I know I say this every week but I can't believe it's already been another week. And I can't believe that Phillip [Lauren’s brother going to Peru on his mission] is leaving this week! Holy moly does time fly!
This week was SO good. I told you about the sister we are teaching last week and let me tell you, she is GOLDEN! I honestly feel like I'm watching a movie as we teach her. Each time we're there I keep thinking, "I can't believe this is happening. This is like the stories in PMG. This doesn't happen to normal people." We had a lesson with her on Tuesday night and a sister from the ward came with us. Right before we went in to the lesson we said a prayer in the car and asked specifically in it that her sons would come in and join us for the lesson. As we went in and sat down the sons were no place to be found but after a few minutes they both came in and sat down with us. It was a wonderful lesson and the spirit was so strong. We committed the sons to baptism and they both said that they would pray about it. We taught her again on Thursday with the sister from the ward and it was another wonderful lesson. Her sons didn't join us which was a little disappointing but that's okay. I really feel like they will come around as they watch their mom get baptized. As we taught her the plan of salvation she kept talking about how her life has so much more purpose and meaning to it than before she met us. As I looked at her I could see such a light in her eyes that wasn't there when we first met her. Her entire outlook on life has done a 180 since we met her. It's truly amazing to see this change taking place in her.
We stopped by to see her again on Saturday and we were able to just encourage her. We told her about how opposition always seems to come when you are preparing for baptism and we encouraged her to stay strong and to pray harder than ever. She was so positive and listening to her brought tears to my eyes. She told us, "I don't care what challenges come my way because I'm stronger and happier than I have ever been. You've helped me have hope in my life and helped me to have a sense of purpose. I know that a lot of people probably slam the door in your faces or want nothing to do with you but I want you to know that what you're doing is worth it. You're changing my life and it means the world to me." And she's right, a mission is a lot of hard work and we get rejected A LOT. It would be really easy to just give up and throw the towel in but that isn't what I signed up for. And meeting someone like this sister has made it all completely worth it.
We taught our family on Saturday night and they are doing awesome! We made all of the plans for their son’s baptism and they have invited all of their family and everything. They have changed so much in the time that I have known them and I love seeing it. The son is going to be baptized on the 27th of this month and I can't wait.
On Sunday another investigator came to church and also our sister and one of her sons. Sister Gonzales and I were asked to speak in sacrament meeting. They assigned her to speak about baptism and me to speak about the Holy Ghost and then our assistant ward mission leader spoke about the importance of church and the sacrament. It was a perfect thing for her to hear. She loved meeting everyone at church and her son really enjoyed church as well. Our other investigator disappeared right after church so we weren't able to talk to him much but he sent us an SMS message saying that he had a revelation at church and that he wants to talk to us about it next time we meet with him. We are praying that he is having a break through. We are still working with him and he is making progress but it is very slow progress.
We haven't been able to see our other investigator at all this week. He has some concerns and differences that he doesn't want to change. He keeps telling us that he is busy but I think that he is trying to nicely drop us. We are praying that something will work out for him.
We finalized plans for our sister’s baptism yesterday. She will be getting baptized on Sunday at 6:00 (just 16 days from when we met her.) I have no doubt that this baptism is going to happen. She is so prepared and she knows that truth for herself. It's been such a blessing to meet her.
Phillip- I'm not sure where to even start. I'm so excited for you. Being a missionary is the best thing in the world. I wouldn't trade the experiences that I'm having for anything. As a missionary you are blessed so much. Heavenly Father truly loves his missionaries. I'm not sure what advice to give you but here are a few things I've learned. First of all, attitude is everything. If you have a positive attitude you will be happier and be more successful. Don't get discouraged because discouragement drives away the spirit. When you feel weak or homesick or inadequate (and trust me those feelings will come) turn to your Heavenly Father in prayer and let him strengthen you. Love your companion. Even if you don't agree or you feel like you couldn't possibly be more different, just love your companion. If you feel like you are struggling to love them, again turn to Heavenly Father. I've learned on my mission that Heavenly Father really can turn our weaknesses into strengths like it says in Ether 12:27. Be exactly obedient with a willing heart. Obedience brings blessings but exact obedience brings miracles. Don't waste a moment. The time on a mission goes by so quickly. Take pictures, they are some of the best ways to preserve memories. I'm so excited for you to be a missionary with me. I know you are going to be amazing. I better get a good email from you every week!
I'm so grateful to be a missionary. Heavenly Father blesses me SO much. Any sacrifice I make to be a missionary is far outweighed by the blessings that come. I feel like I can say the same things as Ammon:
35- Now have we not reason to rejoice? Yea, I say unto you, there never were men that had so great reason to rejoice as we, since the world began; yea, and my joy is carried away, even unto boasting in my God; for he has all power, all wisdom, and all understanding; he comprehendeth all things, and he is a merciful being, even unto salvation, to those who will repent and believe on his name.
36-Now if this is boasting, even so will I boast; for this is my life and my light, my joy and my salvation, and my redemption from everlasting wo. Yea, blessed is the name of my God, who has been mindful of this people, who are a branch of the tree of Israel, and has been lost from its body in a strange land; yea, I say, blessed be the name of my God, who has been mindful of us, wanderers in a strange land.
37-Now my brethren, we see that God is mindful of every people; whatsoever land they may be in; yea, he numbereth his people, and his bowels of mercy are over all the earth. Now this is my joy, and my great thanksgiving; yea and I will give thanks unto my God forever. Amen.
I love you all so much. Good luck at the airport on Wednesday.
Love you HEAPS!
Sister Baker XoxO