Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Zone P-Day at Hastings Caves! - Tasmania is Amazing! - 6/17/14

Tassie Times

I literally feel like I was just barely sitting down to email. Time is literally flying by. Which is good because that means that I am loving it. When I'm happiest, time seems to just blow past.
Last Tuesday after we finished emailing, we went to see Nana T. She must have been having a bad day or something because she was not very happy when we got there. But we went ahead and taught the lesson which we had planned for her and I could see her countenance begin to change. By the time we left, she seemed much happier. I'm glad we could brighten her day just a little. After that we had a lesson with G (the 8 year old who is getting ready for baptism.) We taught him the 10 commandments with hand signs to remember them and he loved it! After that lesson, we went to double check the houses that we had been at on Sunday night in hopes that maybe we could be able to find our phone. We had no luck at the first two but we decided to try the last one. I parked the car in the same place I had on Sunday night and we hopped out. Then Sister H says, "Oh my gosh! I found it!!" There was our phone, sitting in the grass. It had been there for almost 48 hours and it was still there--perfectly fine. I'm so grateful that Heavenly Father helped us to find it, and that it hadn't rained in those two days! Tender mercies for sure! That night we had dinner with the T family. Love them! He served his mission in Korea and made Korean food for dinner. It was rice and this spicy chicken stuff that you put in either a lettuce leaf or in a piece of seaweed. It was so yummy! After dinner we had a lesson with S. We taught her how to repent and about the peace that can come from repentance. I am so grateful that we can repent. I feel like I make mistakes every single day and I am so grateful for the Atonement that allows me to change and be a little better every day than I was the day before.
Beautiful church in my area
 
We've been teaching seminary every morning this week which is interesting. Only 3 people come and we're finding it a bit hard to make it interesting for them but we're trying! 
Wednesday we had a really good day of visiting several members and teaching them lessons.
Thursday morning we were at the family history center again. I still have so so much to learn about family history. But I know enough now that I can actually help a few people there when they have questions. Later that afternoon we did a bit of tracting. The first house we knocked on was a member! We had no idea that he lived there so it was quite a surprise when he opened the door. We knocked on a few doors that were homes of Exclusive Brethren. There are tons of them here in Deloraine. I'm not sure what they believe or anything--they are really quite closed about it all, which actually makes me want to know more. After that we drove all the way out for an appointment with a less active. We got there and she ended up not even being home. It's so frustrating when people don't keep their appointments. But, it happens all the time. It's just part of being a missionary I guess. After we drove back in to Deloraine we went to see S. We had planned to teach her the Word of Wisdom but her kids were there which makes it nearly impossible for her to focus on a lesson so we ended up just reading the Book of Mormon with her.
Friday we had a really good lesson with S. Her kids were there so we decided to teach the 10 commandments with hand signs so that we could maybe get them involved. We talked a lot about keeping the Sabbath day holy and how she needed to come to church every single week. We also helped her make plans on how she would keep the commandments and overcome barriers that might get in the way. She seemed to really take everything in and was completely committed to keep her commitments.
Friday night we had a ward activity. It was a dance with the local big band there. It ended up being really well attended and there were tons of non-members there which was awesome. Obviously we can't dance as missionaries but we stood by the doors and greeted people and it was really good!
Saturday morning we went to see a part member family in the ward and had a really good lesson with them. We had dinner that night with a mum and her daughter. They are so wonderful. We mentioned that we were driving down to Hobart on Monday and they gave us a whole bag full of snacks for the car ride down.

Sunday was a bit sad because S didn't come to church. I was sure that she would come when we left on Friday but I'm not sure what happened. We haven't been able to get a hold of her at all so I'm not sure what is going on there. Sunday afternoon we did a bit of tracting and it was really successful! We have return appointments with several people who seem to be really promising! After that we visited a member and had a lesson with their family. Then we had dinner with the W’s. M and J are such good people! After dinner we headed home to pack our bags to head to Hobart.
Monday morning we had to get up at 5:00 so we could leave by 5:45 to travel to Launceston. We met the whole district in Launceston and the 10 of us piled into two cars to drive down to Hobart. The drive down was beautiful. It was light this time so we could see everything and I loved it. Tasmania is amazing! So beautiful! When we got to Hobart we met the rest of the Zone at one of the chapels. Then the Assistants and Sister Maxwell and Sister E pulled up in big bus/vans that they rented from the airport. We all hopped into the vans and drove down to Hastings Caves and one cave there called Newdegate cave! They were amazing! I thought the caves a few weeks ago were cool but these were amazing! We spent the whole day with the zone and it was so fun!
Zone P-Day Activity
Me and Sister H
Inside Newdegate Cave
Me and my MTC Companion!
Me and Sister E

Today we have interviews with President Maxwell and then we will drive back up North.
Beautiful view of Hobart Bay
Me and Sister H in Hobart, Tasmania!
It has been a great week! I love serving with Sister H. She is really fun, we get along great, and she is a great missionary!

I am so grateful to be serving in Tasmania! I love it here! I love the gospel. I know it is true!

Love y'all heaps!

Sister Baker xxx

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Tasmania is SO PRETTY! - 06/10/14

Tassie Times

This week was crazy!

Monday morning after we emailed, Sister R wanted to go say goodbye to a few people. After that we ran home to get all of her stuff. I had to pack an overnight bag to take to Launceston to stay there for a few days. As we started driving to Launceston, all of a sudden our car was making a terrible noise. I thought it was a flat tire or something. All I was thinking about was how I have no idea how to fix anything if something goes wrong. Luckily there was a road work guy who saw us pull over and he fixed the problem in all of about two seconds. So grateful that he was there. Tender mercy for sure! We spent a few hours in Launceston with the sisters and then we drove out to the airport to drop off Sister R. Then Sister S and Sister K became my companions. :) We went to have dinner with two really sweet ladies in their ward who are both facing pretty big challenges-- one just lost her husband and the other is fighting breast cancer. The spirit was so strong and we had a wonderful lesson. After that we had FHE with some members and their investigator. She is 16 and so sweet. She's getting baptized in a couple of weeks. That night I had to make a bed for myself on the floor at their flat out of extra blankets. As I was snuggling down onto the not-so-comfortable floor, I couldn't help but feel so blessed. I'm serving in Australia where I have all the comforts of life. I was thinking about Phil in Peru and how he didn't even have water to shower one time. I am so so blessed to be in Australia!
Saying goodbyes to Sister R at the airport.

Tuesday morning we spent a lot of the time helping the RS president in Launceston get a flat ready for the Elders. There haven't been Elders in Launceston for about 10 months so we had to get the flat all cleaned out and furnished, etc. After that we saw a family in the ward and had a lesson and then we helped an old lady do some packing as she is getting ready to move next week. We had dinner with some really wonderful members who had also invited S and D over. S and D are in Tasmania for 4 months studying. They are from Kiribati (pronounced Kiribus) I want to visit Kiribati so badly now! They were such amazing people and have the strongest testimonies! When we finished dinner we went to see a woman and her non-member husband. She is American and grew up in Orem, Utah. Her husband apparently used to want nothing to do with the church but he's opened up a lot in the past few months and the Sisters are starting to teach him which is really cool. When we finished the lesson there, we had to drive out to the airport to pick up the Elders that were flying down from Melbourne. It was SUPER foggy as we drove down and I wondered if the flight might not be able to land. We waited at the airport for about 45 minutes and then they told us that the flight had been circling around Launceston but that they were going back to Melbourne because it was too foggy to land. Ha, so we went to the airport for nothing. The Elders from Devonport and Burnie were also there to pick up their new companions and it was too far of a drive for them to go all the way back that night just to come back to the airport in the morning so we made arrangements for them to stay with a member in Launceston.

Wednesday morning we had a lesson with a less-active member which went really well. I had never met her before but during the lesson I felt such an overwhelming love for her. I love moments like that. I feel like it is a bit of a glimpse of what Heavenly Father feels for each of us. After the lesson we drove out to pick up the Elders. Their flight got in without a problem but then they lost one of the Elders bags so we ended up there for almost an hour extra to try to find the bag. Don't ask me how a bag gets lost just going from Melbourne to Launceston but apparently it does. We finally left with the airline telling us that they would deliver the bag. We dropped off the Elders stuff to their flat and then drove them to the store so they could buy food. Then we had a lesson with a girl named H. She is so sweet. Her fiancé G got home right before we left and he ended up really opening up about his concerns about coming to church but his desire to change and get rid of some of the guilt that he feels. Before we left, he asked if he could say the prayer and it was one of the most beautiful, heart-felt prayers I have ever heard. We had dinner that night with a wonderful couple. Crazy, but he told us that his brother lives in America and works at Mr. Mac! They showed me a picture of him and I am pretty sure I remember him from the store. If I remember right he's a kind of short guy with dark hair. Wednesday night President Maxwell called and did my Ecclesiastical Endorsement over the phone so that's all done and out of the way. I love President Maxwell so much. He always makes me feel so loved and appreciated.

Thursday morning the Launceston sisters did their weekly planning so I had a couple of hours to just do some extra studying. I love the scriptures so much! I am always so grateful when I have some extra time to study them. If there is one thing I have learned on the mission, I have learned to love the scriptures. About noon we left to drive out to the airport to pick up my golden. Her name is Sister H! She's from Arizona and has the same birthday as Phil). After we picked her up we dropped off the Launceston sisters at their flat and we drove back to Deloraine. It's such a beautiful drive. Tasmania is SO PRETTY! When we got back to Deloraine, Sister H unpacked a bit and then we had to go to the store to get groceries since Sister R and I didn't buy anything Monday because we knew we'd be gone most of the week. That night we had dinner with a family in the ward. They are what an Australian would call bogan or as we would say redneck. Seriously, they live on a farm and are just farm people. They have about a billion animals. They have a cockatoo that dances to music which is pretty funny.
Me and my new companion, Sister H!
Friday morning we got up stinking early to go on a quick walk then hurry and get ready to go to Seminary at 6:30. The Bishop has asked us to teach seminary for the next few weeks until they can get a new teacher called. There are only two people that come to seminary but I think it will be good, even if it does mean getting up early every day. Blessings will come for sure. We had morning tea with some members from my last area who were visiting Tasmania! It was so fun to see them! Sister H got to try her first Aussie meat-pie and she loved it! We had a lesson with S that afternoon which went really well. We were able to set a baptismal date with her for June 28th. Sarah is hard though. She has real health issues and we're not sure how to help her. Some days she seems to understand everything and then the next time we go back, she doesn't remember any of it. But we'll just keep working with her and see how things go. After the lesson with S, I took Sister H tracting for her first time. The very first house we knocked on was a woman who said she was a witch and wiggled her fingers at us. Haha it was crazy! We also met a JW man who was 87 years old and tried to tell us we didn't know what we were talking about. I felt bad that he wouldn't listen at all. Friday night we went to the RS activity and brought S. It was a pamper night which was really fun. They had stuff to do facials and pedicures and stuff. It was a really good activity and everyone loved it, especially S.
Meeting for morning tea with members from Mooroolbark (my previous area)
 Saturday afternoon the STLs (Sister Training Leaders) came to visit us quickly before driving back down to Glen Huon (they had been in Launceston doing exchanges with the sisters there). Sister R is a STL down here now which I am so happy about. Seeing her brings me such absolute joy. It was so good to have a little visit from her and Sis. S. The Sisters in this mission are so amazing! After that we went to the Stake President's house and had a lesson with their family. Then we had dinner with J W and her family. J is really my second mum here. I love her so much. And she is an amazing cook!
 
Me and Sister H
Visit from the STLs
Me and Sister R!
Sunday was really good. S came to church and really enjoyed it! Sunday afternoon we did a bit of finding and then went out to Westbury to visit some members and have dinner there. We had dinner with a wonderful family! We visited another family before going home. When we got home, we realized that the phone was gone! We really needed to call in our stats for the week so we went to a member's house that lives just around the corner. We called our district leader from there and then called the houses we had been at to try to find our phone. No luck. We still haven't found it. If we don't find it today, we're going to have to get a new one. It's the craziest thing. Neither one of us can figure out what the heck happened to it.
 
The church in Deloraine
View of the mountains from the church
Yesterday we had district p-day. We all went to Liffey Falls. It was beautiful and a lot of fun! I'll send pictures of it!


District P-Day at Liffey Falls




I am so grateful to be a missionary. Every day I count my blessings to be living here in Tasmania being able to share the gospel that I love so much with those around me. It's amazing.

I love you all heaps!

Love,
Sister Baker xxx


P.S. Sounds like the weather at home is perfect. I'm jealous. It's cold here. 

I am falling in love with family history.... It's addicting! - 06/02/14

Tassie Times

I can't believe it's been another week! Time seriously goes by so fast!

Monday after we emailed we went with our district to a place called Marakoopa Caves. :) It was so cool. Absolutely beautiful caves underground. It was amazing. And there is a part of the cave that is filled with all of these glow worms. It was so cool. Heavenly Father sure does have some beautiful creations here in Tasmania. After that we hiked up Alum Cliffs (the cliffs sister R and I went to before) so that everyone could see. They didn't really know exactly what to expect but they all loved it, especially Elder P. When he got to the top he said, "Oh my gosh. This is amazing. It's a good thing this isn't in my area or else I would never get any missionary work done." Haha it was pretty funny. He didn't want to ever leave. Monday night after p-day was finished we had a good lesson with S. We taught her the apostasy using a picture that the APs showed us at our Zone Conference and it worked really well. It really helps people to understand the need for a restoration and the importance of the priesthood.
 
A weird long-haired freaky cow we saw driving out to the caves.
Our district on P-day
Marakoopa Caves

Me and my companion!

Alum Cliffs

At top of Alum Cliffs
Tuesday morning we had our last district meeting of the transfer. We had a really good training on obedience using the story of Samson in Judges. Read it and notice how his small actions of disobedience ultimately caused his downfall. It was really interesting. After our meeting we all had lunch together. Sister R and I brought the American Pancake mix from our flat and everyone else brought toppings. It was really fun. That afternoon we went to our regular Tuesday appointments. We had a good lesson with Nana Trixie and a good lesson with the less active family. That night we had dinner with a part member couple in the ward. She is a member and he is not. We showed them the Mormon message Earthly Father Heavenly Father and the spirit was so strong. I hope we can get them both coming to church soon!
 
Last district meeting of this transfer!
Wednesday afternoon we had lunch with our new ward mission leader. He is so wonderful. He really has a vision for the work and wants to be really involved. He is what every ward needs. A good ward mission leader helps the work so much. After that we stopped in to see C and her kids. We keep just having to stop by when we are in their area because they are so busy that we can't really set appointments. They were getting ready to leave so we didn't have time for a lesson but it was good to be able to contact them. That evening we went to G and L's for dinner. They are investigators that I told you about my first week here. We haven't been able to have a lesson with them for a long time. But a member works with him and they talk about church things almost every day. We had a really good lesson Wednesday night and he had a few light bulb moments which was really good. And she is getting more involved with the lessons which is awesome.

Thursday morning we were at the family history center and I've been able to connect a few more dots in my family tree. I am falling in love with family history. For years I have felt guilty during general conference when they talked about family history because I wasn't doing it. But now I love it and I wish I could do more of it. It's addicting. I've been studying the Doctrine and Covenants this week and in section 127 I noticed that as Joseph Smith is giving instructions he doesn't say baptisms for the dead but he says baptisms for your dead. Also this morning I was reading Elder Cook's most recent general conference talk about family history. He also talks about the obligation we have to not only do temple work but to do temple work for our own ancestors. I don't want to be a preachy, soap-box missionary but I'm going to be a little bit. If you're not doing family history work, do it. Go to a family history library, watch the online tutorials and get involved in it. I can promise you that it will bring you so much joy.

Thursday afternoon we were going to do some tracting. The second house that we knocked on a woman said from behind the door, "who is it?" we said it's the missionaries! And she opened right up. Turns out that she has been taught before and knows a lot of the members well. She invited us right in. She's from Nigeria. We were able to have a really good lesson with her and we have a return appointment for this week which I'm really excited about!

Friday morning we got up at 6:00 to go walking with S. She really needs to get out of her house more so we are going to walk with her about once a week in the morning. We had a flat inspection by the real estate people that day so we got the flat nice and clean. When the lady got there, she came in for all of about 2 minutes and said that it looked good and then she left. I didn't know that qualifies as an inspection but whatever. That afternoon we did some more tracting with a little bit of success. Funny thing though-- we talked to one guy who was wearing a Yankees hat and a Dodgers shirt. And he didn't even know what either of them were. Haha.

Saturday morning we had another lesson with S. She had her two little kids there so it was a bit crazy but we were able to read a chapter of the Book of Mormon with her. Sister R and I both had terrible colds on Saturday so we were at the flat for a bit of the afternoon trying to get feeling better. Good news was by yesterday morning I felt pretty much as good as new.

Sunday was really good. G and L both came to church for the full three hours. I love Fast Sundays and hearing people bear their testimonies. I wasn't at all planning on bearing my testimony but when the spirit prompts, you have to follow. I am so grateful for the many many opportunities I have as a missionary to bear my testimony and share the things that I know with others. As I share simple truths that I have known my whole life, my own testimony is deepened and strengthened.

Another thing, we got transfer news on Saturday night. I didn't know at all what to expect. They called and told us that Sister R would be leaving and I would be staying. AND that I will be training again. I was shocked. I didn't expect at all to train again. But I'm looking forward to it. In a way, training is like a fresh slate. You get a brand new missionary who knows nothing about you and I get to show her exactly what kind of missionary I am and want to be. I am really looking forward to digging in with my golden, being exactly obedient and working hard.

Sister R flies out tonight and my golden won't get here until Wednesday night so I will be spending the next few days with the Launceston sisters which I'm looking forward to.

I love being a missionary. I want to use every second of the time that I have left to its fullest. Time is going way too fast. I love it here. I never want it to end.


Even though they scare me, Australia has the most beautiful birds!

Love you all heaps!

Sister Baker xxx

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Man, I wish I knew more about family history. - 05/26/14

Tassie Times

Well, this week we had such good week!!

On Monday we went with one of the most awesome members in the ward into Launceston. We wanted to go grocery shopping there because the cheaper store is there and we only have the more expensive one in Deloraine. We saved so much money being able to go there which was awesome. And you should have seen our cart—it was full of nothing but healthy food. Seriously, everything was so healthy. The most unhealthy thing there was bread. Ha, so that was good. We also went to one of my favourite clothes shops in Australia—Rivers. I got a whole new really cute outfit. I love it so much that I decided that I would wear it to Zone Conference and then put it away and save it to be my coming home outfit. :)

Monday night we had dinner with the Stake President and their family. They are such wonderful people who really live the gospel. I love them. After that we had a lesson with S. She has some real health challenges. As we were with her, I felt so much love for her. We are trying to help her to feel the spirit and understand that she is a daughter of God.

Tuesday morning we were helping in the family history center. Sometimes I feel so bad because I don't know how to answer people's questions. But I'm slowly learning and figuring things out. After family history a YSA girl came to pick us up. She was chauffeuring us around for the day because our car was getting repaired/serviced. We spent a bit of the afternoon doing some tracting. Then we saw cute Nana Trixie and had a lesson about the spirit and the light of Christ. Then we went to go teach the boy who we are helping to get ready for baptism. They had forgotten about the appointment and the dad had taken the kids somewhere but the mum was home and let us in. She was having a really rough day and needed someone to just listen so it was good to be able to do that for her. Tuesday night we had dinner with a cute older couple in the ward. Haha G is 88 and is hilarious. I love older people, they're so cute. :)

Wednesday was such a good day! We went on exchanges with the Sister Training Leaders, Sister R and Sister S. I got to be with Sister Roberts the whole day which was really great. :) We did a fair bit of tracting in the morning and we met some good potentials. Then we had a lesson with S. She was having a really bad day and when we got to her house. We sang some hymns which seemed to really help her mood. I feel like I've been taking the role of a listener a lot lately which has been good. I know that the Savior would do the same thing--just sit and listen to people. After our lesson with S we saw a cute Filipino lady in the ward. Then we visited C and her kids and had a quick lesson about prophets. Then we went to a house for dinner.
  
Thursday morning the Zone Leaders came with us to S's house to give her a blessing and also to bless her home. It was perfect. Sarah felt the Spirit so strongly. After they left we were able to read the Book of Mormon with her and the spirit was so strong.

Thursday afternoon we went to go visit a less active young mum in the ward. They live kind of up on the hill. It poured rain while we were there and got really muddy. When we went to leave, our car got stuck in the mud... It's a good thing that her fiancé was there to get us unstuck. Haha, cause if not, I have no idea what we would have done. That night we had the first ward council with the new bishop which was really good. The ward here is so great. They are going to give S home and visiting teachers even though she's not a member yet so that she has some support.

Friday we spent most of the day at Zone Conference. Have I mentioned before how much I love meetings? Well, I love them. The Zone Conference was so good. I felt so inspired and received a lot of revelation. I'll share a few of my favorite thoughts:
  • A friend is someone who accepts you the way you are but doesn't leave you the way they found you.
  • The war we fought in heaven is continued here on earth--President Maxwell is commander who knows what to do and how to do it. He knows how to keep us safe and how to win the war.
  • Ether 3:1-6. Our investigators can be likened unto the stones. We need to prepare them so that they can be touched by the Lord.
  • Regret test-- if I choose to do this now, will I regret it tomorrow, next week, next year, etc.?
  • Help your companion to be obedient. Does it really matter if they are annoyed? Will they still be annoyed in the Celestial Kingdom?
  • The adversary is doing everything in his power to bind us under the name of freedom.
  • Become a "YES MAN." Help and serve the members at any opportunity.
  • Own doorsteps. Smile. Remember that everyone you meet is 10% less comfortable than you are.
  • "Difficulties are just things to overcome after all." -Ernest Shackleton. (look him up. He has an incredible story. I don't have time to tell it now.)
  • "The Lord you represent and serve knows you can do this and He will help you."-Elder Bednar
  • If we are quiet and peaceful, we will realize the Lord has been walking in our areas.
I could go on and on. It was such a good conference. I am so grateful for the wonderful leaders we have in this mission, especially President and Sister Maxwell. President Maxwell gives me the best advice and counsel. It was exactly what I needed. Heavenly Father knows me and is so aware of me.

Saturday was a busy day full of work and a bunch of tracting with which we had some good success. We met an aboriginal man who is about 70. We invited him to come to church. He was keen to come so we arranged a ride for him. We were actually quite surprised when he actually came to church. Haha he was wearing a t-shirt that said, "Hot as Hell" which I found so funny. It took everything in me not to crack up laughing. He stayed for almost all of church which was good. Haha but we did find out that he has been to church twice before and he doesn't remember it at all. And that he's an alcoholic. So we'll see how things go trying to teach him.

We've been really trying to apply the things we learned at zone conference, especially about being able to help the members at any opportunity. We've had two really good opportunities so far. Friday night our appointment fell through so we stopped by the chapel to make copies of fliers for an upcoming ward activity. A family in the ward was just getting there to clean the chapel and we were able to help them clean the whole building. As we were leaving, they gave us a really solid referral. We had another opportunity last night. We went to a part-member family's house for dinner. We got there and I picked up their little teacup-poodle who is so cute and I love so much. They said that the dog really needed a bath so we offered to do it and gave the dog a bath and then blow dried her. And we got another really solid referral from them which was really good!

We had such a good week. We taught 27 lessons which is more than I think I've ever had in Australia. We are finding more people to build our teaching pool. Things are going really well. I love being a missionary so much!

I love you all heaps and heaps!

Love,

Sister Baker xxx