Friday, March 28, 2014

What more can I do in this vineyard? - 03/24/14

Melbourne Mission Moments

I can't believe that I hit my year mark this week. So crazy! The past year has been the best of my life. I have changed, learned and grown so much. What an incredible experience I have had.

We had a really good week this week! Monday we went exploring to all of the Op shops in our area. I was such a snob before the mission. The idea of buying used clothing freaked me out. Now I love it. You can find real gems and get them for super cheap. I ended up getting a dress for $6 dollars. After our P-day we had a lesson with L. and the kids. We taught them the 10 commandments and hand signs to remember all of them. It was a really good lesson! They all were getting really into it and started a competition amongst themselves to see who could remember them the best. It has been such a blessing to teach a family! A miracle for sure.

Tuesday morning we had district meeting. Sister B and I really wanted to do something for our district so with the help of Sister Adams in our ward, we had lunch for everyone at her house. She is such a wonderful woman. She helped us with everything and it was really fun to be able to spend the time together and have a beautiful, yummy lunch! After that we had to run back to the flat because they were dropping off bunk beds. The landlord wanted some changes in our flat that required more space in the bedroom so now Sister B and I have bunk beds. I'm on the bottom bunk because the idea of being on top freaked me out because that means I'm closer to the ceiling and the corners where spiders hang out. Haha. The problem with the bottom bunk is that I keep hitting my head. It actually becomes quite comical. I've hit my head like 7 times now.

Tuesday evening was great! L and her kids all came to the chapel. L came with us to a RS activity, her son was with the YM, a daughter with the YW, and another daughter was at Faith in God. They all really really enjoyed it and it was so good for them to get to know a lot of the members!

A huge miracle for the week was that after the RS activity finished, C's mom came up to us looking really excited. (C is the 9 year old who we have been working with.) She told us that C had decided that he wanted to be baptized on April 5th! He set his own date! So awesome! It was such a surprise but we were so happy!

Wednesday we were able to go and do some service for a woman here. She has been really unwell lately and we spent 3 hours cleaning, organizing, and helping her to get some dinners made that can go in the freezer so they are just ready to go. I love service. It makes me so happy to be able to just help someone.

After we finished the service, we had another lesson with L and the kids. We taught them the Gospel of Jesus Christ. L told us that she can't wait to get baptized. She's just ready to go. The kids are getting closer but are still a bit unsure so we are trying to help them really strengthen their testimonies. They are growing though and I'm seeing such change in each of them. Another cool thing was that L told us when they were at the chapel Tuesday night she kept just having an overwhelming feeling that she knew the place. She said she felt like she was home, like she had been there before. That was really cool. It reminded me of John 14:26 where it talks about the Holy Ghost bringing things to our remembrance.

Thursday afternoon we visited this sweet older couple in our ward. He is 89 and she is in her 70s. They are so cute. It reminds me of how much I love older people.

Friday morning we got to go to the temple! I love the temple so much. I am so grateful to have a temple in our mission that we can go to. I also have come to realize what a blessing it is to live in Utah and to have so many temples so close to us and to be able to go whenever I want to. I loved being in the temple on Friday. I took off my watch and I could have just stayed there all day. The spirit is so strong in the temple. We saw the new video and I learned so much. I left feeling like I had received so much personal revelation. I also left feeling an overwhelming amount of Heavenly Father's love for me. Without fail, I always feel such an abundance of His love in the temple.
With Sister B at the temple

After we finished at the temple, we had another lesson with a former investigator. We were able to teach the Restoration from the beginning and it seemed to go really well. He seemed a lot more humble than he was last time. I think the spirit is starting to work on him. He agreed to read the Book of Mormon and pray to know if it's true. We'll go back this week and help him to recognize an answer to his prayer.

Saturday we had to go to the library to do an online questionnaire in preparation for Elder Hamula's visit in April. I was able to sit with Sister H and help her to understand what it was asking. She is from Taiwan and I am constantly impressed at how hard she is working to improve her English. I have no doubt that the gift of tongues is real and helps these missionaries who have to learn a language. I feel like sometimes I have a hard enough time knowing what to say and English is my first language. I can't imagine having to teach in another language. Props to all the language missionaries!

Saturday afternoon we had another lesson with L and the kids. We taught the Word of Wisdom and the Law of Chastity. I always get a little nervous when it comes time to teach the "big commandments" to investigators. I guess I let my fear push away my faith and I worry that some big, huge concern is going to come out that hinders their progression. I should just have more faith and not worry so much because the lesson went so well! L has been so prepared. She quit drinking tea about a month ago just because she felt like she should. The only concern they had was that the son likes to drink coffee but he was really willing to quit and he even flushed the rest of their coffee down the toilet! So awesome!

Yesterday L and all the kids came to church and they all really liked it! The ward was really great and just reached out and loved them all! The two oldest kids were really excited because they were invited to a Bishop's Youth Discussion that night. I am so glad that they had a good experience. We have another lesson with them tonight. After tonight we will have taught them everything so then we will just have two weeks to review and help them solidify their testimonies before their baptisms.

We had a lesson with C yesterday which went really well. Since he has grown up in the church, he already knows pretty much everything so we are just reviewing everything with him. He is so excited for his baptism and is already planning the program and who he will invite. :)

I am loving reading the Book of Mormon. I can't believe it's not even been two full weeks and I am already well into Mosiah. I've never read it so quickly but I am finding that reading it this way is making different things stick out to me and I am receiving so much personal revelation. One thing that has really stuck out to me is in 2 Nephi 15:4 when the question is raised about what more can I do for my vineyard? The same thing is all throughout Jacob 5. I have been thinking about that a lot this week. I have stewardship over this part of the Lord's vineyard in Mooroolbark. I've started really asking myself every day, "What more can I do in this vineyard?" I find that as I am constantly in the attitude of "What more can I do?" I am seeing more opportunities so serve, we are being more diligent, and seeing miracles because of it. I am so grateful for this precious time as a missionary. I feel like time just keeps going faster and faster and I don't want to waste a minute of what I have left.

Love y'all heaps!
Sister Baker xxx

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

"Oh it is wonderful to me" - 3/17/14

Melbourne Mission Moments

Heavenly Father knows me so well and loves me so much. This week I have felt Heavenly Father's love in such abundance. Last Monday, I was struggling. I was feeling so overwhelmed. I was pleading in prayer to be able to feel that love because I was struggling. And that love has come. All week I've just felt wrapped in the arms of His love, just like it says in 2 Nephi.

Tuesday morning I was praying so hard that Heavenly Father would give me the confirmation that I was where I needed to be, doing what I needed to be doing. After a few hours of unsuccessfully trying to follow up with some contacts, we went back to the flat to have lunch. I have been trying to use all my extra time to study and I sat down and started reading a general conference talk from October 1997 by Boyd K. Packer titled "Called to Serve." Sometimes the answers to our prayers come in ways that we don't expect them. I wasn't expecting to read that talk at lunch and receive personal revelation but I did. In the talk, Elder Packer quotes Elder J. Reuben Clark Jr. He said, "In the service of the Lord, it is not where you serve but how. In the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints one takes the place to which one is duly called, which place one neither seeks nor declines." That really stood out to me as well. It really doesn't matter where I serve but HOW I serve is what really matters. When we left the flat to go back to work, I felt so uplifted, and so determined to be a good missionary. I know I am where I am supposed to be right now!

Wednesday morning we had district meeting. We found out that Elder Hamula is coming to visit the mission in April and that he has asked that all of us read the Book of Mormon cover to cover before he comes looking specifically for The Gospel of Jesus Christ (faith, repentance, baptism, the Holy Ghost, and endure to the end.) We have 47 days to read the Book of Mormon which is a bit overwhelming. I have never read it that fast before and I feel like we are already so busy. But I have made it a goal to read in any spare time that we have. I'm about 10 chapters into 2 Nephi now and I am loving it. I love specifically looking for principles of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. There is something on almost every page. I love the Book of Mormon. Before the mission I struggled just reading 10 minutes a day. Now I can sit and read for 45 minutes before we go to bed and I find myself wishing I had more time to read.

L and her kids are doing really well! On Tuesday night, the older kids both went to youth and they really enjoyed it! We had a lesson with them on Thursday and taught the Plan of Salvation which went really well. They are praying and reading every day and really progressing! We had a short lesson with them on Saturday and taught them I Am a Child of God which they loved. L especially—she kept saying how beautiful the words were. I guess I've kind of taken the words for granted because I've always known them but that song teaches such fundamental truths of the gospel! Also, we found out they all have CTR rings! I was so surprised. The member who referred us to them gave them all CTR rings for Christmas. Obviously he has been working on them for a while and the timing is just perfect right now! They couldn't come to church yesterday because they are involved and have responsibilities at their church (just like we get callings and assignments at church) that they had to do for one more week. But they told the people at their church they won't be able to do it anymore and they are excited to come to church next week! We have a lesson with them tonight so hopefully that goes well!

I was really happy to find out that Sister R and Sister H are my STLs this transfer. I love both of those sisters so much. There is no doubt in my mind that I needed to meet them. We are going to have a lifelong friendship. Ah, seriously, I love them so much!

Yesterday President and Sister Maxwell came and spoke in our ward. I love them so much. Sister Maxwell in her talk said how they have 8 children but now they have gained another 280 children and then talked about how much they love the missionaries. I cried (surprise, surprise) I am so grateful for the Maxwell’s. They have blessed my life so much!

In Relief Society yesterday the lesson was on the Atonement and the sacrament. The spirit was so strong and being the sook I am, I cried through the whole thing. I am so grateful for my Savior and His unconditional love for me. The mission is hard and there are times when I feel really alone. But two verses in the Book of Mormon really stuck out to me this week. 1 Nephi 20:10 talks about being refined in the furnace of affliction. That's exactly how I feel about the mission. Some times are really hard but I know everything is refining me, changing me, and helping to grow to be able to reach my full potential. Then in 1 Nephi 21:15-16 it talks about how we are graven upon the palms of His hands and that He will not forget us. I know that is true. My Heavenly Father and Savior both know me and love me so much. They will never leave me alone. They are my biggest fans and biggest supporters.

I love being a missionary. It's such a blessing. I can't believe it's almost been a whole year. I am so grateful for all of the experiences I have had in the past year. I have changed so much. "Oh it is wonderful to me."

Love you all heaps!

Love, Sister Baker xxx

I am so grateful for missionary work and miracles - 03/10/14

Melbourne Mission Moments 

Happy Labour Day! Public holiday here in Victoria but as far as I can tell, no one really does anything to celebrate. It's just a day off. Kind of like our labor day is! Good thing we still found somewhere with internet access--all the libraries are closed.

On Monday we had Sister's P-day with the Sisters on the east side. We learned to play net ball. Turns out I really like it! Seriously, it's really fun. And it doesn't take all that much athletic ability which is great for someone like me, ha. I'll have to teach you all how to play it when I come home! :) That night we had FHE with a family in our ward. They are such awesome missionaries! They are working with so many friends and family members! It's awesome to see members who just "get it."

At Net Ball Activity

Tuesday we had a huge miracle happen! So we had Zone Meeting in the morning which was really good. I always love meetings. But the best part was that during the meeting, one of the office sisters sneaked in and handed me a note. It had a name and phone number for a guy named Andreas and said "URGENT. Appointment today @ 4pm." As soon as our meeting was over, we called him. He explained that he is a member from Western Australia and that he has been here visiting friends for a few weeks. He explained that he had been talking about the church with his friend and her children and that they wanted to meet with missionaries. He was flying out on Wednesday and wanted us to meet L and the kids before he left. So we gladly rearranged our plans so we could have a lesson with them. L is so wonderful. She has recently realized that she needs more than what her church is giving her and is so prepared. She has such an open heart and just soaks in everything that we teach her. Seriously, GOLDEN. Her four kids are also awesome! We were able to teach them the Restoration and it went really well. The spirit was strong and we really taught in unity. At the end of the lesson, we were able to commit three of them to baptism on April 5th. I am so excited about having a family to teach! It is an answer to my prayers. About a week and a half ago, while we were staying at the mission home, I started praying that before I leave, I'd be able to bring a whole family into this gospel. Heavenly Father really does hear and answer our prayers!

We visited a member's home that night hoping to catch the less-active father and his non-member wife at home. Unfortunately they weren't home but their RM son was. We couldn't go in but we had a lesson with him out on the porch. We were able to make a plan with him of how we can help his dad get active again. It was breaking my heart. This son wants his father to be active so badly. I really hope that we can help him. I've found that it brings me just as much joy seeing someone come back to the church as it does for someone new to come.

Wednesday morning we tried to have a lesson with a referral. She is Burmese and the missionaries who contacted her told us that she has been here for 5 years and that her English is really good. Turns out they were wrong. There was such a huge language barrier. She couldn't understand anything. We ended up singing a song and praying with her and had to refer her to the Elders in our ward. Elder S is from Burma so he will be able to communicate with her.

Thursday morning we had to ride the train in to the city because Sister B had a follow-up appointment with the respiratory specialist. Her cough is pretty much completely gone now and everything looks good so that's a relief! After getting back to the flat and finishing studies and weekly planning, we got to go have another lesson with L and her kids. We went over the Restoration again and watched the DVD. Then we re-committed them to baptism. This time another child accepted too! They are so awesome :)

Thursday night we had ward council. I loved that for the entire hour and a half, the conversation was about PEOPLE. They really focus on people and what they need. It's awesome to see how much they care about individuals. I hope that every ward council in the church is that way!

We've been doing a lot of contacting formers this week which is always interesting. These are people who at one point or another have been learning from missionaries. You never know what reaction you are going to get. Some people are really negative and really don't want to hear anything. But other people we have met are quite open. We taught one former on Friday afternoon. He is an older gentleman. He's very smart. His whole house is full of books and he has written several math books and stuff. Very intelligent guy. Unfortunately, his intelligence gets in the way a little bit. He is very hung up on a verse in 2 Nephi 26:16 because it says "familiar spirit." He said that it means evil spirit. To be honest, it's one of those times when I have no idea how to respond. All that we could do was bear testimony. That's one thing I love about being a missionary. We're not required to know the answer to every question that people have. If all else fails, you bear testimony of the Book of Mormon. Because truly, if someone can have a testimony of the Book of Mormon, then they also gain a testimony of Joseph Smith and of the restoration of Christ's church. The Book of Mormon is such a powerful tool for us to use as missionaries. I'm so grateful for it. I love it. I learn so much from reading from its pages. Each morning I find myself wishing I could just use my whole personal study to read the Book of Mormon. I love it.

Friday night we were able to see an investigator again. Bishop has been working with her a lot lately and has really helped her. I'm hoping that soon she'll be to the point that we can start really teaching again and help her progress towards baptism.

Saturday we had another lesson with and her kids. We taught them about church and what happens there, explained all the different programs, etc. We invited them to church on Sunday but unfortunately, one of the kids didn't want to come until he knows a little bit more. L doesn't want it to be something that separates their family so she decided they would wait one more week to come to church. It stinks but I understand. So we're just going to keep teaching them and help them gain a testimony so they want to come to church.

After that we decided to stop by and see if the sisters were home because we haven't been able to see them in forever. We pulled up and their uncle was outside. He told us that they were moving house that day. He said he was driving there right then and that we could follow him. We were able to see them and help them unload a few things from the truck and make a return appointment for this week. It was the biggest miracle. If we had not gone to their house right at that time, we would have had no idea where they lived and they would have just been lost. Blessings.

Saturday night we were waiting for transfer calls. Typically the calls come around 9:30pm so we were just waiting for it. It didn't come until 10:15pm! Sister Burton and I are both staying in the area for another transfer. And I have reason to be happy--we're teaching a family!

After church yesterday we stopped by L's so that we could invite the older kids to the youth fireside that night. One had something going on but the other came. She actually really liked the fireside and met the Beehives in the ward who were all really welcoming and I think she felt really good!

This morning we had another lesson with L and the kids. We taught them the commandments of obedience, pray often, and scripture study. It went really well. We leave reading assignments every time and they always do them! We invited her son to come to mutual tomorrow night. He wants to come! Even if it's baby steps, we're moving in the right direction.

I love you all so much. I am so grateful for missionary work and miracles.

Love you heaps!

Sister Baker xxx

Saturday, March 8, 2014

I wish I could just shout the message we have from the rooftops and that everyone would listen! - 3/3/14

Melbourne Mission Moments

"O that I were an angel, and could have the wish of mine heart, that I might go forth and speak with the trump of God, with a voice to shake the earth and cry repentance unto every people!" Alma 29:1

I feel a lot like Alma lately. I love being a missionary and I wish I could just shout the message we have from the rooftops and that everyone would listen!

Sorry about not emailing until later last week. Monday was crazy and we were in doctors’ appointments a lot of the morning. The appointment with the respiratory specialist was in the city so it took us about an hour and a half to drive in there. Then we had to drive in the city. I was stressing out because there is so much traffic and there are trams driving everywhere and we were trying to interpret all of these signs to find out where we could park without getting our car towed away. Haha it was crazy. But yeah, after we got back from the city we tried to email but then the internet connection went kaput so I had to wait until Tuesday evening when I could use a computer to finish emailing.

The doctor ended up having Sister B take a pretty high dosage of cough syrup so she basically slept non-stop all of Tuesday and all of Wednesday. Seriously, she was awake maybe four hours total. Tuesday President and Sister Maxwell were gone at meetings from 8 am until 6:30 pm and since Sister B was asleep all day, I literally had the entire day to myself. I studied A LOT, did some laundry and made some beds, etc. Tuesday evening after their meetings, Sister C and Sister R came to the mission home and they stayed the night. It was so fun to see them. They are Sister Training Leaders in Tasmania right now and they were up on the mainland for MLC.

Wednesday I got to go out and do missionary work for the first time in 14 days! I have missed it so so much. Sister B had to stay in but the STLs came and did exchanges with us. Sister F stayed with Sister B at the mission home all day and I got to go work with Sister R. I love Sister R so much! Seriously, it is such a blessing to have her in my life. We spent the morning doing some service for one of their investigators. Then the rest of the day we were pretty much teaching all day. I had missed teaching so much! We had some really good lessons. It was also really fun to teach with Sister R again. We have come a long way since the MTC! We had some good laughs about how much we stressed in the MTC and how we were convinced we would never be able to actually teach real investigators. Turns out we can. The lessons we had that day went really well!
Really fun to teach with Sister R again!

Thursday morning Sister B was feeling better! HALLELUJAH! We had Zone Conference most of the day on Thursday. It was such a good meeting. I learned so much. We had Elder and Sister Taylor visiting the mission and they did some really good training that has changed my mission for the better. Elder Taylor is the area mental health doctor for the Pacific Area. I wish I could tell you all that I learned in Zone Conference but I will try to summarize some of my favorite points.

Elder and Sister Taylor
  • Matthew 11:28-30--has your burden been lightened? They talked a lot about this scripture and it means more to me now than ever.
  • What you're thinking will determine how you feel. Make sure what you're thinking is true. Challenge your negative thinking.
  • Unnecessary stress leads to distress.
  • The Lord judges on efforts not on results.
  • It's never as bad as it seems. Look at what's right, not at what's wrong.
  • Tell myself, "I will just keep trying to do the right thing and be patient for as long as it takes."
  • Ask myself, "Do I want to or do I have to?" If you're are doing something because you want to do it and not because you have to do it, it will be much more enjoyable and be easier to do.
  • There is value even in the worst day as a missionary: sometimes it proves you're not a "fair-weather" disciple
  • You are swearing when you make a categorical, black and white statement about something or correct others in a negative way.
  • If it's not important, let it go.
  • My job is to be the best companion I can be, not to fix my companion's problems or make her into a great missionary.
President Maxwell
  • He talked a lot about worldly success vs. true success
  • We already have the faith to serve, now we need the faith to succeed.
  • He shared about Eric Liddell, the runner in Chariots of Fire. I loved this quote from him, "For the first 10 meters I run as fast as I can. Then for the last 100 meters, with God's help, I run faster."
  • As missionaries, we have to run hard and finish strong.
  • Don't let other people or circumstances determine your success.
  • "Don't let yesterday keep tomorrow hostage."
  • If we always do what we've always done, we'll always get what we've always got.
I can't even adequately begin to share all that I learned. Needless to say, it was a wonderful meeting! After the meeting we ran back to the mission home to quickly pack up our things and then we left to go back to our area. Right off the bat we went to the train station to do some finding. I felt so on fire. I missed missionary work! I am so glad that Sister B is healthy now and that we can work again! Having so many days that we couldn't work has just solidified my desire to not waste a single day. I feel like my time here is going so quickly and I wish I could just make it slow down!

Sis. B is finally feeling better!

Friday morning we did our weekly planning. After that we were having a quick lunch before heading out. We were in the kitchen and I heard the phone ringing in the other room. I ran in to get it and as I was going around the corner I jammed my foot against the door frame. I don't think I've ever been in so much pain. It hurt SO BAD! I thought that my toes were broken and all day I could hardly put any weight on them. But by Saturday they weren't so bad. They are still really bruised (dark black and purple) and swollen but it's bearable. We did a lot of finding on Friday and visited some less-active members who we haven't seen in a while.

Saturday morning we went to a baptism. During the baptism I looked down and there was a big cockroach on sister Burton's skirt! Ew! It took everything in me to not absolutely freak out! We were both so scared by that little nasty thing. I almost just started laughing because we just didn't know what to do with it. She ended up flicking it away but then we didn't know where it went so I was afraid to put my feet on the floor. Luckily one of the Elders found it and killed it. All of this happened during the talks. So funny and so crazy.

After the lesson we had a lesson with Chung. It was good to see him since we haven't been able to in two weeks. We showed him the Restoration DVD and then talked about revelation through the book of Mormon. He is praying and reading but hasn't recognized his answer yet so we are trying to help him with that. We brought up baptism again and he is still really open to the idea of baptism but he just needs to recognize his answer first!

After that we had to go into the city for a follow up appointment with the Chinese Medicine doctor. Haha, he gave Sister Burton two more weeks worth of Chinese herbal medicine she has to drink. It is the grossest stuff ever. Haha, but if it stops the cough, it's worth it!

Sunday church was really good. Only one investigator came which kind of stinks but several less-actives that we have been working with came so that is really exciting! During Sunday School, there was another cockroach. Now I'm afraid the building is infested. You better believe I keep my bag on a chair or on my lap and not on the ground!

Last night was the mission president fireside. When I got there, I saw J! It was so good to see her! She looked so stinking happy! She has completely broken up with her partner and has moved out and is so happy. She is being taught by Sister S and Sister S and is getting baptized in May. She was going to get baptized this week but she wants her family to be there and they can't come until May. But regardless, I was so happy to see her. Also, our Peruvian investigator got baptized last week!

I am really looking forward to this coming week! We are going to work our little tails off and I know that we are going to see miracles happen. I love being a missionary so much.

Love y'all heaps!
Sister Baker

Phillip- Sorry to hear you were sick. No bueno! Not being able to go out and work STINKS! Also sorry to hear about that man in your ward dying. That's really sad. Good thing we know about the plan of salvation! :) Have a good week! I'm praying for you! Also, are all of your companions way shorter than you? jajajaja

Heavenly Father knows me so well and gives me experiences that are exactly what I need to help me grow. - 2/24/14

Melbourne Mission Moments

"...know thou, my [daughter], that all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good." (D&C 122:7). Heavenly Father knows me so well and gives me experiences that are exactly what I need to help me grow. This week has been a bit rough because my dear companion has been so sick but through it all, there's been so many gems and tender mercies. I have learned so much this week about patience, about charity, about what it means to sacrifice. I'm so grateful for the mission and these opportunities that I have to change and to grow. I feel like my whole mission has been a bit of a refiner’s fire that Heavenly Father is using to shape me into who He needs me to be. 

So on Monday after we emailed, we had a missed call from Sister Maxwell. We talked to her and told her that Sister B was still not feeling better so she had us go and see a private doctor to get a second opinion. (Sister Burton has had a TERRIBLE, dog-bark, relentless cough that has made her whole body sore and makes it so she can't breathe properly, can't sleep, etc., and the more that we tried to do, the worse the cough was getting.) Anyway, so we went to the doctor and he gave her antibiotics and sent us to get some blood work done so that they could check to make sure it wasn't whooping cough. So we had to go to another place to have the blood work done. Unfortunately it takes 7 days for whooping cough to show up on a blood test so we had to make an appointment for a week’s time to see the doctor again to get the results. After that she was exhausted so we just went back to the flat so she could rest. I wrote about 15 letters and tried to get some cleaning done around the flat. 

Tuesday morning we went to district meetings hoping that she would be feeling a bit better. Well, the whole meeting she just coughed and coughed. At one point we had to just get up and go out because she couldn't stop and she was hyperventilating. Our zone leaders were at the meeting and they are so great. They were so concerned and just kept asking if there was anything they could do to help. They did give her a blessing which was good. After the meeting we went back home to rest until that night. We went to a sweet sister's home in the ward for dinner. We had told her about the cough and how bad it was but she said, "I worked as a nurse for 20 years. Germs don't scare me." It was good to be able to get out of our flat a little bit. After that we went back home. We started getting ready for bed. After Sister B's shower she was having another coughing attack and couldn't stop coughing. Poor thing. She was so upset because she felt so terrible, both physically and about not being able to get out and work. During all of this Sister Maxwell called to see how she was doing. She told us to pack a bag and come to the mission home. So at 10:15 pm we were leaving our flat and drove to the mission home. 

Ever since Tuesday night we've been staying in the mission home. It really stinks to not be out and working but it's also been a huge blessing. President and Sister Maxwell are so wonderful. I can't begin to put into words the love and admiration and appreciation I have for both of them. It has been so great to get to know them better this week. I know them both on so much more of a personal level now. I know that one of the reasons that I was called to the AMM is because I need to serve with President and Sister Maxwell. They have both taught me so much and had such a huge influence on my life. Random fact: President Maxwell eats Captain Crunch for breakfast. Brilliant huh?

Sister B has spent most of the week in bed just sick as ever. Sister Maxwell and I have both felt so helpless. We've tried literally everything in the book and nothing seems to help this stinking cough. 

I've had a lot of time to study this week which has been a huge blessing. I love the scriptures so much, especially the Book of Mormon. I have learned so much. As I've been studying this week, I have come across so many times, verses that talk about patience, and being patient in our afflictions. So I decided to study patience more. I have learned so much this week. I think sometimes I struggle with patience. Especially with myself. But I think I've improved a lot since being here. And I learned this week some things that I want to really apply to try to increase my patience. With my companion being sick this week, I've really had to be patient. As I've prayed for Heavenly Father to help me to increase my patience, He has truly helped me to do that. When I was set apart I was told that I would have trials of my patience and that as my patience increased, so too would my faith. I have seen that this week. Maybe it's because of all the extra study time that I've had but I truly have felt an increase of faith. At first it felt like Sister B's being sick was a dark cloud but now I have faith that Heavenly Father knows us and loves us and that He will take care of everything. Our area is not going to completely fall apart because we're not there, we're not going to forget how to teach, I'm not going to feel completely awkward when we have to go out and talk to people again (these were real concerns earlier in the week). Also, in my study I kept coming across the phrase "swallowed up in the joy of Christ." I love that phrase. It is so beautiful.

Wednesday morning we had to go to the doctor again. That night we went to see a Chinese medicine doctor who gave us some sort of medicine for her to drink. She has to drink it three times a day and it looks and smells disgusting and she basically gags every time she has to drink it. Yuck. And it doesn't seem to be helping much. Poor thing.

Wednesday and Thursday night they had missionaries come over for dinner because there were a few missionaries who were going home. I was able to spend some time in the kitchen with Sister Maxwell and help get dinner ready. She is such a wonderful cook. Also, Friday night Sister Maxwell made pancakes for dinner! It was great!

Another great thing is that the mission home has a piano. I miss playing. It's been great to be able to spend some time at the piano this week.

Saturday night Sister Burton seemed to be doing better so we decided to get up on Sunday morning and go to church. I'm not sure if that was the best idea because she just coughed and coughed all the way through it but it was good to see the members. I feel like we haven't seen anyone in ages! We are starting the 40 day fast tomorrow and we're hoping that it goes really well! 

This morning we went back to the doctor to get the results from the blood test and they were all normal. Then this afternoon we had an appointment with a respiratory specialist. We finally got some answers! He was able to tell us what is wrong. Basically her throat lining was broken down when she got some sort of small infection or something which caused an itch and started the cough. The cough has just perpetuated the cough even further and since she's been coughing so much, it can't heal. So she has some pretty strong medicine to keep her pretty doped up for a few days so she can rest and suppress the cough and he said in 2-3 days she should be much better! So hopefully by Thursday at the latest we will be back to it!

I love you all so much. Thank you so much for your love, support and prayers.

Love ya heaps!
Sister Baker xxx

Phillip- Yes, training is hard. It's a lot of responsibility. But it's also the best! And it sounds like you've already seen the blessings. That is so awesome that your Spanish has been improving! The gift of tongues. It's real. Keep working hard and know that I'm praying for you. The fact that your companion is relatively new to the gospel might be a bit hard at first but you are going to help him so much and I know he will forever remember the testimony he gains as a missionary and if you do your job right, he will forever remember you and the influence you had on him. You're so awesome! Keep up the good work!