Wednesday, February 19, 2014

I have learned patience this week... 2/17/14

Melbourne Mission Moments 
Well, if anything, I have learned patience this week. To be honest, I have felt more like a nurse/mom than a missionary this week.
My companion has had a bad cough for nearly two weeks now. By last Sunday night, it was sounding really bad and when Sister Maxwell heard it at the Area Presidency Broadcast, she told us that we should get her in to a doctor to find out what was wrong.

So Monday morning we went to the doctor. He told her that the cough was probably just due to allergies so he just told her to take a Zyrtec in hopes that it would get better. After the doctor we did our normal p-day errands and then went home so Sister B could rest because she really wasn't feeling very well. That night we had dinner with a family in the ward and we were able to have a short lesson with their two Chinese exchange students.

Tuesday morning we had district meeting. Poor Sister B was coughing the whole way through it. After our meeting we went to do some finding. It has been really smoky in our area because of the bush fires so it was making her cough worse (there's been a fire burning about 10-15 minutes away from us, I think it's been put out now but I'm not sure). Tuesday night we had dinner with a part-member family and then we were able to have a lesson with the father. He has been reading the Book of Mormon but he said that he doesn't have any real desire to learn more about the gospel and think about baptism. We're trying to help him figure out how to gain that desire.

By Wednesday morning, Sister B was so sick that we went back to the doctor. The doctor saw her and prescribed some antibiotics but he was worried about the possibility of pneumonia so we had to go to get chest x-rays. The two appointments took up most of our day. The rest of the day we had to stay in the flat because she was so sick.

Thursday morning my poor companion was feeling even worse. We went back to the doctor to get the results from the x-rays and they said that her lungs were clear but they ordered another test to see if they can find what is making her cough. After the doctor we went home and Sister Maxwell came over to see how Sister B was doing. She is so sweet. She made us yummy chicken noodle soup and everything while she was at our flat. The elders came over and gave Sis. B a blessing and Sister Maxwell told us that we needed to stay inside and let Sister B rest until she gets better.

So all day on Friday we were inside. I did a lot of studying which has been really good. I've learned so much this week and gotten through a lot of the Book of Mormon. I love the Book of Mormon so much. I've been reading in Alma this week and I have been learning more from it than I ever have before. Every page, every chapter, has so much to learn from. I have been amazed at how much I have learned.

Saturday morning we had to go down to Berwick, my old area, to have the test done. I miss Churchill Park! Just driving down those streets brought back so many memories! After the test was done, we had a few hours until the baptism of the daughter of a family in my previous area, so we got permission to go to one of the members’ homes to let Sister B rest until the baptism. We went to the B’s home! I miss them so much! They are so wonderful! They made us lunch and then while my companion slept I just got to chat with Sister B. I miss her so much. Seriously, what a wonderful woman she is!

Then we went to D's baptism. I'm so glad Sister Maxwell let us go even though Sister B has been feeling so terrible. They didn't know that I was coming. We got to the chapel before them. I saw them coming in and I got so excited. When I saw their daughter she just ran towards me and gave me the biggest hug and just started to cry. It was so sweet. Of course, I started crying as well. It was so so good to see them!! They were so happy that I was able to come and to be able to surprise them was the best! The baptism went so well. After a rough week, that was the best thing ever!

Sunday, again we had to spend the day in flat so once again, I got to do a lot of studying. It's okay though. I've learned a lot about patience and charity this week. Poor Sister B feels so crappy and she just wants to get back out to work as much as I do.

We are really praying that Sister B gets better soon. We talked to Sister Maxwell this morning and she is sending us back to the doctor to see if we can figure out what is going on. We're all really kind of frustrated because the doctors haven't been able to help her much.

Oh well. Hopefully we'll get things figured out soon. I am dying to get back to work. I miss teaching and finding and everything.

Love y'all heaps!

Sister Baker xxx

Sister H got transferred a week ago because new missionaries came and now a new sister, also from Taiwan, is in our flat. Sounds like the Olympics have been fun. I don't think anyone here even really watches the winter Olympics. 

Phillip- TRAINING! Welcome to my world. Training is really good! It's a lot of responsibility because you are shaping the way the rest of their mission will go. If I have any advice it would be to pray for your companion and pray to love them. Also give them space to grow. If you save them every time they don't know what to say, then they will never learn. Compliment them lots. Love them. You'll be a great trainer!

Monday, February 17, 2014

I wouldn't trade this opportunity for anything in the world. - 2/10/14

Melbourne Mission Moments

What even happened this week? I don't even know what to tell you because I feel like it's only been about three days.

Last Monday evening we had dinner with a wonderful family in our ward--the one whose kids and the relationship they have reminds me of my relationship with Phillip and McKay. I really do love the members in this ward. It has a very different dynamic than my last ward but I love it just the same. It's a smaller ward than Churchill Park which makes it easier for us to get to know more of the members.

On Tuesday we had a district meeting. Our district is so different from last transfer. Everyone is so young! But it's good! Tuesday night we visited a part member family in the ward. As we were visiting with them Brother L asked if I would play some primary songs on the piano. His wife who isn't a member knows and loves many of them so we were all around the piano singing songs. It was really cool to see how much music can touch hearts. After that we went to have a quick meeting with the Elders and Bishop to discuss our plans for an upcoming program we are doing in the ward. When we were first in the area, I suggested the idea of doing a 40 day fast with the ward. Everyone loved the idea so we are starting it at the end of this month. Basically every day for 40 days, a different family will be fasting to know who it is that they need to invite to learn more about the gospel. At the end of their fast, either us or the elders will go and discuss the experiences they had that day. I am really excited about doing this with the ward. I think it will be really good and that we will see lots of miracles happen as a result!
My District
 On Wednesday we spent a lot of the day with less-active members. We are really trying to help several people in the ward to strengthen their faith and help them to feel the spirit and eventually to come back to church. It breaks my heart when people have stopped coming for whatever reason, but I have seen the joy that comes when they decide to come back. We are making some really good progress with a few people. Wednesday night we had dinner with a family in the ward. His parents are here from Scotland/England so it was fun to talk with them and get to know them. I love their Scottish accents! I was telling them that I have Scottish ancestry on Grandma Baker's line and they were asking where. We got on Family Search and found that we both have ancestors with the last name of Milne who were living in Aberdeenshire at the same time. So who knows, maybe we're related! Haha I also learned that Thomas E. Ricks (my ancestor) had 5 wives and 43 children! That's crazy!

On Thursday we decided that we would spend the day fasting because we are really struggling to have people to teach. We meet lots of people and they will meet with us maybe once, but no one is progressing much. That day we were able to teach a few lessons to some Burmese people but they didn't really understand much because their English is really poor. We had Ward Council at the end of the night and as we were heading home, I was feeling kind of bummed. We fasted all day and I really wanted to see some sort of huge miracle but we hadn't. But after we finished planning, our district leader called and said some of the elders had set a date with a girl that day who they found out lives in our area! We didn't know if they were going to pass her over to us or to the Elders but I had a feeling that this was our miracle. All week I've been praying for this girl. Yesterday we saw the Elders who set a date with her. They told us that they feel like we are the ones who need to teach her! I am so excited! We haven't met her yet but I have such a good feeling about this!!

All week we've been trying to get a hold of an investigator but haven't been able to. So, Saturday morning we just popped around to her house. She was home and invited us in. We just listened to her. She is terrified of making the wrong decision of which church to join and hasn't felt like she is getting an answer. We don't know exactly how to help her right now but we are praying hard and I know Heavenly Father will help us to know.

We had a lesson with another investigator on Saturday afternoon as well. It went well. He is hesitant to make any big commitments or to come to church because of his family. But he told us that he turns 18 in a few weeks and that he wants to take bigger steps after that. So we just have to wait it out for a few weeks now.

Yesterday I had to give a talk in Sacrament meeting about the 40 day fast to tell the ward about it. I also talked about the power of prayer and fasting. We ended up having our ward plus another ward there because they couldn't meet in their building because of fire dangers. So I was like, great—more people to talk in front of. But it went pretty well and I didn't even get overly emotional or weepy which was good!

Last night we went to the Pacific Area Presidency Leadership Broadcast. It was really good. I felt strongly, yet again, that the second coming is quickly approaching! The Lord really is hastening His work. I am so grateful that I get to be a part of it! I love being a missionary. I wouldn't trade this opportunity for anything in the world.

I love you all heaps!

Sister Baker xxx

I love the license plates!
Phillip- Keep working hard. I know how you feel having a hard time finding investigators. I'm in the same boat. But Heavenly Father is preparing hearts! We will find them! Also, awesome about finishing the BofM in Spanish. Sounds like you have gotten really good at the Spanish!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

If I could have one wish I would make time slow down! - 02/03/14

Melbourne Mission Moments

Happy New Year! Haha this week was Chinese New Year so we had a little celebration with the sisters in our flat. I can't believe it's February! January passed us by so quickly! If I could have one wish I would make time slow down!

Monday night after our P-day we had dinner with a Hungarian couple in the ward. They are so fun. After our dinner we went to visit a part-member family that we have been trying to meet since we got here. The sister who is a member answered the door and she invited us to sit on the back patio and talk. Anyway, so we sat outside for about 30 minutes and got to know her and had a short lesson before it was time to go home. When we went home, I had about 6 mozzie (mosquito) bites, but my poor companion--she had 47! Yes, we counted them. Poor thing.

Tuesday morning was transfer meeting but since neither of us is being moved we were able to just finish our studies and get out to work. Tuesday was quite a hot day and my poor companion's mozzie bites were getting really painful and itchy. They were all swollen huge and red/bruised looking. It honestly looked like a disease. So we went to a wonderful member's house who had some antihistamine and spray for her to use. Those poor bites lasted 4 days and looked just terrible. I felt so bad.

Tuesday night we had dinner with a cute couple who are expecting their first baby in June. They are so cute. That morning while we were planning, we felt like we should talk about prayer with them. We had a good lesson and the spirit was definitely there. But as we left, I wasn't sure that was what they needed. But yesterday this cute sister bore her testimony in sacrament meeting and talked about how she really needed to hear that when we came because she was facing a quite difficult situation at work and prayer was the only thing that got her through it. It was so good to know that we had taught by the spirit and according to their needs. It's hard sometimes when you're planning lessons to be able to tell what people need. Sometimes I don't know how to distinguish between my thoughts and what the spirit tells us but time and time again, I've seen how we end up teaching or saying exactly what the person needs. It is such a blessing to be able to have the spirit as a third companion in this work. I know that we would not have any success without it.

Another note about transfers--now our district is the youngest in the entire mission. Literally. Every single companionship has a golden (someone who is being trained). But as President Maxwell says, "Goldens bring miracles!" I know there are going to be some mighty miracles in our district this transfer!

Wednesday it was hot again but we were blessed to be in appointments most of the day. We were able to visit a less active member in the morning and then we went to see a sister who we felt might need some uplifting. She was expressing to us how since she is not working, she is bored a lot of the day. I had a thought, she should do indexing. It was so random because I haven't thought about indexing in ages so it was definitely from the spirit. Anyway, we helped her get all logged in and set up and showed her how it works. Yesterday at church she told us that she has done something like 5 hours of it! How awesome is that?

Wednesday night we were able to have dinner and a lesson with a member family and their two Chinese exchange students. They are so cute! They have little to no knowledge about Jesus Christ or anything related to the church so we are having to start at the very very basics but they are eating up the information that we give them!

Thursday morning we had zone meeting. Our zone leaders are seriously the BEST! That afternoon we were doing some GQing at the train station and it was so successful! We found 6 people that day in under two hours!

Friday we were able to visit a lot of less-active members which was really successful. That night we got a call from our sister training leaders about going on exchanges. We were not sure who the STLs are because we weren't at transfer meeting. I was overjoyed to hear that they are Sister F and... Sister R! I have been with Sister F on exchanges the past two transfers so more than likely I will be with Sister R (my companion from the MTC). That thought just makes me overjoyed. I love her so so much!

Saturday we spent a lot of the day GQing. While we were talking to people outside some shops, this random guy just came and gave us cold water. It was such a blessing because it was hot and we had both run out of water! He didn't know us, just thought we looked hot and wanted to do something nice. I love experiences like that--they give me hope in the goodness of people.

We were also able to see some wonderful members on Saturday night. We are really trying to work with the members to do this work because we know that is how we will be most successful.

Sunday at church we had 3 investigators come to church which was a huge blessing! After church, we had some time to go and do some finding. It was 43̊C so it was piping hot but we were able to meet 4 more people and reach our weekly goal which was awesome! We had dinner with a Filipino family which was so yummy! Sister Gonzales made me love Filipino food.
I hate it when it's so hot your chapstick melts!
After dinner we went to the mission president fireside with a recent convert in the ward. It was a really good fireside. I got to see Sis. Stevenson there which brought joy to my soul. And she was able to give me an update on some people in my previous area. One sister is progressing toward baptism. Another young girl is getting baptized on the 15th of this month! And the sister from Peru that we started teaching in December is getting baptized! I saw her there last night and was able to talk to her. She is so happy, she was just glowing.

A small miracle that happened yesterday: Saturday night we forgot to get petrol on the way home. Around 12:00 yesterday our empty light went on. We had to drive to our appointments and to the mission president fireside so we said a prayer that we would not run out of petrol. And we didn't! We had just enough to make it home last night. We went to fill it up this morning. Our car has a 50 liter tank and we put 49.29 liters in it.

This week I have spent a lot of time studying the life of the Savior. One thing in particular really stuck out to me this week. I was reading in Matthew 14 about when He feeds the 5000. Truly it was a miracle that He was able to feed the 5000 but it was the circumstances before the miracle occurred that really touched me. Right before this happened, His cousin, John the Baptist had just been unjustly beheaded. He was no doubt, feeling some sorrow at his death and went away to have a bit of time on his own. But people followed him and wanted to be taught. He could have turned around and told them to leave him alone, that He needed  some time to himself. But He didn't, He taught and blessed the people. As it got later, He could have sent them away, explaining that there wasn't food--surely spending his time with them would have been enough. But He didn't. I was really touched by this. No matter what the circumstance, Christ was always willing to help. I am here as a missionary, wearing His name on my tag. I am to emulate Him. I thought to myself--do I reflect this attitude in my work? Am I willing to help, no matter how tired I am, no matter what personal trials I might be having that day? The Savior never thought of Himself. He always put others first. That is something I am really trying to implement in my life.

The study area in our flat.
I am so grateful for this time that I have to be a missionary. I am learning every day what it means to become a disciple of Jesus Christ. I am so grateful for the atonement that allows me to change, to overcome my weaknesses and become more like Him.

I love you all so much!

Love y'all heaps!

Sister Baker xxx

I am so grateful for the blessing that prayer is... - 01/27/14

Melbourne Mission Moments 

Whoa. Look at that date! I can't believe that I've been out for 10 months! Time goes by so quickly on the mission! I can't believe it's already Monday again and I'm emailing home.

Monday last week we had a busy p-day just getting our groceries and running errands but we did have time to go back to the flat and take a little nap which was so great! I haven't taken a nap in forever but it felt glorious! That night we had dinner with a family in our ward. The mum and kids are all active but the dad is less-active. He wasn't there because he had to work and the whole time we were eating I was sitting there thinking how we can help him. After dinner this dear sister asked if I wanted to play the piano for a few minutes. Naturally I said yes, because I miss playing. I sat down and started playing around a little bit and then I had a thought to ask if this sister wanted to do a musical number because I know she sings. She was so excited about it. In a couple of weeks I'm going to accompany her in Sacrament meeting. The best part about it is that it gives us opportunity to get back in to their home and hopefully build a good relationship with the dad so we can help him come back to church.

Monday night right before bed I felt so strongly while I was sitting there, how grateful I am to have such an amazing family. Seriously, I have been so blessed. Our family is so tight-knit and everyone is strong in the gospel and I don't have the worries that others have. I have been so blessed. I think I have kind of taken it for granted most of my life because that's all I knew. As I've been here and realized how different some people's family situations are, my appreciation and love for my own family has grown immensely.

Tuesday morning we went to district meeting and our district leader was training about prayer. The training was perfect. I have been so impressed with our leaders here. Without fail, every time we have a meeting they train or testify about the exact thing that we need. You can tell that they really follow the spirit to know how to help us. How grateful I am for the priesthood and that my whole life I have been surrounded by worthy priesthood leaders!

After our meeting we went to see a lady. We tried to teach a lesson but she just kept talking about the Amish people. Seriously, the whole time. It was really difficult. So even though she's a really sweet lady, we probably won't be going back because she doesn't really have a desire to learn anything or listen to us. Tuesday night we had dinner with two newly-wed couples in our ward. They were so cute! Both got married just in December so they are in the love-birds stage which just makes me smile. But the best thing about them is that they are really keen about doing missionary work and want to be really involved which is awesome!

Wednesday morning after studies we were at the mission office for interviews with President Maxwell. While we were waiting Sister Maxwell was showing us how to use Family Search. We got on and I found out that I love it! I really want to do more family history work when I get home! And also, Sister Maxwell worked it out and found out that we are 2nd cousins once removed. Pretty cool, huh? My interview with President Maxwell was so perfect! He is such an amazing person. He was able to tell me exactly what I needed to hear and I just felt so good afterwards. One thing he told me was that he has asked me to train again because he trusts me. Which was so good to hear.

Wednesday night we were able to have another lesson with a young investigator that has high-functioning Autism. He is so smart. Literally anything we tell him, he remembers it. Which is amazing. We were able to teach him the Restoration and it went really well. I think it won't be super fast coming but he will get baptized probably sometime in the coming months.

Thursday morning while we were doing weekly planning we felt like we needed to call the Elders and get the phone number for one of their investigators. Her son just got baptized a few weeks ago and she is still working towards baptism. But the Elders kind of feel like there is not much more they can do for her so we are kind of taking over. We called her and were able to go over and spend several hours helping her in her house and then we talked about her concerns in relation to the gospel. She still doesn't feel like she has a testimony of the Book of Mormon so we are going to go over every day and read a chapter with her and help her try to get that testimony. Our visit with her was so good. I think she has needed the love that we can show her as Sisters. The Elders are great but hopefully we can show her a different kind of love, a love she really needs.

Friday we woke up to rain and grey weather. We had two lessons that fell through so we were feeling a bit down. We were in the car when our district leader called, just to see how we were doing. Again, I am amazed at how perfectly they follow the spirit. He gave us the encouragement we needed and then sent a message that was perfect. We hit the ground running after that and decided that we were going to have a good day. And we did! We had some good hours of finding and then we went to visit a less-active family that has recently moved up from Tassie. They had some friends over and they told their friends who we are/what we do. And then we were able to teach a lesson about faith and invite these friends to learn more. It was an amazing lesson. One guy in particular seems particularly keen. He messaged us later that night just to say he was looking forward to learning more and seeing life from a new perspective. It was such a miracle that we went to their home just at the right time.

Saturday we were able to see the sisters we have been teaching again. They were getting ready to leave but it seemed more positive than last week and they seem more open to learning more still which is really good. Saturday night we got transfer news. My companion and I are both staying in this area! :) But we are losing our amazing district leader which is really sad. I am looking forward to the new transfer though! We really have big goals for this transfer and a vision of what can happen and I know that we are going to see miracles!

Sunday morning unfortunately none of our investigators came to church which was a bummer. I feel like getting them to come to church is the hardest part. In the afternoon we had a lesson with an investigator which was really good. We finished teaching him the Plan of Salvation and then we were able to talk about his concerns. He said that he had read some things on the internet about the church which were not good but that he still wanted to meet with us because he feels different when we talk with him. We were able to resolve some of his concerns and he is still really keen to learn more.

This morning we went to 1000 Steps to climb up the mountain which was fun. It has 1000 stone steps. Hot and sweaty though. [The 1000 Steps Kokoda Track Memorial Walk is located in the Dandenong Ranges National Park. Plaques along the trail depict the lives of the Australian soldiers who fought and died on the real Kokoda Trail in Papua New Guinea, during World War II. The climb is about 2.8 km and takes about one hour to reach the top.]  The rest of the day we're just going to hang out and write letters.

One thing I've really been focusing on this week is prayer--why we pray, how we should pray, how I can improve my prayers, how I can help investigators recognize answers to their prayers, etc. I learned so much. I love studying by topic.It is truly amazing that we can have such a personal relationship with our Heavenly Father. And that we can pray at anytime, anywhere and He will hear us. And I truly know that He does answer our prayers. I love being able to pray and tell my Heavenly Father exactly how I feel. Especially on the mission I have learned to cherish that. At home, I always had mom to talk to about everything, but here I don't have that. But I think it's been a blessing in disguise because it's allowed me to improve my relationship with my Heavenly Father.

I am so grateful to be a missionary and get to share this gospel with everyone!

Love y'all heaps!

Sister Baker xxx

Phillip - Keep working hard, even in the hard times. It will be worth it. Just remember to PUSH-- Pray Until Something Happens.