April 15, 2013
I have been so excited to email you all and let you know about everything that is going on here! Not hearing anything from anyone since Tuesday has been killing me! (Too bad you can't get Dear Elder letters in 1 day like you can in the MTC.)
Well, I made it to Houston safely! Our flight from Dallas to Houston was way short, like 40 minutes in the air. When we landed in Houston we got off the plane and we headed towards the baggage claim. President and Sister Ashton were there waiting for us. What incredible people! They are both so Christ-like. They have been here since July and run a pretty tight ship which is so great because there is SO much work to do. We took a group picture at the baggage claim, found our luggage and headed out to the cars. We loaded all of the luggage into the trailer and everyone piled into the cars. We went straight to one of the churches right around downtown Houston where we met some of the Elders and Sisters that are serving here.
After a quick devotional, they paired each of the new missionaries up with one of the Elders or Sisters and sent us out "running." Basically it means you have 30 minutes to get out and talk to whoever you can and OYM (open your mouth). It was crazy to jump into missionary work that quickly but I really enjoyed it! It was HOT though! I wore a cardigan which was a bad idea, I was dying.
After that we all got back into the cars and went to the mission home. We got to meet President and Sister Ashton's seven kids. There's 6 boys and 1 girl, ages 14 to 9 months. I can't imagine having to raise a family and be mission presidents at the same time. That takes a pretty amazing person. Anyway, while we were there I had to get into the trailer and pull out my suitcases and throw together a quick overnight bag. Everyone else had packed one because Pres. Ashton had emailed them and told them to, but since Sis. Adams and I found out so late that we were coming to Houston, we didn't get that memo. But I got the things I needed and it wasn't a big deal. We went over rules with the Assistants, wrote letters home, and had interviews with President and Sister Ashton. Then we all had dinner together and then had a testimony meeting. It was really neat to hear everyone's testimonies and how excited everyone is to get out and work. By the time that was over, it was time to head out and go to bed. The Sisters stayed at Sister Morten's home (she's like the mission secretary/financial/travel person). Holy cow, her home is BEAUTIFUL and my bed was SOOO comfortable!
|Sis. Baker and Companions|
Wednesday morning we got up early and headed to the church where the mission offices are and had breakfast and some more training/rules. After that we met our trainers. My trainer is from San Diego. We are in a trio. At first I was a little worried about it. I didn't feel like we were connecting very well and I was worried. But with a few days’ time it has gotten good. I love them both and we work really well together! About 1:00 pm we left the church and headed to our apartment to drop off my stuff. I am serving in the Memorial West Ward in the Richmond Zone. It's right in Houston. I am loving it here and the people here too! We have had some really cool teaching opportunities and I am learning so much! And the members are pretty good about making dinner for us too which is nice. We cover half of the ward and there are Elders who have the other half.
It rained most of Wednesday and Thursday and I wore my coat because it cooled off a lot but Friday-today have been warm again. Not too hot yet which is nice.
We are teaching a family (a couple and two children ages 9 and 6). We taught them the law of chastity on Thursday and they were really receptive to it. The only problem is that this couple has never been married because she is from Mexico and doesn't have her birth certificate or some paperwork. So we asked them to find time to go downtown and get the papers that they need. Unfortunately, on Friday, they got in a huge fight and he said it was over between them and that he was only staying around for the kids. The mother wants to leave him because he is abusive so now she will be meeting with the bishop and figuring things out. But she brought the kids with her and still really wants to be baptized so hopefully everything works out.
On Saturday we had a baptism!! Devi got baptized. It was such a beautiful day! I got to teach her her final lesson on Thursday and then we had her baptismal interview on Saturday. She is someone who the Lord really prepared. She found the church, we didn't find her. She saw that the church said Jesus Christ so she decided to come. On her second week there she paid tithing which is how they found out that she isn't a member. So they referred her to the missionaries. She was absolutely glowing on Saturday and then yesterday when she was confirmed! It was cool to start my mission with a baptism. Now I know how awesome it feels and will be working that much harder to get people ready for baptism.
The ward is definitely different than being in Utah but it's good. There are a lot of really awesome members. I am loving it here in Houston! Still praying for my visa to come but loving it here in the meantime. Also, I REALLY miss my MTC companion. I feel like half of me is missing. She was SUCH a blessing in the MTC.
I love you all and I really miss you! I know that this church is true. I know that Heavenly Father loves us and is VERY aware of us. He listens to and answers our prayers. I've seen that so many times in the last four days. I know that the Book of Mormon is true. I am reading it differently than I ever have before and I am learning so much!
All my love,
P.S. - My address is:
12951 Brairforest Drive Apt. 1203
Houston, Texas 77077