Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Earthquakes & Tsunamis - 3/17/14

17 de Marzo 2014

This week was a great week of reflection. Reflecting on all the many blessings that I have. I really have been blessed with so much in my life. I have a loving family that writes me every week. Believe it or not, lots of missionaries in this mission don't get that. I've always had the necesidades of life provided for me. (And yes, necesidades is Spanish. I can't remember what it is in English.) But most of all, I have been blessed with the Gospel of Jesus Christ in my life. And because of that I know that I have a loving Heavenly Father who is always watching out for me. Despite all of the challenges that come our way, He is always there watching out for us and helping us through, whether we realize it or not. 

Tuesday morning was pretty different. We woke up and got ready and then we had to head to Piura to go to the dentist. My companion had one of the fillings in his teeth fall out and he had to go get it filled. But one of the weirdest parts was that there wasn't anything about insurance or anything. He just started and when he finished, Elder R handed him 50 soles and we left. That was crazy. Health care is so different in the states.

Wednesday morning we had our district meeting. Usually it is on Tuesdays but on Tuesday we had to go to Piura. The theme for the district meeting was "Talking with everyone!" What a great topic that is. And how important it is to talk with people as a missionary! In the past General Conference Elder Ballard said:

"You full-time missionaries, if you want to teach more, you must talk with more people every day. This has always been what the Lord has sent people forth do."

That is our role as missionaries. Share the gospel with as many people as we can. But the people aren't going to come up to us and ask us if we can share a glorious message with them that will change their lives forever! That's not how it works! We have to take the first step in sharing the gospel! But naturally, I'm a pretty shy person when talking to strangers. So that makes talking with people a little difficult. It can be physically and emotionally draining to try to talk to strangers. But one thing that I have learned is that I can always get down on my knees and pray for the strength that I need to do it! And it also helps that Predicad mi Evangelio [Preach My Gospel] has some sweet scriptures to kick you in the bum and motivate you to do it! 

DyC 24:12
"And at all times, and in all places, he shall open his mouth and declare my gospel as with the voice of a trump, both day and night. And I will give unto him strength such as is not known among men."

DyC 60:2-3
"But with some I am not well pleased, for they will not open their mouths, but they hide the talent which I have given unto them, because of the fear of man. Wo unto such, for mine anger is kindled against them. And it shall come to pass, if they are not more faithful unto me, it shall be taken away, even that which they have."

BOOM! Is my Heavenly Father well pleased with me? Or do I hide the talent which I have? As missionaries we just have to open our mouths. It doesn't matter if we want to or not. It's what we do. And if we put our trust in the Lord and just do it he will give us "strength such as is not known among men." JUST DO IT! There are so many people that the Lord is preparing to hear this message! But we will never know if they are ready or not to accept it if we don't talk to them!

So anyway....

Saturday was probably one of the craziest days in my life. We were walking to our next appointment and we were actually in the street that we live on. It's a super narrow street with 3-4 story houses/buildings on each side. It was almost 7:00 and we started to hear this noise. At first I thought it was a big gust of wind. But then I realized that the noise was getting louder and louder and that it was all around me and that it wasn't just coming from one direction. Then I realized that the ground beneath my feet was starting to shake. And that's when people started screaming. Everyone was screaming once they realized that we were in an earthquake. When I realized that I ran to the intersection, because if one of those giant buildings fall, I didn't want it to fall on me. It only lasted for about 8 seconds. But it was enough to scare me to death. Turns out that it was 6.5 on the Richter scale. Something that I had never experienced ever before in my life. I was so glad once it was over and the ground stopped shaking. Luckily there wasn't much damage. There was a little bit of damage to some of the houses that are 100 years old, but luckily none of them collapsed. After the earthquake everyone was outside their houses and we went and talked to this lady. She has lived in Paita her entire life and says that she has never experienced anything like that before in her entire life. We were talking to her for a while and she started to ask us some questions, who we were and why we are here. It's not normal for white people to be here in Paita. When she started to ask us questions, I just smiled. The perfect opportunity to share what we know!!! So Elder R and I started to talk about why we were here and to testify of the gospel, of all the blessings we have received, and to ask her if she would be interested if we share our message with her and her family. And she wants to learn more! I am super happy. We have an appointment with her and her family later this week! The Lord works in mysterious ways. I honestly don't think we ever would have contacted her if it weren't for the earthquake. And I really don't know if anything will come out of this. Maybe she isn't quite ready for the gospel. But if that's the case, we can plant a seed. And maybe later on she will be ready to hear the gospel! 

Sunday went pretty normal until about 7 o'clock again. At 7pm we got the news that there was a tsunami warning for Paita. So we had to gather up our important things in a backpack and head up to the upper part of Paita. We ended up staying the night in the room of Elder O and Elder B. Luckily though, the tsunami never came. The Lord is watching over us. He is always watching over us!

Today I reached the 8 month mark of the mission. 1/3 of the way. And I'm so grateful for everything that I have experienced and learned. There is nowhere I would rather be! I know this church is true! Being a missionary is the best! 

Love you guys! Thanks for everything!

Elder Baker

Lauren - Thanks for being a great example. It's so true though, it doesn't matter where we serve. It matters how we do it. There is nowhere I would rather be than where the Lord wants me to be. And for us it is in our areas. We may not know why, but He sure does. No doubt. Love you! Keep working hard!

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