Thursday, October 30, 2014

THINKING TIME! My favorite! I love questions that make you think. - 10/27/14

27 de Octubre 2014

Hey guys. What's happening in K town?? Things are going great here in Sullana! But for real. I really do love this area. The people are cool. And it's super pretty. The only problem is that Sullana is probably one of the hottest cities here in the mission. It's hotter than Piura, that's for sure. And to think that we're still not even to summer. I don't know how I'm going to survive. But I guess whatever comes, I'll have to make the best of it!

Working this last week with Elder C has been good. He's a pretty funny kid. He has a super dry sense of humor. But when he tells a joke, it's super funny. I die laughing! jaja But it's been good! I like working with him a lot!

Well anyway. We have a new family that we are teaching! I might have mentioned them last week or the week before, but I can't remember. A couple of weeks ago we found a less active member named F R. He was baptized a long time ago when he was part of the young men's program. But when he was like 16 his mom died, and he moved to another place where there wasn't the church and started to make some not-so-great decisions in his life which have led him to where he is now. A few years ago he was super alcoholic. And so anyway, he realized that he really isn't going anywhere with his life and so he wants to change. He has been trying to give up alcohol for a while. And he has changed a lot. Now he only drinks every once and a while on the weekends. But he wants to leave that entirely behind! So were helping him! And the good news is that his wife isn't a member! So we're teaching the two of them! They have a little girl that is like 5 years old and they say that they want to change their lives to give the best of what they have to their daughter who means everything to them! But anyway, they're super cool! And we've been teaching them for a few weeks and they are finally starting to progress and keep their commitments that we leave with them! So I'm super excited to keep working with them! Honestly I want to help them! It's kind of weird. When I met them for the first time it was like I had a ton of love towards that family. Like knew them before! Pretty cool! Kind of hard to explain though! But anyway, they're super great!

Wednesday was fun! Taking Elder C to Marcavelica so that he could get to know it. Marcavelica is super sweet! And there are some super cool members in Marcavelica! The two days a week that we get to go to Marcavelica are the best! For real! But anyway, one of the super cool people in Marcavelica is M N (a recent convert). She is the one that has the parrot that tells people to shut up. jaja. But anyway, right now the two of us are trying to see who can finish the Book of Mormon faster. I was almost sure that I was going to win. But Wednesday we went and visited them and she had read like 100 pages in like 4 days. She is reading a ton! So that means that I have to pick up my reading! The only problem is that as a missionary it's sometimes a little bit hard to find extra time to read! So that means that in every spare minute I have, I'm reading the Book of Mormon! It's worth it though because the Book of Mormon is amazing!

And a cool thing happened with her parrot this week. So that bird pretty much hates the missionaries because they always bug it and do things like poke it with their pens and stuff. So he pretty much hates anyone in a white shirt and tie. But I've been trying to gain his confidence. I feed it things that it wants. It loves to eat chocolate crackers and stuff like that. So anyway, after feeding him a cookie, he bit my finger super hard and it started bleeding. But Elder Baker never gives up. I'm going to fight until the last day of the mission! jaja. But anyway. I kept going. And I guess that now that we're blood brothers he likes me. So he actually climbed up onto my arm and onto my shoulder. We're the first missionaries that it has ever liked! Pretty cool, no? But anyway, as soon as it got up onto my shoulder it pooped on my shirt. And the funny thing is that I wasn't even upset at all. Because I was so happy that it had finally climbed up onto my arm!

Hmmm... should I bite his ear?

Thursday went well for us. We had a zone meeting! Which was super great. Probably my favorite part of it was when we talked about the difference between a testimony and conversion. A testimony is when you know that the church is true. But being converted means that you have a testimony and that you act upon it and obey the commandments and do what you should do. And then the zone leaders asked us a super sweet question. They said, "Is the way that you act as a missionary showing that you have a testimony or that you are really converted?" THINKING TIME! My favorite! I love questions that make you think. And then they asked us another super sweet question. They talked about before the mission when we were preparing to come and they asked us, "What did you want to achieve as a missionary? Are you doing it??" BOOM! Another great thinking time! The thing that I love about questions like that is that it helps you realize where you weaknesses are and where the areas are that you can improve. Because we all have weaknesses. We have to make those weaknesses strong though!

Sunday was super sweet! TONS of people came to church! The chapel was completely full! We ended up having to give up our seats so that others could come in! I love it when tons of people come to church. It makes me happy to see so many people taking part of all of the wonderful blessings that our loving Heavenly Father is offering unto us! I love the church! I'm so grateful to be a member! I love being able to partake of the sacrament every single week. During the mission I have been able to change the way that I look at the sacrament from being a repeated thing that we do every week, to a way to really apply the Atonement of Jesus Christ in my life! And now with this different perspective, going to church has such a different meaning to me! It is SO important in our lives!

Well, sorry that I don't have much time to write about more. The P family is still progressing! So that's great! And we are finding more and more people to teach every day! Thanks for all the love and support! You guys are the best!

Love, Elder Baker

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The Lord really is hastening the work. And I'm so grateful to be a part of it! - 10/20/14

20 de Octubre, 2013

Well hello there family! Another week has come and gone.

Well the big news for this week...... my companion was transferred to Piura. So that means that I have a new companion here in Sullana which I'm super excited about! Today is his first day here with me. He seems pretty cool. But then again, I only met him like 4 hours ago. But anyway, his name is Elder C. And he is from Cusco, Peru. Want to know something crazy?? He lives like 3 hours from Machu Picchu. But that's not the crazy part--the crazy part is that he has never ever gone to visit Machu Picchu. Are you kidding me???????? People come from all over the world and pay tons of money just to do that. And he could do it for like 10 dollars. And he's never done it..... jajaja. Supposedly that is pretty common in Cusco though. Supposedly there isn't a ton of hype to visit it. I don't know if I'll ever understand, but whatever though....
Missionaries from my District
My last week here with Elder E went pretty well! I learned a lot from him. Lots of Christ-like attributes that I was able to work on. It was good working with him. He really is a good missionary. He is here to invite people to come unto Christ. And he is able to do that. I hope that he was able to learn a little from me. Because I sure learned from him. With every companion you learn new things that help you improve. The mission life is great!

So, the P family is doing well! They came to church on Sunday, but only for sacrament meeting. We taught them the Word of Wisdom this week. And it went really well. They aren't alcoholics, but they do drink beer at fiestas and other events, just like every other Peruano. But when we taught them the commandment, they committed to abandon those things in their lives! Pretty cool! I love when you teach something and the spirit testifies that it's true. The Word of Wisdom is legit. I'm honestly so grateful for it. I will never ever ever try alcohol. I'm so sick of seeing drunk people in the streets. I have seen so many broken families because of alcohol. Honestly there is nothing about it that is even appealing at all!

The sister missionaries in our district got sick this last week after eating seafood in a restaurant with some investigators. So they were sick in their apartment for like 2 days. Even though they were sick, they still had to go and teach some last minute things to their investigator that got baptized on Sunday! I got to do the baptismal interview on Thursday which was cool. I love baptismal interviews! One of the best parts about being a district leader.

Yesterday was pretty cool! There was a massive baptismal service in the stake center for all of our zone. Like 4 companionships of missionaries had baptisms yesterday, so they decided to do them all together. In all, there were 11 people that were baptized. Which was super cool. We were able to take some investigators to it, which was great. But for real it was so cool seeing like 20 people dressed in white. All those who were baptized and all of the people that would do the ordinance. SUPER SWEET! President Rowley came and spoke which was good. But my favorite part was when all of the people got to bear their testimonies afterwards. Especially the little kids. jaja. They are so funny sometimes. Baptisms are the best. Hopefully real soon we will be having some here in my area! I'll be keeping my fingers crossed. But more than that, I'm going to work harder than ever before. I'm going to work until I can't do anything more! The Lord really is hastening the work. And I'm so grateful to be a part of it! 

I love being a missionary!

Elder Baker

I love General Conference... - 10/13/14

13 de Octubre 2014
Well hello there family, including Lauren...... How are y'all. I'm not going to lie. It's pretty crazy to think that Lauren is home from the mission. Seems like just yesterday she left. But time has passed by.  
Well as for me, I'm doing well. Things here in Sullana are good. I don't have much time today. And I was kind of excited about reading all your emails, hearing about Lauren and seeing all the pics. But anyway, I'll still try to write a little bit for you guys about what has happened! Next week the letter might be a little bit longer...
A river in Sullana
This last week passed by slowly but surely. I’ve found something out on my mission as I have worked with many different companions. I have to focus on the good things that they each add to the companionship. No matter our differences, we have the same purpose, which is to invite people to come unto Christ. And we have to forget the differences and focus on what we have in common and work towards that goal we have and then it’s all good.
My district in Sullana
Well anyways. For sure the highlight of this last week was Saturday and Sunday. You guys got to watch General Conference one week before us. But we couldn't because it was elections week. But this last week we got to watch it! And it was sooooooooooooo good. I love General Conference. I watched it in Spanish again. And want to know something cool? After it was over I realized that I was able to understand everything the entire conference. Which is pretty crazy because last year in October I wouldn't have gotten hardly anything out of conference. Maybe a little bit of the songs that the choir sings (because those are in English). But this time it was great! And it was super cool that they let some people give their talks in their native language! There were two in Spanish which was super cool! It meant a lot to the people here in South America. Lots of people have said things like they wish they could hear the apostles and prophet speak with their own voices and not with a translator. So this conference there were two people that gave their talks in Spanish. And Richard G. Scott always gives his talk in Spanish because he records it in Spanish before the conference. Looking back on it, I really don't know if I had a favorite talk or anything. My favorite part was everything! The part that I could feel the spirit strongest though was when El Coro Tabernaculo Mormón sang How Firm a Foundation. I could feel the spirit so strong. I love moments like that! Moments like that make me completely sure that this isn't a joke. It's the real deal. I'm so grateful to be a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints!
In the park after General Conference with Elder T--oh yeah, and Barney!

As for how the P family is going... We were able to teach them once this last week and the lesson went super sweet! They are progressing a ton! And on Sunday they came to the conference to hear the prophet speak to us! And they liked it a lot! So keep on praying for them! This week we are going to visit them 2 times! They are super sweet!

We were able to teach R R this week for the first time in almost 3 weeks! (Because he got a new job.) Which is good, but it also presents a challenge because he works from 7 in the morning until 8 at night 7 days a week. But we had a great lesson with him! And he is super excited to learn more about the church. He is looking up a lot to his cousin that just got his mission call to Uruguay Montevideo. So that's sweet! 

We were able to teach F B again yesterday! And she is super sweet! There are members visiting her! And she is super excited to attend church with us for the first time this next Sunday! She is one of the most intelligent people that I've met on the mission. And she is progressing a ton! She has super great questions. My companion is kind of scared of her questions though because he says that lots of times he doesn't know how to respond. But I'm not scared because I know that if I don't know how to respond to something she asks then I can just bear testimony of what I do know and let the spirit testify and give second witness! She's super sweet! 

Well anway, those are our 3 investigators that are progressing  for now. Keep praying for them please! I'm super excited to be here in this area. Even though there have been lots and lots and lots of challenges, I'm learning a ton! And I love being a missionary! 

This next week is the last of the transfer. Saturday night we'll be finding out about transfers. Elder E and I are anxiously waiting for Saturday! He has 3 transfers here in this area and he could be leaving, but it is also possible that he will be staying one transfer more. Who knows. But whatever happens, I know I'll be okay because I know our Heavenly Father directs this work! Everything happens for a reason!

Love you guys tons! Sorry for the short letter! Have a great week!

Elder Baker

Monday, October 6, 2014

Feel happy for the chance ... to share the gospel with others! It is such a great blessing! - 10/6/14

6 de Octubre 2014
Hey guys. How are ya? Crazy to think that Lauren will be leaving Australia in a little more than 24 hours. Are you guys ready? That's absolutely crazy thinking about! How time passes. I remember like it was yesterday when we were sitting at In n Out in Provo before heading over to the MTC to drop her off. Time has passed by fast, that's for sure! I'm grateful for the opportunity that I have had to serve at the same time as her. It's going to be kind of sad not being able to say that I have a sister that is a missionary just like me on the other side of the world. But whatever. Everything happens for a reason! That's one thing that I'm 100% sure of. She has been able to do some amazing things over this past year and a half, and now she's got something new in front of her! Love you Lauren! Don't feel sad. Feel happy for the chance that you had to be in Australia! And for the opportunity to share the gospel with others! It is such a great blessing!

So this last week went super fast. But then again, which week doesn't feel like it goes by quickly! 

Last Monday night we had a visita de trabajo. This time I was with Elder A who is from Cochabamba, Bolivia. He is a super cool kid! He is 25 years old. And it was great working with him! Tuesday went pretty well for us. District meeting in the morning. The zone leaders decided to attend our meeting. But that's okay because our zone leaders are sweet! And anyway, that afternoon went well. Except that it was super hot. And that I got sick. jajaja. Just my luck, no? But it went well. Even though I was getting sick we still decided to go and eat hamburgers in a restaurant called Queen Burger. jaja. Burgers and Inca Kola. There isn't much better. But for real! I have no clue what I'm going to do after the mission without Inca Kola! Why doesn't everyone drink it in the states? It's so good!

Wednesday kind of stunk. Because I had a headache, my throat hurt, and the water spout of my nose was turned on and I couldn't figure out how to turn it off! But anyway, I'm not going to write much about that day. Because it wasn't too fun.

Thursday was a lot better! In the morning we had a service project! We painted an apartment on the second floor of our apartment building. C C from the ward helped us with it! It was super fun! And after we finished, Hermana M gave us a 3 liter bottle of Inca Kola. That was nice. 3 liters. Inca Kola. That is a GREAT combination! jajajajaja. Why aren't there 3 liter bottles of soda in the states?? Peru has got a few things on the states..... But anyway. 

Beker Paint

One of the best days of the week was Saturday when we went to Marcavelica. Marcavelica is super pretty! And we are teaching the P family! Which is going super well! Luckily this time E's mom didn't come and ruin the lesson again. We had the lesson with E and his wife, D. It was a super spiritual lesson. We talked about the gospel of Jesus Christ and then at the end of the lesson we invited them to be baptized on November 15th! I'm super excited because they accepted! That date is a little far away. And I wanted to set a date for the end of October, but something inside me said that that wasn't right. So I figured that it was a prompting from the spirit so I did what felt right even though it wasn't what I really wanted to do. But now I know that the 15th of November is perfect for them! Because they still have a little bit to go before they have super firm testimonies, but they are going to get there! And we're going to be here the whole time to help them! 

So anyway, while all of you guys were enjoying General Conference this weekend, I was walking in the streets not watching it. What a bummer, no??  Because this weekend was elections weekend in all of Peru. So on Saturday and Sunday it was illegal to have any kind of meetings in public places (Church buildings). And it was illegal to sell alcohol (which I wish they did every weekend!). And yeah, so anyway, they are going to rebroadcast it next weekend here to Peru for all of us that weren't able to watch it this last weekend!  

Sunday was the day that everyone had to vote so that was kind of a boring day. But there was one great thing about Sunday! We found a super sweet new investigator! Her name is F B! I would say that she is like 35 years old and is pregnant with her first kid! We actually contacted her in a park a couple of weeks ago with her husband and she gave us her directions, but Sunday was the first time that we have been able to get a hold of her and teach her! But she is honestly one of the most prepared people that I have ever taught! She is super intelligent. And understands what she reads. Which is always nice, because lots of people don't understand almost anything that they read. But anyway. We had a super sweet first lesson with her! And we have an appointment to go back and teach a second lesson when she and her husband will be there! I got back to the apartment super happy that night! I wish every day we were able to find investigators that sweet! 

But anyways. I'm super grateful to be here on the mission. It really is the best 2 years. I wouldn't trade this experience for anything! I have honestly learned so much in these last 14 months! I know the church is true! And every single day my testimony gets stronger and stronger! I know it's true! NO DOUBTS!

Love you guys tons!

Elder Baker

Friday, October 3, 2014

Obedience brings blessings. Exact obedience brings miracles. - 9/29/14

29 de Septiembre 2014

Hey Guys:

This week has been a long week! Crazy how fast this time is passing by! This last week was a great week here in Sullana!

Last Monday night we had a family night with the member who rents our apartment to us. She is a super sweet lady. Lots of times at 7 in the morning we can hear her on the first floor and we are on the third. jaja She's super cool though. Her husband isn't a member, but he is super cool too. But maybe with a little time he will be able to soften up to the message as well! 

That night we started exchanges. I worked in my area with Elder P and my companion went and worked with Elder A in his area. It was super fun working with Elder P for a day. He is from Pisco, Peru. And he is super funny. That day was great. We were able to teach a lot of lessons. It would be super cool to have a companion like him. The coolest lesson that we taught together was to R R. He is the 17 year old investigator that we found last week. He is super sweet! He actually does what we invite him to do! He reads the book of Mormon, he reads the pamphlets that we leave him, and he said that this last week he started praying every night and he feels like Heavenly Father is helping him in his life! There is one problem though. There always has to be a problem. There is always at least one. And his is that he works Sundays. And only Sundays. What are the odds! But this week we are going to teach about the Sabbath day and hopefully that will help him be able to look for some other work. He's super cool though!

Marcavelica is sweet. I love going to Marcavelica on Wednesday and Saturday. Two of the best days of the week always! We are teaching a family of investigators in Marcavelica. The P family. The dad is 35 and his wife is like 30. And they have a 6 year old son. They are super cool. And they are super receptive! Teaching them is sweet! Hopefully we will be able to help them set a baptismal date this week. That would be the best! But anyway, we were having a super sweet lesson with them this week when all the sudden the dad’s mom walks in. She is a member of an Evangelica church. And of course she comes to visit her son and grandson right during the middle of a super sweet lesson. But as soon as she arrived, the spirit left. So we decided to just end the lesson early because there really wasn't a reason to continue at that point. That was frustrating, but things like that happen sometimes.

This last Friday we had a multi-zone conference. I love multi-zone conferences. This time it was in Talara. Talara is about an hour and a half from Sullana so we had to leave at 6 in the morning from Sullana. There are 2 areas in Sullana that are about a half hour from actual Sullana. So two of those elders came and slept in our apartment Thursday night. Elder T and Elder Z. Elder T is super funny. He's actually from my group. It's super fun talking with him. But anyways, the conference went super well. I love when president speaks to us. President is the best. He always helps us feel excited about the mission which I'm super grateful for. One of the things that I liked about the conference was that we talked a lot about the role of the spirit here in the work. They talked about how we can't expect the spirit to be with us if we aren't doing what we are supposed to be doing. He talked about how if we really want the spirit to be with us we have to be obedient. This is something super important here in South America because there are lots of missionaries in this mission that are not so obedient. But that has to change if we want to see success. Obedience brings blessings. Exact obedience brings miracles. 

Not much else super exciting happened this last week. I'm so grateful to be here on the mission! The mission has changed me. The church is true. NO DOUBTS!

Elder Baker

About conference this weekend. I'm not going to be watching it. And neither will anyone else here in Peru. Because this Sunday are the elections in all of Peru. And it's illegal to have any kind of meeting in the church. So this Sunday we aren't going to watch conference or go to church. It's going to be weird. But they are going to rebroadcast it for all of Peru next weekend 11 and 12 de Octubre. I'm super excited though! I'm going to have to wait one more week than you guys though!

To answer your question - a groupo familiar is something smaller than a branch. It actually belongs to some ward or branch in the mission until it grows big enough to become its own branch. There are like 8 groupo familiares in the mission right now. They have anywhere between 10 and 40 people that attend church each week for sacrament.