Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Peru will always hold a special place in my heart. I love these people. - 6/21/15

22 de Junio, 2015

"Peru will always hold a special place in my heart. I love these people."

Hey guys. Well..... this is probably my last email home because next week I will be in Piura all day on Monday and I don't think I'll have time to write home or anything like that. So here it is!

First off, this last week was great. It was a hard week, but it was great. As far as the work goes in my area, it was a little slow week. We had tons of a appointments fall through and things happen. But we aren't going to get down on that! We just got to keep going. That's really something that I have learned on my mission. You won't ever be able to control the things that happen. There are going to be hard things. And there isn't a thing you can do to change them. But the thing that I can always change is my attitude. And let me tell you.... Life is so much better with a smile on your face!

Last Monday we had an appointment with C Z. We went to his grandpa´s house where he was living and his grandpa told us that he had moved to Piura to start working. UGH! jajaja. But we are going to get a hold of his number and directions in Piura so that the elders there can keep on visiting him! Because he really is a great investigator! So that was kind of a bummer for us though! And then that night we had to go and pick up the Assistants that had just arrived from Piura and were with us for the multi-zone conference on Tuesday!

Tuesday was great! The multi-zone conference was amazing! It was kind of a bittersweet moment for all of us though. It was the last conference with President Rowley because in just a little over a week he will be leaving and President Rasmussen will be arriving. And so for most of the missionaries it was the last time that they will see President Rowley! The conference was amazing though! President Rowley is the best. I'm so grateful for the opportunity that I have had to work with him over these past 2 years! He has been the perfect mission president for me! He has helped me so much! In the conference he taught about The Gospel of Jesus Christ. But the way he teaches is amazing! He helps you really ponder on what everything means and look beyond the small things that we usually always get caught up in. And then at the end of the conference we got to hear their last testimonies which were super cool. Full of love. I'm so grateful for President Rowley!

That night we had an activity in the stake center for the entire stake. The focus of it was to invite less active members, new converts, and investigators. And there was a super great turnout! The church was super full. We watched part of Meet the Mormons, played games, and listened to the Stake President speak to us! It was super cool!

But the best part of this last week was definitely the temple dedication. On Saturday night we had the opportunity to go and watch the cultural celebration performed in the stake center that was in Trujillo. It was super cool to see different kids from all over the temple district dance and share their cultures. It was super cool seeing the first 2 dances from Piura and it was cool that I was able to recognize some of the youth that I had met over the 2 years here! There really are so many areas here in the north of Peru that are going to be so blessed by this next temple! There are over 100 stakes in Peru, but there was only one temple. This new temple in Trujillo is going to be able to help so many people be able to go to the temple!

Sunday was super amazing. I'm not sure, but I'm pretty sure that it marked exactly 2 years since I had gone through the temple for the first time with David and Austin. That night was special. And it was cool that 2 years later I got to have another cool experience with a different temple thousands of miles away from Bountiful, Utah. President Uchtdorf was the one that came and dedicated the temple. And Elder Bednar was there as well. The spirit was super strong throughout the entire thing. But one of the coolest things was when President Uchtdorf bore his testimony and expressed his love for the people here in Spanish. There were many people with tears in their eyes as they were listening! I'm so happy for the members here in the north of Peru! The new temple is beautiful! One day I would love to be able to go and get to know that temple!

Lately I have been thinking a lot about these two last years. So much has happened. It seems like so long, yet it has passed by so quickly. So much sweat. So many tears. So many smiles. So many experiences that I will never forget. It's hard believing that it's coming to an end. I'm so grateful for all that has happened. When I think back on it I realize that without a doubt these have been the 2 hardest years of my entire life. And sometimes I think, "If it has been so hard, why is it that they have also been the happiest 2 years of my life?" Sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ is one of the biggest blessings that I have ever received in my entire life! I realize that this time I have as a missionary will come to an end. But that doesn't mean that I have to stop sharing the gospel. There are so many ways to share the gospel with others. And it honestly brings so much happiness in our lives. I know this church is true. I know God lives and loves each and every one of us. I know that Jesus Christ is our Savior and Redeemer. I know He died for me and for every single one of us! He has shown us the path which we should follow. This is the Lord's work. These past 2 years I have just been able to be an instrument in His hands. And I will forever be grateful for this opportunity! Peru will always hold a special place in my heart. I love these people.

Thanks to all you who have supported me throughout my entire mission. Thanks for the love, the letters, and the prayers! I love all of you guys!

Élder Baker

¡Nos vemos pronto!

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

...there are thousands of crickets... they aren't small crickets... they are giant crickets - 6/15/15

15 de Junio 2015

Hey family! Just as usual.... Time is passing by. Super fastly. And I honestly can't remember much of what has happened this last week! Time always seems to just fly by! And then when I get here my mind goes blank! 

Well the best part of this last week was definitely Saturday. Want to know why? Because C was baptized! Everything honestly went great! There weren't any problems! He had his interview last week so this week was pretty chill. We kept meeting with him every other day and on Saturday we had everything ready for his baptism! That's not to say that it was easy. Saturday we had to spend like 3 hours cleaning the baptismal font. Want to know why? Because right now in TumbesLike giant grasshoppers. And they are everywhere. Lots of times it's hard to sleep at night because they are always making their squeaky sound. Ugh... But anyway, when we opened up the baptismal font there were over 50 that were alive and like 100 that were dead. And it smelled horrible. So we had to kill all the ones that were still alive and clean the baptismal font and mop it and clean the mirror and everything. But after a few hours the church was super clean! And it was ready for that night! Tons of members came to support C in his baptism! So I'm super happy for him! Honestly he is probably the most intelligent investigator that I have ever taught on my mission. Hearing his testimony after the baptism was super cool! I have no doubt that C is going to be a great member of the church! A future leader here for sure! 

Another great part of this week was that I got to have exchanges with Elder C! He is my district leader! So it was super cool to be able to work with him again! It had been a while since the last time we worked together back in La Unión! He really is one of my best friends in the mission! One of the kids that I'm grateful to have met! It was a great day with him too! We honestly ran from one lesson to another. I think we taught like 7 lessons that afternoon. In just 5 hours! That's a ton! It was a sweet day that I enjoyed a lot! 

Sunday I got to speak in church. That was kind of cool. The bishop asked us (me and Hermana M) to speak in church because both of us are finishing our missions this transfer. And it is probably the last sacrament meeting for us here in Tumbes! Because this next Sunday is the temple dedication and then the Sunday after that we are probably going to already be in Piura, because that day I have my last interview with President Rowley! It was kind of sad. Honestly Tumbes has been one of my hardest areas. Probably the area that I have passed the most hard times. But I have learned so much here! And despite all the hard things, I'm going to miss it a lot!

This next week President Rowley and Hermana Rowley are coming for our multi-zone conference which is going to be pretty sad for most of the missionaries. Because for pretty much all of them it's going to be the last time that they get to see them! I'm grateful that I will get to spend the last weekend of the mission with them! So my companion and I are pretty busy right now getting everything taken care of for that!

C Z is progressing a lot! He has been to church now like 4 times! And we have taught The Restoration and the Plan of Salvation! Tonight we are going to teach him about baptism and invite him to be baptized! Hopefully everything goes well! Next week he should have a baptismal date!

Love you guys tons! Thanks for everything!

Elder Baker

P.S. - I'm doing great again as far as my health goes! It was just a little 2 day bug I had last week. But it's true. I've had a rough time here in Tumbes with my stomach! sad it's going to be to leave the mission behind! - 6/8/15

8 de Junio, 2015

Hey guys! What's up? Nothing? Cool. Here we´re just chillin'. But chillin' actually means running around with absolutely no time at all.... but that's just kind of how it goes out here sometimes! It’s been a good week though! 

So anyway, last week after writing you guys we had to run. Because we had a first appointment with a new investigator named C. He is the grandson of a member here in Tumbes. He is from Piura, but he has been here for a few weeks with his grandpa and he is going to be here for about a month! And it's pretty cool because he actually lives in Lopez Albujar in Piura! That's where I started my mission! So much time has passed by since then! But anyway, that night we had a pretty good lesson with him. He is super receptive! And he is super cool. He is 20 years old and has come to church now! We are going to teach him again tonight about the Plan of Salvation! So I'm super excited about that! 

That night we got back to the apartment though and we couldn't find the keys to our apartment. My companion had had them but they were nowhere to be seen. So we had to backtrack for about 30 minutes and make some phone calls but after a while we found out where they had fallen out of his pocket and we were able to go and get them! That's a miracle! Because the only other person that has a copy of our room key is the owner. And he lives in Lima. So that would have been very difficult getting our keys back! 

Tuesday morning we had to leave super early to travel to Piura for our leaders’ conference. So we got to Piura at about noon. That afternoon I got to go to the hospital to stay with Elder Y. He is the personal secretary in the mission. But he had appendicitis. So they operated on him and he was there recovering. But there was lots of stuff that had to be done and he is pretty much the only person that knows how to do it, except for my companion, Elder V, because he used to be personal secretary before coming to Tumbes. So Elder V got some stuff taken care of in the office and I stayed in the hospital with Elder Y. I kind of started feeling sick that night though. I think I had some sort of 24 hour illness because that night I could hardly sleep because I was super cold and I woke up with a horrible stomach pain and I had to run to the bathroom every 15 minutes. So I had to go to my last leaders’ conference feeling super sick. At least I was able to sit though it without having to run out. That would have been embarrassing. But anyway, even though I was sick the conference was good! We talked about tons of cool stuff! It was kind of sad though because it was the last one for President Rowley and his wife. And at the end when they bore their testimonies they started to cry! That was sad. It made me realize just how sad it's going to be to leave the mission behind! 
Mancora is the most famous beach in Peru

My card--it's full! That means that I'm in my last transfer.

In President's office with cards for all the people in the mission.
Selfie in a moto taxi in Piura

At the hospital with Elder Y.

Pizza with Elder F - So good!

After the conference we had to go over to El Dorado to travel back to Tumbes. But when we got there they told us that the highway was closed because in Cancas, which is like halfway between Tumbes and Piura, there was a paro, which is like a civil protest where there are thousands of people on the highway burning tires and not letting anyone pass. It's supposedly their way of protesting. And it had been going on since Tuesday afternoon but on Wednesday night it was still going on. So that means that we couldn't travel back to Tumbes that night. We had to stay another night in the office. But thankfully it stopped that night so on Thursday morning we were able to travel back to Tumbes. It took like 6 hours though because the bus was going super slow. I was super grateful to be back in our apartment with all our stuff. Traveling to Piura this week was an interesting trip! 

Since we had to travel to Piura for leaders’ conference, we also had our zone meeting this week which went super well! It was fun to teach it with Elder V. He is honestly a great companion! I'm so grateful to be with him this last transfer! I'm so happy that I have a great companion to finish the mission! 

Things are also going great for C! This week we reviewed some last things that he needed and on Sunday after church he had his baptismal interview with Elder C and he passed! So that means that everything is ready for this Saturday night! I'm super excited for that! It's going to be the best part of this next week! 

Love you guys tons! Thanks for always supporting me! Have an amazing week! WELCOME SUMMER 2015! jaja, but I'm ready for some cold weather, not gonna lie.....

Elder Baker 

Monday, June 8, 2015

L. Tom Perry really was honestly one of my favorite apostles. Because he was always so optimistic and happy! - 6/1/15

1 de Junio, 2015

That's kind of weird. Junio. These months are passing by so fast! This morning I woke up and realized that I'm starting my last month as a missionary. And if it is anything like these last few months, it is going to pass by in the blink of an eye! I'm excited for what I have left though! I'm going to have to make the best of it! I really am never going to have another opportunity like this again! 

Things are still going well here in the ward! I'm still getting along great with my companion! He's super sweet! He teaches me a ton! I'm super grateful to be able to work with him! This last transfer is going to be one of the best! 

The ward is doing well! JC is doing great! Yesterday in church he received the Aaronic priesthood! So I'm happy for him! We taught him about Family History this last week and he is super excited to start doing his family history! And in just a few weeks they are going to dedicate the Trujillo Temple! So he will be able to take some family names to do baptisms for the dead! It really is going to be such a blessing for the people here in the north of Peru to have another temple close. I am so excited to go to the temple dedication on the 21st! And I'm also excited to go to a session at the temple again after getting home. That's something that I have missed a ton while being here in the mission! 

Lots of other things have been happening! Lots of zone business. But that's kind of fun. Like this last week President Rowley came to Tumbes to do room inspections. So on Wednesday we got to spend pretty much the entire morning with President going and visiting all the missionaries in the zone. That was pretty cool. It was kind of weird though because each time we went to a different apartment, president was pretty much saying goodbye to them. Because it was pretty much the last opportunity that the missionaries are going to have a one on one experience with him. I'm glad that I get to finish with President Rowley! He really is the best! I am so grateful that I have gotten to work with him for my entire mission! 

Another fun thing this last week was that we had to help move some stuff. I had told you guys that they closed an area in this zone. So we had to move all the stuff from the room before June 1st because this month we aren't going to be renting the apartment! So on Friday morning a member helped us move all the stuff from Pampa Grande to the elders’ apartment in Corrales because they have a big apartment with room to store all the extra stuff like mattresses, bunk beds, closets, microwave, and stuff like that. But it was super fun. The road that goes to Corrales is super pretty because the whole time you are passing by these super green fields and sitting in the back of a member’s truck. I wish I had taken my camera to take some pictures because it was honestly super pretty! Honestly right then I was sitting there thinking about how grateful I am to be here! Honestly I will never have another experience like this again in my entire life! 

C is still progressing! Yesterday we finished teaching him all the missionary lessons that he needs to be baptized! So everything is going great for his baptism on the 13th! I'm super excited for him! 

Well I really don't have much more time today! We have to go do a few things today because tomorrow we have to travel to Piura for the leader’s conference which is going to be pretty fun! Love you tons! Thanks for the love and support! 

Elder Baker

P.S. - My diet is doing a lot better! I'm not sick any more. Every once in a while I feel kind of iffy. But for the most part I feel pretty good! And I have been eating more milk products and I haven't been getting sick at all!

And it's kind of sad about L. Tom Perry! That kind of surprised me! He looked great in the conference! He really was honestly one of my favorite apostles. Because he was always so optimistic and happy! 

We have seen a ton of progress these last weeks in 2 less active families that we have been teaching! - 5/25/15

25 de Mayo, 2015!

Holy Moly! Time is flying by way too fast! I really have no clue where all this time is going! Seems like just yesterday I was sitting here at this same computer writing you guys a week ago! 
Playing soccer today in Tumpis. I'm the one in the coral color PSG soccer jersey! jaja (Because I'm sure you can't recognize me)

Saying goodbye to Elder P last week when he finished his mission!

This last week went super well for my companion and I! I'm so glad that my last companion of my mission is going to be Elder V. He's a super great missionary! He is 26 years old and was only baptized 2 and a half years ago but he has a super strong testimony. And it's honestly super nice that he's super mature. And, he likes to live in a clean apartment, which I love. Because I cannot handle dirty cochino apartments! They are the worst! But he's not like that at all! 

We had a pretty good first week together! Tuesday was a pretty fun day. So anyway, there were lots of missionaries that ended their missions this last transfer, and there weren't many that came. So that means that in the mission they had to shut a few proselyting areas for a transfer or two. They ended up closing one of the areas in the Pampa Grande ward. So now there are just 2 missionaries in that ward and not 4. We had to go on Tuesday and get everything taken care of for the apartment that the elders left. We ended up having to spend the entire day on Tuesday cleaning the apartment. With 4 of us there, by nine o'clock that night we had it pretty much spotless. Not the most fun way to spend the day, but you have to do what you have to do! 

C is progressing a ton! Elder V and I were able to teach him twice this last week! He came to church yesterday! And right now his baptism is scheduled for the 13th of June. That way, he will be able to attend the temple dedication on June 21st! So I think he's super excited for that! Honestly it's super nice to teach someone that is super educated like he is! I have no doubt that he is going to be an amazing member of the church! I picture him being a future leader in the church here in Peru! 

Another great thing that I'm super happy about is that we have seen a ton of progress these last weeks in 2 less active families that we have been teaching! On Sunday they both ended up coming to church! One family is making little steps! One time we went this last week and we found them all together in the front room of their house reading their Book of Mormons! That was a super special moment as a missionary! Especially after having prayed a million times for that family to know what it is that we need to be doing to help them!

The other less active family that we have been teaching took a little while to get them to start reading the Book of Mormon, but now Hermana is in Jacob and Hermano is in 2 Nephi 15! So we are super happy for them! They are progressing little by little! 

This next week President is coming to Tumbes for his second to last time before he finishes as mission president! So I'm super excited about that! It's always pretty cool when President comes to Tumbes! 

Love you guys! I don't have much more time! But I'm doing great! Thanks for all the love and support you guys give me! 

Elder Baker

P.S. I'm happy for the rain! Rain in Utah is pretty. Here it just causes problems... jaja.