October 3, 2016


Xihu, Taiwan


Elder Hanna


HHEEYYY FAMILY!!! haha so happy to get to talk to you all!!

The rains came tumbling down this week in the form of a typhoon!! I felt kind of like Anderson Cooper from CNN who always goes out in the hurricanes and stuff. We couldn't go outside all of Tuesday, except Elder Hanna and I kind of did anyways to get lunch. At that point, it wasn't raining yet. Just super windy. Then we get back to the apartment, we're eating, and look outside and the rain was falling ssooo hard. Never seen anything really like it. Plus the wind was loud and things were flying everywhere. hahaha. We went out onto our little balcony thing to get a closer look and then all the street lights and stop lights went out. We're like "hmm that's weird." turn around and what do you know? Our power went out too! hahaha. ugh. But hey! Good thing I had a head lamp and mom packed a thousand batteries in my suitcase! haha. that was inspired. So I spent the WHOLE day reading scriptures, the Liahona and listened to some talks my trainer has on his mp3 over a battery powered speaker. So crazy. But. You know what no power means? NO A/C!!! and the typhoon didn't cool off anything. So it was super hot and stuffy and we had to go to sleep like that. Miraculously at 1:30 in the morning the power came back on and I could turn the A/C back on. Honestly, you don't realize how good you have it 'till you don't have it anymore. haha. Super grateful for electricity and A/C!

The next day was better but still absolutely pouring so I busted out my crocs! OH YEAH!! They are my favorite thing, and work super good!

I killed the biggest cockroach I've ever seen in real life in my bathroom during the power outage. hahaha. They live among us.

Thursday we had no rain and decided to bike for an hour and 20 minutes to one of our secondary areas called Er Lin. I've never sweated so much before in my whole life. Serious. You could see it all through my pants and stuff and when I took my helmet off -I'm not making this up -a literal pool of sweat dumped out. With all the rain, sweat, and clothes that didn't dry last week cuz our dryer is messed up, I was wet all day every day this week. And smelled like a wet dog too. At first it bothered me, but I'm used to it by now. haha.

Hey so I sewed up the crotch of my pants!!! I was so excited when I did it I ran and put them on. Mmmhhhmmm. Plus, now they're hand stitched!!

When we were in Er Lin, the craziest funniest thing happened: we were contacted a kid on the street and an English teacher (who was Taiwanese) came up on her scooter and asked us to come to her class in like 20 minutes and speak English with some high school kids. So we did! We went to their high school, which was more like a college campus, right as lunch break was ending so a million asian high schoolers were walking around and pretty much going insane. hahaha. EVERYONE staring and they only know 2 phrases in English "hello" and "I'm fine thank you". It was hilarious. And, for proof that they saw 2 white males in real life, they all want pictures with us. Not just these high school kids too. Everybody wants pictures with us. Like, they pull up along side us on our bikes and ask if we can pull over for a picture. CRAZY! It's a great opportunity to give them a tract, talk about Christ, testify that He's their Savior and swap contact info! The problem is a lot of people are interested in America and Americans but not so much the Gospel...AH!

Also, I got a gnarly sun-burn on the bike ride to ErLin. Compliments my pasty upper arms nicely.

This week, I ate bamboo soup. Pretty good. I discovered that papaya milk is dew from the heavens. This one guy we placed a Book of Mormon with bought us this bread made from roses. Like, the flower. Holy cow family so good. It tasted like the smell of roses, and had cranberries and walnuts and was still warm and stuff. AND, I was introduced to hot pot. It's amazing! A toy
train goes around with all this weird looking but delicious foods behind it and you just take down however much you please and its so good and yummy and AH! Then they just have this pot with like a soup in front of you and you throw whatever you want, like a bunch of veggies and shrimp and whatever in it and let it get hot then eat it! That was seriously a cool experience. Plus they had passion fruit on the train and that was so good! Never had it before. So good.

We had a lesson with a lady in a 7/11 and it was cool cuz the Spirit was strong. Afterwards she tried to pay us 200 taiwanese dollars!! hahaha. No. we didn't accept it. Super bizarre but my trainer says that happens sometimes.

Elder Hanna and I are super blessed to have an opportunity to teach a family! The Jiang family: Jiang Dx, Lin JM and their two kids Bear and George (not sure what their chinese names are haha). We had our first lesson with them at a member's home last night and it was ssuuupper awesome. I hope and pray they'll progress, get on the straight and narrow path and make it to the temple some day so their family can be sealed by priesthood authority for eternity. That's what it's all about!! I love them so much, and they're just the cutest family. haha. AH! Please pray for them!

So everyday out here has it's ups and downs. Sometimes it can have more downs than ups, whether from language struggles, missed opportunities, or just a "bu yong" or a wagged finger like they're saying "not in my house". Sometimes I get down on myself and kind of have those negative thoughts. But President Uchtdorf gave a talk in oct. 2013 priesthood session about getting knocked down and I love what he says: "Rise up and follow the footsteps of the Redeemer and the atonement and its power to lift you up and give you strength." Wow. That's what it always seems to come back to: Christ and His atonement. Because of His atonement, we can repent everyday and become a little better than we were before. These times when we're down can be made into building blocks, not stumbling blocks, through Christ. I know that is true.

Wow! Such a crazy week! I love it! I love you all ssooo much!!

Have an amazing week! FIGHT ON!!

Elder Barker


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