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.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Probably the best way to teach others is by example... - 3/9/15

9 de Marzo 2015

Once again, another week in the Mision Peru Tumbes has flown by... jajaja. But for real. Time is going by so fast! And I'm probably not going to have tons of time to write today because this morning we played ultimate frisbee on the beach for like 3 hours. So I'm pretty burnt, but honestly it was one of the most fun p-days that I've ever had! 
P-day playing ultimate frisbee on the beach.
Bridge crossing the river Tumbes
This last week was sweet! So on Tuesday we had to travel to Piura. We had to travel in the morning, and we traveled in El Dorado. Not the most comfortable bus ever, but we arrived to Piura! So that's what really matters! We went over to the mission office and met up with the Assistants and then for the afternoon we went on splits with the Assistants in their area. I was with Elder P so that was super cool. It was fun working with him again! Something crazy happened! Definitely a first of the mission. And I'm almost certain a last as well. We went over to his ward mission leader's house. He is a chiropractor (or however you spell that) and we started talking with him and he looks at me and says, "Your posture isn't the greatest. But I can fix it with 15 minutes of therapy. Do you want therapy?" So I said yes. Not entirely sure what I was thinking, but he made me take off my tie and made me lay down on the therapy table and started cracking my back, putting my body in positions that I didn't even know were possible. Honestly everything he did hurt so badly. But after 20 minutes he finished and says to me, "Now how do you feel?" And I thought about it and absolutely nothing in my body was sore or hurting at all, and I felt super peaceful. It was crazy! That 300 lb. Peruvian works miracles! jajaja. That was pretty cool.
On the bus heading to Piura

Me and my companion at the mission home

Wednesday was our leaders council in the mission home! That was super cool because honestly tons of people there were from my group. There were only 28 people there. And of those 28, 12 of them finish with my group! So there are tons of good friends there! The meeting was super great. President talked to us about what it means to be a leader. We, as leaders in the mission, have a big role in whether or not this mission is going to have success! We talked about the importance of a good example. Probably the best way to teach others is by example. But you have to be an example in every moment possible. Not just in some instances. We also talked about the importance of working together with members. And also about the importance of the Book of Mormon in missionary work! It was a super great conference! And for lunch we ate lasagna so that was sweet! Anything that doesn't have rice is amazing! And then after the conference we had to travel back to Tumbes. Traveling isn't the most fun thing ever. Six hours on buses without air conditioning are rough... but we made it back by 10:30. Hopefully that's the last time that I have to travel until April! 
With all the elders from my intake group!
The rest of the week went by super fast. We had our zone meeting on Friday. I used to always look forward to the zone meetings. But as a zone leader, they are a little bit more stressful because we are the ones that have to teach them. But it turned out great! It was actually kind of fun being able to teach the zone meeting. Our zone here is super great! It's super cool being able to work here in Tumbes. The Church here isn't as strong as it is in Piura, but we have this giant blessing of being able to help it grow! 

It's been raining a ton here in Tumbes. There have been lots of times when we have been out in the streets and it starts to downpour so we find somewhere to stand out of the rain for a few minutes until it passes. I kind of like it though! It's something that hardly ever happened in Piura! My favorite part though is that after it rains tons of giant frogs come out and are jumping all around in the street. It makes me laugh! ;) The bad part is that it makes it more humid so it feels hotter. And when it is more humid more mosquitoes come out. Right now there are tons of mosquitoes. I have like 25 bites right now on my ankles. They always bite me through my socks. But I'm going to start wrapping my ankles in ace bandages before going out to work so that they don't bite me! jajajajaja. PERU PROBLEMS.... 

J C has been passing through this difficult time, but he is determined to stay active in the church! He really is an amazing man! 

My companion and I don't really have many great investigators right now. We have a few that are kind of interested, but not any super promising investigators. Honestly Tumbes can be pretty hard. But my companion and I are sure that this next week we are going to be able to find some new people to teach!

Thanks for all the love and support! Love you all!

Elder Baker 

Monday, March 2, 2015

The months are turning into days! - 03/2/15

2 de Marzo 2015

Holy Moly! February has already come and gone! The months are turning into days! 

This last week was great! I honestly love my new companion! He is super sweet! His name is Elder M. I probably told you a little about him last week! It's super fun working with him! Because we get along super well. And even though we both have been in the mission quite a while, we both are still super excited to work! Time is going by super fast! I really have trouble believing how fast it goes by! 

Lots of stuff happened this last week. For lots of the time I had to help my companion get to know the area and get to know the members. And another thing that we did a ton this last week was talk to new people. Right now we have the goal to talk to over 100 people a week. This last week we talked to 81. This week we are going to talk to more though! Talking to people can be funny. At first it scared me so bad. But in the mission I have learned to just do it. Now it's actually kind of fun. Because you never know what people are going to say. Some people are super receptive. And some people are straight up rude. But my companion and I don't let that get to us. We just laugh about it and keep going. And it actually has helped us out a lot this last week because we really didn't have many investigators. But we were able to go find some new ones this last week! We figure that maybe 10 in 100 people will become investigators. And maybe one in every 100 will end up being baptized! We have some pretty high goals set for us! But we are super excited to keep working! 

Sunday night we had a meeting with President Rowley, the stake president here in Tumbes, and also the other zone leaders from the other zone. We have that meeting once every month. We talk about how the missionary work is going in the stake and changes that we need to make. That was a pretty cool meeting! The stake president here in Tumbes is super cool. It's fun being able to work with him! So we are excited to keep working here in Tumbes. The church has only been here in Tumbes for 25 years. So it is still relatively new. But it's growing! So that's great!

Today for Pday we watched Meet the Mormons with President Rowley and the 2 zones here in Tumbes! That was sweet. I had heard tons about that for so long and was dying to see it! So I'm super happy that I was finally able to see it! It was super good though! Probably my favorite part was the Bishop from Atlanta's dance. jajajajaja. That's crazy. And then afterwards, some of us went and ate Pollo a la brasa. I love pollo a la brasa with Inca Kola. I'm gonna miss that a ton after the mission. 

Tomorrow we have to travel to Piura for the leaders’ conference which is going to be on Wednesday. So I'm pretty excited about that! It should be super fun. I'll try to take some pictures this time... I hope we get to eat in Chilis--that would be the best! Because there are hardly any restaurants that you can trust here in Tumbes! They closed Dominos down. But not just in Tumbes—in all of Peru because supposedly they found a rat in one of them in Lima. So that's kind of a bummer! I was super happy with Dominos here! But anyway, speaking about pizza, our pensionista goes to Ecuador every weekend to visit her family. And this week she brought us pizza from Guayaquil! That was super sweet! Our pensionista here is the best! 

Sorry there's not more time today to write!!  We are pretty busy! But I'm doing well! I love you all! Thanks for all the love and support! 

Elder Baker

That sounds super sweet about the BYU basketball game vs. Gonzaga! Sounds like BYU has a decent team this year, but they’ve had lots of ups and downs. Hopefully next year they will be better! ;) Love you! 

I’m grateful for piano. Even though I never applied myself to learn, I wish I would have. But every morning listening to piano music helps me feel the spirit! I love music for real! 

We were going through our room and throwing tons of old papers away and we played basketball with them. We are not very good though--that's why all of them are on the floor. But anyway, after we finished, I realized that it looks just like the game Paper Toss for iphones. jajaja

I really have met some of the kindest people in the world here in Peru! - 02/23/15

23 de Febrero, 2015

Hey guys! How is it going! Time is flying by here in the mission! Seems like just yesterday that I got here to the mission. But 14 transfers have already flown by! I'm down to just 3 transfers left... :( I'm going to make the best of it though!

This last week was the last week of transfers. And we were super busy as zone leaders because there were tons of things that we had to do. But our zone had 6 baptisms! So that was cool!

Saturday we received the news about transfers. So at noon we had to go to internet to print out the sheet with all of the transfers on it. We got on, and we found out that my companion was being transferred to Piura and that I was going to be receiving a new companion here in Tumbes. His name is Elder Maturana and he is from Chile. He has 21 months in the mission and only has 3 left. But he is a super cool missionary that I met a while ago and I'm super excited to be companions with him! So Elder Dominguez left this morning and Elder Maturana arrived at about 1:00 this afternoon. I'm going to love this next transfer!

I enjoyed my last week here with Elder Dominguez. He really was a great companion and he taught me a ton! I'm super grateful to have been able to work with him! We were busy pretty much the entire week doing baptismal interviews and taking care of some other problems. But it was a good week!
Saying goodbyes to Elder M!

My pensionista and her family!

We decided to do some exchanges with a companionship in our zone and help them work some problems out. So I got to go with Elder B in his area and work with him for a day which was super sweet! I met Elder B back in May when I was in La Unión. So it was super fun working with him for a day. He is from California. And he is super tall. Normally here I feel like a giant, but next to him I felt small again. I'm sure that's how I will feel when I get back to Utah... But anyway! That night we got talking about sports. And before we realized it was already 11:30 and we had been talking about sports for an hour and a half. jaja. It was super fun though! He is a great missionary. He got transferred today though to Sullana where he is going to be a zone leader. It was a great day with him!

We got a crazy call from the sisters on Saturday. They called us from the emergency room telling us that they needed money to pay for the visit and to buy some medicine that they needed because Hermana O got stung twice by a scorpion.... That's something that doesn't happen every day!

I'm super grateful for the new bishop here in the ward! He is super excited and willing to work and to help us out! So many times this last week he has come with us to visit some less active members! And we are seeing progress! Yesterday there were over 130 people that came to church! Which is a lot more than normal!

So my birthday was on the 16th and the Bishop's on the 17th. So on Tuesday night they had a little surprise birthday celebration for the 2 of us in the church. There were more than 50 members there with birthday cakes for us! It was super cool! They sang happy birthday to us and made us take a bite out of the cake and as you go to take a bite they shove it in your face and you are all covered in frosting. jaja. The members here in this ward are great! It was a super great birthday! I may not have been at home, but I didn't feel too far from home! I'm so grateful for loving members! I really have met some of the kindest people in the world here in Peru!

So Junior C had to go to Matapalo this week to work. So we weren't able to teach him, but he did come back on Saturday night and came to church on Sunday! This week we are going to be teaching him more! His dad is doing great! J C is a great convert! He is going to be a great leader in the church!

Today Elder G came to Tumbes from Sanchez Cerro, my old ward, in Sullana. And he told me that our convert,T L is doing great and is one of the most active members in Sullana! I'm so grateful to have gotten to know T! It makes me happy hearing about converts that are still active in the church!

I'm doing great! Love you guys tons! Thanks for all the love and support that you guys give me!

Elder Baker!

P.S. - Tumbes is hot. Literally. Sometimes I think I'm going to die from the heat. But after taking a cold shower I'm able to calm down a bit..... jaja.