Monday, June 24, 2013

Dear Family,
Thank you again for informing me about the good old family back at home! It is so wonderful to hear about all the great things that are going on back at home. I had such a great week! I love my new companions so much!! They are awesome! My new companions are Elder Isley and Elder Roessler. Elder Isley is from northern Arizona. He is a convert to the church. He converted to the church about 3 years ago! Super awesome that he is out here serving! He is super funny and we get along great. And Elder Roessler is brand new in the mission field. He lived in Nampa Idaho. He is great too! Its kind of funny seeing the way he acts because it reminds me of how I was when I first came out. I have been giving him a little advice about the work. It is a little bit more of a tight fit in our apartment but it is not too bad. We had a very busy week with a lot of driving. We had to go to the mission home in Oakland 3 times this week!! The driving was awful! It takes a little over an hour to get there from Half Moon Bay. Plus the traffic it was even longer. We have driven so many miles it's crazy.
I loved the the leadership broadcast yesterday! It was amazing and the things that were mentioned are so true! Member missionary work is so important! The missionaries really would not be accomplishing much. There is a great talk about that 2 conferences ago. It talks about the honey bees making their beehive. Something like a honey bee makes about 1/12th of a teaspoon of honey in its entire life. So it is so important that all the members contribute their part to make the Lord's work highly expand. Something that really stuck out to me was that sometimes people get nervous about extending invitations to people because they think that it would offend them or something. But what Jeffery R. Holland says is that if we extend an invitation to someone out of a sincere love and desire for their salvation, then that invitation will never be taken in offense. It doesn't mean that they will always accept the invitation but they will know that it was out of love. I think it is so important for every member of the church to be involved in missionary work. And you don't need a name tag to have that responsibility. When we were baptized, we covenanted to take upon ourselves the name of Jesus Christ. And what Jesus Christ did was he spread the gospel to everyone. He loved them and served them all throughout his life. And we need to be doing the same thing. By taking upon ourselves the name of Christ, we need to do the same thing by sharing His gospel to everyone. In my area, the best way that we find our investigators is through the members. Tracting is not very effective in our area and it is so important that the members are  involved because we would be nowhere if they weren't.
I wanted to update you a little bit on Chad. We took him to the visitor center in Oakland last week and he absolutely loved it! He wants to go again already! And he came to church on Sunday! It was so great to see him there. He has been having trouble with drinking coffee. He tells us that it is very hard and I believe him. He really wants to get baptized and he is determined. He just needs a little extra help. We have to bump his baptismal date back to July 13 because of the word of wisdom thing but it's okay because I know that he will get through this. I am so proud of him and how well he is doing. Keep praying for him that he can overcome this addiction. We have a few more investigators that are doing alright. We have an investigator named Amy. She has had an extreme addiction to coffee. She has been taking missionary lesson for about 16-20 years now. She is married to a less active member. She is so nice and she wants to have a testimony really badly. I am positive that she has had an answer that it is true we just need to help her recognize that answer. Then when she has that testimony, it will help her overcome her addiction much easier. Pray for her as well.
Everything is going really well around here. We have a goal to teach 27 lessons this week!!! That is sooo high for this mission but I am confident that we can do it. My Spanish is also improving a lot more. I can now talk more with the people who speak Spanish in our area. Some people are just plain hard to understand haha. Elder Isley is really good about helping me learn it though. This area is his first area that speaks English. Since technically this area is English but there are Spanish speaking members so ya...
I want to thank Gavon and Tanya for sending me the late birthday present! That was honestly one of the coolest gifts ever! I was laughing so hard when I opened it! I had no idea that you can customize M&M's!! And of course it was all of my ugly faces that I made hahaha. Thank you so much Gavon and Tanya for that! You are the best!
Well its all cold and foggy here in Half Moon Bay. That is how summer is here. But once fall and winter come, it will get a lot nicer. So weird! So different from Utah! But I love it. I love you guys so much and I can't wait to hear from you all next week!
Love, Elder Barkdull!!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

April 7, 2013 letter

Hello Family,

Wow what a week. I want to thank you to all who wrote me. I love hearing from you all and what is going on back in Utah. I want to share how my week went and the wonderful things that have happened and then I will comment on the things that you wrote me. 

As you all know Monday is my pday so me and our district went bowling at the bowling alley. It was super fun!! Although I didn't do too well it was still fun to just relax and bowl. After we went bowling, we went to go teach a less active in our ward. His name is Ricardo. He is a very very strange man. He has a twisted perspective on the whole gospel. He doesn't really believe any of it and just talks a ton! He has a horrible life style. He lives in his garage because his mom doesn't like him living at home so she won't let him go upstairs unless we are there teaching him. He is about 40 years old. Really weird guy but he is nice. He watched conference too!!! So awesome! So we taught him and just read from Mosiah 2 since that chapter is pretty much a general conference that happened 3 thousand years ago. Really cool chapter.

On Tuesday we taught one of our progressing investigators. His name is Roger. I ask that you can remember him in your prayers. He is an athiest but he is willing to keep hearing lessons from us. His wife is a convert to the church and she is really wanting him to find out if the church is true. So we are doing all we can to help him receive a testimony. In all honesty we are stumped. We do not know how to help him. He says that he is a pessimist. So he finds the negative about life. We have seriously taught him almost everything about the gospel. So we are trying from the raw beginning. Prayer. He prays and reads the scriptures when we ask him to and he even goes to church with his wife. He thinks that he doesn't have faith but I know he does otherwise he wouldn't be doing those things. He tells us that he doesn't mind praying but he does not like reading the Book of Mormon. He says it brings him sorrow and physical pain. I don't know what to do. He thinks about things too much. Just keep him in your prayers. I would appreciate that.

Also keep Jordan in your prayers. She is 17 but has a learning disability so we have to teach her as though she is a child. She is super nice and could totally be baptized by tomorrow but her parents are against the fact of her getting baptized. Anthony, who I told you about last week is her older brother. So we are just praying that her parents will soften their hearts. The parents also don't want her to get baptized because they think that because of her learning disability, baptism is too much of a big step for someone like her. I know Jordan is accountable though. I don't know but we are continuing to teach her as though she does have a baptismal date so that when the parents allow us to baptize her she will be ready and worthy.

I went on exchanges on Monday. My companion went to Half Moon Bay and I stayed in my own area which means I was the one driving!!! California streets are so confusing its ridiculous! I got lost like 4 times! ugh I need to get the hang of the layout of my area haha.

We had a really amazing experience on Thursday. We received a referral from the Samoan Elders. I guess this guy they met was high on marijuana but told them that he wants to learn more. So they referred him to us! Me and my companion went to his house but he wasn't home. Instead, his wife answered the door so we started talking to her about the church. She told us that they had moved from New York and had neighbors that were LDS. We were so excited. She then told us that she had been going to the church around the corner but she didn't feel that it was right. She asked if we had a nursery and we told her yes!! She told us that she wanted to go to church with us on Sunday. We were so excited and told her that general conference was on Saturday and Sunday. And she agreed to watch it. Hopefully we can add her as an investigator soon because we need more!!

Last but not least, General Conference. I absolutely loved Conference. I heard exactly what I needed to hear. There were indeed so many amazing talks that were given and I felt that almost all of them related to me. I especially loved Elder Jefferey R. Holland's talk. Boy whenever I listen to that man I feel like I'm getting a spiritual spanking. He is such a powerful speaker. I just broke down as he spoke. I felt as though God walked up to Elder Holland and said this is how to help Mckay haha. I was also thinking of our investigator Roger as I was listening to his talk because it could relate to him. I also loved President Uchtdorf's talk and Henry B Eyring's and also the Prophet's talk. Super good! I hope you all enjoyed it. Conference was like Christmas for me! 

I am going to comment on your letter now. And about the talk of the earthquake, No that is not where I live. I live on Mission st. Market st. is in downtown San Francisco. I live in just San Francisco, about 20 minutes south. But yeah its crazy. Earthquakes happen a lot down here although I haven't felt one yet...I am kind of hoping that I will be in one. It would be pretty cool haha. And we have the privilege of getting each issue of the Ensign so yes we will be receiving the next one!!.

I'm very grateful that Ryan and Lindsay had a great time at the ranch. I read what Kam wrote me and I laughed so hard about the whole hike experience. At least they had a great time hiking. I hope you had an awesome first priesthood session Kam!! I wish I would have taken conference more seriously before my mission. It truly is such an amazing time that we have to hear the prophets and apostles speak to us, to help us with whatever we are struggling with. So awesome!

I can't believe Ellen is getting baptized!! I'm so proud of her and her decision!! Everyone is getting old. It's weird!! I hope she has an amazing experience and I know you will talk well at the service Mom, You always give good talks. 

Holy crap Gavon is old!!!! I can't believe he is 40!! And that is such an amazing experience that Gavon had!! I don't think for one second that what happened in the tent at 3 in the morning was a chance. I hope you remember that experience. I know that so much good work is going on on the other side of the veil. They are not only helping those who have passed on but they are also helping us here in life. That is so awesome! And thanks for writing me Gavon. I enjoyed hearing about your experiences about doing the best you can on your mission. I want to follow your example by doing the very best that I can. Thank you again! I do my best to remember every single one of you in my prayers at night. And I know that Heavenly Father will bless you all so much according to how much you use your faith that you already have, like Elder Holland states. 

Yeah I know Rachael!! That is so awesome how they are engaged!!! I thought they were already married haha. Tell her congratulations for me!!
Thank you Dad for sharing what you taught in the institute class. That was hard for me to hear but It was hard for him to go through. I guess no matter how much we think we know what he went through. We just don't. Christ has done so much for each and every one of us and I am eternally grateful for Him. I hope that Dad will soon be able to ease back on the work so he can take a breath haha I am so proud of how hard he works. I know that he will be rewarded for his long efforts. Did you get a picture message of me at the chapel with my companion? We met this guy from Utah who knows Becky Buckwalter. Small world. And I also wanted to ask something. My district wants to go to Alcatraz next week. But it is 30 bucks to go. I told them that I don't know if I would be able to go because I don't know if I could afford it. So I wanted to ask you about it. Also are you going to set up a skype account that I could use for Mothers Day? Anyway that is all. And I did say thank you to Brian and Cheryl and uncle Brian. 

Thank you all!! 
Love, Elder Barkdull

Monday, March 18, 2013

Dear Family,

Thank you so much for the letters!! Matt, your story really inspired me! thank you so much for being an incredible example in my life! You truly are one of the greatest people I have ever known. And I realize that life is not easy. I now know what that means! This mission so far has been the hardest thing I have ever done! Before I left on my mission I didn't expect it to be this hard! I quickly realized how wrong I was. But as hard as it is,it is also the most amazing experience in my life so far. I have met so many people here in San Francisco that have the sweetest hearts and have had so many amazing and spiritual experiences, but they just don't know how or where to place their faith. It is also very worldly! It is such a culture shock from Utah. I never knew quite what the world was like before. I have never stayed outside of Utah for longer than 2 weeks.  I have seen some interesting things but I love it here!! The members are so nice and supportive!!! I absolutely love the ward mission leader here!! He is the coolest most nicest guy ever!!! I love it here.

Unfortunately, the doubts came back again. And I wasn't surprised because we are constantly tested throughout life. This week was probably the hardest week in that subject, I was very very discouraged. I decided that I was going to start from raw, basic belief once again. And when Sunday came along, I was wanting to find an answer on what I should do because I had no idea what I was doing wrong. I was willing to do anything if it meant getting my belief back again. And yes it got that bad to where my belief of the entire gospel was gone! I prayed very hard hoping that God would hear my prayer. Not knowing if God was listening or if he was even there, I felt like I should start a fast. So Indeed I did so. I started to feel a lot better. The doubts were disappearing so I wanted to keep work on getting that belief back again. So I started my fast at dinner last night. I told my companion what I was doing and what the situation with me was. I really opened up to him and he didn't talk much. At the time, I thought he just didn't care or that he was disappointed in me. Now I think I realize that he was just trying to have me experience what I actually knew for myself rather than him telling me. He then asked me one question, "Elder Barkdull...... Why. did you decide to serve. a. mission?...." It hit me really hard. I took some time ponder that question. Why am I serving a mission? I really did not know why until that moment. I think I served a mission because of the Book of Mormon at the time. But then once I thought about it I realized how much that book blessed my life and at that moment I knew that the Book of Mormon blesses lives. Realizing that again brought back the memories I had of the Book of Mormon before my mission and it brought back that spiritual remembrance. That helped me a lot. And I'm still not there yet but I am continuing my fast right at this moment and I hope that this will help. Thank you for being great examples to me and motivating me to keep moving me forward!

Kam that is awesome that you had that missionary experience!!! I forgot that you are 12 now, that is so weird! but keep it up. Doing those things will really prepare you to serve a mission. And read a lot of preach my gospel. Study it!! I promise you will regret it if you don't! I'm proud of you though!

That is so awesome about your business dad!!! I keep praying for your business to continue to grow and I see that it has!!! So awesome!! Its crazy how many different meanings the scriptures have! Speaking of which, do you know what the scripture in D&C means when Joseph is asking the Lord when the second coming will be and the Lord replies, " If you live to be 80 (or so) you will see the face of the Lord? I don't know it has been bugging me haha. Tell Brian and Aunt Cheryl thank you so so so much for the generous donations!!! They are so sweet!

Yeah mom I will definitely try to get the pictures developed on a CD as well, just to let you know that the money used to develop and send pictures comes from my personal debit card. Just to let you know. 

I wish it was 74 degrees here!! its so cold!!! We are literally inside of a cloud every morning and night!! We can literally see cloud plumes 10 feet in front of us when we are walking. Its pretty cool but its cold! That is so great how you were finally able to meet Nate's girlfriend!! I hope things go well for them. I am also eating relatively healthy. Its kind of hard because for some reason everybody out here has some sort of craving for corned beef!! Bleh! and fatty foods! I try to eat as healthy as possible. By the way I've gained 5 pounds. Not too much but it is getting there. I do not want to get chubby on my mission because people say that they have gained a ton of weight here!! I hope not.

There have been some funny sleep talking experiences that I have had haha. Almost every night I have talked in my sleep. Elder Booth tells me that I teach missionary lessons in my sleep and that one night I was teaching the Doctrine of Christ hahaha. And then another night I was sharing with my companion what I studied and learned during personal study time. It is pretty funny. I remember having full on lessons and everything in my sleep its the weirdest thing. But makes for great stories. I will be an awesome missionary in no time. I'm learning in my SLEEP!!! booya!

Don't worry mama I will be very careful! And I'm so excited! I get to go and do baptisms for the dead in Oakland on Saturday with one of our recent converts!! I'm so excited! it will be my first time going into the Oakland Temple! Oh yeah and tell Gavon and Tanya that Stanford University is outside of my mission boundaries so ya. When are they going anyway?

Oh yeah and last Monday, the district surprised me with a surprise birthday party!!! It was so fun! We had cake and then we slack lined and had a pinata and played a few games. It was great. Oh yes and I did receive Holly's gift! It was so funny. I laughed so hard when I opened the card. Thank you Holly!!:) and happy birthday Brynn and Justin! and Collin!! and Rebecca??  Well that is about all I have to share at the moment. I will talk to you all next week. I love you so much!!!!
Dear family,

Thank you all for the Happy birthdays I had a wonderful birthday!!! And I absolutely love the ties and tie bars that you sent me! The first half of my birthday was hard just because we had to drop a couple of investigators:( because they weren't keeping commitments. There was such a sweet spirit about them too. We had to drop this guy named Rigo because he didn't want to give up smoking but absolutely loved us and the church. And he wasn't keeping our appointment times so we had to drop him. And also one of our investigators who we have a baptism date for, her mom got really mad at her and told her not to go to church. So we are having a hard time with that. She is really progressing but her mom has some issues with the church. I keep praying that her mom will soften her heart toward her daughter's decision to be baptized. But the second half of my birthday was awesome!!! We had a miracle happen to us! So me and my companion were contacting a referral that we received from somebody. We knocked on her door and she welcomed us in to her house. There were 3 people in the house and she told us that she loves the church and she has a firm belief in Jesus Christ and the only thing holding her back was her schedule she is very busy but she wants us to come back and her family does too! In fact, they were the ones who set up the return appointment!! we even set the expectation to be baptized. On my birthday we added 3 new investigators! so awesome! And later that night we went to visit a recent convert. She was really sick so we weren't able to teach a lesson really, so instead we gave her a priesthood health blessing. It was probably one of the revelatory blessings I have ever given to someone. I really have a testimony of blessings! And all of my doubts disappeared on my birthday!! I'm so grateful for that. I couldn't have asked for a better birthday!

On Saturday, I went on exchanges with the Chinese elders in downtown San Francisco! Haha that was very interesting! I got to ride bike for a day so that was a workout going up all the steep hills and everything but it was so fun!! I didn't understand much of anything that had been said that day since my companion that I was with that day only taught in chinese, but it was still awesome! We went to china town that day!! So cool!! there are a lot of interesting people in downtown San Francisco! Lot of hippies!!! its pretty funny! I have never ever been in such bad traffic as I was in Downtown!! We were swerving in and out of so many cars! Oh and I went to this place called Hunters point for the first time a few days ago and man, that place is so scary!!! There are so many killings that happen there! The day before I went there, there were 3 shootings, and the day I went there, there was another killing. We found this guy in hunters point and started teaching him outside and me and my companion heard another gun shot!! ahhh so scary but don't worry Mom and Dad I'm being very obedient so nothing is going to happen!!:)

That is really weird how Parker is taller than Kam!! I can't believe how fast a person can grow within a couple of months. And that is awesome how they are coming to San Fran!! perhaps I will see them here! haha I know its against the rules but if I happen to find them, then that is alright. There is not much you can do about that. I already have seen 3 people here that I knew from high school here!! Super weird! they came to our sacrament meeting because they were here for some symphony orchestra thing. what are the odds! haha. I'm not sure if Stanford is in south san francisco or not.

It is actually a decent possibility that I could get into the Samoan program. I know a lot of elders who got transferred into another language program after they arrived. Oh I forgot to tell you that I absolutely love the CD you sent me! The music on it is great!! I love it!:) I can't wait to see Ryan and Lindsay's finished house!! it will be awesome!!
It is still very cold here although we had a couple nice days but then it just became foggy again and cold. I'm looking forward to spring though because spring and fall are supposed to be the warmest months in south San Francisco. And summer is when it gets very cold here. Which is weird but ya! I had my first Samoan meal several days ago and it was horrible!!! They eat this stuff called Taro. It's like this root similar to a potato its just really thick and bland. I don't know, just takes some getting used to. And they love their corn beef and I don't!! They also love their fish!! not the good kind either. It just tastes weird, I don't know. The best thing I had at that meal was the orange Shasta soda haha. Very fatty and greasy meals!! Its fun though. Actually Samoan people are generally hard to convert I don't know why. But Tongans are much more likely to convert than Samoans. I can't remember the percentage, but a huge percentage of the church are Tongans. Very few are Samoans. But I love all of them!

Tell Brian that there is no rush I completely understand! And sorry I didn't have time to mail my photos last week but I am mailing them today for sure! So plan on receiving them this week sometime. I'm having a great time. I am slowly getting the hang of being a missionary but I am constantly tired. I can't get used to waking up at 6 and I don't think I ever will! All the boys in the family are probably laughing at what I just said because I'm sure they know exactly what I am talking about. It is so fun being in the city it is just so different than Utah I can't even explain!! But I love it and I got a happy birthday phone call from the Chinese Elders! They sung Happy birthday 5 times in 5 different languages it was pretty funny! I had a great birthday. It didn't really seem like my birthday though it was weird but fun!

I tried listening to the file that Ryan sent me but it wouldn't work on the computer I'm using:( I'm sure it was awesome and I'm sorry I couldn't listen to it!! Thanks for it anyway though!:)

Well that is about all I got for now Thanks for the letters and the update I miss you all too! And I didn't get the package that Holly sent me yet but I'm sure it is at the mission home, I just need to pick it up. I'll let you know next week if I get it or not thank you so much! I love you all very much!

Monday, March 4, 2013

Hello to the Family!
McKay and Stan Hawkes in the MTC
I'm so happy that I received so many letters! And thank you for all of the happy birthdays that I received!:) I am so blessed to have such an awesome family.
I enjoyed reading about all of the blessings that have been given to you all since I have been gone. It just proves that the Lord really does bless the family of the missionary. I just want to let you all know that I have been doing a lot better. This week was probably the most difficult week of my life when it comes to casting the doubts away that come to my mind. My companion, Elder Booth gave me a priesthood blessing this morning and it was amazing! I feel so much better already. The stories you shared with me about your missionary experiences really helped me realize that I'm not the only one who was going through this. I know that the Lord has his plan for me and even though it is difficult to go through the process, it will benefit me for the better. It got so hard for me this week that it came to the point where I was questioning if God is really there. When it got to that point I felt like giving up until I realized that It was fast sunday. I knew exactly what to fast for, to provide me with the faith to continue pressing forward and put my full trust in God. And by the way, I know now that there is no possible way that you can do this by yourself. I hope we all remember that including myself. I also fasted for 3 of my investigators, Lisa, for her to open her heart to our message. And for Rigo to have an interest again and call us back. And by the way guess what?.... One of our investigators named Jordan, (she is 17) she accepted to be baptized on March 30th!! I'm so proud of her decision and I am so excited. During my fast around 4:30 on Sunday, Rigo called us and apologized for being rude and he wanted to have an appointment with us as soon has possible! And the following morning, Elder Booth gave me that priesthood blessing and I am feeling so much better and I feel my relationship with Jesus christ and Heavenly Father has increased a lot. I definitely have a testimony of Fasting. We are meeting with Rigo tonight and I am fully confident that we will also accept a date to be baptized. Because he already wants to be baptized. I am so grateful and excited for all these things that are coming up.

I have been learning a little bit of Samoan!!! its pretty fun. I would love to get reassigned to speak Samoan! Its freezing in San Francisco/ Daly city area. And the fog gets soo thick here. you can literally see a wall of fog like 15 feet in front of you and once you drive through it, you can't see a thing!! Oh and by the way i'm super angry because we got a parking ticket! Parking in San Francisco is ridiculous. they ticketed us 98 BUCKS!!!! for a PARKING TICKET!! how stupid is that!? Oh well.
 I want to challenge all of you to try to have a missionary experience at least once a week. We are challenging our ward here to really get involved with the missionary service and the ward is very supportive about it. I love our Ward! Oh and my pictures should be arriving soon so take a gander. I will be taking more pictures of the area where I am more. So i'll get better at that. There are captions on the back of the pictures so read those as well. Well this is about all of the time that I have to write.I love you all so much and I miss you. Keep writing I love reading your emails! And I also received the Kyani package and I'm loving it! Faafetai Lava! (thank you in Samoan!)

Love Elder Barkdull

Monday, February 25, 2013

Made it to San Francisco!

Dear Family,

So as you now have found out, my pdays are Monday now. Yeah I told the nurse to call you because I would have had to wait till monday to tell you about where to ship the mail and all that. My first day was crazy! It is so beautiful here I can't even explain! Actually I can haha it is soooo green here. And the climate and environment is crazy! it is so diverse. my mission is only like 45 or 50 miles wide and the environment and climate changes drastically. In oakland it can be 70 or 80 degrees but only several miles away in San francisco it will be 40 degrees. It is always cold in San Francisco which was a surprise to me. Apparently they got snow in half moon bay about a week ago! I have had to wear a coat cause it gets very cold at night. And the environment is weird too. One minute you are in a dense busy city and the next minute you will be in woodland forest/ Jungle looking areas and then a minute later you will be in the rundown gettos. Its so cool. It doesn't even feel like I'm in the United States. And there are SO MANY HOUSES!! I can't believe how dense it is here. I love it. My apartment is right above a mexican food place on mission street. And my Companion is Elder Booth. He is from Ogden Utah which is really cool. He is so diligent in being obedient its crazy haha. But i'm grateful to have an obedient first companion. There are so many samoan people here and Asian, and black people, and mexicans!! hardly any white people its pretty funny. there are so many languages that are being spoken in this mission. I might end up speaking a language!!! there is english, spanish, chinese, samoan, Tongan, Cambodian, Tagalog, Mandarin, and a couple others.

So the First day I got off the plane and I met my mission president and his wife and they are so nice!! I love them so much. He is such an amazing man! He took us to this weird chinese Buffet that was pretty good. He then took us to the Mission home and the view from the Mission home is sooo beautiful. It has a huge view of all the valley of San Francisco, Oakland and berkley. And the Mission home is right by the Oakland Temple which is beautiful by the way. Then we had dinner at the mission home and went through a bunch of training then met our companions. That was the basics of what happened the first day.

That is the freakiest thing that Aiden is getting baptized already! But that is awesome I wish I could see that happen! Dad, that is crazy how many people you got to investigate the gospel!!! the gospel is growing so fast!!! I'm way happy to hear Matt and Kristen moved in safe and sound into a beautiful home. I can't wait to see it!! I am so grateful to hear all of the blessings that are happening at home with katie and Jason. The Lord has provided us a solution to everything! And i'm so happy to hear about Nate's girlfriend. And don't worry i'm praying for all of you every single night! I am honored to be Kam's admiration. I miss that kid so much!! He is awesome. Tell him I love him!

The Lord through the holy ghost really does prepare missionaries so quickly when they need to. Even though I have been facing a lot of doubt again since I entered the field. I had to work really hard and put all my trust in the Lord and work as hard as I could to get those doubts out. So yes Dad, you called it! I did end up facing a lot of doubts when I entered Oakland. I pretty much just went through all the things that I went through when I entered the MTC. It was really hard on me. But I prayed and studied very hard and was able to push out those doubts and focus on the mission. I am still going through it a little bit but I make sure that I put my trust in the Lord and not think about one doubt. Because those doubts will really get to you. It has been better but I still have to remember that without God I am nothing and only through Him will I be strengthened to over come this. I always try to remember to be happy and lose myself in the work. If we are trying to find ourselves, we will not find us. If we lose our self in the work through service is how we find ourselves and we won't even be looking for it.

I have met the coolest people here. I love our investigators Me and my companion went tracting and met this Asian Buddhist named Quang who talked to us for like 20 minutes of how he is a Buddhist but has a huge respect for christianity. And I could hardly understand him he talked so fast, the only thing I picked out was how if he was in heaven and his mom was in hell that is not happiness haha I don't know! so we gave him a book of Mormon and a plan of salvation pamphlet to solve his problems. He is very smart and is looking for answers and he thinks that Buddhism has all the answers. But I know that he will find his answers through the book of mormon and the plan of salvation packet. There are several other people who are awesome investigators like Hoover Burton. He is my favorite black man! and also Sheila, Susan, Jenny, Lisa, and some Lady named Black Star. That is really her name! haha anyway If you could include all of them in your prayers, that would be very appreciated. You may be wondering if I have seen weird people yet and the answer is Yes!!! i've already seen a few gay people which makes me laugh everytime I see them. They are so funny!! me and my companion were sitting on this bench and all of a sudden a gay couple rode a tandem bicycle past us with a funny look on their face. I don't know it was pretty funny at the time. Me and my companion got really sick with a bad cold and flu so we spent 2 straight days inside our apartment which sucked! it was so boring and we accomplished nothing. But we are doing a little better now. We have had some really amazing experiences in our lessons with recent converts/ less active, and investigators. I love it! If Tanya could remind me her sister's name again. I want to make sure if i get called to concord that I will find her.

Well that is about all the experiences that I've had. Well thats not true but those are the big things that have happened so far. Oh ya i'm in a driving area so i've been pretty lazy so far and I wish that I could ride bikes!!! except the street hills are sooo ridiculously steep in san francisco. I'm serving in south san francisco by the way. And the streets are crazy steep!! cars have to park sideways on the sidewalks in some places cause its too steep to park angling forward. The ward that I am in is awesome too! lots of samoan people. And I absolutely love the ward mission leader. He and his wife are the sweetest people you will ever meet! there name is brother and sister Durrett. They make us food a lot!! And I am in the South San Francisco ward for those who are wondering. I don't know if Tanya was in that Ward or not. I'm doing a lot better and I have got a little homesick. not too bad but a little. It is a little harder being out of the state but I am doing a lot better! I am grateful for all of you! I love you all so much! And I can't wait till next Pday to email you all again. And I can't wait to see what I got for my birthday!!:) I love you all! And I want to here from more of you!!!

Love Elder Barkdull

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Leaving For the MTC

McKay saying goodbye right before leaving for the MTC on January 30, 2013.