Tuesday, August 26, 2014

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

Melbourne Mission Moments 08/25/14

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

At Sister's P-Day

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I love you all so so much!

Love y'all heaps!
Sister Baker xxx

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

Friday, August 22, 2014

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

Melbourne Mission Moments - 08/18/14

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

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

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

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

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

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

I love you all so much!


Sister Baker xx

Definitely didn't plan on having this experience during the mission... - 8/11/14

Melbourne Mission Moments 08/11/14

Well, it's been a bit of a crazy week--to say the least.

So Monday we went ice skating in the city with our Zone. I love ice skating! It was a lot of fun. The best part was watching all the missionaries who have never done it try to learn how. We were all cracking up laughing. One of the Elders from Zimbabwe was the funniest. We spent a good several hours on the ice and we were just about finished when I was standing talking to some missionaries who were sitting on the wall. Next thing I knew, I was hit by this big guy that was going really fast. I fell straight to the ice and to be honest, it hurt. We ended up leaving right after that. I had a bit of a headache from falling but overall I was alright. After we rode the train back to our area, a bunch of the missionaries in our zone decided that it would be fun to do the gallon challenge... SO GROSS!! Seriously, why anyone would want to drink that much milk to make them vomit, I will never understand. When our P-day ended, we went to see a less-active family who had asked us to come over. They had gone out and bought us so many groceries! It was so nice of them! I couldn't believe how much they got us. Our cupboards and fridge were fully stocked! After that we went to see a recent convert and his non-member daughter. We arranged to have FHE with them tonight which we're really excited about!
Ice Skating for P-Day
Me and Elder D - one of our Zone Leaders
Some in our zone while they were doing the Gallon challenge... SO GROSS! 
Tuesday morning after studies, we picked up a member and went to teach a guy named D. We showed him the Restoration DVD and he really felt the Spirit. We tried to commit him to come to church and he absolutely refused. It was really sad. We ended up having to drop him because he won't make or keep any commitments. Later that afternoon we had a lesson with J. A member came who was perfect fellowship! We taught the Restoration and it went really well! J asked so many good questions! Also, when we got there, she told us that she had started to read the Book of Mormon. We were shocked because we hadn't asked her to or said anything about it. She unfortunately wasn't able to come to church yesterday because her son got hurt in his Rugby game but we will have another lesson with her this week! After that lesson, we went to see a recent convert who is struggling being active because she doesn't have the support from her husband. We had a really good visit with her. After that we went to our dinner appointment. I had been having pain in my stomach all afternoon and I could hardly eat anything. Right after dinner, we went to coordination meeting at our Ward Mission Leader's house. I was in so much pain that I had to just go lay down on the couch. When we got home, I noticed some bleeding and with the pain too, I was concerned. I called Sister Maxwell and we decided that I would get in to see a doctor right after zone conference the next day.

Our zone conference on Wednesday was so good! I wish I could share everything that was shared and everything I learned but I can't. Here are a few highlights:
  • Proverbs 29:18- we have to have a vision of what we can accomplish. We have to have goals.
  • Don't lower your expectations to meet your performance. Up your performance to meet the expectations.
  • Galatians 5:9- just a little bit makes a big difference
  • "You have eternity to prepare for your mission and you will have forever to reflect on it but you only have 2 years to live it." -Ezra Taft Benson
  • The purpose of the gospel generally and the Atonement specifically is to make bad men good and good men better.
  • "Salvation is not a cheap experience." -Jeffrey R. Holland
  • "God's opportunity is man's extremity." -Jeffrey R. Holland
  • "The road to salvation always goes through Gethsemene and summits at the hill of Calvary." -Jeffry R. Holland
  • "My feelings for the Savior have been born in the most desperate hours of my life when I wondered if the sun would ever come up again." -Jeffrey R. Holland
  • Repentance in German is "umkher" which literally means to turn around.
  • Satan works hardest on those who are trying to do right.
There was so much and it was all so good! I am so grateful for President and Sister Maxwell. They are absolutely incredible! By the time we left our zone conference, we had to go straight to our dinner appointment. We decided to go there first because it is a family we've already had to cancel on before.
Elder S, me and Elder C

As soon as we finished dinner, we went right to the doctor. It was about 8:45 pm at this point. The doctor did a little bit of checking and said that he was worried that I could possibly have ruptured my spleen when I fell while ice skating so he sent me straight to the Emergency at Sunshine Hospital. We stopped by our flat long enough to change into trackies and wash off my makeup and then we drove to Sunshine. By the time we got to the hospital it was about 10:30 pm. Holy cow, Australian hospitals are so different. We got there and I checked in and they told us it would be at least a couple of hours wait. The Zone Leaders came to wait with us. I waited in the waiting room for 6 HOURS! We were all so exhausted. Finally, about 4:30 am they called my name and took me back. They did x-rays, an ultrasound and a couple of other tests and I saw the doctor. She said that she would talk it over with the surgeons as to what they would do. And then I waited around for about 4 more hours. Finally I asked the nurse if they had any news. Turns out the doctor I saw had gone home. So then I had to wait again for another doctor. Finally after 8 hours back there, they sent me home saying they didn't know what was wrong but that if it got worse, I should come back in. We were absolutely exhausted so we went home to shower and we both fell asleep. We got up to go to our dinner appointment and then came back home to sleep.
Sunshine Hospital - We spent 14 hours here
The Elders were so tired... so nice of them to stay there with us all night.
Everyone was trying to sleep, but I was afraid I'd miss my name being called.

Friday morning Sister Maxwell and I talked and decided I should try to get another referral letter from the doctor to try to go to another hospital. Well, that doctor was not going to be in until Monday so I ended up driving up to where the mission office is to see a doctor there. She is a less-active member and sees a lot of the missionaries. She thought it was important to have a CT scan and she made a call and got me straight in to a radiology place. We went there and I had a CT scan. It took almost two hours and they sent me away. By the time they were finished Dr. Owen had gone home and since they were closed all weekend I couldn't get any results. I called the office this morning to get the results. The pain has pretty much gone away now and the scan results indicated that everything was normal.

I've not been feeling great this past week but I'm pushing through it. On Saturday we got to help with a stake mini-MTC for the youth which was really good! Church on Sunday was really good. The talks in sacrament meeting were all about the Restoration. I am so grateful for Joseph Smith and the role that he played in the restoration of the gospel. I am so grateful to be a missionary and to have this opportunity to share it with everyone. Thank you for all your prayers this week. Heavenly Father is blessing me and I trust that everything is going to be okay.

Love y'all heaps!
Sister Baker

P.S. Remember how we have that goal of getting 5 new investigators every week or else we have to sleep on the floor Sunday night...? Yeah well, let's just say that our floors are not very comfortable.

My companion is turning me into a Kiwi... socks and jandals...

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

I always feel an overwhelming sense of God's love in the temple. - 08/04/14

Melbourne Mission Moments

I can't believe it's August! Man time flies! We had another really busy but really good week this week!

Monday we had a few lessons during our normal p-day time which made it a little crazy but we were still able to get the things done that we needed to. And it was good to get a couple of lessons in early in the week because we were out of our area a lot this week.

Tuesday we had MLC at the mission home. Because we have to travel right through the city and there is crazy morning traffic we had to leave at 7 am to pick up the zone leaders and head in there. The meeting lasted all day but it was so good. I learned so much. A few of my favourite things we talked about:
  • John 2:1-11 is Christ's first miracle when he turns water to wine. We talked about how important the servant was in the miracle, trusting Christ enough that he would go and fill the pots with water. We related it to us and how sometimes when we run out of resources, we just need to turn to the Lord in our need. We need to trust and have faith that he gives abundantly to those who ask.
  • We live in a society of potential gods and goddesses. You have never met an ordinary individual.
  • The Savior not only knows you but likes you.
  • The what informs and the why transforms.
There was so much more that I could talk about but there's not time. I feel so blessed to be able to serve around so many wonderful leaders in this mission. As I looked around at the room of about 40 missionaries, I just thought about how wonderful each of them is and how much I respect them. And of course it was good to see the sisters that I love so much (my previous companions--S. Ricks, S. Stevenson, S. Hadfield, etc.) After MLC we had a meeting with Sister Maxwell and all the STLs to plan a Sisters p-day in a couple of weeks. By the time we finally left to go back to our area, we were right back in peak traffic and it took us a long time to get back. We barely got back in time for our coordination meeting with our Ward Mission Leader.
Such great sisters I'm privileged to serve with!

Wednesday morning we had to leave even earlier, about 6:30 am to drive in to go to the temple. I love the temple so much. I am so grateful that we have a temple in our mission and that we get to attend so frequently. I always feel an overwhelming sense of God's love in the temple. There was a sealing that day and it was the brother of one of the members in Mooroolbark so I got to see them which was really good! That afternoon after we got back from the temple we had a lesson with G. The language barrier with him is really hard. He doesn't really understand anything. He ended up dropping us--he was too frustrated with the language. He said that he will take English classes for a couple of months and then call us again.
Beautiful Melbourne temple.
Me, my companion and our flatmates at the temple!
Thursday morning we had DLC (District Leader Council). STLs didn't used to go but we decided at MLC that we should be at this meeting so we can better help the Sisters. It was really good. We talked a lot about the Standards of Excellence in MLC and how the leaders need to set the example by achieving them. In DLC we talked about it more and we are really going to focus on helping every companionship achieve at least one standard of excellence each week. After DLC we had a Zone Meeting. It was a really good meeting and the spirit was strong. Sister W and I had to do a 20-minute training on Dignity. I haven't had many opportunities to do trainings thus far on the mission but we're having lots of opportunities as STLs and it's good because it's really stretching me and helping me to grow. I feel like it's helping me more than any of the other missionaries.

After Zone Meeting, we went on 24-hour exchanges with the Melton sisters. I got to work with Sister K in our area. Sister K is from South Korea and she goes home this week. She's such a good missionary and so cute. I loved being able to work with her. Thursday was not the most successful because we had a lot of people that were not home or cancelled on us. Friday morning was looking a lot the same way but then we felt prompted to change our plans and to go contact a referral that we had received the night before. We knocked on J's door and she invited us right in. She has a cousin in Sydney who is a member and her best friend in the neighboring stake is also a member whose family just recently got active. She told us that seeing how happy her friends and family are has made her want to learn more. Her partner H got home a few minutes later and we were able to teach them about God's love and how to pray. H is a bit hesitant but J is all in. I'm so excited to work with her. I KNOW she is going to get baptized.

Exchanges with Sister K

After we switched back and Sister W came back into the area we went to have a lesson with a lady called S and her daughter J. We were able to teach them the plan of salvation and it was really good! S asked some really good questions! We have a return appointment with them this week and plan to set baptismal dates with both of them.

Saturday was really good. We did a lot of finding and we were able to find a lot of potentials and a couple of new investigators! We had a first lesson with a 20-year-old named I. He is Ethiopian but was raised in Australia. He's a youth minister at his church and knows his bible. But he is awesome! He's really interested and is even skipping his church next week so that we can have a lesson with him!

Sunday morning we had ward council. After that we used the time to do some finding. The weather was absolutely BEAUTIFUL so we just parked the car and started to walk. We met a woman named M. She is a mum of six and is so lovely. We have an appointment with her tomorrow which we're really excited for. Church was really good. We had a few investigators come which was good. After church the Elders in our ward had a baptism and a few of the part-member families that we are working with came which was really good!

Right after the baptism we went with the Elders to the H home. Sister H has her grandson A living with her--he has for quite a long time. A's mum has had cancer for a while now and she passed away yesterday morning. When A answered the door, you could see the hurt in his face. I wished so badly that I could just give him a big hug. Sister H gave me a big hug and just started to sob. The spirit was really strong as we sat with them and we all talked about the plan of salvation. A is waiting for his mission call which should arrive any day now. As we were there, I couldn't help but remember how right after I got my call, Grandma Baker died. I am so grateful to have had that experience before the mission because it has made the plan of salvation real for me. I can really teach people about it because I have my own testimony of it. I know that it will be the same for A.

On a bit of a funny note, we forgot to fill the car with petrol Saturday so we were on empty all day yesterday! On the way home, we were getting down to 3Ks to empty, then 2, then 1. We got to the petrol station that's just up the road from our house and parked the car across the road and walked the rest of the way home. This morning we picked it up and filled it up. Man, Heavenly Father blessed us to have barely enough!

I love this area and I love being a missionary! Love you all heaps!

Sister Baker

P.S. - That's awesome that you're having some success with Family History! It's fun, huh? I really want to start having family tree nights after I get home like Elder Cook talked about in General Conference!