Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Oh what a WONDERFUL place the temple is! - 9/22/13

Melbourne Mission Moments
Well, another transfer has come and gone. I can't believe this transfer is over. It went by so fast!! 
On Monday we spent the whole afternoon at the chapel playing volleyball with the other missionaries in our zone. I LOVE the missionaries in our zone. As a missionary your zone kind of becomes your family. 
Wednesday morning we got to go to the temple!  They had the new video which is AMAZING and I basically sat and wept the entire session. I am so grateful that we have a temple here in our mission and that we are able to go every three months. I feel bad that Phillip [Sis. Baker’s brother serving in Peru] doesn't get to go any more for the rest of his mission. That would be hard. I love being in the temple. The spirit is so strong there. I went to the temple with some questions and I got the answers that I needed. I had a really special experience while I was praying in the Celestial Room. I could see Mom, Dad and McKay at home in the family room and Phillip in Peru, all of you on your knees praying for me. I felt so close to home and so overwhelmingly loved. It was exactly what I needed. I needed to feel that love. A mission is hard and while I have a wonderful companion and people who love me here, no one can love you quite like your family does. I am so grateful to have the family that I do. You guys are the best! 

After the temple we went to the little girl who is in the hospital. I can't remember if I told you about her but she and her mom are investigators. About six weeks ago she had major surgery to have an egg-sized brain tumor removed. She is doing so well! She has re-learned how to walk again and she was so excited to see us. She was showing us all over the hospital and pushing us around in a wheelchair. I have no doubt in my mind that someday she is going to be able to talk and be completely normal. And when she is like that, she will remember the missionaries that came to visit her in the hospital and she will want to get baptized. 
On Saturday morning our phone rang and it was President Maxwell. He asked my companion and me to both train this coming transfer. So we are being split up. And guess what, I am staying in the area! I can't believe I'm staying here again. But I love the ward and I know that there is something here that I need to do. My companion got a phone call from the APs on Saturday night and they asked her to go to TASMANIA! There have not been sisters there for almost 4 years but they are sending sisters there again!! So there's a huge possibility now that I will get to serve in Tazzy before I go home! Cool huh?! I'm excited for this upcoming transfer! I am looking forward to training a new missionary. I am sure it will allow me to grow a lot. Really, it's my first time training cause my companion now  was already trained. But yeah, I feel like good things are to come this transfer.
My companion and I are going in to the city today. We are going to a place called the Eureka tower. It is the tallest building in the southern hemisphere. They have this thing called the sky deck that we are going to. It's like a glass platform clear up at the top of the building. You'll have to Google it. It should be a lot of fun! 
Tomorrow is transfer meeting. Sister T goes home which I'm really sad about. I've gotten really close to her and love her so much. I've lived in the same flat with her the whole time that I've been in Australia so it will be sad to see her go. 
Our oven is crazy. We don't really use it much. We make pasta and soups and stuff. I have learned to LOVE pumpkin soup. One of my favorite foods here by far. My companion and I run in the mornings. I'm learning to not hate running. And my next companion is going to have to keep doing it with me. Haha 
Phillip- Sounds like things are going great for you in Peru! Keep working hard and praying hard. The language will come. And don't worry I'm praying for you. Also, they do the date like that here in Australia too (listing the day before the month). It drove me CRAZY for the first little while that I was here. I just write all my dates as "23 Sep 2013" because unless I spell out the month I get way too confused. 

The church is true. I'm so grateful for the gospel and the countless blessings it has brought into my life. 
Love ya'll HEAPS!!

Sister Baker

Monday, September 16, 2013

"It's always a great day when you wake up in the Australia Melbourne Mission!" - 9/16/13

Melbourne Mission Moments
September 16, 2013
Am I in America or Australia?

Me and my companion
Mini-Golfing last week for P-Day
"It's always a great day when you wake up in the Australia Melbourne Mission!"

It was a great week this week! On Monday we went to the mission office for a Sisters P-day. It was so fun to be with all the sisters (except 10 who are serving out in the bush) We had a culture day so we all wore lava-lavas (spelling?) and we learned a Tongan dance, a Samoan dance, and some New Zealand games. It was really fun. :) 
Sisters P-Day
Matching Pants :)
Monday night my companion and I made a cake because 3 of the Elders in our zone had birthdays last week. Well, our oven is a piece of junk and it burned the cake so we had to start all over. It was frustrating but hilarious at the same time. We could tell that it was burnt but we tried to cut out the middle of it and see if we could salvage any of it. My companion decided to try a piece of the soft middle part and man her face was hilarious. Haha she made me try it and oh my goodness. So disgusting. It tasted like second-hand smoke. Haha we were laughing so hard we were crying. But we checked the second cake every ten minutes and it turned out well so we had a nice cake to take to district meetings on Tuesday.
Our district meeting on Tuesday was great! We had training on helping our investigators receive revelation through prayer. The spirit was really strong and I learned a ton. I love meetings :) And the best part was that we were able to apply the things that we learned that very night. We had a lesson with an investigator and it went well. We showed him the Restoration video because we thought it would help him understand the restoration better if he had a visual. The lesson went great and at the end of the lesson, we asked him to pray. He didn't want to but we applied our training from that morning and he ended up praying! And it was so good! He is doing really well. He was originally going to be baptized this weekend but we all feel like he is not quite ready yet. There's still a lot that he needs to learn and we really want to make sure he has a personal testimony before he gets baptized so now we're looking more towards a baptism at the end of October. 
Thursday was one of the best days of my mission so far. We had a mission conference with Elder Pearson who is in the Pacific Area presidency. Have I mentioned that I LOVE MEETINGS! Seriously, it was SO good. I heard exactly what I needed to and I learned so much. I feel so much more motivated as a missionary. He spoke for three hours but it honestly felt like one. It was so good. I'll just try to summarize a bit of what he taught us.
·         It's not about your mission- it's about what your mission is preparing you for. 
·         Young women serve missions so they can be strong mothers for those children who are yet to come-- some of Heavenly Father's most faithful spirits.
·         Alma 13:3 is talking about us.
·         It's one thing to have the faith to serve, it's another to have the faith to succeed.
·         We need to be aligned with Heavenly Father: be aligned in purpose, in doctrine, in behavior and in urgency.
·         You can't be who you were and try to embrace your call as a missionary. You have to be willing to change. Don't get caught between what you were and what you want to be. Let go and change!
·         Everyone has the Light of Christ. As missionaries we need to make sure that our light shows so that those we meet can recognize that light.
·         Make things happen instead of watching things happen.
·         You get what you are constantly focused on.
·         It's not about you. Forget yourself and go to work. 
·         There are no average missionaries in the celestial kingdom. Average is the enemy of excellence.
·         Heavenly Father loves His missionaries. When we feel the Holy Ghost, that is Him speaking to you, telling you that you are doing enough. He will let you know just often enough that he loves you and you are enough.
·         "It's always a great day when you wake up in the Australia Melbourne Mission."
·         Happiness has nothing to do with what's going on in your area, there is pure joy in doing this work.
·         Step up and take the mission to the next level.
·         This is a special time where there are more missionaries than ever before. If there was no harvest, why would the Lord double His laborers?
·         It's time to raise your expectations, increase your faith, and sense more urgency about this work. As you work relentlessly, the miracles here will multiply.
That doesn't even do justice to his words. It was SO GOOD! Ah, I loved.
Anyway, the rest of the week was pretty uneventful. Just working hard, doing the work.
First time all eight of us from the MTC have been reunited!
I'm really excited for this week. Today we are having lunch with the whole zone and playing volleyball. Wednesday we get to go to the temple!!! I'm so excited. I feel like I haven't been in forever! Also, we have transfers next week. So we'll find out on Saturday what is happening. I'm hoping that my companion and I stay together and that I can be in this area for one more transfer but I'm really not sure what's going to happen. We'll see. This transfer has gone by SO FAST!!
Are you excited to go to the BYU vs. Utah game? I'm jealous! Cheer loud for BYU for me. They better win. I'll be praying all week that BYU beats Utah. (just kidding, kinda)
I have been doing a lot better this week about focusing on what the Lord thinks of me and what the Lord wants me to do rather than what others think.

Phillip - I'm glad you got to bear your testimony in Sacrament meeting. Here in the AMM we have a goal to always ask the bishop if you can bear your testimony in the first sacrament meeting you have in a ward because then the members will start to know who you are. Having a good relationship with the members is KEY to missionary work. Keep working hard!
Well, that's about it for this week. I love you all so much and I love this work!
Love ya heaps!
Sister Baker xxx

Wednesday, September 11, 2013


Melbourne Mission Moments
AYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY!! (That's one of the things that I have picked up here. All the Aussies seem to say it.)
Monday we went mini-golfing with our zone. It was fun. They kept saying that it was different than in America but it wasn't. But it was a lot of fun. :) 
On Tuesday we went to see a less active sister and her son again. We had dinner with them and taught a lesson. It was great. They came to church yesterday which was awesome! They had a good experience and were really loved by the ward so it was great! 
It was another week of a lot of finding. I've come to realize that no matter what, you're going to have to spend time finding. We talk a lot about the escalator effect-- that we have to constantly be putting people on the escalator so they can move to baptism at the top. The only way to get them on the escalator is by finding. I actually like finding. I love talking to complete strangers and learning about their background. This past week we really focused on using the Book of Mormon in all of our finding. It worked really well. The Book of Mormon is truly an incredible book and I want to share it with everyone here! My love and testimony of the Book of Mormon has grown SO much here! I understand things that I never did before the mission and I can't get enough of it. I could spend all of my personal study time in the mornings reading from its pages. I don't, because I need to study for investigators, but I definitely could. 
We taught our recent convert’s son again this week. We taught him the Restoration and it went really well! He went to the youth dance on Friday night and he loved it! I'm glad he is building friendships with the people in the ward. Unfortunately, he didn't come to church this week. His mom said she couldn't get him to come and we tried to call him but he said he "didn't feel well." I was really bummed about that. But everyone has their agency and we can't force him to do anything. We are praying about how to move forward with him. We are going to see him tonight and find out what his concerns are and help him strengthen his testimony of the gospel. 
Yesterday was the Primary program which was great! I LOVE Primary programs. They always make me cry. I feel ridiculous sometimes just sitting there crying while the little kids sing but there's something special about the spirit of little children and it makes me weep. Haha, oh well. 
There's a quote in PMG by Pres. Monson that I love: "There is one language... that is common to each missionary--the language of the Spirit. It is not learned from textbooks written by men of letters, nor is it acquired through reading and memorization. The language of the Spirit comes to him who seeks with all his heart to know God and keep His divine commandments. Proficiency in this language permits one to breach barriers, overcome obstacles, and touch the human heart." 
Random question: there is a bird here that makes the WEIRDEST sound. I asked people what it was and they said that it is a kookaburra. Anyway, I remember a song that said something like "Kookaburra sitting in the old oak tree...." Do you know what song I'm talking about? What are the rest of the words? 

Well, that's about it for this week! I am so grateful to be a missionary. It's the best!

Love ya'll heaps!

Sister Baker xxx

[Note from Sister Baker’s Mom: I knew the exact song Lauren mentions in her letter and I was probably the one that used to sing it to her! However, the kookaburra sits in the old gum tree, not an oak tree! Too funny... She said they have lots of gum trees in Australia where she is. The kookaburra is native to Australia and New Guinea. It is a large bird about 11-17” long.]

Happy Spring!!! - 9/2/13

Melbourne Mission Moments

Happy 5 Months!

"I like to look for rainbows whenever there is rain..."
Happy Spring!!! Spring has finally arrived here in Australia and it is so nice. The weather has been beautiful the last few days and everyone is wearing color and the coats are gone. :) That in and of itself is enough to make my week but we also had many other things happen this week which made things great!
On Monday after P-day we went to have dinner with some members in our ward who have a farm. After dinner they showed us their 5 tiny bunnies that were just born last week. We got to hold them and they are such cute little fluff balls. Then we got to go down and feed their 2-day-old lamb from a bottle. It was SO cute! I was sitting there in my dress, wearing a big pair of gumboots, sitting on a bale of hay, holding a baby lamb. Not something I ever imagined doing on the mission but I loved it!
Feeding the baby lamb!! :) So cute!
Tuesday we got to teach Noah. He is so smart for an 8 year old. After we gave him a children's picture Book of Mormon, he was excited. He said, "Mum, can I take this to school and read it?" His mum had to explain that it probably wasn't the best idea since he goes to a Catholic school but he was excited nonetheless to start reading it. 
On Wednesday we went to see the son of our recent convert. We were able to have a formal lesson with him. Usually the first lesson we teach people is the Restoration but we really felt like we needed to focus on the Gospel of Jesus Christ (faith, repentance, baptism, gift of the Holy Ghost, and endure to the end) It was perfect. He understood the importance of baptism and we were able to solidify that he really wanted to be baptized. He has a date set for September 14! There is a possibility it might get changed to September 21 so he can go to the Stake Youth Conference, but either way, he will be getting baptized soon which I'm really excited about! I also love seeing how happy it makes his mum, seeing her son accept the gospel. You can see the pure joy on her face. 
Thursday we had Golden Review at the mission office. It is a meeting for all the trainers and their Goldens just for more training and to review the things that they go over the first week which the Goldens hardly remember because they were all so tired from traveling. The APs called us last minute and asked Sister H and me to do a musical number at the meeting. We were pretty nervous because both of us had just gotten over a cold and we really didn't have time to prepare but we sang a medley of baptism songs from the Children's Songbook. Sister Maxwell played for us and it ended up turning out quite well.

After the meeting we went to visit the little girl who is in the hospital who had a brain tumor removed. She was doing so much better. We are really developing a good relationship with her mum and we're praying that by us showing we care, it will soften their hearts so they are ready to accept the gospel. 
Friday we went to teach a man named that is Muslim from Pakistan. I was a little nervous because I've never taught someone who is Muslim and I don't know a lot about their beliefs but it ended up going SO well! He was an absolute sponge and he asked so many questions and wanted to know so much. He LOVED the Book of Mormon and was super excited to read it. We have a return appointment with him this week and I'm really excited for it. He is awesome!
Saturday was the last day of the month and we were out of Ks so we couldn't use the car so we walked all day and did a lot of tracting. The weather was BEAUTIFUL and it was a great day. We met some great people and got some solid return appointments for this coming week. 
The work is moving along here. My companion and I get along great and we both just want to work hard so it is wonderful. We have a Zone P-day today and we are going mini-golfing which should be fun. Everyone said Australia mini-golf is way different than at home so I'm not sure what to expect but it should be fun regardless.
This transfer is going by SO quickly. We're already half way through and I feel like it just started. I love being a missionary. There is nothing better!
At the Mission President's Fireside
Being on the mission and away from my family has made me appreciate all the little things so much more. I always tell people about my family and that I have the best family ever because it's true!! Thank you for all the love, prayers and support.

Sister Baker