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!!!!

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