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.