Monday, December 29, 2014

What better way to start off the new year than being baptized! - 12/29/14

Happy New Year! - 29 de Diciembre 2014

I hope you all had a great Christmas! I sure had a great one here in Peru! It was great talking to you guys! It was the best present I could have asked for. The chocolate you sent me is very appreciated, but I would choose the phone call any day over the chocolate!

This last week went by super fast. And my mind is super blank. So I'll just fill you guys in on a few things I remember!

Well anyways, Tuesday we had our district meeting. It was pretty sweet. We celebrated Christmas. We ate Paneton, and we watched a little movie-- Nora's Christmas! No joke! There was a VHS in the chapel with that movie on it. So we decided to watch it and then talk about what Christmas really means to us! It was super great. A super memorable Christmas district meeting! 

Another great highlight this last week was Christmas Eve! Christmas in Peru is pretty different because all the celebration is on the 24th and not the 25th. So anyway, on the 24th our whole zone went caroling in the park in El Centro. That was super fun! I love Christmas music! And we were able to get lots of references of people to visit! So it was a super great activity! And then at 8 pm we headed over to a member's house to eat our Christmas dinner. Normally they eat at midnight Christmas Eve, but since we couldn't be out that late, we ate early! TURKEY! That was super cool. It had been a while since I had eaten turkey. It was pretty fun though. But the coolest part of dinner was that the member that invited us over, also invited her cousin and this cousin has a pet monkey! So we got to eat dinner with a monkey! And afterwards we played with the monkey for a bit. It's the cutest thing ever! jaja. It gave me a kiss! Pretty cool, no??? I was pretty happy! Highlight of Christmas Eve for me. And then at midnight from our room we could hear all the firecrackers and fireworks. It's like they were celebrating the New Year. Except for that it was Christmas! And I'm sure this week for the New Year there are going to be even more fireworks! It should be pretty fun!

Our turkey for dinner

As for how the missionary work goes! We have a baptism scheduled for this Saturday!!!!!!! I'm so excited! T L is going to be getting baptized if everything works out! He has come to church every week for over a month, he has almost all the lessons, and he is super excited for January 3rd! He says he wants 2015 to be special. What better way to start off the new year than being baptized! Pray for him lots so that everything works out!

And more great news is that another investigator that I talked about a while ago, R R is going to be getting baptized on the 10th of January! He has been coming to church a lot lately and yesterday he told us that the 10th is when he wants to be baptized! We are going to be meeting with him almost every single day before his baptism so that he will be ready, but I'm sure he will! The Bishop is super happy as well because R is his nephew. And he says he has been praying for R for years so that he will be baptized! R is 17 years old and is a super sweet kid!

I can hardly believe that 2014 has come and gone. It has been probably the fastest year of my life. It seems like just yesterday that I was in Paita with Elder G on the roof of our 6 story apartment building watching all the fireworks in Paita. How the time has flown! I am loving the mission though! I love being here! The mission really is the best decision of my life!

Love you guys tons! Sorry the letter is kind of short! But there are 6 pictures this week! The Church is true! No Doubts! Talk to you all next year!

Elder Baker


So you got a foot of snow… I would love a foot of snow right now... I've just got a gallon of sweat... 

Paneton is fruitcake. Fruitcake here is a big deal. Every Christmas they eat a ton of Paneton. - 12/22/14

Merry Christmas! - 22 de Diciembre 2014

Holy Moly! Can you guys believe we are here already? Because I sure can't! I'm super excited for this week that is coming. Wanna know why? Because it's Christmas! I love Christmas! I'm so excited to talk with you guys on Christmas! The plan for now is for me to skype from my pensionista's house. It's going to be so great!

This last week went by sooooo dang fast! Monday night, we went over to tell goodbye to C C who is going on his mission! He left on Tuesday morning to the CCM in Lima. I'm so grateful to have been able to get to know him. He has helped us out so much in my time here in Sullana. He is going to be missed in this ward, that's for sure. But he is going to be an amazing missionary!

One of the highlights of this last week was on Wednesday! Because we had our multi-zone Christmas conference in Piura! It was a little bit different than last year but it was good. It was our zone and the zone from Talara together for the conference. We started off by watching the video by Piano Guys of Angels We Have Heard on High. That video is super, super, super, super, super, super sweet! I could feel the spirit so strongly watching that! I love Christmas time! Especially Christmas music. This year the church is using the "He is the Gift" thing all over the world to help with missionary work. In Spanish, it's El es la Dadiva. It's pretty cool. President talked a lot to us about how Christ is the real gift this Christmas. And then he asked us what we are willing to give to Him this Christmas. That made me think a lot. What am I willing to give to the Savior this Christmas season... I like deep thinking questions! After that we had the party part. We went and ate Pollo a la Brasa and Inca Kola, which I absolutely love. I'm gonna miss it lots after the mission. And then we played some games and took some pictures. Three of President Rowley's daughters were there and one of his little grandbabies. They seemed a little lost though because I don't think they know any Spanish at all. jaja It was cool though! I loved the conference! Also that day I hit 17 months in the mission. That's CRAZY!

Our zone with President and Hermana Rowley

Thursday was a pretty good day! We had a visita de trabajo. I got to work with Elder G in my area and Elder C went with Elder P. At lunchtime, my pensionista and her husband gave me a hat from Catacaos. It's a super cool hat. Actually it's more of a sombrero than a hat... I'll try to send pictures!

The funny part of that day was that night at 8 in the chapel when we had a choir practice because ward conference is coming up and they asked us to participate in the choir. Peruvian choirs are great! Some people sing well and others not so much. But they all sing really loud. Without any shame at all! I miss the Tabernacle Choir...jaja.

Friday was the ward Christmas party in the church. That was pretty cool. There were actually tons of people that showed up! And 3 of our investigators went! So that was sweet! The party was actually super funny because they hired this Christmas show to come where they had elves and Santa Claus and reindeer and tons of other dancing things. It was actually super funny. And they had pollo a la brasa and Paneton afterward! Each one costs like 7 dollars. And they eat tons of them! Last year I didn't think much of it. But this year it's kind of grown on me. I actually like it a lot!

T L is progressing a ton for his baptism on January 3rd! He's super excited! We had like 3 appointments with him this last week and he came to church yesterday and stayed for all 3 hours! He just needs a few more lessons, and he will be ready! Keep praying for him and for all the rest of the people we are teaching!

I'm super excited for this week. This Christmas is going to be one that I remember for the rest of my life. I'm so grateful to be a missionary at this time of my life. I'm so excited for the chance that I have to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ! This Christmas season I have been thinking a lot of all the many blessings I have in my life. I am so thankful for everything I have in my life! I'm especially grateful for my Savior and Redeemer. I'm so grateful for this Christmas season and the opportunity we have to celebrate His birth.

Love you all tons! Have a very Merry Christmas! I hope it's white! I'm dreaming of a white Christmas!

Elder Baker

Feliz Navidad!

I'm forgetting English. I sound like someone who just recently started learning English as a second language. - 12/15/14

15 de Diciembre, 2014

Well hello again there folks! How goes it? I'm forgetting English. I tried talking with Elder P today in English.... I can't do it. I sound like someone who just recently started learning English as a second language. But whatever! Things happen! This last week was super great! We had some success in our area, we traveled to Piura 3 times, and we got to have stake conference with a member of the first quorum of the seventy! It was a crazy week! But great! 

On Tuesday we had a training for all of the district leaders in the mission home. That was super fun! I love trainings with President Rowley! He is a great speaker. And I always leave those meetings feeling super excited and ready for all the work ahead of me! One thing I loved was that they talked about Christmas. This Christmas is going to be super memorable. It may not be full of tons of turkey or presents or even family, but it is going to be one of the best Christmases of my life!  We ate lasagna for lunch. That was amazing. I love when Hermana Rowley cooks Utah food... In the mission home we never, ever, ever, eat rice. And I love that! ;)

Wednesday was a good day! We actually had a service project! For a family that isn't members of the church! It was actually a reference of members. The family needed help painting their house so they volunteered us to help them so that we could get to know the family and visit them! It's a super amazing family! They have a beautiful home. And it's all decorated for Christmas. It reminded me of my house in Kaysville! So we have an appointment to go and visit them this week! So pray for us that it all works out! 

Thursday was good. In the morning we had our district meeting. That was sweet! I love district meetings. Our district is super cool. It's like we are all best friends. And we are all super happy to be here in the mission. I love districts with cool people that work hard! They are great! 

And then in the afternoon we had to go to Piura to go to the clinic. It had been a month since my companion had gone, so he had to go back for his checkup. It was the 6th time that we have traveled to Piura to go to the clinic in our 2 transfers together. At first it was kind of fun, but I'm so sick of that place. But you got to do what you got to do! no?? He's doing lots better though! So that's good! And when we got back that night, we bought pollo a la brasa. It's probably the most unhealthy food in Peru. But it's so good. It's roasted chicken with french fries and Inca Kola. It's so amazing. There is so much oil and fat dripping off of it. But I love it! Una vez al año no hace daño!

Friday was pretty much our only day of the week that we had the entire day to work in our area. So that was good. It was a great day! Probably the best part was that we were able to teach F and L about the Word of Wisdom. And with F we set some goals so that he can stop drinking! Pray for him lots! He needs it! Especially this holiday season! Because everyone and their dog and their cat and their baby are going to be drinking! jaja. But mainly just the men. Why do they do that??? I don't understand it. I am not a fan of alcohol...

Saturday we had a lesson with T and C! They both have baptism dates! They are progressing! Little by little! Their main problem is that they have super crazy schedules so sometimes it's hard to teach them. They are progressing though! If they don't have all the lessons by the time of their baptism though, we are going to have to change their dates. But right now we are still on track for their scheduled dates! 

This weekend in Sullana was special because it was stake conference. And it wasn't an ordinary stake conference because Elder Uceda, a seventy, came to the conference because they reorganized the stake presidency! It was a super special conference! Saturday night and Sunday morning were super great! Elder Uceda is such an amazing speaker! He looks like this old sweet grandpa, but he starts speaking and he speaks with power! I loved how he teaches! He taught about so many things. My mind is kind of blank right now. But I wrote about them in my spiritual journal! So that's good! He talked a lot about the importance of a strong church. Up until this point the church here in this area has focused on opening up new areas and splitting wards and reaching new areas. But now is the time that the church needs to be strengthened where it is. He talked about how now isn't the time to open up new areas. Now is the time to strengthen the small wards that we have to be strong wards of strength. Wards with 400 people that attend church, not 120-150. It was a huge blessing to be here in Sullana. I feel bad for all the rest of the mission that wasn't here in Sullana! 

Sunday after the conference we had to travel to Piura because Elder Uceda gave a training for all of Piura, Paita and Sullana about ward council. So that was super great as well! I was able to see missionaries that I hadn't seen for a long time. And I got to see a bunch of members from my first 3 areas! I saw A C! He was looking so sharp in his suit. He's going to be turning in his mission papers this next week! I'm so excited for him! He has seen a huge change in his life. When I first met him, he was laying on a couch without a shirt and with a beard watching TV. But he is now a clean cut kid getting ready to go on a mission! The gospel changes people! I'm so grateful for the Gospel of Jesus Christ! I talked with K P as well, the daughter of E N from La Union! Her mom is active in the church and has a calling in the presidency of the young women and next year is going to teach seminary!!!!! That was probably the best part of the day! I love seeing peoples' lives changed! I'm a tool in God's hands to help others come unto Christ! What a blessing! I love being a missionary! 
Me and A C in Piura! - I love seeing people's lives changed!
A C was my first baptism in the mission in October 2013, now he's ready to go on a mission!
I'm about out of time! But I love you all! Thanks for all the love and support that you give me! Have a great Christmas! 

Elder Baker


What better way could I spend this Christmas than spreading the joy of His Gospel! - 12/08/14

8 de Diciembre 2014

Well, here I am. Another week has come and gone. And I'm still having trouble that time is passing by this fast!

This last week has been full of lots of stuff. Like always. Missionary work is not boring, that's for sure. There is always something to do or something to learn or a crazy thing to experience! 

We're getting close to Christmas! That's pretty crazy! I'm pretty excited! It's going to be so sweet getting to skype you guys on Christmas! We need to start making plans now to skype. When would be best for you guys??? I'M SO EXCITED!!!!
My room here in Sullana

My Christmas Countdown calendar!
 You guys said that you feel like it's kind of hot for December in Kaysville. Let me tell you. I have never felt so hot in my entire life before. This place is an oven. You should see my shirt at night. At the beginning of the day it starts white, but in the collar when I take it off, it's super brown. Nasty, I know. But what can I do??? People look at me like I'm crazy because there is always sweat dripping off my face.... jaja. It's kind of funny. I'm just taking in one day at a time. I love night time when it's only kind of hot and not super, super hot! But it's okay. They say that it's only going to last until April..... jajaja. That's forever! I don't know how these people live here!

We had a zone conference this last week! And it was super great! One thing that I loved was that there are TONS of new missionaries in the zone because there were tons of people transferred! And I like the zone a lot now! Unfortunately there were some kind of clownish missionaries last transfer, and when they are goofing around during the meetings it's kind of hard to feel the spirit. But this time there are tons of great missionaries here! I loved the meeting! We talked about the importance of Christmas. Christmas really is one of my favorite times of the year. Being away from home at this time of the year isn't the easiest thing ever, but honestly, I wouldn't want to change anything because I know it's going to help me feel really why we celebrate Christmas! I'm so grateful for Jesus Christ! What better way could I spend this Christmas than spreading the joy of His Gospel! I'm so blessed! 
Reunion de Zone - Elder Baker back row, far left.
The Christmas Devotional last night was sweet! I was sitting with Elder P which was pretty cool. He's a pretty good buddy here in the mission! It was sweet hearing the Christmas music! Here they really don't do much with music to celebrate Christmas which is kind of sad! Because Christmas wouldn't be the same without music! The bummer was that right when we were watching the part about the little boy with cancer, the connection broke up and we missed like 3 minutes. That was a bummer! But it was still great! 

This last week I was reading in the Book of Mormon when it talks a lot about how everyone kept records of everything that was happening. And I started thinking about how grateful I am for their records because I don't know where I would be without the Book of Mormon! And then I started thinking about how we should all keep our own records. And I started thinking about my journal. I'm proud to say that I have written in my journal every day of the mission so far. And I'm so grateful! Because if I hadn't done that, I'm sure that I would have forgotten about so many amazing experiences that have happened on the mission! And I'm not going to stop when I get home from the mission! If you're not writing in a journal, start! 

Friday night I had a pretty funny experience. We went over to visit E G who is a super amazing member. But her husband isn't a member of the church. And he likes to drink. And while we were talking with her and her 28 year old son, her husband walks in super drunk and sits down and wants to talk with us. And then he brings this 2.5 liter Inca Kola to drink and starts inviting us to drink. After drinking like 2 cups he starts to offer us more. And we tried to say no thanks but he started to get mad (jajaja) so we kept on drinking soda until we had drunk the entire thing! jaja. I had to go to the bathroom so bad leaving that house. When we got back to the apartment I ran up the stairs with tears on my face because I needed to use the bathroom. It was nice after I got my waters relieved though! jaja. Gotta love being in Peru! 

Well I'm about out of time! Thanks for your emails and your support! Love you all! The Church is true! No doubts!!

Elder Baker

...We ate pollo a la brasa... not gonna lie, it's a whole lot better than turkey! - 12/01/14

1 de Diciembre, 2014

Did you guys read that right?? Because I sure did. We are already in December. I'm having trouble believing it. But it's true. We're already here. Finishing up 2014. It seems like it was just yesterday when I was in Paita getting ready for my first Christmas in the mission. How things have changed! But I'm glad to still be here! Christmas in Peru as a missionary is different. But it's good. I can't say that I'm not going to be missing home a little bit this month, but I can say that I would rather be here than there. Want to know why? Because I know that this is where I'm supposed to be. And you really don't need much more reason than that! 

So anyways. I don't really know what to write. Every week when I get here my mind goes blank and my heart starts beating fast and I have no clue what to say... jaja... missionary problems. But this week was a great week! Today is transfer day here in the mission, but my companion and I don't have transfers so we're staying another transfer together. And honestly I'm super glad that I am not leaving because I'm not ready to leave this area because we are starting to see success! 

So first off! T L and C C are going great! We had a super sweet lesson with the 2 of them this last week! C is W L's friend and T L is W´s sister. So we are teaching them together! We taught them about the Book of Mormon and honestly it was probably the coolest lesson that we taught this last week! The spirit was so strong! It was one of those moments that make me love being a missionary! It was super cool! 

Another great Investigator that we have right now is J S. He is an 18 year old college student. His dad is a returned missionary but is less active. His grandma is super active though and goes to church each week with her grandchildren. J didn't want anything to do with the church when we started teaching him. He just told us, "Hey, I'm Catholic and my church is the true church." But we just kept loving him and we started to gain his confidence. And now he has opened up to us and shared with us his doubts and he is starting to investigate the church! He came to church on Sunday and stayed for 3 hours for the first time in 10 years. His grandma is super excited. He is reading the Book of Mormon and praying and doing everything he needs to do! Hopefully this week we will be able to set a baptismal date with him! Pray for him! Lots!

When Elder Evans visited our mission a couple of weeks ago he taught us about the importance of asking for referrals. So this week we have been asking TONS! From everyone. Multiple times! And it's working! We are finding lots of new people to teach! This week we were able to teach M O and her son G. She is a physical therapist and her son is 16 years old. She is a friend of M H who is a less active member that we have activated. But anyway, we taught them for the first time this week and they committed to come to church on Sunday. That's not super crazy because lots of people commit to coming to church. The crazy part is that they actually came! And they stayed for all 3 hours! And afterwards they talked to us about how much they enjoyed it and can't wait for us to visit them more! I'm so excited! Being a missionary is the best! 

Crazy part about this last week was probably our service project on Saturday. The 6 missionaries here in our ward and our ward mission leader were trying to think of activities to find new investigators. So we decided to have a free moto taxi car wash at the church! It was super sweet! Saturday morning we ended up washing like 25 moto taxis for free. And everyone that came gave us their name and directions to go and visit them one day and teach them more about the church! It was a pretty cool activity! I never would have thought of it!

Thanksgiving was pretty great! Even though no one here does anything to celebrate it. The reason it was great though is because the Stake President and his wife invited us over to have Thanksgiving dinner with them! We didn't eat turkey, we ate pollo a la brasa. But not gonna lie, it's a whole lot better than turkey! jaja. But anyway, it makes me thankful for all the blessings I have. I may not have spent it with you guys, but I sure was thinking of y'all. We’re lots of miles away, but in my heart, you're never too far away! I really have been so blessed in my life!

I'm about out of time. I love you guys! Hope you have a great week! 

Elder Baker