Monday, September 22, 2014

If we want to help the church to grow, we need to find families to teach. - 9/22/14

22 de Septiembre 2014

Well hello there. I honestly have no clue what to write. That always happens to me. So much happens during the week and by the time it's finally time to write home I can hardly remember a thing that happened and it all just seems like a giant blur. It's okay though. 

This last week was great! Super, duper, duper fast week though! And sure enough, it keeps getting hotter and hotter as we are now approaching summer. I'm kind of scared. But whatever. I'm not really sure what will happen. I might just die from sweating too much. But for real. I'm always sweating. My face is always soaked and there is always sweat dripping off my chin. I know it's gross, but it happens. And the people will just look at me and be like "Are you all right? Are you dying? Is there anything I can do for you? Do you need water?" JAJAJAJAJA And I just laugh and tell them that I'm just sweating because it's hot outside. That's one thing that I miss from Paita. In Paita you are so close to the ocean that there is always the ocean breeze to cool you down. Whatever though. I'll probably survive. So now for the highlights of the last week.

On Tuesday we had training for all the district leaders of the mission in the mission home. That was pretty fun because now that we have 14 months in the mission, pretty much all of us are district leaders. So that was fun seeing tons of friends and being able to talk with them! The training went super well. The theme of it was families. The entire mission right now is focused on finding families because for a while the only people that had been getting baptized were women and kids. But in the meeting President Rowley talked about the importance of families. He told us that he knows that the men are the hardest people to baptize, but he also talked about the need that we have for more priesthood holders here in the mission. He told us that we need families here in this part of the church. If we baptize only women, the church isn't going to grow. If we baptize only men the church isn't going to grow. If we want to help the church to grow, we need to find families to teach. A mother and father that are going to be able to go to the temple and be sealed for time and all eternity. So that was pretty great.  Right now in the mission we are doing a lot of different things to focus on families. Like for example we have to contact at least 2 couples in the street every day and report to our leaders in the mission if we did it or not and the results of the contacts. And believe it or not, it's working. This last week our whole zone here in Sullana has found so many couples to teach! The Lord is hastening the work! But anyway... after the meeting, Elder T, Elder O, Elder B and I went and ate peanut butter ice cream with brownies at El Chalán. It was super great! And another great thing of that day was that for lunch we had Papa Johns. I love pizza!!!!
Enjoying brownies and ice cream
Wednesday I had a visita de trabajo, exchanges, with Elder A. That was pretty fun. It was nice working with him for a day. He is a super funny elder from Guatemala. And he loves to work hard. He is always laughing and has a joke to tell. He's a great leader in the mission! And I was able to learn a ton from him! It also helped me a little bit with stress. My companion right now is great, but I was feeling super stressed out about little things. The exchange helped me a lot with that. It helped me remember why I'm here on the mission. I have to make the best of every moment that I have here on the mission!
Exchanges with Elder A

Me and my comp with our zone leaders

So for the coolest investigator for the week. This week we went to contact a less active member. She has been less active for a long, long time. But we went and knocked on her door and she let us in and we were able to teach a lesson with her and her 17-year old son who isn't a member. His name is R. They are facing some trials right now in their family and I know that the gospel is what they need! The spirit was super strong in the lesson. And the Hermana was pretty much crying by the end of the lesson. Her son as we were leaving looks to us and says, "I hope you don't stop coming to visit us." That was super sweet! I know that we as missionaries have exactly what is going to help them in their lives! The gospel of Jesus Christ is such a blessing! I'm so excited to continue and visit them this next week!

I'm loving my new area. I love Sullana. The mission is the best! Unfortunately I don't have tons of time today. So the letter isn't super long. But I sent some pictures! So you can't complain too much! 
Zone Activity for p-day - futbol

The patio outside our apartment - you can see our kitchen on the back wall (jaja)

Thanks for everything! Love you guys tons! The church is true! NO DOUBTS!

Elder Baker

The Ogden temple dedication sounds great. I miss the temple. I want to go to the temple so badly! It's been over a year since I went in Lima. The people here have to travel 16 hours to Lima to go to the temple. And in Utah we live less than 16 minutes. It's such a blessing!

Lauren: Well your time's running down. This is probably the last email that you will read from me while still in the field. Thanks for being such a great example! I really am so grateful to have been able to serve at the same time as you! You really have inspired me. You have changed tons of lives. Being a missionary is the best. We will never ever, ever, ever, ever, forget these times! I know the church is true! And I'm so grateful for this chance to share that testimony with others! Te quiero y te amo! Muchísimo!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Marcavelica...reminds me of Disneyland...Going there honestly just makes me happy! - 9/15/14

15 de Septiembre 2014

Well hello there family. This last week has been quite the interesting one.

I'm here in Sullana in the Sanchez Cerro ward. It's super sweet! Sullana is a stake. And there are 5 wards, I think, with some branches and groupo familiares. So it's pretty big. There are like 24 missionaries here I think. Our ward has six--4 Elderes and 2 Hermanas. It's great!

Not going to lie, I'm kind of liking being here in a ward that is established because the last ward that I was in was a new ward. And it still wasn't very big. So that means that there is not as much support from the ward. But here the ward is awesome! Super supportive! And another great thing is that there are some youth with mission calls and youth waiting for mission calls that accompany us! I wish I could have gone out with the Elders before the mission. It probably would have helped me prepare a ton! But I didn't ever even meet Elders in Utah. jaja. One of the joys of being from Utah. But anyway, I'm loving it here in Sullana!

My companion is good. The good things about my companion is that he has good desires, and he's obedient. Which is a whole lot better than a trunky companion, that's for sure! But anyway. This last week for us went super well. We taught 10 lessons with members present. 10! That's a new record for me in the mission. Before that the most that I had ever taught with someone was 9.

Something super cool about my area is that we have part of Sullana and Marcavelica. Marcavelica is super sweet! It's a little town about 15 minutes from Sullana. When I started the mission there was a groupo familiar in Marcavelica. And there were full-time missionaries. But unfortunately there was a long time without much progress so they closed that groupo familiar. And it now belongs to the Sanchez Cerro ward. But there are still lots of investigators and lots of faithful members there in Marcavelica. So, 2 days every week we get to go and work there. And I love it. It's so pretty. You might think this is funny, but it actually reminds me of Disneyland. jajaja--not all of Disneyland, but the part over by the Jungle River Cruise and Indiana Jones. Because it's like kind of a jungle. And they have little fruit stands set up on the side of the road selling coconuts and lots of different kinds of fruit. jaja. It's so cool! Going there honestly just makes me happy!

There is a super sweet recent convert in Marcavelica named M N. She is like 40 and she and her daughter that is 12 are members. She is super cool. And probably the coolest part about visiting her is talking with her parrot. jaja. It's so funny! It dances and talks. It likes to bite though. So I haven't been able to hold it yet. But if you talk to it a lot it starts to say "Callate la boca" jajajajajajajajajajajjaajajajajaja which in English is "Shut your mouth." jajaja-- It kills me it's so funny!

So there was a baptism here in the ward on Saturday. It was a baptism of the Hermanas. But the guy who got baptized is super cool! Since I'm District Leader I was the one that got to do the baptismal interview. His name is J A and he is 26 years old. He honestly has the strongest testimony ever! There is no doubt in my mind that he is going to be a super strong convert here in the church! I like baptismal interviews. It's one of the coolest parts about being District Leader!

So probably one of the coolest families here in Sanchez is the family of our pensionista. The N F family is the best. She is our pensionista and she washes our clothes for us. She and her husband are both super cool! Normally when people feed you here in Peru they serve you your food and then leave you alone to eat it. But she and her husband sit down with us at the table and talk with us! They are so cool! She is a returned missionary and her husband is a convert to the church. They have a son that is on a mission in Santa Cruz, Bolivia. Almost every day after lunch she gives us a little bag of chifles. Chifles are the best. They are like potato chips except that they aren't made from potatoes. They are made from green bananas. No joke. When I first got to the mission I kind of stuck up my nose to them because they were banana chips. But over this past year I have fallen in love with them. They are super greasy and salty. So don't worry about my health. Because I'm sure between those and Inca Kola it's completely fine! jaja. But for real. Although there aren't many super obese people here, most everyone has got a gut. I'll show you guys my testimony after I get home! It's growing every day! jaja. Pretty soon my testimony is going to be so big that my pants don't fit so well! jajajaja. But don't worry too much. I'm not gaining that much weight. I gained at first, but I think it's kind of leveled off.

Well anyway. I'm super happy being here in the mission! I love my new area! It is big and there are tons of people to visit! We taught on average 6 lessons a day this last week! So that was great! More than in my last area!

Thanks for all of the love and support! I love all you guys! I know the church is true! NO DOUBTS!

Elder Baker

P.S. -  My companion and I arrived in the mission the same day. I have one more month than him though because I was in the CCM longer. He has been a member since he was 11 but he was less active his whole life and reactivated about a year before the mission. Here in Sullana there are like 5 wards. I'm District Leader. We live in an area called Lopez Albujar I. It's by a Plaza Vea. Real plaza. Maybe by that you will be able to find it. It's super close to the entrance of Sullana from Piura. 

Thursday, September 11, 2014

I had to say goodbye to lots of people. That is always the worst part about transfers. - 9/8/14

8 de Septiembre 2014

Well hello there familia. This last week has been pretty interesting. It's been a blur though. And I'm having trouble thinking straight today. Because a ton has happened. 

First off, I was transferred. That was kind of expected. Because I had been in my last area for more than 4 months. So that's pretty exciting! 

But anyway. My last week in La Unión was pretty good. We learned a lot. Not going to lie though, I was more than ready for these transfers. It's been super great working with Elder Salcedo because he really has taught me a ton. But at the same time, it's always nice to get a new companion, new personality, new start, new goals, new ways of teaching, and in this case--a new area! But we were able to work hard our last week together and enjoyed it! 

Probably the most memorable thing of this last week was a family night that we had with the P family. That family really is super sweet. And I'm really hoping that the rest of the family that isn't members will be able to continue progressing! But anyway, in the family night we decided to talk about faith. A little principle, but soooooooooooo important. It all starts with faith. Faith is what drives us to do what is right. Faith is what gives us the desires to change! It really is so important! 

But anyway. A family night isn't complete without games after the lesson, so that night we had some super sweet games. We played a game with a bunch of different coins. It's pretty hard to explain but it was super fun. And Latinos, when they play games, they like to have punishments for the people that lose the games. So for the punishment you had to have your face painted by everyone else. It was actually super duper fun. Everyone ended up leaving with a painted face. I felt kind of silly though walking through the streets back to our apartment though. Because my face was green white and yellow. jaja. I walked almost all the way back to the apartment staring at the ground....
Great FHE and games, Peruvian style!
This last week we had a zone conference in Castilla. I love zone conferences. They are great. I love meeting together with other missionaries. It always makes me remember that I'm not alone in this work. There are more than 80 thousand others backing me up. I love being a missionary! But anyway, the meeting went super well. We talked about D&C 20:37. Because that scripture talks about the requirements of baptism. And unfortunately here in South America there are a ton of less active members. So President Rowley wants us to focus on making sure that people really are ready to make the baptismal covenant. Because that way there will be more converts in the church and less less-active members! 

Saturday night they called us about transfers. And just like we were expecting, Elder C and I both ended up getting transferred from La Unión. Elder C went to Piura. And I ended up coming here to SULLANA! Not going to lie, I'm pretty excited to be here in Sullana. Sullana is about 1 hour from Piura in the opposite direction of La Unión. And it's a super cool city. My pensionista and her family seem to be super sweet! My apartment seems to be super great. And so far my companion seems to be a pretty good one! My companion's name is Elder E. He is from Lima and he's got about 13 months in the mission. I'm excited to work with him and to get to know my new area. I'll be sure to write you more about it next week. My area is called Sanchez Cerro!

So since it was my last week in La Unión I had to say goodbye to lots of people. That is always the worst part about transfers. There are lots of people that I'm super grateful to have been able to meet. The people here are super different than they are in Utah. They have a different culture and they speak a different language. But I really have grown to love these people! It really is such a blessing to be able to be here in the mission and to meet so many people. And be able to share the message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ with them. There really isn't much more that you could ask for...
Ward Mission Leader in La Union

Thanks for all of the love and letters! Love you guys a ton! The church is true! NO DOUBTS! 

Elder Baker

I'm thinking that it might be better if you just don't keep me updated about the Cougars for the rest of this season. Because I swear, if they have a super duper duper duper amazing season while I'm on my mission........ugh! That would be two big blows. With the Red Sox last year and BYU this year... Oh well though! Being here is better than anything that has to do with sports!

Monday, September 1, 2014

All of us have our mistakes and errors, but thanks to our Savior, we can change. - 09/01/14

1 de Septiembre 2014

How does that sound to you guys? It's already September! I can hardly believe it. I have now officially been in the mission field for more than 1 year. That is super crazy to think about! 

This last week was a great one! Filled with tons of great things! It was a super busy week though.
Fronts and backs of new scripture cases made here in Peru for
me and my brother and sister. So sweet! 
New pants that a member here made for me!
Me with a member here.
Elder C (the giant) squished into the middle of the backseat of a very small taxi.

Last Monday after we got done with P-day we went over to have a Family Night with the P Family. They are super sweet. L, I, and Y got baptized in March, and hopefully pretty soon their mom and their sister will also be getting baptized. They still don't have a baptismal date, but they're progressing! So that's super exciting! But anyway, that family night ended up being super cool. We decided to share with them the story of the Anti Nefi Lehitas. (I can't remember how you say that in English). But it was super cool. That was always my favorite scripture story as a little kid. I remember when we would read it for family nights in our old house out of that sky blue book. I don't know if you guys remember it or not, but I sure do. It has a picture of them standing in front of a giant hole in the ground throwing all of their swords and weapons into it. So anyway, we decided to have an activity with the family to help us all bury our own weapons of war. So we made little swords out of paper and we had everyone write something that they wanted to change on their swords and then we buried our own weapons of war and promised to never go back to doing that again. Like the Anti Nefi Lehitas did. But actually we really burned them and not buried them but it was super cool!

Wednesday morning we had to go to Piura to have interviews with President Rowley. Some people are always nervous for interviews. I don't know why though. Because I can hardly control myself I'm so excited for interviews. I'm bouncing off the walls! Well actually, not really. But I always am super excited for interviews with President. Because my mission president really is the best. He always asks us to do something to prepare for the interviews, and this time he invited us to read Alma 36 and 37. Those are 2 super great chapters. I love the story of Alma the younger. Because he went from being someone who went around with the sons of Mosiah trying to destroy the church, to becoming a great prophet. I love seeing people change. That's one of the things that I love about the gospel. That it helps us change. We can get rid of the bad things in our life and become the person that our Heavenly Father wants us to be. But anyway, that was pretty great. I love interviews! 

One funny thing that happened this last week. We went to visit I T and we are sitting there visiting with their family for a minute before we start the lesson and her son that is like 9 years old turns to us and says "We just bought a new computer. Because a mouse crawled into our old one and peed and ruined it." jajaja. Only in Peru would that happen.

So this last week there were two baptisms here in La Union! So that was pretty great! On Saturday an older couple that was probably about 70 years old got baptized. It was super exciting for Elder C and Elder C. Because it was the first baptism of the mission for Elder C and the first one of this area for Elder C! They are a super great couple. They have 2 daughters in Lima that are members and sent a reference to us here to go and visit them! References are great! It is so much easier to find people to baptize when the members work with you! But anyway, there was only one problem about the baptism. The water here in La Union is super cold. And this was a super old couple. And we were worried that it might be a little bit of a problem if they had to be baptized in that water. So we came up with a plan. Friday we had to go and get 2 giant pots. Probably like 20 gallon pots. HUGE! And Saturday morning we went over to the church and made fires with firewood to heat up giant pots of water to pour into the font. We did that for about 5 hours. But afterwards the water was nice and warm and ready for the baptism! The baptism went super well.  

The actual baptismal service went really well. The only thing that happened was that outside they were doing construction. And so during the opening prayer you couldn't really hear very well. And my companion thought that they had said amen when really they were still praying and he looks up and says amen super loudly. jajajajajajaja. If we weren't in the middle of a baptismal service I would have died of laughter. It was so awkward! But everything turned out great! 

Well there is a lot more that happened this last week. The only problem is that there isn't much more time. I'm writing in my journal every day though so don't you worry! I still haven't missed a day! I'm pretty proud of that! 

I know the church is true! NO DOUBTS! Love you guys! Have a great week! 

Elder Baker! 

Glad that BYU won their game.

Colder weather sounds super nice. I miss feeling cold...