Monday, December 23, 2013

First Transfer in Australia - 12/23/13

Melbourne Mission Moments

Ah man. What a crazy week. I can't believe it's almost CHRISTMAS!! Honestly, I really can't believe it. Probably because it doesn't even feel like Christmas here.

So grateful to have been able
 to serve with Sister Stevenson!
So last Monday and Tuesday Sister Stevenson and I spent a lot of time saying goodbye to people. Not fun! I have grown to love the people there so much that it was really hard to say goodbye. We went to see some investigators we have worked a lot with as they have dealt with many challenges. They told me how much I have influenced them and the difference I have made over the last few months. It was really sweet how much they were truly grateful. They may not have joined the church yet, and might not anytime soon but I know that because of our love and service, they have become more prepared. Sister Stevenson is still there to take the reins now and I have complete confidence in her. She is such a good missionary.

American Peanut Butter!
The members in Churchill Park are so wonderful! They literally SHOWERED me with Christmas presents. So nice of them! I didn't even know where to put it all when I packed. One family in the ward who I love so much gave me a bag of presents. I decided yesterday morning to open one of them and it was a big jar of Skippy peanut butter! Oh what joy that brought me! Australian peanut butter is just not the same. It's actually a lot healthier. But I miss American peanut butter. So that was a happy surprise.

Our last goodbye on Tuesday night was REALLY hard. I was doing well and we were taking pictures and doing great but then it was time for us to leave. I started giving everyone hugs and I looked over at their 5-year-old. His eyes were all welled up with tears. That did me in. I was crying. It was terrible. I love that family so much! I want nothing more than to see them get sealed in the temple. They promised me that they would do what it takes to get there before I go home. That will be the happiest day of my entire mission. Ah, I love them so much. They are such a special family.
I love this family SO MUCH and the other families here!

So, my Golden was supposed to arrive on Wednesday but the ones flying out from SLC were delayed because of weather so while Sister Stevenson went to get her Golden, I spent the day with Sister F and Sister W. It was a good day and we were able to see a lot of miracles that day. I love those sisters.
I loved living with these Sisters!
Thursday morning I spent in the mission office doing work there until the new missionaries arrived around 2:00 pm. My companion is  from Wales but was born in England so she has an English accent. I love her! We are getting along really well and loving it here in Mooroolbark. On Thursday after some orientation we picked up our car and flat keys and headed out to our area. We have an almost brand new Toyota Corolla. It only has 2500 kilometers on it. It's probably the newest car I will ever drive in my entire life. We are living just outside of our area with another set of Sisters, Sister Z (from China) and Sister H (from Taiwan). They are funny and always speaking Chinese haha. Our flat is really nice. I will take pictures of it and send them to you. Ha funny story. Right when she got here I told my new companion that I am terrified of spiders and that she has to kill them for me, which she was fine with. So Thursday night we are unpacking and I am hanging up my clothes. I had my back turned away from the wardrobe and she looks at me and says, "Sister, don't move..." Naturally I freaked out. There was a big Huntsman spider crawling down the sleeve of my shirt! Ew! Haha I freaked out. It was bigger than a quarter and I did not like it.
With Sister Burton at the Melbourne Temple.
Our transportation for our new area!
Most of the day on Friday was our mission Christmas party. It was really good! Mostly I love being with other missionaries. It is so good to see people who you haven't seen in a while!  For the first bit they had a devotional with music and things. It was really good. Then they had a big lunch for all of us. Then we watched videos that each zone made and of miracle stories, took mission pictures in front of the temple, and had a talent show. At the end, they gave us our Christmas presents. Every single missionary got something which was awesome. We all have a red box from the mission. I don't know what it is but it is so nice of them! I'm trying really hard to wait until Christmas. I also got the package from you guys. Thank you so much for sending it! I can't wait to open it on Christmas! We were all at the mission office until about 6:00. After that we were able to go meet Bishop Beckwith. He and his family are so wonderful! They invited us to come over on Christmas so that will be fun!

We've tried to spend a lot of our time visiting members and getting to know them which has been great. Everyone has been really surprised that there are sisters in the ward and they are really receptive. We had a dinner invite for Saturday night and also for tonight. We've been invited to a Christmas breakfast, and to a Boxing Day lunch. It's been great to feel so loved here. I was able to find somewhere to Skype on Christmas morning. I can't wait! :)

Besides meeting with members, we were able to teach one lesson on Saturday. The Elders taught them the first lesson but since they are girls, they passed them over to us. They are 17 year old twins and their 14-year old sister. They are Burmese? And I don't really know where it is except that it is near India. They are really great! We reviewed the restoration with them and showed them the DVD which they love. We invited them to be baptized on January 25th so we are looking forward to that!

Yesterday morning I was able to finish the Book of Mormon. I am SO grateful for the Book of Mormon! It has blessed my life so much! I have such a strong testimony of its truth. I have become closer to the Savior as I have read it. I am so grateful for this Christmas time and the opportunity it gives us to celebrate Jesus Christ. And what a special opportunity I have to be able to share that with others. I love being a missionary. I love you all so much and hope your Christmas is the best! Can't wait to Skype!

Love y'all HEAPS!


Sister Baker xxx

I am going to be serving in a new area with a new missionary! - 12/16/13

Melbourne Mission Moments
Dear Family,
Merry Christmas from Australia!

This past week has been great, other than the fact that I have been sick all week. Sunday night I started feeling not the hottest and by Monday morning I had no voice, a fever, stuffy nose, etc. It lasted ALL week which was really a bummer. But with some extra rest, I was still able to go out and work for at least part of the day every day so that was good. Heavenly Father definitely made up the difference for my being sick and we were able to still see success.

Monday we had Zone P-day. We all went to the chapel and played ultimate frisbee. I wasn't feeling the hottest but I still played and it was fun! Since I was feeling sick, I asked the Elders to give me a blessing. I am so grateful for the Priesthood. I have no doubt that the words of my blessing came directly from Heavenly Father. Lately, I have been feeling a little discouraged and wondering if I was doing enough. We have a mission goal of every companionship having a baptism before the end of the year and that has not happened for Sister Stevenson and me so I was feeling like maybe I wasn't doing enough. Silly me, but sometimes I am too self-critical. I see other missionaries having tons of success and baptizing and I feel like there's something wrong with me and a reason I am failing in one way or another. Anyway, so in my blessing I was told, "Heavenly Father wants you to know that he is pleased with the way you have served Him." Man did the tears flow. That was exactly what I needed to hear. I am doing my best, working hard, and trying to be exactly obedient. And that's all that Heavenly Father asks.

On Wednesday we were able to have a lesson with an investigator. We were supposed to meet her at the chapel but we didn't have a chapel key so we asked if there was somewhere else we could meet. She said we could come to her house. That was huge because until now we haven’t been allowed to come to their house so that was good. We taught her the plan of salvation. She knows so much and she has a testimony. We're really praying to know what we can do to help her make the decision to be baptized. There's a missing link somewhere and we just need to figure out what it is.
Friday night we got to teach the woman from Peru again. We showed her the restoration video in Spanish and it was perfect! She felt the Spirit so strongly. After it was over she said that she knows Joseph Smith was a prophet. Ah, music to my ears. We invited her to be baptized on the 28th of December and she said that if God told her she needed to be baptized, that she would. Unfortunately, she messaged us on Saturday saying that she was really stressed out and wondered if we should just wait until the new year. Uh, NO! That's way too much time for Satan to work on her. So we're hoping to see her this week and help her to receive her answer. 
Saturday we got to do service for some members all day on their farm! It was awesome. There were 10 missionaries there and we worked literally ALL DAY! I love serving!
Sunday Sister Stevenson and I were asked to speak in Sacrament meeting. We really hadn't had time all week to prepare anything so we both only prepared a little Saturday night/Sunday morning. We were supposed to speak about Jesus Christ. I decided to focus my thoughts around The Living Christ. This was the first time I have given a talk without literally writing out the whole thing. And it actually went well! I am so grateful for the opportunities to teach that I have on the mission that have helped me to be more confident in my knowledge of the gospel and made me comfortable talking about it. I love the gospel and I love talking to others about it! 
We got to watch the Christmas Devotional last night which I loved! Made me miss watching it at home with everyone though! They did it quite differently this year than they have in other years but I liked it. I LOVED when Elder Nelson was surrounded by all those adorable little kids singing I'm Trying to be Like Jesus. So cute! Haha I cried all the way through it. Typical Sister Baker. As the Aussies say, I'm such a sook. 
After the Devotional we got home and we had a message from President Maxwell saying he would like to talk to both of us. Ah. Can you say churning stomach and rapid heart rate?! We had no idea why he was calling but as soon as we listened to the message, I knew what he was going to say. So we called him back. He started off by asking me how long I've been in Churchill Park (6 1/2 months). Then he told us that he hated to have to split up such a great companionship but that there are new missionaries coming this week and the Lord would like both of us to train new missionaries. I was SO sad but yet felt at peace at the same time. I am going to be so sad not to spend Christmas with these wonderful people who I love so much but I know that this is what Heavenly Father wants and I know that it will be a good thing. I am going to be serving in Mooroolbark with a new missionary. They have not had Sisters in this ward so I'm hoping that they are SO excited to have us there. It will be a good thing. So yeah. We go get our new missionaries on Wednesday so today and tomorrow are my last days in Churchill Park. 
Crazy huh? 
I am looking forward to this new opportunity. I know that Heavenly Father is very aware of his missionaries and that right now, He needs me to serve in Mooroolbark. I am so grateful for this Christmas season to celebrate the birth of our Savior. I am so grateful for the Atonement of Jesus Christ and the way that it helps us to do things we would never be able to otherwise do. I love you all so much!

Sister Baker xxx

Monday, December 16, 2013

It brings me so much joy to see people get baptized! - 12/9/13

Melbourne Mission Moments

Monday again? So crazy! This past week has been good. Not one of the best numbers wise but that happens sometimes. I can't believe there's barely over two weeks until Christmas! This year has gone so fast!
Last Monday my companion and I caught the train in to the city to do some looking around and shopping for a few hours. It was really fun. The weather was BEAUTIFUL and we had a really good time! I love the city! I hope that I get to serve there some day. That night we were able to teach our Egyptian family again. They are slowly making progress. If only I spoke Arabic!
Tuesday morning we went and did service all morning and into the afternoon for a woman in our ward. It was really good. We had 4 missionaries there and we got a ton of work done. I'm so glad we've had some more service opportunities lately. When we can serve people, it's easy to show them that we truly care. Someone once told me that no one will care how much you know until they know how much you care. It's so true. That afternoon we were able to have another lesson with our young woman-age investigator. She is so sweet and she has changed so much in the past six weeks. Hopefully she will decide that she is ready to be baptized soon!

Thursday morning I left early with two other sisters to drive up to the mission home to say goodbye to a sister that was in the MTC with me and is so wonderful. She has been really struggling with her health over the past 5 months and it got to the point that she needed to go home. It was so sad to say goodbye to her. I truly love her and I'm going to miss her! But at the same time, I felt really at peace as we said goodbye. 

Thursday we had Zone Conference! It was so good! I love meetings and the feeling of uplifting and motivation that I have afterward. The leaders in this mission are so wonderful! One thing that was really stressed is using the Book of Mormon is every teaching situation. That is something that I really want to focus on. I love the Book of Mormon and have gained such a strong testimony of its truth, especially since being on a mission. It is our most powerful resource for teaching so I want to use it in every teaching opportunity! 
After our zone conference we went to teach a woman from PERU! How cool is it that I get to teach someone from Peru while I am clear over here in Australia! Phillip, do you have any tips on having success with Peruvians? The lesson with her went really well and she kept talking about that she felt peace! Hopefully she can be our miracle baptism before the end of the year!
On Saturday the ward had a Christmas BBQ at a park. So weird to have a BBQ for Christmas! But it was really good and we had a good turnout. Our young investigator came! She's making lots of friends in the ward which is awesome!

Saturday night we got transfer news... and I'M STAYING!! Sister Stevenson and I get to stay together for another transfer! I am so happy! I have been here a long time so I was afraid I'd get moved but I get to stay here for Christmas and my birthday! :) :)
The pure JOY that comes when you find out that you're not getting transferred!
(not planned to be wearing matching t-shirts and matching buns)

Yesterday Noah got baptized! The baptism went so perfectly and Noah looked so happy! So did his mom! I love them so much. It brings me so much joy to see people get baptized! 
Don't freeze at home. Sounds like it's pretty darn cold.
If there's one thing that I have learned here without a doubt it is that Heavenly Father knows and loves His children. I see His hand in my life every single day and I am so grateful for it. I am grateful for this time of year that we get to reflect on the birth of our Savior. I am so grateful for the gospel and the blessing it is in my life.
Love y'all heaps!!

Sister Baker

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Thanksgiving in Australia... 12/02/13

Melbourne Mission Moments
I can't believe that it's already December!! That is CRAZY! We had a wonderful week this week!
Monday night a couple in our ward took us out to dinner at a restaurant called Ambrosia. So yummy! But so expensive. After that we went to see an investigator. She opened the door and she looked so stinking happy. It just made my heart so happy. Monday night she wanted to show us her art work and oh my goodness. She is INCREDIBLE. Seriously, she paints with acrylics and it is beautiful! I think it made her feel really good that we just sat and oogled over her work.
Tuesday we had a lesson with our 12-year old investigator. We were able to teach her the Word of Wisdom. She had already learned about it the week before in Young Women's so she was happy to commit to living it which was awesome. At the end of the lesson her mum came in and told us that she and her step dad don't think that she is ready to get baptized anytime soon because she has not learned very much yet and they asked us to not bring up baptism anymore. So basically that stinks. We are still going to teach her, we just can't talk about baptism until she brings it up.
Wednesday we had exchanges and I was working with Sister F in our area. We had an awesome day! The morning and early afternoon we were able to do service for a less-active sister in our ward. Her yard is out of control so we were pulling weeds. We got one flower bed completely cleared. Let me tell you though, I was trying so hard not to FREAK OUT because there were so many bugs and spiders! Yuck. There is still a lot of work to be done for her so 8 missionaries are going to her house tomorrow to finish. I love doing service! After we left her home, we went to teach a family that Sister S and I met tracting. It is a mum and dad, their 17 year old daughter and their 7 month old son. They are Presbyterian and had a lot of interesting questions. The lesson went pretty well but they are not very open to finding out the truth. But, we'll see them again this week so hopefully it goes well! The weirdest thing though, we were just sitting there teaching when the baby just literally starts screaming super loud. The mom picked him up from the floor and said, "that means he needs to go toilet." They put their seven month old baby on the toilet! He is potty trained!!! So weird!! Haha I was about to crack up laughing. After that we had dinner with a family in our ward. They are so awesome. They are the ones that own the gym. They have a two week old baby and she is so adorable! Makes me hate the whole missionaries can't hold babies rule. Then we were able to go teach the Egyptian family. The lesson went well and we were able to teach half of the Restoration, more than we have ever been able to teach before! 
Thursday we had our Thanksgiving lunch with the sisters in our flat! It was a lot of fun! Turkey was too expensive so we had bacon instead. Then we had mashed potatoes and gravy, cooked carrots, rolls, and pie! It actually tasted really good! I love Thanksgiving and I'm glad that we were able to celebrate it here in Australia! Thursday we were able to teach another investigator again. She kind of was trying to drop us and saying that she didn't have a lot of time but we were able to sit down and read 2 Nephi 31 with her. She committed to read and pray about the Book of Mormon and we are going back this week.

Our Australian Thanksgiving

For half of Saturday we were at the chapel helping with a stake service project. The stake collected tons of food and clothing to send to a stake in the Philippines. We were super busy sorting clothes, packing it into boxes and loading them onto a truck. They had over 40 BIG boxes of stuff to send. It was so awesome to see. I love doing service. It makes me realize how blessed I am. And it was also a lot of fun! The huge white shirt that Brother F sent you a picture of? That is one of the shirts that was in a bag of stuff someone donated. It was a 6X! I didn't even know that they made clothes that big! Sister S and I both fit in it with room to spare! Hahaha I don't think anyone in the Philippines is even close to that size. Maybe a family can share it? Haha
A 6X shirt is pretty BIG!
During the service project an investigator called us to see if we could meet with her that afternoon because her schedule had freed up. She helped us with the service project and then we had a lesson with her after. We asked her when she would want to get baptized if the marriage thing was not an issue and she said, "Tomorrow." It was music to my ears. As we talked, she decided that it was about time to plan a wedding so that she can get baptized. So now we are not only missionaries but wedding planners also. We are planning the wedding for January 13th, her birthday! (Crazy that we share a birthday!) 
Yesterday church was absolutely wonderful! We had several less-active members come which was huge! We also had 4 investigators there! Our friend that had the brain tumor and her mom came, as well as our artist investigator and a South African woman who we have been teaching over the past 3 months. Unfortunately our Egyptian family didn't come. I think they don't feel comfortable coming because of the language barrier. At their church everyone speaks Arabic. So we will work on that. 
At the Investigator Fireside
Last night I opened the first envelope for my Countdown tree. Oh my goodness, instant tears. When I saw the note written by Julie on the ornament, my heart was so beyond full that I couldn't help but cry. Thank you thank you thank you for sending that! This is the best Christmas present that I could ever ask for. I feel so blessed to have such a wonderful family!
Phillip- sounds like you are loving the ocean and your area! Keep working hard! Love you! Have fun at Disneyland.... oh wait. Haha no worries, we'll go in 2015! :)
Love y'all HEAPS!
Sister Baker xxx

Heavenly Father is mindful of His missionaries... 11/25/13

Melbourne Mission Moments
I feel so grateful to be a missionary. I am constantly amazed at how much Heavenly Father blesses me. Every single day I am seeing miracles, large and small. All of these miracles increase my testimony that Heavenly Father is mindful of His missionaries.

Perhaps one of the biggest miracles is serving with Sister S. I absolutely adore her. Right from day one, things with her have gone so well. Our personalities complement each other so perfectly and we truly enjoy being companions. We are not just companions but we truly are sisters. Another thing that is such a blessing of our companionship is that we both want to work hard and be obedient. Being on the same page in that aspect is so nice. It's easier to stay positive and dig your heels in when your companion feels the same way. Working our hardest and trying to be exactly obedient has paid off so much. In the past 6 weeks our teaching pool has more than doubled. Heavenly Father has literally put people in our path who are prepared for this gospel.

On Monday we had dinner with a family here. They made the most delicious salad with steak pieces in it. I can't even really describe it but it was so good. Three types of lettuce, carrots, radishes, green onion, cilantro, the steak. Ah, it was so good! After that we got to go teach a guy we met at the train station and he actually started talking to us. When we got to his house, he had a lot of questions and had printed out tons of stuff from Wikipedia about Mormons. Luckily, he was willing to put that aside and listen to us and we had a wonderful lesson about the Restoration. He loves scripture and was really excited about the Book of Mormon. Unfortunately he actually lives in the other Sister's area so we have to pass him over to them.

Tuesday we had district meeting and then an investigator met us at the chapel and we were able to have a great lesson with her. She is so open with her thoughts and feelings. The Elders were able to give her a priesthood blessing which was perfect! After that we had a lesson with our 12-year old young woman. She wants to be baptized on January 4th! She is so great! I love that girl.

Wednesday we were able to do some service for a less active woman in our ward which was good. I love being able to serve people and show them that we truly love them! Our dinner appointment for Wednesday night canceled and we were STARVING but we didn't have enough Ks to drive back to the flat so we decided to splurge and buy dinner at a place called Nandos. Holy cow. Best chicken burger I've ever had in my entire life. So yummy. Haha but after that we went to see the Egyptian family.  Since they speak Arabic, there is a bit of a language barrier and we only get about one and a half principles taught each time. We are trying really hard to find a member who speaks Arabic but so far we haven't had much luck. However, even with the language barrier, they have such a love for us. We have really gained their trust and they love to have us in their home. After a short lesson, they told us they had dinner for us. They put two HUGE plates of food on the table. I was thinking that was the food for everyone to share. But no, it was just for us. One big plate for me and one for Sister Stevenson. It was fried fish. So we sat down and started to eat and you better believe Heavenly Father was helping me eat that fish. But it was SO MUCH FOOD and we had already eaten dinner. And the craziest part? I'm assuming it's part of their culture but they left us completely alone to eat and went in the other room. Occasionally she would come and say, "eat! eat!" Haha it was crazy. I was honestly trying so hard not to just bust up laughing because the whole situation was so crazy. Needless to say, we both finished the food and I've never been so full in my entire life. Hahaha gotta love being a missionary and EVERYONE wanting to feed you.

Thursday night was the ward Relief Society activity and our Egyptian mom came! It was so good to see her there and for her to make friends with more women in the ward! The activity was really great too! They did food demos on how to make sugared almonds, ranch dressing, chocolate sauce, and home-made ice cream. All of the recipes were really easy and everyone loved it!
Friday night we had dinner and a lesson with a Romanian couple that we are teaching. They are so funny! Seriously, they are always talking in Romanian or saying the most random things and I just laugh. They made us some Romanian thing but it was basically just scones but it was good! At one point they started talking about Mr. Bean's Holiday and he said, "you must be a genius to play such an idiot." I don't know why but I found that so funny! Haha
Saturday afternoon we were doing some finding before our dinner appointment and it started to rain. We only had about 10 minutes left so we easily could have just quit and gone to the car but we decided to keep going. As we got to the last house, it had literally started to pour. But in that house was a family! They agreed to have us come back this week! Such a blessing!
Church yesterday was great! Our young friend that had the brain tumor was able to come with her Auntie which was awesome and our 12-year investigator old came too! Unfortunately the Egyptian family didn't come because there was some event happening at their church that they were involved in and couldn't miss. Sacrament meeting was great. They had a lot of the seminary kids speak and the seminary teacher. It made me really grateful I was able to go to seminary as part of school instead of going at the crack of dawn every morning! The lesson in RS was really great! It was on Pres. Monson's talk from Priesthood session of General Conference about home teaching. Instead they focused more on visiting teaching. I determined to ALWAYS do my visiting teaching, no matter what.
Overall it was a great week! I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving this week. I wish I could be there but at the same time, I would so much rather be here!We are going to make Thanksgiving lunch at our flat on Thursday! I am so grateful to be a missionary and to have the gospel in my life. I am grateful for such an amazing family that is so supportive and AWESOME! I am grateful for the atonement and the ability that it gives each of us to change and be better.
Love you all HEAPS!
Sister Baker
Phillip- Ocean! Lucky! I hope you love your new area! Are you having a hard time believing that it's almost December? I definitely am. I don't think being away for Christmas will be that hard because it doesn't feel real. It feels like people are pretending. Keep working hard! And don't swim in the ocean. (It's in the handbook.) :)

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

I am so GRATEFUL! - 11/18/13

Melbourne Mission Moments 

Doesn't this sound good?

We had an absolutely wonderful week this past week! Numbers wise, it's probably the best week that I've had in Australia! 
On Monday after we got home from emailing and shopping we checked the mail and the USB with Christmas music on it came! Thank you so much for sending it! That is all that Sister S and I listen to and we love it! 
The first half of the week was super rainy and pretty cold here. We had 8 days straight of rain! It got really old! But having the colder weather made Christmas music seem more appropriate. Now that it has been warmer the last few days, Christmas music seems really funny. I feel like I'm kidding myself trying to pretend that it's almost Christmas. It's really nice today but not hot yet. Melbourne has definitely stayed cooler. It sounds like Perth is really hot but here it's definitely not to that point yet. Earlier in the week when it was raining, I was wearing a jumper [sweater], scarf, boots and my coat. Weird. 
Monday night we had dinner with a couple that live up in the hills in the most beautiful area! And their house… Oh my goodness. It is so cute! It looks like something out of a magazine. It's an old cottage that was built in the 1920s that they have fixed up and added on to. I felt like I was in a movie or something. She made the most beautiful dinner with an appetizer and dessert too. She's like a gourmet chef so that was really fun. I had fresh figs for the first time there. Ha, when I saw it on the plate I had no idea what it was and I honestly thought it looked gross but I LOVED it. So yummy! 
We are still getting up and going to the gym every morning and guess what? I love it. Seriously, it's the biggest blessing that they let us use it for free and that both Sister S and I like to get up early so we can go. 
On Tuesday we went to visit the cutest old lady in our ward who lives in a nursing home. She is so cute. Being there visiting her reminds me so much of work at Country Care. Haha I kind of miss it, kinda. After that we went with the Elders in another ward to meet a couple that they have been working with who just moved into our ward boundaries. We are really excited to work with them. They are both from Mauritius. (I didn't know that it even existed before the mission but I've met tons of people from there. I want to go someday.) He is a less active member and his wife is not a member. He has cancer and is undergoing chemo treatments right now. They are such kind and loving people. After that we went to teach our 12-year old. We taught her part of the plan of salvation and part of the gospel of Jesus Christ. And guess what? She wants to get baptized! She is praying about a date and we will hopefully be setting a solid date tomorrow! We then visited the mother and son and had another lesson with them. Her son is SO excited for his baptism on the 8th of December. :)
One of our biggest miracles this week happened on Tuesday night when we went to see the family that was a referral from the Elders! They are from Egypt and have been living here for 3 years. It is a mom, dad, grandma, and two boys ages 10 and 6. They have a Christian background which is super awesome. The major obstacle though is that they speak Arabic and their English is not the greatest. And the grandma doesn't speak English at all. We were a little at a loss because it was hard to communicate but we felt like we should sing. We sang "Joseph Smith's First Prayer." As we sang the dad's eyes were filled with tears and the grandma was crying. After we finished singing the 6-year old translated for his grandma who said, "I felt like I knew the song and knew the words." Ha, I just started to cry. The spirit was so strong. There is truly power in music. They loved it and wanted us to come back that same week.
Wednesday we went up to the hospital to see our friend. She is doing well but you could tell that the surgery set her back a little bit again. But she has such a good attitude and keeps her sense of humor through everything. She is such a special girl. Yesterday we talked in ward council about the ward being a lot more involved in fellowshipping their family. I think it will be really good! There are several members who are really going to step up and help them.
So kind of funny, on Wednesday I got the hiccups off and on literally all day. It was crazy, and kind of annoying. Haha. I got them again before we went to bed and while we were praying I hiccupped SO loud. Both Sister S and I LOST it laughing. It was hilarious!
We had dinner with a family on Saturday. Oh how I love their family. They have us over once a week and it is such a blessing. We want to see them get sealed so badly.
Saturday night we got to teach the family from Egypt again. I love them so much! We taught them about the Godhead. They believe in one being and we were trying to help them understand that they are three separate beings but it is a little hard because of the language barrier. But they agreed to pray about it and wanted to come to church so that was good.
Our 12-year old investigator came to church which was wonderful. She already has made friends with several of the young women and loves coming! We were really sad when sacrament meeting started and the new family still wasn't there. But during Sunday school someone poked their head in and told us that they were there. They were late but they came! It made us so happy to see them! 
Last night we had dinner with another family in the ward. Ah, what wonderful people they are. They had the mother and the son that is going to be baptized over too which was really good. These ward members have really taken them under her wing. They even invited them to join their family for Christmas. It's so nice to see members really step up and fulfill their callings/ love those that we help come back to church.
We haven't been able to formally meet with the new sister we met this week because her partner doesn't want people from church in their house but we've been on the phone with her every day and she is so awesome! We fasted for her on Tuesday and later in the week she told us that she was fasting on Tuesday as well! We are praying so hard for a miracle. She is awesome though.

I love being a missionary so much! We see so many miracles every single day. I love the gospel. I am truly, truly converted. I know that Joseph Smith was a prophet and that he did see Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. I know that the Book of Mormon is true. I am so GRATEFUL to have a Heavenly Father who knows me, who hears my prayers, and who blesses me so unceasingly. 
Love y'all heaps!

Sister Baker xxx
P.S. I've been in this area for 6 months now. I'm hoping to not be transferred until after Christmas.

I got balloons on Friday since it was a year since Grandma Baker died and I sent them off to her.

A wonderful week ... full of miracles - 11/11/13

Melbourne Mission Moments 
I love my companion!
 I am so incredibly blessed. I don't know if it is because Thanksgiving is this month or what but this week I have really noticed how many blessings I receive and have in my life. I am so, so grateful!
We had a wonderful week this week full of miracles. Heavenly Father is so good to us!
Monday night we had dinner at Bishop's house. I am so grateful to be serving in such a wonderful ward with such wonderful people! Even though my family is far away from me, the members here make us feel like family. Bishop's family is so great. We had a barbeque with them and the Elders in our ward and also had FHE with them.
Tuesday morning we had district meeting which was great. Then me, Sister S, Sister W and Sister F went to the park to eat our lunch that we had packed. The weather was SO beautiful for the first half of the week. It is still a little chilly most days but it's supposed to be getting warm soon. But yeah, we sat in the sun at the park and just enjoyed the sun while we ate. It was glorious.
Wednesday night we went to teach a boy that we had met on the bus. He is 16 years old. We sat on his front lawn and taught him the Restoration and it went so well! His family is Catholic but aren't very involved in church so he believes in God but doesn't know much at all. It became the perfect canvas for him to learn about the Restoration. He loved it and was really excited about the Book of Mormon. At the end of the lesson his mom came out and listened in. She was really interested too and we have a return appointment with them for this week.
Thursday we had another lesson with our 12-year old investigator. It went really well! She was able to open up a lot and we were able to know what her concerns are. And guess what! She prayed at the end of the lesson. We've been trying to get her to do that ever since we met her and she finally did. It was so good.
Our biggest miracle of this week: Last week when we were tracting we met a guy who said we could come back. Then, on Tuesday night this week, we walked past their house and he was getting ready to leave but I guess it clicked in his head and he said, "Oh, you are Mormons. My partner goes to your church. Come back tomorrow night and see her." So we went back Thursday night. He wasn't home but she invited us right in. She is the sweetest person and so cute. After just talking to her for a few minutes and building a bit of a relationship I asked her how long she'd been a member of the church. She told us that she had never actually been baptized. She started investigating the church about 10 years ago when she was dating a member. She started sharing her experiences and her testimony with us and it was amazing. She knows so much and she knows the gospel is true and has such a strong testimony of it. She talked about how she hopes that her mom is listening to Joseph Smith in the spirit world and how she wants to go to the temple and be baptized for her mom. About 6 months ago she got online and ordered her own set of scriptures. She expressed to us her desire to be baptized and the whole thing felt surreal. This is the kind of thing that missionaries DREAM of. She said the most amazing prayer which made me want to make my prayers more sincere. It was amazing. She is a little worried about her partner and the way he feels about everything and she has been working out some issues and things with him this week but she is praying about when she should get baptized and we are going to be hopefully setting a date with her this week. 
On Saturday we went to see another investigator. He was getting ready to leave to see a friend in the hospital so we couldn't talk to him long but he did tell us that he hasn't read the Book of Mormon at all yet. That was a real bummer. Hopefully we will see him tomorrow and help him understand the importance of the Book of Mormon.
Church on Sunday was really good! A boy in the ward just got home from his mission on Saturday night. He was serving in the Paraguay Asuncion mission. He said that Jordan [Sis. Baker’s cousin] was his Zone Leader there. Small world. We were really excited and surprised that our 12-year old came! Her mom drove her and even came in with her to make sure she got to the right place. She loved church and the young women welcomed her so perfectly! We were really excited about that. We have an appointment with her tomorrow and we are hoping to set a baptismal date with her!
Last night we went with a couple brethren from our ward to see our sweet friend that had the brain tumor and her mom. A bone has come dislodged in her head so she had to have another surgery this morning to get it screwed back in and is going to be in the hospital for a week. When we got there only her mom was home and she was on her way back home with her aunt. I gave her mom a hug when we went in and she just held me really tight and started to sob. She is really struggling. As a single parent and having so much happen with her daughter she has been so stressed. It was heart breaking. We just let her talk and cry and gave her the love that she so desperately needs. The brethren from our ward were able to give both her and her mom blessings which was really good. Even though we haven't been able to teach them a whole lot, I have no doubt that they are going to be baptized one day. The mom hugged me really tight last night and said, "What am I going to do without you? I am going to be really sad when you leave." It broke my heart. One day after all of this is done and over with, I hope they are going to remember the Sister Missionaries who really cared and that they will want to learn more and join the church. This morning my companion and I left at 6:40 am so we could go up to the hospital and sit with the mom while they waited for surgery. I could tell that meant so much to her. 
Dad- I was thinking about the events from a year ago [Sis. Baker  opened her  mission call Nov. 9, 2012. Her grandma Baker fell and broke her hip the following day and then passed away five days later.]. I am going to buy some helium balloons on Friday and send them up to Grandma. I know she made the right choice in letting go and I know that she is happy up there. I have felt her with me several times out here and it's been a tender mercy. I love her. I'm glad that Grandpa is doing so well. 
Phillip- Sounds like it's piping hot down there. It's not hot here yet but apparently January and February will be brutal. We'll see. Keep working hard and enjoy the beautiful dogs ;)
I am so so grateful to be a missionary. It is the biggest blessing that I have ever received. I'm grateful to have such an amazing family! This church is true. I know it. 
Love y'all heaps!

Sister Baker

TTE or Talk to Everyone - 11/4/13

Melbourne Mission Moments 11/04/13

November already? Holy cow! Can you believe that this week it will have been a year since I got my call? This has been by far the fastest year of my entire life.
We had a really good week this week and saw a lot of miracles!! 
Tuesday morning we had transfer meeting. It was a super good meeting! President Maxwell talked about the mission and the work that has been done this year. Then he asked each companionship to baptize one person before Christmas as our gift to Christ. I am really excited about this! I know that as my companion and I work hard we will be blessed to see miracles and that we will be able to have a baptism before Christmas. Then the APs talked to us about Elder Ballard's talk from General Conference and how as missionaries if we want to teach more, we have to talk to more people." We really want to make this a mission goal so they have added a new key indicator for us to record each week which is TTE (talk to everyone.) They committed us all to truly talk to everyone we see! The Standard of Excellence is 140 per week. As my companion and I started applying this I realized that usually we do talk to everyone but there is still the occasional person that we don't go out of our way to talk to. So this week we changed that. In 5 days we talked to 286 people! It is amazing to see how many people we can influence every single day. I truly know that as we talk to more people, we will be blessed with more people to teach and we will see miracles happen. At the end of transfer meeting they always have the departing missionaries bear their testimonies. Man, some awesome missionaries went home this week. I love hearing their testimonies and seeing how much they truly love the work and how sad they are to leave. I don't want that day to ever come for me. I'm just going to be a missionary forever and ever. :)
Tuesday afternoon we got to stop by and have a short lesson with our 12-year old investigator. It went well and she had read from the Book of Mormon which was good but she still won't pray with us. So this week we are going to really focus on helping her understand why we pray and how to pray and then get her to pray with us.
We were also able to teach our mother and son on Tuesday. He is so cute and he is so excited for his baptism! This week we taught him the 10 commandments and taught him hand signs for all of them. He is so smart and remembered all of them so quickly. But oh my goodness, funny experience. So we got to number 7, "thou shalt not commit adultery" and we weren't exactly sure how to explain that to an 8 year old so we kind of turned to his mother for help. She told him, "It means no sexy time before you're married." His eyes got all big and he said, "God told MOSES that?! Yuck!" Hahaha it was SO funny! We were dying laughing! 
Wednesday we had Zone Meeting. Half of our zone just got transferred into the area so it was a lot of new faces but it was really good! There are some awesome missionaries and a lot of faith in our zone. Our kind of zone motto for the transfer is "Lift Where You Stand" from President Uchtdorf's talk. We are going to rise together this transfer and see miracles happen!
Thursday night was the Trunk or Treat and it went so well! We had several investigators there and most of the two wards involved turned out as well! 
Trunk or Treat!

All the missionaries from the two wards at the trunk or treat.
Friday morning we had an amazing first lesson with a guy who is in his 20s and is a martial arts teacher/ personal trainer. We met him a little over a week ago while we were walking down his street. He was getting out of his car and we had heard that he was listening to Imagine Dragons so we started a conversation about that. Then we were able to teach about the Book of Mormon and gave him a copy and set up our return appointment for Friday. We were able to teach him the Restoration and it went so well! He has a really open heart. He had already read the introduction and the testimonies in the Book of Mormon which was super awesome. When we shared the Pillar of Light with him you could just see his eyes light up. Then after we taught more about the Book of Mormon he told us he was excited to read it. We invited him to be baptized and he expressed concerns of having already been baptized in the Anglican church but we were able to teach more about the Priesthood and set up a return appointment for this week. Before we left he said the most beautiful prayer. It was so awesome. Hopefully this week we'll be able to set a solid date with him! 
Saturday we had another fantastic lesson with a new investigator! We met him tracting. He is from India and was raised Hindu but is now Christian. It is very apparent that he has a really good relationship with God. We were able to teach him the Restoration and he really loved it. His insights and answers to questions were really great and you could tell that he was really taking it in, not just hearing it. We invited him to be baptized on November 23 and he agreed to that date if he is able to read the Book of Mormon and then get an answer from God that it is true. So that was really exciting to set a date with him! 
We hadn't heard from another investigator all week but we ran into him on Saturday. He expressed concerns about meeting with us and making the gospel part of his life because he doesn't feel like he can fully commit because of the problem of coming to church on Sundays. We were able to help him realize that he feels the spirit and that Heavenly Father will provide a way for him. 

So yeah, we've definitely seen miracles this week! Heavenly Father has blessed us so much with people to teach! I can't wait to continue working with these people.
I can't believe you're getting snow! It just barely started warming up here. I still wear cardigans a lot though. It's definitely staying cooler here than it is in Sydney and Perth. 

Phillip- RED SOX!! Are you excited? :) Haha I bet you're freaking out that you missed it. I bet your Spanish is better than you think it is now. I was thinking of you Tuesday and Wednesday night this week. Tuesday night at our lesson they gave us a huge glass of apple juice. Then Wednesday night at our dinner appointment we had pork chops with apple sauce on top. It was home-made apple sauce. You would have loved it. Keep talking to everyone. That's what we are doing and it's been awesome. It will also probably really help your Spanish!
I love you all so much. I am grateful to be a part of such an amazing work. I love being a missionary. I know that this Church is true and I want all of Melbourne to know it. 

Love y'all heaps!

Sister Baker 

Monday, October 28, 2013

Where have the past 7 months gone? - 10/28/13

Melbourne Mission Moments
Holy moly.  Time just flies by here! 
This past week was a little different than most weeks. I feel like it was all just kind of a blur. On Monday we had our Halloween Party with all of the other sisters in the mission. It was a lot of fun and fun just to be with everyone! That night we went to Bishop's house for dinner and a lesson with an investigator. He has basically closed off his heart to any possibility of change so we are not going to be teaching him anymore. I have not wanted to drop him but he's not making any progress at all so we need to focus our efforts elsewhere. We'll still invite him to church and everything, just won't be scheduling lessons every week.
At the sisters Halloween Party
Monday and Tuesday nights Sister H and Sister V got to stay with us while they were up from Tassie. That was really fun. I have really missed Sister H. She is a HOOT! They said that Tassie is beautiful but cold. I hope that I get to serve there at some point while I am here!
Tassie sisters with us!
On Tuesday we had another lesson with a younger girl we have been teaching. We were excited to find out that she had read the Introduction to the Book of Mormon like we had asked her to. We had a good lesson with her this week. We're still working on helping her to know that Heavenly Father hears her prayers. We are also hoping to get her to come to the ward Halloween party this week so that she can meet some of the young women. 
For Halloween the ward is having a Trunk or Treat. Which is actually kind of funny because they don't call it a trunk here, they call it a boot. But anyway, it should be really good. It's our ward and another ward and there's 60 people signed up to bring their cars and they are expecting to have about 300 people there, including A LOT of non-members. You better believe we are going to be there to talk to every single one of them. 
We also had a lesson with a less-active sister and her son this week. Don't remember if I told you about them. This sister has been less active for about 10 years but Sister H and I were able to contact her and she's been coming back to church. Her son is 8 years old but hasn't been baptized. We had a really good lesson with them on Tuesday and the son has decided to be baptized on December 8th so that's exciting!
We were able to see a recent convert this week! Tuesday night was her birthday so we took her some flowers. She sold her house and is moving into a new house but the new house is in our ward boundaries. That is a huge tender mercy! I love her so much. Just being able to see her this week was a blessing.
On Wednesday we had our Sisters Conference. It was so good! We seriously have the BEST sisters in this mission. There are now 47 of us! We received some wonderful trainings and I learned a ton. For lunch they did a High Tea for all of us which was so cute. There were tons of little sandwiches, sweet rolls, etc. So cute. The best part was having President and Sister Maxwell there. They are so wonderful! Seriously, I could not ask for a better mission president. 
Reunited with my little Filipina!

All the sisters in front of the Melbourne temple

We did a lot of finding this week and have used the buses some more. We had a couple of adventures where we didn't know for sure where we were but it was fun!
On Friday morning we went to another investigator’s house. This mother and her two kids, are friends with another family in the ward and have been at their home several times when we were there and they came to their son’s baptism. This mother seems so much more open to the gospel right now. They have had some weird things happen in their home lately-- so the Elders came over with us and they were able to teach her about the priesthood and to bless her home. Then that night they were at the member family’s home for a lesson and we taught everyone about prayer and made prayer rocks with them. Her son said the closing prayer and it was so good. We are hoping to set a baptismal date with her and her kids this week! 
On Saturday night we got transfer calls and guess what! I'm staying here for another transfer with Sister S! Wahoo! I love this area and I'm so glad that I don't have to leave yet. I want to keep working with the people that we have right now. Only bad news is, the next transfer is a week before Christmas. I really don't want to be transferred right before Christmas. That would STINK!
We weren't able to see two of our other investigators this week. Dang. But we should be seeing them this week (fingers crossed).
Phillip- So good to hear about the baptism! I'm sure that was awesome for you to get to baptize him. Keep working hard. Missionary work is the best, isn't it?

I am just loving being a missionary and serving here with Sister S. Heavenly Father is so good to me! I have been so tremendously blessed. Before I left on the mission, I kind of viewed it as a way to pay Heavenly Father back a little bit for all of the blessings I've been given, but it turns out I'm not paying him back at all. He just keeps pouring out blessing after blessing. I love this gospel. I'm a missionary. I know it. I love it.

Love you heaps!
Sister Baker