Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Before the mission I knew what the atonement was, but now I know what it feels like. - 7/28/14

Melbourne Mission Moments 07/28/14

Wow what a week. Tarneit is such a great area and we are constantly so busy! I can't believe how much we get done in one week. I feel like we're literally running from one thing to the next. And I love it! I am so grateful that I will probably end my mission here. I want to be working this hard until the very end.

On Monday after we finished emailing and getting a few things at the store, we just went back to the flat so I could finish unpacking my stuff and then we both took a nap--we were both feeling so exhausted! That night we went to Bishop M's for FHE. They have two little boys that are so cute and SO smart! One of them reminds me so much of McKay. Actually to be honest, tons of boys here remind me of McKay. I guess I just miss him that much or something. Haha. After FHE we stopped by to see a less active named and her non-member husband. We had a short but powerful lesson with them and they invited us over for this coming weekend to have dinner and a lesson with them. We really want to start formally teaching the husband so hopefully we can start that this weekend!

Tuesday afternoon we picked up one of the Laurels in the ward and went to teach the daughter of one of the recent converts. Unfortunately, they weren't home. We had a backup plan but we felt like we should try to contact our referral, M, instead. When we knocked on M's door, she opened and said, "Mormons? Come in." WHAT THE HECK?!?! It was so unexpected that it took us a couple of seconds to react. M is amazing. She told us that just that day she had been emailing Sister T (one of the missionaries that just went home). They went to school together in NZ. She asked us to tell her more about the Book of Mormon which we gladly did. We had a really good lesson and she committed to read and pray about the Book of Mormon. I feel like she is as golden as they come. I can't wait to see her again this week! That night we had dinner with the T family. After dinner, we had a lesson and showed the Mormon message, "Earthly Father, Heavenly Father." They both really felt the spirit and it was so good. Our goal is to get them to the temple to be sealed forever! After that we had coordination meeting with our Ward Mission Leader. He is so amazing! I am so grateful for him!

Sister A and found Deloraine Drive.
So fun since we both served in Deloraine.
Me and Sister A
Wednesday morning after we finished our morning studies, we went on exchanges with the Point Cook Sisters. I was able to spend the day in their area with Sister A. Sister A and I were in the MTC together and went to Texas together so it was fun to be together again! We had a really good lesson with L, one of their baptismal dates. She is 17 and is so excited about church. She has a notebook that she takes notes from every lesson. She has read all the way up to Alma in the Book of Mormon too. We had a bit of a funny experience later that afternoon when we went to try to contact a less-active on the ward list that they didn't know. This guy has one of those screen doors that make it impossible to see through it. When he opened the door and was standing behind the screen door, he told us that he wasn't wearing any clothes. Uhhh awkward... But we continued to try to make an appointment to see their family when we hear the door close. Ummm.... excuse me? We knocked on the door again and this time he opened the door, and the screen door—fully clothed may I add. He thought he was going to get rid of us that fast... haha think again. He was really nice though and we were able to make an appointment for them to see him later in the week. Another funny experience from that day--we were walking through the park when we met an Indian man. We started talking with him and shared about the Plan of Salvation and it was really good. Before we left, he pulled Sister A into a big hug and kissed her on the cheek!! Haha it was so funny! Then we continued on our way and we were knocking on some doors when we saw this same Indian man coming up to us. He reached out to shake my hand and then the next thing I knew, he was pulling me into a hug and kissing my cheek. Yuck. Haha it was funny though. I can now say I've been kissed by an Indian hahahaha.

I stayed the night with Sister A and then we had studies together Thursday morning. Being Pioneer day, we had to sing pioneer songs! :) I loved that the quote on the Conference Calendar was about pioneers too! After studies we switched back and Sister W and I headed back to our area. It was a bit of a rough day. We had lots of people cancel and then other people weren't home so it was pretty slow all day. Sometimes you have those days and there's not a lot you can do.

Friday morning we went to visit a less-active named TJ. We read a bit from the Book of Mormon with him and invited him to come to church. He said he'd try to come but we really weren't too sure. After that we visited the H family. A is 19 and waiting for his mission call to arrive. He was so cute asking so many questions about mission rules and things. He is dying to get his call. He's been waiting 3 weeks so it should be here any day now! Thursday afternoon we were able to stop by and see K—a recent convert. She got baptized in December but has been finding it hard to come to church. We were able to really encourage her to come on Sunday. We had dinner Friday night with a family from Tonga. Man, Tongan households are crazy! But so fun! Islanders have so much love to give!

Saturday morning we had zone studies which was really good. We talked a lot about obedience. I was reading in 1 Nephi 17:3 and it's so simple--if we keep the commandments or the mission rules, Heavenly Father will bless us. There's nothing complicated about it. I just wish I could make every missionary understand that. After studies, we went to pick up H and S. H is 19 and just got her mission call to Tonga and S is her 16-year-old sister. They came out with us all day on Saturday and man we saw miracles. I went with H and Sister W went with S. Between the four of us we were able to teach 10 lessons and find 4 new investigators! It was amazing!
Me and H with some kids in the ward
Sunday morning we called EVERYONE inviting them to church. We had a goal of having 3 investigators at church and we had been inviting people all week and wanted to do everything we possibly could to achieve that goal. We were pretty sure that at least 3 people would make it. Then we got to church and no one showed up. It's really easy to feel discouraged but I fought those feelings away knowing that we had done everything that we could and in the end it was left to those people's agency. And, we had all the recent converts in the ward and about 6 less-actives that we had invited show up, including TJ! It was great to see so many of them come! The 4 missionaries in our ward were asked to speak in sacrament meeting yesterday. Our topic was "How has my testimony been strengthened while serving the Lord?" I am so grateful for this topic because it gave me opportunity to really reflect on the past 16 months and all that I have learned and the change that has taken place in my life. So many aspects of my testimony have been so strengthened. I have become truly, truly converted to the gospel. I have experienced the atonement. Before the mission I knew what the atonement was but now I know what it feels like. I am so grateful for the gospel and to be a missionary. I love it.
With the Elders in our ward

Sister W, Sister L and me - Matchy, matchy Sunday

With some of our wonderful member!

Love you all heaps!!
Sister Baker xxx

P.S. -  Sister W finishes at the end of this transfer. I love her NZ accent. Sister W and I are over 6 companionships. We do exchanges once per transfer. There are 5 companionships of STLs. We have Mission Leadership Council so I will see all the others this week.

Monday, July 28, 2014

I am so grateful for the power of music and the spirit that it brings! - 7/21/14

Melbourne Mission Moments

I think I have been busier this week than any other week of my mission but it has been so good!
Saying goodbye to Sister H at the airport.
Monday was my last day in Deloraine. Sister H and I were so busy packing up all of our stuff and cleaning the flat and getting it all locked up. By about 2 pm we left to drive to Launceston. We had a couple hours in Launceston with the sisters there. We went to a little cafe and had hot chocolate and then finished packing up Sister K's stuff. About 5 pm we had to leave to drive to the airport. We were super blessed at the airport that everyone's bags went through with no problem (even though a couple of them were 2-3 kgs over weight.) Tender mercy. Sister S and Sister H came down to the gate with us to wait until we could board our flight (Australia is super lax on security and anyone can go through security and wait at the gate). When it was time to go, I was so sad to leave Sister H. We both cried. I loved serving with her and it was sad that it was so short lived. There were just three of us flying up from Launceston--me, Sister K, and Elder J. The flight is so short--only about an hour. We landed in Melbourne and found our bags and then some of the Elders picked us up at the airport. Sister K and I stayed the night with some Chinese Sisters that serve close to the mission office.

Tuesday morning we got up and got ready and then the Maroondah zone leaders picked up Sister K and me to take us to transfer meeting. It was so fun to be back on the mainland and see so many people that I haven't seen in a while! My new companion is Sister W. She's Maori from New Zealand. She's such a hard worker and even though in some ways we are so different, we are so similar too! It's been so fun! We are serving in the Tarneit Ward on the west side of the city. The ward has heaps and heaps of Islanders! I love Islanders. They have the biggest hearts and are so accepting of anyone. I have felt so loved here! And the work here is really moving!
Transfer meeting went pretty long because there were so many departing missionaries who were bearing their testimonies. After transfer meeting, we had a leaders meeting. By the time we drove all the way back to our area, it was after 5 pm. We dropped off our stuff at our flat quickly before heading to a dinner appointment. Our flat is great. We share it with the Werribee sisters (Sister M and Sister S). We had dinner that night with a wonderful Samoan family. Sister F is the Relief Society president and is so loving and caring!

Wednesday morning we had a zone meeting. Our zone is great! We have some really awesome missionaries here! Our Zone Leaders are two of my old District Leaders-- Elder H and Elder D. In our zone meeting, the zone leaders committed all of us to go out and set a baptismal date that day. Sister W and I are both quite competitive and we decided we wanted to be the first ones to set a date! We had a lesson with a girl from South Sudan. We were teaching the Plan of Salvation and we got about halfway through it. Then we invited her to be baptized on August 16th and she said yes! It was Sister W and my first lesson together and it went so well! After that we went with Sister F to visit some of the sisters in the ward. Then we went to our dinner appointment. Sister T was sick so she hadn't had time to prepare a meal for us but Islanders love feeding the missionaries (they believe that is how they receive blessings) so she insisted on taking us to get Asian take away. After dinner we went to meet the K family who are wonderful! They have both served missions and we encouraged them to get back out their copies of Preach my Gospel and to study them. After that we had coordination meeting with our Ward Mission Leader, Brother S. He is such a good ward mission leader! You couldn't ask for better! He is so on top of things and I felt so encouraged about the work in this area after meeting with him. 
Thursday morning we were inside a lot of the morning. First we set our transfer goals. We set a goal for the transfer that we will have 5 new investigators every week. We decided that we wanted to have a consequence for if we don't achieve our goal to help us be more accountable to it. We decided that if we didn't achieve it, we would have to sleep on the hard wood floor on Sunday night. You better believe that we were committed to that goal! After that we had to work out an exchange schedule for the transfer. Then we had to do our weekly planning. Later we had a lesson with the M family. They found them last transfer while tracting. The mum and dad are members but have been inactive for a long time! They have 5 kids, four boys and a little girl. All of the boys are baptismal age. We had a lesson with them about God's love and invited them to a family home evening with another family. As we were finishing the lesson, I had a prompting that we should sing a song. We pulled out our hymn books and we asked Sister M if she had a song that she really liked. She asked us to sing I am a Child of God. They used our hymn books and we all sang it together. The spirit was so strong. I am so grateful for the power of music and the spirit that it brings! After that we had a quick dinner with the Ls and then we went to visit a part member family. M has recently returned to church. Her husband O is not a member. He just got his visa and came over from Tonga. They have a 6 month old little baby. O is slowly warming up to the gospel.
Friday morning we had zone studies. I've never done it before but it was really good! Basically the whole zone just does personal and companionship study together. After that we went to pick up Sister L and went to teach a man named D. D is Yugoslavian but was raised in Australia. We had a good lesson and taught the first half of the restoration. He was really feeling the spirit and we helped him recognize that. He was pretty hesitant to commit to anything though. That afternoon we went to contact a referral named M. She wasn't home but her brother was. He was really nice and told us that he had gone to school with lots of members in New Zealand. We have a return appointment with their family this week! 
We were asked to help with the Heidleberg Stake mini-missionary weekend this week so we had to drive to there on Friday night to pick up our mini-missionary. Sister V was with us all weekend. She is Samoan and really sweet! Saturday morning we went back to their stake center to have an "MTC" for the mini-missionaries. After we finished that we drove back to our area. We had a lesson with B but it was crazy because there were about 20 little Sudanese children running all over the place and people coming in and out. We were doing a little bit of tracting after that and we met an Indian family--J and I. They are Seik but invited us to come back next weekend! After that we went to visit a less-active family--the Ts. We sang Love at Home at their doorstep and they invited us in and we had a really good lesson. After that we had dinner with the T family. 
Sunday morning we had Ward Council. After that we didn't have very much time until we needed to be back at the chapel for church. We really needed one more investigator for the week and prayed that Heavenly Father would help us find someone. The first person we talked to was a Sri Lankan man. We were able to have a lesson with him right away in the park and then he came to church! Church was great. I love the ward here! However, the names are so hard to remember! After church we had a baptism. W, a little 9 year old got baptized. The baptism was small but it was perfect. After the baptism we had to drive Sister V back to Heidleberg and went to the testimony meeting there.

It was been such a good week. I love serving here!

I love you all so much!
Sister Baker xxx
P.S. -  As a STL we basically watch over all the sisters and make sure they are doing well. We also have to go on exchanges with all the sisters on the west side at least once during the transfer.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Sister Baker, you're going back to the mainland... - 7/14/14

The Last Tassie Times

Holy moly this week has gone by so quickly! I feel like I just blinked and BAM it's gone!

Monday we went with our District to Cradle Mountain. I wish we had more time there! It was so beautiful! It was quite cold, especially for the Australians, but it was really fun. Apparently most winters there would be snow there but this winter hasn't been cold enough yet. Who knew that anywhere in Australia would get snow?
Me and Sister H at Dove Lake, Cradle Mountain
The sisters in our district on Glacier Rock
Our district

Tuesday morning we had our last district meeting of the transfer. After the meeting, we all went to the Raspberry Farm for lunch. It was so delicious and so fun to spend that time with our district. We've had a really awesome district this transfer. Later that afternoon, we went out to see E, but unfortunately, she wasn't home. We had a lesson with B, or at least tried to. That night we had dinner with our ward mission leader and his wife. We had something called Chicken Merango.  I've never heard of it before but it was really good. You should google a recipe and try it!
Waffles at Raspberry Farm - they're amazing!
Wednesday afternoon we visited a less-active woman in the ward who suffers from epilepsy. We sang "Nearer My God to Thee" to her and she was so touched. I love the power that music has to touch hearts. We had a lesson later that day with G. They invited us to stay for dinner. Hopefully they felt our love for them.

Thursday afternoon we got to stop by to see C and her kids and have a short lesson. C brought up church and said that she and J really wanted to come last week, but they didn't end up making it. Man, sometimes it's so hard to get investigators to church. Our dinner appointment Thursday night was with a single sister in the ward. We got there and she explained that she didn't really feel like cooking so she made Nachos for dinner. It was great for a change! During dinner I looked down to see what time it was and saw that it was 6:10. About 20 minutes later, I looked at my watch again and it was still 6:10! My watch battery died. Dang it.

Friday morning we spent several hours doing service for an investigator named C. We helped her tear out this massive honeysuckle bush that had completely taken over her yard. We worked on it for a solid 3 hours and were a complete mess afterwards but we loved it. We are always offering to help people with things and it was nice to finally have someone let us help them!

Saturday morning the phone rang and it was President Maxwell. He asked me to serve as a Sister Training Leader this next transfer and told me that I'd be heading up to the mainland. I was really surprised but I'm excited too! We had to do our weekly planning that morning because we hadn't done it yet, so we spent a lot of time going over the whole area book and ward list so Sister H would know about everything and everyone since I would be leaving. We went out and did some tracting later that day. We met this woman named S. We offered service and she said yes! So we ran home and changed our clothes and we helped her do some weeding for a couple of hours. As we worked, she talked about her life/religious beliefs and we were able to share a lot as well. At one point she was literally in tears. She has had a lot of big trials the past couple of years and they have really prepared her. She NEEDS the gospel.

That night we went to the Ws for dinner. J is such an incredible cook. She made a roast and mashed potatoes and gravy. It tasted like home. I am so grateful for J. I am going to miss them!

Transfer calls always come on Saturday night, but since President Maxwell had called me that morning, we were not nervous and anxious like you usually are Saturday night. We just assumed that since I was leaving, Sister H would stay and get a follow-up trainer. When the message came, we listened and were shocked to hear, "Deloraine will be closed down. Sister Baker, you're going back to the mainland. Sister H, you're getting transferred to Launceston and Sister S will be your new companion." We were absolutely shocked! I have no idea why they are closing the area, but it's true.

The Bishop announced in Sacrament meeting that we were leaving and all the members were really upset that they are not going to have missionaries here anymore. Everyone kept asking why, but we didn't really have any answers for them. Sister H and Sister S are going to continue to teach our investigators that we have here but they won't spend much time in Deloraine and won't attend the ward. It's been crazy and a whirlwind the last 36 hours. After church we spent some time packing. Later we had dinner with the Westbury Ts. I love them. They are some really awesome members here whom we are both sad to leave. However, I know that this is what Heavenly Father wants. And, I'm really excited about going back up to the mainland. I can't wait to find out who my companion will be.
Goodbyes to ward members in Deloraine

We've spent all morning packing and cleaning. We have to have the flat completely cleaned and lock it up. My flight leaves for Melbourne tonight at 6:25. Sister K is flying up as well. I'm assuming we'll probably stay at the mission home tonight and then transfer meeting is tomorrow morning!
I love our flat in Deloraine!
I love you all heaps!

Sister Baker xxx

Monday, July 14, 2014

I believe all of us can see miracles every day--we just have to look for them. - 7/7/14

Tassie Times

Happy fourth of July a few days late! Go America! We had a really good week this week!
Monday we went in to Launceston to spend the day with the sisters there! It was a lot of fun. Launceston seems like a huge city compared to tiny little Deloraine! We spent the whole day there shopping and things and then we drove back to Del. We had dinner with the Ws, a part member family. They are great! We were talking about Kangaroo and they are going to go kill a kangaroo and cook it for us! I can't wait! I figure I can't leave Australia without eating it at least once!
I love Australia!

Tuesday morning we went to see S. She's still struggling but we read a chapter from the Book of Mormon with her and it seemed to help lift her spirits a bit. Later that afternoon, we had a lesson with a cute old lady named E. She's probably in her 70s and goes to the Uniting church. We taught her the Restoration and the spirit was really strong, especially as S. Hatch shared the pillar of light! At the end we committed her to read the Book of Mormon and pray about it. She told us that she didn't think she would because she liked her church and felt content there. Ugh, seriously. The spirit had been there so strong. I said the first thing that came to my mind as I asked her, "What do you have to lose?" After she thought about it she said "You're right. I should read it." She is really sweet. We've been praying for her all week that she will be able to get an answer! We have an appointment with her tomorrow so hopefully it goes well! After that lesson, we went to see B. We taught her about prophets. We had dinner that night with the G. It was so yummy. I don't think that I'd ever eaten them before the mission, but man, brussel sprouts are so good! Seriously though, I love the things.

Wednesday was a normal day of trying to catch people at home and doing some finding. That evening we had dinner with a part member family. She is completely less active and really wants nothing to do with the church. But they like the missionaries and usually invite us for dinner once a month. We're struggling to know how to take it to the next level now though. How to begin really teaching them and helping them come unto Christ. It's a tough gig—finding the balance between having their trust and not having them feel too pushed.

Thursday morning we were at family history. I was kind of at a brick wall, not really sure what to do next but I started just exploring the lines that were already there. I found 4 people that need ordinances done. All of the information was already there, I just needed to reserve them and now the cards just need to be printed! I couldn't help but think, these people are just waiting to have their work done. Literally, the information was there. The work just needs to be done. I hope you all want to go and do a huge day at the temple when I get home! I have about 30 people that need ordinances done!

Thursday afternoon we were out talking to people on the streets. I saw a Filipino woman standing against a railing in front of us. Having served with Sister G, I LOVE Filipinos. We went over and started talking to her and after about a minute her partner came out of the shop too. We starting talking to them and realized they are so prepared! She hasn't been in Deloraine long and is looking for a church to go to. He recently quit smoking and drinking alcohol! Also, they told us that they were getting married that weekend! And get this--after talking to them for only about five minutes, they invited us to their wedding!! Meeting them was definitely the high of the day!

Friday was the 4th of July here in Australia so naturally we had to celebrate!! We had a district meeting that morning and all the Americans were wearing Red, White and Blue. We sang the Star Spangled Banner. It was pretty funny because the English Elder and the Elders from Australia refused to stand up. We also sang My Country Tis of Thee. And the English Elder was singing God Save the Queen. Good times. Our meeting was really good! We focused a lot on the importance of asking inspired questions as we teach. When you go to heaven to know what to ask them, the spirit comes and you really can understand an investigator's needs and concerns. Lately, I've been really stressed about life after the mission--especially school. I felt prompted to ask for a blessing after the meeting. The Zone Leaders gave me a blessing. It was beautiful and perfect! There was no doubt in my mind that the words were coming straight from my Heavenly Father. He knows me so well. My mind was so put at peace and I feel confident in the decisions that I have been making regarding school and intended majors.

The sisters in our district in 4th of July attire!

That afternoon we had a quick lesson with C and her kids. We taught them the 10 commandments and it was good. They told us that they were excited to come to church that weekend! We had dinner with the W which was amazing—as always. Being the 4th of July, we had to celebrate. Some really sweet members had gotten us some sparklers so we had a bit of fun with those! For being in Australia, it was a pretty alright 4th of July.

Saturday morning Sister H didn't feel well at all so she went back to sleep for a couple of hours. I had a few hours to just study in the morning which I love. The scriptures have such a wealth of information! I love that I can open to anywhere and know that I will learn something! By that afternoon, Sister H was feeling a lot better! We went for lunch to a birthday party for two little girls in our ward. The had a Wiggle Giggle Party. (The Wiggles and Giggle and Hoot: two kids TV shows.) Apparently the Wiggles are still pretty big here in Australia! One of the original guys is still in it but the others are new. There's even a girl giggle now apparently! After we had lunch there, we did some finding. It was a really successful afternoon and we found several people that seem to have a lot of potential!

Sunday at church we were devastated that C and her kids didn't come. It's the worst when investigators don't make it to church. We're not sure what happened but hopefully we'll see them today and follow up with them! After church was over, we went to J and N's wedding! It was a really small wedding, only about 15 people were there. It honestly felt like it was pretend. I don't know. It's sad. They've already been living together so a wedding is just making it legal. And it's so sad that it's just until death do you part. It made me grateful for temples and eternal marriage! They are going away for two weeks on a honeymoon but hopefully we'll start teaching them as soon as they get back!

I love the message in the July Ensign by Elder Gong about perfectionism. I feel like I often fall into that trap but his message gave me a lot more insight! I recommend reading it! I've also been studying a lot about the Nature of God this week. God is so loving. I am so grateful for a Heavenly Father who knows and loves me, who I can talk to at any time and about anything. I am His daughter. I am so grateful for that knowledge.

We've continued to teach seminary this week. But now it's school holidays for two weeks so there won't be any seminary during that time. Hopefully they will have a new teacher by the time it starts up again!

I love serving here in Deloraine with Sister H. We keep seeing miracles every day. I believe all of us can see miracles every day--we just have to look for them.

Deloraine is so beautiful

Love you heaps!

Sister Baker xxx

I felt His love in such an overwhelming way that I couldn't help but cry. - 6/30/14

Tassie Times 06/30/14

Cutest puppy ever!
Awesome house here in Deloraine!
The biggest pear I've ever seen!
I can't believe it's almost July! So crazy! I wish it was as warm here as you all are having. We had cold, wet, rainy weather most of the week this week. But other than that, it was a really good week!

Monday afternoon we got a message from E (one of the best members in our ward!) asking us if we wanted to go to lunch at the Christmas Hills Raspberry Farm with her and her friend named Lel who we are hoping to start teaching soon. Obviously, we agreed. Everyone talks about how yummy the Raspberry Farm is and I've wanted to go since we got here. It was as good as everyone said. Waffles with raspberries and raspberry ice cream... YUM! After that we came back to Deloraine and wanted to go inside some of the little shops that they have on the main road. Unfortunately, most of them weren't open. In Australia a lot of stores aren't open on Monday. Also, most stores close by 5 pm every day. It's so different than America where almost everything is open until at least 9 pm. That night we had dinner with one of the T families. (There are 5 families of Ts in our ward, all related.) After that we went to see S. She didn't remember much that we've taught her. I left feeling totally confused and not knowing at all what to do.

Tuesday morning we had district meeting and we were talking to the other missionaries for advice on what to do with S. There was a lot of good discussion and ideas given but most of them are things that we had already tried. Then Elder Pain raised his hand and talked about sometimes we don't see the results we want (aka baptisms) on our missions but that we still have the opportunity to impact people's lives in a big way so that later down the track, they will remember the love that they received from the missionaries and it will make them that much more ready to accept the gospel. It was exactly what I needed to hear. It reminded me of C and A in Churchill Park. They may not have gotten baptized but I know that we left a lasting impact with them. We have talked with our Bishop and Ward Mission Leader and have decided to scale things back. We will still go around and be friends with her and read the Book of Mormon with her but we're not going to stress teaching the gospel right now because, she's not prepared to understand it.

Tuesday afternoon Sister R and Sister S came up from Glen Huon. The four of us went to a couple of lessons together. We went and saw B. She's so cute. Haha funny story. Before we left, we asked if there was anything that we could do for her. She said,"Well, you can make a cup of tea for me." Figuring that she'd have some sort of herbal tea, I told her I'd love to. Sister R and I went into the kitchen and I realized that she only had black tea--aka against the word of wisdom tea. I was like, oh shoot. I can't make tea for a less active member. Thankfully, Sister R was thinking on her toes. "B, how would you like a Milo?" She said that would be great. Thank goodness. I wouldn't feel right if I helped someone break the word of wisdom! After that we had a lesson with G. We were trying to teach about tithing but man was it hard! I swear his attention span that day was smaller than an ant. But we got through the lesson and I think he understood. The four of us had dinner with E and A that night. They are seriously the best. They are a young couple who are so in love and have the most adorable 2 year old named S. They got us Pizza Hut for dinner as a treat because there are absolutely NO pizza places in Deloraine. After that we went to the chapel because the Primary had asked us to come to their Faith in God activity. They had been making care packages for the missionaries that are serving from this ward. They had also made packages for Sister H and me. It was so cute. They gave us a basket full of stuff: chocolate, hand sanitizer, post-it notes, pens, tights, etc. While we were at the chapel, we popped in to say hi to the Young Women. J was there with them. They were working on a personal progress thing where they had to draw the plan of salvation. J was really excited because we had just taught it to her the week before.

Wednesday I was on exchanges most of the day with Sister S. Love her! We had a really good day. We did some finding and met a few really solid people that we have return appointments with this week. It's always great to go on exchanges and see how another sister does things. I always feel like I learn so much. The STLs left about 5 pm and then I was back with Sister H. It's funny, even though exchanges are fun and great, it is always so good to get back to your companion. We went to C's that night and had a short lesson with them. They all have been using their prayer rocks and loving them. J even wanted to take his to school for show-and-tell. C said that she wouldn't be able to come to church on Sunday because it was the twins birthday party that day but J wanted to come before the party so we arranged a ride for her.

Thursday morning we were in the family history center again. Man, family history is so cool. There is one guy who comes every single week named D. He loves finding out about his ancestors and putting all the pieces together. It's cool to see the spirit of Elijah working in people, even if they don't know that is what is happening. We were running low on Ks for the month so we decided that we would walk. After visiting some people, we stopped by a member’s home to borrow their bikes for a few days. It seemed like a great idea! Well, it wasn't that great. Haha the ride back up to our flat from their house it uphill the entire way! Man it was hard! It got to a point that we both just gave up and walked our stinking bikes. By the time we got back to the flat, we had to just stick them in the garage and jump in the car to go to our dinner appointment. We had dinner with the cutest older couple! G is 88 but you would never notice! Such a spry guy! After dinner with them we had Ward Council which was really good.
Gotta love bike helmets!
We love bikes!
Since the whole zone was running low on Ks, every companionship had to pick a day to have a car fast. We decided that we would do Friday and Saturday. We had it all worked out. We had the bikes to use and everything. Well, the weather decided to be horrible and it rained all day both days. So we didn't end up using the bikes. Instead we walked everywhere with boots, raincoats and umbrellas. And it wasn't even bad. It was actually kind of fun.
Smiling even though it's raining. :)

So sad my umbrella broke :(

Friday afternoon we went to S's to see how she was doing. Sister H was sitting on one of her chairs and kind of leaned on it and the leg kind of cracked and was bending the wrong way. She went to pull the leg out where it was supposed to be and the leg completely snapped off! I'm not sure why, but both of us found it hilarious and could not stop laughing! We felt so bad but I think it was another one of those moments that you can either laugh or cry. We promised her that we would fix it and took it with us to A and E's. A is great and it is completely fixed now! Thank goodness! 
Laughing about the broken chair
Saturday we had lunch with a sweet Filipina in our ward. She is so sweet and makes really good food! The best is the fried bananas! So yummy! After that we went to an aged care facility here in Deloraine to give service by visiting with the residents. As we went in, there was a woman that was leaving. She LOVED our American accents and ended up inviting us to her house! We didn't even have to ask. She seems awesome, I can't wait to go see her this week and start teaching her! As we were visiting the residents, I had so many memories of Country Care. I miss the job, but at the same time I really don't. I miss the residents, but I don't miss the night shifts. Haha one of the residents that we were talking to was so funny! She had really bad dementia and was kind of rude and it reminded me so much of one of the residents at Country Care. After we finished there, we went home to change and then we rode in to Launceston with some members for a stake volleyball tournament. It was really fun and there was a huge turnout!

Church on Sunday was really good! J came and she really enjoyed it! I had to give a talk in Sacrament meeting. I was stressing about it all week because they told me 20 minutes and that I would be the final speaker. Final speaker?! Stressful. Anyway, my topic was "Recognizing the Spirit--Personal Revelation." It went really well. I usually get nervous when I actually stand up there but I didn't feel nervous at all. And the 20 minutes went really quickly. It's times like that that I get a small glimpse of how much I have changed on the mission. I would never have been able to do that before the mission. I always had to have everything I was going to say typed out. Now I can just get up with a few notes. After church we went to try to have a lesson. I say tried because she talked so much that we could hardly get a word in. I feel like that happens a lot on a mission. How do you get people to stop talking so that they can actually listen to our message? Before we went to dinner, we stopped by to talk to our neighbor. He has had the discussions before and knows most of the members. He is the nicest man. He's always bringing our bins back in from the road for us or closing our garage when we forget to--such a great guy. Anyway, we stopped by to talk to him yesterday and asked him when we could have a lesson.  It was like he was just waiting for us to ask! We'll have a lesson with him later this week! We had dinner with Bishop and D and it was so yummy! She made spaghetti Bolognese. The Bolognese had so many vegetables in it--capsicum, carrot, cauliflower, broccoli. So good! They are such good missionaries. They literally seek for missionary opportunities every day, wherever they go. And since they seek them so earnestly, they have them!

We're still teaching seminary every morning, not sure when they will be calling a new teacher.

One experience I'll share-- on Saturday night as we were planning, it took us forever. We were trying to plan what we'd teach people and I just felt like I was getting absolutely nothing and it was quite frustrating. We finally finished and had to quickly get ready for bed. I was feeling a bit down and discouraged as I knelt by my bed to pray. I prayed telling Heavenly Father that I was feeling like I couldn't receive the revelation I needed for people, feeling like I was doing something wrong. I needed to feel His love and His approval. And it came. I felt His love in such an overwhelming way that I couldn't help but cry. I knew so strongly then that He was proud of me and that I was doing the things that I needed to. I am so grateful for the answers to prayer that come right when we need them.

Love you all heaps and heaps!
Sister Baker xxx

P.S. Another thing. This week in PMG I was reading about helping people overcome addictions. It talks about giving up some habit or something that you love so that you can better relate with people when you ask them to give up smoking or alcohol. I decided to give up treats and desserts. I started on Wednesday and have been perfect for 5 days. And it's cool because when members make dessert, I don't have to feel bad for saying no. I just explain to them why I'm not eating it. It's been great! 

I want to help people to know and love this gospel. I love it. I know it. I couldn't live without it! - 6/23/14

Tassie Times

Another p-day already? Crazy. I love Tasmania so much. It is so beautiful here!

Last week I told you about our p-day down in Hobart and our trip to the caves. I forgot to tell you a funny story. After we finished in the caves and everyone at lunch, we got back into the vans to drive back to Glenorchy. We'd been in the car for like 45 minutes and everyone was just kind of chatting when I started to smell something terrible. I looked around and saw that everyone else was starting to hold their noses too. I have no idea who it was but someone did the nastiest stinker in the world. Seriously, it was so bad. Everyone was dying. And laughing at the same time because it was somewhat hilarious. Here we all were, crammed into this van with this terrible smell. Sister Maxwell even rolled down her window. No one would own up to it either. We were dying. So gross but so funny.

Anyway, Tuesday was great. We had interviews in the morning with President Maxwell. I know I've said it before but I'll say it again-- I love President Maxwell so much. He always says exactly what I need to hear. He is full of inspiration, love, and kindness. After everyone finished their interviews, all of us from the north piled back into the cars and went to grab a quick lunch before driving back up. We got to Launceston and dropped everyone off then Sister H and I went to the store to get groceries before we drove back to Deloraine because we only have an expensive small grocery store in Deloraine and we knew we could save money if we did our shopping in Launceston. By the time we drove back to Deloraine it was time to plan for the next day.

Wednesday morning and afternoon were busy tracting and following up with people. That evening we had dinner with the Stake President and his family. He showed us a great poster that they made for all the chapels in the stake. At the top it says, "Do you know our full-time missionaries by name?" Then there's a pictures of our district with our names. At the bottom it says, "They like to have tea with your family, but they love to teach your friends." I love it. I'll have to see if I can send a copy of it to you. After dinner we had a lesson with C and her kids. We taught the plan of salvation and it went really well. We talked with them about what they needed to do to be able to go to the celestial kingdom and they set some really good goals of prayer, scripture study and making church attendance more regular. They were going away this past weekend but I really think that we will start seeing them pretty regularly at church soon! J, the 9 year old, was really concerned because he plays footie on Sundays. I wasn't sure how to answer his question because it's hard to tell a 9 year old to quit what he loves. But he decided that he would pray and ask Heavenly Father what he should do and if there was a way that he could do both.

Thursday morning we were at the family history center again. I was really frustrated because they have changed a few things on Family Search in the past week and now I'm all confused as to what in the world I am doing. But I'm getting it figured out. I have started looking at the Baker line some more and I have been able to find 2 names that can go to the temple! Family history is the best! I never thought that I'd be able to find people who need ordinances done but I'm finding them! I have about 30 ordinances reserved to be done!

We walked past this book exchange place.
 We didn't worry about taking a book, but you better believe we left a Book of Mormon.

Thursday afternoon we made prayer rocks and took them to C and her kids. They LOVED them! We had a really good lesson about prayer. I really wanted to talk about baptism but I wasn't sure how to bring it up. I could also tell that something was bothering C. I asked her if she had any questions and she paused and then asked, "Will he listen to me pray even though I haven't been baptized?" The spirit was so strong as we were able to tell her that Heavenly Father loves and knows her and that he wants to hear from her and will answer her prayers. Then we were able to ask how they felt about baptism. They weren't sure but we committed them to pray about it. I am excited to see them this week and teach them The Gospel of Jesus Christ!

After we left C's we went to have dinner with G and L. We were able to teach the Restoration and it was really good. G is still struggling with recognizing the Spirit. If he has big ah-hah moments, he recognizes that as the spirit but he is missing feeling the quiet, gentle, subtle answers. We are trying to help him to recognize that.

Friday we were outside doing some finding. We were down by the grocery store trying to find people to talk to. That morning we had been studying chapter 9 in Preach My Gospel about finding people to teach. It talks about how Heavenly Father will lead you to people or he will lead them to you. I said a prayer that morning asking Heavenly Father if he would lead someone to us that day. As we were walking past the front of the grocery store, a man named D stopped us. He explained that he used to live in Wantirna (where the mission office and the temple are) and that missionaries used to come into his store there to buy backpacks. We talked with him for about 10 minutes and he agreed to meet with us this week! After that we visited a less active lady in the ward.

S had been gone all week and we hadn't been able to get ahold of her but on Friday she came back! I am so glad she's back. Not having any contact with someone for 5 and one half days is killer. We had a lesson with her Friday night and we went through some of the baptismal interview questions with her to see where her understanding and testimony was so we would know how to help her.

Saturday afternoon we drove in to Launceston to go to a baptism. The Sisters there called to see if we could come so that I could sing with Sister K. Sister S had been going to sing but she has a broken wrist and had to have surgery on it on Friday and didn't feel up to singing. The baptism was of the cutest girl named M. She is so sweet and the baptism was perfect. After the baptism we went to dinner with some members. They made Mexican chicken and rice. It was the closest thing that I've had to Mexican food since being in Australia and it was so good! After that we had a lesson with S and taught her the Law of Chastity. We also gave her a haircut... hahaha. S had REALLY long hair, like down past her bum. We mentioned to her that she should trim it and she agreed. We were pretty surprised but we ended up cutting 6 inches off. It looks so much better now!
So excited to cut S's hair!
Sunday S came to church and she loved it. The members are all really good to her. We had a meeting with our ward mission leader. We haven't been able to find anyone really solid to teach and it’s hard sometimes. Then we met with Bishop T. He has been gone on holiday for 3 weeks so he wanted to meet with us to catch up with how things were going. I am so grateful for Bishop T. He helped me to feel so loved and appreciated and made me feel better. 

We had a lesson yesterday afternoon with a lady called F. She is from Nigeria. We talked about why bad things happen to good people and about how Heavenly Father knows and loves each of us. The spirit was really strong. We had dinner with a single mum and her kids that night. They used to live overseas in Indonesia and we ate this yummy chicken curry stuff and naan bread. It was so yummy!

We've been continuing to teach seminary this week and although it kind of throws off our schedule and it is hard to teach that early in the morning, it has been really good to really study some chapters in Alma. I love Alma chapter 26. I feel so much like Alma in verse 12 when he talks about being able to do things through the strength of God. I have felt that so often on the mission. Without the help of my Heavenly Father, I would not be able to do any of this. I need His help and extra strength every single day. I also love Alma 29. I feel similar to him wanting to be an angel and be able to tell everyone of the gospel! Another thing I love is Alma 30:44 that talks of how all things denote there is a God. I was thinking about that last night as I looked up at the stars. The stars here in Deloraine are absolutely amazing. Tasmania is so beautiful. As I see all of Heavenly Father's amazing creations, I understand that scripture better. The world around us is proof that God exists. It makes me so sad when we meet people who don't have that knowledge.

A couple of other insights that I had this week. I was reading Matthew 8:16-17 and I had one of those ah-ha moments. As I read about Christ healing all of these people I realized that is why every priesthood blessing is done in the name of Jesus Christ. It is in his name because He is the one who can heal us, comfort us, etc. He can do that because he literally took everything upon himself.

Another insight came from reading Joseph Smith History. I am so grateful for Joseph Smith and his sacrifice! I especially loved JSH 1:20 when he talked about how Satan knew he would be a disturber and an annoyer of his kingdom. I want to do the same. I want to disturb and annoy Satan so much! I want to help people to know and love this gospel. I love it. I know it. I couldn't live without it!

Love you all heaps!

Sister Baker xxx