November 11, 2013 I GOT MY VISA!!!

I'm going to Brazil!!!

Ha. Just kidding. Gotcha.  (I know, I got so excited when I read her Post Title before I opened her email.  I started yelling at everyone in the house that Katie had gotten her visa to Brazil...She got me good!  ~Mama Baker)

I'm still in Oregon. I actually like it here a lot! Sweet Home is pretty schweet. We've found more people that are interested in learning about the gospel! Woohoo! It's pretty great. 

Tuesday we helped a less active member move into town from Albany (a neighboring city). We got a call that morning from the sisters in that area that she was moving and needed help. So we made some phone calls to get some help and showed up to help about an hour later. She had this HUGE uhaul truck full of her stuff and about 3/4 of it was open boxes with stuff spilling out of it. It was a bit rough. I mean I loved helping her out and I wish we could have gotten more help there, but there's only so much you can do with an hour's notice. You know?

That day I kept getting the thought to go visit a potential investigator named V. She's pretty cool and seems interested, she just has crazy work hours and we've never been able to catch her at home. So we knocked on the door and waited. No one answered. V told us that her dad works a ton of crazy hours too and has a weird sleep schedule, so we weren't sure if we should knock again and make him angry from waking him up. So of course, we knock again. As we were about to walk away the dad opens the door and is rubbing his eyes like he just woke up. Yikes. So we start talking to him about how we're missionaries and we were trying to talk to V. Then he just starts talking about his family and pours his heart out to us about how his wife left him a year ago. That poor poor man. Like one day his wife completely out of the blue just up and left him. He told us how hard it's been on him and the kids, and how he works so many jobs to keep his mind off everything he's going through. If I've ever seen the face of a broken heart, it was this man's. We told him about the Book of Mormon and how it testifies and teaches of Christ. We told him how the Atonement is for not only our sins, but also for our sorrows. We read out of Mosiah 14 and the spirit was so strong! We invited him to read more and he said he would. We couldn't set up an appointment with him because of his changing schedule, but we're going to try again. The gospel will heal your heart!!! I just want his family to be happy!!!

We had a lesson with our investigator L (the one that already knows the Church is true). She got her new scriptures and we all got to marvel at them for a little bit. That was fun. Man the new edition is awesome! Can't wait for one of those! So we tried to teach the Plan of Salvation to her, but she was basically like "yeah, yeah I already know all of that." It was weird though because she kept asking questions about the rapture when we were talking about the second coming. Sister J and I don't really know what that is, so it's hard to address her concerns. Sister Parrish (the Bishop's wife) was there at the lesson, so she googled what that was and that helped a little bit. So if you want to do some research and send it over yonder that would be much appreciated. We tried looking it up in the scriptures, but the word rapture isn't even in there. It's just confusing. I think when people talk about it, they're referring to the second coming and the resurrection. But really everyone is getting hung up on those little details and is missing the bigger picture. The gospel. Boom. There ya go folks. 

We got a referral last Monday to go see our Ward Mission Leader's neighbor that just moved in. So we knocked on the door about 5 separate times. A few times the tv has even been on so we though they were trying to avoid us. The last time we knocked the tv was on and no one was home, so we got in the car to leave. As we got in the car, a different car pulled into the driveway and a lady walked into that house. So we knocked on the door for a sixth time. We thought she might have seen us sitting in the car and gotten creeped out but she didn't! She opened the door and before we really said anything she invited us in. Awesome. She and her fiance are looking for a church, so we taught her about the restoration and about the Book of Mormon. She was super open to talking with us so we set up a return appointment with her. It was a few days later so I think she forgot, so we're going to have to go back over there again. Sometimes I feel like a creeper missionary. That's ok though. Persistence! 

We have one investigator who was a member of the RLDS church and basically thinks Brigham Young was evil. We're trying to work with her on that one... 

Friday we had an awesome zone training meeting. Bishops were invited, but ours couldn't come so our ward mission leader came. It was awesome!!! Basically I need to be more patient. Things aren't going to happen in my time, but the Lord's time. And I need to have more faith. I don't need to know the end from the beginning. That's why I have to have faith. Oh and we talked a lot about helping members. That's a tough nut to crack, but we have to help members understand that missionary work is about love. We share the gospel because we love them and we want them to have the peace and happiness it brings. If we reach out to others in love, they won't be offended. So everyone go love some people today! Share the gospel! Be good examples! 

So that's what's up here in Sweet Home. Keep on keepin' on. Remember who you are and what you stand for. FIND THE ONE. 

Sister Baker
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Halloween Pics

November 4, 2013 Day by Day

So I'm just going to do an overview of the week. Like a day by day play by play of this week. You like what I did there?? 

Aiight. So Monday. After P-day lovely stuff we had a lesson with a new investigator named L. We taught her the first lesson which she already knew before because she took the discussions from Elders in Arizona. So we invited her to read and pray about the Book of Mormon, and she was just like, "why? I already know it's true!" And we're like "Ahh! Alright then.." Yep. Awesome. After we left she ordered a quad with her name on it in genuine leather!! 

Tuesday. Sister J was sick so we stayed in a lot of the day. That day was really nice outside so it was kind of sad. Meh.

Wednesday. We had a lesson with this guy named J. He had met with missionaries before and basically had us there to tell us he would talk to us more than once. He can't get past the whole grace and works thing. He can't see how it would be good news of the gospel if he actually had to do something to gain his salvation. Uhhh... Yeah. So he had us talking with him for about an hour just to say, "sorry, I'm already stuck in my ways." That was sad. He'll be taught the truth one day. I think that's one of the hardest parts of missionary work. People turn us down every day and I just want to open their door again and shout " DO YOU KNOW WHAT YOU'RE MISSING?!?!" Yeah. That wouldn't bring the spirit, it would bring the cops. Not good. But seriously. They don't know what they're missing! 

Moving on. We also had a lesson with R and L. They're in their 70s. Super cute couple. Well it's hard because R found out that I'm 19 and now dismisses a lot of what I say. Like he'll listen to me, then he'll chuckle to himself and say to everyone else "she's 19!". I'm like UGHH. Sister J is 24 so it seems like he thinks I don't know anything. And I'm like DUDE. I have to share the most important message you'll ever hear in your entire life! Bah humbug.

Thursday. Lesson with D. She's blind and super sweet. Raised RLDS, so she has a hard time with Brigham Young. Thursday was also Halloween. I dressed up as Sister J and she dressed up as me. Haha. We're so clever. We had to be home at 7 that night though, then we did our weekly planning. Sister J and I had to have a serious comp inventory. She finally realized that I get annoyed at her all the time and won't talk. Well, if she wouldn't interrupt me when I do say something then I would talk more. Yeah. So every time she drives me bonkers I try to be humble and think what would Jesus do? Jesus wouldn't say something rude, so I don't say anything. So that's that. 

Friday. Awesome district meeting. I'm trying to have better personal study in the mornings. I also read Elder Holland's talk, "The Ministry of Angels" That rocked my socks off. 

Saturday. Randomly stopped my R and D's house to see how they're doing. R is getting baptized November 30th and D is a less active. We're working with them on quitting smoking, so when we talked to them we found out that they were up to smoking 10-11 cigarettes a day whereas before they were at 2-3. We talked about their problem and I asked them if they love God or smoking more. We got them more motivated to quit and they have some people living with them that we thought were going to make it harder, but they're determined to help them quit. So I shared a spiritual lightning bolt of a message then we left. About 10 minutes later we got a call to come over because they were throwing all their cigarettes away! ( They had kept saying that after "this" pack, they would be done." So we saw them throw everything away and they're starting fresh. They seem more determined this time and we're trying to help them as much as we can by sending scriptures and uplifting quotes. But it really is up to them. If they have the faith and the determination to do it, it will be done. We were really trying to help them realize that. 

Sunday. R came to church! When we talked to him he told us he wasn't going to be there, but he came!! Fast and testimony meeting are always a little nerve-wracking because who knows what crazy things people might say. But apparently the sisters start off every testimony meeting. I'm not sure how I feel about that, but I'm going with it. There was a sister in the ward that shared a really powerful testimony, so after the meeting I went over to thank her. She pulled me aside and said, "I don't want to say this in front of your companion because she's great too. But when you sat down from speaking last Sunday, A (her husband) looked at me and said, 'Now SHE is going to touch people's lives here.'" That was so sweet and made me feel really loved! It's been harder for me to get to know the members because I have to elbow my way in to get a word into the conversation sometimes. So it was nice to be recognized and appreciated. I know this work isn't about me. It's not even a smidgen about me, but it still feels good to have someone notice you, you know?

There are these kitties that we get to hold at this member's house and I actually like them. One, because they don't smell bad. And two, because I don't get to hold babies. I have to compensate somehow. 

It's way too cold in the morning to go running, so we try to work out inside. It doesn't really work. So we're looking into getting one of the Jillian Michaels dvds or something. (If you want to send that instead of the bread that would be pretty sweet. You don't have to though.) Oh and mom, don't send the tights without the feet on them. I don't have any boots, so I can't wear them anyway. 

Got my hair cut today. Feels good. Last time it was cut was when Trevor came home from his mish. 

I loved Trevor's costume. Haha. Awesome. 

Daylight savings time. AHHH. Blessings! An extra hour of sleep was great. When I have to give it back will be hard. Well... I don't know if they do that in Brazil. Eh, who knows, maybe I'll still be here. 

There's my Portuguese scripture case that Sister Orr from North Marion made me! Not sure if I sent that to you before. 

Well. Gotta go. Love ya! Stay in school kids.

Sister Baker

Oh, and my name was spelled Sister Backer in the program. Ha. Never had that happen before.


October 28, 2013 Another Week in home Sweet Home

 Happiness is Getting a Letter in the Snail Mail from Katie Baker with STICKERS!!!!!
Emma Hanson and me!

The Hanson family. I love them!

The Orr family. The bomb diggity! Sister Orr made me a cover for my Portuguese scriptures!!

The one and only Mama Chisolm!  I love her!
Jon and Leah!
The Martineau Family, Sister J, Sister B and Bishop Parrish and his son Austin
Well this week pretty much flew by! 

Mom, I appreciate that you worry about me because it means you love me, but I'm doing well here. The weather isn't that bad. It's just pretty gloomy all the time, but I kind of like it. Weird, huh?! I guess maybe that's not such a good thing because I look outside and it instantly gets me in the mood for hot chocolate and a book. Yeah. That's not happening anytime soon.

So we had interviews with President Samuelian on Tuesday. HE IS SO AWESOME! I seriously could just sit for hours and listen to him talk. I would just sit there like a sponge and soak up everything he says. His big push is "vision". Vision for our mission, for our areas, for our life. That's why he had us do the strengths assessment test, because it will help us understand ourselves better and help us fulfill our vision. So I've decided that my life vision is to be in the Celestial Kingdom with my familha. Yup. It's gonna happen. And so how I'm going to get there is by focusing my life and basically all my efforts in my family (3 Nephi 22:14) and in the service of others (Mosiah 2:17). 

Essentially I want my life to revolve around those two things. I've always talked about helping families in impoverished nations, so that just makes everything go together. Does that make sense? I've also decided that I want to study Mandarin when I get back to BYU. One day China will open for missionary work, and they're going to need missionaries! So when my husband and I are old and wrinkly we can help the Chinese. It's gonna ROCK!

President Samuelian gave me a blessing during the interview and one of the things he said was do not fear. I'm a worry wart and need to stop it. I just get all these ideas jumbled in my brain and I freak myself out. 
So yeah. President Samuelian is the best. I think one of the reasons I've been sent here is to have him as my mission president. He reminds me a bit of Art TerKeurst. He just cares about everyone so individually, and understands that developing individuals' talents and strengths will benefit everyone altogether. 

We had a member drive us to our interview at the stake center because we've been short on miles (Sister Basting is awesome!!). When President heard that, he really wanted to meet her and thank her for her service. We stood outside and talked a little bit about the hastening of the work. (By "we talked" I mean he talked and we listened in awe.) He talked about the destruction of Soddom and Gomorrah and how that's essentially how the destruction will be before the second coming. We're like the angels that came to Lot's family that took them by the hands and pulled them out of the city, into the plains, and eventually up into the mountain. We get people out of the wickedness of the world, into the covenant of baptism, and our ultimate goal is the temple. That is the only place that they will be safe from the destruction that will come! Sister J and I are working hard to find those people that have been prepared and get them out of the city. I wish we didn't have to do as much tracting as we do, but alas, such is missionary life. 

This Saturday I got a call from a member of the bishopric to give a talk on Sunday (yesterday). So guess what I talked about?!?! Missionary work!! I feel like I pretty much  quoted Elder Ballard's talk. And I'm ok with that. I talked about the hastening of the work and finding the person they know that has been prepared to receive the restored gospel. I hope it motivated someone. We had dinner with the Wolthius family, and after dinner Sis W told me that her daughter was telling her all about my talk. She was saying how funny I am, that I love being a missionary, and I bore my testimony. I thought that was so cute! Kids absorb a lot more than we give them credit. And it's nice that someone thinks I'm funny. 
So that's pretty much what's going on in Sweet Home. We're trying to find more people to teach!

1.        What is your mailing address there at the home you are staying at so I can send you a coat?  (I won’t put this address on the blog.)  

2.       Do you need anything else?  Tights, boots, mittens, scarf???? Maybe some black and brown tights.

3.       What size coat do you want me to get you?  I'm not sure. Coats are so finnicky. I heard yesterday that there's a huge bag of winter coats that a member brought in for people in need. Well I'm a person in need so I'm going to check that out. 

4.       So are you teaching anyone new? I feel like everyone we teach is new to me because I've barely met them. But we have this investigator named W who is golden. She's awesome. The only thing is that her in-laws are well known in the town as anti-mormon. But she just seems to brush it off her back.

5.       What was the best thing that happened this week? that blessing from President Samuelian. 

6.       Any funny stories? Remember that Elder from my MTC district that I read his DearElder letter? Maybe not. Anyway, his cousins/aunt and uncle are in the ward. Small world. 
7.       Favorite thing you read this week in the scriptures? I started reading the Old Testament, and I love it! I just remember seminary with Brother Moore(ski) and all that awesomeness. I read the chapter about Sodom and Gomorrah a few days before talking with President Samuelian and I definitely didn't get all that out of it. So I'm trying to make my personal studies better. I'm reading about Joseph of Egypt right now and I imagine how it all happened in my head. It's pretty fun to do.

8.       Any new pictures to send home? Nope, sorry! But I did find a picture of me with the Page family at my farewell so I'm going to print it out today.

9.       Any good advice from your mission president lately? OOhh he talked about a paradigm shift that's happening right now. It's not the members help missionaries with the work, rather the missionaries help members with their work. 

10.   How is it going with the members?  Are you learning everyone’s names?  Remember you are good at memorization!  It's a work in progress. I have to have some sort of association with everyone's names.

11.   How has your first week gone in Sweet Home? Swell!
12.   What is the ward like? They're fun. I haven't met everyone, but it seems like they're all excited about the hastening of the work. 
13.   Who is the family you live with?  What are they like? They're names are the C's. They have 3 daughters that are all grown. Sister C makes amazing food and gives it to us all the time.
14.   How is Sister J?  Tell her I said HI! Oh I did. She says hi back. She's doing pretty good.

15.   I will be sending you a care package soon.  Any requests for food, etc.?  That bread from Trader Joes! Haha that was the first thing that came to my mind. Just snack food. Healthy snack food! Yummmm.

Well I've got to go- almost out of time! But I love you! Find the one!

Sister Baker