October 17, 2016


Xihu, Taiwan


Elder Hanna

My Only Sunshine

Wow family, would you believe it if I said I've been in Taiwan for over a month now?!?! How crazy is that!! And it's the best ever!!

I don't know if this is cliche or whatever but honestly Thursday night we sat down for planning and I turned the page in my planner and had to remember it was my birthday! haha. When you're so focused on other people...It's awesome!

So for my birthday: I put an extra banana in my morning smoothie (wahoo!), persuaded my trainer to go get some delicious curry rice for dinner (my absolute favorite), and, of course, the fun gift mom made me stuff in my suitcase with ding dongs and balloons and candles. Mom you're so fun! haha. We were doing some finding and randomly ran into that drunk guy, Yang DX, from a couple weeks ago! He was as drunk as ever -I've never seen anything like it. Totally lost his mind. We didn't tell him it was my birthday or anything, but he gave me an awesome present: he sang the "You are my sunshine, my only sunshine..." sung to me in English (he was going off about my smile or something and then just burst into song!). Me and Elder Hanna just laughed our heads off!! Oh bless his heart. He really needs help.

The best gift on my birthday though was the gift of tongues...see what I did there? haha but really. Kind of cool actually. We had a lesson with 2 new investigators we found tracting and giving them a pretty solid first lesson. Then at the end, I'm not really sure why, one of them straight up asked us for our testimonies. Kind of threw me off, but anyways when it was my turn I had the coolest experience because I didn't even have to think about what to say. The words literally just came out (and I think they were right too! Can't really remember) and like I felt bold and confident too. Super awesome birthday gift!!

Every Wednesday night, we teach English class. And it is the best. haha. Chinese people trying to speak English is so amusing, and we just have a good time. That's actually how we met that Jiang family from a couple weeks ago. This week they surprised me at English class by bringing me a birthday present! So nice. Some sort of a strawberry cream cake thing and the mom's sister I've never met before made me sushi! haha a little strange but okay! People are so nice.

A family from the ward took us out to eat and I ordered something that was WAY too hot -like tearing up and nose-running hot. hahaha. And they knew it too! Super awkward, but I fought through it and ate the whole thing! haha. Making memories.

Earlier this week I went on exchanges with my District Leader in Yuan Lin! Really fun and I learned a ton! Yuan Lin is super cool cuz it's a lot bigger than Xihu and surrounding areas (There was like 3 nike stores on one street!! YES!) Anyways, my confidence was boosted a ton too cuz he made me kind of take the lead when we were finding and I stopped and started talking to this lady on the side of the street. She wasn't too interested at first, but then my District Leader turned the conversation to the Book of Mormon and I like introduced her to it and helped her understand it and bore testimony of it. I still can't believe I was able to do all that. After the BoM she was interested and set up and actually showed up for her appointment (doesn't always happen! haha). Just shows the power of the Book of Mormon.

Also while on exchanges I ate my first bing: Chocolate bing! And it was incredible. So good. Then for lunch at their bishop's house I had pig's blood cake. The title is exactly what the food is. It's not that it tastes bad or anything, it's just the idea that you are eating pigs blood kind of makes your stomach turn. That's all.

I've been thinking a lot this week about how grateful I am for the Plan of Salvation and the knowledge, peace and joy it brings to my life. Presidents Uchtdorf and Monson talked about this in conference, but I'm out here everyday talking with people that just have no clue. They go through life without any sort of direction or understanding, just seeking some sort of peace and they think that's good enough. AH! I'm so grateful the Gospel offers us so much more than that! I'm so grateful that I know where we came from, our nature as children of Heavenly Father, I know the purpose of this life, I know what I need to do to follow Jesus Christ and His doctrine, and I know that after this life eternal progression is our destiny, and I know that we can live with our families, Heavenly Father, and Jesus Christ forever. It really is amazing, and people need to know this stuff!! haha. I'm so glad I get to teach people and bring them this knowledge and joy!

I love you all so much!! Have an amazing week!!!

Fight on!!
Elder Barker


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