Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Training is the best! Actually it's the hardest! & Celebrating a Birthday - 2/17/14

17 de Febrero 2014

19 years old! I remember when I was a little kid and I thought that I would be leaving for my mission at 19. But it turns out that on my nineteenth birthday I have 7 months in the mission field. I can hardly believe that 7 months have already flown by. Every single day is a blessing. And every single day goes by so fast! You gotta make the most of what little you got!

What a week it has been. Probably the hardest of my mission so far. I have been stretched and have had to do things that I didn't know I can do. But I have been able to make it through. Being a trainer is hard. Lots of times I want to cry, because I have no clue how I am going to do it. But somehow I am able to do it! I know that the Lord is helping me. I have no doubt. I have to take it one day at a time, but I can do it!

On Tuesday Elder M and I had to travel to Piura to pick up our new companions. We arrived at the mission office at 3 pm and had a little meeting with President. He talked about how when there are transfers, he always chooses the trainers very first and then goes on and takes care of all the other changes. He talked about how the Lord directs the transfers. He talked about how we were chosen to be trainers this transfer for a reason. I still don't know what that reason is for sure, but I know that it is true. I have learned so much in this past week.
Me and my new companion with President & Sister Rowley
After that little meeting we got our new companions. My companion's name is Elder R. He was born in the jungle of Peru, but he has been living in Lima. He actually lives in Austin´s mission. He is 20 years old. He was baptized at 8 years old but has been inactive pretty much his whole life. He started getting reactivated in the church in March of 2013. So he has less than a year being active. He is a super loving kid though and has sincere desires to serve! Pretty great!

Since my companion doesn't have much time being active in the church, he really doesn't have a super knowledge of the gospel. He doesn't know all the doctrines super clearly that we teach, but it is okay. He is learning quickly. We're spending lots of time studying all of the lessons so that he will be able to teach them more clearly. 

I have grown so much this past week. My companion is shy. Even more shy than I am. So this past week, I have had to direct almost everything. Every contact, every lesson, ward council, everything. But he is getting better each day and is starting to talk more. I have seen a miracle take place in my Spanish. I have been able to teach and speak and understand like never before. And I know that the Lord is playing a part in that. I know that He has called me to do this and I know that He won't abandon me. I know that He will be with me every step of the way to help me through this. Another thing that has helped me is that I have gotten more serious about language study every day. I know that it is super duper duper duper duper duper duper duper duper duper duper duper duper important, especially now when I am forced to talk a lot. 

Honestly, it has always been hard for me to talk with people in the streets and when we knock on doors because I'm naturally shy talking with strangers, and because I didn't have much confidence in my language abilities. I was always worried about what people were going to think about the way I talk. But this past week I have honestly seen that fear start to leave me. Every day before we leave the apartment I pray for the confidence that I need to be able to talk with people. Another thing that has helped me is in the "Adjusting to Missionary Life" book. It says, "Think to yourself. What is the worst that could happen? And if it is something that you can live with, then do it!" That's what I have learned. At this point I really don't care what people think. I am going to do my part. The worst thing that can happen is that the person I am talking to will laugh or reject the message that we have. And if that happens, it's not going to make me happy, but it is definitely something that I can deal with! 

We taught a ton of less active members this week! And as we are teaching them, we are getting references! This week we have three references that we have received and have appointments with these people! The Lord directs this work. If we are obedient and do what we need to do, He will place people in our path, He will fill our hearts with what we need to say, and we will see miracles. Miracles happen every single day! Some are big, and others not so big. But we need to give our Heavenly Father thanks for both. I am so grateful for everything that He has blessed me with!

So yesterday was my birthday! 19 years old. Pretty crazy, no!? Actually I don't feel any different! Pretty much the exact same. But my birthday was great! Somehow, they knew that it was my birthday. After the meetings yesterday, pretty much the whole branch sang happy birthday to me. In English first, and then in Spanish. Honestly I like it in Spanish a lot better. It's a lot faster and a lot happier. In English it's super duper slow and it's like a death march. (Especially with the Twitchell family when Jared, Austin, and I are singing!) jaja.

After church yesterday we went over to the house of a member who was baptized in December and his mom made me a cake for my birthday! It was actually super duper good! 
And last night we went over to our pensionista's house to use her cell phone to call the district leader to report numbers for the week and she had Pollo a la Brasa [blackened chicken] for us and Inca Kola and another cake! It's great to feel loved! This branch has been good to me! The members here in Peru honestly are so great!
Birthday Dinner & Cake!
 The best part of yesterday was probably the package from home though! Thanks guys! Candy is great! Ties are great! But the best part was the letter. Nothing makes missionaries happier than a letter from home! Letters are the best! 

Well anyways! That's pretty much it for this week. Thanks for all of the love and support! Love you guys!

Elder Baker!

I love piano. When Elder E left to go home last week, he left some CDs. He left one that has an album from Jon Schmidt. I LOVE IT!

I miss the Olympics. Yesterday we walked into the house of some members and they were watching the Olympics! It was the first time I have seen anything about it here. They were watching curling though, which is about the most boring event in the Winter Olympics.

Lauren, Training is the best! Actually it's the hardest! But I'm learning a ton! This is going to be a great thing for me!

Monday, February 17, 2014

News about transfers... 2/10/14

First off. This week passed by super duper fast. I don't even know what to think. It was the end of the last transfer, and here is a new one right in front of me. I'm honestly a little bit glad that the last transfer is over. It was not the easiest thing ever, but I was able to learn a ton!

Last Monday our District Leader told us that my companion and Elder E had to go to Lima on Tuesday so they could finish all their visa stuff because they are ending their missions today and will not be living here in Peru anymore. Tuesday the zone leaders Elder P and Elder E had a training meeting in the mission home in the morning, so Elder G and I had to travel to Piura in the afternoon so Elder G could go to Lima with Elder E. We met the zone leaders in the mission office and I traveled back to Paita with Elder P. We ended up getting back to Paita at about 6:30 pm and we went back to Elder P's apartment. That was when we realized that Elder G and Elder E both had the keys to our rooms. So we were in Paita without the keys to either of our apartments. We had to wait until about 8:30 pm for the person that rents out their apartment to get home so he could lend us a spare key for a few days. That was pretty exciting. Probably the best part of that day was that I got my birthday package! I didn't open it though. I am going to wait until my actual birthday to open it! Overall, that was a pretty crazy day! 

It was fun working with Elder P for 2 days in his area. Honestly, the zone leaders have a lot of responsibility. They are always getting phone calls from the missionaries in their zone and from the people in the office. I had a good time working with him though. I felt like I was able to learn a lot and improve as a missionary! Elder G and Elder E ended up getting back from Lima on Thursday at about 9 in the morning, and Elder G and I were able to head back to our apartment in Paita Baja. 

This was my last week working here with Elder G. Today he leaves to go home to his querido México. Honestly, this last transfer was one of the hardest for me so far in the mission. We didn't see much success. There have been times that I have wanted to cry, and times I wanted to give up. But I made it through this last transfer. It was super hard, but I have learned a ton. Even though it has been hard I was able to learn a lot from my companion about how to become a better teacher. And looking back on it, the thing I am most grateful for, is that with having a companion leaving the mission, I was able to realize the importance of every single day in the mission. I know that it is going to be my last transfer in the mission before I know it. And I do not want to end it with any regrets. The time we have to be a missionary is TINY in the grand scheme of things. I want to give everything I have, no matter how tired I am. I want to be able to look back on this time with no regrets. I don't want to have to say "I wish I would have worked harder this day." The mission has been a huge blessing in my life, and I want to make the best of every single day that I have here.

Friday and Saturday went pretty slow for us. Our investigators weren't home so unfortunately we weren't able to visit them. Hopefully this week we will be able to visit them a little more and have more time. On Saturday evening we had a service project. We were able to go to the house of a member and paint a bedroom. It was pretty fun except that the room was super small and the smell of paint was so strong that I had to keep on running outside to be able to breathe some fresh air! After that we hurried and went and showered and went and visited a few people that Elder G wanted to say goodbye to in the branch. 

At 8:30 on Saturday night we had to call the zone leaders to find out the . I was super anxious to hear about what was going to be happen to me here in Puerto Paita. I called them and Elder P answered the phone and was like.... "Elder Baker! You need to be in the mission home at 1 pm on Tuesday to pick up your new companion. You are going to be training this transfer." Honestly, I wasn't expecting that. Not at all. And to tell you the truth, I really don't feel ready to be a trainer. But I do know one thing. Assignments and companions are assigned after President earnestly prays and receives revelation. I'm not sure why I'm supposed to be training, but I know that it is for a reason. I don't know exactly how I am going to do it, but I know that if I pray a lot, I will be able to find the strength that I need and I will be able to help a new missionary learn how things work in the mission. I'm super excited for this opportunity but super nervous. One thing I realize is that I have a huge responsibility. It's up to me to be the guide and to help this missionary become the missionary that he is meant to be. I am super excited and I know that I am going to grow a ton from this experience. I can't wait for tomorrow when I receive my new companion!

Mom, it sounds like you are ridiculously busy with piano right now! Honestly, I love piano music though. I miss hearing the piano. The people here don't know how to play piano. And every week in church they sing the hymns a cappella and they make up the tune as they go. It's great! jajaja  Thanks for the birthday wishes!

Rain sounds super nice right now! All I have is sun. That's it. And that's super cool that Peru has an Olympic team in Russia. 3 people. jaja. I haven't heard much about the Olympics here. Winter sports don't really exist for these people. Thanks for the birthday package! I can't wait to open it. This last week I bought a sweet Alianza Lima soccer jersey. I figured I'd give it to myself as a birthday present!

Other than that not much happened this week. I know this church is true. I am so grateful to be here in the mission! Thanks for all the love and support and birthday wishes! You guys are the best! Love you guys!

Elder Baker

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

I'm so grateful for everything that I have learned about myself, spiritually and intellectually from learning a language. - 02/03/14

3 de febrero 2014

It keeps getting hotter and hotter every single day here in Peru. As you guys are dying for it to warm up, I'm sitting here dying for it to cool down! Only 2 more months of summer though! I CAN DO THIS!

This last week was super good. On Tuesday morning we had our district meeting. The theme of the district meeting was about how to find people to teach. We talked a lot about how we always should strive to leave our areas better than we found them. We should try to fill our area binder with names of people to teach, and notes about these people, so that they are more than just names. It could be super frustrating to arrive at a new area, if the previous missionaries hadn't done anything and updated the binder, and you have no where to start from.

Honestly, our district has been struggling with finding people to teach. It is super rough here in Paita. We are praying as a district, that we will be able to find these people to teach. It can be super hard and sometimes, pretty discouraging. This last week, we talked to SO many people. One morning we spent 2 hours knocking on doors and we didn't even get into a single one of them. There was a point this last week, where I wanted to give up. I was wanting to say that there is no one in this area who is ready to accept the gospel. And honestly, we didn't find any new investigators this past week, but I know that there are people here who are ready to hear the message that we have. I just have to keep on looking for them. The adversary wants me to get discouraged and give up, but that's not what I am going to do. I am going to keep pressing forward. I know there are people ready. And I know that with a lot of prayers, and hard work, we are going to be able to find them. I was thinking about the scripture in Alma 26. I don´t know for sure what it says in English. I have it memorized in Spanish though. It says something like, "And when our hearts were discouraged and we were about to turn back, but the Lord said unto us, go forth and bear with patience thine afflictions, and I will give you success." I have to keep working, eventually I will have success.

I am grateful for the two families of investigators that we have though. It is so cool to see the changes that are taking place in their lives. Hermana G is reading the Book of Mormon. She is attending church. She is praying every day. And she has a testimony of the gospel. She tells us that she cannot wait for March, when she will be able to get married and be baptized with her children! It is so cool to see these people gain testimonies of the gospel. I am so grateful to be a missionary. We get to see miracles in peoples' lives.

The other family that we are teaching is super great! It is so cool to see the change that is taking place in their son. He is 24 years old and his father initially came to us, to see if we could help his son with his addiction to alcohol. We taught the Word of Wisdom a few weeks ago and this last week, we went and checked up on how the son is doing. He told us that it has been 3 weeks and he hasn't had any alcohol. He says that when he prays, the urge to drink goes away. He always talks about how he knows that God is listening to his prayers! How Cool! I know that God is listening to his prayers too. Prayer is such a blessing in our lives. How cool is it that we can literally communicate with our Father in Heaven whenever, and wherever we are. He is always listening! And he is willing to help us, and give us what we need if we ask in prayer! 

Best part of the week. By far. Saturday morning. Saturday was the 200th day of my mission. And it turns out that that is the day that I finished reading the Book of Mormon for the first time in Spanish! Pretty cool huh? Ever since I got into the mission field, I have been reading the Book of Mormon in English and Spanish. I would read one chapter in English, and then the exact same chapter in Spanish. Reading it that way made the progress a little bit slow. But it was super good. It helped me understand more of it. When I first started reading it in Spanish, back in August, I honestly couldn't understand very much of it. I recognized names and a few words. But as I finished reading it in Spanish, I reflected a lot on that. Honestly I can pretty much understand any verse in the Book of Mormon now in Spanish. How cool is the gift of tongues. I know that it is the gift of tongues, and not my natural intelligence (of which, I don't have much). It is super cool to think about how the Lord has helped me learn this language. I'm to the point where I can pretty much understand anything that people are saying. And I can get my point across to anyone in understandable Spanish. It's not perfect. It's far from perfect. But it's coming! Early on in my mission, I got a little bit discouraged about how slow it was coming. I learned a lot about patience. It hasn't been easy getting to this point. I'm not able to say, like some people, that one morning I just woke up and could understand everything. For me it has come little by little. Studying day after day. And I'm so grateful for everything that I have learned about myself, spiritually and intellectually from learning a language.
My study area in our apartment.
 After finishing the Book of Mormon, I knelt down and prayed like Moroni says to do. I know that the Book of Mormon is true. There is no doubt in my mind. The book was written by inspired prophets, for us. I'm so grateful for the Book of Mormon in my life and the opportunity to read it every day! Yo he leido el libro de mormon. Y sè que es verdadero.

Thanks for all of the love and support! I Love you guys!

Elder Baker 


This morning for P day we spent a few hours playing Peruvian Monopoly! IT was so nice to be able to relax and play Monopoly! jaja. I love that game. So many people hate it though. Just because it drags on forever!  

Lauren, Sounds like it's super hot in Australia too. It's kind of weird having summer in January and February, no? Keep working hard! Thanks for being a great example. And I could relate to the story of your comps mosquito bites. That's how I am in Piura. They always attack me! Luckily I'm living in Paita right now without them! Love you! 

I know that this is the Lord's work. And it is super duper important! - 01/27/14

This last week was actually a pretty good week here in Puerto Paita. I feel like I learned a lot. I feel like I have really experienced things that have helped me improve as a missionary and have strengthened my relationship with my Heavenly Father.
My companion goes home in only 2 weeks. I have been doing my best to do my part to keep him motivated to work until the last day of his mission. He's not super duper trunky, which is good. I wasn't really sure how else I can help him. So I decided to pray. Prayer is soooooooooo great. It's so nice to know that I can pray anytime, anywhere, for anything. I have a Heavenly Father who is always listening to me. After praying, I decided that the best way that I can help my companion is through my example. If I am EXACTLY obedient, I know it is going to make him want to be obedient as well. Examples are huge. And I want to be an example to others for good!

Tuesday we had our district meeting which was really good. We talked about lesson 5, which is definitely the least taught lesson for us in Preach My Gospel. We talked about how all the laws and ordinances of the gospel are so important. They are all fundamentals of the gospel that people need to know! I really enjoyed it. I always love district meetings. I always learn a ton! No matter what!

Wednesday afternoon, we had a companion exchange for the day with the district leader. My companion went to the upper part with the district leader, and Elder B came to my area. He is a super animated kid from Tacna. I really learned a lot from him. He only has 10 weeks in the mission field, but he is already a great missionary! I love how when he teaches, you can feel of the love that he has for the investigators. I love my investigators. I decided that I am going to try to help them feel of the love that we as missionaries have for them like Elder B does. It was super great working with Elder B. 

Friday we went and visited a man. He is 30 years old and he is super Paiteño. In the 30 years of his life, he has only spent one night out of Paita, when he had to go to Sullana. I was thinking about how many nights I have spent outside of my house. On family vacations, camping, everything. And he has only spent 1 night of his entire life outside of his house! How crazy is that! He is a great guy. He has a super strong testimony! And he has been attending church again for the past 3 weeks! It was amazing on Sunday when he showed up to church with his whole family! His wife and his 3 kids! The first time they had been to church in a long time! It was so cool to see them there!

Saturday was super hot. One of the crazy things we saw this week was on Saturday. For Carnavales here, they put these giant trees in the middle of the street and put tons of things up in the trees. Chairs, money, notebooks, clothes, candy, toys. Tons of stuff. It's like Christmas. They put these trees up and then they celebrate for a few days and then they cut it down and everyone runs to grab all of the stuff that was in the tree. They had just put the tree up that morning and everyone was starting to celebrate. One of the things that they do to celebrate is that they throw water balloons at all the people passing by. We talked to members that live on that street for a few minutes and we watched as these little kids absolutely drenched all these people passing by in moto taxis. Honestly it's kind of funny! It's so cool being able to experience a new culture though!

Sunday was a great day! Sacrament meeting is always great. But the highlight of the day happened after church. We went to visit this recent convert because he didn't show up to church. When we got to his house he was super duper sick. He then asked if my companion and I could give him a blessing. He then indicated that he would like me to give the blessing. Honestly I was a little bit scared. I hadn't ever given a blessing before, let alone in Spanish. My companion anointed and I was able to seal the anointing. It was so cool to see how the words I needed to use just came to me. That was a super strong testimony builder for me. I could feel the spirit so strong! After we left his house I was just thinking and reflecting on how grateful I am to be a member of this church and to have the power of the priesthood so readily available when we are in times of need! Being a missionary is so cool!
Today for P-day we went with these members to this really cool spot on the ocean for the day. We went to fish and to take some pictures. It was super duper cool! The only bad thing is that I forgot to use sunscreen. I had a pretty good watch tan line already, but with being in the sun for 4 hours this morning it's really burned! Pretty cool though! Luckily I had my goofy hat to protect my face and neck from the sun!!

I forgot my sunscreen!

I'm so grateful to be a missionary. I know that this church is true. No doubt about it. I am so grateful for all of the things I have learned so far on my mission. And I can't wait for what the next 18 months in Peru have in store for me. I know that this is the Lord's work. And it is super duper important! How grateful I am to be a part of it!  Thanks for all the love and support! Love you guys!

Elder Baker

Lauren, Sounds like you had a good week in Australia. It's pretty cool when it's a million degrees in January right!? jaja.  And trust me! I love to PUSH (Pray Until Something Happens). And I'm going to continue to PUSH! Love you! Keep working hard!