Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Alive and Well!

Today we received an email titled:


Barry is now in Uruguay. He's happy. He's loving life and he looks great.

It's so good to have a picture and see that he is well!
Here is his email for the week:

Hey Dad thanks for the email early, Tuesdays are my p-day now so we got lucky. What bowl are the ducks going to?

Alright, I don't have that much time, I'm in the bus station, I got my new companion, Elder B, he seems pretty legit. Thanks for sending me that stuff, I'm glad that the elders had something to donate I'll put it to good use.

I can call you, on Christmas, just be ready, we have an hour to talk.

I love you guys a lot thanks for all your letters and love. Cheer real hard for the beavs to kill the cougars. (for those of you scoring at home... The Oregon State Beavers are playing the Brigham Young University Cougars in the Las Vegas Bowl. As alumni of both, we are very excited for the game to be played on Dec. 22 and will be cheering for the Beavers.~Jenny)

I'm so excited to be an actual missionary it's unreal, this is so crazy awesome.

I've gotta go, but I really love you.

love Elder Barry

Friday, December 11, 2009

Episode 3: Proseletismo

Being in the Buenos Aires, Argentina Missionary Training Center is quite the trip. there are only about 50 or 60 missionaries here at one time, and half of them are from South America. Everyone is going to a Spanish speaking mission. this really forces you to learn Spanish quick. With half of our floor being Latinos, we have to speak Spanish like all the time. Plus, we "get" to experience the food before going out into the field, and its usually pretty good.

By far my favorite part about being in Argentina right now is Proseletismo. yeah I know, how dare I use a Spanish word while talking to an all gringo audience, well suck it up. Proseletismo is just about the coolest thing ever. Every Saturday we get to go out into the streets of Argentina and actually proselyte to the people. no senior companion, no adult guide, nothing. we get on a bus, they drive us to somewhere out in the middle of nowhere, and we try to preach the Gospel. I love it. Proseletismo is just about the scariest thing I have ever done, but it is great. it is a huge humbler and also a big faith builder. We go out and talk to strangers in a foreign language we only basically have the grasp of, and we are supposed to convince them of the truthfulness of the Gospel. These people live a completely different life than we do. Their houses are so different than ours our, a nice lady took us into her house last week, and our jaws dropped. the house was like 20 feet by 20 feet, made of cement, and really leaky. It was so tiny, dark, and empty, it just hit me really hard, that that is how these people live, this is real life, I had no idea how different life could be.

Its rather daunting to think about teaching the Gospel to random strangers in a different language, but that is the faith building part of the experience. People actually listen, sometimes. Our goal is to talk to everyone, and that's what we do, three gringos in white shirts and ties, talking to everyone they walk past. We've been invited into a few houses, it's really neat to be able to sit and talk with these great people, I can feel their love and as a few of them have started to accept our message, I know that's why I am here, and I float on air all the way back home.


"I´m in freaking Argentina! I haven´t used my sexiness for a little bit."
Elder T.

"The mission is the MTC for life."
Hermano W. (afternoon teacher)

Be excellent to each other.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Episode 4: Bartering for Ties (en Espanol)

Hey Dad, thanks for the email. that's awesome about the beavs, they better beat wsu or that would be pathetic, and it really sounds like the civil war will be an epic duel this year.

Today we get to go see Elder Bednar, we are all riding buses down, and we get to watch him with like 600 other missionaries, its going to be awesome. President was at a conference with Elder Bednar for the past few days and he makes it sound like there is really going to be some spiritual stuff going down.

Elder Bednar said he will have something for every single missionary, directly to that person to help them and change their life.

yeah giving a blessing was quite the experience, i gave another one to my companion elder t. this week, and a few hours later he was like, man elder, you´re like 2 for 2 with blessings. its hard to know what to say, and I'm really not that good of a speaker, i can't make it sound good and poetic, but i think i get the job done, and some stuff i say i hadn't thought of before i had started the prayer, i feel conceded to think that that is the spirit speaking through me, because i didn't come up with some of those words.

contacting people on the street is such a wild experience, we still don't understand everything, but we can usually get the jist, and then if not we just go right on teaching them everything we do know. this week we went out for seven hours in a new area, but we get to keep this area for three weeks. this made it possible for us to set citas, or appointments, with people, we set four or five at a specific time and then four more with no time, but like an address for where to find them. one crazy thing they have here is called siesta, its from like 1-4 pm where everyone just goes inside for a couple hours and chills, the streets are just empty as can be. we set up citas during that time though, so life should be less depressing this time around...

serving a mission is hard work. even in the mtc it is really tough. the schedule sucks, we are always behind on sleep, and we work constantly. good thing we still have 23 months left eh?

my Spanish is moving along alright, I'm getting comfortable talking with Latinos, i even traded ties with a couple of them. good deal. I'm excited to see home in 23 months, sounds like it will be a lot different.

thank you for being who you are and such a good dad to me for 19 years. i love you, talk to you in a week.

Hey Mom, I just got your pictures like two seconds ago. thank you!

I really miss you guys, but home seems like a far off distant world now.
that is a really good idea to link memories to objects, i think I'll do it. that way i can be the crazy object memory guy who has a weird scripture bag and pillow case. dang, I'm racking up the nicknames!

ahh! three minutes left! It should be really great to go see Elder Bednar today. President is having us all prepare spiritually for it, because he says there will be something life changingly spiritual in it for each missionary. it should be good, but we have to write our letters on the bus on the way there and the way back.

i love you a lot. bye

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Episode 3: Lost in Translation

I just got a letter today from aunt Rhonda, and it was dated before Halloween. I really miss you guys. Sister Beck came and spoke, she was really great, I love hearing from the high up people in the church, because they've really been through it all and have a lot of guidance from the Lord. Sister Motsumori was with her and then some other guy from the area presidency. Sister Motsumori gave this really great talk. In her talk she had a story about her son´s mission. He was serving in Bronx New York in a really dangerous neighborhood, and the mission president allowed her and her husband to visit him. It was a really scary part of town, so she was nervous, but when she saw her kid come walk around the corner down the street it was like he had a bubble around him, a bubble of protection, and she knew that he was safe. She knew that the Lord was keeping her son out of harm. I really loved that story.

This Saturday we got to go out proselyting. We call it proseletismo. We went out for 7 whole hours in a new part of town with about 6 million dogs. They were everywhere. The people didn't seem to accept the message very well at all at first, one guy was really old and kept like yelling at us in his own muffled way. My dang companion was just nodding at him and saying, esta bien, esta bien, its good its good. But the guy was a huge anti, and telling us that we are liars. But, my comp kept nodding and agreeing. I turned to him, my comp, and, in english, said, No he is calling us liars, NO. He immediately got this hilarious look on his face and starting shaking his head and saying no, no.

Later we did a lot better though, a couple of our people seemed like they could go all the way. We gave one guy a book of Mormon, and later he was riding on a bus and we walked past and he waved at us, that was an awesome moments.

I was going to mail more family letters today, those ones are fun to write. I hope that the Beavers beat the Huskies, they better at least. (they did!) How long until the civil war? I miss watching college football.

Did Mecca really drop the prices? That’s amazing! You lucky dogs. I bet they made like a million dollars right after they switched back.

I got to give a blessing last night. One of the missionaries in my district got me up at like midnight, he was really sick. He wanted a blessing. His comp did the putting on the oil and I did the blessing. The spirit of the Holy Ghost was so strong, and it worked. He slept fine and is totally healthy today. I was really nervous and had to go into another room to pray first alone so I could do it. It was a really great experience though, and I feel like it brought us all together.

I really love the gospel now, I mark my scriptures up like crazy, and my Preach My Gospel too. Jeffrey R. Holland is definitely my favorite apostle, he has such a great spirit as he speaks, and his testimony of missionary work is really powerful.

I found some parkour to do the other day and just went crazy, I was sore the next morning, haha.

I love you a ton and I miss you a lot. Talk to
you next week. Tell the kids to stay gold

I love you, thanks for the emails.

Elder Barry

ps tell mom that i have not been able to go to Wal-Mart, and the washing machines are super easy, we do it twice a week, and they cost nothing. I’ve only spent money on candy at the hostel they used for the temple when it was still open so my grasp on it is like nothing, oh well

love you

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Episode 2: The Quote List

By now, we're pretty much accustomed to the schedule, the days are just starting to drag together. but we like to keep it interesting here in Argentina. I'm a lucky one, i got stuck in a three pack companionship. the more, not the merrier. my companions are named Elder W and Elder T. we get along just fine, we all have our quirks, but we survive. the whole group of three thing is just messed up. When we teach, the whole rotation of three is so long that you just start to zone out, causing stupidity to flow unceasingly throughout our lessons.

Three people does, however, provide an abundance of humor. despite differing styles of humor, we always end up laughing about something. so many one liners have been dropped that i decided to institute the quote book. I had a tendency to write down stupid things people had said before my mission, and i guess old habits die hard. i didn't realize how weird things could get in the MTC.

in just over two weeks, we've accumulated 47 quotes that were worthy of this holy list. but first, readers in America need to realize the enormous task it is to qualify oneself for the list. Being the creator of this sacred compilation, all quote recommendations have to go through the offices of Elder Barry Quoting Services, for all your companion quote needs (You'll see the commercial aired on Fox in a few weeks). then they go through a 36-point check, including awkwardness level, audience reception, and my personal judgment of the character of the quoter. also taken into account is the validity of the quote; anything said for the sole purpose of quote book insertion is disqualified.

to this point, the quote leader is Elder T, with 15 quotes. He has a commanding lead over Elder W, who is sitting at 10. As the writer of the quote book, I am officially disqualified from inclusion; but being the writer also puts me one step above the simpletons who do the quoting.

One deep quote and one ridiculous quote. wooyeah.

"Don't be afraid. You are called by a prophet, if you follow the rules, you can do anything. Just open your mouth, don't be afraid to just speak, the spirit will be with you."
Hermano W (Afternoon Teacher)

Okay so for this one, it happened to Elder W. He found out the word for repentance was arrepentimiento.
"They can't come up with a better word for it? They're not going to want to do it if they have to say that novel!"

Stay Cool America

Episode 1: Pilot

The journey begins. I never realized how long two years was until I was faced with The Mission.

It is weird to think that I have been out for almost three weeks already, but compared to my two years, that's like three seconds. every day feels like an eternity, we're in class for 6:45 every day, and that doesn't include the three hours we spend studying. but at the same time, looking back on it, it feels like we've only been here a day or two.

Being a missionary is awesome. Everyone stares at you, everywhere you go, and you are given an extra wide berth. Its like you have a Wide-Load sign on your butt. But then you get the church members, who come up to you, shake your hand, and congratulate you. this would be all good and nice if i wasn't lost in an airport thousands of miles away from home, looking for the other lost boys with name tags. the best by far though are the ones who shoot you one glance and then dart off in the other direction. they feel guilty rejecting the message, and obviously, running away from a skinny white 19 year old kid is much more dignifying.

I flew from Seattle to Dallas all alone, so you can imagine my excitement when I saw another nametag when i got to Dallas. i had already successfully gotten lost at this huge airport, eaten at McDonalds, and found the correct gate. then i realized that i still had three and a half hours left before my flight took off. so i went to the bathroom. that oughtta occupy like 30 seconds of my time, right?

Thats where i met an elder from South Chicago. i was in the bathroom, just minding my own business, relieving myself, when i heard someone say Uruguay. i seriously backflipped. i then showed him over to McDonalds and we found the rest of the missionaries. the eight of us then got on quite possibly the longest flight in the history of mankind. or at least thats what it felt like.

if only we had known what we were getting into...

Repent Sinners!

Episode 2: The Quote List

Coming soon...

Saturday, October 31, 2009

The Sun

Its pretty weird to have already been here for 2 weeks.

I just got the letters from my brother and sisters and dad yesterday, and the date on those was the 17th. It felt like that was just yesterday, but at the same time my life before feels like it hardly even happened. Saying goodbye could have been 2 years ago for all I know. So I guess I'll see you soon hahaha.

Thank you for all your prayers, I need all the help I can get. We went out proselyting last Saturday and it was awesome, but I could really catch only about 40 percent of what the people were saying, and that was the slow people! We get to go tomorrow, I'm so stoked!

We only go for two hours the first two times, but then for the 6 weeks after that we go once a week for 7 hours each time. All the elders came back really sunburnt. Oh yeah, I'm here for 9 weeks.

My companions are pretty chill, we joke a lot, but Spanish is kinda kicking everyone's butts.

Its just getting hotter here. It was like a million degrees and humid today, and we had to wear our suit coats to the temple, one elder wanted to swan dive off the CCM hahaha.

Far away from the equator???? This summer is gonna kill. I will be the tall red gringo kid before the end of January. We get to go out street contacting every weekend, its such a good experience, it made me realize that my Spanish is rather terrible. We gave away 2 Book of Mormons though, and got the address for a lady. She was really interested.

Things here aren't that different. The building is 3 stories tall, with a huge fence all the way around it, but there are fields so its all good. We usually play Concha soccer (on a hard court) and I really stink. I hate soccer. I wrote down what ccm stood for, but i don't know it anymore.

This place is crazy though, most comparable to a prison... I heard a quote and totally agree. Days are like months and months are like days.

I love you. Talk at you later. Mail me pictures!


did they play Moe Vow (sp.)?
they really need him to

Thursday, October 29, 2009


Being here in the MTC has been a really spiritual thing for me, we are in class for soo long during the day, at least 8 hours, its crazy. we get so much crammed into our heads, its like a guaranteed headache every night. But it's not like school at all, we all know that we are here for a purpose, to bring people to the gospel. Everyone wants to learn and wants to be focused. We have learned so much Spanish over the past week, and gotten so much scriptural knowledge its unbelievable.

We have so many good classes, this morning we spent a couple hours on the Book of Mormon with the presidents wife and the spirit was so strong there was no way i could ever deny it. The other night we were practicing, in English, the first lesson. At the end, we bore our testimonies of the truth of it. We were just practicing to the other elders in our zone, but at that moment i knew why i was here. It was like my best two years moment.

My companions are pretty cool, we always joke around. On the plane ride here, one of them lost his name tag, we hassled him for days. They can be best friends, and worst enemies, but we all love each other.

The other Elders are really awesome. they have given us lots of tips and really helped to keep my confidence up when I feel like I'm nowhere near ready. I'm so glad I took all that Spanish, bro, you better listen to Señor, you might be grateful someday. Thanks again for the letters mom and sis, I got them yesterday, long time eh? You can tell whoever you want to email me, but letters are much cooler to get :) Well, I just have a short time before I'm kicked off. I love you!

Elder Barry

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The Arrival

It took a week but we now have word of Barry's arrival in Argentina.

The first email:

Hey guys, its Elder Barry. thanks for the letters. i got here safe. its been really intense, but i'm remembering a lot of spanish from class. thursday is my p-day, so thats the only day that i'm allowed to email home on. i get half an hour to do it, there is actually a timer here on the screen. how are you guys doing? i can't believe i'm actually out here on a mission, this is crazy. i got called to be the district leader of our district of five people, but all that really means in the mtc, or ccm, is that i get to go to a meeting 3 times a week and talk with the president about my district. i have two companions, because my original companion decided to be a prodigy and speak spanish fluently, he'll be in uruguay in 2 weeks. this place is pretty cool though.
how is life in the US? i really miss you guys, but it'll all be worth it. is there any way you guys could send me addresses of my friends? i can't believe i forgot to get any before i left.
so the rules about email are that anyone can email me, but i have to write letters back to anyone other than my family.
i really love you guys, have a good week!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

The Flight

The day arrived in a down pour of rain. Maybe it was a reflection of how I would feel later, but at the onset I felt excited and happy.19 years old, ready to conquer the world (or at least parts of South America) and leaving home. My boy, lover of Frisbee and Risk, Capture the Flag and Kick the Can, Tennis and Baseball, Street Hockey and friends stepped into a suit, short hair and "good" shoes as he got on a plane heading south.I will forever have the vision in my mind of the man I left in the security line at the SeaTac airport. After going through security and putting his shoes on ready to face the world he looked back one last time to see his family and raise his hand high in a final farewell.
We love him, we will miss him and we know that he will do amazing things as a missionary in South America. Now I just can't wait to get that first letter.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The Farewell

Sunday was Barry's big day to speak in Church before leaving on his mission. You wouldn't believe the support he got from his friends. Kids from different congregations all over town and as far away as Oregon, and grandparents from both California and Utah came to church with us to support him on this special day.He did a great job speaking about Gifts that help us Navigate our Lives.

Here is a copy of the talk he gave:

Our journey, or task here on the earth is to Return to our Father in Heaven so we can become more like Him. . But in this journey, we are not left alone to fend for ourselves; we are given spiritual gifts to help us on our way. The first of these gifts, given to everyone, I never even recognized as a gift. It is the gift of Free Agency, the power to choose. Heavenly Father lets us make our own choices, as a sign of trust in His children. He will never force or compel anyone to make the correct decisions, no matter how terribly they have acted previously. He does invite all to choose the right, in

Moroni 7 verse 13, it says……

“But behold, that which is of God inviteth and enticeth to do good continually; wherefore, every thing which inviteth and enticeth to do good, and to love God, and to serve him, is inspired of God.”

God invites all to do good continually, and this we should remember as we go through life’s journey, that anything telling us to do good is of God, whereas anything to the contrary is of Satan, and is to be avoided. Follow the spirit and choose the right, and everything will be okay.

President Thomas S. Monson said,

“Our lives will depend upon the decisions which we make—for decisions determine destiny.”

Every one of our choices has a consequence, and while we freely choose our actions, we are also choosing our consequences. These consequences may even limit our future ability to choose for ourselves. Once put into prison, you don’t have too many choices.

When we listen to the spirit, another spiritual gift we have been given, choosing the right path becomes an easier task. We know where we are going and why, and the right decisions are easier to make. In his talk, Gifts to help us Navigate our Life, in April General Conference, Elder Jose A. Teixeira of the seventy compared this to his new portable GPS receiver. Using satellites way up in the sky, he is given his precise location on the earth, and can even be given directions on how to get where he is going. He can have complete confidence that the GPS will tell him the right way to go, every time.

Elder Teixeira recounts:

“I remember one day, however, as I drove into an underground parking lot, I was introduced to a new feature of this device—a warning voice struck me: “Lost satellite reception.” The concrete structures that surrounded me had interrupted the satellite signal and caused the device to lose connection.”

But then, after he came out of the parking lot, back to where it was possible to receive satellite communication, it still took some time for the GPS to regain its connection with the satellites.

This can be compared to real life, and our connection with the Holy Ghost. While we stay on course, the right decisions are easy to make, because our plan is laid out in front of us; all we have to do is follow the promptings we receive, and choose what we know to be right. But when we make the wrong decisions, when we stray off course, when we go into the underground cement structure of life, those promptings leave; we no longer know where we are or where to go. An interesting part of this story is, that when he came up out of the parking lot, it still took some time before he was able to retrieve his lost satellite connection. When we make wrong decisions, it takes time to regain the Lord’s trust and again have that companionship with the Holy Ghost. We have to work our way back up again, repenting and making right the wrongs we have done.

Another great gift we have been given to help us complete our goal and return to live with our Father in Heaven is the gift of Christ’s atonement. Because all of us our human, all of us make mistakes. No matter how hard we try, we all end up screwing up at one point or another. These imperfections, through the law of justice, should keep us from ever returning to live with our Father in Heaven again. But because of our elder brother Jesus Christ, there is another way. Being God’s only begotten son, he lived a perfect life here on the earth. Because he was perfect, he was able to make the ultimate sacrifice for us, he suffered for our sins. This made it possible for us to make it back to our Heavenly Father through repentance. Thus justice has been served, but there is also mercy shown unto us.

Jesus suffering for our sins does not give us an automatic pass into the Celestial Kingdom though. We are required to be his disciples and follow Him; to obey follow his commandments and always choose the right. The atonement is there to help us fix our mistakes, as long as we try as hard as we possibly can to do the right thing, the atonement, with our repentance, is there to help us out. One is not saved on Grace only, you need to show through your works that you love God and want to do what is right, then his Grace is there to pick up your slack. We need to share the gospel with all those around us and repent and make right all of our wrongs. We need to love God and our neighbors, and give ourselves to Him to do his work. The atonement is the greatest gift given to us, but we need to do our part.

Moroni 10:32-33 says:

Yea, come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny yourselves of all ungodliness; and if ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness, and love God with all your might, mind and strength, then is his grace sufficient for you, that by his grace ye may be perfect in Christ; and if by the grace of God ye are perfect in Christ, ye can in nowise deny the power of God.

33 And again, if ye by the grace of God are perfect in Christ, and deny not his power, then are ye sanctified in Christ by the grace of God, through the shedding of the blood of Christ, which is in the covenant of the Father unto the remission of your sins, that ye become holy, without spot.

Barry then testified that he believed the truth of what he had said and that he was excited to go to Uruguay and teach it to others.

He did a great job and I was really happy so many of his friends were able to be there.

After church we were waiting where our family always meets after church when a man walked by and said, "Looks like there might be a reception going on for Barry on the other side of the building." We walked around and discovered the hallway congested with crowds huggers and well wishers.It's a good thing to see how much your kid is loved!

Then we went home for chili, corn bread and a missionary tag cake.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The Party

On Saturday Barry spent the day in Seattle with friends from Oregon. They saw it all, The Gum Wall, The Fremont Troll, The Fountain, The Space Needle.

We had a big party that night and invited a bunch of friends over to play Risk.Just before he got home the whole group crowded into the downstairs bathroom. A very small half bath and there must have been about a dozen people in there. Pretty soon we heard singing coming from behind the door. The National Anthem. Quite the rendition! Listen to this...