Tuesday, May 27, 2014

We should give it our all every single day. - 5/19/14

Subject: 19 de mayo 2014

Well how are you all? It's been a while since we've talked—jaja, like a week. 

This last week was pretty great. Lots of things happened. I don't have tons of time today, but I'll try to fill you guys in on as much as possible.

So this last Tuesday was pretty good. Before lunch, we had to run all of our dirty clothes to the lavanderia. The lady that washes our clothes is super cool. There is only one problem—the problem is that her house is super far away from our apartment. So we have the choice of walking in the hot sun hauling our clothes or we can pay for a moto taxi. They both are pretty stinky options if you ask me. But we decided to walk. We're missionaries. We really don't have much money. jaja. And then we went to eat lunch. The lunch we ate on Tuesday was interesting. It reminds me of when McKay and I used to joke around and say that mom was making "Clear out the fridge casserole" jaja. But for real. It was rice, pineapple juice, beef, fried bananas, fried eggs, and sausage. That was a pretty interesting meal. I had never thought of combining those things before to make a lunch, and I don't think I will ever think of doing that again. But our pensionista is actually pretty good. For real!

Tuesday afternoon we had probably the coolest lesson of the entire week. It was the first lesson that we had with one of the cousins of Elder I. We left her with a pamphlet of the restoration before and had invited her to read it and told her that we would be coming back to talk about what she had read. Normally when we say that, we come back and the people say that they haven't had time to read. But she had actually read what we had left her. And she had a lot of super great questions about it. We were able to teach that lesson to her and it went so well. It was one of the lessons where the spirit is directing every single word that comes out of your mouth. And she understood almost everything that we taught! It was such a cool lesson. Afterwards Elder I and I just had to sit down and analyze that lesson. It was so cool! 

Wednesday probably the highlight of the day was the service project we had in the morning. We got to move bricks. Sounds pretty fun doesn't it? I actually enjoyed it! I like sweating out in the sun. I know. I'm weird. But I like it. And then that night we had a pretty cool family night with the Bishop. The bishop of this ward is super cool. And it's super good to be able to work with him. I'm really glad to be here in this ward! 

Thursday we had a zone conference. Our zone is Castilla, which is part of Piura. So that means we have to travel to Piura for our zone conferences. The stake center is about 45 minutes away from our area. It was a super great meeting. Elder G and Elder L are our zone leaders. They're super great. They talked a lot about the new trial program that our mission is participating in. We are one of 5 missions that are doing it. The point of the program is to use family history to help reactivate less active members and to help retain converts active in the church. The focus of it is to help less active and converts prepare names of their ancestors to take to the temple. It's pretty cool. 
Our zone on P-Day!
 After that they talked about giving it your all. Elder G talked a lot about not being okay with just being mediocre because we are representatives of Jesus Christ. We aren't mediocre people. We are here sharing the message of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ.  He said that at the end of our missions they should have to send medics to retrieve us because we have worked so hard that we can hardly walk. That made me think a lot. There are lots of times where I work super hard. But even then, I think there is maybe even more that I can do. And this conference was the motivation to just do it! And another bonus—I got my package of Easter candy! Thanks guys!
My Easter treats - a little late, but at least they made it!
 Friday was the worst day of the mission. I woke up super sick and was sick pretty much the entire day. I probably spent over 20 of the 24 hours in my bed. Luckily it was just a one-day flu. I don't really want to write about it again. You can read my journal after the mission. I wrote all about it.

Saturday I wasn't back to 100 percent, but I was feeling good enough to be able to work. Since we didn't get to have weekly planning Friday, we had to do it Saturday. Another thing exciting about Saturday is that I was able to teach my first class of English in the church. It's kind of fun teaching English. Some people actually catch on pretty quickly. But others just don't get it at all. I understand how they feel though. In the CCM I was one of those people. I didn't understand hardly a thing. jaja.

Well anyways. Not much else super crazy happened that I can remember. And I'm about out of time! Love you guys! Thanks for everything! 

The Church is true. No doubt about it! 

Elder Baker

Lauren, I'm jealous of that picture of a kangaroo eating out of your hand. If you want, next week I can send you a picture of me feeding some cockroaches if you want??? jaja Love you!

La Unión is pretty sweet. - 5/12/14

12 de Mayo 2014

Well. Another week has passed by. And another call home. It was so much fun to talk to you guys yesterday!  I can't wait for Christmas! jaja. Actually I can. I have to. And I might as well enjoy the time up until then. 

This week was my first week here in La Unión. And believe it or not, I actually love it here. There are definitely some things that I miss about Paita, but I was ready  for a change. And La Unión is pretty sweet. It's actually pretty pretty. Because here people have their chacras [farms] where they grow all different kinds of fruit and rice. And all of their fields are lined with palm trees that are super, super, super tall. It's actually super pretty. The one thing that is a giant problem here that wasn't a problem in Paita is Mosquitos. And it's a big problem here. I would probably die here without mosquito repellent. The reason that there are tons of them here is the rice fields—because to grow rice, you have to flood the field with water. And it always has to be wet. Which is exactly what the mosquitos love. So there are lots here. Luckily there aren't any in our apartment so that I can still sleep peacefully!

This last week tons of things happened. Tuesday we had our first District Meeting. That was pretty scary going to district meeting and having to direct that meeting. It wasn't that bad though. Our district is actually super cool. Since we are pretty far away from almost the entire rest of our zone, it is just the four of us here in La Unión. Turns out that I'm the youngest person in the district. They're all viejitos. jajajaja  jk. Elder Ipanaque is 19 like me. He turns 20 this next month though! Our district is Elder C, who is from Virginia and is 6 foot 5 and giant and his little companion that looks like an elf next to him, Elder Z, from El Salvador. And then Elder I who is my comp. I actually love working with him. He's a super great teacher. One thing I love about teaching with him is that he always asks super great questions that make the people think and really grasp what we are trying to teach them.

I really actually like working here in this ward. It was made a ward in the last year. So it's not super big yet, but it's progressing. And the leaders here are super cool. The bishop is super duper cool. And he has a suit that he wears to church that is super classy. He's super young though. I'm not sure how old he is, but he got back from his mission in 2007. So he's pretty young.

Our pensionista is Mercedes. But the nickname for Mercedes is Meche. And if you say Mercedes, everyone is going to look at you like you are crazy. She cooks pretty good food though. And she serves us a ton of rice. Rice kills me. The people here eat so much rice every single day it's ridiculous! I can't even believe how much rice these people eat! After 24 months here, I'm never even going to want to see rice again in my entire life. One thing that she made this last week was super good. It was like chicken cordon blue. I know that's not how you spell it, but I don't know how to spell it. So sorry. It was super good though. Chicken with ham and cheese. ahhhhhhhh

So funny story for the week... I already told this to you guys skyping yesterday, but the others haven't heard it yet. 

So yesterday we went on divisions. Elder I and Elder Z went to call their families with actual phones, and then Elder C and I went so that we could skype our families. Elder C had to use a computer at an internet cafe though. And we asked for the computer for an hour and a half so that we could get everything set up and so that he could call his family. But after he had been talking to his family for a bit, he turns to me and asks me to go ask the guy at the front desk how much time he has left. The problem was that I had been talking a little bit with Elder C in English yesterday and my mind was thinking in English. So I walk up to the front desk and ask the guy in English "How much time is left on number 9?" and after I asked that he just stared at me like I was from a different planet. And about a second later it clicked to me that I'm here in Peru and that this guy doesn't understand a word of English. So then I ask again "Cuánto tiempo más por numero 9?" And he told me and I walked away laughing. I felt pretty stupid, but whatever.

Well anyways. It's been a pretty great week. I love all of you guys! Thanks for all of the love and support that you guys show to me! I'm so grateful to be a missionary. Being a missionary is the best! I love being a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints! 

Love, Elder Baker

Park in Piura
Super Hero day in the park in Piura!

Friday, May 23, 2014

I was transferred today!... I will never be the same person ever again because of the time I had in Paita. - 05/05/14

5 de Mayo 2014

Well this last week has gone by super duper fast. And so much has happened, I can't even remember what happened at the beginning of this last week. So sorry. Good thing I wrote in my journal though. So I will be able to go out and read it.
First off, I was transferred today. So today has been a pretty crazy p-day. Pretty out of the normal. My head's spinning.

But this last week was pretty good. It was my last week with Elder R in Puerto Paita. Honestly, my 24 weeks in Paita were filled with so many things. Good times, hard times, boring times. But I'm grateful for everything that I was able to experience and for everything I was able to learn. Thinking about Wicked. "I have been changed for the better." But for real. I will never be the same person ever again because of the time I had in Paita.

So this last week we found out that they are going to be dividing the area in half and putting 2 sister missionaries in Puerto Paita. So that meant that we had to spend a long time this last week getting everything ready for them. We had to find a new apartment, find a pensionista to cook lunch for them, find someone that can wash their clothes, get another area book ready with all the maps and all of the investigators and people in the right books. And honestly that took a while. It made the time go pretty fast though. Not much really sticks out about this last week. Nothing super crazy happened. But overall it was a super good week. Even though we had to spend a lot of time getting the new area ready, we were still able to work hard and we were able to teach a lot of really cool lessons!

The last week of the transfer, everyone is looking forward to Saturday night at 8:30 when the zone leaders call and tell you all the information about transfers. And this week, Saturday sneaked up before I could turn around twice. I was kind of expecting to be transferred. Because I had 4 transfers in Puerto Paita and I don't know anyone in the mission that has had more than 4 transfers in one area. So I was kind of expecting to be transferred. But anyway, on Saturday night, the zone leaders called at about 8:45 and told us the details about transfers.

Elder D told me that I was being transferred to La Unión and that I am going to be District Leader. And that my companion is Elder I. He then told us that Elder R was staying in Puerto Paita and that his new companion is going to be Elder C. Pretty cool, no?  My trainer is going to be Elder R's new companion! 

So that meant that Sunday was my last day in Paita. Luckily it was Fast and Testimony meeting so I was able to bear my testimony in church and thank all the members of the ward. And then in the afternoon we went and said goodbye to a few of the people in the ward. I'm gonna miss some of these people. There are some amazing members in Puerto Paita. And I'm so grateful for the opportunity that I have had to get to know them. 

At about 6:00 we went over to the house of Mariano and Mercedes to say goodbye to them. That was probably the hardest goodbye of the mission. That family has been a huge blessing in my life. They've almost been my family away from my real family during my time in Paita. They had written me a letter and gave me a hat. When it was time to say goodbye, we took a few pictures and then we said goodbye. The whole family had tears in their eyes. That was super cool but super sad. I'm so grateful for the opportunity to have gotten to know them. And I hope that I have helped them in their lives! 

After that we went to Hermana C's to say goodbye. She is the best pensionista in the entire world. I'm so grateful to have been able to get to know her and her family. She served us dinner and had a cake for us. She is the funniest, nicest, most caring lady that I have ever met. And as we were saying goodbye, she started to cry too! What's up with that??  I love these people though! They may be from a different country and speak a different language, but they're like my family!

Sunday night I was up packing my suitcases until about 1:30 in the morning. I probably should have done it a little bit earlier, but I didn't want to. Procrastination! Actually, I really didn't have much time before. 

So this morning I woke up at 5:30 and hurried and showered and packed up the last few things, went up to the roof of the building to take one last look at the sunrise and the beautiful ocean, and then we headed off to the  bus station to travel to Piura. I had to say goodbye to Elder R. I’m grateful to have been able to be a trainer and to have been able to meet him. I learned a ton during those 3 months! And I know that he's going to be a great missionary!

I got to Piura at about 8:30 am and we went over to the stake center where Elder I was waiting for me. Elder I is a super super sweet kid! He's from Lima. And he has 6 months in the mission! From there we headed off to our area. So about our area. It's the second most south area in the mission. It's in a part that is called "Bajo Piura." It's part of the Castilla zone which is in Piura, but really it's about 1 hour south of Piura. And there are no grocery stores or anything. So that means we have to buy our food in Piura and travel an hour to our area. It seems like a really cool area though. 

And something super cool. Elder I was born in La Unión. But when he was 4 he moved to Lima. But about 6 weeks ago, President Rowley found out that he was born here. And the night before transfers 6 weeks ago, President called him and asked if he had family here, which he does. His grandparents, and uncles and aunts and cousins all live here. And he told him that he did. The next day he was transferred to La Unión. Pretty cool, no? Almost every single day he runs into his family. His cousin is the only member here though. And he is the ward mission leader. And so right now we are teaching all of his family members! Sweet! Don´t worry though. He's not trunky though. He loves to work hard. So I'm super excited for this next transfer!

Well I'm excited for this next transfer. It is going to be interesting being District Leader. I'm not quite sure what to do, but I'm sure that it will be fine. Everything will work out great! 

I love you all! This Church is true! 

Elder Baker

Lauren, Sounds like Tasmania is pretty sweet! I still have trouble believing that you are actually in Tasmania. That's super sweet though! Do you think that that will be your last area of the mission or will you be having another? I guess it's really up to the Lord though. Wherever he needs you. And you guessed it. This week I start as District Leader. Super nervous. I don't know what I'm doing. I'm sure I'll figure it out though! Love you tons! Keep working hard!