Date

September 26, 2016

Area

Xihu, Taiwan

Companion

Elder Hanna

STAYING ALIVE!!

WHAAAA FAMILY! Can't believe a whole week has gone by here in Taiwan. So good to talk to you!

I totally forgot last email to talk about the biggest thing we do here: BIKE. I got my new fresh bike (all the members here love it!) and a free, used helmet from some bike shop owner and we ride around like mad fools all day long! It's the greatest! Especially cuz the streets here are INSANE. You have lots of cars -some of which are DANG nice cars. Doesn't quite match the scenery all the time. Then, you have MILLIONS of vespa/motorcycle things. Old people, young people, little babies ride them around. Doesn't seem all that safe. And then you have two white boys in white shirts and ties riding on bikes right along side all of them, and some of these streets are narrow!! Hahaha. We stick out like sore thumbs here big time. And I'm pretty sure we're the only white people within an hour bike ride in any direction. Haven't seen another one yet! So everybody stares at us, which is a good thing!

And because we bike around a lot, we also have to get on and off our bikes a lot. Which means there's lots of opportunities for accidents. I totally ripped the BIGGEST!!! whole ever in the crotch of a good pair of pants. hahahaha. of course it would happen. Kind of embarrassing, but at the same time, I didn't really care what other people thought. Had a good laugh! I'm gonna go try sew those up here in bit;)

I'm starting to get more and more comfortable here! My sweat is my friend. haha. I can kind of figure my way around and the food really is good here. PLUS, I'm seeing some progress in my language! So that's good! I can understand a little more at least, and in lesson situations I'm more comfortable. It's pretty cool to sit in with a family and ask if we can pray with them and then my trainer turns to me to say it. Like, in my weak Chinese, praying over a family is a pretty awesome experience.

A couple crazy things. Old people love to do weird looking workouts in public in the mornings and evenings. Kind of funny. Also, people here love Americans and buying us stuff. Even the LAs or random strangers. One night we were riding to see a family and do some tracting and I smiled and waved at this guy on a vespa thing stopped at a red light. Then the next thing I know, he rides up along side me and sticks out a plastic bag filled with bread! We pulled over and talked to him for a sec. He owns a bakery and was heading home for the night, said there used to be some missionaries that lived by him, and just gave us all this delicious bread! What?! haha too nice. Everyone says they feel bad for us. HAHA.

Then, there's this guy named Yang DX. We were going to make calls at a convenience store (they're literally on every street corner here) and this random drunk guy comes up and starts talking to us in broken English, says to come inside, and he insisted on buying us drinks. Eventually, he bought himself a giant Taiwanese Beer and some chips and sat down with us in the store. hahaha we were like "WHAT. THE .." so we taught him the word of wisdom!! haha. He actually has a sad life story -he's been drinking heavily for a long time. At the end he again insisted on buying us drinks. In the lesson I mentioned how my family LOVES to drink coke. haha. So he just bought us cokes. Didn't have much of a choice. But family get this: I didn't drink it!! Crazy right? Anyways, we didn't think much of him, but we set up to meet with him there again two days later, and he came to that! Still not sober though, but we invited him to church and stuff. He kept saying he was sorry. AH. Felt so bad. DON'T EVER TOUCH ALCOHOL!! messes with people! Then Saturday we decided to go by his house and talk to him. His house had alcohol and crap all over and his friends are such bad influences on him. Like, we're pretty sure he wants to change though, so we boldly told him to change his environment and friends while we were in his environment and in front of his friends. that was COOL! But then he moved to work in Taichung. haha. I hope we can see him again and help him. Everybody we see I just keep thinking "The Gospel would bless their lives so much!!"

I've grown closer to the Savior this last week. I know this is His work. Sometimes things are hard out here. I've honestly felt a little homesick at times and sometimes I feel like I'm not doing the best I can to keep up with the hastening of the Lord's work. But I think I need to take some of my own medicine. We're out here asking people to trust in God and to exercise faith. When things get hard, I need to put it all in the Lord's hand and trust Him. I want to have both feet all in the work here in Taiwan and really give Him my everything. I trust that as I do this, the Lord will take care of things back home and that everything will work out. I am seriously so blessed and so privileged to serve as the Lord's missionary here in Taiwan, and to be Christ's representative to the people in Xihu. I love it! I love getting to bear my testimony of things I know to be true every single day, multiple times a day: that Christ lives and is our Savior and Redeemer, that His church has been restored to the Earth through the Prophet Joseph Smith, and that Christ's Gospel can and will bless them and their family's lives. What an honor!

Well fam, till next week! Press on. FIGHT ON!! I've been re-reading the war chapters in Alma. SO AWESOME! I think there's so much we can learn from it.

LOVE YOU ALL SO MUCH!!!

柯長老
Elder Barker




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