Tuesday, November 19, 2013

I am so GRATEFUL! - 11/18/13

Melbourne Mission Moments 

Doesn't this sound good?

We had an absolutely wonderful week this past week! Numbers wise, it's probably the best week that I've had in Australia! 
On Monday after we got home from emailing and shopping we checked the mail and the USB with Christmas music on it came! Thank you so much for sending it! That is all that Sister S and I listen to and we love it! 
The first half of the week was super rainy and pretty cold here. We had 8 days straight of rain! It got really old! But having the colder weather made Christmas music seem more appropriate. Now that it has been warmer the last few days, Christmas music seems really funny. I feel like I'm kidding myself trying to pretend that it's almost Christmas. It's really nice today but not hot yet. Melbourne has definitely stayed cooler. It sounds like Perth is really hot but here it's definitely not to that point yet. Earlier in the week when it was raining, I was wearing a jumper [sweater], scarf, boots and my coat. Weird. 
Monday night we had dinner with a couple that live up in the hills in the most beautiful area! And their house… Oh my goodness. It is so cute! It looks like something out of a magazine. It's an old cottage that was built in the 1920s that they have fixed up and added on to. I felt like I was in a movie or something. She made the most beautiful dinner with an appetizer and dessert too. She's like a gourmet chef so that was really fun. I had fresh figs for the first time there. Ha, when I saw it on the plate I had no idea what it was and I honestly thought it looked gross but I LOVED it. So yummy! 
We are still getting up and going to the gym every morning and guess what? I love it. Seriously, it's the biggest blessing that they let us use it for free and that both Sister S and I like to get up early so we can go. 
On Tuesday we went to visit the cutest old lady in our ward who lives in a nursing home. She is so cute. Being there visiting her reminds me so much of work at Country Care. Haha I kind of miss it, kinda. After that we went with the Elders in another ward to meet a couple that they have been working with who just moved into our ward boundaries. We are really excited to work with them. They are both from Mauritius. (I didn't know that it even existed before the mission but I've met tons of people from there. I want to go someday.) He is a less active member and his wife is not a member. He has cancer and is undergoing chemo treatments right now. They are such kind and loving people. After that we went to teach our 12-year old. We taught her part of the plan of salvation and part of the gospel of Jesus Christ. And guess what? She wants to get baptized! She is praying about a date and we will hopefully be setting a solid date tomorrow! We then visited the mother and son and had another lesson with them. Her son is SO excited for his baptism on the 8th of December. :)
One of our biggest miracles this week happened on Tuesday night when we went to see the family that was a referral from the Elders! They are from Egypt and have been living here for 3 years. It is a mom, dad, grandma, and two boys ages 10 and 6. They have a Christian background which is super awesome. The major obstacle though is that they speak Arabic and their English is not the greatest. And the grandma doesn't speak English at all. We were a little at a loss because it was hard to communicate but we felt like we should sing. We sang "Joseph Smith's First Prayer." As we sang the dad's eyes were filled with tears and the grandma was crying. After we finished singing the 6-year old translated for his grandma who said, "I felt like I knew the song and knew the words." Ha, I just started to cry. The spirit was so strong. There is truly power in music. They loved it and wanted us to come back that same week.
Wednesday we went up to the hospital to see our friend. She is doing well but you could tell that the surgery set her back a little bit again. But she has such a good attitude and keeps her sense of humor through everything. She is such a special girl. Yesterday we talked in ward council about the ward being a lot more involved in fellowshipping their family. I think it will be really good! There are several members who are really going to step up and help them.
So kind of funny, on Wednesday I got the hiccups off and on literally all day. It was crazy, and kind of annoying. Haha. I got them again before we went to bed and while we were praying I hiccupped SO loud. Both Sister S and I LOST it laughing. It was hilarious!
We had dinner with a family on Saturday. Oh how I love their family. They have us over once a week and it is such a blessing. We want to see them get sealed so badly.
Saturday night we got to teach the family from Egypt again. I love them so much! We taught them about the Godhead. They believe in one being and we were trying to help them understand that they are three separate beings but it is a little hard because of the language barrier. But they agreed to pray about it and wanted to come to church so that was good.
Our 12-year old investigator came to church which was wonderful. She already has made friends with several of the young women and loves coming! We were really sad when sacrament meeting started and the new family still wasn't there. But during Sunday school someone poked their head in and told us that they were there. They were late but they came! It made us so happy to see them! 
Last night we had dinner with another family in the ward. Ah, what wonderful people they are. They had the mother and the son that is going to be baptized over too which was really good. These ward members have really taken them under her wing. They even invited them to join their family for Christmas. It's so nice to see members really step up and fulfill their callings/ love those that we help come back to church.
We haven't been able to formally meet with the new sister we met this week because her partner doesn't want people from church in their house but we've been on the phone with her every day and she is so awesome! We fasted for her on Tuesday and later in the week she told us that she was fasting on Tuesday as well! We are praying so hard for a miracle. She is awesome though.

I love being a missionary so much! We see so many miracles every single day. I love the gospel. I am truly, truly converted. I know that Joseph Smith was a prophet and that he did see Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. I know that the Book of Mormon is true. I am so GRATEFUL to have a Heavenly Father who knows me, who hears my prayers, and who blesses me so unceasingly. 
Love y'all heaps!

Sister Baker xxx
P.S. I've been in this area for 6 months now. I'm hoping to not be transferred until after Christmas.

I got balloons on Friday since it was a year since Grandma Baker died and I sent them off to her.

A wonderful week ... full of miracles - 11/11/13

Melbourne Mission Moments 
I love my companion!
 I am so incredibly blessed. I don't know if it is because Thanksgiving is this month or what but this week I have really noticed how many blessings I receive and have in my life. I am so, so grateful!
We had a wonderful week this week full of miracles. Heavenly Father is so good to us!
Monday night we had dinner at Bishop's house. I am so grateful to be serving in such a wonderful ward with such wonderful people! Even though my family is far away from me, the members here make us feel like family. Bishop's family is so great. We had a barbeque with them and the Elders in our ward and also had FHE with them.
Tuesday morning we had district meeting which was great. Then me, Sister S, Sister W and Sister F went to the park to eat our lunch that we had packed. The weather was SO beautiful for the first half of the week. It is still a little chilly most days but it's supposed to be getting warm soon. But yeah, we sat in the sun at the park and just enjoyed the sun while we ate. It was glorious.
Wednesday night we went to teach a boy that we had met on the bus. He is 16 years old. We sat on his front lawn and taught him the Restoration and it went so well! His family is Catholic but aren't very involved in church so he believes in God but doesn't know much at all. It became the perfect canvas for him to learn about the Restoration. He loved it and was really excited about the Book of Mormon. At the end of the lesson his mom came out and listened in. She was really interested too and we have a return appointment with them for this week.
Thursday we had another lesson with our 12-year old investigator. It went really well! She was able to open up a lot and we were able to know what her concerns are. And guess what! She prayed at the end of the lesson. We've been trying to get her to do that ever since we met her and she finally did. It was so good.
Our biggest miracle of this week: Last week when we were tracting we met a guy who said we could come back. Then, on Tuesday night this week, we walked past their house and he was getting ready to leave but I guess it clicked in his head and he said, "Oh, you are Mormons. My partner goes to your church. Come back tomorrow night and see her." So we went back Thursday night. He wasn't home but she invited us right in. She is the sweetest person and so cute. After just talking to her for a few minutes and building a bit of a relationship I asked her how long she'd been a member of the church. She told us that she had never actually been baptized. She started investigating the church about 10 years ago when she was dating a member. She started sharing her experiences and her testimony with us and it was amazing. She knows so much and she knows the gospel is true and has such a strong testimony of it. She talked about how she hopes that her mom is listening to Joseph Smith in the spirit world and how she wants to go to the temple and be baptized for her mom. About 6 months ago she got online and ordered her own set of scriptures. She expressed to us her desire to be baptized and the whole thing felt surreal. This is the kind of thing that missionaries DREAM of. She said the most amazing prayer which made me want to make my prayers more sincere. It was amazing. She is a little worried about her partner and the way he feels about everything and she has been working out some issues and things with him this week but she is praying about when she should get baptized and we are going to be hopefully setting a date with her this week. 
On Saturday we went to see another investigator. He was getting ready to leave to see a friend in the hospital so we couldn't talk to him long but he did tell us that he hasn't read the Book of Mormon at all yet. That was a real bummer. Hopefully we will see him tomorrow and help him understand the importance of the Book of Mormon.
Church on Sunday was really good! A boy in the ward just got home from his mission on Saturday night. He was serving in the Paraguay Asuncion mission. He said that Jordan [Sis. Baker’s cousin] was his Zone Leader there. Small world. We were really excited and surprised that our 12-year old came! Her mom drove her and even came in with her to make sure she got to the right place. She loved church and the young women welcomed her so perfectly! We were really excited about that. We have an appointment with her tomorrow and we are hoping to set a baptismal date with her!
Last night we went with a couple brethren from our ward to see our sweet friend that had the brain tumor and her mom. A bone has come dislodged in her head so she had to have another surgery this morning to get it screwed back in and is going to be in the hospital for a week. When we got there only her mom was home and she was on her way back home with her aunt. I gave her mom a hug when we went in and she just held me really tight and started to sob. She is really struggling. As a single parent and having so much happen with her daughter she has been so stressed. It was heart breaking. We just let her talk and cry and gave her the love that she so desperately needs. The brethren from our ward were able to give both her and her mom blessings which was really good. Even though we haven't been able to teach them a whole lot, I have no doubt that they are going to be baptized one day. The mom hugged me really tight last night and said, "What am I going to do without you? I am going to be really sad when you leave." It broke my heart. One day after all of this is done and over with, I hope they are going to remember the Sister Missionaries who really cared and that they will want to learn more and join the church. This morning my companion and I left at 6:40 am so we could go up to the hospital and sit with the mom while they waited for surgery. I could tell that meant so much to her. 
Dad- I was thinking about the events from a year ago [Sis. Baker  opened her  mission call Nov. 9, 2012. Her grandma Baker fell and broke her hip the following day and then passed away five days later.]. I am going to buy some helium balloons on Friday and send them up to Grandma. I know she made the right choice in letting go and I know that she is happy up there. I have felt her with me several times out here and it's been a tender mercy. I love her. I'm glad that Grandpa is doing so well. 
Phillip- Sounds like it's piping hot down there. It's not hot here yet but apparently January and February will be brutal. We'll see. Keep working hard and enjoy the beautiful dogs ;)
I am so so grateful to be a missionary. It is the biggest blessing that I have ever received. I'm grateful to have such an amazing family! This church is true. I know it. 
Love y'all heaps!

Sister Baker

TTE or Talk to Everyone - 11/4/13

Melbourne Mission Moments 11/04/13

November already? Holy cow! Can you believe that this week it will have been a year since I got my call? This has been by far the fastest year of my entire life.
We had a really good week this week and saw a lot of miracles!! 
Tuesday morning we had transfer meeting. It was a super good meeting! President Maxwell talked about the mission and the work that has been done this year. Then he asked each companionship to baptize one person before Christmas as our gift to Christ. I am really excited about this! I know that as my companion and I work hard we will be blessed to see miracles and that we will be able to have a baptism before Christmas. Then the APs talked to us about Elder Ballard's talk from General Conference and how as missionaries if we want to teach more, we have to talk to more people." We really want to make this a mission goal so they have added a new key indicator for us to record each week which is TTE (talk to everyone.) They committed us all to truly talk to everyone we see! The Standard of Excellence is 140 per week. As my companion and I started applying this I realized that usually we do talk to everyone but there is still the occasional person that we don't go out of our way to talk to. So this week we changed that. In 5 days we talked to 286 people! It is amazing to see how many people we can influence every single day. I truly know that as we talk to more people, we will be blessed with more people to teach and we will see miracles happen. At the end of transfer meeting they always have the departing missionaries bear their testimonies. Man, some awesome missionaries went home this week. I love hearing their testimonies and seeing how much they truly love the work and how sad they are to leave. I don't want that day to ever come for me. I'm just going to be a missionary forever and ever. :)
Tuesday afternoon we got to stop by and have a short lesson with our 12-year old investigator. It went well and she had read from the Book of Mormon which was good but she still won't pray with us. So this week we are going to really focus on helping her understand why we pray and how to pray and then get her to pray with us.
We were also able to teach our mother and son on Tuesday. He is so cute and he is so excited for his baptism! This week we taught him the 10 commandments and taught him hand signs for all of them. He is so smart and remembered all of them so quickly. But oh my goodness, funny experience. So we got to number 7, "thou shalt not commit adultery" and we weren't exactly sure how to explain that to an 8 year old so we kind of turned to his mother for help. She told him, "It means no sexy time before you're married." His eyes got all big and he said, "God told MOSES that?! Yuck!" Hahaha it was SO funny! We were dying laughing! 
Wednesday we had Zone Meeting. Half of our zone just got transferred into the area so it was a lot of new faces but it was really good! There are some awesome missionaries and a lot of faith in our zone. Our kind of zone motto for the transfer is "Lift Where You Stand" from President Uchtdorf's talk. We are going to rise together this transfer and see miracles happen!
Thursday night was the Trunk or Treat and it went so well! We had several investigators there and most of the two wards involved turned out as well! 
Trunk or Treat!

All the missionaries from the two wards at the trunk or treat.
Friday morning we had an amazing first lesson with a guy who is in his 20s and is a martial arts teacher/ personal trainer. We met him a little over a week ago while we were walking down his street. He was getting out of his car and we had heard that he was listening to Imagine Dragons so we started a conversation about that. Then we were able to teach about the Book of Mormon and gave him a copy and set up our return appointment for Friday. We were able to teach him the Restoration and it went so well! He has a really open heart. He had already read the introduction and the testimonies in the Book of Mormon which was super awesome. When we shared the Pillar of Light with him you could just see his eyes light up. Then after we taught more about the Book of Mormon he told us he was excited to read it. We invited him to be baptized and he expressed concerns of having already been baptized in the Anglican church but we were able to teach more about the Priesthood and set up a return appointment for this week. Before we left he said the most beautiful prayer. It was so awesome. Hopefully this week we'll be able to set a solid date with him! 
Saturday we had another fantastic lesson with a new investigator! We met him tracting. He is from India and was raised Hindu but is now Christian. It is very apparent that he has a really good relationship with God. We were able to teach him the Restoration and he really loved it. His insights and answers to questions were really great and you could tell that he was really taking it in, not just hearing it. We invited him to be baptized on November 23 and he agreed to that date if he is able to read the Book of Mormon and then get an answer from God that it is true. So that was really exciting to set a date with him! 
We hadn't heard from another investigator all week but we ran into him on Saturday. He expressed concerns about meeting with us and making the gospel part of his life because he doesn't feel like he can fully commit because of the problem of coming to church on Sundays. We were able to help him realize that he feels the spirit and that Heavenly Father will provide a way for him. 

So yeah, we've definitely seen miracles this week! Heavenly Father has blessed us so much with people to teach! I can't wait to continue working with these people.
I can't believe you're getting snow! It just barely started warming up here. I still wear cardigans a lot though. It's definitely staying cooler here than it is in Sydney and Perth. 

Phillip- RED SOX!! Are you excited? :) Haha I bet you're freaking out that you missed it. I bet your Spanish is better than you think it is now. I was thinking of you Tuesday and Wednesday night this week. Tuesday night at our lesson they gave us a huge glass of apple juice. Then Wednesday night at our dinner appointment we had pork chops with apple sauce on top. It was home-made apple sauce. You would have loved it. Keep talking to everyone. That's what we are doing and it's been awesome. It will also probably really help your Spanish!
I love you all so much. I am grateful to be a part of such an amazing work. I love being a missionary. I know that this Church is true and I want all of Melbourne to know it. 

Love y'all heaps!

Sister Baker