Friday, January 23, 2015 the gospel principles... it's the key to happiness! - 1/19/15

19 de Enero, 2015

Well hello there everyone! I honestly don't even know where to begin this week.
Well, Tumbes is pretty sweet! I like it a lot! My companion is Elder D. He is super sweet. He was baptized about 3 years ago. And he's got a super strong testimony! So it's been fun working with him! Our apartment is super sweet! I love it! Mainly because it's clean and because it's like 5 times as big as my old apartment in Sullana. And we have a shower that works. So that means that I don't have to shower with a pitcher of water! :) 
P-day in Tumbes! - The border between Peru and Ecuador!
(we can't cross over into Ecuador)

The ward is pretty great. The only problem is that there have been lots of problems in the past. But I really think that things are starting to finally look up for this ward! There is no bishop. So that's one of the major difficulties. But the stake president says that within 3 weeks there is going to be a new bishop. I'm super excited about that. Because I know it's going to help the ward a ton! They just released the old ward mission leader. And they just called a new one that is excited to get to work! And they also changed the elders quorum president this last week. And the new one is super humble and super nervous. But he's super excited as well! I'm super excited for this ward! 
So, there are members here that have a gym. It's honestly the nicest gym that I have seen in my entire time here in Peru. And they let us use it for free! So that means that my companion and I get up every morning to go to the gym at 5:45. It's kind of rough getting up so early. But you gotta do what you gotta do! It's doing me a lot of good though. Because I've gotten so out of shape in the last year and a half. I probably couldn't run a 5K right now. But very soon I will be ready again! Friday was pretty cool because we were on the bikes in the gym, and there was a little temblor. A mini earthquake. Not quite as big as the one last year when I was in Paita. But it was kind of big! It was pretty cool! 
So happy news is that we have an investigator this week that is going to be getting baptized! His name is J C. He is like 45 years old and his wife is a less active member. Well actually was a less active member because she has now started coming to church again and now her husband wants to be baptized! He is super ready. He has left behind alcohol and his bad friends and has had a huge change in his life. A month ago, they were talking about getting a divorce. But now they are a super strong couple! And it's because they are living the gospel principles in their lives! It's the key to happiness! Live what you believe! 
Being a zone leader is different! My companion is teaching me a ton though! It's honestly super sweet being with another companion that has lots of time in the mission because both are experienced. It's so much different than being a new missionary in the mission! There are 18 missionaries in the zone. It's kind of small. 3 districts. Here in the ward it is Elder D and I and 2 sister missionaries, Sister O and Sister R. One sweet thing about my district is that Elder R, the missionary that I trained is in it! So that means that I will probably get to have some exchanges with him! I'm so happy for that! 
But anyway! I'm happy! I love being a missionary! Thanks for all of the love and support! I hope all you guys have a great week!

Elder Baker 

Note: Our apartment’s got like 3 rooms. It’s super sweet! It is about 10 minutes away from the beach…not too far! We actually eat in our apartment for lunch because there is a member that brings us our food. But next month we are going to have a real pensionista! 

Today I got transferred. I'm now in Tumbes, Peru! - 1/12/15

12 de Enero 2015!

Hey guys! How are you doing??? This week has gone by super fast! I can hardly believe that it's already over! Tons has happened! And I might not have much time to write today because today is transfers and , which is the northeast part of Peru. I'm like 10 minutes from Ecuador. Pretty cool, no?? Except, they say that it's the hottest part of Peru. And there are lots of mosquitos. Pray for me! Because I don't wanna die! jaja. It's super cool though! I'm sure I'm going to enjoy it! My companion is Elder D. He is from Huaraz, Peru. We are both the zone leaders here in Tumbes. Well actually there are 2 zones here. And we are the zone leaders of the Tumbes zone! I'm super nervous, but excited. It should be great!
Me and my new companion!
This last week passed by so quickly! I can hardly believe how fast my 4 and one half months passed by in Sullana. I'm kind of sad to leave Sullana behind. It really was a sweet area! I'm going to miss the members there a ton!

Unfortunately, R R didn't end up getting baptized this last week. There were a few complications in his family and he wasn't there for almost the whole week but he came back on Saturday and attended church on Sunday and so he is planning on being baptized this next Saturday, the 17th. I'm super excited for him! But the good news is that I was able to baptize someone! That was pretty cool! The hermanas in our ward had an investigator that got baptized this last week! And she asked me to do the ordinance of the baptism for her! So that was kind of cool! I love seeing baptisms. I'm so grateful to be a missionary! 

It was kind of sad saying goodbye to everyone in my area. Saturday night they called us with the news of transfers. I wasn't expecting to be zone leader. It was kind of a surprise. And it was also surprising to come to Tumbes. Tumbes is super far away from Piura. Like 6 hours. It's the farthest area from Piura in the mission. I'm pretty excited about being here though! Today the bus ride was super sweet! For like 2 straight hours it's just driving along the coastline looking at the beautiful beaches. My mission may not be super pretty but it does have some of the most famous beaches in all of South America! I'm so excited for this next p-day to go to the beach again!! It's been since like the end of April since I've been. I've been missing p-days on the beach!

Sorry the letter is going to be super short today. There is not much time! But I'm super happy! Next week I'll write a longer letter, I promise! Thanks for all the love and support! Love you guys tons!

Elder Baker

T's baptism last week was such a blessing! I'm so happy for him! It was kind of sad saying goodbye to him. 
Saying goodbye to T in Sullana!
There is a Dominoes Pizza here in Tumbes! And it only costs like 15 soles which is like 5 bucks! I’m so happy! Today I ate pizza for lunch! BEING IN TUMBES IS THE BEST!

Thursday, January 8, 2015

2013 was great. 2014 was amazing! And 2015 is going to be even better! - 1/5/15

5 de Enero, 2015

Happy 2015 all y'all! How are you all doing?? Pretty crazy thinking that it's 2015 already no??? Seems like just yesterday that we were only half way through 2013 and I was about to come on the mission! How things have changed! But I'm so glad for everything that has happened!

2015 started super great! Lots of heat, lots of lessons, and, the most exciting part.... A BAPTISM!

This last week was pretty great. On Tuesday we had exchanges with the Elders and I got to go work with Elder P in his area. His area is super sweet. Except for the fact that it is all sand. It can be so tiring walking in sand. It's ten times harder than walking in dirt. And it gets super hot in the sun. But you gotta do what you gotta do! It was a pretty fun day though. Elder P is a great elder. We taught a few less-active members and a few lessons to investigators! At the end of the day we had a pretty out-of-the-ordinary experience. It was kind of late so we decided to go back to the apartment in a moto taxi. We climbed into a moto taxi and told the driver where we were going and he started to drive, but he wasn't driving normally. He was driving super slow. And then he started to speed up and was swerving all over the empty road. And that's when we realized that the driver was either drugged or he was drunk. So we had to tell him to stop and we got out and went in a different moto taxi. We decided our lives are worth a whole lot more than 2 soles. That scared us a little bit. I don't like people driving drunk, and unfortunately, there are lots of them here!

Wednesday was New Year’s Eve! It was a pretty good day. I got to do a baptismal interview that day! I got to interview one of Elder P´s investigators that was baptized on Saturday! I love doing baptismal interviews. It's pretty cool listening to these people that are about to be baptized bear their testimony about how the gospel has helped them in their lives! It's such a blessing to be able to witness all these miracles taking place in these peoples’ lives!

After that interview we went to Marcavelica, which went well. Everyone had their dummies sitting out on a chair in front of their houses. Here everyone makes a dummy for New Years and then at midnight they burn them. They are actually kind of funny! It's pretty cool though! Almost every single house in Marcavelica had a dummy. And they fill them with fire crackers and stuff like that for when they burn them. There are tons of firecrackers here. And tons of bottle rockets and Roman candles and every other type of firework that you can think of! Everyone uses them! All day long there are little kids 6 years old lighting off firecrackers. jaja. It's crazy! After Marcavelica we came back to our apartment at about 9 and there was no power. So that was fun. It was hard changing and doing everything in our room without light. But whatever! We actually lay down to sleep at about 10. But at 11:45 we woke up and went to the roof of our apartment to watch the fireworks! There were so many fireworks at midnight! It was SOOOOOOOOOOOOOO sweet. We live in like the tallest building in Sullana so we could see pretty much all of Sullana. And these people use tons and tons and tons and tons and tons of fireworks! And then we went to bed again at about 12:20. The people here don't sleep. They start the party at midnight and then they sit and drink and listen to music all night long until the sun comes out. And then they keep drinking until about 8 in the morning. And then they finally decide to sleep for a little bit. And then at about 4 in the afternoon they start drinking again and drink until about midnight. Honestly, I didn't like New Year's day. Everyone was drinking. It made missionary work pretty much impossible. We passed by at a few members though. That's probably about all we could do... I'm glad that day has passed. Because it wasn't very cool!
Happy New Year!
(from the roof of our apartment)
The most exciting thing about this week is that T L got baptized! He is a super special investigator! His sister has been a member for a few years, but he wasn't really interested in the church when the missionaries visited his sister. But they left a seed in him. And with time that seed has grown until it was his time to accept the gospel in his life! We had our first lesson with him over a month ago and in that lesson he said that it was time for him to be able to come closer to God as his sister had done. And in that lesson he chose January 3rd as the day that he wanted to be baptized. So that means that over the last month we have been working with him to help him get ready to be baptized! He has changed so much! Over this last month I have grown to love him as a brother! He is amazing! He has read all of 1 Nephi and half of 2 Nephi. Since the first time that we taught him, he never missed a Sunday at church, and he has kept all of the commitments that we extended to him! He really is someone that was prepared for the gospel in his life! This week he had some challenges and there were some things that made it look like he wouldn't be able to be baptized this week. But he was determined. January 3rd was the day he wanted to be baptized. And he wasn't going to let anything within his control stop him from being baptized! His family came to his baptism Saturday! His mom, who isn't a member came and supported him! It was soooooooo cool seeing him be baptized! As he came up out of the water, he had a huge smile on his face! It was the highlight of this week! I have no doubt that he is going to be a strong convert in the church! He was confirmed on Sunday and he is super excited to receive the priesthood! He talked to us about how he knows this is just the first step and how his goal is to prepare himself to go to the temple in Trujillo next January! I'm so happy for him! Being a missionary is so amazing! And it's so great when you get to see the people that you are teaching being baptized! I wouldn't trade this opportunity for all the money in the world!

At TL's baptism!

I'm so happy for what is in store for me! I've got 6 months left to shine! I love being a missionary! 2013 was great. 2014 was amazing! And 2015 is going to be even better! Thanks for all the love and support that you guys give me! Love you guys tons!

Elder Baker

P.S. This week is the last week of the transfers. And I'm feeling like I might be transferred this weekend. I'm not sure though. The good thing though is that R is going to be baptized on Saturday if everything works out! Pray for him lots!