Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Christmas Week

Received Dec 28:

Elder Acosta, Jonathan, and Elder Harker
Well we have walked from Texas to Africa this week, seen a turtle, some scrawny deer, and saw Marmaduke's evil twin! but its all pretty fun. walking instead of biking is hard work but it super fun, this week like i said was kinda crazy the week started off kinda slow but picked up after Christmas, in fact the day after Christmas we found  our investigator, the infamous Johnathan whom we haven't been able to get a hold of, he had been working with the elders before us and never really wanted to get baptized  we taught him about the restoration and explained it more and he decided to get baptized on Sunday so he got baptized on Sunday!!! Its amazing seeing how others can change their lives and come unto Christ into His restored Gospel. If You haven't seen it take a look at to see just about one of the best videos about the birth of the Savior I have ever seen. Never forget what Christmas is truly all about and always try to be more like Christ.

Elder Harker found a chair ????

Jeshua met another Elder Harker
The two Elder Harker's (center)  with their companions at the mission Christmas gathering

Thursday, December 24, 2015

McAllen Mission Christmas Party

The entire Texas McAllen mission gathered in McAllen in Tuesday to celebrate Christmas. The missionaries were able to sing songs, eat dinner, enjoy skits, and open gifts. 
Sister Maluenda, The Mission President's wife, has a FB page set up for the mission and shared pics. Additionally, there were some members in attendance that shared pics on the McAllen Mom page. 
The whole group shot he is front and center. At the table he is wearing his suit coat and behind the string. 

Apparently, when you get this many people in a gets a little crazzzzzzy. 

The other day Jesh and some of the other Laredo missionaries went caroling with a family. 

We are pretty excited for tomorrow!  We get to talk to/see Elder Harker!!!  He will be skyping in the morning! Hope the technology on both ends works out for us. !!!! 

Monday, December 21, 2015

Week 1 in Texas

So I went from cold snowy awesome till summer weather in Utah to totally hot as heck in Texas. So I have been assigned to the Laredo North area. Yes Laredo the old Marshal v.s. Bandito town. It's weird but pretty cool we already have had a baptism, the elders before were getting the sister ready to be baptized. 

We've been walking mostly my companions bike fell off the pickup on the ride up here and is in pieces on the interstate somewhere. 

Its kinda crazy how close we are to the border, some parts of our area(which is super small) are completely mexico its crazy. on Saturday everyone and their dog packed up their stuff early in the morning and started heading to mexico. the whole interstate was packed the streets to mexico were clogged and it honestly looked like the zombie Apocalypse was happening till we found out every one was going to vacation in mexico.

Its pretty crazy down here though its both English and Spanish and sometimes texmex which is crazy. its pretty cool all the trucks down here have treestand type stuff on top for hog hunting. now i know what my next project is when i get home!   
-Elder HarKer

Elder Acosta and Elder Harker

Mom sent the following email:
Elder Harker, Elder Acosta, with a member (Karla) in Laredo
Hey there son!  So you have survived your first week in Texas!  Super exciting!  The members down there seem super nice. I have already gotten to see pics of you via FB. Thanks to some of the members. Karla V, Veronica G, and Abraham G.  Seem like super nice people. One even posted a video of ya'alls singing at their ward party. Elder Acosta looks like a fun guy. Thanks to sister Hewitt we knew where you were headed and who your companion was almost immediately. Heehee. So now for the questions.
1.  How was your first flying experience? (Dad found a website and we tracked your first flight from boarding to landing, but because of the delay we didn't know which flight to track for the connection...oh well, you obviously got there)
2.  Do you get to Skype for Christmas? If so, dads Skype account is
3. Where do you live? Who do you live with?
4.  What do you need most right now? (Picking up insulin Monday morning and a new glucagon--your current one is expired I think--and will send immediately).
5. Have you uploaded recently?
6.  What was your A1c?
7.  How are your sugars doing?
8.  How's your bike?  Send a pic or two of it. We didn't even really get to see it out of the box.
9.  Where are you emailing from?
10.  Are you doing ok?  In all the pics we've seen both at the MTC and down in TX you look very happy and just good. Is it real?  I hope so.

Wow. I know I'm full of questions. (You have NO idea). So since I know your time is limited AND we you are you and unless I have you trapped in a car for 30 mins a day I'm not gonna get too many details. You are just gonna have to pretend I have you trapped in the car and send me some answers. ;)

So here are Jeshua's responses to the questions:
1 it was good very weird but nothing to unlike a four wheeler
2 yes we will be skyping around 4ish so pay attention around 3pm mtn time.
3 we live on Taylor street in Lorado, i live with Elder Acosta, E. Herrin, and E. Gifford. im not sure if we are allowed to get mail at our apt. though. 
4  insulin... idk were kinda far from McAllen, were headed down tomorrow but it usually takes a good few hours there and back its an all day thing and yes get a new glucagon and send instructions i never learned. right now? send my mp3 in with some of my pump stuff. the music situation is good, pretty much if you can feel the spirit so like we are all listening to the "thats Christmas to me" album by Pentatonix which would be awesome to have, but ya like Lindsey Stirling is good so ya. maybe a wildlife calendar. 
5  no i need to ill try
6  idk im gunna try and get it done today
7  good
8  good already biffed it but i ain't to bad i was on the grass
9  the library of the third reich
ya I'm doing okay
Missionaries singing (in Spanish) Jesh is second from the right end

sent Dec 10

This week was pretty good, its our final week here. everyone is gettin itchy to leave. most everyone else is going to buenos aires Argentina and they are all super excited and a little scared because Argentina can be fairly iffy.

 I have just recently read in the Book of Mormon(3Nephi 11) about Christ visiting the Americas and showing himself unto the Nephites and Lamanites, He declared that they were his "other sheep" and He told of his fulfillment of the law of Moses and the organization of his Church. I continued to read untill hundreds of years after the Saviours ministry among the Nephites and Lamanites. I have now gotten into the book of Ether into the account of the Jaredites and their flee from the Tower of Babel. 

Get to read a lot more here soon. Spanish is coming along well, conjugations and indirect object pronouns are super tough though. From what everybody says it sounds like im going straight into Mexico which from how all the mexicans at school talk i wont understand any of them. oh well, gotta get ready to pack and finish my laundry so everyone have a great week! 
Elder Harker and Elder Gold

oh i forgot we got a new Elder in our room! Elder Gold from somewhere near SLC. he just switched rooms with us and was assigned Elder Stewart as his companion. 

Elder Harker with Elder Inman of Florida

gunna be headin out tomorrow at 4:30am may not be able to call idk but if i can i will. hope ya got the box. send me some more gum if you can the blue peppermint kind like the empty one i sent in the box. miss you all gunna try and upload pics. one is when we tucked Elder Burgess into be. one is of our district and one is of my account in the book of Ishom

First Mass Email (sent Dec4)

So, everyone its my fourth week at the MTC. Our schedule is pretty packed with studying Spanish and training for the mission field. We had a pretty cool Thanksgiving. One of the Apostles (Dallin H. Oaks) came and spoke to us, we also participated in a giant service project to help those in need in the intermountain West. 

Its very weird as my companions are from Utah(Roosevelt, Utah) and Boise. Me and my companion from Utah get along better than me and my companion from Boise. I am pretty excited for our Sunday walks though, we get a 40min break on Sunday to walk around the Temple grounds. I'm always scanning the hill sides for deer but the Utahans have driven them up the canyon. 

Getting pretty excited to head to Texas, never been on a plane so that will be a cool experience. This week has been fairly uneventful with spending all our time studying Spanish in the class room. Its so cool because you can feel the blessings around here flow. I'll talk a little bit more next week
-Elder Harker

November pics 2

Email sent 11/24
Today was our email day since we have a service project on Thanksgiving. I got my black eye cause the ball we were playing with during a break went into a dark class room and when I bent down to pick it up a chair/desk mutant got in the way. It is about healed now though so no big deal. I got a cold though and it ain't fun. I just discovered that our room had a thermostat. and I'm right by the vent which keeps the room at 67degrees. so I'm usually kind of cold. thanks for the box but i got plenty of diabetes supplies. imma send the box and supplies down to McAllen once december hits. i got some acorns for dad. thanks for my checking account and the mp3 i dont usually spend money here except for maybe pencils and stuff and detergent. 

life is good. The food is the BYU cafeteria food so its okay but it ain't your cooking. every so often we get papa johns pizza and chic-fillet and we can have pop or milk or juice so its pretty good. a lot of people complain but i thinks its way better than a lot of stuff we will see out there. 

But ya send pics. I miss you all. I wish I could send more letters but time is very limited here and even though we always in class we are pretty much piled with language study and planning to teach our investigators. I hope you get my letters. I met a cool missionary the other day who left yesterday and I'll upload a picture of me and him if i can. I traded a tie for a cool plaid one. Trading ties is a big thing. 

Our Techers are Ha. Lamb  and she served in Chile, Ho. Draut who served in Argentina. and a half way teacher from argentina who was our first "investigator" who is Ho. Figueroa. Spanish is going well we are learning with all Argentinian dialect so a little bit is different but we will be usually speaking spanglish. Our teacher sometimes uses a magic box she can find information on. with a touch of a finger she can summon a strange being called "Siri" and find the translations to odd words in Spanish. We tried to do that with our books but to no avail. 

I got promoted to senior companion in our trio for two weeks. Working out everyday on lifting machines is fun. and sorry in advance for the bad grammar and spelling I'm trying to hurry. Send me letters I want to hear from EVERYONE. but ya its all good here. letters are on the way. although the fries here are like the plants from the "Odyssey" and you forget everything hen you eat them. we all joke around how this place is like prison but we pay to be here, we get to go to the temple, we get no visitations, and the security is less mean. haha but ya everything is good here.

November Pics 1

Elder Harker and his damaged eye

Jesh with the guys in his district
Regal Elder Harker

Thursday, November 12, 2015

First week

Just an update on Jeshua:
Last week we drove down to Provo and dropped Jeshua off.  When we got about to Salt Lake City, he exclaimed, "Crap!  I forgot my insulin."  Well after some debate about transferring the prescription quickly we decided to just overnight his current prescription.  So after we dropped him off we drove straight home and arrived in time to get it boxed up (along with some candy and treats) and got to UPS about 10 min before they closed.  It's been an interesting transition to not having him around all the time...all those little things that he did to help out added up to A LOT!  also just not being able to talk to him and tell him this or that, or listen to him torment his sisters.  I miss talking to him the most.  Love that boy of mine, but I can tell reading this that he is having a good time.  
He gets email time once a week and mentions below that he would prefer mail to email.  His mailing address is: 

Elder Jeshua Aaron Harker
2005 N 900 E Unit 137
Provo, UT  84602

He should be in Provo until the 14th of Dec.  It's nice to hear that he is meeting the people...if you know Jesh you know how shy he is, as well as how bad with names he is.  So it was really unexpected to see that he has names down already ;).  

I just copied and pasted so all of the grammar, punctuation, capitalization, etc errors are all him. The English teacher in me just wants to wap him across the head!  But since I love him so dang much I will disregard (for now). Here is his letter to us:

Hey so today is our first p-day and we finally can write home. Even writing letters is hard because we hardly have any time to go to the bathroom in our spare time. We get up at 6:30 and are in class/meals til 9:30pm and then our personal time is til10:15. My companions are Elder Clayton from Boise and Elder Stuart from Roosevelt Utah. Our district is funny though. The elders in the next door over rearranged their room and well.... it exploded. 

Thanks for sending the insulin and the candy. Thanks for my camo bandana. I've had to use it as a hanky cause its been so cold. But first i met a few cool people! I met an Elder Clukey from Edmonton, Alberta who said he knew several Harkers, and a specific name came up as Lance Harker. Elder Brobinski and a very pretty Sister Ohlwiler both have T1D. I met Elder Hernandez-Reyez from the jewell, Texas(McAllen) who was going to Poky. so we were all like "Whoa hey thats cool" 

We've all been getting up on time, the elders next to us "Elders Marsh,Moss, Gold, and Gustaveson" don't go to sleep so its always funny the stories they tell in the mornings.  please have everyone send letters to me for the weekly email. we only get an hour so its best to read everyone's letters before hand and spend the hour replying. since we didn't get p-day our first week they email to say we were alright. ill try to send pictures but i still am trying to figure out the camera and computer interface. One sister in our district looks sounds and acts just like aunt Camille, but shes been really sick so we been praying for her. i been writing in my journal everyday. 

Our teacher observed our lesson to an investigator(situation is fake but its to help us learn) and she thought i talked too much. ya let that sink in.

It is honestly better to send letters as a missionary cause an hour isn't much time so send letters. I am wondering if you could send me in the mail the lyrics(and for the cause of elder clayton the sheet music if its possible) to some of my favorite songs like Scotland the Brave and Christmas 1915. songs like that. send pictures in the mail of you guys. been tellin all the guys huntin stories. 

In my interview with our district president we said that its good to have me out here cause Idaho farm-boys are notorious for working hard. we got a little snow but it soon turned to rain then snow then rain then sun. Missing being able to have a good calendar on my ipod. The days seem to morph into one here. I've heard the comment "its like prison but with more work, we can go to the temple, and there's no visitation" so we all thought that was a hoot. we met our first greeny yesterday. he was from montana. well tell everyone i love them and keep $100 in my checking. ill be back before ya know it. 



Elder Jeshua Harker @ the MTC

Bags were packed and loaded.  We loaded up the family and headed down the road.  Just a mere three hours left with the oldest child in the family.  And he slept most of the way there.  I'm sure that this was his coping mechanism to deal with the stress and nervousness of the past few days weeks months.  You know, preparing to serve a mission has a lot of steps.  A lot more than one would realize (especially for a T1D missionary).  Multiple medical exams, dental exams, vision exams.  So much paperwork to fill out and submit.  So many personal interviews with leadership.  Wow.  Just such an intense process.  And then there's all the other preparations: packing, shopping, and more packing.
So we drove down the road with a carload of goodbye tension.  The oldest daughter wanted to play car games to ease the tension, just nobody else seemed to be into that.
Two hours into our three hour drive Jeshua exclaims, "Crap!"  Since I happened to be driving through mid-morning traffic in Salt Lake City, Utah at the time this was more than alarming.  "I forgot my insulin."  Well.  Now that presents a difficulty.  It's one thing to forget a minor object left behind, but the one thing that actually keeps you alive, well that's a whole other story.  Good for Jesh he had refilled his pump the night before and had three days worth of insulin on him.  We decided to just overnight his medication to him.  
Arriving in Provo we went to lunch at the Brick Oven.  Yummo!  Awesome place to eat AND they comp'ed Jeshua's meal (in honor of his missionary service).  I think it's a typical missionary send off restaurant, cuz there were lots of missionaries there having their send off lunch.  Jeshua has a friend from the neighborhood that moved to Provo, and John met us for lunch.  At first I was a little peaved about sharing my last few hours, but it ended up being such a good thing for us.  John being with us helped to relieve some of that good by tension.  
I had a schedule worked out
11-12 lunch
12-12:40 pictures at Provo temple
12:45 MTC
but lunch ended up taking longer than planned (12:30!) and so we had less time to take pictures at the temple...this I'm sure did NOT bother Jeshua (the boy hates pictures!)  but I told him I was gonna get a few, even if we had to be late to our 12:45 MTC appointment.  So we got over to the temple (12:40ish), parked across the street, ran through the parking lot, snapped a few (maybe 5) pics of the boy, the boy with his sisters, the boy with his dad, and the boy with both parents.  Then we ran back across the street, jumped back in the car (this is when the sisters gave him their g'bye hugs) and pulled onto the MTC property AT 12:45.  Ha!  I win the time battle.
As we pull up a flock of missionaries come out to help (we weren't the only arrivees) and a certain elder comes to our car to assist with our luggage.  I pull the luggage out as Jesh and his dad hug good bye.  Then I get a hug from my boy--the last one for TWO years, mind you.  And then he starts to walk away.  I ask Aaron pull out his phone and make Jeshua stop and turn for one last picture. And then he's gone.  He walks away, without even looking back. (as it should be, but still!)