Monday, August 26, 2013

I LOVE MEETINGS! . . . 08/26/13

Melbourne Mission Moments 08/26/13‏

I love packages from home!
Ah. Where do I even start? Being a missionary is seriously the biggest blessing I could have asked for! The blessings absolutely demolish the sacrifices you make to be a missionary. Seriously, Heavenly Father is SO good to me!
First of all, It is such a blessing to be able to work with my new companion. We have so many similarities. It's crazy. I love working with her and we had such a great week this week!

It has poured rain this week! Gotta love tracting in the rain.
Thank goodness for my rain coat.

Our area is still a little bit slow so we are doing a lot of tracting/finding. That's what we did pretty much all day Tuesday and Wednesday. On Wednesday night we had a miracle happen. It was after it was dark and we had run out of people to go visit and since we aren't supposed to tract after dark because of safety we decided to look at the ward list and see if there was someone we felt like we should visit. I saw the name of a less active single mom and her son and felt like we should go there. I have been trying to meet her for the whole 13+ weeks that I've been in this area and haven't had any luck so far but we decided we would at least try. She ended up being home and we were able to go in and talk with her for almost an hour and build a really good relationship of trust with her. She invited us to come back and start teaching her 8-year-old son so that he can get baptized soon! I'm so glad we were listening to the promptings of the spirit and felt that we should go there!
On Thursday we had the wonderful blessing of having ZONE CONFERENCE!! :) I LOVE MEETINGS. Haha but seriously, I really do. I love getting instruction from our leaders and I always leave feeling so uplifted and motivated to be better and do more. President and Sister Maxwell are such wonderful teachers and I always learn so much from them. One thing they really focused on is how to recognize the spirit. That is something that I am so grateful for as a missionary. Before the mission it was really hard for me to discern between my thoughts and the spirit but as a missionary it's getting easier and easier.
On Friday we started teaching a beautiful woman from South Africa who has just finished battling breast cancer. She has strong faith but is really open. She was really interested in the Book of Mormon and kept telling us "This just makes sense. This has got to be true." I'm excited to continue teaching her.
On Saturday we had exchanges with the Sister Training Leaders. In the morning we did a lot of tracting. Then in the afternoon we went to visit Naomi. I'm constantly amazed by her. Talking to her you would think she'd been a member of the church for 5 years, not 5 months. She is so solid. She told us, "this isn't just a fling, this is a life-long commitment." That's the best thing to hear. Her 15-year old son was home and we were talking to him. He has come to church several times with Naomi. I felt really prompted to ask him how he felt about the church. He told us that he wants to be baptized!! Another miracle! He is praying about a date for his baptism and we are going there on Wednesday to start teaching him the lessons and to set a solid date for him. :)
Yesterday we had Stake Conference and it was wonderful. Again, I love meetings :) The theme was becoming perfected in Christ. It was exactly what I needed to hear. Then last night while we were driving home we were listening to a talk in the car by John Bytheway called "Gospel Standards for Youth" from BYU Education Week, August 17, 1998. It was so good! Seriously, look it up and listen to it. It opened my eyes a lot. I realized how much I have changed as a missionary. Because we are away from the distractions of the world, I have realized how much filth there is and how hard Satan is working. I have such a desire to hold myself to a higher standard when I get home. It's not like I was doing crazy things and breaking commandments, etc., but there are definitely things that I can be even better about. Satan is working really hard and we can't allow ourselves to come down from the mountain even a little bit. I've realized that I want to stay as far from the line as possible. Ah, seriously listen to the talk for FHE this week. It is wonderful!
I love you all and I miss you! Can't believe I've been out for 5 months now. I'm gonna be back home before I turn around twice. The mission is flying by. 
Sister Baker 

P.S. The spider I sent the picture of did pretty much send me over the edge. [Lauren said it was as big as her hand.] I was FREAKING out. So gross. It's made me more paranoid. Yuck. They said that as it starts getting warmer more spiders will come out. They said we have to watch out especially for white tails and red backs. They showed us pictures of them and Oh my NASTY! Google it. It's disgusting.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Transfer Week and a New Companion - 8/19/13

Melbourne Mission Moments - 8/19/13
What a wonderful week I have had! Seriously, this week has been so great!
Monday was really busy getting everything cleaned up in our flat and getting my companion and the Sis. R. all packed up and ready to go. After my companion finished packing we spent the rest of the evening visiting people in the ward that she wanted to see before she left.
Tuesday morning right after personal study we had to leave to head to the mission office for transfer meeting. It ended up being a pretty big meeting with a lot of changes made. My companion got sent out bush to Griffith which is in New South Wales. My MTC companion also got sent out bush to Wagga-Wagga so I will not get to see her for quite a while now. Sad. I love that Sister so much. Ever since the first day at the MTC we just had a special connection. After transfer meeting was over they assigned me to be with to other sisters for the next 24 hours until the new missionaries arrived on Wednesday. I love Sis. A. and Sis. K. We all have been serving the same amount of time and we had a great day together. We got to go teach Sis. A’s investigator. He got baptized on Saturday so our lesson with him was his last one before his baptism interview. He has a strong testimony. I love talking with people who have recently gained their testimony. There's just something fresh and special about it. After our lesson with him we went down to my area in Churchill Park and we stopped by an investigator’s flat. He wasn't home but his 4 flat mates were home so we were able to talk with them and share a little bit about the plan of salvation and made a return appointment for Friday. We all stayed at our flat Tuesday night so there were 5 sisters there. Sis. Trego's new companion is Sis. F. She is a tall blonde Australian from Adelaide. I love her. :)
Wednesday morning after studies, Sis. A., Sis. K. and I went to follow up with a few potential investigators. After that we headed up to the mission office to meet our Goldens (they call new missionaries Goldens here because it is a GOLDEN opportunity). Twenty-seven new missionaries came in. A few of them have been serving in the states for a little bit but most of them are young, fresh, 18-year-old boys straight from the MTC. We had a kind of training/orientation meeting for the new missionaries then they made assignments.
 Guess who my new companion is?. . .  SISTER H. from my district at the MTC! Such a blessing to get to work with her. I love her so much and we have had such a good week together. Since she has been serving for as long as I have she doesn't really need to be trained on anything except for Australian Culture and the mission culture here. I am so happy for the opportunity we have to serve together. She is FUN to be around and she has the same desire that I do to work hard so we have gotten a lot done. Heavenly Father is pouring out blessings on me by making us companions!
After all the orientation and training and dinner at the office they sent us home about 7:00 to unpack and then to sleep. Jet lag is a real thing. It happens to all of us and Sis. H. was exhausted so we went to bed by about 10:00 Wednesday.
On Thursday morning we had Zone Meeting. Our zone has had a lot of change because all but two companionships got split up so there's a lot of new missionaries. They also added two sets of elders to our zone so now there are 11 companionships in our zone. I love all of the missionaries. We all work hard and get along really well. Our zone is one of the smallest in the mission area wise but we have a lot of success. Elder M. is in our zone which is fun. I went to high school with him. We also have Elder N. in our zone who just got here after serving for 12 weeks in THSM so it was fun to talk with him all about Texas.
Thursday night we taught an on-going investigator again. I really am not sure what to do with him. He's been meeting with missionaries for almost a year but his heart is not open and bottom line he is not prepared. So we probably have to drop him which is sad but we need to be spending our time on the elect who are truly prepared. 
Friday and Saturday we tracted for a lot and it was FREEZING because the wind was blowing so hard. It was been windy for almost a week straight now and frankly I'm getting quite sick of it. We went on Friday night to teach the flat full of YSA age people that I told you about at the beginning of the letter. Well, it was a disaster. They basically just wanted to argue with us and the spirit was not there at all. It was really frustrating. Our Ward Mission leader was with us and he was as frustrated as we were.
Saturday night we had dinner with the K. family and taught them a lesson. They are still really serious about getting to the temple to be sealed so we are just going to keep helping them along. 
Saturday night we called one of our investigators to set up an appointment with her. She told us that her 12 year old daughter was in the hospital and had just had surgery to remove an egg-sized tumor from her brain. The tumor was benign which is good but it is still so sad for a 12 year old to have to go through that. My companion and I were able to go up there and visit them in the hospital. A couple of brothers from the ward came and gave her a blessing. It was great to be able to spend that time with them and a wonderful teaching opportunity. 
Heavenly Father is so aware of us. At the beginning of the week I prayed that I would be able to be happy this week. Not that I'm not happy, but sometimes Satan just works really hard on me and I get disappointed or discouraged. Well, Heavenly Father answered my prayers. I have been so happy this week and have had so many blessings. I'm so grateful to get to serve with Sis. H. She is a tender mercy from Heavenly Father.

I know that little miracles happen every single day. We will notice them more as we really look for them. I'm so grateful to be serving a mission right now. The church is true. I wish I could get everyone here in Australia to understand that. Heavenly Father loves us and has a perfect plan of happiness for us. I am so grateful for the knowledge of the gospel that I have.
Love y'all HEAPS!!

Sister Baker xxoxxo

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

I'm learning to love tracting. . . 08/12/13

Melbourne Mission Moments – 08/12/13
NASTY!! This thing was outside our window Monday night.
I was basically crying. So Gross! It's huge!!!

Well, another week has come and gone and here we are to Monday again. This week was full of trials and learning and miracles.

On Monday after we finished emailing we drove to the mission office to sing with Sister Maxwell. She had asked about 40 of the missionaries to sing in a missionary choir for a fireside last night. Singing with her was great. Before she left Utah she was in Motab and she knows a lot! Sister Maxwell is so great. I feel such a love and motherly vibe from her that is really comforting.

On Tuesday basically everyone who we had potential teaching appointments with dropped us so we were back to the drawing board. We ended up doing a lot of tracting this week. Thank goodness that we had good weather for a couple days, because tracting in the rain is terrible. I'm learning to love tracting. I used to absolutely hate it. But this week we actually found some real success from it.

We were tracting the SUPER long street on Thursday which took us almost 5 hours to tract the whole street. About halfway down the street we saw a guy outside his house weeding. We have been praying to find opportunities for service this week so we stopped and started talking to him. We started weeding with him. There we were in our skirts and everything in the dirt weeding for almost an hour. It was great! We were able to have casual conversation with him and BRT (Build a Relationship of Trust). By the time we finished he had really opened up and accepted a return appointment for this week. Blessings. It really strengthened my testimony that no one cares how much you know until they know how much you care. Later down that same street we saw a man named getting into his car. Since he was getting ready to leave we couldn't talk to him for very long but he told us to come back Friday night. Friday night he invited us right in and we met his wife and three daughters. Another huge blessing. We had been praying to be able to find a family to teach. We were able to teach them about the Plan of Salvation and they seem really keen. Such blessings!
On Friday night after we got home we were doing our nightly planning when the phone rang. I looked down and saw that it was President Maxwell calling. My heart instantly started beating so fast. Not because he's a scary person or anything like that but just because I had no idea why he would be calling us at 9:20 at night. We answered the phone on speaker and after some "how was your day?" kind of talk he asked if he could speak to me. He then explained to me that he has been praying a lot and that he and the Lord would like me to be a trainer this coming transfer. I was super surprised. I can't believe I'm training already. I feel super inadequate. I feel like I have so many things to learn myself and so many shortcomings I hardly know how to show someone else how to be a missionary. But I know that the calling has come from the Lord. I also know that the Lord qualifies whom he calls. So Friday and Saturday I was kind of freaking out. But I have prayed a lot and I feel a lot more peace now. I know that this will be a wonderful opportunity to serve and to show my love. So yeah, I am staying in Churchill Park and my companion is being transferred. I'm so grateful to be staying in Churchill Park. I love this area and I would have been really sad if I had to leave Naomi and our special family.
Transfer meeting is tomorrow morning. Basically our whole zone is changing. Every companionship in the zone is being split up except for our zone leaders and the APs. I won't find out who my new companion is until Wednesday when they fly in so tomorrow night I will be companions with one of the other sisters who is training. 
Last night the 4 sisters in our flat all rode together to the fireside. I was driving and we had just left to start heading home. I saw a guy stopped on the side of the road with his warning lights on. We passed him but I had the strongest feeling that we needed to stop and help him. My first thought was, "Are you kidding me? I know nothing about cars. What can I possibly do to help him?" But it was such a strong feeling that I had that I turned around and we went back. His battery had died and he needed someone to jump his car. Turns out the help he needed was the one thing that I do know how to do in the car. We were able to push his car into a parking lot and helped him get his car started again. Another opportunity for a small act of service--something we'd been praying for. We gave him a pass along card and we went on our way. Hopefully someday he will remember the Sister Missionaries who helped him start his car.
I'm still trying to be patient with myself and not be so critical. I tend to be so hard on myself when I feel like I don't do everything perfectly. I've also been trying not to compare myself to others. I've realized that I do it all the time and it's really a self-destroying behavior. I am not Elder ____ or Sister ____, I'm Sister Baker. The Lord has called me to serve here because He knows who I am and who I can become. He knows that there are people here who I need to influence and people who need to influence me. I'm learning to really rely on the Lord to make up for my weaknesses and to help me put my insecurities and self doubts away.
There's a song that played the other day that describes so perfectly how I feel.
I've never been the kind to testify
I don't have the words his truth deserves
But it's a simple thing he asks
A worthy heart and willing hands
He says if I make the choice
He'll help me find my voice
He calls me to serve and I cannot fail him
The one who has given me all that I have
I place my trust in Him alone
He knows the yearnings of my soul
Because He believes in me
I will go willingly
How can I keep this gift to myself
When I can lift somebody else
I'll be a witness of His miracle and His mercy
His power is real
It moves me until I cannot be still.

That's just some of the lyrics but I absolutely love it. The Lord truly does strengthen me. It is because of my love for Him, that I have a desire to be here doing this work. I love my Savior so much. Before my mission I knew that God existed, but now I know God. Before my mission, I had experiences with the Atonement but now I understand the Atonement on such a deeper level. There are definitely hard times here on the mission but I can honestly say that there is nothing in the world that I would rather be doing. 
Well, I love you all heaps!! Pray for me as I start training this week.


Sister Baker xoxox

Friday, August 9, 2013

" matter what, we have planted a seed"

Melbourne Missionary Moments – 8/5/13

Well, another week has come and gone. This week we kind of hit a wall. The past two weeks have been so good with baptisms each week, so I kind of expected to have a slower week.

Basically everyone that we have been teaching dropped us this week. It's really sad when people decide to drop us but there's not a lot we can do about it. I just have kept a positive attitude and tried to remember that we have to weed out those who are not really interested and committed to find those who are really prepared. And I know that no matter what, we have planted a seed in the hearts of those people that I may not see the fruits of but someone down the line will. 

Because so many people dropped us we did A LOT of finding this week. Gotta love tracting. I don't know if I told you but here in Australia there are heaps of people who have these security screen doors that make it so they can see us but we can't see them. I hate those stinkin’ doors. It's so awkward when you're talking to some mystery person. I never know where to direct my eyes or my voice. It's like teaching a wall. So we are always singing praises when we go to doors without them!

Naomi is doing so well. I am constantly amazed at her strength. She is learning and growing every day. She wants this for her sons so badly and is living by example. We are praying really hard that her sons will have a desire to follow in her footsteps and that we can teach them as well. She always sends us sms messages that completely make my day:
"I am finding the power of faith and prayer astounding a little more every day. Thank you for coming into my life."

She is my biggest miracle of the mission so far for sure. 

Also a big miracle this week, we were teaching our family on Saturday night and we taught about the temple. They set a date and are preparing to be sealed as a family on February 5th! I could not be more excited for them. I have grown to love their family so much and I can't wait to see them sealed for time and all eternity together in the temple.

This week is the last week of this transfer. I feel like my companion and I are going to be split up. I have no idea what will happen. I love this ward and this area. I will be really really sad if I have to leave but I know that the Lord will put me where he needs me.

Well, that's about it for this week. I love you all heaps! I know that the Lord is blessing ALL of us while Phillip and I are serving. Look for the tender mercies that happen every day because they definitely do happen daily. 

Love ya'll heaps!

Sister Baker
Look Mom! You're in Australia!
A&W Rootbeer at Filipino Shop - It tastes like home!

Second Baptism - ...a Beautiful Day!

Melbourne Missionary Moments - 07/29/13

Oh my goodness I can't believe that it's almost August! Crazy how fast time flies here! Can you believe I've been out 4 months now?? This week was great except something tragic happened. Last Monday I went to print a couple of photos at Office Works and the machine that I put my card into had a virus and it deleted about 120-140 photos. I was so sad. Precious memories that are gone. Everything from seeing the kangaroos is gone as well as everything from our baptism last week and the pictures I took in the city on Monday with all of the other sisters. Oh well. :( I'm just glad my companion and the other sisters have photos on their cameras that I can copy to my USB so that not everything is lost.
Monday we went in to the city with all of the sisters and Sister Maxwell which was really fun. We explored a little bit and took pictures and we went to an Art Gallery which was really fun. I got to see Sister G who I haven't seen since the MTC which was really fun!
It was a rather uneventful week Tuesday-Friday so there's not a lot to tell you. We did a lot of tracting. I love to hate tracting and I hate to love it. Haha - there's times when I feel like it is so pointless but sometimes we have no other option. If we don't have lessons to teach then we need to find people.
Wednesday I was on an exchange with Sister R for the day which was really fun. It is good to work with other missionaries once in a while and have a change. We had a wonderful day. We met a girl from Sudan. We were able to teach her a wonderful lesson and we set a baptismal date for her for 31 August. While we were driving Sister R and I had a good talk about how grateful we both are for the opportunities that a mission gives us. I thank Heavenly Father every day for this opportunity. I seriously learn something new and change Every. Single. Day. It is wonderful. Hard things happen and not everything is sunshine and roses but the happy moments make everything worth it. :) I've been doing better about being patient with myself and letting myself grow from my weaknesses rather than let them become a roadblock. It's amazing what positive thinking can do! 
Saturday was our second baptism which was wonderful. It was a beautiful day! They asked me to sing at the baptism which I was really nervous about because I don't have the most wonderful voice in the world but it was a beautiful song and I saw several people with tears in their eyes so I was grateful for the spirit. The song is called "Baptismal Prayer." Look it up. It's beautiful. When the son and his dad went down into the water his dad got really emotional as he said the prayer. I was crying like a baby. I think it was because I know how much their family has changed and how hard he has worked to be prepared for that day. And their family are such good missionaries. They invited lots of non-member friends which is such a wonderful way to share the gospel. I'm excited to keep working with their family and help them get to the temple to be sealed as a family.
I miss Sundays with the family. Sunday afternoons here on the mission are really the only time that I really miss home. I appreciate the time we spent together on Sundays a lot more now that I don't have it. I also wish I took more advantage of the time before I left to go walking with mom in the mornings. Every morning while out jogging, Sis. Roberts and I have good chats and I'm always reminded of my chats with you mom when I actually went with you. I will definitely be taking advantage of that time after I go home.
Phillip- Don't worry. I've been praying for you every day that you'll be successful at learning Spanish. At least you get to learn it there and not in the field. I know how it feels to not be able to say anything to people. In Texas we ran in to people who only spoke Spanish all the time and it was so frustrating because I couldn't say ANYTHING to them. I just had to stand there and look dumb. But by the time I left I knew a little bit of VERY broken Spanish—enough that I could tell people that we were missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and that I knew Heavenly Father loved them, and asked for their name and number. But don't worry, the language will come. Don't stress too much. Just do your part and know that the Lord will make up the rest. That's true for all aspects of missionary work. If we do as much as we can, the Lord will make up for where we lack. STAY POSITIVE. That's the biggest thing that you can do. No matter what the situation, having a positive attitude will make it 1000% better. Be patient with your companion and pray to love him. If you love your companion, that's when you can truly be successful. Keep your chin up.  A mission is the best. I pray for you multiple times a day! 
I love you all So much. You're in my prayers all the time.
Love you HEAPS!
Sister Baker