August 20, 2013 Keep On Keepin' On

I can't believe it's already been three weeks! Crazy crazy. I got your box yesterday and it made me so so so happy! Thank you!!! Our room hasn't been getting as cold at night, so the Carolina pjs are perfect! Everyone in my district was like, "what's in the box?!?" because it was so big! Haha. I loved it. I was like ummm... hand sanitizer. When they asked if you would be sending any candy I was said they might send swedish fish. And you did! Oh happy day mama!

So I have to answer Grammie's questions before I forget. My district has 12 missionaries- 6 elders, 6 sisters. There were 8 elders, but 2 got their visas. We basically do everything together because us sisters are in the same room and we have classes together and the same schedule. It's a lot of fun. Let's see. I think I already described the sisters, but here are the elders. Elder W (PA), Elder B (AZ), Elder E (CA), Elder D (PA), Elder O (NC-Fayetteville), Elder G (TX). The elders are pretty cool, but it's easy to get distracted around them. Two of the sisters, and one of the elders are going to Natal with me, the rest are going to Riberao Preto.

We have two, three hour class blocks a day with a bunch of studying and eating in between. Our teachers, Irmao Taylor and Irmao Chamberlain are awesome! We try to speak mostly in Portuguese, but it's hard. Irmao Chamberlain is better at staying only in Portuguese, and Irmao Taylor kinda sprinkles English in there a lot of the time. 

So we now are teaching two different "investigators". They're really our teachers posing as people they taught on their missions. So far it's going pretty well. I think us sisters have the language down a bit better then the elders. But anyway, we taught our investigator for Irmao Taylor, then the next class period he took all of us sisters outside to talk to us. We had only taught this investigator one lesson, but he wanted to change who we teach. Now we're teaching people he actually knows that are struggling right now. He's still posing as these people, but it makes it a lot more interesting and real. Just the thought that we don't know how these people's lives will end up is kinda scary, whereas with the others we know that they will eventually be baptized. It's good to know that our prayers are going to someone that really needs it. 

With our investigator for Irmao Chamberlain, the last time we taught him he told us he only had a few minutes before he had to go to work, so we committed him to baptism within like 5 minutes on his doorstep. That was pretty cool.

Last Tuesday we had a devotional from Elder Richard G. Scott and it was so awesome! I sang in the choir, and he talked about prayer. We had about twenty different lessons this week about prayer. Clearly, it's pretty important! Haha.

I'm feeling a lot better, too. I just had a cold for a few days, but it feels like forever because our days are so long. I even took a nap during gym time once. I still have a cough and sound kind of like a man, but oh well. You win some, you lose some. I have to blow my nose a lot and my district found out very quickly that I hate it when people watch me blow my nose, so of course they stare at me. I always walk out of the room. Haha

When I was at the gym yesterday, they were playing a talk from Elder Holland that I loved. You should find it if you get the chance. It's from an April general conference, and he talks about the Book of Mormon and the need for continuing revelation. He addresses the logical and spiritual reasons, and it's seriously so awesome! If you happen to find it, could you share it on my facebook?

Sorry this is pretty scatterbrained, I'm just trying to get everything out in time! Haha.

Thanks for sending Abby's email and mail address.  And also if you could send me Trevor Jackson's email or address that would rock. I have some funny stories that reminded me of him. Irmao Taylor reminds me so much of him it's ridiculous. Oh, and what's Bishop Davis' email? I want to include him, too!

Funny story. When the elders asked me if I have a boyfriend, I told them I have seven. I showed them a picture of me with all my FHE brothers, and said I have one for every day of the week. I'm pretty sure they believed me. Ha! When I got my package yesterday I told them it was from one of my boyfriends and they were like, "wow! you're so lucky!". Haha silly elders. Sister L and I keep things pretty interesting around here, that's for sure. 

And I did see Alex Vincent a few times! He works in the TRC or something, so I've seen him maybe three times. Even though I don't really know him, it's cool.

I've gotten a dearelder from Mo & Sui and Nellie. So I'm going to write them back today. And Sister Davis sent me this adorable card from the nursery. I don't know if I told you about it, but it's each kid holding up a word that all together says "We are proud of you". Sister Davis is the best. Give her a huge hug for me. 

I love hearing everything from everyone. Colin's dearelder was precious. Mostly because Emma told me how he would say "stop" after every sentence. I hope he's liking his bed. He's got the best one in the house!

I didn't get the dearelder that you sent on Sunday. Just so you know. 

I still don't know anything about my visa. If/WHEN it comes, I'll just get a letter in the mail with my travel plans. ( I think) But until then, I await my reassignment. Most people get reassigned but there's still a chance! Still hope! 

Portuguese is getting better. I still have to work harder to understand what people are saying.  I think it's easier for Sister L because she has a strong Spanish background and the vocab is similar. In the lessons, if she doesn't know a word she just says it in Spanish and it's usually right. Yeah, that doesn't work for me. I have to catch myself saying French words and phrases like aussi, allons-y, and donc. You know, just those filler words. So I made my official language study plan at the beginning of this week and I included words and phrases for small talk. I decided one of my goals is that I want to be able to hold small talk with people I come across. I think it's really important because that's when you find out stuff about people's lives. People aren't just going to pour out their heart to you just because you ask, "what do you think about this scripture?" You know? You have to be their friend first and let them know that you care about them so they can trust you and open up. 

Sorry I don't really have any pictures for this week. We're only allowed to take pictures on P-day and our Sunday walk. So I don't really have any new pictures for you. Although I took a bunch of selfies on someone's camera. That was fun. (They're in my district. Don't worry). Hopefully I'll end up on a blog or something! Mwahaha. We also took some district pictures by the temple. I'll ask them to forward the email to me so I can send it to you. I bet you'd like that. 

Last night one of the elders in my district said the missionaries in his ward in Pennsylvania have iPads too. I'm still really confused as to how they have them, but it's still pretty cool. 

I wish we had more time in the day. Sometimes I think a block for nap time would be awesome. It's funny because at this meeting the leaders were telling us that we have 8 hours of sleep incorporated into our schedule, so there's no excuse not to get the right amount of sleep. My whole section was like Uhhh no,.. I don't think she knows that we're on a "visitor's schedule". Not sure what that exactly means, but we have to wake up earlier so we get like an hour less of sleep. It's pretty stinky sometimes. I just don't think they know that because we're all waiting for visas we have to wake up earlier than everyone else every day of the week. Some people have to get up earlier for service, but that's just one day. Anyway, I'm so excited to take a nap this afternoon!

So I learned that I can't wear some of my shirts and skirts. My shirts come down to low and I don't want to have to wear something underneath them because it will be super hot. And I can't wear those high-low skirts either. So I'll be sending those back along with my birdie shoes. They just aren't comfortable enough. Hey, that will just mean more room for souvenirs! Woot woot! 
Oh, I forgot about a cool story. 

So when Elder Bednar was a missionary, President Packer came to visit their mission. On their way out, Elder Bednar had the thought that they might get hungry and gave them the equivalent of 20 dollars. Apparently Sister Packer's passport didn't work or something, and wouldn't be able to leave the country, so President Packer put the 20 into her passport as he gave it to the person at the gate. (He called it a righteous transaction or something- not bribery. haha) That way they were able to continue on and whatnot. 

Anyway I really like that story, and what President Packer said, "Sometimes the Spirit is just a good thought."

Well I'm almost out of time, so I have to go. But I love you! Thanks for the package and the dear elders!

Keep on keepin' on!

Sister Baker


August 13, 2013 Learning and Preparing for Brazil!

Sister Baker and Sister L in front of the Provo Temple holding the Brazilian Flag


This past week has flown by! Time goes by so weirdly here. (pretty sure I just made up that word) But it's true. Yesterday was seriously like an entire week packed into one day. I'm starting to feel sick. Not good, I know. An elder in my district was bedridden yesterday and I felt so bad for him. Luckily I only have a sore throat and a headache. Mom, I used the doterra oils for my headache and they really helped! So thank you!

This is pretty much how the past week went down:

Wednesday: New missionaries. I felt pretty old and experienced even though I'm still not quite sure what's going on. Sister L and I taught our "investigator" Lucas about the Book of Mormon and the Restoration and it went well! I understood most of what he said and I think he understood us. 

Thursday: We committed Lucas to baptism! Hurrah! It was such a good feeling! But, that lesson was so hard for me to teach. For whatever reason I was having a super hard time understanding what he was saying and trying to find the words to explain how I felt. Afterwards I was disappointed with how I did. I guess it's really easy to get discouraged when everyone has such high expectations, and I have even higher expectations for myself. 

Friday: Surprise, surprise. Lucas, our investigator is actually our teacher! His name is Irmao T and is awesome. He actually reminds me of Trevor Jackson in both looks and personality. It's kinda funny. But he's an awesome teacher and told us how much of a spiritual experience for him it was to be taught by us. He shared with us something that he learned about the gift of tongues. He said he always figured that God would change the incorrect words or phrases that missionaries speak in the investigator's heads. But that's not really how it worked for him. He heard the wrong words and phrases we would say, and even when they made no sense at all, the Holy Ghost would help him understand our intentions. It was nice to hear that we actually did a good job.

Saturday: Don't remember much from this day. We did have a stress management class. That was pretty fun. 

Sunday: Sunday Funday!! We heard from the general relief society president, Sister Whixom. She was awesome! So spiritual. And she reminded us how important it is to make a connection with the families we teach, so they know that we really do care about them. Sister L and I are trying to get to know our investigators, but it's hard when we don't know any normal vocabulary. So we just say things like muito bom! And they smile at us because they know we don't really know what they're talking about. 

Monday: LONGEST DAY EVER. Seriously. Sister L and I taught our new investigator Jefferson, who is really Irmao T. I was trying to get to know him better, asking about his family and whatnot. So I asked him where he was from, and all he says is "here." So I'm like "Oh, Provo?" And he looks at me like I'm crazy and says, "No, Brazil!" I was so embarrassed, and we all just started laughing. My Portuguese is getting a lot better. This lesson I understood pretty much everything, and I even understood some words Irmao T had no clue I would know. S. Lewis and I make a good team. She's better at understanding, and I'm better at speaking. Now our goal is to even it out and work on our weaknesses. 

In other news, we went to the temple this morning! It re-opened yesterday and it was awesome to go with all missionaries. 

All of us sisters in my district do visa pushups. Every day. Sometimes we do visa crunches and visa squats, too. Our logic is that if we work hard during gym time and do enough visa pushups, our visas will come! I'm trying to do enough for our whole zone to get theirs. I'll let you know how that goes. Haha

The Elders in our district are a hoot. They keep us laughing all the time. Sometimes it's hard to focus when they're around, so we have to go other places to study, but they're hilarious! Sister Ls and I started writing down their quotes and we've got quite a few ones. Us sisters are also pretty crazy. (But mostly me and Sister L. The Elders admitted we're their favorites. haha) We are always calling each other IIIIIIIIIIIRMAAAAAAAA! (That means sister) in a really creepy voice, and the Elders have started to join in. I would say our efforts are a success. 

Elder E: *after making a biting motion in thin air* "I just felt like biting his nose off." 

Elder O: *talking about praying during a lesson* "I couldn't think of anything else to say, so I just went uuuuuuuummmm." (read that like a soulful preacher)

Elder O: "Dude! My brother looks like a Keebler elf!"

Elder E: "Oh relief society... the society you go to to relieve yourself." 

Sister L: "We're the Estados-Unidos but we're separados if you know what I mean." 

Mo Vangkue from Albelmarle Ward is in the classroom down the hall from me! It's cool to see her all the time. 

Oh! About devotional last week! It actually wasn't Elder Christofferson. The Elders lie to us sometimes, apparently. : ) But I think tonight's devotional will be a high up general authority because our devotional is going to be broadcast to all the other MTCs! I'm singing in the choir, so I'm super pumped for that!

I think one of the biggest things I learned was that nothing will stop the work from going forth. This is the Lord's work and no matter who tries or how hard they try to stop the truth, it's still going to happen! That's why God is helping us missionaries so much. He knows that we have an amazing work to perform for Him, and is going to help us every step of the way. I mean how else would 18, 19, and 20-year old's be able to pick up on crazy ridiculously hard languages in such a short amount of time?! Heavenly Father has people that He's preparing for us to teach, so He's helping us get where we need to be for His children. 

Well I'm going to try to send some pictures today! But I love you, and thanks for the dearelder.com letters! They are amazing! When I get more than one, I tell everyone in my district that they're from my various boyfriends. haha.

 peace & blessings

Sister Baker
 Sister missionaries in Katie's MTC district.  They are all going to Brazil.

Elder P and Elder C both got their visas last week. I don't think they did nearly enough visa pushups, but that's just me. This is the IIIIIIIIIRMAAAAAAA face.

Elder C!!! My BYU FHE brother. Denmark is getting a good missionary. And Sister M had to be in the picture because elders and sisters can't be in a picture together by themselves.


Oi! Bom dia!

Minha familia e amigos,
I HAVE ARRIVED! I made it to the MTC! I love it here so far. I've had a lot of fun & have been studying like crazy. Mom, you sent me like a bajilion questions and I'm trying to remember all of the to answer so I'll do my best to answer them all.
First things first, thanks for all the dearelders! I loved them! Especially getting like 6 of them from you mom. And one from dad. Haha that was funny.
Minha companheira- her name is Sister L and is from Oklahoma City, OK. She's pretty awesome and we have a lot of fun together. We've come to the conclusion that we're basically the same person. She just graduated form BYU with a degree in Communications and we have the same sense of humor. I want to figure out how to attach pictures because we took some great ones at the temple last week with a Brazillian flag. We both make crazy faces and tell funny stories and all the elders in the district are like, "Sisters, you study too much. You're going crazy."
So there are six sisters in my district and originally 8 elders. Two of the elders are going to Brazil today because they got their visas. I'm a wee bit jealous. Just a bit. But it's all good because I love being here. The spirit is so strong here all the time! I love it! So all six of us sisters share a room. It's a little cramped, but not too bad. One of the sisters is actually a friend from BYU! It was nice to find a familiar face on that first day, because it was kind of intimidation. Alright so in my district there's Sister L (Oklahoma), Sister M (from BYU - Ohio), Sister V (California), Sister H (Colorado) and Sister S (texas). I know most of the elders' names, but I can't remember where they're from.
You know how they always say the language comes fast? Well it's true! Sister L and I have already taught three lessons entirely in Portuguese! I'm amazed at how fast it's coming. I mean, I still have a long long way to go, but I'll get there. The Lord wants His gospel shared and He's going to help the missionaries learn their languages. It's funny because I thought my French would really help me, and in some ways it has. But so far it is just confusing me. During our lessons, if I would forget how to say it in Portuguese, I would automatically say in in French and our investigator would look at me like I was crazy. So that's kind of hard. But I find myself loosing more and more of my French, which doesn't really bother me. I'm here to learn Portuguese and that's what I'm going to do!
Tonight we have a devotional from Elder Christofferson! AHHH! I'm so excited! And on Sunday we all went and watched Elder Bednar's Christmas devotional, "The Character of Christ." Watch it. Seriously. Everyone. Everywhere. It was AMAZING. It really changed my perspective on my mission. It's not about me or any of the other missionaries really. This whole work is about bringing souls to Christ and I'm just here to stand in His place. Since He can't be here physically on the Earth, I have the priviledge of representing Him and teaching people about Him.
Oh, and here's a quote from one of the elders. Just for kicks and giggles.
Elder E: "The sisters are so lucky they get to wear jewelry. I want to wear a necklace. Like Kanye!"
Oh, silly silly elder. Sister L and I found this cheap gold chain necklace with this huge gaudy dollar sign on it and we're going to give it to him so he can look like Kanye! But not really. Remember, you're a representative of the Lord, Elder....
Well I'm almost out of time, and I still have to email my branch president. But I love you all! Thanks so much for the thoughts and prayers and letters! And Sister Davis- thanks for the letter from the nursery, I seriously melted my heart!
Love you all!
Sister Baker
So I lied. Sorry.  Apparently I get an hour to email! For some reason the computer told me I only have half an hour when everyone else says I can take an hour. I'm not really sure what's going on but I'm thankful that I get more time! So I guess you can just stick this on the end.
I like the food. Sometimes it looks pretty gross, but almost every day they have a place you can get salad wraps and salads, so I try to stick over there. But on Sundays and Wednesdays they have BYU ice cream! Life doesn't get much better than that. haha.
I can wear my chacos around campus, which is nice. I saw a few sisters wearing them the first day, so I figured it wouldn't be a problem if I did. Yeah, my classes are cold. I wear my sweaters almost every day. But they're perfect because they go with everything! So thanks mom! I got cold at night the first few days, then I just snatched up one of the blankets lying in the hallway. But if you REALLY want to, you could sent a Carolina sweatshirt or something. :) Wink wink. But other than that it's all good. I've been using the shampoo bar that we got and I looooove it! I'm not a huge fan of the conditioner, but I found some in the giveaway box in the hallway. So I don't have to buy one! Hurrah!
I'm surprised at how much I've written in my notebooks. I'll probably end up buying a journal before I leave because I'll have the one I'm using all filled up. I'll probably send them home before I leave or something.
Ok. Funny story. So the other day when you sent me my first dear elder I was so so so excited to read it. I had to wait the whole day until when I got home to read it. So hopped up on my top bunk, all excited and whatnot, open the letter and start reading something addressed to Jacob. Ummm... ok? Weird. I turn it over and it definitely has my name on it. I see at the bottom the last few sente
nces of your actual letter and know it's from mom. So... where's the rest of the letter!? At this point, I was a bit frustrated. I thought this letter to Jacob was just recycled paper or something. So I'm thinking, "Well since I can't read my actual letter, I'm going to read this one!" Yeah. Turns out Jacob is an elder in my district and I just read his letter. So awkward. The next day I was like, "So... Elder C. You're family is doing well. Your dad has a high priest group meeting tonight and Jonah is praying for you. Here's your letter that I accidentally read! Enjoy" *cue walking away awkwardly* Yeah. He was like "it's ok. Not a big deal." But I could tell he was a bit freaked out. He's one of the elder's that got his visa, so he was probably happy to get away from the creepy sister. Oh well.
So.. what else is there to talk about?? Umm. We study pretty much all day. Except when we work out. And sleep. Even at mealtimes we're practicing Portuguese.
I've seen quite a few people I know from BYU here. I still haven't seen Katie M, but I've seen my FHE brothers Spencer C and Spencer L, and a few of my coworkers from the Creamery. It's fun to talk to them and catch up.
I still haven't figured out how to attach pictures, but I'll send them as soon as I can!
Let's see.. I think handwritten letters are the bomb.com, soooo anyone who wants to write me a letter should go for it!
Oh! There's one elder in my district that's engaged. Yeah. Engaged. Not just a promise ring. Homeboy's got an engagement ring. Trying so hard not to judge.
And Sister L and I have to cut down on our slang. For every infraction we have to do five crunches. I had to do like 50 the other day. We keep saying that we're going to have rockin' temples of the Lord.
Well, looks like I'm actually out of time. So, until next week! I love you!
Sister Baker

July 31, 2013 Missionary Training Center Arrival Day

Before the MTC dropoff--Brunch with Family at Zuppa's.  It's a tradition now.  First with Trevor, now with Katie.  Everything is easier after a chocolate covered strawberry, right?

Oh Happy Day!!!  Oh Happy Day!!!  July 31, 2013 arrived and so did Sister Baker at the MTC in Provo along with 800+ other missionaries entering that day.  What an amazing day!!!

Luckily, we had lots of girl power to send her off--Marianne Harris, her Aunt Melanie, her Aunt Leslie, her emotional mom, and several cute cousins (see pics).

July 29, 2013 Saying Goodbye to Family and Charlotte

Katie went to the movie theater to say goodbye to Trevor, who was working.  It seems like we just welcomed him home!

Then we went to dinner at Panera and Katie said goodbye to Colin and Emma.  Guess who didn't want to let go???

Then off to the airport to start the trek west!!  Katie is a seasoned traveler, so she knows the ropes.

Flying out of Charlotte, NC was hard.  Katie is a true "daddy's girl", and since her daddy had to work, he couldn't come to Utah to drop her off.  So...they had a little daddy/daughter snuggle and several tissues.

July 28, 2013 Katie Gets Set Apart as a Missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints