Date

August 17, 2016

Area

MTC

Companion

Elder George

OH!! We're Half Way There!!!!!!

HOLY FAM!!! hahaha officially over that hump of being at the MTC...not like anyone's keeping track or anything;) I mean I love it and stuff, I really do. It's just a long time. You better believe that on Saturday (which is when we we're guessing really is our half-way point) Elder Boud (the hammocker) and I wailed Bon Jovi so loud pretty much all day. Living on a prayer is so real. haha. jk. The MTC is fine.

Couple things to share this week. First off, you know why P-days are so great (besides getting to email family of course;)? We go to the temple. And you know what we do after the temple? We eat the temple cafeteria food!! And it is heaven-sent. Serious. I always get 3 pieces of bacon, shredded hash browns, a biscuit smothered in gravy, and a chocolate milk. I mean honestly. Every other day is the same breakfast that consists of a bagel, some sort of fruit, chocolate mile, and a yogurt...like a good missionary, I'll let you figure out for yourself why temple breakfast is ridiculously better.

Alright, so TRC this week (which I'm pretty sure is my last like this) was CRAZY!! We plan a 20 minute lesson for a member just to strengthen their testimony and such like any good missionary would do. Then we get there and the dude in charge calls out me and elder George, and then Elder Johnson and Elder Bosco like separately before we started and told us there was a father and a daughter that are here on like a foreign exchange thing from China. Like literally straight out of China. They knew nothing about pretty much anything religion related. We hadn't planned for that at all!! haha. But holy cow. Elder George and I decided to teach them about prayer (because the other missionaries tried to teach them about who God was and stuff). It's hard to explain cuz we couldn't really understand anything they were saying, and they couldn't really understand anything WE were saying (luckily the daughter, who must've been like 12 or something, could translate a little bit), but the Holy Ghost was so strong and we were able to have a sweet conversation about God and prayer and through our broken Chinese taught them how to pray, answered their questions, and committed them to praying every day together and individually (at least, I think that's what I said in Chinese! Idk). And they said yes! Super awesome feeling to teach children of Heavenly Father that know nothing about Him something that can really change their life, ya know cuz prayer's powerful and stuff! And after TRC the people always write some feedback to help us be better and what not. All theirs said was basically "you need to keep working on your Chinese" (I took a picture of it cuz I thought it was funny!) and Elder George and I are just like "HA! Tell me something I don't already know!" But they were super nice though when teaching them. Love them so much!!!

So then came Sunday. Literally on Thursday, a sister (and her companion, don't worry!) in the zone came up to me during study and asked if I'd accompany her on Sunday for a musical number. She has a great voice. But then she was super sick and I didn't think it was ever really gonna happen so I never really practiced (what else is new?). Then Sunday morning she decided she wanted to do it! hahaha. So that happened. And I think it went okay. Just kinda crazy and I thought you'd like to know I did that mom!

Speaking of piano, the one teacher I have who's Asian gave us a cool analogy: We are the pianos. There are so many different kinds with different features -looks, sounds, feels, etc.- just like us. The master pianist (God) can play us beautifully no matter what style we are. However, things happen and pianos get out of tune. Same thing in our lives. We make mistakes or slip or whatever and we no longer have beautiful sounds in our lives when God needs to play us! BUT, God is also the master tuner. I love that. If we let Him, we can be tuned back up and sound better than ever! ... It's sad though cuz that teacher was super awesome and she left to get married (this Friday actually!) so I guess it's not really sad for her, but definitely sad for us cuz she was awesome and they don't have enough teachers staffed here so we're burning through the subs right now. Hopefully we can get another permanent teacher for these last few weeks.

Just one quick thought: I read through the apostles' biographies the other day and was blown away by a couple things. Almost all of them have really advanced degrees, most from really advanced institutions. Imagine the rigor of their coursework! Plus, at this same time they had families to help raise. PLUS, they were pretty much all had church callings to fulfill AT THE SAME TIME. Like WHAT?? And if this isn't the path all the apostles had, they at least all had something similar. And yet, through it all, they pressed on, they fought on, and came out victorious! (although I'm pretty sure their lives now aren't much easier) The point is, they turned to God for strength and help and they received it. Genesis 18:14 says "Is anything too hard for the Lord?" and I'm just like are you kidding? NO!! This is how they were able to do it. I think in our own lives we feel as if we were also in class at Harvard working on our MBA from morning 'till evening, Monday-Friday, with a major paper due Saturday night at 9pm while also being an Elder's Quorum President and helping your wife raise a kid or two. Feels impossible to do on our own right? That's cuz it probably is, but I invite us all to turn to the Lord for help. I testify that nothing is too hard for Him. Yeah, even learning Chinese.

Talk to you next week!! Love you all!! Fight on!!
我爱你们!!

柯长老
Elder Barker




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