Tuesday, January 21, 2014

This week has been super hot. All day long. 24 hours a day. - 1/20/14

Can you believe it? 6 months in the mission. Crazy right??? There is no way that 6 months have already passed by! COMPLETELY INSANE! The good news is that I still have 18 more glorious months of being a missionary!

This last week was a super difficult week as far as missionary work goes for Elder G and me. First off. This week has been super hot. All day long. 24 hours a day. It's hot when we wake up, it's hot when we leave our room, it's hot when we return and it's hot when we go to bed. There is no stopping with this heat. Every day we have to pass by the beach to get to one part of our area and we see thousands of people swimming in the ocean. That would be so nice. There definitely isn't any swimming for us here in Paita. Just walking in the hot sun. And when I buy popsicles, I make sure that my companion buys them. Because they cost twice as much for gringos.

Honestly the missionary work is super hard here in Paita Baja. The lower part of Paita, where I am, is where all of the native people from Paita live. The upper part is all the people that have come to live in Paita. The Paita people here in the lower part are super duper duper duper duper duper duper Catholic. You'd think I'm in Italy, there are so many Catholics. I can't tell you how many people we talked to the past week that said "I'm Catholic and I'm going to die Catholic. I'm really not interested in anything that you have to say." jaja. For real. When that happens, Elder Gonzalez and I usually just walk away and look at each other and laugh. I've decided that you just have to keep a good attitude about the work. Keep on working hard.

Probably the spiritual highlight of this last week was definitely on Wednesday when we had a multi-zone conference in Piura. That was pretty great. Wednesday morning we had to wake up early and travel to Piura. We had to clean the church before the conference. There were some pretty cool looking cockroaches running around that we got rid of. jajajajajaja. I honestly hate cockroaches. I have only seen 1 in Paita though! That's a great thing! The conference ended up starting at about 9 am and went until 3:30 pm. It was such a great conference. Pretty much the whole thing was about the Holy Ghost and the role that the Holy Ghost plays in our lives as members of the church and as missionaries. Honestly the Holy Ghost is huge. Without the Holy Ghost, you are not going to have success as a missionary. It's as simple as that. We need the Holy Ghost every single day. In everything we do. As we study, as we leave, as we teach, as we plan. We are always in need of the companionship of the Holy Ghost. In the conference we talked about how we can recognize the presence of the Holy Ghost more often. I love the part of Preach My Gospel that says that we need to listen to the Holy Ghost. If we get caught up in the worldly things, we are not going to be able to hear the promptings that it gives us. We have to be attentive to the spirit at all times! Overall, it was a super great conference. After the conference we ended up coming back to Paita and got back at about 6 pm. As much fun as it was being in Piura. I like being in Paita! It feels like home for me right now!
My zone at the multi-zone conference

Apart from the fact that the work is super hard here in Puerto Paita right now, my companion and I have been blessed with 2 families that are progressing. It is such a blessing for me to be able to teach and help these 2 families. 

The first one is the family of a mother of 5 children. Her husband is a fisherman and is gone for a week and home for a few days then gone for a week and home for a few days again. That's the schedule of fishermen. Some are gone for even longer than a week though! It can be pretty hard. Emilia though, is a super great investigator. She really has true desires to know the truth. The thing I love most about teaching her is that she keeps her commitments. If she says she is going to read, she actually reads. If she says she will pray, she will actually pray. You don´t have to plead with her to keep her commitments. The Relief Society has been working with us to really help her feel invited at the church. I'm so grateful for the members and their help. Members honestly don´t realize how much we as missionaries need their testimonies, their friendship, their support for these people that are making a huge transition in their lives! The only problem with her is that she is not married to her spouse, but luckily she is in the process of getting everything ready that she needs! Yesterday she and her 5 kids showed up to church like 5 minutes before it started! It was so great! I love it when your investigators come to church!

The other family that we are teaching is the the family that contacted us and wanted us to come and teach them. The father is the boss of a huge fishing company here in Paita. In church he was given a Principles of the Gospel book and he has read over half of it so far. He and his family are great. He loves everything he has seen about the church so far and he really wants to learn more. He has a super Catholic background but he says that he is willing to change everything if he receives an answer that our church is true! I'm super excited to teach them this week! Hopefully this week we will be able to help them commit to a specific date to be baptized! 

Other than that, we really don´t have many investigators that we are teaching. We are teaching a lot of less active members though! And I honestly love working with some of these less active members. They have a testimony. We just have to help them re-find it!

This week in Paita is the start of Carnavales. That means for the next two months there is music pounding in the streets, and that everyone soaks everyone that passes by with giant buckets of water and paint. The people here say that the people respect the missionaries though! I sure hope so! I sure don't want people throwing paint all over me! 

I'm so grateful to be here in the mission! This really is such a blessing in my life! Thanks for all of the love and support that you give me! I know I am where I am supposed to be, doing the things I am supposed to be doing, and experiencing the things I need to experience. The mission is the hardest thing I have ever done. But it is so worth it! I know that this church is true! I know that we are children of a loving Heavenly Father. And I know that we have a Savior and Redeemer who died for us! Love you guys!

Elder Baker

Lauren, HOLY HOT! AND I GOT YOUR PACKAGE FOR CHRISTMAS THIS WEEK FROM AUSTRALIA! Thanks so much for the tie! It's so cool! It has kangaroos, and boomerangs, and some other stuff that probably has significance to Australia that I don't know about! Love you! Keep working hard!

My Christmas package from Lauren finally arrived!

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