April 28, 2014 Week One in Alecrim

Sister A and Sister B!!!

Hey errybody!

Hope you`ve had a great week! So I`m still getting used to this keyboard, so bear with me. Haha. There are all sorts of interesting Brazilian nuances that I`m getting used to. 

Like walking everywhere. I knew it was going to happen, but my body didn`t realize it. And in particular, my feet. Those poor babies didn`t know what was coming. Day one in the field was fine, with the exception of a few blisters. Took care of those that night. What I wasn`t expecting was my feet to swell up like a balloon for the next four days. It was super hard to walk and very frustrating because I wasn`t tired or anything. It was just that my feet wanted to abandon ship. Bahh. So frustrating. 

But like in everything else, the Lord provides a way. Yesterday I asked the elders in our ward, Elder D and Elder F, to give me a blessing after lunch. It was so great. They said that my feet would improve and that I would be able to continue on and do my best in the work of the Lord. Immediately after the blessing I could feel the tension in my feet start to go away and by last night I was walking like almost normal. Such a tender mercy. And tender mercy equals a miracle. Heavenly Father once again demonstrated His power and love in taking care of me and the things I need. It just goes to show that He wants to be a part of our lives, but we have to be the ones to let Him in. He`s always there, it`s just that most of the time we`re not listening. 

So now my feet are almost back to normal! Hurrah for Israel! My left foot is still a little swollen from some sort of bug bite I think. Don`t worry mom, I`m using my sunscreen and bug repellant. Except the other day I must have missed a spot on my shoulder because there`s a stripe of red there. Haha. But it´s all good in the hood. 

Other miracles: We didn`t have running water for two days and now we do! You never realize what you have until it`s gone. Haha

Aaaaand. The gift of tongues. Holy smokes that`s real. There is no way I would be able to be working here without it. Every day I`m learning so many new words and phrases. Sister A is super patient with me when I try to explain things, which I´m super grateful for. It´s really funny because most of the time everyone only talks to her until I jump in because they think I have no idea what´s going on. Which is only somewhat true. Sometimes I´m completely lost, but most of the time I get the gist of what people are saying. We were talking to this family sitting outside their house and they asked how long Sister A has been here. When she said a year they flipped out, but when I said about 2 weeks they literally almost peed their pants. It was quite satisfying. But Sister A is always telling people that I understand more than they think. Ha. For example, we had lunch (the biggest meal of the day here. we don`t really eat dinner) with a really funny family. And as we were leaving the Irma asked where Sister A bought her bag because I should get one like it. The sister thought I didn`t understand, but I was like, wait. You don`t like my bag??! The look on her face was priceless because she knew that I knew what was going on. Mwahaha! It was great. 

But the people here are awesome! The ward is great and there´s a lot of work to be done. We`re teaching a ten-year-old named D that wants to be baptized but right now her mom doesn`t want her to. So we`re going to talk to Mama Bear and pray and have faith the Lord will change her heart. Miracles happen every day here! We`re praying that she`ll be able to be baptized this Sunday. Stay tuned!

Random business to answer your questions Mama:

No Chaco tan line yet. It will come though. 

We have time to do language study most days. 

We`ve got fans in our casa. Outside it´s always windy so it doesn`t get too hot. I mean, it`s an inferno compared to Oregon, but it`s the coolest area in the mission. In both meanings of the word. 

I use my DoTerra insect repellant and it works well. I`ve started using it at night too because I think that`s when some bug got to my foot. 

As for skyping on Mother`s Day, I have no idea. I haven`t heard anything. Sorry!

Life is good. The Lord is great. Remember who you are and what you stand for!

Love you!

Sister Baker

April 22, 2014 Sending Some Love From Natal!

Hello, Natal!!!

Sisters in the CTM!

View of Sao Paulo.

District in the CTM.

Hey errybody!

I´m here safe and sound! Sister Bosworth-Arzani, Sister Young, Elder Kaelberer, Elder Ballard, some Uruguanan elder and I all flew in to Natal yesterday. We got up super early yesterday morning to say goodbye to our roommates and as any other travel day, yesterday was long. Long, but good. We almost missed our flight to Natal because some missionaries in our group didn´t have their baggage prepaid. We made it with like 5 minutes to spare. 

Then when we arrived and picked up our baggage we met President Soares and the APs. Super awesome. Love them all. Yesterday we had a training meeting with them and our companions. Talking about expectations for the mission and such. Beforehand I was just thinking, how on earth is this mission going to compare to the OSM? But during the meeting we discussed the vision of the mission (that miracles haven´t ceased-Moroni 7) and I felt so much that this is where I need to be right now. I don´t know how or why the timing is the way it is, but I know I´m here at the right time. I´m serving in the interior of Natal in the Alecrim Ward with Sister A. She´s from Willard, Utah and has been out about a year. She´s an Sister Training Leader and apparently my trainer. Not sure what that means. Probably teaching me some more humility. But she´s pretty great! 

The work here is crazy great. Or so I´ve heard. I haven´t actually taught lessons or anything yet. We had meetings all day yesterday and today Sister A had her interview with President Soares. Once I´m done writing here we´re gonna go do work! I´m super pumped. I´m excited to see how things are different here. Oh. And I´m currently wearing chacos. We walk everywhere. I like it a lot. The city is a fun place to be. 

To answer a few of your questions, mama:

I´m currently at an internet cafe.

The Soares´ home is AMAZING. I don´t have my camera with me today to send pictures because I don´t want it to get stolen or anything. But they live in an apartment right by the beach and have probably the nicest view in the city. 

I haven´t heard anything about us being a facebook mission. I highly doubt it. 

It´s hot here. But apparently this is the coldest area in the mission. We have a lot of wind, so I´m super blessed. Easing into things, I guess. Haha. But I´ll get more used to it as time passes. 

And I´m doing great! Wearing my sunscreen, haha.

Love you guys!

Remember who you are and what you stand for!!

Sister Baker


April 16, 2014 First/Last Week in the CTM

Hey errybody!
So I've survived my first week in the CTM here in Sao Paulo!
I'm not sure how that happened considering my first day here was rough. I didn't sleep at all on the plane and had to go nonstop the next day. I wanted to just walk out of the room every time some faculty would talk about the importance of speaking Portugugese. Because that's pretty much all they told us the first day. Speak Portgugese. It's important. Speak it. Just do it. Dooooo it. And I'm just like DUHHH. That's why I'm here! But I still hear North American elders speaking English so I get the point. Clearly I'm still working to learn humility.
So yeah, that first 24 hours I just wanted to sleep and not speak to anyone. Other than that I LOVE the CTM! The people here are great! Me and my companions (Sister Young and Bosworth-Arzani) share a room with two Brasileiras. They're pretty awesome. We just point to stuff asking them to teach us the words in Portuguese. I'm sure they also joke at our accents, but it's all good. We also sit with different people every day at meals. It's pretty cool to hear where all everyone is from, and get to know them a little bit.
My Portuguese is coming along pretty well, I've got to say. And it's totally not me. The gift of tongues is real! I don't know how anyone could go from speaking next to nothing of a language to being able to converse and understand native speakers in a week. It's not possible on our own, but with the Lord on our side it's happening! Every day I'm able to understand more and more of the language! It's really awesome. Our district is made up of all North American ex-visa waiters, but we always speak Portuguese. I love it! And our teachers are just awesome. In the MTC the first time we only had two teachers and practiced teaching once a day, but here we have 3 teachers and we practice three times a day. Our teachers are all native Brazillians and they're super funny. I'm not biased or anything, but I'm convinced we've got the best teachers in the CTM. At first it felt weird to just stand around and talk to the Brazilians because I'm used to always trying to be productive and whatnot. But being able to speak the language is why I'm here and it's all good in the hood. A lot of the time we play speaking games. Like games where you have to tell stories or games where you have to describe different things. It's a lot of fun here. Even my evil bunny face came out. We call it my "coelho maligno rosto" here.
AND THE FOOD IS AWESOME. About 300 times better than the Provo MTC. I think it's half that there are only 200-something missionaries here, and the other half that we're in Brazil. There's all sorts of random food I've been trying and it's super yummy. I think the only thing I've tried that I don't like is some sort of dessert that's like half-melted jello. It was pretty gross. But other than that it's awesome. All the South Americans are just like ... meh... the food is ...ok... I guess. And we're like bahh?! What?! Yep. I feel bad for Brazilians that come to America. When I get in the field I've got to learn how to cook like them!
Also Brazilians are stylish. The sisters are all teeny weeny. But they're all stylish.
Que mais?
Oh!! Last Friday we went out to the busy streets of Sao Paulo to proselyte!!!!! OH. MY. LANTA. That was so awesome! We rode on the bus from the CTM to a different part of the city and I gave away two Livro de Mormons before I was even off the bus! The people here are so nice and super friendly! They'll talk to anyone they meet. A guy on the bus asked if I'm from Germany. Haha. Nope. Os Estados. But I want to get to the point where I can convince people I'm a native Brazilian. Gotta work on that accent! Also, at this point I don't think I remember any French. Which is kinda sad, but I'm over it.
If anyone complains about the driving in the US they need to stop because driving in Sao Paulo is terrifying. We went to the Sao Paulo temple today (the session was in Portuguese!!) and we all thought we were going to die. All the cars except buses are tiny, and people just weave in an out of traffic. They're always about 3 feet behind the car in front of them going super fast. It's like a roller coaster without a safety harness and a track.
I think my catch phrase for this week is? "Voce vai para Natal? Oh! Muito quente!" Translation: "You're going to Natal? Oh! It's super hot there!" No joke. Every single Brazilian we've talked to has said that. Except one. We're all pretty light-skinned and we've had tons of people tell us to use lots of sunscreen. Haha. So mom- you're not the only one saying that! I've got in coming from a different hemisphere too!
But I don't have much more time left. I leave the CTM next Tuesday for Natal. I'm pretty excited!! The field here is white already to harvest!
Remember who you are and what you stand for!

Sister Baker

April 8, 2014 Sou Aqui!

I´ve arrived at the CTM in one piece! Hurrah! Ok so this keyboard is kinda crazy so typing is tough. Trevor I feel your pain when you would write from Germany.

So the flights were good. The one to Sao Paulo was ridiculously long. I thought I was going to die. But it´s all good because I´m here now! 

Let´s see, on both flights I was able to teach lessons. That was fun. It was in English but either way it´s the gospel! 

I met a bunch of really nice people at the airport and stuff and they were able to help me with my Portuguese. Granted I still know very little but it was fun. Oh! And one of my companions was in my ward at BYU! Bah! Small world! And I´m in a trio again. Livin that #triolife
I´m glad I´m with Sister Young because she really wants to only speak Portuguese and we seem to be on the same level. Definitely an answer to prayer. Gotta love it!

Well I´ve got to go now. You know, learn how to preach the gospel in a new language. It´s going to be interesting. And it´s so hot here! I´m going to die when I get to Natal.

Ok. That is all.

Eu amo voces!!

Sister Baker

April 7-April 8, 2014 This Sister is Headed to Brazil!

On her way to Atlanta!

Atlanta to Sao Paulo, Brazil!

She made it!!!

General Conference Invite

April 7, 2014 Tchau, Tchau Oregon!

The family that I fit into. In other words, the Burtons! 

Oh boy this week sure has flown by! We've seen a lot of miracles in the Takena ward this week!

Basically, living the trio life is the way to go. I just love trios. Love 'em. So this week with Sister P and Sister T has been the bomb-diggity. 

All transfer we've been struggling to find people to teach #struglife. But this week we taught more than we have all transfer! It was fantastic to get back in that teaching groove. Listening to the Spirit, helping people develop their faith in Christ. It doesn't get much better than that. 

It's sad to have to leave this area because I love it so much! So during General Conference when President Uchtdorf spoke about endings, it really hit home. Because we are eternal beings, it's hard to swallow the idea of something ending. It's almost unnatural for us to comprehend because our spirits our eternal. But luckily we know that all endings in this life like death and separation are only temporary and that one day we will be reunited. 

Speaking of General Conference... Wasn't that amazing?!?! I mean, two days of modern day prophets and apostles giving us guidance and direction? Yes puh-lease! Lord knows we need it. One theme of the talks that really stood out to me was how hard things are going to get in the future. Life is fairly tough now to be a Christian, but it's only going to get worse. We were counseled to hold fast to our faith and stay close to the Savior, and if we do those things we will survive the tumult of the last days. That's an amazing promise! But at the same time, we have to put in our effort.

So I'm definitely going to be studying up on those! 

As for this upcoming week, it's going to be interesting. I have an idea of what to expect, but not really. I fly out Tuesday and get to the Brazil Missionary Training Center on Wednesday. It's going to be Portuguese 24/7. I'm pretty pumped! I've already decided that when I get there I"m not speaking any English. I'm just tossing that language to the side for now. I'm also praying for a Braziliian companion. That would be a huge help. But mostly I'm praying for the gift of tongues. I don't want to go for the entire rest of my mission struggling to communicate. Because I mean there are so many people that need the gospel and I need to talk to them! I know the Lord doesn't want language to be a barrier, but as with everything else, I have to put in the work first and he makes up the rest. I've got a brain for a reason.

I'm super excited to get down there, but I'm sad to be leaving. So rather than being on one huge emotional roller coaster all the time, I feel pretty neutral. I mean as neutral as I get. Does that make sense? What I'm saying is that I'm not crying because I'm leaving nor am I bouncing off the walls. It's pretty weird. Being a missionary is a constant play on your emotions. Haha.

I really can't think of anything else to talk about that happened this week. It just flew by. I can't believe it. 

Oh! I had someone call from "New Jersey" the other day. I put that in quotes because it had 12 digits in the phone number and when I answered it was someone from the Sao Paulo MTC. I had a mini-language assessment. They asked me questions in Portuguese and I had to respond. Pretty simple. I think I did fine. I'm just stinky at conjugating verbs. And when she asked me how I felt about getting called to Brazil, I was trying to tell her how I studied French for 6 years and it was a surprise. It came out that I studied French for 6 weeks instead. So I'm sure she thought I was a little weird that I thought I might go French-speaking after studying for 6 weeks. Oh well. I hear there are a certain number of mistakes you have to make before you're fluent in a language. You can be sure that I'm well on my way there. 

Bah! I just can't wait to reread the talks from General Conference!! They were seriously amazing. I love em!

Well, that's all for now folks! See ya on the other side of the hemisphere!

Remember who you are and what you stand for!
Love you!

Sister Baker


March 31, 2014 Last week in Takena = a bucket full of tears

Tchau tchau departing missionaries!

Yayy Lebanon Zone.

Green smoothies with Sister Mink

Sister Ordonez and Sister Sorto-Cruz. Aka the cuties from Temple Square. Carissa Simons probably knows them

Muh boy Sherm and his family

Marteeny Fam!
Salem Zone at Silver Falls

Hiking with Sister A!
Last week in Takena = a bucket full of tears.  Actually that's an exaggeration. I probably won't cry. I haven't cried ever when I've left an area/got a new companion. Now that I said that I'm going to bawl next week.

So this is my official last week in the one, the only, Takena ward. I thought I was getting kicked out to spend a week up in Newberg with those sisters, but alas. I'm wrong. Again. Not a big surprise there. I guess it's the Lord keeping me humble. So I get to have my last week in Oregon in this ward. It's pretty grand and I'm happy about it. I think it will throw the members for a loop when they see me at church on Sunday after goodbyes and whatnot.

And here's the sitch on what's happening with transfers/Brazil/my life. Transfers: I'm living the trio life again! This time it's Sister P, Sister T (tuh-leen), and I. Gotta have the phonetics. And Sister T was just called as an STL!! She's awesome. She's been out about as long as Sister P. In fact they were in the same MTC district. Pretty fun stuff. And they both have food allergies. Sister P can't eat meat, Sister T can't eat gluten. So it's all sorts of fun up here. Even with all that, they'll still probably get fed more than the elders. Ah, c'est la vie.

Brazil: as I'm sure you are aware, I'm going to Brazil. True story. I go up to the mission home next Monday, get to have my "departing interview" with Prezzy, call the fam, and spend the night at the mission home. The Samuelian's would take me to the airport except that Tuesday is the day of MLC. So clearly they are going to be busy calling us all the repentance. I think they're pretty sad they aren't taking me to the airport. I am too a bit, but the Christensens (from the office) will be taking me and they're the ones that have been working with my visa paperwork. Apparently there's a joke in the office that when someone else would get their visa,  they weren't allowed to tell me.  Bah!

As for my life: just living it up in the Takena ward. We're still a bit homeless, but it's all good because the M family have taken us stragglers in. I'm thinking that we're going to be moving to an apartment sometime this week. But considering my track record at predicting the future, who knows.

I got to go on the departing missionary temple trip! That was awesome! Bah I love the temple! It was awesome to just spend the day in the Lord's house and doing His redeeming work. It doesn't get much better than that, folks.

This week has definitely flown by. Friday we had a game night. That was pretty fun. There was this family there called the H. And they're amazing. Their son was baptized a few months ago and is a priest. His family comes with him to church every week, but they aren't meeting with us or the elders. I think they initially thought that meeting with us was like a commitment to get baptized. And that's not the case. But they are super nice and we talk to them all the time. They've had the elders over for dinner and they're on the calendar to feed us as well. Then last Sunday happened. We passed around a sign-up sheet for the relief society to put down their availability to come out to lessons with us. AND MAMA H SIGNED UP. Ok. We're not sure what that means. Either she wants to be taught the lessons or wants to help us teach the lessons. Either way involves her learning about the gospel. We haven't talked to her about it yet, but you'd best be sure we are! I'm so excited to see what happens!!

So that's the 411 in Takena. Basically I love this ward. I love Oregon. I love being a missionary. I love the gospel!

Remember who you are and what you stand for!

Sister Baker