Tuesday, April 29, 2014

"WE'RE GOING TO ECUADOR!" & a Baptism!

28 de Abril 2014

Straight up probably the craziest, weirdest, most fun, most boring, most rewarding week of the mission. But for real. This last week was absolutely CRAZY! I don't even know if I'm going to have time to tell you guys everything.

So this Monday we had a Family night with a less active family. The mom of the family is a returned missionary and everything. But for some reason, they only attend church about once every 3 months. So we went and had a family night with them and about 3 families from the ward. It went super well. Super fun.

Tuesday morning was pretty crazy. Elder R and I got up and got ready and had study time like normal and then we went up to the church in the upper part of Paita for our district meeting. Our district and one other district from Paita has our district meetings in that chapel and when I walked in, the first person I saw was Elder P and he looked at me and smiled and says "WE'RE GOING TO ECUADOR!" I was pretty confused at first, but then I went and talked to Elder M and he told me that it was true and that Thursday night Elder P and I had to travel to Piura and then we were going to be traveling to Ecuador. That was pretty exciting. But they didn't tell us any of the details or anything. Just that we were going to Ecuador.

Wednesday morning Elder R and I went and taught L C in the morning--the last lesson that he needed before he could be baptized! I'm so grateful for the opportunity that I have had to teach that kid! He's a super sweet kid! And after that we had to hurry back to our apartment to pack up my backpack and head up to the bus station in the upper part to meet up with Elder M and Elder S for exchanges. Elder M came to my area and I went to his area, Pueblo Nuevo, which is about 40 minutes away from Paita. It's super cool. Super pretty! GREEN! That was the first time not seeing dirt in a while! But the exchanges were pretty sweet! It was pretty fun working with Elder S for a day! 
Visita de Trabajo en Pueblo Nuevo
Thursday we came back to our area at about noon. That afternoon we went out and worked for a couple of hours and then I had to go up to the bus station in the upper part of Paita again to travel to Piura with Elder P! We got to the bus station at about 7 pm and the bus left at about 7:30 and we got to Piura at about 8:30 pm. Then we headed over to the mission office where we stayed the night. Once we got there, we went and threw a football in the street for about 15 minutes. That was pretty fun. It had been a while since I had thrown a football! But Elder P is in love with football, so he has one. We ended up getting to bed pretty early, because they told us that we had to get up at 5 the next morning.

Friday was CRAZY! We got up at 5 am and hurried and showered and we had to head over to the bus station at about 5:50 where we got on a bus and headed to Tumbes. At this point it was only Elder P, Hermana M, and me. We went about an hour to Sullana where the bus stopped and picked up some people. In Sullana, Elder B, Elder K, Elder C, Elder A and Hermana R got on the bus. And then we went 5 more hours up the coast of Peru until we got to Tumbes. It was a super pretty drive. It's along the coast for about 3 hours and then it turns away from the coast and you pass a ton of green fields for about an hour before arriving in Tumbes. When we got off the bus in Tumbes, the zone leaders from Tumbes were waiting for us and we headed over to the stake center. There, we met up with Hermana C, Elder P, and Elder L that are in Talara. There, they gave us our passports and we got in a little combi, which is like a 12 person minivan and we headed to the border of Peru and Ecuador which is about 25 minutes away. Once we got there, we crossed the bridge into Ecuador and we had to go to Immigrations and leave Perú and enter Ecuador officially and get our passports stamped. That only took about 20 minutes, and then we turned around and headed back to Perú again. It was pretty fun being in Ecuador for about 20 minutes. jaja. Actually, it wasn't that cool at all. But then we had to go back through Immigrations to get back into Perú. The only bad part was that there were millions of people waiting and we had to wait for about 3 hours before we finally got back into Perú. The group of gringos that we were with was super cool. All the kids were super funny. And it felt so good to be able to speak in English the entire day! That is something that I've definitely missed! So anyways, once we got through again, we had to drive back to the stake center and then we headed over to the bus station to buy our tickets for the bus back to our areas. But when we got there, we found out that all of them were sold out and that we would have to wait until the next morning to travel. This was at about 5 in the afternoon. So we called the office and waited for a little bit while they came up with a plan! So they decided that we were going to call a combi and travel, all 11 missionaries together, to our areas. So we called a combi and all piled in the little van and headed off. That was the most cramped, but most fun, 6 hour combi ride from Tumbes to Piura in my life! And I hope that it is the only combi ride from Tumbes to Piura in my life! But it was quite pretty driving back along the coast as the sun was setting. After about 4 hours we stopped in Talara to drop off 3 missionaries and then we stopped in another area to drop off 5 in Sullana and then we finally came all the way back to Piura with the last 3 missionaries. We got back to Piura at about 10:30-11:00 pm. Elder F and Elder M, from the office, were waiting for us and they paid 300 soles to the combi driver and we headed back to the mission office where we slept the night again..... Pretty fun day, no?? But super crazy day. A once in a mission, type of day...
My passport with Ecuador stamps
The crew in the minivan on the way back
 from Ecuador to renew our visas
Beautiful sunset on the way home from Ecuador
Cool statue as we were reentering Peru
Statue in a little town that we passed on the way to Ecuador

So anyways. Saturday we got up really early and headed back to Paita. It was pretty fun being on vacation for a day and a half, but it felt good to be back in my area. In 2 days, I was in pretty much every single part of the mission. Pueblo Nuevo, Paita, Piura, Sullana, Talara, Tumbes, and also Ecuador! 

Saturday afternoon was the baptism of L C!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I was so so so so so so so so so so so so so so happy that night! Elder R was able to baptize him! And L was so happy! It was the best day in a long, long time! And there was a super good turnout! There were a good 30-40 people from the branch there for him! And after that we went out and ate pizza at a restaurant with Elder C and Elder P. It was a little bit expensive, but it was so worth it! Saturday was a super great day! 
L C's Baptism!

Sunday was a pretty great day as well! I was lucky enough to be able to speak in church again. Luckily though, this time they told us in advance so we didn't have to try to hurry and come up with something on the spot! I decided to talk about the family and why the family is so important. I'm so grateful for the best family in the entire world!

Well, it's been a super great week! Love you guys! A TON!
Elder Baker!

I am super excited to get the Ensign! I love reading the Liahonas. But the conference Ensign in English is even better!

The Because of Him video is super cool! One of the coolest videos that I have ever seen! I loved it! This next week is transfers. We'll find out everything on Saturday night. I'm kind of excited to find out. If I stay here, I'll be fine with it. Wherever the Lord needs me. "A donde me mandes iré, Señor."

Lauren. I'm still super duper duper jealous of Tasmania! Those pictures you sent are beautiful. One day I'm going to see somewhere green again. But for now, BROWN!  You can send me some of the coldness if you want. It will always be welcome where I am! Love you! Work hard! 

What lack I yet? - 04/21/14

21 de Abril 2014

One more week here in Paita. 22 weeks in all. Over 5 months. That's a long time. But it's all good. I like being a missionary here in Paita.

Well last week for p-day we went to the beach and I forgot to use sunscreen again. I really should have learned by now. Because honestly, it is horrible being sunburned. You never really notice it until the day after. All of p-day at the beach you feel fine. But when you're wearing a t-shirt, your entire neck is exposed to the sun all day long. And normally, with a white shirt and tie, that's not exposed. So it doesn't see the sun much. Tuesday morning was when I started to regret not using sunscreen. Especially in the morning when I put on the white shirt and went to tie my tie. That was rough. I'm pretty sure I walked around all day like I was in a neck brace. Because it hurt super duper bad to turn my head. jaja. The joys of being dumb and not using sunscreen.....
Our district at the beach today for P-day
Tuesday afternoon we went to visit M C. We went and knocked on the door and his wife answered. She told us that we could come in. As we went in we saw Mariano laying on the couch with a giant steak on his eye. Like on Sandlot. No joke! We then started to ask some questions to find out what happened. Turns out he was assaulted in the upper part of Paita on Sunday night. But he doesn't remember any of it, because they snuck up behind him and knocked him out and took everything he had. A camera, a phone, his DNI and about 100 soles. And they left him with some giant cuts in his head and a Smalls, from Sandlot, black eye. We were able to have a pretty good lesson with them though. We talked about the Book of Mormon. We read the introduction with them and invited them to keep on reading it! 

Wednesday was my 150th day in Paita. That's a lot of days. But looking back on it, I have been able to have some pretty awesome experiences in those days. I wouldn't trade those 150 days for anything. I have learned so much.

Wednesday night we had a lesson with L C. He is super excited for his baptism this Saturday, the 26th! Not gonna lie, I'm pretty excited too! We are finishing up teaching the last few commandments and he's just about ready for his baptism! And he attended the stake conference on Sunday. And he's reading the Book of Mormon, and attending seminary with his older sister even though he´s only 12. He says he just likes learning about the Book of Mormon!

Thursday was perhaps one of the best days of the mission so far. In the morning we had our district meeting. It was our first district meeting with our new district leader, Elder M. It was super great! I like our district too. We talked about the importance of church attendance for our investigators. After that we had companionship exchanges and Elder R went to Pueblo Nuevo, with the companion of Elder M, and he came to Puerto Paita with me. Not gonna lie. It was super great being able to work with a gringo. You have no clue how much I missed English. At first it was kind of hard speaking English, but after a while we were all practiced and it felt like home. jaja. It was super great. We ended up having a few really great lessons that afternoon. And that night our pensionista, Hermana Columba invited us to eat Pollo a la Brasa, which is the best thing on the planet, with Inca Kola. Pretty much everything that day went great. And then the next day went well, as well, because Elder M brought Peanut Butter with him. No joke. Peter Pan peanut butter, made in the USA. So we made pancakes and had pancakes with peanut butter and maple syrup. That was the first time in a long long long long long long long long long long long long long time. Since last July. It was so great! 
It doesn't get any better than this.
Pancakes with Peanut Butter and Maple Syrup!
This week here was "Semana Santa" to celebrate Easter. Every single day this week there were processions in the streets at night carrying a cross and playing music and offering Catholic prayers. And the whole week they played bible videos on TV. But other than that, they don't do much to celebrate. There are no decorations, no chocolate. They only eat fish though. Pretty different. 

So this weekend we had our stake conference. Well actually it was a district conference because Paita is a district and not a stake. But it was super great. Saturday night we had the Priesthood meeting at 5 and the Saturday general meeting at 7. I loved it. President Rowley and his wife came and spoke at the conference. I love some of the things that he said. 

He shared in Matthew 19 the story of the young rich man. In verse 16 the young man says "What good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?" And then in 17 Jesus says to him, "Keep the commandments."  The young man then asks which ones, and Jesus names some of the commandments. After that the young man replied in verse 20, "All these things have I kept from my youth up: What lack I yet?" President stopped on that question and gave us all time to apply that question in our own lives. "What lack I yet? ¿Qué más me falta?" I really like those types of questions, they make you start thinking pretty deep. ¿Qué más me falta? There are lots of good things that we do. Maybe we keep all of the commandments like the young rich man, but maybe there is something more that all of us can do. And it may not be the same for everyone. But there is always something we can improve on, something we can do better. As a missionary, I feel like we do good things pretty much all day long every day, but I think there is something more that I can do. I think that I can be even better. I really liked that talk.

After that we watched the video that the church made for this Easter, "Because of Him," except we watched it in español "Gracias a Él." What a cool video that is. I could feel the spirit so strongly. How grateful am I for my Savior. I stand all amazed at the love Jesus offers me. To know that he suffered for me. So that I am able to get back up when I fall. To be able to wipe away the mistakes. To be able to have a clean slate. And all of that is "Gracias a Él." That is the glorious message of the gospel. That is what I am blessed to be able to share every single day. I am so grateful for that knowledge in my life. 

Sunday morning was the General Session of the conference that started at 8 in the morning. And it was a pretty great way to spend Easter. All the talks were centered on Jesus Christ. Even though I wasn't at home, I was still able to have a great Easter. And yeah, it was without any chocolate or Easter eggs, but those things really don't make Easter important. There is a greater meaning to Easter.

Thanks for all of the love and support that you show to me! I love being a missionary!  I know this church is true. I know that Jesus Christ is our Savior and Redeemer! 

Elder Baker


Lauren. First off. I don't even want to talk to you. TASMANIA?????????? You lucky devil! Tasmanian devil that is! jaja. I'M SUPER EXCITED FOR YOU! And that's crazy that you have a transfer and you get to fly to your new area. In my mission when we have transfers it's just long bus rides on old stinky buses. Jaja. Love you though! I'm excited to hear more about Tasmania!

Good thing that the gift of tongues is real and that I was able to pick up on it. - 04/14/14

14 de Abril 2014

Another week has passed by. Every week here in Paita is different. Sometimes it feels like it's passing by super fast, sometimes super slow. And you never know how your day is going to go. But at the end of every day, I'm glad that I'm a missionary.

This last week started super great. The day after P-day, Tuesday, we had a multi-zone conference in Piura. So Tuesday morning we got to get up at 5:30 in the morning and get ready in the dark. It was weird getting up before the sun. Not something that we do much. And then we had to go to the bus station in Paita and meet up with our entire zone to travel to Piura. We ended up getting to Piura at about 8 and helped set everything up. Honestly, it was pretty fun. I love multi-zone conferences. I love seeing tons of other missionaries. At that conference there were 3 zones. Tons of people. The conference was super great. We talked a ton about the Book of Mormon and a ton about Family History, two things that always seem to be popping up here in the mission, over and over again. I think it must mean that they are some things that are pretty important. I learned a ton during the conference. It was super great. One of the greatest things was talking to some of the new gringos in the mission that only have two weeks in the field with Spanish. Poor little things. They didn't understand hardly anything. jaja. I remember when I was the exact same way though. When I got to the mission field I knew next to nothing.  Because it would be miserable to spend two years without understanding anything! 

Probably the best part of the conference was when I got to talk to Elder T. Elder T was in Lopez Albujar right after me. And so I got to ask him about how Anthony Culquicondor, my first baptism in the field, was doing. Inactivity is a HUGE problem here in South America and I was praying that he wouldn't tell me that he isn't attending. But he told me that he is super active and is the leader of the Young Single Adults in the ward and is preparing to serve a mission!!!! That made me so stinking happy! I'm so happy for him! I had a smile on my face for the rest of the day!

After the conference we were on the way back to Paita and a police officer pulled over the bus. The police officer got on board and asked for the ID's of everyone. All the peruanos had their DNI's but all of us foreigners didn't. He seemed kind of irritated that we didn't have a DNI but whatever. He took all of them, got off the bus and we just sat there for about 15 minutes. After that he got back on, gave all of them back to the owners, and apologized for the delay and we went on our way. None of us have any clue as to what it was about. Kind of weird. But whatever!

Wednesday we went and taught L C again. He is super excited for his baptism. He's a super bright kid and actually understands and pays attention when we teach. Unfortunately, lots of people that we teach lose focus really easily. Everything you say and teach to them goes in one ear and out the nose. But luckily L isn't one of those people! I really like teaching him!

Thursday was a great day. On Wednesday I was reading in Preach my Gospel and it talks about using a study journal. And honestly, I haven't been the best about using a study journal. Every once in a while I write things down in a notebook, but it's nothing organized or anything. But I figured that since Preach my Gospel says that I should do it, I should probably do it. So I went and bought a little study journal. And Thursday morning I started to use it. Turns out the prophets were right. It really does help. If you write things down, you are able to remember a lot about what you studied. Just plain reading the Book of Mormon is good. But really studying and pondering on what you read is better. And just to let you know, that morning I read Alma 47. I hate Amalickiah. He's probably the most rotten person in the Book of Mormon. I don't care for him much. Actually I don't care for him at all..... jaja

Thursday afternoon we had a dreaded lesson with Emilia Gomez. My companion and I have been praying a ton and thinking a lot about her and her family. But we decided that she really isn't keeping her commitments. Isn't reading, isn't praying, and isn't attending church. So we had to have the dreaded talk with her and tell her that we're not going to be able to continue and visit her super frequently. But we did bear our testimony that everything we had taught up to that point is absolutely true. No doubt about it. But anyway. That was pretty horrible. I didn't like it one bit. But it had to be done. 

Friday night we got back to our apartment and planned for the next day and I was practically dead. I was so tired. I felt super weak. That night I went to bed not knowing if I was just super tired or getting sick. Turns out it was getting sick. The next morning I woke up feeling like I had been run over by a truck. Diarrhea, headache, neck ache, sore legs.... EVERYTHING! Saturday was horrible. We ended up spending the entire day in the apartment. I'm honestly not sure what it was, but luckily by Sunday morning I was feeling a little bit better and was able to go to church, which was great. I hate not being able to go to church. So the week ended kind of stinky, but it's okay. Because now it's a new week and I'm excited for what this week has in store for Elder R and me here in Puerto Paita! 

Today for P-day a group of people from our zone went to the "Playa de los cangrejos" to relax a bit. Crab beach. It's actually super cool. There are little crabs running around everywhere! It's super fun to try to catch them. Too bad they're super fast and when they see you coming they run to their little holes in the sand and bury themselves. It's okay though, because we're pretty good at digging really fast. It's kind of scary though when you're scooping out tons of sand and a crab pinches your finger. Kind of hurts. jajaja. Pretty fun though. And we also went and explored tons of rocks and took lots of pictures. Pretty fun way to spend the day! 
6:30 am Paita sky

Beautiful beach with GIANT waves

My little buddy, the crab

The group that went with us today to crab beach
"Playa de los cangrejos"

My comp and me

I'm on top of the world!

I'm so grateful to be a missionary. Sometimes it can be super hard, but it is all worth it. There is no where else that I would rather be. I love being a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints!

Thanks for everything! Love all you guys! 

Elder Baker

Dad, I've been wondering... How long did it take on your mission before you felt pretty comfortable with what everyone was saying and being able to understand it?? Honestly for me, I can't remember a day. But it was about 6-7 months.

Thanks for that stuff from Elder Bednar's conference talk. It's nice to be able to read it in English. I'm super excited for the Ensign in English to read all of the talks from conference. It's good in Spanish, but it's better in English! jaja.

Lauren, Sounds like you had a great week in Australia. That's sweet about your investigator finally choosing to be baptized! Sometimes I get jealous thinking about you being in Australia and seeing kangaroos. How about after our missions we can visit both of our countries ya? You can show me some kangaroos and I can show you some dirt... jajaja Love you!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

My heart has definitely been changed thanks to the gospel of Jesus Christ. And it has been a huge change. - 4/7/14

7 de abril 2014

General Conference weekend is always great. And in the mission it is no different.  Being able to watch General Conference is the best. That was for sure the highlight of this last week. But the whole week was pretty good! 

Monday was the official Anniversary of Paita. And Monday night after we got back to our apartment, we planned and then we started to cook our dinner. Outside of our apartment we started to hear music and it kept getting louder and louder. So we went to the window to see what it was and there was a giant parade coming down our street at about 10 pm with music and they were carrying the statue of the Virgen de las Mercedes down the street. That was definitely something that I had never seen before in my entire life. It was pretty cool though. Not something that you're ever going to experience in Kaysville, that's for sure!

Parade outside our apartment

Tuesday was a great day. One of the best things about Tuesday was personal study in the morning. I was reading in Alma about the sons of Mosiah as they were going to preach to the Lamanites. I read the story of Ammon and King Lamoni and tons of memories started flooding my mind--of the little movie that we have about it. All the songs "We are dead. Soon we will be dead....... We´re alive. Don't you know that we're alive!?" "A Mighty Change of Heart." jajajaja Good times. I loved that movie. And honestly, I love that story. How cool is Ammon? And I love thinking about the conversion of King Lamoni. Like the scripture says, he really did have a mighty change of heart. And as I was thinking about that, I realized that that is what the gospel does to us. It helps us have a mighty change in our hearts. Through the Gospel of Jesus Christ, we can change and come closer unto our Savior.  But I don't think it's done yet. It's not something that happens one moment. It's more of a process. Little by little, this change takes place in our hearts.

Tuesday night we were going to have ward counsel, but there was the earthquake in Chile and there was a tsunami warning for all of the coast of Peru. So they didn't want to have it that night. It wasn't really a big warning though. Nothing ever reached Paita. We slept in our apartment that night. Hardly anyone evacuated to the upper part. 

Wednesday morning we went and took out our money for the month. When we take out our money at the beginning of each month, we seem so rich. But then we have to pay for everything. Food, laundry, apartment, pension, and we're not left with anything. That's kind of how it is though in life. Pay for all the expenses, and there is little, if any left over. It's okay though. I think that's a great lesson to learn here on the mission. It's pretty simple. Don't spend more than you have. And only spend it on things that are worth it. 

Wednesday night we went and had a lesson with Hermana B! It was a great lesson! She is doing tons better now! It was a great lesson. We talked about the commandment to follow the prophet and invited her to attend conference on Sunday to hear from the living prophet. How blessed are we as members of the church to have a living prophet to lead and guide us? Can you think of how lost we would be without him? I don't even want to think of where I would be. I'm so grateful for the prophet!

Thursday morning something exciting happened. I got out of the shower and then I finished off a stick of deodorant. Pretty cool, no?? Actually it wasn't very exciting. It's actually kind of sad. I don't like finishing things like that. Because it means that you have to spend money and go buy a new one. jaja

But after that we had a zone conference! I love zone conferences! They're the best. The theme was prayer. How important is prayer. Especially as a missionary. Honestly, we pray all the time. When we get up, alone and with our companion, before and at the end of every study session, before every meal, before we leave the apartment, a prayer at the beginning and end of every lesson. We pray all day long. But it's something that I am extremely grateful for. Because I know that I can pray anywhere, at any time, for anything. And our Heavenly Father is always going to be there listening. ALWAYS! Prayer is huge. I love prayer. During the conference we talked about how we can increase the meaning of our prayers! It was super great! 

So this weekend was General Conference. I love General Conference. It was such a spiritual weekend. I don't even know how to describe it. I was able to watch all 5 sessions in English. Just kidding. It was all in Spanish. But it was okay, because I can understand Spanish. 6 months ago I don't know how much I would have been able to get out of conference, but this time it was great!  Every talk was great! Probably one of the parts I liked most was the talk by Boyd K. Packer. I don't know exactly what he said in English, but in Spanish he said "Yo conozco al señor," which translates to "I know the Lord." That got me thinking pretty deep. Do I really know the Lord? I'm a missionary and I testify of these things every day. But can I testify with the same conviction of President Packer? And yes, he is an apostle. He is a special witness of our Lord and Savior. But I don't think that you have to be an apostle to be able to know the Lord. After listening to that, I set a goal. I am going to do everything I can to get to know the Lord better. I want to strengthen the relationship that I have with Him. And that's not to say that I don't have a testimony of these things already. Because I do. But I want to make that testimony even stronger! 
Going out to eat after the morning session of conference on Saturday.
Inca Kola is the best soda on the planet--too bad it's the most expensive one here...
I love Inca Kola!

It was a great conference!

I love you guys! Thanks so much for everything! I love being a missionary. Yo sé que la iglesia de Jesucristo de los Santos de los Últimos Días es verdadera. Yo sé que Jesucristo es nuestro salvador y redentor. Y que Ël vive.

Elder Baker

Lauren, Those pictures of the Eureka Tower in Melbourne are sweet. There are no such things as big buildings here. The biggest building that I have seen here in Peru is maybe 6 floors. Maybe. And keep on working hard. Congrats on your baptisms! More baptisms in one week than I've had in my entire mission! Jaja! Love you! You are a huge example for me!

I got a new mattress! - 03/31/14

31 de marzo 2014

Well another week has gone by here in Paita. This is the start of week number 20 here. It seems like I've been here forever. I'm getting a little tired of walking in the same streets day after day, but it's okay. I know that there is a reason that I'm here. For some reason, Puerto Paita is where my Heavenly Father needs me.

This last week started pretty great. Monday night after p-day we had a family night with the Davila family. Their son was baptized in December. Their whole family is members now, and they're super great! The family night went super well until they brought out the dessert. A giant glass of mango juice that they had just blended up in the blender. I have tried tons of new fruits here in Peru. And I like almost all of them. I’m still trying to learn to like mango.

Tuesday was pretty great. In the morning Elder Rengifo and I were out knocking on doors trying to find some new investigators. We knocked on one door that was already open. The lady was sitting inside her house and when she heard us knock on the door she got up from her seat and ran to the door and slammed it in our faces. I just sat there and laughed. That was the first time that that has happened to me here on the mission. Lots of times people just say that they're busy and shut the door. But this lady didn't even say anything to us and we didn't even get a chance to say anything to her. Pretty crazy. 

Tuesday afternoon we had a couple of pretty great lessons. We had one with a super cool guy. His wife and kids are members but he isn't. He has listened to missionaries before, but doesn't have a testimony of the church. So right now we are focusing on helping him receive a testimony of the Book of Mormon. With him, we read 3 Nefi 11. He really liked that part. The spirit was super strong in that lesson. I think he was able to feel it. And he promised us that he would pray that night about what he had read.

After that lesson we went and taught another investigator. I feel bad for the guy. He has so many obstacles and trials in his life. He was almost baptized in December, but his wife fell and broke her hip and they had to move to the upper part of Paita. And then he moves back here and is super excited to come to church again and then some kind of bug bites his arm and he was in the hospital for 2 weeks because his arm was so swollen. And when he finally gets released from the hospital, his daughter breaks her femur and there was a death in the family. It always seems like one thing after another. He is the sweetest old guy though. We just have to keep trying to help him feel of the spirit in his life and help him through these trials.

Thursday Lauren hit the 1 year mark of her mission. I can hardly believe that it was an entire year ago when we dropped her off at the MTC. At that time September of 2014 seemed so far away. 18 months. But now it's only 6 months away. Time absolutely flies by. But probably the best part of Thursday was that after our district meeting I got a new mattress! I was sooooooooooooooooooooooooo happy. The mattress that I had in our room was not very good. I think it was new when dad was serving his mission in Guatemala. It was horrible. Every morning I woke up with a sore neck and a sore back. I was pretty much bouncing off the walls with excitement! 

So excited for my new mattress!

One crazy thing that happened Friday was when we were teaching a lesson and the spirit was super strong and then all of the sudden a bee flew in the house and stung the 9 year old girl in the head and she started screaming and kicking and everything. And when that happened, the spirit left. jajajaja. That was a super crazy experience.

Friday was a great day. Except that we didn't have water. The best part of that day was definitely while I was reading in Alma 8. I was feeling discouraged. The missionary work here in Puerto Paita is rough. The people don't want to listen to us. It's super hard to find new people to teach. And sometimes it's hard to work day after day and not feel like you are having any success. Alma 8 was written just for me. It's when Alma goes to Ammonihah to preach the gospel.

Vs 9. Now Satan had gotten great hold upon the hearts of the people of the city of Ammonihah; therefore they would not hearken unto the words of Alma.
Vs 10. Nevertheless Alma labored much in the spirit, wrestling with God in mighty prayer, that he would pour out his Spirit upon the people who were in the city; that he would also grant that he might baptize them unto repentance.
Vs 11. Nevertheless, they hardened their hearts, saying unto him: Behold, we know that thou art Alma; and we know that thou art high priest over the church which thou hast established in many parts of the land, according to your tradition; and we are not of thy church, and we do not believe in such foolish traditions.

And after that Alma was pretty discouraged. He said "they cast me out and I was about to set my back towards this land forever." But an angel came to him and told him that he had to return and upon returning, Amulek was waiting for him. And together they left and taught with power.

Vs 32. And it came to pass that they went forth and began to preach and to prophesy unto the people, according to the spirit and power which the Lord had given them.

That chapter was just what I was needing at that time. It doesn't matter if the people are going to accept the message that we have or not. The Lord has commanded me to go out and preach unto this people. And honestly, Alma and Amulek didn't have much success in Ammonihah. But I don't think that means that they were bad missionaries. They did what the Lord commanded them to do, and that is ultimately what is really important.

Saturday morning we woke up and there still wasn't water. There was a problem with the water system in our apartment building and the water wasn't working in any of the rooms. But there was one water faucet on the roof that was working. So at 7 in the morning we got to climb up to the roof and fill up buckets of water and then carry them down to our room so that we could shower and wash dishes. That was pretty fun. jaja, just kidding. It wasn't too fun. All that morning there were plumbers in our apartment trying to figure out what the problem was. Luckily by about 11 they had it figured out and there was water again. Being out of water stinks.
Getting water up on the roof

Sunday was the best part of the week. Sacrament meeting was great. It was fast and testimony meeting because next week is General Conference. But the best part of Sunday was that afternoon when we went and taught a lesson to a 12 year old boy. His parents aren't members, but his older sister is and his aunts and uncles and his grandparents are. And he lives with them. He has been coming to church these past couple weeks and we went and taught him about baptism and he wants to be baptized! What an answer to our prayers that was. We have been working forever here in Puerto Paita and we have had little, or next to no success, but finally we have someone who we are teaching who wants to be baptized! I'm super excited for him! Right now his baptism is scheduled for the 26th of April! 

Overall, it was a pretty great week. Had a lot of ups and downs like normal, but it was good! I'm so grateful to be a missionary here in El Puerto de Paita. There is nowhere that I would rather be. I know this church is true. No doubt about it! 

Love you guys! Thanks for Everything!

Elder Baker

That picture of snow looks so sweet. I want to roll around in that in shorts and a t-shirt. I'm so sick of this hot weather here in Paita! And about General Conference. Yeah we get to watch it live. I'm pretty sure that it is in Spanish though. I think since this isn't a stake and there isn't a stake center, I don't think there is going to be a room for gringos. Luckily I don't think I'll have trouble understanding it! I can pretty much understand everything now. There are words here and there that I don't know, but it's okay. Love you!

Lauren, I'm so happy for the family that you are teaching! Teaching families is the best. I hope that I will be able to help at least 1 family reach the point of baptism on my mission! Thanks for being such a great example! And I'm jealous of the fact that there are kangaroos. That would be so cool to have them interrupt our dinner. I don't think it's going to happen here though..... jaja. Love you tons!