Catching up on MTC pictures

Click on the link below to read about what life is like for missionaries in the MTC.   There is a cool infographic at the top of the article.  Click to open it .  It gives details about typical daily activities for missionaries in MTCs all over the world.


Below are some pictures Katie has sent from the time she spent in the MTC.  They work hard and study hard for most of the time everyday; however,  fun and silliness seem to punctuate their activities throughout their day, as well.  What else would you expect from mostly 18-19 year-old young adults?  They look like they're having fun and are happy to be there.  It's not easy, but it's definitely worth it!

Katie and her companion love being dramatic!

Care packages and letters are the BEST!

Their Portuguese Language Instructors try to mimic the famous "rabbit faces" Katie told us about a few weeks ago.

Silly Wabbits!!

Studying the Scriptures can be done in many places!

September 23, 2013 Attacked by a Cat? No, just Blackberry Bushes! Haha

This week has gone by so fast! But it's awesome, and I love it!
Tuesday we had a conference with all the sisters of the mission. It was really cool to see. There were about 50 of us, President Samuelian, and Sister Samuelian. He first talked about rescuing souls. He said that before and after this life, we rescue souls. So what do you think we're here to do now? Rescue souls, of course! So here I am, rescuing souls in Oregon. I love it. President also talked about studying. We need the spiritual strength and guidance that comes from the scriptures, and good daily scripture study will get us there. So I've been trying to focus more on my personal study. Be more diligent and study with my investigators in mind. That sort of stuff. So far it's been a huge help. President also talked about the fact that Salem is a new mission. The Lord would not open a new mission here if there are not people here prepared to hear the message of the restored gospel. He just wouldn't. And the same goes for Natal! There are people being prepared to learn about Christ and our job is to find them and teach them.
Clearly the conference got me super pumped. We've set high goals for this week and are following President's advice, "If you can think it, you can do it!" Nos podemos! Nos podemos!
Wednesday we had a kick-booty planning session. That was sah-weeeet. And this week is going to be awesome. Oh, and then one of our investigators went into the hospital because of his liver. He said he was in the hospital in Kaiser, which is the name of our stake. So we assumed it would be in our mission boundaries, got permission from the ZLs to leave our area, and a member took us to the hospital. Apparently the hospital is in Keizer. Near Portland. Yeah. Not in our boundaries. So we're at the hospital freaking out, called the ZLs and they're kinda irked, and our member is like ehhh no big deal. We were at the hospital literally about 15 minutes. I mean we're on the boundary of the mission, so it didn't seem like the hospital would be out of mission boundaries or anything. It just felt really uncomfortable the whole time.
Thursday was exchanges. Sister F (a sister training leader) came with us for a day, while Sister H went into Salem with Sister W. It was a really fun day. Sister F is going home after this transfer and she is a seasoned pro! I was just learning from everything she did, absorbing it up like a sponge. We also had a lesson with a member's friend, which was awesome. He said he would be baptized if he found out the church is true. But we're letting the ZLs teach him, because he would be going to the YSA ward, and they're over that ward.
Friday we had an awesome lesson with J. J is hard to teach sometimes because he just goes off on random tangents and forgets how he was going to relate it to what we were talking about, so just keeps talking anyway. But he's a good guy. We were worried we would have to drop him because he wasn't progressing, but he's progressing now! He read Alma 32 and we had an awesome discussion on faith. I can see that the Spirit is starting to touch him, and I know it's because of the Book of Mormon. It changes lives, people! And I'm starting to take on a bigger role in lessons. At first I had a hard time saying things because either Jerome would be talking, or Sister T or H would be talking. So it was hard to get a word in. But now I'm starting to teach more. It's awesome. I've also learned that the Spirit helps me teach most often through scriptures. Like I will be sitting in the lesson listening, and a scripture will pop into my head that relates perfectly. It's so cool! Because scriptures explain things much more profoundly than I ever can! And I'm surprised I remember that many random scriptures. It's definitely the Spirit, that's for sure.
Saturday started off with service at our investigator G's house. We helped her clear out blackberry bushes from the back of her house for about two hours. It wouldn't have been hard at all except for the vicious thorns on the bushes. Let's just say Sister T told me I look like I got mauled by a cat. I told her she should see the cat. But my battle scars are pretty sweet. Haha.
Sunday we had to drop one of our investigators. It was sad. But that's how Satan tempts us on missions! We're here to find those that are prepared, and teaching people that aren't progressing at all can be a waste of time sometimes. Harsh, but true. Oh and Sunday we ate like five tons of food. I don't know how it happened, but people just kept giving us food. I need to practice how to politely turn down food, especially for Brazil.
That's awesome about Trevor Jackson! BRAZIL!!! Tell both Trevors to stop being lame and write me an email! : )
How are things with dad's work?
Well I love you a ton! Gotta go. Keep on keepin' on!
Sister Baker

Following the Rules--Always 1 to watch while the car is backing up

Katie's cute Carolina Blue toes and Study Time!

September 16, 2013 A Whole Lot of Awesomeness Going On

Working at a Food Drive in Oregon

 We got an email from a wonderful lady who lives in Oregon.  She sent us this picture of Katie and her companions.  She wrote this email to each family about these three missionaries.  I love her!

Your daughters are all serving in my ward in Oregon.  We had a day of service yesterday where our ward

collected food for the County food bank.  They could not go out and collect food, but they were at the drop off
place and helped  fill the tote with food.   Our ward collected 850 pounds to contribute to the Stake total of 17,000
pounds.  They had a great time visiting and helping.
We are grateful to each of you for sharing your daughters.  We love having the Sisters in our Ward.
They are doing great things in our Ward.
I don't have children, but have had enough friends over the years who have had children serve missions
and I know how excited they are to get pictures of their missionaries....so just wanted to
share with you what they were up to yesterday morning.
Kathy Lazott

So this is what has been going on: a whole lot of awesomeness! We stay busy and it's great!
Wednesday: We did a lot of contacting with less actives and recent converts. Then that night we went to this Relief Society service auction. Between the three of us, we ended up scoring big time! I got this huge basket of apples and like 10 homemade cinnamon rolls, then the other sisters got loaves of bread and a pie. And members of the ward give us food all the time. So it's awesome.
Thursday: We did a lot of tracting and it just so happened to be the hottest day of the year or something. Around a hundred degrees. We were only outside for short bursts so it was ok, but still hot. I just kept thinking to myself, "this isn't that bad!" You know, I have to keep it all in perspective. We visited this investigator named J, who is really cool. But he goes off on tangents all the time.
Then we did weekly planning, which took forever. Mostly because I had no idea what was going on. I met the neighbor's kids & gave them some of the chocolates that Kaleena McKell gave me. They have scripture quotes on them, so I told them about the Book of Mormon and Christ and all sorts of cool stuff. They're cute kids. We also have dinner at members' houses every night, which is really fun. It's nice to actually get to know the members too. And Sister T and H said whenever they ask me to say a prayer I can do it in Portuguese. They're helping me practice and keep up as much as I can.
Friday: I went to my first zone conference, which was fun. They asked me to say the opening prayer on the spot, so I just did it in Portuguese. I think I might have freaked everyone out for a bit, because afterwards the zone leaders explained that I'm waiting for my visa and whatnot. Then after the meeting I had to pass off a few memorizations and role plays. It wasn't hard at all, but the other sisters there were struggling a little bit. I guess it's just because I've had 4 more weeks of practice than they have. The zone leaders were pretty impressed with me (which definitely made me feel good) and said they didn't have any critiques! That was surprising. But I'm also working on memorizing everything in English and Portuguese. Afterwards we did some more contacting and went to the house of a member's daughter. We talked to them for a while and the mom agreed to let us teach her. Sister T said when she first got here, she would have never thought she would teach that family. So awesome!
Saturday: In the morning we helped out with a community food drive. Since we weren't allowed to go door to door with our name tags on, we stayed at the collection station and helped load food into this huge cardboard box. Sister T even jumped in there a few times. She's a hoot.
I'm supposed to be doing four hours of study a day (personal, companion, training, and language), but it's hard to get it done because of all of our appointments! I've ended up doing language study stuff in the car on the way to and from appointments, but it's still hard to get it all in.
Sunday: We had two of our investigators come to church, which was awesome! One is from a part-member/less active family, and the other is getting baptized in a few weeks. We asked L (the one getting baptized) how she felt after church. She said she felt at home, really peaceful, and kind of like deja vu. So cool! We've also got almost our entire week planned out down to the hour! We're trying to get more members at lessons, go on splits, and things like that. So this week is going to be crazy busy!
Today we got to go shopping! A sister in our ward drove us to a shopping center and we got to go to TARGET! It was great. I got a rainjacket. I figure it's already getting pretty drizzly, and I'll probably want one when I get back for BYU, so I got one. It's gray and super cute. After this I'm planning on going home and taking a nap! I'm so excited!!!

 1. Is it getting cold there yet? Not too bad. It's mostly really nice outside. When it gets breezy, I put on a cardigan.

2.  Have you had any great teaching experiences? Umm. We haven't taught very many formal, sit down lessons. We mostly stop by people's houses, see how they're doing, and share a message because they either don't want to come to church or are getting back into coming to church. So we're just there to let them know they're loved.

3.  What kind of service have you done this week? We helped move wood at a member's home. The mom is a member, but the dad isn't. They live out in the country on a farm. She's pretty much the pioneer woman.

4. Who are the missionaries in your district? I really don't know. I only know my companions and my district leader, Elder M.

5.  Do you have mostly Elders or is it pretty even with sisters? At the zone meeting, there were about 8 sisters and twice as many elders. I'm not sure how that compares with the rest of the mission, though.

6.  Do you get to go watch the General Relief Society Broadcast on September 29th? I think so. I heard about it, so we're probably going to invite our investigators.

7.  What is your apartment like? Any pictures? I haven't taken any pictures yet, but I have a bunch from the MTC that I'm trying to attach.

8.  What do you do on P-Day? Email, laundry, clean, wash the car, shop, sleep. That's about it. Oh, and study. A lot.

9.  How's your Portuguese study coming? Ehh. It's ok. It would be better if I was in Brazil, of course. But I do what I can. I pray aloud almost entirely in Portuguese.

10.  What was the best thing that happened this week? The B family letting us come teach them!

11. Did anything funny happen this week? Funny stuff happens all the time, but nothing in particular. We played ninja last night at the Allen home. It's good to know there are other ninja-loving families out there.

12. Do you have any questions for us? I want to know what everyone is up to!!

13.  How often do new missionaries enter your mission?  Every six weeks? I'm not exactly sure.

14.  Do you need anything? Just love! Oh! Some healthy snacks would be awesome! I feel like I'm always so crunched for time when we go shopping, and never pick out snacks. And I LOVE my shampoo bar. I bet I say that every week, but it rocks. If you feel inclined to send another one, I wouldn't mind :)

15.  Have you heard of any other visa waiters besides for Brazil in your mission there in Oregon? Nope. I don't get much news about anything.
Well I've got to go. But I love you! Happy late birthday Colin!!!
Peace & blessins!
Sister Baker


September 9, 2013 1st Week!!!

This is starting my first official week as a missionary! What?! Crazy, I know. Sometimes I feel like someone's going to pinch me and I'll wake up or something.

Grammie's Questions
1. Where are your 2 companions from? 
Sister T is from Payson, UT, Sister H is from Tucson, AZ
2. Do you have an apartment or living with members? 
An apartment. They put up streamers and nifty signs welcoming me to my new home. It was so sweet!
3. How big is your tracking area? 
I'm not sure. Probably about as big as our ward. It's hard to tell because I have no idea where we are most of the time.
4. Were there any other missionaries that are in your mission besides the sister that you flew to Oregon with that were at the MTC
    with you?
Nope, just her. She's actually going to Natal, too!
Mom's Questions

1.  Are you going to be riding bikes or do you ever get a car? We have a car. Super snazzy.

2.  What is your mailing address for the mission? 700 Deborah Rd. Suite 260 Newberg, OR 97132

3.  Did President Samuelian or any of the others give you any good advice? In the car ride on the way to the temple, he talked a lot about faith and fear. Just about how we can't have faith or teach people how to have faith when we're scared. It's one of Satan's most effective tools on the mission, because we aren't tempted by things that would normally tempt us. If he can get us to keep our mouths closed because we're afraid then he's done his job.

4.  What questions did you have for President Samuelian? I was going to ask about my Chacos, then I realized my feet were cold in my flats. So I didn't because I would sound dumb.

5.  What is Sister Samuelian like? She's really nice! She was the one that greeted us first at the airport. She's just an all-around sweet lady. And they're super cute together. President Samuelian said that you made him cry. He said you are a wonderful mother. :) I think so too!

6.  Tell me about your companions?  Where are they from, etc? Sister T- Payson, UT, a total cowgirl, senior companion/trainer, hilarious, super outgoing. Sister H - Tucson, AZ, went to BYUI, Sister T says we're a lot alike, we quote movies a lot. 

7.  How was your first Sunday at church?  Did you have to introduce yourself?  What did you say?  Did you represent NC well?haha Of course I represented NC! I introduced myself to about a thousand different people and remember about 10 names. I introduced myself in Relief Society. Everyone was super nice. Everyone's been asking why I don't have a southern accent. Maybe I should start faking one or something... Just kidding. That would count as bearing false witness.

8.  Do people sign up to feed you there like we do for our missionaries here or do you have to cook for yourselves? We have dinner appointments pretty much every night. We have a lunch and dinner appointment today. I bet Trevor's rolling his eyes right now or scoffing or something like that. Yeah, the members are really good to us. 

9.  Do you use ipads in your mission? Not that I know of.

10.  Do they know that other missions are using ipads? Probably. It hasn't come up.

11.  What is the town like? It's a super small town. We cover about 4 of those small towns in our area. It's confusing because we'll drive five minutes, pass a field, then be in a new town. But I like it. It's actually pretty green like NC. They just have more of the evergreen trees.

12.  Will you send me a picture of your mission map?  I'd like to know what the boundaries are. I'll take a picture when we get back to our apartment tonight. 

13.  How do you feel now that you are there? Pretty good. I don't know how to explain it, I feel like a real missionary, but it's also hard that I'm not in Brazil. I kinda don't know what to expect. I could leave any day, you know? 

14.  Are there many visa waiters for Brazil in your mission? I'm not sure. I only know of us two.

15.  How many missionaries are there in your mission? about 170 I think. President Samuelian said they had 135 or something like that when the mission opened in July.

16.  Do you go tracting or mainly follow up on referrals? We mostly contact less active members and their families, teach lessons, and contact referrals. 

17.  Where do you go to do your emails on p-day? We're at our ward building in the family history center.

18.  Have you taught anyone there yet? We've taught probably 5 or 6 lessons since I've been here. I haven't done any real teaching yet. I mostly just comment on things. Yesterday I gave a spiritual thought at a member's home. They enjoyed it, I think. 

Anywhoo! Life is good, keeping busy! Keepin' on keepin' on. I'm trying to find time today to respond to the wonderful letters I've gotten!

I love you & the Church is true!

Sister Baker


September 7, 2013 Oregon or BUST!

Sister Baker has ARRIVED!!!  Her mission president called the Baker home in North Carolina and chatted with us for a bit to let us know Katie was safely there and that she was sitting in their living room getting to know her two companions.  It was such a nice surprise to hear from President Samuelian.  The conversation was so nice and gave us peace of mind to know where Katie would be serving and with whom.  He told us about how they took Katie to the Portland Oregon Temple to take pictures and then to the mission home.   This missionary mom is so impressed with them.  They are newly called as this is a new mission for the church.  President and Sister Samuelian will be serving for three years as the mission president.  Love them already!

Brother & Sister Baker,

We are thrilled to have your daughter here with us in the newly formed Oregon Salem Mission! She should be sending you an email on Monday which is her Preparation day.

Kind Regards,
President & Sister Samuelian
Katie's Mission President and his lovely wife at the Portland Oregon Temple

Sister Baker and her new companions Sister T and Sister H. Her first area is the Woodburn Ward.

September 7, 2013 Thank you Sister S!

Hello Sister Baker!

I am Sister M. S. from your daughter's MTC district. I took a few pictures of her as she left this morning and she asked me to send them to you. She is so amazing and I have loved spending the last 6 weeks with her. It was hard to say goodbye, but I know she will do amazing things in Salem. Sisters V, H, M, L and I walked her to the travel office at 4:20 this morning where we met up with the Elders from our district as well. We stood in a circle and prayed together for Sister Baker and for each of us as we depart the next few days. The Sisters then took her to where the shuttle was and took a few pictures before we said our goodbyes. I hope you enjoy the pictures! And I hope all is well with you!
Sister M----- S------

Ready to Go Serve!!

So sad to go--going to miss all her Sisters

The BEST group of Sisters EVER!!! Who else would get up to take Katie to the MTC Travel Office at 4:20 in the morning!

September 6, 2013 REASSIGNMENT!!!

I got it!! Oregon Salem Mission! I just found out and I´m leaving tomorrow! There´s so much to do I´m kinda freaking out!!

So funny story. 

Last night I got a package from Kaleena McKell (which was SO WONDERFUL. I took pictures) and I was sitting on the floor devouring some goodies. Sister S also got this massive package that she was opening up and it was full of yummy food. So it was just us two in the room and we didn't know where everyone else went. Probably showering and stuff. Anyways, so I'm sitting there, snacking, and I open up your first dear elder and I read the first line. I had no idea that was coming, and I was just in complete shock. It was so unexpected that I just turned to Sister S and was told her what you told me. Then we both started screaming and she started getting red and crying, then I got a bit teary. I was screaming and freaking out, so I ran down the hall to tell some other sisters in my zone and we were all just freaking out. It was pretty great. I decided to wait until all the sisters in my district cane back to tell them. Sister L was dying. She wanted to know so bad. Haha. But it took forever for everyone to come, then I told them, then all was well in Zion. 

So we all opened up our reassignments about 10 minutes ago. Our district opened it with the district right next to us, because we're all good friends and came in the MTC the same day and whatnot. So it was a lot of reassignments and happiness and freaking out. There are several people that are going to Washington and Oregon. Sister L is going to Portland! They couldn't handle us in the same mission I guess. Too much crazy. But I'm the only sister that I know of that's going to Salem, and I'm the only one that's leaving tomorrow. So it's officially my pday! So much to do!!!

Some flight info (because I know you and especially dad love that stuff):

I'm flying Delta flight 2189. I'm sure you could find the information just from that, but I leave at 8:32 am and arrive at 9:18 am. So I have to be at the missionary travel office at 4:30 tomorrow morning! If I could put 4:30 in all caps I would! Like I said, so much to do in so little time! 

Yesterday we had in-field orientation (basically a bunch of cool meetings) and they were talking about how next week we would be participating in ward councils and other meetings. That's THIS week for me! AHHH! 

I still have my calling card so I'll call you when I land! 

I'm going to creep on my new mission and I'll check back in a bit. 

Tchau tchau! I love you!!!!!

September 3, 2013 Almost Out of the CTM

Questions from Back Home:
1.        Have you heard anything about your visa or where you may be going? We find out this Thursday or Friday where we will be reassigned. I'm still hoping for a visa though! Everyone in the district has a feeling that one of the sisters will get their visa. We'll see...
2.       Any funny adventures or funny stories this week? Oh always. Just this morning I locked Sister L & I out of our room. We were sitting on couches in the lobby doing our personal study. Then I went inside to change, locked the door, and I forgot to unlock it. Usually when you turn the handle, the door unlocks but I forgot. So we waited it out about 10 minutes to see if any of the sister would come back before lunch, but no luck. Then we hailed down some random sisters to help us get to the floor with all the custodians. (we have this little swipey card thing to get in all the buildings and floors of the residences) So when we got up to the custodians' office, no one was there. I used the phone to call the front desk to send a key, but the random sisters that were helping us out had to go get it for us because we didn't have shoes or a card. It was a mess. But a fun little experience overall. Tons of funny things happen, we have to keep ourselves sane after all. Oh, I also creep on conversations that I hear in French. Just to make sure I've still got it in my brain. One day it won't be a huge jumbled up mess in there...
3.       Do you need any more sweaters?  I am still looking for a Carolina sweatshirt. Nope I'm good I think. I wear my Carolina pjs basically every night & they are wonderful! You're the best mom. But I guess it depends on where I'll get reassigned. I'm going to send some stuff home, do you want anything from the bookstore? They have stuff in different languages and I can get it with a discount. 
4.       What was the best thing you ate this week? BYU Creamery ice cream on Sunday. I had half Graham Canyon and half Coconut Joy. Pure bless, lemme tell ya.
5.       Have you been able to use the camera card adapter thing I sent you?  Is it helpful? I've just been using my camera cord, but I let a few other missionaries borrow it because their cords weren't working. So it's been working for them and they send their gratitude!
6.       What is your typical schedule like each day? Wake up at 6:00, class from 7-10, personal study from 10-11, lunch 11-11:45, either language study or an additional study for a few hours, gym for 50 minutes, we get 30 minutes to change/freshen up/whatever, study more, class is usually from 6-9, then planning from 9-9:30. Sometimes we have gym in the morning which makes our first class time after lunch. Oh yeah, and we eat dinner at 4 every day. By the time we go back to our residence I'm starving. One of the sisters' mom has sent this awesome coconut cake and yummy brownies with marshmallows. If you really wanted to show off the family name and your baking skills I would be perfectly fine with that. And if Trevor wanted to get in on the action and throw in some cookies that would be cool too.
7.       What do you do on P-Day? We go to the temple from about 7-9:30, personal study from 10-11, lunch, then laundry/letters, personal time (aka nap time), then dinner at 4, walk down to the marriot center for choir practice before devotional, devotional, then we have a devotional review with our district and a member of the branch presidency. Laundry takes a lot more time than you think it would. But walking to devotional is funny because people come outside and take pictures. It's like we're a petting zoo or something. 
8.       How long do you get to be on the computer on P-Day? one hour
9.       Have you gotten any letters from people? Yes I have! Mama Page sent me one last week and I've gotten a few from friends from school. I also saw Jeffrey Schilling from University City ward today in the cafeteria! We were both kinda freaked out. Haha. But I LOVE LETTERS! They're seriously so great & make me muito feliz.
10.   Do people send you dear elders or emails? I've gotten more dear elders than emails. Dad's dear elder to me was awesome! I really liked reading that. And Trevor should stop being a bum and tell me hi or something.
11.   Do you have money for flying when you leave the MTC? Yeah I just checked my account at the ATM. All good in the hood.
12.   What account were we going to use for your bank card?  Bank of America, right? Yup.
13.   Do you need anything? Could you sent a four generation pedigree chart? I forgot that. And also I was thinking that I could use some weight watchers stuff. Like the book that has the points for everything and the book you record stuff in. If it's too hard to get your hands on, don't worry about it though. But I LOVE the shampoo bars we got at Lush. I can tell those we're a great idea. I ran out of the mini shampoo bar yesterday, so I started using the lavender one. Those rock. And every time I use the stuff from my first care package I just think about how awesomely wonderful my mom is! I keep the little container of lotion in my classroom and use it pretty frequently. 
14.   Have you heard from Abby? I haven't. I emailed her last week, but haven't heard anything back. Mama Page says she's alive and well though!
15.   Do you have a mission president there at the MTC that you report to? We have a branch president. Our zone and our branch are the same thing. Does that make sense? There are just a ton of branches and then the MTC presidency.
16.   Did your teachers go on their missions to Brazil, or are they native Brazilians? So far we've had a grand total of 12 teachers. And by that I mean we've had a lot of subs. I think maybe 3 of them have been native Brazilians  The others are people that served in Brazil, Portugal, or Mozambique.
17.   Do you all have nicknames for each other (Elders and Sisters in your district)? Umm.. Not really. We call Elder W "No Neck Nick", Elder E calls himself the White Stallion and tells other people to do the same. We're still not sure why... We called Sister S "Sister Bonitinha" because she's so stinkin' cute. Turns out the dictionary lies and bonitinha doesn't mean cute like we thought. It really means ugly, but only cute in that particular moment. When our teacher told us that we all almost died laughing! We we're calling her Sister Ugly but Sortof Cute for about 5 weeks! We call Elder G smiley because all he does is smile. He's this huge body builder type and all he does is smile. It's great. So I guess we do have nicknames for each other! Haha.
18.   I told Dad I feel like you are on another planet.  He said you probably feel like you are on another planet.  Do you? Yep. Every day. 
19.   Do you have any questions for us? How is everyone?! I like getting the dear elders all the time. It's nice to be in the loop.  I won't get that luxury in about a week! AHHHHH! 

So last week you asked about the giant candy cane. Yes, it is wrapped in plastic. It's also in this cardboard container with messages written from about 2 years worth of missionaries. 

Yesterday I bore my testimony in Sacrament Meeting. There were only like 3 sisters that got up, and I was one of them. It's weird because my first week here was a fast and testimony meeting, and I remember hearing the testimonies and thinking there was no way I could get there in 6 weeks. But I did! My Branch President, President Radebaugh said that he heard the best Portuguese he's ever heard from MTC missionaries from us. He probably wasn't talking about me, but I'll take the compliment anyway! Some of the leader's wives came up to me and said that even though they didn't understand what I was saying, they could feel the spirit. Boo yah!!

I think my biggest struggle so far is being dignified. I never realized this, but I do really weird things. (well... actually I did know that) But now I realized I can still be myself but a more refined version of myself. It's a work in progress for sure. 

Last Tuesday we heard from Elder Neil L. Anderson and it was awesome! He talked about love and sacrifice. Then on Sunday Sister L and I watched Character of Christ again, and it was even better the second time! 
Our district decided on Sunday that we were going to speak Portuguese all day on Monday. We tried really hard that morning, but by the end of the day it was all sorts of Portuganglish. Rough. It's hard to stay consistently in Portuguese when all the elders are speaking only English! 

I memorized the first vision and am working on James 1:5. S. Lewis says all the time she's so impressed with my memorization skills. I guess I never really thought I was that good at memorizing until I came here and we have to memorize eighteen million different things. All those years in theater and chorus, I guess. Lorna & Magie Mages, that's for you. 

You wanted me to bear my testimony, so here it goes. (and my typing isn't all that good. I don't have much time & can't put in all the accents)

Eu sei que Jesus Christo e meu Salvador e Redentor. Eu sei que atraves de sua expiacao nos podemos ser limpo e feliz. Eu sei que a Igreja de Jesus Christo dos Santos dos Ultimos Dias e a verdadeiro igreja em terra hoje e que temos um profeta que fala as palavras de Deus. Eu sei que nos temos a sacerdocio de Jesus Christo, a authoridade para fazer as coisas em Sua nome. En nome de Jesus Christo, amem.
Tchau tchau! 

Sister Baker

August 27, 2013 The Candy Cane Award

Is it already P-day again?! Ah! Crazy!
The weeks are going by so fast. Our district signed up to host the new missionaries coming in tomorrow, so I'm super excited about that! 

This morning while walking home from the temple I saw the guy from Hilliard Ward that's from Brazil! He looked familiar and then was like, Hey! You're from North Carolina! Apparently he just applied to teach at the MTC. So that was cool seeing him. I wonder if Trevor remembers him...

Hey Colin- good luck with middle school! You're going to rock it dude! I love you!!

Portuguese is coming easier and easier. Our district is trying harder to speak Portuguese during mealtimes, but it's hard. There's one elder who is really funny and tells these awesome stories, but he's really struggling with the language. So he just speaks in English and it throws everyone else off. Kinda frustrating. Sister L and I have been listening to conference talks in Portuguese and reading O Livro de Mormon in Portuguese as well. It's been cool to pick up random words and stuff.  I've also been practicing a lot harder with my verb conjugations. Super fun stuff, I know. 

So this week, we went to teach our investigator and he was "drunk". That was interesting. I don't think our teacher understood and started acting all crazy so we knew what was happening. We clearly understood, but he was telling us stuff like "speak American" and saying all these English phrases. It was actually pretty funny. We ended up teaching about the Word of Wisdom, so we'll see how that goes. 

Last night Irmao Taylor got all of our parents email addresses because he wants to send you an email about us. He didn't explain what he was going to say, so mom, look out for an email in your yahoo account. And if you want to dear elder or email it to me that would be pretty sweet. I want to know what he's going to say! If it's bad, it wasn't me I promise!

What's Grandma's email? She sent me a dear elder and I want to respond to it... 

So Sister L just told me that she woke up late last night, and heard me talking in my sleep. She said it was so funny that she wrote it down. Apparently I was saying, "Oh, I didn't think she was that young. I didn't think she was that young." No idea what that was about. haha like I said I don't remember my dreams... 

One of the districts on our hall left yesterday, and they bestowed upon us a giant candy cane because apparently we're the coolest district. It's just this giant stick of candy cane that has been floating around the floor for about three years. The legend goes that an elder got it for Christmas or something and didn't want to eat it. And when we leave, we have to keep the tradition alive and pass it on. Yeah, we have to do some strange things to keep us from going crazy. 

We also do yoga during gym time occasionally. There's a sister who teaches yoga, and it is seriously the most hilarious thing to watch all the elders try to do the poses. And their comments are hilarious. I think I get a better workout from laughing so hard. 

We've pretty much engraved the idea into our heads that whatever weight we gained here at the MTC, we'll lose in Brazil. Probably by a tapeworm. At least Sister L is banking on that. Sister H said," My theory is that if everyone gains weight, nobody notices!" 

Sorry the email is pretty scatterbrained. Once again. There's just a bunch of stuff that I keep remembering!

I love the cardigan you sent, mom! I've already gotten compliments on it and it's MUSTARD! Yeah mustard. It's the good stuff. 

So I wish you could hear Sister L's talk. She's so funny! She has quite a few awful dating stories that are hilarious. Word has gotten around, and other districts have been requesting her to tell it. I don't know if I told you or not, but Sister M and I made up a pretty legit MTC rap. That's also gotten a few requests. Our district basically got that candy cane because of the super awesome sisters. Let it be known.

I also discovered that I look kind of like a bunny. But mostly when I make this creepy bunny face. The elders love it when I do it, and I'm not even being sarcastic. One time I paired it with this indian head bob thing and a hobbly walk. It freaks out Sister Mt, and Irmao Taylor thought it was hilarious. He even came into class one time trying to do it and was like, "Sister Baker! Yeah?!" Kind of like asking for a stamp of approval. It was a nice moment. Haha. 

Sorry I don't have any pictures. We can only take pictures on Sundays and P-days, and I look kinda rough on P-days. I'll ask some of the elders to forward pictures to me, though. They've got some stellar pictures of me on there. Mostly selfies, of course. I mean, their posterity has to remember me somehow, right?!

Questions from back home:
1.        How long do you get to take showers? Pretty much however long you have time for. 
2.       Can you take showers in the morning and night or just morning or do you get a choice? We can choose. Usually I take them at night, but sometimes we have gym in the morning so I wait until after that so I won't be nasty all day. 
3.       Why do visa waiters have to get up earlier than everyone else? I really don't know. I think we're considered to be on a guest schedule because we're technically supposed to be in Sao Paulo. But it's not that big of a deal anymore. I'm tired all the time either way. Haha.
4.       Do they have a place there for you to buy things that you may need like shampoo, etc.? Yeah they have a lot of stuff at the bookstore. I haven't needed to get anything there except some stuff for scripture marking. And I got a Portuguese hymnal! It's mini sized and pretty awesome. But I've been using that little sized shampoo bar and it will probably last me a few more weeks. That was definitely a good investment Mama Baker!
5.       Have you gotten your haircut yet? Nope. I probably should, though. They have them for free here, but our time is so limited on p-day that I would rather take a nap.
6.       Have you all thought of fasting for your visas? No we haven't talked about it. I think we're all prepared to get reassigned. I'm ok with going somewhere else for a while. It will definitely be a good experience, but I'm just concerned that I'll loose what little Portuguese I know.
7.       I heard the pillows there are really flat..true? Not too bad. I prefer fluffier. But in the words of my dear companheira, "I'm happy to suffer in the service of my Lord." (she says that probably about twenty times a day. and by twenty I mean like 3)
8.       What do you want me to send you if you get sent somewhere stateside that is cold?  I want to start getting ready. 
I'm not sure. Haha it hasn't even started getting cold here. It's the perfect temperature right now. We play beach volleyball during gym time, so we can go outside and enjoy the (somewhat) fresh Utah air. I'm not all that bad at it, either. Although I get really excited and make weird noises whenever I hit the ball. The other districts think I'm pretty entertaining.
9.       Do you have a small hymnal in Portuguese? Sim. See above. :)
10.   Are you learning to sing in Portuguese? Yup. We sing a few times a day, and church is entirely in Portuguese. So that's pretty cool. Even most of our branch presidency are returned missionaries from Brazil so they speak to us. 
11.   Have you started to dream in Portuguese yet? No. I usually don't remember my dreams, so I'll be excited when that happens!
12.   Where do you store your suitcases? Up on top of my closet. Some of the other sisters just stuck theirs in the corner.
13.   Did you empty everything out of them or did you keep some stuff in them? I emptied pretty much everything out except the sunscreen because I don't need it right now. 

Well, that's pretty much it for now. Tchau tchau! I love you!

Sister Baker