October 21, 2013 Home Sweet Home

Hey errybody,

This week has kind of dragged on but at the same time it's been a blur. P-day last week didn't really feel like it at all with getting settled in and everything. So I'm definitely going to take a nap today. 

Going to a new area and meeting a million different people and being expected to remember everyone's name is tough. I just got down the names in North Marion and now I have to start all over. I think this time I'm catching on to names faster. It's nice because Sister J introduces me to people whereas Sister T & H both knew everyone and I would just stand there awkwardly for a bit until I could figure out who they were. So it's different but nice at the same time.

1.        How is your new area? 
It's good. A super small town and a lot of people are related. I like it because Main Street is actually the main street in the town! Hurrah! You know how I've always said that I want to live in a small town next to a big city? Well, eureka. I found it. If it was closer to Portland that would be cool, but hey, beggars can't be choosers. And there are people that bike everywhere so there are bike lanes. I love that! It's irritating to be reliant on cars all the time like in Charlotte.

2.       Who is your companion and where is she from, etc.? Her name is Sister J. She's from Driggs, Idaho, went to BYU-I for some fancy degree that means she can play with kids and teach preschoolers. Yep. She reminds me of Lorna Graves mixed with Aunt Sharon. It's weird. Some days one is more prominent than the other, so it's always an adventure. Oh and her last companion was pretty much an angel--Quiet, super Christ-like, loves puppies, the works. I think they were always frantically doing stuff and pretty much never breathed. So we're working on planning more effectively instead of running around like chickens with our heads cut off. It's hard right now because I know about 4 people. We're working on that...

3.       Is your new area much different from where you were before?  
Yes and no I guess. (Ha! That's such a historian's answer. Dad-you're rubbing off on me.) Our area is just this individual town rather than three or four little towns and we don't drive in the country all that much. Although when we go to district meetings in Lebanon, we drive through these beautiful tree-covered mountains/hills/whatever you want to call them. It reminds me of Asheville or something. 

4.       Are you missing Mama Chisolm?  : )
 Of course! She's the bomb.com. And I miss the Hansons a lot too (Hey Sister Hanson!!) They rock. And I can tell you're getting into those smiley faces, mom. :) 

5.       Do you still have a car?  
Yep. It's the same type of car that we had in North Marion. But we've been short on miles lately so we've been riding bikes a lot. Let me tell you, riding a bike in a skirt is not fun. I'm glad I got that skirt from Goodwill that's longer. It makes riding not quite as awkward. Sister J wears leggings and tucks her skirt into them, but I didn't bring leggings. You want to know why? Because Natal is about 90 degrees all year long!! Bah. Frustrating. So I've worn that one long skirt like three times this week. I'm washing it today, don't worry. But it's times like those that I think I would rather have just been called to the OSM and be prepared for the weather. I'm happy to be here and all, I just wish I could have known beforehand. Ok. Rant over. 

6.       How is your apartment? 
We actually live with members. It's awesome! They're awesome! Except they have these two dogs that freak me out. I just call them doggies instead of their names because I can never remember them. But our room is really nice. It's pretty much like living in a hotel with a great cook that offers to feed us several times a week.

7.       Is the weather getting colder? 
Yep. You bet I've been wearing a cardigan every day. And my raincoat even though it doesn't really help with the cold haha.

8.       Are you going to send me lots of pictures?  I can’t wait to see them.    
 Yeah I'll work on it. It just takes forever to upload them.

9.       Do you need anything? 
 I really want to respond to those letters, so if you could send those that would be awesome. Whatever you want to send, I will welcome with open arms! I loved that last package you sent!

10.   Have you been taking your vitamins? 
When I remember :)

11.   Can you send me your testimony? (It doesn’t have to be right now, but sometime).  
Yep, I'll work on that. Gotta get it good. 

12.   What was the best thing that happened this week? 
 We saw a guy in a bear costume with a Pink Floyd shirt on. Apparently he took apart a 5'3" stuffed teddy bear. He wasn't interested in hearing about the church, though. 

13.   How is your new ward?
 Pretty good. I feel like when people find out I'm waiting on my visa, they automatically assume I'm not going to work hard. I'm going to prove them wrong! Oh and I've been trying to work on being humble. I think I said that last week but I'm still working on it. I've got a ways to go, that's for sure. 

Welp, I love you. Trevor, send me another email. You too, Dad. Go spread the gospel and be a member missionary! And if the missionaries ask if you can come to a lesson, just say yes. Just do it. Please. :)
Find the one! -Elder Ballard

Sister Baker


October 14, 2013 Probably the Craziest Week of My Life

Hey everyone!

This week has been nothing short of crazy. I think that's the best word I have to describe it. I'm having a hard time remembering anything before Saturday, but I'm trying. 

President Samuelian called me on Saturday morning during personal study, and I thought he was calling about transfers. He asked me to take the phone off speakerphone and then he told me the heartbreaking news about Andrew. I was silent on the phone for a long time because of the shock of it all, but the first thing I can remember thinking was that he is back with his father. Without any doubt I know that they're back together. I can picture Brother Page giving Andrew one of his super squeezy hugs and them joking around about the Red Sox and deer jerky.  

I'm so proud to say that Andrew was one of my greatest friends. He was full of life and energy, and had the purest testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Everyone around him could tell that he believed it not just because of what he said, but how he lived. You could tell something was different about him, you know? He had a special way of making people feel loved and always knew how to help me with my problems. Even if that was just listening with open ears (which happened a lot). 

Right now I'm pretty sad. I'm sad not because I won't ever see him again, but because I looked forward to making more memories and continuing a great friendship. But it's the Lord's plan, and He clearly needed him more than we need him here on earth. The most comforting thing about all of this is that I know I'll see him again! This life isn't the end. Our Heavenly Father has provided us a way to get back to Him, and that we can see our loved ones. I know we'll be able to meet again and I can picture us planning a cheesy group date and doing our super sweet handshake. We'll be separated for a short time, and I'm excited for the reunion that will be years in the making!

This gospel has helped me so much the past few days. The news has been hard to swallow, but I know everything is ok because of Jesus Christ. He provided a way that we can overcome death, but also that we can overcome our sins, but He also knows exactly what we go through. Like it says in Isaiah, He's borne our griefs and carried our sorrows, and by His stripes we are healed. Christ suffered for us to know how to help us through the difficult times in our lives, and that's how he heals us. We just have to trust Him and let Him do that. Figuring out how to let Him heal us is the tricky part and sometimes it takes time, but it will always work out. 

This experience has helped me to see what it could be like for those who don't know or understand the Plan of Salvation, and that's why I'm here. I'm glad I have the opportunity to tell people about it. I can't imagine trying to overcome the death of a loved one without that knowledge. The sad thing is that some don't know it and it is what will heal their broken hearts. 

So mom, I don't have time to really grieve, but it's ok. I'm here doing what the Lord wants me to do. I'm just going to keep on keepin' on. Forget myself and go to work.

But I'm more worried about Sister Page. Give her, Ashleigh, Arica, and Arin huge hugs for me (each individually, please). Sister Page is one of the most faithful women I know, so just let her know how much I love her and that I'm praying for them all! Hugs all around!



Even without that, this week has been crazy. After President Samuelian told me what happened to Andrew, he said that I was being transferred. So here I am! I left North Marion ward this morning, and now I'm in a town called Sweet Home. Like Sweet Home Alabama, but minus the Alabama part. I've been here about an hour so I have no idea where I am right now haha. So my new companion's name is Sister J and she's only been out one transfer more than me! Isn't that crazy!? I'm not really sure what to think. Either Sister J really knows what's going on or I'm pretty competent. Maybe a little bit of both. 

I saw a friend from BYU at the transfer meeting. That was kinda weird and awesome at the same time. We both were like WHAT?! He was like "I would hug you, but.." and I cut him off like, "Yeah, don't." 

Our investigator Leah got baptized on Friday! I have pictures of a ton of stuff, but it's all in my suitcase. I'll have it next week for ya. But Leah is super awesome. Her husband John got baptized at the end of July and they're excited to get sealed together in a year!

I saw Sister L (my MTC comp) on Wednesday! We went to the visitors' center with John and Leah and she was there. It was great!

I'm glad you got in touch with Mama Chisholm this week. Isn't she amazing?! Saying goodbye to them was hard yesterday. 

But I'm excited to get to work in this new area! They're another elder in my district that's waiting on his visa too. That's pretty cool.

Oh, President Samuelian had us all take a strengths assessment test and I found out that my top five strengths are:
1. Learner
2. Input (basically means learner, but more of a hoarder of information)
3. Positivity
4. Includer
5. Activator

I think those are pretty self-explanatory, but I thought it was interesting that learner was my top one. Looking back, I guess it kind of makes sense. Anyways, do with that information what you will.

Well, I love you! Thanks for being so amazing. Keep on keepin' on. As Andrew said, "Stay in school kids."

Love you!
Sister Baker

Here's a link to the story about Elder Andrew Page.  His influence for good will continue on and he will be very missed but never forgotten.  


October 7, 2013 It Rains a lot Here!

Another week has flown by in the OSM. It's pretty sweet stuff. Time flies like crazy here. Mornings are kind of slow, but once lunch hits we're going nonstop until we come home. I love it!
So this week has been the bomb.com. We got to go to the Portland temple on Tuesday and it was wonderful! The temple is so pretty! I sent some pictures for your viewing pleasure. It's made of all marble. So cool!
On Thursday, we were driving in the car to visit a less active member, and as we passed a street Sister T was like "we need to go tract that street. now." Sister H and I are like, alrighty then. So we go to the top of the street and start tracting a few houses. The fifth house we knock on, a woman answers the door and we introduce ourselves and the church. Then she's like, "well, do you want to come in and have a meeting?" Do we want to come in and have a meeting?!? Well YEAH! So we go into her house and teach her the restoration and about the Book of Mormon. She already knows a little bit about the church because she watches the BYU channel with her family. What?! Not even very many members do that! She told us she watches the family programs on there and that her daughter that's in 7th grade is looking into going to BYU. Whoa. So I told her about the school and how awesome it is. Yeah, that was an awesome experience. Apparently she's in the process of moving to that house and she doesn't know exactly when she'll be at that house. So we're going to try to go back before she leaves.
Our lessons with our other investigators are going really well! One investigator, her name is Gina. She's super funny and talkative, and she told us these awesome stories about how she's felt the spirit, but never realized that's what it was until we told her. During the lesson, the spirit was really strong, so that's awesome! The spirit is the one that's going to do the teaching, not me. So without it, we're all lost.
Our other investigator, Jerome came to church last Sunday for sacrament meeting. (except he was late so he missed the sacrament) Then he left right afterwards. We thought he really didn't like it or something because he seemed kind of put off, but when we talked to him about it, he said he liked it a lot and he wants to come again. Yeah buddy! We taught him again about the plan of salvation, and talked in particular about the fall. He got so into that lesson! It was probably the best lesson we've had with him! He had never considered the idea that partaking of the fruit was necessary and the role of agency in the plan. He soaked it all up like a sponge. We pretty much taught him all we knew about the fall, because that's what he needed and he totally understood it. And we had an awesome member of the ward come with us and she helped the lesson so much. Lessons always go better when members are there, that's for sure. Right as we were about to leave he asked us if we believe if we can become gods after we die. Yeah... so we're working on that one and how we're going to tackle it. That's deep stuff.
Let's see... CONFERENCE! General conference was awesome!! We watched each session at a different members' house. I didn't catch much from the first session because the members we're talking off and on. That was pretty annoying. They're just a bit loud all the time, bless their hearts. But they're a super nice family. I think my favorite talk was by Elder Ballard. He talked about missionaries and members coming and working together. That's definitely the problem we've seen in this ward. We're trying to get members to come with us to lessons, give rides, etc. and it's not working to well. I've only talked to the bishop a handful of times because he's kind of hard to get ahold of. He's a super nice guy, and a great bishop, but he's very busy. So we're meeting with him sometime this week. Our ward is one of the busiest in the mission (I think that's what President said), but we've still got some improving to do.
I've been wanting to run more. It's hard because it's pretty dark outside when we wake up, but I like going outside anyway. I think I ran about a mile this morning. The other sisters aren't too keen on running all the time, so I just run back and forth as they walk.
I ate 19 waffles this week! Boom babay! Those frozen eggo waffles. I'm not buying those again this week. haha. And that's probably why I wanted to start running. It had to be something pretty intense to motivate me to run, you know?!
I think that's pretty much what's been going on this week. Oh and the members give us too much crap food. That has to stop. We have an entire pie and about a pound of cookie dough in our fridge right now. It makes me sick thinking about it.
Well I love you and hope everything is going well!
Love ya!
Sister Baker


September 30, 2013 Woohoo! This week has been awesome!

This week has been awesome! We've been working super hard and have been seeing miracles all over the place! Sister T and H both said that this past week has been the best week of their missions. Woohoo!
Sister Chisolm is a member in the ward and we call her Mama Chisholm. She's the best. She coordinates our meals, does our laundry, the works. I told her to add you on facebook! Haha! She sent you a message, but I guess it didn't send. She said when I go to Brazil, she'll really miss me. She said that kind of surprised her, because she didn't expect to like me as much as she does. Warm fuzzies, I know!
1.       So what have you done this week? (any amazing, funny, or interesting stories?) We've been doing a lot of tracting in the rain and splits. Since there are three of us, it's easier to find one person and go on splits than it would normally be. So we've been covering more area.
2.       Have you been to any baptisms yet? Not of any of our investigators. I've been to two though. One was a different ward's convert, and then there was one yesterday of a child of record. We have a baptism scheduled for October 11th for our investigator Leah. Boo yah! So excited!

3.       Do you get to cook very often? Not really. We eat breakfast and lunch at our apartment. Mostly cereal and sandwiches. Although this morning I made scrambled eggs. I'm so fancy, I know.

4.       Are you getting cold?  Do you have enough blankets on your bed?  (total Mom question…I can’t help it. Haha) I'm all good. We have enough blankets, and now I have that rain jacket, so I'm fine
5.       How’s your teaching going? It's good. We taught I think it was 13 lessons this week! Teaching isn't a struggle for me anymore, so that's good. I'm glad I had the chance to have so many missionary opportunities in high school. That experience has definitely helped me out here.

6.       How’s your Portuguese going? Ehhh. It's going. This week we haven't had a lot of time for language study. We try to have it from 8-9, but things usually run over and it gets cut. But I try to practice whenever I get the chance.

7.       Are there any Portuguese speakers in Oregon? Nope. Nada. Not unless you count the returned missionaries from Brazil serving in my ward. I hear there are some, but I have no idea who they are.

8.       How often do you see your mission president? I've only seen him twice- my first day, and sisters' conference.

9.       Did you see the General Relief Society Broadcast on Saturday? Yeah we watched it at the house of a family that just got baptized. The ending got cut off by about 20 minutes, but I liked it! Remember those covenants! And when the sisters from the MTC were singing, I recognized a few that were in my zone!

10.   Are you allowed to see other missionary blogs on the internet? Nope

11.   If you do, do you want me to send you the addresses for Christiana’s blog and for Jordan’s blog? Could you forward me their emails?

12.   Have you found any huckleberry jam yet? I saw some, but I didn't get any. Although I had some huckleberry pie the other day and it was TO DIE FOR.

13.   What kind of service activities have you done this week? I think the last service project we did was Gina's yard full of blackberry bushes.

14.   How are your scriptures holding up? I got a case for them, so I think they're fine. I can't really see the spine, but I think it's ripping. I want to get the new edition of the scriptures when I get home.

15.   Do you wish you had gotten smaller ones? Nope, I like having my markings and notes in them.

16.   Have you figured out an awesome scripture marking method yet?  I know you had talked with Trevor about his before you left.  If I use it a lot, I just mark it with a flag.

17.   Have you gotten much mail from anyone?  Emails? Not a whole lot. I get emails from friends from school. LUHV THEM. Oh and Sister Tinkham! LOVE HER.

18.   What is your favorite day of the week? They all kind of run together except for Sunday and Monday. But Tuesday we get to go to the temple!!!! So I guess I'll say Tuesday.

19.   If I mail you a package, should I send it to the mission office address? Mission office in case of transfers

20.   How often do you get mail from the mission office? They forward it to us right after they get it, so I don't know how long that process takes.

21.   When is the next transfer in your mission? I always forget.  It's October 13th or 14th. I can't remember. Whichever day is Monday.

22.   Do you think you will stay or get transferred? (I think you will stay) I think I'll stay too. Unless I get my visaaaaa! (How's that coming? I'm sure you'll tell me when the dot thing changes... haha)

23.   Have you eaten any food there that you would love to have the recipe for? Mama Chisholm made this cake that was awesome! I can't remember the name of it, but it was French.

24.   So how did your packing of your suitcases go?  Did all the storage cubes we got you work out well in your new apartment?  The storage cubes were the best idea. I don't have a dresser or anything, so everything stays in those cubes, and it keeps them organized. I have a closet for all of my stuff, so I have a lot of those cubes on top of my suitcases.

25.   What kind of exercise do you do with your companions? We go running (sometimes), visa pushups, crunches, normal stuff. There's also a park about two blocks away, which is cool.

26.   Do you need anything (besides another Lush bar or two?  What flavor was that one we got you?) I can't really thing of anything. I'll be sending some stuff home before I head out. I'm procrastinating until right before I leave, though. Umm... I don't even think I'll need any more shampoo bars. I got some shampoo last week so I wouldn't run out of the bars while I'm in Brazil. So I think I'm good there.

27.   Do you have any questions for us? Not really. How's school for Colin? Emma- nice job at the competition!
I think that's about all, folks. I'll be sending some pictures (hopefully)!
Love you!!
Sister Baker