Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Peru will always hold a special place in my heart. I love these people. - 6/21/15

22 de Junio, 2015

"Peru will always hold a special place in my heart. I love these people."

Hey guys. Well..... this is probably my last email home because next week I will be in Piura all day on Monday and I don't think I'll have time to write home or anything like that. So here it is!

First off, this last week was great. It was a hard week, but it was great. As far as the work goes in my area, it was a little slow week. We had tons of a appointments fall through and things happen. But we aren't going to get down on that! We just got to keep going. That's really something that I have learned on my mission. You won't ever be able to control the things that happen. There are going to be hard things. And there isn't a thing you can do to change them. But the thing that I can always change is my attitude. And let me tell you.... Life is so much better with a smile on your face!

Last Monday we had an appointment with C Z. We went to his grandpa´s house where he was living and his grandpa told us that he had moved to Piura to start working. UGH! jajaja. But we are going to get a hold of his number and directions in Piura so that the elders there can keep on visiting him! Because he really is a great investigator! So that was kind of a bummer for us though! And then that night we had to go and pick up the Assistants that had just arrived from Piura and were with us for the multi-zone conference on Tuesday!

Tuesday was great! The multi-zone conference was amazing! It was kind of a bittersweet moment for all of us though. It was the last conference with President Rowley because in just a little over a week he will be leaving and President Rasmussen will be arriving. And so for most of the missionaries it was the last time that they will see President Rowley! The conference was amazing though! President Rowley is the best. I'm so grateful for the opportunity that I have had to work with him over these past 2 years! He has been the perfect mission president for me! He has helped me so much! In the conference he taught about The Gospel of Jesus Christ. But the way he teaches is amazing! He helps you really ponder on what everything means and look beyond the small things that we usually always get caught up in. And then at the end of the conference we got to hear their last testimonies which were super cool. Full of love. I'm so grateful for President Rowley!

That night we had an activity in the stake center for the entire stake. The focus of it was to invite less active members, new converts, and investigators. And there was a super great turnout! The church was super full. We watched part of Meet the Mormons, played games, and listened to the Stake President speak to us! It was super cool!

But the best part of this last week was definitely the temple dedication. On Saturday night we had the opportunity to go and watch the cultural celebration performed in the stake center that was in Trujillo. It was super cool to see different kids from all over the temple district dance and share their cultures. It was super cool seeing the first 2 dances from Piura and it was cool that I was able to recognize some of the youth that I had met over the 2 years here! There really are so many areas here in the north of Peru that are going to be so blessed by this next temple! There are over 100 stakes in Peru, but there was only one temple. This new temple in Trujillo is going to be able to help so many people be able to go to the temple!

Sunday was super amazing. I'm not sure, but I'm pretty sure that it marked exactly 2 years since I had gone through the temple for the first time with David and Austin. That night was special. And it was cool that 2 years later I got to have another cool experience with a different temple thousands of miles away from Bountiful, Utah. President Uchtdorf was the one that came and dedicated the temple. And Elder Bednar was there as well. The spirit was super strong throughout the entire thing. But one of the coolest things was when President Uchtdorf bore his testimony and expressed his love for the people here in Spanish. There were many people with tears in their eyes as they were listening! I'm so happy for the members here in the north of Peru! The new temple is beautiful! One day I would love to be able to go and get to know that temple!

Lately I have been thinking a lot about these two last years. So much has happened. It seems like so long, yet it has passed by so quickly. So much sweat. So many tears. So many smiles. So many experiences that I will never forget. It's hard believing that it's coming to an end. I'm so grateful for all that has happened. When I think back on it I realize that without a doubt these have been the 2 hardest years of my entire life. And sometimes I think, "If it has been so hard, why is it that they have also been the happiest 2 years of my life?" Sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ is one of the biggest blessings that I have ever received in my entire life! I realize that this time I have as a missionary will come to an end. But that doesn't mean that I have to stop sharing the gospel. There are so many ways to share the gospel with others. And it honestly brings so much happiness in our lives. I know this church is true. I know God lives and loves each and every one of us. I know that Jesus Christ is our Savior and Redeemer. I know He died for me and for every single one of us! He has shown us the path which we should follow. This is the Lord's work. These past 2 years I have just been able to be an instrument in His hands. And I will forever be grateful for this opportunity! Peru will always hold a special place in my heart. I love these people.

Thanks to all you who have supported me throughout my entire mission. Thanks for the love, the letters, and the prayers! I love all of you guys!

Élder Baker

¡Nos vemos pronto!

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

...there are thousands of crickets... they aren't small crickets... they are giant crickets - 6/15/15

15 de Junio 2015

Hey family! Just as usual.... Time is passing by. Super fastly. And I honestly can't remember much of what has happened this last week! Time always seems to just fly by! And then when I get here my mind goes blank! 

Well the best part of this last week was definitely Saturday. Want to know why? Because C was baptized! Everything honestly went great! There weren't any problems! He had his interview last week so this week was pretty chill. We kept meeting with him every other day and on Saturday we had everything ready for his baptism! That's not to say that it was easy. Saturday we had to spend like 3 hours cleaning the baptismal font. Want to know why? Because right now in TumbesLike giant grasshoppers. And they are everywhere. Lots of times it's hard to sleep at night because they are always making their squeaky sound. Ugh... But anyway, when we opened up the baptismal font there were over 50 that were alive and like 100 that were dead. And it smelled horrible. So we had to kill all the ones that were still alive and clean the baptismal font and mop it and clean the mirror and everything. But after a few hours the church was super clean! And it was ready for that night! Tons of members came to support C in his baptism! So I'm super happy for him! Honestly he is probably the most intelligent investigator that I have ever taught on my mission. Hearing his testimony after the baptism was super cool! I have no doubt that C is going to be a great member of the church! A future leader here for sure! 

Another great part of this week was that I got to have exchanges with Elder C! He is my district leader! So it was super cool to be able to work with him again! It had been a while since the last time we worked together back in La Unión! He really is one of my best friends in the mission! One of the kids that I'm grateful to have met! It was a great day with him too! We honestly ran from one lesson to another. I think we taught like 7 lessons that afternoon. In just 5 hours! That's a ton! It was a sweet day that I enjoyed a lot! 

Sunday I got to speak in church. That was kind of cool. The bishop asked us (me and Hermana M) to speak in church because both of us are finishing our missions this transfer. And it is probably the last sacrament meeting for us here in Tumbes! Because this next Sunday is the temple dedication and then the Sunday after that we are probably going to already be in Piura, because that day I have my last interview with President Rowley! It was kind of sad. Honestly Tumbes has been one of my hardest areas. Probably the area that I have passed the most hard times. But I have learned so much here! And despite all the hard things, I'm going to miss it a lot!

This next week President Rowley and Hermana Rowley are coming for our multi-zone conference which is going to be pretty sad for most of the missionaries. Because for pretty much all of them it's going to be the last time that they get to see them! I'm grateful that I will get to spend the last weekend of the mission with them! So my companion and I are pretty busy right now getting everything taken care of for that!

C Z is progressing a lot! He has been to church now like 4 times! And we have taught The Restoration and the Plan of Salvation! Tonight we are going to teach him about baptism and invite him to be baptized! Hopefully everything goes well! Next week he should have a baptismal date!

Love you guys tons! Thanks for everything!

Elder Baker

P.S. - I'm doing great again as far as my health goes! It was just a little 2 day bug I had last week. But it's true. I've had a rough time here in Tumbes with my stomach! sad it's going to be to leave the mission behind! - 6/8/15

8 de Junio, 2015

Hey guys! What's up? Nothing? Cool. Here we´re just chillin'. But chillin' actually means running around with absolutely no time at all.... but that's just kind of how it goes out here sometimes! It’s been a good week though! 

So anyway, last week after writing you guys we had to run. Because we had a first appointment with a new investigator named C. He is the grandson of a member here in Tumbes. He is from Piura, but he has been here for a few weeks with his grandpa and he is going to be here for about a month! And it's pretty cool because he actually lives in Lopez Albujar in Piura! That's where I started my mission! So much time has passed by since then! But anyway, that night we had a pretty good lesson with him. He is super receptive! And he is super cool. He is 20 years old and has come to church now! We are going to teach him again tonight about the Plan of Salvation! So I'm super excited about that! 

That night we got back to the apartment though and we couldn't find the keys to our apartment. My companion had had them but they were nowhere to be seen. So we had to backtrack for about 30 minutes and make some phone calls but after a while we found out where they had fallen out of his pocket and we were able to go and get them! That's a miracle! Because the only other person that has a copy of our room key is the owner. And he lives in Lima. So that would have been very difficult getting our keys back! 

Tuesday morning we had to leave super early to travel to Piura for our leaders’ conference. So we got to Piura at about noon. That afternoon I got to go to the hospital to stay with Elder Y. He is the personal secretary in the mission. But he had appendicitis. So they operated on him and he was there recovering. But there was lots of stuff that had to be done and he is pretty much the only person that knows how to do it, except for my companion, Elder V, because he used to be personal secretary before coming to Tumbes. So Elder V got some stuff taken care of in the office and I stayed in the hospital with Elder Y. I kind of started feeling sick that night though. I think I had some sort of 24 hour illness because that night I could hardly sleep because I was super cold and I woke up with a horrible stomach pain and I had to run to the bathroom every 15 minutes. So I had to go to my last leaders’ conference feeling super sick. At least I was able to sit though it without having to run out. That would have been embarrassing. But anyway, even though I was sick the conference was good! We talked about tons of cool stuff! It was kind of sad though because it was the last one for President Rowley and his wife. And at the end when they bore their testimonies they started to cry! That was sad. It made me realize just how sad it's going to be to leave the mission behind! 
Mancora is the most famous beach in Peru

My card--it's full! That means that I'm in my last transfer.

In President's office with cards for all the people in the mission.
Selfie in a moto taxi in Piura

At the hospital with Elder Y.

Pizza with Elder F - So good!

After the conference we had to go over to El Dorado to travel back to Tumbes. But when we got there they told us that the highway was closed because in Cancas, which is like halfway between Tumbes and Piura, there was a paro, which is like a civil protest where there are thousands of people on the highway burning tires and not letting anyone pass. It's supposedly their way of protesting. And it had been going on since Tuesday afternoon but on Wednesday night it was still going on. So that means that we couldn't travel back to Tumbes that night. We had to stay another night in the office. But thankfully it stopped that night so on Thursday morning we were able to travel back to Tumbes. It took like 6 hours though because the bus was going super slow. I was super grateful to be back in our apartment with all our stuff. Traveling to Piura this week was an interesting trip! 

Since we had to travel to Piura for leaders’ conference, we also had our zone meeting this week which went super well! It was fun to teach it with Elder V. He is honestly a great companion! I'm so grateful to be with him this last transfer! I'm so happy that I have a great companion to finish the mission! 

Things are also going great for C! This week we reviewed some last things that he needed and on Sunday after church he had his baptismal interview with Elder C and he passed! So that means that everything is ready for this Saturday night! I'm super excited for that! It's going to be the best part of this next week! 

Love you guys tons! Thanks for always supporting me! Have an amazing week! WELCOME SUMMER 2015! jaja, but I'm ready for some cold weather, not gonna lie.....

Elder Baker 

Monday, June 8, 2015

L. Tom Perry really was honestly one of my favorite apostles. Because he was always so optimistic and happy! - 6/1/15

1 de Junio, 2015

That's kind of weird. Junio. These months are passing by so fast! This morning I woke up and realized that I'm starting my last month as a missionary. And if it is anything like these last few months, it is going to pass by in the blink of an eye! I'm excited for what I have left though! I'm going to have to make the best of it! I really am never going to have another opportunity like this again! 

Things are still going well here in the ward! I'm still getting along great with my companion! He's super sweet! He teaches me a ton! I'm super grateful to be able to work with him! This last transfer is going to be one of the best! 

The ward is doing well! JC is doing great! Yesterday in church he received the Aaronic priesthood! So I'm happy for him! We taught him about Family History this last week and he is super excited to start doing his family history! And in just a few weeks they are going to dedicate the Trujillo Temple! So he will be able to take some family names to do baptisms for the dead! It really is going to be such a blessing for the people here in the north of Peru to have another temple close. I am so excited to go to the temple dedication on the 21st! And I'm also excited to go to a session at the temple again after getting home. That's something that I have missed a ton while being here in the mission! 

Lots of other things have been happening! Lots of zone business. But that's kind of fun. Like this last week President Rowley came to Tumbes to do room inspections. So on Wednesday we got to spend pretty much the entire morning with President going and visiting all the missionaries in the zone. That was pretty cool. It was kind of weird though because each time we went to a different apartment, president was pretty much saying goodbye to them. Because it was pretty much the last opportunity that the missionaries are going to have a one on one experience with him. I'm glad that I get to finish with President Rowley! He really is the best! I am so grateful that I have gotten to work with him for my entire mission! 

Another fun thing this last week was that we had to help move some stuff. I had told you guys that they closed an area in this zone. So we had to move all the stuff from the room before June 1st because this month we aren't going to be renting the apartment! So on Friday morning a member helped us move all the stuff from Pampa Grande to the elders’ apartment in Corrales because they have a big apartment with room to store all the extra stuff like mattresses, bunk beds, closets, microwave, and stuff like that. But it was super fun. The road that goes to Corrales is super pretty because the whole time you are passing by these super green fields and sitting in the back of a member’s truck. I wish I had taken my camera to take some pictures because it was honestly super pretty! Honestly right then I was sitting there thinking about how grateful I am to be here! Honestly I will never have another experience like this again in my entire life! 

C is still progressing! Yesterday we finished teaching him all the missionary lessons that he needs to be baptized! So everything is going great for his baptism on the 13th! I'm super excited for him! 

Well I really don't have much more time today! We have to go do a few things today because tomorrow we have to travel to Piura for the leader’s conference which is going to be pretty fun! Love you tons! Thanks for the love and support! 

Elder Baker

P.S. - My diet is doing a lot better! I'm not sick any more. Every once in a while I feel kind of iffy. But for the most part I feel pretty good! And I have been eating more milk products and I haven't been getting sick at all!

And it's kind of sad about L. Tom Perry! That kind of surprised me! He looked great in the conference! He really was honestly one of my favorite apostles. Because he was always so optimistic and happy! 

We have seen a ton of progress these last weeks in 2 less active families that we have been teaching! - 5/25/15

25 de Mayo, 2015!

Holy Moly! Time is flying by way too fast! I really have no clue where all this time is going! Seems like just yesterday I was sitting here at this same computer writing you guys a week ago! 
Playing soccer today in Tumpis. I'm the one in the coral color PSG soccer jersey! jaja (Because I'm sure you can't recognize me)

Saying goodbye to Elder P last week when he finished his mission!

This last week went super well for my companion and I! I'm so glad that my last companion of my mission is going to be Elder V. He's a super great missionary! He is 26 years old and was only baptized 2 and a half years ago but he has a super strong testimony. And it's honestly super nice that he's super mature. And, he likes to live in a clean apartment, which I love. Because I cannot handle dirty cochino apartments! They are the worst! But he's not like that at all! 

We had a pretty good first week together! Tuesday was a pretty fun day. So anyway, there were lots of missionaries that ended their missions this last transfer, and there weren't many that came. So that means that in the mission they had to shut a few proselyting areas for a transfer or two. They ended up closing one of the areas in the Pampa Grande ward. So now there are just 2 missionaries in that ward and not 4. We had to go on Tuesday and get everything taken care of for the apartment that the elders left. We ended up having to spend the entire day on Tuesday cleaning the apartment. With 4 of us there, by nine o'clock that night we had it pretty much spotless. Not the most fun way to spend the day, but you have to do what you have to do! 

C is progressing a ton! Elder V and I were able to teach him twice this last week! He came to church yesterday! And right now his baptism is scheduled for the 13th of June. That way, he will be able to attend the temple dedication on June 21st! So I think he's super excited for that! Honestly it's super nice to teach someone that is super educated like he is! I have no doubt that he is going to be an amazing member of the church! I picture him being a future leader in the church here in Peru! 

Another great thing that I'm super happy about is that we have seen a ton of progress these last weeks in 2 less active families that we have been teaching! On Sunday they both ended up coming to church! One family is making little steps! One time we went this last week and we found them all together in the front room of their house reading their Book of Mormons! That was a super special moment as a missionary! Especially after having prayed a million times for that family to know what it is that we need to be doing to help them!

The other less active family that we have been teaching took a little while to get them to start reading the Book of Mormon, but now Hermana is in Jacob and Hermano is in 2 Nephi 15! So we are super happy for them! They are progressing little by little! 

This next week President is coming to Tumbes for his second to last time before he finishes as mission president! So I'm super excited about that! It's always pretty cool when President comes to Tumbes! 

Love you guys! I don't have much more time! But I'm doing great! Thanks for all the love and support you guys give me! 

Elder Baker

P.S. I'm happy for the rain! Rain in Utah is pretty. Here it just causes problems... jaja.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

...being able to baptize an investigator that you have been teaching for a while is one of the best moments as a missionary! - 5/18/15

18 de Mayo 2015

Hey guys! This last week has gone by so fast! It's almost hard to believe! It's been a great week though! Tons has happened! As you all know, this last week was the last week for Elder M. He is in Piura right now, and then tomorrow he will be traveling back to Chile. I'm super grateful for the opportunity that I had to be his companion! He really taught me a ton! We had to spend a lot of time getting things taken care of so that he was ready to go home. He actually had to go to Piura on Saturday morning because he had his last interview with President that afternoon and after that he was taking an English exam. So that was what's happening with him. After he left I stayed with Elder A and Elder M spending time in both of our areas getting things taken care of--Until today, when my new companion got here!

So since Elder M left, that means that I have a new companion now! I'm super excited about my new companion! It's Elder V! He is a super sweet missionary from Lima. I have known him since he started his mission while I was in Paita! I'm super excited to work with him! He has 18 months in the mission and is a great missionary! It is his first time being a zone leader. So I'm going to help him get used to that, but I'm sure it's going to be a great last transfer! I honestly couldn't ask for a better companion to finish the mission with! I'm super excited for this next transfer! My whole mission it has felt like there is still lots of time left. But today it really hit me how little time I have left! I know that it is going to fly by. So I have to make the most of it!

Probably the best part of this last week was JC!!!! :) JC is sweet! Elder M and I taught him the last 3 lessons that he needed this week for his baptism! He is super intelligent though and understands almost everything! And then on Saturday he had his baptism interview with our district leader! And he passed! So that means that we could go through with his baptism for Sunday afternoon which went super well! He wanted to be baptized before his birthday, which is today. So we had to do it yesterday! He wanted me to baptize him. So that means that I got to put on white clothes and baptize him! So that was super cool! Honestly, being able to baptize an investigator that you have been teaching for a while is one of the best moments as a missionary! There were tons of missionaries and members there to support him! So we are super happy about that!

The rest of the week went by in a blur though! I am really enjoying it though! It was kind of sad for Elder M when he had to go around and say goodbye to the people that we have been teaching. I know that that day is going to be super hard for me. Being here in Peru for these 22 months now hasn't been the easiest thing ever. But it really has been one of the best experiences of my life! I really have learned to love these people. And I have also learned to love the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Someone yesterday in church asked me how long I had been in the mission. And when I told them, they asked me what it was that I had learned most in the mission. And to tell you the truth, I honestly had no clue what to respond. I have honestly learned so much. I couldn't name something that I have learned most! I have really been changed! Which is a good thing!

I really am super grateful to be a missionary! I love being able to share the gospel of Jesus Christ! Thanks for always giving me your love and support! Because I wouldn't be able to do it without you!

Elder Phillip Baker


I'm glad that it's raining in Utah! It's been raining a little here too. The only problem is that when it rains here, it causes problems. And yes, I'm still going strong health wise! 

Monday, May 11, 2015

I've had more than a week straight feeling super well. So I'm super happy about that! Because being sick was the worst. - 5/11/15

11 de Mayo 2015

Hey guys! 

Happy Mother's Day! Honestly it was so great to talk to you guys yesterday! I can hardly believe that that was the last of 4 phone calls home! It was great! I'm glad that you guys are doing well! I'm doing well as well! I have honestly been feeling so much better. I've had more than a week straight feeling super well. So I'm super happy about that! Because being sick was the worst. I have been taking lots of medicine for the last 2 weeks and it has been helping a ton! 

This letter today might be a little short because we talked about a lot of stuff yesterday. And also because today we went and took a bunch of pictures on the border with Ecuador. And I'm going to try to send a lot of pictures because I haven't been able to send pictures for almost a month now. But today I am here with a good computer and I think I will be able to! 

Pictures today for P-day at the Peru/Ecuador border!

Well, this is the last week for Elder M. Next week he is going to be going back to Chile! Crazy! Time passes by so fast! Seems like yesterday when he got here to Tumbes and he still had 3 months left! But we are excited for our last week together! We are going to be working hard! He is going to be traveling to Piura on Saturday morning. So that means we have like 4 more days together. It's been great working with him. He's a super great missionary! I'm grateful to have been able to work with him! 

It's nice being back here in Tumbes! I missed being able to work with our investigators and the less active members! JC is super excited for his baptism this weekend! Elder M isn't going to be here for it though. So that's kind of a bummer! But he's okay with it. JC is doing great! C couldn't come to church on Sunday because he was in Trujillo. But he did go to the Temple open house there! So we are super happy about that! And JS couldn't come either because she had to travel to Trujillo as well. We gave her an invitation to the open house. So I hope she makes it! But she's doing well too! Progressing a lot! 

We had Leaders Conference in Piura last week which was great. We learned a lot. And then we came back to Tumbes. We had our zone meeting which went well. I enjoyed it a lot! Being a missionary is the best! 

Sorry for the short letter. Time is running short. And my mind is kind of frazzled today. But I'm doing well! Thanks for all the love and support! Love you guys a ton!

Elder Baker! 

Family! It was nice talking to you yesterday! Love you guys more than you can imagine! Have an amazing week! You guys are always in my prayers! And I offer lots of them! For sure more than 50 a day. It's one of the things I love about being a missionary! 

This mission hasn't been easy for me, but I know that it is the only perfect mission for me! - 5/4/15

4 de Mayo 2015

Hey guys! How're y'all doing?? 

This letter might be a little short today. Sorry about that. But there's not much time. We had to spend a while in the clinic today waiting to see the doctor.

Playing ping pong with President & Sister Rowley and others for P-day in Piura
One more week has come and passed by. It has been a very interesting week though. I got to spend it all in Piura! But the good news is that I'm feeling a little bit better this week than last week! 

We spent a lot of time at the doctors this last week. First we went and saw a doctor and he gave me some medicine to be taking. And then for the rest of the week they were doing lots of different kinds of tests. They took my blood and they gave me an ultrasound jajaja. That was kind of funny to check some organs. And they made me do some other tests. And that took about all week long. This morning we went back and talked about all the results with the doctors. And they all came back negative. So that means that I don't have any parasites or dangerous bacteria. So that's a good thing. Looks like the medicine that I have been taking has been helping a lot. This last week I had at least 3 days that I wasn't sick at all. So I'm super happy about that. And there are still some more medicines that I'm going to be taking for the rest of this week to continue to help. So I'm super happy that I'm finally starting to feel better.

I'm excited to go back to Tumbes. I have been in contact with Elder M this last week almost every night. And it sounds like everything there is going well! So I'm super happy about that! He is going to be coming to Piura tomorrow because on Wednesday we have Leaders Council in the mission home. And it looks like on Wednesday we will be going back to Tumbes! I'm super excited! I've missed it! 

This week has been super great though. Don't feel bad for me. I got to do a lot this last week. I got to work with a bunch of missionaries here in Piura. I got to see tons of missionaries that I hadn't seen in forever! I got to work with Elder R, Elder S, Elder C, Elder P, and a few others! I really have enjoyed myself in Piura. Yesterday I passed by Lopez Albujar in a bus and it brought back so many memories since I was in my first area! Time has flown by! I'm so grateful to be a missionary here in this mission! This mission hasn't been easy for me, but I know that it is the only perfect mission for me! It makes me kind of sad thinking about how short of time I have left in the mission! Thanks for everything guys! Love you all more than you can imagine! Keep strong! Be obedient! The church is true. I know it!

One of my days spent with Elder S. It was his birthday, so we had to do the traditional egg and flour on his head--that's what we do here in Peru when it's someones birthday.
Elder Baker

P.S. - The temple in Trujillo is going to be dedicated in June! So I'm going to be here for the dedication! This weekend it's going to be open for the open house! All the members here in Piura are super happy about having a temple just 6 hours away!

I've still been pretty sick for this last week... but other than that this week was pretty cool! ...pretty much all of the people that we are teaching ended up coming to Church! - 4/27/15

27 de Abril 2015

Hey guys! One more week down! Time is flying by way too fast! 

Celebrating Elder M's birthday with the traditional egg on the head and then cake with members
This last week was kind of rough. I'm actually in Piura right now. I actually came here yesterday after church. I am going to a clinic here in Piura to do some tests because I've still been pretty sick for this last week. Pretty much sick the entire week long. But there's not much you can do about it! They decided to have me come down here for a few days to get some things taken care of because medical care is a lot more reliable here in Piura.
But other than that, this last week was pretty cool! Probably the best part about it was going to church yesterday. Because pretty much all of the people that we are teaching ended up coming to Church! C, JC, JS, GM, and pretty much all of the less active members that we are teaching! So that was super great. It was one of those moments that make you feel like you are actually doing something as a missionary! 

C is doing great! It's been a little bit hard to teach him because of his work schedule, but he is super sweet! And he is super excited for his baptism! He is reading the Book of Mormon and is doing great! JC is also doing well! Yesterday he came to church for the first time in a shirt and tie that he just bought! It's been kind of hard teaching him as well because of his work schedule but we are able to teach him a couple times each week! 

JS is doing amazing as well! So I'm super happy about that! We were able to teach her like 3 times this last week. And she came to church yesterday and met a ton of members and is super excited about coming back! We talked about baptism with her and invited her to be baptized and she said that she would love to be baptized! So this week we are going to be setting a baptismal date with her! 

Another highlight about this week was that we had interviews with President Rowley. It was pretty weird thinking about how it was my last interview with President Rowley before my very last one right before I come home. It's kind of cool though that I am going to be coming home the same time as President Rowley! I think he is going to be getting home one day after my group. But anyway, I had the last interview of the day. And normally it is like 10 minutes, but we talked for like 30 minutes. It was super cool. I'm so grateful for President Rowley! He has helped me so much on the mission! I have no doubt that he is the person called of God to help direct this mission in this time! We also talked with him and his wife that day about my health. And that's when they told me that I was going to be traveling to Piura to do some more tests. 

So anyway, yesterday after church I had to go to the bus station to travel to Piura. I actually traveled with Elder H who is also having some troubles with his health. He is from Georgia and is super funny. Our companions stayed back in Tumbes and will be there until we get back. The main reason that we came is just to get better medical care than what is available in Tumbes. And since we have both been struggling for a while with our health we decided to come here to see if there is anything that we can get figured out. Last night we slept in the mission office. And today we went over to the mission home and played ping pong with all the office elders and with President Rowley and his wife. So that was pretty fun! I have lots of pictures to send home, but this computer is super sketchy and I'm almost certain that it has a virus so I don't want to connect my camera to it. I think I'll send pics next week on a computer that is a little more safe. I think we'll be here tomorrow as well and then we will be traveling to Tumbes again Wednesday! There isn't much time to write, but I hope you know I love you guys! Have a great week! 
On the bus headed to Piura with Elder H.

Elder Baker

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

My companion and I worked harder than we probably ever had before. But the blessings are flowing! - 4/20/15

20 de Abril 2015

Hey guys! What a week it has been for my companion and me! Thanks for all the love and support! 

First off, the report about my sickness! Well the good news is that I was feeling a whole lot better this last week! I went to the doctor on Monday to do more stool samples. And Tuesday morning I got the results back. This time it didn't say anything about Giardia. So that's good! Hopefully that means that it's gone. But it did say that I have Entamoeba Coli. Supposedly it's not too bad. But I changed my diet. I'm only eating things like wheat bread. No milk products and other things. And this week I was feeling a whole lot better! I was able to go out and work pretty much the entire week with my companion! So I'm super happy about that! Yesterday I woke up with the runs and felt pretty crappy but I'm pretty sure that it's because of something that I ate on Saturday because today I still have the runs but not as bad. So I'm pretty sure that if I just take special care of what I eat, I should be pretty okay!  I'm happy that in only a few months I will be getting home and will be able to see a doctor and really find out what's happening. It's just one of the trials that have been placed in my path! I'm just going to have to endure through it with a smile on my face! 

A beach resort of a member (or investigator) - I don't remember - that he let us use for P-day today!
It was super pretty!

Honestly, this last week was one of the best weeks of the mission. I'm so happy for this last week! My companion and I worked harder than we probably ever had before. But the blessings are flowing! After a long time struggling in my area, we are finally seeing success! First off, my companion and I talked with over 100 new people this last week which was a goal that we had. And we were able to find some new investigators from it! It's not easy talking to people, but it's worth it! And it does get easier with time. I remember the first time I tried to talk with someone here in the mission and I was so scared. But it's actually kind of fun to talk to people! You never know what kind of people you are going to find. You find super nice people, super rude people, people of all kinds of different religions, and the best part, is that you are able to find a few people that are prepared for the gospel in their lives! So my companion and I are going to keep doing that this next week! 

We have 2 investigators with baptismal dates! The first is Junior C. He is J C’s son. He is 21 years old and is super cool! The only problem that we had was that he works Monday through Saturday from 8am until 6pm and he is going to school Monday through Friday from 7pm until 11pm. So he really doesn't have much free time. But we taught him this last week and he is doing super well! He has read until 2 Nephi in the Book of Mormon and we had a super special lesson with him! We invited him to be baptized and he said that he would like to be baptized on May 18th, which is his birthday! So I'm super excited about that! 

The other investigator that we have with a baptismal date is C S. C is a reference from H who is a returned missionary. H invited his friend C to come to church a couple months ago and he has come a couple of times and this week we were finally able to teach him! It's kind of hard to teach C as well, because he has a super hard schedule because he is a doctor. He finished high school when he was 14. He started medical school when he was 15 and now he is 25 years old and works in the hospital and a clinic here in Tumbes! So we were able to teach him! He is super smart! And he understands everything that we teach! And, at the end of our first lesson with him we invited him to be baptized and he accepted! So for right now we are planning his baptism for the 9th of May. So we are super excited about them! It was also kind of nice that he is a doctor. And so I asked him about my sickness and he said, "Yeah, there really isn't much that you can do about it for now, but pretty soon you'll be going home and will adjust quickly to your normal diet at home." jaja. So that's what I'm gonna have to do I guess! 

We got a super sweet reference this week from President Rowley! President Rowley was here last week for stake conference. And I guess as they were leaving Monday morning to go back to Piura they went to a gas station to fill up their car with gas. And supposedly he talked to the lady that was filling up his car and he invited her to listen to the missionaries! So he got her name and number written down and then on Tuesday morning he called us with the reference. So one day this week we really didn't know what to do because we had a couple appointments fall through and so we decided to pull out the cell phone and call this reference to see if we could go and visit her. So we called her and said that we could pass by. She has only been in Tumbes for 3 months and really doesn't know her directions but was able to kind of guide us to her house. So after about 20 minutes we finally found her house and she invited us to come in and share something with her and her son! Her name is J and her son is G M and he is 16 years old. They are both super cool though, and they are super prepared for the gospel! That was a huge testimony builder for me that there really are people here in my area that are prepared for the gospel! I've just got to go out and find them! On Wednesday we have an appointment to go back and teach them! I can't wait! I'm super excited for this next week! My companion only has 4 weeks left in the mission but we are going to make the most of the little time that there is!  

Thanks for all the love, prayers, and support! I love you guys! I love being a missionary! I have no doubt that the Church is true! I love my Savior. I know He lives! 

Elder Baker

I know what it's like without power. It happens quite frequently here--and living without water. Count your many blessings! Utah weather sure is crazy! You never know what you're gonna get!

I do think I will run some races after the mission. I'm thinking about doing triathlons. They sound kind of fun! I'm so excited to go and visit the Sacred Grove this summer! It's going to be super cool after having been a missionary for 2 years testifying of the sacred event that happened in that place! I can't wait to walk there! Thanks for the prayers! 

In Piura, the people used to have to travel 18 hours by bus to Lima to be able to go to the temple! But now they are going to have a temple just 6 hours away! - 04/13/15

13 de Abril 2015

Hey guys! 

Well here I am again! Time is passing by super quickly!

First off, last week I told you guys that I'm dealing with a parasite. Giardia. It kind of stinks. I took some medications that were supposed to take care of it, but they didn't help me all that much. So I'm still kind of sick. So that's kind of a bummer. I'm doing okay though! I'm going to do more tests today. And we'll see what happens with that. I'm praying a lot. Because I'm super sick of it! But to tell you the truth, the absolute worst part is that it makes it kind of hard to go out and work because I feel sick a lot and if I don't feel sick, it comes and hits me like a ton of bricks and I'm desperately searching for a bathroom. It's kind of complicated. But I'm doing fine! Don't worry too much! Just another one of the tests that our loving Heavenly Father puts in our lives. It's not because He wants to punish us. It's because He loves us and He wants us to get better! And believe it or not, there are lots of positive things that I have learned from this! 

This last week went by super fast. Tuesday we were in the apartment pretty much all day because I wasn't feeling too swell. And then on Wednesday morning we had to travel to Piura because Thursday was our Leaders Conference in the mission home! We got to Piura at about 12:30 and went and ate lunch with the office elders and their pensionista. And then for the afternoon we got to go out and work with the zone leaders in Miraflores. That afternoon was super fun! It made me miss Piura though. I have only been in Piura, Piura for like 3 months of the mission. All the rest of it has been outside of Piura. But there is something special about being in Piura! It feels like coming home every time you enter! It was super fun working that day in Piura! 

Thursday morning at 9:00 our Leaders Conference started. That was super great! I always do love those training meetings with President Rowley! He teaches in such a cool way. You are always able to feel the spirit super strongly in those meetings and always leave feeling uplifted! One of the things we talked about was what having faith in Jesus Christ really means. If you ask yourself "Do I have faith in Jesus Christ?" it's pretty easy to say yes, right??  But then if you read what Preach my Gospel says about faith, it helps you realize that there are lots of ways that our faith can improve. Maybe we really do have faith! But that faith can always be stronger. So my goal right now is to strengthen my faith in Jesus Christ. There are lots of little things that I can be doing to strengthen my faith! And now in this little time that I have left as a missionary, it's time to get to work! I have to take advantage of every moment I have here as a missionary! 

After the meeting we had to travel to the mission office to pick up some stuff for the zone here in Tumbes. And then we had to travel to the bus station to travel back to Tumbes. Our bus left Piura at about 5:30 and didn't get to Tumbes until about 11:00 that night. I was so excited when it was finally time to go to sleep! It honestly felt like that bus ride lasted forever! But we finally made it! 

Friday we had our zone meeting with our entire zone. We didn't have much time to plan the meeting because we got back so late on Thursday, but it turned out super well! It was really guided by the spirit! It's kind of fun being able to teach the zone meetings with your companion! We taught the zone about everything that we had learned in the leaders’ meeting. It was a pretty fun morning! 

Friday afternoon and pretty much all of Saturday I was feeling pretty crappy. That was kind of a bummer. But Saturday night we had to go over to the stake center for the Saturday night session of Stake conference! President Rowley and Hermana Rowley came, as well as the Guayaquil Temple President and his wife. The conference on Saturday night and on Sunday morning was super good! I liked it a lot. They talked a lot about the Temple. It made me miss the temple so much! It really is such a blessing living so close to so many temples. I haven't been to the temple since August 2013. That's one of the things that I'm super excited about once I finish the mission! Being able to go to the temple again! I'm super happy for the people here in this mission though because in June they are going to be dedicating the Trujillo, Peru temple which will be a huge blessing for the people! In Piura, the people used to have to travel 18 hours by bus to Lima to be able to go to the temple! But now they are going to have a temple just 6 hours away! It's going to be such a huge blessing for the people here in Peru!

Sunday afternoon I was feeling pretty good so we got to go out and work the entire afternoon! Even though it sounds like something super small, it was such a blessing. I miss being able to feel good and just be able to go out and work! I hope this next week I will be feeling a whole lot better! Because I want to go and teach people about the gospel! I'm so grateful for the opportunity to be a missionary!

Thanks for all the love and support! 

Elder Baker

...turns out that I have Giardia...being sick like this is the worst! - 04/06/15

6 de Abril 2015

Well we are already into April and time is flying by like always! Transfers were today. My companion and I are both staying here in this area. And it is the last transfer of the mission for my companion. So that means that I am going to be his last companion. I'm pretty excited about that! But since we are zone leaders we had to spend pretty much all of today taking care of transfer things because tons of missionaries in the zone had to travel so we had to make sure they left on time and we had to go pick up all of the new missionaries that got here! It was a fun day though! 

Well this last week wasn't the best week of the mission. Want to know why? Because this last week my companion and I were sick. Well first it was my companion. On Tuesday he said that he wasn't feeling too well. So we headed back to the apartment and he spent most of the afternoon sleeping. And at about 9:30 that night he woke up to go to the bathroom to throw up. So I'm sure that wasn't the most fun thing. Wednesday he still wasn't feeling too well. But by the end of the day he was feeling a lot better and so we were able to go and work a little bit. 

That night we started exchanges with Elder C and Elder R who are in Corrales. So, Elder M went to their apartment and I stayed in my area with Elder C. That night though, I couldn't sleep. No matter what position I was in I couldn't fall asleep. And then at about midnight I finally got up from my bed and went into the bathroom and had horrible diarrhea. It was horrible. And in the morning I woke up still with diarrhea. It was horrible. Honestly to tell you the truth, for the last 2-3 months I have been sick almost every single week like that. So I decided that something wasn't right so I decided to call Hermana Rowley. She told me that it was likely that I had a parasite in my stomach. So that means that I had to take stool samples to a laboratory and have them test them for a parasite. That kind of stunk! But what are you gonna do!?!? jaja. And it turns out that I have Giardia. I have no clue how I got it or when, but it's what I have. Hermana Rowley said that it's not uncommon and that there have been several other cases in the mission with it right now. But I took some pills that supposedly help with it. I sure hope so! Because being sick like this is the worst! 
Exchanges with Elder C
So that pretty much took up our whole week until the conference. We were able to do a little, but not much. Conference was the best though!!

I can hardly believe that that was my last general conference of the mission. It is such a blessing to be able to listen to the prophets every 6 months! And luckily my companion and I were both feeling better by Saturday to watch the conference peacefully! I honestly loved conference so much! Elder Ballard's talk in Priesthood session was the best! But the whole thing was great! I am so excited to get the Liahona to be able to read all of the talks again! It was exactly what I was needing! It was super motivational for me! It was the spiritual highlight to a super stressful, crappy week! 
With Elder R following General Conference
I'm super excited for this next transfer though! I'm sure that it's going to be great! I love being a missionary. Even though it's not always easy, it's super great. There is never going to be another opportunity like this in my life! I have to make the most of it! 

Thanks for all the love and support! Love you tons! The church is true! No doubt about it! 

Elder Baker! 

Monday, March 30, 2015

...with all the rain that is coming that means that the number of giant frogs in the streets is going up as well... 3/30/15

30 de Marzo 2015

Holy Moly. I really can't believe that March is already over. It has gone by so quickly! This last week was very interesting.

P-day today playing soccer in a stadium here in Tumbes. Soccer is pretty fun!
 So first off. It is still rainy season in Tumbes. It's actually quite dangerous for lots of people here. Because it has rained so much that the people say that there is danger that the river is going to overflow which would mean that all of the lower parts of the city will be under water. And all of my area would be submerged in water. But luckily my apartment isn't in the lower part and I live on a giant hill so there isn't any danger of that in my apartment. It's crazy how much it is raining though! There are tons of parts of Tumbes without water right now. Last week we got our water back for 4 days and then because of the rain it has gone again. So we now have like 3 days without water. Pretty cool, no??? But don't worry too much. We are bringing buckets of water to our apartments from the other elders that live in other parts that do have water. So we are still going to be able to bathe. Just out of a bucket! BLESSINGS! ;)

Well this last week started off kind of crappy because Tuesday I woke up with the worst diarrhea ever. I was in the bathroom pretty much every 15 minutes. I'm sure it was something that I ate that made me sick, but I'm not sure exactly what it was. Sometimes things like that just happen! It's the worst though. And I was still sick for Wednesday and Thursday, just not as bad as Tuesday. But by Friday I was feeling a lot better! 

Tuesday night the assistants came to Tumbes and slept in our apartment because on Wednesday we had our multi-zone conference with President Rowley. Honestly that was kind of stressful because we had to plan almost everything. We had to clean the church. We had to plan lunch for 36 people and find a member to help us out with that. And we also had to teach part of the conference. But it turned out super well! I'm super grateful for opportunities like that. Being stressed out isn't a bad thing. It's a normal thing. And it helps us grow! You just have to learn to handle it. You are never going to be able to get rid of all stress. But you can handle the way you react to it! The conference went super great though! We talked a lot about personal conversion. And also about lots of other things. We also talked about a plan that we are going to be doing this week to work with the "Because He Lives!" plan this week. I'm super excited for that! It is in preparation for Easter and for General Conference this weekend! I'm so excited for this weekend! It's going to be the best! It is such a blessing to be able to hear from the prophet every six months! 

Saturday night we had a pretty cool experience. It was like 7:00 and we started to teach a less-active family about the Restoration. And about 10 minutes later it started to rain super, super, super hard. And most all of the houses here have metal roofs. So when it starts raining it is super loud. But we just started talking really loud and kept going with the lesson. And about 15 minutes later the power went out. And it kept raining! The streets turned into rivers. Once that lesson was over we waited for 15 minutes to see if the rain would pass over but it never did. So that means that we kind of just had to walk/run to our apartment in about 5 inches of rain. So that was kind of exciting! Just some of the fun things about Tumbes! And also with all the rain that is coming that means that the number of giant frogs in the streets is going up as well. I like that though. Frogs are super sweet. jajaja. 
Coming back to the apartment after a horrible downpouring of rain. I had like 3 liters of water in my shoes!
I love all of you guys! I hope you have a great week! I'm so excited for General Conference this weekend! It's going to be amazing! I know the church is true! Love you guys a ton!

Elder Baker

Winter sounds like it's been interesting there! Sounds like Utah could use some of the rain that we are getting here! In Utah it's super pretty when it rains. It cleans the earth. But here it just makes everything muddy and super dirty and causes problems! It's a pretty cool experience though! Super memorable!

Friday, March 27, 2015

We can't judge by appearances. We really have to learn to love people! - 3/23/15

23 de Marzo! 2015

Well first off, there is no water in our apartment. There hasn't been water in our area for over 5 days. Our apartment has a tank to store water so luckily it didn't run out until today. But now we are in the process of determining what we are going to do. I haven't showered since yesterday morning and I feel filthy. Just another of the many blessings of la Misión Perú Piura! jaja

Well, we are in rainy season. It rained all last weekend and rained every single day this week until Friday. But we have now had 3 dry days, so we are happy about that! Because everything here had turned to complete mud. Tons and tons and tons of mud. My black shoes every night looked brown because they were completely covered in mud. And there are lots of mosquitoes. At 6:30 they come out and there are a million of them. And they are there until about 7:30. So it's horrible to be out during that hour! And then every night when we come back to the apartment we kill 3 or 4 cockroaches... But even through all of this, I'm still smiling! Because it's amazing being a Missionary!

This last week we had exchanges with the Elders in Buenos Aires, Elder K and Elder V. Elder K came to my area with Elder M and I got to go to Buenos Aires with Elder V. It was super sweet though! I had a huge testimony builder that night! Elder V told me that we were going to go and visit a new family that they had just found a couple days earlier. So I was super excited. The whole time Elder V told me that this family was golden and that they were so ready to be baptized! But anyway, we get to the house and knock on the door and the wife invites us in. She wasn't the person that I was expecting to see. She was a 25 year old and she had died her hair black and she had a giant tattoo on her arm. And then her husband walks in. He is a 28 year old body builder and he is super duper duper duper duper strong! Like me ;) jajajaja. But for real. This guy was huge! And he had a metal chain around his neck and he had various tattoos on his arms. In that moment, I was sitting there thinking "And this is the family that is golden??" But I learned a HUGE lesson that night. We started to teach them about the Plan of Salvation and the spirit was SOOOOOOOOOO strong. These people understood everything. And the spirit was present, testifying of the truth of what we were teaching. In just a little 40 minute lesson, my testimony was strengthened so much. I went from having lots of doubts about the family, to feeling an immense love for them like they really were my own family. When it was time to leave, we said goodbye practically in tears. There is no way that I could possibly say that this is not true. Because I know it is. And that family knows it too! The Lord really is preparing people to receive the restored gospel. And as missionaries, I learned that we can't judge by appearances. We really have to learn to love people!

This morning in my personal study I was reading in 1 Nefi about the tree of life in Lehi´s vision. Later on when the angel is explaining what it means to Nefi, it says that the tree was the most desirable above all things and that the tree represents the love of god! That night I could really feel of that love from God. And I testify that it really is the most desirable above all things!

This week was great for my companion and me! We found some new investigators, we taught some lessons to converts and to some less active members! I go to bed every night super tired! But I'm grateful for the opportunity that I have to be a missionary! I know this church is true! Love you guys a ton!

Elder Baker

It's rainy season right now. It's not something that happens all year long. Normally just the sun, all day, every day... jaja

This last week I hit the 20 month mark..... Time is going by way too fast! 

We are definitely in the rainy season here in Tumbes! - 3/16/15

16 de Marzo 2015

Half of March has already come and gone... I don't know what to say today. My mind has gone blank. But I'm sending lots of pictures so you can't be too upset with me!

This last week was a good one. A hot one, but good. My companion and I were really struggling these last few weeks with finding people to teach. We were talking to tons of people, knocking on doors, and doing everything we could think of to find by our own efforts or find through the members, but nothing was working. The good thing is that this week we did find 1 promising investigator! Her name is M G. She is super prepared. We actually talked to her one day on the streets and she invited us to go back and teach her! So this week we had a first lesson with her! She isn't from Tumbes. She is from Chiclayo, but she has been living here for almost 2 years for her husband’s job. She expressed to us that sometimes she feels alone without many friends but has been searching for comfort through the Bible and has been trying to come closer to God! And want to know the coolest part? She said that she really only has 1 close friend that visits her. Her friend C. And want to know the coolest part!?!?!? C is a member of the church here in our ward! So everything is going amazing with this so far! My companion and I are super excited for this next week to be able to teach her again!

We are definitely in the rainy season here in Tumbes! Friday night it rained for like 6 hours. Saturday night it rained for like 7. And Sunday night it was also raining a ton. And it will probably rain again tonight! It's pretty cool though! I like it a lot!  Except for that it means that more mosquitoes will probably be coming. Friday night I was on exchanges with Elder A and the rain came super duper duper strong. We came back walking through the streets that had turned into rivers and by the time we got back to the apartment we were super wet. We walked in and turned on the lights, and we went to the kitchen to take a drink and there were 3 giant cockroaches on the kitchen counter. So we hurried and grabbed shoes and smashed them. I'm not really a big fan of cockroaches. I hope they don't become a big problem with the rain! Cause they're kind of gross!

Being a zone leader is going great. There are always lots of little problems that we have to help fix. And lots of extra duties that we have. But it's great! I really love these transfers as a missionary! They are a little bit stressful, but they are good! I'm learning a ton and improving as a missionary! My companion is great! We are working hard! Wednesday night we had to go pick up the district leaders from the bus station at midnight that were getting here from Piura. So that night we didn't get much sleep. And that next day was a super filled day with tons of stuff to do. But that's just sometimes how it is as a missionary! Running on empty! But somehow I'm always able to make it through it!

Our zone in Tumbes

Church yesterday was good! We had a special meeting with 2 wards together and the stake presidency spoke to us about hurrying the work of salvation! That was super sweet! I loved that meeting a ton! That afternoon was kind of a bummer though because my companion got sick and so we couldn't go out and work. But sometimes that's just how it goes!

Sorry I don't have tons of time! I promise I will write more next week!  Love you guys a ton!

Elder Baker

 Some pictures from P-day activities today:

Me with a statue in Tumbes. It's called La Ascencion. It's pretty cool.
And... It's HUGE!

The other zone leaders in Tumbes with me and my companion.

In a combi going to the frontera with my companion and the other zone leaders.

At the frontera with my companion

Police station on the border.

Lunch in a restaurant.