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...