Monday, October 6, 2014

His plan was for me to serve a mission... I have met some of the most amazing people in Australia! I feel so blessed... 10/6/14

Melbourne Mission Moments 10/06/14

I can't even begin to tell you how surreal it feels to be here at the end of my mission. It still hasn't hit me yet. I can't believe it has been 18 months. My last full week of missionary service couldn't have been better. It wasn't because we had huge success or had any huge miracles happen. But it was because I felt such a love for the work and the people. We didn't achieve a lot of our goals and we had more appointments fall through than I think we ever have. But, we kept working. I was so determined to not let Satan get to me and make me feel discouraged. I think that I appreciated every moment of this week more than ever. I felt the guidance of the spirit as we knew exactly where to go or what to do. It has been such a good week.

On Monday I found a quote by Spencer W. Kimball. It says, "To be a righteous woman during the winding up scenes on this Earth, before the second coming of our Savior, is an especially noble calling... She has been placed here to help enrich, to protect, and to guard the home--which is society's basic and most noble institution." As I read this, I thought about how grateful I am to know that I am a daughter of my Heavenly Father. Also an overwhelming feeling of gratitude for being a sister missionary. Sisters can work miracles. I don't say that to boast but because I know that it is true. We are able to get into hearts and homes that Elders never would be able to. I've seen people open up to us and completely change their lives.

Tuesday we were at MLC all day. I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to attend MLC during my mission. I always feel so uplifted and feel such strength from being around so many incredible missionaries. As I looked around the room, I realized that it was a room full of people who are true friends. I am so grateful to have served with such amazing missionaries who I know will be friends forever--whether we stay in close contact or not. A few highlights from MLC:
  • You have to make deposits in another person's emotional bank account in order to have credibility with them.
  • We have to turn every conversation into a gospel conversation.
  • It is impossible to overstate the influence of the Book of Mormon in conversion.
  • The single most important thing a missionary can do is to let go of who he thinks he is and become who he really is.
  • If missionaries will become master planners, they will baptize twice as many people because Heavenly Father will trust them with people.
At the end of MLC, they had the four missionaries who are leaving this transfer bear their testimonies. Man, it's hard to talk about your mission and not get emotional. When we left MLC we had to drive to the airport to drop off the Tassie STLs. It's a good thing we left early to get them to the airport because our GPS went crazy and we were going who knows where! But we got them there in time!

Wednesday morning we were able to see J and N. That afternoon we had district finding. I was with Sister A knocking on some doors. In an hour and a half, we got invited inside three times! After that we had a lesson with K and B and taught them the Plan of Salvation. That evening before dinner, we stopped by a less-active's home. She was so happy to have us there. She wants her 3 sons to be baptized! We're not sure if the father will allow them to but we're going to start teaching the boys, nonetheless. We invited them to come to church on Sunday and they actually came! 

Thursday morning as I was reading 1 Nephi 4:6 about Nephi saying he was led by the spirit, not knowing before what he was supposed to do, I realized that has been a theme of my whole mission. We plan every night and I never feel an overwhelming sense of where to go or what to do, but thoughts and ideas come to mind and we write them down. Usually I can't distinguish whether it's my thoughts or the spirit. It's not until the next day that we go out and do that I can see that it was heavenly inspiration coming as we planned the night before.

After studies we had our zone meeting. I've been in such a great zone these last few transfers! I was able to give a "departing testimony" again and I just cried again. Then the closing song was "God be With You Till We Meet Again." Man did that get the waterworks going. Those are the moments that it has felt real that my mission is coming to an end. We had dinner with Aunty and Uncle K that night. I love them so much. I have met some of the most amazing people in Australia! I feel so blessed.


Last dinner with Aunty and Uncle K

Friday morning we got permission to go into the city and go to the Victoria Markets. We went with a couple of YSA in our stake, B and B. They just got engaged last week which is so cute! But it was so fun to go with them! And the markets were so fun! I got some really cool stuff that I'm excited to show you! After we got back, we picked up one of the Laurels and went to have a lesson with K and B. We taught the 10 commandments which was good. K is a bit hesitant about getting baptized. I think that she's mostly nervous, so we're slowly helping her along. That evening the L family took us to dinner. They are the most beautiful Samoan family that I love so much!

Saturday morning as I prayed to start my personal studies, I prayed to know what I could do to make the most of my last full day of missionary work. (I knew that Sunday would be crazy with church and meetings and things so Saturday would be our last full day.) I opened up the Ensign and read the perfect talk by President Utchdorf. A few things that stuck out to me:
  • "Discipleship is the pursuit of holiness and happiness. It is the path to our best and happiest self."
  • "External circumstances don't really matter or determine our happiness. We do matter. We determine our happiness. You and I are in charge of our own happiness."
  • "It's not a race, it's a journey. Enjoy the moment."
  • "Sometimes in life we become so focused on the finish line that we fail to find joy in the journey."
  • "Let us resolve to be happy, regardless of our circumstances."
It was exactly what I needed that morning. As I left the flat, I was determined to be happy and to really enjoy the day. And I did. It was such a good day! We were able to teach several lessons in the morning and in the afternoon we did a lot of finding. We met so many people who wanted to have us back. Each person we talked to just seemed so prepared. And I loved every moment of it. That evening we went to the chapel to watch the General Women's Broadcast which was a perfect way to end the day. I felt such a love for the temple throughout the meeting. I am so grateful to live in Utah where we have temples so accessible. I felt strongly that I need to make sure I go to the temple weekly when I am at home. Tomorrow morning I have the opportunity to attend the Melbourne Temple one last time which I am really looking forward to!

My last Sunday was one of the best. When we arrived to the chapel, Brother and Sister B from Churchill Park were there. They had come to a baby blessing in the ward the meets before us. It was so good to see them! They ended up staying for our Sacrament meeting so they could hear my testimony which was so nice of them. Sister B has been my second mum in Australia. She has so much love to give and I so enjoyed being able to see them! The K family also surprised me and came to the ward. Oh how I love them. They are such a special family. I have no doubt that they are part of the reason I needed to come to Melbourne. D just cried and cried when she hugged me. They are doing so well. They are taking the temple prep class. I can't wait for the day that their family gets sealed in the temple. I want to be there. We also had 3 investigators come to church and several less-actives that we had invited! The testimony meeting was such a good one. It was such a wonderful day. After church we spent time visiting people who have meant so much to me in this ward. I am so grateful to have Tarneit as my last area. The people here are so loving. I have been so blessed.
 
The K family -- I love this family so much!

Me and my companion with Tarneit ward members!

I can't believe my mission is coming to an end. It has been the best 18 months of my life. I am so grateful for this exact day, 2 years ago when President Monson announced the age change for missionaries. I will never forget that day. It changed my life. The mission has been the hardest thing I have ever done, but also the most rewarding. I have met so many incredible people and have had so many amazing experiences. I have changed. I have become so converted to this gospel. Of all the things that I have learned there are a few that particularly stand out:
  • Heavenly Father is really our Father. He knows us and He LOVES us. I have felt that love in such significant and powerful ways. I know that He hears and answers my prayers. I have come to understand His love just a little bit better as I have looked into the eyes of complete strangers and felt sincere love for them.
  • Change IS possible. And it is possible through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Before the mission I knew what the Atonement was but now I know what it feels like. Anyone can change. I have seen it in myself and in others.
  • My plans are always plan B. Heavenly Father's plans are so much greater than my own. His plan was for me to serve a mission. And I'm so grateful that I was able to realize that was his plan for me.
  • The Book of Mormon is true. I have read it more on my mission than I have in my entire life. I LOVE that book. I know that it is true because I have prayed and gained that knowledge for myself.
There are so many other things that I have learned but I would never have time to share all of them. I can't say enough how grateful I am for the mission. It's so bittersweet that it is coming to an end. But, I know that Heavenly Father still has plans for me. There are things for me to do and become that I can look forward to.

Thank you for all the love and support that you have given to me. I never could have done it without you. It means so much to know that I have a wonderful family at home that supports me and backs me up 100%. I can't wait to see you all in a few days. It doesn't feel real.

Love you all heaps and heaps and heaps!

Sister Baker xxx

Friday, October 3, 2014

I feel like I have been led to such a promised land here in Australia. I have come to LOVE it here. It will always be my second home. - 9/29/14

Melbourne Mission Moments 

Well, it's the beginning of the end. I can't believe that I'm starting my last week in the mission field. It all seems so surreal. Honestly, it hasn't really hit me yet that I am going to be coming home so soon. I'm a little bit afraid for when it does hit.

We had a bit of a crazy week this week between being out of our area helping our sisters and being a bit under-the-weather but overall it was a really good week! Last Monday after we emailed we ran into a member in the shopping center who treated us to lunch. We ate at a place called bing boy. It's apparently "urban Asian street food." It was so yummy! You'll have to look it up because I can't really describe what it is. When we finished, we went home and our plan was to just relax. Haha, but then we decided to go on a run instead. Haha are we crazy?! But it was good! After that I started cleaning a few things in the flat. Man, when I start cleaning, I don't want to stop. I love having a clean, organized house! Monday night we tried to see a few people on the ward list that we didn't know but we didn't catch very many people at home and the houses that they were home, they didn't really want us there. It's sad. I think sometimes people have the idea that if missionaries show up on their doorstep, we are there to force them back to church when that's not it at all. We are there to love them and help them find their testimonies again. It wouldn't do anyone any good for us to force them to church. They need to decide on their own that it is something that they want.

Tuesday morning we had district meeting at the chapel. When we arrived at the chapel, all the youth in the stake were there in their pioneer clothes getting ready to leave on trek. I wanted to go with them! I was remembering my experience on trek and how much I loved it. I think trek had more impact on me than all the other activities or conferences that I did while in my youth. Our district meeting was really good. After district meeting, we all had lunch together. A member had dropped off chicken and rolls and drinks for all 18 of us that meet at the chapel. So nice of them! That afternoon, we had a lesson with a Filipino woman. She goes to a Pentecostal church and was pretty hesitant about accepting the Book of Mormon, however she did agree to read it and have us back again this week. After that we did some finding and stopped by to see a member who is about to have a baby to see if we could help her or serve her in any way. After our dinner appointment that evening, we left to drive to Deer Park to do exchanges with the Burnside Sisters, Sister R and Sister B. Sister B has only been out for 5 weeks but she is lucky to have Sister R as a trainer. Sister R in the best!

I got to spend all day on Wednesday with Sister R. In the morning, we had to drive the Burnside sisters to the other side of the city because a new sister arrived from Tonga and they are putting her in a trio with those Sisters. I don't know if it was school holidays or what but the traffic was pretty crazy so it took us nearly 3.5 hours. When we got back, we did a lot of finding in their area. We found one man named F! He was so amazing. When I met him, I felt an instant connection. It was one of those moments that you can really picture someone as what they can become. I saw him as a future Bishop and leader in the church. He is so cool. He was born in Kenya then lived in Delaware for 12 years where he got a Master’s degree. Then he moved to Australia. He asked us where we study and when I told him BYU he was so excited--he couldn't stop saying what a good school it was and how much good he had heard about it. And the best part is that he was so keen to have the Sisters come back and to learn about the gospel. It was really cool!

We stayed at their flat again Wednesday night. After we studied Thursday morning, we headed back to our area. We had DLC for our zone and it was a really good meeting. We all feel that there has been a bit of a lack of motivation and enthusiasm for the work in the zone lately. We decided that one thing that would really help was if everyone just had a more positive attitude. Ever since that meeting, every time missionaries see each other they say, "Be positive!" It's been fun! That afternoon we went finding together as a whole district. We worked together for a little over an hour and it was hugely successful!

Friday we unfortunately spent most of the day at the flat. I was feeling really not well and Sister V also was feeling pretty sick. We tried to make the most of it by doing some planning and making lots of phone calls and stuff. We did go out that night and met with the new RS president in the ward to figure out which sisters need our visits.

Saturday morning we had a lesson with an Indian-Fijian woman named Visha. She is Hindu but has such a desire to learn from us. And she is so humble. It was a beautiful lesson. After that we went to visit the H family. D served her mission in Fiji so we got some tips from her on teaching Indian-Fijians. After that we were able to have a lesson with F! We haven't been able to see him for a long time because of his work schedule. He is so awesome though! We taught him the plan of salvation and he absolutely loved it. He kept commenting about how everything was fitting together and making sense. It was really cool!  That night we had dinner with our ward mission leader's family. Then we were able to go see a recent convert named M. He was baptized in another ward last month but just moved into our ward. He is so awesome. He is from Iran and converted from being Muslim. My heart broke as he explained that he will never be able to go home or see his family again or else he will be killed. It honestly broke my heart. It is cool to see the sacrifices that he is willing to make for the gospel. Makes me realize how blessed I am to have a family who is in the gospel and embraces it as I do.

On another note-- Saturday was the AFL grand finale. The Hawthorn Hawks won for the second year in a row! It's pretty cool because that is the team I chose when I first got to Australia. Their colors are brown and gold :) (Go Darts!)

Sunday we expected to have several investigators at church. We thought that F would for sure be there because we had a member who was picking him up and everything but he didn't ever show up. We haven't been able to get a hold of him so we don't know what happened. We haven't been able to get a hold of K all week but last night she texted and asked if we were free. We were because an appointment fell through so we were able to go teach both K and her boyfriend. They both want to be baptized which is so awesome! We have another lesson with them on Wednesday this week!

Saturday was my 18 month mark and I finished reading the Book of Mormon for the fourth time on the mission that day. I love the book of Mormon so much. I learn so much from it and I genuinely look forward to reading it every day. A few things that stuck out to me this week:

·         Ether 6:8- sometimes I feel like the storms of life are relentless but I've come to realize that they are simply pushing me toward my "promised land." The storms are helping me to become what Heavenly Father wants/needs me to be.
·         1 Nephi 2:15- what it means to have humility and trust in the Lord. It talks of them [Lehi and his family] leaving all their riches, they were probably living a pretty comfortable life in Jerusalem but Lehi trusted the Lord and left it all and is now living in a tent.
·         1 Nephi 2:19-20- I feel like I have been led to such a promised land here in Australia. I have come to LOVE it here. It will always be my second home.

I can't begin to describe how much I love being a missionary. I am excited for this coming week, to work harder than ever and see the miracles. I may not be here to see people get baptized or come to church or those things but that's okay. I don't have to be the finisher. I can be a starter. I want to get a lot of great things started here in Tarneit this week. I know there are people who we can find who are prepared. We am going to find them this week, I know it.

Love you all heaps and heaps!
Sister Baker

Monday, September 22, 2014

It's not downhill from here. It's onward and upward. - 9/22/14

Melbourne Mission Moments 

If this email doesn't make sense, it's because all my thoughts just feel like they've become a huge mumbo-jumbo. So much happens in so little time that it's hard to put it into anything coherent.

Monday we had our zone p-day which was really fun. We just all played games at the chapel. This zone is really fun. Everyone just looks out for each other. It really feels like a family. That night we got to see K. We taught her about how to pray and about God's love for us. She really opened up to us about questions that she's had and how she feels when she comes to church and things. She's so cute. Unfortunately, she's a typical teenager and she gets caught up in friends and stuff sometimes. But I know that she is going to get baptized. Hopefully before I leave, but if not, that's okay. Just as long as she gets baptized.

After DLC in Deer Park
Tuesday morning we had district meeting. After our meeting finished, we went over to a member's home for lunch. Small world--as we were talking I found out that her son and his wife are in Churchill Park ward! My memories went straight back to Churchill park-- all those people that I love so much. Love them! When we left that member's home, we had to stop to get petrol. When we went inside to pay, there was an young Indian man named A working there. Right when we walked in, he said, "Do you work for the church?" He explained that he was a Christian and he wanted to find a church here to go to. It took me off-guard a little bit. It's usually us approaching other people, not them approaching us. It was really cool though! He is going to Adelaide for a few weeks but we have an appointment with him for when he gets back. That evening we had dinner with Aunty and Uncle K. She made the yummiest Quinoa salad. It was so good! After that we drove to Point Cook for exchanges.

I got to spend Tuesday night and all day Wednesday with Sister A. I love working with her. It's so fun to have been so close throughout our whole missions. We had a really good day! We found the cutest girl named J with the cutest little girls! I love finding families!


Thursday morning we had to drive to Deer Park for DLC there. Such awesome missionaries. I love sitting in Council with them. After that, we drove back and Sister V was feeling really sick so we had to be inside for a while and she slept. I was able to just read and study and reflect. That night, we had dinner with a Tongan family in our ward. I will have to take pictures with them and send them home. They are all so big! SO TALL! Their son that is 16 looks like he's 25. The 11 year old looks like she's 17. They make me feel so small. I will get pictures with them that I can send home.

Friday we were on exchanges with the Werribee sisters. I got to spend the whole day with Sister A in her area. They don't have a car so we got to use Public transport. I haven't been on public transport since before I went to Tassie so that was fun! We had a lesson with their investigator K and we were able to set a baptism date with her. We had dinner that night with the C family in their ward. The C's are a family from Utah. They have been here for two months and will be here for a year in total. Bro. C is a professor at Utah State and is here doing research or something. They are so cute! So Utahan. I loved being in their home so much! Reminded me of home!

Saturday morning we went out and did some finding. Then we had a lesson with an Indian woman named P. The lesson went really well but she just kept telling us, "I can't commit to anything. I won't commit." Which is sad. She's such a lovely woman. Hopefully we helped prepare her heart a little bit more so that she can be ready the next time she meets missionaries. Saturday afternoon we headed over to the chapel for the Stake Relief Society conference. It was really good! I received so much revelation during it. And it was not so much from what was said but from the things I felt. I love those moments when the Spirit is really able to teach me. One thing in particular stood out to me. I feel like I've been feeling like, "Uhh... my mission is ending. This has been the high point of my life and when I go home, it's all going to go downhill from here." Obviously that's not true, but that's kind of how I was feeling. So resistant to the idea of coming home and not being a missionary anymore. But that attitude changed during the meeting. I am so grateful to have had this opportunity to serve a mission. Surely it has been the best experience of my entire life up until this point. Although I'm sad that my time will draw to a close soon, I AM looking forward to the next stage of life. I'm excited to be a wife and a mother and to serve in church callings, etc. It's not downhill from here. It's onward and upward. The mission is a springboard for the rest of my life.

Sunday morning we picked up N, one of the Laurels, and we went tracting. It was a really good morning and we found lots of people at home with their families which was awesome! Church was really good. Unfortunately, our investigators didn't show up. That has been the hardest part of my entire mission--getting people to church. But that's okay. After church, the Elders had a baptism. It was a young Aussie couple. The baptism was beautiful and there were lots of members there to support them. After the baptism, a member approached us and asked if the elders had double checked the boundaries. We went and checked and it turns out that the couple lives in the other ward by about two streets! Oh no! Now the elders have to somehow explain it to them! So sad!

So last night after we got home, we gathered up all of our stuff and drove to the Melton flat. All the sisters on the west side came and we all slept on the floor there. (There were twelve of us in total.) This morning we got up at 4:45 am and headed out to Bacchas Marsh where we sat on a hill and watched the sunrise together. First sunrise I've seen in Australia. After that we had a testimony meeting with all the sisters. It was such a perfect morning. I love these sisters so much. I am so grateful to be not only a missionary, but a sister missionary.
 
Sisters Sunrise

I was studying from Elder Bednar about conversion and testimony this week. I love a few of his thoughts. "Testimony is the beginning of and a prerequisite to continuing conversion. Testimony is a point of departure; it is not an ultimate destination. Strong testimony is the foundation upon which conversion is established." Before the mission, I felt that I had a testimony. But now, during my mission, I have begun to experience true conversion. I love this gospel so much. It is the most important thing in my entire life.

Love y'all heaps!


Sister Baker xxx

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

I love reading about the Savior... I feel so blessed to be able to wear His name on my tag every day and be a representative of Him. - 9/15/14

Melbourne Mission Moments 

I don't know what has happened to me but I just cry all the time lately. When I'm reading emails, when I teach lessons, when I pray, when I study. Suddenly I'm an emotional roller coaster. Gotta love those Twitchell genes...

BUT, that being said, I've been so blessed! Sister V and I are having such an amazing transfer! We have been so blessed and we see miracles every single day. I'm so grateful to have Sister V as my companion for this last transfer. She is exactly what I prayed for. She wants to work hard and be obedient and she helps me to do more and to be better.

On Monday "Auntie and Uncle K" took us to the Werribee Open Range Zoo. It was so fun! I love that couple so much. We saw so many animals, especially African animals. Sister V felt like she was back at home. It was such a fun p-day and so nice of them to take us there!
Entrance to Werribee Open Range Zoo






A great P-day with Auntie K
After p-day we went to have a lesson with an Indian family who are Sikh. They were about to leave so it was a short lesson but they asked us to come back on Friday. After that we went and had dinner with a family in the ward. I love the opportunity it was been my whole mission to be in members' homes. There's something special about being with a family who is living the gospel. After our dinner, we went and visited a less-active sister. She had been having a hard day and it was perfect timing for us to be there.

Tuesday morning we had district meeting. After our meeting we all went to get lunch together. After that Sis V went to a few appointments before driving out to Melton to do exchanges with the sisters there. Sister V stayed and worked in their area and I brought Sister F back to our area with me. Sister F is from Germany and she is such a good missionary! I loved spending the time with her! When we first came back to our area, we went tracting for about an hour. Exchanges bring miracles. Let me tell ya, every time we are on exchanges we meet the most amazing people or have the most amazing lessons. In the hour that we went tracting, we met 5 people who were willing to have us come back! One was from Indonesia. Right before we got there, she had been crying. She is recently divorced and is having a hard time. We were able to bear testimony of the strength and healing that comes through the atonement of Jesus Christ. The spirit was so strong. I'm so excited to see her again this week. We also met a guy named A. He was telling us that he was really busy with work and he is part of a band and there probably wouldn't be a time that we could come back. We asked if we could sing him a song. We sang I Am a Child of God and as we sang, he started to cry. He was so touched. I love the power of music.

Wednesday was great for Sister F and me as well. We were able to visit a less active in the morning and have a wonderful lesson with her. We also had a lesson with an Indian woman and we did some good finding. That afternoon we drove back to Melton to switch back. When we got back to our area, Sis V and I went to teach the girl that got baptized my first weekend in Tarneit. We had dinner with a wonderful family in the ward. They offered to take me and Sister V to Victoria Markets in the city before I go home. Apparently Victoria Markets has tons of souvenir stuff for really cheap. I'm excited to go there!
Exchanges

Sister F and I decorated the wall in my flat
Thursday afternoon we had interviews with President Maxwell. I love President so much. He had me role play with him in the interview which was really good. As I taught him about God being our loving Heavenly Father, I was overwhelmed with the feeling of love that I had. I KNOW that God is our Father and that He knows and loves us so much. President said so many things that were so kind in my interview. He got teary when he talked about me going home which naturally made me cry. Man, I will miss President and Sister Maxwell so much. After our interviews, we met with the Assistants to talk about the Sisters and how we can better help them. I felt such trust and respect from the Assistants which made me feel really validated. Sometimes I doubt myself and my abilities so it always feels good to feel the trust of others. That evening we went to J's to have a lesson and dinner with her family. J is slowly progressing. Very slowly though. But I know that she'll get there. Just a side note--we had a vegetarian lasagna for dinner and holy moly it was so good! There was pumpkin and zucchini and broccoli in it and it was just so yum! After dinner, we drove to Deer Park to go on exchanges with the Hillside sisters. Sister V stayed there and I brought Sister T back to our area. We didn't get back until it was time to make plans and go to bed.

More Exchanges
Friday with Sister T was great! She finishes her mission the same time as me and I prayed going into the exchange that I would be able to help her feel the spirit and really help her to be able to have a strong finish to her mission. And the words came. As we were having companionship study, the perfect things to tell her came to mind. I could tell that she was really touched and I feel like it will carry her through the next three weeks. We were able to see several less actives in the morning. Then we went to see a part-member couple. They are Tongan and Sister T is Tongan so they got on really well. O, the husband, is not a member. When Sister T asked him if he had been baptized he said, "Not yet. Maybe soon though." Uhh... WHAT?!  I had no idea that he felt that close to being ready to be baptized. It was amazing. We're going to really start focusing on him and teach him the lessons so that he can get baptized sometime this year. Sister T and I were also blessed while we were finding. We only knocked on 4 doors and we were invited inside at two of them! We had a lesson right before dinner with the Sikh Indian family that we saw earlier in the week. We taught about prayer and the spirit was strong. We had dinner with a couple in the ward that evening. He has cancer but he is so positive and optimistic and trusting in the Lord's plan. It was inspiring. After that we drove back to Deer Park to switch back.

Sunny days are the best!
Saturday morning Sister V and I, as well as some of the Elders, spent the whole morning helping  a recent convert move. It was a beautiful day and the sun was out and it felt good to be serving. K's non-member sister has recently moved down from New Zealand and I think we made a really good impression on her. Hopefully we can start teaching her soon! After we got back to the flat to change, our zone leaders dropped off a new phone for us! It was so hard to be without a phone for so long and I am so grateful to have one again! That afternoon we picked up one of the Laurels and went to visit K. K is the daughter of a recent convert. I have been praying really hard to know who can be baptized this transfer and I felt that K could be. We had a really good lesson with K and we invited her to be baptized on September 27th! She is praying about it. We have a lesson with her tonight so hopefully that goes well!

Sunday was a really good day. I got a last minute speaking assignment on Saturday so I got to speak in Sacrament meeting. After church, we had some appointments fall through. We really weren't sure what to do. I was feeling frustrated because I didn't feel like I was getting any guidance from the spirit. Finally we decided that we would go see if there were people outside at a nearby park. There were no people in the park so we decided to knock on a few doors.  At the third house, we met a beautiful family! We met the dad, H, and his three children. They were so beautiful. We have a return appointment with them on Thursday. I have such a good feeling about them. I can see them in white.

I've been reading in 3 Nephi and in Mark this week. I love reading about the Savior. I am trying so hard to be more like Him every day. He is my perfect example. I feel so blessed to be able to wear His name on my tag every day and be a representative of Him.

God is so good to me. I love being a missionary. I love it.

Love y'all heaps!

Sister Baker xxx

Thursday, September 11, 2014

"We have the responsibility to see individuals not as they are but rather as they can become." - 9/8/14

Melbourne Mission Moments 09/08/14

Holy cow time flies. I feel like so much is happening I don't even know where to start each week when I email home.
 
They have Orange Leaf frozen yogurt in Australia! CRAZY!
Monday after our P-day finished we went to see a recent convert in the ward. We had FHE with her and her family. After that we went to see a part member family. We had a good lesson with them and really got to know them better. When we went to leave their house, we realized that our phone was missing. We retraced our steps and looked everywhere but our phone was gone. We think that it fell on the ground when we got out of the car and that someone stole it. So we've been without a phone for a whole week now. It makes it a bit difficult to do missionary work but it's been alright.

Tuesday morning we had a really good zone meeting. Our zone leaders are so good. We were talking a lot about true conversion. I love Mosiah 5:2. I feel like it spells out exactly what true conversion is. The spirit is so strong in my mission. I found myself literally in tears. I think everything was just hitting me. I was thinking about how much change and conversion I have experienced during the mission. I am so grateful for that. And I love that I still have time to change more. Tuesday evening we went to visit J. She was gone to Sydney last week and she was excited to show us that she got a brand new set of scriptures while she was there. Her cousin that is a member got them for her! She was so excited about them and said, "show me how to use these!" J is so awesome. She is so prepared. Unfortunately she is really busy so it's hard to have lessons with her but I know that she will be baptized. Maybe not while I'm here, but she will.

Wednesday morning we went to see a less-active named L. She was so sweet. That afternoon we went to have another lesson with M and S. It was really sad. They have been reading a lot of stuff on the internet and ran across some anti-Mormon stuff. Unfortunately it has made their hearts completely closed. They didn't want to hear a lot of what we said. They kept asking us for a list of all of Joseph Smith's wives and why he married them, etc. So yeah, we had to drop them and that was sad.

Thursday morning we drove to Deer Park for DLC out there. On our way back, our GPS took us a different way than we'd come. We were just driving down the road and then suddenly we saw a huge field full of these bright yellow flowers. It was so beautiful! I LOVED it. We stopped and took pictures and just soaked it in. Things like that in nature just always remind me how much Heavenly Father loves me. That afternoon while we were knocking on doors, we met S J and N. They invited us in and we began to teach them. They are Sikh but they were so interested in the Book of Mormon! We were able to go back on Friday and give them a Book of Mormon in Hindi and we have a lesson with them this week! That evening we had dinner with the Ks in our ward. We call them auntie and uncle and they are so sweet. She made the BEST pumpkin soup. I'm going to get her recipe and make it for all of you at home!



Friday we did a lot of finding and we saw miracles. We have been doing an hour of fresh finding every day and the miracles are flowing! That night we went to see one of the YSA open her mission call! She's going to Sydney South!

Saturday one of the Laurels in our ward came out with us all day which was awesome. I wish that I could have gone out with the Sister missionaries before my mission! We saw so many miracles! While we were tracting, we unknowingly knocked on a member's door. She was in the middle of trying to assemble this thing and we were able to help her with it! We also had a really good lesson with a less-active. We also started teaching some Indian guys named V, P and J. We showed them the Finding Faith in Christ DVD and the spirit was so strong. We also saw some part-member families that evening and we saw P and F. F has been reading the Book of Mormon every night! We have another lesson with them Saturday which I'm really looking forward to!

Sunday was really good. The morning we spent going around inviting EVERYONE to church. We had a goal of having 3 investigators there and we did everything that we could to get them there. Unfortunately we only had one there. It would be really easy to get discouraged that we didn't achieve our goal but I wasn't. I've really learned that as long as we do everything in our power, Heavenly Father is pleased with us.

We had such a good week. Our numbers were better than I've had my whole mission but even better than the numbers are the people and names behind those numbers. I wish I had time to tell you about all of them. Heavenly Father has been so good to us! I'm so grateful to have Sister V as my companion. She wants to work hard and we push each other to be better!

I've really been studying hard this week, trying to learn everything that I can. I've found several scriptures this week about doing this work with unwearied diligence. That's exactly what I want to do. The mission is such an amazing opportunity. Like I was saying before, I'm so grateful for the change that has taken place in me. I've become so much more than I was 18 months ago. Satan has also been working really hard on me this week. I've had to work hard to push him out. He makes me try to feel like I can't change, like I will never improve or be better. President Monson has said, "We have the responsibility to see individuals not as they are but rather as they can become." I am really trying to apply that with myself--trying to see what I can become. I am so grateful for the atonement of Jesus Christ that makes change possible. I love being a missionary. Love it, love it.

Love y'all heaps!

Sister Baker xxx

Monday, September 1, 2014

I have seen so many miracles throughout my mission. Have miracles ceased... Nay! - 09/01/14

Melbourne Mission Moments
I can't believe it's September 2014 and I've been out for 17 months now. It has gone so incredibly fast. As I've started my last transfer this week, I've been doing a lot of reflecting on where I've come and who I've become over the past 17 months. I have truly been changed. The mission has been my ultimate refiner’s fire, shaping me into what my Heavenly Father wants and needs me to be. I'm so grateful for the time that I have left. There's still more changing that I want to do. I feel like it's time to really turn up the heat and do everything that I can during this time. A mission is an experience unlike anything else and I don't want to waste a single second that I have left. That being said, it was a bit of a slow week because both me and my companion got sick which forced us to slow down a bit. However, Heavenly Father made it up to us with the time we had to spend taking care of ourselves.

Monday was my last day with Sister W. We spent most of the day running errands, getting her final things packed, and saying a few final goodbyes. The members here are so wonderful and really loved Sister W. After our last appointment, we left to drive in to Wantirna to stay at the mission home for the night. I love President and Sister Maxwell so much. They are such wonderful people. When we got to the mission home, Sister W went straight to bed but I stayed up until about 12:30 helping Sister Maxwell in the kitchen with some food that she was preparing for the following day. I love spending time with Sister Maxwell. In many ways she reminds me of mom.
My last day with Sister W

Tuesday morning we got up early and got ready then went to the temple with all of the departing missionaries and their companions. There were about 16 missionaries leaving so it was a very full session. We saw the third new temple film which was really good. I find that each film highlights different things and I learned so much. More than anything I was overwhelmed by the outpouring of Heavenly Father's love that I felt. I love that I always feel that when I am in the temple. I felt reassured that Heavenly Father loves me and is proud of me and that this is where he wants me at this time. It was really special to be in the Celestial room with so many missionaries that I love so much. As I hugged Sister R, we both just cried. I love that girl so much. I know that we needed to meet each other. She has impacted my life for good and I will be forever grateful for her influence and friendship. 

With my new companion
After the temple session we had our transfer meeting. Because there were so many departing missionaries that needed to bear testimonies, the meeting went quite long but it was so good. My new companion is Sister V from South Africa! I love her! She's a new Sister Training Leader so after transfer meeting finished we had to go to the "train the leaders" meeting. After that we had to figure out who was going where, and how everyone was getting there. We ended up having to hook up a trailer to our car to put everyone's luggage in so we could fill the cars with bodies. Before we left, I said final goodbyes to the missionaries that were leaving. It was especially hard to say goodbye to Sister R, Sister H and Sister W (the sisters that were in the MTC with me). We had to drive all over our zone that night dropping off missionaries and luggage and by the time we finally got home, it was time to plan and go to bed.
 
I love these sisters from my original MTC group--
so hard to say goodbye.

Wednesday morning I woke up feeling really sick and I was in bed the entire day with a fever. I felt miserable. I was hot then cold then hot again. We had to cancel a lot of our appointments but luckily we were able to get a hold of everyone. I knew I had a fever but I didn't know how high it was until that night. About 6pm I finally found my thermometer and I was running a fever of 103 degrees (and that was with taking ibuprofen). When I saw how high it was, we called the Elders and they gave me a blessing and then we headed off to the doctor. The doctor gave me some antibiotics. I've had a bit of a cold the rest of the week but I am feeling much much better now! Sister V got the same thing so we both have been a bit under the weather. It's really going around-- Sister Maxwell was sick too and she said about 30 missionaries all had the same symptoms. Fun, huh?

Thursday we had district meeting in the morning. That afternoon we had a lesson with F from NZ. We taught him the Restoration and the spirit was so strong. We invited him to be baptized on September 20th and he accepted! We're having FHE with him at a member's tonight and we're really looking forward to that. After F, we went and saw K and had a good lesson about how much God loves us and why he gives us challenges and trials. Then we went and had dinner with a family in the ward who are straight from Samoa. I'm grateful for the members and their goodness. After dinner we went to Bishops so he could meet Sister V.

Friday morning we had to get up early and head to the mission home for MLC. I am so grateful for the opportunity I have to attend MLC. It is so uplifting and I always feel so blessed to be in a room with such wonderful Elders and Sisters. Just a few highlights of things I learned:
  • We should have an eternal love affair with learning of the life of Christ and trying to emulate Him.
  • It's better to be respected than to be liked
  • Great leaders are always asking "Who can I serve now?"
  • Spiritual weariness is a result of spiritual malnourishment
  • Help people to let Christ change their hearts.
  • God can use people like us.
Me and Sister S at MLC
By the time we finished MLC and traveled back through all of the traffic, it was about 7:45 pm. We went straight to the chapel for the ward RS activity. The theme was "When Life Gives You Lemons, Make Lemonade." It was really good! At the end they had all sorts of lemon desserts and treats which was fun!

Saturday we got to be involved with a mini-mission for one of the wards in our stake. I love being able to work with youth and have an influence on them. It was a really good day! We got to bring the sweetest young women out with us to work.
With the YW for the mini-mission
Sunday was so full of miracles. With everything that happened during the week, we didn't have time to do much finding during the week so we went out expecting to see miracles before church! We also got to do a bit of finding after church and we ended up with a total of 10 new contacts and 5 new investigators in one day! Numbers wise, it was the best day of my entire mission. Heavenly Father guided us to the very area in which we needed to tract and put people in our path who were prepared to accept the gospel! It was so awesome.

I am grateful for the way that Heavenly Father blesses us when we do all that we can! I have seen so many miracles throughout my mission. Have miracles ceased... Nay! I am so grateful for the time that I have left to continue to do the Lord's work. I am so grateful to have Sister V as my final companion. She loves the work as much as I do and her faith inspires me. I know that we are going to continue to see big miracles this transfer!

Love y'all heaps!
Sister Baker xxx

P.S.

The weather this past week has been AMAZING! 

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

I can hardly believe I'm starting my last transfer! Time has gone so fast! - 08/25/14

Melbourne Mission Moments 08/25/14

Wow. Time flies so much! I feel like I was emailing just two days ago! I don't even know what happened this week but I'll try to fill you all in.

At Sister's P-Day

Monday we had our Sister's p-day at the mission office. It was so fun to see all the sisters. We all tie-dyed T shirts and played games and just enjoyed the sisters’ company. It is Sister Maxwell's birthday this week so we had a couple of members in our ward that have a cake business bake a cake and we surprised her with it and everyone sang to her. The cake was amazing and Sister Maxwell was so surprised! We had to drive through the city on the way home and drop off the sisters there. By the time we got back to our area, we just had time to go to our appointment for that night. We went to a young couple’s home who got sealed about 2 years ago. They are so sweet! They LOVE having the missionaries in their home and we love being with them.




Tuesday morning we had our last district meeting of the transfer. After that Sister W and I went to have lunch with a young mum in the ward. After our lunch with her we went to see a less-active man who we found last week named D. D hasn't been to church since he was 14 but we were able to have a really good lesson with him and his daughter. I could really tell that somewhere deep down, he still had a spark of testimony. I'm looking forward to working with him to rekindle that fire!
 
With our District
With our Zone Leaders

Wednesday we had lunch with "Aunty and Uncle K." They are the sweetest couple in the world. After lunch we were talking about Preach My Gospel with them and it was cool to see Aunty K's face light up as we explained that she could study it as well. She had thought it was only for full-time missionaries. I think that a lot of people think that. Preach My Gospel is truly a tool for all of us! There is so much good that we can learn as we study it. If you're not studying Preach My Gospel on a regular basis, please start now!! That afternoon we picked up Sister L and we went out to visit some people. We saw K T and had a lesson about the temple. The spirit was so strong. K expressed her desires to make it to the temple this year to be sealed as a family. As I bore testimony of the sealing power and of eternal families, I got a little choked up. I am so so grateful that my family has been sealed in the temple! And there is nothing that I want more than to marry in the temple myself. That evening we had dinner with another family. Brother K used to be a chef so dinner was amazing! After dinner we had our weekly coordination meeting with Brother S, our ward mission leader. I know I've said it basically every week but he is so awesome!

Thursday morning we had to drive to Deer Park for District Leader Council( DLC) with the Zone Leaders and District Leaders there. Then we came back and had DLC with our zone leaders and district leaders. After our meetings finished, we met Sister N for lunch. After lunch we had to get our weekly planning done. We did some finding before our dinner because we really wanted to find a new investigator that day but we were unsuccessful. After dinner, we only had about 45 minutes. We decided to try a name on the ward list, hoping to find a part-member family. We knocked on the door and a man named P answered. He explained that they had recently moved into the home and the people we were looking for had moved out. We started talking with him and he is really prepared! We were able to have a short lesson at the door and we have a return appointment for this week! It was one of those "last house" stories!
 
Wearing our Tie-Dyed shirts from Sister's P-Day
Because we knew that our weekend would be pretty busy and we didn't want to have to be stressed out to find new investigators on Sunday we decided to make Friday a finding day! We went out in the morning and we saw miracles! We were able to find two new investigators before lunch! One was named F. He's from NZ and right off the bat, he asked if we had a church in the area that he could come to! He is so prepared! As we were talking with him, I could absolutely picture him in white! I'm looking forward to seeing him on Wednesday! We had lunch that afternoon with the H's and then we did service for a few hours for Sister H. She was getting ready for a house inspection so we pulled tons of weeds in her yard. After service, we went out to see if we could find one more new investigator. We did some tracting and we met some good people but no one that could become a new investigator. We left to go back to our car a little discouraged that we hadn't reached our goal. When we got to the car, I noticed a girl at the bus stop across the road. I almost didn't talk to her because we needed to head to our dinner appointment but then the spirit corrected me. I walked over and started talking to her. She is from the Philippines and is so sweet! She has visited the church before with her Aunty in the Philippines who is a member! We were able to have a lesson right there at the bus stop and we will go back to see her this week! Again, one of those "last person" stories!

Saturday morning we were with the youth in our ward doing a service project. That afternoon we had a lesson with P and her daughters. We taught them the restoration and it went so well! The little girls especially loved it! At the end one said, "Can you come over every Saturday?!" It was so cute! And it turns out they are already friends with some members in our ward! Saturday night some members put on a surprise farewell party for Sister W. It was really sweet of them and I think Sister W really really appreciated it!

Sunday morning we had breakfast with our ward mission leader and his family. After that we went to see a part-member family before church. Church was really good! We had several investigators come and a lot of less-actives which was really good! After church, we basically spent the time visiting people so Sister W can say goodbye.
 
With our ward mission leader's family


Me and Sister W 
Sunday Florals
I am really looking forward to this next six weeks! I can hardly believe I'm starting my last transfer! Time has gone so fast! I am so grateful that I get to spend it in Tarneit! I can't wait to find out who my companion is tomorrow! 

I love you all so so much!

Love y'all heaps!
Sister Baker xxx


Enjoy BYU football this weekend!!!! Go cougs!!!

Friday, August 22, 2014

I have so much love for this work and I never want it to end. - 8/18/14

Melbourne Mission Moments - 08/18/14

Man. Can someone please do a Google search for me and figure out how to stop time. I hate how fast the time is going. I have so much love for this work and I never want it to end. Seeing pictures today of Annie at home made it a little bit more real for me how close the end is getting. I don't know why people get trunky. If anything, knowing that my time is running down makes me want to work harder, to really use every second that I have.

Monday was a pretty typical P-day, just getting our emails and shopping and things done. That evening we went to have dinner and family home evening with a part-member family in the ward. The father is a recent convert and his daughters are not yet members. It was a really good night and the Family Home Evening was really good. K is 15 and she has been taught most of the lessons. She came to church yesterday and we are looking at the possibility of her being baptized this weekend before Sister W goes home.
Just a bit of fun with wigs!

Tuesday we went on exchanges. I worked in our area with Sister M (from England). In the morning we had district meeting. After the meeting, our zone leaders asked me how I was doing. I felt a little overwhelmed and they offered to give me a blessing. In the blessing, I was told that the health challenges that I have been facing were of no coincidence. I was also told that Heavenly Father loves me and is proud of me for the way I have served Him. The blessing was perfect. I felt really at peace. After our meetings, we all went to lunch together. It was our last time to see Sister B before she went home. Saying goodbye to her was hard but I know that it is what she needs to do to get well again. After that Sister M and I went to buy some flowers to take to a woman in our ward. When we got there, she just cried. She told us that earlier that day she had been praying that Heavenly Father would help her feel loved. And we were an answer to her prayer. I always feel so grateful for Heavenly Father's trust when he uses me to answer someone else's prayer. After that we went to do some finding. We knocked on a door and a man answered and invited us in. M and S are a young Sri Lankan family who are Muslim. We were able to have a short lesson with them about eternal families and we set a return appointment for the following day. Then we went to go see one of the recent converts, K. After that we went to help the RS President clean the house of a sister who is moving out of the ward. The house was already empty so we were doing all of the heavy duty, get it ready for the new owners, cleaning. I love cleaning. Weird, huh? But honestly, it's kind of therapeutic. When we finished with that, we had to run to our meeting with our Ward Mission Leader. Sister M was amazed at our ward mission leader. He truly is amazing. He does so much good and truly fulfills his calling.

Wednesday morning I woke up with a terrible cold which is always really fun... especially as a missionary...NOT, but we made it a bit of a slow morning and I just pushed through it. We had our lesson with M and S and it went really well. We taught them the restoration and at one point M asked, "Why doesn't everyone believe this?!" Haha good question! After that we had a bit of free time and we decided that we would run in to the store to print a picture for a member. When we went in, we were stopped by B and his mum N. N is our investigator J's cousin and B is actually a member! It was crazy running in to them but it was such a blessing! After that we went and had dinner with a great Maori family in the ward. After that we drove to Deer Park to start exchanges with the sisters there. I got to spend the night there and work Thursday with Sister R. I love Sister R so much! We truly, truly LOVE our time together. She is one of the sisters that I was in the MTC with. And we come home together too!
Me and Sister R
Exchanges in Deer Park
Thursday we had such a good day. We started by going to teach one of their investigators named E. She's is Burmese. We taught her the Restoration and invited her to be baptized. It was such a good lesson and the spirit was strong. After that we had a lesson at the chapel with one of their recent converts and her non-member cousin. When we went to the chapel, Papa Stirling was there! He is the K's grandpa. Seeing him brought back so many memories of the Ks! He asked where I was serving and told me he was going to tell the Ks to come visit me. Cute huh? After lunch we were able to do some tracting. The weather was beautiful and we had some good success. At one door we met a lady from Chile. She didn't speak a lot of English but I told her the name of the church in Spanish and she was really excited. We sang I am a Child of God and she was in tears. It was really tender. After that we met up with the other sisters to exchange back and Sister W and I came back to Tarneit. We had dinner with J and her family and it was so good! After that we went to hear A open his mission call. He is going to the New Zealand Wellington Mission!

Friday was relatively uneventful—just a lot of following up with people and trying to do some finding. That night we drove to Deer Park to do exchanges with the other Sisters there. I was able to work with Sister K all of Saturday. We started the day by doing service for an old lady in their ward who is from Syria. After we got her whole garden weeded, she invited us in and made us pizza for lunch. It was the best pizza I have ever eaten! After that we went back to the flat to change and get ready to go to a baptism. The father of a family got baptized. His wife and kids are all members and he finally decided to be baptized as well. It was a beautiful baptism! J's partner, Henry, came because he is good friends with the brother who got baptized! After the baptism we went to do some finding. Then we switched back and Sister W and I drove to Melton to help the sisters there. They asked us to help them with a musical item for their ward talent show.
Me and Sister K - More exchanges in Deer Park
Love these Sisters! 
Getting my Tongan on!
Sunday morning we had ward council. We only had 3 new investigators so far for the week so we went out to do some finding. We were able to find 1 new investigator before church. After church, we quickly headed out to do some more finding before our dinner appointment. The very last house that we knocked on was a new investigator! It was a miracle! We had dinner with a member and then we went to J and H's! It was a really good night.

Today we have our Sister's P-day which should be really fun! I am feeling a lot better and just loving the work.

I love you all so much!

Love,

Sister Baker xx