Wednesday, June 26, 2013

"Exactly Obedient".... - Melbourne Missionary Moments - 6/24/13

Well this week has been just wonderful! I can't believe a whole week has passed! Time here literally FLIES! It's crazy to think that this week I will have been out for 3 months! I feel like time is just slipping though my fingers and I can't make it go any slower. But that being said, I am loving every moment here. This week has been a great one. I can honestly say that I really really love my companion. I learn SO much from her every day and it is such a blessing to serve with her. We have a lot of differences but we have been able to turn those differences into our strengths and use our differences to bless each other and those with whom we serve.
Last Monday after we finished emails we had a zone activity. We went bowling and it was so fun! I love being with other missionaries and just having a good time. I bowled 110 my first game which I was pretty proud of! I beat most of the elders :) After P-Day was over we went to have dinner and a lesson with a very less active couple in the ward. We are teaching them the discussions again and helping them to come back to church. They are really really sweet people and love having us in their home. They are having us for dinner every Monday so we can teach them. They are really opening up to us and sharing their struggles and concerns. I am already seeing a change in their lives and I can see a real desire to have the church and gospel be a part of their lives again. It's amazing how just reading the Book of Mormon and praying every day can make people's lives so much better!
Tuesday was transfer day. All of the missionaries in the mission attended (except for the missionaries in Tasmania), regardless of whether they were being transferred or not, because it was President Lifferth's last one. We all got there early and were seated in the chapel. When President and Sister Lifferth walked in we all stood and sang Called to Serve. The spirit was SO strong as we sang together. Being with other missionaries is the best. There is such a spirit and love knowing that we are all working together in a common cause of doing the Lord's work. The transfer meeting was great. The departing missionaries bore their testimonies (including the Lifferths). As each one talked, you could really see and feel how much serving a mission meant to each of them. I couldn't help but be emotional because I was thinking about how grateful I am to be serving a mission and to have this opportunity. I feel like the mission is as much for me as it is for anyone else. I learn and grow SO much every week. I look at who I was 3 months ago when I entered the MTC and who I am now and it's incredible how much I've changed. I've learned to LOVE the Book of Mormon. I always knew that it was true but my testimony of it is even stronger and now I can say that there is absolutely no doubt in my mind of its truthfulness and of its power and ability to draw us closer to our Savior. I have developed a relationship with the Savior that is so much stronger than when I left. There are hard times on the mission but those hard times I've been able to turn to my Heavenly Father in prayer and allow the enabling power of the Atonement to work in my life. Ah, so grateful for all that I am learning here.
On Wednesday the other two sisters in my flat went to pick up their new companions. Sister Wirihana is now on the other side of the mission but Sister Trego came home to the flat Wednesday night with her new companion and guess who it is? Sister Roberts from the MTC!! She and Sister Guy got their visas so they are here now! What a blessing to have Sister Roberts in the flat. I love her so much and she is so sweet and kind and loving!
Thursday morning we got to go to the temple which was a wonderful experience! The Melbourne Temple is beautiful! I took some questions with me to the temple and I definitely got answers! As I sat in the celestial room and saw 11 other missionaries there, I felt so overwhelmed with the knowledge that Heavenly Father loves his missionaries. It was such a wonderful day. 
At the beautiful Melbourne Temple

We taught an investigator this week. The spirit was so strong in the lesson and I know that he felt it. Unfortunately, there's something that is holding him back. He feels like he can't get baptized until he gets a specific answer that he is supposed to and he doesn't feel like he has received that answer. We are praying really hard for him and still planning on having his baptism this weekend but right now it's a little up in the air. I am just having faith that Heavenly Father will allow his heart to be touched and give him the confirmation that he needs. It's definitely hard to be patient but I am trusting in Heavenly Father and doing all that I can. 
We also taught our family again this week. It was a wonderful lesson about the Restoration and we were able to commit their son to a baptismal date! He is going to be baptized on July 27th! The dad wants to baptize his son so he has to work out his Word of Wisdom issues so that's why the baptism is a month away but I know that they will both be ready on that date. I love working with their family and I can't wait to see them get sealed in the temple. I know that we are going to get them there!
This weekend was a missionary weekend for the neighboring stake's Priests and Laurels so they spent all weekend with the missionaries. We had a 16 year old girl with us. She joined the church about 2 months ago and she is just awesome. She was with us all day Saturday and Sunday and it was a great opportunity to show her what missionary work is like and to allow her to share her testimony with others. 
To answer some of your questions: It's cold here but it's not too cold. As long as I wear a cardigan and tights and have my coat with me then I'm good. I'll be fine with the things that I brought. It's not as cold as winters at home. The public transportation here is really good but we don't use it much. We might be using it the end of this week though because we are almost out of K's.
This morning when the alarm went off I was so tired! I really didn't want to get out of bed. But I did it anyway. I was thinking about how much easier it would be to sleep in, how much easier it would be to not go out in the cold to exercise, how much easier it would be to break a rule here or there. But then I thought about how much I need Heavenly Father to bless me, I thought about our investigators and families, I thought about you guys at home. I thought about how many blessings I need and it makes it so much easier to be exactly obedient. If we are exactly obedient we are promised to have miracles happen. And that's why you do it. I know that I need the Lord's help and that I can't have it if I'm not willing to do what He has asked of me. I'm obedient not because I am expected to be, not because my companion wants me to, but because I love the Lord and I want to do as He asks so He will bless me. I know that is true with all things we are asked to do. We are obedient because we need blessings and because we love the Lord.
Love you HEAPS!

Sister Baker

Monday, June 17, 2013

Four Seasons in One Day... Melbourne Missionary Moments - 6/17/13

Well, this past week has gone by so fast! It's crazy how fast time flies on a mission.
Tuesday night we had a lesson with Craig at a member's home. We finished teaching him the plan of salvation and the spirit was really strong. He has a lot of concerns with the church but he has a real desire to find out answers for himself which is good. As we helped him to work through some of his concerns and bore testimony to him, the spirit was super strong. We extended a baptismal invitation to him and he said yes. So he is preparing to be baptized on the 29th of this month. It was seriously a miracle that he accepted because he has been meeting with missionaries for ages now and has never been willing to commit but now he's finally getting a testimony of his own and willing to start making committments. Blessings.
Bundled up and ready for tracting in the cold
Wednesday we spent most of the day tracting in the rain. It was cold but that's okay. I feel bad for Sister Gonzales though because she only has a very old rain coat that is kind of starting to fall apart. She is so humble and is always trying to help me out and doesn't think of herself but I really want to do something for her. I'd like to help buy her a coat. It's something I really want to do for her. She deserves it. And needs it.
On Thursday we had our Sister's Conference so all of the sisters in the mission went to the mission office. It was a wonderful and very uplifting day. I learned so much and it was so good to be with all of the sisters and get to know them better and develop relationships with them. And President and Sister Lifferth were there which is a HUGE blessing. I absolutely love them. They have so much love for all of the missionaries and every time I see them I learn SO much from them.
Gotta love the rain :)
Friday we also did a lot of tracting, again in the rain. It's crazy how much it has rained here this week. It's weird though because it will rain hard for an hour then it stops and the sun will come out, then it starts raining again, then sun again, etc. Haha everyone always tells me, "It's Melbourne, we have 4 seasons in one day." I would say it's more like 2 or 3 seasons but you get the point. Friday night we got to see the less active family in the ward that has recently started coming back to church. We were able to teach their family about prayer and scripture study and then they expressed desire for us to teach their family and help them to work towards getting sealed in the temple. They also want us to teach their son that is 9 years old so that he can get baptized. Their family is so cute. They have 5 adorable kids and they are so kind. I'm so excited to help in their goal of being sealed as a family in the temple.

Saturday morning we were able to see a Less-Active/Part-member family in our ward. They have a son who is 8 and has not yet been baptized. Also their aunt Julia lives with them and is not a member of the church. We are teaching her now and hopefully extending a baptismal invitation to her this Friday. The son is preparing to be baptized in July. Saturday afternoon we did a lot a tracting and met three Sri Lankan families who we were able to begin teaching. They are all beautiful, humble people. Each family has only had one lesson so far but we have return appointments with all of them and I'm really excited to teach them. Saturday night we went to the ward activity. It was super well organized and a lot of fun! They did a Mad-Hatter Trivia game night. Everyone was wearing hats and the games were a lot of fun. And the members brought some friends with them so it was a good opportunity to contact them and begin to build relationships with them. One family in the ward is having us for dinner on Tuesday and their friends who were at the ward activity are going to be there as well. That's the best way for missionary work to happen! When members are the middle man then we are way more successful. Then the investigators have a friend from the beginning and someone to support them through the whole process. 
At the Mad-Hatter Ward Activity
Yesterday church was wonderful. Craig came and he said that he loves coming because he always "feels warm and happy." It's so great to see the spirit working inside of someone. We are praying really hard for Craig since his baptism is getting so close. 
Saturday night we got transfer calls (this transfer is only 4 weeks and then next transfer is 8 weeks). I was stressing because I really love this area and really didn't want to hear that I was being transferred. Sister Gonzales and I are both staying in our area which is great! Sister Trego is staying in the flat but Sister Wirihana is being transferred. It will be sad to see her go but I'm excited to find out who the new sister in our flat is. Transfer meeting is tomorrow and they are having all of the missionaries go since it will be President Lifferth's last one.
On Thursday we get to go to the temple. I'm so excited to go to the Melbourne temple!
Well, I think that's about it for this week. I love being a missionary. I learn so much every day and I can't imagine doing anything else right now. I know that Heavenly Father loves us and hears our prayers. I know that the Book of Mormon is true. Spend time reading it EVERY DAY. It will help you so much and help you to really come to know the Savior better.
Love y'all HEAPS!
Sister Baker

A Day in the City - Melbourne Missionary Moments - 6/11/13

Sorry you didn't get an email from me yesterday. It was a public holiday so none of the libraries were open so we had to wait until today to email.

This week has been a great one! On Monday after I emailed you we went to the shopping centre. I bought some boots at Payless because it is cold here. After we went to the shopping centre we went grocery shopping. Then we had to leave to drive up to the Bishop's home. He leaves clear up at the other side of the ward so it takes 45 minutes to an hour to get there. We had dinner and FHE with the bishop's family and with the Elders in our ward. Then we met with Bishop to talk about the ward mission plan and to set goals for how we are going to move the missionary work forward in the ward. We are really focusing on getting the members involved with the work because that's how missionaries are most successful. It is a much better use of our time if we are getting referrals from members than if we have to go out and knock a bunch of doors of which only a few actually open. It was good to be able to meet with Bishop and get his idea of direction and goals for the ward.

Tuesday morning we had a district meeting. We really focused on the Book of Mormon and its role in our work as missionaries. The Book of Mormon really is the keystone of our religion. It holds everything together. I've already seen how the Book of Mormon truly has the power to change lives—especially with Ronesia. After the district meeting we spent the afternoon doing finding. Then we had dinner with a Filipino family in our ward. They were so excited to have us over since Sis. Gonzales is Filipina. I was praying that they wouldn't make some crazy, weird Filipino food and I guess prayer really works because it was just rice and chicken and veggies. I can handle that. :) After that we felt really prompted to visit a less-active couple in the ward. We had never met them before but felt like we were supposed to go there so we knocked on their door. At first the wife said it wasn't a good day and that we needed to call ahead of time but her husband said we should come in. Her heart was softened really quickly and she opened up to us. She had been having a really hard day because that was the day that her 8 week old daughter had died 20 years ago. We were able to share the plan of salvation with her and it was exactly what she needed to hear. She said she wanted to make changes in her life and make the gospel part of her life again. I am so grateful that we followed the prompting to go there that night.
Wednesday we had exchanges with the Coordinating Sisters. I worked in our area with a sister from Samoa. She is so awesome! I really felt like we needed to tract a particular street so that's where we went to start off. It is a LONG street with tons of houses so it took us a solid two hours but we ended up meeting five people who were willing to set up appointments with us. After that we went to see a man that Sis. Gonzales and I met while tracting last week. He was getting ready to go so we didn't have much time but we were able to teach him about the Book of Mormon and give him a copy to read. Then we went to see a family that has been pretty in-active for the last 4 years but recently they have started coming back to church. We have tried to see them several times but haven't been able to ever catch them at home. They pulled in the driveway right as we got there on Wednesday so we were able to go in and get to know their family. They have a son who is 9 and has not been baptized. Our goal is to teach their family the lessons and prepare him for baptism at the end of this month. Then we had dinner with some members in our ward. They are a younger couple and are super awesome! They made chicken cordon blue which was so good! And we had raspberry cheesecake for dessert. It was probably the best meal we've had yet.
Thursday, after studies we went to the mission office for Golden Review. They call all the new missionaries here Goldens because it is our Golden opportunity to decide how the rest of our missions will go. Basically it was a chance to go over rules and do more training with us. I love hearing from President and Sister Lifferth. They have HUGE hearts and are so kind. It's too bad I only get to work for them for a little bit. The meeting was super good and I learned a lot about how it is my time right now to decide what kind of mission I want to have. They stressed that we make sure that we are serving the Lord and not just serving a mission. You can do missionary work all day long and do a lot of great things but if you're not serving the Lord then it doesn't matter.
The Beautiful Melbourne Temple
Friday we spent a lot of the day tracting. It was a people day and the sun was shining which made tracting a million times better. We were able to meet the cutest 84 year old man. We were able to teach him the Plan of Salvation. It was really huge for him because his wife died just a couple of months ago. We have another appointment with him this week. Friday night for dinner we went to another Filipino family’s home. I'm not kidding, all of the Filipinos want to feed us because of Sister Gonzales. They made this noodle and pork dish that was different than anything that I've ever had before but it was good. This family is an interesting situation. The mother has been a member for 25 years and is in the Relief Society presidency in the ward. They have a son that is serving a mission in the Philippines. Her husband comes to church every week and even pays his tithing but he isn't a member of the church. I don't know exactly what the reasons are but this sister told us before we came that we should try to "convert" him. We decided to teach about the temples and about how our families can be together forever. We asked if that's something that he wants but he wouldn't really answer. We ended up committing their family to visit the temple grounds together and for him to pray about what he should do to make his family be able to be together forever. 
Saturday morning after we did our studies we went out tracting for a while. Then we went to an appointment with Craig. We were able to teach him the first half of the Plan of Salvation. He really has a real desire to learn and understand. We asked him to pray about what we had taught him and to read Alma Chapter 34. He came to church on Sunday which was great. We are teaching him again tonight and planning on extending a baptismal invitation to him. I really feel like he can be ready for baptism by the end of the month.
Sunday we were at the church for almost five hours going to church and ward council and missionary coordination. After church we did finding for a few hours before our dinner appointment with the Evans family. They have our investigator, Jessica, living with them. We were able to eat dinner with all of them and then we had a lesson with Jessica. She has been taught by the sisters that were here before us. She is pretty much ready for baptism. We are teaching her again tomorrow and are planning on committing her to baptism on June 22.
In the Train Station

On the train into the city
Like I said, yesterday was a public holiday. All of the Sisters in the mission traveled into the city [Melbourne] to spend our P-day together. We scrapbooked a memory book for President and Sister Lifferth and just spent time together. It was a super fun day and it was fun to see what the city is like. We got to ride the train in which was a new experience for me. I loved the city feel. I would love to serve there at some point. My MTC companion is serving there right now.

In our Houston T-shirts

Sisters from my group at the MTC

I feel like time is just flying. We are so busy all the time which is great! I am learning so much every single day. It sounds like you are all glad that it's summer now. I'm slightly jealous. I have winter now. But it's good because it is really not too cold and I'd rather have it slightly cold than to be sweating bullets like I was in Texas. You can always put on more layers if it's cold. 

I'm getting used to driving around my area but I definitely still have to use the GPS sometimes. Driving on the left seems pretty normal to me now which is good. The grocery stores here are definitely different than at home. But I'm figuring it out. I bought Cherrios last week but they are nothing like our Cherrios. They are all sugared and sweetened. They taste like honey-nut Cherrios which is gross. Usually I just make toast and a scrambled egg for breakfast. Lunch depends on the day. I usually make a quick sandwich or something easy. We are getting fed by the members a lot for dinners which is nice. Each member cooks differently but I haven't had anything too strange.

We get to go the temple once per quarter here. Our zone’s temple day is next Thursday so I will get to go then unless I get transferred for some reason. Transfers are on Tuesday
I don't think I have a favorite part of Australia. I pretty much love all of it so far. I really want to see a kangaroo soon. There are tons of birds here. Luckily I haven't been too close to them or else I'd be nervous. There are colorful parrots in the trees and last week we saw a flock of like 20 cockatoos out on the grass at a park. 
Anyway, that's about all I have time for . I love you all so much! Enjoy your summer.


Sister Baker

Monday, June 3, 2013

Melbourne Missionary Moments - 6/3/13

Hello Family!

Well, this week has been really good. I am getting used to all things Australian and getting lost in the work here.

Sister Baker and  Sisters in her Flat
On Monday after we emailed we went to the shopping centre. We email from the library here in Narre Warren. We were with the other sisters in our flat. It is fun to have other sisters to spend time with and be in the flat with. I love both of them so it's really good. The shopping centres here are crazy (and yes, it is spelled centre here - it's weird). Anyway, the shopping centre is huge and has all the stores like you would expect in a mall but then there's grocery stores and everything connected too. It's different but I like it. I bought a blow dryer that had a diffuser with it so now I can do my hair curly. The blow dryer was $34 dollars so not too bad. Some things here don't seem too expensive but then some things are WAY expensive. Like hairspray. It's like $7 for a LITTLE can. Ridiculous. I will be using a lot less hairspray than I used to. Monday night my comp and I went to visit a bunch of Sisters that are on a list that the RS president gave us. They are sisters who haven't come to church in a long time. She wanted us to check on them and find out if they were interested in having Visiting Teachers assigned. We saw a few of the sisters and they were nice but said that they really weren't interested in the church any more. It's sad to see that happen to people. Hopefully we can help some of them to find their testimonies again.

Tuesday we didn't have any appointments so we spent the ENTIRE day tracting. It's weird to knock doors here because it is something we never did in Texas. A lot of people are rude and close the door in our faces. A lot of them are nice but give the "We're really not interested" answer. We did find a couple people on Tuesday though. One is named Jessica. She is 24 and super cute. She is Catholic but doesn't feel really dedicated it. She is getting married next year and is really interested in the temple and sealings. We get to teach her this week so we are praying that her heart is open and that she is accepting of the message. We also had dinner with some members on Monday night. They are an older couple (probably in their 60s). They made eggplant casserole for dinner.

Narre Warren Zone
Wednesday we had a zone meeting. It was super good. We set goals for our zone for this month and talked about the importance of having faith to be able to accomplish our goals. We also found out that this transfer is only going to be 4 weeks instead of 6. So we only have two more weeks of the transfer which is crazy. After Zone Meeting was over we all went to Hungry Jacks for lunch. It is a fast food place that is everywhere down here! I would say it's a lot like a Burger King. My companion and I ended up being there for almost 2 and a half hours GQing (golden questioning) people and we got some awesome contacts for people who we have appointments with this week. After that we went to the Narre Warren train station and did finding there. That was really successful too. We are slowly building our contact pool and hopefully some good investigators come out of it. It's hard to both be new in the area and trying to find people to teach. After that we had dinner with a family in our ward. They are a super awesome family. They have a girl living with them who is not a member. She wants to start meeting with the missionaries though so we get to start teaching her this week. Her name is also Jessica. They made a super good dinner- roast, au gratin potatoes and pumpkin. I've never eaten pumpkin like that. They kinda shred it up like you do a squash. It was SO GOOD—one of my new favorite foods. 

Thursday morning we had weekly planning. After that we went to an appointment with one of the new contacts we met. He was super sick (looked awful) so we just left him with a chapter of the Book of Mormon to read.

On Friday we did a lot of tracting again. One of the most annoying things about tracting is that a lot of people here have these screen doors where they can see us but we can't see them. It's really quite awkward. I never know where to direct my eyes or my voice and I have no idea who I'm talking to. It's annoying but oh well. We also visited the sweetest old lady in our ward. She is a widow and has the best attitude about life. She wants to do missionary work and help in any way that she can. The world needs more people like her. 

Saturday morning we taught Craig. He has been meeting with the Sisters that were in the area before us. Sister Lifferth came with us to the appointment. President and Sister Liffereth are really awesome and try to spend a lot of time out teaching with the missionaries. It was great to have her with us! Although Craig has been taught all the lessons by the previous missionaries we found out that he doesn't even know who Jesus Christ is or why he needs a Savior in his life. So we are basically starting over with him from the beginning. We taught him about the Godhead and left him with some scriptures in the Book of Mormon to read and we asked him to pray about it. He really has a real desire to learn so we are praying hard for him. Saturday was raining super hard most of the day. But we still went tracting and just got wet. We felt like we really needed to tract a particular street so we did and it was definitely a good choice. We have return appointments for this week with 4 different people there which is exciting! We never have that many people who are willing to meet with us.

Sister Baker and Companion
Sunday was a wonderful day. After church we had missionary correlation. It was good to finally meet the ward mission leader (he had been in America since we got here). He just got home from his mission like six months ago and he is super gung ho about the work and really willing to help us. After correlation we went out tracting for a couple of hours and then we went back to the flat to have dinner. Then we headed up to Wantirna to the mission president's fireside. They do the fireside to bring investigators and less-active members to. They talked about Jesus Christ and the spirit was really strong. They also had two recent converts speak which is really helpful for investigators to hear about how others came to the gospel. Then Elder Gui sang Savior Redeemer of My Soul. It was amazing. I love that song and I think half of the people there were crying. So yeah, it's been a busy but great week! 

Our flat is pretty big and pretty nice. We have a washer which is really nice. But no dryer so we have to hang dry EVERYTHING.

Enjoy your summer weather there. It's just getting into winter here.

Beautiful Australia!
One thing I learned this week: the moon is backwards here. It gets smaller from left to right instead of from right to left like it does there. Never thought about that before but it makes sense. Also as I've listened to people talk I've learned that the letter R is basically non-existant here. Instead of saying Car Park they say "caw pawk" and stuff like that. It's sweet as. ( <-- see what I did there :))

Anyway, things are going well. I am loving Australia and I am happy.

 The church is true. Heavenly Father loves us SO much.

Love you HEAPS!
Sister Baker

Melbourne Missionary Moments - 5/27/13

Hello Family!!!

Well, I made it to Australia safely!! Sorry that you had to wait so long to hear from me. I would have contacted you earlier if I had been able to. But yeah, I'm here safely and everything is going well!

So Sunday was my last day in Houston and it was great. I was sad to say goodbye to some of the ward members there. Ronesia came to church which was so awesome! Sunday night we took her to an investigator devotional which was super good and exactly what she needed to hear! She started crying when I had to say goodbye to her which made me cry as well. I really had a special connection with her so it was sad to say goodbye. But she will be getting baptized soon and they promised to send me pictures so it's all good.

Monday morning was busy, busy, busy, as I was getting my laundry done and packing everything up. Since our car was still in the shop Sister Adams and her companions came to pick me up at 10:00 to head to the mission office. We got to the mission office about 10:30 where we met Sister Morton and picked up our passports, visas and travel plans. Then we loaded our stuff into the van and headed to the airport. We had a little bit of time in the airport so Sister Adams and I bought lunch, and bought t-shirts that say, "I'd rather be in Houston Texas."

Sister Baker and sisters from MTC headed to Melbourne
Sister Baker & Companion
from the MTC
We flew on United Airlines to San Francisco. When we got to San Francisco the first thing we did was check the flight boards to find out where our gate for the next flight was. We headed down to the gate to see if any of the other missionaries were there but they weren't so we went and found the arrivals boards to see about flights coming in from Eugene, Oregon. We saw that there was a flight that had landed about 10 minutes after ours so we headed down towards the arrivals gates. We came around a corner and saw sisters from my district at the MTC at the end of the hall. We all dropped everything and started running! It was SO good to see them again! My MTC companion and I both started crying. Haha, pure happiness. It felt kind of like coming home because I feel like we all became family in the MTC. After some pictures and chatter we went to get dinner and just talk and catch up on the past 6 weeks. Then we went back down towards the gate for our flight and we saw Elder Sargent and Sister Newitt! Another happy surprise! After some more catching up we all went to find payphones and call home. It was so good to talk to all of you! By the time we were finished calling home it was time to board our flight on Air New Zealand to Auckland. Wow, nice plane! Each row was a group of three seats, then an aisle, then a group of four seats, then another aisle, then another group of three seats. Sister Adams and I were on row 64 and everyone else was on row 65, the very back two rows of the air plane. Each seat has its own personal screen that you can watch movies and listen to music and everything. Too bad we're missionaries or that would have been really nice to use ;). About an hour into our flight they fed us dinner. Then we all chatted and tried to stay up for the first 4 hours because we had heard that's how you beat jet lag. Then we all tried to sleep. It is hard to sleep on an airplane but I was able to get several hours of good sleep and then a couple more hours of broken up sleep. 

At some point we passed the international date line. I had no sense of time at all so I just started thinking Australia time. About 2 hours before we landed in Auckland they fed us breakfast. I was surprised to get two meals in one flight. Air New Zealand is awesome! They treated us like royalty! When we landed in Auckland we all went to find bathrooms and freshen up a little bit after our LONG flight. All of us sisters had our make up with us which was good. When we got down to our gate we saw a big group of missionaries that had just left the New Zealand MTC to go to Melbourne so that was fun to meet up with them. Our flight to Melbourne was good too. I spent most of the time writing in my journal. 

Sister Baker with President & Sister Lifferth
When we landed in Melbourne we had to go through customs and everything but that went really smoothly and only took about 15 minutes. When we were all getting our luggage all of us American sisters each had our 3 suitcases. All the Australians and New Zealanders only had 1 each! I'm pretty sure they all thought that we were super high maintenance. Haha, oh well. We met President and Sister Lifferth at the baggage claim and they are amazing! So loving! We all piled on a bus and took about an hour ride to the mission office. The mission office shares a parking lot with the temple so we got to see the temple too! When we got there all of our trainers were there. Elder Cowser who went to Davis High School was there so it was good to see him! First we had lunch and then we went over rules and policies. Then they gave us our companionship assignments. My trainer is from the Philippines. She is pint size! Seriously I think she's under 5 feet tall. She is a really great missionary and really has a love for the work. We are VERY different people but I am loving her! She's hilarious. And she really has a desire to work hard. 

After we met our trainers they went over more rules and then we had a testimony meeting. It was awesome. Missionaries are the greatest people to be around because the spirit it always so strong! After dinner they had us go home to unpack and get settled in and get some sleep! I picked up my bedding packet at the mission office. It is $275 so I had to go to an ATM and withdraw $300. Will you make sure that everything is going through okay at the bank? And let me know. The bedding is super nice. My duna [comforter] is huge and nice and fluffy! 

Sister Baker and companion
My companion and I are serving in the Churchill Park South area. We cover half of the Churchill Park ward and a set of elders covers the other half. My trainer and I are both new in the area so we don't have a lot to go off of yet. We have the names of a couple people that the previous sisters were meeting with but neither of those people can meet until this weekend so we have spent a lot of our time stopping by the members’ homes so that we can meet them and doing a LOT of tracting. Compared to Texas, Australia is hard! In Texas everyone had some sort of religious belief so it was easy to get them to show some interest. Not so much in Australia. So many of the people that we meet are atheists. We get a lot of doors slammed in our faces and a lot of "I'm not interested, thanks." But it's okay. I know that as we keep working hard and doing all that we can to be exactly obedient and exercise faith Heavenly Father will place people in our paths that are prepared to hear the gospel.

We have a really big area so we have a car. My companion doesn't have a license so I am the driver. On Thursday (my second day here) we went back to the mission office and they had me take my driving test and then handed me the keys. It's definitely different to be driving on the wrong side of the road but I've adjusted pretty quickly and now it seems normal. But I did buy a GPS because my comp isn't very good with maps and it is super frustrating to not know where you are going. It cost $75 but it has been totally worth it. 

The members here are AMAZING! So loving! Especially the Islanders! I am loving them! Church yesterday was great. They had me bear my testimony in church which was great.

We share a flat with another set of sisters. One sister is from Perth and the other is from Brisbane. I absolutely LOVE them and I love sharing the flat with them.

I haven't been able to buy a blow dryer or anything yet so I have using what the other sisters have. It's not very humid here so I have just been straightening my hair. I am going to buy a curling iron today though because none of the sisters have one and it's a lot faster to be able to just curl my hair.

The accent here is great! I am slowly learning Australian terms. In the car the Boot= trunk and the Bonnet= hood. Everyone always says "how are you going?" A jumper is a sweater. Everyone always says, sweet as, cold as, hot as, etc. You just add an “as” to everything. They also say heaps all the time. For example "I've got heaps of stuff to do." I love it. I seriously hope I sound like an Aussie when I get home.

I'm about out of time so I've got to go. The church is true. I know it, live it and love it. 

Love you heaps!!

Sister Baker