four houses away from an investigator we taught many times.  Either we didn't see it because it is hidden or if we did go by in the many times we looked for her she wasn't home.  Anyway she's amazing and we are excited.

Well other news...we are looking for new ways to find people other than just knocking doors.  Becuase knocking isn't that effective.  Especially since so many other religions here do the same.  People get tired of people going door to door.   As a district we are trying to get more creative and after thinking for awhile we have come up with some ideas.  For example, we have a million Liahona magazines that have been gathered from over the years.  Somehow we have some months that we have 2 or 3 copies of the same so we are going to take them to doctor's offices nearby and ask if we can leave them in the waiting room for people to read and we put little notes that have the address of the church and  We are asking members that have their own businesses to place pamphlets and cards for people to take and we are asking members, especially the youth, to go look online at and and find videos that they like and then use facebook to share those videos with their friends.  So this is a shout out to any friends or family especially those that have served missions.  Any other cool ideas would be appreciated. Send them to me and we'll try them out.  Anyway, I have to go but I love you all.  Thanks for your emails and for the pics.  Erin, that pic made my day.  Send me more I love having them.

Anyway, hope you have a great week.                                                             Great tropical fruit here.  It
                                                                                                                        makes great juice.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Halfway through my mission!

Hey Everyone,
PDay was changed again. Becuase it is transfer week. Transfers are tommorrow but we still haven't heard if either one of us is going. We are waiting for the phone call so if they call I guess I'll have to run home and pack pretty fast. So I just remembered that you are probably all in San Francisco. I hope you have fun.

Well this week has been pretty crazy. We've been having a hard time getting set appointments with our investigators, lots of cancelling or some of our investigators lost interest. We have a few awesome youth that are still coming but their parents aren't too thrilled about it and we haven't been able to teach them on a regular basis but we are praying hard for them becuase they are amazing. But after a pretty hard week, we started our fast saturday afternoon. We were praying hard that we would be able to find a more people to teach because we hadn't found very many people knocking doors lately. Before going to knock we prayed to know where we should go to knock doors. Hermana Rodriguez thought of place that she had been thinking about for a few days but we were never close by but she felt that we should go there. Well, the very first house that we called at a young girl named Lisa came out and after I started talking to her, I'm not kidding after only saying about 5 words, I could see her face and I just knew that she would let us in and I don't know how to describe it but I also knew that I she would accept a baptism invitation. We had been practicing this week to teach more with the spirit and focusing on teaching the doctrine of Christ as President has asked us to do. The difference was amazing. The spirit was very strong, it was one of the best first lessons I have had on my mission. Well her twin sister Gina joined us in the lesson and at the end they both accepted baptism dates. Their older brother was listening to the missionaries 5 years ago. We are so excited to keep working with this family. The next day sunday we found another really amazing family that we have an appointment with tonight. I know that Heavenly Father helps us find those people that are prepared to receive the gospel. I am really thankful for the spirit that comes with fasting and prayer. The mission is amazing!

Well it's hard to believe but tomorrow is my 9 month mark! So weird. It is going by really fast and I can't believe that I've been here that long. I still feel like there is so much to learn and I don't want it to go by too fast. Anyway let me know how everything is going over there. Sorry once again I won't be able to read your emails this week. Soon things will get back to normal and p-days will be on wednesday. Anyway I love you all. Have a great week.