Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Monday, October 3, 2011

One of the elders thought John looked like "Mr. Incredible"

Elder Barker and Elder Riguelme

Elder Barker with President and Sister Rappleye

Companions pointing to the Island of Chiloe

This is a letter John wrote just after he arrived in Chile (August 9) but we just received it) Hey, I've arrived in Chile! It is absolutely beautiful here. The flight was incredibly long, but I survived. We flew from Los Angeles to Santiago, Chile. On the way we stopped in Lima, Peru. We weren't going to switch planes, but we did, so I can say I stepped foot in Peru. That flight was 8 and 1/2 hours long. Then we had a 3 and 1/2 hour flight to Santiago. We got through customs fine and got through immigration okay. The flight to Osorno was amazing. We ran into about 10 other missionaries going to Osorno who were in the Santiago MTC. They are from Mexico, Honduras, Chile, etc. I'm so excited. The flight in was absolutely amazing! So beautiful. I love it here. We got to the airport and it is so small. Only one dock for the airplane. So small. We took a bus with President Rappleye and his wife to the mission home. We ate completos (hot dogs, chile style). My trainer is Elder Raquelme. He is a native from Santiago. He is trying to learn English. I'm suppose to teach him English while he teaches me Spanish. I am so excited. My first area is Chiloe. It is an island that I will be having to take a ferry to. It's awesome!
Touching down in Osorno, Chile

Elder Barker at one of the airports, in route to Osorno, Chile. (Mom will need to learn more about adding pictures:))

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Elder Barker and group have arrived safely in Osorno, Chile.

All new missionaries enjoying first dinner in Chile.

Elder Barker enroute to Isla Grande de ChiloƩ, his first area to serve.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Learning Spanish in the MTC... all fun and games?

Elder Barker and Elder Jolley heading to Chile, Osorno

August 8, 2011 Elder Barker heads to Chile, leaving this great country for two years. He took this picture while at the Mission Training Center in Provo, Utah.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

A portion of Elder Barker's letter, dated July 8th,
The devotional on Sunday was absolutely amazing. We got to hear from Jenny Oaks Baker. She shared her testimony and some life experiences, and performed a piece for each principle she testified of. Her music is absolutely amazing. We heard her play around 3 or 4 songs, and she had her three children play a musical number as well. They played I Am a Child of God. They played piano, cello, and violin. What a musically inclined family. Speaking of music, our district is performing a musical number in sacrament meeting on Sunday. We are singing Nearer My God To Thee in Spanish, A cappella. I must admit, we're pretty much amazing.

At the Tuesday devotional we heard from Cree-L Kofford, Emeritus Seventy. He was actually kind of funny. He spoke on obedience and discerning the spirit. I find it interesting that a principle does not truly become a part of your testimony until you put it into practice. Like my experience of learning how to serve others for the purpose of coming closer to Christ, rather than just doing it because it's 'good'. Finding opportunities to serve before I came here was incredible. As I gave of myself, I was happier, and now that I completely give everything I am to this great work, I'm the happiest I have ever been. Sure there are hard times, but none of them compare to the joy I feel.
Temple Walk - District 17D Left to Right: Hermana Aly Sypherd, Hermana Marie Cook, Hermana Rachelle Moss Elder Wade Lenon, Elder Alex May, Hermana Holly Clark, Elder Eric Porter, Elder Travis Hardin, Elder Matthew Frost, E. John Barker, Elder Alex Bosse, Elder Tyler Jolley

Elder Barker and Elder Jolley - Day 2. They still have the "new missionary" dot on their name badges.

The new Mission Presidents and Wives were at the MTC a few weeks ago. John and other Elders going to Chile Osorno were able to meet President and Sister Rappeleye.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

First Letter

I have only been here three days, yet it feels like I have been here forever. It feels like home. There is so much to learn and do here at the MTC. This is only our third full day here and we are already praying and bearing our testimonies in spanish. Every sunday they invite a missionary at random to speak, with only seconds notice. So each week we must prepare a talk on the topic that was delivered the previous week. And yes, we prepare this talk in spanish. We only get 30 minutes to email each week on preparation day, so I will try to fit in as much as I can. I may find I need to write snail mail given that time permits. Thank you for all the letters and support the first few days, I greatly appreciate it. I have found that I am able to put behind the things at home and focus on the work, but I am still glad to hear things are going well. I love it here. The first day they were speaking spanish to us, and I like the analogy we heard that it is somewhat like drinking water from a firehose turned on full blast. Oh how true that is. However I have noticed that as I go forward with faith, praying in spanish, however broken it may be, that it becomes easier to take everything in and learn. I did write a letter and send it out either yesterday or the day before, but I'm not sure when you will get home to read it. My first companion is Elder Jolley. I have been assigned to be the senior companion. We get along very very well. I don't think I could have asked for a better first companion. And our district is simply amazing. We have four Elder companionships and two Sister companionships. Last night the Elders in our district met in the district leader's room (Elder Lenon) and read the first chapter of Nephi in spanish. I felt that this was a great way to learn the pronunciation, even though we didn't understand everything we were reading. This brought our district closer together. Today during gym time we are going to go outside to the sand courts and play some volleyball. Speaking of volleyball, I met Elder Varney here the first day I arrived. I have seen him several times since and we have talked a little bit about the MTC and our missions. There are three Elders in our district going to Chile Osorno, and the rest are going to Texas. The Sisters in our district are going to Spain Madrid, but they will be here only three weeks and then report to the Spain MTC. Yesterday we had the opportunity to teach our first investigator. Our teacher plays the role of the investigator, but they completely adapt the personality to make it as real as possible. Our goal is to invite the investigator to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end. As is our purpose as missionaries here in the MTC and out in the field. This practice seems very real. The food here is pretty good, and they have quite a variety. I did receive a package yesterday but was unable to pick it up because the post office was closed, but I will pick it up today as soon as Elder Jolley and I are done doing laundry (that's where we are now). As for the letters go, DearElder letters get here the same day they are sent, handwritten takes the obvious USPS time, and email I will only be able to check once a week during preparation day, and have 30 minutes to read and write. I have been told some missionaries will print their emails, read them, and reply handwritten. I may find this to be the most convenient option. I will have to see what time permits. I apologize if I may not include everything in my emails and letters, but I will do my best. Quite frankly there is much to do here, and my mind is focused. I love you all and thank you for the support you have given me thus far.