Tuesday, August 26, 2014

The people here complain about not being able to sleep because it's so cold here at nights. But I'm sweating. - 8/25/14

25 de Agosto 2014

Well hello there family! How are all you guys doing? Excited for BYU football to start? Me too. Only like 1 year and 1 week! jaja. 

Well anyways, first off. This keyboard is perhaps one of the worst keyboards I have ever touched in my entire mission. I type the words and then they show up on the screen like 10 seconds later. You have no idea just how frustrating this can be. But it's okay. I'll probably live.

So anyway. This last week was a pretty good week. Lots learned. And lots of lessons taught. So that's good. 

So anyway. Right now we are teaching a less active member. His name is L T. He is the person that we built the brick wall for. He is a super great guy. He was baptized in Piura about 10 years ago and was active in the church for a long time. But unfortunately he hasn't been to church for years. But lately we've been teaching him and it's been going super well for us. He is progressing a ton! This last week we were teaching about family history and he was asking us super cool questions like what he would have to do to be able to go to the temple and do ordinances for his family! This week we are going to hopefully finish the lessons with him and then he will have his interview with the bishop and will be counted as a miembro rescatado, or a rescued member. I'm not really sure if that has any meaning in English, but it does in Spanish! 

Another person that we have been teaching this past week is D P. D is super cool. She has 3 younger siblings that were baptized earlier this year. But she has always been super shy and hasn't ever wanted to talk to us. But lately we have been gaining her trust. And she has started to listen to the lessons. And she has come to church twice with her family, and on Friday she came to an activity for the young single adults in the church! So that's super great! We have a family night scheduled with them tonight. So I'm pretty excited for that! Elder S and I have the goal of helping her accept a baptismal date this week. So hopefully next week there will be great news!

So unfortunately we don't have many progressing investigators right now. We have a few who are just kind of there but not doing much. So this next week we are going to work on finding lots of new people to teach. We are really wanting to find a family this week because teaching families is the best. 

Saturday morning we had exchanges with the zone leaders in their zone. It was actually pretty fun. I got to go with Elder T and my companion went with Elder G. I love our zone leaders. They are super great missionaries. And there is a lot you can learn from them. Elder T is super great. He's one of the people that are always fun to be around. 

So the crazy story for the week. So we live in a house that has four apartments. And there is a big metal door outside that all of us have keys to. But anyway, Sunday morning at like 2:30 in the morning someone comes up to the metal door and was banging on the door with a rock for 30 minutes. It was kind of funny at first, but after a while I was super sick of it and wanting to go to bed! I'm 100 percent sure that he was drunk though. And after about half an hour someone from one of the other apartments went out and told him to go away. jaja. You never know what is going to happen in Peru! That story is just another reason to add to my list of reasons why I'm never going to drink. Everyone drinks here. The drunks do make for funny stories though!

I'm kind of out of time because it took so long to write the stupid letter on this keyboard. Next week I am for sure using a different computer. Because this one stinks.

Love you guys! Have a great week! 
Elder Baker

P.S. - Stop talking about how it's starting to cool down. Because I know that right now it's about time that it's going to start heating up again. Even hotter than it already is. The people here complain about not being able to sleep because it's so cold here at nights. But I'm sweating. I'm not really looking forward to facing my second summer here in Piura. But here it comes!

GGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO Cougars!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Friday, August 22, 2014

Are we the kind of people that marvel and celebrate having a baptism, or are we out looking for new people to teach?" - 8/18/14

18 de Agosto 2014

Well hello there!
Fronts and backs of my scripture covers
I ordered last week in Catacaos

Long time no see. 13 months to be exact! Pretty crazy, no? I can hardly believe how fast the time passes by as a missionary.

This last week was a pretty good week. Pretty normal though. Not tons stood out. But for sure one of the highlights of this last week was on Tuesday in the training for all of the district leaders. I love trainings and meetings with President Rowley. I know I've said it a million times before, but it's true. He really is the best. And every time I leave feeling ready to work, having been able to receive personal revelation for myself and for my area. 

Every time we meet with him we always read some story from the Book of Mormon and then we analyze it and apply it to ourselves as missionaries. On Tuesday we read in Alma about Ammon. I really always have loved the story about Ammon and how he cuts the arms off all the goobers that are trying to steal the sheep of King Lamoni. But we didn't really focus on that part of the story. We talked mainly about the part after. When all his other servants go and marvel before the king at what Ammon had done. And then the king asks where Ammon is. And he was obeying the orders of the king and was getting his horses ready in the corral or stable or whatever it is called in English. And then after reading that, President looked at all of us and asked, "Are we like Ammon? What are we doing after we have baptisms? Are we the kind of people that marvel and celebrate having a baptism, or are we like Ammon and out looking for new people to teach?" That was pretty cool. Because all 40 district leaders were just silent. That is one thing that I love about President Rowley. He isn't really one that gets on your back about things, but he is always helping you look for little ways that you can improve as a missionary. Anyway, I thought that was super cool!

Another thing that was pretty cool about this last week was the visita de trabajo that I had with Elder C. That kid never lets me stop laughing. He is one of those always happy, game to do anything, kind of kids. It's super fun working with him. He doesn't know much English, but he is always saying little words to us in English here or there that he knows. And he has a super funny accent. He's a really good missionary too! He hasn't had much success though. But he's not getting down on himself. He is still wanting to work hard and do what he needs to do! And pretty soon success is going to start coming!

Friday morning we had a super sweet service project. So there is this less active family that we are teaching. They used to have a door on their house that they took out. But there was just the hole there from the door. So they weren't really able to leave the house unattended. So anyway, Elder C worked in construction for like 10 years before the mission. And he has made hundreds of brick walls before. So he volunteered to help this family and build this brick wall for them so that they could leave their house unattended and be able to attend church! I had never done anything like that before in my life. It was kind of fun though. And it was a super great service activity! Because the family was able to come to church on Sunday! SWEET! 
Building a brick wall 
Our completed wall
Sitting on a bridge after our service project
Well anyway. I know it's a super short email this week. And I'm super sorry about that. But I sent pictures so you can't complain too much! Hopefully next week it will be longer!
I love being a missionary! I know this church is true. I know that Jesus Christ is our Savior and Redeemer. The Lord guides this work! NO DOUBTS! And I'm so grateful to be able to be a part of it!

Love you!

Elder Baker

...how many people can you think of that aren't active in the church, and study the Book of Mormon every day? - 8/11/14

11 de Agosto 2014

Well hello there!

This last week has been a great one! I don't even know if I'll be able to fill you guys in on all that happened.

Me and Elder R
So anyway. Last Monday I told you guys that I didn't have much time to write because my companion had to travel to Lima. So anyway, that night we headed over to the mission office in Piura. And once we got there, the assistants gave him, and all the other people that were traveling, their travel plans and they headed off to the airport. And I stayed back with Elder R. We ended up coming back to my area that night super late and were here until Tuesday night. It was so much fun being with Elder R. He is actually from my group. We have been here the same amount of time. But I really didn't know him much before that. It was great spending a day with him as my companion. We talked so much in English. That was so nice. It was kind of hard at first though because we always use Spanish words when we should use English words. Like for example, the word in Spanish that means "to take out" is "sacar". So Elder R was trying to tell me that he had taken out money from the ATM and he said "I sacked out money from the ATM." And I just burst up laughing. And he had no idea that what he had said doesn't really have much meaning in English. It's going to be fun learning English again after the mission.
Don't eat grapefruit right after brushing your teeth!
Tuesday night we had to be at the airport at 9:30 and the group finally got back at about 10 pm. They told us that it was too late to travel back to our areas that night, so we went and stayed the night in the apartment of Elder Ch and Elder Ci. Elder Ch from Syracuse, Utah. We were talking a ton about Utah. That was pretty cool. He played basketball at Syracuse. And his best friend is the kid on Syracuse's basketball team that had his shorts on backwards when they played against Davis last year. jaja. That was pretty fun. But anyway. We ended up going back to our apartment super early Wednesday morning.

Wednesday we got a pretty cool text. It was from J V. He is a returned missionary that texted us and said "Quieren bautizar? Llamenme!!" which in English is "Do you want to baptize? Call me!" So obviously we called him right away. It's not every day that you get those texts. But anyway, we talked to him and he told us that his mom, who wasn't a member, had gotten married on Saturday, and was able to be baptized! His mom is a super great lady. She has been attending church for years and is honestly more active than lots of the members. She knows the mission lessons inside and out. The only problem was that she wasn't married so she couldn't be baptized. But after about a year of going through paperwork and getting everything taken care of, she was able to be married! So that was pretty great! So that afternoon we went over to her house and reviewed the baptismal interview questions and talked to her about her baptism. And it was super cool that she wanted to be baptized Saturday! She had been waiting long enough and didn't want to have to wait another minute! So that day we spent pretty much all of our time getting the baptism things taken care of for Saturday!

Thursday we had our zone meeting in Castilla. It was a super good zone meeting. We talked about the Book of Mormon. There is a lot more emphasis on the Book of Mormon right now in this mission than there was when I started. And I love it because there really isn't much more important for us! We talked about why we need to help everyone read the Book of Mormon. Because how many people can you think of that aren't active in the church, and study the Book of Mormon every day. NO ONE! But anyway, that was pretty great! I liked it a lot!

That night we had a visita de trabajo with the zone leaders. I was in Castilla with Elder T, and Elder S was in my area with Elder G. It was super fun working with Elder T. He's a super great missionary. He has one transfer in the mission more than I do. I learned so much from him. One thing I loved about working with him was that you could tell that he really just loved being a missionary. There is really not much more important for him than the gospel of Jesus Christ. And he has huge desires to share it with others! It was super great!

Saturday was a pretty crazy day! So anyway, that afternoon was the baptism. So that morning we spent all morning getting all of the last minute details ready. And at about 4:00 that afternoon the baptism started. There were plenty of members there to show tons of support to the Hermana. It was a super great baptism! I always love after baptisms just watching the people that were just baptized and seeing the huge smile on their faces. It really is a super special day for them. It is one of the best parts of being a missionary!
Lots of members to show support at the baptism
This weekend was ward conference here in La UniĆ³n. So Saturday night we had ward council, with the stake presidency present. It was kind of funny. All the members were so scared. The stake presidency is super cool though. And it actually turned out to be a super great meeting! 

The next morning was the ward conference. That is one thing that Peru has on Utah, as far as the church goes. Ward Conference here is super cool. In Utah it is almost just like any other Sunday. But here it is a celebration! They have tons of flowers up by the pulpit in the cultural hall, everyone comes in suits (which is something that doesn't happen much here), and they put a choir together to sing a musical number, even though they don't all really know how to sing. And the part most important is that they do all that they can to make as many members as possible attend church. And it turned out to be a super special meeting. The spirit was definitely felt. It was cool to be able to see how it turned out! 

This last week was pretty cool. Today for p-day we went to Catacaos with Elder Ch and Elder Ci to buy some souvenirs. That's one of the only really cool places to buy things like that here in the mission. And I don't know how much more time I'm going to have here, so I decided to take advantage of the time that I have here super close and go and buy some things. I bought some scripture cases that are pretty sweet. They will be ready next week. The guy can put almost anything you want in this leather. Super cool. And I also bought a leather bag for proselyting. 
My bag from Catacaos

This last week has absolutely flown by. I'm so grateful to be a missionary! I know the church is true! No doubts!

Love you guys! 
Elder Baker

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

The baptism on Saturday was perfect. - 08/04/14

4 de Agosto 2014

Hey guys! How are you all doing? 

Just to let you guys know, it's probably going to be a short email today. Because pretty soon we have to leave to travel to Piura because my companion is going to be traveling to Lima tonight to do some stuff for his visa. So I will be with a different elder. Not sure who though!
At the church after District Meeting

But, this last week was great. For real. It was one of the best weeks here in La Union. Want to know why? BECAUSE WE HAD A BAPTISM ON SATURDAY! But for real. Weeks like these make all of the difficult ones worth it.

But anyway....

This last week hermana E N was baptized! And it was super sweet! She is an investigator that we found while I was with Elder I. So we have been teaching her for the last 3 months. She is super sweet though! Her daughter is a member, but she really didn't have any interest in learning about the church before. But one day we decided to pass by because her daughter had told us that she wasn't a member. And she reluctantly let us in and we were able to teach her lesson 1. And since then, it has been sweet! Like a dream really! Because she always reads, and prays and keeps all of her commitments. Which is super rare here. Usually you have to kick the people to remind them to keep their commitments! 

Honestly it is super cool to see how far she has come! But for real! She went from being an investigator that really wasn't that interested in what we had to say, to be an investigator that looked forward to every single visit to be able to learn more! She was so ready for her baptism. She was super excited as well! Friday she had her baptismal interview with the zone leaders. Which supposedly went super well. Afterwards, Elder G, who did the interview, came up to me and said. She is a super great investigator. That is a real convert. But for real. I really feel so blessed to have been able to teach her and help her prepare for her baptism with the help of the ward.

Friday night, she sent us a message saying that she wanted me to baptize her. That was kind of cool. Not gonna lie. It had been since last October since I had used my white pants. And it was so sweet being able to use them again!

The baptism on Saturday was perfect. There actually turned out being like 35 members there to support her. That's a ton of members! And it was super cool to see them all there. It is horrible when you show up to a baptism and there are only like 3 or 4 members present. But Saturday was sweet. The baptism went great. And afterward she was able to bear her testimony which was super cool! I love seeing how happy that the gospel makes people in their lives! It is the best! 

I'm so grateful to be a missionary of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints. I have no doubt that this church really is Christ's church. And I'm so grateful for the opportunity that I have as a missionary to help others come unto Him! 

I love you all! Have an amazing week! Sorry for the short letter. Next week it will be longer. I promise!

Elder Baker

There is much to be learned about commitment here in Peru. I can't tell you how many meetings we have had here, with members of the church, and we end up waiting at the church for an hour and no one shows up. I've learned a lot about patience. All you can really do is love them. And pray for them.

Lauren, Not gonna lie. Every time you send me pictures of the temple it makes me want to cry. I would be willing to do almost anything just to be able to go to the temple. It has almost been an entire year since my last temple session. Don't take it for granted. It really is such a blessing! Keep working hard! Love you tons! Have a great week!