Monday, February 23, 2015

Faith

So, you've been getting colder,wet weather back home? It has been freezing down here too! I think it got down to the 50's once! :P Haha Just kidding! It is nice that we are getting water back home, that is always a plus! 

I'm happy that you had a great time at the Time Out For Women seminar, and yes that is pretty much what it feels like to go to Zone Conferences. 

This week has been a really good and busy one. But it also has been one of much prayer and fasting. I've been learning a lot about faith this week in relationship to some of the investigators that we have been teaching. Our investigator, Letta (she is the granddaughter of one of the sisters in the ward) has been doing really awesome. She is super excited to learn about the gospel and we have come to feel that she believes that the church is going to bring her happiness.

We had a lesson with her that was really intense and the spirit was super strong! But the problem is that her Dad is really really anti-mormon. He doesn't even live with them, but you can tell that her Dad still has a big affect on her. But she exercised her faith to ask him about how he feels about the whole thing, and her meeting with us and getting baptized. Her father apparently shut her down really fast. Letta has been super hurt about that. But we've been fasting and praying for her and for her Dads heart to be softened, and it seems that Letta is still determined to learn more. 

Also our investigator, David (the 10 year old) is in a similar situation. His mom is a returning less active and desires for him to be baptized, but his dad (from whom she is divorced) doesn't like the church either. So we have been praying for David as well.

I've learned a lot about faith from these experiences. Because both of these situations are really tough. There really is nothing for us to do. But through praying and fasting, I've been reassured many times from the spirit that things will go well with them. And I would think to myself. How can this be? Both situations seem to be getting worse and worse. 

I would expect that if I'm exercising my faith that things should miraculously get better, right? But as I thought about it and pushed thoughts of doubt away and focused on striving to have faith and do what I could, this scripture came to my mind: Mosiah 24: 13-14: 

"And it came to pass that the voice of the Lord came to them in their afflictions, saying: Lift up your heads and be of good comfort, for I know of the covenant which ye have made unto me; and I will covenant with my people and deliver them out of bondage.

And I will also ease the burdens which are put upon your shoulders, that even you cannot feel them upon your backs, even while you are in bondage; and this will I do that ye may stand as witnesses for me hereafter, and that ye may know of a surety that I, the Lord God, do visit my people in their afflictions."

Now this scripture is talking about Alma and his people in bondage to the Lamanites, but I felt that the Lord tries our faith and puts us through seemingly impossible things so that we can know with an absolute surety that he does visit us in our trials and he does deliver us. Through exercising faith I've seen my burdens be lightened. I know that things will work out. I have no idea how, but they will. 

Well I love you all so much, and I hope you all have a great week! 

Love,
Elder Barker  

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Commitment

Dang! Why do holidays always have to land on Mondays?! :)At least I get the opportunity to email at all, modern technology can be such a blessing! I'm glad that things are going well back home! I hope that Grandpa had a great birthday! I'll be able to add my voice to the Barker family birthday song next year! :D

I'm glad that you are learning a lot from institute! I love institute! It is the greatest!  Things are going really good here in the Palmetto ward. We had a great Zone Conference with President Van Cott last week. We learned a lot about extending commitments to people and being bold with people. That is something that I need to work on because I tend to be less bold than I should be. But we have to be bold, and sometimes what we say or what is said to us won't make us feel the best. 

A perfect example is in Jacob 2: 7-9, where Jacob talks about how the Lord doesn't strive to heal their wounds just yet but makes them larger so that they can know more clearly of the things they need to do. That is what boldness does. It lets people make a clear choice between good and bad. 

I've been reading in the Book of Mormon recently about Alma, Amulek, Ammon, and Aaron and their examples of missionary work. If you want great examples of how to be a great missionary read the Book of Alma. It has some of the greatest! But what I've been learning and seeing in our everyday work is that one of Satan's greatest tools is to blind people to say: "Hey I'll repent someday, but just not today. I'm not ready yet, so don't rush me. Just make me feel good, tell me what I want to hear". (Isaiah 30: 9-11) 

But in reality what we are here to do is to help people change their lives and they will see great blessings. But that change won't be easy all of the time. What we do as missionaries is invite all people to make these changes by extending commitments. If the commitments are kept, they will start to repent and change. 

God grants unto men their desires (Alma 29: 4) so if they truly want the blessings of a celestial life then they will need to change a few things. But if they want the things of the world, they will get them but they wont get the blessings that God truly wants for them. So, you can see that I learned a lot, and I love that. 

 We've been able to apply these things and so far we are seeing a lot of success. People are progressing so that is a good thing.

Well any way I love you all! I hope you have a great week! 

Love,
Elder Barker

Monday, February 9, 2015

A Missionary Feast!

What a week! We have found 4 new investigators, one is the girlfriend of a less active, the other is the 10 year old son of a returning member, and the last two are the grandparents of one of the young women in the ward. So that has been really awesome! I've been really happy about that! Things have been going really well.

Sister Tuifua is the Sister Missionary who returned home to the Palmetto ward, she served her mission in Chicago. Her Homecoming was super nuts. I've got some pictures for you so I think that you will be happy! :)








I think they roasted like 35 to 40 pigs or something like that! It was cool because we were asked to sit up at the front with the family because we are missionaries. In Tongan culture they have great respect for missionaries. We ate a ton of food and it didn't look like we made a dent in it at all. We had a whole pig to ourselves! And I ate some lobster, it wasn't exactly my favorite but it wasn't bad either; It was a pretty nuts night. 

So I think the best part of this week has been David. He is the 10 year old that we started teaching. He is super sharp, probably one of the sharpest kids I've ever taught. He seems to be able to just understand what we teach him better than some of the adults that I've taught on my mission. And his mom is doing great as well! We are excited for her! She just seems to be diving into the Book of Mormon and understands what it is saying to her. 

To answer your question about what we do on Monday's after P-day, we usually try to set things up in advance to teach people from about 6:00-9:00 PM, we don't want to interrupt anyone on Family Home Evening night. 

Well this week has been great! I hope that you have a great week yourself! I love you all lots!

Love, Elder Barker

Monday, February 2, 2015

New Investigators!

Just so you know, I'm staying this transfer with Elder Crossett here in the Tongan ward, so that should be fun. There are a lot of good things happening! Things have been going super good! We found like 5 new investigators this week, so that was super awesome! Two of them came to church on Sunday and we were able to answer a ton of questions that they had about the church. 

They seem really interested to learn more and want to find out if it is true. Their names are Ana and Leta, their grandma is a member of our ward but their dad is pretty against the church; so they feel tons of confusion from all the craziness in their family. They seem to be able to relate well to Joesph Smith. But something cool that they said is that as they talk with their family about religion or talk with anyone about religion, it seems that the conversation always comes back to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 

In talking with them, it seems that God really has been preparing them their whole lives! It is pretty awesome! This week the Lord has really been blessing us so I'm really excited for this next transfer. There should be lots of good things happening and lots of work for us to do! 

There is a sister missionary coming home from her mission here this week and the ward really is gearing up for that. It sounds like it is going to be a HUGE party! I'm kinda scared! I might just gain 30 pounds just this weekend! 

I hope that you all have a great week! I'll be praying for the Frederiksen family as well! I love you all lots!

Love,

Elder Barker